The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference by Theodore P Druch

A few weeks ago I posted an announcement about this Puerto Vallarta conference and I’m pleased to bring a report from its director, and regular Flash Fiction Fridays contributor, Theodore P Druch.

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference was a success in spite of my losing two major presenters.

Two weeks before the conference, Mitchell Wieland, editor of the Idaho Review, one of the top literary magazines in the US, informed me that he had suffered a herniated disc and would not be attending.

A little fancy dancing and I managed to get the other presenters to take on a bit more to make up for it.

Then, one week before the conference, Jacquelyn Mitchard, the keynote speaker, informed me that she had to undergo surgery and would not be able to attend either.

Luckily, we have several other conference organizers in our group, and I was able to secure the services of Caleb Pirtle, author of 55 books and a successful Hollywood screenwriter. Together with James Strauss, also a successful screenwriter, they kept us in stitches.

William C. Gordon, an author of detective fiction, and married to Isabel Allende, was tapped for the keynote speech and several workshops.

Marie Beswick-Arthur, a local children’s author, took over the children’s and young adults workshop and did a marvelous job with the help of Erin Staley, another of our published authors.

Dan Grippo and Joy Eckel, also local members did a workshop on editing and structure that got the highest marks of all.

Another of our members, Eileen Obser who teaches creative writing at several colleges and universities in the New York area presented three workshops on writing memoirs and essays.

Joseph M. Staszak, a publisher who lives in Mexico City handled workshops on e-publishing, and Luis Cotto, a professional photographer was flitting around all over the place taking photos that he will be offering free to all the attendees.

In addition, we had two agents in attendance, Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Management of NYC, and Susan Crawford of the Crawford Literary Agency, so everyone who had a book to pitch got to pitch it twice.

Several of us have already been signed.

The highlight of the conference was the Sunday Book Fair during which all our authors got to sell their books while the crowd was held entranced by a Mexican Folk Dance troupe and Mariachis, and fed their faces from several local Mexican food vendors who put up their tables on the grounds of the beautiful Los Mangos library that hosted the Conference.

All in all, a huge success.

Thank you, Ted, I’m so glad it went well.

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 http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com and you can watch his African Odyssey trailer here.

You can also read some of Ted’s short stories on my Flash Fiction Fridays page. 🙂

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with novelist and autobiographer Leila Tavi  – the three hundred and seventeenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers 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, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

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 www.pvwg.com and Ted’s blog is http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com (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.

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 morgen@morgenbailey.com.

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 http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com 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 (http://ralphmurray.wordpress.com) 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).

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ep.046

Bailey’s Writing Tips episode 46 went live today and featured three blog posts that I wrote for the following interviewees:

JD Mader – published 18.09.11 on being a writer in the U.K. entitled ‘The view from across the pond‘ and another on the art of interviews (to be published).

Fiona Veich Smith – published 17.01.12 on overcoming writer’s block.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe) and this episode lasted 14 minutes and 40 seconds.

Next Monday’s episode will feature three pieces of flash fiction from Bob Frey, Theodore P. Druch and Ralph Murray.

BWT podcast short stories no.004

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 4 went live today, Monday 2nd January. This is a new series tucked in between the now-monthly hints & tips and red pen critique sessions.

The first few weeks are the flash fiction that have appeared on my blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’, at three per fortnight and today’s were Confession by Theodore P. Druch, The White Witch of England by Jane Risdon and ‘One Christmas‘ by Rosanne Dingli, all coming out just under 1,000 words each. Unlike the red pen session, I don’t critique these stories but simply read them out and I hope you enjoy this new format.

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 http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com and you can watch his African Odyssey trailer on YouTube.

For the last thirty years Jane Risdon has worked in the International Music Industry as an Artiste Manager, producer and music publisher with her husband who was a professional musician when they met over forty years ago. Working with successful recording artists, producers and songwriters she has also been involved in placing music on TV and movie soundtracks, including Baywatch, Sirens, Beach Clash, Power Rangers, The Jersey Girl, Zenon 3 (Power Rangers) and others. She has lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, USA, as well as Europe and England – working with both English, American, European and Chinese artists in all genres of music. Jane has been writing for years, has been published in the Music Press, is researching her family history and is writing a crime novel, a series of village comedies and various short stories, and is soon to collaborate on a novel with an award-winning writer. She is married with one son and three grandchildren and enjoys photography and the countryside and anything to do with history and science. When she’s not doing all that she can be found hanging out with her fellow Writers for Welfare (including myself) on Facebook.  You can also find her writing in the ‘I am Woman’ anthology, available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Rosanne Dingli is the Western Australian author of According to Luke, Death in Malta and six collections of short stories. She is the award-winning writer who published All the Wrong Places, her poetry collection, in 1991. Her travels in Europe, the UK, Australia and South-East Asia have informed her writing. She lives in Perth, still loves cacti, and now collects yellow crockery. You can find her at http://www.rosannedingli.com and http://rosannedingli.blogspot.com (the latter has some wonderful fish!).

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

Thank you for listening to this new short story episode. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to bringing you another in a fortnight. In the meantime, next Monday’s episode will be a hints and tips. All the links mentioned in the episodes are listed on the podcast page of this blog.

If you’d like to take part in anything I do whether it’s an interview, spotlight, guest blog, flash fiction, poetry, or have your short story or novel extract critiqued on this podcast then do let me know – my email address is morgen@morgenbailey.com.  You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum athttp://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

Flash Fiction Friday 004: Theodore P. Druch’s ‘Horror story’

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the fourth piece of flash fiction in this new weekly series. This week’s piece is a 986-worder entitled ‘Horror story’ by Theodore P. Druch.

Horror Story

It never occurred to me that I might actually kill her.

This was never a plan, yet here she is, lying dead in a pool of blood. There she is, I should say. I can’t look at her. The sight makes me gag.

I can’t believe that I actually did it. It just doesn’t seem real somehow. That can’t really be her, and this can’t really be me standing here holding a knife in my hand with no idea at all about what to do next.

Maybe, if I close my eyes, it will all go away.

Nope.

She’s still there. I can just see her feet if I look down.

The knife is still in my hand, too.

Time for plan B.

I didn’t even have a Plan A.

No. I must have dreamed it. It can’t be real.

But it is. I can’t deny it.

Her feet tell the truth, and those disgusting slippers she wouldn’t throw away. Her big toe is protruding through the tear in the threadbare fabric. It’s even more disgusting than her whole body, which I will not look at.

I won’t.

Not that I’m sorry, it’s just that it was never supposed to happen, and I haven’t a clue as to what to do next.

I’d never thought about it. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

I already said that, didn’t I?

But it did.

Crap!

Now what?

Strange. I don’t feel any panic, or anything. Just numbness.

And impotence.

The rage is gone. I can’t even remember it.

Now what?

I think that I should feel something. Relief? Fear? Sorrow? Remorse? Joy?

Nope. Just numbness. I even have to look down to make sure I’m still holding the knife.

I can’t feel it. I can’t even feel the floor beneath my feet.

My mind feels numb too. It refuses to think beyond the scene.

Now what?

This can’t have happened.

I said that, didn’t I?

I’m numb.

Strange. I think I should feel something.

Shouldn’t I?

I don’t though.

I try to remember when it happened.

It feels like a long time ago. I can’t connect me standing here holding a bloody knife to anything in the recent past.

It doesn’t seem possible that she was standing here less than a minute ago.

It can’t have been more than a minute, so why does it seem like years?

Like I’m remembering a scene out of the past. Like I’ve been living with this memory for a long time.

How can that be? The minute hand on the clock hasn’t even moved to the next mark.

Maybe it will never get there, and I’ll just stand here forever, holding a bloody knife, standing over Blanche’s disgusting dead body, unable to feel the floor.

Maybe time will stop, and I won’t have to do anything.

Except stand here over Blanche’s dead body with a knife in my hand.

Maybe it’s I’m the one who’s dead, and this is Hell.

It feels like Hell.

Blanche certainly looks like hell.

Why am I laughing?

She always did look like hell.

I can barely remember a time when I didn’t hate her.

I never thought about killing her. I never planned it.

So why am I standing over Blanche’s disgusting dead body holding a knife in my hand, unable to feel anything?

I don’t even feel like laughing any more.

Did the minute hand move?

God, I hope not.

Why didn’t I just walk away years ago?

I thought about it.

I don’t know why. I just didn’t.

I really never thought about killing her.

Did I?

I can’t remember now. She’s dead. It doesn’t matter.

Does it?

I try to remember what it was like a long time ago – when she was alive. All I can remember are her disgusting slippers, her disgusting bathrobe, and that ridiculous, disgusting bun on the top of her head.

That’s all I can remember about Blanche.

I don’t want to remember anything more.

Her nagging!

Now I remember her constant nagging.

That reminds me of her voice.

I’d rather forget.

She’s dead now. I can forget now.

So why am I remembering?

“Take out the garbage.”

“Wash the dishes.”

“Why can’t you clean up after yourself?”

“Why can’t you make more money?”

The memories echo in my head, banging into each other, merging and blending into one long nag.

Subject unimportant.

Just a nag.

I shake my head.

The echoes die away.

The clock has advanced another minute.

Shit!

Now what?

Maybe I’ll just walk away.

And keep walking.

That sounds like a plan.

I could walk forever.

First I have to feel my feet.

Strange.

They’re working. I still can’t feel them but I’m floating towards the front door.

It’s open.

Didn’t I close it behind me?

I can’t remember.

Oh well.

I float out the door, along the front walk, and out onto the sidewalk.

I still can’t feel my feet.

I float towards the corner.

I see Mrs. Crabtree coming around the block.

She smiles when she sees me.

Now she’s screaming.

Why is she screaming?

Why is she pointing? What is she pointing at?

I look down.

I’m still holding the bloody kitchen knife.

I can see that my shirt is all red too.

Mrs. Crabtree is still screaming.

It hurts my ears.

Why doesn’t she stop?

I see people coming out their front doors.

They must have heard the screams.

I don’t think I can float anymore.

I sit down on the sidewalk.

The knife is still in my hand.

I still can’t feel it so I can’t even let it go.

I think time has stopped now.

A million years later, I hear the sound of sirens.

Maybe somebody is sick.

Now I remember Blanche’s nagging.

Now I remember Blanche is dead.

I remember now.

I killed her.

I suppose the cops are wondering why I’m laughing so hard.

So am I.

I asked Ted what prompted this piece and he said…

The inspiration for Horror Story came from an essay I wrote about the good old days, in which I remembered an incident in which the man across the street hacked his wife to death. I can still remember his totally blank expression as he was hustled into a police car, and I wondered what he might be thinking.

And now we know. Thank you Ted. 🙂

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 http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com and you can watch his African Odyssey trailer here.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.