Each December three critique partners and I head to north Georgia for a plotting retreat. This year we spent Saturday night at an old inn just south of Clayton, at Glen-Ella Springs. Our suite had the air of old-fashioned comfort and of grandma’s house, if she’d been rich. Each of our bedrooms held stoves with the look of old wood burners. While the rooms are old planks, modern conveniences include bathrooms with showers and whirlpool tubs. Nice!

Saturday evening we enjoyed a wine tasting. Yes, the North Georgia mountains have vineyards and local wines. The restaurant offers a gourmet menu that changes daily and a buffet style breakfast with pancakes to die for. Our weekend the temps were low, which made the fireplaces in the restaurant and lobby welcome. You can’t beat a place that offers fine dining near hiking trails, streams, and more. Near-by Clayton has wonderful shops.

Before our sumptuous supper we worked on plotting, taking one person’s idea and expanding it into a plot to get that writer started. We worked after supper and then the next morning. Each of us left with basic plot to start writing a new book.


More photos at www.Facebook.com look for Mary Marvella Barfield


  1. Karin Tabke // December 27, 2008 at 2:10 AM  

    How fun! I sooo need to get away, to plot, to veg, to anything!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Joanne // December 27, 2008 at 8:52 AM  

    What a wonderful idea! And, Clayton is not far from me. Hope you had a fun and successful weekend.

  3. Edie // December 27, 2008 at 9:48 AM  

    Great pics, Mary! Sounds like a fun time. And tax deductible, too. :)

  4. Mary Marvella // December 27, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

    Karin, Edie,

    It was wonderful! No cooking and no one yelling for a meal or even standing and staring for attention.

  5. Mary Marvella // December 27, 2008 at 1:09 PM  

    Joanne, we could even meet there. It really is a lovely area and that Inn rocks!

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 27, 2008 at 4:12 PM  

    Green is not very becoming for Scarlet! I wanna go to the retreat! Hummmm, might just take myself there to write all by my lonesome! Wonder if they having openings next week? Bet I could finish the wip if I went!

    Scarlet-- who blew by to out Mommie for making the third straight cut for Karin Tabke's first line contest!

  7. Mary Ricksen // December 27, 2008 at 5:18 PM  

    That sounds like a lot of fun. The pictures remind me so much of an Inn in Bryson City, NC called the Freymont Inn. The views are wonderful there and those kinds of places let you slow down.
    Great pictures!

  8. Mary Marvella // December 27, 2008 at 9:17 PM  

    Now, Scarlet!

  9. Mary Marvella // December 27, 2008 at 9:18 PM  

    I've been to Bryson City, NC!

  10. Mona Risk // December 27, 2008 at 10:22 PM  

    Wow this sounds like so much fun.

  11. Jana Oliver // December 28, 2008 at 10:23 AM  

    What a cool location to plot! Getting folks together is always a means to nudge the "idea hamster" into the wheel. Where you might go "nyah" at someone's suggestion at the moment, that suggestion may eventually hatch into a full blown story. I know it's happened to me.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Arkansas Cyndi // December 28, 2008 at 12:35 PM  

    That is a great tradition! It looks (and sounds) like a great place.

    Happy New Year. Hope the book you plotted is THE breakout best seller! :)

  13. Mary Marvella // December 28, 2008 at 9:14 PM  

    We always leave with at least one book plotted each

    HI, Jana and Cyndi.