Write on the River Weekend Retreat

An interactive, intimate, intensive, two-day workshop designed at developing not only your next book, but your writing process. Limited to four participants.


It is your choice whether you want to work on a new book, a work in progress, or revise an old manuscript. We recommend considering a new project for this as we can then start without having to deconstruct, but since you're the boss, it's your call. Please email and give us an idea what you want to work on, and what stage of creation it's in.


Instructors: Bob Mayer & Debbie Cavanaugh. A NY Times Bestselling Author of over 50 novels and a story streamer who has worked NY Times Bestsellers including a #1 seller.


Location: Our house on the Tennessee River, outside of Knoxville, TN.


The Curriculum:

  • Saturday AM: Idea.
  • Saturday PM: Conflict Box & Story
  • Sunday AM: Story
  • Sunday PM: Story and Publishing Discussion

  • While that is the formal schedule, the reality is the entire weekend is spent discussing the writing process and also the evolving state of publishing.


    We start each day after breakfast. While the overall format is informal, I do use a timer to make sure each person gets their fair amount of time. We also will record each session and each person gets a copy of all recording of the sessions focused on them.


    Goals include:

  • Getting your novel down to one sentence of 25 words of less.
  • Filling out the conflict box.
  • Identifying and then refining your creative writing process.
  • Outlining your novel.
  • Discussing which publishing path is the right one for each participant.

  • The Classroom:

    The Details

    Cost includes airport pickup and drop-off, accommodations (Friday through Monday morning), all meals, copies of The Novel Writers Toolkit, Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author and How We Made Our First Million on Kindle: The ShelfLess Book.


    You'll receive the books prior to workshop (either print or preferred eBook format) and you should come prepared with your one sentence original idea and your conflict box filled out.


    Starts Saturday at 9 am


    Ends Sunday at 5 pm


    Airport pickup and drop off provided—Knoxville Airport is 15 minutes away. Atlanta is a 200 mile drive. Parking is available at the house. You can arrive on Friday evening and depart on Monday morning, or Saturday AM and leave Sunday evening if you need to.


    We also have available for use:

  • Whole house wifi
  • Treadmill
  • Universal weight machine
  • Separate refrigerator and microwave for workshop
  • Pool
  • Hot Tub

  • One note—you must be able to put up with two lazy, hairy, yellow labs. If you're allergic to dogs, note that no matter how much we vacuum, there will be dog hair around. And when we work, there will be two dogs underfoot. Literally.


    Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.


    Cost: $925 person. A $250 deposit is required to reserve a slot. It will be refunded if you need to cancel and another person fills that slot; otherwise it is non-refundable. We can take credit card payment after you arrive or you can pay by check or cash.


    Lodging: We work on a first registered, first choice option for the rooms.

    The Blue Room—king sized bed overlooking the TN River on top floor, with private bath. Upstairs.

    Front bedroom—king size bed facing front of house, upstairs, with private bath.

    Downstairs guest room—queen sized bed, no windows, dark. Bathroom on same floor with shower (no windows, so if you like dark this is the room).

    Downstairs media room—king bed bathroom on same floor with shower. Has fireplace and also TV with cable

    Books included:


    Dogs included: