Denise Johnson – Current Member Spotlight

Meet Denise Johnson. Award-winning author Denise Johnson’s interests range from non-fiction to mysteries, from science fiction to comedy, to horror tales and other genres—and so does her acclaimed work. She pens short stories, magazine articles, who’s-who interviews, and screenplays—and she just finished her first novel, DEADLIFT.

Denise’s articles, feature stories, and interviews have appeared in numerous popular and high-profile magazines, including Carrier Management, So Scottsdale, Your Health, Simple Joy, Hidden Treasures, Arizona Bride, Back Home, Insurance Journal, Anti-Corruption Report, Health & Living, and myriad other business-to-business and consumer-based publications.

She always loved exploring the magic of books, and writing her own creations was a natural progression. “I was a voracious reader when I was young. I read everything from Judy Blume to Agatha Christie. I enjoyed losing myself in books; it probably didn’t help that I was a latch-key kid and many late afternoons were spent at the library. I also tended toward keeping books I hadn’t gotten to yet… which led to some pricey library fines,” she said.

“I began writing stories around age seven or so and still have many of them…though I doubt they’ll see publication anytime soon.”  Denise is quick to acknowledge someone who encouraged her talents from an early age. “I (had) a wonderful grade school teacher, Mrs. Cox. My best friend, Melinda, and I wrote short stories in our spare time and our teacher would highlight them in class. I doubt our classmates were as enthused!”

Her fascination with the written word at an early age surprised many adults.  “I hosted my first writing event in grade school, during a sort of ‘show and tell’…but for hobbies. Each child in the class was assigned a lunch table to show off their hobby. I had carefully placed my multi-page stories, complete with cover and copyright pages, across the table. I recall the confused looks I received from my classmates’ parents. I guess they were expecting less cerebral interests from a child.”

Years after amazing elementary school parents, Denise’s exciting repertoire of short fiction appears in numerous anthologies, including: Determined Hearts: A Frankenstein Anthology, Buried published by United Kingdom-based Horrified Press, WhoDunit: A Mystery Anthology, PORTAL: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Children’s Anthology 2019, Black Buttons, Volume 3: A Family Affair Anthology, Murder of Crows and others, in addition to Kings River Life and Blood Moon Rising magazines.

She’s been recognized for her trade publication writing by the American Society of Business Publication Editors and won multiple honors for her fiction. A screenplay she wrote earned third-place honors in the worldwide, 84th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in 2015. She garnered Honorable Mentions for her entries in two short story competitions. The first in the League of Utah Writers Creative Writing Contest in 2018, then in 2019 for the Central Indiana Writer’s Association’s Cozy Mystery Short Story Contest.

DEADLIFT, which features a fitness trainer as the cozy’s amateur sleuth, is ready for publication, and Denise is “…in the pitching trenches” for that mystery. In the meantime, she’s on to her next project, a domestic suspense novel.  

Her latest short story, “The Cold Truth” will appear in 518 Pub’s anthology, COLD AND CRISP, which launches later this year.

Denise is a freelance writer and editor for trade and business publications, though she’s held a number of other positions in her professional life. Her past positions, such as pet sitter, claims adjuster, paralegal, and other interesting occupations, have been known to “show up” in a number of her stories.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and multiple Sisters in Crime chapters, Denise is a Charter Member of the Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers chapter.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, she resided in New York and New Jersey before moving to the Valley of the Sun, fifteen years ago. Enjoying the sun and fun of Arizona, Denise and her husband, Michael, happily share their home with “…two feisty felines,” Tessa and Bobby.

Find out more about Denise’s upcoming projects on her website:  www.denisehjohnson.com

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