Posted tagged ‘author’

With a memorable name, Goudie continues to make her mark though books

May 21, 2014


She dishes regularly about books as a “Book Doctor” on the Kansas City NPR affiliate and her reviews have appeared in the New York Times and  other publications. She is a proven leader in her Kansas affiliate and NFPW. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member who is full of optimism and curiosity and is as unique as her name — Jeffrey Ann Goudie.

Name: Jeffrey Ann Goudie

Jeffrey Ann Goudie

Jeffrey Ann Goudie

City and State: Topeka, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Kansas Professional Communicators. In the past I have served as East District Director (a position that no longer exists!) and 2nd Vice President/Bylaws and am winding down my second term as Secretary to transition into my second term as Historian. I was Kansas Communicator of Achievement in 2004.

Years a member of NFPW: 24 years

In a couple of paragraphs, tell us a little about you:

I am a long-time book reviewer, whose reviews have appeared in the New York Times Book Review and the Women’s Review of Books, but mostly in my regional paper of note, the Kansas City Star. I appear as a regular “Book Doctor” on KCUR, the Kansas City NPR affiliate (89.3 FM), to dish about books with fellow book critics. For many years I wrote a newspaper column, first for the Topeka Capital-Journal, then for the Topeka Metro News. I currently contribute commentary, mostly about Kansas politics and female politicians, to the Huffington Post. I also write profiles of interesting Topekans for Topeka Magazine.

I feel lucky to be able to do work that fills my need for novelty and satisfies my curiosity. I’m married to a fiction writer, Tom Averill, so I have an excellent editor who works across the study from me, separated by a tall double bookcase. This arrangement mostly works well, unless I talk too much, but he has a university office to retreat to.

I like it when my writing hits a nerve with readers, or crystallizes what they themselves are thinking. I’ve recently enjoyed writing for the Huffington Post — what it lacks in payment, it more than makes up for in readership. As a book reviewer, I gain a bit of secondhand glory when blurbs from my reviews appear on paperbacks. Yes, that’s me studying the backs of new trade paperbacks at Barnes and Noble.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie is a"Book Doctor" on KCUR, the Kansas City NPR affiliate

Jeffrey Ann Goudie is a “Book Doctor” on KCUR, the Kansas City NPR affiliate

Any career advice you would give?

My career advice comes from freelance writing, which many of our members do. With the freelance life, it’s either feast or famine. My advice would be to persist and persevere, despite rejection. One never knows when a piece that has been rejected by one publication will hit the sweet spot of an editor at a different publication on a new day.

Which talent would you most like to have?

In high school I took art for four years and entered the University of Kansas as a Fine Arts major, but never took a college art class. So perhaps like George Bush — not one of my political heroes, but who hails from my hometown of Midland, Texas — I will take up art in my retirement.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I grew up in dusty, dry West Texas, and have always considered the northeast corner of Kansas where I live surprisingly lovely with its colorful, lush Springtime and its Fall-time deciduous trees. So where I’d want to live is right here, only with a new, progressive governor and a saner state legislature.

What book are you reading?

I’m actually rereading a lovely illustrated edition of William Strunk and E.B. White’s classic for writers, The Elements of Style. It has a Foreword by New Yorker writer Roger Angell (did you know he is the stepson of E.B. White?) and quirky and whimsical art by Maira Kalman.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Well, that I made an “F” in Home Economics, but that’s not surprising! Maybe that I had a baby at age 47. Alex is now a high school junior, and his sister, Ellie, a professional dancer, is 32.  Same marriage, just widely-spaced children.

Also, I have an unusual name for a woman, which I was always told was because my dad wanted to give me a memorable name. Several years ago another female Jeffrey contacted me.  She was named after Jeff Donnell, a B-grade movie actress who played George Gobel’s wife on television. When I related this story to my mother, she said, “Oh, yes, so were you.” So my name acquired a new backstory.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I joined NFPW and what was then Kansas Press Women in 1990. I was writing a column for the Topeka Capital-Journal at the time, and my editor encouraged me to join and enter my work in the communications contest. I did and won a first place in my state contest, and was hooked. I think of KPC and NFPW as part of my tribe. Many of the members, like me, started out working full-time in the daily newspaper business (I very briefly worked for the Parsons Sun and the Detroit Free Press) before finding work that was more flexible and conducive to family life, or just life. The organization is full of women propelled by optimism and curiosity, and it affords these strong women opportunities for support, recognition and leadership.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

I’m on Facebook.


Hillerman grew up sharing stories, first novel makes NYT best seller list

April 30, 2014

As the eldest of author Tony Hillerman’s six children, Anne Hillerman grew up in a household full of characters, adventures, and, most importantly, shared stories. Her mother, Marie, taught her to read at age 3 and Anne has been a reader ever since. She started writing in an imitation leather-bound journal to keep track of her adventures in first grade. Her most recent book, a novel, debuted at number 10 on the New York Times Best Seller list and has won other awards as well. This unique and amazing woman is an exceptional writer, leader and devoted member of her affiliate and NFPW.

Name: Anne Hillerman

Anne Hillerman, sitting with Cheryl Fallstead, right.

Anne Hillerman, sitting, with Cheryl Fallstead, right.

City and State: Santa Fe, NM

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

New Mexico. Currently secretary of the state organization and on the leadership team of the Northern New Mexico chapter. State offices include past president, NM Communicator of Achievement, contest director and other positions.

Years a member of NFPW: More than 20.

Tell us a little about you.

I got my first real job as a journalist right after college, and have loved nearly every minute of my more than 20 years in the profession.

I left my post as editorial page editor for the Albuquerque Journal’s northern edition to start my own business, Wordharvest Writer’s Workshops, but I still write restaurant reviews for them as a freelancer. (It is the world’s juiciest assignment!) Through Wordharvest, my business partner and I organize the annual Tony Hillerman Writers Conference each November in Santa Fe. The three day event features published authors who enjoy teaching and brings in attendees from throughout the US and Canada. In conjunction with St. Martin’s Press, we offer a $10,000 prize for the best first mystery novel set in the Southwest and announce the winner at the conference.

My time in journalism and tips I learned at the conference continue to help with my own writing. After nine non-fiction books, I published my first novel with HarperCollins in October, 2013. To my surprise and delight, the mystery–which features a Navajo woman police officer as the crime solver– debuted at number 10 on the New York Times Best Seller list and won the Western Writers of America Spur award for best first novel. I never thought I would be a novelist! Or starting a new career at an age when some of my friends are SpiderWomansDaughterAnnethinking about retiring.

Any career advice you would give?

Find what you love and give yourself over to it.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to create extra time with nothing to do but read!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I love, love, love Santa Fe and our beautiful state of New Mexico.

What book are you reading?

Navajo LIfeways: Contemporary Issues, Ancient Knowledge

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I love the speed of downhill skiing. Especially on a powder day with the sun shining!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The organization helped me learn that I could be a leader and has provided a wonderful circle of friend and colleagues who inspire me.

Ways to follow you:


Stein excels as artist, author, technical writer and geek princess

April 8, 2014

Allison Stein enjoys sharing her snarky commentary with others. She is the servant for her two house cats  you can read about on Facebook. She is a talented writer who volunteers her time keeping the NFPW web page current. She is a dependable friend who is always willing to pitch in and help make NFPW stronger.  Meet this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Allison Stein

Allison Stein

Allison Stein

City and State: Kansas City, Mo.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

I’m NFPW’s web director. I’ve served on the board in various appointed roles since 1994, including parliamentarian, technology advisor, and as NFPW’s original webmaster. I’ve also served as president of the Missouri and South Carolina affiliates, and I was Missouri’s Communicator of Achievement in 1997. I’ve earned many awards at the state and national level for writing, editing, web content, social media, and short fiction. I’ve also presented workshops on writing and technology topics at affiliate and national conferences.

Years a member of NFPW: 26

In a couple of paragraphs, tell us a little about you.

I started out with every intention of being a newspaper reporter: three years of high school journalism, a journalism degree from the University of South Carolina, and experience at my home town paper and the state’s largest daily paper as obituary writer and features stringer.

Instead, I took a position at a software company writing their internal newsletter. That turned into a 25-year career in business-to-business marketing communications at software and technology companies that ranged from Internet start-ups to industry-leaders.

About five years ago, I changed careers again. Today, I’m a technical writer at a large company in the oil and gas industry. I write knowledgebase articles — the online articles that explain how to use the software — and other documentation for a system that controls product movement and inventory for fuel terminals.

In my spare time, I write science fiction short stories, make art, and help run science fiction conventions.

I use the following biography for my extracurricular activities: “Allison Stein is an artist, author, TV addict, geek princess, and cat servant — not necessarily in that order. When not painting, writing, updating her social media status, or serving as cat furniture, she hoards art supplies and practices Advanced Google-Fu.”

Her short fiction appears in several Yard Dog Press anthologies (I Should Have Stayed in Oz, A Bubba In Time Saves None, Houston We’ve Got Bubbas, and Flush Fiction) as well as Death Is Only Skin Deep from NobleFusion Press and A Horror A Day: 365 Scary Stories from Barnes & Noble Press. Her art can be seen at science fiction conventions in the Midwest and online at She has also provided cover art and interior illustration for Yard Dog Press, NobleFusion Press, and KaCSFFS Press.

Allison Stein the artist

Allison Stein the artist

Any career advice you would give?

1. Contacts you make today may open doors for you in the future.

2. Don’t rule out odd or unexpected opportunities.

3. The ability to write with clarity and precision is most valuable skill in your portfolio.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I had better juggling skills! I juggle so many projects that I’m always dropping a ball somewhere and scurrying to pick it up and get it back in the air.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I love living in Kansas City, but I do miss the sun and sand of my home state of South Carolina. I don’t get to visit there often enough, and I’m really looking forward to NFPW’s 2014 Communications Conference in Greenville, S.C.!

What book are you reading?

I’ve just finished the audiobooks of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Kathy Reich’s Bones of the Lost.

I’m currently listening to Blood of Tyrants, a historical fantasy by Naomi Novik. (Imagine what the Napoleonic Wars might have been like if they had had dragons for air support!) In ebook format, I’m currently reading The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake and other Tales of Magic and Mischief, a collection of short stories by Eugie Foster.

I’m also reading The Wheatbelly Cookbook by William Davis the old fashioned way: on paper.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an introvert. NFPW nudges me out of my comfort zone, and that’s a very good thing. I’ve learned so much about working with people and speaking to groups though my service to NFPW.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NFPW has been a part of my life for more than 25 years, and it’s taken me to places

Allison Stein shows her creativity

Allison Stein shows her creativity

and introduced me to people from all over the country.

Some of my NFPW friends are my very best friends, even if I only see them once a year at conference.

When I moved from South Carolina to Missouri, the first thing I did was call the NFPW members in my new town and start attending their monthly meetings.

NFPW has given me the confidence to lead as well as many opportunities to do so at the affiliate level in Missouri and South Carolina, and at the national level. NFPW has also given me an opportunity to measure my skills against those of my peers through the Communications Contest. The judges’ critiques have helped me grow as a writer, and it’s always nice to show the awards to the boss afterward.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.


Copyright expert Burr shares love for writing, teaching

March 17, 2014

Sherri Burr was one of the first to offer to teach a workshop at last year’s National Federation of Press Women conference in Salt Lake City. I was impressed with her enthusiasm for what she does. In addition, this amazing woman lectures around the world on copyright protection, in addition to being  a university professor teaching intellectual property law in New Mexico. Meet another unique, unbelievable NFPW member.

Name:  Sherri Burr

City and State: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Sherri Burr

Sherri Burr

New Mexico Press Women Vice-President and Chair of the Bylaws Committee

Years a member of NFPW:

Since 2007, when I first won a national contest award.

In a couple of paragraphs, tell us a little about you.

“I am the author of 20 books, including A Short and Happy Guide to Financial Well-Being. I love writing and I adore my writing friends. Attending critique group is one of the highlights of my week because I am privileged to see what the imaginations of my fellow writers have created.

I’m also a university professor who has been teaching for 26 years.

At the NFPW conference in Salt Lake City, she presented a workshop on copyright law and explained how attendees can protect their print and digital media works.

Any career advice you would give?

“Always meet your deadlines. I learned this the hard way when I missed one and my story didn’t run. Since then I will come in at 3:00 a.m. or stay up half the night to meet a deadline.”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could ice skate like some of the Olympians because it looks so beautiful and graceful.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m living there now: Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve been fortunate to live in beautiful places like Honolulu, Phoenix, San Francisco and abroad, but I love New Mexico.

What book are you reading?

I just finished Blowback by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett. I loved that two people from such different backgrounds could craft a thriller together. I also just finished reading the nonfiction book Play. I liked his advice of making work fun.”

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

“I love go-kart racing. It’s fast and you have to focus.”

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I love the camaraderie of both NMPW and NFPW. Our New Mexico Press Women board meetings are fun and I always enjoy the National Conference.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.:,

Wilson interviews the rich and famous after starting writing career at age 10

February 11, 2014

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson has been writing since she was 10 years old and today writes for a wide variety of audiences with many online-links. She recently interviewed a woman I would love to meet, Valerie Plame, author of “Fair Game” a story of how a top CIA agent was betrayed by her own government. She is a dedicated member of the Illinois affiliate and travels 7 hours to attend meetings in Chicago. Meet another one of our unique, unbelievable NFPW members.

Connie Wilson and her granddaughters Ava and Elise

Connie Wilson and her granddaughters Ava and Elise

Name: Legal name at birth: Constance Ann Corcoran. Name I use to write: Connie (Corcoran) Wilson. What people call me: Connie.  For my adult writing, I use Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, unless it’s an online site that wants things short, in which case it’s just “Connie Wilson.” For my children’s series, I trotted out Constance (Corcoran) Wilson to try to keep the small fry away from the scary stories.

City and State:  I live in East Moline, Illinois, in the Quad Cities, and I also have a condo in Chicago, Illinois. My Sylvan Learning Center and Prometric Testing Center were in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  I drive 7 hours to get to meetings in Chicago. Therefore, I am not very helpful or useful in IWPA leadership positions—although I served 4 terms as President of my Teachers’ Union in Silvis (IL) and masterminded recognition as the bargaining agent for the district’s teachers  during a stressful, confrontational three-year period. So I do work hard in leadership positions, when I able to do so. [I’m doing good to make it to even half of the things I’d like to attend at IWPA in Chicago].

Years a member of NFPW:  Five.

Tell us a little about you.  I’ve been writing since age 10, when the local newspaper editor (Reeves Hall) thought it would be “cute” to send a 10-year-old out to interview people for the Independence (IA) Bulletin Journal & Conservative newspaper. Since then, I’ve interviewed many famous writers (Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, William F. Nolan, Frederik Pohl, Anne Perry, Joe Hill, son of Stephen King) and many celebrities attending the Chicago Film Festival. (See on Pinterest).  I’ve written for 5 newspapers and 11 blogs. Most recent “famous” interview: Valerie Plame, the CIA agent outed by the Bush administration whose life was made into the 2010 movie “Fair Game” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. I attended the University of Iowa on a Ferner/Hearst Journalism Scholarship, but ended up in English/Journalism and Education. [My mother was a kindergarten teacher for 40 years, so she influenced me in switching away from journalism to teaching, saying, “You can always write on the side.”] There are 150 teacher years in the immediate family; my first full-time writing job was as an educational writer for Performance Learning Systems, Inc., of Emerson, NJ, writing their book Training the Teacher As A Champion. (1989)  I was Film and Book Critic for the Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) for 15 years and that led to one of my 15 books entitled “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now.” I painstakingly assembled my 43-year-old reviews, with pictures and reviews from the Times and had them brought up to the 600 dots of today. It took 8 years (some I had to find on micro-fiche at the public library). The book has 50 representative 70’s films, 76 photos and interactive trivia and won several awards. I also interviewed local celebrities and wrote a humor column for the (Moline, IL) Dispatch. I’ve continued reviewing film for Yahoo and have covered the Chicago Film Festival for many years, as well as some others (Toronto). I also was invited to cover the 2008 DNC and RNC conventions for Yahoo inside and was Yahoo’s Contributer of the Year for politics following the 2008 election. I’ve had over a million “hits” (as Connie Wilson) on Yahoo. [My most recent piece predicts the winners of this year’s Oscar race]. I was also Silver Feather winner in 2012 in Chicago and Midwest Writing Center Writer of the Year for MWC and I write for ITW (International Thriller Writers) online blog. My degrees/educational hours are from Iowa, Berkeley, Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Chicago.  I taught at all 6 colleges in the Quad Cities, founded 3 businesses, have been married for 46 years, and have 2 children, born 20 years apart.

Any career advice you would give?  If you’re trying to write a novel, don’t give up your day job. Learn all the basics of writing, and finish what you start. Also, don’t do what I did, which was to set out to “write one of everything.” While I have almost closed in for the kill since 2003, it was NOT a good game plan, but I didn’t know it at the time. (Branding is everything, they tell me—-NOW!)

Which talent would you most like to have?  I’d like to be able to fly. I’d settle for a pilot’s license, but wings would be okay, too. Having your own plane, like John Travolta. Now THAT would be traveling in style!  Other than that unlikely goal, I’d like to be able to speak fluent Spanish, and I’d like to have more close, close friends I’d feel comfortable sharing my innermost thoughts with, like my college roommate and closest friend of 50 years. Old friends are hard to replace, but I’m willing to run in some new ones, as long as they like to talk about interesting things and don’t focus on what I call “the floor wax mentality.” (I once got stuck in a group of wives whose entire conversation for 2 hours focused on the best floor wax.)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?  I’d live in a climate like Cancun, (Mexico) during the 3 horrible months of Midwestern winter and then spend the nice weather in Chicago, writing, with side trips to interesting places. We spent a month last winter in Australia and New Zealand, where I had a book signing at the Galaxy Bookstore on York Street. We were in Cabo San Lucas for 2 weeks this year (Jan. 3-17).   I’d like to visit Greenland and Iceland and cruise Alaska and the Mediterranean and take a train trip across Canada, but Chicago is great as home base—if it’s not winter-time. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and I attended school at Berkeley for a bit, so it’s a close call there.)

What book are you reading?  The last 2 books I completed were “Dr. Sleep” (Stephen King) and “The Cuckoo’s Calling” (J.K Rawlings) in Cabo. I also read William F. Nolan’s book on 60 years of friendship with Ray Bradbury to review it, and, prior to that, I read Valerie Plame’s “Blowback” to interview her. I am going to (finally) be reading “Gone Girl,” “The Husband’s Secret” (but my husband already told me the secret, so maybe not), “The Goldbug” and Gary Braunbeck’s new short story collection “Rose of Sharon” to review it for him.  He’s a genre writer (mostly horror writing) who doesn’t get the respect he deserves. You can read reviews of the two books I finished in Cabo on my blog,

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  I play 4 musical instruments—a couple of them well. They might also be surprised to hear that son Scott is 46 and daughter Stacey is 26. They probably (also) don’t know that I founded Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and Prometric Testing Center #3301 and, now, Quad Cities’ Learning, Inc., dba Quad Cities’ Press. Some would know I have 15 books up on Amazon (and a few out of print) by 7 different publishers; some would not. Maybe they’d find it interesting to hear of the alphabet soup of organizations I’ve joined: IWPA, AWP, MWA, MWC, HWA, ITW, IEA/NEA, Delta Kappa Gamma. (I’d tell you what all those letters stand for, but then I’d have to kill you.) My sense of humor might surprise some, but I’m not sure it would be everyone’s cup of tea, since humor is very subjective. (I have 2 books of humor, “Laughing through Life” and “Both Sides Now.”) Most would perhaps be surprised to learn that I am very genuine. I am not a phoney. If I say I will do something, I will do it. If I make you a promise, I will try to keep it. And I promise to never discuss floor wax with any of you. Another thing: I hate early mornings and am a streak writer who writes through the night and thinks anything before 10 a.m. is early.

Connie Wilson and her husband

Connie Wilson and her husband

I do want to share this bit: I had to mail my 2013 books for the NFPW competition off on Tuesday, Jan. 28th. As I came out of the post office, on my way to a movie, I fell flat on my face. I have no idea why. It has only happened to me about 4 times in my life. It hurt, naturally (mostly my pride) and I quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen me fall. Nobody had, so I scrambled to my bruised knees, got my cell phone out from under a nearby car (!) and gathered the contents of my purse. On Thursday (Jan.30th), I went to the hospital for a routine mammogram. What was the first question I had to fill out, in writing? “Have you fallen down any time in the past 6 months.” For a MAMMOGRAM! I had to answer yes, and they made me wear a yellow armband from then on.  I asked, “Why do you ask about falling down for a mammogram?” The nurse said, “We’ve had a rash of patients falling down in the hospital, so you’ll be asked to take a wheelchair to the front door.” The armbands made me look like a Holocaust victim, and I now feel really ancient. The eye exam the next day, they conducted a hearing test. Go figure. This is what I mean about humor. I’m sure this paragraph has only amused me, but I felt I had to share. Feel free to ignore that and the floor wax comments. (And no offense to anyone re the armband comment. Or the floor wax.)

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?  I welcome the opportunity to meet and interact with new, interesting, accomplished people in IWPA and NFPW (and anywhere else) who are interested in the world around them and in present-day happenings. This is a truly educated, interesting group of women, with lots to offer, and I am a “newbie” in Chicago, don’t forget, so I know very few people. The accomplishments and depth and breadth of abilities of IWPA/NFPW members is quite amazing.  I hope I get the opportunity to meet many more of you from across the country. [I’ll be the unimportant one over in the corner not talking about floor wax. Maybe I’ll be intimidated into silence by the accomplishments of those of you around me, or maybe I’ll be joking about floor wax or actively in the process of falling down.]

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.  Link to Connie Corcoran Wilson books on Amazon:,

Sign up for my feeds at Yahoo here:  I am listed as Connie Wilson there.

My own blog is and you can sign up for a feed of that, if you are interested in articles like, “Don’t Tase Me, Bro’!” and Oscar predictions. On Twitter,

I am Connie Wilson Author (Connie_C_Wilson) but I think I have a coupe of old accounts that I don’t know how to eliminate. I also have a Pinterest board and a YouTube account and a Facebook account as Connie Corcoran Wilson.

Book blogs:,,,,,, (under constructi