A Retreat For One

A Retreat For One

When was the last time you went on a retreat? By yourself? With no agenda, but just to be?

This would be such a blast!

This would be such a blast!

I can’t remember. All my travels have a purpose – writing conferences, mostly. Or vacations with the hubby, or visiting the family, or writing retreats with friends. But take ME on a retreat, with nothing planned? I am having difficulty wrapping my brain around it.

(I will say the closest I come to having gone on a retreat was when I visited Tehachapi, last December. I stayed with my brother and his gal, and had a wonderful time with no real purpose behind it, other than helping out some friends.)

Leonie Dawson put this thought into my head with her post about her retreat. Now, she has a 3 year old, and I don’t; so she had anxieties about leaving home that I don’t have. (My anxieties are much weirder uh, different.) But where should I go?

Or camping. By myself. Well, maybe not...

Maybe camping. By myself? Well, maybe not…

Aside from where to go, the other question lingers in my mind. What would I do on a solo retreat? Leonie’s retreat didn’t quite go as she had planned, but it was just what she needed. Three nights and days of solitude and the sea and sunshine, which refreshed her and refilled her creative well.

My circumstances are a bit different, and I won’t be planning any three-night stays in a b&b on an ocean cliffside any time soon. (Or on a Boat, Bed and Breakfast…) But I really want to go on a retreat, so I am going to start small. I won’t be all alone, but I’ll have my days free and I won’t be at home for two nights. Two absolute musts, as far as I’m concerned.

I shall go prepared, but without plans. Which means I’ll take my camera and my computer and my drawing stuff, and see what happens. And I’ll meet up with my man at nights for a yummy dinner and great discussion about what we did that day, plus the comfort of not sleeping alone.  Sooo…

Back to Shelter Island Marina go I! Woo!

Back to Shelter Island Marina go I! Woo!

But before I can go, I need to get the Guitar book edited and off to the publisher (fingers crossed). Which means I need to hustle! The last thing I want is to have a deadline looming over me while on a retreat. That is NOT relaxing, lol!

(By the way, welcome to the new look of the blog! My thanks to Kristen Lamb for the new tagline.)

Have you ever gone on a retreat by yourself, with no plans in place? Does that sound like
something you would ever do? If so, where would you go? How long would you go for?


Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, cheers!

Back To School Go I…Why?

Back To School Go I…Why?


I’m in school again. I’m going to WanaCon this weekend (5am Webinar this morning about Twitter. OMG…but Marcy Kennedy made it worth while!), I’m taking the two month author platform course by Kristen Lamb (she calls it a blogging course but it’s much, much more than that), I’m taking a class tomorrow IRL about – oh too funny, I had to look it up – but it’s called Understanding Comedy – The Rules. Plus I’m probably going to sign up for Marcy Kennedy’s month long Twitter course, which is in March.

Can You Say Busy??

Christine's rose garden.

Let’s stop a minute and smell the roses, shall we?

In spite of the busy-ness, this all feels good. It feels positive. The last time I took so many classes in such a concentrated time was about six months before I sold my first novel; so I’m loving this groove right now.

I’m also really loving the Age of Social Media, mainly because it opens up so many opportunities to me for classes taught by amazing people that I’d otherwise never get to meet due to costs/time constraints/location issues. (I don’t understand people who don’t take web classes. Seriously. They are SO missing out!)

It allows me to meet people like Rhenna Morgan, who lives in Oklahoma and is also a paranormal and contemporary romance writer. I can get caught up with family and friends through Facebook, and ooh and ahh about the Royal Wedding on Twitter (okay, so I’ve been MIA on Twitter lately. I’m working on it.).

The Downside…

Unlike the Dark Side though, the downside of social media has no cookies. But it does have a LOT of noise. When I got home yesterday from the Day Job, I had a Skype interview with a fabulous author, and then a WANACon social webinar gathering. After two hours of that, I shut down and did not look at email. 

Big. Mistake.

When I finally went online this morning to get my email, I had 236 unread emails waiting for me in my inbox. Which is a warning flag to me, especially because as I went through them, I deleted most of them unread. That tells me I’m subscribed to too many things and I’m on too many lists. The unimportant things are drowning out the important ones, and I need to spend some time fixing that. Again.

Kind of like getting your teeth cleaned twice a year, I guess. Twice a year I need to thresh through my email and social media lists and part ways with those that don’t nurture me. Let me say that again, but in a different way.

Keep only those email and social media lists that Nurture your Fabulous Self.

What about you?

How do you keep your social media in check, so you aren’t overwhelmed and truly enjoy your experience? Because if we aren’t enjoying the experience, we probably shouldn’t be doing it. Right?

I’d love to hear from you! Oh, and here. Have a cookie.

Photo of Christmas Cookies.

Okay, so they are unfrosted Christmas cookies. They’re still cookies! Have a snowman and leave a comment, lol!


Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are both available for both the Kindle and KoboHave you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Whither Wine Fridays?

Whither Wine Fridays?

Whither Wine Fridays?

I like Wine. I like Fridays. So it seemed a perfect match, to blog about Wine on Fridays. But…maybe it’s time to branch out in another direction. The question is, which direction?

Label for the Smoking Loon Pinot NoirIt’s not like the world is rushing to my door, giving me wine to taste and begging me for my decidedly plebian opinion. Just because I find Smoking Loon Pinot Noir to be tasty and at an under-$6 a bottle a total bargain, doesn’t mean others will find that interesting. Or that they’ll like the wine.

Just because I think some wine labels are ridiculously over-written and seriously in need of a good copy editor who can write while NOT imbibing doesn’t mean there’s an audience for that.

And because I salivate for a bottle of Cristal champagne, and I look forward to those days I can offer guestsPhoto of Cristal Champagne that sippage and not count the cost, doesn’t mean others share my lust for the bubbles.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining here – I’m just wondering if maybe its time to go in a different direction.

Part of that is my change in diet. Note, I said my change in diet, not that I’m ON a diet. Major difference. I’ve been living in a Crazy Sexy Kitchen world since January 20th, when a lovely woman named Erin Shachory introduced me to Kris Carr and her plant-based way of eating. Personally, I LOVE the term “plant-based” instead of vegan or vegetarian – it seems much less IN YOUR FACE, MEATEATER. But maybe that’s just me?

At any rate, the book has me sipping lemon water after I get up, then getting my greens in with some AWESOME green juice. I’m feeling the love – balancing my eating 60/40, and heaping the salads and the veggie love on my plate. I wake up happier, clear-headed, and I don’t hurt as much. ??? Interesting.

If you’re interested, here’s the book.

The book that Erin Shachory introduced me to. Thank you, Erin!

But this post isn’t about that!

This post is kind of a heads-up that things are shifting at Chez Christine’s – and maybe even the title of the blog (because while I am wicked, and saucy, the blog isn’t so much, am I right?). But we shall see. I’m taking an author branding class with Kristen Lamb, the WANA Mama; she’s helping me to dig into ME and what I want out of this life I’ve got, and I can feel my priorities shifting under my feet. It’s a good thing! 

I am swimming in possibilities as well as lots of projects, all writing but not all novels. So things are changing and churning and being utterly fascinating. I’ve been having second thoughts about Wine Fridays for some time now, and I thought I’d clue you in, too. 

What do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down for Wine Fridays? I’d love to know!


Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are both available for both the Kindle and KoboHave you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?

Seen About Town – Friends, Ice, and Trees

Seen About Town – Friends, Ice, and Trees

I’m so thrilled that I’m carrying a camera with me everywhere. I had the great good fortune to speak at the monthly Orange County Chapter of RWA last week. Here’s me with the WANA folks that came. I was so happy to see them! From left to right – Jenny Hansen, me, Tameri Etherton, Kate Wood, Bethany Lopez, and Debra Kristi, all of whom are kick-ass writers and bloggers, so please go check them out. We have Kristen Lamb and the We Are Not Alone group in common, so it was doubly nice to see them in person.

The WANA gang at OCC RWA 1-12-13.

As you may know, we here in So Cal have been bitching whining upset about the cold temps we’ve been going through. A couple of weeks ago there was ice – not only all over my poor basil, killing it dead, but even in the streets. Here’s a photo of the partially-frozen gutter water. Hey, to a San Diegan, this is way cool stuff.

Ice in the gutter outside my office, about 9am.

The other day I tried to explain to someone my unreasoning hatred of palm trees. I couldn’t convince this guy from Ohio that palm trees are pretty dang useless. I mean, they don’t provide lots of shade from the sun, and they don’t give us anything to eat. And when they’re planted with a pine tree of some sort between, it causes a synapse interrupt for me. As in, these trees do not compute. (Don’t talk to me about date palms. Would you eat dates from a palm tree grown in Los Angeles? Yeah. Didn’t think so.)

Do the palm trees look out of place, or is it just me?

I guess there’s no changing the whole palm-tree thing now. I’m just a few decades too late. Are there trees planted in your neighborhood that just don’t go together? I’d love to know!

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by! On Writer Wednesday, Marian Lanouette will be here with her latest release, so we hope to see you then.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


Absorbing RWA 2012

Absorbing RWA 2012

I apologize, I should have put something together earlier about my RWA conference experience – except I’m still in absorb mode. Actually, I’m still on digest on all my email loops, too, so have gone dark there as well.

I learned a lot; I gained a lot; I felt like a “real” writer while I was there, and I didn’t the last time, four years ago. No, I didn’t sign anything anywhere; no, I wasn’t up for an award; no, Nora doesn’t know my name. But it was an amazing conference. I was taken seriously by publishing professionals, and by my peers.

One of the publishing professionals, the lovely and talented Caridad Pinero, actually saw me as I was working the registration desk. Recognition crossed her face, and she came over to give me a hug. WHA? Rita Nominee Caridad Pinero gave ME a hug! We’d met at RT 2011, and I was on her blog before that I think; still, it was a total thrill, and told me how gracious and generous Caridad really is, which meant so, so much to me. It also gave me a pattern card for the future.

I also saw and hugged Kristen Lamb and Jenny Hansen, blog friends (I first met Kristen at RT 2011) and it was SO good to see them! Also caught up with Jami Gold (and did I have my camera with me? Um, that would be a huge NO!), whom I met in real life at Desert Dreams. Then, of course, there was the fabulous Beth Yarnall, and the lovely Deb Mullins, who might not have recognized me in passing, but still…!

And my lovely LARA members. We were 50 plus members strong at the conference this year, and there was something so lovely about turning a corner and seeing a familiar face. Of course, after ten years of RWA, I know a lot of people’s faces just from having seen them over the years. It’s such a lovely thing, don’t you think?

As far as roommates go, I think that if you don’t room with 3 other people in beds too small for one person let alone two for at least ONE conference experience, then you aren’t really living. We had a blast. Was it too loud? Yeah, a couple of times. Was it crowded? Hell yes. Did we laugh a lot? Um – YEAH! We drank wine, too, in the privacy of the room. Didn’t get sloppy in front of other people, which in my book is ALWAYS a good (as well as economical) thing. But there you go, we were So Cal natives so it was easy to buy our alcohol and bring with.

I’ll post more later, but dinner’s ready now, so…

Cheers, y’all! Write well, read lots; there’s more updates coming. And next time I’ll mention Brenda Chin, lol.