Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writer's Retreat

I had the privilege to attend a writer's retreat earlier this month with a smashing group of writers. In our midst, we had a middle-grade writer, horror, urban fantasy, space opera, historical fantasy (that's me!), epic fantasy, and alternate world stuff that was delicious.

And we all consider ourselves science fiction- fantasy authors.

I admit, I am not the most disciplined of writers. I write until my brain cries out for mercy, then I stop. At this retreat, my brain begged for mercy, but we kept going...and going... and going.

If you plan to host/ attend a writers retreat, a few gentle reminders that I found made the difference between a pleasurable experience and not.

1. Pick a place that is big enough- and by big enough, I mean enough sleeping/bathroom/ private area space. Writers are introverted people, and we all need a bit of privacy to recharge the creative spark.

2. Designate someone to cook- we had a designated cook (waves at Chef Judy), and that was her job. It worked well, but if you are not lucky enough to have a Chef Judy, then make a schedule and stick to it. Nothing is worse than being surrounded by cranky hungry people who think up inventive ways to "deal with problems" every day:)

3. Four to Five days is plenty- More than that, and the peeps get cranky. Less than that, and perhaps you cannot get through a curriculum.

4. Have a leader/ moderator with a structured plan- we had a local author with a syllabus, we all had copies emailed to us in advance, and the requirements and expectations were clearly communicated well in advance. No surprises.

5. Everyone needs to share- share feelings, share their work, share their comfort or discomfort with a topic or story. These things only work if everyone goes all in creatively. It is a buzz kill when someone who has not put themselves out there with their own work starts ripping into another's writings. Not cool.

6. Everyone needs to be roughly at the same place- creatively, and writing career.  A person with ten published books is in a different place on their journey that someone who is struggling to finish a rough draft. I think it was helpful having all sci-fi fantasy authors there, cause we know and understand the conventions of the genre, but I think with a good, open-minded or well-read group, you could mix genres.

7. Make a group T-shirt. Great for publicity pics later on, when everyone has work "out there." I am totally gonna pull this out when all my Roaring Writer peeps are published:)

8. Have fun. After all, it's a bunch of people sitting around writing make-believe stories.

Until next time-

Friday, February 6, 2015

Countdown to the Muse- otherwise known as a mid-winter getaway to the Caribbean

Ladies and gents-
Can you smell the salty air? Can you feel the gentle rush of the Trade Winds across your bare arms? Well, I can't either right this moment, but soon, that is about to change!
Due to a welcome strange set of circumstances, I will travel to the Jewel of the Caribbean this winter.
(For those of you who have not read my book, that would be Nevis)

Travel always invigorates my creative side, providing a needed shot of adrenaline to the writerly productivity. Work, life, the general unpleasantness of things tend to weigh heavy at times. I feel lucky to have this opportunity for a brief respite, if for no other reason than I need to conduct some research on Brimstone Hill fortress. 

What makes you want to write? Is it travel, vacation, rainy days or Sundays? Whilst you ponder that answer, I need to pack. 

A bientôt-

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I am reading now

I know it sounds a bit odd, but since I write historical fantasy, I don't actually read a lot of fantasy whilst in the midst of a rewrite. It tends to clog my brain, like a gutter full of leaves, and the thoughts get bumped along a winding path instead of a straight shot to the downspout.

So when I am deep in the heart of rewrites, I tend to read out-genre, and right now that is a combination of erotica and vintage spy thrillers. I know, diverse genres, but all great reads.

What are you reading right now, and what book are you looking forward to reading next?

Monday, January 19, 2015


I am so excited right now, it is a wonder I can type.
I just registered for ConCarolinas, a three day sci-fi and fantasy conference in Charlotte, NC. I went for the first time last year, and loved the diversity it offered to authors of all stages in career, to fangirls and boys, to readers, and to persons who love sci-fi and fantasy in all its many forms.

There are literary guests, media guests, gamers, cosplayers, and more. A great time to be had by all. So, if you want to meet me in person, or have a chat about books and things, I will be in Charlotte May 29-31. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Welcome to the renovated site

Welcome to the renovated website- I hope you will find it easier to navigate, easier to enjoy, and easier to find links to my books:)

I want to thank the folks at Maddee and the gang made a challenging process one to enjoy.

I look forward to chatting about all things Caribbean, about my work, reading lists, great books we are reading, favorite bookstores- all things readerly and writerly.

So I bid you a good day, and happy reading.