Wicked Wednesday–The Retreats and a #giveaway

The winner of my giveaway is holdenJ! Look for an email from me!

by Barb, excited to head to Cape Cod for the Wickeds retreat this weekend.

While we’re celebrating our tenth anniversary month, we have to talk about our retreats. The retreats predate the blog. The first one was in 2012, when Jessie invited Liz, Edith, and me to her place in Old Orchard Beach for a weekend of writing. Sherry and Julie joined us the next year, and the rest is history.

This Wicked Wednesday Sherry is doing the giveaway to one lucky commenter. See the info at the end of the post.

We haven’t been quite as consistent with the retreats as we have with the blog, but, over many years, we’ve been to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and West Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. And it’s been wonderful.

The focus of the retreats has changed depending on our needs and interests as the years have rolled by. In the beginning, as we worked on our first in series, our focus was definitely about the craft of writing. Later as those books got out into the world, it was on promotion. Sometimes, we’ve focused on our writing careers in the long term. Other times, we’ve done some plot brainstorming on books due all too soon. We always eat well, and drink well, and sometimes get get some work done.

Wickeds, give us a memory from one of our retreats.

Julie: First of all, a picture of me without makeup is something not often seen in a public forum, so that speaks to my love of the Wickeds and wanting to share wonderful memories. Since I’m the first to post, I’ll share the memory of our photo shoot in Old Orchard Beach. Edith had worked with Meg Manion, and invited her up for a few hours. I still use my headshot from that day, and the group shot is our blog heading. Another thing I remember from that weekend was being very stressed from work, and letting down with my friends.

Liz: Wasn’t this the year we coined the term “book jail,” all thanks to me being almost late to turn in a book? Yep, this was one of the most memorable moments for me…I remember being banished to the living room while you all sat in the kitchen having a blast! Every now and then someone would peek in to make sure I was still working LOL. The term stuck and we all rotated having turns in book jail, but I think I was the only one who had to miss out on some retreating because of my procrastinating.

Sherry: I remember that, Liz! It must have been awful for you. One of my favorite memories is when I was writing the third book in my garage sale mysteries — All Murders Final. We were in Jessie’s living room in Old Orchard Beach. Julie asked me where I was in the book. I said I was writing the end. Julie said, “That’s great.” Then I told her I had to go back and write the middle. I so wish I had a photo of Julie’s look of horror. She’s a plotter and I’m usually not. My other favorite memories are of us staying up in the wee hours talking and laughing.

Edith: The wee hours are my downfall! I get up earlier and have less late-night tolerance than the rest. I find myself falling asleep during the late night chats (and laughs), but I don’t want to miss anything Wicked. Finally I simply have to go to bed. It was such a treat last year to have everyone join me at the end of my solo week at my beloved Quaker retreat cottage for the first time. I loved showing my best author buds where I’ve been so productive, the view of the yard and the marshes where I write, my head-clearing plotting walk to the beach. In fact, I am there right now, and guess which five authors will be filling up the rest of the house on Friday for a Wickeds birthday weekend?

Barb: I love the retreats. There’s always too much of everything–snacks, coffee, wine, and talking, talking, talking. For all of us work-from-home types, there’s no daily meetup at the water cooler, so talking to supportive friends who understand our challenges and triumphs is the best thing of all.

Jessie: My most vivid memory of the retreats is when we had the photo session that produced the photograph we use as a header on the blog. It was such fun to be silly as a group. It was all tremendous fun and the header has served as a visual representation of the group spirit!

Sherry: For this week’s giveaway I’m happy to give away a copy of All Murders Final. If you’ve read it I’m happy to send it to a friend or relative. I’ll also give away one Chloe Jackson book — your choice!

Readers: Where do you find support? Have you been able to connect in person again?

66 Thoughts

  1. I’ve been fortunate to have support since Jan 2018 through my weekly MahJongg group (of 4). We kept going through the pandemic via zoom and an online game program. We probably talk as much as we play (!) – sharing good times and bad, and just being there for each other. This year we’re playing in person every few months, and now that the weather is better we’re also planning to have more get-togethers (pre-pan highlights were an escape room, and a lighthouse cruise out of New London, CT). One of us was a librarian, so there are always good book recommendations as well!
    — Hope you all have a wonderful retreat !!

    1. Thank you so much. Your mah jong group sounds like my old writers group. We always had to do “the news of the world” before we dug into critiquing.

  2. Love those pics and reading about your retreats! I rely upon family, my husband,, sister and kids, for support. I wish I had a group of old friends like you do!

  3. I’m normally pretty much of a lone wolf and haven’t needed much in the way of support. But since injuring my back, I’ve had to adjust things. The injury healed enough to be out and about but it hasn’t quite gone back to “normal”.

    When I was basically confined to the living room floor after initially hurting the back, I had to rely on my sister and my best friend Ann. They came by, made sure I had whatever I needed and just generally did what they could to help out a hurting and cranky because of it me.

    Edith also helped by sending along a get well soon note which was greatly appreciated.

  4. Besides my fabulous hubby, whose been by my side through it all and my biggest supporter, I’d have to say hands down it’s my BFF. Not only is she my best friend, but she’s absolutely amazing. Through some very rough times when everyone else did a disappearing act, she was the only one that stayed by my side. It’s in the tough times when you can’t participate in the normal things together when you find out who your “true” friends are.

    When Mom came to live with us after a nasty cancer surgery and Alzheimer hit fast and hard, I became a full time caregiver unable to join in or do the things I use to. She was the only one that not only stuck around, but when up and above what most would have. Even though we live in different states, she made sure to make contact with me at least twice a week, sent me little packages to make me smile and kept reminding me that God had this and I was doing exactly what I needed and wanted to be doing. She’s also the only one that seems to understand that even though our daughter went to her heavenly home, she is still very much a part of our heart. Although completely different situations, she lost a child too, which makes us connect on another level as well. She’s been there for me at some of my deepest points in my life as well as to help me celebrate the high points. A “true” friend is always there for you!

    We do still stay in touch with our Wednesday night chats and get together once or twice a year. Living in different states, our visits aren’t as close together as we would all like, but distance doesn’t take away for the warmth of heart we both feel. Sometimes, we meet at each others homes and other times we meet at an agreed upon location. In fact, we are heading that way this weekend. A trip we are extremely excited about. I look back now and I’m amazed that a simple meeting at an Emmett Kelly Festival and our mutual love for the little old man that was the son of the man behind the event, all let to such a fabulous friendship. Well, really to our family of choice because she is the definitely the sister I never had before our meeting. Proves that God puts those in front of us that we need the most at the most unexpected times.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win one of your fabulous books! Shared and hoping.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. I find support in a few close friends and my immediate family. My circle is small. I do have a wonderful, supportive church family as well. Congratulations on your blog anniversary and thanks for the giveaways.

  6. Writing retreats are the best, though my retreats are taken solo. Hope you have a great weekend! Write on!

  7. My encouragement to keep writing came from writing workshops many years ago. I remember Erika Wentworth at two writing workshops at Georgetown, and Clyde Linsley at a writing seminar at the Smithsonian. There was also a creative writing class taught by Liam Callanan. The NaNoWriMo writing groups, for years now, have been helpful. The National Book Festival which I’ve attended since the first festival held on September 8th, 2001, gave me the opportunity to hear many admirable writers (Alexander McCall Smith, David Baldacci…) speak, and listen to their replies to questions from readers and other aspiring writers. Many writing seminars, and writer panels, at the Smithsonian which I’ve already mentioned, attended years ago by writers such as Diana Gabaldon and John Gilstrap. The book presentations and signings at bookstores have been a wonderful way to hear about new books and to me, new authors! This is how I found the books, and the author, Sherry Harris, at the Clarendon bookstore in northern Virginia some years ago! She signed the books in the Garage Sales Mysteries series, each with a different greeting, which is always appreciated! (Diana Gabaldon did the same many years ago -but in Gaelic!). And just before the pandemic, in February 2020, I went to a book presentation by Sherry Harris and Libby Klein, each presenting her new book, at One More Page Books, a charming independent bookshop! I love these mysteries, cozies, and also classical (I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes at age eight and loved it!), and thrillers, and adventure! Novels and short stories… just love reading fiction.
    The pandemic has slowed down my writing a bit, which has mostly been journal writing these three years, but now my adventure novel must continue, and a short mystery story has been brushed off to be worked on for a contest. The memories of encouragement and of wonderful authors describing the various ways they began writing always reminds me that this writing life, a dream since childhood, is possible.

      1. Thank you, Barbara!!
        I must add best wishes for another fun retreat!!

  8. What a nice post and I enjoyed the pictures! How fun. I receive support from my husband and kids! Thanks for the chance!!

  9. I’m still in touch with people I went to grade school with, they, my high school buddies, and my college friends form my hair down support. We’ve been through so many changes, challenges, joys and sorrows together that there are no filters- and no subterfuge! We connect in person when we can, but the Internet, Zoom, and telephone rule.

    My professional life has another set of friends and buddies. Those are other writers who completely get it. I cherish them more than I can say and most I wouldn’t know if I met them in the street!

    Great post, great memories.

    1. How amazing you are still in touch with all these people, considering we came up in the pre-social media, texting, email days when you had to call on Sunday afternoons to avoid high charges.

  10. Brava to each and every one of you dear friends! How wonderful that you have a closeknit support group that has endured time and “world events”!!! I find support in my wife of 54 years, and from my son. No matter where he is in the world, always finds time to call or facetime, and has had such a powerful influence in my life. I can also find support in lifelong friends from all over this planet, whom I love to see and hug as often as I can during my travels. I also find that you support me by offering me hours and hours of fun, taking me to your worlds, and interacting with your characters in my mind. Thank you most sincerely! luis at ole dot travel

  11. I found support in my writing for fun from a author friend who is also my mentor too. Yes we keep in touch by email. I’m so grateful for her support

  12. My support group is my family. My husband and sons and grandchildren who give love and are always there for me.

  13. I seriously enjoyed these pictures! I can see the characters from the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries hanging out in places like these! Personally, I don’t have anyplace where I go for support, but I do have many wonderful memories of Cape Cod and also of Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. My extended family rented a large cottage every year in one of those places every summer for a good portion of my childhood years.

  14. I’m laughing just imaging the look on Julie’s face when she found out Sherry was writing the end out of sequence from the rest of the book. (Since I’ve read all your books, please don’t enter me in the giveaway.)

  15. My biggest supporter is my Sister, I can talk to her about anything. Also, I have a small group of friends that are always there for me.

  16. A cooking collaborator turned out to be an invaluable online critique partner for my writing, both short and long pieces, during the pandemic. I look forward to in-person meetings again with writer pals.

      1. We were chatting about the lack of face-to-face meetings with co-workers when he offered to read a WIP. He reads from the point of view of ‘Would I plunk down money for this?’ and tells me why/when he would stop reading. He reads a great deal in several genres. Invaluable.

  17. I’ve got a couple family members that are good to talk books, movies, recipes, or whatever with. And just recently a friend introduced me to a writing group not too far away, so hoping for some helpful critique and motivation, even if my work ends up just being for my personal enjoyment.

  18. I love my knitting groups – we share patterns, techniques and advice while encouraging each other. Last year I went in my first knitting retreat weekend with a good friend – very different from your much smaller retreats, but but it was filled with great people, food, drink and experts to guide us. It’s such a joy to leave the world behind for a few days to focus on a shared passion.

  19. My biggest supporter is my twin sister, who understands me best. The rest of my family are also supportive in various ways. I also have a friend from high school that I keep in touch with and who we have tried to be supportive of each other through the years, despite the distance.

  20. Great pictures and memories! I did manage to go to a school reunion last summer. Renewal, restorative, all good things!
    Thanks!
    Jholden955(at)gmail(dot)com

  21. My support used to be by my Mom. Since she passed away in January, I have learned that my real support is from the Lord. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  22. My support comes from my mom and my son. Luckily they live in the same town as me!

  23. My support comes from our 2 close friends where we have adventures checking out places each weekend.

  24. Mh biggest support is from my husband of 52 years. Then our daughter and my facebook friendswho support me in many ways.

  25. My support is my fiance. We have been together for a long time and he is always there for me.

  26. Congratulations on 10 fun and productive years together! I’ve loved meeting several of you at conferences, and I love reading your books. Here’s to many more! 🥂

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