Writing for Love

Writing For Love

Writers of Southern Nevada is proud to present Writing for Love, February 12, 2014 at the Downtown Cocktail lounge in beautiful Downtown Las Vegas Nevada. Meet authors! Hear readings! Maybe get a book signed! Mingle and enjoy cocktails with actual writers of romance and erotica, just in time for Valentine’s Day. This is the first in a series of events by Writers of Southern Nevada which will feature various genres and venues as it progresses. Plan your evening now, and I’ll see you at Writing for Love!


Then you should attend Fiction Writing in the Digital age in Las Vegas on October  11th and 12th! The Fiction Writing in the Digital Age conference includes several workshops on how to market your published books. The faculty includes indie and traditionally published authors in addition to agents and editors. Meet fellow writers and learn more about the industry from folks like Morgan St. James, Jo Wilkins, Peter Senftleben and many more. And on Friday evening there is The Atomic Book Signing at Atomic Liquors! Visit nevadawriters.org for more information.



Peggy Richardson will be presenting at the Fiction Writing in the Digital Age conference in Las Vegas on September 11th and 12th. Peggy excels at making the unclear clear, bridging the gap between people and technology. She has been involved in publishing more than 200 books, eBooks, and information products, both for herself and for clients. She is known for taking complicated technical language and making it accessible and real. She’s a great asset for anyone thinking of publishing a book in electronic form, and she’s just one of the presenters at the conference! Visit nevadawriters.org for more information.


Freelance Writing, Anyone?

The title of this site says “Observations of a Freelance Writer.” Not that I do a lot of that these days, but it’s still true. I’ve been paid for writing various things, so I qualify. I’ve just posted a page about the 2012 Writers of Southern Nevada Freelance Writing Conference, to be held October 13, 2012. That page includes a link to the sign-up page for the conference, but if you’re too impatient to click twice, then click here! The conference lasts one day and features an impressive lineup of freelance writers and editors to help you get your career to the next level. I know I’ll be there ’cause I sure can use all the help I can get! How about yourself?

Signing in the Waldenbooks

Here’s a YouTube video from Parnell Hall that’s funny as hell — if you’re a writer, at least.

Told ya this blog is about writing sometimes, didn’t I?

Spade & Archer

This book was written by Joe Gores, who isn’t Daishell Hammett, but might as well be. It is a prequel to the famous Maltese Falcon, of Bogart movie fame. The last ten lines, in fact, are the first ten lines of Hammett’s novel. The publisher is Alfred Knopf of New York.

This isn’t one of my usual one-line reviews because I really liked this book. Besides, in order to have so closely duplicated (not quite perfect, but close) the style of another writer, Gores obviously studied Hammett’s vocabulary, phrasing, even sentence length, and made quite a practice of duplicating those things.That could be a lesson to anyone studying to write fiction, I believe.

I did notice one thing that is different. Hammett refers to automobiles as “machines” in The Maltese Falcon, but Gores calls them “cars.” The period references in the book that I know are all spot-on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if “cars” is more accurate for the twenties, but not once does Gores use the term “machine” to refer to an automobile.

Other than that, it was damned near a perfect copy of Hammett’s voice, and it made me want to read The Maltese Falcon again. In fact, if you’ve never read the Hammett work, you might start with Spade & Archer and go right into the earlier book when you finish. Even if you read them in publication order, though, you’ll be sorry when you’re finished. That’s a promise.


Twenty-Five Random Things About Me

You’ve probably seen the chain email about this little game. Frankly, I don’t do chain email (see #1 below) but a friend of mine got such a good response on Facebook that I had to post something as well. It’s on Facebook if you’d like to go there to read it, but what the heck, I wrote it, I can post it anywhere I like. So, without further ado:

Twenty-Five Random Things About Steve Fey

1. I don’t do chain letters.
2. I think Casablanca is the best movie ever made. Except when I’m watching Citizen Kane.
3. The cheeseburger is the greatest gift ever given to a hungry world.
4. I’ve owned a slew of Ford motor vehicles in my life. Got rid of the last one last Labor Day weekend.
5. If you think you know how to fix our educational system, by all means get in here and get to work!
6. Outside of the cheeseburger, pizza is the greatest gift ever given to a hungry world.
7. The odds are that a person has no idea what the odds are.
8. I think the addiction some locals have to “the old Las Vegas” is probably a condition listed in the DSM.
9. The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychological Association.
10. My favorite cake is red devil’s food with boiled caramel icing. (Put red food coloring in and it’s red velvet cake.)
11. I’ve never passed a parking test, but I’ve been licensed by four jurisdictions.
12. I once got hit by a truck, head on, while riding a motorcycle. I suffered a moderate concussion, which means that I survived after being knocked out. I do not recommend the experience.
13. I think twenty-five is a heck of a lot of facts to come up with.
14. I’m glad they’re close to catching the Tylenol poisoner.
15. In spite of cheeseburgers and pizza, the best food I’ve ever had is the crab stuffed lemon sole at Spice Buffet under the casino at Planet Hollywood.
16. I could swear I used to get that dish at the Aladdin. Huh.
17. My doctor expects me to live well past a hundred. I’m not sure this is a good idea.
18. I’m not a good gambler because I do know the odds. Takes the fun out of it.
19. I discovered that getting a PhD is a symptom of ADD. Go figure, right?
20. The funniest movie I ever saw as a kid was The Shaggy Dog. On the fourth viewing I was still almost wetting my pants at it.
21. My favorite film genre is comedy.
22. That said, the Pink Panther series with Steve Martin is nowhere near as good as the originals.
23. The fact that they are remaking The Karate Kid is proof of something. Something sort of disturbing.
24. I really liked War and Peace once I found a decent translation of it. Never could stand Anna Karenina in any form, including film.
25. I’m glad to have gotten to number twenty-five. It would be embarrassing to run out of things to say about yourself after only twenty-four measly things!

Hillerman in Albuquerque

The reason I wimped out, er, failed to post last week was that I was in Albuquerque attending the Tony Hillerman Writers’ Conference Focus on Mystery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ve been a fan of Hillerman ever since I read the first of his Navajo stories. He died a month before the conference, which is a crying shame, but he leaves a wonderful body of work for fans to enjoy for a long time. I can say that he was remarkably accurate in his portrayal of both the place and people of the four corners area. I’ve visited the Navajo in their homes, and found them to be funny, generous, and reserved, not necessarily in that order. All of which is by way of background to me going to that particular conference.

At the conference I won a book by Louis Bayard titled Mr. Timothy. Now that is one fine book, and Mr. Bayard signed it for me while I waited. That was a highlight. If you like a good thriller and have an interest in Victorian London, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Mr. Timothy is Tiny Tim, all grown up and still having issues with his dead father. And it’s a good thriller, too.

The conference was good, but I’m not sure it was worth all the fuss and expense of going all the way to Albuquerque for. Not that Albuquerque is not a nice place, because it is, but it is a long way from Las Vegas Nevada. (It’s not far at all from Las Vegas, New Mexico.) It was interesting to ride on Interstate 25 again, as for many years that was the North-South main road through my town. And New Mexico is a beautiful place, to the point of feeling sort of weird. The workshops at the conference were good, but not as nuts-and-bolts as I’d expected, or would have liked. I did learn some things, especially about publishing mysteries, and also about making villains sympathetic, which is an important thing to do, of course. I mean, who doesn’t love Doctor No? Exactly, nobody. He’s a popular, if consummately evil, guy, and a fitting foil for Bond, James Bond.

Still, for the money, I’d have liked more hands-on instruction, but if I’d gone down from Denver I’d have probably loved it. Denver is closer to New Mexico in several important ways than is Las Vegas.

Albuquerque is a small town of 850,000 people, many of them surprising. For instance, the driver of the shuttle taking us to the airport after the conference, when I said “Eh voila!” just like in Fractured Fairy Tales on Bullwinkle, made the proper response, which is “Nous Avaunt Arrive’”. Of course in the original that’s all one sentence uttered by a magical French talking duck. Then he told me, in beautiful French, that he’d studied French and lived there for a time, and learned the language well. Indeed he had.

Well, I did have a good time, although the hotel featured Starbucks coffee, which I’ve never liked, but other than that, I did learn some things and enjoyed the company of like-minded literary fools. It’s a small conference, but nicely done. I probably won’t attend next year, but I am planning to enter their contest. Why not? A man from Vegas won this year, so I’ll go for two in a row.

As for Albuquerque, they love books. Just look at this picture I took with my phone on Central Avenue if you don’t believe me.


Try Your Luck With Chuck

If you’ve ever watched Two and a Half Men or Big Bang Theory you may have noticed the very short slide at the very, very, absolutely last thing end of the program. Those slides are vanity slides written for the occasion by Chuck Lorre, who is the producer of those and other programs. If you’d care to freeze-frame one you can read it right there on your own TV. But if you don’t have a DVR, or even a VCR, you’re out of luck. You’ll never get to see #191, which asks for a moratorium on the humorous use of the name “Chuck,” for example.

But wait, hope is! You can click the title of this post and go straight to the web site where all of the vanity slides from all of the shows Mr. Lorre has produced are posted for all to see. I recommend that you do so. Right now. Go on, get on with it.

(Especially if you got here while looking at my “writing” posts in particular.)