Pictures and Words

Welcome Southern Writers Blog Tour readers!

I’ve had an exciting week! I dedicated my blog this week to other Southern Women who are gifted writers, editors, publishers and illustrators. Hence the Pictures and Words theme.

Please check out the short links below to jump around to the interviews posted so far:

MondayAnne Hicks,  founder, publisher, and executive editor of the creative prose and photography journal, moonShine review.

TuesdayAlice Ratterree, Illustrator. Winner of the 2012 SCBWI Art & Writing contest for her Alice in Wonderland Illustration.

WednesdayBeth Revis, New York Times Bestselling author of Across the Universe

Come back and see who is interviewed on Friday and Saturday!

I’m new to being Southern. I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina a little more than a year-and-a-half ago. I came from LA where I enjoyed an eighteen year career in film and television. I was nervous about the cross-country move. But I didn’t need to be.

Something magical happened to me once I moved here. At first I didn’t understand it. I even doubted it. It was a new sensation for me. I became happy. My creativity, through years and years and years of practice, found outlets. I was published. I joined SCBWI. I was a member of She Writes and joined groups within it. I got involved with the Women’s National Book Association. I met fantastic, successful, creative people who were willing to share their time. They expressed kindness and a genuine hope for my success as a writer. They displayed hospitality when introducing me to writers, editors, agents and illustrators. I learned about critique groups. I was urged to get involved. I was told to keep writing. I became part of the community.

It was overwhelming for me. In the past, my mentors could give me as much attention as I paid for. Even though many helped me become a better writer, there was always a sense of competition between writers. If one writer did well it was perceived as a threat to another.

I don’t feel that sense of competition in the South. Actually, I feel that the writers and editors I’ve met want me to be good. That my success (knock on wood)  is a good thing and not something that diminishes their work. The general attitude is the more successful writers out there the better the world. Think of all the readers and people in publishing that good books keep employed!

And the talent here is undeniable. Access to that talent is nothing short of miraculous. I don’t think if I lived in LA I’d have the good fortune of having coffee, lunch or any conversations with the likes of Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. And yet, a friend of mine introduced me to her via email and Tracey very graciously agreed to meet me. And even though I was nervous and a total geek the first few times I met her she still kept meeting me. ( I really wanted her to like me, but didn’t want to talk about my book that wasn’t done because I didn’t want to be that girl who could only talk about herself and I got dorky and nervous and wasn’t even myself for at least six months after meeting her) And now, I get to hang out with her and have drinks and I think she’s freaking amazing. Have you seen the deals she gets her authors? Not only that, Tracey has also introduced me to several successful YA authors, including Kimberley Griffiths Little, who I now consider a good friend. I feel that the Southern Creative community wants those within it to find their people so each individual’s creativity can flourish.

This is what it means to be Southern. When a friend of mine expressed a desire to write a personal essay, she asked me for help. I was very happy to edit her story and give her a few books to help her on her writing journey. People matter to people here. Yes we are all consumed by our family dramas, iPhones, twitter accounts and personal aspirations, but they don’t replace interpersonal relationships.

That’s what being Southern means to me. Thank you to my new friends for your warm hospitality and willingness to share your time and talent. And thank you for turning me on to sweet tea.

I’d love for you to continue on the Southern Writers Blog tour:

People who leave insightful comments on the blog post(s) during the tour will be entered into a random drawing to receive a special Southern Living-themed prize (worth $50) donated by Zetta Brown and Author/Publisher Services.

The more blogs you visit and the more comments you make throughout the tour, the more chances you get.

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: Musings & Meanderings: Thoughts on Life and Healing
Blog Owner: Melanie Pennington
Title: “The Flavors of My Childhood”

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: The Full-Bodied (Book) Blog
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Guest Blogger: Dera Williams
Title: “Not Your Storybook Southern Belle”

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Delani Bartlette’s Travel Blog
Blog Owner: Delani Bartlette
Guest Blogger: Stacy Allen
Title: “Changing The Past, Inventing The Future”

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Emily Kennedy, Author
Blog Owner: Emily Kennedy
Title: “Southern Gentlemen”

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: Ryder Islington, Author
Blog Owner: Ryder Islington
Guest Blogger: Deidre Ann Banville
Title: “New Orleans Caulbearers”

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: A Penny and Change
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: Trisha Faye
Title: “Change…as the moon goes on shining”

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Zetta’s House of Random Thoughts
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Title: “Texas Tornadoes and Other Memories”

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Blog Owner: Patricia Dorsey
Title: “A (Southern) Life in Poems”

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: A Penny’s Worth
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: NancyKay Sullivan Wessman
Title: “Books & Business & Reality: No magic bullet”

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: The Novelette
Blog Owner: Laura Gschwandtner
Title: “Southern Living with True Grit”


21 thoughts on “Pictures and Words

Add yours

  1. Interesting. I’ve lived in the south {all over Texas} most of the time I was growing up. Most big city people tend to find our ways a little off putting. XD

  2. Thanks for the links to the interviews, Holly, and being a part of the tour! Something that has always amazed me is that people ARE nice in the South…and I’m a Southerner too. When you’ve lived in other places, you DO notice the difference. Glad to hear that you’ve found others near you and have become part of the local writing community. 🙂

  3. What a lovely post describing your move. I’m a California girl, started in Southern ended up in Northern but your post makes me want to move to the South. Sounds so wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

  4. I went to grad school in CA and stayed there for a few years after graduation before moving to NC. And now I live in AL so I know what you mean about the South. In CA, competition is definitely there, kind of like the elephant in the room. But in the South, it does seem less cutthroat. I still miss CA and I wouldn’t mind returning, but then again, maybe just visiting. Loved your description of meeting Tracey, how nervous you were…I’d have been the same way! Don’t talk about your book to the one person you should definitely talk to about it! Sometimes, we wrtiers can be a bit nuts. 🙂

  5. Hello there … or ‘howdy’! Another (former) So Cal gal here (Inland Empire-Ontario/Upland) until I moved to Texas four years ago. (After a brief one year stop in Arizona). Yes, the south is definately friendlier and I’m loving every bit of it.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I like the mix of your honesty and humor.

  6. So happy you’ve found your move to the south to be so welcoming. Although I’ve lived here all my life, I think you are so right. I see creative Southerners as different from other creative types. There is an openness and willingness to share that is just lovely to witness and experience.

  7. Hi Holly,
    Glad you’re participating in the She Writes tour. I resonate with what you are saying about moving to the South and finding a friendly writerly community. I moved to North Carolina almost ten years ago and quickly became involved in the North Carolina Writer’s Network which puts on a fall and spring conference. They attract top regional and national writers, editors and agents. It’s also a very friendly conference that embraces emerging writers. I, too, have been surprised and felt grateful for the generosity of fellow writers and writing teachers (my teachers include Melissa Delbridge and Marjorie Hudson). It’s a model that I definitely want to support and amplify!

  8. I’m delighted that you fell in love with your adopted home. It sounds like you were welcomed into not only the community but the writing community as well. Good old-fashioned hospitality.

  9. Love your writing about the South. I am always curious when people move here and want to know why and what the experience was like. It is wonderful that you adapted and embraced your new life. As a Southerner, I am so very happy to have new folks to bring ideas and different ways of thinking into our world. Everyone benefits!

  10. People care about people here. That sums it up so well! I’m glad you are enjoying Charlotte. Do you go to that MeetUps group? I signed up but all the meetings are in South Charlotte and I’m almost in Huntersville. Just wondering because I think they sound great.

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