The Sunshine Writers Retreat

I stepped into a Monet painting last weekend.

If you know me and have followed this blog, you will know from previous posts, I am a writing conference junkie, but I have never looked forward to a weekend away with writing friends as much as I anticipated this one.

Aleesah Darlison fostered a wonderful, friendly and supportive community leading up to the event, so arriving at the inaugural Sunshine Writers Re-TREAT was like catching up with friends. Some from inter-state and others from overseas.

Montville Country Cabins, set in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, became a haven of inspiration, networking and learning with the added bonus of communing with the visiting wild life. There was one bird with a particular call that rang through the valley on Friday morning: ‘A kookaburra stole my bacon.’ Heads up future retreaters – do not leave your breakfast unattended on the verandah.

All subsequent meals were more than made up for by our hosts Christine and Anton. Their excellent catering provided the physical sustenance while our presenters provided brilliant input of another kind.

Samantha Wheeler shared with us her conversion from pant-ser to plotter and how to navigate the three-act structure.

Karen Foxlee sprinkled her magical fairy dust around us and I came away with a paragraph I can develop in my novel.

Then the vibrant Alex Adsett, who breaks all the stereotypes of author agents, lit up our evening as dinner speaker. The take away: read the contract!

Thanks to Peter Carnavas, I can now draw penguins! What other writing reTREAT gives you that? I am inspired to allow myself the freedom of creativity, even if the music he shared gave me images of death!

My mentor and editor, Elaine Ousten, reminded us all about polishing our rough diamonds.

Social media and business were the focus on Sunday. Do you have an author CV? A website? A Facebook author page? Many of us went away with these challenges before us.

I had my eyes opened to some inside-the-industry facts from publisher, Rochelle Manners, and the dynamo that is Michelle Worthington brought our weekend to a close with her talk about social media.

As much as I love conferences, I might love the flurry of Facebook friending that comes after, just a bit more!

And so, I have joined with some new author friends for a blog relay. Find out what other participants enjoyed about the weekend by following the links on our consecutive blogs.

First up, Lucy Day Werts Hobor has shared many photos of our beautiful location.

And if you think the Sunshine Writers Retreat 2018 would interest you, sign up at

Until next time, keep writing.

Raelene x


    • raelene says:

      Hey Janet. Perhaps you could present one year! Bookings open for 2018 if you’re interested. It really is a totally immersive weekend.
      Thanks for dropping by my site.

    • raelene says:

      Yes, you’ve had a busy month. I have to moderate my weekends away and attendance at writing events. This might just be one to make a definite in the future, though.

  1. Sounds like you packed a lot in during the retreat, Raelene. Sounds more like a mini-conference with all of those fabulous sessions. And the Montville area is certainly beautiful. Will give it some serious thought for next year. Thanks for sharing

    • raelene says:

      Thanks Nola for coming by. I can recommend this one. It was a totally immersive experience and the connections made were intense. I have a link to next year on my timeline – might come up in your newsfeed. It’s very close to Omega though, which was why I wasn’t in Sydney this year. There are day passes too if you want to live elsewhere. It was the environment in which Rochelle finally said, ‘I want to see the rest of this.’ Must have been all that wonderful mountain air!!

    • raelene says:

      Thanks Laura. Wonderful that you could come to our sunny state and spend time with like minded people and get some R&R for yourself. All the best for your picture book, too. Check out Inda’s blog if you really want it all to come back!

    • raelene says:

      Thanks Aleesah and thank you for your dedication to us all. I know this event will become a highlight on the writing calendar. I’m so glad it went so well for you. I have run conferences and I know just what it takes to bring it off successfully.

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