Private Retreats With Tammy Coia

By getting out of your environment and having the time to focus inward the healing work begins. I have deep meaningful sessions planned where much like a labyrinth we work from the outside and get finally to the heart of the matter.

Time and time again I have watched women come to me not quite knowing what it means to live a life well-lived. When these same women leave after a 3, 4 or 5 day intensive retreat the difference is visible. Focusing on vulnerability and authenticity and being truthful to their needs brings about an incredible transformation. Healing those painful stories from the past and putting them to rest helps each woman see their true self in a new light.

I am currently holding private retreats in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here are a few notes I have received from women that have attended my private retreats:

A Writer's Retreat with Tammy Coia

Where do I start? From the minute that Tammy walked in with her Instant Pot™, cookbook and bags of groceries, and bins of writing workshop materials, books published by her writers and TLC workshop give-aways, and her pillow and folding red armchair, folding table and printer, I just knew she was a traveling one-woman magic show. We strolled around the garden and we’d gotten as far as the front door of the Yellow Cottage, when she asked me, “So what have you heard from him?” – the subject or is he the object – of my memoir. And I knew I was in for a heart-to-heart girl talking time. We curled up in the little front parlor with its fieldstone fireplace and Titian red walls (the paint job really was inspired by our host’s trip to Italy) and I was off. I just poured it all out – the sorry tale of me and the men in my life and finished a little embarrassed I had just told her all that – stuff I’d never told anyone.
And I asked her, “So do you hear stories like mine a lot?”
She said “All the time.”

So began a refresher course in myself in the careful hands of teacher, mentor, confidante, counselor, priestess Tammy. She just let the story of my life unfold while smoothly weaving it in with lectures on how to build memorable characters, how to use backstory, how to create an emotional response in the reader, how memoir is a healing process, and dotting those with writing exercises that teased the memory and plumbed the depths of my life in word plays. Then she’d disappear and scrounge up scrumptious one-pot meals. How’d she do that? We’d start pretty soon after breakfast and go all day and even into the later evening. She adapted herself to my circadian rhythm, giving me free rein to write as and when suited my timing.

The theme Tammy kept revisiting was vulnerability. And she kept building on it: what it is, how you tap it, expose it, why it’s the key to making your writing sing to the reader. If it comes from your heart and your gut, it’s going to touch the reader’s heart and sink in their gut.

Intense, very intense and a total indulgence of self without the guilt. And fun! All that girl-talk and one day we even got in an adventure. It was Halloween week and we visited Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta, a Victorian wonderland of trees and foliage and flowers and fountains and fanciful vaults and funerary whimsies. Of famous people and unknown Confederate dead. Another exercise in imagination.

Active listener, gentle prodder, lively lecturer, keen ear and eye to the tone, content, the sensibility of my writing work, Tammy brought all of that to what was a truly transformative experience for me. The way forward was illuminated, the point of my writing crystalized. And I went forth armed with my new vulnerability. I feel like the real me has emerged. And I feel like I am a Writer. Thank you, Tammy – let me count the ways.

Johanna Warren Reston Portrait

Yesterday will stay with me for a very long time. It so far exceeded my expectations, which were already high, and the talent in that room blew ME away! Your facilitation style is perfect. I love the way you guide rather than lead, and your explanation of how to create and trim a scene is more helpful to me than anything I have ever read about the craft of writing.

You attract very talented, smart, kind people. As group members revealed how long that had worked with you, I was wondering if I had joined a cult, but I now understand their enthusiasm and dedication, and can’t wait to come back!

I am grateful beyond words for your gift, and hope, with your help and the support of the group, to continue to refine my voice.

You’re a blessing, and I almost never use that word 🙂

Pasadena, CA

Hi Tammy,

The workshop was great. I have learned more from you about plotting in a few workshops than I’d learned in a lifetime. Thank you!

La Quinta, CA

The more I learn about your life, the more I am in awe of you. I wonder if you even realize the significance of the magic you bring when we gather with you to write and share.

At this rather difficult time in my life, having our times to write with your encouragement has been so reassuring.
Thank you for bringing your special love and caring. It means more than you know.

La Quinta, CA

Tammy Coia has given me the courage to pursue my dream of writing a book. She saw in me what I didn’t’ see; that I could write. Because of her faith, direction and encouragement, I’m actually going to publish my book. There were times in the past 2 years of working together, that I was discouraged. I would say to myself, “Whom am I fooling, I can’t write”. Tammy wasn’t hearing any of my self-pity talk. She would get me right back on track. She believed in me more than I did. I see now that I can write. Because of Tammy I was able to make my dream come true. Thank you Tammy. You have been life changing.

Much love and respect,
Maui, HI
Author of “Have You Seen These Children”

Tammy is a gifted teacher/coach and is working with me on my memoir cookbook.
I met Tammy when I took her weekend workshop in Palm Desert, California and had a wonderful experience working among so many talented women writers. She held space for everyone and has a unique teaching style. The worksheets she puts together are excellent and good to use as a reference in future writing projects.. Tammy in our private sessions instilled some effective ideas to help me keep my focus and I feel blessed to have her as a coach.

Palm Springs, CA

For the past 12 years Tammy Coia and her TLC Workshops, Retreats, and On-Line Writing Groups have given me an opportunity to hone my skills and practice my craft of writing a variety of genre. Memoir is often the focus; however, my responses may be prose or poetry. Her mentorship, while providing one-on-one consultation, gives me additional personal insight and encouragement.

Jo Anne,
Palm Springs, CA

Though there were many, I’ll share two treasured facts I learned from Tammy:

words are powerful

everyone has a story to tell

I learned these concepts some 12 years ago, and they remain constant.

Having had no idea of ever writing, I wanted to share my story with my girls (2 daughters, 1 grand daughter). I think you know the rest of the story…I signed on for Memoir writing with Tammy, and continue to this day.

She has been beside me all through these years…teacher, coach, friend. And I’m just one of several hundred! It’s easy to describe Tammy. She wants the very best for every student in her class, in her workshop, on her trips. She is non-judgmental, and critiques in an intelligent, motivational and supportive manner. She is there for you to help you tell your story. She loves her craft, I love this woman.

Palm Springs, CA

Everyone has a story and Tammy Coia,The Memoir Coach, is the right person to gently coax it out of you.

We met in 2008 and immediately clicked. She taught me to write from my soul. She helped me recall the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between when I felt I couldn’t remember a thing. She used a series of prompts, pictures, writing exercises and classroom sharing to unearth buried memories. When my small, intimate class of five women read our stories aloud, we shared our joys and our sorrows and lots of laughter. We remain best friends to this day.

After I published my memoir (thanks to Tammy), I felt compelled to write a novel based on a slice of my life. Tammy now coaches me monthly in her “Online Writing Class.” We also meet quarterly during face-to-face consultations. She offers insights into my chapters, makes valuable suggestions for improvement, and inspires me to continue writing. She confirms my belief in myself and my writing.

Tammy changed my life, I hope she changes yours.

Indio, CA

Thank you Tammy and the retreat ladies for helping me put things into perspective. I will never be the same. I have grown from this experience. You are my mentors. Tammy read a quote that will change my life: “The light inside yourself is always there, a pilot light, to be tended, sometimes bright with the fuel of love, acceptance, and inspiration. Sometimes a low flame waiting for a little wind or change to light it up again.” Thanks, Tammy, I needed it!

Rancho Mirage, CA

OMG! I can’t believe I waited so long! That was absolutely fabulous! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The entire experience was very enlightening. Did I mention I love it? When I got home, I couldn’t wait to share with my husband. Sharing your writing with people is like trying on your bathing suit 2 months prior to swimsuit season then walking into a room full of people and told, “O.K., take off your robe.”
Can’t wait to do it again… Thank You, Tammy, for an inspiring, uplifting, and simply wonderful afternoon.

Palm Desert, CA

Dear Tammy, I just received the parcel in the mail where you kindly sent my errant earring and my charging wire that I left behind, and I’m instantly transported back to Corfu. When I first signed up for your writing retreat I didn’t expect Corfu to be this magical island nor did I know how much I would love our wonderful, warm hostess, Elena. Olive Retreat is definitely a place of tranquility and quiet which you must visit if you’re seeking to write, practice yoga or meditation. Here you will find much-needed solitude and secluded villas. And if you get too lonely, there’s always the amazing Elena offering to take you sightseeing in the Old Town of Corfu or a bucolic olive farm, where no visit is complete without a glass of wine! And enough can’t be said about Tammy, who’s a consummate professional and excellent memoir coach. Even with a glass shard stuck in her eye, she did not once waver from coaching us, guiding us and leading us in every morning and afternoon session. You’re the best, Tammy! And Corfu is a must-see place, a treasure of the Ionian Sea, a sleepy and unspoilt island of Greece. The sights, the architecture, the charm of downtown, the smells will leave you yearning for more!

Anoop Judge, 
San Francisco, California
Author of “The Rummy Club”

I attended my very first writing retreat ever, with Tammy Coia, in Corfu, the first week of June 2017. It was a truly unbelievable experience. I absolutely loved every moment. Tammy is a warm, sensitive, open, encouraging and inspirational teacher and writer. I immediately felt comfortable in her presence …. Her gentle approach, along with her own willingness to share her stories supported me to share my own stories in a safe and supportive environment. Writing with other women, hearing their unique voices was truly memorable. Tammy’s extensive writing background coupled with her life experience has given her an amazing gift …. The ability to teach, listen, inspire support and write , with perspective , openness and passion . I absolutely cannot wait to write again with Tammy! I feel inspired to continue writing and telling my story. Thank you Tammy, with my whole heart….

The Villa in Corfu where we stayed during the retreat was absolutely beautiful. Our host, Elena, was outstanding! She ensured that every detail was taken care of, that we did not want for anything. She arranged all of our transportation, our wonderful and many excursions and all of our incredible Greek meals …. Oh, the food! She was akin to our “Den Mother,” the absolute consummate host! Elena, herself, so warm and caring, arranged a special surprise dinner and entertainment for us on our last night at the Villa. We were able to share an evening, with Elena’s family and friends, full of laughter and dance, that I will never ever forget. I left Corfu with not only wonderful memories but with new and wonderful friends.

Kim Guelph,
Ontario Canada

I attended my first writing class approximately 8 years ago. The coach was Tammy Coia and continues to be my writing coach. Because of Tammy I know I will reach my goal…write my memoirs. Tammy is a fabulous coach. The theme of each class is reflected in her well-prepared handouts. She is extremely compassionate towards off of the members in the group.

Consequently, everyone feels her compassion and enables others to feel comfortable and sincere in their writings.

I feel very fortunate to be one of many people who know Tammy professionally and personally. When I feel discouraged about my writings, I think of Tammy and see and feel her wonderful smile telling me I can do it.

Rancho Mirage, CA

Tammy’s writing retreat in Corfu (2017) was by far the best writing retreat I have ever experienced. The setting was a fantasy — the view spectacular, the villa we stayed in was divine, the rooms roomy and the facilities modern. The view of the Ionian Sea was breathtaking, and it was only an 18 minute walk to the edge of the water. Elena, our host, was gracious, warm, and fun. She anticipated our needs before we even did. She went far above and beyond, even introducing us to her friends and family and organizing dinners, trips to a vineyard and an olive grove, and other unexpected and wonderful outings. I felt that I truly got a taste of the real Corfu because of her. She even arranged for her friends (in full costume) to perform and teach us the traditional Greek dances, which included breaking plates and shouting out “Opa!” I don’t remember when I had so much fun.

The writing sessions were relaxed, unpressured, and productive. The lessons and prompts were appropriate and useful. Tammy is a gentle and knowledgeable leader and teacher, and we writers quickly became friends and were all helpful to one another. I am so grateful that I went on this retreat, and the beautiful memories will last a lifetime. I highly recommend any retreat that Tammy is leading, even if it is not in Greece.

Hillsborough, New Jersey

Tammy, dear Tammy…

This week has been invaluable! Not only have you revitalized me and reignited that desire to write, write, write!, I’ve gained volumes of resource information about the craft. The daily prompts have been a tremendous confidence builder, and a wonderful way to explore what a treasure writing can be.

I believe the retreat brought each of us closer as writing companions, gave us all amazing inspiration, and sent us home willing to be more vulnerable as we share our stories.

I’m so grateful you have the love, the openness of heart, and the desire to use your gift for teaching in such a beautiful way.

With loads of affection,

Juno, Alaska

Tammy’s workshops are so inspiring (this is my 3rd!) I love the way she creates a safe and welcoming place for women writers to explore their experiences and show them using an endless arsenal of writing prompts that help participants cut to the heart of whatever they are writing, and enjoy lots of camaraderie and laughs along the way.

Ventura, California

Warning: Not for the faint of heart! Another week, another one of Tammy’s writing retreats. We are all exhausted from the wealth of information we have absorbed, inspired by Tammy’s mantra, “yes you can!” Where have I heard that before!

I have written with Tammy in Loreto (3 times, Calgary and last year in Greece). We have shared our stories, laughed, and cried until the tears fell. We have invented scenes, characters and brought them to life under Tammy’s guidance. We have found a place in each other’s hearts as they ours. We want to adopt Tammy as our sister. When is the next one?

Susan Calgary,

Where do I begin? This was my second retreat with Tammy. Although different from my first, nothing is ever the same, it was equally wonderful. Tammy provides such a warm, safe, inspiring space in which to write. You will grow, share, learn, laugh and cry. You will question, dig deep, be inspired and be supported. You will make wonderful friends with women who share your passion for writing. Tammy is an extraordinary and encouraging teacher. And best of all, you will write! Thank you Tammy with my whole heart for helping me to unleash and grow my passion for writing. Until next time…I really can’t wait. I love you!

Guelph, Ontario

Private Retreats with Tammy Coia

Private One on One Hourly Sessions Available

Let me meet with you via the phone or skype or facetime to work.

Prices are $75.00 per hour

Private Retreats at Your Home or Virtual on Zoom

You can plan your own private virtual retreat with me via zoom. I offer half day and full day workshops. Contact me for more information!


Sometimes my students like me to join them in their home, Yes, if you check my calendar I can come to you.  Contact me for rates.

If you want me to come to you, I can do private and group retreats at your destination!

My rates are $450 per day (+airfare, room and meals) if I travel to you.  You can plan on me working with you alone or I welcome your friends to join us as I lead a workshop for $650 per day for two people (for each additional person add $100 per day


Retreat Cancellations

Refunds (minus a non-refundable deposit of 10%) are available at 75% up to 90 days in advance of the retreat, 50% up to 60 days in advance and 25% up to 30 days in advance.  

Private Retreats in Des Moines, Iowa

Want some one on one personalized attention? Tammy’s gentle approach has helped hundreds of writers get clear. Workshop your work in a relaxed environment.

Join me in Des Moines, Iowa in your own private home that I rent for you! This gives you the opportunity to have your own private space and give yourself that time to just breathe and relax without having to do any cooking! I plan and prepare everything for your stay.

3, 4 and 5 day retreats are available for you. My retreats are all inclusive, that means from the moment you arrive you don’t have to worry about anything else. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are all included. You will have your own private home that I spend time with you each day. During the day I will focus on your needs.  Here is a sample schedule, but each schedule is catered to what your needs are:

Sample A:

  • 9:00 am breakfast
  • 10:00 am – 12:30 pm private workshop
  • 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm lunch
  • 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm free time…you can choose to write, hike, explore, nap
  • 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm private workshop
  • 6:30 pm dinner

Sample B:

  • 8:00 am breakfast 
  • 9:00 am – 12 pm private workshop
  • 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm lunch
  • 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm private workshop
  • 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm free time… you can choose to write, hike, explore, nap
  • 6:30 pm dinner

Each day is catered to you. With approximately 5-6 hours a day of one on one workshopping together, or set your own schedule, I am all yours! 2022 Prices:

Costs: (airfare not included). Please note that because you have your own private 2 BR home that I rent, you may also choose to bring a friend that wants to write with you and come together.  Prices below:

  • 3 day: $2,925 (single) $ 4,325 (double)
  • 4 day: $3,800 (single) $5,400 (double)
  • 5 day: $4,600 (single) $6,400 (double)
  • (your private home and and all meals included)

Retreat Cancellations

Refunds (minus a non-refundable deposit of 10%) are available at 75% up to 90 days in advance of the retreat, 50% up to 60 days in advance and 25% up to 30 days in advance.  

I can’t rave enough about my private writing retreat with Tammy. Whether someone is looking to write a book to publish, or just write for fun, working with Tammy brings a whole new level to your writing and your ability to story-tell.

The stay was comfortable and nothing short of relaxing. Tammy cooked or took me out for every meal, we walked or hiked while we discussed my book and we went over multiple lessons on writing while curled up on the comfy couches. Tammy worked with me to construct every chapter for my book, based off of about 100 post it notes and 50,000 words I had written but never organized. I left her retreat with a detailed outline of my book and a purpose to get my story on paper. Without Tammy, my project would be lacking. I am so so happy that the day I was wavering about booking this retreat, I opened a Dove chocolate candy with a message inside that read, “book the flight.”

Cheryl Daley
Brunswick, New York

Cheryl Daly Writing Retreat Review 2020
Cheryl Daly Writing Retreat Review 2020
Suzanne Sersum Testimonial
Suzanne Sersum Testimonial

I found Tammy and her writing retreats highly recommended on The Write Life website. After perusing a dozen or more other options, I soon discovered I wanted to organize myself and WORK at my retreat. The plethora of sojourns investigated before choosing Tammy included eating! drinking! hiking! meeting and bonding! and exploring new landscapes. Tammy offers these as well, but I chose her WORK centered 4 day retreat tailored to her client in a one on one setting.

I rented a car (though she includes pick up in her pricing, so no car is needed) and followed Tammy to her retreat home. I had never met her, only chatted on the phone. We turned off the freeway and drove down one country road after another, all lovely and awash in blooming blackberry bushes– but an occasional scary thought emerged, “I dont know this person! Where are we going!?”

She led us to a retreat home in a lovely neighborhood far away from shops, quick marts and hectic commuters making their way to work. We pulled up to a home nestled between Lummi Bay and the Pacific Ocean. My top floor room for the stay offered picturesque sights and salty ocean breezes free from ANY distractions. It was time to WORK and work we did.

Tammy is not only a writer, more importantly she is a skilled TEACHER by trade.This lady can teach!!! Plying me with my sparkling lemon water and meals, she took seriously the task of keeping me focused, organized and encouraged as she guided my writing time to my preferences as often or as long as I needed.

Side trips out to the local areas for delicious dinners, and once a ferry ride to nearby Lummi Island for dinner, fed the focus and creativity rather than centering on fun and frolicking.

If you want to learn to write, brainstorm ideas for a memoir or gain momentum on your current project choose Tammy for the one on one retreat, either here near Bellingham, WA or her Palm Springs Location!!

Suzanne Sersun

14 days ago I did not know this woman existed. Today I leave her home knowing she has played an incredible role in what is coming! Tammy @thememoircoach this was the best gift I gave myself and I can’t thank you enough for the environment you shared which allowed me to accomplish more than I could possibly have imagined in 3 short days. The subtle tribute to #Hawaii, where my souls lives, the constant, and I mean CONSTANT supply of delicious #healthyfood and your loving creatures Bruce and Sophia, serving as cheerleaders and accountability coaches, all contributed to my motivation and creative flow. Your guidance, encouragement and friendship is so greatly valued and the fact that you are a die-hard @packers fan elevates you even more 🤩. I love experiencing what I teach… that when you set yourself up for #success with a supportive and nurturing environment with proper fuel, solid rest and a dash of fun, you will thrive. I can’t wait to see where this lands!

Michelle Zellner,
#goals #explore #expand #takeachance #itshappening #healthylifestyle #write #writer #writingcoach #theyourevolution #beabetterbeing #denver #bellingham

Michelle Zelner Private Retreat Testimonial
Michelle Zelner Private Retreat Testimonial

This is what I wrote in my journal on 1/10/2019:
January 10, 2019:  Just finished three days this week with my writing coach Tammy.  I experienced many emotions, even cried.  I cry more when I feel comfort and joy as opposed to sadness.  I’m really at a great place in my life.  I’m still working, but on my terms.  As a temp, I get to make my own hours.  That means I can make time to enjoy many other things and that includes writing because I love it so much.  Writing is one thing, but learning to write with deep emotion to move the reader is another.  I want to be a better reader as well, and hope I’m on the right track.  I do know that I’m in good hands.  Thank you Tammy for sharing your wisdom with this wannabe.


I had been diligently working on my memoir for over two years in a classroom setting. Progress was slow, until I attended the three day one on one retreat with Tammy. With her expertise and direction, she helped me move to a different level in my writing. Her individualized sessions powerfully taught me how to take my memoir from good to great. I highly recommend the one on one retreat. I learned so much, and can’t wait to plan my next trip!

Dallas, TX

I had two hundred pages of stories written and no idea what to do with them. I was like a baker with all the ingredients and no equipment nor instructions for making a cake, and so I called on Tammy Coia, for help.

The stars aligned and we were able to in squeeze in a four-day, one-on-one retreat just before the states started shutting down. We worked at a home on a lake in Bellingham, Washington. And I mean we worked. Tammy let me set the pace, and I was there to soak up all I could in four days. Tammy had a curriculum designed specifically for me and my project. We had structured “class” time broken up by breaks for meals and walks. Tammy provided healthy, delicious food based upon my desires. Everything was provided so that I might use all my time and energy to learn.

I left Tammy with all the tools I need to complete my project. I have it broken into steps, just like baking a cake. I started with a wooden spoon and Tammy gave me an electric mixer. I had no way to measure sugar or flavors. Tammy gave me tablespoons and teaspoons and instructions for knowing when I had put in enough of each ingredient.

I came back home and pre-heated the oven. I have been under a stay-at-home order for three weeks now. My project is nearly baked. I am a bit ahead of the schedule I set for myself because I am using the tools and the lessons Tammy gave me.

Thanks, Tammy.
P. Annie Fitzpatrick,
Roseburg, Oregon

How can I capture everything my private 5 day retreat with you did for me?
I’ll try:

First-I met every goal I set for myself for the five days. I got my chapters organized, my theme narrowed down and my target audience nailed! The writing/reading sessions with you opened my eyes to my own work and to ways I can improve/expand my writing and increase my impact on the reader. You validated my reasons behind writing this book first (as I have several to pen) and worked as a coach/mentor/friend through the process. Taking the time away from work/home truly provided a bubble of space for me to create. Your compassionately honest method of teaching and guiding surpass any other writing program I’ve attended. I felt heard and encouraged. I walked away with the tools to finish my book in bite sized pieces that don’t seem unattainable.

Thank you so much for this time! So glad to have you on my side as a coach and mentor as I complete this first book!

Townsend, GA

I was nervous when I signed up for a 5-day private writing retreat at Tammy’s home – that’s a long time to spend with a stranger!  However, I’m delighted to report that it far exceeded my hopes; I received so much more than coaching in my writing, and am proud to now call Tammy my friend.  In addition to gentle, honest, and helpful feedback on my writing, I loved our conversations (therapy sessions?!), walks in the woods, kayaking on the Sound in Tammy’s backyard, movie night, and wonderful meals. Tammy is an open, empathetic, kind, and generous person, and I recommend her retreats enthusiastically and wholeheartedly!

Salem, OR

I just had a wonderful message sent to me by a woman I worked with yesterday:

Hi Tammy,
Thank you so much for a helpful and encouraging coaching session!

I feel energized and excited to move forward with my book, especially because I now have a plan, with your help…

And I enjoyed getting to know you a bit more as well.  All in all our time together was a gift…thank you again…

Looking forward to continuing on this journey with you.

Meredith, Palm Desert, CA

"Thank you for sharing this page" ~ Tammy