Thursday, August 9, 2012

LexiCon and its Creator--Mitch Haynes

Welcome, Mitch, to Romance in Flight, and thank you for being a guest on my blog. Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here.

The Man Himself, Mitch Haynes
It was my extreme pleasure to meet Mitch at the very first LexiCon Writers Conference and knew I just had to introduce him to the world. Let me give you a little bio on Mitch taken from his own web site
Mitch Haynes is a writer and a general contractor. Haynes is a former independent contractor for the Department of Homeland Security and has studied several disciplines of martial arts, boxing, fencing, archery, and combat handgun techniques.  He is an avid outdoorsman with extensive wilderness survival training and enjoys backpacking, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.  He is also a certified scuba diver. 
Always intrigued by adventure, Haynes has been on expeditions looking for confederate gold in Texas and Oklahoma; he has searched for Bigfoot in the Kiamichi Mountains; he has looked for ghosts in "haunted" houses; and he has researched and investigated the Jack the Ripper murders in London.  Mr. Haynes is currently finishing up the sequel to Hollywood Agent Provocateur and working on another contemporary espionage thriller. He graduated from the University of North Texas in 1986 with a BA in political science and English.  He lives in Denton, Texas.
Mitch Haynes is the founder and president of the LexiCon Writers Conference.  Please check out the very latest information about this conference at

First off, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the LexiCon. I made some amazing contacts and a few lasting friendships, so thank you, Mitch
Now on with the interview, what was going through your head when you came up with the idea of LexiCon, and why the name? Money. Lots and lots of money.  I hoped to have hundreds, possibly thousands of people attend at $75 a pop and I could retire from being a contractor. Seriously? I guess before I answer this question you have to know that I am an iconoclast. I do not believe something is better simply because it is traditional.  I’ve read some really crappy traditionally published books by well-established writers and some excellent books from Indie or small press writers. I’ve attended writers conferences for over twenty years and they’re all the same – a writer attends with the hope of inspiration and guidance only to find a literary agent or publisher treat them like something that got stuck to the bottom of their shoes. Writers’ conferences are not set up to employ networking. I’ve been to a lot of different conferences for home remodeling, contracting, disaster survival training, etc. and they’re all about networking.  So, I wanted a conference where the egos were left at the door and everyone could feel comfortable. The second difference is that I wanted people to go around and ask others about their works, etc., instead of only talking about themselves. And the third and possibly biggest difference is that I wanted people to make connections and become each other’s sales team. I hope it worked out that way. As for the name LexiCon? I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon known as ComiCon. I want my conference to become the ComiCon of writing and somehow “LexiCon” just popped into my head. It fit perfectly.
I had the pleasure of meeting your wife (and I’ll be interviewing her at a later date when I blog about spouses) How much of an impact has she had on your writing carrier? What was her reaction when you came up with the idea of LexiCon? Spouses of writers are a rare and special breed. My wife had the most difficult time learning that when I’m “In the Zone” – you know, that place where you’re inside your head and you can see the world you’re writing about – she had the hardest time learning not to disturb me. When you’re that deep in concentration and it’s disturbed, it’s very difficult to regain that concentration. It’s like someone waking you from a dream – you can’t go back and pick up the dream where you left it. We had some great arguments over that. She’d scream, “Seriously? You can’t take a minute, blah, blah, blah.” We both had to learn some tolerance for each other’s needs. Consequently, she is a character in everything I write…whether it’s the wicked witch of the north or the hot babe who seduces the protagonist. Fortunately, my wife is incredibly supportive. She has believed in me when no one else did. That’s incredibly special.
     As for her reaction to the idea of LexiCon, she wondered when I would find the time to put it together, but she liked the idea behind it because she’d heard about and even attended some of the conferences I described above. She has seen how networking has worked with my business and she was as amazed and I was that it wasn’t used more prevalently at writers’ conferences.

What was the most challenging aspect of the conference, and the most rewarding? The most challenging aspect was dealing with the people – writers, agents, publishers, and editors. Why do all of these people have such freaking egos? Don’t they realize that’s very off-putting in business? A great plumber or mechanic is rarer than a writer, but they don’t operate with huge egos. Too many writers think they’re the next J.K. Rawlings and don’t have the talent to back it up. As for agents, I understand why they are the way they are, having to deal with writers’ over-inflated egos all the time, but then they turn around and do the same thing and belittle people because they’re “The gatekeepers” to getting published. And yet, the stories of them turning down great books are legion and legendary. This outdated business model has to change. It’s kicking and screaming, fighting for all it’s worth, but the publishing industry is undergoing a revolution right now and it has to adapt or it will collapse.
     The most rewarding aspect was the reaction I’ve received since the conference – all of the kind words and great reviews. It’s very difficult sometimes to keep my own ego in check. After all, I AM the most interesting man in the world.

I know there’s talk going around about LexiCon—The Sequel, what, if anything, will you do different? That’s still under development. One of the changes I’m considering is a different venue. The Hilton Garden Inn (Shameless Plug) did a fantastic job hosting us. They were very accommodating and the food for the Meet and Greet dinner was fantastic. I have no complaints and I would gladly return next year. However, I want LexiCon 2013 to be so big that it won’t fit in the Hilton. Another difference is that I will allow an hour and a half for lunch. And, probably the biggest difference will be the price. It’s going to go up. It has to, unfortunately, but it will still be competitively priced. The first LexiCon had an introductory price because I didn’t have a track record. As a consequence, I never had the money to do everything I wanted to do at the last conference, like dancing bears in tutus or a zombie flash mob.  
Aside from being the mastermind behind LexiCon, you are a published author. Tell us a little about your current WIP. It’s finished. It’s about 800 pages. (Actually, it’s about 550 pages) It’s about the Mexican Drug Cartels in Texas. It has a very unique protagonist that I hope to write about again. And after the first of the year, after I’ve done a final polish and had it professionally edited, I will try the traditional publishing route again. If it’s not picked up I guess I’ll Indie publish again. I’ve also written the sequel to my first novel, HOLLYWOOD AGENT PROVOCATEUR and it’s called HOLLYWOOD GANGSTAR, but I’m not pushing to get it published yet. I want more sales for the first one before I release the second one. I’ve also started the research and outline for my next book but it’s really nebulous at the moment.
Available now, “Hollywood, 1938  – a time and place where secrets are bargaining chips and scandals ruin careers. An exclusive and secret nightclub for the Hollywood Elite has opened and Thomas Moseley is the guardian of those secrets and the fixer of scandal - that is - until murder intrudes. Who’s responsible?  Is it gangsters muscling in on the club’s action; or Nazi spies blackmailing movie stars into performing acts of espionage for the Third Reich? It’s up to Moseley to find out.” Based on true facts.

For more about Mitch Haynes, visit his web site
(And yes, there will be another LexiCon! I'm so excited.)


  1. I love Mitch's sense of humor. I was also at the Lexicon Conference and I can say that it was Mitch's approach to networking that set the tone for the entire conference. If it weren't for his open-arms policy that he requested (demanded?) from the attendees, there would have been far less camaraderie. I've been impressed with his following on the Lexicon facebook fan page, too. Thanks for another look into the writer behind the conference.

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  3. Great interview. I also attended LexiCon and can attest to the success of Mitch's endeavor. The whole feel of LexiCon oozed Mitch’s concept of networking and comradery. I feel privileged to have been at the birth of what I can only conceive as a new era in conferences. Thanks Mitch and thanks Jeanne for spreading the word.