Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hiatus in Hawaii!

by KJ Howe

Aloha! I’m saying hello from the annual Maui Writer’s Retreat and Conference held this year for the first time in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the master’s in the field. Teachers include David Morrell, Steve Berry, James Rollins, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ann Hood, John Lescroart, and Sam Horn. No matter what you write you will fit in, as everything from narrative non-fiction and memoirs to thrillers and literary fiction is covered. The aspiring authors are split into small groups for intensive workshops. But, there is always time to sneak off to Waikiki beach!

Before breaking into our home room groups, we are treated to general sessions such as:

Where does the next great idea come from?

Rejection, It’s Your Friend

Writing Human Nature: Is there such a thing as human nature?

From Despair to Delight: Developing a transformational attitude towards the rewrite

10 Things You Need to Do to Get Published


Whether you’re a reader or a writer, nothing beats getting away and immersing yourself in your favorite books. Where is your dream spot for a conference? How much time would you like to spend playing vs. working? Who would you most like to work with?
The person who designs the most compelling conference wins a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card, so dream big!



Natalie Hatch said...

did I get him?

Helen said...

Is he comming to my place

Have Fun

Helen said...

You did Natalie

Have Fun

Natalie Hatch said...

I did, I got him, mwhahahhahaaa, the girls have been pining for you GR... not to mention Mister3 hasn't had any tailfeathers to pull out for a few weeks.

Natalie Hatch said...

Okay we will all go to Hayman Island (exclusive 5star resort in the Whitsundays just north of where I live), we'll be waited on hand and foot by attractive intelligent men and will learn such things as:

1. How to turn your agent insane
2. Ten things to get a bloke to read romance
3. Alpha versus Beta - Heroes we can roadtest
4. Slush Pile or Plush Pile, how to snazzy up your manuscript with shabbychic beading and feathers so it really stands out.

these and many more quarter of an hour workshops that won't interrupt your perve time, sorry meditation time.

Helen said...

Well done Natalie beat me by 1 min hope you and the children have fun with him

Great post Kim plan my own conference !! Natalie's sounds excellent.

How about a cruise for seven nights around the pacific ocean this would be for writers and readers with guest speakers such as all of the Banditas and I would love to hear Lorraine Heath Nalini Singh, and perhaps the sessions could be spilt into 1 hour sessions maybe 2 a day so as we can enjoy the nights partying and of course they better not start till about 11-00 am so as we are all awake and of course the cruise staff would be excellent to look at and to help us in any way possible.

Have Fun

Donna MacMeans said...

KJ - You go to the Best places! Must admit- that Maui conference (held in Honolulu) is on my Dream List of things to do. Esp. as I have a good friend/real estate agent right there in Honolulu (in case you decide to settle there) and a nephew on Oahu.

I'd like to hear where those book ideas come from -- you'll have to report back to us on that workshop.

I'm not sure I have a dream location for a conference. I'm always so thrilled to be with wonderful creative writers, I rarely seem to get outside to enjoy the city. So anywhere is good with me.

Congrats Natalie & Helen on the GR. THere must have been a difference of only seconds between you as both times are listed as the same!

Joan said...

Ok, I'm so STUNNED that you're actually THERE that I can't think right now.

KJ you rock!

Joan said...

{Deep breath} I've regained my composure.

First off...WTG, Natalie! You be good to our boy! And do try to guard the tailfeathers...he's very proud of them you know.

As to my ideal conference? Right off the top of my head anywhere the Banditas are.

While all my RWA conferences have been great, this past one with the Banditas defied gravity...or at least took me to a new height of writing energy. These ladies are beyond description and I am humbled to be included among them.

I've never been to Hawaii. We could do Ireland...I know the way

I would want workshops to be more informal. Kind of like sitting around in big comfy chairs. And time in between to just relax together by the pool, beach, magical forest glen to brainstorm on stories full of conflict, redemption, love, humor, black moments, heroes in loincloths (oops, sorry :-0 )

As to who I would want as speakers? Well, you know I've learned from EVERY level of writer...newbie on up to mega stars. We've all been or will be on the same spectrum of success...some faster than others...but we all GET IT!

Now, my critique group is due here in 1 1/2 hours...I've got pages to do...

jo robertson said...

Ah, Kim, your conference sounds heavenly. Would love to be there. Can you give us the website about the Writers Conference for the next one?

Congrats, Natalie! I'm going to have to make a concerted effort to capture the GR. I'm due for my rooster fix!

Hmm, my idea conference would be a mountain retreat, but not too cold, maybe fall, somewhere in northern Nevada or maybe Idaho. I love to sit on porches and watch the scenery; it seems to inspire my writing.

Of course, the beach is ALWAYS a great draw. Except I tend to get sand in places most uncomfortable!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, good monring Hawaii! Hey KJ, great post.

Natalie congrats on the chook, and wow, great conference you designed there, ma'am!

I'd do one in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in Asheville, at the Grove Park Inn. Fabulous place! We'd have to do it in October as the leaves turn the mountains to red gold.

Mountain hikes for those inclined, first thing in the a.m., dinner on the sunset terrace - just what it sounds like - overlooking the mountains as the sun sets. Oh, yeah!

As to who would do the workshops:

Day 1 Joanie T Bandita, and Aunty C Bandita - Why Ireland is the best place to set a story...complete with Irish dancing, green beer, and Irish storytelling session.

2. Bandita Nancy and various authors with fab Scottish books - Scotland the Brave - Men in Kilts - special visual aids provided by Buffie and various Banditas and Bandita Buddies

Dinner with the Scottish and Irish storytellers. Dancing, dancing lessons, more dancing. Some bagpiping

Day 2. The Bronte Sisters - Writing: Keeping it in the Family.

James Thurber and Mark Twain - Humor in the Fiction Novel or How to Have More Fun than Anyone

Three MI5 Agents, Two CIA Agents, One Moussad Agent and a Suspect in a Pear Tree - As the questions you never thought you'd get to ask about international spying!

Lunch and Tuxedo Parade featuring the Scottish and Irish story tellers in traditional dress, and the Agents in tuxedos. (Grins)

Load buses to go to local Bluegrass festival for dancing, music, drinking (judiciously, of course!) and general merriment and recharging of the brain.

Admire Mountains.

Repeat with varying cast of characters, then spend two days at the GPI Spa, recovering from all that learning and stuff.

Relaxed and refreshed for the easy, effortless ride home...

Yeah, I'm liking THAT thought!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

By the way, if you'd like to see the setting...

Joan said...

Irish dancing,

Dancing, dancing lessons, more dancing.

Bluegrass festival for dancing,

Clearly, I'm going to have to up my Motrin :-)

But I'd add that I'd want to see the M15 agents loincloths....

Joan said...

I've seen the Grove Park Inn on the Food Network, Jeanne. They have a Gingerbread House competition there every fall...

We're talking MAGNIFICENT gingerbread mansions!

Hmmm...I wonder if we could recreate your scene in gingerbread?

Maybe recreate the dancing agents in marzipan...or gummy bears one..

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

OMGosh, Natalie! That's Fab! The spa looks magnificent and I'd never get out of the pools. Could we hold classes IN the pool?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah, JT, that Gingerbread competition is legendary. Gorgeous houses. The gingerbread recreation of the Biltmore House (about 3 miles away) is also a sight to behold.

Of course, the two best times to see Biltmore are early December and in late April. Dec. obviously to see The Big House decorated for the holidays and hear the choral groups and all that, but April for the magnificent display of tulips from all over the world. Amazing!

Joan said...

Ahhh....I LOVE tulips!

They are my favorite flower!

When I went to Ireland this past April they were in bloom. Magnificent!

Kirsten said...

I love everyone's ideas! I was with Donna (doesn't really matter where we are because I never leave the hotel) until I thought about Helen's cruise...and then Natalie's resort...and Jeanie's trip to Scotland...oh heck, can we do them all? :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Wow, all these ideas sound great. I love the mixture of workshops/chat sessions with hiking and sightseeing. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous, and I can just see all of us sitting on the big deck of a huge beach house chatting, eating good food and listening to the waves. But I also love the mountains, and Jeanne's idea sounds fab! Seriously, maybe some of us Banditas and Bandita Buddies ought to meet up in Asheville in April and check out the tulips at the Biltmore.

Kim Howe said...

Natalie, congrts on the GR!  Be good to him...or at least have fun.  Fabulous ideas on the conference locations and workshops!  Keep them coming!  I'll check in later to pick a winner!Off to class...

Cheri2628 said...

As a READER, this would be my fantasy conference. It would be a cruise of the Greek Isles with alternating days of tours of the Isles and days at sea. The days at sea would involve chatting with favorite authors and online blog friends by the pool drinking Lusty Bandita Margaritas. :)

Any courses/seminars taken would only involve 2-3 hours a day. A course I would take would be a discussion and question/answer session with a favorite author with homework to read the latest book. I would also need to take a speed-reading course because I have a fear that I will die before I can read my ever-growing TBR pile! ;-)

Other seminars I would sign up for would be How to Pose a Romance Book Cover (with male cover models and female volunteers from the audience, of course) and How to Turn Your Husband into a Romance Hero.

Nighttime entertainment would be by the Chippendale and Thunder from Down Under dancers!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooooh, Cheri2628, I lurve that idea! :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Sounds like our resident Bandita Bar Wizard, Cassondra, needs to develop said Lusty Bandita Margarita. Grins

limecello said...

I'd love to go to a great conference in Tuscany. A week or so, with a very relaxed atmosphere.
A lot of food (good food) at the events) - workshops at a variety of times for the early birds and night owls...
I'm exhausted. I've been to trainings, meetings, retreats, dinners and orientation things all this past week. I think I've had 5 hours of sleep the past three days, so maybe... a relaxation conference would be good. A few stress management workshops - a masseuse... how bad could that be? ;)

Helen said...

I would love to go on all of these conferences we could all spend the year travelling and cruising the world and learning lots and get to know everyone and think of the parties at the end of each conference

I hope your are enjoying yourself in Hawaii Kim

Have Fun

Susan Seyfarth said...

Ooooh, I'm with limecello--can we go to Tuscany? The light, the wine, the gorgeous men...

Ahem. Writing, though, right? This should be educational?

Well, I have a very short line up of people I'd want to hear:

1) I want Nora Roberts to come by with a page of her POS draft (many of you have heard her refer to her first drafts as pieces of sh*t, yes?) Then she fixes them. She always says, she can fix a bad page but she can't fix a blank page, so put something on it. Yeah, great. So I want to see what her POS page looks like, then I want her walk me through what she does to fix it. Specifically. Not that I want to copy what she does but I would like to know what she thinks about when she goes from POS to NYT bestseller, you know?

2) I'd like JK Rowling to swing by & give a little chat on world building for dummies. I'm no scifi girl so I'm not all hung up on gadgets & languages & magic, but I would like to know how to create a really rich alternate universe while maintaining such a purely human heart.

That's not so much to ask, is it?

Have fun Hawaii, KJ!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan, I'm coming to YOUR seminars. :>

Lois said...

Personally, I think someone from either Hilton or Holiday Inn or your favorite hotel chain needs to come up with hotel in orbit, so it'll be the International Holiday Inn Space Station or something and there could be convention and conferences there. Alas, I'm at a bit of a loss as to the workshops because it'll depend on what conference makes it up there first and all. . . but I would just want the food and the view most of all! :)

Lois, who, yes, lives with her head in the clouds. ;)

Natalie Hatch said...

oh, turning hubby into a romance hero.... hmmmm, yep I could go that one. As for bagpipes, BABY!! I love the Edinbrough Military Tattoo, bagpipes stir the soul, but not for too long then they rattle your teeth.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Jeanne wrote: Susan, I'm coming to YOUR seminars.

Was is Nora & JK, or was it Tuscany? Be honest, now, Jeanne...


Louisa Cornell said...

Yay, Natalie! Run Rooster Run! Hope he wears the kids out so they will sleep soundly tonight!

KJ, you lucky thing you! In all of that following you around at Nationals, why couldn't I have followed you to Hawaii?

Wow, there are some fantastic conferences described here. I wish I didn't have to work! I would attend all of them!

Any conference with the Banditas in attendance would be a blast!

Now for me, the ideal conference would be held at Chatsworth - Home to the Duke of Devonshire, with some trips to other great houses for some rowdy bodacious house parties. To have the time to steep myself in the atmosphere and history of those great places and to share them will of my friends would be perfect.

If we could add a time/space machine to the mix I would have workshops taught by Jane Austen, Mrs. Radcliffe, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, the Duchess of Devonshire, Byron, Beau Brummel and even Prinny!

THEN I would have heroes from my favorite books come to life to teach us what makes them tick. Heroes like Kylemore, Dain from Lord of Scoundrels, Wulfric Bedwyn from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. Sebastian St. Vincent from Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter. Nicholas Chambers from The Education of Mrs. Brimley and Sebastian Laidley from Scandal's Daughter to name a few.

Then all in the interest of research, all attendees should see how much scandalous behavior they can participate in with various male cover models dressed (or undressed) in appropriate Regency regalia! Can you tell I've given this a lot of thought! :)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Tuscany, Susan. Seriously. Love La Nora. REALLY want to hear JK, but, c'mon!


Truly, the idea of hearing JK talk about worldbuilding as you described it, and hearing NR go from DFD (Dreaded First or other F word Draft) to completed polished scene would be an ab-fab study.

And Tuscany don't stink either...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooooh, Louisa I want to go to YOUR seminar too. :> You have indeed given it a lot of thought and wow, what a line up you came up with!


Kim Howe said...

You guys did a fabulous job on those conferences!  I'll sign up for them all.  LOL  I'm awarding the prize to our GR winner today, Natalie, as her course descriptions had me ROFL!  Natalie, please send me an e-mail at and I'll send you the gift certificate when I get home next week!  Thanks!!!

Louisa Cornell said...

I agree, KJ! Natalie's Conference sounds like just the thing! Way to go, Natalie!

Natalie Hatch said...

Thanks guys, I'd just like to go to Hayman Island for any reason, though I doubt I'll be able to afford it for a few years yet (when I'm making my quizzillions writing).... yeah right.

Helen said...

Congrats Natalie I would gladly go on your conference Hayman Island is a beautiful place.

Have Fun