Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meet the Authors: Writing What You Know

The Clark County Library has an ongoing series of writing panels, featuring local, published, authors. These local writers, who are often not well known, know a lot about the down and dirty business of writing books, and getting them published, when no publisher is waiting for their work.

The panel on March 25th featured local artists Jack Miller , C. D. (Chuck) Williams , Marshal Taylor , Jacqueline Lyons, and Dennis Griffin .

The topic of the evening was "Writing What You Know: Pouring Life Experience into your Fiction Novel." Each of the authors explained how their own life experience influenced and shaped the books they wrote.

Attendees wanted to know whether "too much" of the authors' own lives went into their books. Ms Lyons writes non-fiction essays and poetry, based on her time in South Africa. The autobiographical element is totally appropriate there. The others used their life experiences to shape and flesh out their novels, giving the novels a greater connection with reality than writing that is totally based on research. One author said that his basic idea was often started with his life experience. However, the author often found his characters "taking off" in unexpected directions as he was writing.

Naturally many of the people in the large and enthusiastic audience were potential authors, looking for advice. The most important bit of advice was to join a writers group, as that is the best source of information and feedback for a new writer. The Henderson Writers' Group is a healthy and active group, and worth checking out.

The Meet the Authors panels are an ongoing series at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Some of the exciting upcoming events about the writing process include:

Get Over Yourself and Get Writing!, with paranormal romance author Vicki Petterson, on April 16th.

The Science of Screenwriting, with Dan Decker, on April 25th,

Poetry At Ground Zero, with Gregory Kompes and Leslie Hoffman, on April 29th, and

Chicken Soup for the Las Vegas Soul, with Tena Thompson, Morgan St. James, Linda O'Connor and Darlien Breeze, on May 27th.

Jack Miller was a Special Agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). After retiring, he worked for the DA's office, did some undercover work, and worked with the Gaming Control Board. His published titles are:
Cold War Warrior
Espionage at a secret Nevada desert air base
All Crooks Welcome
Vegas cops sting thieves and burglars
Master Cheat!
The story behind the story of casino game cheats
Cold War Defector
Traitors within the ranks of the spy catchers

C. D. (Chuck) Williams: After a 27 year career with the Coast Guard, Williams retired to Alaska, and spent the sixteen years living and working in Juneau. After retiring, the Williams relocated to Las Vegas. Williams' novel is:
This current time action-adventure novel begins in the jungles of Southern Palawan Island in the Philippines. It continues in Manila, then Las Vegas and has its climax on a remote Arizona ranch.

Marshal Taylor has been a commercial photographer, art director, and parks planner. He is a very long time resident of Las Vegas. He has written five novels, but only has one in print right now. As a self-published author, he needs to sell "the great wall of China" of books in his garage before he has room (and money) for the next title. His published title is:
Blossoms of Sin
Jerry Casey "fell through the cracks of life." With a value system bred of necessity rather than social mores, Jerry will face pressures and dilemmas that will test his world view.

Jacqueline Lyons was a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, South Africa, and is currently a professor of literature and writing at UNLV. Her published book of poetry is:
The Way They Say Yes Here
A memorable experience of an American's experience in an African country.
She also has essays published in a variety of journals.

Dennis Miller has been an investigator of a variety of topics, from deputy sheriff, to investigating a medical examiner's office. He is a voluminous writer about organized crime and crime novels. His published titles are:
Vegas Vixen
The third book in my Las Vegas trilogy is now available....
The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness....
The Battle for Las Vegas - The Law vs the Mob
The inside story of the law's battle to remove the influence and corruption of organized crime from Sin City's streets and casinos....
Killer In Pair-A-Dice
A serial rapist and murderer is loose in the Las Vegas Valley. With a smoldering hatred for women, he unleashes a reign of terror that not only threatens the Valley's residents, but its very life's blood: the tourism industry....
One-Armed Bandit
Four people with no apparent connection are gunned down during the robbery of a Las Vegas convenience store. Was it really a robbery? Or maybe a contract killing?...
The Morgue
Based on an actual investigation: the story of a medical examiner's office run amok....
Ted and Michelle Bronson have a successful private investigator business specializing in financial inquiries. All seems well until they become enmeshed in a major case involving public employee pension funds. For the Bronsons, nothing will ever be the same again....
Policing Las Vegas - A History of Law Enforcement in Southern Nevada
A history of the evolution of law enforcement in Sin City from 1905 to the present....
Blood Money
A young woman is released from a New York State prison, determined to get revenge against the man she believes is responsible for her mother's murder. The question is: can she stay alive long enough to do it?...
Red Gold
Based on actual events, a multi-million dollar Medicaid fraud.

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