Spa, Write, Talk, Repeat

And so, late Thursday night I arrived in Las Vegas.

Thursday: An early morning breakfast with Ada Brown and Miranda Suri at Mon Ami Gabi. Loved the food, and next time would recommend the brioche and the giant bowl of coffee as enough food. I kid you not. A bowl of coffee, like it was a Japanese tea ceremony.

Spaing was next on the agenda. The Aria has a great spa. I was particularly fond of the Eucalyptus Steam room which roiled a cloud at you a la Stephen King’s The Fog, the shiyo salt room, and the warm stone beds we could just relax on. My Thai Fusion massage did wonders for my joints and lower back. I want one of those again, but I don’t think they can be found in Iowa.

We spent Friday afternoon writing. On this day, I wrote 2300 new words, pretty much all crap. There was a break for a Napoleon and an Americano.

Friday night a delicious sushi dinner, some drinks at the Chandelier bar, and an early night for this tired Iowan.


Saturday I was up very early, so I had a healthy breakfast and an hour walk. Then, more writing, a healthy lunch, and more writing. What we wrote the day before, we made legitimate, and I was very happy overall. Lisa Morton, Ada and I spent some time watching the J-Pop countdown on NHK as we glammed up. Then we had dinner and good conversation at Sage.


It was a simple retreat. Time to talk, time to chill, time to write. The vibe was low key and we all were motivated by each other to work on projects. It’s great to talk to other writers who are about at the same stage, and just work.

I find myself thinking about the value of the critique workshop. I need readers, but I have good readers I can rely on who are useful and who get what I need. I’m not sure that my best travel dollars are spent getting away to a workshop where I don’t write, since I do my best writing and critiquing at home. However, I do like to relax and write with other writers and a group in a nice setting.

Here’s a write up from Miranda Suri, where she says pretty much loads of things about the retreat that I agree with, and I’m lazy enough just to link. 🙂 I’d like to thank Danielle Burkhart, Lisa, Ada and Miranda for a nice weekend. Let’s do it again.


At this point, I do not plan to go next year, as I am limiting myself to one workshop a year, and I believe next year’s is settled, unless something changes. But I will miss it.


In related news, believe it or not, I lost 0.5 pounds. Yeah, that should not have happened. And I got back to Iowa just in time to drive home in another blizzard. No school today, and we’re trapped inside with dangerous wind chills. But what would be worse? Being stranded on the road. So, I’m grateful.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.