Another Red Door, and plans to take a break

Behind this Red Door, magic happens.   Last weekend the Pen Warriors met at the Red Door for our weekend quarterly retreat. Amazingly, this is our 44th Red Door retreat! Amazing that we’ve had the special treasure of two days of discussing all things every 3 months for over eleven years!

After an evening meal of Laura’s amazing beef bourguignon we planned the weekend, caught up on our news, and drifted off to bed.

Day 1:

We discussed EC’s blog on Studying the art of the blurb – and buying books instead. We read the blurbs EC had quoted in her blog, explored what made them work for us, and analyzed power words. Then we worked on making a better blurb. We spent 6 to 8 hours as a group, tearing apart and rewriting two blurbs – wow! The results were worth it. What a wonderful learning experience, and we had the treasure of glimpses into upcoming stories from our Pen Warrior friends!

Day 2:

We wanted to check out our “beginnings”, so we’d decided to read each other’s work aloud. We had each brought the first 800 – 1000 words of a work-in-progress, and after breakfast we began our concert of beginnings. Hearing our own words read aloud by another member of the group was an amazing experience. Of course we were nervous, but listening – most of us closed our eyes to listen – it was easy to hear where the writing flowed, and obvious where we needed to make a change. Very constructive exercise, and one we’re definitely planning to repeat next time.

The blog un-schedule

We’ve been blogging ever since our March, 2010, Red Door retreat. With some exceptions, we’ve managed to maintain a weekly schedule.

In future we’ll be blogging on an unscheduled basis, when we have comments to make, and you can always check out our recent tweets on the Twitter stream on the right side of this page. We hope you’ll drop by now and then – or click on our Subscribe button (on the right side of this page, near the bottom).

Have a wonderful day, and may the muse be with you …


Island Hearts (Jenny’s Turn and Stray Lady)


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“Writing fiction is a perfect life choice for someone like Vanessa Grant who can’t make up her mind what she wants to do when she grows up!” There are so many choices and I want to do them all. In real life I’ve taken a lot of roads: I’ve studied psychology, volunteered on a crisis line and as a peer counselor for a family life organization, worked as an accountant and a software developer, taught accounting and fraud investigation at a university, and best of all–told stories about life, love, and secrets. In my stories, my heroes and heroines have lived many of the lives I’m fascinated by. I live with my wonderful husband and two energetic Australian Shepherds on Vancouver Island … and every so often we indulge in wanderlust and leave the island to go exploring.

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