Monday, May 17, 2010

Writer’s Day Retreat

I invited a few of my sister writers to my house for an informal writer’s retreat last Saturday.

The five of us spent the morning hours writing. Each of us found a spot where we could let our senses take in the natural sounds, smells, views, and textures around us to free our minds and perhaps inspire our writing. At the end of the session we gathered back together to share what we’d written. Some worked on projects they’d already started, some were inspired to start something brand new. I worked on some character studies for a new story that has been working around in my brain.

The sense of taste was explored over a potluck lunch – don’t you just love how potluck always turns out to be a nice balanced meal. That’s the luck of it I suppose. Following lunch we enjoyed hearing from our speakers Jon Batson, and Tammy Falkner, aka Lydia Dare.

Jon and his wife, Eileen, discussed self-publishing and book promotion. Jon has several successful books that he has published. In addition to publishing his books, Jon helps other authors with formatting and self-publishing their work. He gave us tips on how to proceed down that venue and talked about how publishing is moving steadily toward electronic publishing. Read more about Jon and what he does on his website Eileen shared with us what services she could provide as a book promoter. You can read more about her services at

Tammy answered our questions about traditional publishing and how she landed her deal with Sourcebooks for her Lydia Dare paranormal romance novel series.

She and her writing partner, Jodie Pearson, is Lydia Dare. They began writing the first book more as a game, emailing chapters back and forth to each other. You can learn more about them at When asked what one piece of advice she would give writers Tammy said, “Know what you want to be when you grow up.” She explained that agents and publishers want to know how your “brand” will fit into their market plan.

All the ladies were given copies of the Lydia Dare books as gifts from her publisher, Sourcebooks, as well as memory sticks and pen lights from We also had the opportunity to buy books and other products from Jon and our published members.

I am so appreciative that Jon, Eileen and Tammy took time out from their busy schedules to come and share their knowledge with us. They each gave us plenty to think about as we plan our own writing future.

If your writers group wants to “retreat” it is really easy to do. You need a quiet place, a theme, a date, and one or two speakers. We were fortunate that our speakers “worked for lunch” and so we were able to do our retreat at no cost, which left everyone money to buy books.