Writers Retreat... At Sea

By: G. Marie Merante
Two weeks ago, I boarded a Carnival cruise to St. John, Canada and Halifax, Nova Scotia for the PLRWRetreat at Sea with Agent/Author Deidre Knight.
To say I was excited was an understatement.  My retreat week actually started off the Friday before, when my BFF Hollie flew in from Indiana. After spending two days catching up and pulling an all-nighter printing our ms’s, we took off Sunday morning for NYC to take in Times Square, How to Succeed and the Harry Potter exhibit. By noon the next day, we were on the Lido Deck sipping Pina Colada’s, anxiously waiting to cast off.
The first order of events-DINNER. It would be the first time the retreaters would all meet, and the first time we would be in Deidre’s presence. With everyone seated, the gab-fest started. Excitement crackled in the air. Five days, stuck on a boat with Deidre Knight! Five days! Five days of Dinners. Five days of workshops. Five whole days! Screw Halifax. 

The workshops started bright and early at 8am on the first two days, basically focusing on publishing—what’s hot, what’s not. What Deidre was looking for in a perspective client...etc.  Once in port, we met at night for critiques with both Deidre and her husband, Judd. On Thursday, she covered queries and FEAR. And Friday, the big finale—Pitches.
By then, the atmosphere was leisurely and casual. We were all old friends, spending hours supporting each other, jamming on our lap tops, making up dirty lyrics to Amore, hot tubs, meteor showers  and a bit of Belly Dancing too. And Deidre and Judd were amazing hosts with a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. Not to mention, the nicest people you could ever meet. By the time we made port in NYC Saturday, every one of us was jacked and ready to delve into our MS’s. 
I cannot express how much the workshops and the priceless one-on-one time with Deidre, has impacted me. I am now on a new path with my writing. I’ve started my fourth book while still working on my third and editing my second. I have a renewed sense of hope and most importantly, I have confidence in my writing again.

 And, to top it all, I’ve gained a new circle of writing companions. What a great group of ladies. Not a drip of competition or jealousy in the bunch. In the end, we were all rooting for each other.  After spending so much intimate time over a shared passion, there was definitely a bit of loss at the end. 

Looking back, I have nothing but incredible memories and I am anxious to see them all again next year. Commitments for another cruise is in the works, with Bermuda in our sights. I’m chopping at the bit to sign up and I hope that maybe this time, we will see some of you there.  Until then, I’m keeping a weathered eye in the horizon and trudging on, ever hopeful.
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