The Texas Writing Retreat in Whitehall, Texas was an absolute blast. Great crew of writers, excellent speakers, and a beautiful ranch.
The retreat, organized by Paul Cuclis, was a fantastic opportunity to meet other aspiring authors and hear from professionals in the publishing world.
Chuck Sambuchino taught several classes; everything from how to approach literary agents and how to write your query letter to using social media and creating your writer platform. Chuck also plays a mean guitar and can swing a golf club. His volleyball skills could use some work, but he was a cool guy nonetheless.
Elizabeth Kracht, literary agent at Kimberley Cameron and Associates, was also there. I met Liz back in 2013 at a writer's conference at the University of New Mexico. It was a real treat to spend time with her and talk the craft of story for longer than a ten-minute pitch session.
Liz taught classes as well and gave great insight into the author agent relationship. It was a breath of fresh air to interact with an agent face to face and talk the publishing world. We coined Liz 'the nicest agent in America' because she was happy to answer any question us authors could scrape together. She is also a mean canoe racer and likes to pet spiders.
Paul taught a class on short-story and creative non-fiction, complete with a tough writing exercise that pushed the economy of words to get a story across.
The writers who attended brought the first ten pages of their story. We swapped the samples and read everyone's work then critiqued it. This was a very valuable and fun exchange. Friends and fellow beta readers were made.
There was also canoe racing, ping-pong matches, poker (Chuck happily took $10 from my wife), swimming, bonfires.... In the end I didn't get as much writing done as I had planned because there was so much available to do, but....to reiterate, it was a blast.
I hope Paul decides to hold the retreat again next year.
Thanks for reading.