The Crashers of the WFWA Retreat 2019

This post is not about my experiences at the WFWA Retreat (Women’s Fiction Writers Association) in Albuquerque last week. I had a great time, got a lot of writing done and finally met IRL people I’ve connected with online. But two furry stuffies named Tooey and Cocoa upstaged me so this post is about their experience.

My 7-year-old lent them to me and my friend Christine because he thought we’d be lonely in our hotel rooms. At first, we took a few pictures to show 7-year-old that the stuffies were having fun. But they were soon crashing all Retreat activities. Here is a chronicle of their adventures:

Cocoa and Tooey were quite excited for the first workshop, computers fired up, pen at the ready.

But they soon discovered the breakfast buffet and Cocoa got a cup of coffee while Tooey attacked the oatmeal.

After coffee, Cocoa went back to listening to the incredible speaker. But Tooey kept eating

and eating.

After the speaker, Cocoa found a quiet table and banged out many words on the laptop.

“Stop working so hard,” Tooey said to Cocoa. “You’re making me look bad. Enjoy the atmosphere and food.”

So Cocoa closed his laptop and took a much needed veggie dip break.

But he ate too much and soon passed out from a food coma.

Don’t be alarmed because armed with an afternoon snack, Cocoa was soon back at work in a workshop,

while Tooey sunbathed on the balcony ledge.

After a full day of writing, Cocoa went to bed early,

and Tooey stayed up partying and fell into bed in the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, Tooey was grumpy and needed A LOT of coffee.

What’s with all these cheerful writers bonding and getting all those words on their laptops, he grumbled to himself.

Cocoa was tired too from all his writing the day before and found a quiet corner to meditate.

And they were first in line for some yoga shenanigans.

After a lunch of chips and salsa,

Cocoa decided he had writer’s block and went with Tooey to the pool.

But wait, pool = water, and water = wet and soggy fur, so they enjoyed the pool from the safety of their lounge chair.

Then they crashed a wedding,

drank too many margaritas,

passed out from said margaritas,

but revived just in time to crash the WFWA Retreat 2019 group photo.

Do you see them there in the front row?

All in all, the retreat was not very productive for these two crashers. The words Cocoa banged out the first day turned out to be gibberish (since he can’t read or write) so alas, Cocoa will not be a best selling author anytime soon. And since Tooey didn’t write a single word at the retreat, he too will not see his name on the NY Times bestselling list.

But they had a great time in Albuquerque and look forward to getting on a plane again,

and flying to the retreat next year.

That is, if the board of WFWA will allow them to come, now that they know they had two crashers this year?



  1. Chris on October 3, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Soo cute!

  2. Brigette Russell on October 3, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    I love this so much!!!!!! So great meeting you at the retreat, Lyn.

  3. Sharon M. Peterson on October 6, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Haha. This is adorable. Also, I am insanely jealous of these two crashers! The retreat looked like so much fun.

    • Lyn Liao Butler on October 13, 2019 at 11:13 am

      It was great! Maybe you can crash with them next year 🙂

  4. Erin Bartels on October 7, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    love love love

  5. HFL on October 14, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Looks like Tooey and Cocoa worked hard and played hard at the writing retreat! How wonderful that they had the opportunity to travel there! I’m sure the time will come for their work to be understood.

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