Learning About Writing the Best Way of All--In Italy!

Rome! And it's a low-cost (Frugal!), cooperative effort!

The Roman Writers' Retreat

From our Roman Retreat of 2010 Book of Memories: l. to r. Eve Caram,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Catherine Yesayan.

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(Scroll Down for Rome Retreat Information on This Page)

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Roman Writers' Retreat Information

October 23-30, 2010

The  Roman Writers' Retreat  was imagined as a casual writers' conference where authors could follow their dreams  by two UCLA Writers' Program instructors Eve LaSalle Caram and Carolyn Howard-Johnson on their cross-town foray to Eve's Novel I class on campus. (The drive in traffic is a long one!). Eve had just taken a Villa in Italy and it seemed as if doing something similar and sharing expenses with other writers would be a great way to explore and be inspired by Rome, the city of dreams.  We found our Italian villa, after some ups and downs. The initial steps have been taken and we have places available in a beautiful apartment for only ten authors. We have room for only three more.




This is the picture of the villa. It is located in Rome, across from a park, near a hotel with restaurants, within a 10-15 minute walk to public transit, with plenty of parking for anyone who would like to rent a car.

Luxury Villa Rome

 There is free access to a Wi-Fi network in the ample living room for those who bring their laptops, a considerable savings over internet cafes or most hotel business centers.   Heat, electricity and more importantly the air conditioning are included in the price along with a maid service and a driver with van to take us into the heart of Rome or other places in and around Rome each day and then pick us up and bring us back to our palatial villa.

If weather allows we will conduct some of our seminars around the pool (an amenity the downtown location didn't have). Otherwise there is a spacious "tavern" (like a family room) and a couple of living rooms for us to use for that purpose!  There is also a terrace with a barbecue.

Inside there are 6 suites supplied with en suite bathrooms, air conditioning, Satellite TV LCD and Sky decoder, WIFI flat connection, safe, personal courtesy kit, hairdryer, bed linen and bath..

On the main floor there is a big living room, a modern kitchen, a studio with fax, printer and PC and a terrace with barbecue.

Meals are the responsibility of each of us and we'll have a plan to share costs for those who prefer to share a good dish of pasta or quick breakfasts. There is a hotel with restaurants across the street and we are located near a park as well.

There will be no change from the original price quoted you.

These rooms are $1500 for the week (along with all the amenities of the townhouse!); that is about $214 per night, much less than a simple hotel room in New York (or Rome, for that matter).

The flat is easily found from TransAntlantic flights into Leonardo di Vinci at Fiumicino. Unlike the prior location, there is parking available for cars if you should choose to rent one, but there is no need to do so.

Here are some of the bedrooms. There are ample bathrooms facilities located throughout the home, many as part of the bedroom suites.



Here are some snaps of the living rooms (note the plural! (-: ) The blue living room is on the left. The red living room on the right.


Other views including laundry room, staircase, pool, grounds, example of the bathroom in the "Augusta" bedroom  and the one in the "Domina" bedroom (all the rooms are named! I kid you not!).



This is the "tavern." Look! a fireplace in case we have a chilly evening!

I think we will have a grand time. Remember, this is a casual retreat. Eve and I and our guest speaker Jo Linsdell have planned several seminars but are open to ideas as needs arise. We will also arrange critique groups for those who want to work that way. Please note the special arrangements Jo has made for us at a restaurant in Rome below.

Early Planning Bulleting Board

Plan to carry a cell phone of your own in Rome. To arrange for reservations, taxis, etc., on your own. Remember, this is a shared experience. Eve and I do the seminars, but the sightseeing, food, transportation, etc. are on your own or shared experiences with other participants you want to work with or be with.


July 06: It is lovely to have Jo Linsdell with us. Though she is a guest lecturer, it is like having a personal host and guide! I mentioned the tour busses available in Rome. Here is her insider's advice:

"The special tour buses really aren't necessary as Rome public transport will take you anywhere and tickets are much cheaper (€1 for 75 minutes, €4 for a whole day unlimited use. Week passes are also available).

I'll put together a short handout for everyone with some Rome tips. A kind of welcome pack."

Wowee! Thank you, Jo!


September 10, 2010. As you can see, we have a change of venue. Details above. Think you'll love the changes!

Register NOW for best and easiest air arrangements.

Your Instructors:

Eve LaSalle Caram, MA, is a longtime and popular instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Progam where she won their OutstandingEve La Salle Caram The Blue Geography: A Romance by Eve La Salle Caram Instructor Award in Creative Writing. She is a novelist, essayist, and poet whose latest novel, The Blue Geography, was a finalist in the Texas Review novel contest. Ms. Caram's other novels are Dear Corpus Christi; Wintershine; and Rena, A Late Journey. She edited Palm Readings, a multicultural anthology of fiction by Southern California women.



Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers Program for several years. She is a multi-award winning author of This is the Place, and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remember and her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals both online and in print. She is a popular seminar leader at conferences like Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop,  San Diego State's world renowned Writers' Conference and Call to Arts! EXPO. She also appears in national TV commercials. Her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers have become staples in the libraries of many writers. You can learn more about her on about any page on this site. (-: Photo by Randy Detroit.

These two instructors are donating their time to this retreat.  Jo Linsdell, founder of the free online conference PromoDay will also be presenting. They are planning seminars (but not so many as to interfere with inspiration time!) on the craft of writing, the building of platforms and the marketing of fiction and poetry as well as less structured opportunities where attendees can share and learn from one another. Seminar topics will be announced at a later date.

Reservations and Terms


Do know that this is not a full-blow writers conference, though the essential qualities of seminars taught by professionals certainly exists. Rather this is a heart-of-Rome Retreat--very small (only eight beds and possibly invited guests for the seminar portions. Further it is a



Choose retreats, classes and conferences featuring well-qualified instructors. In these times of fast information, probably the best way to do that is to find instructors vetted by major universities.
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 cooperative effort.  We (eight!) share costs of the gorgeous townhouse Eve and I found and the two of us (possibly others, too) are donating our expertise with our fellow authors. Seminar topics will be announced later but will include a session on dialogue and one on book marketing with me and sessions on the craft of writing with UCLA Writers' Program award-winner Eve. 


This is the way we want it to work:



  • We have two prices for the townhouse accommodations. $1500 and $1300. The lesser price is for a downstairs room that is less elaborately (though certainly adequately!) appointed. That is for one week. Beds are queens so must be shared. This is someone's home, not a hotel. Each room has a bathroom. See above for details on this gorgeous property in the center of historical Rome.

  • If someone prefers a room or his/her own (no sharing of bed), that price will be double.

  • Because we have so few spots available and because or planning is volunteer, 1/2 is due upon committing to this program and is nonrefundable. This policy reflects the one we committed to in renting the townhouse.

  • On April 1 the rest of your payment will be due. After August 1 that portion will also be nonrefundable unless we find someone to take your place. We will keep a waiting list.

  • You will make arrangements with Eve or Carolyn and your checks will be sent to Carolyn at Carolyn Howard-Johnson, PO Box 1101, LaCanada-Flintridge, CA 91012-1101.


Participants are responsible for their own touring/entertainment outside of the seminars, their own air flight, their own food, their taxi to and from Rome's airport (40 minutes--I've taken it and it one beautiful ride that can go past the coliseum). Expenses incurred as a group (say a pasta night if we have a willing cook among us or light breakfasts to save dollars--er, euros) will be shared. 



  • Seminars taught by Eve Caram and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

  • If there is enough interest I may use the knowledge gleaned in my not-so-formal education in anthropology to lead a group to a nearby museum of Etruscan artifacts . We may do some writing exercises based on the day's experiences.

  • Informal evening rooftop chats, weather permitting.

  • Dinner and seminar at a well-known Roman restaurant, Ristorante La Romantica, planned for us by Jo Lindell (additional charge). We will display and sell our books to patrons of the restaurant interested in them.


Note: This is not school, but a retreat. Nothing (other than prompt payments and caring for the property) will be expected of anyone.


If you bring a laptop, WiFi is included.


OTHER (Tentative) PLANS

  • Seminar topics will be announced but will include both craft and marketing.

  • We may have a fireside chat program led by invited speakers including participants, again a volunteer effort.

  • We may extend the program (either before or after) to a villa on the Amalfi coast. The plan will be similar to the one above. Please let us know if you are interested. Eve or Carolyn.

  • Jo Linsell-Feliciano is a writer living in Rome and founder of the online conference PROMO Day  who has agreed to speak to our group. (Ahhhh, the wonders of the Web). There is a chance she can arrange for a get together at a restaurant she is connected with. (http://www.ristorantelaromantica.it). Wait until you see the pictures! Just click on the link. There will be more on this, of course.


Note: Do know that October is considered shoulder season in Rome. There will be relatively few tourists but we may run into chilly weather. Plan to pack warm jackets, sweaters, umbrellas and hats, just in case. But also pack lighter clothes. Rome does have a Mediterranean climate (similar to Los Angeles' weather), after all. Having said that, this came from Eve's Living Language Daily Phrase and Culture calendar (Andrews-McMeel):


"Rome (Roma), the eternal city and the capital of Italy, enjoys the typical
Mediterranean climate. The weather conditions in Rome are at their most
comfortable from April through June, and from mid-September to October.
However, it is probably in October that one can enjoy Rome at its best:
during the season of the so-called Ottobrate. The word ottobrate can be
roughly translated as "beautiful October day" and identifies a particularly
sunny and warm day. During the ottobrate Rome is immersed in a magic glow,
and the sunsets are absolutely amazing; the sky is filled with thousands of
colors and the clouds shine like gold. While visiting Rome in October, one
can also enjoy the Festa Internazionale del Cinema di Roma ("Roman Film
Fest"): a great festival, or perhaps a better translation--a great feast for
movie lovers and for all the people who work in the movie industry."


Tentative Seminar/Activity Schedule:

Subject to change. All classes/events are voluntary.
Saturday October 23. ARRIVE Welcome from our hosts at 5 pm, discuss house, rules, etc. Set up a table at the house for us to share our books, services, etc. with one another. Bring bookmarks, fliers, books to give away or for sale. Open evening to do as you wish, unpack or sleep.
Sunday October 24 Day: Open during the day (on your own) for church/temple/etc for those who need that.  Explore environs of nearby park, route to public transit (more to come on this along with our available driver), take tours or whatever you wish. Early dinner on your own.
Evening of Sunday Oct. 24:
Two options:
7 pm group get together to talk writing, share our works in progress, with Eve Or
7 pm to 10 pm individual consultations, by advance reservation.   
Some of you have said you'd like individual help. Individual Consultations on publishing, writing. or promotion with Carolyn 1/2 hour increments. (We can spend more time on each session if few of you utilize this option.) Openings from 7 pm am to 10 pm. No charge but I will charge a cancellation fee if I set aside time and you decide not to come. $25. seems fair. Also, if you want to talk marketing or editing, it would be helpful if you've read The Frugal Book Promoter (www.bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoter) or The Frugal Editor (www.bit.ly/FrugalEditor). We can get lots more covered in a short time and easily narrow options down to what is best for you. 


Monday October 25: 10 am. to noon. Eve Caram's Class on voice with a discussion of what makes a strong voice and a particular voice and a handout of examples, followed by four or five class exercises (just short 10 to 15 minute writing promps people would do on the spot.)
Afternoon free.
Monday October 25 Evening: Dinner early (about 5 pm) with Jo Linsdell speaking later. This restaurant evening is planned by Jo Lindsell, founder of the internationally known free (online)  Promoday for authors. Plan on 20 to 30 Euros for dinners. Wine or drinks may cost more. You may display and sell your books. You  bring books for sale (suggest 3 to five), 25 or so bookmarks, fliers, or business cards. After dinner Jo will speak on the wonders of online marketing and online learning opportunities. See more on the restaurant on this page. See more on PromoDay at www.promoday.info.
Tuesday, Oct 26:
Eve Caram: 9:30 am. One hour. More Voice: voice as it is possibly altered by travel--the traveler's voice--how perceptions change with travel, particularly perceptions about home and about belonging.
Carolyn:10:30 AM:  Secrets to Great Dialogue
Afternoon free.
Carolyn 7 pm. Elements of memoir. Ways to use life experiences in your memoir or other writing--from poetry to nonfiction. Includes some on journaling. Bring your travel journals.
Wednesday, October 27
9:30 am: Eve Caram.  2 hours. In the garden weather allowing. Participants do some short writes that involve mythical or historical figures--or for that matter anything that has affected them in Rome during our time there. Eve will bring  copies of two stories; people can read them (or not)--both set in Rome on the Spanish steps but with central characters that have opposite reactions to being there.
Evening Evening 8 pm. 2 Hours. Carolyn. Essentials for selling your book. Building a platform and your query letter. Participants may use The Frugal Editor (www.bit.ly/FrugalEditor) to learn to write a query and we will critique it. Bring 10 copies for the critique process. Remember queries should be only one page.

Thursday, Friday October 28 & 29. Open for overnight travel to nearby spots that may require more time.


Evening of Friday the 29th: Goodbye dinner.  To be decided. If we have someone who wants to try their hand at cooking for the group, that would be fun. We can go out. Whatever we decide to do, it will be Dutch. Please have enough cash (meaning easy change to reimburse the person who pays the entire bill on the time they do that) in Euros to pay for your own meal, drinks, tips. Eve suggests: "maybe in the restaurant of the hotel across the street (if it's any good.) Or--and this is just an idea--at a lovely little restaurant I know about a block and a half from the Trevi Fountain--we'd have to share expenses for a taxi to town and back of course. But we could all throw our good-bye coins in and know we would return to Rome.
Saturday, October 30: Leaving. Some will be leaving too early for us to give them hugs. Those who don't leave early, (including Lance and me), could have a simple breakfast--rolls, coffee or whatever--around the pool or in the kitchen. Just hang out, talk writing until it is time for us to go. Lance and I will need to check out of our villa.
Note: Please remember we have kitchen facilities. If you bring food, we will share it. Track your expenses. We'll probably divide expenses for staples like cereal, milk, bread, coffee, tea--the stuff we'll eat in the mornings and for lunch to keep expenses down. People may opt out of this plan if they wish.


Click here for other resources for writers.

Your aid to planning ahead: A list of book fairs, tradeshows, conferences and conventions.

Find more content on this site's Free Articles 4 Readers and Editors. It includes Reviews for Riters (c) , how to articles for writers, essays on tolerance and more.


For lots more links for reading and writing stuff, visit Carolyn Howard-Johnson's  Sharing with Writers and Readers blog.




One of the most frequently mistakes writers make is switching genres without taking a class or thoroughly researching new techniques and structure required by that genre.

Find at least one tip on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site.



(For resources and links galore, grab yourself copies of the Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor.)

Click here for Carolyn's first person essay, "Beating Time at Its Own Game."

Buy Links for Carolyn's Books


Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

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Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC!

"Careers that are not fed die as readily as
any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King

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Frugal E-Book Tip

Kindle E-Books Aren't
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Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle e-books are a low-cost/no-cost way to access books even if you don’t have a dedicated Kindle reader? You can read Kindle's e-books on smartphones, desktop computers and any e-device in between. You can even store the books on the Amazon cloud.

~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author and marketer

Find Carolyn on the Web

  writers retailers

A Selection of Carolyn's Past Speaking Engagements

National Stationery Show May 17-20, 2009 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY Consider this a business essential.

Presenter 2009, 2010

Presenter, 2008, 09, 10, 11

Panel moderator, 2007

National Span College
presenter 2002

Fellows presenter, 2007, 08

Co-sponsor and presenter,
2007, 08, 09, 10, 11

University of Dayton Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference, 2006, 2008

Sisters in Crime,
Pasadena, 2009

On the Los Angeles Valley College Campus 2012, Rancho Library 2013,
Valley College Spring 2014

Wisconsin Regional Writers Association
Presenter, Keynote 2010

Book 'Em, NC,
Three Panels 2013

Presenter, 2013

Seminar Speaker, 2014

Keynote, 2013; 2014

Secrets of Great
Dialogue, 2015


Learn more about Carolyn's conferences.


Studies have shown that business people who travel increase their income by doing so; writers who travel find inspiration and networks to further their careers (though I know of no studies to that effect!)

  Find tips on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site. 

Carolyn's Blogs

Sharing with Writers
All things publishing with
an emphasis on book
promotion. Named to
Writer's Digest
101 Best Website list.

The New Book Review
Great way for readers, authors, reviewers and publicists to get more
mileage out of
a great review.

The Frugal Editor Blog
This is the Frugal, Smart
and Tuned-In Editor blog.
Covers editing, grammar, formatting and more.
Get the answers you need.

Carolyn's Awards

Awards for Carolyn's Books, Blogs and More

The New Book Review
Named to
Master's in English.org Online Universities'

101 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites
Sharing with Writers blog.


Best Book Award for The Frugal Book Promoter (2004) and The Frugal Editor (2008) and the Second Edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (2011).


Reader Views Literary Award for The Frugal Editor

New Generation Award for Marketing and Finalist for The Frugal Editor

Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award

Military Writers Award of Excellence for
Tracings, A Chapbook of Poetry.

A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion wins author Military Writers Society of America's Author of the Month award for March, 2010


Gold Medal Award from Military Writers Society of America, 2010. MWSA also gave a nod to She Wore Emerald Then, a chapbook of poetry honoring mothers.

The Frugal Editor Named #! on Top Ten Editing Books list.

Finalist New Generation Book Awards 2012, The Frugal Book Promoter; Finalist 2010 The Frugal Editor;
Winner 2010 Marketing Campaign for the Frugal Editor

The Oxford Award
the alumna who exemplifies the Delta Gamma precept of service to her community and who, through the years, devotes her talents to improve the quality of life around her.

The Frugal Book Promoter is runner-up in the how-to category for the Los Angeles Book Festival 2012 awards.

Glendale City Seal
Winner Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts
Glendale California's Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Glendale Library,

And more than a dozen other awards for Carolyn's novel, short story collection and poetry. See the awards page on this site.

Other Interests



Carolyn's Poetry

Imperfect Echoes
Celebration Series

Carolyn's Literary Works

This is the Place
Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's Poetry

Imperfect Echoes
Celebration Series

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter

and get a FREE copy of
Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers

"I have been a professional writer 40 years, and am also a tenured full professor of journalism. Carolyn's Sharing with Writers newsletter is  most useful for me--and for my students. I emphasize to them that while research is 90% of writing, and the actual writing is about 10%, there's another 100% out there called promotion. Carolyn shows numerous ways to get the message to the mass media."
~Walter Brasch, author and educator

"A decade of bettering writers' careers with how-tos, tips, and publishing news."

Carolyn Conducts Individual and Group Consultations on Poetry Promotions
E-mail for info.

Cover art by Vicki Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Cherished Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most sought after emotion."
~ Lucille P Robinson for Alternative-Read.com


Third in the Celebration of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball, Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and other masculine apparitions."

She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood: thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

More on Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.

Sublime Planet is an e-chapbook and paperback published in the time-honored tradition of poets everywhere. This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal. Photograpy by Ann Howley.

“Whatever your age these poems celebrating women will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

Also by Carolyn:

Tracings is winner of the Military Society of America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads of 2005

Imperfect Echoes is Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. 

Cover and interior art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International

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And a silver
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"There are not enough compliments I could give to Carolyn. She is certainly a mentor of mine and such a tremendous inspiration! What doesn't she do, and do well, after all? Talented as a writer/author, she is also an amazing marketer/promoter who is generous with her time and talent with other publishing professionals. Carolyn is a STAR in the publishing community and I give her the highest recommendation I can give to any colleague I have. If you want a passionate professional who delivers, Carolyn is your woman!"
~ Bev Walton-Porter