Jessie and Allison here! We're devoted to supporting you in making your dream come true, whether it's writing a book or experiencing a fun literary vacation in a world-class city. We’ll help you get the most out of your investment. Read the testimonials from past workshop participants to see what they say about a retreat experience with us. Below is a little more about each of us. 


Jessie Lourey

Hi there! I'm Jessie, and I'm excited to meet you. I’m a tenured writing professor, Psychology Today blogger, recipient of the Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, author of 17 books and counting, TEDx presenter, and leader of international writing workshops.

I'm the introvert to Allison's extrovert, someone who prefers to listen rather than speak, and a woman who has been drawn to stories since she was a child. The Monster at the End of This Book was the first story to rock my world. I graduated from there to Nancy Drew mysteries, then Stephen King, and once I discovered Greek mythology, there was no looking back.

I am passionate about teaching because it allows me to share as well as to hear stories, which I believe are the binding force of humanity. They heal, inspire, guide, and entertain. And now, my love of story has led me to co-create retreats for other seekers like me. I consider myself ridiculously lucky that the talented, passionate, and gifted Allison is on board. Together, we are ready to give you the retreat of a lifetime.

I bring 20 years of teaching experience, two Masters' degrees, extensive writing experience across genres (from women’s fiction to young adult to crime fiction to nonfiction), mad planning skills as a result of raising two kids on my own while working full-time and writing two books a year, a fantastic sense of humor (I might be the only one who thinks this about me), an internal drive to evolve and to laugh, and a general sense of gratitude for this imperfect, beautiful life. You can find more about me on my website, by viewing my TEDx Talk, and by reading my Psychology Today blog posts.

I hope you're able to join us on this amazing adventure. I'd love to help you to write and publish your story. I really would.


allison quaid

Hi - I'm Allison. It's nice to virtually meet you!  

I lead writing retreats because I’m passionate about encouraging people to develop stories from their hearts, honoring their struggles and wisdom gained along the way. Writing is a special process because we make sense of the world through our stories, and by writing our stories down and sharing them with others, we connect to the hearts of others.

I've always loved all things creative: arts, music, books and dance. I'm a skilled facilitator of writing and creativity workshops, where I blend coaching, writing and art therapy to bring out your creative genius.  

My own creativity has been cultivated over the years as a CEO of a marketing firm in San Francisco, working primarily on large-scale behavior change campaigns for environmental issues (energy efficiency, recycling, and air pollution). I have a B.S. in Environmental Science and a M.A. in Environmental Policy.

Mid-career, my passion shifted from the business world to my first love: co-creating tales and wild dreams with others. I participated in several workshops on writing, healing and the arts, many from the University of California at Berkeley as well as writing salons in San Francisco; then I began to lead international retreats myself.

I got my first taste of fictional writing as healing when I took a writing class in France a few years back. It changed my life, and was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. I am finishing a collection of healing fairy tales that will be published in 2019. I believe that being part of a creative community is the best ways to reach your goals. 

I am excited to be teaching alongside such an esteemed writer and teacher as Jessie. 

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a room full of women writing. Or hearing them sharing their stories. Stories are the glue that connect us and help us make sense of this crazy world. I am so grateful that I get to work with so many soulful people and talented writers.