Join us for our monthly programs.
Regular Meetings are on the first Saturday of every month from 10:00 am to noon and the third Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (new time) at the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living located on the northwest corner of Louisiana and Claremont — two blocks north of Menaul — at 2801 Louisiana Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 (see the map on this page).
Please read our visitor/guest policy here.
Tuesday, August 20
Robert Vardeman & Melody Groves
WRITING AUTHENTIC HISTORICAL FICTION
In order to write authentic historical fiction you must know a period of time well enough to disappear daily through a wormhole to the past and arrive at the location of your story. There you must understand the customs and use the manners perfectly enough to be accepted by people walking the streets (if there are streets) and to dress yourself, and to make a living. Robert Vardeman and Melody Groves will discuss what historical fiction is exactly and how to make it come alive in your story.
Robert E. Vardeman writes westerns under many pen names, including Karl Lassiter and Jackson Lowry. As Jake Logan he wrote 115 titles in the Slocum series and nine as Jon Sharpe in the Trailsman series. His work has been nominated for various awards, including the Peacemaker Award for Sonora Noose and the NM/AZ Book Award for China Jack. In 2017 Bob was honored with the Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement Award. If you want to start with a title, check out West of the Big River: The Artist. For more information, see JacksonLowry.Cenotaphroad.com.
A full-time freelance writer, Melody Groves pens anything Western. Winner of numerous writing awards, she is the author of award-winning She Was Sheriff, and the six-book Colton Brothers Saga series. She also writes non-fiction—rodeo, saloons, and historical trails. In addition, her articles appear in national and regional magazines. When not writing, Melody plays rhythm guitar (and tambourine) with the Jammy Time Band.
Saturday, September 7
Jeffe Kennedy & Robin Perini
ROMANTIC ELEMENTS and TROPES:
How to Make Them Work in Any Story
Pick a genre, any genre, and most of the time you’ll find romantic elements layered throughout the story. Terminator, Star Wars, LA Confidential, and One for the Money have something in common: they all contain a love story (or two). But how do you add a touch of romance to your story and make it work? What are the common romance tropes and how can you incorporate them into your writing? Authors Jeffe Kennedy and Robin Perini will provide you with the tools and secrets to create a great romance, whatever your genre. These two award-winning and bestselling authors will also discuss publishing in the genre that is nearly one quarter of all fiction sold with over a billion dollars in sales per year.
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her fantasy romance novels have received Reviewer’s Choice and Book of the Year awards from RT, and the RITA® Award from RWA. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe.
Publisher’s Weekly bestseller of Forgotten Secrets, Robin Perini is an internationally bestselling author devoted to giving readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts. A RITA Award finalist and winner of the prestigious RWA Golden Heart Award, she sold fourteen titles to publishers in less than two years. Robin is a nationally acclaimed writing instructor, but her passion remains as an advocate for those who battle Alzheimer’s Disease, in honor of her mother.
Tuesday, September 17
Bob Kidera, Margaret Tessler, & Patricia Smith Wood
WHAT MAKES a MYSTERY WRITER?
Are mystery writers born or bred? Do mystery writers dream in color? How different are mystery writers from other humans? All these questions answered (and more) when you attend this Tuesday night meeting featuring a panel of mystery writers for your edification and enjoyment. They each have their own ideas about these questions, and probably have outrageous answers to your other inquiries. You do NOT want to miss this opportunity to grill a mystery writer. (Hey, grilling is kinder than boiling, isn’t it?) So mark your calendars, arm yourself with questions, and try to stump these experts!
Bob Kidera is the author of the Amazon #1 best-selling Gabe McKenna Mystery Series. He is currently working on two books: On Beyond Midnight, the final Gabe McKenna novel, and Hell Ship, a historical novel set during World War II in the Pacific.
A native Texan, Margaret Tessler lived from one end of the state to the other in a span of twenty-four years. In 1961 she became a New Mexican and treasures her “dual citizenship.” She has written six mysteries in the Sharon Salazar series, five of which were finalists in the New Mexico Book Awards. She has also published one stand-alone mystery as well as an account of the adventures/misadventures of traveling full-time in an RV, titled Life in the Slow Lane.
Patricia Smith Wood’s father, a former police sergeant, and a career FBI agent, sparked her interest in law, solving crime, and writing mysteries. Her first book, The Easter Egg Murder was published in 2013, and was a finalist in the 2013 & 2015 NM/AZ Book Awards. It was followed by Murder on Sagebrush Lane in 2015. Her latest, Murder on Frequency, came out in late 2016 and won the 2017 NM/AZ Book Award for Best Cozy Mystery. Nearing completion is Murder at the Petroglyphs, to be followed by an as-yet-unnamed fifth mystery in the Harrie McKinsey Series.
Saturday, October 5
Speaker: Gail Rubin
TURN YOUR WRITING into DOLLAR$:
How to Market Your Expertise
As an author, you become an authority, an expert on your material. Can you make your expertise pay a living wage? Yes, it can be done, with time, persistence, and marketing skills. At this meeting Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®, will share her insights on how to market your expertise and make a living—even if your topic is death and dying.
Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning books A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die (2010), Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips (2015), and Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die (Rio Grande Books, 2016). She is also the coordinator of the award-winning Before I Die New Mexico Festival, a TEDx speaker, and a Certified Funeral Celebrant. Albuquerque Business First named her one of their Women of Influence in 2019. Learn more at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Tuesday, October 15
Loretta Hall & Susan C. Cooper
How do you write nonfiction and make it captivating? And once you’ve written it, where do you sell it? Join this panel of award-winning nonfiction authors to find the answers.
Award-winning author Loretta Hall has written hundreds of magazine articles and reference book chapters. Topics for her eight nonfiction books include space exploration, ecological architecture, and mulitculturalism. Loretta is a member of SouthWest Writers, the New Mexico Book Co-op, New Mexico Press Women, and the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Speakers Bureau. She is certified as a Space Ambassador for the National Space Society and as a Green Building Technical Professional.
Author and artist Susan C. Cooper worked as an environmental engineer for 17 years. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she now makes her home in Albuquerque. Her first book, The Truth About Mold, is in its third edition. Football Facts for Females, published in 2014, is her second book.
Previous Speakers and Topics for 2019:
♦ Steve Brewer, I’ve Looked at Books from Both Sides Now
♦ Kirt Hickman, Write Realistic Dialogue
♦ Jacqueline M. Loring, Creating the KiMo Book
♦ Sarah H. Baker, Critique Groups: How and Why
♦ Dan Wetmore, The Pros and Cons of Non-Prose
♦ Jeanne Shannon & Rob Spiegel, Great Poets of New Mexico
♦ Don Bullis, Adventures in Research
♦ Rose Marie Kern, How to Copyright Your Book
♦ Johnny D. Boggs, The Modern World of Publishing
♦ Judith Avila & Patricia Conoway, Memoir Panel
♦ Brian Stinar, WordPress for Writers
♦ Betsy James, Evoking and Organizing the Fiction Draft
♦ Jonathan Miller, Planning Your Own Epic Series
Previous Speakers and Topics for 2018:
♦ Jack Woodville London, Stick to the Story
♦ Marc Calderwood, Celluloid Aspirations
♦ Steve Brewer, Nuts & Bolts: The Mechanics of Clear Writing
♦ Lorena Hughes, To Err is Human, To Learn Divine
♦ Melody Groves, Don’t be Afraid to Cry: Putting Emotions into Writing
♦ Judith Avila, Can You Relate? The importance of diverse relationships in your writing
♦ Benjamin Radford, A Personal Path to Publication
♦ Joanne Bodin & Jeanne Shannon, The Passion of Poetry
♦ Matthew Yde, The Irresistible Writer
♦ John Cousins, Enter the Matrix
♦ Michael Backus, Practical Tips To Improve Your Writing Gleaned from 15 Years of Teaching Creative Writing
♦ James McGrath Morris, “What I learned about writing from the novelists Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos.”
♦ Marcia Fine, Marketing, Research and Fortitude for Authors
♦ RJ Mirabal, Research Between the Ears
♦ Jonathan Miller, From Start to Finish: How to Start and End Your Books, and Take Your Characters Along for the Ride
♦ Loretta Hall, The Writing Right Rite: How to Avoid Distracting, Credibility-Destroying Factual Errors
♦ Jane Lindskold, Work Habits for the Successful Writer
♦ Jim Tritten, Short Stories are Fun!
♦ Gerald Hausman, Zen and the Art of Writing
♦ Rose Marie Kern, CUT IT OUT! Editing Makes it Better!
♦ 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:
♦ 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
♦ Kirk Hickman, Create Multi-Dimensional Characters Your Reader Can Relate To
♦ Jeanne Shannon and Joanne Bodin, Poetry Month: Exquisite Corpse
♦ Lynn Miller, Writing Your Way In
♦ Bob Kidera, Overcoming a Late Start to Your Writing Career
♦ Joe Badal, The Key Elements of Fiction
♦ Jonathon Miller, How to Create Realistic Characters (and not get sued)
♦ Jeffe Kennedy, Friends and Enemies: How to Talk to and Deal with Agents and Editors
♦ Julie Dunlop, Healing Writing with Ayurveda
♦ 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 Rubin, How to Knock ’em Dead, Public Speaking for Writers
♦ Betsy James, Thought Experiments
♦ Chris Eboch, Cliffhangers: Keep the Pages Turning
♦ Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl, The Science and Magic of Creativity in Fiction Writing
♦ Sean Murphy, Dimension in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Memoir