Tag Archives: writers retreats

Stiwdio Maelor; Wales Writing Residency

One of the greatest gifts a writer can have is being invited to spend time in a Residency. Last year, I applied and was accepted to an International Writers’ Residency in Wales. The process of applying seems so long ago, but suddenly it’s only a month away. My heritage on my mother’s side is Welsh so in a strange way, it feels like I will be travelling to a country that feels familiar, even though that familiarity is a product of stories I heard as a child and my imagination.

I’ll have the precious gift of time to write and I hope to keep up a blog while I am there, so check back for news and stories of my time in Wales.

I’ll be at stiwdiomaelor, and no, I can’t pronounce it yet, but that will change when I arrive mid-May. Thank you to Australian artist Veronica Calarco for giving me this wonderful opportunity to Write in Peace.


There’s something unknown waiting for me! 



Filed under Events and Readings, General, Travelling In the World, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Young Writers Register for the 2014 VPL Writing and Book Camp!

I am excited to be invited back this year as a teen mentor at the 2014 Writing and Book Camp. Last year I had an emergency appendectomy on Day One, so I missed all of the fun and learning and writing and creating. This year will be a lot better! This is a great environment for young creators, at every level and every genre. Hope to see you there. Follow the link below to register.

Calling all aspiring writers and book lovers! Sharpen your skills and spark your imagination at the Library’s Writing & Book Camp!

This unique day camp lets youth with a passion for reading and writing connect with well-known authors and illustrators. Each day features a new keynote speaker from the Canadian literary world. Campers also experience a variety of creative workshops that will help them to strengthen their writing skills and .

Our inclusive program welcomes youth who want to try creative writing for the first time, aspiring authors with mountains of manuscripts and everyone in between!

Writing and Book Camp – Let your imagination run wild!

Writing and Book Camp – Let your imagination run wild!

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Filed under Stuff to do, Writing Tips

A Summer of Writing Gets Results

I’ve had a very successful summer of writing beginning with an eight day escape with my friend Lisa to Vancouver Island, where we wrote solidly from dawn until dusk and followed by another glorious week at St. Peter’s Abbey in Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild), where I wrote for an average of eight hours a day. The result of all of this hard work? Two decent drafts of two different books and how is that for progress?

Our only visitor on our writing trip to Vancouver Island!

There are many writer’s retreats across Canada and worldwide for that matter and I’ve been lucky enough to have visited my share of them. There is something about being removed from the interruptions and stresses of everyday life that allows my imagination to roam freely. Each time I attend such a retreat, I enter with a good idea and leave with the skeleton of a book! I know that St. Peter’s also offers a two-week winter retreat, but I don’t think I’m ready for -30 weather…although they say it’s pretty!

I almost forgot – another summer highlight was a trip I took with my son to Toronto – I thought he might like to spend some time in Canada’s largest city and we did a three-day whirlwind tour beginning in the Royal Ontario Museum, followed by the Picasso exhibit at the AGO and finally a night at The Princes Diana Theatre, where we saw Warhorse (and loved it). Of course, I cried the whole way through – it’s really sad and you do forget that the ‘horses’ are actually life-size puppets.

While we were in Toronto, the TTC flooded, so it was difficult to get around, but in end we did a lot of walking and that’s always the best way to see a city.

Pretty good summer so far!

Julie at the Royal Ontario Museum

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Filed under Travelling In the World, Writing Tips

Spring Valley Guest Ranch Writer’s Retreat Deadline

Deadline extended to May 4, 2012

Applications will be accepted (no late fee) until 4:30 p.m. May 4, 2012 for the Spring Valley Guest Ranch Retreat June 8-22. 

For more information, please visit


or contact the retreat coordinator at skretreats@skwriter.com 

This is a great spot for anyone still considering a summer retreat.

I Know I’ve been going on and on lately about retreats, but I”m at one now and I’ve spent the whole day writing (and eating)

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Filed under Stuff to do, Travelling In the World, Writing Tips

Upcoming Retreats: St. Peter’s Abbey and Bethlehem House

I’ve just completed my application for St. Peter’s Abbey Summer Writing Retreat – two glorious weeks dedicated to writing in this peaceful Benedictine Monastery. Last year, I successfully completed a manuscript at the abbey that is now in the hands of my agent – this year, although I may not complete a manuscript, I have one that I will be working on full time. In two weeks, at a retreat, I can get as much writing done as I can at home, in two months!

ImageThe brilliant blue sky and canola fields of Saskatchewan!

I am also looking forward to a three day writing retreat at Bethlehem House, just outside of Nanaimo, on the shores of Westwood lake, at the end of the month. Run by Benedictine Sisters, this is a less formal retreat and writers can book to stay here for a very reasonable price at any time of the year – meals included 🙂 One of the questions I am most asked about this type of Benedictine retreat is “Do I have to be a Catholic to stay at monasteries?” The answer is no. I am not a Catholic, or any religion at all, really, but these are not religious retreats – although the peace and quiet offered is hard to find anywhere else. 

I will be blogging about my stay at Bethlehem House – becasue this will be my first time, I cannot yet recommend it, but I am confident it will offer everything a retreat should and more. I am going toward the end of April, so keep checking back for more information.

And if you are a writer looking for a place to create without interruptions, there are likely Benedictine Monasteries near where you live – affordable, easy to get to and unforgettable.


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