Being Away and Coming Home

Anne here, and I've just arrived home after traveling and attending conferences and writing retreats for the last three and a half weeks. And launching a book, so if this blog is a little scatty and unfocused, I hope you'll forgive me. 5 Wenches-RWA

The first conference was the Romance Writers of America conference in New York. I flew from Melbourne to Los Angeles and stopped in LA for a couple of days, because the 16+ hour flight is long enough without continuing straight on to New York, which would be around 21+ hours flying time, not including waiting time. So I like to stop in California for a couple of days and work, and walk in the sun to reset my body clock a bit. 

The New York conference was brilliant, not so much for the workshops etc — I was only able to attend two, both of which were excellent — but for the meetings with my editor and agent and others who work for my publisher. I came away from those meetings feeling valued and very positive. And of course my book came out while I was there, which was very exciting — and busy.

It was also lovely meeting up with friends from the USA and Canada, as well as some from the UK, Ireland and even some Australians who live in far flung parts of the continent and that I don't often get to see.  And as well there was a small group of lovely French readers and writers who we've met before at US conferences, and who are involved with running the French Romance Conference.

WenchPanelFour of the Word Wenches — Susanna, Mary Jo, Andrea and I — also appeared on a panel discussing "Surviving and Thriving."  Here's a bit of what I said: 

It's tempting, when you first start writing, to want to shut yourself away and concentrate on writing, writing, writing. And marketing and promo and obsessively watching your numbers. But getting out and about, mixing with all kinds of people, visiting new places and experiencing different things is what feeds your muse and your writing, and keeps you fresh and happy. 

Understand the things you can control — your writing, how good it is, how much you write, how frequently you publish — and make that your priority. You can't control sales numbers — and marketing, promo, etc. can eat up your time, money and energy and drive you crazy to little effect.

Believe in yourself, in your voice, and in the stories you want to tell.  The market, the publishing world is constantly changing, but good stories about characters people care about will always find readers. A career in publishing is a long game.

And of course, one of the nicest parts of the conference was meeting up with readers,  both at the conference, and at the Literacy Signing. Fabiola&Friend

After the conference a group of Wenches — Mary Jo, Andrea, Pat, Joanna and I — went to Connecticut to go on a short writing retreat. Some of us stayed at a hotel, and we all met at Andrea's house to write and eat and brainstorm and drink and talk. It was wonderful. For all that we know each other pretty well through frequent email contact, it's quite different meeting and hanging out in person. 

IMG_5365And in the brainstorming, we discovered we can all get pretty intense, which was fun. It's also very interesting how each of us approaches it in a different way, which meant the feedback we gave was (speaking for myself) really helpful. Often the purpose in brainstorming is just to jolt the writer off the rails she has built for herself, and make her look at the story from different angles. And in the process, new insights arise. 

The wenches also helped me celebrate the launch of my new book, Marry In Secret, with champagne, which was lovely. SanClemente

After that I headed back to California and went down the south coast to spend a few days beside the sea, soak up some sun and do some work before getting on the plane back to Australia. I also caught up with Pat and her husband, who showed me around their little corner of the world and took me out to dinner.

Then the long trip home, where I landed safely but my bag apparently kept travelling. It  finally turned up half an hour before I had to leave for my next conference, but in the meantime, I'd said on the RWAust Facebook group page that I might be wearing trakky daks (Australian slang for gym pants) and moccasins at the conference. I was inundated with sympathetic messages, and private emails with offers of clothes, makeup, and even shoes, which blew me away. People can be so kind.

IMG_5545-1The Australian romance conference always kicks off with a costume cocktail party, which acts as a fun icebreaker. The costumes provide a great talking point and everybody mixes in, whether or not they have a costume. This year the theme was twisted fairy tales. I always dress up so I threw together a very last minute costume which was "Sleeping Beauty gone to seed" and involved a green feather boa, and a pile of artificial roses. 

But lots of people went to real trouble, as you can see.

IMG_5617 (1)

We always eat and drink well, too at our conferences, and on the first day an American presenter  said with some bemusement, "Oh yes, we have to stop at 10.30 and 3.30 for "tea", don't we?"  She said "tea" as if it was some rarefied English aristocratic ritual <g> but she soon learned that as well as tea and coffee, there was food — something savory and something sweet, different every time. Morning tea might be sausage rolls or mini quiches and cup cakes or muffins or little chocolate or lemon tarts. 

And that was on top of the two course lunch that was provided. We Aussies love our morning and afternoon tea, and the NZ conference is the same. So it wasn't quite the "tea" she'd imagined — and I'm certain she came away with a deep approval of the ritual.  

So now I'm home, and I have my little black dog beside me snoring on her bed. She's sticking close to me — every time I move, she follows me. She loves the kennels where she stays when I'm traveling — she leaves me happily, dragging the kennel keepers away without a backward look at me, but she's always glad to be home. And so am I, looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

What about you — when you travel, what do you miss most? And what do you look forward to doing or having when you first get home?

105 thoughts on “Being Away and Coming Home”

  1. My last trip was to Langdon, North Dakota, my Mom’s hometown, which is 17 miles South of Manitoba, Canada. I was there for a reunion and meeting cousins on the other side of her family as well. I also had time to document graveyards and enjoy the wildlife, much of it is new to me. I live in Ohio, so ground two species of ground squirrels, a juvenile Northern Goshawk dropping on it’s prey, among others landed on my life lists. This was the first time I have traveled alone since my open-heart surgery seven years ago this month. My husband is a calming presence through all the turbulence and other travel bothers that cause me stress. This time, I was worried about transfering planes in Minneapolis with only 39 minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately the airline took care of that for me by having an electric cart waiting for me, and they upgraded me! Because this was my first trip to North Dakota without Mom, I was blessed to have her 51 years, I missed her fiercely as I listening to stories and wanting to hear her tell hers one last time. I was welcomed like a prodigal! I missed my husband and cats and was happy to get home to my own bed and a flurry bodies snoring and purring in my bed with me.

    Reply
  2. My last trip was to Langdon, North Dakota, my Mom’s hometown, which is 17 miles South of Manitoba, Canada. I was there for a reunion and meeting cousins on the other side of her family as well. I also had time to document graveyards and enjoy the wildlife, much of it is new to me. I live in Ohio, so ground two species of ground squirrels, a juvenile Northern Goshawk dropping on it’s prey, among others landed on my life lists. This was the first time I have traveled alone since my open-heart surgery seven years ago this month. My husband is a calming presence through all the turbulence and other travel bothers that cause me stress. This time, I was worried about transfering planes in Minneapolis with only 39 minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately the airline took care of that for me by having an electric cart waiting for me, and they upgraded me! Because this was my first trip to North Dakota without Mom, I was blessed to have her 51 years, I missed her fiercely as I listening to stories and wanting to hear her tell hers one last time. I was welcomed like a prodigal! I missed my husband and cats and was happy to get home to my own bed and a flurry bodies snoring and purring in my bed with me.

    Reply
  3. My last trip was to Langdon, North Dakota, my Mom’s hometown, which is 17 miles South of Manitoba, Canada. I was there for a reunion and meeting cousins on the other side of her family as well. I also had time to document graveyards and enjoy the wildlife, much of it is new to me. I live in Ohio, so ground two species of ground squirrels, a juvenile Northern Goshawk dropping on it’s prey, among others landed on my life lists. This was the first time I have traveled alone since my open-heart surgery seven years ago this month. My husband is a calming presence through all the turbulence and other travel bothers that cause me stress. This time, I was worried about transfering planes in Minneapolis with only 39 minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately the airline took care of that for me by having an electric cart waiting for me, and they upgraded me! Because this was my first trip to North Dakota without Mom, I was blessed to have her 51 years, I missed her fiercely as I listening to stories and wanting to hear her tell hers one last time. I was welcomed like a prodigal! I missed my husband and cats and was happy to get home to my own bed and a flurry bodies snoring and purring in my bed with me.

    Reply
  4. My last trip was to Langdon, North Dakota, my Mom’s hometown, which is 17 miles South of Manitoba, Canada. I was there for a reunion and meeting cousins on the other side of her family as well. I also had time to document graveyards and enjoy the wildlife, much of it is new to me. I live in Ohio, so ground two species of ground squirrels, a juvenile Northern Goshawk dropping on it’s prey, among others landed on my life lists. This was the first time I have traveled alone since my open-heart surgery seven years ago this month. My husband is a calming presence through all the turbulence and other travel bothers that cause me stress. This time, I was worried about transfering planes in Minneapolis with only 39 minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately the airline took care of that for me by having an electric cart waiting for me, and they upgraded me! Because this was my first trip to North Dakota without Mom, I was blessed to have her 51 years, I missed her fiercely as I listening to stories and wanting to hear her tell hers one last time. I was welcomed like a prodigal! I missed my husband and cats and was happy to get home to my own bed and a flurry bodies snoring and purring in my bed with me.

    Reply
  5. My last trip was to Langdon, North Dakota, my Mom’s hometown, which is 17 miles South of Manitoba, Canada. I was there for a reunion and meeting cousins on the other side of her family as well. I also had time to document graveyards and enjoy the wildlife, much of it is new to me. I live in Ohio, so ground two species of ground squirrels, a juvenile Northern Goshawk dropping on it’s prey, among others landed on my life lists. This was the first time I have traveled alone since my open-heart surgery seven years ago this month. My husband is a calming presence through all the turbulence and other travel bothers that cause me stress. This time, I was worried about transfering planes in Minneapolis with only 39 minutes to get to the gate. Fortunately the airline took care of that for me by having an electric cart waiting for me, and they upgraded me! Because this was my first trip to North Dakota without Mom, I was blessed to have her 51 years, I missed her fiercely as I listening to stories and wanting to hear her tell hers one last time. I was welcomed like a prodigal! I missed my husband and cats and was happy to get home to my own bed and a flurry bodies snoring and purring in my bed with me.

    Reply
  6. Good times, Anne–good times! As great as our email loop is, hanging out and brainstorming face to face is better. Andrea is a superb hostess and she reminded me how much I love New England. Let’s do it again!

    Reply
  7. Good times, Anne–good times! As great as our email loop is, hanging out and brainstorming face to face is better. Andrea is a superb hostess and she reminded me how much I love New England. Let’s do it again!

    Reply
  8. Good times, Anne–good times! As great as our email loop is, hanging out and brainstorming face to face is better. Andrea is a superb hostess and she reminded me how much I love New England. Let’s do it again!

    Reply
  9. Good times, Anne–good times! As great as our email loop is, hanging out and brainstorming face to face is better. Andrea is a superb hostess and she reminded me how much I love New England. Let’s do it again!

    Reply
  10. Good times, Anne–good times! As great as our email loop is, hanging out and brainstorming face to face is better. Andrea is a superb hostess and she reminded me how much I love New England. Let’s do it again!

    Reply
  11. Wow, Pamela, what a journey for you — I can imagine the plane connection would have been anxiety-inducing, but how nice to be looked after with an electric cart and an upgrade. And how hard to be in North Dakota and missing your mother. Do we ever stop missing our moms, I wonder? But it sounds like the journey was a triumph for you in so many ways — not least the independence you showed in doing what you wanted to do. Well done you! And thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    Reply
  12. Wow, Pamela, what a journey for you — I can imagine the plane connection would have been anxiety-inducing, but how nice to be looked after with an electric cart and an upgrade. And how hard to be in North Dakota and missing your mother. Do we ever stop missing our moms, I wonder? But it sounds like the journey was a triumph for you in so many ways — not least the independence you showed in doing what you wanted to do. Well done you! And thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    Reply
  13. Wow, Pamela, what a journey for you — I can imagine the plane connection would have been anxiety-inducing, but how nice to be looked after with an electric cart and an upgrade. And how hard to be in North Dakota and missing your mother. Do we ever stop missing our moms, I wonder? But it sounds like the journey was a triumph for you in so many ways — not least the independence you showed in doing what you wanted to do. Well done you! And thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    Reply
  14. Wow, Pamela, what a journey for you — I can imagine the plane connection would have been anxiety-inducing, but how nice to be looked after with an electric cart and an upgrade. And how hard to be in North Dakota and missing your mother. Do we ever stop missing our moms, I wonder? But it sounds like the journey was a triumph for you in so many ways — not least the independence you showed in doing what you wanted to do. Well done you! And thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    Reply
  15. Wow, Pamela, what a journey for you — I can imagine the plane connection would have been anxiety-inducing, but how nice to be looked after with an electric cart and an upgrade. And how hard to be in North Dakota and missing your mother. Do we ever stop missing our moms, I wonder? But it sounds like the journey was a triumph for you in so many ways — not least the independence you showed in doing what you wanted to do. Well done you! And thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    Reply
  16. Welcome home, Anne! I always look forward to sleeping in my own bed after a trip away from home. I generally DO NOT look forward to doing laundry. Enjoy being home and the company of your little black dog.

    Reply
  17. Welcome home, Anne! I always look forward to sleeping in my own bed after a trip away from home. I generally DO NOT look forward to doing laundry. Enjoy being home and the company of your little black dog.

    Reply
  18. Welcome home, Anne! I always look forward to sleeping in my own bed after a trip away from home. I generally DO NOT look forward to doing laundry. Enjoy being home and the company of your little black dog.

    Reply
  19. Welcome home, Anne! I always look forward to sleeping in my own bed after a trip away from home. I generally DO NOT look forward to doing laundry. Enjoy being home and the company of your little black dog.

    Reply
  20. Welcome home, Anne! I always look forward to sleeping in my own bed after a trip away from home. I generally DO NOT look forward to doing laundry. Enjoy being home and the company of your little black dog.

    Reply
  21. Thanks so much, Kareni. And while I’m very happy to have my dog with me again, I think she’s happier. She follows me everywhere at the moment, just in case I slip away again.
    She’s happiest when I’m at my computer working and under her eye, and since that’s where I most want to be as well, it suits us both. But the minute I’m up to put on another load of washing, she’s there, at my heels.

    Reply
  22. Thanks so much, Kareni. And while I’m very happy to have my dog with me again, I think she’s happier. She follows me everywhere at the moment, just in case I slip away again.
    She’s happiest when I’m at my computer working and under her eye, and since that’s where I most want to be as well, it suits us both. But the minute I’m up to put on another load of washing, she’s there, at my heels.

    Reply
  23. Thanks so much, Kareni. And while I’m very happy to have my dog with me again, I think she’s happier. She follows me everywhere at the moment, just in case I slip away again.
    She’s happiest when I’m at my computer working and under her eye, and since that’s where I most want to be as well, it suits us both. But the minute I’m up to put on another load of washing, she’s there, at my heels.

    Reply
  24. Thanks so much, Kareni. And while I’m very happy to have my dog with me again, I think she’s happier. She follows me everywhere at the moment, just in case I slip away again.
    She’s happiest when I’m at my computer working and under her eye, and since that’s where I most want to be as well, it suits us both. But the minute I’m up to put on another load of washing, she’s there, at my heels.

    Reply
  25. Thanks so much, Kareni. And while I’m very happy to have my dog with me again, I think she’s happier. She follows me everywhere at the moment, just in case I slip away again.
    She’s happiest when I’m at my computer working and under her eye, and since that’s where I most want to be as well, it suits us both. But the minute I’m up to put on another load of washing, she’s there, at my heels.

    Reply
  26. I didn’t go to Melbourne this year because I was supposed to be heading overseas right now, but it’s been delayed a month, so I just stalked you all online. 🙂 Next year’s cocktail party theme is going to be easy even for the non-costume-inclined: Wild West. A pair of boots and/or a hat, and anybody will be set!
    The main thing I keep hearing about from the New York conference were the lifts/elevators!

    Reply
  27. I didn’t go to Melbourne this year because I was supposed to be heading overseas right now, but it’s been delayed a month, so I just stalked you all online. 🙂 Next year’s cocktail party theme is going to be easy even for the non-costume-inclined: Wild West. A pair of boots and/or a hat, and anybody will be set!
    The main thing I keep hearing about from the New York conference were the lifts/elevators!

    Reply
  28. I didn’t go to Melbourne this year because I was supposed to be heading overseas right now, but it’s been delayed a month, so I just stalked you all online. 🙂 Next year’s cocktail party theme is going to be easy even for the non-costume-inclined: Wild West. A pair of boots and/or a hat, and anybody will be set!
    The main thing I keep hearing about from the New York conference were the lifts/elevators!

    Reply
  29. I didn’t go to Melbourne this year because I was supposed to be heading overseas right now, but it’s been delayed a month, so I just stalked you all online. 🙂 Next year’s cocktail party theme is going to be easy even for the non-costume-inclined: Wild West. A pair of boots and/or a hat, and anybody will be set!
    The main thing I keep hearing about from the New York conference were the lifts/elevators!

    Reply
  30. I didn’t go to Melbourne this year because I was supposed to be heading overseas right now, but it’s been delayed a month, so I just stalked you all online. 🙂 Next year’s cocktail party theme is going to be easy even for the non-costume-inclined: Wild West. A pair of boots and/or a hat, and anybody will be set!
    The main thing I keep hearing about from the New York conference were the lifts/elevators!

    Reply
  31. Sonya, a pity you missed it. And yes, the conference in Western Australia will have a lot of cowboys (cowpeople?) at the cocktail party. And the lifts in New York were sometimes challenging — especially if a lot of people came out of the conference on the same floor at the same time. They pretty much froze. But otherwise I didn’t mind them and the odd system. At least the system bypassed having to stop at every floor, which would have taken forever.
    But if you were nervous of heights, it could be downright scary as they were 75% a circular clear bubble — only the doors and floor were opaque, and since the hotel was many stories high the drop was immense — and fast. I was on the 33rd floor and by no means at the top. Seeing all these clear pods flying up and down crammed with people — it was a bit like that old TV cartoon, The Jetsons.
    Enjoy your trip, when it happens.

    Reply
  32. Sonya, a pity you missed it. And yes, the conference in Western Australia will have a lot of cowboys (cowpeople?) at the cocktail party. And the lifts in New York were sometimes challenging — especially if a lot of people came out of the conference on the same floor at the same time. They pretty much froze. But otherwise I didn’t mind them and the odd system. At least the system bypassed having to stop at every floor, which would have taken forever.
    But if you were nervous of heights, it could be downright scary as they were 75% a circular clear bubble — only the doors and floor were opaque, and since the hotel was many stories high the drop was immense — and fast. I was on the 33rd floor and by no means at the top. Seeing all these clear pods flying up and down crammed with people — it was a bit like that old TV cartoon, The Jetsons.
    Enjoy your trip, when it happens.

    Reply
  33. Sonya, a pity you missed it. And yes, the conference in Western Australia will have a lot of cowboys (cowpeople?) at the cocktail party. And the lifts in New York were sometimes challenging — especially if a lot of people came out of the conference on the same floor at the same time. They pretty much froze. But otherwise I didn’t mind them and the odd system. At least the system bypassed having to stop at every floor, which would have taken forever.
    But if you were nervous of heights, it could be downright scary as they were 75% a circular clear bubble — only the doors and floor were opaque, and since the hotel was many stories high the drop was immense — and fast. I was on the 33rd floor and by no means at the top. Seeing all these clear pods flying up and down crammed with people — it was a bit like that old TV cartoon, The Jetsons.
    Enjoy your trip, when it happens.

    Reply
  34. Sonya, a pity you missed it. And yes, the conference in Western Australia will have a lot of cowboys (cowpeople?) at the cocktail party. And the lifts in New York were sometimes challenging — especially if a lot of people came out of the conference on the same floor at the same time. They pretty much froze. But otherwise I didn’t mind them and the odd system. At least the system bypassed having to stop at every floor, which would have taken forever.
    But if you were nervous of heights, it could be downright scary as they were 75% a circular clear bubble — only the doors and floor were opaque, and since the hotel was many stories high the drop was immense — and fast. I was on the 33rd floor and by no means at the top. Seeing all these clear pods flying up and down crammed with people — it was a bit like that old TV cartoon, The Jetsons.
    Enjoy your trip, when it happens.

    Reply
  35. Sonya, a pity you missed it. And yes, the conference in Western Australia will have a lot of cowboys (cowpeople?) at the cocktail party. And the lifts in New York were sometimes challenging — especially if a lot of people came out of the conference on the same floor at the same time. They pretty much froze. But otherwise I didn’t mind them and the odd system. At least the system bypassed having to stop at every floor, which would have taken forever.
    But if you were nervous of heights, it could be downright scary as they were 75% a circular clear bubble — only the doors and floor were opaque, and since the hotel was many stories high the drop was immense — and fast. I was on the 33rd floor and by no means at the top. Seeing all these clear pods flying up and down crammed with people — it was a bit like that old TV cartoon, The Jetsons.
    Enjoy your trip, when it happens.

    Reply
  36. I really wanted to attend the book signing in New York but I am recovering from hip surgery and have a difficult time walking long distances. I hope the RWA conference comes to Atlanta in the future. I live 35 miles outside the city. I love to travel and can’t wait to do more once I am fully recovered. So glad you enjoyed Connecticut since that is where I was born and raised.

    Reply
  37. I really wanted to attend the book signing in New York but I am recovering from hip surgery and have a difficult time walking long distances. I hope the RWA conference comes to Atlanta in the future. I live 35 miles outside the city. I love to travel and can’t wait to do more once I am fully recovered. So glad you enjoyed Connecticut since that is where I was born and raised.

    Reply
  38. I really wanted to attend the book signing in New York but I am recovering from hip surgery and have a difficult time walking long distances. I hope the RWA conference comes to Atlanta in the future. I live 35 miles outside the city. I love to travel and can’t wait to do more once I am fully recovered. So glad you enjoyed Connecticut since that is where I was born and raised.

    Reply
  39. I really wanted to attend the book signing in New York but I am recovering from hip surgery and have a difficult time walking long distances. I hope the RWA conference comes to Atlanta in the future. I live 35 miles outside the city. I love to travel and can’t wait to do more once I am fully recovered. So glad you enjoyed Connecticut since that is where I was born and raised.

    Reply
  40. I really wanted to attend the book signing in New York but I am recovering from hip surgery and have a difficult time walking long distances. I hope the RWA conference comes to Atlanta in the future. I live 35 miles outside the city. I love to travel and can’t wait to do more once I am fully recovered. So glad you enjoyed Connecticut since that is where I was born and raised.

    Reply
  41. Strange as it may seem, the thing I miss most when traveling is my electric toothbrush. I never take it with me on a trip and always curse myself for not bringing it.

    Reply
  42. Strange as it may seem, the thing I miss most when traveling is my electric toothbrush. I never take it with me on a trip and always curse myself for not bringing it.

    Reply
  43. Strange as it may seem, the thing I miss most when traveling is my electric toothbrush. I never take it with me on a trip and always curse myself for not bringing it.

    Reply
  44. Strange as it may seem, the thing I miss most when traveling is my electric toothbrush. I never take it with me on a trip and always curse myself for not bringing it.

    Reply
  45. Strange as it may seem, the thing I miss most when traveling is my electric toothbrush. I never take it with me on a trip and always curse myself for not bringing it.

    Reply
  46. Quite a whirlwind few weeks, Anne. I’m sure you—and your little black dog—are VERY happy to be home!
    I second Mary Jo’s suggestion that we make a Wench retreat a regular event. It was SO much fun—very inspiring, both personally and professionally. Seeing how the creative process works among different writers is quite amazing, and just help to think in slightly different ways about a story, which jumpstarts one’s own ideas.

    Reply
  47. Quite a whirlwind few weeks, Anne. I’m sure you—and your little black dog—are VERY happy to be home!
    I second Mary Jo’s suggestion that we make a Wench retreat a regular event. It was SO much fun—very inspiring, both personally and professionally. Seeing how the creative process works among different writers is quite amazing, and just help to think in slightly different ways about a story, which jumpstarts one’s own ideas.

    Reply
  48. Quite a whirlwind few weeks, Anne. I’m sure you—and your little black dog—are VERY happy to be home!
    I second Mary Jo’s suggestion that we make a Wench retreat a regular event. It was SO much fun—very inspiring, both personally and professionally. Seeing how the creative process works among different writers is quite amazing, and just help to think in slightly different ways about a story, which jumpstarts one’s own ideas.

    Reply
  49. Quite a whirlwind few weeks, Anne. I’m sure you—and your little black dog—are VERY happy to be home!
    I second Mary Jo’s suggestion that we make a Wench retreat a regular event. It was SO much fun—very inspiring, both personally and professionally. Seeing how the creative process works among different writers is quite amazing, and just help to think in slightly different ways about a story, which jumpstarts one’s own ideas.

    Reply
  50. Quite a whirlwind few weeks, Anne. I’m sure you—and your little black dog—are VERY happy to be home!
    I second Mary Jo’s suggestion that we make a Wench retreat a regular event. It was SO much fun—very inspiring, both personally and professionally. Seeing how the creative process works among different writers is quite amazing, and just help to think in slightly different ways about a story, which jumpstarts one’s own ideas.

    Reply
  51. What a wonderful story, Pamela. I’m so glad you decided to make the trip despite the challenges—it shows how Love can help conquer adversities. The experience of North Dakota, with family and a new environment sounds like it was very fulfilling. So glad you did it. I’m sure your Mother was smiling.

    Reply
  52. What a wonderful story, Pamela. I’m so glad you decided to make the trip despite the challenges—it shows how Love can help conquer adversities. The experience of North Dakota, with family and a new environment sounds like it was very fulfilling. So glad you did it. I’m sure your Mother was smiling.

    Reply
  53. What a wonderful story, Pamela. I’m so glad you decided to make the trip despite the challenges—it shows how Love can help conquer adversities. The experience of North Dakota, with family and a new environment sounds like it was very fulfilling. So glad you did it. I’m sure your Mother was smiling.

    Reply
  54. What a wonderful story, Pamela. I’m so glad you decided to make the trip despite the challenges—it shows how Love can help conquer adversities. The experience of North Dakota, with family and a new environment sounds like it was very fulfilling. So glad you did it. I’m sure your Mother was smiling.

    Reply
  55. What a wonderful story, Pamela. I’m so glad you decided to make the trip despite the challenges—it shows how Love can help conquer adversities. The experience of North Dakota, with family and a new environment sounds like it was very fulfilling. So glad you did it. I’m sure your Mother was smiling.

    Reply
  56. Anne, It was SO wonderful seeing you and the other Wenches in NewYork, but I, for one, am glad you’re back home now and free to keep writing your wonderful books! And I so well understand about your dog; leaving mine is what I hate most about traveling, and since mine is not little, but also not at all brave, I sometimes forego travel just to keep us both from suffering the anxiety. Fortunately that leaves more time for reading and writing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed your travels and hope your wrist is on the mend!

    Reply
  57. Anne, It was SO wonderful seeing you and the other Wenches in NewYork, but I, for one, am glad you’re back home now and free to keep writing your wonderful books! And I so well understand about your dog; leaving mine is what I hate most about traveling, and since mine is not little, but also not at all brave, I sometimes forego travel just to keep us both from suffering the anxiety. Fortunately that leaves more time for reading and writing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed your travels and hope your wrist is on the mend!

    Reply
  58. Anne, It was SO wonderful seeing you and the other Wenches in NewYork, but I, for one, am glad you’re back home now and free to keep writing your wonderful books! And I so well understand about your dog; leaving mine is what I hate most about traveling, and since mine is not little, but also not at all brave, I sometimes forego travel just to keep us both from suffering the anxiety. Fortunately that leaves more time for reading and writing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed your travels and hope your wrist is on the mend!

    Reply
  59. Anne, It was SO wonderful seeing you and the other Wenches in NewYork, but I, for one, am glad you’re back home now and free to keep writing your wonderful books! And I so well understand about your dog; leaving mine is what I hate most about traveling, and since mine is not little, but also not at all brave, I sometimes forego travel just to keep us both from suffering the anxiety. Fortunately that leaves more time for reading and writing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed your travels and hope your wrist is on the mend!

    Reply
  60. Anne, It was SO wonderful seeing you and the other Wenches in NewYork, but I, for one, am glad you’re back home now and free to keep writing your wonderful books! And I so well understand about your dog; leaving mine is what I hate most about traveling, and since mine is not little, but also not at all brave, I sometimes forego travel just to keep us both from suffering the anxiety. Fortunately that leaves more time for reading and writing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed your travels and hope your wrist is on the mend!

    Reply
  61. I used to travel all over the country for my job with FEMA. I would be gone for several months at a time. I missed my dogs. But, I think most of all I missed the sky out my window at home. I can see the clouds (if we are blessed enough to have any clouds) or the color of the blue or grey. I like the Texas sky.
    After writing this, I realize that I have become too attached to home.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Ms Gracie. It is evident y’all had a great time together. And you strengthened your friendships.
    But as someone else said, I will be grateful if everyone now gets back to writing like a demon.

    Reply
  62. I used to travel all over the country for my job with FEMA. I would be gone for several months at a time. I missed my dogs. But, I think most of all I missed the sky out my window at home. I can see the clouds (if we are blessed enough to have any clouds) or the color of the blue or grey. I like the Texas sky.
    After writing this, I realize that I have become too attached to home.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Ms Gracie. It is evident y’all had a great time together. And you strengthened your friendships.
    But as someone else said, I will be grateful if everyone now gets back to writing like a demon.

    Reply
  63. I used to travel all over the country for my job with FEMA. I would be gone for several months at a time. I missed my dogs. But, I think most of all I missed the sky out my window at home. I can see the clouds (if we are blessed enough to have any clouds) or the color of the blue or grey. I like the Texas sky.
    After writing this, I realize that I have become too attached to home.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Ms Gracie. It is evident y’all had a great time together. And you strengthened your friendships.
    But as someone else said, I will be grateful if everyone now gets back to writing like a demon.

    Reply
  64. I used to travel all over the country for my job with FEMA. I would be gone for several months at a time. I missed my dogs. But, I think most of all I missed the sky out my window at home. I can see the clouds (if we are blessed enough to have any clouds) or the color of the blue or grey. I like the Texas sky.
    After writing this, I realize that I have become too attached to home.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Ms Gracie. It is evident y’all had a great time together. And you strengthened your friendships.
    But as someone else said, I will be grateful if everyone now gets back to writing like a demon.

    Reply
  65. I used to travel all over the country for my job with FEMA. I would be gone for several months at a time. I missed my dogs. But, I think most of all I missed the sky out my window at home. I can see the clouds (if we are blessed enough to have any clouds) or the color of the blue or grey. I like the Texas sky.
    After writing this, I realize that I have become too attached to home.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Ms Gracie. It is evident y’all had a great time together. And you strengthened your friendships.
    But as someone else said, I will be grateful if everyone now gets back to writing like a demon.

    Reply
  66. Thanks, Maryellen — and you were wise to stay home. It was wonderful meeting readers, and especially wenchly readers, but you need that hip to heal and grow strong.
    Connecticut was lovely — so green and lush. And Andrea’s house was so quiet and peaceful — when we were writing, that is. The rest of the time it was utterly stimulating and fun.

    Reply
  67. Thanks, Maryellen — and you were wise to stay home. It was wonderful meeting readers, and especially wenchly readers, but you need that hip to heal and grow strong.
    Connecticut was lovely — so green and lush. And Andrea’s house was so quiet and peaceful — when we were writing, that is. The rest of the time it was utterly stimulating and fun.

    Reply
  68. Thanks, Maryellen — and you were wise to stay home. It was wonderful meeting readers, and especially wenchly readers, but you need that hip to heal and grow strong.
    Connecticut was lovely — so green and lush. And Andrea’s house was so quiet and peaceful — when we were writing, that is. The rest of the time it was utterly stimulating and fun.

    Reply
  69. Thanks, Maryellen — and you were wise to stay home. It was wonderful meeting readers, and especially wenchly readers, but you need that hip to heal and grow strong.
    Connecticut was lovely — so green and lush. And Andrea’s house was so quiet and peaceful — when we were writing, that is. The rest of the time it was utterly stimulating and fun.

    Reply
  70. Thanks, Maryellen — and you were wise to stay home. It was wonderful meeting readers, and especially wenchly readers, but you need that hip to heal and grow strong.
    Connecticut was lovely — so green and lush. And Andrea’s house was so quiet and peaceful — when we were writing, that is. The rest of the time it was utterly stimulating and fun.

    Reply
  71. Gail, we have a different electric current in Australia, so when overseas I travel with a bag full of adaptors, which would make an electric toothbrush a bit unwieldy, I suspect. Not that I’ve ever used one. You make me curious about them. Might have to try one.

    Reply
  72. Gail, we have a different electric current in Australia, so when overseas I travel with a bag full of adaptors, which would make an electric toothbrush a bit unwieldy, I suspect. Not that I’ve ever used one. You make me curious about them. Might have to try one.

    Reply
  73. Gail, we have a different electric current in Australia, so when overseas I travel with a bag full of adaptors, which would make an electric toothbrush a bit unwieldy, I suspect. Not that I’ve ever used one. You make me curious about them. Might have to try one.

    Reply
  74. Gail, we have a different electric current in Australia, so when overseas I travel with a bag full of adaptors, which would make an electric toothbrush a bit unwieldy, I suspect. Not that I’ve ever used one. You make me curious about them. Might have to try one.

    Reply
  75. Gail, we have a different electric current in Australia, so when overseas I travel with a bag full of adaptors, which would make an electric toothbrush a bit unwieldy, I suspect. Not that I’ve ever used one. You make me curious about them. Might have to try one.

    Reply
  76. Thank you, Margaret. It so good to meet Wenchly readers.
    And I should say, my little dog is not so little — she’s a kelpie cross, about the same size as a border collie. I think of her as little, but she considers herself quite big. And she loves the kennels, but this time I was away a bit too long. She’s certainly stuck close since I got home.

    Reply
  77. Thank you, Margaret. It so good to meet Wenchly readers.
    And I should say, my little dog is not so little — she’s a kelpie cross, about the same size as a border collie. I think of her as little, but she considers herself quite big. And she loves the kennels, but this time I was away a bit too long. She’s certainly stuck close since I got home.

    Reply
  78. Thank you, Margaret. It so good to meet Wenchly readers.
    And I should say, my little dog is not so little — she’s a kelpie cross, about the same size as a border collie. I think of her as little, but she considers herself quite big. And she loves the kennels, but this time I was away a bit too long. She’s certainly stuck close since I got home.

    Reply
  79. Thank you, Margaret. It so good to meet Wenchly readers.
    And I should say, my little dog is not so little — she’s a kelpie cross, about the same size as a border collie. I think of her as little, but she considers herself quite big. And she loves the kennels, but this time I was away a bit too long. She’s certainly stuck close since I got home.

    Reply
  80. Thank you, Margaret. It so good to meet Wenchly readers.
    And I should say, my little dog is not so little — she’s a kelpie cross, about the same size as a border collie. I think of her as little, but she considers herself quite big. And she loves the kennels, but this time I was away a bit too long. She’s certainly stuck close since I got home.

    Reply
  81. Annette, I feel much the same about the Australian sky, and the smell of the air outside the cities. And a favorite part of my morning ritual is to pull open my curtains and see the sky and whatever weather it’s bringing and hear the rainbow lorikeets chittering in the big tree at the front.
    And yes, it’s head down and writing now for me. I’m in the writing cave.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
  82. Annette, I feel much the same about the Australian sky, and the smell of the air outside the cities. And a favorite part of my morning ritual is to pull open my curtains and see the sky and whatever weather it’s bringing and hear the rainbow lorikeets chittering in the big tree at the front.
    And yes, it’s head down and writing now for me. I’m in the writing cave.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
  83. Annette, I feel much the same about the Australian sky, and the smell of the air outside the cities. And a favorite part of my morning ritual is to pull open my curtains and see the sky and whatever weather it’s bringing and hear the rainbow lorikeets chittering in the big tree at the front.
    And yes, it’s head down and writing now for me. I’m in the writing cave.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
  84. Annette, I feel much the same about the Australian sky, and the smell of the air outside the cities. And a favorite part of my morning ritual is to pull open my curtains and see the sky and whatever weather it’s bringing and hear the rainbow lorikeets chittering in the big tree at the front.
    And yes, it’s head down and writing now for me. I’m in the writing cave.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
  85. Annette, I feel much the same about the Australian sky, and the smell of the air outside the cities. And a favorite part of my morning ritual is to pull open my curtains and see the sky and whatever weather it’s bringing and hear the rainbow lorikeets chittering in the big tree at the front.
    And yes, it’s head down and writing now for me. I’m in the writing cave.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
  86. I also was away from home last week, and although I missed my bed, I worried about my garden more. I was checking my phone daily for the weather report back home. Luckily, there was a rainstorm so everything got watered and I came home to load of ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked!

    Reply
  87. I also was away from home last week, and although I missed my bed, I worried about my garden more. I was checking my phone daily for the weather report back home. Luckily, there was a rainstorm so everything got watered and I came home to load of ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked!

    Reply
  88. I also was away from home last week, and although I missed my bed, I worried about my garden more. I was checking my phone daily for the weather report back home. Luckily, there was a rainstorm so everything got watered and I came home to load of ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked!

    Reply
  89. I also was away from home last week, and although I missed my bed, I worried about my garden more. I was checking my phone daily for the weather report back home. Luckily, there was a rainstorm so everything got watered and I came home to load of ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked!

    Reply
  90. I also was away from home last week, and although I missed my bed, I worried about my garden more. I was checking my phone daily for the weather report back home. Luckily, there was a rainstorm so everything got watered and I came home to load of ripe tomatoes waiting to be picked!

    Reply
  91. Gail and Anne, I always take my electric toothbrush (which doesn’t take up much space in my bag) and I use a universal adapter cube (also small) that has aaaalll the plugs and a couple of USBs besides. So glad I got that sorted, hope you do, too.

    Reply
  92. Gail and Anne, I always take my electric toothbrush (which doesn’t take up much space in my bag) and I use a universal adapter cube (also small) that has aaaalll the plugs and a couple of USBs besides. So glad I got that sorted, hope you do, too.

    Reply
  93. Gail and Anne, I always take my electric toothbrush (which doesn’t take up much space in my bag) and I use a universal adapter cube (also small) that has aaaalll the plugs and a couple of USBs besides. So glad I got that sorted, hope you do, too.

    Reply
  94. Gail and Anne, I always take my electric toothbrush (which doesn’t take up much space in my bag) and I use a universal adapter cube (also small) that has aaaalll the plugs and a couple of USBs besides. So glad I got that sorted, hope you do, too.

    Reply
  95. Gail and Anne, I always take my electric toothbrush (which doesn’t take up much space in my bag) and I use a universal adapter cube (also small) that has aaaalll the plugs and a couple of USBs besides. So glad I got that sorted, hope you do, too.

    Reply

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