Joelle Delbourgo on Writing and Publishing at Rancho La Puerta April 26-May 2

26 March, 2014

I’m excited to be returning to Rancho La Puerta, one of the top spas in North America (in Tecate, Mexico, near San Diego) in late April for another “Rancho Reads and Writes” with Leslie Levine and Sam Barry.  This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who aspires to write or is simply a passionate and dedicated reader to learn about the inner workings of the publishing industry, and experiment with writing fiction or nonfiction in a relaxed setting.  DSCF0648

I’ll be talking about “Writing and Reading in the Digital Age”–an exploration of how the dizzying changes in technology are transforming the way we read and write, receive, shape and share content.  And I’ll be leading our bookclub discussion of M. L. Stedman’s stunning novel, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, a moving story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who live on the edge of the world and find themselves making difficult moral choices that have consequences for others.  This exquisitely written novel by an Australian writer explores the role of history, memory, time, and isolation, in our lives.

Together with my colleagues, Leslie Levine and Sam Barry, we’ll be offering workshops in fiction writing, getting your work published, and so much more. We’ll also be available for informal chats around the pool and beautiful grounds.

Here are more details:

Write for your Life, with Leslie Levine, Sam Barry and Joëlle Delbourgo –Saturday 8 pm

Write that Book Already: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now, with Sam Barry –  Sunday 5 pm

Reading and Writing in the Digital Age, with Joëlle Delbourgo – Monday 4 pm

The publishing industry is in a great state of flux, indeed transformation.  We will examine the forces that are reshaping the industry, forces that are changing the relationship of writer to the reader, and vice versa.  We will look at how the impact of e-readers, mobile smart phones, and merging technologies affect what we read, how we read, when we read. Do we value content enough to pay for it?  Is the book as we know it dead, or are we entering an age of limitless possibility for the written word?

The Craft of Writing: Nonfiction with Leslie Levine – Tuesday 4 pm

Learn how to break into print – newspapers, magazines, and books.  You’ll find out how to read an editor’s mind and craft pitches that will get you the assignments you want.  You’ll also discover what it takes to write a nonfiction book proposal that wows both agents and editors.  Come with your questions about your writing and get ready to take the next step toward getting published.

The Craft of Writing: Fiction led by Sam Barry – Wednesday 4 pm 

Become immersed in what it takes to create, write, and finish a novel and/or a short story.  Whether you’re a novice to fiction or still toiling away at your first novel, this program is for you.  You’ll learn how to develop your characters, how to create a real sense of place, how to mine your own life for stories.  You’ll also discover how to edit your own work.  In addition, you’ll find out what publishers are looking for and how to get your work in front of the right people.

Book Club Selection:  THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, M. L. Stedman, led by Joëlle Delbourgo – Thursday 4 pm

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS marks the debut of a stunning new voice in fiction—a novel both heartbreaking and transcendent.  After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Isabel, devastated by her own losses, believes the baby to be a “gift from God.” The novel explores the complex moral choices Stedman’s entirely fallible characters must navigate through the prism of isolation, as they grapple with grief, loss and memory.

The Ninth Annual and Now Legendary Rancho La Puerta Talent Show Produced by Sam Barry – Thursday 8 pm 

All guests are encouraged to participate.  Ranch staff, too, has been known to take the stage.  Can you sing, or play music, or dance?  Would you like to put on a little play, or tell jokes, or recite poetry?  Can you juggle, or tell stories?  Whatever your talent, please join us!!  Host Sam Barry will support and encourage you.  Piano, guitar and back up singers are provided. Kazoos, too! Sam is member of the band Train Wreck, hosting a monthly jam in a San Francisco nightclub, and proud member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the all-author rock band including David Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Scott Turow.

Sam_BarrySam Barry is editor of and a contributor to Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All, by Dave Barry, Sam Barry, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Roy Blount Jr., Greg Iles, Stephen King, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, and rock legend Roger McGuinn. He is the author of How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons and coauthored Write That Book Already! with his late wife, Kathi Kamen Goldmark. Sam heads up the Path to Publishing Program at Book Passage. He writes the Author Enabler column for the national book review publication BookPage, in which he offers information and encouragement to aspiring authors, is a contributing editor at Zyzzyva, and serves on the board of San Francisco’s literary festival, Litquake.
Joëlle DelbourgoJoëlle Delbourgo  launched her eponymous literary agency and publishing consultancy in 1999, after spending more than two decades as an editor and senior publishing executive at Random House and HarperCollins.  She has edited and agented more than 2,000 books.  Joelle has discovered and nurtured new talent, guided published authors in mapping their career paths, brokered hundreds of deals with publishers worldwide, and had literary works adapted for audio and, brought to screen. They are novelists, historians, journalists, politicians, psychologists, lawyers, educators, doctors, CEOs, chefs, philosophers, celebrities, bloggers, and spiritual and thought leaders. Joelle met client Ritu Sharma–expert on international women’s issues and co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide– at Rancho La Puerta by the pool; Sharma’s Teach a Woman to Fish, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. (For more, see <> .)

Leslie Levine

Leslie Levine is a writer and publicist. has more than 20 years of public relations and communications experience. She is the author of three nonfiction books, including Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? Simple Advice for Settling In After You Move (McGraw-Hill), Ice Cream for Breakfast: If You Follow All the Rules, You Miss Half the Fun (McGraw-Hill), and Wish It, Dream It, Do It:  Turn the Life You’re Living into the Life You Want (Simon & Schuster). Her articles have been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Woman’s Day, and others. She has lectured extensively at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Writers’ Institute, School of the Arts in Rhinelander, Write-By-The-Lake Retreat), Rancho LaPuerta, Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row, The Learning Annex (NYC), American Society of Journalists & Authors, Lake Austin Spa Resort, and other venues. As a publicist, Leslie has secured media placements in a variety of outlets, including CNN, Parade, Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, Politico, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, Dennis Miller Radio Show, National Public Radio, Chicago Public Radio and many others.

– See more at: