NC Literary Hall of Fame



Hallelujah Station & Other Stories by M. Randal O'Wain

Autumn House Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-938769597
September, 2020
Fiction: Short Stories
Available from your local bookstore

"What I admire about the stories in this collection is the way O’Wain writes about love—all kinds of love, between all kinds of people. He knows so much about the wear and tear the heart endures. These tales are riveting, and some of them are dark and sad, but in the end, there’s always a light to follow. O’Wain is an honest writer. He tells the truth."
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

"In Hallelujah Station, M. Randal O’Wain triumphantly brings salvation to the wrong side of the tracks. These stories of outsiders and addicts are thick with difficulty and everyday struggles, but with O’Wain, they transcend. Written with acute awareness and generosity, Hallelujah Station delivers a needed message for our times: every rotten, ruined, worthless thing still shines with light."
—Ashleigh Bryant Phillips, author of Sleepovers

"Hallelujah Station introduces us to a world populated by indelible misfits, rendered through M. Randal O’Wain’s piercing talent. Every story in this collection is frenetic, big-hearted, and ferocious."
— Juliet Escoria, author of Juliet the Maniac

M. Randal O’Wain’s debut short story collection, Hallelujah Station and Other Stories, introduces readers to a wide and diverse cast of characters struggling with and responding to changes and loss. These gritty and poignant stories follow the tragic parts of life, the pieces that may neither start nor end in comfortable resolution and the pieces that make up complex realities. In the first story, a former drug dealer reflects on a life-changing decision he made years ago that ended up hurting the person he most wanted to protect. Later in the collection, we meet a would-be robber who turns out, in strange ways, to be the hero. O’Wain’s characters are often deeply flawed or totally lost, but in each instance, these traits serve to reveal the characters as real, compassionate, and, ultimately, human. Sprinkled with humor and heartache, O’Wain’s stories bring us into contact with the curious, the tragic, and the authentic.

M. Randal O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South. He is assistant teaching professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing fellow at the Alderson Federal Correctional Institution. His work has been published in Oxford American, The Masters Review, Crazyhorse, Zone 3, and Guernica Magazine.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose flash fiction, "Tea Time," appears in Flash Fiction Magazine (July 27, 2020). Also, her poem "Secluded Berries" was posted in issue #404 of The Weekly Avocet (August 30, 2020). Suzanne's second poetry chapbook, Gifts of the Seasons: Spring and Summer, will be published by Kelsay Books in 2021.


Calling Cards of Death by Joseph L. S. Terrell

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-622681532
June, 2020
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"There's a lot to like in Joseph L.S. Terrell's Calling Cards of Death: mystery, romance, intrigue, history, snappy dialogue, and even a heartfelt love letter to Paris and North Carolina's Outer Banks. A great beach read, in more ways than one!"
—Richard Helms, Derringer and Thriller Award-winning author of Brittle Karma

Outer Banks crime writer Harrison Weaver is being stalked by an unknown psychopath, who is leaving threatening clues—or calling cards—that prove a troubling knowledge of Harrison's past. Worse, they hint at deadly intentions toward Harrison—and to his sweetheart, Elly Pedersen.

Harrison believes a vacation trip to Paris will take them beyond the stalker's reach. But he is wrong. A horrific new calling card leaves no doubt that a killer has followed them to the City of Light.

With no idea why he's being targeted and no clues to the stalker's identity, Harrison and Elly find themselves on a collision course with a psycho willing to follow them halfway around the world and back again to the Outer Banks. Only boldness, skill, and luck can save them. But will that be enough?

Joseph L S.Terrell is the published author of fourteen books. The latest is Calling Cards of Death, the eighth book in the Harrison Weaver series. Joseph has a publishing history that spans more than forty years and includes—of course—fiction, but also true crime, psychology, agri-business, military and government affairs, trade, plus just about everything in between. He has written for newspapers, magazines, radio and television, advertising and public relations. He has won first-place awards for his fiction at the National Press Club’s Short Fiction Contest and elsewhere. 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.

Hats Off! to Herb Harris and Ashley Memory, Runner-Up and Finalist, respectively, in the Michael Steinberg Nonfiction Award sponsored by Solstice magazine. Herb's essay was "To Belong in a Garden." Ashley's essay was "Needles and Kindness: My Filigree Heart." Both essays appear
in the Summer 2020 issue.


In the Coral Reef of the Market by Earl Carlton Huband

Main Street Rag Publishing Company
$12.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-826-4
July, 2020
Available from the publisher

"Earl Huband’s poems on his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Oman came to my notice when I heard him perform them at poetry readings. They struck me then, and now, as the recollections of a great, paradigmatic adventure–the young American abroad, doing good for reasons not altogether clear to him at the time. The poems are calm and wry, comic and melancholy, straightforward and sneakily subtle, delivered in finely modulated syllabic lines." 
—J.S. Absher

"In his book In the Coral Reef of the Market, Earl Huband relates the experience of a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English to the people of Oman. Here are many amusing scenes in which 'Mr. Earl' becomes pupil to the language ambiguities of his students."
—David T. Manning

"Earl Huband documents his work as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mid 1970s in Oman with honesty and grace. The language of the poems is as authentic as Huband’s experiences, and is delivered in rich, clear detail. We encounter people, food, customs, lifestyles, and practices, witnessed through the poet's accepting eye, even as he is tested and challenged. This essential book teaches us not only about a people, but also about ourselves."
—Barbara Presnell

A second book of 27 poems that continues the story (that began with the author's first book) of his experiences as a young Peace Corps Volunteer in the Middle East.

Earl Carlton Huband is the author of The Innocence of Education, winner of Longleaf Press at Methodist University’s 2018 chapbook contest, and In the Coral Reef of the Market, a finalist in the 2019 Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest. Both chapbooks are based on Huband’s experiences as a young Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sultanate of Oman, where he taught English in a remote fishing village near the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Tropical Ecstasy by Norman Weeks

Kindle Direct Publishing
$12.00, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 979-8605213598
February, 2020
Nonfiction: Travel / Brazil
Available from your local bookstore or

A vagabond always wants to go elsewhere. Why not, now and then, go back? A nostalgia trip, back to Brazil after a quarter-century absence.

Tropical Ecstasy is the narrative of a month-long solo adventure of discovery and rediscovery: A cruise of the Amazon, hikes into the jungle, and Manaus, the metropolis amidst raw Nature. Then to the Northeast of Brazil, to Olinda, an old colonial capital, and to the modern state capitals on the Atlantic. The ultimate destination is the town of Penedo, where Norman Weeks had lived.

As an ex-Peace Corps Volunteer, the author knows the territory, the language, the culture, and the people. Tropical Ecstasy records fresh daily impressions against a backdrop of deep previous knowledge and experience. The author treats the locals not as caricatures, but with human sympathy. After all, he was, once, one of them.

Norman Weeks is an experiential writer. He writes about living in Nature and within a culture.

His books: Nature Norm’s North Woods, Tropical Ecstasy, Two Weeks in Eternal Egypt, Roman Ruminations.

North America, South America, Africa, and Europe—all to be found in the travel writings of Norman Weeks.

Hats Off! to Danny Bernstein whose book DuPont Forest: A History (History Press) comes out September 7. DuPont Forest, featured in movies such as The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans, protects thousands of acres of trees, five lakes, six waterfalls, and a hundred miles of multiuse trails. Watch the trailer on YouTube here.


A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish by Carrie Jane Knowles

Owl Canyon Press
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1952085000
April, 2020
Nonfiction: Self-Help / Writing
Available from your local bookstore or

"There is no shortage of books about the craft of writing, but Carrie Knowles is that rare artist who can create successful poetry, fiction, non-fiction, advice, reviews, journalism, and even advertising copy. Carrie knows what she's talking about, and the writing prompts alone—at the end of each chapter—are worth the price of admission. No matter how many other writing guides you own, this one will drive you toward improving your craft without getting twisted up in knots. Carrie is a very generous and down-to-earth guide. No pretense, no arrogance."
—Georgann Eubanks, director of the Table Rock Writers’ Workshop and author of four nonfiction books from the University of North Carolina Press

"The self-guided workbook has a conversational tone and energy that made me feel as if I was in a buzzing coffee shop discussing the writing process with an old friend—a very knowledgeable old friend. The short chapters and writing prompts gave me ample opportunity to absorb the lessons; and before I knew it, I conquered many of my own writing demons."
—Tammy Bird, author of The Book of Promises

"Great for writers at all levels, for individuals or for course adoption, Carrie Jane Knowles’ A Self-Guided Workbook is illuminating and a joy to read. This book enjoys a couple of advantages over the myriad of writing manuals out there, including twenty short lessons rather than the usual ten longer chapters. This allows for a truly 'self-guided' tour, in which readers or instructors can pick and choose areas of focus or simply go from cover to cover. The chapters range from the transcendent—'Getting Down to the Emotional Truth of the Story'—to the mechanical—'Quotation Marks: Getting it Right.' Each chapter ends with two sets of writing exercises: 'Work it Out,' meant to practice that chapter’s lesson, followed by a series of generative 'Prompts.' A Self-Guided Workbook is just that, a work book, focused on action, on actual practice writing, bolstered by straightforward, on-the-money advice. I started this book to consider adopting it for my college-level fiction writing class, and I will indeed assign it to my students next semester, but what I hadn’t expected was how much it has helped me see my own writing from new angles. I can’t wait to share it with my students."
—Kelly Daniels, associate professor of creative writing at Augustana College and author of Cloudbreak, California: a Memoir

A writing workbook designed to help beginning writers from 14-80 learn the basics and start writing with direction and confidence.

Carrie Jane Knowles was the North Carolina Piedmont Laureate for Short Fiction in 2014. Her short stories have won numerous awards, including the Village Advocate Fiction Contest, the Blumenthal Writers and Readers Series, the North Carolina Writers' Network Fiction Syndication, and Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Competition. She has been a finalist in Glimmer Train competitions six times.

Carrie has published four novels: The Inevitable Past, Lillian's Garden, Ashoan's Rug, and A Garden Wall in Provence, a collection of short stories, Black Tie Optional, and a memoir, The Last Childhood: A Family Story of Alzheimer’s.

She has recently published a writing workbook: A Self-Guided Workbook and Gentle Tour on Learning How to Write Stories from Start-to-Finish.

Hats Off! to Jill Caugherty whose debut novel, Waltz in Swing Time, was selected as one of the Indie Reader's best reviewed books of June. It was also featured in the Indie section of Kirkus Review Magazine's May edition.


Hats Off! to Vice President of the NCWN Board of Trustees Paul Jones whose article "Ekphrastic Poetry" appears on the website for FRANK Gallery, located in Chapel Hill. Paul discusses the history and tradition of ekphrastic poetry, from Homer to Keats to Auden, and offers links for the modern poet.


The "Hell's Angels" Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic by Margaret A. Harrell

Norfolk Press of San Francisco
$60.00, high-end paperback / $6.00, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-60052-167-6
July, 2020
Nonfiction: Memoir / Coffee Table
Available from the publisher 

"Margaret is a natural resource and I’m not sure what the world would do without her. We’re lucky that she shares with us a saga of a long friendship, the work it produced and the legacy it left behind."
—William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson

"Margaret had a challenging and trusted relationship with Hunter as his Assistant Editor in 1966 while working on his first published book, Hell’s Angels, at Random House. Margaret’s energy was noted by Hunter as she chose to be available 24/7. Thus dealing with Hunter’s 'many demands' . . . My guess is that Hunter said: 'I have certain punctuations and wording that must be accepted as is . . . Never change anything without running it by me.' Margaret gets an award for 'Rolling With Hunter' at a very important time while launching his first book."
—Deborah Fuller, longtime personal assistant and trusted confidante of Hunter Thompson

"I am finally getting a chance to take a look at The Hell’s Angels Letters and I love it! I am especially enjoying Margaret’s personal history in the writing and publishing business, paralleling the history of HST in the business. Reproducing the actual letters is a nice touch. It lends a semblance of reality to the almost 'mythical' aspects of Hunter’s career and the author’s career."
—Frederic Wildfang, author of Durango and other Southwestern historical books

The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic is an important revelation in the legacy of Thompson, with letters that survived precarious shipping and travel over decades, cloaked away from the public.

“If Hell’s Angels hadn’t happened I never would have been able to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or anything else . . . I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing,” Hunter told Paris Review. When he secured a hardcover contract with Jim Silberman (Random House), the known part of the story breaks off. To whip up the final edits, Margaret A. Harrell, a young copy editor/assistant editor to Jim, was—in a break from the norm—given full rein to work with him by expensive long-distance phone and letter. This galvanizing action led to a fascinating tale. She uses the letters to resuscitate the cloaked, suspenseful withheld drama. The book peaks in their romantic get-together at his ranch twenty-one years after they last met, a moving tie maintained over the years.

Margaret A. Harrell is the author of the four-volume memoir series Keep This Quiet! and a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow. An editor, a light-body teacher of advanced meditation, and an internationally exhibited cloud photographer, she can be found at

Hats Off! to Stephanie Andrea Allen whose speculative flash fiction story, "Moji," was published in Ryder Magazine. "'Moji' is a swift, shocking tale that explores the intersections of technology, social media, authenticity, and embodiment, wherein our main character, Murph, discovers that the creation of a new avatar may have profound consequences" (Justin Chandler, editor).


Hats Off! to Kat Burnette whose poem “Gabriel” appears in Vietnam War Poetry under the pen name SK Burnette.


Heirloomby Nancy Wakeley

Torchflame Books
$16.99, paperback / $6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61153-373-6
July, 2020
Fiction: Historical / Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"In Heirloom, debut novelist Nancy Wakeley writes with a nuanced perspective on grief, death, and a cathartic journey to a transformative rebirth. Wakeley’s eye for detail leaves no corner of the fictional North Carolina town of Eden Springs unexplored. It’s a place you’ll want to keep coming back to, and Kate Tyler is a character of depth and passion you’ll want to spend some time with."
—Scott Gates, author of Hard Road South

"Nancy Wakeley weaves a beautiful tapestry in and around grieving Kate Tyler, who inherits a rundown country estate. Integrating a colorful cast of characters, Wakeley ties them together with threads of loss and loneliness and contrasting hues of hope, redemption, and love. Readers will enjoy the transformation. Wakeley’s story, Heirloom, is a lovely work of art."
—Nancy Panko, author of the award-winning Guiding Missal

Heirloom, the debut novel by Nancy Wakeley, will touch your heartstrings as you turn the pages, from beginning to end. I highly recommend Heirloom. As you delve into the pages, rich with description, you will find real human emotions, family dynamics mingled with mystery and intrigue, and a journey of discovery."
—Mary Cushnie-Mansour, award-winning author of Night's Vampire Series

Healing secrets and the battle for survival in Eden Springs.

Kate Tyler is already in a life crisis when she inherits Howard’s Walk in Eden Springs, North Carolina, after the sudden death of her twin sister, Rebecca. The last thing she wants is to be tied down to an abandoned estate and its neglected, once-famous gardens. She vows to sell it as quickly as possible. When Kate visits Howard’s Walk, she finds a family heirloom, an embroidered tablecloth, that Rebecca has left behind, and that connection, and the deepening sense of loss she is feeling, convince her to stay—at least until she is able to decide her future. As Kate struggles alone in her grief, healing appears in the form of new friends and neighbors. When secrets begin to surface within the old house, Kate questions the connection she feels with a mentally challenged young man from the farm next door. When she meets the owner of a local garden center, she begins to open her heart again to the possibility of love. Kate learns that a powerful and vengeful man who was denied ownership of Howard’s Walk in the past is determined to finally own it at any cost. She must decide what Howard’s Walk means to her and whether she has the strength and desire to battle for its survival as well as her own.

Nancy Wakeley grew up in the New York State Finger Lakes region and now resides in Apex, North Carolina, with her husband. She completed her degree in health information management from Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, and spent her career in the health information management and clinical research fields until the writing muse dictated retirement from Duke Clinical Research Institute. She belongs to the North Carolina Writers' Network and the Holly Springs Writers Guild and gives back to her community through volunteerism. She embraces all things fashioned out of musical notes and words as the ultimate reflection of life’s exquisite journey.  is her debut novel, drawing on personal experiences to express the journey through grief and healing. You can connect with her on Facebook at Nancy Wakeley and Author Nancy Wakeley, Instagram @nancywakeley2, Twitter @nancywakeley and

Hats Off! to Gary Neil Gupton whose inspiring article "Rainbow of Hope" appears in North Brunswick Magazine (NBM) (Summer, 2020). "Rainbow of Hope" focuses on surprising, amazing, inspiring chalk art created by children, discovered by the author during his first walk after news of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Hats Off! to Jenny Bates whose poem "Ordinary Divinity" is forthcoming in the 2020 Mizmor Anthology (e-book and print) in December, 2020.


You Are Everything: 10 Starter Stories by Cedric Brown

Junie's Mood Press
$5.00, e-book
ISBN: 978-0985700652
June, 2020
Fiction: Short Stories
Available from your local bookstore or Barnes & Noble

You Are Everything is a collection of ten stories, exactly 500 words each, that celebrate everyday expressions of Black life—some funny, some serious, some serene, all of them real and layered.

"None are meant to be complete tales, just a jumping off point for more imagining," writes the author. "That's the power of storytelling, however brief."

Readers will enjoy these power packed flash fiction pieces.

Cedric Brown is a community leader and writer/artist. He has published two books, Eyes of Water & Stone: From Havana with Love and Tar Heel Born: A Native Son Speaks on Race, Religion, & Reconciliation. Cedric is the founder of the Jacobs/Jones African American Literary Prize, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers' Network. He lives in Oakland, California and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Hats Off! to Barbara H. Bryan of Davidson whose sonnet "Silent Spring 2020" is a 2020 Laureates’ Choice in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. The winners recently read their sonnets in an online event in association with the Great River Shakespeare Festival.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose second novel, The Good Luck Stone (Haywire Books), was recently named a Book that Should Be On Your Radar by Writer's Bone; Book of the Day at Foreword Reviews; Weekend Getaway Pick at Strong Sense of Place; and a Staff Pick at Fountain Bookstore.


Hats Off! to Vice President of the NCWN Board of Trustees Paul Jones whose poems “In an Unripe Season” and “In Praise of Small Disturbances” are forthcoming in 2River’s 25th anniversary issue on September 1. Also, his poems "To a Certain Feeling of Optimism” and “To Very Small Devices” will appear in Red Fez 138 to be released Wednesday August 12.


A Home on Wilder Shores by Susan Posey

Page Publishing
$24.95, paperback / $12.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-64544-463-3
April, 2020
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

"A great read that engages on many levels! Historical adventures at sea and on the 1750s American frontier. Masterful pacing. Skillful use of historical detail and real life figures of the period ground the novel. Richly drawn female characters deal with the many restrictions of their era."
—William S. Jacobs, author of Whence These Special Places

"If you liked the Outlander series, this story will appeal to you-high praise! I stayed up much too late reading it. Read it all in 2 days. If you don't know what a "variolation" was , you will after reading this."
—Deborah Hunter

"Still wanting more after 534 pages, even though this has a satisfying ending. Hoping there will be a sequel. These characters come alive for the reader. Would make a great mini-series or movie. A great read!"
—Anonymous reader

A Home on Wilder Shores follows the fascinating adventures of two young Welsh sisters in 1750s Wales and the wilds of the American frontier, as they struggle to overcome the dangers and prejudices of the era to become women of substance and purpose.

Susan Posey loves searching in the woods for wild plants, studying family history, and writing, now that she has retired from her practice of psychotherapy. Research in Wales, where she found the Rhys/Reese/Rice family castle ruins and manor house, was a delight. She also traveled The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to Bethania, North Carolina. Unlike the sisters in the book (her many-times great aunts), she had bridges to cross all those rivers. She lives in the Western North Carolina mountains with her husband and their two dogs.

Hats Off! to Jeanne Julian whose three poems—"Torchbearers," "Compensation," and "The Oldest Poet"—are forthcoming in the summer edition of Iris Literary Journal, published by Assure Press.


Out of the Shadows - Coming Home by Nancy MacCreery

MacCreery Publishing
$0.99 e-book (presale) - $2.99 after June 23
June, 2020
Fiction: Contemporary Romance / Intrigue
Available from

If he can rescue his long-lost daughter, General Nicolai Hewzenko thinks he’ll have everything he’s wanted. But for someone used to giving orders, relating to a twelve-year-old that has been brainwashed to fear him is a challenge. And the psychologist he hires intrigues him, but her dark past poses another problem. When troubles arise, both his life’s work and the safety of his new family is threatened.

​Can they help each other find happiness?

A tale of rescue, kidnapping, and love—told with quirky characters and humor.

Author Q&A

This is your fourth book. Why did you write this one?

In the novel Unexpected Impact, Sophia (the main character) locates Nicolai's missing daughter. I kept thinking about her and the complications that would arise when the girl is reunited with her father after years with her grandmother who hated Nicolai so much she lived as a wandering fugitive. So most of the story wrote itself.

What is your favorite character in the story?

That has to be Pliers—that's her nickname because she is very mechanically inclined and curious about how things work. That gets her into some comical situations!

Nancy MacCreery writes for people who enjoy contemporary fiction—action, mystery, romance told with a healthy sprinkle of humor. Her books feature complex characters with a propensity for jumping into action in situations they often are not prepared for when they serendipitously stumble into them.

If you are intrigued by the challenges of our complex geopolitical world yet enjoy a touch of irreverent humor, romance and the antics of a group of intelligent, caring, sometimes fumbling and fun-loving cast of characters, Nancy's books will offer you a great escape into a world of intrigue, trade-offs, and the crusade against evil.

The Scoops and Schemes series includes Book 1- The Essence, Book 2 - Unexpected Impact, and the new Cinnamon Bourbon and Deception - Book 3. Watch for Book 4 which should be coming out this Spring!

Nancy can often be found hiking, swimming, obsessing over her garden, reading and studying the political landscape, or dreaming up intricately woven plots while drifting on a boat at Jordan Lake, North Carolina as her husband fishes for that elusive "big one".

To find out more, please visit

Hats Off! to Lenard D. Moore who was appointed as the 2020-2021 honorary curator of the American Haiku Archives at the California State Library in Sacramento. This honor recognizes his decades of contributions to haiku literature and leadership, and his integration of haiku into his work in longer poetry and teaching.


Hats Off! to Tom Wood: the Harpeth River Writers anthology Words on Water is a finalist for a Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award. KN2020 was canceled because of the pandemic, so it's up to readers to select their favorite! Click here to vote for the 2020 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice Award. Also, Tom's take on what the fall might look like without college football appeared recently in The Nashville Ledger.


Hats Off! to Judy Dearlove whose novel Play On! is now available as an e-book. Set in a retirement community, Play On! features "an eclectic band of bridge buddies...and a few eccentric young people (on) an adventure that becomes part cat-and-mouse caper and part soul-searching quest."


Hats Off! to Glenda Council Beall and Estelle Darrow Rice whose book Paws, Claws, Hooves, Feathers and Fins, a collection of stories and poems about family pets, was favorably reviewed in the Clay County Progress. "These authors are Southern writers," says reviewer Marcia Hawley Barnes, "and readers can expect depth punctuating every line and lesson in human make-up and animal behavior."


Radiant Obstacles by Luke Hankins

Wipf & Stock Publishers
$12.00, paperback / $0.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-72526208
August, 2020
Available from your local bookstore or

"[These poems] call out to the divine, and return to us having transformed metaphysical yearning into a deeply resonant art.”
—Matthew Olzmann

"Hankins has made ‘a house for an idea about beauty’—may we each visit its bewilderment, terror, and solace.”
—Nomi Stone

"Our exile into Being and into ‘where Eden once stood, in the ruins,’ becomes for Hankins the source of stunning meditations on metaphysics, faith, and the apparent obstacles to belief that stand as ‘radiant obstacles’ in our path."
—Bruce Beasley

In his second poetry collection, Luke Hankins continues to engage profound questions of being and the nature of human experience in the aftermath of a break with the fundamentalist religion of his upbringing. Big ideas are not considered off-limits in these poems, yet the poems remain grounded in daily life and language. From theological and philosophical inquiries, to spare meditations on moments of sensory intensity, the poems in Radiant Obstacles are both wide-ranging and finely honed.

Luke Hankins is the author of the poetry collection Weak Devotions as well as a collection of essays, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose. A book of his translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems, was released in 2019. Hankins is also the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets and is the founder and editor of Orison Books.

Hats Off! to Dani McClain whose book We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood (Bold Type Books) is nominated for a 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in the category of "Nonfiction." The foundation recognizes literary excellence by Black writers from the United States and around the world.


24 Things You Must Know When Starting a Small Business by Anthony Steven Carver

$11.99 paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1732615915
December, 2018
Nonfiction: Business / Money / Entrepreneurship
Available from

An entrepreneur's easy-to-read and to navigate information manual for business planning, marketing, and sustainability.

Are you considering starting a small business? Not sure where to start? Wondering about your options and how the whole process works? In 24 Things You Must Know When Starting a Small Business, consultant and longtime business owner Steve Carver reveals time-tested business strategies based on almost six decades of business experience. Steve has helped scores of entrepreneurs start new businesses as an angel-like investor, delivered over 600 hundred business training seminars, and his businesses have sold over $125 million in sales over the course of his business journey. He brings a unique body of experience to his clients, providing small, actionable steps that become a path to building a strong, profitable, sustainable business.

Step by Step, Topic by Topic, Chapter by Chapter. Use a business emergency guide when needed.

A must read for anyone thinking about starting a home-based, small town, main street, rural, internet sales, Mom and Pop,or contracting small business.

Dunn-based retail agricultural equipment sales, internet sales, public speaker, business skills trainer, writer. Anthony Steven (Steve) Carver has helped scores of entrepreneurs start new businesses as an angel-like investor, delivered over 600 business training seminars, and his businesses have sold over $125 million in sales over the course of his business journey. He brings a unique body of experience to his clients, providing small, actionable steps that become a path to building a strong, profitable, sustainable business.

Hats Off! to Jane Rockwell and Juma, the Grand Prize Winner and Grand Runner-Up, respectively, in the 2019-04 Nutshell Narratives contest. The writers responded to one of four prompts and wrote a short story in 350 words or less. Rockwell's story, "A Study in White with Dewdrops," can be read here. Juma (a pen name), wrote "A Tale of Two Gardens." Rockwell wins $50, and both writers receive free life-time subscriptions to and permanent publication on the site.


Waiting for the Wood Thrush by Ashley Memory

Finishing Line Press
$14.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-64662-010-4
November, 2019
Available from the publisher

"Memory’s poems are fully human, and therefore fully real; they are moral poems, in that they lift the reader to a higher level of appreciation for the human world and the world of nature.”
—Joyce S. Brown, author of the poetry collection Vital Signs (Orchard Street Press) and former instructor, Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars

"Ashley Memory’s poems take matters of the soul and make them breathable. She does what a poet must—she takes what hurts in life and makes us laugh, sigh, think, then turn the page. The hurting, of course, doesn’t go away, but Waiting for the Wood Thrush reminds us of the whole brilliant spectrum of emotion that poetry brings us.”
—Matt Swain, co-founder and poetry editor of Turnpike Magazine

“Ashley Memory’s first collection of poetry is witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives. You go from the natural world, to how to see a ghost to an antiques fair to sin town. What joy! What word pleasure! Read and remember, then read again.”
—Ruth Moose, Pushcart Prize-winning author of two novels, four collections of short stories, and six collections of poetry, including Tea and The Librarian.

A native of Randolph County, Ashley Memory’s poetry and prose have appeared in many publications, including O. Henry, Naugatuck River Review, Pinesong, Gyroscope Review, The Thomas Wolfe Review, CAIRN, Romantic Homes, Wildlife in North Carolina, and The News & Observer in Raleigh. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she has won the Doris Betts Fiction Prize sponsored by the N.C. Writers’ Network twice.

Songbirds and Stray Dogs by Meagan Lucas

Main Street Rag
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1599487526
August, 2019
Available from your local bookstore or

"Meagan Lucas is a brave new voice in Southern fiction. Songbirds and Stray Dogs packs a double shot of grit and heart, with a story stretching from the beaches of the Carolina Lowcountry to the Land of the Sky and a heroine who doesn’t know the word quit. An unflinching portrait of motherhood, trauma, and the family we make along the way." 
—Taylor Brown, author of Gods of Howl Mountain, The River of Kings, and Fallen Land

"Meagan Lucas has woven a lush and heartwarming story of well-meaning people trying to find their way in a world that can seem fractured beyond repair. Thrust into difficult circumstances beyond their control, Jolene, Chuck, and Cash wrestle with how to escape the past and forge a path forward. From devastating setbacks to the uplifting conclusion, every moment of their memorable journey brings us closer to these characters’ true selves." 
—Heather Bell Adams, author of Maranatha Road

"'Vivid' may be the best single word to sum up this book which is rich with language and description, where every paragraph offers one delicious turn of phrase after another. Poignant observations transform every day into intriguing as the author exhibits an ability to dissect human behavior down to its barest motives. Unable to escape emotional yearning for multiple characters embroiled in tragedy, I found myself both cheering and crying as either misery or triumph unfolded."
—Evan Williams, author of Ripples

Jolene Brodie was abandoned by her addict mother on the steps of her spinster aunt’s door at eight years old. She’s spent the last thirteen years living in the shadow of the pain her mother caused and trying to prove herself worthy of her aunt’s stingy love. Unintentionally she becomes pregnant. When the father refuses her and her aunt kicks her out, Jolene tries to outrun her shame by heading to the mountains. Homeless, penniless, alone, and chased by demons from her past in this new place, she makes friends who help and hinder. She is forced to confront exactly who she is, what she wants, and what she is willing to do to get it.

Set on the coast of South Carolina and the mountains of Western North Carolina, geography and a sense of place are central to Songbirds and Stray Dogs. This is a Southern story, born of sweet tea and the Bible Belt, chow-chow and cornbread, shot guns and porch rocking. But it is also a universal story of escaping the burden of your past and finding yourself at home in a strange land.

Meagan Lucas teaches English at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and is the Fiction Editor at Barren Magazine. Her stories have been published in a variety of journals including Four Ties Literary Review, Santa Fe Writers Project, The Same Literary Journal, The New Southern Fugitives, Barren Magazine, and Still: The Journal. She won the 2017 Scythe Prize for Fiction. Meagan loves: coffee, wine, houseplants, concerts, cheesecake, and bookstores. When she’s not teaching, writing, or entertaining small people, you can find her with her face in a book.

Hats Off! to Ashley Memory who won First Place in the DD's Starving Artist Writing Contest sponsored by the Franklin County Writers’ Guild for her short story "Golden Delicious." Ashley receives $500 and publication in County Lines: A Literary Journal. Also, her poem "The Gavin Girls" is forthcoming in Main Street Rag's Kakalak 2019.


Hats Off! to Pine Level writer Cindy Brookshire, whose poem "English" is part of a county-wide "Poems around Town" installation by Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Brookshire facilitates the Johnston County Writers Group, which meets the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 pm at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield, 305 E. Market St., Smithfield.


Mountain Melodies by Elizabeth Wilmoth Solazzo

CreateSpace Publishing Platform
$15.99, paperback / $8.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-072927211
June, 2019
Fiction: Women's / Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

Dr. Katie Cook is beginning her medical practice in a small town at the base of Clinch Mountain, TN, at the turn of the twenty-first century. She is healing from a past relationship while carving out an independent life for herself in these starkly beautiful but fragile mountains. She is befriended by Lovey Lephew, a strong woman about to celebrate 100 years of wisdom gained from a life of unimaginable stories and lessons learned from the dark hollows of this lonely Appalachian mountain. As the women band together to protect their homes from a gang of drug dealers using the forested land for cover, they learn long buried secrets from one another that will change both their lives.

Elizabeth Solazzo is a writer living in the Piedmont of North Carolina who enjoys writing about family and relationships. Her most recent publication is Mountain Melodies, a novel loosely based on the life of her grandmother, a widow struggling to survive in the hills of Appalachia in the early twentieth century. Recent releases include a short history on a nearby small town, Saxapahaw – Once a Mill Village, about the transformation of the little village from a mill town to an artsy village, and Chasing the Wind, a book of short stories. She is also the author of Saxapahaw Girl, a collection of essays about family connections and coming of age in a small town in America. Learn more about her at

Through the Needle's Eye by Linda Bledsoe

Mercer University Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-88146-702-4
July, 2019
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

"A moving novel about one child's need for love in a hardscrabble world. Young Jessie tells much of the story herself, and her voice is both gritty and poetic. Linda Bledsoe's novel is an exceptional debut by a very talented writer."
—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Above the Waterfall

"This novel is not for the faint of heart. Linda Bledsoe has given us an unflinching look at how poverty can ravage a family. Yet, I kept being reminded of James Still's River of Earth during the telling. A powerful read."
—Wayne Caldwell, author of Cataloochee

"Linda Bledsoe's Through the Needle's Eye goes deeper into the genre of Appalachian noir fiction than anything I've read to date. One could even say that this book challenges Cormac McCarthy's dark corner of the genre. Told from the perspective of a young girl, this book reads more like a memoir than fiction and goes deeper into the human experience and psyche. If this novel by such a talented and honest writer doesn't send chills up your spine, yet touch your heart, then nothing will. If there were an Oscar for historical literary fiction, Bledsoe and her characters would all be going home as winners."
—Thomas Crowe, author of Zoro's Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods

Through the Needle's Eye is told through the authentic voice of Jessie, a precocious girl raised in the Blue Ridge foothills of Southern Appalachia after WWll. Saddled with an alcoholic narcissistic father and passive mother, Jessie is charged with mothering her siblings as generational curses and poverty never cease to overwhelm them.

Granny Isabelle—a toothless, wizened humpback spitfire spouts scriptural admonitions like spears—sets her eagle eye on this orphan waif, that neither parents nor teachers think worthwhile.

Sporting a ridiculous paper bag hat, Granny Isabelle earnestly chucks clods of dirt with a garden hoe to plant onions to hawk at nearby markets for dimes; proving to Jessie a few dimes can make a difference in life if one keeps plugging onward. Through keen intuition and a special bond she provides a haven for Jessie's survival to help motivate the child beyond her circumstances.

Often at the end of the long hard work days, with Jessie in tow, they'd stand together, hand in hand, at the end of corn rows, searching the meadows and skies, both yearning to find that missing puzzle piece of life. Hopeful that one day this undesirable child might choose to travel amongst the heavenly host—past some glittering starts—to proceed right through the needle's eye.

A native of Virginia, Linda Bledsoe worked for thirty-three years as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has co-published articles in various medical articles. Bledsoe holds degrees from Rockingham Community College (AAS), New York State University (BS) and Johns Hopkins (MAS in Counseling Psychology). She earned her Family Nurse Practitioner certificate at UNC-CH. Bledsoe currently resides on a farm in Stuart, Virginia and in Eden, NC. For years she and her husband owned and ran Victoria's Hearth B&B in Eden. She is working to complete her second novel, Rhea and Jeremiah Zeus, and has several children's chapter books ready for publishing stage.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Final Gifts" appears in the recently released North Carolina's Best Emerging Poets 2019: An Anthology, published by Z Publishing House. Her skinny poem, "Hour Glass," was posted online at The Skinny Poetry Journal on July 7, 2019, and her haiku beginning with "Dark, towering clouds..." appeared in issue #63 of Haiku Journal.


Hats Off! to Wayne Caldwell whose work appears in the new anthology Mountains Piled upon Mountains (WVU Press, 2019—Jessica Cory, editor). This collection features nearly fifty writers from across Appalachia sharing their place-based fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry. Moving beyond the tradition of transcendental nature writing, much of the work collected here engages current issues facing the region and the planet. Featuring both established and emerging authors, within the pages of Mountains Piled upon Mountains are celebration, mourning, confusion, loneliness, admiration, and more, rooted in place but transcending Appalachia’s boundaries.


Hats Off! to Jeanne Julian whose first full-length collection, Like the O in Hope, has been published by The Poetry Box Select. Five poems from the book first appeared in Pinesong, the journal of the North Carolina Poetry Society.


KEEN: Banshee Song Series, Book One by Laura L. Zimmerman

L2L2 Publishing
$16.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1943788392
July, 2019
Fiction: YA/Fantasy
Available from your local bookstore or

Caoine is just your average half-faerie teenager born with a voice that kills, but when the mysterious Prince of the Unseelie attacks, she must learn to control her banshee curse to stop him from taking innocent lives.

Half-faerie Caoine has no control over the banshee lament she sings each night, predicting the death of others. A senior in a brand new high school, she expects the same response she's received at every other school: judgment from fellow students over her unusual eyes and unnaturally white skin and hair. However, when Caoine arrives at West Lincoln High, for the first time in her life she finds friends. Real friends.

But being a teenager is never easy, especially when the star soccer player, Oliver, sets his sights on her. Allowing him to get close means revealing her curse to the human world. She can't let that happen.

Life spins further out of control when her lament comes out during the day, those whose death she predicts die right in front of her, and a dark faerie known only as the Unseelie prince blames Caoine by leaving her the creepiest notes ever. Her curse is not supposed to work like that.

In a race against time, Caoine must uncover the Unseelie prince's identity and stop a spell before it unleashes hell on earth, all while trying to control her banshee song and finding a place among her peers.

Senior year just got real.

Laura L. Zimmerman lives in a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, three daughters, and three furbaby felines. Besides writing, she’s passionate about loving Jesus, anything Star Wars, and singing loudly. She takes her coffee black and spends her days pretending to do yoga. This is her debut novel. Find out more about her at

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose short story, "Three Clicks," was a finalist for the 2018 Ron Rash Fiction Award and appears in the recently-released Volume 51 of Broad River Review.


Excavating Light by Diana Ewell Engel

Finishing Line Press
$13.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63534-872-9
March, 2019
Available from your local bookstore,, or the publisher

"In Diana Ewell Engel’s Excavating Light, the natural world—a 'bruised sky,' 'a frozen tundra of warrior trees, / their branches unsheathed,' the 'ruby blur' of a cardinal 'buffeted by storm / grasping feeder perch'—is conjured through sensory evocations that are both rooted in concrete reality and laden with unforced, metaphorical resonance. Poem after poem in this excellent collection casts a sensitive but unsentimental light on what is lost and what abides as our vulnerable humanity is impacted by 'nature’s changing course untrimmed.'"
—Mark Smith-Soto, editor/associate editor of International Poetry Review and author of three prize-winning chapbooks

"Diana Ewell Engel’s powerful poems in Excavating Light teach us that there can be no love without eventual sorrow and loss. From her father’s books that still speak with her of his life’s love of the spiritual and his early death, to the aging gait of her mother’s slow steps on a beach she taught her children to freely love. Speaking to her father in one poem, Engel says 'what did we know of death/until you died/ and we became seagulls/ winging through morning/ searching for the bright to fill us…' In this collection, memory itself is a form of light, 'Grief' turned into hot cocoa, a crescent moon, 'Forest Language' of joy remembered. Engel’s marvelous poems, lyrical and image rich, teach us to mine life for light and purpose in a world too often filled with emotional quandaries and darkness."
—Bill Brown, author of eleven poetry collections and two-time recipient of fellowships in poetry from the Tennessee Arts Commission

"Diana Ewell Engel’s poems are above all lyrical, subtle in sound and rhythm. They offer well-wrought steps to view earthly joys and challenges, and also spiritual ground, where the reader can meet spirits and memories. The personal tone of each poem allows the reader to enter artistic 'morning,' to envision the 'faint vista hovering / after the dark hours, / on the edge of day.' This is hard-won poetry of honest emotion, all the more resonant and sweet in its silences, cacophony, and lyrical loveliness."
—Marilyn Kallet, Knoxville Poet Laureate, Professor Emerita, University of Tennessee

The poems in Excavating Light are inspired by light and shadow, the mysterious turnings of nature and our lives, how we journey through disappointment and loss, and the resonances we gather along the way. As the poet writes about the wrack line she walks, the surrounding world enters—family, neighbors and friends, the textures of other cultures woven in suffering and in joy—animated by the tide, wind, trees, sleet and a blood moon.

Diana Ewell Engel tuned into poetry wholeheartedly, when, during a high school lit class, the teacher read Emily Dickinson’s "There’s a certain Slant of Light." This teacher, Rose Tillman, and UT writing professor, Marilyn Kallet, ignited her passion for American and international contemporary verse. Diana has degrees in literature and library science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and has poems published in diverse literary journals and anthologies. A believer in the transformative power of poetry, she has shared it with many fellow travelers to help them find their voices, their identities. Diana served as editor and head of poetry anthology projects for Writers’ Group of the Triad and Penn-Griffin Middle School resulting in the anthologies fire & chocolate and Sharing the Light. Currently, she co-facilitates the Winston-Salem Writers Poetry Cafe critique group. She lives in High Point, with her husband Clint and brilliant cattle dog mutt, Cowgirl.

Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer (1944-2017) whose last published poetry collection, Trawling the Silences (Jacar Press, 2019), has been recorded for audiobook by Talmadge Ragan. The book is available on Audible. Proceeds from sales will go to the Canary Coalition and the Tuckasegee Watershed Association. Talmadge worked as a professional actress in LA and New York, as well as North Carolina. She is the daughter of one of NC's most revered poets, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Sam Ragan, who was appointed Laureate for Life by Governor Jim Hunt.


Making Corrections by K.F. Whatley

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$9.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1980674719
May, 2018
Fiction: Science Fiction
Available from

Following her husband’s death, every day is a struggle for Carrie Weathers. She continues their work, reporting on strange phenomena, and discovers more than she expected in a person from their past. Can the strange man claiming to be a time traveler bring an end to her grief?

Author K. F. Whatley's professional writing experience spans more than twenty years. Starting with published technical books, then moving into news reporting, she dove into fiction in 2006‐picking up where her teen self had left off.

After publishing fiction and poetry in local literary journals for years, she made the leap to Kindle publishing in 2017, and her first fiction novel in 2018.

While today's publishing embraces violent or sexually explicit content, this author writes in "family-friendly prose" so any age may read it. Language uses only mild expletives, minimal and non-bloody violence, and non-existent sexual descriptions.

Wife of Frank, mother, stepmother, and grandmother, she fills her time with family, writing, and trying not to trip over cats. She is based in Eastern North Carolina, with ocean in one direction and foothills in the other.

Hats Off! to Erin Duffy of Raleigh whose essay "A Terrible Beauty" won First Place in The Hard Times Writing Contest sponsored by The Writers' Workshop of Asheville. The final judge was Anne Barnhill.


Hats Off! to Margaret A. Harrell who will speak about the "Top 10 Editing Mistakes to Avoid" at the third annual Triangle Book & Writer Conference at the McKimmon Center on NC State's campus on September 15, 12:00-1:00 pm. She also will be on the "Writing about the Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson" panel along with Juan Thompson (author and Thompson's son), William McKeen (author and journalism chair at Boston University), and Tim Denevi (brand-new book: Freak Kingdom; also nonfiction editor of Literary Hub) at George Mason Univeristy, in mid-October. Finally, she will be one of three panelists at the Rand-McNally independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, in late November, upon the publication of Tim Denevi's Freak Kingdom, which she went over with her editing eye in manuscript. The event is part of the book tour of Denevi, who invited Margaret into the panel with him because she actually knew Hunter and he liked the way she wrote about him in the Keep This Quiet! volumes I & II.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh who will be a visiting scholar at the 2018 James Agee Conference. The conference will be held September14-15 at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. Heather's presentation, "The Role of Landscape in Ron Rash's Fiction," will provide a close examination of Above the Waterfall and Burning Bright.


Hats Off! to Nancy Simpson Brantley (1938-2018): the North Carolina Writers' Network gifted a photo of Simpson to the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, in honor of her many achievements. Simpson served on the NCWN Executive Board and was a co-founder of NCWN-West, a program of NCWN, to serve writers in the remote NC mountains. She was NCWN-West’s Program Director for over twenty-one years. Nancy Simpson Brantley was a poet, teacher, and mother of three children. She taught in Clay County Schools for twenty-eight years. Author of three poetry collectios, her poems also were published widely in literary journals. 


Where the Great Wall Ends by Jinny Batterson

Frog and Turtle Publishing
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 9781732047419
May, 2018
Nonfiction: Travel / Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

"Duststorms, earthquakes—Jinny Batterson's Where the Great Wall Ends has plenty of exciting reading. But more important, it gives us a compelling glimpse into the lives of a distant people whose hopes and aspirations are not so different from our own."
—Jean Faglie, author of The China I Know

"I liked this book because I enjoyed hearing Jinny Batterson's deep interest in China and its inhabitants. Jinny, along with her husband, showed me a China that I would not come across easily....I am passing the book along to a friend who is planning to tour China this coming Fall. She will get a taste of China that should add to her enjoyment of the country."
—Marianna Crane, author of Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clininc: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers

Although Jinny's early childhood attempts to dig through the earth to China were unsuccessful, about thirty years later, in 1980, she got her first chance to travel there. The tourist highlights of that initial excursion included a section of China's signature landmark, the Great Wall. During subsequent time spent living and journeying through some of China's less-frequented rural areas, she's seen both western and eastern terminuses of China's 5,500 mile wall. This book brings to life her varied experiences with China.

Part travel narrative, part personal memoir, part environmental plea, Where the Great Wall Ends chronicles the author's lifelong interest in China and her nearly forty years of intermittent tourism, travel, and teaching in this vast, diverse, sometimes fragile land.

Jinny has spent nearly three years of her life in various parts of the People's Republic of China, touring, traveling, and teaching. Some of her earlier writings have appeared in Richmond, Virginia's Style Weekly, in Carolina Woman, and in various specialized publications. She continues to travel and to work to improve her word craft.

Hats Off! to Willa Brigham whose short story "Charlie Bucks Quilt" (from the album Midnight Quilter) won a 2018 Storytelling World Honors Award. She will tell stories at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, in October and at the Wake County Storytelling Festival in September.


CHARLOTTE—The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2018 Fall Conference, November 2-4 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place, will deliver more programs for more types of writers than ever before.

For the first time, Fall Conference will offer a full slate of sessions designed specifically for writers of stage and screen. In addition, as part of the Network’s ongoing mission to serve writers at all levels of experience, the Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts will sponsor a “Business of Writing” track at Fall Conference for those who feel ready to take their manuscripts to market. And, because of the Hilton’s convenient location, getting to (and parking!) at a Fall Conference in the Charlotte Metro area has never been easier.

Registration is open at

Randall Kenan, a 2018 inductee to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, will give the Keynote Address.

Kenan is the author of the novel A Visitation of Spirits; two works of nonfiction, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century and The Fire This Time; and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. He edited and wrote the introduction for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Mrs. Giles Whiting Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize. He is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Randall also will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “The Gothic Imagination and Good Fiction,” which will examine Gothic literature as a cornerstone of the Western literary tradition, and its significant impact in forming the American literary tradition.

On Saturday night, the annual Network Banquet will feature an abbreviated production of the play Native by Ian Finley. Native explores the true story of the collaboration between NC native and Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Green and Native Son author Richard Wright, as they attempt to co-write the 1941 stage adaptation of Wright’s novel. The play highlights discussions between Green and Wright about the realities of systemic racism in America. Finley is the 2012 Piedmont Laureate and the Head of Drama at Research Triangle High School in Durham.

Sessions designed for writers of stage and screen include “Dramatic Structure, or The Story of My Tattoo” with Finley; “Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, and Screen” with fiction writer, playwright, and screenwriter Paula Martinac; and “From the Page to the Stage” with playwright and television script writer Robert Inman.

Along with an increased presence of programming for playwrights and screenwriters, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer the Elliott Bowles Screenwriters Scholarship, which will provide conference registration and two nights’ accommodation for up to four North Carolina-based aspiring screenwriters.

Additional program offerings include Saturday morning’s “All Stories Connect” panel discussion “Does Place Still Matter?” and the Saturday luncheon featuring the winner of the Linda Flowers Literary Award, sponsored by the NC Humanities Council.

Sunday morning will once again feature the popular Brilliant at Breakfast panel discussion “Agents and Editors,” with Kaitlyn Johnson of Corvisiero Literary Agency, Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literary, Betsy Thorpe of Betsy Thorpe Literary, and Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media.

The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction will be led by Judy Goldman, whose memoir, Together: Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, will be published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in February, 2019. “How to Get the Words on the Page to Match the Fabulous Vision You Have in Your Head” will focus on structure, pacing, building potent sentences, dialogue strategies, scene vs. summary, and use of reflection to improve the participants’ manuscripts. Judy has received the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” and Queens University’s Beverly D. Clark Author Award.

Those who prefer to stick to the absolute truth in their writing also can sign up for nonfiction offerings such as “Write What You Don’t Know” with NCWN trustee Georgann Eubanks, author of the three-volume Literary Trails series commissioned by the NC Arts Council and published by UNC Press; “The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays ” with Patrice Gopo, author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging; “Get People Talking” with the Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Davidson College, Cynthia Lewis, whose latest book is “The game’s afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare; and “Making a Living as a Writer: Freelancing for Magazines” with Jodi Helmer, who has made her living as a full-time writer since 2002.

Maureen Ryan Griffin will lead the Poetry Master Class, “The Art and Craft of Polishing a Poem,” which will offer registrants the opportunity to learn and practice specific revision tactics, as well as get detailed feedback/critique on at least one of their poems. Maureen has taught the art and craft of writing for twenty-five years. She is the author of three poetry collections and a recipient of the 2018 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award honoring a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.

Additional poetry classes include “Imagery: Source and Function in Poetry” with NCWN trustee Julie Funderburk, author of the poetry collection The Door That Always Opens (LSU Press); “Principles of the Verse Line” with Pulitzer-nominated poet Morri Creech; “The Prose Poem: Hybrid Genre or Structural Choice?” with NCWN trustee Terry L. Kennedy, author of the poetry collection New River Breakdown and editor of The Greensboro Review and storySouth; and “Nobody Writes Alone: How to be a Well-Versed Citizen of the Poetry World” with Lisa Zerkle, author of Heart of the Light and a former editor of Kakalak.

Fiction writers seeking a wider variety of offerings or who don’t quite feel prepared to tackle the intensive atmosphere of a Master Class can also choose from stand-alone sessions including “Dialogue from the Ground Up: Amplifying Place and the Sensory World” with Bryn Chancellor, author of the novel Sycamore (Harper/HarperCollins 2017), which was a Southwest Book of the Year, an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Editors’ Best Book of 2017; “’You Talking to Me?’ How Less Really Can Mean More When Writing Dialogue” with Susan Rivers, whose debut novel, The Second Mrs. Hockaday, was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award 2017 and for the SIBA Southern Book Prize 2018 for Southern Fiction; “Scene Sequencing in Novel Structure” with the 2017 recipient of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, Kim Wright; and “Worldbuilding: Making Your Setting Come Alive!” with bestselling speculative fiction author Gail Z. Martin.

Those registrants hoping for feedback on their manuscripts should consider additional special options.

By pre-registering for either the Critique Service or the Manuscript Mart, writers receive in-depth literary critique of their fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor (Critique Service) or the chance to get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency (Manuscript Mart). While either of these programs might lead to publication, conferencegoers will get more out of these half-hour sessions if they approach them as an opportunity to, above all else, learn to write better.

While writing well is an end unto itself, the NCWN 2018 Fall Conference offers several sessions designed to help attendees take the next step on their path to publication and beyond. The “Business of Writing” track is sponsored by Charlotte Lit, which engages Charlotte Metro community members through classes, community conversations, explorations in creativity and culture, and more.

In “The Perfect Pitch,” novelists Kim Boykin, Kim Wright, and Erika Marks—who have collectively published twelve books with Big Five publishers—will offer tips on what makes an effective pitch and how to break your big idea down into a few potent paragraphs. “The Passion Project: Writing & Selling a Book that Matters” with Kathy Izard, whose self-published memoir was recently re-released by publisher Thomas Nelson, will offer tips on how to turn that passion project into a successful book; Paul Reali, founder of Charlotte Lit, will lead “Technology Toolkit: Software and Tech Stuff for Writers”; NCWN trustee and speculative fiction author Michele T. Berger will lead the first-ever program offering of “Shut Up and Write!” sponsored by, a session that will ask registrants to do exactly that: shut up, and write; Tracy Crow, NCWN Regional Rep for Randolph County, will teach “Finding Our Stories from Photographs and Art,” an ekphrasis session; and “Understanding the Players in the Book World” with Betsy Thorpe will walk registrants through the ins and outs of queries, agents, publishers—traditional and hybrid—and much more.

Bryn Chancellor, author of the prize-winning novel Sycamore and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will lead the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday. Once again, the Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships, which send up to three poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference.

2018 Fall Conference sponsors include the Arts & Science Council; the Charlotte Center for the Literary Arts (Charlotte Lit); the English Department at Davidson College;; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN Regional Rep Al Manning; the North Carolina Arts Council; the North Carolina Humanities Council; Odin Law & Media; Alice Osborn: Editor/Book Coach/Author; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of English.

For more information, and to register, visit


She'd Never Return by Bob Holt

CreateSpace Publishing Platform
$13.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-542338295
November, 2017
Fiction: Romance
Available from

JD grew up in rural Duplin County, NC. His first love, Barbara Ann, moved away during his junior year and dropped out of sight.

Joining the Air Force, he found Jaz on Guam and married her. She was half Chamorro. Her father was American. He died in WWII not knowing he was a father. Their daughter, Tori, arrived a year later but SAC kept separating them. Each time he returned, they would ship him out again. His absence ripped their marriage apart and she filed for separation. Mad at the world, he asked and was transferred to Nellis AFB near Las Vegas and Darla entered his life. She warned him not get serious and after two, very happy, and wild years, she left to study at Duke University.

Broken-hearted, he transferred to Hickam AFB in Hawaii and met Lisa. Their happiness knew no bounds until an accident took her away. His life crumbled again.

Despondent and lonely, he transferred to Seymour Johnson AFB near his home hoping to put his life back together again. He’d been in relationship after relationship, but nothing seemed to stick. What was wrong with him?

From out of the blue, Barbara Ann was back for a brief visit wanting to pick up where they’d left off in high school, but Darla was close by and then there was Jaz.

For Tori’s tenth birthday, He invited her, with Jaz chaperoning, to come to America to meet her grandparents. It was the first time he’d seen them in nine years. During their visit, he and Jaz spent two nights together, rekindling a fire that had smoldered for years, while Tori visited her grandparents.

His life remained in a turmoil with Barbara Ann trying desperately to win him back, but Jaz wasn’t giving up without a fight. She had the advantage, their daughter, Tori. She never finalized the divorce and was now an American citizen.

Barbara Ann was his first love and wanted, frantically, to be his last. Becoming a civilian after 20 years in the US Air Force, he had decisions to make. Which way would he go; down Woodland Church Road in Duplin County, or Warner-Robins AFB where Jaz and Tori were waiting?

Bob Holt grew up in rural Duplin County; North Carolina in the 40s and 50s leaving the farm immediately after graduation from high school spending one tour in the USAF. Afterwards, he traveled northeastern North Carolina as a restaurant equipment salesman for over forty years meeting many interesting people. Many traveled like him. Others owned restaurants or were employed by school systems, hospitals, or served on church or club committees. Each had an interesting story to tell. Many were shared with him.

Holt is the author of ten novels and a cookbook.

CHARLOTTE—To preserve the memory and share the dream of an aspiring screenwriter, his parents have endowed the new Elliott Bowles Screenwriters Scholarship, allowing up to four aspiring screenwriters to attend the annual Fall Conference of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

“The Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship has been created in remembrance of our son’s screenwriting passion and generous nature,” Beverly Nipper Bowles, Elliott’s mother, said. “This scholarship seeks to lend support to aspiring young screenwriters as they continue to learn and refine their craft, develop connections with industry advisors and production companies, and pursue their dreams in the love of film.”

This scholarship will pay for full Fall Conference registration and two nights’ lodging in the conference hotel. Recipients also will receive a one-year complimentary membership in the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Any North Carolina resident who has written an unproduced/unoptioned screenplay may apply for the Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship. Applicants will submit a twenty-page sample of their screenplay, along with their resume or C, and a cover letter describing their habits and goals as a screenwriter. Applicants will submit these materials to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with “Elliott Bowles Screenwriting Scholarship” in the subject line.

The 2018 NCWN Fall Conference will be November 2–4 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place Hotel. The conference will offer at least one workshop or class for dramatists (writers for screen or stage) during each of the five breakout sessions Saturday and Sunday, including classes on dialogue with Bryn Chancellor and Susan Rivers; “Dramatic Structure, or the Story of My Tattoo” with Ian Finley; “From the Page to the Stage” with Robert Inman; and “Creating Diverse Characters for the Stage, Page, & Screen” with Paula Martinac.

Dramatists also will be able to submit twenty-page excerpts from one of their works for a one-on-one critique session.

Full details and registration for the 2018 Fall Conference will be available on Monday, August 27.

“The inspiration for this scholarship sprang to mind during my darkest day,” Beverly Nipper Bowles said. “I was planning the memorial service. The initial thought was a dim but emerging ray of sun, mixed with the tiniest sparkle of joy. When I heard myself share the idea with my husband and saw his face, it was suddenly obvious that this was the path we were intended to take as a way to preserve the memory and share the dream of our beloved Elliott.”

Others can donate to support the Bowles Scholarship, either with a check made out to “NCWN-Bowles Scholarship” and mailed to P. O. Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC, 27120; or with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover at

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


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose short story "Unexpected Gift" will appear in the December issue of Clubhouse magazine. Also, her poem "Caught" was selected as one of the July, 2018, winners of Nancy Smith's Women Speak ekphrastic competition; Joan's poem "Whirl, Whorl, Whirlpool" has been posted on Visual Verse for August; and her poem "In My Son's Voice" for their July challenge. Finally, The Ekphrastic Review published her poem "When God Calls."


Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductees Clyde Edgerton and Lee Smith, whose essays are included in the new anthology Southern Writers on Writing (University Press of Mississippi, 2018), edited by Susan Cushman. "Insightful, inspiring, and sometimes contentious," says Beth Ann Fennelly, the poet laureate of Mississippi, "Southern Writers on Writing is as complicated and diverse as the South itself. This collection is required reading for anyone who hopes to understand our fraught and blessed region."


Hats Off! to Sylvia Freeman whose poem "Muse" was one of the May winners in Nancy Smith's Women Speak ekphrastic competition, where women writers are invited to respond with poetry or prose to select Smith paintings.


Booker and the Stinky Smell by Renée Filippucci-Kotz

Archway Publishing
$16.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-480851993
October, 2017
Fiction: Children's / Picture
Available from your local bookstore or

Booker is a happy, curious dog. One spring day he finds an interesting smelly spot in his backyard and decides to roll in it.

Although Booker thinks he smells great, his family feels a bit differently. Even his friends, Tippy and Tappy the squirrels and Flower the bunny think he smells stinky.

Booker's inquisitiveness in the stinky smell in his backyard leads to a day full of fun for him.

Renée Filippucci-Kotz was born in New York and grew up in Kentucky. Renée developed a passion for books and animals as a child. Going to the library with her parents and brother was a favorite pastime. Growing up her family had goldfish, dogs, turtles, a rabbit, and a cat. She became interested in writing for children while working with foster children. In 2001 she began to volunteer with her local, county, animal shelter.

Her first children’s chapter book, AJ’s Wish, was published in 2016. Her second chapter book Pepper's Misadventure received honorable mention in the Carteret Writers Contest. In addition, she has published her first picture book, Booker and the Stinky Smell.

When not writing, Renée enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and spending time with her husband and pets. Ms. Filippucci-Kotz lives in North Carolina.

Hats Off! to Sam Barbee whose poem "Feast" appears in The Cortland Review. Hear Sam read "Feast" as well, on the website


Malice at the Manor (Penny Summers Mystery #2) by J. Marshall Gordon .

Taylor and Seale Publishers
$18.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-943789801
May, .2018
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

"Gordon has artfully nurtured a charming whodunit. Penny...a reluctant detective with a fraught history...proves an engaging and skillful sleuth. Readers should hope that this winning mystery series starring a gardener/detective will be fruitful and multiply."
Kirkus Reviews

"In Penny Summers, Gordon creates a smart, endearing sleuth whose personality blossoms forth on every page. As avarice and artifacts collide in the world of Civil War collectors and reenactors, Penny Summers' tenacity and curiosity draw her and the reader into a complex web of deceit where death still lingers long after the guns of the Blue and the Gray fall silent."
—Mark deCastrique, author of the Sam Blackman series

"Gordon's riveting tale has it all—a poisonous plant, a reappearing gun, a hidden compartment and, of course, suspicious deaths. We can hope that Penny soon finds herself tangled in another web of deceit, betrayal and murder."
—Tom Rash, Asheville Editing

Penny Summers bones up on Renaissance garden design until she finds a dead docent and finds herself up to her tramp stamp unraveling a Civil War battle flag scam.

In North Carolina where "The Recent Unpleasantness" between the North and the South is still romanticized, the problem of a dead docent in a famous garden leads ex-Navy public affairs officer Penny Summers to a Civil War battle flag scam, a deadly reenactment, and a search for a man in black. With the help of Kalea, an eleven-year-old C.S.I.-wannabe, and Aaron, her handsome Navy friend working undercover, Penny discovers more than she bargained for. She thinks if she had studied psychology, it might have turned out differently. Probably not.

Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose two poems, “L” and “P, the arm and hand pose,” appear in Chiron Review, Issue #111, Spring 2018. Also, her poem “Stitching Dollars Together” appears in The Cortland Review, Issue 80, online currently with audio.


Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Lee Smith, who was profiled in the August/Septemer issue of Garden & Gun as part of a featre on Southern Women. "Storytelling is crucial to the future of our country," Smith says. "We cannot cover up history. We have to find out who we were, where we came from, how we lived, and what we believed, before we can understand what's happening now."


Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Altered Silhouette" was the June winner for Nancy Smith's painting "Twilight Reflection." Nancy Smith has invited women writers to create poetry or prose based on her paintings to further explore the feminine experience. "Criteria for selection is based on the writer’s responsiveness to the painting without being too literal; transcend the merely personal; contain specific, skillful language; use strong voice; and evoke earned emotion. Writers whose work is selected will be invited to read their work at the gallery event held March 10, 2019, 1-3pm. Women Speak will be hosted by Frank Gallery at their Community Outreach Gallery in University Place, Chapel Hill."

Also, Suzanne's poem "Fun Summer Memory" appears in issue #297 of The Weekly Avocet (August 12, 2018).


Hats Off! to James Breeden whose novel Painting Angela is a finalist in the Gas Station Pulp Contest for literary crime novels sponsored by the North American Review, the oldest literary magazine in the United States.


"The Game's Afoot": A Sports Lover's Introduction to Shakespeare by Cynthia Lewis

McFarland & Company
$39.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-476670065
June, 2018
Nonfiction: Theatre Arts / Sports
Available from your local bookstore or

Like the age-old feud between the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, the enduring rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers makes for great drama. Macbeth's career began with promise but ended in ruin--not unlike Pete Rose's. Twelfth Night's Viola's disguise as a boy to enter into a man's world is echoed in Babe Didrikson Zaharias' challenge to the pro golf patriarchy when she competed in the Los Angeles Open.

Exploring parallels between Shakespeare's plays and famous events in the world of sports, this book introduces seven of the best-known plays to the sports enthusiast and offers a fresh perspective to Shakespeare devotees.

Cynthia Lewis is Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Davidson College, where she has been teaching Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, and creative nonfiction since 1980. She has published numerous articles and two books on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the latest just out: “The Game’s Afoot”: A Sports Lover’s Introduction to Shakespeare. Her creative nonfiction ranges in focus from American culture to personal essays and has been published in such venues as The Hudson Review, New Letters, The Antioch Review, Southern Cultures, The Massachusetts Review, and Charlotte Magazine. Four of her essays have been cited as a “Notable Essay” in the Best American Essays series between 2006 and 2016. Her essay “Return Engagement: The Haunting of Hamlet and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” won Shenandoah’s Thomas Carter Essay Prize for 2016, and another essay, “Body Doubles,” was awarded the 2017 Meringoff Prize for nonfiction by the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.

WINSTON-SALEM—This November, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will launch a new annual contest to honor the best in short prose by African-American writers in North Carolina.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize, named for two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, will be open to short works of fiction and creative nonfiction. The winner will receive $1,000 and possible publication of their winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

This award was initiated by Cedric Brown, a Winston-Salem native and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Though Brown has lived in California the last three decades, he has “deep roots, an abiding love, and a little house in the Tar Heel State,” he said.

“The literary award was borne out of my frustration with being unable to readily find much fiction or creative nonfiction that conveys the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians,” Brown said. “I wanted to incentivize the development of written works while also encouraging Black writers to capture our lives through storytelling.”

The contest, sponsored by the NCWN and administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina. Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must not have been published before (including on any website, blog, or social media), and must be no more than 3,000 words.

The full competition guidelines are listed below and can be found at

The final judge of the inaugural Jacobs/Jones contest will be the acclaimed author Rion Amilcar Scott. Scott’s short-story collection, Insurrections, was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Rumpus, among others. The World Doesn't Require You, his sophomore story collection, is forthcoming from Liveright.

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors the nineteenth-century writers Harriet Jacobs and Thomas H. Jones. Jacobs was born in 1813 near Edenton, escaping to Philadelphia in 1842, after hiding for seven years in a crawl space above her grandmother’s ceiling. She published her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, under a pseudonym in 1861. Jacobs died in 1897 and was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1997.

Jones was born into slavery near Wilmington in 1806. Able to purchase the freedom of his wife and all but one of his children, he followed them north in 1849 by stowing away on a brig to New York. In the northeast and in Canada, he spoke as a preacher and abolitionist, writing his memoir, The Experience of Thomas Jones, in 1854, as a way to raise funds to buy his eldest child’s freedom.

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



Postmark Deadline: January 2 (annual)
Submissions Accepted: November 1 – January 2

The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors Harriet Jacobs and Thomas Jones, two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, and seeks to convey the rich and varied existence of Black North Carolinians. The contest is administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication of the winning entry in The Carolina Quarterly.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The competition is open to any African-American writer whose primary residence is in North Carolina.
  • Entries may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but must be unpublished, no more than 3,000 words, and concerned with the lives and experiences of North Carolina African-Americans. Entries may be excerpts from longer works, but must be self-contained. Entries will be judged on literary merit.
  • An entry fee must accompany each submission: $10 for NCWN members, $20 for nonmembers. You may submit multiple entries, but the correct fee must accompany each one.
  • You may pay the members’ entry fee if you join the NCWN when you submit.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • If submitting by mail, submit two copies of an unpublished manuscript, not to exceed 3,000 words, on single-sided pages, double-spaced, in black 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • To submit by USPS:

Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize
UNC Creative Writing Program
Attn: Anita Braxton
Greenlaw Hall, CB#3520
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520

  • To submit online, go to Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members / $20 nonmembers). (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner will be announced in February.

For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Runeship (Adventures of the Vampire Book 2): by PD McClafferty

PD McClafferty
$11.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-996837903
May, 2018
Fiction: Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Available from

"Runeship will appeal to many different readers, combining urban fantasy, science fiction, and military fiction with great characters. It's a fun genre-buster that will leave you wanting more."
—Jennifer W., Line Editor, Red Adept Editing

"Vampires and werewolves and…starships? Oh my. Supernatural creatures are causing trouble all over the Earth, and planet-hopping vampire Max Kiritescu is the only person who can marshal the forces to stop them. As if that wasn't enough, an extraterrestrial threat is menacing his distant homeworld, and his best chance to thwart it lies in reviving a millennia-old starship. With the lovely (and deadly) Xia at his side, Max sets a relentless pace for keeping his worlds safe."
—Kim H., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing


Maximilian Smith, former military officer now turned vampire, thought things had bottomed out when he was bitten, and turned into a vampire. Sadly, he was wrong as he now finds himself without a family or friends, they took the money they had coming to them and vanished. Up to his fangs in trouble, Maximilian is again fighting to save the world of his birth from a fate worse than death itself even as a vaster menace looms in the near future, menacing both his adopted world of Aeyaqar, and the human race on distant Earth.

P.D. McClafferty is a thirty-year veteran of the United States Air Force with a tour in Vietnam and involvement with both Gulf War I and Gulf War II. A graduate (BA and MA) of Vermont College of Norwich University and a former Martial Arts Instructor, he has traveled extensively and is finally realizing a lifelong goal of writing science fiction / fantasy; an interest heinherited from both of his parents who were great fans of the genre. He and his wife currently live in sunny North Carolina with their two cats. Runeship is his sixth book. Five other novels, …and they are us, …and they are us Homecoming, …and they are us Hiveworld, Wrecker’s Moon, and The Destiny of the Vampire are currently up on Amazon in either e-book or paperback. Vampire will be coming out as an audio book sometime in late 2018.

Hats Off! to Mark Mitchell whose short novel Land of Mystical Scents is a semi-finalist in the 2018 Faulkner – Wisdom Competition. This is the fifth time he's placed as a semi-finalist. Iin 2012, his novel Ice Age Mystery made the short-list. The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, which sponsors the event, requires manuscripts to be "publishable with professional editing.” In 2018, there were 438 entries, of which 9 were selected for the short list, 83 as finalists, and 158 as semi-finalists.188 were rejected as not ready to place in the competition.


Hats Off! to Erika Hoffman who attended a luncheon for contributors in Times Square on July 30, hosted by Amy Newmark, the publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. Erika's fifteenth story published by this series will appear in The Wonder of Christmas coming out this fall.


Rebel Belle: The Making of a Narcissist by Nancy Tilly

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$11.50, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-987715095
May, 2018
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

Nancy Tilly’s memoir Rebel Belle: The Making of a Narcissit, newly out from Amazon’s CreateSpace, opens with a hard-drinking family and a mother on the attack, a bad high-school boyfriend and a worse one in college. In Chapel Hill she finds a home. But she can’t stay there. From Chicago to Yellowstone, San Francisco and Europe her quest to conquer rage and make a normal life leads to an unexpected conclusion.

Nancy loved her beautiful parents—no one was more fun. But her happy childhood in Atlanta ends with Daddy’s heart attack at age thirty-four, when her parents’ drinking and rages escalate to daily bombardments. How can Nancy act right, learn to be popular like Mother?

Rebel Belle: The Making of a Narcissist, follows Nancy’s struggle to put together a normal life even as her own bad judgment combines with her parents’ partying life and blow-ups that threaten to sink them all. The quest for a good life leads to a shock: it’s not just her parents. She is more narcissistic than they are! Whether she can tame her demons and find the life she longs for is the question that fills these pages.


Death in a Mudflat by N.A. Granger

Copper Ledge
$12.00, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-692103470
June, 2018
Available from

Death in a Mudflat is a hugely enjoyable, fast-paced mystery with excellent attention to forensic and scientific detail.

Fearless detective, ER nurse, devoted mother, and Pequod, Maine’s, answer to Kinsey Milhone, Rhe Brewster is back on the case. When an idyllic seaside wedding is suddenly interrupted by the grotesque sight of a decaying human arm poking out of the tidal mud, Rhe is thrown head first into a treacherous world of duplicity, drugs, and murder.

With her best friend Paulette and her main man Sam, the Chief of Police, Rhe seeks to solve the puzzle of the body found in the muck while also working with the FBI to identify the source of shipments of tainted heroin flooding the local campus and community.

Maine’s opioid crisis has hit the town hard, with an escalating number of overdoses. More murders are uncovered, testing Rhe’s detective skills and steely resolve.

While she follows the clues, Rhe encounters some sinister inhabitants of Pequod’s underbelly, including a practitioner of the Dark Arts, a hydra-headed crime gang, and an embittered, unhinged lobsterman with an axe to grind and nothing to lose.

In her relentless drive to solve the crimes, Rhe narrowly escapes a watery grave, trades blows with Russian goons, and unknowingly prompts Paulette to put her life on the line in an attempt to catch a murderer in the act.

N. A. Granger is a Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. After forty years of research and teaching, she wrote her first mystery on a dare, then kept on going. In addition to the Rhe Brewster mystery series, she has written for Coastal Living and Sea Level magazines and several times for the Bella Online Literary Review. She lives with her husband and a hyperactive kitten in Chapel Hill and spends a portion of every summer in Maine.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "My Son's Voice" has been accepted by Verse Visual. Two additional poems are forthcoming in Spirit Fire in August publication ("Incendiary" and "Persistent Night."). Joan also performed folktales, both original and folklore, for Brightwater Senior Center in June and July. Her blog has changed focus to be of service to other writers. It now offers insights into what editors want in short stories:


Hats Off! to Meagan Lucas: the opening to her novel, Song Birds and Stray Dogs, has been included in Issue 5 of Embark Literary Journal. In the same issue appears the opening from Steve Cushman's novel What Happens Next.


Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives edited by Elizabeth Searle and Tamra Wilson

$39.95, paperback / $19.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4766-6912-0
May, 2018
Nonfiction: Popular Culture & Performing Arts / Women's Studies
Available from your local bookstore or

Idol Talk offers fun, distinctly unique stories of the right-of-passage experience of celebrity ‘puppy love’ and celebrates how these crushes changed these former teenyboppers’ lives from a more mature perspective.”
—Ann Moses, former editor of Tiger Beat and author of Meow! My Groovy Life with Tiger Beat’s Teen Idols

In the midst of acne, social anxiety, and training bras are the teen idols that make adolescent life a little more bearable. Whether their cutouts are plastered on bedroom walls or hidden behind locker doors, there is no denying the impact of these stars on young women. This collection of new essays explores with tenderness and humor the teen crushes of the past sixty years—from Elvis to John Lennon to Whitney Houston—who have influenced the choices of women, romantically or otherwise, well into adulthood.

Foreword written by Peter Noone, Herman of Herman's Hermits.

Elizabeth Searle is the author of five books of fiction. Her show Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera has been widely produced and has drawn national media attention. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA and lives in Arlington, MA.

Tamra Wilson is a fiction writer, essayist, and author of Dining with Robert Redford & Other Stories. She serves as a Road Scholar speaker for the North Carolina Humanities Council and lives in Newton.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh who won the "Novel" category of the 2017 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award with the first chapter of her work-in-progress, The Disappearance of Audrey Thorpe.


Hats Off! to Caroline Taylor whose story "Intervention” appears in Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed and Dirty Deeds (Down and Out Books, July, 2017). Also, her story “Risky Business” appears in Work Literary Magazine (July, 2017) and “What Is This Thing Called Like?” appears in One Hundred Voices: an Anthology, Vol. III (Centum Press, July, 2017).


Hats Off! to S. Kelley Harrell whose recent book deal was announced in Publisher's Weekly: "S. Kelley Harrell's Runic Book of Days, a seasonal initiation into rune magick, detailing the runes powerful at each stage of the pagan calendar, what they portend for personal and spiritual wellbeing, and techniques for creating relationships with them, to Jon Graham at Inner Traditions, for publication in Fall 2018, by Natalie Kimber at The Rights Factory (World)."


5 Simple Question to Reclaim Your Happiness by Jacqui Letran

A Healed Mind
$14.97, paperback / $4.97, e-book
ISBN: 978-0997624427
June, 2017
Nonfiction: YA
Available from your local bookstore or

"Jacqui Letran's 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness (Book 1 of 3 from the Words of Wisdom for Teens Series) is an exceptional self-help book. This book is full of wise counsel which can benefit audiences of any age or gender. Valuable insight and unique perspectives allow readers to approach their concerns from a profound new angle in an effort to resolve issues and pave the way for a happier and more fulfilling life. Included within the book are lined rule pages intended for jotting down feelings and assessing the deeper meaning behind unresolved issues, affording readers the opportunity to put life-changing steps into action."
—2017 Literary Classics' Gold Medal Winner for Young Adult Self-Help

"The author did an outstanding job of creating a safe place for teens to get in touch with and process their emotions in a positive environment. I would suggest this book for teens, their parents, or anyone that is tired of their negative emotions running their lives."
— Alyssa Elmore for Readers' Favorite

"In 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness, Jacqui Letran has effectively given you the tools to create joy in your every day. A down-to-earth approach that is relatable to teens and adults alike, in this book you will find actionable steps that help you understand your emotions and empower you to find true happiness. A must read that will assist you in resolving conflict (with yourself and others), understand feelings, and learn how to let go of that which isn't serving you. YOU do have the power to be happy."
—Dr. Tiffanie Noonan, pediatrician, author, parent educator, and coach at EPIC Parenting

Winner of the 2017 Literary Classics' International Book Award's Gold Medal for Best Young-Adult Self-Help book!

Are you tired of endless fights and misunderstandings between you and the people you care about? Do you feel like no matter what you say or do, you just can’t get anyone to understand you? Do you feel powerless, or as though it is easier hanging on to grudges and negativity than to continue struggling?

In this powerful book, award-winning author and teen confidence expert Jacqui Letran teaches you how to use five simple questions to transform your relationships from those filled with tension and frustration to those complete with trust and acceptance.

In this book, you will discover:

  • How to identify your feelings
  • How to understand why you feel as you do
  • How to let go of your unwanted emotion
  • How to create win-win situations, enhance and rebuild your relationships, and much more!

If you want to be in control of your feelings, and to let go of things easily, this book is for you. This compact guide is filled with simple tips and easy-to-follow techniques. Get your copy today and get ready to reclaim your happiness and create amazing relationships for life!

Jacqui Letran is a multi-award winning author, international speaker, nurse practitioner, and founder of Teen Confidence Academy and Healing Minds. She is passionate about her commitment to guiding her clients to achieve remarkable success in their academic, personal, and professional lives. Through private sessions, group workshops, and keynote engagements, Jacqui teaches that success and happiness are achievable by all, regardless of current struggles and circumstances. A gifted and energetic leader, Jacqui dedicates her life’s work to helping her clients and students transform into happy, confident, and successful people. She is also the winner of the 2017 Literary Classics' Gold Medal for Young Adult Self-Help Books; the 2016 Literary Classics' Lumen Award for Literary Excellence; the 2016 Literary Classics' Gold Medal for Youth Adult Nonfiction; and the 2016 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Award for Young Adult Nonfiction.

Hats Off! to Billie Hinton whose essay "Airplanes" appears in The Manifest-Station (Sunday, August 20).


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach, will bring together North Carolina’s extensive artistic and cultural community for a full weekend of classes, readings, screenings, camaraderie, and more.

Registration is open here.

Writers of all levels, skills, and experiences, from many backgrounds and with varying degrees of publishing credits—from The New York Times bestsellers to those who’ve never shared anything they’ve written—will learn not only how to write better but how to live a productively creative life.

Wiley Cash, of Wilmington, will give the Keynote Address on Friday evening. His debut novel, A Land More Kind than Home, won the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance Book Award and the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award from the UK's Crime Writers' Association. His second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was a SIBA Okra Pick and has been optioned to film. His new novel is The Last Ballad, about the real-life 1929 Loray Mill strike and the murder of balladeer Ella Mae Wiggins. Cash is writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.

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

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

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

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

Nina De Gramont will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “The Heart of the Matter,” which will discuss how to treat and enhance the moment in your story around which your entire arc revolves. De Gramont is the author of three books for young adults and teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Fiction writers can also choose from a variety of stand-alone sessions including “The Art of Novel Writing: From Idea to Polished Manuscript and Beyond” with Outer Banks novelist Michele Young-Stone; “Such a Character” and “Screenwriting 101” with Jason Mott, author of The New York Times bestseller The Returned, which was made into the hit television show Resurrection; and “Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Plot Twists: Developing a Mystery” with mystery writer and longtime journalist Thomas Kies, president of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce.

The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction will be led by Wendy Brenner, author of two short-story collections and a recipient of the Flannery O’Connor Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. “The Power of Voice” will examine methods and modes of storytelling that writers may overlook or not feel confident enough to use. Whether a writer is working in memoir, biography, journalism, history, or some other sub-genre, this class will provide him or her with new tools and perspectives. Brenner teaches in the Creative Writing Department at UNCW.

Those who prefer to stick to the absolute truth in their writing also can sign up for offerings such as “The Experimental and the Exquisite: A Generative Nonfiction Workshop” with Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, winner of the Whiting Writers Award; “The Art of Creative Research” with Philip Gerard, author of four novels and six books of nonfiction; and “Writing the Short Personal Essay” with NC Art Council Fellow Robert Wallace.

Dan Albergotti will lead the Poetry Master Class, “The ‘What It Is’ and the Unteachable Lesson: On Form in Free Verse and the Search for Metaphor.” Registrants will take a close look at several poems that illustrate: (1) the truth that “free verse” is never truly free of form and (2) the god-like and elusive power of metaphor. Albergotti, a professor of English at Coastal Carolina University, is the author of two poetry collections and a chapbook.

Additional poetry classes include “Object, List, and Place Poems” with Peter Makuck, two-time winner of the Brockman-Campbell Award for best book of poetry by a North Carolinian; “Fine Lines” with Beloit Journal poetry editor Melissa Crowe; and “The Ordinary Extraordinary” with Michael White, a 2015 finalist for the National Book Award for Travels in Vermeer.

Those registrants hoping for feedback on their manuscripts should consider additional special options.

By pre-registering for either the Critique Service or the Manuscript Mart, writers receive in-depth literary critique of their fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor (Critique Service), or the chance to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency (Manuscript Mart). While either of these programs might lead to publication, conferencegoers will get more out of these half-hour sessions if they approach them as an opportunity, above all else, to learn to write better.

Finishing a manuscript, though, is only part of what it takes to be a writer. With that in mind, the NCWN 2017 Fall Conference offers several sessions devoted to teaching writers how to comport themselves professionally and navigate the publishing industry.

Beth Staples, editor of Lookout Books, will lead “Understanding the Editorial Process,” while “Myth & Modern Magical Thinking for Mere Mortals,” with Poetry Society of America Vice President Catherine Woodard, will examine the timeless hero/heroine’s journey for any genre; NCWN Trustee and UNC-Chapel Hill professor Michele T. Berger will offer “Charting Your Path to Publication: Tips, Techniques and Lessons for Writers;” Malaga Baldi will lead registrants through “Writing the Query Letter that Sells!”; distinguished editors Terry L. Kennedy, Robin Miura, and Ross White will participate in the panel “Finding Readers Through Lit Mags“; novelist Taylor Brown, winner of the Montana Prize in Fiction, will use examples from his own day-to-day to teach attendees about “The Writing Life: Strategies for Being an Artist in the Real World”; and NCWN board member and the voice of Lady Banks, Nicki Leone, will lead “Booksellers and Authors: Building Partnerships that Last.”

Anna Lena Phillips Bell, winner of the 2016 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize for her newest collection Ornament, will lead the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday. “Writing from Place: A Poetry (or Prose) Walk” will tour participants through Wrightsville Beach on foot, pausing in the shade to talk writing and respond to writing prompts. This programming is free.

Once again, the Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships, which send two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference.

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

For more information, and to register, visit


Molly to the Rescue by Sally Hursey

Three Dogs Dancing Press
$10.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-692-89094-3
July, 2017
Nonfiction: Chapter Book
Available from the author

"Sally Hursey weaves heart and soul into the beautiful, true tale of shelter-dog, Molly, and her journey to becoming an elite member of the K9s for Warriors program. Molly's unbridled loyalty and tender tenacity toward those who train her and love her will grab your heart and won't let go. Though I've read many books about therapy dogs and service dogs, Molly's story rises to the top of my 'favorites' pile. Bravo, Mrs. Hursey—Molly to the Rescue will be on my 'to give' list for years to come."
—Donna Earnhardt, Being Frank (Flashlight Press, 2012)

"Thank you, Sally, for giving Molly a voice and shining a light on what these remarkable animals can do for a veteran."
—Service Animal Project

Molly to the Rescue is the true story of a local shelter-dog who becomes a member of the elite K9s for Warriors program. The story follows her journey from life in a shelter to the moment she meets her wounded warrior at K9s for Warriors. Molly's story demonstrates the healing power a dog can have in a veteran's life.

Sally Hursey promised herself that she would write a children's book when she retired. Since she's had dogs all her life, it seemed natural to write about them. Molly to the Rescue is her first book.

She majored in English at the University of Georgia and earned two Master's degrees. During her career in education, she was an English teacher, a library media specialist, and a literacy coach. She is a member of SCBWI and the North Carolina Writers' Network.

She grew up in South Carolina and now lives in the Carolina mountains with her husband and two dogs.

Hats Off! to Betty Jamerson Reed whose poem "My World" appears in the River Poets 2017 Special Edition Anthology, Windows. Also, her poem "Morning Thoughts" has been accepted by Friends Journal.


WINSTON-SALEM—Launched just this year, the NCWN’s Prison Writers Outreach program already is an overwhelming success—almost literally.

As in, we have heard from far more incarcerated writers, who want to learn or hone their craft, than we have volunteer writers to correspond with them.

So if you have not already done so, please consider volunteering to be a part of Prison Writers Outreach.

We have a good-sized backlog of letters from inmates in the state prison system, each of them wanting to explore the possibilities offered by creative writing: memoir, short or long fiction, poetry, plays, and more.

Each one of them is waiting to hear back from an experienced writer who can critique their work, offer advice, and most importantly, share words of encouragement and support.

The purpose of the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s Prison Writers Outreach is to encourage creative writers currently incarcerated by the State of North Carolina. Outreach volunteers will do so by corresponding with interested inmates about the craft and business of writing.

All volunteers must be current members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and must sign and agree to abide by the program guidelines, developed in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Volunteers will be paired at random with one (or more, if the volunteer wishes) incarcerated writer, with whom the volunteer will exchange at least three correspondences.

If you would like to volunteer, please read the program guidelines, and return a signed copy (electronic signatures are fine) to NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also contact Ed if you have questions about the program.

We hope you will want to be a part of this important outreach program of the Network’s, one that seeks to sustain North Carolina’s claim as the Writingest State, and help some of our most marginalized writers.


Hats Off! to Ginger Collins whose article "The Story of Big Blue" appeared in the August 16 issue of The Alleghany News. The story is part of My History in Horsepower, a series that will run on her blog, A Coppertop on the Mountaintop.


Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore, whose novel The Last Great American Magic (Can of Corn Media, 2016) took Third Place in the "Historical Fiction" category of the 2017 CIPA EVVY Awards. Fiore is the communications director for the North Carolina Writers' Network.


GREENSBORO—The North Carolina Writers’ Network is pleased to welcome Deonna Kelli Sayed of Greensboro as our new Membership Coordinator.

Deonna started Tuesday, August 22, in time to get her feet wet before the floodgates of Fall Conference registration open next week.

As Membership Coordinator, Deonna is the Network’s “first responder” for member service, for current members, lapsed members, and potential members who don’t know yet that they want to be members. She can be reached at 919-308-3228 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to help with joining, renewing, registering for a conference or online class, entering a contest, or learning more about the Network.

“Deonna brings not only a wealth of writerly experience to our staff, but a new perspective, and new ideas on how best to serve our members and honor North Carolina’s literary tradition,” NCWN executive director Ed Southern said.

In addition to her work for the Network, Deonna is a writer, storyteller, and an award-winning journalist. She is the author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination With Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits. Her work is included in The New York Times-featured anthology Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, as well as Faithfully Feminist: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. She writes features for Yes! Weekly, an independent newspaper in Greensboro.

Her podcast work received multiple awards at the 2016 North Carolina Press Association, and top honors at the 2017 Association of Alternative Newsmedia gathering in Washington, D.C. Deonna has enjoyed Wildacres and Weymouth writing residencies. She is currently working on a memoir about faith, love, and ghosts. You can learn more about Deonna at her website,

“I hope all our members are as excited to work with her as her new co-workers are,” Southern said.


Hats Off! to Marianna Crane whose story "Out of the Blue" appears in Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine (August 18, 2017).


Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again by JoAnne Macco

JoAnne Macco
12.95, paperback / $4.95, e book
ISBN: 978-0-998602110
July, 2017
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

A true story about first loves, lost loves, and becoming ready for the love of your life.

David was JoAnne’s first love in the early seventies. When his family moved away, she felt like her heart would break. But as time passes, memories fade. They marry other people, raise families, and build successful careers. On their separate but often parallel journeys, JoAnne and David face unexpected heartache, fight off despair, and sort through personal baggage to learn lessons of love, faith, and perseverance. Then, thirty-nine years later, a surprising discovery reveals that everything happens for a reason.

This true story, told from the alternating perspectives of two high-school sweethearts, offers hope to anyone looking for a soulmate or grieving for a lost love. Trust the Timing will inspire the lonely to never give up because God has a plan and second chances are possible. But first, we need to become ready.

JoAnne Macco grew up in a military family. When she was twelve, her father told her that "nothing is impossible," and she believed him. As a child, she lived in six different states (plus Canada) and developed a lifelong love for animals, nature, art, and writing. As an adult, JoAnne worked for thirty years as a mental health/addictions counselor. Now she writes about relationships, spirituality, and hope. She also paints angels.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference runs November 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. While we're not ready to spill the beans on all the highlights quite yet, here's what we can tell you.

Registration will open Monday, August 28.

Bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address. 

And early November is the perfect time to get some sand between your toes. With an average high of 68 degrees and a low of 45 degrees, the weather is warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a beverage writh writer friends you haven't seen in a while, but cool enough where you can enjoy this year's Pre-Conference Tailgate with Anna Lena Phillips Bell, a prose and poetry prompt walk through the charming beachside town of Wrightsville Beach.

The Holiday Inn Resort offers direct access to pristine beach. It's only minutes from Wilmington attractions such as the historic downtown, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and the USS NC Battleship. Dine al fresco or choose a room with an ocean view. And enjoy complementary internet access, as well as the pool.

Fall Conference on the coast is always very well-attended: offerings such as Master Classes, the Critique Service, and Manuscript Mart fill up early. So if you're planning to register for one of these popular programs, you'll want to do so as soon as registration opens on August 28.

For more information about Wrightsville Beach, click here.


Hats Off! to Steve Cushman whose new novel, Hopscotch (Livingston Press, 2017), was favorably reviewed by Claire Matturro in Southern Literary Review. Matturo called Hopscotch, the August Read of the Month, "a complex, moving, and well-written story that transcends mere chalk drawing. Steve Cushman’s Hopscotch is a gift to readers, one that offers the restorative powers of hope and human connection."


Aldeen the Queen: Saga of a Quaint Southern Lady by Buck Rish

E-BookTime, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-608626991
August, 2017
Available from your local bookstore or

This novel is based on the real life of a Southern lady, Aldeen the Queen. Raised in a wealthy family with a Civil War/Slaveholding history, she was crushed when her teenage lover was banished by her father. The Queen recovered and became independent and the manager of the family businesses. A series of deaths and the quandary of being jilted as a teenager impacted Aldeen but she matured and was married and widowed by four husbands. Inheriting significant wealth from each husband, Aldeen became a successful business woman.

Her banished lover accumulated a trust fund and bequeathed it to the Queen at his death.

Despite her brusk, terse personality and outspoken bigotry, Aldeen the Queen was a generous humanitarian.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh who was named the Emerging Writer Fellow for the 2017 inaugural Laughing Heart Literary Festival founded by Amy Greene and Trent Thompson.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Mountain Sisters," in memory of poet Kathryn Stripling Byer, appears in The Lake (August, 2017). "The past unfolds / as a mountain poet / spills words as a Crazy Quilt / unraveling on the page."


Hats Off! to Charley Pearson whose humor collection The Marianated Nottingham and Other Abuses of the Language is a finalist for the Silver Falchion award for best anthology from the upcoming Killer Nashville Writers Conference. Also, fans can vote for Charley to win the International Readers' Choice Award here.


Hats Off! to NCWN Board President Margaret Dardess, author of the new thriller Brutal Silence, who was featured on The Practice of Creativity, the blog of Michele T. Berger. "There never seems to be a shortage of nay-sayers and wet blankets," Margaret says. "Avoid them at all costs. If you want to write, write."


Magazine Queries that Worked: Build Income and Authority With Freelance Journalism by Tara Lynne Groth

Tara Lynne Groth
$6.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-0692911778
June, 2017
Nonfiction: Writer's Guide
Available from

"I just finished reading Magazine Queries and, I have to say, I feel so inspired and ready to query. I've always been a little afraid of querying...but now I feel like I just talked to an expert and friend at the same time! I'm so much more equipped to tackle freelance. Thank you for such a lucid, honest, easy-to-follow handbook!"
—Kimberly Bunker, author of award-winning fiction that appears in Glimmer Train, Portable Magic, Pank Magazine, and others

Magazine Queries that Worked: Build Income and Authority With Freelance Journalism is a collection of writer Tara Lynne Groth's successful queries and the stories and rates behind each article. Additional sections cover media liability, contract terms to avoid, and getting paid.

Tara Lynne Groth's articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers for more than a decade. She has written for trade and consumer publications including Grit, Produce Business, Blue Ridge Country, Durham News and more.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Triple Falls Portrait" and accompanying photograph appears in Nature Writing. Also, her poem "Nature's Solace" and her flash fiction piece "Disturbed" appear in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of the Dragon Poet Review.


Hats Off! to R.R. Brooks whose short story "Psycholizards," a sci-fi tale with a bit of a Christmas theme, appears in the August 1 issue of Aurora Wolf: A Literary Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is the featured story on the cover page and has a great graphic.


The Last Blue Noon in May by Joseph L.S. Terrell

Bella Rosa Books
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62268-125-9
June, 2017
Fiction: Mysteries
Available from your local bookstore or

This is the sixth in the series featuring crime writer Harrison Weaver, set at the Outer Banks. Weaver tackles a really cold case—the disappearance of the then nine-year-old sister of Chief Deputy Odell Wright.

The young girl vanished twenty-two years earlier, and there have been no leads at all as to what happened to her. But when the "Bear Woman," who had befriended the black bears on the mainland near the Outer Banks, is found dead in what appears to be a bear attack, Weaver and his friends SBI Agent Ballsford Twiddy and Deputy Wright unearth a connection that could shed light on the girl's fate. Now they must deal with the death of the Bear Woman and the questions that nag them: Was she really killed by bears? Or was she killed by someone who feared she might be ready to uncover a brutal crime of decades earlier?

Joseph L.S. Terrell, a North Carolina native, has more than forty years as a fiction writer and journalist. He is the author of eleven published books, and is busily work on the next on from his home on the Outer Banks—with periodic writing trips to his beloved Paris.

Hats Off! to Tamra Wilson whose unpublished novel manuscript, Driving Nelson, is a Top 20 finalist in the Killer Nashville Claymore Award competition.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose story "The Ghost of Charlton Street," which was a finalist for the Ron Rash Fiction Award, appears in the current issue of Broad River Review.


Hats Off! to Earl Carlton Huband whose collection of twenty-eight poems won Fourth Prize in a national contest for former Peace Corps Volunteers writing about their Peace Corps experience. "Submissions were judged on how well they advanced the Third Goal of the Peace Corps Act: To increase the understanding of the peoples served on the part of Americans." Seven of these poems are posted on the Peace Corps website, here.

Also, one of Earl's non-PeaceCorps manuscripts was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Longleaf Press chapbook competition at Methodist University.


Hats Off! to Christine Simolke whose debut novel, Children of Italy, was favorably reviewed in the Historical Novel Society Review: "Christine Simolke's insightful Children of Italy depicts a very personal tale. Family woven into a deeply felt, sweetly told historical novel."


Hats Off! to TC Boyd who became a first-time author with her short story, "My Father's Shadow," in the inaugural issue of Incandescent Mind (Sadie Girl Press).


Behind the Canvas by Philip M. Herman

Dorrance Publishing Co.
$12.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4809-2526-7
August, 2016
Available from your local bookstore or

Detective Jason Talbot is no stranger to the seedy side of the art world. His work on the Richmond, Virginia, art squad has given him an up-close view of the lengths criminals will go to to get what they want. But this time it’s even more personal for Talbot. Not only does he have his own mystery to solve in Richmond, but also a mystery in Paris involving his heiress girlfriend, Charlotte Bradford. Behind the Canvas, the second Jason Talbot novel, looks at the effects the Nazis had on the art world during their control of Paris in WWII and how it’s not always easy to distinguish between the good guys and bad guys.

Philip M. Herman is the author of Changing Shadows and has written numerous short stories, the latest being “Heart Lost.” He is a retired marriage and family counselor who has traveled widely through the U.S. and Europe. He lives in Salisbury with his wife and his cat, Ash. He is ankle-deep in a new novel.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Sunset at the Beach" is forthcoming in The Ghazal Page. Also, her poem "Accepting Moon Flower" is forthcoming in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing.


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

Registration is now open at

Fall Conference happens November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. It's the only Network-sponsored event where attendees can receive one-on-one feedback from editors or agents.

By pre-registering for either the Critique Service or the Manuscript Mart, writers receive in-depth literary critique of their fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by a seasoned writer or editor (Critique Service) or the chance to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency (Manuscript Mart). While either of these programs might lead to publication, conference-goers will get more out of these half-hour sessions if they approach them as an opportunity, above all else, to learn to write better. This kind of personal attention is only one small part of what promises to be a full weekend of classes, readings, panels, and an open mic for conference participants.

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

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

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

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

Angela Davis-Gardner will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “The Power of Subtext in Fiction.” Davis-Gardner is the author of four critically acclaimed novels and has won several teaching awards for her work with MFA and undergraduate writing students. In this workshop, registrants will focus on the emotions that lie beneath the conflicts in a story and how to write subtext using particular details in setting, characters’ body language and gestures, dialogue (what’s not said), and silences.

The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction will be led by Haven Kimmel, bestselling author of two memoirs, four novels, and two children’s books. In this workshop, attendees will explore voice, the art of memory, fact-based memoir, and ways to structure creative nonfiction.

Dorianne Laux will lead the Poetry Master Class, “At Work with the Masters.” Attendees will look at the work of three poets—Ruth Stone, Lynn Emmanuel, and Lucille Clifton—to see how they craft a poem. Then they’ll try their hand at imitations. Laux is the recipient of three Best American Poetry Prizes, two fellowships from the NEA, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She directs the Program in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University. Registrants of the Master Classes should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, and to register, visit


The Language of Stars by Louise Hawes

Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry Books
$17.99 hardcover / $34.95, audiobook
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6241-9
May, 2016
Fiction: Young Adult
Available from your local bookstore or

"...Full of poetry and ideas, Sarah’s narration has an exuberant innocence, bringing a fresh and joyful quality to a story about a girl learning to love the possibilities that come with independence: the chance to discover one’s true self and desires, while forging a path forward that might fulfill them."
Publisher's Weekly

"...Hawes’ simple, lovely poetry illustrates Sarah’s inner journey as her rocky relationships with estranged parents, friends, and boyfriend change. This is a tale of forgiveness, listening to the world, and looking beyond the surface."

"...Even before reading Hawes’s note on the story’s inspiration, poetry-loving readers should pick up on the Robert Frost-like sensibilities in Baylor, whose work is steeped in the natural beauty of his regional setting. With Sarah’s and Rufus’s poems included, readers will find much to savor in this book, an inspiring redemption story and an ode to the transformative power of verse."
Horn Book

Sixteen-year-old Sarah and the world-renowned poet Rufus Baylor meet under the worst possible circumstances. Sarah and a group of teenagers from her school on the coast of North Carolina have been caught holding a party in the famous man's historically preserved summer home. After nearly burning the little cottage to the ground, the underage vandals are sentenced to restore the house and to take a course in Baylor's poetry. When Baylor offers to teach the class himself, Sarah discovers she has a talent that may well change both her own life and that of her celebrity mentor.

Inspired by an actual case in 2008 when Vermont youngsters destroyed the summer home of Robert Frost, The Language of Stars imagines a superstar Southern poet who is still alive when the vandalism occurs. The result is a remarkable story of two artists, one young and one old, who share a world where everything speaks.

Louise Hawes is the author of two short fiction collections and over a dozen novels. She is a founding faculty member of the Vermont College MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, has served as a John Grisham Visiting Author at the University of Mississippi, and teaches at Mainely Writing, a summer writing workshop on Penobscot Bay. A tribute to Frost, one of Louise’s favorite poets, and to the wannabe actress she once was, Stars includes play scripts and poetry as well as prose.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, members of the Triangle Association of Freelancers will lead the panel discussion "Freelance Writing 101." Moderated by Donald Vaughan, this panel also includes Mark Cantrell, Christa Gala, and Corbie Hill.

"Freelance Writing 101" will be a ninety-minute panel discussion that provides a detailed introduction to nonfiction freelance writing, including topics such as how to break in as a freelancer, general vs. niche freelancing, national vs. regional freelancing, finding and developing marketable ideas, maintaining momentum, working with editors, and the additional opportunities available to established freelance writers.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29, at

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

"If I could advise the version of me who had just gotten his first book contract and was freaking out," Mark says, "I'd tell him this: 'Rather than look at the enormity of the project, break it up into sections and focus only on one piece at a time. Look at each chapter as you would a magazine article, which you already know how to write. When you've finished it, move on to the next, and eventually you'll have your book.'"

Mark Cantrell is the author of A Weird-Oh World: The Art of Bill Campbell, The Everything Weather Book, and co-author of Saddam: The Face of Evil and Sixteen Minutes From Home: The Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy. He has written hundreds of articles for publications such as Military Officer Magazine, Air&Space Smithsonian, Baylor Innovations, and MAD Magazine.

"In a lot of ways, confidence is more critical than ability," says Corbie, who's authored hundreds of articles. "If you sincerely believe that you can one day write for this or that newspaper, you will find a way to gain the skill set, but believing has to come first. Doubt can sink you, fast. Also, be patient. This doesn't happen overnight."

Corbie Hill makes a freelance living by writing constantly: in 2015, nearly 200 features, profiles, and columns bearing his byline ran in regional papers and magazines. His primary outlet is The News & Observer in Raleigh, though he also regularly appears in INDY Week, Midtown Magazine, Mountain XPress, Charlotte Viewpoint, Creative Loafing Charlotte, and a number of other publications.

"One of the most important things I would tell my younger writer self is to diversify," says Donald, founder of TAF. "By that, I mean cast a wide net when it comes to writing opportunities and don't focus on just a small handful of markets. Diversity puts a few eggs in many baskets, and can be a lifesaver when one area of work starts to crumble. I learned this the hard way after 9/11. I lost several lucrative markets in the wake of that disaster, and even had to spend a few months working retail to support myself until I could land some replacement markets and crawl my way out. Today, I try to keep my hand in as many different areas of freelancing as I can."

Donald Vaughan has been making his living with words for thirty-eight years, and has worked as a full-time freelance writer for twenty-five years. During that time, he has published more than 1,900 articles and columns in an eclectic array of markets, including The News & Observer in Raleigh, Writer’s Digest, Boys’ Life, Military Officer Magazine, Cure Magazine, and MAD Magazine. In addition, Don has written, co-written, or contributed to more than thirty books on topics ranging from the Civil War to American festivals. He is the founder of Triangle Association of Freelancers, one of the largest organizations in North Carolina devoted to all aspect of freelance writing.

Christa Gala, a professional freelance writer and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Media and Journalism, will also sit on the panel. In 2015, she combined teaching with the launch of Raleigh Magazine, a monthly publication featuring a hybrid of news journalism and lifestyle writing. Christa has written for, North Carolina State University, Our State, and The News & Observer in Raleigh, among others. She was a columnist for the Cary News; her work has also been featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her clients have included Girl Scouts of America, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Duke Medical Center, Hummingbird Creative Group, and a variety of regional restaurants and businesses.

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

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 Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Fabulous Fall" appears in Nature Writing.


Hats Off! to Margaret A. Harrell who has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who for excellence in writing & photography: "Passionate for literature, talented in writing and skilled in photography, Ms. Harrell has been making the world a lot more creative and artistic since beginning her career in 1965." Margaret is the author of, most recently, the Keep This Quiet! series of memoirs that looks back on her relationship with Hunter S. Thompson and many others.


Hats Off! to Joan Gage of Warne: she video records all the featured readers for the Coffee with the Poets and Writers series, available to view here. CWPW is facilitated be Glenda Council Beall, Clay County regional rep for the North Carolina Writers' Network. At 10:30 am on the third Wednesday of the month, at Moss Memorial Library, the series features writers from NCWN-West. The community is invited and welcome to sign-up for the Open Mic afterward.


Hats Off! to Ross Howell, Jr., Miriam Herin, and Sheila Turnage who were nominated for the 2016 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. Ross' novel is Forsaken (NewSouth Books); Miriam is the author of A Stone for Bread (Livingston Press); and Sheila wrote The Odds of Getting Even (Kathy Dawson). This award, handed out since 1953, recognizes the most significant work of original fiction writing published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina author. It is sponsored by the Historical Book Club of North Carolina.


RALEIGH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. Programming includes breakfast panel discussions, faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, and a Saturday night banquet featuring North Carolina's poet laureate Shelby Stephenson.

Registration opens on Monday, August 29.

Fall Conference is the largest annual writing event in the state and one of the largest and most inclusive writing conferences in the country. But it wouldn't be possible without support from our sponsors.

Alice Osborn: Editor/Book Coach/Author will sponsor the Welcome Reception on Friday night. (Thanks to Alice, there will be food at the reception!) Alice has published three poetry collections and edited two anthologies. She is the founder of Write from the Inside Out, a professional manuscript editing service specializing in fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. She coaches authors through the book writing process; works with published authors on their book marketing and publishing strategies; and is a sought-after speaker at engagements across the southeast. Alice is a Trustee of the North Carolina Writers' Network and will lead a class at Fall Conference titled "How to be a Rock Star at PR."

2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and five-time Agatha-award winning mystery writer Margaret Maron will give the Keynote Address on Friday night.

A Book Signing will follow the Keynote Address, sponsored by The Piedmont Laureate Program. The Piedmont Laureate Program, co-sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, has as its primary goal: “to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region.” The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens. The program nominates one Piedmont Laureate each year in a rotation of genres.

The 2017 application is open to writers living in Wake, Durham, or Orange Counties who meet the application criteria. The 2017 Piedmont Laureate will be a poet. The deadline is September 22.

At Fall Conference, Saturday's lunch will offer a panel discussion on Food Writing, featuring Debbie Moose, Bridgette A. Lacy, and John Shelton Reed—all of whom have books out from the University of North Carolina Press, which will sponsor Saturday's luncheon.

For over ninety years, the University of North Carolina Press has earned national and international recognition for quality books and the thoughtful way they are published. UNC Press books explore important questions, spark lively debates, generate ideas, and move fields of inquiry forward. They illuminate the life of the mind. With almost 5,000 titles published and almost 3,000 titles still in print, UNC Press produces books that endure. Titles include Southern Holidays by Debbie Moose; Sunday Dinner by Bridgette A. Lacy; and Barbecue by John Shelton Reed—all of which are part of the Savor the South cookbook series from UNC Press.

On Saturday night, Al Manning will sponsor the Open Mic, which is open to all conference registrants on a first-come, first-served basis. Al is a Trustee of NCWN and the regional rep for the Chatham-Lee Counties regional group of NCWN, otherwise known as the Pittsboro Writers' Morning Out. This group meets on the second Saturday of the month in the Barley Lounge of the Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro. Al is the author of Curmudgeon's Book of Nursery Rhymes.

The NCWN 2016 Fall Conference is made possible in part by the North Carolina Arts Council. The Arts Council has been a statutory state agency since 1967. Their core functions include creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development using the arts; education; and research.

The Arts Council believes that artists are an integral part of civic life as they stimulate creativity, innovation and dialogue. Our cities vibrate with the energy of the arts; and our rural communities reach deep into their roots and celebrate their unique traditions. Residents in every corner of N.C. have the chance to engage their artistic aspirations. The arts help children flourish through a complete education that prepares them for the workforce with 21st century skills. The arts build bridges where diverse communities reach across boundaries to celebrate and share their cultures. The arts are an essential ingredient in state policy, practice and pride.

Registration for the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29.

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


Grippo the Friendly Shark by Larry D. Kingsley

Life Rich Publishing
$20.45, paperback / $3.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4897-0514-3
October, 2015
Children's: Ages 8-13
Available from your local bookstore or

Grippo the shark becomes and orphan when he looses his grip on his mothers dorsal fin and she speeds off without him. He is lonely and is befriended by a young dolphin named, Danny. They become fast friends. (A fish and a mammal.)

There is adventure in each chapter as they encounter monsters of the deep, fishing nets, and unkind dolphins. Danny wants Grippo to become a member of his pod, but he is considered "different" and an enemy of dolphins, so Grippo has to prove he a different kind of shark...a friendly shark.

It is well-illustrated and consists of twelve chapters. The theme that runs through out the book is we can become friends with someone different if we just try.

Larry D. Kingsley has been writing short stories for about fifteen years. Many of his stories revolve around his boyhood days living on a farm in Northern New York. Grippo is his first published book. Numerous stories have been included in his hometown newsletter. He is a member of the OLLI writers group NCSU.

Hats Off! to Pam Van Dyk whose short story "Morganza Spillway" is forthcoming in the anthology Home (Tall Grass Writers' Guild, Outrider Press).


RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, award-winning mystery writer Art Taylor will lead a class titled, "Sharp, Succinct & Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story."

Art Taylor is the author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and a finalist for both the Anthony and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. He edited the collection Murder Under the Oaks, a finalist for this year’s Anthony for Best Anthology. He has also won two Agatha Awards, the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. Stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder, Homicidal Holidays, and Storm Warning, and in other journals and anthologies. He teaches at George Mason University and contributes frequently to the Washington Post, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene.

In "Sharp, Succinct & Suspenseful: Crafting the Mystery Story," attendees will ask themselves what makes a mystery? How do you build suspense? Where can I sell my crime story? Art Taylor will offer tips for writing and marketing short mystery stories. From detective fiction to domestic suspense to hard-hitting noir, various subgenres of the mystery offer different challenges for building on tradition and meeting reader expectations. This workshop will examine some specific passages from published crime fiction and look at how they keep aspects of the story in balance: strong prose as much as a fast-paced plot, compelling characters as much as a cleverly solved crime. A discussion of the ever-evolving market for mystery stories will conclude the session.

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

“The advice I’d give to my younger self is—and this is telling—the same advice I’d give to myself now: Write something every day or at least check in on your writing every day.

"Too many times, then and now, I’ve allowed my writing to slip to the back burner while I’m tending too much to other matters. Certainly I have a day job that requires considerable attention (I teach); certainly there are e-mails to answer (and, yes, social media to tend to); and no doubt all of us have personal matters that often take priority: significant others, children, parents. But in the midst of all that, try to find some portion of the day to at least check in on your writing.

"Even if you can’t devote several hours to drafting or revising, there are ways to keep the process going. Read a passage from the previous day’s writing and revise lines as needed. Jot down ideas that have come your way for details, character traits, plot twists. Just open the file on your computer and stare at it for a few minutes. I’m convinced that even these small check-ins keep your mind connected to whatever you’re working on and help keep the momentum going when you do find yourself with more time to immerse yourself in your work-in-progress. (The flip side, of course, is coming back to that WIP cold: Where was I? What was I thinking about here? Where am I going?)

"Even one step is a step further along the path: toward finishing a specific work, toward publication, or toward improving your craft generally—or best yet, toward all three.”

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29, at


Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore, communications director for the North Carolina Writers' Network, whose new novel The Last Great American Magic was favorably reviewed in Southern Literary Review. "With thundering force," said reviewer Donna Meredith, "all the touchstones of a good story roll together in The Last Great American Magic. Forbidden romance and vicious battles add the spice of clashing cultures. And magic percolates at every bend of the forest and river, evidenced by shamans and powerful tokens."


Hats Off! to Michael Gaspeny and Walt Pilcher, who were chosen with other Triad area-poets to have sculpted “poetry boxes” made in response to their work and installed in downtown Greensboro. These sculptures, created in the ekphrastic tradition, are generally located on Elm St. between the main library and ArtMongerz gallery (across from the Mellow Mushroom). For example, a fountain in Scuppernong Books should have a poem featured on its side. All sculptures should have a journal to allow viewers to leave comments.


Hats Off! to Blaine Paxton Hall whose article "Chasing Crows: In Praise of LBGT Parents" appears in both the "Chapel Hill News" and "Durham News" editions of the August 10 issue of The News & Observer of Raleigh.


Hats Off! to Luke Whisnant whose "Essay on Editing" appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Shining Rock Poetry Anthology & Book Review.


Sunday Dinner at the Farm by Nancy Corson Carter

Finishing Line Press
$13.99, paperback
June, 2016
Available from your local bookstore or

“Touched by nostalgia, but formed from precise observations, these poems consistently evoke engaging reminders of a nearly vanished way of life."
—Gary Fincke, author of Bringing Back the Bones: New and Selected Poems and Charles B. Degenstein Professor of English and Creative Writing at Susquehanna University

"Nancy Corson Carter's welcome new book is a rich feast. Accompanied by evocative old photos, the poems recreate how it felt to grow up on a farm in central Pennsylvania. Without sentimentalizing or preaching about a way of life long gone, Carter's poems make your mouth water and your heart expand as her grandparents and parents come to life as we read. The book ends with the lines 'I remember! I remember!' and she makes us remember, too. 'Their smiles are genuine,' she observes of one of the photos—and so are Nancy Corson Carter's poems."
—Peter Meinke, Poet Laureate of Florida

In Sunday Dinner at the Farm, Nancy Corson Carter writes of the rich life she remembers on her grandparents' farm. These wonderful poems brim with keenly observed details-heritage apples, spicewood tea, dandelion wine, shoofly pie, garden harvest, dates written in the family Bible. These poems bring to life a previous time and place and especially the two hard-working grandparents: 'Your worn brass bed: / under its quilted curves lie / ghosts of embraces.' The family photographs that accompany the well-wrought text give insight into the author's memories and make the collection a delight to read and cherish."
—Coyla Barry, author of The Flying Days and two chapbooks, Creature and Creature, winner of the 2001 Harperprints Competition, and Swimming Woman: Poems from Montana

Nancy Corson Carter has just published a chapbook of poems with photos, Sunday Dinner at the Farm, with Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY. This writing is inspired by a family ritual her father began when he returned home after serving in the US Army in World War II. Each Sunday he drove his family to visit with his parents at their farm in central Pennsylvania. The book maps a special place in a child’s growing up time and a lasting “geography of the heart.”

RALEIGH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference will be held November 4-6 in Raleigh. Registration will open on Monday, August 29.

Fall Conference offers a full weekend of workshops, classes, panels, and readings in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, self-publishing, and the business of books. Programming includes award-winning Raleigh mystery writer and 2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron, who’ll give the Keynote Address, and the NC Poet Laureate and 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson, who’ll be the featured guest at the Saturday night banquet.

This event will be held at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh. These accommodations are in close proximity to North Carolina State University, Crabtree Valley Mall, and downtown restaurants and business parks. There is a fitness center and outdoor pool; the hotel is easily accessible from I-40 (as well as 440 and 540 in Raleigh).

Raleigh, and the Triangle at large, is a book-lover's delight and home to many independent bookstores. Attendees may want to schedule time to visit some of these cultural literary gems and tote along an extra suitcase to haul their inevitable purchases home.

Quail Ridge Books has been Raleigh's community bookstore since 1984, and no visit to Raleigh is complete without scheduling time to stop by here. Quail Ridge has moved to a beautiful new location. Also in the City of Oaks, So & So Books is run by Chris Tonelli, who will lead a poetry workshop at Fall Conference.

Outside Raleigh, in Wake Forest, Page 158 Books is where Lit Happens. Page 158 is the official bookseller of NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference and will be on-site selling books by Fall Conference faculty.

In Durham, near the Duke University campus, The Regulator Bookshop has been going strong since 1976. On Main Street in downtown Durham, Letters Bookshop specializes in pristine used books and many excellent new offerings.

Chapel Hill's Flyleaf Books stocks new and used adult and children's titles. They host an array of author events each week. In Pittsboro, just down the road, McIntyre's Fine Books in Fearrington Village has been selling books and promoting authors since 1989.

For more about things to do in Raleigh, click here. And you can keep your finger on the pulse of the Triangle's arts and culture scene through Indy Week.

Registration for NCWN's 2016 Fall Conference opens Monday, August 29.


Hats Off! to retired Lt. Colonel Donald Long whose poem about Vietnam veterans and the United States flag is now in the Army Historical Archives. While in Washington DC recently, Long was asked by someone at the Pentagon for a copy of the poem. Long, a member of NCWN, is a participant in NCWN-West and a part-time resident of Murphy.


Hats Off! to Beth Copeland and Michael Gaspeny who both won "Best in Category" in the Flying South 2016 anthology contest: Beth in Nonfiction, and Michael for Poetry. Beth also received the President's Favorite Award. Their work will be included in this year's anthology, along with submissions from NCWN Jackson County regional rep Catherine Carter, Carol Roan, Pam Van Dyk, and many others.


Arrogantly Shabby: A Pawleys Island Memoir by Clara C. Bitter

Dog Ear Publishing
$15.00, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-457546266
June, 2016
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or

"We had way too much stuff on the catamaran which prevented us from coming about, but I was not about to sail without the beer."

Imagine twenty-five quirky relatives squashed into a century-old, six-bedroom beach cottage in ninety-degree heat, with Volkswagon-sized Palmetto bugs, what they did for entertainment and how they survived each year for fifteen years without killing each other.

A vivid picture is painted of the oldest resort area in the eastern United States, its history and legends, famous residents, its survival of Hurricane Hugo, and its retention of its nickname, "arrogantly shabby."

With a good-humored host of characters prone to pranks, the author had plenty of material. From a butt-baring boyfriend to a catamaran capsized from an overload of bear; from Jaws and James Bond to the genesis of the Pawley Dog, this warm and funny chronicle with make you want to join the family--or set up a reunion of your own.

"The now famous two-week vacation can be blamed on my husband's grandmother, Ella Lyons Harvie Ffolliott, lovingly known to everyone as Dammo. With a windfall royalty check from a long-forgotten coal mine, ninety-one year old Dammo decided that the $30,000 should fund a family vacation for her two daughters and their families, a hoard of relatives totaling twenty-nine that first year.

"Gentlemanly and scholarly eighty-year-old Jack surprised us one day with an uncharacteristic outburst. Joining those on the porch, he attempted to sit on a flimsy metal beach chair and immediately crumpled it. He simply stood up and with bent chair in hand, and in a normal voice cursed it by saying, 'Ach, this is useless junk and damn well doesn't need to be here.' He threw it off the porch into the thicket under the oaks, dusted his hands off and calmly settled in one of rockers without a glance to the astonished, dumbfounded faces around him."

Clara Bitter is a North Carolina writer and character in this family saga. Living a lifetime of entrepreneurship, she has been a bank officer, children's clothes designer and manufacturer, property manager, store owner, bookkeeper, potter, seamstress, cookbook editor, fundraiser, couture clothing salesman, and award winner. If you aren’t exhausted yet, she managed to squeeze in numerous hobbies and side ventures before “retiring” and becoming a woman of leisure and author, and anecdotally wife, mother, and grandmother, enjoying babysitting and discovering more projects that inspire and sparkle.

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "River Gifts" appears in Avocet: a Journal of Nature Poems #190, August 3, 2016.


Hats Off! to Christine Hale whose memoir A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations was reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books. "Hale is not telling so much as layering a story," says Tarn Wilson. "This is a portrait of a consciousness, shaped by memories, associations, and the effort to form an identity in relationship to others."


Hats Off! to Paige L. Christie whose novel Draigon Weather is forthcoming from Prospective Press. Paige attended the Slush Pile Live! events at the 2015 and 2016 Spring Conferences, where Prospective Press editor Jason Graves was a panelist. After the 2016 program, Christie approached and pitched her manuscript to him as "a feminist western with dragons." Prospective Press is an independent publisher of quality genre fiction and select nonfiction. They'll be at Fall Conference, November 4-6, in Raleigh.


Hats Off! to David Payne whose memoir Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story (Grove Atlantic Press) is now out in paperback. An Amazon Best Book of 2015 and a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Book of 2015, The New York Times called it “A brave book with beautiful sentences on every page."


Hats Off! to Larry W. Fish whose novella Out of the Darkness, about school bullying, is now available in paperback or for Kindle. Out of the Darkness is a must read for students, parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone concerned about bullying in school.


My Little Plastic Bag by Sam Love, Illustrated by Samrae Duke

Sam Love
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-534622647
July, 2016
Fiction: Children's
Available from

“This book can be valuable to teach young people about the problems plastic trash creates in our aquatic environment."
—Travis Graves, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper

My Little Plastic Bag can help children understand how even a harmless action like throwing away a plastic bag can have serious consequences.”
—Diane MacEachern, publisher of the

A new children’s book, My Little Plastic Bag, tells the story of a plastic bag that a little girl, Amy, throws out of the family car. Through brightly colored illustrations by Samrae Duke, a child can follow the plastic through the ecosystem into the ocean until parts of it return to the family dinner table.

"Like most kids, Amy is pretty innocent,” Love says. “She doesn’t really think about the consequences when she carelessly tosses out the plastic bag. But readers will give that bag plenty of thought as they watch it make its way into the ocean, get eaten by fish, and end up right back with Amy - not as a bag, but as part of the fish dinner her father cooks."

“I get really angry when I see the plastic pieces that the mowers cut up on the side of the road and I created an educational book for young children that helps them understand there is no ‘away’,” according to Love. “Plastic in our water is now epidemic.”

He cites one United Nations estimate that every square mile of the ocean already contains 46,000 pieces of plastic and most are so small we can’t see them.

“As the plastic is ingested by the fish and other wildlife,” Love says, “plastic chemicals can get into our food supply and we are only now understanding its harmful effects."

Love believes any child who is curious about nature will enjoy My Little Plastic Bag. “This book gives teachers and parents a great educational tool to build awareness of environmental problems. After all, the future belongs to our children.”

Love originally tackled plastic pollution in a poem titled The Downstream Loop that appeared in his poetry book, Converging Waters, and in Duke University’s eno magazine. But as he realized how important it was to educate parents and kids specifically about plastic bags, he decided to write a book aimed directly at families and students.

My Little Plastic Bag is designed for children ages four to eight and it includes a discussion guide for parents and teachers. It is available at local stores in New Bern and online at Amazon. The author is available for interviews.

Sam Love is a writer living in New Bern. He has published numerous nonfiction articles in magazines that include Smithsonian and Washingtonian. He has two published novels, Snap Factor and Electric Honey. He recently published a poetry book, Converging Waters.

He teaches yoga, and is one of the organizers of The Nexus Poets who organize the First Tuesday Poetry Open Mike in New Bern. He views his Social Security check as a grant to the arts. His poetry has been published in Kakalak, Slippery Elm, Poetry in Plain Sight, Voices on the Wind, The Lyricist, and other publications. His environmental poems are featured in both the 2015 and 2016 issues of eno, published by Duke University.

Winston-Salem—The North Carolina Writers’ Network welcomes two new board members: Michele Tracy Berger of Pittsboro and Shervon Cassim of Durham.

Michele Tracy Berger is a professor, a writer, a creativity expert, and a pug-lover. She’s passionate about all of these ways of being in the world and plays with the order that she avidly pursues them.

She is an associate professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an adjunct professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her books include Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS (Princeton University Press, 2004) and the co-edited collections Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (Altamira Press, 2003) and The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class and Gender (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Transforming Scholarship: Why Women's and Gender Studies Students Are Changing Themselves and The World is her most recent co-authored book (Routledge, 2011). She was recently appointed the Associate Director of the Faculty Fellows Program at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of the Arts and Humanities.

Her creative writing has appeared in The Chapel Hill News, Glint, Flying South, Carolina Woman, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Ms., The Feminist Wire, various zines, and Western North Carolina Woman. She is at work on a short-story collection of speculative fiction.

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.

At the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh, Shervon will sit on the All Stories Connect panel, “A Conversation about Culture,” with former NCWN trustee Sheila Smith McKoy, as well as Donna Miscolta and Elaine Neil Orr.

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

Counsel for the Accused Marine Corps Drill Sergeant by Marie Costello-Inserra

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$14.99, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692595244
July, 2016
Nonfiction: History/Military Law
Available from

The lawyer's backstory of one of the most brilliant criminal defenses in American history in a case that changed Marine Corps training practices forever.

At 10:00 pm, April 13, 1956, attorney Thomas Costello boarded a train at New York’s Pennsylvania Station en route to Yemassee, South Carolina—the first leg of his voyage to the United States Marine Corps’ training depot on Parris Island to defend his brother-in-law, Staff Sergeant Matthew McKeon.

Five days earlier, McKeon had led a training exercise that went tragically wrong, resulting in the drowning deaths of six recruits. McKeon was immediately arrested, and, less than twenty-four hours later, Marine Commandant Pate made a press statement that essentially accused the young man of manslaughter before a court of inquiry even convened.

McKeon’s case would change US Marine training practices forever—that part of his story is well known. But Counsel for the Accused Marine Corps Drill Sergeant tells a different tale.

This is the story of Thomas Costello, defending his brother-in-law at the request of his wife. It’s the story of a legal team that worked tirelessly for six months in McKeon’s defense. And it’s the tale of the volunteer counselor who strategized and executed one of the most brilliant criminal defenses in American history: Emile Zola Berman.

Marie Costello-Inserra is an attorney of twenty-eight years, admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina and the daughter of Thomas Costello, the subject of this book.

Ms. Costello-Inserra is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and currently resides in Cary, North Carolina with her husband of thirty four years, Paul Inserra. She is a Senior Assistant County Attorney in Durham County and a proud member of the North Carolina Writers' Network. The law and writing represent a career partnership in pursuit that has formally launched with publication of this family story of law, loyalty, and forgiveness.

Hats Off! to Danny Johnson who will appear on The State of Things with Frank Stasio on 91.5 FM WUNC today at 12:00 pm. Danny will discuss his new novel, The Last Road Home, which will launch tonight at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. For more of Danny's events, visit his website,


Welcome to Sortilege Falls by Libby Heily

Fire and Ice YA Publishing
$4.99, e-book / $13.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-680462708
May, 2016
Fiction: YA / Fantasy / Paranormal
Available from your local bookstore or

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals," no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Libby Heily was born during a blizzard. She's told it was pretty cool but she has no memory of that time. She grew up in two tiny towns in Virginia and spent most of her twenties moving around the US. She's lived in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Washington. She's settled down, for now, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She's a writer and improviser. She studied acting in college but spent more time rewriting lines than memorizing them. Her first play, Fourth Wall, was produced her junior year. Since then, she's written several full-length plays, one acts, and screenplays. She started writing fiction in her late twenties. Now, she focuses mainly on novels but still dabbles in theatre.

Fun facts about her: there are none. She's sorry to disappoint the reader so soon. But, she loves to read, write, and run. her hubby is her favorite person on earth. Dogs are her second favorite. All dogs. She loves orange juice, especially when it’s mixed with club soda. Carbonation is better than alcohol. Jaws is her favorite movie. Everything she's said so far is true.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Summer's Siren Song" is forthcoming in a music-themed anthology from The Poeming Pigeon.


SAVANNAH, GA—Members of the North Carolina Writers’ Network have the opportunity to display their book(s) in front of nearly 600 independent booksellers at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2016 Trade and Discovery Show, September 16-18, in Savannah, Georgia.

Registration is now closed.

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

Space is severely limited: the Network can only display up to fifteen titles. Authors may display up to three titles.

Payments and books must be received by Friday, September 2.

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, this trade show is an excellent way to expose your book to the men and women who do the hard work of selling books every day.

Held at the Hilton Savannah Desoto, this year’s SIBA Trade and Discovery Show offers a 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.

Please note, NCWN members are not able to attend the trade show themselves, as access is restricted to SIBA-affiliated booksellers.

“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.”

For more information on the 2016 SIBA Trade and Discovery Show in Savannah, 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


Killing Time by Jonathan K. Rice

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-543-0
December, 2015
Available for pre-order from the publisher

"Time is, indeed, the unifying metaphor in Jonathan Rice’s delightful collection Killing Time. But Rice, himself, is not just killing time—he is shining a light of gratitude on every ostensibly minute thing within the range of his witness. Rice gives us a new way of thinking of pennies in a urinal, the rattle of filament in a burnt-out light bulb, the grace of thirty-dollar co-pays, a broken bottle of cabernet sauvignon, slugs and heat lightning and cardboard drums. Each is a small blessing this poet gives thanks for, then, in language that sings, passes on to his fortunate readers."
—Cathy Smith Bowers, former North Carolina Poet Laureate (2010-2012) and author of Like Shining from Shook Foil and The Collected Poems of Cathy Smith Bowers

"Jonathan Rice’s poems, in his new volume, Killing Time, quietly, almost imperceptibly, compile a litany of the world, in all its incarnations, coming to life before our very eyes. These fine poems laser in on the daily offices of those we habitually pass on the street without noticing. Rice, however, is attuned to the nuance of every moment in which he finds himself inevitably immersed. 'Every night / the same lamp / disappears / in the dark,' laments the speaker in 'Solipsist Meltdown.' Yet, come morning—through the work these poems do to keep us all breathing and burnished—the light appears anew. I love the humanity of these poems, their contemplative reverence for the least of them—in all their misunderstood turmoil and twisted glory."
—Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-2014) and author of Half of What I Say Is Meaningless and The Life of the World to Come: A Novel

"Despite what the title of Jonathan K. Rice’s new book of poems might suggest, you will not be 'Killing Time' when you read these pages. Rather, you will be taken into a world of seemingly ordinary objects, events, and people rendered extraordinary through the poet’s sharp, unstinting vision. With Rice’s wry voice to guide you, you’ll enter auto shops, topless bars, tattoo parlors, cafes, and pawn shops, even a men’s restroom where three Lincoln pennies, trapped in a urinal, offer up imaginative possibilities. There are love poems here, too, poems of longing and desire and loss, and portraits of men and women who wish only to stop time, a wish this poet grants, page after page, for his lucky readers."
—Rebecca McClanahan, author of Deep Light: New and Selected Poems and Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively

Jonathan K. Rice earned his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and did graduate work at Erskine Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Charlotte. He is founding editor and publisher of Iodine Poetry Journal. He is the author of a chapbook, Shooting Pool With A Cellist (Main Street Rag, 2003) and a full-length collection, Ukulele and Other Poems (Main Street Rag, 2006). His poetry has appeared in many publications and he has been a longtime host of poetry readings in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his family. In 2012 he received the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. He is also a visual artist. His work has been featured as cover art on books and has appeared in the online magazines The Pedestal, Referential Magazine, Red Headed Stepchild, Levure Litteraire, The Inflectionist Review, and Empty Mirror. He was also a featured artist in Apogee Magazine, the literary arts magazine of High Point University.


ASHEVILLE—Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of NCWN, and the Network will celebrate more than a generation of serving writers at all levels of skill and experience, all weekend long.

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 agents or editors. Professional writers from North Carolina and beyond comprise the conference faculty.

New York Times bestselling author Lee Smith, author of, most recently, Guests on Earth, will give the Keynote Address. Former NC poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer will be the featured guest at Saturday’s luncheon, and later that night the annual banquet—the de facto birthday bash for the Network—will feature musical guests Keith Flynn & the Holy Men.

Tina Barr will lead the Master Class in Poetry, “The Alchemy of Revision.” She has published five volumes of poetry, including her most recent, Kaleidoscope (Iris Press). Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ucross Foundation.

The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, “Using the Imagination in Memoir,” will be led by Christine Hale. A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she teaches in the Antioch University-Los Angeles Low-Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program. Her new book, A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations (Apprentice House, 2016), is set in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Tommy Hays will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “Locating Our Stories.” His first middle grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, was a VOYA Top Shelf Pick for Middle Grade Fiction 2014, a nominee for the 2015-16 North Carolina Young Adult Award, and a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University.

Additional fiction workshops include “Writing Middle Grade Fiction” from Robert Beatty, whose recent novel, Serafina and the Black Cloak, features Asheville’s Biltmore Estate and was a 2015 Summer Okra Pick. Wayne Caldwell will teach attendees how to craft the perfect first paragraph; Vicki Lane will review “Mystery 101.” Wofford College’s John Lane, author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, will instruct on “Writing Description that Means Something”; Megan Shepherd, whose novel The Madman's Daughter was optioned for film and won the NC Book Award for Young Adult Literature, will teach “Writing Young Adult Fiction”; and Lee Smith will lead a freewheeling discussion on the hazards and benefits of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Poets will find a broad range of offerings including former UNC-Chapel Hill English Department Chairman Laurence Avery’s “To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme, That is the Question”; “The Art of Editing Poetry” with Keith Flynn; a prose poetry workshop led by Murray State's Nickole Brown; and “Personal Poetry Dives into Archetype,” guided by Katherine Soniat, author of seven poetry collections.

For those writers hoping to stick more to the truth, workshops include “Guiding Others through Places You Love” with travel writer Danny Bernstein; Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Laura Hope-Gill’s “Narrative Medicine: Stories in Clinical Care”; “Memoir Plus: Doing More With Memoir” from Western Carolina University’s Jeremy B. Jones; and Catherine Reid of Warren Wilson College will lead a workshop on balancing craft and content.

Along with classes focusing on craft, the 2015 Fall Conference offers workshops designed to help writers navigate the publishing industry. Amy Cherrix, author liaison for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, will lead a workshop on helping authors connect with independent bookstores. NCWN’s Communications Director Charles Fiore and Board Member-at-Large Nicki Leone (aka Lady Banks) will co-teach “Web Tools for Writers.” Joy Neaves will guide writers through the submission process, and Heather Newton will discuss legal issues writers commonly encounter in the areas of copyright and defamation.

Once again, the Manuscript Mart, Marketing Mart, and Critique Service are available to those who pre-register. And the Network will offer the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship, which sends two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference.

2015 Fall Conference sponsors include Robert Beatty, Disney-Hyperion Author of Serafina and the Black Cloak; Lenoir-Rhyne University’s MA in Writing Program; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN regional rep Al Manning; Alice Osborn and Write from the Inside Out; The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site; WCQS Western North Carolina Public Radio; Western Carolina University’s MA in Professional Writing Program; and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Registration is now open at

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


On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories by Art Taylor

Henery Press
$15.95, paperback / $31.95, hardcover / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-941962893
September, 2015
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or

“A would-be Bonnie and Clyde with a sock monkey key-ring dangling from the rearview mirror for a talisman? Why not? These linked short stories are by turns funny, sweet and, at times, touchingly poignant as Del and Louise try to turn from a life of crime to one of solid respectability. Half of me hopes they succeed, the other half is ready for another road trip. Highly recommended.”
— Margaret Maron, Edgar Award-winning author of the Deborah Knott Mysteries

“Warm yet unsentimental, down-to-earth and pragmatic without being cynical—Art Taylor's characters, like his voice, are a breath of fresh air. Don't miss the chance to go on the road with Del and Louise.”
—Donna Andrews, Agatha Award-winning author of the Meg Langslow Mysteries

“Art Taylor is expert at capturing small details that bring to life settings and scenes. He has a natural talent for storytelling, hooking readers from page one with his characters’ potential to do the unexpected. The compelling voice in which his stories about Del and Louise are told artfully creates reader sympathy for a couple who recurrently flirt with crime; it's a voice that will remain in readers' minds long after the book is closed.”
—Janet Hutchings, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Del’s a small time crook with a moral conscience—robbing convenience stores only for tuition and academic expenses. Brash and sassy Louise goes from being a holdup victim to Del’s lover and accomplice. All they want is a fresh start, an honest life, and a chance to build a family together, but fate conspires to put ever-steeper challenges in their path—and escalating temptations, too.

A real estate scam in recession-blighted Southern California. A wine heist in Napa Valley. A Vegas wedding chapel holdup. A kidnapping in an oil-rich North Dakota boomtown. Can Del and Louise stay on the right side of the law? On one another’s good side? And when they head back to Louise’s hometown in North Carolina, what new trouble will prove the biggest: Louise’s nagging mama or a hidden adversary seemingly intent on tearing the couple apart? Or could those be one and the same?

From screwball comedy to domestic drama, and from caper tale to traditional whodunit, these six stories offer suspense with a side of romance—and a little something for all tastes.

Art Taylor’s short stories have won many of the mystery world’s major honors, including the Agatha, Macavity, and three consecutive Derringer Awards, in addition to making the short-list for the Anthony Award. A native of Richlands, NC, Art lives in Northern Virginia, where he is a professor of English at George Mason University and writes frequently on crime fiction for The Washington Post, Mystery Scene, and other publications.

Hats Off! to Jennifer Weiss who had two poems published in the online journal


Hats Off! to Jack J. Prather whose edited anthology, Six Notable Women of North Carolina, has been nominated for the 2015 NC Literary and Historical Association's Ragan Old North State Award Cup for Nonfiction. His book Twelve Notable Women of North Carolina was nominated in 2012.


Hats Off! to Scott Owens, Tara Lynne Groth, Kathy Ackerman, Ross White, Gabrielle Freeman, David Poston, Joseph Mills, John Thomas York, and Alan Michael Parker whose poems were chosen this summer as part of Poetry in Plain Sight, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. Poetry in Plain Sight brings poetry to downtown Winston-Salem. The goal is to showcase poetry to a wider audience and to support North Carolina poets. This Winston-Salem Writers’ program is a collaborative effort with Press 53. It is endorsed by the Downtown Arts District Association of Winston-Salem.


Hats Off! to Joseph Mills whose poem "If Librarians Were Honest" is now available as an 11 x 17-inch poster from Press 53. The poem is printed on ivory, acid-free poster stock, ready for framing or tacking to the wall. Order here.


ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Registration is open.

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site will host the Pre-Conference Tailgate on Friday at noon. This is a chance for writers to get together prior to the conference and get your creative juices flowing. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site is considered by many to be where one of the giants of twentieth-century American literature, Thomas Wolfe, immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of “Altamont” Asheville, North Carolina, and “Dixieland” the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse, earned the Victorian period house a place as one of American literature’s most famous landmarks.

The Lenoir-Rhyne University MA in Writing Program will sponsor both the Welcome Reception on Friday evening and the Booksigning by Keynote Address speaker Lee Smith later that night. The Master of Arts in Writing (MAW) degree can help you take your writing to the next level. With courses in a variety of areas, you can not only discover the power of your voice, but Rise Up in your career and creative life. Features unique to the program include: an interactive program designed with you in mind; non-cohort base course delivery, meaning a flexible schedule at your own pace; traditional and career track admission, giving students more than one way to be admitted; and an involved and engaging faculty with extensive experience in the field.

WCQS Western North Carolina Public Radio will sponsor Saturday morning’s “All Stories Connect Panel Discussion: Mountains Moving.” This panel will remind us how our own stories are enriched and deepened by knowing and celebrating the stories of others. In this discussion, poet and teacher Debora Kinsland Foerst of Cherokee, scholar Dee James of Asheville, and poet and naturalist Brent Martin of Franklin will talk about how the population and landscape of the North Carolina mountains are changing, and how writers can respond.

WCQS Western North Carolina Public Radio offers public radio services to the far western portion of North Carolina. Incorporated in 1979, WCQS expands listeners' horizons through new perspectives and listening experiences; promotes the free and independent interchange of ideas and information; and enriches and reflects the cultural climate, heritage and traditions of our region and society through classical and other music, and the arts.

The Faculty Readings will happen at 4:30 pm on Saturday. The sponsor for this much-anticipated event is Western Carolina University’s MA in Professional Writing Program. This program is designed for students seeking advanced preparation for entering successful, professional writing careers in fields that regularly recruit new writers, editors, publishing assistants, or promotional talents. A total of thirty-three graduate English credit hours is required: twelve-hour core, nine-hour concentration, and twelve hours in either a thesis or non-thesis option. In addition to the coursework, all MA in English students must successfully pass written comprehensive examinations based on reading lists and content knowledge, which are specific to each concentration. For those writing a thesis, a final oral defense is required.

Alice Osborn and Write from the Inside Out will sponsor Saturday’s Happy Hour, immediately following the Faculty Readings. Alice, author of the new poetry collection Heroes without Capes, is an experienced editor-for-hire and published author who will help you achieve writing confidence and publication success. If you need one-on-one coaching, she offers mentoring that can turn you from a writer into an author. She is the expert you can trust and who will be honest and fair with you. And most of all she strives to create longterm relationships with her clients so she can be your go-to person on your writing and publication journey.

Services provided by Write from the Inside Out include:

  • Professional manuscript editing
  • Specializing in fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir and poetry
  • Book writing coach
  • Book marketing specialist
  • Book publishing strategist
  • Published author
  • Sought-after speaker

Al Manning, the regional rep for Chatham and Lee Counties, is the sponsor of Saturday night’s Open Mic. Al is the author of the poetry collection Curmudgeon’s Book of Nursery Rhymes. His regional group, Pittsboro Writers’ Morning Out, meets on the Second Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at Carolina Brewery, 120 Lowes Dr., in Pittsboro. All writers, any genre, are invited. This is the regional group of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and each month typically features special programming. For a complete list of NCWN’s regional reps, click here.

Robert Beatty, Dinsey-Hyperion author of Serafina and the Black Cloak, will sponsor Sunday's Brilliant at Breakfast Panel, "Agents & Editors." Participants include Gary Heidt of Signature Literary Agency, Stephen Kirk of John F. Blair, Publisher, Neeti Madan of Sterling Lord Literistic, and Betsy Teter of Hub City Press.

In Serafina and the Black Cloak, when children around the Biltmore Estate begin disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one. Serafina and the Black Cloak was a Summer 2015 Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference is made possible in part by the North Carolina Arts Council. The Arts Council has been a statutory state agency since 1967. Their core functions include creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development using the arts; education; and research. The Arts Council believes that artists are an integral part of civic life as they stimulate creativity, innovation and dialogue. Our cities vibrate with the energy of the arts; and our rural communities reach deep into their roots and celebrate their unique traditions. Residents in every corner of N.C. have the chance to engage their artistic aspirations. The arts help children flourish through a complete education that prepares them for the workforce with 21st century skills. The arts build bridges where diverse communities reach across boundaries to celebrate and share their cultures. The arts are an essential ingredient in state policy, practice and pride.

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

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. Held every year in a major hotel, the conference rotates annually.

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


Beats Me: Love, Poetry, Censorship, from Chicago to Appalachia by Maryrose Carroll

Big Table Books
$12.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692369920
February, 2015
Available from

"This is a wonderful book. It's a fascinating account of some of some of the most vibrant, stormy, and controversial times in American literature. In fact, for any student of twentieth-century poetry, it's downright mesmerizing."
—Joseph Bathanti, seventh poet laureate of North Carolina

"Maryrose Carroll has written an important book for anyone who is interested in the Beat Generation. It reads as if you were sitting at the table with Paul Carroll and Maryrose. Insight into not only the end of censorship in literature, but about bravery in the face of an intolerant and threatening Government during the McCarthy witch hunts. It is also a lesson on love and facing death with dignity. Simply a great book."
—Earl LeClaire, poet

"Beats Me will cement Paul Carroll's importance in a literary movement I know and love so well. As an undergraduate at the time of the Big Table controversy, I remember bits and pieces of what took place at distant University of Chicago. Paul Carroll is my hero. It is so wonderful to read this personal story of one who was near and dear to him."
—Frank Thomas

Beats Me is quintessentially a love story and a "fascinating account of some of the most vibrant, stormy, and controversial times in American literature." Combining literary history with very personal drama, Maryrose Carroll tells the tale of her husband, Paul Carroll, and his exploits with the censorship of his little magazine, Big Table, by The University of Chicago and the attempted censorship the U. S. Post Office in 1959. His stories, told to his wife nightly, progress like Scheherazade’s through the course of the last year of his life when he learns he is dying from cancer.

His wounded friendship with Allen Ginsberg evolves over the course of three decades. Allen is pivotal in the first publishing of excerpts of Naked Lunch in Big Table but dictatorial in his directions of how Paul should write his poetry. Paul’s poetry evolves over thirty years from the highly structured Sicilian Sestet of "Winter Scene" published in 1958 in the New Yorker to the immediacy of late lines as: "We walk inside the heart of God all day."

The history continues in 1968 with Paul’s partnership with Follett Publishing Co. to produce Big Table Books, including The Poem In Its Skin and Young American Poets which Kenneth Clarke, when director of the of Chicago Poetry of Chicago founded by Paul, called "the Bible." A great friendship starts, in 1959, with James Dickey who described his visits with Paul in Chicago as "I do sincerely believe that was the happiest I ever was in my life. The happiest." Dickey’s and Paul’s friendship involved a mutual appreciation and respect for each other’s poetry and his last letter, written after Paul’s death said to me "I hope you will continue to stay in touch so that we may be with Paul on both sides of the shadow line. One can do such things, as you know." Well, I didn’t know that at the time of his letter but I was to find out he was correct. Communication can continue after a loved one’s death.

Maryrose Carroll was, and is, a clearly defined presence of her own, "a figure of central interest and importance in the great efflorescence of American sculpture," as one of her bios states. Her massive public sculptures tower in North Carolina cities like Charlotte, Hickory, and Fayetteville. They are also in Illinois and California, in museums in Chicago and Springfield, in Hartford and Dayton. She has taught at Northwestern University and Appalachian State University.

Her first book was a collection of her photographs with verse by Lewis Carroll, titled Alice's Book. Images from Alice's Book and her sculpture can be seen at A video presentation of her transition from art to writing can be seen here.

If an Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer

Mighty Media Press
$14.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-938063-61-9
August, 2015
Children's: Picture Book
Available from your local bookstore or

"If a child reads Ellen Fischer's new book, If an Elephant Went to School, what will he learn? That child will learn lots of unusual and interesting things about animal behaviors. What a fun book to find at a zoo—or anywhere."
—Rod Hansen, Gift Shop Manager at the St. Louis Zoo

"If an Elephant went to School by Ellen Fischer and illustrated by Laura Wood is a thoughtful story about animals and how they conduct themselves in school. With beautiful and vibrant illustrations Fischer weaves a cute story about how animals would behave if they went to school. Animals wouldn't react the way humans would because they are unable to, so instead of writing, counting, and reading they would learn to do things that are important in their lives. This awesomely written book grasps your attention from the very first page. It offers children the opportunity to really think about the animals mentioned and their characteristics. Children will have to be metacognitive throughout the whole reading of this book, constantly questioning and thinking about classroom and animal behaviors, and predicting what will come next in the story."
—Laticia Overton, NY Early Childhood Examiner (Rating: Five Stars)

"Factual and funny, it's a recipe for reading again and again."
Foreword Reviews

Would an elephant learn the ABC's if she went to school? No Way! She would learn to use her trunk as a nose, a straw, a hand and a hose! Through a series of humorous questions and answers, readers will learn about classroom learning and animal behaviors.

Ellen Fischer grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, but has been a North Carolina Tar Heel for over thirty years. Professionally, she has always wanted to work with children, so she became a teacher and children's author. She has taught elementary age children for over twenty years. She lives in Greensboro and is the mother of three.

Hats Off! to Caroline Taylor whose short story "'Tis the Season" appears in Destination Mystery, an anthology published by Darkhouse Books in August 2015.


Hats Off! to Lenard D. Moore of Wake County who was appointed to the North Carolina Awards Committee by governor Pat McCrory. The purpose of the committee is to advise the Secretary of Cultural Resources on forming and administering programs of North Carolina Awards and on selection of committees to select annual recipients. Moore is Assistant Professor of English at Mount Olive College and a poet, essayist, writer, and playwright. He was a 2014 recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature.


Hats Off! to Charisse Coleman whose personal essay "Riding Shotgun" recently received the Editor's Reprint Award from Sequestrum magazine. The essay, originally published in Passages North, is now live on the Sequestrum site, along with an author interview.


Hats Off! to Robert Beatty: the first chapter of his new novel Serafina and the Black Cloak is running in serial in The Laurel of Asheville. Robert will lead the fiction workshop "Writing Middle Grade Fiction" at the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22 in Asheville.


Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms by Robert Alden Rubin

Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan
$17.99, hardcover / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-250066275
August, 2015
Humor: Puns & Wordplay; Literature and Language
Available from your local bookstore or

"I am internally grateful to Rubin for unearthing these jar-dropping tongue jumbles. My favorite of all is probably those folks [who] will cut off their nose despite their faces, but the constellation prize goes to all of us who compete in our doggy dog world. Trust me, you’ll double over into a feeble position at some of these not-so-bon-mots.Time to batter down the hatches and buy this book."
—Dinty Moore, Brevity

Have you ever eaten a vegetable melody, pushed a wheelbarrel, or curled up in a feeble position? If so, maybe you need Robert Rubin’s Going To Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms. A whimsical and erudite illustrated collection of more than 600 contemporary language goofs, harvested from the Internet, books, magazines, and newspapers, Rubin’s dictionary both defines and explores the stories behind lexical miscues, and shows what happens (sometimes hilariously) to words when those stories are forgotten. To borrow a phrase from the philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember a word are condemned to create a malapropism.”

Robert Alden Rubin grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He holds an MA in creative writing from Hollins University, and a Ph.D in English from the University of North Carolina. He has worked as a journalist, as a book editor for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and as a college writing instructor at UNC and Meredith College. He is married and lives in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.

Unbridled Books
$12.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1609531157
May, 2015
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore or

“In the traditions of Toni Morrison and Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Barfield presents a gorgeous and dismaying human tapestry from the edges of Southern society.…An ethereal story of poverty and redemption that ends with a phoenix-like flourish and abounds with grace.”
Foreword Reviews

“Barfield’s The Book of Colors is a remarkable debut, a story told by a young woman whose nearly-perfect voice evokes Flannery O’Connor’s characters when they are simultaneously in a state of chaos and grace.”
—Wayne Caldwell, author of the Cataloochee novels

“Yslea’s world is small, but it embraces an immense universe of wonderments, bright emotions, slant thoughts and patterns that only she can discover. In The Book of Colors Raymond Barfield reveals a story like no other I have experienced, inexorably dark in circumstance but triumphantly luminous in spirit. ‘We are made up of pieces but somehow we feel whole.’ That wholeness is celebrated in these brave pages. They seized upon me like an angelic visitation. What a wonderful novel!”
—Fred Chappell, former North Carolina Poet Laureate

Yslea grew up in a crack house, a mixed-race girl who looks “sort of white to some black folks and sort of black to some whites.” She’s nineteen now and pregnant, having wandered from “the ladies shelter” into a cluster of rundown row houses that line the railroad tracks on the outskirts of Memphis.

Here she met Jimmy, who fathered the baby. Next door to Jimmy, the dying, elderly Rose, whom Yslea lovingly tends. Next door to Rose, Layla, who “services the bums” she brings off the tracks (Yslea has counted 87) while Layla’s daughter, Ambrosia, sits rocking all day, rereading her one ragged board book, The Book of Colors.

As constricted as Ambrosia’s mind is, Yslea’s mind roams freely—her own “book of colors,” which is the vast world of ideas, possibilities, connections and concerns. The growing fetus anchors her and, as we all do, Yslea uses external structures—a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Paris, a raccoon’s intricate skeleton she painstakingly reassembles, a stained glass window she creates for Rose—for comfort and solace and to hold her upright and steady in a chaotic world.

Ray Barfield is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Christian Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received his MD and his Ph.D (in philosophy) from Emory University. He is a pediatric oncologist with an interest in the intersection of medicine, philosophy, theology, and literature. Ray’s medical research has focused on immune therapies for childhood cancer (including bone marrow transplantation and antibody therapy), and improvements in the quality of life for children with severe or fatal diseases. His work in philosophy focuses on narrative approaches to philosophical issues that matter to suffering or dying people, otherwise known as "people." He recently published a book of poetry called Life In the Blind Spot, as well as a book of philosophy from Cambridge University Press called The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy. His novel The Book of Colors will be published in Spring, 2015. Ray directs the Pediatric Quality of Life and Palliative Care Program for Duke Children’s Hospital, and was the founding director of Duke Divinity School initiatives in Theology, Medicine, and Culture.

Hats Off! to those NCWN members who received North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowships for 2015-2016 in the Literary category: NCWN board member Julie Funderburk (poetry); Sheila Webster Boneham (prose); Lee Zacharias (prose); Wiley Cash (prose); and Kim Church (prose). The North Carolina Arts Council recognizes individual artists for excellence and achievement within their art forms or traditions. This recognition comes in the form of artist fellowships and through the North Carolina Heritage Award program.


Hats Off! to Mary Kendall who published a haiku and haiga in Cattails, the online publication of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, and two tanka in Ribbons: Spring/Summer 2015: Volume 11, Number 2 (Pasadena: The Tanka Society of America, Lulu Press, 2015).


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poems "Sonja" and "Fireflies" appear in the July/August 2015 issue of West End Poets Newsletter.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, who was featured on The National Federation of Press Women website. Her career advice? Be persistent, be honest.


Hats Off! to Nancy Purcell whose short story, "The Unwrinkled Heart," is forthcoming in Valparaiso Fiction Review, October, 2015. This is Nancy's 25th story publication. Her short story "Luscious Lily" is forthcoming in the anthology for Western North Carolina women It's All Relative, edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham, published by Catawba Press.


Squirrel Mafia by Sharon C. Williams

Peaceful Musings Publishing
$17.99, paperback (color) / $7.25, paperback (b&w) / $2.99 (e-book)
ISBN: 978-0692391518
March, 2015
Nonfiction: Adult/Humor
Available from

We tend to think of squirrels as cute furry creatures that scamper around playing while looking for nuts. Yet I've a different outlook on these rodents from Hades.

As an animal lover, one who's owned by eight birds, I've had the opportunity to observe a group of squirrels around my home here in the suburbs for the past year. The experience I've gained gives a whole new meaning to the words "little darlings."

I offer you a unique perspective of the furry friends entangled within our everyday lives. Their antics and shenanigans have earned them the name of the Squirrel Mafia. This book chronicles my ongoing battle with these pesky little critters.

Sharon C. Williams is a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. She is also owned by a flock of seven birds.

Sharon has a B.S. degree in Chemistry. She loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.

Two of her short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra's Roadhouse and two in Dragons in the Attic, which was written by her writing group, The Wonder Chicks. Her children's chapter book Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure was released by Fountain Blue Publishing in September of 2013.

Sharon stays busy as her comedy novel about her war with her backyard squirrels, Squirrel Mafia was just released in spring of this year.

Gods of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Month9Books, LLC
$14.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0986279379
March, 2015
Fiction: YA / Fantasy
Available from your local bookstore or

Book Two in the Red Magic series.

The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.

Since battling her best friend, Darlena’s grip on Red Magic has been shaky. She heads to Scotland after the Winter Solstice in search of another Red Witch.

On a sightseeing excursion with girls from her hostel, Darlena arrives at The Vaults, a mysterious underground city beneath Edinburgh. But there is something there that make Darlena’s instincts go haywire, as she lets loose a defensive burst of Red Magic, putting everyone around her in danger.

If there was ever a time when Darlena needed the help of another Red witch, it was now. But beware the witch who wields Red Magic.

Jen McConnel is a teacher, a former librarian and reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including PanGaia, Sagewoman, and the Storyteller. She is the author of Daughter of Chaos. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Hats Off! to Cynthia Lewis whose essay "Big Love" appears in The Hudson Review's summer issue, and is available in full on the website.


Hats Off! to 1997 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Sam Ragan whose "Southern Accent" columns that he wrote for The Pilot from 1969 to 1993 are now collected in five volumes at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines. His columns featured poems, anecdotes, and literary criticism, along with social commentary. "Southern Accent," the oldest and longest running column in the United States, was read in forty-three states and twenty-four foreign countries.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Al Dente" is forthcoming in the Poeming Pigeons' food-themed anthology to be published later this year.


Wretched Refuge by Joy E. Moses-Hall

$8.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-499613773
November, 2014
Fiction: Women's / Dystopian
Available from

Have you ever wanted to be alone, to drop out of your day, to shout, “Leave me alone!” and disappear into the wilderness? Have you ever wanted to get away from the hurtful people around you for a while? Maybe even make a lifestyle of it? Can you imagine being so angry, so hurt by society, that you turn your back, and live in exile for 16 years, living off the land?

In Wretched Refuge, Cassie has been hurt just so. Grievously hurt. So she hides away, loses contact, fends for herself. She subsists by trapping and growing almost everything she needs, minimizing her contact with the outside world.

But she is at a turning point. Self-sufficiency is not easy. The days are long and exhausting. And deep down, she is lonely. Still angry, still hurt, but lonely. So what’s a woman to do? She makes overtures, reconnects with a chosen few, and lures them to her refuge beside the Tar River. She makes her own little society, with its own rules. Vindictive, perhaps, in that she lures away the husbands of the women who wronged her. But still a refuge. Of course, it cannot stay a sanctuary for long. In the end, one has to question both Cassie’s motives and her whole interpretation of the sixteen years of events, as she has taken on the world with Unabomber attitude and a Snow White touch.

Joy E. Moses-Hall lives in Greenville, North Carolina, with her husband and three daughters, nearby geographically but as far as possible from her character, Cassie Johnson, who exists in isolation, living off the land and eating 'possum, taking revenge on those who wronged her.

Joy grew up in upstate New York, attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and has a Master's Degree in physical oceanography from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she met her husband, Rick, an expert trapper-turned-scientist. She earned a Ph.D in oceanography from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. She teaches physics, astronomy, and the earthly sciences at Pitt Community College in Winterville, North Carolina.

NORTH CAROLINA—The North Carolina Writers' Network welcomes three new members to its Board of Trustees: Margaret D. Bauer, Bill Ramsey, and Ward Brian Zimmerman.

"New voices are essential for an effective board," said NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. "Our new trustees bring with them a wealth of experience and talent, and hail from parts of the state—the coast and the mountains—that too often have been under-represented."

A native of south Louisiana, Margaret D. Bauer is the Rives Chair of Southern Literature at East Carolina University and Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences. Since 1997, she has served as Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review. She has also edited two Paul Green books: James Spence’s Green biography and a new critical edition of Green’s play The House of Connelly.

She is the author of The Fiction of Ellen Gilchrist (1999), William Faulkner’s Legacy (2005), Understanding Tim Gautreaux (2010), and A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O’Hara’s Literary Daughters (2014), as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals. In 2007, Dr. Bauer was named one of ECU’s 10 Women of Distinction and received the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. She is also a recipient of ECU’s Scholar/Teacher Award, 5-Year Research/Creative Activity Award, and Centennial Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Bill Ramsey is an active supporter of literacy and literature. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Blue Ridge Community College and as an advocate for Blue Ridge Literacy Council and the Henderson County Public Library.

In 2008, he helped to organize the Blue Ridge Bookfest and has remained on the leadership team.

In his youth, Bill wrote sports columns for the local newspaper. During his forty-year professional career he wrote technical manuals, magazine articles, and business newsletters. In retirement, writing about real-life issues became his passion. He is the author of four books and maintains a blog. He also writes op-ed columns and book reviews.

A proud and active member of the North Carolina Writers' Network, he lives the happy life of a retiree with his wife of fifty years, Donna.

Ward Brian Zimmerman is a Kansas native and alumnus of the University of Kansas where he completed undergraduate degrees in political science and economics, a masters in business administration and a Ph.D in educational policy and administration. Past positions include Director of the Budget at the University of Kansas, Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services at Murray State University, and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs at Appalachian State University. Currently Ward is a professional testifying expert witness and CEO of EnterpriZ Economic Consulting.

His professional writing has been published in academic and financial journals. Ward’s fiction writing career was launched about five years ago, and since then he has been honored as a Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize finalist 2011; William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (Novel) contest, Short List for Finalists 2012; Novel Semi-Finalists 2013; and Short Story Finalists 2013. At this time Ward is working on a novel, four short stories, and a poem.

His personal interests include: human economic capital, higher education, religion, relative and quantum physics, astronomy, SCUBA diving, cooking, painting, photography, gardening, and aviation.

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 Tom Wood who teamed up with Nashville's East Side Storytellin': Wood read from his novel, Vendetta Stone, followed by a local musician—Ian Johnson—who performed and spoke about his original music. The night ended with a round-up conversation with the artists about art and their personal connections to Nashville. East Side Storytellin' takes place at East Side Story bookstore, run by Chuck Beard.


Lost in the Crowd by Kathleen Mulhall Haberland

$14.49, paperback / $24.99, hardcover / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4520-7387-3
September, 2010
Available from your local bookstore or

"My birth is a joint venture between Mom, Dad, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt."

In Lost in the Crowd: Memoir of the First Baby Boomer, Kathleen Mulhall Haberland tells the story of being born into a large family in Norristown, Pennsylvania. She walks the reader through the joy of her childhood in the innocent 1950s, the disappointment of relationships during the early 1960s, and her total rebellion in the late 1960s and 1970s. Her lonely descent into a life of alcohol, drugs, and insanity is a journey she takes by herself and shares in easy language.

Kathleen Mulhall Haberland was born and raised in Norristown, PA. She is a professional writer of short stories, poetry, and various magazine articles. Her article "Meeting Jane Marie," published in America magazine, was chosen Best Essay of 2004 by the Catholic Press Association. Ms. Haberland is now a resident of Wilmington, NC. This is her first book. She has later published The Norristown Chronicles.

Hats Off! to Wilton Barnhardt whose new novel, Lookaway, Lookaway, was favorably reviewed in Southern Literary Review. Wilton will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference in Charlotte, and be the featured speaker at the Annual Banquet on that Saturday night.


Rebecca McClanahan’s tenth book is The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change. She has also published five books of poetry, three books of writing instruction, and The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings, winner of the Glasgow Award in nonfiction. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Sun, and numerous anthologies. Recipient of the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, a Pushcart Prize, the Carter Prize for the Essay, and literary fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University and Rainier Writing Workshop, and has been appointed the 2015 Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University.

Rebecca will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference titled, "Making Their Stories Your Own." Whether you’ve inherited boxes of letters, photos, and documents, or only a few stories passed down to you, this multi-genre workshop will help you begin to shape the raw material of family history into an engaging and artful text. Drawing on her experience in writing essays, poems, and, most recently, The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change, Rebecca McClanahan discusses the challenges and rewards of family history writing and offers suggestions for the journey. Specific topics include selecting and arranging significant details, fleshing out characters, providing historical or cultural context, employing speculation and reflection, choosing the best structure, and discovering themes and patterns of meaning.


What are you reading right now?
Adrianne Harun's new novel; Fleda Brown's book of poems, No Need of Sympathy; rereading Tillie Olsen's Silences and Edward Hoagland's essay collection, The Courage of Turtles.

Where is your favorite place to write?
My own desk, facing away from the window so I'm not distracted.

If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Back-up singer for gospel and/or blues group.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
I have no idea. You'll have to ask my readers.

If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
E. B. White's spider, Charlotte A. Cavatica. She spins beautiful webs, helps save her friend's life, and leaves her "magnum opus," generations of spiderlings (one of which is named Joy) who will carry on her work after her death.

What do you hope attendees take away from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
Whatever will challenge them to move to a new place in their work.

Charlotte is known as both "The Queen City" and "The Hornet's Nest." Does one of those nicknames ring more true for you than the other?
Though I know the origin of both, I've always thought it strange to give cities nicknames they'll likely outgrow.

Sunday's Workshop Session IV panel discussion is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
An essay I wrote in the eighth grade for a contest sponsored by the WCTU, in which I made an admirable case against alcohol, which I had not yet tasted. I was paid fifteen dollars. Had I saved the money, I could have ordered a glass of lovely single-malt scotch last week. Oh well.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
I'll pass on this one and just hope the critics can read my mind.

What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
Finding the center in the midst of all the havoc that first drafts create. The process is frustrating and rewarding, all at the same time.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Publication doesn't change your life; writing does.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
The Oxford English Dictionary, or whatever dictionary best suits the reader's native language.

Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
As for featured readers, there are too many fabulous writers for me to choose from; I'll leave that to the event organizers. But I would definitely vote for a dance—with a great band or DJ and a roomy dance floor.

Do you steal hotel pens?
I prefer to think of it as providing free advertisement for the hotels.


Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3, at


Hats Off! to Normandie Fischer whose debut novel Becalmed (a Carolina Coast story) is a finalist in the Heart of Excellence Awards from the Ancient City Romance Authors (Strong Romantic Elements). Also, her novel Sailing out of Darkness (2013) is a finalist in both The Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Authors (Strong Romantic Elements) and The Aspen Gold Readers Choice Contest from the Heart of Denver Romance Authors (Single Title). Winners for each will be announced this fall.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose short story "When We Could See But Did Not Know" (an excerpt from her novel, Maranatha Road) has been accepted for publication by Pembroke Magazine for its 2015 issue.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash piece "Carousel Ride" is forthcoming in the anthology Life is a Roller Coaster, from Kind of a Hurricane Press.










Celtic Cycles by Ann Loomis

Balboa Press
$11.99, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-45259-674-7
May, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

Celtic Cycles: Guidance from the Soul on the Spiritual Journey realigns the soul’s wisdom with the rhythms and creatures of the natural world. Writings of Carl Jung on the feminine principle illuminate our understanding of the soul and bring clarity to the conversation. What sets Celtic Cycles apart from other books on the Celtic tradition is the addition of the chakra system to the eight Celtic celebrations. In this way, the various levels of the soul body are honored as a vessel of spiritual wisdom. The colors of the rainbow spectrum enliven the bodies and contribute to healing at the soul level. In each ritual section, there are guided meditations, dialogues with spirit animals, and interactions with fairy tales. Formatted in workbook style, Celtic Cycles is designed to lead you on a spiritual journey that comes from the guidance of your soul.

Ann Loomis is an experienced workshop leader, teacher, and author of Write from the Start: Discover Your Writing Potential through the Power of Psychological Type. She has twice served as president of the C.G. Jung Society of the Triangle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she currently lives with her husband, Bob. With her ancestral roots in Scotland and Switzerland, Ann likes to call herself a “Celtic Jungian.”

Jonathan K. Rice is founding editor and publisher of Iodine Poetry Journal, which is in its fifteenth year of publication. In 2002 he co-edited the chapbook, Celebrating Life, a project funded by Barnes & Noble in celebration of National Poetry Month and in memory of Dorothy Perry Thompson, noted poet and instructor at Winthrop University. He is the author of a chapbook Shooting Pool with a Cellist (Main Street Rag, 2003) and a full-length collection, Ukulele and Other Poems (Main Street Rag, 2006). His poetry has also appeared in numerous publications and he has been a longtime host of poetry readings in Charlotte, where he lives with his family. In 2012 he received the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College.

Jonathan will take part in a Panel Discussion, “Creating a Poetry Community,” with Scott Owens, at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference, November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel. As romantic (and Romantic) as the image of the solitary poet may be, the reality is that most poets need to be part of a community. A poetry community can help its members hone their craft, find their muse, take advantage of opportunities, and overcome the discouragements that all writers face. Scott Owens and Jonathan K. Rice have spent years building poetry communities through magazines, readings, open mics, and more. They will talk about their experiences, answer your questions, and share tips on how to come together with your fellow poets.


What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out that you wish they had?
Rejection is just part of the process of writing, getting published, and as a catalyst for revision.

Did you have a teacher or mentor who had a big, positive impact on you?
I had an English teacher in high school who was also my Latin teacher. She encouraged me more than anyone I’ve ever had since. She had a huge impact on me as a teenager, because she believed in me.

Who is your literary hero?
Walker Percy. I was blown away by his first novel, The Moviegoer. I read it in college and could not get enough of Percy’s work after that. His novels were philosophical, Southern and Catholic influenced, among other things. They made me think. He was forty-six when his first novel was published in 1961. It won the National Book Award that year.

If you could live in any literary world for the rest of your life, where would you find yourself?
Black Mountain College in the 1940s and 1950s. Instructors during this time period included Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and artists Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, among many other prestigious writers and artists.

If you could have written one book that someone else wrote, which book would it be?
A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Many writers are solitary creatures. Coming to an event like Fall Conference can be a little intimidating, navigating the exhibit hall and ballroom events. Any advice for working the room?
Breathe. Relax. Be yourself.

Who gave the best reading or talk you've ever been to? What made it so good?
Gwendolyn Brooks gave a reading at Wingate University many years ago. She had a powerful voice with a powerful life story. I will never forget it.

Any advice for attendees who sign up for the Open Mic?
The microphone is your friend. Speak into the microphone. Don’t eat it. Don’t turn away from it while speaking. Greet the audience by introducing yourself. You can gauge the sound level by doing this. Project your voice. Keep comments to a minimum. If you have to explain what you’re about to read, read something else. Pace yourself. Don’t read something so long that you have to read it quickly to stay within the time limit. Don’t read a piece too slowly either.

The city of Charlotte was founded on two established Native American trading routes. Now, of course, it's the 2nd biggest banking center in the country. Fall Conference will boast an exhibit hall packed with vendors. How do you approach an exhibit hall at a conference such as this? To shop, to chat, or both?
Both. I like meeting people. But I also want to support independent publishers as much as I can. As a publisher myself, working as a vendor I always get questioned about submission guidelines. I always tell poets though, if they want to know what we publish, they should buy my journal. That supports what we do.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but of course most of us do. What is one—or some—of your favorite book cover(s)?
I have always liked J.D. Salinger’s book covers. They’ve always appealed to me.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
I hope that they come away with a better understanding of the creative process and the mechanics of getting published, but also energized with a fresh spirit of creativity.

What is your guilty pleasure read?
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

What makes you cringe when you see it on the page?
Poetry that’s centered on the page.

Caffeine of choice? (English Breakfast, Caramel macchiato, etc.)
Strong black coffee.


Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3, at










This Miraculous Turning by Joseph Mills

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1941209097
September, 2014
Available from the publisher or

"This Miraculous Turning is a book that turns from nothing—the daily, the domestic, the little epiphanies. These poems are conversational, profound, narrative, and leavened with inimitable humor, often wry, often wistful. But these are also tough poems, thrumming with a quintessential helplessness that is so quintessentially human—what ultimately leads us to poetry to obtain 'news that stays news,' but to also restore our faith in the small things as the source of wholeness. You’ll go back again and again to this wonderful book, and you’ll tell others to get their hands on it. The poems become truer, more indispensable, with each reading."
—Joseph Bathanti, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, author of Concertina

"Disturbingly brilliant, breaking boundaries with shocking immediacy, This Miraculous Turning lays bare a trail of poems that navigate extreme terrain. These poems sear, disfigure, dismantle and reconstruct the truths of a history that informs otherness and taboos. Joseph Mills offers lyrical beauty inside a turbulent storm of history, memory, and hope that dances the bones of the nameless child free and gives flesh to the spirits in an explicit celebration of love and grace."
—Jaki Shelton Green, author of Breath of a Song: New and Selected Poems

"In general, poets are not saints, yet in his quiet but unapologetic intelligence, his passion, humility, and wisdom, and his understanding of good and evil, Joseph Mills gives us poems that could change the world. Deeply affecting, these poems show us how to live with one another. 'I'm searching,' he says, 'for the right forms for these poems, ones as simple and solid as wooden bowls.' Everything here is true: measured, faultless. You do not want to miss this book. This Miraculous Turning is a bona fide miracle."
—Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia and author of The Life and Death of Poetry: Poems

"In these poems, Joseph Mills portrays a world that is both startling and heart-deep familiar. His words simultaneously inflict wonderment and consternation, revealing both how beautiful and how wanting this human life can be. I was sad to come to the end, but eager to begin again, to relive Mills' precise rendering of the lessons of parenthood and the particular joy and ache of living in a diverse world where so much comes down not to understanding one another, but in trying to do so. Throughout these poems, it is the heart that rings clear through soft, purple-skied spring evenings, poignant and funny car-trip conversations, and sun-drenched afternoons in cemeteries and battlefields."
—Susan Woodring, author of Goliath

"Joseph Mills writes the best kind of poems about family. These are unsentimental, frank pieces that open from the private to the public, reminding us that we are more than parents and children, but are members of a world that we create and inhabit together. Beautifully crafted, sometimes humorous, and often heartbreaking, This Miraculous Turning is a poignant meditation on family, race, religion, and identity in modern America."
—Kelly Davio, author of Burn This House

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

Hats Off! to Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan whose article "Writing from Experience: Using Your Body to Improve Your Story" appeared in the blog, Writing and Wellness.


CHARLOTTE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3. Held at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel, November 21-23, Fall Conference offers workshop tracks in several genres and featured guests Allan Gurganus, Joseph Bathanti, and Wilton Barnhardt.

Programming is made possible in part by our sponsors.

John F. Blair, Publisher, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. The Winston-Salem based press published its first book, Whispering Pines, a volume of poetry by Salem native John Henry Boner, in 1954. Since that first book, John F. Blair, Publisher, has published several hundred other titles and started distribution of other publisher's titles, including books by Down Home Press, Banks Channel Books, Bandit Books, and Novello Festival Press. Blair titles won two gold IPPY awards this year, and one bronze. Recent books include Jeremy B. Jones' Bearwallow and Robert Inman's The Governor's Lady. John F. Blair, Publisher, will sponsor the Welcome Reception on Friday night.

The Arts & Science Council was founded in 1958. Its work as a local arts agency includes grant making, managing the public art program for the City and the County, developing cultural action plans to address issues from facility development and arts education to access and providing services to support artists and organizations. Throughout its fifty-plus-year history, and through public and private partnerships, ASC has led the growth of arts and culture in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area helping it become a vibrant community that enhances the quality of life for residents, attracts businesses, and fuels economic development. The Arts & Science Council will sponsor Saturday's Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion, "Words In Civic Life," with Amy Bagwell, Robert Inman, Dannye Romine Powell, and Ed Williams.

Produced by some of the city’s best magazine editors and writers, Charlotte Magazine is the definitive voice on top dining, entertainment, shopping, and real estate in the region. Each issue is a celebration—in photography, design, and story—of the people, places, events, and activities that define this city., the online edition of Charlotte Magazine, is your essential guide to the greater Charlotte area—from Lake Norman to Center City to Waxhaw. You’ll find the latest information on dining, nightlife, culture, news, politics, communities, and trends in Charlotte—everything to help you make the most out of living in and around the city. Charlotte Magazine will sponsor the Faculty Readings on Saturday afternoon.

Alice Osborn ( is an experienced editor-for-hire and published author who will help you achieve writing confidence and publication success. If you need one-on-one coaching, she offers mentoring that can turn you from a writer into an author. She is the expert you can trust and who will be honest and fair with you. And most of all she strives to create longterm relationships with her clients so she can be your go-to person on your writing and publication journey. A member of the North Carolina Writers' Network Board of Trustees, Alice has published two poetry collections with Main Street Rag, Unfinished Projects (2010) and After the Steaming Stops (2012), with a third, Heroes without Capes, forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She is the editor of Tattoos: a Short Fiction Anthology, and her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. Alice will sponsor the Happy Hour on Saturday evening.

Al Manning is known as The Resident Curmudgeon. A member of the NCWN Board of Trustees, he also is the Chatham and Lee County Regional Rep, where he leads the monthly meeting of Writers' Morning Out, in Pittsboro. This group meets on the Second Saturday of the month, at 1:00 pm at Pittsboro Roadhouse. All writers, any genre are invited. Al is the author of The Curmudgeon's Book of Nursery Rhymes. He will sponsor the Open Mic readings on Saturday night.

The North Carolina Arts Council was created in 1964 by executive order of governor Terry Sanford to strengthen North Carolina's creativity, invention, and prosperity. Their mission? To utilize the arts for the benefit of North Carolina citizens and communities. The NC Arts Council seeks to create a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; plan and implement economic development initiatives using the arts; utilize the arts as an effective way to teach the public school curriculum, preserve our state's heritage, and provide arts experiences to youth; and provide data models and conduct research that documents the impact of the state's arts industry on North Carolina's economy.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference opens Wednesday, September 3. Register online at


Hats Off! to Zelda Lockhart who has been awarded the 2014 Ragan-Rubin Award by the NC English Teachers' Association. The Ragin-Rubin Award has, since 1987, recognized an outstanding North Carolina writer and is given in honor of Sam Ragan and Louis Rubin, who were professors at UNC-Chapel Hill and who have been friends and mentors to generations of North Carolina writers, artists and teachers. Zelda will read from her work and receive the award at the NC English Teachers' Association Conference in the Caldwell Building at NC State at 10:00 am on October 11.


Hats Off! to Karen Paul Holmes, author of the poetry collection Untying the Knot, who was interviewed by San Francisco writer Laura E. Davis for the series, "Writers on the Writing Process."


LSU Press
$17.95, paperback / $9.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0-807157497
August, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

"[This] gives you an idea of the mastery that Chappell brings to rhyming poetry. The word choice does not seem forced; in fact, it seems inspired by maximum suggestibility rather than sound. And the quality of the sound goes beyond rhyming; Chappell achieves tonality that acts like a second poem in tandem with the content."
—Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen-Times

Solitary, graceful, and contemplative, cats have inspired poets from Charles Baudelaire to Margaret Atwood to serve as their chroniclers and celebrants. They have appeared, wrapped in their inscrutability, in verse both sensual and spiritual, weary and whimsical. With Familiars, Fred Chappell proves himself a worthy addition to the fellowship of poets who have sought to immortalize their beloved cats. Here are cats as personalities, cats as art objects and historical figures, cats as reflections of human temperament. Chappell salutes the literary cats of decades past-George Herriman's happy-go-lucky Krazy Kat, Don Marquis's grande dame mehitabel-and the imagined cats who claim as their companions the characters from Chappell's own past poems. The cats in Familiars are alert and affectionate, equal parts cherished friends and unknowable mysteries.

Fred Chappell is the author of twenty-six books of poetry, fiction, and critical commentary. His most recent collection was Shadow Box. A native of Canton in the mountains of western North Carolina, he taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1964 to 2004 and was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997 to 2002. He is a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Susan, live in Greensboro.

by Julie Martin*

When I registered for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference in Wrightsville Beach, I had the product of a life-changing, three-year journey in my laptop: a completed novel. I hoped the conference would provide some insight into how to get my work published. I knew that meant attending the workshops, meeting people, talking about our art.

But I was basically an introvert who loved writing and reading. That’s when I energized. I plunged in anyway, relieved on Friday night to see someone I knew right off the bat: writer and editor Elizabeth Humphrey. She introduced me to Emily Louise Smith of Lookout Books, then Clyde Edgerton, Friday night’s keynote speaker.

I joined the audience, hoping Edgerton would be entertaining, and he was. He played his mandolin, told the stories that inspired his books, tossed pearls our way. “Embrace uncertainty,” he said. I pondered that as I thought about how I could grow as a writer, reaching in so I could reach out.

On Saturday and Sunday, I pretty much ignored the workshop topics and instead went for the instructors from whom I wanted to learn, no matter what they were teaching. Edgerton’s fiction writing session was funny and informative. “Focus on human relationships,” he advised. “Uncover characters’ pain. Their sorrow. Regret.” I left the workshop with lots of notes and a handy story topology grid to help with sorting out point of view, time, voice, and so forth.


Emily Colin’s terrific workshop “How Not to Win the 'Bad Sex Award'” focused on what worked in sex scenes, using examples from class participants and other writers. I was given useful feedback on a scene from my book: where to prune, where to embellish. In “Editing Your Own Work: Much More than Grammar and Punctuation,” Elizabeth Humphrey and Addy Robinson McCulloch led a discussion of editing strategies and provided a nifty checklist. In Susan Steadman’s hands-on workshop, we created our own compelling characters, a nice break at the end of the conference.

During a “Manuscript Mart” session with Emily Louise Smith, I received what I’d been after: lots of detailed, candid advice from a pro about how to improve my novel and how to present it to an agent. I also met briefly with Michelle Brower, an agent who recently had turned down my manuscript. We discussed options for revision.

Finally, I went shopping, one of the big bonuses of attending a conference. I picked up Emily Colin’s Memory Thief from Pomegranate Books as a Christmas gift for my mother, along with two copies of Edgerton’s Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers for my nephews (both expecting babies). I also bought a subscription to Ecotone for our household and a couple of copies of Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision from Lookout Books.

Armed and energized, I am undertaking the revisions on my novel and will soon submit to a new batch of agents.


Julie Martin lives in a magical parallel universe, otherwise known as Wilmington. She is seeking an agent for her novel, Maiden, and is deep into a book of short stories, The Hotel Esmeralda. An award-winning newspaper reporter and editor for twenty-three years, she now works as a proposal manager for PPD. She and her husband, Steve, have two grown children and two grandsons. 

*This article first appeared in Writers' Network News: Spring, 2014.











A Mother Knows Her Child by Linda Beatrice Brown

Women and Wisdom Press
$9.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9888937-2-6
July, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

"This is not a Mary removed from the struggle of womankind. This is the earthly mother who models surrender to her spiritual mission even when her heart is breaking."
—Gloria Karpinski

"Mary was willing to be impregnated by the word of God. The poetic and deeply prophetic words of Linda Beatrice Brown in A Mother Knows Her Child have the power to impregnate us with the word that Mary knew. Dr. Brown has offered us a profound gift."
—The Rev Canon Dr. Henry L. Atkins, Jr.

A Mother Knows Her Child consists of twelve poems that give us a new perspective on the role of Mary the mother of Jesus. We experience Mary as she observes with keen insight, the reactions of those around her, during the universal drama. The poems give an imaginative vision of Mary's struggle, wisdom, and deep love. The poems explore a dimension of Mother Mary that has not been fully explored, her very human self. As women come into their own in our time, they are being met with violent resistance at every turn. The author has given us a way to see the Divine Feminine and to affirm this power in ourselves.

Linda Beatrice Brown is the author of thee novels and numerous poems, plays, short stories and essays. Her latest novel is Black Angels, a novel for young people set in the Civil War. A retired professor of African American Literature, Linda graduated form Bennett College in 1961 where she took part in the sit-ins. She has written for such publications as The Black Scholar and Religion and Intellectual Life. Her book, Belles of Liberty, published in 2013, grew out of her lifelong decision to speak out for justice and equality. Linda's latest publication is a collection of poems, A Mother Knows Her Child.

Hats Off! to Sonia Usatch-Kuhn who had a poem published in the summer issue of Poetica Magazine. Also, her essay "Stockpiling Words" is forthcoming in the anthology Trigger Warning: Poetry Saved My Life, edited by Zachary Kluckman, Albuquerque Slam Poet Laureate Program Director and Executive Director of New Mexico Poetry Tangents.


Hats Off! to Kim Church whose novel Byrd was long-listed for the 2014 Crook's Corner Book Prize, which awards the best debut novel set in the American South.


Hats Off! to Arthur Powers of Raleigh, recipient of the 2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Fiction Award for A Hero For The People – Stories from The Brazilian Backlands (Press 53, 2013), a collection of his short stories set in Brazil. The award was announced at the annual conference of the Catholic Writers Guild in Schaumburg, Illinois, July 30 – August 1.

The Catholic Writers Guild, founded in 2007, seeks to build a vibrant Catholic literary culture by offering educational programs that encourage Catholic spiritual growth and teach Catholic writers about their craft. The Catholic Arts & Letters Award is given each year by a panel of independent judges to a book selected as the best fiction by a Catholic author.

A Hero For The People contains sixteen short stories set in various locations throughout Brazil. Many of the stories were previously published in magazines and anthologies, and several won awards. Arthur served with the Peace Corps in Brazil as a rural community organizer from 1969 to 1973.

Hats Off! to Jacinta V. White whose article "Fresh Eyes: Innovation and Collaboration at Co-Work Space," about Winston-Salem's Flywheel, a flexible shared community space, appeared in Triad City Beat.


Hats Off! to Steve Cushman and Gregg Cusick, both of whom were finalists in the 2014 Prime Number Magazine awards. Cushman's poem “Out Back, Behind the Hospital” was a finalist in the poetry category; Cusick's “Frankie (so set ‘em up, Joe)” was a finalist in the Short Story category.


Hats Off! to Ronald Jackson whose story "The Big Jump" won Third Place in the Flash Fiction category of the 2014 Prime Number Magazine Awards and will be published in Issue 61 of the magazine. Jodi Barnes was named a finalist for her story, “Space-time Curve."


Hats Off! to Sheila Webster Boneham whose lyric essay "A Question of Corvids" won first place in the 2014 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Creative Nonfiction, judged by Ned Stuckey-French. Her essay will be published in Issue 61 of the magazine and in Volume 4 of the Print Annual.











 Fending by Terri Anastasi

Main Street Rag
$8.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-480-8
August, 2014
Available from the publisher

From a forgotten mill town to the canals of Venice, to drug-addled mothers and a fierce forbidden romance, Terri Anastasi's poems draw on defending the strengths and gifts of her speakers against an onslaught of doubters. There's no guarantee of happy endings, but there's a promise of a genuine, lasting connection with others, and an acceptance of the flaws and finery‌ in each of us.

Terri Anastasi was born in Western Pennsylvania before it became a notch in the Rust Belt. She attended the University of Albuquerque where she was editor of the college literary magazine. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Terri worked as a supply clerk, cashier and bartender, among other jobs. She earned a master’s degree in art psychotherapy, working in mental health until 1995 when she relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, to make a career in child welfare.

Savior in the Steel Mill

I grew up believing
the Lord worked in the mill
alongside my Granpap
and heard His name
sprinkled throughout conversation
like Frank’s RedHot,
my Pap giving Him credit and blame
for every damn thing
from “God bless America, we got a raise!”
to “Christ Almighty, what next?”

Forget about sandals,
I imagined Him wearing steel-toed boots
and a hardhat to cover His halo.
Despite His penchant for wine
I knew He drank coffee from a thermos
and ate salami sandwiches and Twinkies
from a metal lunch bucket just like Pap.
Of course He shared a pinch of snuff
with the fellas in the blast furnace
and waved from the crane
as they bellowed below
“Jesus H Christ, it’s hot as Hades down here!”
He musta smiled to Himself thinking
if they only knew.

Hats Off! to Lynn York whose essay "Lost Recipe" appears in South Writ Large: Stories, Arts, and Ideas from the Global South.


Hats Off! to Ray Morrison whose short story "Rub" appears in the 2014 baseball issue of the Cobalt Review.











Out of Crystal Ice: Book I of "Ice King: The Last Messiah" by P.J. Wetzel

All Things That Matter Press
$16.99, paperback / TBD e-book
ISBN: 978-0996041386
July, 2014
Fiction: Fantasy/Epic/Sci-Fi
Available at

Award-winning Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi debut novel, first of six in a series. Set more than half a million years in the future at the onset of a new ice age. Humans vie with five other post-human species for planetary domination. But the humans are losing ground.

The year is 635,039 A.D.

The primitive Homo sapiens "bowlheads" are just a bad memory. Their remnants have split into six species, only one of which chooses to call themselves human. Like the wolf and the eagle, these new humans have learned to live sustainably with the planet. But trouble is brewing. The rival species are advancing, hell-bent on eradicating the last of the humans. Adam Windreath Gale is a Scavenger from a village lost in the glaciers of a new ice age. He has the gift of speaking with the Gods, but he despises it. Only his handicapped sister Lissa can control the voices that threaten to drive him insane. The Gods command Adam to arise. Their charge: become man’s final messiah, prevent certain extinction, and usher in the eternal order. But how? Why should he listen? Adam has no desire, no leadership ability, no training ...

P.J. Wetzel was born in central Wisconsin on a windy Friday but grew up in the east, on White Clay Creek near the infamous Delaware Wedge. This is where his love of nature blossomed—special emphasis on the wild caprices of the weather. He chose Penn State for an undergraduate schooling in meteorology, then Colorado State for graduate studies. The Colorado Rockies became his home.

He purchased mountaintop land with a 100-mile view and built a home on it with his bare hands while living in a $75 tar-paper shack. But the call of the east never faded.

On graduating he moved to Maryland where he spent twenty-five years working for NASA developing computer models that would help decipher the complex interplay of the earth with its weather and climate. There he built a second home with his bare hands and raised a family.

P.J. Wetzel has been writing fiction and poetry since he was a child. His poetry and first novel have both won awards. Today he calls coastal North Carolina home and he divides his time between the serious pursuit of hiking (he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail twice in 2012) and the equally serious pursuit of writing a six-volume epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi tale entitled Ice King: The Last Messiah. You can catch him blogging about hiking, writing and nature at

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "The Peach Tree," previously published in the 1990s, will appear in the August issue of Righter publications along with one of her photos of a peach. Also, her flash fiction piece "Collards on the Corner" appeared in the August 4 issue of Microfiction Monday.


Hats Off! to Sonia Usatch-Kuhn who will lead workshop at the NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) at the NC Annual State Conference at McKimmon Center on Saturday October 18. A reading at Quail Ridge Books & Music will follow on Sunday, October 19, at 3:00 pm. She and her son will also lead workshops and presentations in Long Island, NY, and Bethesda, MD, in October and November respectively. Folks who might be living with a family member and may wish to express their emotions in a safe environment can register for a four-week workshop at A Place for Women to Gather in Raleigh. Sessions begin Monday October 13, 2014.


Hats Off! to Sheila Webster Boneham whose poem "To a Kurdish Child" appears in the July issue of Red Earth Review. Also, her poem "Spin" appears in summer issue of The Written River: Journal of Eco-Poetics (Vol. 5, Issue 1).


Hats Off! to Carolina Wren Press, recipient of a 2014-2015 Durham Arts Council Season Grant. This grant program provides access to quality arts experiences for the people of Durham by supporting the activities of arts organizations that provide a range of professional and amateur arts opportunities. Applications to the Season Grant Program are evaluated by a panel of community experts and evaluated on five major criteria: artistic quality, community impact, feasibility of project, stability, and fiscal responsibility of organization and diversity of organization.


Hats Off! to Tom Davis whose humorous story collection, Growing Up in Vienna, Georgia: A Collection of Short Stories, about a boy growing up in the South in the 1950s, is now available as an e-book.


CHARLOTTE, NC—The 2014 Fall Conference of the North Carolina Writers' Network will be November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel.

Full details and online registration will be available on this site after Labor Day. Registration by mail or phone will open then, as well.

This year's Fall Conference will feature a keynote address by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Allan Gurganus; talks by Joseph Bathanti and Wilton Barnhardt; Master Classes led by Morri Creech (poetry), Aaron Gwyn (fiction), and Cynthia Lewis (creative nonfiction); a full schedule of workshops and panel discussions; and the Manuscript Mart and Critique Service with agents and editors.

Instructors will include Anthony S. Abbott, Chantel Acevedo, Kim Boykin, Moira Crone, Julie Funderburk, Priscilla Goudreau-Santos, A. J. Hartley, Zelda Lockhart, Rebecca McClanahan, Alan Michael Parker, Amy Rogers, Carin Siegfried, Betsy Thorpe, Cedric Tillman, Kim Wright, and many more.

Check out last year's conference offerings here, and keep an eye on this website for more details coming soon!











Frisbee Ball Rules by William P. Bahlke

Dog Ear Publishing
$12.99 paperback / $28.99 hardcover / $3.49 e-book
ISBN: 978-1-457529733
June, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

Nestled amid the humiliating demise of an unpopular war and the scandalous resignation of a once-powerful president is a snippet of time often overlooked and misunderstood. It could be argued, nonetheless, that one will discover, hidden inside this intriguing snapshot, the most profound evolutionary transformation in our country’s history.

Born through the embarrassment of a lost war, and empowered by the student riots that facilitated its conclusion, came an emboldened generation like none before it. For this rebellious alliance, it was a time of rebirth and newfound freedoms. If the establishment had been wrong about the war, what else could it have been wrong about? Possibly everything!

No sooner had the rioters retreated than suddenly, the “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” attitude that swept through every college campus in the country stepped in. There were streakers, sex parties, burn-the-bra bonfires, no rules, and no responsibilities. It was a time of discovery and unbridled independence. It was a time for learning. It was a time for growing up.

William P. Bahlke is a 59-year-old semi-retired civil engineer finally pursuing his life-long passion for writing novels. Bill and his wife, Meda, divide their time between the mountains of North Carolina, New York City, and Key West, Florida. William is a graduate of the University of Florida and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. His website is

Hats Off! to Sally Stewart Mohney whose poem "Water, rising" appears in Winning Writers. Also, two poems from her chapbook, A Piece of Calm, appear in The Southern Anthology, Volume VII: North Carolina.


Hats Off! to Sally Stewart Mohney whose poem "Aperture" won First Prize in Excellence from The Georgia Poetry Society. "Aperture" appears in Mohney's collection, A Piece of Calm.











 Half of What I Say Is Meaningless by Joseph Bathanti

Mercer University Press
$25, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-881464733
June, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

"Joseph Bathanti's new essay collection is an engaging, amusing, sincere, and compelling personal story of Bathanti's life journey—an ordinary story in many respects, but made extraordinary by the author's keen eye for detail, his honest, self-revealing voice, and passionately charged writing."
—Lee Gutkind, author of The Art of Creative Nonfiction

"From his Steeltown Italian immigrant roots to the Southland of his adopted home, Joseph Bathanti casts an enchantment in these pages. The love and appreciation of the bonds of family and place, without falling prey to sentimentality, from the nucleus of this slim but quietly powerful memoir. His is a world to relish."
—Robin Hemley, author of Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art and Madness

Half of What I Say Is Meaningless is a series of memoirs, set by turns in Joseph Bathanti’s hometown of Pittsburgh as well as in his ultimate home in North Carolina where he landed in 1976 as a VISTA Volunteer assigned to the North Carolina Department of Correction. Though these essays are not queued chronologically, they form a seamless chronicle of contemplation on the indelible stamp of home, family, ancestry, and spirituality, regardless of locale.

The book opens with its longest essay, “The Turf of Hankering,” which tells the tale of Bathanti’s leaving Pittsburgh for his VISTA training in Atlanta, meeting a Southern woman, and fellow VISTA he is destined to marry, his lurch into the American South where he would eventually make his beloved home, and his first attempts at becoming a writer.

Written in a voice that is always elevated, though conversational, wry, funny, quintessentially human, and laced with poetry, the other thirteen essays of the book explore his early conflicted obsessions with Catholicism; Bill Mazeroski’s famous 1960 World Series home run; a life-changing visit to writer Thomas Wolfe’s boyhood home in Asheville; the Vietnam War; his mother and father and his Italian-American identity; the concept of work and what it really means; the netherworld of prison; marriage and fatherhood; his day as an extra in the cult-classic horror film Evil Dead II; and the unlikely path, ever unwinding, that led him ultimately to achieving his dream of becoming a writer.

Joseph Bathanti is the seventh poet laureate of North Carolina (2012-2014) and a professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University, where he is also director of Writing in the Field and Writer-in-Residence in the university's Watauga Global Community. Bathanti has taught writing workshops in prisons for more than three decads and is former chair of the North Carolina Writers' Network Prison Project. He is author of eight books of poetry, two novels, and a collection of stories.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Shenandoah, Daughter of the Stars," a poetic retelling of the Native American story of the founding of the Valley (a poem written to honor her son who died there) is forthcoming from Tigershark. Another poem, "Summer Storm at the Grand Canyon," is forthcoming from Jellyfish Whispers.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who has inked a contract for her short story collection Simply a Smile. It will be out in the fall from Cane Hollow Press in paperback and e-book.


Appalachian Bestiary

Appalachian Bestiary by Gary Carden

Illustrator: Mandy Newham-Cobb
ISBN: 9780985994310
August, 2013
Available from your local bookstore

The folklore of ancient lands abounds with creatures that cannot be. Dragons, chimeras and griffons! Hippogriffs and minotaurs! Orcs and feathered serpents! Wondrous monsters that are the imaginative melding of disparate parts and talents. There are fish with golden eyes that prophesy; men with the bodies of horses that instruct young heroes, and birds that pursue and punish the guilty. Such beings are undoubtedly immortal, for they are still with us, passing from Parnassus to Appalachia; from the forests of Germany to the Ozark Hills...

Sample images

Gary Carden is an author, storyteller, and folklorist, among other things. He was awarded the North Carolina Arts Council Award for Literature, the Brown Hudson Folklore Award, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Western Carolina University.

Mandy Newham-Cobb is a lefty vegetarian artist and illustrator living right outside of Philly. Mandy is a member of The Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the illustrator of several children's books including: Razzamatazz!, Bullet Joe: A Kansas City Monarch, The Little Brown Hen, The Talking Coins, Sadie: The Paper Crown Princess, and Mr. Roodle's Noodles... She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Drawing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Hats Off! to NCWN board member Jason Mott, whose debut novel, The Returned, was favorably reviewed in USA Today.


Hats Off! to Leigh Sanders whose essay, "My Mama Wanted To Be an Astronaut," was accepted by the Feminist Majority for the Abortion Matters segment on their website. Also, her letter to the editor, about Rachel Maddow coming to Elizabeth City, was published by The Daily Advance.


Hats Off! to Catherine Reid and Liza Wieland, both recipients of 2013-2014 prose fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council.


Hats Off! to Keith Flynn and Valerie Nieman, recipients of 2013-2014 poetry fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council.


Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird, one of twenty winners in the Saturday Evening Post's "Tribute to Our Troops" contest for her essay entitled "Immeasurable Sacrifice." In addition to being published online, she won a Speidel watch.











Colonial Food by Ann Chandonnet

$9.95, paperback / $6.95, e-book
ISBN: 9780747812401
June, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

Of the one hundred Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth in 1620, nearly half had died within months of hardship, starvation or disease. One of the colony’s most urgent challenges was to find ways to grow and prepare food in the harsh, unfamiliar climate of the New World. From the meager subsistence of the earliest days and the crucial help provided by Native Americans, to the first Thanksgiving celebrations and the increasingly sophisticated fare served in inns and taverns, this book provides a window onto daily life in Colonial America. It shows how European methods and cuisine were adapted to include native produce such as maize, potatoes, beans, peanuts and tomatoes, and features a section of authentic menus and recipes, including apple tansey and crab soup, which can be used to prepare your own colonial meals.


  • Introduction
  • Arriving in the New World
  • Farming in the Early Colonies
  • Seventeenth-Century Food
  • Farming in the Eighteenth Century
  • Eighteenth-Century Food
  • Recreating Colonial Food Today
  • Places to Visit
  • Further Reading
  • Bibliography
  • Index


Ann Chandonnet is a food historian, poet and journalist. She is a member of the Culinary Historians of Washington, DC, and is the author of the award-winning Gold Rush Grub (2005) and The Pioneer Village Cookbook (2010). The author lives in Charlotte, NC.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. While the weekend will be full of workshops, panels, readings, and more, attendees have another reason to visit the coast this fall: to experience a bit of Hollywood history.

Countless movies have been shot in Wilmington and the surrounding area, including Firestarter (1985), starring a young Drew Barrymore and adapted from the novel by Stephen King. Another Wilmington-based movie, Sleeping with the Enemy, was released in 1991, starring Julia Roberts.

Also in the 1990s, Wilmington was the backdrop for fan favorites such as 1995's Empire Records; the Coen brothers' comedy The Hudsucker Proxy (1994); and The Jackal starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere (1997). There was also The Crow (1994), which, although critically acclaimed, is arguably most famous for being Brandon Lee's last movie—tragically, he died in an on-set accident during filming.

Three movies made noise in 2002: A Walk to Remember; The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. The movie adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Jim Carrey, Jude Law, and Meryl Streep, was released in 2004.

Most recently, Iron Man 3 was shot along the Cape Fear Coast. And Kill the Messenger, a movie based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb, is scheduled for release in 2014.

Interested in touring some of the "Hollywood" locations in Wilmington? Book a location tour here. And for a complete list of television shows and movies shot in the Wilmington area, click here.

Of course, Wilmington was also home to the nineties' hit television series Dawson Creek. And no article like this would be complete without a shout-out to the 1989 comedy Weekend at Bernie's. Maybe not a great movie—maybe not even a good movie—but one that had a profound and riotous influence on a certain movie-watching audience of a certain age.

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open.


Hats Off! to Richard Krawiec, whose short story "Bad Girls" was accepted by storySouth.

Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson

Gale/Five Star Publications
$25.95, hardcover
ISBN: 9781432827786
January, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or

When Brad Pope returns to his boyhood hometown to confront his long-lost father, the 35-year-old psychologist becomes a prime suspect in the murder of underwater cave diver, Big Jake Nunn. The psychologist's hopes of settling the debt with his father and reconnecting with his cantankerous Grandma Gigi are hindered by the surprised horror surrounding his father’s whereabouts and sinister secrets of the Women’s Preservation Club, founded by Grandma Gigi.

What are the church ladies planting in their welcome garden underneath the “Welcome to Whitecross” sign? Camellias or Corpses? With its blend of humor, dark plot, and quirky characters, Limestone Gumption witnesses beauty and brutality in a small Southern town. Reminiscent of Pat Conroy and Fannie Flagg, this offbeat mystery offers you suspense, surprise, and plenty of chuckles along the way to its solution. The fast pace and twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat or make you fall out of it laughing.

Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., is author, psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has authored thirty nonfiction books including such popular self-improvement books as: The Art of Confident Living (HCI Books, 2009), Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians who Treat Them (New York University Press, 2007), Don’t Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth (New Harbinger Press, 2000), Overdoing It: How to Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself (HCI Books, 1992), and Heal Your Self-Esteem (HCI Books, 1991). His latest book, The Smart Guide to Managing Stress, was released in April, 2012.

His website is


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta, whose essay "She Stopped to Say Goodbye" has been selected to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven is scheduled to be available in bookstores October 15, 2013.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Registration for the 2013 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference opens in just a few days. The weekend of November 15-17 is going to be packed with workshops, panels, readings, and more, all located at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrighstville Beach. For writers of all stripes and experience levels, it's one of the most inspirational weekends of the year. And much of it is made possible by the generosity of sponsors.

The Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County will sponsor the Welcome Reception on Friday, November 15. Led by Executive Director Rhonda Bellamy, the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County works to establish the region as an arts destination; promote arts-driven economic development; significantly contribute to quality of life in the region; provide a stream of funding to support the sustainability of artists and arts organizations; facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community; and advocate for the arts at the local, state and national levels. They are now accepting applications for Regional Artist Project Grants from residents in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, and Columbus Counties through September 20.

That night, Clyde Edgerton will give the Keynote Address. This will be followed by a Booksgining and Reception, sponsored by Salt magazine.

Salt is more than a pretty lifestyle magazine. In every issue, they strive to create a magazine of uncommon literary and artistic vision that explores everything from the thriving arts community to their passion for homes and gardens. They celebrate the best of food and wine, and indulge their love of the outdoors. They showcase remarkable people who have shaped Wilmington's past and others who are busy creating its exciting future. Moreover, every issue presents outstanding short fiction and poetry, essays and features that touch the heart and stir the soul.

Saturday morning kicks off with the "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: How to Work with a Publisher (So They Want To Work with You)." This panel is sponsored by the Wilmington-based Ecotone/Lookout Books.

Founded as the literary book imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Lookout pledges to seek out emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as overlooked gems by established writers. They have published Edith Pearlman's Binocular Vision (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award); Steve Almond's God Bless America: Stories; and John Rybicki's When All the World Is Old: Poems, among others.

Their sister publication, Ecotone, is a semiannual journal that seeks to reimagine place. Contributors have included winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows. But they're just as excited to provide a home for exciting new talents.

The Fayetteville-based Veterans Writing Collective will read during Saturday's luncheon. This event is sponsored by the longtime friend of the Network and member of the Board of Trustees, Al Manning. Al is also the Regional Rep for Chatham and Lee Counties, and facilitates Pittsboro's Writer's Morning Out, which meets the second Saturday of every month at Davenport & Winkleperry.

Later that day, Bellamy Mansion will sponsor the Faculty Readings. Bellamy Mansion is one of North Carolina's most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture built on the eve of the Civil War by free and enslaved black artisans, for John Dillard Bellamy (1817-1896) physician, planter and business leader; and his wife, Eliza McIlhenny Harriss (1821-1907) and their nine children. After the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865, Federal troops commandeered the house as their headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington.

Now the house is a museum that focuses on history and the design arts and offers tours, changing exhibitions, and an informative look at historic preservation in action.

Happy Hour immediately follows the Faculty Readings, and these libational sixty minutes are also sponsored by our friends at Salt magazine.

On Sunday morning, attendees will be treated to a second "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion" titled "Agents and Editors." This panel is sponsored by WHQR 91.3 FM Public Radio. WHQR supports and enhances the artistic life of this region in two basic ways: through their music and cultural programs on the air, and through the other events and promotions they offer. You can stream their station live here.

Registration for the 2013 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference opens soon. Save the dates—and check soon for more information.


Hats Off! to Sandra Ervin Adams, whose poem "Potter" appeared on the Arts page in the August 14 edition of ENC Weekly, the newest publication of Onslow and Carteret Counties.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. For the second year in a row, the Network will offer two scholarship opportunities: the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship.

The Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship recipient will be a woman over fifty writing prose fiction who has not yet published a book-length volume of fiction. The scholarship recipient receives $250—the cost of registration. Those interested should send one paragraph (no more!) about her aspirations as a writer and up to ten double-spaced pages of her fiction (see below for details).

For the third year, NCWN will offer the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship and send two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference. Each scholarship will cover the cost of a standard registration fee, group meals, and two nights’ lodging at the conference venue, at the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s annual Fall Conference. The estimated monetary value of each Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship is $550. The application process will be open to those who teach full-time at the K-12, undergraduate, or postgraduate levels, and who have produced a significant amount of poetry. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) will be eligible, but special consideration will be given to applicants from the Cape Fear Coast area, as well as to Network members.

Mary Belle CampbellApplications for the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship should include a curriculum vita or resume; proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, college, or university; a statement of writing intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Fall Conference; and ten to twelve poems of the applicant’s own creation (published or unpublished) that demonstrate their skill with and commitment to the genre.

The deadline for the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship is Friday, October 25. Send applications to the attention of the appropriate scholarship to:

c/o North Carolina Writers’ Network
PO Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

Or by e-mail attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Registration for the 2013 Fall Conference is now open.


Hats Off! to Stephen McCutchan, who recently released on Kindle three volumes of a series called Clergy Tales—Tails. This is part of a campaign he calls “Building Respect for Clergy One Story at a Time.” Each volume contains short stories about the complex mosaic that comprises the clergical life.


Hats Off! to Nancy Peacock, who was interviewed on The State of Things with Frank Stasio about her new book, The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson.












The Countries We Live In by David Radavich

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-440-2
October, 2013
Available from your local bookstore, from the publisher, or

An Advance Sale Discount price of $9 will be available from the publisher for a limited time prior to when the book goes to press!

"The Countries We Live In. What a wonderful title. Of course it means geographical places like America with its materialism, its politics, its inequalities. But it also means the human body, that country we inhabit for better or worse, that aging country. It also means the people we know and love, those whose countries we live in or who live in ours. I love both the theme and the range of this book, its multitude of countries all of which are crucial to our lives. 'Every Day the World Starts Again' the opening poem tells us. The mystery, the complexity of life begins again, and that, David Radavich tells us, is our task—to live each day as fully as possible in those countries that are given to us to know, to inhabit, to celebrate."
—Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us

"'I don’t want to take your time / for what is not essential.' Lean, clean-lined, economical—yes. But the poems in The Countries We Live In are not minimalist. They do not evade their subjects; they are not wisps and hints. Here are piercing observations, wild surmises, pulsing thoughts, 'adventure and test,' often with a sharp spice of humor. David Radavich has discovered the Country of Sudden Insight and has decided to live there. And thrive."
—Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina

"David Radavich reveals The Countries We Live In with an all-seeing and wry eye and tender sensitivity. In this collection of lyrical journeys from such disparate places as war-torn 1975 Belfast to sun-kissed Corfu, Radavich savors the beauty of nature and the mysteries of human nature. From our wheat-gold Midwest to Pawleys Island, where the 'moon pulled down its scythe,' poems examine the splendor and the heartache of our lives, how each day 'lovers recover their skin.' The music that moves these poems is the lonely dance, the human condition his words so honestly portray. Loss and desire are ever near from sonnets to politics, from the love of guns to objects that 'hide us from ourselves.' With Radavich, we travel the 'heady wine of sea and history,' and when we close these pages, we are 'heavy with departing' and ready to begin again."
—Diana Pinckney, author of Alchemy

This new work explores the inner and outer geographies of human life. Not only physical travel but also love and illness, politics and popular culture, whose contours we learn by necessity as we experience the terrains given to us.

David Radavich’s poetry collections include Slain Species (Court Poetry, London), By the Way: Poems over the Years (1998), and Greatest Hits (2000). His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe. America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007) narrates our nation’s history from World War II to the present, while Canonicals (2009) examines "love’s hours." Middle-East Mezze (2011) explores a troubled yet enchanting part of the world. Radavich has published a wide range of articles on poetry and drama and has performed in such locations as Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Iceland, and Scotland. Winner of numerous awards, he has served as president of the Thomas Wolfe Society and the Charlotte Writers’ Club and is poetry editor of Deus Loci.


Hats Off! to Glenda Beall and Barbara Gabriel, whose poems, "Therein Lies the Difference" and "Message to a Waitress's Daughter" respectively, appear in the current issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review, edited by Scott Owens.

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock

Lystra Books and Literary Services
$16.00, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9884164-3-7
August, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

Listen to Nancy Peacock on The State of Things with Frank Stasio!

1875: Drunken Bride, Texas. An ex-slave named Persimmon Wilson awaits his hanging for the murder of the man who once owned him. As he waits, he pens his story. The journey of Persimmon Wilson takes the reader from the brutality of slavery on a Louisiana sugar plantation to a ranch on the Texas frontier to life among the Comanche Indians. All through his travels, Persimmon Wilson seeks the one person he loves, a light-skinned house slave named Chloe. When he finds her, she is passing for white and is the wife of their former master. This is a rip-roaring, old-fashioned adventure romance. It is also a serious examination of assumptions about identity and truth.

Nancy Peacock's first book, Life Without Water, was published and chosen as a New York Times Notable Book. It was followed a few years later by Home Across the Road. In spite of this success she still had to keep her day job. She worked for years as a self-employed housecleaner. Her third book, and her first work of nonfiction, was taken from her experiences of living as an artist and a maid. A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life was published by Harper Collins in April, 2008.

She now runs writing workshops in her studio in Orange County. She lives with her husband, Ben, in a small house in Hillsborough, NC. Her website is


Hats Off! to Walter Bennett and Charles (LC) Fiore, whose debut novels were long-listed for the inaugural Crook's Corner Book Prize. Bennett is the author of Leaving Tuscaloosa; Fiore is the author of Green Gospel. To view the complete long list, click here. The short list will be announced on November 15, 2013.


Hats Off! to Claudette Cohen, whose short story "Three Pieces of Ice" has been awarded first prize in the Fiction category on the On the Same Page Writers Competition. Cohen has been invited to read from the story that won the Page Crafters Prize at Ashe County's Literary Festival held in September.


Hats Off! to NCWN Board Member Terry L. Kennedy, who was interviewed by Frank Stasio on WUNC's "The State of Things" to talk about his new poetry collection, New River Breakdown.











Flames in the Fire by Phillip Shabazz

Wasteland Press
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 9781600478666
June, 2013
Available from Barnes & Noble or

"This is a spectacular body of work...I don't use the word spectacular often. It wrenched me inside out and reassembled me whole. Shabazz naps with one eye open where suffering and courage encapsulate lifetimes of experience. Be careful, his poems shamelessly offer grenades in lunch boxes posed as gifts."
—Jaki Shelton Green, 2009 Piedmont Laureate, and winner of the North Carolina Award for Literature

"One word, AMAZING. A powerful, moving collection from a poet at the height of his powers... From passionate lyrics to meditative narratives, Shabazz's poems are peopled with unforgettable characters, real human beings, friends, family, revolutionaries and lost wild men lurking city streets for something more than a handful of change. This book is not a confessional rather a meditation on a life lived and confirms that to be the Phoenix one must first endure the fire, only then can one rise from the ashes."
—Howard L. Craft, poet, playwright

"In a world ruled by indifference in which the glimmer of past embers appear barely visible, Shabazz's words remind us that if we train our eyes to listen, it is obvious for all to see that from Ganazumba to Hotada Francis, from the rage of loss to the reinvention of the soul, from the end of a world to the building of that other world of collective love found in the sweetness of mother's cooking, Black Fire lives on!"
—Alvaro Reyes, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

In this poetry collection, Phillip Shabazz shares a journey about change, loss, transition, and renewal in many aspects of his life. He embraces the inner and outer fighting spirit of redemption. Flames in the Fire brings narratives both urgent and compelling, lyrics forged by fire, and a message handed down through generations.

Phillip Shabazz engages issues of community, race, and culture in America. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Freestyle and Visitation, and XYZoom. His other work is a novel in verse, When the Grass Was Blue.

Searching for Virginia Dare: On the Trail of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island by Marjorie Hudson

Press 53
$17.95, paperback / $7.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-935708-87-2
May, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

“Hudson’s writing style is fluid and poetic. . . . Those who value the art of writing as well as substance will enjoy this ‘fool’s errand.’”
North Carolina Libraries Journal

Marjorie Hudson’s book, Searching for Virginia Dare, gained critical acclaim from novelists, reviewers and historians alike when it first came out in 2002. Part detective story, part road trip, part memoir, the book explored the mysterious disappearance of Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. Hudson’s lyrical language and self-revelation brought a fresh flavor to the centuries-old tale of the first English child in America. This latest edition of Searching for Virginia Dare: On the Trail of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, from Press 53, features thirty-three additional pages detailing Hudson’s continued fascination with the subject, seeking history and legend in Rome, London, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Marjorie Hudson was born in a small town in Illinois, raised in Washington, D.C., and now lives in rural North Carolina. Her fiction collection, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, won attention as a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Distinguished First Fiction, a Novello Literary Award Finalist, and Perpetual Folly’s Best Story Collection of 2011. A North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship recipient, Hudson has published stories, essays and poems in five anthologies and many magazines and journals. She writes about outsiders encountering the South, whether they are English colonists or modern-day retirees, and she remains obsessed with the mystery and history surrounding the fate of Virginia Dare.

Season of Change by Lisa Williams Kline

$10.99, hardcover / $7.99, e-book
IBSN: 978-0-310-74007-0
April, 2013
Fiction - Gr. 5-8
Available from

On a long weekend with Diana's grandparents, Stephanie and Diana face what could be their greatest fear: another divorce in their family. Diana and Stephanie find a hidden brochure for a marriage counseling retreat in Norm and Lynn's room, and their suspicions flare when they're dropped off at Diana's grandparents' home on Lake Norman for a "long weekend." Will there be another divorce? Things go from bad to worse when Diana hits a deer while practicing driving. Then Stephanie's mom shows up unexpectedly, and the girls are separated. Is it for good? Isn't that what they wanted? As the girls wonder what it would be like to not have to put up with each other, Diana finds something in the woods, and everything changes. This fifth and final book in the Sisters in all Seasons series brings the story of Stephanie and Diana to a close, and shows what happens when two opposites become friends, and maybe sisters.

Lisa Williams Kline is the author of eight books for readers 8-12, including Eleanor Hill, winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award, The Princesses of Atlantis, Write Before Your Eyes, and the five-book Sisters in All Seasons series.


Hats Off! to NCWN Regional Rep Chuck Thurston (Cabarrus, Rowan Counties), who was interviewed on The Less Desirables podcast.


Hats Off! to Joe Morris, Scott Owens, and Ross White, whose poems were chosen to be displayed in downtown Winston-Salem in August as part of Poetry in Plain Sight, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. Morris ("Necessities"), Owens ("Used"), and White ("The Heat") also read at 4 Poems & a Party on Saturday, August 3 at Barnhill's Books.

Eye of the Beholder by Scott Owens

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-441-9
January, 2014
Available for pre-order from the publisher for only $9!

"The poetry of Scott Owens traces the contours of loss and hope, possibility and renewal. A determination to speak honestly and courageously of important personal matters, pervades this book and gives it emotional urgency page after page. Owens embodies Cocteau’s definition of tact--“knowing how far to go in going too far”--while striking a similar balance between long poems and haiku-like or koan-like short ones. Especially notable at the book’s center is a love poem Neruda would have been happy to write, the laser-intense “You in the Tomb of My Eyes.” Owens knows poetry is a serious business; while various other poets these days might seem caught up in gamesmanship, this poet plays for keeps."
—Philip Dacey, Editor of Strong Measures

Scott Owens is the author of ten collections of poetry, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, vice-president of the NC Poetry Society, coordinator of Poetry Hickory and The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art, and a writer of reviews and articles about poetry. His published work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the North Carolina Writers' Network, the North Carolina Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of South Carolina. He holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He is a member of the NCWN Board of Trustees. Born and raised in Greenwood, SC, he now teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. His website is

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Chasing Angels by Vince Guaglione

Amazon Digital Services
$0.99, e-book
July, 2013
Available from

Reese Kessler is a man plagued by both his reality and his dreams. He plods his way through a life less than desirable but feels powerless to change it. When he begins experiencing dreams that he perceives to be an extension of reality, he wonders if there is some hidden meaning buried deep within them. As his dreams become more vivid, a portion of each bleeds through into reality causing him to question himself, his mental state, and his life. As he loses his grip on reality, he travels to the place where he believes everything will be revealed to him, and he will find the answers he so desperately seeks.

Vince Guaglione is a guy who asks lots of questions, not only of himself but of his society and the world around him. Although he claims he's found no real answers, that hasn't stopped him in his quest to gain perspective on a little something we call life. When he's not at his real job, you can find him sucking down venti-sized coffees at a brisk pace his local Starbucks, thinking up new writing projects, or pondering his mystery questions of life. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Vince now resides in Raleigh, NC.

Vince is currently working on marketing his most recent works, The Narratives II: Dusk Or Dawn, and his novel, Chasing Angels. He is also gathering ideas for the next installment in The Narratives series as well as finalizing concepts for future fictional works.

You can read more about Vince and his work on his website:

his Narratives Facebook page at:

or on Twitter: @NarrativesKSA.

Vince always enjoys hearing from his readers. You can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


RALEIGH—Jaki Shelton Green. Zelda Lockhart. Scott Huler. Ian Finley. John Claude Bemis. And you?

The Piedmont Laureate program is accepting applications from authors of short fiction for 2014. Authors must be residents of Wake, Alamance, Durham, or Orange counties. The deadline to apply is September 27 at 4:00 pm.

From the City of Raleigh Public Affairs Department:

"The primary goal of the Piedmont Laureate program is 'to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region.' The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens. The laureate program focuses each year on a different literary form."

Children's author Bemis is the current Piedmont Laureate, and the authors listed above have all been honored over the years by a select committee appointed by the sponsoring agencies. The laureates receive stipends of $6,500 and serve for one year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31). Activities of the laureate include presenting readings and workshops, encouraging creative writing, and promoting literature at public events.

Additional information on the Piedmont Laureate program, including guidelines and the application form, is available at or on the websites of the sponsoring agencies:

  • Alamance County Arts Council
  • City of Raleigh Arts Commission
  • Durham Arts Council
  • Orange County Arts Commission
  • United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County


Established in 1977 as the official advisory body and advocate for the arts to the Raleigh City Council, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission holds the distinction of being the first municipal arts commission created in North Carolina. Serving as the leading force to champion the arts with Raleigh citizens and their representatives, the Arts Commission’s myriad activities foster, support and promote the arts in the Capital City.











A Boat, A Raft, A Bridge by Katherine Soniat

Dream Horse Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN 978-1-935716-18-1
September 1
Available at your local bookstore or from the publisher

"Within the composure of Katherine Soniat’s phrasing in A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge something unsettled emerges and will not rest. She presents us with a richly conceived world ‘given to see through.’ But the seeing is rigorous. These poems are revelatory."
—Ron Slate

"How might one move quietly and slowly enough—crossing water to land or to ether, to high altitudes or low, the strange or the everyday—to give us time to dream what happened on both banks? In A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, Katherine Soniat’s beautifully understated poems sometimes pass through places of great pain, but ultimately beyond them as well. Myth and history, mountains and deserts, grief and intimacy are all transformed in this collection into a poetry of depth, dignity, and richness of language."
—Lisa Lewis

"One kind of lyric is a vertical narrative that demands dense fuel to attain escape velocity. For Katherine Soniat, the heavy metals of the everyday yield a superheated plasma that seem virtually effortlessly extracted (though it is never so): 'The astronomers call for marvels, a cosmic shower / in the pre-dawn sky. But this dog won’t be energized / by prediction.' The epicenter of her poems’ orbit is the heart of a long and rich poetic tradition, which means it is also the human heart, and that is just were it ought to be, for Soniat’s masterful work reveals again and again that tradition’s inexhaustible power."
—T.R. Hummer

"Katherine Soniat is a conjurer. She possesses the third eye—that extra sense—in her astonishing and scintillant fusion of image with concept. Her synesthetic mind fashions images the rest of us must envy. This poet carries her own microscope through which we see a new order: buoyant, surprising, and rare. Her intelligence ranges over a fascinating array of subjects as she reminds us of what true poetry can do. A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge returns us to the choral pavement of its origins."
—Tina Barr

"A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge guides us through and beyond an ever-dissolving world’s beauty and brutality. We enter the atmosphere of Katherine Soniat’s brilliant, startling, and intimate poems, and we emerge shaken and renewed."
—Lee Upton

Katherine Soniat's The Swing Girl was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Commission of North Carolina (A.O. Young Award). A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize given by the University of Iowa Press, and a Virginia Prize for Poetry selected by Mary Oliver. Her fourth collection Alluvial was a finalist for Library of Virginia Center for the Book Award and Notes of Departure won the Camden Poetry Prize, selected by Sonia Sanchez. Soniat has served on the faculty at Hollins University and Virginia Tech. Currently an instructor in the Great Smokies Writers Program at University of North Carolina at Asheville, she lives on a deep ravine with a mother bear and two cubs.









Long Division by Alan Michael Parker

Tupelo Press
$16.95, Paperback
August, 2012
ISBN 978-1-932195-42-2
Available through the publisher or

"Alan Michael Parker possesses a mind completely unlike any poet at work in America today, finding in the clutter around us not just sources of sadness, wit, and playful irony—but also profound ambivalence about a world in which our past is not recoverable, in which the work of the mind upon the landscape is the true source of meaning, in which we all inhabit 'the arc of Story graphed upon the axes of Love and Death.' I have long considered Parker to be one of the most brilliant poets at work in America today. Long Division, his best book yet, confirms that."
—Kevin Prufer

"Alan Michael Parker, in style and in stance ('Sadness remains my politics,' he writes), demonstrates that wit and irony have much more to offer us than we've known. In one masterful poem after another composed with luminous attention to the poetic line, Parker conducts the long divisions toward reconciliation between contentment and the necessity of asking more from ourselves, each other, and the world. He assures us our redemption, but proves that it requires the cunning and exuberance only a poet of his talent can muster for the rest of us. I feel blessed by these poems in Long Division, the work of a poetic troubleshooter intent on spreading grace on everything before him."
—Khaled Mattawa

In his seventh poetry collection, Alan Michael Parker aims to surprise. Recombining lists, fables, and mathematical equations, Long Division is formally playful, wielding irony as a lever of political resistance. Here is a writer fascinated by comedy, by sadness, and by the unexpected ways that poetry makes both possible at once. When was the last time you laughed outloud reading poems? Parker’s new work is truly funny, exposing the impossibility of realism in a world where imagination is more trustworthy than experience.

In addition to his five books of poems, Alan Michael Parker has published two novels and served as editor of the whimsical anthology, The Imaginary Poets (Tupelo, 2005). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Paris Review, The Best American Poetry 2011, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at Davidson College and in the Queens University low-residency MFA program. He lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with the artist Felicia van Bork.


By Susan Woodring, 2012 NCWN Fall Conference Faculty Member, Fiction

The hard part is getting started.

This is true of jogging. The stamina required to propel oneself through so many long swaths of sidewalk is tempered by finding the right rhythm. It’s true of public-speaking. Body-surfing. Travel. Getting started—taking that first sub-action that is a part of the whole—is the hard part. This seems especially true when we’re talking about doing something dangerous like sky-diving, or, when we’re talking about me at around age eight, stepping off the high dive at the swimming pool.

As a fiction writer, I find beginning a story a million times harder than jumping off a high dive. I can have an idea or a character or even a line or two of dialogue. I might have a feel for the setting or the atmosphere. Sometimes, I even know what happens; the basic design of the story is set. And yet, actually beginning the thing—finding my way inside the story—that’s the hard part.

I liken it to finding a collapsed circus tent in an empty field of grass. Yes, a weird way to describe the fiction writer’s initial conundrum, but this is the image that keeps coming to me: the story is an enormous shapeless piece of canvas laid out in the middle of nowhere. The canvas and its poles and stakes, collectively, is the tent, right? There’s no other material item necessary. Except, of course, air. The task is, then, to somehow emit air and light into the jumble of canvas and tethers and poles. It’s a huge unwieldy blob of a thing, this tent, this story, until I find my way inside it.

The key to entering, I believe, is narrative voice. Point of view. Once I find the right person, or, more aptly, persona, to tell the story, I can lift up a corner of the tent. Because now, with the correct point of view, I have the storyteller’s eyes to see and breath to fill the thing, to emit air and light and invite first me, the author, and second you, the reader, inside.

A discussion of point of view necessarily begins with pronouns. We know that I goes with first person point of view, wherein one of the story’s characters is also the narrator of the story’s events. There’s second person, which uses the pronoun you, involving the reader directly in the story. And then, there’s third person point of view, which uses the pronouns he and she. This is the most versatile of the points of view, covering a wide range of what John Gardner has called “psychic distances” from which the story is told. There’s third person close point of view, wherein the narrative voice sticks closely to one character. We are limited to that character’s observances and thoughts. The other end of the spectrum is third person point of view omniscient, where the offstage narrator sees all, hears all, knows all.

While we start with pronouns when we talk about point of view, that is only the beginning. Pronouns, in and of themselves, are not the key to entering the tent. The life those pronouns bring with them is what matters to us; the history and interpretation and manner of speaking that come with the I, the you, the she: that is what we’re after.

Point of view is the thing that gives us as fiction-writers the courage to step off the diving board. We find the story’s point of view and that, like gravity, is what plunges us, the writers searching for entrance to our own stories, in.


Susan Woodring will lead a fiction workshop, “Whose Story is It, Anyway? Using Point of View to Improve Your Fiction,” at the 2012 Fall Conference. She is the author of a novel, Goliath (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) and a short story collection, Springtime on Mars (Press 53, 2008). Her short fiction has appeared in Isotope, Passages North, turnrow, and Surreal South, among other anthologies and literary magazines. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short fiction was shortlisted for Best American Non-Required Reading 2008 and Best American Short Stories 2010. Susan currently lives in western North Carolina with her two children and her husband. For more information about Susan and to read her blog, please visit

Registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference opens soon at


Hats Off! to Teresa Keever, whose poem, "Ellie's Symphony," has been selected to appear in Minerva Rising, a new literary journal, in their September inaugural issue.


Blonnie Bunn WycheThe North Carolina Writers’ Network 2012 Fall Conference will be held November 2-4 at the Embassy Suites in Cary. The Network is pleased to offer registrants two potential scholarship options. Along with the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship, which the Network offers annually to poets who teach K-12, there’s a new scholarship on tap for 2012: the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship which will send a woman over fifty years-old to this year’s Fall Conference.

Blonnie Bunn Wyche, who passed away last spring, was a longtime, full-time elementary-school teacher who always had limited time to write. But once she retired, she blossomed. She wrote The Anchor—P. Moore, Proprietor, about a spunky 15-year-old girl running a tavern in Southeastern NC in 1764. Published in 2003, just before her 71st birthday, it won the AAUW Juvenile Literature Award, was selected by independent booksellers for its prestigious “Book Sense 76” list, and garnered a slew of other recognitions. Her second novel, Cecilia’s Harvest, about a young NC widow during the American Revolution, was published in 2009.

The recipient of The Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship will:

  • Be a woman over 50, writing prose fiction
  • Not yet have published a book-length volume of fiction (although any number of published stories/excerpts are okayand so are no publications at all). Applicant should indicate what she’s published.
  • Send one paragraph (not more!) about her aspirations as a writer.
  • Send the Network up to 10 double-spaced pages of her fiction as a writing sample. A team of independent judges will select the recipient.
  • Please e-mail your application and materials to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., either as a Word attachment or in the body of the e-mail.


Also, for the second year, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships to allow poets who teach to attend the annual Fall Conference.

These scholarships will honor the memory of the late Mary Belle Campbell and the legacy of her many contributions to North Carolina’s literary traditions.

Mary Belle Campbell

The Campbell Scholarship application process will be open to those who teach full-time at the K-12, undergraduate, or postgraduate levels, and who have produced a significant amount of poetry. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) will be eligible, but special consideration will be given to applicants from the Triangle area, as well as to Network members.

Applications will include:

  • A curriculum vita or resume
  • Proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, college, or university
  • A statement of writing intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Fall Conference
  • And 10-12 poems of the applicant’s own creation (published or unpublished) that demonstrate their skill with and commitment to the genre.
  • Applications, as well as any questions concerning the Campbell Scholarships, should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Applications must be received by Friday, October 19.

Registration for the 2012 Fall Conference opens soon. Check for details.


Hats Off! to Carol Henderson, who was recently profiled along with her book, Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers, in The Carrboro Citizen.

Fancy Gap by C. David Gelly

$14.99 paperback, $5.99 Kindle
June, 2012
Available at

For travelers along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap, the fog often hangs like an azure dreamscape over the rolling green hills. But when a madman abducts two children and disappears into the wisps with the young brother and sister, the landscape becomes a nightmare for the children’s parents and local residents. The county sheriff remains under intense pressure to track down the predator, yet all leads come up cold and the officers are sickened when a horrific act at the Devil’s Den challenges them all to act quickly.

To solve the crime before the Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show, sleuths Quinn McSpain and Louisa Hawke are drawn into the mystery and head into the hills and hollows of the southwestern Virginia mountains. Quinn is an ex-corporate security operative, and until recently, Louisa headed the FBI criminal division. The athletic, hard-bodied sexagenarian twosome has been experiencing a blossoming romance on kayaking trips and mountain climbing excursions as well as hard mountain bike rides. Now their sleuthing skills and physical prowess will be put to the test as they must capture the killer before the unthinkable takes place.

An adrenaline-producing adventure to capture a demented killer through the Blue Ridge Mountains, C. David Gelly’s mystery thriller is steeped in the lore and legends of Virginia’s upland country. It is the first in a series of five “Gap” novels that will take the reader through the vistas and hairpin turns of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway and mountains.

Watch the promotional trailer here.

C. David Gelly has authored numerous essays and short stories on global travel, athletic accomplishments and life experiences. A raconteur and oenophile of note, he is an avid marathoner and cyclist who explores unusual places in his travels on domestic as well as international assignments. He has plied his trade in government agencies as well as in the corporate ranks of many significant entities taking him through the streets and alleys of concrete canyons as well as the twists and turns of the Silk Road to the wheat fields of America’s heartland. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and currently resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as well as the mountains of southwest Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at FancyGap.


Hats Off! to Barbara Woodall, who was interviewed as part of a CBS special on the fortieth anniversary of the film Deliverance. (Click link to watch interview.) Barbara is the author of It's Not My Mountain Anymore.


Hats Off! to Diana Pinckney, who has won the 2012 Atlanta Review's International Poetry Grand Prize. The contest issue will be out in October, 2012, from the Atlanta Review.


By Elaine Neil Orr, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty Member, Master Class (Creative Nonfiction)

Elaine Neil OrrLook at yourself in the mirror. Even after years of knowing it, you’ve forgotten that the image is you but reversed. In a photograph, you see yourself as the photographer framed you. Even in an age in which everyone is taking her own picture with an iPhone, an age in which you can frame yourself, the image cannot capture you. There’s the pose, for example. Even in the “candid” shot, the photograph cuts out the world. What lies beyond the frame or in the interior self? There are “views” of yourself and your place in the world that you have not gotten yet and you will never get from the mirror or the photograph. You can get them on the page, in memoir. Through the alchemy of writing about the self, you emerge. I might say, by writing memoir you become yourself.

Memoir is akin to almost any art: there is more of life than you need to create it. The sculptor in wood cuts away to get at the shape he is looking for. The writer of fiction knows more about the character than she can put in the novel. The “more” of the life must be made into “less,” sculpted into a shape: to make an impression, to tell a story, to reveal. In memoir what is being revealed is a particular self in a particular world. Oddly enough, you have not yet really seen her even though she is you.

You may say: But I have no interesting stories. Nothing has happened to me. I don’t have enough “material” to carve away at.

Have you seen a bird fly? Have you dipped your foot into a cool river? Have you learned your parents are fallible? Did you see for yourself how children, in groups, will torture the weakest child? Have you fallen in love? Everything has happened. If you still feel you don’t have “enough”, try the method of another art: pottery making. Add more clay, work it into a shape, then begin trimming. Put paint on a canvas, enough to make it three dimensional; cut across the surface with a palette knife, leading the eye.

Here: the beginnings of a memoir.

Summer comes. I am exhausted after the teaching year, after the completion of a novel that was six years in the writing. I let myself rest and enter a lull. I spend cool June mornings on my back porch. I observe myself. What is that feeling in my throat that dips into my chest and tells me I am weary? What is that sensation going to my bones? I observe the world. Here arrive two male cardinals for their morning sport. I write them down in my journal, along with my bones, my tea, my pajamas. A chipmunk runs down the walk, sees me, halts its small self, leaps into air and bounds to the fence. I drink tea. I get the chipmunk onto the page. I rest my pen. My eyes rest so the colors of the world bleed one into the other. How long? I don’t know. I sense something. I look. At first I think it’s a huge cat, circling the base of the pine. But no. The tail, the nose. A fox on the hunt. In a moment, I am after it, waving my arms. But I am too late. Off he trots, the downward turned comma of a chipmunk clenched in his mouth. I have the beginning of a memoir. Who am I in that morning, between chipmunk and fox? What has happened? Life and death and everything between. Now what will I make of it?

Oddly enough, I may find myself better reflected in this drama of fox and chipmunk, observing myself observing them, than I do pouring over my childhood photographs. This is the route to memoir: a more circuitous route than mirror-gazing. Yes. The material still has to be shaped. That’s the fierce work of memoir: discovery and creation until you are there, on the page, new, regardless of your age.


ELAINE NEIL ORR will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction at the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference. She writes memoir and fiction. She is an award-winning professor of world literature and creative non-fiction at N.C. State University. She also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville. Her memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life, was a Book Sense Top-20 selection and nominee for the Old North State Award. Elaine has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council and is honored by Image as Artist-of-the-Month for her story, “Day Lilies.” Her memoir and short fiction have appeared in The Missouri Review, Shenandoah, Blackbird, and Prime Number, among other places, and she has three times been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her historical novel, A Different Sun, will be released by Penguin/Berkley Books in spring 2013. A daughter of missionary parents who was born and grew up in Nigeria, Elaine Orr writes out of the inheritance of two worlds.

Registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference opens soon at


Hats Off! to Dr. Susan Schmidt, whose poem, "Green Thought in Green Shade" about Carolina Parakeets, will appear in Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina, funded by the North Carolina Arts Council and forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press. Existing volumes about western and Piedmont North Carolina encourage readers to tour sites in NC and read excerpts from the state's writers that speak to place.


edith pearlmanDistinguished author Edith Pearlman will give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference on Friday, November 2, at 8:00 pm. The Fall Conference, which starts on Friday and runs through Sunday, will be held at the Embassy Suites in Cary, in North Carolina's Triangle Area. The Keynote Address is free and open to the public.

Pearlman's collection of short stories, Binocular Vision, was published by North Carolina's Lookout Books in 2011 and won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was a Finalist for the National Book Award, among many other honors.

Her Keynote Address will discuss the years of hard work and determination that went into making her an "overnight success."

She has published more than 250 works of short fiction and short nonfiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and online publications. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Collection, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize CollectionBest of the Small Presses.

Her first collection of stories, Vaquita (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), won the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature. Her second, Love Among The Greats (Eastern Washington University Press, 2002), won the Spokane Annual Fiction Prize. Her third collection, How to Fall, was published by Sarabande Press in 2005 and won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Her fourth collection, of course, was Binocular Vision.

"Pearlman writes about the predicaments—odd, wry, funny. and painful —of being human," the New York Times said about her latest collection. "These quiet elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape."

The NCWN Fall Conference offers more than twenty-five workshops in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, as in other aspects of the craft such as writing for children, publishing, and how to wow at an open mic. Registrants can also choose from three weekend-long Master Classes: Creative Nonfiction (led by Elaine Nell Orr); Fiction (led by Jill McCorkle); and Poetry (led by 2012 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer). Participants at the conference may also register for one-on-one sessions with a publishing or bookselling professional.

Registration opens soon at


Hats Off! to Jack J. Prather, whose anthology Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina is among nineteen nominations for the 2012 North Carolina Literary and Historical Association "Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction".


Hats Off! to Steve Mitchell, whose flash fiction story, "Stalemate," is appearing in the inaugural issue of Siren, an edgy, multi-media journal.

Step by Step









Step by Step: a Memoir by Laura T. Jensen

$1.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1476081663
July, 2012
Available through the publisher

Step By Step is a memoir. A collection of short creative non-fiction pieces, which represent segments of my life. They are recollections of people, places and events; some big, some small, some happy, some sad. These stories richly reflect the times and, of course, me and my friends and family.

A writer of fiction and creative nonfiction, Laura T. Jensen is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Interested in continuing to hone her craft, she has attended numerous writing workshops including: Finding The Story, UNC-CH Friday Center; Diary Writing, Chatham Community College; Personal Essay Writing, Sheila Bender; and Amherst Writers and Artists, Part I & II.

Laura lived her early life in Bergen County, New Jersey. She attended public schools in both Bergenfield and Westwood and graduated from Westwood High School. A graduate of Lasell College (2011 recipient of the Lasell Medallion and member, Board of Overseers), Laura spent eighteen years in the human resources and training departments of a large organization in New York City. Until recently, Laura and her husband (Jack Hyer) ran a boutique executive search firm specializing in positions in non-profit organizations.

Farther Along










Farther Along: the Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers by Carol Henderson

Willowdell Books
$17.95, paperback
June, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1935708599
Grief and Healing
Available from

"Both heart-breaking and heart-warming—filled with wisdom about life and death...and writing!"
—Lee Smith, author of Fair and Tender Ladies

"This book should be a guide for counselors, teachers, and for the bereaved."
—Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and Comfort: A Journey through Grief

“In this brilliant, carefully wrought book, Carol Henderson has given us much more than a deeply healing practice for the bereaved and for those who would help them. Here are the very hearts of those who have lost a child, and here is a wise and practiced way to be a companion to and healer of the bereaved."
—Pat Schneider, author of Writing Alone and With Others and founder of Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA)

Ten years ago a dozen silent, withdrawn women from around the state and Virginia, gathered around a conference table in a chilly meeting room at Salem College. Several of the women and their families had endured extensive local media coverage when their children died. Most of the women did not know each other; they seemed to have little in common. However they shared one stark personal factor, and it had brought them to the room that day: Each had lost a child. They had shown up for Carol Henderson’s one-day workshop, “Writing toward Healing.” The group has been meeting and writing ever since.

Henderson writes about the stages the group has gone through, describing the women's growing confidence both in their own writing and in the power of guided self-expression. The book includes generous excerpts of the women’s writings. It is also a detailed and practical presentation of Henderson’s workshop techniques, as well as a guide for running similar groups.

Learn more at

Carol Henderson, in conjunction with the Inavale Foundation and Project Compassion, offers Reflective Writing Workshops for hospital staffs, social workers, counselors, caregivers, and bereaved mothers. Upcoming events include a symposium on Farther Along in Chapel Hill (September 7) and a reception and reflective writing workshops at Hospice in Winston-Salem in October.



Anne Fitten Glenn"It’s fantastic!”

“A work of art.”

“Stirred my soul.”

Chances are you’ve heard these words or ones like it, and that’s why you’re on the path--enthusiastically or not--to presenting your work to agents and publishers. Or you’ve already had that work of art published, and now it’s time for public readings and presentations. In other words, you need to learn how to market yourself, not just on paper, but in real life.

In fact, you need to develop that difficult-to-define but “you know it when you see it” skill known as stage presence. Just about everything about a pitch or a public presentation is different from writing. The body language: writers sit, presenters stand. Eye contact: writers make it with a computer screen; presenters make it with people. Then there’s the speaking part. Writers do it through their fingers; presenters speak with their tongues--out loud.

When you’re used to communicating via a computer screen, communicating publicly with real people can be a little scary. But never fear. That’s why we’re here. We can help you turn something you dread into something you desire (well, at least something that doesn’t make you want to curl up on the floor and weep). If you’re already looking forward to making a pitch or presentation, our workshop will give you the chance to practice. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. Did we mention this is going to be fun? Your workshop leaders are a beer expert and a belly dancer. So, how could it not be?

Well, you should probably know they’re award-winning writers too.

Faun FinleyANNE FITTEN GLENN (aka Brewgasm) writes regular “Brews News” and humorous parenting columns for Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s alternative newsweekly. She also writes and photographs arts and entertainment, business, health, and news for a variety of media outlets. She’s won a North Carolina Press Association award. AF regularly speaks and presents at colleges, conferences, and events. The former communications and journalism professor lives with two kids, her Dorkie Poo mutt, and two marmalade cats in Beer City, USA (better known as Asheville, N.C.).

FAUN FINLEY has won two national awards for her online work: One for the The Pet Shop blog and the other for Bargain Sense, an online video show she created, co-wrote and co- hosted. She was the 2010 recipient of Yes Weekly’s “Best Belly Dancing” award. Faun also has a twenty-year background in live performance and ten years of teaching experience. She regularly emcees live shows at major events along with local TV and radio personalities. And she’s a copywriter. She does short, snappy, get-your-attention writing for integrated marketing campaigns. That also means pitching is something she does as often as brushing her teeth.

Please join us for ninety minutes of fast and fun exercises, tips and techniques, how-to’s and what-not-to’s and lively interactivity.

Why settle for nervousness when you can learn to knock ‘em out?

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.


ASHEVILLE--"The beautiful accidents of poetry happen in the dark," says poet Keith Flynn, "alone, where we are not perceived, but received."

Flynn will lead a poetry workshop at the Network's upcoming 2011 Fall Conference, and while he claims that poetry can't be taught, it can be "nurtured, cajoled, discovered, honed, begged or bought." He's been quoted as saying that he can teach anybody how to be a better writer, but that won't make them "burn with it." If fall conference registrants are looking to be ignited, this may be the workshop for them.

An award-winning poet, singer, and editor who has published five books of poetry and essays, Flynn is the founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review. From 1984-1998, he was the lead singer and lyricist for The Crystal Zoo, a nationally acclaimed rock band that released three albums. This new incarnation, The Holy Men, provides musical accompaniment to poems from all of his books, as well as new songs and re-imagined versions of his back catalog of recorded material. This incredible musical diversity can find the band shifting from swing to gospel to blues to ballad to bossa nova to boogie chug all within the same song frame.

Keith Flynn and the Holy Men will perform at this year's Fall Conference banquet, at 7:00 pm on Saturday, November 19.

“Flynn’s words need to be read aloud for the full dramatic impact,” writes Jennifer MacPherson in The Comstock Review, “but even on the page, they mesmerize the reader with their historical significance and startling juxtapositions. These are original, passionate, vigorous and musical narratives that roam the full spectrum of the art. Keith Flynn is a true original, and a national treasure.”

He is the author of four collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), and The Golden Ratio (2007). His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, journals, and anthologies in the United States and Europe.He has been nominated six times for the Pushcart Prize, was awarded the Paumanok Poetry Prize in 1996, and has given thousands of performances from his work across North America and abroad.


...who was honored as the 2011 recipient of the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award in a ceremony at the Philip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Center on the main campus of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. The award ceremony was part of CPCC's  annual week-long Sensoria Festival. The award honors a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.  Amy, a presenter at many NCWN events, was acknowledged for being an award-winning writer, editor and independent press publisher. As a founder of the groundbreaking Novello Festival Press, she put more than 300 writers into print, many for the first time, through works of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry.


SIBA Trade SHow 2011NORTH CAROLINA—The North Carolina Writers' Network is again pleased to offer our members the chance to show their books to 500 southeastern booksellers—not to mention around 1,500 book editors, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals—at the 2011 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show, September 17-19, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The SIBA Trade Show is the only time of the year when this many booksellers and book businesspeople will be together in one place, looking for books to sell.

The cost is $50 per title, or $125 for three titles. You can send up to ten copies of your book if sending only one title, or up to five copies each if sending two or three titles, along with promotional materials or order forms. Or, you can send only promotional materials to be displayed in place of books.

Please note that these books and/or materials will be given away—not sold—at the show, and no books or materials will be returned.

The Network's table at the trade show will be staffed by Communications Coordinator Charles Fiore and board member Nicki Leone, both of whom have extensive experience in bookselling and publishing.

To have your book(s) on the table, call the Network at 336-293-8844 or register online here.

You must also fill out and return the SIBA table reservation form with your books here.

All books and materials must be received by August 26, and space on the table is limited, so please sign up now to take advantage of this special opportunity.


By Scott Owens

Scott OwensHICKORY—A few months back, a writer friend of mine posted a negative comment on Facebook about writing prompts. Within hours, dozens of other writers jumped on the bandwagon, adding comments not only further condemning writing prompts but also joining the currently popular practice of badmouthing creative writing programs in general, especially MFA programs.

My first thought, not surprisingly given my core of low self-esteem that I’m told springs from early paternal abandonment, was what’s wrong with me that I enjoy writing prompts. My second thought, remembering all the things my therapist told me about how I should see myself, was what conceited ***** writers become when they think they have a little success.

I didn’t participate in the dialogue myself. I figured I had nothing to gain from doing so. Instead, I borrowed a prompt from Robert Lee Brewer and started what has turned out to be a damned good poem, one that has already been published in a favorite journal of mine.

The first requirement of writing is that one has something to write about. Thus, generative strategies are among the writer’s most important tools. Most would-be writers have a handful of stories they know they want to tell. Many, however, are blocked by the fear that after they tell those stories they won’t have anything else to say.

The purpose of a writing prompt is not to tell writers what to write about, but to shake them out of their complacency, their comfort of non-writing, or their belief that they have nothing left to write about. The truth is, writing is a way of perceptually, emotionally, and intellectually engaging with the world, so how could anyone ever really run out of things to write about? The further truth is we all already have a lifetime of perceptions, experiences, and thoughts to write about, but we might sometimes need a little help recognizing those subjects or mining our memories, experiences, and perceptions. Good writing prompts simply remind us of things we already know that are worth writing about.

Perhaps my friend had in mind the sort of writing prompt that produces a single piece from each writer and that results in similar pieces from all the writers who undertake it. Write a poem about a mirror, for example; or worse, Write a poem beginning with “Love is.” I will readily admit that prompts of this nature, and workshops using prompts like this, mostly produce bad, imitative writing.

There are, however, other types of prompts that are much more useful—prompts that help us know where or how to look to find the subjects worth writing about—prompts that produce an endless number of writing opportunities—prompts that help us live more conscious, deliberate lives as writers. These perpetual prompts are the ones I use in my own writing, the ones I have used to fill dozens of notebooks, write eight books and nearly 1,000 published poems, and the ones I use when teaching, when helping others figure out how to write successfully.


SCOTT OWENS will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the author of four poetry collections and over 400 poems that have been published in various journals such as Georgia Review, North American Review, Dead Mule, Chattahoochee Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize. Born in Greenwood, SC, he now lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches and coordinates the Poetry Hickory reading series.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.

By MariJo Moore

MariJo MooreCANDLER—How humans view animals and their role in the scheme of things is a matter of cultural perspective. In Cherokee collective memory, there was a time when humans and animals spoke the same language and understood each other. But when humans began killing animals needlessly and for sport, and not asking the permission of the animal’s spirit or making a prayerful offering before taking its life, animals retaliated by inflicting diseases upon humans. The plants, in compassion, gave medicine so the humans could heal these afflictions and diseases.

Anishanibe Indian people believe human beings descended from wolves back in the days when humans and animals spoke the same language. The Bella Cola Indians of the Northwest coastal region believe that someone once tried to change all animals into human beings, but were only able the make human the eyes of wolves.

Of course, not all contemporary American Indians have the same beliefs or concerns toward animals. Regardless, all believe in the interconnectedness of animals and human beings. I am of Cherokee descent and have been writing and facilitating creative workshops for over twenty years. Many of my creations reflect what I have learned from spending time with animals, listening to their messages, and applying their knowledge to my own life.

We have many stories and dances referring to the importance of animal speak and celebration of their existence. We know that animals are a part of creation as much as we are. Animals are teachers. Indigenous healers have long known that observing sick animals can lead them to medicinal plants. This is the language of Spirit. We all have spirit animals who can help us learn more about ourselves—help us in our creative ventures. They can offer us teachings that are evidence of the spiritual interconnectedness of all things: a connection that removes us from the world of logic and connects us to our inner nature. Animals have unique abilities that we humans have to develop through creative thinking and listening.

As an afterthought, I add that listening to animal speak is not just an American Indian belief. One of the writers I respect most, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote:

“For verses are not, as people imagine, simply feelings...they are experiences. For the sake of a single verse, one must see many cities, many people, and things, one must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.”

I will contact each participant beforehand and determine which animal spirit he/she will work with. Join me in this workshop to deepen your understanding of animals as well as your writing abilities. You will also learn something about your inner-self.


MARIJO MOORE (Cherokee//Irish/Dutch) will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of over twenty books including The Diamond Doorknob, When the Dead Dream, Crow Quotes, Spirit Voices of Bones, Confessions of a Madwoman, The Boy With a Tree Growing from His Ear and Other Stories, Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories, and her most recent, A Book of Spiritual Wisdom–For All Days. She is also editor of several anthologies including Genocide of the Mind: New Native Writings; Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War; and Feeding the Ancient Fires: A Collection of Writings by North Carolina American Indians. The recipient of numerous literary and publishing awards, she resides in the mountains of western North Carolina. Her website is

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.

... to Larry O. Nichols. The author of A Hobo Odyssey,  will be traveling to Britt, Iowa ( , the home of the 111th Annual National Hobo Convention, where he has been invited to participate in the festivities there honoring the thousands of traveling hoboes.  It is estimated that 50,000 guests will visit the four-day festival from August 11-14, in the mid-western town; normal population – 2,500.  Site seeing will include a visit to the memorial in nearby Clear Lake, Iowa, where the famous trio of Rock and Roll stars, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were killed in 1959.



By Randy Russell

Randy RussellASHEVILLE—I love talking story structure with other writers. To create a novel that will find ready acceptance in the commercial marketplace, I've learned that you need to pay attention to and define your story structure from the get-go.

You already know how to write. And perhaps beautifully so. By using a simple Rule of Three, you will learn how to construct a novel that will be an “easy sell” from tagline to query to final chapter, allowing your literary talents to find the widest audience possible.

The author’s guidelines for writing and pitching a successful novel for today’s competitive marketplace are designed to get you an agent quickly and to make a sell to a commercial publisher without pre-contract revisions. My story-structure Rule of Three was featured earlier this year at Writers Digest editor Chuck Sambuchino’s website

The Rule of Three provides a structure and focus for commercially successful book-length fiction in any genre. Be prepared to describe your work-in-progress during this dynamic course and to participate in the detailed discussion of making your work perfect for the marketplace. It’s easier than you think.

To read more about the Rule of Three, click here.


RANDY RUSSELL will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the Edgar-nominated author of five published novels for adults, two books of short stories about ghosts, Ghost Dogs of the South and Ghost Cats of the South, and two volumes of Southern Appalachia folklore.

Earlier this year, Randy saw the publication of his sixth novel Dead Rules (HarperTeen), which received a starred Kirkus Review, was a Junior Literary Guild high-interest selection, and will be published by Quercus Books UK and by Aufbau Books in Germany. He lives in Asheville.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.




Katherine Soniat in the AndesASHEVILLE—A sense of place is central to the work of Katherine Soniat, a widely published poet who will lead a Saturday poetry workshop at this year’s Fall Conference. Her extensive travels have allowed her to immerse herself in various cultures so that they become transformative filters for more personal contexts.

Crete, the Andes, the Bavarian Alps, and the Grand Canyon are a few of these regions she has included in her writing. Expanding the focus of poetry in such a way allows threads of art, myth, history, geography, and geology to inform her collections, shaping sequences of poems that resonate across a broad but personal spectrum.

Originally from New Orleans, Soniat has taught at the University of New Orleans, Hollins University, and for twenty years was on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Her fifth collection of poems, The Swing Girl, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press, and a sixth collection, A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, will be published by Dream Horse Press in the fall of 2012.

Her upcoming workshop is titled “Poetry, Archetypal Imagery, and You: A Writing Workshop.”

“What is an archetype?” Soniat asks. “How might it relate to who you are in this grand universe? Does the world have an imagistic language in which it speaks to us across time?

“If you participate in this workshop, you will probably find that indeed there are certain images that are almost old as the Earth itself, and that your life is also encased in those archetypes. AND (this one is important!) that we also create new personal archetypes to guide us into the future. Lots to think and write about.

“If you decide to join us: Please bring a photo of people in a situation that you are familiar with. Bring a second picture (not necessarily a photograph) of people you do not know in a situation/circumstance that you do not fully understand. You are simple drawn to this picture for some unknown reason. In other words, there is an interesting ambiguity in this picture that acts as a magnet. This second image can come from a magazine, the newspaper, whatever.

“We will enter through the gateway of these two images into the world of archetypes then see if those images speak to each other, if they inform one another in a fresh and vivid manner. Of course, they will “in form” YOU in the most surprising ways. You leave this workshop with a poem to remind you of the time we spent considering archetypal imagery.”

Photography, use of archetypal imagery, and dream work are also special areas of interest in both Soniat’s teaching and in her writing. She now lives on a ravine with one frequently noted bear (the Kenilworth Bear) in Asheville and teaches in the Great Smokies Writers' Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.



...whose Civil War-set YA novel Avery's Battlefield received two five-star reviews on Its sequel, Avery's Crossroad, will be released next month.


By Ellyn Bache

NORTH CAROLINA--I was never a fan of writing exercises. Too many writing teachers, I believed, threw a bunch of leaves and buttons and other miscellany onto a table and instructed students to “Write!” (for ten minutes, at least) as a way of passing the time.

Ellyn BacheLess work for the teacher.

But last year when I was revising my novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, there was one chapter that, for a long time, didn’t quite work. I rewrote it six or seven times. When finally it passed muster with both my agent and editor, the plot had entirely changed. The scene was still between the same two characters, the setting was still the women’s dressing room of a department store, but the emotional content couldn’t have been more different. For the first time, all of us felt the scene did what had been meant to do. I felt like I’d been working on it forever.

Then I realized that what I’d been doing for months was an extended version of a writing exercise. Plot A doesn’t work? Try Plot B, Plot C. Plot X. A brutal application of the old standard writing exercise, “What if. . . ?”

A lot of what goes on in a writer’s head, I came to see, is a mental version of a writing exercise that can also be done on paper, in a formal workshop, probably with the same results. Once, writing about a male character I didn’t fully understand, I changed his name, his age, his appearance, whatever I could think of to make him three-dimensional. Nothing. After much struggle, until I switched from third person to first and finally caught his voice. In those days I wouldn’t have called what I was doing a “writing exercise,” but that’s what it was.

In “Getting Unstuck,” my upcoming workshop at the Network's 2011 Fall Conference, the objective is to learn strategies and practice exercises that have the potential to offer real help. Can’t move the plot forward? A critical scene doesn’t fit the very character who most needs to be there? Dialogue feels forced and unnatural? All of these problems can be addressed.

I still believe that only certain writing exercises work. The goal of this class is to send writers home with some practical, easy-to-use ideas that do.


ELLYN BACHE will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of eight novels, including most recently The Art of Saying Goodbye. Her short-story collection The Value of Kindness won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and her novel Safe Passage was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard. She has also written several books for young people as well as a nonfiction journal about sponsoring refugees.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open in September. Keep an eye on for more details.


Sweet Souls & Other Stories, a manuscript by Charles Blackburn, Jr. of Raleigh, was a finalist for the 2010 Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Competition at the University of Georgia.  The title story won him a Literary Fellowship in fiction from the N.C. Arts Council back in 1998.

Margaret Norton's memoir,When Ties Break: A Memoir about How to Thrive After Loss, was released August 3. It is a forthright story of one woman who survived a life of abuse, loss and emotional despair.

..... to Lauren Holder Raab. Her Blue Pencil Editing blog ( made the Writers Guild of America's Hotlist (, which keeps "members abreast of developments in emerging entertainment platforms."

Karen Dodd's latest manuscript, "Shifting Sands" placed third in the 2008 Dixie Kane Memorial Contest in the Short Contemporary competition in Louisiana. The setting of this story is Southport and nearby islands. To read a portion of the novel check out her website.
Hat's off to Elaine Orr, who was recently honored for her fiction by Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion.
The North Carolina Writers' Network is again pleased to offer our members the chance to show their books to 500 Southeastern booksellers - not to mention around 1500 book editors, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals - at the 2008 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show, September 26 - 28, in Mobile, Alabama.

The SIBA Trade Show is the only time of the year when this many booksellers and book businesspeople will be together in one place, looking for books to sell.

The cost is $50 per title, or $125 for three titles. You can send up to 12 copies of each book, along with promotional materials or order forms, or you can send only promotional materials to be displayed in place of books.

Please note that these books and/or materials will be given away - not sold - at the show, and no books or materials will be returned.

The Network's table at the trade show will be staffed by Executive Director Ed Southern and Board President Nicki Leone, both of whom have extensive experience working SIBA trade shows as exhibitors and booksellers.

To have your book(s) on the table, call the Network at 704.246.6314 or register online here:
(registration is now closed)

You must also fill out and return the SIBA table reservation form with your books here:
(registration is now closed)

All books and materials must be received by September 15, and space on the table is limited, so please sign up now to take advantage of this special opportunity.
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