From Here To There – Storycrafting and Coaching for Writers Retreat

Anyone who has visited My Book Therapy Voices knows that Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck make an extraordinary team. Now, let’s take that thought a step further. How about experiencing a writing retreat where Susan, Rachel and lots of friends from My Book Therapy gather together for a weekend of brainstorming, plotting and all the other good things in a writer’s life?

From Here to There –
Going from raw idea to a drawn-out plot

How do you take your ideas and turn them into a story?
How do you know if your idea will sell?
Where do you start?

This working storytellers retreat, set just outside of Minneapolis during the beautiful fall season is designed for a writer who has an idea…but needs help putting it together into a plot.

Come with your idea, leave with a game plan. We’ll teach you story structure, and then go step by step in the character creation and plotting process, explaining how to determine each step, and then show you how to apply it toyour story.

We’ll brainstorm your ideas with you, share essential secrets of storytelling, and finally, you’ll take home a filled-out workbook that will act as a map as you write your novel.

For beginners to advanced writers who just want a guide along the way, the From Here to There Storycrafter’s Retreat will jumpstart your novel further down the road to publication.

Storycrafting & Coaching Retreat for Writers
Friday, October 23, 2009 1:00 pm –
Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:00 am (Central Time)

Riverwood Inn & Conference Center
10990 95th St. NE
Otsego, MN 55362

For more information, visit here for more information.

Here’s a sample of the questions Suz will tackle:

When sending a query letter or proposal, how do you suggest to the editor that you have a series in mind beyond the book you are pitching?

You tell them this in a marketing paragraph about the series. Here’s the one I used for the DeepHaven Series – (when I pitched Happily Ever After)

Set in the fictional, picturesque tourist town of Deephaven, northern Minnesota, Happily Ever After of Privacy is also the first in a three part collection entitled, “The Deep Haven Series.” Each book tells the story of a woman, running from the storms of life and searching for a home, who discovers true love and the inner peace that only a deep relationship with God can bring. The series combines the threads of mystery, suspense and spiritual searching with heartwarming tales of love, and weaves them into satisfying romances set it in a town we’d all love to visit. Attached is a short summary of the series and the titles in the collection.


I just blurt my entire novel out in a rough draft, usually coming in way over word count. I have a difficult time choosing which scenes to keep and which to throw away. Everything seems relevant to me.


what scenes are the least powerful. Can you combine them with other scenes? Does a scene, at any point, slow the story down?

Then it should go.

And, as a general rule, take a hard look at all the “sequel” scenes (or ReAction scenes)

and ask:

do I need them? Are they too long? Can I put this into action? Most of all, when you’re reading along (just for pleasure), when you are able to put the book down and go do laundry…

that’s the scene to delete.


The five senses are essential to making a novel come alive. How do you know if you’ve used enough sensory description?

Go through each chapter and make sure you use each one at least once, and at least one per page (3-4 paragraphs) as well. You want to keep the reader anchored into the scene, and you do this by winding the senses through the scene without being obvious.

Intrigued? Come to the conference and ask questions of your own!!

If you want to understand novel writing,
From the Inside Out breaks down writing concepts into understandable bites. Susan and Rachel cover all topics necessary to help the writer create a rich, satisfying read. Filled with examples, techniques, examples and exercises, this book earns it’s place on the reference keep shelf.

The countdown to the retreat has begun! Visit these sites and keep the excitement alive!

Blog Tour Schedule

August 24 Visit Patricia at Readin N Writin
August 25 Visit Laura at Lighthouse-Acadmey
August 26 Visit Roxanne at The Writing Road
August 27 Visit Julie at The Surrendered Scribe
August 29 Visit Pattie at Fresh-Brewed Writer
August 30 Visit Lisa at Musings

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Fun Fact About Coloradoans


NOW You’re from Colorado if:

You’ll eat ice cream in the winter.

When the weather report says it’s going to be 65 degrees, you shave your legs and wear a skirt.

It snows 5 inches and you don’t expect school to be cancelled.

You’ll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature.

You have no accent at all, but can hear other people’s. And then you make fun of them.

‘Humid’ is over 25%.

Your sense of direction is: Toward the mountains and Away from the mountains.

You say ‘the interstate’ and everybody knows which one.

You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.

You buy your flowers to set out on Mother’s day, but try and hold off planting them until just before Father’s day.

You grew up planning your Halloween costumes around your coat.

You know what the Continental Divide is.

You don’t think Coors beer is that big a deal.

You went to Casa Bo nita as a kid, and as an adult.

You’ve gone off-roading in a vehicle that was never intended for such activities.

You always know the elevation of where you are.

You wake up to a beautiful, 80 degree day and you wonder if it’s going to snow tomorrow.

You don’t care that some company renamed it, the Broncos still play at Mile High.

Every movie theater has military and student discounts.

Everybody wears jeans to church.

You actually know that ** South Park ** is a real place not just a show on TV.

You know what a ‘trust fund hippy’ is, and you know its natural habitat is Boulder .

You know you’re talking to a fellow Coloradoan when they call it Elitches, not Six Flags.

A bear on your front porch doesn’t bother you.

Your two favorite teams are the Broncos and whoever is beating the crap out of the Raiders.

When people out East tell you they have mountains in their state too, you just laugh.

You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels ‘sticky’ and you notice the sky is no longer blue.

Posted in Colorado, Laugh Out Loud | 1 Comment

Zucchini Pie?

This has been a very weird summer for the Front Range of Colorado. Here it is, the middle of August, and we are still GREEN! The grass is green; the fields are green; the weeds are green. Everything is way beyond thriving thanks to the moisture laden weather patterns we’ve experienced.

To the delight of gardeners both green and seasoned, this year’s bounty of fruits and vegetables promises great reward for all the painstaking effort.

My friend Amy moved last winter to a home on five acres just outside of Longmont. Beside the house she discovered a garden area overgrown from neglect. Last spring, she weeded the plot not planning on planting a garden but rather wanting to wait out a season and see what grew as volunteer. Didn’t happen. She ended up cultivating a variety of vegetables, surprised the plants flourished so well in the former bed of weeds.

Now, a few months later, everyone in our office is benefitting from Amy’s hard work and curiosity. Yes, my friends, we are bursting at the seams in zucchinis.

Carol O’Meara is a horticulture agent in our office. She hosts Gardening After Five as a blog complimenting her duties as Master Gardener coordinator. A couple of days ago she posted about zucchinis and received a comment offering a wonder receipe for apple pie made from zucchini.

Sounds delicious. I plan to try it this weekend.

Let me know what you think : )


Makes 9-inch pie
6 cups zucchini (extra large zucchini are firmer)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt and nutmeg
Dough for double pie crust

Preheat oven to 350. Peel zucchini, wash and slice lengthwise. Remove seeds. Slice like apples. Bring to a boil in a large saucepan; simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender. Cool and drain well. Add rest of ingredients and place into an unbaked 9 inch pie crust. Cover with top pie crust and flute to seal edges. Cut slits into top of crust for steam to escape.

For a sugary top sprinkle white granulated sugar on top before baking. For a shiny top use a pastry brush and brush milk or watered down beaten egg on top before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

(submitted by Tony K)

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Visit Camy Tang on Five Scribes!

Pop on over to Five Scribes where I’m hosting Camy Tang as our guest blogger. Camy is blogging on her recent visit to Denver in July as she participated in the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) and a writer’s retreat. Funny thing — Camy attended a workshop featuring Michael Hauge as part of her retreat the day before I attended a workshop of his sponsored by Colorado Romance Writers, my home RWA chapter. Amazing the paths our writer’s lives cross : )

Deadly Intent is Camy’s current release, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, July 2009. Let me share the back cover with you.


The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation — not murder! When Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect — Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?

Camy Tang has a knack for drawing her readers into her stories. Deadly Intent showcases Camy’s signature style for creating characters that come alive on the page and invite you into their lives.

Enjoy her post on Five Scribes! I encourage you read Camy’s Sushi Series published by Zondervan.

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Week of Fair

This week has passed so quickly, I can barely remember it all!

All the livestock weighed in for fair on Tuesday. Tuesday night the shows began.

First, and lengthiest, is the swine competition. Tuesday night they held showmanship; Wednesday featured market swine; Thursday, breeding swine. There are so many members of 4-H and FFA that raise hogs, the shows need to be spread out over the week to give the kids a chance to show their other animals : )

Market goats held their competition on Wednesday. I love goats. Playful, curious creatures, they make you laugh even when you want to throttle them for eating your front porch flowers (yes, this has happened a time or two).

Market lambs held all their shows on Thursday. My kids are showing lambs this year. They began with showmanship at noon and moved on to the market shows immediately afterwards. Tough competition this year — just like every other year. Kara and Bud did well showing their lambs and walked away satisfied they’d done the best they could with their animals.

Kara is angling already to bring her lamb home rather than selling it : )

Tomorrow is the Junior Market Sale where each member has the opportunity to bring one of their fair animals to auction.

We’ll see how this year goes…

Posted in Boulder County Fair | Comments Off on Week of Fair

If you head over to the Seekerville today, I’m talking about sensory details in your writing. Of course, I sprinkle tidbits of the Boulder County Fair all over the place.

Come on over and play!

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Boulder County Fair – July 31

Today kicks off the 140th year of the Boulder County Fair!

All day finishing touches were applied to displays including verification of awards received, proper placement of displays and vendor set up. Good thing we had until 4:00pm to spit and polish, we needed every moment to prepare for showtime!!

Livestock does not arrive at the fairgrounds until Tuesday (except Poultry).

The rounds of Horse shows have been in play since Wednesday, July 29. Events need to be staggered across the fairgrounds — we only have so many barns, arenas, and stalls : ) The Horse competition runs from July 29 thru Aug 1, culminating in the final event, the Champion of Champions. Horses have been groomed to perfection, clothing selected with care. Competition fierce.

Very exciting.

Stayed tuned. More to come : )

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Boulder County Fair – July29-30

Life is hectic here in the Boulder County Extension Office as we prepare for 4-H and Open class project judging.

Open class offers the opportunity for residents to enter various projects for judging in Fair. All the tradional projects such as quilting, canning, photography are well attended as are school-age art, creative arts, clothing and many more categories!

4-H Interview Judging offers members and cloverbuds the opportunity to complete their projects for year end credit. After working all year on the projects specified at enrollment, the kids come in and talk to judges who are experienced in the field. This year, shooting sports, photography and foods were the biggest draws, but model rocketry and cake decorating also offered a strong show. 4-H has recently expanded project areas to include a strong emphasis on technology and sciences. Geospatial and Wind Power are two of the popular projects.

4-H is NOT just crops and cows anymore! Follow me through the week and see what the oldest County Fair in Colorado (celebrating our 140th year) continues to boast about!

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Preview of the Boulder County Fair

Life has kicked into HIGH for the Harders’ family. It is July and that can only mean one thing…Boulder County Fair!

Even though my daughter graduated from high school last year, she is still able to participate in 4-H this final year. She is raising lambs and competing in Shoot Sports. Her 4-H ambitions have definitely slowed down over the last few years, considering she is only participating in two projects this year rather than the sliding 6 to 10 as she has in years past.

Bud, who is going to be a senior in high school is also participating in lambs and Shooting Sports, but two projects a year is normal for my son : )

Although the County Fair doesn’t technically begin until July 31, the Shooting Sports contests have already passed and I”m proud to say both Kara and Bud have qualified to go to the Colorado State Fair in .22 Caliber Rifle, Air Rifle/Pistol, and Archery.

Kara excels in .22; Bud in Archery.

Since I work for the Extension Office as the 4-H secretary, this coming week holds lots of adventure for me. Monday night the display cases for the projects need to be inspected and repaired. The project Superintendents will review their number of entries and plan to arrange the displays accordingly. I get to help and coordinate where ever I’m needed.

Thursday, we have Interview Judging Day for all the 4-Hers. The kids bring their projects for judging which includes an interview with a judge.

This is an exciting day.
This is a long day.
This will be a day full of surprises.

I’ll post through out the week and let you know how life goes : )

Posted in 4-H, Boulder County Fair | Comments Off on Preview of the Boulder County Fair

Another Seeker Sale!!

Congratulations to Carolyn Slaughter w/a Cara Lynn James, another Seeker to win the nod of an editor!

WooHoo, go Cara!!

As you know, First Sales earn the deserving Seeker a first-class ticket off of Unpubbed Island. With the sale of her manuscript, Love On A Dime to Thomas Nelson Publishers, Cara must surrender her hut and face the world of publishing.

I’m so proud of you, Cara!!!

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