Thursday, April 14, 2016


Hi folks,

Got a few things coming up shortly you might want to check out. First, I’ll be on the air with Tom Pitts for an interview on his podcast, Skid Row on the Air on Authors on the Air. We go live on Wednesday April 20 at 9 pm EST. It’ll be up later if you can’t make that time. Check it out at

We'll be chatting about my newest novel, BOMB! and a life of crime...

Then, in May, I head down to my home state of Texas for a couple of events. The first is a wild night at the very first Noir at the Bar at Threadgill’s Bar to read along with writers Jordan Harper and Jesse Sublett, hosted by Texas largest independent bookstore, Book People and Scott Montgomery. It’s gonna get nasty up in here?


Thursday, May 12 at 7 PM
Noir at the Bar has moved! Come to our very first Noir at the Bar at Threadgill's for music and readings from Jesse Sublett and readings from Jordan Harper and Les Edgerton. 

When we’re done there, Scott is going to drive me up to (or is that down to?) San Antonio where I’ll be the next eight days as a staff member for this year’s Writer’s Retreat Workshop. Scott’s going to hang with us there for a day or two so he can get the chance to hang with Joe Lansdale and the others. Still some openings if you’re interested. This is one of the premier writing retreats in the country! Below are some links and info about the annual event.

Writers Retreat Workshop 2016

WRW 2016       May 12 - 19
Oblate Retreat and Conference Center
Heart of San Antonio, TX

WRW 2016 Agents and Editors Yet TBA:

Author (8 Bram Stoker Awards, Edgar Award, etc) Joe Lansdale 
Author (Children of the Drought series) Arianne"Tex" Thompson
Author and Instructor Les Edgerton
Short Story Author and Instructor Matthew Brock

Author and Editor-in-Residence Carol Dougherty
WRW Program Director, author, instructor Jason Sitzes
WRW Coordinator Lisa Willars-Pirc 

Our History

The WRW story begins in June of 1987 in a Victorian retreat center tucked away in the sleepy countryside village of Woodstock, Connecticut. There, a small group of pre-published novelists and writers of narrative non-fiction gathered for the first Writers Retreat Workshop. Their purpose: to study with one of the leading teachers of writing for publication- Gary Provost, known to them as “The Writer's Writer.” And the purpose of the WRW: to teach these students all that Gary knew about the art, craft, and business of being a novelist.

"Until his untimely death in 1995 at the age of fifty, Gary Provost was arguably the leading teacher of writing in the United States.”—Writer's Digest Books

"When I planned our first WRW, I had an ideal vision of how the work sessions would go, but because we were doing this for the first time, naturally I worried. As it turned out, things went better than I had even hoped. The work sessions were lively, thoughtful, and constructive. The writers who came were all the serious-minded, dedicated people we had tried to reach. Though we enjoyed fun and good conversation each day, nobody forgot why we were there: to bring our books closer to publication. For me, it was exciting to see writers abandoning poor writing habits and breaking through to new levels of ability.

WRW was the most satisfying teaching experience of my career, and I believe that for the writers it was the most successful learning experience. Perhaps the best measure of last year's success is the fact that all of our writers continued to work on their books... and are in touch with each other still."--Gary Provost

For these serious writers, Gary simplified the complex with his unique blend of warmth, wit, and wisdom; creating an easy-to-absorb, step-by-step course that has become the hallmark of WRW instruction. He was a master communicator, and of his more than 24 published books covering most genres, seven were written specifically for writers. Included in that list are such top sellers as Writer’s Digest Books’ Make Every Word Count, Beyond Style: Mastering the Finer Points of Writing, Make Your Words Work, and the more recent How To Tell A Story: The Secrets of Writing Captivating Tales.

Because Gary Provost was an inspiration to writers around the globe, his sudden death in 1995 left the writing world shaken. At WRW, however, his indomitable spirit endures as his legacy lives on. Founded by Gary and Gail Provost to provide writing students with as much current nuts and bolts information as possible in the short amount of time, WRW continues to offer an abundance of advice, tips, and guidance; ensure a nurturing supportive environment free of “real life” distractions; and include a hearty dose of fun.

So, who are these WRW participants who feel compelled to attend these cherished opportunities to learn and grow as writers? They are dedicated students, committed to learning to improve their craft in order to publish their novels. Although they arrive at varying levels of ability and experience, all make dramatic leaps and leave WRW as far more confident writers. Without exception.

Oblate Retreat and Conference in the heart of San Antonio is the home of WRW. Your eight days of intensive learning, writing, workshops, ample 1-1 meetings with industry professionals, and making life-long memories will be held against the backdrop of a gorgeous Texas retreat center.

Co-founded in 1987 by the late Gary Provost (author and internationally acclaimed teacher of writing for publication) and his wife Gail, WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP is an intensive learning experience for small groups of serious-minded writers who are committed to improving and completing their novels for submission. For those who consider their writing to be a vital part of their lives, one they wish to develop as fully as possible, WRW provides the ideal experience.

Visit our photo page for past WRW events memorable moments. Read more about the history of the internationally acclaimed Writers Retreat Workshop.

What exactly happens at the Writers Retreat Workshop?

At WRW you will find a forum in which to express yourself and your creativity, your ambitions and fears. You will be made to feel at home so that nothing stands in the way of your success during the eight days.

This is a workshop, and you will work.

You'll attend class each morning and be taught WRW's in-depth, step-by-step course for crafting your novel, of any genre, for publication. This is not formulaic novel instruction. There is no such formula. Gary broke down novel structure scene-by-scene, dissected characters, taught how to choose words with impact, and shared many other fine details novelists must learn as second nature. Here, at WRW, we review these stylistic tools over and over throughout the week until you leave feeling equipped, inspired, and revitalized about your novel. We don't teach the art-- we teach the craft and instruct you on how to nurture the artist. Class instruction uses examples from classic to bestsellers of that day. Prior to the workshop you will be given a list of books used and a series of pre-workshop assignments. During the workshop you will be given assignments, then go back to your private room or one of the various outdoor spots to write. All work focuses on your novel, so while you work on your story's structure, our dedicated staff will be available to brainstorm with you on your plot. In small group sessions, while learning how to diagnose your own and others' style strengths and weaknesses, you'll also boost your editing skills.

Other optional activities include 7am Early Bird sessions, evening wine and appetizer Shop Talks (featuring agents, instructors, students, and authors), Book Signing night, 10pm Night Owl Sessions, and ample 1-1 opportunities with core and visiting staff. WRW is as close to an eight-day, 20+ hour workshop as you can get. It's unparalleled in what it offers. And most of all, if you want only a nice writing retreat in which you work on your book and socialize when needed-- it's that as well. The only request of new participants is that you attend the morning sessions based on Gary Provost's groundbreaking course-- and you'll want to anyway. WRW is immersion in the writing world whether you're writing genre, literary fiction, children's literature, memoirs, short stories, or any number of creative writing endeavors. That's why top agents and authors return year after year.

Assisting you throughout the eight days will be WRW mentors and In-Residence guests, including authors/agents/editors who will share with you the truth about today's publishing "business" and --when they meet with you -- how best to market your novel-in-progress.

Where and when is the next Writers Retreat Workshop?

WRW 2016  May 12 - 19
Oblate Retreat and Conference Center
San Antonio, TX

Rides from the San Antonio airport (very near the the retreat center) will be available.

Do I belong at the Writers Retreat Workshop?
The decision to attend the WRW should, of course, be a considered one. After all, it is an emotional and financial commitment that you will be making.

Over the years, we've found that the most important prerequisite for making that decision is the belief that you deserve to be there; that you deserve to make an investment in your future as a writer. By signing up, you are proclaiming that your writing is a vital part of your life, one that you wish to develop as fully as possible. You'll understand, intuitively, that attending the WRW will mean you'll be giving the best gift you can to yourself . . . a week filled with work-and-fun- crammed days of writing and learning.

The key criteria for a successful eight days is to keep an open mind and have a willingness to expand your horizons. Through classes, assignments, diagnostic sessions, feedback, guest speakers, discussion groups, readings, informal gatherings, movies, and more, you will learn more than you had ever dreamed was possible.

What should I expect from the experience?
First of all, that you'll make dramatic improvements in your writing, editing, story sense and marketing skills. Also, that you'll meet a group of people with the same dreams and aspirations. That you'll laugh a great deal. That you'll be well-fed, nurtured and challenged. Expect to give yourself wonderful stretches of time to do the work you are meant to do--write. Expect that you'll be welcomed into the growing WRW family. Expect that your dreams will be revitalized.

Here are some comments from some of our recent Writers Retreat Workshop participants.

"WRW is a unique blend of writing craft education, and the development/enrichment of the spiritual side of writing. Until this retreat, I never realized one suffered without the other. Since WRW, I’ve found a deeper creativity, and a confidence I never had before.  I’ve carried some of the spiritual practices into my daily writing routine and have become a richer writer as a result." - Joni, TX (2015)

"If you are a writer, and you want to be a published author, you need the best instruction, feedback, and information necessary to accomplish that goal. WRW is the place to get all three from well-placed and well-respected industry experts in a nurturing environment with members of your own tribe—the nation of writers." – Rick, NC (2015 and previous)

"I learned more about craft- about the elements of story structure and scene development in ten days than I have from years of reading writer's books and attending conferences. And I did it in a warm, supportive community in an idyllic setting. Can't beat that!" - Lynn, KY

"There is no value like this anywhere else that I've been able to find. The returns for the writer's time, money, and creative efforts are immense." - Marilyn, OH

"The perfect mix of classes and writing time. I'll be back fro my fourth year." - Lynn

"The first year gives you the nuts and bolts. Returning provides more of the tools needed to build and create your story." - Kathy, Maine

"Always dreamed of spending time with other writers, just honing your craft and sharing creative ideas? WRW gives you the luxury of doing just that." - Pam

"WRW creates a new world for the writer's pen." - Brian, Seattle

I want to sign up. What should I do?
First- Feel free to email us. Request any information you need.

To participate in the WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP, visit the registration page.

Tuition for the 2016 session is as follows and all rooms are private with private bathrooms. 

Tuition for WRW includes: One on one consultations with all staff members, three excellent meals daily with fruit, beverages, and snacks available 24/8, nightly Shop Talk wine and beverage, your private room with private bathroom, all classes, and classroom materials. Probably more.

Everything but your transportation costs to the retreat center. There are a limited number of rooms, so you must send at least a deposit to hold your room. If you would like to make your full payment, or your deposit (second payment of $600 due two months before workshop, and the final payment of $600 due one month before workshop) by mail, send payment along with your name, address, e-mail, phone numbers (daytime, evening, fax), and a one-page summary of your novel-in-progress.

Our address is:
Writers Retreat Workshop
PO Box 170657
Austin, TX 78717

Hope to see some of you at these events!

Blue skies,