Join us for our monthly programs.

Firey Orange Audience
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.

Saturday, February 1
10:00 am–Noon

Speaker: Sherri Burr

Two Elements to Finishing A Project

SouthWest Writers has asked Sherri Burr back for a second time to share her amazing talk about a writer’s journey of synchronicity and perseverance.

Do you have a short or long-form writing project? This talk will address how to take advantage of synchronistic events that point you in the direction your work is meant to travel. Going through a bag of letters and finding one mentioning that a Great-Great-Aunt had lived in Wyoming led Burr on adventures to Wyoming, Utah, Ohio, Virginia, and London, England. She persevered in her research to track down ancestors who obtained freedom before the Civil War and discovered what their lives were like. The result was Complicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619-1865, published in time to honor the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of Africans on the shores of Virginia on August 19, 1619.

Sherri Burr, a Princeton and Yale Law School graduate, is the author of 27 books, including A Short & Happy Guide to Financial Well-Being. As a member of SWW for over 30 years, Burr has authored columns in the SouthWest Sage since the 1990s, starting with “Ask Professor Burr on Copyright.” She now pens the award-winning column “The Writing Life” where she shares the wisdom she has learned from her writing career. Burr currently serves as President of the New Mexico Press Women and Third Vice-President of the Aaron Burr Association. She is currently working on Aaron Burr’s Family of Color. Visit Sherri’s website at

Tuesday, February 18
6:30–8:30 pm

SWW Winners Anthology


Winners from the SouthWest Writers 2019 Short Stories and Poetry Contest will share their winning works, which are included in the SouthWest Writers Award-Winning Short Stories and Poetry Anthology. Some of the contest winners scheduled to read are Evelyn Neil, Charlene Dietz, Chris Allen, Brenda Cole, Jim Tritten, and Mary Therese Ellingwood.

Please join us in celebrating with these amazing writers and their winning prose and poetry.

Saturday, March 7
10:00 am–Noon

Speaker: David Morrell

How To Create A Storyline

New York Times bestselling author (New Mexico resident and Rambo creator) David Morrell will talk about how he creates a plot. He’ll also discuss the current state of publishing.

David Morrell wrote First Blood, the novel in which Rambo was created. His New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only TV mini-series to air after a Super Bowl. An Anthony, Edgar, Ellis, Left Coast, and Thriller Award finalist, Morrell has Inkpot, Macavity, Nero, RT, and Stoker awards as well as ITW’s Thriller Master award and a Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement award. His latest novel is the acclaimed Victorian mystery, Ruler of the Night. His writing book, The Successful Novelist, will be available at his talk.

Tuesday, March 17
6:30–8:30 pm

Speaker: Ted Spitzmiller


Regardless of the genre in which you are engaged, vocabulary is a critical aspect of connecting with your audience. Selecting the best word for a given situation is not a simple matter. We’ll explore some of the critical aspects of establishing a mindset for your reader.

Ted Spitzmiller began his professional career in the military at the Army’s Ordinance Guided Missile School in Huntsville, Alabama. He went on to nuclear weapons training at Sandia Base in New Mexico, where he taught for two years in the Atomic Weapons Training Group. He has worked for IBM, INTEL, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory from which he retired in 2001. Paralleling his profession in computing (he has an MS in Computing Information Systems), Ted has always maintained an intense interest in aeronautics and astronautics as a historian. He holds an FAA commercial pilot certificate for Airplanes, Single and Multi-engine land and sea, with Instrument privileges. Ted is a Flight Instructor (CFII) who has logged over 4,000 hours in more than 87 different types of aircraft. Combining his skills in writing with his knowledge of aerospace, he has published seven books and more than 100 articles in major aviation magazines over the past 35 years.

Previous Speakers and Topics for 2020:

♦ Melody Groves, 10 Dialogue Tricks to Make Your Characters “Talk Good”

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
♦ Robert Vardeman & Melody Groves, Writing Authentic Historical Fiction
♦ Jeffe Kennedy & Robin Perini, Romantic Elements and Tropes
♦ Bob Kidera, Margaret Tessler, & Patricia Smith Wood, What Makes a Mystery Writer?
♦ Gail Rubin, How to Market Your Expertise
♦ Loretta Hall & Susan C. Cooper, Writing Nonfiction
♦ Elise McHugh & Bryce Emley, UNM Press Panel
♦ Sherri Burr, Synchronicity and Perseverance: Two Elements to Finishing a Project

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

New Publication 2019 Winners Anthology

SWW YouTubeVideos

Blog Post Categories

Support SWW

Make A Donation


Search Now:  
amazon search

SouthWest Writers receives a commission on all books ordered via Amazon.

Follow Our Blog

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.