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Be Part of the Crowd for our Online Open Mic

Ready for an open mic!

Tonight at 7:00 pm EST, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will host our first-ever Online Open Mic.

Fourteen brave souls will read for five minutes each. They’ll come from every corner of North Carolina, from Fletcher to Kill Devil Hills, to share poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and more.

It’s totally free, and we’d love for you to be there, to listen in and lend your support.

Simply log-on from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, using a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android:

Or, join using the iPhone one-tap: 1-408-638-0968 / 3606004506# or 1-646-558-8656 / 3606004506#.

Or join by telephone only: 1-408-638-0968 or 1-646-558-8656 / Meeting ID: 360 600 4506.

If this is your first time using Zoom, which we’ll be using to host the Open Mic, you may be asked to follow a couple of short, easy instructions before gaining entry to the event. There, you’ll be able to test your system to make sure everything is working as it should.

Every reader loves an audience. Come be a part of ours tonight at 7:00 pm.

It may not be historical, but it just may be a whole lot of fun.


For generations, the North Carolina Folklore Journal has served as a chronicle and sounding board for the likes of Belled Buzzards, shape-note singing, and sweet potatoes. If it’s part of folklife, more than likely it’s been found between the pages of a journal that has been published continuously since 1954.

Published by the NC Folklore Society with assitance by Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and the North Carolina Arts Council, the NC Folklore Journal is “committed to the cataloging of studies of folklore, and to providing a medium of expression and information for the voice of folk artists and folklorists in North Carolina.”

Recent issues have featured essays on “Fish Stew and the Washington Day’s Fox Hunt at Albertson, NC” by Leanne E. Smith; “Appalachian Beastiary” by Gary Garden; and “Cherokee Rivercane Baskets” by M. Anna Fariello. Most issues can be read for free, here.

Unsolicited pitches and manuscripts may be sent to the editor at any time via e-mail: The Journal regularly accepts reviews of nonfiction books and documentaries. While the Journal does not publish fiction pieces, occasional poems of twenty-five lines or fewer, including spaces, may be accepted, along with some reviews of fiction writing and film if the reviews address works’ portrayal of NC culture. Reviews of books, albums, documentaries, other media, etc., may be approximately 1,000-1,500 words. Manuscripts should conform to MLA Style. Please use parenthetical citations in the text of articles (endnotes are fine, too, if necessary), and include a works cited list for sources.

Since 1913, the North Carolina Folklore Society has “worked to promote and celebrate North Carolina heritage.” They support “practitioners and professionals, and honor the our state’s culture through publications and awards,” including the Brown-Hudson Folklore Awards and the community Traditions Awards.

The North Carolina Folklore Society can be found on Facebook here. To learn more about the journal, visit

Summer Library Reading Programs Start this Week

It’s summer! Which means it’s time to read more books (or, at the very least, it’s time for your KIDS to read more books!).

Here’s what some library systems around the state having going on. By no means is this list comprehensive:

Chapel Hill Public Library hosts The Summer Blast! Kids, teens, and adults are challenged to read at least twenty hours. The Blast begins with a kick-off party Friday, June 9, from 2:00-6:00 pm with activities, food trucks, and more.

Forsyth County Public Libraries encourages participants to read as many age-appropriate books as possible during the summer. All library locations have an array of special programs for children, teens, and adults. They aim to make summer a great time, not only to read, but to enjoy music, magic shows, author visits and many entertaining programs at the Library. Make plans to join the fun! For a full list of themes, click here.

Mecklenburg County Library wants kids to “read, learn and explore” during Summer break. Anyone, any age, can win prizes or books for children in need in the Mecklenburg County community. It’s free for all ages—kids, teens and adults—and it’s easy to join. This month, they’re offering nearly two dozen Summer Break kickoff events. They include live music, science shows, balloon twisting, popsicles, BBQ, and more. Find a kickoff event near you.

New Hanover Public Library will host a Summer Kickoff Festival featuring the Cape Fear Circus Arts and 208th Army Band. Enjoy ongoing activities, crafts, bubbles and water play! Hot dogs for sale from the CG Dawgs food cart (try the 2 dogs, chips + drink special for $6). Don’t forget to grab your FREE summer reading bag and check out the Children’s Room!

The following public libraries will be “Building a Better World” with special events, fun activities and prizes to promote reading and encourage people to visit the library. Children up to fifth grade who want to participate can pick up bags and reading logs at their local library. Children can earn stickers when they visit the library, and each week when they check out three or more books, they will receive a special “weekly wow.” These include paint sheets, stickers and other themed items. Older children will be entered in raffles. As follows:

Happy reading!

New New South and the Slow Lit Movement

Officially, the term “New South” refers to the Southern United States in the years since the Civil War.

Inherent in the phrase “New South” is a push toward modernization, an easing of restrictive social and economic barriers, and a question of transformation—no longer able to be what one was, what then does one become?

For a phrase established during Reconstruction, “New South” has proven remarkably flexible. Now the term is just as likely to invoke thoughts of farm-to-table dining, organic coffee beans, and goat lawncare services.

That’s where The New New South comes in:

The New New South is a new digital publisher of longform journalism. Using the innovative technology platform developed by the creators of The Atavist, we are releasing one in-depth and immersive work of non-fiction at a time for reading on tablets, smartphones, e-readers and the Web.

Start with its publishing platform. The New New South is published on The Atavist, which offers intuitive software that makes it easy to publish multimedia projects online and tell stories with “blocks of video, sound, slideshows, charts, and Instagram and Twitter embeds.”

No print version for The New New South: digital publishing technology is at the heart of what they do.

Take the essay, “The Gutbucket King,” written by Barry Yeoman. This beautiful, in-depth profile of blues guitarist Little Freddie King is presented on the “page” (actually, the computer screen) with plenty of white space, which makes it easy to read. But it also features links to videos, recordings, photographs, and more, which enhance the reading experience. These multimedia features allow readers to explore the subject in greater depth.

Not that depth is an issue for The New New South. They pride themselves on giving writers all the space they need to tell their story . This, too, is a benefit of online publishing: more or less unlimited space.

Their latest story is “Our Last Little Fun” by Erin Sroka, which “explores the dark world of sweepstakes parlors.”

Because they publish infrequently, it’s probably best to query before submitting a story idea. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Andrew Park can be reached by e-mail at

The New New South publishes at their own pace. Sometimes, you can’t rush goodness. And in this way, they do resemble what many think of these days when they think “New South”: slow food, carefully curated offerings, an interest in the origin of things.

Read most of their content online free at They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

A Poetry Treasure Hunt for August

Do you like poetry? Do you enjoy a good scavenger hunt?

This August, Live Canon will host the 2017 Poetry Treasure Hunt. Here’s how it works.

Each day in August you get sent an e-mail. It introduces you to the work of a particular poet. There are some poems to read, links to a more extensive selection, and links to audio recordings and videos.

You are then asked to find the answer to a clue somewhere in the work of the poet.

At the end of the month, you need all the answers to find the final solution to the hunt.

You can take part from anywhere, as long as you can get online‐and if you get behind, you can catch up at your leisure.

Sound fun? The £8 Early-Bird Special ends today!

Buy “tickets” here.

Live Canon is an ensemble performing poetry (from memory) at theatres, festivals and events throughout the UK. They create poetry installations and digital projects, publish poetry, and work with young people to create, explore and enjoy poems. Their most-recent project, a film titled “On the Road to the Sea,” a collaboration with choreographer Will Tuckett and dancer Zenaida Yanowsky, exploring the place where poetry and dance meet.

Wherever you are, lounging on a deckchair by the pool, stuck in the office, or juggling the brood…you can inject more poetry into your August.

Just click here.

The Crucible Sponsors Two Prestigious Prizes

Barton College, in Wilson, was named one of the best regional colleges of the South in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report. Barton is home to the student-run literary magaazine, The Crucible.

Edited by Dr. James A. Clark, Dean of Humanities, The Crucible hosts the yearly Sam Ragan Poetry Competition, awarding $150 and publication to an unpublished poem. The Crucible publishes fiction as well, up to 8,000 words, and offers a yearly fiction prize with a value of $150.

All submissions are considered for the prize, and submissions are accepted Jan 1 – May 1 yearly at There is no entry fee, and submissions are only accepted electronically.

Often called North Carolina’s “literary godfather,” Sam Ragan (1915-1996) was for more than fifty years one of his state’s leading men of letters. He taught writing and journalism at Sandhills Community College, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and North Carolina State University. He published six collections of verse, two of which were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes, and four works of nonfiction. A former trustee of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, he helped found the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, of which he is a member. He also is a member of the NC Journalism Hall of Fame.

Copies of the current Crucible may be purchased for $8.00. Back issues are also available from the Editor for $8.00 per copy.

Visit Crucible on the web at

SLI Enterprises Gives Voice to Vision

At the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Spring Conference, Nikki Brate and Russ Hatler led the class “Social Media for Self-Published Authors.” This offering helped authors navigate the many promotional opportunities available online, and used real-life examples to wade through the “technological mire” that is the World Wide Web.

Now, Nikki and Russ have released a brand-new website devoted to helping authors give voice to their vision.

SLI Enterprises hopes to “provide a friendly place for self-published and small imprint authors and poets to showcase their work.” By bringing together authors and readers, the site will allow users to rate books, set reading preferences, add their own books to available genre categories, and take advantages of resources such as:

  • Manuscript Editing
  • Create a YouTube Video
  • Book Cover Design
  • Build an Author Website
  • Set up an Author Blog
  • Create an Author Facebook Page

Users are encouraged to register, where they’ll gain access to preference profiles, book reviews, selected candidate lists of elements, video posts, book cover designs, websites, and blogs. Guests who do not choose to register will be able to browse through the libraries, view videos, read book synopses, buy an author’s books, and search by author name for all an author’s works.

The site does so much, it’s probably best to check it out yourself and poke around:

Nikki Brate is president of Nikki Brate Graphic Design. She has worked with Russ Hatler on a number of projects, including YouTube video productions that are currently being used to promote The Sisterhood Diaries. She is currently involved in the design and implementation of a website for SLI Enterprises.

Russell Hatler spent forty-five delightful years playing the role of computer whisperer, subduing those unwieldy iron monsters with craftily-coded programs. Now semi-retired, he has redirected his creative efforts toward appeasing the high-maintenance muse of his college major, English. He has toiled diligently at the art of creating literary mystery. Most recently his efforts have been focused on writing novels for adults. He has discovered that researching an adult novel is infinitely more interesting than writing computer programs.

For more information, and to join the SLI Enterprises community, click here.

New White House Budget Confirms Arts Cuts

Yesterday, an e-mail from our friends at Americans for the Arts alerted us that the Trump Administration has released their FY2018 budget, titled A New Foundation for American Greatness.

Unfortunately, this administration’s interpretation of “greatness” does not include government-supported arts programs.

This so-called “skinny budget” provides just enough money to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Servicesfor expenses necessary to carry out the closure” of these agencies; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS) is slated to be cancelled in 2019.

Needless to say, if you value the arts, now is the time to contact your representatives in Congress and the Senate. Ask them to save the arts. Tell them personal stories of how the arts have positively affected you.

On their website, Americans for the Arts lays out a great argument for the value of arts in our towns and cities. They also plainly state what we have to lose should these arts programs be cut.

“With only a $150 million annual appropriation, the NEA’s investment in every Congressional District in the country contributes to a $730 billion arts and culture industry in America, representing 4.2 percent of the annual GDP. This arts and culture industry supports 4.8 million jobs and yields a $26 billion trade surplus for our country.”

You can find specific examples for your state by clicking here to see a breakdown of NEA grants for 2016.

Take action now.

Less Chase, More Golden Egg

Geese feature prominently in many of our most beloved adages. There’s the “goose that laid the golden egg.” There’s the time-consuming and frustrating experience of a “wild goose chase,” although, it’s important to remember at such times that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

The Wild Goose Poetry Review, however, is more likely to give pleasant rise to “goosebumps” by producing issues devoted entirely to “poetry worth reading.”

Based in Hickory and edited by Scott Owens, a poet and instructor of English at Catawba Community College, Wild Goose is an online journal of “poetry, reviews, and poetry-related news.” Best of all, every issue is FREE!

The Spring 2017 issue features familiar Tar Heel poets such as Lucy Cole Gratton and Richard Allen Taylor, as well as reviews of books by Irene Blair Honeycutt and Michael Parker. New this spring: a “Featured Editor” section that presents a repesentative sample of a Wild Goose editor’s work. For Spring, 2017, that editor is Lenoir-Rhyne University Senior History / Creative Writing major and Wild Goose Poetry Review Assistant Editor, Jordan Makant. Past contributors include John Amen, Sam Barbee, Maren O. Mitchell, Mary Ricketson, and Maria Rouphail. Some contributors have been published more than once.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, but close at the end of the month preceding the next issue’s publication. Issues are published quarterly (roughly) in mid February, May, August, and November, although this publication calendar has been a little less rigid over the past couple of years. The important thing is that the journal continues to publish.

Wild Goose looks for good contemporary poetry with no particular biases. Enjoy humor, strong imagery, strong lines, narrative, lyric, etc. Not a fan of abstraction, cliche, form for the sake of form, shock for the sake of shock. As in any good poem, everything should be purposeful. If accepted, a 100-word maximum comment on each poem will be requested. Choosing not to submit a comment will not alter the acceptance decision.

To submit, poets should send 3-5 unpublished poems in the body of an e-mail to Scott Owens at

Learn more about the Wild Goose Poetry Review on their website or follow them on Facebook.

Rejected So Many Times, Publication Becomes Inevitable

The year might be nearly half over, but there’s still plenty of time for rejections to pile up. However, you’ll never get rejected if you don’t submit!

In 2016, Lit Hub encouraged writers to aim for 100 rejections a year, arguing that quantity would eventually lead to quality:

In the book Art & Fear, authors David Bales and Ted Orland describe a ceramics class in which half of the students were asked to focus only on producing a high quantity of work while the other half was tasked with producing work of high quality. For a grade at the end of the term, the “quantity” group’s pottery would be weighed, and fifty pounds of pots would automatically get an A, whereas the “quality” group only needed to turn in one—albeit perfect—piece. Surprisingly, the works of highest quality came from the group being graded on quantity, because they had continually practiced, churned out tons of work, and learned from their mistakes. The other half of the class spent most of the semester paralyzed by theorizing about perfection, which sounded disconcertingly familiar to me—like all my cases of writer’s block.

This year, author and writing coach Sara Connell established the Publish 100 Challenge. Each writer sets a submission goal that will keep him or her focused on the number of submissions sent out in 2017, but only as a way to “write more, write better.” The group operates as a private Facebook group where members can support one another, share opportunities for submissions, and be part of a community dead-set on getting rejected so many times, publication becomes inevitable.

To sign up for the Publish 100 challenge, click here.

Members will receive a weekly video tip on publishing or the craft of writing. The group is FREE to join, and their goal is to have 100 writers participate.

Benefits include:

  • Overcoming fear of rejection
  • Improving writing skills
  • Increasing productivity- write more!
  • Increasing publication success

As an author and coach, Sara Connell has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The View, FOX Chicago, NPR, and Katie Couric. She has presented to a wide range of organizations from Fortune 500 Companies to local and national organizations such as: Avon, Estee Lauder – Origins, Johnson & Johnson, Jones Lang LaSalle, GE, Northwestern & Northwestern – Prentice Hospital for Women, Unilever & the Young President’s Organization. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications including The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, and many more. Her first book, Bringing In Finn, was nominated for ELLE magazine 2012 Book of the Year and is available in bookstores now. Learn more about her at

To join the Publish 100 Challenge, click here.

And here’s to making 2017 the year of mountains of rejections!