The Turtle Bay Resort is a truly creative environment offering more than just lush island views and sun and sand. With Spellbinders Conference, you will find yourself in a place promoting creative exploration and delving into helping you with your personal expression.

Our goal is to lend inspiration and provide the opportunity to learn and explore. Under our experts guidance, in these luscious surroundings, you will be given a working schedule conducive to moving you along on your project and fine tuning your work. We will not only provide learning sessions and presentations, but also give you blocks of uninterrupted time to write. Our sole purpose is to provide an ambience conducive to creativity and to assist writers in reaching their goal.

If your goal is to be published or produced, our writer’s retreat is a must!

The workshops and clinics are geared to both emerging and established writers for television, novels and screenplays. Conducted by a range of experienced writers, the classes offer valuable information and concentrate on writers intending to publish or have their work produced.

Our workshops combine literary interaction with opportunity for relaxation, discovery and solitude; however, participants should expect to work intensively, spending as much as 4-5 hours a day with the group. The Writers’ Retreat workshops are not “working vacations”; they are intended to advance your project.

We limit the number of participants to ensure that you receive the attention and feedback you deserve.


Registration before June 1, 2012 $895
Registration after June 1, 2012 $995

Guest tickets are available with registration.

Programming Schedule

September 3

Buses leave for Turtle Bay at 11 am

12 pm – 8 pm
Conference Kiosk

Meet & Greet
2 pm – 3 pm
Kahuku 1

Group Meetings
3 pm – 5 pm

Dinner & Lecture
7 pm – 9 pm
Kahuku 1

September 4

Breakfast at Palm Terrace
8 am – 9 am

Group Meetings
9 am – 5 pm

12 pm – 2 pm
Kahuku Terrace

7 pm – 9 pm
Kahuku Ballrooms 1 & 2

September 5

Group Meetings 
9 am– 5 pm

12pm – 1 pm
Kahuku Ballrooms 1 & 2

Cocktail Reception
5:45 pm – 7 pm
Kuilima Foyer

Dinner, Keynote Speaker
7 pm – 9 pm
Kuilima Ballroom

September 6

Brunch, Keynote Speaker
9:45 am – 12 pm
Bayview Beach Lawn

More details to come as available.

Speakers & Special Guests

Bob Mayer

Bob is the best-selling author of over 40 books. He is a West Point graduate, served in the Infantry and Special Forces (Green Berets): led an Infantry platoon and then Battalion and Brigade level Reconnaissance platoons; commanded an A-Team and as a Special Forces battalion operations officer; commanded a training company, and was an instructor/writer at the JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg. He also served in Special Operations Western Command on a variety of classified assignments.

He has been studying, practicing and teaching change, team-building, leadership and communication for over thirty years. He is the Co-Creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing.

Gary Goshgarian (Braver)

Gary Braver is the award-winning and bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed psychological thrillers. His novels have been celebrated for their high-concepts, careful craftsmanship, well- rounded characters, and page-turning momentum. Some of his titles have a medical slant including Elixir, Gray Matter, Skin Deep, and Flashback, which is the only thriller to have won a Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction (2006). His latest novel, Tunnel Vision (2011), centers on near-death experiences and the scientific search for evidence of the afterlife. Of that book, legendary author Ray Bradbury writes, “Gary Braver provides a wonderfully frightening and insightful tale that shatters my bones.”

Gary Braver’s novels have been translated into seven languages, and three have been optioned for movies, including Elixir by director Ridley Scott. He is the only thriller novelist to have three titles listed in the top-10 highest customer reviews on at the same time. His fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Writer Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Edgar-award-winning Thriller 2 Anthology.

Under his own name, Gary Goshgarian, he is an award-winning professor of English at Northeastern University where he teaches courses in Modern Bestsellers, Science Fiction, Horror Fiction, and Fiction Writing. He has also taught fiction-writing workshops through out the United States including the Maui Writers Conference and Hawaii Writers Conference as well as in England and Europe for over twenty years. He is also the author of six popular college writing textbooks, now in 37 editions.

He lives with his family outside of Boston. His website:

Hollis Gillespie

Hollis Gillespie is a humorist, syndicated columnist, NPR commentator and top-selling author. Her column can be found monthly on the back page of every issue of Atlanta magazine.

Hollis has appeared on the cover of numerous publications including Atlanta magazine, Creative Loafing and Tampa’s Weekly Planet. She has been profiled in Marie Claire, Bust, Writer’s Digest and Entertainment Weekly.

Her television appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, TBS Storyline, Monica Kaufman’s Closeups, Good Day Atlanta, and an upcoming appearance on TV Land. Her radio commentaries appear regularly on National Public Radio (NPR) and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

In 2004, Writer’s Digest named Hollis Gillespie a “Breakout Author of the Year.” Other accolades include “Best Columnist” (2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and “Best Local Author” (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009) honors in the Creative Loafing Best of Atlanta Readers Survey. Atlanta magazine awarded her “Best ‘Tell-All’” in 2006.

The film rights to her first book, Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhod, are currently under option with a major Hollywood studio.

James Strauss

James Strauss is the author of The Boy, a pre-history novel in hardback, The Bering Sea soon to be published espionage thriller, writer for the television show House, and the HBO series Deadwood, Technical Director of the movie Equalizer starring Denzel Washington, and author of the Mastodon Series(pre-history) to be filmed by Disney for Talk Story Productions in Hawaii. He is a screenwriter and script clean-up crew for many television series and movies and an indefatigable Short Story Blogger. James Strauss has been a Marine Officer, Deep Sea Diver, Shipboard Physician’s Assistant, Pilot, and Professor of Anthropology. He currently writes for several Hollywood production companies.

James writes with Heart and Soul. He says “I write about the human condition and the individual’s attempt to overcome adversity, while clinging to their social values and mores. My novels are about self-determination and self-discovery. They are about arrival. The meaning of life is all around us and ever changing, depending upon the perspective of others. I write about the meaning of self, and its relevance to the meaning of life.”

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California, moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri as an infant, and lived there through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School). After getting her BA at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year, working on an archeological dig and sightseeing, and then returned to Iowa for graduate school at the University of Iowa.

MFA and PhD in hand, she went to work in 1981 at Iowa State University, in Ames, where she taught until 1996. Jane is the author of numerous novels including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Moo, Horse Heaven, Good Faith, Ten Days in the Hills, and the young adult novel, The Georges and the Jewels, as well as many essays for such magazines as Vogue, The New Yorker, Practical Horseman,Harper’s,The New York Times Magazine, Allure, The Nation and others. She has written on politics, farming, horse training, child-rearing, literature, impulse buying, getting dressed, Barbie, marriage, and many other topics. She is also the author of the nonfiction books A Year at the Races, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel and from Penguin Lives Series, a biography of Charles Dickens. In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2006, she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Jon Land

Jon Land is the bestselling author of over 25 novels. He graduated from Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude and continues his association with Brown as an alumni advisor. Jon often bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research as well as a twenty-five year career in martial arts. He is an associate member of the US Special Forces and frequently volunteers in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing.

Jon is the Vice-President of marketing of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and is often asked to speak on topics regarding writing and research.

In addition to writing suspense/thrillers John is also a screenwriter with his first film credit coming in 2005. Jon works with many industry professionals and has garnered the respect and friendship of many author-colleagues. He loves storytelling in all its forms.

John currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island and loves hearing from his readers and aspiring writers.