Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Real Las Vegas Workshops Deadlines

We Give The Dates the Workshops Are Held…

But that is not the deadline to sign up by any means.

The workshops, for the most part, all start months and months ahead of the actual date you need to attend.

For example, the Mystery Workshop here in Vegas in April is closed, not because it is full but because the reading list for it went out over a month ago and those attending need time to read.

And that goes the same with those in the Study Along for the mystery workshop. We don’t close that one because someone might want to just watch the videos, but if you want to do the reading and get the most out of the workshop, you are almost too late to jump into that one.

The Romance workshop in September here in Vegas still has a couple spots open, but the reading list for that will be going out in a month or so and sign-ups for that will close shortly after.

The Anthology workshop to be held in Feb/March 2020 actually starts the end of November this year with the writers writing. And that one always fills usually in the spring because it has a strict limit on it. And it is slowly filling, so don’t wait too long on that one. This year the writers got to write for three special holiday anthologies, three volumes of Fiction River, a special Pulphouse anthology, a special guest-edited issue of Pulphouse, plus generally for Pulphouse. (Eight short stories total. Great fun, but a ton of reading.)

So take a look at the workshops on for details. Or hit the Vegas Workshops tab on the right on this site.

A second reason to get in early on these workshops…

They might not happen if you wait too long. Some of you might have noticed that we cancelled two workshops in 2019. We had a Memorable Characters workshop scheduled for May that also had a Study Along with it. But two people signed up as of January, so we cancelled it. And the Study Along as well.

Same with the July Dean and Kris Show. No interest, so we cancelled it.

Why do we cancel so early? Because we no longer have the freedom we had on the Oregon Coast. We now contract with a hotel that has cancellation deadlines, so we have to cancel to not get caught losing a ton of money. Just business. (Still costs us money to cancel, just not a ton.)

So for 2020, what I am stunned about is the Science Fiction workshop in January that is taught by Kris. Realize right now Kristine Kathryn Rusch has three (not one, not two, but three) stories on the Asimov’s Award final ballot for best sf of the year. She has won a jillion awards in science fiction both for her writing and her editing, including numbers of Hugo Awards.

So we are doing a Science Fiction workshop in January next year that she is teaching (reading list will go out in September). One person is signed up.

Seriously? You have a chance to study in a small group, with personal attention from one of the top writers in sf in the modern world and no one is signing up.

So anyhow, just wanted to be clear tonight that we actually were late this year announcing the workshops in February. (We usually do so in late November.) So that late announcement made it seem like there is lots of time on some of these Vegas workshops, when actually not many months at all left to get into many of them.

So if interested, get on the list, let me know. And payment (which is fully refundable up to one month ahead of the workshop and then transferable) holds your spot.

If you have questions on any workshop, write me.

And here is the link to the workshop announcement that was here.


  • Dave Raines

    Since retirement, I quite literally have two things on my calendar for the next year… and one is that week, the week of the SF workshop. Argh.

    Nevertheless, who knows. When is the deadline for signing up?

    • dwsmith

      As soon as it fills, Dave, or we cancel it. We would cancel it this summer (hotel deadline), right now only one signed up, so a long ways from filling. (grin)

  • Nicole

    I’ve looked at the workshops before, and I’ve noted that your blog posts sometimes refer to needing to qualify to attend. (I’m fairly sure I don’t qualify…yet. I’ve sold a few stories to small markets, and am still working on developing my skills as a writer. I write, though, and I finish things. Still working on the ‘get them out there’ piece.)

    I’ve checked the workshops page, but I’m not entirely clear on what sort of marker I’m aiming to reach before I should consider signing up. I don’t want to waste your time and mine, nor take a spot from someone who would get more out of it, nor blow a few years’ education budget on something I’m not yet in a position to properly absorb. (I’ve also been kind of hoping my health would improve to the point where I could count on being okay the day after a flight.)

    Am I missing a set of prerequisites or a career level expectation noted somewhere, or is it more like prices in a Ferrari dealership – if you have to ask, it’s probably not for you?

    • dwsmith


      It is different for every writer. What Kris and I look for is a writer who is pushing hard, has written numbers of stories, is getting their stuff out to readers. In other words, a writer who is driven to be a commercial writer going forward. We have writers at workshops who are Times Bestsellers and writers who make their first professional sale at the Anthology workshop. So it is not about sales, it is all about attitude and drive. We can’t help want-to-be writers who can’t find the time, we can help writers who are writing and moving to go after their dreams, no matter at what level of sales.

      • Nicole

        Thank you, Dean. That’s a helpful clarification.

        So with my ‘write every day’ plan (exceptions granted if I’m too sick to sit up – chronic illness is a nasty lifemate) and my ‘finish what I start’ rule (even if I don’t much like the thing when it’s done, finishing things is good practice), I’m working towards workshop-readiness?

        I don’t have nearly your level of productivity…yet. If I keep practicing, I’ll build up my skills and stamina as I go. I’m also finding more ways to work around the day job, my health challenges, and caring for aging parents (because I love them, and it’s important to me) to make sure that I get my words first. I figure baby steps are okay, as long as I keep taking them in the right direction.

        I’ll keep plugging away, and put a workshop on next year’s wish list, health permitting. I’ll let you and Kris worry about whether I’m a good candidate once I’ve got my budget in line.

        • dwsmith

          Exactly, Nicole. Kris just finished a book that will be out in a few months on writing with chronic illness and how she did it. Might give you a few hints.

          And remember, writers are the worst judges of our own work, so even if you don’t like it, get it out, let readers decide. And family first, always.

          So sure sounds like you are doing great. And if things come together and you are interested, just write me. Keep the writing fun.

  • Tina Back

    I was crazy enough to sign up for the Science Fiction Workshop the last time, and lucky enough to get in.

    Did I think I was ready, knew my sci-fi and could do it? No, no and no.

    BEFORE you may think it’s crazy to take the workshop.
    AFTER you know that the only crazy thing would’ve been not to take the workshop. You’ll learn decades worth of science fiction writing from a pro. It’s like getting private tennis lessons from Serena Williams.