Writing Retreat Much?

Mount Shasta

 The benefits of writing retreats.


Recently, I had the privilege of spending 6 days with Nina Bruhns. She’s the Editorial Director and Senior Editor for Entangled Publishing’s DEAD SEXY books. She’s also a Bestselling romantic thriller author. She writes as both Nina Bruhns and Nikita Black and her books are absolutely sexy-thrilling.

From right: Nina Bruhns, Virna DePaul, Grace Callaway, Susan Hatler, Cyndi Faria, Rochelle French

A benefit of the small retreat setting was that I got to know the writer behind the book cover. Nina’s love of travel, not to mention that she’s also an archeologist (an Egyptologist), was inspiring as she has lived and worked all over the world.

During the Mt. Shasta retreat, in California, Nina talked about the ten types of movies and how romance writers often find themselves writing the same types of books over and over again.

Movie types include:

  • Monster in The House
  • Golden Fleece: Road movie.
  • Out of the Bottle: Wish plus magic.
  • Dude/Dudette with a Problem: Ordinary guy/extraordinary circumstances
  • Rites of Passage
  • Buddy Love
  • Whydoneit? Villain plus why?
  • The Fool Triumphant: Outsider triumphs by luck.
  • Institutionalized: Band together for common cause.
  • Superhero: Extraordinary guy/ordinary circumstances

She also presented her twist on Blake Snyder’s “Beats” for screenwriters (as detailed in Blake Snyder’s book, Save the Cat), which she has tweaked for romance writers and teaches her method at various retreats and conferences.

So if you’re a writer who wants to improve your writing craft and networking in a big way, I encourage you to check out your local RWA chapters for writing workshops and retreats. You’ll not only deepen your relationship with fellow authors, but, who knows, maybe you’ll bring home a new critique partner or a friend for life.

From Right: Cyndi Faria, Virna DePaul, Rochelle French, Susan Hatler, Poppy Reiffin

Check out some of this year’s writing retreat attendants’ talents, books, and websites below:

Published Authors:

Pre-Published Authors:

  • Poppy Reiffin—Web Developer and E-book Designer, Contemporary Romance
  • Vanessa Kier—Urban Fantasy and Romantic Thriller
  • Maris Bennett—Columnist for Contra Costa Times
  • Linda Livingston—Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements
  • Kristina Mathews
  • Sam Bradley—Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements
  • Laura McCann—Contemporary Romance

8 thoughts on “Writing Retreat Much?

    • Me, too, Jill! I feel absolutely rejuvinated–well after a couple of days in my own bed–but now I’m all energy! Can’t wait for next year’s retreat. Cyndi

    • Sam, so glad you got something out of the retreat! Yes, I’m sure all who attended learned something. As far as the next retreat, that’s up to the new board… 😀

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