NEKLogoSmallThe Writers’ Retreat Newsletter

April 2015, Volume 15, No 1


In This Issue


   ---Murphy, North Carolina, United States

   ---Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala



Upcoming workshops and clinics:


To enroll in a workshop of your choice, please browse our Workshop Page at




This electronic newsletter is compiled from information sent to TWR. Listing an item does not constitute an endorsement. Please check with the individual organization/retreat for accuracy of dates, times, submission criteria, etc.




Shape your Vision into Reality with The Writers' Retreat!




Dear fellow readers and writers,


Welcome to everyone and thank you for your interest in our network of writing retreats.


I just spent 19 days at the retreat in Punta Sur, Nicaragua and realized again… how much time we need! We need time to work, to eat, to sleep, and to accomplish all the daily chores of living. We also need time to know and understand our mates, our children, and our friends. Most of our relationships, in fact, require more time than we have, and it is difficult to avoid the feeling that we could never have enough. Nor is our list of demands on our time complete. We too often ignore the time we need to be alone to focus and realize a personal project, and we know the choice always remains ours. Signing up for a writer’s retreat? Perhaps. The takeaways writers gained at their residency could be yours for a short period of time this year! I am so glad I took time to work on a new version of my screenplay because I did finally advance my project.


On the other hand, if you believe your place could give someone such an opportunity, why not join our network and open your door to writers. A first step? Browse a few pages of our guidebook A Writers’ Retreat: Starting from Scratch to Success!  at

The guidebook is available in print, e-book, and audio formats. For more information, send us an e-mail at


Wishing you an inspiring journey,

Micheline Côté, owner - The Writers’ Retreat.

NEW RETREATS OPEN IN Lake Atitlán, GUATEMALA and Murphy, North Carolina, UNITED STATES

Congratulations and welcome to Linda Fazio for opening a writers’ retreat in Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, UNITED STATES.

Casa Fazio Retreat is nestled on 8 acres in a Blue Ridge Mountain valley located in Murphy, North Carolina.  The wraparound porch, sounds of birds, swings, and secluded meditation areas will rejuvenate the literary energies within any writer. 

The Retreat is owned and operated by Linda Fazio and Chef Sebastiano; they have both written a novel and Chef Sebastiano also has experience writing screenplays. Linda’s current passion is to motivate people to capture their memories and transfer them to memoirs, memory books, or slide presentations. Linda will also conducts writing workshops in summer and fall 2015. She is available to assist writers in whatever areas they need help. Chef Sebastiano is always around adding his wit and charm and takes center stage with his culinary skill at meal time. 


For more information and to secure your space, please contact Linda Fazio via email at or call 1-561-568-5005 and visit The Writers’ Retreat in Murphy, North Carolina


We are proud to announce the opening of our first retreat in Santiago, Lake Atitlán, GUATEMALA, and are delighted to welcome Cynthia Cornell as your host.


Nestled on the slopes of Volcán San Pedro, and overlooking the town of Santiago, the Orchids retreat is a very special place to experience life on Lake Atitlán and to get the creativity flowing. The elegant and quiet retreat is “off the grid” and offers all modern amenities.


Cynthia Cornell, your host, has travelled the world from Canada to England to India visiting over 60 different countries; she felt in love with Central America and decided to stay! She has written travel articles in various magazines and was Food Editor for a newspaper in British Columbia, Canada. She has a BA in English Literature and Drama at the University of Western Ontario. She will be delighted to meet you soon in her little paradise!


For more information, please contact Cynthia Cornell via e-mail at or visit The Writers’ Retreat in Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.



By Linda Fazio


Thank goodness for today’s world of technology and self-publishing. The process is really easy, the cost is minimal, and I encourage everyone who has written a book to do it.  The thrill of seeing my name and words in print was so rewarding and provided me such a sense of accomplishment. 

I began writing my book in 2002, participated in a couple of Writer’s Groups, worked with an Agent/Editor; and then finally, placed my finished manuscript in 2007 on the shelf in a cabinet with a saved copy on my computer.  Why didn’t I self-publish it then?  Probably because of discouraging words I heard from my Editor regarding my last revision of the book.  “Why did you change it?  I liked the way you’d written it before.” 

Everybody has an opinion.  While sometimes this is helpful, at other times it is the perfect time for a writer to develop a “writer’s block”.  A block to all the comments, so they are free to complete their work with their own inner inspiration.


I can still remember the first time I mailed my Agent a hard copy of my book printed on 8 ½ x 11 pages.   I was proud of it and I could help smiling from ear-to-ear while dropping it off at the post office.   My agent liked my story and her enthusiasm was very motivating.  So, we worked together for a while and I was very receptive to her comments.  Then, I met my future husband, Sebastian.  He also was a writer and gave me suggestions as well.  The book probably did change somewhat from the original version, but I was very proud of my finished manuscript.  When I heard my agent’s negative response regarding the final version, it just made me give up all hopes of every publishing it and I just put it away.  My life had become very busy in other areas, so I moved on.


Fast forward to 2015.  In eight years’ time, I owned, operated, and closed a Restaurant with my husband.  We created a new company that sells Gourmet Seasoning Mixes which required us to travel across the country providing cooking demonstrations of our product line   I sold three Real Estate Properties, all at a loss.  My oldest son went off to college and my youngest son is in High School.  My mother (84 and in excellent health) is living with us now.  I am teaching piano, working in retail, and opening a seasonal Bed & Breakfast/Writer’s Retreat.   Guess what?  I am at that point in my life again, where I want to write.


Last year, while moving things to our new residence, I discovered my book again.  I sat down and read it.  When I finished it, tears came to my eyes.  I loved it.  I really thought it was good.  Part of me even wondered how I had been able to write so much.  One day, I gave it to my mother to read.  She had read it before, but it had been several years and I thought she would want to read it again.  Several days later, she appeared in the kitchen with a strange look on her face.  I asked her what was wrong, she didn’t look well.  She responded with deep emotion and sincerity, “I don’t see why it can’t be a best-seller?”


Okay, she’s my mother, but still…..


Linda Fazio is offering two workshops this year at The Writers’ Retreat in Murphy, North Carolina “Publish That Book” and “Documenting Your Life’s Story”. For more information and to secure your space, please contact Linda Fazio via email at or call 1-561-568-5005. You may also visit The Writers’ Retreat in Murphy, North Carolina.




By Adilah Barnes


Memoir writing is arguably one of the easiest genres of writing because by definition it ought to be steeped in reflection and honesty. Imagination is not required in the same way as in fiction because the rich stories derived from our past and their seemingly insignificant details are already there, stored in memory. They need only be activated.


Good memoirs can be powerful.


Memoirs have the potential to change the lives of the writer and reader alike because the writing is personal, vulnerable and naked. They have the potential to create a main character that the reader will care about. This genre of writing can also influence the reader to make decisions or take action in another’s life. In fact, what creates the universality of storytelling is the ability to make the personal writing resonate for the reader in a way that is identifiable and that transports them to take pause and become inspired by another.

Everyone has the potential to write a memoir because everyone has a story.


What makes each story individual is the how in the telling of the story. Many of us have had similar experiences but what differentiates the how is the unique voice of the writer.


I suggest that a writer embarking on memoir for the first time choose at least five significant moments from his or her life and just write, write, write, without regard to how the story will come out.


It is not necessary to even write chronologically by event from one’s life.


Just let the pen or keyboard flow and see where the stories take you. The telling of the story is likely to drive the story forward and in the telling, themes may be revealed to build upon as the stories are further developed.

You can go back later to do the editing.


Some reflections may be haunting and others may bring back warm, fuzzy memories that feel good. Both are a part of our life experiences and each deserves reflection, sometimes confrontation, and a fresh perspective to view our lives from - using our critical eye, when needed.

It is not important to be concerned about what others will think of the writing because, first and foremost, the storytelling is for the writer.

Judgment of others ought to hold little concern, if any at all. In some instances, the writing may never be shared with another, but rather released privately. Therein lies the lesson from the experience.


Writing from the bones may simply be therapeutic.


As a writing instructor of personal stories, I use sensory work to jumpstart and activate the details of the memory through guided imagery of the five senses. One exercise that I have found to be particularly effective is to have writers lie on their backs on the floor, arms to their sides, to remember childhood experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant. It is in the early years that we first experience emotions that will follow us as adults throughout the rest of lives – such emotions as love, shame, joy, pain, happiness, embarrassment and fear.


These exercises can be a great source of emotional recall.


Those who wish to explore personal stories may wish to do the following: 1) Decide what stories they want to tell 2) allow unedited thoughts to flow freely 3) try to recall as much detail in the telling, as possible, and get those specifics down on paper 4) incorporate dialogue to hear the voices of others who are a part of the story 5) challenge oneself by writing about subjects that are also uncomfortable, especially those that have never been shared with another before 6) set daily writing goals 7) vividly depict scenes with strong imagery 8) create an arc in the writing with a clearly defined beginning, middle and end and 9) allow emotional tension through an increased sense of drama and conflict

Memoir writing ought to uphold a high standard of the craft that is well-written and reveals truth.


Above all, memoir writing must entertain the reader!


You can reach Adilah Barnes at or The Writer’s Retreat (Georgia location).




The Writers’ Retreat Network provides the perfect source for retreat operators and mentors to maximize their visibility; our network provides an efficient way to reach the right people – writers and authors.


Join our network today and reach 2,500+ subscribers. To assist you in setting up your retreat, please read a few pages of our guidebook A Writers’ Retreat: Starting from Scratch to Success!  Go to The guidebook is available in print, e-book, and audio formats. For more information, send us an e-mail at


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