Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Countdown Continues!

40th Annual 
Southeastern Writers Workshop
June 19-23, 2015
On St. Simons Island

Registration for the Fiction and Non-fiction workshop is open. 
Click HERE to secure your seat for this educational, informational, and fun-filled event.

Meet the faculty!

Agent-in-Residence: Sorche Fairbank – Fairbank Literary Representation - 
Publisher: Maria McGaha – Dancing with Bear -
Publisher: CreateSpace -
Novel: C. Hope Clark -
Nonfiction: Don Vaughn –
Poetry & Flash Fiction: Chris Tusa -
Young Adult: S.R. (Shelli) Johannes -
Columns: Darrell Huckaby -

Memoir: Dana Wildesmith -

How might SWA help you? 
Learn first hand from members about their writing journeys.

Please meet Amy R. Wethington

My path to publication: 

1998:  I was a poor snail technician at the University of Kentucky. Often, I had a mere ten dollars left of my paycheck at the end of a pay period. I got the idea to supplement my income by writing fiction. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and began crafting a story set in the far future-- taking the technology of folding space between star gates to a hand held device where a person could travel across the universe. I didn’t make any extra income, but a seed had been planted.  I enjoyed writing and it didn’t cost me any money outside of office supplies.

2000-2010: I pursued academics-- Ph.D. from University of Alabama, post-doc at Purdue University, and tenure at Chowan University. Fiction was placed on the back burner. But sometimes, I let the madness of writing fiction take over here and there.

2010: I found out about Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). The summer before, I’d spent writing my space stories. Writing 50,000 words in November as an Assistant Professor is pretty crazy, but I managed it. I completed the epic multigenerational space opera which I had begun in 1988--completely unpublishable, but I got to type The End!  Suddenly the idea of writing a book proved was more than a fantastical idea.

2011-2112: I discovered Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  I entered and got to the second round which came with feedback on the first 5,000 words. 2012: My second entry to ABNA made it to the second round as well, with more anonymous feedback for the first 5,000 words. The following November, I wrote another nanowrimo book, this time going deeper in the past to explore another character who directly affects everyone later in the series as a boy. 

2013: I didn’t make it to the second round this year. Bummed me out. I re-wrote my 2013 ABNA entry keeping some parts, but not being afraid to re-think and completely discard other parts. I also discovered Southeastern Writers Association with their contest opportunities. I registered for their June workshop. I managed to rework my book in time to submit it to the SWA contests and it took second place for novel! And I had many chats with the instructors which I found extremely valuable. I came home with important contacts and continued to re-work my novel.

2014 to present: I joined a writing group at Chowan University which mostly consisted of History and English professors. I’m the only one in it that wasn’t History or English, me being a Biology Professor. The intent of the writing group was to offer critiques of work being polished to send out for publication. Two interesting facts about the writing group: 1. One of the members (Matt Fullerty) wound up being my publisher; he owns an independent press and saw the potential in my writing sample + synopsis and provided directed comments for me to consider during my final big rewrite: adding descriptions to scenes, deepening characters by adding diversity/ making them less perfect/ more unique, and ending the book about midway where I had put in a decade long break between events, 2. it was the only year we met to discuss manuscripts and Matt’s last year at Chowan. 

Following Matt’s advice, I added descriptions, deepened my characters, and added scenes needed to build up the climax. When finished, I submitted it to Matt as well as others: Double Dragon, Author’s First contest, Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition and waited. By Christmas I had two book offers: one from Matt and one from Double Dragon. Over Christmas break I wrestled with the two contracts and considered my Dad’s idea of me self-publishing my book. Dad is one of my most important first readers and everything he suggests is well thought out. Contracts are tricky and there were elements that bothered me. I contacted members of SWA and followed up on the recommendation to seek council from Linda Joyce (also a fellow SWA member). 

Linda says she hopes to have a workshop at SWA about reading contracts and how to negotiate. If she does, I strongly recommend it! She helped me digest the two contracts, come up with good questions for the two different publishers, decide on a shorter pen name (L. A. Patrick instead of Jamie Lee Guthington), and design a counter offer that I could sign. Double Dragon refused to negotiate, but Parkgate Press did (Matt’s press). So I signed a contract with Parkgate Press and am busy working on my next two books.
Publishing takes more than finishing a first book, it takes perseverance, hard work, being open to/seizing/constantly looking for new opportunities (joining writing groups, going to writing meetings, entering contests, reading books about writing), a willingness to throw away perfectly good words already written down, and a deep commitment/ relationship with your created characters who whisper interesting things to you about them at odd times of the day and night. My advice: keep pursing your writing dream!

SWA Members Shine!

BAYOU BOUND, Linda Joyce's second book in her Fleur de Lis series has been nominated for a 2015 RONE Award after receiving a 4.5 Star Review from InD'tale Magazine Voting for Finalist will be May 18th-24th. 

This book also received a 4.5 Star review from Long and Short Reviews

The third book in Linda's Fleur de Lis series, BAYOU BECKONS will be released on June 1st. 

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