All The Kissing’s First Writing Retreat

All The Kissing's First Writing Retreat

This weekend marked All the Kissing’s first writing retreat. Romance writers from our community gathered from across the country in Dripping Springs, Texas (just outside of Austin) for a weekend of writing, brainstorming, and lots of fun.

All The Kissing’s First Writing Retreat

All The Kissing's First Writing Retreat House

Thursday afternoon kicked off with arrivals at the rental house, which was located on a working cattle farm. Our own personal bull meandered through the countryside beyond the backyard fence, no doubt there to supervise us lest we get too unruly—we are romance writers, after all.

After lots of hugging and settling into our rooms, we got the party started with an epic battle of the ages, the likes of which have not been challenged since Sunday night’s Game of Thrones premiere. That’s right. I’m talking about the ALL THE KISSING GUAC OFF.

All The Kissing's First Writing Retreat Guac Competitors

Guacamole aficionados Katie Golding, Maxym Martineau, Jessie Scott, Lana Pattinson, and I (Lindsay Hess) chopped and scooped and mixed to our hearts’ content, and the group participated in a blind taste test to declare the winners: a tie between Jessie Scott’s delicious chipotle-infused guacamole (which included cilantro she grew herself!), and my (Lindsay Hess’s) mayo-infused creation. But, at the end of the day, when you get to eat five different kinds of delicious, fresh guacamole, is anyone really a loser in that situation? Methinks not.

All The Kissing's First Writing Retreat Guac Tasting

Friday, the real work began. We all retreated to our various spaces across the property, and the writing was on. All morning, all afternoon, and even into the evening, ATK members valiantly wrote to their hearts’ content in noble pursuit of the HEA. This continued on Saturday and into Sunday morning when retreaters reached their word count and/or editing goals. We couldn’t be more proud of our badass group of talented, hardworking writers.

Some other standouts from the weekend included:

Yoga With Shannon

ATK co-founder and yoga teacher Shannon Caldwell led the group in a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon yoga session. Outside on the rental house’s sweeping back patio, retreaters took a break from their screens and practiced a little ohm. Bliss abounded.

All The Kissing's First Writing Retreat Yoga

Dinner at The Little Darlin’

Saturday night, part of the group ventured out to Austin hot spot, The Little Darlin’, for delicious drinks, great food, live music, and lots of laughs. It was a chilly night under the café lights and stars, but with many blankets to keep us all warm, we were just fine.

Word Count Winners

With awards for editing and new words alike, plus a grand prize winner, we did lots of celebrating as writers reached their goals this weekend!


  • Editing: Lana Pattinson
  • New Words: Jen Deluca


  • Editing: Lana Pattinson and Haley Kral
  • New Words: Shannon Caldwell

Grand Prize Winner: Jen Deluca

So what did you think? If you were an attendee, what was your favorite part? For everyone, would you like to see done in terms of potential future retreats?

Lindsay Hess
When Lindsay isn’t writing stories with magic and kissing, she spends her time devouring as many tacos as she can get her hands on, and wrangling the Hess herd of rescue pets—two cats, one dog, and an almost entirely house-broken husband. She watches muuuuch more Netflix than is good for her productivity, and loves to cook and entertain…but detests cleaning her house. Consider this your warning should you ever come over and encounter a cat/dog hair tumbleweed (or three). It isn’t her fault. Don’t blame her.

Also, bring wine.
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  • Lindsay Hess
    Lindsay Hess

    Hi, it’s me, Lindsay. I wrote this blog post and my favorite part was hugging everyone as much as I wanted.

    April 16, 2019 at 11:30 am Reply
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    This is so awesome! So happy you ladies had such a good time together! Hoping to make the next one!!

    April 16, 2019 at 1:26 pm Reply
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    It’s great to see you all ladies having great time together.

    May 1, 2019 at 3:42 am Reply
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