April 5, 2014
Lockhart-Taylor Center
Wadesboro, N.C.


Carolinas Writers Conference

2014 Conference Workshop Leaders

Michelle BuckmanMichelle Buckman has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist and magazine editor. However, her focus is writing women's fiction. She is the award-winning author of six novels, including Rachel's Contrition and Death Panels. She enjoys sharing her love of writing with fellow writers through workshops and writing groups. Although born in New York and raised in Canada, Michelle has spent most of her life in the Carolinas. She and her husband have five children and too many pets. You can learn more about Michelle and her books at www.MichelleBuckman.com

Workshop: Intensive Writing This workshop will focus on the needs of attendees based on submitted samples. Michelle will critique examples to show how to create more active, emotional, character-driven paragraphs, and then offer short 5-minute assignments for attendees to do in class to apply technique so that skills are reinforced in real time, and attendees leave with results on paper instead of just notes. Michelle will cover bits of show vs. tell, active description, POV, and Right Details. Attendees are invited to send in three pages of writing several weeks prior to the workshop with the understanding that samples may be critiqued and shared with the class. Send samples to: michellepbuckman@gmail.com and put 2014 CWC Workshop in the SUBJECT line.


Craig FarisCraig Faris is a 25-time award-winning author of fiction and plays, including four Best of Issue awards in the 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 editions of the South Carolina Writers Workshop anthology. Five of his short stories have won the South Carolina Carrie McCray Literary Award for Best Short Fiction, and his novel, The Spectrum Conspiracy. won Best Novel in 2010, and was a shortlist finalist in the William Faulkner/Wisdom Pirates Alley competition in 2012, 2010 and semifinalist in 2011. His short story, House of Ruth. was awarded 4th Place in the 80th Annual Writers Digest International Competition in 2011.
     Craig served on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Writers Workshop from 2000 until 2006 and served as co-chair for the 10th annual and 16th annual SCWW Writers Conferences. He also served as Vice-President of the southeast chapter of the Mystery Writers of America from 2000 until 2005. He works professionally as an adjunct professor of creative writing at Winthrop University and teaches digital design at York Technical College.
     His writing career began in 1998 when he completed his first novel trilogy, a 226,800-word sc-fi thriller. His second novel, a thriller, entitled, The Spectrum Conspiracy, was published by Bella Rosa Books in January 2013. Since that time, the novel has received over 53 five-star combined reviews on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Books-A-Million.com and GoodReads.com.
     Craig lives in Rock Hill, SC with his wife, Deena, and their two college age children, Katie and Charlie.

Morning Workshop: "The Wrong Way to Get Published; Learning from mistakes and getting noticed in the modern publishing world.” This session will compare traditional publishing with self-publishing and small press publishing, What NOT to do, and Turning mistakes into contracts.
Afternoon Workshop: “Conflict and Suspense; Grabbing the readers attention from page one.” This session will talk about pitches and blurbs, using conflict to grab attention and hooking readers through the use of suspense.


Barbara MellinAward-winning author, Barbara Rizza Mellin is familiar with all aspects of magazine writing. She currently writes a bi-monthly column for Renaissance magazine and has had well over a hundred freelance articles published in local, national and international magazines and newspapers. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, American Art Review, NAACP New Crisis, and in magazines in Australia, Canada, England, Thailand and Hong Kong. She founded ArtsAround Boston magazine and served as its Editor-in-Chief, Publisher and CEO. Her ArtSmart Travels columns have been syndicated and published around the world. She has taught magazine writing and journalism at the college level, and still teaches online college courses in the humanities, art and writing. She has been invited to speak at symposiums, workshops and conferences including a Journalism Conference in Yerevan, Armenia. About five years ago, she and her husband relocated to Winston-Salem from the Boston area.

Workshop: "Writing for Magazines” This workshop will discuss the basics of magazine writing and how to get published in periodicals. Some of the topics covered will include:

  • What the editor wants
  • How to follow your passion and find story ideas
  • Determining and using your expertise
  • Finding the right magazine for your story/article
  • The importance of the Query Letter (DOs and DON’Ts of the query.)
  • Characteristics of a good freelance writer
  • “Featurizing” your story: creative non-fiction vs. news journalism
  • Types of magazine articles
  • The vocabulary of magazines
  • Accepting rejection


Cathy PickensThe first of Cathy Pickens' five mysteries, Southern Fried, won the St. Martin’s/Minotaur Malice Domestic Award for Best Traditional Mystery. Cathy has served as national president for Sisters in Crime, as secretary for the national board of Mystery Writers of America, and is currently president of the regional Forensic Medicine Board (an inter-agency partnership that trains in the collection and use of forensic evidence).
     In her other life, she is a lawyer and a tenured professor in the McColl School of Business at Queens University, where she teaches law and a popular MBA elective on creativity and innovation.

Workshop: Why bother with “getting it right” in fiction? Why can’t you just make it up? Readers of any kind of fiction want to immerse themselves in an experience. Anything that might jolt readers out of that experience cheats them of some of the pleasure of reading.
     But research can add more than just facts to your writing—it can also give you stories or subplots or interesting details or motivations that you might otherwise miss. In this workshop, we’ll explore not just the resources available to writers but also how other writers as diverse as A. Conan Doyle and Patricia Cornwell have built their fiction on the scaffolding of real-life cases.


Robin WeaverA professional computer geek, Robin Weaver started writing extensively when she traded in her ski-boots for flip-flops and moved to North Carolina. She was a Golden Heart finalist and winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier contest. Her romantic suspense novel, Blue Ridge Fear—currently available from the Wild Rose Press—was the winner of the Write Touch contest and was a finalist in the Winter Rose Published Contest. Forbidden Magic, published under her pseudonym Genia Avers, was a 2013 Prism finalist. Her latest genre-hopping endeavor, The Secret Language of Leah Sinclair, a young adult suspense novel, will be available in late 2013.
     Weaver teaches workshops on point of view and pacing, and is a regular blogger with Romancing the Genres (www.RomancingtheGenres.blogspot.com). She loves Latin dancing, pistachios, Def Leppard, and the five o’clock shadow, not necessarily in that order. Please visit her on Facebook, LinkedIn or via her website: http://www.authorrobinweaver.com.

Workshop: Getting into deep POV (Point of View) not only lets your readers into the head of your hero/ine, but this viewpoint can also improve your overall writing and add flair to your manuscript. Properly implemented, deep POV can heighten the emotional connection for your reader, help the author eliminate telling, and possibly even enhance your voice. Learn tips and techniques for getting and staying in deep POV in this two-hour workshop.


Tamra WilsonSince 2006 Tamra Wilson has penned a weekly column about literature and the public library where she works in Catawba County. In addition to her own blog, she is a regular contributor to “WFAEats, All Things Food & Culture,” hosted by WFAE radio in Charlotte.
     Wilson is the author of Dining with Robert Redford (Little Creek Books), short stories about small-town life. Her work has appeared in North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, Crossroads: A Journal of Southern Culture and elsewhere. She is an alumna of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and received an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She is a manuscript critiquer for the NC Writers Network and serves as a Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council.

Workshop: The Successful Columnist/Blogger Drawing on my own experience, I will share an illustrated talk about essay writing (which is essentially what a column or blog is) in 300 words or less. We will explore sentence structure, voice, word choice and “book ends” to drive home a point succinctly and effectively. Participants should be prepared to discuss their favorite columnists and why that particular writer resonates. We will do a writing exercise and share drafts with the group.



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