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CHARLOTTE—On Friday, November 21, from 12:00-1:30 pm, the Charlotte Writers’ Club will host a Pre-Conference Tailgate prior to the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference.

Three noted authors will provide instruction and guide participants through a series of writing prompts. Conference attendees and the general public are welcome: admission is free.

“The idea is to get folks excited about writing and to warm up our creative muscles,” said Charles Fiore, Communications Director of NCWN. “That way, we hit the ground running once conference registration opens later that afternoon.”

The Pre-Conference Tailgate, sponsored by the Queens University of Charlotte MFA in Creative Writing Program, will take place in the Crown Room at the Levine Center, 2201 Wellesley Avenue, on the campus of Queens University. Parking is free and plentiful in the parking decks adjacent to the Levine Center. For a campus map, click here.

The event will be facilitated by the following members of the Charlotte Writers’ Club:

Creative Nonfiction with Gilda Morina Syverson: author of the memoir My Father’s Daughter, From Rome to Sicily, scheduled for release in December 2014 from Pegasus Books in conjunction with Divine Phoenix. She is the author of two poetry books, Facing the Dragon and the chapbook In This Dream Everything Remains Inside. She has been teaching memoir classes and workshops for the last fifteen years at Queens University of Charlotte.

Poetry with David Radavich: poet, playwright, and essayist. Among his poetry volumes are Slain Species; By the Way: Poems over the Years; and Greatest Hits. His latest collection is The Countries We Live In. His plays have been produced across the United States, including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe. David is immediate past-president of the Charlotte Writers’ Club and currently vice president of the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Screenwriting with Patrick Lee: author and screenwriter. He wrote the original screenplays James Barry; Night of the Cyclone starring Kris Kristofferson; and Rutanga Tapes. Patrick worked as a journalist and media consultant in South Africa. He is the author of two novels: Discards, published by Penguin SA, and The Flies of August. He currently is working on Concealed Carry, a sequel to The Flies of August.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference opens at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 21 and runs through Sunday, November 23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Uptown Charlotte. Fall Conference offers workshops and master classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, lectures and panels on publishing and finding an agent, and the opportunity to have your manuscript reviewed by literary agents and editors.

The faculty includes poets Anthony S. Abbott, Morri Creech, and Alan Michael Parker; fiction writers Kim Boykin, Moira Crone, and Aaron Gwyn; and creative nonfiction writers Cynthia Lewis, Rebecca McClanahan, and Amy Rogers. Allan Gurganus will give the Keynote Address. Saturday’s luncheon features Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate. Cost varies, scholarships are available. Register now at www.ncwriters.org.

The Charlotte Writers' Club (or CWC, as their members affectionately call it) provides a great opportunity for writers of all forms—and there are so many—to meet and discuss the latest trends, commiserate on projects, find critique groups, and participate in contests and workshops. This club aims to help writers develop their craft and keep the words coming. The CWC sponsors a wide range of activities that nurture writers, including contests, critique groups, monthly meetings, and periodic workshops. For more information on membership and joining the Charlotte Writers' Club, click on Membership.

A community of writers in-residence and online, the Low-Residency MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte brings together experienced and emerging writers for intensive seven-day residencies on campus twice a year and connects students and teachers online through the rest of the year as they work on their writing in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. It is designed to benefit committed writers who want to hone their craft without uprooting their lives. With courses of study in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for stage and screen, the MFA program offers an immersive experience over four semesters of intense study and writing.

The Queens University of Charlotte MFA in Creative Writing Program is also an “All-Day” Friday Sponsor and the sponsor of Saturday night’s Annual Banquet featuring the inimitable Wilton Barnhardt.

On-site registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference will open Friday, November 21, at 3:00 pm. Click here for conference details.

 

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, writers can sign up for "All Shapes and Sizes: A Workshop on Novel Structure" with Chantel Acevedo. Whether you outline, or let the muse take you where she will, every novel must have a thoughtful structure to it. We’ll be discussing the fundamentals of how to structure your novel in this workshop. We’ll talk about scene building, the “tent poles” that hold your novel up, pacing, character motivation and more.

Chantel Acevedo has received many awards for her fiction, including the Latino International Book Award and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship. A Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida, Acevedo has spent time in Japan and New Zealand as a Fulbrighter, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama, where she teaches at Auburn University. She is the editor of the Southern Humanities Review, the founder of the annual Auburn Writers Conference, and the author of two additional novels, Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martin’s Press) and A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press), as well as a novel for young adults, Song of the Red Cloak. A new novel, The Distant Marvels, is forthcoming from Europa Editions.

Register for Fall Conference now!

 

What are you reading right now?
Carlos Zafón's The Prisoner of Heaven.

Where is your favorite place to write?
The little white writing desk in my bedroom.

If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
I'm also a professor and editor, but if I weren't any of those, I'd work in a bridal store. I just love all those beautiful dresses and excited people on the threshold of this big event.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
Lately, Zafón has been an influence. But certainly, Cristina Garcia and Julia Alvarez have been major influences.

If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. I've always wanted red hair!

What do you hope attendees takeaway from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
My workshop is about structuring the novel, so I hope they come away with a renewed sense of the project they're working on, and a possible way "through" it.

Charlotte is known as both "The Queen City" and "The Hornet's Nest." Does one of those nicknames ring more true for you than the other?
I've been only once, briefly, but I just loved the little crowns on the signage. Parts of town reminded me of London, strangely, so definitely it's "The Queen City" for me.

Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
A sci-fi story that was published in a magazine for high school writers. The magazine was called Beginnings, but I can't recall the title of the story!

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Moving, Page-turning, Educational.

What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
It depends on the day. Some days, the drafting is a pleasure, others, it's torture. Same goes for revision, trying to get published, marketing, etc.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
You don't have to stick to one genre. Sometimes, a story is actually a poem. Go with it.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
It would be quirky. I'd have John Green interviewing Marilynne Robinson, and those kinds of mix-ups. Toni Morrison would be the keynote. And maybe we'd have a seance and summon Shakespeare, and lay to rest all the rumors about his authorship.

Do you steal hotel pens?
Every chance I get.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference runs November 21-23 in Charlotte. Registration is now open.

 

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Carin Siegfried and Betsy Thorpe will lead a workshop on "The Art of the Pitch." After years of perfecting your manuscript, now it’s time to think about how you’re going to pitch your work—to agents, editors, publishers, and readers. Learn the secrets of a perfect query letter, and how to engage your reader. Carin Siegfried and Betsy Thorpe spent years as acquiring editors in New York for St. Martin’s and Random House, respectively, reading pitches from agents and authors, and can tell you what made them drop everything to read a manuscript sparked by an amazing pitch.

Carin Siegfried has been in the book business for twenty years, since starting work in the Davidson College library. She was an editor for Thomas Dunne Books at St. Martin’s Press in New York for five years, acquiring twenty-five books, including a New York Times bestseller, a Kelly Ripa Book Club selection, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. In addition, she worked on more than 100 books on behalf of Tom Dunne, including numerous bestsellers and award winners. More recently she was the New England independent bookstore sales rep, and then a national account manager, for book wholesaler Baker & Taylor. In 2009 she founded the Charlotte chapter of the Women’s National Book Association and she is currently President of the national WNBA. She runs her own editorial service, Carin Siegfried Editorial, where she enjoys helping writers make their books the very best. She is the author of The Insider's Guide to a Career in Book Publishing (6/2014, Chickadee Books), a book explaining the ins and outs of the publishing industry for young adults wanting to break into the field.

Betsy Thorpe has been in the book business for twenty years, working in the adult trade departments as a developmental and acquisitions editor at Atheneum, HarperCollins, Broadway Doubleday, Macmillan, and John Wiley & Sons. Since leaving New York, she founded Betsy Thorpe Literary Services, an independent book consultancy, where she works with authors on their book projects, helps with pitches and finding agents, and pulls together independent editorial teams and designers for self-publishing. She has co-written four books, three of which have been featured in The New York Times.

Register now!

 

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Carin Siegfried: Marketing is really, really hard. I knew that beforehand, but I had no idea until I tried doing it and it’s a nightmare. So many moving parts, so many options, so many costs, no way to know what will stick. We know 50 percent of marketing works… just not which 50 percent. This is true for my business, and even more so for my book.
Betsy Thorpe: When I was an acquiring editor I was rejecting many books that were very good, but not quite “there.” As an aspiring novelist, this got me down, and put me off writing my own novel for sixteen years.

Did you have a teacher or mentor who had a big, positive impact on you?
CS: I had several great English professors in college who all taught the pop culture has value. They did not value so-called “literature” over just plain, regular fiction. They acknowledged that we don’t know which contemporary books will one day be classics, and also that one can find value in pop culture in a literary way, a la Don Delillo’s White Noise. I loved their non-snobbery and appreciation of all types of genres and styles.
BT: I had many mentors and amazing professors, but I have to go all the way back to high school, where two English teachers, Mrs. Lang and Mr. Krill, inspired me to (respectively) be a writer, and to love the middle ages.

Who is your literary hero?
CS: David Sedaris. He’s a little guy with a squeaky voice writing about everyday life, from getting a colonoscopy to picking up trash on the side of the road, and he not only makes it hilarious and riveting, but he’s made an entire career out of it. And yet, he still does events at independent bookstores, and for every tour he picks a book that he personally likes and he touts it everywhere he goes, spreading the wealth. If you’ve ever seen him in person, you’ll know he could not be less pretentious or celebrity-esque. He has never left an event before every book has been signed, and he talks to everyone.
BT: Oh man, impossible to have just one! I’d have to say Jane Austen for bucking the conventions of the time when women were meant to be ornaments, and not keen and observant writers. I love literary pioneers.

If you could live in any literary world for the rest of your life, where would you find yourself?
CS: I’m fine where I am. No magical realms, nor even historical. Both are too scary. I couldn’t deal with the sexism and lack of TV. So I’ll go with the '90s in NYC restaurants and live in Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl.
BT: Narnia (C.S. Lewis), followed by Avonlea on Prince Edward Island (L.M. Montgomery), followed by King Arthur’s Court (Geoffrey of Monmouth).

If you could have written one book that someone else wrote, which book would it be?
CS: Pride and Prejudice. It’s only the best book ever, so why would anyone pick anything else?
BT: Bel Canto—pure genius. I stand in awe at Ann Patchett’s skills there.

Many writers are solitary creatures. Coming to an event like Fall Conference can be a little intimidating, navigating the exhibit hall and ballroom events. Any advice for working the room?
CS: I recently heard that the best thing to do is not to approach a single, but to approach a twosome. That way you’re not stuck and you have a decent chance of being able to peel off and continue to mingle.
BT: I’m really awkward at working a room as well. I once spoke to a group in South Carolina, and after I finished, a woman introduced herself. She said she was a realtor by day, but was so happy to be surrounded by fellow writers at this conference because until then, she’d felt very alone in her pursuit of writing. It’s hard in your everyday world for people to know what writing is like, and how it can be both amazing and heartbreaking. So enjoy the fellowship of your fellow writers. Just introduce yourself and tell the other person what you’re working on and what you’re hoping to get out of the conference and make sure you “friend” them on Facebook or get e-mail addresses to keep in touch! Get a support group or a writers’ group together.

Who gave the best reading or talk you've ever been to? What made it so good?
CS: David Sedaris is always the best reading I’ve been to. I’ve seen him four times in three cities. He’s hilarious and I love that despite how popular he is, he doesn’t exclusively do expensive paid events. He still does free shows at indies all the time. He gives away random free things at his signings like hotel toiletries and coat hangers and condoms. And I love hearing him try out new material, and then see the final version later in his next book.
BT: I loved the talk that Debbie Macomber gave at Bookmarks last year. She told the story of how she dreamed she could have a career as a writer, but kept getting rejected, time and time again. It took her five years of multiple submissions of multiple manuscripts before she got her first contract. Her story showed that butt in chair plus talent plus a dogged determination got her to be a bestselling author.

Any advice for attendees who sign up for the Open Mic?
CS: Remember to breathe.
BT: Humor always wins people over. And brevity.

The city of Charlotte was founded on two established Native American trading routes. Now, of course, it's the 2nd biggest banking center in the country. Fall Conference will boast an exhibit hall packed with vendors. How do you approach an exhibit hall at a conference such as this? To shop, to chat, or both?
CS: Both. I’ve been on both sides of the booth, and I actually think it’s a little easier to be in the booth, waiting for people to approach you. As a participant, sometimes the vendors seem desperate and I’m scared if I approach them I’ll never get away. So I am hesitant and I prefer a booth where the vendors don’t jump on every person the second they walk up. Relax. If the material’s good and right for the person, they’ll stay a minute.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but of course most of us do. What is one—or some—of your favorite book cover(s)?
CS: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was beautiful. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore was not just awesome but it also glow in the dark! Blindness by Jose Saramago was simple and yet perfect.
BT: Recently, I’ve loved the cover for Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. And Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson kills me every time I see it.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
CS: Everyone will take away something different. Some people need more confidence, some people need to know how hard it is so they won’t take a few rejections so to heart, and some people need to know when to give up and start something new. As long as you learn something—it doesn’t matter what—you’ve had a successful day.
BT: Pitching a book is so important and should be given a lot of attention to perfect. It’s not true that “unless you know somebody” you have no shot at getting published. A great pitch letter will get you a read by a powerful and knowledgable agent. Make sure it’s got all the elements that need to go into a great pitch letter.

What is your guilty pleasure read?
CS: Valley of the Dolls was fantastic. Everyone should read it. You’ll love it.
BT: So many types of books fit in this category for me. But I’m always a sucker for historical fiction with a dash of romance, suspense, and mystery.

What makes you cringe when you see it on the page?
CS: “Entitled” instead of “titled.” But this is a battle I’m losing. The improper definition is even in most dictionaries now. (Entitled is a legal term meaning you are owed or due something. If you’re talking about the title of a book or TV show, it’s simply “titled.”)
BT: So much! An editor is supposed to be on the lookout for multiple sins on the page, and being an English major you learn to critique and analyze the greats. But my number one pet peeve at the moment is bad dialogue and dialogue tags.

Caffeine of choice? (English Breakfast, Caramel macchiato, etc.)
CS: Dr. Pepper.
BT: PG tips tea. Thanks to living in England for a couple of years, that’s your basic everyday tea, but I love a good Darjeeling or Lady Grey when splashing out on a slightly better tea. With milk, hold the sugar.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Marybeth Whalen and her husband Curt have been married for twenty-three years and are the parents of six children, ranging in age from college to elementary school. The family lives in North Carolina. Marybeth is a speaker and the author of five novels. The newest, The Bridge Tender, was released in June. She is the co-founder of the popular women's fiction site, She Reads, at www.shereads.org, and is the Writer-in-Residence at a local private school. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She is always at work on her next novel. You can find her at www.marybethwhalen.com.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Marybeth will participate in the panel "Structure: Four Ways to Build a Book" with Kim Boykin, Erika Marks, and Kim Wright. Structure: It's hard to talk about and therefore many writers avoid the scary subject, even though a sound structure is essential to the success of any novel. On this panel, four writers will share their own unique ways of building a book, from being a “pantser” (who flies by the seat of her pants) to a “plotter” who won't begin without a detailed outline, to all the possibilities between these two extremes. We'll also discuss the issues of whether each book demands its own structure, the challenge of revision, writing when you aren't sure what happens next, and whether or not the "film formula" really works when it comes to novels. You'll leave with a new set of tools to help you find the best structural approach to your next book.

Register now!

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Elizabeth Berg is my absolute hero so I'd have to say her. Her ability to observe the nuances of life, and to capture a woman's unique thoughts and emotions, is enviable to me so of course I'd like to be her—and therefore write like her.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Charming, hopeful, engaging.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
It will be rewarding—but not in any way you expect it to be.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
Charlotte is a mix of NASCAR and banking, old south and northern transplants, funky and austere, city and country. Which means that there's pretty much something for everyone, if you keep looking. At its heart, Charlotte is a small town who grew up fast, and experienced growing pains along the way. Who among us doesn't know what that feels like?

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
The best writers are the ones who always keep learning and never feel they've arrived. They remain teachable and that open-heartedness is reflected in their writing.

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Creativity breeds creativity. It inspires, it multiplies, it gets into the air and fills us all.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
The sense that there is no one right way. And that if they have a passion to write the key is to just keep at it.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
Don't be afraid to strike up conversations, to take risks, to be the first to reach out.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
I'm gonna go with my southern, Sunday school upbringing and say the Bible, especially the Psalms—from the depths of despair to the heights of euphoria, there is nothing withheld, no question too big, no promise unkept. Sometimes I need to resonate with the despair, sometimes I need to cling to the hope. Either way, there's always something there.

Can writing be taught?
The drive to write can't—but the skill to make what you write resonate can.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
My best friend, author Ariel Lawhon, mainly because she listens to me weep and gnash my teeth, then kicks me back into play. She also helps me brainstorm and gives me good insight when I can't see past my own nose.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
Reading some encouragement from another writer, talking to my best friend, reading back through my journal, and then sometimes just making myself open the damn file. Sometimes that one tiny act is the hardest move I make all day.

Someone writes an un-authorized biography about your life. What would the title be?
The same title of my "theme song"—I'm Still Standing.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, November 21-23 in Charlotte, is now open.

 

Originally from Greenwood, SC, Scott Owens holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He currently lives in Hickory, where he teaches at Catawba Valley Community College, edits Wild Goose Poetry Review, owns and operates Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery, and serves as vice-president of the NC Poetry Society, Regional Representative of NCWN, and Coordinator of Poetry Hickory. His twelfth book of poetry, To, is scheduled for release by Main Street Rag in early November. His work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the NC Writers' Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Scott will join the panel discussion "Creating a Poetry Community" along with Jonathan K. Rice. As romantic (and Romantic) as the image of the solitary poet may be, the reality is that most poets need to be part of a community. A poetry community can help its members hone their craft, find their muse, take advantage of opportunities, and overcome the discouragements that all writers face. Scott Owens and Jonathan K. Rice have spent years building poetry communities through magazines, readings, open mics, and more. They will talk about their experiences, answer your questions, and share tips on how to come together with your fellow poets.

Register now!

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Too complex a question. If you mean temporarily, then I would take just about anyone, the more different, the better, just to experience something else. If you mean permanently, then no one; I like my life.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Relevant, accessible, necessary.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Never stop being amazed at it all.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
Diversity. Old and new. Southern and Northern. Tradition and Innovation. All in one place.

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Networking, networking, networking. Many of my most important connections were initially made at NCWN conferences.

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Absolutely! The creative use of language is an essential element of perception and the processing of perception. It's how we conceptualize, contemplate, contextualize, and interpret the perceptions upon which we base all of our decisions, beliefs, and motivations. Or at least, it's what we should be using for that process rather than blind obedience.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
An understanding of just how easy and valuable it is to participate in or even initiate opportunities to learn, create, and share.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
Networking is establishing contacts that can help writers develop their ideas and craft, and create media for sharing their creations with interested audiences as well as audiences that didn't know they should be interested.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Galway Kinnell's Book of Nightmares.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Yes. South Carolina Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine, Chattahoochee Review, Raleigh Review, Asheville Poetry Review. Too many to name them all.

Can writing be taught?
Of course. Or perhaps "coached" is a better work. If students have the motivation and willingness to work, their writing can definitely be improved.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
Another long list including Galway Kinnell, Tim Peeler, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Yannis Ritsos, CP Cavafy, Yehuda Amichai, etc.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
I don't really believe in writer's block. I think what people call writer's block is usually judging one's writing before it's ready to be judged, resulting in a stifling of creativity.

Someone writes an un-authorized biography about your life. What would the title be?
Piecemeal.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference runs November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel, in Charlotte. Registration is now open.

 

Born and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sarah Creech grew up in a house full of women who told stories about black cloud visions and other premonitions. Her work has appeared in storySouth, Literary Mama, Aroostook Review, Glass, and as a finalist for Glimmer Train. She received an MFA from McNeese State University in 2008 and now teaches English and creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. She currently lives in North Carolina with her two children and her husband, a poet. Season of the Dragonflies is her first novel.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Sarah will lead the workshop "First Impressions in the First Few Pages." The famed writers of the Toy Story movies, creators of the endearing toy Woody, knew they wanted his character to end at a place of selflessness. To do so, they thought he needed to start from a place of pure selfishness. The only problem? The audience couldn’t connect with Woody. He had to be rewritten and made into the character we find in the Pixar films today. The beginning of any short story or novel (or screenplay) requires that the audience care about the main character. Characters don’t have to be lovable, but their problems must feel real, with a need for a solution. How do writers create characters an audience cares about? In this workshop, participants will review examples of how professional fiction writers pull this off in the first few pages of a novel or short story. Participants will have an in-class writing exercise to practice creating characters that connect with an audience in the first few pages.

Register now!

 

What are you reading right now?
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris.

Where is your favorite place to write?
My office at home surrounded by four walls painted a sea blue color called “Cool Jazz.” How does one land a job naming paint colors?

If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Naming paint colors.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, Colette, Tolstoy.

If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
Daisy Buchanan.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
An urgent need to sit down and read.

Charlotte is known as both "The Queen City" and "The Hornet's Nest." Does one of those nicknames ring more true for you than the other?
Queen City. At turns fancy and fickle.

Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
A poem I wrote on an envelope in a Civil War cemetery in Virginia. I left it on an unmarked grave. A groundskeeper found the poem and the cemetery board decided to make a plaque for it. It’ll be in that graveyard long after I’m dead.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Unexpected, ambitious, entertaining.

What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
Most frustrating: doubting my choices. Most rewarding: affirmation about said choices.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
This is (at the minimum) a ten-year apprenticeship.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Anna Karenina.

Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
I’d rather describe my ideal party for after the readings: Junot Diaz starts the dance party, and just as I’m about to join the fun, Zadie Smith cuts in and says “Sarah, let’s have a drink together and I’ll explain how I became such a brilliant novelist at such a young age. By listening to me this wisdom will rub off on you.” Then Haruki Murakami will come over and say, “Sarah, don’t listen to that. All you need to do is run thirty miles a day. I swear by it. Now I’m going to bed. I wake up with the sunrise each and every day. No time for late parties. Take it from me, that’s the secret to great writing.” Joshua Ferris will tell jokes in the corner surrounded by people who are mesmerized by his pretty blue eyes. Toni Morrison’s laughter will hover over the room. Cormac McCarthy will dance beside Junot Diaz. The poet Mark Strand will tell us all when it is time to go to bed.

Do you steal hotel pens?
No, but I do steal extra samples at Harris Teeter.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference runs November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel, in Charlotte. Registration is now open.

 

SOUTHERN PINES, NC—The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines houses the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, a living celebration of the state’s rich literary heritage. Fifty-three authors have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its founding in 1996.

On Sunday, October 12, at 2:00 pm, four poets will join them: Betty Adcock, Ronald H. Bayes, Jaki Shelton Green, and Shelby Stephenson. Hailing from Raleigh, Mebane, Laurinburg, and Benson respectively, their varied backgrounds paint a vivid picture of North Carolina literature past, present, and future.

Sunday’s ceremony will include readings by North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate Joseph Bathanti, plus Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, Teresa Church, Nora Shepard, and more. J. Peder Zane will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and the exhibit hall will host several North Carolina literary organizations. The Country Bookshop, located in Southern Pines, will be on hand to sell books by the inductees.

To learn more about the Hall of Fame, and the 2012 inductees, watch this video, courtesy of Beth-Ann Kutchma and Chasing the Mad Lion Productions.

For the purposes of induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, a North Carolina writer is defined as one who is:

  • significantly shaped by his or her time in the state, and/or
  • identified in the public’s mind as a North Carolinian and/or
  • self-identified as a North Carolinian.

Writers selected for induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame meet the following criteria:

  • the writer is acclaimed nationally or internationally;
  • the quality of the work is exemplary;
  • the writer has influenced the development and appreciation of literature in North Carolina; and
  • the writer has achieved a formative and significant place in the annals of North Carolina literature.

“I am very honored and humbled that my peers, that my legacy of service to the state, that my legacy of trying to have good practices and trying to have literary excellence is recognized,” Jaki Shelton Green said in a recent interview, “that it matters.”

Largely self-educated—she has no degrees—Betty Adcock was Writer in Residence at Meredith College in Raleigh, where she taught until 2006 and twice held the Mary Lynch Johnson Professorship. She is the author of six poetry collections and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the North Carolina Medal for Literature, among many other honors and awards.

Ronald H. Bayes is the Writer-in-Residence and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg. His collection Greatest Hits 1960-2002 was published by Pudding House Publications in 2003, following Chainsong for the Muse (Northern Lights Press, 1993).

Jaki Shelton Green is a writer and activist. She received the North Carolina Award for Poetry in 2003. She has published four books of poetry through Carolina Wren Press. She was the 2009 Piedmont Laureate.

Shelby Stephenson has published many collections of poems. He is the former editor of Pembroke Magazine. His Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize. His website is www.shelbystephenson.com.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, righter of wrongs, and some call him the Pompetus of Love. Okay, maybe he’s an urban fantasy and horror author from Charlotte with a background in theatre and a love for fried pickles and loud music. John is the author of The Black Knight Chronicles from Bell Bridge Books, available wherever books or e-books are sold. He’s also the creator of the comedic horror icon Bubba the Monster Hunter, and the short stories that bear his name. John is an award-winning poet, lighting designer, and theatre producer, whose work has been translated into over twenty-five languages and read worldwide. He’s been published in several online literary journals including The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, cc&d, Deuce Coupe, and Truckin’. His poem “Dancing with Fireflies” was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize. John is also the host of the YouTube series Literate Liquors, where he pairs fantasy and science fiction novels with the appropriate alcohol. He can be found online at www.johnhartness.com and spends too much time on Twitter (@johnhartness), especially after a few drinks.

At the 2014 North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, John will join the panel discussion, "The Many Paths to Publication," with Kim Boykin and Karon Luddy. Traditional or Indie, Big 5 or Small Press, Digital or Print: writers have never had more possible, viable paths to publication to choose from, which can make choosing harder than ever before. This panel discussion will feature three authors who have followed more than one of those paths, and can tell you what they discovered along the way.

Register now!

 

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Don't Quit Your Day Job.

Did you have a teacher or mentor who had a big, positive impact on you?
I had a ton of great teachers who took an interest in my writing over the years, particularly in high school. But the biggest was Deborah Hobbs, my English teacher for 9th - 11th grade. She made sure to push me to excel and never let up.

Who is your literary hero?
Probably Pat Conroy.

If you could live in any literary world for the rest of your life, where would you find yourself?
I'm good where I am. Literary worlds are generally pretty f'd up places, since writers love to torture their characters.

If you could have written one book that someone else wrote, which book would it be?
I couldn't. No interest.

Many writers are solitary creatures. Coming to an event like Fall Conference can be a little intimidating, navigating the exhibit hall and ballroom events. Any advice for working the room?
Get over yourself. The days of writers as these brilliant fragile creatures working in solitude in some ivory tower are long over. Get your head out of your ass and network. I have zero sympathy or patience for people who are unwilling to put in the work networking to make their own success. If you're really that much of a wilting lily, get drunk first. It'll take the edge off.

Who gave the best reading or talk you've ever been to? What made it so good?
Ann Bogart and Ben Cameron can give me goosebumps with their passion for the arts. James Earl Jones made me weep with his honesty.

Any advice for attendees who sign up for the Open Mic?
Practice. Work that is performed is a PERFORMANCE, the interaction with the audience is much more important than the words on the page. Watch videos of slam poetry performers and steal from them. Be a mf'in rock star. We can all read, now ENGAGE me. Thrill me, make me live in your words.

The city of Charlotte was founded on two established Native American trading routes. Now, of course, it's the 2nd biggest banking center in the country. Fall Conference will boast an exhibit hall packed with vendors. How do you approach an exhibit hall at a conference such as this? To shop, to chat, or both?
I'm usually selling books, and will be at this event as well. But if I'm there just attending, then I'm networking. I'm looking for publishers that publish my kind of work and trying to make connections with decision-makers. I'm not there to chat, this is a business. That said, I'll happily chat at the bar later.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but of course most of us do. What is one—or some—of your favorite book cover(s)?
I'm a genre fiction guy, so give me a genre fiction cover. Tell me what the book is about, and evoke a feeling. Thieftaker by DB Jackson is an excellent example of this. It sets the tone, the location and hints at a magical element, all without hitting me over the head with it.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
That this should be fun, and funny, and it's not all so bloody serious all the time. For god's sake, if you can't laugh at yourself, everyone else certainly will do it for you. Writing is hard, it's a difficult business to break into and almost impossible to make any money at, so do anything you can to have a good time in the process.

What is your guilty pleasure read?
I have no guilt, so I'll read anything. I love YA SF and Fantasy, I write comic horror and urban fantasy, I write poetry, I read alternate history and thrillers, and I'm a huge fan of graphic novels. Read what you love, screw anybody who judges you for it.

What makes you cringe when you see it on the page?
Passive voice, purple prose and stories that don't go anywhere.

Caffeine of choice? (English Breakfast, Caramel macchiato, etc.)
Mountain Dew.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference is now open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Arthur and the Consciousness Gene: How Truth Uses Deception & Illusion Masquerades as Truth by Don Carroll

Little Peak Creek Publishing Company
$15.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0989865012
September, 2014
Fiction
Available from your local bookstore and www.Amazon.com

In King Arthur and The Consciousness Gene, Don Carroll’s fourth novel, we find some of the most beloved characters from his earlier novels in The Consciousness Trilogy, including Rat, Manuelito, and Blaine. Through intense spiritual practices Blaine develops the ability to go back in time to observe events occurring centuries ago. She is persuaded by Mother Mary of the Sacred Order of the Sisters of Mary Magdala to return to King Arthur’s time to seek evidence to confirm that in him a gene was expressed, which allows humans to develop a higher level of consciousness.Blaine finds herself in a race against time, and the CIA who are on their own quest to find the secret.

Blaine arrives at the time of Arthur in the reflective consciousness of a young woman named Gwenynen. Arthur is in the midst of his many battles to protect Britian, is seriously wounded. Gwenynen travels with Arthur to the mythical island of Avalon—the very real Ynys Enlli, off the coast of Wales—and learns the Celtic prince is not only a warrior-king, but also a man of deep faith who uniquely blends Celtic and Roman Christianity. As this epic tale unfolds, the reader is plunged ever deeper into new ideas about the meanings and mechanisms of consciousness. Ultimately, the story of King Arthur is the story of each of our journeys into the unexpected and unavoidable discovery of how truth uses deception, and how illusion masquerades as truth.

Don Carroll is an author and spiritual director. His writing includes nonfiction, fiction, and contemplative work. These vastly different genres are connected by an underlying theme of the importance of accessing our spiritual nature in our human journey. Don's novels include: The Consciousness Trilogy. This epic, three-novel series unfolds an exciting mystery in each volume. In Hacking Toward Consciousness, the theme is about an individual spiritual journey. In The End of Democracy, it is about the country's spiritual journey to break out of a dualistic box, and The Armageddon Choice is about the spiritual journey of the planet. Don is also the author of A Lawyer's Guide to Healing, available through Hazelden and Amazon. The Connect interactive meditation journal is available through Amazon and www.PracticesofAwakening.com.

Don completed his spiritual direction training at Sursum Corda. He attends the Davidson Friends Meeting and participates in the spiritual formation program of Davidson United Methodist Church. He is a member of the Wesleyan Contemplative Order. He leads workshops using the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual transformation and as a tool for deepening spiritual transformation in 12-Step recovery. He is the author of The 9 and 12 Workbook, Renewing your Recovery, Re-claiming your Life.

From 1994 to 2011 Don served as Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program. This program provides assistance, evaluation, and referral to North Carolina lawyers and judges suffering from emotional distress, depression, addiction and other disorders that might impair their ability to practice. Don is a certified Professional Coach and a certified Strozzi Institute Somatic Coach.

Don received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College. He has a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Dundee in Scotland and he received his law degree with honors from the University of Virginia. He holds a MFA in writing from Vermont College.

In November 2011, Governor Bev Perdue conferred on him membership in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for outstanding service to the citizens of North Carolina.

His website is www.doncarroll.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ice Garden by Moira Crone

Carolina Wren Press
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-932112-96-5
October, 2014
Fiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"One of our best American writers, Moira Crone gives us her finest book yet, a story as dazzling and dangerous as ice. The Ice Garden is a heart-stopper. This just may be the most haunting and memorable novel you will ever read."
—Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth and The Last Girls

"Ten-year-old Claire McKenzie is the narrator of this wonderful novel, and her far-too-soon passage into adulthood is at the core of this great-hearted but never sentimental book. Moira Crone is an immensely talented writer, and all of her gifts are in full display in The Ice Garden."
—Ron Rash, author of Nothing Gold Can Stay and Serena

"The pages fly by in The Ice Garden, Moira Crone’s powerful new novel that, despite its title, burns with a glowing white heat. A young girl, Claire McKenzie, narrates her life with a mother trapped in the suffocating culture of the South in the sixties, a father too dazzled by his wife to notice his daughter, and the brand-new sister she adores. Moira Crone’s ability to capture feeling in words and to make those words sing is remarkable and memorable. I read the book straight through, shocked, riveted, and in awe."
—Kelly Cherry, author of A Kind of Dream: Stories

Ten-year-old Claire adores her brand-new baby sister, but her mother doesn't feel the same. Trapped in the suffocating culture of the small-town South in the early 1960s, Claire's mother tries to cope with her own mental illness and all the expectations placed upon a woman of her class. While Claire's father remains too dazzled by his beautiful wife to recognize the impending dangers, Claire is left largely on her own to save herself and her baby sister--with mesmerizing and shocking consequences.

Moira Crone, whose works have appeared in The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Fiction, is the award-winning author of six books, including her newest novel The Ice Garden. Her previous book, The Not Yet, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for best science fiction paperback of the year in 2013. In 2009, she received the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Southern Fellowship of Writers for the body of her work. She will lead a fiction workshop titled "World-Building" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference. www.moiracrone.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catwalk by Sheila Webster Boneham

Midnight Ink
$14.99, paperback / $8.69, e-book
ISBN: 978-0738734880
October, 2014
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Smart characters and intricate plotting."
Booklist

"Animal photographer Janet MacPhail's latest adventure will delight dog lovers, cat lovers, and mystery lovers. Janet is excellent company, and although Leo the cat plays a starring role, I'm happy to report that Leo does not eclipse Jay the Aussie, who has become one of my favorite fictional dogs. Indeed, if Jay ever needs to move out of the pages of Sheila Boneham's mysteries and into a nonfiction house, he'll be more than welcome in mine. Five stars for Catwalk!"
—Susan Conant, author of Brute Strength and other novels in the Holly Winter series of Dog Lover's Mysteries

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “cat-napping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing kitty, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies, endangered wetlands, and a belligerent big-shot land developer. Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom and his Labrador Retriever Drake, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But when a body is discovered on the canine competition course, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of the Animals in Focus Mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the series, won the Dog Writers Association of America Award in Fiction, Mystery, or Humor. She is also the author of seventeen nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and resides in Wilmington, NC. For more information, go to SheilaBoneham.com.

The Flying Days by Coyla Barry

Carolina Wren Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-932112-98-9
September, 2014
Poetry
Available from the publisher

The Flying Days, by Coyla Barry, evokes the natural world with a poise and grace that stills every image her keen eye lights upon; and the reader is mesmerized, as if seeing, for the very first time, the sky and the birds spinning through it, the earth those birds occasionally light upon, and each pristine blade of grass.”
—Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina's seventh poet laureate

“Coyla Barry focuses her poet’s eyes and ears on the natural world, her response rising up in language as sharp and precise as a veery’s cry or the snort of an antelope. Through the art of poetry, she sees ‘the shape of a new place letting me in,’ as she concludes ‘Call and Response,’ one of the many poems that beckon her readers to respond to the world around us and Barry renders the natural world in all its complexity and mystery, free of any trace of sentimentality.”
—Kathryn Stripling Byer, North Carolina's fifth poet laureate

“Coyla Barry’s poems brim with light and the surprise of recognition. Again and again she shows us the radiant familiar that is just under our daily radar. Her poems don’t play with big ideas, they appeal to the senses: the sharp scent of mint, a lake dive on a hot day, a shot of good malt whiskey, the arresting light of a meteor streaking over a wooded campsite.”
—Peter Makuck

“In The Flying Days, Coyla Barry brings a scientific eye and a passionate heart to an examination of the connections between desire, aging, and death. Poems that start out paced by close observation blossom into revelations on longing and the way wanting shapes human life at every stage.”
—Tanya Olson

Coyla Barry grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in physiology. She worked as a marine biologist at Yale University until the 1970s when she moved south with her three children. After obtaining a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she began a second career as a Research Librarian at an international health care company. She is the author of two chapbooks, Creature and Creature, winner of the 2001 Harperprints Chapbook Competition sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and Swimming Woman: Poems from Montana (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Nimrod, Kakalak, The Pedestal, Southern Poetry Review, and other magazines. She now lives with her husband in a retirement community in Durham, North Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott

Mira
$24.95, hardcover / $11.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0778316527
September, 2014
Fiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

On the heels of his critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned, Jason Mott delivers a spellbinding tale of love and sacrifice.

On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.

Ava has an unusual gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child. But Ava's unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.

Elegantly written, deeply intimate and emotionally astute, The Wonder of All Things is an unforgettable story and a poignant reminder of life's extraordinary gifts.

Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various literary journals. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their ten “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.

He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned will be published internationally in over thirteen languages and has been adapted by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It airs on the ABC network under the title Resurrection.

The Wonder of All Things is Jason’s second novel. He is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Man Who Would Not Die by Paul Andrews

Smashwords
$6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-310547652
August, 2014
Fiction: Historical/Mystery
Available from www.Amazon.com

Who is Count Saint-Germain? A mysterious, ageless adventurer who dabbles in alchemy, composes operas, and spies for kings. Gifted with extraordinary longevity, he is forever entwined in pivotal events ... but only from the shadows. Throughout the eighteenth century he always appears the same, a striking gentleman between thirty to forty years.

He was Francis Rakoczi, exiled Hungarian prince. Falsely accused by the Inquisition, he is forced to surrender all, including his only love. He searches the world instead, desperately seeking answers to a greater destiny. But those who betrayed him will not get off scot free. For time is now on his side, and the clock is ticking for his enemies.

American author Paul Andrews was born and raised in the mountains of rural Pennsylvania. He has been writing short stories, novels and novellas for over twenty years. While his heart lies with historical mysteries and thrillers, he has also dabbled in science fiction, romance and even the paranormal. The Man Who Would Not Die is first novel, but he has many other stories to tell. Paul has a graduate degree from Rutgers University and spent many successful years as a R&D project manager. After working for a time in Manhattan and Washington D.C, he slowly migrated south to warmer climes. He now works, lives and writes in North Carolina with his wife, their two children, and two cats.

Paul Andrews has also e-published two novellas--historical thrillers/love stories: Firebrands set during the Great Chicago Fire, and Swept Away during the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Both are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other e-Book retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Widow Poems by Betty Adcock

Jacar Press
$10.95, paperback
September, 2014
Poetry
Available from the publisher

These deeply moving poems about grief, its aftermath, and learning to embrace the world again rank with Betty Adcock’s finest work.

A new book of poetry by the author of six award-winning collections from LSU Press.

Only the fox came
on the night you died, strange
angel the color of gold fire.....

Largely self-educated—she has no degrees—Betty Adcock studied and wrote poetry through early marriage, early motherhood, and more than a decade working in the business world. After her first book was published, she held a teaching residency for a semester at Duke University. Other residencies followed, culminating in an ongoing position as Writer in Residence at Meredith College in Raleigh, where she taught until 2006 and twice held the Mary Lynch Johnson Professorship. She is the author of six poetry collections and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the North Carolina Medal for Literature, among many other honors and awards.

She is a 2014 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

 

Malcolm CampbellMalcolm Campbell is the author of two adventure travel guidebooks, editor of professional golf instructor Dana Rader’s golf instructional book, Rock Solid Golf, and founder of the independent publishing house Walkabout Press. In Malcolm’s twenty years as a commercial writer, he’s written everything from power-tool-accessory catalogs to television commercials to cover/feature stories for national magazines. Malcolm is the 2008 recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, and he teaches in UNCC’s Writing Program.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Malcolm will lead a workshop titled, “The Tao of Self-Doubt: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Writers.” Writing is a difficult, lonely endeavor—one marked by occasional vacillation between self-doubt (“I’m a hack”) and grandiosity (“I’m the greatest writer ever”). Yet, self-doubt and heightened self-esteem are healthy, useful emotions for the writer, when they exist within certain limits. How can we put these and other emotions to use in our apprenticeship as writers? What are some effective means of preparing ourselves for the emotional realms of writing? Of working with editors or in writing groups? And of dealing with the time we spend alone, in reflection, both when we’re writing and when we’re not? Malcolm will present ten lessons for how to work through the emotional demands on creative individuals. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll sing “Kumbaya.”

Malcolm will also serve as a Critiquer for those attendees who register for the Critique Service. The Critique Service provides writers with in-depth literary critiques of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for those who choose to participate in the Critique Service.

 

 

What are you reading right now?
The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson (plus student papers).

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Lady Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises.

What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
Dialogue comes naturally to me and is important in the way it conveys tension.

Any memorable rejections?
Two for two for the NC Arts Council $10k grants.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
No.

What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
Too much exposition in third-person.

Do you steal pens from hotels?
No–only from motels.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Cormac McCarthy.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Write to discover.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorites, if not the best I’ve seen.

What was the worst?
The Great Gatsby is the most recent, disappointing adaptation I’ve seen. I cannot think of the worst.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
That the protagonist’s desire-resistance pattern should exist on a literal level, as well as have deeper currents of desire and resistance.

Please fill in the blank: I have read __ of the Harry Potter books.
One.

 

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference closes November 8. Register now.

 

Alice OsbornAlice Osborn is the author of three books of poetry, most recently After the Steaming Stops, and is the editor of the short fiction anthology Tattoos. She’s working on her next poetry book, Heroes without Capes. Her past educational and work experience is unusually varied and now it feeds her strengths as an editor for hire who takes good writers and turns them into great authors. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has taught writing workshops to hundreds of aspiring authors from nine to ninety years old, both in person and online. Her pieces have appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review, and in numerous journals and anthologies. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and performs her poetry to captivated audiences throughout the South and beyond. Alice lives in Raleigh with her husband and two children. Visit her website at www.aliceosborn.com.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Alice will serve as a Critiquer for the Critique Service, which provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry with a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for registrants wishing to participate in the Critique Service.

Alice will also serve as a reviewer for the Marketing Mart, which provides writers with an opportunity to create or refine an effective plan to pitch, promote, and sell their current, upcoming, or proposed books. The Network will schedule a one-on-one, thirty-minute session with a publishing or bookselling professional for those who register for the Marketing Mart.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Animal Farm by George Orwell—I read it when I was nine years old, and I loved its utter (or udder) simplicity.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Hollywood casting director, not because I’d have the power to make/break careers, but because I love seeing actors in the right role.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
As a new writer, don’t enter your work into contests that ask for money—you’ll lose a lot of money.

Any memorable rejections?
You want just one? This is more of a compilation: working really long and hard on a creative project and then, after the presentation, having the decision-maker not take notice or be dismissive.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Slouching in one of my formal dining room chairs.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
Atonement by Ian McEwan. It was perfectly cast!

What was the worst?
Memoirs of a Geisha.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
To meet other writers in the state, to know what’s going on in the local, regional, and national publishing/writing markets, and to feel a part of something greater than yourself.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
As a reader, authors who telegraph everything to the reader because they’re afraid the reader isn’t smart enough to get it the first time. As a writer I get frustrated by people who think writing is going to bring them immediate fame and fortune. Ha, ha.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write by deadlines, and I set aside days of the week where I’m in my office all day to write.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I definitely write by the seat of my pants after I have a title or theme in mind or an emotion I need to convey.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A newsletter in the fourth grade and I had a robin, cardinal, parrot, and goldfinch representing the different sections like book reviews, tips, and events. Funny, because I now live with two parakeets and a cockatiel, and I write a monthly newsletter!

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Jason Mott.

 

Beth StaplesBeth Staples is on the creative writing faculty at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she is Associate Editor for Lookout Books and the literary journal Ecotone. She joined the UNCW faculty from The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where she managed the literary journal Hayden's Ferry Review. She has taught classes at UNCW, ASU, conferences, and other community organizations in editing, publishing, fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Beth will sit on the "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: 'How to Work with a Publisher (So They Want to Work with You)'". She will also serve as one of the critiquers for the Critique Service, which provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry with a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for registrants wishing to participate in the Critique Service.

 

What are you reading right now?
I'm always reading a bunch. Right now—A.M. Holmes' new novel, May We Be Forgiven. Twyla Tharp's wonderful book on creativity called The Creative Habit. Lots of submissions for Ecotone (UNCW's literary magazine), and literary magazines from all over, looking for new writers to solicit.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces is the first character that came to mind, strangely. But I'm going to go with it. I'd like to live in his fantastic and creative and lazy and hilarious world for a day or a weekend. I think he's one of the most memorable characters in literature, and I'd like to have met him. You know, platonically, but still with his brand of passion and enthusiasm. I'd like to have him show me around New Orleans.

What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
I spend a lot of time thinking about point-of-view in fiction, how it affects every decision a writer makes in a story, how manipulating it and playing with it can affect a reader's perception of character and profoundly control a story's tension and mystery. Since we're all stuck in our own heads, a writer's ability to move around perception-wise in fiction is an incredibly powerful tool, and to me endlessly fascinating.

Any memorable rejections?
I try to forget them, honestly. There's no point in dwelling on them. Writers, often being sensitive people, spend too much time doubting themselves. Anything that inspires doubt should be tossed aside as quickly as possible, right?

Do you own an electronic reading device?
I have an iPad, but I don't read books on it. I'm not against electronic devices, I'm just not good at reading on them. Yet?

What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
That's a tough one. I have an irrational (okay, and sometimes rational) dislike of the word "aspect."

Do you steal pens from hotels?
Oh, to afford a night in a hotel in addition to my own writing utensils!

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Vladimir Nabokov, who writes with the most amazingly eloquent confidence, and who spoke and wrote in many languages, which I wish I could do. Or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose imagination astonishes me. Or A.M. Holmes, who writes about American ennui and exuberance in a way I find both heartbreaking and hilarious. I cheated, but this question is impossible.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
To discover, but sometimes I have an end-point or future-point in mind. Sometimes I write to discover something isn't working. Mostly, I write to try to keep writing.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
The Ice Storm by Rick Moody. I like that movie as much as the book.

What was the worst?
I'm not sure, but I can say there are movies I refuse to see because I love the books way too much and I don't want that love to be corrupted. I have not seen Cloud Atlas or Love in the Time of Cholera because those books to me are perfect, and I like the way they live in my head.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
I'm going to write a quote here. It's from Lookout Book's latest memoir, River Bend Chronicle, by Ben Miller. I wrote it down and keep it next to my desk and say it to myself over and over. I can honestly say that it's changed me, and the best writing advice I've ever encountered. Here goes: "It was better to show up at seven and stumble than not to show up for fear of stumbling. Because if you were to make anything of yourself, if anything even mildly good was ever to work out, you must—usually in isolation and under duress—find a way to take yourself seriously when few others did. That ambition alone could add fertile layers to an existence, and generate answers out of almost nothing."

Please fill in the blank: I have read __ of the Harry Potter books.
Three and a half.

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Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, November 15-17, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

 

Clyde EdgertonWRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC—Wilmington author Clyde Edgerton is arguably best-known for his five New York Times notable books and his "ability to shine a clear, warm light on the dark things of life without becoming sugary" (The New Yorker). But he's also father to four kids ranging in age from six to thirty-one, and he's learned some things along the way.

With his newest work, Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages, this terrific storyteller gives wise counsel to new parents, both fathers and mothers, young and old.

Over the summer, Clyde was interviewed on CBS This Morning about his newest venture. To view the segment, click here.

Clyde will give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference at 8:00 pm on Friday, November 15, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. He will also lead a fiction workshop on Saturday, "Fiction Writing: Some Basics," where he will lead a brisk but informative discussion on the fundamentals of writing good fiction.

The Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include a luncheon, an annual banquet, readings, workshop tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and an exhibit hall packed with literary organizations, presses, and publishers. Conference faculty includes professional writers from North Carolina and beyond.

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open. For a complete list of workshops, to see the weekend's full schedule, or to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Michael White was educated at the University of Missouri and the University of Utah, where he received his Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing in 1993. His poetry books are This Water, The Island, Palma Cathedral (winner of the Colorado Prize), Re-entry (winner of the Vassar Miller Prize), and the forthcoming Vermeer in Hell (winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editors Prize). He also has a memoir, Travels in Vermeer, forthcoming from Persea Books. He has published poetry and prose in The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Best American Poetry, and dozens of other magazines and anthologies. White is currently chair of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Michael will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Companion Books: Poetry & Prose, Fiction & Nonfiction." In this workshop, we will consider the phenomenon of companion books, defined here as a pair of inextricably linked yet freestanding books. We’ll discuss pairings such as Twain’s Life on the Mississippi and Huckleberry Finn, Evan S. Connell’s Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge, Mary Karr’s Lit and Sinner’s Welcome, as well as the instructor’s own forthcoming companion books, Travels in Vermeer and Vermeer in Hell. One question we will consider is how a writer can benefit from looking at one subject through the lens of two different genres. Another is how the lessons one learns in one form can translate to success in another. We’ll wind up our session with writing exercises that will explore different approaches to a given subject.

 

What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
Bobcat, by Rebecca Lee.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
Any undeveloped island off the Cape Fear coast.

Why do you write?
Some try to perfect their painting or singing or cooking to express their love for humanity: I write.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
The Tempest.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Breathe easy and go a little slower than you think you should.

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
Twenty to forty minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Always to discover.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
No.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A terrible poem in an undergrad magazine. I have blocked the title from memory.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I'd like to be Blake when God talks to him.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Yes. The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, and The Kenyon Review are favorites.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Flexible.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
At first I was tempted to list Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, but on second thought I can and do have guilt-free affairs with characters and their authors on a daily basis.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registration is now open.

 

Virginia HolmanVirginia Holman is the author of Rescuing Patty Hearst (Simon & Schuster), a memoir of her mother's untreated schizophrenia. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Authors Selection, and received the Outstanding Literature Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She's published essays and articles in DoubleTake Magazine, Redbook, Women's Health, Prevention, Glamour, Self, O Magazine, More, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere. Her work has been reprinted in Pushcart Prize series, broadcast on This American Life, and she's received fellowships and awards from the North Carolina Arts Council and The Carter Center. An avid kayaker and outdoorsy type, she also writes the monthly "Excursions" column for Salt Magazine in Wilmington. She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Virginia will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Getting Started: The Short Personal Essay." The short personal essay (750-1,500 words) can be an end in itself, or it can serve as a portal to longer work. We'll discuss the form and its possibilities, and do some in-class exercises to help you identify your obsessions and clarify your intent. In addition, we'll look at several markets that routinely publish short essays.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Little Women.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Professional sea kayaker.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Exercise vigorously for an hour five times a week no matter what.

Any memorable rejections?
The acceptances are more memorable than the rejections.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Seated.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
I thought Bill Forsyth's adaptation of Marilynne Robinson's novel, Housekeeping, was lovely.

What was the worst?
I'm sure I've seen bad adaptions, but like rejections, they tend to fade from memory.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writing can be isolating. The NCWN conference offers writers community, instruction, and hope. It's a big reason that North Carolina is a great place for writers.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
I find exclamation points and italics annoying.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
I don't like reading books on electronic devices.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I prefer a schedule, but I can force myself to be flexible.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Both.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A poem in a high-school literary magazine.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
There are too many great North Carolina authors to choose one favorite. I'm sad there will be no more novels from Doris Betts. Her novels are smart, funny, and fierce. I'm also looking forward to the new Allan Gurganus novella collection, Local Souls. His short story "Blessed Assurance" (in the collection White People) should be required reading for all North Carolina politicians. How I love that story.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registration is now open.

 

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning writer and publicist. She was a staff features writer for The News & Observer from 1992 to 2008. As a publicist, she represents authors, food entrepreneurs, and small businesses pitching their stories to local and national media as well as trade publications. She also arranges media interviews and events bookings. She has twenty years of experience as a storyteller promoting literary, culinary, and other cultural-related ventures. Her work is featured in 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Bridgette will lead a workshop titled, "From Book to Buzz." This workshop is designed to help authors pitch, promote and sell their work. The course will offer authors insight on how to gain the competitive edge in the tough bookselling marketplace. Once you’ve published your novel or nonfiction book, you have to make readers aware of your work and then want to buy it. This workshop will help you think about a juicy sound bite that will help you grab the attention of booksellers, media and readers. I’ll also share traditional and innovative marketing strategies including social media campaigns that will help you create buzz.

 

What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
I get so many books for free as a reviewer, I rarely buy books.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
I love the mountains and the coast. So I’ll have to go with Asheville and Oak Island.

Why do you write?
Life provides so much raw material, you have to use it. Good writers have the uncanny ability to see things others don’t see. We see the irony and lessons in a way others can’t articulate.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
Black Writers of America: A Comprehensive Anthology. This is a textbook from my undergraduate days at Howard University in the early 1980s. I still read it. The writing ranges from slave narratives to contemporary poems and prose.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Take a deep breath and read slowly. Pace yourself. Only read one section. I prefer the first chapter. Always leave the reader on a note of suspense.

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
Ten minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I write to discover. Whether its fiction or nonfiction, I like to leave room for things I don’t know. I want the research or my imagination to take me places that I didn’t know I wanted to go. I like to reflect and let the work speak to me.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
Not really.

What was the first thing you ever published?
I worked for my high school newspaper, The Beacon. I interviewed author James Baldwin when I was a high school student. His book, Just Above My Head, had recently been released. I called the preacher at the church where he was speaking almost every day to line up an interview. I was so nervous but I asked my questions and he answered them.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Zora Neale Hurston. I love her audacity and spunk as an African-American woman. She didn’t hold back. She spoke her truth without apology.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
North Carolina State University’s Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write something almost every day but the time can vary. I prefer writing in the morning, when the house and the world around me is still quiet.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
Walter Mosley’s Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. From first glance, I knew he was a man I wanted to know. Easy fears no man. He has plenty of street smarts, and he takes care of business. He is a private detective living in Los Angeles after World War II. He works as both a detective and as a school custodian. He owns a house and knows how to make a good fried bacon and egg sandwich. That’s hot.

***

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registration is now open.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC—Columnist and author Celia Rivenbark will speak at the North Carolina Writers' Network annual banquet during the 2013 Fall Conference.

Rivenbark was an award-winning journalist before becoming the award-winning author of Bless Your Heart, Tramp; We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier; Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank; Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits; You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning; You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl; and Rude Bitches Make Me Tired.

“I’m assuming Celia will deliver a sober, serious-minded disquisition on the Large Hadron Collider,” said NCWN executive director Ed Southern. “But I don’t know that for sure. She hasn’t told me.”

Rivenbark’s books have won the SEBA Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year and appeared on the New York Times and other bestseller lists. She lives in Wilmington with her husband, a hospital executive and true-crime author, and their teenage daughter.

The banquet is open only to Fall Conference registrants, though a registrant may bring one guest for a fee of $50. Guests must be registered with the Network in advance of the conference.

The NCWN Fall Conference is open to writers at all levels of skill and experience, from all across North Carolina, and beyond. Writers can register at www.ncwriters.org or by calling 336-293-8844.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC—Registrants for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference can book on-site rooms for a low conference rate—but only if they reserve rooms by Friday, October 25.

The 2013 Fall Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. A block of rooms has been reserved at an exclusively discounted rate of $99 plus tax per night, or $119 plus tax per night for an ocean view. But these rooms are first-come, first-served. Book now! Use the group code PEN to reserve a room.

The Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include a luncheon, an annual banquet, readings, workshop tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and an exhibit hall packed with literary organizations, presses, and publishers. Conference faculty includes professional writers from North Carolina and beyond.

Wilmington resident Clyde Edgerton will give the Keynote Address. Edgerton, a North Carolina native, is the author of five New York Times Notable Books and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Master Classes will be led by Philip Gerard (Creative Nonfiction), Rebecca Lee (Fiction), and Peter Makuck (Poetry).

Because publishing is an evolving business offering more opportunities for authors than ever before, several workshops are designed to help writers navigate this rapidly shifting landscape. Ellyn Bache, author of Safe Passage (made into a 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon), will lead a workshop titled “Presses and Agents and E-Books, Oh My: 40 Years in the Book Biz.” Jen McConnel will lead a workshop on “The Ins & Outs of Indie Publishing,” and Bridgette A. Lacy will help writers learn how to market their books with “From Book to Buzz.”

Registrants will choose from craft-based workshops such as Virginia Holman’s “Getting Started: The Short Personal Essay” and “What’s in Your Attic? Recovering Your Old Poems” with Mark Cox. James Dodson, author of ten books including American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Age of Modern Golf (named one of the top 100 books of 2012 by the New York Times) will lead a workshop titled “Writing a Life—Including Your Own,” and UNCW’s Malena Mörling will lead a workshop on “The Short Poem.”

Wilmington-based Ecotone literary magazine and Lookout Books will lead a panel on Saturday morning titled “How to Work with a Publisher (So They Want to Work with You)”. Lookout Books publisher Emily Louise Smith will also sit on the Sunday panel, “Agents and Editors,” along with literary agents Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management and Paul Lucas of Janklow & Nesbit Associates, as well as Christine Norris of Press 53. These editors and agents will participate in manuscript and marketing marts, and the critique service, where registrants can have their manuscripts evaluated by professionals. The 2013 Fall Conference offers coastal residents their best chance this year to meet with literary agents and editors, ask questions, and pitch their manuscripts.

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open. For a complete list of workshops, to see the weekend's full schedule, or to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Paul Lucas joined Janklow & Nesbit Associates in 2007. He started in the legal department and began representing authors in 2011 and is now eagerly expanding his list. He is looking for literary, commercial, and genre fiction (specifically science fiction, fantasy, and horror), with a nod to the literary. He also loves narrative nonfiction, history, biography, business, political, and popular science. Clients include Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Robert Baer, Richard Phillips, Matthew Mather, and John Burley. He is not looking for, and does not represent, picture books, women’s fiction, cookbooks, screen or stage plays, poetry, memoir, or inspirational. When in doubt, feel free to query him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the synopsis and first ten pages in the body of the e-mail.

During the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Paul will sit on Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: 'Agents and Editors'" and serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart, which provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute pitch and Q&A session will be scheduled for attendees who register for the Manuscript Mart.

 

 

What’s the last book you bought for someone else?
I bought a literary magazine filled with images and recipes from Japan. I also sent a copy of American Gun to my dad.

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
I’ve only been to Raleigh and Greensboro. In my imagination, I think the Blue Ridge Mountains or Outer Banks is for me.

Why do you write?
Because e-mail never ends. I leave books to the pros.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
Lord of The Rings bound trilogy. Or perhaps a survival guide would be more useful.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Make sure you’ve read it aloud previously, preferably in front of friends/family. You should be your work’s best performer (until someone produces an audiobook).

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
7.5 minutes.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I was joking above but I really do write e-mails, not books.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
Of course, but they’re not Lee, Joyce, or Miller. There’s no reason for a school district to spend money on something that actively teaches hate or intolerance.

What was the first thing you ever published?
The world shall have to wait for that.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Truman Capote.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Tin House, One Story, and Granta are fantastic. There are many many more.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
My girlfriend is on the faculty as well so…no comment.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Sheila Webster BonehamSheila Webster Boneham writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, much of it focused on nature, environment, and travel. When her second mystery, The Money Bird, was released this fall, Sheila teamed up with Pomegranate Books in Wilmington for their “second annual” cooperative benefit book launch. Six of Sheila’s nineteen books have won major awards, and her short work has appeared in literary and commercial publications. She has worked as an editor for a variety of publishers and freelance writers, and has judged fiction and nonfiction for international writing contests. Sheila holds a Ph.D. in folklore/cultural anthropology from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and she has taught writing at Indiana University, University of Maryland, American University, and universities abroad. Learn more about Sheila, her writing, and her classes and workshops at http://www.sheilaboneham.com.

Sheila will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled "Cooperative Book Promotion." Promotion can be about more than simply selling books! Learn how you can work with independent booksellers and other retail outlets and with not-for-profit organizations whose work you believe in to extend your publicity reach, support the cause, promote local businesses, and sell more books. We’ll discuss my experience working with a local bookseller and local and national NFPs, and work through some brainstorming and other exercises to get your cooperative promotion started.

 

Where’s your favorite place in North Carolina?
The northern end of Wrightsville Beach/Shell Island, where you can see the salt marsh and the ocean. I can spend hours there just quietly watching, listening, waiting.

Why do you write?
To learn, to assemble the pieces, to bear witness.

What book would you take with you to a desert island, if you could take only one?
The biggest dictionary I could tote, one that includes etymologies. With that, we have the fundamental tools of all books: words, meanings, relationships.

What advice would you give someone just about to go on stage to read their work for the first time?
Three things. First, unless you're a very odd sort of writer, your audience wants to hear you and they want to like your work. Second, slow yourself down and remember to breathe. Third, enjoy your moment. You worked for it!

What is the ideal time limit when someone is reading from their work?
I guess that depends on the work, the reader, the setting, and the audience, but generally I would say fifteen to twenty minutes is about right.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Mostly I write to discover. When I write fiction, I work from very loose sketches that keep me on track in terms of plot points and story arc, but I don't plot in a conventional sense. With lyric nonfiction—my true love—I keep notes on what I want to include, but then I like to immerse myself in the work until the layers open and reveal the real subject.

Do you think some books should be banned from schools?
No. I think that the subject matter of some books requires readers to have reached a certain level of intellectual and emotional maturity so that they can process the ideas, so books appropriate for high school students may not be appropriate for fourth graders. Some books are better understood when their meanings and nuances are discussed. I do think that some books have more merit than others. The point of education is to enable people to distinguish what is good and useful, in books and in life, and we cannot do that by presenting only part of the world.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A poem, "Snow," in a city-wide junior high school literary magazine.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I admire many authors, but I would prefer to be myself, but slightly different. I would focus earlier on my "real" work, which is what I consider my lyric and narrative essays and fiction, rather than on my commercial nonfiction (seventeen books and many features).

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
I do, and I love many journals, so I'm going to list the first five that pop into my head, knowing that I'm leaving out many other favorites. But here goes—Gulf Coast, Flyway, Ecotone, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth River.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
I write every morning, and have done so for many years. Depending on what I'm working on, deadlines, and what else is going on in my life and community, I sometimes write in the afternoon or evening as well.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, which one would it be?
Richard Sharpe from Bernard Cornwell's series. But of course I picture him as Sean Bean!

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

 

By Eleanora E. Tate, Faculty, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, “Through the Eyes of a Child: Writing for Young People”

After nearly fifty years of being a children’s short story and book-length manuscript critique and workshop leader at retreats, residencies, conferences, and in teaching I’ve read many outstanding manuscripts for children.

Almost every one yearned, hungered, craved, even, to become a published children’s writer. It’s this kind of “fire in the belly” longing that unites all writers, regardless of the genre. A writer “shows” when s/he creates sufficient action, sensory details, description and dialogue in a scene to heighten reader’s emotions, at least for the moment. Such imagery allows the reader to “see”—perhaps emotionally feel, hear, smell, even taste—what happens so vividly that the scene becomes real. The writer produces what must be shown.

I’m proud to be a children’s book author. It ain’t easy. It takes just as much skill and perseverance. It takes just as much understanding and application of character development, setting, dialogue, voice, conflict, plot, point of view—i.e., craft—to write a compelling picture book or middle grade or YA manuscript as it does to write a barnstormer for adults. Maybe even more.

***

Eleanora E. Tate will lead a workshop titled “Through the Eyes of a Child: Writing for Young People” at the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference. Tate is a folklorist, short story writer, journalist, and author. Her children's books have won Parents Choice Awards, are ABA Pick of the Lists, are Notable Children's Trade Books, and one is a Child Study Committee Children's Book of the Year. Two are audio books and another is an award-winning television film. A former NCWN board member, a veteran writing workshop conductor, and a seminar leader over the years for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, among others, her newest book is Celeste's Harlem Renaissance (2007). Ms. Tate is an instructor with the Institute of Children's Literature, and on the faculty of Hamline University's Master's Degree-seeking low-residency program “Writing for Children and Young Adults” in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference closes at 11:59 pm on Monday, October 29. On-site registration will be available at the conference.

 

By Linda Rohrbough, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, "The Second Log Line"

Linda RohrboughYou don’t have to be in this business very long before you hear about the “log line.” The log line is that one sentence that sums up your book used to generate interest from an editor or an agent. Later in your career you’ll still use your log line to talk about your book to people you don’t know, like bookstore owners or the media. A quick Google search will bring you a number of log line formulas.

The only problem is, I couldn’t make that single log line technique work for me. I tried it, though. Repeatedly. I rode the elevators with editors at conferences. When they said, “So what do you write?” I just put it out there. My one log line. And it fell flatter than a three pound fritter. We both stood there looking at it when the elevator doors opened and the editor found themselves free to flee, which they promptly did.

What was wrong? I had a single line that summed up the book. Why didn’t it work to just deliver it? I didn’t have any success until I developed a three step formula I learned by watching my New York Times bestselling author friends talk about their books. I realized I needed to start a dialog about my book that had “emotional hooks” for the listener to grasp. That’s when I developed the second log line.

The second log line adds that emotional appeal, or emotional “hook,” that a listener can grab that helps them stay with you. And it helps you start a dialog about your book, so you have interaction with the editor or agent and not just a monologue.

I have developed the second log line into a formula that works for any book, fiction or nonfiction. After all, talking about each new book is going to be a life-long skill for me. I will always have someone I haven’t met before, maybe a media person, or just a new friend, that I need to talk to about my book in a way that appeals to them. So this is a skill set that I will need as long as I am writing. I hope you’ll join me at the Fall Conference in November and let me show you my discovery of the second log line. I’ve found it quite useful, and I think you will as well.

***

Linda Rohrbough will lead a publishing workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference. She has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and nonfiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the- seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." The Prophetess One: At Risk has garnered three national awards since its publication in 2011: the 2011 Global eBook Award, the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award, and the 2012 International Book Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Registration for the 2012 Fall Conference closes October 29. Register now and save!

 

 

By Alice Osborn, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, "How Book Reviews are the Magic Pill to Elevate Your Writing Career"

What I love about writing book reviews is that my graduate school degree in English is put to good use. In other words, I can use my analytical, literary skills and love for reading all at the same time. I’ve come across a lot of writers who I know are quite capable of writing book reviews, but many don’t know where to start. They don’t want to throw out their opinions to the world, or they don’t feel they have enough of a literary background to write a worthy review. The workshop I’m teaching at the upcoming Fall Conference, “How Book Reviews Are the Magic Pill to Elevate Your Writing Career,” is a direct result of these conversations.

During our ninety minutes together in this class, I’ll discuss how although each review is subjective, the reviewer always needs to be objective. You’ll also learn how to organize your review, craft that difficult opening line, the ethics of the genre, and time management. Most of all, you’ll learn it’s not all about getting free books!

We’ll also talk about the qualities of a good book reviewer, which are:

  • a good command of the language
  • knowledge of the genre and its canons
  • analysis without jargon
  • providing connections and acknowledging patterns
  • evaluating the book’s meaning
  • honesty/tact
  • objectivity

 

I’d also add that a good reviewer has a strong working knowledge of pop culture, history, film, religion, and political science of the 20th and 21st Century so she can allude and reference when necessary.

Whew, that’s a lot to ask!

No one taught me how to write a review—I decided to use my gut instincts and graduate school training to light my way. I also read a lot of reviews in the Sunday News & Observer and New York Times. I noticed that every reviewer was different and brought her own set of opinions and views to the book. I was determined not to bland anything down. No one wants to read that.

After the Independent Weekly published my essay in their “Front Porch” section, I asked my editor to consider me for writing book reviews. Wish granted! My first reviews for them maybe didn’t have the sophistication and confidence of my more recent reviews, but they weren’t simply recaps. I jotted down page numbers, repeating motifs, and words in the book’s front matter. I bent back pages, wrote “image similar to p. 27” on p. 73, and also wrote comments to myself not meant for anyone else’s eyes, like, “this is crap!” “drivel,” “misspelling here,” “awesome,” “cool,” and “confusing.”

Later, I concentrated my review efforts in the poetry genre. Soon I was able to reference similar classic and contemporary works within the review. I also gave myself permission to have fun with similes, metaphors, and wordplay. My personality was shining through.

Writing reviews are one of the best ways to build your writing portfolio and, if you’re a blogger, help you gain followers who will convert into readers for your other work. Being a reviewer makes you a better writer, not only because of the extensive close reading you’re doing, but also because of your work deconstructing and explaining the author’s craft.

Review writing isn’t for sissies, but neither is your writer’s journey.

***

Alice Osborn, M.A, is the author of three books of poetry: After the Steaming Stops, Unfinished Projects, and Right Lane Ends; she is also a manuscript editor, freelance writer, and storyteller. A former Raleigh Charter High School English teacher, Alice has served as a Writer-in-Residence in the United Arts Artists in the Schools program since 2009, and has taught creativity, poetry, memoir, and blogging workshops to Triangle residents for six years. Her work has appeared in Raleigh’s News and Observer, Soundings Review, and in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Visit her website: www.aliceosborn.com.

Registration for the 2012 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference is open!

 

By Sheri Castle, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, "Food Writing"

Sheri CastleWhen I write food journalism, I aim for my readers to understand the facts. When I write fiction, I strive for my readers to understand my thoughts. When I write food stories, I pray for my readers to understand their thoughts.

Southerners are particularly susceptible to stories, and food stories hold particular sway over us. That is because Southern food is evocative. It makes us Southerners talk (and sometimes write) because it makes us remember. Before we tell you how a thing tastes, we need to tell you how it makes us feel and what it reminds us of. We cannot tell of the food without telling of the people who made it for us, and why, and how well they did or didn't do. Southern is on the tip of our tongues.

That isn't to say that all Southern food memories are good because, of course, not all Southern food and cooking are good. On the other hand, some Southern meals are so exalted we are sure it's what the angels eat on Sunday. Whether good or bad, food memories are hard to shake. There is no more tenacious nostalgia: one bite of food or one whiff of an aroma from our past is swift transport to somewhere else. The persuasion of a food memory is association, not accuracy.

Likewise, this isn't to say that all Southern food writing is good. Just because something happened doesn't mean it's interesting or worth repeating. The worst food stories are so mawkish that Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm would roll her eyes. The best food stories enable us to shine a personal light onto our shared cultural experiences. A satisfying food story says as much about what was on our minds and who was in the kitchen as what was on our plates. A shrewd food writer pivots a premise around the table until he catches on the right point of view, then the story can take off from there.

A good meal is a found poem. When we food writers are lucky, we can apply the right words to do it justice. The writer and the story leave the table full.

***

Sheri Castle will lead the "Food Writing 101" workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference. Castle is a professional food writer, recipe developer, recipe tester, and culinary instructor. Her book The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Recipes for Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands and CSA Boxes was selected as the 2012 Cookbook of the Year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA). It was also named a notable book by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Recipes and excerpts from the book have appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and websites across the country. Sheri’s work has appeared in Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Fine Cooking, People Country, WNC Magazine, Living in Style, Edible Piedmont, Edible Blue Ridge, Taste of the South, Cornbread Nation 3 and 4, Gilt Taste, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Times-Picayune, and numerous other magazines, cookbook anthologies, syndicated newspaper columns, websites, and blogs. She is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Foods USA, and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Her website is www.shericastle.com.

 

By Anne Clinard Barnhill, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, “Historical Fiction”

Anne Clinard BarnhillNorth Carolina is full of writers. It just makes sense that the Triangle, in the heart of the state, would be a hive of literary activity. Writers seem to be buzzing in every bush—poets in the pansies and short story writers in the shrubs—the entire area is humming with writerly endeavors. The Triangle is a great place for writers to sip the sweet nectar of inspiration at the NCWN Conference, then return to their homes to make the tastiest honey.

At this year’s Fall Conference, I’ll be leading a workshop titled, “Digging up the Past.” Does your heart beat faster when you see an authentic arrowhead? Do you get excited listening to stories about your family, stories that took place long ago? Does the idea of a new episode of Downton Abbey make your blood race with anticipation? If so, you are a prime candidate for Digging Up the Past, a workshop about writing historical fiction.

In this workshop, we will look at a few of the pitfalls surrounding writing about the past—how much fact and how much fiction? How can you handle 16th-Century dialogue and make it suitable for the 21st-Century? Where can you find suitable sources? How can you begin a conversation with your readers about your mutual historical interests even before your story is completed? Join us for a hands-on workshop.

***

Anne Clinard Barnhill's first novel, At the Mercy of the Queen, was released in January 2012. Her chapbook, Coal, Baby, was released in March from Finishing Line Press. Her previous books include the memoir At Home In the Land of Oz: Autism, My Sister and Me and the short story collection What You Long For. Ms. Barnhill holds an MFA from UNC-Wilmington. Her stories have won awards and she is the recipient of several grants. Ms. Barnhill loves reading, playing bridge, dancing, tickling the ivories, and baking cookies with her grandchildren.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference is now open.

 

The Embassy Suites in CaryCARY, NC—The 2012 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference runs November 2-4 at the Embassy Suites in Cary, in the heart of North Carolina's Triangle Area. Pre-registration is now closed. But don't worry! Walk-in registration will be available beginning Friday, November 2, at 5:00 pm.

The annual Fall Conference is North Carolina's premier literary event and one of the largest and most inclusive writers’ conferences in the nation. Held in a different location each year, the Fall Conference offers a prestigious collection of literary talent and a weekend packed with panels, workshops, and readings.

Edith Pearlman will give the Keynote Address. Pearlman's collection of short stories, Binocular Vision, was published by North Carolina's Lookout Books in 2011 and won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was a Finalist for the National Book Award, among many other honors. Edith will discuss how a lifetime of work went into her "overnight" success.

The Fall Conference offers more than twenty-five workshops in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, as well as in other aspects of the craft such as writing for children, publishing, and how to wow at an open mic. Registrants can also choose from two Master Classes: Creative Nonfiction (led by Elaine Neil Orr) and Poetry (led by 2012 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer).

Participants at the conference may also register for one-on-one sessions with a publishing or bookselling professional. The Manuscript Mart provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. The Critique Service provides writers with in-depth literary critiques of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays from a seasoned writer. And the Marketing Mart, began in 2011, provides writers with an opportunity to create or refine an effective plan to pitch, promote, and sell their current, upcoming, or proposed books. Registration for the Critique Service and all Marts and Master Classes closed October 26.

“Our most important offering,” said NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern, “is the chance for writers to get to know one another and trade advice, ideas, and encouragement. We have a number of writers who come to the conference year after year, first as registrants and then—as their careers progress—as instructors.”

More than a dozen exhibitors will peddle their wares around the main conference hall, and Raleigh's Quail Ridge Books & Music will sell books on-site. Saturday's night's entertainment will not only draw from the Triangle's rich and diverse population but promises to be a wailin' good time (in 2011, attendees were literally dancing in the aisles!).

Still planning to attend? Walk-in registration opens Friday, November 2 at 5:00 pm. For more information visit www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development.

 

The Hunger GamesPlenty of award-winning movies have been filmed in Asheville, including Cold Mountain (seven Oscar Nominations), Forrest Gump (thirteen Oscar Nominations), and Last of the Mohicans (one Oscar Nomination). But if you come to our 2011 Fall Conference and stay at the DoubleTree Asheville-Biltmore, you may stay in the same room where Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, or any of the cast and crew of the forthcoming movie, The Hunger Games stayed while they on location in western North Carolina during the spring and summer of 2011.

The Hunger Games is based on the book by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2010), the first in a series. From IMDB.com:

"Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match."

 

Basically, take the mouthy girl from Juno, drop her in that over-sized Ewok forest from Return of the Jedi, and give her a bow and arrow that would make Robin Hood blush and—well, you get the idea.

According to RomanticAsheville.com:

“[The Hunger Games] filmed nine days in Henry River Mill Village, an abandoned ghost town just outside of Hildebran (about one hour's drive east of Asheville on I-40, about 1/2 mile from exit 119). The ghost town drew curious visitors long before it was featured in the movie, but now locals are expecting a steady stream of tourists checking out the site that was turned into Mellark's Bakery, a well-known location in the books. They also filmed in nearby Connelly Springs.

Entertainment Weekly interviewed Josh Hutcherson at the Early Girl Eatery in downtown Asheville during the filming. Other movie locations included DuPont State Forest, home to popular waterfalls and hiking. Filming took place around the Triple Falls Trail (lower end), Hooker Falls Road and Bridal Veil Falls Road.”

The Hunger Games will be released in March of 2012. You can watch a trailer here.

Regsitration for the Manuscript Mart, Critique Service, and Marketing Mart closes today; general conference registration closes November 11.

Be part of cinema history: attend the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s 2011 Fall Conference.

 

 

by Danielle "Danny" Bernstein

Danny BernsteinYou already know about the importance of finding a community of writers. That's why you've joined NCWN and are coming to the Fall Conference.

But what are you writing about? Cooking, the environment, a Revolutionary War battle, dealing with your mother's dementia? Any subject you're writing about has a natural community of people interested in the topic. These folks are your potential readers, boosters, and helpers. How do you find this community and make it work for you?

After Tommy Hays wrote The Pleasure Was Mine, a novel about Alzheimer's, he was asked to speak to several groups who dealt with the disease. Ron Rash, who writes novels (including Serena), speaks at history and teachers' conferences.

Like many writers, I have two books in my trunk--in my case on my disc drive which I transfer from computer to computer. Finally, I got a contract to write a hiking guide. I had to convince a publisher that I was steeped in the outdoors community and that these people would be interested in buying my book. By the time we talked about a second book, I had done over fifty book events--talks, book fairs, and signings.

We'll talk about finding and creating an online community--that's important. We also need to make contacts with real, live people who are involved in our topic. Since this is a workshop and not just a presentation, we'll share ideas of what works, what doesn't work, and what may work but isn't worth our time.

My goal is have us leave the workshop with several new ways to identify and find our community that we can use on Monday morning.

***

DANIELLE "DANNY" BERNSTEIN will lead a workshop on community at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2011 Fall Conference. She is a hiker, hike leader, and outdoor writer. Her two guidebooks Hiking the Carolina Mountains (2007) and Hiking North Carolina's Blue Ridge Heritage (2009) were published by Milestone Press. She writes for regional magazines including Mountain Xpress and Smoky Mountain Living and blogs about the outdoors at www.hikertohiker.com.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference is open.

 

by Vicki Lane

Vicki Lane“...by next week you should have decided on a protagonist, a setting, and a plot. Remember: Write what you know; write what you read. Your assignment for next week is to write a two page scene ....”

September of 2000. On a whim, I’d signed up for a class called "WRITING FICTION THAT SELLS." The class met six times; the fee was forty dollars.

Why not? I thought. I’d been an English major—about forty years back. Hey, I’d even written a short story in a creative writing class back then. And I still knew my way around a sentence. So I’d signed up—without a thought in my head of what it was I might want to write, never having been one of those folks who just knows they have a novel in them.

As I walked away from that first class, I wondered what in the world I could have to say that was worth a novel. After all, I’d been living on a small mountain farm in a rural county, doing small mountain farm stuff for the past twenty-five years. My connections to and experience in the larger world were minimal—what made me think I could write a novel?

"Write what you read," our teacher had said. Hmm, I read lots of things but have always enjoyed mystery series. And there are so many types of mysteries published, ranging from really mediocre to quite literary. Maybe I could find a place within this genre. One big advantage, I thought, my spirits lifting as I considered my assignment, is that with a murder mystery, your plot is already there–there’s a murder and your protagonist has to find out whodunnit. Great, there’s my plot.

Continuing to take the easy way out—write what you know—I decided that the setting would be a small mountain farm in a rural county and the protagonist would be fifty-ish woman living on that farm. And that was the birth of my Elizabeth Goodweather series, published by Bantam Dell. (My sixth novel, Under the Skin, comes out October 18.)

I took no other classes, attended no workshops or conferences, but, with the help of a critique group comprised of myself and two women from that class, managed to write a novel that got me an agent. (I wouldn’t have known one needed an agent without the class.) And during the past ten years of writing and teaching, I’ve learned a lot about publishing and come up with some useful tips and strategies–the importance of the hook; how to construct a plot (I quickly learned there was more to it than just finding out whodunnit); aids to continuity; tips for realistic dialogue that propels the action; ways to create a believable setting rather than a backdrop; and, as they say, many, many more.

In this brief workshop, I’ll try to give you some useful items for your writer’s toolkit. We’ll also take time (twenty to thirty minutes) for questions about writing, publishing, and marketing. Who know, it might be all you need to get going on the book that will change your life.

***

VICKI LANE will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2011 Fall Conference, November 18-20. She is the author of The Day of Small Things and the Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Mysteries, which include Signs in the Blood, Art's Blood, Old Wounds, Anthony-nominated In A Dark Season, and Under the Skin. Vicki draws her inspiration from the rural western NC county where she and her family have lived on a mountainside farm since 1975. Since 2007, she has led writing classes in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. Visit Vicki at her daily blog or her website: www.vickilanemysteries.com.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Malaprop's Bookstore/CafeAsheville, NC--On Sunday, October 16, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will try a new kind of event for writers and readers.

Southern Fictions/Southern Identities” will be a reading by former North Carolina poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer, followed by a panel discussion on issues of Southern history and identity with Pamela Duncan and Joseph Bathanti, moderated by Ed Southern.

“Southern Fictions/Southern Identities” also will be an effort to raise both donations and visibility for the Network and the 2011 Fall Conference, to be held in Asheville November 18-20.

Perhaps most importantly, though, “Southern Fictions/Southern Identities” will be a chance for writers and readers to come together and discuss important questions–topics that rarely make the daily news, but play a role in shaping our lives and work.

The program will begin at 5:00 pm, October 16, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated. Donations to the Network will support scholarships and instructors for the Fall Conference, and are tax-deductible.

Please help us spread the word about this exciting new Network program. We hope to offer similar readings/discussions/fundraisers on an ongoing and regular basis. Come join us at Malaprop’s on October 16, and be there at the beginning of a new Network tradition.

Southern Fictions/Southern Identities
5:00–7:00 pm
Sunday, October 16
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

For more information, contact Ed Southern at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Mary Belle CambpellASHEVILLE, NC—Starting this year, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships to allow poets who teach to attend the annual North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference, November 18-20 in Asheville, NC.

These scholarships will honor the memory of the late Mary Belle Campbell and the legacy of her many contributions to North Carolina’s literary traditions.

The Campbell Scholarships will further the craft and careers of at least two poets who teach full-time. Each scholarship will cover the cost of a standard registration fee, group meals, and two nights’ lodging at the conference venue, at the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s annual Fall Conference. The estimated monetary value of each scholarship is $550.

The Campbell Scholarship application process will be open to those who teach full-time at the K-12 level, and who have produced a significant body of poetry. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) will be eligible, but special consideration will be given to applicants from the Asheville area, as well as to Network members.

Applications will include a curriculum vita or resume, proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, a statement of written intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Fall Conference, and 10-12 poems of the applicant’s own creation (published or unpublished) that demonstrate their skill with and commitment to the genre.

A committee created by the NCWN Board of Trustees, which will include published poets and/or editors of poetry journals, will review all applications and award available scholarships. Applications will be reviewed without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, religious or political affiliation, or sexual orientation.

Scholarship recipients will be allowed to select from all poetry workshops offered at that year’s Fall Conference, including the Master Class, as well as one workshop concerned with publishing, marketing, or another aspect of the business of writing.

Applications, as well as any questions concerning the Campbell Scholarships, should be sent to NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Registration for the 2011 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference is now open.

 

by Anthony S. Abbott

Anthony S. AbbottMy name is Tony Abbott. I have lived in North Carolina since 1964, when I came with my family to Davidson College as Assistant Professor of English. My field of special interest was modern drama. I taught plays, I acted in plays, I directed plays. But I did not write poetry. As a poet I am a very late starter. My first poems were published in the 1970s, and my first collection of poetry, The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat, did not appear until 1989, when I was fifty-four years old. By then I had been teaching poetry and fiction writing at Davidson for about ten years. I had gone to the Breadloaf Writers Conference at Middlebury College twice, and it was here that I learned a good deal about how to teach poetry and how NOT to teach poetry. I learned to avoid the egotistical cruelty of some of the teachers I met in Vermont, and most of all I learned the importance of building a class into a community, where each class member contributes to the welfare of the whole, where class members trust one another, and learn to see their own work more objectively.

I taught creative writing at Davidson for more than thirty years, and retired in 2001, after publishing my second collection, A Small Thing Like a Breath, in 1993, and my third, The Search for Wonder in the Cradle of the World, in 2000. Now that I was retired, I had more time, and I went back to work on a novel I had started in the 1970s and revised in the 1980s. That novel became Leaving Maggie Hope, which won the Novello Award in 2003, and prompted me to write a sequel, The Three Great Secret Things, published in 2007. Writing fiction was good for my poetry. It made me more conscious of both narrative and of character. Your poems are like little stories, people have told me. I liked that, and wrote a whole book of “little stories” called The Man Who (2005), each poem about a different man who had a story to tell.

When my New and Selected Poems: 1989-2009 was published by Lorimer Press in Davidson, I began a fairly rigorous schedule of readings, and I was anxious to do something to make the readings more interesting, more lively, more fresh….And so I began reciting poems. By 2011 I was reciting more poems than I was reading, and I loved it. I found that the poem I was reciting became new each time I spoke the words. The words were not always the same, not always spoken with the same emphasis. Sometimes I had to search for the words, and that made it seem to me as if I had just found the words for the first time. I began reciting poems by other poets (Mary Oliver, Galway Kinnell, James Wright, as well as Yeats, Keats, Shakespeare and Milton)….People enjoyed it, and when I became President of the NC Poetry Society in May of 2009, I began the practice of opening each meeting with a recitation. And now I begin all my programs—lectures as well as readings—with a recitation.

And so I thought, why not do a workshop on memorization and recitation—a practice that has been so good to me, a practice that has infused new life into this seventy-six-year-old body? Why not help other people do the same thing? And I thought, as I contemplated this workshop, that not only was the practice helpful to me as I wrote and performed my own poems, but it was a means of discovering what the poem was actually saying. That is, the practice of memorization and recitation may be, in some particular ways, more important than analysis in getting at the heart of a poem—the soul of the poem, if you will. My new book, If Words Could Save Us, is due for publication by Lorimer Press in October. It will contain a CD of me reading twenty of the poems in the book. For years, people have asked me if I have recording my poems. And I always said no….Now I can say yes. I hope participation in this workshop may lead you toward the creation of your own CDs and the use of your own voice to make poetry live.

***

ANTHONY S. ABBOTT is the author of two novels and six books of poetry, including the Pulitzer-nominated The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat. His awards include the Novello Literary Award for Leaving Maggie Hope (2003), and the Oscar Arnold Young Award for The Man Who (2005). A native of San Francisco, Abbott was educated at the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts, and Kent School in Kent, Connecticut. He received his A.B. from Princeton University, and his AM and Ph.D from Harvard University. He is the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College in Davidson, where he lives with his wife Susan.

He will lead a poetry workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. Registration is now open.

Hats Off! to Paul Austin whose new memoir, Beautiful Eyes: a Father Transformed, was chosen as one of the "Best New Books" by People magazine. "This isn't a book only for those dealing with disability; it's a ferocious, illuminating look at the stunning surprise of human connection."

 

Hats Off! to Erika Marks whose fourth novel, It Comes in Waves, was reviewed in the Southern Literary Review.

 

Hats Off! to Ron Jackson whose short story "The Big Jump" appears in Prime Number Magazine.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poetry collection, Crepe Roses, has been published by Aldrich Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books (www.kelsaybooks.com).

 

Hats Off! to Susan M. Steadman whose play What Doesn’t Kill Me runs November 13-23 at the Cape Fear Playhouse in Wilmington. The show is comprised of three one-act, dark comedies focusing on challenges faced by women.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose Halloween mystery short story, "Midnight Plumbers," appears in Kings River Life Magazine. The story was one of several that, while it didn't make the final cut for the annual Halloween contest, the magazine thought was "well-worth publishing."

 

Hats Off! to Sonia Usatch-Kuhn, author of the poetry collection Regarding My Son, who appeared on The State of Things with Frank Stasio on WUNC 91.15.

 

Hats Off! to Ross White who was featured, along with Bull City Press, in Indy Week.

 

Hats Off! to Marilynn Barner Anselmi whose latest script, The Osanbi Deal, will be presented as a staged reading by Script2Stage2Screen, Rancho Mirage, CA, on March 6, 7, 2015.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poems "Apples in the Fall" and "Harvest Moon on Stipp Street" appear in the October issue of Righter Monthly Review. It's the first time in print for "Apples in the Fall," but "Harvest Moon on Stipp Street" was a second place winner in the San Francisco Dancing Poetry Contest in 2012.

 

Hats Off! to Steve Cushman and Janet Joyner who were semi-finalists in the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry: Steve for his manuscript In Training, and Janet for her poetry collection, A River the Color of Tea.

 

Hats Off! to Sonia Usatch-Kuhn who won the Bronze Award in the WomensMemoirs.com First Paragraph Contest for her work, "Dance the Steps."

 

Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee John Ehle whose novel The Land Breakers, a cinematic saga spanning the Revolutionary War years of 1779 to 1784, will be reprinted for the New York Review of Books Classic series. First published in 1964, The Land Breakers recounts in spare, unflinching prose the challenges, setbacks, and small triumphs of the defiant men and women who were drawn to the wilderness of provincial North Carolina.

 

Hats Off! to Tom Davis whose short story "It's Time to Let Go" and essay "Life on the ODA" have been selected to appear in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3. This anthology will be published in November by Southeast Missouri State University Press. Also,Tom’s action-adventure novel, The R-complex (Second Edition) is now available for Amazon Kindle.

 

Hats Off! to Mark de Castrique whose novel Risky Undertaking: A Buryin' Barry Mystery (Poisoned Pen Press) was named as a Fall 2014 Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Leaves" was selected as one of four poems for October's Poetry in Plain Sight Program. She will read at Barnhill's on October 4 as part of the "4 Poems and a Party" event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Track: Fiction of Lists edited by Yelizaveta P. Renfro

Main Street Rag
$14.95 paperback ($8.50 until November 20!)
ISBN: 978-1-59948-381-8
December, 2012
Anthology (Fiction)
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

From ex-lovers to holiday ornaments, from resolutions to stay sober to fantasies about home-cooked meals, the stories in this anthology chronicle losses and upheavals through that most basic of forms-the list. In despair or frustration, with determination or sorrow, the characters in these eighteen stories frame their lives with lists to make sense of the turmoil, to learn what is most important to them—and why. A young biologist bands songbirds in Alaska and discovers a new destiny. A grieving son attempts to save what remains of his father's legacy from a flood. A social worker at a halfway house tries to make it through the day. Teenage girls burn the symbols of rejected lives. An immigrant suffers the loss of a child and her husband's cruelty far from her native Africa. These stories—and many others—list the things we lose and the things we keep.

Contributors include Valerie Nieman, author of the award-winning novel, Blood Clay.

Yelizaveta P. Renfro is the author of a collection of short stories, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Witness, Reader's Digest, Blue Mesa Review, Parcel, Adanna, Fourth River, Bayou Magazine, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and a PhD. from the University of Nebraska. Born in the former Soviet Union, she has lived in California, Virginia, Nebraska, and Connecticut.

Death in the Delta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death in the Delta: Uncovering a Mississippi Family Secret by Molly Walling

University Press of Mississippi
$28.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-61703-609-5
October, 2012
Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Growing up, Molly Walling could not fathom the source of the dark and intense discomfort in her family home. Then in 2006 she discovered her father’s complicity in the murder of two black men on December 12, 1946, in Anguilla, deep in the Mississippi Delta. Death in the Delta tells the story of one woman’s search for the truth behind a closely held, sixty-year-old family secret. Though the author’s mother and father decided that they would protect their three children from that past, its effect was profound. When the story of a fatal shoot-out surfaced, apprehension turned into a devouring need to know.

Each of Walling’s trips from North Carolina to the Delta brought unsettling and unexpected clues. After a hearing before an all-white grand jury, her father’s case was not prosecuted. Indeed, it appeared as if the incident never occurred, and he resumed his life as a small-town newspaper editor. Yet family members of one of the victims tell Walling their stories. A ninety-three-year-old black historian and witness gives context and advice. A county attorney suggests her family’s history of commingling with black women was at the heart of the deadly confrontation. Firsthand the author recognizes how privilege, entitlement, and racial bias in a wealthy, landed southern family resulted in a deadly abuse of power followed by a stifling, decades-long cover up.

Death in the Delta is a deeply personal account of a quest to confront a terrible legacy. Against the advice and warnings of family, Walling exposes her father’s guilty agency in the deaths of Simon Toombs and David Jones. She also exposes his gift as a writer and creative thinker. The author, grappling with wrenching issues of family and honor, was long conflicted about making this story public. But her mission became one of hope that confronting the truth might somehow move others toward healing and reconciliation.

Molly Walling, Asheville, North Carolina, is an adjunct writing instructor at University of North Carolina, Asheville. She was born in Anguilla, Mississippi.

The Book of Revelations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Revelations: From Bombingham to Obama by Katy Ridnouer

$10.00 (paperback), $0.99 (e-book)
ASIN: B009DAHJYI
October, 2012
Fiction
Available at www.Amazon.com

Addie Mae Collins. Does her name sound familiar? She and three of her friends died on September 15, 1963 when the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his supporters had been meeting regularly at 16th Street for planning sessions. They were planning on equality and planning the how, when, and where for their demands. The KKK wouldn’t have it; they made their own plans and sent their own demands that Sunday morning: Shut up or die.

Three days after the bombing, Martin Luther King eulogized the girls, these “sweet princesses.” He set the people’s palms to praying and their feet to marching. This bomb that had been set to silence Negroes blasted the Civil Rights Movement into motion.

Once the mourning ceased, these four girls, Addie Mae, Denise, Cynthia, and Carole, were buried in a history book. But another page was turning, a page that wasn’t seen until 1998 when the public saw bones sticking out of plots at Greenwood Cemetery, the girls’ cemetery. “Move them!” the public demanded. “These civil rights heroes deserve better!” When the earth was dug up, there was nothing in the dirt below Addie Mae’s headstone—no coffin, no bones, no nothing. Where is she?

Katy Ridnouer was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina and lived there for eighteen brief months. She returned to her birth state after ten moves with her military family and marriage to her high school sweetheart. In 2007, she and her family moved to Ireland. Although her husband's ancestors were from Ireland, it was she who fell under the spell of the Irish life.

Katy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Education degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She is the author of two books for teachers: Managing Your Classroom with Heart and Everyday Engagement. Katy wrote Hillwalking for all of us finding our way; it is her first novel. She currently teaches Developmental English at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoys creating a life there with her husband and three boys.

Mountain Memoirs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology edited by Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope, and Julie E. Townsend

Main Street Rag
$13.95, paperback ($11.00 if ordered from publisher)
ISBN: 978-1-59948-379-5
October, 2012
Memoir
Available from the publisher or from your local bookstore

You can still get lost in Ashe County, North Carolina, and GPS won't help. Once called The Lost Province, it's a place of gravel roads, gorgeous mountains, and the first tricklings of the New River. And, here there are writers. In Mountain Memoirs: An Ashe County Anthology, twenty of them craft works about their relationships with this frequently beautiful and sometimes mysterious corner of the North Carolina high country. They write about its mysteries, its beauty, and the people who are sometimes lost and sometimes found in the landscapes.

Something about this particular little place—amongst the peaks and on the riverbanks—inspires writers. They live here and visit and hideout and work. Some are well known, like Lee Smith, Clyde Edgerton, and D.G. Martin. Some are known only locally. Like the very small towns that sparsely dot the area, the writers in this anthology are sprinkled in the hollows and along the river, writing stories, poems, and essays about how this very specific place has shaped, changed, and informed their lives and the lives of those around them.

Lee Smith invents a young academic from another century who is studying the flora; Clyde Edgerton crafts poetry evocative of the sense of his corner of the county. From editor Scot Pope, a concentration of the "Essence" of the place is offered; others like D.G. Martin and editor Julie Townsend, profile people whose characters shape their attachments to this place. Each of the twenty writers brings their words to evoke the sense, and sometimes nonsense, of this small corner of big mountains and the old New River.
—Chris Arvidson, Scot Pope, and Julie E. Townsend

Contributors include North Carolina Writers' Network members Rebecca Gummere, D.G. Martin, Janet C. Pittard, Diana Renfro, and Lee Smith.

Chris Arvidson lives in "downtown" West Jefferson in Ashe County with her husband Henry. She has worked for non-profit conservation organizations, Habitat for Humanity, and in higher education as a teacher and professional staff. Currently she works for the National Committee for the New River. A couple of years ago she founded the writers' salon "Wordkeepers" with Scot Pope and Julie Townsend. She is a member of the organizing committee for the On the Same Page Literary Festival and serves as Chairman of the Ashe County Board of Elections. She earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and has published her writing in magazines, literary publications, and newspapers.

In 1992, Scot Pope "escaped" the rat race in Charlotte, NC, to live a simple, humble life in the Creston community of northwest Ashe County. Before leaving Charlotte, he studied Creative Writing at Central Piedmont Community College under the tutelage of Barbara Lawing. After his arrival in Ashe County, he joined the Blue Ridge Writers' Group and continued to write poetry and short stories. Scot has read his works at various venues in Ashe County including the Ashe County Arts Council's Coffeehouse as well as the annual Arts Council's Night of the Spoken Word. Along with Chris Arvidson and Julie Townsend, he is a founding member of Wordkeepers. His poem "Walking Woods Alone" was published in the Iodine Poetry Journal. In addition to writing, Scot is also a professional photographer and musician.

Julie E. Townsend moved to Ashe County full-time in 2008, although it has been her stomping ground since the mid-1960's. She taught writing full-time at UNC-Charlotte for almost nineteen years, and currently she is an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State University. Seafood Jesus, her first novel, made its debut in 2011. Townsend has other publications such as short stories, a textbook, book reviews, and an award-winning expose that won first-place in the "N.C. Small Working Press."

Leaving Tuscaloosa by Walter Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Tuscaloosa by Walter Bennett

Fuze Publishing, LLC
$16.95, paperback / $14.95 e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9849908-3-2 / 978-0-9849908-2-5 (e-book)
September, 2012
Fiction
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

Imagine Alabama, the sultry summer of 1962–the year before Bull Connor turned his fire hoses on civil rights protesters in Birmingham and the Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church. Two young men, one white, one black, stumble into their destinies as the world erupts beneath their feet.

Richeboux Branscomb’s journey begins with a stupid mistake one night in a rattle-trap Ford on a dusty road. Acee Waites’ begins with a missing brother and a ruthless sheriff’s search party. Propelled along separate tracks through thirty-six hours of racial turmoil, these estranged boyhood friends encounter tenderness and cruelty, erotic passion and murderous rage. Then amid the spreading fires of racial violence, their paths converge in a terrible, riveting climax.

Leaving Tuscaloosa is a novel of conscience and hope. Set in the deep South in the heart of the Civil Rights era, it tracks the parallel journeys of two young men, one black and one white and former childhood friends, through 36 hours of intense racial turmoil that brings them face-to-face with their destinies,the truth about their communities, and the truth within their own hearts. They encounter tenderness and cruelty, erotic passion, and murderous rage. Then amid the spreading fires of racial violence, their paths converge in a moving, gripping climax. Lee Smith has said of the novel: "...deeply moving, disturbing, haunting, and important." Craig Nova: "... unstoppable, compelling, important." Elizabeth Spencer: "... skilfully reawakens those days when segregation/integration seemed the core problem of the world." Georgan Eubanks: "... should have a spot on college reading lists... a work of finely crafted fiction."

Walter Bennett is a former lawyer, judge, and law professor, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He has published short fiction in both print and online journals, including Voices and The Courtland Review; essays (most recently–“Black Quill,” in Astream: American Writers on Fly Fishing, Spring, 2012, Skyhorse Publishing); numerous articles on the law; and a highly acclaimed book: The Lawyer’s Myth: Reviving Ideals in the Legal Profession (U. Chicago Press, 2001). He served as co-producer of a literary documentary film: Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story. He is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Arcana by by John Amen and Daniel Y. Harris

NYQ Books
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1935520597
August, 2012
Eclectic Anthology
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

The New Arcana is a multi-genre extravaganza featuring verse, fiction, mock journalism and academic writing, drama, and art. Both referencing and transcending various literary precedents, the book is a pronouncement for the 21st Century, an exploration of and commentary on the fast-paced and mercurial nature of life in the 2000s. Co-written by poets John Amen and Daniel Y. Harris, the book presents a compelling, jazz-like, and satirical style, a third voice born from the mingling of two distinct individual voices. The New Arcana is a memorable literary statement—a manifesto for our time—as well as a proclamation regarding the transformative qualities of true collaboration.

To watch John Amen read from Section Two of the book, click here.

John Amen is the author of three collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer (Uccelli Press, 2003), More of Me Disappears (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2005), At the Threshold of Alchemy (Presa, 2009), and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris, NYQ Books, 2012). His work has appeared in numerous journals nationally and internationally and been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian, and Hebrew. In addition, he has released two folk/folk rock CDs: All I’ll Never Need (Cool Midget, 2004) and Ridiculous Empire (2008). He is also an artist, working primarily with acrylics on canvas. Amen travels widely giving readings, doing musical performances, and conducting workshops. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine. His website is www.johnamen.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With and Without Her: A Memoir of Losing and Being a Twin by Dorothy Foltz-Gray

Argo/Navis
$19.50 (paperback), $9.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0-7867-5413-7 (paperback) / 978-0-7867-5414-4 (e-book)
October, 2012
Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

This is the kind of story that drives people to change the subject or cross the street when they see the teller coming. In 1949, author Dorothy Foltz-Gray and her identical twin sister, Deane, were born. In 1981, Deane, then a psychologist, was fatally shot by one of her patients. In the years between, the pair formed an almost supernaturally close bond, one so intimate that at times their memories fused and their individual identities dimmed.

Here, Foltz-Gray, an award-winning poet and journalist, recounts the phenomenon of growing up in a world that could not distinguish her from another human being and the struggle to survive the loss of her twin. Foltz-Gray describes the imagined womb life she and her sister shared, their childhood, and details the nightmare of her sister’s death.

With and Without Her is the story we all face, of loss and survival.

Dorothy Foltz-Gray is the author of With and Without Her: A Memoir of Losing and Being a Twin (October 2012), Clean Sweep: The Principles of an American Entrepreneur and the Company He Founded (July 2012), and Make Pain Disappear (March, 2012). She lives in Asheville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembrances of Wars Past: A War Veterans Anthology Edited by Henry F. Tonn

Fox Track Publications
$24.95 (hardcover), $17.96 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-935708-70-4 (hc)
ISBN: 978-1-935708-70-4 (pb)
October, 2012
Anthology
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Here is an anthology that reveals the many faces of war: the grim, the tragic, the lighthearted, and the humorous. Through fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, award-winning writers provide a kaleidoscope of images spanning 150 years from the American Civil War to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. From Russell Reece’s chilling tale about fishing for dead bodies in the Mekong Delta to Nicholas Samaras’s final declaration, “All war stories are love stories,” we examine both the known and the more obscure facets of armed conflict.

In “Ghost,” a poor farm boy undergoes an entire personality change as he becomes a cold-blooded killer for the military. In “Insanity is Contagious,” a wife struggles to keep her own sanity while dealing with a husband’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In “Buchenwald Diary,” a soldier tours a German concentration camp and is stunned to find little difference between the dead and some of the living. And in “Abu Ghraib Suggests the Isenheim Altarpiece,” the issue of American torture is questioned.

Those who have experienced war will recognize much of what resides between these pages. Those who have not will gain new insight into this age-old matter.

Henry F. Tonn is a semi-retired psychologist who has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book and literary reviews in such periodicals as the Gettysburg Review, Connecticut Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Newpages.com. He lives in Wilmington, NC, with his Chow dog, Fred. Remembrances of Wars Past: A War Veterans Anthology, is his first book publication.

Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer

Louisiana State University Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-807147504
November, 2012
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“From the glorious opening poem, the mourning sound of the morning train weaves through Kathryn Stripling Byer’s new collection, as much a part of the hills of home as are its sins and beauties. Oh, the longing to shed forever what we are and what made us, at the same time hugging the litany to us that brings it all back: Cullowhee Creek, Buzzards Roost, hay bales, blackberries, grandmother’s gladiolas and lace doilies, and the earth that knew us better than we knew ourselves. Such longing in these pages, such hunger, such ‘grabbing at air.’"
—Alice Friman

“A Kay Byer poem is utterly compelling from its opening lines: “Now take this, she’d say, her mouth / full of pins—a bird’s tail / of fastenings held tight / against revelation.” Even those of us who’ve read and loved her work for years scratch our heads and mutter to ourselves, How does she do that? The poems in her new book, Descent, both embrace and struggle against her heritage as a woman of the both the deep South and the southern mountains. Her work is to be cherished for its beauty, its courage, and the gift of its revelation. Her poems shine a light that we yearn for here in the darkness of the Twenty-First Century.”
—David Huddle

Navigating the dangerous currents of family and race, Kathryn Stripling Byer’s sixth poetry collection confronts the legacy of southern memory, where too often “it’s safer to stay blind.”

Beginning with “Morning Train,” a response to Georgia blues musician Precious Bryant, Byer sings her way through a search for identity, recalling the hardscrabble lives of her family in the sequence “Drought Days,” and facing her inheritance as a white southern woman growing up amid racial division and violence. The poet encounters her own naive complicity in southern racism and challenges the narrative of her homeland, the “Gone with the Wind” mythology that still haunts the region.

Ultimately, Descent creates a fragile reconciliation between past and present, calling over and over again to celebrate being, as in the book’s closing manifesto, “Here. Where I am.”

A native of Georgia, Kathryn Stripling Byer has lived in the western North Carolina mountains since receiving a graduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she studied with Allen Tate, Robert Watson, and Fred Chappell. Her several books of poetry have received honors from the Associated Writing Programs, the Academy of American Poets, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October, 2012. She will lead the poetry Master Class at the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoos: A Short Fiction Anthology edited by Alice Osborn

Main Street Rag
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-380-1
November, 2012
Fiction Anthology
Available at your local bookstore, www.Amazon.com, or through the publisher
An advance discount price of $8.50 will be available until November 13, 2012

Hang out at any airport, pool or gym these days and you'll find more people wearing tattoos than not. When did tattoos become mainstream so that by not having ink you're an oddity? Perhaps because of the turbulent economic and political landscape we live in, people want to have some control in their lives-tattoos provide that control. Throughout history tattoos let others know the wearer's totem, family, skill set or class. Not just for sailors or misfits, people of all ages now get tattoos because they want to heal after abuse, they reach a personal milestone or they survive a health scare. Or they just want one.

Like the characters in this story collection who are searching for themselves while committed to the ink, the tattooed can express their individualism, their pain and their memories on their skin.

I've always been fascinated with tattoos but not because I have one. There's something in a tattoo that tells the world to fuck off. I admire that. A tattoo is pure communication in the outlines of barbed wire, dragon or butterfly. Of course a character who sports a tattoo has a story. Who hurt her? What did he lose? Why did she choose that tattoo? What does he want to find? What's her secret?

In this anthology, sometimes the tattoo is central to the plot, and other times merely tangential to these characters. You'll meet men and women haunted by war, by family and by themselves. They want to belong and to believe in something. And they are as different as the designs on their arms, legs and backs.

Enjoy these stories told by 15 talented authors from across the country. See yourself in their characters and in their ink. In some way, we are all misfits according to someone.

Contributors include North Carolina Writers' Network members L.C. Fiore, Janie McKinley, Gary V. Powell, Kathryn Shaver, and editor Alice Osborn.

Alice Osborn, M.A. is the author of three books of poetry, Unfinished Projects (Main Street Rag, 2010), Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006) and most recently After the Steaming Stops (Main Street Rag, 2012); she is a freelance writer, blogger and teaching artist. A former high school English teacher, Alice teaches creative writing in schools and organizations where she uses sensory images and road-tested prompts to stimulate her students' best work. Her writing has appeared in Raleigh's News and Observer, Soundings Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Visit her website: www.aliceosborn.com.

It Was God

It Was God: Miracles in Modern Times by Wendy Fields

CrossBooks
$8.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-46272-699-8 (pb) / 978-1-46272-700-1 (e-book)
April, 2013
Inspirational
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Do miracles still happen or did they only happen during Jesus’ time?

It Was God seeks to open our eyes by explaining that miracles great and small still happen today. Author Wendy Fields shares inspiring true stories that illuminate the hand of God in seemingly unexplainable situations. Miracles are real and illustrated in the inspiring, uplifting stories of extraordinary events as told by people like us. Consider the following:

A tumor shows up on an X-ray and must be removed immediately. The cancer patient goes in for surgery. The surgeon cannot find the tumor. “It just disappeared. I can’t explain it,” he reports. A baby who was thought to be "dead" at birth because she went 8-15 minutes without oxygen has today passed her first birthday and is a walking miracle. A woman deviates from her routine route home “just because.” She reads in the newspaper the following day of the shooting that took place in broad daylight in the middle of the street at the time she would normally have been driving in that precise area.

We catch ourselves saying “What a coincidence,” or “I don’t know how it happened,” or “I guess I just got lucky.” It Was God explains that what we need to understand is when the “unexplainable” happens there really is an explanation—the only answer is that it was God’s will.

Wendy Fields experienced God’s life-changing gift of salvation as a child and is extremely grateful every day that Jesus blesses her and allows her to have a relationship with Him despite all of her faults. Wendy is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, college English professor, and dedicated member of the Hyde Park Baptist Church family. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Daniel, and their daughter, Elizabeth.

A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon

Flora J. Solomon
12.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-480269729
September, 2013
Fiction
Available at www.Amazon.com and www.bn.com

"Some writers have the creative ability to describe an intense way of life. Solomon does just this with such an emotional tone. This is truly a novel that keeps the reader wanting more."
—Jackie Iler, The State Port Pilot

January of 1941, Margie Bauer is called to active duty in the Army Nurse Corps of the United States Army Reserves. She delights in her assignment to Manila, the Pearl of the Orient. She falls in love with the beauty of the island and a carefree social whirl of bridge games, pool parties, and dancing under twinkle-light stars with handsome young doctors. Though rumors of war circulate, she feels safe—the island is fortified, the airbases are ample, and the Filipino troops are training intensively.

December 8, 1941, her dream world shatters. Japanese bombers roar into the Philippines, turning everything in their paths to smoldering piles of rubble. Racing to stay ahead of the enemy, the U.S. Army evacuates all personnel to the jungles of Bataan, where Margie tends to wounded, sick, and dying soldiers in open-air field hospitals. With the Nips at her heels, she withdraws to an underground tunnel-hospital on the heavily fortified island of Corregidor.

Ultimately captured, she is interned at Santo Tomas, a Japanese prison camp in Manila. For three years, she doubts her survival in the harsh environment, where she faces escalating danger, starvation and loss. When American planes appear in the sky, she excitedly waves and calls, "We're here! We're here!" The liberation forces, however, bring with them a threat more dangerous than the Japanese guards, ensuring she will never truly be free of this evil place and all that has happened.

Flora J. Solomon relocated from Michigan to the beautiful North Carolina coast where she lives with her husband. Besides reading and writing, she enjoys visits from her children and grandchildren, a hard-won tennis match, and an occasional round of golf.

Medicine's Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD by Francine Mary Netter

Quinnipiac University Press
$39.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-9891376-0-7
October, 2013
Biography
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Frank Netter was both a doctor and artist whose genius was such that he not only grasped the most complex medical concepts, but he could make drawings that made those concepts clear to others. Beginning in the mid-Twentieth Century, his books of illustrations—thirteen atlases and over 200 pamphlets—educated doctors and health care professionals the world over. His award-winning Atlas of Human Anatomy is today the most popular and bestselling anatomy atlas in the English language. Medicine's Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD, written by his daughter Francine Mary Netter, is the first biography of this illustrious figure revered by generations of students of medicine.

Francine Mary Netter is the daughter of Frank H. Netter, MD. She grew up on Long Island, where her father had a large art studio in the family home. She spent many hours with him there while he drew and painted his magnificent pictures. She has a BA from North Carolina State University, an MA from Hofstra University, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. She has written on the history of medicine for numerous publications. She now lives in North Carolina with her husband Ralph Roberson. Her three children live nearby.

Farm Fresh and Fatal by Judy Hogan

Mainly Murder Press
$15.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9895804-0-3 (pb) / 978-0-9895804-1-0 (e-book)
October, 2013
Mystery (Traditional)
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

When Penny Weaver joins the new Riverdell Farmers’ Market, things go from bad to worse. The county’s poultry agent is poisoned, apparently after drinking fruit punch provided by the abrasive market manager, who claims innocence but is arrested. The state ag department threatens to close the market. Penny and her friend Sammie work to uncover the real poisoner. Kent is unpopular with the quirky farmers, with the exception of the genetically modified seeds man and the baker/jelly maker. Penny and Sammie discover that the poison was black nightshade, but which farmer grows it and who put it in the punch?

Judy Hogan helped found and was first president of the NC Writers’ Network (1983-7), as well as the founder of Carolina Wren Press (1976-91) and the co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published five other poetry books and two prose works with small presses. She has taught creative writing since 1974. Her first mystery, Killer Frost, was a finalist in St. Martin’s Malice Domestic contest, appearing from Mainly Murder Press in 2012. Farm Fresh and Fatal is the second novel in her Penny Weaver series. She will be reading throughout the Triangle area from her two new books this fall. She farms and writes in Moncure, NC.

Failure Is Unimportant by Harry Calhoun

Flutter Press
$8.70, paperback
September, 2013
Poetry
Available from the publisher

"Calhoun’s greatest strength in these poems lies in the unaffected clarity with which he shares the lucky burden of loving."
—Phebe Davidson, Wild Goose Poetry Review

In Failure is Unimportant, Harry Calhoun once again writes about courage and failure, life and death, and the layers of what seem on the surface to be mundane daily occurrences. Reviewers have compared his work to that of Billy Collins and Raymond Carver, and reviewer Phebe Davidson has described his poetry as “deft and adroit, conversational and profound.”

Harry Calhoun has had work published in various poetry journals and more than a dozen books and chapbooks over the past three decades. His career has included Pushcart nominations, Sundress Best of the Net nominations, and publications in Abbey, Orange Room Review, Faircloth Review, Thunder Sandwich, Lily and others. Recent chapbook publications include The Insomnia Poems (2011), Maintenance and Death, Retro, and the chapbook of love poems, How Love Conquers the World (all 2012). Harry lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife Trina and his dogs Hamlet and Harriet. His website is http://harrycalhoun.net.

What I Came to Tell You

What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays

Egmont USA
$16.99, hardcover / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 9781606844335 (hc) / 9781606844342 (e-book)
September, 2013
Ages 10 and up
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Receiving a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and chosen as a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), What I Came to Tell You is Tommy Hays’s first middle grade/YA novel. The novel follows twelve-year-old Grover, who, since his mother’s death, has been having a hard time. The only thing that gives him solace is the hours he spends working on his art in the beloved bamboo grove near his Asheville home. His overworked father belittles his efforts; he feels his son is wasting his time and throwing his life away.

As tensions within and without the family build to a boiling point, help tiptoes its way into their lives. A mountain family has moved into the cheap rental nearby, and slowly they work their way into Grover’s forest—and his heart. A prickly and independent neighbor proves to be a stalwart pillar to Grover and his little sister. Even the peculiar young man who always lurks around them plays a role in lifting Grover and his family from their paralyzing grief. Finally, it’s Grover’s own unwavering dedication to his art that brings results that neither he nor his family see coming.

Ron Rash says about What I Came to Tell You, “Tommy Hays has written his best book yet. What I Came to Tell You is a great-hearted novel filled with wisdom and truth. We care, and care deeply, about Hays’ characters as they make their slow, stumbling way from profound grief to the hard-earned acceptance that life can yet be wondrous.”

Tommy Hays is the Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. His adult novel, The Pleasure Was Mine, was a Finalist for the SIBA Fiction Award in 2006, and has been chosen for numerous community reads, including the One City, One Book program in Greensboro and the Amazing Read in Greenville, SC. His novel, In the Family Way, was winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. For more information go to www.tommyhays.com.

A Star and a Tear

 

A Star and a Tear by Stephen McCutchan

Stephen McCutchan
$14.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1492259794
September, 2013
Fiction: Mystery/Thriller
Available from www.Amazon.com

Frank Sessions, a pastor in a city in North Carolina, is locked in a season of personal grief because his wife was killed in a convenience store robbery. He emerges out of that grief to assist the police in tracking down a serial rapist who has a religious fixation. To identify the rapist, Frank must first confront an embarrassing incident in his own past as well as draw upon his knowledge of the role of sexuality in the Bible. The mystery explores the symbiotic relationship between sexuality and spirituality that exists in our churches and society.

Stephen McCutchan is a Presbyterian pastor in Winston-Salem, NC. Since his retirement he has focused on both nonfiction and fiction as resources for the care of clergy. He has published six nonfiction books. He has also created two CDs as support for clergy. In his fictional works, he has published three volumes of short stories reflecting various parts of the complex mosaic of clergy life. His novel, A Star and a Tear, contains a study guide to assist both book clubs and clergy groups in discussing this relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest by Kathryn Stripling Byer

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-935708-92-6
July, 2013 (Reprint)
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"This is one of those rare books of poetry—earthy, sensuous, brave-spirited—that gives us the feeling of a full human life as vividly as a novel aspires to do. Here are scenes our eyes can focus on and all of our senses stir to—scenes that begin with girlhood on a Georgia farm, alive with its grumbling pigs and whispering corn tall enough to get lost in; scenes evoked by family memories that, like the words great grandmother, 'carried the cadence of Genesis'; imagined scenes from lives of kinfolk who had pioneered in the Black Hills in the rough old days. As the years whirl by, there are scenes of the poet sitting down to oatmeal with her own young daughter, as beyond the window the sunlight transfigures an oak tree on Hawk Knob until it reminds her of Ghiberti’s doors in Florence. By now the poet has gone far afield, as in a childhood poem she felt she might; she has ridden trains through the orange groves of Andalucia; she knows about political assassination in Central America. The final section, deeply emotional for all of its starkness, is a series in which she lives through the last days and death of a grandmother. In these poems we share in the lives of many human beings, the poet among them: a sturdy and enduring stock that can sing:

'All the good times are past and gone,
Little darlin’, don’t weep no more…'

And yet sing it with courage and exhilaration."
—Frederick John Nims, judge for the 1985 Associated Writing Programs Award Series for Poetry

Kathryn Stripling Byer has published six books of poetry. The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest was her debut poetry collection, published by Texas Tech University Press in 1986 as part of the Associated Writing Programs Award Series, selected by John Frederick Nims. Since then, her collections have all been published in the LSU Press Poetry Series. Wildwood Flower, her second collection, was named the Laughlin Selection from Academy of American Poets, followed by Black Shawl, chosen by Billy Collins for the Brockman-Campbell Award, given by the North Carolina Poetry Society. Catching Light received the 2002 Poetry Book Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, and Coming To Rest earned the Hanes Award in Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2007. Her most recent volume, Descent, appeared in 2012, also in the LSU Press Poetry Series. Her poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in journals and newspapers ranging from The Atlantic to Appalachian Heritage. She served as North Carolina's first woman Poet Laureate from 2005 through 2009. She lives in Cullowhee, North Carolina, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 Fiddler of the Mountains – Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull
by Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD

The Donning Company Publishers
$24.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-157864-832-0
September, 2013
Biography

Fiddler is available in several local bookstores or from the author at:

109 Oklahoma Ave.
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Dr. Eva Nell Mull Wike’s latest book Fiddler of the Mountains – Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull explores the life of a modest mountain man in a remote hamlet of the Appalachian Mountains in Western North Carolina. In the community of Tusquittee his great grandfather had settled after the Civil War in the rugged mountains and lived in peace among the Cherokee Indians. At about age ten Johnny learned from his father how to play the fiddle. In time he was regarded as "one of the best" in all the mountain area. Like many young men of the 1950’s, he had to leave his home and go north to find employment. Eventually he returned to his beloved parents and spent the rest of his days in the hills of home. All during these years he was in great demand to play his fiddle with several outstanding musicians. In the words of another "one of the best," Mr. Don Byers (Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, 11-27-2010):

“Johnny Mull played fiddle…played it for the smiles.”

To follow his story and gain insights into the way of life on Tusquittee will help the reader better understand how music made lighter the way of life experienced by hard working yet talented mountain people of the twentieth century. Fiddler is the second in the author’s saga of North Carolina mountain people. Her first book, The Matheson Cove – In the Shadow of the Devil’s Post Office (2006) won the North Carolina Historical Society first place book award in 2007.

Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD, was born on September 9, 1938, in Clay County, North Carolina. She is the seventh child in the family of eleven children born to Joseph David and Martha Jane Wimpey Mull. As an educator, Eva taught physics and mathematics. Throughout her teaching career she trained student teachers at Vanderbilt University as well as other universities in the US. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in the Mathematics and Physics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Also she earned the PhD in Educational Administration at UTK. In 1999 she was chosen as "Physics Teacher of the Year" in Tennessee. One of the highlights of receiving this award was being able to attend a global conference in Atlanta with many Novel Prize winners in the sciences and medicine. Today Eva lives with her husband, James Seymour Wike, Sr., in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Her family history book The Matheson Cove – In the Shadow of the Devil’s Post Office won the North Carolina Historian Society Award in 2007.

 

Hats Off! to Shelley Stack whose short story "Breakage" appears in the Fall 2013 issue of The MacGuffin!

 

Hats Off! to Ross White who has two poems in the current issue of The New England Review. White's poem "Flock" was also nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology by Body.

 

Hats Off! to Pam Blair whose article "The Mary B. Martin Legacy: Expanding the Arts in the Tri-Cities" was published in VISPEEN Magazine (Oct. 2013). Her profile begins on p. 47.

 

Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Allan Gurganus whose newest collection of novellas, Local Souls, was reviewed in The New Yorker (Oct. 7, 2013). Allan was also interviewed by Sir Ian Dunham for Page Turner, the magazine's book blog.

 

Hats Off! to Ross White who has two poems in the current issue of The New England Review. White's poem "Flock" was also nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology by Body.

 

Hats Off! to Danny Bernstein, whose book The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina is part of WUNC 91.5 FM Public Radio's "culture pack" giveaway during their fall fundraising drive.

 

Hats Off! to NCWN Board of Trustees member Terry L. Kennedy, who was interviewed on WFDD in support of his newest poetry collection, New River Breakdown. This collection is published by Unicorn Press in Greensboro, which hand-stitches each book and provides custom cover(s).

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poems "Holy Ground" and "Full Wolf Moon" appear in the Blue Ridge Parkway coffee table book. Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway sponsored this project to celebrate twenty-five years of service to the Parkway.

 

Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird, author and counselor at CC Griffin Middle School in Concord, whose article "Creating an Inviting Office Space" appears in the Fall 2013 North Carolina School Counselor Association newsletter.

 

Hats Off! to Wayne Drumheller, NCNW Board member, who has teamed up with the twenty-six members of his first-grade class to write, edit, and produce a Voices From the Valley book collection. The next meeting will during their 50th High School Reunion Weekend near famed Walton's Mountain, Virginia, in the little township of Nellysford. All members of the first class and their teacher, Miss Massey, are still living. They will meet at the Rockfish Valley Foundation on October 24 from 3:00-5:00 pm.

 

Hats Off! to Michele Berger, Penny Cockrell, Todd Henderson, Mary Meinelt, and Carol Phillips, who are publishing poems, stories, and memoir this fall, some in Red Clay Review, the literary magazine of Central Carolina Community College. They are all students in Marjorie Hudson's Kitchen Table Writers Workshops and CCCC Creative writing program.

 

Hats Off! to Rebecca McClanahan whose newest book, The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change, published in March, in now in its second printing.

 

Hats Off! to Stephen McCutchan whose new mystery-thriller, A Star and a Tear, has just been published for Kindle through CreateSpace.

Debra Madaris Efird had an article entitled "For Parents: Diabetes Support at School" in the September/October 2009 issue of Diabetes Self-Management magazine which recently received a 2010 National Health Information Merit Award.

Publisher Kevin Watson and poetry editor Valerie Nieman have just released a new online poetry and prose magazine, Prime Number, a publication of Press 53.

One of Mark Smith-Soto's poems was featured on Ted Kooser's online and syndicated column, American Life In Poetry. [www.americanlifeinpoetry.org].

. . . to Danny Johnson, whose short story "Dancing With My Shadow" placed in
the top 100 in Writer's Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition.  The story
will be part of a collection published by Writer's Digest in 2011.  The
story came from thinking about Ernest Hemingway in his last days.

Hats Off to Art Taylor, whose short story "A Voice From the Past," originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was short-listed for the 2010 Best American Mystery Stories anthology, noted among "Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2009."

 

Hats Off! to Helen B. Aitken of Swansboro, NC, who won first place in nonfiction for the short story, “Wolf Man Howls into Manhood," in the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop 2012 Petigru Review. Ms. Aitken also is featured for her humorous creative nonfiction story, “Death for Lunch.”

 

Hats Off! to Winston-Salem author Tim Bullard, who will appear on UNC-TV's "NC Now" on October 31 at 7:30 pm to discuss his book Haunted Watauga County. The book contains ghost stories and tales of witches in the mountains passed through oral histories.

 

Hats Off! to Suzanne Baldwin Leitner, John Forster, and Lynn Veach Sadler, who were honored in the Writers' Workshop of Asheville's 2012 contests. Leitner won Second Place in the "Meet the Authors Contest" for her story, "Court of King's Bench." Forster received an Honorable Mention in the "2012 Hard Times Contest" for an essay detailing a "difficult" life experience; and Sadler won Third Place in the "2012 Poetry Contest" for her poem, "The Truth about Her Play."

 

Hats Off! to Joe Epley, whose historical novel A Passel of Hate was awarded a Silver Medal by the Military Writers Society of America. MWSA medal awards are judged by a panel of peers and based on various factors including content, style, visual appearance, and technical use of language. A Passel of Hate is Epley’s first novel and describes the events in North and South Carolina leading up to and including the Battle of Kings Mountain.

 

Hats Off! to Katherine Scott Crawford, whose novel, Keowee Valley, was reviewed in the Southern Literary Review.

 

Hats Off! to Grace Cloris Ocasio, whose poem “Little Girlfriend” received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize sponsored by the North Carolina Literary Review.

 

...who was awarded the prestigious "Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal" by The United Daughters of the Confederacy on October 8, 2011. Presented to her for her books, Carolina Rain and Beyond Sandy Ridge.

 

Kelly Gay's debut urban fantasy novel, The Better Part of Darkness, (Pocket Books, Nov. 24, 2009), was chosen by SIBA as a Fall 2009 Okra Pick!

 

...whose award-winning short story "Golf in Pakistan" was selected for Main Street Rag's sports anthology Suicidally Beautiful, forthcoming in January, 2012.

Anna Jean Mayhew received  a two-book deal with Kensington Books for her novel,  The Dry Grass of August, and a second novel-in-progress.

One of BG Carter's short stories was published in Bobbin & Shuttle, the
annual publication of the Textile Heritage Center in Cooleemee, N. C. 

Dody Williams short story, "Betrothed", won the Scratch Contest Summer 2009 quarterly writing contest.  Contest judge Patti Callahan Henry said of "Betrothed", "This story has what all great stories should have: an intriguing opening that makes the reader want to know more. The story takes us back and forth in time, building tension with each forward movement, and then taking us backward toward the meaning of his regret. The author builds a world around his themes and then allows the reader to go with him to the very end."You can read the story here. http://www.scratchcontest.net/id19.html

 ...to Art Taylor for several recent and upcoming publications: the essay "Murder in Black & White: Novels of the Civil Rights Era" in the Fall 2008 issue of Mystery Scene magazine; the short story "Shrimp & Grits" forthcoming in the January-February 2009 issue of The Rambler; and the short story "A Voice From the Past" in an upcoming issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (pub. date t.b.d.).

 
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