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Hotel Options for Fall Conference

FC11.MarqueePlease note, the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, site of the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, has no more guest rooms available. They are currently sold out. However, there are several great hotel options well within walking distance.

For starters, this is the Doubletree’s sister property, and you can use the code “NC Writer’s Network” to secure the special $95 per night rate (please call to secure this special rate):

Biltmore Village Lodge ** Only 15 rooms left! **
Cost: $95 per night
Distance from conference: less than ¼ mile
Guests should call the hotel directly at (828) 277-1800 and mention “NC Writers’ Network” to make reservations. This is the hotel’s website.

Here are four additional hotels that are 1/4 mile or less from the conference venue, listed by ascending price (please note, rates are subject to change prior to booking):

Guest House Inn
Cost: $76 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 274-0101 or website

Clarion Inn Biltmore Village
Cost: $120 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 274-0101 or website

Baymont Inn and Suites Asheville-Biltmore
Cost: $160 per night
Distance from conference: less than ¼ mile
(828) 274-2022 or website

Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
Cost: $289 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 505-2949 or website

Registration for the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

In the Company of Laureates

Shelby Stephenson

Like astronauts or living U.S. presidents, poet laureates are a pretty exclusive club. There aren’t that many of them, by nature of the job description—to serve as ambassadors for poetry and literature in their city, state, or nation.

On Saturday, October 11, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts at George Mason University’s Science and Technology campus, in Manassas, VA, more than 20 current and former poets laureate from Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia will gather to celebrate American poetry for “In the Company of Laureates.”

The event is free and open to the public.

J.K. Daniels and LeeAnn Thomas will serve as emcees. Poet Laureates on-hand will include JoAnn Balingit (Poet Laureate of Delaware); Marc Harshman (Poet Laureate of West Virginia); Ron Smith (Poet Laureate of Virginia); and of course Shelby Stephenson, current Poet Laureate of North Carolina.

The day includes panels, presentations, and workshops, including a panel for veterans, “Words on War,” with Dr. Frederick Foote, Bill Glose, Jim Mathews, and Claudia Gary (moderator).

For a complete list of the laureates who will be in attendance, and a schedule of events, click here.

Random Acts of Poetry Day

It’s the first Wednesday in October, which means today is Random Acts of Poetry Day:

Random Acts of Poetry Day is about painting poetry in the public square, either literally or figuratively. Chalk your poem onto the sidewalk, leave one on a subway seat, pin one onto your local grocery store board.

The website Tweet Speak Poetry offers a free book to download with 10 ideas for sharing random acts of poetry…or get creative to let poetry touch someone today.

They also offer links to good poems to share, but we recommend just choosing your favorite poet and sharing a poem of his or hers that really means something to you, or that you just happen to love. Enthusiasm is contagious. Let’s try to spread poetry like the norovirus.

How’s that for a campaign slogan?

Thanks to our friend Kevin Dublin for passing this along!

Hug a Teacher Today

Today, Monday, October 5, is World Teachers’ Day. If you know a teacher, say “thanks.” If you’re a bartender, buy a teacher a drink. And let’s all of us take a moment to remember the mentors and teachers who touched our lives.

To celebrate,, an automated proofreader billed as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker,” put together the following infographic. It’s a good reminder not only to go back and read a teacher classic like Goodbye, Mr. Chips, but that the world is always looking for great educators. Enjoy.

World Teacher Day

Come See Us at Bouchercon 2015

Bouchercon 2015 opens in one week. The North Carolina Writers’ Network will have a booth at the convention, so please come by and say hello. You might have the pleasure of sharing a few laughs with one of our tireless board members who will be around all weekend.

Wondering who else is going to be there? The Bouchercon website offers a list of attendees. Now you can plot ways to bump into that important connection—or see if you’ll spend the weekend trying to dodge an old flame.

Don’t miss Friday’s panel, “Acorns Nurtured Here: The Talent Past, Present, and Future,” featuring Network members Ruth Moose, Karen Pullen, and Chris Roerden. This panel happens at 2:30 pm in Governor’s II.

Network member AJ Tata will sit on the “Local Guest of Honor” panel on Friday at 2:30 pm in Congressional AB; Karen and fellow member Art Taylor will read from and sign the 2015 Murder Under the Oaks Anthology on Saturday at 10:30 am in University ABC; Karen will be a featured guest at “In Honor of Librarians: a Southern Tea” on Saturday at 2:30 pm in State CD; Art will sit on the panel “Short, and Shocking: The Mystery Short Story” on Sunday at 10:00 am in Governor’s I; and AJ will sit on the panel “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Heroes and Antiheroes” on Sunday at 10:00 am in State EF.

Margaret Maron, cousin of North Carolina poet laureate Shelby Stephenson (she introduced Shelby at this 2014 induction into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame) will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bouchercon is the world’s finest annual crime fiction event, bringing together more than 1,000 authors, fans, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, editors, and every other part of the community for a fantastic four-day event. This is their 46th year.


Going Back in Time?


The Galloway House in Xenia, OH

Do you write historical fiction, or do you think you might want to, one day? Then don’t miss Bharti Kirchner’s recent article in The Writer, “Look Back with Historical Fiction.”

Kirchner offers five things to keep in mind while casting your writerly eye back in time.

1. Why historical? “You don’t have to be an expert in your chosen period and setting; the only requirement is the willingness to do research.”

2. Immerse yourself in the period. It’s necessary to “make judicious use of factual details and, as necessary, apply imagination to fill the gaps where history is undocumented.”

3. The crucial dialogue. Keep your dialogue sounding “realistic and natural.”

4. A broader perspective. Consider including “observations on political and economic struggles and tensions of society, gender and class.”

5. The story, above all. “In the end, what’s most important is the story your characters have to tell.”

To read the full article, click here.

Music for the Prose

Words and music are as natural a pairing as cucumbers and gin. Which makes us wonder why more people aren’t doing what the producers behind Music for the Prose have stirred up: setting original musical scores to famous works of poetry or verse.

Composer and conductor Daniela Candillari and theatre and film actress Kelli Ruttle moved to New York City around the same time and met there, quickly becoming friends. Every ten days or so they release a new two-part episode.

In Part I, Kelli reads the week’s piece over Daniela’s music. Then in Part II, the producers discuss the inspiration for the work and offer a backstage pass to their podcast in a segment they’re calling “Behind the Mic.”

The hosts are warm and instantly likeable, and the episodes range from rhapsodic (Walt Whitman’s “Mannahatta”) to downright creepy (Aaron the Moor from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus). There’s enough history in each episode to satisfy those listeners who want to learn something, and each segment is short enough for a commute or your elliptical workout at the gym.

So far, Music for the Prose has kept to the canon of English Literature, using written works that are in the public domain.

Episodes are available at iTunes or Soundcloud, and the producers can be reached at

Think You Can’t Possibly Read Another Student Essay?

A pen is merely a tool to be used for good…or evil.

Even for English teachers who love their jobs, sometimes it all gets to be too much. The bad grammar. The incoherent comparisons. The written diarrhea from students struggling, gamely, to reach the assignment’s word-limit.

Sometimes, teachers need a release.

Which is why Andrew Kocherga founded, a website showcasing essays, term papers, theses, and reviews corrected “without any courtesy” in an effort to teach students to “not to write with a carefree attitude.”

There are Admission Essay samples, Capstone project samples, as well as examples of descriptive, narrative, and thematic essays. Technical reports? Check. Book and movie reviews? You bet.

One of our favorites is an informal essay on U.S. History graded, by the site, as an “Epic Fail.” A piece of writing so bad that the grader suspects the writer was “probably drunk.”

Read ’em and weep—or at least commiserate:

Asheville: It’s a Cool Place

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference runs November 20-22 in Asheville.

Yeah, you know. Asheville. A little town in the mountains. Western North Carolina. Biltmore Estate. Most breweries per capita. Foilage….

Check out this video and dream a little. We’ll see you there.

It’s Arts In Education Week

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has declared September 13-19 “Arts In Education Week,” the first NC governor to recognize “the abiding value of ensuring that every child in North Carolina has a complete education that includes arts training, arts integration, and arts exposure.”

Arts North Carolina is encouraging folks to forward the governor’s proclamation to county school officials (school board, superintendent, principals, lead faculty, parent support groups) and to tell everyone you know.

Here’s the proclamation in full:

WHEREAS, arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and more, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and well-rounded education for all students; and

WHEREAS, arts education enables students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, imagination and creativity, discipline and collaboration, alternative ways to communicate and express feelings and ideas, and cross-cultural understanding, which supports academic success across the curriculum; and

WHEREAS, arts education contributes to increased attendance and graduation rates; elevates academic achievement, and prepares students for college, career, and citizenship readiness; and

WHEREAS, arts education contributes to personal growth outside of the classroom, including increasing a student’s likelihood to participate in civic life, volunteerism, altruism, and community engagement; and

WHEREAS, to succeed in today’s economy, students must masterfully develop traits that business leaders demand in a 21st century workforce, such as communicating through words, images, sounds, and movement; and

WHEREAS, the arts are an integral part of life in the United States and are an integral part of a complete education which contributes to the vibrancy and vitality of communities across North Carolina and our nation;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAT MCCRORY, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim September 13-19, 2015, as “ARTS IN EDUCATION WEEK” in North Carolina, and commend its observance to all citizens.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina at the Capitol in Raleigh this eleventh day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.


Thanks to our friends at Arts North Carolina for passing along this great news.