Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

Writer's Retreats - It's Good To Be Busy

It's good to be busy.

I just returned from a retreat and a networking evening. Both events took place on the Massachusetts coast. I've decided that I prefer retreats to conventions now. Less unpleasant commitment and much cheaper, if you work the retreats the right way. The retreat in Hampton, New Hampshre two weekends ago was free because it was for members of Broad Universe. That's a networking group for women who write speculative fiction (and other forms of fiction). I worked on Full Moon Fever, my bisexual male werewolves erotic romance novella I'm turning into a novel. I also worked on Neighbors, a lesbian short story reprint for a new submission call about sexy neighbors. I'm also going to submit a new story for that one. I learned of the submission call from the Erotic Readers and Writers Association. I get lots of use from this group.

The interesting thing about Full Moon Fever is that it employs "The Other" (or "The Double"), which is an archetype of twins who are really mirror opposites of each other but aren't related at all. They are two people who look very much alike but they compliment each other. Two men in Full Moon Fever are dead ringers for each other, but they are very much different. One man, when asked if he'd like to get it on with his look-alike, says "I've always wanted to have sex in the third person." Two women, who are lovers, are also look-alikes who are very different. One is quiet while the other is chatty. One is pensive while the other is boisterous. I have a thing about "The Other". There is another set of opposites in a WIP family saga thriller I'm working on.  These two women are mirror images of each other. One is dark – dark hair, dark eyes - while the other is light – blond hair, eyes so pale blue the irises disappear into her whites. She looks blind but she sees all. I want to explore this archetype much more. It's a fascinating one. Are they related or not? Why is the blonde so interested in the brunette? What's her secret? Those are some questions driving the book.

The Broad Universe retreat was the first retreat where I actually did any writing. LOL My first retreat was the Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat last October in Estes Park, Colorado. This one is for horror writers. My husband and I had such a good time last year we're returning this year. The Stanley Hotel is where Stephen King stayed, and the hotel in its then rundown condition spooked him so much it inspired him to write The Shining. I didn't get a stitch of work done. I went to talks, meals, hangouts, and even had some marijuana cookies and cream cake balls since pot is legal in Colorado. I learned I can't write worth spit when I'm stoned. All I do is stare into space, drool and giggle. Someone recommended I eat half a cake ball (or a quarter) the next time and see how I feel. It would be interesting to write when stoned. I write when tipsy which is fun. Maybe my writing will end up looking like James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. LOL

Here are pictures of North Beach in Hampton, NH which was in front of the beach house where I did my writing. I walked on the beach each morning. Talk about inspiring!

The networking event is called the Writers Coffee House New England and this month's meeting was held an hour away from my home at a bookstore. The meeting room was packed! I met old friends and made plenty of new ones. This was a networking meet-and-greet discussion event. Although the majority of writers wrote horror (including myself and this is New England we're talking about – home of the witch trials, Shirley Jackson and H. P. Lovecraft), the advice applied to any writer. I picked up more tips about how to promote my upcoming releases. I also learned that if I find a publisher for my family saga thriller, I should write to the agent at the top of my list and pitch my book before I sign the contract. Say I need an agent to look over and negotiate the contract for me. Apparently, it's easier to find an agent for a book that has already been accepted. That's news to me. I need to investigate the best cozy/mystery/thriller publishers and send the book out, but first I need to divide it in two. It's a mega novel and far too large to sell as one book. One agent who rejected me told me that. He was right. But that's a fixable problem. My husband came with me. We ended the evening at dinner at a restaurant with about 15 of the attendees. Then, we headed to a hotel where I had booked a jacuzzi room for under $100 per night. We spent our time soaking and drinking – he Campari, me Fra Angelico. Now that's a weekend get-away!

Next month I attend the When Words Count retreat in the mountains of Vermont. I won my stay at this one so it costs only for food. I've never been to Vermont. This will be my first time. Maybe I'll run into Bernie Sanders. LOL I plan to finish Full Moon Fever and hand it in to Xcite Books after Xcite publishes my new erotic romance novel No Restraint. That one is a corporate and food porn erotica with elements of billionaire erotica. I plan to write, takes walks on the mountain trails, and relax with some wine when I'm not writing. We write all day and eat dinner together and chit chat about our work at night. I'm going to enjoy this.

Finally, in June, my husband and I are attending No-Con. It was originally Anthocon, a horror convention, but the organizers aren't able to do it this year. Two of them moved on. There were four total. They were nicknamed The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Sadly, Anthocon is no more. Despite the lack of convention this year, the regulars wanted to get together anyway, so No-Con was born. It's just a gathering where everyone can get together and hang out. We got a great rate on the hotel, which I have to reserve soon. I get to see everyone I hung out with last year. No pressure of manning tables, readings or selling books. Just hang out in the bar, eat, and drink and schmooze. I can get used to this!

I definitely like these retreats and get-togethers. I want to make a habit of them. If you can get away to retreats, I highly recommend them. The networking opportunities are phenomenal and I find them to be less stressful than conventions. Plus, they're just fun. Fun is always a good thing.


  1. Is your husband a writer also? I can't imagine mine being willing to go to a retreat with me. Nor would he be happy with me wanting to go by myself.

    Maybe this is something to think about for when/if I get to retire.

  2. My husband isn’t a writer but he’s very supportive. He liked meeting my writer friends especially since all of us tend to like the same things. Horror writers are an eccentric bunch, too. Easygoing with gallows humor. We fit right in. :) The only person who gives me a hard time about traveling alone or going to a retreat alone is me. I tend to be a bit chicken about driving long distances alone. When my husband joins me on retreats he spends his time playing World Of Warcraft. He’s seriously into it so he’s never bored and doesn’t demand I cater to his every whim. I don’t feel guilty about leaving him to play the game. I’m sorry your husband isn’t as supportive. I’m not sure what to suggest to you. The gatherings that don’t last long (a couple of hours) and provide refreshments might be a good ice breaker. The Writers Coffee House New England lasted only three hours, but it was fun. And everyone went to dinner afterwards. It was very casual. The jacuzzi room for the night was my idea. We both got a reward. :)

  3. It's always such fun to get together with other authors. Like a secret society!

    Love your "rise and shine" graphic, too!

  4. No-Con! What a fun concept. I am always amazed at the number of cons and retreats for writers, especially in the U.S. (I think the UK is catching up -- Canada not so much, probably because of a relatively thin population spread out over a vast geographical space.) I love the events I've gone to since 2000, but I had some painful earlier experiences of ideological conflicts, and I know other writers who have given me disturbing private accounts of being trashed at cons for writing erotica, among other things. Still, I can't think of a better way to meet and hang out with other writers.


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