Tag Archives: writing retreat

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Since my mini writing retreat last weekend, I have not had any time to immerse myself in the revisions for The Twesome Loop, until last night. I took advantage of a couple of hours of peace & quiet in the library prior to my writing meeting. Word count increased by 892 and a couple of scenes were ‘fleshed out’ (actually erotic scenes so literally – pardon the pun!)

Twesome Loop 002

I have a meeting with my client whose book I am ghost writing this evening as I requested ‘personal experience’ pieces from her on several topics within the book. These I will include thus ensuring it is her voice.

My book cover proof is still pending for The Rython Kingdom so I have to be patient – although having the new cover available for my readers is paramount. So excited for it to go ‘live’ on the various websites.

rythonfinaltitletext

Through a facebook page I found a submissions requirement where I can send my steampunk story – The Toymaker. Fingers crossed it gets accepted, it’s only 7790 words.

Books:

I am thoroughly enjoying this book – The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney – sister’s growing up, finding themselves, drama, love, rejection and a mystery. Set in Tasmania and Ireland it becomes international as each sister flies the coop in search of her path.

faraday

My TBR pile includes a book I found in a lovely bookstore while on my weekend escape. The Other Life by Ellen Meister This is the blurb:

If you could return to the road not taken…would you?

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows that another version of her life exists…one in which she made totally different life choices. But she’s never been tempted to switch lives-until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she’d lost forever: Her mother.

But Quinn can’t have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants-the one she has…or the other life…

The Other Life

Doesn’t it sound fascinating? Of course as I love reincarnation, spirits, afterlife and parallel universes it is just up my street, so to speak.

If you have a recommendation for this kind of story, please let me know.

Writing Tips:

Stop procrastinating. Turn off the TV, disconnect from the Internet, tune out the rest of the world, sit down, and write.

Create a space in your home especially for writing.

Why not share your writing space? Here’s mine:

new writing desk

The opposite wall is my inspirational wall.Inspire wall

Happy writing.

 

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week most of my time will be dealing with the planning of future events, for instance I have a meeting with the local transit director tonight. This is to discuss shuttle buses to the Heritage Day event hosted by the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County in June. I also have to create a schedule for performances for the event too. One of the disadvantages of all this pre-planning is how quickly the year goes by! With an AGM and conference in April, a writing retreat in May, the Heritage Day in June and the upcoming Words in the Park event, which is part of Alberta Culture Days in September – poof the year has almost gone!

I have to take a step back sometimes and look at what month I am actually in. The years pass quickly enough as it is.

How about you? Do the seasons come and go at an alarming rate?

time-flies

Other local events:

March 30, 2017  7:00 pm  Whitemud Crossing Library (Whitemud Crossing Shopping Centre, 4211 – 106 Street)
The WGA and EPL present an evening of new work from six multicultural, multilingual writers in celebration of the completion of the 2016 Borderlines Writers Circle. Join Nermeen Youssef, Tazeen Hasan, Mohamed Abdi, Kate Rittner-Werkman, Asma Sayed, and Aksam Alyousef for poetry, short story, historical fiction, memoir and nonfiction.
To learn more about the writers and the Borderlines Writers Circle, please visit writersguild.ca/programs-services/borderlines-writers-circle/
 Refreshments will be served.

LitFest NewWest celebrates readers, writers, and community March 31–April 2 in New Westminster, BC.

Please feel free to add your events in the comments for your area.

Mini-vacation Plans…


I have a mini vacation this week, so can spend time with family and friends doing whatever we feel like.On my list are a couple of things I have been looking forward to. Firstly, this exhibition –

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http://telusworldofscienceedmonton.ca/exhibits-events/international-exhibition-sherlock-holmes  We are lucky to have it locally and so my girls and I will test our observation skills, and walk around 221B Baker Street. http://sherlockholmesexhibition.com/

We may also visit the Muttart Conservatory as it is rather a long time since our last one!

Muttat

http://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_events/muttart-conservatory.aspx

I will also be escaping to the mountains for three days with my dear friend, Linda – to write, explore and enjoy the wilderness and to meet up with the coordinator of the  Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts. This facility will officially open in July, it is a wonderful center.

 

Other events on the list are two concerts – one at Spark Gallery with Sarah Smith and the other a classical concert with the Wye String Ensemble.

So all in all a wonderful week of arts, culture and writing – perfect if I don’t say so myself.

Lost Words of a Writing Retreat…


strawberry-creek-lodge

This post was created prior to my escaping for four days on a writing retreat. As you can imagine the excitement was tangible for the weeks coming up to this event. It will be the fourth time I have joined other writing friends on such a retreat in the fabulous Strawberry Creek Lodge. Hidden away along a long track, shrouded by trees and with a creek babbling beside it, the large log cabin is perfect for inspiration, contemplation and for allowing the writing Muse to whisper unhindered.

I will be revising several ‘work in progress’ manuscripts – Life in Slake Patch, Willow Tree Tears and The Giving Thief. All are in different genres so my mind will be full of multiple characters all vying for attention.

With the most delicious meals cooked for us and several bottles of wine to consume, there is no better place to be.

aeipathy n 1847 -1853
continued passion; an unyielding disease
Her aeipathy for stamp collecting bordered at times on the pathological.

apanthropinization n 1880 -1880
withdrawal from human concerns or the human world
His life as a hermit in the woods was characterized by apanthropinization.

boscaresque adj 1734 -1734
picturesque; scenically wooded
Despite northern England’s industrial pollution, parts of it remain boscaresque.

incabinate v 1672 -1672
to enclose in a cabin; to confine
The solution to her writer’s block was to incabinate herself at her country villa.

sodalitious adj 1656 -1730
of or belonging to society or to fellowship
Sodalitious camaraderie is the basis for gentlemanly life in this civilized era.

Please visit http://phrontistery.info/clw.html for more lost words.

My sentence: Our sodalitious will once again enjoy the boscaresque surroundings while incabinated at Strawberry Creek, allowing apanthropinization from our daily lives allowing us to focus on our aeipathy of writing in good company.

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Strawberry Creek Writing Exercises – May 2015


Creek sign

Some of you may know I spent this long weekend at the stupendous Strawberry Creek Lodge with a bevy of inspiring, funny and wonderful writers. I took a prompt exercise for us to consider during our stay. The prompt asked for everyone to chose 3 letters of the alphabet. These corresponded to partial book titles and created ‘new’ titles to work from. I would like to share my two titles and the short stories they inspired me to write. I hope you like them.

slave child

Tender is the Fury and Prejudice

Sasha swirled around in her gingham dress, enjoying its flaring circle around her waist. The dress was the first new piece of clothing she ever wore.

“Now Missy, be careful with that there dress. There ain’t another one coming for a long time.”

“Yes, Mamma, I’ll be as careful as careful can be.”

Sasha smiled at her mother, who sat in the rocker breastfeeding the new baby. With a new brother, Sasha was not the baby anymore and would sleep in the big bed with her older brothers and sisters. The new baby made eight in the family and the cabin even more crowded. Sasha sat on a stool letting her dress hang down but mindful it did not touch the floor.

Stomping footsteps announced the return of her brothers and sisters from the cotton field. She ran to the bedroom and took off the dress. Once it was folded and put in the dresser, she returned to the main room.

Her mother stood at the stove lading out bowls of stew and handing each tired child a biscuit. Sasha waited until everyone else was seated before taking a bowl for herself. Her father entered the crowded room and exchanged a weary smile with her mother. Sasha saw him glance at the baby and frown.

“Is it feeding, Annie?”

“Yes, Samuel he is…”

Sasha could not tell what the look on her fathers face meant but she saw a tear run down her mother’s cheek as she turned away from him. With her bowl taken to the washing bowl, Sasha sat beside the bay’s crib and rocked it gently. Her siblings cleared the tables, washed the dishes and exited the cabin leaving their parents to spend time together.

As Sasha soothed her new brother her father whispered words confused her.

“Is it healthy, will it live?”

“There’s no way of knowing, Samuel, maybe he will.”

“Another mouth to feed, its too many, Annie. We need to decide on her future.”

“Oh, Samuel, please don’t – we will manage, we have in the past.”

“I know its a hard decision, Annie but the offer is there and the money would make all the difference.”

“But she’s so young and…”

Her mother’s sob cut her sentence short. Sasha watched her father embrace her mother, rocking her back and forth like her mother did to Sasha when she suffered a nightmare.

Unnoticed in the corner, Sasha tried to make sense of her parents conversation. What was happening to who? Why was her mother so upset?

A week later a fancy carriage pulled up outside the cabin driven by a black man but dressed in white man’s clothing. Sasha had never seen such a thing and fussed to be released from her mothers arms.

“Stand still for one more minute, Sasha.”

“Mamma, why’s that man dressed so fancy?”

“Its cause of his job as a driver for the boss. Now hold still, I’ve one more ribbon to put in.”

Sasha fidgeted until the ribbon was tied then ran to the carriage wide-eyed. She did not see her mother clasp her mouth and hold back pleading words. She turned to Samuel who nodded and opened the cabin door for her to enter.

“Stay inside, it will be easier for the girl to go. Look after the little one.”

Samuel closed the door after his wife and descended the steps to stand beside the carriage and grasp Sasha’s hand.

“Is this the girl you spoke of Samuel?”

“Yes, boss.”

“Bring her here so I can see her properly. Does she know how to behave? My wife will not tolerate ill manners.”

“She is a good girl, boss and will learn quickly.”

Samuel picked Sasha up and put her into the carriage. She looked at the beautiful cushions and the bright white suite the white man wore. She was surprised when he turned her around, she thought he liked her gingham sress as much as she did. When the man opened her mouth and inspected her teeth, Sasha looked at her father but stayed silent when his brows lowered and he put on finger to his lips.

“She’s a pretty little thing, I’m hopeful my wife will like her, Samuel.”

The man gave her father a small leather pouch and sat Sasha on the seat beside him.

“Thank you, boss. You be good for the boss, Sasha. Do as you are told and only speak when spoken to.”

Sasha grinned at her father and nodded enthusiastically. I’m going for a ride in this fancy carriage, I’m so lucky. Samuel watched the carriage drive away until it was out of sight. He swallowed deeply several times before entering the cabin.

“She’s gone then, my little Sasha?”

“Yes, Annie, she’s gone.”

“Did she cry?”

“No, she was so excited about the carriage she didn’t turn around. She will cry tonight no doubt when she realizes she is to spend her life at the house but she’ll come around, so don’t fret. It’s a better life for her than the cotton field.”

“I hope so, Samuel, I really do.”

Annie placed her baby boy in his crib and began the supper preparations. Her tears mixed with the vegetable water as she peeled potatoes. She would delay telling Samuel she might be pregnant again. Later as her family ate, she reached out for Sasha’s hand but felt emptiness. She knew the money would help the rest of the family until the oldest ones left home but thoughts of what her little girl might have to endure in the big house haunted her dreams for many months.

clockwork bird

To Kill The Windup Bird – this story has been removed as an extended version has been contracted to Steampunk Ink.

Writing Retreat in NaNoWriMo Month…


Overlander sign

My good friend, Linda and I escaped for a wonderful long weekend of writing on Thursday night to Jasper National Park. Our cabin was perfectly situated for us to enjoy peace and quiet. We find it companionable to write together as we share the passion for the written word. Hours may pass and we have not spoken a word, just typed a lot! This mini writing retreat was perfectly timed to give us both much needed time to devote to our respective NaNo novels.

I have many demands on my time with work, volunteering, home and family and so treasure pure writing time. However, Linda has even more demands as she is a publisher (Dream Write Publishing) as well as an author and volunteer and much more! Due to our shared discipline we managed a substantial word count even when we treated ourselves to a trip through the park into Jasper itself on Saturday. We were extremely fortunate to encounter stunning wildlife and the opportunity to refresh our connection to nature.

Elk

Mountain goats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A browsing session in a couple of souvenir shops gave us gifts and I found a perfect promotional item for my upcoming Western romance, Willow Tree Tears. A figurine of a female barrel racer – my protagonist.

Barrel girl 3

Barrel girl 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We experienced the trip down to Jasper in rain and darkness on Thursday night, bright sunshine and magnificent mountains on Saturday and a large snowfall on Sunday morning greeted us. Each experience was inspiring and special. Returning to our normal routines was difficult – we could have stayed a lot longer but we have our spring writing retreat to look forward to – so let’s start counting the days.

What get-away has given you writing time?

Where do you go?

With whom?

Good luck to my fellow NaNo participants.

 

 

Escaping to Write – A Mini Retreat…


Overlander

This post was created and scheduled ahead of time as I will actually be traveling to Jasper in the Rocky Mountains when it goes live. My friend, Linda and I are going to spend the weekend writing our NaNoWriMo novels surrounded by the magnificence of mountains and spectacular views. Our accommodation is a log walled lodge with a roaring fireplace, perfect for sitting beside with laptop and a glass of wine. As you can see from the photo it is a stunning setting.

We will explore the surrounding area on short walks to refresh mind and body and may do some sightseeing as well – it depends on how the muse is performing. Escaping to indulge in my writing is always a treat and one I rarely (if ever) pass by.

Quotes:

You are not a writer of you do not write. Find the time – even if it’s 500 words, a short story or a paragraph. Novel’s don’t write themselves. Erin Niumata.

Prompt logo

So how about a prompt about escaping to indulge in your writing?

Describe your perfect retreat, space or venue for writing without interruption.

Elements of a Writing Retreat…


strawberry-creek-lodgeThis coming weekend is not only a long weeked (whoop!) but also when I am spending four wonderful days fully immersed in my writing at Strawberry Creek Retreat. Anticipation is high for my fellow wordsmiths and I. My plan is to read through, revised and to some extent edit my current WIP – Willow Tree Tears. The novel is a cowgirl romance, with the heroine a champion barrel racer, enjoying rodeos and a ranch lifestyle. She finds herself having to choose between an old high school friend who lives a similar horse ranch life, or a suave, handsome wel- traveled Italian. There are numerous plot twists and several other characters and it does include adult content. Currently standing at 25 chapters (50,365 words) – I am aware it requires additional descriptions, dialogue etc. It was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel so is rough to say the least! For an excerpt go to https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

When we attend a writing retreat there are many personal aspirations and goals set – it is a time to have 100% focus on our work but we must decide on what our level of interaction will be within a group retreat. There are simple ‘rules’ that can be set out at the start of the retreat, such as a closed door means no interruptions, meals are taken together, prompts or short workshops will be available, exercise/walks can be taken in a group or solitary – no matter the format you should decide on what works for you.

Vital elements to the retreat are of course your means of writing! Bring your laptop, charger and memory sticks, notebooks, pens and pencils, research material, and any other related material that will assist you with the task in hand. Secondly, think about what you want to achieve within the time limits of the retreat. Make realistic goals so you enjoy the process but are not too exhausted to enjoy sometime away from the computer screen to refresh your mind, body and muse.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What was your experience?

Any thoughts or tips you care to share?

006_strawberry-creek-lodgewriting_as_professional 

 

 

 

 

Your Sequester Defined…


Sequester – definition: to remove from use, or withdraw into solitude or retirement : seclude

strawberry creek

Withdrawing into our own magical world of words, is most certainly a writer’s dream. Whether we imagine it to be a beach house, a woodland cabin or a study with a lock on the door – having our own solitary space has magical ramifications. We imagine our greatest work revealing itself as we sit in solitude, allowing our muse full reign on our time.

I was fortunate to attend a retreat in February 2012 at Strawberry Creek. With several other members of my writing group in attendance, we managed to revise, edit and write new and existing manuscripts. With the choice of writing alone or in a group, everyone found their comfort zone. Gathering together for meals, which are made for us and evening conversation in front of a roaring fire, it was a perfect sequester from our every day lives.

The plan is to enjoy this retreat again in the spring of 2014. I am so looking forward to it. A long weekend of words and like minded people, what more could you possibly ask for?

Have you been on a retreat?

Was it all you wish it to be?

If you could have your own ‘retreat’ where would it be?

Part of the lounge/library at Strawberry Creek.

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