And the Winners are...

It's hard to believe the SCWW conference is over already! What a great weekend. One of the highlights for me was presenting the 2010 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards. The scores this year were really close so, instead of my being able to figure out which entries were rising to the top, I had to wait until Monday to actually see the results. What a perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the organization and one of its founders, whom the award is named after.
Congratulations to the 2010 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award winners

First Place - Joan Reavis Holcomb, Tobacco Settin'/Spring 1950
Second Place - Christina L. Ruotolo, Bayou Bay
Honorable Mention - Alex Raley, Choices

First Place - Lisa Glisson, Divine Secrets of the Ta-Ta Sisterhood
Second Place - Joann M. Kelley, Anniversary
Honorable Mention - S. Jane Gari, Archeology

Short Fiction
First Place - Teresa L. Burgher, Slayer
Second Place - Connie Hullander, If Something Happens to Him
Honorable Mention - Johnny R. Beavers, Band Candy - Lessons for Life

Novel/First Chapter
First Place - Craig Faris, The Spectrum Conspiracy
Second Place - Anne Creed, Folly Beach
Honorable Mention - Joan Reavis Holcomb, Hunt House Murder

The Method, The Market & The Muse: Part V - And of course . . . Mix & Mingle!

I know, Mix and Mingle aren't part of the official 'Ms' of the slogan, but they are definitely an essential part of the conference weekend. My final conference post offers suggestions on making the most of those times outside the general sessions. These are times designed for you to interact more directly with the faculty and other attendees. For some that can be a bit intimidating. I hope by explaining a little about each one, you'll have an idea what to expect before you arrive and that will make your conference experience more enjoyable.

SlushFests: While these are part of the general sessions, I've found them to be more interactive than the other sessions. Even if you don't have a synopsis or two pages of manuscript to share, SlushFests are worth attending. You get to witness how agents and editors read submissions, and see what grabs them and what misses. During the SlushFest I attended last year, the agent not only gave her opinion and discussed the pieces, she also asked the participants what they thought worked, what might work better, their sense of the characters and story, etc. It was more a dialogue than a class. I think anyone sitting in a SlushFest will come away with something.

Faculty Tables: During each meal, faculty members will be seated at tables with the attendees. Their names will be on the tables so you can choose to sit at the table with someone you're interested in or want to hear more from. This is not the time to pitch your work! unless you are specifically asked. So why would you want to sit with a particular agent, editor or author? Sometimes the conversation does cover the world of writing and publishing. Remember in a previous post I suggested you come with a couple of questions? This is the time to ask them if they've not been answered. You may get extra pointers, advice, insights that might not come out during the general sessions.

Faculty Tables offer the opportunity to get to know the faculty as real people! They have lives, families and interests outside of their work, just like the rest of us. One year a table mate and the faculty member found they grew up in the same general vicinity. Wouldn't it be interesting to learn that you and one of the presenters shared the same hobby or alma mater? The conversations might not lead to a contract, but you may realize it's easier than you thought to talk with people in the business. And that knowledge can go a long way when you are ready to make that pitch or send that query letter.

Night Owl Sessions: It can be tempting to go back to your room and decompress after a long day of information input. And that's fine. But there are opportunities to extend the learning after the dinners both Friday and Saturday evening. Other than setting the rooms aside, these are not organized by the Conference Chair/Co-Chairs. There is always an attendee or conference volunteer willing to lead the way and sessions turn out well. The Night Owl Sessions include . . .

Mix & Mingle: This is time to relax and visit with faculty and other attendees. A cash bar is available if you choose to enjoy conversation over drinks. If you don't see yourself being part of the hob-knobbing, maybe you're a good listener and observer - two skills important to every writer.

Open Mics: Open Mics are open to anyone interested in reading so bring your work to the conference. There is no judging, no critiquing, just encouragement. The poets who read at the Open Mic I attended last year had poems ranging from the very sweet to the very bawdy. We cried from empathy and laughter.

If you've never read in front of an audience, this is a safe environment in which to read for the first time. The crowds are small and you'll no doubt discover you write better than some and not as well as others. That's not a bad thing. You'll hear what others are writing and how people react to it and that's a good thing. You are of course welcome to come and just listen. Readers are always grateful for an appreciative audience. Open Mics can be a fun way to end the evening - whether you read or not.

Some additional ideas for making the most of your conference weekend . .
Get in the Loop: A friend of mine attended last year's conference and saw something that really stuck with her. She was a newbie writer and a bit nervous. She watched a group of people talking and noticed another person standing off to the side, alone like she was. A member of the group also noticed the other person, moved away from the circle and without saying a word looped her arm through his and drew him in. Claire thought that was one of the most generous gestures she'd ever witnessed. Recently she attended another workshop and made the effort to be the person bringing another into the group. She said by the week's end, she'd noticed almost everyone else had done the same thing. If you're at the conference solo, or just happen to be solo at a certain moment, don't be afraid to link arms and enter a group together, and don't hesitate if someone offers you an arm.

Table Hop: Even if you have a conference buddy to eat with, make a point to eat with a different grouping for each meal and don't always sit next to each other. This might sound goofy, but it's interesting how changing that little dynamic changes the flow and content of conversations.

Dance: No, we don't provide dancing opportunities, though that could be interesting! I'm talking about the stepping back and forth so you have a full but not overloaded weekend. You know your own writing needs and you own body rhythms. Listen to both and balance your time at the conference between The Method, The Market & The Muse. And if your Muse shows up and tugs you to the beach to write, to gather inspiration or to retreat, it's ok to listen to her and slip away.

Conferences are there for us to learn, network, and return home ready to write. We all get out of them what we put into them. I hope these posts have been helpful in getting you ready for the weekend. I'm heading to a writers' retreat Friday so I'll be putting into practice what I've put into print these last couple of weeks. And I look forward to meeting many of you at The South Carolina Writers' Workshop 20th Annual Writers' Conference. See you then.

The Method, The Market & The Muse: Part IV - It's All in Your Mind. . . and heart and soul

I have to watch how I talk around my husband - he's not a writer. He's an actuary. So when I say something like, "My character said she won't go there." he looks at me with raised eyebrow and starts humming the theme song from The Twilight Zone.

Now we all know I'm not really hearing an audible voice, but there is something that often directs our writing. That something is hard to define so we lovingly refer to it as The Muse.

In Greek mythology the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne were The Muses, each goddess overseeing a different subject of learning:
Calliope - epic poetry/song, Clio - history, Thalmia - comedy, Melpomene - tragedy, Terpsichore - choral dance, Erato - erotic (love) poetry/song, Euterpe - lyric poetry/song, Polyhymnia - sacred poetry/song, Urania - astrology.

I imagine most of us don't pray to the ancient Greek deities for inspiration, but what is that force that impels us to put pen or pencil to paper or fingertips to keyboard? Where do those ideas come from that find their way into stories, poems and memoirs?

Writing this post I find The Muse means different things to me. It is that little voice or gut instinct telling me my phrasing is just a bit off or a character has done something - out of character. It has nothing to do with knowing proper English or characterization.

Sometimes The Muse is pure inspiration. I listen to Andrea Bocelli and it's as if the notes enter my ears, tingle through my arms and come out as words. How many writings are based on pieces of artwork or other writings? How many poems and essays were inspired by nature?

After we've witnessed great tragedy or great joy, I believe it's The Muse that gathers our emotions and guides us in expressing them through our art.

If The Method and The Market are the foundations, the meat and potatoes of being a good writer and author, then The Muse is the dessert. We may not be able to explain why it's important or how it works, we just know it's good, it's sweet and it's essential.

These are the conference sessions I think most generally fit The Muse.

Headspace and Heartspace: Writing Is Not A Business, Publishing Is Not An Art

Crafting Compelling Mystery and Suspense

Common Threads: What Defines Women's Fiction

True Blue: Crafting Novels For All Ages

A Perfect World: Crafting A Cohesive Fantasy World

Children Are A Handful: The Unique Aspects Of Children's and Young Adult Markets

Panel: The Beauty Of Voice: Discovery Of Multi-Cultural Voices In Writing

Writing Your Non-Fiction Book: Converting Your Knowledge And Research Into The Written Word

While we need The Method and The Market to give structure and weight to our writing, we also need to nurture and feed our creative self. We need dessert after our meat and potatoes.

The Method, The Market & The Muse: Part III - To Market, to market . . .

Writing has two components, the creative one and the business one. A faculty member at a past SCWW conference said the difference between an author and a writer is the author has something published.

For most of us, the creative part of writing comes naturally and we find it exciting and energizing. I don't know about you, but those aren't always the same feelings I get when researching agents or writing a query letter.

Part II of this series touched on The Method, the nuts and bolts of craft. This post, The Market, is its counter-balance, the nuts and bolts of the industry. The industry encompasses everything of how the publishing world works to get your story into the right hands - agents', editors' and readers'.

A quick search of articles in The Writer and The Writer's Digest illustrates the wide range of topics under 'market.' Getting your foot in the door - Do you know how to find the right agent for you? Do you know which pitches and query letters work? Changes in publishing - Are you familiar with and know the pros and cons of traditional publishing, self-publishing, e-publishing? Rights and responsibilities of authors - Did you know if you blog it might be considered a business and you could be liable for fees or licenses? Changes/trends in genres - Do you know the difference between literary fiction, women's fiction and upfiction? Do you know what editors are looking for or what has already saturated the market? Readings, signings, websites, blogs, webcasts - Are you familiar and savvy with all the ways to promote your book?

I follow several agent blogs and even though they represent different genres, one common thread throughout is the reminder to writers that publishing is a business. The people best-suited for helping us learn the business are agents, editors and authors.

One of the reasons for the success of the SCWW annual conferences is the faculty we bring in each year. This year we have eleven agents and five editors representing as many agencies and publishers. We have six authors who bring their own experience of being where we are and getting to where we want to be.

The Market sessions at the conference offer behind the scene glimpses of trends in the industry and what catches an agent's or editor's eye. As I mentioned in my previous post, some of the sessions listed can fit in more than one area. The ones here are those I think generally fit in the The Market.

Book Promotion: For Writers, Introverts and Other Reluctant Marketers.

Legal Issues Every Writer Should Know

Panel: What Are We Doing Here? Why Authors, Editors and Agents Attend Conferences

Tips and Trends for the Children and Young Adult Markets

She Said, She Said: The Dueling Prospective of Agent vs Author

Agents' Panel: What Gets Our Attention

It's easy for us to navigate and enjoy the worlds we create, but there is another real world to writing that can be just as fascinating if we listen and follow the guidelines. It doesn't matter if our manuscript is polished and ready to go, or still finding its way onto the page, if we want to be authors, we need to know the business.

The Method, The Market & The Muse: Part II - Go Your Own Way

The South Carolina Writers' Workshop 20th Annual Writers' Conference is just about upon us and I can't wait. Last year I was fortunate enough to work the registration desk and meet many of the attendees. One question I often heard, once they had their conference bag, "Where's my schedule?"

They weren't asking about their Friday Intensives or pitch or critique times, they wanted their schedule for the general sessions. While some conferences and workshops use a track system, SCWW does not.

When you register for the conference, we do ask that you check a session in each time slot. This information helps us in a number of ways. For example, we know the estimated attendance for sessions within a time slot, which helps us assign rooms. We can track trends in attendee interest which helps us plan future conferences. You are not locked in to the choices.

If you do plan to follow the sessions you checked, please bring your own copy of that itinerary. There will be a full conference schedule in your notebook, but we don't include individual schedules in the information packets.

We want you to enjoy the sessions that are most important to you and your work during that weekend - and those may be different than the ones you checked when you registered. Maybe one of your characters did something really unexpected and now you're looking at a POV change. Maybe you polished your manuscript sooner than expected and you're ready to start marketing. One year I had my plan of action for the conference . . .until I heard the keynote speaker. I couldn't wait to hear what else he had to say and rearranged my list at the last minute. The SCWW conference offers the flexibility to do what's right for you and your writing at that moment.

We understand the number of options can be daunting, especially for first-time attendees. Even we old-timers have to make tough choices. It often ends up there are time slots when I'm interested in more than one offering. How to choose?

There are several ways to design your path through the weekend. The first thing I do after registering is print off the schedule. I already have in my head what I hope to get out of the conference and the schedule gives me a visual of how each day is laid out and I can see the full weekend at a glance.

One way to limit your options is by looking at what you write. All time slots have genre-specific offerings. Eliminate those that are definitely not in your area of interest. I've been known to black out listings just to get them out of my vision. You can do a similar thing by highlighting those authors, editors and agents you don't want to miss.

Another strategy to follow is The Method, The Market & The Muse. Each 'M' focuses on a specific element of writing and you can choose to concentrate your time in one area or balance your time between two or three.

The Method is all about the 'How To' of writing. These sessions cover the nuts and bolts on craft.
The Market sessions offer insights and advice for getting your manuscript into the right hands - agents', editors' and readers'.
The Muse sessions tap into your creativity and get you in the right frame of mind for your writing.

The courses typically fit into one area better than another but there is definitely some overlap. The SCWW website has a detailed description of each class offered. Here are the sessions I think generally fit The Method. These will be especially helpful to those writers just starting out or those wanting to hone a specific skill. I didn't include the SlushFests since they are genre-specific. In future posts I'll look at The Market and The Muse.

Submission Success With An Independent Press
Secrets to Non-Fiction Proposals
Double-Dutch: The Ups and Downs of Writing in Two Genres
The Long Road to a Small Province: Crafting a Succinct, Selling Synopsis
Play By The (Grammar) Rules - And When Not To
Crafting Compelling Mystery and Suspense
Love My Life, But Will Everyone Else: How to Craft a Compelling Memoir
Tortuous Two: Query Letters and Synopses
So You Want to Write A Book: An Intro to Writing, Publishing and Promoting
The Polished (and Selling) Query
The Non-Fiction No Hitter: Perfecting Your Pitch
There's A Hole in the Bucket: Identifying and Avoiding Holes in Your Imaginary World

And sometimes you still end up having to choose between two sessions. If you're attending the conference with a friend, compare your choices. Instead of going together, divide and conquer, then share notes. If you aren't going with a friend, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and compare notes with the other attendees. What better way to meet another writer and hear highlights of a presentation than to ask, "What sessions have you enjoyed?"

The Method, The Market & The Muse: Part I - Approaching the Conference

The Method, The Market & The Muse - a catchy slogan and one that encompasses the focus of the South Carolina Writers' Workshop's 20th Annual Writers' Conference. For some reason my mind wants to add 'The Madness' in the line-up as well . . .which would probably cover both the excitement in the industry and the frenzy in organizing this large event! But for my series of posts I'll stick to the official three: The Method, The Market & The Muse.

I admit I'm a sucker for surprises, spontaneity and serendipity, and I'll look for those moments at the conference - but those will be moments, not my approach to the weekend as a whole. Attending any conference without some kind of game plan can lead to disappointment and a sense the event was both a waste of time and a waste of money. That's not the feeling we want you to leave with in October. Even if you're the kind of person who 'goes with the flow,' do come with some idea of what you want to get out of the conference.

What do you want to get out of the conference? Here are some responses we've heard. I want to learn more about writing. I want to improve my writing. I want to meet Agent, Editor or Author X. I want to meet other writers. I want someone to notice my manuscript and sign me! These are good places to start, but digging a little deeper will put you in the right frame of mind for a successful workshop experience.

As you think about what you're looking for, make a list. This list will determine which sessions might be the most helpful for you at the moment. These suggestions aren't to stress you out but to help you form your own plan of action.

I want to learn more about writing. Do you mean the process or the business, or both? Do you want to know about some of the elements that go into a manuscript - the openings that grab readers, point of view, character voice, what makes a compelling story? Are you curious about the steps toward publishing - queries, pitches, submission guidelines?

I want to improve my writing. That's definitely a focus on process, so what needs improving? Do all your characters walk and talk alike? Do you need to know how to weave in backstory? Is your imaginary world too imaginary to believe?

I want to meet Agent, Editor or Author X. If you've selected a specific faculty member for a pitch or query, or one you just hope to meet during dinner, it must be because you're familiar with that person's work. Picking up on Kia's recent post, have you checked out faculty blogs and websites? Have you read first chapters of some of the books your selection has represented or written? This research not only gives you a leg up when discussing their business, it also helps you analyze and promote your own work.

I want someone to notice my manuscript and sign me! If you've signed up for pitches, are you practicing? Even if you didn't sign up for one and you happen to sit next to an agent during dinner and he asks, "What are you writing?" can you answer? If an agent or editor requests additional pages, could you have them ready and available within a short time, maybe as little as a week?

Now that you have your list, write a corresponding question or two. Faculty members do a great job of covering their topic, having your question in the forefront of your brain will help you catch the answer. If it's not answered, presenters usually leave time at the end of their session for questions - have one ready. Most agents, editors and authors will be around all weekend and want to talk with you. Have your questions ready if the opportunity presents itself.

The South Carolina Writers' Workshop 20th Annual Writers' Conference is only a few weeks away. The Board of Directors and conference volunteers are busy assembling attendee notebooks, stuffing conference bags and putting final touches on the event. Agents, editors and authors are reading and critiquing your manuscripts so they'll be ready to discuss your work. How are you approaching the conference?


Thanks once again for the opportunity to be a guest on SCWW. This has been a wonderful experience and a terrific place to meet new writer buddies. You guys and gals were my first blogging experience and it’s just been lovely.

It’s been a short ten months ladies and gents--very short from getting the call to my first book signing. And wow, I’m still gearing up for everything I need to know to be better prepared for the second book’s release in February.

To answer my title question: my answer has to be no. Are you surprised? Did I seem organized? Experienced? I’ve had ten years of preparation in this business. And let me tell you, ten months is a blink of an eye when you’re talking about catching up on every form of Social Media available to authors. Oh my goodness...just the words “social media” make my head hurt now.

My advice to you...if you want to publish your book, begin learning the different ways to publicize it now. Believe me -- I don’t even have a full-time job outside of writing and I can’t keep up with everything I need to do.

Okay Okay Okay... this is advice, not a complaint. My first book signing was amazing. My friends, family and local readers supported me beyond my dreams. I sold 43 out of 46 books. GREAT DAY !!!  (pictures available on my Facebook page)  It was fun, exciting, nerve-wracking before wondering if anyone would come, and simply amazing. (can’t tell you how many times I wanted to tear up)   On my release day, my best bud Kym Roberts took me around to area book stores to sign copies and leave bookmarks. What an experience!!  And sharing it with Kym and Marty (who joined us) made it even more special. (tearing up now just thinking about how it made me feel to see my book alongside the other Intrigue authors) Just handing out bookmarks (that my husband designed) gives me a shy thrill. And of course, the website looks fabulous with its new look...not quite what we wanted, but they’re always a work in progress. The blog tour during release week was supportive, but exhausting trying to keep up with everything else along with it. (note to self: blog the week prior to release dates) I was so happy to send free copies of the book to those that won on the different blogs. AND woo hoo, I entered RWA’s RITA competition for 2011 (gotta mail those books). I also began a very short, simple blog (available through my website) featuring A Picture A Day. (visit if you’d just like some daily inspiration--my first guest picture was SCWW’s Lateia Sandifer on Wednesday--don’t miss it)

Did you count how many things were associated with the release week of the book? How many are you prepared for: website (don’t forget the updates, and branding, and publicizing, and contests); blogging (where exactly will you be a guest, how many, will you have your own, will it be established to have readers); published competitions (there are many to choose from, where do you find them, when do you enter, what are the costs, how many books do they require); bookmarks (which printer do you use, who will design, do you have time to design, make certain the printer offers a color wheel, how fast is their turn-around, do you see a proof, how many do you order, what are you going to do with 1000 bookmarks, are there people who can take a hundred and pass to their friends); release day (take the opportunity to ENJOY and CELEBRATE your first release...spend it with friends, take the day off, look at your book, stand by the aisle--or at the store’s door taking your picture--and tell a stranger THAT’S MY BOOK); and your first book signing (enjoy it, see if friends can sign with you so you aren’t alone, look at the size of the table, find out what will fit, order AUTOGRAPHED BY AUTHOR stickers, get your bookmarks in time, publicize, publicize again, door prizes, freebies, maybe schedule a reader chat with coffee & desert, DECIDE what pen you’ll be signing with and don’t forget it!).

There are many many more things...and I didn’t touch on the social media like Facebook and Twitter to only name two out of the half dozen I’ve heard about. Like I gives me a headache to think how much I need to learn. And hey, what about READER communities? Heard of those? And RSS feeds? Is your head hurting yet? (LOL)

Seriously all you pre-published writers. The best advice I can give you is to learn about these things a little at a time, at your own pace, but start walking down the path. It’s an important path to the road to publication.

This week’s lesson Learned? I have to paraphrase what Cherry Adair ( told me when we spoke about my first sale: Don’t get caught up in the first sale and publicity dawhling (she’s a transplanted South African). Writers...write. Always remember that writers...write.  Great advice that I took to heart. So I might be a little behind in the social media/publicity world...but I made the sophomore sale and hope for a third soon.

Thanks again for having me...


Check out Angi’s new look on her website: and check out the prizes she has for her Debut Release: Hill Country Holdup. Just send her a picture of you holding the cover of HCH (that would be her HOLD UP THE COVER contest), register for her newsletter, and maybe win one of those prizes.

Guess Who's Guesting!

Meet me at Angi Morgan's Picture A Day Blog. I'll be hanging out there all day today!

Just click on BLOG at the top of the page.

And by the way, I'm tweeting now! Click on the link at the bottom of the page to follow me. All my tweets will be writing-related. I promise.

Happy Angi Morgan Day!

HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP hits shelves across the country today! Angi will be stopping by later today to say hello.

We'll have prizes throughout the day. Post a comment on the blog related to the topic in the designated time frame and I'll pick a winner. Your prize will arrive as soon as I can package it and send it out. I'll contact you via email to get your address. Please don't post it on the blog. You can only win one prize today so pick your slot accordingly. Here's the prize schedule:

1. 10:30 EDT -- SCWW Prize Pack
All blog comments between posting and 11:29 EDT will be eligible for this prize.
Tell us the most important thing you've learned by reading Angi's posts.

2.12:30 EDT --- Signed Romance Prize Pack
All blog comments between 11:29 and 12:29 will be eligible for this prize.
Post an alternate title for HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP.

3.  2:30 EDT --- SCWW Prize Pack #2
All blog comments posted between 12:30 and 2:29 will be eligible for this prize.
Tell us when and where you bought your copy.

4. 4:30 EDT --- Signed Romance Prize Pack #2
All blog comments posted between 2:30 and 4: 29 will be eligible for this prize.
Post the most important thing you learned about craft this year.

In addition to our celebration, be sure to follow Angi this week on other blogs. Here's her schedule:
1) Boxing the Octopus  First Sale Story
3) A Picture A Day @
4)    PRIZES
4)   Intrigue Authors Blog   Callie & Jane
5) San Antonio Stimulation --
6) A Picture A Day @
7) Riding With The Top Down
9)  A 10 Year Overnight Success Story 

10 & 11) A Picture a Day  @

11)  My Fast Year After THE CALL

Be sure to stop by her website or friend her on FB! Angi's got some contests of her own . . .

Planning your Conference Trip

You’re getting excited aren’t you? I’m getting excited. I can’t wait to meet all of you and to sit in on some of the great sessions we have planned for this our 20th Annual Writers’ Conference. Our faculty is diverse and well regarded. We are fortunate this year to be able to include, for the first time ever, a Saturday lunch speaker.

All our faculty members will host tables at the dinner meals. This presents another opportunity to spend time with the editors, agents and authors who will be presenting through the weekend. You will also have a chance to talk to other aspiring writers about writing and the craft of writing. We’re certainly looking forward to catching up with old friends and cementing new friendships over a few good meals.

As you plan your trip to the conference, you may be planning to bring along a family member or friend who wants to enjoy Myrtle Beach in October but doesn’t want to attend any conference sessions. If you have a friend or family member attending the conference with you, you may be interested in purchasing one of our food packages which will allow your guest to enjoy any or all of the three speakers we have lined up for Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and Saturday dinner.

James O. Born, an award winning author, will start things off for us on Friday night. Dan Poynter, known as Mr. Publishing, will address us at lunch on Saturday. And our keynote dinner speaker on Saturday evening is New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson.

A Spouse/Guest registration gives any guest over 18 access to all meals, mixers and Night Owl gatherings for $185, you can add on Friday breakfast, lunch and snacks for an additional $50. If you would rather purchase individual meal tickets for dinner on Friday and/or Saturday that will be $50 per ticket. Additional lunch tickets on Saturday are $25 per ticket.

While you’re making your plans to attend the conference and enjoy some of the terrific speakers we have lined up, you are probably wondering where to stay. On the SCWW website ( you will find a link for the Hilton, our host hotel. There is a price break if you mention code SWW when you call (843-449-5000) or insert SWW in the discount section of the website when you book online. There are lots of options, including multi-bedroom condos that afford all the amenities of home.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

First Come, First Served and Its Application to Appointments with Faculty

We've gotten a couple of questions about how we schedule critiques.

While it's a somewhat complicated process, here's the bottom line:


When I download all the registrations, I sort them by the time they were submitted. Then I go down the list in strict order and assign the critiques, pitches and real-time queries. The earlier you register, the more likely you are to get your top choice.

It's the only fair way to handle things.

There's only one potential reason I would deviate from this process. If you classify your manuscript as something that the faculty member you've listed as your top choice does not accept, I will automatically move to the first choice that is appropriate for your manuscript.

Why, then, you ask, can I not confirm who your appointment is with and at what time before the conference begins?

There are several reasons:
1. The schedule shifts quite a bit from February to October.
2. Before I "concrete" the critique schedule, I have to make sure I recieve them at the proper time and in the proper format. Last year, a particular attendee signed up for one of our most requested faculty members. When, after dozens of phone calls and emails, the attendee never responded or sent materials, I assigned the slot to another person who ultimately got first-choice faculty instead of third-choice.
3. When I send the critique materials to the faculty members, I may get a call that he or she is not comfortable with the material, doesn't want that type of manuscript, etc. In that case, I'll move the manuscript to the next person on the list.

Rest assured, I put a lot of time in effort into making sure you get an appointment with the faculty member of your choice. I take this job very seriously and I want everyone to leave the conference feeling inspired, better educated on the publishing business, and ready to work on creating a masterpiece.

Early Bird Rates!

Early bird rates end today. Be sure to register for the conference before midnight and save a little dough!

Tales from The Critique Wars or What Not to Do or You Might Tick Someone Off

As most you know I'm an old hand at the SCWW Conference. This is the fifth or sixth year I've worked the conference. This is the second year, in a row, that I've handled critiques.

Since the deadline for submitting your materials is LOOMING (September 1), I thought I'd take the time to highlight a few of the don't and explain them.

1. Don't send anything that requires my signature. It makes things really difficult when I've got fifty large envelopes in my hand and I have to take the little yellow slip from the box, stand in line, sign three times for the envelope and then add it to the pile and schlep it to my car. Standing in line at the post office is not how I want to spend my lunch hour, nor is it the way I want to spend time I could be writing. I have a complete list of attendees and I will know if I don't get your materials. I will then email or call you and request that you send it. In addition, I confirm receipt of each hard copy and electronic copy. You will know when I get it. Please don't make me stand in line.

2.  Don't include report covers or any other type of binding in your hard copies. I just throw these away. It's a waste of your money and a waste of energy and trees. The only thing that should be in your envelope is two copies of your submission, bound with rubber bands, paperclips or binder clips.

3.  Send ONLY what's asked. If you bought a standard, send ONLY ten pages and the optional one page synopisis. Same deal with extended:  thirty pages and an optional one page synopisis. If you send more, I'll have to contact you and request you send it again. For legal and contractual reasons, I cannot alter your submission in any way. That means I can't delete a few pages from the version you sent me. I can't just trash a couple of pages either. SEND a maximum of 11 pages or 31 pages.

4. Don't put so much tape on the envelope that I have to get out an electric knife to open it. Small pieces of tape at the sealing flap will suffice. Again, if I get something that is torn, dogearred or otherwise damaged, I will give you the chance to resubmit.

5. Don't try to play with spacing and margins to get more out of your critique. I'm a writer. I will notice this. In a 10K submission, 1.5 spacing will result in an additional seven or eight pages. Double-spaced means double-spaced. If you send it to me with wonky spacing, guess what?  I'll request another copy. Same thing with margins. Keep them to 1". Again, I'm a writer. I know the difference between a 1" margin and 0.75 margin. Our agreements with faculty members are very specific. I can't break my word to them. And what if everyone tried to cheat a bit?  You're talking about hundred of additional pages.

Having said all that, FEAR NOT. If your package require a signature, I'll sign. I have an electric knife. I will ask you to resubmit if your critique is single-spaced.

I know this sounds like nothing but a rant but here's the take-away message: 


If you get into the habit now, you've got less to worry about in the future. Use me for practice. Please.

Mark Your Calendars: ANGI MORGAN DAY

Tuesday, September 14 is Angi Morgan Day!

Join us as we celebrate the release of her first book, HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP.

We'll have prizes!

Join us for discussion, raffles and fun. Angi may even stop by for a quick hello.

So get your hands on a copy---it's available already as an e-book---and meet us here September 14!

Do Your Homework

As you prepare for the upcoming conference you probably have lots of questions. One of those questions may be: how do I prepare for a conference? The answer: Do Your Homework.

At a conference a few years ago, I spoke with a first timer who bragged about having read a book by each author attending the conference. How clever, I thought, I wished I’d had the forethought to do the same. Later, she confessed that in some cases she only read the first two or three chapters of a book. Even then she was far ahead of my own pre-conference homework.

You may not have time or the money to read a book by each member of the faculty, maybe not even two whole chapters. But you should make time to read websites and blogs by each faculty member. If you have a library at your disposal, at least read a few pages of their books. At least then you have some frame of reference when selecting sessions to attend or the person best suited to critique your manuscript.

We’re writers; that’s what we tell ourselves as we pour over the tenth revision of our roman a clef. One thing writers do is research. We research things so we sound like we know what we’re talking about, even when we don’t. If you’ve never been to Pocatello, Idaho, you’ll have to research it before you can credibly write a scene that takes place there.

Treat your conference experience the same way. While you make your plans for the conference also take a few minutes and look over the list of faculty members. On the conference page click on each name and you’ll find some basic background information. For more details, visit the websites and blogs of our faculty members. And of course, there is always Facebook and Twitter. You can learn a lot about faculty members from their social networking presence on the web.

This post is titled “Do Your Homework” that’s what you have to do, your homework. Write down your questions, all the crazy and not-so crazy things you’ve always wanted to ask an editor, agent or published author. If you come prepared, you’ll be less likely to forget to ask that one thing you most want to know.

Find out what books the authors have available, you may want to purchase these for the book signing we have on Saturday afternoon. Review agency websites to see what books an agent sold and decide how closely it may match your own genre of manuscript.

Research the faculty members, you don’t need to know their favorite colors or how they eat their eggs, but you should know what genres they write in or what genres they represent. If you do nothing else I’ve suggested, at least find out the names of the books the authors have written and the name of the firm where the editors and agents work.

Also, work on that elevator pitch. If you can get it down to less than a minute, you’ll be ready when someone asks, “What are you writing?” If the past is any example, you’ll get to answer that question a lot over the weekend. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to answer that question for the editor or agent of your dreams.


It’s been a few weeks, but thanks SCWW for having me back again.

Shortly after midnight on August 1st someone handed me a phone. And I saw my book for sale for the very first time. Sitting in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel in Walt Disney World, three hours after the same story had won RWA’s Golden Heart.

Amazing, astounding, wonderful, remarkable, fantastic, brilliant... I feel like Jane in Hill Country Holdup reciting every synonym for GREAT she can remember. It was unbelievable. Holding that phone in the palm of my hand and knowing that people all over the world could download my book this month from I haven’t held the book in my hand yet. And I haven’t opened it up to fan through the pages. It won’t be on book shelves until September 14th.

I got a message from Mary Beth yesterday. She told me she’d bought the book and couldn’t want to read it. Oh My Gosh! Ladies and Gentlemen, someone outside my family and critique partners has my book. And a librarian at conference told me they’d processed the book the week before.

I’m not trying to brag. Totally not my intention.

But this is real. My book has been printed and shipped to libraries and stores. It’s like being the last one at an amusement park and no one else is in line. The attendants let you just keep riding and riding and riding. I don’t want to get off.

I’m submitting my second book to my editor tomorrow. A little more elbow grease and .38 Caliber Cover-Up is ready to go. Now the wild round of publicity begins, then book signings, more edits, writing the next proposal and selling it. Writing the book, submitting, over and over again....

I have to admit that I’ve worked hard earning the right to be on this ride. I’m glad I put in the work and stood in line. Glad I can finally enjoy the thrills of 4 Star reviews and book awards.

More than anything else...I’m glad to be doing something I absolutely love...writing.

THIS WEEK’S LESSON LEARNED: Set your goals and believe you can obtain them. These are more than words. BELIEVE.

Til next time,
Angi Morgan

A Writer's Ephiphany or I Got the T-Shirt?

A couple of days ago I was watching a show on the History Channel about Hannibal---the one with the elephants in the Alps, who camped outside the gates of Rome. I'd forgotten how compelling his story was. As a product of Catholic schools, I took a lot of Latin. Believe it or not I still find reading in Latin relaxing. I have a copy of Caesar's Gallic Wars on the bookshelf beside my bed. I'm only short a few hours of Greek and I could have a BA in Classics. After watching the two hour show, I went to the "haven't read pile" and selected a couple books set in Rome. They didn't keep my interest. They were either too infused with unimportant historical detail---like reading a textbook---or too lurid like the HBO show called Rome. So, disgusted with my reading choices, and re-inspired by the idea of Hannibal and what he represented to the Romans, I did what any bored woman does. I went to complain to Mr Husband.

The conversation went a bit like this:

ME:  "I don't understand why no one can write a book that really brings the Roman Republic to life. They're all either too academic or too lurid. I want something smart but also exciting and compelling. Something like Gabaldon mixed with Colleen McCullough mixed with Lindsay Davis but also some fluid writing like CW Gortner. And I wouldn't mind a dash of humor too like Ruth Downie. And world-building like George RR Martin. But I don't want a fantasy, and or a mystery or a romance. Just a really cool book that brings the Punic Wars into this century."

HIM:  "What are you talking about?"

ME:  "Hannibal. I'm talking about Hannibal."

HIM:  "Silence of the Lambs Hannibal?" (Takes his eyes off the TV here.)

ME: "No. The Carthaginian one who terrorized Rome. I want a book about him."

HIM:  "So write one. You're a writer, right?" (Eyes back on the TV.)

ME:  "I can't write that. There would be too much research involved and I'd want to get it right."

HIM:  (Powers off the TV.)  "Isn't that book on your bedside table in Latin?"

ME:  "What does that have to do with anything?'

HIM:  You read Latin for pleasure when you have stacks and stacks of perfectly good books in English. Doesn't seem to me like the research would be that much of a hardship. Just start writing. See where it goes. Couldn't hurt right?" (Walks to the kitchen to fix a sandwich.)

ME:  (Following him to the kitchen.) "You really think I could write that?"

HIM:  "Turn around."

ME:  (Turning my back to him.) "What is it, a spider?'

HIM:  (Reading aloud SLOWLY as he runs his index finger along my back.) "If there is a book you really want to read that hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. Toni Morrison. Right here on the T-shirt you wear all the time." (Definite SMIRK.)

Oh, yeah. Last year's conference T-shirt.  The quote I adored. The quote that emphasizes the importance of each individual and distinct voice. The quote that pushes writers to experiment and write about people and places that interest them, inspire them, intrigue them. Like my Romans.

Why not? Why can't I write what I want to read? Who says I can't? (Sticking my tongue out at the world.)

See why I keep Mr Husband around? He makes things so much simpler.  Who knew I would actually need someone to READ my T-shirt ALOUD to me?

FREE Book Idea: Lots of Conflict, Interesting Technology and Dynamic Characters or Using News Articles as Fodder for Fiction

I'm neither and inspirational writer nor a sci-fi writer, but today after reading a most-interesting article, I wish I were at least one of the above.

Check out this article on

If you don't have time to read it, here's the summary:
Preachers and pastors can now HOLOGRAM themselves to satellite churches or locations. In essence, even if it LOOKS like your pastor on the pulpit, it's really only a projection, an illusion. Virtual Church.

Here are some questions that came to mind immediately:
1. How does the congregation(s) feel about not being able to touch the pastor?
2. How is the pastor able to create close relationships with members of his or her congregation?
3. How does the church justify the steep expense?
4. What implications does this technology have on mission work?
5.  Is this technology the answer for "spreading the gospel" to third-world countries where illness, e.g. malaria and dengue fever, or violence, e.g. Congo, Sudan, may be a problem?
6. How do churches decide what technologies are appropriate for their particular mission and creed?
7. How are discussions about the impact of technology handled within the congregation(s)?
8. Who handles things like hospital visits and couples/family counseling? Is there a team of support clergy?

I'm sure there are tons of other questions that can be drawn from this but the above eight have already boggled my mind so I'm going to stop listing.

Please understand, I'm not trying to encourage a particular viewpoint here. I'm just interested in how this new model could change and mold perceptions of church and how much it might impact individual parishoner's relationships with clergy.

This is a great news article from which to draw fodder for fiction. There are so many potential conflicts, disagreeements and interesting discussions that are possible with this as a plotline, or sub-plotline. I can easily see this as an inspirational title---pastor struggles with technological changes that impact a congregation--- or as a sci-fi title complete with an imaginary world and an even an imaginary religion.

If YOU decide to write this book, send me a copy. I'd love to see how it's handled.


Thanks once again to South Carolina Writers’ Workshop for having me as a guest. I saw my cover for the first time on June 14th. Weeeellll, not really. Hill Country Holdup has a TERRIFIC, MOST EXCELLENT cover, and yes, I saw it posted on for the first time on Monday, June 14th. But it wasn’t the first time I’d “seen” or developed a cover for See Jane Run (working title).

Many moons ago when I began attending local chapter meetings on writing, a speaker asked this question and I hope you’ll do the same: Close your eyes and picture your book. Where is it? What does it look like? Do you have that picture? NOW--Did you picture the book as a hardcover or paperback? Who are the authors you saw next to you on the bookshelf.

Did you have that image? Did you create a cover? Or did you leave those unbound pages wrapped in a rubber-band and stuck high on a closet shelf? Have you gone to the bookstore to see exactly WHERE your book will be when you sell?

Why do writers write? We want to tell stories. Lots of us are great storytellers, but we WRITE those stories as books. And in the publishing industry you can’t tell a story unless someone READS it. I wanted my family and friends to take me seriously. I wanted to prove that I could tell a story in an interesting way. So years ago, I printed my manuscripts, three-hole punched them, and bought a binder with a see-through plastic sleeve. I included: dedications, published by, a back cover blurb, a peak at the next book. AND I designed book covers.

Each of my books had a place on my shelf. Copies of my books were loaned to friends and their friends. I went to the book store and pointed to my daughter, “That’s where my book will be.” And more importantly, I got to know several bookstore managers. I went to signings and watched. I learned. But most importantly, I ALWAYS knew what my book looked like.

My question for you: Tell me and be honest. Before reading this article, HOW did you picture your book?

This week’s lesson learned: Visualization, positive thinking, meditation, prayer, whichever path you choose...YOU have to believe in yourself. *I* have to believe in myself before others can have confidence in me too.

‘Til next time,


Some upcoming topics of discussion:
-An On-Going Behind the Scene Look at Getting Ready for Publication
(promotion, character sheets, log-lines, bios, etc.)
- My Hero Has Brown Hair?
- Targeting Your Book & Choosing Your Market

M*A*S*H-a-maniac: What the show taught me about writing

Those of you who know me, know that I am totally and completely addicted to M*A*S*H. Yes, I know the final season was nearly thirty years ago. And yes, I know it's a bit over the top to use the theme song as the ring tone on my cell phone. But I can't help it. M*A*S*H is simply the best.

Beginning in March 2010, I watched the entire series, in order, from start to finish. It took three months. Although I'd seen most of the episodes over the years, I wanted to watch the entire series so that I could see the arc of each main character as well as the arc of the war.

I wanted to share some of those lessons with you because I think they apply to writing.

1.  Be careful with the back story. The writers were very crafty at only inserting back story as it was needed and pertinent to the scene or episode. The Pilot doesn't begin with a list of characters, followed by each life story. We get it piece by piece, episode by episode. It makes the characters more compelling because the viewer thinks they might find out something new about a character at any time. For instance, even though we know Houlihan's dad was career Army, we don't know how tough he was on her until we he comes to the 4077th. It explains a lot about her constant need to fit in and her desire to be praised.

2. Keep a balance between humor and drama. Even though the front is only three miles from the 4077th, the characters are constantly playing pranks and getting off stinging one liners. If the show had only been gloom and doom, it wouldn't have had an eleven year run. Viewers learned little about the nuts and bolts of the Korean War. Instead, we learned how people cope with a reality that's so overwhelming. The show was about the people, not the war.

3. Know the difference between internal and external conflict. Even though the Korean War is the whole reason the characters are together, it's really a small part of the show. It's the driving EXTERNAL conflict of the entire show. However, the real cog is INTERNAL conflict. Hawkeye's pacifist viewpoint clashing with the need to carry a gun, Frank's struggle with his love for Margaret when he's got a wife and kids at home, BJ's conflict with his wife taking an evening waitress job because they need the extra money while he's in Korea. The EXTERNAL conflict is easy and constant. The INTERNAL conflicts are subtle and are brought about, in many ways, by the character's individual reaction to the external conflict.

While the above lessons are all about craft, I learned one important lesson about the business of writing.

4.  You've got to start somewhere. Lots of super-soon-to-be-famous people got bit parts on M*A*S*H. Patrick Swayze, Blythe Danner, Lawrence Fishburne. Thirty years later, these are all household names, but not so when M*A*S*H began. So hang in there. It just takes a while to get noticed.

If any one's hosting a M*A*S*H trivia party, call me. I'll bring the martinis.

Summer Reading: Some Great Finds

'Tis the season for great reads! Here are a few books---some old, some new-- that are really worth the investment:

This is a collection of eleven non-fiction pieces that appeared in publications like The New Yorker. They are all unique, well-written and interesting. If you like quirky trivia, and good, clean reporting, this is the book for you. While you're reading Grann, be sure to check out his last one, THE LOST CITY OF Z, which just came out in paperback.

FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA:  HOW ENGLAND STOLE THE WORLD'S FAVORITE DRINK AND CHANGED HISTORY by Sarah Rose is an interesting biography of Robert Fortune, a nineteenth century plant hunter who traveled to China, on behalf of the East India Company, to acquire plant material and the skills necessary to build tea plantations in India. Part espionage, part history, the book is a delicious brew that will appeal to foodies, travelers, tea drinkers, and anglophiles.

Nelson DeMille has a new one on the shelves! I was thrilled with his return to the Gold Coast last year and now he's returning to the characters---including John Corey---from THE LION'S GAME. The new one takes place after 9/11. It's hard to beat a good beach chair and several hundred pages of DeMille. It's titled, simply, THE LION.

Check out faculty alum Jackie K. Cooper's review of THE LION here.

Tessa Dare is one of my new favorite voices in romance. She now has five or six books out in paperback. I recommend that you start from the beginning and check out GODDESS OF THE HUNT. You won't be disappointed!

Upmarket (Book Club) Fiction
THE TALE OF HALYCON CRANE is hard to beat. It's a quick read filled with creepy Victorian houses, an isolated island community, murder and family secrets. The author, Wendy Webb, worked as a newspaper reported for more than twenty years. The result is that her prose is crisp, clear and well-paced.

You also should check out HONOLULU by Alan Brennert. It's the story of a woman who leaves her family in Korea to become a picture bride in Hawaii at the turn of the twentieth century. In short, it's awesome.

General Fiction
Mma  Precious Ramotswe is back in Alexander McCall Smith's latest book, THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB. This book is just what readers have come to expect from this series:  kind, insightful, and deliciously African.

I'm back on the Robin Hobb kick. She has a new one out called DRAGON KEEPER and it takes place in Rain Wilds, part of the same world as the Mad Ships Trilogy and the Assassin Trilogy. I went back and read the first two trilogies again and loved them even more.

Middle Readers
The Golden Hamster series, by Dietlof Reiche, and illustrated by Joe Cepeda is a terrific series for kids AND parents. I enjoy reading these as much as the kids. They are funny, unique and surprisingly literary for the age group. Start with the first book where the reader is introduced to the incomparable Freddy. It's called I, FREDDY.

Post if you've read or are reading any of these. I'd love to talk books! Be sure to post or email with your suggestions. We all love a good book.

I'll be back later with some more ideas. I'm looking at my TO READ pile right now and I see a mystery, some general fiction, and some more non-fiction. I'll post suggestions all summer.

Editing A Friend's Manuscript: Suggestions or Rewrites?

A dear friend recently sent me a novel she's been working on for some time. She asked me to edit it before she begins the submission process. Not only is this person a dear friend, but she's also a fantastic writer. I'm looking forward to delving into her thriller. But as I was reading the first few lines, I realized I had to delicately balance my suggestions for improvement with my urge to rewrite certain passages.

No matter how talented or experienced a writer is, there are going to be issues---be they typos, plot holes, inconsistencies---in a 100K manuscript. I'm certain this one will be very clean, but still, I'm sure I'll find things I'd like to see improved. In addition, my friend expresses herself very differently than I do. I don't want to edit her novel to make it sound like my novel. I want it to remain HER NOVEL.

When you're editing for content, be careful not to rewrite the book. It's imperative that you realize the style differences between you and the author. It's impossible to write in the exact same style as another person. So be careful! Even if you intentions are the best, you don't want to dilute the author's voice with the editor's voice.

Suggest changes, mark passages that didn't work for you. Explain your issue with that particular part of the manuscript. But DON'T, I repeat, DON'T rewrite it. The author's job is to write. The editor's job is to edit.


Thanks for making all those calls! Early this morning we learned that Governor Sandford's line item veto---which effectively denied state funds to libraries---has not been allowed to stand. Libraries WILL be funded in the FY2011 budget. All the calls and emails to your legislators WORKED!
If you are a South Carolina resident, call your SENATOR today!

Governor Sanford's vetoes to the FY11 State budget include two line items that cut $6.5 million in State funds for libraries and jeopardize the receipt of an additional $2.7 million in Federral Library Services and Technology funds. Effectively, if these vetoes stand, public libraries in South Carolina will receive ZERO dollars from the state.

It is imperative that you contact your House Representative immediately to let them know how vital libraries are to their communities and ask that the Budget Vetoes 31 and 92 be overturned. The House is expected to vote on this issue Tuesday, June 15. (THAT'S TODAY, FOLKS!)

Additonally, Governor Mark Sandford has vetoed the budget for the South Carolina Arts Commission, which helps to fund non-profits like SCWW.

If you don't know who to call, click on the link below to find your House Representative.

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE flood the offices our legislators with calls demanding our public libraries and the Arts Commission be funded.


Thanks once again to South Carolina Writer’s Workshop for having me as a guest. When Lateia asked me to blog every three weeks about the ten months between my initial sale and when my Hill Country Holdup hit bookshelves, I wondered what I’d ever find to share that may be interesting.

There were a lot of topics to choose from today. A lot of things have happened for my career this past month or so. I have a second sale to announce. And thanks to my terrific agent, .38 Caliber Cover-Up will be a February 2011 Harlequin Intrigue release. I just received the title this morning and I’m announcing it here first. I haven’t even told my hubby yet (he’s out of town).

I love it. It fits the story perfectly. And no...*I* didn’t think of it. LOL

So since May 13th, I’ve sold my second Intrigue with a very quick delivery date at the end of July. The sale happened on May 28th. I haven’t even received the contract for .38 Caliber Cover-Up, but I’ve finished the AFS (Art Fact Sheets) for the cover, submitted blurbs, and was assigned my title. I’m still waiting on the cover for my first Intrigue which is released in September.

It all feels surreal. Last year at this time, I was awaiting the July results of the Daphne du Maurier contest (where I received the requests from my agent and editor). This year at the national Romance Writers of America conference in July, I’ll find out the results of the Golden Heart winners. (For those of you not in RWA, the GH is the highest unpublished writing award the organization offers. HCH was still eligible as See Jane Run last November when I entered.)

Things change fast. So my question for you today is this: ARE YOU READY TO BE PUBLISHED?

I’m certain that everyone who hasn’t experienced that First Sale Call is thinking this is a fairly silly question. OF COURSE YOU’RE READY. And yes, everyone’s ready to experience the euphoria of selling their book, their baby manuscript, their dream. But are you ready for the work?

This is not a disillusionment article. I am so excited I can hardly keep myself in my chair to type. But sharing this experience is sharing the reality. If I can have two sales with two releases just months apart...then so can you.

Be prepared. Have more than one manuscript ready for submission. Have your website established and ready to update. Have your social networking practices--including limiting the amount of time you network--in place. Research what type of publicity you want. How much money are you going to spend (making certain you don’t spend your entire advance). Are you going to blog? Or just be a guest blogger? Where? How often? Do you give yourself time-lines and deadlines before you sell? Do you work harder to finish a deadline you set for yourself or just shrug it off as not important? Do you give yourself a reward for finishing/completing those deadlines?

Lots or questions and I know there are more. These are a few things for you to begin thinking about. It’s extremely easy to take two years to polish and finesse a manuscript. But if you want a career as a writer, you need to make a very important decision: How many books per year are you capable and WILLING to write (and polish)? When you sell your first manuscript and they ask for a second...will you be ready?

This week’s lesson (to be) learned: For me, learning how to juggle (think about) three manuscripts at once is something I did early in my writing career. Getting back to that capability isn’t a struggle, it’s just changing a pattern. My advice for the unpublished author who wants to write at least two books per year is to learn how to WRITE one manuscript, PLOT one manuscript, and EDIT one manuscript --yes, all at the same time.

‘Til next time,


Some upcoming topics of discussion:
-An On-Going Behind the Scene Look at Getting Ready for Publication
(promotion, character sheets, log-lines, bios, etc.)
-My Hero Has Brown Hair?
-Targeting Your Book & Choosing Your Market
-Seeing Your Cover For The First Time

Critiques, Pitches, Queries: A Cheat Sheet for 2010

Standard or extended critique? Pitch? Real-time Query? With some many opportunities for one-on-one time with faculty members, how can an attendee get a crash course in who is doing what and for what types of writing?

I’ll admit, even as the conference chair, I have a difficult time keeping all of the faculty names, genres and locations straight (I use index cards). But, as attendees, there are a couple of things you can do before registering. First, read the biographies of the faculty members. Each industry expert who is offering any of these services has a bio page that you can find by going to the faculty page of the conference website. Second, do a little research on the faculty member. If the folks you might be interested in have websites, start there. A Google search never hurts, either. But when all else fails, check out a cheat sheet.

So, here’s a cheat sheet for writers so they’ll make the most of their time at the 20th Annual South Carolina Writers’ Workshop conference. I’ve listed the type of item offered, a brief explanation of what it is and then a list of the faculty members and the genres they’ll work with at the conference.

Due to the length and sheer volume of information, I will provide an individual post for each type of one-on-one meeting. It will include a short description before getting to the nitty gritty of who is looking at what.

When all else fails, shoot me an e-mail or call one of the the volunteers listed on the SCWW website. We'll be more than happy to help you.

So, there you have it. A cheat sheet for choosing one-on-one time with faculty members. Remember, you may purchase as many critiques, pitches and queries as you would like. And, for more time to learn what faculty members are looking for, thinking about, reading and just doing as a hobby, don’t forget to register for meals! Friday and Saturday dinners will have faculty-hosted tables. While we ask that you don’t pitch a manuscript during meals, unless the faculty member specifically asks what you’re working on, diners are a great way to learn more about these publishing folks. Sometimes, understanding the “world” they live in helps you to better market the book you want to become a reality.

For the most up-to-date information on the conference, be sure to visit this blog often, and to check out the SCWW website,

2010 Real-time Query Cheat Sheet

Real-time Queries: This is a new addition to the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop conference. As an attendee, you’ll bring your one-page query letter with you to a 15-minute meeting with a faculty member. The industry expert will read it, as an agent or editor would in an office. Then, you’ll get a gut reaction, advice, suggestions and maybe even a request for materials! Appointment times will be given to you at when you check in at the registration desk.

1. Richard Morris – Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Science Fiction, Current Affairs Non-fiction, History Non-fiction, Narrative Non-fiction and Politics Non-fiction.

2. Rachelle Gardner – Women’s Fiction, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, Young Adult, Health Non-fiction, Self-help Non-fiction, Memoir and Christian Non-fiction.

3. Daniela Rapp – Mystery, Thriller, Memoir, Animal Non-fiction, Nature Non-fiction, Travel Non-fiction, Food Non-fiction, Humor Non-fiction, Language and Writing Non-fiction, History Non-Fiction and Native American.

4. Jill Marr – Women’s Fiction, Multi-cultural Fiction, Historic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Self-help Non-fiction, Inspirational Non-fiction, Cookbook, Memoir (especially Travel or Foodie), Parenting Non-fiction, History Non-fiction, Health and Nutrition Non-fiction, Pop Culture Non-fiction, Humor Non-fiction and Music Non-fiction.

5. Diana Fox – Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Women’s Fiction, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Biography and Narrative Non-fiction.

6. Irene Goodman – Memoir, Narrative History Non-fiction, Music Non-fiction, Social Issues and Commentary Non-fiction, Animal Non-fiction, Food Non-fiction, Parenting Non-fiction, Judaica Non-fiction, Anglophilia Non-fiction, Francophilia Non-fiction, Crafts, Lifestyle, Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Thriller, Literary Fiction and Mystery.

7. Jeff Kleinman – Narrative Non-fiction, Memoir, Health Non-fiction, Parenting Non-fiction, Aging Non-fiction, Nature Non-fiction, Pet Non-fiction, How-to Non-fiction, Science Non-fiction, Politics Non-fiction, Military Non-fiction, Espionage Non-fiction, Equestrian Non-fiction, Biography, Suspense, Thriller (not Mystery), and Literary Fiction.

8. Wendy Sherman – Women’s Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction and Prescriptive non-fiction.

9. Anna Webman – Historic Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Middle Grade and Young Adult.

10. Joshilyn Jackson – Women’s Fiction, Romance, Novellas, Short Fiction, Upmarket Fiction, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction and Humor Non-fiction.

11. Susan Hawk – Children’s, Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction.

12. Maryglenn McCombs – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller.

13. Caitlin Alexander – most Fiction and Non-fiction, excluding Science Fiction, Fantasy, Self-help Non-fiction and Children’s.

14. Hank Phillippi Ryan – Women’s Fiction, Romance, Suspense and Romantic Suspense.

15. Michelle HowryNon-fiction only – specifically Personal Narrative, Memoir, Health, Self-help, Finance, Psychology, Relationships, Parenting, Foodie, Biography, History and Science and Technology.

2010 Pitches Cheat Sheet

Pitches: You’ll meet for 10 minutes of one-on-one time with a faculty member. Attendees usually spend about 5 minutes giving their pitch and 5 minutes of getting advice and possibly a request for material! Appointment times will be given to you at when you check in at the registration desk.

1. Richard Morris – Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Science Fiction, Current Affairs Non-fiction, History Non-fiction, Narrative Non-fiction and Politics Non-fiction.

2. Rachelle Gardner – Women’s Fiction, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, Young Adult, Health Non-fiction, Self-help Non-fiction, Memoir and Christian Non-fiction.

3. Josh Adams – Children’s, Middle Grade or Young Adult.

4. Daniela Rapp – Mystery, Thriller, Memoir, Animal Non-fiction, Nature Non-fiction, Travel Non-fiction, Food Non-fiction, Humor Non-fiction, Language and Writing Non-fiction, History Non-Fiction and Native American.

5. Jill Marr – Women’s Fiction, Multi-cultural Fiction, Historic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Self-help Non-fiction, Inspirational Non-fiction, Cookbook, Memoir (especially Travel or Foodie), Parenting Non-fiction, History Non-fiction, Health and Nutrition Non-fiction, Pop Culture Non-fiction, Humor Non-fiction and Music Non-fiction.

6. Diana Fox – Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Women’s Fiction, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Biography and Narrative Non-fiction.

7. Jeff Kleinman – Narrative Non-fiction, Memoir, Health Non-fiction, Parenting Non-fiction, Aging Non-fiction, Nature Non-fiction, Pet Non-fiction, How-to Non-fiction, Science Non-fiction, Politics Non-fiction, Military Non-fiction, Espionage Non-fiction, Equestrian Non-fiction, Biography, Suspense, Thriller (not Mystery), and Literary Fiction.

8. Wendy Sherman – Women’s Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction and Prescriptive non-fiction.

9. Roseanne Wells – Literary Fiction, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery (not cozy), Narrative Non-fiction, Trade Science, Humor Non-fiction, History Non-fiction, True Crime, Religion, Travel Non-fiction and Food/Cooking Non-fiction.

10. Anna Webman – Historic Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Middle Grade and Young Adult.

11. Joshilyn Jackson – Women’s Fiction, Romance, Novellas, Short Fiction, Upmarket Fiction, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction and Humor Non-fiction.

12. Susan Hawk – Children’s, Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction.

13. Maryglenn McCombs – Mystery, Suspense, Thriller.

14. Caitlin Alexander – most Fiction and Non-fiction, excluding Science Fiction, Fantasy, Self-help Non-fiction and Children’s.

15. Hank Phillippi Ryan – Women’s Fiction, Romance, Suspense and Romantic Suspense.

16. Michelle HowryNon-fiction only – specifically Personal Narrative, Memoir, Health, Self-help, Finance, Psychology, Relationships, Parenting, Foodie, Biography, History and Science and Technology.