And the Winners are…

A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.
~ Lorrie Moore

Stephen King writes: A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. 

Our winners reflect both these concepts.

John Crain of Cerrillos, has had professional careers in the fine arts, astronomy, and computer science. Between those unraveling strings of time in which he is forced to make money, he writes short stories, poems, and novels having to do with multiple universes. His short story, Forgiveness, appears in Las Vegas Lit’s collection, Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry. His Elmer Schooley Short Story, I Saw You in a Dream Last Night, captured in less than 1,000 words the essence of the Schooley image and took the story in a different direction, reminding readers what dreams can be made of.

Pam Lewis, of Los Ranchos, states on her author page that she was born in Burbank but moved frequently because of her father’s career path in the aviation industry. The family settled in New York City long enough for Pam to attend high school. A shy, observant girl, “a little too tall too soon,” she excelled at school when she finally set her sights on Stanford University and squeaked in on so-so grades. She is mom to two adult children.

As is true of many creatives, she has worked at a little of this and a little of that. “On the cusp,” she writes, “of her 59th year, her first book was taken by Simon and Schuster, then a second and now, with the publication of A Young Wife, a third. 

Her story for the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest, Sometimes it’s Out of Your Hands, met the requirements of the call with writing excellence, and a tight mystery with a mere 1,150 words.

Mary Rose Henssler spent most of her life in Nevada in the small town of Battle Mountain, Henderson, neon lit Las Vegas, and other places and other states. She and husband, Bob, two dogs and a cat have found their roots at a rambling home surrounded by prairie just outside Las Vegas in New Mexico. She majored in play writing at Vermont College of Norwich University and studied script writing and voice over at UNLV. Two of her plays have been performed. Publication credits include poetry in now defunct literary magazines and a chapbook of political limericks. She writes and enjoys drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and being outdoors. Her story, The Hat, tells a tale of promises kept. She has several pieces in Tapestry.

Announcement of the winners and presentation of awards took place at the closing reception of the June Art Show and Sale, an event curated by Las Vegas Arts Council president, Richard Lindeborg. Proceeds from art sales went to support other nonprofit agencies in Las Vegas: Friends of the Montezuma Hot Springs, Hermits Peak Watershed Alliance, Las Vegas Literary Salon, Las Vegas Arts Council, MainStreet de Las Vegas, Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern NM , NMHU Foundation Lindeborg Fund and Collection Fund.

Artists represented included: Elmer Schooley, Dia Atman, Ellen Koment, Pamela Bounds-Seeman, Mary Beth Pizzoli, Eugene King, Eloise Lindeborg, Gail Malley, June Bowers, Ray Drew, Lina Valdez, Ethel Kriechbaum, Lucy Finch, Lee Weber, R.C. Gorman, John Gavahan, D. Chase Keightley, Clayton Lewis, Ralph Bowyer, M. Craig, Carol Dahl, Scott Vail, Ray John de Aragon, Rosa Maria Calles

The winners each received $300. Mary Rose Henssler chose to donate here prize back to the Literary Salon. The three winning stories will be published in a spring/summer anthology scheduled for release in time for the holidays 2023.


Las Vegas Literary Salon is a nonprofit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Las Vegas Arts Council. For more information about how you can become involved, email lvliterarysalon@gmail.com. We are seeking active creatives.

Seeking Short Story Submissions

The Las Vegas Literary Salon announces a call for submissions to the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest, with support from its fiscal sponsor organization, the Las Vegas (NM) Arts Council, and made possible by the generous donation from Lorenzo Martinez of four Elmer Schooley prints.

One of the four prints was selected to serve as the inspirational launch point for participating writers, shown at left. Qualifying submissions and prize-winning stories will be those which best reflect and reveal the hidden tales behind the image.

The deadline to receive entries is midnight, July 1, 2022. Professional and amateur writers of all backgrounds and ages are welcome to submit their works of 2,000 words or less. The three cash prize winners and all qualifying entries will be included in an Anthology, to be published by the Las Vegas Literary Salon later this year, and each will receive a free copy of the book.

In support of the Las Vegas Literary Salon’s fundraising efforts, the Schooley prints will be on display and available for purchase during the month of June at the Las Vegas Arts Council Gallery 140, 140 Bridge St. in Las Vegas, NM, along with works contributed by other artists in the local area in support of nonprofit organizations. For more information on the gallery show, contact Susie Tsyitee at lvac@lasvegasartscouncil.org, or 505-603-9543.

Find full submission guidelines for the Elmer Schooley Short Story Contest at: https://lvnmlitsalon.org/call-for-submissions/

Email questions to lvliterarysalon@gmail.com.

The Las Vegas Literary Salon is an organization fiscally sponsored by the Las Vegas Arts Council. Its mission – in part – is to present, preserve, publish, and promote writers and their works.

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THE ART OF WRITING SHORT STORIES

Image

As the Las Vegas Literary Salon gears up for its Elmer Schooley Short Story contest with a 2,000 word count limit, we felt this would be a good time to remind writers of some of the conventions common to writing shorter pieces of prose. Remember, the story you submit for the contest must be based on the Elmer Schooley print shown here.

  1. Create a character who wants something and another character who wants the same thing, or who has reason to oppose the main character’s attempts to get what they want. For fiction this short, there will not be room to develop more than three characters.
  2. Bring the conflict to light as close to the beginning of the story as possible. Make the reader want to read on to find out what happens next.
  3. Consider point of view: who will be telling this story? Will it be told in the first, second or third person?
  4. Choose a place that has significance for you. Close your eyes and pretend you’re walking toward it. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch? Awaken all of your senses to draw the reader into this adventure with you. If you are using an entirely fictional location, free write to figure out the sensory details of that place.
  5. Story is a catalogue of events. (The man planted a garden. He died there.) Plot is a listing of events with causality. (The man planted a garden. He died there when an elk jumped the garden fence and trampled him.)
  6. Make your characters real. Address their internal and external conflicts. Use physical description, speech, and action to make the characters relatable.
  7. What is the subject of your story?
  8. What is the theme?
  9. How does it end? It’s okay to surprise the reader, as long as the ending makes sense within the context of the story. I recently read the top three winning entries in a short short story contest. The contest required a maximum length of 1,000 words. One writer told the story in backwards order. Another writer described what the main character was like before The Thing That Happened, and then described what the main character was like after The Thing That Happened. She never told the reader what it was that happened. Never gave any detail about it at all. But because of the way she described the actions and feelings and even the clothing the main character wore, the reader knows, instinctively, what happened. The third story had a more conventional structure. All of the entries were well under the 1,000 word limit.
  10. Write with wild abandon, and then when you rewrite, write tight. With limited word count, it’s necessary to make every word work.

The above list is not meant as a road map to writing a short story, but merely as a reminder to include these basic elements that will enhance the reader’s enjoyment and understanding of the story you tell.

For additional writing advice, check out this link to entertaining words of wisdom on writing short stories from Kurt Vonnegut:

https://promote.irevuo.net/2022/01/07/kurt-vonneguts-8-rules-for-writing-a-short-story-2/


Click on Elmer Schooley Short Story for more information about the contest.
Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2022


SEEKING SHORT STORY ENTRIES

WHAT DOES THIS ELMER SCHOOLEY PRINT CONJURE UP IN YOUR WRITER’S MIND?

If you enjoy writing short stories, this is for you. The Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the Las Vegas Literary Salon, made possible by the generous donation from Lorenzo Martinez of four Elmer Schooley prints. The print seen here has been chosen by the Las Vegas Literary Salon to be the subject of short story entries. We’re looking for good writing and creative panache!

Image

What does this image conjure in your mind? Write that in a short story of 2,000 words or less and submit. Three cash prizes will be awarded. Prize-winning stories and qualifying submissions will be those that best reflect the hidden stories behind the image. Qualifying submissions among non-winners will be included in an Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize Anthology along with the top three winners. Authors included in the anthology will receive one free copy of the book. Click on Call for Submissions in the menu to download the Submission Guidelines.

Three of the four prints by this well-known artist will be available for sale as part of a fundraising initiative for Las Vegas Literary Salon. One has already sold for $2,000. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous. For details about the available prints, contact lvliterarysalon@gmail.com.

Elmer “Skinny” Schooley (February 20, 1916 – April 25, 2007) was an American painter and printmaker. He received a BFA from the University of Colorado, and an MA at the State University of Iowa. Schooley was a Professor of Art and Head of the Department of Arts and Crafts, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico. His works are included in collections at the Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, among others.

The image above and the two below are available for purchase. The items are valued from $1,500 to $2,500. Funds raised from sale of the items will go to support Las Vegas Literary Salon projects, including the Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize and publication of an anthology of qualifying entries. A portion also goes to our fiscal sponsor, the Las Vegas Arts Council to support its ongoing efforts to showcase and promote art in all its forms.

RESOURCES AND MORE

Julie Sola Shares Her Experience:

Julie explains how she created this layered print.

Julie Sola’s insight and experience gave Word Merchandising event attendees food for thought and solid leads to outlets that can help writers and artists get their work before new eyes and into viable marketplaces. See her resource list below.

PRINT ON DEMAND SOURCES

MERCHANDISE NOTE: The profit margin for you on all these print-on-demand sources are low, but you are not out any initial cash outlay, nor do you have to store boxes of merchandise.
This is a great way to test your designs. You can always go the traditional route where you find a local printer that can handle your printing needs, like a silk screener. I do not have local sources at this time.

SOCIETY 6 society6.com
No upfront cost, artist receives 10% of each sale. You upload your images and choose what items you want to print on. You will have an option to integrate an online store like Etsy or use their storefront. They handle everything from printing to shipping, and their quality is good. This is a great option if you are wanting to sell online.

GOOTEN gooten.com
You upload your artwork, you pay per item, price goes down the more items you order. You can order the items to sell yourself or use their store front. You pay upfront for this service, but get a better discount.

VISTA PRINT vistaprint.com
This is a great inexpensive way to get postcards, calendars, flyers etc. They do print T-shirt’s and mugs as well. I have used them for years for my postcards. They have different levels of pricing depending on quality of paper and other factors. Great option for selling your own work in your shop.

PRINTFUL printful.com
I have not used them but have heard great things about them; they work with local printers in your area.

BOOKS-SELF PUBLISHING

LULU lulu.com
This is a great source to see your poetry or stories in print. You can print one book or as many as you like, the price goes down the more you order. They have many cover, binding and paper options. There are a lot of self publishing print on demand places like Blurb, I have only used Lulu and have been very happy with them.

FABRIC PRINTING
SPOONFLOWER spoonflower.com
This is a great print on demand fabric source, they have other products like wallpaper. The quality of their printing is great; I have used them for many years. They do not make finished products, this is yardage only. That being said they have a sister company that will sew items for you, not sure of the pricing. Designers get 10% off their orders. They have great sales, which are good when you want to buy a lot of fabric to make your items to sell; you will make a larger profit. You can sell your designs on the site where you will earn spoondollars which you can apply to your fabric purchases.

NOTE: YOU WILL NEED BASIC COMPUTER SKILLS IN PHOTOSHOP TO BE ABLE TO FORMAT YOUR DESIGNS. IMAGES SHOULD BE SCANNED FOR THE BEST IMAGES TO PRINT.  I HAD A STUDENT HELP ME AT FIRST BECAUSE I AM DEFINITELY NOT PROLIFIC ON THE COMPUTER!

Julie says to come by Fat Crow Print Studio and Mercantile anytime. She enjoys talking about the creative process in all it’s forms.


PHOTO: Robert Henssler

LAS VEGAS LITERARY SALON NEWS AND NOTES

CALL FOR READER/JUDGE ELMER SCHOOLEY SHORT STORY PRIZE

The Las Vegas Literary Salon is looking for a reader/judge for the Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize writing contest, which is based on a print Schooley created in his student years. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2022. Entries will have a maximum word count of 2,000. Reading will take place as entries arrive. An honorarium will be offered. Contact lvliterarysalon@gmail.com if you are interested. LVLS will collaborate with reader/judge on a suitable judging rubric.

Elmer “Skinny” Schooley (February 20, 1916 – April 25, 2007) was an American painter and printmaker. He received a BFA from the University of Colorado, and an MA at the State University of Iowa. Schooley was a Professor of Art and Head of the Department of Arts and Crafts, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico. His works are included in collections at the Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, among others.

WHAT DOES THE SCHOOLEY PRINT SHOWN ABOVE CONJURE UP IN YOUR WRITER’S MIND?

The Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize is a writing competition sponsored by the Las Vegas Literary Salon, made possible by the generous donation from Lorenzo Martinez of five Elmer Schooley prints. The print above has been chosen by the Las Vegas Literary Salon to be the subject of short story entries. We’re looking for good writing and creative panache!

What does this image conjure in your mind? Write that in a short story of 2,000 words or less and submit. Three cash prizes will be awarded. Prize-winning stories and qualifying submissions will be those that best reflect the hidden stories behind the image. Qualifying submissions among non-winners will be included in an Elmer Schooley Short Story Prize Anthology along with the top three winners. Authors included in the anthology will receive one free copy of the book. Click on Call for Submissions in the menu to download the Submission Guidelines. The prints will be available for sale as part of a fundraising initiative for Las Vegas Literary Salon.

This fund-raising effort is future supported by donations from educator, author and artist Ray John de Aragon, and Rosa Maria Calles, artist and folklore dramatist. More about them on the Las Vegas Literary Salon website soon. Among the offerings are signed posters of paintings by de Aragon and Calles depicting cultural icons Gorras Blancas and Los Penitentes, and several of de Aragon’s books. He is a recognized expert on the Spanish colonial arts, traditions, heritage, and folklore.

COMING IN MARCH: NEXT GEN RETURNS

These students of West Las Vegas High School teacher Anthony Lopez participated in the Salon’s first open mic event and then made a solo act return as presenters for the Next Gen event a couple of months later. Their poetry is fresh, original, thoughtful, and creative. They’re coming back with new material and new participants. Shown in this photo are Maya Sena, Christian Lopez, Josephine Morales, Dominic Garcia,
Viviana Rivera and Joshua Sandoval. We are expecting twenty presenters this go-around.


UPCOMING EVENTS
Scheduled 4th Sunday of every month at 4 p.m.
Venues to be determined
, times subject to change

• March – Next Gen poetry reading featuring high school students
• April – Poetry Open Mic (Working collaboration with NMHU student Aman WInkle)
• May – Featured Author Event TBA
• June – Book Fair sale of books with a focus on LOCAL AUTHORS
• July – Writing Historical Fiction, Patti Romero
• August – Featured Author Event TBA
• September – Hispanic Heritage Month (If you are interested in being a presenter, contact lvliterarysalon@gmail.com)
• October – “Readers Theater” Featured Authors – Patti Romero and Sharon Vander Meer
• November – Open Mic Essays and Poetry: Being Thankful
• December – Book Launch (This assumes we will receive sufficient qualifying short stories for the Schooley writing contest to create a book.)

THANKS TO OUR FISCAL SPONSOR AND BEST CHEERLEADER – LAS VEGAS ARTS COUNCIL

The Transmogrification of My Hands

Edwina P. Romero                                                              

Once nimble-fingered, strong, and knuckle-crackable, my hands have become autonomous lethal weapons always at the ready to attack my sense of self, to confound me, and to turn an innocent, heretofore intuitive movement into a booby trap.

I tape a package and tape sticks to my thumb; I pull gently at the vacuum cleaner, it leaps forward tangling its own cord into a heap of spaghetti. I grasp my well-worn, familiar mug and fingers miss the mark, shooting mug and coffee forward, out of reach. Singling out and retrieving one sheet of paper has become a major and arduous accomplishment, often concluding with several wrinkled, unusable discards.

As in a possible episode of “The Twilight Zone,” my ladies’ hands metamorphosed into independent claws disconnected from my autonomic nervous system. Once involuntary actions, such as rubbing my eye, now require detailed planning so as not to run the risk of poking out my eye. Now, I consciously think out the steps, the route, my hands, thumbs, and fingers will take in order to perform the rubbing of the eye successfully and without pain.

Typing, (currently referred to as ‘keyboarding’) a learned skill similar to playing piano (hence ‘keyboarding’), has become anxiety-provoking torture. For way over 40 years, I relied on this skill—without thought—while composing such documents as scholarly papers, creative mish-mashes, memoirs, and reports. And, having reached the typing speed and accuracy worthy of an Executive Administrative Assistant, I embraced a false, oh very false, sense of security. I believed that skills once-learned and heavily practiced achieve a sort of permanency.

However, my newly evolved fingers no longer strike the intended keys, indeed these alien claws play dirty tricks—creating such abominations as wrrd, or rwod for word. How do my fingers do such things? They race ahead, lag behind, or enter mortal combat with each other and my thumbs; they jump together on one key; they ignore the space bar; they skip over whole words.

These hands and fingers that I once trusted to steer a car, comb my hair, tie the string on my baby daughter’s bonnet, no longer can be relied upon to do my bidding. And, sometimes, just to be perverse, they ache.

These hands, fingers, thumbs, knuckles, and wrists don’t even look the same. They are spotted, wrinkled, and bent into odd shapes. I no longer recognize these hands, nor can anticipate their next movements.

Yet, these are small betrayals. Not cancerous or gangrenous—only mind-boggling—minor irritations reminding me that I am organic. So, when my hands trp me up [as they just did with trp not trip], I shall recall that all transformations may not be spiritual.  

TRY IT: I wrote this essay in response to a one-word writing prompt: transmogrification. Try it, or chose your own word.


Edwina P. Romero is a founding member of Las Vegas Literary Salon. She has authored several books including her novel, Prairie Madness, Conspiracy at Fort Union. For more about Patti, click here.

INTERVIEW WITH LAS VEGAS, NM POET LAUREATE KAYT PECK

Award-winning author, playwright, poet, screenwriter and successful grant writer Kayt Peck sat down with Mary Rose Henssler recently for an interview. Kayt is the current Poet Laureate of Las Vegas, N.M., and will be the featured guest at the Literary Salon Visit with the Author, at Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, N.M., on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at 4 p.m. In our interview, we discussed writing, among many subjects, and that part of the interview is excerpted below.

Kayt Peck

MRH:  You were studying speech and communications. At what point did you start knowing that writing was your life?
KP: Before I could write I would go into my dad’s office and make up stories on his typewriter. I was just pecking away, but the stories were in my head. Yeah, I always wanted to write.

MRH:  And at what point did you start writing fiction?
KP: Probably junior high. It sucked, but I wrote it. And my degree – I had a weird degree – it was called a functional degree, and I had a major in speech, and what amounted to a triple minor in journalism, psychology and education. That’s because they tried to push me into that. Actually, I finished everything except my student teaching to get education certified, but I didn’t want to teach. That’s something they – if you’re a woman at that school you had to go into education or medicine or something. I had no desire to be a teacher. I’ve been told I’m a good one.

MRH: What is your writing kryptonite? Something that protects you from just everything and lets you write?
KP: That’s a good question. Writing kryptonite. Passion. I have pretty much–I have developed the craft. I can write about anything. I make a living largely writing grants, so I can write about anything. But when it comes to fiction, when it comes to plays or now screenplays, it has to be something I am passionate about. And if I truly have passion about something there’s no such thing as writer’s block.

MRH: Now, you believe in writer’s block, but you don’t get it?
KP: I do sometimes, but it’s short lived. It’s when I’m tired. It’s the body saying ‘shut up.’ I do get it sometimes. Natalie Goldberg has some great exercises to get you past, you know, over the hump. I think it’s a story she wrote or my writing instructor in college may have told me this story about someone who was in a writing class and couldn’t write. Just couldn’t get past it, so the instructor said, “Okay. Just pick a street.” She did. “Pick a building.” She did. Couldn’t write. The instructor finally said, “I want you to go to that building. Go up ten bricks, three bricks over, and start writing about that brick.” And that broke it. Have you ever read my tagline on my email? ‘Writers are like magic wands. They can create anything.’ And you know, we really do. It’s not just on the page. Writers create everything when you come down to it, the things that happen in the world, the things that humanity creates, it has to start with words. Everything has to start with words. It has to start with communication. That’s why I was so fascinated by interpersonal communication.

MRH: When you were in the Navy, I know the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City had a tremendous affect on you. What other experiences with the Navy had a great affect on you, good or bad?
KP: Probably the most important writing I have ever done in my whole career was when I was recalled to go to Strategic Command to help write the VIP documents when Admiral Childs was developing a plan for the stand down from the Cold War. So, I helped write the documents he used for key legislative committees to convince them to follow his plan.

MRH: You feel that was the most important writing you ever did. Do you feel that way about any of your fiction? Do you feel that your fiction has an impact on the people that read it?
KP: I think so, yes. I think this latest book, especially. The fantasy series. I really need to get into a different market for that, because I think that series… You know, Harry Potter changed the world. I think everything I’ve written–sometimes it feels like I’m not writing alone so everything I’ve written there’s been a trigger. I don’t write just for fun. It’s fun to write, but there’s something. There’s a kernel. A truth I need to say, or an observation I need to say. I told you the story of why I decided I needed to write Broken. The Ladies Room, I had to do.

MRH: That was a very powerful book.
KP: And you know, I couldn’t really tell the story of what it was like to start an organization in the Texas Panhandle, because nobody would have believed it. It was horrible. But I needed to get that flavor, that experience out to people. And do you know, I’ve done well selling that book out at the flea market, when I tell people what it’s about, that’s the one they want–straight people. And I’m amazed how supportive they are when I tell them what the book’s about. The fantasy trilogy? That was important to me, and it hasn’t hit where it’s supposed to yet. I probably needed a different publisher for that. When I write, I let the story drive the length and the pace. And even though I like fantasy, Tolkein was so verbose. The story’s good, but I enjoyed the movies more than the books. I’m waiting to see what happens with Chokecherry Jelly (screenplay). I entered it into two contests and I’m not entering it into any more until I see what it does. It costs money to enter screenplay contests. (Chokecherry Jelly won both contests.) (Someone) wants to produce it, but it’s a long ways from concept to production on a movie.

MRH: Unless you want to do it yourself.
KP:  There’s so much I want to accomplish, and picking and choosing, because I realized, you know, I’m not going to live that much longer. In the scheme of things, ten or even twenty years isn’t that long.

MRH: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
KP: It wouldn’t be my writing self; it would affect my writing self, but I would go back earlier. Because when I was a kid growing up, somehow I knew it wasn’t me that was screwed up. Well, I was screwed up, but I think I would go back–I waited until I was older to–I’ve written forever. I’ve got manuscripts even I forgot I had written. But it wasn’t until I got in my fifties where I started saying, “Yeah, let’s put it out there.”

MRH: So you wrote, but you didn’t send it out anywhere, until you were in your fifties?
KP: I would do some, but I wasn’t real serious about it. I was serious about helping other people accomplish their dreams, because that was the subliminal message that I had, was that my talent wasn’t supposed to be used for me. So if I could, I would go back to even before pre-writing and tell child me, “It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay. You’ve got a gift. It’s okay.”

MRH: So that was a pretty powerful message that you were getting from the people around you.           
KP: Oh yeah. That I wasn’t supposed to use my talent for me. And it took me a long time to even recognize that’s what it was doing. I think that’s why I got into grants, because it was okay. I told myself at the time it was a great way to practice my writing skills and still make a living. Now, I look back at it, and if I had put it where I really wanted to, by now I’d be in clover.

MRH: What did you do with your first advance?
KP: What advance?

MRH: Your publisher doesn’t give an advance. What did you do with the first check you got from your writing?
KP: Put it back into the writing. Or into publishing. All of the stuff I make off my books I put into Dreamcatcher Books or I put it into the marketing. So I’m trying to think if I used it for anything else.

MRH: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
KP: Getting a computer. That really opened things up.

MRH: You wrote your first books on a typewriter?
KP: Mmmhmm. Speaking of investment, I tried to make an investment. When I was in my twenties, I thought okay, I want to be a writer, I want to do publishing, so what am I going to do? So I started a little magazine called The Coldwater Holdout. Which is apparently kept in a couple of museums in Oklahoma. Which is kind of fun. And my dad had bought, when I was a baby, a whole life policy which he turned over to me when I turned twenty-one, and I left it for a while and I thought, ‘You know what? I need some money to be able to do this magazine.’ So I cashed it in. Now, this is one of the ways–I should have divorced him then–so, I made the mistake of putting the money in the joint bank account. Kevin bought a motorcycle. Spent my magazine money on a motorcycle, so that was a short-lived–I think I did it for six months. It was so much fun. I’ve still got it somewhere. I ought to let you see it. The Coldwater Holdout was fun. I might have been able to stay in publishing. But you know, I don’t regret the newspapers I worked for, either.

MRH: What do you regret?
KP: Not a damn thing.

Kayt Peck will be the Literary Salon’s featured guest on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at 4 p.m. at the Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, N.M. Refreshments will be served. Please wear a mask and observe social distancing.

Author Kayt Peck’s published works.

Article written by Mary Rose Henssler whose work includes playwriting, scriptwriting, poetry and prose. She also enjoys drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and being outdoors.

_________
Photos: Courtesy Kayt Peck

Writing and reading go hand-in-hand

Writers write. Right?

One would think so, but it’s surprising how many writers are inveterate procrastinators. Every bit of advice about writing boils down to putting one’s behind in a chair and banging away at your word processor, be it a computer or an old fashioned pencil.

  • Serious writers write
  • Traditionally published authors work as hard at getting an agent as they do at writing books
  • Serious writers write
  •  Indie and traditionally published authors learn how to promote their own books with confidence
  • Serious writers write
  • Author platforms are crucial
  • Serious writers write 
  • Authors read nearly as much as they write 
  •  Serious writers write

And don’t depend on family to edit your work, unless that is their profession and they are generally heartless when it comes to reviewing your article, or essay, or book. My ever-patient husband has been my biggest supporter and kindest critic (as in being no critic at all). He is not my editor. According to him everything I write is “fine.” Yikes. The worst word on the planet for a writer. “Fine.” A writer wants to be “thought provoking,” “hilarious,” “a thorn in someone’s backside,” “extraordinary,” any and all of the superlatives you can imagine. “Fine,” I didn’t think, quite cut it. And then I looked at synonyms for fine:

  • excellent
  • first-class
  • great
  • outstanding
  • quality
  • superior
  • prime
  • supreme
  • wonderful

So I guess I’ll take “fine” from my husband, who really, when I think about it, is a discerning and highly intelligent man. He’s still not my editor.

Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to talk to writers of varying levels of success. These wonderful interactions have taught me a lot about what it means to be a writer.

Write tight. Whether you are writing an advertisement or penning the Great American Novel, less is more. Good writing is often a matter of making the most of a few well-chosen words.

Do your homework. (Research). Writers have an obligation to their readers to be credible. Works of fiction with shaky plots and weak characters turn readers off. Nonfiction books with incorrect information turn readers off. Period. End of story.

Write. To be successful, writers must write. It sounds simple, but making time to write is difficult if you are not intentional about putting words on paper (or computer), which is why most authors have a schedule and stick with it come what may.

Be interesting. Create a compelling story with strong characters, drama, conflict, action and a satisfying conclusion.

Be creative. There are many ways to write about the same subject. Love. Hate. Death. Life. Fear. Happiness. Truth. Lies. You name it and it has been written about, and that will continue. How does your creativity and innovation bring new life to these concepts? That’s the story you want to tell.

Read. Yes. Read. Read a lot. Read different genres. Read nonfiction, poetry, history, fiction. Read. Read. Read. As famed author Stephen King said, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”

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Next up: In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), the September 18 Las Vegas Literary Salon will feature two of the writers who will be published in Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poems. Ray John de Aragon and Sylvia Ramos Cruz will talk about their work, the craft of writing and their writing journeys. Read more here and register to attend. The event begins a 2 p.m. on Zoom.

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NOTE: If you are interested in being on the Las Vegas Literary Salon planning team, contact lvliterarysalon@gmail.com. We’re also interested in guest posts from writers about their writing journeys, the craft of writing, book reviews in any genre, posts about reading. If you have a guest post idea, let us know.

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Coming in October: Las Vegas Poet Laureate Kayt Peck will be our featured author at an event full of surprises, which may include hot cider and spooky treats! Hopefully by then in person gatherings will be possible. Stay tuned. Either way, Kayt will be talking writing and poetry and publishing.

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November launch of Tapestry! Details to come.

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 and registration form here.

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.