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  • 04 Aug 2022 10:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I'm not a dog person. Don’t throw things at me. I think dogs on videos are adorable, and I understand how people love their pets like children. My favorite dogs are other people's dogs. It's not particularly popular to admit such a thing, but my family and I are a "no pets" household. For which, I assure you, we are sufficiently ostracized.
    It's the dog days of summer, those final sluggish moments wherein the enthusiasm of summer has waned and the promise of change is yawning.
    This month our Short Story Workshop with Keith Lesmeister, Digging Trenches, gives us the opportunity to create and iterate, to shape an experience into a specific form. It's one of the add-on offerings from this year's Events & Education programming. I am able to join (unexpectedly) and look forward to getting a kind of JOLT to the doldrums of August and the winding down of summer fun.
    Perhaps I'll find a wagging tail, an enthusiastic bark, or the sprinkled shake of a beloved friend galloping out of the surf. A story waiting for my attention. Glad to see me. Grateful I belong to it and it to me.
    I'd ask you to send me your doggie stories but see line 1. Instead, send me anything you'd like to share about the dog days of summer or the upcoming Digging Trenches workshop to
    I loved hearing from those of you who reached out in July. You're a blessing to me as is SCWA.

    Happy writing!

    Kasie Whitener
    President, SCWA Board of Directors

  • 12 Jul 2022 8:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Message from the President


    When we first moved to Columbia in 2012, the city was under a tourism campaign that read, “Famously Hot.” Billboards flanked the city on the inbound interstates, and just about every citywide event adopted the “Famously Hot” moniker, from blues festivals to farmer’s markets to parades. 
    Although born in Florence in 1977, I was raised in Virginia and returned to my native state in 1995 to attend Clemson, where I married my husband in 2001. We spent the early aughts in Charlotte, where I attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill and worked for a small company in York. We bought our first home in Easley in 2004, and our daughter was born at Greenville Hospital in 2008.
    Columbia, despite being the nucleus around which the rest of the state reluctantly revolves, has a terrible reputation. I was less than thrilled to move here in 2012. 
    The billboards changed my mind. What’s better than honesty? Knowing one’s own self and boldly declaring it. In hero terms, it’s the equivalent of “I am what I am.” In corporate terms, “It is what it is.”
    Columbia is HOT.
    I tell out-of-state folks that the only thing separating Columbia from Hell is a screen door. There are days in July that make you wonder what sins the people around you are being punished for.
    Despite the heat, a band of SCWA writers gathered for fellowship, sharing and support on Saturday, June 25. We sat together outside for five hours, under tent-provided shade, sipping water bottles from iced coolers and reading passages from our published and unpublished work.
    The Inside/Out event was our first face-to-face gathering for the full SCWA community since the Beaufort retreat in 2019. Inside/Out was unstructured, unpretentious and provided a unique opportunity for SCWA members – by longevity, leadership role, writing credentials and chapter experience – to discuss what the future of our writing community should be.
    We were honest. 
    We told stories, read pages and shared perspectives on the world at large and the world inside our chapters and our organization. Thank you to those who came. I hope more of you will join us for our October conference at Pawley’s Island. Let’s get face-to-face and share with candor and compassion the truth we know about ourselves.
    Every journey we’ve ever taken has been flanked by signs, and sometimes the signs change us with their honesty. 
    What signs have you seen that altered your path? Or changed your mind? Send me your thoughts at

    Kasie Whitener
    President, SCWA Board of Directors

  • 03 Jun 2022 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had the opportunity to do some traveling. To get through the long walks down airport terminals and window seat imprisonment on long flights, I queued up a dozen podcasts on writing.

    There are several things I look for in a good podcast:

    Theme – Most podcasts will have a topic (it's usually in the title of the episode) and shows that stay on topic are more valuable for me than wandering monologues that seem interminable.

    Formula – Shows with an agenda or a designated formula sound more professional, in my opinion. When the hosts stick to it, they demonstrate that professionalism and I'm more likely to come back for another show.

    Relevance – Even the "famous author" podcasts will be clear about how this information is relevant to you, no matter your writing level, age or experience.

    Here are some of my favorites:

    Short Story Today – An SCWA member, Lis Anna-Langston from Columbia, was on a recent episode.

    The Creative PennJoanna Penn is a BIG name in digital publishing and this podcast has been around for so long, she's getting really granular in her topics. But she's on the forefront of digital trends, such as NFTs, and if you don't know what those are or why writers should care, you should queue her up.

    The Shit No One Tells You About Writing – Hosted by a couple of agents who spend the first 10 minutes critiquing a query with the writer on the line. So, so valuable for insight into what agents are thinking when they read your email query.

    Learning the Tropes – This one is a romance-genre-specific one, but I'm sure there are some focused on other genres, too. Definitely helps in learning what is expected of the genre you're writing in. The romance genre has a ton of podcasts, actually, and they all have clever names like Heaving Bosoms, Fated Mates, and Smart Women, Trashy Books. 

    Write On SC – Of course, I'll add my own show here. Rex Hurst and I do this weekly and share not just S.C. writers, but all kinds of craft, publishing and marketing things we're learning. Find us at 

    When starting a podcast listening habit, keep in mind that some are short (less than 30 minutes) and some are a good deal longer (as much as three hours). You may want to consider what length you need for a walk in the neighborhood versus a road trip.
    I'd love to hear what you're listening to. Send me your suggestions at and I'll give them a listen!
    This month we're planning a SUPER SOCIAL event called SCWA Inside Out. It will be on June 25 in Columbia, it's free and pretty casual. Just a chance for us to be face-to-face again. Check out the details below. I hope you'll all join me there and thanks to the Events and Education Committee for planning it and making it happen.
    Lastly, it’s Pride Month and I’d like to wish a very happy celebration to all of our LGBTQ+ members, friends and allies. This month is about celebrating so much, including the unbridled emergence of diverse stories and characters we’ve seen over the past few years. SCWA supports you, loves you and wants your writing career to be spectacular as you bring your own stories into the light.
    Cheers and happy writing!
    Kasie Whitener
    President, SCWA Board of Directors

  • 06 May 2022 11:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Message from the President

    All over the internet this week are Justin Timberlake and Star Wars memes. A recent phenomenon, memes are those pictures with clever words superimposed on them. In this case, Justin Timberlake is a reference to a lyric in one of his songs, “It’s gonna be me!” but, stylistically, it sounds like he says, “It’s gonna be May.” So now you’re in on the joke.
    That’s what memes are – “in” jokes that some people get and some people don’t. It’s their inclusionary nature that makes them so funny. When I get it, I feel included, but if I don’t get it, I usually just scroll past.

    As writers, we’re communicating with a variety of readers, listeners and buyers. It’s incumbent upon us to ensure our messaging is as clear and unmistakable as possible so that as many people as possible can be reached and included. That’s not just how we sell more books, but how we connect humans one-to-the-other.
    Memes aren’t exactly stories. They’re more like reminders of stories we’ve already heard. On May 4th we see the Star Wars memes everywhere (“May the fourth be with you”). Our family even makes lightsaber Kool-Aid and Death Star pizzas for dinner. 
    If the May memes already have worn you out, don’t worry. They’re mostly about the first week of the month.
    SCWA has bigger plans for the whole month. We’re featuring the Your Paths to Publish series this month that includes author-prenuer Raegen Teller, hybrid publisher Alexa Bigwarfe, and small press Hub City and literary agent Amy Elizabeth Bishop. There’s still time to register, even if you missed the first session on May 2. Register at Registrants have access to all the event recordings.
    While Mother’s Day and Memorial Day bookend May, my favorite part of the month is all the puns it lends itself to. Specifically, those classic Irish blessings: May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. May you write in health and joy this month. (I might have added that last part myself!)
    Cheers and happy writing!

    Kasie Whitener
    President, SCWA Board of Directors

  • 06 May 2022 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Message from the President

    April showers bring May flowers.
    I know I started out March with a similar calendar trope but hear me out. On March 24, I attended our Become an Author event with Angela Belcher Epps, and all I’ve been thinking since then was, “Bring on the showers!”
    Not “showers” in the mom-to-be parties or sexy bathroom trysts from my short story from Fall Lines. Not the river-of-tears emoji or the anime tears flying off one’s cartoon face. 
    Bring on the April-type showers that water our creative fields and generate blooms of stories, poetry and productivity.
    Showers like collective writing sessions with our SCWA chapters leading. Prompt party, anyone?
    Showers like writing sprints on Twitter and write-in sessions with pals. Showers like watching a great movie and imagining a side character’s new life beyond it. Or reading a good book and imagining a different ending. Or revisiting a favorite story and tracing your fingers along its print as you remember what it meant to you then and considering what it means to you now.
    Showers like inspiration. Like a reminder that we write because we want to, we need to, we love to and when it’s work – like really hard work – it’s only because the flowers are so deep underground, we need to water them so they’ll emerge.
    We also need sunshine. And time. But the April cliche is just about the rain. So let it rain, SCWA! Get some of that inspiration on your skin, in your eyes. Let it wash away the pollen and water the roots. The flowers will bloom. They always do.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 07 Mar 2022 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Message from the President
    I love the old adage “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to describe March. It sounds as if we’re brash, bold and determined at the beginning of the month. It inspires me to seize the day, be energetic and bold! To get unstuck on projects that have stalled since the 2022 New Year’s spark.
    I know lamb time is coming. There will be a chance to rest and reflect and enjoy the flowers as they bloom and all that spring has to offer. But for now – ROAR!
    March is my favorite month of the year in part because it’s my birthday month but also because it’s an annual milestone – the end of the first quarter, the nudge into a new season. It’s when we emerge from the long winter and find things new, hopeful and budding. March is full of hope for what’s to come. It doesn’t dwell on what has been but looks forward to what can be.
    For a perpetual optimist, March allows yet another opportunity to plan and execute great ideas and our SCWA leadership has been busy!
    • The Events &Education team has been hard at work organizing a variety of programming including this month’s Become an Author event with Angela Belcher Epps “Get into Your Write Space” all about connecting to that intrinsic motivation for inspiration. If you’re not registered yet, click here to get your spot.
    • The Board of Directors is hard at work organizing and formalizing committees. As we move toward a governing board configuration, we are decentralizing the operating work through committees. Committee work is a low-impact, high reward way to lend your voice, your time, and your talents to SCWA. Existing committees include Finance & Fundraising, Membership & Recruitment, Events & Education, Technology, Marketing, and Diversity. Interested in serving? Email me at and we can discuss what might be a good fit for you.
    • Our chapters are hard at work getting work polished and ready for submission. We have winners among us! 
      • The 2022 Charlotte Lit LIT/south awards include flash fiction winner Amber Wheeler Bacon, fiction finalist Mary Alice Dixon and poetry finalist Yvette R. Murray
      • The SC Academy of Authors awarded the 2022 Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship in Poetry to Columbia III writer Danielle Verwers for her work “Between Two Poles.”
    • We’re so very, very proud of all of you! Congratulations!
    Welcome to March, writing friends. I hope you’ll find inspiration and motivation in the roar of the lion and gratitude and hope in the soft down of the lamb.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors
  • 05 Feb 2022 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Hello members and friends of SCWA! We begin 2022 with enthusiasm and hope, and by announcing the new leadership of the board of directors. At the January board meeting, I was elected president, a role that I humbly accept with an appreciation for the confidence placed in me by the board. Our 2022 board is composed of a team that exudes excellence in literary arts and business and a dedication to serving SCWA members.
    All board members – directors and advisors – dedicate their time and talents to add value to SCWA through their service and leadership. I’m proud to announce the appointment of the following team members who have accepted additional responsibilities, for which we are extremely grateful.
    • Abby Morales, 1st Vice President/Marketing
    • Lynn Volkenant, Treasurer
    • Sharon Thomas, Secretary
    • Raegan Teller, Vice President, Membership
    • Austin Hehir, Chapter Liaison
    • Paul Davis, Vice President, Events & Education
    • Catherine Con, Director, Technology
    This leadership team is supported by additional board members participating in committee work alongside board advisors and contract staff delivering exceptional quality to our members.
    The Events & Education Committee already is hard at work delivering outstanding programming, including all new weekday workshops, longer-program curricula, a new slate of faculty and a fall conference for October. We’re excited about plans for The Petigru Review, under new leadership and opening for submissions in the spring. 
    I hope you’ll consider joining one of our committees dedicated to fundraising, membership, marketing or diversity. Each committee is pursuing specific recommendations to strengthen our organization and make it more representative of the South Carolina literary community. Committee service is a great way to get involved in the association and make new connections while requiring just the minimum investment of time and talent. If committee service interests you but you’re not sure where or how to serve, email me at and we can discuss it.

    Kasie Whitener
    SCWA Board of Directors
  • 05 Jan 2022 5:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Writers understand the opportunity with each new page or chapter. How will the characters, whether existing or new to our story, create an exciting outcome? So is the case with your board of directors as we launch 2022 with changes, saying grateful goodbyes to some and welcoming new SCWA leaders.
    The SCWA board expresses its deepest gratitude to the following directors and advisors who have steered SCWA to new heights and are now retiring from the board: Vivian Bikulege, Barbara Evers, Roger Jones and Nancy Allen-Mastro
    Susan Zurenda and David Wilson also are retiring as directors, but they will continue to serve as advisors. I will support the board as past president and advisor. 
    These board members built upon the success created by former boards, the dedication of the chapter leaders, and many other volunteers whose passion for writing has made SCWA successful for 31 years.
    We look with admiration and hope to the following new board members to carry on this leadership. We welcome the following new directors: Catherine Con, Wanda Craig (Raegan Teller), Austin Hehir, Ralph Jarrells, Yvette Murray, Sharon Clemmons Thomas and Lynn Allison Volkenant. They will be joined by our new advisors Peter Coan and Brad Land.
    The new Executive Board will be elected at the Jan. 15 board meeting to which all members are welcome to attend. This will be a virtual meeting due to COVID concerns. If you wish to attend, email Laura Corbin, administrator, at and she will provide you with the Zoom link.
    I subscribe to the philosophy that there are three kinds of characters in a story – those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who say ‘what the hell just happened?’”
    As I leave the role of president, I consider myself blessed to have been part of the board team and am confident the new board will be making great things happen for our members.

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 08 Dec 2021 5:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    December 8, 2021

    SCWA is pleased to be able to serve writers in South Carolina and the region. In order to continue our positive trajectory toward excellence, effective immediately, the SCWA annual membership fee will increase to $75. The common member anniversary date will remain April 1. All new memberships and renewals for current members at the $75 fee will be effective through March 31, 2023. The student fee will be $25.

    It’s been more than 10 years since the last increase during which time SCWA’s operating costs for such items as insurance, accounting, and membership software have increased to unsustainable levels. The increase in fees is needed in order to continue to meet our expenses and offer valuable programs to our members.

    While the new fees are competitive with other writing associations, SCWA provides a broader set of services than many of its counterparts. The recently announced programs for 2022 will provide members with free access to at least 12 virtual education events as well as discounts for the fall 2022 conference and other programs such as the new Writers’ Studio. Members also will have free access to SCWA’s recorded library of past Writing Conversations and Become an Author events, which has been building since 2020.

    Other member benefits, such as participation in chapters and critique groups and publication opportunities in SCWA’s digital journal, The Petigru Review, will continue to be supported as valuable services to SCWA members.

    The volunteer board is dedicated to providing the best quality of services at a low cost to SCWA members. We exist for our members and will continue to ensure our writers receive high value for their membership fees.

    Mike Lee, President

    SCWA Board of Directors

  • 03 Dec 2021 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Come Write by the Beach!

    SCWA will present a three-day, in-person conference Oct. 21-23 in Pawleys Island, featuring workshops on publishing and craft with keynote faculty Ashley M. JonesLeigh Stein and many more. Editors and agents also will be in attendance. An additional virtual conference is under development and will offer complementary programming. Members will have access to discounted early-bird rates and prizes. Keep watching the SCWA website for more details on registration, accommodations and the sessions to be offered.


    The SCWA board has been focused on the development of plans for 2022, and on behalf of the board, I’m pleased to announce that we have created a robust program for our members for the coming year.
    Here are some highlights:
    Events & Education – SCWA will continue its successful virtual workshops and writing programs focusing on writing craft and publishing. 
    Starting in January, SCWA members will have free access to the popular Writing Conversations and Become an Author series plus a new program called Shared Writing. These will occur quarterly. 
    SCWA also will introduce new paid programs at discounted member rates consisting of four-week, virtual, in-depth workshops focusing on topics such as novel writing, finding an agent, and indie marketing and bookselling.
    Additional quarterly programs will include free open mic sessions and paid in-person and virtual workshops to be held in locations across the state. Members also have access to more than 40 recorded writing workshops and events in Recorded Events on the SCWA website.

    Publications – SCWA’s digital journal, The Petigru Review, will return in 2022 with the opportunity for members to publish their work. A new position of managing editor has been created to ensure high standards and additional promotional opportunities for the journal and its contributors.
    SCWA once again will co-sponsor, with the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the McCray Nickens Fellowship in Poetry and the Coker Fellowship in Fiction, providing the opportunity for members to compete for paid awards. These contests are open now. For details, visit
    More details will be provided soon as each of these major member programs is set to launch.
    Board recruiting – The window to submit applications to become a member of the board closed Nov. 15. Interviews are under way and new board members will be proposed at the Dec. 21 board meeting and announced shortly thereafter. We appreciate all who applied.
    2022 BOD Meeting Schedule – A schedule has been approved for the 2022 board meeting dates. Members are welcome to participate in any board meeting as we have reserved an item on every agenda for member discussion. The new schedule is posted on
    Congratulations are to SCWA board member Len Lawson and longtime SCWA friend Gary Jackson for their recent publication of The Future of Black – Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry. Members are reminded to post their awards and publications on and on our Facebook group and page. Also, look on our website for publication opportunities and contests, such as the playwright and screenplay competition by the Del Shores Foundation for the LGBTQ+ community.
    Guest posts – This feature of The Quill will have a new look in 2022. While we work out more details, I am pleased to share with you the selection for December – an essay by member Jayne Bowers.

    In closing, my term as SCWA board president concludes this month, so this will be the last time I'll issue the Message from the President. A couple of parting comments: First to our members, you inspire me with your writing – I try to read all members' published works – and with your participation in our programs. You've made the work worthwhile. To our board members and our administrator, Laura Corbin, it's been a true pleasure to serve with you. Thank you for your trust, support and dedication without which we would not have succeeded. I appreciate every one of you.

    Mike Lee
    SCWA Board of Directors

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