Seven years ago, Writers of Southern Nevada (WSN) began as a group wanting to present first-rate conferences appealing to local writers. Indeed, several of those conferences, “Telling Your Story; The Craft and Business of Memoir Writing”, “Making Cent$ of a Writing Career” and “Fiction Writing in the Digital Age” were successfully held.
Enter Eric James Miller, group Vice President elevated to President when the organization’s leadership changed causing a short lull in activities. He and the WSN Board agreed that other writers groups in Las Vegas had improved their offerings of writers conferences, and that critique groups and monthly speaker meetings for writers were alive and well in the Las Vegas Valley. So where did WSN fit in?
Aside from starting a monthly writers roundtable where writers get together and talk about the hurdles they face, in the past two years WSN has hosted several topic-specific workshops such as “Anatomy of a 911 Call”, “How to find Your Audience” and an interactive workshop, “How to Improve Your Presentation Skills” which featured actor Anthony DeMaria. They also have a four-day writers retreat coming up in Boulder City in September.
However one of their most successful programs, an idea fostered by Miller, is “Painted Stories”, an event offering writers the opportunity to read their works while at the same time having one or more local artists give their instant impressions of the work. Painted Stories introduces the author’s work and the artist’s talent. The authors are also invited to bring books for sale, but for non-readers, says Miller, Painted Stories is simply “an interesting and inexpensive way to spend a Sunday afternoon”.
The very first Painted Stories was held February 9, 2015 at the Bootlegger Bistro. Subsequent events were held at the Writers Block (twice), the Clark County Library (four times) and the Bootlegger Bistro (again). “Although the venues varied in size, each event drew either a full house or close to a full house,” said Miller.
Among past Painted Stories featured speakers have been local writers Vital Germaine, Randy Sutton, Vito Colucci, Karen Haid, Deborah Coonts (now living in Texas), Mercedes Yardley, Greg Blake Miller, Morgan St. James, Tami Cowden, Holly Mack, Nancy Nelson, Stephen Murray, Darrah Whittaker, Tonya Todd, Tim Veazey (songwriter/lyricist), Terry and Ann Marshall and Taj Ainley. Among the artists who have appeared at Painted Stories are Megan Boiros, Andy Williams, Gabbie Hirsch, Dale Sprague and Svetlana Miller. As Eric Miller explained, “Artists have a particular challenge at Painted Stories because they must work very quickly and do it under the watch of the audience.”
Miller says he is thrilled to have three headlining authors at the organization’s upcoming Painted Stories event, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday July 16 in the Sonoma Room of the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Author Megan Edwards will be reading from her novel set in Las Vegas, Getting Off on Frank Sinatra: A Copper Black Mystery. Comedian and author Linda Lou will read from her autobiographical work, Bastard Husband, A Love Story and Greg Blake Miller, PhD will read a piece, “The Bird Market”, from his novel-in-progress set in Russia.
Cost for the afternoon’s entertainment is free for WSN members and $5 for non-members. Following the readings, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of each of the authors and watch the artist, Megan Boiros, finish her work. Miller says other local authors will also be on hand to read shorter pieces between the main presentations, and the artist’s work will be available for auction at the end of the event. “Yes, we found a number of events unique to our group,” said Miller, “but we have a particular fondness for Painted Stories. The public is invited. We highlight the work of local authors and artists, and we have a good time.”
For more information, visit NevadaWriters.org.