By Sue Cryer
It is no surprise that the one thing all members of the Chapin Chapter of the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop have in common is a passion for writing. The surprise is the spirit and warmth that permeates this growing group and makes it whole. Every word written, read and critiqued is regarded with quiet anticipation and acceptance because every chapter member can relate to the hard work and dedication the writer has gone through to get to this level where the solitary hours of pounding keys leads to a finished product.
The chapter started meeting almost five years ago at the Chapin Branch of the Lexington County Library when retired nurse and Chapter Leader, Elaine (aka Julia) Allcut, assimilated a small group of struggling authors from the Chapin side of LakeMurray. Four to five of these core members still attend on a regular bi-monthly basis and most have gone from struggling to accomplished authors. Through the news of successful publications and word of mouth the group now numbers between twelve and fifteen attendees.
The genre is diverse running from works of fiction to memoirs and editorials on current events. Several members have had their work published, including Allcut who self -published her first book, The Good Spy Wife, last year and now tours book clubs and festivals of the mid-lands to promote it. She is also at work on a sequel and will be attending a Writer’s PoliceAcademy in Wisconsin later this month as part of her on-going research.
Other published members include former pilot and realtor, Arlene Westermeyer, aka Millie West, who now has two published works of Southern historical fiction to her name. She has recently completed work on a third book, which is a sequel to her first publication, The Cast Net. West also spends a significant amount of time touring and promoting while continuing work on a screenplay based on her second book, Catherine’s Cross.
Laura Lanni, a Chemistry Professor by day, weaves science and emotion into life-altering events in her works of fiction. She published her first novel, Or Not To Be, last year and has recently completed editing on her second novel Infinity Line.
Inspired by her now grown nieces and nephews, retired Medical Laboratory Technologist, Edith Hawkins, focuses on children’s literature. She released Summer Adventures with Kate and JR in 2013 and Kate and JR’s Winter Adventure this year. She continues work on sequels and has taken her art to a different level through her breathtaking photographs of the LakeMurray area she has always called home.
Taking her written word in a new direction, former journalist, Sue Cryer, has completed her first work of fiction based on her early years in Upstate New York. She plans to publish sometime next year.
Vonnie Fulmer, who self -published a family Cook Book several years ago, brings real memories and inspirational editorials to life in amazingly short amounts of time and leaves the rest of the group in awe.
Retired English Professor, Wayne Scott, regales the group with his gripping historic fiction based on the life and times of Jack the Ripper. Scott still does the majority of his eclectic writing on a manual typewriter and is the group’s rebel for sure.
Cathy Fitzgerald rotates her time between writing and the care of her beloved grandchildren, and is continuing work on a compelling fictional tale of swapped lives.
The group’s newest members include Jay Sauls, a former magazine contributor and author of a several short stories and a Science Fiction Novel; Debbie Jehn, who is an avid traveler and bases her stories on these adventures; and Heather Hook, aka H.R. Hook, who is a teacher, freelance writer, and blogger.
Simply stated, The Chapin Chapter of The South Carolina Writer’s Workshop works well because for two hours twice a month the rest of the world goes away for a bit and the group retreats to their shared art of writing. Not just as one, but as a whole.
Anyone interested in the Chapin Chapter’s membership, please contact Elaine Allcut at email@example.com.
Sue Cryer was born in upstate New York, where she attended college as a Business Major in Albany, NY. Although a professor in an elective journalism class suggested she pursue a career in writing, Sue stuck with her major and enjoyed a successful ten year career in business. After making several long distance moves due to her husband’s career, Sue made the decision to be a full-time at home mother to their two young sons. After serving two terms as president of the local Parent Teacher Association and pregnant with their third child, she was encouraged by her husband to apply for the position of News Correspondent for their local paper in coastal Massachusetts. She was hired and began a second career, which followed her back home to upstate New York where she was News Correspondent and Feature Writer for two local newspapers. Since re-locating to South Carolina with her family, Sue has continued her life-long habit of journaling, worked as a Freelancer for The State Newspaper, begun a home decorating business, and completed work on a novel about the complexities of life in a small upstate NY village. She is in the editing phase and hopes to publish sometime next year. Sue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.