Palm Springs Noir, which Barbara edited and contributed a story, was released July 6, 2021, by Akashic Books. Her short story, “Crazy for You,” first published in the Akashic anthology, Orange County Noir, was chosen for USA noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series. Her work has also been published in Dark City Crime & Magazine, Crossing Borders (Down and Out Books, 2020), Shotgun Honey (Down and Out Books, 2020), The Literary Hatchet, Rock and a Hard Place, Paradigm Shifts, Broad River Review, Serial Magazine, and The Oyez Review. Her first book, Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within, made the Los Angeles Times best-seller list and was honored with an American Society of Journalists and Authors Outstanding Book Award.
Her essays and articles have seen print in various publications including Inlandia, The Ocotillo Review, Abstract Expressions, Belle Ombre, Cutbank, The Author’s Guild Bulletin, Beach Reads, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Orange Coast Magazine, Westways, The Los Angeles Times, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Poets & Writers.
Throughout the year she teaches “Pen on Fire” for Gotham Writers Workshop (online), teaches Advanced Creative Writing at Saddleback College’s Emeritus Institute, and holds two private workshops. She co-hosts “Writers on Writing” on KUCI-FM, broadcasting from UC-Irvine and streaming at www.kuci.org and wherever you get your podcasts.
Barbara was recognized with a Distinguished Instructor Award at UC-Irvine Extension and awarded with Literary Magnet #1 in Orange Coast Magazine’s Best of Orange County. She is founder of the Pen on Fire Speakers Writers Salon in Corona del Mar, California and in the summer of 2013, began holding bi-annual writers retreats in Palm Springs. She was the editor of The ASJA Monthly, the official publication for the American Society of Journalists and Authors, from 2002 to 2014. She received the Extraordinary Service Award from ASJA in 2015.
She’s had a variety of jobs: as an ice cream scooper, Avon lady, auto parts runner, baker, waitress, restaurant manager, crisis intervention counselor, weight counselor, secretary, semiconductor inspector, freelance bookkeeper, voice over actor, actor in theater and TV (Anyplace But Here, on a CBS special for Philadelphia affiliates). As a child, her favorite things about school were the spelling bees, which she usually won.
Born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, she’s lived in suburban Philadelphia; Plainfield, Vermont; San Francisco, California; and Orange County, California, where she now resides with her musician husband and two cats.
From the Archives…
An article about Barbara, “Up Close with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett” in Coast Magazine, published by the Orange County Register, September 2018.