Otowi to celebrate local literary talent

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By Special to the Monitor

To celebrate the authors of Los Alamos, Otowi Station Bookstore and Science Museum Shop announces the inaugural Los Alamos AuthorFest from 4-7:30 p.m. Friday at Otowi Station. Local authors will sign their books and discuss their work with readers.


Authors of children’s books will sign books after school from 4-5:30 p.m., and authors of books for young adults and adults will sign them from 5:30-7 p.m.

Nancy Bartlit

With a history degree from Smith College, Nancy Bartlit taught young Japanese women and scientists in Japan.

A resident of Los Alamos for 47 years, she is past chairman of the Los Alamos County Council and past president of the Los Alamos Historical Society. She received her master’s degree in international communications after studies in Japanese technology at the University of New Mexico in 1998.

Focusing on New Mexico’s contributions to World War II in the Pacific, she co-authored with the late Professor Everett M. Rogers  on “Silent Voices of World War II: When Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun.”

A Chautauqua speaker for the New Mexico Humanities Council, Bartlit has spoken to students from elementary to college ages, Albuquerque Oasis, club members, museum audiences, historical societies, Asian conferees and veterans. Twice she was selected to present at the Women Authors’ Book Festival sponsored by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

LaVerne Chapman

LaVerne Chapman will sign “On the Home Front,” a compilation of short stories from World War II. With stories of heroism and sacrifice, this nostalgic look back gives credit to those working and living in the United States during World War II.

Hear how war bond drives and USO shows boosted U.S. patriotism to unite under a common cause, love was put on hold or sweethearts hurriedly “tied the knot” before orders came through and women across the nation took the motto “We can do it!” seriously as they kept assembly lines running smoothly for the war effort.

This special collection recounts the days of romance, rationing and Rosie the Riveter by those who experienced them — from the early, dark days of Pearl Harbor to the exhilaration of victory when families were reunited.

Leslie Dendy

Leslie Dendy has taught biology at UNM-LA since 1973. She said, “My writing training came from the Institute of Children’s Literature. I’ve also sold about 25 articles and stories to children’s magazines such as Cricket, Spider and Ranger Rick.

“Tracks, Scats, and Signs” is a compilation of six of the best-selling titles from the nature guide series of which “Tracks” is a part. Henry Holt published “Guinea Pig Scientist” in 2005. It got a number of good professional reviews. It has also been published in Japanese and Korean editions.

Terry Foxx

Terry Foxx is orginally from Idaho but has lived in Los Alamos for 40 years. She has a masters in ecology and has worked as an ecologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory for  more than 25 years in Environmental Science. She retired  in 1999. She and her husband Jim have three daughters and four grandchildren.

She said, “Before retiring I became trained as a storyteller. I used my storytelling in various venues, including schools, churches and other organizations.”

Foxx added, “In 2000, when the Cerro Grande Fire burned through Los Alamos, the community was experiencing the grief of loss. The laboratory asked me to write a publication, later titled ‘Out of the Ashes,’ to help the community deal with the landscape loss. After that publication, one of my friends who was a teacher at Piñon Elementary suggested that I write something for children.

“My oldest daughter, Alison, who lives in Layton, Utah, remembered the recovery of the landscape after the La Mesa Fire and out of that she wrote a song about Los Alamos. She and I teamed up to write the text of ‘The Forest and the Fire.’ I did the illustrations and provided the technical information.”

Her other work includes “Jedidiah’s Gift,”  a  Christmas story about a little mouse that observes the first Christmas.

Dorothy Hoard

A compulsive hiker, Dorothy Hoard has lived in Los Alamos for 45 years. Her books on history and prehistory reflect her interest in historic uses of wildland and in topography and plants. Her books include “Historic Roads of Los Alamos,” “Guide to Bandelier National Monument,” “Los Alamos Outdoors” and “Sentinels on Stone: the Petroglyphs of Los Alamos.”

Karen Boutilier


Karen Boutilier Kendall is the author of a memoir, “Berkeley to Beijing,” which leads readers on an amazing journey through a remarkable and exciting childhood.

In 1973, Shirley MacLaine invited 12-year-old Boutilier Kendall to become the youngest member of the First American Women’s Friendship Delegation to China. The resulting Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Other Half of the Sky: a China Memoir,” aired in 1975.

Boutilier lived, breathed and experienced history in a way that exposed her to amazing, fascinating and sometimes frightening situations. She is the business operations manager for the Los Alamos County Utilities Department.

Sherry King

Sherry King is a long-time Los Alamos resident. She said, “My first story, ‘The Ghost Amethyst,’ is a novella about a man haunted by two women, one living and one dead. The content is erotic and explicit.”

She has also written another novella and a full-length novel, both paranormal romances coming soon from different publishers, as well as a short story appearing in the upcoming L&L Dreamspell’s “Vampire Dreamspell” anthology.

Craig Martin

Under the influence of the writings of Edward Abbey, Craig Martin moved to the Southwest from his native Philadelphia in 1980, earning a living as a house framer. His first experience with a Pulaski was in 1981 as a ranger at Saguaro National Park, working a trail in the Rincon Mountains.

After several years teaching middle school science, he and his family moved to Los Alamos, where he launched a career as a freelance writer. Over the next decade, Martin wrote 20 books, more than 100 magazine articles and for five years, contributed a weekly trail column to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Martin’s writing focuses on defining a sense of place. His work includes guidebooks to outdoor recreation and local history.

Caroline Mason

Caroline Mason was born in England in 1942. Years later she discovered family letters detailing how her older brother and sisters were evacuated to a remote country village in order to escape bombing and possible invasion by Nazi Germany in World War II. Their adventures in the village of Middlesmoor form the basis of “The Blacksmith’s Cottage,” one that Mason felt must be told.

She said, “I wanted to record the background, the feelings and the fears associated with that time. This story was written for the grandchildren of the children featured in this story so when they become adults, they may have some understanding of the childhood of their grandparents.”

Based on actual events, people and places, the book accurately reflects the day-to-day challenges facing mothers of young children in the darkest days of World War II.

Jennifer McKerley

Jennifer McKerley enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction for all ages. Before she wrote children’s books, she wrote magazine and newspaper articles.

Her stories for kids have won first place in the Southwest Writers contest. Random House published her first book, “Man o’ War, Best Racehorse Ever” and the newly released “Amazing Armadillos.” Picture Window Books published her two fiction titles, “There Goes Turtle’s Hat” and “Rules of the Net.”

She has written four books in the Thomson Gale Monster Series: “Goblins,” “The Kraken,” “Hydra” and “Swamp Monsters.”

She is currently working on a novel for middle readers, “House of Snakes.”

Shirley Raye


Shirley Raye Redmond is an award-winning author of numerous children’s books published by Random House and Simon & Schuster, as well as three romance novels.

Her easy reader, “Lewis and Clark: a Prairie Dog for the President” was a selection of the Children’s Book of the Month Club in 2003. It has sold more than 170,000 copies. “Tentacles! Tales of the Giant Squid” has also sold more than 170,000 copies.

Her nonfiction chapter book “Patriots in Petticoats” was named “one of the best children’s books of 2005” by the prestigious Bank Street College of Education in New York. “Pigeon Hero” won an Oppeheim Toy Portfolio Gold Book Award in 2004.

“The Jersey Devil” is a nonfiction book for youngsters who examine the East Coast’s most famous cryptid.  One New Jersey librarian declared, “This is a perfect book for younger students to develop research skills.”

Her new 2009 titles include “Blind Tom, the Horse Who Helped Build the Great Railroad,” which was released in May to coincide with the 140th anniversary of the golden spike ceremony marking the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

“Rosemary’s Glove” is Raye’s third romance.

Inez Ross

Inez Ross and her gang of five women like to brag that they hiked the entire Santa Fe Trail from Santa Fe to Franklin, Missouri, then hear the laughs they get when they reveal that the trek took them eight years.

But the project generated two books: “Without a Wagon,” the real story of the hikes with photos and commentary and “Perilous Pursuit on the Santa Fe Trail.”

Originally from Michigan, Ross uses Mackinac Island as a focus in the novel “Persuaded,” an echo of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.” Her children’s biography of author James Oliver Curwood, “The Bear and the Castle,” is set in Owosso, Mich., her hometown.

Ross enjoys frequent train travel and her New Mexico story, “The Adobe Castle” begins and ends on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

An early train is pictured in “The Strange Disappearance of Uncle Dudley,” the classic children’s story of the Manhattan Project era.

Ross won first place in recent State Senior Olympics Dramatic Readings with “Marian Russel on the Santa Fe Trail” from “Land of Enchantment” and “Mrs. Bennet Talks” from Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Los Alamos High School alumni may remember their English teacher, Lucille McCleskey. Her entertaining autobiography, “Tales from a Teacher,” was ghostwritten by Ross.

Watch for Ross’ next book in January titled, “Southerton Abbey: Jane Austen Meets Santa Fe,” the book is an echo/spinoff of Austen’s “Northanger Abbey.”