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Writer-y Retreat Shenanigans and #NaNoWriMo2017

My good friend and the president of the San Francisco Area RWA chapter Karysa Faire is brilliant. Over this past year she's inspired me by finding the coolest places to visit and get the shit writ! In February we went to the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, CA where I penned my short story A Piece Of Him for the Gone With The Dead anthology, and then this summer she invited me to come along to Fort Bragg, CA to the Weller House Inn to scout the location as a future writer's retreat for our chapter members. We had a lovely time in July and I wrote most of my story in The Banes of Lake's Crossing: Origins titled The Fourth Man, in which the house itself became a character. We finally were able to pull off a retreat and over twenty authors from our chapter and from the local area descended on the Weller House for our first official #WordsOnThePageRetreat!

I cannot adequately describe to you how amazing it has been to pick the brains of so many talented folks this weekend. PLUS, it being NaNoWriMo, or NationalNovel Writing Month for those of you new here, I've written 14,725 words so far in these first five days! I'm a little short from where I wanted to be, but I will prevail and reach at least 50,000 by November 30th. Instead of writing a full novel, I'm working on, um, four separate novellas for different projects. While here at the retreat I started writing two follow up stories in The Banes of Lake's Crossing world. One is a redemption story about the brother Nathaniel who cannot seem to satisfy the hunger within him since he became cursed by possessed silver, and he soon learns that satisfaction will come at a high price. The second story is the next chapter in the life of The Fourth Man, youngest brother Jonah. Not to give any spoilers away, but Jonah is about to find himself with his hands very full in a short time.

The third project I actually started on November 1st and I got a good chunk written. It's a novella for an anthology I was invited to participate in for May 2018 with a theme of Blue Collar Heroes. This story starts out with a crash and leaves our main characters, sheriff's deputy Calvin Graham and tree trimmer Flor Trujillo, attempting to navigate a fresh new romance when life has other ideas.

And the fourth project... Well, it's more Maggie and Louis, and it's for Autism Awareness, and there's more puppies.

But back to this super cool retreat. When I first arrived, there was a bit of a snafu. When I was here in July I scoped out the rooms and had planned to stay at the top of the water tower when we returned in November. The room wasn't ready when I arrived Thursday, not for a couple of hours, and when I finally got up the gazillion flights of stairs to check out my room, I discovered they'd been painting and plastering that day, and with my asthma, there was no way I was going to be able to sleep there.

Karysa had done such an amazing job selling the retreat to our writers, there were no extra rooms. But my rescue came in the form of my new pal Gayle Parness. Gayle is the president of the Silicon Valley RWA chapter, which I participate in from time to time, and Gayle's roommate had backed out on coming to the retreat. Her room had two beds so she invited me to stay. I was in a pretty negative head space, but I'd worked really hard to get here and had SO much to do, I wasn't going to let a little snafu get in my way. I accepted her invitation and you know what? I'm so glad I did. I've made a great new friend, I spent time with some of my other great friends, and dammit, I got shit writ! It just goes to show that sometimes when you step out of your comfort zone, great things can happen!

I did a ton of walking on the bluffs above Glass Beach, ate some award-winning chowder with my good pal Robyn Kelly, and I had a late night chat session with my development editor from Road Trip, Theresa Rogers that lasted until nearly two a.m. I picked the brains of greats like Alice Gaines, Jasmine Haynes, Tess Rider, Beth Barany, and Liz Adams. I chatted with new-to-me authors like Kilby Blades and Elizabeth Menozzi and finally met Christine Harvey in the flesh. Hallelujah for daylights savings time haha. It's been a phenomenal weekend. It's sad to leave, as always when you're having a great time, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to visit the lovely Weller House Inn again, but I will have the #wordsonthepage, my novellas, and my new friendships to always remember this retreat by. Special thanks to Vivan and the staff at the Weller House Inn for their hospitality.

Next up: Holbrooke Hotel in February! I CANNOT WAIT! More updates on my NaNo successes to come and Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance...

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