Author Archives: nvwriters
Welcome new WSN Board Members!
Writers of Southern Nevada (WSN) is proud to welcome
two new members to our Board of Directors!
Greg Blake Miller, Programming
Greg Blake Miller is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher. From 2010-2014, he served as editor at Vegas Seven magazine, helping lead the publication to 95 state and regional awards. Miller, who was named Nevada’s Outstanding Journalist in 2011, has also earned national honors for his humor and feature writing at OC Family. Miller, a former staff writer for Russia’s Moscow Times, earned his doctorate in international communication at the University of Oregon and his master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Southern California, where he won the prestigious Moses Fiction Prize. He has taught writing, literature and media studies at the University of Oregon and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and works with a broad range of individual and organizational clients as director of Olympian Creative Education. He is the author of the story collection Decemberlands and a producer for the Beethoven | Hero documentary film trilogy.
Paul Papa, Community Outreach
Author, speaker, and blogger, Paul W. Papa is an American storyteller who has lived in Las Vegas for more than 25 years. He started his writing career as a security officer for the historic Sands Hotel & Casino where he developed a love for writing true stories about uncommon events. Paul specializes in historical non-fiction and is a nationally published author and regular contributor to +55 magazine. It is Paul’s belief that everyone has a story to tell and he is constantly searching for ways to bring those stories to life. [UPDATE: Paul resigned from the board in May 2017]
With their help WSN has been able to launch its new Author’s Forum at the Paseo Verde Library coffee shop (6:30PM the first Tuesday of every month) and set the foundation for a new bi-weekly podcast radio show and a writers retreat in the fall.
Join us in welcoming them!
For a complete list of the Board Members for Writers of Southern Nevada (WSN), please visit www.nevadawriters.org/leadership-team
Book Release Delays Make the BIG DAY Sweeter!
To paraphrase Robert Burns – “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
The release of Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love was intended to be released in the middle of December. I am pleased to announce that after an unfortunate sequence of unforeseeable delays it is now finally released and available!
I have been signing copies like crazy, and for those of you who pre-ordered, Santa’s lost elf has been busy stuffing the envelopes which have been stamped and addressed since your checks arrived. The books will be dropped at the post office first thing today, so to all of you who pre-ordered many thanks, you will receive them soon.
I hope you enjoy the book once you receive it. It picks up five years after that day we spent with Rosemary, her faithful dachshund Buster and all the couples who tied knot in the Chapel of Eternal Love. Where are they now? What have they been doing? More importantly, what is the compelling reason beckoning them all to Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love?
Interested in finding out? Order your copy here !!!
With love from the cast of characters at the Chapel of Eternal Love,
9811 W. Charleston Blvd., Ste 2-354,
Las Vegas, NV 89117
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Stephen Murray is a WSN Member whose first book “The Chapel of Eternal Love” was released Valentine’s Day of 2014 and won Amazon’s Best of the Month moniker upon its release. The sequel picks up five years later and revisits the eclectic cast of lovebirds after their wedding day. )
PAINTED STORIES II – now accepting submissions!
About PAINTED STORIES:
WSN Members (and other writers) are invited to submit either a piece of fiction or non-fiction for our next event in this series that can be read aloud in 10-15 minutes and serve as inspiration for an artist to paint behind them as they read.
Excerpts from longer, or previously published works, will also be considered.
FREE TO ENTER!
Deadline: April 30, 2015
HOW TO SUBMIT:
Those interested in participating must submit a clean as possible draft to: nevadawriters at gmail dot com. Please make the subject line: Painted Stories Submission.
In choosing what to submit, remember, a visually evocative piece will give our artist something to use as inspiration. However, merely describing a scene with pretty language won’t satisfy the audience very much.
A good story, even if it’s an excerpt or a short chapter from a longer work, should have a beginning, middle and end. Or at least, end on a compelling hook.
MORE ABOUT PAINTED STORIES:
Our first Painted Stories event was held at the Bootlegger Bistro on Sunday February 8, 2015. It was a lot of fun and WSN got a fair amount of media attention in advance. We were even featured on The Morning Blend talk show on Ch. 13, Las Vegas’ local ABC affiliate. Five authors read as our Guest Artist Mike Davies painted turned blank canvas into an incredible piece of art during each reading. All of his paintings sold out after the show.
by Fred Rayworth
Sunday morning, early. Easter Sunday. No big deal to me since I’m not of that persuasion, not since I was a little kid (and not even then, because my belief system wasn’t formed and I was lucky enough to have parents that let me make up my own mind). To me it’s just another Sunday morning with the usual self-imposed deadline for my Tuesday web site article posting. Or, as some of you might call it, my blog posting. I don’t really like to call it a blog because that implies a quick three-times-a-week smidgen of thought. At least that’s the impression I retained when I first dove into this game over a year ago. On the other hand, a lot of my fellow bloggers can be quite prolific several times a week. I just don’t have the time like I used to.
My once-a-week, Tuesday posting usually comes out of my head every Sunday morning as I’m sitting here by myself, with a quiet house. Everyone else is asleep, even the dawgs. Woof… or, lack of woof, to be more precise.
There’s no real reason for my self-imposed deadline except I like to post on Tuesday because that’s the day I picked when I started my web site. Monday is the Henderson Writer’s Group meeting. Tuesday is the first evening of the new week where I get to spend time on the computer, after nightly news, and before NCIS comes on. I have a span where I can check my e-mails, maybe do a bit of work on updating the Observer’s Challenge and even add to the forums on Cloudy Nights or watch some heavy metal vomit band on YouTube. Or, at least watch part of a video. For some reason, I don’t often watch them all the way through as of late.
THE OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE
My second deadline, which is a bit looser, is the Observer’s Challenge. My friend, Roger Ivester and I compile observations from other amateur astronomers around the country. I put it all together in Microsoft Word and then .pdf documents, then send it to our web master at the Las Vegas Astronomical Society (LVAS), Rob Lambert. He posts it on the club web site. Besides that, Roger and I both post the .pdf files on our own web sites, mine here on my Observer’s Challenge page. This process takes about a month and a half. A much looser deadline than my weekly blog. However, it is still a very important process that does take time and effort, but time and effort I enjoy immensely, just like these articles I write every week.
These deadlines, while self-imposed, provide enjoyment, though no profit. The Observer’s Challenge involves other people so I’d be letting down someone besides myself if I didn’t come through. If I slipped and didn’t post my weekly article, a few of you might wonder what happened after a week or so. Most would probably forget about it for a while then all of a sudden wonder what happened to good old Fred. Then you might shrug and go on about your lives, if that.
THE BIG KAHUNA
When and if my books (Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure of the Umbrunna & Lusitania Gold) ever reach the publishing stage, I’ll most certainly have deadlines. The publisher will go through them and red-line the daylights out of them. Send them back to me with a date of expected return for a second run-through. I’ll be given a deadline to fix those edits. If not, my book will be delayed in publication or they might even drop me from the list. That could be real pressure except I’d be on it like… well, I don’t want to say the unprintable cliché. I know all about deadlines. When I worked as a technical writer, I used to deal with deadlines all the time. With my books, we won’t be talking about work-related deadlines. This has to do with my writing, what I do for a calling, what I do for fun and profit. My self-imposed deadlines because I want others to see my work.
Do you have any kind of deadlines? Do you not only set them, but do you meet them? Or, do you let them slip, over and over again and just go on, never quite finishing what you started? On the other hand, do you set a deadline, or get one for something you wrote and freak out then lose all your writing skill and turn into a blubbering mass of insecurity?
Remember, we’re not talking about the making a living type deadlines, but what you do for fun and profit. This is supposed to be a calling, what you do because you love it, because it’s what you have to do, not something you must to do because someone has a gun to your head.
WHEN IT’S NOT SELF-IMPOSED
If you’ve turned in a manuscript and an editor sends it back all redlined and says “Fix it. I need it back in three weeks.” What do you do? That’s a deadline. Are you going to get right on it and fix it and run to the post office and get it back to them, or are you going to freak out, sit on it until the last minute and make a few quick changes then throw what’s left in the mail and hope for the best? Or are you going to blow the deadline and take your sweet time and hope they didn’t notice?
There’s a deadline for submission to a periodical and you want to submit a short story. You have a great idea but keep procrastinating. Either do it, or move on (See? I avoided the obvious censored cliché here).
Deadlines can work in our favor if you are one that can write under pressure. If you can’t, never let one get that close. Start early so you can finish early.
From Lust to Love: Creating Believable Resolutions
by Tami Cowden
In the real world, a lasting romance rarely happens in the few days or weeks over which a romance takes place. Yet over and over again we read about the accelerated development of a loving bond between two people. Why do some books make us happily sigh as we read the last page, while other make us shrug and murmur, “I give it a few months?”
More than simple sexual attraction is needed to make me believe that Jane Heroine and John Hero are going to live happily ever after. Not that I have anything against good old-fashioned lust, but people can’t live their lives on bearskin rugs in front of fireplaces. I need to understand why Jane and John were meant for each other, and pheromones alone won’t convince me. And won’t convince my readers, either.
So how does a writer show the progress of the relationship from lust to love in a believable way? Well, as in real life, once you start with that nice chemical attraction, there are three more steps to a lasting loving relationship.
The first step is respect. Something should occur in the story so the hero and heroine develop mutual respect. For example, the hero notices her compassion; the heroine notices his bravery. The basis of the respect can vary depending upon the needs of your story.
For example, think about the movie Romancing the Stone, a great romantic story where the hero, Jack, and the heroine, Joan, fall in love over the course of just a couple of days. Remember the scene where they are in the plane? Joan is berating Jack for his lack of finesse, and general ungentlemanly conduct. She realizes he’s not listening, and starts to scold him for that too – just as he pulls out his machete and kills the snake that threatens her. She begins to respect him at that moment – she realizes that while he doesn’t fit her idea of a “gentleman,” by golly, he’s one helluva a man. And Jack looks at the whining writer with new eyes a few scenes later, when the drug dealers shower praise on her for her books.
This movie has a several other scenes in which their mutual respect continues to grow. The novelist can add as many scenes as appropriate to her story.
Next comes trust. Here, the hero and heroine each not only learn the other is worthy of his/her trust, but also display the trust they feel..
In Romancing the Stone, Joan shows their relationship has advanced to trust when she agrees to hunt for the treasure itself, rather than simply focusing on getting the map to the people holding her sister. Jack shows that same trust when he – already having possession of the map – puts it back under the mattress when she agrees to go with him. Her confession that he is the best time she ever had is also an exposure of herself – a demonstration of trust, which touches him. Joan also demonstrates her trust by agreeing to meet Jack in Cartegena with the treasure, once the river separates them.
Finally, comes love. All defenses removed, the hero and heroine realize and demonstrate their love for each other. In Romancing the Stone, Jack realizes/shows his love when he 1) gives up the stone to the bad guys so Joan would not be hurt, and 2) lets the alligator (crocodile?) that swallowed the stone go so that he can save her. Of course, she’d already saved herself, but he didn’t know that.
Joan’s demonstration of love is subtler. On the one hand, she probably wasn’t the sort to sleep with him at all if she didn’t already love him. But also her entire changed demeanor after this ordeal demonstrates her love. She is now a “hopeful” romantic – and shows no surprise when he and his boat arrive outside her building. Just as though she knew he would come – and I think she did know it.
Even though Jack and Joan fell in love over only a couple of days, it is entirely believable that they would be happy together, because we understand why they grew to love each other.
Keeping the progression of a lasting relationship in mind is a great tool for plotting. At minimum, three scenes are necessary to show the development of the relationship. But, because you may have separate scenes to show the progression for each character, you might have six or more scenes with which to keep that middle from sagging.
So, to get your hero and heroine to the point where the reader will heave that satisfied sigh, make sure you’ve included the steps to a lasting relationship in your love story.
Want more of Tami’s stuff? Check out Tamicowden.com!
Do You Need a Writers Group?
By Richard Warren
Stephen King once said that “writing is a lonely job.” It certainly is, just you and the pen or keyboard. Unless you are a true loner, it is important to have contact with other people regularly. Though any human contact is helpful, connecting with others who understand what you do can help you maintain your sanity. Fortunately most cities and towns have writers groups where you can socialize and network with other writers while you enhance your knowledge about various aspects of the craft and business of writing.
Groups range from a handful of writers meeting in a coffee shop to large national organizations such as the Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, etc.. Some groups may cater to a specific genre while others are more general. Some groups are great for those just starting out with others being geared to more experienced writers. Search for a group that offers what you are looking for, if you aren’t sure what that is go to different groups until you find one that feels right.
You will discover many different formats as you explore the groups. Some are created more for socializing and networking, others are geared toward education and will usually feature speakers on various writing related topics, groups exist that deal primarily with craft and writing techniques and still more focus on critiquing the work of their members. Attend the group or groups that offer what you need or want the most and see if they will be a good fit for you.
To get the most out of any group you should get involved. Offer to help out or join the volunteer team. This will allow you to get to know more people and increase your own visibility within the group. Being involved may also allow you to have a voice in the direction of the group. Your role in the group may also open doors for you in the local writing community as you become known as an active participant rather than simply a spectator.
Perhaps the most valuable benefit of joining a group is the connection you are able to make with other writers and people in the literary community. You may be able to find a mentor or a sounding board for your ideas and will probably make new friends. That’s why it’s important to feel comfortable and welcome in whatever group you choose. So find one or more local groups and join but remember, the more you put into it the more you will get in return. It’s a wise investment.
Want more of Richard Warren’s prose? Check out his column in The Vegas Voice, or check out the writers’ group he’s organized right here.
Where Do You Find Stories?
By Diane Taylor
As a Las Vegas retiree who is also a free-lance writer, my job is to “pitch” stories to editors. Where do I find stories about individuals in Las Vegas? Sometimes in the most unusual places.
The nail salon on Mother’s Day was where I found a favorite lady of Las Vegas. The nail person mentioned “Happy Mother’s Day” to me and because I am not a mother, I corrected her noting that if I am a mother, it would be to two beagles.
The lady in the next chair said something like, “Me, too”. (Both of us were somewhat bothered at the assumption we were mothers…without asking….but I digress.) The lady in the next chair and I started talking and I discovered she had a great life story – early airline stewardess in the days where young women were single, of a certain weight and wore stockings with seams that had to be straight)., married three times, lived in Europe, cared for “the love of her life” during his final illness, now plays golf regularly with a new gentleman friend, is happy and positive, has a puppy…. and was past 80, but looked like 60.
Another time, I was playing bingo (for another story) and started talking with the middle-aged lady across the table. She relaxes with bingo, she said, because she travels so much. She didn’t look like a traveler, so I kept asking questions. Turns out this woman was retired military and had started a consulting business inspiring young people to stay in school, work hard, etc. She did travel constantly, hired by big companies to speak to employees. I never would have guessed. I lost at bingo, but got a story idea.
Las Vegas poker tables are another story hotbed. Low-limit games are social, and the opportunity exists to chat with neighbors. A man and wife at one table told me about their business, cleaning grease out of the traps used at fast food restaurants. They had a very interesting story as to how their business came to be, their philosophy of taking on numerous small businesses rather than one large customer and how they inexpensively recruit employees (Craig’s list).
Time spent at local entertainment venues on open mic nights introduces audience members to all kinds of possible stories. Every entertainer has a story, even stories of overcoming serious illnesses to take the stage again.
I was in the waiting room at St. Rose Hospital when I met a lady waiting for a husband’s surgery results. We talked, and I found out that in her 50s she discovered that the man she thought was her father wasn’t. Devastated at the news, she then went on a quest to find out about her real father. With the help of the Internet and many hours work, she discovered her real father had died, but she met and established relationships with two, now beloved, half sisters.
At the same hospital, I had lunch in the lunchroom when seating was at a premium, so I sat at a table with three other people. I asked who they were and discovered they were hospital chaplains. Knowing nothing about chaplains, I asked a few questions and was so fascinated that later, I pitched a story about chaplains at that hospital, and that, too, became a story.
Busy freelancers, of course, have stories assigned to them and also are given story recommendations from friends (and PR professionals). But talking with strangers is also a great source. And it’s fun, too.
My father was a great salesman. He often said that most folks like talking about themselves.
All you have to do is ask.
Writing For Love
The Writing for Love event was held on March 12th, at the Downtown Cocktail Room, from 6 to 8 PM. Several authors read excerpts from their work, and both authors and attendees enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and excellent service offered by the venue. Here are a few photos from the event.