More Dreamy Testimonials

These retreats are recommended by an iconic hotel, beloved by artists worldwide for nearly 100 years–The Vagabond’s House–a Boutique Inn in downtown Carmel. Humbled. Beyond.

There are often new deals in the contract-signing phase, which can take months. So, check back often for the latest news. You’ll see many on my main retreat page, and more here, below…

A Paris Year“As for selling my second memoir, PARIS YEAR, to St. Martin’s Press, it’s all with the help of Linda and her mojo. Writing a second book proposal after our Carmel retreat was WAY EASIER.”

Janice MacLeod, author of NYT bestseller, Paris Letters (Sourcebooks), and Paris Year (St. Martin’s Press)

Summer Raine by Laurie Wajda“My time in Carmel was nothing short of amazing. What could have taken many months took but a few short days, and I will forever be grateful. This experience will always hold a special place in my heart, right next to my first kiss and my first bite of chocolate…”

Laurie Wajda, author of Summer Raine (+ Falling Raine, Angel, & No Remorse–a romance and suspense novella series)

wholefoodenergy“After YEARS of talking/dreaming about writing a book, I took the leap of faith and attended Linda’s retreat. I can’t believe it took me so long and I can’t wait to go again! Not only did Linda help me clarify my message, she also offered a fresh and clear perspective on how to share it with the world. Since then I’ve been published in three books, released my own book, and am now working on the next book proposal with Linda’s incredible support and guidance. If you’ve been thinking about becoming an author, go spend a week in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s indeed where magic happens!”

Elise Museles, founder of Kale & Chocolate (.com) and author of Whole Food Energy: 200 All Natural Recipes to Help You Prepare, Refuel, and Recover, Barron’s Educational

unplug_cover“I am so grateful for the magic of Linda’s Carmel writing retreat—the sacred space she created for the birthing of this book. I am so grateful for her humor, her heart, and her soul… and the many ideas she gifted me that not only gave life to this book, but an entire business. I wish the human vocabulary could convey how awesome I think Linda is, but what I CAN express is that it was a magical week that changed my life!”

Deb Ozarko, author of UNPLUG, and podcaster at, Ontario

“Ever get that wooba-wooba feeling? You know, the one where one minute you’re in your own kind of pedestrian world, and then suddenly you’re transported? I would have called it deja-vu, but I never had it before. Like you’re in another dimension, free of human and this-world worries and limits, able to see things you haven’t seen, able to imagine things. Most importantly, able to picture yourself as a full-fledged Writer, capital W. I wouldn’t have believed it, but it happened to me at one of Linda’s Writers’ Retreats. Sign up; you’ll see what I mean!”

Dr. Dave Davis, novelist, family doctor, and professor at University of Toronto. (Dr. Dave’s wife bought the retreat for her husband for their anniversary, and we found another “dude” for the good doctor to bunk with:) )

“I can’t believe how amazingly well this video captures the essence of the retreat… except for the fact that it’s a million times more life changing when you’re actually there. Surrounded by sisters. Being lovingly pushed by Linda to be your best. I’m so grateful to have been a part of this whole journey of yours, and it is still to this day inspiring my every move. My every keyboard stroke. Thank you so much Linda for all that you do!”

Nathalie Lussier, tech & marketing guru, Aubrey, TX

“I love and am obsessed with you all. I can’t even begin to unpack both the rainbow unicorn and practical wonders afoot. I know it sounds hyperbolic but this has been the best birthday week of all time. It is just true. Wowza wowza Doogie Howza.”

Jenn Sutkowski, memorist and newspaper columnist, Cambridge, MA

“Without a doubt this was the most memorable, magical, life-changing week I’ve ever experienced. Thank you for everything you do Linda! Honored to have been a part of it.”

Allison Snyder, Martha Beck Life Coach, magazine writer, and memoirist, Paris, Illinois

“You’re a magic-maker. A dream unleasher. Thank you for hammocking our aspirations last week. I felt seen and held.”

Dr. Mandy Lehto, magazine columnist, memoirist, London

“The women I met and really saw at this retreat are my soul sisters. We will be friends forever, in a way that transcends my other friendships. That is not meant to lessen the importance and love in those friendships, it’s just different. We shared a life-changing experience; I liken it to veterans in the same unit. We dug deep, opened out hearts and lifted each other up. It was singularly the very best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”

Cindy Allen, excerpt from her Huffington Post article, “Reclaiming My Joy”

forgiveandbefree_grande“Linda Sivertsen is a master teacher, editor and writer. She inspires a vast fountain of creativity to pour over everyone at her retreats. Bright, open hearted, and funny, her style made it easy for me to relax and get some serious work done at the same time. Linda helped me in so many ways—not only with technical things like editing my book proposal and brainstorming new ideas, but also by supporting my work on more personal levels as well. She listened, suggested, prompted, laughed, loved and brought out the best in every participant. The working vibe was fantastic; I joked that I was in ‘smart, creative woman heaven’ and it’s true! When I got home, Linda thought of me for a beautiful book she’s co-authoring, and is publishing a piece of my work in those pages. She also connected me with a top agent for my own book, who got me a publishing deal. Wow.”

Ana Holub, author of Forgive and Be Free, Llewellyn, Mt. Shasta

*Update: It took me a while to find Ana an agent for her beautiful proposal… they say forgiveness is a tough sell. I wasn’t buying it. Fortunately, neither was Jeff Herman, my first agent–once he had the time to read the proposal + sample chapters–and wrote Ana the sweetest “Please forgive me for taking so long” email (LOVE that!).

“I’ve been a writer and editor for over 10 years, but I haven’t found my own voice.” Those were my words as I introduced myself to the group of women who would be my companions for the duration of my stay in Carmel. I went to Linda’s retreat on a wing and a prayer. I could barely afford the fee, but something compelled me to get myself there no matter what.

I’d been writing and editing for a succession of women’s magazines — and had become adept at adapting to THEIR voice. And in so doing had somehow lost my own. I brought with me several disparate book ideas in varying stages of development, and the desire to create something meaningful. I had read that Linda is a book whisperer, and that’s what drew me to her. But the retreat changed my life in more ways than one. I came away with something invaluable. Actually, three of them: a clear vision of the book I was born to write, my voice, and a new career — all thanks to Linda. During one of our one-on-one sessions, I voiced my desire to do what Linda does. Not only did Linda encourage me to give it a shot — after all, I’d been editing magazines for over a decade, why not books? — she actually offered to refer clients to me! Just a couple of months since returning home from Carmel, I’m working joyfully on my book AND helping several clients with theirs. Heck, I’ve already made back the cost of the retreat! But even if I hadn’t, it was worth every single last penny. And more. Thank you Linda.”

Claire Coghlan, memoirist, New York City

Update: The clients I’ve put with Claire LOVE her work. It’s been magical. As you know if you’re writing a memoir, your story can feel all-consuming. Claire loves getting out of her own head to help others, which then gives her more energy and inspiration to dive back into her own. I love win-wins!!!

bedeliciousnow“Linda, you are the most amazing individual. I’m so excited to know you and have experienced your most incredible retreat. It was the most inspiring thing, the best thing I have ever done! LOVE YOU.”

Barbara King, author of Be Delicious Now: The Ultimate Fashion Secrets!, Wardrobe stylist, Los Angeles + Florida (Barb didn’t want to shop for a traditional publisher. She knew what she wanted and made the book happen quickly. And, it’s gorgeous! Congrats, Barb!)

“My trip to Carmel was full of firsts. I read a blog from Danielle LaPorte talking up Linda’s writing retreats and instantly knew I MUST be there. From the moment I landed it was magical (to meet the best friend I never knew I needed standing in the driveway, icing on the cake). Linda’s retreat gave all of us a perfect place to let our walls down, tell our stories, and grow friendships I can’t imagine my life without. Linda knew of my urgency, and with my new best friend in tow, I altered my plans home and went immediately to L.A., where we stayed in Linda’s beautiful home.

The next day we met with a hot Hollywood writer that Linda knew could get my story told QUICKLY. Soon afterward Linda put her expert polish on my beautiful proposal and connected me with three top agents—all of whom got right back to us. After interviewing two of them over the phone, I signed with Laura Yorke, who impressed me with her speed of intelligent feedback/vision (the kind that comes from not only being a terrific agent, but from her long history as a top editor at big houses), and total enthusiasm for my story and selling it. My book and my dream would never have grown this big without Linda and the Carmel retreat. I feel more like her friend or sister than I do a client, and that speaks volumes about Linda and her love of making books a reality for writers. Going to Carmel was my best decision EVER!”

Jen Adair, memoirist, Seattle, WA

dismissed_h1002“Linda, you shining beacon, you radiant light, you warrior goddess, you holy mirror, thank you for giving me the tools to bust out… To steal some famous words in Jerry MacQuire, you are my ambassador of Quan, baby. I asked for a mentor and I got a Guru. Writing, marketing, networking, believing, dreaming, connecting, eating, creating, living, loving and laughing you are the example of the deeply rich, multi-layered, successful, authentic life I was looking for. A thousand hugs and a thousand kisses I bestow upon you in honor of who you are… and who you dared me to become. Thank you.”

Dana da Ponte, co-author of Dismissed, Alberta, Canada. (Dana knew she wanted control of this book–a labor of love written for & with her mother. So, naturally, she started her own publishing house. Wow.)

“… It has been the most amazing, inspiring, fulfilling week. I feel like I’ve found someone who can be the guardian of my dreams… and also someone who will kick my butt… It’s been a magical, mystical, incredible ride, and I’d do it again tomorrow, if I could.” (She did, in June, 2016.)

Julia Mathison, banking lawyer, novelist, Australia (Watch Julia’s full video testimonial here.)

closer-than-you-thinksmaller1“Linda, I thank you from my entire heart and soul for helping me find the clarity and direction I needed regarding my writing project. I knew miracles would occur this week, but I had no idea how beautiful and powerful they would be for me and for everyone who was blessed enough to share in this experience. Thank you for accepting me and sharing in my journey back in time 22 years. I couldn’t have picked a better coach, mentor (and now) special friend, and group of sisters to re-experience that time of my life with me. You and our blessed group have given me back a piece of my heart and soul that I didn’t even know was missing and cracked. You have also given me the confidence and courage to continue down this new and divinely guided path that God has placed me on. Thank you, Linda, for your beauty, honesty, sincerity, direction, but most of all for following your heart and giving me the chance I needed. You are a gem! This week was heavenly and was one of the most miraculous weeks of my life. I can’t thank you enough.”

Debbie Heneghan, author of Closer Than You Think: The Easy Guide to Connecting with Angels on the Other Side (Hampton Roads). From Linda: Deb came to the retreat to write a self-help book, but I had a vivid dream the first night we were together that she was “supposed” to write a book based on losing her sister when they were kids. She could feel and see it, too, and wept (we all did). She asked me to be her co-author on the proposal and book, and I felt blessed from start to finish.


“Linda, last May in Carmel was the most amazing week of my life! It changed everything for me. Nicole [a best friend she met at the retreat] and I talk about it all the time. It gives me chills just thinking about it, and makes me smile ear to ear. I Love, Love, Love the videos! They capture the essence of the incredible magic that happens with you. My time there gave me clarity, inspiration, confidence and five beautiful soul sisters for life. I love it when you say, ‘It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, this is a retreat for creativity.’ I arrived in Carmel uncertain where I was going with my writing, unorganized in my thoughts and ideas, and thinking MAYBE I might have a nonfiction book in me somewhere. I left with five fiction concepts, a flow of inspiration, AND I’ve just completed 130,000 words of my first novel (with an agent wanting to rep me and take me to New York this spring)! All as a result of my time in Carmel with you! The videos beautifully convey the grace, the authenticity, the spirit of what transpires in that magical space you create at your retreats. I’m so grateful!”

Laura Rothschild, novelist, La Jolla, CA

“Very few things can capture the spirit of the Carmel Writing Retreats – but this video does a wonderful job. As a June 2012 Alumni – I can say that writing went from a distant dream to a tangible reality. Linda is a beautiful soul – who is grounded in business! Which was important to me – because I am more business person than writer! (Because of that, I am a bit nervous about all the writers reading this and assessing my grammar!) This is a great experience that will change everything for you. I had a vague concept for my book that Linda helped me distill into an amazing platform builder that combines my two great loves: entrepreneurship and recruiting. And if that wasn’t enough – she gave me a killer title for my book that brought it all together.  All in all, this retreat makes all of the amazing info in Your Big Beautiful Book Plan synthesize and become real. As a side note, I learned vegan chocolate chip cookies existed, and were actually quite tasty!

Rikka Brandon, recruiter, CEO at Building Gurus, Moorhead, Minnesota

innercritic“To anyone that aspires to write and publish – I wholeheartedly recommend Linda and her Carmel Writing Retreat. I can’t stop talking about it with friends as I am still on the Bliss-Ride! This is the first time writing felt easy, enjoyable and moving towards a reality for me. The group I was with were super smart, fun, dreaming, laughing fellow writers (Dr. Diane, Lisa, Kavita, and Jen and Merry too!). I got focused writing time, succinct feedback, encouragement, smart business thinking, and ideas on how to make the book and my work be even MORE of what I love.”

Stacey Sargent, business owner and author of Inner Critic, Inner Success (Three G Publishing), Seattle, WA

“Incredibly moving video of our time together! I’m so happy and lucky that I got to work with and learn from you, Linda. And very grateful to have you on my team. For anyone who hasn’t checked the video out yet – do! It totally captures the spirit of a retreat. And if you are thinking of going to one of these retreats… run, don’t walk!”

Amanda Blake, Master Somatic Coach, Tahoe, CA

“Linda, you are a life changer. YOU changed my life. And this retreat is your platform for making these miracles happen. I could watch this video over and over because it brings me back to a place where the most soul touching and beautiful women held space for each other as we went down our own paths – both together and alone – knowing we were connected through this unspoken bond. This IS more than just a writing retreat, it taps into your deepest potential and creativity, then cracks it wide open. Not only was I able to see that my book is possible, but Linda helped me discover a completely new path, business possibilities, AND my life force. I showed up in a vulnerable space, still recovering from a traumatic injury — this was never an issue for Linda. Instead, she made it a positive contribution to and for the whole group. There are truly no words. Forever grateful.”

“P.S. – And I have to add — it was the Big Beautiful Book Plan that brought me to you in the first place. Such an incredible tool. Anyone looking to write a book – to get published or to self-publish – or even if you’re just curious about the process, this is an amazing investment! It is so jam packed with content, generosity is the only word that comes to mind. AND it’s organized in such clear sections that you can flip back and forth to the sections you need to focus on or re-read! Wow.”

Kate Durie, former HR leader turned life coach/writer, Ottawa, Canada

Unknown-1“Thank you for a life-changing week. I will never forget the connection we had, the laughter, tears and goose bumps we shared, not to mention the AMAZING stories and experiences. Wow.”

Kate McKay, memoirist, biz woman, mother, speaker, South Hampton, NH (Watch Kate’s video testimonial.)

loverehab“I came to the retreat to commune with God, and to unearth my writing muse for my book on Healing. What I found was a woman of incredible depth and heart who allowed me in the safety of our intimate group, to find my voice. Linda, six lives have been forever changed by your passion for living and your love. As in your Teleseminar, you give and give and give. There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the finest coaches and writers in the world today. What a mystical, creative web you weave. Thank you. You rock!”

Lynda Filler, Whistler, Canada + Puerta Villarta, Mexico (Lynda was on fire to release her work into the world after her retreat–my first one, in 2009. Wanting to self publish, she never shopped for a publisher–at least not yet. Lynda’s done a beautiful job and her fellow retreaters and I are so proud of her and happy for her!)

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 10.06.11 PM“I came to Carmel to find out if I could write. I found myself instead. Linda’s workshop was an amazing amalgamation of storytelling, soul searching, and writing. Along the way, each of us had epiphany upon epiphany—that sudden intuitive leap of understanding about one’s self and the essence I was trying to capture in my writing. I arrived a novice and I left knowing I would become a writer. As I rode home along the ocean toward Highway 156, I felt like I could just drag my finger in that blue cotton candy sea—it was so yummy. I love Carmel… what can I say… I was on a high all the way home and I think I am still running on the energy, the awakening to a new life. I somehow feel that the gaping hole has been filled with what is to come. Linda’s workshop changed me—forever.”

Arlene Jordan-Levy, Novelist, Minden, Nevada (Arlene decided not to shop for a traditional deal, but to publish this on her own, quickly. The result is a beautiful tribute to her beloved husband’s life + their marriage.)

“Well, I got published in the first 20 minutes of our first day–how’s that for results! (A story Allie read was perfect for Closer Than You Think, which was due the following week. Happy to report that her story is officially printed in the final book, with info on Allie, her business, & website address in the reference section as well.) Honestly, the retreat was truly a life-changing, career-altering experience. I signed up hoping to clarify a few ideas for my book and blog and would up published in another author’s book, as well as having a polished article for consumer publications and an action plan for my Find Your Heart’s Voice workshops. I am beyond thrilled and know without a doubt that Linda is the real deal!!! If you have a dream–be prepared for it to come true!!!”

Allie Hill, Empowered Living Coach and blogger, Colorado

“I just wanted to say how much I loved the retreat—I had such a great experience—and how much it kicked my butt into action and kick started my career. I’ve been back home four days now and have finished listening to all the other downloads (which are amazing!), birthed my blog, and contacted 5 groups in my niche about speaking for them. Thanks for all your wonderful advice and inspiration. I am about to be a force to be reckoned with!”

Katie Stevens, 24-year-old memoirist, San Francisco, CA (Update: I feel so blessed to be on a bit of a hot streak placing memoirs with ex-top editor turned literary agent, Laura Yorke at the Carol Mann Agency in NYC. She fell in love with Katie’s melodic voice (who wouldn’t?). I wrote a fun blog about it.)

“Hi Linda, oh my dear I have been wanting to write you and tell you how impactful the retreat was for me. You created such a sacred space, which is of course just the essence of who you are. You nurtured our creative souls, you healed our tattered hearts, and you allowed us to be with our emotions, our voices and speak out truths, on paper and through our words. You saw our potential and wouldn’t let us sell ourselves short. You are nothing short of amazing and the retreat completely transformed my paradigm about being a writer. Every time I write I re-connect with what I learned in Carmel. Thank you for being such an authentic spirit amidst an industry of gloss, fame and superficiality.”

Jen Todd, founder, CEO of Breakthrough Partners, Inc., Detroit

“My experience at the Carmel writing retreat was just what I needed. I arrived with an idea and some journal entries. I left with a beginning, a voice, a style, and the enthusiasm to continue writing. The days seemed to fly by, as time does when you’re enjoying what you’re doing. As if no real work was taking place, but we were all busy and passionately working. The accommodations alone were inspiring, with views and sounds of the Pacific. Linda and the other writers infused me with their spirit, and motivated me to a higher level. The greatest benefit, however, is what I learned during my one-on-one sessions with Linda, and in the comments given by her during our group discussions—the positive affects of which are still being felt months later.”

Donna Melanson, Asheville, NC

“Linda, at SFO International [on her way home from the retreat]. Thank you SO much for your incredible insight, beautiful soul, and for sharing your gifts with all of us! Still digesting all of the amazing moments (and food) and grateful for all of your work and passion that infuses all that you do.  Thanks for being you and helping me and others to be more fully ourselves. With deep gratitude and a big goofy grin.”

Vanessa Meade, ex-Alaska State Trooper + Military Vet, Anchorage, Alaska

“Linda has an innate ability to help writer’s find their voice and refine their book topic, and that was one of the greatest gifts I got from attending the Writer’s Retreat. It was such a fulfilling experience – rich with feedback from all the participants, and the sharing of ideas to help make each other’s words dance on the page. Linda has a wonderful teaching style – so personal, warm and intuitive, combined with a great sense of humor. When the end of the week came, I could have stayed for another week, but I left excited and motivated – I am totally refocused. I also have a fabulous group of new friends and created what I hope will be a lifetime bond with this small group of talented women. Most of all, I want to thank Linda, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me rediscover both the joy in my story and the confidence to know that the world will be a better place when I have the courage to tell it.”

Sue Landis, realtor, San Diego, CA

“Well, you so-cal girls are sneaky. All sunshine and sparkles, then WAMMO! Business done. Nice!”

Shelby Edwards, military veteran, emergency management, Seattle, WA

“My biggest take away from the experience, other than absolutely beautiful connections with 6 beautiful women (that includes Linda’s dog, who we all know I am completely in love with), which is no small thing, is a very real and very clear sense that, not only do I have books that I want to write, but that I am a writer. This clarity of self and dedication of heart is something I know I will carry with me and will be what carries my projects to completion as I reenter the demands and environment of my daily life. This is more than a writer’s retreat; it is a transformational experience for women who are writers.”

Julie Cramer, Writer, Healer, Intuitive, Coach, New York

jesustheforgottonyears“Hallelujah, I’ve found my personal book shaman woman. Linda Sivertsen is not only a superwoman who knows the book market like the pockets of her handbag, she is also a high spirited cosmic playgirl. She projected my vision board and I walked right in. I saw my book babies in real time, pregnant and ready to give birth. Carmel is a vortex where the trees kiss the sky and shift your ideas, and the ever-constant vision of the sea stretches your horizons wider than you can imagine. Sacred womanhood celebrating itself and one another in paradise. I loved the food (I felt so cared for), the all of our talks, and on my flight back to Europe, I knew my sacred book dreams and my time with these wonderful women crafted more than a possible book deal. Inner riches of sacred stories woven with wonderful experiences enriched our souls. Thank you, Linda. Your energy is wonderful and your advice, pure gold.”

Durga Holzhauser, author of Jesus, the Forgotten Years, the south of France

“Within a few months of watching my life turn upside down, I was scared. A good friend told me that the universe had opened up and grabbed me, that I would find my ‘tribe.’ My first thought was, ‘No way, where am I going to find them?’ Now I can honestly say that I have amazing women in MY tribe, thanks to the ‘bookbabes’ of Carmel [now their own facebook group]. The retreat was priceless to me—safe, comforting, and creative—full of ingenious ideas, support and advice. I love these women! My friend is laughing now, saying, ‘I told you so!’”

Robyn Loveland, Novelist, Omaha, Nebraska

“I hope you’ll consider Linda’s Carmel Writing Retreat! I attended in 2014 and it was amazing—and the location couldn’t have been more beautiful. We even got a show from the whales at sea while we watched through the windows of the house overlooking the Pacific. Great writing advice., inspiration, food—but best of of all Linda seems to attract the most wonderful people. I made several forever friends…”

Jeannie Sullivan

“This video brings tears to my eyes. Such a magical and transformative trip it was for me to go to Carmel. I honestly cannot sing enough praise for the work I did there and the work that continues as a result. The connections I have made and the support I have received. It’s such a culmination of creativity, magic and absolute trust. The home feels like this earthy and inviting womb welcoming you and your your story/project to be open and raw and vulnerable and it’s just complete and utter amazement. I learned and gained so much from my experience and I plan to definitely return someday! One of the best investments I have made for my own journey and my writing. If you can book a few extra [days] like I did and really sink into that beachy Carmel atmosphere and just write and explore. I am always happy to promote this Linda, as it was so pivotal in furthering my goals as a writer.”

Crystal-Lee Quibell, writer

“If anyone is on the fence about going to Carmel, go!!! The experience will change you forever and you will find your tribe of soul sisters. I feel so blessed to have been able to partake in September. Linda Sivertsen is beyond talented and will welcome you into her heart and life wholeheartedly. You deserve it more than you know.”

Kristen Swarcheck

girlonbike“My time at Linda’s writing retreat at Carmel was the push I needed. It was so helpful to be part of such awesome group energy, and I’m still in touch with some of the women. I learned so much about going first class in my efforts at self-publishing my memoir. Seeing my book in my hands, after years in the making, has been a life-long dream come true! The paid speaking gigs and successful book signings are the icing on the cake.”

Colleen G. Hannegan, author of The Girl On Bike, Laguna, CA

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