My New Mexico Writing Retreat in (a Few) Pictures

From late Wednesday night to late Sunday morning, I had the very good fortune to be at the first (hopefully annual) Women’s Fiction Writers Association Retreat, held at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town in New Mexico. I wrote the first five chapters of a new novel, took notes for a short story that was inspired by a very kind and attentive member of the hotel staff, and prepared my workshop for the Breathe Writers Conference coming up in October. I met dozens of lovely, talented, and dedicated women (and one charming man) who write women’s fiction, some of whom I have been online friends with for a couple years. I felt the spell of the Southwest come over me like invigorating sunshine. And on this cloudy, rainy Monday morning back in Lansing, I’m fondly remembering a truly marvelous weekend. I didn’t bring my good camera, so these are just from my phone. Next time, I’ll know to bring the camera. :)

Getting Ready to Write

I wrote on this patio from this corner every day.

Friday night's BBQ dinner was set up here.

This is where I ate most of my meals.

The hotel itself was the only obstruction to the pure blue sky, but a lovely obstruction it was.


Happily heading home to my boys, but vowing to return as soon as possible to Albuquerque.


The Hits Just Keep Coming

2015 doesn’t seem to like me much. My stitches are gone–removed by yours truly when I just couldn’t stand them anymore. But I’ve recently been laid out by tonsillitis and a sinus infection. Boo. I’ve just started antibiotics and the doc says I should be able to talk like a normal person soon (which is good since I’ll be doing a heck of a lot of talking on Friday and Saturday at Write on the Red Cedar). I’m hoping that perhaps the year is getting all the bad stuff out of the way early on and after this it will be smooth sailing.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far from this experience:

  • Any time you’re offered an antibiotic, you should take it, even if the PA at the urgent care says she’s not sure it will help.
  • I don’t like seeing a medical professional who asks me what I want her to prescribe (see above). Seriously? That fills me with confidence.
  • You should take the extra effort needed to make an appointment with your real doctor rather than going to the urgent care that is two minutes away (see above again).
  • There is something about being in bed for days that really makes my hips and lower back ache.
  • I have the sweetest and most helpful husband in the world (I already knew this, but it just reinforces it).

If you’re reading this and you’re a praying person, I would appreciate a prayer that I’ll be in top form on Friday and Saturday, not just for the workshop I’ll be teaching, but to get the most out of the sessions I’ll be attending as well!


We did it! 1,000 Followers = FREE ebooks!

Oh happy day! I’m so pleased to see that A Beautiful Fiction has reached more than 1,000 followers! I had stated last year that when that occurred I would be giving away all of my currently available short stories on Kindle, the only exception being “This Elegant Ruin” due to current rights restrictions.

While the original goal was to hit that number by the end of 2013, I’m not feeling terribly stingy. So…


For one day only, on Monday, January 27th, each short story on Amazon will be absolutely free! Download to your heart’s content. I’ll remind you tomorrow, but for now remember that you can access all of them easily by clicking on the links found on the Books page (look above the lovely photo of seagulls over the Straits of Mackinac at the top of this page for the link, or click here).

And while you’re at it, get your own writing life energized with The Intentional Writer.

Intentional Writer ebook CVR FINAL

Thank you all so much for your support, your likes and comments, and your time over the past couple years of blogging. My hope for you is that 2014 will be the year you take great leaps and bounds in your own creative pursuits. Keep reading, keep writing, keep photographing, keep painting, keep knitting, keep sewing. Whatever you’re doing to add beauty and point to truth in this world, do it even better this year!