Northern California Writers' Retreat

March 15th-19th, 2017

Write Here.

Right now.

Writing can be a very solitary process. We understand. That’s why we created the Northern California Writers’ Retreat, a place for emerging voices in fiction to have the space and time to write within a community of similarly motivated artists. 

In addition to enjoying ample dedicated writing time, you’ll also be invited to participate in select workshops and receive feedback from fellow retreat members. Our goal is that by the time you leave our sanctuary in the redwoods, you will feel as though you are a part of a vibrant community of promising writers with serious publishing ambitions.

Come join us!

Learn more

Write

Since many writers tell us the morning is their best writing time, please enjoy the hours before noon as your uninterrupted writing space. Spend the morning typing in the Madrone Circle, the deck of the Las Alas Lodge, your room, the sun patio, or any other favorite location you discover on the grounds.

Consultations

During the morning you may choose to schedule one-on-one time with Chelsea and/or Heather to discuss your work and ask any questions you may have about the publishing. Together we have over 20 years experience in the business—and we want to share our collected knowledge with you!

Workshops

Daily, a short afternoon talk on the path to publication will be given, covering all aspects of the business from understanding the role of an agent, working with an editor, marketing your book, etc. This will be followed by workshops  lead by Chelsea and Heather. More information about the process will be available in your welcome packet.

Stay

The Northern California Writers’ Retreat is located in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains, near the town of Ben Lomond. Nestled in an old growth redwood forest, the retreat is held at the Sequoia Retreat Center, a peaceful and tranquil spot, where we are the only residents for the four nights and five days. Writers will stay in one of sixteen rustic cabins tucked among the redwoods, each with its own unique charm and vista.

Eat

All meals, including buffet breakfast, casual lunch and dinner, are prepared by Sequoia Retreat Center’s dedicated kitchen staff who pride themselves on using locally sourced and organic ingredients when possible. Specific requests can be accommodated for those with food intolerances. Monterey County red and white wine will also be served, plus s’mores at the fire pit in the evenings!

Yoga

Join us every afternoon for yoga taught by our favorite local instructor (mats and blocks will be provided!).

Massage

A massage therapist will be available on site for writers to book treatment, offering a full menu of services. (These services are not included in the retreat fee.)

Play

We hope that you’ll come away from NCWR with a workshop partner, reader, or even a friend! Hiking maps and lawn games will be available.

Testimonials

"This lovely retreat in the Santa Cruz redwood forest was everything I hoped it would be. I found the quiet space to write I needed, and a supportive group of writers who will be part of my writing life for a long time to come. I'd recommend it to anyone who's serious about their writing and about building a writing community."

− Heather Young, author of The Lost Girls (William Morrow, July 2016)

"I was honored to be asked to participate in the first year of the Northern California Writer's Retreat. Heather Lazare and Chelsea Lindman have created the perfect retreat: time and space and solitude in the incredible Santa Cruz mountains combined with a supportive community of attentive writers and readers. As a bonus: a campfire, marshmallow roasting and good wine--what more could you ask for?"

− Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers and We Never Asked for Wings

"NCWR was the perfect trifecta of luxurious writing time, workshops with writers who know their craft and an infusion of industry knowledge from acknowledged experts. Add the most spectacular redwoods in the world and fantastic, locally sourced, organic meals and you've got the best writers' retreat I've experienced. If you write, do this. That is all. "

− J.R. Hampton

"Maybe it was my morning hikes amid the redwoods, or the enlightening afternoon talks with Heather and Chelsea and Vanessa, or the local organic dinners (and wine!)--whatever the reason, I felt an out-of-body level of inspiration on this retreat. And I was blown away by the talent and kindness of my group of fellow writers; I didn't go into the experience looking to make friends, but they warmed my steely New York soul. I would go back again and again."

− Jessica Silvester

"I have rarely attended an event that created as many special memories for me as this one did. The close connection and community that we formed in such a short space of time, nurtured by the retreat organizers, will carry me through for years to come. Given the solitary nature of the writing life, that's priceless!"

− Carole Stivers

"What a wonderful experience. Heather and Chelsea put together a relaxed, informative and joyful retreat in the redwoods. I learned a lot, connected with other writers, and got a good bit of work done too. For me, NCWR has set a new standard for what a writer's retreat should be - the perfect blend of work time and play time in a beautiful setting, with wonderful people."

− Lauren Doyle Owens

"This was truly a creative experience--yoga to open you up, a redwood forest for allowing the flow of thoughts, great writers for inspiration, time to work and wonderful food for sustenance--everything I needed to move from stuck to creation! "

− Wendy Schultz

"I would highly recommend this retreat to any writer ready to enter the publishing industry. I gained great insights into the varied worlds of the author, agent, and editor not to mention the friendships I garnered with my fellow writers. I finally found the illusive beta readers!"

− Mayanne Thomas

"NCWR surpassed my hopes in every way. NCWR gave me a threefold advantage in achieving my writing goals: a supportive community of writers, ample time away from my life to write, and invaluable insights into the world of agents and publishers. Thank you Heather and Chelsea!"

− Natalia Birgisson

"NCWR exceeded my expectations. I hope to return every year."

− Brenna McNab

"I highly recommend the Northern California Writer's Retreat. It is a wonderful experience that nurtures the creative spirit. This was truly one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my writing."

− Rachel Hannah

Application, deadlines, and fees

Please note, Northern California Writers’ Retreat is only open to fiction writers. You must be over eighteen to apply.

Participation is limited to fourteen writers in order to ensure that everyone receives the individual attention they deserve.


submit

The Northern California Writers’ Retreat will take place March 15th-19th, 2017.

We are now open for submissions!

Deadlines:

Application opens July 15th, 2016.

Early bird applications will be accepted until September 1st, 2016.

Application acceptance closes December 1st, 2016.

We will get back to you by December 15th, 2016 with our decision.

Fees:

This fee covers four nights and five days at the Sequoia Retreat Center, three meals a day plus snacks, wine, champagne, beer, s’mores, and the knowledge of your publishing veteran hosts! 

Single Room:

$2,397 for applications received by December 1st.

$2,197: early bird discount for applications received by September 1st 

Double Room:

$2,157: for applications received by December 1st.

$1,997: early bird discount for applications received by September 1st

  

Upon acceptance, we will require a $900 deposit, due January 5th 2017. The balance will be due by February 15th 2017.

 

Fees paid to Northern California Writers’ Retreat are not charitable donations. Deposits and fees are not refundable. Travel expenses and transportation to NCWR are not included.

Author in Residence

A HUGE thank you to our author in residence for 2016, New York Times bestselling author Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

Hundreds of thousands of readers around the world (including us) fell for Vanessa’s debut, The Language of Flowers, which has been translated into forty-three languages. We are huge fans of Vanessa, as well as her latest hardcover, We Never Asked for Wings.

Vanessa was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in the non-profit sector, teaching art and technology to youth in low-income communities. She co-founded Camellia Network, a non-profit whose mission is to connect every youth aging out of foster care to the critical resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive in adulthood. She lives in Monterey, CA, with her husband and four children.

We will be announcing our author in residence for 2017 in the next few months. Please join our mailing list to stay up to date on all that’s happening!

Diffenbaugh_MidRes

Meet us

Heather Lazare is an independent editorial and publishing consultant with over ten years of professional experience, who specializes in editing adult and young adult fiction, with particular emphasis on historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction, and thrillers. She began her career at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, then moved to the editorial side at Crown (Random House), and was most recently a senior editor at Touchstone (Simon & Schuster) before creating her own business in 2013. She lives in California with her husband and toddler son. Learn more at heatherlazare.com.

Chelsea Lindman is a literary agent with Sanford J. Greenburger, Associates.  Her primary interests include playful literary fiction, genre-bending fiction, and voice-driven women’s fiction. Chelsea enjoys working with debut authors and is most interested in working with clients that are looking to build lasting relationships. Chelsea began her publishing career in New York as an editor at Europa Editions then switched to the agent side to work with The Nicholas Ellison Agency as Director of Foreign Rights and build her own list. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and runs marathons for fun.

Our Story

The Northern California Writers’ Retreat was born over club sandwiches at the Big Four restaurant in the historic Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. Chelsea and Heather, both California natives, had each recently returned to their home state after spending nearly a decade living in New York and working in the publishing industry. As they were talking, both admitted that she had dreamed of establishing a space out west for writers to build community and work on their books. Heather was surprised to learn that so many of the writers she talked to did not have a dedicated reading group, knowing how important that “first set of eyes” on a manuscript was to a book’s success. Chelsea was interested in stretching the borders of their industry beyond Manhattan, eager to discover and nurture talent out west. Sandwiches led to drinks, which led to phone calls, which led to a game plan.

Our goal with Northern California Writers’ Retreat is to build a community of writers who will help lift each other up and take the retreat with them beyond our five days together. We hope you’ll come along on this adventure.

Let’s be social

Join the Community

For updates, book recommendations, and more photos, sign up for our mailing list!

Questions? Comments? Interested in learning how you can support the Northern California Writers’ Retreat? Reach out at: info@norcalwritersretreat.com.

Be a part of the conversation on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram!

facebooktwitterinstagram

Frequently asked questions

Can I send more than 20 pages?

Because of the number of submissions we receive, we cannot read beyond twenty pages, so please follow the guidelines in the application.

Does what I submit in the application need to be what I’m working on at the retreat?

No. You may submit published or unpublished work for the application. Our goal is to see your writing talents and be sure you are a good fit for the retreat.

What are the rooms like?

Rooms vary, yet each one is a separate rustic cottage with a heater and bathroom with shower. We offer double rooms in order to be price-sensitive, though many rooms can accommodate up to four people. Our goal is to provide a peaceful, tranquil space, so even rooms with more beds will only house two people.

Can I bring a friend with me?

No. Because we want this to be a unique experience that fosters community, the retreat is only open to the accepted applicant.

Do you offer financial aide?

We are unable to offer financial aide at this time, but hope to in the future.

Why the $12 application fee? 

We want to be sure that the authors who apply are serious about their writing and their intent of attending NCWR.

What are Chelsea’s and Heather’s desert island books? 

CL: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

HL: Ulysses by James Joyce and The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton (and also Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide because if I’m on a desert island, there’s probably a reason for it).

I’m ready to apply.

Great! Follow the link below!


submit

In the news

Word is out about the Northern California Writers’ Retreat! Read more here:

PWPublishers Weekly

 

NYBENew York Book Editors

080-IMG_9314

024-_MG_9258

The stone fireplace at Las Alas Lodge

120-IMG_9354

180-IMG_9414

188-IMG_9422

The kitchen garden

189-IMG_9423

157-IMG_9391

171-IMG_9405

155-IMG_9389

The Madrone Circle, the place for s’mores

149-IMG_9383

The labyrinth

001-_MG_9235

A colorful place to write, meet, discuss

125-_MG_9359

113-_MG_9347

A drink in the woods!

135-_MG_9369

170-IMG_9404

098-IMG_9332

One of the cabins

084-IMG_9318

Redwood Ampitheater

047-_MG_9281

073-IMG_9307

062-IMG_9296

063-IMG_9297

058-IMG_9292

New growth

055-IMG_9289

088-IMG_9322

The view from one of the cabin balconies

023-_MG_9257

The view from Las Alas Lodge

019-_MG_9253

015-_MG_9249

One of the beautiful hiking paths

018-_MG_9252

Las Alas Lodge

002-_MG_9236

The Welcome Center

003-_MG_9237

The field

032-IMG_9266

025-_MG_9259

Outdoor dining, writing, or workshopping