Monday, October 7, 2013

Time to Retreat


Congratulations to "Laurie", the winner of Liz's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I don’t know about you, but fall is a mixed blessing. Cooler temperatures arrive, leaves show off and pumpkin spice lattes leave my tummy happy. But it’s also a busy, busy time for my family. My boys play football so there’s the rush to practice, games and home to launder the uniforms. Not to mention, the school activities – running for Student Council, Key Club meeting, oops I forgot my lunch and can you swing by and pick up my shirt for Homecoming? Then there are the festivals, the weekend trips, the baseball tournaments. Whew. Yeah, I’m tired come the end of each day.

But a few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to take a break from being Mom of the Year (No, I’m not but I’m trying to think positively) and speak at the Houston Bay Area RWA chapter’s beach retreat. For one thing, I drove down to Galveston by myself. It’s about a 5-6 hour trip accounting for Houston traffic and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. I listened to what I wanted to listen to on the radio, retracted my sun roof and felt the call of the road. The drive was lovely, especially in between Center and Nacogdoches, Texas with its rolling hills and rural landscape. I arrived at the beach house just as the sun sank into the Gulf of Mexico. Ahhh, just the sound of the surf and the breeze off the ocean took about five pounds of stress away (not real five pounds, of course, but I felt a lot lighter).

The group of women assembled for the retreat were at all levels of their career, so it was nice to get everyone’s take on what books they loved and what they were interested in writing.  Pizza, skinny girl margaritas and talking about books? Yeah, it was fantastic! That night I slept like a rock.

The next day, I gave workshops on voice, editing, and layering emotion in writing. It was the first time I’d given several hours’ worth of workshops, but I did fine and the ladies of HBA were lovely and helpful. That night they even cheered on the LSU Tigers with me (though we lost) and we watched more football, talked about more books and forged new friendships.

I highly recommend a beach retreat with writers to cure what ails you. After a night at my cousin’s, I came back to being a mom and wife…and a buttload of laundry.

So have you ever taken a retreat? Or maybe a girls’ weekend? Where did you go?

Giveaway:
Liz will be giving away a copy of HIS BROWN-EYED GIRL to one lucky commenter.

HIS BROWN-EYED GIRL

She’s saving him from…the kids? 



Lucas Finlay is used to calling the shots. But looking after his two nephews and niece in New Orleans, he’s entirely out of his league. Luckily help is next door. With almost no effort Addy Toussant manages to make order from the kid chaos. Lucas is beyond grateful…he’s also very attracted to her. Images of an adults-only playdate are soon dancing in his head. 

Yet something in Addy’s golden-brown eyes tells him not to rush her. If this romance is to go anywhere, he needs to let her take the lead. Given the sizzling potential of what they have together, Lucas is okay with that.After enduring the destruction of her antique store and a sex scandal involving her late husband, Eleanor Theriot has spent years licking her wounds and raising her daughter, ignoring the woman beneath the cashmere sweater set in favor of playing it safe. Knowing she must reclaim herself and step out of her comfort zone, Eleanor doesn’t expect the first guy she flirts with in twenty years to make her knees weak.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 8th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


22 comments:

  1. My RWA chapter has a yearly retreat - a lake in Michigan, two days of writing, brainstorming, plotting...good food and a little alcohol and a lot of laughs. I always come away refreshed. Thanks for sharing your retreat with us!

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  2. Sounds fantastic, Kristina. I've always wanted to go to Lake Michigan - is it Saginaw that everyone raves about? Well, anyway, I love a retreat with writers. Someone is always being murdered, cheated on and having great sex...um, in the books of course. LOL Thanks for popping in.

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  3. I would LOVE to take a writers retreat but so far have been far to chicken to join one. I think of wilderness camping in Northern Ontario as a retreat - far from civilization, just the dogs and the fiancé for company, away from all the everyday pressures that all come rushing back the moment you park in the driveway....
    sleepingaurora at Hotmail dot com

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    1. You should definitely give a writing retreat a whirl, Aurora. Most writers are lovely people and hardly ever bite...even if they do write about vamps. LOL. The cabin in Northern Ontario sounds lovely and much cooler than the temps we had which were sort of humid

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    2. You should totally try the writing retreat, Aurora. Most writers are lovely and hardly ever bite...even if they do write about vamps. Ha! The cabin in Ontario sounds lovely and much cooler than the humid temps we suffered under.

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  4. I used to do a girls retreat every year with some old work friends as we had scattered across the country. Coincidentally, it happened every fall. We haven't done it in a few years and I miss that camaraderie that is unique to women. I walked away with so much energy after these getaways.

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

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    1. It's so nice to get away with friends. It ought to be a holiday each year - spend the weekend with your friends! It would probably do a lot to alleviate stress :)

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  5. A couple years back, a group of friends and I rented a cabin for th weekend. There was 7 of us and we had such a good time!!

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    1. I went with some of my high school bffs one year and it was such a good time. We could still finish each others' sentences.

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  6. I'm a brown-eyed girl! :)

    The thing I love most about getting away is NOT being woken up by arguing children. I love my Things, but oh, BOY can they disagree. Of course, all is for naught if I forget to turn off my alarm clock. :(

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    1. Me, too :)

      I love being able to sleep in, but that rarely occurs on a trip. I usually don't sleep great away from home and maybe i'm not accustomed to getting up so early that I fade around 10 pm and have to hit the bed. But not having to get up and fix breakfast was nice. And coffee was waiting on ME.

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  7. I have never been on a retreat or a girls weekend but I sure do hope I get to soon, I just don't have time or money to go on one right now.

    emilybaucom@yahoo.com

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    1. Well, then you will have something to look forward to. It does take a little bit of money, but since you're splitting costs of lodging and food, it usually is much cheaper than taking a family vacation. Hope you get one soon, Emily :)

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  8. No, I haven't

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. LOL. Well, you answered the question :)

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  9. Every fall my mother and I do what we consider the perfect retreat. We rent a house in the Smoky Mountains or a beachfront condo... just got back from Panama City Beach, FL last week. We stock up on everything we think we'll need, get to our vacation home and do nothing except enjoy the scenery and read books. Last year we literally didn't leave the cabin for 6 days. (It might have had a little to do with the black bear that enjoyed our deck for two days)

    Julie O
    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

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    1. Now see, that sounds like heaven! I've only been in the mountains a few times but loved the crispness and the scenery can't be beat. And just vegging and reading books? Yeah, that's a good one :)

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  10. I went on a writer's retreat a year and a half ago. I didn't really know anyone, I'd met the retreat coordinator twice, when she'd presented workshops at my chapter. I had just finished the first draft of my sports romance and was excited to get some feedback. I ended up rewriting the book. Then after getting feedback on a critique I'd won at Brenda Novak's auction, I rewrote it again, incorporating what I'd learned at the retreat and going back to the original heart of the story. Better Than Perfect is due to release in April. Almost two years from the retreat, but I don't think I would have made it this far if I hadn't gone.

    I already have His Brown Eyed Girl, so I don't need to be entered in the drawing.

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    1. I'm so excited to pick up your first book! Isn't it wonderful what we can learn just being around other writers? I tell newer writers all the time the best thing they can do is join a writing group....and do what you did - participate. You have to jump in and ask for help sometimes. Cool thing is most writers love to help :)

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  12. Once a year in Feb. a group of my gal pals and I pick a different city and have a girlfriends' weekend. It's something I look forward to every year. We laugh and sing and watch episodes of Gilmore Girls while eating copious amounts of junk food.

    Forgot the email address.
    lulu83060atgmaildotcom

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    1. Oh, that sounds like such fun. I haven't been able to get a yearly one going, but yours sounds like such a good time. Thanks for popping by to share with me :)

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