People used to laugh when I told them I’d never plan a writing retreat without getting approval from my sister, Carol, a Vedic astrologer. I swear she’s got the cheat sheets to the Universe when it comes to dates, and the ONE time I went against her warnings of “BAD juju timing,” it was disastrous! Everything in our then-retreat rental house broke or went haywire, including the people. Think a freak snowstorm rescue, a woman who couldn’t stop hiding or weeping, a noisy broken security alarm, and a dead refrigerator, for starters. We had to sage and get on our knees in prayer to appease whatever deity we’d pissed off.

So, every December, Carol and I pull out our calendars next to her brainiac software, and she bequeaths me several “blessed” dates. While that’s far easier via technology with her decades of experience interpreting charts (rather than the endless math formulations by hand with an ephemeris as was done for millennia), picking “lucky” retreat dates is no small task. Some years, there are only four fantastic Monday – Friday windows to choose from ALL year.

Mercury, the planet of writing & communication, must be happy. Venus, which rules the arts AND women, can’t be afflicted. The moon, again, a feminine celestial body representing our emotions, has got to be smiling. If any planets are grumpy, with crappy yogas or sitting on malefic angles and such, Carol grimaces, and I’m out.

With all the celestial love showering down upon us during my in-person or Virtual Retreats, I’ve grown accustomed to the happiest of happenings. Perhaps you saw my post about the eight recent book releases by retreat alums that I lugged with me for a seaside photo shoot. But I swear, I still gasp whenever a book deal text comes in while we’re seated as a group, even though it happens nearly every time and for the week of April 10th in Carmel twice!

While there, I tweeted this. (The deal to which I was referring was announced in the trades last week, and I’ve got the go-ahead to share their names, see below.)

Here’s a snippet of text from beautiful Orna this morning (shared w/ permission): 

As I wrote in that social media post, I have the best job ever in the most magical place anywhere (Carmel). 💜 Orna and Matthew took their time. Post-retreat, I’d given them notes on their proposal a few times over several years (they were working on other projects too). I polished their query several times as their project evolved and finally introduced them to one of my all-time favorite agents, who loved them instantly. (Leslie Meredith at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Side note: When Leslie was a top editor at Simon & Schuster, she was on my vision board as an editor I hoped to work with. I was lucky enough to realize that dream in 2005 when hired to ghostwrite a book Leslie was editing/publishing. The experience was so lovely that we stayed close, and now she sells many of my client’s books.)

The next day, this text came through again while I was seated with the ladies. It caught me off guard, and, like the day before, I gasped and teared up a bit. (Later that day, with permission, I shared it on social as the perfect bookend to the previous post. Because, for writers, isn’t this the best?)

Here’s something else I didn’t see coming. When the gals in the boardroom saw me gasp & cry two days in a row, a retreater expressed surprise at my surprise. “Don’t you expect it?” she asked.

What an interesting question! I do expect my work to, well, work. As a literary matchmaker, these outcomes are always my intention. I’m all about the win-win-win. But it had been 4.5 years since Orna and Matthew’s retreat. And, even though Carmel is a place of constant beauty, here’s the thing about dreams coming true. It’s been a hard few years; maybe you’ve noticed. In my life and almost everyone’s lives. Very little looks or feels the same, and we’re all finding our way back to ourselves and our creativity. Publishing was slow pre-2020 and often achingly more so now. I’m often slower than I used to or want to be, and it stresses me out that I can’t power through at all hours and forgo sleep the way I used to. (I hired someone last week to help me be even more efficient, yay!) Bottom line: We’re all doing our best to maintain our faith, energy, and optimism while we endeavor to do our best work no matter what hardship(s) we’re navigating. We’re all IN IT, just as the world is.

Because of how much more challenging things are, the celebration is sweeter when the “good gals” win these days, in any form or at any time. The gratitude is more profound. I now know this about myself: I will never not gasp and cry at those sacred texts, those Are-you-sitting-down calls. Keep ’em coming! 😅

Thank you for being in my #bookmama community. I love dreamers. I love us. Happy rest of your weekend, wherever you are. Write on! Linda

PS. I know a writing retreat may feel like an impossibility from where you sit. (During my divorce, there were times I couldn’t pay for the parking at a hotel across town, much less the gas to get there!) That’s why I packed my book, Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams & Messy Manuscripts—with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors, with the best writerly advice I’ve got. And, being a paperback, it’s super inexpensive (although gorgeous, weighty, and sustainably guilt-free). I also offer 90-minute consults, my Book Proposal Magic course, and other accessible offerings. In other words, Mama’s got you. xo

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