If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw


Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Anatomy of a Successful Writing Retreat



A couple of weeks ago, I did something writerly I’ve never done before: A retreat.

I’ve mentioned before about how I’ve been working on a young adult mystery with my good friend and Irene Goodman Literary Agency sister Renee Ahdieh. We’ve been having a ball writing it, despite living literally half a country from each other (she lives in North Carolina, I live in Kansas—yes, we’ve discussed both proper barbecue and Roy Williams many times). And though we have the whole shared Dropbox folder thing down pat, we thought it would be great to be able to be in the same room while finishing the book.

On the cusp between January and February, we were able to make that happen.

Renee flew in for a long weekend of writing, food, writing, socializing, writing, and more food.

Sure, we did some Kansas City things—a trip to The Country Club Plaza, ate real barbecue and had dinner with a few wonderful local writers. And we had some fun, hitting up a bookstore, playing with my son, taking pictures together (as you can see above) and having Renee teach me how to make chai from scratch.

But mostly, we wrote.

The weather played in our favor—it was cold and flurrying and windy—and so we didn’t even bother hitting up a café. No wasted time there. Instead, we just holed up in the guest bedroom or on the couch, huddled over our laptops, each working separately on our own scenes.

Which was absolutely great.

Sitting just feet from each other, we could bounce ideas off each other, hurl out reminders of what clue needed to go where, and clarify what our characters ate for breakfast.

Sure, these things would’ve been hashed out in various texts, emails and in-document notes, but it was so great to gain energy from each other by being in the same room, drinking the same delicious chai and listening to the same NPR performance by The 1975’s Matt Healy on repeat (our character is British, don’t judge).

Now that I’ve done this once, I think I’d like to do another retreat. It was so much fun and so helpful—win, win.

Have you done a retreat? Would you want to? And if you have, did you find it useful?

8 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I have not done a retreat. My question is how did you find each other?

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

I lived in New Zealand for four months while my wife taught at a University there. That gave me long blocks of time when nobody called and the doorbell didn't ring. It was enough time to make mistakes, try to correct them and to correct the corrections.

Shari Randall said...

Sarah, sounds like so much fun! How does your co-writing work - do you alternate chapters/voices?
No retreat yet - dying to do one. I do have occasional "plotting parties" (AKA lunch) with writing friends, though. Writing always goes better with food!

Gloria Alden said...

Sarah, how nice that you found someone you can co-write with. My first book started as one being co-written with a sister of mine, but it didn't work for several reasons; one we lived 50 miles apart and couldn't get together often. This was before either of us had computers. Two; we both had different voices and different opinions on the age and personality of our protagonist.

I did attend Seascape two years in a row and while I got something from it, I couldn't write there in the afternoons when we were supposed to write. I need my own space at home for the ideas to flow.

I'm glad it worked so well for the two of you.

KM Rockwood said...

Your retreat sounds delightful! And how fortunate you have found a soulmate.

The closest I come to a writing retreat is when my writing group gets together (about once a month) over breakfast.

One of these days I'm going to get a laptop computer, but right now I'm stuck with at home. Since the kids are out of the house, though, I have a room of my own for writing, and that helps.

Sarah Henning said...

Thanks, all! To answer some questions:

1. Jim: We found each other when Renee signed with my agency, IGLA. Her agent tweeted about her new client and I immediately followed Renee and congratulated her and welcomed her to IGLA.That same week that she signed, she happened to be attending the RT Conference in Kansas City and we went to lunch.

2. Shari: Most co-writers alternate or have dual POV, we didn't choose to do that. We decided we'd each play to our strengths. I did the plotting (because it's a mystery) and took the investigation-intensive scenes. Renee created the characters and ended up with the scenes with more character development.

Each time we'd hand the document off to each other, we'd first edit through each other's work. This has seemed to help with consistent voice and kept us from rework or dropped clues and subplots, and also refined each scene.

We think it's worked: Case in point, Renee's own sister (who has read everything she's written) couldn't tell for certain what was Renee's and what was mine. It does help that the two of us write in a very similar style.

Kara Cerise said...

Your retreat sounds like it was fun and very productive, Sarah. I'd love to go on a writing retreat someday.

I'm glad that you found a terrific co-writer and have a system that works well. It must have felt wonderful to be in the same room while finishing the book.

Anonymous said...

I've done a retreat before, a couple of them actually. My writer's group usually holes ourselves up in a hotel room--since we all lived in Kansas and wanted to get away from family for a few days--and just let it rip.

I love them, would love to do more that the one or two a year we manage. They help recharge the mind, body and spirit in ways only being around other like minded people can.

Glad you had fun! It was wonderful meeting you!