Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writers' Retreat

The closest we came to a crime scene

A few Texas mystery writers, all women, decided to go away for a weekend in Salado, cute little touristy town south of Dallas and north of Austin. Since we all knew about the Stagecoach Inn, we decided to stay there.

Here's how it went.

High Tea--yum!
I guess I'm the one who started this ball rolling, and my thinking was that I needed a getaway and I needed to concentrate on nothing but writing, as I'm working on some time-crunch projects. They're not actually crunching right now, but will be if I don't get to setting some major sets of words down. We went with a laissez-faire structure, which means no structure. Meals happen, of course, and one member, Gale Albright, booked us for High Tea at Adelea's.

Those of us who could, Kathy Waller, Gale, and me, gathered Friday for lunch in the Coffee Shop (really, it was breakfast for me), then went to our rooms to write. Kathy and Gale roomed together, but I got a single since I'm so easily distracted. Except for the weird noise, which I later figured out was caused by big semis going over a stretch of bad pavement on the bridge over Salado Creek, my room was peaceful and comfy. I got a good bunch of words down--1602!

Midafternoon we took a break for fudge shopping and I got some Christmas shopping done.

We met for dinner and walked to the dining room at the Inn. The serving staff keeps their old tradition of reciting the menu. It's impressive, but does make it hard to order. Our waitress may remember everything she said, but I didn't. Gale and I picked ham slice out of her list. She shortly returned to say that it was all gone. We had no choice but to order prime rib, all three of us. It came with everything, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, veggies, bread, dessert--all but the wine. As usual, I order rare and got medium rare, but I've gotten used to that. We rolled back to sit out on the nice patio overlooking the pool at Kathy and Gale's room, then to bed. I think I wrote a little more that night.

Saturday morning, the other two writers arrived, Laura Oles and Nancy G. West. We had breakfast at the Coffee Shop, then had writerly discussion in the double room. I worked on FAT CAT until it was time for tea. I've never had such good scones in my life!

Outside Hemingway's Bar at Adelea's
I went to my room and looked through some emails, but then the wifi connection went down for most of the rest of the day. I got some more FAT CAT work done, a total of 948 words that day, then we had another session in the big bedroom.

We decided that there were a couple of drawbacks to our venue. One was the lack of microwaves and refrigerators in the rooms. The other was the lack of a good meeting place for our group. If this gathering happens again, I'll recommend we look around to see what else is in the area.

Sunday morning it turned suddenly cold. The Good ones, Laura and Nancy, went for a brisk walk while I slept in. We had breakfast and broke up soon after.

I loved getting to know Nancy better and meeting Laura for the first time. This is something I would recommend to any bunch of writers!

All pictures by Kathy Waller


  1. Posted for Nancy G. West:

    A great blog about our Salado writers' retreat! It brought back memories of good times and discussions. Kathy Waller's photos are much better than mine. The whole blog is going into my scrapbook. I thoroughly enjoyed being with you all - Kaye George, Kathy Waller, Laura Oles and Gale Albright. Here's hoping we can get together again.

    Till then,
    Keep Writing!
    Nancy G. West
    Aggie Mundeen Mysteries at

  2. I second the recommendation. It was a wonderful weekend. I wish it could have been a whole week.

  3. PS I'm glad you found something to do with the sawhorse and orange cones.

  4. A week would be nice, wouldn't it? I'd need a cheaper room for that, maybe.

  5. Kaye, I'm heading for the Northern Colorado Writers member retreat this coming weekend at a guest ranch. Last year I wrote 13,000 words, so my goal this year is 15,000.

    We have a solid schedule with huge blocks of silent writing time but all our rooms are in a bunkhouse with a common room for discussions, games and movie night and a kitchen (where the coffee pot is always on). We take some of our meals in the ranch dining room which is a real treat.

    If you can find a guest ranch like ours within driving distance, you'll love it.

  6. That sounds lovely, Patricia! Good idea. Thanks.