Topics & Speakers

2021 Writing IS a Business Conference

Our 2020 conference, scheduled for September 26, has been tentatively rescheduled for September 25, 2021. We expect the agenda to stay the same and hope our originally scheduled speakers will join us in 2021. However, details may change, including conference location and registration costs. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

Saturday, September 25
8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Visit these conference pages:
Main Conference Page

Dorian Johnson
♦ Tax Questions with New Mexico Taxation and Revenue

Mr. Johnson will explain New Mexico business and taxation requirements and will answer tax questions submitted by conference attendees.

Bio: Dorian Johnson, Audit Bureau Chief, 14+ years with New Mexico Taxation and Revenue, Audit and Compliance Division. Experience in many different industries, worked in manufacturing, companies such as IBM, Chevron Texaco, accounts payable audit firm, and was a stock broker with Bank of America Investment Services. He coached little league baseball for 38 seasons. Website:

Gina T. Constant, Attorney
♦ Copyright Law for Writers

The presentation begins with an overview of intellectual property law and where copyright law fits in the big picture. The presentation will narrow to copyright law and then focus on copyright law with respect to literature. It will end with a brief discussion about infringement and how to prove it.

Gina T. Constant specializes in intellectual property, civil litigation, and aviation law. She is a registered patent attorney. Ms. Constant prides herself on supportive and forthcoming client interaction with a common sense legal approach. She had a successful professional career before transitioning to law, now applying real world experience to each legal issue she encounters. Website:

Alexis Hassley
♦ Business Planning: Start. Execute. Pivot.

Alexis’ experience with entrepreneurship as a millennial has taken many turns, which is the point of a journey. You don’t have to have a plan to start, just an idea or a dream or an aspiration. Everything else you need to know, you can learn along the way.

Alexis Hassley is a small business owner. She helps consumers buy, sell and manage real estate with Couture Brokerage. She also owns Duke City Estate Sales which specializes in the online sale of items to create the most earnings for her clients. Most recently, she and her fiance opened the ABQ Rage Room, where they give consumers safety gear, weapons, and glass—and literally let them break stuff. Her largest motivation professionally is to help people and to add value to the state that doesn’t or didn’t exist prior.

Rob Spiegel
♦ Breakout Session: Planning a Home Office

Rob Spiegel has been writing for 40 years, and working successfully from home for 23 of those years. He makes his living as a journalist, serving as senior editor for Design News, an international trade magazine.

Rob has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. He has published six books with major publishers such as St. Martin’s Press. He has taught writing at UNM, CNM, Osher, and at dozens of writing conferences across the country. For 10 years, he owned a magazine (Chile Pepper) and a book publishing company. His weekly writing output includes journalism, blogs, webinars, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

James Plitz, Attorney
♦ Breakout Session: Wills and Estate Planning

James Plitz (“Jim”) graduated magna cum laude and at the top of his class with his Juris Doctorate from the Phoenix School of Law, and attained the 2nd highest score on the February 2011 Arizona bar exam. He then passed the July 2011 bar exam in New Mexico. Jim has been with Morris Hall (specialists in estate planning) since 2009, and in 2016 was made a partner at the firm. In addition to helping clients protect their estates, he has taught the importance of proper estate planning to organizations around New Mexico and recently co-authored two books: Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home and Tax-Free Money for Long-Term Care.

Brian C. Reinhardt, CPA
♦ Working With Accountants

Brian C. Reinhardt ( Mackie, Reid & Company P.A.) has 16+ years experience assisting taxpayers and small businesses with taxes in Albuquerque and surrounding communities. The requirements for licensure in New Mexico ensure that Brian Reinhardt maintains the highest standard of knowledge and ethics when operating as an accountant. Website:

Panel: Cornelia Gamlem, Kirt Hickman, Gail Rubin
♦ Nuts and Bolts of Keeping Track—the Practical Way to Keep Your Sanity

Cornelia Gamlem
Cornelia Gamlem is an author, consultant and speaker. She’s co-authored four books (The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book, and The Manager’s Answer Book) and co-writes the weekly blog Making People Matter. She started her consulting firm in 2000 where she put into practice her HR expertise along with everything else she learned about business in college and during her career. Website:

Kirt Hickman
Kirt Hickman, author of the award-winning science-fiction thrillers Worlds Asunder and Venus Rain, has been a mentor in the SWW mentoring program, has spoken at numerous conferences, and contributes a monthly column titled “Revising Fiction” to the SouthWest Sage. He has also written Mercury Sun, the fantasy novel Fabler’s Legend, and two children’s books. His writer’s guide Revising Fiction—Making Sense of the Madness won a New Mexico Book award for Best How-To and was a finalist in the international Ben Franklin Awards.

Gail Rubin
As The Doyenne of Death, Gail Rubin keeps track of her business with Quicken and a relentless updating of income and expenses. Anything with a skull counts as a business expense!

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death educator and speaker who uses humor and film clips to get end-of-life conversations started. She’s the author of the award-winning books A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die (Rio Grande Books), and Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips. She is also the coordinator of the award-winning Before I Die New Mexico Festival.

If you have questions, please email or call the SWW office at 505-830-6034.

SWW YouTube Videos

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.