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April 25, 2018

It’s with a touch of sadness and a bit of relief that the 2018 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference came to an end on Saturday night, April 21, 2018. I look back on those three wonderful days and it’s hard to sum up all the happy and fulfilling feelings, as I do every year from this big event. I would hope others that attended came away with at least some of those same feelings.

With this being my thirteenth writer’s conference, it might seem like old hat by now. However, I never fail to have a great time.


As usual, I arrived way early, though because of traffic and an ambulance on Flamingo (or Flaming-O, as some locals call it), I arrived at our new venue at the Tuscany Casino at 7:45 instead of my planned 7:30. It only took me a split second to find the escalator just to the left inside the main door that led up to the second floor. A big hall stretched before me when I went around the corner, with several closed doors on both sides. One room was already occupied by another group and I had to find an office to figure out which was the proper room to go into. A few early volunteers had beat me there. Slowly, more straggled in including my bud and partner, Donald Riggio until finally, Toni Pacini showed up and led us down to her room along with the writer’s group el-presidente, Linda Webber. We started relaying all the stuff up to what turned out to be Classroom 1A. Then, we skipped a room back toward the escalator (past the already occupied room) and loaded stuff into what ended up being the main ballroom. By this time, after many loads, along with more volunteers that showed up, we got all the swag and the booklets and bags and started an assembly line to stuff the attendee bags. Ray Katz, our other registration table bud (along with Donald) took them out to registration table where he and Audrey Balzart did the initial setup of the registration table. When I got out there and we finished the registration table setup, Audrey took off to set up the pitch session room.

Meanwhile, due to a glitch, no room signs were printed for the Thursday class sessions, except general (generic) signs provided by the Tuscany. So, Jenny Baliff, the conference coordinator asked me to hand-write signs for all the rooms. In kind of a panic, because anyone that knows me knows my writing isn’t all that great, I scrounged some blue card stock from Audrey down in the pitch session room, got a black sharpie from the Tuscany staff, and surprised myself by creating legible signs for each classroom. Each sign had the classroom name and number, the name of the session and the presenter or presenters. It was tedious work, but after only messing up one sign, and folding one wrong, it turned out okay.

Initially, Jenny told me she would work something out for Friday and Saturday, but alas, Friday morning, I was in a rush and barely got the signs posted before classes started. While we sat at the registration table, I made Saturday’s signs so I wouldn’t be in the same situation come the next day!

Though there were other minor glitches, to be expected, especially for an almost sold out conference, things went well over the next three days.


One of the big points of attending a conference is to meet people and circulate. This is no place to be a wallflower. One advantage to working the registration desk and handing out badges is that we get to meet everyone and I certainly did! This not only includes the attendees but the faculty. Of course it’s not in-depth, but at least we can put a name to a face, though with my short-term memory, it took a bit more reinforcement later for that to sink in.

As soon as the initial flood of registration took place on Thursday and the first classroom sessions started, I was able to break from the desk a bit, though I took no classes. The ones I was interested in repeated later, but the others were not what I came for. That’s okay. I was able to wander around a bit, meet new people coming in and harass the bookstore.


Over the next two days, I did attend multiple classes and enjoyed them. Between classes, I talked with attendees and a few staff, off and on, and got to know some of the people, what they wanted out of the conference, why they were there. I was glad to hear that not everyone attended just to pitch to agents. A good number of people came to learn about the craft of writing. Some didn’t have a completed manuscript and wanted more direction. This is something I’ve talked about over and over again and I see people have done just that.


I was one that had no interest in pitching. I have not submitted my icky bug novels to my publisher because of language, but I’m not actively pursuing other means at this time. I’m concentrating on my fantasy and adventure-thrillers at the moment.

We had several people come up to the registration table and relay their fears and frustrations about pitching. My partners in crime at the table, Donald Riggio and Ray Katz and I talked with them about different aspects of the subject.

Since I had no regular table for meals at this new venue, I switched it up and tried to sit at different tables each time. I was able to have quality conversations with Jame Friedman, the keynote speaker, Tetsuro Shigematsu, who did an outstanding address Thursday night, and Dan Koboldt, a popular science fiction author. As always, I had a nice chat with a favorite repeat faculty attendee, Randall Platt. We go back a long way!

I’d brought a stacks of Treasure Of The Umbrunna and Lusitania Gold to the conference bookstore. I sold one copy of Lusitania Gold, to who, I have no idea. I would’ve been glad to sign it.

I had a great time and can’t wait for next year.

Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2018 3:39 pm

    Nice recap, Fred! It’s good to get the perspective from a LVWC veteran. Enjoyed meeting you, too.

    • April 28, 2018 12:54 pm

      Thank you so much Dan. It was a real pleasure meeting you at the conference as well. I always have a great time and can’t wait for the next one!

      All the best,


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