2015 Lake Chapala Writers Conference

2015 Lake Chapala Writers Conference

The Writing Muse

By Herbert W. Piekow


writers-conferenceMost creative people agree that they receive some of their best inspiration from fellow artists, usually people they respect and admire. With the new breakout sessions the 2015 Lake Chapala Writers Conference will provide plenty of learning and inspiration for writers of all levels and genres. However, putting together a panel of qualified and respected writers can be a challenge as some people are good at writing, but not so expert at sharing their methods or at motivating others.

By the end of November the conference committee and the presenters were all in agreement and we began our final plans. Like almost everyone I seldom like last minute changes, especially when the concrete is almost dry, but by now we’ve all learned to, “roll with the punches.” So, when one of the Lake Chapala Writers Conference confirmed speakers e-mailed the day after Christmas saying, “due to . . .” I didn´t panic, I just asked myself who can best fill this vacancy and give our attendees what they want and need.

Linda Joy Meyers, President of National Association of Memoir Writers was the person who easily came to mind. She is the award-winning author of four books dealing with memoir and healing. Her books on memoir writing, her fiction, non-fiction and memoir pieces have been published in literary journals and online. She writes for the Huffington Post, and co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months. This year´s conference attendees will have the opportunity of learning from Linda Joy as she talks about The Three Stages of Memoir Writing plus she will work with writers during two breakout sessions where Linda Joy will lead workshop discussions about, where to begin, how to find your themes, discuss truth, lies, secrets and how to manage the inner critic as well as how to decide what publishing path to choose so you can write and publish your memoir.

To emphasize the fact that there are many publishing opportunities Dennis Stovall, head of the Portland State University Publishing Program, will explain the truths about today’s publishing opportunities. Stovall says, “The real problem is not, can I be published, but what´s the best route for my project. Stovall, winner of the prestigious 2015 Rittenhouse Lifetime Achievement Award, has been in the publishing industry for years and is a publishing savant. Stovall suggests that questions sent in advance often make for lively and informative sessions. Topics conference registrants can  e-mail me at windsorcottage@juno.com and I shall forward your questions to Stovall.

Rachel McMillen will lead two workshops that she promises, “will have your words dancing off the page.”  In her workshops participants will learn “how to make our stories come to life.” Originally from England she was raised in Australia, worked in Greece and married an Irish-Canadian. She now lives in Mexico and all of this makes her a woman with stories, so come and learn how to tell your own stories.

Most of us have read some historical fiction and wondered how did the author know that? In her Thursday afternoon workshop British Columbia family lawyer and bestselling author Roberta Rich will share her secrets of research and writing novels that sell.

Canadian Poet Laureate Dianne Hicks-Morrow will conduct daily workshops tailored to anyone who wishes to write. Dianne’s Wednesday afternoon workshop is titled, “The Poet’s Toolbox.” Every writer relies on their own tools, but it is helpful when others share their building blocks. Her Friday workshop is titled, Anyone Can Write Poetry. Every writer needs to learn how to use words in the most efficient way to clearly convey their ideas and emotions, and poets are masters at using words and writing emotions.

Nothing gets published without an editor. The problem is publishing houses no longer have in house editors and so the writer must find and pay for an editor. One of the most frequent criticisms of self-published works is, too bad they didn´t use an editor. But book doctors, or editors charge for their expertise and just like any doctor they worked hard to earn to their credentials. Sandi Gelles-Cole, from New York, has years of experience and some excellent literary credentials. Friday afternoon Ms. Gelles-Cole will work one on one with pre-registered participants who submit a brief story outline and the first four pages of their work. These spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. If you have a manuscript you would like to be reviewed by The Book Doctor send your outline and the pages to be edited to: victoriaaschmidt@gmail.com. Victoria, who is the conference registrar, will  forward these to Sandi Gelles-Cole prior to the conference.

Registration forms are available at Diane Pearl Collections, Colón # 1 and at Hacienda Property Management, Hidalgo # 27-A, Ajijic. Registration by February 28 is $1,300 pesos, after March 1´st the cost is $1,500 pesos. Registration includes cocktail reception, botanas are provided, daily lunches and Friday afternoon closing reception. Conference location is: Hotel Danza del Sol, Zaragoza 165 and Rio Zula, Ajijic. Conference dates are: Wednesday, March11 for cocktail reception, Thursday and Friday March 12 and 13, 2015 all day sessions begin at 8:30 AM.


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Ojo Del Lago
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