Guest: Lynn Cahoon

Edith here north of Boston, enjoying some actual May weather, finally. We have H&H jpegwritten about writers’ retreats several times on this blog, and the core Wickeds just returned from our annual Maine retreat. Let’s welcome guest Lynn Cahoon back on the blog, and hear about when she took herself on a retreat. She also has a new mystery out, Hospitality and Homicide, which sounds fabulous, and she’s giving away one e-copy to a randomly chose commenter here today!

Lynn: Thanks for having me over today! I got to meet several of the Wicked Cozys at Crime Bake last year. Such a fun event!

The Writer’s Retreat

I write a lot about writers. And readers. And bookstore owners.  People I like to hang out with as a person.  And when we hang out, we talk about setting up a magical event called a retreat. I know people who do this. (One is a Wicked.) You see posts filled with pictures of a lovely, deserted cabin on a seashore or up in the woods. Or even on top of a skyscraper in a big city.  And, if they’re doing it right, a message saying “I’ll be off line for a while.”

But I had never taken the time to do my own retreat.  My life is busy with a day job, the writing gig, a husband who likes to visit our lake property often, like every time he can. Driving somewhere to lock myself up and write? It seemed indulgent.

IMG_0660Until I went to Chicago for Printer’s Row. I had a panel and was signing afterwards. Two hours out of a weekend committed and I had a deadline the next week, but I also had a hotel room reserved in a lovely place.  I flew up on a Friday after work, ordered room service for dinner, then opened my laptop. By the time I left on Sunday, I had over 10,000 words and was ready to cross the finish line.

I loved it.

I didn’t get out much that weekend, except to the MWA booth for my event, but my mind soaked up the atmosphere of the hotel, the sidewalk café where I ate dinner, and I watched a group of friends talking and catching up which turned out to be IMG_0681part of an opening scene for the next book I had on deck to write.

By taking some time away from my desk and my computer, I filled the writer well inside me.  And the room service was delicious.  I’ve got another retreat on the books for 2018 and I’m planning time at my next convention to treat at least part of the week as a retreat. I’ve learned the magic.

In Hospitality and Homicide, we find Nathan Pike, a well-known mystery author taking his own writing retreat.  I understand Nathan Pike’s need to get away from his normal life to write his next book.  And having 24-7 access to Greg who’s the South Cove head detective would be a huge bonus, curtsey of our friend the mayor.  No one counted on Nathan writing the murder scene that happened just days after he arrives in town. And no one expected Nathan to work out the how-to details on a ride along with Greg.

Readers: Have you taken a break from real life to fill your creative well? Remember, one random commenter will win an e-copy of Hospitality and Homicide.

A visit to the serene coastal town of South Cove, California, could make anybody feel refreshed and inspired. But as Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—discovers, some folks won’t live to tell about it . . .

Mystery author Nathan Pike checked into South Cove Bed & Breakfast to compose a compelling novel, not commit murder. But things get real when a rival B&B owner ends up exactly like the victim in his draft—undeniably dead. As Nathan prepares to complete his magnum opus behind bars, Jill’s the only one who can prove his innocence and deconstruct Cahoonthe plot of a twisted killer!

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, book 1 of the series, won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She also pens the Cat Latimer series. A STORY TO KILL, and FATALITY IN FIRELIGHT are available in mass market paperback. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at



41 Thoughts

  1. No, I’ve never actually taken a break from real life for any respectable amount of time to fill my creative well. However, I do take mini breaks and sneak away some days during the week for a couple of hours to read or do something creative. A retreat does sound nice though, so I could focus directly on my creative pursuits.
    I love your Tourist Trap Mystery series.

    1. Thanks Cozynookbks! Taking time for yourself is crucial. They always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first. Glad you’re able to sneak away for some ‘me’ time.

  2. Welcome Lynn! I always find author posts about their retreats and processes so interesting! They generally sound so beneficial! Congrats on the new release, I can’t wait to visit South Cove again! And in real life, have always wanted to go to Printer’s Row! Thanks!

  3. I LOVE solo retreats! I can be so very productive, but I’ve never taken one in a nice hotel. Next time I go to a conference maybe I’ll go a couple of days early, or stay on later.

  4. Sometimes just getting away from your normal life can jump-start your imagination. Or just sitting someplace calm and beautiful (ocean, desert, mountains–whatever works for you) can clear your mind so you can move forward. (No surprise–that’s what Ireland does for me.) Sounds like you made good use of your opportunity!

  5. I’ve been tempted to hole up in a hotel but always back out at the last minute. I think you’ve convinced me to go for it! Congratulations on the latest book!

  6. I’ve done annual retreats with my Sisters in Crime chapter for years (I even gave tips here on Wicked Cozies for Edith a while back). In fact, I’m planning this year’s retreat now.

    But I’ve never done a solo retreat and I’m thinking I should. Maybe a birthday present to myself?

  7. Welcome to the Wickeds, Lynn! For the last two years I’ve taken the train to and from Malice and added an extra overnight. It’s been incredibly productive.

  8. No, I’ve never taken a break from real life of time to fill my creative well.

    1. Boo. Maybe just close your eyes for a few minutes and breathe. Unless you’re driving right now. And if you’re driving, stop reading this post. LOL

  9. I haven’t been able to get away by myself in a long time. I have young children so the opportunity isn’t really there right now. I am taking a birthday trip next year (I turn 30!) just my husband and me so that will be nice! Looking forward to reading your new book!

  10. I don’t know that I’ve done that. I did, however, leave a bad job situation to go back to school and obtain my Associate’s degree. Best decision I ever made. Right now I am taking a couple days off work to regroup and relax. Look forward to reading this book!

  11. 10,000 words in a hotel on a weekend? You rock! Congratulations on the book!

  12. I have been treated to a retreat for religious study it was refreshing and a great reboot for me

  13. The closest I’ve come to a break from real life would be the occasional road trip with friends, not a retreat but restorative to the soul anyway!

  14. I was just remarking to the Big Boss that I needed a Mental Health Day.

    Illnesses, the crazy news, the end of the school year (and in high school that means tests, final projects, stress, freakouts, and a lot of ice cream), along with trying to finish ms #2 has got me to the point where I want to hide away with nowhere to go and no time to go there.

    So, I’ll take a long hot bath with a good book and have a virtual escape. 😀

  15. Yes, a friend & I went to Minneapolis for a CATS retreat/convention. Had a blast doing textiles arts ( cross stitch/beading/ looking at the new items in the industry.

  16. I think I need a reading retreat. A weekend with nothing to do but try to get through my TBR pile, or at least get through the books I’ve agreed to review.

  17. Nancy Drew, The Secret Garden, Little Golden Books, and several books no one except me remembers: The Teeny Weenies, The Bird Children, The Flower Children. I still have the original or copies of most of these.

  18. I used to go on a trip every year but now I just do little things. Today I shopped, had a Chinese massage, lunch and went to the comic store. In the afternoon I worked in the garden.

  19. I love going to conventions as an excuse to take a bit of extra retreat/writing time. For a few years, there was a knitting conference in Hartford, CT. I live in New Haven–about 50 minutes away. The Hartford Marriott Residence Hotel is the BEST THING EVER! They have room service, they have a dinner buffet almost every night. So cosy! And yarn! I come a day early, I stay a day late. Knitting, writing, reading. It’s almost surprising no one has to schedule an intervention to get me out of there. Same thing for Malice this year–arrived on Thursday, left on Monday. Train time as well. Just lovely. EVERYONE should take time for themselves, writers or not. Just to be. At least, I think so, even as I appreciate how difficult it can be for so many people with all their daily responsibilities that just can’t be put aside.
    And Lynn, the book sounds like marvelous fun!


  20. Well, writing is a new endeavor for me and I have yet to take a retreat for that purpose. However, I have taken retreats (yes, solo) for scrap booking and genealogy and have found them productive and refueling. I am awed by your 10,000 words and wish you blessings on your new book.

  21. Keep telling myself I need to take a break, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. However, IF i win an ebook I shall try to get to it sooner than later.

  22. No, I have never taken a break from real life. I wish I could…I would like more time to read and do what I like, well at least discover what I like to do.

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