The Team

Meet the Team

Writer and Retreat Curator Dafina Dailey put together a well-rounded team from people she was inspired from. This retreat was designed to help you write as you are, practice the moment and focus on writing. Check the team’s credentials below.

Fiction Track taught by ADRIENNE BELL

ADRIENNE BELL is the author of over a dozen action-packed romances including the bestselling contemporary Second Service series and the new Exiles of the Realm paranormal series. She loves nothing more than writing quirky heroines with a knack for finding trouble and the hardheaded heroes who help them fight their way out of it.

Adrienne lives with her husband and sons on the far edge of the San Francisco Bay Area where she spends her downtime reading, binge-watching nerdy television, and scrolling through Disneyland fan sites.

More about Adrienne –

ADRIENNE will lead a workshop on writing scenes that grab the attention of agents, editors, and readers alike. Drawing on her writing, editing, and publishing industry experience, Adrienne will take you through the crucial elements of a great scene, questions to ask yourself as you write and revise, how to recognize and revive a scene that’s not working, and more—with plenty of insider tips along the way. Then she will provide specific feedback on scenes that workshop participants have written.

You’ll receive PLOT, MD when you check in with the Writing Retreat staff on August 9th, 2019.


Non-Fiction/Memoir Track taught by RACHAEL HERRON

RACHAEL HERRON is the bestselling author of the novels The Ones Who Matter Most (named a 2016 Editor’s Pick by Library Journal), Splinters of Light, and Pack Up the Moon (all from Penguin), the Darling Bay and the Cypress Hollow series, and the memoir, A Life in Stitches (Chronicle). She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, Oakland and she teaches writing in the extension programs at both UC Berkeley and Stanford. She is proud to be a New Zealander as well as a US citizen, though her Kiwi accent only comes out when she is very tired. She is honored to be a member of the NaNoWriMo Writers Board.

More about Rachael –

RACHAEL will teach you how to use character arc/development to develop your core story. We will discuss the framing techniques that best suit your particular life’s story, and we will learn how working quickly heightens enthusiasm and quiets the inner critic. She knows firsthand that writing a memoir can be a daunting proposition. Though you are the expert on your life, narrating and organizing your own experiences effectively can feel impossible.

You’ll receive Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours when you check in with the Writing Retreat staff on August 9th, 2019.

Keynote Speaker JEAN STEEL

JEAN STEEL has a knack for providing information in a humorous way: her belief is that laughter and learning are not mutually exclusive. The themes in Jean Steel’s presentations—self-responsibility, looking at the bright side, finding your passion, gratitude and having a zest for living—were issues she learned firsthand early in life. She and her siblings moved overseas at an early age, following her father’s passion. Being raised in Africa and Asia gave her an appreciation of life very different than most Americans. That environment created the person Jean is today—able to appreciate the good things in our life that we most often take for granted and recognize the perfect moments in our lives.

JEAN received her Masters Degree in Wellness/Mind/Body health with the understanding the integration, balance and harmony of an individual’s mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual self, results in a positive state of well-being. Happiness!

More about Jean –

You’ll receive I’D LIKE TO RUN WILD, when you check in
with the Writing Retreat staff on August 9th, 2019.



Editor ANNIE Oortman

ANNIE OORTMAN says, “In today’s unconventional era of publishing, anything I can do to help an author develop, hone, and distribute his or her passion to a world waiting to hear it is an effort I embrace.”

Readability is the ease at which a reader can read, comprehend, and—this is the most important part—submit to your story. It’s doing everything you can do as an author to ensure nothing like weak sentence structure, bad grammar, continuity issues, feeble plot flow, poor pacing, etc. makes a reader stop, question, and/or leave a novel before they really want to.

Drawing on over 35 years of experience writing, editing, and marketing, Annie knows what readers like and—more importantly—don’t like in a novel.

More about Annie –

ANNIE will teach you tricks about making your novel readable. With a hands-on edit, you will learn how to ensure sustainable conflict to avoiding the dreaded show vs. tell conundrum. You will learn how to ensure readers keep engaged and keep reading.

We will also discuss four harsh realities of today’s publishing environment that every author must grasp and use to his/her advantage to make money and establish a following. Then, we review the top five things you can do to enhance the readability of your next manuscript.

AGENT Announcement to come by February 2019!

Disclaimer: Any team member is subject to change in the case of unforeseen circumstances. In this case, every attempt will be made to find a suitable replacement.