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Leftbank Writers Retreat – THE Perfect Christmas Gift for the Writer on Your List! Or Treat YOURSELF!

It’s DECEMBER. Some of us are finished our Christmas shopping. Others will start it on the 24th. I’m somewhere in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to Christmas gift shopping. I have begun.

Have I got a gift idea for the writer on your list! 🙂

As some of you may know, I went to Paris in June of this year. It wasn’t an ordinary Paris trip, though. I went for a writing workshop. As a HUGE fan of Ernest Hemingway’s A MOVEABLE FEAST, I always had the desire not only to see Paris…but to see it in the footsteps of Hemingway. I Googled Hemingway’s Paris writing retreat about a year ago. As is often the case, Google struck gold. On the first page of my search, LEFT BANK WRITERS RETREAT IN PARIS came up. I knew within a minute of clicking on the website that I had found what I was looking for.

The Beautiful Luxembourg Gardens, where writers on the retreat spend their mornings writing and listening and breathing in the beauty that is Paris...
The Beautiful Luxembourg Gardens, where writers on the retreat spend their mornings writing and listening and breathing in the beauty that is Paris…

I saw Hemingway’s Paris, I wrote in the Tuileries and in the Luxembourg Gardens, I saw the city from atop the Eiffel Tower, I wandered museums, I strolled down the Champs-Élysées, and I climbed the great spiral staircase to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. I did it all.

In this unique writing retreat, writers have the opportunity to explore Paris on their own during the evening. There is nothing more beautiful than walking the streets of Paris while the sun is setting! Doing so after a full day of living the writing life is even more extraordinary!
In this unique writing retreat, writers have the opportunity to explore Paris on their own during the evening. There is nothing more beautiful than walking the streets of Paris while the sun is setting! Doing so after a full day of living the writing life is even more extraordinary!

The retreat is perfect for first time visitors to Paris, as well as those returning to the city of love and light. For first timers, not only will you be taken through Hemingway’s Paris in the embrace of tour organizer Darla Worden and her amazing faculty Sarah Sazur and Travis Cebula during the day, but you will also have the nights to explore Paris on your own. And all three faculty members are amazingly knowledgeable on all things Paris…and extremely helpful at making suggestions and offering directions, etc. I never once felt abandoned during my stay. It was wonderful to have the evenings to ourselves after our days of writing and museum hoping and neighbourhood visiting. And there was always someone from the group to share the evening experiences with.

paris2
Left Bank Writers Retreat Founder Darla Worden, Faculty Member Travis Cebula, and 2014 Alum Nina Welsh. Writing and Learning in the Luxembourg Gardens!

If you are a writer, now is the time to spoil yourself for Christmas! The Left Bank Writers Retreat is currently offering a discount! So treat yourself while the deal is on. You will NOT regret it. I loved it so much, I plan to attend this retreat again in the future.

The Left Bank Writers Retreat faculty take writers to these magical steps, where Gil was whisked off into the 1920s in the movie Midnight In Paris!
The Left Bank Writers Retreat faculty take writers to these magical steps, where Gil was whisked off into the 1920s in the movie Midnight In Paris!

If you have a loved one who is a writer, this is the perfect Christmas gift for them. I promise you, they will love this enriching experience in the city of love and light. Paris changes you. Paris through the wonder of the Left Bank Writers Retreat, done in the shadow of Ernest Hemingway, changes you on an even deeper level. Give the gift that will give back to the writer in your life for years to come.

As writers on the loose in the evenings of Paris, you could visit the Louvre! If you walk straight from the pyramid, through the Tuileries beyond, you will find yourself strolling on the Champs-Elysees. This will eventually take you to the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can walk to the top and view the city in all its splendour!
As writers on the loose in the evenings of Paris, you could visit the Louvre! If you walk straight from the pyramid, through the Tuileries beyond, you will find yourself strolling on the Champs-Elysees. This will eventually take you to the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can walk to the top and view the city in all its splendour!

Here’s a media release from the retreat:

Forget the fancy pens and notebooks. This year’s best holiday gift for writers is six days at the Left Bank Writers Retreat, a small-group summer writing workshop held in Paris each summer. A $200 discount on registration for this year’s retreat, to be held June 14-19, 2015 – on any registration made by January 1, 2015 – makes the deal sweeter for gift givers.

The discounted price of the six-day Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris is $1,799 (regularly $1,999) and includes morning writing sessions, coaching and one-on-one time with the instructor for a maximum of eight writers, as well as lunch each day, admission to museums and area sights, an excursion to Montmartre, a picnic on the banks of the Seine and a literary tour visiting many of the sites featured in the Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris.”

“I’ve heard many stories at the retreat from women and men who received the retreat as a gift,” says retreat founder and CAL member Darla Worden. “It is definitely a gift that keeps on giving – writers leave the retreat with newfound inspiration found in Paris.”

The retreat welcomes fiction and memoir writers, poets and playwrights. A place in the 2015 retreat can be held with a $500 deposit.

What trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. The Left Bank Writers Retreat included a boat ride down the Seine where we viewed the Tower from the river. Later, on our own, a fellow alum and myself made our way to the tower for our own personal exploration up close and atop!
What trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. The Left Bank Writers Retreat included a boat ride down the Seine where we viewed the Tower from the river. Later, on our own, a fellow alum and myself made our way to the tower for our own personal exploration up close and atop!

Put yourself, or your loved one, in the hands of the best Paris tour guides you will ever meet. Darla, Sarah and Travis are AMAZING! They gave me a gift I will never forget. Ernest Hemingway once said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I have changed this slightly after being fortunate enough to have experienced the Left Bank Writers Retreat. “If you are lucky enough to have experienced the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for the Left Bank Writers Retreat is a moveable feast.”

Give the writer on your list a gift that will last forever. Give them Darla. And Sarah. And Travis. Give them Hemingway’s Paris!

Darla Worden, Sarah Suzor, and Travis Cebula --- collectively, the magic behind the Left Bank Writers Retreat!
Darla Worden, Sarah Suzor, and Travis Cebula — collectively, the magic behind the Left Bank Writers Retreat!
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Speaking of Word Clouds, a Glimpse into The Reasons

After creating a word cloud to celebrate National Poetry Month, I wondered what CHAPTER ONE of THE REASONS would look like as a word cloud. Would it give away any secrets? Would it be compelling? Evoke curiosity?

THE REASONS hit ebook stores this month! April 19th, to be exact. Here’s chapter 1 as a word cloud:

WordItOut-Word-cloud-182501

 

Oddly, Worditout.com chose the right colour to display this particular word cloud in. It matches nicely with the cover of the novel. (-:

thereasons-300dpi

I posted the book trailer for The Reasons a few days ago. If you scroll down, you can find a link on this blog.

It’s been a great ride bringing this one to fruition. It began as a 72-hour novel, written during the 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon. It won the BEST ADULT NOVEL AWARD for that year. It finally celebrates its ‘Birth’day in 18 days. I hope you enjoy it!

To add THE REASONS to your GOODREADS SHELF, click this sentence.

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The 11,111 Hits Giveaway Extravaganza!

I came onto my blog this morning to discover that the hit counter was at 11,111 hits, precisely. That has to be a sign, right? I mean, that’s, like, one one better than the magic of 11:11, which, when spotted, we are to stop what we are doing and make a wish.

So I thought, ‘How can I celebrate this milestone?’ The answer came to me right away! I have a new book coming out VERY SOON. Why don’t I give away a print copy of Sebastian’s Poet? And I can send along a copy of my first book, Summer on Fire, at the same time.

So, in celebration of 11,111 hits, I am throwing a little contest. It’s also a celebration of the release of Sebastian, my personal favourite story of all the ones I have ever written.

So:

1st Prize: 1 copy of Sebastian’s Poet and 1 copy of Summer on Fire

2nd & 3rd Prize: 1 copy of Sebastian’s Poet

(all prizes include shipping, naturally!)

OPEN TO U.S.A. & CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY!

Summer on Fire is published by MUSEITUPPUBLISHING and is available everywhere as a print or ebook!

Sebastian’s Poet is published by MUSAPUBLISHING and will soon be available wherever ebooks are sold! (Note that it will not be available to the public as a print book!)

(Please note that these two publishers are not the same publishers. Musa and MuseItUp are two completely different entities.)

HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment on this post before MIDNIGHT JUNE 18th!

Please help spread the word. This is also a celebration of the release of Sebastian’s Poet. (-:

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David Gilmour – Nobody Should Be Allowed to Write So Perfectly!

Click on the above book cover to be taken to a site about David Gilmour

So…he’s done it again.

Sometimes I feel just like Superman. But only in the way I crash to the ground, weak-kneed and sullen, whenever I get around to reading David Gilmour’s latest novel. Yes, Mr. Gilmour is my kryptonite. I’m never actually Superman, the strong invincible guy who sometimes changes into his tights in phone booths. For those of you from younger generations (and/or unfamiliar with either Dr. Who or Bill & Ted), the following picture contains phone booths…in case you’re wondering what they are.

I found this phone booth graveyard on the island of Lamu, just off the coast of Kenya.

So, yeah. Although I never ever get to be that Superman, I often find myself assuming the guise of the suffering kryptonite weakened Superman.

And David Gilmour is responsible for this. His latest hit to my indefatigability (it’s a word now) is a beautiful little novel called THE PERFECT ORDER OF THINGS. (Click the title to go to Mr. Gilmour’s publisher’s site… Thomas Allen & Sons.) Oh how this book haunts me. I want somebody to bring me the head of David Gilmour on a silver platter. But not in a bad way…really. Don’t decapitate him or anything. I don’t want him dead. I need him to be alive. I need this sweet sweet krptonite pain to occur again…when I get to read his next novel. So, though I don’t want him dead…I do want him in front of me. I just need to slap his face. And just to make sure he is real. Just to get him back for making me the sad pathetic Superman one would find splayed in a gutter with a nugget of kryptonite sitting on his chest, laughing. If kryptonite could laugh, that is.

Dear Mr. Gilmour:

Why should one man get ALL the perfect sentences? Why should one man have Awesome Agent Sam Hiyate & all the perfect sentences? Why are you allowed to have the monopoly on perfectionism in the field of fictional nostalgia? Why, why, why do you write the most beautiful word combinations on the face of the planet!? I have the same 26 letters at my disposal, Mr. Gilmour. The exact same 26 letters…I shit you not. But I assemble them next to yours and mine look like mud patties next to your world champion sandcastles in the sky.

David Gilmour’s Words

Pretty, isn’t it!

My words

Oh well, you have to start somewhere right.

Mr. Gilmour…one doesn’t digest all of your novels without wondering if you google alert yourself. You’ve made no bones about the fact that you’re vain. (-: When you read this mad rant from your maddest of readers, know that I wish you no malice. It’s okay that your novels throw me into a deep depression for a couple of weeks. No biggie. In the end, the mad mad love I have for your perfect (in every damn way) sentences only helps me to strive to be a better writer. So, I guess our relationship is win/win. I win by dying inside with blood curdling screams of envy and love for your words. You win in knowing that if all the earth were to turn against you for some unknown reason, I would still purchase your next book. I would stand in a line of one or one million and one for your next book. You can put that in your pocket. A guaranteed sale. That’s something, isn’t it?

Thank you so much for your words.The Perfect Order of Things is yet another perfect offering. A beautiful read from first word to last. Out of 5 stars, I give it 6. Man, the things you do with words!

Everybody…go out to your closest bookstore. Or go online to your closest ebook store. BUY a David Gilmour novel. Discover what the perfect combination of words looks like. ANY of his novels. Discover the beautiful ache of nostalgia that Gilmour intricately weaves into every story.

I must take a much needed rest. The kryptonite is making me groggy. I must wait for the haze to subside. I’ve been Gilmoured yet again. I must lie down.

Signed,

Your biggest fan and your most hostile and happy reader.

PS: Mr. Gilmour, if EVER you would like to participate in the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE in ANY way, please do give me a contact. You can speak, or teach or just sit there and eat. The offer is OPEN.