By Lina Perez

Happy Diners at Retreat 2We wait for the day of the Washington Romance Writers’ retreat to arrive with great hope, joy and excitement. We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we share stories of our struggles and achievements with our writing.

We come dreamy-eyed in the hopes of acquiring an agent or publishing house, attend the workshops for knowledge, and participate in the wonderful raffle baskets prepared by our members―the funds collected from the raffles go to charity. This year WRW had two.

Yvette BazzellThe Retreat Committee, composing of committed WRW members, this year was chaired by Ms. Yvette Bazzell, and they gave it their all (110%) in making sure that this year’s retreat is the best one yet and I say they have succeeded.



Liliana HartThe retreat started on a Friday with a Newcomer Orientation, a Welcome Reception, and a Dinner with a special guest speaker. This year we were honored by Ms. Liliana Hart, Author of Cade: Book 1 of the Mackenzie Family series. She shared her touching and funny story of her journey to fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. After dinner we were directed to one of the rooms for several hours of karaoke.

Saturday begins with “Early Bird” specials like “Improv for Writers” or “Legal Issues and the Digital World.” The day continues with many workshops and appointments arranged for us with visiting literary agents and/or editors.

This year WRW was pleased to host Ms. Jill Marsal, from Marsal Lyon Literary Agency; Ms. Patience Bloom, Senior Editor with Harlequin and Ms. Esi Sogah, Senior Editor with Kensington, to name a few. As you wait for your appointment well wishes are spread around―a sense of camaraderie, nervousness and anticipation fills the air. We are rewarded as we see our colleagues emerge from their interviews with smiles on their faces, as they are invited to submit their writings. A peer’s success is everyone’s success.

Robin PeriniThe day starts to wind down with cocktails and getting ready for dinner and another guest speaker, Ms. Robin Perini, Author of “The Cradle Conspiracy” – whose touching story had some of us wiping our eyes in fear of the tears threatening to pour out as she spoke about her mother’s inspiration and commitment in making sure her daughter had a chance to follow her dream. Her story reignited in all of us our continued commitment to the passion of writing and our desire to be known as wonderful story tellers.

Steampunk CandyAfter dinner everyone gathered for a steam-punk-themed game of “Romance Jeopardy”. The competition was fierce, but filled with laughter, singing and cheering on.

Steampunk HelenMoonlight Madness, back on the Retreat’s agenda, was stationed in the back of the room, where romance jeopardy was taking place. Attendees got a chance to check out the many goodies they offered for sale―silk scarves, make-up, jewelry, hand-crocheted cowls, Writing Blocks Idea Dices and many other fantastic items.

By the end of the evening everyone is exhausted, but it is a great feeling of exhaustion because we had spent our time with friends who had us laughing, talking, dancing and singing.

Jeopardy ParticipantSunday, there was a sense of calmness, as folks attend either Ms. Kimberly Kincaid’s yoga class or another early bird special. Editors and Agents prepare for their journey home. Members’ passions are renewed with new energy and desires.

2014 Raffle WinnerThere is great anticipation, as there is an expectant of sad goodbyes, but with excitement as we prepare to spend another year of writing, connecting with our readers, and remembering to share our news and successes with our friends at the next WRW retreat. But before everyone goes home to write, the final event is the famous basket raffles. Glorious baskets prepared by our members with different themes.

On behalf of WRW members I would like to thank the following ladies for the love, the energy and commitment in which they went about to make this one weekend-a-year last a lifetime:

Ms. Yvette Bazzell – Retreat Chair & Programs and Retreat Folders, Flowers and Special Decor

Ms. Candy Lyons, President of WRW – WRW Board Liaison and Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Julie Halperson, Vice President – WRW Board Liaison

Ms. Terri Brisbin – VIP Liaison & Transportation Coordinator

Ms. Gwen Hernandez – Retreat Registrar and Retreat Name Badges

Ms. Denise McInery – American Author Coordinator

Ms. Deborah Barnhart – Rooming Coordinator

Ms. Christine Trent – Editor/Agent Appointment Coordinator

Ms. Robin Covington – Editor /Agent Appointment Coordinator

Ms. Binnie Braunstein – Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Helen Hester-Ossa – Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Kimberly Kincaid – Goody Bag Coordinator

Mr. Tim Bentler-Jungr – Retreat Room Setup

Ms. Lisa Dyson – Newcomer Orientation Coordinator

Ms. Keely Thrall – Romance Jeopardy

Ms. Tricia Wheeler – Retreat Recording Coordinator

Ms. Sandy Rangel – Book Swap