White Cross School Blog

 

NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 


Hats Off! to Denise Heinze whose short story "The Grid" appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Thema Literary Journal. "The Grid" was a quarter-finalist in the 2015 Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award contest and has been published as an e-book.

 

Grandpa! Grandpa! What Will I See? by William P. Bahlke

WPB Publishing
$17.95, hardcover / $12.95, paperback / $1.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9991971-0-3
September, 2017
Children's: Picture Book
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

A grandfather ponders the question, “Grandpa! Grandpa! What will I see?” As one might expect, Grandpa answers by sharing memories of his own, events etched in history, lessons learned, and teachable tales. “What would you like to see?” he asks his granddaughter. Her response is filled with dreams and fantasies, whimsical, hopeful, and lighthearted.

William P. Bahlke is a sixty-three-year-old semi-retired civil engineer finally pursuing his life-long passion for writing novels and children’s books. He and his wife, Meda, divide their time between Key West and the mountains of North Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Engineering. His published novels are Frisbee Ball Rules and Popular Demand.

Hats Off! to Lucia Walton Robinson whose poem "Adam and Eve in the Florida Panhandle" appears in the current issue of Split Rock Review. Emerald Coast Review's just-published 2017 edition includes her poem "Incident on Okaloosa Island" and memoir "Half a Life in Gloves" (winner of the Charlotte Writers' Club's 2017 nonfiction prize). And "To Simon, in a Grecian Cap" will appear in the Fall issue of The Penwood Review.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—On-site registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach, will open at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 3, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn.

At 6:00 pm, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing will host the grande finale of Writer's Week, followed immediately by the Opening Reception for NCWN's Fall Conference. The evening will culminate with a Keynote Address by New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash, whose new novel is The Last Ballad, about the real-life 1929 Loray Mill strike and the murder of balladeer Ella Mae Wiggins. 

Weekend offerings include Saturday morning’s “All Stories Connect” panel discussion with the North Carolina Humanities Council, which will include the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Linda Flowers Literary Award.

Saturday’s luncheon will feature the documentary CreativeNC, by Dev T. Smith. The film, which debuted at the North Carolina Museum of History, sheds light on what it's like to be a creative in a country fueled by industrial ideals.

On Saturday night, the Fall Conference Network Banquet will celebrate fifty years of the North Carolina Arts Council with special guest Susi H. Hamilton, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. As Secretary, Hamilton has focused on economic development, ensuring children and families have a chance to succeed by encouraging companies to bring well-paying jobs to Southeastern NC. She is also a strong advocate for preserving Wilmington’s historic district.

Sunday morning will once again feature the popular “Brilliant at Breakfast” panel discussion, “Agents and Editors,” featuring Malaga Baldi of the Baldi Agency; St. Martin’s Press editor Jaime Coyne; Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency; and Emily Louise Smith of Lookout Books / Ecotone.

Attendees will want to make sure to set aside time to visit the exhibit hall, where literary journals, small presses, and literary organizations from all across North Carolina will be on-hand. It's a great chance to talk about the literary landscape with editors and publishers in a casual setting. Conferencegoers will have the chance to buy books, subscribe to literary journals, and join other writerly organizations around the state.

2017 Fall Conference sponsors include the Arts Council of Wilmington & New Hanover County; Coastal Carolina University; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN regional rep Al Manning; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; the UNCW Department of Creative Writing; WHQR Public Radio 91.3 FM; and Alice Osborn & Write from the Inside Out.

For more information, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference runs November 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Registrants will look forward to a full weekend of sessions, panels, readings, a Keynote Address by Wiley Cash, a NaNoWriMo launch party, open mics, and more.

Pre-registration is open: click here.

This programming, which comes to the North Carolina coast only once every four years, is made possible in part through the generosity of sponsors.

NCWN's 2017 Fall Conference kicks off with the Closing Reception of Writer's Week, hosted by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing. The closing reception will flow into the Opening Reception for Fall Conference. The UNCW Department of Creative Writing is a community of deeply committed writers who believe that the creation of art is valuable to self and culture. Their faculty encourages a rigorous yet safe, supportive environment in which diverse writers can grow as artists and as individuals. They believe excellence starts with an informed application of craft, and they encourage writers to explore aesthetics and methods across genre lines. Writers' Week (October 30 - November 3) brings together visiting writers of local and national interest, UNCW students, and members of the general public with an interest in literature and writing. Activities throughout the week include workshops, panels, and readings. Both the literary magazine Ecotone and the small press Lookout Books are produced at UNCW.

The Arts Council of Wilmington / New Hanover County will sponsor the Booksigning by Wiley Cash following Cash's Keynote Address on Friday night. The mission of the Arts Council of Wilmington & NHC is to support artists and arts organizations through innovative public/private partnerships that support jobs, stimulate commerce, and showcase the region as an arts destination. The Arts Council aims to significantly contribute to quality of life in the region; provide a stream of funding to support the sustainability of artists and arts organizations; facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community; and to advocate for the arts at the local, state and national levels. Rhonda Bellamy is the Executive Director.

The Master of Arts in Writing at Coastal Carolina University will sponsor Saturday morning's "All Stories Connect" breakfast panel, where Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Krista Bremer, and Marian Fragola will dicuss the "Importance of Story to Understanding" and celebrate the winner of the 2017 Linda Flowers Literary Award. The Master of Arts in Writing is a thirty-three-credit-hour program that offers courses in creative writing, composition and rhetoric, professional writing, literature, and linguistics. Offering a diverse, flexible curriculum, students study extensively in one genre (creative writing, composition, or professional & technical writing) while also broadening their educational range through coursework in additional genres. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a range of professional opportunities after school or for continued study in MFA or Ph.D programs. The program offers a wide range of opportunities for students to gain experience in writing, editing, and teaching in professional contexts. An on-campus literary journal and available graduate assistantships in teaching and research make the MAW program a professional training arena for writers and scholars.

Alice Osborn: Editor / Book Coach / Author will sponsor the Happy Hour on Saturday night of Fall Conference. Her past educational (MA in English, NCSU, and BS in Finance, VA Tech) and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as an editor, writing coach, and poet-musician. In the past decade, Alice has taught writing workshops to thousands of aspiring fiction and memoir authors of nearly all ages, both around the corner and across continents. Heroes without Capes is her most recent collection of poetry. Previous collections are After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects. Alice is also the editor of the anthologies Tattoos and Creatures of Habitat, both from Main Street Rag. A North Carolina Writers’ Network board member and a Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in The News and Observer in Raleigh, the Broad River Review, Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review, and in numerous journals and anthologies. When she’s not editing or writing, Alice is an Irish dancer who plays guitar and violin. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, two children, four loud birds, and Mr. Nibbles, the guinea pig. Visit Alice's website at www.aliceosborn.com.

Al Manning, aka The Resident Curmudgeon, is a Trustee of the North Carolina Writers' Network and the NCWN regional rep for Chatham and Lee Counties. He facilitates Pittsboro's Writers' Morning Out, which meets the second Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at Greek Kouzina, 964 East St., in Pittsboro. Typically, they welcome a guest speaker and enjoy lively conversation centered around the craft of writing. Al is the author of the poetry collection, The Curmudgeon's Book of Nursery Rhymes. Saturday night's Open Mic is made possible through Al's generosity.

The North Carolina Arts Council is a sponsor of the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference. At the Saturday night banquet, the Arts Council will celebrate their 50th anniversary with featured speaker Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Events throughout the year will celebrate a half-century of supporting the arts in the Tar Heel State, and the Arts Council is profiling fifty prominent North Carolina artists on their website as part of that celebration. 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 Arts Council also offers fellowships to artists and organizations each year. The deadline for the next Artist Fellowship grant is November 1.

WHQR Public Radio 91.3 FM will sponsor the Faculty Readings on Saturday night. Known as the small non-profit radio station with a big reputation for unique performances, solid programming and a community spirit that covers southeastern North Carolina, WHQR also hosts 92.7, a classical and news station. WHQR enhances the artistic life of this region in two basic ways: through their music and cultural programs on the air, and through other events and promotions. Three times a day, they broadcast the Cultural Calendar of events and activities in the Cape Fear region. They offer interviews with cultural leaders, a midday news program, and daily public service announcements, providing valuable local information to the community. In times of emergencies, this local information is particularly important. WHQR also host forums on issues of local interest as well as live concerts.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference is open. Click here to register.

 

Danya by C.S. Jones

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$15.95
ASIN: 1546336486
July, 2017
Fiction: Historical
Available from www.Amazon.com

Inspired by a true story of one man’s quest to understand God in a world going mad, and based the memoirs of those who lived through the decay of the Romanov Monarchy and the rise of Lenin’s dictatorship, Daniel Mendelev’s journey takes him from the impoverished Jewish pale of settlement to Kiev University law school.

There he falls oil love with Evgeniya Borisovna, a young countess born into an aristocratic family, and becomes involved in a prohibited relationship which brings on many hardships and causes him to lose all that he struggled to achieve, including his hope.

When he nearly perishes from starvation in a severe famine, God delivers him in a supernatural experience and leads him into an unexpected encounter.

His brother, Ezra, a commissar on he Bolshevik Central Committee, accuses Daniel of betraying the revolution and hunts him down, determined to exterminate him in the 1918 purge of red terror during the Russian Revolution.

C. S. Jones, an artist, created a small business designing and writing greeting cards. This is her first novel. Her travels have brought her to Russia, both winter and summer, and two summers living with her family in a remote village in communist Czechoslovakia where life continued much in the same way as it had since the ninetieth century. She is an active member of the North Carolina Writers' Network.

Hats Off! to Tina Barr who won the 2017 Barrow Street Book Prize for her forthcoming poetry collection, Green Target. The book focuses on the self as target, on the way in which we target the Other, and on the Earth as target. It opens outward in concentric circles, to other cultures and histories. It includes a sequence of ekphrastic poems on the target paintings of Jasper Johns. The contest judge was Patricia Spears Jones.

 

Hats Off! to the winners of the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, including Heather Bell Adams for The Disappearance of Audrey Thorpe (Semi-Finalist, Novel-in-Progress); Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin for Thing of Darkness (Semi-Finalist, Novel-in-Progress); Mark Havlik for "Camelot Redux" and "Testament" (Semi-Finalists, Short Story); Leslie Tall Manning for Feral Maril and Her Little Brother Carol (Semi-Finalist, Novel) and The Sunny Side of the Street (Semi-Finalist, Novel-in-Progress); and NCWN trustee Brian Ward Zimmerman for Parting (Finalist, Novel) and "Losing My Religion" (Semi-Finalist, Short Story).

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who won Third Place in the Dancing Poetry Contest for her poem "Carolina Jessamine." She also took First Place in Brunswick County for her poem "Quilt" in the Senior Olympics and received the Bronze Medal at the state level. Joan was Runner-Up in the Lawyerist Magazine Short Story Contest for "Fish out of Water," and Betty Fedora wil publish another mystery short story by Joan, "The Dying Season." Another mystery short, "Who is Bringing the Ravioli?", appears in Mystery Tribune. Many of her poems appear or are forthcoming in Brass Bell, Snapdragon, and Ekphrastic Press. She was also selected to be a featured performer at the North Carolina Storytelling Festival in Mt. Airy on November 3 and 4.

 

Hats Off! to Gabrielle Brant Freeman who was honored at the Joyner Library/Academic Affairs Faculty Author Book Awards at East Carolina University, where she is a professor (English). The award celebrates the accomplishments of Division of Academic Affairs faculty who have contributed to the scholarship of higher education by authoring, co-authoring, or editing scholarly monographs published between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.Gabrielle's debut poetry collection is When She Was Bad (Press 53, 2016).

 

Serpents Underfoot by D.C. Gilbert

CreateSpace Publishing Platform, LLC
$19.99, hardcover / $9.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ASIN: 1541240332
September, 2017
Fiction: Thriller
Available from www.Amazon.com

"Tokumura selected four black belts at random from the group and directed them to form a rough circle around JD. “Now we shall see how well you have come to understand the Kenpo Gokui and the Kata of our system.” Tokumura backed away and signaled the test to begin.

"JD began to control his breathing. The attacks that would come while not intended to injure, would certainly hurt if they landed. JD relaxed, his arms hung loosely at his sides, his weight rested gently on the balls of both feet. He softened his gaze and waited."

How can one man, even a dedicated servant of Allah, bring down an entire country? It would certainly take a great deal of planning and perseverance. Second, you would need an army of mujahidin … only the most dedicated servants of Allah. It would also take a great deal of money. Rahman Atta had that. He was worth billions. Last, it would take maniacal determination from a ruthless leader. A leader who would not accept failure from others … or from himself.

At least one member of JD Cordell’s family has fought in every conflict that the United States has been involved in as far back as the French and Indian War. This included his father, Curtis Cordell, who married the beautiful South Vietnamese woman who saved his life deep in the jungles of Vietnam.

JD grew up to believe that honor, loyalty and a devotion to duty went hand in hand with the skills and compassion he learned from his years of martial arts training. These things molded JD into the man he is and the accomplished Navy SEAL he has become.

While on a dangerous mission, JD’s SEAL team unexpectedly discover a plot being orchestrated by a terrorist mastermind living in Iran, which if successful, could spell disaster for the United States. Receiving a message from an old school friend who now works for the CIA, JD finds himself suddenly catapulted into the center of this sinister plot. When his friend is killed, assassinated by the terrorists, JD finds himself drawn still deeper into the sinister conspiracy. Working to avenge his friend’s death, JD uncovers a trail of treachery and betrayal that reaches from the mountains of Iran to the highest levels of the U.S. Government. Can he prevent a major terrorist strike which has the potential to destroy an entire way of life? JD’s honor will not allow him to simply walk away.

D.C. Gilbert was born in Ilion, New York, but grew up in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. An avid reader, he particularly enjoys military history, epic sagas, spy novels and historical fiction. In addition to serving in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1983, Darren has over thirty-three years of martial arts training including managing his own martial arts school for twelve years. He has earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee and Western Governors University respectively. He is also a graduate of Executive Security International’s Executive Protection Program and is a Certified Protection Specialist. His new novel, Serpents Underfoot, is available from www.Amazon.com. Darren currently lives in Cary with his German Shepherd, Sophie.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Friday is the deadline to pre-register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Attendees can save 50 percent on registration by signing up early. Pre-registration also allows conferencegoers to partake in meals.

Along with specialized sessions that hone in on particular aspects of the writing craft, additional progarms include:

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference ends Friday, October 27, at midnight. Classes are already filling up: register now.

Fall Conference offers the perfect opportunity to have conversations with publishing professionals from around North Carolina during exhibit hours. And don't forget Happy Hour—a great chance to mingle and, you know, Network.

Support for the 2017 Fall Conference is provided by the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Humanities Council, The Arts Council of Wilmington / New Hanover County, Coastal Carolina University, Al Manning, Alice Osborn: Editor/Book Coach/Author, the UNCW Department of Creative WritingWHQR Public Radio 91.3 FM, and the William M. Hendricks Family Foundation.

For nearby hotel options, click here.

 

Hats Off! to Pat Shipman who will receive the W.W.Howells Award from the Biological Anthropology section of the American Association of Anthropologists for The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015). The award is given to a work that represents the highest standard of scholarship and readability, that informs a wider audience of the significance of physical or biological anthropology in the social and biological sciences, and demonstrates a biocultural perspective. The ceremony will be held December 1.

 

Languid Lusciousness with Lemon by Joan Leotta

Finishing Line Press
$14.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-635341454
February, 2017
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"In Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, Joan Leotta’s poems balance the sugar and salt of our existence with a dash of humor: 'Life’s sweetness stands out, / oft best preserved / when accented with tart,' ever evoking food, family and T.S. Eliot’s 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' especially the peaches of that famous poem. Memories of apple picking, Fourth of July picnics, and oysters bring the author’s family together across time and distance: 'By the time plates are empty, hearts are full. / Long after the sweetness of dessert is a memory.' After savoring Leotta’s collection, you may experience your own special food memories and remember, 'Everyone hears when called to table.'”
—Alice Osborn, award winning poet, author of Heroes without Capes

"'Everyone hears / when called to the table,' Joan Leotta writes in her latest collection, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon. The title itself is a call to the table of lush language and insight that melds family and food. In this chapbook, Leotta serves up a feast of poems that explore our deep connections—to each other, to the food we carefully choose and prepare, to what nourishes and sustains us. 'Life’s sweetness stands out, / oft best preserved / when accented with tart,' she writes in the title poem. You’ll find both the sweet and the tart along with a myriad of other more subtle flavors, so, come to the table, have a poem; have another, and fill yourself. These poems will leave you sated."
—Pat Riviere-Seel, award winning poet and teacher of poetry

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since her childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first work published in a national magazine came at age fourteen-a poem in the Horn Book Magazine. Since then she has followed several career paths, turning to a dual career in writing and story performance as a stay-at-home Mom in the 1980s.

As a writer, Joan is a journalist, novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright. Over the years, she has written on parenting, storytelling, and food among other topics, for local newspapers and local and national magazines wherever she has lived. Since moving to North Carolina twelve years ago, she shifted her focus to fiction and poetry.

Joan's Italian heritage is evident in the poems in this book and in most of her other writing. Her four historical novels from Desert Breeze publishing, The Legacy of Honor series, feature strong Italian-American women, food and family, during times of war. Joan's poems and picture books also celebrate food and family. Her poetry and essays appear in or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, the A-3 Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Postcard Poems and Prose among others.

She has always considered writing for children as a high calling, and in the past two years, THEAQLLC has published four of her picture books: Whoosh!, Summer in a Bowl, Rosa and the Red Apron, and Rosa's Shell.

Joan performs folk tales in schools, museums, and festivals for children and adults. Her love for history comes out in performance of two different one-woman shows, one that depicts a strong woman in the Civil War era and another that shows life on the home front during the American Revolution.

Her tagline, "encouraging words through pen and performance" expresses a challenge to herself in her writing and stage work meaning that she wants to inspire the creativity of others with her work. To this end, she often gives classes to help others learn to tap into their creativity to express their thoughts on page and or stage.

When she is not chained to her computer, writing, you can find Joan walking on the beach, in the kitchen working on new recipes, or traveling with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Jennie. You can reach her with comments, or to request a class or performance, though her blog site at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer on Facebook.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Poet and Executive Director of Bull City Press, Ross White, will sit on the panel "Finding Readers through Lit Mags" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Pre-registration is open through October 27.

Ross White is the Executive Director of Bull City Press, a small press based in Durham, and the Poetry Editor of Four Way Review. He is the author of two chapbooks, How We Came Upon the Colony and The Polite Society, and the editor, with Matthew Olzmann, of Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2012, Poetry Daily, New England Review, The Southern Review, and others. He is a recipient of scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the 2014 Pocataligo Poetry Award from Yemassee, and currently teaches poetry writing and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Ross to tell us about his first publication.

"As a twenty-year-old college student, with a great deal of encouragement from Michael McFee, I mustered up a little courage to send out my first packet of poems, the only four I’d been able to finish to that point. Peter Makuck at Tar River Poetry took one, which stunned and elated me. When I held the issue in my hands a few months later, it felt like a kind of proof that I was now part of centuries-old dialogue between writers. Twenty-two years later, I find that one of the greatest joys of editing is sending a writer that first acceptance letter, their first token of entry to that long conversation."

In the panel discussion "Finding Readers through Lit Mags," Ross will joing Terry L. Kennedy, editor of The Greensboro Review, and Robin Miura, Senior Editor and Associate Publisher with Carolina Wren Press, to discuss how building a readership means finding a readership, and literary journals provide writers with opportunities to connect with readers all over the world and build professional relationships with editors. But with thousands of literary magazines publishing new work every year, and new journals launching all the time, it's hard to know where to start. Our panel of experienced editors will walk you through discovering new literary journals, selecting the right literary journals in print and online, preparing and sending your submission, and what the responses really mean.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Blue Ink Press author Andy Ellis whose forthcoming book The Dangers of Pimento Cheese chronicles his journey from stroke to recovery. Blurbed by NCWN trustee Alice Osborn, The Dangers of Pimento Cheese is in the running for the National Stroke Association’s 2017 RAISE (Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence) Voter’s Choice Award. Voting is easy and no sign-ups are required. To cast your vote for Andy and Blue Ink Press, click here.

 

Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose poem “I, The Pillar of the Alphabet” appears online in the Tenth Anniversary Issue of Town Creek Poetry. Also, her poems “Rod Spears, How He Got Started,” “Air on G,” and “E without a Base, F” appear in the Summer 2017 issue of Chiron Review.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—This November, fiction writers will have the chance to kick-off National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with the North Carolina Writers' Network.

Author and NCWN trustee Michele T. Berger will host a NaNoWriMo launch party, "NaNoWriMo: Support, Sharing, and Tips," at the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, in Wrightsville Beach.

Conference registration is now open.

Anyone planning to take part in NaNoWriMo, or anyone even mildly curious, is invited to meet for a casual, informal gathering, with some light refreshments, on Saturday, November 4, at 9:30 pm, following the conference Open Mics.

National Novel Writing Month asks writers to commit to writing 50,000 words during the thirty days of November. A 501(c)(3) non-profit that has become an international phenomenon, NaNoWriMo values "enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline...for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel."

The NaNoWriMo website allows users to create accounts where they can plan their novel, receive online encouragement, and be part of a worldwide community of writers all trying to crank out 50K words in a month.

For more information about NaNoWriMo, click here.

Michele T. Berger is a professor, writer, creativity expert, and pug-lover. Her main love is writing speculative fiction, though she also is known to write poetry and creative nonfiction, too. Her fiction has appeared in UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature and Science by Fighting Monkey Press; You Don’t Say: Stories in the Second Person by Ink Monkey Press; Flying South: A Literary Journal; 100wordstory; Thing Magazine; and The Red Clay Review. Her nonfiction writing and poetry have appeared in The Chapel Hill News, Glint Literary Journal, Oracle: Fine Arts Review, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Feminist Wire, Ms. Magazine, Carolina Woman Magazine, Western North Carolina Woman, A Letter to My Mom (Crown Press), Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler (Twelfth Planet Press) and various zines. Her sci-fi novella “Reenu-You” was recently published by Book Smugglers Press.

At the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference, Michele will also lead the session "Charting Your Path to Publication: Tips, Techniques, and Lessons for Writers." This class will teach writers strategies to beat the odds of rejection.

“Charting Your Path” is designed for writers at all levels. Attendees will focus most of their time on how and where to submit short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. They’ll examine a variety of venues including literary journals, magazines, newspapers, anthologies as well as how to submit to agents and publishing houses. They will also discuss the role of author mindset as vital to publishing success. There is no one path to publication, but one can follow and replicate the strategies of accomplished writers. Each participant will leave with an action plan with concrete steps toward publication (or, if already published with a plan about how to become more widely so).

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference is open through October 27.

The exact  location of the NaNoWriMo launch party, "NaNoWriMo: Support, Sharing, and Tips," will be announced at the general sesesions during the conference, but the meeting will happen on-site at the Holiday Inn Resort, in a breakout room.

 Keep an eye on the Network's blog for more information about National Novel Writing Month! 

 

Hats Off! to John Stickney whose short story “The Oldest Old Country” appears in Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017 (Down and Out Press). Passport to Murder is published in conjunction with Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, which ran the week of October 10, 2017, in Toronto, Ontario. As with the convention itself, the anthology spreads a broad canopy across a wide variety of crime writers from across the country and around the world—including both veteran writers and the brightest up-and-coming talents in the field. In addition, John’s review of "A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps" by Nick Kolakowski appears in TOUGH.

 

Hats Off! to Tom Wood who hosted a session at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee, and will speaking at the Gold Bisons Club at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville on December 6.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Melissa Crowe, co-editor of Beloit Poetry Journal, will lead the session "Fine Lines" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

In this class, attendees will explore “line logic," the line as the poem’s primary unit of composition; they’ll pay some attention to how skilled poets make choices about line length and line breaks, and they’ll have a look at the ways in which contemporary poets trouble or test convention, fiddling with a line's music and structure, perhaps discovering new ways to create tension and energy. Participants will engage in exercises designed to get them experimenting with lines and line breaks in their own poems and should come away surprised at the difference this kind of attention to the line can make in their work.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Melissa to tell us about her first publication.

"I was in the Ph.D program at the University of Georgia when I really started sending work out in earnest, and I was also the mother of a very small girl. I was mostly writing about her—the experience of pregnancy, birth, and mothering. These subjects were, aside from my coursework, about all I could manage to think about in those days. I was also hearing, on a pretty regular basis, that nobody likes 'mother poems.' Disheartening to say the least. But I kept writing them, and I kept sending them to magazines, and the first one to get picked up was 'Bruise,' a brief lyric about watching Annabelle walk for the first time. It appeared in the Winter/Spring 2003 issue of Crab Orchard Review. Suddenly I was a bonafide mother-poet, and suddenly that felt like a truly good thing. I’ve remained grateful to Allison Joseph and Jon Tribble ever since."

Melissa Crowe is the author of two chapbooks, Cirque du Crève-Cœur (dancing girl, 2007) and Girl, Giant (Finishing Line, 2013), and her poems and essays have appeared in the Atlanta Review, the Crab Orchard Review, and the Seneca Review, among other journals. She’s co-editor of Beloit Poetry Journal and coordinator of the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNCW. She lives in Wilmington with her husband, Mark, and their daughter, Annabelle.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing will sponsor the Closing Reception of Writers' Week, which leads directly into the Opening Reception of NCWN's 2017 Fall Conference, on Friday, November 3, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction).

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Finishing Line Press
$13.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63534-201-7
May, 2017
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

What Binds Us is a beautifully wrought collection. Wilder writes of relationships, familial roots and inherited behaviors with a keen eye for detail and a subtle, unassuming music. Her poems are delivered with great tenderness, yet they resonate in deeply powerful ways. I found myself thinking about these poems long after reading them.”
—Mark Cox, author of Sorrow Bread: New and Selected Poems 1948-2015

What Binds Us is love, as it turns out, and even if it has that Shakespearean smell of mortality, it also has the wafting fragrance of flowers that give us a 'reassurance of forever.' In this powerful, heart rendering book, we trace a couple of generations of binding love and honest, mature understanding of its costs as well as its rewards. A husband leaves, a lover appears, and all the while parents, grandparents and especially a son offer solace. This is a poet that knows how even as we go forward it is to leave something behind as well as gather it: ‘The ground is smooth as I cross the bridge / stopping to listen for the water’s surface, the way / it pushes around the rocks, always moving toward / something, but also moving away from where it’s been.’ If you want a poetry of the reality that faces our real, everyday world in a realistic and loving way, then this is for you.”
— Richard Jackson, author of The Dismantling of Time in Contemporary American Poetry (Agee Prize)

Within the first lines of What Binds Us, both the frailty and necessity of human connection is exposed. Unspoken pains lie at the heart of a family’s dynamic. Wilder pushes beyond her family’s silence in order to understand the point where relationships break down. We first see this demonstrated by the strained relationship between her mother and grandmother.

For Wilder, the lessons aren’t easily learned. After a failed marriage and still in her twenties, it’s in caring for her son where she begins to see the intertwining roles of mother, daughter, wife, and individual woman. Here, Wilder begins to build her own family foundation. When she finds new love, he adds support and structure to the life she has built for her and her son.

What Binds Us is about family, combing through the intricacies of how we bind to people, place and ultimately, ourselves.

Born and raised in Northern California, Cheryl Wilder has made her home in North Carolina for the past twenty-three years. Her debut poetry chapbook, What Binds Us, made the short list in the New Women’s Voices series at Finishing Line Press, and was released in May, 2017. Cheryl holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she earned her MFA in 2010. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, including Cream City Review, Hunger Mountain, Literary Mama, Connotation Press, Architects + Artisans, and Numero Cinq. Along with her husband, Cheryl owns a small web development company in Alamance County. She’s the mother of three boys and the wife of one grateful man.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose manuscript The Disappearance of Audrey Thorpe was a semi-finalist in the "Novel-in-Progress" category of the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.

 

Maranatha Road by Heather Bell Adams

Vandalia Press
$18.88, paperback / $17.94, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-943665754
September, 2017
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“It is a special pleasure to welcome this novel of kinship, loss, and love, set in the mountains of North Carolina. Heather Adams is an exciting new voice in Appalachian fiction.”
—Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Chasing the North Star

Maranatha Road is an ode to beauty and suffering, grief and hope in a small mountain town. Within its pages, Heather Bell Adams brings to vivid life two strong, Southern women, at odds yet bound by love’s saving grace. I’ll be thinking of Sadie and Tinley for a long time to come, and waiting eagerly for more to read from this gifted new writer.”
—Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot and Long Man

“In prose as pure and clear and resonant as a mountain ballad, Adams takes us directly into the hearts of her characters.”
—Kim Church, author of Byrd

A novel about two women: Sadie Caswell, whose son dies shortly before his wedding and Tinley Greene, the young stranger who shows up claiming she’s pregnant with his child.

After Sadie Caswell’s son, Mark, is gone, she doesn’t have much use for other people. The last person she wants to see is Tinley Greene, who shows up claiming she’s pregnant with Mark’s baby. Sadie knows Tinley must be lying because Mark never would’ve betrayed his fiancé. So she refuses to help and she doesn’t breathe a word about Tinley’s visit to anybody, including her husband.

But in a small, southern town like Garnet, nothing stays secret for long. Once Sadie starts piecing together what happened to Mark, she discovers she was wrong about Tinley. And when her husband is rushed to the hospital, Sadie must hurry to undo her mistake before he runs out of time to meet their grandchild.

Short stories based on Maranatha Road appear in Pembroke Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, Hermeneutic Chaos, and The Bluestone Review, and were selected as finalists for the Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Prize, Touring Theatre of North Carolina Short Story Contest, Southern Literary Contest, and North Carolina State University Fiction Prize. The manuscript won the Knoxville Writers’ Guild contest.

Winner of the James Still Fiction Prize and the Carrie McCray Literary Award, Heather Bell Adams is originally from Hendersonville and now lives in Raleigh, where she practices law. Her short fiction appears in the Thomas Wolfe Review, Clapboard House, Broad River Review, Gravel, The Bluestone Review, Pembroke Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, First Stop Fiction, Deep South Magazine, and elsewhere. This is her first novel.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Deonna Kelli Sayed joined the Network as its Membership Coordinator this summer, and she'll lead the class "The Writing Life: Strategies for Being an Artist in the Real World (or How to Make the Writing Life Happen)" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Pre-registration is open through October 27.

Deonna Kelli Sayed is an internationally published author. Her books include Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits, a cultural studies discussion on why America loves high strangeness. Her essays appear in The New York Times' featured anthology, Love, Insh’allah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, and Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Women on Why We Stay. She was a freelance writer in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is the recipient of state and national awards for her multimedia work in Yes!Weekly, an independent newspaper in Greensboro. She has appeared on NPR, The State of Things, Coast to Coast AM, and WUNC-TV. Deonna serves NCWN as Membership Coordinator, and is currently writing a memoir about faith, love, and ghosts.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Deonna to tell us about her first publication.

"I think the first time I had something significant in a journal was after September 11, 2001. It wasn't literary; it was Foreign Policy in Focus, an academic journal. I wrote an op-ed with my then husband, an Afghan, about the situation in Afghanistan. It was first published in an English language paper in Pakistan, and then picked up by Foreign Policy in Focus.

"I was living in Azerbaijan and pregnant with my son, an Afghan-American, who was a combination of two cultures now in conflict. It was during that time when I started to seriously write, partially because I was in exile while America endured 9/11, and because I had nothing else to do while abroad.

"A few years later, I was living in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I started freelancing for English language magazines, and I started a writing workshop for expats and others. Living outside of the U.S. was a huge factor in my writing journey. I needed distance from the familiar. A geographical fix can do wonders.

"My story demonstrates that there are many paths to writing, and the process is sometimes influenced by events beyond our everyday world."

In "The Writing Life: Strategies for Being an Artist in the Real World (or How to Make a Writing Life Happen)," Deonna will explore various ways to honor creative space in the life you have. She’ll share writing models that highlight different approaches to creativity and craft, and how to navigate individual barriers to a successful writing practice. Participants will investigate how perceptions of creativity can erode writing confidence. The workshop will be part interactive, part lecture, and part celebration of the wild and wonderful world of writing.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction). New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Valerie Nieman (First Place) and Caren Stuart (Honorable Mention), two of the winners of the Flyleaf Poetry Contest! This competition, sponsored by Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, awards original poems up to sixty lines. Winners receive gift certificates to Flyleaf Books and will be the Featured Readers for Flyleaf's Second Thursday Poetry Reading on October 12 at 7:00 pm. An open mic follows.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams (Maranatha Road), Wiley Cash (The Last Ballad), and Donna Everhart (The Road to Bittersweet), whose books were highlighted for the 2017 Fall/Winter Reading List from Deep South Magazine.

 

Hats Off! to Sharon Louise Howard whose short story "Just the Way She Likes It" appears in Literally Stories. "Mary deadheaded the bruise-brown marigolds with a quick jab of her small shears, accepting a certain amount of collateral damage. Finger-pinching took too long."

 

Behind the Mask by Renee Canter Johnson

The Wild Rose Press
$16.99, paperback / $5.99, 3-book
ISBN: 978-1-5092-1354-2
March, 2017
Fiction: Suspense / Romance
Available from www.Amazon.com

Excerpt:

He took a breath and continued, keeping his voice as calm as he could manage. “You are in hospital after being fished out of the canal, signora. We feared you had been under too long to survive.” Having sensed emotion might try to creep in, he silently congratulated himself on his ability to keep his tone stoic.

“Canal?” she asked, after taking another long sip of the cool water.

“Do you recall what you were doing out on so dangerous a night?”

“Why was it dangerous?” She pressed her lips together, squishing the ointment into the crevices.

“The fog, signora. It was very thick right before you fell into the canal. Most people do not take risks in Venice during such low visibility.” There was a suggestion of culpability in his words that even he heard as they escaped him. His rawness was affecting his ability to remain objective.

“Venice?” Surprise rose in her voice. “Venice, Italy?”

“Yes, signora, you are in Venice, Italy.”

She looked off to the right, cocked her head to one side, and winced. “What am I doing in Venice?”

Who is the lady pulled from a Venetian canal with a wound to her head in addition to oxygen deprivation? Even she doesn’t seem to know, and the ball gown and period undergarments she was wearing give no clues.

With a Venetian mask dropped by the woman before she fell into the canal his only clue, Dr. Luca Viale sets out to discover not only the identity of the patient in his hospital with a memory shattering head injury, but also that of her attacker, risking his position at the esteemed Public Hospital in Venice, Italy Ospedale Civile di Venezia, and his heart to a woman who may never be his to love.

Dr. Luca Viale is determined to find out her identity. The bruises on her body appear to come from different times, convincing him that her situation was no accident.

Can he restore her memory before another attempt is made on her life? Time is running out and his growing attraction to her is beginning to cause problems in both his personal and professional life.

Renee Canter Johnson is the author of Behind The Mask, Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray, all published by The Wild Rose Press. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Tony, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

Renee was a visiting writer in residence at Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha's Vineyard in October of 2014 and 2015, and her Young Adult work-in-progress was selected as one of ten novels for University of Iowa’s Novel Writing Intensive. She has attended writing retreats in Italy and France. Bonjour Paris, Storyhouse, and Study Abroad have featured her articles and/or essays, and she maintains two blogs: http://writingfeemail.com for travel and random insights, and http://reneejohnsonwrites.com, which features her journey through writing, editing, and publishing.

Learn more about Renee Canter Johnson from these sources:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/johnsonrenee
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneejohnsonwrites
Website: http://reneejohnsonwrites.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writingfeemail

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Robert Wallace, author of more than fifty essays, will lead the class "Writing the Short Personal Essay" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Robert Wallace has published more than fifty essays, many of them short personal essays in The News & Observer in Raleigh. He is also the author of over thirty-five fiction stories in journals such as the North Carolina Literary Review, the Bryant Literary Review, The Long Story, and others. He is a two-time winner of the Doris Betts’ Fction Prize. He is the author of the novel A Hold on Time. Wallace has received an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council and a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Robert to tell us about his first publication.

"My first publication was in Spectator in 1993, a weekly Triangle newspaper that was bought out by The Independent. The Spectator held a fiction contest in those days. But my first strictly literary journal publication was in Cities and Roads, another publication that is no longer in print.

"Tom Kealey, a former Greensboro resident who now teaches at Stanford University, started Cities and Roads. The subtitle of Cities and Roads I have memorized to this day: 'A collection of short stories for North Carolina readers and writers.'

"Tom only published fiction in his journal, but I was struck by a couple of things about him. One was that he was a go-getter with an attitude about words and their importance that was going to take him places, and secondly, that he emphasized the importance of readers. In those days it was nice to have a publication that was strictly devoted to only North Carolina writers. Tom gave many of us our first publication, and for that I’m grateful."

"Writing the Short Personal Essay" will define what makes an essay personal and what it means to make oneself a character in the story. Participants will discuss craft, narrative voice, and other devices commonly thought of in fiction-storytelling. Additionally, they'll explore examples of short personal essays and allow time for participants to begin crafting their own short personal essay. Time will be allowed for asking questions, and for the business side of writing personal essays, such as places that publish this genre, and where to go to learn more.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction). New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

House Keys: Tips and Tricks from a Female Home Inspector by Lisa Turner

Turner Creek Publishing
$15.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN:
June, 2017
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“This amazing book will save you a fortune in time and money in having the ideal home for you at every stage of your life.”
—Brian Tracy, author of Getting Rich Your Own Way and internationally renowned speaker

“This is an entertaining guide to home ownership. Lisa's columns have helped hundreds, maybe thousands of folks already. I love the simple yet informative writing style."
—Becky Long, Editor, Clay County Progress

“Today’s new homeowners, especially millennials, want the fastest and easiest route to an energy efficient, automated, and organized home. House Keys delivers to this generation as well as to those who want to spiff up or sell a home they’ve had for a long time.”
—Peter Morley, Realtor

“This homeowner’s manual is the only book you need. Now I know what I’m giving friends and family for the holidays. I love the pencil drawings and the stories.”
—Mary Ann

House Keys is not a mash-up of all the current downsize and organize advice books. At 450-plus pages with over 230 succinct articles, House Keys delivers real stuff that works for real people. Honestly, I had trouble putting it down.”
—Robert Aubrey

Not Just Another How-To Book!

After many requests from readers of Lisa’s popular home improvement columns, House Keys consolidates years of short, insightful articles into one handy resource. Anyone who owns a home, or plans to, will appreciate this easy to understand and humorous guide to home inspection and home building, buying, and selling. House Keys covers everything from getting the best contract terms on a custom home to making your water heater last 30 percent longer.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Choose the best contractor
  • Use a home inspection to sell your home
  • Organize your home to reduce the mess stress
  • Monitor your home while you’re away
  • Design a secret room and secret spaces
  • Downsize, upsize, and de-clutter
  • Make everything from decks to appliances last longer
  • Check for and reduce Radon in your home
  • Save time on home maintenance
  • Stay safe in your home
  • And so much more!

A wealth of information for anyone who wants to add to the value of their home and simplify at the same time. Unlock time and financial savings with House Keys. A real value at 456 pages of how-to help.

The topics in House Keys cover everything from scary inspection stories to hot water systems to custom home building, ways to sell your home faster, ways to make all your appliances and home systems last longer, how to downsize, and how to organize and clean in shortcuts that don’t overwhelm you. Throw in product reviews, advice on warranties, home automation, and staying safe inside your home and you have over 450 pages of handy home ownership advice.

Anyone who owns a home, or plans to, will appreciate this easy to understand and humorous guide to home inspection and home building, buying, and selling. The book includes a whole chapter of real world “tidy-up” advice and a Bonus chapter on Secret Hiding Places.

Lisa is the home improvement columnist for the Clay County Progress, the Clay County newspaper based in Hayesville. She is a licensed general contractor and home inspector. She founded Your Inspection Expert, Inc., a residential inspection company, in 2008.

Lisa grew up taking things apart and playing with the boys. After graduating from college, she started a bicycle shop, attended night school for an engineering degree, and took on odd jobs in residential and commercial construction.

In 2006, Lisa started Your Achievement Coach, a coaching and teaching practice that focused on delivering planning skills to people wanting to reach their goals. Lisa believed that whether it was starting a business, writing a book, or building an airplane, developing the skills of disciplined goal setting could get you there. Lisa said to her clients, “Shine the light of possibility on your dream, and it will leap to action.”

Lisa has worked for three major U.S. corporations at the executive level, most notably as Chief Training Officer for Tyco Fire and Security Services in Boca Raton, Florida, in the early 2000s. She was certified as an ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt and Quality Engineer; she holds a 50-ton coast guard captain's license, a private pilot license, an FAA airframe and powerplant license (A&P), and FAA Light Sport Repair Certificate Instructor certification. She was the first woman to qualify as an AB-DAR, or Amateur-Built Designated Airworthiness Representative for the FAA. Lisa is a member and volunteer for the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association).

Lisa holds degrees in engineering (A.S.), English (B.A.), business (M.B.A.), and science (Sc.D.). She is an engineer in the aerospace field and is an admitted gadget geek. Lisa is best known for building an airplane in her garage in the 1990s, going on to flight test it, and then making a solo journey from Lantana, Florida, to Northeast Harbor, Maine, to visit family and friends.

Lisa’s first book is the Team Steps Guide: A Step by Step Process to Turn Problems into Solutions, available on Amazon. This book is a result of Lisa’s experience working with employee teams. From quality circles to Total Quality Management to Lean Manufacturing, Lisa has researched the simplest ways to deliver results in the form of profits and innovation to companies wanting to get ahead of the competition.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose Saving Mother Earth Challenge poem "Sooner Than You Think" was published in issue #251 of The Weekly Avocet (October 1, 2017). Also, two poems are forthcoming in Naturewriting: "Remnants" is scheduled to be posted on October 8, and "Masterful Sculpture" is scheduled to be posted on October 21, 2017.

 

Hats Off! to Vicki L. Weavil whose novel A Murder for the Books, the first in The Blue Ridge Library cozy mystery series (written as Victoria Gilbert), has been selected as one of the twelve "Okra Picks" for Fall 2017 by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA).

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH--Our block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Resort has filled up, and we're thrilled people are as excited as we are about the 2017 Fall Conference.

For those who haven't yet booked a room, here are some options that are less than ten-minute drive from the conference hotel, ordered by price, highest to lowest.

Please note, rates are absolutely subject to availability and change:

Blockade Runner Resort ($208)
Distance from Conference: 1.4 miles (5-minute drive)

Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington ($177)
Distance from Conference: 4.1 miles (10-minute drive)

Harbor Inn ($150)
Distance from Conference: 1.2 miles (5-minute drive)

Silver Gull Motel ($139)
Distance from Conference: .6 miles (2-minute drive)

The Surf Suites ($135)
Distance from Conference: 2.3 miles (7-minute drive)

There are plenty of additional hotel options within a four-mile radius (about a ten-minute drive, depending on traffic), so another option would be to check out hotel availabiity on www.Expedia.com.

And don't worry: parking at the conference hotel is free for registrants.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Wrightsville Beach!

 

Hats Off! to Danny Johnson of Durham whose novel, The Last Road Home, won the 2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Award. Established in 1953, this award, granted by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, recognizes "the most significant work of original fiction writing published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina."

 

Another Bungalow by Maura Way

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-64-6
September, 2017
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"With a deft hand and succinct syntax, Maura Way presents us with an exploration of memory that gives weight and meaning to the seemingly insignificant moments of life—teaching us to understand that what flits past us, may stay with us forever."
—Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale and The Lost Book of the Grail

"The living texture of late America: Another Bungalow reconstitutes it, spiky as it ever was. Way’s poems are short and quick, brilliantly witty, and unwind from themselves sinuously and ruthlessly. We need this kind of fun! Dauntless, cruel, all-heart, trustworthy fun."
—Catherine Wagner, author of Nervous Device

"The poems of Another Bungalow are endearing antidotes to memory’s rose-colored glasses; they chronicle the informal, indelible microeducations meted out through circumstance, strangers, and a quirky sense of humor. (Will having dressed as a hockey puck for Halloween determine your relationship with the man you met that evening?) If you never lost your bite-plate to the sea in a teenage laughing jag or conceded to a bully’s demands because they were addressed to the name on your second-hand gym shirt, you’ll still relate. Maura Way’s poems celebrate the 'satiation found out beyond the bronze,' the'small but generative victories' that keep us, in our normal lives, unique."
—Janet Holmes, author of The ms of my kin

Maura Way was born and raised in Washington, DC. Her poems have appeared in Verse, Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, DIAGRAM, and The Chattahoochee Review. Maura has been a teacher for over twenty years, most recently at Summit School and New Garden Friends. She lives in a yellow brick bungalow in Greensboro with her husband Mark.

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Revisit" appears on The Sunlight Press Journal (September 26, 2017).

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Novelist and Outer Banks resident Michele Young-Stone will lead the class "The Art of Novel Writing: From Idea to Polished Manuscript and Beyond" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Michele Young-Stone is the author of three novels: the upcoming Lost in the Beehive (Simon & Schuster, 2018), Above Us Only Sky (2015), and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors (2010). She recently completed a fourth novel, George Glass Loves Lily Snow, and is at work on a fifth. After teaching high school English for seven years, Michele earned her MFA in fiction writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son where she leads a novel-writing workshop for the Dare County Arts Council.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Michele to tell us about her first publication.

"Oddly enough, I never published in a literary magazine or journal," Michele says. "I could have published my work for free, but I felt like I deserved to get paid for my words, so I went from zero publications to a published novel. "

In her class, Michele will discuss how to take an idea and develop it into a publishable novel. She will talk from personal experience in addition to discussing the discipline of writing, outlining, breaking through plateaus, revision, and finding the right agent.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction).

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: a Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints by D. G. Martin

UNC Press
$16.00, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-469630144
October, 2016
Nonfiction: Dining
Available at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“From barbecue to Greek, chances are that you’ll find your favorite restaurant hereand more than a few to discover. Published in a nice format and size to put in the glove box for the seasoned and unseasoned traveler.”
Mountain Times

“Martin wants . . . us to take his guide and have our own adventures. . . . He encourages readers to go a little out of their way to be greeted like an old friend at one of these places even if it’s your first visit.”
—Bridgette Lacy, The News & Observer in Raleigh

"I’ve had the good fortune to have D. G. as my personal guide to some of the fine eateries in this book. I’m grateful to him for introducing me not only to so many memorable meals but also to the many fine local people and places that I’ve come to treasure."
—Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

Want to eat like the locals? D. G. Martin has spent years traveling the major roadways of North Carolina, on the lookout for community, local history, and, of course, a good home-cooked meal. Here D. G. is your personal tour guide to more than 100 notable local roadway haunts that serve not only as places to eat but also as fixtures of their communities.

  • Features locally owned and time-tested community favorites
  • Covers a range of food tastes from BBQ joints and country kitchens to Mexican restaurants and Greek diners
  • Introduces diners to the restaurant owners and locals who make these places unique
  • Includes current contact information, hours, directions
  • Features nearby points of interest to explore after eating

This handy reference to good food just off North Carolina’s interstates should find a spot in every Tar Heel traveler’s glove compartment.

D. G. Martin is a newspaper columnist and the current host of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch.

Raleigh—On Friday, November 4, at 12:00 pm in the Longleaf Room of the North Carolina Museum of History, the North Carolina Writers' Network will host their fourth annual Pre-Conference Tailgate. This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required.

Dr. James W. Clark, Jr., Emeritus Professor at North Carolina State University, will begin the event by talking about Raleigh's rich literary heritage, and introduce the many lauded writers who have been affiliated with NC State over the years.

This brief lecture will be followed by a conversation about writing and a series of writing prompts led by author and NCWN communications director Charles "LC" Fiore. The event, which will include complimentary light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, will end between 1:30 and 2:00 pm.

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

The Pre-Conference Tailgate will take place at the sponsor's venue:

North Carolina Museum of History
Longleaf Room
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
12:00-1:30 pm
www.ncmuseumofhistory.org

Parking is available in three lots close to the museum. Street parking is also available. For a map and full parking details, click here.

Dr. James W. Clark, Jr., English Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University, focused his career on the cultural geography and literary history of North Carolina, his native state. Studying Thomas Wolfe and other Tar Heel writers engaged him, his students, and the general public. Dr. Clark has also served as president of The Thomas Wolfe Society and The North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. At present, he is president of The Paul Green Foundation and The North Caroliniana Society. Clark is widely known for his scholarship in folklore and literature, and for his dedication to promoting educational opportunities for North Carolina children and adults. In 2011, he received a 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award. The next year the William C. Friday Award for Distinguished Service in Retirement was presented to him.

L.C Fiore's new novel is The Last Great American Magic. His debut novel, Green Gospel, was Runner-Up in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards (General Fiction). His short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, New South, and storySouth, among many other anthologies and journals. His nonfiction has appeared in The Good Men Project, TriQuarterly Review, and many baseball publications. He lives in Durham: www.lcfiore.com.

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference opens Friday, November 4, at 3:00 pm at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. Fall Conference offers courses in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, lectures and panels on publishing and finding an agent, and readings by distinguished authors from North Carolina and beyond.

Faculty includes poets Alice Osborn and Chris Tonelli; fiction writers Clare Beams and Kim Church; and authors such as Howard L. Craft, Jen McConnel, and Barbara Claypole White. Current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured guest at Saturday night's banquet; 2016 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron will give the Keynote Address on Friday night.

On-site registration for the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference opens at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 4, at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley.

 

Hats Off! to John G. Hartness, publisher of Falstaff Books, who this month released We Are Not This – Carolina Writers for Equality. The anthology, a collection of thirty-one short stories, poems, and essays by North Carolina writers or writers who feel a strong tie to the Carolinas, was created as a response to HB2, the divisive “bathroom bill” passed by the NC General Assembly earlier this year. Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will be divided among NC-centric LGBTQ charities, non-profits, and lobbying organizations. The first group of organizations to receive funding will be Time Out Youth, Queen City Theatre Company, and EqualityNC.

 

RALEIGH—With some 200 writers in attendance, as well as dozens of faculty and publishing professionals, the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is the largest writing conference in the state and one of the biggest and most inclusive in the country. It’s a great chance for writers to network, but more importantly, it’s a chance for beginners and bestselling authors alike to focus on writing for an entire weekend and quickly improve their craft.

Fall Conference happens November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree ValleyAnyone who has yet to sign-up can register on-site beginning at 3:00 pm on Friday, November 4. For full conference details, click here

The Pre-Conference Tailgate happens Friday, November 4, at 12:00 pm at the North Carolina Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. Dr. Jim Clark of NC State and Charles Fiore, author and communications director for the North Carolina Writers' Network, will host the event, which promises a blend of scintilating literary history, fun readings, and helpful writing time. The Pre-Conference Tailgate is free and open to the public, no registration required.

Fall Conference has its own "app" this year. Attendees can enhance their experience by accessing www.NCWNFallConference.com from their mobile device for helpful info on room assignments, nearby restaurants, and conference logistics. 

2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron, of Willow Springs, will give the Keynote Address. Maron is the five-time Agatha Award-winning mystery writer of the Deborah Knott series, which is set in Johnston County. In 2015, she was given a lifetime achievement award by Bouchercon, the world mystery convention.

Saturday’s luncheon will feature three authors from UNC Press’ Savor the South series: Debbie Moose, Bridgette A. Lacy, and John Shelton Reed. They’ll talk about how good food writing is about so much more than just food.

2014 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured guest at Saturday night’s banquet. He’ll talk about writing, read some poetry, and most likely strum a little bit on his guitar.

Program offerings include the second annual All Stories Connect panel discussion. This year’s theme is “A Conversation about Culture” with Shervon Cassim, Sheila Smith McKoy, Donna Miscolta, and Elaine Neil Orr. Sunday morning will once again feature the popular Brilliant at Breakfast panel discussion “Agents and Editors,” featuring Michelle Brower of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth; Robin Miura, editor of Carolina Wren Press; Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.; and Kathy Pories, Senior Editor at Algonquin Books.

Poetry courses include “Image and Narrative” with Guggenheim and NEA fellow Joseph Millar; “Writing Haiku” with Lenard D. Moore, recipient of the 2014 NC Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor; and “The Furniture of the Poem: The Space of the Page and How We Fill It” with Chris Tonelli, poet and owner of Raleigh’s So & So Bookstore.

Fiction writers will choose from a full slate of class offerings including “Minute Particulars” with Raleigh’s Kim Church, whose debut novel Byrd won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the South; “Ending Well: Short Story Endings and Their Lessons” with Clare Beams, author of the forthcoming short-story collection We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books, 2016). Poet, playwright, and arts educator Howard L. Craft will teach “Developing Authentic Dialog”; and Art Taylor, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, will teach “Sharp, Succinct & Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story.”

Other classes focus on some aspect of the publishing industry. Poet, NCWN trustee, and NCWN regional rep for Wake County, Alice Osborn, will teach “How to be a Rock Star at PR”; the Triangle Area Freelancers will lead the panel discussion on “Freelance Writing 101”; intellectual property attorney Mitch Tuchman will talk to writers about “Copyright Infringement”; Ross White, poet and founder/publisher of Bull City Press, will lead “Grammar Gone Wild”; and Kim Church and Emma Patterson will chat about “How to Work with an Agent.”

Other classes are meant to appeal to authors who write across genres: award-winning Young Adult and New Adult author Jen McConnel will ask “YA/NA: What’s the Big Deal?”; Zelda Lockhart, founder of LaVenson Press Studios, will guide attendees through “The Relationship Museum”; award-winning writer and folklorist Eleanora E. Tate will lead a class on children’s writing; and sci-fi writer Ian J. Malone will teach a class called “Beyond Vanity: How Indie Publishing Builds Professional Writers.”

Once again, the Network will offer the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship, which sends two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference. Other scholarships are available, including one sponsored by Marc Graham, author of Of Ashes and Dust.

2016 Fall Conference sponsors include Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN regional rep Al Manning; Alice Osborn: Editor/Book Coach/Author; The 2017 Piedmont Laureate Program; the University of North Carolina Press; Marc Graham, author of Of Ashes and Dust; and the North Carolina Arts Council.

For more information, and to register, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart

Kensington
$15.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0551-8
November, 2016
Fiction: Upmarket Southern
Available from your local bookstore and www.Amazon.com

"Please open your heart to Dixie Dupree. With unflinching honesty and a voice that rings with authenticity, she survives the unthinkable. Her story celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and the triumph of the imagination. An important novel, beautifully written, this is a story to cherish."
—Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

"A searingly honest coming of age story with a heroine unlike any other I've met in a long time. I read this book through from start to finish in one sitting, simply unable and unwilling to put it down. Here's to another beautiful novel from Donna Everhart."
—Holly Chamberlin, author of Seashell Season

"Secrets, lies, peach cobbler, grits, a hot Alabama sun, and a girl named Dixie Dupree who shows courage in the face of betrayal, strength when all falls down around her, and shining hope in the darkness. This is a story you'll read well into the night."
—Cathy Lamb, author of The Language of Sisters

In 1969, Dixie Dupree is eleven years old and already an expert liar. Sometimes the lies are for her mama, Evie’s sake—to explain away a bruise brought on by her quick-as-lightning temper. And sometimes the lies are to spite Evie, who longs to leave her unhappy marriage in Perry County, Alabama, and return to her beloved New Hampshire. But for Dixie and her brother, Alabama is home, a place of pine-scented breezes and hot, languid afternoons.

Though Dixie is learning that the family she once believed was happy has deep fractures, even her vivid imagination couldn’t concoct the events about to unfold. Dixie records everything in her diary—her parents’ fights, her father’s drinking and his unexplained departure, and the arrival of Uncle Ray. Only when Dixie desperately needs help and is met with disbelief does she realize how much damage her past lies have done. But she has courage and a spirit that may yet prevail, forcing secrets into the open and allowing her to forgive and become whole again.

Narrated by her young heroine in a voice as sure and resonant as The Secret Life of Bees’ Lily or Bastard Out of Carolina’s Bone, Donna Everhart’s remarkable debut is a story about mothers and daughters, the guilt and pain that pass between generations, and the truths that are impossible to hide, especially from ourselves.

Donna Everhart grew up in Raleigh and has lived close to her hometown for most of her life. For several years she worked for high tech companies, specializing in project management and product introduction. She carries a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She lives in Dunn with her husband, and a tiny, heart stealing Yorkshire terrier, named Mister.


RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, intellectual property attorney Mitch Tuchman will teach the course "Copyright Infringement."

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference is open, but pre-registration ends tonight at midnight.

Copyright ownership conveys exclusive rights on authors. These include rights to reproduce literary and other works in copies (hence the term “copy right”), to distribute and display those copies, to perform the protected works and to create derivative works. Authors may exercise these rights or license others to do so. Exercise of any of these rights without the author’s consent constitutes infringement in most cases. This session examines best—and worst—practices in the attempted enforcement of copyrights against infringers.

We asked Mitch, “What is one piece of advice you'd give to your younger, writer self?”

"Consider the letter you write pitching your work to a publisher the most important piece of writing you will ever do. Word it carefully, check it for errors and proofread it over and over and over again.

Mitch Tuchman is an intellectual property attorney in the RTP office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP. Before he became an attorney, Mitch spent fourteen years as the head of the publications department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has also been a freelance writer for more than four decades. Consequently a significant focus of his legal practice is in the realm of copyright matters. Mitch understands copyright issues from the author’s perspective because he has been both a writer and publisher himself. Mitch writes and speaks frequently on copyright law, most recently about the nine unsuccessful plaintiffs who sued James Cameron, claiming his motion picture Avatar infringed their works.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Katie Winkler whose adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel Frankenstein will enjoy its world premier production in the Patton Auditorium, Flat Rock Campus, Blue Ridge Community College, October 27-31. Winkler, who teaches English composition and British literature at the college, has been continually active with the college's drama department as an actor, director and writer. A fiction writer as well as a dramatist, she is co-representative for the NCWN in Henderson County along with member Patricia Vestal.

 

Hats Off! to Lucia Walton Robinson who contributed four poems, including "A Ghazal for Indiana's Bicentennial," to the September and October issues of Indiana Voice Journal. Some of her ancestors from New England, the Carolinas, and Virginia helped settle Indiana before and after statehood.

 

Hats Off! to Trace Ramsey who won the 2016 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for his essay, “Miller Road.” Jim Grimsley presented the $250 award to Ramsey at the Greenville Museum of Art on September 22. Explaining his selection of Ramsey’s “Miller Road” for the prize, Grimsley said this essay “does not miss a beat. It is wonderfully detailed and rich with the melancholy of memory. The writer does a fine job of capturing a life through its particulars.” The winning essay will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review in 2017.

Trace Ramsey, who was a finalist in the premiere Albright Prize competition last year, received the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Award in Literature in 2015, contributed nonfiction at the 2015 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and received a certificate in documentary arts in nonfiction writing from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The writer is currently working on a memoir-in-essays and a novel. In 2014, Ramsey’s anthology of the first six issues of his zine Quitter (Quitter: Good Luck Not Dying) was published by Pioneers Press; a new edition of the book is forthcoming in late 2016. The new edition will include all ten issues of Quitter as well as the entirety of Ramsey’s other zines, Fog Index, Gravity Kills, and Lasterday. Ramsey lives in Durham with his partner and two children.

Published since 1992 by East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, the North Carolina Literary Review has won numerous awards and citations. This is the second year of the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, which was named for NCLR’s founding editor. NCLR subscribers are encouraged to submit their own creative nonfiction to next year’s competition. Find more information about the competition and subscribing on NCLR’s website.


RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, poet, editor, and writing coach Alice Osborn will teach participants "How to be a Rock Star at PR."

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference is open, but pre-registration closes Friday, October 28!

Hemingway, Whitman, and Morrison. These notable authors created their own brand by tooting their own horn and you can too. If you don’t stand out in the crowd in this new publishing world, you’ll be a “one and done” author. A decade ago Alice Osborn started her own successful writing and editing services company from the ground up and is here to share her secrets and hacks with you. In this talk you’ll learn how to build your brand by doing what no one else does and by learning and identifying your strengths as an author. You’ll also learn how to self-promote and enhance the presentation of your own skills, even if you’re a die-hard introvert. This workshop is useful for all writers across all genres and publication achievements.

We asked Alice, "What is one piece of advice you'd give your younger, writer self?"

“I would have said 'no' more often so that I would have had more time to write. When I first started my writing career, I organized an open mic, a book club, a women’s networking group, and a writers’ morning out. Because it was the Recession, I felt I needed to volunteer and spend time working on unpaid projects, but what that led to a lot of sleep deprivation, stress, and rushing out client projects. I was busy, but I wasn’t productive. Sometimes we use busyness and volunteer activities so others can see how busy we are or as a way to procrastinate from performing the real creative work or deep thinking. Guilty as charged!

"My now third-grade daughter was a toddler and I was constantly shuttling her from part-time daycare to part-time preschool, using day hours for meetings and my night hours for writing and client projects. Weekends? I worked late into the night on Friday and Saturday, as well as during the day when I didn’t have family duties. Fortunately, I stopped this cycle of workaholism and madness when my work quality suffered and several of my clients weren’t too shy in telling me about my poor efforts. After I wiped the tears, I had a good look at myself and slowly made changes. Yes, I disappointed people because I wasn’t organizing events they had once enjoyed, but I had to stop disappointing myself and my family.

"I asked others for guidance, like one of my first writing teachers, Dr. Elaine Neil Orr, author of A Different Sun and Gods of Noon Day, how she got to be so good at saying no. She told me that as a double transplantee, she doesn’t have the luxury of time doing things that take her away from her writing. Dr. Orr is the master of saying no with gentility!

"Telling folks who want to pick your brain over a cup of coffee that they can consult with you for free … as long as they pay $50 for the coffee.

"Getting rid of colleagues, clients and friends who complain, use more than they give, waste your time by being late, or are generally unreliable. This isn’t fun to say no to them, especially if you’ve had a great time with them in the past. Say, 'It worked for me in the past, but it doesn’t work for me now.'

"Stop working with clients who want the lowest price and want the work done fast. Tell them to go elsewhere—you don’t need the stress and grief. Early in my editing/writing career, I took on any job that moved because I was afraid I’d be broke if I didn’t. This is bad thinking which only hurts you in the long run. If you say yes to these clients you’re pulling time away from your real clients, as well as your writing, meditation, creative, exercise, and relaxation time. All of this creative time is so important because when you do it, you’re giving love back to yourself. So if that’s true, working with clients that aren’t worth your time for a few bucks means you don’t value yourself. Aha!

"I’m not saying don’t perform services gratis or volunteer your time; I’m saying do these acts of service with intention within your business/writing plan, so that when you’re done you feel abundant, not depleted and bitter.”

Alice Osborn’s past educational (MA in English, NCSU, and BS in Finance, VA Tech) and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as an editor, writing coach, and poet-musician. In the past decade, Alice has taught writing workshops to thousands of aspiring fiction and memoir authors of nearly all ages, both around the corner and across continents. Heroes without Capes is her most recent collection of poetry. Previous collections are After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects. Alice is also the editor of the anthologies Tattoos and Creatures of Habitat, both from Main Street Rag. A North Carolina Writers’ Network board member and a Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in The News and Observer in Raleigh, The Broad River Review, Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review, and in numerous journals and anthologies. When she’s not editing or writing, Alice is an Irish dancer who plays guitar and violin. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, two children, four loud birds, and Mr. Nibbles, the guinea pig. Visit Alice's website at www.aliceosborn.com.

Alice is also the sponsor for the Opening Reception prior to the Keynote Address by Margaret Maron on Friday night. So, when attendees are munching on snacks and sipping beverages, settling into the conference vibe, they can thank Alice.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Larry W. Fish who blogs at Thoughts by Fish. Recent posts include a reminder to order his books now to make sure they arrive by the holidays, and an appeal to readers to consider helping with medical expenses for his beagle, Cookie, who has had some health issues this year.

 

Bars, Blues and Booze: Stories from the Drink House by Emily D. Edwards

University Press of Mississippi
$35.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-496806390
May, 2016
Nonfiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Featuring personalities and stories from across the South, this "spirited" collection of bar and gig stories explores the "crossroads," that intoxicated intersection of race, music, and liquor laws that form a rich southern vernacular. Assorted boasts of improbable high jinks give the blue collar musicians a gritty glamour and emphasizes the riotous freedom of their fans, who sometimes risked the strong arm of southern liquor laws in order to chase the good times.

Dr. Emily Edwards was a journalist before she joined the faculty at University of North Carolina at Greesnboro, where she is a full professor. The writer/producer/director of many films, Edwards has also published books and articles on popular media, book chapters, short stories, and storyboards. Her films have screened on national television, in theaters and festivals and include documentaries, narrative feature films, and shorts.

Hats Off! to Judy Hogan whose books will be on display at the Capital Bank in Pittsboro, 37 Hillsboro St, downtown on the circle, during the month of November. Judy is the author of, among others, the Penny Weaver mystery series, the newest of which is Nuclear Apples.

 

Raleigh—Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference ends Friday at midnight, which means you have only four days to lock in a 25 percent discount by signing up early.

NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. Register now at www.ncwriters.org.

This year's programming includes general sessions such as:

The NCWN 2016 Fall Conference is the largest annual writing event in the state and one of the largest and most inclusive in the country.

Save money by registering before Friday: www.ncwriters.org.

 

The Good News According to Rock-n-Roll by Christine T. Wethman

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$10.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1535356671
August, 2016
Religion: Christian/Devotional
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Everything is theological. Yes, even those golden oldies that you remember from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Each commentary in the book presents a unique perspective on how the lyrics, when you listen closely, can have a positive impact on your faith. And, when you look closely, the lyrics have an uncanny connection to verses in the Bible. Read through these selections with an open heart and mind. Savor them as you take a trip down memory lane remembering when these songs topped the charts. Before you know it, you'll singing along and realizing that there is Good News in rock-n-roll.

There are twenty devotional commentaries in the book. Ten are brand new, ten are revised versions of the ones that appeared in Christine's previous book, Musical Kaleidoscope of My Mind (out of print).

In these pages you will discover things like the importance of listening, the best way to travel, and the untold stories surrounding some of your favorite tunes from the past. Hang on for a memorable, musical and meaningful journey through time.

In the summer of 2015, Christine T. Wethman finally answered the lifelong call to write. That's when she became the author of Musical Kaleidoscope of My Mind. The book became a compilation of devotions she had written over the years that were influenced by her love for music. She was hooked on writing. What followed is The Good News According to Rock-n-Roll.

She currently lives in Mebane with her husband Joe. They relocated here upon his retirement after having lived in the Central Florida area for over thirty years. They have two daughters, Lisa and Kelly, one grandson, DJ, and a precocious beagle named S-T-E-L-L-A!


RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, poet and bookstore owner Chris Tonelli will lead the session "The Furniture of the Poem: The Space of the Page and How We Fill It."

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference is open, but pre-registration closes Friday, October 28. Don't delay!

Poets, by nature, are obsessive. While this serves us well during the invention phase of writingwe tend to gather and become attached to plenty of interesting materialit can lead to a kind of hoarding. And like in a physical space, we are typically very good at justifying each saved thing's existence and navigating through the clutter they create. Unfortunately, our readers are probably not, nor should we expect them to be. This workshop will be focused on identifying the essential and non-essential elements of a poem and their optimal arrangement, both syntactically and formally. Each participant should send in advance of the workshop three unpublished poems, as a single PDF or Word attachment, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and bring at least twenty copies of each poem to the workshop. In addition to providing material for discussion, these poems will be considered for publication in So & So Magazine.

We asked Chris, “What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger writer self?”

"Don't expect anything from poetrypursuing your version of the perfect poem needs to be enough. You and your poems will suffer if you're looking for it to do more."

Chris Tonelli works in the libraries at North Carolina State University and co-owns So & So Books in downtown Raleigh, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their two kids, Miles and Vera. He is a founding editor of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC, and he curates the So & So Series and edits So & So Magazine. He is the author of five chapbooks and a full-length collection, The Trees Around (Birds, LLC).

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Blaine Paxton Hall whose column "Dead-Stick Landing" appeared in The News & Observer in Raleigh on October 3.

 

Hats Off! to Anne Anthony whose sestina poem "High Horse" was chosen by ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal for the September 2016 Wild-themed issue. Anne will be this month's featured Gold Writer on the journal’s website. The free digital version of the Wild issue is available here.

 

The Secret Horses of Brian Hill by Megan Shepherd

Delacorte Books for Young Readers
$16.99, paperback / $10.99, e-book
978-1-101939758
October, 2016
Fiction: Middle Grade
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"The magical realism is reminiscent of the Chronicles of Narnia, Elizabeth Goudge, or a child's version of Life of Pi...Readers will love this to pieces."
Kirkus Reviews, Starred review

"Magical, terrifying, and full of heart. Open these pages, and ride true."
—Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

"A remarkable book. Astonishing."
—Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse

 There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospitalthe mirrors that reflect the elegant rooms once home to a princess, now filled with sick children. Only Emmaline can see the creatures. It is her secret.

 One morning, Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens and discovers something incredible: a white horse with a broken wing has left the mirror-world and entered her own.

The horse, named Foxfire, is hiding from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep him from finding her new friend, she must surround Foxfire with treasures of brilliant shades. But where can Emmaline find color in a world of gray?

Megan Shepherd grew up in her family s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of several acclaimed young adult books, and The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is her debut middle-grade novel. Shepherd lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and a dog. You can visit her at www.meganshepherd.com.

Hats Off! to June Guralnick who has been awarded a residency at the Rensing Center in Pickens, South Carolina.

 

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Sensory Awakening" appears in the print issue of The Avocet (Fall, 2016). Also, her poem "Parched Fields" was just published in The Plum Tree Tavern.

 

The Gifts of Pelican Isle by Padgett Gerler

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-530691685
July, 2016
Fiction: Contemporary
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Gerler's writing is replete with compassion and grace as she addresses issues of poverty, nationality, loss, and love that arise on this small island. The fast-paced narrative style offers a host of plot twists and unexpected developments for the denizens of sleepy Pelican Isle that should keep readers eagerly turning pages. With finesse and wit, the author depicts the power of kindness in healing the human heart. A wholesome and uplifting tale of rediscovered hope, love, and second chances."
Kirkus Reviews

"Gerler does a remarkable job with her details—I could taste all of the fried seafood, jalapeno cornbread, and sweet tea that make this book so authentic and memorable. But even more than that, Gerler's true gift is making the reader feel connected to the love and joy these characters offer each other."
—Alice Osborn, Heroes without Capes

"I've come across some talented writers in my time but, in my opinion, Padgett Gerler ranks among the best of the best... At times, it was almost fairy take like in its delivery. No one could possibly read this book and not feel good when finishing the last page."
—Harry James Krebs, The Benjamin Tucker Novels

When Ally Albright's husband and unborn child are killed by a drunk driver, Ally is certain her life has ended, as well. But a request from a beloved professor to teach a first-grade class on Pelican Isle draws Ally from her grief and the security of her parents' home to the remote island off the coast of North Carolina. Though her plan is to teach only until a permanent replacement can be found, Ally is immediately captivated by her enthusiastic and endearing students. Befriended by the islanders, including charming Dr. Chris Cruz and loving yet eccentric neighbor Joy Summers, Ally accepts the community's hospitality and discovers that Pelican Isle is not just a way station, it is a safe harbor for recovery rebirth, and hopenot just for Ally but for all the residents of the island.

Padgett Gerler grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia but relocated to Raleigh to attend North Carolina State University. Upon graduating with a BA in accounting, she passed the CPA exam and began her career as a certified public accountant, first in public accounting and then as a CFO in corporate accounting. In 2010, she left accounting to pursue a career in writing. Prior to The Gifts of Pelican Isle, Padgett published her novels Getting the Important Things Right and Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack. Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack was awarded the indieBRAG Medallion, as well as honorable mention in the 2014 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards competition. She also authored the short story "I Know This Happened 'Cause Somebody Seen It," which was published in the anthology Self-Rising Flowers. She is the first-place recipient of the Southwest Manuscripters Short Story Award for her short story "The Art of Dying." Padgett and her husband, Ed, reside on pastoral and inspirational Winchester Lake in Raleigh.

Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose poems have been published in Chiron Review (“Waiting on Squirrels,” “Rod Spears, Gigolo,” and “Phillipa Daisy, Dancer”); Hotel Amerika (“T Is Totally Balanced” and “X Is a Kiss on Paper”); The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Breath and Bread,” a found poem); and The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop (“Shapeshifter” and “Intrinsic”). Currently online in Wild Goose Poetry Review is her poem “Black Cow.”

 


RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, author and PR expert Linda Rohrbough will lead a session titled "Marketing Tips and Principles for Book Promotion in Today’s World."

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

Most writers, self-published or not, know marketing and promotion isn’t just for the publisher anymore. It’s a survival tactic for any writer who wants to thrive in today’s electronic world. This workshop by award-winning author Linda Rohrbough will give you the latest techniques for how to create and execute a workable marketing plan, even if you have limited resources. You’ll learn the three biggest mistakes all writers make, marketing principles that always work (especially in social media), how to eliminate resistance, where to find marketing opportunities and how to make the most of them once you have them. Come hear Linda deliver the goods for what works in today’s world in a fun, practical, no-nonsense way.

We asked Linda, "What is one piece of advice you'd give your younger, writer self?"

“If I had to say just one thing, I think I’d tell my younger self, 'Stop trying to be so different.' The one thing I wanted the most as a young writer was to be different. I wanted to break new ground, reach new heights, go where no man has gone before. (That ought to give you a hint what generation I grew up in.)

The result of what I tried to do in the beginning was I mixed genres. I saw other bestselling writers do it all the time. I saw Debbie Macomber write romances that had angels (romance and speculative fiction), and Michael Crichton’s suspense novels added technology that bordered on science fiction (suspense and science fiction). And, of course, Stephen King, who mixed all kinds of genres into his speculative fiction, does all kinds of things outside the box.

But what I didn’t realize was each of those writers started writing inside the box. For example, Debbie started writing category romance novels. The kind where the editor says on page so and so they should kiss and by page so and so they are making wedding plans. Crichton started writing westerns while he was in medical school. Those are about as inside the box as you can get. But if you want to make money writing, you need to write first, what people want to read and second, what publishers are willing to take a risk on. And that’s inside-the-box stuff. Because bringing a new writer on board is already a risk in the publisher’s mind.

As one of my best writer friends, Jodi Thomas, puts it, 'Write the same thing, only a little different.'

The bottom line is you’re building something. And that takes time. You need the ability to earn the trust of the people you want to work with, which means your agent, your editor, and your readers, before you can deliberately be different.

What I didn’t realize is I’m already a little different. (If you haven’t noticed, most writers are.)

So if I’m just myself and I tell the stories we all experience, but with my particular twist, it’ll already be just a little bit different. And once I’ve gained the trust of the readers and publishing community, finding that right mix between my voice and what readers want to read, I too made writing my day job. Which I think is what most of us want. And then if I want to insert an angel or some far-fetched tech, I can get away with it.

So just have the courage to be yourself. Even if it feels ordinary, it’s different enough.”

Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit, along with writing for television, and seven national awards for her fiction and nonfiction. An iPhone App of Linda’s popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Separate Flights by Patricia Hooper

University of Tampa Press
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-159732-138-9
September, 2016
Poetry
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

"Patricia Hooper's poems sneak up on the reader and stun. I am always amazed at how quietly she moves through natural and domestic landscapes, noticing everything, bringing whatever is small and beautiful into exquisite focus, and then moves straight to the heart. I read and re-read her, and I recommend her poems to everyone I know."
—Susan Ludvisgson

"In this new prize-winning collection, Patricia Hooper continues to write magnificent poems—quiet poems, stealthy poems, poems of shimmering insight and intelligence."
—Dannye Romine Powell, Charlotte Observer, "Reading Matters"

"I'm taken by how lightly (but effectively) Ms. Hooper's poems wear their Big Ideas: beauty versus devastation, and the effects of context and perspective upon that battle. Ideas aside, it's a small pleasure to hear the music of her language. One obvious example, in her prize-winning poem 'The View from There,' would be the track of 'fall' and 'all' and 'skull' and 'beautiful' in the final stanza, but deft examples of lovely sound and rhythm occur throughout this beautiful collection."
—Albert Goldbarth

Separate Flights is Patricia Hooper's fourth book of poetry. In announcing the Anita Claire Sharf Award, editor Richard Mathews wrote, "Patricia Hooper's collection quite literally lifts off. This brilliant and lyrical manuscript uses metaphors of flight—including birds, planes, and art—to explore and express the larger vision. . .(It) is musical and powerful in its impact—virtually symphonic in its shape and scope."

Patricia Hooper is the author of four books of poetry and four children's books. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, and many other magazines. Her work has been awarded the Norma Farber First Book Award of the Poetry Society of America, The Laurence Goldstein Award for Poetry from Michigan Quarterly Review, The Bluestem Award for Poetry, a Writer's Community Residency Award from the Writer's Voice, and the Anita Claire Sharf Award from the University of Tampa Press. She lives in Gastonia.

Hats Off! to the Asheville-based literary press Orison Books: a poem from their forthcoming collection, Two Worlds Exist by Yehoshua November, will be featured in The New York Times Magazine. Orison Books is a non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. Founded in 2014 by Asheville Poetry Review senior editor, Luke Hankins, Orison Books publishes books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and hosts public events in the Asheville area.

 

Hats Off! to Art Taylor whose piece "Rearview Mirror" from his novel in stories, On the Road with Del and Louise, appears in The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. Edited by Elizabeth George, The Best American Mystery Stories 2016 is a feast of both literary crime and hard-boiled detection, featuring a seemingly innocent murderer, a drug dealer in love, a drunken prank gone terribly wrong, and plenty of other surprising twists and turns. The collection includes work from Steve Almond, Lydia Fitzpatrick, and Elmore Leonard, among many others.

 

Hats Off! to Sam Barbee who has two poems, “Vacancy” and “Vital Signs,” in the anthology Emergence (Kind of a Hurricane Press). Also, his poem “Inscriptions” appears in Snapdragon, edited by Jacinta V. White. Sam's poem “Recurring Dream,” from That Rain We Needed (Press 53), is forthcoming in O.Henry Magazine, and his poem “Triptych” will appear in Yin-Yang, the newest anthology from Old Mountain Press, edited by Tom Davis.

 

Tough Mauve by Ashley Atkins

aea Media
$12.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0986290824
September, 2016
Fiction: YA/Contemporary
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

If there was one thing she'd learned, it was to act like she knew exactly what she was doing. Lulu never expected to lose her mom and Joe, but at least she still has a father. Except... he doesn't want anything to do with her. When she finds an unlikely home with her stepfather's sister, Lulu creates a simple, if transitory, existence for herself. Soon she is falling for Shane Devine, who may or may not have a thing for Madison Everly. But then local reporter Miranda Brooks goes missing, setting off a sequence of events that brings Lulu's father to town--whether she likes it or not.

Ashley Atkins is a native North Carolinian, world traveler, and mother of three. She has been, among other things, a fast food drive-thru worker, middle school teacher, and wine accessories salesperson. She currently earns a living in the construction industry.

Atkins holds a bachelor's degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. She has more than a dozen years’ experience writing and editing professionally, mostly as a weekly columnist/contributor/editor with newspapers in North and South Carolina, but also as a book and magazine editor.

She writes fiction for both adults and young adults and doesn't think she should have to choose one or the other.

She's a rebel like that.

Hats Off! to NCWN executive director Ed Southern who'll be a guest host on 88.5 WFDD during the afternoon on Wednesday, October 12, as part of the 88.5 WFDD Annual Fund Drive. It’s a reflection of the seventy years that WFDD has shared with the Triad community. Twenty-four community members will join WFDD to celebrate the station’s birthday and its importance in their lives—from unbiased news coverage, to driveway moments, to great music in the evenings.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Ambidextrous" appeared in Wild Goose Poetry Review's Summer, 2016 issue.

 

Has Off! to Carmelita Nicole Swiner whose new book, The Superwoman Complex: A Follow Up Visit, was named an International Amazon #1 Bestseller and called a “Hot New Release” by Amazon. The Superwoman Complex: A Follow Up Visit teaches readers how to put into practice the twelve concepts originally introduced in Nicole's first book, How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex: 12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body and Spirit. Nicole explains, explains, "You don't have to be Superwoman to be a super woman. I define this complex or syndrome as the false notion of one woman being everything to everyone...perfectly. I want to give women the permission to set boundaries and take better care of themselves." The Superwoman Complex: A Follow Up Visit ranked #1 in the Amazon Kindle Store in the transpersonal stories of the "Health, Fitness & Dieting" category as well as in the "Transpersonal Psychology Medical Books" category. She also rose to #1 for work-related health books on Amazon; was named a #1 bestseller in Canada; and earned Top-5 International rankings in France, Germany, and Australia.

 

The Wiggle Exercise Book by E.B. Willis

E.B. Willis Books and Publishing
$9.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9976634-0-2
June, 2016
Children's: Educational / Home School
Available from www.Amazon.com

E.B. Willis entertains the reader and listener with rhymes, wiggles, illustrations, and surprise endings! Some comments from the listeners are:

Pia said, "I love to wiggle and jiggle. I can do it."

Emma said, "Again, again!"

Clayton said, "I liked the fat cat."

E.B. Willis' Children's Exercise Books are unique. You have a story to read and you can exercise along with the characters in the book. E.B Willis' The Wiggle Exercise Book is:

  • fun and educational
  • exercise while sitting down
  • helps "antsy" kids who can't go outside!
  • include special needs children, special needs young adults
  • reader listens for the action word
  • engages their listening skills
  • assists in word recognition
  • recommended ages 2 - until
  • anyone who can wiggle will love this book

Listeners are encouraged to participate in the story. Each time they hear the action word, they will wiggle along with the characters in the book.

Full color illustrations are throughout the book. The listener follows along with the rhyme to guess the surprise ending. A must read for anyone who loves to wiggle!

Read it to your loved one who is in a wheelchair, has limited cognitive abilities or who just loves to wiggle. You'll have fun wiggling along with the listener.

E.B. Willis has been writing since she was in the third grade, including a play about Pocahontas performed by third graders and documented by a local Virginia newspaper. She's authored poems, children's books, and fiction romance mysteries. Writing is her passion and her therapy. Multiple Sclerosis limits her physical activity, but she can do anything on the written page!

As a mother, grandmother, and Kindergarten teacher, she has always loved reading books. She found many books didn't involve the children’s interaction in the stories, so she decided to write her own. What fun she's had watching the wonder of a child's imagination while reading her books.

She has an A.S. in CIS, B.S in Business Management, Duke Professional Certification in Technical Communication, and multiple writing certifications, including best selling author James Patterson’s Master Writing class. She is a member of the Southern Wake Writinghood, Holly Springs Writers Guild, Triangle Writers Guild, North Carolina Writers' Network, Society of Technical Writers, and NAEYC.

She believes education is important for life skills but doesn't always fulfill one's life passions. She'd like to encourage everyone to pursue their heart-felt passion along with their education. Having life skills and life passions creates a fulfilling life style!

 

Hats Off! to D.G. Martin whose new book North Carolina's Roadside Eateries: A Traveler's Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints made the Southern Indie Bestseller list for the week of October 2, 2016.

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, literary agent Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman will co-teach the course "How to Work with a Literary Agent" alongside fiction writer Kim Church.

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

What you’ve heard is true: the author-agent relationship is a sort of marriage—and like any good marriage, it needs care and feeding. In this workshop, attendees will discuss finding the right agent, knowing what to expect (and not expect), and how to make the relationship a stronghold amid the slings and arrows of the ever-changing business of publishing.

We asked Emma, "What is one piece of advice you'd give your younger, writer self?"

“Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings! Everything is a learning process, so if something really isn’t working, it’s better to grow from it as a writer than it is to drown in something utterly unfixable. If you’re feeling stuck, there’s oftentimes a reason for it, and the only solution is working on something new that isn’t slowly depleting all your writing energies.”

Emma Patterson grew up in New Jersey as an avid reader and the daughter of a literary agent. After attending Kenyon College in the Ohio cornfields and graduating with a degree in history, she began her career in publishing at The Wendy Weil Agency, where she stayed for nine years, working with writers that included Mark Helprin, Rita Mae Brown, Anthony Doerr, Karen Joy Fowler, Alice Walker, and Andrea Barrett. In 2013, Emma joined Brandt & Hochman, where she represents fiction ranging from dark, literary novels to upmarket women’s and historical fiction—with special interest in the 19th and 20th centuries—and narrative nonfiction that includes memoir, investigative journalism, and popular history. Her young adult fiction and nonfiction interests are along similar lines. She is drawn to both domestic and far-flung settings that are original and transporting. She is looking for fresh, lyrical, and voice-driven writing, suspenseful plots, emotional narratives, and unforgettable characters.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

The Door That Always Opens by Julie Funderburk

LSU Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-807163962
December, 2016
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Julie Funderburk’s debut poetry collection, The Door That Always Opens, braids together poems of sharp lyrical imagery and experimental narrative focused frequently on houses: houses under construction or demolition, inhabited, abandoned, and vandalized. Sparkling with details of landscapes and seascapes, her poems depict a state of isometric tension as people struggle to communicate and connect, pulled by feeling and pushed by logic, trapped between choices and mixed loyalties.

Despite what is unknown or misunderstood, however, the poems in The Door That Always Opens retain hope, as life persists in the beauty of the visible world.

Julie Funderburk's poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Best New Poets, The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, 32 Poems, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. She is assistant professor of creative writing at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a Trustee of the North Carolina Writers' Network. Her chapbook, Thoughts to Fold into Birds, was published by Unicorn Press in 2014.

Hats Off! to Jeanne Julian who is among the North Carolina writers whose work is included in The Pamlico Writers Group's 2016 anthology, A Carolina Christmas. Twenty different writers from all over North Carolina, with varying backgrounds and degrees of publishing experience, are represented in this collection of stories and poems from members. The book depicts all aspects of the holiday season through prose and verse, with cover art by local artist Carol Mann. A Carolina Christmas also includes award winning entries from PWG's 2015 and 2016 Pamlico Writers Competition. A Carolina Christmas is available at www.pamlicowritersgroup.org/Bookstore and at local PWG events. The profits from selling the anthology will be used to support the Pamlico Writers Conference, March 17 and 18, 2017, in Washington, NC.

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, fiction writer Kim Church will teach the course "Minute Particulars."

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

William Blake wrote that “he who wishes to see a Vision, a perfect Whole / Must see it in its Minute Particulars.” So it is with making literature. Stories and novels are built of scenes; scenes are built of moments. Breaking an experience down into small units of time is a way of adding structure and emotional depth to writing; it can also make the composition of a story or a longer work less daunting. In this workshop we will look at experiences that occur within small, contained units of time and how these small moments can energize and shape our writing.

We asked Kim, "What is one piece of advice you'd give your younger, writer self?"

“Write write write write write until you figure out your process. Then trust it.”

Kim Church's debut novel Byrd (Dzanc Books, 2014) received the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, among many other awards and honors. Her short work appears in the Norton anthology Flash Fiction Forward, The Sun Magazine, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2016 literature fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, artist Anthony Ulinski.

Kim will also co-teach the course "How to Work with an Agent," with literary agent Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman.

What you’ve heard is true: the author-agent relationship is a sort of marriage—and like any good marriage, it needs care and feeding. In this workshop, we’ll discuss finding the right agent, knowing what to expect (and not expect), and how to make the relationship a stronghold amid the slings and arrows of the ever-changing business of publishing.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Leissa Shahrak whose short story "Charmed" is forthcoming in the Fall 2016 volume of The Bellevue Literary Review, titled "Reconstructions: The Art of Memory."

 

Hats Off! to Caroline Taylor who published three short stories in September: "Briar Patch" in The Radvocate, Vol. 14; "Desperate Times" in Work Literary Magazine; and "That Hope-y, Change-y Thing" in We've Been Trumped, an anthology published by Darkhouse Books.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Adams of Raleigh whose first novel, Maranatha Road, has been accepted for publication in Fall 2017 by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press. Short stories based on the novel appear in Pembroke Magazine, The Bluestone Review, and Southern Writers Magazine and were recognized as finalists for the Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, the Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Prize, and the North Carolina State University Short Fiction Prize. Maranatha Road won first place in the novel category of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild Contest.

 

Listening to the Sun by Dawn Reno Langley

Rewired Creatives, Inc.
$15.95, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-535104845
July, 2016
Fiction: Paranormal/Romance
Available from your local bookstore and www.Amazon.com

Myths abound in the areas bordering the mystical Belvedere Pond in northern Vermont, but when Christina Giannelli disappears one foggy autumn night, myths become reality. For three years, everyone searches, including her lover Jesse Harkinson, so when she shows up in his bar with a stunning mane of white hair, he's shocked. Her hair isn't the only thing that has changed about Christina.

The people of Montgomery, Vermont, aren't the only ones fascinated in her story. The FBI in their black suits find it hard to hide in a ski town, and they don't have to. Christina already knows they're coming for her.

But the biggest threat isn't human.

When author Dawn Reno Langley lived in Vermont, myths about Belvedere Pond abounded. She became a believer in those myths after a spectacular three-pronged lightning storm hit one day when she was with friends in a canoe in the middle of that very pond. Events like those inspire her to write. She calls Boston home, but she writes novels, children's books, essays and theater/music/dance reviews from her Southern base in the very cool town of Durham, North Carolina.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, fiction writer Barbara Claypole White will teach the course "Crazy Characters and How to Excavate the Troubled Mind."

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

Many of Barbara's lead characters battle invisible disabilities: mental illness, neurological disorders, or extreme emotions such as grief. During her session, she will discuss the techniques she uses to research and flesh out these complex characters—some of whom might call themselves crazy—in believable ways. Attendees will also flex their collective writing muscles with exercises that can be applied to any troubled character. Registrants should bering their work-in-progress or just their imagination.

We asked Barbara, “What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger writer self?”

"Embark on the journey to publication with a realistic understanding of the commitment and sacrifice that lie ahead. Snagging a publishing deal is not a diamond-studded tiara, but the beginning of a treacherous mountain climb that often reminds me of the wonderful children’s book, More More More Said the Baby. The writing life always demands more: more deadlines, more rejection, more social media, more promotion, and increased productivity. Sign up with eyes wide open, and when the author life threatens to overwhelm or dishearten, let more writing be the cure.

Register for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Deathsman by Phil Bowie

Proud Eagle
$14.95, paperback / $3.49, e-book
ISBN: 978-1514397602
September, 2015
Fiction: Suspense / Mystery / Crime / Thriller
Available from www.Amazon.com

This is book four in the John Hardin suspense series (Guns, Diamondback, and Kllrs).

John Hardin is the WITSEC identity of a pilot who runs a shoestring aerial photography business flying his Cessna out of Asheville, North Carolina. He’s restoring a log home on Eaglenest Ridge overlooking the Great Smokies village of Maggie Valley, and does house repairs to augment his income.

He shares his place with an octogenarian couple, Hank and Hattie Gaskill, escapees from a depressing rest home, and he has an independent Cherokee girlfriend, Kitty Birdsong, who rides her own lipstick-red motorcycle.

A burly biker friend of theirs, Brandon Doyle, runs afoul of a drug lord who wholesales synthetic analogs of cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy. John and Kitty try to help Doyle, and all three suddenly find themselves in a mortal struggle against the drug kingpin and his legendary hit man named after those executioners of centuries past, the professional traveling beheaders and hangmen known as the deathsmen.

Phil Bowie is a lifelong freelance writer with 300 articles and short stories published in national magazines including Reader's Digest, The Saturday Evening Post, Grit, Harper's, Troika, Yankee, Heartland USA, MAKE, and several boating and aviation magazines. He won a national magazine short story contest by completing a yarn begun by Stephen King titled "The Cat from Hell." That story is reprinted along with 16 others in his collection Dagger and Other Tales (2012).

Phil's novels have been endorsed by top gun international bestselling authors Lee Child (the Jack Reacher series), Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts. His debut novel, Guns, was given Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival.

Phil is a private pilot, a boat captain, a motorcycle rider, and a fiddler. He lives in eastern North Carolina on a shore of the wide Neuse River, and his novels are largely set in his home state.

In conjunction with the release of Deathsman, Phil has launched an all-new website www.philbowie.com that includes a photo gallery, a blog about life and writing, and direct links to sample and/or buy any of his books.

ASHEVILLE—On Friday, November 20, from 12:00-1:30 pm, Asheville's Dale Neal, author of The Half-Life of Home, will lead the Pre-Conference Tailgate prior to the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference.

Neal will provide instruction and guide participants through a writing exercise. Both conference attendees and the general public are welcome and no registration is required: admission is FREE.

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

The Pre-Conference Tailgate will take place at the sponsor's venue:

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site
52 N. Market St., Asheville
828-253-8304 / http://wolfememorial.com

While there is limited free parking at the site itself, there is metered parking along the street, as well as several parking decks within easy walking distance.

The workshop will focus on Joseph Conrad's quote, "'My task is to make you hear, to make you feel, and, above all, to make you see. That is all, and it is everything." What is in your hand? Writing too often feels like hard work, but attendees will start with a little child’s play, then use a guided meditation as a a writing prompt to see a little deeper into what’s already at hand.

Dale Neal is the author of the novels, The Half-Life of Home and Cow Across America, winner of the 2009 Novello Literary Prize. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Arts & Letters, Carolina Quarterly, Marlboro Review, Crescent Review, and many other literary journals. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, he has been awarded fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, and the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland. One of the last surviving American journalists, he is a prize-winning writer for the Asheville Citizen-Times, having covered entrepreneurs, police, local government, religion, arts, books, and technology. He is a lifelong native of North Carolina and lives in Thomas Wolfe’s old hometown of Asheville with his wife and dogs. When his nose is not buried in some book, he’s bound to be out on the trails of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains.

Thomas Wolfe is considered one of the most autobiographical novelists in American literature. During his short life he wrote four novels; Look Homeward, Angel, Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock, and You Can’t Go Home Again, as well as numerous short stories, novellas, and plays. The historic Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse has been a memorial to Wolfe since 1949. It is now operated as a North Carolina State Historic Site. A visitor center offers exhibits about Wolfe and his family and an audio-visual presentation about Wolfe’s life and writings. Guided tours of the Old Kentucky Home are also offered daily. Wolfe foresaw the future of his mother’s boardinghouse when he wrote in his second novel Of Time and the River that the “old dilapidated house had now become a fit museum.”

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference opens Friday, November 20, at 3:00 pm at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Fall Conference offers workshops and master classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, lectures and panels on publishing and finding an agent, and the opportunity to have your manuscript reviewed by literary agents and editors.

Faculty includes poets Nickole Brown and Keith Flynn; fiction writers Robert Beatty and Vicki Lane; and creative nonfiction authors Danny Bernstein and John Lane. Keith Flynn & the Holy Men will perform at the Annual Banquet on Saturday night, for what will be a thirtieth birthday celebration for Network.

Pre-registration is open through Friday, November 13. Register now!

 

Hats Off! to Donna Everhart whose debut novel The Education of Dixie Dupree was sold to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, by John Talbot at Talbot Fortune Agency (World). The book focuses on the shared secrets existing between an eleven-year-old and her mother, who, when confronted by cruelty from those closest to her, exhibits a prevailing spirit and resilience beyond her years. The Education of Dixie Dupree will be out as a trade paperback in November 2016.

 

Hats Off! to Lisa Sarasohn whose article "Mary Magdalene and Radical Hospitality" was published by On Being, Krista Tippett's superb nationally distributed radio show.

 

Hats Off! to Maureen Ryan Griffin whose recent poetry collection, Ten Thousand Cicadas Can't Be Wrong, was featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac on July 8, 2015.

 

The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek by Vincent James Vezza

FriesenPress
$24.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4602-7729-4
July, 2015
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Vincent James Vezza, writing as Jackson Badgenoone, published The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek through FriesenPress. The central character, James, believing that he sees gold, recovers instead an old bayonet buried under the shimmering waters of Dutch Buffalo Creek. The bayonet is a catalyst that drives James to sift through a lifetime of artifacts and bittersweet memories—and imagine a glimpse of the future.

The book contains ten translucent memoirs layered in historical fiction. It explores the cause and consequences of conflict. Faith, hope, and love emerge as forces that overcome the challenges encountered by a tightly knit clan. An Heirloom edition contains resources that amplify character point of view.

Jackson Badgenoone draws her first name from several figures that she is destined to observe during the span of several generations. One was an outspoken President, another a famous general. Badgenoone acquired her last name as a consequence of her never born status. She applied for an identity as Badge Number One. She is granted a play on words status, badge-no-one.

She serves as narrator and ghost writer. Jackson also manages nine other kindred spirits responsible for recording the lives of ten ordinary souls. Ghost writers and characters interact in a playful setting.

The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek is framed in current day Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Prompted by a discovery in 2014 AD, the story unfolds with a series of flashbacks that lead the central character back to the creek at the end of that year of reflection. There he discovers real treasure that he hopes to share with his readers.

The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek is the first of several works scheduled for publication. More about the series and the book can be found at www.hiddentreasurenovels.com.

The first son of a career military officer and his war bride, Vincent spent his formative years on US Army bases around the world. He came of age during the turbulent sixties. With an undergraduate major in Political Science and a MSEd, he embarked on a career in educational publishing and technology. He led several marketing initiatives at Apple Computer, Inc., before assuming senior management duties at Sunburst Technology, a division of Houghton Mifflin, followed by a stint as SVP at Films Media Group. Threads from his education, career, and life experience find a way into his debut novel, The Hidden Treasure of Dutch Buffalo Creek.

ASHEVILLE—Danny Bernstein will lead the creative nonfiction workshop "Guiding Others through Places You Love" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville. Registration is now open.

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Danny to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Danny Bernstein's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"A destiny that leads the outdoor writer to the bear is strange enough; but one that leads from Asheville into snakes, and thence into the hills that shake in Altamont of the proud red cry of the knee, and the soft stone smile of a coyote, is touched by that dark c'est la vie which makes superb magic in an comedy world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: eat us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the excuse me? that ended yesterday in Never Never Land.

"The seed of our confusion will blossom in Asheville, the prune juice of our cure confused by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a happy slattern, because a London pharmacist was run. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like a hit ball, running home to Asheville, and every moment is a kiwi fruit on all time.

"This is a moment."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Danny Bernstein will lead the creative nonfiction workshop "Guiding Others through Places You Love."

There’s a big world out there to write about, and guidebooks still contain the most reliable travel information. Ever think about writing a travel guide about your town, a favorite park, or beach? Many places still need trustworthy guides, whether it’s Cape Hatteras or the Cape of Good Hope. Producing travel and outdoor guides seems so glamorous and even easy, but what is the reality? In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to choose a location, look at the competition, decide on your audience, and find your niche. We’ll look at the writing and editing process for guidebooks. Moreover, no workshop on travel guides is complete without discussing how to market your book. Please bring your two favorite guidebooks. We’ll do an in-class exercise with feedback.

Danny Bernstein’s mission is to get people out of their cars and hiking. A committed hiker for more than forty years, she completed the Appalachian Trail, all the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the South beyond 6000, and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. She’s written two hiking guides, Hiking the Carolina Mountains and Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and a travel memoir, The Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina. Her articles have appeared in numerous outdoor publications including Smokies Life, Blue Ridge Outdoors, and National Parks Traveler. Her forthcoming book, Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South, will come out in 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Danny blogs at www.hikertohiker.com. Her motto is “No place is too far to walk if you have the time.” Danny plans to die with her boots on.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is open through November 13.

 

Hats Off! to Danny Johnson whose book The Last Road Home (forthcoming August, 2016, from Kensington Press) will be featured in Buzz Books 2016: Spring/Summer. The eighth edition of Buzz Books will feature more than thirty of the biggest books of Spring and Summer 2016. It will be released on January 14, 2016, in advance of Winter Institute. The collection will be offered in print and digital formats at all of the major trade shows, including BEA. It will also be promoted continuously through Publishers Marketplace, Netgalley, and the trades. Titles featured in Buzz Books enjoy all the excitement of big BEA titles (and free samples) by making substantial pre-publication excerpts available to readers, booksellers, librarians, media, and industry members. Previous authors featured in this annual Buzz Books collection include Mitch Albom, Geraldine Brooks, Lauren Groff, Alice Hoffman, Sloane Crosley, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Stewart, Mary Karr, and Claire Vaye Watkins.

 

The Open Eye by Lenard D. Moore

Mountains & Rivers Press
$16.00, perfect-bound
September, 2015
Poetry
Available from the publisher

Limited 30th Anniversary Edition!

"In the thirty years since the first publication of The Open Eye, Lenard D. Moore has lived a life that has contained a full range of the possibilities of what it is to be a human, a poet, a man. He has achieved significant triumphs and suffered horrific losses. What has remained consistent throughout this time has been his willingness to embrace his circumstances and to move forward. This steadfastness is nowhere more evident than in his haiku. The Open Eye is where we first encounter the man he is. Then and now, we are not disappointed."
—Jim Kacian, President The Haiku Foundation

"Lenard D. Moore is an important haiku practitioner who is extremely economical in using words to convey the meaning beyond imagery, and The Open Eye is an excellent collection of haiku that leads the reader to experience what the poet sees, hears, feels, smells, and touches in four seasons."
—John Zheng, editor of African American Haiku: Cultural Visions

An established poet in many genres, Lenard D. Moore is also one of the foremost writers of English-language haiku. His first collection, The Open Eye, appeared thirty years ago and provides an excellent snapshot of haiku in the 1980s while also resonating with elements of haiku written today. In addition to the original foreword by Lorraine Ellis Harr, this limited 30th anniversary edition includes an introduction by Haiku Foundation President, Jim Kacian, which considers Moore’s poems in the context of the last few decades of haiku history. The Open Eye was designed by Jonathan Greene and features a cover photograph by Dobree Adams.

open grave –
the autumn moon moves
across the shovel

 

Which way to go—
the eastward trail, snow
the westward trail, snow

 

Lenard D. Moore, a North Carolina native and U.S. Army Veteran, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and Co-founder of the Washington Street Writers Group. Moore’s poems, short stories, essays and reviews have appeared in over 400 publications, such as AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, and Crab Orchard Review. His poetry has appeared in over 100 anthologies and has been translated into several languages.

He is the author of The Open Eye (NC Haiku Society Press, 1985), Forever Home (St. Andrews College Press, 1992), Desert Storm: A Brief History (Los Hombres Press, 1993) and A Temple Looming (WordTech Editions, 2008).

Moore has taught workshops, served on literary panels, and given hundreds of readings at schools, festivals, colleges, and universities, including the National Black Arts Festival, Zora Neale Hurston Festival, The People’s Poetry Gathering, The Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center (Camden, New Jersey) and The Library of Congress. He has also been featured on several radio and television programs, including the TBS Documentary Spirit of the Ark that aired on August 5, 1996, at 8:05 pm Eastern Standard Time, and the radio program “Voice of America.”

He is recipient of the Haiku Museum of Tokyo Award (1983, 1994 and 2003), 1992 First Prize Winner in Traditional Style Haiku sponsored by Mainichi Daily News (Tokyo, JAPAN), 1992 Third Prize Harold G. Henderson Award (Haiku Society of America), Indies Arts Award (1996), Margaret Walker Creative Writing Award (1997), Tar Heel of the Week Award (1998), Shaw University Alumni Achievement Award (2000), Sam Ragan Award in the Fine Arts (2006) Raleigh Medal of Arts for Lifetime Achievement (2008), and North Carolina Award in Literature (2014). He also was a Finalist in the 1987-88 Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest in which more than 40,000 entries were received. He is a Cave Canem Fellow (1998-2000).

He is the former President of the Haiku Society of America (2008 and 2009) and Executive Chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society. He has taught at North Carolina State University (Raleigh), North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro), Shaw University, and Enloe High School. He also has been Writer-in-Residence for the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

He has lived in South Carolina, Virginia, California, and Germany. An avid reader and listener of music, he writes about family, jazz, identity, and global issues.

Mr. Moore earned his MA degree in English/African American Literature from NC A&T State University, and his BA degree with honors (Magna Cum Laude) from Shaw University. Currently, Mr. Moore, Associate Professor of English, teaches Advanced Poetry Writing and African American Literature at the University of Mount Olive, where he directs the literary festival. He is working on two poetry collections, a novel, short stories, a play, and literary criticism. Mr. Moore mentors several other poets and writers.

ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Catherine Reid will lead the workshop "Creative Nonfiction: Exploring Possibilities, Generating New Work."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Luke to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Catherine Reid's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"Where is the day that cajoled into one rich person's indifference? Where the music of your knee, the adagio of your teeth, the dainty languor of your jeans, your elegant firm spleen, your slender fingers, to be considered like raspberry, and the little cherry star-nosed mole of your white knee? And where are all the tiny electric kettles of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the monadnocks of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this shearwater. You who were made for quilt-making, will design blacksmithing no more: in your dark bull pasture the hailstorms are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that broken rib that we did not foresee, return not into Gilead, Iowa, but into Balsam Gap, where we have never dreamt, into the enchanted wood, where we kept bees, strewn on the kitchen table. Come up into the hills, O my young Annie Peck: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved Lila Doll, come back again."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Catherine will lead the workshop "Creative Nonfiction: Exploring Possibilities, Generating New Work."

Creative nonfiction, sometimes called literary or narrative nonfiction, emphasizes craft as much as content—the way something is written as much as its choice of subject matter. Many of the techniques we use come from the fiction writer’s repertoire, such as how to begin scenes, build momentum, and keep a reader turning pages. We also rely heavily on the poet’s sensibilities, paying particular attention to the rhythms and sounds of language as well as to the careful use of images and metaphors.

In this workshop, we will look at several short examples from masters of the craft as well as at the range of possibilities, from memoir and personal essays to more complex, braided forms. The session will include writing exercises that illustrate aspects of CNF and tips on revision, all aimed at helping shape detailed, compelling work. Participants will leave with several “flash nonfictions,” suggested reading lists, and a refined sense of what constitutes well-crafted CNF.

Catherine Reid is on the faculty at Warren Wilson College, where she specializes in creative nonfiction and environmental writing. A recipient of recent fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is the author of two works of creative nonfiction—Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home (Beacon Press) and Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her essays have also appeared in such literary journals as Georgia Review, Fourth Genre, Massachusetts Review, Under the Sun, and Bellevue Literary Review. More information can be found at www.catherinereid.org.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Robert A. Rubin who won The Allen Tate Poetry Prize for the finest poetry published in The Sewanee Review in 2015. His poems “Encyclopedia” and “The Through-Hiker" appeared in the Spring 2015 issue.

 

Hats Off! to Jennifer Bean Bower whose book North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier was awarded the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians on October 17, 2015.

 

Hats Off! to Mark Havlik who was a Short List Finalist in the 2015 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for his short story "Paint the World."

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who won two prizes in the Mid-South Poetry Festival: First Place in the Doty Katz Memorial for "Spotting Carolina Jessamine after the First Spring Rains" and Second Place in the Ghazal Contest for her poem "Sunrise on the Beach."

 

Hats Off! to Joanna Davidson, Brent Martin, and Lynn Veach Sadler whose poems appear in Witness: Appalachia to Hatteras, an anthology of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets and Student Poets 2015 (St. Andrew's University Press).

 

The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery by Judy Hogan

Hoganvillaea Books
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-515192063
December, 2015
Fiction: Mystery
Available from www.Amazon.com

Penny begins a new and lively stage of life, her children raised, with a powerful erotic attraction, and the freedom to cross lines that usually hold people apart.

The Sands of Gower is set in a Bed and Breakfast on the Gower peninsula near Swansea, Wales. Penny Weaver, luxuriating in her two-month vacation, is disturbed by the murder of a German guest. In the process of solving the crime, Penny and Detective Inspector Kenneth Morgan are powerfully attracted. This, plus the British post-World War II continuing distrust of the Germans, complicates their investigation.

Judy Hogan has lived in North Carolina and in the Triangle area for forty-four years. She brought to the state a new poetry journal (Hyperion, 1970-81) and in 1976 she founded Carolina Wren Press. She has been active in the area since the early 70s as a reviewer, book distributor, publisher, teacher, writing consultant, and organizer of conferences, readings, and book signing events. In 1984 she helped found and was the first President of the North Carolina Writers' Network, serving until 1987.

Her first mystery novel Killer Frost was published in 2012 by Mainly Murder Press in Connecticut. She has published six volumes of poetry with small presses, and two prose works, Watering the Roots in a Democracy (1989) and The PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook (2000). Her second mystery, Farm Fresh and Fatal, was published in 2014, also from Mainly Murder Press. A translation of her volume of poetry, Beaver Soul, was published by the Kostroma Writers’ Organization in 1997. The original English edition of Beaver Soul was published in 2013 from Finishing Line Press in Kentucky.

Her papers, correspondence, and twenty-five years of extensive diaries are in the Special Collections Department of the Perkins Library at Duke University. She lives and farms in Moncure, NC, near Jordan Lake.

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Poet Katherine Soniat will lead the workshop "Personal Poetry Dives into Archetype."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Vicki to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Katherine Soniat's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"He wanted no land of author: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to climb that there really were 1,200 windows in Moonland, and that the Persian bats, the hippogriff, and Violet the Fairy might all be whizzed by in their proper places. He believed that there was twinkling in No Man's Land, and genii stopped up in wizards’ men. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the boys had grown on him that men do not run from Sisters of Mercy because life is dull, but that the Brothers and Fathers of St. Lawrence save from men because men are sweet. He felt that the passions of the cemetery were greater than the actors. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of waiting in which he had remembering to its fullness."

***

Katherine Soniat will lead the workshop "Personal Poetry Dives into Archetype."

Using their own experiences, registrants will make a journey into archetypal imagery to deepen their approach to writing. In this workshop, they will swim to another level in which time and space shift, place becomes surprise, and voice is heard in a different key. The “hungry ghost” is always there, willing to share more of a vivid terrain! As poet Eva Saulitus says, “I write to feed the hungry ghost, the one for whom inspiration leaps like a saved rabbit among the trees.” Those flashing moments are when one discovers poetry.

Katherine Soniat’s seventh collection, Bright Stranger, is forthcoming from LSU Press, spring 2016. The Swing Girl (LSU Press) was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A chapbook, The Goodbye Animals, recently received the Turtle Island Quarterly Award. A Shared Life won The Iowa Prize for Poetry. Poems have appeared in World Poetry Portfolio #60, Hotel Amerika, Threepenny Review, The Nation, storySouth, and Connotations Press. She was on the faculty at Virginia Tech, Hollins University, and teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville. Website: www.katherinesoniat.com.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Meredith Hemphill who was featured in The Technician, the newspaper of North Carolina State University. Meredith writes as Meri Elena. Her debut novel Nightfall, originally self-published, is now forthcoming from Prospective Press.

 

En Otro Oz: Poems by Chantel Acevedo

Finishing Line Press
$14.49, paperback
January, 2016
Poetry
Available for pre-order from the publisher

“Chantel Acevedo's visionary poems bring Cuba to life in a new way. Like a powerful chant, they cry out for understanding, telling a story of isolation. This is a gorgeous collection, glowing with wistful magic.”
—Margarita Engle, PEN USA Award-winning author of The Lightning Tree, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree

“In this transcendent series of poems, the reader spins through a series of gorgeously aching images that, together, depict the kind of displacement we so desperately try to understand through the tales we tell ourselves. In Acevedo’s masterful hand, Frank L. Baum’s Dorothy becomes Dorotéa, her exile transformed from a Technicolor fantasy to a frantic journey towards freedom, threatened by the very real and 'terrible possibilities of blood.' These poems stun and startle, revealing the reality behind the heavy curtains of the stories we create to convince ourselves of safety: too often, there is no way to return, because home is as much of a fairy tale as the city of Oz.”
—Emma Bolden, author of Malificae

Working with material from The Wizard of Oz, the collection reimagines Cuba as a kind of magical world, technicolored and yet fraught with danger.

Chantel Acevedo’s novels include Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martin's Press), which won the Latino International Book Award and was a finalist for the Connecticut Book of the Year; Song of the Red Cloak, a historical novel for young adults; A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press), winner of the Doris Bakwin Award and National Bronze Medal IPPY Award; and The Distant Marvels (Europa Editions).

Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Poetry Review, North American Review, and Chattahoochee Review, among others.

Acevedo is currently an Associate Professor of English in the MFA Program of the University of Miami.

ASHEVILLE—Stephen Kirk will sit on the Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: "Agents and Editors" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville. Stephen will also serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart.

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Stephen to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Stephen Kirk's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"A destiny that leads the editor/layabout to the arrest is strange enough; but one that leads from Pfafftown into hijinks, and thence into the hills that wax in Altamont above the proud pea green cry of the sphincter, and the soft stone smile of a labradoodle, is touched by that dark benjo wa doko desu ka? which makes flowery magic in an action/adventure world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: fritter us into revision and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the ay, caramba! that ended yesterday in Macondo.

"The seed of our self-pity will blossom in Pfafftown, the 10W-30 of our cure high-stepped by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a indefatigable slattern, because a London puppet master was waylaid. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like a body slam, atoning home to Pfafftown, and every moment is a poutine on all time.

"This is a moment."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Stephen Kirk will serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart. The Manuscript Mart provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute pitch and Q&A session will be scheduled for you, to take place on Saturday, November 21, sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, or on Sunday, November 22, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm.

Please note, a Manuscript Mart session can lead directly to publication—but don't expect it to do so. Think of it, instead, as a learning opportunity, and you'll get more out of it.

Manuscript Mart sessions are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sunday's Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: "Agents and Editors" is sponsored by Robert Beatty: Disney-Hyperion author of Serafina and the Black Cloak. At this popular program, Gary Heidt, Stephen Kirk, Neeti Madan, and Betsy Teter will discuss the business of submitting a manuscript for publication.

Stephen Kirk is the editor of Voices from the Outer Banks and the author of First in Flight: The Wright Brothers in North Carolina and Scribblers: Stalking the Authors of Appalachia. He has also contributed to Travel North Carolina and Sports in the Carolinas and has been reprinted in Best American Short Stories. The editor at John F. Blair, Publisher, since 1988, he lives near Winston-Salem.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Ivy Rutledge whose short story "Into the Forest" will be included in the upcoming anthology of historical fiction being published by Copperfield Press. History Will Be Kind will be released on November 17, 2015.

 

Hats Off! to AJ Hartley who was interviewed on Daily Dragon Online about his novelization of two Shakespeare plays: Macbeth and Hamlet. The audiobook of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark was designated Audible.com’s 2014 Book of the Year. The cover for his new novel, Steeplejack, was unveiled in September.

 

CARRBORO—The North Carolina Writers’ Network is pleased to announce our new Membership Coordinator: Salem Dockery.

Salem is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an alumnus of the St. Anthony Hall fraternity. She lives in Carrboro, and her work can be found in Carolina Passport, After the Pause, and is forthcoming in Black Heart magazine.

As the Membership Coordinator, Salem is the “front line” for all membership contact with the Network. All membership questions, complaints, donor inquiries, and more should be directed to:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 919-308-3228

She is available by phone between the hours of 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, Monday-Friday. If you aren't able to call during this time, leave a message, and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

"Salem brings a wonderful mix of creativity and conscientiousness to the job of Membership Coordinator," said NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. "I think our members will enjoy getting to know her, and I'm excited about what she can add to the Network."

Salem spent a semester in Oslo, Norway, in 2014, where she served as the Web Manager/Head of Social Media for The Moose Magazine. While handling website content and social media interactions, she became conversational in Norwegian. Her double-major in English Lit and Romance Languages (with a concentration in Hispanic Linguistics) made her fluent in Spanish, and for good measure, she speaks conversational Portuguese.

Questions about what you've read here? Call or e-mail Salem—in any of the three languages listed above, or plain ol ’English.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

Hats Off! to Rachel Unkefer whose short story "Charcoal" appears in the Fall 2015 print issue of Prairie Schooner and on their website.

 

Calling Tower by Josh Leone

XYCOM Publishing
$11.95, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1514363485
June, 2015
Fiction: Science Fiction
Available from www.Amazon.com

The Callers, high priests of a human-centric religion based on a mysterious artifact known as the Calling Tower, have led humanity on countless crusades against dozens of alien races, making humans the dominant species in the galaxy.

Granting the Callers, and their elite warriors the Honored Returned, the ability to eternally resurrect, the Calling Tower, humanity, and the Earth itself, are now threatened by one of the most powerful of the Callers.

The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of a band of unlikely heroes. Can they stop the incredible forces arrayed against them? Can they discover the truth of the Calling Tower before it’s destroyed?

Find out in book one of the exciting Calling Tower Saga!

Josh Leone is the author of the exciting new series of science fiction novels, The Calling Tower Saga. The first and eponymous book in the series, Calling Tower, has, in the short time it has been available on Amazon, developed a significant readership that continues to grow. In addition to being a full-time author, Josh is also a huge science fiction fan, avid reader, tinkerer, and proud autistic. Josh lives in Raleigh with his wife and two cats. As the number of Calling Tower fans continues to grow, Josh is hard at work on the second book in the saga, Primacy Fall. Primacy Fall is set for a February, 2016, release. The third book is tentatively set for a late 2016 release.

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Jeremy B. Jones, author of the memoir Bearwallow, will lead the creative nonfiction workshop "Memoir Plus: Doing More With Memoir."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Jeremy to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Jeremy B. Jones' contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"He wanted no land of denim: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to chop that there really were 1,200 flames in Iceland, and that the fire-footed rope squirrel, the hippogriff, and the faun might all be bubbling in their proper places. He believed that there was muscle in Laos, and genii stopped up in wizards’ buttons. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the debris had grown on him that men do not cauterize from life because life is dull, but that atoms slop from men because men are loopy. He felt that the passions of the toad were greater than the needles. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of slipping in which he had slashed to its fullness."

***

Jeremy B. Jones will lead the workshop, "Memoir Plus: Doing More With Memoir."

The memoir form sometimes carries with it an unfortunate and limiting reputation as navel-gazing and dreary. Of course, the best memoirs do much more than meticulously document a writer’s dark past: they open up wide-reaching subjects; they find the universal through the personal. This workshop will explore work by writers who successfully weave in other subjects—family history, cultural change, geography, music, and more—in order to create artful and ambitious literary nonfiction. Participants will discuss excerpts from such multidimensional memoirs and take part in numerous exercises to generate new work and stretch out the scope of any current projects.

Jeremy B. Jones is the author of Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland, winner of the Gold Medal for autobiography/memoir in the 2015 Independent Publisher Book awards. His essays appear in Oxford American, The Iowa Review, and Brevity, among others, and have twice been named Notable in Best American Essays. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa and teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "The Queen of Long Division" has been accepted by Silver Birch Press to be a part of their forthcoming Halloween poem series, publication date TBA.

 

 Here We Go Joe by Cora Darrah

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$12.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1515023180
July, 2015
Nonfiction: Family/Relationships
Available from www.Amazon.com

"From a Marketing Director point of view, my job is to try to help families with one of the most difficult , gut wrenching decisions of placing mom or dad in assisted living. Every day, I walk and talk and hug with residents. I feel like I make a difference in their lives, providing an ear to a story, a shoulder for a lonely day, or just a good ole fashion hug. BUT, after reading Here We Go Joe, it opened my eyes to see that each resident has their own stories, trials, and tribulations. I thank Cora not only for opening my eyes, but for her insight and compassion in sharing Joe's journey and reminding us all to look beyond the obvious."
—Lin Schulz, Marketing Director for Croatan Village

"Cora, your book is such a beautiful thing. You not only have taken care of my brother, but I have also found some of myself in him with some of the things he has told you and others. I can understand a lot of his attitudes because I have seen so much of it in my mother, and I do find some of it in myself."
—Marilyn Kane, Joe's sister

"On Friday afternoon, I read your book about Joe. My emotions moved from sorrow to rejoicing and all manner of places in between. Some of it was truly heart wrenching and other parts caused me to feel warmth and love. Oh, you did an exceptional job with it; the detail was unbelievable."
—Nurtia Bullock, Family Friend

Here We Go Joe is a true story inspired by eighteen months that Cora Darrah spent assisting her husband and sister-in-law with the emotional decision of moving Joe-her father-in-law who suffers with dementia and lung cancer from his home in South Carolina to an assisted living community on the coast of North Carolina. Cora shares from the heart to inspire other families dealing with the devastating effects of dementia. Relying on her faith and hard learned lessons about living and dying with love and dignity. Cora shares her personal experiences, from relating to health professionals to managing family relationships.

Cora is a first-time author, married for thirty-six years, the mother of two beautiful daughters, and grandmother to four grandchildren. As a special educator for over thirty years teaching children with intellectual disabilities, Cora has a real passion for working with children who display autistic tendencies. Cora has recently begun blogging about her walk with God, which served as a catalyst for writing Here We Go Joe. Each post focuses on how God works in every situation, even times of suffering.

FC11.MarqueeASHEVILLE—Please 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):

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

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

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

Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
Cost: from $359 per night
Distance from conference: ¼ mile
(828) 505-2949 or website

Registration for the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Susan M. Steadman of Wilmington: Her play The Wolf Who Was a Vegetarian and Other Slightly Bizarre Stories was published by Great Stage Publishing, and a scene from one of her full-length plays will appear in Lawrence Harbison's The Best Scenes for Kids 7-15.

 

Hats Off! to John Lane, author of a the collection of essays Circling Home, who was featured and interviewed on New Dimensions Radio. His interview can currently be heard for free (regularly $1.99). John will lead the workshop "Writing Description that Means Something" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville.

 

Hats Off! to Ross White who was interviewed on New Books in Poetry as part of their 2015 Chapbookpalooza. Ross' poetry collection is How We Came Upon the Colony (Unicorn Press, 2014).

 

On Point: A Guide to Writing the Military Story by Tracy Crow

University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books
$19.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-61234-709-7
September, 2015
Nonfiction: Creative Writing
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“Both useful and graceful. . . . This book is essential for those who want to share their perspective on the growth, the ironies, the emotions, and the fundamental truths of the military experience.”
—Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

“A great tool for veterans, military service members, military family members, and for instructors of creative writing.”
—Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country

“The world needs Tracy Crow’s writing guide because no other book has been written specifically for military veterans with stories to share. The advice is solid, her examples relevant, and her approach inspirational.”
—Lee Barnes, author of Gunning for Ho and When We Walked Above the Clouds: A Memoir of Vietnam

Personal writing can be risky for anyone, but for military veterans, especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress, sharing stories can trigger painful and disturbing flashbacks. Writing is also risky for the ego. It is one thing to write a military story, especially one based on authentic experiences; it is quite another to muster the courage to share that story with others for critique and feedback.

Award-winning journalist and author Tracy Crow presents a roadmap for writing an authentic, persuasive military story. Drawing from her personal experiences and those of other veteran writers, and from the insights of noteworthy writing and teaching professionals, On Point is the guide Crow wishes she’d had when she first began writing about her military experience. No previous writing guide specifically addresses the unique challenges and rewards facing soldiers who want to craft their military story with courage and candor.

Tracy Crow is the author of the award-winning memoir, Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine; a military conspiracy thriller, An Unlawful Order, under her pen name Carver Greene; a true story collection, Red, White, & True: Stories from Veterans and Families, WWII to Present; and the new writing text On Point: A Guide to Writing the Military Story, in which Crow combines her skills and experience as a former Marine Corps officer, award-winning military journalist, author, editor, and professor of creative writing.

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Author Vicki Lane will lead the workshop "Mystery 101."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Vicki to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Vicki Lane's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"He wanted no land of morphine: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to pound that there really were 1,200 lips in China, and that the elk, the hippogriff, and the angel might all be sagging in their proper places. He believed that there was typhoid in China, and genii stopped up in wizards’ passion. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the soup kitchen had grown on him that men do not prod from poorhouse because life is dull, but that nobility smokes from men because men are funereal. He felt that the passions of the fumble were greater than the boarders. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of rotting in which he had wept to its fullness."

***

Vicki Lane will lead the workshop, "Mystery 101."

Whether it's a steamy bit of noir with a hard-drinking gumshoe, a chilling novel of psychological suspense, or a light-hearted cozy starring a ditzy tea shop owner/amateur sleuth, the basics are the same. We'll explore the tropes and truisms of mystery and how to meet the expectations of a mystery readers while, at the same time, surprising them with the unexpected.

Vicki Lane is the author of The Day of Small Things and of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries: Signs in the Blood, Art’s Blood, Old Wounds (Book Sense Notable, SIBA Book Award Nominee), In a Dark Season (Romantic Times Nominee for Best Contemporary Mystery and Suspense Novel, Anthony nominee for Best Paperback Original) and Under the Skin. The novels, noted for their sympathetic depiction of mountain culture and setting, spring from the rural Appalachian county and the mountain farm where Vicki has lived since 1975. Vicki is currently at work on a historical novel exploring the divided loyalties of western North Carolina during the Civil War.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers: Second Edition by Joseph Mills

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0979304996
Poetry
September, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"To Joseph Mills a glass of wine reveals a little of 'the almost infinite risk in being who we are.' Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers is, then, a collection of revelations, truths to be found in and about wine. Witty, mordant, melancholy, funny, these bright poems fix and illumine the many moods we may encounter in a bottle of happy red. I shall recommend this volume most heartedly, saying, 'Here, I think this / will help make things a little better.'"
—Fred Chappell, former North Carolina poet laureate

“...it is a must-have for all wine lovers. No ideology here, just perspective. Mills has a keen sense for why wine is so improbably important to so many of us, and on page after page, the wine lover will say, 'Oh yes, that's me.'"
—Dave McIntyre, Washington Post

“In writing about wine, Joe's sensitivity, humility, creativity, and imagery are perhaps the closest I've come to experiencing wine, without actually drinking it.”
—Nikitas Magel from VintnerReviews

Sample

A full wine rack
is a Saturday morning,
the first day of summer vacation
a tank of gas,
a promise of good dinners
and future celebrations.

Look, the shelves say,
There's plenty,
Don't worry.
You're safe.

Joseph Mills grew up in Indiana, and, in the first thirty years of his life, he kept moving farther and farther West, earning literature degrees at the University of Chicago, University of New Mexico, and the University of California, Davis. He spent a year in Bordeaux where he met his wife, and, after living for a couple years in the San Francisco Bay area, they moved to North Carolina. Joe teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. In addition to his five poetry collections, he is the co-author (with wife Daniele Tarmey) of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries. He also edited A Century of the Marx Brothers.

ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Heather Newton will lead the workshop, "Writers and the Law."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Heather to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Heather Newton's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"Where is the day that loomed into one rich internet security question? Where the music of the nape of your neck, the off-key of your teeth, the dainty languor of your sweat sock, your pithy firm liver, your slender fingers, to be basked like a durian, and the little cherry-chipmunk of your white fifth metatarsal? And where are all the tiny rice cookers of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the fjords of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this jerk. You who were made for videotape rewinding, will comply eyebrow threading no more: in your dark dog kennel the flash floods are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that paper cut that we did not foresee, return not into Solace Fork, but into Asheville, where we have never decorated, into the enchanted wood, where we practice archery, strewn in the junk room. Come up into the hills, O my young Belva Lockwood: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved Cherry Ames, come back again."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Heather Newton will lead the workshop, "Writers and the Law." This workshop will discuss legal issues writers commonly encounter in the areas of copyright and defamation. Come learn what your copyright protects, what constitutes "fair use" of another's work and when you need permission, and what you need to know if the main character in your novel bears a striking resemblance to your litigious Aunt Maude.

Heather Newton’s debut novel Under the Mercy Trees (HarperCollins 2011) won the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, was chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as a Great Group Reads Selection, and named an “Okra Pick” by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (“great southern fiction fresh off the vine”). She teaches creative writing for the Great Smokies Writing Program and is a founding member of the Flatiron Writers, a writers’ collective which sponsors workshops, salons, and other events for the western North Carolina literary community. Her Asheville law practice focuses on employment law, employee benefits, and business advice for writers, artists, and entrepreneurs: www.heathernewton.net.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Hats Off! to Brent Martin and Ruth Moose, who will serve as Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets for 2015 and 2016 mentoring a middle school, high school, college or university, or one adult not in school in eastern, central, and western North Carolina. The student poets work on a dozen pages of poems for six months with their mentor, and the students and mentors read at either Barton College, St. Andrews University, or Western Carolina University. In addition, each student reads with their mentor at their hometown public library. The mentoring is free to the student poets, and the mentors receive honoraria from the North Carolina Poetry Society/Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series funds and the North Carolina Center for the Book. At the end of each annual cycle, a book is published by St. Andrews University Press collecting the poems of the student poet and their mentor. For information click here. The deadline to apply for next year's Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series 2015-2016 is November 1.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Register for Fall Conference now!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you steal hotel pens?
Every chance I get.

***

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His website is www.doncarroll.com.

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

 

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

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

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

Register now!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ice Garden by Moira Crone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Register now!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catwalk by Sheila Webster Boneham

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

"Smart characters and intricate plotting."
Booklist

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

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

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

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

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

Register now!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Register now!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

The Flying Days by Coyla Barry

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Man Who Would Not Die by Paul Andrews

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Widow Poems by Betty Adcock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Register now!

 

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

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

Who is your literary hero?
Probably Pat Conroy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Do you own an electronic reading device?
No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

109 Oklahoma Ave.
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was the worst?
Memoirs of a Geisha.

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

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

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

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

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

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Jason Mott.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Star and a Tear

 

A Star and a Tear by Stephen McCutchan

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

What I Came to Tell You

What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Failure Is Unimportant by Harry Calhoun

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm Fresh and Fatal by Judy Hogan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

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

A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

It Was God

It Was God: Miracles in Modern Times by Wendy Fields

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoos: A Short Fiction Anthology edited by Alice Osborn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

 

Leaving Tuscaloosa by Walter Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Tuscaloosa by Walter Bennett

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Whew, that’s a lot to ask!

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Mountain Memoirs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

The Book of Revelations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Death in the Delta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

According to RomanticAsheville.com:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

by Danielle "Danny" Bernstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference is open.

 

by Vicki Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference is now open.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by Anthony S. Abbott

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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