Spotlight on Yosemite Writing Retreat

We were excited to learn of a unique writing retreat that dovetails our two passions — parks and writing. We invited Jennifer Moss, founder of the Yosemite Writing Retreat, to write a guest post telling our readers more about how her retreat series originated, and what attendees can expect to focus upon as writers. 

By Jennifer Moss

When my daughter went to college, I moved to Oakhurst, California, primarily because it was adjacent to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is one of my favorite places in the world—a natural oasis where I can decompress and always get some writing done.

Soon after I moved, I sold my first novel to indie publisher, Black Opal Books. That novel, Town Red, turned out to be the first in a series of “mysteries with a metaphysical twist,” with three more being published in the past five years (along with two non-fiction books). As I suspected, the quiet and beauty of the mountain community lent itself to writing.

I found there was a large community of writers here in the mountains, novices, established, and published. In conjunction with the local library, I started teaching a creative writing class for teens and adults. They were so successful I’ve been since teaching these workshops regularly for five years.

I have now created a similar program for out-of-town writers—a way to hone your craft in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I have taken the curriculum from my successful Fiction Writing Workshops and teamed up with the historic Sierra Sky Ranch to form an all-inclusive getaway for beginning and established writers: The Yosemite Writing Retreat.

The Yosemite Writing Retreats include accommodations, a Friday night wine & cheese mixer, a writing workshop all day Saturday and Sunday until noon, and a Saturday Night Writer’s Dinner in the Branding Iron Saloon. Our website provides further information on fees and logistics.

The Fiction I Workshop for beginning writers includes everything you need to know to write your first novel: the elements of fiction —character development, plot structure, building worlds, voice, and point of view. Fiction II is geared toward established writers and goes deep into plotting, word crafting and includes quiet writing time and peer-to-peer critique.

The Sierra Sky Ranch a 100-year-old mountain ranch house converted to a luxury lodge, located only ten minutes from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. It’s a perfect place to write nestled among towering oaks and pines.

For those who want to plan their own trip to the area, we also offer one-day writing workshops. These single day courses give an overview of the same fiction writing elements, and are held at the Oakhurst Branch Library community room.

For dates and detailed information about all of the workshops, visit or email

Jennifer Moss is a published author in both the fiction and non-fiction genres. She is best known for her acclaimed series of mysteries featuring Chicago homicide detective Ryan Doherty and psychic empath Catharine Lulling. For more information, visit her website,

Banner photo by Eric Hossinger / CC