Do Not Be Eclipsed


Pay attention! August is shining brightly for members of South Carolina Writers Association. Winners for both the The Petigru Review and the Carrie Anne McCray contests will be announced very soon. We are also gearing up for a phenomenon not to be missed! Did someone say Eclipse?

Yes, that is also happening in South Carolina!

Our phenomenon is occurring on a slightly smaller scale. The Big Dream Conference is approaching, and registration for the October event in Pawley’s Island, SC is in process now at SCWA. We even have a new opportunity for two fortunate SCWA members who will receive the conference package for only $75 in exchange for volunteering that weekend (room and meal costs not included). Members should check their e-mails for an upcoming letter outlining this exceptional opportunity.

With eighty-one people already registered and advertising in place on a national level, space will become limited for this 120-maximum capacity event. Please don’t miss the chance to take advantage of the many prospects this writers’ conference has to offer; including a reception dinner, The Petigru Review launch party, Open Mic Night, and a days worth of work-shops presented by our impressive slate of invited faculty.

Choose from the eighteen different workshops including those offered by Dr. Kate Gale, Editor at Red Hen Press.  Kate is also an accomplished writer, with five collections of poetry and librettos for two operas to her credit.  *

Dr. Gale offered us a peak at what inspires her when responding to our conference stimulated questionnaire. “Stuff that bothers me is what begins a story and then I have to find the character and what they do. But ideas start, oyster like, with the thing that’s wrong and I can’t let go.”

Come join us by the sea! Be like an oyster, whose energy expands with growth in a very populated arena. Make plans to attend The Big Dream Conference during the last weekend of October. Dr. Gale’s workshops include How to Find the Right Publisher and Edit Like an Editor. Her limited synopsis/pitch sessions are going quickly. Choices for workshops from all faculty are still available.

This is no time to be hiding behind the clouds. Keep your eyes focused. Stay in touch. Open our e-mails, go to our website or click our Facebook page. Consider connecting with your fellow writers at conference. Don’t let hesitation eclipse your path to illumination!

Mostly, keep writing!

By Sue Cryer, SCWA BOD Blog

Photo: By NASA on The Commons – Apollo 12 view of Solar Eclipse, No restrictions,




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The ability to accept the truth can mean the difference between success or failure for a writer. Hearing it at South Carolina Writers Association’s “Big Dream Conference” via a Pitch Session with one of the nine attending faculty members may change your life. The three-day event will kick off with the words of Peter Steinberg, Literary Agent with Foundry Literary + Media in New York City and our Keynote Speaker.

Mr. Steinberg was gracious enough to respond to some of our questions, giving us a chance to get to know him a little better.

When asked the best advice he can give, hands down, Mr. Steinberg answered, “To have empathy for others.”

If you are a writer, empathy means more than just understanding. It is the next level you seek after judgment. Hearing the honest opinion on the result of your endless hours of labor can be life changing.

The core of my writing is not art but truth.”  These words ring as true today, as when delivered more than thirty years ago by author Philip K. Dick (The Man In The High Castle, Paycheck, and Minority Report, to name a few**), who is one of Mr. Steinberg’s favorite authors and one he would choose to sit down to dinner with.

So, what is a work that moved Mr. Steinberg to tears?  A List of Cages by a first-time writer named Robin Roe and I couldn’t stop crying the first time I read it,” Peter told us. Published by Disney/Hyperion, the young adult novel was released earlier this year and focuses on the emotional bonds of secrets and friendship.

 “Read it,” Peter advised.

In addition to representing Robin Roe and at least three New York Times bestselling authors, Peter Steinberg works with clients who have been nominated for numerous literary awards including The Pulitzer Prize, Pen/Faulkner and The Paris Review Discovery Prize.*

Mr. Steinberg is a graduate of NYU film school and worked as a screenwriter before turning to his current profession where he currently accepts submissions by e-mail. He told us he reads “about three novels a month in their entirety and then about the first thirty to fifty pages of twenty or so more.”

Peter did not always plan on becoming a Literary Agent. “When I was young,” he stated, “I actually wanted to be a clown.”

Many of us dream in bright colors when we are young. Seeing the world in varying tones develops as we meet the challenges life puts before us.

Meet a new challenge when you register for the “Big Dream Conference“. Utilize the time, talent and truth of our keynote speaker and the other eight acclaimed literary professionals invited by SCWA to serve as the conference faculty. Prepare to know your own truth.

While Peter has already sold out of Pitch Sessions, other faculty members have available space. Of course, all attendees will be able to benefit from our Keynote Speaker’s words at the Welcome Reception Dinner on Friday, October 27th. We look forward to it, Mr. Peter Steinberg.

Our Faculty:

Kerry D’Agostino—Agent, Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Kate Gale—Editor, Red Hen Press

Timothy Green—Editor, Rattle Poetry Anthology

Jessica Handler—Author, Nonfiction

Annie Hwang—Agent, Folio Literary Agency

Michelle Johnson—Agent, Inkling Literary Agency

Emily Lavin Leverett—Author, Fiction

Peter Steinberg—Agent, Foundry Literary + Media

Luke Whisnant—Author, Fiction


Sue Cryer is a member of The SCWA Board of Directors and works as a Freelance Writer in Chapin, SC.  She is a former Newspaper Correspondent and Feature News Writer.









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As writers, judgement is par for the course. We sit at our desks pounding out words which will ultimately be judged by editors, agents, publishers, peers, readers and most harshly, by the voices in our own heads advising us to run for the hills. There will be no running encouraged this year for members of the South Carolina Writers Association (SCWA).  Opportunities abound, and judgement has already been constructively bestowed on the current edition of The Petigru Review (TPR), by a zenith in the country’s publishing industry. The Kirkus Reviews

If the name does not instantly ring a bell, just search a favorite read on your bookshelf or tablet, and read the reviews. Better yet, read TPR’s review at our website.

“Here it is! All good! I’m so proud to have had a part in it,” announced Torie Amarie Dale, one of the Associate Editors of TPR 2016/2017, upon notification of our assessment from Kirkus Reviews. “And now I (we) can prove it to the world and we can take TPR into the national spotlight.”

SCWA proudly accepts the judgment received by Kirkus Reviews, one of the pinnacles of success in the publication arena. The Petigru Review is considered with great pride by our members and the TPR editors, who faithfully hold its content up to the highest standards of excellence. Standards that began with founding board member and renowned author, Carrie Allen McCray.

So it is our turn. The Petigru Review is our baby and we beseech you to share our illustrious news. Like us on Facebook. Share us with your friends. Access our blogs and newsletter, The Quill, while visiting our website.

While there, take a look at our 2016 Pushcart Nominees in TPR, which include the award-winning words of Kasie Whitener, who won first place for her short story fiction, which seamlessly transforms the mind of a middle-aged tattoo repair seeking woman back to that of a reckless teen seeking adulthood. Her work is one of thirty-seven that fill The Petigru Review’s one hundred and forty-four pages. They represent some of the best and brightest submitted works of our membership with content ranging from poetry and flash fiction to the short short and novel first chapters.

Please take note of the word submitted. In order to succeed, we must take that chance. The chance to be judged. Risk is our key to success. Without submission and judgement, our stories would not be read, watched or listened to. We accept it as part of our craft and take umbrage in its innate meaning.

As members of the South Carolina Writers Association, we will receive new and unique opportunities to showcase our ability to be judged as 2017 continues to unfold.  The period to submit for the 2017/2018 issue of The Petigru Review begins April 1 and runs through May 31.

Registration is also available at our website for The 2017 ‘BIG DREAM’ Conference in Pawleys Island, where attendance will give you the opportunity to lay your manuscripts into the hands of agents, editors, and authors from across the country for review and critique. More information and updates will be shared in the days and weeks ahead.

These are giant opportunities for our membership. So get busy. Listen to the larger voice in your heads. The one that says keep going, keep going.

We cannot wait to be judged.


Sue Cryer is a member of The SCWA Board of Directors and works as a Freelance Writer in Chapin, SC.  She is a former Newspaper Correspondent and Feature News Writer.


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A Little Holiday Perspective

Lisa DunnBy Lisa Dunn
Rock Hill Chapter Co-Leader

Writing is a gift.

From the idea that forms unexpectedly in a writer’s mind to the words that flow onto the page to that feeling of knowing what you’ve written resonates with a reader, it’s a gift.

Like any good gift, writing should be thoroughly enjoyed. In the midst of holiday festivities and throughout the year, every day living, be sure to protect and cherish your writing time. Even if it’s just a few minutes, carve out some time for your craft. Especially if writing grounds you, allow yourself time to indulge in this gift. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels so much healthier and happier when I’ve gotten the right words on the page. Writing is a gift, one we’re meant to enjoy like a child enjoys a new toy on Christmas morning.

On the flip side, like any gift, writing can be indulged to an unhealthy extreme. Sometimes we run the risk of becoming so engrossed in our writing that we miss other gifts—the fellowship of family and friends, the laughter of a child, the mystery of the stranger in the checkout line in front of us. Resentment can creep in when our fingers haven’t hit the keyboard in days, because, as we all know, Writers write.

Every day, some would add.

The harsh reality is that sometimes life prohibits writing, and while writer’s block can keep a writer from producing words, writer’s guilt can keep a writer from fully enjoying life.

So I find the writing life all about balance. Some days, the words and the writing time come easy. Other days, I have time, but the words don’t come—or words, but no time. This, too, is a gift, this learning that life and writing coexist, that while writing grounds me, I am not defined by how much I write or how good it is.

As you head into the holidays, I hope you will find both time to write and perspective to enjoy life’s beautiful and varied gifts.

Lisa Dunn co-facilitates the Rock Hill Chapter of SCWW. When she isn’t homeschooling her children, she writes novels for Young Adults. Her first two books, Grit of Berth and Stone and Heir of Koradin were published by Anaiah Press in 2015. The final book in the Chasmaria series, Child of Thresh, will release in August 2016. Samples of her current work-in-progress, a contemporary Young Adult titled Commando Grace, won WRiTE CLUB 2016, an anonymous writing contest hosted by D.L. Hammons.  Lisa is on Facebook and Twitter, and blogs at

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