The Terror of the Retreat Intro

Back in the summer, I travelled with a fellow author to Arkansas for the third annual writer’s retreat with our publisher Oghma Creative Media, the first for both of us. While I was thankful not to be travelling alone, my brain was on overdrive about “homework” given to all the writers a couple of days before the retreat.

Cue my groaning. LOUD groaning.

Groaning turned into epic overthinking freak-out status as I couldn’t wrap my head around the assignment itself AND why we needed to do it at all. Knowing myself as I do, I knew this was because I was dreading talking in front of a group of near strangers – I knew their online personas but not their real life squishiness – and the pressure had me procrastinating until 30 minutes before we were to present it.

The Assignment: Write a short introduction of yourself in the style of the genre you write in.

Ummmm… Fuck.What the fizz does that mean??

My current series is paranormal romance and contains modern concepts of witchcraft and the occult with a healthy sampling of profanity and struggling relationships. I love the dark, the creepy, and the materials of the craft I write about, but my life is mostly sitting in my PJ’s staring at my laptop while trying to wrestle entertaining words, binging shows on Netflix or Crave, and hanging out with the hubs and pugs. Not paranormal romance-y at all. No further instructions were given so it could be as long or as short as you wanted and contain whatever personal information you cared to share.

After considerable complaining and fleeting justifications surrounding flaking on the assignment completely , I landed on the following in a spew of words in less than ten minutes.

Retreat Intro

A flicker of imagination and a fuck-tonne of boredom came together to create a hobby alongside a mind-melt of a career in social work.

Ten years later, the social works career continues to pay the bills. I bet if you peeked through my ears at the perfect angle, you could probably see the build-up of reality clogging the creative workings of what’s now an obsession to break up the daily grind with something that sparkles, growls, and maybe even tingles.

I may not live in a gingerbread house, ride a Hellhound to the grocery store, or sing lovely enough to drown sex-starved sailors, but I have a home with bat-wing wreath on the door, a pug side-kick in my Kia’s passenger seat, and a husband I managed to trap near 18 years ago.

I’m Sami-Jo, author S.J. Cairns, and I write paranormal romance.


Not too bad, yeah? Nothing extreme, not too long or too short considering how many people we needed to get through. I completed my task and survived. Not to mention, I learned a few things about my fellow authors.

View from the Sky-Vue Lodge Bed & Breakfast in Winslow, Arkansas

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