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Guest Post: Host Your Own Writers’ Retreat by Fae Rowen


Thank you to Fae Rowen for this article, which was first published on Writers in the Storm.


people coffee meeting team

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

It’s been almost ten years since I hosted my first writers’ retreat. It was a low-key get together for my five-person critique group, which had been meeting for just a few months.

We already met weekly for face-to-face chapter critiques, but we wanted time to discuss writing, trade ideas and things we’d learned from books, conferences, and hard work. I volunteered my house and the food (breakfast and lunch).

I made sure all the food was prepared—a quiche and fruit salad for breakfast and a salad bar for lunch, with chocolate goodies for dessert. I wouldn’t have to spend any time “in the kitchen” other than to set out our meals, and I knew everyone would help.

It turned out that life interrupted and only two of us ended up spending our writers’ retreat day together. That turned out to be a really good thing. At that time, Laura Drake and I didn’t know each other that well.

I’d gone through my library and pulled out the craft books that I had duplicates of. I also had a Goal-Motivation-Conflict poster board, gridded off for placing sticky notes for plotting. I piled up my stack of RWA chapter newsletters, a couple of thesauruses, a dictionary and notes with craft and industry tips. Laura brought craft books she no longer needed and magazines, along with books she really liked.

We looked through each other’s offerings and pulled out things we wanted to keep. Actually I think I took all her stuff and she took all mine. It was like an exciting yard sale, because we got to share what we loved and convince each other of the value of our reference books. We talked about plotting—we’re both still pantsers—and GMC. We shared our dreams of getting agents and publishing lots of books.

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Guest Post: “The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon” by Edward Poynter from The Joy of Museums


Thank you to The Joy of Museums for the wonderful explanation of this painting:



“The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon” by Edward Poynter

“The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon” by Edward Poynter depicts the story from the Hebrew Bible in which the Queen of Sheba visits Solomon the King of Israel and a son of King David. The Bible describes how the fame of Solomon’s wisdom and wealth had spread so far and wide, that the Queen of Sheba decided to visit and see for herself if the stories were real.

The queen came bearing gifts including gold, spices, and precious stones and King Solomon responded in kind and gave her “all her desire, whatsoever she asked,” and she left satisfied (1 Kings 10:10). Nearly 3,000 years later, the visit of the Queen of Sheba continues to inspire the creative imagination and has become the subject of many stories that have inspired many artists.

The land of Sheba has been identified as Saba, a nation on the coast of the Red Sea and was part of what are now Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen. An Ethiopian account from the 14th-century purports that the Queen of Sheba had sexual relations with King Solomon and gave birth to a son. Ethiopian tradition holds that the son grew up to become King Menelik I, and to found a dynasty that would reign for nearly 3,000 years until Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. King Menelik was said to be a practicing Jew who was given a replica of the Ark of the Covenant by King Solomon. Ethiopian tradition states that the original Ark was switched and went to Ethiopia, and is still there, guarded by the Christian Church. The Ethiopian government and church deny all requests to view the alleged ark.

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Inktober Wrap-Up

Inktober Wrap-Up

A reader requested a post with all 22 of my Inktober drawings. I’m so happy to oblige. I’ve posted these each individually, some with explanatory comments that I won’t repeat here. Click on an image to enlarge and scroll through all.

I’d be interested in knowing which one is your favorite. Please comment below.


OctPoWriMo Day 12: Cocktail Sauce to Die For

OctPoWriMo Day 12: Cocktail Sauce to Die For



I didn’t care for today’s official prompt, so I chose an exercise from The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward and wrote a catalog poem.



Cocktail Sauce to Die For

These are your strong points:shrimp-cocktail-1670404_640
You’re loyal.
(You could have replaced me by now;
you certainly had opportunities.)
You still have a nice head of hair.
You know how to fix things.
You can name every major battle and
how many men died on either side.
You can reach things on top shelves.
You make me laugh.
You can cook.
You make the best shrimp cocktail sauce I’ve ever tasted, deliciously sour and
with just enough horseradish to make the top of my brain ache.

Guest Post: (Almost) No Sew Pumpkins…..


Many thanks to Doreen of Treadlemusic for this cute and easy fall craft.


I was cruising through Pinterest recently (I know…..bad, bad, bad) and came across this super cute idea……

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT No-Sew Shirt PumpkinsYou may find complete directions here. Now, if one were to follow her directions, they would truly be “no sew” but my version of the leaves does require a bit of machine sewing!!!! No surprise!!!!!

   First, I needed to find a discard-able shirt………..

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 012


And remove a sleeve (actually, I did cut off both…….after doing the 1st pumpkin, I just had to do another!!!!!

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 013

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 014Shirt sleeve pumpkin 015

Following the directions, I cut the twine and bundled everything with a rubber band, stuffed with poly-fill and wha-la…………………….

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 016

Now for the leaves (burlap was used in the original…..I used some felt)……

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 017

This is where my machine comes in……stitch “veins” close to the fold and a 3D effect just happens!!!

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 021

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 022 Shirt sleeve pumpkin 024

A little hot glue to secure………….

Shirt sleeve pumpkin 025

So, to reinforce the process for next time, I did…

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Inktober Day 4

Inktober Day 4

This month I am participating in Inktober. My goal is to practice making illustrations for my new poetry project.

I have a poem about a haircut gone wrong. This won’t be the final illustration, but it’s a first try at the concept:


In the Meme Time: Why Aren’t You Working Right Now?


Alex Mathers 1

A big thank you to Alex Mathers.

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