Saturday, January 15 marked the 50th anniversary of the Lake Chapala Society. As a tribute to Neill James, ten of the artists who participated in her school program exhibited at the Society. James would have been proud to see her gardens filled with colorful canvases by her protégées. Following his demonstration on painting, using fisherman “Remando” as his model, Javier Zaragoza expressed his gratitude to this wonderful woman for her assistance in helping him and many other Mexican artists get their start.

      (2) Writer’s Conference: Over 50 locals and delegates from Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel, Canada and the US, attended the Lake Chapala Writers Conference held January 29, 30 at the Lake Chapala Society. Dan Poynter was featured speaker, presenting his new, practical approach to writing and publishing, and also focusing on the importance of researching the target market and other books available on the subject, printing costs, book titles and book cover designs. Banquet keynote speaker Susan Page, spoke about realistic goal setting and working with editors and agents. A panel on traditional publishing consisting of Page, Alejandro Grattan, Neil McKinnon and James Tipton, focused on the best way to find a publisher. Another panel, including self-published authors Karen Blue, Teresa Kendrick, Don Adams and Jeri Callahan, highlighted the technical problems, hidden costs and delays they encountered in getting their work into print. On the last day, Jim Collums entertained Open Circle with selections from his new book. A book fair was held by local authors who participated in the event. This first Lakeside Writer’s Conference was extremely informative and provided a showcase for many of the talented writers residing in the area. (Harriet Hart)