This is the first day of Taos Toolbox: a SFF writing workshop that focuses on novel-length fiction. I had read everyone’s submissions to critique for Week 1 beforehand. I was looking forward to immersing myself in an intensive writing environment, and the high altitude. I was picked from the ABQ airport by Rob and Laura Baranowski, then carpooled with them on a ~3.5 hour drive from Albuquerque to Angel Fire. We picked up Emily F along the way and had lunch over tacos. We wove down a winding road through Carson National Forest: the “Land of Many Uses.” The Baranowskis and I were roommates in a suite called Gold Dust. It wasn’t too far from the ski lodge.

At 7:30 PM we had a pizza party/meet and greet/orientation at a suite called Windswept. It was cool to match manuscripts with faces, and meeting the instructors, Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress, after reading their books. Nancy told us that each class has its own character. We’ll probably be known as the Doppelganger Class, because my class has two Marks, two Brians, and two Emilys (three if you include Emily Mah Tippetts, the guest indie publisher guru). We were given dire warnings about altitude sickness, brown bears, and plague-carrying prairie dogs. No altitude sickness when I went up the mountain…so far, so good.

This year’s Taos Toolbox roster:
Mark Pantoja
Mark Bailen
Brian Hinson
Brian Lesh
Emily Wagner
Emily Fockler
Suzanne Walker
Rob Baranowski
Laura Baranowski
Carina Bissett
Gio Clairval
Zhou Wen
Kate Thomas
Kent Bridgeman
Scott Hurff
Seth Chambers

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