Writer's Alcove

Archive for November, 2013

A Great Author and Deboner – 5 Women vs 1 Man

by on Nov.19, 2013, under General Topic


This year’s BLOG (meant to be tongue in cheek since I rarely blog) is on a writer’s retreat I attended two weekends ago. First I need to extend my special thanks to Anna Albergucci (and her husband, Darin) for extending their home to us, providing most with sleeping accommodations, and stuffing us with two incredible dinners. Oh, she provided breakfast and lunch as well, but the dinners were incredible and not soon to be forgotten. I probably just painted myself into a corner commenting more on the dinners, so I’ll stop there … thank you, Anna, what more can I say without getting myself into trouble. Your heart is as large and warm as your home, and I will never forget the kindness.

Attending the retreat were authors Amanda M. Thrasher (also Co-Founder of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC), Anna Albergucci, Chrissy Szarek , Connie Cox  and JoAnna Voyles; five amazing and talented writers – can you imagine being in a room with five creative people, all women—I was the only man—and able to make it out alive and in one piece. Luck was surely on my side.

As soon as you can, check out their author pages and grab yourself copies (plural) of their books (plural) – you’ll be happy you did. All very talented writers, all covering different genres that kept my head spinning wanting to know more, and to get to know more about them.

Amanda is an incredible writer of children’s and YA books as well as being an incredible marketer and businessperson for her publishing house. Chrissy Szarek , Connie Cox  and JoAnna Voyles, also incredible writers, focusing on romance and paranormal romance, and finally, in a class of her own, Anna Albergucci, writing literary fiction. Talk about a wide range of genre’s and writers. I felt beside myself to be able to share a weekend with such talented and amazing people, and when I say amazing, I’m serious. They are. I was impressed with each of them and found that just listening to them about their work made me feel the passion they have for writing is what I feel when I sit down to write, something that is very hard to explain to people who do not share that passion. Nothing like talking about your story and the person you talk to looks as if theirs eyes just glossed over and drool dribbles out of the corner of their slightly parted lips. You even have to lean in and listen to see if they’re still breathing, but hey, it could just be my stories. Boy meets girl, girl blows him off, he stalks her, she kills him, she meets the love of her life in prison and lives happily ever after.

On the first night, Anna read for a half hour but that conversation went on late into the evening, and left me in awe. I enjoyed it so much I finally closed my laptop not wanting to think about reading, as I was engrossed in everything that was happening. The feedback, the professionalism, and friendship were the best I have ever seen. Believe me, the only thing worse than a room full of creative people is stuck in an out of service elevator with a sales person not even close to quota, but this was incredible. Absolutely delightful.

Afterwards, before I called it an evening, we got to know each other, something I found even more enlightening. Five strangers (to me), oh, we met earlier at the Lexicon Writers Conference, but they never once considered a man by the name of John Smith that could have been, you know, wanted by all the law enforcement agencies in the country, and yet we sat and talked about subjects and things that I never had the pleasure of sharing. Afterwards, I felt I made at least one friend, Anna’s cocker spaniel, Brino (I fed him as much as I could get away with), and walked away with a feeling that is beyond words. A special group I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

On the second night, Anna had invited the Chico writers club where we all sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner. Yep, Anna provided a Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner was delicious and the conversations with the writers club left me in tears. I could not stop laughing and I think JoAnna shared that laughter with me. That group was loaded with characters that I think might appear in one or two of my novels (I know one will). Of course, I’ll change the names, but the conversations were priceless. Oh, did I mention it was cool watching Amanda welding a knife, deboning chicken and turkey. One word. Yikes. That woman had that knife flying faster than chef at a Teriyaki Steak House. I started to take a picture but feared for my life. A great author and deboner, and a lot of fun to watch (I’m sure she’ll make me pay for this).

With dinner complete, Amanda then proceeded with a great talk about the publishing business. Thank you, Amanda, I thought session was very informative and I took away a lot of good information.

The other take away for me, besides a full stomach and a great collection of books, was that I was able to sit and watch each of them and found each to be so damned funny I bit my tongue often to stop myself from laughing. Chrissy and JoAnna have this thing going that I swear they know what each is thinking and what they’re going to say next – I loved it! I also learned that Connie fit in that little arena where I sit; she is creative and analytical, so that was cool, very cool. Anna has the warmest heart of anyone I know, and Darin, what more can I say but thank you. And finally, Amanda, you touched me, deeply, and with that I say, you are very special and I thank you.

If Anna has another retreat next year, and I didn’t tick anyone off with this blog (another reason I rarely blog) I hope she invites me. I’ll certainly be earlier next year than I was this year. And, if Anna extends the invitation to anyone else who did not attend, be sure to say yes. I guarantee that you’ll have a wonderful time, you’ll laugh a lot (it was two days before my cheeks returned to normal), and you’ll leave with at least one new friend, Brino (anyone who knows me knows I love the canine kids-I have two J).

Until next time.

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