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.

Flash Fiction Friday 018: Theodore P. Druch’s ‘The Old Barn’

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the eighteenth piece of flash fiction in this weekly series. Tonight Theodore P. Druch returns with a 411-worder entitled ‘The Old Barn’.

The old barn stood dying on the edge of the wheat field. It had been dying for a long time, almost as long as the wood of which it was made had been living. In a sense, it had lived two lives, and that’s more than most can hope for. But now it was coming to the end of its second, and there was no third to be had.

What boards of its sides were left unpillaged stood twisted, weathered, warped, and gnarled. Some had turned hard as rock, but bone thin in places. They would stand yet a long time, as the rest of the barn decayed apace.

Occasional patches of red paint could still be seen on sections that had remained, more or less, intact, but every windstorm tore off more and more of the crumbling flakes, and soon, it would be a featureless gray all over.

Its roof was mostly gone, only skeletal rafters poked through the many holes where the shingles had blown off. Several loose ones flapped in the wind.

Its old bones were getting rickety; the very hardness that had invaded them made them brittle and no longer able to bend as they had when young and green; they were in danger of breaking. Several had, as in one corner, where a falling hayloft had sent a sudden shock though a post and it had split neatly into two pieces, the one lying quietly below, waiting patiently for its widow, still dangling from the remains of the ruined loft, to join it in their final, silent journey into dust.

Dust that would blow away on the wind.

The old man stood dying on the edge of the wheat field.  He tried to remember what the barn had looked like when he’d been a boy and it had just been raised. He’d thought that it was beautiful then; and he thought that it was beautiful now, but with that awful sort of beauty that recognizes the inevitability of endings, no matter how perfect.

He had grown up and grown old with the barn, but the barn had never taken any notice of him.

The barn didn’t know that it was turning to dust.

Lucky barn. He thought, and moved on to contemplate the old oak, whose mostly leafless branches appealed in silent supplication to the uncaring sky.

The old man stood dying on the edge of the wheat field. Six months. He thought.

I asked Theodore what prompted this piece and he said…

I hold a weekly workshop for serious writers of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group, and we usually begin with an impromptu writing exercise for five minutes. One of them was to describe a building. I wrote a description of an old barn. It was only later that the idea came to me to expand it into something more. It is interesting to note that some of the best writing was done on this kind of impromptu basis. An exercise like this doesn’t give one much time to think, so what flows from the pen is pretty much instinctual, and I think that the best writing always is. I have been consistently delighted at the high quality produced, often by people whose edited writing leaves something to be desired, The problem is to get writers to go with this instinct, and be very careful of wrecking it with excessive editing and second thoughts. People seem to have a basic distrust of their instincts, and that can ruin what might otherwise be a fine piece.

I totally agree. I run a workshop every other Monday night (usually three or four 10-15 minute exercises) and we come out with some corkers. Thank you Theodore. 🙂

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.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with multi-genre author Terri Morgan, the two hundred and fifty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers, 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 002

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 002 was released today.

This is a new series tucked in between the now-monthly hints & tips and red pen critique sessions and for the first weeks will include the flash fiction that appeared on this blog as ‘Flash Fiction Fridays’.

Because they’re short and, at the moment, I have plenty of them, I read out three per fortnight and today’s were ‘The Ruby Stradivarius’ (at 588 words) by Issy Flamel, ‘Horror story’ (986 words) by Theodore P. Druch and a 999 word ‘Lorna doomed’ by Phoebe Matthews – no critiquing, just simply reading them out and I hope you enjoy this new format.

    

You can read the full transcription of these stories as well as the author biographies on the Flash Fiction Fridays page but then that may spoil your enjoyment of the audio. 🙂

Next Monday’s episode should technically be hints and tips but as we have a holiday coming up (although I will likely keep these podcasts going, albeit a day or two late with Boxing Day falling on a Monday this year) I plan for the next episode to be a series of exercises, some easy, some less so, for you to complete during your time off work, assuming of course that you won’t be engrossed in all things family – maybe the exercises will be just the excuse you need to escape!

Thank you again for subscribing, downloading and listening to this episode and until the next time. As Issy’s characters would say “Auf wiedersehen”.

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).