Writers’ Retreat Workshop: the Ultimate Experience to Develop Your Writing Chops

Are you doing anything May 8 through 15? This is last minute notice, but if you’re a writer, you should know the Writers’ Retreat Workshop

Me at WRW a couple years ago.
Me at WRW a couple years ago.

(WRW) has a few spots left for the upcoming annual event that will change your life. This year, it’s being held at Purple Sage Ranch, just outside of Antonio, Texas.

Here’s how it works: A fabulous professional editor, agent, or bestselling author gives a workshop. Then everyone goes back to their rooms and uses their shiny, freshly acquired new tools to write or revise their butts off. Then you share in whole and small groups to give and get feedback to revise some more. The pros also view your work to give direction to take your writing to the next level. With all this guided practice, you and your fellow WRW writers provide some of the most amazing feedback in critique groups anywhere. Another bonus is the connections you make with writers from all over the U.S. and often from other countries, such as Belgium and Australia.

And there’s partying along the way for those who wish to join in the fun.

When you rejoin the real-world after your week-long reprieve with awesome, like-minded, creative people, WRW adds you to the list serve. WRW participants since 1987, many of whom are successful, published writers, post news and personal events through the site, available to members only. Any alumni may participate in any conversation. I’ve made friends through the list serve and on Facebook that I’ve never met personally.

Purple Sage Ranch: Home of WRW 2014
Purple Sage Ranch: Home of WRW 2014

The 2014 instructors include: bestselling thriller author Grant Blackwood (Briggs Tanner Novels, Fargo series with Clive Cussler), Literary Agent Mary C Moore (Kimberley Cameron agency), YA and romance author Emily McKay (The Farm, The Lair), writer/editor Les Edgerton (The Bitch, Hooked), director and instructor Jason Sitzes, co-founder and author Gail Provost Stockwell.

If you’re a writer who is ready for an intense upgrade in your craft, your understanding of the publishing industry, and the how-to of marketing your work, don’t miss this chance to become the writing professional you want to be!

If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing writers’ experience, so here’s the link: http://writersretreatworkshop.com/events.html


Happy writing!!

Obstacle or Opportunity

20131226_D800_trishwilkinson_family_5526_chuck_trish_8x12My husband just lost his job. The company he worked for sold to a competitor, and unless the vice president of the larger company gets hit by a bus, there won’t be a position available under the new ownership. One of the former bosses, who shares in the purchase price of a few hundred-million dollars, called to say a check for a couple months’ salary would arrive in the mail. Somehow management viewed this appropriate compensation for my husband’s ten years of service generating millions in assets as well as adding value to the purchase price. Oh. And as of May 1, COBRA will require $1400 in monthly payments to maintain our Kaiser Health coverage for our family of four.

My initial reaction was to panic. I looked up teaching positions in as many school districts as possible within commuting range, because owning a writing/coaching/editing operation doesn’t include healthcare benefits. Though the idea of reentering the classroom excited me, my stomach knotted, and anxiety dreams woke me up all night long. Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind the National Core Curriculum Standards, but I find it almost impossible to write novels and articles while teaching full time. By the end of a day of working with kids, collaborating with other teachers, assessing student work, and on and on and on, my creativity gets used up. There’s no time to coach other writers or edit their work during the school year either.

Then I remembered one of my favorite writing buddies, a fellow Page-a-Day writer and an award-winning columnist, Claire Fadden’s sing-song voice in my head. “Obstacle or opportunity,” she likes to say with a shrug as she looks for ways to use life’s little setbacks to propel her toward her goals.

time-managementSo how can our family’s lack of regular income and health benefits transform into a catalyst toward becoming a traditionally published YA novelist? My husband and I decided I would hold off jumping back into the classroom. I’ve got one more school year, this small window, to pour on the energy and get my manuscript published. It’s amazing how a narrow time frame can make the world seem like an entirely different place.

I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out. In the meantime, tell us about your obstacles that have become opportunities. Believe me, a story like that would be really welcome right now.

Bad Ass at Nineteen

1381234_479555868812400_345349263_nMy nineteen-year-old daughter, Paige, came home to San Diego from Williams College in Massachusetts for spring break. We enjoyed wonderful long talks, dog walks, and ate scrumptious authentic Mexican and Vietnamese meals together. Sadly for me, but bad ass for her, she didn’t get to stay in San Diego for the whole break.

Paige is double-majoring in economics and art history at Williams. She spent last summer doing an internship for the Grameen Foundation in microfinance in the Philippines, and she wanted to find out more about the art world to weigh her career options after she graduates in 2016. On a search for contacts in the Williams directory of alumni students, Paige emailed Radina Angelova, director of the brand new Red Royal Gallery on the lower east side of Manhattan. Radina responded to Paige’s inquiry with helpful information as well as an eventual invitation to attend the black-tie opening, last Friday.

Paige didn’t hesitate. She booked a flight with frequent flyer miles (my husband travels a lot for work), hopped a plane to New York on Thursday, and had little idea where she was going when she arrived. Still, she decided to save the cab fare and figure out how to get to a friend’s parents’ house taking the subway. Once she arrived at her destination, $45 richer, she discovered her friend’s family had a precious engagement and would be out for the evening. This may have rattled some people, but Paige smiled, thanked her hosts for allowing her to stay on short notice, and decided to catch a bus to check out some sites in the city – by herself. Okay. As her mom, I admit this makes me a bit nervous, but she seems to be smart about how she travels alone, since she’s never had a problem on these adventures.


On Friday, Paige dressed in an elegant gown, took a cab across town, and attended the Red Royal Gallery opening as a party of one. She appears in several photos at the event listening, talking, and laughing with strangers who she tells me have became friends. Paige loves Radina, who is full of enthusiasm as well as art and sales smarts. Best of all, Radina invited Paige to do a six-week internship at the gallery during the summer to get hands-on experience in the art business. Living accommodations in New York will be Paige’s next hurdle, but knowing my bad ass daughter, she’ll figure it out.

The point is: if a nineteen-year-old can do all that, I should be able to stick out the hard times and keep working until I find an agent to represent my YA series. It’s not that Paige never has doubts. She’s learned to have fear and dive in anyway.

Sometimes I’d like to borrow some of Paige’s courage, although I must have some of my own, because I’m still working on it.

If you’ve done something that took some guts, or you’re thinking about jumping into a project/event/whatever and you want to run it by your fellow bad asses, or you just have something to say, we’d love to hear from you!