Challenge,  workshops


Starting March 2022…

First, before I tell you about the new Vegas writing workshops, I have to announce that the Anthology Workshop is officially cancelled.

I have sent letters to everyone who is signed up, so if you did not get the letter and thought you were signed up, just write me directly. We just could not risk putting over 40 writers in the same room for four days, plus in a party room at night in this environment.

But 15 vaccinated writers in a meeting room with great ventilation at a later time is another matter.

So Kris and I came up with some really, really fun four day craft workshops. Here is all the details for both the Vegas workshops and the Study Along workshops plus a new novella class that goes along with them.

Las Vegas Workshops

Starting in March 2022, Kris and I will be doing a series of really fun workshops in Las Vegas. They are limited to only 15 people attending. We have six planned out with me teaching three and Kris teaching three. They will be writing heavy and a ton of fun.

We screen who we let into the in-person workshops to make sure the work and pressure will not hurt anyone, but instead help them learn and advance their writing.

We also will demand proof of vaccination. Everyone attending must be vaccinated. No exceptions for any reason.

Each workshop will be four days long starting Monday morning and ending Thursday evening. They will be held at the Golden Nugget in a meeting room. You will arrive in Vegas on Sunday, have five nights of hotel, and fly out on Friday. Do not make hotel or plane reservations until we tell you it is clear.

Cost of each workshop is $750.00. To sign up, you must contact me. We will not hold a spot for anyone. You must pay the refundable fee at the time you sign up. I will tell you how.

For this new series of six workshops, we have taken the overall topics of Caper, Spies, and Humor and smashed them into six genres.

March 21st… Thriller Humor taught by Dean

May 16th… Mystery Caper taught by Kris

July 18th… Romance Spies taught by Kris

September 19th… Science Fiction Humor taught by Dean

November 14th… Historical Spies taught by Dean

January 9th, 2023… Fantasy Caper taught by Kris

Oh, my, heavens, will these be fun!!

What happens (in general at these workshops) is that there is a reading list about three months ahead that gets sent to everyone, both in the Vegas workshops and the Study-Along workshops. Everyone must have it all read by the workshop. It is not a small list and we have reasons for each story and book on the list. Just the reading list is a learning experience.

Then two weeks ahead of the workshop or so you get a story assignment to a specific topic to write. Stories are due as the workshop start.

Then over the four days in Las Vegas you write two short stories, do a bunch of exercises and craft things focused on helping you get better at the topic of the workshop. We talk about the books you read in depth, also about the assignments and the stories in the two sessions a day of meetings. And we have lectures about the topics to help the writers move forward.

Great fun and very craft and writing focused.

Again, these are limited to 15 people and will fill.

Study Along Workshops

Since the in-person Vegas workshops are very limited, many writers either don’t qualify yet or can’t make the trip to Vegas for one reason or another. So Kris and I have come up with a way to allow writers of any skill level to study along. It won’t be the full in-person workshop by a long ways, but it will still be pretty nifty. And cheaper. No travel.

First, you will get the same reading list that we send out three months ahead. Same deadline to get it all read.

You will get the first story assignment. It must be turned it at exactly the same time as the writers in Vegas will turn their stories in.

We will do short videos about the reading books that will be released a little each day. (Writers in Vegas will also have access to all this as well for review later.)

We will do a series of recorded videos that will be opened up each day talking about learning the topic of the workshop, similar to regular online workshops.

In the study-along will get the short story assignments and deadlines at exactly the same as the Vegas writers. We will respond to your short stories.

Only the Vegas writers will get all the other craft assignments and hear the lectures and how that all builds. But the Study Along students will get our comments recorded about each book in the reading list and recorded lectures on the topics plus comments on the stories.

You sign up for the Study Along classes on Teachable. No limits on those and you do not need to write me to sign up.


If you are signed up for a study along class or the Vegas class, and would like to learn more on how to write a novella in the topic of the class, we are offering a special extra class you can sign up for.

We will do numbers of videos as an extension of the Vegas Class or the Study Along class focused on how to write longer, essentially a novella.

You will have two weeks from the last day of the class to watch the videos and write a novella and turn it in and we will read it. All this will be online after the initial class is over.

You must have taken either the Vegas class or the Study Along to take this class. It will cost $150 and it is not part of the Lifetime Study Along. It is extra. They are not yet on Teachable but will be early next week.

These new workshops are going to be great fun, that’s for sure. Kris and I are excited about all of them.

And we are very sorry we just don’t dare try the Anthology Workshop. For a time we thought it would be possible.

We hope you want to join us at one of the fun, smaller classes here in Vegas. And keep in mind the first one doesn’t start until next March and the 6th one won’t start for over a year and five months. But they will fill early.



  • Suzan+Harden

    I’m sorry the Anthology Workshop was cancelled, but I totally understand why. I’m supposed to meet some writer friends in Vegas in November, but watching the infection rates rising, I’m considering not going. It’s not worth the risk.

    Maybe 2023…

    • dwsmith

      Planes are the risks. It’s not bad here in Vegas because of ventilation and masks are required everywhere.

      • Suzan+Harden

        If you could build a transporter I could take to Vegas that prevents me from being within virus-transmission space of other people, that would be awesome!!

        • dwsmith

          It’s called Time and mandates. At this point numbers of casinos are mandating that every employee be vaccinated. Every event requires vaccination before you can get in. Soon you won’t be able to get on a plane to Vegas without a vaccination proof. Or go in most restaurants here and many casinos. This town is clamping down because everyone here is so angry about stupid people forcing us all to wear masks again. Vaccination rate is climbing like crazy and infection rate is dropping because of the mask mandates.

          Give it time and more mandates and this town will be one of the safest in the nation. Most certainly by next spring.

  • Laura E

    Are the Special Extra Classes only for the new Las Vegas/ Study Along Workshops or will you have them available for previous Study Alongs too such as Mystery April 2021?

  • Kate+Pavelle

    I admit I was really bummed when I got the email, and I sulked. (SULKED!!!) I so wanted to see people in person again! But I get it, it’s a sensible thing to do and breaking up the whole workshop into individual classes, which are accessible long-distance, is a great alternative. At this point I’m curious how this will affect the Licensing Workshop and the Licensing Expo. Surely people are still licensing new content and there has got to be an online marketplace for that somewhere.

    • dwsmith

      Licensing Expo is still happening in May and WMG will be there with a suite for all the master class people who want to attend and talk afterwards up in the suite.

      The Mystery Caper May class taught by Kris is a week ahead of the expo.

      Got to remember that we were open two months ago completely, no masks. This surge in the states is a pandemic of the idiots who don’t want to get a shot for one reason or another. It will be over shortly as soon as mandates get put in place, which is starting to happen here. Other countries have issues past stupidity, like shortage of vaccines and such. But a lot of that will be clear by the time we start in March. And no one will be allowed to attend ours without a shot and I got a hunch the licensing expo by then will be the same.

      Now I have eaten predictions like that before, so don’t trust me any more than you would trust anyone on Facebook or Twitter.

      • Kate+Pavelle

        Yes, I saw Nevada was one of the states with a surge. Well… we will see. Meanwhile, I take comfort in the knowledge that doing classes remotely has a LOT lower carbon footprint 😉

        • dwsmith

          Yup, we have as many stupid people as other states, but the gov has mandated masks and the numbers are dropping like crazy.