Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mid-America Romance Author's Retreat and Blogmania

Hi Everyone,

First, I'm going to tell you about blogmania again. You are missing an exciting time and a chance for thousands of prizes if you don't join in. Learn more at this site or read the blog I posted on Monday.

Last week I missed posting on Sunday because I was at writer's retreat at Basswood Inn from Friday night to mid-Sunday morning. To give you an idea of what's involved with a writer's retreat read the list below.

We arrived around 5:00 p.m., unloaded our cars and helped others with theirs while the ones who arrived earliest helped set up the food. The first night we all contribute to the food pantry. lol There's enough food the first night to keep us going all weekend. lol

As we continue to munch and drink various beverages, we sit around long tables listening to readers and critiquing the work everyone has brought to be read. During this time we stop occasionally for a break and have a drawing. Everyone at the retreat has the their name in a pot where if their name is drawn they have a chance to win a prize. Some of those prizes were awesome, and I was envious of the winners.

Did I mention we munched and drank more. lol

We did more critiques and quit about 10 or 10:30 at night to break off into groups to visit. Many went to bed early in preparation for an early day on Saturday.

The next morning, we were up early trying to get to showers (mind you there was only three bathrooms for 37 people) to make it to breakfast at 8:00 a.m.. Our breakfast was wonderful thanks to our wonderful chef, Carla Cassidy, and author of a hundred books. You can visit Carla at

At nine o'clock sharp we were sitting at our long tables for the first of many workshops on Saturday. I don't remember exactly what order the workshops were presented, but here is what was presented to us.

World Building is an important part of writing a story, and we learned a lot about doing it in our class World Building 102. This topic could be a blog all by itself, so I won't elaborate here. This class was given by Gretchen Jones and for some reason I do not have a website or blog for her.

We had another workshop on promotional items given by Marianne Stephens. In this class, we received lots of promo advice. All advice was good for those who are pre-published and published. This course told you how to get you and your brand out there before you become published. You can learn about Marianne Stephens at

The next class was about humor, heat and hooks and tells you about the elements of a scene. Since Katy Madison will be doing a workshop at Romance Author's of America (RWA) conference this summer I will not go into detail here. You can visit Katy at

Break: Eat and drink and be merry. lol

We had a workshop titled, A Writer's Business Plan Template by Laura Phillips. She can be found at This course is very important for anyone, whether writer or business owner. There were things I should have been doing but hadn't even thought of them.

Carla Cassidy gave a class on writing romantic suspense. I'm always learning new things from Carla and she manages to come with great workshops. You can learn more about Carla at

Did I say we ate? lol Again. All the time. lol Yep, we took a break for food.

After we ate some of us walked around the pond or out to the fishing dock to walk off some of that food. lol During our breaks, we often walked as well as visited and ate.

Break time is over and we're ready to hit it again. Back to having our precious work read and critiqued. This is serious work because this is when we learn what works and doesn't work in our work in progress (wip). We get the tough questions and we have to answer them in order to continue with our wips. Thanks, Kari, for one of those tough questions.

After a late night, we wake in the morning for another breakfast before starting to work on critiques. I had to leave earlier than the noon checkout time, but I had a great time. Much thanks go to the organizers of this wonderful retreat.

Thanks goes to Sunny Cole for collecting all of the wonderful prizes. You may learn about Sunny at her blog,

I also want to thank Katie who clarified some things for me. Did I tell you that this retreat is paid for by our local RWA chapter MARA. Everyone brings food for Friday night, and we give a small amount of money to our blessed organizer for food, which she buys the ingredients and fixes the food for all of us.

It's a terrific retreat and worth joining MARA just for it. You may visit MARA's website at to learn more about this writer's group.



April Ash said...

Yes, we had a great time! Sandy, even though we were sleeping right next to the front door, it wasn't TOO cold when people walked in and out early in the AM before we were up!
Thanks for the note about my workshop...I enjoyed doing it and listening to the others.
Critique time is so fascinating...we have lots of talented writers!
Another wonderful, although sleepless, weekend!

Sandy said...

Hey, April, thanks for coming by.

I slept very good thanks to the mattresses you brought. lol The sleep may have been short, but it uninterrupted. Smile.

We surely had a great time.

Christie Craig said...

That retreat sounds fabulous.

I'm excited about RT this upcoming week. Nothing energizes me like being around a bunch of other writers. It's as all the creative energy fills the air and makes me tingle.


Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

The retreat sounds amazing, Sandy. I'd love to take part in something like this one day. Sigh, maybe if I emigrate to the US!



Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Sounds like a great time, Sandy! 3 bathrooms for 37 people-yikes! But still, well worth the inconvience to have all that working time. :)

Linda LaRoque said...

Sounds like a fun and informative weekend, Sandy. I love retreats.

Sandy said...

Thanks for coming by CC.

I wish I were going to RT with you. lol Have fun.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Z.

I would love to have you emigrate here. Smile.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Stacey.

Fortunately, there were people who actually got up early so it wasn't too bad. Some of us girls shared a bathroom. lol

Sandy said...

Thanks, Linda. Retreats are great and not as tiring as conferences.

Heather Snow said...

It was a lovely time. Can't wait to do it all again next year :)

Sandy said...

Thanks, Heather.

Charisma Knight said...

Sandy, this sounds awesome. I wish I could go. I think next year will be a possibility. Also, it would have been great to meet you lady. I think I would prefer the retreat. LOL

Sandy said...

Hi Charisma,

You have to be a member of Mid-America Romance Authors to attend the retreat since they pay for it with membership dues.

We would love to have you join. Just contact me if you're interested.

Thanks for your comment.