The Quill: News from Surfside

Meet an alien from a planet whose inhabitants come in three sexes, a Maryland ship-owner smuggling slaves to the north in the years before the American Civil War, or a young man searching for butterflies who discovers the mysteries of Asia. Hear about a bigamous scoundrel in a small Pennsylvania town at the start of the nineteenth century, love letters between a young couple separated in the years before and during World War II sharing their lives in ink, and a strong, sassy woman finding modern day love and a medieval princess surviving in a male-dominated society. Those characters mingle in the air of our conversations when their creators and writers get together at SCWA Surfside Chapter meetings. Oh, and let’s not forget the spiders who slip through a portal in Maine to devour human prey.

The Surfside Chapter is one of many writers’ groups dotting the state within the South Carolina Writers Association. We are small in numbers at Surfside, but big in imagination. We have writers at all stages of their writing journeys working in a variety of genres. Short stories, we have them. Long family sagas, yes, we have them as well. Some of our authors create a series of books because their characters have too much to say and do to be constrained to just 80,000 words. We share stories of horror, fantasy, fiction, and non-fiction. We support each other as caring people as well as imaginative writers.

The Surfside chapter is preparing to launch a series of public presentations entitled “Everybody has a story.” We welcome new members wherever they are along their writer journey. Are you just getting started? We can help guide you—if you have that great novel in mind, or wish to write about family legends to share only with your children and grandchildren. Further along on that journey? We are supportive cheerleaders and can offer advice from those among us farther down our shared path.

Anyone in the greater Myrtle Beach area wanting to know more about this writer’s group and the benefits of joining us in Surfside, please contact me or check out our Facebook page. We usually meet the first and third Saturday of each month, 10 am at the Surfside Library, as the library’s schedule allows.

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The Quill: Submission Opportunities and the Writing Life

Hi all,

I’m excited to bring The Quill to you in a new format. The newsletter was limiting because it never allowed me to dive into specific topics. I’d want to offer a slew of upcoming events or submission opportunities, but there was so much other information that it just wouldn’t fit. I’ll be sending out more Quill updates, but they’ll be more specific. This week’s topic is submission opportunities.


Many literary journals open in late summer and early fall for submissions, so I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about some helpful sites which list submissions openings.

  • The Master’s Review is a great organization to get updates from. They’ve got great contests for emerging writers and send out a list of contests and submission opportunities every month.
  • One of my new favorite writer websites is CRAFT. Not only do they accept rolling fiction submissions, they also take articles about the writing craft. The stories they look for showcase an element of craft, whether it’s setting, point of view or structure. They’ve also got some upcoming contests, so check them out.
  • When I’m looking for submissions to send out to you, I also go to New Pages. What I like about New Pages, is that it includes journals that go beyond “literary” writing. For our SCWA members who are writing mystery, fantasy, horror, etc…, New Pages is a great website to search when you’re looking for places to send a finished piece.
  • Literistic offers a free list of places to submit to every month. They also offer a more extensive list to paid members. You can sign up for their monthly “shortlist” to get a taste of what they offer. I like that they offer fellowship and grant opportunities in addition to literary journals.
  • This gargantuan list from Entropy includes presses accepting full-length manuscripts as well as journals, grants, fellowships, etc… It’s pretty exhaustive and takes awhile to go through. I’ve also found some great journals to subscribe to through this list.
  • If you’re a visual person, you might like the submissions calendar provided by Poets and Writers. This shows submissions by deadline.


Some articles I’ve been reading about writing are below.

This short essay in CRAFT says a lot about a hook. When I was just starting to write, I thought a great hook could be encompassed in the opening line of a piece, but it’s so much more than that. Read more here:

Need writing advice? James Baldwin is here to help. There are some major gems here.

Ruminate’s blog this month has a great article about the narrator within us, which becomes the writer.

Member News and Upcoming Events will be posted next week. If you’ve got some news you’d like to share, please let your chapter leader know or email

Until then,


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Journey to SCWA


My journey to becoming a member of the South Carolina Writers Association (formerly South Carolina Writers Workshop), was slightly complicated. The original goal was to find a writer’s refuge which was in the vicinity of my home in Chapin, SC. An on-line search took me down many retreat roads, but none came close to the growing goal of writing unity I was envisioning. The search did eventually lead me to the site advertising the 2012 South Carolina Writers Workshop (SCWW) Conference in Myrtle Beach. Continue reading

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Tick Tock

Tick tock, tick tock. That’s the sound of the days, hours, and minutes until the May 31 deadline for submission to The Petigru Review, the literary journal of the South Carolina Writers’ Association. Sometimes deadlines can be scary and raise the anxiety level. Other times they provide the perfect impetus to give a manuscript once last glance before pressing the send button. And for some writers there’s nothing like a countdown to end procrastination and write something, anything.

The Petigru Review accepts submissions from April 1 through May 31, 2018. On June 1, the challenging and rewarding work of reading and judging the fiction, flash, nonfiction, poetry, and first chapter of a novel pieces begins. Each year SCWA recruits diligent and worthy judges for each category, and this year is no exception.

Being a Board Member precludes me from submitting this year. Otherwise, I’d be reading about the judges, hoping to learn about the background, work, and expectations of each. This year’s lineup includes an Annie Dillard fan who enjoys discovering new research in her reading; a seeker of layers, beauty, and captivating ideas in a story; a flash fiction guru and writer whose novel resulted in an independent film; and a poet who wants to fall in love with poetry that expands her sense of the human condition.

Read on to learn more about four of this year’s judges and their credentials, publications, and awards.

Rebecca Hammond Yager grew up in the bewitching realm of Vermont, has a B.A. in creative writing and a lifelong love of monsters and beasts. Influenced by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Alexander Key, Rebecca finds influence and inspiration in nature. Whether reading or listening to a story, Rebecca seeks the same things: Layers. Beauty. Captivating ideas. She loves being dazzled by beauty, breathless from action, smitten with characters, and mesmerized by layers of theme and meaning.  Stories with a solid plot, compelling and well-motivated characters, a vivid sense of place, and stellar dialogue are her favorites.

Rebecca’s publications include Winds Cove, Beauty & the Beast, and A Midsummer Night’s Snow.

Formerly a park ranger, factory worker, and seller of cemetery plots, Joni Tevis is the author of two books of essays, The Wet Collection: A Field Guide to Iridescence and Memory, and The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse, both published by Milkweed Editions. Her essays have appeared in Orion, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. Joni holds an MFA and PhD from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program and serves as the Bennette E. Geer Associate Professor of English at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. An Annie Dillard fan, Joni enjoys tasty sentences and surprising research in essays and looks to learn something new, to see the world through another pair of eyes in what she reads.

Luke Whisnant’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been published in over fifty different journals and anthologies in the United States, and overseas in England, France, and Portugal. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, a collection of stories, and a novel that was optioned by two different film production companies, eventually resulting in an independent film in 2012. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Blumenthal Foundation; has three times been listed on the “Distinguished Story List” of the Best American Short Stories; and has been reprinted three times in the annual anthology New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best.

Whisnant earned his MFA at Washington University in St Louis, joined the East Carolina University English Department in 1982, and is a two recipient of the department’s teaching excellence award. Luke has edited Tar River Poetry, a nationally ranked magazine of verse, since 2006 and blogs about TPR at The Editor’s Eye.

Katie Pryor divided her childhood between the #ATL and Las Vegas. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College and received her BA in Spanish. Her work has appeared in The Rio Review and Prairie Schooner and is forthcoming in North American Review, Southern Indiana Review, and Five Points. She was recently recognized with a 2017 Fall Fellowship at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Currently living and teaching in Lincoln, Nebraska, Katie’s academic interests include borders, gender, race, and love poems. She’s interested in poetry with a clear speaker, poems that aren’t afraid to use our various, ever-changing, and specific identities to get at our need to belong to ourselves and to each other. She wants to fall in love when reading a poem—with the speaker, with the way the poem expands her sense of the human condition.

It’s May 9, twenty-two days and counting, Writers. What are you waiting for? The judges and TPR are looking for your work. Tick Tock.

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