Tag Archives: Hemingway Writer’s Retreat

2014 that will be

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and ready for the new year. I know I am!

Why, you ask?

Well, I’m glad you asked, let me tell you. But before I do, I want to offer up this video to you from the Mann family. Please accept this as our wish from us to you for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

So now, why am I excited about 2014? Well, I have several projects that are near “pitch” phase and I’ll be showing some of the images from those soon. They are (in no particular order): Beah with art by Tim Holtrop and coloring by Emily Kanalz; Citizens with Joe Baden; The Rejects with JC Grande and colors by Jesse Heagy; Sand Gears with Quinton Bedwell; Cat & Mouse with Henry Martinez. I’m also very close to finishing up a script adaptation of the upcoming post-rapture horror film, The Remaining, with artist Kyle Hotz! On top of that, I’m in talks to have some of my out of print work made available digitally (work like Krey and Demon’s Tails) and I’ve found some talented new colorists to work on those books: David Tigner is working on coloring SilverStorm, Jeremy Kahn is coloring Krey, Elijah Minott is coloring Demon’s Tails. All in all, some pretty exciting stuff.

Additionally, the calendar is filling up with some exciting events/conferences/conventions, and all. In March (8th) I’m speaking at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. I’m excited to be presenting there—it’s in Memphis, if the title didn’t give it away. Two weeks later I’m on the guest list for MegaCon, which is in Orlando, Florida. I had a great time as a guest there last year and am looking forward to another great show. I’m also trying to pitch a panel there but haven’t gotten word on that yet.

In April I’ll be the mentor at the Spring Hemingway Writers Retreat at the Hemingway Museum and Education Center in Piggott, Arkansas. It’s a place I’ve been before and I’ve said this before, too: this is one of those great opportunities for writers to get away and write! There are some instructional exercises, but it is mostly focused writing time with one on one feedback from mentors (which will be yours truly in April!). Lots of good writing has come out of the retreats I’ve been associated with. If you’re looking for a shorter getaway, this is the perfect opportunity for you.

Also in April, and on a more personal note, the grave for my Civil War ancestor William Montgomery Mann will have a dedication ceremony that features a new headstone with his unit markings. This is something I’ve hoped for since about 1986…and it really is all happening as the result of hard work from my dad.

In September (20th and 21st), I’m a comic guest at The Geek Gathering in Sheffield, Alabama, near my old stomping grounds in Florence. I’m hoping to get to see some of my old pals there.

A colleague of mine at Full Sail is putting together a group of presenters for the Florida Writers conference in October. While final word isn’t in on it yet (nor do I know the actual date), I’m pretty excited to be a part of the team she’s put together.

So, lots of stuff has me excited. So let’s dive in and hopefully we’ll all have a great 2014!

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The 2nd Spring Creative Writers Retreat

The Second annual Spring Creative Writers Retreat was held at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Education Center in Piggott, Arkansas. Once again, I was honored to serve as the mentor/instructor. This marks my fifth year to be involved as a mentor/instructor. As always, it was an incredible experience.

Some have asked how I got involved with a Writers Retreat in farming country Arkansas. Well, I’ll tell ya! When I moved to Piggott to become editor of the then Piggott Times, I worked hard to get to know the people I didn’t already know. Keep in mind, my family has been there for 150 years and has a long history there so I’m kin to about one-third of the folks there. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I know how I think it did: Deana Dismukes, who was then the Center’s administrator, had been delivering press releases to me. The summer of 2007, she asked me to come up and talk to the writers at the retreat. It was in the 5th or 6th year. She bribed me with lunch…and so I went. I did a story for the paper on the retreat and the writers there.

Then, in 2008, after I’d moved to Oxpatch, Deana asked me to come be the assistant mentor for the week long summer session. It seemed the mentor who’d help get it all started, Dr. Rob Lamm, had responsibilities elsewhere and his assistant was stepping up. I gladly accepted!

The retreats were so popular with the writers they demanded a Fall version. Thus, that November, a three-day Fall retreat saw its inaugural session with me as the only mentor. The others had regularly scheduled school responsibilities and I was available! The next year, 2009, the Fall retreat expanded to a weeklong event. Last year, 2011, writers demanded a Spring retreat. It was—and still is—a three day event. I’m honored to have been the only mentor at all of the Fall and Spring Retreats, and I love to see the continual flow of new writers coming to get some of Hemingway’s ambiance (he wrote parts of Farewell to Arms in the barn studio there on the grounds).

Generally, I give the writers a mini-lecture followed by writing exercises both in the morning and then after lunch. Many of them come with projects they’re working on (like novels) and just want some time to get away and write! I know of about three novels that have been at least partially finished—or at least worked on—while at the retreat.

This year was no exception with a slightly smaller—but no less talented group. Pictured are: front (l-r) Dr. Adam Long – Associate Director for the Museum and Ed. Center, me, Mary Lou Moran; back (l-r), John Achor, Shannon Richards, Linda Wyss, Jane Gatewood, Jerry Davis. Not pictured are Anne Winchester and Brett Thielemier.

If you’ve ever considered a retreat, let me encourage you to consider the Creative Writers Retreats at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Education Center. I don’t think you’ll regret it. Tell’em Roland sent ya!

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Once again, Writers Retreat at HPMEC

Those of you who’ve been around this blog for at least 7 months know of the Hemingway-Pfeifer Museum and Education Center and the awesome writers retreats. I’ve just come away from another week of retreating writers in the small town of Piggott, Arkansas, where Hemingway penned portions of his famous Farewell to Arms.

While I’ve known about the Pfeifer home and the museum for some time now, I wasn’t aware of the writers retreat until the summer of 2007 when the contacted me to do a story for the paper where I was editor. They fed me lunch, I listened for a bit, and did a story on it for the paper only to find out it was the first time the paper had ever even been there (I wasn’t editor there for the other retreats!). Needless to say, that shocked me, but one of the goals I had as editor was to make it more of a local paper, something it hadn’t really done before then.

The next summer, 2008, I’d already moved on from the paper but kept in contact with a lot of the people there, and the kind folks at HPMEC contacted me about being one of the Writing Mentors there. I jumped on the opportunity. It must have gone well, because they invited me back to be the sole Mentor in 2009 partly because Dr. Rob Lamm, the regular summer Mentor, couldn’t make it that year. Interest in the retreat had been growing and they were looking for ways to enhance the experience for writers, so the now annual Fall Retreat was created and I became the Mentor for that. This past April they put on the first (and abbreviated) Spring retreat. As I’ve said before, writers should consider doing something like this—if not the HPMEC retreat.

There were 14 writers in attendance this time, 10 of whom were first timers! Pictured are: front row, l-r: Brinda Gore, Dorothy Johnson, Cristy Phillips, Monica Moore, Teresa Lee, Kayla Dean; back row, l-r: Freeda Nichols, Elizabeth Foster, Richard Collum, Linda Wyss, Shannon Richards, Sue Whitmire, Barbara Collier, me, Evelyn Clark, Diana Sanders-HPMEC Assistant Director.

As usual, the writers came from all over and had a wide variety of interests. It is the first time, however, that I’ve ever had one bring part of a working dissertation for comments!

As usual, the writers left both full exhausted from the long week of writing and fully energized at the same time. Teresa Lee was so much so that she began her very own blog the very following Sunday. Check it out here: Close To Home

I am beginning to wonder, though… Two years ago Deana Dismukes, who was coordinating the retreats and putting together the anthologies, retired to many tearful writers and joyful grandchildren. At this retreat, Diana Sanders let us know she was about to retire and spend time with her grandchildren. A retirement party was thrown in her honor and her presence will be greatly missed.

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