- Your Voice
Diana Madaras doesn’t feel comfortable painting in public because the creative effort of putting color on canvas and bringing an idea to life is a very private endeavor for her, yet she readily shares her finished work, many pieces of which depict life in the Sonoran desert, with that same public.And as an additional way of showing how she developed her style of painting, as well as developed and changed as an artist, she’s published a retrospective of her life and work in the book, “Private Spaces,” which Madaras will introduce to Tucsonans this month. “Sharing the personal information in the book was difficult because I’m a very private person,” Madaras said. “But I hope that people will draw inspiration from the book and realize that it’s never too late to follow their dreams and make them come true.”“Private Spaces” chronicles the story of how Madaras, a New Jersey native, became a desert dweller who walked away from a successful marketing career to pursue her passion for art. Madaras was raised by a veterinarian father and developed a love of animals at an early age, which would feature in many of her artworks.Madaras came to Tucson in 1976 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Arizona, and after graduation worked in sports marketing for national events. She didn’t pick up a paint brush until taking a trip to Greece, and within five years she was painting full time, and within 10, opened two galleries in Tucson and established herself as one of the most recognized artists in the area.“Private Spaces” reproduces 152 images of Madaras’s paintings, from her first watercolors painted in the Bahamas and Greece, through her African animal paintings and South Dakota Artist Rides work, to the Southwest landscapes, animals and florals from 1992 to the present.
He had a story he wanted to tell – one of redemption, hope, and change. Now, after 37 years, Fernando Prol has published his first book called “Sugar and Dirt: Memoirs of a Tortoise.”“I resolved that I would one day write the book and that I’d educate myself so that I’d be prepared to write a book,” said Fernando, who is now in his late 50s and works as a traffic engineer at the town of Marana.The book is a fictional memoir that is narrated by a 60-year-old man named F.P. Romero. His retelling gives a glimpse into his life in Cuba during Fidel Castro’s revolution, his family fleeing to America, and them adapting to a new culture - all the while going through difficult and traumatic circumstances. The book is a coming-of-age memoir that, though it is fiction, Fernando can relate to.The book’s storyline is intertwined with some of his life story. Making the book fiction rather than non-fiction was a choice that Fernando says has made writing the book more enjoyable.“Some of the things in the book would be hard to write,” said Fernando, who adds that his life had some very difficult moments that would be hard to relive. “Making it a fiction gave me more of a psychological separation. Second, it also let me be more creative.”Fernando tried writing the book when he was 22, but after multiple drafts and a lack of skill in writing, he crumpled up the pages and threw them away. For the next couple decades, he dedicated himself to learning the art of writing. Unlike most people his age, Fernando took a different route in learning. Instead of attending college he educated himself by reading through a list of numerous books that were recommended by a university.
What happens when a coyote falls in love with a human woman? What if he could become human? Follow Coyote as he pursues his dream, falling into a trap set by the shaman he meets one night. Yes, he can shape-shift but he cannot remain in human form once he falls asleep!The strange man standing at her door intrigues Sara. But this dark-haired stranger has been shot and needs help. At the hospital she realizes that he has no papers, no money and no ID of any kind. Where did he come from? He doesn’t seem to understand the simplest things.At home Sara settles the injured man on the couch for the night but in the morning he is gone, leaving his antibiotics behind. For some reason she can’t stop thinking about him. Her boyfriend wonders what’s got into Sara. She seems preoccupied and distant.What will happen the next time Coyote comes calling?Find out by reading "Just Another Desert Sunset," available online as well as these local stores: Mostly Books, Antigone Books, Spirit’s Child and The Yoga Tree.To find out more about the author visit: www.wolfmoontrilogy.com
Two authors with local ties have written books with themes from both sides of the parent-child dynamic. Marana resident Lori Alexander will have her first children’s book, “Backhoe Joe” published this fall and the road construction in the town was an inspiration. Alexander’s son Max was fascinated with big trucks and other construction equipment, so she often found herself looking at a lot of construction sites. “I found myself constantly stuck in traffic, as we sought out road-widening projects so he could see the machines in action,” Alexander said. “Some days, I wished my son had been a dinosaur fanatic instead. But in the end, his love of construction inspired Backhoe Joe, as we spent many hours together imaging what it would be like to have a backhoe of our very own.”The book, a picture book for children that comes out in mid September, is about a named Nolan, who finds a “stray” backhoe in the street. He names him Joe and can’t wait to adopt him. “Backhoe Joe is not very well behaved,” explained Alexander. “He revs at the mailman. He digs in garbage. As Nolan tries to train his new pet, he learns that this backhoe might already have a home.”While writing a 40-page children’s book may seem easy, it is actually a very lengthy process. Alexander’s initial story went through a number of re-writes. She turned to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for guidance and also went to writing classes and critique groups. It wasn’t until she found an agent that things started to really get moving.
A local author is receiving national attention after the release of her latest novel.Oro Valley resident Lala Corriere’s newest publication, “Kiss and Kill,” was recently featured on USA Today’s segment called “Books Recommended for This Weekend.”While Corriere spent the bulk of her professional career in real estate and interior design, she began writing novels 10 years ago because she felt it was her true calling.“When I worked in those other professions, I wasn’t passionate about them,” said Corriere. “Writing is what I am passionate about.”Corriere has since published four books with her fifth, “Bye Bye Bones,” on the way. She describes her work, which is often compared to author Carl Hiaasen, as “suspenseful, with a lot of twists and turns.”“Kiss and Kill” adheres to that genre. The story follows the life of romance author Chyna Blaze, whose peers are being killed one at a time, and Chyna, who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, becomes a prime suspect of investigating detectives. Like much of Corriere’s other works, “Kiss and Kill” explores the dark underworld of crime and human nature, but through its plot twists and final resolution, also provides a meaningful thematic message.
May 15 is the deadline for writers to submit manuscripts for review as part of the 26th annual Pima Writers’ Workshop, May 29-June 1. What: 26th Annual PCC Writers’ Workshop When: May 29, reception; May 30-June 1 workshops Where: PCC West Campus Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road Cost: $150; no extra fee for manuscript consultation Registration deadline: May 15 if submitting a manuscript; May 29 for all others Contacts: To register, 520-206-6468; for more information, email@example.com or 520-206-6084 The event, featuring award-winning writers from around the country, kicks off a 7 p.m., May 29 at the Riverpark Inn, 350 S. Freeway, with a meet-the-authors reception that includes a reading by Mark Doty, author of the National Book Award winning “Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems.” Doty has written eight books of poetry, including “My Alexandria,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and three memoirs, including the bestselling “Dog Years.”Workshop founder Meg Files, Pima Writers’ Workshop director, PCC Writing Faculty and Chair of the PCC West Campus English and Journalism Department, says the workshop has more sessions than ever on publishing, including self-publishing and marketing. Literary agents William Boggess of Barer Literary, Dara Hyde of Hill Nadell Literary Agency and Laura Strachan of Strachan Literary Agency are featured in those sessions.Featured authors leading sessions are (photos attached): Sarah Cortez Diane Glancy James M. Deem Nancy Mairs Mark Doty Colleen J. McElroy Terry Filipowicz Johanna Skibsrud Bruce Fulton Carmen Jiménez Smith
There were many times in his life when Paul Lamar Hunter could have given up. A child of poverty, he describes himself as a product of abuse and dysfunction, yet he has never given up and instead kept working.Hunter is the 19th of 21 children and is the lone sibling to get a four-year college degree. After the business he worked for sent his job to Mexico, Hunter went back to school and got his college degree. After years of being told what he could not do or given excuses not to do things, Hunter did what the doubters told him would never happen.Hunter chronicled his life in the book “No Love, No Charity, the Success of the 19th Child.” The Glendale native will discuss his book and life on this Friday’s “Morning Blend” on both KGUN 9 and CW58.He’s excited to do the show. He was initially approached to do it about three months ago, but schedule conflicts made it impossible. When they called again they presented a list of dates, and he chose May 9,in part because of the proximity with Mothers Day.“The book is as much a parenting book as it is a biography,” explained Hunter. “It gives the do’s and don’ts parents must know. Whether you have kids or will have kids it will help them become better parents.”Hunter grew up in what he describes as a “dysfunctional family” that was rife with “a lot of adversity, a lot of drama.”
Inspired by a reoccurring dream, Catalina resident Donna Cormier followed her instincts, which led to her having her first novel published.Cormier, who writes under the pen name D.J. Irwin to pay homage to her father who died when she was two, had “Just a Little Miracle” published in October of last year. Since then, she has already begun to work on a follow-up novel.The book, which she said parallels the writing style of Luanne Rice, is a love story and a family relation book combined.“It’s about a widowed woman who has four young sons and she moves her children to Phoenix to take a job after she meets a gentleman who offers her a job there,” Cormier said. “It’s mostly about the family – how the boys adjust.”Getting out of Tucson for the summers, Cormier and her husband spend the hot months in Show Low, which is in the White Mountains northeast of Phoenix. While there, she continued to have a dream night after night about the same topic. She began to take notes and remember parts of the dream, and elaborate on them throughout her days.
Ever dream about becoming an author? Love to write poetry? Want some guidance and encouragement from a professional writer?If the Tucson Festival of Books motivates you to finally pick up that pen, then Pima Community College’s Creative Writing Weekend Workshop could be for you.The March 28-30 workshop, at PCC’s Downtown Campus, will offer a focused exploration of poetry writing with a variety of activities and lots of hands-on practice.Published author Kristi Maxwell will lead the workshop. Sheis the author of five books of poetry: Realm Sixty-four, Hush Sessions, Re-, That Our Eyes Be Rigged (forthcoming in 2014) and PLAN/K. She has taught for Pima and The University of Arizona Poetry Center. Currently, she is a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, where she teaches creative writing, literature, public writing and composition. She also is the co-founder of KnowHow, a Knoxville-based organization that focuses on social justice and youth empowerment through the arts.The cost of this intensive three-day workshop is $152. Workshop participants will meet 6-8 p.m., Friday, and 9 a.m-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Meet author Gloria McMillan and “live Martian tour guides” at the March 15 launch of McMillan’s book, “Orbiting Ray Bradbury’s Mars: Biographical, Anthropological, Literary, Scientific, and Other Perspectives.”McMillan is an adjunct writing instructor at Pima Community College’s Northwest Campus. The celebration of this collection of essays by scientists, film experts and writers will start at 2 p.m. in room 308 of the Kuiper Space Sciences Building, 1629 E. University Blvd, on the east end of The University of Arizona campus. The event is part of Science City at the Tucson Festival of Books.Local actors John Noble (a Pima Fine Arts/Theater major) and Rainey Hinrichs will emcee the event as “Martian tour guides” Mr. K and Ylla. UA astronomer Peter Smith, the principal scientist for the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander, will be the keynote speaker, talking about the role Bradbury played in Smith’s decision to become a scientist.Attendees also will hear from: Famed astronomer-artist Bill Hartmann, who did the cover painting of Mars for McMillan’s book. He knew Ray Bradbury and has tales to share. Wolf Forrest presents the popular culture that helped Bradbury imagine his Mars. As a local collector, Wolf Forrest has loaned some of his vintage artifacts to the University of Arizona’s Library Special Collections for its companion exhibit to the book: Mars Madness. The Tucson connection to Bradbury’s life is represented by Scott Weiler from Bradbury’s (1930s) school, Amphitheater Middle School. David Acklam, an aerospace engineer, will present the ways that Ray Bradbury inspires young people to pursue a scientific career with Acklam’s own experiences. Howard Allen, a local theater director and film producer, will speak about how Bradbury’s short stories in The Illustrated Man illustrate our Sonoran Desert and Mars. Also, an interview with McMillan and Hartmann will be shown at 6:30 p.m., March 11, on Arizona Illustrated.
Pima Community College’s Adult Education program is joining other adult education and literacy groups from across the state to celebrate Arizona Adult Literacy Week, an annual event celebrating adult literacy and lifelong learning in Arizona communities.The activities are part of Governor Jan Brewer proclaiming Feb. 9-15 as Adult Literacy Week to increase public awareness on the importance of adult education and family literacy.PCC will celebrate the week in numerous ways: On Feb. 11, from 2-3 p.m., PCC will host the 12th Annual National Adult Education Honor Society Induction Ceremony at El Pueblo Liberty Learning Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, Bldg. 7. Ten students will be recognized for their outstanding work in adult education classes and civic engagement. On Feb. 13, Adult Education students will receive several recognitions at the Arizona Adult Literacy Week Awards Ceremony at the Rio Salado College Conference Center in Phoenix. Awards include a Distinguished Merit Award for the submission of, “Hopes and Dreams for my Child,” a collection of stories and aspirations from the parents to their children, a submission of “Stepping Out, Moving Forward,” a collection of student reflections on school and career goals, and English learning student, Jing Sun, will be recognized for her story, “Hello, My name is Jing Sun.” Additionally, on Feb. 13, PCC Adult Education students will tour the state capital, visit with legislators and be introduced on the senate and house floors. And finally, on Feb. 15, PCC Adult Education Student Ambassadors present at the National Collegiate Leadership Conference at The University of Arizona. Pima Community College plays a critical role in promoting adult literacy in our community. For more than 40 years, PCC Adult Education has provided adult learners in Pima County with opportunities to increase basic skills, prepare to earn a High School Equivalency diploma, learn English and get ready for community college or vocational training. More than 6,000 adult students were served last year in the adult education programs. http://www.pima.edu/meeting-notices/presentations/2013-2015/201310-09-adult-education.pdfLearn more about Pima’s Adult Education programs and services on the PCC Adult Education website.
Tom Clancy, author of dozens of novels and 17 New York Times best sellers in his long career, died Tuesday, Oct. 1, at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Clancy’s hometown. His passing leaves massive shoes to be filled in the espionage/war genre. The cause of the author’s death has not been disclosed by his publisher, G.P. Putnam Sons, but it is known the Clancy was suffering from a brief illness right before his death. Ivan Held, the President of Putnam, did give a statement concerning Clancy’s passing, “It was an honor to know Tom Clancy and to work on his fantastic books. He was ahead of the news curve and sometimes frighteningly prescient. To publish a Tom Clancy book was a thrill every time. He will be missed by everyone at Putnam and Berkley, and by his fans all over the world.”Clancy first received public interest for his novel, “The Hunt for Red October” in 1984. The book was lavished in unexpected praise, most notably by former President, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan received the book as a Christmas present. Reagan announced at a televised press conference that the book was “unputdown-able” and that it was the “perfect yarn”. This fueled the book to huge success. The novel sold more than 5 million copies and landed Clancy with a multi-million dollar contract. The success of the book was followed by a movie adaptation in 1990, starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. Clancy’s career only grew to greater acclaim as the author continued to churn out fantastic novels filled with tales of subterfuge and covert operations. What sets Clancy apart from other authors in the genre was his uncanny ability to create unbelievable realism in his work. His writing has become the defining example of the espionage genre. Any reader willing to break into any of his massive novels encounters an unmatched sense of attention to detail. Amazing descriptions and explanations of military weapons, tactics, and operations often led many to wonder if the author had sources inside of the military. Clancy never served in the military, having been excluded from service during Vietnam due to his sight issues, but his interest and passion for the military never died. Clancy was adamant about the basis of the knowledge he used in his writing, often stating his information came strictly from technical manuals, interviews with submarine experts and books on military matters. Clancy once said in an interview, “I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can.” “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real — that’s the spooky part.” In 1994, he wrote the novel “Debt of Honor”, which foreshadowed the Sept. 11 attacks. The book involves a suicidal terrorist crashing a jet liner into the U.S. Capitol. For decades, Clancy wrote novel after novel that were the envy of many, and the obsession of many more. Clancy’s work has inspired much more than movies, though. His work created the tactical shooter genre. Tactical shooters are now amongst the most popular games in the present market. The “Splinter Cell” and “Rainbow Six” videogame series are held in great acclaim by gamers and critics alike. The impact of his writing stretches even further than video gaming. The archetype that he created for the fast paced thriller/ espionage found equal success in the television market with shows like “24”.