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. Go to our Workshops page for details.

For a list of previous speakers and topics, scroll to the bottom of the page.


Saturday October 7, 10am to Noon

Betsy James

Thought Experiments:  

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Secret Life of Your Brain


Science fiction and fantasy—SFF, the “speculative” fictions—always rest on a thought experiment:

“What if…?”

The speculative fiction writer’s task is to allow that experiment to propagate like a new species until it builds a world—big or small, the unexplored planet of a novel or the undiscovered kingdom of a story. The bold, strange tales that follow each new paradigm can touch us deeply, unexpectedly, and reveal aspects of ourselves inaccessible to our rational minds.

How does speculative fiction work? New neurolinguistic studies offer startling insights into the mechanics of metaphor. They help us understand why it can be hard to distinguish fantasy from reality, and hint at why SFF can affect us so profoundly.

For a quick, layman’s journey into your brain—it’s painless!—join speculative fiction writer Betsy James in a conversation about the physicality of the imagination, the thought experiments of SFF’s “world-building,” and suggestions for how to set up your own thought lab.

Betsy James is the author and illustrator of 17 books for adults and children. Among other honors, her books have been named: Locus Magazine Recommended Reading 2016, New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, Voices of Youth Advocates Best Book, Junior Library Guild Selection, Canadian Children’s Book Center Best Book, International Reading Association Children’s Choice, and Tiptree Award Honor Book. She teaches speculative fiction in UNM’s Honors College and leads workshops nationally and internationally. She lives in the North Valley.  Visit her at

Tuesday October 17th   7-9pm

Kimberly Little

The Deep Point of View

Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and three sons on the banks of the Rio Grande. She’s the award-winning author of 10 books for Middle-Grade and Young Adult readers.  She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; held baby gators in the swamps of Louisiana, sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.  Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.

Kimberley’s Awards include: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, 2014, & 2015, a Crystal Kite Finalist, and Arizona/New Mexico Book Award Winner. ALA BOOKLIST named the first book in her FORBIDDEN trilogy a “Top 10 Historical Novel of 2015, Top 10 Romance of 2015, and Top 10 Religion/Spiritual novel of 2015.
Read longer bio here.

Saturday November 4, 10am to Noon

Chris Eboch

Cliffhangers: Keep the Pages Turning!

A cliffhanger chapter ending can add impact to a dramatic scene and leave the reader desperate to find out what happens next. Learn how to identify your best cliffhanger moments and make them even more dramatic through pacing and paragraphing. Even when you have to end at a quieter moment, you can drive the story forward by leaving your character—and the reader—with a sense of anticipation or worry. And guess what? You can use cliffhangers in nonfiction and short works as well.

Chris Eboch is the author of over 40 books for children, including fiction and nonfiction, early reader through teen. Her writing craft books are Advanced Plotting and You Can Write for Children. Chris also writes for adults under the name Kris Bock. These novels are action-packed romantic suspense involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes.  Chris Eboch:

Books by Chris Eboch

Tuesday, November 21   7-9pm

The Science and Magic of Creativity in Fiction Writing 

Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl

We present the science behind our brain’s capacity for creativity and how to employ mental, spiritual, and physical practices to achieve creative flow. We apply this specifically to the elements of fiction writing: characterization, plotting, setting, and theme. 

Life-long best friends, Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl are co-authors of three novels comprising the Esperanza trilogy, published by the University of New Mexico Press. In 2013, A Growing Season was awarded finalist in both the Zia Award for fiction from New Mexico Press Women and the Willa Award for contemporary fiction from Women Writing the West, and won the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction from the NM/AZ Book Awards. In 2014, Sunlight and Shadow also won the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction. Their third novel in the series, Long Night Moon, was released by UNM Press March 1, 2017. They have presented workshops for Women Writing the West national conferences, The Tony Hillerman Conference, Southwest Writers Workshop, and UNM Writing Conferences.



Saturday, December 2, 2017   10am – Noon

Sean Murphy

Dimension in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Memoir 

In this course we’ll examine the elements that make up a fully dimensional work of fiction, memoir, or creative nonfiction.  Creating strong narrative requires attention not only to primary elements of plot and character, but to aspects such as style and tone, sense of place, sensory detail, thematic ideas, as well as literary devices like imagery and symbolism, metaphor, personification and foreshadowing. We’ll work together in exploring how various different elements support one another in a fully realized piece of writing.

SEAN MURPHY’S new edition of his One Bird, One Stone, a nonfiction chronicle of Zen in America, won the 2014 International Book Award in the Eastern Religions category. His The Time of New Weather was named Best Novel in the 2009 National Press Women’s Communication Awards, while his debut, The Hope Valley Hubcap King, won the Hemingway Award for a First Novel and was an American Booksellers Association BookSense 76 recommended book. He is also the author of the Pulitzer-nominated novel The Finished Man.

A recognized Zen meditation teacher and Dharma Holder in the White Plum Lineage, he has practiced Zen for for 30 years. He also teaches secular meditation through his nonprofit Sage Institute for Creativity and Consciousness, and has taught for many years with Natalie Goldberg in her series of independent writing and meditation seminars. See his website at

Stay after the Saturday meeting for a workshop with Sean that goes deeper into this topic!

December 19th 7-9pm

This meeting is cancelled due to its proximity to the holidays.    Have a great season and we’ll see you January 6th!




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 Peck
Ask 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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