By Laura Drake

I’m not a cruiser. Seriously. I look like a sea lion in a bathing suit, I can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie, I don’t gamble, and that just the thought of me on that wave-making thingy makes me laugh (and check my health insurance for medivac). We take 4,000-mile motorcycle trips – a boat is waaaay too small!

But when I heard ‘Writers Cruise’, and ‘Margie Lawson’ in the same sentence, I took it to Alpha Dog (my husband), knowing that he’d nix it, since I’d already overspent my writing budget for the year. To my shock, he said yes!  After checking to be sure an alien hadn’t taken over his body, I sent off my registration before he could change his mind.

I’ve been to Margie’s Immersion classes, but it had been a while – I wanted to brush up on my skills. Besides, I had a new shiny WIP I wanted her to see. I just knew that this time, she’d think my first pages were just perfect, and not want to change one golden word. I talked my friend, Fae Rowen, into going too, so I knew we’d have fun and enough work to keep me from going stir-crazy.

Well, I was right – and wrong. Besides Margie-brilliance, I finally got to meet the amazing Steena Homes. We brainstormed promo ideas, and when I got home, I began the FB group, Reader’s Coffeehouse (come join us!). Not only that, but I met Jaye Wells, and hearing some of her writing in Margie’s lessons I added her books to my teetering TBR pile. Shelley Adina helped me with branding and I was happy to meet Deidre Knight. I have an agent, so she couldn’t help me, but she’s looking at Faye’s work, even as I type this!

December 2015 Cruising Writers Writing Retreat, the "Title Waves"

But maybe even better than all that – I got to meet the amazing group of writers on that cruise. I’ve known both Julie Glover and Christina Delay from social media for years, but it was the first time we’d met in person – those were some big hugs! We named ourselves ‘The Title Waves’, and many of us keep in touch on social media. I just saw Marly Davis at the RWA conference, and if I ever get to Australia, Edwina Darke had better get ready for company!

Working hard on a Writing Retreat

Working Hard on a Writing Retreat

We worked hard – as a group, and in breakout sessions. So great hearing others’ work!

Alpha Dog and I didn’t do any of the shore excursions, though I heard they were amazing. We opted instead for coffee shops with WiFi!

Working with Margie fueled my writing for an entire year…Oh, and those first pages I just knew she’d love?

Laura Drake, Author, Edited pages from our writing retreat

Here’s the ‘after’ photo.

But they’re SO much better now!

 I can’t think of a better place to meet new writer friends, edit your WIP, and learn new writing skills. Oh, and did I mention the Caribbean?

Laura Drake, Author, in Jamaica on a writing retreat

Rum cakes in Jamaica, Mon!

Laura Drake, Award-Winning Author, on a Writing Retreat

About Laura Drake

Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush.

She writes both Women's Fiction and Romance.
She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award in the Best First Book category.

Her 'biker-chick' novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin's Superromance line, and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town.

Laura’s first women’s fiction, Days Made of Glass, released January, 2016.

In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

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