2015 Zia Award Finalists

Congratulations to Tonya, Sherry, Melody and Judith
  • Tanya Ward Goodman of Los Angeles, California: Leaving Tinkertown (2013) UNM Press, Albuquerque, NM – Winner
  • Sherry Robinson of Albuquerque, New Mexico: I Fought A Good Fight: A History of the Lipan Apaches (2013) University of North Texas Press, Denton Texas – First Runner-up
  • Melody Groves of Albuquerque, New Mexico: Butterfield’s Byway: America’s First Overland Mail Route Across the West (2014) The History Press, Charleston, SC – Second Runner-up
  • Judith Fein of Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands (2014) Global Adventure, Santa Fe – Honorable Mention
Sherry Robinson accepting her first runner-up Zia award from Jessica Savage, Zia Award Chair

Sherry Robinson accepting her first runner-up Zia Award from Jessica Savage, Zia Award Chair

Sherry Robinson of Albuquerque, New Mexico autographing her book,  I Fought A Good Fight: A History of the Lipan Apaches (2013) University of North Texas Press, Denton Texas

Sherry Robinson of Albuquerque, New Mexico autographing her book, I Fought A Good Fight: A History of the Lipan Apaches (2013) University of North Texas Press, Denton Texas

Be sure your work is represented in the 2015 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest

If you haven’t entered your best work of 2014 for this years Communications Contest, be aware — the electronic deadline is February 9 with an earlier postmark February 2 deadline for hard copy such as books. With 64 entry categories there’s something for every communicator – journalists, writers, photographers, social media websites and blogs, authors, poets, screenwriters, playwrights, speeches, graphics, PR and advertising, and TV and radio.

The state website has information on the communications contest page and, as you scroll down, lists details about all the categories. If you’re impatient to enter directly, go to https://omnicontests4.com/?comp_id=6F36FE10-4DC7-49C0-B7FF-DCF5F024F34F and click the white REGISTER tab to begin the process. If you didn’t already jump ahead to the contest link, enter thru the NFPW site. Go to http://www.nfpw.org/communicationsContest.cfm and click on Enter the 2015 Competition and then follow directions. First REGISTER where you will also create your user name and password.

Entry fees remain $10 for the first entry, $5 for each additional entry for members. You will pay your fees to national and can use a credit card or pay offline.

State membership alone is $13, and is paid by check to NMPW, Loretta Hall, Treasurer, 3219 El Toboso Drive, NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. Also, if you are entering a hard-copy entry such as a book there is an extra $15 mailing fee to send by check to Loretta.  Totally stuck and abysmally confused? Contact NMPW Communications contest chair Diane Schmidt at dianeschmidt22@hotmail.com  or 505-890-8363, and arrange an evening time to go through the process over the phone, and she can also send you an additional instruction sheet on how to enter a book.

The system will allow you to interrupt your entries and return to them later, provided you’ve SAVED. If you don’t save, you have to start all over. The system will require you to enter the division and category and then save. After that you enter the rest of the information. If there is no co-entrant, be sure to check the NO box on that tab. If your category requires a one-page statement, you will upload that as well. When you upload, first select URL or UPLOAD so that the #1 box appears. If you are entering a hard-copy book, be sure to read the directions for hard-copy entries – you will also need to create and upload a short online info  requested as well.

If you have a question about categories as you’re preparing your online entry, you can also look on the national web site www.nfpw.org/pdf/2014NFPWContestCategories.pdf
and see the 2014 category descriptions. They won’t change for 2015. You can also contact Diane Schmidt, communications contest chair, at dianeschmidt22@hotmail.com about categories.

You can upload pretty much any kind of file. But let’s say you have an entry with an elaborate layout that doesn’t convert well to an online entry, or you have a book and don’t have an e-version you can enter. You will still be allowed to send paper versions postmarked by the contest deadline. You can view all your entries. You can make changes until you hit the final submit. Once you click submit, you’re done.

Entries will be judged by out-of-state media and communications professionals and receive comments. All award places, including honorable mentions, receive certificates. All certificates are presented at the Saturday night banquet at the 2015 NMPW Conference, The Power of Storytelling, held at Ghost Ranch this year. 

First place winners who are members of NMPW and the National Federation of 
Press Women will go on to compete nationally. The system is fairly simple and flexible. For those of you with more than one entry, it’ll help you to set up your own contest folder beforehand.

For those interested in the Zia Award, the deadline for that contest has been extended to Jan. 31. This year it is for non-fiction books by a New Mexico woman author published within the last three years. 

Albuquerque Press Women, Santa Fe Northern New Mexico Press Women and Las Cruces Press Women are all active local chapters with monthly professional programs.   

2015 Zia Book Award

There is still time to submit your non-fiction work. We are accepting submissions postmarked by January 31, 2015

An outstanding New Mexican writer will be honored for her work in non-fiction next spring when her book receives the prestigious Zia Award given by New Mexico Press Women.

New Mexico women writers are invited to submit their non-fiction books for consideration of the award, given each year at the annual New Mexico Press Women spring conference luncheon. The 2015 conference luncheon will be held April 25, 2015 at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Finalists are required to attend the award luncheon to read from their work.

Each year the award rotates to one of three categories: non-fiction, fiction and children’s literature. To accommodate this schedule, a book published in the last three years is eligible. Any non-fiction book published in 2012, 2013 or 2014 will be accepted for consideration of the 2015 Zia Award.

Publishers or authors may submit a book entry. Membership in the association is not required, but the writer must be a woman. Authors must also live in the state, or have a strong connection to New Mexico, however the book can be published anywhere. The entry fee is $25 per book.

For consideration please submit:

  • A cover letter with contact information (include email) containing the following:
    • Author’s biography
    • Author’s connection to New Mexico
    • Description of the book
  • A copy of the book
  • A check for $25, payable to “New Mexico Press Women.”

Mail to the following address:
Jessica Savage
Zia Award Contest Chair
1612 Ralph Dr.
Las Cruces, NM 88001

Online entry fees can be paid using PayPal.

Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. (Extended deadline is January 31, 2015)
An acknowledgement letter will be emailed upon receipt of the entry.

Book entries are considered a donation to the organization and are not returned. The books will be part of the silent auction, held at the annual spring awards banquet, to raise scholarship funds.

For more information on the contest please send correspondence to the address listed above or email at: jsavage@cybermesa.com.


Zia Award Recognizes Four Outstanding Children’s Book Authors

Four outstanding New Mexico women writers were honored for their work in children’s books on Saturday, April 26, at the Hotel Encanto, in Las Cruces. The 2014 Zia Book Award winners were Paige Grant for the picture book Kitten Caboodle, illustrated by Lisa Williams, and Laura Sanchez for the young adult novel Freaking Green. Honorable Mentions were awarded to picture book author Ana Baca for Tia’s Tamales, illustrated by Noël Chilton, and Anne Weaver for the youth book Children of Time: Evolution and the Human Story, illustrated by Matt Celeskey.

The award is presented by New Mexico Press Women. The awards were presented during the organization’s annual conference, “From Grassroots to the Final Frontier.”


Kitten Caboodle by Paige Grant (illustrated by Lisa Williams; Azro Press)

“Cute story, well told. The message is strong and important, and the illustrations are wonderful!” wrote one of the judges.

After retiring as a hydrologist, Paige Grant, along with her husband, became an active volunteer with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, serving as foster caregivers to adult animals that needed some loving kindness to get over their fear of people, and puppies and kittens that needed a safe, happy place to grow until they got big enough to be spayed or neutered and adopted into a forever home.

Freaking Green by Laura Sanchez

“Good story in many regards, with a likeable main character,” wrote one of the judges.

After running a design and drafting business specializing in energy efficient houses, Laura Sanchez began writing nonfiction books about computer graphics and architecture. Then for several years, she wrote about politics, books, and environmental issues for the Weekly Alibi and about housing for Su Casa magazine. Freaking Green is her first novel. Her second novel, Killer Miracle, was released this past January.

Tia’s Tamales by Ana Baca (illustrated by Noël Chilton; UNM Press)

“An engagint bilingual tale with magical connections between several generations of a family,” wrote one of the judges.

Ana Baca lives in Albuquerque and has also written a novel, Mama Fela’s Girls, about life in northeastern New Mexico during the Great Depression.

Children of Time: Evolution and the Human Story by Anne Weaver (illustrated by Matt Celeskey; UNM Press)

“Excellent book on human evolution. The science comes to life with its fictional characterizations,” wrote on judge.

Anne Weaver holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She taught evolutionary anthropology at Santa Fe Community College for many years. She is now a full-time writer living in Santa Fe.


Each entry was read by two of the following judges:

Betsy James is the author and illustrator of sixteen books for adults and children. Among other honors, her books have been named: New York Public Library Best Book for Teens; Voices of Youth Advocates Best Book; Junior Library Guild Selection; Canadian Children’s Book Center Best Book; International Reading Association Children’s Choice; and Tiptree Award Honor Book.

Carol Kreis’s career includes working as an educator in pre-school through college settings, serving as the public relations coordinator at the Rio Grande Zoo, and as a writer and researcher of educational materials for the Newsweek Education Program. She managed the Newspapers-in-Education program for the Albuquerque Journal and the Tribune and was a founding co-director of the Rio Grande Writing Project at the University of New Mexico.

Shelley Olson holds a Master’s degree in Special Education and an endorsement in English as a Second Language. She earned the New Mexico Quality of Education award in 1993 for the best middle school program of the state later won other awards for teaching many middle school students with diverse needs.

Robert Spiegel’s poetry and fiction have been published widely over three decades. His first published piece was children’s fiction in 1975. For ten years he owned a publishing company that published Chile Pepper magazine as well as books, including children’s books. He also writes drama, writes a blog on spirituality, and reviews plays for Talkin’ Broadway. He is the author of six books.


The Zia Award was started in 1953 to honor an outstanding woman in New Mexico media. Each year the award rotates to one of three categories: nonfiction, fiction, and children’s literature.

The 2015 Zia Book Award will be given to the author of an outstanding nonfiction book published in 2012, 2013 or 2014. Details will be posted on NMPW’s Web site in the fall.