August Meeting

Karen O’Keefe is currently an English Language Learning Testing Specialist and Write On, PencilPALS Coordinator at Mountain View School in north Phoenix. This position follows ten years as a Secondary Language Arts classroom teacher, thirteen years as a Title I Coordinator/Program Coach, and three years as a reading interventionist. Besides assessing ELL students’ English proficiency and working with them in small groups, Ms. O’Keefe also arranges school wide book giveaways, Young Authors’ Days, Read Across America Days, Sunshine Readers (formerly BookPALS), Literacy Family Nights, and reading incentive programs at the K-8 school with over 1500 at-risk, low-income students.


Write On, PencilPALS is a letter-writing program which began at Mountain View School in north Phoenix seven years ago. Since its start, over 750 3rd – 5th-grade students have participated in the program with the support of the Phoenix Writers Club. PencilPALS was originally a branch of BookPALS, a Screen Actors Guild literacy program which brings professional actors and actresses into the schools to read to students. Though there is no longer an official BookPALS program in Phoenix, Mountain View School has continued its Write On, PencilPALS program because of its great benefits, especially for the ELL students. It allows them to practice all the skills required to become proficient in English: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students write one-two page letters to professional adults once or twice each month. Through this program, the students learn letter form, sentence and paragraph construction, and summarization. They also form close bonds with adults who become important in their lives.

PWC 4th Annual Marge Elza 55 Word Contest




Announcing the Phoenix Writers Club Fourth Annual Marge Elza Fifty-five Word Story Contest!
Flash writing at its finest!



This story needs to be 55 words or less, excluding the title words, and it must be a story (fiction or non-fiction). The story submitted must have a beginning, middle, and an end.
PWC has a 3-judge panel: Pamela Coulter, Lark LaTroy, and Judith Humbert.
All three judges have met at least 2 of the 3 following criteria:
• Current or past board member
• Has written and published (self or traditional) at least one, article, poem, short story, and/or book.
• Has experience with writing, editing, and/or publishing.
For the contest PWC is looking for the following:
1) Interesting story
2) Good conflict
3) Satisfying resolution.
We’ll be accepting electronic submissions; please send them to: **Only two submissions per contestant**. Thank you.
Contestants by way of entry, grant permission for PWC to use the submission(s) in any reasonable fashion without claiming any copyright infringements against PWC, its Board, and/or PWC members.
Please email two copies of your submission, one with your personal information and one without. Rodney Cobb, who’s the individual coordinating the event (and will not be a judge in the contest) will circulate entries w/o personal information.
Contest will run from July 15 to August 19. Last submission date is Saturday, August 19. All entries must be received by August 19. PWC is not responsible for delay in any delivery method. Any questions, please direct them to:
Entries will be judged between August 20-September 11. Winners will be announced at the PWC 9/16 meeting. Although all entrants are encouraged to attend, one need not be present to win.
1st Prize $55 and a paid membership to PWC until June 1, 2018;
2nd prize a paid membership to PWC until June 1, 2018 and one free luncheon meeting;
3rd prize one free luncheon meeting;
Honorable Mentions – 4th & 5th place


Note: If winners (1st/2nd place) are not PWC members he/she will NOT receive the equivalent of the PWC membership in cash. PWC membership will be granted to winners who live within commutable distance of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The PWC Fifty-five Word Story Contest Judges:


Pamela Coulter

Pamela is currently the secretary for the Phoenix Writers Club.

She has two nursing articles published in national publications, and she has also won the non-fiction division of American Mothers Inc., National Literary Awards.

Pamela is currently working on her mother’s biography, and writing non-fiction vignettes.


Judith Humbert 

Judith Humbert, now known and feared as “Judge Judith” among her friends, began her career teaching English Composition and Literature to students at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and later at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“JJ.” then progressed to a serious career of editing the scholarly publication The Luso-Brazilian Review at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then writing and/or editing General Accountability Office reports and Federal Aviation Administration reports in Washington, DC.

Here in Phoenix she served as the first Membership Secretary of the Phoenix Writers Club.


Lark LaTroy

Lark is an author/photographer, and member of the Phoenix Writers Club.

He has had two of his NeoDruids book series published originally with Silver Publishing, and is now wholly independent.

Married to the club historian, Sharon Taylor, Lark works as a computer systems engineer by day, and novella writer by night.


*Who is Marge Elza?

Marge Elza is a long time member of Phoenix Writers Club (so long we're not counting anymore!). She's been an important part of the club throughout the years, having held the position of president multiple times.

During her most recent stint as our formidable commander-in-chief, Marge proposed the 55 word contest, and we've stuck to this annual event since.

After stepping down in May, Marge remains active in the club as our president emeritus. Feeling grateful for all she's done for the club, we wanted to thank her by officially naming the contest after her.

Thank you, Marge, for everything!

July Meeting

Join us for our July meeting where members of the PWC will be sharing their own works. Come and listen to some of our talented writers and get a taste for the diversity of our club. The meeting is from noon until 2pm, July 15th, 2017 at the Blue Water Grill located at 16th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. Hope to see you there