Gina Orlando Featured Speaker Oct. 23

Gina Orlando will talk about and read from her book “Galactic Herstory, Vol I: Tales of a Warrior Born by the Light at a Las Vegas Literary Salon sponsored presentation at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 23, at Stella’s on Bridge Street. An open mic event will follow. Gina’s book will be available for purchase or it can be ordered here.

Q&A with Oct. 23 featured author Gina Orlando.

What brought you to Las Vegas?
Gina: I have been living in Montezuma for the past year. I have always been a gypsy of sorts and love to travel and explore new pockets of the land and places to live. I believe the land calls us home to where we belong if we can tune in and listen.

What has been you education or career path?
Gina: I am a multi-dimensional energy intuitive, seer and channel who focuses on the restoration of truth, love, sovereignty, and creative expression into the collective dream of humanity. I hold a Mater’s in Metaphysical Science and have worked as a trauma counselor and advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. 

Galactic Herstory

Talk about your writing journey.
Gina: I am completely self-taught as an artist and writer. My writings began as my personal journal and evolved as an ongoing process of a way to make sense of the senseless and retrieve my multi-dimensional memories in an attempt to heal, integrate and to become truly whole again. I traveled through hell and back again revealing the hidden truth of my deep seated multi-generational pain and trauma. Nature became my Mother. She showed me the way home. My writings are poetic in nature, the book reads like a narrative and is timeless in nature. It is a thought provoking, heart activating book that takes readers on a mystical journey to explore infinite love, cosmic creation, and the vast potential of the human experience. I am currently working on completing the sequel to the first book.

What has your experience been with indie publishing?
Gina: As a visionary artist it allowed me the artistic freedom to create something truly unique and stay true to my authentic voice and creative expression without having to alter or change it to try and fit into a particular genera. Although there have been many challenges as far as getting my work out more publicly to the masses.

What do you most want people to know about you as a writer?
Gina: I am deeply inspired by creation and the cosmos. My work expresses the relationship between Spirit and Nature. Cyclical rhythms such as the inner and outer seasons are explored within the context of dreams, myth, and symbolism to inform an exploration of personal psychology, the collective unconscious, and the language of light. The journey of the soul becoming human and the alchemical union between feminine and masculine consciousness guide my creative practice. As an artist and writer, I focus on the circle as a living symbol and container of essence allowing the invisible to express itself naturally through symbols, patterns, colors and words revealing energy in motion which can be described as visionary art.


The LVLS October event is free and open to the public. If you wish to read during the Open Mic, please sign in when you arrive at the venue. Readings will be limited to seven minutes.

Las Vegas Literary Salon is a nonprofit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Las Vegas Arts Council. For more information about how you can become involved, email We are seeking active creatives.

Blanche brings historic figure to life

On Sept. 18, Deborah Blanche, widely known for her portrayal of notable women from history, will be part of the New Mexico History Museum’s day-long public celebration of Nina Otero-Warren, one of four remarkable women to be represented on quarters released by the U.S. Mint. The free event runs from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Click here for a complete list of activities. Deb’s La Nina Chautauqua begins at 1 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

Nina Otero-Warren, champion of education, and advocate for cultural preservation, will be celebrated with talks, special activities, and entertainment. Otero-Warren was a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first female superintendent of Santa Fe public schools.

Deb, as Nina, invites the audience into her library on the occasion of her 70th birthday. There she reminisces and confides, answers, and disclaims, takes you back on the campaign trail of 1922, shares some of her pandemic experiences, even tells stories from her book Old Spain in Our Southwest. Ever provocative, she also raises questions about why women have not yet been written into the US Constitution; the inequities in health, labor and education for Native Americans and Hispanics; and the role of the arts, language and culture in education.

Deb, an accomplished writer and actress, is a member of Las Vegas Lit Salon.

And the Winners are…

A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.
~ Lorrie Moore

Stephen King writes: A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. 

Our winners reflect both these concepts.

John Crain of Cerrillos, has had professional careers in the fine arts, astronomy, and computer science. Between those unraveling strings of time in which he is forced to make money, he writes short stories, poems, and novels having to do with multiple universes. His short story, Forgiveness, appears in Las Vegas Lit’s collection, Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry. His Elmer Schooley Short Story, I Saw You in a Dream Last Night, captured in less than 1,000 words the essence of the Schooley image and took the story in a different direction, reminding readers what dreams can be made of.

Pam Lewis, of Los Ranchos, states on her author page that she was born in Burbank but moved frequently because of her father’s career path in the aviation industry. The family settled in New York City long enough for Pam to attend high school. A shy, observant girl, “a little too tall too soon,” she excelled at school when she finally set her sights on Stanford University and squeaked in on so-so grades. She is mom to two adult children.

As is true of many creatives, she has worked at a little of this and a little of that. “On the cusp,” she writes, “of her 59th year, her first book was taken by Simon and Schuster, then a second and now, with the publication of A Young Wife, a third. 

Her story for the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest, Sometimes it’s Out of Your Hands, met the requirements of the call with writing excellence, and a tight mystery with a mere 1,150 words.

Mary Rose Henssler spent most of her life in Nevada in the small town of Battle Mountain, Henderson, neon lit Las Vegas, and other places and other states. She and husband, Bob, two dogs and a cat have found their roots at a rambling home surrounded by prairie just outside Las Vegas in New Mexico. She majored in play writing at Vermont College of Norwich University and studied script writing and voice over at UNLV. Two of her plays have been performed. Publication credits include poetry in now defunct literary magazines and a chapbook of political limericks. She writes and enjoys drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and being outdoors. Her story, The Hat, tells a tale of promises kept. She has several pieces in Tapestry.

Announcement of the winners and presentation of awards took place at the closing reception of the June Art Show and Sale, an event curated by Las Vegas Arts Council president, Richard Lindeborg. Proceeds from art sales went to support other nonprofit agencies in Las Vegas: Friends of the Montezuma Hot Springs, Hermits Peak Watershed Alliance, Las Vegas Literary Salon, Las Vegas Arts Council, MainStreet de Las Vegas, Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern NM , NMHU Foundation Lindeborg Fund and Collection Fund.

Artists represented included: Elmer Schooley, Dia Atman, Ellen Koment, Pamela Bounds-Seeman, Mary Beth Pizzoli, Eugene King, Eloise Lindeborg, Gail Malley, June Bowers, Ray Drew, Lina Valdez, Ethel Kriechbaum, Lucy Finch, Lee Weber, R.C. Gorman, John Gavahan, D. Chase Keightley, Clayton Lewis, Ralph Bowyer, M. Craig, Carol Dahl, Scott Vail, Ray John de Aragon, Rosa Maria Calles

The winners each received $300. Mary Rose Henssler chose to donate here prize back to the Literary Salon. The three winning stories will be published in a spring/summer anthology scheduled for release in time for the holidays 2023.

Las Vegas Literary Salon is a nonprofit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Las Vegas Arts Council. For more information about how you can become involved, email We are seeking active creatives.

Patti Writes

Hello Readers and Bloggers and Writers:

I’m taking a bit of a break this month-end to prepare for my Lit Salon Talk: Reading and Writing Historical Fiction, featuring my novel, Prairie Madness, Conspiracy at Fort Union.

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On Sunday, July 24, 2022, 4 p.m MST, the Las Vegas Literary Salon will sponsor what I hope and plan will be a lively Zoom discussion of the genre: its forms, content, excitement, frustrations, research methods, rewards … (You may fill in your own experiences as readers/writers.)

Hope to hear from you on July 24, with your questions and comments. The zoom link is Registration is not required but helpful. Go to this link to register

Edwina Romero aka Patti Writes

I plan to attend
Lit Salon Talk: Reading and Writing Historical Fiction

Patti Writes: A Circle of Light

“Is it time yet?” I whisper loudly. ‘In a stage whisper,’ Nanna would say.

I am poised with the red table lamp, its cord dangling from the outlet between the two kitchen windows, in one hand, and my library book under my arm. In the small bedroom off the kitchen, Ma is crooning gently to Denise, the baby. Ronnie’s silence means he is staring intently at Ma’s lips. Denise babbles. Then a sigh, like at the end of a long hard day at the factory. And Ronnie whispers ‘good night, Mum.’

Soon after, Ma slowly backs out of the ‘kids’ room, silently closing the door to within the width of her hand.

I know not to breathe or the spell will be broken.

Then, I scramble through the open window onto the screened-in back porch, while Ma pours two juice-sized glasses of milk, then assembles our butter and saltine cracker sandwiches. I set the lamp on the box between two low-slung beach chairs. The cord is just long enough, actually, taut, and I switch on the light. My job done, I lie back, book on my lap, and watch the outlines of the houses on Marion Street melt away, and dots of lights appear in their windows. As darkness claims day, the lamp’s bulb creates a bright circle of light, an oasis, big enough to include us, our snacks, and books. I love this.

Balancing our goodies on Nanna’s old wooden tray, Ma enters the porch through the doorways—kitchen door to back-hall to porch door to porch. She transfers plates and glasses to the box and returns to the kitchen. In my mind, I see her stack the tray beside the toaster and begin the search for her book.  

I wait.

She returns.

We establish ourselves in our chairs—scootching around for comfort. It is hot summer in East Boston and sticky humid. “Not a breath of air,” Nanna’s voice says in my head. City sounds are lazy—a dog bark, a car horn, a kid’s laugh, the brief smack-thud of a moth trying to get through the screens.

My mother always claimed she was tricked into agreeing to move to this flat on the top floor of my grandfather’s three-story apartment building on busy Meridian Street. As she told and retold it, she and Daddy stood in the empty kitchen with its brass fittings and grey, double soapstone sinks, and Dad said, “Look Reta, a big back yard for the kids.”

“It was dusk,” she’d say to me. “No screens. Who could tell that our so- called big back yard was actually the neighbor’s?” Our flat had only this back porch, screening added later against the moths, overlooking the back yards of other houses.

 Our building had no back, side, or front yard. But we had this circle of light and reading, reading in the night on the back porch together.

This memory sustained me through entrance exams, essay tests, comprehensive exams, dissertation defense, and even conference papers as I adjusted the microphone and the reader’s circle of light on the podium.

Read here to learn more about Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize writing contest. Cash prizes of $300 each to the top three submissions and an opportunity to be included in the contest’s short story anthology of qualifying entries. Download Submission Guidelines here. Short Story Contest submission deadline changed to July 1.

Patti Writes

Here we are. Poetry Month 2022.

This is a poem I “keypunched” when I worked as a keypunch operator at Harbor Service Bureau, Wilmington, CA; circa 1968. Using simple number coding, I punched cargo data from a ship’s manifest into the keypunch cards.The punched cards were then “verified” by another keypunch operator by re-entering the data into the cards I had punched. Once verified, the cards were fed into the computer, which filled an 8 by 4 foot “Computer Room” and ultimately created a detailed cargo print-out for unloading the cargo. 

Clearly, I felt as though the keypunch machine was in charge of my life. When all six of us were keypunching, it was very noisy. Also clearly, any subject can be fodder for poetry.

Seeking Short Story Submissions

The Las Vegas Literary Salon announces a call for submissions to the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest, with support from its fiscal sponsor organization, the Las Vegas (NM) Arts Council, and made possible by the generous donation from Lorenzo Martinez of four Elmer Schooley prints.

One of the four prints was selected to serve as the inspirational launch point for participating writers, shown at left. Qualifying submissions and prize-winning stories will be those which best reflect and reveal the hidden tales behind the image.

The deadline to receive entries is midnight, July 1, 2022. Professional and amateur writers of all backgrounds and ages are welcome to submit their works of 2,000 words or less. The three cash prize winners and all qualifying entries will be included in an Anthology, to be published by the Las Vegas Literary Salon later this year, and each will receive a free copy of the book.

In support of the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s fundraising efforts, the Schooley prints will be on display and available for purchase during the month of June at the Las Vegas Arts Council Gallery 140, 140 Bridge St. in Las Vegas, NM, along with works contributed by other artists in the local area in support of nonprofit organizations. For more information on the gallery show, contact Susie Tsyitee at, or 505-603-9543.

Find full submission guidelines for the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest at:

Email questions to

The Las Vegas Literary Salon is an organization fiscally sponsored by the Las Vegas Arts Council. Its mission – in part – is to present, preserve, publish, and promote writers and their works.




As the Las Vegas Literary Salon gears up for its Elmer Schooley Short Story contest with a 2,000 word count limit, we felt this would be a good time to remind writers of some of the conventions common to writing shorter pieces of prose. Remember, the story you submit for the contest must be based on the Elmer Schooley print shown here.

  1. Create a character who wants something and another character who wants the same thing, or who has reason to oppose the main character’s attempts to get what they want. For fiction this short, there will not be room to develop more than three characters.
  2. Bring the conflict to light as close to the beginning of the story as possible. Make the reader want to read on to find out what happens next.
  3. Consider point of view: who will be telling this story? Will it be told in the first, second or third person?
  4. Choose a place that has significance for you. Close your eyes and pretend you’re walking toward it. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch? Awaken all of your senses to draw the reader into this adventure with you. If you are using an entirely fictional location, free write to figure out the sensory details of that place.
  5. Story is a catalogue of events. (The man planted a garden. He died there.) Plot is a listing of events with causality. (The man planted a garden. He died there when an elk jumped the garden fence and trampled him.)
  6. Make your characters real. Address their internal and external conflicts. Use physical description, speech, and action to make the characters relatable.
  7. What is the subject of your story?
  8. What is the theme?
  9. How does it end? It’s okay to surprise the reader, as long as the ending makes sense within the context of the story. I recently read the top three winning entries in a short short story contest. The contest required a maximum length of 1,000 words. One writer told the story in backwards order. Another writer described what the main character was like before The Thing That Happened, and then described what the main character was like after The Thing That Happened. She never told the reader what it was that happened. Never gave any detail about it at all. But because of the way she described the actions and feelings and even the clothing the main character wore, the reader knows, instinctively, what happened. The third story had a more conventional structure. All of the entries were well under the 1,000 word limit.
  10. Write with wild abandon, and then when you rewrite, write tight. With limited word count, it’s necessary to make every word work.

The above list is not meant as a road map to writing a short story, but merely as a reminder to include these basic elements that will enhance the reader’s enjoyment and understanding of the story you tell.

For additional writing advice, check out this link to entertaining words of wisdom on writing short stories from Kurt Vonnegut:

Click on Elmer Schooley Short Story for more information about the contest.
Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2022

Patti Writes

In thinking about blogging and, thus, about sharing thoughts and ideas, I offer this simple advice to writers and readers:

“What I ask from a book is what I want to write: I book I’d like to read myself.” – James Hillman, The Force of Character and the Later Life

Read here to learn more about Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize writing contest. Cash prizes to the top three submissions and an opportunity to be included in the contest’s short story anthology of qualifying entries. Download Submission Guidelines here.


The Las Vegas Literary Salon Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize fund-raising effort is supported by donations from educator, author and artist Ray John de Aragon, and Rosa Maria Calles, artist, playwright, and folklore dramatist. Among the offerings are signed posters of paintings by de Aragon and Calles depicting cultural icons Gorras Blancas and Los Penitentes, and several of de Aragon’s books, most with cover illustrations by Calles. Ray John is a recognized expert on the Spanish colonial arts, traditions, heritage, and folklore.

The 19 x 25 signed posters sell for $50 each; the books are available at prices ranging from $16.95 to $24.95. The books (listed below) are a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

• Images of America: Lincoln – Arcadia Publishing, $21.99
• The Legend of La Llorona – Sunstone Press, (Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $16.95
• Recollection of the life of the Priest, Don Antonio Jose Martinez, by Pedro Sanchez, (Original Spanish text translated by Ray John de Aragon – Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $16.95
• New Mexico in the Mexican-American War – The History Press, $21.99• The Penitentes of Hew Mexico, Hermanos de la Luz/Brothers of the Light – Sunstone Press, (Illustration by Rosa Maria Calles)$24.95
• Hermanos de la Luz – Brothers of the Light, Heartsfire Books, (Illustration, Ray John de Aragon)$16.95
• Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy, Sunstone Press, (Illustration, Rosa Maria Calles) $18.95

To purchase any of these items, contact, or contact the Las Vegas Arts Council, Gallery 140 (140 Bridge Street), Las Vegas, N.M.

Read more on the two artists who are donating their work to support Las Vegas Literary Salon and the Las Vegas Arts Council.

From PeoplePill: “Rosa Maria Calles, artistic director for Matraka Inc. wrote and produced the thrilling play Cuento de La Llorona…The play … attracted rave reviews from critics throughout New Mexico…the story is told in the form of a spectacular stage play with music, song, dialogue, and dance that captures the very essence of Spanish Colonial traditions, heritage, culture, and history in the Southwest.” From Latinos In the Industry, October 2004, a publication of the “National Association of Latino Independent Producers.” Read more of Calles’ bio at this link

From PeoplePill: “Ray John de Aragón was born in Las Vegas, N.M. It is generally agreed that the most significant biographical link between de Aragón and his work is this fact of his birth and growth to maturity in his native New Mexico. Here is the source of his knowledge and love of his Hispanic culture and traditions, his biological view of life, and many of his characters, whether true life heroes such as Padre Antonio Jose Martinez, who is the subject in many of his writings, or the legendary La Llorona, who is the wailing female ghost of Hispanic folklore.” (Jim Sagel, Ray John de Aragón in Profile) Read more about de Aragon at this link

Our deepest appreciation to husband-and-wife creative team, Ray John and Rosa Maria.

Please make checks payable to Las Vegas Arts Council with Lit Salon in the memo line. Click here for more information about the Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize.