Writer’s Retreat-The End

Our last two days in Myrtle Beach went by far too quickly. Donna cooked a delicious dinner once night with breaded chicken breasts, seared asparagus and salad. It was probably the best meal I have eaten in months upon months.

Tuesday night we did readings. I pondered what to read and nearly read the scene of Erokath feeding, but I opted for the enchanted jars scene, which seems to be a favorite always.

At the end, I was struck once again with how extremely blessed I am to be included in this circle of writers. There is not a person among them who is not supremely talented. Of course, Jo is acknowledged not only by my opinion, but of the publishing world since she has two RITA finalists this year. She read the opening to her new book. She says it is flawed and all wrong, but it isn’t. It’s beautiful and emotional and hang the danged rules.

It was a very productive getaway for all of us, I think. Beth broke through a wall that had been troubling her. We all have hopes KNIFE GIVER will be finished this year. It is such an amazing story.

I came away from the retreat with a confidence I needed; an acceptance of who and what I am. I needed that because I had some hard decisions to face and I finally gained the courage to do just that.

And now for our cast of characters.

The ocean.

Jenny’s lovely foot.

The rest of Jenny. She always crafts the most amazing bookmarks for writer events. I am so impressed with her talent and creativity. Plus, she is just a lovely lady. It’s no wonder her girl scouts stay with her forever. She made some beautiful wine glass charms for Tara. See that smile. It’s a permanent fixture.

We sat down one night and worked on conflict. She showed me how to set up a conflict box, which is very interesting. We did it on a scene I was working on and it was intriguing to see how it works in action.

Tara did something quite wonderful when we first arrived. She made me go out to the ocean and we stood there and let the tide roll in. I waited and let the water wash over my feet. It was the most amazing feeling.

We just stood there reveling in the moment. At last she said. “You are at the edge of the world. Next stop, Europe.” I felt as if a prophecy had been passed. There will always be a special place in my heart for Tara for sharing this experience with me.

Jo Bourne of SPYMASTERS LADY and LORD AND SPYMASTER FAME. Jo is obsessed with killing people and things, but she eats lots of fruit and laughs often, so I don’t think she’s dangerous. She really is a very interesting lady to visit with. We tried to convince her she should do a master class at Surrey. Her techniques are wonderful.

Donna Rubino. A joy to shop with. “Where’s the wine? Did you get beer? Did anyone get Jenny’s margarita mix?” My favorite was probably uttered while following two twits blocking the aisle in the grocery store. “You’re much too polite, Julie. It’s time to go New Yorker on them.” Donna is proof positive people can have opposite political views and still have civil, intelligent discussions. I love her dearly.

Donna’s writing a historical. Don Maass asks her how it’s coming along each time he sees her. I think he’s interested. Who wouldn’t be? It’s riveting.

Jenny, Jen, Beth and I discussing something terribly important about writing.

Jen and Tara plotting against the world or maybe discussing autopsies and killers again. They were smiling a lot. Probably discussing killing someone.

Medieval Times group.

Jen and Beth. Beth is writing a fantastic book. We think if we nag her enough she will finish part seven. She probably has us all on ignore by now. Don Maass is interested in Jen’s manuscript. How cool is that?

Tara. See Tara up in the corner of the porch? That was just before we started feeding seagulls on the last day.

Isn’t Tara beautiful?

She reminds me a bit of the princess in the Medieval Times show. You almost expect her to start singing, don’t you?

Tara warned us about feeding the seagulls. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”

We scoffed and tossed more bread chunks at the gulls with Gay Abandon! They weren’t too interested in Gay, but they loved the bread.

“I’m telling you, they’re going to turn on you.”

We trilled with laughter and threw more bread.

“Anyone seen my muffins?”


Tara watched as the seagulls became expert at catching bread chunks in the air. It reminded me of Julie Andrews on the mountain top singing, Sound of Music–only different.

“Stay away from me, you little bastards.”

Tara used to be in the navy.


  1. Julie,

    I’m so glad that you were willing to be pulled to the “edge of the world”, and that I could share one of my life-long traditions with such a good friend.

    As for seagulls – the little rat bastards have been the bane of my existence ever since I was chased by several as a child growing up in Florida. (g)

    Lovely last installment. But why did the pictures come out all blurry?

    Shoes and manuscript will be on the way just as soon as I get my head out of Paladin – which I am enjoying more than words can express.

  2. Tara, the edge of the world thing was the most exciting, emotional thing I have experienced in ages. As you know, I was just lost in the feeling.

    No idea why the pictures are blurred except I had to resize them as all but one came out small.

    Jo has the same pictures on her blog so I was going to delete these and put a link to her blog, but Blogger did an update and I couldn’t edit the blog.

    I’m sorry, but you and the seagulls were funny. I howled when you told the little bastards to stay away from you.

    Phew. I’m glad you’re enjoying Paladin. I have this terror that it isn’t going to read like a book.

    Beth emailed me Knife Giver so you don’t need to bind KG if you don’t want. I am just astounded at her story. I’ve become pretty cynical about writing and it takes a lot to pull me in so deep I can’t stop reading. KG does just that. I don’t think GRR Martin has a thing on her. Can’t wait for her to finish it. The agent who gets that is going to be so blessed.

  3. Juile,

    I loved seeing what I missed at the Writer’s Retreat. It appears that everyone had a productive and wonderful time!

    Now if we all can finiah our books!


  4. Aimless, yes, it was an incredible experience. I really didn’t need to be spending the money, but it was great for recharging my batteries and getting me out of the writing funk. I had become almost mechanical in the revisions and that resulted in cutting some important scenes.

    As usual, disaster struck when I returned, but I still don’t regret it.

    Just being around such talented people rubs off on you.

  5. Julie,

    Rofl. You are a funny, funny writer.

    Just to get technical on you, from where you and Tara were standing at the edge of the sea, the next stop was actually Morocco. Or maybe the Canary Islands.

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