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R. Douglas Clark [Return to top]


R. Douglas Clark is a small business entrepreneur, father, baseball fan, and musician who grew up in Colorado and Oregon and now lives on a raspberry farm in Chimayó, New Mexico. After 25 years as a Eugene, Oregon, business owner, he moved in 2002 to Chimayó, where he ran the local Boys and Girls Club before retiring a second time and shifting his main focus to fiction—resulting now in his first novel, American Odyssey.

R. Douglas Clark’s novel, American Odyssey


Dave DeWitt [Return to top]


If Dave DeWitt’s life were a menu, it would feature dishes as diverse as alligator stew and apple pie à la mode—not to mention the beloved chile peppers that have become the basic ingredient of so many of his projects and accomplishments.

Since starting out in the electronic media, DeWitt has built careers as a businessman, educator, administrator, producer, on-camera personality, author, and publisher. Besides writing more than forty books (mostly on fiery foods but also including novels, food histories, and travel guides), he was a founder of Chile Pepper magazine and Fiery Foods & Barbecue magazine.

The interest in spicy foods that has helped make DeWitt one of the foremost authorities in the world has led to such best-sellers as The Whole Chile Pepper Book, The Pepper Garden, The Hot Sauce Bible, The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia, The Spicy Food Lover’s Bible, and Chile Trivia.

DeWitt is an associate professor in Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the adjunct faculty of New Mexico State University, and also serves as chair of the Board of Regents of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Dave DeWitt’s books, Jalapeños, New Mexican Chiles, Ancho and Poblano Chiles, Sweet Heat, The Essential Chile Sauce Guide, The Essential Hot Spice Guide

Michael French [Return to top]


Friends of Michael French describe him as a “hyperactive omnivore” (a charge he admits to) feeding on politics, art, capitalism, religion, history, travel, and popular culture.

After receiving an English degree from Stanford and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University, he was drafted into the Army and became editor of the post newspaper—“a two-year, tuition-free education about bureaucracy and humanity.” He and his wife, Patricia, moved to Santa Fe in 1978, and started a real estate company and a family. Squeezing in writing time whenever he could, he published his first novel, a best-seller, Abingdon’s, with Doubleday in 1979. “My father always said one needed a work ethic to be successful,” French recalls. “But I

didn’t know that would mean having three jobs—the real estate company, raising children, and writing—for the next two decades.”

For French, ideas for books come at unexpected times—visiting a hill village in Myanmar, a seventeen-hour plane haul on which sleep-deprived hallucinations can briefly turn you into a genius, or sometimes just a bite on a blueberry muffin (Proust’s madeleine!).

French’s work, which includes several best-sellers, has been warmly reviewed in the New York Times and been honored with a number of literary prizes.

Michael French’s novel, The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder

Dr. Charles Franklin [Return to top]


In Create the Life You Need! Dr. Charles Franklin, PhD, LCSW, BCD, has brought together for the first time the full range of tried-and-true methods and techniques developed over his long career as a therapist and teacher. Together, they offer invaluable help for us all in facing life’s many diverse challenges.

Holder of a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate in sociology, Dr. Franklin is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a certified Divorce and Child Custody Mediator. In addition to his research, writing, and personal counseling work, he has provided private and public outpatient community mental health and inpatient services to a broad range of clients since 1971.

He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at six universities in family therapy, social welfare, social psychology, sociology of conflict, and social conflict analysis. His expertise and multiple problem-solving approaches to psychological and interpersonal problems also have led to wide success as an educator, negotiator, program manager, consultant, administrator, and leader in his profession.

As a volunteer, Dr. Franklin has provided family mental health care after major disaster, community services during racial violence, psychiatric inpatient services, and educational/community development aid in Guatemala.

Dr. Charles Franklin’s book, Create the Life You Need!

Barbara Gerber [Return to top]


Barbara Gerber is a writer, editor, and high school teacher who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and two children. Originally from Long Island, New York, she often finds herself dreaming of the ocean, looking for another cat to adopt, and eating entirely too much chocolate. This is her first novel.

Barbara Gerber’s novel, Love and Death in a Perfect World

Wally Gordon [Return to top]


Wally Gordon has been a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines for more than fifty years, beginning with a summer job at the New York Times when he was sixteen years old. Since then, his career has carried him to all fifty states and more than sixty foreign countries. He wrote a novel in Spain, edited a newspaper in American Samoa, taught at a university in West Africa, and served in the U.S. Army in Iran.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he has a diploma from Philips Exeter Academy and a degree in history from Brown University, and has done graduate work in politics and government at Columbia, George Washington, and American universities.

After a decade at the Baltimore Sun, including a stint as Washington Bureau manager, in 1978 Gordon moved to New Mexico, which has been his home ever since.

In 1999, he founded The Independent, a weekly newspaper based in Edgewood, New Mexico, and serving the three-county area east of Albuquerque. Although no longer the owner, he continues to write his “Mountain Musing” column for the paper every week. Many of the pieces in this volume began life as his newspaper columns.

Wally Gordon’s book, A Reporter’s World

Laura Hays [Return to top]


Laura Hays is a longtime Santa Fe resident who has combined her prize-winning fiction writing with a business career that has included accounting, marketing, real estate, and computer consulting as well as a major role in her husband’s successful construction business. She is also a performing musician and composer.

Laura Hay’s novel, Incarnation

Michele Heeney [Return to top]


For many years, Michele Heeney’s life was centered around giving birth in the literal sense, as an obstetrics and gynecology nurse practitioner. But at the same time, her creativity in the more-personal sense also was flourishing: “I was always writing poetry and taking pictures.”

Now that the medical world has shifted into the past for her, the poetic and visual arts have leaped to the fore, producing images of striking beauty as well as her new fourth book of poetry, The Polka Dot Chair. And throughout this artistic journey, as both bodies of work powerfully declare, has run the unifying thread of Heeney’s deep love for nature.

Moving west to the energy of San Francisco in the ’60s opened up her vision to a changing world. California became her new home, working as a nurse practitioner while also being caretaker of a 6,000-acre wilderness ranch.

These are the links that informed her work, and travel over the years completed the chain. West Africa with the Peace Corps, learning Spanish in Costa Rica, scuba diving in Fiji and Micronesia—just a few of the many places whose experiences merge today to feed Heeney’s imagination and gift for lyric imagery.

Michele Heeney’s books of poetry, The Polka Dot Chair,
The Monkey Tree

Earl Kessler [Return to top]


Earl Kessler’s life has been devoted to building communities, in both the physical and the interpersonal senses. In Panama, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, that work has meant applying the lessons first learned in the Peace Corps in the Colombian village whose birth he describes in Letters from Alfonso.

Earl Kessler’s book, Letters from Alfonso

Juliette Lauber [Return to top]


Juliette Lauber’s gypsy lifestyle provides a vibrant foundation for the colorful and sensual reality that is Hotel Atlantis.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, she pursued a legal career in New York, and has since made a home in Paris, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Granada, Santa Fe, and numerous other fascinating ports of call. A free spirit at heart, she has often sought sanctuary on the Greek island of Santorini, where she enjoys the startling light and long swims in the silky, azure Aegean, below rocky cliffs topped by the beautiful Hotel Atlantis, which she brings to life in her debut novel.

Her interests have always been rich and diverse, blending a long and successful international legal career that led her to become European General Counsel for Time Warner with such pursuits as bicycle exploration of Paris and study of the dance and culture of flamenco, as well as passions for ancient history, champagne, and chocolate. She has been fascinated by the vivid, archetypal images of the Tarot, the ancient art of divination, and—like her alter ego, Hotel Atlantis owner Kikki Trieste—currently reads for an international clientele.

Juliette Lauber’s novel, Hotel Atlantis

Dr. Elaine Leeder [Return to top]


Elaine Leeder, MSW, MPH, PhD, is a Professor of Sociology and retired Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California. Previously, she was a Professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She has thirty-five years of distinguished accomplishments and experience in academia and public service.

In My Life with Lifers, Dr. Leeder movingly describes her experiences as an educator working with men serving life sentences at San Quentin, and also examines the consequences of wrong-headed policies that incarcerate millions of people and then essentially forget about them.

“I was struck by the humanity of the men inside,” she says. “Each of them had a story to tell, each of them was unique, each of them had situations that brought them there that could have happened to any one of us.”

Dr. Leeder, author of four other books, is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who of American Teachers. Her career also includes roles as a psychotherapist, consultant, and advocate for social justice. She has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and was a visiting scholar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Elaine Leeder’s book, My Life with Lifers

Samuel Young [Return to top]


Samuel Young has been a writer, editor, publisher, photographer, and photography editor, principally for magazines. His work has appeared in Holiday, Travel Holiday, Town & Country and Connoisseur, among other publications, on subjects ranging from food and travel to art, architecture, music, and the paranormal. The latter interest resulted in Psychic Children, a seminal book in the field, first published in 1977. A Harvard graduate, Young lived in New York, Umbria, Austin, and Philadelphia before moving to Albuquerque, where he resides with his wife, artist and designer Risa Benson. He remains an avid cook,

thanks in large measure to the tutelage of Chef Fritz Blank. In recent years, he and Benson have taken up Argentine tango, a pursuit Young finds nearly as complex, inexhaustible, and rewarding as the world of gastronomy.

Samuel Young's book, Chef Fritz and His City

Claudette Sutton [Return to top]


Claudette Sutton has been best known since 1995 as the editor and publisher of Tumbleweeds, Santa Fe’s quarterly newspaper for families. In addition, she has complemented this work with roles as a teacher, consultant, and advocate for the needs of children.

Claudette Sutton’s book, Farewell, Aleppo

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