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Hotel Options Near Fall Conference

Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley

Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. While there are no more rooms available at the venue site, here are some nearby options, all less than one mile away from the conference:

Please note, rates are subject to change, but current as of this post.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference ends Friday, October 28. Register now!

Why You Need an Author Website

You hear it from all corners, really: authors need their own personal website. True, not every author has one, including some really famous ones. So in this day of Facebook author pages and Instagram accounts, is an author website even necessary?

Donna Talarico answers this question at length on The Writer magazine website. Before we say anything else, let’s start by directing you to the full article here.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Your website is a hub of activity. “An author website can serve as the authoritative link to all other web-based properties about you.”
  • Content matters. She offers plenty of tips to keep your website looking dynamic and bringing in traffic.
  • Design matters. See above.
  • Think across devices. More and more people are viewing your website on their phones, tablets, etc.
  • Mind your metrics. Google Analytics is free to install and use, and it can help you bring the right people to your site.

Definitely give the entire article a read. If you’re on the fence now, you’ll be a convert after.

Programs such as WordPress and Blogger let you fire up websites for free using What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) dashboards. Domain names are affordable, especially if purchases for more than a year and set to automatically renew, through sites such as GoDaddy.

Plenty of famous authors don’t have websites. But for the rest of us, and emerging writing especially? Yeah, we need one.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 4

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference closes Friday, October 28. If you haven’t signed up, go ahead and do that now. We’ll wait.

Are you back? Great! Over the past few weeks we’ve been introducing the vendors who’ll be at the conference:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Now, last but not least:

Underground Book Reviews believes the average consumer won’t take the time to browse new, obscure titles. Instead, most people rely on recommendations from friends, trusted media. But apart from a few magazine awards, some online competitions, and a plethora of amateur book review blogs, the literary community lacks such an award system for indie authors. Until now. UBR does not charge for reviews or even accept review copies. They encourage authors to take risks, but they’re with them every step of the way. From beta reading to editorial services, the back-end of Underground Book Reviews is set up to be a booming literary community full of free-thinkers and budding authors. Through both user recommendations and professional reviews, the diamonds in the rough are given a chance to shine through. What do they review? Self-published and independently published fiction; novels and novellas of all genres; and adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction. What don’t they review? Books published through indie houses they consider too large/mainstream, AKA “Above Ground”; nonfiction, including memoirs; children’s books; short story compilations, graphic novels, or poetry compilations; or books published by their staff, reviewers, or affiliates.

Wisdom House Books is a publishing hybrid boutique, offering all the advantages of alternative publishing while still maintaining a standard of the highest quality production and design. They make publishing one’s manuscript easy and affordable. Their mission is to produce quality books that make a positive difference in the world. Whether a writer has an inspiring personal story, a spiritual message, a key to better health and well-being, or a new method for financial success, they will personally and professionally guide a book through the publishing process with care and integrity. They provide all the services of a major publisher, but the author retains 100 percent of the royalties and 100 percent of the selling profits. There are no “Publishing Packages” or “Levels” here. They simply offer a list of services to select based on what works best for an author’s goals and budget. For a list of Wisdom House Books authors, click here. Recent books include The Lesson Project: Lessons of Life, Love, and Listening to God by Christine C. Williams, which was reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly, and Fate Ball by Adam W. Jones, whose book tour has taken him to some unconventional places to reach more readers.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network facilitates regional groups in many of our state’s counties. These groups are run by regional reps who host free, monthly events such as open mics, featured speakers, and classes focused on writing exercises. If you’re interested in finding a regional group near you, stop by the regional rep table to pick up some information.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference offers courses on elements of the craft, the business of writing, and the chance to have one’s manuscript critiqued by a professional editor. 2016 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron will give the Keynote Address. 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured guest at Saturday night’s banquet.

To register, click here.

Donate Children’s Books to Hurricane Matthew Victims

From our friends at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources:

Child reading at the State Library.

Child reading at the State Library.

Raleigh—While many household items and family treasures have been lost to Hurricane Matthew, books can help children of all ages escape for a bit from the storm’s tremendous devastation. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in partnership with the North State Journal, is asking for donations of children’s books for Hurricane Matthew victims.

New or gently used books may be dropped off beginning Saturday, October 5 in 65-gallon bins located at these locations:

  • North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton St., Raleigh;
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh; and
  • North Carolina State Capitol Historic Site, 1 E. Edenton St., Raleigh

“So many families have lost everything following Hurricane Matthew, and for the children displaced by this disaster, that includes books,” said Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “Books and stories can serve as an escape from our daily troubles, and it is our hope that this effort will bring some joy and comfort to the families affected by this storm”

To donate, please bring a new or gently used book to place in the bin at one of the four drop-off locations. The books will be collected and delivered to shelters, schools, and public libraries in the following eastern counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne, and Wilson.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational, and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes twenty-seven historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums, and Jennette’s Pier, thirty-nine state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit

Seeking Students: Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series

From our friends at the North Carolina Poetry Society:

Pat Riviere-Seel

Pat Riviere-Seel

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series (GCDPS) is seeking four student poets to be mentored by Distinguished Poet (DP) Pat Riviere-Seel in 2016-2017.

The series, a free program of the North Carolina Poetry Society, pairs an established North Carolina poet with four newer writers who wish to develop their work: one from middle grades, one from high school, one from college, and one graduate student or non-student adult. From December through May, the students and the DP correspond or meet to discuss and work on about a dozen of each student’s poems. The series includes a GCDPS reading at Western Carolina University’s annual Literary Festival in April and the opportunity to set up joint readings of the student poets and the DP at the students’ home libraries.

To apply, students fill out the application form found at the North Carolina Poetry Society’s website,, and e-mail it, with a three-page sample of the student’s poetry, to Dr. Catherine Carter at Western Carolina University ( Poems and application can also be mailed to Dr. Carter at 421 Coulter Building, Department of English, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, 28723.

Counties included in the western region are listed at The application requires the signature of a parent and of a teacher or public librarian for students under eighteen.

Pat Riviere-Seel is the author of two chapbooks: No Turning Back Now (2004) and The Serial Killer’s Daughter (2009). Her most recent poetry collection, Nothing Below but Air (2014), was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and The Serial Killer’s Daughter has been staged by several theatrical groups. Pat has taught in UNC-Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, has been poet-in-residence at the NC Zoo, co-edits the anthology Kakalak, and has worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and lobbyist. She lives in Asheville.

The Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series supports the mission of the North Carolina Poetry Society to foster the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry across the state. The GCDPS originated when the NCPS Board voted in 2003 to follow the advice of Fred Chappell, then North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. He had written and advised the NCPS president about various approaches to take in furthering the NCPS mission of encouraging the reading, writing, and enjoyment of poetry. Prior Distinguished Poets have included Mary Adams, Joseph Bathanti, and Brent Martin.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 3

For the past two weeks, we’ve been rolling out introductions for the exhibitors who’ll join us for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6, in Raleigh.

If you missed part 1 or part 2, follow the links!

Here’s who else will be there:

Prospective Press is an avid independent publisher, connecting readers to great stories by great authors. They produce books in the traditional way, a commitment to quality and a keen interest for compelling content. However, they also keep an eye to the future, watching for ways to make the reading experiences even more enjoyable and satisfying. From the Piedmont region of North Carolina, they bring a world of quality genre fiction and select nonfiction. Their nonfiction imprint connects readers with a nascent collection of enjoyable and informative books on select topics involving the body, mind, and spirit. Fiction includes High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy; Young Adult and Mythological; Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction; Paranormal and PNR; Women’s Fiction; and more. For a list of their authors, click here.

Time Treasures Books and Antiques is a longtime friend of the Network. This table is one you’ll just have to see what “treasures” owner Dan Zafren brings with him to Raleigh. Make sure to leave time for yourself to hunt around and spend some time chatting with Dan. He’s a bit of a treasure himself.

Christa Gala, TAF

Christa Gala, TAF

The Triangle Association of Freelancers is an informal but actively working organization of North Carolina-based freelance writers. Though informal, TAF maintains a professional attitude toward freelance writing. The organization’s approach has always been to write toward publication, and that writers should be paid appropriately for their work. A core philosophy within TAF is that writing is an ongoing educational experience. With that in mind, the organization has hosted an eclectic array of talented guest speakers at its monthly meetings, which happen on the last Wednesday of the month at Red Hot & Blue, 6615 Falls of Neuse Rd., in Raleigh. Dinner is at 5:30 pm, and the meeting begins at 7:00 pm. Newcomers welcome. Their website is

On Saturday of Fall Conference, at 11:00 am, four TAF members will lead the panel discussion, “Freelance Writing 101,” a ninety-minute panel discussion that provides a detailed introduction to nonfiction freelance writing, including topics such as how to break in as a freelancer, general vs. niche freelancing, national vs. regional freelancing, finding and developing marketable ideas, maintaining momentum, working with editors, and the additional opportunities available to established freelance writers. Moderator: Donald Vaughan. Panelists: Mark Cantrell, Christa Gala, and Corbie Hill.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is open.

Please note, the deadline to reserve a hotel room at the discounted group rate is Friday, October 14.

Win Free Books for the Rest of Your Life. Seriously.

“Library Building” is just another Heywood Hill service….

Poet Terry Kennedy passed this story along through Twitter earlier this week and we just had to share. Because the prize for this competition—one free book a month for the rest of our lives—is basically among our top three fantasies, along with world peace and having membership numbers in the tens of thousands.

London’s Heywood Hill bookshop is taking nominations from readers for the “book that has meant the most to them.” One nomination will be drawn at random, and the winner will receive “one newly published and hand-picked hardback book per month, for life, delivered anywhere in the world.”

For the full story in The Guardian, click here.

Nominees must put forward titles “published in English, or translated into English, after 1936, the year Heywood Hill was founded.”

Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Heywood Hill is one of the leading bookshops of London, trusted by readers and collectors throughout the English-speaking world. Their staff are dedicated bibliophiles who understand the importance of matching the right book with the right person.

The idea for the contest came about from the “A Year in Books” subscription service already offered by the bookstore, where they sit down with a customer to figure out his or her likes and dislikes, then send them one book a month.

The deadline for nominations is October 31. To enter the contest, click here.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 2

Last week we introduced five exhibitors who’ll be at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6, at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. Among its many programs, Fall Conference offers an exhibit hall packed with vendors, offering attendees a great opportunity to chat with industry insiders in a laid-back environment.

Registration is now open.

So, who else is going to be there?

For nearly fifty years, the North Carolina Arts Council has invested in artists and arts organizations to create an enviable arts infrastructure that reaches every corner of our state. They believe that the arts make North Carolina a great state to live and work. Programs include artist fellowships; the SMART initiative to create an arts-driven economic development plan for the state; cultural trails; and educational programs such as A+ in Action, a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning in all subjects. The NCAC is also a sponsor of NCWN’s 2016 Fall Conference.

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 tours of Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, with more in the works!

The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary! Produced at East Carolina University and inspired by the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association to be a companion to the North Carolina Historical Review, NCLR publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by and interviews with North Carolina writers, and articles and essays about North Carolina writers, literature, and literary history and culture. A cross between a scholarly journal and a literary magazine, NCLR has won numerous awards and citations, including five from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals: the Best New Journal award in 1994, the Best Journal Design award in 1999 and 2010, the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2007, and the Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2014. The print issue is published annually in the summer. It is available via subscription and in independent bookstores across the state. Since 2012, a separate, open access online issue is released in the winter. NCLR facilitates the North Carolina Writers’ Network annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Since 1932, the North Carolina Poetry Society has existed as an all-volunteer organization especially for poets and friends of poetry. We now have approximately 350 members from North Carolina—and numerous locations beyond. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings three times a year. Other programs include 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; workshops across the state, offering poets an opportunity to gather for instruction, camaraderie, and networking; and 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. McClafferty is a science fiction and fantasy author whose books include …and they are us, Corsairs of Aethalia, and Vale of Tears. A thirty-year veteran of the United States Air Force with a tour in Vietnam and involvement with both Gulf War I and Gulf War II, he graduated (BA and MA) from Vermont College of Norwich University. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and two cats. His forthcoming book is Darkness at the Edge of Noon.

Press 53 was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections. Located in Winston-Salem, they publish up to five short fiction collections each year, including the winner of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction (now open for submissions through December 31!). They publish up to to eight poetry collections each year, including one collection by the winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry. In July 2010, Press 53 launched Prime Number Magazine, a free online quarterly publication of distinctive poetry and prose. Their authors include former NC poet laureates Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Stripling Byer and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson; poets Gabrielle Freeman and Joseph Mills; and fiction writers Quinn Dalton and Dennis McFadden.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is now open.

It’s Banned Books Week!

Can you find Waldo? Not if the censors have anything to say about it....

Can you find Waldo? Not if the censors have anything to say about it….

September 25 – October 1 is Banned Books Week, “a celebration of writing that has been challenged by would-be censors.”

It’s a good time for us readers to let our hair down and flash our rebellious side, maybe by doing something daring like reading a “filthy trashy sex novel” such as John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, or even works by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Maya Angelou, who was one of the most banned authors in America for her unflinching narrative memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Readers don’t get to walk on the wild side all that often, so you can imagine folks are celebrating this week in all sorts of different ways.

The New York Public Library offers a quiz on its website where you can see how well you know your banned books.

Bookstores such as Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill are devoting entire front-of-store displays to banned books, which includes Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini…and Where’s Waldo?

And command central for this celebration is the website for Banned Books Week, which has been causing a literary ruckus since 1982.

So go ahead. Pick up a copy of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, or the Holy Bible, and stick it to the would-be censors. Because these books were among the ten most challenged titles of 2015.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 1

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh. As part of a full weekend of courses, readings, panels, and more, we offer an exhibit hall packed with vendors representing some of the best and brightest literary organizations, publications, and retailers North Carolina has to offer.

The exhibit hall is a key part of the conference experience and definitely should not be missed. This is your chance to chat face-to-face with publishers and marketers who are at their booths with nothing better to do than talk to you too! (In fact, that’s why the exhibitors are there!) It’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the literary landscape in North Carolina. And even if you find yourself talking to a press that doesn’t publish what you write, they may have recommendations as to where else you can send your work.

So, who’s all going to be there? Here are a few, to get us started:

Durham-based Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision. It’s a venue for ethnic poets, including African-American writers, which has a deep interest in poetry by Latino/a, Asian, and other Ethnicities. The press is also a seeker of poetry that is political, evocative, social, gritty, and also personal and poignant. Their forthcoming poetry chapbooks include Memory of a Girl by Aozora Brockman and Strange-tongued Names by Aaron Counts.

Carolina Wren Press is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to publish quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. This Durham-based publisher hosts the annual Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, which opens for submissions each spring. CWP authors include Quinn Dalton, Ravi Shankar, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green.

Ecotone literary journal and Lookout Books are a magazine and small press based at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Ecotone’s mission is to publish and promote the best place-based work being written today. Their contributors include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows. But they’re equally excited to honor new voices. Lookout Books seeks out emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as overlooked gems by established writers. Their authors include Matthew Neil Null, Edith Pearlman, and Clare Beams, who will teach a fiction course at the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference.

The Greensboro Review, published by the MFA in Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has been “old school” since 1965. Edited by Jim Clark with Terry L. Kennedy serving as assistant editor, works from the journal are consistently cited and anthologized in the Pushcart Prize, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, and other annual collections honoring the finest writing by both established and emerging talent. TGR offers two awards of $500—one award for fiction, one for poetry—and the winning manuscripts appear in the spring issue.

Minerva Rising Press, an independent literary press, celebrates the creativity and wisdom in every woman by giving them space to tell their stories and to tell them well. They publish thought-provoking and insightful fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry through chapboks and a literary journal. They pride ourselves on building a supportive community of women, because they believe that when women come together, they flourish. They are committed to working with both established and emerging women writers to hone and develop their craft in the direction of growth—both personally and professionally. They offer the annual Owl of Minerva Award: a $500 scholarship established by Minerva Rising to provide one woman writer with financial support to further her writing endeavors.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is open.

Check back soon for more exhibitor introductions!