Yesterday was Fiction Friday on steroids.

Seven writing women are gathered at Pine Lake Christian Camp near Eldora, IA, for a writing retreat. Last evening we had a wonderful meal, courtesy of the amazing Susan Lawrence, followed by helpful critiques of three submissions (including my chapter in Living Echoes). Everyone was kind. We didn’t even have to throw the rubber chicken. 

Most of the women here are virtual friends from my online critique group, Sharpened Pencils, more affectionately known as the Sharpies. One is a friend and fellow critiquer of a Sharpie. Last year five of us met here in the spring. Those five are back, plus two lovely ladies I’m meeting for the first time.

Following late night devotions by Yvonne Anderson, we had a great discussion about the struggles of balancing writing with all the other commitments that fracture a writer’s focus. But we realize that those family, church, and community commitments are part of what makes us authentic writers.

Parr Lodge at Pine Lake Camp

Other writers here at Parr Lodge this weekend are Terri Thompson, Edna Allen, and Angela Dunston Johnson, my long-time (read 18-year) writing buddy. New to most of us (as well as young enough to be a daughter to most of us) is CJ Bloyer.

We have large blocks of free time for writing, dedicated times for critiques of previously submitted work, and meals that include just as much fabulous food as warm fellowship.

Is this heaven? No, this is Iowa.

And this weekend, my fiction brain expands exponentially, like a steroid-injected muscle.


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