Solstice Writing Retreat – Join Us!

Happy New Year from Solstice Writing Retreat! Have you made any New Year’s Writing Resolutions? If you have, let us help you reach your goals! We are gearing up for Solstice Writing Retreat, happening in just a few short months. It’s going to take place April 23-25 – that’s right – we’ve moved the retreat to take place in the spring. Midway is lovely in the spring – blossoms on the trees, mild weather…all that jazz.

We hope you’ll sign up and take advantage of all the great things we have to offer this year. Many of our staff are returning for another round of great writing instruction. We’ve got Dean Hughes, Chris Crowe, Ann Cannon, and Louise Plummer. In addition, we have Obert Skye and Hilary Weeks! Sign up for one of their classes and take your writing to the next level.

Beyond the superior writing instruction, you also get two lunches, a fabulous dinner, and all the snacks and treats you could want. We’ll also have our annual ice cream social at Dean’s house, where you can mix and mingle with all of our fabulous authors and attendees.

Sign up today and we’ll see you in April!


Dean Hughes: Why I Love to Write Historical Fiction

Dean Hughes has written more than 100 books and has sold more than a million copies of his books. Solstice is thrilled to have him back this year, teaching a class on Historical Fiction. Below, Dean explains why he loves the genre so much.

I’ll tell you what I love about writing historical fiction: I have to read before I can write, and I love to read.

Actually, there’s more to it than that. It’s not enough to know the broad outlines of a historical period to start my fictional version. I have to steep them in a time and place, both to know the attitudes and “the feel” of another time, but also to know the details of daily life. It’s really important, in doing research, to lift myself out of my own assumptions and learn to think like the people of another age. And it’s just as important to know the price of bread, the dress styles, the methods of farming, harvesting, cooking, etc.

In other words, to write historical novels, you have to read a whole lot. And why do people start writing? It’s usually because they love to read.

The reading also supplies the conflicts of an age, and it suggests possible stories. When I start “thinking up” a contemporary story, I have to imagine a character and place that character in some circumstance that leads to a conflict. But when I write historical fiction, I find people in my reading who, with a little adjustment, become the characters in my story. The setting suggests all sorts of challenges for that character to face. Usually, once I’ve done a fair amount of reading, I start to see my story.

Now, having said that, remember that the reading becomes a lovely excuse for putting off the writing. The old blank screen is still waiting for you, no matter what. It’s wonderful to sit in an easy chair with a good lamp and an old book and tell all who will listen: “I’m working on a book.” But that only lasts so long. It’s important to read enough to plan the plot, but then you have to face that painful process of drafting the story.

The reading is great fun, but here’s the tricky part: to some degree, you don’t know what you need to know until you start to write. Google can help at that point, but only if you’ve read enough to understand how the details fit into the larger picture. Still, over and over, you find yourself realizing, you don’t know enough—and it’s back to the reading.

So what’s better in life than reading and writing? I seem to remember a few things, from younger days, but when all those other things are gone, there’s still the joy of learning new stuff. I’ll admit, writing is hard work, and nothing can change that, but historical fiction is the ultimate escape. You not only get to time-travel to learn what you need to know; you are also forced to look deeply inside to imagine yourself living at another time.

I’ve sold myself. I’m going to write another historical novel. Oh, wait. I am writing another historical novel.

I better get to work.

If you would like to sign up for the Historical Fiction Class with Dean Hughes this summer, go to


Aaand We’re Back

Hello Writers!
Plans are starting to take shape here at Solstice! We hope you’re as excited as we are for this year’s retreat.

Returning to our faculty this year are Louise Plummer, Ann Cannon, Dean Hughes, and John Bennion. We’re also happy to have Chris Crowe joining us for this year’s Solstice. Also new this year, we’ve got a couple of editors lined up and you’ll be able to meet with them for some one-on-one time where you can pitch your ideas and get valuable feedback. And if you’re lucky, we just might do some more dancing!

Leading up to the retreat, we’ve got some things lined up for you to look forward to. Look for some giveaways, an early bird special, and guest posts from our faculty.

In the meantime, polish up those manuscripts, dust off those family histories, and get ready to join us in July!

Good News!

If you’ve been putting off signing up for Solstice Writers Retreat in lovely Midway, Utah, have we got a deal for you! We have extended our early bird pricing until May 31! That’s right. You can still get the full conference for only $249. With classes offered by Ann Cannon, John Bytheway, Dean Hughes, Louise Plummer, and other successful authors, this is one fantastic deal. As far as Utah writing conferences go, Solstice can’t be beat. You get 3 days of instruction, critiquing, and information all in one place. Plus, we’re just going to have a lot of fun. So sign up today!

Solstice Faculty: A Veritable Who’s Who of Writers

Solstice is proud to introduce you to some of the best writing talent anywhere:

1. Ann Edwards Cannon

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Columns and Blogs

Ann is the writer of a well-known column in the Salt Lake Tribune and the author of a widely-read blog, The Writers’ Corner (And Also What I Ate Today). She’s also the author of several novels, children’s books, and essays. If you’re familiar with Ann’s style, you know you’re in for a good time.

2. John Bennion

RETREAT TOPIC: Nature and Outdoor Writing

John is a creative writing professor who specializes in nature writing. He often takes his writers on hiking expeditions where adventure (and good stories) ensue. John has published books for both adults and young adults alike. If you love the outdoors, John will teach you how to put it into words.

3. Dean Hughes

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Nonfiction for Children

As someone who has made a career of writing (Dean has published over 100 books) this is a class not to be missed. Combining his wit and vast experience, Dean will offer extraordinary insight into what it takes to write for children.

4. Louise Plummer

RETREAT TOPIC: Writing Memoirs

Louise has published in both the fiction and non-fiction markets. She has used her own experiences to create works that are witty, original and thought-provoking. She spent many years as a writing professor, but her style is anything but “professorial.” If you’re looking to write your personal or family history, this may just be the class for you.

So there you have it! With an all-star line-up like that, Solstice promises to be a dynamic, entertaining, and highly informative writing conference. And there are still a few weeks left to get early bird pricing – so don’t wait any longer. Sign up today!