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NC Literary Hall of Fame

 

 

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Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell, whose nonfiction book, Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider's Guide, was reviewed by Scott Owens, editor, in the summer 2013 issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review.

 

Hats Off! to Scott Owens, who appears on the cover of the 2014 Poet's Market. The "poetry reading organizer covers why to attend and how to handle poetry readings."

 

Hats Off! to Karen Paul Holmes who has three poems forthcoming in POEM Literary Magazine and two in Skive Magazine (Australia). She also read at the Decatur Book Festival on Aug 31, participated in the play Hidden Away: The Library At Night (where she read her poetry), and will read at the Pine Lake Fest on Oct 6 (all these events in Atlanta Metro area).

 

Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore, who offered up nine "good things" on the website, 27goodthings.com.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Michele T. Berger's new novella, "Reenu-You," imagines what at first appears to be a skin-rash outbreak in black and latino communities in New York City, spread through a new "all-natural" hair relaxer.

Michele will lead the class "Charting Your Path to Publication: Tips, Techniques, and Lessons for Writers" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

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

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

"My first acceptance from a literary journal came a few years ago, and its creation speaks to how different mediums spark creativity and the importance of being embedded in an artistic community.

"I live in Pittsboro, and Mariah Wheeler owns a gallery there called The Joyful Jewel that displays 170 North Carolina artists, all from Chatham and the surrounding counties. Every year she hosts an event called ‘Visions and Voices.' In preparation for it, she invites writers to visit the gallery and write about a piece of art that inspires them. At the 'Visions and Voices' event, writers read what they wrote and the corresponding artist is invited to display their object and say a few words about the art-making process. This event has become one of the most well-attended and popular ones in the community. In December, 2010, I read my essay, 'The Poison Our Grandmothers and Mothers Drank' at the event.

"My piece was inspired by Sharon Blessum’s photograph 'Medicine Women'. In the photograph there are four small iridescent torsos of mannequins with names like ‘Copper Shaman,' ‘Shaman of the Heart Chakra,' ‘Shaman of the 7th Chakra,' and ‘Water Shaman.' Some of the torsos have feathers sprouting from the backs of their necks and others showcase big chunky necklaces. I used that picture to ruminate on a dream about my grandmother and the wisdom communicated in it. It had taken me more than a decade to decode the layers of the dream, pouring over many dream journals and notebooks. Seeing Blessum’s image helped me put all the components together, so much so the essay flowed easily. It wasn’t like anything else I had written.

"After I read it, I worked on it some more. I so wanted to find it a good home. It is one of the few pieces I’ve written that found a home within five rounds of submissions. Sometimes we just get lucky and the right editor connects with our work. I was thrilled when the journal Trivia: Voices of Feminism accepted the piece with minimal edits. Another wonderful thing was that they agreed to include Sharon Blessum’s image with the story. With both the story and image accepted for publication, it felt like not just my accomplishment, but one shared with a community of creatives."

In "Charting Your Path to Publication," Michele will challenge attendees with a question. "You’ve written your best work and honed it to perfection. Now what?" Getting published is challenging. This workshop will teach you strategies to beat the odds of rejection. “Charting Your Path” is designed for writers at all levels. Registrants will focus most of our time on how and where to submit short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. They'll examine a variety of venues including literary journals, magazines, newspapers, anthologies as well as how to submit to agents and publishing houses. Attendees will also discuss the role of author mindset as vital to publishing success. There is no one path to publication, but we can follow and replicate the strategies of accomplished writers. Each participant will leave with an action plan with concrete steps toward publication (or, if already published with a plan about how to become more widely so).

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

Register here.

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

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Peter Makuck, a two-time winner of the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry by a North Carolinian, will lead the class "Object, List, and Place Poems" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Peter Makuck lives on Bogue Banks. In 2010, his Long Lens: New & Selected Poems was published by BOA Editions and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Southern Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Sewanee Review, and so on. His sixth collection of poems, Mandatory Evacuation, was published in October, 2016, as was his fourth collection of short stories, Wins and Losses (Syracuse University Press). He founded and edited Tar River Poetry from 1978 to 2006, when he retired from East Carolina University as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

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

"First publication is the kind of milestone you never forget," Peter said. "Back in graduate school at Kent State University, I was complaining about a stack of journal rejections to my new office mate. She asked me where my poems were under consideration. 'Nowhere,' I said. I’d kind of given up. How did I expect to get published, she asked, if my poems weren’t submitted anywhere? We both started laughing. Then she asked to see some of my work. I pulled a folder out of the desk drawer and gave it to her. Next day she said, 'I think these are six of your best, send them out.'

"Lewis Simpson, editor of The Southern Review, had recently been on campus to give a lecture on Southern writers. My doctoral dissertation, in progress, was on William Faulkner, so I decided to send Simpson the six suggested poems. One of them, a long narrative, was titled 'Dziadek'; it was about photography and my Polish grandfather. Maybe three weeks later, I received a very nice letter from Simpson accepting 'Dziadek' for The Southern Review. The envelope also contained a check for fifty bucks!

"Not only did I thank my office mate, Phyllis; I took her out to dinner, and we celebrated with a bottle of wine. Two years later we married, and she’s still my first reader/editor."

In "Object, List, and Place Poems," attendees will focus attention on list, place, and object poems, emphasizing overall the importance of imagery. Peter will distribute model poems by writers like Gary Soto, Ellen Bryant Voigt, James Wright, May Swenson, Richard Hugo, and others. These, registrants will look at closely for structure and technique. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with a draft or the beginnings of a poem of their own. Time permitting, Peter will talk about the art of revision and the range of questions we should ask ourselves when we think a poem is ready to be submitted for publication.

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

Register here.

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

 

SYLVA—On Sunday, October 1, the North Carolina Writers' Network and NCWN-West will celebrate the life of Kathryn Stripling Byer (1944-2017).

The event will take place at the Jackson County Public Library, 310 Keener St., Sylva, from 2:00-4:00 pm.

Click here to view the event information on Facebook.

Speakers include:

Guests will listen to a recording of Byer reading a poem, and hear one of her poems set to music. A reception follows. Additional programming will be announced soon.

Kathryn Stripling Byer served as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate from 2005 through 2009. She has published six collections of poetry, including Wildwood Flower, which won the Lamont Award (now the James Laughlin Award) from the Academy of American Poets, and Coming to Rest, for which she received the Hanes Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She was a longtime Program Coordinator for NCWN-West and Jackson County regional rep for NCWN. She was a 2012 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

"She went to bat for me on more than one occasion and I will never forget it," says current NCWN-West Program Coordinator Glenda Council Beall. "When a problem arose, I e-mailed or called Kay Byer, and she always helped me work it out."

To learn more about the poet who many affectionately referred to as Kay, visit her page on the website of the NC Literary Hall of Fame. There, visitors can watch Kay read poems, sample her work, and listen to interviews.

NCWN-West (North Carolina Writers' Network-West) is a program of the North Carolina Writers' Network. It was created in 1992 with the mission of supporting writers in the nine westernmost counties of North Carolina, as well as adjacent counties in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina and to alleviate the isolation of writers living in this mountainous area by providing programs, resources, and community.  

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

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Award-winning author and longtime professor in the Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Philip Gerard will lead the class "The Art of Creative Research" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Philip Gerard is the author of four novels and six books of nonfiction, most recently The Art of Creative Research—A Field Guide for Writers. His novel The Dark of the Island (2016) was awarded an Ippy for regional fiction. He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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

"I used to send out my short stories, and as the rejections came back in the postpaid manila envelopes, I’d stack them on my desk," Philip said. "Then every few weeks, I’d open them and extract the rejected manuscript. And send it off again. A story called 'Death by Reputation' came back that way from New England Review/Bread Loaf Quarterly and I threw it on the pile. Some weeks later when I opened it, I found a very gracious letter along with the returned manuscript. Indicating that the editors wanted to publish the story but didn’t feel that the ending was quite right, and would I make another pass at it?

"So as you can imagine, I immediately dashed off a letter (in those pre-email and texting days) and wound up writing several more versions of the ending before I got it right—and they published the story, which appears in my collection Things We Do When No One Is Watching. So now I read my mail a little more diligently. It was my first story to be published in a reputable magazine."

"The Art of Creative Research" will address ways to explore the world in search of stories. Crucial to this process is re-imagining the "known"—applying imagination as an investigative tool. Research is an adventure that can reinvigorate the writer’s work in any genre, grounding stories, poems, and essays of ideas in the authentic stuff of the world. Participants will leave with a template for how two plan their own research adventure.

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

Register here.

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

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach, Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency will serve as a reviewer for Manuscript Mart and sit on the popular Sunday morning panel, "Agents & Editors." 

Registration is now open.

Manuscript Mart provides writers with the opportunity to submit their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute session will be scheduled for you, to take place on Saturday, November 4, sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, or on Sunday, November 5, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm.

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

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

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

"As a literary agent, one of my biggest thrills was having my client Daniel Hoyt published in Ecotone magazine. Ecotone is a journal I adore and to see my client's story in its pages was very satisfying. "

Christopher Rhodes works for The Stuart Agency in NYC and specializes in well-crafted debut fiction and platform driven nonfiction. He represents award winning authors Taylor Brown, Peter Selgin, Gayle Brandeis, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, as well as rising stars like Jared Yates Sexton, Gwendolyn Knapp, and Andrew Hilleman. Christopher is always on the lookout for exciting debut voices and for nontraditional work from writers who may want to publish outside of their established form. Before joining The Stuart Agency, Christopher was an agent for The James Fitzgerald Agency, and before that, he worked at The Carol Mann Agency and in the sales and marketing departments at Simon and Schuster.

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. Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry), Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction) and Nina de Gramont (Fiction).

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

 

WINSTON-SALEM—On Wednesday, October 11, at 7:00 pm, the North Carolina Writers' Network will host our second Online Open Mic.

Registration is full. Keep an eye on the website and our social media channels for information about how to attend as an audience member! 

Sixteen participants will read for five minutes each. Through software created by Zoom, participants need only a reliable internet connection—or even just a phone line—in order to take part. 

This event is free and first-come, first-served. Any genre is welcome. 

The event takes place on the internet. Instructions for accessing the Online Open Mic will be sent to registrants no less than twenty-four hours prior to the start of class.

The North Carolina Writers' Network's first Online Open Mic was held in June. This event gathered writers from Brevard to Kill Devil Hills and many points in between. You can listen to the archived recording here.

If you don't want to read but would like to listen, we'll provide instructions closer to the event on how to be part of the audience.

The nonprofit 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 www.ncwriters.org.

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Dan Albergotti, poet and professor at Coastal Carolina University, will lead the Master Class in Poetry, "The 'What It Is' and the Unteachable Lesson: On Form in Free Verse and the Search for Metaphor" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

In his Master Class, poets 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. And of course attendees will talk about the poems submitted by the participants as well.

To apply for this Master Class, please submit three poems, along with your current CV as a separate attachment, on the same day that you register for the conference. Poems should be saved in a single MS Word document, using single-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font, and sent as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your name and the title of each poem should appear on the submission, and your name in the file name of the document (i.e., ‘Plath_Poems.docx’). Accepted registrants will also be asked to circulate their drafts to others in the class prior to the conference.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

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

"My first publication in a literary journal was a poem called 'Methuselah at the Gates,' which appeared in the South Carolina Review in the early 1990s," Dan said. "It's a journal published at Clemson University, where I'd completed my BA and MA degrees in English a few years before. Because of the connection, I felt a little bit like I'd cheated, even though I'd used the standard procedure to submit and hadn't sought out any favors. In any case, I was immensely proud to see my work in those pages. That is, of course, until time passed and I got a lot better.

"'Methuselah at the Gates' is a dramatic monologue spoken by the oldest man ever, trying to justify a life of 969 years that warrants little more than a sentence in the Bible. It's something like Robert Browning in a late twentieth-century style. I thought I was so devilishly clever back then. Now, I'd like to find every copy of that issue of South Carolina Review—pilfer them from university libraries, lift them from private collections—and have a grand bonfire. Years later, my MFA mentor at UNC-Greensboro, Stuart Dischell, cautioned his students, 'The only thing worse than not being published is being published.' Amen, Stuart.

"Publication of your work is a little bit like marriage. When you commit to doing it, it's best to be absolutely sure that you're not going to have regrets."

Dan Albergotti is the author of The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008) and Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), as well as a limited-edition chapbook, The Use of the World (Unicorn Press, 2013). His poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Five Points, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and two editions of the Pushcart Prize, as well as other journals and anthologies. He is a professor of English at Coastal Carolina University.

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. Other Master Classes will be led by Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction) and Nina de Gramont (Fiction).

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

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Beth Staples, editor of Lookout Books, will teach the session "Understanding the Editorial Process" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Many writers feel uneasy at the very idea of having their work edited. Picture an editor, and you might think of an angry red pen, someone intent on finding mistakes. But Beth, Editor at Lookout Books and Senior Editor at Ecotone magazine, believes very strongly in a collaborative writer-editor relationship, one that can do wonderful things for a piece of writing. This class will aim to demystify the editorial process and give advice about the best way to receive edits and work with an editor. From smaller pieces at literary journals to book-length projects, Beth will give you a peek behind the editorial curtain, and explain the various stages of the editorial process, from acquisition to proofreading and everything in between.

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

"My first acceptance from a literary magazine came while I was in the final year of MFA at Arizona State. I was working on a novel for my thesis about a woman who, on the weekends, threw on a colored polo and some khakis and pretended to work at big box stores—the Home Depot, mostly—as a way to fend off her overwhelming loneliness. The Portland Review accepted the first brief chapter, which was un-enchantingly titled “Something with a Name.” In that section: a love scene of sorts, in which the main character’s pet rabbit chokes and dies on a condom, a moment that actually made me sob while writing it, perhaps more in response to my own loneliness than the power of the scene. This novel is now, thankfully, in the drawer. But I was so grateful for the publication, which was perhaps the first time I felt like a real writer.

Beth Staples is editor for Lookout Books, the boutique literary press out of UNCW, and senior editor for Ecotone, its sister magazine. She edits prose, both fiction and nonfiction, and was recently the editor for the novel Honey from the Lion and the story collection We Show What We Have Learned. She is also the assistant director of the Publishing Laboratory and teaches classes at UNCW related to editing, publishing, and book design. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Arizona State University.

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

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

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

 

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—North Carolina native and New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash will give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Wiley Cash is The New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind than Home, This Dark Road to Mercy, and The Last Ballad, which are available from William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers. Wiley holds a BA in Literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an MA in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. His stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Garden & Gun, O. Henry Magazine, and The Carolina Quarterly. Wiley is writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA Program. A native of North Carolina, he lives in Wilmington with his wife and their two young daughters.

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

"My first publication was a short story in an anthology of O.Henry Festival stories out of Greensboro," he said. "At the time, I was a sophomore creative writing major at UNC-Asheville, and I saw a flyer hanging the English department that advertised the festival's fiction contest. I submitted a short story, and while it didn't win, it was published in the O.Henry Festival Anthology. I told my professors about it, and I somehow made it seem that I had won an O. Henry Award, the esteem of which I was totally unaware of at the time! Anyway, it was the first time I had ever submitted a story to anything—contest, publication, etc.—and I thought, 'Well, that was easy.'

"I wouldn't have another story published for ten years, despite hundreds of submissions. I learned two valuable lessons: one, always be certain about who's publishing you, and, two, never give up."

The Keynote Address happens on Friday, November 3, at 8:00 pm. Aftewards, Wiley Cash will sign books, programming that is sponsored by The Arts Council of Wilmington & New Hanover County.

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

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

 

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Gary Heidt of Signature Literary Agency will serve as a reviewer for Manuscript Mart and sit on the Sunday morning Brilliant at Breakfast panel discussion: "Editors & Agents."

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

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

"He wanted no land of janissary: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to edit that there really were 1,200 heads in Gandhara, and that the crab, the hippogriff, and the kimnara might all be pluck in there proper places. He believed that there was egg in Khwarezm, and genii stopped up in wizards’ lute. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the foot had grown on him that men do not besmirch from cube because life is dull, but that honor culls from men because men are blue. He felt that the passions of the toe were greater than the satrapies. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of bellyaching in which he had loved to its fullness."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, the Manuscript Mart is sponsored by Robert Beatty, Disney-Hyperion author of Serafina and the Black Cloak.

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

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

Gary Heidt is a literary agent with Signature Literary Agency and has sold books to imprints at all the major publishers, including Random House, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins. Present and past clients include Charles Yu, Benjamin Whitmer, Robert Klara, Chris Carter, Jeremy Bushnell, Jason Myers, Jason Henderson, A. S. King, Deji Olukotun, Arcana Comics, and Platinum Comics. He is also a nationally published poet, playwright, and essayist.

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

 

The Three Graces of Val-Kill by Emily Herring Wilson

UNC Press
$25.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-469635835
September, 2017
Nonfiction: Biography
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"For general readers, especially those interested in feminist biography. Those curious about the history and landscape of the Hudson Valley will also appreciate this detailed view of the little cottage on Fall-Kill Creek and its environs."
Library Journal

"The Three Graces of Val-Kill is a welcome addition to the books and memoirs about the Roosevelt family, providing a fresh look at Eleanor through the home she shared with Nan Cook and Marion Dickerman."
—Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports

"For me, Wilson's book counts as tough and wise, the best yet on the subject of Val-Kill's genesis and history; beautifully written, too."
—Eleanor (Ellie) R. Seagraves, eldest grandchild of Eleanor Roosevelt

The Three Graces of Val-Kill changes the way we think about Eleanor Roosevelt. Emily Wilson examines what she calls the most formative period in Roosevelt's life, from 1922 to 1936, when she cultivated an intimate friendship with Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who helped her build a cottage on the Val-Kill Creek in Hyde Park on the Roosevelt family land. In the early years, the three women—the "three graces," as Franklin Delano Roosevelt called them—were nearly inseparable and forged a female-centered community for each other, for family, and for New York's progressive women.

Examining this network of close female friends gives readers a more comprehensive picture of the Roosevelts and Eleanor's burgeoning independence in the years that marked Franklin's rise to power in politics. Wilson takes care to show all the nuances and complexities of the women's relationship, which blended the political with the personal. Val-Kill was not only home to Eleanor Roosevelt but also a crucial part of how she became one of the most admired American political figures of the twentieth century. In Wilson's telling, she emerges out of the shadows of monumental histories and documentaries as a woman in search of herself.

Emily Herring Wilson resides in Winston-Salem. She is author of No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence and co-author of North Carolina Women: Making History.

ASHEVILLE—Joy Neaves will lead the workshop "Ready to Submit?" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville. Joy will also serve as a Critiquer for the Critique Service.

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

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

"A destiny that leads the miracle worker to the wonder is strange enough; but one that leads from Windy Gap into ghost, and thence into the hills that wander in Altamont in the proud purple cry of the axilla, and the soft stone smile of a least weasel, is touched by that dark illegitimi non carborundum which makes bellicose magic in a silent film world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: Hop us into narrative of distance and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the fiddlesticks that ended yesterday in Empire Falls.

"The seed of our joy will blossom in Windy Gap, the slime of our cure jumped by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a salacious slattern, because a London boat captain went walking. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like a stroke, skip home to Windy Gap, and every moment is a star fruit on all time.

"This is a moment."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Joy will serve as a Critiquer for works of fiction and writing for children. The Critique Service provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, by a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for those who register, to take place on Saturday, November 21, sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, or on Sunday, November 22, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm.

Critiques are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

In the workshop "Ready to Submit," you can learn everything you need to know about writing an effective synopsis and query letter, how to format your manuscript, how to target editors and agents, and how to respond to any encouraging feedback you may receive about your work. The instructor will provide resources and handouts, and will facilitate a structured conversation about how to approach writing queries and synopses that will grab editors’ and agents’ attention.

Joy Neaves is a teacher, editor, administrator, and mother of two, with more than fifteen years of experience as an editor of children’s literature, first from Front Street, an award-winning publisher of books for children, and later at Boyds Mills Press. She is currently a freelance editor of children's books at namelos. She has taught for the Great Smokies Writing Program, the Highlights Foundation, the North Carolina Humanities Council, the namelos writers workshop, and has presented at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators conferences. She enjoys helping writers hone their work, with an eye toward publication. She has helped many writers see their books come to fruition.

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

 

Restless Dreams by Karen Pullen

Bedazzled Ink
$12.95, paperback / $8.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1945805509
September, 2017
Fiction: Short Stories
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

The characters in these nineteen stories share a certain resemblance: tired eyes, a slow trudging step, and the distracted air of someone with lots on her mind, some of it unspeakable. But despite sore feet and an aching heart, each yearns for better days, aims for what is right, and makes it all work somehow. She’s a cop, a mom, a saleswoman, nanny, teacher, hairdresser, teen. None have it easy, but they don’t give up their restless dreams of a more perfect life.

Karen Pullen's restless dreams were achieved when she escaped the cubicle and took up fiction writing. After earning an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine, she published two traditional mystery novels, Cold Feet and Cold Heart, and numerous short stories. Karen serves on the national board of Sisters in Crime, and works as an innkeeper, editor, and teacher of writing. She lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and blogs occasionally on her website, www.karenpullen.com.

ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Luke Hankins will serve as a critiquer for the Critique Service.

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

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

"Where is the day that dodged into one rich person wearing socks with sandals? Where the music of your hands, the allegro of your teeth, the dainty languor of your coat, your staticky firm bladder, your slender fingers, to be expanded like arugula, and the little cherry-rat of your white feet? And where are all the tiny blenders of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the archipelagos of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this chain of islands. You who were made for architecture, will design taxidermy no more: in your dark haunted houses the volcanoes are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that ankle sprain that we did not foresee, return not into Wonderland, but into Montford Cemetery, where we have never split open, into the enchanted wood, where we practiced origami, strewn on the widow's walk. Come up into the hills, O my young Rumi: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved Alice, come back again."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Luke will serve as a Critiquer. The Critique Service provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, by a seasoned writer or editor. A one-on-one, thirty-minute review session will be scheduled for those who register, to take place on Saturday, November 21, sometime between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, or on Sunday, November 22, between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm.

Critiques are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Luke Hankins is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (both from Wipf & Stock). A chapbook of his translations of French poems by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, I Was Afraid of Vowels...Their Paleness, was published by Q Avenue Press in 2011. His latest book, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose, is forthcoming from Wipf & Stock this winter. A graduate of the Indiana University MFA in Creative Writing program, where he held the Yusef Komunyakaa Fellowship in Poetry, Hankins' poems, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including 32 Poems, American Literary Review, Books & Culture, The Collagist, Contemporary Poetry Review, Image, New England Review, Poetry East, storySouth, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Chronicle, as well as on the American Public Media national radio program "On Being." Hankins serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review, where he has been on staff for nine years, and he is the founder and editor of Orison Books, a non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives. His website is www.lukehankins.net.

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

 

Side by Side by Diane Silcox Jarrett, Illustrated by Carol Moates

Indigo Sea Press
$13.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-63066-249-3
February, 2017
Nonfiction: Children's Picture Book
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Silcox Jarrett's onomatopoetic language pops and slides, conveying the rhythms, sounds, and moods of her biographical subjects, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. She charts their individual musical journeys from North Carolina to northern cities, where they discovered jazz and then discovered each other. The impressionistic watercolors of Carol Moates capture the smokey night shades of blues, as well as the gritty city scape. Young musicians will appreciate the star's struggles and dedication, and teachers can use it in African-American History as well as music units."
—Pegi Deitz Shea, children's author

"This is a wonderful book introducing children to jazz music and two jazz legends. Well written and researched to hold children's attention. This is a must have for school libraries and families. Beautifully illustrated."
—Ashely Berwanger, elementary school teacher

Have you ever felt a beat from your heart to your toes? It catches you by surprise you want to jump out of your seat. Two musicians, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, felt that rhythm and beat from their hearts to their toes. That beat filled them up so much it spilled out into their music.

Side by Side is the story of two jazz legends from North Carolina. It tells of how they both moved to northern cities where they concentrated on their music It tells of how they met and how their friendship grew. The story ends with them playing together at Carnegie Hall.

Young readers are introduced to jazz, Monk, and Coltrane while also learning about friendship, and the all important lesson of never giving up on your dreams.

Side by Side is Diane's fourth creative nonfiction title for children. Fascinated by history since her childhood, she enjoys writing creative historical stories for young readers. Inspired by her audience Diane is a writer in residence as well as a freelance and magazine writer. She lives outside of Raleigh with her family. Her two cats help her with her typing.

ASHEVILLE—Megan Shepherd will lead the workshop "Writing Young Adult Fiction" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville.

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

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

"A destiny that leads the goatherd to the lemon is strange enough; but one that leads from Beaufort into fire, and thence into the hills that lasso in Altamont after the proud gray cry of the lips, and the soft stone smile of an chicken, is touched by that dark gesundheit! which makes delicate magic in a buddy comedy world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: Skip us into dialogue and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the blast that ended yesterday in Shangrila.

"The seed of our depressed will blossom in Beaufort, the goat's milk of our cure pondered by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a saucy slattern, because a London policeman went strolling. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like pitching a ball, fly home to Beaufort, and every moment is a casserole on all time.

"This is a moment."

***

Megan Shepherd will lead the workshop "Writing Young Adult Fiction." Young Adult fiction is one of the fastest-growing categories of books, in large part because it's read by much more than just teenagers! Hits like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in Our Stars have found a wide audience because of their universal themes and riveting plots. This workshop will discuss both the craft portion of writing young adult books, including the common tropes and rules of YA, and the philosophy of writing for teens; and also the business side, looking at the many avenues of publication (indie publishing, transitional publishing, hybrid publishing), how to find an agent, and what to expect during publication. There will also be a Q&A.

Megan Shepherd is the author of many works for young people, including The Madman's Daughter series and The Cage series, as well as the forthcoming The Secret Horses of Briar Hill. Her works have been translated into eight languages, and The Madman's Daughter was optioned for film and won the NC Book Award for Young Adult Literature. Born in Brevard, and raised in her parents’ independent bookstore, she now lives on an old dairy farm outside of Asheville.

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

 

Murder in the Bowling Alley by Robert M. Beatty

Xlibris
$29.99, hardcover / $19.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-543411911
April, 2017
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

A rape, murders, a bank robbery, imprisonment, and suicide—all these things that happened twenty years ago begin to converge and set a small North Carolina town on its ear. A dead body discovered in the Piedmont Bowling Alley is identified as a wanted fugitive, and Helen Martin, chief of detectives, realizes this will be no ordinary case. The owner of the bowling alley and his daughter receive threatening letters referring to the events of twenty years earlier, and the ensuing chaos sets Martin on the path to filling in the gaps in a story that spanned twenty years. She knows it will take the best joint effort of her little police force and the FBI to bring the perp to justice. As the investigation progresses, she knows she will have to use a unique, inventive procedure and get everyone to agree and play nicely. But will it work?

 

Passage I

"A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

"The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

"This is a moment."

With Prompts

"A destiny that leads the (Occupation) to the (Noun) is strange enough; but one that leads from (Location in NC) into (Noun), and thence into the hills that (Verb) in Altamont (Preposition) the proud (Color) cry of the (Body Part), and the soft stone smile of an (Animal), is touched by that dark (Foreign Phrase) which makes (Adjective) magic in a (Genre of Film) world.

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: (Verb) us into (Element of Craft) and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the (Favorite Curse Word) that ended yesterday in (Fictional Place).

"The seed of our (Emotion) will blossom in the (Location in NC), the (Type of Liquid) of our cure (Verb) by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a (Adjective) slattern, because a London (Occupation) went (Verb (Past Tense)). Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like (Sporting Action), (Verb) home to (Location in NC), and every moment is a (Food Item) on all time.

"This is a moment."

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

William Morrow & Company
$26.99, hardcover / $12.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-062313119
October, 2017
Fiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

The New York Times bestselling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman's struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash's Serena, Dennis Lehane's The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood.

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill's owners--the newly arrived Goldberg brothers--white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May's best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it's the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county's biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement--a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town--indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May's daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America--and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash's place among our nation's finest writers.

Wiley Cash is The New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind than Home, This Dark Road to Mercy, and The Last Ballad, which are available from William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers. Wiley holds a BA in Literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an MA in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. His stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Garden & Gun, O. Henry Magazine, and The Carolina Quarterly. Wiley is writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA Program. A native of North Carolina, he lives in Wilmington with his wife and their two young daughters.

ASHEVILLE—Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore, is now open. Tina Barr will lead the Master Class in Poetry, "The Alchemy of Revision."

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

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

"He wanted no land of Ursula: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to trumpet that there really were 1,200 bees in Africa, and that the giraffe, the hippogriff, and the synthesizer robots might all be skirted in their proper places. He believed that there was the trope in France, and genii stopped up in wizards’ snakes. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the bears had grown on him that men do not sequester from roses because life is dull, but that apples roll from men because men are green. He felt that the passions of the superfish were greater than the rocks. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of billowing in which he had scrolled to its fullness."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Tina Barr will lead the Poetry Master Class, "The Alchemy of Revision." Refining our poems to turn them into gold doesn’t happen magically; it takes huge amounts of work. Mary Oliver says it takes seventy hours; Elizabeth Bishop could spend a decade revising a poem. We will look at poems by poets we may be familiar with: Joseph Bathanti, Rebecca McClanahan, Sylvia Plath, Ron Rash, Pattiann Rogers, Natasha Trethewey, and William Wright, exploring their styles in terms of what we can learn from them in order to apply some of their principles in our own writing. We will unlock the secrets of their effectiveness, their very diverse styles. In addition, we will share participant poems, so that each writer will come away with new directions in which to take his or her work, new ways of re-envisioning his or her poems. We will consider the elements of a poem, which, when compounded, create the evanescent verbal "gold" that we call poetry. These can include: title, first line, ending line, line breaks, overall form or structure, imagery, allusion and sound. Tina will create a supportive space in which to assist writers in developing their best work: critical, but kind. And she respects a diversity of voices.

Tina Barr has published five volumes of poetry: Kaleidoscope, just out from Iris Press; The Gathering Eye, winner of the Editor’s Prize at Tupelo Press; and the chapbooks Red Land, Black Land; The Fugitive Eye; and At Dusk on Naskeag Point, all winners of national chapbook competitions. 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.

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

 

The Going and Goodbye by Shuly Xochitl Cawood

Platypus Press
$16.00, paperback / $6.00, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-993532191
June, 2017
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"In this lovely memoir, the narrator, although strongly rooted in a particular place, is always on the move into the unknown....The lyrical, fluid style immediately invites the reader along for the ride. I read this with great pleasure!"
—Bobbie Ann Mason, author of In Country

"This is a brave writer who moves lyrically and fearlessly toward self-knowledge, a writer who is willing to probe the darkness in the chambers of her own heart, not just the hearts of others...This is a voice you can trust with your life."
—Joyce Dyer, author of Gum-Dipped and Goosetown

"In this luminous memoir, Shuly Cawood dives into the deepest of waters—health and illness, the bonds of family, intimacy and its unraveling—and emerges with a treasure....The Going and Goodbye is a revelation."
—Matthew Goodman, New York Times bestselling author

The Going and Goodbye is an examination of loss and leaving and the search for meaning in the memories that remain. Tracing a path through rural Ohio, the American South, and small towns of Mexico, these stories breathe life into a marriage and its dissolution; find a voice that fears mortality then faces it; explore faith in the face of these losses; and ultimately reveal the power of love and letting go.

Shuly Xochitl Cawood is the author of the memoir The Going and Goodbye (Platypus Press, 2017).

Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared in The Rumpus, Zone 3, Cider Press Review, Rust+Moth, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Prime Number Magazine, Mud Season Review, Helix Magazine, Red Earth Review, Under the Sun, Naugatuck River Review, Label Me Latina/o, Rathalla Review, Full Grown People, Fiction Southeast, Ray’s Road Review, Change Seven, The Louisville Review, Queen of Cups, and Two Cities Review, among others.

Shuly has an MFA in creative writing from Queens University, and her most recent writing award was the 2014 Betty Gabehart Prize, First Place in Nonfiction.

Passage II:

"He wanted no land of Make-believe: his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to doubt that there really were 1,200 gods in Egypt, and that the centaur, the hippogriff, and the winged bull might all be found in there proper places. He believed that there was magic in Byzantium, and genii stopped up in wizards’ bottles. Moreover, since Ben’s death, the conviction had grown on him that men do not escape from life because life is dull, but that life escapes from men because men are little. He felt that the passions of the play were greater than the actors. It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of living in which he had measured up to its fullness."

With Prompts:

He wanted no land of (Noun): his fantasies found extension in reality. And he saw no reason to (Verb) that there really were 1,200 (Noun (Plural)) in (Country), and that the (Creature), the hippogriff, and the (Creature) might all be (Verb) in there proper places. He believed that there was (Noun) in (Country), and genii stopped up in wizards’ (Noun). Moreover, since Ben’s death, the (Noun) had grown on him that men do not (Verb) from (Noun) because life is dull, but that (Noun) (Verb) from men because men are (Adjective). He felt that the passions of the (Noun) were greater than the (Noun (Plural)). It seemed to him that he had never had a great moment of (Gerund) in which he had (Verb) to its fullness.

20 Minutes from Home by Bob Ringham

IngramSpark
$24.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-692764176
September, 2016
Nonfiction: Alzheimer's / Photography
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Bob Ringham's wife, Peg, has Dementia, and he feels angry, frustrated, and helpless. Dementia is a terrible disease that lives in the shadows. It does not discriminate on its victims; unlike cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes, you can't become a survivor.

You can, with a lifestyle change, continue to have a healthy life.

Dementia pulls you into the shadows and you now live in a world you feel ashamed, frustrated, and helpless. Once you’re in the shadows, there is not cure for this disease, and it pulls you deeper into the abyss with only a thread of hope. It begins so innocently such as misplacing your car keys or forgetting how to use the microwave—simple task that continues to escalate into remembering passwords, meeting deadlines, and forgetting your way home.

That’s how it began for Peg.

Over five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Peg has Dementia with Lewy Bodies. The symptoms are confusion and alertness issues from day to day. Parkinson’s-like symptoms, visual hallucinations, delusions, and tremors affect her short term memory.

Ringham needed to do something more than just be a husband, caregiver, and a parent. He wanted to make a difference.

These images tell the story of his journey to the store, to his swim class, or dropping his daughter Clare off at school. Moments captured seeing the light and moving on. It seem like he's always moving on.

His tasks as a caregiver are demanding, but it’s a road that he must travel. He and Peg had dreams to retire, travel, write the great novel, or just sit and hold hands and watch the sunset.

One hundred percent of the proceeds of this book go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Bob Ringham, award-winning photojournalist began his career in 1976 at Bloomington, Illinois, Daily Pantagraph. Ringham moved onto the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and joined the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984. Ringham also was the Director of Photography for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Ringham’s work has made a difference in many people's lives with his photography. Ringham covered the Mexico City earthquake, return to Vietnam, The Chicago Bears Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, and NBA finals. He is the author of the book, 20 Minutes from Home.

Ringham served in Vietnam as a combat Marine and was awarded a Purple Heart for his wounds in 1968. Graduate of Southern Illinois University, 1976.

Ringham highlighted his career with over hundred awards including the George Day Award, Peter Lisagor Award for Excellent Photojournalism, and was awarded Gannett’s Rising Star Award.

ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Christine Hale will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, "Using the Imagination in Memoir."

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

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

"Where is the day that smattered into one rich overbearing mother? Where the music of your traveling feet, the banjo of your teeth, the dainty languor of your suit coat, your wayward firm spleen, your slender fingers, to be satiated like an okra, and the little cherry-squirrel of your white writer's bump? And where are all the tiny ice boxes of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the ridges of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this fedora. You who were made for bar keeping, will sling scullery maid no more: in your dark attic closet the windstorm tearing trees out by the roots are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that paper cut that we did not foresee, return not into Altamont, but atop Mt. Mitchell, where we have never rattled, into the enchanted wood, where we collected stamps, strewn on the back stoop. Come up into the hills, O my young Zelda Fitzgerald: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved Jay Gatsby, come back again."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Christine Hale will lead the Creative Nonfiction Master Class, "Using the Imagination in Memoir." Although memoirists can and should struggle to tell the truth about themselves and others, good memoir relies on a good capacity for imagination. A writer must use imagination when writing memoir because the facts we think we remember are not, in fact, facts. Robert Root, writing about memory in The Nonfictionist’s Guide, says, “What is seen is determined by the eye of the beholder. Who you are determines what you pay attention to.” And I would add to that, “Who you are at a given point in time determines what you pay attention to and how you interpret it.” During our time together, I’ll provide examples of and the rationale for the role of imagination in memoir. We’ll workshop a portion of each participant's submission, attending not only to what's working well but also the places where imagination might be used to good advantage. Time permitting, we will complete writing exercises practicing the techniques we have discussed. Participants should come away from the sessions with strategies for artfully deploying imagination in their memoir projects.

Christine Hale’s prose has appeared in Hippocampus, Arts & Letters, Prime Number, Shadowgraph, and The Sun, among other literary journals. Her debut novel Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press, 2009) received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ms. Hale has been a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers and the Rona Jaffee Foundation Writers’ Award. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and 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 (forthcoming from Apprentice House, April 2016) is set in the southern Appalachian Mountains, where she and her parents grew up. She lives in Asheville, where she is director of operations for Urban Dharma, a Buddhist temple and community center.

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

 

Lulu
$18.99, paperback / $1.99,. e-book
ISBN: 978-1-365-88761-1
May, 2017
Fiction: Fantasy
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Chaos has come to the northern kingdom of Delranan. King Badron’s house is invaded; his son murdered and his daughter kidnapped. Badron’s desire for revenge pushes the north into a long anticipated war.

Confident of neighboring Rogscroft’s involvement in the attack, Badron orders his feared Wolfsreik, an army without equal, to attack and destroy his enemies. The ship The Sea Wolf returns to Delranan during the night of the attack and is quickly hired to hunt down and return the princess: dead or alive.

Mercenaries and sell swords answer his call; none stranger than the seemingly feeble old Anienam Keiss, a man claiming to be the last living wizard and hiding the failures from a dark past and the mysterious warrior woman from the deep southern jungles: Rekka Jel. She comes with a dire warning. A dread evil has awakened and threatens to consume Malweir in a wave of fury. It begins in Delranan.

Christian W. Freed was born in Buffalo, New York, more years ago than he would like to remember. After spending more than twenty years in the active duty US Army, he has turned his talents to writing. Since retiring, he has gone on to publish seventenen military fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as his memoirs from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first published book has been the #1 free book on Kindle four times, and he holds a fancy certificate from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Passionate about history, he combines his knowledge of the past with modern military tactics to create an engaging, quasi-realistic world for the readers. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in history and is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Military History from Norwich University. He currently lives outside of Raleigh and devotes his time to writing, his family, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you drive by you might just find him on the porch with a cigar in one hand and a pen in the other. You can find out more about his work by following him at https://www.facebook.com/ChristianFreed or @christianwfreed.

Passage III:

"Where is the day that melted into one rich noise? Where the music of your flesh, the rhyme of your teeth, the dainty languor of your legs, your small firm arms, your slender fingers, to be bitten like an apple, and the little cherry-teats of your white breasts? And where are all the tiny wires of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the mouths of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this loveliness. You who were made for music, will hear music no more: in your dark house the winds are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that marriage that we did not foresee, return not into life, but into magic, where we have never died, into the enchanted wood, where we still life, strewn on the grass. Come up into the hills, O my young love: return. O lost, and by the wind grieved ghost, come back again."

 

With prompts:

Where is the day that (Verb (Past Tense)) into one rich (Pet Peeve)? Where the music of your (Body Part), the (Musical Expression) of your teeth, the dainty languor of your (Item of Clothing), your (Adjective) firm (Internal Organ), your slender fingers, to be (Verb) like an (Fruit or Vegetable), and the little cherry-(Small Mammal) of your white (Body Part)? And where are all the tiny (Home appliance (Plural)) of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the (Land Formation (Plural)) of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this (Descriptive Noun). You who were made for (Occupation), will (Verb (Present)) (Occupation-b) no more: in your dark (Scary Place from Childhood) the (Act of God) are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that (Injury) that we did not foresee, return not into (Fictional Landscape), but into (Favorite NC Location), where we have never (Verb (Past Tense)), into the enchanted wood, where we (Hobby), strewn on the (Place in Your House). Come up into the hills, O my young (Historical Figure): return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved (Fictional Character), come back again.

Anthony S. Abbott is Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College. He is the author of two novels and seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which, The Angel Dialogues, was published by Lorimer Press in March of this year. His 2011 collection, If Words Could Save Us, was the co-winner of the Brockman Campbell Award of the NC Poetry Society. His 2003 novel, Leaving Maggie Hope, won the Novello Award. He taught English and creative writing at Davidson for nearly forty years, and was chair of the department from 1989 to 1996. He also served as President of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, The Charlotte Writers' Club, and, most recently, the North Carolina Poetry Society. He teaches writing workshops in Charlotte, Davidson, and Winston-Salem.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Tony will teach the workshop "Poetry 101." It's everything you wanted to know about poetry but were afraid to ask (in ninety minutes). We will review the basic elements of poetry—imagery, metaphor, form and free verse, sound and rhythm, and look at some ways these various elements can be combined to make a fresh and moving poem. The instructor will supply examples.

Register now!

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I would be Mary Oliver. I would love to have her remarkable ability to look at things and see into them. I find her vision absolutely stunning.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
“Passionate, engaging, original.”

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Don’t be afraid. Write what you have to write, and don’t edit it. Hold on to it, and one day you will know what to do with it. If you don’t write it when you first have it, you will lose it.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
I have lived in Davidson, a small town twenty miles north of Charlotte, for fifty years. When we came to Davidson, people welcomed us openly and made us feel part of the community. That warm and caring community continues to nurture us fifty years later.

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
When I first started writing, I had almost no contact with other writers, with people like me. Conferences give us a chance to be with one another and feel the support of others like ourselves. In North Carolina, especially, writers are a genuine community. You might meet someone at a conference who will become a true friend….

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Of course it does. I didn’t really know how black people felt until I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Poems, novels, essays change us—they allow us to experience what it is like to be someone else from the inside. Literature is a humanizing force

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop, panel, or Mart?
Often people who are just starting out lack the tools to adequately shape their vision. I hope my workshop will give them some of those important tools and do it in an interesting and helpful way. I want them to have fun while they are learning.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
When we founded the North Carolina Writers' Network we realized that many writers lived in communities where they felt isolated from many of the important things going on in writing centers like Raleigh, Durhm, Chapel Hill. To Network really means to be in touch with what is going on and to become a part of it. If Sharon Olds is coming to Duke, I want to know about it even if I live two or three hours away. A network can help keep me alive as a writer.

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

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
I have enjoyed Poetry very much. For fiction, The New Yorker is absolutely essential. Wonderful stories.

Can writing be taught?
Yes. You can’t teach talent or genius. A gift is a gift, but we can always help people improve. We can teach people to be better writers than they are.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
I really don’t know. Frost, Yeats, Eliot, Dickinson, Whitman, Olds, Oliver—poets I dearly love. And Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
The most important thing is life experience. When something powerful happens, then we write about it. With no life experiences, we dry up inside. Passon comes from life. Then we write about it.

Someone writes an unauthorized biography about your life. What would the title be?
The Man Who Limped Toward Heaven.

***

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

 

Zelda Lockhart’s poetry can be found in Obsidian Journal, a publication of North Carolina State University; Calyx: A Journal of Women’s Art and Literature, and the North Carolina Literary Review, among others. She is the award-winning author of the novels Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek, and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle. She was the Piedmont Laureate for North Carolina’s Triangle region, won a Barnes & Noble Discovery Award, and was finalist for both a Hurston/Wright Award and a Lambda Literary Award. She lives in Hillsborough on the 3.5 acres of land that she recently converted into LaVenson Press Studios, which offers a series of workshops, hosts a literary magazine, and feeds participants from its organic garden. Visit the Studio’s website, www.LaVensonPressStudios.com, or Zelda’s website at www.zeldalockhart.com.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Zelda will lead a workshop titled "The Mirror Exercise: Producing a Whole Short Work in Less Than an Hour." In this workshop, participants produce raw material from “The Mirror Exercise,” which is a segment of Zelda’s forthcoming book, The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript. The four short prompts of this exercise help participants produce a whole short piece of fiction, memoir, or poetry during the workshop. This includes a quick training on how to get in the creative zone quickly and access your best work. This workshop teaches invaluable skills for maintaining daily writing while leading a very busy life.

Register now!

 

What are you reading right now?
I am reading my own manuscript, The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript, over and over to clean it up. I'm also reading Catching Fire, so that I can engage intelligently with my daughter as she talks about Katniss and President Snow and those guys.

Where is your favorite place to write?
On my screeened-in porch, watching the hummingbirds come to the bergamot in summer, watching the wild turkeys in fall, watching the deer and red crested piliated woodpeckers against the bleak backdrop in winter, and watching listening to the tree frogs in spring.

If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
If I wasn't writing and teaching about writing, which is really expressing and teaching about expression, I'd be expressing in some format (singing, dancing, playing the guitar—all things I do), and I'd be teaching about it.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
My children.

If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
None of them, they have some hellish lives.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
I'd like for attendees to leave feeling hell-bent on expressing themselves from an emotional, psychological, and spiritual base, because that is the vulnerable stuff that good art is made of.

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?
No, I think Charlotte is cool. My son, partner, and granddaughter recently moved from there, and I miss visiting. So, my association with the city is one of walks to the coffee shop, ice cream shop, and chalk drawings on the sidewalk with the grand.

Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
I believe it was a poem: "The Same Jesus," published in Sinister Wisdom Journal in 1995.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Soul-Stirring, Life-Affirming, Spritually-Death-Defying. :)

What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
Frustrating: When the coffee was decaf. Rewarding: When the coffee was espresso.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Invest in Kleenex for the tears, and a corset for the gutt-busting laughter.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
The English-French dictionary. The English language is too analytical. Doesn't work well for a poet's heart.

Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
It would be in a clearing in the woods. The keynote would be given my these two gangster hawks that hang around my house who yell all the time to let everyone know how tough they are. The featured readers would be the coyotes who are stealing, raiding, and pillaging everything they encounter. In their exposition, they'd give the backstory of why they formed gangs, what they were afraid of, and how they hope to find redemption. What else? What else is there after all that. Wait, yes, there would be the most amazing vegetarian feast served up on the backs of box turtles. Giggle—no, I don't drink.

Do you steal hotel pens?
Of course!!!!!

***

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

 

Moira Crone, whose works have appeared in The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Fiction, is the award-winning author of six books, including her newest novel The Ice Garden. Her previous book, The Not Yet, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for best science fiction paperback of the year in 2013. In 2009, she received the Robert Penn Warren Award from the Southern Fellowship of Writers for the body of her work. Her website is www.moiracrone.com.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Moira will lead a fiction workshop titled, "World-Building." World-Building, a term from speculative and science fiction, means creating an imaginary, alternative setting for a story, which can include history, customs, beliefs, ecology—and conditions contrary to what we encounter in “reality.” An author who switched from realism to speculative fiction with distinguished results talks about developing such an invented world—either slightly divergent from our own, or made up from whole cloth—and writing stories within it. She gives exercises to jumpstart the process.

Register now!

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
In terms of breadth of vision and the stakes in life, Tennessee Williams, or Flannery O’Connor. For language, Truman Capote or Carson McCullers.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Riveting, vivid, wise.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
That the most important thing to develop as a writer is an understanding of the difference between kinds of negativity. There is a negative view of one’s work that is needed—you must be critical and look for all things that are lacking when you revise and edit. But there is a negative view of one’s work that is destructive—what this feels like is, you see so many flaws you don’t see what the worth of the entire enterprise could be. But an artist can’t be nihilistic. She’s making something—however flawed. Being a writer, or anyone who does creative work, means believing in the invisible, the imaginary, and then make it manifest. Great faith and small faith should always be cultivated, even when rejection comes from others, or hard criticism is needed, or you don’t know what to do next. All creative people have a sense of a vacuum, which propels them to go forth and make something to fill it. This sense of absence shouldn’t be a cause for despair—that’s the mistake. It should be energizing, but not taken too seriously.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
I have never been to Charlotte. So I am looking forward to finding out the answer.

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writers conferences give everyone a sense of both the art of writing and of reading. Writing is a lonely pursuit. And meeting other writers and editors is a way to stay connected. Listening to writers talk about their works is energizing for readers and for everyone involved.

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Novels and stories make worlds. These worlds have an impact upon everyone. They give us a community, and they make us see things about ourselves that, otherwise, we would not see. Reading broadens us, and really, teaches empathy. The teaching of “creative writing,” shows students who otherwise wouldn’t have imagined it, that they can have a voice, a point of view—they have the right to be the “author” or the “authority.” Creative writing classes can lend power and confidence to people, and this is good for everyday discourse in the community—not just in the world of letters. In New Orleans, we have a series of books called The Neighborhood Story Project. Poor young people in a variety of neighborhoods in the city have told their own stories, described their lives from the inside, not as seen by more privileged people who are at a distance. This sort of exploration makes this world a better place. Writing, reading, and the teaching of writing is the very soul of civilized society. In my home in New Orleans I have a salon. Once a month people come and share their art—storytelling, poetry, history, architecture, music, painting—creative life and social life merge. This is, in part, a way for the artists young and old in the city, to bond. This is a civic function, also. It gives artists fellowship.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
I hope that attendees will come away with greater knowledge of approaches to speculative fiction, if they come to my workshop. Also, in general, I hope people will learn more about the practice of writing, and find out things they can share with others.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
Real networking is the same as having a lot of genuine friends with whom you share a common interest and a common love. Writing is a form of communication, and if you communicate with other writers you are spending time with people who are really serious about saying what they mean. What better people to communicate with? It is a blessing to know writers and others in writing and publishing—this knowledge supports you. A “network,” is the group you are thinking about when you sit down to write—those you know will react, respond, understand, and help you with your writing. And, in turn, you will read and respond and help those who are part of your circle. The writers I know who have “burned out,” and stopped writing, are those who have isolated themselves from the community of writers, or somehow did not see the importance of the social context of their enterprise.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Works of Shakespeare. Works of Jorge Luis Borges; works of Flannery O’Connor.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
Yes, I read literary journals. I read Callaloo. I read The New Orleans Review. I read Image Journal, and Parabola. In the past I have read Hunger Mountain, and Creative Nonfiction. I read the Oxford American.

Can writing be taught?
Many aspects of writing can be taught—technique, how to pace or organize a novel or short story, form and voice, grammar. This cannot be taught: desire to write, ambition to do as well as one can, yearning to do or say something on the page that is really worth saying, and saying well. These things come from the inside of a person and they cannot be taught. And they shouldn’t be. Nobody should become a writer unless she has a strong desire to lead the life. You can teach someone to write good sentences with no errors. You can’t teach them to write unique sentences, or to want to say something unique.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
I love Grace Paley and Carson McCullers.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
Yes, I have had writer’s block. Writer’s block says, nothing is worth saying, or what I have to say will never be good enough—this trips up a person before she even begins. Something else: endless revising of a single piece of writing is an advanced, and severe, form of writer’s block. If you know someone who has been writing the same novel for years and years and years, and not producing anything else—she has writer’s block. This has helped me with writer’s block: Working for a time in another art, such as painting where I am an amateur. Something that frees my brain and helps me drop my internal critic. What is nourishing is recovering the feeling of the naturalness of creative endeavor. Lucinda Williams has a song with the line, “You took my joy, I want it back.” That’s writer’s block. That’s the thing—you need the joy or it’s not worth doing, no matter the other rewards. Once you have your joy back, you can see your writing with fresh eyes.

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

***

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

 

Kim Wright is the author of The Unexpected Waltz (Gallery Books), Love In Mid Air (Grand Central), and the upcoming Take Me There, which will be published by Gallery Books next spring. She also writes nonfiction, specializing in the areas of food, wine, and travel, and has twice been the recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. Kim lives in Charlotte.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Kim will lead a workshop titled "Structure: Four Ways to Build a Book" with Kim Boykin, Erika Marks, and Marybeth Whalen.

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

Register now!

 

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Make more of an effort to meet other writers. I stayed solitary far too long!

Did you have a teacher or mentor who had a big, positive impact on you?
Fred Leebron, who is now heading up the Queens MFA program.

Who is your literary hero?
Milton. He was blind and he came up with the best tactile descriptions!

If you could live in any literary world for the rest of your life, where would you find yourself?
The here and now. I'm not much for romanticizing the past or glorifying the future.

If you could have written one book that someone else wrote, which book would it be?
Sense and Sensibility.

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?
Start before you're in the room. The best friendships are begun in halls and elevators.

Who gave the best reading or talk you've ever been to? What made it so good?
I'll never forget a reading Carolyn Forché gave years ago in Wilmington.

Any advice for attendees who sign up for the Open Mic?
Opt to read less than you think you can comfortably cover in the time allotted and read slowly.

The city of Charlotte was founded on two established Native American trading routes. Now, of course, it's the second biggest banking center in the country. Fall Conference will boast an exhibit hall packed with vendors. How do you approach an exhibit hall at a conference such as this? To shop, to chat, or both?
I both shop and chat but I have to take it in small chunks. I find these experiences overwhelming.

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 love the new Norton cover of A Scarlet Letter.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
We're talking about structure, which can be daunting. If they're stuck on their WIP, I hope they leave with practical ideas for revision.

What is your guilty pleasure read?
Mysteries, especially historical ones. And I love People Magazine!

What makes you cringe when you see it on the page?
Unconscious word repetition.

Caffeine of choice? (English Breakfast, Caramel macchiato, etc.)
Embarrassing so...Diet Coke.

****

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

 

Morri Creech is the author of three collections of poetry: Paper Cathedrals (Kent State University Press, 2001), Field Knowledge (Waywiser, 2006), and The Sleep of Reason (Waywiser, 2013), which was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. A recipient of NEA and Ruth Lilly Fellowships, as well as grants from the North Carolina and Louisiana Arts Councils, he is the Writer-in-Residence at Queens University of Charlotte.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Morri will lead the Master Class in Poetry workshop. Officially titled "Formal Poetry," this class will consider the expressive possibilities of formal poetry, and participants will investigate how meter, rhyme, and fixed forms such as the sonnet and villanelle can help to generate new and exciting work. Morri will distribute examples, and the class will analyze the formal properties of works by established authors before writing their own poems. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with the beginnings of at least one new poem. Register now!

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I’d like to be W. B. Yeats. I love the way he takes everything from his life—his spirituality, politics, friendships, love life, historical milieu—and turns it into poetry.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Well-crafted, intelligent, moving.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Don’t bully the muse. In other words, try to figure out what the poem wants to say, not what you want it to say.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
Definitely the diversity of people here. I have friends who are glass artists, concrete artists, poets, computer designers—and who come from all over the place. Charlotte is a great nexus for meeting people with a wide range of interests. (The restaurants are great too.)

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Conferences like this give writers new strategies and techniques to work with, help polish their work, and save time on the learning curve, providing instruction on things that might take a writer years to figure out on their own.

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Absolutely. Particularly poetry, which is an aural medium and can be shared through the spoken word—it’s not just the page that counts.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
I hope they will take away specific ideas for how to improve their poems, and new techniques to generate new material—skill in meter and form that perhaps they haven’t considered using before.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
I don’t have any tips for this; I’m terrible at “networking.” But if you admire a person’s work, don’t be shy about reaching out to them. Several of my literary friendships spring from my e-mailing or writing poets whom I admire and striking up a conversation.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
Maybe Gulliver’s Travels. Or the Canterbury Tales.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
I don’t read a lot of journals, but I like Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, and Tin House.

Can writing be taught?
It can be shaped. And specific techniques—lineation, stanzaic structure, meter, rhyme, fixed forms, things like that—can definitely be taught.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
W. B. Yeats and W. H. Auden. In terms of contemporary poets, it would be Derek Mahon, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Richard Wilbur, John Wood, and Anthony Hecht.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
I get writer’s block all the time. In fact, I have it now. The only thing for it is to keep pushing against the wall until the wall disappears. William Stafford used to say that when he couldn’t write well, he would “lower his standards.” That’s important: if you’re not willing to write badly, you won’t write well. Turn off the editor in your brain and just put something down. Don’t worry about the quality at first. That’s what revision is for. And sometimes you have to write badly just to clear the throat. The key is to write something.

Someone writes an un-authorized biography about your life. What would the title be?
A Cultivation of Obscurity.

***

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

 

Cedric Tillman holds a BA in English from UNC-Charlotte and graduated from American University's Creative Writing MFA program. He is a Cave Canem fellow and a former Boston Review "Discovery" Contest semifinalist. Cedric's poems have appeared in several publications including Crosscut, Folio, The Drunken Boat, Kakalak, The Chemistry of Color, and Home Is Where: An Anthology of African American Poets From the Carolinas. In 2011, his debut collection was a semifinalist selection for the 42 Miles Press Poetry award; the manuscript, titled Lilies in the Valley, was published by Willow Books in 2013. He lives in Charlotte.

At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference, Cedric will lead a poetry workshop titled "The Marrow: Cutting the Fat." Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life . . .” In this workshop, we will discuss how to get at the marrow of our poetry, and consider ways we can “rout” all that isn’t poetry―unless, of course, we wish to make a statement about what poetry can be. Specifically, we’ll discuss wordiness, the utility of reading your work aloud, and the extent to which word choice can (or ought to) be affected by prospective audiences. Register now! 

 

What are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m reading A Testament of Hope, a collection of MLK’s speeches and writings edited by James M. Washington. I’m also reading Derrick Harriell’s collection Cotton. I just finished Wendy S. Walters’ Troy, Michigan, and I highly recommend it.

Where is your favorite place to write?
I like to write in libraries, restaurants, and coffeehouses, but I write most productively in dimly lit areas; the ability to see other stuff is a distraction. I often go into my basement, where I have a lamp with these six tenacle-like bulb sockets that are gradually dying one by one. When one goes out I just move the bulb to the next one until I find one that works...in any case, the light from one bulb is as much as I want to have.

If you weren't a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Probably something sports-related. I regret not trying to play football beyond sandlot. There really isn’t enough sports poetry, BTW. I need to get at it somehow. I’d love to be a GM of a basketball team.

Like many writers, I’d actually like to be more of a writer―I’m a very part-time writer with a full-time job. I also have what is almost certainly a romanticized idea of working in government in some role that would make me feel I was enhancing the quality of life of fellow citizens in some way. Teaching has always intrigued me but I learned quickly that doing it part-time and trying to juggle it with a full-time gig and a family wasn’t the ticket.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
I bring a few people with me whenever I write. I love Charles Bukowski’s audacity. His Last Night of the Earth completely blew me away, and not in that trite, b.s. manner we poets typically use the phrase “blew me away.” That audacity gave me license. And then I went to get an MFA where nothing he did would’ve passed muster―and so those impulses were reigned in, but his resistance to decorum pops up in my own work.

I love Gwendolyn Brooks’ elegance. I actually like her pre-60’s/Black Arts Movement stuff more, her more formal era where she managed to stuff subtle critique into sonnets, for example. I am very much a Hemingway fan; his use of implication is masterful, the way he manages to set moods without delineating with specifics. Cornelius Eady’s poetry works in this way for me too―not a lot of fancy verbal gymnastics―just careful word choice and a way of being accessible without being facile.

If you could switch places with one fictional character, who would it be?
I don’t get to nearly as much fiction as I’d like to. My gut, off-the-top-of-the-head response is Gatsby. He played himself in the Daisy situation, wanted too much too soon. Or perhaps, should’ve been contented with the “attention” he was getting. I could’ve shown him how to go about this thing. He was never going to take her from Tom’s money. Something about that story will always stick in my craw. If you’ve ever been the little guy, you want Gatsby to win.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from Fall Conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
My workshop will center on issues around editing, such as the utility of reading what you believe to be finished work aloud to yourself and avoiding wordiness. I hope attendees come away with a stronger sensitivity to redundancy, more of an ability to see the points in a poem at which they were striving to have something they could call a poem at the expense of the poetry. We are guilty sometimes of just wanting to use more vertical lines space on a page so we feel like we wrote a poem. Often the real poem is there and there’s just fat around the pith.

Charlotte is known as both "The Queen City" and "The Hornet's Nest." Does one of those nicknames ring more true for you than the other?
I refer to Charlotte as “The QC.” That’s what I’ll always use. The city’s prominence in banking and financial services brings to mind power and prestige and from there it’s not a big leap to associate those characteristics with royalty―so the name has some resonance today beyond its original derivation from Queen Charlotte. I’m so glad we have the Hornets back. It’s good to have the team’s name reunited with the Revolutionary War-era history of the area. I hope the corporate moniker doesn’t prevent us from going back to referring to our stadium (now Time Warner Arena) as “The Hive” instead of “The Cable Box,” but outside of sports this is “The QC.” Most importantly, “QC” is more compact and sounds cooler.

A panel on Sunday is titled, "The Many Paths to Publication." What's the first thing you ever published?
The first thing I ever published (other than one of those contests I entered in high school where you submit and everyone gets published that pays) was a poem called “Read This Back.” It was published in an anthology of poets from the Carolinas called Kakalak, in 2006. A friend from work saw an ad for submissions in Creative Loafing and suggested it to me. My book, Lilies in the Valley, came about through a chance meeting of a reader for Willow Books at a Cave Canem Foundation writing conference. She forwarded my manuscript to the poetry editor, Randall Horton. I’d met Randall at the 2009 Cave Canem Workshop but didn’t know anything about Willow. It took a lot of revision and a year and a half or so to get the go-ahead but I’m thrilled that Willow gave me a shot.

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
Accessible, emotional, inimitable.

What is the most frustrating or rewarding part of the writing process?
It usually takes me a long time to come up with something I feel good about sharing with people. It’s finding the time to put in the time you know you’ll have to put in to get something you’re happy with that’s most frustrating. The problem is you’re never happy or content until you make that time and flesh out the idea(s) in your head, so there’s always a nagging sensation of guilt and responsibility lingering around every spare moment.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
Stay in your lane. You can branch out but don’t ever think your experiences and your background is unworthy of being elevated in importance or illuminated by writing. Don’t let people make you feel that way, and don’t let you make you feel that way. It’s OK that your story isn’t their story―your story is somebody’s story, and a lot of people who won’t speak for themselves, who aren’t moved to put pen to pad won’t see themselves if you don’t declare that people like you and people like them exist.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
The Bible. I can think of several books I think every American should read (The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois, The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson, The Debt by Randall Robinson) but it’s hard to think of more than the one that I’d recommend to the world.

Describe your ideal literary festival. Who would give the keynote address? Who would be the featured readers? What else?
I’ll stick to the living on this one, on the off chance that my wildest dream comes true. The mélange of styles and spirits would be CRAZY! (commencing name drop…) On the poetry side I’d have so much of my Cave Canem people that it’d probably resemble another one of its workshop retreats. I’d have people I know and people I don’t know whose work I admire from afar. Right now I’m thinking Cornelius Eady and Colleen McElroy and Derrick Harriell and Wendy Walters and Brian Gilmore and L. Lamar Wilson and Joseph Ross and Alan King and Derrick Brown. People from grad school like Sandra Beasley, Venus Thrash, Ebony Golden, Myra Sklarew. Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan―rough segue, huh?). Lisa Schamess and Edward P. Jones to rep for fiction. I’d have Timothy Keller, who’s book The Reason for God might be the second-most important book I’ve ever read, be the keynote. Just a bunch of talented, funny, thoughtful, serious spirits. Maybe a two/three day deal with presentations and Q&As and small groups. A little something for everyone.

Do you steal hotel pens?
Not without a complete absence of guilt. It’s for a good cause.

***

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

 

Cynthia Lewis has been teaching Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, and creative nonfiction at Davidson College since 1980. Her reported essays concern American culture, including such topics as American women bodybuilders, spousal murder, professional gambling in Las Vegas, women’s obsession with shoes, and the world of Southern debutantes. Her nonfiction has been published in Southern Cultures, The Antioch Review, The Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, Charlotte Magazine, and elsewhere. Three of her personal essays have been included by the editor of The Best American Essays on the “Notable Essays” list and another has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is currently finishing a book about sports and Shakespeare.

Cynthia will lead the Creative Nonfiction Master Class at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference. Registration is now open!

After the initial drafting is complete, a writer may have lost valuable objectivity on the manuscript. The substance of this workshop will be strategies for recovering and sustaining such objectivity on one’s own work once the initial drafting is done. We’ll focus on how to take a draft to the next level, revising and polishing it for publication. We’ll discuss issues large and small—from voice, point of view, narrative arc, organization, scene-setting, and characterization to such concerns of line-editing as eliminating wordiness, achieving stylistic elegance, and correcting grammar. Each participant will submit a portion of a draft that represents one of the following: a lead, a conclusion, a point of crisis or transition—in other words, a crucial passage that can make or break a whole piece. We’ll workshop every submission, attending particularly to how each writer’s choices might affect an audience.

 

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
Andrew Marvell (then I could get to the bottom of his ambiguous poems).

Give us three adjectives you hope critics use to describe your next book.
My next book (versus the one after that): engaging, imaginative, edifying.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wish they had?
You’ll get rejected far more often than you’ll be accepted. It’s not personal. Try to learn what you can from rejection and not let it erode your morale. The same piece of writing that one editor / reader doesn’t embrace may be the very piece that another editor / reader will love. You’re making a match; you may need to date around for a while before you find the “right one.” If so, it isn’t your fault; it’s a process.

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. What makes Charlotte such a vibrant place to visit and live?
This was the last question I answered because it was the hardest. I’m not sure that being a “best place for business and careers” is quite the same as “vibrant,” a word that, to me, suggests interesting, vital culture. Certainly Charlotte has its cultural ambitions and a good deal to offer by way of the arts, including, but not limited to, excellent museums, like the Bechtler, Mint, and Gantt Center; the world-class North Carolina Dance Theater; a symphony and opera company; and some theater. But the same people who benefit from the monetary wealth in Charlotte aren’t necessarily supporting the wealth of culture here. The closing of the Charlotte Repertory Theatre is a case in point, and the financial struggles of the NCDT, the symphony, and the Arts and Science Council repeatedly point out the divide in Charlotte between those who are in the city to make a good living and those who want to live well in the sense of supporting the city's culture.

Why do you feel it's important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
As an intensely private activity, writing can make you lose your objectivity on yourself and your work. Periodically joining a group of people who are also writers helps you step outside of your head and your narrow work and see it as others see it—an invaluable gift.

Saturday's "Brilliant at Breakfast" panel discussion is titled, "Words in Civic Life." Does creative writing have a role to play outside the covers of a book?
Oh my goodness, absolutely! Shelley called poets the “unacknowledged legislators of the world.” You don’t have to go that far to accept that leaders often lead through language and communities form around it.

What do you hope attendees takeaway from the conference, especially if they sign up for your workshop?
Confidence in their work, seasoned by trust in the advice offered by others in their writing community.

What does it mean for writers to "Network?" Any tips?
For some writers, it means to hustle constantly, always trying to connect and make inroads in the publishing world. I'm probably far less active at and knowledgeable about networking than I should be and certainly than many of my peers, especially younger writers, who are savvy about using social media to promote their work.

My own approach to networking is, at the very least, includes following up on invitations to submit or to explore opportunities. Beyond that, I'm not above asking questions that some people might consider forward or checking in with people who might be able to help me if they choose to. I found my agent by writing back to an agent who had rejected my project because he didn't feel he knew enough about the area; when I asked him if he knew of another agent who would know about it, he responded that, although he usually doesn't recommend other agents (for obvious reasons), he thought maybe Mr. X would be interested (he was). People you ask for a favor can always say "no," but if you don't ask, you'll never get their help or advice. By the same token, I try to help writers when they come to me. No telling when such kindness will circle back to me; besides, it's the right thing to do.

If you could mandate that everyone in the world read one book, which one would you choose?
A college edition of the complete works of Shakespeare.

Do you read literary journals? What are some of your favorites?
I wish I read more. I read the New Yorker pretty religiously, as it abounds in the kind of writing I respond and aspire to. Beyond that, I admire the Kenyon Review, Shenandoah, Southern Cultures, and many others.

Can writing be taught?
When I started out as a college writing teacher thirty-three years ago, I was skeptical that writing could be taught. All these years later, I now absolutely believe it can be. It’s a set of skills, and skills can certainly be taught.

Who has influenced your writing style the most?
Richard Lanham, author of Longman Guide to Revising Prose.

Have you ever had writer’s block? What is one thing that helped you overcome it?
Yes, I have. The one thing that helped me overcome it was to deny its power over me by continuing to write.

Someone writes an un-authorized biography about your life. What would the title be?
Portrait of a Serene Bitch-Goddess. (Am I allowed to say that?)

***

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

 

The North Carolina Writers' Network 2014 Fall Conference offers something for almost every writer, at any level of skill or experience.

Your best route to getting the most out of the Network’s 2014 Fall Conference depends on where you are right now as a writer, where you want to go as a writer, and how you want to get from here to there.

We hope these suggestions will help you find the offerings you need the most.

 

ARE YOU A NOVICE WRITER?
Are you a newcomer to the literary neighborhood? Have you just begun to write creatively, with the goal of getting published? Have you submitted only a few pieces so far, or nothing at all? Is this your first writers’ conference? Are you still not quite ready to think of yourself as a writer?

Don’t be shy; every single person at the Fall Conference either is or was a novice at one point, too.

As a novice, though, you probably ought to concentrate on your craft, honing your work to its finest quality, before you worry too much about getting it published.

In fact, get a head start before you come to the conference. Join the Network, if you haven’t already, and explore our website—features, articles, back issues of our newsletters—to learn more about the writing business.

For a thorough introduction to the business side, from beginning to end, we especially recommend this pair of articles: one on publishing by Betsy Thorpe (who’ll co-lead a workshop on “The Art of the Pitch,” and take part in the Fall Conference Critique Service), and one on bookselling by NCWN trustee Nicki Leone.

Some basic research before the conference will save you some time and mental energy, so you and your fellow registrants can get the most value out of your workshops.

Some good workshop options for novice writers include Chantel Acevedo’s “All Shapes and Sizes: A Workshop on Novel Structure”; “Poetry 101” with Anthony S. Abbott; and “First Impressions in the First Few Pages” with Sarah Creech.

Your choices may vary depending on your preferred genre, but we encourage you to use the Fall Conference to dabble in other genres. You may surprise yourself.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Open Mic Readings on Saturday night. You need the practice, and we want to hear you.

 

 

ARE YOU AN EMERGING WRITER?
Do you have a few publications to your credit, or an established track record of submissions? Are you a familiar face at writers’ gatherings? Are you working on a book-length project?

You may be ready to apply to one of the Master Classes, which admit only the first 16 qualified registrants to each class, and will take up all three of your Saturday workshop sessions.

Or, you may want to mix some of the craft workshops—maybe “Poetry and Time” with Julie Funderburk; “Making Their Stories Your Own” with Rebecca McClanahan; or Zelda Lockhart’s “The Mirror Exercise: Producing a Whole Short Work in Less Than an Hour”—with some of the appropriate business-of-writing workshops like Sunday’s panel discussion on “The Many Paths to Publication” with Kim Boykin, John Hartness, and Karon Luddy.

Consider sending in a short story or several of your poems to our Critique Service, and let an experienced editor tell you what works, and what doesn’t.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Open Mic Readings on Saturday night. You need the practice, and we want to hear you.

 

ARE YOU AN EXPERIENCED WRITER?
Have you finished a book-length manuscript (or at least a first draft), or do you have enough poems to think about a collection?

You may still want to apply for one of the three Master ClassesCreative Nonfiction with Cynthia Lewis, Fiction with Aaron Gwyn, or Poetry with Morri Creech—if you think you need a little more know-how to make your manuscript the best it can be.

Or you may be ready to concentrate on the “business of writing” workshops: “The Art of the Pitch” with Betsy Thorpe and Carin Siegfried; “Crafting Your Message: Beginning an Interactive Publicity Campaign” with Priscilla Goudreau-Santos; “The Many Paths to Publication” panel discussion; maybe even “Creating a Poetry Community” with Scott Owens and Jonathan K. Rice.

You should sign up for the Manuscript Mart, and sit down with an agent who can tell you what works, what doesn’t, and what different publishers are looking for.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Open Mic Readings on Saturday night. You need the practice, and we want to hear you.

 

ARE YOU AN AUTHOR?
Do you have a book out, or on its way? Are you coming to the conference mostly to brag?

Then, by all means, brag away! We want you to. We hope we helped you along the way. Drop off 5 copies of your published book at the registration table, so the Network can sell them for you on consignment during the conference.

Sign up for whichever workshops interest you. Have fun. See old friends. Make new ones. Be nice to those novice writers, since you were there once yourself.

Register for the Marketing Mart, so you can get some tips on how to find readers for your book (a job that’s falling to authors more and more these days). Come to the Brilliant at Breakfast panel discussions to learn more about how writers are contributing to their communities, and what the latest trends in the book
business are.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Open Mic Readings on Saturday night. You need the practice, and we want to hear you.

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

 

CHARLOTTE—Charlotte is known as “The Queen City,” and registrants of the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference can expect a royal welcome November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel. Registration is now open.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities including a luncheon and a dinner banquet with readings, a keynote address, workshop 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.

Allan Gurganus, author of the New York Times bestselling Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and, most recently, Local Souls, will give the keynote address. Born in Rocky Mount, Gurganus is a Guggenheim Fellow, a PEN-Faulkner finalist, and the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Morri Creech will lead the Master Class in Poetry. Creech's third collection of poems, The Sleep of Reason, is a 2014 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Poetry. He is the Writer-in-Residence at Queens University of Charlotte, where he teaches courses in both the undergraduate creative writing program and in the low residency MFA program.

Aaron Gwyn will lead the Master Class in Fiction. Gwyn, an associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, is the author of a story collection and two novels, including most recently Wynne’s War.

Cynthia Lewis will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught at Davidson College since 1980 and is the Charles A. Dana Professor of English. Her creative nonfiction includes both reportage on American culture and personal narrative, and she has published essays on such diverse topics as serial bomber Eric Rudolph, premeditated spousal murder, American women bodybuilders, women's love of shoes, and kissing.

From Saturday’s “Brilliant at Breakfast” panel discussion titled “Words in Civic Life” to Sunday’s panel discussion “Creating a Poetry Community,” the 2014 Fall Conference offers ample opportunities for writers of all levels of skill and experience to build their own communities and support networks and, of course, have fun. The inimitable Wilton Barnhardt, author—most recently—of the novel Lookaway, Lookaway, will speak during the Network Banquet on Saturday night and lead a fiction workshop.

Other fiction workshops will be led by Chantel Acevedo, Sarah Creech, Moira Crone, and A.J. Hartley, who will focus on Y.A. fiction.

Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina’s seventh Poet Laureate, will read during the luncheon on Saturday. He fronts a stellar lineup of faculty poets including Julie Funderburk, Cedric Tillman, and Alan Michael Parker whose poetry collection, Long Division, won the 2012 NC Book Award.

Registrants looking to learn more about how the publishing industry works can look forward to the “The Art of the Pitch,” led by Carin Siegfried and Betsy Thorpe. Priscilla Goudreau-Santos will lead a Business of Writing Workshop, while Kim Boykin, John Hartness, and Karon Luddy will sit on a panel titled “The Many Paths to Publication.” The veritable smorgasbord of class offerings doesn’t stop there: Amy Rogers will teach “Food Writing,” Rebecca McClanahan will lead the all-genre “Making Their Stories Your Own,” and Zelda Lockhart will lead the all-genre "The Mirror Exercise: Producing a Whole Short Work in Less Than an Hour." Scott Owens and Jonathan K. Rice, both hosts of long-running monthly open mic events, will discuss “How to Build a Poetry Community.”

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

Fall Conference sponsors include Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council, Charlotte Magazine, Alice Osborn (www.aliceosborn.com), Al Manning, and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Registration for NCWN’s 2014 Fall Conference is now open.

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

 

Hats Off! to James Breeden whose short story "Erosion" appears in a special edition of Pisgah Review.

 

Hats Off! to Sharon Louise Howard whose story "Pushing Perfect" appears in Florida English Journal.

 

Hats Off! to Will Robinson whose two short science fiction stories, "Pathology Report" and "Kadru: The Imperial Forest," are available on Amazon. His sci-fi novel Luska is forthcoming in October.

 

 

Peter MakuckPeter Makuck grew up in New England and graduated from St. Francis College in Maine where he majored in French and English. He lives on Bogue Banks, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands. His Long Lens: New & Selected Poems was published in 2010 by BOA Editions and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In April, Syracuse University Press released a third collection of short stories, Allegiance and Betrayal. His poems and stories, essays and reviews have appeared in The Nation, The Gettysburg Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, Yale Review, and others. He is Distinguished Professor emeritus from East Carolina University, where he founded and edited Tar River Poetry from 1978 to 2006.

Peter will lead the Master Class in Poetry at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference. This class will consider a range of questions that writers must ask themselves before they consider a poem to be “finished.” Among other things, we will consider imagery, structure, line-breaks, sonic-devices, tone, setting, speaker, etc. We will also look at several kinds of poems—letter, list, object, place, persona, and how-to. Peter will distribute examples. The goal is to have writers leave the workshop with the beginnings of at least one new poem.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Read no books as a child. As a teen, I read fishing and hunting magazines. No books. I faked my way through high school, and didn’t get hooked on reading until my freshman English class in college. William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” turned me into an addicted reader. Moral: never too late.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
My father had a service station and I loved working on cars, especially my own high-powered junker. My uncle had a tavern. At this stage of the game, I think I’d rather be a bartender.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Well, Saul Bellow said that a writer is primarily a reader moved to emulation. So read, read closely, and reread, and don’t be afraid to steal. An interviewer once told Faulkner that there were remarkable similarities between some of Conrad’s work and his own. Faulkner replied that he had stolen from Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Tolstoy, and many more. Then concluded: “And I’d steal from you too if you were a writer.”

Any memorable rejections?
Yes, George Core at The Sewanee Review turned down a short story years ago, one of my very first. In his letter he said the story needed one more scene of about two or three pages for structural balance. And told me where the scene should be. When I reread the story, I realized he was dead on the money. I added a scene of three pages, sent it back, and he accepted it. Only my second story publication. He’s an incredibly generous editor.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Sitting at a desk.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
A River Runs Through It.

What was the worst?
The Long, Hot Summer, an adaptation of Faulkner’s first Snopes book, The Hamlet. Paul Newman as a Snopes? Laughable. No way.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
You get a chance to talk and spend some time with others who are involved in the same kind of struggle with paper and ink. A unique learning opportunity. You have a chance to have others objectively view your work and offer constructive criticism. If such conferences were around when was starting out, I’d have saved myself a lot of time. I’ve never taken a course in fiction or poetry writing and there is nothing slower and more haphazard than teaching yourself how to do something.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
There should be a moratorium on navel-gazing poems about poetry. As an editor, I’d get five or ten weekly and grew to hate them.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Once upon a time, I could write anywhere, at any time, as long as I had a cup of coffee to keep my brain revved up. Nowadays, I work mostly in the morning, at home in my study.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
For me writing is an act of discovery. I’m rarely sure of what’s coming, always a surprise. As (Robert) Frost put it, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Amen.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A long poem about the death of my Polish grandfather, “Dziadek,” and about my discovery of photography, imagery, and the importance of aiming outside the self. It was in The Southern Review, 1970s.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Fred Chappell. He’s done it all—novels, short stories, poetry, essays, reviews. Really a man of letters. Lots of writers today want their books reviewed, but feel no obligation to give back by writing reviews themselves. Not Ol’ Fred.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Hats Off! to NCWN communications director Charles "LC" Fiore whose novel The Last Great American Magic won a Gold Medal in the "Tall Tale" category of the 2017 Readers' Favorite Book Awards. "The Last Great American Magic is a captivating story," said one reviewer, "a hard-to-put-down tale of courage, nerve, and love from a master storyteller."

 

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "Living Fences" appears in Plum Tree Tavern (Sep. 10, 2017).

 

 

Michelle BrowerMichelle Brower began her career in publishing in 2004 while studying for her Master’s degree in English Literature at New York University, and has been hooked ever since. During that time, she assisted the agents Wendy Sherman and Joelle Delbourgo, and found herself in love with the process of discovering new writers and helping existing writers further their careers. After graduating, she became an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates, and there began representing books in many different areas of fiction and nonfiction. In 2009, she joined Folio Literary Management, where she is looking for literary fiction, thrillers, high-quality commercial fiction that transcends genre, and narrative nonfiction. She enjoys digging into a manuscript and working with authors to make their project as saleable as it can be, and her list includes the authors S.G. Browne, Rebecca Rasmussen, Dana Gynther, and Michele Young-Stone, among many others.

During the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference, Michelle will sit on Sunday's "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: 'Agents and Editors'" and serve as a reviewer for the Manuscript Mart, which provides writers with the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from an editor or agent with a leading publisher or literary agency. A one-on-one, thirty-minute pitch and Q&A session will be scheduled for attendees who register for the Manuscript Mart.

 

What are you reading right now?
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Sherlock Holmes.

What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
Structure and plot are my favorites, because little changes can have huge effects.

Any memorable rejections?
I remember a lot of them, but not one more than others.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
Yes.

What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
Too many adjectives/words.

Do you steal pens from hotels?
No, they are usually terrible pens.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
I think I’d be Edith Wharton.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Luckily, I don’t write—I just get to help writers.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
The Returned by Jason Mott, of course, which will be on TV as Resurrection in March.

What was the worst?
I’ll go with Congo by Michael Crichton. But it might also be so bad it’s good.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Never give up, never surrender. It’s useful in intergalactic war, life, AND book publishing.

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

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Hats Off! to Donna Miscolta whose novel Hola and Goodbye: Una Familia in Stories (Carolina Wren Press, 2016) took Second Place in the category of Best Latino Focused Fiction Book at the 2017 International Latino Book Awards.

 

 

Addy Robinson McCullochAddy Robinson McCulloch is a freelance writer and editor whose clients include Pearson Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her work has appeared in publications such as Redheaded Stepchild, 234journal, the Iodine Review, and Get Out of My Crotch: 21 Writers Respond to America’s War on Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health. A graduate of Duke University, Addy lives in southeastern NC.

Addy will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference with Elizabeth King Humphreys titled "Editing Your Own Work: Much More than Grammar and Punctuation." Two professional editors will introduce the different levels of editing and discuss common weaknesses in manuscripts, including problems with voice, characterization, and writing style. Participants will walk away with a better idea of what to look for when editing their own work, including a self-editing “checklist” and information about affordable, reliable resources.

 

What are you reading right now?
Feminist blogs, contemporary poetry.

If you could have a torrid but guilt-free affair with a fictional character, who would it be?
Sirius Black.

What aspect of craft do you feel you handle especially well, or is especially important to you?
The hook. It’s true for all types of writing—the hook is the invitation to the reader to “come in and sit a spell.”

Any memorable rejections?
Not recently, but I’m expecting one any day.

Do you own an electronic reading device?
Yes, but I find little to recommend them other than the ability to increase the font size.

What’s one thing that bugs you more than anything else when you see it in a piece of writing?
Doubling up on of prepositions. I’ve noticed a lot of that recently.

Do you steal pens from hotels?
Not anymore.

If you could be a different author, living or dead, who would you be?
As long as it’s only for a day, I’d like to be either Agatha Christie or T. S. Eliot.

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

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
To Kill a Mockingbird; close second, Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet version).

What was the worst?
There are so many….

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Not sure. I know the best piece of advice I received was to “Read more.”

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

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Hats Off! to Eric G. Wilson whose two poems, "Execution" and "The Brightening Air," appear in concīs (Summer, 2017).

 

 

Ssuan SteadmanSusan Steadman has written for and about the stage throughout several decades as a professional theatre practitioner. Her wide-ranging plays include The Cinderella Chronicles (YouthPLAYS, 2012), performed in five countries, and The Thing with Feathers, which recently appeared in the South Florida Arts Journal and was presented at a national theatre convention. Susan’s competition-winning dark comedies, such as Filling Spaces and Tuesdays We Go to Playgroup, have delighted audiences from New Jersey to Texas. Her publications include Dramatic Re-Visions (ALA), a critically lauded reference work; magazine and journal articles; and contributions to books including Notable Women in the American Theatre. With a Ph.D. in Theatre from LSU, she has taught at universities, schools, camps, and conferences. Along the way, she has staged nearly seventy productions and served as artistic director of a professional theatre for sixteen years. A Dramatists Guild member, she resides in Wilmington, where she launched the Port City Playwrights’ Project.

Susan will lead a workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference titled, "Creating Compelling Characters: What Playwrights Can Learn from Actors." Many approaches to acting also provide valuable tools for the playwright. This workshop will focus on motivation, subtext, choices and economy. Guidelines to improvisation, such as “show, don’t tell,” will also be explored. Through the analysis of short scripts and in-session writing exercises, participants will gain insight into the development of unique characters.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
Little Women.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
Photographer.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
You need to be tough.

Any memorable rejections?
To paraphrase Tolstoy: All acceptances are similar. Each rejection is memorable in its own way.

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Slouched back in my desk chair, legs sprawling, when thinking. Hunched over my keyboard when actually writing.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
For the most part, as we all know, a film can’t compare to a book. I’m drawing a blank here.

What was the worst?
I don’t know where to start! Memoirs of a Geisha made a fascinating book into a boring film I couldn’t continue watching—but that’s just one of many.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writers need to discover and recharge, and the conference offers a number of opportunities: meeting other writers and engaging in informal conversation that may be dotted with “aha” moments; attending specific workshops and discovering an approach or tool you can adapt to/use in your own work; getting away from your office (or alcove or kitchen table) and, especially for those with families, enjoying “me” time.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
As a reader, I have no tolerance for grammatical errors. Reading local newspapers, for example, has become painful. As a writer of stage plays, my pet peeve is productions which ignore my instructions.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
Yes and yes (sorry). I usually write from mid-morning until 2:00 or so, when I break for exercise, snack, or both. On the other hand, inspiration may hurl me into my office at any time of day or night. I’ve also known productive bouts writing on a legal pad at the hairdresser’s or while a passenger on a long car trip.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
I start in discovery mode—“What might happen if?”—then move to an outline (or at least a list of plot points and character traits). All too soon, the characters take on a life of their own, and I can be heard yelling at the screen: “No, I didn’t want you to do that!”

What was the first thing you ever published?
Feature articles in the newspaper of the town in which I attended college.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
As a relative newcomer, I’m still working on this one. North Carolina is home to an incredible number of talented writers.

***

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Hats Off! to Lenard D. Moore whose haiku “midsummer moon," “summer drive…," “summer concert ends,” and “night train screeches” appear in the Asahi Haikuist Network, The Asahi Shimbun (see pages 3,5, and 6).

 

 

Philip Gerard is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including Down the Wild Cape Fear (2013) and The Patron Saint of Dreams, the winner of 2012 Gold Medal for Essay/Creative Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher. He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Gerard will lead the Creative Nonfiction Master Class at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference. One of the hardest things for a nonfiction writer to do is to write a detailed, dramatic, factual scene of an event that actually happened, but that he or she was not present to witness. In this workshop, participants will address practical tools of the craft that can be applied to creating such vivid scenes—incorporating a method Gerard calls “triangulation” that uses corroborating, disparate sources to stage a moment of drama acted out by real people in a real place, while remaining loyal to the truthfulness of events. This workshop will look at how this technique can apply also to memoir, to scenes in which we as authors participated, bringing them to a heightened level of suspense and emotional engagement for the reader. In the end, the practical application of craft can lead to an artistic result.

 

What was your favorite book as a child?
It was and remains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

If you weren’t a writer, what kind of job would you like to have?
I'd be on Willie Nelson's bus playing side-man.

What’s one piece of advice no one gave you when you were starting out, that you wished they had?
Be active and tuned in to your publisher—selling the book is the beginning, not the end, of the process.

Any memorable rejections?
A publisher once wrote of a novel: "I loved this book. It's the book I would want to get under the Christmas tree and would buy copies of for all my friends. Unfortunately, it's not right for us."

Hemingway wrote standing up; Truman Capote wrote lying down. What posture do you write in?
Sitting in my writing study.

The Cape Fear Coast is a hotbed for the film industry. In your opinion, what has been the best book-to-screen adaptation?
Deliverance—but it wasn't made here.The director of photography managed to capture the poetry of the country as Dickey wrote it.

What was the worst?
The Prince of Tides: they left out the Prince of Tides.

Why do you feel it’s important for writers to attend conferences such as the NCWN Fall Conference?
Writing is solitary. It' s nice to get some encouragement from fellow travelers.

Do you have pet peeves as a reader? As a writer?
Bad punctuation, sloppy word choice, figurative language that seems contrived.

Are you scheduled in the time you set aside to write, or is your writing time more flexible than that?
You have to write like you practice a musical instrument—every day for a period of time.

Do you write to discover, or do you write point-to-point (for example, from an outline)?
Both. An outline is just a treasure map, and not necessarily an accurate one.

What was the first thing you ever published?
A short story called "The Hunters" in the University of Delaware literary magazine. I learned later that it was read out loud by summer campers on the Chesapeake Bay each session at the final campfire—the best audience I never knew.

Who is your favorite North Carolina author?
Ron Rash—for his lyrical intensity and respect for the craft and just plain great writing.

***

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose short story "Wendell Berry's Peace" was an Honorable Mention for the 2017 Cos Barnes Fellowship in Fiction from the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines.

 

Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell for the publication of her poem "Pretentious Flair" and the accompanying photograph now posted at Naturewriting (Sept. 4, 2017). Also, her poem "Bone Dry" appears in The Remembered Arts Journal (Sept. 2, 2017). Finally, her short poem beginning "Prevailing ocean currents commanded..." has been published in the current issue #45 of Three Line Poetry (September 6, 2017).

 

Hats Off! to Katie Winkler who has edited and published the first edition of Teach. Write.: A Writing Teachers' Literary Journal. The journal is dedicated to showcasing the creative writing of current and former composition teachers at all levels. Twelve talented writing teachers are featured in the first editio,n with memorial tributes to two great teacher-writers—Kathyrn Stripling Byer and Melody Lindsey. You can read the journal for free online or order a print copy. Katie is the NCWN co-regional rep for Henderson County. 

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Mountain Sisters" appears in the September/October/November 2017 issue of West End Poets Newsletter. This poem is in memory of poet and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Katherine Stripling Byer (1944-2017).

 

Hats Off! to Cindy Brookshire whose short story “Inflatable, Untethered Holiday” is a finalist in Southern Writers Magazine's 2017 Short Story Contest. Her story is published in the magazine’s special short story issue. Cindy is a member of the Johnston County Writers group and lives in Pine Level.

 

Hats Off! to Charley Pearson who won the 2017 Silver Falchion Award (Best Fiction Adult Anthology) from Killer Nashville for The Marianated Nottingham and Other Abuses of the Language. Also, his medical thriller Scourge is under contract with Fiery Seas Publications. Pub date TBA.

 

 

By Anna Jean (A.J.) Mayhew, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, Writing Groups That Work

I lived the first forty-five years of my life in or near Charlotte, where I was born. In the mid-70s I took writing courses at Central Piedmont Community College and made friends who formed the first writing group I’d ever been in—six or seven of us, mostly writers of science fiction and fantasy. The Aardvarks—as we called ourselves—gathered at each other’s houses on an irregular basis, smoked, drank beer, and handed out manuscripts for critique—occasionally we read aloud to each other, but not often. Sometimes we just smoked and drank beer.

I moved to Orange County in 1985, and missed the ’Varks terribly. Occasionally I went back to Charlotte, or one or two of them visited me in the converted tobacco barn near Jordan Lake where I lived for a year, contemplating my navel and writing. In the spring of 1987 I met novelist Laurel Goldman, and joined her Thursday morning writers group. Twenty-five years later, I’m still a member of that remarkable weekly gathering of writers in Chapel Hill, and now lead two groups of my own, shamelessly copying Laurel’s successful method. Over two dozen books and many short stories have been published by those in our groups, and it’s the way the meetings are conducted that helps the members become prolific writers.

Over the eighteen years it took me to write my first novel, The Dry Grass of August, I read the whole book aloud to my Thursday morning group at least twice. When it was as polished as I could make it, I handed out copies of the manuscript to them and to Laurel; they took a month or so to read it and gave me everything from detailed line editing to suggestions about over-arching structure—plot, setting, and character. Laurel read it at least twice more before I began submitting it to literary agents in the winter of 2006. My novel was accepted by Kensington Publishing in 2009, in a two-book deal; it won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction in 2011 and was a finalist for the 2012 SIBA Book Award. My second novel, Tomorrow’s Bread, is now in progress.

If I were asked to say just one thing I’ve learned from being a member of Laurel’s Thursday morning group for twenty-five years and from leading my own groups, it would be that I’ve become a critical listener, and not just to the work of others, but to my own as well. Now when I’m writing, I often stop and read aloud (particularly dialog). This has made me a better writer and—an important thing when doing a book tour—I’m confident now when reading my work in public.

On Sunday morning, November 4, at the NCWN Fall Conference in Cary, I will meet with those of you who are interested in starting a writing group, and will share with you the details of what makes a group successful. When I think of the key ingredient, the one thing that distinguishes these groups from many gatherings of writers, I remember my children saying, at bedtime, “Read to me, Mama.”

***

Anna Jean (A. J.) Mayhew’s first novel, The Dry Grass of August, won the 2011 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, and is a finalist for the 2012 Book Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. A Blackstone Audio book came out in December, and the French translation was published in April. The novel will also be translated into Italian, Turkish, and Norwegian for release in 2013. In February, A. J. was a featured speaker at Southern Voices in Birmingham, AL, along with novelist Scott Turow. Last September, she dined with Governor Beverly Perdue at a gathering to honor North Carolina authors, and is now working on her next novel, Tomorrow’s Bread.

Registration for the 2012 Fall Conference is now open!

 

By Shane Ryan, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty, Humor Writing

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been impressed by essays that begin with a quote from a famous person. If that famous person is dead, even better; dead people have an aura that I’ve always envied. Speaking of which, I apologize for being alive as you read this post. You deserve better. (If I’ve died since writing, neglect the last two sentences and please avenge my death.)

The point is, I love dead people quotes. So when I was tasked with writing an introduction to my humor writing workshop, I thought I’d lead with something from a guy like Benjamin Franklin. He must have had a few thoughts on comedy, right? Who’s funnier than ole Ben Franklin? Remember that time he flew a kite in a lightning storm with a metal key attached? That was classic physical humor; Charlie Chaplin owed him a great debt.

I tried to remember a good Franklin quote, but I was hungry at the time, so my brain just came up with images of roasted chicken sprinkled with salt. I considered turning to Google for help with the quote, but instead I begged my girlfriend to roast a chicken and sprinkle it with salt. It wasn’t easy, but she finally agreed after I started crying. Man, did I feast. I ate the hell out of that chicken. When I was done, I made a miniature chicken from the bones and hung it over my bed so I could remember the meal forever. I named it “Bones,” after a similar creature I made out of a turkey carcass last Thanksgiving. It was such a great experience that I even asked the NCWN people if I could get out of the humor writing seminar and lead one about how to devour a roasted chicken instead. Unfortunately, that topic had already been taken by current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

So here I am, back at the keyboard, with nothing to show for myself. But I resolved to start with a quote, so before we go any further, I’m going to make one up from a fake historical figure:

“True humour, my dear, is the fool’s bosom friend, the vicar’s frigid companion, the tyrant’s sworn enemy,
and the psychopath’s ruinous lover.”
—Lord Addison “Barnacles” Balfour, in a letter to his wife, Lady Barnacles, 1594

Barnacles Balfour died only three months later in a Viking raid, a cruel and ironic end when you consider that the Vikings had died out 500 years earlier. And no, I’m sorry, I don’t know what the word “vicar” means either.

You may have noticed that the first 400 words of this essay have been utterly useless. Forgive me, but I was being pointless to make a point—humor is an evanescent, ephemeral ghost of a concept, prone to misinterpretation and disagreement and ultimate irrelevance. Some of you made it through those three paragraphs and thought, “That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.” Some of you may have smiled, or even laughed. But rest assured that I, personally, sat here laughing like an insane person while chicken grease ran down my mouth in ecstatic, loathsome rivers. In the end, we’re all correct.

Let me be serious for a moment: This world was designed to be difficult. Why? I don’t know, but I believe in God precisely so I can have somebody to resent for the way things work. Even for a guy like me, who has had a relatively easy twenty-nine years, life has had its rough patches. Yet somewhere else in the world, people are having a really hard time, so I can’t even enjoy my little challenges by indulging in self-pity. Which, again, is very annoying.

Saturday Night Live, legendary just forty years ago, seem stale and even conservative today. Shakespeare, whose tragedies hold up as achingly gorgeous treatises on human frailty, is a writer whose pun-based humor you would want to emulate only if you hoped to get beat up on a city street. Times and attitudes change, and it takes a keen understanding of the zeitgeist to capture what’s funny today.

Humor is diverse; racially, culturally, stylistically. I am not personally a fan of Larry the Cable Guy and his ubiquitous catch phrase, “Git ‘er Done,” but he makes loads of money from people who would mock me for driving a Toyota Prius. His stand-up routine couldn’t be more different from a show like Arrested Development—a wonderful mix of character-driven absurdity, physical comedy, and narrative subversion which became a sort of mainstream cult classic that was canceled after three seasons. And what common threads could be said to exist between the melancholy mid-life-crisis laments of Louis C.K. and the detached wordplay of the late Mitch Hedberg? What binds the biting, racial satire of Dave Chappelle’s sketches and the selfish egotism of Larry David? Each is vastly different, but the world is big, and each has its audience.

And yet, I swear, there is a connection. Difficult as it may be to identify, these comedic fountains rise from a common source. And if there’s a point to my ramblings, it’s that while humor is diverse and ever evolving, there are guiding principles that can help us when we try to be funny. When you learn the rules, it gets a little—not a lot, but a little—easier. The main requirement is that you pay attention to the life that goes on around you. Seriously, that’s it. Just open your eyes, and everything else will follow.

To use an actual quote from a real person, I draw your attention to Tolstoy: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I’m going to spin that one on its head for a moment, and declare that there are a million ways to be funny, but only one way to fail. If you can’t live through the triumph, tragedy, and even boredom of our world without feeling that persistent thread of humor seeping through the cracks in the façade, undermining and saving us at the same time, then God help you.

And fair warning: God may not help you, because God is funny.

***

Shane Ryan will lead a Humor Writing workshop at the 2012 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference. Shane is a writer for Grantland.com, Paste Magazine, and Carolina Public Press. He has written about sports, music, film, politics, and comedy for a variety of publications, including McSweeneys.net. No matter where he writes, he expends a lot of effort trying to be funny, and has embarrassed himself publicly so many times that he is now considered an expert. His biggest fans include his mother, who thinks he's especially hilarious when asking for money. Shane grew up in Saranac Lake, New York, graduated from Duke University in 2005, lived in Brooklyn for five years, and attended the UNC School of Journalism in 2010. He lives in Carrboro with his wife, and is two months away from turning thirty, which is not funny at all.

Registration for the 2012 Fall Conference is now open.

 

By Maureen Sherbondy, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty Member, Poetry

Recently I opened my local newspaper to find an advertisement for Wicked, a musical about the witches of Oz. In another advertisement, Julia Roberts was starring in Mirror, Mirror, a movie about Snow White. It seems fairy tales appear everywhere—on television shows, in commercials, movies, and plays. An entire literary journal, The Fairy Tale Review, exists devoted to the subject of fairy tales. It is no wonder that these tales also creep into poetry.

For years, poets have employed fairy tales in poetry, transforming these tales, reinventing these familiar stories, and using the universal stories as a framework, a “trigger” as Richard Hugo would say. Fairy tales can be used in the same way that a poet might choose to incorporate a formal structure—for example, a villanelle—to control and set parameters in a poem.

I am intrigued by this treatment of fairy tales in poetry, using the familiar tales as a jumping-off point for new work. In fact, I wrote an entire book of these fairy tale poems (After the Fairy Tale, Main Street Rag, 2007).

We relate to fairy tale characters because we either fear them or strive to be them. They compose parts of the self. Archetypes appear again and again in tales: The Damsel in distress, the Trickster, the Hero, the Martyr, the Great Mother, the Crone, the Mentor, the Warrior, the Evil Stepmother, etc. Archetypes are universal connectors that create emotional responses, such as fear, desire, and hope. For example, in "Hansel and Gretel," the emotions range from rejection, fear, abandonment, to despair.

Tales rich in symbols also appeal to poets. Why not make use of archetypes and symbols that already appear in these tales? Why not extend the tales, change them, add to the vision?

When I first wrote my own fairy tale poems, I explored what happened after the fairy tale ended. I placed characters from “Snow White,” Alice in Wonderland, and “Sleeping Beauty” inside contemporary society to see what would happen when two worlds collided. For example, I set “Snow White” at a mall in the 21st Century:

Snow White at the Mall
They mistake her for the granddaughter
of the Sees Candies lady,
with that old-fashioned dress
edged in white frills, the bow
in her hair. Children with blue-cotton-
candy smiles point chocolate-smeared
fingers at her. Mothers steer them away.
Only the mall police return her Prozac grin.
She’s tempted by denim -
blue jeans and jackets at the Gap,
but fears the Prince might leave her
for dressing down. What can she barter
for merchandise anyway? A smile? A kiss? A poison comb?
Finding a penny she throws a two-for-the price-
of-one wish into the fountain: health and good fortune
for the dwarfs, a long marriage for herself.
She leaves the mall empty-handed except
for free pretzel samples, a Belk flyer with coupons,
and a blue helium balloon that lifts away
into the open, consumer-free sky.

Rich in symbolism, archetypes, and imagery, fairy tales are amusing stories to mine as a source for fresh (and fun!) poems. Universal stories with human and magical qualities, fairy tales can be triggers for new creative work. I hope that you will join me in the workshop I will lead at the Fall Conference to write your own original fairy tale poems.

***

Maureen Sherbondy will lead a poetry workshop at the 2012 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference. Her books are After the Fairy Tale, Praying at Coffee Shops, The Slow Vanishing, Weary Blues, and Scar Girl. She recently won the Spring Garden Press Robert Watson Poetry Award for The Year of Dead Fathers. The book will be published this summer. Her full-length collection, Eulogy for an Imperfect Man, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Maureen lives in Raleigh with her three sons. Her website is www.maureensherbondy.com.

You Don't Know Jack by Don Ross

W&B Publishers
$17.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692274231
September, 2014
Fiction: Humor
Available from www.Amazon.com

"This book, that was going to be all about me, is not about me at all, per se. It’s about per sons I know or knew or might have known. It’s not an in depth biographical character study as one might expect from a writer of my depth and per sona. Indeed, I’ve taken quite a large tad of literary license since discovering that 'telling it like it is' isn’t (is isn’t?) always the best way to write a true story. If truth were told, writing fiction is probably closer to my true per suasion. Therefore, some of what I’m writing here and now and hereafter is, frankly, made up."

While newspaper reporter Jack Odum's inability to stick to the facts, accurately quote sources and use only accepted English words and phrases gets him fired (again), it presents the time and opportunity for him to become the best selling novelist he knows he is. Jack’s cocksure attitude, unorthodox writing style, family dynamics, and a slight psychological problem result in a work a publishing company deems both unworthy of paper and ink yet highly publishable farce? The setting is a Thanksgiving family reunion in the North Carolina Mountains attended by numerous, humorous, relatable characters. The book is Jack’s manuscript submitted to a publishing company with the attitude that, with very little help from the editors, his novel is ready for print. Jack gives us his take on life in coastal and mountainous North Carolina, family and friends, the state of journalism, and the easy act of becoming an award-winning author.

Don Ross is a former broadcaster taking his first steps into the print world. For thirty of his forty plus years in journalism, he wrote feature news as a reporter at WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He had a ninety-second time slot each night to present amusing off-beat stories that earned him a local reputation as a humorist and led to several AP, UPI, RTNDA, and regional Emmy awards and nominations. His first attempts at humor writing were at his first real TV job at WTAJ in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where he always volunteered to write a “kicker” to end the newscast on a light note. The Altoona TV job was offered after he covered news for WFBG Radio in Altoona while simultaneously obtaining a degree in International Politics from Penn State. His plans to become a foreign correspondent never panned out but he satisfies a desire for foreign travel by going abroad at least once a year. He developed an interest in world affairs and international travel during a four-year stint in the Air Force where he was a D.J. and news broadcaster with The American Forces Radio and Television Service in Pakistan and Italy. He qualified for AFRTS thanks to his experience deejaying and news reading and writing at his hometown radio station, WCPA, in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Retired now, he lives in Wrightsville Beach with his wife, Mary, who he met while stationed in Italy forty years ago. He has two children who live in the Charlotte area and they have each given Don and his wife two grandchildren.

Blood & Secrets by T.Q. Bernier

Lulu Publishing
$23.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4834-3100-0
August, 2015
Fiction: Romance/Suspense
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"I was mesmerized. It was impossible for me to put the book aside. As I was at the end, I felt something was missing. I was seeking for more! Perhaps T.Q. Bernier has her readers just begging for more? Is another sequel on its way? I hope so!"
—Nancy Danet Laplace

"Blood & Secrets is captivating! It will grab you with the first words and catapult you into a story of love, hate, greed, and honor. You will not want to put the book down."
—Marilyn Pearson

"Blood & Secrets is a fascinating page turner that will surely keep you on edge. This novel takes the reader on an exciting journey from Denmark to the beautiful islands of the US Virgin Islands. With each new chapter a new secret unfolds and captivates the reader as the story moves from island to island. It is a treasure to be uncovered."
—Ann Gloria Questel

A nearly drowned and battered young woman is plucked from the sea by the captain of a passing frigate on the passage from Denmark to St. John, Danish Virgin Islands. Strong-willed and beautiful, the woman is a mystery to all. She has amnesia, and its cause is unknown. Dubbed "Lily" for her watery, delicate appearance, she soon finds herself entangled in the life of the handsome ship’s captain, Alex, who is not sure if he believes her amnesia, and finds her unusual abilities suspicious―and tantalizing.

On the same frigate, Alex’s cousin, Cassandra, is headed to St. John, full of trepidation about returning home to an island she thought she would never see again. Despite the extreme circumstances that forced her to leave, and the efforts of a brother set on ruining her reputation, she is determined to save her family’s estate. However, she will need to face her spurned lover, Zack, from whom she hides secrets. Lily is confused. How did she end up in the middle of the ocean, fighting for her life? Was it shady circumstances that led her there? Who is she? And what is the explanation for her excellent marksmanship, or her dexterity in handling a horse and a rudder?

Worried about where the truth may lead, she nonetheless knows she must seek it out. As the two women's lives intertwine, a loyal friendship is formed. Their quests to uncover the truth will climax one fateful night in a terrifying impasse when long hidden secrets are laid open. Set amidst the palm trees and sugar plantations of St. John, this adventurous romance will carry you away on the fragrant breezes and windswept coasts of an island in the shadow of World War One. Intrigue, mysteries, and passion abound in this tale of love lost, lovers found, and dangers in their midst.

T.Q. Bernier was born in St. Thomas, USVI. Her first novel, Blood & Parcels, garnered numerous five stars ratings soon after its release in January, 2014. She is a real estate broker, and resides with her husband, James, in Cary, North Carolina. Please visit facebook.com/tqbernier or twitter.com/bloodandparcels to connect with the author.

 WHOOSH! by Joan Leotta (illustrated by Rebecca Michael Zeissler)

TheaQ
$19.95, hardcover / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-68189-004-3
August, 2015
Children's: Picture Book
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

"The sun tickles my face and I open my eyes.

"I jump out of bed and run to the window. The sky is gray and our yard is white! The bare brown branches of my favorite climbing tree are covered with a jacket of sparkling ice.

"I run into the kitchen and hug Mom and Dad. 'No work for you, Daddy! You can take me sledding!'

"Dad calls, 'One , two , three!' When he says 'three!' he puts his hands firmly on the back of the sled and pushes hard.

"WHOOSH!
SWOOSH!
WHOOSH!

The sound of the sled going down the hill at a nearby park (WHOOSH!) guides the tale through the fun and bonding between the child and her dad. His love for her is demonstrated in the smallest ways—in gestures she may not understand now, but will impact her later.

In dialogue with both her dad and mom, the child reveals that time with them is indeed the most important thing to her—any day. This book is written from the first person point of view, so that the listener is able to visualize themselves in the role of the child.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since childhood. In addition to her work as an award-winning journalist, short-story writer, author, poet and essayist, Joan performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures. She has placed poems essays and short stories in many publications, including Poets and Postcards, A Quiet Courage, and Silver Birch, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the latest Sisters in Crime Anthology, Fish or Cut Bait. Her four books of historical fiction (Legacy of Honor series) are available from Desert Breeze Publishing and Amazon.com along with her newly released collection of short stories, Simply a Smile. After a lifetime in snowier climes, Joan now lives in Calabash, NC, where she walks the beach with husband Joe. She collects shells, pressed pennies and memories. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973.

 

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-599485027
May, 2015
Poetry
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

"Tony Morris' Pulling at a Thread is a tour de force cross-country car trip through America. From the first pulse of heartbreak and hope in 'Radar Love' to the beautiful sonnets on the seasons at the end of the book, Morris takes us on the terrifying and tender journey of the heart's road to wisdom. Parents grow old and die, children are born, lovers are lost and found in these lush and sensuous poems. There is a fullness and music that that will lift you up. Tony Morris is a true son of Whitman, but he has been nurtured by Dickinson. His voice is America singing."
—Barbara Hamby, author of Delirum

"In Pulling at a Thread, Tony Morris demonstrates how following a single strand can reveal life’s patterns in their brilliant complexity. Whether focused on the green-eyed beauty of skulking foxes, Elvis or 'monastic buzzards,' he is a reliable guide to the open road and 'the coming dusk.' Vulnerability, rescue, and escape are among his poignant themes, and no reader will forget the beauty of 'the winter’s end a shelf of stars above my head.' This is a collection to savor and share."
—R. T. Smith

"Tony Morris’ Pulling at a Thread blows down the highway, pedal down, wind whipping through lost songs along the strange twists of a road 'stretching out into nothingness.' Madness and heartache whirl and spin apart while past, present, and future slide past, 'filled with things we’ll never know.' Even so, Morris keeps seeking what 'makes the truth more real,' his poems catching 'the whisper of an inner grace' just above—or just below—the noise of the everyday."
—Jeff Hardin, author of Notes for a Praise Book

A finalist for both the 2015 Anhinga Poetry Prize and the Philip Levine Poetry Book Prize, the poems in this collection range from formal to free-verse on a range of subjects, familial, and personal to universal.

Previous book publications include: Back to Cain (The Olive Press, 2006), and two chapbooks, Greatest Hits (Puddinghouse Press, 2012) and Fugue's End (Birch Brook Press, 2004). His work has been widely published in anthologies: Georgia Poetry Anthology (Negative Capability Press, 2015), Southern Poetry Anthology: North Carolina (2014), What Matters (2014), Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia (2012). Poems have appeared in Spoon River Review, Hawai'i Review, River Styx, Meridian, The Sewanee Theological Review, South Dakota Review, Connecticut Review, Mississippi Review, Green Mountains Review, and others. He is the managing editor of Southern Poetry Review, and director of the Ossabaw Island Writers’ Retreat.

Betrayal at Black Mesa by Jeff Shear

JeffShearBooks
Free, e-book
ASIN: B00TQ9QPV4
August, 2015
Fiction: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Available from www.Amazon.com

Senate investigator Jackson Guild uncovers a terrorist plot to set off a nuclear weapon in the beating heart of Washington.

But there's a twist.

If Guild exposes the conspirators, he sets off a nuclear blow-by-blow. That plunges Guild into a lose-lose situation, and he’s got to walk the razor’s edge between the Truth and its Consequences.

It may be that our hero is the real enemy.

Jeff Shear is the author of the book The Keys to the Kingdom which was an investigation into a weapons deal between the US and Japan (the FSX), published by Doubleday. He has been a Fellow at The Center for Public Integrity, in Washington, DC, where he was one of several contributors to the book The Buying of the Congress, published by Avon. Before that, he served as a staff correspondent for National Journal, with regular venues at the White House and Congress. He has written TV scripts for the National Geographic Channel, Discovery, and The History Channel: www.jeffshearbooks.com.

The Coach's Wife by William J. Torgerson

Cherokee McGhee
$17.95, paperback / $6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1937556075
February, 2015
Fiction: Literary / Sports
Available from www.Amazon.com

"One of the best books about basketball and coaching I've ever read with a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book clubs talking about it for many years."
—Pat Conroy, author of The Death of the Great Santini and My Losing Season

"Love, longing, and basketball. You couldn't ask for a more irresistible premise, and Torgerson stirs it up with a backdrop including O.J. Simpson, Kurt Cobain, and Lady Di. A treacherous and hilarious journey through the human heart that beats with hope on every page."
—Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

Meet Zuke, basketball coach, romantic, and narrator of his haunting, fast-paced novel, a tale of love and loss and acceptance, and all that we must learn when the party of college is over.

Love and basketball in Indiana.

A man without a her is a man without hope. So believes Coach Zuke who has returned to his hometown of Horseshoe, Indiana to be the head basketball coach. Zuke wants to meet a woman. It's not long before possibilities emerge: his girlfriend from high school teaches in the classroom next to him, there is the older sister of one of his players, a girl he knew from college, and a botched matchmaking attempt by his best friend Cheese.

On the coaching front, troubles mount in the form of angry parents and an assistant coach and his father who hatch plans to get Zuke fired.

Set in 1994 to the backdrop of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Kurt Cobain's death, and Prince Charles' confession on television to having cheated on Lady Di, The Coach's Wife is a novel about the trials of coaching in basketball-obsessed state and what happens to one young man too desperate to find a wife.

William Torgerson teaches in the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John's University in New York. Before teaching in New York, Torgerson taught English in Indiana and North Carolina where he also coached basketball. Torgerson was an assistant coach for the state championship winning team in North Carolina during the 2002 season. Also a filmmaker, Torgerson has directed three documentaries and a narrative short. He serves as the Director of Creative Writing for the Rhode Island International Film Festival and works to curate educational programming for writers and filmmakers. Torgerson lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina, and commutes to New York for his teaching position. He can be reached on Twitter @BillTorg or at his website, TheTorg.com.

Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore by Dannye Romine Powell

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-24-0
Poetry
October, 2015
Available for pre-order from the publisher

"Dannye Romine Powell’s marvelous new collection gives us a generous offering of poems that document the tender mercies of a woman ruminating on the cusp of endtime. Shockingly insightful, the poems look away from no aspect of a woman’s life, fully entering (and suffering) both the joys and the agonies entailed by our deep commitments to others. In plain style language and a lucid, epigrammatic form, Powell’s poems arrest us again and again with their brutal intelligence and emotional authenticity."
—Kate Daniels, author of A Walk in Victoria’s Secret

"In these delicately observed poems, Dannye Romine Powell shines a light on the moments that become the markers of our lives. This is intimate poetry, finely and, at its best, feverishly rendered."
—Enid Shomer, author of The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

"In her poem 'The Bears Come Home,' Dannye Romine Powell re-imagines the fairy tale of Goldilocks with the girl’s whole family involved this time, and not to good results. The poem is a snapshot of Powell’s strong new book Nobody Calls Me Darling Anymore, only what she’s telling aren’t fairy tales: they are family tales in all their honest heartbreak and hope. The love and longing in these poems is as visceral as a childhood parakeet nibbling at your ear. The days of being called Darling may be past, but these poems remember them and sometimes that’s more than enough."
—Michael Chitwood, author of Living Wages

Recognition

That photo
in my mother’s old album,

four people hiking
a rock-strewn path,
some shade, mostly sun,

but that one man,

that one, boot propped
on a stone—Who was he?
How did she know him?

I pointed. She turned away,
my beautiful mother,
and we were never the same.

Dannye Romine Powell is the author of three previous collections, two of which have won the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry published by a North Carolinian in the prior year. She’s won fellowships in poetry from the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council and has won a residency to the writer’s colony Yaddo, where she slept one icy winter in the bedroom once occupied by Sylvia Plath. She has worked for many years at the Charlotte Observer, where she is once again writing about books and authors. She is also the author of a nonfiction book, Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Lew Powell, also a longtime journalist.

Kaleidoscope by Tina Barr

Iris Press
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1604542301
April, 2015
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Inside this book, this kaleidoscope, Tina Barr has packed a life and everything that has intersected with it. You'll never return. This is a poet at the height of her powers."
—Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina Poet Laureate

"The images that populate Barr's poems often veer towards the visceral and the surreal, her diction is an engine of apparently endless invention, and her vision is wide-ranging. . . . Kaleidoscope is a radiant collection."
—Shara McCallum, author of This Strange Land

"Kaleidoscope is aptly named, for here, in a riot of color, turn the bits and pieces of the world. . . . Barr has created a world filled with movement, shimmer, and sound. Even the bubbles in the tub 'sparkle and hiss.'"
—Alice Friman, author of Vinculum

In her new book, Kaleidoscope, as in her other books of poems, Barr is concerned with acts of perception. In Kaleidoscope, Barr's poems reconfigure smaller and larger worlds in the way multiples in a kaleidoscope shift and reform patterns. The kaleidoscope is both a spyglass and a turning wheel. Inside these poems a cabdriver in Cairo paints his steering wheel with words from the Koran; a girl's barrette evokes the idea of the wheel's origins; and Buddhist sand paintings reproduce the wheel of the universe. The poems' subjects range across time and geographies, in settings across the South to the Middle East. Their dense iconography incorporates subjects ranging from jazz to bird life to pawn shops, Henry Darger's watercolors to the conflict between Tutsi and Hutu. These poems assemble, juxtapose and question relationships, from the troubled to the redemptive, between self and other, within family as well as within the larger human experience.

The Western North Carolina Historical Association, in collaboration with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, has been awarding the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award since 1955. Kaleidoscope has been nominated for the 2015 award.

Tina Barr grew up on the north shore of Long Island, New York. As a child she was fascinated by myth and fairy tales, an interest she brought to bear in her doctoral dissertation, "The War of Myths: From Modernist Archetype to Postmodernist Cartoon." She lives with her husband, Jazz composer and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, in a cabin on the side of a mountain, in Black Mountain, North Carolina. She is currently working on a third full-length collection of poems, which incorporate mythic, Biblical and folk references, and are located not only in the rural landscape where she lives, but refer to her experiences in the Middle East and in the inner landscapes the imagination creates. Her second full-length collection, Kaleidoscope, was just released by Iris Press.

 

by Heather Newton

What if I told you this:

Heather NewtonWhen my parents married in 1957, my father was French. He signed his name “Paien” and gave my mother a set of French conversation records she can still quote from today: “Je m’appelle Jean LeCharpentier mais je ne suis pas charpentier, ha ha ha.” One Sunday they drove from the small town in Bladen County where my dad served as a Methodist pastor to Pinehurst to eat at an upscale French restaurant. It was so expensive all they could afford was the green beans, les haricots verts. Soon thereafter my father became an Eskimo.

My father’s name is Carl. He grew up a Methodist preacher’s kid. As far as we know his only map-able genes are Scots-Irish and English. His selection of Eskimo heritage did make a kind of sense, because he was born in Nome, Alaska, where his parents were missionaries to a mining community. They moved from Alaska when he was two, first to the Seattle area and then to North Carolina. My dad was eight when his family moved to North Carolina, where his father pastored various churches in Swan Quarter, Elizabethtown, Pittsboro, Burlington. To protest the move my dad refused ever to develop a southern accent.

By the time I was born in 1963 my father had left the ministry, moved the family to Raleigh, and become Danish. He hung a large red and white Danish flag above his desk in our living room. When my third grade teacher asked us to tell our heritage, she must have been surprised when I, with my brown eyes and un- Viking-like dark hair, claimed Danish ancestry.

When I was twelve, my father became Greek. He listened to balalaika music and learned Greek folk dances. He was the first person in Raleigh to discover feta cheese and kalamata olives. He named himself “Karlos,”which he spelled with Greek letters. He took a trip to Greece, bringing me back drachmas I could bend with my teeth and the palm-sized casing of some sea creature, bleached white by the sun and still smelling of the Aegean.

My dad was Greek for a long time--through a divorce, his children leaving home, his mother dying. All the letters he wrote me in college were signed using the Greek alphabet.

Now my father is Scandinavian.

If I told you all this (some of which is true) you would say, “Your father is such a character!”

We’ve all known people about whom we’ve said, “He [or she] is such a character.” Often we follow this statement by shaking our heads, rolling our eyes, or perhaps adding a “bless his heart.” What is it about these folks that makes them so interesting and unforgettable? How can we make our fictional characters just as compelling, without sacrificing credibility or resorting to stereotype? Those are the questions we’ll explore in my “Such A Character” workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2011 Fall Conference.

***

HEATHER NEWTON's debut novel Under the Mercy Trees (HarperCollins 2011) was selected as a spring 2011 "Okra Pick" by the Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance and chosen by the Women's National Book Association as a Great Group Reads selection. Her short fiction has appeared in Crucible, Encore Magazine, Wellspring and elsewhere. She is an attorney and mediator in Asheville: www.heathernewton.net. She will lead a fiction workshop at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2011 Fall Conference. Registration is now open.

 

 

By Holly Iglesias

Holly IglesiasMy life changed the day a poet friend read what I thought was a compact piece of nonfiction and said, “This is a prose poem.” And since that time, about fifteen years ago, it has been the only form in which I write. That uncanny, boxy shape invites compression and difficulty and mayhem because it is a tight container and because it defies the reader’s expectations of what a poem is. Instead of the lovely curvature of lineated verse, a prose poem asserts the value of the mundane—of objects and people and language itself under pressure. In addition, they are evocative objects themselves, recalling postcards, snapshots, to-do lists, diary entries.

I often write from the perspective of the past, developing points of view from archival materials that I collect at garage sales (magazines, schoolbooks, cookbooks, “orphaned” photos, souvenirs, and such). In the workshop, we will peruse some of these materials as an exercise in immersion and in perspective. For example, we’ll consider how a poem based on an old photograph could be written from several points of view: that of the subject of the photo, that of the photographer, that of the recipient of the photo, or that of an outside observer. Each person can expect to create and share at least one poem written during the workshop and leave with ideas on how to apply such prompts in the future.

My first poetry collection, Souvenirs of a Shrunken World, was based on research on the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, my home town; the second, Angles of Approach, toys with grand themes from history, fleshed out and clashing in unlikely encounters (picture a medieval monk on a moped; think Western Civilization in 250 words).

I published my first prose poem fourteen years ago, when prose poetry seemed quite obscure, hard to find, and overwhelmingly surreal. Now it’s everywhere: more lyrical, less obtuse, and it’s often confused with flash fiction and lyrical essays. Both the proliferation and the confusion are good, recruiting new readers and new debates about the nature of poetry and the division of genres.

If you’re into literary criticism and want to learn more about prose poetry, you might consider reading my critical study about prose poetry and gender, Boxing Inside the Box: Women’s Prose Poetry. And if you want to see what kind of poetry might be mined from a 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics or a seventh-grade U.S. Geography textbook from 1915, I hope you’ll register for this workshop.

***

HOLLY IGLESIAS will lead a poetry workshop at NCWN's 2011 Fall Conference, November 18-20 in Asheville. She is the author of two poetry collections—Angles of Approach (White Pine, 2010) and Souvenirs of a Shrunken World (Kore Press, 2008)—as well as a work of literary criticism, Boxing Inside the Box: Women’s Prose Poetry (Quale Press, 2004). In 2011, she was awarded a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also received grant support from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Holly earned a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Florida State University and has translated the work of award-winning Cuban poet Caridad Atencio. She teaches in the Master of Liberal Arts Program at UNC Asheville.

 

by Nancy Simpson

Nancy SimpsonI was shy and didn’t speak much in my young life because I feared whatever I said would come out of my mouth sounding quirky. I did not know then I was using figurative language. I only saw puzzlement on my mother’s face and almost stopped talking.

Life changed for the better when someone in Raleigh sent three poets to read their poems at my local library. I heard free verse for the first time, and I recognized on the spot it was similar to what I had been hearing in my head most my life.

At age forty, the state of North Carolina certified me to teach. At the same time, I began writing my thoughts and published poems right away in literary magazines. I entered the first writing class offered in the Warren Wilson College MFA Writing program. After graduation, I kept taking poems apart, hoping to see how they were made, especially wanting to understand the writing process. More advanced poets warned me, “Be careful, Nancy. Poetry is meant to be mysterious. If you learn how it works, you might stop being able to make it happen.” Nothing could stop me. Writing poetry changed me, smoothed my tongue, and greatly enriched my life. I kept practicing poetry, publishing poems, and passing on what I had learned to others. As Gary Snyder said, “You get it right, and then you pass it on.”

My upcoming workshop "Poetry Writing Here and Now," scheduled for the 2011 Fall Conference, will focus on Contemporary Free Verse Poetry. I’m not one who believes “Free Verse” is a free-for-all, without rules nor responsibility. We will consider a list of specific guidelines aimed to guide you beyond the use of ordinary language. Where to break the line and how to make your poems sing with sound will be discussed. We’ll talk about specific forms of free verse and see what drives each kind. I’ll share my definition of the lyric poem, and we’ll write some poems.

NANCY SIMPSON is the author of three poetry collections: Across Water, Night Student, and most recently, Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems, published in 2010 by Carolina Wren Press. She is also the editor of the recently published anthology Echoes Across the Blue Ridge. Her poems have appeared in the Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and other literary magazines, as well as in several anthologies. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and is a recipient of an NC Arts Council fellowship. She is one of the co-founders of North Carolina Writers’ Network – West, the Network chapter for writers in the westernmost counties of the state. She lives in Hayesville.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference is now open.

 

By Linda Rohrbough

Linda RohrboughMost pre-published authors think (and I thought this, too) that once you have an agent, your pitching days are over.

Ah, not so fast. There are three reasons why this isn’t true. First, your agent gets ideas from you. Pitching is the agent’s job, but their job is also to predict if your idea will sell, add on to and enhance your concept, and stay after marketing it to the right people.

Once they get to know you, they may bring you projects that are up your alley. But they have to know what your alley is first. Bottomline is, the cleaner and more streamlined the concept you present, the easier it is for your agent to place your work, and get you more work.

Second, you're going to end up pitching your book both before and after you write it. Especially after you write it. Let me give you an example. I travel and shop with some New York Times bestselling author friends. That’s how I learned pitching never ends. I’ve watched numerous times how these authors turn strangers into fans in a New-York minute.

I’m faced with opportunities like that with my new novel. For example, a rather influential book club, local to me, is getting pressure from an enthusiastic member who recently read my book. However, the group unanimously decided they want me, the author, to come in and talk before they shoe-horn my book to the front of their list. Bottomline is, this is a pitching opportunity. I recently had to the same thing before being invited to appear on a radio show.

Third, most writers assume they’ll be able to talk effectively about their book off-the-cuff without preparation or memorization of a "script." That's simply not true. My bestselling friends develop a carefully orchestrated pitch for every book, and select each word with precision to do double and triple duty.

Using my experiences and my own research, I developed a three-step plug-and-play formula that works for any book. That formula is the focus of my “Pitch Your Book” workshop, which is now also available as an iPhone app. Of course, there are things I can do teaching live that I can’t do in the app, and vice versa.

And I practice what I preach. I work on my own pitches until someone can wake me in the middle of the night and I can rattle it off without a hitch.

So it may look natural, but authors who talk effectively about their books are prepared and purposeful. And they know how to manage their own fear (which I also teach in my workshop). I have learned from the best and am careful to be ready. Because I never know who I'll end up talking to, or when. This fall, it could be you at the NCWN conference. I hope so. See you then.

LINDA ROHRBOUGH has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit, along with national awards for fiction and nonfiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Registration for the 2011 Fall Conference, Nov 18-20, hosted by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, will open soon. Keep an eye on www.ncwriters.org for more details.

Michael MaloneMore than three hundred writers, editors, and literary agents will gather in North Carolina’s largest city this November for the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s Twenty-fifth Annual Fall Conference.

The NCWN Fall Conference, first held in 1985, has grown into one of the nation’s largest conferences dedicated to the craft and business of writing. The conference is open to writers of all levels of experience.

“Naturally, we’re excited that our organization has reached this milestone,” said NCWN executive director Ed Southern. “We’re more excited, though, about what this milestone shows: writing in this state is still going strong, and North Carolina’s literary tradition remains vital and vibrant.”

The 2010 Fall Conference will feature a keynote address by novelist Michael Malone, a reading and discussion by North Carolina Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers, and a presentation on Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont by author Georgann Eubanks.

The conference will also offer more than twenty-five workshops and panel discussions for registrants, including three Master Classes for more advanced writers: a Poetry Master Class led by Bowers, a Creative Nonfiction Master Class with author Judy Goldman, and a Fiction Master Class with novelist Robert Inman.

Agents and editors will again participate in the conference’s Manuscript Mart and Critique Service, in which registrants have one-on-one sessions with publishing professionals who will discuss their manuscripts’ strengths and weaknesses.

“Our most important offering,” Southern said, “is the chance for writers to get to know one another, and trade advice, ideas, and encouragement. We have a number of writers who come to the conference year after year, first as registrants, and then—as their careers progress—as instructors.”

Course descriptions and registration information can be found here.

More than 250 writers, editors, and publishing agents will gather November 14 – 16 for the annual North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference, one of the country’s largest conferences dedicated to the art and business of writing.

Registration for this year’s conference, to be held at the Hilton Raleigh-Durham Airport in Research Triangle Park, is now open at the Network’s website, www.ncwriters.org.

This year’s conference will feature a keynote address by North Carolina novelist and poet Ron Rash, author of the new novel Serena, as well as the award-winning One Foot in Eden and The World Made Straight.  The yet-to-be-named Piedmont Laureate, a new position for the Triangle area, will read at the Saturday luncheon.

More than 25 writers will lead workshops, master classes, and panel discussions in topics ranging from understanding how writers can use the Internet to understanding publishing contracts; from writing poems with presence to turning family stories into drama for the stage.

The conference will also again offer the popular Manuscript Mart, Critiquing Service, and Speed Pitching sessions, in which registrants can discuss their unpublished works with book professionals.

The conference faculty includes authors Paul Cuadros, Marjorie Hudson, Randall Kenan, Zelda Lockhart, and Travis Mulhauser; playwright Gary Carden; poets Stuart Dischell, John Amen, and Alex Grant; speculative fiction writer and N.C. State professor John Kessel; memoirist Melissa Delbridge; and mystery author Vicki Lane.

Agents and editors at the conference will include Emmanuelle Alspaugh of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management, Rita Rosencranz of Rita Rosencranz Literary Agency, Kathie Bennett of Magic Time Literary Agents, Stephen Kirk of John F. Blair, Publisher, Amy Rogers of Novello Festival Press, and Kevin Watson of Press53.

The annual banquet on Saturday night will precede the first Network Town Hall Meeting, a chance for members to share their thoughts on the direction and activities of the N.C. Writers’ Network.

“The Fall Conference represents the single most important mission of the North Carolina Writers’ Network: bringing our state’s many writers together to improve their craft, share their ideas, and join in the literary community,” executive director Ed Southern said.

Registration for the Fall Conference is not limited to members of the Network, or even to writers from North Carolina.  Anyone with an interest in writing can sign up online, or by calling the Network at (704) 246-6314 or (919) 251-9140.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured guest at Saturday night's annual banquet. He'll talk writing, read some poetry, and maybe even strum a little bit on his guitar.

Shelby Stephenson has published many collections of poems, plus the poetic documentary Plankhouse (with photos by Roger Manley). Shelby is former editor of Pembroke Magazine. His Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, judged by Allen Grossman. He was a 2014 inductee to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Since 2015, Shelby has served his home state as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. His website is www.shelbystephenson.com.

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

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

I think the main thing is to believe in yourself. Make sure you face the page with some discipline. Once you do that you may find the words finding themselves and you are following them, as your story or poem or essay makes.

What I'm trying to say is that everyone is different. The thing to do is DO it. And the vulnerable places, the subjects you think you cannot write about, the whole matter of not having anything to say, perhaps—well, please know you will feel better if you just let go and try, let the syllables find you. See what happens.

To register for the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference, visit www.ncwriters.org.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame was founded in 1996, under the leadership of poet laureate Sam Ragan, and is a program of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Since 2008, the Network and the Weymouth Center collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book, the North Carolina Humanities Council, and the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill to produce the induction ceremony and to promote the NCLHOF and North Carolina’s literary heritage.

For more information, visit the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame at www.nclhof.org or the North Carolina Writers’ Network at www.ncwriters.org.

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, three authors in the Savor the South cookbook series from the University of North Carolina Press will lead the panel discussion "Food Writing." Participants include Bridgette A. Lacy, Debbie Moose, and John Shelton Reed.

"Food Writing" is much, much more than recording recipes. The best food writing explores history, culture, even economics, and tells readers a great deal about the world we live in. In this panel, three of North Carolina's most accomplished food writers (each the author of a volume in UNC Press' Savor the South series) will discuss how to write well about eating well. Sponsored by UNC Press.

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

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

"Other people's opinions are vastly overrated," says Debbie Moose. "Listen to what your gut is telling you, not to what others say you should be doing or how you should do it."

Debbie Moose grew up in Winston-Salem and is the author of six cookbooks, including two in the popular Savor the South series published by the University of North Carolina Press: Buttermilk and Southern Holidays. Her other books are Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy, Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at HomeWings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America's Favorite Snack, and Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool. Along with being a cooking teacher, writing teacher and editor, Debbie's work as a freelance writer has appeared in Our State, Edible Piedmont, Gravy, and other publications. She is a former food editor for The News & Observer in Raleigh and still writes for the paper. Debbie is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Association of Food Journalists. Find out more at www.debbiemoose.com, or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

John Shelton Reed says, "I'd share with my 'younger writer self' a lesson it took me too long to learn. 'You'd better learn about line-editing and marketing,' I'd tell him, 'because you can't count on your publisher to do a decent job of either one.' I've run into a couple of great line-editors over the years and a competent marketing department now and again, but too often I've had to be my own editor and publicist. I could tell you stories...."

John Shelton Reed is a writer and lecturer who lives in Chatham county, North Carolina. He has written or edited twenty books, including Barbecue1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South and Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, both written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed. He belongs to the Fellowship of Southern Writers and served recently as that organization's chancellor. He taught for some years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, retiring in 2000 as William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of sociology and director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. He was founding co-editor of the quarterly Southern Cultures and helped to found the university's Center for the Study of the American South. He serves as Éminence Grease of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (www.TrueCue.org).

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning journalist with a public love affair with food and culture. She worked as a features writer and food columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh for many years. She’s written about food, chefs, and culinary trends for INDY Week and the North Carolina Arts Council. She's the author of Sunday Dinner, part of the Savor the South series by UNC Press, and a finalist for the Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize.

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. A fundamental commitment to publishing excellence defines UNC Press, made possible by the generous support of individual and institutional donors who created its endowment.

In 1922, on the campus of the nation's oldest state university, thirteen distinguished educators and civic leaders met to charter a publishing house. Their creation, the University of North Carolina Press, was the first university press in the South and one of the first in the nation. Today, the UNC Press imprint is recognized worldwide as a mark of publishing excellence--both in what we publish and in how we publish it.

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.

Register now at www.ncwriters.org.

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

 

We're setting land-speed records for Fall Conference registration, with more than 50 writers signed up already.

In fact, as of today, the Fiction Master Class with Angela Davis-Gardner has more applicants than spaces in the class.

If you applied for this Master Class, but have not yet sent your required materials, PLEASE DO SO ASAP.

We will close registration for this Master Class as soon as we have gone through all the submitted materials, and chosen the first fourteen qualified applicants. If your materials don't arrive in time, you may miss your chance.

We still have plenty of room in our other classes, workshops, and special sessions. Register today, and we'll look forward to seeing you at the 2016 Fall Conference.

For Master Class instructions, click here.

Haven't registered yet? Click here.

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, award-winning author Jen McConnel will teach the class, "Young Adult/New Adult: What’s the Big Deal?"

YA and NA are thriving genres. But what, exactly, is the difference? We'll discuss what separates YA from NA, explore the areas where they are closely related, and practice writing both.

Jen McConnel is an award-winning author. She writes Young Adult and New Adult fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat, teaching, or wandering off on another adventure. She grew up in mid-Michigan, attending Western Michigan University, and now lives with her family in North Carolina. She holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and she is currently working on her MA in Children’s Literature at Hollins University.

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

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

"Don't stop. Taking breaks isn't the same thing as quitting, and you'll need breaks to stay sane on this creative path, but avoid the temptation to actually stop and walk away. The stories aren't done with you yet."

Register now at www.ncwriters.org.

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

 

Durham—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh. The Network is thrilled to announce the following:

Carolina Wren Press is proud to sponsor a scholarship to the 2016 North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference for a talented writer of color. The scholarship winner will receive registration for the Fall Conference, a 30-page manuscript critique from Carolina Wren Press editor and director Robin Miura, and will have the chance to meet Donna Miscolta, author of the forthcoming Bakwin Award−winning story collection Hola and Goodbye: Una Familia in Stories. To apply, send your current CV or résumé and a statement of writing intent—describing your background and goals as a writer—to Robin Miura at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carolina Wren Press publishes quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. Their authors include Chantel Acevedo, Quinn Dalton, and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green.

At the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference, Robin Miura, editor at Carolina Wren Press, will serve as a Manuscript Mart reviewer. Robin manages and edits the Lee Smith Novel Prize and the Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman. She has edited many different kinds of books during her sixteen-year publishing career, first as a production editor for Oxford University Press and then as a freelance editor for individual authors and for publishers including Algonquin Books, Duke University Press, and River’s Edge Media, among others. She now works mainly with fiction and memoir. She is also one of the founding editors of the online magazine South Writ Large (www.southwritlarge.com).

Robin will also sit on the popular Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion, "Agents & Editors," on Sunday morning, along with Michelle Brower, Emma Patterson, and Kathy Pories.

Register for Fall Conference now at www.ncwriters.org.

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

 

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, Clare Beams, author of the forthcoming story collection We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books, 2016), will teach the fiction class, "Ending Well: Short Story Endings and Their Lessons."

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

Flannery O'Connor contended that the key to a short story’s success is “an action or a gesture which was both totally right and totally unexpected; it would have to be one that was both in character and beyond character; it would have to suggest both the world and eternity.” Because the weight of these demands often falls on a story’s ending, discovering the right way to end is among the most difficult of a fiction writer’s tasks. Through reading and discussion of brief published pieces, and using a short exercise or two, we’ll explore some of the hallmarks of the great short-story ending: that combination of surprise and inevitability that feels final but never, ever neat. Please bring the last page of a draft of a story you’ve written; you’ll be examining this page with fresh eyes to discover how your ending is working, how it could work even better, and how the flaws in your ending can help you recognize earlier flaws in your story and understand how to address them.

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

"Be patient. With the world's response to your writing, but especially with your writing itself. It needs more time than you're expecting—and more work—to become what you want it to be."

Clare Beams is the author of the forthcoming story collection We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books, 2016). Her stories appear in One Story, n+1, Ecotone, The Common, Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and have received special mention in The Best American Short Stories 2013 and The Pushcart Prize XXXV. She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and currently blogs for Ploughshares. After teaching high school English for six years in Falmouth, Massachusetts, she moved with her husband and daughter to Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing at Saint Vincent College and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches by Renea Winchester

Mercer University Press
$21.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-881465044
September, 2014
Nonfiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Tucked behind a magnolia tree on a busy Georgia road is a magical place—a simple country farm, unchanged by time. On this little strip of land, chickens scratch greetings and goats bleat hello. Sweet yellow corn grows tall, and curly bean vines reach for the sky. A burly tractor and a fifty-year-old Chevy wait inside the shed, ready for action. For 82-year-old Billy Albertson, his farm reflects a time before folks were hurried, or technology ruled our lives. Families grew gardens and feasted on fresh vegetables, adults spent time on front porches comparing stories, and children scampered barefoot through the grass waiting their turn at the hand-cranked ice cream freezer. Spending time with friends on the farm is Billy's life. Here you don't have to be a gardener or blood kin to be family.

Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches is rich with local history. Filled with stories about visits from neighbors, friends, and visitors from as far away as Puerto Rico, Farming captures the best part of the South . . . the small-town community feel that still exists if you take the time to find it. Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches is chocked full of easy-to-follow recipes and tips that will benefit both the inexperienced and veteran gardener. In short, it is a love letter, a Southern-Style “Thank You” to the people who make this area one of the best places in the world to call home.

Renea Winchester is the daughter of Appalachia. She is passionate about literacy and growing heritage flowers and vegetables. She rescues flowers from development and distributes them throughout the community. She grows her great-grandfather’s heritage corn and personally grinds it into cornmeal. Recently she raised money to help preserve the historic Monteith Farmhouse in Dillsboro, NC. Her writing has won many awards including the Wilma Dykeman Appalachian Heritage, and the Denny Plattner award. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned a nomination for the prestigious Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance Award. Farming features discussion questions for book clubs.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, award-winning author Eleanora E. Tate will teach a course on writing fiction for children titled "Don’t Pull the Plug on Your Character's Life Support "

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

In this workshop for writers primarily of middle grade fiction, Eleanora will offer attendees techniques to use to help resuscitate dreary, boring, ailing, languishing characters. During her years of critiquing manuscripts for the North Carolina Writers’ Network and other writing organizations and institutions, she's read hundreds of aspiring writers ’ manuscripts. Though the plots were feasible, the conflict worthy, the setting admirable, and the point of view workable, the main character (and thus the writer) was unable to carry the story forward to resolution because that character was too weak, uninteresting, or just downright pitiful. Attendees should be prepared to discuss problems they're having with their main character by bringing a one-page excerpt /scene with their character in action. Eleanora will also share insights about some other literary weaknesses she's found over the years and how to try to remedy them.

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

"Back in my green salad days, I neglected to sufficiently learn definitions of voice, point of view, story arc, and many other terms of literary craft. Maybe that was because I’d sat through boring junior high, high school, and freshman English classes where the study of craft was by slogging through equally boring short stories and books. Nor did I take the time to learn how to apply them accurately enough to my work. This was hard work!

"I preferred to just write. People said what I wrote was good, so that was enough for me. It wasn’t good enough to get my stories published without extensive editorial direction, however. The result was that I wasted hours fruitlessly revising my writing—fruitlessly because I didn’t know what look for to revise. My short stories were known for my settings and my characters, but writing pages of useless sensory description and honoring characters who had 'authentic' voices and no personality didn’t make for good writing, either. Character traits were important. A character has flaws, is never perfect, with enough appealing qualities that readers will be sympathetic to his or her (or even its) peril, and keep reading.

"In my early days I attended a gazillion conferences (International Black Writers Conference with poet Gwendolyn Brooks; Broadside Press Festival of Writing with founder Dudley Randall; Children’s Defense Fund Children’s Book Roundtables with scores of nationally known black writers like Joyce Hansen, Mildred Pitts Walter, Walter Dean Myers, illustrator Tom Feelings; along with the annual International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, and more). But a particular Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Middlebury, Vermont, which I attended one year as a children’s literature Fellow comes to mind. There I sat in awe as such notable writers as Erica Jong, Tim O’Brien, John Irving, Paul Thoreau, and many other writers voiced thoughts about their stories using literary phrases I’d never heard of. Well, yes, I’d heard of them (ahem, back in high school and college) but hadn’t much paid attention. Psychic distance? What in the world did that mean?

"After years of being with sometimes gentle, often aggravated editors, I finally realized that I needed to do my homework—acquire knowledge about definitions and techniques of craft, and then more skillfully apply them to my work. Simple enough. Well, not so much, but necessary. Now with twelve books, numerous short stories, and years of teaching creative writing and children’s literature under my ample belt, I can give the following advice to today’s writers: absorb basic meanings of as many literary terms as you can (refresh yourself, if necessary), then read like a writer to learn to recognize how other writers illustrate these elements of craft in their work. That’s how you’ll learn so that you can write 'mo better' too. It’s impossible to apply ALL techniques of craft to your writing, but you’ll surely employ some. Your stories, poems essays, and books will be the better for it. Mine are."

Eleanora E. Tate has conducted creative writing workshops in schools, community centers, for SCBWI, and in libraries and universities for children and adults for over forty years. A NCWN critiquer, NCWN conference workshop leader, and former NCWN board member, she’s the author of twelve novels for young readers. Her book Just an Overnight Guest was adapted into an acclaimed television film. In 2015, Tate was honored by the North Carolina Museum of History and the Wake County Library system for her contributions to children’s literature. The South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate previously cited her for her literary and community activism. Her books have been on numerous state children’s book reading lists over the years. She’s a Zora Neale Hurston Award recipient, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc., of which she is a former national president. She was also named to the organization’s “Esteemed Elders Circle.” Visit her website: www.eleanoraetate.com.

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

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

 

 

My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible by Gregg Cusick

Livingston Press
$17.95, paperback / $30.00, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1604891393
October, 2014
Fiction: Short Stories
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Gregg Cusick's prose reaches a zenith few fiction writers ever achieve: the ability to make the reader ponder both the internal and external intricacies of the human condition."
—Lorian Hemingway, author of Walk on Water

"My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible is the most rewarding collection of new fiction I have read in years."
—Lee Smith, author of Fair and Tender Ladies

"I want to own the space-time continuum clock that ticks inside Gregg Cusick's brain.... This is one fine collection of smart, irresistible stories, written by a brilliant storyteller."
—George Singleton, author of Between Wrecks

A small town suicide ripples through the lives of a series of acquaintances. An aging professor wavers before his class while reliving the sinking of his WWII troopship where hundreds perished. A middle-aged woman confronts her dying abuser of thirty years before. And in the title story, an old man recalls his boyhood view of his own father and the great rigid airship Shenandoah that passed over hours before its dramatic crash. In all the stories in this debut collection, ordinary, yet remarkable individuals face common human challenges in original, often surprising ways.

Over the years, Gregg Cusick has supported his writing habit through work as a furniture mover, English teacher, paralegal, construction worker, retail manager, among others. His fiction has appeared in more than two dozen journals and has won numerous awards, including the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and The Florida Review Editor’s Prize, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He holds a Master’s in English/Creative Writing from North Carolina State University and lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he bartends and tutors literacy. He can be contacted at greggcusick.com.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, poet and executive director of Bull City Press, Ross White, will teach the course "Grammar Gone Wild."

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

Are your stories existentially static? Are your poems lying flat on the line? Even though you know your subject matter is fantastic, sometimes you need a kick-start at the sentence level, a surgical strike on the syntax. In "Grammar Gone Wild," registrants will work through a series of exercises that will ask them to bend, twist, tie in knots, and finally break the rules of grammar to explore the kinetic energy inherent in their poetry and prose.

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

"A community of writers will be a life buoy, so cling to it. In the years since finishing my MFA, I’ve come to realize that when I was reading on my own, I was swimming in a wide sea of isolation, with a whole canon to navigate. The communities I’ve found through the Network, through my MFA program, and through local writers’ groups have held me up when I began to tire, and they’ve also provided the star maps and sextants that have guided me through that sea and helped me find the ocean—the many poets the canon hasn’t quite expanded to include, like Anna Akhmatova and Yehuda Amachai, and contemporary poets who have most influenced me: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, David Rivard, Vievee Francis, Dilruba Ahmed, and about a thousand others."

Ross White is the author of How We Came Upon the Colony and The Polite Society, both from Unicorn Press. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2012, New England Review, Poetry Daily, and The Southern Review, among others. He is the executive director of Bull City Press and teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staring the Red Earth Down by Brent Martin

Red Bird Chapbooks
$12.00, paperback
January, 2014
Poetry
Available from the publisher

“Staring the red earth down,” Brent Martin writes at the end of his poem “Man Pulling Cable”—it’s what “the spectral mountains” where he lives and writes in the Southern Appalachians, do. At the end of another, “the hand fades quickly with moisture and light.” Between these two lines lies a breadth and depth of reach, in insight, perception and feeling—all enfolded in a keen sense of place entwined with peoples’ lives; an entanglement of a land and its people—often troubled, misused, forgotten, but where “songs buried now silent, / but [still are] willing and begging to be sung.”

Stopped and waiting in line along a mountain highway by a road crew laying cable, all disgusted in their tedious work “cursing their elsewhere version of a future” except for one man grappling the cable “strong and satisfied,” as if trying to birth “some breeched infernal new world,” the poet notices what looks down in judgement on all this: “the spectral mountains / staring the red earth down.”

An old woman watches television in “her beat up house trailer/ the home old man Passmore built / next door sinking into the weeds” as the poet wanders her winter fields looking for pot shards—remnants of a lost past. In town a homeless man sells weeds, bouquets of common clover he’s pulled from cracks in the sidewalk, holding out a bouquet “so delicately he could be holding a baby,” saying “this one is called Everyday People.”

Walking old Indian mounds, two friends recite together Robinson Jeffers’ defiant poem “Shine, Perishing Republic,” “his hand slapping my back for emphasis, / where water now flows in rivulets / down upon the abandoned rail lines...” Such poems take us lovingly to a place most of us already know within ourselves—the place where we struggle to come to terms with circumstances of loss, impending change, a world in the harsh throes of modernity, and yet, unaccountably, still nascent with hope.

Poem after poem teases out the worn places in the heart, the patches sewn in for repair with the broken threads that connect us to a truth echoing always in the land. Even in an airport, one of the most placeless and alienating places on earth, the stranded poet, in “The Love Trial of Virgie Arthur,” finds respite gazing at an ubiquitous tv monitor watching CNN while outside “...starlings fight for scraps / on the empty winter runway.”

Downriver

The Ferryman tells me to fish downriver,
the crusty bastard, standing on his porch
cursing everything upstream.

He curses the town a while,
then he curses its conservative
church going citizens,

and as he is waving like the Queen
as I depart in my little red boat,
he tells me that Jimmy Sang

has been catching redeyes in the evening,
smallmouth in the afternoon.

You gotta Fish them v’s though, the spot where the water
funnels through them old fish weirs.

Old angry and happy ferryman
with your bright river rolling on
birthing your final somber days.

Downriver, he says again, downriver.
Fish them v’s and to hell with upstream.

This ferryman is a crotchety short-tempered descendant of Charon, resentful and cynical in his displacement from his mythical time—as we all are now in our “little red boat[s]” of what passes for modernity. The land, always the land—its mountains, its history, all speak together in these poems as a Greek chorus. Following the rich thematic strand of loss and redemption in Southern storytelling, they make clear how place is pivotal, how we are wedded to place whether we wish it or not, how it insists we must come to terms with where in particular we are, and that when we don’t nature maintains a voice to admonish us.

In “Snowbird” the poet lays out what is permitted to him to speak of in his daily work day life—“ecosystem resources,” and of what he is not—the sacredness of coyote bones that lay claim upon this place “as legitimate as the stains of cities / which line the mountain’s brow.”

Romantic poetry brought forth nature poetry in the nineteenth century, and blossomed in the late twentieth century into ecopoetics. It is a long tradition now. It has always maintained a critique of modernity. Mr. Martin’s work brings an important contribution to this literature of bringing us intimately close to the crisis of our time—the ecotone, the edge habitat between our human lives and culture and the nature that makes a place for us. As such they are deeply political and moral. Through these poems an important collaborating voice comes forth to sing a song “willing and begging to be sung.” It is the way Mitchell Lick speaking “in splintered tongues of white” makes irrelevant the language of “ecosystem services” and such human talk finally “fades quickly with moisture and light.”

Brent Martin is a writer, folk artist, historian, and Southeast Regional Director for The Wilderness Society. His poems and essays have been published in the North Carolina Literary Review, Pisgah Review, Tar River Poetry, Eco Journal, Chattahoochee Review, and elsewhere. His work focuses on the people and land of his native south. Staring the Red Earth Down is his third book of poetry. He lives with his partner, singer-songwriter Angela-Faye Martin, in Western North Carolina's historic Cowee community.

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, novelist and director of LaVenson Press Studios, Zelda Lockhart, will teach the course "The Relationship Museum."

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

In this workshop participants produce raw material from the core of their experiences. Using Lockhart’s Relationship Museum writing exercise participants will quickly get into the creative zone and produce short poetry and prose rich in character/voice development and setting development. No previous writing experience is necessary. Participants will produce a short first draft of prose or small group of poems and walk away with an individualized writing tool that provides weeks of daily writing prompts that bring depth to character development and setting.

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

"I would tell young Zelda, 'Listen, you might as well get on with the business of revealing who you are through your art. There are clever tricks and slight of hand that might help you mask who you are in the art-making, but in the end, if you hide who you are, you'll end up with something with short-term appeal as opposed to something with long-term impact.'"

Zelda Lockart is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Expressive Art Therapies at Lesley University, holds an MA in Literature from Old Dominion University and a BA in English from Norfolk State University. She is author of award winning novels Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek, and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle. Her other works of fiction, poetry and essays can be found in anthologies, journals and magazines. Ms. Lockhart lives in Hillsborough, is Director of LaVenson Press Studios, and travels and lectures regularly. She s the Alumni Endowed Chair for Language and Literature at North Carolina Central University, and welcomes visits to her websites where you can follow her calendar of engagements: www.zeldalockhart.com and www.LaVensonPressStudios.com.

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

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

 

Don't Split the Pole: Tales of Down-Home Folk Wisdom by Eleanora E. Tate

iUniverse
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1- 4917-3267- 0
May, 2014
Fiction
Available at www.Amazon.com

Don't Split the Pole: Tales of Down-Home Folk Wisdom has been re-issued! These seven lively stories, based on popular sayings and proverbs, have their own unique spin and, according to Publishers Weekly in its starred review, "are unconventional and exuberant." These stories are for old and young, teachers, folklorists, storytellers, writers developing story technique, and anyone else looking for a good read.

To read an interview between Ms. Tate and author Tamera Will Wissinger, click here.

To read an interview between Ms. Tate and author Kelly Starling Lyons, click here.

Eleanora E. Tate is also the author of The Secret of Gumbo Grove; Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!; A Blessing in Disguise; The Minstrel's Melody; Front Porch Stories at the One-Room School; African American Musicians; Retold African Myths; To Be Free; and Celeste's Harlem Renaissance. Her book Just an Overnight Guest was adapted into an award-winning television film. She has written numerous stories and essays for additional short story collections and magazines, including American Girl and Scholastic Storyworks. She is on the faculty of the Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) Creative Writing Program in its masters degree seeking program "Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults." Her latest essay, "Harking Back to Hargett Street," joins twenty-six other North Carolina writers in the popular anthology Twenty-seven Views of Raleigh (Eno Publishers, 2013).

RALEIGH—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6 in Raleigh, sci-fi novelist and owner of Sharkflight Publshing, Ian J. Malone, will teach the course "Beyond Vanity: How Indie Publishing Builds Professional Writers."

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

Independent Publishing can be the gateway to total liberation for a writer’s career. Just ask Andy Weir, author of a little book called The Martian. It can also see hours of work and dedication go completely unrewarded. While there is no clear-cut path to the former, it is easier for an author to get published today than ever before…and miracles do happen. This class will teach aspiring authors how to navigate the publishing process and take their book to market, while teaching them the skills they need to write and effectively market their books. Both of these are skills that agents look for, bringing a traditional publishing deal that much closer to reality. And who knows? Maybe you sign a multi-million-dollar movie deal along the way.

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

"Write a thousand words a day, six days a week, no matter what. Even if they're garbage, doesn't matter. Just write, and they won't be for long. "

Ian J. Malone is the author of the sci-fi/space opera series, The Mako Saga, and owner of Durham-based Sharkflight Publishing. A graduate of Florida State University, he’s written in a number of arenas ranging from public health to news and sports. When it comes to his fictional work, however, Malone credits his tenures in radio, law enforcement, and the military for much of his thematic inspiration, plus the legion of family and friends who’ve stood with him along the way. Beyond writing, Malone is an avid fan of audiobooks and music, though it’s also not uncommon to find him at a beach, a ball field, or somewhere by a grill. Malone presently resides in the Bull City with his wife, son, and their two dogs—but he’ll always be a “Florida boy” at heart. For more on him and his books, visit him online at www.ianjmalone.net.

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

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

 

 

The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan

Sourcebooks
$24.99, hardcover / $13.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-492603832
August, 2014
Fiction: Historical
Available at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"A thoughtful look at a turning point in world history... Helen is a sympathetic and complicated main character. Her strengths and weaknesses keep the reader's attention, making this a worthwhile read."
Kirkus

"Reminiscent of Jacqueline Winspear's Maise Dobbs books without the mystery, this novel explores the complications involved when war becomes personal. Jordan builds empathetic characters and an intriguing story."
Library Journal

"Love in a time of war....surely there is no more compelling or romantic theme in all of literature Yet this fine debut novel appeals to the brain as well as the heart. Allegra Jordan brings us historical fiction at its best."
—Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Guests on Earth and The Last Girls

In this enthralling story of love, loss, and divided loyalties, two students fall in love on the eve of WWI and must face a world at war—from opposing sides.

Cambridge, MA, 1914: Helen Windship Brooks, the precocious daughter of the prestigious Boston family, is struggling to find herself at the renowned Harvard-Radcliffe university when carefree British playboy, Riley Spencer, and his brooding German poet-cousin, Wils Brandl, burst into her sheltered world. As Wils quietly helps the beautiful, spirited Helen navigate Harvard, they fall for each other against a backdrop of tyrannical professors, intellectual debates, and secluded boat rides on the Charles River.

But with foreign tensions mounting and the country teetering on the brink of World War I, German-born Wils finds his future at Harvard—and in America—increasingly in danger. When both cousins are called to fight on opposing sides of the same war, Helen must decide if she is ready to fight her own battle for what she loves most.

Based on the true story behind a mysterious and controversial World War I memorial at this world-famous university, The End of Innocence sweeps readers from the elaborate elegance of Boston's high society to Harvard's hallowed halls to Belgium's war-ravaged battlefields, offering a powerful and poignant vision of love and hope in the midst of a violent, broken world.

Allegra Jordan is an author and innovation consultant. She led marketing at USAToday.com, handled crisis communications for the Enron investigation, co-developed a Google Glass app, and has taught innovation in sixteen countries on five continents. Her articles, cases, and book reviews have appeared in USA Today, TEDx, and in publications by Duke, Harvard, and UT-Austin. She curates a top-ranked reconciliation poetry website. A graduate with honors of Harvard Business School, she has been named a top executive under 40 in Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Alabama. The End of Innocence is her debut novel. (Formerly HARVARD 1914, the work was acquired by Sourcebooks, edited, and new material added.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Steal Away by Shelby Stephenson

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

An intimate, tender and lyrical chapbook that looks back at a childhood, where friendship, family, and slavery intersect. These poems ponder the conflicted emotions, from joy to sorrow, that come from meditating on one’s legacy.

Shelby Stephenson is a 2014 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. He has published many collections of poems, plus the poetic documentary Plankhouse (with photos by Roger Manley). Shelby is former editor of Pembroke Magazine. His Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, judged by Allen Grossman. Stephenson’s latest collection, The Hunger of Freedom (2014), is from Red Dashboard (www.reddashboard.com). Shelby's website is Shelbystephenson.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How We Came Upon the Colony by Ross White

Unicorn Press
$10, paperback / $18, hardcover
ISBN: 0-87775-932-4
October, 2014
Poetry
Available from the publisher

“This is one of the most substantial chapbooks I’ve ever read. In only seventeen poems, Ross White guides his readers to a colony of the imagination—a world of vivid and coolly unsettling words—that is timeless yet contemporary, specific in detail yet mysterious in design, paradisiacal yet troubled. He is a poet of great intelligence and wit and precision, and he commands an impressive range of forms and modes while sustaining a lucid unity of tone and voice. How We Came Upon the Colony is a powerful, darkly funny, refreshingly un-self-centered, humane, and deeply satisfying work from one of our very best young writers and editors.”
—Michael McFee, author of That Was Oasis and The Smallest Talk

How We Came Upon the Colony asks just what histories rest in the background. It further interrogates the hierarchies of those histories. In reading this book we are travelers moving through eras and between various sites of cultural confrontation, from Rome to the Caribbean to the public schools of North Carolina where we are met with commentary from the Patron Saint of Teachers and Singers to the Colonial Governor of the Bahamas. White is a writer who doesn’t just value his own story, but can connect the personal to the collective in a way that illuminates both. Noting, ‘What care we take not to disturb the albatross,’ White then goes on to ruffle the antique feathers of a bird that in our narratives takes on the sojourner’s longings and woes like a sin eater. If this book is any indication, we can expect White to continue to write poems that soothe and rile and ultimately provide us with a numinous experience. How curious that in maturity the albatross is compelled to return to its colony of origin. White in this compassionate and compelling premiere looks bravely back to draw us forward.”
—Vievee Francis, author of Horse in the Dark and Blue-Tail Fly

Ross White’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2012, New England Review, Poetry Daily, and The Southern Review, among others. With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series (Bull City Press, 2012). He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers and has received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeding the Light by Jaki Shelton Green

Jacar Press
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-989795234
July, 2014
Poetry
Available from the publisher

“Rooted in hypnagogic logic and deeply seated in the tradition of Jayne Cortez, Quincy Troupe, and Ntozake Shange, Jaki Shelton Green’s verse narratives pay homage to the orphic ethos of the mythmaking South with all the viscous verve of Van Gogh with a palette of syllables, images, and words blurring through our senses like the thick, sleek wax of magnolia leaves. Her images conjure cultural beauty from a world-weary—yet ecstatic—kaleidoscopic lens while sustaining a pained relevance that serves up love from every angle of human anguish: the forced marriage of a child bride; memories of grandmothers and mentors, praiseworthy and proud. In Feeding the Light, Jaki Shelton Green captivates with a global vision. Her poems are totems and tomes; they are percussive, convulsive, and constructive.”
—Tony Medina, author of Broke Baroque, The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems, and An Onion of Wars

Jaki Shelton Green is a writer and activist. She received the North Carolina Award for Poetry in 2003. She has published four books of poetry through Carolina Wren Press: Dead on Arrival (1977, and reprinted in 1983 and 1996), Conjure Blues (1996), singing a tree into dance (2003), and Breath of the Song: New and Selected Poems (2005). Her works have been choreographed and performed by many renowned dance companies. She is a lifelong human services advocate; she has worked with Legal Services, and on issues such as domestic violence. She is an advocate for women, children and the mentally ill. Additionally, she has used poetry and art as a healing and empowerment tool for disenfranchised populations such as the homeless, the newly literate, and incarcerated women. She was the 2009 Piedmont Laureate, and lives in Mebane.

She will be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Committee on Town Happiness by Alan Michael Parker

Dzanc Books
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1938103803
June, 2014
Fiction
Available at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Smart and funny and oddly touching and ravishingly beautiful, The Committee on Town Happiness is typical of Alan Michael Parker in effect but sui generis in form. Some will think of this as a collection of cutting-edge stories. Some will see it as a kind of pointillist novel. Whatever. It’s a work of narrative genius."
—Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"Alan Michael Parker’s inventive and deeply felt novel touches on both the absurdity and sublimity of small town life. These ninety-nine linked stories skip from funny to sad and back again with brilliant economy and deadpan wit."
—Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation

"These ninety-nine stories are 99 percent heartbreaking. The Committee on Town Happiness is also hilarious, beautiful, bold. I love Alan Michael Parker's mythic kindness and vision."
—Kate Bernheimer, author of Horse, Flower, Bird

The Committee on Town Happiness consists of ninety-nine linked stories about disappearing townsfolk. Air balloons are launched to search for the missing, galas proliferate, laws are imposed ad absurdum, and a guerilla group forms as the Committee shapes the future of small-town America in this biting examination of modern bureaucracy.

Alan Michael Parker will lead the workshop, "Where Am I in History? The Poet’s Dilemma" at the NCWN 2014 Fall Conference. He is the author of eight collections of poems, including his most recent, Long Division, which won the 2012 North Carolina Book Award. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, the 2013 and 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition Awards, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His 2011 novel, Whale Man, was shortlisted for the 2011 ForeWord Reviews' "Book of the Year Award" in the category of Literary Fiction. He is also the author of the novel Cry Uncle. Since 1998, he has taught at Davidson College, where he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 2007; in 2012, he was named Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English. He also teaches in the University of Tampa Low-Residency M.F.A. program, where he works with graduate student writers in both poetry and fiction. He lives in Davidson with his wife, the artist Felicia van Bork, and her Pecha Kucha alter ego, Candi Parker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma by S. Kelley Harrell

Soul Intent Arts, LLC
$16.95, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0986016516
September, 2012
Memoir, Healing
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"In this book, that hunger and fear that nibbled and clawed at you and me for years is explained in poetic, experiential detail. Harrell guides us into our own souls, turning the “whys” into wise."
—Bridgett Walther, author of Conquer the Cosmos

"Harrell draws you into the dreamtime as an expert novelist draws you into a great novel and shares with you her experiences and knowledge of the world beyond the veil from the time she was very young."
Innerchange Magazine

With a foreward by shaman Christina Pratt, in the revised second edition of this fantastical memoir, Kelley Harrell chronicles a modern shamanic journey from pain, to healing and accepting a calling to work as a soul healer of others. Groundbreaking at the time of its first publication in 2004, still no other modern shamanic work shares an experience of soul healing told from within the shamanic narrative, bringing relatable and credible insight to contemporary soul healing. Through that rare glimpse into her experiences traversing the spirit world, Harrell’s story becomes the reader’s adventure. Not always easy to read, there are unflinching passages examining hurtful childhood memories, confrontations with overzealous spirit guides, and challenging personal obstacles she must overcome in order to heal.

Kelley Harrell is an author and neoshaman in North Carolina. Her shamanic practice is Soul Intent Arts. She writes for The Huffington Post, and since 2004 has written the syndicated column, "Intentional Insights: Q&A from Within," addressing reader inquiries on animism, shamanism, and the everyday paranormal.

A lifelong intuitive, since 1998, Kelley has addressed the spiritual needs of her local and international community. Through her shamanic practice she has established The Tribe of the Modern Mystic, to support and mentor intuitives experiencing trauma as they grow into powerful abilities, and to provide shamanic community support for personal spiritual development. Her practice comprises teaching classes, in-person and distance Mystery School, mentoring, healing, and ceremonial artistry in the community. Her website is www.kelleyharrell.com.

Enjoy the book along with the Gift of the Dreamtime: Reader's Companion on www.kelleyharrell.com and Amazon. Learn more about Kelley at www.facebook.com/s.kelleyharrell?ref=ts, and stay updated on her practice at www.soulintentarts.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a Grip: Parenting Tips I Wish I'd Known Then That You Can Know Now by Robin Banks

Robo Press
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615662282
August, 2012
Parenting
Available at www.Amazon.com

In Get a Grip: Parenting Tips I Wish I'd Known Then That You Can Know Now, Robin Banks strikes out to change the generational cycles that go back to Eden in which preparation for parenthood was, if anything, an afterthought.

Think of her, a neighborhood mom, as the universal cheerleader for preparation before the sperm-egg collision, an event that veteran parents know catpults would-be parents into a dramatic, lifestyle change where the relative calm of a pre-baby existence vanishes like a perp at a crime scene in the daily whirlwind of family living.

Through anecdotes, Banks peels back in plain view successes and mistakes she and her husband experienced as they struggled through the deep waters of family demands. Presenting her family on the big screen in HD, she wins the reader's trust with a weathered wisdom gained from twenty-five years of parenting children at home that is conveyed through her wry humor and friendly approach. By replacing ignorance with knowledge, her wish is for future, and new parents too, to have an easier life that reduces the stress and frustration that often push parents to their knees either in prayer or apoplexy. This is the one book that provides a head start for future parents and a jumpstart for new parents.

Robin Banks was born in Gastonia, North Carolina. She is a retired Spanish teacher, wife of thirty-eight years, mother of three adult children, and grandmother to her two "adorables," Sophia, six years old and Lincoln, three.

When she is not writing, she spends much of her time visiting them in Arlington, Virginia, participating in Bible studies, and traveling with friends. For twenty-five years during which time her children were in school, from kindergarten through high school, she was active either in the PTA or the PTO. She participated in every job from being the president of those organizations to chairing fundraisers and heading up or serving on various school and community committees. As she likes to say, she danced every dance and enjoyed every minute. During this time when Robin was in the throes of rearing her family of one husband, three children, two dogs, multiple stray cats, assorted tropical fish, a pink and a blue Easter chick, a token rodent, and seasonal hermit crabs, she had little idea what she was doing.

She is a passionate writer who brings to the forefront of parenting the need to change the generational cycles of the past in which would-be parents did not prepare for parenthood to a new generational cycle where young people thinking of having a family prepare well before the first baby leaves the hospital, that is, before life dramatically changes forever. Ten years after her last child left home for college, she has proven to be the real deal, a neighborhood mom who writes frankly about her family when children lived at home, so the next generation can know from the outset what she did not know when she first became pregnant. Now a baby boomer on the far side of day to day parenting, she has written Get a Grip: Parenting Tips I Wish I'd Known Then That You Can Know Now in which she gains her reader's trust with a weathered wisdom conveyed through her warm, friendly approach and wry humor, evident not only in this book but in its future sequel as well, Get a Grip II.

Her website is www.robingunterbanks.com.

Taking Flight: 2012 edited by Carol Roan and Susan Williamson

Winston-Salem Writers
$12.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-93570862
September, 2012
Anthology
Available at Barnhill's Books or www.wswriters.org

Taking Flight: 2012 is Winston-Salem Writers' second anthology and includes the seventeen winners of the three open contests for 2012: Anthology, 10-Minute Play, and Essay. All entries were judged blind by experts living in the North Carolina Piedmont: Malaika King Albrecht for Poetry; Andrea Brill for Creative Nonfiction; Sheryl Monks for Short Story; Chris Roerden for Flash Fiction; Robert Moyer and Grace Ellis for the 10-Minute Play; and Carol Roan and Susan Williamson for the Essay.

The Internet dating eponym of Robin Chalkley's "Gotta Be Bobby G." finds himself a suspect; Robert Vorsteg's "Longevity of Transient Things" evokes the delicacy of dusting snow; a hospice nurse discovers a comforting presence in Kimberly Condon's "Approaching Death"; a young girl spends a roller-coaster day with her grandmother in "Clara," by Barbara Engler Buskirk. On the evening of its first reading, Charles "LC" Fiore's "The Pit" was described as "the dyslexic agnostic's dilemma: is there a dog?"

Contributors also include North Carolina Writers' Network members Edwin Bouldin (Short Story) and Richard Krawiec (10-Minute Play).

Winston-Salem Writers is a group of writers who write fiction, nonfiction, plays, and poetry, and who care about the art and craft of writing. They offer programs, workshops, critique groups, open mic nights, web-based writing, contests, and writers’ nights out, as well as a weekly newsletter. They welcome writers and poets at any stage of their art—from beginner to published author—and they welcome non-members to their meetings, contests, and newsletter. Their website is www.wswriters.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop Dead on Recall by Sheila Webster Boneham

Midnight Ink
$14.99, paperback
ISBN 978-0738733067
October, 2012
Mystery
Available for pre-order at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

When a top-ranked competitor keels over at a dog obedience trial, photographer Janet MacPhail is swept up in a maelstrom of suspicion, jealousy, cut-throat competition, death threats, pet-napping, and murder. She becomes a “person of interest” to the police, and apparently to major hunk Tom Saunders as well. As if murder and the threat of impending romance aren’t enough to drive her bonkers, Janet has to move her mother into a nursing home, and the old lady isn’t going quietly. Janet finds solace in her Australian Shepherd, Jay, her tabby cat, Leo, and her eccentric neighbor, Goldie Sunshine. Then two other “persons of interest” die, Jay’s life is threatened, Leo disappears, and Janet’s search for the truth threatens to leave her own life underdeveloped—for good.

Sheila Webster Boneham is the award-winning author of Drop Dead on Recall, the first book in the Animals in Focus mystery series, and seventeen nonfiction books about animals, including the highly regarded Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals. Six of Sheila's books have been named best in their categories by the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association, and several others have been finalists in the groups' annual competitions. Sheila also writes narrative nonfiction and poetry, and teaches writing classes and workshops around the country.

More about the book, and Sheila, at www.sheilaboneham.com/fiction.html, or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheilawrites or Twitter @sheilaboneham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Fried Lies by Susan Snowden

Archer Hill Publishing
$16.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9853301-0-1
August, 2012
Fiction
Available from bookstores and www.Amazon.com

Told in the clear, strong voice of Sarah Claiborne, a precocious teenager who reads Kafka and Camus, Southern Fried Lies is the story of a well-to-do Atlanta family in crisis.

The Claibornes appear picture-perfect: Edward, a successful architect; Catherine, active in the church and community; four model children. But life at “Tara” is not what it seems. Catherine’s sole focus has always been her oldest son, Ben; it is as if her other offspring and husband are invisible. When Ben suddenly moves away and refuses to communicate with his mother, Sarah becomes the target of Catherine’s wrath. Her father is too busy to help, and when Catherine’s behavior threatens the safety of all her children, Sarah takes on the task of “fixing” her.

The novel is set in Atlanta and New Orleans in the early 1960s.

An Atlanta native, Susan Snowden has lived in the Asheville area since 1995. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A grant from the NC Arts Council supported this project. Her website is www.snowdeneditorial.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepytime: A Mercy Johnson Novel by Reita Pendry

Laurel Springs Publishing
$11.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-0983954323
June, 2012
Mystery
Available at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Sleepy LeBlanc suffers from a sleep disorder, narcolepsy, which causes him to sleep at the wrong times and in the wrong places. When he falls asleep in the men’s dressing room of a department store, surrounded by clothing with price tags still on, he is arrested and charged with burglary. His uptown lawyer refuses to explain his condition at his trial, and he is wrongly convicted.

In prison, he is assigned to the work crew. The crew boss allows him to sleep on the prison bus. One day he is awakened by a guard, who tells him that the crew boss has been murdered and the prisoners have all escaped. So begins his worst nightmare—the FBI agent assigned to investigate the prison guard’s murder believes Sleepy knows about the crime.

He is trying to make a career leap, and to use Sleepy to get up the ladder. If he can solve the prison guard’s murder, he can relocate out of the southern region, and get closer to his home in New York city.

Once the escaped prisoners are caught, they set about to silence Sleepy. The code of silence is enforced with threats against Sleepy’s family, and with attempts to burn his cell and poison him. Sleepy is ensnared in the political ambitions of the FBI agent and the fears of the prison gang of a murder prosecution. Sleepy’s best friend in prison, his ex-wife, and a young prison psychologist work to save him. His sleep disorder proves to be both a curse and a tool to gain his freedom.

Reita Pendry was born in the mountains of North Carolina and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law and worked for three years in Winston-Salem before moving to the District of Columbia. She practiced law in Washington, D.C. for twenty-five years. For twenty of those years, she was a criminal defense attorney. She now lives and works in Charlotte, where her family resides. She is the author of another Mercy Johnson novel, China White.

The Burning of Isobel Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Burning of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel

BrightFish Press
$14.95 paperback, $2.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0615684680
October, 2012
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Available at your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

View the trailer!

When Lou travels to Scotland, she’s a mess. She’s twenty-six, unemployed, and unsure of herself. It doesn’t help that she’s traveling with Tammy, her best friend, who is everything Lou is not.

At first, the trip pushes Lou towards the brink of depression, but then she meets Brian, a handsome local tour guide. When Brian tells the tourists about the countless witches burned in Scotland, Lou starts to listen. And when she discovers information about Isobel Key, one of the victims of the seventeenth century, Lou finds renewed purpose.

Lou has begun exploring the Neo Pagan faith, a dramatic shift from her wealthy Catholic upbringing. Despite her fears of being too “hocus pocusy”, Lou turns to her new faith as she struggles to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of Isobel Key. Lou must face her demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @ProDeaWriter and at her blog: www.jennifermcconnel.wordpress.com.

Hats Off! to former North Carolina poet laureate Joseph Bathanti whose memoir Half of What I Say Is Meaningless is reviewed in Southern Literary Review. Reviewer Frederick Parker says, "Bathanti’s is a powerful storytelling style that endears and captivates, disarming skeptics and moving them squarely into his camp."

 

Hats Off! to Edith Pearlman and Michael White who were both longlisted for the 2015 National Book Awards. Edith, who gave the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference, had her novel Honeydew longlisted in the Fiction category. Michael's memoir Travels in Vermeer was longlisted in the Nonfiction category.

 

Hats Off! to Allison Freeman whose short story "Closets" appears online at Juked.

 

Hats Off! to Charisse Coleman whose unpublished memoir A Bad Goodbye: Reckoning the Aftermath of Murder has been shortlisted for Stillhouse Press's Mary Roberts Rinehart Nonfiction Award.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams who won Second Place in the Fiction category in the 2015 On the Same Page Literary Festival Writer’s Competition for her short story “Paved Streets, Beautiful Lots."

Hats Off! to Janet Hartman whose essay "The Winds of Change" has been selected for the anthology Chicken Soup for the Soul, Think Possible: 101 Stories about Using a Positive Attitude to Improve Your Life, due in bookstores October 6. This is the seventh time they have published her work.

 

Hats Off! to Margaret Steiner of Asheville whose short story "They" won First Place in the 2015 On the Same Page Literary Festival Writer’s Competition.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Leaves" will appear as part of the Winston-Salem Writers Poetry in Plain Sight Bus Project in the fourth quarter this year. Also, her poems "Languid, Luscious Lemons" and "Happy Together" are forthcoming from Silver Birch Press as part of their Sweet Word and Songs projects, respectively.

 

Hats Off! to Chris Roerden of the Triad, who will be among the many North Carolina authors celebrating the South's first hosting of the world's largest mystery book convention, Bouchercon 2015, October 8-11, in Raleigh. Chris will moderate the panel "Acorns Nurtured Here: The Talent, Past, Present & Future." Panelists include Leslie Budewitz, incoming president of the international organization Sisters in Crime, Triangle; authors Ruth Moose and Karen Pullen; and Virginia author Alan Orloff. Chris, am NCWN member and book editor, is the author of the Agatha Award winner Don't Murder Your Mystery and the Benjamin Franklin Award winner Don't Sabotage Your Submission. She has taught writing at three universities, in South Korea for UNESCO, and led more than 350 writers' workshops throughout the US and Canada.

 

Hats Off! to Sheila Bolt Rudesill of Pittsboro whose essay "A Flash of Blue" claimed Third Place in the 2015 Hard Times Writing Contest sponsored by The Writers' Workshop.

 

Hats Off! to Kat Bodrie whose poem "A Found Thing" appears in Baby Lawn Weekly. Her short story "Suzanne Attends Her First AA Meeting" will be published in Pilcrow & Dagger's August/September issue, and in November, her poem "After Close Study" will appear in Slim Volume's anthology This Body I Live In.

 

Hats Off! to Jacinta White and Janet Joyner whose poems were featured this August in the Camel City Dispatch Sunday Arts & Entertainment Section as part of the "Sunday Poetry" series.

 

Hats Off! to the contest winners featured in KAKALAK 2015: Kelly Lenox (2nd Place, Poetry) and Carrah Lee Royal (Honorable Mention, Poetry) and Beth Browne and Lynne Tanner (Honorable Mentions, Art). KAKALAK is an annual publication of poetry and art by North and South Carolina writers and artists. The journal is edited by Beth Ann Cagle, Anne Kaylor, Richard Allen Taylor, and Lisa Zerkle.

 

Hats Off! to Laura T. Jensen whose short story "Summer Intern" appears in the anthology Reflections: Ultra Short Personal Narratives. Also, one of her short stories appears (alongside a story by NCWN member Caroline Taylor) in The Storyteller Magazine.

 

Letters from Korea Book 2

Letters from Korea: Legacy of Honor Book Two by Joan Leotta

Desert Breeze Publishing
$4.99, e-book
ASIN: B00E36EEPY
August, 2013
Fiction
Available from www.Amazon.com

Celebrates our veterans who severed in Korea and the people of the time who waited for them on the home front.

Gina has loved Sal since she was a girl. He thinks of her as a little sister—until just before he is sent to Korea. He writes regularly but his letters are full of news about a lovely Korean woman. Gina, on the home front, working in Pittsburgh’s Salk labs on the polio vaccine meets Matt, a young man who sends flowers, not just letters. A bomb in Korea, a treacherous attempt at theft at the labs and more are distractions in the path to true love for Sal and Gina.

As a writer and a performer Joan Leotta follows the same artistic vision. Creating on paper with pen, with light as pen through a camera, or onstage in performance, her artistic goal is always the same: to show the beauty of the ordinary and lift up her audience, encouraging others through pen and performance.

Leotta has been a journalist for many years. Upon retiring to Calabash, NC, she began sending out her poetry and fiction and has been blessed with some success, publishing books (fiction and nonfiction) and several short stories. Her blog is www.joanleotta.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now That I Think About It (Reflections of "Billy the Elder") by Bill Ramsey

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$10.81, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1491079270
August, 2013
Memoir/Essay
Available from www.Amazon.com and www.bn.com

Building on the success of his first book, Billy the Kid, author Bill Ramsey has written Now That I Think About It (Reflections of “Billy the Elder”). Billy the Kid focused on Bill’s life as a child in a small town during the 1950s. In it, the author recalled them in a warm way that took older readers back to their own memories, while enlightening younger readers about what life was like for their grandparents. Now, at the age of seventy, Ramsey looks back on life in a collection of original essays in Now That I Think About It (Reflections of “Billy the Elder”). Each essay is about 200 words, and covers a wide range of real-life themes from reading and writing, all the way to religion, family dynamics, and the end of life. The mix is intense, humorous, introspective, motivating, and ironic, and each essay is designed to stimulate reader thinking.

Note from Bill: Thinking can be habit forming. Not thinking can become a habit, too! There is a danger in not thinking, for just as muscles become soft when the body is not exercised, the brain of a non-thinker can soften, too. How often do you think about important topics? What topics do you think about most? What action does your thinking cause you take? This book will address all of those questions and more.

Writing is easier when you have done it all your life. In his youth, Bill Ramsey wrote sports columns for the local newspaper. During his forty-year professional career, he wrote technical manuals, magazine articles, and business newsletters. Now, at seventy-years of age, Bill’s small town upbringing continues to influence his thinking. Like many older citizens, he enjoys reflecting on life experiences and being free to share his thinking with complete candor. A strong supporter of literacy and literature, Bill is involved with readers and writers in the mountains of western North Carolina, where he lives with his wife of forty-eight years.

Trophy: Decision

Trophy: Decision by Paul M. Schofield

Galactic Publishers
$17.95, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1482601336
August, 2013
Science Fiction
Available at www.Amazon.com

The Empire has narrowly defeated the Freedom Movement for control of the Keyhole, and the rebel leader, Dr. Eng, has escaped back in time through the strange anomaly. She continues in her quest to rebuild her forces, defeat the Empire, and capture people from the past to bring forward to the present. The Empire is determined to stop her and press on with their plan to prevent mankind’s extinction. Lieutenant Janet Rogerton and her dynamic team are challenged with a secret assignment that will determine the survival of the human race. And unknown to everyone a third organization holds the key to mankind’s future. The Decision is at hand. Will the human race survive?

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
—Aristotle

Born and raised in Montana, immersion in the natural world around Paul M. Schofield was inevitable. As he grew up, he learned the complexities of language and the joy of humor by the daily exchange of witty puns with his father. Just as Mark Twain said, “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” An avid reader, his favorite genre was science fiction by authors like Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert and fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Coming of age just in time to watch Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon V, his love of science fiction grew and his desire to craft and share his own stories was ignited. And since, as Maya Angelou once said, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”, he became a writer.

When he became chilled to the bone in Montana, he moved to Florida, where he became quite well done…urr, seasoned. Now he and his wife Ellen live in western North Carolina with their highly intelligent cats, contentedly fulfilling our role as “halfbacks”.

“Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.”
—Isaac Asimov

Port Desire

Port Desire by Elizabeth Swann

Finishing Line Press
$14.00, paperback
ISBN# 978-1-62229-400-8
December, 2013
Poetry
Available at your local bookstore or from the publisher

Preorder now!

"These are rich and rewarding poems, summoning us to acknowledge our own courage and the value to our lives of both port and desire. Elizabeth Swann is a poet whose work deserves a wide audience."
—Marjorie Stelmach, author of Bent Upon Light

"'A being between two worlds / conjures terror and bliss,' Elizabeth Swann writes about the archaeopteryx, part reptile, part bird. This unwieldy condition between safety and flight, loss and discovery, life and death, infuses the imagination of this stunning new poet. Whether it’s the wily Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame or a six-thousand-year-old Peruvian mummy now 'on display under glass,' or the child, moccasins torn from her feet, pulled 'shrieking, / into a cotton dress,' Swann tacks between these two worlds, allowing us to feel anew the agony and ecstasy of being alive. This is a remarkable collection. I love it."
—Dannye Romine Powell, author of A Necklace of Bees

"What I love most in these tight, finely crafted poems by Elizabeth Swann is how beautifully they embody our human need for something more. It may take the form of a four-leaf clover, or the larger half of the wishbone, or beating the boys at their own game in 'Learning the Ropes at Sixteen.' Or Darwin’s hunt for the flightless Lesser Rhea in the splendid title poem. 'How easy/it would have been to quit,' the poet writes. But this poet is no quitter. She hangs on through all the vicissitudes of life and keeps wanting more, and in the process gives us this moving, compassionate book of poems."
—Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us

In Elizabeth Swann’s aptly titled Port Desire, she examines the forces that draw us equally to the safety of harbor and to the hazards of the open ocean, open road, open heart. She tests and braids these contending pulls in circumstances ranging from her own personal and family histories to the voyage of a despairing Charles Darwin and the crime spree of a Bonnie Parker "beyond redemption." She enters into the eyes of artists to compare their conceptions of Mary Magdalene, contemplates the flight of swallows, and studies the bones of the archaeopteryx.

In addition to a wide-ranging intelligence, there is wisdom in these poems. Swann knows that often our strongest desire is for a simple bit of luck, a wishbone’s break or “one perfect aberration / four fast-wilting leaves” of a four-leaf clover. And sometimes we give in to despair, only to be struck with a flash of insight that sends us back to the trash to rescue those bits we’ve already discarded.

In all of these poems, too, there is the skillful music of Swann’s lines. Even in the least likely of scenes, her sounds convince us that there is much to love: "Behind the dilapidated barn," she writes in "Swallows," "shadows alone grow, / a dim shroud / pulled across drought-hard ground."

Elizabeth Swann teaches English and Creative Writing at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, South Carolina. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including the Atlanta Review, Chicago Tribune, Southern Poetry Review, Ruminate Magazine, Kakalak, Pinesong, and storySouth.

Calving Under the Moon by Sandra Ann Winters

Finishing Line Press
$12.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62229-362-9
2013
Poetry
Available from the publisher and Amazon.com

“The poems in this debut collection range from earth to stars and cut to the quick. The impulse to confront loss with unflinching honesty is finely balanced by the impulse toward joy and dazzlement—by language, by color, by wild creatures, by sustaining relationships with others. The title poem demonstrates Sandra Winters’ ability to create small stories with large themes. A calf is born. We are drawn from the moment when the cow 'turns her cumbrous head' to the final triumph when 'blood bursts red streams, shooting stars,' and 'the calf slides out wet, a linen-white face.' These are wise poems. Whatever the loss, new life waits. Wisteria dormant for a decade blooms again. The spirit endures and 'we all hang on' ('The Wisteria Blooms').”
—Becky Gould Gibson, author of Need-Fire

Sandra Ann Winters is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network and the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Her poems have appeared in Southword Journal (Ireland), the North Carolina Literary Review, The Shoal, the Cork Literary Review Volume XV (Ireland), and others. Poems are forthcoming in the Wisconsin Review.

Her poem “Death of Alaska” won the 2011 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre in Ireland. The editors of the North Carolina Literary Review nominated “Water Signs” for the 2011 Pushcart Prize. Most recently her poem “Talking to Okra (from the son’s voice)” won first place in the 2012 Carteret 21st Annual Writing Contest. “My Kitchen” was a runner-up in the 2012 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. “Still Life” received an honorable mention in the 2012 Deane Ritch Lomax Poetry Competition.

The cover drawing on Calving Under the Moon was created exclusively for this chapbook by North Carolina artist Louis Guidetti.

The Most Educated Idiot I Know

The Most Educated Idiot I Know by Dean Roughton

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$14.00, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1470112592
August 27, 2013
Humor/Essays
Available at www.Amazon.com

Where others often try to hide the moments of sheer stupidity in their lives, Dean Roughton is more apt to dress them up, parade them around, and poke them with a stick. A single father and Professor of English, Roughton recounts his idiotic childhood and educational years as well as his adult experiences with dating, parenting, weight loss, a trip to the ER, and, yes, even nearly burning down a halfway house. In The Most Educated Idiot I Know, Dean Roughton demonstrates a proclivity to laugh when others would cry and shows us the value of our mistakes.

Dean Roughton is a single father and a Professor of English at College of The Albemarle in northeastern North Carolina. He holds a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in English with a concentration in creative writing from North Carolina State University. He usually gets ready for work by dancing in the shower—with a skill level similar to that of the offspring of a Cuervoed-up lemur and a Rhesus monkey drinking ecstasy/vodka tonics—while listening to hip-hop on Pandora Radio. Because he can if he wants to. You can visit Dean at his website: www.deanroughton.com.

Wins and Losses: Stories by Peter Makuck

Syracuse University Press
$19.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-815610823
August, 2016
Fiction
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"The stories in Wins and Losses observe steadily the details of ordinary American lives. They are surprising in the strength of their revelations. Easily recognizable figures change before our eyes, discarding appearances and exposing truths they may not be aware of. Only the most perceptive of authors can claim such insight. Are winners losers in purposeful disguise? Or is it the other way round? Here is a book I read through eagerly.”"
—Former NC poet laureate Fred Chappell, award-winning author of Dagon and inductee, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame

"I enjoyed these stories very much and felt their implicit connection to one another. . . . There’s much to admire in the surety and maturity of this writer’s voice and prose. Never showy or overwrought in any way, the writing has the best kind of near-invisibility. There are also moments of lyrical surprise."
—Suzanne Greenberg, author of Speed-Walk and Other Stories

"It was a pleasure to read Makuck’s collection of stories. The characters are believable; the stories are tight; the scenes have purpose; everything about the collection is clear and readable. . . . His world was well observed, and I enjoyed my stay within it."
—Gary Fincke, author of Sorry I Worried You

In Makuck’s fourth collection of short stories he once again explores the fertile territory of small, rural American towns. With tenderness and clarity, he excavates the mundane surface of everyday lives to reveal compassionate characters who are unexpectedly vulnerable.

The stories in Wins and Losses are set in a car, a courtroom, a university English department, a sports bar, a jetliner, a laundromat. Characters struggle with regret, desire, expectations, and a need to win when loss is inevitable. A high school student whose father was killed in a car crash and who can speak openly only to his girlfriend delivers prescriptions for a pharmacy and learns much about people and values in the course of his deliveries. A lawyer recalls a dubious family friend, an undercover cop, who pressured him as a young boy toward guns and football. A recent widow finds a cardboard box on her front porch only to discover it contains the body of her dog. A young woman takes her mother to a cardiologist and, while in the waiting room, gets into an argument with a wealthy political conservative at great cost to both of them.

In the tradition of Cheever and Updike, Makuck’s stories give us characters struggling with questions of what really matters.

Peter Makuck is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at East Carolina University. He is the author of Long Lens: New and Selected Poems and three collections of short stories, including Allegiance and Betrayal: Stories. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in the Georgia Review, Hudson Review, Poetry, Sewanee Review, the Nation, and Gettysburg Review.

 

Wedding Bell Blues by Ruth Moose

St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books
$25.99, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-250067418
August, 2016
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“Ruth Moose is at it again, using her considerable wit and humor to chronicle the lives of her small town Southerners, Wedding Bell Blues is a worthy successor to Doing It at the Dixie Dew.”
New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash

Beth McKenzie, owner of the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast, is enjoying an exciting affair with her new love, Scott. Meanwhile, the town of Littleboro, North Carolina, is abuzz with gossip about Crazy Reba's upcoming nuptials. Most brides go crazy at some point, but Littleboro's resident homeless lady has had a head start: she's beloved, indulged, and most of all, eccentric. But at almost sixty or thereabouts, her marriage seems a little peculiar. Sure, she's sporting a diamond big enough to choke a horse, but no one can tell if it's real, or just a Cracker Jack prize she pilfered from a yard sale.

Crazy Reba's wedding plans go confirmedly awry when the bride-to-be is arrested for her fiance's murder. Beth, determined to clear Reba's name, gets in over her head when a lady wrestler who threatened to kill her books a room at the Dixie Dew, and Robert Redford, her neighbor's white rabbit, disappears.

Then Littleboro's First Annual Green Bean Festival gets up and running, a famous food writer becomes deathly ill, and Beth must battle through madcap mayhem to apprehend the culprit and save the day.

Wedding Bell Blues is Ruth Moose's sequel to her winning debut, featuring her colorful array of characters and more laughs and hilarity.

Ruth Moose is the 2013 winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. She's published collections of short stories and several collections of poetry. She was on the Creative Writing faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for fifteen years and received the Chapman Award for teaching. She lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

The Last Great American Magic by LC Fiore

Can of Corn Media
$17.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692717073
August, 2016
Fiction: Literary/Historical
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"With thundering force, all the touchstones of a good story roll together in The Last Great American Magic. To this writer's credit, he avoids romanticizing the Indians even while recognizing their harmony with nature. He paints in unsparing detail the brutal nature of torture and the barbaric acts of war. Sprinklings of philosophy about home, language, and immortality lend this story a timeless quality."
—Donna Meredith, Southern Literary Review

"In his splendid new novel, L. C. Fiore reimagines the legendary warrior Tecumseh as he fights to preserve a way of life on the verge of extinction. In prose that is itself almost magical, Fiore takes us into the Shawnee culture of post-colonial America, where two brothers, the warrior and the Prophet, vie for power, even while at war with the new American nation. But this is not just a novel about war. It's a story about family and coming of age, about finding one's mission in life. It's also a love story between Tecumseh and the beautiful white hostage who wants to convert him to her faith and instead captures his heart. Fiore brilliantly conjures this lost world as if he's lived in it. Through his perceptive eyes, this is a journey into the past well worth taking."
—Miriam Herin, author of A Stone for Bread, nominated for 2016 Sir Walter Raleigh Award

"Between the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Shawnee warrior Tecumseh is caught in the web between the old ways and white man's, and runs the gauntlet between love and honor. With his prankster spirit guide and his shaman brother, Tecumseh sets out to unite the tribes to reclaim their land from the white settlers. Could the tribes succeed or would the movement be snuffed out? From the finest strands of magical realism, Fiore has woven a historical re-imagining of Tecumseh's War, where the reader is so perfectly caught, he forgets he already knows how Tecumseh's story ends."
—Cristel Orrand, author of Khayal

Some men are born heroes.

By the late eighteenth century, the lush river valley of the Ohio Country is the last stronghold of the Shawnee Indians, a deeply religious tribe whose medicine men practice the blackest and most potent magical arts. The Last Great American Magic reimagines the legend of Tecumseh, a physically gifted warrior, groomed from birth to one day lead, and his twin brother Rattle, a wickedly smart but lazy prophet with blossoming supernatural gifts. Growing up, the boys are rivals, but in adulthood they reconcile in hopes of assembling a confederacy of Native American tribes to drive back the ruthless advance of white settlers and reclaim the land they once called home.

Described as "Lev Grossman's The Magicians meets Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper," The Last Great American Magic animates a thrilling and mystical period of American history set against an enchanting and dangerously shifting landscape. This is a story of one man struggling to define himself against a rapidly changing new-world order. A story of brotherhood, of family duty—the way home always, in the end, calls us back.

The newest novel from award-winning author L.C. Fiore, The Last Great American Magic, re-casts the origin story of an American legend that has largely been overlooked: until now.

If you think you know the legend of Tecumseh, think again.

L.C. Fiore's critically-acclaimed debut novel, Green Gospel, was long-listed for the Crook's Corner Book Prize, where he fell a few votes short of winning a free glass of wine, a day, for a year. Green Gospel was also First Runner-Up in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards (General Fiction) and short-listed for the Balcones Fiction Prize. His short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, New South, and storySouth, among many others, as well as the anthologies Sudden Flash Youth: 65 Short Short Stories and Tattoos. His work has also appeared on NPR, TriQuarterly Review, and in various baseball publications. He is the communications director for the North Carolina Writers’ Network and lives in Durham with his wife and daughter: www.lcfiore.com.

Nocturne of Secrecy by Scarlette Rayne

KDP
$2.99, e-book
ASIN: B01EZGDF74
April, 2016
Fiction: Dark Romance
Available from www.Amazon.com

Alexis Angel is no stranger to bold invitations. Whether it's being swept away to an exotic locale by a skillful lover—or a request to serenade elite audiences with her piano skills—she's accustomed to the attention. However, when seductive businessman Travis MacGregor asks her to perform at his company's charity event, Alexis is both intrigued and drawn to him like no other. What begins as a cold, frigid evening, slowly turns into a whirlwind of intoxicating lust. Travis is different from many men Alexis has known—and certainly the steamy romance emerging between them won't be a typical one.

Nocturne of Secrecy is a novella of the Symphony Noir Collection.

Scarlette Rayne grew up in New York, but lived in Florida, Georgia and Colorado! She now resides somewhere in North Carolina. Her fave authors are: Steig Larson, Jeff Lindsay, Ernest Hemingway, Nicholas Sparks, and Stephen King.

She reads for the joy and fun it brings her. But she also reads to inspire her own works.

She is an equal opportunity genre reader—she reads from all sorts from crime thrillers to erotica, paranormal to horror, and she was a big reader many years ago of romance.

She loves horses, the fall season, the color black, coffee, wine, and chocolate. She prefers rainy days to sunny ones. She prefers the mountains to the ocean, although she can appreciate what the beach brings on any given day. She is a wife, mother, an awesome friend, a cool sibling, business entrepreneur, and an author!

 

Summer in a Bowl by Joan Leotta

THEAQLLC
$12.99, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-68189-027-2
September, 2016
Children's: Picture Book
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Summer in a Bowl is intended for ages 3 through 9.

Summer in a Bowl is a wonderful introduction to the joys of gardening and cooking with children. Rosa spends every Thursday helping Aunt Mary tend her garden. On this last Thursday of the season, they harvest the vegetables and cook them. Rosa finds that vegetables can be delicious and discovers a new way to preserve all of her summer fun.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on paper and on stage from the first time she could hold a pen and climb. She gathers inspiration for writing and performing from everyday incidents and objects. She has been a story performer, mostly for children, for more than thirty years—including historic characters and folklore shows. To her credit are four young adult novels, numerous plays and poems, and a picture book called WHOOSH!

Joan attended Ohio University and Johns Hopkins, where she concentrated on international relations and economics.

Joan grew up in Pittsburgh now lives, and spends a lot of time walking the, North Carolina beaches with her husband Joe. Her motto is “encouraging others through pen and performance.”

Joan Leotta crafted this tale from her own memories of gardening and occasionally cooking with her Aunt Mary and the countless times she tired new things and foods at her father's urging. Joan has a strong commitment to using natural foods and to providing wonderful meals for family and friends. Joan writes food articles for the local newspaper and is on the Board of the Waccamaw Slow Food USA Chapter.

The Pizza Tree by WIlla Brigham

'N Gratitude Publishing
$12.99, paperback
978-0-983315087
September, 2015
Children's: Illustrated
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

An imaginative and engaging story written to help teach the concept of sharing to children: The more we share, the more we have!

The Pizza Tree is a colorful and imaginative story about a young girl who receives a mysterious seed from her world traveling grandfather. The seed produces a bountiful tree that is filled with delicious pizza-bearing flowers, prompting her desire to share them with others.

This entertaining book helps introduce young children to the concept of social consciousness by planting seeds about sharing.

Willa has been recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the North Carolina Federation of Women. She is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS), and with her fun-loving side not going unnoticed, A Toastmaster Humorous Contest Winner.

Her creativity is brought to life in this colorful tale that introduces the notion of social responsibility to young children.

In addition to per passion for writing children's books, Willa Brigham is also an entertaining storyteller and performing artist; an inspirational speaker; avid quilter; song writer; and television host.

Her work in television has earned her two Emmy Awards and five Emmy nominations in the category of Best Educational Programming for Young Children. Willa's passion for education, celebrating diversity, and her knack for adding a bit of zany as she expresses her artistry, have inspired her to write her latest book, The Pizza Tree.

Celtic WordCraft
$15.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9758846-9-0
June, 2016
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"A great and tender read."
—Chuck Fager, Writer and Activist

"Hanrahan's memoir is great historical drama and passionate sentiment rolled into 300 riveting pages of rollicking, harsh and delicate revelation."
—Bill Branyon, author of Liberating Liberals

"Hanrahan skillfully weaves details of neighborhood, church and family life with fierce honesty, telling her story in the context of Memphis' political and social upheavals. I couldn't put the book down! What a courageous and original author and human Clare Hanrahan is!"
—Ellen Thomas, Activist Women's International League for Peace & Freedom

Clare Hanrahan's book charts her childhood in the predominantly Baptist and segregated Memphis of the 1950s and 60s, telling her story in the context of the political and social realities of the times and making her Memphis home "come hilariously, seriously, and deliriously alive," as she details this period of Southern history and explores how it shaped her life motivating her lifelong activism and off-the-grid experiences down the Mississippi, and in the Appalachian Mountains, and her explorations in Ireland and incarceration in Alderson (WVa) Federal Prison.

Clare Hanrahan is an Asheville author, activist, community organizer, and wayside gardener. She has been participating in and reporting on direct action events throughout the Southeast U.S. for decades. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and deepened her education during a six-month prison sentence for peaceful protest. She is author of Jailed for Justice: A Woman's Guide to Federal Prison Camp and Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir. Both titles available through Celtic WordCraft Books.

Children of Italy by Christine Simolke

Hawkins Publishing Group
$13.95, paperback / $4.99 (e-book) / ISBN: 978-0-9962145-1-3
June, 2016
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Our country has been made great by immigration and this is a wonderful story of one immigrant family from Italy who make a life despite hardships and temptations. It is a fresh, loving, sad, and joyful look at how one family adjusts to life in a new country. This is a great read from a new voice in historical fiction."
—Karen Dugas, Reviewer, Book-of-the-Month Club

"Christine Simolke's insightful Children of Italy depicts a very personal tale. Family lore...is woven into a deeply felt, sweetly told historical novel."
Historical Novels Review

A lonely man’s affair with an alluring woman threatens to destroy his beloved family. It’s 1924. Italian immigrant Luigi Falconi has been away from home for twelve years working as a coal miner in West Virginia to carve out what he hopes will be a better life for his family. After years of separation, his wife, Appollonia, and three daughters leave Italy to join him in America. Just before they arrive, Luigi breaks off an affair with his lover, Isolde. Though she knows from the beginning that Luigi will leave her when his family arrives, Isolde cannot accept his decision to abandon her now that the time has come.

While on board the SS Roma as it sails to Ellis Island, Luigi’s eldest daughter, Giovanna, begins her first romance with a member of the crew, Alessandro. When he immigrates to America a short time later, intent on finding her, she has disappeared. No one in the small town of Covel, West Virginia, knows why the Falconi family slipped away under the cloak of darkness. Luigi’s jilted lover is also desperate to find them. Only Appollonia’s brother, Bernandino, knows where they’ve gone, and he, too, has a secret.

As the Falconi family adjusts to being reunited and struggles to assimilate into life in a new country, Alessandro perseveres in his hunt for Giovanna, and his search intersects with the bitter Isolde’s efforts to win Luigi back, with heartbreaking and surprising consequences for all of them.

Christine Simolke is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants. She was inspired by her grandmother’s life story to write a novel of the immigrant experience. She has traveled to countries all over the world and is thankful that her ancestors chose to settle in the United States. She is a former language arts teacher and currently resides in North Carolina with her husband. They are the parents of two wonderful young men. When she is not writing, she's active in non-profit work.

The idea for her book, Children of Italy, was formed many years ago when she wrote a research paper in graduate school based on an interview with her grandmother, Giovanna and stories her great aunt, Evelina told her. Her grandmother and her family immigrated from Italy to America in the 1920s, and Christine and her family were always fascinated by the stories of their voyage to America and their early life in the United States. Their tale of hope, struggle, perseverance and love of family has been an inspiration to all of the generations after them.

Family of Earth: A Southern Mountain Childhood by Wilma Dykeman

UNC Press
$18.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-469629148
September, 2016
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"As is true of so many writers from western North Carolina, Wilma Dykeman’s fiction played an important role in my development, and the publication of a work we did not even know existed is cause for celebration. This precocious memoir shows a young author finding her voice as she describes a childhood whose seismic event was the death of a beloved father. Family of Earth is a valuable addition to understanding Dykeman and her later work, but it is also a fascinating, deeply moving account of a writer’s developing sensibility."
—Ron Rash, author of Above the Waterfall

"Wilma Dykeman is indeed a 'tall woman' who has cast her long shadow over many other Appalachian women writers, especially me, inspired early on by both her beautiful writing and her social conscience. Family of Earth is a revelation; here is a little poet, an only child raised in relative isolation who knew her parents as friends, who lived and breathed the mountains and the whole natural world around her—this extraordinary childhood clearly informed the woman she would become, what she would do and write. I will place this book next to Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings on my shortest and most important bookshelf."
—Lee Smith, author of Dimestore: A Writer’s Life

“A captivating, poetic, difficult-to-categorize book that abundantly showcases the author’s talent for making words dance. Anyone who has lived in the countryside, or wished they had, will enjoy Dykeman’s celebration of nature.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Discovered as a typewritten manuscript only after her death in 2006, Family of Earth allows us to see into the young mind of author and Appalachian native Wilma Dykeman (1920–2006), who would become one of the American South’s most prolific and storied writers. Focusing on her childhood in Buncombe County, Dykeman reveals a perceptive and sophisticated understanding of human nature, the environment, and social justice. And yet, for her words’ remarkable polish, her voice still resonates as raw and vital. Against the backdrop of early twentieth-century life in Asheville, she chronicles the touching, at times harrowing, story of her family’s fortunes, plotting their rise and fall in uncertain economic times and ending with her father’s sudden death in 1934 when she was fourteen years old.

Featuring a new foreword by fellow North Carolinian and NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Robert Morgan, Family of Earth stands as a new major literary work by a groundbreaking author.

Wilma Dykeman was a novelist, historian, journalist, educator, speaker, and environmentalist who pioneered in the areas of water pollution, civil rights, oral history, Appalachian studies, and the empowerment of women. She was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1998.

Hats Off! to Danny Bernstein, Robert Morgan, and Lee Smith, who have been chosen as finalists for the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award from the Western North Carolina Historical Association. Bernstein for her nonfiction book The Mountains to the Sea Trail Across North Carolina; and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductees Morgan and Smith for their novels The Road From Gap Creek and Guests on Earth, respectively.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Knee Deep in September" appeared in Mused Bellaonline Literary Review's Fall 2014 issue.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose short story, "When We Could See But Did Not Know" (based on her novel, Maranatha Road), was a finalist for the 2014 Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Prize, sponsored by the Charlotte Writers' Club. Heather also had two stories named as finalists in the 2014 Touring Theatre of North Carolina Short Fiction Contest.

 

Hats Off! to Jan B. Parker whose story "Lies May Get You Everywhere; It Depends on What You Need," won First Place in the Charlotte Writers' Club 2014 competition, The Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest.

 

Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer whose essay "Needlework," on the haunting and lasting history behind her Summer 2014 poem, “Black Work," appeared in The Georgia Review.

 

Hats Off! to Rachel Unkefer whose poem "Stolpersteine" appears in the Fall 2014 issue of The Citron Review.

 

Hats Off! to Danny Johnson whose short story "Absence of Color" is forthcoming in Fox Chase Review in October. Danny recently signed with literary agency Gandolfo Helin Literary Management, with offices in LA, New York, Vancouver, Louisville, and Salt Lake City. The primary agent is Renee Fountain in New York.

 

Hats Off! to Miriam Herin whose second novel, Stones for Bread, has been accepted for publication in the Fall of 2015 by the Livingston Press of West Alabama University. The novel tells the story of poet Henry Beam, whose publication of poems claimed to have been written in a Nazi death camp provokes an authorship controversy still unresolved thirty-four years later. The novel moves back and forth in time from 1997 North Carolina to post-World War I France, to Paris in the early 1950s, and into the horror of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

 

Hats Off! to Mark Havlik whose flash fiction piece "Rampage at the Herald Weekly" appears in the latest edition of Drunken Boat, Issue 19.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poems "Crepe Myrtle" and "Kitchen Chores" appeared in the September/ October 2014 issue of West End Poets newsletter.

 

Hats Off! to Mamie Potter whose short story "Countdown" appears in the new anthology Law and Disorder, published by Main Street Rag.

 

Hats Off! to Linda Hardister Rodriguez whose novel Up From the River was published through Lystra Books and Literary Services.

 

Hats Off! to Caroline Taylor who has placed the following articles and stories: "Ticket to Heaven" in The Avalon Literary Review; "Change You Can Believe In" in The Bitchin' Kitsh; "Elective Surgery" in Home Planet News; and "Dumb Beasts" in The Storyteller.

 

Hats Off! to Ruth Moose and Karen Pullen who both have short stories in Carolina Crimes: Nineteen Tales of Lust, Love, And Longing. Moose is the author of "Mama's Boy," while Pullen, who also edited the collection, wrote "The Fourth Girl."

 

Hats Off! to Linda Johnson whose short story "Happy Pills" appears in Carolina Crimes: Nineteen Tales of Lust, Love, And Longing, edited by Karen Pullen with an introduction by Margaret Maron.

 

Hats Off! to Tara Lynne Groth whose short story "Tuna Heart" appears in Mused Literary Review.

 

Hats Off! to Ralph Earle whose poem "The Mill Dam at Bynum" appears in Tar River Poetry.

 

Hats Off! to Marianna Crane whose short story "Hello Beautiful" appeared in the Eno River Literary Journal.

 

 

Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird whose article "UNCG: A Place in the Heart" appears in the Summer online edition of UNCG Magazine.

 

Hats Off! to Liz Dowling-Sendor, editor of Crazy Christians by Michael B. Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Morehouse Publishing recently published the collection of essays.

 

Hats Off! to Harry Calhoun, whose poetry manuscript Alarmed in Space has been accepted for publication by Unbound Content.

 

Hats Off! to Carol Cooley whose short story was chosen as a finalist in the 2013 American Fiction Prize. Her story will be published by New Rivers Press in an anthology titled American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, Volume 13. The collection is to be released October 2014.

 

Hats Off! to Greenville writer Tony Wayne Brown whose short story, "Bagno Vignoni on the Rocks," has been accepted for print publication by Angeleyes Publications for its Vanilla anthology.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams and Cynthia Strauff Schaub, who were named as Honorable Mentions in the 2013 Hard Times Writing Contest sponsored by The Writers' Workshop. This contest invites contestants to "write about a difficult experience in your life, how you overcame this obstacle, and how you were changed by it."

 

Hats Off! to Marilynn Anselmi. An excerpt from her play, You Wouldn't Expect, was published in Magnolia.

 

Hats Off! to Margaret A Harrell, whose memoir Keep THIS Quiet Too! More Adventures with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, Jan Mensaert has been reviewed (very positively) in the UK print magazine Beat Scene's spring 2013 issue.

 

Hats Off! to Erika Hoffman, whose story “Keeping it Real” has made it through the first round of selection for Not Your Mother’s Book…on Being a Parent. To date, her stories have appeared in the following NYMB editions: on Being a Woman; on Travel; on Being a Parent; and on the Holidays. This series features stories with a humorous bent.

 

Hats Off! to Sandra Ann Winters. Four of her poems have been included in the newly published Cork Literary Review Volume XV (Ireland). She has been invited to read her poems at an official book launch November 23, 2013, in Cork City, Ireland.

 

Hats Off! to Randy Lee White whose short story, "Eeling by Tirelight," was published by Bartleby Snopes.

 

Hats Off! to Diana Pinckney, who received the Central Piedmont Community College 2013 Irene Blair Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts Award.

 

Hats Off! to Mary Struble Deery who won the 2012-2013 Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Charlotte Writers' Club. Randy White and Tamra Wilson received Honorable Mentions. Winners will be invited to read their work during the Charlotte Writers' Club September meeting.

 

Hats Off! to Gwenyfar Rohler, who profiled No Boundaries Artists Colony for Wilmington Magazine and whose commentary on Moliere's Tartuffe ran on WHQR 91.3 FM Public Radio.

 

Hats Off! to Terri Anastasi whose two poems, "Valentine" and "Lost & Found," have just been published in The Inspired Heart anthology authored by Melinda Cochrane.

 

Hats Off! to Laura T. Jensen whose short story, "The Graduation Speech," will be featured in Sept/Oct Issue of A Long Story Short due out on Sept. 7.

 

Hats Off! to Arthur Powers, who has been named a judge for the 2014 Tom Howard Short Fiction and Essay Contest.

 

Hats Off! to Shelley Stack, whose short story "Bacon in the Fry Pan" has been accepted by The Dos Passos Review for publication in the December 2012 issue!

 

Hats Off! to Sheila Webster Boneham, whose Virtual Book Launch for her new mystery, Drop Dead on Recall, runs through October 11, 2012. Proceeds for Drop Dead for Healthy Dogs benefit canine health research.

 

Hats Off! to M. Scott Douglass and John Thomas York, whose most-recent books are reviewed in the current issue of storySouth. Douglass is the author of the poetry collection Hard to Love. York's debut poetry collection is Cold Spring Rising.

 

Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore, whose short story, "The Gravity of Home," appears in the current issue of storySouth.

 

Hats Off! to Tammy Wilson, whose story, "Traveling Partners," appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That which will be released on September 18. The anthology includes accounts of simple absurdities, funny habits, and crazy antics of fascinating felines.

Larry Johnson received an exemplary review for his poetry book Veins from reviewer John Freeman at Rattle Magazine.  John Freeman writes," Larry Johnson has proven himself a master of traditional craft. For those who still have an ear for superb music in poetry, I highly recommend Veins."

Gary Carden won the $500 prize (second place) in the Porter Fleming Literary Festival for his short story called "Arsenic and Quince."

Carol Kenny was featured on WFMY-TV’s long-running “The Good Morning Show,” talking about her new novel, Whispers from St. Mary’s Well.  You can see a video clip of Carol’s appearance here.

Hats Off to Martha Witt.  Her story, "Home", was recently published in the online journal, Knee-Jerk.

"Jake's Story" was published in nth WORD. ( http://www.nthword.com/issue7/Jake's_Story_Martha_Witt.php)

... to Lynne Tanner.  Cricket Magazine for Kids published her story about polio in its recent edition.

...whose short story, "The Ninth of Av," appears in the current issue of Crab Orchard Review, a special issue entitled, "New and Old: Re-Visioning the American South."

Kim Church's short story "Bullet" has been translated into Farsi and is the title story in the new Iranian anthology, Golouleh.  The story first appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly and has been anthologized in Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton) and
The Great Books Foundation Short Story Omnibus.

Hats Off! to Clare Beams whose short story "Ailments" appears on Kenyon Review Online. Clare will lead the class "Ending Well: Short Story Endings and Their Lessons" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2016 Fall Conference.

 

Hats Off! to Rachel Unkefer whose personal essay "Wanderers," about visiting the Jewish cemetery in Grünstadt, Germany, has been published in the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review (scroll down the page to read the full essay).

 

Hats Off! to Paula Martinac whose short story "Daddy" is forthcoming in Minerva Rising literary journal.

 

Hats Off! to Carol Roan whose short story "A Change in the Air" appears in Spank the Carp. Carol also made her film debut in "Sightseeing" at the Cannes International Film Festival 2016 (where she received a "Best Actress" nomination in group of short films) and her professional dance debut in "The Goldberg Project" as part of the Carolina Summer Music Festival.

 

Hats Off! to Judy Hogan whose annotated diary of her maternal grandmother, Grace Woodbridge Roys, about missionary life in China 1910-16, is forthcoming in 2017 from Wipf and Stock of Eugene, OR. Grace had bi-polar disease, was born in China, and was a gifted musician. A hundred plus years ago, many Americans went to China to bring Christianity, establish hospitals,educate both girls and boys, and start colleges.

 

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Get a Clue" is forthcoming this Fall in the Nancy Drew Anthology from Silver Birch Press. Publication will be this Fall. Also, two of Joan's previously published Poeming Pigeon poems and three new flash pieces are now up on a great British site. Check out wry chuckles at Short Humour Site.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Generation Y" appears in Bindweed Magazine. Also, her poems "Homecoming" and "Sourwoods" appear in West End Poets Newsletter, September/October/November 2016.

 

Hats Off! to 2016 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Clyde Edgerton whose visual art is part of the "Paintings, Photographs, Friendship" exhibit running through October 9 at the FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill. This joint show displays work from the "Museum Series" by John Rosenthal, a renowned photographer, and painting's of Clyde's based on some of John's photographs.

 

Hats Off! to NCWN executive director Ed Southern who was quoted extensively in an article in The New York Times, "N.C.A.A. Leaves North Carolina in a New Spot: Sapped of Sports Pride." Ed called the N.C.A.A.'s recent decision to strip NC of the seven championship events it was to host this academic year a "punch to the gut."

 

Hats Off! to Gary Phillips who was named the new Poet Laureate of Carrboro. “A singer and storyteller, I believe words are important and poetry is an essential part of our public life," says Phillips. "My poetry is like homemade bread, simple, warm, and sometimes strongly flavored." Gary will hold the position until June 30, 2018.

 

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose short story "Wendell Berry's Peace" won the 2016 James Still Fiction Prize, sponsored by the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival at Lincoln Memorial University. This story was also runner-up for the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and is forthcoming in The Thomas Wolfe Review.

 

Hats Off! to Randall Kenan, Jill McCorkle, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Allan Gurganus, who were three of sixteen authors queried by Southern Cultures for their forthcoming special issue on twenty-first century fiction. Each author was asked to respond to the question, "Is there a 'quality of Southernness' in twenty-first-century Southern fiction?" Each reply is accompanied by a portrayal of the writer by Hillsborough artist Phil Blank.

 

Hats Off! to Quinn Dalton ("Global Warming"), Tommy Hays ("Something to be Desired"), and Ed Southern ("Come to the Fort, Fair Lady") whose short stories appear in the newest issue of storySouth.

 

Hats Off! to Donna Everhart whose forthcoming novel, The Education of Dixie Dupree (October, Kensington), has been selected as a November 2016 Indie Next Pick.

 

Hats Off! to Michael R. Hassler who has been accepted into the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities Writers-in-Residence program for a two-week residency in the Spring of 2017.

 

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Miss Byrdie" appears in Mused: The Bella Online Literary Review Magazine, Fall, 2016.

 

Hats Off! to Dori Ann Dupré whose debut novel, Scout's Honor, won the Bronze Medal in Fiction—Southern in the 2016 International Book Award contest from Reader's Favorite. A coming of age and self discovery story spanning 1983 to the modern day in North Carolina, Scout's Honor takes us on the life journey of Scout Webb, a small-town Southern girl. It asks the question: who owns the rights to your honor when it's been taken from you?

 

 
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