Eagle Crest Resort, Redmond OR

22nd annual conference
October 13 - 16, 2016

"Enduring Spirits Untold Stories"

Drury Plaza Hotel

Santa Fe, NM

Enduring Spirits Untold Stories




Denise ChavezDenise Chávez is a Performance writer, Novelist, Playwright, Teacher and Cultural Activist based in Las Cruces, New Mexico! She has roots in Far West Texas with her mother’s family and in Las Cruces, New Mexico with her father’s family and has learned to love life, literature, and tacos in both places. A true child of La Frontera, Chávez is the author of the new novel The King and Queen of Comezón, a border mystery/love story; the recent memoir A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture and the novels Loving Pedro Infante and Face of An Angel, as well as a short story collection, The Last of the Menu Girls. She has also published a children’s book, La Mujer Que Sabía El Idioma de Los Animales/The Woman Who Knew the Language of the Animals. She is currently working on several collections of stories, “The Febe Stories,” and “Beautiful English/El Ingles Tan Bonito,” as well as doing research for a family memoir, “Río Grande Family.” An actor, Chávez has performed her one-woman shows, Novena Narrativas and El Muro/The Wall: A Chorus of Immigrant Women’s Voices throughout the U.S.

Chávez is the director of The Border Book Festival, a major national and regional book festival based at Casa Camino Real in Las Cruces. It is the longest running book festival in New Mexico, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. Denise, along with her husband, photographer Daniel Zolinsky, is currently creating Museo de La Gente—Museum of the People—in downtown Las Cruces on the historic Camino Real.!It will serve as an arts residency center, a resource library, a workshop and exhibit space as well as a venue for multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-ethnic literary, literacy, music and arts
events for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Denise Chávez is the winner of various awards including the Don Luis Leal Award in Chicano Literature given by the City of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Book Festival, University of California, Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College, as well as the New Mexico Governor’s Award in Literature, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and The American Book Award!


Luci Tapahonso Luci Tapahonso is a Navajo poet and a lecturer in Native American Studies. She is the first and current poet laureate of the Navajo Nation. Born on the Navajo reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico to Eugene Tapahonso Sr. and Lucille Deschenne Tapahonso, Luci Tapahonso was raised in a traditional way along with 11 siblings. English was not spoken on the family farm, and Tapahonso learned it as a second tongue after her native Navajo. Following schooling at Navajo Methodist School in Farmington, New Mexico, she attended Shiprock High School and graduated in 1971. She embarked on a career as a journalist and investigative reporter before beginning her studies at the University of New Mexico in 1976. There she first met the novelist and poet Leslie Marmon Silko, who was a faculty member and who proved to be an important influence on Tapahonso's early writing. She initially intended to study journalism at New Mexico, but Silko convinced her to change her major to creative writing. She earned her bachelor's degree in 1980. In 1983, Tapahonso gained her MA in Creative Writing, and she has gone on to teach, first at New Mexico and later at the University of Kansas and now at the University of Arizona.
--Text under CC-BY-SA license




Stephanie West Allen practiced law for a number of years. For over three decades, she has designed and presented seminars across the country to diverse audiences, including professional organizations and the Smithsonian. Since the mid-2000s, Stephanie's programs have often included neuroscience. Her articles have appeared in many publications.

Denise [Deni] Dietz, aka Mary Ellen Dennis doesn't want to know that Santa Anna was captured in 1836. She prefers to know that he was naked except for his underpants. A developmental editor for Five Star Publications, Deni is a USA Today bestselling author. Her Mary Ellen Dennis historical, THE LANDLORD’S BLACK-EYED DAUGHTER, was one of Booklist’s Top 10 Books of the Year (and Top 100 Books of the last ten years).

Kathryn Ferguson—Kathryn Ferguson is author of the nonfiction book, "The Haunting of the Mexican Border: A Woman's Journey" and co-author of award winning "Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail." As a documentary filmmaker, she made the award winning films "The Unholy Tarahumara" and "Rita of the Sky." Filmed in the Sierra Madre and Chihuahua, Mexico, they were screened in US and international film festivals. For over a decade, she volunteered with Tucson Samaritans to carry life-saving food, water, and medical supplies to people travelling the trails of southern Arizona. She teaches writing. She has also had a long career as a dancer and choreographer, performing and teaching dance in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, and the United States. Kathryn lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Author of four self-published novels, Jeanne S. Guerra is a graduate of Texas Tech and Southern Methodist universities, working in academia as a communications expert, winning numerous state and national awards for writing, design and communications plans. As internal editor for The Dallas Morning News, she produced an international award-winning magazine. Retired from academia, she lives in Dallas, traveling at length to do her “write” research.

Anne Hillerman continues the Navajo detective stories her father, New York Times bestselling mystery author Tony Hillerman, made popular. Her debut novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, received both the Spur Award and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award as best book of the year. Her newest, Rock with Wings, continues the saga with Bernadette Manuelito in the spotlight.

As Director of Acequia Madre House ™, Bunny Pierce Huffman is responsible for its administration and preservation. The Acequia Madre House family historian, Bunny has shared her knowledge with historians, archivists, museums and professional organizations, to create an awareness of the Paloheimo family’s achievements. Bunny helped to found the Women’s International Study center and served as its first Director. An illustrator and cultural historian whose work has been featured in New Mexioc Magazine and has been exhibited at St. John’s College and the NM Museum of Art, Bunny is a graduate of Georgetown University in Languages and Linguistics and attended the Sorbonne. She has written cultural history books for children for the Museum of New Mexico Press, and created illustrations for Pomegranate and the Huntington Library Press.

Betsy James is the author-illustrator of 17 books for adults, young adults, and children. Her work has been awarded such honors as New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age, Voices of Youth Advocates Best Book, International Reading Association Children’s Choice, and Tiptree Award Honor Book. She teaches a workshop in speculative fiction at UNM’s Honors College, and has a special interest in diversity in science fiction and fantasy.

Jane Kirkpatrick is a former rancher, a mental health professional and NY Times bestselling author of 29 books with more than one million copies sold. A Wrangler and WILLA award winner (fiction), Spur Award and Oregon Book Award finalist, she lives in Central Oregon and travels the world telling stories. WWW.jkbooks.com

Alice Kober is a Founding Member of Women Writing the West. She buys both print and e-book fiction for the Arapahoe Library District in Colorado. She has as spoken numerous times on adult fiction to librarians and enjoys introducing readers to new authors.

Brenda G. Lanphear is proud to have been born and raised in the American West. Her essay, The Woman in Brown Pictures , won first place in a small essay contest and was published. She is a writer interested in the convergence and tensions between family, culture, nature, and healing.

Colorado Author Joyce B. Lohse combines a journalism education and background with genealogy research skills and a passion for history to preserve and share stories of western pioneers through award-winning biographies, articles, and presentations. She is longtime administrator for Women Writing the West.

C.M. Mayo is the author of Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, and the novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, named a Library Journal Best Book 2009. She hosts two podcasts: “Conversations with Other Writers” and, apropos of a book in-progress about Far West Texas, “Marfa Mondays.” www.cmmayo.com

Cathy Morrison is an award winning children’s book illustrator passionate about nature, science and historical fiction. Combining her degrees in fine arts and education along with her background in animation and graphic design, she currently researches and digitally illustrates “creative nonfiction” picture books that read as a story, but are based on facts. These books feature additional classroom guides, downloadable activity sheets and related websites so the curious reader can continue to explore the topic. Please see Cathy's blog for updates: www.cathymorrison.blogspot.com

Nancy Oswald is a retired teacher who lives on a family ranch with cows, goats, chickens, cats, dogs, and one nearly human donkey. She writes middle grade historical fiction set in Colorado, her home state, but has also published MG humor and a biography that won a 2015 Spur Award. For more about her books and other awards, visit www.nancyoswald.com or www.filterpressbooks.com

Randall Platt writes historical fiction, mostly for the young adult reading audience. Platt’s books have twice won the Willa Literary Award, Will Rogers Medallion, as well as several national and state book awards. One novel has been filmed and another is optioned for feature film.

Lesley Poling-Kempes is the award winning author of six books of fiction and nonfiction about the American Southwest. Her newest book “Ladies of the Canyons: A League of Extraordinary Women & Their Adventures in the American Southwest” won the 2015 Reading the West Book Award for nonfiction from the MPIBA, a Silver Medal in US History from the 2016 IPPY Awards, and is a WWA Spur Award finalist in historic nonfiction.

Sarah Rickman has written three very different biographies, each based on the sources available. In the latest, the voice of a virtually unknown young woman comes to life through her letters written home during the year she served with the Women Airforce Service Pilots flying Army aircraft during World War II.

Audiobook Narrator Richard Rieman of Audiobook Revolution Productions is author of “The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation, winner of the 2016 Global EBook Gold Award in Writing and Publishing. Richard is an audiobook self-publishing expert and a top Audible audiobook narrator and producer. Before his audiobook adventures, Richard was a news anchor and reporter at the RKO Radio Networks in New York, WTOP in Washington DC, and ABC and NBC Radio in Chicago.

Miriam Sagan founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. She is the author of over twenty-five books, including GEOGRAPHIC: A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon, 2016) and SEARCHING FOR A MUSTAD SEED: A Young Widow’s Unconventional Story which won Best Memoir of the Year from Independent Publishers Association.

Bob Schram is the founder and owner of Bookends Design. He has worked as a production manager in publishing, art director in video production, and most recently as a small business owner. Whether you are a publisher, business, school, author, or individual and you require graphic design, art direction, project management, print coordination, publishing consulting, or anything in between, Bob has experienced the gamut of client and vendor interaction. He resides in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and three daughters. Please visit his website at www.bookendsdesign.com for a more comprehensive glimpse into his background and experience.

Kimberly Swank, CPA, MSA, MBA is the Managing Principal/ Founder of Swank Accounting, LLC. She has started and run several businesses and understands the challenges of owning a business. Ms. Swank specializes in organizing and clarifying business performance and providing expert level accounting/finance services. Ms. Swank is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She has a Masters in Accounting and Masters in Business Administration from University of Notre Dame. Kimberly also has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from University of Florida.

JoJo Thoreau started formulating stories when she was seven and published her first book, Bendy Wendy (2014), at age nine. She lives in a rural part of Maine and loves to spend time at libraries and bookstores, as well as making school visits to speak to other children about the magical world of reading and writing. When spending time at home, JoJo Thoreau enjoys cuddling with her feline sidekicks, Boots and Trigger. Her second book, Buckaroo Bobbie Sue (2015), was awarded the Western Writers of America® Spur Award. Learn more about JoJo Thoreau by visiting littlehandspress.org.

Susan J. Tweit is an award-winning writer and plant biologist with a passion for words, stories and life itself. She is the author of twelve books, including the memoir Walking Nature Home, and hundreds of magazine articles, columns and essays for markets as diverse as Audubon Magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, and public radio. She teaches workshops across the country.

Dawn Wink— Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the tensions and beauty of language, culture, and place. Wink’s non-fiction includes “Raven’s Time,” “Wild Waters: Landscapes of Languages,” and Teaching Passionately (with Joan Wink). Her novel Meadowlark was a finalist for the WILLA Award, High Plains Book Award, and NM/ AZ Book Awards. She lives with her family in Santa Fe.

Julie Weston grew up in Idaho and practiced law for many years in Seattle, Washington. Her debut fiction, MOONSHADOWS, A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, was published in 2015 (Five Star Publishing), and was a Finalist in the Story Circle Network May Sarton Literary Award. Her memoir of place, The Good Times Are All Gone Now: Life, Death and Rebirth in an Idaho Mining Town (University of Oklahoma Press, 2009) received an honorable mention in the 2009 Idaho Book of the Year Awards. Her short stories and essays have been published in multiple journals. www.juliewweston.com