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Word S10.2 – ‘Tempe’s Got Talent’ with Austin Davis, plus YA lit from Mary Vensel White and J. Elle

On this episode of Word, poets and storytellers have an opportunity to perform in the Valley, plus we feature young adult travel and romance set in Arizona, as well as a YA fantasy/romance rooted in dark magic.

AZ Hugs founder shares new poem

Poet and homeless advocate Austin Davis is the founder of Tempe-based AZ Hugs, which offers assistance to those living on the streets in the Valley.

If you’d like to make a donation or help Davis with outreach efforts, find him on social media, or email him and mention this podcast.

He’s a returning guest to Word, and is spearheading an upcoming free, outdoor variety show October 8, 2023 called, “ Tempe’s Got Talent.” It will feature poets and storytellers as well as other entertainers.

Davis has several published poetry collections. He also hosts a monthly poetry workshop at Tempe Public Library. On this episode, he reads a new poem about overcoming adversity and healing.

Talking about 'Things to See in Arizona'

Orange County, California-based writer Mary Vensel White has a new YA novel titled “Things to See in Arizona.” It’s a journey of a lifetime where adventure meets self-discovery.

According to IndieReader, the book “is a satisfying blend of travelogue, romance, mystery, and teen coming-of-age. Arizona, with its history of alien sightings and new age outlooks, and its landscape that seems wide open but conceals quite a lot, is an excellent backdrop for a story centered on redefinition. Tuesday and Cristian make an entertaining couple whom the reader can't help but root for."

Also available from White: “The Qualities of Wood,” “Bellflower” and “Starling.”

Bestselling author starts new trilogy with 'House of Marionne'

J. Elle has a new YA novel out that combines romance and dark magic.

It’s titled “House of Marionne,” and it's the first in what will be a trilogy.

Elle is the New York Times, and indie, bestselling and award-winning author of multiple books, including “Against The Tide." That's an original prequel tie-in to The "Little Mermaid" live action film.

Her debut duology, “Wings of Ebony,” dubbed “an incredible debut” by NPR and best fantasy book by POPSUGAR, was a 2022 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth and Teens, an Amazon Editor’s pick for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Barnes and Noble YA Book Club Pick, a First Novelist Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Book.

"The former educator credits her nomadic lifestyle and humble inner-city beginnings as inspiration for her novels. When she’s not writing, Elle can be found on the hunt for desserts without chocolate, drowning herself in regency romance reads and shows, and looking for any excuse to wear a tiara," according to her web bio.

Word literary costume contest

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Thanks so much for listening, and feel free to drop a comment via email.

The podcast is available on numerous platforms, including YouTube.

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Tom Maxedon is the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition on Saturday and Sunday from 6-10 a.m. and All Things Considered on Monday from 3-6 p.m.