So, it’s been a pretty great year for the folks at Quirk and Quill. A few highlights:

1) Two members of our VCFA class had books published this year.

LarasGift_compLara’s Gift by Annemarie O’Brien

hownottobepopularHow (Not) to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine

2) A number of us got together for our annual S3Q2 and Friends Retreat (I was supposed to blog about it way bay in October but didn’t—my bad).


Rachel W. working during the Generative Workshop.

writing table

Trent, Amy Rose, Rachel H., Mary Winn, Ginger, and Jess cranking out words at the table.


Look – another guy!


Varian, Jess, Jen, Rachel W., and Ginger. S3Q2 for life.




Rachel W., working outside.


Marianna and her striped socks.




Rachel H., writing with the frogs and the fish.


Top Row: Varian, Rachel H., Marianna, Rachel W., Linden, Trent
Bottom Row: Katie, Jess, Jen, Ginger, Amy Rose, Mary Winn

3) In between all the publishing and the writing and the retreating, we also got a little reading done this year. Our own books aside, favorites include:

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Sue)
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Sue)
All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry (Rachel)
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Varian)

4) A number of us spent the year working on novels that will be coming out next year:

mapartMap Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Map Making, Imagination, and Travel by Jill K Berry and Linden McNeilly (May 2014)
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson (May 2014)
Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (Sept 2014)
Fat and Bones by Larissa Theule (Oct 2014)

DividedWe Fall

Additional books we’re looking forward to include Trent Reedy’s Divided We Fall (Jan, 2014) and Amy Rose Capetta’s Unmade (Oct 2014).

6) Looking forward, here are some words of wisdom from the crew:

“If you want to walk on water, first you have to step out of the boat” – Carol Allen

“If you’re a super busy person, give yourself reasonable, attainable goals, keep them visible throughout the year, and chip away at them tactic by tactic until you’ve nailed the goal!” – Annemarie O’Brien

“Write because you love to do it. Because you have to do it. Because you love words and story and losing yourself to that amazing place where story happens. That’s how the very best books are born.” – Sue LaNeve

“You will forget what it took to write the last book. This is a blessing and a curse. Use the blessing of forgetfulness to be brave about taking on a new project. Banish the curse of forgetfulness by reminding yourself that the struggle is totally normal.” – Rachel M. Wilson

“Write like there’s no tomorrow.” – Varian Johnson

Happy 2014, everyone!