On April 8, 2016 six ladies gathered together at Peppers Soul at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast for our annual writing retreat. On the twentieth floor, we had uninterrupted ocean views, looking southward toward Coolangatta.
Five of us ventured down from Brisbane and settled into our three bedroom apartment just after two-thirty pm. The group this year consisted of award winning, Kendall Talbot, historical romance guru, Isabella Hargreaves, newbie erotic romance author, Isabella Austin, the YA genius, Anthea Jones, HOT erotic romance author, Tania Joyce (ha, that’s me) and the world-famous contemporary romance author, Jennifer St George. There was so much talent in the room; it was like being at our own mini romance writing conference.
After unloading a ridiculous amount of food we’d all bought for the weekend, we settled into drinks and a quick catchup before finding our own little nook within our gorgeous accommodation to start writing, editing and plotting the next best seller.
Jennifer arrived around five-thirty pm, so that required more drinks and group discussion. Kendall cooked up a storm of a slow cooked chicken dish that was to die for before we all jumped back into the writing.
After a shocking nights’ sleep thanks to the noise of Cavell Avenue and the ideas brewing around inside our heads, we were greeted by a glorious day and sensational sunrise. After omelettes, many were tempted to go walking along the golden beaches while others (me) opted to pump out more word count.
Copious amounts of coffee and tea kept us going throughout the day, and the wine kicked in at lunch. This year at our retreat, interesting conversations were had around the hot topic of publishing as some of us have ventured into self-publishing after being traditionally published, others remain traditionally published and others are still aspiring to get that first book complete. Those of us published all agree that the lack of control, slow turnaround timeframes on royalty payments and inability to see sale figures is frustrating. While the learning curves into self-publishing have been steep and some mistakes have been made along the way, the ability to manage our content is wonderful.
Marketing was also a hot topic. Where and what works, the how to’s and the don’ts was enlightening. I think Isabella Austin, our newbie, got information overload from the rest of us. The retreat was also beneficial to bounce ideas off each other. We had lots of laughs over tongue rings, fantasy men, writing sex scenes and tightening up of plots. All in the name of research.
Lunch was spectacular overlooking the beach from our balcony, dinner was delicious. For breaks, the beach offered a great place to take a break … and the shops, a spot of retail therapy. Someone addicted to shoes (okay me) bought a custom designed pair of UGG boots for winter! They have Swarovski bling on the heels! So cool.
Unknown to us at the time, we were fortunate enough to have booked our retreat on the weekend of an International Fireworks competition, right out the front of Surfers Paradise on the Saturday evening. We had the perfect view of the show. Dinner, wine, fireworks and friends enhanced our weekend away.
By lunchtime Sunday when it was time to venture home, we all managed to achieve our goals. Kendall, Isabella Austin and Tania wrote 10,000words. Jennifer wrote and finished her short story (it’s brilliant), Anthea replotted and wrote two new chapters and Isabella Hargreaves edited her manuscript.
We were all exhausted, brain- drained and overly tired. It was an amazing weekend to spend with like-minded people.
Until next year everyone!