Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Review on Terri's "Tip of the Iceberg" Blog

Terri B. has a great blog - http://the-iceberg.blogspot.com/2009/03/sunday-salon-my-first-salon.html

Here's what she's said about The Road From La Cueva so far! Nice!

In current reading news, I just finished a gorgeously written book by Sheila Ortego titled The Road from La Cueva. Based on some of my other reading preferences, the author contacted me about reading and reviewing her book. The book setting is New Mexico and, since I have a love for this region of the U.S., I immediately agreed. I didn't want this book to end. I want to start over at the beginning and read it again. I think I will read parts of it again before reviewing it, but look for a review of this book soon. I hope my words will do it justice.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Week 2 Writing Course Quotes and Exercises

Quotes for the Week:

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. - Shakti Gawain

Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast--you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. - Eddie Cantor


1. List twenty things you enjoy doing (rock climbing, roller-skating, baking pies, making soup, making love, making love again, riding a bike, riding a horse, playing catch, shooting baskets, going for a run, etc.). When was the last time you let yourself do these things. Next to each entry, place a date. Don't be surprised if it's been years for some of your favorites. That will change. This list is an excellent source for artist 'dates' (doing fun stuff to draw out your creative side).

2. Select and write out one horror story from your monster hall of fame. You do not need to write long or much, but do jot down whatever details come back to you--the room you were in, the way people looked at you, the way you felt, what your parent said or didn't say when you told about it. Include whatever rankles you about the incident: "And then I remember she gave me this real fakey smile and patted my head...." You may find it cathartic to draw a sketch of your old monster or to clip out an image that evokes the incident for you. Cartoon trashing your monster, or at least draw a nice red X through it.

- from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Invitation to Write!

Here's a little something to get you started -- a blank page! Click 'Comment' below and post whatever you want of your latest and/or greatest writing. And soon -- more writing course material coming up this weekend...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reading at Santa Fe Public Library

New Announcement from the Santa Fe Public Library - see their blog at:


Thursday, April 9, 2009
7:00-8:30 pm
Main Library Community Room

The Road from La Cueva:
Ana Howland is at a crisis point. As a constrained yet passionate woman, she finds few outlets for her desires in her role as mother and wife. She is subsumed by a controlling husband, but is craving her own fulfillment. Her frustrations find outlets through a friendship with an eccentric neighbor and an affair with a man who respects her and nurtures her spirit and independence. Through hardship and grim determination, she learns to look with her own eyes, to feel with her own heart. She discovers a deep well of resilience and compassion, with room for growth and freedom. Her story is one of a leap of faith, away from despair and toward life at its fullest. Despite all odds, she navigates herself, through small but profound changes, into new ways of living, of relating to her friends, her daughter, herself.

Sheila Ortego is president of Santa Fe Community College. Born in New Orleans and of Acadian ancestry, Dr. Ortego received her doctorate in American Studies at the University of New Mexico, and since has taught Southwest Literature, Women's Literature, and Women's Studies at several colleges and universities. Her poetry has been published by the "Santa Fe Literary Review," and she has recently been admitted to the "Live Poets Society" in Santa Fe.

This program is free and open to the public.

Posted by am@main at Wednesday, March 25, 2009 Post a comment (0)

Next Writing Course Posting by Sunday

I think I'll do the 'writing course' posts on Saturdays or Sundays. So stay tuned for the next one! Post your writing on my blog as you like - the more the merrier!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Artist's Way - A Free Course for Subscribers

I've decided I'm going to give away something for free - as they advise folks who want successful blogs.

That something will be a course on few things I've learned about being a writer - for all those aspiring writers out there.

To start, I'm going to feature a few quotes from a great book on writing and creativity - The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.

Then I'm going to provide an assignment or two. Hopefully some folks will do this and I will end up seeing all the great writing here on this blog or in Facebook.

Write Away!!

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. - Joseph Chilton Pearce

Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage - Claude M. Bristol

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. - Henry David Thoreau

Your Assignments:
1) Take yourself on an artist date. You will do this every week for 12 weeks (the duration of this 'Artist's Way Course'. A sample artist date: take five dollars and go to your local five-and-dime. Buy silly things like gold stick-'em stars, tiny dinosaurs, some postcards, sparkly sequins, glue, a kid's scissors, crayons. You might give yourself a gold star on your envelope each day you write. Just for fun.

2) Keep a journal for two weeks, even if it's just a paragraph or two. Decide not to let it slide for even one day. Use a freewriting technique. That's the notion of getting something, anything, down on paper. Don't worry about spelling or grammar or the subject matter. Just write whatever comes into your head. Here's an example:

"I am going to put anything on paper - that is my assignment. And I mean anything. It doesn't matter as long as it's coming out of my head and the tips of my fingers, down ont the page I wonder if;m improving, if this is getting me going better than other stuff--however many years ago? I know my typing is getting worse, even as we speak (are we speaking? to whom? IN what forM? I love it when i hit the caps button by mistake, it makes me wonder whether there isn;t something in the back or bottom of the brain that sez PAY ATTENTION now, which makes me think of a number of things, freud and his slip o tonuge, self-deception, the way it operates in everybody's life, no not everybody's but in my own exp. llike Aunt Ch. mourning for the dead cats whenevershe hasn't got her way. I wonder if we ever disconnect kinds of sadness, the homesickness for grandma's house, the dog rolling under the tree, the empty weight of loss, loss, loss"
(loosely quoted from The Artist's Way)

See you again next post: Sheila Ortego, Author of The Road From La Cueva
Available on Amazon.com


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Book Discussion - April 9

The Santa Fe Public Library (Main Branch, 145 Washington Ave., in the community room) will have a book discussion on The Road From La Cueva April 9, 7-830 pm.

Book Signing Coming Up Soon at Borders!

Book Signings at Borders Cottonwood

Borders Cottonwood, located at 10420 Coors Bypass NW, Albuquerque, is hosting a series of book signing events to honor winners in the 2008 New Mexico Book Awards. This is your opportunity to come and meet these great authors.

Mar 28, 2-4pm Sheila Ortego (The Road from La Cueva-First Book) & Mike Sutin (Graven Images-Poetry)

The Road from La Cueva
By Sheila Ortego

The central idea of the book is the struggle for the survival of a woman's spirit, as experienced by the protagonist, Ana. The story is about Ana's life in poverty on a bad road in New Mexico, a road that serves as a metaphor for life itself. She struggles to 'drive straight' and not get stuck in a bad relationship, as she gradually learns how to navigate her life properly, how to self-actualize and find personal fulfillment. Readers will cheer Ana on as they see that through her persistence, a focus on 'the higher good', and on healthy love relationships, any woman can not only survive, but thrive.

Graven Images
By Mike Sutin

Mike Sutin is a member of the prominent Santa Fe law firm, Sommer, Udall, Hardwick & Hyatt, P.A. His first book of poems, Voices from Corner/Voces del Rincon, a one-person anthology centering on northern New Mexico’s multi-cultural tensions, was published in 2000 by Pennywhistle Press. Mike’s second book of poems, Naked Ladies on the Road¸ chronicles the good, bad and ugly of Santa Fe’s celebrated and legendary Canyon Road and was published in 2005 by Sunstone Press. His third book of poems, Graven Images, a tribute to poet Robinson Jeffers, also published by Sunstone Press, concentrates on human goddesses and god-men, and won first place in the 2008 New Mexico Book Awards competition. An adherent to the old school of meter and rhyme, Mike’s Graven Images poems are full of sharp, witty lines, sometimes deceptively complex, with candor, power and poignancy, often illuminating the glorious absurdities of our lives. Poetry book royalties being insufficient to maintain his family in its accustomed standard of living, Mike intends to remain at his grinding-out-work desk at the firm until publication assures immortality. Mike is a member of, and serves pro-bono counsel to PEN New Mexico, the New Mexico Book Association, and Santa Fe’s Live Poets Society.

Mar 7, 1-3pm Lexi Petronis (Our Favorite Recipes-First Book), Dave DeWitt (Cuisines of the Southwest-Cookbook) & Clyde Casey (Red or Green?-Cookbook)

Our Favorite Recipes from Albuquerque The Magazine
edited by Lexi Petronis

Sometimes what's on our nightstand isn't a novel, or a book about current events, or science fiction, or even poetry. Sometimes what's on our nightstand is a cookbook. #1 reason why it might be there is that we just want to read recipes. #2 reason why it might be we might need just a little inspiration to remember the great food from the holidays. These are tried and true "kitchen cook friendly" recipes that are a joy to make and a delight to serve. You can't go wrong. The pictures alone are an inspiration to get into the kitchen. These recipes were a great hit for the holidays. You and your family will be glad you tried them.

Cuisines of the Southwest
By Dave DeWitt

At last, a food history-based cookbook that captures the spirit and the flavors of the cuisines that evolved in what is now the American Southwest! From southwestern Texas through New Mexico and on to Arizona, discover the Southwest’s culinary history, unique ingredients, and flavorful recipes. Filled with historical photos selected from museum and university archives, this book vividly portrays the cuisines of America’s spiciest region, from Tex-Mex to New Mexican to Sonoran, plus barbecue from all three sections. The recipes include many incarnations of enchiladas and chili con carne, plus unique specialties such as Julio's Salpicón (a shredded beef brisket salad), Smoked Pork Mole Enchiladas, Pueblo Blue Corn-Chile Bread, and Piñon Flan with Caramel Sauce. “No one knows more about fiery foods than Dave DeWitt.” --Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible.

New Mexico Cuisine
By Clyde Casey

“Red or green?” This is the most commonly asked question in New Mexico’s restaurants. In Red or Green: New Mexico Cuisine, author Clyde Casey helps you decide that question, offering more than 200 recipes for traditional and modern dishes from New Mexico. And while this book specializes in chile cuisine, it features wonderful recipes of all kinds. Casey also includes discussion of the various types of chile peppers, New Mexico’s wines, wild game cooking, adjustments for high-altitude cooking and a user-friendly index.
Mar 8, 2-4pm Teresa Wilkins (Patterns of Exchange-Multicultural) & Sally Moore (Backroads & Byways of New Mexico-Travel)

“Patterns of Exchange: Weavers and Traders”
by Teresa Wilkins

“Patterns of Exchange: Weavers and Traders,” a book by UNM-Gallup anthropology professor Teresa Wilkins on the historical interactions between Navajo weavers and traders, has received the 2008 New Mexico Book Award for best non-fiction multicultural subject. Wilkins, who has a degree in art marketing and production from Appalachian State University, obtained her Master’s as well as her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. She has been with UNM-Gallup since 1997. Her next project, she says, will probably be about Navajo weavers and traders and the Shiprock Fair in the early 1900s.

Backroads & Byways of New Mexico
by Sally Moore

Backroads & Byways of New Mexico is the result of a love affair with New Mexico. The state is a seducer of the potent sort whose siren lure many years ago captivated a born-and-bred easterner whose roots go back to 17th century Massachusetts. An award-winning travel writer with over 25 years experience, Moore wanted to create a guide which would direct visitors and natives to those out-of-the-way, less explored places along our back roads and byways. The resulting book whisks you away from our major tourist attractions of Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque and gives you ten neatly packaged day trips and weekend getaways to take you to many fabled, infamous and unbelievably beautiful locations, revealing the tall tales and stories behind them. Each trip provides recommendations for where to find a memorable meal and a place to hang your hat should you need rest along the way. It is the shortest route to explore like a native and for natives to delve more deeply into the history and magic of their home state.

Mar 15, 2-4pm Kersten Hamilton (Red Truck-Children's Picturebook) & Marcy Heller (Loco Dog and the Dust Bowl-Young Reader)
Red Truck
By Kersten Hamilton

The award winning RED TRUCK is the ‘youngest’ picture book Kersten Hamilton has written. It is tailor-made for little boys who love trucks and adventure. With such a short text—just 106 words—every little thing had to be perfect. Not just words, but even the sound of individual letters and letter combinations. Hamilton says the whole book was ‘sparked’ by the sound of the title words: RED TRUCK. She loved the repetition of the R’s; the almost hard D and the hard CK sounds. She liked the way it felt to say them, the way they settled in her ears. She added a vroom! and a sploosh! or two, and the fun sounds grew into a book!

Loco Dog and the Dust Devil in the Railyard
by Marcy Heller and illustrated by Nancy Poes

Once upon a time, in a small, dusty Southwestern town, in the middle of the busy railyard, there lived a large, black dog. His name was Loco, short for Locomotive.
The railyard was always gritty, and sometimes dust devils swirled through. One wild and windy spring evening, a huge, powerful dust devil forever changed the lives of everyone who loved the railyard and its big, black dog.

Mar 21, 1-3pm Kathy Barco (ReadDiscover New Mexico-Children's Activity Book) & Jill Lane (New Mexico A to Z-Children's Activity Book)
READiscover New Mexico – A Tri-Lingual Adventure in Literacy
by Kathy Barco

Tag along with Rosita the Roadrunner on her journey to learn about the Land of Enchantment. On the trail, meet Roja & Verde (the Chile Twins), Biscochita (a Smart Cookie), Piñon Jay, Dusty the Tumbleweed, and a town full of prairie dogs who love to read. "Rosita's Ramble" is provided in English, Spanish, and Navajo. READiscover New Mexico encourages the discovery of the vast cultural, natural, historical, and literary treasures found in our beautiful state. Enrichment material includes programs, activities, crafts, song parodies, celebrations, and bibliographies. Also featured are riddles, New Mexico trivia, relevant websites, an extensive booklist, several recipes for Biscochitos, instructions for making Star-O-Litos, and a large collection of reproducible artwork.

New Mexico A to Z
By Jill Lane

A 32-page Coloring Travel Guide to New Mexico, the book takes the reader through the alphabet and throughout the state, introducing children to our many treasures. In addition to fun illustrations and children oriented information about the destination, the book also includes contact information on each location, driving the reader to either the Internet or phone to further explore the area. A companion piece to “New Mexico A to Z” is the “Kids’ Passport to New Mexico” ($3.99)-a souvenir passport for kids to track their New Mexico explorations. It also includes New Mexico facts.

Terri B's Blog

I've just discovered Terri B's Blog, "Tip of the Iceberg":


One of the best I've seen! I wish I could get the 'contact me' button to work on the blog, though, because I'd love to have her review The Road From La Cueva. Maybe she'll find me here on my blog...
Waiting for you to show up, Terri! And congratulations on your wonderful blog site!

Friday, March 6, 2009

'CAJUN HEAVEN' - Revised!

Cajun Heaven

At the Cowgirl downtown
Mardi Gras night
Fat Tuesday
Popcorn shrimp, remoulade, Diablo sauce
Fried okra, andouille sausage gumbo
Beer, German, not Cajun, it doesn’t matter to me

I wear a single string of gold beads
Listen to the music
The Balfa Waltz
Lafayette Breakdown

I think of dad
Three years gone
Under the portal of grass and rain

In my mind, a telephone appears
Not a cheap flip metal one
But the real deal
Heavy in the hand
Black, Bakelite
Rotary dial my finger feels with every turn

I use it to call him up
Cę va? I say
What’s up?
Wish you were here

We could dance the Balfa Walz
Like when I was young
My black patent leather shoes
On top of your brown loafers
Smashing your toes while you smiled
And held my little hands in yours

It’s enough, it’s enough, I tell myself
I know you can hear me calling
Even if it’s not for real,
I know your intention was to meet me again

Jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo
Son of a gun
Gonna have some fun
On the bayou, if not in Heaven

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A New Poem for Live Poets Society

I wrote this up for my Live Poets Society meeting -- obligated to present a few poems, thank goodness for them or I would never write at all! This one came to me almost fully baked at about 5 a.m. I did go to the Cowgirl on Tuesday night (Fat Tuesday) and I did have great Cajun food and heard some good music - and the image of that telephone is still with me.

Heaven at the Cowgirl

At the Cowgirl downtown
Mardi Gras night
Fat Tuesday
Popcorn shrimp, remoulade and Diablo sauce
Fried okra, andouille sausage gumbo
Beer, German, not Cajun, but it doesn’t matter to me

I wear a single string of gold beads
Listen to the music
The Balfa Waltz
Lafayette Breakdown

I think of dad
Three years gone
Quiet under the portal of grass and rain

In my mind, a telephone appears
Not just a cheap flip metal one
But the real deal
The one heavy in the hand
Black, Bakelite
A rotary dial my finger feels with every turn

I use it to call him up
Ce’ va? I say
What’s up?
I wish you were here

We could dance the Balfa Walz
Like we did when I was young
My black patent leather shoes
On top of your brown loafers
Smashing your toes while you smiled
And held my little hands in yours

It’s enough, it’s enough, I tell myself
I know you can hear me calling
Even if it’s not for real,
I know your intention was to meet me

Jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo
Son of a gun
Gonna have some fun
On the bayou, if not in Heaven

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Review from Book Contest Winner

Linda L. Bankard "Bibliphile" (Simi Valley, CA)

I could not put this book down. To me it was a true love story, not of the usual type that is so common, but a love story of a woman for her child, her Father and a friend. When Ana was able to love herself, she found she was able to be loved by a man and not be his possession. I could feel myself walking through the woods with her and smelling nature at its best. I now want to learn to make baskets and pottery. This book will stay with me for a long time. Linda L. Bankard