Deborah Blanche as Adelina Otero-Warren

Register today!

The Las Vegas Literary Salon (LVLS) announces the appearance of Deborah Blanche as Nina Otero-Warren in a Chautauqua program, Aug. 22, 4 p.m., via Zoom. This presentation is free, but registration is required. To register, sign up below to receive the Zoom link.

“Perhaps La Nina, Adelina Otero-Warren, is best remembered for her influential role in securing the passage of the women’s suffrage amendment by the New Mexico legislature,” says Blanche, a veteran Chautauquan who researched and wrote the narrative in addition to portraying Otero-Warren. The first Latina to run for the United States Congress, La Nina will soon be featured on a US coin in the American Women Quarters Program beginning in 2022.

Born in 1881 into two of the most influential and prosperous families of the Rio Abajo – the Baca-Lunas and the Chavez-Oteros, La Nina was educated in both Spanish and English receiving secondary and college training in St. Louis. Throughout her life she was an active figure in the politics, social work, education, and the society of New Mexico’s capitol city. Her literary accomplishments, captured in her book, Old Spain in Our Southwest, focus on family memories as well as ranch and hacienda life in early New Mexico Territory.

La Nina artfully lived a life of self-determination while walking the well-defined lines of her class and society. Her professional work and causes included bilingual and literacy education for the rural residents of Northern New Mexico, improved health and education for Pueblo peoples, and preservation of the arts, stories, and customs of her Hispanic heritage. “Brilliant, gracious and tough,” Blanche concludes. “She’s a real challenge to portray.”

The Chautauqua program format is one in which an historical person’s life is researched thoroughly; then presented to the public as a dramatization by the scholar/performer in costume and often with props. Blanche’s presentations tend to be like short plays with spaces allowed for the audience to interact informally in a question and answer dialogue. “It’s like a trip back in time for all of us,” she says.   

Deborah Blanche has been creating one-woman shows as well as storytelling and Chautauqua programs since the mid-1970’s after studying original theatre in England. In addition, she has toured throughout the United States. In 1988 she received the YWCA’s Woman on the Move award for her contribution to the arts in New Mexico. She lives near Las Vegas, New Mexico, and her entire repertoire can be seen at www.palomitaproductions.org.

For more information: Contact Edwina P. Romero, epattiport@hotmail.com; or go to Las Vegas Literary Salon lvliterarysalon@gmail.com or the Las Vegas Arts Council, lvac@lasvegasartscouncil.org.


Register to receive Zoom link for La Nina, Adelina Otero-Warren

Celebrating young writers

Thanks, Next Gen writers! Writing is a solitary endeavor and we never know the gift our words are to others until we share them. The Next Gen event on July 25, at Gallery 140, was well-attended by an appreciative audience whose support for young writers was evident. The seating limit was 35 and there were a few people standing, ergo, we had a standing-room-only crowd!

Thanks Maya Sena, Josephine Morales, Dominic Garcia, Christian Lopez, Viviana Rivera and Joshua Sandoval. You all did an excellent job and we at the Las Vegas Literary Salon look forward to working with you and encouraging you in your writing journey. We appreciate you taking time to share your work.

Thanks also, to those of you filled out an “I Want to Help” form. We will be getting in touch with you soon. And our deepest appreciation to those of you who donated.

Next Gen is the 14th presentation by the Las Vegas Literary Salon since launching in July 2020. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor the Las Vegas Arts Council, Las Vegas Community Foundation, and a Mustard Seed Grant from the First United Presbyterian Church, LVLS has shared the talents of more than 30 writers from the Las Vegas area! Previous events have been virtual, thanks to Zoom, a technology that has allowed us to take a dream concept to reality. We will return to Zoom for our next event, La Nina: The Story of Nina Otero-Warren. Details and registration form here.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the written word as a writer and a reader. The craft of writing is a skill set that goes beyond putting pen to page. It is immersing oneself in the art of creation and bringing your reader along for the ride.


Fill out the contact form below and let Las Vegas Literary Salon know how you would like to be involved as a writer, reader or volunteer.

Dr. Alvin Korte, Feedback

Dr. Korte was the featured guest on Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Visit with the Author, Sunday, May 23. Here are his comments about the experience, shared here with his permission. You may watch a video of the event here.

Dr. Korte: Personally, I am satisfied with the whole experience. When confronted with the format, I unlearned everything. To begin with, I couldn’t log on to Zoom. My daughter and backup arrived at the right time and logged me in. I am still trying to answer the question as to what to make of Baca’s poem. I found some stuff in the Nosotros book, which has a classification by type. Anyway, I spent 30 days developing a one-hour Powerpoint presentation (for the Salon). Overall, starting from the last presentation (on dreams and creativity), I was  glad I heard about dreams. It freed me to rethink my paper on “transcendence.”  I had been stuck for about six weeks, complete writer’s block. I remembered Marie Louise von Frantz’s book “On Dreams & Death: A Jungerian Interpretation.” The month of work on a slide show gave me the kind of review of my work I  needed to complete the book. The road ahead is clear.

I am glad the interview went the way it did with an open discussion. Through development of the slide presentation, the work became clear to me. I know where I need to go and am satisfied as it has freed me up. I thank all who attended and for their reflection back. I has edified me in so many ways. Adelante! (forward march, for me). Many, many thanks.


Las Vegas Literary Salon is grateful for all the time writers and presenters put into their guest appearances. And, we deeply appreciate attendees who by their presence and participation make these events rich in content. As we look to in-person Salons, our goal will be to continue with original programming that will include readings by published authors, workshops, and round-table events on topics related to writing, publishing, and reading. Please follow this website to stay informed about planned Salons. Whether Zoom or in-person, Salon events will be held on the 4th Sunday of the month at 4 p.m., unless otherwise notified. Changes of time and venue will be advertised well in advance of events.

And, if you have a submission for Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poems, the deadline has been extended to July 1. So, put your pen to page or fingers to keyboard and get that gem written and sent in! Click on the Tapestry tab in the menu for submission guidelines.

QUICK FIXES WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE

You have some time. Maybe you have some time at the same hour and in the same place every day. Most days, you write eagerly and productively. You make progress on your novel or your collection of short stories, or your non-fiction history of the Sangre de Christo mountains.

But then one day you have the time. You have the space. You have the enthusiasm. But you don’t have any idea what you want to put down on the page. Often, this has roots in self doubt. 

Nobody wants to read this. I suck at this. Who am I to try this?

The first thing to do is tell yourself it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, because this is a first draft, and you aren’t going to show it to anyone. Now that that’s out of the way, remind yourself that the most important thing is to get the story down on paper before you lose it. That is, if you have a story. 

If you  have a story, and you don’t know where to go next, try free writing. Do this with a paper and pen and the determination not to cross out or read until you’re done with the exercise. Start with the last sentence you wrote in your story and write for 30 minutes without stopping. At some point you may need to write “Keep the hand moving” a couple of time before your mind kicks in. As the author and creative writing teacher Natalie Goldberg advises: “Follow your mind.” Don’t try to stay on track (what you think is the track) just write. Something good will come out of it. Maybe something small, maybe something important. It doesn’t matter.

And if you don’t  have a story, pick a color, or an object, and write about that, until something clicks in your mind and you are writing about a memory, or a dream, or a wish you had as a child, anything that resonates with you and continue with that until you have exhausted it. These seemingly random thoughts will have little nuggets of truth that you can work with.

Maybe you will get a poem, or the start of one. Maybe you will get a flawed character that you can build a seven novel series on.

One of my favorite exercises when I’m starting a new story or poem or scene for a play is to go to the thesaurus or the dictionary, open it at random with my eyes closed and put my finger on the page. I do this three times (three different pages). Jot down each word in turn, then look at each word. If you’re not sure of the meaning, look it up. Now use the meanings of those three words in your poem or short story WITHOUT EVER USING THE WORDS. Somehow, this gives your mind room to play and make some surprising connections that will enrich your work.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. This next one came from Alice Whitfield, my voiceover coach one day when she felt that the energy in the class was not as creative as she would like. Evidently we were all giving lackluster performances on our recordings. She told us all to close our eyes and picture a corner in our kitchen at home. We were to recall every single item in that corner, from floor to ceiling, to pick up any small objects, to note their color, and weight in our minds. We were to think of a scent from the kitchen, maybe gingerbread, or savory stuffing, or something else pungent that we enjoyed. When she told us to open our eyes, and take our turns recording for a second time, every single performance had improved. And I put it into my writing toolkit. 

When the current plague is over and we can return to activities like sitting with our notebooks and a cup of tea or coffee at Travelers or Charlies or El Sombrero, listen to the conversations around you. Not obviously, of course, try to look like you are writing something of your own, not recording snippets of conversation. I once heard a woman say to a man that stopped by her table, “Is your dad still in the graveyard?” Something like that can lead to any number of stories.

Is the dad a gravedigger? A landscaper? A vampire that walks by night?

Another trick you can use is to have some jars filled with folded scraps of paper. One jar could have jobs – mechanic, neurosurgeon, substitute teacher, detective, etc. Another could have places – small town, big city, mesas, mountains, Alaska fishing village, artist’s colony, desert, any place you can think of, especially if you have been there, or would like to research it. Then a jar with situations – kidnapping, star crossed lovers, changing places with someone, building a house on swampland. Pull two slips out of the first jar for your protagonist and antagonist. Then a slip of paper for the place. Then one for the situation. And suddenly you have characters in a situation in a place. And it’s a start.

Now use these tips, or your preferred starting point, and write something (poetry, essay, or fiction) for Tapestry, the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s upcoming collection. The deadline for submission is June 1, so start writing. Click on the TAPESTRY GUIDELINES tab in the menu to get the submission guidelines and read the Call for Submissions here.

GET LIT WITH LAS VEGAS LITERARY SALON

On Sunday, Feb. 28, 4-5 p.m., bring your topic and let’s talk writing. Get Lit with Las Vegas Literary Salon is an open forum on the topics of writing and publishing. Scheduled participants include Bob and Mary Rose Henssler talking about creativity, inspiration, and poetry, Susie Tysitee reflecting on writing as an art form, and Sharon Vander Meer presenting the pros and cons of self-publishing. And whatever topic you would like to add to the mix.

The Lit Salon development team will also put out a call for submissions for A Northeastern New Mexico Tapestry: Poetry, Essays, Tales, a publication featuring area writers and their poetry, short fiction and essays on the topic of Northeastern New Mexico with a focus on Las Vegas.

Bob Henssler is an artist, musician and photographer, in addition to writing poetry. Bob will read some of his work and discuss the seeds of inspiration, where they come from and how they sprout. His work reflects multiple artistic endeavors. His poetry is taken from personal experience and observation. “I may view a photo or painting and react by writing out what I see and feel. My fears from the past well up and need to be verbalized and take the form of a poem. I don’t adhere to any measured metric or rhyme as life doesn’t come to us in form noted out on a staff.” 

Mary Rose Henssler is equally multi-talented. She resides in San Miguel County, New Mexico with Bob, two dogs and a cat. “I fill my time with reading and writing: poetry, plays, comedy sketches, memoir, short stories and novels.” She also enjoys block printing, drawing, and watercolor painting, acting with the Nat Gold players, and gardening. Her talk is entitled, Quick fixes when you’re not sure what to write. Mary Rose is on the planning team for Las Vegas Literary Salon.

Susie Tsyitee is the executive director of the Las Vegas Arts Council, and was the creative prod that got LVLS from concept to reality. LVLS early efforts to organize its first event came to a halt when Covid descended. Susie, always a creative thinker, saw the possibilities to launch LVLS offered through Zoom, a digital tool provided through a grant from Las Vegas Community Foundation. And the rest – as they say – is history. Susie will present on the topic, “Writing as an art form.”

Sharon Vander Meer, a co-organizer of LVLS with Patti Romero, is a published indie author and freelance writer whose work appears periodically in the Las Vegas Optic. Her books and other writing are featured on her website www.vandermeerbooks.com. Sharon will talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing. She has published five novels and two chapbooks of poetry.

Sharon will also talk about the collection of poetry, short fiction, and essays to be published in early November. The guidelines will be available upon request. The working title is A Northeastern New Mexico Tapestry: Poetry, Essays, Tales.

SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 4-5 PM
Register below to receive your Zoom link to Get Lit With Las Vegas Literary Salon.

What is the Literary Salon

Howdy! We’re glad you’re here

Sharon Vander Meer

Las Vegas Literary Salon hosted its first event Sunday, July 12, thanks to the Las Vegas Arts Council and the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation. The event was a delayed launch because of the pandemic. Originally, thanks to a Mustard Seed grant from the First United Presbyterian Church, the first event was to be a poetry workshop in April featuring Carolyn Martin.

After waiting for life to get back to normal, which clearly wasn’t happening soon enough for us, Patti Romero and I, founders of LVLS, decided to make use of Zoom technology to get LVLS up and running. With the encouragement and help of LVAC’s Susie Tsytee, we produced a Writers & Readers Roundtable featuring five authors. It was well attended for our first foray into the digital world and gave us much-needed encouragement to continue.

Thanks to our guests, author Ray John de Aragon, poet Joy Alesdatter, historian Tim Hagaman, poet Kathleen Lujan, and writer/performance artist Beth Urech, we saw the potential for more.

Since then we have had an event each month through November and will return to programming in January with Toby Smith, author of Crazy Fourth: How Jack Johnson Kept His Heavyweight Title and Put Las Vegas, New Mexico, on the Map.

This is the launch of our website, which is very much a work in progress. Click on Guest Roll for a brief bio and contact information for previous LVLS guests.

Going forward, we will continue with A Visit with the Author, and expand on workshops, like the one conducted by Carolyn Martin. We’re looking for ideas, so if you have a topic you would like us to explore, or a presenter who LVLS might invite, or suggestions for improvement to the site, please let us know by filling out the contact form below.

There is no cost for participants or audience members. We want to thank the LVNM Community Foundation and the Las Vegas Arts Council for their encouragement and support. And thanks to the First Presbyterian Church of Las Vegas for its Mustard Seed Grant, which allowed us to resubmit the grant request with revised deliverables. With the grant, we will purchase a one-year Zoom license and get this website off the ground. The remaining grant funds will be used to published a collection of short stories and poems by regional writers. But, that’s a story for another day.

LVLS events are generally held from 4-5 p.m., the fourth Sunday of the month. Registration is required so we may send you a Zoom invite specific to the featured guest or program. In the future, we hope to switch to in-person activities. Until then, our programming is digital.

Please share this post with your friends who love writing and reading. We’re excited about the future of Las Vegas Literary Salon. If you would like to become a member, click on the Contact tab and provide us with your email address. We will send you notification of upcoming events. We also invite you to follow this website so you don’t miss any of our posts.

A special thanks to Jim Terr who has generously edited some of our videos. We appreciate the donation of his time and expertise.

The Las Vegas Literary Salon Team
Sharon Vander Meer
Patti Romero
Mary Rose Henssler