5 Reasons Published Writer Needed Fiction Retreat

Fiction Retreat hosted by author Brandilyn Collins

Fantastic Fiction Retreat at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

5 Reasons I Needed Fantastic Fiction Retreat

After more than 120 published books–Stephen’s, mine, and ours–why would I need a fiction retreat? That’s what several folks asked me last weekend.  A dozen fledgling as well as a few established writers attended the first annual Fantastic Fiction Retreat. Here’s why it was so important to me.

1.) Perfect Proximity. The fiction retreat took place at the home of Seatbelt Suspense author Brandilyn Collins, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a 2 1/2 hour drive from my home.

2.) Perfect Price. Very reasonable for my limited budget.

3.) Perfect Timing. This week I begin Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill Series, Beneath a Camperdown Elm. How perfect to receive this fresh shot of writing inspiration as I begin creating a major project. Also, I could handle a Friday night and Saturday fiction retreat. I could still drive home in time to be part of the worship team at church on Sunday.

4.) A New Slant. I wanted to get the full skinny from the author herself on her principles in Getting Into Character/Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors.

5.) Interaction. Writing’s mostly a solitary life. Each person I met at the conference knew something I didn’t. About social media, marketing, or writing. Or had stories to share from their personal lives. As the saying goes, nothing’s ever wasted for a writer. The info either reinforced what I’m doing, nudged me to an ignored source, or provided something I’d missed before. Besides, I made new friends too!

So Many Books & Still A Novice

It’s true, I’m not a beginner to writing and publishing books. However, I’m still a novice at solo adult fiction. I need all the help and tips I can get.

Fiction Retreat with authors Brandilyn Collins and Janet Chester Bly

Authors Brandilyn Collins and Janet Chester Bly

With my late husband and writing partner, award-winning western author Stephen Bly, every project we worked on at some level together. And he majored on creative ideas, character building, story flow, and plotting. I depended on him to make sure we got ‘er done. Now it’s totally up to me.

Before I start a novel these days, I try to capture a fresh concept, a smart way to approach the process I’ve never tried before. This time it was Brandilyn’s book and her Fantastic Fiction Retreat. I soaked in all she learned about method acting and how she transferred that knowledge to her suspense novels. Now I’ll attempt to apply these precepts to every character and scene in the creation of Beneath a Camperdown Elm. All part of my continuing writer’s journey.

How grateful I am for the fiction retreat experience at the beautiful, spacious lakeside home of writing teacher, Brandilyn Collins.

Janet Chester Bly


Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill: Click Here: Wind In The Wires  Download Now: 5 Free Chapters

Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2, Trails of Reba Cahill: Click Here: Down Squash Blossom Road  Download Now! 5 Free Chapters

Beneath a Camperdown Elm, Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill, scheduled for early Summer 2018 release!

Fantastic Fiction Retreat hosted by author Brandilyn Collins

Fantastic Fiction Retreat hosted by Brandilyn Collins (far left)


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4 Responses to 5 Reasons Published Writer Needed Fiction Retreat

  1. Jenny Snow June 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    Great blog, Janet! I completely agree. It was such a treat to meet you!!

  2. Janet Chester Bly June 6, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    Jenny: Thanks so much for your note! So delighted to meet you too! Blessings on your life & your writing!

  3. Brandilyn Collins June 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Janet, I was so thrilled to have you in my home and as a part of this retreat. It was a joy and blessing to be with you. The thought that I could teach YOU anything was–and still is–amazing to me.

    Blessings on your continued journey,

  4. Janet Chester Bly June 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    Brandilyn: Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Absolutely you got me focused where I need to be for the novel I started yesterday. Three generations of women on a journey of the heart. Definitely needed to hear what you had to share! Greatly appreciated for the refreshing, fellowship, and information! Blessings back to you!

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