Back from Retreat

All last week I was at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center in Honesdale, Pennsylvania—the main reason why I didn’t post last week or do my usual blog visiting. I was there for another Unworkshop—a fancy way of saying that I stayed in a cabin and wrote, instead of attending a workshop orchestrated by someone else. I went with four friends who also were there to finish a middle grade or young adult novel or at least to discuss strategies for getting back in the writing game.


You know how the first time you go someplace, you take a million photos of random things like trees and rocks?


Everything you see is viewed with wonder because you’re away from home and eager to see fresh sights. Well, I didn’t take as many photos this time. Oh, I still have photos of trees and rocks and the occasional building. But this time, I was more focused on getting things done. Oh and resting too. I needed that time away.



I met a bunch of lovely writers. Ate great food. Took walks.

But my guess is you’re probably here to find out who won the preorder of A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity, a middle grade time travel novel written by Nicole Valentine. If you’re confused by that sentence, click here.


This novel will be released in October 2019. A preorder of it, however, has been won by . . .

by . . .

by . . .

by . . .

by . . .

Charles Yallowitz!

Congratulations, Charles. You will receive this book upon its release this fall. Something to look forward to when the cold weather returns! Please comment below to confirm!

Thank you to all who commented.

Henry was upset that I was gone for several days and had left him behind. So he refused to face forward for this photo. (Yes, he gave me the turned back like a cat.) But at least he brought flowers.

Author photo and cover courtesy of Nicole Valentine. Other photos by L. Marie.

52 thoughts on “Back from Retreat

    • I love a retreat center. There are so many great places to walk and see beautiful things. I miss going to one that is in my neck of the woods, but was bought by someone else. I haven’t been able to do any retreats there. ☹️

  1. I love these pictures. And the part about resting. Being still. It’s such a beautiful setting for the complex endeavor of pouring out ourselves as we write. Give Henry a hug for me.

    • It’s possible that he did, though I can’t blame him, poor thing. I should have brought him with me to the wilds of Honesdale! He would have enjoyed the sunshine and the cooler temperatures. 😀

    • It was lovely, Andy. I had time to work on my novel and also a picture book that I’d forgotten was due yesterday! (My editor emailed to remind me.)

      How is your novel?

      • I put it on ice after the first draft, planning to return to it in six months or so. In the meanwhile, my poetry collection is (hopefully) imminent, and there I’ve received some interest in a short story collection. You remember the Northlore series? I’ve been speaking with someone who is familiar with my fiction in those about a possible twelve story collection. I’ve got another seven to go!

  2. Sound like a wonderful and well-deserved break! Did you get a lot of writing done? How lovely to have a group of friends who are involved in the same thing! Mutual support groups are great. 😀

    • I got some writing done. I’m glad I didn’t have high expectations on that score though. 😀 But the writing discussions were really great. Glad I got away, since I came back to deadlines!

  3. I’m glad you had a good, restful time with good food, good company, and lots of time to write. I assume you accomplished a lot. Happy April. I hope your weather is starting to warm up.

    • I did, Nicki. I was able to make one of my Monday deadlines because of my time there. (Had hours to spend looking at photos.)

      The weather is indeed warmer, though every morning is in the 30s so far. Someone mentioned snow last week. Happy Spring!

  4. This sounded like a peaceful retreat and hope you got some writing done. I am like you, taking photos of random things when I visit a new place. Could be a leaf on the ground or even multiple shots of a hiking trail…just fascinating. Awww Henry didn’t want to face you when you got back. He must have been bored while you were away but I am sure he is back to his old self now 🙂

    • I remember taking ten photos one time of the same tree. 😀 This time, none of us really took a lot of photos. We knew what we were there for and didn’t waste a lot of time.

      Henry is okay. He wanted to experience Pennsylvania air. I explained that the air was basically the same as here. But he doesn’t believe me.

      • Don’t blame you for taking ten photos of the same tree when you did. You got to do it from different angles, and take a few more to make sure at least one photo isn’t blurry 😀

        Awww. Henry sounds like he could do with a holiday. Maybe next time. In the meantime, he can have this cookie 🍪

      • Henry says, “Thank you for thinking of me when L. Marie didn’t.” And then he quickly tried to amend the statement, not wanting to hurt my feelings. But I didn’t take offense. 😃

  5. Oh how wonderful to get away in for some tranquility and to write. It’s funny, I was just telling my husband yesterday that I want to get away to a cabin where he can go golfing all day and I can write.

    Happy for you that you were able to get away.

    • I would suggest Highlights, but I’m not sure where a golf course is in relation to it. But there’s gotta be one somewhere in the vicinity! I think you would enjoy it!

      • We’d have to be able to drive and take Max. I won’t leave him in a kennel, and we have no one to watch him. He’s stayed in many cabins with us on vacations, and he’s such a joy to bring with.

  6. Congratulations to Charles and I hope Henry has gotten over his snit over you being away. 🙂
    It sounds like your unworkshop/retreat was just what you needed, L. Marie. Good news and good for you, staying on task and making the most the moments. Your little cabin looks perfect for concentrating and purpose. I am notorious for taking lots of pictures – although they do often become sources of inspiration. Enjoy some of this sunshine – and best wishes as you “write on”.

    • You would love Highlights, Penny, though you have your own retreat center, judging by the pictures I’ve seen of your home and the places you find on your walks. 😄 And you take the best photos too!

      • Thank you, L. Marie. That is kind of you. I think you are likely correct about Highlights. Sometimes it is good to step away and it looks like a perfect spot. 🙂

      • It is though the trails can get very muddy. And they were doing some tree cutting. Kept hearing a large truck driving on gravel at times.

  7. Congratulations to Charles! And welcome back, L. Marie 🙂 The retreat sounds and looks lovely and relaxing. Poor Henry! I’m sure he’ll come around (pun intended). Maybe you could take him with you next time … ah, yeah, I know. It would defeat the purpose of the retreat 😉

    • Ha ha! Good one, Marie! 😀 I really should have taken him. But I was too busy running out the door for the Uber to pay attention to any pouting faces.

      Highlights is very relaxing. So lovely to be there.

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