Regular Meetings are on the first Saturday from 10:00 am to noon and the third Tuesday from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the New Life Presbyterian Church Conference Room located at 5540 Eubank NE, Albuquerque, NM. We also offer 2-hour workshops on select Saturdays after our morning meetings. Go to our Workshops page for details.
For a list of previous speakers and topics, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Saturday, May 5th 10am-Noon
The Irresistible Writer:
One Writer’s Circuitous Path to Writing that’s Hard to Ignore
Despite multiple media competing for attention, books and articles are more abundant then ever. People read, but why should they read you? Dr. Matthew Yde started as an actor, moved to teaching and directing, and then to published academic author and theater critic. In this talk he will discuss the trajectory of his career and why good writing is like good acting and good teaching. In all three the successful communicator commands attention. It doesn’t matter the genre: good writing is irresistible. His first publication was a book on George Bernard Shaw, yet this was no dry academic tome, and was described by one reviewer in the following words: “reads like a novel, replete with tight prose, a riveting plot, and high stakes.” Come and hear the secret to his success.
Dr. Matthew Yde is the author of Bernard Shaw and Totalitarianism: Longing for Utopia, which was described in SHAW: The Journal of Bernard Shaw Studies as “the most significant single-author study of Shaw written in the past decade.” His work has appeared in the SHAW, Modern Drama, and The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. He recently completed a book on contemporary American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, which is currently under review at Cambridge University Press. He is also an actor, director and playwright whose adaptation of Shaw’s play Mrs. Warren’s Profession was recently staged at Aux Dog Theatre in Albuquerque under his direction (titled Mrs. Warren’s Profession 2.0.). Matthew is Theater Critic at the Albuquerque Journal, and has reviewed over 140 plays since 2015. He received his PhD in Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism in 2011 from The Ohio State University.
Tuesday, May 15 7pm-9pm
Content Production Workflow
Or “Enter the Matrix”
John Cousins will share ways to build and expand your brand and writer’s platform by creating a personal media ecosystem. Content is King. We all work and aspire to create great content with readers and audiences and fans in mind. We have repositories of content and ideas that can be leveraged and repurposed in different formats across multiple channels to increase awareness and capture new fans and customers.
1,000 true fans can support a sustainable artistic livelihood. We need to provide lots of ways for our fans to interact with our work.
Potential readers have a wide variety of choices in the way they consume and enjoy information and content that begins as writing. You can monetize your writing by getting creative about repurposing your content across a variety of social media and online sales channels. A digital first strategy focuses on taking advantage of platforms and partners that are very inexpensive and in many cases costless. Become aware of business models that create multiple revenue streams.
John’s content production workflow stems from his writing and forms a matrix of properties that are then promoted and sold in a variety of ways. He will share how to leverage computer and web tools for content repurposing and do it all yourself. These ancillary revenue streams and promotional channels can help you support a sustainable creative living and enhance your interaction with your audience
John Cousins is an author, blogger, podcaster, and online course creator. He began his career, after graduating from Boston University and MIT with degrees in Media Studies and Electronics, working for one of the great early Silicon Valley tech firms: Ampex. He spent a decade in Manhattan working for ABC Television as a systems engineer designing and building facilities for the network and managing programs for sports and news; complex live televised spectacles like the Olympics and political conventions.
After receiving his MBA from Wharton, he took two companies public as CFO and CEO. He has founded numerous startups in alternative energy, life sciences, and technology. His career shifted to teaching business subjects at numerous universities in US and internationally for the past ten years.
John’s company MBA ASAP delivers digital content on business topics via eBooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, podcasts and online courses. Check it out at MBA-ASAP.com
Saturday, June 2 10am-Noon
James McGrath Morris
“What I learned about writing from the novelists Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos.”
Santa Fe biographer James McGrath Morris will share 10 things he learned about writing while research, writing, and publishing The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, a dual biography of the two iconic twentieth century authors.
James McGrath Morris is the author of four biographies and several works of narrative history.
His New York Times bestselling Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press was awarded the Benjamin Hooks National Book Prize for the best work in civil rights history. His previous biography, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power was selected by the Wall Street Journal one of the five best books on American moguls and American Library Association’s Booklist placed on its list of the ten best biographies of the year. His most recent book is The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War.
Both the New York Times and The Economist have described his non-fiction works as reading like novels. He has written extensively for newspapers and magazines, as well as academic journals. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Morris spent a decade as a journalist, a decade working in the book and magazine business, and a decade as a high school teacher. He is the former president of Biographers International Organization, of which he was among the original founders.
He is currently working on a biography of Tony Hillerman, the author of a famous series of Navajo detective novels.
Tuesday, June 19 7pm-9pm
Michael Backus’ writing, fiction and non-fiction, has appeared in Okey Panky, One Story, Exquisite Corpse, Digging Through the Fat, Prime Number magazine, Hanging Loose, The Writer, The High Hat, The Portland Review, and The Sycamore Review, among others. His short story “Coney on the Moon” was published in early September 2017 in an illustrated Redbird chapbook and Xynobooks published his novel Double in ebook-only form in 2012. His novel The Vanishing Point will be published in regular book form in 2018 by Cactus Moon Publications. He taught film studies and creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and currently teaches beginning and advanced fiction writing for Gotham Writer’s Workshop and Zoetrope Magazine. He can be followed @MikeJBackus and more information is available at his website here.
Saturday, October 6th 10am-Noon
Zen and the Art of Writing
The talk will concentrate on one’s natural voice, rather than one imposed by subject matter or one’s inclination to develop a personal style.
In Zen practice it is said that “one must seek the face one had before birth.” In writing, the same question may be raised. What is the way you spoke and wrote before you became proficient at doing these things. That is to say, before you were taught in school. I use Miyazawa Kenji’s collected thoughts from the book Floating Stone to help with the process of finding the natural voice of each participant. I also draw inspiration from the writers I have worked with, the ones mentioned in my attached biography. As a former high school writing teacher as well as a writer in residence at colleges and conferences, I have always been surprised and pleased at how quickly writers find and use their natural voice, one that is often overlooked in the attempt to develop style. Examples will include writing by very young published writers as well as masters such as Camus, Lindsay, Zelazny, Krauss and Sendak.
This presentation will be followed up by a Workshop after the meeting on Spontaneous Writing. See Workshop Page for more information
Gerald Hausman spent more than twenty years in New Mexico where many of his American Indian stories were collected and published. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1945, Hausman is a professional storyteller. He was poet in residence at Connecticut State College as well as the City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He taught writing at The Windsor Mountain School and Santa Fe Preparatory. Two of his children’s books were made into animated films, one of them sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates and Pixar, the other by History Channel. A number of his books for adults and children have been translated into 10 foreign languages. In addition to his own writing Gerald is the editor of award-winning nonfiction and fiction titles published by Overlook-Viking, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Dutton, Persea, Houghton Mifflin and others. He, his wife Loretta and author Alice Carney teach at the Green River Writers program in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Hausmans edit for Irie Books which is dedicated to discovering new talent in literature. They have moved back to Santa Fe after many years of touring and doing workshops.
Saturday, Dec 1, 10am-Noon
Writing Down Your Family Stories
A writer in the Southern tradition of trading horses and family stories, Betty Moffett confesses to a childhood “love affair with Black Beauty” and “what growing up meant to four generations. It’s all about “neighbors, horses, prejudice, sweethearts, students; about moving, marriage, grandchildren, and dogs.” Her heartfelt and haunting Coming Clean: Stories (Ice Cube Press), is a perfect lesson on how to preserve and hand down your family stories. Many of the authors previously published stories are represented in this collection, but she has plenty more to share.
In her presentation, Betty will read story excerpts that show the contrasting tone and diction of family tales passed down orally from generation to generation versus those in the idiom of present-day life. All of these stories are clever and perceptive enough to have been widely published and now made ready to hand down in a book to new generations of readers. This book has its fair share of memorable moments, made poignant by the Southern accent in Betty’s oral reading. In the tradition of storytelling, these stories are in a whole ‘nother class unto themselves!
This talk will be accompanied by slides of people, places, and regional attractions of the stories, linked as they are through irony, humor, and attention to all the conventional literary elements of setting, scene, character, dialog, plot, motifs, imagery, and theme. The presentation will share recommendations on listening for community stories, as well as paying attention to your family’s stories, repeating them aloud until they become your own, and writing them down for history.
Betty Moffett was born, reared, educated, and married in North Carolina. After four years of teaching high school English and two dramatic years working with the Asolo Theatre in Florida, she, her husband Sandy, and their young son Ruben moved to Grinnell Iowa, where they planned to stay a year and then return to the sweet sunny South. But they liked the old farm house they fixed up, riding horses in the prairie, teaching at Grinnell College, and playing with the Too Many String Band. Almost five decades later, they’re still in Grinnell and glad of it. Betty taught for nearly thirty years in the college’s Writing Lab and then began using the advice she offered to her students in her own work. Her stories have appeared in various magazines and journals.
Previous Speakers and Topics for 2018:
♦Jack Woodville London, Stick to the Story
♦Steve Brewer, NUTS & BOLTS: THE MECHANICS OF CLEAR WRITING
♦Judy Avila, CAN YOU RELATE? The importance of diverse and tension-filled relationships in your writing
♦Benjamin Radford, A Personal Path to Publication
Previous Speakers and Topics for 2017:
♦ Darynda Jones, SEDUCING THE READER: THE 4 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF AN OPENING
♦ Chloe Rachel Gallaway , The Hero’s Journey
♦ Melody Groves, 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting my Career
♦ Dede Feldman, Writing: An Activist’s Guide
♦ Paula Paul, Taking the Scenic Route
♦ Heloise Jones, The Writer’s Block Myth, Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom
♦ Kirk Hickman, Create Multi-Dimensional Characters Your Reader Can Relate To
♦ Jeanne Shannon and Joanne Bodin, Poetry Month: Exquisite Corpse
♦ Bob Kidera, Overcoming a Late Start to Your Writing Career
♦Jeffe Kennedy, Friends and Enemies: How to Talk to and Deal with Agents and Editors
♦Jodi Thomas, Secrets of a Successful Writer
♦Christina Squire, “And then the Murders Began”
♦Kimberly Little, The Deep Point of View
♦Susan Cooper and Gail Ruben, How to Knock ’em Dead, Public Speaking for Writers
♦Betsy James, Thought Experiments
♦Chris Ebock, Cliffhangers, Keep the Pages Turning
Previous Speakers and Topics in 2016:
♦ Slim Randles, How to Release the “Great” in Good Writing
♦ Joycelyn Campbell, Create True-to-Life Characters Using the Enneagram
♦ David Morrell, The Current Climate in the Publishing World
♦ Anya Achtenberg, Finding the Real Story—by expanding our view of story’s essential elements
♦ Sharon Niederman, When Editors and Publishers Work for Free, Then I’ll Think About It
♦ Kristen Clark, 12 Reasons Why Self-publishing May Be the Answer for YOU!
♦ Paula Paul, The Ten Commandments for a Successful Writer
♦ Judy Avila, Full Immersion: Pulling the Reader Into Your Story
♦ Elizabeth Sloan, Unlocking an Untold Story: Research, Images, Dialogue, Persistence, and a Publisher
♦ Loretta Hall, Make a Name for Yourself (And I Don’t Mean Pick a Pseudonym!)
♦ Joe Badal, Marketing Tips for Writers
♦ John Byram, 10 Common Author Pitfalls in Today’s Publishing Environment
♦ Michael McGarrity, The Backstory in Fiction
♦ Jonathan Miller , Can Donald Trump Sue Me? Libel Law for Authors
♦ Gerald Hausman, How Ideas Shape Literature
♦ Sherry Robinson, Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Moving from writing stories to writing books
♦ Kristen Fogle , The Importance of Morning Pages and Forming a Daily Writing Practice
♦ Ross Van Dusen , Pictures with words vs word pictures
♦ JJ Amaworo Wilson, A Day with the Damned
♦ Susan Cooper and Gail Rubin, The Art of Branding
♦ Richard E Peck, Ask a Playwrite to Revise Your Novel…or Become One!
♦ Shannon Baker, Staying the Course
♦ Steven Gould, What Hollywood Taught Me about Prose Fiction
Previous Speakers and Topics for 2015:
♦ Steve Brewer, Creating Credible Characters
♦ Kathy Wagoner, Point of View (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Pam Lewis, Building Characters and Settings that Ground Your Fiction
♦ Melody Groves, Putting Emotion into Your Writing—Without Adding “ly”
♦ Rob Spiegel, Writing on the Web (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Katrina K. Guarascio, Finding your Voice: The Help and Hindrance of Peer Review
♦ James McGrath Morris, Using Storytelling Techniques to Breathe Life into Your Writing
♦ Bob Gassaway, Sharpen Your Words to Sharpen Your Stories (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Jim Tritten, Building a Writing Career
♦ Jack Woodville London, Why We Write: Storytellers of Hope for an Uncertain World
♦ Joanne Bodin, Poetry as Inspiration: A Panel Discussion
♦ Mark Stevens, How to Plot Without Plotting
♦ Teresa Ewers, Getting Into a Monthly Magazine (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog Theatre)
♦ Melody Groves, Dialogue Tricks: Making Characters Talk Good
♦ Kirk Ellis, Storytelling: It’s Harder Than You Think
♦ Jeanne Shannon, Tackling the Elusive Art of Poetry (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Steve Brewer, How to Screw up Your Writing Career (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog Theatre)
♦ Irene Blea, Landscape: How Setting Creates Identity & Story
♦ Rob Spiegel, Online Writing Opportunities—An Expanding Universe
♦ Joycelyn Campbell, Networking Isn’t a Four-Letter Word (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Melody Groves, Choosing a Topic for Your Magazine Article (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)
♦ Jane Lindskold, Making it Real
♦ Jonathan Miller, How to Turn Your Life into a (Successful) Book…And Not Get Sued
♦ Grace LaBatt, Improve Your Language Tools (Brown Bag Session)
♦ William Bolt, How to Turn Personal Stories into Stand-up (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)
♦ Jeffe Kennedy, Defying Gravity—Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway
♦ Robert E. Vardeman, That’s A Great Idea…So What’s the Story?
♦ Zack Wheeler, Developing a Strong Online Presence (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Elise McHugh, What an Editor Looks for in a Manuscript (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)
♦ Sarah Baker & Loretta Hall, Question and Answer Session
♦ Robin Perini, I Stayed Up Until 4:00 AM: Creating and Maintaining Suspense
♦ Juan Aranda, Technical Can Be Creative (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)
♦ Shari Tarbet, Myth in Writing
♦ Sharon Oard Warner, The Grand Scheme of Things: On Plot and Point of View in the Novel
♦ Jeanne Shannon, What Makes a Memoir Work (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Stanley Ray, Screenwriting Demystified (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)
♦ Grace Labatt, On Editing
♦ Lois Ruby, The Devil’s Due—Must We Sell Out to Sell?
♦ Gayle Lauradunn, Poetry: Slam, Spoken Word, Rap (Brown Bag Session)
♦ Lille Norstad, Significant Detail: The Art of Showing (Rogue Writers at Aux Dog)