NC Literary Hall of Fame



A Quarter Life by Tyler Pufpaff

Tyler Pufpaff
$8.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1714800285
June, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

"These poems ache and anger, but follow through to forgiveness and a redemption of the speaker and an often hostile world. Tyler Pufpaff is a fresh voice in poetry, but one that carries enough wisdom and experience to be able to balance its incandescent energy with perspective and poise. A Quarter Life welcomes all comers, young and old."
—Shawn Delgado, author of A Sky Half-Dismantled

"In A Quarter Life, some dark alleys of life are consciously placed into a grey landscape. The rut and the fever of living become tractable 'mentalscapes' here. The poems are acutely self-aware and sensitive to the concept of being, even 'feeling' it pop in and out of existence, and hop across life's milestones. Tyler manages to elegantly rehabilitate amorphous concepts of life into a sky of clarified thoughts, and that is no easy task."
—Kalyani Bindu, author of Two Moviegoers

"A Quarter Life is a visceral offloading of that which we often cannot carry inside. Pufpaff tosses away stigma in favor of a raw glimpse at what it feels like to want more from living."
—Jaime Dill, Owner and Developmental Editor of Polish & Pitch, LLC

Confessional poetry on the author's experience with mental illness.

Tyler Pufpaff was born and raised in North Texas. He is a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and serves as Poetry Editor at Variant Literature Inc. When he's not reading or writing he can be found watching mob dramas like The Godfather.


Hats Off! to Valerie Nieman whose novel To the Bones is a finalist for the 2020 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion™ Readers' Choice Award. Vote here! Killer Nashville is the premier forum for all genres incorporating mystery, thriller, or suspense elements. It holds an annual conferenece each August in Franklin, Tennessee.


Hats Off! to Donald Beagle: a poem from his newest collection, Driving into the Dreamtime: New & Selected Poems, was selected by the Center for Public Humanities for national distribution over its social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) for the week of July 9. The poem, "On Viewing Comet Halley with My Young Daughter," contrasts the ancient fear of a comet as a "portent of pestilence" with the views of modern science and the popular media.


Hats Off! to NCWN Vice President of the Board of Trustees Paul Jones whose poem "I Too Dislike Them" is forthcoming in the American Journal of Poetry. Also, he recently published two sonnets, "Cicadas" and "Prayer to a Deer in Summer," in Grand Small Things, and his poem "Lewis Morley's Photograph of Christine Keeler Sitting the Wrong Way Round on a Copy of a Arne Jacobsen Chair (UK) 1963” appears in Ekphrastic Review.


Hats Off! to Gideon Young, who took Second Place in the 2020 James Applewhite Poetry Prize sponsored by the North Carolina Literary Review, for his poem "kwansaba crown." David E. Poston claimed Third Place for his poem "She, Being Holy Ghost." And Terri Greco received an Honorable Mention for her poem "After Perfecting a Coconut Cream Pie, I Fail." The final judge was NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green. All of these poems will also be published in the 2021 print issue next summer.


Pernicious Poll: The Thirteenth Penny Weaver Mystery by Judy Hogan

Hoganvillaea Books
$15.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 979-8-6377077591
Fiction: Mystery
July, 2020
Available from your local bookstore and

"Pernicious Poll is a mystery full of charming characters with serious intent. Penny Weaver is packing for a trip to Wales when a key figure in a voter’s rights case is murdered. ActNow, a grassroots group working to inform rural citizens about the unfair voter ID bill, gather. Becka’s murder is surely connected to their fight, and Penny sets her mind to solve the puzzle. When her young grandson, Seb, is caught having sex with his even younger girlfriend, Penny is called upon to look after him. Seb soon proves himself to be cut from the same cloth as his grandmother. As the story unfolds, Seb keeps Penny on her toes, and in many twists and turns, plays a vital role in solving the murder."
—Virginia Ewing Hudson, musician, poet, writer

"I thought the book would be about the Voter ID law in N.C. and politics, but it is the background for a much bigger story of one teenager who is white and one teenager who is black dealing with adult emotions before they are old enough to accept adult responsibilities. It offers insight into how to help teenagers deal with the change from adolescence to adult in today’s world. Through the story of Seb and Naomi, we see possibilities for smoother paths through adolescence by offering empathy but at the same time setting boundaries, and the importance of the extended family working together, believing, forgiving, and building trust. What a wonderful ending!"
—Katherine Wolfe. author of Time that Has Gone

"In her thirteenth book in the Penny Weaver Mystery series, Judy Hogan continues her chronicle of race, politics, community, murder, and aging well. This time the sex among fourteen-year-olds, and panic among their parents leaves grandmother Penny supervising her unsupervisable grandson Seb Judd. The battle against North Carolina’s Voter ID law is getting hot locally. The NAACP's attorney is murdered, and Penny and her “cahoots” friends, go to work—with Seb in tow—until it is he who is towing them. As usual Judy combines vivid characters and over-the-top action, with the warmth of hot chocolate and fresh-baked bread, and a steady flow of old friends coming through the kitchen door with clues and crises. A lovely addition to this lovely series."
—Pete MacDowell, political strategist and poet

A few years ago, under the leadership of Governor McCrory, the N.C. legislature voted in the Voter ID bill. Some called it the Monster Voting ID bill. It was aimed at keeping our African American citizens from voting. Voters had to show a photo ID or a passport in order to vote.

The ActNow interracial community group took up the fight, and visited the homes of the elderly in Riverdell and New Springs to make sure they had driver’s licenses or passports or could get to the DMV to get the photo ID.

In the midst of this work, the lead counsel for the NAACP on their court case to strike down this law, was killed on her front doorstep. Penny’s friend Kate Razor takes over the lead counsel role, and Kenneth, for the Sheriff’s Dept, goes with Kate to meetings and events to protect her.

Meantime, Penny’s grandson Seb and his friend Sammie’s niece Naomi discover the joys of sex, alarming the parents and setting off an intense discussion of what to do next.

Judy Hogan is the author of Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 (Wipf and Stock, 2017). Her first two mystery novels, Killer Frost (2012) and Farm Fresh and Fatal (2013), were first published by Mainly Murder Press in CT. Her third, The Sands of Gower, which is the first one written, was published December 1, 2015, by Hoganvillaea Books. The second one written, Haw, was published May 1, 2016. Nuclear Apples? and Formaldehyde, Rooster came out in September and December 2016. Political Peaches, the reprinted Killer Frost and the reprinted Farm Fresh and Fatal came out in 2018, as well as Tormentil Hall and The Death of a Hell-Razor.

Judy founded Carolina Wren Press (1976-91) and was co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published seven volumes of poetry and three nonfiction works with independent presses. She has taught all forms of creative writing since 1974. In 1983 she helped found the North Carolina Writers’ Network and served as its first president (1984-7). She joined Sisters in Crime in 2007 and has focused on writing and publishing traditional mystery novels.

In 2011 she was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Mystery contest for Killer Frost. In 2015, she decided to set up Hoganvillaea Books, her own publishing imprint, in order to publish more of her mysteries. The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery was her first release under this new imprint. Her Penny Weaver series takes up interracial community issues. Most of the novels take place in the central North Carolina fictional village of Riverdell, but three take place on the Gower Peninsula in Wales where Penny meets and falls in love with Kenneth Morgan, a Welsh Detective Inspector.

She has written seventeen Penny Weaver mysteries, and will continue to publish them. In 2019, the first of four books about her experiences in Russia and with Russians, Baba Summer, Part One, will come out from Adelaide Books of New York.

The twists and turns of Hogan’s life’s path over the years have given her plenty to write about. She is also a small farmer, a community activist, currently trying to stop coal ash dumping in her community. She lives in Moncure, near Jordan Lake.

Hats Off! to David Halperin who was recently interviewed about his new book, Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO. The first was a video interview with Michael Shermer, director of the Skeptics Society—a nationally known science writer and voice for skepticism about religious, supernatural, and paranormal claims. The video is an episode of his “Science Salon” podcast. David also was interviewed by Whitley Strieber, author of the 1987 bestseller Communion, describing Strieber’s encounters with strange visitors who might or might not have been aliens, on Unknown Country.


Hats Off! to Lee Stockdale whose poems "Death of God and Iambic Pentameter" and "T.J. Eckleburg’s Eyes" appear in The Ekphrastic Review. Also, his poems "Red Felt Sombrero," "Nothing," "Let It Be Sunday," and "Angels in Colorado" appear in Poetry that Sustains Us.


Santa Abella and Other Stories by Ken Wetherington

Edward Street Books
$8.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-578-69142-8
May, 2020
Fiction: Short Stories
Available from

"... provides deep enjoyment and surprising revelations about the human condition."
—Richard H. Smith, author of The Joy of Pain

"… very nicely done."
—Pete Barber, author of MAYA

Fourteen tales to excite your literary senses, ranging from introspective, soul-searching adventures to tragic romance to suspense, all tinged with a touch of darkness.

A desperate man searches for meaning in a remote Latin American village. A young girl spends a weekend with her movie star idol. An obscure cult targets a vulnerable widow. A high school romance turns dark. A couple of pals seek a bizarre experience in Las Vegas. And then … there’s the vampire!

Ken Wetherington lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two dogs. His stories have appeared in Ginosko Literary Journal, The Fable Online, Borrowed Solace: A Journal of Literary Ramblings, The Remington Review and others. His first collection, Santa Abella and Other Stories, was published in May, 2020. When not writing, he is an avid film buff and teaches film courses for the OLLI program at Duke University. He may be reached through his website:

Hats Off! to Erika Hoffman, Dorothy LaMotta, and Lisa Tomey, who are among the contributors to the anthology TAF Stays Home: 29 Freelancers Writing. This volume collects the experiences of members of the Triangle Association of Freelancers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, writers reveal their experiences while staying at home during the pandemic...or not. All of the royalties support the Triangle Association of Freelancers.


Hats Off! to Lenard D. Moore who was interviewed on "On The Margin," WPFW 89. 3 FM. Lenard is the founder and executive director of the Carolina African Writers' Collective and the editor of All The Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers' Collective (Blair, 2020).


Hats Off! to Barbara Coston who has started her own YouTube channel, sharing her poetry and inspirational work. The purpose of each poem is to encourage, uplift, and to inspire every viewers heart. Poems are available for purchase on her website:


Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle

Algonquin Books
$26.95, hardcover / $19.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-616209728
July, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

Hieroglyphics is a novel that tugs at the deepest places of the human soul—a beautiful, heart piercing meditation on life and death and the marks we leave on this world. It is the work of a wonderful writer at her finest and most profound.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of The Women in the Castle

“Jill McCorkle has long been one of our wryest, warmest, wisest storytellers. In Hieroglyphics, she takes us on through decades, through loss, through redemption, and lands in revelation and grace. As always with McCorkle, the story feels so effortless and true that we might well miss what a high-wire act she’s performing. But make no mistake: She’s up there without a net, she never misses a step, and it’s spectacular.”
—Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers

“Engrossing . . . McCorkle finds an elegant mix of wistfulness and appreciation for life . . . Throughout, McCorkle weaves a powerful narrative web, with empathy for her characters and keen insight on their motivations. This is a gem.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

A mesmerizing novel about the burden of secrets carried across generations.

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically— lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely. Now, after many years in Boston, they’ve retired to North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d hoped to keep buried. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.

Jill McCorkle’s first two novels were released simultaneously when she was just out of college, and the New York Times called her “a born novelist.” Since then, she has published six novels and four collections of short stories, and her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories several times, as well as The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Five of her books have been New York Times Notable books, and her most recent novel, Life After Life, was a New York Times bestseller. She has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Garden and Gun, the Atlantic, and other publications. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard, where she also chaired the department of creative writing. She is currently a faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars and is affiliated with the MFA program at North Carolina State University.

Hats Off! to Judy Hogan who was featurred in the Chatham News + Record. "Writing, organizing and spreading the word about 'one problem after another' has turned Hogan into a Chatham fixture who rarely shies away from the political side of writing. Things are no different in her newest book, a novel in her Penny Weaver mystery series called The Pernicious Poll.” Judy co-founded the North Carolina Writers' Network and was its first board president; she also founded Carolina Wren Press, now Blair.


The Gift Best Given: A Memoir by Edward Di Gangi

Beddington Court Press
$16.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
May, 2020
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or from the author

“Like a jigsaw puzzle, every story is made up of pieces; big ones, smaller ones, pieces not easily found, tiny and hiding, essential to complete the picture.”

At almost seventy years old, Edward Di Gangi had never given much thought to the fact he was adopted. However, a cemetery visit and a book about a favorite author’s search for lost family suddenly compel him to embark on a genealogical quest to discover his origins. As he digs deeper, he begins to piece together the life story of an extraordinary woman—his birth mother.

Far from being the ordinary woman that Di Gangi had envisioned, Genevieve Knorowski was an aspiring “artista” who left home at the age of seventeen in the midst of World War II to join an ice-skating company in Vancouver. Journeying alone by train across the continent from New York, Genevieve would go on to achieve fame as an ice show performer, skating in the United States, Central and South America, and across Europe. However, it is a decision Genevieve makes on Easter Sunday in a church on New York City’s Upper West Side that will forever connect the life of a young woman pursuing her dreams with the life of a seventy-year-old man searching for answers to the lifelong questions of who we are, where we come from, and what family means.

In The Gift Best Given: A Memoir, the details of Di Gangi’s search for his biological parents are interwoven throughout the story he tells of a determined young woman who left her home in a New York City suburb at the age of seventeen in 1942 to travel across the country alone by train to join a touring ice show in Vancouver, British Columbia. After performing in Canada, Mexico and across the United States, she returned to New York, unknown to her parents, to manage her son’s unplanned birth in 1948. The book speaks to those touched in any way by adoption and will intrigue family historians and those curious about the use of DNA in tracing and establishing family relationships.

Edward Di Gangi is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network as well as other local writers' groups. He is the author of numerous short stories. The Gift Best Given: A Memoir is his first full-length book. Di Gangi is retired and lives in Hillsborough, NC, with his wife Linda. Their son, James, lives in nearby Durham.

Hats Off! to Maura High, Vice President of the Board of Trustees Paul Jones, and Joe Mills, whose poems and prose appear in the latest issue of Triggerfish Criical Review.


Hats Off! to NCWN Vice President of the Board Paul Jones whose prose-poem "Pig's Eye," about "The Church of The Misdirected Saints," appears in Issue 26 of Unbroken—essential reading for BBQers and hog-roasters. Also, Paul's poem “Lewis Morley's photograph of Christine Keeler sitting the wrong way round on a copy of a Arne Jacobsen chair (UK) 1963" is forthcoming in Ekphrastic Review.

Hats Off! to NCWN trustee Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle whose debut novel, Even As We Breathe (University of Kentucky Press, 2020), received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. "Both an astonishing addition to WWII and Native American literature, this novel sings on every level."


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "A New Decameron" appears in New Verse News (March, 2020). Also, her poems appear in Verse Virtual and The Ekphrastic Review (March, 2020), and The Strand Magazine published an essay on translator (of A. Camilleri) Stephen Sartarelli. Two additional poeems were accepted by When Women Write, with another published by the Ashmoleaon Museum in Oxford England.

Washington Independent Review of Books published two of Joan's book reviews. Gnashing Teeth ran "Mockingbird Morning," and Spillwords published “wound too tight," both flash fiction. A third piece of flash fiction, "Funeral Lunch," was accepted by Fly on the Wall.

Silver Birch published Joan's poems "Mask" and "Doorway," while Young Ravens accepted two poems about food.

Joan's story, "Books Transport Yu," won Second Prize in the April contest sponsored by Saturday Writers. Her essay "Dad’s Work Gloves" ran in June issue of Sasee; her mini-chapbook "Morning by Morning" was accepted by Origami Poems; and Verse Visual accepted one of her poems in June.

Saddlebag Dispatch reprinted her story, "Cottonwood Grove," in their July issue.

The Skin of Meaning by Keith Flynn

Red Hen Press
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59709848
April, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

"For some time we’ve been waiting for a poet to appear who could adequately confront the vast and deliriously complex matter of the USA—its people, its art, its material and popular culture, its misdeeds and its election mistakes. Also, one who could respond to the artistic legacy of Europe. Keith Flynn is that poet. His range is wider than any poet’s I’m aware of, a range matched by his varied diction and his fluent mastery of syntax. The apparent ease he brings to this thorny project is one of the work’s most impressive aspects. I urge readers to greet this book with the praise it deserves."
—Alfred Corn, author of Unions

"Keith Flynn is a brilliant, bodacious poet at the top of his sonic, linguistic game in this new volume of poetry, The Skin of Meaning, with poems that dance off the page in arpeggios of flight, gripping the reader’s imagination and taking American poetry in a new, exhilarating direction."
—Quincy Troupe, author of the recent books, Ghost Voices, Seduction and the memoir, Miles and Me

The Skin of Meaning is award-winning poet Keith Flynn's sixth and most wide-ranging collection, seeking to find the tangible analogs and visceral meanings hidden behind the daily bombardment of digital information and hoping to restore the mystery in our involvement with language. From the etymologies of pop culture, history, astronomy, and rock and roll, these poems fan out into a bold multiplicity of voices and techniques. Flynn's work illustrates the meaning that is also created through tense collisions and is populated with figures in resistance to the status quo, a gathering as varied as Caravaggio, Nina Simone, Gaud, Villon, Wonder Woman, and Manolete. The final section examines America's fascination with violence and death, revealing that "a human being in love with mystery is never finished." This collection constantly challenges our assumptions about the world we think we see and is teeming with evidence of another invisible world bristling like an underground river beneath our feet.

Keith Flynn ( is the award-winning author of seven books, including five collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), The Golden Ratio (Iris Press, 2007), Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013), and a collection of essays, entitled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (Writer's Digest Books, 2007). His latest book is a collaboration with photographer Charter Weeks, entitled Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession. From 1984-1999, he was lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band, The Crystal Zoo, which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation, Nervous Splendor (2003). He is currently touring with a supporting combo, The Holy Men, whose album, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre, was released in 2011. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, The Cuirt Journal (Ireland), Five Points, Poetry East, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Margie, The Cimarron Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, a 2013 NC Literary Fellowship, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for NC. Flynn is founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994.

Hats Off! to Tom Wood who was interviewed, along with his writing partner, Michael J. Tucker, on Late Last Night Books hosted by Terra Ziporyn. Tom and Mike are both members of Harpeth River Writers. Their short story, "A Night on the Town," about two strangers whose paths cross on a fateful rideshare encounter, is their first collaboration. They previously worked together with seven other authors on the chain story, "The Many Names of Jillyn" that appears in the recent HRW anthology, Words on Water.


From the Lake House: A Mother’s Odyssey of Loss and Love by Kristen Rademacher

She Writes Press
$16.95, paperback / $9.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-63152-866-8
July, 2020
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

"Kristen Rademacher’s achingly honest memoir about her losses of place, partner, and much-anticipated baby daughter Carly resonates with courage and an abiding gratitude for the preciousness of life. A truly tender reflection about loss that illuminates the devastating experience of baby loss.”
—Janel Atlas, writer and editor of They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth

“Written with tender honesty and luscious language, From the Lake House is a joy to read, even amidst the pangs of heartache and loss.”
—Alexis Marie Chute, award-winning author of Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss

“In this beautifully written and poignant memoir, we learn that though people and dreams die, relationships don't. If we're attuned, the dead can transform our lives, offering enduring love and guidance—and hope.”
—Carol Henderson, author of Losing Malcolm: A Mother's Journey Through Loss and Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers

Dizzy with grief after a shattering breakup, Kristen did what any sensible thirty-nine-year-old woman would do: she fled, abandoning her well-ordered life in metropolitan Boston and impulsively relocating to a college town in North Carolina to start anew with a freshly divorced southerner.

Dismissing the neon signs that flashed Rebound Relationship, Kristen was charmed by the host of contrasts with her new beau. He loved hunting and country music, she loved yoga and NPR; he worried about nothing, she worried about everything. The luster of her new romance and small-town lifestyle soon―and predictably―faded, but by then a pregnancy test stick had lit up. As Kristen’s belly grew, so did her concern about the bond with her partner―and so did a fierce love for her unborn child. Ready or not, she was about to become a mother. And then, tragedy struck.

Poignant and insightful, From the Lake House explores the echoes of rash decisions and ill-fated relationships, the barren and disorienting days an aching mother faces without her baby, and the mysterious healing that can take root while rebuilding a life gutted from loss.

Kristen Rademacher has lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, since 2002, which is when she began writing. From the Lake House is her first memoir. She holds a master’s degree in education and life coach certification. Rademacher is an Academic Coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose flash fiction, "Wilted," went live July 1 at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her haiku beginning "fallen mockingbird" was published in Issue 65 of Haiku Journal. "Powerful Sculptors," a Creative Nonfiction piece, was published online at Quail Bell Magazine on June 27. Her poem, "Floral Kaleidoscope" appears in the print issue of the 2020 Summer Avocet.


Hats Off! to Tom Wood whose article "Days of Slumber," about the reopening of the Nashville Speedway, appeared in last week's Nashville Ledger. The Nashville Speedway was shuttered in 2011, but in June, 2021, will host a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time since 1984 at the old Nashville Fairgrounds short track. Charlotte author Rick Helms, an avid motorsports fan and a former driver himself who now competes in Simracing—racing cars online using computers and realistic wheels and pedals—is interviewed in the story.


Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose poems “My Friend Janice Said She Wouldn’t Write a Poem the Prison Across the Meadows Within View of Her House, but Suggested I Could” and “Most visible" appear in the Summer 2020 issue ofThe Orchards Poetry Journal. Her poems “Vanishing Act” and “Tree Talk” appear in Still: The Journal, Summer issue – “V." And her poem “All the way home” appears in the July issue of The Lake (UK).


The Good Luck Stone by Heather Bell Adams

Haywire Books
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-950182046
July, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

"A plot-perfect page turner ... Adams has hit the sweet spot, mastering a literary tone with commercial pacing ... a screen-worthy winner and a book club bullseye."
—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials and The Feathered Bone

''Telling a story from the heart is Heather Bell Adams' specialty. The Good Luck Stone captures the complicated layers of friendship between women in two time periods, their losses and loves and the choices that bind them together, for good or bad. Her deft use of detail paints the beauty of modern-day Savannah with breathtaking clarity, and brings to light the horrors faced in the Pacific during WWII. But it is her tender portrayal of the desperate journey of Audrey and Laurel that will grab the reader from the first page, defining the complexities of keeping a promise and what it means to be, and to have, a friend.''
—Kimberly Brock, award-winning author of The River Witch

Her desperate decision during World War II changed everything. Now, 70 years later, her secret is unraveling.

At ninety years old, Audrey Thorpe still lives in a historic mansion on palm-tree-lined Victory Drive, determined to retain her independence. But when her health begins to fade, her family hires a part-time caretaker, Laurel. The two women seem to bond-until Audrey disappears. Unbeknownst to Laurel, Audrey has harbored a secret since her time as a nurse in the South Pacific during World War II. As the story moves between the verdant jungles of the war-torn Philippines and the glitter of modern-day Savannah, friendships new and old are tested. Along the way, Audrey grapples with one of life's heart-wrenching truths: You can only outrun your secrets for so long.

Heather Bell Adams is the award-winning author of Maranatha Road. Her short stories and scholarship have appeared in numerous literary magazines and reviews. A native of Hendersonville, North Carolina, she currently is an attorney living in Raleigh.

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford who won two gold medals, one for her essay and one for her short story, in the 2020 Cherokee / Clay County Senior Games & Silver Arts Literary Contest. The Cherokee/Clay County Senior Games & SilverArts organization was launched in 2007. Participants can compete in over forty athletic events and in more than thirty-five artistic categories.


Hats Off! to Peter Venable whose poem “Crab Nebula” won the Gold Medal in the Poetry category of the Piedmont Plus Senior Games/Silver Arts sponsored by the city of Winston-Salem. Also, his short story “Black Ankle Road” took home the Silver Medal in the Short Story category. Medals were awarded on June 25 with a drive-through ceremony at the Black Phillips Smith Government Center, where committee members and Recreation & Parks staff held congratulatory signs and took photos. All entries will be compiled into an anthology, available for $5 at the Black Phillips Smith Government Center.


Young Hickory: A WWII Novel by Steven F. Underwood

Hellgate Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-555719821
May, 2020
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

Jim Farrell, a lanky young soldier from Virginia, is injured in a practice run just before his division is set to land at Omaha Beach. He's holed up in a hospital with both arms broken while many of his fellow soldiers are decimated in the bloody battle that takes place on D-Day at Omaha Beach.

After recuperating, Jim is sent to the 30th Division--called Old Hickory--which has suffered its own losses in a devastating friendly fire incident. The athletic and fast-as-lightning nineteen-year-old tries to prove his worth on the battlefield and become accepted by his new regiment. Because of his skills and youth, the Old Hickory veterans decide he has earned the nickname of "Young Hickory."

And in the midst of all the insanity, Jim finds love in the person of Lille--a delicate, beautiful Belgian girl working at a bakery in the town of Liege. But can love survive in the deepening conflict? Or will it be challenged by the harsh realities of war?

This is Jim Farrell's story--his accomplishments and his failures. His transgressions and his redemption. It is also the story of Dave, Stak, Al, Z, Wally--and the rest of Jim's Old Hickory brothers-in-arms--as they fight to survive the Battle of the Bulge in the brutal, final days of WWII.

Steven F. Underwood was given wonderful editing advice from NCWN's Chatham-Lee Counties Regional group, the Pittsboro Writers' Morning Out, most notably Bonnie Olsen, as well as the Charlotte Writers' Club Historical Fiction group, most notably Howard White and Curtis Crockett.


Hats Off! to Betty Jammerson Reed whose book Soldiers in Petticoats (Westbow Press, 2019) received high marks from Kirkus Reviews. In this detailed account of the lives of three Christian educators and their impact on Appalachia, Reed "takes the time to detail the barriers that these outsider women faced and uses their stories to examine the hardships and often violent struggles in the communities they served, which included members of the Cherokee Nation, emancipated Black communities across the Reconstruction-era South, and the isolated, often illiterate white highlanders."


Hats Off! to Katey Schultz of Celo whose novel Still Come Home (Apprentice House Press, 2019) has been named a winner in the 21st annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Schultz was awarded the Bronze Medal in the Adult General Fiction category. The INDIES recognize the best books published in 2019 from independent and university presses, as well as self-published authors.


Hats Off! to Lucinda Trew whose poems are forthcoming in Cathexis Northwest Press and San Pedro River Review.


Hats Off! to Margaret A. Harrell, who was once again a Special Guest/VIP for the ninth annual Gonzofest, honoring Hunter S. Thompson, in Louisville, Kentucky, for events at the Frazier and Speed museums and the Free Public Library (July 18 - 20). She was on the panel "Journalism from Nixon to Trump," along with Ryland Barton, Capitol Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio, moderated by Tim Denevi (author of Freak Kingdom). Other participants included William McKeen (author of Outlaw Journalist), Juan Thompson (author of Stories I Tell Myself), and more. Eight-hundred people attended "After Hours at the Speed," and other programs pulled large numbers of attendees as well.


Becoming Unshakeable: Wisdom Learned on the Journey to Inner Freedom by Patti Montella

Lioncrest Publishing
$15.99, paperback / $6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-5445-0430-8
July, 2019
Nonfiction: Religion / Spirituality
Available from your local bookstore or

"Becoming Unshakeable, Patti Montella’s powerful story of personal transformation, entertains, educates, and inspires! Written in a lively, conversational tone, this book provides practical wisdom for living life to our highest potential—as well as a rare glimpse behind the scenes of what it’s like to work and travel with one of the most renowned spiritual leaders of our time. Highly recommended!"
—Carol Kline, co-author of six books in The New York Times bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, Happy for No Reason, and Love for No Reason

"Patti Montella was committed to changing her life in order to reach for the highest and the best. Through the guidance and teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, she has experienced what it means to be transformed mentally and spiritually. She followed the path of compassion and kindness first to herself and then through her efforts to teach others. This required a holistic approach to living—spirit, mind, and body. Her testimony of her journey to wholeness will give you insights into your own personal journey. I recommend this book to all who are seekers of self-change."
—Dr. Barbara King, global spiritual leader

"It is possible to be vulnerable yet brave, joyful yet authentic, and intelligent yet innocent all at the same time? Yes, it is—and Patti Montella is proof! If you want to exhibit all of these characteristics yourself, do yourself a favor and read her excellent book, Becoming Unshakeable."
—Dr. Raj Raghunathan, Zale Centennial professor of business, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin, author of If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?

Life has a way of coming at us fast, and when it does, we’re usually left searching for answers. That’s where Patti Montella found herself early in life after the death of a beloved friend and the unraveling of her marriage—seeking the universal truths of life. When Patti met renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, she left her corporate career to dedicate her life to uplifting society through the power of breathwork, ancient wisdom, and meditation.Becoming Unshakable gives you a rare inside look into the life and transformation of a true seeker who rose above countless obstacles, learned from her failures, discovered her inner resilience, and uncovered the source of happiness. Patti shares fifteen life-changing Wisdom Lessons that not only help you develop newfound self-awareness, but start you on a path toward greater clarity, happiness, inner strength, and fulfillment. She also reveals the pivotal spiritual lesson she learned after decades of searching for the Divine: it had been with her the entire time.

Patti Montella has been a pioneer, risk-taker, and leader her entire life. She built a thriving corporate career on the cutting-edge of travel technology before leaving it all behind to dedicate her life to uplifting society. The skills she sharpened in the business world have served her well as an international speaker and inner transformation coach who’s taught tens of thousands of people worldwide how to access more happiness, peace of mind and dynamism in life—from CEOs and government leaders to royalty and college students—over the past twenty-five years. Through her work in key leadership roles with the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values, Patti has become an internationally recognized happiness expert and a powerful agent of change. When she isn’t traveling and teaching, Patti can be found hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where she lives.

100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart by Terri Crosby

Balboa Press
$22.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9822-1403-6
December, 2018
Available from your local bookstore or

100 Words is a collection of thoughtful and thought-provoking writings, each 100 words long, accompanied by beautiful photography. From a tiny bird's song to the death of a spouse, the subjects of these poems will touch you and encourage you. You'll undoubtedly laugh, and probably cry, as you make your way through the pages. You'll be invited to look at life, nature, and relationships differently—more positively, more hopefully. You'll certainly be reminded of the gift of small moments.

All That Falls

Do you love things that cascade?
Do you adore rain falling in sheets
or over the ledge, splashing clear joy?
Do you love velvet drapes plunging

into a royal red pile on the stage of life?
How about wisteria, how it drenches
spring in ribbons of lush lavender
how the breathless beauty falls

through cracks, over fences,
how it softens the edges of anything?

Then there is the matter of the knees.
Slowly, willingly they descend
into the dark depths when all
is lost, or seems to be.

What falls calls you
unfastens you
opens you.

With time, lifts you.

Terri Crosby is a relationship mentor, writer, blogger, and speaker with a private consulting practice for individuals and couples. She believes improving relationships with others starts (and stays) with ourselves, and that it takes only one person to change a partnership. Her work and blog can be found at Terri is currently writing a second book especially for women who have been married multiple times.

Hats Off! to Tom Wood whose two articles, "Scooter invasion" and "Podcast vs police," were part of The Nashville Ledger's winning entry for Public Service promoting the welfare of the community, earning the paper the Meeman Award, presented by the Edward J Meeman Foundation at the University of Tennessee. The Ledger also won for Best Business Coverage ("Morgan builds an empire"). Tom also received a second- and a fourth-place award. Most recently, Tom wrote about the past, present, and future of space exploration to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.


Hats Off! to Glenis Redmond, who took Third Place in the 2019 James Applewhite Poetry Prize for her poem "Racism Squared.” This was Redmond’s second year in a row claiming third place in this competition, which is sponsored by the North Carolina Literary Review. Final judge Allison Adelle Hedge Coke called Redmond's poem "a fast take on cold, hard facts beneath every single misguided presentation. If the audience is curious about the reason Ford rallied to create square dance as PE, this piece brings it home." "Racism Squared" will appear in NCLR Online 2020.


While Earth Still Speaksby Nancy Werking Poling

Screech Owl Press
$14.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9985651-1-8
June, 2019
Fiction: Women's
Available from your local bookstore or

Can women rescue the planet from ecological disaster?

Elizabeth’s daughter, Angelica, has joined a cadre of eco-terrorists, and Mary (yes, the holy one, but more crone that virgin) has abruptly ended her “Operation: Earth Rescue” visitations at Elizabeth’s North Carolina farm. Now Elizabeth must discover her own calling, a passion worth risking her life for. It’s a journey into her own heart, and the adventure she embarks on is as unpredictable to her as it will be to the reader.

Nancy Werking Poling and her husband live in the mountains of western North Carolina, surrounded by natural beauty. While Earth Still Speaks evolved from her asking of herself, and then of her protagonist, “During this time of ecological crisis, how do I make my voice and my life count?” Her published works include the non-fiction book, Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage (1945-1987); a short story collection, Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman; and the novel, Out of the Pumpkin Shell.

Hats Off! to Ashley Memory whose debut poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, is now available from Finishing Line Press. Also, her poem "Pulling Up the Wild Blackberry Bushes" has been published in the July issues ofO'Henry and Pinestraw magazines.


Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard by Jodi Helmer

Companionhouse Books
$18.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-620083222
May, 2019
Nonfiction: Gardening
Available from your local bookstore or

"Growing Your Own Tea Garden by Jodi Helmer is fabulous."
The Daily Meal

"With the help of this book, most anyone can plan a successful tea garden, then grow and create their own customized tea blends. Start now, and you can have a plenty ready in time for the next gift-giving season that will be here before we know it."
WFA Eats

"...a guide for steeping the perfect cup of tea from your harvest."

You Love To Drink Tea. Why Not Grow Your Own?

If you've ever considered raising your own tea, this comprehensive guide is the place to start. Growing Your Own Tea Garden is packed with inspiration and practical instructions for cultivating and enjoying delicious teas.

Author Jodi Helmer helps you plan and plant a productive backyard tea garden, with sample garden designs and cultivation advice. She shows you how to choose the right crops for your soil and climate, starting with the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and going on through a comprehensive survey of tisanes, or herbal teas. Discover how to grow the full range of herbal infusions that make wonderful teas, from flowering chamomile and lavender to chicory roots, rose hips, lemon verbena, peppermint, aromatic bergamot and more. Jodi shows you how to harvest, dry and store your tea to enjoy all year long, along with brewing tips and creative recipes.

Inside Growing Your Own Tea Garden:  

  • Everything you need to know to create a healthy, bountiful tea garden and enjoy high quality tea
  • How to grow dozens of crops that make marvelous teas, herbal infusions and decoctions
  • Sample tea garden designs, including instructions for growing tea in container gardens and raised beds
  • Understanding the differences between black tea, green tea, white tea and herbal tea
  • How to dry and store your leaves for consumption on cool autumn days
  • Let it steep: how to brew the perfect cup of tea.

Jodi Helmer an experienced journalist who writes about food, gardening, farming, the environment and sustainable living. Jodi’s work has appeared in Entrepreneur, Hemispheres, Civil Eats, National Geographic Traveler, AARP, Farm Life, WebMD, Health, CNNMoney, and Guardian Sustainable Business. She is the author of five books, including The Green Year and Farm Fresh Georgia. When she’s not writing, she grows vegetables and raises bees.

Dream Take Flight: An Unconventional Journey by Lisa Turner

Turner Creek
$27.99, hardcover / $14.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-997072341
May, 2019
Nonfiction: Biography / Aviation
Available from your local bookstore or

"A well-written story of perseverance in the pursuit of flight! Turner shares her life-long motivation to build and fly, showing us all that the dream is worth chasing."
—Paul Dye, NASA Lead Flight Director, Space Shuttle Operations; Editor in Chief, Kitplanes Magazine

"Anyone who's ever had doubts about whether they can make their dreams come true should read this book. Dream Take Flight is a story about overcoming daunting odds to achieve the near impossible: A young girl in a difficult family situation, facing a scary world and uncertain future, makes up her mind that someday she will fly her own plane. It's not an easy path. On her own, she faces one challenge after another. But she perseveres, and in the end, not only does she fly her own plane, she actually builds it. Then she sets out on an epic solo flight. A tale of courage, iron will and pure grit, LisaTurner's journey from dream to reality does not disappoint. It's the great American story with a twist, and an inspiration to young people -- especially young women-- everywhere."
—Granville Toogood, bestselling author of six books, winner of the 2017 McGraw-Hill Classics Special Edition award, a former NBC Today Show News producer, Life Magazine writer, speaker, and top executive coach

"This charming, fast-moving book Dream Take Flight is full of ideas, insights, and inspirations that will take you to a higher plane of thinking. "
—Brian Tracy, author of over 70 books and the Psychology of Achievement program, all bestsellers sold across the globe in twenty-eight languages.

A Shy Girl Breaks the Rules

Refusing to follow the traditional career path for girls, Lisa Turner sets out to fulfill a promise she makes to her dying mother, disrupting the status quo every step of the way. When Lisa decides to build an airplane in the garage, her family thinks she has gone too far . . .

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a book in them. Stories are what make us wonderfully human. In the telling, we remind others that they are not alone, and we remind ourselves that we can experience great leaps of insight reaching for a goal.

Lisa started writing Dream Take Flight in 1998. It began as a book about the joy of building and flying a homebuilt aircraft and piloting it on an epic solo flight. But she soon realized that it wasn't complete without the backstory of an unconventional childhood and a promise to her mother.

Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, Lisa never understood why she couldn't take shop class, be a mechanic, or build an airplane. In the 1960s these were not expected activities for a girl. It took guts and persistence for a shy girl to break out of the norms and participate in non-traditional pursuits.

The entire journey was life changing. Lisa wrote Dream Take Flight hoping that others would be inspired to pursue their own big goal. To that end, the last several chapters take the reader through a step-by-step process to achieve their dream, with hints, tips, and tricks to get there.

Why you'll love this book:

  • It's a fun, inspirational story about the pursuit of confidence and happiness
  • The book breaks with convention by including a how-to section on goal setting
  • Lisa offers a companion guide and other free materials on her web site, Dream Take Flight

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 thtree 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 is now a freelance columnist for Sport Aviation and KITPLANES magazines. She is also the home improvement columnist for the Clay County Progress, the local newspaper in Hayesville, North Carolina. She is a licensed general contractor and home inspector.

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’s first published book is the Team Steps Guide: A Step by Step Process to Turn Problems into Solutions (2015) 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.

Lisa's second book is House Keys: The Essential Homeowner's Guide (2017). In over 400 pages of succinct how to, Lisa tells us the tips and tricks that only a home inspector would know.

Lisa's next book will be a biography of Jerry Stadtmiller, a craftsman who restores antique airplanes.

Did you know the North Carolina Writers’ Network offers an ongoing critiquing and editing service for its members? Through this program, Network writers have the opportunity to open a dialogue about their work with established writers and editors of varying backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Whether you write fiction or essays, poetry or travelogues, there is a critiquer waiting to help you and your writing take that next step. Check out some recent testimonials:


"It was unbelievably helpful . . . I was totally impressed, and it was well worth the price. You have a very satisfied member."
—NCWN member Reid Wilson


"I received Betsy Humphreys' edits. They are very useful and give me much to correct but also reflect upon! Great service and a very exciting opportunity!"
—NCWN member Karin Lukas-Cox


"I have been working on my novel for quite some time and really wondered if I was on the right track. Therefore, I decided it would be most helpful to send a few pages just to see what someone thought about it. I must say, I am really glad I did, as Mr. Manchester's words greatly inspired me to continue on."
—NCWN member Jennifer Bower



All manuscripts must have a minimum of 5 pages.

Administrative Fee:

First 5 – 50 pages:

Each page thereafter:

$30 per manuscript

$3 per page

$2 per page

For example, the critique of a 100-page manuscript will cost $280:

$3 per page x 50 = $150
$2 per page x 50 = $100
Administrative Fee = $30



All prose manuscripts should be double-spaced, single-sided, with 1-inch margins and in 12-point, Times New Roman font.

Poetry must be single-spaced, with a limit of only one poem per page, with 1-inch margins and in 12-point, Times New Roman font.

Stage plays and screenplays must be submitted in proper format. Guidelines for stage plays and screenplays can be found here (courtesy of Story Sense) and here (courtesy of Writers Store).

Please number your pages.

Manuscripts should NOT be bound when submitted.

Please indicate your first preference plus two back-ups for a critiquer (see list below). Otherwise, we will select an appropriate critiquer based on availability.

To submit your work to the Network’s Critiquing & Editing Service, please send a single envelope or package with the following:

  • Your manuscript, properly formatted
  • A summary, synopsis, or table of contents for the critiquer’s reference (do not include this page when calculating the fee)
  • Payment by check or money order, made payable to the North Carolina Writers' Network
  • A self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage for your manuscript

Please mail to:

NCWN Critiquing Service
P.O. Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

The critiquer will return the critiqued manuscript to you directly, using the SASE you provided.

If you have any questions, please call 336.293.8844 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A Manuscript Consultation with your critiquer may be scheduled after the initial critique is complete, but is neither required nor guaranteed. The fee for a post-critique consultation is $50/hour, with no base fee. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested in scheduling a consultation.



For the complete list of critiquers, click here.


Bootleg by Annie Woodford

Groundhog Poetry Press, LLC
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9985685-0-8
May, 2019
Available from your local bookstore or

"There is an abiding and holy truth—the very gospel of the earth—in Annie Woodford's soulful Bootleg. These are poems that dazzle with their sonic authority: ' … creak / of hinge, Mama / singing … an angel / yell behind the clay- / cutting plow.' There is the sough of wind, the plaintive whisper of the very ether that hovers Appalachia, the very silence of altitude—a sound all its own that Woodford so cannily captures. Her language is rooted in a land she been informed and inspired by, that she has made wholly her province by naming it at every turn, and gazing at it season upon season with an acolyte’s steadfast devotion. Opening this book is like prizing the lid off a precious archive—the living consorting with the dead, 'tugging back / and forth between eternity and earth.' What a splendid volume. What a splendid poet."
—Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2012-2014

"Like the title of one of her poems, Annie Woodford’s Bootleg is a conflation, a union of spirit and flesh, wrecked environments and Mister Lincoln roses, Wiz Khalifa and Bill Monroe. In the ancestral landscapes where these ingenious poems live, the wild places have merged into the bypass and the ghosts of valley residents haunt the waters of man-made lakes. Yet while the cornfields are readied for fracking and the crush of poverty fills the ditches with debris, there is still a song to be found. Woodford unearths the tunes line by line so that the collection turns 'sacred, eternal, humming with love.' Above it all floats the apparition of her hometown luminary, Charlie Poole, the Piedmont musician with a busted hand who perfected an influential banjo technique but spent most of his short life as a drunken millworker. He’s a perfect symbol for these hymns of delight and damage that twist through 'each branch and blade and grimy scrap' of a disappearing wilderness. Memory, unlike the textile mills, has not been abandoned here, and Woodford’s 'songs grown in mountain coves' ring down through the generations like a melodious antidote for this tough old world."
—Marianne Worthington

Bootleg uses the life of North Carolina banjo revolutionary Charlie Poole as its organizing principle, both sonically and thematically. These are poems bound by familial roots to a geography and a culture that gives them both their accent and their song as well as their fatalism and their sorrow.

A native of Bassett, Virginia—a mill town near the North Carolina border—Annie Woodford now teaches community college English in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. She was named the runner-up in the 2019 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and her poetry has appeared in The Greensboro Review, One by Jacar Press, The Carolina Quarterly, Appalachian Journal, Cold Mountain Review, Blackbird, The Southern Review, The Rumpus, The Sewanee Review, Rattle, and Prairie Schooner, among others.

A winner of the Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets, she has also been awarded scholarships from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences.

Hats Off! to Elizabeth W. Solazzo and Brenda Loy Wilson—two members of The Story Sisters— who will host a booksigning on Sunday, July 14, from 2:00-4:00 pm at the Burlington Artists League’s Fine Arts Gallery at Holly Hill Mall in Burlington. John Jordan provided stories and anecdotes for Solazzo’s latest book, Saxapahaw — Once A Mill Village. Wilson was recently selected as a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Regional Fiction) for Suzanne Stories: Growing Up.


Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose personal narrative,"Roaming Yellowstone," is posted online in issue four of Twist in Time Literary Magazine. Suzanne takes us on a horseback ride through parts of Yellowstone National Park. Her creative nonfiction piece, "Wagon, Ho!", is published in issue 7 of Dual Coast Magazine, which is available online by subscription, as well as in print. The story was based on a childhood experience of pretending to be pioneers fording a river when the ditch in front of her family's house flooded.


Hats Off to Laura L. Zimmerman whose debut novel, Keen: Banshee Song Series, Book One, is available today, July 9, 2019, from L2L2 Publishing. Happy book release day! Available from your local bookstore and all major distributors.


The Changing Blue Ridge Mountains: Essays on Journeys Past and Present by Brent Martin

Arcadia Publishing/History Press
$21.99, paperback
ISBN: 9781467142649
July, 2019
Nonfiction: Nature and Ecology
Available from your local bookstore or

"With unflinching candor, Brent Martin celebrates the heartbreaking beauty of Appalachia. He wrings out every sensory and emotional detail in these passionate, probing essays that explore the wild within. These aren’t lyrical paeans to nature; they are gritty, gutsy journeys into the rugged, remote landscapes of the human heart. Immersed in mountain tradition, culture, and community, he wanders deep and alone into the wild to find what remains. Martin’s powerful, masterful writing shines with real, hard-earned hope."
—Will Harlan, author of the New York Times bestseller Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America

"If you love the Southern Appalachians and Wendell Berry and Annie Dillard and Gary Snyder, read this beautifully written and deeply thought-provoking book."
—Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain

"A thoughtful and thought-provoking collection of essays from one of Appalachia’s staunchest proponents of wilderness and one of its most devoted writers. Brent Martin is a preeminent naturalist and a scholar of the history of his place. This book is deeply personal, highly instructive, far-reaching."
—Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

A collection of place based essays derived from a long career in conservation and environmental education.

Brent Martin lives in the Cowee community of western North Carolina and is the author of three chapbook poetry collections—Poems from Snow Hill Road, A Shout in the Woods, and Staring the Red Earth Down—along with a nonfiction chapbook, Hunting for Camellias at Horseshoe Bend. From 2015-2016 he served as the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the West. His work has appeared in North Carolina Literary Review, Southern Poetry Anthology, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Kudzu House Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere.

Hats Off! to NCWN trustee Michele T. Berger whose story “Doll Seed” appears in the recent issue of FIYAH: Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. FIYAH is a quarterly, digital publication of fantasy, science fiction, and horror by Black writers. You can read excerpts and even hear a playlist for the issue here.


Deadly Dreams of Summer (Harrison Weaver Mystery #7) by Joseph L. S. Terrell

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-622681495
June, 2019
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"Crimewriter Harrison Weaver is back in this high-flying, intricately woven mystery as he navigates the rough waters of an unspeakable crime unchartered in the Outer Banks. Joseph L.S. Terrell creates a masterful maze of possibilities in Deadly Dreams of Summer that may prove to be Weaver's worst nightmare."
—Lynn Chandler Willis, award-winning author of the Ava Logan Mystery Series and Shamus Award finalist.

"Deadly Dreams of Summer is a tantalizing mystery involving the murders of young, immigrant women on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Terrell evokes the world of these beach towns and their inhabitants in vivid, colorful prose. As always, he writes with assurance and conviction."
—Philip Cioffari, author of The Bronx Kill and Jesusville

It was supposed to be simple. Outer Banks crime writer Harrison Weaver has been asked to find a young woman who failed to return from a party. But when her fully clothed body washes up on the beach and three other young women disappear, he realizes nothing is simple at all. Can it be human trafficking? Here on the Outer Banks? The deeper Harrison delves into the mystery, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. In his work as a crime writer, Harrison has seen the darker side of human nature, but when an informant is assassinated, it becomes clear that this is like nothing he has come across before. Tentacles of evil spread wider and wider, weaving a deadly web that threatens everyone involved. It's going to take skill--and luck--for Harrison and those close to him to escape death at the hands of those who turn dreams of summer into deadly evil. (#7 in the series).


Hats Off! to Michael K. Brantley who was awarded an Archie K. Davis Fellowship for 2019-2020 to help fund research on his third book. His second book is due out next spring from the University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books: Galvanized: The Odyssey of a Reluctant Carolina Confederate follows a Nash County man who served in both the Confederate and Union armies, fought in several major engagements, escaped capture, walked home, and later was a public servant before being involved in a bizarre murder. Davis Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis from the North Caroliniana Society for writers to conduct research in the state on North Carolina topics “to advance among citizens of the state knowledge and understanding of their own history and culture.”


Hats Off! to Tom Wood whose latest article in the Nashville Ledger, "Tobacco Out, Hemp in for Tennessee Farmers," about the growth of the hemp industry in Tennessee, was picked up by The Associated Press. It's appeared online in the San Francisco Chronicle, Albany Times-Union, and U.S. News & World Report. "The growth of the state’s hemp industry is booming. The number of licensed growers in Tennessee has increased from 226 in 2018 to more than 2,900 this year."


Love at the Soda Fountain by Rose Ash

Archway Publishing
$15.29, paperback / $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4808-7470-1
April, 2019
Fiction: Historical / Military
Available from your local bookstore or

It is 1964 in the quaint New England town of Laurelville, as Elizabeth, an overprotective mother of three, struggles to let go of her children. When she receives alarming news that her twenty-year-old daughter, Sarah, who works at the local pharmacy's soda fountain, has eloped with a man of questionable background, Elizabeth fears Sarah is making the biggest mistake of her life. Sadly, for Elizabeth, this is just the beginning of her worries.

Rose Ash was raised in Connecticut, studied at the University of Connecticut and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and has a background in pharmacy. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This is her first book of historical fiction.

Hats Off! to Tina Barr whose poetry collection, Green Target, won the 2019 Brockman-Campbell Award honoring the best poetry book published each year, sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society. The final judge was Michael Waters. Tina is invited to read at the NCPS annual meeting at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, in Southern Pines, in September.


Rubbing Elbows A to Z by Aldine King

A.Rex Press
ISBN: 978-0-9994302-4-8
May, 2018
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

A former television actress reminisces about notable encounters.

Rubbing Elbows A to Z is a fun stroll down the memory lane of late-twentieth century pop culture, where the author recounts the thrill of working with her childhood TV heroes, including Robert Young, Raymond Burr, and Robert Stack; meeting music royalty like Berry Gordy and Quincy Jones; and pinch-me moments in the presence of film legends like Lana Turner and Jack Lemmon.

Author Aldine King shares 118 anecdotes of amusing and poignant encounters with celebrities that crystallize moments in time and touch on topics such as race, gender, and image and illustrates how fame shapes memory.

The anecdotes are strong with lots of detail. There is a nice interplay of what the general public believes about celebrities and events that have been well-documented and what the author witnessed first-hand. The insider's point of view is a very appealing way to tell these stories.

Aldine King is a 1968 graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was a professional actress for twenty years. While living in Hollywood throughout the 1970s, she had co-starring and featured roles on many of the popular network shows of that time, including Medical Center, The Streets of San Francisco, The Mod Squad, and Ironside. She was a regular castmate in the sitcom Karen, Jack Webb's docudrama Project U.F.O., and the adventure series Hagen.

Hats Off! to Billy Baites whose short story "Tar Heel Sissy," from his forthcoming memoir, Billy Is That You?, appears in the online Chelsea Station magazine (7/25).


Tunnel of Time by Jeannie Chambers

Red Press Co
$16.99, paperback / $4.99 eBook
ISBN: 978-0-998589954
October, 2017
Fiction: Middle Grade
Available from your local bookstore or

"Trapped between centuries and fantastical time travel, the three sisters learn what it means to be alone; but they also learn what it means to be together. From Helen Keller to Thomas Edison to Theophilus Van Kannel, inventor of the revolving door, the girls go on a journey of history and knowledge and along the way, figuring out what it truly means to be a family."
LitPick teen reviewer

"Tunnel of Time is a unique concept that allows the protagonists to visit with many characters from history. Fantastic, clever and educational MG story."
—Dennis Higgins, author of Time Pilgrim series and others

"Jeannie Chambers writes a fun, fascinating, yet educational, story with verve and imagination. I wish I'd had Tunnel of Time to read when I was young."
—Linda Anderson, author of Over The Moon, The Secrets of Sadie Maynard, When Night Falls

Do you think it's possible to be one place one minute, and then a completely different place the next? I'm talking a REALLY different place. My name is Gracie Hitt, and I did just that along with my sisters, Lizzie and Reba Dee. A normal Saturday at the County Fair turned out to be the most extraordinary time of our lives.

Jeannie Chambers lives in a small resort town in the mountains of western North Carolina. She partners with her husband as a real estate broker and vacation rental manager, but when she looks in the mirror, she sees a mother, grandmother, dog whisperer, time traveler, and much more. Her parents told her more than once, “You can go anywhere in the world you want, any time you want, just by reading a book.” Her sense of direction is a little off, but she doesn't mind getting lost if it’s in a good story.

Her goal is to write stories that make you think without being taught, and tickle your inquisitive bones where the only way to satisfy that itch is to read more and more. Be sure to follow her on social media and her website to catch up on her latest book news.

Hats Off! to the North Carolina Literary Review: the 2018 print issue #27 is out now! This edition includes work by NC Literary Hall of Fame inductees James Applewhite, Fred Chappell, and Margaret Maron; poems by Lawrence Avery, Kenneth Chamlee, Priscilla Melchior, Diana Pinckney, Dannye Romine Powell, Marty Silverthorne, Jo Taylor, and NCWN regional rep Catherine Carter; miscellany from Sally Stewart Mohney and NCWN trustee Margaret D. Bauer (editor); and Robert Wallace's short story "The Science of Air," which won the 2018 Doris Betts Fiction Prize.


Last Girl Gone by J.G. Hetherton

Crooked Lane Books
$19.23, hardcover / $9.99, e-book / $29.95, CD-format audiobook
ISBN: 978-1-683316176
June, 2018
Fiction: Mystery / Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or

“Readers are going to fall hard for J.G. Hetherton. He’s a terrific talent and makes the rest of us look bad.”
—Chelsea Cain, New York Times bestselling author

“Stunning…A dark and vivid rabbit hole…Swiftly paced, riveting, poignant, and real, this is book shows you can go home again…but you really may not want to.”
—David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Bring Her Home

Last Girl Gone doesn’t read like the work of someone new to suspense…A riveting story full of twists and shocks. Perfectly paced and plotted…Last Girl Gone is a compulsive read that will keep the reader turning pages.”
—Christine Carbo, award-winning author of The Weight of Night

This pulse-pounding series debut is the next obsession for fans of Julia Keller and David Bell, and readers of unflinching thrillers.

Sometimes, the journey home is the most harrowing. And it's every parent's worst nightmare.

Investigative journalist Laura Chambers is back in her tiny hometown of Hillsborough, North Carolina, the one place she swore never to return. Fired from the Boston Globe, her career in shambles, she reluctantly takes a job with the local paper. The work is simple, unimportant, and worst of all, boring—at least until a missing girl turns up dead, the body impeccably clean, dressed to be the picture of innocence.

Years earlier, ten-year-old Patty Finch left home and never made it back. But for the people of Hillsborough, Patty was just the beginning. Child after child disappeared, a reign of terror the town desperately wants to forget. Now that terror has returned to seize another girl. And another. And another.

This is the story Laura's been waiting for—her one last chance to get back onto the front page. She dives deeper into a case that runs colder by the second, only to discover the truth may be far closer to home than she could have ever imagined. Powerful, intricate, and tense, Last Girl Gone will have you looking over your shoulder long after the last page.

J.G. Hetherton was in raised in rural Wisconsin, graduated from Northwestern University, and lived in Chicago for the better part of a decade. Along the way to his first novel, he dabbled in many different day jobs before moving to North Carolina for a girl. They live in Durham with their twin daughters, and when he's not writing, you can find him on the hiking trail or sitting down with a good book from Sara Paretsky, Linwood Barclay, or Tami Hoag.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose novel excerpt "Manila Bay, 1941" appears in the Spring, 2018, special edition of Pisgah Review.


FIFTY: Detonation Book 1 by Eldon H. Kellogg

CreateSpace Indpendent Publishing Platform
$2.99, e-book
ISBN: 9781983026423
May, 2018M
Fiction: Thriller
Available from

A rogue general within China's People's Liberation Army has a twenty-five-year plan to smuggle nuclear weapons into the United States. Lieutenant General Kung Yusheng has been the Commander of 22 Base, the secret underground repository of China's nuclear arsenal, for over thirty years. He is a collector of artifacts owned by famous military leaders, loves American art, and would like nothing better than to bring the United States to its knees.

Eldon H. Kellogg was born in Durham on November 8, 1951. He attended NC State University from 1969 to 1972, majoring in mechanical engineering. Two problems: first, the drinking age back then was eighteen; second, he majored in engineering because all his friends majored in engineering (he found out the hard way that calculus and he didn't get along).

His mother's comment was, "I don't know what you're going to do, but you're not living here." So he enlisted in the US Army in 1972, during the Vietnam War, and found himself in the Infantry. He was lucky. He was never sent to Vietnam.

After two years, he applied for the Army's Nuclear Power Plant Operator's School, graduated in 1975 with a specialty in Radiation Protection, and spent the next year teaching math at the school (God does have a sense of humor). After spending three years in Honolulu, working at the Tripler Army Medical Center, he left the army in November, 1979, with a wife, a two-year-old son, and no job.

He started working at Three Mile Island Unit 2 in February, 1980, eleven months after the accident (that's a complete separate novel). This began a career in nuclear power that lasted until 2012.

He has written lesson plans, procedures, and presentations galore (not exactly creative writing). He's also a woodworker, a glazier, and a sculptor. He has had work displayed in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose debut novel Maranatha Road was longlisted for the Crook's Corner Book Prize. This year's judge is Tayari Jones. The Crook's Corner Book Prize awards $5,000 and a free glass of wine a day for a year to the author of the best debut novel set in the American South. The shortlist will be announced in the fall.


Fifty Over Six​ty​: Finding Purpose and Meaning in the Second Half of Life by Wayne Drumheller

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$9.99, paperback
ISBN: 978--1974556526
June, 2018
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

As a photojournalist in the mid 1960s, Wayne Drumheller met and photographed some famous and notable people who were older and wiser that he. They were: Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy cartoon series; Andy Warhol, artist and illustrator; Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of the Walton's TV series; Robert F. Kennedy, attorney general and candidate for President; Bill Sobranes, distinguished columnist and news reporter; Joan Baez, poet and folk singer; Ronald Reagan, actor and candidate for the Governor of California; Carolyn Kizer, New York Pulitzer Prize writer; Haywood Hal Bruin, CBS Sports and News anchor; Johnny Crawford, actor of TV's Rifleman fame, and Lady "Bird" Johnson, First Lady of the United States.

In answer to his question of "What does one have to do to live a happy and long life?" They all presented a similar answer: find meaning and purpose in your personal and work life. Gather friends like precious keepsakes. And, plan for future years that are rich in memories and experiences.

The fifty people over sixty years-of-age featured in this book embody this expressions. They will tell you that they are everyday people who have lived challenging, but extraordinary lives. They found love, meaning and purpose in their life experiences. Their legacy is one of a life well-lived and a future that is exciting and inviting.

Wayne Drumheller is a Burlington, North Carolina, based writing consultant, photojournalist, book editor, photographer and publicist. His work is recognized by collectors of fine photography for his creative approach and commitment to the finished print.

A Photographer's Note: My Journey Into Everyday Life was his first full-length published edition. He has since published ten additional books.

To pursue his life-long dream of helping others write their stories and books, he became Editor and Founder for the Carolinas/Virginia Short Book Writers Project in 2010. Through partial gifts in kind support for editing, layout, design and printing, he offers free monthly workshops to interested writers and writers groups. Since 2010, he has helped over sixty writers publish their biographies, children's books, memoirs, collections of prose/poetry and full length nonfiction historical novels. All net proceeds from his consulting, editing, workshops, books, photography illustrations and cover designs go to the Carolinas/Virginia Short Book Writers Project.

Time to Meet Max: Adventures in Guatemala by Gary Neil Gupton

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$9.50, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-692953969
November, 2017
Children's: Chapter Book
Available from your local bookstore or

You too can fly!

Two children ages 8 and 9 seek adventure in Guatemala and find more, a new friend Max. Max is unique in body and spirit. He has physical limitations but faces challenges head-on. He teaches them how to fly!

Gary Neil Gupton has been to Guatemala several times on mission trips where he got inspiration for Max. He travels and feels the need to place his heros, oftentimes children in his stories, in unique settings. His next book takes the reader to Panama. Gary is a North Carolina native but explores the world through the eyes of children.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Day Lily Dialogue" and accompanying photograph were posted at NatureWriting (July 4, 2018). Her flash fiction piece "Night Chill" appears in Issue 6 of Dual Coast Magazine (July 9, 2018) and is forthcoming in print. Time Passage, comprised of three poems, "Silent Ivories," "Perspectives of Lost," and "Life's Clock," was posted at The Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review (July 9, 2018) and is forthcoming in print. Finally, Suzanne's haiku beginning "Spring rains replenish" was posted at Haiku Journal, #58 (May 30, 2018) and is forthcoming in print.


Colonies Lost by Ian J. Malone

Red Adept Publishing
$15.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1948051125
June, 2018
Fiction: Sci-Fi / Adventure
Available from your local bookstore or

"Colonies Lost is a twisting, turning, awesome sci-fi adventure wrapped in a police procedural wrapped in a history story garnished with introspection and mystery. Ian J. Malone has crushed it out of the park with this one. Reminds me of the old-school sci-fi I loved as a kid."
—John G. Hartness, author of The Black Knight Chronicles

"With Colonies Lost, Ian J. Malone did one of my favorite things: he tossed half a dozen different genres in the blender. It's a Police Procedural/Thriller and a Western, mixed with Historical Mystery and Science Fiction. Something for everyone, and great fun!"
New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson

Trip Hackett needs a beer.

On the heels of his latest suspension, the disgraced US Marshal packs up his Stetson and returns home to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where he hopes to circle his wagons and find a new means of supporting his family. He knew the shooting had been justified. However, with Trip’s history plus the white-hot spotlight on cops these days, and the deceased turning out to be the son of a Washington senator, he bet his paltry retirement savings that his time in investigations was over.

Enter the enigmatic Mr. Smith, an odd-looking stranger from out of town with a proposition. If Trip will help Smith’s employers find a missing girl then the former will never want for money again. Grudgingly, Trip takes the case, expecting it will be the last of his career. He may be right, though for reasons he could’ve never possibly imagined.

Trip soon goes on a journey to escape his present, only to run straight into a past he never knew existed. Trip Hackett’s travel to the stars will bring him face-to-face with the answer to America’s greatest unsolved mystery.

As a graduate of Florida State University, sci-fi author Ian J. Malone has written in a variety of arenas ranging from public health to news and sports. When it comes to his fictional work, however, he’s a firm believer that nothing shapes an author’s writing like experience. That’s why he credits his tenures in radio, law enforcement, and military contracting for much of his inspiration, plus the legion of family and friends who’ve stood with him along the way.

Beyond writing, Malone is an avid fan of audiobooks (he’s legally blind) and the outdoors. It’s also not uncommon to find him at a ballgame, a concert, or somewhere out by a grill.

Malone is an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and a resident of Durham—but he’ll always be a “Florida boy” at heart.

Hats Off! to Tom Wood who recently placed a couple of articles in the Ledger on both historical and future events. (Read more about the train crash at his website, For the Nashville edition, he wrote about the 100th Anniversary (July 9) of the 1918 Great Train Wreck at Dutchman's Curve in Nashville, the deadliest train wreck in U.S. history. For the Knoxville edition, he wrote about that city hosting the 2019 Bassmaster Classic—often called the Super Bowl of fishing tournaments‐next March 15-17.


Suzanne Stories by Brenda Loy Wilson

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$10.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-5-376885
February, 2018
Available from your local bookstore or

"These stories revisit the simple life in which a little girl is transformed by everyday, and some not-so-everyday, events that shape and lead her through the childhood journey from a timid four year old to a bold young woman of seventeen."
—Jacqueline Dunkle, Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner, with Gratitude & Grit and Paralyzed without Fear

Suzanne Stories takes us on a journey of firsts as she sings on the radio at four years old, first bike ride, high school dance, running away from home and her unexpected romance at seventeen. These stories and others recap the fears, excitement and struggles of growing up. Beautifully illustrated by Carolyn Teague, award winning artist from Burlington.

Brenda Loy Wilson resides in Alamance County and was selected by Poetry in Plain Sight in 2013 and 2018. Transitions, her first book of poetry, captured family life in rich detail, changes and growth with affirmation and love. Mama Moves to Ossipee is the memoir of her mother's move to NC at the age of fourteen. She has won numerous awards for her poetry, fiction, and essays, as well as publishing newspaper and magazines articles.

Hats Off! to Mary Hennessy, Ashley Memory, and Vicki Collins who finished First, Third, and Fourth respectively in the Carolina Woman 2018 Writing Contest. (Anne Anthony, featured here last week, finished Fifth.) Mary's poem "Let Me Count the Ways" wins a Faber-Castell Guilloche Fountain Pen, valued at $350. Ashley's short story "Eula Dare Hampton Agrees to Edit the Quaker Ladies' Cookbook" wins an Eagle Creek Global Companion Travel Pack. And Vicki's poem "A Reader's Creed" wins a Kammock Roo Double Camping Hammock. Winners' entries will be published on the site over the next couple weeks, free to read! 


Hats Off! to NCWN Trustee Michele T. Berger whose novelette "Nussia" was published by The Book Smugglers. It's free to read!


DURHAM—Shervon Cassim has been elected President of the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees.

Shervon replaces Margaret Dardess who served as president for many years. The Network flourished under her leadership, and she will remain on the Board.

Shervon Cassim is a writer and lawyer who was born and raised in Dubai. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from North Carolina State University, where he teaches fiction writing.

"North Carolina is the kind of place where you can take a class with an award-winning poet or bump into a bestselling memoirist at your local grocery store," Shervon says. "We have a proud record of nurturing homegrown writers and enticing those from outside to make North Carolina their home. Our publishers are sought-after, and our bookstores—full of books written by our friends, neighbors, and teachers—reflect and affirm the value we place on writing and literature."

Margaret Dardess graduated from Connecticut College and studied Japanese history at Columbia University. After a brief teaching career, she went on to tackle the law. When she finally stopped going to school, she set off on a journey, masquerading as an international trade lawyer, a corporate executive and a university administrator until at last she cast her parents’ warnings to the wind and began to write. Her debut novel is the thriller Brutal Silence.

Shervon joined the Board in 2016 and was a panelist at the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Writers' Network connects, promotes, and serves the writers of this state. It provides education in the craft and business of writing, opportunities for recognition and critique of literary work, resources for writers at all stages of development, support for and advocacy of the literary heritage of North Carolina, and a community for those who write. The North Carolina Writers’ Network believes that writing is necessary both for self-expression and a healthy community, that well-written words can connect people across time and distance, and that the deeply satisfying experiences of writing and reading should be available to everyone.

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


Hats Off! to Margaret A. Harrell who was interviewed on-stage at Gonzo Fest by author and George Mason University professor Tim Denevi in April. Photos of the event can be viewed here. The interview, at the Louisville Free Public Library, was titled "Writing Hell’s Angels: Will the Real Hunter S. Thompson Please Stand Up."


Darkness Lane (Geneva Chase Mysteries #2) by Thomas Kies

Poisoned Pen Press
$15.95, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-464210037
June, 2018
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"Journalist Geneva Chase, the flawed narrator of Kies's entertaining sequel to 2017's Random Road, once did stints at the nation's top news organizations, but has worked her way down the career ladder to the point where she's now an editor and crime reporter at the local paper in Sheffield, Conn., her hometown. The crime beat pulls her into two stories that at first seem straightforward but turn out to be quite complex. One of them involves the murder of a low-level thug by his abused wife; the other focuses on the disappearance of beautiful 15-year-old aspiring actress Bobbi Jarvis. The connection between the two stories keeps the plot humming. Chase's life is further complicated by being the legal guardian of 15-year-old Caroline Bell (Bobbi's best friend), by the potential loss of her job if her newspaper is sold, and by the struggle to control her drinking. Kies neatly balances breathless action with Chase's introspection and sleuthing savvy."
Publishers Weekly

"Kies's debut mystery introduces a reporter with a compelling voice, a damaged woman who recounts her own bittersweet story as she hunts down clues. This suspenseful story will appeal to readers who enjoy hard-nosed investigative reporters such as Brad Parks's Carter Ross."
Library Journal (starred review)

"The plot begins when Caroline's classmate disappears, and as Geneva covers the search for her, she comes across links to the toasted husband. There's a solid thriller here—the key is sex trafficking—but the real pleasure is watching Geneva work. Cheer her on as she wrestles with that vodka bottle and trembles with fear as she confronts the monster behind the child-slavery ring. She's also pretty good at standing up to a newspaper publisher about to screw the help into the ground."
—Don Crinklaw, Booklist

Random Road introduced Geneva Chase—"a reporter with a compelling voice, a damaged woman who recounts her own bittersweet story as she hunts down clues," says Library Journal—to murders straight out of a nightmare—six bodies found naked and cut to ribbons in a posh Connecticut home.

Having survived this and a personal tragedy, Geneva's story still includes alcoholism and career challenges compounded by the rocky finances of her newspaper employer. But she's working. She's fighting the urge to reconnect with a magnetic yet married lover. And she's raising a rebellious young lady who is not her daughter but a cherished legacy.

Nevertheless the newshound in Geneva spurs her to bad if not downright dangerous choices as two unrelated crimes unexpectedly collide. A fifteen-year-old-girl at her ward's high school has vanished along with her English teacher. Is this same-old, same-old, or something more? And then there's the abused woman who torched her sadistic husband, and how to keep her out of the clutches of powerful mobsters—and thus, out of the news.

Out on the crime beat, Geneva works to unravel the connection, if any, between these two disparate stories while her newspaper is put up for sale, a high-flying Hollywood production lights up the town, and her personal battles accelerate. Jarring twists and turns include charming movie stars, treacherous diamond merchants, adultery, sex traffickers, and murder. While the clock ticks and Geneva works desperately to find the missing student, she comes to the horrible realization that she's in over her head.

Darkness Lane, the second novel in the Geneva Chase Mystery Series, hurtles along at a breakneck speed where nothing is what it seems, and where art and reality collide in a terrifying climax.

Author of the Geneva Chase Mystery Series, Thomas Kies lives and writes on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with his wife, Cindy, and Lilly, their shih-tzu. He has had a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York, and is currently working on his next novel, Graveyard Bay.

When You're Called 'Mommy': The Joys and Heartbreak of Being a Foster Parent by Dr. Sophie Foster

WestBow Press
$25.00 paperback / $3.03, e-book
ISBN: 978-1512795875
February, 2018
Nonfiction: Family / Parenting
Availabe at your local bookstore or

Passionate, honest, suspenseful, a foster parent challenges the system’s goal of reunification. For anyone who has ever considered fostering, this book is a must-read!

“The impossible act of wholly loving a child with the expectation of letting them go,” begins the gripping chronicle of a foster parent’s journey through the system, intermingling a once routine existence with a new kaleidoscope of biological relatives, social workers and court-appointed officials. Suspenseful and engaging, this distinctive point of view, coupled with insightful first-hand accounts from other foster parents, social workers and former foster youth, expertly intertwines real-life experiences from multiple perspectives. This unique tour de force will leave you cheering, emotionally winded and mindfully contemplative. This narrative tale will leave you more informed and intentional about the roles each of us plays in influencing the life of a child.

Dr. Sophie Foster is a former foster parent, public speaker and retired naval officer. She has taught English, leadership and human behavior at a range of colleges and universities, including the U.S. Naval Academy. An advocate for empowering youth, she enjoys mentoring teenage girls.

Hats Off! to Anne Anthony whose short story "Might Get Lucky" is the March, 2018, winner of the 53-Word Story Contest sponsored by Press 53. Anne also took Fifth Place in the 2018 Carolina Woman Writing Contest with her flash-fiction story, "The Pill." Anne wins a free one-year membership in the North Carolina Writers' Network!


Hats Off! to NCWN Vice President of the Board of Trustees Paul Jones; Kelly Lenox; Ashley Memory; David E. Poston; Gary Phillips; and the other Summer Season Poets for Poetry in Plain Sight, a statewide poetry initiative, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. They will read at a free event on Saturday, August 11, 1:30-3:30 pm at the Forsyth County Public Library.


RALEIGH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Squire Summer Writing Workshops offer the chance for attendees to study one genre with one instructor over the course of the weekend. Paul Cuadros (Creative Nonfiction), Rob Greene (Poetry), and Elaine Neil Orr (Fiction) will serve as faculty.

The registration deadline is June 30: register now.

Additional programming includes faculty readings, open mics, and the annual "All Stories Connect" panel discussion.

This year's panel will cover the topic "The Cross-Pollination Between Page and Stage." Panelists include Ian Finley, June Guralnick, and Ellen Shepard.

What are the cross-pollination and crossover possibilities between writing for stage and screen and other writing genres? What can dramatic principles teach all writers about characterization, dialog, plotting, and rhythm? What can authors teach playwrights about subplots, creating suspenseful "page-turners," and more? What sorts of things can a story tell when told on stage or screen, and how are they different from what a story can tell on the page?

Ian Finley is the former Director of Education for Burning Coal Theatre Company, having headed its WillPower (now Fuse) residency programs, its Summer Theatre Conservatories, its New York and London tours, and many other programs. He is author of 1960 (Burning Coal, 2009), Green Square, Suspense, Nightengale Song, and The Nature of the Nautilus (winner of the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award), as well as Burning Coal’s Oakwood cycle of plays. As an actor, he has performed in Burning Coal’s Twelfth Night, KidsWrite ’08, Inherit the Wind, 1776, Pentecost, The Taming of the Shrew, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and James Joyce’s "The Dead." He holds an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of Arts and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Ian was the 2012 Piedmont Laureate for playwriting.

Native New Yorker June Guralnick is the author of thirteen full-length plays performed at venues including the Kennedy Center, Abrons Arts Centre/Henry Street Settlement (NY), Spirit Square (Charlotte, NC), Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (NC), North Carolina Museum of Art, as well as arts centers in the U.S. Plays include Memories of Childhood, Containments (The Home Project, Part I), In Gold We Trust (with Guy Nickson), Art Tales of Thaddeus, Women of the Light (with Cynthia Mitchell), Space Interlude, Finding Clara, Across the Holy Tell, and work-in-progress Birds of a Feather: A Comedy about De-Extinction. Selections from her plays have been published by North Carolina Literary Review, Playwrights’ Center (Monologues-Heinemann Press), Blackbird Press, and Left Curve.

Ellen Shepard is currently in production on the upcoming documentary Turn. She recently produced and directed the feature length documentary Sitting at God's Table that included screenings at the NC Museum of History. As an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Film for sixteen years at St. Augustine's University in Raleigh, she created and developed the Film portion of the major, which included writing curriculum, teaching courses in documentary, screenwriting, directing, theatre, playwriting, abstract thinking, and more. Her duties included hiring faculty, advising students, and fundraising. She also developed and lead the Teen Summer Film Workshop for thirteen years; students came from all over the US and foreign countries in order to study at this workshop. Her work as Senior Producer/Director at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) afforded her the opportunity to sharpen her documentary filmmaking skill sets.

The "All Stories Connect" panel happens Friday, July 20, at 7:00 pm on the campus of NC State University.

All registrants are welcomed to attend. A Q&A follows.

For more information, and to register for the NCWN 2018 Squire Summer Writing Workshops, click here.


Hats Off! to Luke Hankins, poet and editor of Orison Books, whose Letter to the Editor appears in the new issue of Poets & Writers magazine. "As both a writer and an editor of a literary press, I think it’s unethical for contests that charge entry fees to extend deadlines," Luke says. "If organizations expect submitters to follow their guidelines, then the organizations must also adhere to them, in all respects—including submission deadlines."


Readiness by Mark Cox

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-78-3
March, 2018
Available from your local bookstore or

"Behind surfaces that can sometimes be wryly comic, Mark Cox is unafraid to risk adult tenderness ('brutal tenderness' he says in one poem) and great empathy for this world’s sufferers. Which is to say that beneath a rich variety of occasions (from an ancient Egyptian mummifier doing up a fifteen-foot crocodile, to a current-day housewife doing up an angel food cake), Cox’s bedrock concern is that impossible thing of endless grief and joy that we call the human condition. These poetic meditations and monologues are some of the least prosaic prose you’ll ever read."
—Albert Goldbarth

"Tony Hoagland has said Mark Cox is 'a veteran of the deep water; there’s no one like him,' and Thomas Lux identified him as 'one of the finest poets of his generation.' No one speaks more effectively of the vital and enduring syntaxes of common, even communal, life."
—Richard Simpson

Mark Cox's sixth book is a collection of prose poems that range from third-person projections to personal memoir. Though sometimes set in the sixties and seventies, their nostalgia is not an easy one. The poems are marked by the anxieties and ills of their time, many of which seem just as true today.

Cox has been publishing for over thirty years and he brings a sophisticated psychological perspective to bear on the varied occasions for poems. The poems are big-hearted, rich in detail and lyrical, when called for. Their rhythms and tonal atmospheres are masterful. This book has been a long time coming and it was worth the wait.

Mark Cox has previously published five volumes of poetry: Barbells of the Gods (Ampersand Press), Smoulder (David R. Godine), Thirty-Seven Years from the Stone and Natural Causes (both in the Pitt Poetry Series) and Sorrow Bread (Serving House Books). Cox has a thirty-year publication history in prominent magazines and has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and numerous fellowships for that work. He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington and in the Vermont College MFA Program.

Hats Off! to the winners of NCWN-West's 2018 Flash Fiction Contest. Lorraine Bennett took First Place with her story "The Gift." Bob Grove claimed Second Prize with his story "Show Me the Cache." And Nancy Swanson's "Mother-Daughter Act" finished Third. The contest was open to members of NCWN-West, those writers and poets in the far western mountain area of North Carolina and bordering counties of South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.


Just Down the Road by Dee Stribling

Finishing Line Press
$14.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63534-263-5
June, 2017
Available from the publisher

“These are wonderful, contemplative poems, anthems to the Appalachian earth, the geography, the people, and ether that Dee Stribling evokes and commemorates with every syllable. 'Bells toll across the valley,' meting out time, conferring benediction. The earth turns and the prayerful language of the poet reckons it in all its mystery and kinship. Just Down the Road leads inevitably, movingly, back home.”
–Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-2014)

“Dee Stribling’s fingers strike a gentle fire in this chapbook, Just Down the Road–not unlike the one that Thoreau’s subtle touch enabled in Walden. Often, when I’m overcome with emotion, the first symptom is a burning sensation in my nose. Stribling’s offering is a first-degree nose stinger. It’s potent. It’s real. It unwinds loss, innocence, love, and it defines generations. This taut, beautiful collection has an uncanny ability to awaken memories that are surprisingly personal. Charmingly southern. Assuredly universal.”
–Dawn Shamp, author of On Account of Conspicuous Women

These poems are based on people and places that Dee Stribling has been fortunate enough to visit and get to know across the Appalachian foothills. The poems are woven together as a journey through memories of their lives and homes. 

Dee Stribling has always been interested in the relationship between culture and landscape (she holds a Ph.D in Geography from UNC-Chapel Hill). She is a two-time Sundress Academy for the Arts poetry winner, a Tupelo Press 30/30 “poet runner” (poem a day for thirty days), and her poetry has been in collections such as 200 New Mexico Poems. Other creative interests include writing songs, photography, and documentary film. Additional publications include Appalachian Picture Book (poems) from Finishing Line Press and Down East Picture Book (poems and photographs) available from Horse & Buggy Press.

Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore who was quoted in the article "The Cream of the Crop" on the Independent Book Publishers Association website. "The product matters," Fiore said, offering tips for future IBPA contestants. "Most importantly, comport yourself professionally, from the cover letter, to the supporting materials, to the book itself. Pay attention to details, be courteous, and remember to be grateful. We’re lucky to get to do this stuff." Fiore's novel, The Last Great American Magic, was a Silver Winner in the 29th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards in the category of Historical Fiction.


Blue Water White Sand by Joy Hewett

Silk Hope Press
$15.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692851555
April, 2017
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore or

"The novel by Joy Hewett explores the mutability of time and how memory plays a part in who we are."
The News & Observer in Raleigh

"Spiritual and philosophical, the book has a lot of poetic passages... You can be reading along and be halted by admiration for a descriptive passage. There is a fluid perspective on the characters as they move through their lives. Blue Water White Sand projects a strong sense of time—time moving through people’s lives and people’s lives moving through time."
—Anna Washington, Sir Readalot

“Books tend to be either lyrically driven or plot driven—this book is both.”
—Jane Chatterjee

When Debra Bishop’s ex-husband, a treasure hunter, dies mysteriously, she and longtime friend Sandy Perkins reunite in Key West for an unexpected adventure. Debra’s daughter Melody insists they join her for his memorial service and reading of the will where they encounter two more former wives, a devious stepson, and the mischief left behind by the man they once knew.

With a little humor and a dash of danger, the three women end up on a search for a jade goddess and hidden treasure. While the two baby boomers explore intertwined memories, they must come to terms with choices they made and loves they lost along the way. All three women reveal surprising secrets in the confrontations with their pasts and each other.

From Honduras to Florida, Hawaii, California, and North Carolina, this story moves through lush descriptions of nature, both on land and underwater. Blue Water White Sand explores the mutability of time, how the past is present with us now, and how memory plays a part in who we are.

Born in Louisville, Georgia, Joy Hewett earned an MA in creative writing at UNC-Wilmington. She taught English and literature in community colleges in Hawaii and North Carolina. As a freelance writer, she focused on the environment and women, including a column “Today’s Woman” for the Wilmington Star-News and nature articles in Tidewater magazine and other publications. She now lives with her critters in Chatham County, North Carolina, and draws inspiration from the Haw River that flows nearby.

Hats Off! to Sharon Louise Howard whose short story "Felled" appears in Streetlight Magazine.


Hats Off! to Billie Hinton whose essay "Diary of a Cutting" is in Riverfeet Press' 2017 anthology Awake in the World, published in June and available on their website. Awake in the World is a collection of stories, essays, and poems about wildlife, adventure, and the environment, from over forty authors, both U.S. and abroad.


Hats Off! to Michael K. Brantley essay "Cooking Collards" is out in the new issue of The Broad River Review. The piece is about cooking collards, "old" Southern foods, and smokehouses, among other things.


Hats Off! to Trace Ramsey whose new collection of essays, All I Want to Do Is Live, is the first in a summer contest series sponsored by his publisher, Pioneers Press. Enter the contest by making art around his work; reviewing the book on Goodreads and Amazon; or sharing an audio recording of your favorite passage. Deadline is August 1 to enter to win a variety of generous prize packages!


Living at the Water's Edge: A Heritage Guide to the Outer Banks Byway by Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher

UNC Press
$22.00, paperback / $21.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4696-2816-5
April, 2017
Nonfiction: Heritage guidebook
Available from your local bookstore or

“Charming and highly informative, this captivating guide provides an honest and accurate understanding of the physical and social landscapes between Whalebone Junction and the North River Bridge. Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher deliver an unrivaled addition to the life and lore of the Carolina coast. Intriguing and delightful!”
—Bland Simpson, author of Little Rivers and Waterway Tales

“Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher’s book is not only an essential guide to the North Carolina Scenic Highway, but is a major step forward in the preservation of our threatened Outer Banks communities. A must read for any coastal traveler.”
—Carmine Prioli, Emeritus Professor, North Carolina State University

“This thought-provoking guide introduces readers to the history, culture, and environment of the region linked by the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. Those of us who have been here for generations and those visiting for the first time will all find something new to learn about this ever-changing place where life goes on ceaselessly, as the sands shift and tides flow.”
—Alton Ballance, author of Ocracokers

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway received its designation in 2009, an act that stands as a testament to the historical and cultural importance of the communities linked along the North Carolina coast from Whalebone Junction across to Hatteras and Ocracoke Island and down to the small villages of the Core Sound region. This rich heritage guide introduces readers to the places and people that have made the route and the region a national treasure. Welcoming visitors on a journey across sounds and inlets into villages and through two national seashores, Barbara Garrity-Blake and Karen Willis Amspacher share the stories of people who have shaped their lives out of saltwater and sand. The book considers how the Outer Banks residents have stood their ground and maintained a vibrant way of life while adapting to constant change that is fundamental to life where water meets the land.

Heavily illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, Living at the Water's Edge will lead readers to the proverbial porch of the Outer Banks locals, extending a warm welcome to visitors while encouraging them to understand what many never see or hear: the stories, feelings, and meanings that offer a cultural dimension to the byway experience and deepen the visitor's understanding of life on the tideline.

Barbara Garrity-Blake is a cultural anthropologist long interested in the twenty-one villages along the byway from the north end of Hatteras through the Down East region of Carteret County; she lives in Gloucester.

Karen Willis Amspacher, director of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island, is descended from Shackleford Banks fishermen and boatbuilders and lives in Marshallberg.

Hats Off! to Jeanne Julian who has four poems appearing online at The RavensPerch. Her work recently was longlisted in the "Don't Talk to Me About Love" poetry contest and in The Rialto "Nature and Place" contest, and she was a semifinalist for the North Carolina Literary Review James Applewhite Poetry Prize.


Hats Off! to Jacqui Letran whose book 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness! won a Gold Award in the Young Adult Self-Help caegory from the Literary Classics' International Award. She will be appearing at the Great American Book Festival in Rapid, South Dakota on September 2, 2017, and the Literary Classics' Award and Gala on September 3, 2017.


Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan

Candlewick Press
$16.99, hardcover /$16.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-763690342
April, 2017
Fiction: Teen & YA/Romance
Available from your local bookstore or

"O’Sullivan’s first novel, an elegantly written coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, opens in the village of Bayou Perdu on the Gulf of Mexico on the eve of Evangeline Riley’s 16th birthday...O’Sullivan creates suspense on several fronts and gives Evangeline a lyrical and endearing voice."
Publishers Weekly

"What separates Evangeline's story from the myriad others that have come and gone in the wake of one of the nation's worst natural disasters is O'Sullivan's deft lyricism...O'Sullivan's light touch and restraint will allow readers to follow Evangeline as she stands howling into the wind that howled into her."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Between Two Skies by debut author Joanne O'Sullivan is a delicate, captivating story; her descriptions of Katrina and its monstrous damage are vivid and heartwrenching...Resonating with emotion and daring to bring readers into the heart of the south at a time of great sorrow and great joy, Between Two Skies is a multifaceted look at the places we call home and what it means to return."
Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life—and the promise of love—emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.

Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings.

It's a small life, but it is Evangeline's. And then the storm comes, and everything changes.

Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru—a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline's aching heart.

Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.

Joanne O'Sullivan introduces fascinating people and places to readers through books, articles and blog posts. Her award-winning science, sustainabilty and travel books for kids include Migration Nation (Charlesbridge, 2015). She lives in Asheville with her family.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell who published four haiku in issue #240 of The Weekly Avocet. Her short poem "Forest Light" is forthcoming in Plum Tree Tavern, and The Remembered Arts Journal plans to include her poem "Bone Dry" for their "Thirst" themed summer series on September 9, 2017.


Hats Off! to Meagan Lucas whose short story "Kittens" won the 2017 Scythe Prize for Fiction. Along with eleven other college-student-written stories and ten essays, “Kittens” will appear in the forthcoming 2017 Scythe Prize book, due out September of 2017 from Rusty Scythe Publishing.

Hats Off! to Joanne O'Sullivan who appeared on WWNO New Orleans Public Radio's The Reading Life (June 27) talking about her new novel Between Two Skies. She'll be at the Decatur Book Festival, participating in a panel, on September 2.


Hopscotch by Steve Cushman

Livingston Press
$30.00, hardcover / $17.95, paperback / $5.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-60489-178-2
May, 2017
Available from the publisher or

"In his latest novel, Cushman (Hospital Work, 2013, etc.) introduces a minor miracle into a staid hospital setting, and magic happens....A clear, inspiring story about needing a bit of hope to cross the distance."
Kirkus Reviews

"In this moving story, Steve Cushman takes us to the grounds of a city hospital, places where hope and despair, death and healing exist side by side. When a hopscotch board mysteriously keeps reappearing on a sidewalk near the hospital entrance, despite attempts to have it scrubbed away, what occurs is a kind of miracle. One that comes from remembered joys and shared laughter, from choosing to live fully. Cushman’s wonderful cast of characters will warm your heart, allowing you to believe again in the power of friendship rediscovered over a childhood game."
—Miriam Herin, Novello Literary Award winning author of Absolution and A Stone for Bread

"Steve Cushmon's Hopscotch transported me back to a time when I believed anything was possible and hope was tangible. What a beautiful story of the human spirit and how our arbitrary lives sometimes intertwine without notice. Original and stirring."
—Celeste Fletcher McHale, Okra Pick and bestselling author of The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Hope can come in many forms, and in the novel Hopscotch, it comes in the form of a hopscotch board drawn on the sidewalk leading to the entrance of a hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. Despite the hospital’s cleaning crew’s efforts to remove the board, it mysteriously re-appears every day. Eventually physicians, hospital employees, and patients, including Emily, an eight-year-old fighting cancer, and Stan, an Iraqi War veteran, are drawn to this hopscotch board. Hopscotch is a story about the healing power of hope and how the simplest thing can affect and change so many lives for the better.

Steve Cushman earned an MFA from UNC-Greensboro. After working as an X-ray Technologist for twenty years, he currently works in the IT Department at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital. His debut novel, Portisville, won the 2004 Novello Literary Award. He has published a second novel, Heart with Joy, as well as the poetry chapbooks Hospital Work and Midnight Stroll. Cushman lives in Greensboro with his family.

Hats Off! to Mark Havlik whose short story "A Light in the Black" has been published by The Hungry Chimera. Another story, "Dead Letter Box," appears in the latest issue of Trajectory.


The Beauty of Silence by Glenda Barrett

Kelsay Books
$17.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1945752773
April, 2017
Available from

"In The Beauty of Silence, Glenda Barrett reveals the most authentic Appalachian voice to rise out of the southern mountains in years. 'The Gist of the Matter' invites us in, as she sits at a table with her kinfolks, peeling and eating an apple. The reader listens as this wise family elder recounts the then and now of her mountain heritage. In her poem, 'Sorting it Out,' she affirms, 'In hindsight, my best lessons were learned not in good times, but in deepest sorrow. I learned pain would not destroy me.' Her hope is to share specific truths. This nugget of wisdom emerges from, 'Serenity,' 'I’ve learned the comfort and peace found in solitude.' I chose 'The Fork of the River' as my favorite. 'My best lessons have been learned not in chaos, but in places of silence. Like the Cherokee before me, I seek direction in the quietness of the morning.'"
—Nancy Simpson, author of Across Water, Night Student, and Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems

"Glenda Barrett’s poems reflect a wisdom that grows from a life-long relationship with nature. The gentle flow of a mountain stream, the hardship of ice in winter, and a sudden drought in summer contribute to her perspective. In The Beauty of Silence, Barrett plants seeds for the reader through a garden of strong people, simple ways, and the wisdom of experience. From her grandmother, her ancestors, flowers in a garden, to the trail tree of the Cherokee, she sifts her life to find nuggets of country wisdom. She 'stands knee deep in the cool, clear waters of Owl Creek.' A quiet simplicity feeds her, feeds the reader. 'Clods of dirt are busted, large rocks rolled aside, tangled vines uprooted, and brambles turned under, until it’s time to return to my complicated life.' Barrett is a 'homegrown girl' who couldn’t leave her roots for long. Her poems provide the reader a wealth of perspective, a wisdom long remembered."
—Mary Ricketson, M. E. Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, author of I Hear the River Call My Name and Hanging Dog Creek

"In clearly crafted poems, Glenda Barrett connects a literal geography, the North Georgia mountains of her heritage, to a landscape of honest and varied emotions. There is elation in, 'I can almost feel the pulse beat of my ancestors who hoed this ground,' balanced with sorrow, 'I felt searing pain like deep furrows plowed slowly back and forth across my heart.' As a poet who finds meaning in the ordinary, she often surprises the reader with insights such as, 'For the soil to be useful it has to be broken.' Always close to the natural world, her poems reveal that she is a professor of the five senses, as when she describes spring, 'Even the red tulips . . . with their mouths wide open seem to be shouting with the rest of creation, "Hallelujah."' As seen her lines reflect a triumphant spirit that is certain to be transferred to readers."
—Janice Townley Moore, author of Teaching the Robins

Glenda Barrett, a native of Hiawassee, Georgia, is an artist, poet and writer. Her poems and essays are widely published including Woman’s World, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living, Barely South Review, and many others. Her Appalachian artwork is online at Fine Art America.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who won First Place in Wilda Morris' Poetry Challenge for May. Her poem "Quilt" took first place in Brunswick County's SilverArts contest. A short story, "Surprise Ball," is forthcoming in Edify Magazine's "Christmas in July" issue. Her poem about her first job appears in the July 2 issue of Silver Birch, and her haiku ran in Brass Bell.


Hats Off! to Anne Anthony whose short story "Music as Her Refuge" appears in the July issue of The Dead Mule School for Southern Literature. The story is described as "a compelling take on generational relationships."


Hats Off! to Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra who will sign her two romantic suspense novels, The Coin and The Book of Hours, at the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing of the RWA2017 (Romance Writers of America) in Orlando, FL, on July 29 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. All proceeds go to the charity.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose flash fiction piece "Disturbed" and her poem "Nature's Solace" are forthcoming in the Summer 2017 issue of Dragon Poet Review, planned for online release by the end of July.


Mysterious Moments: Thoughts that Transform Grief by Jane Williams, Ph.D

Library Partners Press
$12.95, paperback; $16.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1618460295
March, 2017
Creative Nonfiction
Available from your local bookstore or

"Dr. Williams, a gifted therapist and storyteller, uses the narratives of families to unpack an understanding of the grieving process and coping with loss. Her powerful writing illustrates how emotional connections made at unexpected times forge healing in the face of complicated mourning. The stories teach the reader both how to cope and how to approach helping others without taking a didactic stance, but rather with warmth and understanding. I highly recommend it."
—Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D, ABPP, Professor of Psychology and Dean, DePaul University College of Science and Health; former President, American Psychological Association (2006)

"Beautifully written personal stories of grief and unexpected healing through moments that give new perspectives for each particular loss. Sure to offer both insight and hope to those who grieve and those who support them."
—Greg Adams, LCSW, ACSW, FT, Program Coordinator, Center for Good Mourning and Staff Bereavement Support, Arkansas Children's Hospital

"Clinical psychologist Jane Williams brings to a broad audience a profound gift in sharing representative stories of 'mysterious moments' that have brought healing to a diverse array of bereaved persons: parents, siblings, children, and clinicians. Its brief stories are clear, compelling, full of realistic details, and make the reader want to finish them in one sitting!"
—Rev. Mary Martha Thiel, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, MA

A collection of ten stories based on real life experiences of loss. The stories are diverse and involve issues such as the insatiable need for affirmation by our parents, generational family dysfunction, death of an African American male by authorities, compassion burnout, and the effects of cultural attitudes on grieving. Although each story is unique, a common theme ties the narratives together. All of the grievers, despite their distress and suffering, experience moments in which they have transformative thoughts that allow them to reframe their grief. Each person finds meaning through this unconscious process, providing both healing and newfound hope.

Jane Williams, Ph.D, is a clinical psychologist who has worked for over twenty-five years with individuals who have experienced trauma, life threatening illnesses, and grief. Dr. Williams completed postdoctoral fellowships at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Harvard Medical School. At Harvard, she trained at the Linda Pollin Institute for Medical Crisis Counseling. She has written over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles, three book chapters, and one test manual on various psychological topics as well as served on the editorial board of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She recently retired from Wake Forest Medical School as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics.

Hats Off! to Betty Jamerson Reed whose two poems, "Spring" and "Female Dilemma," appear in the 2016 Appalachian Authors Guild anthology, Mountain Mist.


Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose poem "Outside In" appears in the July issue of The Lake, an online English poetry journal. Her poem "A Is an Article to Anchor" appears in Slant: A Journal of Poetry (Summer 2017); and poems "K, Lost Dog" and "I Want to Remember" appear in POEM (May 2017). Forthcoming in The Comstock Review (Spring/Summer 2017), is the poem "D, The First Syllable."


Out of the Darkness by Larry W. Fish

E-Book Time, LLC
$8.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-60862-660-1
July, 2016
Available from

Every seven minutes a child is bullied in school.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, 160,000 children a day stay home from school for fear of being bullied.

Out of the Darkness, is a novella about school bullying. It looks at the side of the bully and the side of the victim.

Fish has an unusual solution to the problem. He has God actually visit the bully, her family and others, to change lives. At the end of the novella, he offers a list of what to look for if you think your child is being bullied, as well as a list of what to look for if you think someone is a bully. Out of the Darkness is a necessary read for all parents, students, and teachers.

Larry W. Fish moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in 2004. When he neared retirement, he took up writing and now has four books of fiction published.

Hats Off! to Joy Hewett of Chatham County whose novel Blue Water White Sand (Silk Hope Press) was featured in the Books column of The News & Osbserver in Raleigh. "Blue Water White Sand traverses Honduras, Florida, Hawaii, California, and North Carolina," says columnist Cindy Schaefer, "as Debra Bishop and her longtime friend reunite in Key West and get caught up in an unexpected adventure. The novel...explores the mutability of time and how memory plays a part in who we are."


Hats Off! to Judy Hogan whose new novel, Political Peaches, the fifth installment of her Penny Weaver mysteries series, was reviewed by Karl Kachergis, former Chair of the Chatham Democratic Party (2007-11). "Greed undercuts the friendly, diverse community of Shagbark County, North Carolina," he says. "Guarding their way of life, leaders emerge and discover that playing in local politics is like kissing a buzzing wasp nest with sunburnt lips on a summer afternoon. There is wisdom and warmth in the heroes and heroines of this tale. Novelist and poet Judy Hogan’s new mystery, Political Peaches, is a tasty 'cobbler' and treat you will enjoy." The book was recently featured on Dru's Book Musings as part of its "A Day in the Life" series. Judy is giving away a free copy of the book to someone who comments on the feature.


Hats Off! to Tamra Wilson whose essay "It Could Happen to You" appears in the 2017 issue of City Works, the literary journal of San Diego City College.


Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore whose short story collection, A Shot of Light into which We Disappear, is a finalist for the 2016 Moon City Short Fiction Award.



Blue Apple Switchback by Carrie Highley

She Writes Press
$16.90, paperback /$8.69, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-63152-037-2
June, 2016
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

"Coming out is a long, hard road. Its twists, turns, and switchbacks can be painful and confusing, not only to the one coming out, but also to the ones she loves. In Blue Apple Switchback, Carrie Highley guides us through the sometimes-heartbreaking confusion of her path with bravery and tenderness. It is an important story that will surely help others find the way to accepting their true selves."
―Chris Lemig, author of The Narrow Way

"10 Favorite Books About Coming Out."

"10 Books to take on a camping trip."
Sunset Magazine

Carrie Highley was always a tomboy―and by the time she turned sixteen, she was wishing she were dancing with the girls instead of the boys at cotillion dances. In her early thirties, while living in West Virginia, she discovered a passion for road biking, finally stopped sequestering her deep feelings for women, and began an ill-fated love affair with a female cycling friend. Then, at thirty-six, she found herself skidding into Asheville, North Carolina, holding on tight to the coattails of her doctor husband and spending her time as a stay-at-home mother of two boys.

Moving to North Carolina was Highley’s attempt to reembrace heterosexual married life after her tumultuous time in West Virginia. But in Asheville, she met Charlie, a fellow cyclist twenty-three years her senior, who became her mentor, friend, and father all rolled into one―and as they grew closer, she started unloading her fears into Charlie’s inbox. With Charlie’s support, Highley finally got the courage to do what she’d been waiting her whole life to do: go down the mountain with her hands off the brakes.

Carrie Highley grew up in the Piedmont of North Carolina before moving to the mountains and completing her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. After moving up and down the east coast for fifteen years, she has settled down in Asheville. She is an active member Asheville Writers, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, and Adventure Cycling Association. Her writing has appeared online in Women’s Health, Bicycling, SheKnows, and Popsugar. Blue Apple Switchback is her first book.

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Light Show" appears in WestWard Quarterly: Summer 2016.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose short story "Red and Yellow Bracelet," which is meant to be read to children, will appear in Ruby for Women. Also, her poem "Summer Shimmers" is up this week in Avocet, a journal of nature poems.


Hats Off! to Beth Browne who received a Regional Artist Project Grant from the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County to attend a video editing class at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.


Hats Off! to Carol Phillips whose column "The Loss of Self," which addresses disability and job loss, appeared in Raleigh's The News & Observer.


Broken Eagle by James T. Crouse

Caromount Island Publishing
$17.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-0074712-0-5
June, 2016
Fiction: Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or

"James Crouse's gripping drama resonates with realistic details from his deep knowledge about the law, aviation, and the military. It's a page turner in the mode of Scott Turow and John Grisham."
—Sara Just, Executive Producer, PBS NewsHour and Senior Vice President WETA, formerly ABC News Nightline producer for seventeen years

"Broken Eagle leads the reader into a gathering vortex where a cutting-edge military aircraft with serious flaws, malevolent contractors, and complicit government program administrators with deadly self-protective agendas, and the widow of a military test pilot seeking answers swirl around a military-reservist aviation plaintiffs' lawyer who comes to realize he is at its center. Pursued by those with a deadly agenda, aided by shadowy allies and protected by his own wits and experience, Jake Baird finds the case he wasn't sure he wanted leading him to answers for questions he he'd been afraid to ask. Jim Crouse has the military aviation background and the aviation trial lawyer's experience to spin this story with gusto and credibility, which makes it very enjoyable—and just a little frightening—for the reader. Climb aboard, strap in and get ready for a memorable ride."
—Gary W. Allen, editor of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association Journal, Former Director, Aviation & Admiralty Litigation, Torts Branch, Civil Division, United States Dept of Justice

"A good man is hard to find, but the unputdownable—and deeply moral—Broken Eagle gives you two for the price of one: Jake, the finely drawn ex-Army lawyer and everyday hero, and Crouse, his creator, who clearly knows the world and ways of the law, the military and the South inside out—and who writes as assuredly and convincingly about women (hallelujah!) as about combat, aviation and courtrooms. In this tale’s troubling and all-too-believable tangle of Washington politics, murderously venal business interests, and scorched-earth tours of duty, you’ll want both of these guys on your side."
—Karen Shook, Books Editor, Times Higher Education, London

Following his service in a secret U.S. Army helicopter unit, attorney Jake Baird specializes in aviation personal-injury law in Raleigh, North Carolina. When young widow Lisa Thorpe seeks representation and help understanding the XV-11 crash that killed her husband, Jake ends up right where he doesn’t want to be—taking on the U.S. military in a case that is almost impossible to win.

At a hastily arranged rendezvous just after meeting Lisa Thorpe, an anonymous, disheveled ex-military officer presses a folder of classified documents into Jake’s hands with an ominous warning for Jake: “Watch your six.” When Jake reads the file he understands the admonition: the file is full of classified documents showing a massive cover-up of the XV-11’s flaws by governmental and corporate schemers intent on seeing the project continue for their own good, regardless of the cost in lives of the military persons operating the aircraft.

Jake soon finds his world crawling with men in dark suits and sunglasses who are intent on recovering the stolen XV-11 secret file and who are willing to do anything—including murder—to stop the dissemination of the damaging information. Jake is now confronted with risks to his own personal safety and the question of how to use the stolen classified information to help Lisa Thorpe—if he decides to take her case. But how can he, himself an Reserve Army aviator, remain silent, knowing that the aircraft’s flaws endanger the lives of U.S. servicemen and women?

With the help of retired naval officer Stanford Kemp, Jake’s irrepressible secretary, Florence, and his seer-suckered fellow lawyer Irwin Thompson, Jake devises an intricate plan to outmaneuver the lethal rogue government agents, the big corporations and the U.S. military, all of whom are intent on stopping him. Jake is in for the fight of his life--to save himself, do justice for Lisa Thorpe, and to save the lives of others.

James T. Crouse was born in Asheville and grew up in the small town of Lexington. He was graduated from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, a military preparatory school, after which, as an Army ROTC Scholarship student, earned his B.A. in Political Science at Davidson College.

Upon graduation from Davidson, Mr. Crouse was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Infantry officer, and attended helicopter flight school and Aviation Maintenance Officer Course and Test Pilot School as a Transportation Corps officer. During his initial six-year active duty career, he flew research and development flights for the Army’s Night Vision Laboratory. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after having flown over 1500 hours in his twenty-six-year active and reserve career, performing medical evacuation, attack, and maintenance test flight duties.

Since graduating from Duke Law School in 1980, Mr. Crouse has practiced aviation and product liability law in which time he has represented several high-profile clients and was lead liability counsel in the world’s largest civilian helicopter disaster (North Sea Boeing 234LR, 1986). Other notable experience includes major airline accident cases and general aviation, helicopter, and military crashes, as well as non-aviation mass disaster litigation. Over his career he has investigated over three hundred aviation crashes.

Mr. Crouse has co-authored a case law book, Aviation Law: Cases and Materials, which is critically acclaimed by scholars and practitioners. He is the editor-in-chief of Aviation Safety Blog,, which is devoted to reducing aviation accidents, and is a published aviation and Civil War book reviewer for The Times of London Higher Education magazine.

Mr. Crouse has taught Aviation Law at Duke Law School, The George Washington University School of Law, and at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. He is a frequent speaker at aviation and legal symposia and has had numerous articles published in legal periodicals.

He lives in Raleigh with his wife and three children.

Hats Off! to Betty Jamerson Reed whose poem "An Octogenarian Ponders" appears in the River Poets Special Edition for 2016 of Signature Poems, Volume 10, Issue 1. It had previously been published in Living with Loss Magazine, Summer 2011. In addition, three of her "Napkin-Pocket" poems were published by River Poets Journal (Lily Press) during the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month.


Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan

Algonquin Books
$25.95, hardcover / $12.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-565126275
April, 2016
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan is the gripping and convincing story of a bright and courageous slave in the American South during the 1850s who runs away seeking freedom. Richly imaginative and thoroughly well-researched, Chasing the North Star walks the reader through an extensive and thrilling escape filled with fiery insight and deep personal conviction. Morgan summons a narrative that clearly describes the people, culture, and emotions of the time, especially in antebellum North Carolina and later in New York. His personal connection to the land, including its history and features, enables the reader to experience the thrilling escape vividly. His historical nuances and references are spot-on. Chasing the North Star is an epic journey, vividly detailed, acutely satisfying, and ultimately hopeful. It sheds light upon some of the darkest moments in American history; yet it also illuminates the charity and love expressed by whites who hid, fed and aided the runaways at the risk of their own lives and those of their families.”
New York Journal of Books

“Morgan’s latest is a grittily entertaining, smartly paced narrative about a fugitive slave. Morgan is a first-rate storyteller; he plots his novel extremely well, and readers will find this journey captivating.”
Publishers Weekly

Chasing the North Star is an epic journey, and Morgan’s vision of our dark past shines brilliantly detailed, deeply satisfying, and ultimately hopeful.”
—Charles Frazier, author of Nightwoods and Cold Mountain

In his latest historical novel, bestselling author Robert Morgan brings to full and vivid life the story of Jonah Williams, who, in 1850, on his eighteenth birthday, flees the South Carolina plantation on which he was born a slave. He takes with him only a few stolen coins, a knife, and the clothes on his back--no shoes, no map, no clear idea of where to head, except north, following a star that he prays will be his guide.

Hiding during the day and running through the night, Jonah must elude the men sent to capture him and the bounty hunters out to claim the reward on his head. There is one person, however, who, once on his trail, never lets him fully out of sight: Angel, herself a slave, yet with a remarkably free spirit.

In Jonah, she sees her own way to freedom, and so sets out to follow him.

Bristling with breathtaking adventure, Chasing the North Star is deftly grounded in historical fact yet always gripping and poignant as the story follows Jonah and Angel through the close calls and narrow escapes of a fearsome world. It is a celebration of the power of the human spirit to persevere in the face of great adversity. And it is Robert Morgan at his considerable best.

Robert Morgan is the author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, most notably his novel Gap Creek and his biography of Daniel Boone, both of which were national bestsellers. A professor at Cornell University since 1971 and visiting writer-in-residence at half a dozen universities, his awards include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Find him online at

Hats Off! to NCWN Trustee Michele Tracy Berger whose poem "The Shells of Pink Bodies" appears in Oracle: Fine Arts Review. Also, her short story "The Curl of Emma Jean" appears in the anthology UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature and Science (Fighting Monkey Press). UnCommon Origins presents twenty-two depictions of moments on the precipice, beginnings both beautiful and tragic. Fantastical stories of Creation, Feral Children, Gods and Goddesses (both holy and horrific), and possibilities you never dared imagine come to life. Including stories from some of the most talented Speculative Fiction and Magical Realism authors around, UnCommon Origins revisits the oldest questions in the universe: Where did we come from? and What comes next?


Hats Off! to Russell Colver whose poem "Commencement" has won the North Carolina Literary Review's 2016 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition. Colver will receive $250, and the poem will be published in the 2017 print issue of the North Carolina Literary Review due out next summer. Colver's poem “Acceptable Losses” was also recognized for honorable mention and will be published in NCLR Online in early 2017.

NCWN Trustee Paul Jones won Second Place for his poem “Clear Channel," and his poem “Basketball Is a Kind of Poetry” won an Honorable Mention.

Other poets whose poems were selected as finalists and for publication in 2017 are Peg Bresnahan, Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Susan M. Lefler, Joan Leotta, Gina Malone, Priscilla Melchior, Diana Pinckney, Tori Reynolds, and Susan Schmidt.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose short story "White Iris" won Second Place in the 2016 Savannah Anthology Short Story Contest.


Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

$16.99, hardcover / $10.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-484775035
July, 2016
Fiction: Middle Grade
Available from your local bookstore or

"Triumphant after her defeat of the Man in the titular Black Cloak in her 2015 debut, Serafina cannot rest on her laurels for long: a new, mysterious evil force has entered the woods and set its sights on the Biltmore Estate. Serafina has slipped into a comfortable routine at Biltmore. The odd-looking girl learns the ways of catamounts from her shape-shifting momma while continuing her cozy home life with her white adoptive pa, enjoys friendship with Braeden Vanderbilt, and maintains a vermin-free environment as Chief Rat Catcher. Suddenly, as a new terror surfaces in the woods, three strangers appear: a snooty British girl named Lady Rowena Fox-Pemberton, the scarred investigator Detective Grathan, and a terrifying gray-bearded man with a twisted staff. On the mountain, all the birds have fled, other animals have gone missing, and sticky black pinesap oozes from the trees. While Mr. Vanderbilt cooperates with Detective Grathan and Braeden entertains Lady Rowena, Serafina must unravel the mystery before all the animals disappear. Beatty delivers an action-packed, suspenseful, emotionally resonant sequel. Serafina's resilience and determination inspire and rally the other characters. Beatty continues to build a fascinating magical world, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore Estate developing beyond mere settings into characters themselves. Each place reveals history and clues to Serafina's life and those of other gifted, mysterious beings. Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end."
Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)

Serafina's defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she's too wild for Biltmore's beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin..

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she's convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise..

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina's role as Biltmore's protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina's best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees..

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she'd ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville with his wife and three daughters who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the grand Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. Mr. Beatty's Disney-Hyperion novel Serafina and the Black Cloak became a New York Times Bestseller the first week it was launched. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, he was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his book, Robert said, "Serafina's journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters."

Hats Off! to Dana Stone who has three poems forthcoming in Snapdragon, Fox Adoption Magazine, and Music for the Prose.


Blessing to Be Blue: A Memoir by Mable Singleton-Murrell

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$15.00, paperback / $20.99, hardcover / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-530477456
April, 2016
Nonfiction: Faith
Available from your local bookstore or

The author shares her story of precociousness as a young girl gifted with maturity beyond her years. After losing her mother at age 11, she struggles without guidance to survive in the world. She becomes a single mother at 17, and fights to escape poverty. Her journey from early childhood to adulthood was fraught of instability and challenges. Her genuine faith in God gave her solace and protection to weather the storms of life.

The book is a poignant retelling of her experiences as an inferior observer seeking to belong a coming to the discovery that belonging begins with self-acceptance. Blessing To Be Blue reads like a novel that touches you in ways that will enlighten, inspire, and entertain. It uncovers many truths about life. It is a memoir of faith, hope, and love.

Mable Singleton-Murrell is retired from a career in Wake County Government where she worked as a human services administrator. She was committed to improving the quality of life for the chronically mentally ill adults. In her retirement, she is steadfast in her lifelong pursuit of knowledge as well as a voice for women and men who are overcoming life's challenges.

Her academic career began at Craven Community College where she earned an Associates in Applied Science in childhood education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services Administration from Antioch University Philadelphia, and a Master's of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from North Carolina State University.

She delights in her family and enjoys spending time with them in Apex, North Carolina.

Hats Off! to James T. Crouse whose legal thriller Broken Eagle was favorably reviewed by Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, in Midwest Book Review (Small Press Bookwatch, August). "Part of what sets Broken Eagle apart from genre thriller or investigative reads is its in-depth focus on military and aviation processes. Readers who are used to lawyer protagonists operating fairly narrowly in courtroom proceedings will be delighted to find that (the protagonist's) prowess and purposes embrace far more than courtroom environments and client encounters. Another notable feature of Broken Eagle is its attention to developing subplots that detail a host of special interests and their sometimes-conflicting interactions....The result is far more than the usual kind of story 'legal thriller' genre readers will expect, and is highly and especially recommended for anyone who appreciates military intrigue and aviation legal matters wound into the bigger picture of those who have sacrificed for their nation in more ways than one."


Hats Off! to Paula Martinac whose short story "Eds and Meds" is forthcoming in Main Street Rag.


Hats Off! to Blaine Paxton Hall whose article "Learning the Thunder" appears in Raleigh's The News & Observer.


Hats Off! to Staci Lynn Bell who won a Silver medal for her short story "Cheyenne" and a Bronze medal for her poem "Time" in the North Carolina Cherokee/Clay Silver Arts 2016. Also, her poem "Escape" appears in the anthology Wish You Were Here (Old Mountain Press). This poem was originally published in Wild Goose Poetry Review.


Worthy by Carla G. Harper

$8.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-997190717
May, 2016
Fiction: Southern / Coming-of-Age
Available from your local bookstore or

Worthy Stokes grew up in a house full of secrets, a place where whispers floated from underneath closed doors and stories about the way things were went unquestioned.

Worthy lives in a house full of secrets, then in the summer of 1945 a murder changes everything.

Seventeen-year-old Worthy lives in a house full of secrets where everyone dutifully plays their role. She copes by creating outlandish dreams of a bright future and relying on her wits. In the summer of 1945, her father is accused of a sensational murder. Her plans to get out of Hogan’s Creek suddenly become tied up in a reckless yet exciting pursuit of truth and ultimately justice. She’ll nearly lose her life, but along the way she finds love, hope, and the truth about her family in unlikely places.

Worthy is a coming-of-age story based loosely on the murder of a Melungeon horse trader in the late 1700s on the border between North Carolina and Virginia. Melungeons are a tri-racial people who originated in North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the 1500s when pirates and explorers frequented the Atlantic sea lanes. Their Western European, Native American, and African bloodlines resulted in many shades of brown and often odd gray eyes. An individual’s appearance impacted how they made their way in society through the ages.

Worthy grapples with questions about love, belonging, and justice.

Hats Off! to Staci Lynn Bell whose poem "Unanswered Prayers" is forthcoming in KAKALAK 2016 scheduled for release this fall.


Kill All Cats by Rick Bylina

$13.99, paperback
ASIN: 1533581916
June, 2016
Fiction: Mystery / Anti-Cozy
Available from

"Brilliant! Rick Bylina has written a masterful tale of mystery, suspense, paranoia, and wit. In Kill All Cats, when the bodies of Nedra Kratz and her thirty-eight felines are discovered, everyone in the cul-de-sac neighborhood of Apex, North Carolina, is suspect, especially the protagonist, Ron Black. But, Ron has an alibi…or does he? The suspense begins on page one and doesn’t let up through thunderstorms, bowling alleys, haunted research labs, and Ron Black’s locked house. Brisbane, Ron’s pet cockatiel, seems better at solving the mystery than the detectives. A real page turner and a shining FIVE Stars!"
—Shelia Bolt Rudesill, Pittsboro, NC, author of Child of my Heart

"No one does 'whodunnit' like Rick Bylina.This book is a masterful mix of suspense and human drama that will keep you reading late into the night. The characters are vibrant, the animal welfare theme poignant, and the story goes beyond entertainment to a depth one rarely finds in this genre. It’s a jewel which I'm proud—and honored—to have had the opportunity to read it as an ARC, and which deserves a wide and diverse audience."
—Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Curacao, author of The Miracle of Small Things

"Provocative title—wicked cover—what is this author's agenda? Surely he jests! He jests. It's one of the things I like best about Rick Bylina's prose. I picture him in real life saying shocking things with a straight face, just to see how people will react. There are extended scenes with friends in a bowling alley. I have no interest in bowling. The characters kept me turning pages anyway. Just don't remind me of Phil. Or the dead cats. (In real life, no cats were harmed in the writing of this story. All right. All right.) Still, if I think about it too long, I'll be yanking stars back, saying How DARE you, Rick, how DARE you! (less)"
—Carol Kean, Top Vine Amazon Reviewer

Ron Black is a thirty-five-year-old night security guard living a moribund existence. Past deeds need to stay buried for him to remain a free man. When the elderly cat lady next-door dies along with her thirty-eight cats, Ron feels the investigative heat from Detectives Moore and Porter. His alibi: “I was at work.” The police disrupt Ron’s life, which he shares with Brisbane, his cockatiel. He squawks surprisingly relevant quotes learned from watching crime show reruns 24/7—some of which don’t help Ron’s situation. Ron picks up clues about what happened next-door from conflicting comments by his odd neighbors: “She was popped.” “Poisoned.” “Chopped up.” The neighbors include Ron’s estranged great-uncle Kirk, a disgruntled scientist, who had worked at the pharmaceutical company where Ron is the night guard. When Ron’s only friend, Jean, disappears, the police double-down on him as a suspect for this crime, too. The next day, the police infer his arrest in twenty-four hours for the crime at his neighbor’s house. Despite the pressure to save himself, he is compelled to find his friend. Sprinkle a bit of an Agatha Christie closed-room mystery with the situational humor of Evanovich for a high-level concept as Ron tries to “…control what he can control.” And just when you think it’s all over, another layer of horror reveals itself, and Ron didn’t even see it coming.

Rick Bylina lives with his wife and Sydney, a twenty-five-year-old cockatiel, near Apex, NC, on five wooded acres where his imagination runs free. Ongoing corporate downsizing convinced him to tap into his passion. He scribbled any crazy idea that crossed his mind. After gaining discipline, he wrote his debut mystery novel, One Promise Too Many, the first in a series, featuring Detective Roger Stark. Next was highly acclaimed, A Matter of Faith. All of Our Secrets was his third mystery novel. A flash fiction collection, Bathroom Reading—Short Stories for Short Visits came next. His former #1 bestselling poetry book, Poems for a Platypus is available at most book sellers. Writing happens spontaneously between housework, gardening, cooking, chopping wood, and wrestling alligators. His writing motto is—The only rule: writers write! Everything else is a guideline. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He can be found at

Hats Off! to Jennifer Weiss whose poem "Without Breathing" will appear in KAKALAK 2016.


Hats Off! to Jim Minick whose novel Fire Is Your Water is due out from Ohio University Press early in 2017. Also, his short nonfiction piece “Birth" just appeared in the online journal Still. And this Fall, Poets & Writers will publish an article on his experience teaching in one MFA program while studying in another. Look for it in the September/October issue.


Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird, of Harrisburg, who received an Honorable Mention in the Savannah Authors Workshop Writing Contest. Her story "Revival" will be published in the Savannah Anthology 2016 coming out late summer.


A Year Since the Rain by Shane Wilson

Snow Leopard Publishing
$16.00, paperback / $26.50, hardcover / $2.99, e-book
ASIN: 1944361081
March, 2016
Fiction: Magic Realism
Available from your local bookstore or

Alan—a heart-broken and stubborn computer programmer—took much in his life for granted, including the vast supply of water in his town. But when the rains stop falling and the rivers dry up, he begins to realize how temporary it all can be. His life begins to unravel as, across town, a sinkhole threatens to swallow every bit of the place he has come to call home.

Taken on a journey of self-discovery by the magical women in his life, Alan is drawn into an unexpected affair and comes face-to-face with a Mystic who walks through his dreams. For Alan, dreams become a new reality, and reality erodes into something of a dream. As his town transforms into an arid wasteland that crumbles beneath his feet, Alan is compelled by the inevitable to strike out into the unknown or perish.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in south Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

No matter the temperature outside, there is always an iced coffee in his hand when he walks into class in the mornings. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey and a re-run of The Office.

Shane has published poetry in Tethered by Letters and the Stonepile Writers' Anthology, Volume III. He is currently at work on a new novel as well as a collection of short stories based on the mythos of and set in the same town as A Year Since the Rain.

SOUTHERN PINES—On Sunday, October 16, at 2:00 pm, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame will induct three new members.

Clyde Edgerton, Margaret Maron, and Carl Sandburg will join the fifty-seven inductees currently enshrined, in a ceremony at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame celebrates and promotes the state’s rich literary heritage by commemorating its leading authors and encouraging the continued flourishing of great literature. Inductions are held every other year. A list of inductees, as well as samples of their work and video clips of past inductions, can be found online at

Clyde Edgerton, raised in the Bethesda community near Durham, is the author of ten novels, a book of advice, a memoir, short stories, and essays. Three of his novels—Raney, Walking Across Egypt, and Killer Diller—have been made into feature films, and seven of his books have been adapted for the stage.

He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and five of his novels have been New York Times Notable Books. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington. He lives in Wilmington, NC, with his wife, Kristina, and their children.

Margaret Maron is the author of thirty novels and two collections of short stories. Winner of several major American awards for mysteries (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity), her works are on the reading lists of various courses in contemporary Southern literature and have been translated into sixteen languages. She has served as president of Sisters in Crime, the American Crime Writers League, and Mystery Writers of America.

A native Tar Heel—and a cousin of 2014 NCLHOF inductee Shelby Stephenson—she lives on her family's farm a few miles southeast of Raleigh, the setting for Bootlegger's Daughter, which is numbered among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. In 2004, she received the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for best North Carolina novel of the year. In 2008, she was honored with the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor. In 2013, she was named a Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America for lifetime achievement, and won the R. Hunt Parker Award for Significant Contributions to the Literature of North Carolina.

Carl Sandburg was born in a three-room cottage in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878. The son of Swedish immigrants, young Sandburg spent time as a milkman, bricklayer, wheat thresher, shoeshiner, hobo, and soldier before making his name as a journalist, biographer, and poet. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for his multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, and his second in 1951 for his Complete Poems.

In 1945, Sandburg and his family—along with their herd of prize-winning goats and their collection of thousands of books—moved to a farm outside Flat Rock, now the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Sandburg died there in 1967.

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was founded in 1996, under the leadership of poet laureate Sam Ragan, and 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.

For more information, visit the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame at or the North Carolina Writers’ Network at


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem, "The Greatest," appears in the online rag The Skinny Poetry Journal, June, 2016.


The Serpentine Flower by Joseph LS Terrell

$14.95, paperback / $6.99, e-Book
ISBN: 978-162268-047-4
May, 2016
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

When Mary Ann Little returns to the Tracks Community Theater for the first time since her husband's untimely onstage death, she is horrified to discover the body of young Sarah Atkins backstage. Mary Ann is convinced that Sarah's death was no accident, but everyone, including the chief of police, seems reluctant to discuss the possibility that someone in small-town Camford Courthouse is a killer.

Mary Ann's regrets vocalizing her suspicions when her nineteen-year-old son emerges as a suspect. To unravel the mystery, Mary Ann goes back to work for Thaddeus Sinclair, the editor of the local paper and a "rumpled skeptic" for whom Mary Ann becomes aware of a growing attraction. It soon becomes clear that this small town near North Carolina's Outer Banks harbors more more than its share of secrets.

But can Mary Ann uncover those secrets and flush out the killer while juggling her new job, her burgeoning romance, her part-time work at the local library, and the unexpected role of "third witch" in the theater's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth? And even more important, can she do it all without getting herself killed?

Joseph L.S. Terrell makes his home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, his native state, where he continues the craft of fiction writing—with a little fishing, golfing, and boating thrown in. Website:

Hats Off! to Larry W. Fish whose novella, Out of the Darkness, about school bullying, is at the publisher and should be available sometime around the first of August. It should be read by students, parents, and teachers.


Hats Off! to Henderson County regional rep Patricia Vestal whose flash fiction "DIRT" appeared on FlashFlood for National Flash Fiction Day, June 25. She was also quoted in an article on the Lost Playwrights of Western North Carolina in the July-August edition of The Dramatist, the official publication of the Dramatists Guild of America, of which she is a member. North Carolina Dramatists Guild rep. Kim Stinson profiles the group, which meets the third or fourth Saturday monthly in the Hendersonville Public Library Kaplan Auditorium. Guests are invited. There are no fees.


Stella's Special Summer by Carol Z. Lunney-Hampson

Kakapo Press
$12.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0986383526
June, 2015
Fiction: Young Adult
Available from

"Stella takes us 'up the Cabin' for an unforgettable summer with her family six decades ago before organized sports and technology (i.e. ipads and ipods) were required for summer fun. Readers of all ages will enjoy the gentle historic look, bringing back memories and opening eyes with delight and surprise."
—Marvis Josaitis, Ph.D, author of Pennies From a Heav'n which won Honorable Mention in 2012 Paris Book Festival

In the summer of 1955, Stella, age eleven, works and plays with her family in a fish camp by a Pennsylvania river. Her parents are trying to earn enough money to pay off a bank note on their cabin. For Stella, this is a summer of emotional losses and growth. She forms a special friendship with a huge white horse and his owner. Luckily, by solving a mysterious crime, she is able to save the cabin.


Carol Z. Lunney-Hampson graduated from Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania, and moved south to Greenville, North Carolina, where she graduated with a Master's Degree in Biology from East Carolina University. In her professional career, she taught college Biology, researched and published in the field of Electron Microscopy, and spent twenty-plus years working in product development, management, and marketing in the world of pharmaceuticals. Presently retired, she lives on a creek near the coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina, with her husband and enjoys writing, sailing, gardening, golf, and tennis.

Hats Off! to NCWN communications director Charles "LC" Fiore whose short story "In Limbo" appears in the inaugural issue of The Ottawa Object.


Hats Off! to Marni Graff whose novel The Green Remains, book two in The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, has won First Place for "Best Classic British Cozy" in The Mystery & Mayhem Awards 2014 from Chanticleer Media.


Monsters by Maggie Riggans

$14.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1502467164
September, 2014
Fiction: Horror/Suspense
Available from

Katelyn Sheppard, Kate for short, and five of her peers are taken to fight for their lives after being abducted. Will she survive? Discover who the monster really is.

Maggie Riggans is a sixteen-year-old author from North Carolina. She became a published author at the age of fifteen. She also owns the blog Rest And Rhythms and has a love for the Lord.










A Way I Sing by Patty Cole

Main Street Rag
$8.00, paperback
September, 2015
Available for pre-order from the publisher

"Saying Patty Cole writes about death is far too simplistic an assumption. While there is suicide and haunting music playing in the background among the cows, snakes, and birds, we understand how one doesn’t need to repeat the past; rather, the pain of the past allows us to be more mindful of the present. Cole is a master at using one-word images to streamline complicated emotions. (‘Twenty little birds flew in a torrent toward an oak tree / in the middle of a meadow / then up through a sky suddenly ripped open.’) Within Cole’s collection of journeys we feel degrees of loss from a daughter losing her mother to decayed fruit in the refrigerator to the loss of young lives after Sandy Hook. Thanks to Cole’s work, we’re reminded that when we embark on any journey, we may lose our innocence, but gain deep knowledge. Drink up these poems to find the bits of your life ‘in the dust lining every room, / sticking to cobwebs where memories hang.’"
—Alice Osborn, author of Heroes without Capes and editor of Creatures of Habitat

Part of the MSR Author’s Choice Chapbook Series

Night to Day

I stand in the backyard smoking, 3 a.m.,
no sleep for zombies like me.
Curse Hollywood horror movies.
I imagine vampires are tipping the waiter,
rummaging in their pockets for loose change,
full of cat, rat, and possum, then stealing away
to die all over again.

I die knowing the moon will raise her speckled skirt,
and the sun will subtract while the mockingbird
sings a new day—all before I’ll sleep.

Even Venus will fade.


Patty Cole lives on a farm in Chatham County, North Carolina, where she and her husband raise chickens, goats, and scrumptious delights from their orchard and garden. She studied English and French at West Virginia State University where she graduated with honors. She has earned awards from the Fields of Earth Poetry Contest and the North Carolina Poetry Society.

RALEIGH—On Saturday, September 19, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the North Carolina Writers’ Network will host “Indiependents Day,” a chance for authors to learn about what happens to their books long after they finish writing them, and how books find readers.

Held at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, in Raleigh, this one-of-a-kind event will offer five sessions over the course of the day, from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm.

NCWN members receive a special discount. The cost is $100 for members, $150 for non-members. If you're a member of NCWN, apply the following promotion code at checkout:


Not a member? Join here.

Registration will be capped at 100: Register here.

“Successful authors know that their job isn't done when they complete their latest manuscript,” said NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. “They know their job's not done when the book is published. ‘Indiependents Day’ will tell authors—working in any genre, with any sort of publisher, including themselves—how to finish their job, and work with bookstores to get their books into readers' hands.”

Led by both booksellers and authors, the sessions begin with “The End Is Not the End,” which will instruct registrants on what an author needs to know (and keep in mind) once he or she finishes writing a manuscript and starts thinking about publication.

Later that morning, “Your Bookseller, Your Friend” will offer a plan for how to get booksellers to stock, display, and hand-sell a book—without bugging them to death.

“Tours of Duty” is the third session, where authors will learn how to plan, promote, and behave themselves on their author tours.

Participants will then break for lunch, and have the option of purchasing a ticket to the SIBA Discovery Show Saturday Lunch featuring Lee Boudreaux, current editor at Ecco Press, who is launching her new imprint at Little, Brown: Lee Boudreaux Books. Registrants may also have lunch on their own.

Post-lunch, Session IV offers “The Shelf Is Not the End (the Reader Is),” what an author needs to do to keep their book(s) on—and flying off—the shelves, after the new-release window has closed and the tour is done.

SIBA’s Nicki Leone (aka Lady Banks) will lead the final session, “What SIBA Does, and Can Do for You.” Here, authors will learn how to work with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance to reach bookstores and readers. This session concludes with a tour of the trade show floor, which is likely each registrant's only opportunity to walk the floor, as the show is not open to the public.

Online registration closes Friday, September 11. Register here.

“Indiependents Day” runs in conjunction with the 2015 SIBA 40th Anniversary Discovery Show in Raleigh. Nearly 300 tables manned by southeastern booksellers will fill a trade-show floor that is Southern in its friendliness, social gatherings, and intimacy, and encourages many informal exchanges of ideas.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is a trade association which represents over 300 bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mississippi. It exists to empower, promote, and celebrate their core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership.

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











Mrs. Hudson in New York by Barry S. Brown

MX Publishing
$16.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-780927886
July, 2015
Fiction: Mystery
Available for pre-order from your local bookstore or

Mrs. Hudson is at it again. Accompanied by Holmes and Watson, she crosses the ocean to attend the wedding of her cousin's daughter only to discover that the young lady's fiance, a pitcher for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, stands accused of an attempt on the life of J.P. Morgan and the death of his aide.

To prove his innocence the unacknowledged sage of Baker Street will lead Holmes and Watson on a path of investigation taking them from J.P. Morgan's mansion to the gambling dens of New York's Tenderloin. Along the way she will enlist the assistance of Mark Twain to frustrate efforts to corrupt the game of baseball, and rescue the prospective bride and groom from would-be assassins before returning finally to the comparative quiet of 221B Baker Street.

Barry S. Brown is the author of three volumes describing the exploits of Mrs. Hudson and her colleagues as well as half a dozen short stories. He has also published widely in the fields of mental health, criminology, and drug abuse over the course of a career in clinical research. He had been inclined to rest on his laurels until he discovered their pointy leaves.

Hats Off! to Vicki L. Weavil whose novel Crown of Ice is now a series. Her publisher, Month9Books, has acquired Scepter of Fire and Orb of Light, two companion novels to Crown of Ice. Scepter of Fire will be published in 2016, publication date of Orb of Light is currently planned for 2017. The two books continue the story and include the major characters from Crown of Ice, but are each told by a different protagonist. Also inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, Scepter of Fire is influenced by "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," and Orb of Light by "The Little Match Girl."










Buried Seed by Martha O. Adams

House of Myrrth
$13.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-0980141818
March, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or

"Between what Martha O. Adams sees and what she says about it dwells a field of music that shapes her every expression. The world doesn't look, or sound, the same as it did once you look up from her poems."
—Laura Hope-Gill, poet laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Director, Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative

"Adams' poetry engages the senses and envelops the soul, always evoking through her multitude of voices, a harmonious image of humanity and our interconnectedness with the natural world."
—Jessica Nevitt, MA, Educator and Blogger for New York Times Schoolbook

"In these poems, you are invited to bear witness to transformative moments as experienced by a writer who tenderly cares for them as if they were seedlings and she looks to your hands to hold them, soil, roots and all. Martha O. Adams' handling of words is authentic, precise, and in the moment, a reflection of how she chooses to live her life. In a transplanted state after meditating with her work, I am in a carefully constructed place which invites my own journey. I cannot think of any higher praise for a poet than to say she moves the reader this far, creating one's own place of beginnings. Much like a buried seed."
—Jay Joslin, author, One for the Nameless; poet, clinician/counselor, community minister

As we stumble into awareness of our impact on the earth, Adams' poems are lit candles that focus the eye with her ruthless gaze into the human heart. She finds there a sanctuary of uncommon strengths and shadowed frailties where buried seeds root and bloom.

Adams makes a garden in your heart's fertile ground and sows her love poems with an experienced hand. "You must marry the earth," she announces. Tender moments shine like prisms hung in a breeze. She takes you where time disappears; inside an okra seed, wilderness canoeing, making love, even inside a dream to take a lesson with a blues man. You'll stand "ankle deep in this heathen holy land" at ocean's edge, time travel to swing from a beam in a Kansas barn, and mourn with her the savage losses common to us all.

Martha O. Adams studied cello from second grade through college, rich compost for the musicality of her verse. Adams' poetry springs from roots in Ohio, Kansas, Illinois, and Connecticut. Her tree of poems has flourished long in the mountains of western North Carolina, bearing winter fruit in the Florida Keys. She has two other collections of poems: What Your Heart Needs to Know (2008) and Peeling the Rind (2000). Her Reader's Theater Play poem, "She Rises Through the Sickle Moon," has been performed in locations from New England to Florida.

Adams' poems have been published in magazines and four anthologies, most recently in the pages of Crossing Lines Anthology; Main Street Rag (2015), and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol.VII, NC (Texas Review Press, 2015).

Martha performs her poems wherever invited with a sense of joy for opportunities to awaken a love for poetry that lies sleeping in the human heart. She grows most of the family vegetables in her organic garden and lives with her husband, Bob, in Hendersonville.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash fiction piece "A Glimpse of Glory" is forthcoming in September's Indiana Voice Journal.


Hats Off! to Janet Joyner of Winston-Salem who won the Poetry category of the 2015 Winston-Salem Writers Flying South anthology contest for her poem, "Breast Stroke." NCWN board member Alice Osborn of Raleigh received an Honorable Mention for her poem, "Entreaty to Young Editors."


Hats Off! to Jennifer Bean Bower of Winston-Salem whose story "Through Tide, Time, and Turmoil" won First Place in the Flash Fiction category of the 2015 Winston-Salem Writers Flying South anthology contest.


Hats Off! to Hampton Hofer of Raleigh and Gary Bolick of Clemmons who won Third Place in the Short Story and Creative Nonfiction/Memoir categories, respectively, in the 2015 Winston-Salem Writers Flying South anthology contest. Hofer's story was "Hurricane Season." Bolick's essay was "Felix and the Silver Surfer."










The Ghost of Battle Ridge by Susan La Serna

Warren Publishing
$10.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-943258055
April, 2015
Fiction: YA / Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

"The woods darkened as clouds gathered into the late winter sky. Soldiers were shouting in the background, while the ripple of musket and grapeshot bounced off the trees... A clap of thunder pierced the silence.... They were scared, they were more than scared. They were in the midst of war!"

When school kids unearth an old canteen near a graveyard...What happens next is Revolutionary!

The Ghost of Battle Ridge is based on the Revolutionary War's Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina. This engaging and entertaining book for young adults weaves the lives of 21st Century classmates as they encounter a phantom of the colonial past. The classmates are confronted by the harsh realities and inequities of our New Nation. The Ghost of Battle Ridge is the perfect addition to social studies literacy circles and read alouds.

Susan La Serna, author and teacher lives in Raleigh, NC. She was nominated for the Gilder-Lehrman American History award for Wake County Public schools in 2013.This award recognizes those who promote American History through teaching, writing, and public speaking. Susan is an avid storyteller, writer, and teacher. The book The Ghost of Battle Ridge was awarded the Eric Hoffer finalist award for young readers. The story was inspired by by her many years teaching US history in California and North Carolina. Susan La Serna graduated from the University of California, Sacramento. She has a Bilingual Cross Cultural teaching credential. Susan La Serna has also published bilingual Indigenous legends for children. She is currently writing a young adult book on World War II. Susan and her husband Sabad have three adult children and three grandchildren who live in California and North Carolina.

RALEIGH—Members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network can get their book(s) in front of nearly 600 independent booksellers at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2015 Trade Show, September 18-20, in Raleigh.

NCWN will have a table at this event featuring books by current Network members. Authors are invited to send up to five copies each, of up to three of their titles, for display.

Registration is now closed.

The hope is that booksellers will take these giveaway copies home with them to read—and later order and promote the books at their stores. At the very least, it’s excellent exposure to the men and women who do the hard work of selling books every day.

Held at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown in Raleigh, this year’s SIBA 40th Anniversary Discovery Show offers a trade show floor alive with books—more than 300 tables manned by sales representatives who are familiar with both the rewards and the difficulties of selling books in the Southeast.

The trade show is Southern in its friendliness, social gatherings, and intimacy, encouraging many informal exchanges of ideas. Select authors will be on-hand for readings and book-signings, as well as scheduled talks, encouraging lots of conversations about exciting new titles.

“Our members regularly tell us their experience at the show—the things they learn and the connections they make with publishers and other booksellers—is one of the most valuable business resources they have,” said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. “Large store or small, everyone seems to come away from the show with new ideas and new energy.”

2015 marks SIBA’s 40th Anniversary. Thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts, SIBA will be able to bring every SIBA member store to its 40th Anniversary Discovery Show.

That means NCWN members have never had a better opportunity to place their books in front of more Southern booksellers at one time—an opportunity that is unlikely to come around again, at least until SIBA turns fifty.

class=Interested in having your book displayed in front of nearly 600 booksellers? 

For more information on the SIBA 40th Anniversary Discovery Show in Raleigh, click here.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is a trade association which represents over 300 bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mississippi. It exists to empower, promote, and celebrate their core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership.

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











Dead Right Returning by Joseph L.S. Terrell

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback / $5.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-62268-079-5
May, 2015
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"With the deadpan savvy delivery of Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and the clipped declarative sentences of Dashiell Hammett, this volume, like its predecessors, reaches out in the very first sentence, grabs you by the lapels, and never lets up."
—Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina Poet Laureate

"Smooth writing from an eloquent storyteller goes down like fine scotch. This is a keeper."
—Marrie Toussaint, author of Cleopatra Jones Mysteries

An early morning boater is horrified to find the slain body of a young man tied by his wrists to the ladder on one of the permanent channel markers leading to the Manteo Waterfront. This discovery launches a multi-pronged investigation into a network of drug dealings—and more bodies in the heretofore peaceful pre-Christmas days at North Carolina's Outer Banks. The book, the fifth in a series, features crime writer Harrison Weaver.

Joseph Terrell, a native North Carolinian who now makes his home on the Outer Banks, is the author of nine novels. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he has more than forty years of published writing experience in fiction and journalism.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "The Moth" was accepted for the new Janes Boy Press publication Ishka Bibble. It will appear in the October issue.


Hats Off! to Paula Martinac and Mary Meinelt, who were both named finalists in the 2015 Prime Number Magazine Awards: Paula for her short story “Eds and Meds," and Mary for her essay “Nothing to Be Afraid Of—Rachel’s Story."


Hats Off! to Denise S. Cline whose short story "Plow Under" won Second Prize in the 2015 Prime Number Magazine Award for Short Fiction. Publication will be in Prime Number Magazine #79 in October.


GREENVILLE, NC—The deadline to register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Squire Summer Writing Residency has been extended to 5:00 pm on Friday, July 10. All registrations must be received and paid in full at that time.

Poetry workshop leader Amber Flora Thomas will be featured on The State of Things with Frank Stasio on Thursday, July 9, during the noon hour. The State of Things, produced by 91.5 WUNC, brings "the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina" all across the state, from the mountains to the sea.

The Squire Summer Writing Residency offers ten workshop sessions over four days, allowing participants to work in-depth on their own writing, as well as their colleagues’, while also studying the principles of the genre with their instructor. Other features include faculty readings, panel discussions, and open mic sessions for attendees.

Jan DeBlieu will lead the workshop in Creative Nonfiction. Luke Whisnant will lead the Fiction workshop.

"In three and half days we shared the equivalent of a week of class time," said NCWN member and 2014 attendee Bo Bowden. "The camaraderie built was unique to this NCWN event—for me, it’s where the ‘network’ came to life!"

The NCWN 2015 Squire Summer Writing Residency runs July 23-26 at East Carolina University in Greenville. Registration is open through July 10. Don’t delay: register now!











Slow of Study by David E. Poston

Main Street Rag
$13, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-534-8
November, 2015
Available for pre-order ($7!) from the publisher

"David Poston’s Slow of Study does his heart good—and mine too—triumphing out of the old blind bewilderment of sin, improvising toward a grace and roar of words to figure, finally, the way to worlds of dark light waiting to be felt and embraced."
—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current North Carolina Poet Laureate

"David E. Poston’s Slow of Study is an steadfast, sonically sophisticated collection of strong-headed and strong-hearted poems that never dwell in ethereal or purposefully befuddling linguistic games. Instead, these poems are sharp-eyed critiques and candid narratives, as well as bittersweet and sometimes bellicose appraisals of Southern religious experience. Too, these poems are often genuinely humorous. Consequently, there’s real love in this volume, a love not merely for the world in which contradictions and hypocrisy enrich the wit and the contours of the poetry, but clear appreciation for fiery motifs: family, death, Christianity, and love itself. Poston shows us places 'where the grass ain’t greener at all…' Where the voice is unafraid to sing with fertile lyricism and creative candor, where the poet is unflinching but never reckless, where true originality blossoms from bald, often desolate truths."
—William Wright, author of Tree Heresies and Night Field Anecdote, series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology

"Despite its title, David E. Poston’s Slow of Study is a jaunty collection with a go-for-broke approach that eschews fear and half-measures. Some poems wrestle with Jesus and the Old Testament, while others shake the rafters with a kind of rock poetry. The volume moves toward affirmation not afraid to risk sentiment, ending with the title poem echoing in serenity. The speed and energy of these poems sweep the reader along in a varied dance."
—David Radavich, author of The Countries We Live In

Counting Steps

Smooth-humped stones line the gray path.
In July the herb garden is only sticks
and bleached signs curling in the heat;
even the beetles scatter dust.
But around sudden corners the water-
strings spiral through the thick air,
plucked by unseen fingers
spreading faint tinkling brass
and the laughter of bells
dancing in the hollowed pools,
trickling away through the mosses.

St. Francis bows his cool face into
the gentle chiaroscuro of the goldfish pond
swirled by dangling fingertips.
Washed over by the circling hum of the city,
this is the ebb-time,
under a mazy canopy of vine and branch
woven by birdsong and splash of wings
blue-gray, white-tipped, brown-speckled, scarlet—
God's bright trinkets. Even the least of these
finds cool shade here, a deep spirit-draught,
a music that is never still.

David E. Poston taught for thirty years in various public schools, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and at Charlotte’s Young Writers’ Workshop, and he continues to teach occasional creative writing workshops. His work has appeared in various journals, including Asheville Poetry Review, English Journal, Iodine Poetry Journal, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, and has been widely anthologized. His previous poetry collections are My Father Reading Greek and Postmodern Bourgeois Poetaster Blues, winner of the Randall Jarrell/Harperprints Chapbook Competition. He lives in Gastonia, North Carolina.

Hats Off! to Kathryn Kirkpatrick, winner of the 2015 Brockman-Campbell Book Award for her poetry collection, Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful. She'll receive $200 and an invitation to read at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Anthony S. Abbott's collection, The Angel Dialogues, received an Honorable Mention. The Brockman-Campbell Book Award is given annually by the NCPS for a book-length volume of poetry published the previous year by a native-born North Carolinian or current resident who has lived in the state for at least three years at the time of publication.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Joan Gabrielle—A Handy Name" appears as part of the "All About My Name" Poetry Series from Silver Birch Press.


Hats Off! to Jeremy B. Jones whose memoir Bearwallow (John F. Blair, Publisher) won silver in Foreword Review's INDIEFAB 2014 Book of the Year Award in Autobiography & Memoir.


Hats Off! to Glenda Barrett whose poem "Afterwards" will be published in Coping magazine this September.


Hats Off! to Joe Morris who will have his poem "Evening Clock" published in the upcoming technology theme issue of The Indian River Review.


Hats Off! to Shuly Cawood whose essay "An Unexpected Light" won the 2014 Betty Gabehart Prize in nonfiction. This award is part of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference.


Hats Off! to Tom Wood, author of Vendetta Stone, who was interviewed by the late John Seigenthaler on A Word on Words. The segment aired on Nashville public television. The audio link is available here.











Geography Is Destiny by Madelon Sheff

$11.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4917-3303-5
May, 2014
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

A series of essays with a bittersweet flavor that chronicles the author's experiences living in three distinct areas of the United States. Where you live determines your lifestyle and the people you will encounter.

Maddy takes us on a journey from the Bronx, New York to South Florida and then to North Carolina. In a series of essays divided into four sections, she reveals her memories and experiences. Along the way, she shares some first-hand knowledge of bereavement, widowhood, moving, and coping.

Madelon Sheff is a former Literacy Specialist and Staff Developer. She is a devoted and doting grandmother who believes strongly in keeping active and making a contribution to the community. Among her interests are volunteering, Mah Jongg, Bridge, Music, Art, Scrabble, and Travel. The current senior dating scene is another interest.

Hats Off! to Susan M. Steadman whose ten-minute play, "The Dress," was chosen for production at the Old Courthouse Theatre in Concord, NC, August 21-23. In "The Dress," Delia, an ecologically minded young woman, seeks the perfect wedding dress at a thrift shop but finds much more when Josh offers his assistance. The competition was for playwrights living in North and South Carolina.











Dream the Dawn by Jon Michael Riley

Dry Stack Media
$24, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9913934-0-4
July, 2014
Fiction: Environmental Thriller / Action
Available from your local bookstore or

"Jon Michael Riley's Irish love story, mixed with riveting suspense, makes for a compelling read, leaving your spellbound."
—Bryan Robinson, author of Limestone Gumption

"Jon Michael Riley dreams the dawn with the eye of a photographer, the passion of an environmentalist, and the soul of a lover. His delicious descriptions of Ireland are the setting for an intricate Robin Hood caper and a heartfelt love story."
—Vicki Lane, author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian mysteries

Devastated by the death of both his father and a lover, New York photographer Channey Moran accepts an easy assignment in Ireland. He soon becomes accidentally enmeshed in a bizarre ship hijacking by eco-mercenaries led by an eccentric ex-CIA operative who fascinates the world's news media while horrifying Big Energy.

Local photographer Glennie MacDonald searches the high seas for Channey and finds him moments from drowning. Seeing in him a kindred soul—one she now loves—Glennie nurses him back to life as Ireland erupts in chaos trying to find the allusive leader and his men.

A veteran New York studio and location photographer with work syndicated worldwide by Getty Images, Jon and his wife Catherine relocated to a quiet mountain cove outside of Asheville, NC. After the publication of The Irish File—Images from a Land of Grace, Jon found himself in a health-related situation where photography had become less possible, so began writing, attending writers workshops and conferences, as well as nurturing his interest in Irish history. In addition to three novels completed, Jon is adding to an already finished illustrated book on the Sacred Ireland as well as the third book in the Channey Moran series.

Hats Off! to Terri Kirby Erickson whose poem “Ice Cream Truck” from her new collection, A Lake of Light and Clouds (Press 53), will be read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac. Also, U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser chose a poem from this collection to feature in his American Life in Poetry column in 2015, and another poem from this collection, "Red Tractor," will be featured on Verse Daily.

Hats Off! to Karen Paul Holmes whose poetry reading and discussion at Coffee with the Poet at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva is featured in their podcast.


Hats Off! to Chris Roerden whose essay "Pssst: Commit to Yourself" appears in Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey from Sisters in Crime. In this anthology, fifty-nine mystery authors offer the secrets that helped them navigate their success.











What Came Next by Sybil Austin Skakle

Westbow Press
$17.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-4980-2781-0
April, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

What Came Next is the story of a widow's loves and lives after the death of her husband of thirty-three years. She joins what is equivalent to the local online social groups of today and meets two men whom inhabit her story. She marries Sir Charles of New York, divorces him after seven years, and finally meets the other, Cowpoke, face-to-face in Kansas City, Missouri. He is dying. Family and involvement in a legal suit concerning family land are part of her story, as well. Her greatest struggle is with her own conscience, as she seeks to find her own peace without hurting either man or compromising her love of God and her desire to please him.

Sybil Austin Skakle, born January 10, 1926, in Hatteras, North Carolina, graduated from Hatteras High School in 1943 and from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1949 with a BS Pharmacy degree. Employed as a hospital pharmacist for twenty-three years, she retired in 1990 and began to write and publish books: 2001, Searchings, a book of poetry; 2002, Confessions of an Outer Banks Filly, stories of growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; 2009, Valley of the Shadow, a journey through grief. Her latest is What Came Next, a memoir. A church school teacher and a volunteer for her church choir and a local non-profit entertainment group, she enjoys travel, music, reading, and people. Widowed, she lives in the same house where she raised three sons, beginning in 1958, with husband Don in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Hats Off! to Kim Church, author of the novel Byrd, who was featured in Writing and Wellness, the website of northwest imaginative fiction writer Colleen M. Story.











A Lake of Light and Clouds by Terri Kirby Erickson

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-02-8
April, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

"Nothing could be more natural than enjoying Terri Kirby Erickson's poetry, so colloquial, so everyday in its subjects, and yet so penetrating. Her poems are the kind we share with special friends, and this new volume is so full of gems, I'll have plenty of gifts to go around for years to come."
—Theodore Wiprud, composer and Vice President, Education, New York Philharmonic

"Terri Kirby Erickson, to adapt a phrase from the epigraph by Sharon Randall in A Lake of Light and Clouds, reflects the light she has been given. A skillful poet with a compassionate heart, she is not stingy with this light. She shines it on people she sees, people like Frank and Alice or 'The Man Who Cuts His Grass with Nail Scissors'; gifts from the natural world, including birds and orchids; places as varied as a Waffle House and Västerås, Sweden; material objects, including red tractors and ice cream trucks; and experiences with urologists, hospitals, and family members or friends. T.S. Eliot would call what she does mastering the objective correlative. I call it incarnating light. As Erickson shares images and experiences in her richly textured poems, she invites her readers into her own psyche, a place where we are all likely to feel accepted and warm."
—Felicia Mitchell, author of The Cleft of the Rock

"Terri Kirby Erickson writes poetry about the real stuff, engagingly, with sympathy and an open eye."
—Peter Tork, of blues band Shoe Suede Blues, and former member of The Monkees

"A Lake of Light and Clouds reaffirms that Terri Kirby Erickson has a Poet's Soul and it makes us see everyday things with new eyes and gratitude that beauty is not the exception but the rule of Life."
—Jill Conner Browne, The Sweet Potato Queen and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love and Fat is the New 30

Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of four collections of poetry, including In the Palms of Angels (Press 53, 2011), winner of three international awards, and her newest collection, A Lake of Light and Clouds (Press 53, 2014). Telling Tales of Dusk (Press 53, 2009) was #23 on the Poetry Foundation Contemporary Best Sellers List in 2010. Her work has appeared in the 2013 Poet's Market, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry (a poem from A Lake of Light and Clouds has just been selected to feature in this column in 2015, which makes two poems he has chosen to highlight), North Carolina Literary Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Muse India, The Christian Science Monitor, JAMA, Verse Daily, storySouth, and many others, and has won numerous honors and awards. She was awarded the 2013 Leidig Lectureship at Emory and Henry College, and has taught poetry for the continuing education program at Salem College as well as workshops at Brevard College, Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, and various public schools, libraries, and other venues. She lives in Lewisville, North Carolina, with her husband of many years, surrounded by a wide assortment of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and a family of extremely shy groundhogs. Visit her website at for more information about her work!

Hats Off! to Chris Roerden whose advice to writers, "Submitting Can Be Murder: Strategies for Survival," is part of the just-released Sisters in Crime anthology Breaking and Entering. This collection of succinct essays gives up-to-date advice on how to break into publishing with your mystery novel and includes more than fifty other commercially successful authors.


Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Elizabeth Spencer who won the $30,000 Rea Award for the Short Story for 2013.


Hats Off! to Flora Solomon whose novel, A Pledge of Silence, is finalist in the seventh annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She won a publishing contract with Amazon's Lake Union Publishing, and is in the running for the Grand Prize. Amazon customers are invited to vote for the Grand Prize winner through July 18.


Hats Off! to Marilynn Barner Anselmi whose script, Found Objects, was named a semi-finalist in Firehouse Theatre's (Richmond, VA) Festival of New American Plays.











 Not Born Here: Stories from Marsden N.C. by Dennis Sinar

Knowledgeworks123 Press
$9.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-991006816
June, 2014
Fiction: Regional
Available from your local bookstore or

"Written by a Yankee but filled with southern charm, Not Born Here embraces the heart of southern culture and tradition with humorous and heart-warming stories. Sinar's characters jump off the page with telling details and the cadence of the south in an affectionate nod to his adopted home…"
—Marni Graff, award-winning author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries

"Sinar captures the unique voice and rich color of yesterday’s Coastal Carolina people, rivaling Patsy Moore Ginns’s recounts of Carolina life in her book Rough Weather Makes Good Timber. Each unique story features characters from the fictitious town of Marsden who offer the reader a glimpse into their own unique life experiences. A witty, colorful preservation of local flavor, uniqueness and language spun by a master storyteller."
—Angela Beach Silverthorne, award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies

"Dennis Sinar is a transplanted Yankee whose book, Not Born Here, has captured the experience of encountering a culture and a use of the English language foreign to his own. He has met these characters and their stories with a relish and kindness, retelling them so that we can share with him the sounds, tastes, textures, and visuals that enrich the heritage we Southerners take for granted. You will smile, laugh out loud, and maybe find yourself in some of his characters and their attitudes toward life and home."
—Doris Schneider, author of Borrowed Things

Collection of short stories about southern characters in the fictional town of Marsden, N.C. Humor, foibles, and character back stories about residents of Marsden and how they approach daily living. The format is of a section introducing the characters, followed by a section that tells their stories: finding relationships with southern men to burying a dead cat in the winter.

Dennis Sinar is a retired academic physician who is a listener. His stories start with a nugget of truth, bounce a round a bit in his head, and emerge when they're ready. He publishes a travel blog of his adventures in Alaska laying stone on houses, studying Eastern Medicine in Nepal, and refinishing antique furniture in Pennsylvania among other topics.

Hats Off! to Susan McNabb who is the newest weekly columnist writing for the Tryon Daily Bulletin, "The World's Smallest Daily Newspaper." McNabb's column, Tryon Diary, will highlight local events and people as she explores small town life after living in Los Angeles for nearly three decades.











 Undertow of Vengeance by Joseph L.S. Terrell

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-62268-097-9
June, 2014
Fiction: Mystery
Available at your local bookstore or

When the bodies of a man and woman are found slay in the Outer Banks' Nags Head Woods by crime writer Harrison Weaver, an investigation is launched that proves deadly for others—and potentially so for Weaver and two of his friends. He must act fast to safe the three of them from a deranged killer.

This is the fourth in the Harrison Weaver mystery series set at North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Joseph L.S. Terrell is the published author of eight books, including four mysteries set at the Outer Banks. With a writing career spanning more than forty years, Terrell has published in magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and public relations. A graduate in English from UNC-Chapel Hill, Terrell was awarded a full scholarship to the famed University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.


Hats Off! to Bill Ramsey whose book Me Now - Who Next?: The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery is now available in audio, narrated by Scott R. Pollak.


Hats Off! to Catherine Carter whose poetry chapbook was selected as the winner in this year's Jacar Press competition. Joseph Millar was the Final Judge. "She has good diction and tone, a real subject and a great eye for the image, for the things of this world," Millar said. Carter teaches at Western Carolina University and has published two full-length poetry collections with LSU Press.


Hats Off! to Peggy Payne who shares her thoughts on Monica Lewinsky, the Immaculate Conception, and more in the Op-Ed, "A New Kind of Virginity," in The Washington Post. Payne is the author of three novels, including Cobalt Blue.


The Only Sounds We Make by Lee Zacharias

Hub City Press
$16.95, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-938235009
May, 2014
Memoir / Essays
Available at your local bookstore or

"In Lee Zacharias' elegant and varied essay collection, we enter a world where memory's soundtrack plays quietly beneath every landscape, event, and portrait. Though hers is a life 'coded' by sound, these essays showcase her training in photography. Even in the darkest rooms of this book—black widow spiders, vultures, a father killed by his own hand, a mother 'no daughter could have cherished…enough'—there is light to read by. 'What breaks my heart,' Zacharias writes of her beloved dog Ollie, who literally eats the author's past by chowing down on photo albums and other memorabilia, is 'the beauty of his attention.' Of this essayist's many gifts, perhaps her greatest is the beauty of her attention. Reading The Only Sounds We Make, we lucky readers learn, as the essayist has learned, 'how to read light.'"
—Rebecca McClanahan, author of The Tribal Knot and The Riddle Song

"Poised on nothing but the air of memory and love, Lee Zacharias' The Only Sounds We Make is a stunning safari of a collection, spanning three generations of family, moving us cross-country, from land to water to land, surveying the damages of culture, the gifts of light and language, the miracles of the individual mind. Zacharias pitches her tent at the crossroads of the natural world and the moral universe, and what she gives us is observation and insight to match the best of Annie Dillard, Wendell Berry, and Diane Ackerman. You cannot hold these stories in your hand. They are at once too heavy and too light. But at daybreak, opening the flap of your tent, you might catch the poet's vision for Zacharias has given hers flight."
—Elaine Neil Orr, author of A Different Sun

The Only Sounds We Make is a memoir in the form of personal essays that is deeply concerned with the way language, image, and memory give a life coherence and meaning. Fascinated by the natural world, Zacharias turns to creatures whose language we cannot fathom, from spiders to vultures to dogs, and the mute record of the land through time, to discover what those powers mean. These thirteen deeply metaphorical essays are both intensely personal and vitally concerned with the larger world, including the kingdom beyond our ken. Exploring subjects as diverse as her father's suicide, the great migration that changed the racial composition of Chicago's South Side, the nature of light, and the geology of the Grand Canyon, Zacharias writes with grace, precision, and candor about the experiences that shape our humanity and our relationships, to our parents, to our children, and to past, present, and future.

Lee Zacharias was born in Chicago. A graduate of Indiana University, Hollins College, and the University of Arkansas, she has taught at Princeton University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where for a decade she edited The Greensboro Review. She has held writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Her first novel, Lessons, won North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Award, her second novel, At Random, was a finalist in literary fiction for both the 2013 International Book Award and the 2013 National Indie Excellence Award, and her nonfiction, which has appeared in such journals as Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and The Gettysburg Review, has been reprinted in The Best American Essays. She is a photographer as well as the author of three books of fiction.

Hats Off! to Jim Tobalski whose story, “Musky-in-Law,” is featured in Not Your Mother’s Book…on Family, now out from Publishing Syndicate, containing sixty funny stories that confirm families aren’t always perfect. “Musky-in-law” details a fishing incident gone wrong during a leisurely boat trip across a lagoon with his late mother-in-law. While rowing on Lost Land Lake near Hayward, WI, a twilight bonding experience turned into a battle between fish, man, and mother-in-law. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tobalski worked thirty-seven years in healthcare communications and now lives retired in Charlotte. He also publishes a blog at where he parodies his relationship skills as a husband.








The Speed of Our Lives by Grace C. Ocasio

BlazeVOX Books
$16, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-609641719
June, 2014
Available from the publisher and

"Grace Ocasio’s poems embrace their subjects with a photographic clarity and a chic sense of style. Whether she is mining 'the unmistakable depth' of Garbo’s face, or musing in wonder at Angela Davis’ hair, 'more lavish/ than a Carmen Miranda headpiece,' she taps into the iconic power of her images in order to draw strength from them and offer it to us. These bracing poems celebrate everything from nature to history, to the family, to the famous—and in each, she discovers the music and meaning that lets them bloom in all their strangeness and surprise."
—Elaine Equi

"These are wonderously wrought and craftwise poems!—but 'crafty' too. Grace Ocasio’s new collection, The Speed of Our Lives, is cleverly disguised in the formal and biographical. Within, you’ll hear Holiday’s voice, Garland’s, but, most of all, listen for Grace Ocasio’s marked song of rugged spoken-out-ness. I warn you: these are smart poems, but the facts ain’t always the truth, so watch out for this poet’s storied, brave, slant-light."
&mdsah;Kate Knapp Johnson

"One has only to read the Acknowledgements Page to realize the astonishing breadth of Grace Ocasio’s interests and the variety of places her work has been published as well as awards she has won. The Table of Contents is equally impressive, showing poems embracing myth, history ancient and modern, happenings worldwide and close to home, characters from many cultures. The first section alone focuses on Ruth and Naomi, Esther, Pocahontas, Anne Frank, Audrey Hepburn, Angela Davis, Michelle Obama, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Alondra de la Parra. Research can provide facts about these people, but only the powerful imagination of the poet can recreate their world and take us back with her into their lives."
—Ann Deagon

The collection The Speed of Our Lives consists of four sections: Sheroes, She Revolutionary, Princes and Privates, and Patriots. The first section features famous women (celebrities and non-celebrities alike). The second section explores the poet’s relationship to others whether strangers or family members. More varied in perspective than the first two sections, the third section focuses primarily on historical figures (all male) as well as animals and plants. In the fourth and final section, the poet uses race as her subject matter, examining how race has impacted the lives of black men in particular, from the famous to the not-so-famous (members of her family).

A former two-year college English instructor, Poet/Performer Grace C. Ocasio lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Edwin, and her daughter, Chloe. Twice a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry (2010, 2013), Grace C. Ocasio is a recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Arts Council-funded Regional Artist Project Grant Award. She won honorable mention in the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize, the Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka Prize in Poetry in 2011, and was a scholarship recipient to the 2011 Napa Valley Writers' Conference. She also won second prize in the James Larkin Pearson free verse category of an annual poetry contest sponsored by the Poetry Council of North Carolina in 2008.

Her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Earth's Daughters, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Court Green, phati'tude Literary Magazine, Obsidian, Blast Furnace Press, Broad River Review, the North Carolina Literary Review, and other journals. Her chapbook, Hollerin from This Shack, was published by Ahadada Books in 2009. She has also published essays in other publications including The Charlotte Observer and InterRace. She is a Soul Mountain Retreat fellow and Frost Place alumna. She also served as a reviewer for the online writers’ resource, The Review Review in 2008 and 2009.

Currently, she serves as a contributing editor for Backbone Poetry Journal. She is a member of the Association of Writing and Writing Programs, the Carolina African American Writers' Collective, the North Carolina Poetry Society, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the Charlotte Writers' Club. She has read at venues that include the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina; North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina; the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut; the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston, South Carolina; UNC Chapel Hill's Bull's Head Bookshop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the Sensoria Festival at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, her MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her BA in Print Journalism and English from Howard University, graduating cum laude.

Hats Off! to Kim Church whose debut novel Byrd has been longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose travel article on Belgium, as seen by a mystery lover (Poirot!), will appear in the August issue of Kings River Life.


Hats Off! to Janet Joyner whose poem "Anna Greene" is forthcoming in MayDay magazine.



Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird whose works entitled "The Cape Fear River: Medley of Magnificence" and "In a Sky Near You: One Woman's Story" were published as the feature articles in the Summer 2013 issue of The Carolinas Today magazine.

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1622680399
June, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

Crime writer Harrison Weaver doesn't believe in coincidences--only messages that may not be decipherable at first. That's his feeling when, as he prepares to go kayaking at Buffalo City near the Outer Banks, he discovers the body of a nude young female, hogtied and very dead. The stark scene is especially eerie to him because a month earlier he had been assigned to write about the murder of another young woman who was found nude and hogtied in the backseat of her car in the mountains of North Carolina--400 miles away from Weaver's home at the coastal Outer Banks area. A lawman in the mountains told Weaver, "Up here we may shoot somebody, or stab 'em, or even backup over 'em with a pickup truck. But we don't never hogtie nobody. That's not our kind of killing." As Weaver and his SBI Agent friend attempt to track down the killer or killers, it becomes chillingly clear to Weaver that a young woman close to him could be the next victim...and it's a race against time to try to save her.

Joseph L.S. Terrell is the author of seven books, including a coming-of-age story set in Raleigh at the closing years of World War II and beyond, called Learning to Slow Dance. Recent mysteries set along North Carolina’s Outer Banks are Tide of Darkness: "The Lost Colony" Theater Murders, and Overwash of Evil. The protagonist in both novels, true crime writer Harrison Weaver, came to the Outer Banks seeking peace and quiet, only to become involved in murder investigations that can cost him his life. Today Joseph makes his home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he spends much of his time writing the twists and plots for his next novel.











The Elephant with the Yellow Trunk by S. Lemon

$15.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1481720960
March, 2013
Children's Book
Available at your local bookstore or

A children's book to help inspire our children to respect others no matter their differences. Have you ever witnessed or been a part of bullying and taunting? The elephants at the same zoo as Ziggy tease him because he looks different, and has a yellow trunk. When a very nice elephant named Roger witnesses this taunting and bullying, he begins to talk to Ziggy and help him through the taunting that is being done by the other elephants.

S. Lemon was born in North Carolina. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University and after graduation she spent several years working in corporate America. After a few years of employment, she decided to return to school to obtain another degree in Conflict and Peace Studies. It was during this time, the course of her employment, and juggling the role of a wife and mother to two daughters, that she found her passion and fell in love with writing.

Mrs. Lemon used writing to express her feelings and thoughts on everyday living and to give positive insight on how to enjoy life as we see it. She credits her inspiration and dedication to writing children’s books to the love and respect of the innocence and youthfulness of being a child. Childhood is the most important time for a child to grow, learn, and enjoy life. With bullying and negative peer pressure at an all-time high, S. Lemon decided to utilize her talents and channel all of her efforts to reach out to the children who may be facing similar issues.

The Elephant with the Yellow Trunk takes issues such as taunting that may go on in schools and helps children apply these scenarios to everyday life and show them how to cope and essentially do what is right.


Hats Off! to Leigh Sanders, whose opinion piece "Agony, Grief, and a Refusal to Bend to NC Lawmakers" appeared in the July 16, 2013, edition of the Raleigh News & Observer.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, whose poem "Kitty Hawk Hang Gliding School" won third place in the San Francisco Dancing Poetry Contest.

Tanner Turbeyfill and the Moon Rocks by Anna Browning

Diamond DMT Publishing
$19.95, hardcover
May, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

Tanner Turbeyfill has always wanted to travel to the moon to dig up his very own moon rocks. Much to his surprise, that trip would come sooner than he could have imagined. One night, while documenting a full moon from his tree house Observatory, Tanner notices the moon starting to brighten into a blue color. The mysterious blue light transforms the tree house into a spaceship! Join Tanner on an adventure that takes him to the moon and back.

This beautifully illustrated story includes actual moon facts direct from Tanner's Moon Journal, an illustration of our Solar System, and a narrative audio CD with an original song to learn. Kids everywhere will love it!

Anna Browning grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina. She began writing in 2010 while working in a preschool classroom. She is a graduate of Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It was at UNCC that Anna studied children's literature and fell in love with the genre. She lives in Waynesville, NC, with her fat cat, Leo. Tanner Turbeyfill and the Moon Rocks is her first book:

America One: Return to Earth (Book 4) by T.I. Wade

$7.97, e-book
July, 2013
Available at,, Kobo, and Smashwords

Ryan Richmond has dreamed about going to space since the age of seven. Reading space updates—and seeing pictures of Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface in National Geographic—was the ignition of this dream.

At nineteen he sold his first company and employed the remnants of the Russian Space Program, three of the best space brains in the world. In his twenties he founded and sold two more companies and hired the most outstanding scientists and engineers from the European Space Authority. During his thirties, after selling his third company, he invested heavily in Internet start-ups, like Google, netting billions. Then he patiently waited until NASA’s shuttle program came to an end and contracted the best brains in the U.S. Space program.

Now, Ryan Richmond is in his fifties, has angered, fought with, and shot at many of the World’s most powerful countries from Space, and is not welcome in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ryan doesn’t really care, as he is millions of miles away, enjoying himself flying around the solar system, and about to return to Planet Earth.

T I Wade was born in Bromley, Kent, England in 1954. His father, a banker was promoted with his International Bank to Africa and the young family moved to Africa in 1956. The author grew up in Southern Rhodesia.

Once he had completed his mandatory military commitments, at twenty-one he left Africa to mature in Europe. He enjoyed Europe and lived in three countries: England, Germany and Portugal for fifteen years before returning to Africa; Cape Town in 1989. Here the author owned and ran a restaurant, a coffee manufacturing and retail business, flew a Cessna 210 around desolate southern Africa and finally got married in 1992. Due to the upheavals of the political turmoil in South Africa, the Wade family of three moved to the United States in 1996. Park City, Utah, was where his writing career began.

To date T I Wade has written eleven novels. The Author, his wife, and two teenage children currently live twenty miles south of Raleigh, North Carolina.


Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell, whose nonfiction book Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider's Guide has been reviewed by The Midwest Book Review, and is featured in the July 2013 issue of their book review publication Small Press Bookwatch, on the Health/Medicine Shelf. The review is also posted with the Cengage Learning, Gale interactive CD-ROM series "Book Review Index," which is published quarterly for academic, corporate, and library systems.


Hats Off! to Laura T. Jensen, whose memoir Step by Step recently received a 5-star rating with Barnes & Noble Nook Books as a "great summer read."


Hats Off! to Walter Bennett, whose novel Leaving Tuscaloosa was favorably reviewed in the Southern Literary Review.

Obsession by JoAnne Keltner

Musa Publishing
$3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61937-502-4
January, 2013
Available from the publisher, B&N, and

Abby had the perfect suburban life: shopping sprees at the mall, a pool in her backyard, a dream bedroom, a best friend…That is, until her family moved to the backwoods of Wisconsin.

Abby plans to prove this backwoods dump is no place for a thirteen-year-old. So when her parents hire a carpenter and his son, Greg, she hangs out with the older boy to make her parents worry. But Greg turns out to be a total creep, and although Abby tells him she doesn’t like him, he continues to make her life miserable, watching her, trying to get close to her, threatening her.

What’s creepier is the mysterious brown-haired girl that keeps appearing and disappearing without saying a word. When Abby finds the girl's old diary in the outbuilding, she learns that they share a common enemy, Greg.

Will they share the same fate too?

JoAnne Keltner was born on the South Side of Chicago. As an only child and avid daydreamer, she spent hours alone in her narrow backyard, which she imagined to be everything from an alien planet to the Antarctic. Her earliest memory of wanting to be a writer was when she was in the first grade and created, with crayons and folded sheets of Manila paper, a picture book about squirrels. Today, she is a novelist and technical editor. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Obsession is her first published novel.

A Deadly Provenance by Joanna A. McKethan

Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
$5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-940132-006
June, 2013
Available from

The world Lexi came from was safe, years and miles removed from international intrigue. That all changed when she married into European landed gentry. A Deadly Provenance captures a 1970s snapshot of an altogether different reality, which forms the backdrop for a fast-moving redirection of Lexi’s exotic, yet ordinary, new life, until unresolved conspiracies from her in-laws’ past surface and burst in to threaten Lexi’s marriage to Jon and their life together. Without heavy historical detail, the Cold War ambiance weaves masterfully in and out of their characters’ lives, in just the right amounts of a cultured and historical accuracy, based on experiences drawn from the author’s life in Upper Bavaria and Lower Austria during that period. Lexi, the transplanted Southern blue blood, must face down compound challenges of culture, language, new love, an accident, in-law drama, and now, espionage. Injected into this mix are shadows from her past, thought long since left behind and of no consequence.

As this mix reaches critical mass, the demure NC Magnolia produces a steely side that amazes herself and puts everyone else off guard. Lexi simply refuses to roll over and play dead, and the reader is quickly sucked into this maelstrom with her.

Joanna McKethan was born in Dunn, North Carolina, to parents of English and Scottish descent, and lives on original property from said ancestors just miles down the road from where the first Scottish settlers entered the area on the Cape Fear River in the 1700s. A fine artist, professional in watercolor and oils, she has taught art from her private studio j'Originals for thirty-two years to thousands of students. She exhibits and wins prizes nationally. A poet as well, she is published in literary magazines and anthologies and has won Writer's Digest's First Place in Unrhymed Poetry Award. She loves the South which forms part of her books, whether set in Estonia (Lady in White) or in North Carolina (A Holiday Folly). Her characters see high-snd-spy adventures in love and danger in castles and stately homes here and abroad.


Hats Off! to Ron Jackson, whose memoir essay "Letter to a Drowning Sailor" was accepted by the University of Nebraska Press for publication in an anthology of military-related writing covering all genres. It will be published Spring, 2014, under the Potomac Books imprint (acquired by U of N). It is a letter to his deceased father, who was shelled in the Pacific in WWII. His father survived, but was never the same.


Hats Off! to Normandie Fischer, whose new novel Becalmed was featured in the New Bern Sun Journal.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Wrightsville Beach, November 15-17.

The 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. Conference faculty include 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.

Philip Gerard will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction. Gerard is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the author of, most recently, Down the Wild Cape Fear.

The Fiction Master Class will be led by Rebecca Lee. Winner of the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, Lee is the author of the short- story collection Bobcat and Other Stories. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and is an associate professor in the UNCW Creative Writing Program.

Peter Makuck will lead the Poetry Master Class. His 2010 poetry collection Long Lens: News & Selected Poems, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is the Distinguished Professor Emeritus at East Carolina University.

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference opens in early September. Save the date!


Hats Off! to C. David Gelly, whose novel Fancy Gap has been serialized in Virginia's Galax Gazette.

Salt in the Sugar Bowl by Angela Belcher Epps

Main Street Rag
$12, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-402-0
June, 2013
Available from the publisher or

Sophia Sawyer has lost all the sweetness in her life. Her husband barely has enough time and money to take care of their six children but when two children from his extramarital affair are brought to home, there’s no joy left in her marriage. She leaves her children thinking that while her husband may turn out to be a better provider if she wasn’t around. Author Angela Belcher Epps explores what happens to these children left behind in her compelling novella, Salt in the Sugar Bowl.

Angela Belcher Epps, an English teacher at an alternative high school, explores the complexities of life—including love, family relationships, loss and abandonment. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in English/Creative Writing from New York University. Her stories and essays have appeared in several publications including Essence, Ladies’ Home Journal magazines and Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora literary journal.


COLUMBIA, SC—Kathryn Stripling Byer has won the 2013 Southern Independent Booksellers Association Award for her poetry collection, Descent (LSU Press, 2012).

Byer, a 2012 inductee to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, serves on the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees and will lead the three-day poetry workshop at the upcoming Squire Summer Writing Residency in Cullowhee.

She was North Carolina’s first woman Poet Laureate and has published six full-length collections of poetry. A re-print of her first, the AWP Award-winning The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest, is forthcoming from Press 53. Her work has appeared in many journals and newspapers, including The Atlantic, Hudson Review, Boston Globe, and Georgia Review.

The SIBA Awards celebrate the best in Southern literature, from the people who would know...Southern Independent (and independently-minded!) Booksellers.

Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on their favorite "handsell" books of the year. These are the "Southern" books they have most enjoyed selling to customers; the ones that they couldn't stop talking about. The SIBA Book Award was created to recognize great books of southern origin.

Books are nominated in several categories, and North Carolina was well-represented. Tar Heel native Wiley Cash won the Fiction category for his debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home. Farmville resident Sheila Turnage won the Young Adult cateogry for her book, Three Times Lucky. And Jay Erskine Leutze was named the Nonfiction Winner for his book, Stand Up That Mountain.

SIBA is a trade association which represents over 300 bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Mississippi. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance exists to empower, promote, and celebrate their core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership.

Beaver Soul by Judy Hogan

Finishing Line Press
$12, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62229-324-7
August, 2013
Available from the publisher

Beaver Soul is Judy Hogan’s love song for Russia. The poems begin along the shore of the Haw River, and move to Russia. The Russian translator said, “Her own soul in her poems is associated with the image of the beaver–a builder, patient and persistent in its work and in taking care of its family. Everything that takes place in the beaver’s life–its joys and sorrows, its misfortunes and successes–corresponds to events in her own life. The motto of Judy Hogan is creating and overcoming.”

Judy Hogan helped found the North Carolina Writers’ Network (1983-87) as well as Carolina Wren Press (1976-91), and co-edited the Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published five poetry books and two prose works with small presses. Beaver Soul was originally published in Russian by the Kostroma Writers Organization (1997). She has taught creative writing since 1974. Her first mystery, Killer Frost, was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic contest and was published by Mainly Murder Press in 2012. Farm Fresh and Fatal is due out October 1, 2013. She loves to write by water, including the Haw, the Teign in Devon, and the Mezha River in Russia. She farms and writes in Moncure, NC.

Her website is


Hats Off! to Linda Heuring, whose short story, "Whatever Will Do," was published in Clover: A Literary Rag, Volume 5, Summer 2013. This story had been long-listed for the Fish Prize in Ireland in 2011 and judge Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) awarded it Third Place in the Elizabeth Simpson Smith Short Story Prize from the Charlotte Writers' Club that same year.


Hats Off! to Kathryn Kirkpatrick and Alan Michael Parker: Kathryn won the 2012 Brockman-Campbell Award for her book, Our Held Animal Breath, while Alan's Long Division was named as an Honorable Mention. The contest is sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society and honors the best book-length volume of poetry published in the prior calendar year.


Becalmed by Normandie Fischer

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
$14.95, paperback / $3.00, e-book
ISBN: 978-1938499616
July, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

When a Southern woman with a broken heart falls for a widower with a broken boat, it’s anything but smooth sailing.

Tadie Longworth doesn’t spend much time worrying that she’s turning into one of Beaufort, North Carolina’s, spinsters. She has a gift shop full of her own jewelry designs and a sweet little sailboat to take her mind off the guy who got away. But now he’s back—with the fashion-plate wife he picked instead of Tadie—and he’s hitting on her again.

When widower Will Merritt limps into town with a broken sailboat and a perky seven-year-old daughter, he offers the perfect distraction—until that distraction turns into fascination when Tadie offers shelter during a hurricane. Only, Will has sworn never to let another woman in his life. Any day now, he’s going to finish those repairs, and that ship’s going to sail—straight out of Tadie’s life.

Normandie Fischer had the best of several worlds: a Southern heritage, access to schooling in the DC area (which meant lots of cultural adventures), and several years of sculpture studies in Italy. It might have been better for her if she'd used all these opportunities more wisely, but it's possible that the imperfect and the unwise also add fodder for the artist and the writer.

Her life changed radically when she married the love of her life at an age when some would have said she was over the hill and way past her prime. (Clichés often speak the truth, don't they?) A lifelong sailor, she was delighted to find that Michael also longed to cruise lovely waters, which is what they did from Northern CA to Mexico, spending too-few years in the incomparable Sea of Cortez. Sea Venture, their 50' ketch, is back home in North Carolina now because Normandie's mama needed care. Still, it's gorgeous there, too, and she can write and edit from home as easily as she could on the boat.


Hats Off! to Sheila Turnage, whose new kids novel Three Times Lucky is recommended middle-grade summertime reading by the Washington Post's "KidsPost," Publishers Weekly, and The Horn Book, among others. Go Mo and Dale!

Solomon's Throne

Solomon's Throne by Jennings Wright

Jennings Wright
$13.95, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN-13: 978-0985784010
July, 2012
Available from

An impenetrable safe is breached and a secret artifact is stolen. Containing information that could change the course of the world, its desperate owner sends Gideon Quinn, his head of security, and Gideon’s wife Rei, an art preservationist, to find it at any cost. What they discover is a clue to the lost throne of King Solomon, the real object of the theft. They are thrust out on an adventure that leads them halfway around the world. Following letters left by a Jesuit in 1681, they must weave through ancient sites along the Portuguese Spice Route, keeping ahead of a secret militant order that is determined to beat them to Solomon’s Throne. Filled with fast paced action and having broad appeal, Solomon’s Throne is an ingenious treasure hunt adventure that sweeps the reader around the globe in a race against time.

Born and raised in Rockledge, Florida, Jennings Wright spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her writing. Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a BA in Political Science, and almost enough credits for BAs in both English and History. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of script doctoring, business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit to Uganda. Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo, Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She's written three novels and a screenplay, with more ideas on the drawing board. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, a political writer, and two children, and travels extensively.


Hats Off! to David Radavich, who has received the 2012 Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary Award for the best essay published on Thomas Wolfe during 2011. The award was presented at the May conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society in Asheville. Radavich served as president of the Society from 2008-2010.











Bread Upon the Water by Deanna K. Klingel

Rafka Press
$12.95, paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0977962853
June, 2012
Young Adult Biography
Available from the publisher

“Father Tiến Dương’s life is an amazing and inspiring story of perseverance in following God’s call in the face of severe trials and testings. Father Dương pursued his vocation to the priesthood, knowing God would always be faithful. The kind priest who taught the young Tiến Dương in sixth grade gave him sound advice for his life’s journey: ‘Trust God. Always, trust God.’”
--Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte

This is the true story of Father Tiến Dương, a Catholic priest who grew up in the strife and hardship of Communist Vietnam. Follow young Tiến’s riveting tale as he deals with not-so-distant mortar fire in a Catholic boarding school, his eventual escape from Vietnam, struggles in various refugee camps, and eventual migration to the United States.

Deanna Klingel was a child in a small town in the 1950s. It was a time when kids amused themselves with paper, scissors, magazines, paste, crayons, and books, while listening to the radio. That’s when she wrote and illustrated her first books, lacing the pages together with shoe strings. Writing wasn’t something she dreamed of doing “when I grow up;” it was something she was already doing. She wrote plays for her classmates, wrote for the school newspapers, yearbook, tons of letters of correspondence with relatives and pen pals. She recently found a yellowed poem she wrote for the Michigan State University newspaper. Don’t remember it, but there it is! After she had kids (7) she wrote puppet plays and stories for them, edited school newsletters, and projects, plays and news for Scouts and church. She wrote all the time. She made scrapbooks, diaries, and kept journals. She hadn’t figured out that she was a writer, or an author. That didn’t happen until after the children were grown and she began writing travel books for grand children. Then one day it happened. She woke up and said, “I have a story in my head, and I think it wants to be a book. I guess I’ll try to write a book.”












Canebrake Beach: A Novella and Four Stories by John M. Keith

NewSouth Books
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-60306-231-2
June, 2012
Available at your local bookstore, from the publisher, or

Four tenant families, some black and some white, lived on the farm owned by author John Keith’s family as a child. Although no one who grew up on the farm except for him was active in the civil rights movement, in Canebrake Beach he imagines what would happened to members of black and white families as they progress from the Jim Crow era and beyond. The other short stories in the book explore friendships, relationships, and conflicts of white and black people in the South at various intervals over a span of seventy years.


Hats Off! to Flora Ann Scearce, who won First Place in the 2012 Carteret Writers’ 21st Annual Writing Contest ("Fiction") and Third Place in the "Writing for Children" category. First Place winners each received $100 and a plaque. Second and third place winners received $50 and $25 respectively, and certificates. Manuscripts that placed in the contest will be published in Carteret Writers’ literary journal, Shoal, planned for summer release.












Legacy of Honor Volume One: Giulia Goes to War by Joan Leotta

Desert Breeze Publishing
$3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61252-196-1
July, 2012
Available from the publisher, Barnes & Noble, or

World War II brought many young women into large cities where they worked at jobs previously held by men. Often the young women lived in rooming houses away from their parents, unheard of for Italian-American girls of the era. Giulia breaks out to work in Wilmington where she is assigned to a special unit in the Wilmington shipyard—one that deals with secret technology to help us win the war.

Her cousin Carmie and friend Helen introduce her to another world she has never seen—dances. At the USO, Giulia meets John O'Shea, a handsome but non-Italian officer. Their romance, fueled by the war's exigencies and the capture of a spy who threatens the secret work of the shipyard brings Giulia to another crossroads in her life. She must choose between obeying her parents decree that she marry only another Italian, or marrying the man she loves.

The story is full of details about life on the home front in World War II and is suitable for young adults as well as adult readers.

For more than twenty years, Joan Leotta’s articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers and websites all over the country including the Washington Post, AAA World, Women’s Day, and more. Currently she freelances regularly for the Wilmington Star, Myrtle Beach Sun Times, and She lives in Calabash, NC. Visit her website at and her blog at

The Renegades by Tom Young













The Renegades by Tom Young

Putnam Adult
$26.95 hardcover / $12.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0-399-15-8469
July, 2012
Available at your local bookstore or

The Mullah’s Storm and Silent Enemy, Tom Young’s first two novels based on his own military background, received enormous praise. The Renegades is his deepest, richest, most exciting novel yet, filled with remarkable adventure and a bone-deep understanding of the men and women in Afghanistan: Americans, Afghans, military, and civilian alike.

A major earthquake ravages Afghanistan, and American troops rush to deliver aid, among them Afghan Air Force adviser Lieutenant Colonel Michael Parson, and his interpreter, Sergeant Major Sophia Gold. The devastation facing them is like nothing they’ve ever seen, however—and it’s about to get worse.

A Taliban splinter group, Black Crescent, is conducting its own campaign—shooting medical workers, downing helicopters, slaughtering anyone who dares to accept aid. With the U.S. drawing down and coalition forces spread thin, it is up to Parson, Gold, and Parson’s Afghan aircrews to try to figure out how to strike back, but they’re short of supplies, men, experience, and information, and meanwhile the terrorists are nowhere…and everywhere.

The Renegades is a novel of constant surprise and suspense, a book, in the words of the Dallas Morning News about The Mullah’s Storm, “that’s got authenticity stamped on every scene and a narrative drive that won’t let you go. A terrific addition to contemporary war fiction.”

Tom Young has logged nearly 4,000 hours for the Air National Guard in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere. The author of The Mullah’s Storm and Silent Enemy, Young has studied writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, among other places, and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.










Lucky Bastard by Gary V. Powell

Main Street Rag
$15.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-382-5
December, 2012
Available from the publisher or at

Currently available at a pre-release discount of $9.50 from Main Street Rag!

"A delightful read you won't want to put down! Gary V. Powell has created a working class world rich with suspenseful adventure, alive with humor and heart wrenching pathos. The world of this novel teems with original, hard scrabble characters grappling with a surprising array of life's inevitable crises. I loved listening in on their quick and inventive banter. Powell''s protagonist, Jimmy McClean is a complex man of our time who has the power to make everyone in his world feel better; he stole this readers heart!"
—Teresa Burns Gunther, Founder of Lakeshore Writers Workshop in Oakland, California

"Mr. Powell uses words like a master artist uses oil and brushes to paint vivid pictures of his characters, their problems, and their strengths. He makes readers feel as if they've personally known these people for years—to feel pity for some and hatred for others. He also manages to slip in a bit of social commentary, without sounding preachy, while making readers anxious to find out what happens next."
—Mr. Coyle, author of The Dream Merchant of Lisbon, No Game for Amateurs, and Diamonds And Deceit: The Search For The Missing Romanov Dynasty Jewels

"This well-paced novel is filled with sharply drawn characters, dry witticisms, and a delightful sprinkling of irreverence. Through his protagonist, Jim McLean, Powell offers an intriguing blend of biting social commentary and quirky, poignant insights. Lucky Bastard kept me guessing… and turning pages… to the very end."
—Bob Strother, author of Scattered, Smothered, and Covered

Set on the eve of The Great Recession near the shores of fictional Lake Catawba, prize-winning author Gary V. Powell gives us Lucky Bastard, a debut novel that is part rollicking road-trip thriller, part love story, and part character study. After landing the first big customer for his new handyman business and wrangling a date with sweet Becky Newberry, Vietnam vet Jimmy McLean believes things are looking up-until a quarter ton of home-grown marijuana mysteriously appears on his boat, his ex-wife's teenage niece, Nora, disappears with a stranger on a motorcycle, and old buddy, Harley Hopewell, is arrested for a homicide he may or may not have committed. Haunted by lingering dreams of war, Jimmy struggles to create a better life for himself while remaining loyal to old friends and family. Before it's over, he faces down a ruthless drug dealer, puts his life on the line with a famous gangster rapper, and fixes a few broken lives with the same care he fixes a house in need of repair.

Gary V. Powell’s stories have appeared in several print and online literary journals including moonShine Review, The Thomas Wolfe Review, Blue Lake Review, and The Newport Review. In addition, several of his stories have placed or been selected as finalists in national contests. Most recently, his story "Home Free" won an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Newport Review Flash Fiction Contest and his story "Super Nova" received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Press 53 Awards. He has work forthcoming at Fiction 365 and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

He's working on a second novel, tentatively entitled, Whole Life.

He lives near the shores of Lake Norman, North Carolina, with his beautiful wife and amazing son.


Hats Off! to Kathryn Lovatt, Gary Powell, Gregg Cusick, and Arthur Powers: all of whom were honored in the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards: Short Story competition. Kathryn claimed First Place for her story "How to Euthanize a Fish." Gary received an Honorable Mention for his story, "Super Nova." And both Gregg and Arthur were named finalists for their stories "Ghosts of Doubt" and "The Bridge," respectively. The Final Judge was Clifford Garstang.


Hats Off! to Art Taylor, Arthur Powers, and Jane Shlensky, who cleaned house in the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards: Flash Fiction. Art claimed First Prize for his story, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Arthur and Jane were both named finalists for their stories "Famine" and "Dogs, Work" respectively. The Final Judge was Meg Pokrass.

Hats Off! to Peg Bresnahan of Cedar Mountain, whose three poems won Second Prize at the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards: Poetry. The Final Judge was Tom Lombardo.


Hats Off! to David Fuller Cook, whose unpublished YA manuscript The Adventure of Crow-Boy won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest. The Adventure of Crow-boy, which includes illustrations by artist Susan Beebe, is the first book in a mythic trilogy; presently David is reworking the third manuscript in this series, The Language of the Crows.


Hats Off! to Larry O. Nichols, author of A Hobo Odyssey, who was interviewed recently on

Two of her poems can be found in the current issue of The Wild Goose Poetry Review.

... to Ann Chandonnet. The work of nonfiction author and poet Ann Chandonnet of Vale, N.C., is about to debut in a Parks Canada smartphone app in late July.  Two recipes from Chandonnet's cookbook, Gold Rush Grub (University of Alaska Press), have been chosen as part of the app for the Chilkoot Trail Site. The recipes are Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Flapjacks.  For details, contact videographer Cainan Querido at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


By Danielle “Danny” Bernstein

NORTH CAROLINA—Sometimes it’s what happens toward the end that is the most important.

In the right place!I signed up for the Creative Nonfiction track, led by Virginia Holman, at the Network’s 2011 Squire Summer Writing Residency. I prepared by reading her memoir Rescuing Patty Hearst and fretting about which eight pages of my own to send to be workshopped. Finally I took a chance and sent in pages from a new project that I'm considering. After publishing two hiking guides, I am starting a travel adventure; I'm trying not to use the word memoir. I have 200 pages of notes and blog entries about hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail through North Carolina, but the questions I came with were “Do I have a book?” and “How do I go forward from these notes?”

I received pages from my classmates and saw how different they were from mine. Two wrote about difficult family situations, one about lessons learned over a long and successful life. The only fellow in our group had written a family history about his ancestor in the Civil War. What if they thought my writing trivial and inconsequential?

I love New Bern. I've been there twice, and I jumped at a legitimate reason for traveling 375 miles from Asheville to delve into more of its history. I came a day early because I knew that once the residency started, we would be immersed in writing: our own, and everyone else’s.

For our first evening, the Network had made arrangements for a trip to the John Wright Stanly House, close to Tryon Palace. The house was built in the early 1780s by a well-to-do shipping magnate and Revolutionary leader. Three generations of “Stanly women” told us their stories. They were terrific. I took good notes because I was sure that we'd have to write about it—we didn't.

Registrants tour the Stanly HouseThe next morning we met in our group and Virginia started by workshopping everyone's work. Since our group was small, we each had ninety minutes. That's a lot, and I felt that my eight pages didn't deserve all that time.

But the discussion wasn't just about what was on the page, but where this was going, and how to keep writing. Virginia explained that we needed to search for our “narrative persona.” A memoir can't be just a sequence of events; it needs to be consequential. At first, this didn't mean much to me, but I wrote it down dutifully.

Faculty and student readings were scheduled in between the workshops. That opened up the residency to more than just our small group. There was a panel session on how to appeal to editors and agents—the perennial discussion on how to get published.

Once all our pieces were workshopped, Virginia gave us some exercises to jog our memories and get us to write spontaneously. We had to draw a map of a place that we knew well, label it, and write what happened there. I’m not much of an artist, but I drew a map of the entrance to the Smokies from the Cherokee Reservation. Then I wrote about meeting a Cherokee woman and her small nursery-school class on the Oconaluftee River Trail. I had forgotten about her, but with a map, I could recollect so much.

For another exercise, we had to bring a photograph that meant something to us and write about it. I had seen these exercises in books before, but I had never done them. It took a class and a workshop leader to make me see how useful these were.

Saturday dinner at Captain Ratty'sOn the last day, each of us met with Virginia privately. She had given me an essay by Phillip Lopate titled “Writing Personal Essays: On the Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character.” We discussed the article, and it confirmed what she said in the workshop: no one can write about his or her whole self, so what will be my persona for what I’m writing?

Then came the payoff. Virginia suggested that each chapter of my adventure be turned into a series of problems and solutions as a way of creating this strong narrative persona. Then I can divide my stories under several categories such as the hike itself, historical thread, and emotional thread. She said, “Build it like a mosaic and then organize the material.”

It was a long, hot drive back to Asheville as I tried to keep my mind on the road, and not on my book.


DANIELLE "DANNY" BERNSTEIN 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




Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology edited by Ramona DeFelice Long

Introduction by Chris Roerden

Publisher: Wildside Press

ISBN-10: 1434430804

ISBN-13: 978-1434430809

Ordering Information:

Fish Tales:The Guppy Anthology, casts a wide net across the mystery genre, delivering thrills, chills, and gills. This water-themed collection features locked room puzzles, police procedurals, cozy characters and hardboiled detectives. With a pool of motivations ranging from greed and revenge to loyalty and justice, these stories will lure you in with killer hooks and fishy characters. Come on in, the water’s fine. But be careful, or you might find yourself sleeping with the fishes. The book includes: an introduction by Chris Roerden "Thicker Than Blood" , by Leslie Budewitz, " The Secret of the Red Mullet"  by Nancy Adams, "Accidents Happen"  by James Montgomery Jackson and others.  

... to Samm-Art Williams.  He will receive the August Wilson Playwright award as part of the National Black Theatre Festival reception, August 1-6, 2011.

... to Debra Madaris Efird.  She was named a Finalist in the 2011 Press 53 Open Awards contest for her short story entitled "Aileen's First Day at the New School." 

Kristin FitzpatrickNORTH CAROLINA— The North Carolina Writers’ Network has announced the winners of its four annual spring literary awards, granting over $2,000 in prize money as part of its continuing mission to foster the literary arts in the Tar Heel State.

Kristin Fitzpatrick of Alameda, California, won the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her short story, “Queen City Playhouse.” Fitzpatrick, the 2009-2010 Writer-in-Residence at The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, Ohio, received $1,000, and her story will be considered for publication in a forthcoming issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review.

“Great story, amazing characters, excellent conceit,” summarized final judge Martin Clark. The acclaimed author of three bestselling novels, Clark chose “Queen City Playhouse” from more than 140 entries—the most in the competition’s history.

Thomas Wolf of Chapel Hill won the 2011 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition for his short story “Boundaries.” Wolf received a prize of $250, and his story will be published in the 2012 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review. This is Wolf’s second Doris Betts Fiction Prize—he also won in 2007 with his short story, “Distance.”

“The impressive power of the winning story, ‘Boundaries,’ comes from the quiet longing with which it is told,” said author and final judge Liza Wieland. “‘Boundaries’ shows us quite brilliantly the truth of Faulkner’s notion of the past—that it is never dead, and not even past.”

Rocky Point resident Pepper Capps Hill penned the winning essay for the 2011 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition. Hill, a museum educator at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, won $300 and publication in Southern Cultures for her essay, “There’s No Crying in a Tobacco Field.”

“This essay took me into a world I barely knew—a North Carolina tobacco field,” said author and final judge Jay Varner. “Here is a piece wrestling with the hard lessons learned plucking leaves from the field and longterm medical concerns these former tobacco kids could face.”

Dannye Romine PowellAuthor and longtime Charlotte Observer writer Dannye Romine Powell won the 2011 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for her poem “I Am the Girl.” Powell received $200, and her winning poem—selected from close to 100 entries—will be considered for publication in the literary journal The Crucible.

“It’s a poem strongly driven by voice and idea,” said final judge and poet Dan Albergotti. “I love how this deceptively simple poem navigates what is actually highly complex at the level of syntax, temporality, perspective, and emotion.”

The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition honors the work and legacy of the poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

The same is true for both the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition (which honors the longtime Salisbury Post columnist) and the Doris Betts Fiction Prize (honoring the author and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emerita at UNC Chapel Hill of the same name).

Two honorable mentions were awarded for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which honors the internationally acclaimed novelist and North Carolina native and accepts submissions from writers regardless of geographic location: Lisa Gornick of New York, New York, for her short story “Eleanor,” and Barbara Modrack of Brighton, Michigan, for “Gone.” Joseph Cavano’s short story, “The Honey Wagon,” won second-place in the 2011 Doris Betts Fiction Prize, while the poem “From Dry Seed Casings” by Mary Jo Amani was named runner-up for the 2011 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition.

Prizes of $200 and $100 were awarded to the second- and third-place 2011 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition finishers—or in this case, finisher. Davidson writer Cynthia Lewis collected both consolation prizes for her essays, “That Dress, That Hat” and “Secret Sharing: Coming Out in Charleston.”

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


 Jan Parker won an Honorable Mention in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition for her story, " "Mayme."


Ashley T. Memory signed a contract with Ingalls Publishing Group of Boone, N.C. for the publication of her first novel, Naked and Hungry. It is scheduled to be released in November of 2011.

Three of Raymond Morrison's flash fiction stories appear in the third annual volume of Fast Forward Press' flash anthology, The Mixed Tape (available July 2010).  Additionally, my story, "June Bug," won 2nd prize in the short-short category of the 2010 Press 53 Open Awards, and another story, "Calvin Bodenheimer and the Dalrymple Bull," will appear in Press 53's anthology What Doesn't Kill You, due out in October.

Tammy McElroy Wilson has recently published excerpts from her novel-in-progress including Southern Women's Review, Rockhurst Review, MoonShine Review and Wazee Journal. She is an MFA candidate at Stonecoast (University of Southern Maine.) Bruce Lader. The international journal, Going Down  Swinging,  published him on CD reading his poem "Dearest Betty Carter."  He has other poems  recently in the Humanist, Falling Star  Magazine, Earthshine, First Edition, .Cent, Yellow  Medicine Review, and the anthology, Against Agamemnon: War Poems.

NCWN Fall 2009 Event Schedule 

The North Carolina Writers’ Network will be out and about throughout (or, if you’re from the Outer Banks, “oat and aboat throughoat”) the state this fall.

On September 12, the Network will have exhibit tables at both Winston-Salem’s BookMARKS Book Festival ( and the North Carolina Literary Festival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (

From September 25–27, the Network will display some of its members’ books at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s 2009 Trade Show in Greenville, South Carolina ( In August we will let our members know how they can have their books included in this display.

Network representatives will be on hand at the North Carolina Poetry Society meeting on October 24 at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines, where 2009 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition winner Catherine Carter, as well as the poets whose work received Honorable Mentions in the contest, will read.

As always, the season will culminate in the Network’s Fall Conference, November 20–22 at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort on Wrightsville Beach, with keynote speaker Cassandra King. Registration will open in September.

The North Carolina Writers' Network's 2008 Elizabeth Daniels Squire Summer Writing Residency was held last weekend at Queens University of Charlotte. 32 writers got to spend three days writing, reading other's writing, working on writing, and talking about writing.

"I'm overwhelmed at how well the weekend went for me," attendee John Minter said. "This workshop was truly a success. It is one I will always remember."

Hats Off to Brian Greene of Durham, who has just won a short fiction contest held by Jerry Jazz Musican. Here is a link to the announcement and the story as it appears on JJM's web site. "The Notes" is part of his short story collection, which recently made me a semifinalist in the University of Iowa's annual book-length fiction contest.
...The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature is going to publish his chapbook Book of Days on January 1, 2009 online.  Dead Mule is the same journal that published the chapbook  Deceptively Like a Sound earlier this year.  Check them out at
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