People's Guide Homepage Copper CanyonLive & RetireCarl's NotebooksLettersFavorite Books Visit our SponsorsTable of ContentsThe Best of Mexico: Favorite Places


The People's Guide to Mexico


Writers' Write!


A Workshop on Craft, Inspiration, and Effective Writing Techniques

Expand your writing skills while shaking off the winter doldrums on Mexico’s tropical Pacific coast, in a unique workshop by Carl Franz and Lorena Havens.

In keeping with the beach ethic, we’ll get a leisurely start each morning, with plenty of time throughout the day to experience this paradise. You can be active – swim, snorkel, kayak, surf, or go hiking and birding. You might also chose to do nothing but relax, explore the fishing village,beachcomb, or enjoy a long siesta. The workshop itself will be very personal, informal and definitely not academic in tone.

The first session each morning is a warm-up and will preview more detailed ”how to” sessions later in the day. These discussions will focus on reading and improving our own work, as well as mastering important writing crafts (rewriting, editing, structure, discipline, note taking, real-life dialog, giving life to dry facts, finding and maintaining inspiration, etc.).

The day concludes with reading of our work and group discussion. This will include past work for those who bring it, or participants can try their hand at our “writer’s yoga”, simple but very effective writing exercises to stir and strengthen your creative powers.

This workshop is about writing. Carl and Lorena will use real-life examples to describe what it’s like to lead a successful “writing life”. We will have people working on novels, journals, biographies and autobiographies, family histories, children’s books, guidebooks, travelogues, and newspaper and magazine pieces ... you name it, we’ll work on improving and expanding our creative tools.

DATES: Contact Sandi Bianchi at 303-425-1214, for dates

COST: $1,300 includes: the workshop, 6 nights lodging, 3 meals each day, and transportation between Puerto Vallarta and Mar de Jade. Spouses/partners/friends not taking the workshop are welcome at a cost of $600.

LOCATION: Mar de Jade is a vacation retreat center located about one and a half hours northwest of Puerto Vallarta. It is situated in a lush mountain forest adjacent to a half-mile long pristine, sandy beach. Spacious rooms in the main guesthouse accommodate up to four people. Double and single occupancy rooms are also available for additional cost.

FOOD: Authentic Mexican dishes and international favorites are served daily. Vegetarian options are available. All ingredients are fresh and washed with purified water. Purified water is provided for drinking. Meals are served three times a day, usually buffet style, on the outdoor dining room overlooking the ocean. All meals from Sunday evening to Saturday lunch are included in the basic fee.

SIZE: To insure personalized attention the group size will be limited to 12 participants.

Writers' Write!

Carl Franz adds, “When conducting a writers group, or shared reading/critique session, I do not like cutthroat criticism, ego polishing, or encounter-group style confrontations. I work on the “positive reinforcement” principle, and enjoy helping timid writers to write beyond their usual, self-imposed limits. Writing is hard enough at the best of times; this workshop is about learning to enjoy writing while also becoming the best possible writer.

Throughout this workshop Lorena will be available to help people hone their editing and rewriting skills. She also knows more than a little about writers block, and how to keep a working writer halfway sane.

I’m convinced that almost any intelligent, stubborn person can become a competent writer. The “secret” is learning to rewrite, re-rewrite, and then re-re-rewrite. For those who are willing to stay the course, we’ll be glad to run your work through our own step-by-step process of turning a rough, even embarrassing draft into a quite credible finished product.”
...Carl Franz

Carl Franz and Lorena Havens have been exploring Mexico since the early Sixties. A writer/editor team, their warm, easy-going style and personal insights have inspired a generation of travelers. When not on the road, they live in a pioneer-era log cabin in the North Cascade Mountains.

Their publications include The People's Guide to Mexico,winner of Independent Book Publishers 1999 award for Best Travel Book, The People's Guide To Camping, Backpacking & Boating In Mexico, The On & Off the Road Cookbook, The People's Guide To RV Camping In Mexico (with Steve Rogers), The Tour Express Insiders Guide to Mexico and The People's Guide Travel Letter. They are regular contributors to Yahoo Internet Life magazine. Their articles have also been published in America, New West, Outside, Amnestied, Backpacker, Pacific Northwest, Adventure Road and other magazines.

Carl and Lorena also publish The People's Guide To Mexico web page:

This workshop is hosted by Sandi Bianchi and Carl Kallansrud of Denver, Colorado
For more information call or email Sandi at 303-425-1214, or email her at: Carl Kallansrud is at 303-871-0895, email:

Writers' Write!


Please fill out the following form and send it with a check for $100 payable to Sandi Bianchi, 6611 W. 80th Drive, Arvada, CO 80003.

Name: __________________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________________


Phone: _________________________ Email address:____________________________________

Dietary restrictions: _______________________________________________________________


Room preference; please choose one of the following:

_____ Quad (the standard at Mar de Jade)
_____ Double (additional cost $90/person)
_____ Single (additional cost $240)

Let us know if there someone else will be attending the workshop that you would like to room with.

Cost: $1300
Friends/partners/spouses not attending the writing workshop are welcome to accompany participants for an accommodation and meal cost of $600.

A non refundable deposit of $100 per person is required at time of registration.

A $50 discount will be given for payment of full tuition three months prior to course.
Contact us about discounts for groups registering together.

The reservation deposit of $100 is non-refundable.
Cancellation 10 weeks before workshop, will result in refund of all moneys paid less $100.

Cancellation after 10 weeks.
IF a late or waiting list registrant is available to take your place, moneys paid less the $100 reservation deposit will be refunded.

IF no late registrant is found, 45% of all moneys paid may be applied to another stay at Mar de Jade at their published rates, within 12 months of the scheduled workshop. The balance, less the $100 reservation deposit, will be refunded.

Transportation to and from your home to Puerto Vallarta is the your responsibility.

Additional travel information will be forwarded upon receipt of your registration. We will attempt to assist you in any way we can, however we are not travel agents and our resources may be limited.
Contact Sandi Bianchi at 303-425-1214,
Carl Kallansrud at 303-871-0895,


The People's Guide to Mexico, 25th Anniversary edition

Review of the PGTM, 25th Anniversary
©1972-2001 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
Copper Canyon Live & Retire Table of ContentsBook Reviews Letters