Archive for the ‘Journalists’ category

My Father’s Day Gift!

June 23, 2015


On Father’s Day I was talking with my mom and step father when he asked if I had seen the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican by Anne Hillerman. I hadn’t seen the article, so he brought it to me. I said “oh my gosh, you read it and didn’t notice my name!? That’s a photo I took of her!” We all laughed! It was a pleasant surprise to see the photo I took of her next to her article with a credit line with my name. The photo is not actually a headshot, but it was awesome just the same. The online version has the full photo.


Crime Writing: Here is to a Killer Future

June 19, 2015


Yeah… I would say crime writing is a viable option for me. I knew that before I worked and attended day one of “Finding Your Inner Sleuth.” It was a great day. I love learning and with every bit of knowledge I get, I feel more and more empowered. I want to be both a physical and intellectual monster! I’ll be Queen of Iron and Ink!!!

All of the presenters did a great job today! I had such a good day. My bosses keep pushing me to write a book, and I’m getting closer to jumping. I love that I have found my place in the world of writers. I fit in there like hand-n-glove. I learned some interesting things from Detective Mark Manary, Christine Barber, Dr. Irene Blea, Laura Sanchez, and Don Bullis.


I’m looking forward to working in Albuquerque again tomorrow! I wanted to share some of the photos from today and a few of the more interesting things I learned. Here is to a killer future of crime writing!!!


Interesting things about Detective Mark Manary:

å He went into homicide work because he is the survivor of an unsolved cold case. In 1989, his father was murdered.

å His career in law enforcement started as a military cop with the Air Force.

√• He went to a Handwriting Analysis School, where he “learned so much about writing and the use of words.” 💜’ed that!!

å He is President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP- Albuquerque Lodge#1).

å He had to read and look at data for six months straight to get up to speed on the West Mesa murder cases.

√• His first step as lead in the 118th West Mesa Murders Task Force was to secure the records room. He allowed only two keys. 💜’ed that!!!


Interesting things about Author Christine Barber:

√• She is an amazingly smart woman, former journalist/editor, and friend who I have known for years. 💜 her!!!

å She took the show hands down today!!!

å Her current research into the West Mesa murders will likely give Detective Mark Manary great tips.

√• She is working with an anthropologist who is using scientific techniques to conduct soil analysis for potential West Mesa murder burial sites. 💜’ed that!!!

√• As part of her research for her new book “Rules of Survival,” she has completely emerged herself into the world of sex workers in Albuquerque.

√• She is now publishing the “Bad Guy List.” It is a freaky scary, but informative printout which highlights Albuquerque’s criminal activity.

√• She knows a lot more than anyone I know about serial killers, sex acts, what they cost, who is involved, and the dark fate of Albuquerque’s sex workers.

√• I met Christine years ago… not as an archivist, but as a writer. I invited her to the archives to conduct research for her book “When the Devil Doesn’t Show.” That book is about David Parker Ray, the “Toy-Box Killer” from Mountainair, New Mexico. He was a suspected serial killer. Though no bodies have ever been found, Ray is said to have murdered at least 60 people between Arizona and New Mexico. Together, Christine and I uncovered possible burial locations on mining property owned by Ray.

Blessed by Pain

February 7, 2015

Hemingway loved books and his personal library contained over 7,000 books.

We all know about the infamous Ernest Hemingway. Many of us were introduced to the author in grade school, and others continued to learn from his work in college and as practicing writers. Who hasn’t heard of The Old Man and the Sea? We all have. I don’t think everyone understands the depth of Hemingway. His work was highly metaphorical, symbolic and riveted by pain.

I have an undying interest in the pain of Hemingway and how pain fueled his hunger for words (Read~ Pain: A Writer’s Inspiration; Analysis of and Symbols in Hemingway and Gellhorn; Whiskey Dreams: Inside the Mind of Hemingway; Wakeless Love, Tragedy and Words; The Hemingway Archivist: Connection and Disconnection.) This man was filled with pain, but his work was prosperous because of that. I feel that my best poetry comes from a pain filled place, so I can relate.

We all know Hemingway, but what do you know about his pain? From suicidal thoughts, to infections, to skin cancer, to diabetes, to accidents and operations, to concussions, to pneumonia, to broken bones, to alcoholism and mental breakdowns, and the complications of love, this man seemed to beacon suffering. He was suicidal since the 1920s and tragically ended his own life in 1961. I believe a broken, hardened heart contributed to his fate.

After taking a look at three books, I put together a chronology of tragedy reflected in Hemingway’s story. The books I pulled from are cited below. I would love a chance to read the correspondence between he and Martha…the woman (another writer) I think he had the best intellectual and sexual connection to. I’m sure an intimate look at his personal correspondence would be much more revealing (see the ‘archivist’ post I cited above).

Hemingway was a tragically inspiring man. You know? I am an archivist by profession. There is actually a “Hemingway Archivist” working the Hemingway Room who is responsible for the Hemingway Collection in Boston. This is a special collection available to researchers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. It would be a dream to work there. One day, I will go back to Boston and visit this unique place that is part of National Archives and Records Administration.

After reading through a few books, I was struck by two things I had never heard about Hemingway. Most know he was a hunter. He was also known to be a jerk who seemed to position himself rightly so. Why does a hunting jerk who is a real softy for house cats not make sense to me? I think killing wild animals made him feel in control when he was almost always out of control. I don’t believe he enjoyed killing after seeing him cuddling cats.

I also found it interesting that Hemingway was “erotically aroused by women’s hair.” Hummmm? Long or short? I had never heard that before!

We all have an idea about who Ernest Hemingway was and about who he has continued to be after his death. His legacy has been solidified. The writer is now immortal. Not many understand the depth of Hemingway. His love of words, metaphors and symbols became permeated by his pain. If you have a moment, take a look for yourself at a brief chronology of his personal pain (not his accomplishments).


Spring 1918~ He put his “fist through a glass showcase.”

July 8, 1918~ He was “concussed and wounded by trench mortar and a machine gun.”

January 1919~ Agnes von Kurowsky breaks his heart and inspires Farewell to Arms.

September 1921~ He marries first of four brides.

1927~ His first divorce.

March 1928~ He pulled a “skylight down on his skull.”

December 1928~ His father commits suicide.

November 1, 1930~ He was in a car accident near Billings, Montana. His right arm was “severely fractured.”

April 7, 1935~ He “accidentally shoots himself in the leg” while “gaffing shark.”

1936~ He started a love affair with Martha Gellhorn.

1937~ He “dropkicks foot through a mirror.”

1940~ He gets another divorce and quickly marries Martha (a journalist).

December 1945~ He gets his third divorce from Martha.

1946~ He marries his fourth wife and she has a miscarriage a few months later.

September 1949~ He was “clawed while playing with lion.”

June 1951~ His mother dies.

January 1954~ He suffered “severe burns fighting a fire.”

1961~ He committed suicide.


Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways by Valerie Hemingway

Hemingway the 1930s by Michael Reynolds

Hemingway: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers

Creative Work for a New York Times Bestselling Author

December 20, 2014

Tonight I finished up some photo work for Anne Hillerman. I just emailed off the final shots. I was honored when the award-winning reporter and New York Times bestselling author asked me to take new author photos of her. I prepared the photos for release to HarperCollins Publishersone of the world’s largest publishing companies. HarperCollins is one of the “big five” leading book publishers. It is an honor to be asked to do creative work for the accomplished daughter of New York Times bestselling author, Tony Hillerman.

Anne Hillerman’s newest book is set for release through HarperCollins in May of 2015, and is titled Rock with Wings. I’m sure the new mystery will feature Shiprock, a natural formation on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico. In Navajo, Tsé Bitʼaʼí means “rock with wings” or “winged rock.”


A Life Filled with Words

July 31, 2013

In August of last year one of my close friends in school emailed me. It was Becky’s 20 years class reunion and she thought about me there. Over the years there have been a few friends who have remembered my love of writing. I always appreciate those who take the time to remember. I have been writing since I was just a little girl.

I have always been over analytical, contemplative and poetic. I am a writer. Am I a good writer? Well~ I must leave that up to my audience to decide! When my friend Becky emailed me in August of 2012 she said “this weekend was our 20 year class reunion! Yearbooks and school newspapers came out! Of course your beautiful poetry was in there so here it is………. You’ve always had a way with words!”

I love to be remembered for having a way with words. Below are images she sent to me. It was amazing to see what I wrote so many years ago. I was writing for the Elk’s Call Newspaper back then. It was a student newspaper at Pojoaque High School. I really enjoyed layout and design. I am indeed a knowledge eater with a huge brain and a deep appreciation for the written word.

Poem by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~From Opposite Ends~
a poem by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

Article by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~Do Teens Have the Narcissus Syndrome~
an article by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

Preserving History

April 20, 2013

~• 1867 illustrated newsapaper periodical (periodico ilustrado) titled “5 de Mayo de 1862” •~


“Any fool can make
history, but it takes
a genius to write it.”

••••» Oscar Wilde


I enjoy doing things for people. It makes me feel good to help others when I’m needed. Recently I was asked by two friends to help them preserve some newspapers. One had an awesome newspaper that is close to 120 years old. The other is former journalist with an accomplished record who is looking to preserve a historical first.

I take pride in being an archivist and I’m glad that my professional knowledge can extend beyond the confines of a repository. I spent the day preparing for preservation endeavors by picking up the supplies I need. Since newspapers are highly acidic, it is good to do whatever can be done to preserve them.

I had an idea last night with regard to the digitization of the newspapers. Hopefully the idea is successful. I will try a new technique to make an access copy. Indeed I was born to be an archivist. I do love what I do.

Intellect of Steel: Happy Birthday to a Super Man

April 18, 2013

My favorite fictional reporter first graced the pages of DC Comic books in 1938. This year marks the 75th birthday of Clark Kent, a super man. I prefer the witty super Clark to Superman. What in the world was Lois Lane thinking? Mr. Kent rocks for several reasons.

I like the man with a pen and pad. Who doesn’t like a contemplative reporter for the Daily Planet who can meet stringent deadlines? His personality is that of a passive introvert, yet I can’t help but think he wants to rip off his shirt and reveal that “S” on his chest. The Man of Steel is really a Pulitzer Prize winning writer and let’s face it, intellectual is sexy. There is nothing like some eye glasses to beef that last one up! I love names that are synonymous with alternate identities. Clark wears a suit and tie which is better than a fitted leotard any day. This man has laser vision and it’s simply piercing.

Ahhhh– I don’t know? I guess I wish I was not just a former reporter, but Lois Lane. Maybe then I would get a press pass?

Happy 75th Mr. Kent. How do you do it? You are oh so smart and you still look not a day over 30!

Among the Gifted

April 2, 2013

I was very honored to be asked to develop a design to promote the 2013 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. This is my second promotional design for WORDHARVEST. The first one I designed was for the Hillerman Prize. Over the last week, I worked to complete a flyer for Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg.

Anne and Jean founded WORDHARVEST 11 years ago, which is “devoted to the art and craft of writing.” WORDHARVEST sponsors the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. I can’t wait to continue learning from these well known authors, and maybe one famous scriptwriter that I have never met. Anne and Jean have put together a fabulous array of gifted writers. This year, the conference will feature Anne Hillerman, James McGrath Morris, Kirk Ellis, Craig Johnson, David Morrell, Margaret Coel, Christine Barber, Linda Jacobs, Steve Havill, and many others!!

It would be awesome to talk with James McGrath Morris. He is the author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. As a former journalist, I have to read that book and get a special autograph from McGrath Morris. Joseph Pulitzer was a “media baron” who settled in St. Louis. The baron “transformed American journalism into a medium of mass consumption and immense influence.” How can I not read a book about the rise (and arguably the fall) of a champion of the Democratic Party? The media powerhouse is said to have “used his influence to advance a progressive political agenda and his power to fight those who opposed him.”

I would also love to meet the Emmy award winning screenwriter/producer Kirk Ellis. Ellis was the writer and the co~executive producer of John Adams (the HBO mini~series). He is also working on Blood and Thunder, which is an epic drama about Kit Carson and the Navajo Wars. In 2009, Ellis agreed to work on the adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway book Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir by A. E. Hotchner. You know I have to meet him right?! I adore Hemingway. Ellis also worked on the TV mini~series Into the West: Hell on Wheels and Anne Frank: The Whole Story.

I really can’t wait! Here is the design I came up with for the conference. It is sure to be a great!

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

Of Kisses: The Story of Tongues

February 13, 2013

Of Kisses by Felicia Lujan
Kissing has been an essential part of relationships further back than many can remember. I am interested in how the passionate kiss and views on kissing have changed roughly over the last century. After being inundated with Valentine’s Day imagery, the timing for writing such a piece seemed appropriate. Is kissing a necessary part of falling in love? Can you love someone you have never kissed? What happens if couples stop kissing? Those are just a few of the questions which came to mind when I began to write this piece.

I believe that kissing is an important human need. I was able to identify several scientific and psychological studies which officially confirm this, but it isn’t really necessary to use these to agree with something all of us can simply feel. I’m not sure how many people would agree with me when I say that I find a kiss more erotic than sex itself. The mouth is a fascinating orifice. When we kiss we are face to face. There is no hiding. We are physically and psychologically connected in ways which uniquely identify us.

Over the last 100+ years the kiss and views on kissing have changed in thought-provoking ways. For the last couple of weeks my mind has been flooded with things romance marketing experts think will make me feel wanted and loved. The real question is what do I think makes me feel wanted and loved? I think that all the candy, jewelry, cards, gifts, and dinners are bizarre when it comes to romance. Why aren’t there more classes on the art of kissing? Why don’t we see ads encouraging lovers to make love? It’s because there is little money to be made by marketing those things. We have started to indulge more and more on chocolate and we are beginning to forget about psychological and fleshly indulgence.

Soldier Kissing Girlfriend Goodbye_Washington DC

“Washington, D.C.~ A soldier kissing his girl goodbye at Union Station” 1942~
Image No. LC-USW3- 011367-C
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

A kiss can indeed be integral to falling in love, especially when we are young. It’s not merely for physical reasons, it’s just that young people tend to have idealistic and preconceived notions about love and romance. Mature adults develop a deeper understanding of intellectual and carnal pleasures. The older I get the more my perception of these things changes, thus affecting my understanding of the kiss, love, sex, and that which I find sexy. At one time I did believe that you needed to kiss someone to fall in love with them. I can say without a doubt that education has stimulated my appreciation of that which is platonic. Not that I think those with platonic relationships should never or would never kiss, but my thoughts on that would only complicate this piece.

Between 1895 and 2012, the kiss has gone from conservative to liberal on the “osculating” rate scale. The Eau Claire Evening Telegram called kissing “osculation” in an 1895 article titled “Art of Kissing.” How many of you have heard that word before? My guess is not many! I prefer the word “frenching” myself. That 1895 news article claimed that the “kiss plays an important part in history.” A kiss was considered “commingled feelings of lovers,” or “a seal on the union of souls,” or “a signature to the contract of hearts.” I did find that the 1895 article confirmed my thoughts on the eroticism of the kiss. The author said that “on the whole, poets have been more enthusiastic over kisses than oven love itself.”

The Daily Iowa Capital newspaper published “The Delight of the Kiss” in 1896 and called “osculation a theme of the great poets and writers.” One writer goes as far to say that kissing isn’t really kissing at all. Dr. Taylor “declares” that tribes “rub noses” and he says that the “prevailing salute” used by “over half the world” is actually “smelling” or “sniffing.” I find it funny that after quoting Dr. Taylor and discussing the “prevailing salute,” the author quotes Aristanetus the ancient Greek epistolographer. Aristanetus once said that a kiss was “the sweet mingling of souls.” Here we can again see the deeper connection which surpasses that which is physical.

In the 1940s, journalists were still referencing the kiss with that mechanical word. In 1941, Walter Winchell speculated that there were “still people who” didn’t “know the joys of osculation” in the Daily Mirror. At this point I had to wonder if most didn’t know the joy because they were straight scared of that word? It doesn’t exactly push my mind into romance mode. What about you? He then goes on to talk about how a “Chicago gent once sued his wife for divorce because she kissed another man over the telephone.” Hum? Maybe it was actually a connection of minds that man was more troubled by? I’m sure Winchell didn’t exactly encourage others to kiss by saying that people were in legal trouble for kissing in parked cars, on doorsteps, or God forbid in “broad daylight!”

By 1962 the “public” paranoia about kissing was peaking. Gazette Mail ran an article which was simply titled “Public” and the headline was followed by a big question mark. It would be interesting to look at intimacy issues of the time period to see if there is any correlation to anything other than “how people are brought up.” This makes me wonder if the roots of candy and all the other Valentine’s Day junk got their start here? Dr. Robert O. Blood was questioned for this gem. The article says that “some people who might otherwise be disposed to show affectionate regard in public have learned not to do so through bitter experience.” The article features a large image with a caption which reads “Hello Kiss at airport between JFK and Jackie on her arrival home from Greece embarrassed him.” Really?

She Gets The Kiss

“She Gets the Kiss”
c1898~ Image No. LC-USZ62-66319
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

It wasn’t until 1978 that I was able to see that the views on kissing had really transformed. The Winnipeg Free Press ran an article titled “A kiss is just a kiss…or is it? Kissing customs changing.” I was happy to see the change, though that damn mechanical word was still there. The article read “kissing has gone through several metamorphoses through the years. The on-screen style of smooching has progressed from proper, closed mouth kisses and a let-your-imagination-be-your-guide fade-out to today’s erotic open-mouthed osculation, which leaves little to your imagination.” But isn’t this what everyone needed? In this piece we can even see a few pointers~ one of which recommends that we kiss with our eyes by “giving the object of your affection a loving, longing look across a crowded room.” There is that mind connection again.

The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph published “The Kiss” in 1994. This is where it gets interesting because we start to see references to psychology. A quote in this article would seem superficial to most, but we must remember we are talking about a master of the mind. The “uniquely Freudian thought” which is quoted says “the kiss between the mucous membrane of the lips of two people is held in high esteem among many nations, in spite of the fact that the parts of the body involved do not form part of the sexual apparatus but constitute the entrance to the digestive tract.” Here we see Freud separate sex from the kiss and the mind. In the articles I found between 1895 and 1978, this had not been done.

Meet Me at the Fountain

“Meet Me at the Fountain”
c1908~ Image No. LC-USZ62-58857
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Today kissing and the connection of love, sex, and pleasure has been studied by neurologists and psychologists worldwide. In 2012 an article by William Loeffler was published in the Monessen Valley Independent. The article had the words science, psychologist, scientific, biologists, anthropologists, and historians. I loved this one! The word osculation is only in the dictionary now! It has been replaced by scientific or psychological terms, which I am ok with. Loeffler interviewed a woman who wrote a book on the science of kissing for this piece. Her name was Mary Kirshenbaum. He asked her “but does all this scientific analysis take all the romance out of the kiss?” She responded to Loeffler by saying “it really doesn’t take the magic away at all, but it gives us a better understanding of ourselves.”

When it comes to a holiday which is intended for romance and “magic,” we should remember what is really essential to our happiness. The mind is what is actually behind the art of a kiss and the “seal on the union of souls.” If our minds are not in it a kiss is indeed just a kiss, sex is just sex, candy is just candy, and we lose the face to face intimacy that makes us feel wanted and loved. A kiss~ even if it is only in the mind can be more sensual and satisfying than the most expensive box of chocolates~ so indulge.


January 21, 2013

Tonight I saw the music video for Stay by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko for the first time. I have been listening to the song for a while now and I absolutely love it. It is such an awesome song. Now that I see that the video is set in Havana in 1956, I like it even more. This is just a couple of years after Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In late 1956 he is said to have been reminded of writing notebooks he had hidden in the late 1920s. Hemingway located the the lost treasures and by 1957 returned to Havana to complete a memoir. In the video, Rihanna is enveloped with a Cuban man.

Pain: A Writer’s Inspiration

January 1, 2013

~Nora Arnezeder and Ben Barnes portray Celia and the Young Man in “The Words.”~

My tragedy was that I
loved words more than
the woman who inspired
me to write them.

~~The Old Man
(a character in “The Words”)


At some point, you have
to choose between life
and fiction. The two are
very close but they never
actually touch. They are
two very, very different

~~Clay Hammond
(a character in “The Words”)

Tonight I watched the movie “The Words.” The film is based on a screenplay by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Rory (played by Bradley Cooper) is a tormented writer lead by fate to another tormented writer (the old man played by Jeremy Irons). The story of these two writers is told by a famous author named Clay Hammond. Hammond (played by Dennis Quaid) is yet another tormented writer. Zoë Saldana (Dora) and Olivia Wilde (Daniella) are also in this film.

Once again, I liked something that none of the critics liked. I thought that the movie had a lot of symbolism which I would love to explore at some point. It also made me think. As writers we often second guess ourselves or try to write what we believe others will like or what we hope will sell. To describe the surface of the film in short, it is a tragic story about a desperate writer who resorts to plagiarism. The deeper story confirms that the extremities of pleasure, but mostly pain can inspire us to write our very best.

“The Words” are those of a young military man inspired by pleasure, but driven to write by his pain. He starts the first page of a manuscript on the back of a goodbye note from his wife. The writing is later lost in Paris, thus it is never published by the original author. Years later, the manuscript is discovered by Rory in an old briefcase. Out of desperation the struggling writer successfully sells it as his own. His secret is inevitably discovered by the old man who is the real author of the manuscript.

One of the most powerful moments in the story was when the young writer hits rock bottom. While he is on his knees he looks up at Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Sun Also Rises” (1926) and rips it from his bookshelf while thrashing all of his books and typewriter. The essence of Hemingway is a major symbol in the movie. That novel has been called one of Hemingway’s greatest works. It was a tragedy and was not favored by literary critics when he first published the work.

~The Young Man is driven to write his best and only work when Celia leaves him.~

~The Young Man is driven to write his best and only work when Celia leaves him.~

I assume that “The Sun Also Rises” was in the original screenplay for this movie. There were so many connections to the story of each writer in “The Words.” Hemingway’s book included; an American journalist living in Paris; a café; a tragic love story; pain; a soldier; and it was based on real people and real life. I find it interesting that Klugman and Sternthal (the writers of the original screenplay) must have known that Hemingway completed that novel when he was separated from his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

For a moment I wondered if Klugman and Sternthal loosely based all three characters on Hemingway? Even Rory is silenced by a Hemingway plaque on a wall in Paris at one point. The writers of the screenplay for “The Words” must have planned a Hemingway connection into their characters? Some have said that Hemingway “unraveled” after his divorce from his first wife. It was during the couple’s initial separation that Hemingway completed his work on the infamous novel. The book was dedicated to his former wife and his son.

This movie is a must see for all writers. I was left pondering the fact that some of the most famous pieces of literature were written with a broken heart. Feelings of pleasure can insure that we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. What is more intriguing is the fact that extreme pain is what makes a writer thrive. It is deep pain which inspires us to bleed out and leave a permanent stain.

Hillerman Conference Afterthoughts

November 13, 2012

~Betsy and Felicia~

Saturday night I attended the final event of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. There was a closing dinner with an awards ceremony. The conference was wonderful. If there are any writers out there who are looking for new venues to network, develop skills, and explore creativity, I would highly recommend this conference. I kept thinking that some of my friends should really be there. This year the conference was held from November 8-10. It was indeed awesome. As always, I learned so much. The conference secured attendance from 10 states and 25 towns. There were also two people here from Canada. I was amazed because one of the attendees from Canada must have purchased at least 50 books during the course of the conference!

~Felicia Lujan and
Author Rob Kresge
(Former CIA Analyst)~

This year I really had the chance to get to know more about some people I met last year. I did enjoy learning more about Jean Schaumberg, Laureen Pepersack, Jenn, and George Watson. I worked closely with all of them over the course of the conference. I also spent some quality chat time with: Betsy Randolph (author, state trooper/spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol); Rob Kresge (award-winning author, former CIA analyst); Wolf Schneider (movie unit publicist and writer/editor); and David Morrell (award-winning author, co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization). I learned something special from all of these people.

~Author/State Trooper/Spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Betsy Randolph talks about her new book Tokens of the Liars. Her mother Joyce is listening proudly.~

~Author Peter Joseph of New York
and his new book Boozy Brunch~

There was a vast amount of information covered each day. My writing is improving every year because of this conference. Following are some quotes, and interesting or useful things I learned this year.

~~~ David Morrell revealed that Marilyn Monroe was indeed a very smart woman. He has studied her as a “cultural icon.” I learned that she was “somewhat of a poet.” I didn’t know that. Now I want to track down her poetry. He told me that she was an orphan at an early age (which I knew). I wondered if this may be why he is interested in her? Morrell was also an orphan.

~~~Rob Kresge told me that he and any other person who has worked or works for the CIA has to run any manuscripts by the CIA Publications Review Board. This has to be done prior to publishing anything if the story is set anytime after 1947 (the year the CIA was born). Apparently this is to make sure no “secrets” get out.

~~~Anne Hillerman delivered a touching presentation about her father titled Adventures with Tony Hillerman. There were two quotes I really liked. Anne said “writing is like love~ don’t hold anything back.” She also said “don’t trust anyone who doesn’t watch the sunset.”

~~~Bill O’Hanlon delivered a presentation on e-books and e-publishing. He is a psychotherapist who has been featured on Oprah. From O’Hanlon I learned that there are over 1 billion Kindle devices in reader’s hands. He said that the Hunger Games book sold at a 4 to 1 ratio e-book/print, and that e-book readers read and buy more books. These two statistics were interesting~ in 2010 there was not one self-published e-book in the Kindle/ top 100 list and in 2011 there were 18 self-published e-books on that list.

~~~Peter Joseph delivered a presentation on traditional publishing. When I saw the “sample author questionnaire” he passed out I just about fainted. Some questions on the sample included: citizenship; hobbies; most unusual job you have ever had; website/blog URLs and traffic numbers; information about how you are inspired; and the names and/or occupations of family members, if newsworthy or relevant.

It was a great conference. Hopefully I will be able to participate from here on out. I do hope that this one will stay running strong.

1st Day at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference

November 8, 2012

Today is the first day of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. We have the bookstore all set up and we are ready to host a slew of book signings from today through Saturday. This year I was considered an official part of the team. I am very happy to be on board with this wonderful group. This is true creative force. I had to have my picture taken by this sign, as I found it to be a rather powerful message. I’ll keep you posted. I have already met some very interesting people. I have also learned so much more about a few people I already know.     Until later~ F

~Felicia at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2012~
Santa Fe, New Mexico

~Tony Hillerman Writers Conference Program~

Wakeless Love, Tragedy and Words

October 11, 2012

~~~My Newest ~ Old Books~~~
by Ernest Hemingway

I learned never to empty the well of my writing,
but always to stop when there was still something
there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill
at night from the springs that fed it.”
~~~~ Ernest Hemingway

I recently scored some new ~ old books. One thing I love to do is track down books that you just can’t find anymore. Because of the nature of my profession, these books technically are not old at all, still they are what I could easily call older. I mean you can still get a fresh copy of Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea for a contemporary English Lit class, but not one like this. When I found two treasures, I couldn’t help but notice the paperbacks were going for $1.65 back then?? Wow! Imagine that~ I would have no room to walk in my house if I could still pick up a book for a couple of bucks. How could I resist picking up the short story A Way You’ll Never Be? Or what about The Snows of Kilimanjaro with the last line of the story reading “but she did not hear him for the beating of her heart.” It is sad to see that this man~ so full of wakeless love was so very sad. He frequently mentioned suicide when writing and must have been contemplating taking his life since at least 1926~ tragically bringing his life to an end in 1961. I felt stricken with emotion tonight when I learned that two of his siblings as well as his father also committed suicide. Pleasure and pain go hand in hand for any writer, but these life changing events somehow explain his strange sadness. He was a deep man with a talent for pinning emotion laden words to paper. These books are a great addition to my personal library.

Marilyn Monroe Will Visit with Writers in Santa Fe

August 28, 2012
Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

I am so happy and so honored to receive an official request to be a part of the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference team! This will be my second year. Last week Jean Schaumberg paid me a visit and dropped off some conference post cards. She told me that she and Anne Hillerman would like to have me back this year. Jean asked me which days I would be willing to work? Well— of course my answer was **everyday!!

This year, the conference will run from November 8 thru November 10. It is such a magical event filled with books, pens and paper, computers, connections, and great minds! The conference inspires me to push forward with my unique ways of expressing myself both in writing and orally. This particular conference has been bringing upcoming and successful writers/authors together since 2004. Jean (also of the School for Advanced Research) and Anne (Tony’s daughter and a former New Mexico journalist) are the women behind WordHarvest and the writers conference. The conference is hand tailored by these two phenomenal women.

Tony Hillerman passed away in 2008. Since I am always wondering about the man behind the legend, I decided to learn more about him. I have been taking the time to read through some of his early work as a journalist with a daughter who followed in his footsteps. I knew he was a reporter for many years when he was young, but I didn’t realize the vast amount of knowledge he had with regard to New Mexico politics in the 50s and 60s? It seems that was his cup of tea! He moved from writing about politics to writing award winning mysteries. This morning at 6:00am, I received an email from WordHarvest titled This Just In! Hillerman Writers Conference Updates. The newsletter said there will be a special event to remember and honor Mr. Hillerman. The presentation will be delivered by his daughter Anne and photographer Don Strel.

In the Bravos: News from WORDHARVEST faculty and alumni section of the email, I was super excited to see novelist/author David Morrell making a return with new research on *my* woman! It’s a sign!!! Ahhh— who believes in those things anyhow eh? Still— I am beside myself…. I met Morrell last year here in Santa Fe. He is the author of the bloody and intense Rambo. Morrell “is also a former professor of American Studies.” He will deliver his newest cultural-icon essay titled Marilyn Monroe: Legend and Tragedy. The only thing missing from this particular conference will be JFK, which in all reality is the real tragedy…


For more information, visit

Wordharvest Writers Workshops | 1063 Willow Way, Santa Fe NM 87507 | Phone: 505-471-1565


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