Celebrating young writers

Thanks, Next Gen writers! Writing is a solitary endeavor and we never know the gift our words are to others until we share them. The Next Gen event on July 25, at Gallery 140, was well-attended by an appreciative audience whose support for young writers was evident. The seating limit was 35 and there were a few people standing, ergo, we had a standing-room-only crowd!

Thanks Maya Sena, Josephine Morales, Dominic Garcia, Christian Lopez, Viviana Rivera and Joshua Sandoval. You all did an excellent job and we at the Las Vegas Literary Salon look forward to working with you and encouraging you in your writing journey. We appreciate you taking time to share your work.

Thanks also, to those of you filled out an “I Want to Help” form. We will be getting in touch with you soon. And our deepest appreciation to those of you who donated.

Next Gen is the 14th presentation by the Las Vegas Literary Salon since launching in July 2020. Thanks to our fiscal sponsor the Las Vegas Arts Council, Las Vegas Community Foundation, and a Mustard Seed Grant from the First United Presbyterian Church, LVLS has shared the talents of more than 30 writers from the Las Vegas area! Previous events have been virtual, thanks to Zoom, a technology that has allowed us to take a dream concept to reality. We will return to Zoom for our next event, La Nina: The Story of Nina Otero-Warren. Details to come.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the written word as a writer and a reader. The craft of writing is a skill set that goes beyond putting pen to page. It is immersing oneself in the art of creation and bringing your reader along for the ride.


Fill out the contact form below and let Las Vegas Literary Salon know how you would like to be involved as a writer, reader or volunteer.

Next Gen Writers Featured

Next Gen Writers of Las Vegas
Sunday, July 25, 4 p.m.
Live at Gallery 140 on Bridge Street

Las Vegas Literary Salon produced a Zoom open mic event a few months ago in which several high school students participated. Their talent encouraged the Lit Salon planning team to organize an event featuring young writers. We’re calling it, Next Gen.

The event will be held on July 25, at 4 p.m., live at Gallery 140 on Bridge Street. It is free and open to the public. Our list of participants includes Maya Sena, Josephine Morales, Dominic Garcia, Christian López, Viviana Rivera, and Joshua Sandoval. This is an open forum with each writer choosing whether to present poetry or prose or both. Each will have up to 10 minutes to present his or her work.

The mission of Las Vegas Literary Salon is to provide a safe space for writers, readers, and thinkers to meet, talk, and exchange ideas about writing and the written. Among our objectives is to support writers of all ages. Join us on July 25, p.m., to hear young writers read and talk about their work.

Preregistration is not required
but helpful to event hosts for purposes of planning and set up.

Dr. Alvin Korte, Feedback

Dr. Korte was the featured guest on Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Visit with the Author, Sunday, May 23. Here are his comments about the experience, shared here with his permission. You may watch a video of the event here.

Dr. Korte: Personally, I am satisfied with the whole experience. When confronted with the format, I unlearned everything. To begin with, I couldn’t log on to Zoom. My daughter and backup arrived at the right time and logged me in. I am still trying to answer the question as to what to make of Baca’s poem. I found some stuff in the Nosotros book, which has a classification by type. Anyway, I spent 30 days developing a one-hour Powerpoint presentation (for the Salon). Overall, starting from the last presentation (on dreams and creativity), I was  glad I heard about dreams. It freed me to rethink my paper on “transcendence.”  I had been stuck for about six weeks, complete writer’s block. I remembered Marie Louise von Frantz’s book “On Dreams & Death: A Jungerian Interpretation.” The month of work on a slide show gave me the kind of review of my work I  needed to complete the book. The road ahead is clear.

I am glad the interview went the way it did with an open discussion. Through development of the slide presentation, the work became clear to me. I know where I need to go and am satisfied as it has freed me up. I thank all who attended and for their reflection back. I has edified me in so many ways. Adelante! (forward march, for me). Many, many thanks.


Las Vegas Literary Salon is grateful for all the time writers and presenters put into their guest appearances. And, we deeply appreciate attendees who by their presence and participation make these events rich in content. As we look to in-person Salons, our goal will be to continue with original programming that will include readings by published authors, workshops, and round-table events on topics related to writing, publishing, and reading. Please follow this website to stay informed about planned Salons. Whether Zoom or in-person, Salon events will be held on the 4th Sunday of the month at 4 p.m., unless otherwise notified. Changes of time and venue will be advertised well in advance of events.

And, if you have a submission for Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poems, the deadline has been extended to July 1. So, put your pen to page or fingers to keyboard and get that gem written and sent in! Click on the Tapestry tab in the menu for submission guidelines.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE LAS VEGAS?

When someone who has never been here asks you about our community, what do you say? I tend to talk about the live music that bursts out seemingly at random, especially in the summer. One Friday night pre-covid, my husband and I walked by the Plaza Park and heard guitars, a keyboard, trumpet, and drums. We paused for a few minutes of dancing, and then walked down Bridge Street, where a small band played in the breezeway, part of an opening at Gallery 140. Across the street at Borracho’s, we heard another band playing. And when we walked across the bridge and another block up the hill to Burris Hall, a guitar player sang and played softly at another gallery opening.

Or maybe you talk about the architecture, and the fact that we have over 900 houses and other buildings on the National Historic Register. Amazing. And talk about the architecture naturally leads to discussion of the history of the area. And that might lead to mention of the Fiesta in early July, when vendors circle the park and flow down both sides of Bridge Street, while in the park itself, families sit and talk to friends they only see at Fiesta, when everyone comes in from the ranches and they catch up on everyone’s news, and they watch flamenco dancers perform and listen to live music for days.

And that’s another thing, we have so many local artists who show their work not only at the galleries, but at Borracho’s, Travelers, and The Skillet (owned and run by two artists who have MFAs in sculpture and painting – I think all of the art in there is their own.)

If you are talking to someone who has a motorcycle, they might have questions about the motorcycle rally in late July, when hundreds of bikers, many headed for Sturgis, stop for a couple of days in Las Vegas for bike-related events or just to see old friends.

That’s another wonderful thing about our town. People are genuinely friendly, and will stop and pass the time of day. I once talked to a man in a gallery who told me he was in a hurry, and just needed to turn in a form, then proceeded to spend another 45 minutes talking to me and to everyone else who came through the door. He looked far more relaxed when he left.

There is a dark side. Every community in every state confronts problems. Maybe that’s where your mind goes.

But whatever you say, or think, how about expressing yourself in the pages of Tapestry, the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s upcoming offering of writings from present and former residents of northeastern New Mexico. From one of the other small villages or towns or ranches in the area? That’s great. We want to hear about your home, too. Have a great story about what happened when someone crashed Christmas dinner? Tell it as a short story. And don’t worry, as long as you change the name, people never recognize themselves in fiction.

The Literary Salon is now accepting submissions of short stories, essays, and poetry for Tapestry. Check the guidelines on this website.

Yea! Open Mic Event a Success

I’m going to crow just a bit. Las Vegas Literary Salon’s Edwina (Patti) Romero, suggested we do an open mic event in recognition of poetry month, celebrated annually in April. We already had an April event scheduled, Dreams and Creativity presented by Jan Beurskens, but we decided to add the event to the schedule and see how it developed.

It developed very well. Eighteen signed up for the first Open Mic poetry reading on April 29, to read poetry, either their own or the work of another poet. Thanks to these amazing talents who shared their passion for poetry. Three of them were West Las Vegas High School students, and one was their teacher, who also read the work of a student who couldn’t make the Zoom event. See the names of participants here.

This is the eleventh Lit Salon event since we launched in July 2020. Check out our Guest Roll to read more information about the presentations, authors, and books we’ve featured.

So, why a Literary Salon? The founders of the Las Vegas Literary Salon, Patti Romero and Sharon Vander Meer, wanted there to be opportunities for writers and readers to come together in a welcoming environment where the art of the written word may be celebrated.

It appears, we’re on the right track. With the encouragement of Susie Tsyitee of the Las Vegas Arts Council, and with funding from a Mustard Seed Grant, we moved the idea forward, one guest – sometimes more – at a time.

The Great Pandemic of 2020-2021 was not the obstacle it might have been. Through Zoom, we have reached a growing audience and expanded our network.

One of our projects is the publication of Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry, a collection of written work by Las Vegas and area writers. To qualify for the publication, you must live – or have lived – in Las Vegas or Northeastern New Mexico. Submissions that reflect the area are preferred, but not required. There is much to celebrate – or comment on – about Northeastern New Mexico, a diverse area with a broad mosaic of cultures and lifestyles. You will have lots of fodder for your writing muse. And, yes, speculative fiction, mystery, suspense, comic relief, ghost stories and any other genre you can imagine – and write in short-form – is admissible and encouraged. Essays and poetry are open to the writer’s imagination and creativity.

Tapestry authors will receive a copy of the book as compensation and a publishing credit to add to their writing resume.

This is a fundraiser for Las Vegas Literary Salon. Proceeds from sale of the book will go to the Las Vegas Arts Council, our fiscal sponsor, to support future programming and workshops. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2021. Projected publication date is mid-November, just in time for Christmas sales.

Stay up-to-date on Lit Salon news and upcoming events, follow this website lvlitsalon.org. We appreciate your support and participation. If there is an author you would like to see featured, contact the Lit Salon at lvliterarysalon@gmail.com.

Our Visit with the Author May 23, will be retired educator Alvin Korte. More to come about Mr. Korte and his work.


Other Lit Salon news:
Call for Submissions – Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry.
Find out more here. Deadline for submissions, June 1, 2021
A Visit with the Author, Alvin O. Korte, May 23 on Zoom.
See our Poetry Open Mic event video here.


Patti Writes

APRIL IS FOR WORD LOVERS

The Las Vegas Literary Salon joins the rest of the country in celebrating the joy of poetry. The Academy of American Poets – https://poets.org/national-poetry-month – designated April as National Poetry Month recognizing poetry in all its forms and styles from rhymed verse, to free form, experimental, cowboy and cowgirl poetry, prose-poetry, and on and on.

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Poetry provides us all – even those of us who do not think of ourselves as poets – with the means to express strong feelings through imagery, rhythm, and sometimes a special, concentrated language, a language we do not use in our daily communications. People who write poems write from the heart.

When my daughter was born, my mother — not a writer or a poet and not a high school graduate — wrote:

Rarest of children, child of my child
Angel on earth with a heavenly smile
Cherub to cherish although far apart
Here or there you are still in my heart
Eternally I’ll love you never forget
Love is the answer give and you’ll get.

Poetry gave my mother the means to express her deep joy at the granddaughter born a thousand miles away. 

I think you’ll agree we can all benefit from spending time with poems. So please – forget politics and pandemics – join us for an hour of non-stop poems.

THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021, 6:00 – 7:00 PM via ZOOM
for THE FIRST ANNUAL Las Vegas Literary Salon
Open Mic(rophone)Poetry Event

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4635856164

DROP in and –
• READ a poem or three – your own work and/or your favorite poet’s,
• HANG OUT quietly and listen,
• SEND COMMENTS (not required),

Please join us.


Call for Submissions – Tapestry: Tales, Essay, Poetry.
Find out more here. Deadline for submissions, June 1, 2021


Carmen Baca – Guest Post

Thanks to Carmen Baca, for allowing LVLS to share her publishing experience and wisdom. Go to this link to learn more about Carmen’s published books and other writing.

Want to know how the publishing process works?

There are different methods, but this is the short version of my experience to give you an idea.

A novel inspired by a storied religious practice.

I always thought being a writer is a solitary endeavor. I write for 4-5 hours, 4-5 days a week, bringing worlds and characters and their stories to life. If I’m writing a short story, essay, or article, the writing sessions take anywhere from 2 hours to 3-4 days. I edit the piece to the best of my ability and submit to publishers of online literary magazines and anthologies directly. No one else sees my short works before those editors and publishers.

When I write books, it’s a solitary process for the two months it takes to get 68K to 78K words written to my satisfaction. Then comes the editing, going through the manuscript 5 times looking for specific issues, creating the glossary, making sure the bibliography’s accurate. That’s when the solitary situation changes.

Margaret Johnson, Mercedes Romero, and other volunteer beta and proofreaders get the manuscript next; they find the typos and the places I used the wrong words and sometimes the details in the wrong places, my most common errors. While they are doing their thing, I’m creating my cover art and the blurb which goes on the back of the book. At this point, I send the cover art to my cover artist and the blurb to Margaret and my publisher; they always make it better. That’s also when I work on the other pages: the dedication, acknowledgments, author’s note (if needed). Once Margaret, Mercedes, and the proofreaders finish, about a month later, I revise the manuscript with their corrections/recommendations. By that time, the cover is also ready. (Note: many publishers like my 1st one for El Hermano have their own cover artists. The folk artist worked with my input to create that cover.)

The manuscript goes to my publisher then, and he puts it in his queue where it waits in line for him to publish those works ahead of mine. The difference, which arises with a self-published book, is that instead of sending the book to a publisher, I upload the book and the front and back covers into a self-publishing site. I’ve only done that once, and the formatting took me four days. That book has no page numbers since I couldn’t figure out how to add them. Some self-published authors hire formatters to format their books, in addition to hiring their editor and cover artist.

In the meantime, I write up a press release about the book, send it to potential ARC (advance review copy) readers for editorial reviews. Those people agree to read the manuscript. Some of them write endorsements for the book, and all of them write their reviews to post on the day the book releases. The more reviews a book gets on Amazon, the more publicity Amazon gives it.

So, by the time the book reaches readers’ hands, at least ten other people have had their hands in assuring the book is as good as it can be. What begins as a solitary process turns into an assembly line of valuable people who all work toward one goal: publishing a book.

Making a book a success is something readers can help us do: write honest reviews on Amazon as a thank you to the author for those hours of entertainment and ask local bookstores to sell our books.

Carmen Baca, author
http://plu.us/cbacacreation


NEWS NOTES: Guest posts about writing and publishing are welcome. Send your query to lvliterarysalon@gmail.com. Our thanks to Carmen. Her words are motivating and inspiring. We invite writers and readers to engage with Las Vegas Literary Salon by attending our monthly Salons on the 4th Sunday, from 4-5 p.m. Our Sunday, March 28 Visit with author and satirist Jim Terr goes live at 4 p.m.

Las Vegas Literary Salon is seeking submissions for a collection entitled: Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry. The target publication date is early to mid-November 2021. Submission Guidelines can be found by clicking TAPESTRY GUIDELINES in the menu above.

Welcome

Welcome to the newly established Las Vegas (NM) Literary Salon (LVLS).

Not to be confused with any salons in the “other Las Vegas,” the Las Vegas Literary Salon (LVLS) is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Great Rocky Mountains and is devoted to writers, readers, and thinkers of the Greater Las Vegas area. As part of its mission, LVLS supports the literary arts by presenting events like A Visit with the Author in which area writers are interviewed and read from their works via Zoom; and The Writers’ Roundtable, a Zoom production in which a variety of writers gave readings of their work. In the future, LVLS plans to hold book fairs, establish reading clubs and talk groups, provide workshops on writing, editing, publishing, and self-publishing.    

Edwina Romero, A Founding Member

Born and bred in East Boston, Massachusetts, I have been making stories, reading, or writing for more years than I want to count. Once I learned how to read, in the evenings when the younger ones were asleep, my mother dragged a lamp out through the open kitchen window to our third floor, screened-in back porch where we read and ate Saltine-cracker-and-butter sandwiches in the circle of light. Later, when babysitting my younger sister & brothers, I created stories to entertain them. They always joined in and made them better, as did my daughter many years later. Creating may be a communal activity.   

I’ve read books on subway trains, in waiting rooms and cafes, in bed, in cars, buses, and airplanes. I’ve read aloud to my daughter, my classes, friends, fellow writers, siblings, my cat, a few audiences, and to nobody at all. I’ve written letters, emails, a Ph. D. dissertation on writing, poems, academic papers, non-fiction, and fiction. With everything I wrote and everything I read, I learned something about reading and writing, myself, human beings and other animals, and the universe in which we all live.

I hope that sharing my experiences with others will help encourage more and more reading, writing, and pondering.    

Writings
Footlights in the Foothills, Amateur Theatre of Las Vegas and Fort Union, New Mexico, 1871-1899;
Cowboy Reunions of Las Vegas, New Mexico;
Prairie Madness, Conspiracy at Fort Union;
Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1835-1935.

Favorite Books
Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor
A Gentleman of Moscow by Amor Towles
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Book of Speculation Erika Swyler

Where Do Books Come From?

I read before I started school.

No one set out consciously to teach me, nor did I entertain a plan to learn. Among my earliest memories,  (at about three years old) is that every night, my mother would gather me up, damp and sleepy from my bath, cozy in flannel footie pajamas, and wrap me in a blanket. We would settle in the worn wooden rocker next to the black franklin stove (which sometimes overheated and the lid would pop up with a loud bang. I kept a wary eye on that stove.) And then she would say the magic words, “Let’s read a story,” and she would open the cover of a Little Golden Book, and begin. I remember The Little Engine That CouldThe Three Naughty KittensPeter Cottontail, and so many more filled with brightly colored pictures and big printed words. 

Sometimes my father read to me from the Bible, and I loved the rhythm of the words, the thunder of the Biblical names, and the image of the animals going to the ark, two by two.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have my own library card. My best friend and I would roller skate to the library and pick out books, then return to the shelter of her front porch to spend the day reading. But no one ever thought to tell me where books come from, as they taught me so many other things. I knew the Bible said God made the world, so it was a natural progression for me that God made books. I didn’t even think about it.

The Christmas I turned seven a neighbor gave me a copy of Black Beauty. I read it straight through and then read it again. Then I ran to find my mother, to tell her about this wonderful horse, to urge her to read the story for herself. To beg for a horse of my own.

Her primary interest being to distract me from the notion of horse ownership, my mother quickly suggested that I go to the library, and see if the author had written any other books. An author? A suspicion grew. A light dawned.

Perhaps books were not organic things like peaches on a tree, or little miracles shelved by angels while the librarian slept. 

“Where do the books at the library come from?” I asked.

“People write them,” came the answer.

People write them. What an amazing idea. A storybook held so much magic for me, transporting me away in time and space that my mother had a hard time calling me out of the book to eat dinner.

“Of course, people write books. Who did you think wrote them?”

God, of course.

From that simple revelation came an omnivorous appetite for the written word. If people wrote books, I could learn to write them, too. At some point thereafter I fell prey to ambition: I wanted to read every book ever written. By the time I was nine, the librarian told my mother I had read all of the books in the children’s section of the library, and she allowed me to check out some of the adult books. 

Between the ages of ten and eighteen, I read Alexander Dumas, Mark Twain, most of Dickens, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Austen, popular novels, political novels, all the plays by George Bernard Shaw, Bradbury, Asimov, Kafka, Dos Passos, Woolfe, the Brontes, and more, including a translation of the logs of the voyages of Christopher Columbus – over 2000 pages of exposition and annotations.

From the age of eight onward, I also wrote, so that when I finished reading everything ever written, I would be ready to add my stories to the list. I wrote poetry, plays, letters, columns, news stories, essays, and novels.

In my early twenties, I nearly despaired when I realized books were being published constantly, and I could not possibly read everything published in a single year, let alone everything ever written. 

I was the opposite of Alexander the Great, who wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. I could see nothing but new worlds, without any end. And I wanted to add to this river, this torrent, this avalanche of print? Yes. I wanted to add my own new worlds, even if no one ever read them.

And so I write.

Mary Rose Hennsler