It’s All About the People (Or Three Days of Being Spoiled Rotten)

Oct 20, 2016 by

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Today I’m catching up after three days at the Books & Such Retreat in Monterey, CA, where I enjoyed views like these…

Ate food that looked like this…

And stayed in this room.

As soon as I saw these stairs I added walk up and/or down the pretty staircase at least once to my mental list of things to do.


Did I mention that I’m easily entertained? It’s a perk of being poor.

Don’t worry, I won’t even attempt the usual sarcasm about how painful all of this was, or suffering for my craft, or that I’ve started saving for therapy in case ocean views trigger memories of meals that I didn’t want to mess up because they looked like works of art. The closest I came to being even mildly inconvenienced was when three friends and I set our plates on an outdoor table and had to cover them with our cloth napkins before going back for coffee so the sea gulls wouldn’t sample our breakfast. Oh, and there was also that time when we got out of the car at a lookout point along 17-Mile Drive and the wind messed up my hair. The horror! I know, “Don’t even talk to me!”

Let me just say that I am extremely grateful that I overcame my, I’m not worthy of such finery insecurities so I could fully enjoy the trip. Because it was the best three days ever!

I’m also thankful for how far God has brought me when it comes to fearing what others might think of me if I make a mistake, so when faced with the question To line dance or not to line dance? I only hesitated for a song and a half before deciding that I would be really mad at myself if I didn’t join in. I can now check this off my list of things I’ve never tried before. Exchanging “I’ll do it if you’ll do it” looks with Marilyn helped.

No, I don’t have a picture of myself dancing. It was a lot of fun, but trust me, you don’t want to know.

I’ve been hearing about the Bookie Retreat and envying those who qualified to go (Books & Such Literary Agency clients) for years. The last time they held one I’d just signed with my agent, Wendy Lawton, so I didn’t have time to save up. I can now confess that I avoided Facebook during the 2014 retreat dates so I wouldn’t covet thy follow writer’s good time.

My need to resist falling into the sin of envy had nothing to do with the fancy accommodations, great food, or the activities. I envied that so many of my writer friends would be there, and that they would get to do all of the above plus learn new things about writing and publishing together, without me.

[bctt tweet=”My need to resist falling into the sin of envy had nothing to do with the fancy accommodations…”]

For me, the past three days were all about the people!

Riding to Monterey with Sarah and Deb.

Spending time with my agent.

Meeting my publisher, Pamela Clements, in person for the first time.

Rooming with my dear friend Marilyn.

Time with friends that I usually only see once a year at Mount Hermon.

Dinner on the Warf for 14-20 so others could join us at the last minute, which I’m so glad they did!

Getting to know other Books & Such authors, who I either rarely see, had never met, or communicate with online.

Trading books.

Experiencing 17-Mile Drive with friends who’d never seen it before.


Seeing a different side of my fellow writers and several agents when the time came to line dance or not to line dance.

Meeting Marilyn’s sweet daughter.

I am convinced—and everyone I’ve spoken to so far agrees—that we had a lot more fun than the nuclear physicists did in the next conference room over. Why didn’t Jack London show up for us during Tuesday lunch? And hey, we didn’t get line dancing for our closing dinner! We need to talk to the boss when we get home.

It’s probably more likely that they thought we were weird.

Those ladies are with the writers. I accidentally went to their buffet line for breakfast. I didn’t understand a THING that they were talking about.”

“What do they even do at their conference? Excuse me—retreat.”

“I overheard something about plots. What are they plotting? Should we be afraid?”

But I did understand what my writer friends were talking about, and they understood me, which is one of the many reasons why I love spending time with them. The writing world has become a “place to fit,” for me and so many others and this wonderful retreat was a reminder of that.


Thank you, Wendy, Janet, Michelle, Rachel, Rochelle, Mary, and everyone else who made the past few days so wonderful!

I’ll explain the “place to fit” thing in next week’s post. Until then, when has time with good friends made a fun experience even more special?


[bctt tweet=”When has time with good friends made a fun experience even more special?”]


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  1. “A place to fit”.
    A thousand times, YES!!!
    Jeanette, I dearly regret not being able to chat with you.
    You were all in. All day, every day.
    That time you were laughing SO HARD during dinner at The Fish Hopper? It was a joy to see you have such a good time.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Thank you! I wish we would’ve been able to chat too That was one of the best experiences of my life! I hope we will connect again soon. Maybe at a writers’ conference :).

  2. Deb Gruelle

    Loved being with you, Jeanette!

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I loved seeing you too! It was so fun to ride with you and Sarah.

  3. Jeannette, thanks for sharing. So glad you made it to this retreat, since word is this is the last one. Wish I could have been there with you all.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      It was a lot of fun! I’m so glad I went. Since they aren’t having another retreat, maybe I’ll see you at a writers’ conference sometime.

  4. HAH! You LINE DANCED? So cool!!

    And in answer to your question, pie and coffee are always good, but much better when shared with you. 🙂

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Yes I did! And it was so fun!

      Can’t wait for our next pie and coffee talk.

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