Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Retreat that keeps on Treating...

Last week I shared a bit of our Mountain Writers' Retreat, and now you can have a little slice of the magic for your very own. Just pop on over to the talented Jen McConnel's Blog for her run-down of events and a giveaway! Nothing like a little swag to keep the creative juices flowing. Be sure to follow this dynamic crew on Twitter and become an honorary killer...of superfluous words, that is.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ms. Brown's Not-So-Vicious Circle

In a bear-proof house tucked into the mountains of North Carolina, eight women gathered around a kitchen table to talk about writing, life, and anything else that came to mind. A little wine and chocolate greased the wheels, as my fabulous weekend retreat in Montreat began.

There were war stories of agents and editors and rejections and triumphs, but the cream was the writing, itself, and the amazing women with such distinct voices and talent. Somewhere between the Zinfandel and the chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels, I realized that we were creating one of those circles. Not a vicious circle like Dorothy Parker's or some bohemian movement like the beat poets of Ginsberg's generation, but our own little salon of YA/MG writers.

We spent our days writing and swapping bits of prose and advice as we nourished the friendships that had been planted online and now blossomed in our mountain hide-away. At night, we shared pieces of our YA stories, pieces of our souls. @Jen_McConnel led us through the Scottish Highlands with a selection from her upcoming release The Secret of Isobel Key. @laurenspeiller touched us with a beautiful piece of historical fiction set in Hawaii. @julianalbrandt danced us through creation with beautiful myths from her work-in-progress. @kiperoo moved us with her lyrical, lovely tribute to the poetry of Rilke. @PatEsden took us from the auction house to the darkest and creepiest place beneath the porch in her newest YA thriller. @RConstantine14 made us laugh and remember what it is to be a teenager in love with her wonderful upcoming release The Promise of Amazing. And our fearless leader who organized the whole shebang, @JayeRobinBrown, made us laugh and cry with selections from her upcoming release No Place to Fall as well as her newly polished work, Popsicle. If you haven't already, follow these amazing writers and twitter and in the bookstore.

Writing is a solitary business. It takes us to strange places that we often never show others, let alone ourselves. Having a circle of friends who understand your journey can light up the dark in ways that not only keep you sane, but make you a better writer. So many distinct voices. So much passion and creativity.

Thank you, my fabulous, not-so-vicious circle of YA geniuses. We shall kill many darlings in the days to come, but believe me—it's justifiable homicide with a freaking rainbow at the end.