Award Winning Author and SWA Board Member Emeritus
1993 Met Amy Munnell at local book club
1994 First attended SWA, won award for Inspiration and gained encouragement from Linda Tomlin and Cec Murphey to launch freelance career. Completed course from Christian Writers Guild; 3rd Place for Inspiration SWA; 3rd place for Linda Tomblin Inspirational Writing Award.
1995 Won Honorable Mention for “On Forgiveness” from The Black Mountains Christian Writers Retreat sponsored by Linda Tomblin; 1st Place for Most Rejection Slips from 2nd Wednesday Writers; 1st Place for Most Outrageous Rejection Slip from 2nd Wednesday Writers, 1st Place for SWA Limerick Award.
1996 2nd Place for SWA Non-fiction and 2nd place for Children’s Literature.
1997 3rd Place for SWA Limerick Award and 3rd Place for Non-fiction.
1999 1st Place for SWA Limerick Award and 3rd Place for Inspiration.
2000 Two Honorable Mentions SWA Limerick Awards; Honorable Mention for Juvenile Writing; Honorable Mention for Non-fiction.
2002 Honorable Mention for SWA Limerick Award; 1st Place Limerick Award; Honorable Mention for Inspiration.
2003-2012 Joined SWA board as Assistant PP Editor. Remained on SWA board until 2012 serving two two-year terms as SWA President. Served another two-year term as co-president with Amy Munnell. I served as Registrar for many years and assisted Tim Hudson with his role as meeting planner.
2013 2nd Place for Bill Westhead Award; 1st Place for Holiday Seasonal Writing; and 2nd Place for Inspiration.
2014 1st Place for Humor Award; 1st Place for Holiday Seasonal Writing; 1st Place for Bill Westhead Award; 2nd Place for Inspiration; published 13 Decisions That Will Change Your Life in November with Dancing with Bear Publishing.
2015 Published Murder at Golden Palms (Thursday Club Mysteries Book 1) with Take Me Away Books in July 2015; published 13 Decisions That Will Transform Your Marriage with Dancing with Bear Publisher in August and Murder at Sea (Thursday Club Mysteries Book 2) in October also from Take Me Away Books.
2016 Published Thursday Club Mysteries Book 3 and Book 4 - Murder at the Monastery (February) and Murder at the Mandelay (May) also from Take Me Away Books.
We have hired a diverse group of successful writers to teach our classes this year! In addition to their classes, faculty members will be available to meet one-on-one with our attendees and share mealtimes and social hours so students can really get to know them. So let me introduce you...
Agent-in-Residence: Jeanie Loiacono, CEO and President of the Loiacono Literary Agency
Jeanie is the agent for SWA Board of Directors members John House and Buzz Bernard. While Jeanie's favorites are mystery/thrillers, romance, historical, and southern fiction, she and her agents seek most fiction genres, plus memoirs, general nonfiction, YA and children's books. The agency’s motto is “Where ‘can’t’ is not in our vocabulary!”
Publisher: Bob Babcock, Founder and CEO of Deeds Publishing
Based in Athens, Georgia, Deeds Publishing is a family-owned publishing company, offering both traditional and custom publishing as well as consulting, editing, ghost writing, layout, and design services. “We can help new authors navigate the intimidating path from manuscript to published book, and we can also help seasoned writers publish their next masterpiece.” Deeds has published 150 books – fiction and nonfiction – since opening in 2005.
A former journalist, David is an award-winning author of mystery/thrillers, such as Chasing the Devil's Tale (a Shamus Award winner for Best First Novel), The Blue Door and Rampart Street. David was chosen as the Georgia Author of the Year for Fiction in 2006 for Jass, and on multiple “Best Book” lists since 2001, including in the Los Angeles Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BookList, Library Journal, among others.
A 2-time Pulitzer nominee, Jedwin was the recipient of 57 major writing awards during his 36 years as a print journalist, traveling wherever the story led: Lebanon, Ethiopia, to the ocean's depths and to the clouds in the sky when he co-piloted WWII fighter aircraft. He has written three books, including Fatal Treasure about treasure hunter Mel Fisher and his search for the Atocha, the richest of all Spanish treasure galleons, and the memoir Our Brother's Keeper.
Young Adult Fiction: Michele Roper a.k.a Gillian Summers
Michele partners with Berta Platas (a former SWA instructor) to write fantasy novels as Gillian Summers, including The Scions of Shadow Trilogy series and Faire Folk Trilogy. Under her name, Michele recently released the first title in a fantasy series on Kindle: Yuletide at the Country Dragon Veterinary Hospital: The Dragon Healer Chronicles.
Michael is a returning instructor for us from many years ago. As a screenwriter, he has created more then twenty feature screenplays for studios such as Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox and Universal, including "Vampire in Brooklyn," "Home On the Range" and "Spirit," a nominee for Academy Award in 2002. In television, Michael has worked with Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, History Channel, Travel Channel, Discovery, Weather Chanel, OWN, TLC, A&E, HGTV, DIY, MSNBC, NBC and TBS. His company, Lucky Dog Filmworks, now serves as his home for writing, directing, producing and consulting. He lectures at Screenwriter School and Emory University.
Veteran commercial freelancer Peter Bowerman will lead attendees into the lucrative field of freelancing-writing for businesses. He will discuss the skills you need, why companies outsource, where the work is, how to get it, what to charge, networking strategies, and more. Peter is the author of the award-winning The Well-Fed Writer, The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds and The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, and his client list has included The Coca-Cola Company, BellSouth, IBM and many others.
My Write Platform is the brainchild of mother-daughter team Debra and Meredith Brown. They taught marketing and social media for us a few years ago to great reviews so we are glad to have them back. Both are published and award-winning writers. Debra has vast experience marketing in the business world and Meredith has worked in the magazine industry and as a literary agent. Many SWA authors are included among My Write Platform’s clients.
Janet is an award-winning creative nonfiction writer, columnist, and speaker, living in South Carolina. Her memoir Big C, little ta-ta, was the Hal Bernard Memorial Award for Nonfiction winner at the 2011 Southeastern Writers Workshop. Published in October 2015, it is now an Amazon Best-Seller. Her work has appeared in various editions of Not Your Mother’s Book, Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Petigru Review and others. In 2015, she became an internet sensation for her pink “Chemo-Hawk”, garnering national attention, like an interviewed by the “Today Show” and being chosen as the keynote speaker at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
As we countdown the days until the 41st Southeastern Writers Workshop begins, we want to tell everyone how good it is and encourage them to join us! Three years ago, SWA's vice president, Buzz Bernard revealed how the Workshop changed his writing life. Could it change yours? Maybe!
From the then Purple Pros Blog, Tuesday, September 3, 2013
It wasn’t an easy decision for me.
I had to burn a week’s vacation and shell out several hundred bucks just to mingle for five days with 75 people I’d never met before. While I’m not shy, I’m not by nature exceptionally outgoing. Thus, having to hang out with a bunch of folks I didn’t know was well outside my comfort zone.
Not only that. This was to be at a writing conference. The people there would be–GULP–real writers. I knew for certain I’d be exposed as the Great Pretender, a shameless charlatan. My work would be sliced and diced. I’d become the laughing stock of St. Simons Island.
But . . . I wanted to be a novelist. So I schlepped off, with great trepidation, to the 30th annual Southeastern Writers Workshop in 2005, over eight years ago.
Eight years ago. Nine conferences ago. Three published novels ago.
The bottom line: It paid off.
It paid off so well, I felt compelled to give something back. So two years ago I joined the Board of Directors and now serve as vice president.
Some of the people I met at the 2005 gathering became close friends and I’m sure will remain so for many years. Others, whom I met at subsequent workshops, instructors especially, became great encouragers. These were folks who kept me going when I was ready to run up the white flag after 10 years, 4 manuscripts and no takers. When I was ready to surrender and just piss away my money on golf courses and 19th holes instead of writers workshops. When I was ready to simply throw up my hands and say Screw it.
Thank God for the Southeastern Writers Association.
And here’s where I let you in on a little secret. My writing was, in fact, sliced and diced at that first conference. But guess what. So was everybody else’s. It’s called learning. It’s called earning your spurs. It’s called trial by fire.
It’s what virtually every real writer must go through, whether it’s at St. Simons or in a prestigious MFA program.
Here’s another little secret: My slicer and dicer at that first conference was NY Times best-selling author Steve Berry. Steve had been through the mill before he hit it big, so he knew what it took to get there. Ironically, he later became one of my great encouragers.
Steve doesn’t do critiques any longer, but believe me, there will be plenty of exceptionally skilled instructors at the 2014 workshop who will do for you what Steve did for me. Yeah, it might be painful. But these are people who will also help you put things back together. Gently. Skillfully. Professionally. They’ll help take your writing to the next level.
A final note about the SWA Workshop and what make it unique. It’s small, limited to no more than 75 students. There’s a distinct camaraderie that develops among and between students and faculty. You get to know one another. You chat over meals and during coffee breaks. You make new friends. You network. It’s a “clubby,” not a “cliquey,” atmosphere.
By way of contrast, I went to a huge West Coast conference in the summer of 2012. It had great instructors and presenters. Big names. Lots of attendees. Lots and lots of attendees. Somewhere north of 500, maybe 600.
Yeah, I met people. We’d sit at breakfast or lunch and attempt to converse over the din of a dining area that seated several hundred. We’d trade names and business cards. Then never see each other again as we elbowed, literally, our ways to whatever sessions were next on our schedules.
Months later, I got emails from several of the attendees I’d met informing me of this or that accomplishment. I’d send back polite attaboys, but never had a clue who any of the folks were. The encounters were too brief and too many.
Take away this: You’ll remember the people you meet at the Southeastern Writers Workshop.
H.W. “Buzz” Bernard is a best-selling, award-winning novelist. His novels include Blizzard (the most recent), Eyewall, Plague and Supercell. Buzz is a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing. He’s currently vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association. He and his wife Christina live in Roswell, Georgia.