Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Minute Submission Information

Hey y'all! I know we usually post about submissions and contests well before the deadlines in order to give all of you plenty of time to write and edit your stories/poems before you send them in. 

Well, this is not one of those times. But! If you have something ready to go and you would like to submit your short fiction or poetry to a contest where you might win £500 and either an agent consultation  for your fiction or a mentorship for your poetry, as well as publication in the respected Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual. For more information, click that link up above and get cracking on those submissions! The deadline is this Sunday (the 31 of August), so you only have a few days to enter! 

If August 31 seems too soon, how about September 1? That gives you a whole extra 24 hours to prepare something to submit to Dancing With Bear Publishing's October anthology that will be specifically about breast cancer in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. They are looking for stories both from survivors and from family members and friends of those who have had the disease. If you have been affected by breast cancer, please think about submitting to this anthology. For more information and how to enter, click the link above. 

We do hope that everyone who is able to submit does, and we'll be sending you all well wishes this holiday weekend! And, if any of you are chosen for either anthology, let us know! We'd love to post about that, or any other exciting news you may have here on the blog. Send any and all emails to We look forward to hearing from you and good luck! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

2015 Workshop Update!

The SWA Board of Directors met July 13 to begin planning the 2015 SWA Writers Workshop, our 40th.  Yes, 40 years!  When SWA started, leisure suits and disco music were just breaking on the scene. We've seen the Space Shuttle come and go, our first African American president, personal computers, cell phones and the rise of the digital book. Don't you wonder what the next 40 years has in store?

The Workshop dates are June 19-23, 2015, with the fiction mini-workshop running June 20-21 and the nonfiction mini-workshop on June 22-23.  We are currently contacting potential faculty members, but we hope to have an agent as always, an editor (or maybe two!), a novelist, a journalist, a poet, a YA author, a columnist, a short story-ist, and a memoir author. I hope we can squeeze them all in!

We are also planning a true celebration of our 40 years.  What's in store?  Well, that might not make the Workshop Updates. Don't you like surprises? I will say we hope to make the Workshop fun and festive, as well as informative and beneficial to your writing career. 

As the plans fall together, we'll keep you updated here, on Facebook and our website.  We want you to be as excited as we are for the 2015 Workshop. Stay tuned!!

~~ Amy Munnell

Amy is the current president of SWA.  She has been a freelance writer and editor for nearly 30 years with her work appearing in various publications including the Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Saying Goodbye, From the Heart, Athens Magazine, Points North, ByLine and Georgia Magazine. Find Amy on Twitter here

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Exciting Member News!

Patrick Hempfing's "moMENts" column was published in the August issues of Pennsylvania's About Families, Idaho Family, South Carolina's Palmetto Parent, South Florida Parenting, Texas's Suburban Parent, and Western New York Family

Erika Hoffman's essay called "Dream, Dream, Dream" was accepted into Myrtle Beach's Sasee Magazine for their September issue. Her mystery, Chew on That, has also been published on Page & Spine.

Congratulations to all of our amazing members who have had pieces published. If you've had something published and would like to be including in our blog, please do send it to us at Also, do include links to your website or blog, and that way we can introduce everyone to the genius that is you! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Help a SWA Sister Out ...

Erika Hoffman's non-fiction humourous essay, "How Do You Know I Need To ...," has been posted on Midlife Collage.
Midlife Collage is a weekly competition site for writers of a certain age, and Erika needs your votes to win. Let's help her do it by clicking the link to the site above and hitting the like button on her story or leaving a comment, and get her into the number one spot! Y'all should also read the other stories in the contest, but I have a feeling that Erika's is the best.
This site is also a great resource for our other members. Because it is an open contest, you can enter one of your stories as well! If you do enter and make it into the contest, let us know and we'll post it here! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Signing!

Hey y'all! Exciting news on the member front; one of our fantastic published authors and Vice President, Buzz Bernard, has a book signing this Sunday (August 3) at 2 p.m. at Alpharetta's Barnes & Noble Mansell Crossings.
If you're new to Buzz's work, he writes amazing thrillers that are both gripping and well-written.
Whether you need to complete your collection or buy your first Buzz Bernard novel, this is the perfect event to add more great books to your collection and to meet the ever-affable Buzz and have him sign a copy of what is sure to be your new favorite novel.
For more information, see the flyer below.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Exciting Member News!

One of our very own amazing writers, Lola Schaefer, was just featured on Kate Messner's Blog as part of her Mini-Lesson Monday series. Lola provides some extremely valuable information regarding non-fiction leads and how to draw readers in with catchy, well-written leads. For more information and to read the blog post, click here for a direct link.

Congratulations, Lola! We'll definitely be putting your lessons to good use.

Lola Schaefer is the author of several non-fiction books, including Just One Bite and Lifetime. She is also a teacher and writing consultant who is passionate about helping children learn to express themselves through the written word. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's Criminal

Lately, a certain song has been taking the internet by storm. Now, y'all may or may not know, but there is very little that certain factions of the internet hate more than grammar mistakes. To that end,  songwriter and nerd extraordinaire  Weird Al Yankovic has created "Word Crimes," a grammar-based jam that remixes Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."  Personally, we much prefer Weird Al's version. We hope you do, too! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Exciting New Member News!

Patrick Hempfing's moMENts column was published in the July issues of Pennsylvania's About Families, North Carolina's Carolina Parent, Idaho Family, Sonoma Family Life, South Florida Parenting, Texas's Suburban Parent, and Western New York Family magazines. He has also reached 57 followers on Twitter

Erika Hoffman's essay, "Biggest Obstacle," will appear in the August issue of South Carolina's Sasee Magazine

Roy Richardson was on The Writing Well, a literary blog run by fellow author Anne Wainscott-Sargent celebrating "excellence in writing and story-telling," and an excerpt from his short story collection, "Hillbillies Prefer Blondes," was also featured. 

If you have any member news, feel free to email us about your accomplishments! Also, if you'd like to include your social media information, we will link to you as well. We hope everyone is having a fun and productive July! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Save the Date!

2015 marks the Southeastern Writers Association's 40th year!  

★☆★  40 years of "Writers Helping Writers!"  ★☆★

We're celebrating next year and we've already begun planning!

The 2015 SWA Writers Workshop will be 
June 19-23, 2015 at Epworth by the Sea
on St. Simons Island, GA.
The Fiction mini-workshop will be June 20-21.
The Nonfiction mini-workshop will be June 22-23.

So mark your calendars and save the date!
We want to see you there!

Monday, July 7, 2014

ReBlogs: When Is It Too Much?

(from MakerGoddess, Feb 21, 2014)

A once popular British TV comedy show featured a pair of characters who seem to be the best of friends. One is in a wheel chair and seems not only physically, but also mentally disabled. The friend is ever so obligingly taking care of him in each skit. The disabled character would make a choice about something (a trip, a book, a holiday destination, whether or not to go to the bathroom at a more convenient time). The friend would then proceed to gently attempt to persuade the man away from the undesired choice and guide him back toward a more reasonable choice. Always the one in the wheelchair stuck to his guns on the inappropriate choice so his friend eventually gave in. Yet every time the decision was carried out you’d see the one in the wheelchair saying he didn’t really want his choice but rather what the friend suggested. And of course the friend always fixed it. Well nearly always. He couldn’t quite change the holiday destination once the airplane was already taking off.

While this makes for great comedy, I wonder, what if this were a real relationship? Would the friend continue to do things with/for the disabled person? Would the friend ever decide to stop arguing with him and just let him lie in the bed he made, accepting his own consequences? When would the friend finally say, “I’ve had enough.” and just walk away.

I recently met a very nice young lady in the beginning years of her career. (Remember recently is always going to be a relative term with me.) She liked her profession but wasn’t very happy in her job and wondered if it would be worth it to make a change, to another location or a different position. She had come under new management at the beginning of the year and thought she might give it a bit longer, just to see if the fresh new blood made her work environment and the job any better. I commend her for wanting to see how the land lies for now, but how long will she wait?

I was there too. Giving just one more reason to stay, and did so for about three years. Finally, I took the plunge and began applying for other positions within my field.

That was scary; I won’t lie about that. I had been in the same position at the same location for eight years! The idea of being anywhere else, doing anything different, actually having to commute, was never entertained. Yes it was a dream come true to have just a one-mile commute! But as the years wore on, and my work environment deteriorated, so sank my acceptance level. Being just a song away from my job became the only good thing I could say about it.

My problem was that I was stuck in a rut of my own making. As a friend of mine once pointed out, I clung to the security of the familiar. Sure that place, that job, stunk to no end, but it was a known odor. If I moved, if I made any waves at all, would I find the same stink or one more foul? Mr. Murphy and I have a complicated relationship. He doesn’t mind and I don’t seem to matter. So his law of things going wrong applies to me categorically. I was just too afraid to take that risk. 

Risk nothing gain nothing, though.

I had to leave the security of my familiar when making not one but two changes in my career this school year as it turns out. That was terrifying! But the rewards far outweighed the momentary discomfort I felt in making the change. The best part was that the second decision to make a change was actually easier for this old scaredy cat. And I made it relatively quickly.

I am now doing a job in a much more conducive environment. So what if my commute is over 20 miles now. At least now as I advance forward in my career I am encouraged that taking such risks are going to not only become easier and easier but also I will be a much happier, more productive individual in the end.

My favorite teacher Ms. Frizzle always says, “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy.” Fabulous advice if you ask me. Well, except the messy bit, unless you are very near a shower.

~~Dawn Burr

Dawn is a teacher by profession but a writer by passion. Her sarcastic wit, innocent charm, and insightful reflections will have you bowled over with laughter as she ponders with you the little things in life that make you go hhhmmmm. Learn more about Dawn on her website: Dawn Burr Writes or on her blog: MakerGoddess.

Monday, June 30, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

I couldn't have hired a playwright to script it any better. Our 2014 SWA workshop was everything I hoped it could have been and a whole lot more. We filled up the seats, mostly with new attendees. We dazzled everyone with brilliant instructors, and most of the newbies were saying they couldn't wait to come back next year. We have some younger people accepting positions of responsibility on the Board of Directors. I believe SWA's future is very secure.

That wasn't the case not so long ago. While we had a cash reserve that could carry us forward for a couple of years no matter how great the failures, we were in a downturn. Our membership was down. Our Board of Directors was dwindling, and while we were almost begging for more bodies, our requests, for the most part, went unanswered. Workshop attendance was barely bringing in break-even revenue, if that. A couple of times we pondered if we might have reached the end of the line.

Now with a positive cash flow from our most recent workshop, an energized "fan base" of new attendees who will be back, hopefully with their friends, and some younger blood sitting in the Board of Directors' seats, the end of the line has been pushed well into the future.

All this happened as Kay Eaton and I served our last tenures on the Board. Kay was one of those who answered the call when we were in dire need of people a few years ago. She helped hold SWA together with the important registrar duties. Relocation to Florida has dictated that she step down from her duties, but we still expect her to show up each June at St. Simons.

As to that other guy who's stepping aside, I'll still show my face at St. Simons as well. The ThomasMax "You Are Published" Contest -- which received the highest number of entries and best competition we've ever had in 2014 -- will continue so there's still a book deal to be had. I've made a lot of comments about my retirement, and all of them have been honestly from the heart. There DOES come a time when everyone needs to step aside and let others bring something new to the show. George Washington DID indeed say eight years was enough. But mostly it's been health issues, specifically pain management, that sparked my decision. I've tried to keep that under the rug (and think I've been pretty successful at it), and now you've just read all I'm going to say about it here. 

But I do have a little more to say before I run into the sunset. I am quite proud of the service I've given to SWA. I've received several post-workshop notes and thank-you cards. One said, "Someone asked me the other day what I do. I said, 'I am a writer.' And that's all because of my years at SWA that I could say that." While there were personal accolades in that note, the thing that touched me is that I know I made a difference. And that's why I signed up for the volunteer job in the first place.

My last night as SWA President (let's pretend the meeting the next morning didn't happen) was amazing. My good friend Darrell Huckaby -- I met Huck as a result of SWA -- asked if he could come and entertain at our Awards Ceremony. Anyone in his right mind would say yes, and luckily I was in my right mind the day he asked. And I got this inspired idea to buy torches to pass to the new board members (at least those of which I was aware at the time) as a fitting ritual. Then I was blown away with the going-away gift the board gave me . . . a photo of the Braves' locker room (it's no secret I'm a rabid Braves fan) with my name awarded one of the lockers there. No. 8 -- for eight years of service, four as President and four as VP. I felt truly honored at that moment. I've seen former SWA Presidents with many more years than me retire with a simple "thank-you" certificate or plaque . . . or less. 

I haven't yet chosen the spot in my house where it will hang, but it will certainly be a spot of honor. Every time I look at it, I am humbled by the notion that I was held in such esteem by my peers. I know it wasn't cheap, and you really shouldn't have . . . but I'm thrilled that you did. Thank you from every fiber of my being.

And thank you, SWA, for giving me the chance to make a difference. I'll remember THAT every time I look at that picture, too.

~~ Lee Clevenger

Lee is 2-time President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power of Technology

Becky Lee Weyrich was a pillar of SWA when I joined in 1990.  It was a re-building year after the Workshop wasn't held due to lack of funds the year before.  Becky taught that year, a commanding presence with her deep voice, reading glasses perched on the end of her nose and her hair pulled back so severely into a single long braid that she would never need a face lift. Becky gave her all to SWA - a board member who served as president, a teacher, an award sponsor - nurturing many fledgling writers into successful authors.  

My favorite Becky story occurred a few years after I joined the board. Becky was on a panel with other instructors including fantasy author Tom Deitz.  Tom announced he had published 9 books and 4 were still in print and he stood them up on the front of the table.  While the other panelist introduced themselves, Becky walked out and returned with a box.  When her turn came, she stood and said "My name is Becky Lee Weyrich and I have 27 books published, 7 still in print here." She lined up her books.  "This one's in print in 2 languages - Spanish and French - and this one's in 4!  I've been in print longer than you've been alive!" She sat down triumphantly, but soon shot a wink down the table at Tom, who toppled his books then stood clapping and coaxed us into a standing ovation.

Well, Becky passed away a few years ago, but thanks to technology, she's back in print.  Diversion Books is re-releasing Becky's books as e-books!   They released 5 titles on June 10th and have 5 more scheduled on July 1st and 4 more each on July 22nd and August 5th. The e-books are available on and and there are some mass market paperbacks, too.  She still deserves a standing ovation.

~~ Amy Munnell

Amy is the current president of SWA, serving on the Board of Directors from 1993-2007 and again from 2011 to the present.  She has been a freelance writer and editor for 29 years with her work appearing in various publications including the Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Saying Goodbye, From the Heart, Points North, ByLine, Athens Magazine and Georgia Magazine. Find Amy on Twitter: @amunnell

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Round of Applause: Member News

Susan Lindsley, H.W. "Buzz" Bernard and Martha Phillips were semi-finalists for Georgia Author of the Year.  Susan was in the First Novel category for The Bottom Rail, placing third, while Buzz and Martha competed in the Fiction Novel category for Supercell and Carved respectively. 

Debra Brown's humor story "The She Devil" has made it into Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Cats. The book is slated for release in September 2014.

Patrick Hempfing’s moMENts columns were published in the June issues of 12 regional parenting magazines, including Houston Family, San Diego Family, South Florida Parenting, and Suburban Parent (Dallas/Ft. Worth) magazines.  In May, the Chicago Tribune, Daily Press, Orlando Sentinel, and Sun Sentinel ran one of his pieces.  His columns have now been published over 100 times, spanning 17 states and two Canadian provinces.

We invite members to share news about their successes and activities so we can all join the celebration!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop Awards Night

We wrapped up the 2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop with our Awards Night: Celebrating the Great American Author!  And celebrate we did!

Guest speaker Darrell Huckaby gave a rousing rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" and had us in stitches as he recounted his first forays into the literary life.  President Lee Clevenger introduced new SWA Board members, passing the torch -- literally --to (photo l-r) Meredith Brown - The Purple Pros editor; Patrick Hempfing -treasurer; and Sandra Giles - secretary/registrar.  Alex Christle joined the Board the next morning at the Board meeting, taking on the manuscript coordinator and webmaster job. Lee and Kay Eaton (also pictured) are retiring from the Board.

But the real stars of the night are our WINNERS!  We had 13 contests with cash prizes up for grabs this year.  Thank you to our contests sponsors for their loyal support of SWA!

The Hal Bernard Memorial Award For Novel - sponsored by H.W. "Buzz" Bernard
1st:   Behind the Mask by Dana Ridenour
2nd:   The Rose and the Spider by Z.J. Czupor
3rd:   Illusions by L. M. W. Bro
HM:   The Refugee Territory by Tiffany Chacon

The Past Presidents’ Romance Award - sponsored by Debra A. Brown
1st:   Harvest by Linda Joyce
2nd:   Between Nowhere And Lost by Alexandra Christle

The Edna Sampson Award Of Excellence For The Best Novel By A First Time Attendee - sponsored by Vicki Hinze, Cheryl Norman & Marge Smith
Behind the Mask by Dana Ridenour

The GT Youngblood Short Fiction Award - sponsored by Adrian Drost
1st:   Bobby’s Battle by Linda Joyce
2nd:   Encounter With Yesterday by Susan Lindsley
HM:   The Bridge by Dana Ridenour

The Microcosm Award - sponsored by Charlotte Babb
1st:    Rivalry by Micki Morency
2nd:   Innocence by Dawn Burr
3rd:   View of a lifetime by Jody S. Herpin

Lines Of Worth Award - sponsored by Margaret Pennycook
Nonagenarians by Mary Stripling

The Julie L. Cannon Award - sponsored by Cheryl Walz & Frances Ruffin
1st:   To Fall Off The Mountain by Edward D. Anderson
2nd:   Me And Woot And The Redbone Hound by Susan Lindsley
3rd:   The "Write" Way by Georgia Mellie Justad

The Bill Westhead Memorial Award - sponsored by John House
1st:   The Legacy by Sheila S. Hudson
2nd:   My Personal Journey by Micki Morency
3rd:    From My Mouth by Patrick L. Hempfing

The Angel Award For Holiday Seasonal Writing - sponsored by Lee & Emily Sue Harvey
1st:   A Very Southern Tradition by Sheila S. Hudson
2nd:   The Most Wonderful Time by Patrick L. Hempfing
3rd:   Devilishly Good Skeleton Soup by Carol Dumas

The ThomasMax “You Are Published” Contest - sponsored by Lee Clevenger
When Darkness Fell by Susan Lindsley

The Very Merrie Bosom Buddy Award - sponsored by Janet S. Kelleher
1st:   Jonas Rules For Cats by Amy Wethington   
2nd:   Joy To The Fish That Got Away by Mary Stripling

The Award For Excellence In Inspirational Writing - sponsored by Mary Stripling
1st:   Grief by Micki Morency
2nd:   Broken Wings by Sheila S. Hudson
3rd:   Claiming Our Gifts by Candi Deal
HM:   The List by Patrick L. Hempfing

The Cappy Award For Humor - sponsor by Cappy Hall Rearick
Flower Power by Sheila S. Hudson

2014 SWA Winners!

Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop Highlights - Open Mic Night

A regular feature of the 2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop is Open Mic Night.  Attendees and faculty share their work.  It's a funny, poignant and inspiring night!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop Highlights - Nonfiction Weekend

We just wrapped up the 2014 Southeastern Writers Workshop Nonfiction Weekend.  A big thank you to instructors Peggy Mercer, Chuck Sambuchino, Dahlynn and Ken McKowen, Debra Brown and Carlie Webber!  Debra and Carlie are staying for our Fiction Workshop.  Here are a few highlights.  Doesn't look like fun?

Monday, June 9, 2014

SWA Writers Workshop starts Friday!

Have you packed?

The atmosphere of the workshop is casual. It's a beach resort community so shorts and tees rule. Just be sure to bring some nice party clothes for the Awards Ceremony. And you may want to try one of the fabulous local restaurants. 

Did you submit manuscripts for evaluation?  

You should bring a copy of each manuscript with you to the workshop. The faculty only have electronic copies. It may be helpful to have a hard copy available during your conference. 

Don't worry if you missed the deadline!

If you didn't submit a manuscript, bring some of your work with you. Agent Carlie Webber will be available all week to meet with attendees. Editor Chuck Sambuchino will be available Saturday and Sunday to meet with students. And many of the evaluating faculty will have extra appointments you can nab, plus you could have lunch, dinner or even breakfast with an instructor. Try to get all the feedback you can get from these professionals. 

The motto of SWA is "Writers helping writers."  That's why we do this, why these instructors are here. We all want to help you become the best writer you can be. 

We'll see you Friday!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Evening Programs

The SWA Workshop doesn't stop for the day at 5:00.  There's more after dinner each night!  The Evening Sessions are open to the public and there's a social after for networking, card playing and more. Oh, and there are DOOR PRIZES every night!  Click here for the full Schedule of Events!

Friday, June 13

Orientation - Meet the faculty and the SWA Board of Directors, learn the basic set-up, ask questions and sign up for evaluations and Open Mic Night.

Saturday, June 14

Something New! - We're having a little fun - Karaoke! Board member Jan Kelleher will host an evening of singing, cutting up and being fabulous because everyone's a rock star deep inside!

Sunday, June 15

State Of The Industry - Agent Carlie Webber will give a talk on Publishing Today and answer questions on the Writer/Agent Relationship.

Monday, June 16

Open Mic Night - Attendees and faculty can sign up to read 4 minutes of their work.  Always a fun and interesting night!

Tuesday, June 17

Awards Night with Special Guest Darrell Huckaby and After Party - We will hand out the contests prizes and a few surprises!  Read all about here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

It's June. If you're a subscriber to Purple Pros and you haven't already decided to come to St. Simons this month for our workshop, it's doubtful there's much I can say that will convince you to come. But I'd like to try. This is my final year as president, my final year on the Board of Directors, my final year to recruit faculty. And if you haven't managed to get to our workshop for the past eight years while I have been on the board (or the six years or so before that when I came strictly as a student), that means I haven't had the chance to meet you. And I'd like to meet you.

No, you can't enter manuscripts for evaluations or contests at this late date. That ship has sailed. But we still have some open seats in classes, the best roster of instructors I've ever seen (I know I'm prejudiced because I recruited them, but, it's really exactly that). We have a publisher, a renown editor, a social media specialist, a best-selling novelist, an award-winning children's author (who will double teaching poetry, for which she's up for an award this year). And that's just the start...there's more! Got a book you want to pitch to an agent? We'll have an agent there to hear your pitch . . . convenient, huh? And there's more beyond that, too much to explain in a simple column. Just come see for yourself.

It's so simple. Just go to and register. And be sure to come talk to me while you're there. Oh, yeah, talk to everyone else too; they'll want to meet you as well. We're a fun group that enjoys spending time together! And we've got room for you in that group.

I guarantee if you do, you'll be glad you did.

~~ Lee Clevenger

Lee is the current President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pitch Your Book Ends Sunday!


Submit a 1-page query anonymously, but put your contact info and proof of registration in the body of your email. Write Query Evaluation in the subject line, attach the query to your email in a Word file and send to  Your query will be evaluated by our Agent-in-Residence Carlie Webber during the SWA Writers Workshop.

Pitch Your Book until 
Sunday, June 1 at 11:59 pm!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Awards Night

Celebrate a Great American Writer...YOU!

Put on your best party clothes and come celebrate the Great American Writer in all of us at SWA Writers Workshop's Awards Night, Tuesday, June 17!  We will hand out the contests prizes and a few surprises!  Plus syndicated columnist and best-selling author of nearly a dozen books, Darrell Huckaby will be our special guest, bringing his down home humor and unique reflections on life in the South “the way it was, the way it used to be, and the way it ought to be.” 

Once these ceremonies are completed, the party will continue (if attendees wish) at the King & Prince Resort on the beachside of the island, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  This informal "After Party" is the ideal wind-down after an intense and exciting workshop! 

Don't Miss It!
Seats are Still Available!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pitch Your Book Ends Sunday, June 1 at 11:59 pm!

You have 6 DAYS to Pitch Your Book to our Agent-in-Residence Carlie Webber.  Carlie wants a 1-page query from SWA Writers Workshop attendees, submitted anonymously, but put your contact info and proof of registration in the body of your email. Write Query Evaluation in the subject line, attach the query to your email in a Word file and send to 

It is an incredible opportunity for writers looking to publish their first book!  Carlie's agency, CK Webber Associates, seeks commercial fiction and high-interest nonfiction.

Pitch Your Book until Sunday, June 1 at 11:59 pm!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: CD Mitchell--Author, Short Storiest

Author CD Mitchell will teach a 2-day course, “Writing and Marketing Short Fiction”,  during the Fiction mini-workshop (June 16-17) of the SWA Writers Workshop, June 13-17, at Epworth-by-the-Sea on St. Simon’s Island, GA.  His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of nationally and internationally recognized literary journals as well as several anthologies.  With an MFA in creative writing from the University of Memphis, C.D.’s first short story collection, God's Naked Will, was released in the Fall 2013, followed in January 2014 by Alligator Stew, his second.

Praise for Alligator Stew:

"In these stories, Mitchell give us a style more like Twain updated...They are wonderful--yarns, the sort of gossipy good stuff you'd hear at the local diner--a place like Campbell's Cafe in Delbert, Arkansas. " ~~ The Southern Gentleman.

Writing and Marketing Short Fiction

We will discuss writing and marketing short fiction. We will speak of the elements of short fiction, what a short story can and should do. We will read and consider short shorts—less than 500 words—as well as longer short stories. How to piece together a story collection will also be discussed. I will also address publishing opportunities and where and how to submit polished work.

So are you ready to join us?
Space is limited!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Round of Applause: Member News

Patrick Hempfing had moMENts columns published in May issues of About Families (PA), Carolina Parent (NC), Palmetto Parent (SC), San Diego Family, Suburban Parent (TX), Idaho Family, and Western New York Family magazines. 
Sasee Magazine of Myrtle Beach is publishing another story by Erika Hoffman. It’s called "First Time’s the Charm", and it will appear in the June edition.

We invite members to share news about their successes and activities so we can all join the celebration!

Monday, May 12, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

It's May. So the submission deadline for evaluations and contests for our workshop next month is just days away (May 15, to be exact).

Hope to see you on St. Simons Island at our SWA Workshop June 13-18.

How's that for short and sweet?

~~ Lee Clevenger

Lee is the current President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pitch Your Book Extended Deadline!!

SWA Agent-in-Residence Carlie Webber will review/critique 1-page queries (fiction or nonfiction) from workshop attendees.  Submit anonymously until JUNE 1 with contact info and proof of registration in the body of the email. Write Query Evaluation in the subject line, attach the query to your email in a Word file and send to  

Again, the NEW deadline for Pitch Your Book is JUNE 1. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Time is Running Out!

The Submission Deadline is May 15! 

15 Contests with CASH prizes!
THREE FREE Manuscript Evaluations!

Due in One Week -7 Days!

Open to Registered Workshop Attendees Only!
More Info and Registration on Our Website!

Time is Running Out!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Peggy Mercer - Poet, Children's Author and Songwriter

Peggy Mercer will be doing double-duty during the Southeastern Writers Workshop, June 13-17, 2014, teaching one session on Poetry and two on Writing for Children – Fiction and Nonfiction.  Peggy is an award winning poet, children's author and songwriter. Her book Peach: When the Well Run Dry won Georgia Author of the Year in 2011 for Children’s Mid-Readers. Peggy’s other books include Ten Cows to Texas, There Come A Soldier and a book of poems and songs, Grew Up Loving Elvis. Peggy is a music publisher and owns Peggy Mercer Music Publishing.  


If poetry washes over you with deep thoughts from the soul, you're invited to jump into a once in a lifetime "river" of profound learning about poetry with Peggy Mercer. and will touch on the formats of poetry through the ages, where ideas come from, what sets the great poets apart and how to get published in this fun and worthwhile field of writing.  Write a poem and see your name in print?  Write a poem for friends?  Write a book of poetry for the ages...all of these moments will be touched on with the poet Peggy. JUMP in and take a poetry bath!  

Writing for Children

Touching children for good...writing children's books the big publishers will love...writing books for the children in Japan as well as Georgia, do we get there from here?  From the idea, how does the subject of a children's story, the seed, become a story in book form, upper reader form, juvenile novel form, and where do the facts come in?  Writing for children in all it's weird, wacky, wild and fun glory will be touched on in Peggy's class on writing for children.  Come with an idea, leave with the know how to get the book published!  

So are you ready to join us?
There's still time!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Manuscript Deadline is TWO WEEKS away!!

The Southeastern Writers Workshop, June 13-17, 2014, offers registered attendees ample opportunities to share their work and receive feedback or cash prizes.  And submission deadline is May 15!  The SWA Workshop is one of a few, if not the only, workshops that offer free manuscript evaluations and we offer THREE for FREE!

Manuscript Evaluation Categories (choose 3)

  • Poetry - Evaluator: Peggy Mercer 
  • Novel - Evaluator: Bob Mayer 
  • Short Fiction - Evaluator: C.D. Mitchell  
  • Nonfiction - Evaluator: Dahlynn McKowen
  • Juvenile - Evaluator: Peggy Mercer

See the full guidelines on the SWA website.

Pitch Your Book

In addition, our Agent-in-Residence Carlie Webber wants a 1-page query from Workshop attendees, submitted anonymously, but put your contact info and proof of registration in the body of your email. Write Query Evaluation in the subject line, attach the query to your email in a Word file and send to

15 Contests with CASH prizes

Attendees may enter any and all contests.  The full contest descriptions are here.  Submission guidelines can be found here.

  • The Hal Bernard Memorial Award for Novel 
  • The Past Presidents’ Romance Award
  • The Edna Sampson Award of Excellence for The Best Novel by a First Time Attendee (Selected from entries to the Hal Bernard Memorial Award)
  • The GT Youngblood Short Fiction Award 
  • The Microcosm Award  
  • Romantic Flash Fiction Award  
  • Lines of Worth Award  
  • The Julie L. Cannon Award 
  • The Bill Westhead Memorial Award 
  • The Angel Award for Holiday Seasonal Writing 
  • The ThomasMax “You are Published” Contest 
  • The Very Merrie Bosom Buddy Award 
  • The Dr. George L. Sheppard Memorial Award 
  • The Award for Excellence in Inspirational Writing 
  • The Cappy Award for Humor  

Submission Deadline is May 15! 
Open to Registered Workshop Attendees Only!
More Info and Registration on Our Website!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bright Idea #65: Spring Clean Your Writing

Moving is an excellent way to sort through the stuff you’ve been unable to part with and probably don’t remember that you own.  Cleaning out your closets motivates generosity.  At the end of a yard sale I’ve been known to get very generous – like buy one get one and here take another.  I exercised that generosity last weekend at the family yard sale.

My in-laws are moving to Florida.  Tim’s parents are going from a four bedroom house to a home half as large.  Just getting ready for a yard sale requires a lot of time, energy, and discipline to separate what goes into the trash bin, the giveaway bin, and the sell-at-the-yard sale bin. 

After we got home, I began to think.  What if writers did spring cleaning?  We could revisit those essays, ideas for books, odd paragraphs, random descriptions, and character studies that we took time to scribble down and file, but never used.  A trip down virtual memory lane could possibly give rise to new concepts and ideas.

With the aid of your trusty laptop, any writer in this electronic age can sort, store, giveaway, or trash files that God only knows why you wrote.  The character that didn’t fit into your short story might just tell his story in your next poem.  The description that you worked on for days but still wasn’t what you needed for the essay may prove to be the perfect lead-in for a magazine feature.  The book outline that was impossible to follow may need to be rearranged or purged completely.

The last example was from my writing this week and last.  Five chapters into the sequel to 13 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, I realized that the outline I created for the book was restrictive.  Not only that, but the chapters were not in a logical prioritized order.  So I did what any frustrated scribe would do.  I deleted it and began again.  The second outline had more intuition, direction, and less restrictive structure.  This is only after I ditched the entire first draft of the sequel and changed the subject altogether.  That’s okay. They are only words and I will use them elsewhere.

If you haven’t learned it already, you will.  A writer should always be flexible to change direction and willing to rewrite or start again.  A writing buddy confided that the book she had worked on for years languished in a drawer while she published other things.  Then one day with renewed vigor, Joan rewrote her novel in another point of view and sold it immediately.  Stories like that keep my hope alive.

It may take the passage of time before I am willing to change my words or “kill my little darlings” as Faulkner suggests, but sometimes I must.  It all comes down to what you, as a writer, want to accomplish.  If you want to publish, there are rules and processes that are necessary.  Editors differ.  Audiences vary. What one loves another hates. The same friend said her query letter was used as a model in one class while torn to shreds in another class.  Writing and publishing is subjective.  What is timely and appropriate today may not be next week.  Before 9/11 occurred, I mentioned terrorists in a humor piece.  I would never do that today.  That’s one that can go into the trash bin.  

The plus side of spring cleaning is that rare moment when you come across a clipping that is exceptional. You will smile and think, I wrote that.  You may not remember when, but it is yours just the same.  Those feelings and rush of emotion will all come back.

I remember distinctly gazing at the red and white diary of Anne Frank housed in a glass cabinet in Amsterdam.  When I reread the essay I wrote for Athens Magazine, the memories and tears all come back.

I remember interviews with Jack Davis, the cartoonist, and the tour he gave me of his studio.  I smile at the opportunities I have been granted through writing for the newspaper or for one of several magazines.  

Of course, primarily you provide entertainment and information for the reader.  But for yourself, you get to make and keep wonderful memories. Memories that you can experience over and over again as you spring clean your writing.

~~ Sheila Hudson

Sheila's work appears in Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Patchwork Path, From the Heart, Vols. 1 & 2, plus numerous periodicals including Costumer Magazine. She established Bright Ideas to bring hope and inspiration through the written word.  Sheila has also served as president of Southeastern Writers Association.  Read more about Sheila on her website.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Debra Brown, Social Media Trainer

Debra Brown will be leading three sessions about Social Media for Writers during the Southeastern Writers Workshop week, June 13-17, 2014.  Debra is SWA's Social Media Coordinator, a past-president of SWA and a marketing professional with over 30 years experience in such fields as banking, business and education as well as her award-winning writer career. Her list of published credits include the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Guideposts, Woman's World, Total Business Lifestyles, and others.

Debra's Social Media sessions are designed "to give the basics to new users but also to offer tips that I've learned in the process that advanced users can use" and to "to show options for writers/authors to use for branding and sales so that they can find one to focus on in the beginning ... and to have fun using ... social media ... to engage with peers, readers."  She will focus on three types of Social Media but will be available to meet with attendees individually to answer other questions.  Her classes are:

  • Mastering the @BCs of Twitter for Writers
  • Putting the "Book" in Facebook: Branding & Sales
  • Pinning with Purpose: Pinterest for Writers

Free Manuscript Evaluations!
Contests with Cash Prizes!

Monday, April 21, 2014

News from the Twitterverse

Items for writers gleaned from Twitter....


Hope Clark ‏(@hopeclark) posted on April 20
Creative nonfiction contest - no entry fee - $125 first place - 500-1500 words - deadline May 31 - 

Boston Review ‏(@BostonReview) posted on April 6
The BR Poetry Contest is now accepting submissions! Judge is Major Jackson, 1st Prize is $1,500, deadline is June 2: 

Writing Competitions ‏(@WritingCompt) posted on April 14
Jeff Sharlet Award 

Prize Reporter ‏(@pwprizereporter) posted on April 21
Read more about Claudia Rankine & the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize, given annually by @poetswritersinc:  #JacksonPrize

Tips About Contests

Hope Clark ‏(@hopeclark) posted on April 20
10 things to do to win a writing contest - …

YA Authors Opportunity

Amy Trueblood ‏(@atrueblood5) posted on April 19
Write Contemp #YA? Have you checked out this amazing opportunity from @SHContemp & @brendadrake? …

Follow SWA on Twitter: @SWAwriters

~~ Amy Munnell

Amy is the Editor of The Purple Pros, and has been an SWA member since 1990, serving on the Board of Directors from 1993-2007 and again from 2011 to the present.  She has been a freelance writer and editor for 25 years with her work appearing in various publications including the Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Saying Goodbye, From the Heart, Points North, ByLine, Athens Magazine and Georgia Magazine. Find Amy on Twitter: @amunnell

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Carlie Webber, Literary Agent

Agent in Residence Carlie Webber will be with us throughout the Southeastern Writers Workshop week, June 13-17, 2014.  She is the founder of CK Webber Associates based in San Francisco, but began her book-centric career as a Young Adult librarian.  As such she often reviewed YA books for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), Kirkus Reviews and others.  After completing the Columbia Publishing Course, Carlie interned at Writers House then worked for the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates, and later at the Jane Rotrosen Agency.  She launched CK Webber Associates in early 2013 and currently seeks manuscripts in various genres, including Young Adult, Middle Grade,  New Adult, women's fiction, literary and general fiction, memoir and others.

Carlie will meet one-on-one with interested workshop attendees throughout the week, participate in our Ask The Experts Q&A panel discussion, and give a State of the Industry lecture Sunday. In addition, she'll teach two classes:

Dissecting The Query Letter

A great query can be your key to snagging the right agent. In this workshop, Carlie Webber will take you through the ins and outs of constructing the perfect query letter, from the opening (hint: “Dear Agent” is not a great opening) to the book description (no spoilers!) to the close. She’ll answer some of the most common questions about query writing, including length of the letter, how much information to reveal about the plot, what information to put in your author bio, and what details will make an agent want to read more. 

☆ ☆ ☆ Submit Your Query Letter for Critique! ☆ ☆ ☆

Dissecting The Synopsis

After writing a 100,000-word novel, writing a 500-word synopsis of the novel seems easy. In fact, writing a synopsis might be one of the hardest things a writer has to do. Carlie Webber will teach you what information should (and should not) go in a synopsis, why a great synopsis can help sell and market your book, and why it’s important to be able to clearly and concisely summarize your book in just a few words. Examples of good synopsis writing will be shown throughout the presentation.

Still undecided?
Check out the Southeastern Writers Workshop  page 
to learn more.