This has nothing to do with crime writing (unless there are crime fiction writers here who aspire to write upmarket commercial fiction like, well, me), but here's my latest writing-related endeavor: a week-long writers retreat in the Bahamas for advanced literary and upmarket commercial fiction writers, memoirists, and narrative non-fiction writers (published and unpublished).

My Backspace business partner and I were approached by a group with the Bahamian connection and asked to organize and run this retreat for them. It's a dirty job . . . I'll be going down next month for a site visit, and to meet with the hotel staff and the island's owner, sample a dolphin swim . . . it's a business trip, Mr. Tax Man - honest!

Salt Cay Writers Retreat

Seriously, if you know of anyone who might be interested, please pass the word along - we have some seriously amazing faculty members on board, like the editor for WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and the person who published THE HELP. This is a terrific opportunity for the right authors -

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Sounds like a fun thing that may also be useful!  Much good luck!

Thanks, I.J.! I'll be working during the retreat, of course, running around and making sure everyone is where they're supposed to be and that they have everything they need, but you can be sure that whenever possible, I'll be eavesdropping!

What does "up market" mean?

"Up market" generally means the kind of fiction that could appeal to a very wide audience, or be suitable for book clubs. That's not to say it can't be suspenseful or thrillerish - just that it has to feel somehow bigger than a typical mystery or thriller. 

Examples might be Dennis Lehane's THE GIVEN DAY or Ken Follett's PILLARS OF THE EARTH - something that Oprah might conceivably pick for her book club. 

Thanks, Ms. D. And extra thanks for not saying literary. :)


I was working on a book that could conceivably qualify as upmarket (thrillerish story that goes forward in time interwoven with a thrillerish story that goes backwards in time that takes place on 3 continents and 4 time periods) when my first science thriller sold. Since then, it's been on the back burner as my career went in a different direction. Maybe I'll dust it off!

I had ambitions of up market for the current suspenser being shopped, but the new agent says its the first in a new mystery series. :0

I don't think that's a bad thing! Good luck!

Karen: What a sacrifice. A site visit to the Bahamas? Tough gig. Seriously, this retreat sounds like a great way to  help other writers. Best of luck!

Thanks, Mark! To be honest, I'd practically kill for the chance to work with even one of these editors, and the fact that 3 of them have agreed to come to the retreat just blows my mind. 

Sound brilliant, Karen. If you need an extra pool boy - you know who to call ;)

You're too late, dude. That's my gig.


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