Friday, April 23, 2010

Sabino Springs Writers' Retreat, Tucson, Arizona, January 2011

Journeys and Discoveries: Writing From Your Life
Sabino Springs Writers’ Retreat

Tucson, Arizona

January 22 to 28, 2011

Join editor and instructor Allyson Latta for this unique one-week retreat open to travel-loving writers of all ages. At Sabino Springs you’ll enjoy a series of entertaining and stimulating workshops and the opportunity to explore your own creative writing, while taking in sunshine, desert and mountain scenery, and irresistible Arizona culture.

Interested in developing your memoirs, or using life experiences to enrich your fiction or other writing? This retreat could be the inspiration you need.

Relax in shared accommodation at the luxurious Casitas, with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and the fairways of the Arizona National Golf Club. Condos are over 1200 square feet and feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms, state-of-the-art kitchen, dining area, great room with queen-size pullout couch, and outdoor patio. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness centre. Our workshop venue is a 15-minute walk away at host Gail Rudyk’s welcoming Southwestern-style home.

Registration fee covers 7 nights’ accommodation, most meals, 12 hours of workshops, 1 private consult with Allyson, a Q&A session with a Tucson-based literary publisher, group activities such as an evening Reading Salon, and transportation for planned sightseeing.

Optional excursions include a tram-ride and hike in picturesque Sabino Canyon, a visit to Tanque Verde Dude Ranch, a trip to Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a guided tour of San Xavier del Bac Mission and historic downtown Tucson, lunch at the charming Arizona Inn and gardens ... and more. Use free time to focus on your own writing, commune with other writers, and re-energize in these beautiful surroundings.

Space is very limited and some workshop spots may be reserved by local writers. Accommodation availability is based on booking order. Contact Allyson at  for rates, Program, and Detail Sheet. For more about Allyson, visit the site for Days Road Writers Workshops.

Early-bird registration special: Register before August 15, 2010 [new date], and receive a written critique of one piece of writing (max. 2,000 words).

Writers' Community of Durham Region member discount: 10% off registration fee

Friday, April 16, 2010

Memoirist Mary McIntyre's poem accepted for publication

Guest post by Mary McIntyre

I fit my grandmother-sized brain into the head of an angry, frustrated teen. Why do that? you might ask. The exercise was in response to the Writers' Circle of Durham Region's broadcast email from Susie Berg of Pearson Educational Publishing. In the fall of 2009 the publisher was looking for poetry for their May/June edition of applied language arts, English 9-10, Poetry Module, "Live Lines." The topic: teens in family conflict, and the poem had to appeal to 15-year-olds, most of them boys, and could have no profanity. I threw on a "hoodie," slammed shut my office door, shoved iPod ear pieces into my ears, slouched in front of my computer, and wrote a poem titled "Ugly Like A Scar."

After a couple of months I received by email from a Pearson representative a permission request to include my poem in the textbook. It was then that I realized the scope of the edition: 45,000 copies (approx. 80 pages), 1,500 teacher guides, audio rights downloadable to MP3 player – 1,500 users (classrooms), and electronic rights, student password-protected website – 1,077 users (classrooms).

On receiving the news, I emitted a grandmotherly whoop of satisfaction, and as a former teacher, thought about the impact my poem might have on troubled teens. Then I switched gears and thought about the impact the publication offered to me as an emerging writer.

I solicited members of my writing group, Life Writers Ink, and Allyson Latta, Writing Coach, and Deborah Windsor, President of The Writers' Union of Canada, to learn about how I should handle the offer. With their help, I concluded the negotiation to my satisfaction.


MARY MCINTYRE has been published in Parry Sound's The Beacon newspaper, and won first prize in the 2008 Days Road Writers' Workshops memoir contest, for her short story "Scugog at Dark." In her forthcoming book, Washburn Island: A Memoir of Childhood, the strong ties of a British immigrant family are torn apart by a violent tragedy at Washburn Island, Lake Scugog, where several generations of her family summered for over thirty years.

Mary has participated in a number of Allyson Latta's workshops, live and online, since 2004.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mary Judith Ress's "Blood Flowers" honours sisters killed in 1980 in El Salvador

Mary Judith Ress is pleased to announce the publication of her novel Blood Flowers. Her publisher iUniverse has designated it an  "Editors' Choice." The book is available on and

Says Judy: "I have been writing this novel since 1983. It was inspired by the assassination of the four religious sisters in 1980 in El Salvador -- especially by the life of Ita Ford, who went from Chile to El Salvador as a missionary. I was a member of the mission team in El Salvador in those years, you see -- and two of the women killed were my "compaƱeras" -- one of them actually replacing me. So in a real way, this novel is to honour their memory. While it started out as an historical novel, in the end I concentrate more on the relationships among my characters -- always complex, always surprising."
Judy Ress is a journalist, editor and ecofeminist theologian, as well as a member of Santiago Writers, a Chile-based group founded by Canadian writers Ellen Hawkins and Susan Siddeley. Judy has previously published non-fiction; Blood Flowers is her first novel. She was a participant in my 2010 Santiago, Chile memoir workshops as part of Susan Siddeley's Los Parronales Writers' Retreat.