Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on GoodReads
  • Follow on Pinterest
  • Follow on Blogger

Last day of the retreat

It’s the last day of our writing retreat. I’m saying good bye to Queensland and my friends, and heading home in a few hours.

It’s been a very productive week. As well as writing — all of us are multi-published and all have deadlines, we have talked about the changing face of publishing, we’ve brainstormed plots and a series (which was plotted in the spa!), and we’ve talked and shared a lot about self-publishing. Three in the group have never tried it, and are cautiously preparing to dip their toes in.

For some of the group, self-publishing their old books, to which they have their rights back, has become an interesting sideline.  Some of them  are bestsellers and have had millions of books in print (that’s no exaggeration — four of the group have each published over a hundred books internationally!) but not all their books came out in the USA, so it will be interesting to see how they go.

There’s also been swimming and shopping and eating and most of all a LOT of talking. We meet for lunch, and then again before dinner, and that’s when the stories start to fly. We are all storytellers and oh, the stories that flew around the room this last week. Some very very funny, others amazing, and a few sad. But mostly funny.

Now it’s time to have a shower and pack my bags. We’re meeting in an hour for a farewell breakfast, and then heading off in different directions — we come from all over Australia, and one is from NZ. It’s been a wonderful inspiring, stimulating and fun week. To finish, here’s another fabulous photo taken yesterday by Marion Lennox.

On Retreat (cont)

A few of my retreat friends are excellent photographers and their photos are streets away from my ordinary little photos taken with my elderly phone, so, with their permission, I’m sharing a few.

This was the sky last night, for instance, taken by my friend Marion Lennox. She’s on the 14th floor, so it’s a real panorama.

I love the contrast between the dark sky with the moon just breaking through the clouds, and the bright lights of the town below. And across the bay there’s a tiny gleam of lights from the city of Surfer’s Paradise.

 And below is dawn, taken by my friend, Fiona McArthur, whose photos I have shown before. She’s an early bird, Fi, and her facebook page is full of gorgeous beach and dawn photos.

Those colorful things on the beach you can see are temporary beach volleyball courts and change rooms — there’s a big national/international volleyball tournament taking place. We’ve watched a few games and wow! the players are so talented.

Mind you we don’t approve of the uniforms. The guys are in shorts and tank tops — fine — but the girls are in tiny bikinis or thongs and bikini-type tops! Talk about old-fashioned sexism!

We’ve been very lucky with the weather on this retreat. It’s been sunny and hot and quite humid but not unbearably so, and we have a pool and the sea over the road for swimming. And air-conditioning for when we’re writing.

But thunderstorms are predicted for today and instead of the misty ethereal, pastel dawns of the past few days, this morning was definitely a case of “red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.” So when the storm hits, we’ll be hunkered down in our rooms, writing. That’s another one of Fiona’s photos, by the way.

On Retreat

I’m away on my “annual” one week writers’ retreat after missing it for the last three long CoVid years. We’ve been doing it for 15 years. There are nine of us, all romance writers of various sorts — I’m the only historical writer — and after the first few years where we moved around and held the retreat in different places and different states, we’ve settled in the last ten years at a place on the Gold Coast of Australia, in south-east Queensland.

We stay in an apartment hotel opposite the beach. I’m sitting in bed writing this, and looking out onto this morning view, with the waves swishing rhythmically and birds calling. They’re mostly rainbow lorikeets — gorgeously colorful,  chittering and screeching as they flit between the trees. The sea and sky make for a constantly changing, endlessly fascinating vista. 

We each have a separate apartment, except for two people who share a two bedroom suite, and that’s where we all gather to meet in the evenings. We each have our own rooms because it’s very much a working retreat — several are on deadline — so the mornings are quiet times for writing. (And an occasional quick swim before breakfast.)

We generally meet for lunch and dinner — home made or take-away — the hotel is close to all kinds of restaurants. Our rooms all have a kitchenette, so we can cook if we want. But the local restaurants are good and their food is tempting so at least one meal a day is bought. On the first night together we grab fish and chips and champagne  — it’s now a tradition.

On the first night we have a “round robin” where we report on our year and what we’ve been doing — professional but also personal, where appropriate. We’re on email throughout the year but this in person talking is more personal and intimate. Talking to real people makes a huge difference, and since we’ve all been friends for such a long time, we share quite a lot. We also talk about our plans for the retreat.  I’ll share mine in a day or two.