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Spirit on the Water . . . . . . . A Writing Retreat in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Come join Betsy Rapoport, June Penick Miller, and Michael Trotta
for this transformative writing retreat!

A love letter from Betsy:

I’ve been a professional book editor since 1981, most recently as an executive editor at Random House. I’ve probably edited a thousand books.

I am unabashedly, crazily in love with editing memoirs. I love how the particulars of an individual story illuminate universal truths. I love climbing behind someone else’s eyes to see the world in a wholly different way. I love falling in love with someone breathing right on the other side of the page. I love laughing and grieving and screwing up right along with you.

I also love self-help, psychology, women's issues, health, fiction, and more. It's been my privilege to work with authors like Dr. Martha Beck, CandiceBergen, Carrie Fisher, President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Dean Ornish, and other bestsellers. I love helping authors figure out how to share their knowledge and perspective, how to bring out the best in their writing, and work with them to get it out into the world. Now I want to do that with you!

Yes, you. I don’t even know you (probably), but I already know I’ll love helping you tell your story. Because that’s my passion and it’s what I came here to do: to help people get heard.

I love working with writers one on one, but I also love creating a supportive community. I want to gather folks in this incredibly beautiful, spiritual place, put our heads together, and create something greater than the sum of our parts.


A love letter from June:

I love people.  I love to play.  And I love to dig deep.  True stories, turquoise water, and uncovering hidden truths turn me on. 

I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today if I followed all the rules. If I have a choice whether or not to stop on the side of the road to help rescue a dog or keep driving to get to an appointment on time, I’ll be late for my appointment. But that’s about the only thing that will make me late; I like keeping my word.

Over the past 35 years, I’ve been everything from a life coach to a motivational speaker – to an official CIO (Chief Intuitive Officer) working with individuals and corporations throughout Europe, America and the US Virgin Islands. If you ask me, I'm just a highly intuitive enthusiast wired for transformation of people and spaces. 

Spirit on the Water, which once was a home for me and my family and our menagerie of pets, tree frogs and hummingbirds, has become a backdrop for other people’s experiences to explore the depths of their own creative expression and self-development. This is where I help others understand where they’re coming from, where they’re going as a result of all their experiences, and how they can alchemize that into a more intentional, fulfilling life.

Did I mention I like swimming in turquoise water? And infinity pools? Let’s play together. I’ll be right here either pushing you into the pool, or pushing you to reach new depths in order to access your inner hearing and your inner voice. Through a series of exercises and meditations designed to get you in the deep end, you’ll be in the flow before you know it!


What Is Spirit on the Water?

Take a deep breath, open your heart, and watch this.

June and her husband Ed Miller built Spirit on the Water (named for Bob Dylan’s song of the same name) as a safe space and intentional community for connecting to Source, Self, and Essential Knowledge, a place where people can uncover and reclaim the gifts they were meant to give to themselves and the world. It’s an open space for creative expansion and an evolving environment for transformation: the perfect place to open and explore your gifts as a writer.


Who is this retreat for?

People who want to share their stories with the world, no matter how big that world is. We're looking for people who want to better articulate their voice on the page so they can bring their unique brand of magic, in whatever form, to those who need it.


What will this retreat do for you?

You will:

  • Identify the Beloved Readers for your story and cultivate a relationship to them
  • Clarify your goals and intentions for writing
  • Give you the opportunity to rest and restore, and envision your writing through fresh eyes
  • Understand what blocks you from writing and how to smash through those barricades
  • Clear out the energetic shackles that keep you from connecting to your inner guidance
  • Embrace the inevitable messiness of bringing your work to life through all its crappy drafts and give yourself permission to have it be a Big Ole Mess for as long as it takes
  • Challenge yourself with numerous writing prompts (Saturday is Official Write Your Face Off Day!) designed to help you create a structure and plan for your writing
  • Learn the basics of growing your platform so you can build a bridge to your readers
  • Understand how to create a book proposal that will make agents and editors pay attention
  • Learn how to design and test a writing practice that sustains you and your art

Together we will create:

  • A fun, safe, open environment in which to share your writing, hopes, concerns, and questions
  • Powerful opportunities for you to claim your space as a writer
  • A wider, more open energetic space in which you can create in both writing and life
  • A loving, confidential, supportive community of like-minded fellow travelers
  • A clear road map for continuing your work when you return home


Early bird registration until January 27, 2017:  $2945
Regular registration after January 27, 2017:  $3,445


Reserve my spot!

Payment options


What’s included:

  • Special writing exercises and activities from Thursday evening through Sunday at noon led by Betsy to help you clarify your Why, Who, What, How, and When
  • Accommodations at the soul-filling, gorgeous Spirit on the Water grounds (double occupancy, with three single rooms available for a $150 supplement on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Energy-building and clarifying exercises led by June to open you up to the writing process
  • A magical Friday night Storytelling by Firelight with Master Coach Michael Trotta of the Sagefire Institute. Michael will use his unique combination of archetypal knowledge, folklore, and coaching to help you clarify your vision for your writing
  • Your own writer's totem: a piece of original art created by Michael Trotta
  • Delicious meals from Thursday night through Sunday lunch
  • Daily optional meditation and experiential sessions led by June
  • A steady stream of beverages and yummy, quasi-healthy snacks, because ye shall judge a writer by the size of said writer’s expanding ass
  • A writerly goody bag
  • A one-hour follow-up session with Betsy to read and discuss a work-in-progress of your choice ($275 value), because we understand that writers need ongoing support and encouragement once they return home


How many in our tribe?

We are capping registration at 12, first come, first served.

Registration closes February 15, 2017.

Where is it?

St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. No passport required, all American money accepted! Bathing suit required. Oh, okay, optional; we don’t judge!


Where will everybody sleep?

You can snap up a gorgeous single room (extra supplement, first come, first served) or share a space with new and old tribe mates. And if you want to grab a futon and sleep on the deck under the stars or in our “Vision on the Water” space overlooking the ocean, which is blanketed with plush mattresses and pillows, go for it! Options abound!

Ocean Front:

The Dream Suite:  A Queen Room with an en suite bathroom - it also has a twin bed in the room.
The Blue Room: A Queen Room with a bathroom around the corner. There is also a twin bed in this room.
The Vision Queen Room: A Queen Bed under the Vision
The Vision King Room: A King Bed under the Vision
The Aces Room:  Three twin beds with access to a shared bathroom
The Branch: Two twin beds and a full size bunk bed so sleeps 4 easily
The Treehouse: A separate spacious living space with small kitchenette, a Queen Bed and Two twin bunk beds… so it sleeps 6 easily.

Lordy, these rooms are gorgeous! Want to see the photos and layouts? Click here.


Got any questions?

Email me at and let’s figure it out.


How to register:

1. Place your $500 deposit
2. Upon registration, we’ll follow up with other instructions
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Payment options


About Betsy:

I’ve been a professional book editor since 1981, working as an executive editor at Scribners and Random House. In 2002, I ditched my suits and pantyhose for life working from home as a full-time freelance editor, writer, and ghostwriter, critiquing, creating, and editing proposals and manuscripts.

Although I’ve edited numerous bestselling authors such as Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher, President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Judith Orloff, and others, my absolute favorite books to edit (and read) are memoirs. I’ve edited bestselling memoirs by Martha Beck (Expecting Adam and Leaving the Saints), Boyd Varty (Cathedral of the Wild) and Donna Williams (Nobody Nowhere), as well as critically acclaimed memoirs by Josh Hanagarne (World’s Strongest Librarian), Ana Forrest (Fierce Medicine), Susan Edsall (Into Thin Air), and many others.

My own personal essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Salon, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and Sky Magazine (Delta’s in-flight magazine) among others. My humor essays have been anthologized in Mothers Who Think, Creme de la Femme, Life’s a Stitch, and A Friendly Game of Poker from Chicago Review Press. I’m also the coauthor with Rosalind Wiseman of Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, optioned by Tina Fey (who turned the companion volume I edited, Queen Bees and Wannabes, into Mean Girls.)

I’m also a Martha Beck Certified Master Coach. I most definitely bring my coaching into the work I do with writers, because Lord knows we’re all head cases. And I mean that in a loving and life-affirming way.

You can read more about me at and


About June:

I’m a coach and energy worker who has transformed the lives, homes, and businesses of thousands of clients. I’m also a fiercely loyal mother, wife, friend, and advisor with highly developed powers of intuition, which I use to help others uncover something about themselves or their business plans.

I have been a private coach for corporations and individuals throughout Europe and America for more than thirty-five years. I now maintain a private practice working with individuals and businesses in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and New York City.

I am actively sought as an expert on intuition and personal growth, and have been a keynote speaker and motivational speaker to thousands at business and wellness conferences alongside such well-known authors as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, Dr. Barbara DeAngelis, and Shakti Gawain. I’ve also been a featured guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and People Are Talking, and have had extensive media coverage in newspapers around the nation including The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post, and the Dallas Morning News.

You can read more about me at


Michael Trotta


I’m an artist, storyteller, natural learning specialist, master coach, survival skills instructor, student of native traditions and the Hero’s Journey, proud dyslexic, facilitate of rites of passage programs, community builder, and coffee lover. I’m all about the myth and mischief.

After a ten-year career in education, I co-founded Sagefire Institute with my wife Lynn in 2005. Through Sagefire, we teach life coaches, educators, and community leaders how to use nature to design a culture that allows people to thrive and live from a place of vision, mission, and their own unique gifts or “Original Medicine.”

You can read more about me at