Category Archives: writer’s conference

Puerto Vallarta’s Writer’s Conference 2013

It was cool. This was my second PVWG conference. I was out of pocket for last year’s, but by all accounts this one surpassed both last year and most people’s expectations for this one. Speaking of which. We were handed a questionnaire to help organizers figure out what went well and what fell in the water.We rated our expectations of the panels, seminars and workshops and then rated our actual experience. With the exception of one event, my expectations were significantly lower than actual. Which is good. Continue reading


Writer’s Conference-2

So, first off the presenters were totally cool, professional and awesome. OK, there was one exception, but that’s okay. The unexpected bene beyond generally humble, charming and successful presenters was the talent among the participants.  Talent, dedication, and a don’t give up the ship attitude that was contagious.

As I said in WC1, I had never been to one of these. A question one presenter put out was how many of us had set aside a budget for our writing at the beginning of the year — for you know, entries, submissions, conferences, etc. I had not only not done it, I had never even thought about it. But I’m thinkin about it now. First hundred bucks of 2012 goes to the 7th annual PV WC.

I thought some good things would come from the conference, and was right. Beyond that, I’ve crossed a personal line. An offline discussion the first evening was worth the price of admission. Michael, who has written more than most people would think possible said there’s no such thing as writer’s block. I thought, sure, you don’t have it. That doesn’t mean I don’t. I indicated something along those lines and his response, albeit more polite was — bullshit.

“Have you ever had a plumber say: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t fix your toilet today. I’ve got plumber’s block.’ Or a doctor tell you he couldn’t see you today because he had doctor’s block?” Bonk. Reframe! By the time he was done we were both laughing and he had me convinced. We agreed only writers could even think up a term like that for not taking care of business. Worth the price of admission right there.

Looking at writing as I would going to any job has allowed me to set a schedule and so far stick to it. And if I don’t at some point in the future when the high wears off, at least I’ll know it’s me not tcb’ing. Lisa, who was just worth the price of admission period, dropped another pearl. She, with her ‘Rock Paper Tiger” novel on Amazon & NYTimes top 100 books of 2010, along with other accolades, said writing for her was often not fun. Not easy.  Hard. Double bonk! ”

You don’t wait for the Muse to appear before you write. You don’t wait for the mood or the brilliant idea. You…write — whether you feel like it or not — and sometimes the reward for doing that is a visit from the Muse.

The library


PV Writer’s Conference-1

Just finished the 2-day workshop at Vallarta’s only Biblioteca. Los Mangos is a huge white building enclosed by large metal gates and set back behind a huge lawn with a sprawling veranda. And a mango tree. It has been on life support for the past 2 years, existing on a contributions and charity. For heaven only knows what reason, the government cut all funds. It has been rough, but pushed the library even further in the direction of becoming a cultural community center, as these kinds of events become fund raisers.

The staff appears to survive on love and roses. How else do you describe a manager that works from 9 am to 9 pm M-F, 9 – 6 Sa & Su and has to be the last to leave from the library’s many events, often getting home at midnight? They couldn’t afford to hire a part-timer to help out and I’m guessing if we knew his wages and those of the rest of the staff we would laugh or cry.

But to the conference. The theme of ‘Becoming a Writer — Seriously’ felt both tantalizing and irrelevant to me going in. Me? Of course I’m a serious writer. Why would you even ask! I’ve done it for a living for the past 20+ years and have written, written, written for myself since I was a teenager. Oh, wait a minute. Did you mean something like sending out a query to a publisher? Looking for an agent? That process? No, I don’t think so. You must have me confused with someone who can handle rejection. Add in that I’d never been to a writer’s conference and you might intuit that even though I was very excited, I had mixed feelings going in.

Here was the line-up:


Opening speaker Rick Najera promises to mix humor with insight as he outlines the pitfalls he encountered on his way to becoming the man Hispanic Business Magazine twice selected among “the 100 most influential Latinos in America.” Najera has written movies (Nothing like the Holidays), starred on Broadway and has written pilots for major TV networks. He’s also one of the most sought-after comics in the industry. His talents will also be shared in a seminar on using humor to best advantage in writing.
Concluding speaker Lisa Brackmann, whose first novel Rock Paper Tiger was ranked by Amazon as one of the top 100 books of 2010, comes with an impressive background in the film industry, a worker on a presidential campaign and a singer in a rock band. Her talk will follow the conference theme: Becoming a Writer – Seriously. She will also lead a seminar on “writing the high impact novel.”
Susie Albin-Najera, an extensive traveler who has covered broad facets of travel, tourism, art, entertainment and culture, will conduct a seminar on travel writing blogging and freelancing.
Sunny Frazier, who specializes in writing mysteries with an astrological twist and has edited four anthologies of mystery stories, will address the issue of finding a publisher and delve into the question of what publishers are looking for. As an acquisitions editor at Oak Tree Press, Frazier will also be on the lookout for potential manuscripts.
Sarah Cortez, who has received a PEN Texas literary award for poets and has edited and published an anthology of short mystery fiction by Latino authors, will discuss the fundamentals of writing a memoir.
Michael Bracken, who has written 11 books and more than 1,200 shorter works that have appeared in over 150 publications, will recount how he became successful at selling and writing confessions.