TWRP Retreat – Biltmore Estate, Asheville

May 14, 2011 The Biltmore Estate – Asheville, NC

Went to sleep at 11 p.m. just to be woken up by the phone at midnight. Not answering it, no one I want to talk to would call me at midnight. They leave a voice mail. Okay, curiosity gets the best of me, turn on light, check phone. It is the luggage delivery people. OMG, I’ve called them all day. Finally told them to hold on to my luggage at the airport, I’ll be there on Sunday.

Little birdie

Wake up early and hurry to get dressed. No one else seems up and about so it is peaceful except for chirping birds. I grab my camera and get some awesome shots of the birds and the unfamiliar plant life.

We have another wonderful meal and have time for a workshop in the morning before the field trip. The Art of Query Letters is amazing and I manage to write it while the editors are talking; adding as they say what they are looking for and deleting as they tell us what not to put in a query letter. Here is my killer query letter…

Dear Wild Rose Editor,

The Reunion Plan is a 40,000 word contemporary romance I
feel fits the Last Rose of Summer Line of The Wild Rose Press.

Mia and Michael Stevens are sorting out the debris of a 20
year failed marriage at their lakeside home. Set up by their well-meaning twin
children, they are stranded at the lake house. The couple is forced to deal
with an impending divorce and a winter storm that will have them relying on
only each other. Can they put their hostilities and betrayals aside? Or will
their resentments put them in even greater danger than the wild storm?

I am previously published with The Wild Rose Press with my
contemporary romance, Tempting Adam. I am a member of RWA and several chapters.
I write contemporary and paranormal romance. I have a website and blog at 

Thank you for your time. The Reunion Plan is complete and
available to send. 

Thank you, Amanda Murphy w/a Jill James

Then we are off to the Biltmore Estate. With a short detour through a wrong turn and McDonald’s parking lot. I get a call on the road. They still want to deliver my luggage. In the guy’s words; “The suitcase is already in the ve-hic-le.” I tell him to take it out of the vehicle and take it back to the airport. LOL

I have heard about the Biltmore Estate for years but nothing prepares you for how beautiful it is. You can’t take pictures inside but take my word for it, it was gorgeous.

I toured the estate and the gardens with my new pal, Sami (Sharon Davidson). We had a great time, up the stairs, down the stairs and through the perfect gardens.

Lunch was at the Deer Park Restaurant. The food was exquisite, especially the raspberry tort, chocolate and peanut butter roudelaide, and the Key Lime cheesecake.

We go back to see more of the gardens and hit the gift shop then we head back to the retreat. We are delayed by a gaggle of geese crossing the road. That’s our story and we are sticking to it!!

Dinner is probably quite good. But after the lunch at the Biltmore Estate I have salad and rolls.

After dinner we have a Door Prize raffle with quilts by RJ and cameras and ereaders. Awesome!!

Then one last workshop, The First Five Pages, How to Grab an Editor.

The retreat is declared a success by everyone.

– continued on Friday


14 thoughts on “TWRP Retreat – Biltmore Estate, Asheville

  1. Nice memories of the entire trip. I loved the area, the people and mostly the Wild Rose Press writers and staff.

  2. A…a gaggle of geese? Me thinks there’s more to the story than that. Warning: if you allow my imagination to come up with a story, it’ll be a doosey. Calvin and I are still talking about the retreat and how lovely it was. Good job on the query letter, by the way.

  3. Keep them coming, Jill. I’m vicariously enjoying your weekend, except the part about lost luggage.

    I’ve been to the Biltmore Estate and Ashville, and would love to go back. I call it the Biltmore Castle. It fits, don’t you think?

  4. Lynne, it did look like a castle. Reminded me of Hearst Castle here in California. Once I was actually at the retreat, it was fabulous.

  5. I’ve lived in NC most of my life and have yet to make it to the Builtmore House. And I want to go so badly! Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    • Lilly, it was so beautiful. I wish they had allowed photos inside the house. The dining hall was medievel with giant fireplaces and tapestries on the walls.

  6. Jill ~ it was really special time, wasn’t it? I so enjoyed meeting everyone and wasn’t it amazing how well everyone just clicked? So hard to do with a big group of women, but we all found our niche! I hope we all are able to reconnect next year in TX!

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