Skip to content

Promoting a Book and Achieving Humiliation

By Barry S. Brown

My book, having been written and published, was ready to be promoted.

I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to spread the word, bringing joy to some number of heretofore empty lives, and making some serious coin in the process. I felt myself ready for the initiative. My website was up, a Facebook page had been created, and an armful of books had been ordered.

My immediate target became the independent bookstores in the community. Here, I reasoned, were people after my own heart, courageous individuals who had forged paths for themselves in a world dominated by huge corporate entities (my own book had been printed by a small, but obviously discriminating, publisher). Indeed, the bookstore owners I contacted were not only self-reliant, but were uniformly pleasant and supportive.

Pineapple Books (names have been changed to protect the well-meaning) went so far as to offer me the opportunity to do a reading with the understanding that the many fans created in the course of the evening could then line up to purchase my work. Having been present at a reading at Pineapple, and seen a substantial number of the 35-40 bibliophiles in attendance storm the counter after the final question had been posed and answered, my only concern on my night in the limelight was whether I had brought a sufficient number of books.

I was well-prepared otherwise, having given my talk several times to the enthusiastic but restrained audience I found in the mirror. I arrived early—very early—and found the Pineapple parking lot not yet full; in fact, I found it deserted. Not wanting to appear overanxious, or desperate, I drove around the neighborhood for a while until it seemed safe to return to the Pineapple. I was surprised to find the condition of the parking lot unchanged. Adopting my accustomed “devil-may-care” attitude, I strode to the front door and, throwing it open, got the second surprise of the evening—and one that explained a great deal about the first surprise. Neatly arrayed in a line before the speaker’s table were four chairs.

As I was later to learn, this would be an optimistic estimate of my audience.

I joined the store clerk, who had volunteered or been dragooned into spending her next hour and some with me, rather than at home and hearth, which she would surely have preferred. In spite of that cheerless assignment, she was relentlessly good-humored while we waited for my audience to show up. Promptly, at the scheduled starting time of seven, she did.

I had been instructed that I was to deliver my talk to whatever number of people appeared. And so, to the visitor and the store clerk, I delivered a talk that brought laughter at times, a welling of tears at times, and occasionally elicited a response from my audience as well. I told the story of the book’s creation, gave the core of the plot, discussed its historical context, and answered questions about the author’s work habits. At the end of the hour, I shook hands with everyone in attendance, wished them well, and gathered up the exact same number of books I had come with.

Undaunted—well, maybe a little daunted—I accepted the invitation of another bookstore—I’ll call them Two Cousins Bookery—this time to engage in a booksigning. Once more armed with a stack of books, and now with pen at the ready (actually two pens in case one failed), I sat behind a small card table strategically placed to face the front door. With a smile frozen in place, I greeted whatever patron made eye contact, and waited to demonstrate my cursive writing skills. And waited. And waited some more. Indeed, I became nostalgic about the audience I had earlier attracted at Pineapple Books.

At the end of the two hours I had been allotted, I courteously thanked the proprietor for the card table and chair, packed the books it now appeared I would take with me to the grave, retracted the point on my pen, and prepared to leave, never again to darken the Two Cousins door. However, the one of the Two Cousins on duty that day would have none of it. She decided the heavy rains experienced throughout the afternoon were responsible for my dismal showing. Wanting desperately to believe it to be true, I agreed, and, as a result, we scheduled a return engagement.

The following Saturday, the day scheduled for my redemption, shown bright and sunny. The card table was set in position, the point on my pen was no longer retracted, and the ever-present stack of books was again at the ready. As it turned out, friends must have told friends, and those few who did not avert their eyes upon entering the Bookery nonetheless avoided my table with an agility that belied the age of many. All seemed intent on creating a pretense that I did not exist, then establishing the pretense as fact.

The eight-year-old son of one of the Two Cousins decided finally it was his responsibility to steer customers to my table. He may have simply thought it would be fun, but I prefer to regard him as an ally. In either or any event, he began to run his toy car along the edge of the card table with appropriate sound effects, drawing attention to the two of us until his mother intervened. He then began interceding with people in the store to advise them of the opportunity to meet an author, although I suspect his actual words were more along the lines that the guy over there is dying and couldn’t they do something about it. I had become finally the object of an eight-year- old’s pity.

And then a customer approached me. My frozen smile threatened to become genuine—until she spoke. “Can you tell me where I can find mysteries by ___?” Suffice it to say my name is not ___.

It needs to be understood, Mrs. Brown raised two boys to be gracious in all situations. I am the younger of the two. And so I showed the woman where she could find books by ___. In the course of our short journey, I informed her about another author, actually in attendance, who also wrote mysteries. She reported already knowing that and thanked me for showing her ___’s books.

At the end of that sunlit, spring-like day, I had signed as many books as I had in the pouring rain. Again, I thanked the cousin. This time there was no offer of a makeup day, nor was one wanted. Since then, however, I have learned of a seniors community that invites authors to talk about their books, and autograph the ones they sell. I’m thinking about giving them a call. What the hell. If they’ve got a card table, I’ve got a pen, still have the books, and even retain a shred of self-worth. Come to that, I can bring a card table.

***

BARRY S. BROWN is the author of the Mrs. Hudson of Baker Street series. Unwilling or unable to recognize either defeat or reality, he remains available for readings and booksignings.

Visit Us at West End Poetry Festival

One thing about the West End Poetry Festival, happening this weekend in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, is that they put together an incredible lineup of poets, year after year.

In past years, we’ve admired from afar. But this year, we decided we were tired of missing out on all the fun, so we’ll have an exhibitor’s table on Saturday in the Century Hall in the Century Center from roughly noon to 8:00 pm.

Come on by and see us!

The “weekend” begins on Wednesday, October 17, at 6:30 pm at Johnny’s Gone Fishing on West Main St. The first night of the festival features a poets’ reception (open to all), poetry readings, and an ice cream social, featuring Carrboro’s Poet Council, including Carrboro Poet Laureate Gary Phillips.

Thursday, October 18, offers an open mic at The Station. (More than 40 poets. Yowza!)

Friday night features a reading with NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Jaki Shelton Green; friend of the Network Lauren Moseley (Big Windows); and former Hillsborough poet laureate William Davis. This stellar lineup will be raising the roof at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill starting at 6:30 pm.

Saturday is an all-day shindig offering a reading and workshop by Sandra Beasley. The day will conclude with a readings and a conversation among three significant female Arab poets: Ruth Awad, Fatima Abdullah, and Shadab Zest Hashmi. A light dinner will be provided.

Saturday’s events take place in the Century Center, which is where you’ll find our booth! And all of these events are free and open to the public.

For more information, click here.

See you there!

Introducing Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 4

So, here’s a little secret. When you’re an exhibitor, there’s often a lot of downtime. Over the course of a full weekend, sure, you end up talking to a ton of people, but there’s a fair amount of time spent standing around, too.

Gets to be, sometimes, you’ll talk to anybody about anything, just for something to do.

What’s that mean for you as an attendee of the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference?

Well, if you’re courteous, and professional, and not creepy or needy and don’t go on too long  about how much your mom always loved the things you wrote for her when you were in gradeschool, these exhibitors will be more than happy to talk to you too, and there’s absolutely no better way to get the pulse of the current state of letters than by speaking with the publishers, writing organizations, and services who will be in the hall.

This week, we’ve been presenting our 2018 Fall Conference exhibitors four at a time:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

And bringing us home….

Press 53 (www.press53.com)
Press 53 has been finding and sharing remarkable voices in poetry and short fiction since October, 2005, having published more than 200 titles that have earned more than seventy awards. Press 53 has published poetry and short fiction collections by authors from thirty-five states, including six state poets laureate. In 2011, Press 53 established Prime Number Magazine, a free online journal of distinctive poetry and short fiction. In March, 2019, Press 53 will launch The High Road Festival of Poetry & Short Fiction, the only literary festival in the U.S. that is dedicated to poetry and short fiction. Learn more at www.Press53.com; like them on Facebook; and follow them on Twitter.

PublishDrive (www.publishdrive.com)
PublishDrive is a self-publishing platform that addresses the new realities of e-book publishing. They empower authors and publishers with easy-to-use tools and friendly, dedicated customer service every step of the way! PublishDrive offers authors and indie publishers access to 400+ stores and 240,000 digital libraries, including major stores such as Amazon, iBooks, Google, and Barnes & Noble, and international partners like Dangdang. They are an Apple Approved Aggregator and partners of Google. Like them on Facebook; follow them on Twitter; and read all about what they can offer at www.publishdrive.com.

NCWN Regional Reps (www.ncwriters.org/index.php/our-members/regional-reps)
One exhibitor table at Fall Conference will be devoted to our regional groups. The North Carolina Writers’ Network hosts monthly, free literary events through our regional and county representatives in fifty-one counties in North Carolina plus one each in Georgia and South Carolina. Come to the table to find information about ongoing events in an county near you! This is a great way to meet local writers and find your support network closer to home. You’re bound to leave Fall Conference excited to get back to your writing, and our regional groups are one way we keep that inspiration flowing between conferences. Hat-tip to Chatham-Lee Counties regional rep Al Manning, sponsor of the Open Mic at Fall Conference, who developed this idea for a regional rep table. For a full listing of our regional reps, click here.

Women’s National Book Association – Charlotte Chapter (www.wnba-charlotte.org)
The Women’s National Book Association – Charlotte Chapter offers its members a chance to meet “like-minded people and bring fun, book/literacy-focused events to the community, while learning more about the book world” through regular members’ meetings. As a member of the Charlotte Chapter, members are automatically members of the national WNBA as well (www.wnba-books.org). WNBA-Charlotte hosts an annual Bibliofeast, a literary “moveable feast” where renowned authors dine with an discuss their books with attendees. Member benefits include discounted tickets to Bibliofeast; no stocking fee as a a self-published author at Park Road Books; no entry fees to WNBA writing awards; access to members-only events for unparralelled networking; and much more. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website to learn much more.

Pre-registration for the North Caorlina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference is open through October 26. Register here!

Introducing Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 3

This week we’ve been highlighting the many exhibitors who will join us November 2-4 for our 2018 Fall Conference.

If you missed parts 1 and 2, they are here and here.

We are admittedly partial to organizations with “North Carolina” in their name. But here are four that will exhibit at this year’s 2018 Fall Conference in Charlotte.

North Carolina Arts Council (www.ncarts.org)
The North Carolina Arts Council is a sponsor of the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference. This year, the NCAC has nominated a new poet laureate for North Carolina, Jaki Shelton Green, who will be among the panelists at Fall Conference following the staging of Ian Finley’s new play, Native. The NCAC has also been instrumental in connecting individuals and organizations in need of disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Florence with the appropriate resources. Over the years, the NCAC has been at the forefront of bringing arts tourism to North Carolina, publishing several guidebooks to heritage trails and designating the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The NCAC also offers fellowships to artists and organizations each year. The deadline for the next Artist Fellowship grant is November 1. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and learn much more on their website.

North Carolina Literary Map (www.library.uncg.edu/dp/nclitmap)
The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. The NC Literary Map also offers apps for literary walking tours. New walking tours this year include Blowing Rock, Wilmington, and Wilson with more in the works. There is, of course, a literary walking tour of Charlotte. Make sure to find time before or after the conference to explore the literary side of the Queen City! They’re on Facebook, Twitter, and you can visit them on the web.

North Carolina Literary Review (www.nclr.ecu.edu)
Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review facilitates the annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize for the North Carolina Writers’ Network and sponsors the annual James Applewhite Poetry Prize. The most-recent issue (#27!) includes an essay by NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron; poems by Catherine Carter, Dannye Romine Powell, Marty Silverthorne, and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee James Applewhite; and fiction by NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Allan Gurganus, as well as Robert Wallace’s story “The Science of Air,” which won the 2017 Doris Betts Fiction Prize. NCLR publishes interviews and literary criticism about North Carolina writers and high-quality poetry, fiction, drama, and creative nonfiction by North Carolina writers or set in North Carolina. Their definition of a North Carolina writer is anyone who currently lives in North Carolina, has lived in North Carolina, or uses North Carolina as subject matter. Follow them on Facebook and learn more on their website.

North Carolina Poetry Society (www.ncpoetrysociety.org)
The North Carolina Poetry Society was founded in 1932. With more than 350 members from North Carolina and beyond, NCPS is an all-volunteer organization devoted to poets and lovers of poetry. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings four times a year in Southern Pines at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. In addition, NCPS sponsors annual contests for adults and students, which offer cash prizes and award certificates; the annual Poet Laureate Award, judged by the state’s poet laureate; the annual Brockman-Campbell Book Award, recognizing the best book published by a North Carolina poet; and the annual Lena M. Shull Book Award, selecting for publication the best full-length unpublished poetry manuscript by a poet living in North Carolina, where the wining manuscript is published by St. Andrews University Press, and the winning poet leads a workshop and gives a reading at Poetry Day Hickory in April. In 2003, the NCPS Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, where three distinguished North Carolina poets are selected annually to mentor student poets in the eastern, central, and western regions of the state. Now in its 8th year, this program is thriving as a significant expansion of NCPS outreach. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, and on the World Wide Web.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference closes Friday, October 26. Don’t miss out!

Register now.

Introducing Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 2

We tell our attendees straight up: if you’re coming to Fall Conference, you’re going to want to bring an extra suitcase.

Not only will Park Road Books be selling books written by all the illustrious faculty, but we’ll have sixteen exhibitors on-hand offering books, broadsides, journals, schwag, and more.

So don’t forget to leave some extra room in your luggage! And come ready to support your local organizations.

This week we’re highlighting our Fall Conference exhibitors, four at a time.

Part 1 is here.

Here is Part 2:

Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts (www.charlottlit.org)
The nonprofit Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts (Charlotte Lit) is the greater Charlotte community’s center for engaging with and studying the literary arts. They provide a physical space—the Plaza Midwood studio—where people gather, teach, learn, and create. And they are a virtual community hub where people discover local literary events and connect with literature and each other. They offer ongoing classes in the craft and business of writing; a reading series; and other events and programming, many in collaboration with local groups. This fall, their 4X4CLT series continues when they release four different posters featuring four poems and four works of art. A reading and celebration will be held with featured poets and artists. After each event, the posters are displayed in public places throughout the city—coffee shops, waiting rooms, libraries, storefronts. Charlotte Lit is sponsoring the Business of Writing track at the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference; Charlotte Lit co-founder Paul Reali also will lead the session “Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers.” Follow Charlotte Lit on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit them on the web.

Horse and Buggy Press (www.horseandbuggypress.com)
Since setting up shop in 1996, Dave Wofford of Horse & Buggy Press has designed over 100 books for other publishers, organizations, writers, and artists. Books occasionally feature in-house letterpress printing, hand-sewn bindings, and other special touches to complement beautiful designs with extreme attention to typographic detail. Many titles are housed in special collection libraries all over the globe, and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Library at Duke University actively collects and archives all publications of the press.

Notable titles include an entirely hand-printed illustrated version of It Had Wings by Allan Gurganus; An Elizabethan Bestiary: Retold (Poems by Jeffery Beam with illustrations by Ippy Patterson) which was named one of the fifty most well -designed books of 1998 by the AIGA; The Dead Father Poems by John Lane; Southern Fictions by NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer (which featured handmade covers pulped from repurposed Confederate battleflags), and last year’s Paul’s Hill: Homage to Whitman by the most recent NC poet laureate and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson. Dave works on a range of other printed matter projects including brochures, catalogues, posters, and literary broadsides and shows content heavy projects can look beautiful to reward deep reading. Clients include the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Duke Press, Eno Publishers, The Gregg Museum of Art & Design, UNC School of Journalism, Carolina Friends School, and Jacar Press.

Dave also takes great pride in working with writers who wish to self-publish (books and broadsides), and explaining the process clearly to help people choose the most suitable production strategy for their specific context. He has built up a network of production vendors and knows which companies to use based on the specifics of each book and ensuring costs are controlled without sacrificing quality. Writers enjoy a close and collaborative working relationship with Dave, and see their manuscripts come to life within beautifully designed books that deliver a proper stage to celebrate the work and cultivate a reading audience.

Recently, Dave has enjoyed producing small editions of high quality books for folks who have taken the time to write memoirs or family histories (including A Small Circle by William Price). These books integrate digital printing on the interior (using high quality, heavy-weight paper) with letterpress printed covers, and perfect bindings (with cover flaps) to find the sweet spot between aesthetics and economics in making book editions built to last for generations. Dave enjoys providing this service in an age of less than inspired, print on demand internet-based companies and showing that much better books can be produced while remaining cost competitive. With his experience in editing images, Dave is able to greatly improve archival photos so they reproduce beautifully in these books.

Horse & Buggy Press works out of Durham, and Dave curates a 500 square-foot gallery which features work by over twenty established artists and craftspersons from across the Southeast. The gallery features changing solo and thematic exhibits on the “main” wall, and there is a curated bookstall which features a culling of books by micro-presses and high quality, self-published writers, artist monographs from a few select museums, and a healthy amount of photobooks. Dave sends out an illustrated e-newsletter every two months or so. Just email him at dave@horseandbuggypress.com if you would like to receive these and keep up with the goings on in the studio and the gallery.

The website was overhauled last winter and has a large amount of work for viewing in the portfolio section. https://www.horseandbuggypress.com.

Dave will have a few book and broadside projects for sale at his table, and looks forward to connecting with writers who may be considering self-publishing work in the near future.

Lenoir-Rhyne University – The Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville (www.lr.edu/asheville)
The Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville was launched in 2012 to expand Lenoir-Rhyne University’s mission to serve the specific needs of Western North Carolina and beyond. As a commitment to the community, LR invested in a state-of-the-art learning space in downtown Asheville and hired full-time, terminally-degreed faculty to direct the graduate programs, mentor students, and develop community partnerships. The Center currently enrolls more than 200 students in twelve programs and is becoming known for its leadership in key community initiatives. The Center is home to the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative as part of the Master of Arts in Writing program led by Professor Laura Hope-Gill, the Poet Laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website.

Literary Latte Podcast (www.bookingauthorsink.com/literary-latte-podcast)
The Literary Latte Podcast is powered by storytellers. Each interview is a jolt of inspiration fueled by thoughtful conversations with bestselling authors and publishing pros that give real-world advice on the craft and business of writing. Host Lynda Bouchard is the founder of Booking Authors Ink, a boutique marketing firm dedicated to Southern authors. As a result, she has worked with some of the most high-profile authors on the planet, and many have been podcast guests, including Chris Bohjalian, Pat Conroy, Ken Burger, Dorothea Benton Frank, James Patterson, David Baldacci, and many more. Lynda collaborates with New York publishing houses on Southern publicity campaigns and serves as a consultant for authors on tour throughout the South. She is a contributing writer for Where Writers Win blog and has been a featured speaker for the SC Writers Workshop and panel moderator at the South Carolina Book Festival. When she isn’t busy pitching her creative outside-the-book ideas and waiting for Anderson Cooper to return her calls, you’ll find her volunteering for Literacy Councils in North and South Carolina and supporting her local chapter of Donate Life—helping create awareness for the importance of organ donation. Find her on Twitter and on the Web.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference is open through October 26. Register now!

Introducing Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 1

Without question, the programming at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference is going to be stupendous. Top-notch faculty; sessions in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and writing for the stage and screen; faculty readings; open mics; and more.

But no Fall Conference experience would be complete without setting aside plenty of time to meander through the exhibit hall. This year, you’ll find some of the leading literary organizations in North Carolina selling books; offering quality programming; and hoping to talk to authors just like you.

This week, we’ll be highlighting our exhibitors, four at a time.

Without further ado…

Blair (www.blairpub.com)
On January 1, 2018, Carolina Wren Press and John F. Blair, Publisher, became Blair: a nonprofit, independent press that publishes diverse books, including literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction about the American South and beyond. With a firm foundation of new and backlist books about culture, history, travel, and food in the Southeastern US and beyond, Blair also publishes literary fiction titles of both national and regional interest, with a focus on new and diverse voices. New titles include Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers by Hal Crowther, a collection of profiles of Southern “trouble-makers”; Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-Lee Chai, a luminous and sharp-eyed story collection for an increasingly globalized world; and All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women, edited by Enid Shomer. Follow Blair on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit them on the web. Blair accepts nonfiction book proposals year-round; they accept fiction and memoir through their three annual contests.

Blue Crow Publishing (www.bluecrowpublishing.com)
Blue Crow Publishing, based in Chapel Hill, is an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction founded in 2016. They publish fiction of a variety of genres under their Blue Crow Books imprint, and nonfiction, including memoir and social commentary, under their Raven Books imprint. Their Young Adult imprint, Goldenjay Books, will publish its first titles in the fall of 2018. They are a socially conscious press that prioritizes original voices and traditionally marginalized authors. They operate according to five guiding principles. These five beliefs inform their decisions every day.

• They believe that authors should be treated with honesty and respect.
• They believe books should be beautiful and of high quality.
• They believe that the best books are sometimes overlooked by publishers.
• They believe that great writing is not limited by genre.
• They believe that all authors deserve a voice, especially those whose writing the publishing world has so often turned its back on.

The co-founders of Blue Crow Publishing are Lauren Faulkenberry and Katie Rose Guest Pryal. Follow Blue Crow Publishing on Facebook, Twitter, or visit them on the web.

Charlotte Readers Podcast (www.charlottereaderspodcast.com)
This brand-new podcast lets listeners meet Charlotte-area authors and those who visit the Queen City, and hear writers read their work. Author and host Landis Wade encourages authors to read and talk about their award-winning, published, and emerging works, the kind of stories and poems that touch the emotions, followed by the kind of questions and answers that offer depth and insight into the readings. Wade is a recovering trial lawyer who starts each day walking Gus and Lori, two rescue dogs named after characters from Larry McMurtry’s classic western, Lonesome Dove. When he doesn’t have a dog leash or a keyboard in his hands, he’s probably holding a fly-rod, a golf club, or a cold beverage at a Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Knights game. Add to that a digital podcast recorder and the recovery from trial work is almost complete. Episode 1 just dropped. It features corporate lawyer by day, author by night Paul Kurzejais, whose “Beach Subsidy” won the James McGavran Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where Paul is getting his MA. The Charlotte Readers Podcast is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and on the World Wide Web.

Charlotte Writers’ Club (www.charlottewritersclub.org)
Established in 1922, 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. The Charlotte Writers’ Club officially meets the third Tuesday of every month at Providence United Methodist Church, Rm. 214. They host an Open Mic every third Friday at 7:00 pm at Mug’s Coffee. They also host writing workshops year-round, led by guest faculty. Critique groups meet regularly. The Charlotte Writers’ Club also sponsors four annual contests: the Ruth Moose Flash Fiction contest; a Nonfiction and a Poetry competition; and the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Short Story Contest. Charlotte Writers’ Club members receive discounts on classes; the opportunity to read their work; a host of networking opportunities; and a regular newsletter. To subscribe to their newsletter, click here. Follow CWC on Facebook or visit them on the web.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference is open through October 26.

The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville Needs Assistance

From our friends at The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville:

In September, 2018, North Carolina was hit by the devastating storm Hurricane Florence, which wreaked havoc across the state.

Unfortunately, many older structures in Western North Carolina suffered due to the large amount of rain—including our beloved Workshop headquarters.

The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville is headquartered at 387 Beaucatcher Rd., Asheville, in a century-old farmhouse, and the house suffered extensive damage in the wake of Florence. The roof is experiencing significant leaking and lost many of its shingles, and water damage has occurred from the attic all the way down to some of the bedrooms and the workshop room.

These repairs will not be covered by our insurance.

We need these spaces repaired so that we can continue our award-winning programs—workshops, contests and readings. Since 1985, we have helped thousands of adults and children from the tri-state region better their writing and reading skills.

We need to raise $25,000 to replace the roof and repair interior damage. All contributions are greatly appreciated, and are 100% tax-deductible due to TWWOA’s status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Each and every dollar contributed to this campaign will fund our storm repairs.

Please help us out by clicking on the link, https://www.gofundme.com/twwoa-storm-repairs.

And thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!!

Sincerely,
Karen Ackerson
Founder and Executive Director

Oxford American Celebrates North Carolina Music

Each Fall, Oxford American highlights the music of a Southern state. This year, it’s North Carolina’s turn.

To celebrate the North Carolina music issue, Oxford American is hosting a series of events “from Asheville to Raleigh.”

Tickets go on sale at noon today, Friday, October 5.

As follows:

MONDAY, NOV. 26 | GOVERNOR’S MANSION
Raleigh, NC at 5:30 PM | PURCHASE TICKETS
The Oxford American will host a reception with readings and music, to be followed by a full 90-minute concert at Fletcher Opera Theater. Entry is limited as part of a VIP admission to the Fletcher Opera Theater concert that evening.

MONDAY, NOV. 26 | FLETCHER OPERA THEATER
Statewide Singing Circle – Raleigh
Raleigh, NC at 7:30 PM | PURCHASE TICKETS
Presented in partnership with Bob Nocek Presents, join us for a Statewide Singing Circle featuring Tift Merritt, ASM (Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man), Shirlette Ammons, Chatham County Line, Phil Cook, Alice Gerrard, Big Ron Hunter, Chris Stamey, and other surprise guests.

TUESDAY, NOV. 27 | THE PINHOOK
Stories From the Issue – Durham
Durham, NC at 6:30 PM | FREE EVENT
Presented in partnership with The Pinhook and Letters Bookstore, join us for stories from the issue featuring Dasan Ahanu, Sarah Bryan, Benjamin Hedin, Jill McCorkle, Mark Powell, and Tom Rankin, and musical guests Tift Merritt and Phil Cook.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28 | FREE RANGE BREWING
Stories From the Issue – Charlotte
Charlotte, NC at 7:00 PM | FREE EVENT
Presented in partnership with Free Range Brewing, join us for stories from the issue featuring Rebecca Bengal, Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Lauren Du Graf, Maxwell George, Jon Kirby, John Thomason, and Dave Tompkins, and musical guest Tift Merritt.

THURSDAY, NOV. 29 | BOOTH PLAYHOUSE
Statewide Singing Circle – Charlotte
Charlotte, NC at 7:30 PM | PURCHASE TICKETS
Presented in partnership with Maxx Music, join us for a Statewide Singing Circle featuring Tift Merritt, Chócala, Phil Cook, David Childers, writer Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Benji Hughes, Bill Noonan, Thomas Rhyant, and other surprise artists.

FRIDAY, NOV. 30 | ISIS MUSIC HALL
Statewide Singing Circle – Asheville
Asheville, NC at 8:30 PM | PURCHASE TICKETS
Presented in partnership with Isis Music Hall, join us for a Statewide Singing Circle featuring Tift Merritt, poet Nickole Brown, Pat Mother Blues Cohen, Mike Guggino, Amanda Anne Platt, Jimmy Landry, Michael Libramento, Tyler Ramsey, Graham Sharp, Shannon Whitworth, and other surprise guests.

SATURDAY, DEC. 1 | MALAPROP’S BOOKSTORE & CAFÉ
Stories From the Issue – Asheville
Asheville, NC at 3:00 PM | FREE EVENT
Presented in partnership with Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café, join us for stories from the issue featuring Nickole Brown, Wiley Cash, David Joy, Jon Kirby, Melinda Maynor Lowery, and C.L. White, and musical guest Tift Merritt.

See you ’round!

Dr. Margaret D. Bauer Honored with John Tyler Caldwell Award

Dr. Margaret D. Bauer

NCWN trustee Dr. Margaret D. Bauer is the recipient of the 2018 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities from the North Carolina Humanities Council. This is the Council’s most prestigious honor.

This award recognizes Dr. Bauer for her lifelong achievements as a professor, editor, scholar, author, and supporter of literature in North Carolina.

Dr. Margaret D. Bauer is the Ralph Hardee Rives Chair of Southern Literature and Distinguished Professor of Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University, where she has served as Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review for more than twenty years. Under her editorship, NCLR has received four awards from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. She has also edited two books on North Carolina playwright Paul Green, and one of her articles on Green explores his collaboration with Richard Wright on adapting Native Son for the stage. She is the author of works including William Faulkner’s Legacy (2005), and A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O’Hara’s Literary Daughters (2014), as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals.

In 2017, she notably received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest civilian honor given by the Governor of North Carolina. She is a past President of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Paul Green Foundation and is a Board Trustee of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

The John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities honors distinguished individuals who have strengthen the educational, cultural, and civic life of North Carolinians through their life’s work. Inaugurated in 1990, the award is named for the late Dr. John Tyler Caldwell, former chancellor of North Carolina State University and founding member of the North Carolina Humanities Council. Past Caldwell Laureates include William C. Friday (1999), Marsha White Warren (2009), Congressman David Price (2011), Betty Ray McCain (2012), Harvey Gantt (2015), and Bland Simpson (2017).

Dr. Bauer will be honored in a ceremony on Friday, October 5, at 6:00 pm at the Friday Conference Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tickets for the ceremony are still available.

The $25 ticket includes free parking; heavy hors d’oeuvres, and an opening and closing ceremony, including an exclusive author conversation, “Southern Literature and the Humanities,” with international bestselling author and winner of the 1997 National Book Award for Fiction for Cold Mountain, Dr. Charles Frazier, interviewed by Dr. Liza Wieland, professor of English and Associate Dean in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at ECU.

The North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through its public humanities programs and grants, the Council facilitates the exploration and celebration of North Carolina’s many cultures and heritage. The North Carolina Humanities Council operates the NC Center for the Book; an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress that receives support from the State Library of North Carolina. To learn more visit www.nchumanities.org.

How to Celebrate National Mystery Series Week

Henderson County author Joe Perrone, Jr., a former regional rep of NCWN, brought this to our attention: October 1-7 is National Mystery Series Week.

A very cursory amount of Googling turned up no details, really, about what National Mystery Series Week entails. It  may or may not have been launched by (now defunct?) Purple Moon Press as a way to “celebrate those continuing characters who return time and again to solve the case.”

An even more cursory amount of Googling, which was little more than the sleep-deprived mouse clicks of an impatient communications director, couldn’t turn up much about Purple Moon Press either. So, who really knows?

The holiday itself is listed on several holiday websites, so it must exist!

But it’s the Wild West as far as holidays go: the possibilities for how to celebrate are endless.

At the very least, it seems like a goood excuse for reader’s award sites like IndieBrag to send out e-newsletters highlighting some of their more popular indie mystery series.

National Mystery Series Week also is a great chance for us to read through and celebrate our favorite mystery series, from NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron’s Judge Deborah Knott series set in central North Carolina; to the Harrison Weaver mysteries by Joseph LS Terrell set along the Outer Banks; to the magical mysteries of Serafina by Robert Beatty, set in Asheville around the Biltmore Estate.

Of course, Joe Perrone, Jr. is the author of several mystery series himself.

And that’s just for starters! And just in North Carolina!

From cozies to procedurals, thrillers to the hard-boiled, this is the week to celebrate the puzzles, twists, and characters that keep us turning pages.

Hey, even completely made-up holidays can be fun.

Here’s to National Mystery Series Week!