Firey Orange AudienceJoin 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 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.


Saturday, August 4  10am-Noon

Jonathon Miller  

FROM START TO FINISH; How to start your books, how to end your books, and how to take your characters along for the ride!

Jonathan Miller is a frequent SWW speaker and his last novel, Luna Law was a co-winner of the 2017 Hillerman award for fiction at the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Jonathan will  discuss how to turn that blank compuer screen into a a compelling opening scene and knowing when to close your story without boring the reader. Jonathan will take questions on when to use the dreaded flashbacks and will reveal the secret to avoiding the “Chapter 2 Info Dump.” For all you heroes out there, Jonathan will discuss the hero’s journey and how to adapt it to your own stories. Jonathan will also take “elevator pitches” and give some helpful advice on how to sell your story in three minutes or less.

The best pitch will get a free copy of his  award-winning novel: Luna Law.



Tuesday, August 21 7pm-9pm

The Writing Right Rite:

How to Avoid Distracting, Credibility-Destroying Factual Errors

With Loretta Hall

Mistakes are deadly. Have someone in your book get on a subway in New York at location where there’s really no entrance, and any reader who’s ever ridden that line will toss your book in the trash. Write a nonfiction article or book that relies too much on your own memory, and you’re bound to include a “fact” that will destroy your credibility with readers. What facts should you check when you are writing or polishing your article or book? Where can you look for verification? This presentation will guide you through the fact-checking maze.

Loretta Hall has written hundreds of articles and eight books. Only a few magazines and none of the publishers she has worked with got involved in fact checking her work. She has learned that the buck stops with the writer. Loretta has won numerous awards for her articles, books, speeches, and websites. She is a former SWW board member and Parris Award winner.


Saturday  September 1

Work Habits for the Successful Writer

Presented by Jane Lindskold

Since 1989, when she completed her PhD in English Literature and decided to commit her newly acquired spare time to writing fiction, Jane Lindskold has been very serious about finding time and energy to write.  She has written while holding down a full-time job.  She adapted to the the entirely different challenge of having writing as her only job.  Most recently, she has taken on the life of a “hybrid” author, writing both traditionally-published and independently-published works.

Over the course of her career, Lindskold has had published over twenty-five novels and seventy-some short stories, as well as numerous works of non-fiction.  She also manages write a weekly blog, and has mastered the time-eating challenge of  being active on Social Media.

In her talk, Lindskold will discuss some of the techniques that have contributed to her steady production, including how to protect your time, how to assess your progress, and the pros and cons of establishing a routine.  In addition to drawing on her own experience, she will also provide examples taken from the work habits of other successful authors.

Bio Note:

Jane Lindskold is the award-winning, internationally published, bestselling author of over twenty-five novels and seventy-some short stories.  Her works include the six volume Firekeeper Saga (beginning with Through Wolf’s Eyes), the three volume “Breaking the Wall” series (beginning with Thirteen Orphans), Child of a Rainless Year (a contemporary fantasy set in Las Vegas, New Mexico), and The Buried Pyramid (an archeological adventure fantasy set in 1880’s Egypt).  Her Wanderings on Writing is a collection of short essays about all aspects of writing, but with a special focus on the challenges of writing genre fiction.  Her short story collection, Curiosities, can be seen as a companion piece, since each short story is accompanied by an essay about some aspect of how that particular story came to be written.

She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband, Jim Moore, various small animals, and a garden that really should qualify as another pet.


 Tuesday September 18th

Short Stories are Fun!

Presented by Jim Tritten

Not everyone wants to write the great American novel. Or anything as long in any genre. But we have all sat around a holiday table and listened to stories from the past that should be captured and shared. Or we have listened to stories told around a campfire with family and friends. Not all stories need to be 80,000 words. Nor does everyone write to become a best-selling author making millions. If you are writing to document your or family history, to keep yourself if a good frame of mind instead of watching the news, or write to avoid the “honey-do” list, or because you are processing bad things that happened in your life, then short stories might be just your cup of tea. We will address where ideas can come from and very easy ways to get started. We will focus on memoir, creative non-fiction, and a wide variety of fiction. It might just turn out that short stories will teach the new writer how to become an award-winning published author, help them learn their craft, and take the plunge to write chapters in a full-length novel or non-fiction book.

 Jim Tritten is a retired Navy pilot living in Corrales with his Danish author/artist wife and five cats. He has published 6 books, 45 chapters, 163 major essays and short stories, 61 minor stories and letters, 46 book reviews, and 54 government technical reports. His writings have won 33 national and regional awards to include The Alfred Thayer Mahan Award by the Navy League of the United States for lifetime literary achievement. Jim also won a Gold medal [his second] in this year’s National Veterans Creative Arts Festival for his short story “Taking Off the Uniform.” We featured that essay in the July issue of the Sage. His latest publication was co-authored with his wife Jasmine; a children’s book Kato’s Grand Adventure.


Saturday, October 6th  10am-Noon

Gerald Hausman

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.

Oct. 16   Rose Kern

Nov. 3    Laura Mixon as regular speaker


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

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)


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