They are both authors — but work in very diverse genres. They are both relatively new residents to the Rim Country. One is making a return from a sojourn in Dixie; the other’s husband’s job transfer brought her here. But they share one very important trait — a deep desire to help people.
Melinda Elmore is the author of four mystery novels with a strong Native American influence. She said she has been told they remind readers of the popular works of the late Tony Hillerman.
Buffy Trimbach McCrary’s book, “Why Did She Have to Die?” tells of her near-death experience and how she and her family dealt (and continue to deal) with the tragic, accidental death of her nearly 18-month-old daughter.
Elmore wants to help aspiring authors by sharing her experiences as a self-taught writer. She just started a weekly writing workshop, which takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays at the crafts building at the Mogollon Health Alliance complex at 308 E. Aero Drive, Payson.
McCrary wants to help by giving others hope — especially those who have had a tragedy in their life similar to that she and her family experienced.
Elmore’s books are “Native Spirit,” “Blood on the Feather,” “Native Dreams” and “Journey to Christmas Creek.” She was most recently published by Dancing With Bear Publishing and previously by Desert Breeze Publishing.
She said she is moving away from the Native American mystery genre and into a ranching and cowboy life mixed genre that includes mystery, romance and slice of life. It will have to be a part-time effort though; she is scheduled to soon start work with the Payson Police Department as a dispatcher. When she was in the area before, she worked as a dispatcher with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
Elmore said she loved to read as a child and she received a lot of encouragement about her writing through assignments in school.
Going to college, she initially studied to become a nurse, but found it was not really what she wanted to do, so became an emergency medical technician instead.
She said she started writing as an adult and made her first submission for publication in 2008.
“I was very determined,” she said. Some publishers didn’t respond at all; a few others sent rejection letters, but about a year after she first started trying to sell her first book, it was accepted. She did it without an agent, but she would like to have one.
What she hopes to share with participants in her workshop are the things she has learned along the way: writing query letters, book proposals and synopsis; point of view; characterization; and dialog. She wants the workshop to be interactive, so if there are topics participants want to discuss, she is open to making changes.
The workshop is free and every Tuesday, with the next one taking place today, Feb. 14. Once a month, the program will be on memoir writing, which will be led by Elmore’s friend Peggy Martin.
Tragedy seems to have stalked her, but Buffy Trimbach McCrary has been able to rise above it and that is the lesson she shares in her book, “Why Did She Have To Die? — God Sent Me the Answers.” No matter what, it is possible to move forward in life.
She wrote her book with the hope of enhancing the lives of everyone who reads it.
Self-published through WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson, the book is available on a print to order basis through the company’s Web site and through Amazon and Barnes and Noble Web sites as well.
She lost the twins she first became pregnant with in 1991; one died in the womb, the other survived only a few hours after he was born. Her beloved brother, Billy was murdered in 1993.
And then in 1998, while pregnant, she was stricken by a brain aneurysm and in a coma for three days. While in the coma, she tells of seeing heaven in her book and being reunited with her twins and brother.
McCrary said she promised her twins she would not leave them, but her brother insisted she come out of the coma, telling her that her family needed her.
She regained consciousness and eventually recovered, though she still has to take medication because of the aneurysm and the damage it caused.
That was not the last of her heartaches though. She lost her 18-month-old daughter McKay in a terrible accident. McCrary, her husband Bill and two of their children were in an SUV and backing out the drive. McCrary was driving and ran over her little girl.
She admits she contemplated suicide in the immediate aftermath. She discarded the idea though.
In time, the family was able to move on. In fact, McCrary’s husband talked about writing a book.
“Where we lived in Nevada, neighbors who were moving, would put the good stuff beside their trash on the curb. One day when I was taking my kids to school, I spotted a computer on the sidewalk, I stopped and had my kids get out and grab it for my husband.” McCrary’s husband thought the computer probably wasn’t any good, but she thought it worked just fine. One night, when she couldn’t sleep, she got up and proved how fine it worked. Over the course of just seven hours, she sat at the computer and wrote her book.
She had not thought of being a writer in the past, had not studied it. But she had worked in libraries and knew the hoops to jump through to get something published. Still, she found her publisher in a different way.
A friend had loaned her a book that had a similar theme and so she checked on the publisher.
“They asked how much money I hoped to make and I told them, I wasn’t interested in the money, I wanted to help people.”
From the feedback she has received on Facebook, she has accomplished her goal.
The book can be purchased on the publisher’s Web site, westbowpress.com.