Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Writing Retreats: An Experience and an Invitation

By Pamela Nowak

Writing retreats…they beckon some of us and frighten others. Each is unique and the decision to retreat or not to retreat is deeply personal. 

There were several factors that were key in my retreat selection.  With limited funds, I considered only retreats that were small in number that would feel comfortable, would have workshops with real benefits for me, and that would be worth the expense. Ireland Writer Tours fit perfectly.

The group was limited to twelve participants, a manageable number for my social level. As well, I was well acquainted with the teaching skills of both instructors. Their strategy of learning the needs of each participant and tailoring their topics to fit our needs appealed to me. Finally, this retreat was in Ireland, a place on my travel list, and it included workshop days and touring days, all for a very reasonable price. Sure, there was airfare but I would have the chance to see Ireland as well as experience a writing retreat. I could add on extra days to see more of the country and non-writer traveling partners could be included. Hotel and many of the meals were included. Dollar for dollar, compared to other retreats I had looked at, this was a great value.

In fact, Fiona Claire, owner of Ireland Writer Tours planned the retreat exactly to offer the experience I was looking for.  Her goal was to combine tour sights that were favorites with travelers with workshops and editing offered by authors teachers. “My dream is that these retreats/conferences/tours (they’re actually all three combined) will be a huge boost for all the participating writers. I want them to leave Ireland feeling like they’re not only better writers, but they’ve also just had the best time of their lives.” 

I returned home feeling she had accomplished just that.

My trip began with extra days in Dublin, seeing big-city sites, museums, and getting a feel for the country. Then, I travelled to Galway for the retreats itself. Our touring days were filled with medieval abbeys, ancient stone circles, castles, and magical forests. We saw ancient burial mounds, the famous Cliffs of Moher, and visited the Aran Islands. There were pony-cart rides, pubs with thatched roofs, and dinner at a haunted castle. In between, there were days packed with writing workshops tailored to meet our special needs, feedback on our manuscripts, and one-on-one interaction. We spent time writing alone and socializing with fellow writers. Projects were jump-started and friendships cemented. 

For me, the experience was rewarding and unforgettable…so much so that I accepted an offer to return in June of 2016 as an instructor (please note the April 1 registration deadline!). I’m hoping some of my fellow Colorado writers will join me. If you’ve thought about retreating, I encourage you to take a deeper look at Ireland Writer Tours.

More information about the tours can be found on the tour website:

Pam Nowak will be teaching in Ireland this summer through the Ireland Writer Tours program. This week-long retreat in June will feature days of touring alternated with days of writing workshops and individual editing attention from two published authors. The retreat pricing includes all guided tours and ground transportation, private accommodation, many meals, ferry fees, entrance fees, all writing classes, private conferences with the author/editors and editing of manuscript pages. Pam’s session, scheduled for June 5-15, is titled, CHOOSING YOUR PATH: CRAFT, CAREER & PUBLISHING. She’d love to see some familiar WWW faces there and encourages members to share details with others who might be interested. Registration for Pam’s session closes April 1.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February Member News

Congratulations to all on your hard work and successes!

Victoria Pann, Only the Mountains (Trailside Publishing) In the west of 2546, when the western US has gone back to more primitive times, Kayta's airship crashes and she is taken by an indigenous tribe, the Wrocks, descendants of Crow Indians. Struggling in her new life, she meets a handsome and arrogant Wrock who propels her into the grandeur and unforgiving harshness of the wilderness, into a lifestyle moored by the particulars of a hunter-gatherer existence, where they find sacrifice, humor, monumental grief, and the victories of hard-won love.

Paty Jager, Isaac: Letters of Fate The last thing Isaac Corum needs or wants is a snooty woman. But he can’t let her go traipsing off into the mountains alone. 
Marsha Ward, The Zion Trail On a hot summer day, young Elijah Marshall stops plowing to give a drink of water to two strangers and invite them to lunch with his family. His neighborly act sets in motion events that will drastically change his future.  In a 19th century coming-of-age story ranging from Pennsylvania to the Great Salt Lake Valley, Elijah plunges into harrowing adventures filled with sorrow, danger, and romance. 

Shanna Hatfield, The Cowboy's LastGoodbye (Grass Valley Cowboys, Book 6) Ben Morgan has no problem safeguarding his heart until he meets a sweet woman determined to ignore his considerable charms.  Harper Hayes knows the very last thing she needs is the entanglement of a relationship, especially with a handsome cowboy like Ben Morgan. However, their hearts, her uncle, and a military dog have other ideas…

Shanna Hatfield, Valentine Bride Two unlikely matchmakers set the stage for love... Take two wacky old women, a sweet girl, and a handsome cowboy then stir in trouble for a fun, sweet romance.

Julie Weston, MOONSHADOWS has been shortlisted in the May Sarton Literary Awards for historical fiction at the Story Circle Network. A photographer's aspirations take her West in the 1920s, right into a mysterious murder case.  The small town is clearly hiding many secrets, and if Nellie can't uncover them, the next corpse may be hers.