The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference, Mexico

One of my regular contributors*, Ted Druch, emailed me to say that he’s directing the next Writers Conference at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Sadly, I’m too far away but for anyone less geographically-challenged, here are the details:

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference will take place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from Feb. 24-26.  The conference theme is “Writing Well” with an emphasis on brevity and economy of expression.

Conference presenters are Jaquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the first novel chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, and considered to be one of the 25 most influential books of the 20th century. Mitchard will deliver the Keynote Address, and will lead seminars and workshops.

James Strauss, successful Hollyood screenwriter, has written for projects as diverse as House and Deadwood. The Boy, his novel of prehistoric times is being filmed by Walt Disney Studios. He is currently working with the legendary Stan Lee on a new set of superhero graphic novels.

Mitchell Wieland is the editor of the Idaho Review, considered to be one of the best literary reviews in the US. He is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

William C. Gordon is a detective novelist, when he’s not practicing law, living in San Francisco with his wife, novelist Isabel Allende. His books have been published in 10 languages. Bi-lingual, he has had a distinguished career defending Hispanic Americans in labor disputes.

Eileen Obser is a member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group, though she spends most of her time on Long Island, NY, where she teaches Creative Writing at several colleges and Universities.

Daniel Grippo and Joy Eckel are long-time PV residents. Dan is a publisher and editor, and Joy edits professionally, having edited for many of our local authors. They will be co-leading a workshop on plot, structure, and editing.

Joseph Staszak is the Mexico City Director of ExLibris, an e-publication firm. He will be leading our Sunday sessions devoted to publishing and marketing.

Marcy Posner is a literary agent with Folio Literary Management of NYC. She will be holding private pitch sessions for those who have completed books.

Workshops will include plot and structure, narrative and description, dialogue, memoir and essay, editing, and writing for children and young adults.

The conference will take place at the spacious Los Mangos library, and after the final presentation, the library will be hosting an open  Book Fair with entertainment and book launchings, including works by local Mexican authors in Spanish. We hope to attract a large crowd from the surrounding community.

The cost is just $125 (or $110 if you book today, 31st Jan!). Information and enrollment forms can be found at and Ted’s blog is (home to one of my favourite pictures :)).

*you can read everything Ted‘s done for me here: flash fiction no.4flash fiction no.10flash fiction no.18interviewpodcast s/s ep.002, ep.004. and ep.006.

Post-weekend Poetry 006: ‘The Androyd’ by Vincent Miskell

Welcome to the new Post-weekend Poetry and the sixth poem in this new weekly series. This week’s piece is entitled ‘The Androyd’ by Vincent Miskell.

The Androyd

Androyd, Androyd, lasered bright
Through the vacuum of the night,
What impossible pedigree
Could ruin your immortality?

From what distant ooze or thighs
Burned the fire from your eyes?
With what neuron did it conspire
To crush you with celestial fire?

And what sympathy and which art
Could slay you for your lack of heart?
Then as your parts dispersed in space
Did a smile stretch on its face?

What hapless haploid genome
Could hate you for your soul of chrome?
And as its beam burst you in flame,
Did it feel some bytes of shame?

When the stars expressed their fears
And shaped the planets with their tears,
Were you then an entity?
Is what killed you, now after me?

Androyd, Androyd, lasered bright
Through the vacuum of the night,
What impossible pedigree
Dare ruin your immortality?

I asked Vincent what prompted this piece and he said…

I think Blake’s “The Tyger” is one of the greatest short poems in English. The opening lines are so visual (and visionary) and powerful:  “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night.” One way to try to understand a poem is to write in its style–or in my case–write a parody.  Since I enjoy science fiction, the theme of an android naturally came to mind. Even though one of my aims is to be humorous in the poem, it still echoes some of the power of the original.

Thank you Vincent – I loved it. 🙂

Originally from New Jersey, Vincent Miskell lives in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area of Florida with his wife Jane, Border Collie Bridget, and two cats (Joey and Maggie). Vin works as a writing instructor at two universities and has published nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including poems in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine and in Star*LineIn 2006, his poem “Screen Savior” was nominated for a Rhysling Award.  In 2011, his SF poem “Our Canine Defense Team” won second place in the Best Poem category in Asimov’s Science Fiction The Twenty-Fifth Annual Readers’ Awards.

His poems have also appeared in The Lyric, Mobius, Poetic Voices of America, Best in Poetry, and Stories and Ballads.  Currently, he has eight ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords.

If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with author Guy Cranswick – the two hundred and sixty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode no.6

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number six, part of a fortnightly series tucked in between monthly hints & tips and red pen critique sessions, was released today.

I’ve been starting off the first few weeks with the flash fiction that have appeared on my blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’, reading out three per fortnight. Eventually I’ll run out so if you’d like to submit yours you can email me at

This episode featured ‘Zombie Fight Song‘ (999 words) by Bob Frey, ‘The Old Barn’ (411 words) by Theodore P. Druch and a 998-worder called ‘The Visit’ by Ralph Murray.

Bob’s original story contained some strong language so I edited it to suit the ‘clean’ rating of this podcast. I don’t critiquing them but simply read them out and I hope you enjoy this format.

Bob Frey loves to entertain, make people laugh and think, and, perhaps, shake them up a little. He was a copywriter for several top Los Angeles advertising agencies and received several awards for his creative work. When he turned to writing fiction, he found it was a whole new ballgame and he had a lot to learn. He has since published a couple of mysteries, ‘The DVD Murders’ and ‘The Bashful Vampire Murder & Comic Book Murders’, and ‘Catawampus Tales’, a book of short stories, a mixed bag of fast food for the mind. Also an actor, he has appeared in some forty independent films and stage plays. Now retired, he lives in Sandy, Oregon, with his wife, Susan.

Born in Milwaukee, educated at Brandeis and later at the Timothy Leary commune in Millbrook, NY, Theodore P. Druch, Ted to his friends, spent most of his life in trivial pursuits – like making a living. After chucking it all and traveling around the world for ten years like a dandelion seed on the wind, he settled in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He is an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group, and conducts a weekly workshop for serious authors. In the last two years, Ted has published four full-length non-fiction e-books, and is currently working on his first novel, a historical fantasy of 1492 called ‘King David’s Harp’. He fully expects it to be a blockbusting best-seller, filled as it is with pirates, adventurers, corrupt popes and priests, several heroes and heroines, and a search for clues to the hiding place of the harp of King David, the recovery of which might bring about the return of the Messiah. Ted’s books are available at Amazon for the Kindle and at Smashwords for all other readers. ‘Footprints on a Small Planet’ is also available as a trade paperback through Amazon. Ted’s blog can be found at and you can watch his African Odyssey trailer on YouTube.

Ralph is a London-based graphic designer / sub editor, married with two sons. He finished his debut novel in November 2010 and has been trying to get it published (unsuccessfully) since then. I know that feeling. Ralph says he knows that self-publishing is very much the way to go, but he’s determined to hold out for a traditional publisher (well, that’s the plan anyway). He gets up at 5.00am most mornings to write for an hour before getting ready for work, and is 12,000 words into the sequel of ‘From Out Of The Blue’. ‘The Visit’ first appeared on his blog ( in November.

Thank you for downloading / listening to this short story episode. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to bringing you another a fortnight. In the meantime, next week’s episode will be a hints & tips unless I receive a short story or novel extract to critique (again you can email this to me). All the links mentioned in these shows are listed on the podcast page of list blog.

The podcast is available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

Author Spotlight no.53 – Chelle Cordero

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the fifty-third, is of Chelle Cordero.

Chelle has come a long way since first joining the Vanilla Heart Publishing queue of authors nearly two years ago with her first novel, Bartlett’s Rule. Now with nine novels on the market, she has solidified her standing as a Romantic Suspense author (7 romantic suspense & 2 mysteries). She also has short stories in the VHP anthology With Arms Wide Open, Mandimam’s Press anthology Forever Friends, the VHP anthology Nature’s Gifts, VHP anthology Passionate Hearts and Mandimam Press anthology Forever Travels.

Bartlett’s Rule was named one of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top Ten Reads for 2009; Final Sin was a 2009 Pushcart Nominee; and Hostage Heart, Final Sin and A Chaunce of Riches were nominated in the 2009 Preditors’ and Readers’ poll and had top-ten finishes. Chelle Cordero was recently featured as one of the authors in “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” published by The Author’s Show in 2010.

And now from the author herself:

As a child I kept notebook after notebook of writing attempts. In one case I created an entire TV series written specifically for my then-favourite actor; the series he was in was cancelled and after all, wouldn’t his agent be thrilled that someone cared enough to come up with a new script for him? The agent was unimpressed.

I did a favour for a community organizer when I was 18 and wrote a brief article for the local weekly paper. It was published and while I didn’t receive any monetary payment, seeing my name in the by-line was a “pure adrenaline” rush. For years I went back to writing my TV series, (hey even though the agent didn’t like it, I did) and short pieces of prose.

Finally, pregnant with our daughter, I decided to work from home and write full-time. I lucked into an underpaid, monthly column in the cable guide pretty much right away. Other non-fiction spots followed, luckily most had better pay rates. I felt like literally stumbled into writing as a profession.

That was the first time I announced (sort of proudly) that I was a writer. I had gotten paid for my writing and except for that one ungrateful actor’s agent, I had never known rejection. My ego was definitely inflated.

However most of the people who took my pronouncement seriously asked if I had written any books. I had to be honest, while I enjoyed writing ANYthing, I really wanted to create stories, fiction, romantic stories of suspense, mysteries…

So while working freelance as a journalist, raising two precocious kids, keeping a home and volunteering in my community, I found the time to start writing stories. Despite the long list of published credits I had, agents told me I was too new to take a chance on and I finally knew what it felt like to receive a rejection.

My ego was still so super-inflated that each time I received a rejection, I became more determined to get a novel published – I used to tell everyone that I wanted to grow up to be a novelist. I kept writing and finally in late 2007 I submitted a manuscript called Bartlett’s Rule to Vanilla Heart Publishing; it was accepted (there went that ego again!). I finally felt grown up.

I am still a freelance journalist and I enjoy my work. But I LOVE letting my imagination run away and create characters and stories. I still get that pure adrenaline rush each time I see my name on the spine of a book. I enjoy taking different experiences of my life and fashioning it into a novel. It’s amazing to see how something as simple as a grocery store encounter can turn into the beginnings of a mystery.

Nine novels later, short stories in five anthologies, two writing guides and scores more newspaper articles, I absolutely love my life.

I will send anyone who sends an email to with “Sampler” in the subject a FREE .pdf sampler of all my novels and writing guides.

For more information about Chelle, visit her website at or her blog at All of Chelle’s novels are available in print or e-book through online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and various e-book formats like Smashwords.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Alison Richards – the two hundred and sixty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).