Many thanks to author Rona Simmons for featuring me on her Women and Word blog! Read the full post––and learn about Rona––by clicking on the link below.
I chose a seat beside the window overlooking the parking lot outside Mittie’s Cafe & Tea Room. From my vantage point I hoped to spot Mari Ann Stefanelli as she arrived. We’d met a couple of weeks earlier, briefly and in low light at a local book event. She had been surrounded by friends—some old, some new—and was all eyes and smiles as she drifted toward me and then effortlessly away through the crowd.
I wondered whether I’d recognize her in broad daylight. Distracted for a moment by the waitress, I turned back to the window in time to see a woman approach but too late to glimpse her face. Head down, the woman hurried up the steps and through the door, hurrying because she was late, or because she was anxious, or because as I soon learned Mari Ann is always in a hurry. She extends her arm and offers a warm hug, and her auburn locks flow behind her head and around her face as if she she’d come from sitting for Botticelli.
It was Mari Ann. Definitely Mari Ann. I could not have mistaken her.
Mari Ann takes her seat and offers an instant apology for keeping me waiting, though I’d only just arrived, a genuine thanks for agreeing to meet on short notice, and a warning that she might have to take a call, and gosh it’s so nice to get to know each other, and…
In minutes, it is as if I’ve known Mari Ann all my life.
Read more at womenatword.wordpress.com
New York Times Best-Selling Author Joshilyn Jackson leads the lineup for The Writer’s High Retreat™ 2016 at Brasstown Valley Resort September 9 – 11 in Young Harris, Georgia. Joining Jackson are the award-winning authors Jessica Handler, whose memoir, Invisible Sisters, was named as one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read”; Michael Morris, whose third novel, Man in the Blue Moon, was named a best book of 2012 by Publishers Weekly; and the poet Clifford Brooks, whose first book of poetry, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was nominated for two Pushcarts and a Pulitzer in Poetry.
“Many retreat guests told me last year’s debut was ‘magical,’ and they felt energized in a way they’d never experienced before––‘the writer’s high,’” said Mari Ann Stefanelli, retreat founder. “There’s a powerful alchemy that occurs when writers come together in a gorgeous, peaceful setting and are given the time, inspiration, and support they need to breathe life into their writing.”
The Writer’s High Retreat at Brasstown Valley Resort package includes two nights’ accommodations, all retreat presentations, workshops, and events; meals included are Friday and Saturday dinner buffet, lunch buffet Saturday, and breakfast buffet Saturday and Sunday. Pricing until June 30 is $754/single and $559/double (per person). Prices include all taxes and gratuities. Space is limited. To register or to get more information, including the full program schedule, visit www.thewritershigh.com.
The featured speakers are accomplished authors, well-versed in fiction, nonfiction/memoir, and poetry, and known for their engaging and ground-breaking presentations.
Joshilyn Jackson: New York Times best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is the author of seven novels: Someone Else’s Love Story, gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, three times been a #1 Book Sense Pick, twice won Georgia Author of the Year, and three times been shortlisted for the Townsend prize. Her new novel, The Opposite of Everyone, is a “must-read” according to the New York Times Book Review. Find out more HERE.
Clifford Brooks: Clifford’s first book of poetry, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics has been nominated for two Pushcarts, a Pulitzer in Poetry, and Clifford has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year. With the attention his literary career has garnered, he has since The Southern Collective Experience and was invited into The Last Ancients. Both of these groups have given Clifford new energy and inspiration to complete his next book, Athena Departs, which will be released later this year.
Jessica Handler: Jessica’s memoir, Invisible Sisters, was named as one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read” in 2010. She wrote the acclaimed writers’ guide, Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss, to accompany her workshops about the challenges and rewards in writing well about difficult subjects. Her essays and features have appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, Full Grown People, Brevity, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine. Honors for her writing include residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, a 2010 Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the 2009 Peter Taylor Nonfiction Fellowship at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, and special mention for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. Jessica is a Visiting Lecturer in English at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
Michael Morris: Michael’s debut novel, A Place Called Wiregrass, won the Christy Award for Best First Novel. The Washington Post compared his second novel, Slow Way Home, to the work of Harper Lee and Flannery O’Connor. It was nationally ranked as one of the top three recommended books by the American Booksellers Association and named one of the best novels of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Publishers Weekly named Man in the Blue Moon, a best book of 2012. It was also an Indie Next List book club selection – ranking number three on the independent bookseller association’s list of recommended reads. Michael was a finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, and his essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia, is the bookseller for the event, and FoxTale staff will be available all day Saturday for book sales.
The Writer’s High Retreat™ is presented by The Writer's High, LLC, a professional writing and editing service for authors, businesses, and individuals. Additional sponsors include Atlanta Writers Club, Tinderbox Writers Workshop, The Southern Collective Experience, Sensei Project, an award-winning group of social media experts; McCurdy Life Coach, an executive coaching service, and Crane Creek Vineyards.
Many thanks to Writers in the Storm Blog for featuring my post on May 18, 2016:
Blazing fear woke me. Suffocating, I sucked and clawed at the air. A cardiac intensive care nurse held my hand, murmuring it’s ok, it’s ok, you’re on a ventilator, remember?
Read more: http://writersinthestormblog.com/2016/05/the-gift-of-an-opened-heart/
Winston Groom Heads Stellar Literary Lineup for
Inaugural The Writer’s High Retreat at High Hampton Inn
April 24 - 26, 2015
Author Winston Groom returns to the tranquil mountain setting where he penned parts of Forrest Gump, this time as the guest of honor heading an all-star lineup of literary talent for the inaugural The Writer’s High Retreat at the High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, NC. The Writer’s High Retreat will be held April 24 - 26, 2015.
Joining Groom for two days of presentations, panel discussions and workshops will be a cadre of today’s top literary talent, including 2013 Georgia Author of the Year, Kimberly Brock; award-winning author, poet and founder of the acclaimed Zona Rosa creative writing workshop, Rosemary Daniell; best-selling novelist, Cassandra King; and two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, author, writing coach and former journalist Jedwin Smith.
“High Hampton Inn has long been known as a destination that inspires people to reconnect – with friends, family, nature and their creative spirit, so when one of our longtime guests, writer and editor Mari Ann Stefanelli, approached me with the idea of a hosting a writer’s retreat, it was a perfect fit,” said Clifford Meads, General Manager of the High Hampton Inn.
“I wanted to share the writer's high I experienced during my many visits to High Hampton Inn with the writing community,” said Mari Ann. “The vistas, the altitude, the relaxed environment all come together in an almost magical alchemy to inspire effortless creativity – the writer’s high.”
In this informal, bucolic setting, writers will have plenty of free time to find their own writer’s high as well as learn from the panelists and speakers how to maintain it when they return to the real world.
Speakers, Panelists and Coaches for the event include:
Guest of Honor: Winston Groom, American novelist and non-fiction author who has written more than 14 books, is best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a film in 1994. His latest work, The Aviators, has received critical acclaim for its portrayal of three extraordinary aviators – Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle – and how they redefine heroism through their genius, daring, and uncommon courage.
Kimberly Brock, Kimberly Brock is the award-winning author of The River Witch (Bell Bridge Books, 2012). A former actor and special needs educator, Kimberly is the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year 2013 Award. Attendees will get a sneak peek at the techniques Brock uses in her new Tinderbox Writers Workshop, a salon-like workshop designed to help reconnect writers with their creative self through awareness, movement, and an environment that encourages them to find their true north, and embrace their gifts and unique voice, while fostering resilience.
Rosemary Daniell, Rosemary Daniell has been at the forefront of the Southern writing community for over thirty years, with eight books and more than a dozen awards to her credit. Her recently completed third memoir is My Beautiful Tigers: A Maverick Mother’s Journey. Her earlier memoirs, Fatal Flowers and Sleeping with Soldiers, were forerunners of the current memoir trend. One of the country's finest writing coaches, she founded Zona Rosa, the creative writing workshop she leads in Savannah, Atlanta, and cities throughout the world. Over 150 Zona Rosans are now published authors.
Cassandra King, Cassandra King is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels: Making Waves, The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls, Queen of Broken Hearts, and Moonrise, as well as numerous short stories, essays and articles. In fact, Moonrise is set in the Highlands of North Carolina and follows a character who embarks on a tryst at High Hampton Inn. A native of L. A. (Lower Alabama), Cassandra resides in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Jedwin Smith, Jedwin Smith is presently working on a Civil War novel and teaching writer workshops. Smith is the recipient of 57 major writing awards during his 36 years as a print journalist. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize — in 1984 for his coverage of the U.S. Marine Corps peace-keeping force in Beirut, Lebanon, and in 1986 for his extensive coverage of Africa's longest and deadliest struggle, the Eritrea-Ethiopia civil war, for which he was a Pulitzer finalist. His poignant memoir, Our Brother’s Keeper, was recently republished.
About High Hampton Inn:
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, High Hampton Inn has welcomed guests since 1922. This Southern version of the famous Great Camps of the Adirondacks is located on a 1,400-acre estate in the Western North Carolina resort town of Cashiers, NC. The Inn has kept its rustic, relaxed quality with a focus on the great outdoors, making it a perfect place to focus on creative arts and rejuvenation. There are no distractions from the outside world, and while none of the lodge rooms or cottages contains TVs or telephones, guests are encouraged to partake in a host of activities. A sumptuous Spa, 18-hole George W. Cobb-designed golf course, miles of hiking trails, and a 35-acre lake for canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing make it easy to explore and escape. The historic inn exudes a rustic mountain atmosphere with cedar shingles, stone fireplaces and handmade twig and mountain-crafted furnishings.
Mari Ann Stefanelli