Friday, June 27, 2014

Meet the Hispanic Writer Award Winner: Elaine Manzanilla

Congratulations to Elaine Manzanilla, this year’s recipient of the Hispanic Writer Award! Elaine was born in Sacramento and raised in the Bay Area, San Jose to be exact. After raising her children, and being sole caretaker for her grandmother in the foothills of Northern California, Elaine returned to school and fell in love with science. That love for science and research led her to New Mexico as a Biomedical Science graduate student at UNM’s Health Science Center. After a short period of adjustment to living in the high desert of New Mexico, Elaine has come to love her new home. She considers California a beautiful place, but believes New Mexico has its own unique essence, beauty and charm.

Although she has been a lifelong reader, Elaine never thought she could be a writer and craft stories that people would enjoy. She states: “I cannot claim to be one of those who believe they were born to write. Until four years ago, I only wrote out of necessity for coursework and exams. However, when the flame of writing was lit within me, I was amazed at how natural it felt to write. I believe passion to express ourselves in words is key to becoming a writer that others want to read.”

Elaine states her current desire is to share her imagination and life experience in order to connect with, encourage, and inspire others. She believes that it is in relationships and shared, common experiences that we learn and grow into the people we were meant to be. Elaine has a unique cultural and familial background. Her father is from Guayamas, Mexico and her mother is of German/English ancestors who came to America before the Revolutionary War. As a result of this, Elaine understands the challenges of living in the world today as a multi-ethnic, multicultural woman. She is proud of her heritage, of the hardworking stoicism from her European ancestors, and the passion and ability to express emotions from her Mexican ancestors. The melding of these strong characteristics and her  faith not only strengthen her, but also inspire her to share with others through the fluid imagery of the written word.

Elaine is currently working on a semi-autobiographical novel that addresses the challenges of a first-generation Mexican-American woman who seeks to honor her traditions while taking advantage of the opportunities afforded her by being born in the United States. She will be taking the Innovative Revision workshop with Lisa Lenard-Cook.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Rountable with Karen Schechner of Kirkus Reviews

Karen Schechner of Kirkus Reviews will lead a roundtable discussion on Thursday, July 17 at 1 p.m. at the Sagebrush Conference Center in Taos, NM. This event is free and open to the public.

We asked Karen a few questions about what the roundtable will cover:

For participants who aren't familiar with Kirkus, can you describe it? What all is encompassed under Kirkus Media?

Kirkus has been an authoritative voice in book discovery for more than 80 years. Kirkus Reviews gives booksellers, librarian, publishers, and editors a sneak peek at notable books being published weeks before they’re released. When the books become available for purchase, Kirkus serves the reviews to consumers in a weekly email newsletter and on, giving readers unbiased, critical recommendations.

Your roundtable is going to focus on self-publishing. Can you give us a little preview of Kirkus Indie and what your roundtable will be focusing on specifically with in the self-publishing world?

Kirkus also has a full suite of professional services, including Kirkus Indie, a review service for self-publishers; Kirkus Editorial, book editing services for publishers as well as unpublished and self-published authors; and Kirkus Marketing, services that help authors get discovered by consumers as well as industry influencers, such as publishers, agents and film executives.

The roundtable is less a how-to—platforms including BookBaby, IngramSpark and Smashwords already make that easy enough to do—than a “why-to.” Topics include how self-publishing can fast-track building a readership and foster participation in local book culture. On the other hand, if an author would rather aim for publishing traditionally, self-publishing can be a creative, effective way to catch an agent’s or editor’s attention.

Do you see the hour-long roundtable as more of a lecture or a conversation? Who should come to the roundtable?

The roundtable will start with an overview of the advantages of Indie publishing and include an open conversation and Q&A with attendees. Authors who are considering publishing their work themselves or authors looking for resourceful strategies to publish traditionally should consider attending.

Any other issues you may want to address? I know that there seems to be mixed feelings about self-publishing and you say in your description that you are going to talk about the "pluses" of self-publishing. 

The boom in self-publishing (according to Bowker’s latest figures, 391,000 books were self-published in 2012, a 59 percent jump from 2011) has launched a revolution in writing. Self-pubbed authors have been signed by agents, publishers and film executives, and they’ve sold millions of books. This trend is only going to continue. Also, navigating the traditional world of publishing can be so daunting that it blocks progress; self-publishing allows writers to focus on writing and set their own pub date.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meet the Agents: A Roundtable with Allison Hunter and Alexis Hurley from Inkwell Management

Allison Hunter and Alexis Hurley will lead a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, July 16th at 1 PM at the Sagebrush Inn Conference Center in Taos, NM. This event is free and open to the public.

In this round table, two seasoned Manhattan literary agents will lead a discussion about the basics of agenting and publishing, including what exactly an agent does and how you can find one. Allison and Alexis will discuss the all-important query letters, and will follow with a description of what writers can expect through the submission, negotiation, and publication process. They will also offer an analysis of self publishing and a glimpse into the future of the changing landscape of book publishing.

Want to know more? Allison and Alexis both have a few publishing consultation spots open. Snag one before someone else does!

Alexis Hurley has worked with authors Sister Wendy, Claire LaZebnik, Helen Benedict, Robert Boswell, Sharon Oard Warner, John O’Donohue, Thomas Moore, Pamela Ribon, RO Blechman, Sadhguru, Sarah Miller, Diane Williams, Anna David, Clotaire Rapaille, Mia March, Melissa Senate and more.

Allison Hunter has worked with authors Katie Heaney, Anne Helen Petersen, Megan Mulry, Ryan Winfield, L. Alison Heller, Cynthia Rowley, Emily Matchar, Kelsey Miller, Jen Chaney, Tiffany Beveridge, Anne-Marie Casey, Iris Smyles, Jessica Pan, Rachel Kapelke-Dale, Ina Yalof, Dvora Meyers, Stacy Adimando, chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton and more.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meet the Leo Love Poetry Award Winner: Monika Cassel

Photo by Jamey Stillings

Monika Cassel is a passionate teacher, who has come back into writing through teaching at the New Mexico School for the Arts. For her, poetry is just another kind of conversation from which both student and teacher can learn. A major goal of hers is to get more people to read and write poetry, to have it be a living and interactive project that all kinds of people feel connected to. 

Currently, Monika is writing about Germany and her family history–––her father’s immigrant family in the Midwest and her mother’s childhood in WWII and postwar Germany. Having family members and stories from all over the spectrum in the Nazi era, Monika has been working to square the history and origins for a long time in a way that does justice to the broader history and affords the personal a space, which allows her to engage with her position, removed by years but holding the inheritance of that time. Her broader goal is to encourage people to take this difficult history seriously, instead of sweeping it under the rug or thinking they are “done,” particularly from a broader perspective of historical responsibility or culpability.

Along the way, Monika has been writing ekphrastic pieces, working with old letters and recently with her grandmother’s gardening book. Her deep interest in language that stems from growing up bilingual has led Monika to pursue translation, and she is intrigued by what happens when she translates ideas, experiences, and images into the music of language. What she sees her students doing in their art majors while they are deeply at work is what she feels when she has the time and space to work on her poems, and that creative process she finds incredibly invigorating.
This summer will be Monika’s first time at the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. Former teaching colleague Robert Wilder, who has taught at the Conference for years, informed Monika of the great writing community at the Conference, and former workshop participant Jennifer Simpson also reinforced this idea. Additionally, at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Monika has taken workshops with Dana Levin and Emily Rapp, both who have served as faculty at the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference in previous years.

Monika looks forward to Tomás Morín’s afternoon poetry workshop this summer and was excited by the description of his workshop. She is arriving at the point where she feels like she knows where her poetry is working well, and she would like a workshop that is a good space to reconsider and revise pieces that are not there yet. For Monika, Taos boasts a beautiful landscape that is not so far from her home, and she hopes to spend a fair amount of her mornings writing outside.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shuttle Service ABQ Airport/Sagebrush! is the link to our web page. My direct line is 575.776.2291 x 2381, 9-4pm, M-Thursday.


Now providing transportation to and from Taos Ski Valley.
  • Taos Ski Valley, Inc. will be operating a daily shuttle to and from the Albuquerque Sunport.
  • Reservations are required
  • Guests must make reservations 48 hrs in advance.
  • Guests need to inform us of # of bags, skis, boards, etc.
  • 2 bags per person, including skis/boards.
  • Child seats are not provided.
  • No Pets.
















Best regards, Dave Martin


Taos Ski Valley - Central Reservations


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

YA Roundtable with Kristen-Paige Madonia and Janie Chodosh

Join Young Adult authors Kristen-Paige Madonia, the 2012 D.H. Lawrence Fellow, and Janie Chodosh, a former Conference participant, for the roundtable, YA Lit: Not Just for Kids.

This roundtable discussion will focus on craft elements specifically found in Young Adult Literature that appeal to both teen and adult readers. During the roundtable, Kristen-paige and Janie will discuss tricks and tools to broaden your audience and will recommend favorite "cross-over" YA Lit books for reference. Topics will include developing voice and momentum in your work and managing adult content in Young Adult fiction. There will also be ample time for Q & A and group discussion.

YA Lit: Not Just for Kids will be Tuesday, July 15 at 1 PM. This event is free and open to the public.

Interested in YA? Great! Kristen-Paige still has spaces available in her Young Adult Fiction weeklong workshop.

Kristen-Paige Madonia is the author of the Young Adult literary novel Fingerprints of You (Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012); her short fiction has recently appeared in FiveChapters, New Orleans Review, Upstreet, and American Fiction: Best Previously Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers. She is the recipient of the 2012 Taos Writers’ Conference D.H. Lawrence Fellowship and was awarded the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Prize in 2010. She has received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, Juniper Summer Writing Institute, the Hambidge Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hedgebrook, Millay Colony for the Arts, the Key West Literary Seminar and the Studios of Key West. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach and teaches fiction at the University of Virginia and James Madison University.

Janie Chodosh is the author of Death Spiral, A Faith Flores Science Mystery, the first in a three book, young adult mystery series published by The Poisoned Pencil. Drawing from her life as a teacher, Janie writes for both a middle grade and young adult audience. Janie Chodosh lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, daughter, stepson and two dogs.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fiction Writer Arna Bontemps Hemenway Awarded the 2014 D.H. Lawrence Fellowship


Arna Bontemps Hemenway has been awarded the 2014 D. H. Lawrence Fellowship. He is the author of Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande 2014), which was recently named a Barnes and Noble Discover Award Series pick. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, FiveChapters, and The Missouri Review, among other venues. He has been the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship for Fiction Writing, the John C. Schupes Fellowship for Fiction Writing, and, at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, has served as the Peter Taylor Scholar of Fiction Writing. Later this summer he will be a Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writing Conference. He holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Baylor University. 

Elegy on Kinderklavier was praised by The Library Journal as a debut collection that “shows a depth of emotion and intensity that carries the reader from start to finish. These haunting stories deserve a wide audience.”

The D.H. Lawrence Fellowship is given each year to an emerging writer of poetry or prose with one book in print or at press. Originally established to sustain a living tradition of artistic creation in a place the late English writer so loved, the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship is the most prestigious of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference awards and scholarships. When informed of the his award, Hemenway said, “I think conferences like Taos are really important for people to get a chance to work with authors like Pam Houston, Justin St. Germain, or Kristen-Paige Madonia (as the genre-case may be), for instance. Oftentimes having writers with such great insight talking about your work can really open up new ways of improving over the rest of the year. They can be really helpful directional beacons on the dark sea of those months when you're working by yourself.”

Past recipients of the fellowship include: Matthew Pitt of St. Louis, MO (2013); Kristen-Paige Madonia of Charlottesville, VA (2012); Darlin' Neal of Orlando, FL (2011); Andrew Kozma of Houston, TX (2010); Merrill Feitell (2009); Nancy Pagh of Bellingham, WA (2008); Philip Cioffari (2007); Kelly Magee of Columbus, OH (2006); Carl Marcum of Chicago, IL (2005); Lisa Goett of Taos, NM (2004); Sarah Jane Smith of Miami, FL (2003); Andrea Hollander Budy of Mountain View, AK (2002); Pamela Gemin of Oshkosh, WI (2001); and Charlotte Holmes of State College, PA (2000).