Monday, July 18, 2011

Your Very Own Writer's Retreat!

Your Very Own Writer's Retreat!
With Missy Tippens
Missy and hubby

Missy, here. I just got back from a family beach vacation in beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama, and thought I would share, giving you a little taste of your very own beach getaway…

But first, I wanted to talk a little about writing retreats in general. I LOVE getting away to write and can be very productive in a different setting. I’ve taken several retreats to the mountains or the beach. All were arranged with writer friends/critique groups.

I asked a few friends who’ve taken part in writing retreats for input on what they did.

Janet Dean shared that several years ago her RWA chapter held daylong retreats. They had a session of critiquing, a lesson or two from someone who’d taken a class or had learned a technique they wanted to share. A group favorite “event” was when they wrote all of their pent-up frustrations about rejections on toilet paper, and then each writer read hers before tossing it. :) She said these retreats were simple and fun.

Sandra Leesmith told me that she’s been to several that were fantastic. They usually worked on their current WIP and the instructor and students all participated in revising.  There was usually a focus, so revisions focused on that.

At one of the best retreats she attended they printed out a complete manuscript in the tiniest font possible so it ended up being only 30-40 pages.  Then they highlighted all the action scenes in one color. Highlighted all the telling scenes in another.  Then they all laid out their manuscripts on the floor and you could really SEE the holes and gaps where there was no action and too much telling.  

Lindi Peterson is one of my critique partners and has been with me on retreats (her wonderful boss gave us the use of his beach house—well, more like luxury beach mansion!). She said, “I love sitting in a room of writers while they are working. It's very inspiring to me. There seems to be an energy in the room when this is happening.”

Some of the things Lindi and I both love on our retreats are that no one cooks. We usually stock up on groceries and just grab and eat whenever it suits each individual. Then we go out for a break at dinnertime.

Other things Lindi mentioned…  Depending on the group you are with, there can be impromptu brainstorming which always comes in handy. When you take a break there's always something out-of-the-ordinary for you to do. For instance a walk on the beach or a mountain trail.

And the biggie: There is a pot of coffee at the ready at ALL TIMES.

Angie Breidenbach shared with me that she’s only done one writer's retreat up in the mountains of Montana. They had group meals specifically built around brainstorming. And they had set times for private or partner writing with critique partners. It was fairly free flow with the guideline that if someone needed time alone, they were to say so and everyone else would leave them be.

After dinner, they had group writing exercises to open up their imaginations.

Mary Connealy told me she’s been to two writer's retreats and they were quite different.

One was very structured, lots of brainstorming. They got to pick “teams”of four and they'd have a three-hour session. They'd each get about 45 minutes to brainstorm their idea. The food was provided and they also had time for worship with someone providing music.

The other was far more focused on writing. They'd spend hours every day sitting behind their computers writing. She said she got a LOT done. They'd have a worship time. Great food, with a cook involved. (I think I’m detecting a theme here!)

Mary said that particular retreat, which involved all historical inspirational writers, also included a woman coming in to show them Victorian clothes, and they took a tour. So if you have a retreat, you might want to consider a themed event.

So now…time for your very own beach retreat! I have three quick videos to share with you that I took from our condo balcony this past week. Be sure to turn up the volume on your computer. I wish there was some way you could just loop them over and over to enjoy that wonderful sound of the ocean...

First off, time to wake. Take some quiet time on the balcony with your coffee. Some time for a morning devotional. Then a little time to read. Enjoy the quiet before the beach fills up. Time to sit outside and write, listen to the waves crashing (perfect white noise while writing).

So you’ve worked through the morning. Now it’s time to take a break. Eat lunch. Maybe go for a swim or a walk on the beach before going back to your writing.

Now, later in the evening, time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished today. Time to relax. Have a nice dinner and celebrate your hard work. Before bed…quiet, just you and the lull of the water. Time to  head to bed, to rest and prepare for another day of beach writing. (Apologies for any motion sickness from the tilt. :) I wanted you to see the moon.)

I hope you had a nice virtual beach retreat! Will you share with us your writing retreat experiences? What would be the perfect setup for you?

Missy Tippens


  1. I am so impressed with this post and the videos!!

    Nicely done. Love the photo of you and that mystery man.

    I have not ever done a retreat. My idea of a retreat is a hotel and room service and no cellphone.

  2. This was great! I had no idea writing retreats could be so much fun! And that part about the tiny font- and highlighting... Oh, my brain actually could picture it. I may just have to try it out.
    My favorite retreat would be the one with the worship and the cook or the worship and the eating out. :D Kidding.. Any retreat that didn't involve writing at 3AM would be good.

  3. We have an organization here sponsoring a twice yearly writer's retreat at an Episcopal retreat center. The property has the beach on one side and the sound on the other. It really is heaven.

    The retreat is a working one with the focus on silence and the space to work. While others are there to be supportive, the goal is to get the time to write away from every day distractions.

    I need the silence. I am the kind of person who has to talk to everyone I meet at breakfast at the b and b so it is best if I am told that I can't!

    Love the picture of you two!

    Peace, Julie

  4. Missy -

    This is the neatest post! Thanks!

    I LIVE in a retreat of sorts... Amazing how many other things get done, except... well... you know...

    But it's about to change because the story is just percolating and bubbling like those old time coffee pots.

    Love these ideas you shared. Will see what we can cook up *ahem* around here too!

    Agree with Julie - super photo of y'all!

  5. Thank you! I was bemoaning my lack of writer's retreats this weekend. The ocean is perfect! I could write to the sound of the waves all day.

    Land-locked in Kansas.

  6. Coffee's on.

    Nice picture.

    I've never done a writing retreat. Not sure how it would work for me. I liket quiet and solitude when I write.

  7. A friend and I have a one-day retreat about once a quarter. We've met at each other's house and we've met at the Parish House at my church. Earlier this year, we took a weekend retreat to a Hilton Hotel north of Atlanta. Her husband provided hotel points so the room was free. We left on a Friday morning, wrote all afternoon Friday and went to dinner and wrote Friday evening. Saturday AM - writing; break for lunch and nap; more writing and break for dinner. Sunday AM - more writing and then checked out of the hotel. Stopped by a 2-story Barnes and Noble - could have spent my entire paycheck there. Very productive weekend!

  8. Does retreating to the kitchen table count? No???

    Thought as much! No, I've never done a writer's retreat.

    My retreat would include Seekers. A few or all, wouldn't matter. And friends of Seekerville, but not too many at once which means multiple retreats.


    And quiet. And productivity.

    And food brought in.

    And no drama.

    Pajama pants. Sweater or hoodie. Someplace NOT HOT.

  9. Pastries for breakfast. From the local Italian bakery.

    Cheese. Apple. Cherry.

    Too hot to cook, my friends! ;)

  10. ooh I want a retreat! ya'll can write and I'll work on my quilts! Quilt retreats are the only retreats I've been to - and I get lots done at those. Sure could theoretically do the same or more at home but there's something about a retreat and a different setting...and munching on junk food all day! I"m not a huge fan of the beach though that one looks nice - Galveston not so nice! One retreat was in Rockport but wasn't right on the beach - we saw the water when we drove into town to eat. The others have been out in the country except for one in Arizona - I guess that was desert! We were inside though - someone had a townhome with a clubhouse they let us use and we just found a place to sleep between her home and a couple of RV's people brought.

    man I need another retreat! somewhere not hot though not sure where that would be! I'd like trees and mountains(with full vehicle access!)


  11. I've never been on a writing retreat. You make it sound very productive and soothing. I kind of freeze at the word retreat since attending one for work.

    I was working in a school library at the time - Catholic School Board -- and for one of our PD days our very controlling and opinionated and extremely difficult principal arranged a retreat for the staff. We had to take a vow of silence for the whole day...except the prinicipal. He 'preached' nonstop the entire day. Even the provided meal was us being silent and him not. OY!!!!! Pure torture. Have never wanted to experience a retreat of any kind since.

    But you've almost convinced me to give a writing one a try...almost. :-)

  12. Awesome post, Missy.

    I've never been to a writer's retreat. :( And your post makes me want to go to one!

    Stay cool everyone. The heat index is projected to 110 here today.

  13. Oh Missy! I can almost feel the sand sifting through my toes. Nice work, baby-cakes. Loved the audio--perfect Calgon moment.

    My CPs and I take writing retreats a couple of times a year. Usually, we go to Theresa's condo in Crested Butte, CO.




    Mountains surrounding you for inspiration while writing about cowboys and ranches. And a quaint little town to wander through and shop when you need a break.

    Breakfast and lunch, we scrounge for ourselves. Each of us takes a day to prepare dinner. I make a slow cooker lasagna that is absolutely worry free and spend the rest of my time writing.

    Absolute bliss.

    Thanks for whetting our retreat appetites with your virtual tour.

    I loved it.

    Let's do it again sometime!

  14. And Sandra, I loved the idea of printing out mss in teeeny font and highlighting.

    Of course, I need a magnifying glass to read the words in order to highlight, but hey, if it shows holes in the action, bring it on!

  15. This was a great post, Missy! Love the videos and thanks for the retreat.

    I've never been on an official retreat. But a couple weeks ago I had my own "retreat" to Wyoming and renewed my inspiration and finished my ms.


  16. Yay, Kristen! Congrats and good for you!!

    Don't you just love typing the words THE END, no matter whether you're on a retreat or in the comfort of your own home.

    Nothing feels better!

  17. Audra,

    Actually (and I'm embarassed to admit this) I cried when I typed THE END. I loved these characters so much I didn't want it to end.

    But it does feel good to have their story down.

  18. Great post Missy. My ideal writing retreat would be in Camden, Maine where my current novel I'm editing is set. It has it all - mountains that meet the sea, so also beaches and a lighthouse. What more could you want?

    Jodie Wolfe

  19. I'm finally here!! My internet went out last night--thankfully AFTER I had the post up! And it just this minute came back up.

    Tina, I love the ida of hotel room with room service!! Would be perfect. :)

  20. Virginia, I really love the no cooking idea as well. And the writing all day long at normal hours as well. :)

    Sandra's idea of printing with tiny font is really a great idea!

  21. Julie, I'll be checking that out!! And maybe heading your way!! Sounds like a perfect thing to do when a deadline is looming. :)

  22. Thanks, KC!

    You know, it doesn't matter where you live, it can never be a retreat with all the day to day things to do.

    Of course, I went to Lindi's house one weekend for a writing getaway. We sat by the pool and brainstormed. Ate frozen pizza for dinner. And her hubby made us breakfast while we worked! A very productive retreat. So it can be done. You just have to ignore the real world. :)

  23. Oh, wow, Missy! A beautiful beach vacation that leaves us all envious!

    I've never been on a writing retreat--have had friends who've gone to them, but I always figured I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my writinng with a bunch of people around me. It sounds, though, as if there are varieties of retreats and you just need to pick one that fits you best!

    Your quilting retreats sound fun, Susanna!

  24. Christina, the sound of the ocean waves is my favorite sound to write to. I can totally tune everything out and really focus. I've even tried getting a set of CD's of water sounds, but it just wasn't the same! So I think it also has to do with the fresh ocean air, the breeze, the cry of seagulls, the constant roar of the waves crashing...

    Oh, I miss it already!

  25. Helen, thank you!! Since I had Internet trouble, I came straight to my computer this morning. Haven't even had my coffee yet! So I appreciate you offering!

    I should offer breakfast as well! How about a nice egg white veggie omelet? Or for those who can indulge, I'll throw in HOT Krispy Kreme dougnuts!

  26. Edwina, I love that idea! Lynette Eason and I have met halfway before and gotten a hotel suite. We spent one night and worked two days. Again, very productive! We would brainstorm while we ate, then work on our own between meals.

    Thanks for sharing that idea!

  27. Wow, Missy, I'm like Tina and impressed with your techiness. What a lovely scene and sound.

    I'm afraid if I was at that beach I'd get very little writing done. I'd be in the water.

    But you have some great ideas. And you writers who haven't tried one, a retreat is inspiring.

    The idea of the tiny font wasn't mine. The leader of the retreat did that. It was an SCBWI retreat and I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the leader who had us do that. But it was extremely helpful.

    Thanks Missy for sharing your beach retreat.

  28. MISSY!!! WOW, not sure how much I would get done in such a beautiful setting, but would love to try it anyway!!

    Just out of curiosity, how many pages did you write while you were on "retreat," and was it just you and your hubby or the family too? That might make a difference for me as to how in the mood I'd be for romantic scenes, you know? :)

    I can't have a lot of distraction when I write and I have to be VERY comfortable where I am when I do, so writer retreats with other people don't work real well for me, but maybe I need to try the beach ... :) VERY inspiring!!


  29. Missy I was so worried abou sharks I couln't relax.

    Also, were all those people wearing sunscreen? The sun is so hard on your skin.

    and yeah, I relaxed and enjoyed it, of course.

    (biting my fingernails...did you check carefully for stinging jellyfish?)

  30. Audra, you really go on writer's retreats with friends A COUPLE TIMES A YEAR???

    Why don't I get a writer's retreat a couple times a year.

    For that matter, why don't I have any friends?

    Well, except online. Having five states between me and people makes me seem a lot more fun.

  31. My writing group has talked about doing a retreat (did you hear that, Christina?!). I'd love ideas on how to find a good (translated cheap but super nice) location where food wouldn't be a big issue (translated we don't have to cook). Any suggestions?

    Sally (also landlocked in Kansas)

  32. Missy, I've never done a writer's retreat, but love the beach and am so ready to head to the cyber-Gulf!

    Thanks for great info. Love the prepared food idea. A cook, Mary? I am impressed.

    And a beach-side mansion, Lindi? Be still my heart!

    I hope everyone has a productive day and enjoys your wonderful beach videos!

  33. Ahhhh! Internet went out again! If I go awol today, you'll know what's going on.

    Ruthy, you HAVE to head south with me on a retreat! It'll have nice ocean breezes so you won't melt. And I'll swat the gnats for you. :)

  34. Susanna, a quilting getaway sounds fun as well!! And mountains are good, too. I just love getting away, period. :)

  35. Oh, Kav that's awful!!! LOL Sorry, couldn't help laughing. :)

    What you need to do is try a writing retreat to get that bad experience out of your mind! Have a nice retreat with friends and replace that old fear. :)

  36. Rose, that's even hotter than here in Georgia! Wow. Try to stay indoors if you can.

    What would we do without a/c??

  37. Audra, that sounds heavenly! A gorgeous mountain vista sounds perfect! And taking a turn cooking is a great way to work out the chores.

    How about you take me with you, and I'll take you with me?? Trade? :)

  38. Kirsten!!! Woo hoo!! Congrats to you. And don't feel funny about crying. I do it nearly every time too! :)

  39. Wow! What a neat post! Very creative. Thanks for sharing with us. :D

    I'm not sure what my ideal retreat would be. I love the ocean and I love the mountains. As long as it's bug free and quiet with food and beverage at the ready... no interruptions, I think that would be awesome!

  40. Edwina, how fun to go to Hilton Head for any reason! But with writer friends...what a great time you must have had!

    Sandra, love your tip on small font and highlighters! I need to try it!

    I'm like Glynna...Debby on a retreat would mean visiting with friends. Forget work! I'd want to talk all day!!! :)

  41. Oh, Jodie, that sounds perfect!! The best of both worlds. I wanna come too!! :)

    Maybe I need to set a book there... RESEARCH ROAD TRIP! :)

  42. Glynna, yes! You could even arrange one that works for you and invite people (Me! Me!) who would work well with you. :) If you set it up, you could set it up any way you wanted. :)

  43. Sandra, I'm not that techy. I just used my Kodak camera, which takes short videos as well. :) I uploaded it to youtube and embedded the html code.

    I did have to do a couple of takes for my afternoon video. I was out there with my son. Told him to be silent. And right at the end of the video I was shooting, he made a horrible screeching noise just to irritate me. :) Needless to day, it worked. I was definitely irritated. LOL

  44. Julie, this trip was a family vacation, not a writing retreat for me. I didn't work while there. I just read and read! And yes, all three kids were along! :)

    As for writing retreats, I've can't remember how many pages I've written. But I do know on one trip to the beach with my critique group, I revised a whole novel in three days. I got an amazing amount done. I mostly wrote by myself outside on the deck. Everyone else was inside working. I had total peace and quiet. I was immersed in the story.

  45. Mary, Mary. No sharks allowed! Especially while on the deck of the condo. LOL

    And yes, I use plenty of sunscreen! although if you zoom in on the photo of me and my hubby, you'll see I'm a little burned! Ouch. I stayed out too long reading on the beach.

    You don't need 5 states between us to be fun. We all love you and you know it. We'd be glad to go on a retreat with you. You pay, and we'll come! ;)

  46. Sally,

    Some suggestions... Do you know anyone who has a cabin or condo you could use? Maybe a lake house or cabin on a farm? Or even just a writer friend who has a house with lots of room and maybe no kids at home? :)

    We were blessed with Lindi's boss offering his home and refusing to let us pay for it. We just paid for gas to get to Florida, groceries (about $20 a person), dinners out at restaurants (you could do fast food to save money), and we also bought her boss and his wife a gift to thank them.

    You can buy simple foods like sandwich meat and snacks. Cereal for breakfast. Fruits and already prepared veggies.

    You can also do like someone suggested and have each person prepare a meal. That way you don't have any expense of eating out.

    I hope you can work something out! I think you'll love it.

  47. Thanks, Debby! I hope you can go with us sometime!

  48. Linnette, I'm with you. I'm not picky as long as I can just get away! :)

    And hey, remember I'll let you know next time Lynette Eason and I meeting South Carolina so you can join us! :)

  49. Debby, our first night at the beach, we'd go out to eat and do all our chatting. Then first thing in the morning, we'd be ready to work. :)

  50. Fun post, Missy! I can't remember ever being on an actual writer's retreat. I was supposed to go to one a couple of years ago but my flight got all messed up and I ended up going back home instead. Bummer.

    Mary, we never did get a Midwest retreat worked out, did we? And then I went and moved clear across the country, dagnabbit.

  51. Every winter I go on a "solo" writing retreat. I book a timeshare for 3 nights so I get two full days to work in complete silence without any interruptions. I get more done in those two days than I can in a normal week. It always renews and refreshes me.

  52. Oh how wonderful! What a great opportunity.
    Does that come as the kids get older, Missy?

    Wait - I think I'll just drive down to KC's house for a retreat ;-)

  53. Now I want to go on a writers retreat!!! Mary's retreats sound the best. Food is one of my favorite things. :-) And I love brainstorming.

    Actually, in about a week I'm going to Ohio to stay with my wonderful friend and crit partner, Linore Burkard, and teach at the Greater Harvest writers workshop. We're going to have our own little writers retreat while our kids swim in the pool. :-) Can't wait!

  54. Oh, I forgot to say, I love the pic with your hubby, Missy!!! What a cute couple! You like very relaxed and at home at the beach. :-)

  55. KAV! I'd be writing a thriller by the end of that retreat, and I would have a character with the same name as that principal, and he would be murdered in the first chapter.

    Just sayin'.

  56. Hi Missy:

    You sold me. I want to go to that exact hotel right now. I’m going to show these videos to my wife ASAP. Can you tell us which hotel it was? (I’m hoping it’s not a timeshare condo.)

    BTW: I like writing retreats. That’s where you take a retreat from writing. You don’t read. You don’t write. You don’t take notes. You don’t even think writing. You totally clear the buffer. You just take in the beauty of nature. You enjoy just being alive.

    Then when you come back: writing is a reward!


  57. fun! I've never been on a writer's retreat and in fact have not even heard of people doing them! Sounds awesome..especially the part about having someone cook for you! Could I have someone come clean my house while I was gone? : )

  58. Myra, now that you moved, you'll have to join us on one of our getaways!! :) (Sorry, Mary. We claim her now on the East coast)

  59. Oh, Brenda, what a treat! A fantastic idea to make it something regular. I've always said I'd love to be able to go away for a month alone to write a whole book! Just write around the clock and then eat and sleep when the urge hits. :)

  60. Yes, Pepper, when they get older, your have so much more freedom!! :) Of course, by hubby has always been good to take care of the kids whenever I've gone to conference and retreats. He's a gem!

  61. Thanks, Melanie! That was our last evening there, so we were very relaxed. Had just had a wonderful dinner overlooking Zeke's Landing Marina.

    Have a great time with Lenore!!

  62. LOL, Vince! A retreat FROM writing is something I never thought of. :) I guess that would be a nice refresher, though. :)

    I'll email you about the condo. But you can't go wrong anywhere in Orange Beach. They're all amazing places and the beach is beautiful the whole way.

  63. Thanks for the mini-vacation, Missy!

    I love the ocean. Haven't been near one in quite a while. The sound of it is SO wonderful.

    I've never been on a writer's retreat either. Sounds heavenly.


  64. Stacey, I love the idea of having someone clean the house while I'm gone! Great idea!! :)

  65. Sue, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I was excited to share. As soon as we arrived and went out on the balcony, I knew exactly what I wanted to post about. :)

  66. I've never been on a writer's retreat, so I can only imagine how exciting and fun it would be to get away with other writers for a weekend. Talking stories and books, it would be fantastic. :)

  67. Well, Melanie, if I was in charge of the retreat, we'd probably just be eating bags of chips and cold cereal. So give that vision up immediately.
    But we'd have fun.

  68. Missy, the picture of you and your husband on the beach is beautiful. CHRISTMAS CARD.

  69. Vince maybe I could take a break from writing.
    NEVER could I take a break from reading.
    And I can't imagine how I could take a break from thinking about writing.

    I may have a fairly NARROW life.

  70. Casey, it is a wonderful time! You'll have to try it. I always love talking about writing and books with writers. :)

  71. Mary, thanks! We got one of the whole family as well by some poor passerby we grabbed. :) I hadn't even thought of a Christmas card. Great idea!

  72. Hey! Wanted to let everyone know I'm doing a jewelry giveaway on my personal blog this week! So stop by if you want to enter to win! It's a hand stamped "Love Never Fails" ring made by Beverly Brown. :)

  73. What a fun idea for a blog post. I did do one other retreat style thing. I took Margie Lawson's Writing Immersion with Margaret Daley and Vickie McDonough. We worked hard! But we had an amazing cook, Tom (Margie's hubby), and amazing progress in this very intense style of retreat.

  74. Do writer's retreats have to have cooks? Because that seems difficult. A deal breaker really.


    My husband is a fair cook but he'd be a distraction, I'll bet.

  75. Angie, I'm sure that was a great retreat! And bless Tom! If y'all came here and had to depend on my hubby for food, you'd be asking for your money back. :)

    Mary, how about we do it at your house, then? We'll send my hubby along to keep yours out of the house when he's not cooking. ;)

  76. A weekend retreat at a beach resort would be great. Mornings for exercise, worship and brainstorming with afternoons for writing. Maybe a group session or two in the evenings, or maybe just leave those unstructured. Catered meals for fun and relaxation with a neverending supply of writerly snacks (chocolate, trail mix, etc.)

  77. Hi Missy:

    Everything is totally acceptable! I can do it. And having the house cleaned while we are away – that’s a great close. I’ll have to try it tonight.


  78. My husband knows how to grill meat and boil vegetables, with is actually an amazingly healthy way to live.

    I'm more of a--where's the layer of cheese--kinda woman.

  79. Hi Mary:

    I think you could do it. In fact, the harder it would be for you to do it, the more benefit you’ll derive from the exercise.

    The trick is this: you have to go somewhere so beautiful, so majestic, that you just want to stop and become one with nature. You literally still your soul and absorb the experience. It’s an ongoing peak experience.

    In this state you won’t even think about reading or writing. But you will experience the desire to ‘extend your hand and touch the face of God.’

    For example, you could go to the Amazon and walk atop the trees and the sky bridges.

    You could go to the top of the Andes and explore Machu Picchu.

    You could go to Banff and Lake Louise in Canada.

    This is bigger than going outside the box. This is going outside the outside.


  80. Goodness, Patricia, how did I forget chocolate?! :)

    Must have an ample supply. :)

  81. Mary, I'm a big vacation reader, too. I took several books and blasted right through them. Had to bribe my son to steal his Kindle so I could download another two books! I hogged his Kindle for two days. Now I owe him a book of his choice. :)

  82. We can bring barista Jack, right? No retreat would be complete without him :)

  83. Oooo, I want to go to a Mary-retreat
    chips, chocolate, brainstorming, and writing...

    Pass the Oreos

  84. WOW!! Great post Missy--thanks so much (and that beach looks very nice--I've never visited that area). ~ A Writer's Retreat sounds like a dream to me (especially one with a pot of coffee at all times, LOL), so maybe one day I'll go on one. This past June we had a family vacation at Jekyll Island, and I did a little writing while there. There's something about being at the coast that "inspires" me *grin* - - so even though I LOVE the mountains too, I think a beach retreat would be perfect. ~ LOVE the cute pic of you and your hubby!! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  85. Missy,
    Do you remember the wedding we watched while we were at the beach retreat? How inspiring to romance novelists is that? Beach side wedding and we sat on the balcony and watched the whole thing.
    I'm about ready for a retreat!! I'm barely a fourth of the way through a book, so now would be handy!
    I love this post. You brought the ocean to us. Nice!!!

  86. May, chocolate and potato chips just happen to be my favorite brain foods.

  87. Of course, Mia! He can wait on us, bringing us anything our heart desires! :)

  88. Thanks, Patti Jo! I'm glad you enjoyed the getaway.

    Jekyll is absolutely amazing. We took my son's class there in 8th grade. Spent the night and two days in a hotel on the beach. Did a ghost tour. It was so fun! We also hit Savannah for a night as well. A fantastic trip.

  89. Yes, Lindi, I remember that! It was so cool!

    We need to plan another trip...

  90. Vince, the ocean makes me think of nothing except the ocean and our wonderful Creator who provided such beauty and majesty for His children.

    I can sit for hours and do nothing except enjoy the beauty of Nature when I'm at the beach.

    And eat good seafood!

    And chat with family!

    And think of new stories to write!

    Does that make it a retreat?

  91. Lindi and Missy, count me in too!

  92. Missy, please do!!! :D I'd love to meet you girls.

    Got some exciting news. Kathi Macias looked at the sample chapters for my proposal and gave me an amazing endorsement. I'm so excited! I just have to share it with you:

    "Linnette Mullin is a new voice in fiction, well worth watching. Her writing is engaging and clean, needing only minor edits—refreshing! I, for one, am looking forward to reading the rest of Finding Beth…as well as the other books in the Broken Wing series."

    Kathi Macias, author of more than 30 books, including the 2011 Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year and Carol Award finalist, Red Ink

    Is that amazing or what?

  93. Linnette, that is amazing! Congrats on garnering such an endorsement!! I'm thrilled for you. :)

  94. Missy, glad you had a writer's retreat and family vacation! It makes me want to go to the beach! I don't know why I don't since I'm only 40 minutes away.

    Love the Missy and Terry pic.

    I've gone gone on a writers retreat, but I'm ready to go.

  95. Whoo-hoo, Linnette! Fantastic!!!!

    You must be floating on air!

  96. A writer's retreat would be wonderful.

    But I'm not sure my hubby will fall for yet ANOTHER trip during the year. I'm already gone two weeks as it is.

  97. Thanks, Missy and Debby! I am floating. I told Kathi I think I'm numb with shock. LOL :D

  98. Fabulous Missy! Great retreat examples! Picture perfect!

  99. Wow, Missy! I'm impressed with the video! Love gorgeous beaches!