Lake House Retreat in No. Idaho

Find your inspiration and apply what you learn while staying in this cute lake house nestled among the cedars of North Idaho.

  • Limited spots are available.
  • Accommodation fees are modest as are the session fees.
  • Women-only retreat.

This write and work writers retreat will focus on preparing your product and getting it published. 

Register and learn more about it on this Lake House Retreat Registration Page.

There is also a Facebook page for the event.

4-6 November 2022

The accommodation options are very flexible and range from $150 to $250 with “Buddy [room-share] Add-ons” at a reduced price.

Your ticket will include two nights’ accommodations, three meals and a dessert Charcuterie board Friday night, as well as all seven sessions and a group critique. One-on-one critiques or edits can be purchased for an additional fee.

Idaho Writers Conference a success

As we’d earlier mentioned, the Idaho Writers Conference, produced by the Idaho Writers Guild, was back with a bang this year. It looks like they already have a page in place ticking down the days to the 2023 conference.

This is a great opportunity for local and regional authors of all stripes, genres, publication methods, and levels of experience to meet, network, and learn from a slate of excellent presenters.

The IWG also conducts an annual writing contest which typically opens 1 January and closes around the end of March (so mark that on your calendar). We’d like to take a moment to recognize the winners of the contest as published in their monthly newsletter.

Page One Only

  • First Place: Wraith (Rick Just, Boise ID)
  • Second Place: Prairie Winds (Carol Kjar, Rapid City SD)
  • Third Place: The Dutiful Daughter (Sherry Briscoe, Boise ID)
  • Honorable Mentions: Fallout (Carrie Stuart Parks, Cataldo ID); Bay of Secrets (Carrie Stuart Parks, Cataldo ID); Forget Me Not (Michael Jacobson, Clark Fork ID); Stratos (Lani Forbes, Boise ID); RESCUE, The Adventures of Boatson Bill (William Baker, Eagle ID); Undo 22 (Jim Moore, Meridian ID); Nothingman (Vaughn Clark, Boise ID); With a Little Luck (Nancie Turner, Meridian ID); I Hold the Key (Nancie Turner, Meridian ID)

Short Story

  • First Place: Simon’s Train (Keely Walker, Meridian ID)
  • Second Place: The Rose Room (Eric Wallace, Eagle ID)
  • Third Place: Dorrie’s Last Story (Dorothy Read, Boise ID)
  • Honorable Mentions: Imagination and Curiosity (Michael Jacobson, Clark Fork ID); Generations (Carol Kjar, Rapid City SD); Sydney Pinkman Is My Friend (Frank Lester, Boise ID); The Tattoo (Frank Lester, Boise ID)

Novel, First 10 Pages

  • First Place: Bay of Secrets (Carrie Stuart Parks, Cataldo ID)
  • Second Place (tie): Stratos (Lani Forbes, Boise ID); When Knowing Comes (Kelly McConnell, Boise ID)
  • Third Place: A Million Ways to Die (Julie Howard, Boise ID)
  • Honorable Mentions: The Bane (Steven Dill, Eagle ID); Emma (Rick Just, Boise ID); All the After (Vicki Volden, San Jose CA); Klara’s Journey (Khaliela Wright, Viola ID)

Nonfiction Memoir/Essay

  • First Place: A Day (Rah Allison, Jordan Valley OR)


  • First Place: River People (Margaret Koger, Boise ID)
  • Second Place: Piano Recital (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID)
  • Third Place: Sixty Climbs for Sixty Years (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID)
  • Honorable Mentions: The Table (Crystle Lynn, Boise ID); June (Rah Allison, Jordan Valley OR); Oregon Coast (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID); Wagon Days (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID); Idaho Love Song (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID); I Know a Place (Lori Williams, Ketchum ID); Luna’s Lament (Celia Scully, Boise ID); How Falling in Love is Like Origami (Celia Scully, Boise ID); Civil Engineering (Vaughn Clark, Boise ID); Yet Another Memorial to Some Bleeping War (Vaughn Clark, Boise ID); Ah, Sugar Beets (Vaughn Clark, Boise ID); Submit (Barbara Olic-Hamilton, Boise ID)

Writing contest winners…applause!

We’d like to take a moment to recognize the winners of Willamette Writers’ annual Kay Snow Writing Contest — named for the founder of the Oregon-based group.

Their categories include groups not always seen in similar organizations’ writing contests, including screenplays, and — notably — younger writers:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction (flash, short story, novella, and novel excerpt)
  • Nonfiction (including essays, critical commentary, and memoir)
  • Drama and screenplay
  • Students grades 1-6
  • Students grades 7-12

The contest has been open to members and nonmembers, with members securing a submission fee price break.

Learn more here.

As noted in this post, the recognition gained by winning a writing contest can give a writer a needed boost to counter the sometimes inevitable doubts.

Writer’s conferences to attend

Now halfway through 2022, we’re a bit late to the gate on posting this — but consider that you can use it as a handy list from which to plan future years’ events (which can be a terrifically fun exercise in and of itself).

Your IWU web editor has concentrated mostly on the mystery realm, broadly speaking, and am leveraging a list of links that author Sherry Briscoe had prepared a few years ago for some critique group friends (this writer included).

But before we hone in on the crime-infested genre, let’s mention three longstanding…

Conferences nearby

  • Idaho Writers Conference is an annual event put on by the Idaho Writers Guild, typically in May. It’s a two-day affair (plans for 2023 include a masterclass add-on for Thursday) combining craft and business and catering to both aspiring and established writers.
  • To the west is the engaging Willamette Writers group who produce the very robust Willamette Writers Conference, typically in August. There’s a wide variety of opportunities and add-ons suited to writers in most all genres and disciplines.
  • And to the south the very active League of Utah Writers‘ annual Quills Conference is so jam-packed that they have had to add a Pre-Quills Conference as well.

Some of the biggies

  • Bouchercon is the name you always hear, a world mystery convention with an aura all its own. They’ve booked 2022’s conference for September in Minneapolis … but also 2023’s in San Diego, 2024’s in Nashville, and 2025’s on the fertile ground of New Orleans.
  • Thrillerfest is an event produced by the International Thriller Writers. This year’s was the end of May in NYC.
  • Crimefest, an international crime fiction convention, was also in May this year, in Bristol. Looks delightful for those interested in a trip to the UK.
  • [added] MurderOne in Dublin is in October 2022 and features an extensive list of talent … truly one to book if at all possible.
  • There might still be time to book a place for Scotland’s international crime fiction convention, enticingly titled Bloody Scotland. It’s to take place in Stirling in September.
  • The Mystery Writers of America put on Sleuthfest, this year in July in Florida. (Love their E A Poe logo.)
  • Rounding out this portion of the list, one must mention Left Coast Crime (2023 is in Tuscon, Arizona) and Malice Domestic (2023 is in Bethesda, Maryland).

Smaller conferences can be fun, too

There are more regional conferences than I can list here, though these and these might get you started, but they often offer a lot to those who either want to stay revved up between the mega-conferences or find the environment in the more well-known writer’s conferences a bit too hectic or intimidating.

That being said, none of these look to be lightweights. So, food for thought.

  • The International Agatha Christie Festival looks to be a treat for all of us who devoured her books when younger (and yes, from time to time currently).
  • On the other hand, the Writers Police Academy puts you in the position of participating in hands-on, real-life training, plus they’re throwing around names like Lee Child and Robert Dugoni. Interesting…
  • Back to England, we have the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (July in Harrogate).
  • And in Maine (home of a certain Famous Author), we have the Maine Crime Wave, for those who fancy a trip to the other side of the continent.

But there are always so many more . . .

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

The Cabin’s Summer Program

Boise’s The Cabin has an extensive slate of activities and learning opportunities lined up for the summer and throughout the rest of the year.

Prices range from free to “pay what you can” and on up.

Upcoming writing workshop titles include:

  • Free drop-in writing workshops
  • “Solitude & Ourselves: Writing for Lonely Times”
  • Rainbow Poets: an LGBTQIA+ writing workshop
  • The Art of Nature: an environmental writing workshop
  • Building Worlds Word by Word (how to write great sentences)
  • Meet the Players (character)
  • Generating Flash (of course: flash pieces)

Summer writing camps for kids grades 3 – 12? Check these out:

  • Urban Ink
  • One Acts
  • Cabin Writers
  • Strange Lands
  • Picture This
  • Word Play

And watch their website for news on these upcoming Readings & Conversations with:

  • Reza Aslan
  • Rainn Wilson
  • Amor Towles
  • Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Joy Harjo
  • Ruth Ozeki

#wilwrite and Pitches

17 Literary Agents and Film Managers!

If you’re trying to decide if you should pitch your book or screenplay this year, three (3) more agents will be joining them at this year’s Willamette Writer’s Conference.

You can find more information about David Binns, Sharon Pelletier, and Nelson Cole in their Conference Registration. The best way to find out who is still available and what they are interested in is to begin the registration process, and here is a link to the professionals matrix, showing what industry professionals are interested in this year.

Pitches disappear quickly and early Bird prices end June 15th at midnight. Read more on the Willamette Writers Conference website.

Photo by De’Andre Bush on Unsplash.