Firey Orange Audience Join us for our free monthly programs.

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 Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living located on the northwest corner of Louisiana and Claremont – 2 blocks north of Menaul.

Saturday Nov. 3

Laura Mixon

The Care and Feeding of your Beast: A Writer’s Wilderness Guide


“The writer’s journey is a lifelong process of winnowing through ever deeper layers of subjectivity.”

—Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Associate Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, Tor Books

Over and over throughout our careers, professional writers discover how idiosyncratic the writing process can be. It can be maddening, even downright scary, to discover just how  challenging it is to reliably produce entertaining works. Why the heck is that??

Well… it so happens that I have a theory about that…

In my talk, I bring more than thirty years of experience as a writing professional to talk about the nature of story, why we read, and how stories do their work for us as readers. I’ve found it helpful to view our own lived experiences as tale-spinners and through multiple lenses, including lessons learned by other disciplines. What does research in education, sociology, neurology, and psychology have to reveal to us about storytelling, human communication, and how we learn? I use these different perspectives to share with writers some ways I’ve found to boost my own effectiveness as a writer, and to make the writing process flow more easily. Come to my lecture and learn more!

Tuesday Nov. 20   

Permission to Write

Patricia Smith Wood

Who, exactly, does a person approach to get permission to become a writer? A teacher in school? A parent? A guidance counselor? Or none of the above?

If you are someone who always knew you would be a writer, set about making plans to achieve it, and became a New York Times best-selling author before the age of 30, you probably would only laugh during this presentation. But if you ever had doubts about calling yourself a writer, or even now sometimes think of yourself as an imposter, join us for this presentation.

Hear the story of how one woman finally claimed the title of writer, found her “tribe”, and launched an unbelievably late-blooming writing career.

Patricia Smith Wood’s father, first as a Fort Worth police sergeant, and later as a career FBI agent, sparked Pat’s interest in law, solving crime, and reading and writing mysteries. Her first book, The Easter Egg Murder, published in 2013, was a finalist in the 2013 NM/AZ Book Awards. It was followed by her second in the series, Murder on Sagebrush Lane in 2015. Murder on Frequency debuted in late 2016 and won the 2017 NM/AZ Best Cozy Mystery award. Her current work in progress is Murder at the Petroglyphs, scheduled for 2019.



Saturday, Dec 1, 10am-Noon

Writing Down Your Family Stories

Betty Moffett

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
♦ Judy Avila, CAN YOU RELATE? The importance of diverse and tension-filled relationships in your writing
♦ Benjamin Radford, A Personal Path to Publication
♦ Laura Mixon, The Care and Feeding of your Beast: A Writer’s Wilderness Guide
♦ Patricia Smith Wood, Permission to Write
♦ Betty Moffett, Writing Down Your Family Stories

Previous Speakers and Topics for 2017:

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 JonesThe 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 BodinPoetry Month:  Exquisite Corpse
Bob KideraOvercoming 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 WilsonA Day with the Damned  
♦ Susan Cooper and Gail RubinThe Art of Branding
♦ Richard E PeckAsk a Playwrite to Revise Your Novel…or Become One!
♦ Shannon BakerStaying the Course
♦ Steven GouldWhat 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)

Upcoming Events

  1. Loretta Hall: Researching Your Writing Project

    January 12, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - January 19, 2019 @ 4:00 pm


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