Retreat Recap

Tuesday’s Scribe, PJ Sharon here. I had the great pleasure of joining several CTRWA members this past weekend at the lovely Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT. We’ve been planning this weekend retreat for months, and no one was more excited than me to get away and share some quality writing time with my pals. I thought you all might like to hear about the highlights.

After checking in at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, we were all treated to a wonderful dinner and dessert before settling in for an evening of critiquing. We divided up into small groups, and each had the opportunity to share the first five pages of our WIP. This was immensely helpful to me personally, as my fabulous critique partners, Jane Haertel and Tracy Costa, convinced me yet again, that my short story prequel to my trilogy, to be released as part of the WG2E October Anthology, called SOUL REDEMPTION, actually started in chapter two. (Read my previous post about “The story starts here.”) I’m not sure why I haven’t quite mastered the art of where to start a story, but they were absolutely right and it will now read so much better.

Saturday morning, I rousted eight of my fellow writer friends out of their beds to join me in a 6:00 a.m. yoga class. I’ve been teaching yoga for about seven years now, and I love sharing a gentle, restorative practice with newbies and experienced yogis alike. Relaxed, refreshed, and energized, we had a hearty breakfast and then spent the next few hours working on our individual WIP’s in the comfort and solitude of the many nooks scattered about the quaint old inn.

After lunch—and I have to say here, that the food was simply outstanding—we gathered for an interactive debate with authors Kevin Symmons and Arlene Kay, who shared their humorous and spirited take on setting vs.character. Then we had more alone time before supper, where most of us made another dent in our weekend word count. I was able to finish all of my edits for WANING MOON, and I heard from Melanie Meadors that she broke her record of 5,000 words in a weekend. WTG Melanie!

Saturday night after a tasty Salmon dinner and blueberry cobbler—seriously, did anyone else gain five pounds this weekend—we got together for a fun-filled evening of Plotting Playoffs with our hostess diva, Jamie Pope, aka. Sugar Jamison. Our illustrious Prez, Jennifer Fusco won the big honor of the night and was rewarded with the coveted tierra, boa, and pink girly gloves—not to mention the best writer on earth certificate.

I’d like to personally thank the brilliant Jane Haertel, aka Suze Hardy, for helping me plot out Book Two of my trilogy, WESTERN DESERT. It’s going to be awesome, but I may need another retreat in the spring!

Much wine was consumed, laughs were shared, and in my opinion, the best line of the weekend came from Jennifer Yakely, another CTRWA contracted and soon-to-be published author, who said, “Historical romances are all about balls and Duke screwing.” I love writers! Don’t you?


20 thoughts on “Retreat Recap”

  1. Sounds soooo wonderful! And I have to say, something like this proves that CTRWA writers are serious writers. It’s no wonder why there is so much success in this group. 🙂

    1. I agree, Katy. And the best part for me was getting to know some of our members on a more personal basis. meetings are always so hectic and full, (not that that’s a bad thing), it’s hard to really mix and mingle. With only 20 something participants, it was nice to have time over meals to chat with everyone. It also gave me some new opportunities to spread some massage love<3

      1. Oh, I love the massage love!!! Lucky ducks! 🙂

        I know what you mean about not being able to really get to know a lot of our members at the meetings. So much to learn and focus on at the monthly meeting…drinks afterward might be in order! 🙂

  2. What a great, PRODUCTIVE weekend you guys had! I’ll be at the Seascape retreat this weekend at the same venue. The food sounds fantastic. Did I choose unwisely, perhaps, to start a diet program this week? 🙂

    1. I was almost going to sign up for Seascape, and then we decided to have one of our own. let us know how it goes. And yes, dieting would be pointless.

    1. I’m with you, Tracy! I feel like I got a weeks worth of work done in those two days. Although I was totally exhausted when I got home, it definitely inspired me to jump back in on Monday and get right to work. It was the shot in the arm i needed:-)

  3. (let’s see if this posts; my internet connection died last time!) My favorite thing (well, perhaps to the nyah nyah side of me) was that I could say “SEE!” to the people who told me, “Oh, a writers retreat. You won’t get a word written. You all will be fooling around, partying, and talking.” Well, no. When I saw people chatting, it was generally about writing, or else it was two people who met up while stretching their legs (it wouldn’t do to get blood clots!). There was fooling around, but it was the much needed kind after you get a lot of work done. It was so well balanced.

    That salmon was so good that I didn’t eat dessert after! Such an awesome weekend!

    1. Great observations, Melanie. I walked around a few times–to stretch my legs after all that sitting–and was pleased to see everyone typing away diligently in their free time. The Inn had so many great writing spots where you could sit together with other writers and still be engaged in your own projects. We were definitely a diligent bunch!

      Even though I was still full from lunch, I ate the salmon AND had dessert. I was so bad!

  4. You captured the weekend in your recap perfectly. Yes, I gained weight-maybe 20 pounds. Loved the yoga. You are a true master to make me even forget I worked out for over an hours before I had even a sip of coffee.

    1. I never would have guessed anyone didn’t have a jump start before yoga class. You were all so attentive and enthusiastic. I knew I was asking a lot at 6 a.m., but you all came through and made it the great class that it was..

  5. Thanks for the shoutout, PJ! I had such fun helping you plot Book 2 (it’s going to be awesome, peeps!!!). And I totally agree — the food at the Guest House was first rate. I’m not sure if I can live without that roasted red pepper salad dressing. And the blueberry cobbler was just sinful. Thanks so much for the yoga session too. Totally worth getting up at 6:00 a.m. for. I came away exhausted, and energized at the same time, and I’ve been incredibly productive since I got back. Can’t wait for the next retreat!

  6. WOW! You all have been doing great things while I whittled my time away in Portugal. Playing in the sand, doing photography, painting, driving up and down the coast, seeing those topless sunlit beaches, one more beautiful than the other, cliffs, rocks and boats. Am I sad to have missed my word expansion? Not too much. I did a very little, mais um poco, homework. Portugal was fun, family, friends, and kisses on both cheeks, adventure, speaking Portuguese once again, and grilled salmon.

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