Prolific Writers Life Compass Group

Compass Writers • Table of Contents

Invitation to Compass Writers

We invite you to join us at Compass Writers. We meet the second and fourth Monday of every month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Please arrive early. We begin each meeting with a writing industry expert such as an author, editor, or publisher. In the second part of the meeting, we break into small groups and provide each other with feedback on our manuscripts. If you have a writing sample you’d like to share, please bring four copies (up to 1000 words). We welcome all genres, and all levels of writers from newbies to bestselling authors. We meet at Compass Christian Church at 1510 N. Casa Grande Avenue in Casa Grande, Arizona. We look forward to seeing you at our next event!  

Do you know a local author, editor, publisher, or someone in the writing industry who might want to speak at Compass Writers? If so, please click here to learn more about speaking at a Compass Writers event

Upcoming Events

January 23, 2023

Robert Schrader

My Attempts at Marketing My Book

Robert will talk about his experience as a writer and his attempts at marketing and advertising his books–some of his failures and successes.

He is the author of three novels: Jerry’s Story, Tunnel Secrets, and Raven and the Judge. The books are available on Amazon, Audible, and directly from his author website. He is currently working on his fourth novel: Horses, Cows, and Cattlemen. 

Tunnel Secrets by Author Robert Schrader

Robert W. Schrader writes about a fictional Sheriff in Banner County, Wyoming. Bob’s experience as a Licensed Embalmer, Horse Wrangler, Army Combat Medic (Vietnam), military experience (retired Lieutenant Colonel), Commercial Pilot (Single and Muli-engine, with instrument and flight instructor certifications), Attorney, Justice of the Peace, Wyoming State Insurance Commissioner, School Teacher (Jr. and Sr. High School), retired Judge and author help form his books. Betty and Bob Schrader live with Goldie, Bob’s service dog in training, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and vacation in Casa Grande, Arizona, at G Diamond Ranch. Betty and Bob have two daughters and five grandchildre

February 13, 2023

Bill Wargo at VP Membership Compass Writers
Bill Wargo

Morning Prayer Text Ministry

Bill Wargo sends out a morning prayer text to over 70 people every morning. He will share how he came to a place in his spiritual journey that led him to start this text ministry.  

Coming Soon

A Lost Childhood by Author Lynda Williams
Lynda Williams

Lynda Williams

God’s plan for her from the beginning was beyond her wildest dreams and imagination

In Lynda Williams‘ first-ever public discussion of her early life and growing up with career criminals, the worst of it all came in 1978. Her brother, Gary Tison, escaped from Arizona State Prison, and her family had to endure the largest manhunt ever in the southwestern United States. She recounts the fear she faced during those 11 days, an event that spawned two books and a pair of movies. Lynda tells about the abuse she suffered growing up in a family where her father and brothers were routinely in and out of prisons, and how her family name, rather than her character, led to many shunning and ridiculing her.

In Linda’s words: 

I am retired after many years of working with abused children/youth, as well as owning and operating other businesses to include the ranch. Widowed in 2011 by the Love of my Life …. Frank (Boomer) Williams. I am blessed to be a Mother of three adult children, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. It was not an easy task to get from the south side of the tracks to where I now am.

God’s plan for me from the beginning was beyond my wildest dreams and imagination I just knew in my heart, even as a young girl, there was a way of the south side of the tracks and the dirty, disgusting lifestyle I was growing up in with notorious, career criminals. I endured such a horrific childhood full of physical, sexual and mental abuse at the hands of my father and brothers. However, I decided at a young adult, that the abuse I encountered was not going to define me.

So many, many negative, critical thoughts and lies about myself and my circumstances growing up that always seemed stuck in my mind. I learned to silence them and the voices so that I could never be more than I was due to being a Tison, living on the south side of the tracks and in extreme poverty. This was based mostly on the criminal activities of my father and brothers, always being in the news or on the front pages of newspapers.

I learned to speak to those lies and negativity about who and what I was, and to fill my mind instead with what is good and beautiful about me, and not my unfortunate circumstances of growing up with career criminals and extreme abuse on every level.

Most of my young life was spent feeling as though I was in the deep end of a swimming pool, with a leg cramp and nobody to help me. I knew as a young girl, there was a way out, and I fought to get there. My family and I suffered tremendous humiliation over the years due to my three brothers and father’s criminal activities.

Lynda offers a stirring message of hope for survivors like her: That one can overcome adversity by learning to love yourself and faith in God.

February 27, 2023

microphone Compass Writers speaker wanted
TBD

Speaker To Be Announced

We haven’t booked a speaker for this date yet. Do you know a local author, editor, publisher, or someone in the writing industry who might want to speak at Compass Writers? If so, please click here to learn more about speaking at a Compass Writers event

March 13, 2023

microphone Compass Writers speaker wanted
TBD

Speaker To Be Announced

We haven’t booked a speaker for this date yet. Do you know a local author, editor, publisher, or someone in the writing industry who might want to speak at Compass Writers? If so, please click here to learn more about speaking at a Compass Writers event

March 27, 2023

microphone Compass Writers speaker wanted
TBD

Speaker To Be Announced

We haven’t booked a speaker for this date yet. Do you know a local author, editor, publisher, or someone in the writing industry who might want to speak at Compass Writers? If so, please click here to learn more about speaking at a Compass Writers event

Jim Marshall
Author Jaine Ellen Toth Dizzy Izzy and The Red Witch
Jaine Toth
Eugene Carr
Pam Parron

Past Events

Candace is an Award-Winning children’s author who lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and 7 children. She wrote the new Adventures of Logan and Lilly series. The first book in the series is ” The Lost Treasure.” Candace has always had a passion for writing and children’s fiction allows her to bring out her inner child.

Adventures of Logan and Lilly by Candace Valek lllustrated by Gaspar Sabater

As a former Daycare Director, Kindergarten teacher, and mother, Candace has read countless children’s books, therefor her love of reading extends outside of writing. Candace loves to get in front of children and read or make up creative stories on the spot. She loves to get the kids she is reading or talking to involved. She does this by using the children’s directions on what the character will do or where they will go. For Candace, writing has always been a way of escape and adventure.

Education and fostering a love of reading is something that Candace and her family are passionate about. Candace earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and has an extensive background in photography. Writing continues to be one of her passions.

Candace Valek Kids Adventure Author

When not writing, you can find Candace spending time with her family and friends, creating projects in her craft room, reading, taking pictures, traveling, watching her children compete in hockey, swimming, and cheerleading. She states “Having 7 children keeps her grounded and the stories flowing. With the size of her family, there’s always a story to be told.”

 FUN FACT- Candace’s son Logan and his best friend, doll Lilly are the muses for the Logan & Lilly series. 

Jim Schmitt will talk about his experience setting up a website and marketing J.A. Manier’s book, The Kind: Awakened

He will give you a quick look at the stuff behind the writing of The Kind: Awakened by J.A. Manier.

The Kind: Awakened by J.A. Manier Compass Writers

Jim Schmitt will talk about his experience setting up a website and marketing J.A. Manier’s book, The Kind: Awakened

He will give you a quick look at the stuff behind the writing of The Kind: Awakened by J.A. Manier.

Even a great book won’t sell itself if nobody knows about it. He will go over some of the tools they used that helped them build their advertising platform for their first book.

Jim says he is “just Jim” and that Janene is the superstar. He does the things that she needs done.

Being a self taught computer user he believes that you can do almost anything if you watch enough videos.

He has a background in helicopter maintenance and repair. He and Janene had a small home remodeling business that they closed in 2020. They are now putting their efforts into starting a micro farm, oh, and writing books too.

Even a great book won’t sell itself if nobody knows about it. He will go over some of the tools they used that helped them build their advertising platform for their first book.

Compass Writers Jim Schmitt

Jim says he is “just Jim” and that Janene is the superstar. He does the things that she needs done.

Being a self taught computer user he believes that you can do almost anything if you watch enough videos.

He has a background in helicopter maintenance and repair. He and Janene had a small home remodeling business that they closed in 2020. They are now putting their efforts into starting a micro farm, oh, and writing books too.

Writing a novel is both an adventure and a learning experience. Whether never intending for it to be read by others or hoping to make the bestseller list, a lot more goes in to the process than many may think. I found this out when I sat down in 2019 and opened my computer to a blank Word document.

The Kind: Awakened by J.A. Manier Compass Writers

I had to choose a format for the computer, organize my thoughts, take notes for research and keep track of my characters. Once the novel was complete I found the work had only begun. I had to submit the novel to agents and publishers, get through the publishing process and market the book.

It can be overwhelming but I with a few simple tools, a support system and a lot of prayers it can be done. Luckily I had my husband to help me through it all.

What I can tell you, or more like it, what I will tell you is this. I sat down in August of 2019 and began to type. I had many ideas in the past but was, I don’t know, too lazy, and certainly never brave enough to write any of them down, let alone form them into a novel. For some reason earlier in the year I had gotten enough courage to jot down the beginning of an idea.

Well, I’m not sure courage is the right word. I typed it into the “Notes” section on my phone. No one would ever see it; I would make sure of that. I’m not even sure why I did it. I never planned on anyone ever seeing it, but I thought maybe I would expand on it one day. A few months after that my husband and I began a Bible Study group. It was one of those deep, find your purpose kind of studies. I had never been to one but right away they had us doing homework.

Much of it was writing things down. Prayers, thoughts about what we read or talked about, what you hear God telling you… That last one got me. How was I going to hear God? The instructions were to go find a place away from the rest of the class, then sit quietly and let God speak. I am not that good with just sitting still. I took a walk, but I tried to follow the directions anyway.  When we got back the instructions were to write down your thoughts. The only thing that came to my mind was “He said write.” It was very clear, but I thought, “that can’t be it. I must be just echoing the instructions of write it down by the leader,” but I wrote that down anyway.

J.A. Manier Author of The Kind Awakened
Janene Schmitt is a pediatric nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She is the author of The Kind: AWAKENED using the pen name JA Manier. She lives in Casa Grande, Arizona with her husband Jim. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Stories are one of the most fundamental and effective ways to engage and teach our fellow human beings. After the death of her son, Jack, from a rare congenital muscular dystrophy, author Ann F. Schrooten partnered with Dr. Barry P. Markovitz, a pediatric critical care doctor, to write Shared Struggles – Stories from Parents and Pediatricians Caring for Children with Serious Illnesses, the first book to tell true and poignant stories from both sides of the physician-patient/parent relationship. By giving a voice to both parents and physicians and by listening and learning from their stories, Shared Struggles is Jack’s legacy as it seeks to improve communication and foster trust and compassion among physicians, patients and families. Ann will share her personal story behind her book and her journey of getting the book published.

Author Ann Schrooten Jack Shared Struggles

Ann Schrooten is an estate planning and probate attorney with Fitzgibbons Law Offices in Casa Grande. She is the founder of The Willow Tree Foundation, an Arizona non-profit organization that funds respite for parents of medically fragile children. She lives in Chandler, Arizona, with her husband and their three adult children. She blogs at Jack Schrooten and Inching Onward.

Shared Struggles by Authors Ann Schrooten and Barry Markovitz

Local news media receive many press releases from the community and sometimes use stories written by community members and freelancers. Don will talk about what writers need to know about their local newspaper: how to write an article for your local newspaper, how to write a press release about your book launch, and more. 

Donovan Kramer Pinal Central Managing Editor Compass Writers

Don Kramer is the co-publisher and managing editor at Casa Grande Valley Newspapers. He has been the local newspaper editor in Casa Grande at Pinal Central for more than 40 years and has lived in the community most of his life. He is the father of three grown children and a longtime member of Casa Grande Rotary Club and Signal Peak Toastmasters.

Pinal Central News Casa Grande Coolidge Eloy

Self-publishing my books has been the right decision for me, as it enabled me to learn new things (e.g., the ISBN and copyright process, setting up an Amazon shop, building my own web site, etc.), and it kept me connected to every part of the writing, publishing, marketing, sales, and shipping process. To be sure, it was a steep learning curve and new things must be learned constantly to stay informed and pivot as necessary. For example, if someone ordering a book wants it signed in a special way, I can do that because I personally package and ship every book. 

If you think about it for a moment, the Bible was self-published by God. It was His Spirit that moved the writers of Holy Scripture to write down exactly what the Lord wanted them to write so that He could connect His heart to your heart. Aren’t you glad God didn’t hire an editor or sales director that would demand changes to the Bible in order to make it more marketable?  

The Gift of Courage, The Gift of Justice, and The Gift of Unity are 40-day devotionals that address difficult seasons of life, injustice, and conflict. Each devotional was written to connect our heart to the heart of our Creator. As such, each book includes a devotion, scripture, prayer, and a note section to write down personal reflections. 

I am glad that I am self-publishing my devotional books. Though it requires extra effort and some late nights, self-publishing is a way to keep the purpose of my books connected to the readers of my books. When you read The Gift of Courage, The Gift of Justice, and The Gift of Unity I think you will agree. 

Philip W Calvert PhD Trinity Casa Grande Compass Writers speaker

Dr. Calvert has been a missionary, professor, entrepreneur, consultant, mentor, and pastor for over 25 years. He has been coaching people in these various roles over the course of his career. Dr. Calvert has a heart for helping those who need it the most, and has been doing so all his life. He is the author of three books. These 40-day devotionals are: The Gift of Courage, The Gift of Justice, and The Gift of Unity. You can read more about these books at Shaped by Grace.  

Frank G. Davis will discuss the pros and cons of hiring marketing agents to help sell his books. In the past three years, Frank has written and published eight books. A ninth book is scheduled to be published in Autumn of this year. All of his books were self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing and all of them would be considered in the Science Fiction/Action Adventure/Christian genre. “All of my books are fast-paced action stories set in the future with significant Christian overtones. My first book, Future Histories, contains three short stories and one novella. All the stories were inspired by comments made during various sermons by my pastor. Christian beliefs are present in all the other books as well.

“I love writing. Once I get an idea for a story, all I want to do is tell the story as quickly and completely as I can and then move onto the next story. Unfortunately, marketing my books is not a talent I possess and as much as I’ve tried, my sales are not going anywhere. I’ve tried selling through Amazon and purchased online classes on how to increase sales of my novels, but nothing has worked. 

In June 2022, I hired two women who are experts in marketing. They have done wonders at upgrading my webpage and showing me how to advertise using social media. I will share with you how they have helped me and the results of their help.

Frank G. Davis began writing novels three years ago and has published nine books to date. All of them are action/adventure novels set in the future. He relies heavily on personal experiences and the personalities of his friends to make his characters come alive. The future technology used in his books are based on possible extrapolations of current technology levels. The inspiration for his novels comes from a variety of sources from Christian sermons, to breaking news stories and daydreams of things to come.

Generations by Frank G. Davis Compass Writers

“Better late than never!” describes this author. People started telling her 30 plus years ago that she needed to write a book. She always laughed, but the first line of the book ran through her mind. Living life with a disability was challenging enough without writing for others. Two countries, two languages, a husband, two children and teaching the Bible, English, ESL/ELL, and Spanish have filled her life. When health issues removed her from teaching high school, she found herself in waiting rooms being asked familiar questions and being told, “You should write a book.” A Bible study friend made it a serious endeavor. Speaking about her story and faith came naturally, but writing? Her journey from start to publish was a roller-coaster ride with a couple derailments that cost way too much. She would like writers to learn from her amateur mistakes and encourage them on their journey .

Broken in All the Right Places Pamela Salatri Parron Author Compass Writers
 Pamela Saletri Parron

Pamela Saletri Parron has lived with a physical disability for most of her adult life. She is married with two adult children. She taught high school in two languages in two countries. She has served in many roles in church over the years, but most recently as a women’s Bible teacher. Learn more about her Bible studies at Loved By God. She is the author of Broken in All the Right Places

“Tell me about your story in fifty words or less,” you may hear from your editor or publisher. How important is this in selling your work? We will talk about this and other ideas to help you successfully attract attention to your work. 

How do you organize your thoughts for your story? Do you just pick up a pencil and start writing? Do you think about the characters, places, actions, sequences and other things that pertain to your story, and make notes or “cheat” cards to help you through the actual writing? Is one way right and one way wrong? Gene will use two of his own works to illustrate writing strategies that worked well for him. 

Gene Carr Author of Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two

Eugene Carr is the author of Sonto Diaries and Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two. He is an acclaimed story teller. He takes you where you may not want to go. In Twenty-six Minutes Plus Two you will be on the edge of your seat, as he takes you on the ride of a lifetime. This story can only be told by someone who has been there. Carr holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate and has an Instrument Rating. Other stories that he has told delve into the realm of the fantastic—worlds that are familiar, but you can’t get there from here. Raised in the Chicago area, he has spent his life traveling across the United States and around the world. He now lives in Arizona with his wife. He leads Inklings writing group which meets at the Casa Grande Library the first and third Thursday of every month. 

Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two by Eugene Carr Compass Writers

“The most important thing is to get your story down,” Jaine says. Then you get the people who can help you. Learn how to go through your manuscript and clean it up. Your first draft might seem boring, but you can play with it and tighten it up. You don’t have to be super talented to get started, and it’s easy to learn how to improve it. Jaine will share her story of how she started writing her book the day her father passed away. She continued writing stories about her dad and then her mom. Then a friend encouraged her to publish them and she did! 

Why write? “The heart is like a box, and language is the key. Only by using the key can we open the box and observe the gems it contains,” says Jaine. “Writing is a tool to put you in touch with your true self. Let’s explore how to do it.”

Author Jaine Ellen Toth Dizzy Izzy and The Red Witch

Brooklyn-born and California-raised, Jaine is a former columnist for Carpinteria, California’s Coastal View News and, locally, the Eloy Enterprise. She also wrote for the Carpinteria Historical Society’s newsletter, The Grapevine, and has had several poems and stories published. Jaine won first place in the Carpinteria Creek Association’s poetry, and she is a longtime contributor to bahaiteachings.org. Jaine developed and presents a memoir-writing workshop, started and facilitates the Robson Ranch writers’ group, and co-facilitated a week-long writers’ retreat at the Desert Rose Baha’i Institute. Dizzy Izzy & The Red Witch: Memories of My Parents, begun as an exercise in grief therapy, is Jaine’s first (but not last!) book. Jaine loves to write—but honestly—she’d rather be acting.

 

Click here to read more advice for writers from author Jaine Toth.

Click here to watch “Get Your Story Down” by Jaine Toth.

 

Dizzy Izzy and The Red Witch by Author Jaine Ellen Toth

 

Jim Marshall has compiled a lifetime of arduous study, observation, experience, and research of human phenomena into discovering Septemics, the philosophic system he describes in his book. In retrospect, he realizes that the philosophic system he shares in this book is what he was born to share with the world. He will discuss the challenges he had to overcome in writing this book and getting it published.  

Septemics by Author Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall, B.S., is the author of Septemics: Heirarchies of Human Phenomena. He is a polymathic intellectual whose areas of expertise include psychology, philosophy, thology, parapsychology, science, engineering, mathematics, law, literature, history, metaphysics, military science, policital science, physical culture, organization, education, and music. He has had several successful careers and a lifetime of experience in education.

 

Click here to read more advice for writers from author Jim Marshall

Click here to watch “The Book You Were Born to Write” by Jim Marshall

 

Septemics by Author Jim Marshall

 

 

Dr. Lorraine Haataia kicked off our first-ever Compass Writers gathering with a discussion on how writers can take their writing to a new level by participating in a writing community. The writing life can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Find friendship and collaboration, improve your writing skills, and network with experts at Compass Writers. 

Lorraine Haataia PhD Founder Prolific Writers Life

Dr. Lorraine is the president of Compass Writers, and the founder of Prolific Writers Life, an online community for writers to expand their writing skills, connect with writing industry experts, and finish their writing projects. 

 

Speaker Testimonials

Author Jaine Ellen Toth Dizzy Izzy and The Red Witch

The format of the Compass Writers Group is unique among the various groups I’ve attended in both California and Arizona. Beginning with a presenter who is either a published author or someone in the industry brings awareness of the many possibilities for their approach to their own work and how to navigate the path toward publication. Breaking into small groups for the reading/critiquing portion saves time and ensures everyone has a chance to participate. This also makes it more comfortable for some to speak up who might be less comfortable sharing their thoughts in the larger group. Reassembling and having group representatives present pertinent thoughts from their group is informative for everyone else. And offering the guest presenter the opportunity to sign and sell books at the end of the program is appreciated by the authors. Excellent format!

Jaine Toth, Author

Member Testimonials

Sandra Bradley VP Membership Compass Writers

Sandy Bradley

Tom Wax Compass Writers Member

I enjoy the socialization with others at Compass Writers. I get ideas that I can use.
Tom Wax

Victoria Jobin Compass Writers Member

Victoria Jobin

Tom Wax Compass Writers Member

Moises Cardona

Penney Borth Compass Writers member

Penney Borth

Patty Rulli Compass Writers Member

What I like most about Compass Writers is the focused and honest attention that is given to our writing.
Patty Rulli

I love the interaction with others at Compass Writers.
George Hart

Lisa Kron Compass Writers Member

Lisa Kron

Bill Wargo at VP Membership Compass Writers

What I like most about Compass Writers is that it’s very informative. 
Bill Wargo

Compass Writers Chief Information Officer Jim Schmitt

Compass Writers is a great resource for writers of all levels and the people are awesome!
Jim Schmitt

Prolific Writers Life logo

Compass Writers keeps me focused on writing and I love the feedback from others. 
Diane Kelly

Leonel Leal Compass Writers Vice President of Education

Compass Writers gives me motivation to keep writing. I enjoy the fellowship. The guest speakers are a blessing.
Leonel Leal

Compass Writers Leadership Team

Kyle Welch Compass Christian Church Pastor
Kyle Welch

Pastor

Kyle is an encouraging and creative pastoral leader with over 15 years of preaching and ministry experience. As a campus pastor and previously a pastor at a 12,000-member church, he has experience in congregational spiritual development, teaching biblical classes, raising up ministries and ministry leaders, along with writing and producing home group curriculum.

Over the course of his ministry, he has preached for churches of every size, developed staff and volunteer teams, and established continued growth of his campus.

He married his wife Monica in 2014. Together, they have two children: Jake and Allie. He is an avid baseball fan and film lover.

Lorraine Haataia PhD Founder Prolific Writers Life
Lorraine Haataia, Ph.D.

President

Dr. Lorraine Haataia earned six college degrees, including a PhD, by the age of 35. Writing has played a central role in her career as a professor, content marketing specialist, grants evaluator, continuous improvement ambassador, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Prolific Writers Life, an online community for writers to expand their skills, connect with writing industry experts, and finish their writing projects. She’s passionate about helping writers achieve their goals. She believes that the best way to succeed as a writer is to grow relationships with authors and writing industry experts. 

Leonel Leal Compass Writers VP Education Officer
Leonel Leal

Vice President of Education

Leonel Leal was born in Northern California and grew up in Casa Grande. He is the middle child in a family of 5 and father of two beautiful children, Devin and Adriana. Leonel earned his MBA from Arizona State University and has enjoyed a successful career in supply chain and sales.  He has always enjoyed writing but has put it off to focus on career and family. This is a new endeavor for Leonel as he looks to build his writing skills while contributing to the success of Compass Writers. 

Bill Wargo at VP Membership Compass Writers
Bill Wargo

Vice President of Membership

J.A. Manier Author of The Kind Awakened
Janene Schmitt

Vice President Marketing

Janene Schmitt is a pediatric nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She is the author of The Kind: AWAKENED using the pen name JA Manier. She lives in Casa Grande, Arizona with her husband Jim. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Compass Writers Chief Information Officer Jim Schmitt
Jim Schmitt

Chief Information Officer

Jim…

Tom Wax Compass Writers Member
Tom Wax

Vice President of Media

Tom Wax

George Hart Compass Writers SAA Officer
George Hart

Sergeant at Arms

George Hart is looking for a way to utilize his experience and knowledge to get back to writing prayers and moving on with life after the loss of his wife. He writes to help others achieve success. He wrote a book on a code of conduct. He has also written many documents related to establishing companies. 

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