It Keeps Getting Better

It Keeps Getting Better

By Herbert W. Piekow


writers-conferenceWe hope you have marked your calendar for the Eighth Lake Chapala Writers Conference; this year there will be a chance to get the publishing and writing scoop from three incredible presenters. Lakeside´s own award winning humorist Neil McKinnon will regale attendees with stories and techniques that will both entertain and educate. But I really want to write about our two International stars, that I know from my association with Portland, Oregon´s Willamette Writers.

For twenty years Eric M. Witchey has made a living writing. He has sold more than 70 short stories, numerous articles and two novels. When not writing he teaches college level writing, helps edit manuscripts for Willamette Writers and to relax he loves to tempt trout. He says being a writer means you write. “Every time you write, your brain attempts to adapt . . . Every story you get out of your head and onto the page creates room in your head for another story.” Each morning Witchey challenges himself to write as fast as he can for fifteen minutes, incorporating three concepts he randomly selects from a list he keeps.

In our discussion Witchey explained how sometimes a story sneaks in under our defenses and “touches our hearts in ways that form our thoughts, change our minds, and increase our compassion.” He will help writers learn how to write a story that can cause a tear, push a chuckle, or make a smile grow on a face. He says he is an eclectic reader and writer, and has sold stories in many genres. “I look for the heart of the tale when I write,” he said. “Then I try to bring it out so the reader can feel the power.”

April Eberhardt, another Conference presenter, is a high profile literary agent; she divides her hectic career and life between San Francisco, New York and Paris (one of her three degrees is from The University of Paris). She represents clients worldwide. After receiving her MBA from Boston University, Eberhardt spent 25 years in the corporate and literary world before opening her own agency. For a number of years she worked in the literary magazine field and came to realize, “how many new voices are out there deserving to be heard.”

The world of publishing is not only fickle it is in constant flux as readers and publishers choose among the many ways literature is being delivered in the new millennium. Authors need a literary agent who understands both the traditional and electronic marketplace, along with the evolving role of agencies. Eberhardt will talk about the differences between traditional publishing, e-publishing or self-publishing, which one is for you?

The Eighth Lake Chapala Writers Conference is January 25-27th at Hotel Real de Chapala. The cost is $1,000 pesos by December 31st, $1,200 pesos during January. Lunches and snacks are included along with the education. Registration forms are available at Diane Pearl´s Gallery, Colon and Ocampo. Questions can be directed to Kay Davis at



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