2023 Retreats Announced!
If you’re a flash fiction writer who’s longing for a new creative spark, an adventure to energize your spirit, and camaraderie with your creative community, then join us in 2023!
2023 Retreats announced!
FRANCE: June 26-July 3
COLORADO: August 15-20
ICELAND: October 25-29
Get on early access WAITING LIST for 2023 retreats here
REGISTRATION OPENS IN OCTOBER!
Do you dream of uninterrupted days to write in beautiful locations? Do you long to meet, be mentored by, and network with other writers? Are you enamored with flash fiction and want to learn more or refine your work?
We give professional and aspiring writers, struggling to create amidst the everyday demands of life, the gift of time, community, instruction, and the opportunity to reconnect with your own imagination and sense of possibility so you can confidently bring the work inside you to fruition.
From past participants:
“The retreat was life-shaking. It was a dream to learn from writers whose stories I’ve read for years. The combination of Kathy’s generative workshops with Nancy’s editing/revising workshops is a great approach. Peace Retreat is beautiful, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. I came away with better writing AND eating habits.” ~Bill Merklee
“Location, location, location? Not only. This experience pulled my writing in new directions and left me with a sense that a retreat can be both demanding of one’s mind and easy on one’s spirit. Kathy and Nancy were inspiring instructors who brought together a talented and generous group of flash fiction-loving writers. Together, they offered guidance that I can continue to draw on each time I take to the page.” ~Charmaine Wilkerson
“A Flash Fiction Retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman is the perfect way to refresh one’s writing practice. Inspiring locations, like-minded short-fiction writers, and their hallmark positive feedback style make for a true retreat: Pressure-free, productive, and restorative.” ~Anne Weisgerber
“My week of “writing wild” at Peace Retreat in Costa Rica ” with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman was an amazing way to start of 2019. Everything a writer needs to gain confidence and fire up her word machine was provided: time to write, community, useful exercises, mentoring, helpful critiques, encouragement, time for rest and contemplation, time for fun and games, time to reflect and dig deep. Stunning experience.” ~Gay Degani
The writers retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman was an inspiring, magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience. They are wonderful instructors, writers and mentors with great insight into the craft, as well as the writing life. I also loved meeting people from all over the world who are passionate about writing. I left the retreat feeling re-energized and refocused about my writing. In short, I loved every minute. ~ K.B. Jensen
If you want to learn about yourself as a writer and a person, if you want to open yourself to your creative potential, and your inner truth as a writer, take a retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman, they will guide you, encourage you, and inspire you. The rest is up to you, put aside your usual way of thinking, open yourself up to what you want to avoid, and.prepare to be amazed. ~ Annie Bien
The French writing retreat with Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman – my first ever writing retreat – lived up to all my expectations, and they were pretty high. It felt like a fairy godmother had shown up, asked us what we wanted and needed most for a week of writing, thinking, creating, sharing, learning and laughing, waved her wand and made it all come true: exceptional teachers in an exceptional location in the company of other inspirational writers. With a pool and fabulous food thrown in. I feel I am leaving with my writing well filled up to the brim with riches for me to keep drawing from. Thank you Kathy and Nancy! ~Philippa Bowe
Read “Everything is a Story”: Reflections and photos from the 2022 Spanish Flash Fiction Retreat
Honoring the Voices in Our Heads: Retreat Participant Lisa Trigg Shares a Micro
Do you have a character, a story, a voice that won’t let you go? Likely this is for a reason! Lisa Trigg, who will be joining us in Yviers, France for our French Connection Retreat , shares with us just such a voice in her micro below:
Hazel Currie Asks Who is that Talking?
by Lisa Trigg
Here I am, falling in love with exactly the wrong woman wondering how I have let this happen. And the voice said, in parentheses (well, this is how it works. You don’t know. You just don’t know what you want until you have it in your arms, smiling up at you, cracking jokes at your books, all those shoes in your basement, how often your watch tells you to breathe and drink water, and how much you talk to Alexa. You start remembering things you never thought of or dreamt about or read in any of your books. Suck it up).
What I want to know is. Who is it that talks in parentheses? Just who is it?
Lisa has a whole series of “Hazel Currie” stories and explains her inspiration for them:
“Hazel Currie started talking in my head when I was about 20 years old. She tells me stories, points out things that I should pay attention to, remember. She reminds me of things that I have forgotten that might be important, useful, that I should write down. She reminds me if I already have notes on a subject. She does not usually know where those notes are. She is persistent and does not shut up until I write down what she says and I have done so since the beginning. It’s the only way I can get anything else done. I’ve been evaluated, and no, I do not need medication. To learn to make use of what she tells me, I regularly attend master writing workshops with writers that I admire, do close readings, work with a private writing coach, read craft books, other stuff that I have forgotten.”
(Note: Our French Connection Retreat is sold out, but registrations are now open for our return to Grand Lake, Colorado in August for High Altitude Inspiration in the Great American West. We’d love for you to join us!)
Flash Curious & Writing as a New, Fun Profession: A Chat with Linda Hahn
Nancy and I are so happy that Linda Hahn will be joining us in Yviers, France this summer for our French Connection Retreat (which sold out in three days!). Linda kindly agreed to let me ask her a few questions. She’s had a fascinating life!
Hi Linda! Would you describe yourself as a traveler and/or adventurous by nature? And have you been to France before?
I am not much of an international traveler: Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico so far. The trip to France will be my first to the continent. However, I have lived in various locations in the US. I grew up in Michigan in the Detroit area. In my early twenties, I traveled to Oregon and lived there for over 20 years, graduating from college with a bachelor’s and a master’s.
For about two years, I lived in Ketchikan, Alaska, the state’s third largest city on an island with 21 miles of paved road, complemented by 180 inches of precipitation per year. Playgrounds outdoors had roofs. Lots of bars and lots of churches. One movie theater, and if there were three people in line, residents thought the line was too long. No kidding. The scenery was outstanding-never saw more eagles just cruising the skies. I highly recommend traveling through the inside passage from Seattle to Juneau by ferry. You can sleep on cots on the deck under sunlamps and play cards all night. In Ketchikan, I taught swimming in elementary schools and met a lot of nice people, but two years was enough and moved back to Oregon.
After completing my master’s degree in History of Science, I worked as a Public Historian in Washington, D.C. for about three years. I had previously been living in rural Oregon, and the culture change between Oregon and D.C. was significant. Too many people, way too much traffic. I was there during 9/11 and saw the smoke from the Pentagon burning from my apartment window. A couple of years later, during the sniper attacks actually, I moved back to Michigan. Phew.
What are you most looking forward to at the French Connection retreat?
The presentations on flash fiction intrigue me. I am not very familiar with the style so I am curious. On a practical note, even if I do not become a flash fiction writer, I suspect that the editing skills needed to pare down narrative into a very concise package will be beneficial in writing either short stories, or novels. I am also thinking that Nancy’s presentation on putting a novel together from flash fiction pieces will be helpful in putting together any novel-length piece. While these presentations sound great, honestly, I look forward most to being with people who take the craft of writing seriously and are on a journey of exploration like myself.
Your favorite book?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is an all time favorite. Since reading Crawdads, I compare other novels to it and few measure up. Most compelling in Crawdads was the way I immediately felt a connection with the main character, a sense of empathy. Prior to reading that book last year, my fave was Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Another favorite author is Dan Brown. I have read DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and am currently reading Origins. I came back to reading Brown because I recently signed up for Masterclasses online and first listened to his presentation. It was so wonderful to hear Dan Brown say that when he first started writing fiction, he didn’t think he could actually complete a novel. Dan Brown. Wow. I used two points he made in a short story of mine.
And….Stranger things? Something about yourself you’d like to share?
A year and a half ago I retired from a career in prospect research/fundraising. I moved from the Metro Detroit area to the Village of Port Sanilac in the Thumb of the state, population of 600, where I live four blocks from the shores of Lake Huron (pictured on the right). In this new, quiet and remote environment, I will make writing my new fun profession. I took creative writing classes in college but let it go. Actually, I had to let it go because when I sit down and really write, it is all-consuming. My imagination goes wild and I act like a crazy person, staring at the screen, debating a paragraph and ooops, hours have passed, papers would be due and I’d be late for work. I didn’t really pick it up again until I retired, but I still have the same obsessions. I’ll work on a project totally focused for two weeks, and then not write for another two weeks. So now, I am truly enjoying being obsessive but in all honesty, I suspect these are not the best habits and I am hoping someone will magically set me on the right path.
Thanks so much, Linda! Can’t wait to hang out with you in France this summer!
Our French Connection Retreat is currently filled, but let us know if you’d like to get on the wait list. Better yet, check out our August retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado, now open for registrations!
Nicholas Cook on Flash Fiction, Writing Retreats, & Creative Inspiration
Nancy and I are absolutely thrilled that Nicholas Cook will be joining us in the French countryside for our French Connection Retreat in June. Nicholas took a few moments to chat with me about writing and writers, creativity, and flash fiction.
Hi Nicholas! Have you ever done a writing retreat before? And what are you most looking forward to in France?
I did a workshop in Taos, NM last year with Robert Vaughan and Meg Tuite. It was a blast, and I made some good friends and even managed to get a story from the workshop published. As for France, I’ve never been before so I’m looking forward to all of it, but mostly the chance to work with Kathy and Nancy, especially as I am interested in flash novel(la)s.
What inspires you creatively?
I find reading other peoples works inspires me the most. Otherwise, music, walking the dog, traveling, re-reading books.
Aw, I love this photo of you and your dog. I get the same creative boost when I’m out with my dog as well. Can you share a piece of writing of your own that you especially love and/or feel most proud of (and talk a bit about why?)
“The Eclipse” which was published in Lost Balloon in 2017. This story was a finalist for the 2018 Best Small Fictions and a Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction contest honorable mention. This is still one of my favorite stories of mine and one of the few I can go back and read and not cringe over. The story came together easily and was inspired heavily by the story Pool Night by Amy Hempel, who I was re-reading for the hundredth time. I like it because the voice and character are very different than what I usually write.
I love this story, Nicholas. I remember reading it when it came out. It does remind me of Amy Hempel’s work, quiet but powerful. No wonder it was recognized. What books or short stories have you read many times, and what draws you back to these works?
I will re-read every piece of flash written by Claudia Smith until the day I die. She was one of the first flash authors I really “got” over a decade ago, and her work still resonates with me (the voice, simplicity and economy of words, and emotion). Other flash authors I love are Cathy Ulrich, Kathy Fish, Kim Chinquee, Meg Pokrass, Tiff Holland, Casey Hannan, Robert Scotellaro, and so many more. As for novels, “Why Did I Ever” and “One D.O.A…” by Mary Robison are essential reads and I re-read them in some form once a year. Mary Robison has one of the most distinct and captivating voices and is a huge inspiration to me. I find I think like a lot of her characters (although maybe not so exaggerated, I hope).
Thank you for the mention! I feel the same way about Claudia Smith Chen’s, work and Mary Robison is an all-time favorite writer of mine, too.
Forgive me, but I always ask this question: Is there something funny / interesting / weird / wonderful about you that you’d like to share?
I’ll have been traveling around Europe prior to and after the workshop as I’ll be on a twelve week sabbatical from my job. I’m excited to see what inspiration that brings! Maybe I will stop writing about the southwest and deserts.
Nicholas Cook’s fiction has appeared in Lost Balloon, Jellyfish Review, Unbroken Journal, Bath Flash Fiction Award, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for Best Small Fictions 2018. He lives in Texas.
Note: Our French Connection Retreat sold out very quickly (you may get on the wait list for it though!) Check out our other upcoming retreats in Costa Rica (there’s a VERY special limited time discount you might want to jump on) and Grand Lake, Colorado.