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A Writer’s High

Meeting authors, chatting with agents and editors, winning an award—all in Myrtle Beach! And the weather was exquisite. For writers, it was Nirvana. Last weekend I attended the 2012 South Carolina Writer’s Workshop Conference at the Hilton resort and I couldn’t have had a better time.

Friday night, my husband, Wendy, and I attended an outdoor reception where fellow Aiken critique group member, Steve Gordy, introduced me to published authors, agents, and best-selling writers of the future. Being naturally shy, this was a blessing. It is incredibly uplifting to speak with people who all share the same passion.

Soon we filed into the banquet where I was awarded first place in the Novel First Chapter category of the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award. I am humbled by and proud of this honor. This year, they included the winning pieces from all categories in the annual anthology, The Petigru Review. It was a thrill to see my writing in print.

I was also excited to meet one of the judges of the competition, Barbara Claypole-White, an enthusiastic writer who offered me a tremendous amount of encouragement. Her book, An Unfinished Garden, just came out in August and is wonderful. Watch this blog for my review.

Each time I go to a conference, I like to “stretch” myself and this time I chose to make a pitch for my book to an editor. The conference scheduled a slot for me for ten dollars, a bargain for such an opportunity.
To pitch, you’re expected to excite an industry professional with your book idea in a one- or two-sentence summary, hopefully delivered from memory. I was a nervous wreck. Wendy drilled me throughout the four-hour drive to Myrtle Beach and at random times after we arrived.

Finally my 2:15 appointment arrived. After a minimal amount of small talk (too nervous), I blurted my spiel, hopefully not too fast. Nothing actually came of it, but I DID IT. Later that night, Wendy and I celebrated with a bottle of Asti Spumanti.

I am greatly encouraged by two agents who invited me to send them my book for their consideration. It’s not quite ready, but I am pounding the keys. A door has opened and I’m determined to walk right through.

Shameless plug: Search for The Petigru Review Volume 6 or click here to order a copy for $9.99.

NOTE: If you’re a writer from South Carolina, look into the SCWW. This organization has schooled me, guided me, and encouraged me. 

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