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It’s been a while since I posted … I took a break to focus on the launches of DON’T TOUCH and THE GAME OF BOYS AND MONSTERS, but now both of my beasts are out in the world.

And in between those launches, I took a much-needed breather at the FOURTH ANNUAL S3Q2 & Friends Retreat! We returned to good old Beverly Shores, Indiana for a third year.

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We being S3Q2 (that is, original members of the VCFA class known as the Super Secret Society of Quirk and Quill) …

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… and Friends (that is people we love who’ve been kind enough to join us for one or more years of retreating):

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That’s right. The friends now outnumber the Quills! This year’s Quills included Ginger, Larissa, Varian, myself and Jen, and the Friends included Amy Rose Capetta, Mary Winn Heider, Rachel Hylton, Katie Bayerl, Marianna Baer, Steve Bramucci, and Carol Brendler.

We also made friends with a peacock who wanted to come inside.

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I think he blessed us with good luck, but we did worry about him running into the spooky coyote pack that we heard while lounging in the hot tub.

Per usual, we enjoyed dining at Bartlett’s …

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And cooking for ourselves!

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Steve was our newbie, which worked out well since he stressed to impress with some amazing cuisine …

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Mary Winn led us in a productivity workshop with some inspiration from Jeff VanderMeer’s The Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction and the Pomodoro technique, which many of us are still using daily.

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We wrote all over the place …

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Carol can be seen here giving the evil eye to snap-happy Varian during a Pomodoro.

Some of us took breaks to stretch …

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I can be spotted yoga-ing in the background.

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… or to visit the beach …

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… and when we tired of all of that, we got really goofy …

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This is me wearing Varian’s shoes, or, as I prefer to call them, clown shoes

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Mary Winn and Carol sizing each other up

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Larissa testing the capabilities of Varian’s smartphone camera.

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This is either another camera test or the cover for Larissa and Varian’s new chamber pop album

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Again, Steve was new

At one point we were even haunted by the ghost of a last-year Friend, Trent Reedy aka The Phantom, who sent each of us a mysterious message. Hylton (aka the plucky Final Girl) and the Phantom traded a series of ominous messages.

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And, of course, we took lots of pictures of each other in our many and varied groupings…

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The pics in this post were all taken by Varian and Amy Rose!

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FIVE of us are Sara Crowe clients

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Two of us belonged to the Cliffhangers class

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Three of us used to have a Chicago writing group called TOOCF (aka The Other Other Chicago Fire)

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Three of us were more recently at VCFA together, write together virtually …

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… and MIGHT secretly be triplets separated at birth.

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All of us, but especially this one, are prone to mischief.

As you probably can tell, we love each other lots and miss each other terribly.20140920_140214

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