Write With Me at Tinker Mountain, aka The Awesomest Grownup Writing Camp–I Mean Workshop–Ever


Were you a camper as a child? I went to a few day camps when I was little: I remember Brownie camp, where we made Sit Upons. Back in the day, ours weren’t nearly so colorful.


Duct tape? Seriously? No fun in that. Punching holes with dangerous awls + sewing were the best parts!


I also remember being dropped off at a “nature camp” for a few days in a row at some point. We did crafts and I got a lot of bug bites.


Googly eyes weren’t all that available in the dark ages when I was crafting w/ pine cones.

I didn’t go to overnight camp until I was sixteen, which was kind of weird. It was sponsored by the Future Business Leaders of America. You’d think that future business leaders would camp out a a swanky hotel and practice sitting in overheated conference rooms drinking stale coffee, right? No. We were lent the accommodations of the Future Farmers of America, which were wooden barracks on a mosquito-infested campground with camp toilets in a hidden region of central Kentucky. Or it might have been Nicaragua. It’s all hazy now. But I do remember (more) bug bites, and awkward canoeing “adventures.”

It was nothing like this. Not at all. But we did have to wear life jackets.

I certainly won’t say I regretted any of those adventures. Kids are resilient and flexible. And it’s good to get them outside, especially if they’re bookish sorts who have gone a little myopic because of poor lighting during late-night reading, and have bruises from walking into things when they have their nose in a book.

People like that don’t grow up to be river guides or Martha Stewart. Some of them grow up to be writers. Early in my career, I attended a lot of writing workshops–in fact, I met my husband at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop in Hindman, Kentucky. (Yes, he was my teacher. Go ahead and giggle. We don’t mind. 😊)

These days we both teach at the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop held at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. My husband taught at Hollins for eight years, and both of our children were born in Roanoke, so it’s always a bit like going home for us. But it’s not just the place that is special–the faculty and students are dear to us as well. We’ve built wonderful relationships over the years, and build new ones every time we go back.

It’s a lot like a writers’ camp, though the accommodations are way better, and the food is outstanding. After workshops and individual conferences during most days, there are readings or other events every night. And after the official events, attendees gather in smaller groups and share their work or play music or talk into the night (after getting their homework done, of course!)

Workshops are small, with anywhere from five to ten or so writers. They meet in the morning for three hours, then after lunch there are craft seminars that anyone can attend. Here are full descriptions of the workshops. There is something for pretty much every writer: I’ll be teaching a Mystery/Suspense workshop, and my husband, Pinckney, will be teaching Plotting and Storytelling (he is a master–his classes are always popular). There are two different poetry workshops, one advanced novel class, a class on daily writing, and one on memoir. Plus, there are two more advanced workshops: one with a professional editor on writing for readers, and one led by an agent to help participants navigate submitting and making their writing appealing to buyers in the industry.

And it all takes place in one of the most beautiful settings in the country. You’re surrounded by some of the oldest mountains on earth on a campus that’s welcoming and full of history. A serious writing camp for grownups. What could be better?

The link below has all the details, but you can also drop me an email via the Contact button on my site, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can.

What: Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop

Where: Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia

When: June 11-16, 2017


March 8th Words

Journal: 0 words

Long fiction: (Edited one looooong chapter. Still changing this section from 1st to 3rd person, which is a big challenge.)

Short fiction: 0

Non-fiction: 0 words

Blogging: 707 words

Exercise: 1 hour on treadmill

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