Selected summer reading for lovers of New Mexico

Whet your appetite for a good book –
check out these author interviews and book descriptions to make your choice

-Compiled by the editors of ABQ A&E

Albuquerque ARTS

Parris Afton Bonds

Parris Afton Bonds breaks with traditional publishing
Author of 35 novels published by Silhouette Romance, Parris Afton Bonds is using Smashwords to self-publish her 36th. “Dancing with Wild Woman,” a mystery/suspense romance set on the Hopi Reservation, is available on Amazon Kindle (, Barnes & Noble Nook ( and

“The publishing industry is changing hugely with introduction of the ebook,” Bonds said in an interview from her home near Dallas. “Many authors are choosing the ‘indie’ route to publication.

“I’m thrilled because I’m in control. I can use the language I want and control the cover, promotion, marketing, and the price. It’s still a learning experience for me. Self-publishing is an incredible opportunity for new writers to get a foot in the door, which they couldn’t with traditional publishing houses.”

Bonds visited the Hopi Reservation three times while doing research. She also relied heavily on Frank Waters’ 1977 “Book of the Hopi,” a non-fiction compilation of Hopi stories, language, rituals and photographs.

Albuquerque ARTS“This is the first time I’ve devoted a work to mystery/suspense romance,” Bonds added. “About 50 percent of my novels have been about Native Americans, so ‘Dancing with Wild Woman’ is in keeping with my love for their culture.”

I asked if “Dancing with Wild Woman” might be the first in a series.

“I didn’t plan it that way, but I liked my female Hopi detective so much I wanted to know what she’s going to do next,” she replied. “But I’ve put that project aside to issue some of my print books in ebook format on Amazon at reduced prices.”

Named one of the three best-selling authors of romantic fiction by ABC Nightline, in the early 1980s Bonds co-founded two prominent writers’ groups: Romance Writers of America ( and Albuquerque’s own SouthWest Writers ( 

“Last April I crossed number 43 off my bucket list,” she said with a smile. “I rode in a hot air balloon. Albuquerque still calls to me, but my family’s here in Texas.”

She misses many Albuquerque restaurants including the Hacienda and El Pinto. “I love the Sandia foothills and the volcanoes, and lots of places in Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Corrales down by the river.”  

More fun facts and details, including a video interview, are available at

–Peggy Herrington is associate editor of ABQ Arts & Entertainment.


Albuquerque ARTS

The Witch Narratives: Reincarnation
By Belinda Vasquez Garcia
(2012, CreateSpace,
An historical-paranormal novel that takes place in Madrid, New Mexico during the Roaring 20s and Great Depression, the first of a four-book series. The author was inspired by a photograph she saw of present-day witches in Madrid. Kirkus Reviews described it as “A fabulous story packed with detail that explores both the positive and damning effects of extreme faith in a way that feels both fresh and authentic. With a killer twist near the end and supernatural folklore that feels grounded in reality, Garcia’s title is fluid and well-paced, never taking the audience’s attention for granted. The world the author creates is rich, and lush; supernatural fans will certainly appreciate the copious world-building that went into this novel. Readers won’t be able to put it down – especially after one character’s very disturbing return.”


Albuquerque ARTS

Lisa Unger. Photo by Jeff Unger.

Lisa Unger comes to the KiMo
International best-selling author Lisa Unger, whose books have sold over 1 million copies, has a new thriller out, Heartbroken, about three women whose lives collide on a lake island in Albuquerque ARTSthe Adirondacks– it’s literary, spellbinding, and chilling. Think: fateful drama with some Stephen King-ish specters to up the ante. Unger appears on Wednesday, June 27 at 7 PM at the KiMo Theatre, 423 Central Ave. NW, 505.768.3522.
—Wolf  Schneider 



 Around New Mexico


Albuquerque ARTSHow To: multiple perspectives on creating a garden, a life, relationships and community

Edited by Susan McAllister, Jessie Rogers and Wade Patterson; with illustrations by Betsy James (2012, Old School Books, The Harwood Art Center of Escuela del Sol Montessori) 

A poetry chapbook loosely organized around the guiding principle described in the subtitle, this anthology is written by much-published local contributors such as Hakim Bellamy, Margaret Randall, Jill Battson, Lauren Camp, and Don McIver. Readers will especially enjoy the lovely preface by Harwood’s Jessie Rogers and delightful garden-themed drawings and tips by local artist-author Betsy James.


Albuquerque ARTSTriassic Hall
Text and photographs by Jaenet Guggenheim and Dr. Spencer G. Lucas
(2012, Azro Press,
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s book “Triassic Hall” was nominated for two national awards –the Benjamin Franklin Awards and ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Award.  The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science preserves and interprets the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning.


Albuquerque ARTSMalpais Review
Edited and published by Gary L. Bower (
The Spring 2012 issue of this literary review produced in Placitas features the work of Alvaro Cardona-Hine, Gene Frumkin, Adrienne Rich, Harvena Richter, Maria Vazquez Valdéz, and the Librotraficante movement; along with a mini-anthology of African American poetry edited by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy.


Albuquerque ARTS




The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other True Stories
By Tony Hillerman
(April 2012, University of New Mexico Press, 17 photographs, 
This reissue of nine nonfiction pieces by the late Hillerman was first printed in 1973, and now contains a foreword by his daughter Anne Hillerman with new photographs by Don Strel.



Albuquerque ARTSEnchanted Legends and Lore of New Mexico: Witches, Ghosts & Spirits by Ray John de Aragon
(April 2012, The History Press, 
Born in Las Vegas, NM, author and santero de Aragon grew up with the culture, traditions, heritage and history of Spanish New Mexico. He says in his “Foreword into the Unknown”: “I loved all of the unearthly folk stories of New Mexico. The comings and goings of ghosts attracted my attention. Witches traversing the night were as real to me as sunshine and moonlight, but it was the sounds of night, like the distant howl of a coyote or the hoot of an owl, and the strange compelling allure of the dark that attracted me most. Herein I record what I heard and learned.”


Albuquerque ARTSNew Mexico: A Photographic Tribute; Centennial Edition
By John Annerino
(2012, Globe Pequot Press,
Essays about and photos of iconic landscapes and secret places by the author of 17 books of photography, including “Desert Light” and “Grand Canyon Wild.” 


Albuquerque ARTSTurning Points in Women’s Lives: From the 20th to the 21st Century
Edited by Shirley L. Patterson and Susan A. Cho
(2012, Nuevo Books, Los Ranchos,
Memoirs by 41 women who live at La Vida Llena, an active senior lifestyle facility in Albuquerque, with a foreword by Martha Burk. Proceeds from the book go the Full Life Foundation.



Art books 

Albuquerque ARTSAlbuquerque Pueblo and Deco
By Paul R. Secord
(2012, Arcadia Publishing, 
This book is from the Images of America series, and joins others such as “Albuquerque’s Parks and Open Space” and “Route 66 in New Mexico” as local authors delve into topics of interest. Photographs depict architectural styles from existing and bygone examples.

 The author writes to ABQ Arts & Entertainment:

“Albuquerque Deco and Pueblo introduces the reader to a surprisingly rich regional expression of architectural styles. They are reflected in the City’s search for a unique identity during the first half of the 20th Century. This search explored, and mixed, a wide verity of motifs, often heavily influenced by the local indigenous Native American cultures. The book will appeal not only to readers interested in New Mexico architecture and history, but also to those with an interest in the richness of architecture; in particular as reflected by Art Deco and the Modern Movement. Fortunately for Albuquerque, many key 1920/30s buildings remain in excellent condition. The reader will also see the singularly important Native American murals that are an integral part of the front façade of Maisel’s Indian Store. This is the first time they have been published in their entirety.”

Albuquerque ARTSNew Mexico Art Through Time: Prehistory to Present
By Joseph Traugott
(July 2012, Museum of New Mexico Press, 243 photographs, 
Gorgeous photos of works by New Mexico icons Georgia O’Keeffe, Fritz Scholder, Agnes Martin and many more. The essays accompany fine examples of art from each time period (“The Art of Ancestral Pueblo Villages,” “Roaring Twenties to World War II,” and the like) and aim to be a comprehensive overview of New Mexico’s art treasures and traditions.

Albuquerque ARTS


Contemporary Painters by Danijela Kracun & Charles McFadden
(2012, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 

Including a section on the work of Santa Fe painter Martha Iwaski (, this is a lavishly illustrated book called “eclectic” by its authors, and they mean it. Submissions were accepted from around the world from more than 80 contemporary artists, each of whom impresses us with a strong sense of his or her individuality.






Albuquerque ARTS

Lynn Swanson

Summer Dance
By Lynn Swanson
(2011, self-published, 
Interview with the author, who is a dancer and dance educator:

ABQ A&E: Who are your readers for this book? 
I thought I was writing it for girls ages 11 to 13, but I am getting wonderful feedback from kids as young as 10 as well as from women and men. A 10-year-old who doesn’t dance told me she found the book “stunning and cheerful,” and a 23 year-old business man said he found it exciting and well-written. Dancers of all ages seem to like it and find it authentic.  A[n adult] male dancer said he read it from start to finish overnight and cried at the end. Mature women say that aspects of the story remind them of themselves at that age.  So, it’s been gratifying getting such interesting responses. 

ABQ A&E: There are so many pressures on your protagonist, Sara – professionally and personally. Did you plan to ratchet up the tension for her throughout the book? How did you do that?  
That is a wonderful and pertinent question.  I knew that to hold the reader’s attention I would have to make the second half of the book at least as compelling as the first half, tie up loose threads, and present a satisfying ending.  I knew I wanted the book to cover eight weeks of camp and knew I wanted to include a big dance performance in the first four weeks and another one for the final performance.  I hit a block at the end of the first half of camp and had to go to a friend’s cabin in the woods for a week to be able to have the solitude to go quietly into my own truths to fetch what I knew was in there waiting to come out…I completed the book in the next few months, but then I revised it several times in the next few years  to tighten the pacing and tension, to try to get the characters more well-rounded, and to write with more intention to a certain age group.  I had initially thought the book would be for YA readers, but as soon as I realized it was for middle-readers, I was able to shorten the book by nearly half and to add more of the tension to the story that you address in your question.

Albuquerque ARTSABQ A&E: And the inevitable question – how much is autobiographical?  Is Sara “you” at that age?
The first few draft chapters of the book were more autobiographical, but then I understood that I needed to break free of that connection to my

self in order to write something more interesting.  I began to think of my two nieces and of the spunk they had, and I think I wrote into each character, Sara and Erin, a combination and mish-mash of the two of them, trading and mixing their characteristics.  I did attend Interlochen Arts Camp for two summers as a dance student and two summers when I assisted in the dance department there, so, yes, of course, some of the book is autobiographical in the sense of location, and understanding the social and artistic pressures.  I want to point out that no one ever went off-limits or left the cabins after hours that I knew of!  


Albuquerque ARTS

Elizabeth Galligan

Secrets of the Plumed Saint: A Tale of Intrigue from Northern New Mexico
By Elizabeth Ann Galligan
(2012, ABQ Press,
Elizabeth Galligan’s novel, “Secrets of the Plumed Saint,” is an International Book Awards finalist in three categories: Multicultural, Religious and Western Fiction. Set in northern Albuquerque ARTSNew Mexico in the ‘70s, this tale of intrigue tells of a beloved religious statue that disappears and reappears, and the amateur sleuths who investigate. This cozy mystery also discusses traditional techniques used by New Mexican santeros.

Sunday, July 22: Book signing after 9:00 and 11:00 am Masses
Parish Hall, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
103 East 6th St., Truth or Consequences, NM.


 Albuquerque ARTSAn Apricot Year
By Martha Egan
(2012, Papalote Press,; distributed by
A dutiful wife and mother from Wisconsin receives a 50th-birthday present from her family: a trip to Santa Fe on her own, to paint. The reasons she never goes back will enthrall you. New Mexico author Egan’s other works include “Clearing Customs” and “Coyota.” She says she wants readers to “be entertained by the book, and perhaps be inspired to take more risks.”




Albuquerque ARTSMine That Bird
Against all odds, the remarkable little horse from Roswell became the winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby in 2009. Mine That Bird’s owner Mark Allen intends to inspire readers around the world with the Bird’s positive story of possibility, “if you believe in it and work at it, anything is possible.” This graphic novel is the first in a trilogy.


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