White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Programming is made possible in part by our sponsors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


by Julie Martin*

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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



RALEIGH—Jaki Shelton Green. Zelda Lockhart. Scott Huler. Ian Finley. John Claude Bemis. And you?

The Piedmont Laureate program is accepting applications from authors of short fiction for 2014. Authors must be residents of Wake, Alamance, Durham, or Orange counties. The deadline to apply is September 27 at 4:00 pm.

From the City of Raleigh Public Affairs Department:

"The primary goal of the Piedmont Laureate program is 'to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts throughout the Piedmont region.' The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens. The laureate program focuses each year on a different literary form."

Children's author Bemis is the current Piedmont Laureate, and the authors listed above have all been honored over the years by a select committee appointed by the sponsoring agencies. The laureates receive stipends of $6,500 and serve for one year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31). Activities of the laureate include presenting readings and workshops, encouraging creative writing, and promoting literature at public events.

Additional information on the Piedmont Laureate program, including guidelines and the application form, is available at or on the websites of the sponsoring agencies:

  • Alamance County Arts Council
  • City of Raleigh Arts Commission
  • Durham Arts Council
  • Orange County Arts Commission
  • United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County


Established in 1977 as the official advisory body and advocate for the arts to the Raleigh City Council, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission holds the distinction of being the first municipal arts commission created in North Carolina. Serving as the leading force to champion the arts with Raleigh citizens and their representatives, the Arts Commission’s myriad activities foster, support and promote the arts in the Capital City.


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Fall Conference will be held November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach. For the second year in a row, the Network will offer two scholarship opportunities: the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship.

The Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship recipient will be a woman over fifty writing prose fiction who has not yet published a book-length volume of fiction. The scholarship recipient receives $250—the cost of registration. Those interested should send one paragraph (no more!) about her aspirations as a writer and up to ten double-spaced pages of her fiction (see below for details).

For the third year, NCWN will offer the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship and send two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference. Each scholarship will cover the cost of a standard registration fee, group meals, and two nights’ lodging at the conference venue, at the North Carolina Writers’ Network’s annual Fall Conference. The estimated monetary value of each Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship is $550. The application process will be open to those who teach full-time at the K-12, undergraduate, or postgraduate levels, and who have produced a significant amount of poetry. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) will be eligible, but special consideration will be given to applicants from the Cape Fear Coast area, as well as to Network members.

Mary Belle CampbellApplications for the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship should include a curriculum vita or resume; proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, college, or university; a statement of writing intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Fall Conference; and ten to twelve poems of the applicant’s own creation (published or unpublished) that demonstrate their skill with and commitment to the genre.

The deadline for the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship is Friday, October 25. Send applications to the attention of the appropriate scholarship to:

c/o North Carolina Writers’ Network
PO Box 21591
Winston-Salem, NC 27120

Or by e-mail attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Registration for the 2013 Fall Conference is now open.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Registration for the NCWN 2013 Fall Conference is now open.

Lost in the Crowd by Kathleen Mulhall Haberland

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

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

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

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









Celtic Cycles by Ann Loomis

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

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

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










This Miraculous Turning by Joseph Mills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










A Mother Knows Her Child by Linda Beatrice Brown

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

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

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

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

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










 Fending by Terri Anastasi

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

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

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

Savior in the Steel Mill

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

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










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

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

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

The year is 635,039 A.D.

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

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

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

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

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










Frisbee Ball Rules by William P. Bahlke

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

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

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

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

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










 Half of What I Say Is Meaningless by Joseph Bathanti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Registration for the 2013 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference opens in just a few days. The weekend of November 15-17 is going to be packed with workshops, panels, readings, and more, all located at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrighstville Beach. For writers of all stripes and experience levels, it's one of the most inspirational weekends of the year. And much of it is made possible by the generosity of sponsors.

The Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County will sponsor the Welcome Reception on Friday, November 15. Led by Executive Director Rhonda Bellamy, the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County works to establish the region as an arts destination; promote arts-driven economic development; significantly contribute to quality of life in the region; provide a stream of funding to support the sustainability of artists and arts organizations; facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community; and advocate for the arts at the local, state and national levels. They are now accepting applications for Regional Artist Project Grants from residents in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, and Columbus Counties through September 20.

That night, Clyde Edgerton will give the Keynote Address. This will be followed by a Booksgining and Reception, sponsored by Salt magazine.

Salt is more than a pretty lifestyle magazine. In every issue, they strive to create a magazine of uncommon literary and artistic vision that explores everything from the thriving arts community to their passion for homes and gardens. They celebrate the best of food and wine, and indulge their love of the outdoors. They showcase remarkable people who have shaped Wilmington's past and others who are busy creating its exciting future. Moreover, every issue presents outstanding short fiction and poetry, essays and features that touch the heart and stir the soul.

Saturday morning kicks off with the "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: How to Work with a Publisher (So They Want To Work with You)." This panel is sponsored by the Wilmington-based Ecotone/Lookout Books.

Founded as the literary book imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Lookout pledges to seek out emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as overlooked gems by established writers. They have published Edith Pearlman's Binocular Vision (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award); Steve Almond's God Bless America: Stories; and John Rybicki's When All the World Is Old: Poems, among others.

Their sister publication, Ecotone, is a semiannual journal that seeks to reimagine place. Contributors have included winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows. But they're just as excited to provide a home for exciting new talents.

The Fayetteville-based Veterans Writing Collective will read during Saturday's luncheon. This event is sponsored by the longtime friend of the Network and member of the Board of Trustees, Al Manning. Al is also the Regional Rep for Chatham and Lee Counties, and facilitates Pittsboro's Writer's Morning Out, which meets the second Saturday of every month at Davenport & Winkleperry.

Later that day, Bellamy Mansion will sponsor the Faculty Readings. Bellamy Mansion is one of North Carolina's most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture built on the eve of the Civil War by free and enslaved black artisans, for John Dillard Bellamy (1817-1896) physician, planter and business leader; and his wife, Eliza McIlhenny Harriss (1821-1907) and their nine children. After the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865, Federal troops commandeered the house as their headquarters during the occupation of Wilmington.

Now the house is a museum that focuses on history and the design arts and offers tours, changing exhibitions, and an informative look at historic preservation in action.

Happy Hour immediately follows the Faculty Readings, and these libational sixty minutes are also sponsored by our friends at Salt magazine.

On Sunday morning, attendees will be treated to a second "Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion" titled "Agents and Editors." This panel is sponsored by WHQR 91.3 FM Public Radio. WHQR supports and enhances the artistic life of this region in two basic ways: through their music and cultural programs on the air, and through the other events and promotions they offer. You can stream their station live here.

Registration for the 2013 North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference opens soon. Save the dates—and check soon for more information.


By Susan Woodring, 2012 NCWN Fall Conference Faculty Member, Fiction

The hard part is getting started.

This is true of jogging. The stamina required to propel oneself through so many long swaths of sidewalk is tempered by finding the right rhythm. It’s true of public-speaking. Body-surfing. Travel. Getting started—taking that first sub-action that is a part of the whole—is the hard part. This seems especially true when we’re talking about doing something dangerous like sky-diving, or, when we’re talking about me at around age eight, stepping off the high dive at the swimming pool.

As a fiction writer, I find beginning a story a million times harder than jumping off a high dive. I can have an idea or a character or even a line or two of dialogue. I might have a feel for the setting or the atmosphere. Sometimes, I even know what happens; the basic design of the story is set. And yet, actually beginning the thing—finding my way inside the story—that’s the hard part.

I liken it to finding a collapsed circus tent in an empty field of grass. Yes, a weird way to describe the fiction writer’s initial conundrum, but this is the image that keeps coming to me: the story is an enormous shapeless piece of canvas laid out in the middle of nowhere. The canvas and its poles and stakes, collectively, is the tent, right? There’s no other material item necessary. Except, of course, air. The task is, then, to somehow emit air and light into the jumble of canvas and tethers and poles. It’s a huge unwieldy blob of a thing, this tent, this story, until I find my way inside it.

The key to entering, I believe, is narrative voice. Point of view. Once I find the right person, or, more aptly, persona, to tell the story, I can lift up a corner of the tent. Because now, with the correct point of view, I have the storyteller’s eyes to see and breath to fill the thing, to emit air and light and invite first me, the author, and second you, the reader, inside.

A discussion of point of view necessarily begins with pronouns. We know that I goes with first person point of view, wherein one of the story’s characters is also the narrator of the story’s events. There’s second person, which uses the pronoun you, involving the reader directly in the story. And then, there’s third person point of view, which uses the pronouns he and she. This is the most versatile of the points of view, covering a wide range of what John Gardner has called “psychic distances” from which the story is told. There’s third person close point of view, wherein the narrative voice sticks closely to one character. We are limited to that character’s observances and thoughts. The other end of the spectrum is third person point of view omniscient, where the offstage narrator sees all, hears all, knows all.

While we start with pronouns when we talk about point of view, that is only the beginning. Pronouns, in and of themselves, are not the key to entering the tent. The life those pronouns bring with them is what matters to us; the history and interpretation and manner of speaking that come with the I, the you, the she: that is what we’re after.

Point of view is the thing that gives us as fiction-writers the courage to step off the diving board. We find the story’s point of view and that, like gravity, is what plunges us, the writers searching for entrance to our own stories, in.


Susan Woodring will lead a fiction workshop, “Whose Story is It, Anyway? Using Point of View to Improve Your Fiction,” at the 2012 Fall Conference. She is the author of a novel, Goliath (St. Martin’s Press, 2012) and a short story collection, Springtime on Mars (Press 53, 2008). Her short fiction has appeared in Isotope, Passages North, turnrow, and Surreal South, among other anthologies and literary magazines. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short fiction was shortlisted for Best American Non-Required Reading 2008 and Best American Short Stories 2010. Susan currently lives in western North Carolina with her two children and her husband. For more information about Susan and to read her blog, please visit

Registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference opens soon at


Blonnie Bunn WycheThe North Carolina Writers’ Network 2012 Fall Conference will be held November 2-4 at the Embassy Suites in Cary. The Network is pleased to offer registrants two potential scholarship options. Along with the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship, which the Network offers annually to poets who teach K-12, there’s a new scholarship on tap for 2012: the Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship which will send a woman over fifty years-old to this year’s Fall Conference.

Blonnie Bunn Wyche, who passed away last spring, was a longtime, full-time elementary-school teacher who always had limited time to write. But once she retired, she blossomed. She wrote The Anchor—P. Moore, Proprietor, about a spunky 15-year-old girl running a tavern in Southeastern NC in 1764. Published in 2003, just before her 71st birthday, it won the AAUW Juvenile Literature Award, was selected by independent booksellers for its prestigious “Book Sense 76” list, and garnered a slew of other recognitions. Her second novel, Cecilia’s Harvest, about a young NC widow during the American Revolution, was published in 2009.

The recipient of The Blonnie Bunn Wyche Memorial Scholarship will:

  • Be a woman over 50, writing prose fiction
  • Not yet have published a book-length volume of fiction (although any number of published stories/excerpts are okayand so are no publications at all). Applicant should indicate what she’s published.
  • Send one paragraph (not more!) about her aspirations as a writer.
  • Send the Network up to 10 double-spaced pages of her fiction as a writing sample. A team of independent judges will select the recipient.
  • Please e-mail your application and materials to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., either as a Word attachment or in the body of the e-mail.


Also, for the second year, the North Carolina Writers’ Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships to allow poets who teach to attend the annual Fall Conference.

These scholarships will honor the memory of the late Mary Belle Campbell and the legacy of her many contributions to North Carolina’s literary traditions.

Mary Belle Campbell

The Campbell Scholarship application process will be open to those who teach full-time at the K-12, undergraduate, or postgraduate levels, and who have produced a significant amount of poetry. Teaching poets who live in North Carolina and adjacent states (VA, TN, GA, SC) will be eligible, but special consideration will be given to applicants from the Triangle area, as well as to Network members.

Applications will include:

  • A curriculum vita or resume
  • Proof of employment with a public school system or accredited school, college, or university
  • A statement of writing intent describing both what the applicant hopes to accomplish as a poet and what the applicant hopes to learn at the Fall Conference
  • And 10-12 poems of the applicant’s own creation (published or unpublished) that demonstrate their skill with and commitment to the genre.
  • Applications, as well as any questions concerning the Campbell Scholarships, should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Applications must be received by Friday, October 19.

Registration for the 2012 Fall Conference opens soon. Check for details.


By Elaine Neil Orr, 2012 Fall Conference Faculty Member, Master Class (Creative Nonfiction)

Elaine Neil OrrLook at yourself in the mirror. Even after years of knowing it, you’ve forgotten that the image is you but reversed. In a photograph, you see yourself as the photographer framed you. Even in an age in which everyone is taking her own picture with an iPhone, an age in which you can frame yourself, the image cannot capture you. There’s the pose, for example. Even in the “candid” shot, the photograph cuts out the world. What lies beyond the frame or in the interior self? There are “views” of yourself and your place in the world that you have not gotten yet and you will never get from the mirror or the photograph. You can get them on the page, in memoir. Through the alchemy of writing about the self, you emerge. I might say, by writing memoir you become yourself.

Memoir is akin to almost any art: there is more of life than you need to create it. The sculptor in wood cuts away to get at the shape he is looking for. The writer of fiction knows more about the character than she can put in the novel. The “more” of the life must be made into “less,” sculpted into a shape: to make an impression, to tell a story, to reveal. In memoir what is being revealed is a particular self in a particular world. Oddly enough, you have not yet really seen her even though she is you.

You may say: But I have no interesting stories. Nothing has happened to me. I don’t have enough “material” to carve away at.

Have you seen a bird fly? Have you dipped your foot into a cool river? Have you learned your parents are fallible? Did you see for yourself how children, in groups, will torture the weakest child? Have you fallen in love? Everything has happened. If you still feel you don’t have “enough”, try the method of another art: pottery making. Add more clay, work it into a shape, then begin trimming. Put paint on a canvas, enough to make it three dimensional; cut across the surface with a palette knife, leading the eye.

Here: the beginnings of a memoir.

Summer comes. I am exhausted after the teaching year, after the completion of a novel that was six years in the writing. I let myself rest and enter a lull. I spend cool June mornings on my back porch. I observe myself. What is that feeling in my throat that dips into my chest and tells me I am weary? What is that sensation going to my bones? I observe the world. Here arrive two male cardinals for their morning sport. I write them down in my journal, along with my bones, my tea, my pajamas. A chipmunk runs down the walk, sees me, halts its small self, leaps into air and bounds to the fence. I drink tea. I get the chipmunk onto the page. I rest my pen. My eyes rest so the colors of the world bleed one into the other. How long? I don’t know. I sense something. I look. At first I think it’s a huge cat, circling the base of the pine. But no. The tail, the nose. A fox on the hunt. In a moment, I am after it, waving my arms. But I am too late. Off he trots, the downward turned comma of a chipmunk clenched in his mouth. I have the beginning of a memoir. Who am I in that morning, between chipmunk and fox? What has happened? Life and death and everything between. Now what will I make of it?

Oddly enough, I may find myself better reflected in this drama of fox and chipmunk, observing myself observing them, than I do pouring over my childhood photographs. This is the route to memoir: a more circuitous route than mirror-gazing. Yes. The material still has to be shaped. That’s the fierce work of memoir: discovery and creation until you are there, on the page, new, regardless of your age.


ELAINE NEIL ORR will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction at the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference. She writes memoir and fiction. She is an award-winning professor of world literature and creative non-fiction at N.C. State University. She also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville. Her memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life, was a Book Sense Top-20 selection and nominee for the Old North State Award. Elaine has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council and is honored by Image as Artist-of-the-Month for her story, “Day Lilies.” Her memoir and short fiction have appeared in The Missouri Review, Shenandoah, Blackbird, and Prime Number, among other places, and she has three times been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her historical novel, A Different Sun, will be released by Penguin/Berkley Books in spring 2013. A daughter of missionary parents who was born and grew up in Nigeria, Elaine Orr writes out of the inheritance of two worlds.

Registration for the NCWN 2012 Fall Conference opens soon at


edith pearlmanDistinguished author Edith Pearlman will give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2012 Fall Conference on Friday, November 2, at 8:00 pm. The Fall Conference, which starts on Friday and runs through Sunday, will be held at the Embassy Suites in Cary, in North Carolina's Triangle Area. The Keynote Address is free and open to the public.

Pearlman's collection of short stories, Binocular Vision, was published by North Carolina's Lookout Books in 2011 and won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was a Finalist for the National Book Award, among many other honors.

Her Keynote Address will discuss the years of hard work and determination that went into making her an "overnight success."

She has published more than 250 works of short fiction and short nonfiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and online publications. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Collection, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize CollectionBest of the Small Presses.

Her first collection of stories, Vaquita (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), won the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature. Her second, Love Among The Greats (Eastern Washington University Press, 2002), won the Spokane Annual Fiction Prize. Her third collection, How to Fall, was published by Sarabande Press in 2005 and won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Her fourth collection, of course, was Binocular Vision.

"Pearlman writes about the predicaments—odd, wry, funny. and painful —of being human," the New York Times said about her latest collection. "These quiet elegant stories add something significant to the literary landscape."

The NCWN Fall Conference offers more than twenty-five workshops in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, as in other aspects of the craft such as writing for children, publishing, and how to wow at an open mic. Registrants can also choose from three weekend-long Master Classes: Creative Nonfiction (led by Elaine Nell Orr); Fiction (led by Jill McCorkle); and Poetry (led by 2012 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Kathryn Stripling Byer). Participants at the conference may also register for one-on-one sessions with a publishing or bookselling professional.

Registration opens soon at

Farther Along










Farther Along: the Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers by Carol Henderson

Willowdell Books
$17.95, paperback
June, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1935708599
Grief and Healing
Available from

"Both heart-breaking and heart-warming—filled with wisdom about life and death...and writing!"
—Lee Smith, author of Fair and Tender Ladies

"This book should be a guide for counselors, teachers, and for the bereaved."
—Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and Comfort: A Journey through Grief

“In this brilliant, carefully wrought book, Carol Henderson has given us much more than a deeply healing practice for the bereaved and for those who would help them. Here are the very hearts of those who have lost a child, and here is a wise and practiced way to be a companion to and healer of the bereaved."
—Pat Schneider, author of Writing Alone and With Others and founder of Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA)

Ten years ago a dozen silent, withdrawn women from around the state and Virginia, gathered around a conference table in a chilly meeting room at Salem College. Several of the women and their families had endured extensive local media coverage when their children died. Most of the women did not know each other; they seemed to have little in common. However they shared one stark personal factor, and it had brought them to the room that day: Each had lost a child. They had shown up for Carol Henderson’s one-day workshop, “Writing toward Healing.” The group has been meeting and writing ever since.

Henderson writes about the stages the group has gone through, describing the women's growing confidence both in their own writing and in the power of guided self-expression. The book includes generous excerpts of the women’s writings. It is also a detailed and practical presentation of Henderson’s workshop techniques, as well as a guide for running similar groups.

Learn more at

Carol Henderson, in conjunction with the Inavale Foundation and Project Compassion, offers Reflective Writing Workshops for hospital staffs, social workers, counselors, caregivers, and bereaved mothers. Upcoming events include a symposium on Farther Along in Chapel Hill (September 7) and a reception and reflective writing workshops at Hospice in Winston-Salem in October.


Step by Step









Step by Step: a Memoir by Laura T. Jensen

$1.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1476081663
July, 2012
Available through the publisher

Step By Step is a memoir. A collection of short creative non-fiction pieces, which represent segments of my life. They are recollections of people, places and events; some big, some small, some happy, some sad. These stories richly reflect the times and, of course, me and my friends and family.

A writer of fiction and creative nonfiction, Laura T. Jensen is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Interested in continuing to hone her craft, she has attended numerous writing workshops including: Finding The Story, UNC-CH Friday Center; Diary Writing, Chatham Community College; Personal Essay Writing, Sheila Bender; and Amherst Writers and Artists, Part I & II.

Laura lived her early life in Bergen County, New Jersey. She attended public schools in both Bergenfield and Westwood and graduated from Westwood High School. A graduate of Lasell College (2011 recipient of the Lasell Medallion and member, Board of Overseers), Laura spent eighteen years in the human resources and training departments of a large organization in New York City. Until recently, Laura and her husband (Jack Hyer) ran a boutique executive search firm specializing in positions in non-profit organizations.

Fancy Gap by C. David Gelly

$14.99 paperback, $5.99 Kindle
June, 2012
Available at

For travelers along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap, the fog often hangs like an azure dreamscape over the rolling green hills. But when a madman abducts two children and disappears into the wisps with the young brother and sister, the landscape becomes a nightmare for the children’s parents and local residents. The county sheriff remains under intense pressure to track down the predator, yet all leads come up cold and the officers are sickened when a horrific act at the Devil’s Den challenges them all to act quickly.

To solve the crime before the Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show, sleuths Quinn McSpain and Louisa Hawke are drawn into the mystery and head into the hills and hollows of the southwestern Virginia mountains. Quinn is an ex-corporate security operative, and until recently, Louisa headed the FBI criminal division. The athletic, hard-bodied sexagenarian twosome has been experiencing a blossoming romance on kayaking trips and mountain climbing excursions as well as hard mountain bike rides. Now their sleuthing skills and physical prowess will be put to the test as they must capture the killer before the unthinkable takes place.

An adrenaline-producing adventure to capture a demented killer through the Blue Ridge Mountains, C. David Gelly’s mystery thriller is steeped in the lore and legends of Virginia’s upland country. It is the first in a series of five “Gap” novels that will take the reader through the vistas and hairpin turns of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway and mountains.

Watch the promotional trailer here.

C. David Gelly has authored numerous essays and short stories on global travel, athletic accomplishments and life experiences. A raconteur and oenophile of note, he is an avid marathoner and cyclist who explores unusual places in his travels on domestic as well as international assignments. He has plied his trade in government agencies as well as in the corporate ranks of many significant entities taking him through the streets and alleys of concrete canyons as well as the twists and turns of the Silk Road to the wheat fields of America’s heartland. He is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and currently resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as well as the mountains of southwest Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at FancyGap.


Anne Fitten Glenn"It’s fantastic!”

“A work of art.”

“Stirred my soul.”

Chances are you’ve heard these words or ones like it, and that’s why you’re on the path--enthusiastically or not--to presenting your work to agents and publishers. Or you’ve already had that work of art published, and now it’s time for public readings and presentations. In other words, you need to learn how to market yourself, not just on paper, but in real life.

In fact, you need to develop that difficult-to-define but “you know it when you see it” skill known as stage presence. Just about everything about a pitch or a public presentation is different from writing. The body language: writers sit, presenters stand. Eye contact: writers make it with a computer screen; presenters make it with people. Then there’s the speaking part. Writers do it through their fingers; presenters speak with their tongues--out loud.

When you’re used to communicating via a computer screen, communicating publicly with real people can be a little scary. But never fear. That’s why we’re here. We can help you turn something you dread into something you desire (well, at least something that doesn’t make you want to curl up on the floor and weep). If you’re already looking forward to making a pitch or presentation, our workshop will give you the chance to practice. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. Did we mention this is going to be fun? Your workshop leaders are a beer expert and a belly dancer. So, how could it not be?

Well, you should probably know they’re award-winning writers too.

Faun FinleyANNE FITTEN GLENN (aka Brewgasm) writes regular “Brews News” and humorous parenting columns for Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s alternative newsweekly. She also writes and photographs arts and entertainment, business, health, and news for a variety of media outlets. She’s won a North Carolina Press Association award. AF regularly speaks and presents at colleges, conferences, and events. The former communications and journalism professor lives with two kids, her Dorkie Poo mutt, and two marmalade cats in Beer City, USA (better known as Asheville, N.C.).

FAUN FINLEY has won two national awards for her online work: One for the The Pet Shop blog and the other for Bargain Sense, an online video show she created, co-wrote and co- hosted. She was the 2010 recipient of Yes Weekly’s “Best Belly Dancing” award. Faun also has a twenty-year background in live performance and ten years of teaching experience. She regularly emcees live shows at major events along with local TV and radio personalities. And she’s a copywriter. She does short, snappy, get-your-attention writing for integrated marketing campaigns. That also means pitching is something she does as often as brushing her teeth.

Please join us for ninety minutes of fast and fun exercises, tips and techniques, how-to’s and what-not-to’s and lively interactivity.

Why settle for nervousness when you can learn to knock ‘em out?

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









Long Division by Alan Michael Parker

Tupelo Press
$16.95, Paperback
August, 2012
ISBN 978-1-932195-42-2
Available through the publisher or

"Alan Michael Parker possesses a mind completely unlike any poet at work in America today, finding in the clutter around us not just sources of sadness, wit, and playful irony—but also profound ambivalence about a world in which our past is not recoverable, in which the work of the mind upon the landscape is the true source of meaning, in which we all inhabit 'the arc of Story graphed upon the axes of Love and Death.' I have long considered Parker to be one of the most brilliant poets at work in America today. Long Division, his best book yet, confirms that."
—Kevin Prufer

"Alan Michael Parker, in style and in stance ('Sadness remains my politics,' he writes), demonstrates that wit and irony have much more to offer us than we've known. In one masterful poem after another composed with luminous attention to the poetic line, Parker conducts the long divisions toward reconciliation between contentment and the necessity of asking more from ourselves, each other, and the world. He assures us our redemption, but proves that it requires the cunning and exuberance only a poet of his talent can muster for the rest of us. I feel blessed by these poems in Long Division, the work of a poetic troubleshooter intent on spreading grace on everything before him."
—Khaled Mattawa

In his seventh poetry collection, Alan Michael Parker aims to surprise. Recombining lists, fables, and mathematical equations, Long Division is formally playful, wielding irony as a lever of political resistance. Here is a writer fascinated by comedy, by sadness, and by the unexpected ways that poetry makes both possible at once. When was the last time you laughed outloud reading poems? Parker’s new work is truly funny, exposing the impossibility of realism in a world where imagination is more trustworthy than experience.

In addition to his five books of poems, Alan Michael Parker has published two novels and served as editor of the whimsical anthology, The Imaginary Poets (Tupelo, 2005). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Paris Review, The Best American Poetry 2011, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at Davidson College and in the Queens University low-residency MFA program. He lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with the artist Felicia van Bork.


ASHEVILLE--"The beautiful accidents of poetry happen in the dark," says poet Keith Flynn, "alone, where we are not perceived, but received."

Flynn will lead a poetry workshop at the Network's upcoming 2011 Fall Conference, and while he claims that poetry can't be taught, it can be "nurtured, cajoled, discovered, honed, begged or bought." He's been quoted as saying that he can teach anybody how to be a better writer, but that won't make them "burn with it." If fall conference registrants are looking to be ignited, this may be the workshop for them.

An award-winning poet, singer, and editor who has published five books of poetry and essays, Flynn is the founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review. From 1984-1998, he was the lead singer and lyricist for The Crystal Zoo, a nationally acclaimed rock band that released three albums. This new incarnation, The Holy Men, provides musical accompaniment to poems from all of his books, as well as new songs and re-imagined versions of his back catalog of recorded material. This incredible musical diversity can find the band shifting from swing to gospel to blues to ballad to bossa nova to boogie chug all within the same song frame.

Keith Flynn and the Holy Men will perform at this year's Fall Conference banquet, at 7:00 pm on Saturday, November 19.

“Flynn’s words need to be read aloud for the full dramatic impact,” writes Jennifer MacPherson in The Comstock Review, “but even on the page, they mesmerize the reader with their historical significance and startling juxtapositions. These are original, passionate, vigorous and musical narratives that roam the full spectrum of the art. Keith Flynn is a true original, and a national treasure.”

He is the author of four collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), and The Golden Ratio (2007). His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, journals, and anthologies in the United States and Europe.He has been nominated six times for the Pushcart Prize, was awarded the Paumanok Poetry Prize in 1996, and has given thousands of performances from his work across North America and abroad.












A Boat, A Raft, A Bridge by Katherine Soniat

Dream Horse Press
$17.95, paperback
ISBN 978-1-935716-18-1
September 1
Available at your local bookstore or from the publisher

"Within the composure of Katherine Soniat’s phrasing in A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge something unsettled emerges and will not rest. She presents us with a richly conceived world ‘given to see through.’ But the seeing is rigorous. These poems are revelatory."
—Ron Slate

"How might one move quietly and slowly enough—crossing water to land or to ether, to high altitudes or low, the strange or the everyday—to give us time to dream what happened on both banks? In A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, Katherine Soniat’s beautifully understated poems sometimes pass through places of great pain, but ultimately beyond them as well. Myth and history, mountains and deserts, grief and intimacy are all transformed in this collection into a poetry of depth, dignity, and richness of language."
—Lisa Lewis

"One kind of lyric is a vertical narrative that demands dense fuel to attain escape velocity. For Katherine Soniat, the heavy metals of the everyday yield a superheated plasma that seem virtually effortlessly extracted (though it is never so): 'The astronomers call for marvels, a cosmic shower / in the pre-dawn sky. But this dog won’t be energized / by prediction.' The epicenter of her poems’ orbit is the heart of a long and rich poetic tradition, which means it is also the human heart, and that is just were it ought to be, for Soniat’s masterful work reveals again and again that tradition’s inexhaustible power."
—T.R. Hummer

"Katherine Soniat is a conjurer. She possesses the third eye—that extra sense—in her astonishing and scintillant fusion of image with concept. Her synesthetic mind fashions images the rest of us must envy. This poet carries her own microscope through which we see a new order: buoyant, surprising, and rare. Her intelligence ranges over a fascinating array of subjects as she reminds us of what true poetry can do. A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge returns us to the choral pavement of its origins."
—Tina Barr

"A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge guides us through and beyond an ever-dissolving world’s beauty and brutality. We enter the atmosphere of Katherine Soniat’s brilliant, startling, and intimate poems, and we emerge shaken and renewed."
—Lee Upton

Katherine Soniat's The Swing Girl was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Commission of North Carolina (A.O. Young Award). A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize given by the University of Iowa Press, and a Virginia Prize for Poetry selected by Mary Oliver. Her fourth collection Alluvial was a finalist for Library of Virginia Center for the Book Award and Notes of Departure won the Camden Poetry Prize, selected by Sonia Sanchez. Soniat has served on the faculty at Hollins University and Virginia Tech. Currently an instructor in the Great Smokies Writers Program at University of North Carolina at Asheville, she lives on a deep ravine with a mother bear and two cubs.


SIBA Trade SHow 2011NORTH CAROLINA—The North Carolina Writers' Network is again pleased to offer our members the chance to show their books to 500 southeastern booksellers—not to mention around 1,500 book editors, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals—at the 2011 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show, September 17-19, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The SIBA Trade Show is the only time of the year when this many booksellers and book businesspeople will be together in one place, looking for books to sell.

The cost is $50 per title, or $125 for three titles. You can send up to ten copies of your book if sending only one title, or up to five copies each if sending two or three titles, along with promotional materials or order forms. Or, you can send only promotional materials to be displayed in place of books.

Please note that these books and/or materials will be given away—not sold—at the show, and no books or materials will be returned.

The Network's table at the trade show will be staffed by Communications Coordinator Charles Fiore and board member Nicki Leone, both of whom have extensive experience in bookselling and publishing.

To have your book(s) on the table, call the Network at 336-293-8844 or register online here.

You must also fill out and return the SIBA table reservation form with your books here.

All books and materials must be received by August 26, and space on the table is limited, so please sign up now to take advantage of this special opportunity.


By Scott Owens

Scott OwensHICKORY—A few months back, a writer friend of mine posted a negative comment on Facebook about writing prompts. Within hours, dozens of other writers jumped on the bandwagon, adding comments not only further condemning writing prompts but also joining the currently popular practice of badmouthing creative writing programs in general, especially MFA programs.

My first thought, not surprisingly given my core of low self-esteem that I’m told springs from early paternal abandonment, was what’s wrong with me that I enjoy writing prompts. My second thought, remembering all the things my therapist told me about how I should see myself, was what conceited ***** writers become when they think they have a little success.

I didn’t participate in the dialogue myself. I figured I had nothing to gain from doing so. Instead, I borrowed a prompt from Robert Lee Brewer and started what has turned out to be a damned good poem, one that has already been published in a favorite journal of mine.

The first requirement of writing is that one has something to write about. Thus, generative strategies are among the writer’s most important tools. Most would-be writers have a handful of stories they know they want to tell. Many, however, are blocked by the fear that after they tell those stories they won’t have anything else to say.

The purpose of a writing prompt is not to tell writers what to write about, but to shake them out of their complacency, their comfort of non-writing, or their belief that they have nothing left to write about. The truth is, writing is a way of perceptually, emotionally, and intellectually engaging with the world, so how could anyone ever really run out of things to write about? The further truth is we all already have a lifetime of perceptions, experiences, and thoughts to write about, but we might sometimes need a little help recognizing those subjects or mining our memories, experiences, and perceptions. Good writing prompts simply remind us of things we already know that are worth writing about.

Perhaps my friend had in mind the sort of writing prompt that produces a single piece from each writer and that results in similar pieces from all the writers who undertake it. Write a poem about a mirror, for example; or worse, Write a poem beginning with “Love is.” I will readily admit that prompts of this nature, and workshops using prompts like this, mostly produce bad, imitative writing.

There are, however, other types of prompts that are much more useful—prompts that help us know where or how to look to find the subjects worth writing about—prompts that produce an endless number of writing opportunities—prompts that help us live more conscious, deliberate lives as writers. These perpetual prompts are the ones I use in my own writing, the ones I have used to fill dozens of notebooks, write eight books and nearly 1,000 published poems, and the ones I use when teaching, when helping others figure out how to write successfully.


SCOTT OWENS will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the author of four poetry collections and over 400 poems that have been published in various journals such as Georgia Review, North American Review, Dead Mule, Chattahoochee Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize. Born in Greenwood, SC, he now lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches and coordinates the Poetry Hickory reading series.

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

By MariJo Moore

MariJo MooreCANDLER—How humans view animals and their role in the scheme of things is a matter of cultural perspective. In Cherokee collective memory, there was a time when humans and animals spoke the same language and understood each other. But when humans began killing animals needlessly and for sport, and not asking the permission of the animal’s spirit or making a prayerful offering before taking its life, animals retaliated by inflicting diseases upon humans. The plants, in compassion, gave medicine so the humans could heal these afflictions and diseases.

Anishanibe Indian people believe human beings descended from wolves back in the days when humans and animals spoke the same language. The Bella Cola Indians of the Northwest coastal region believe that someone once tried to change all animals into human beings, but were only able the make human the eyes of wolves.

Of course, not all contemporary American Indians have the same beliefs or concerns toward animals. Regardless, all believe in the interconnectedness of animals and human beings. I am of Cherokee descent and have been writing and facilitating creative workshops for over twenty years. Many of my creations reflect what I have learned from spending time with animals, listening to their messages, and applying their knowledge to my own life.

We have many stories and dances referring to the importance of animal speak and celebration of their existence. We know that animals are a part of creation as much as we are. Animals are teachers. Indigenous healers have long known that observing sick animals can lead them to medicinal plants. This is the language of Spirit. We all have spirit animals who can help us learn more about ourselves—help us in our creative ventures. They can offer us teachings that are evidence of the spiritual interconnectedness of all things: a connection that removes us from the world of logic and connects us to our inner nature. Animals have unique abilities that we humans have to develop through creative thinking and listening.

As an afterthought, I add that listening to animal speak is not just an American Indian belief. One of the writers I respect most, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote:

“For verses are not, as people imagine, simply feelings...they are experiences. For the sake of a single verse, one must see many cities, many people, and things, one must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.”

I will contact each participant beforehand and determine which animal spirit he/she will work with. Join me in this workshop to deepen your understanding of animals as well as your writing abilities. You will also learn something about your inner-self.


MARIJO MOORE (Cherokee//Irish/Dutch) will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of over twenty books including The Diamond Doorknob, When the Dead Dream, Crow Quotes, Spirit Voices of Bones, Confessions of a Madwoman, The Boy With a Tree Growing from His Ear and Other Stories, Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories, and her most recent, A Book of Spiritual Wisdom–For All Days. She is also editor of several anthologies including Genocide of the Mind: New Native Writings; Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War; and Feeding the Ancient Fires: A Collection of Writings by North Carolina American Indians. The recipient of numerous literary and publishing awards, she resides in the mountains of western North Carolina. Her website is

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


By Randy Russell

Randy RussellASHEVILLE—I love talking story structure with other writers. To create a novel that will find ready acceptance in the commercial marketplace, I've learned that you need to pay attention to and define your story structure from the get-go.

You already know how to write. And perhaps beautifully so. By using a simple Rule of Three, you will learn how to construct a novel that will be an “easy sell” from tagline to query to final chapter, allowing your literary talents to find the widest audience possible.

The author’s guidelines for writing and pitching a successful novel for today’s competitive marketplace are designed to get you an agent quickly and to make a sell to a commercial publisher without pre-contract revisions. My story-structure Rule of Three was featured earlier this year at Writers Digest editor Chuck Sambuchino’s website

The Rule of Three provides a structure and focus for commercially successful book-length fiction in any genre. Be prepared to describe your work-in-progress during this dynamic course and to participate in the detailed discussion of making your work perfect for the marketplace. It’s easier than you think.

To read more about the Rule of Three, click here.


RANDY RUSSELL will lead a Sunday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. He is the Edgar-nominated author of five published novels for adults, two books of short stories about ghosts, Ghost Dogs of the South and Ghost Cats of the South, and two volumes of Southern Appalachia folklore.

Earlier this year, Randy saw the publication of his sixth novel Dead Rules (HarperTeen), which received a starred Kirkus Review, was a Junior Literary Guild high-interest selection, and will be published by Quercus Books UK and by Aufbau Books in Germany. He lives in Asheville.

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




Katherine Soniat in the AndesASHEVILLE—A sense of place is central to the work of Katherine Soniat, a widely published poet who will lead a Saturday poetry workshop at this year’s Fall Conference. Her extensive travels have allowed her to immerse herself in various cultures so that they become transformative filters for more personal contexts.

Crete, the Andes, the Bavarian Alps, and the Grand Canyon are a few of these regions she has included in her writing. Expanding the focus of poetry in such a way allows threads of art, myth, history, geography, and geology to inform her collections, shaping sequences of poems that resonate across a broad but personal spectrum.

Originally from New Orleans, Soniat has taught at the University of New Orleans, Hollins University, and for twenty years was on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Her fifth collection of poems, The Swing Girl, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press, and a sixth collection, A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, will be published by Dream Horse Press in the fall of 2012.

Her upcoming workshop is titled “Poetry, Archetypal Imagery, and You: A Writing Workshop.”

“What is an archetype?” Soniat asks. “How might it relate to who you are in this grand universe? Does the world have an imagistic language in which it speaks to us across time?

“If you participate in this workshop, you will probably find that indeed there are certain images that are almost old as the Earth itself, and that your life is also encased in those archetypes. AND (this one is important!) that we also create new personal archetypes to guide us into the future. Lots to think and write about.

“If you decide to join us: Please bring a photo of people in a situation that you are familiar with. Bring a second picture (not necessarily a photograph) of people you do not know in a situation/circumstance that you do not fully understand. You are simple drawn to this picture for some unknown reason. In other words, there is an interesting ambiguity in this picture that acts as a magnet. This second image can come from a magazine, the newspaper, whatever.

“We will enter through the gateway of these two images into the world of archetypes then see if those images speak to each other, if they inform one another in a fresh and vivid manner. Of course, they will “in form” YOU in the most surprising ways. You leave this workshop with a poem to remind you of the time we spent considering archetypal imagery.”

Photography, use of archetypal imagery, and dream work are also special areas of interest in both Soniat’s teaching and in her writing. She now lives on a ravine with one frequently noted bear (the Kenilworth Bear) in Asheville and teaches in the Great Smokies Writers' Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

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




By Ellyn Bache

NORTH CAROLINA--I was never a fan of writing exercises. Too many writing teachers, I believed, threw a bunch of leaves and buttons and other miscellany onto a table and instructed students to “Write!” (for ten minutes, at least) as a way of passing the time.

Ellyn BacheLess work for the teacher.

But last year when I was revising my novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, there was one chapter that, for a long time, didn’t quite work. I rewrote it six or seven times. When finally it passed muster with both my agent and editor, the plot had entirely changed. The scene was still between the same two characters, the setting was still the women’s dressing room of a department store, but the emotional content couldn’t have been more different. For the first time, all of us felt the scene did what had been meant to do. I felt like I’d been working on it forever.

Then I realized that what I’d been doing for months was an extended version of a writing exercise. Plot A doesn’t work? Try Plot B, Plot C. Plot X. A brutal application of the old standard writing exercise, “What if. . . ?”

A lot of what goes on in a writer’s head, I came to see, is a mental version of a writing exercise that can also be done on paper, in a formal workshop, probably with the same results. Once, writing about a male character I didn’t fully understand, I changed his name, his age, his appearance, whatever I could think of to make him three-dimensional. Nothing. After much struggle, until I switched from third person to first and finally caught his voice. In those days I wouldn’t have called what I was doing a “writing exercise,” but that’s what it was.

In “Getting Unstuck,” my upcoming workshop at the Network's 2011 Fall Conference, the objective is to learn strategies and practice exercises that have the potential to offer real help. Can’t move the plot forward? A critical scene doesn’t fit the very character who most needs to be there? Dialogue feels forced and unnatural? All of these problems can be addressed.

I still believe that only certain writing exercises work. The goal of this class is to send writers home with some practical, easy-to-use ideas that do.


ELLYN BACHE will lead a Saturday workshop at the 2011 Fall Conference. She is the author of eight novels, including most recently The Art of Saying Goodbye. Her short-story collection The Value of Kindness won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and her novel Safe Passage was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard. She has also written several books for young people as well as a nonfiction journal about sponsoring refugees.

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


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


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


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


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


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


The North Carolina Writers' Network is again pleased to offer our members the chance to show their books to 500 Southeastern booksellers - not to mention around 1500 book editors, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals - at the 2008 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Trade Show, September 26 - 28, in Mobile, Alabama.

The SIBA Trade Show is the only time of the year when this many booksellers and book businesspeople will be together in one place, looking for books to sell.

The cost is $50 per title, or $125 for three titles. You can send up to 12 copies of each book, along with promotional materials or order forms, or you can send only promotional materials to be displayed in place of books.

Please note that these books and/or materials will be given away - not sold - at the show, and no books or materials will be returned.

The Network's table at the trade show will be staffed by Executive Director Ed Southern and Board President Nicki Leone, both of whom have extensive experience working SIBA trade shows as exhibitors and booksellers.

To have your book(s) on the table, call the Network at 704.246.6314 or register online here:
(registration is now closed)

You must also fill out and return the SIBA table reservation form with your books here:
(registration is now closed)

All books and materials must be received by September 15, and space on the table is limited, so please sign up now to take advantage of this special opportunity.

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Chasing Angels by Vince Guaglione

Amazon Digital Services
$0.99, e-book
July, 2013
Available from

Reese Kessler is a man plagued by both his reality and his dreams. He plods his way through a life less than desirable but feels powerless to change it. When he begins experiencing dreams that he perceives to be an extension of reality, he wonders if there is some hidden meaning buried deep within them. As his dreams become more vivid, a portion of each bleeds through into reality causing him to question himself, his mental state, and his life. As he loses his grip on reality, he travels to the place where he believes everything will be revealed to him, and he will find the answers he so desperately seeks.

Vince Guaglione is a guy who asks lots of questions, not only of himself but of his society and the world around him. Although he claims he's found no real answers, that hasn't stopped him in his quest to gain perspective on a little something we call life. When he's not at his real job, you can find him sucking down venti-sized coffees at a brisk pace his local Starbucks, thinking up new writing projects, or pondering his mystery questions of life. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Vince now resides in Raleigh, NC.

Vince is currently working on marketing his most recent works, The Narratives II: Dusk Or Dawn, and his novel, Chasing Angels. He is also gathering ideas for the next installment in The Narratives series as well as finalizing concepts for future fictional works.

You can read more about Vince and his work on his website:

his Narratives Facebook page at:

or on Twitter: @NarrativesKSA.

Vince always enjoys hearing from his readers. You can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Eye of the Beholder by Scott Owens

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-441-9
January, 2014
Available for pre-order from the publisher for only $9!

"The poetry of Scott Owens traces the contours of loss and hope, possibility and renewal. A determination to speak honestly and courageously of important personal matters, pervades this book and gives it emotional urgency page after page. Owens embodies Cocteau’s definition of tact--“knowing how far to go in going too far”--while striking a similar balance between long poems and haiku-like or koan-like short ones. Especially notable at the book’s center is a love poem Neruda would have been happy to write, the laser-intense “You in the Tomb of My Eyes.” Owens knows poetry is a serious business; while various other poets these days might seem caught up in gamesmanship, this poet plays for keeps."
—Philip Dacey, Editor of Strong Measures

Scott Owens is the author of ten collections of poetry, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, vice-president of the NC Poetry Society, coordinator of Poetry Hickory and The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art, and a writer of reviews and articles about poetry. His published work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the North Carolina Writers' Network, the North Carolina Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of South Carolina. He holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He is a member of the NCWN Board of Trustees. Born and raised in Greenwood, SC, he now teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. His website is

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Searching for Virginia Dare: On the Trail of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island by Marjorie Hudson

Press 53
$17.95, paperback / $7.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-935708-87-2
May, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

“Hudson’s writing style is fluid and poetic. . . . Those who value the art of writing as well as substance will enjoy this ‘fool’s errand.’”
North Carolina Libraries Journal

Marjorie Hudson’s book, Searching for Virginia Dare, gained critical acclaim from novelists, reviewers and historians alike when it first came out in 2002. Part detective story, part road trip, part memoir, the book explored the mysterious disappearance of Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. Hudson’s lyrical language and self-revelation brought a fresh flavor to the centuries-old tale of the first English child in America. This latest edition of Searching for Virginia Dare: On the Trail of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, from Press 53, features thirty-three additional pages detailing Hudson’s continued fascination with the subject, seeking history and legend in Rome, London, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Marjorie Hudson was born in a small town in Illinois, raised in Washington, D.C., and now lives in rural North Carolina. Her fiction collection, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, won attention as a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Distinguished First Fiction, a Novello Literary Award Finalist, and Perpetual Folly’s Best Story Collection of 2011. A North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship recipient, Hudson has published stories, essays and poems in five anthologies and many magazines and journals. She writes about outsiders encountering the South, whether they are English colonists or modern-day retirees, and she remains obsessed with the mystery and history surrounding the fate of Virginia Dare.

Season of Change by Lisa Williams Kline

$10.99, hardcover / $7.99, e-book
IBSN: 978-0-310-74007-0
April, 2013
Fiction - Gr. 5-8
Available from

On a long weekend with Diana's grandparents, Stephanie and Diana face what could be their greatest fear: another divorce in their family. Diana and Stephanie find a hidden brochure for a marriage counseling retreat in Norm and Lynn's room, and their suspicions flare when they're dropped off at Diana's grandparents' home on Lake Norman for a "long weekend." Will there be another divorce? Things go from bad to worse when Diana hits a deer while practicing driving. Then Stephanie's mom shows up unexpectedly, and the girls are separated. Is it for good? Isn't that what they wanted? As the girls wonder what it would be like to not have to put up with each other, Diana finds something in the woods, and everything changes. This fifth and final book in the Sisters in all Seasons series brings the story of Stephanie and Diana to a close, and shows what happens when two opposites become friends, and maybe sisters.

Lisa Williams Kline is the author of eight books for readers 8-12, including Eleanor Hill, winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award, The Princesses of Atlantis, Write Before Your Eyes, and the five-book Sisters in All Seasons series.











Flames in the Fire by Phillip Shabazz

Wasteland Press
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 9781600478666
June, 2013
Available from Barnes & Noble or

"This is a spectacular body of work...I don't use the word spectacular often. It wrenched me inside out and reassembled me whole. Shabazz naps with one eye open where suffering and courage encapsulate lifetimes of experience. Be careful, his poems shamelessly offer grenades in lunch boxes posed as gifts."
—Jaki Shelton Green, 2009 Piedmont Laureate, and winner of the North Carolina Award for Literature

"One word, AMAZING. A powerful, moving collection from a poet at the height of his powers... From passionate lyrics to meditative narratives, Shabazz's poems are peopled with unforgettable characters, real human beings, friends, family, revolutionaries and lost wild men lurking city streets for something more than a handful of change. This book is not a confessional rather a meditation on a life lived and confirms that to be the Phoenix one must first endure the fire, only then can one rise from the ashes."
—Howard L. Craft, poet, playwright

"In a world ruled by indifference in which the glimmer of past embers appear barely visible, Shabazz's words remind us that if we train our eyes to listen, it is obvious for all to see that from Ganazumba to Hotada Francis, from the rage of loss to the reinvention of the soul, from the end of a world to the building of that other world of collective love found in the sweetness of mother's cooking, Black Fire lives on!"
—Alvaro Reyes, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

In this poetry collection, Phillip Shabazz shares a journey about change, loss, transition, and renewal in many aspects of his life. He embraces the inner and outer fighting spirit of redemption. Flames in the Fire brings narratives both urgent and compelling, lyrics forged by fire, and a message handed down through generations.

Phillip Shabazz engages issues of community, race, and culture in America. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Freestyle and Visitation, and XYZoom. His other work is a novel in verse, When the Grass Was Blue.

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by Nancy Peacock

Lystra Books and Literary Services
$16.00, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9884164-3-7
August, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or

Listen to Nancy Peacock on The State of Things with Frank Stasio!

1875: Drunken Bride, Texas. An ex-slave named Persimmon Wilson awaits his hanging for the murder of the man who once owned him. As he waits, he pens his story. The journey of Persimmon Wilson takes the reader from the brutality of slavery on a Louisiana sugar plantation to a ranch on the Texas frontier to life among the Comanche Indians. All through his travels, Persimmon Wilson seeks the one person he loves, a light-skinned house slave named Chloe. When he finds her, she is passing for white and is the wife of their former master. This is a rip-roaring, old-fashioned adventure romance. It is also a serious examination of assumptions about identity and truth.

Nancy Peacock's first book, Life Without Water, was published and chosen as a New York Times Notable Book. It was followed a few years later by Home Across the Road. In spite of this success she still had to keep her day job. She worked for years as a self-employed housecleaner. Her third book, and her first work of nonfiction, was taken from her experiences of living as an artist and a maid. A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life was published by Harper Collins in April, 2008.

She now runs writing workshops in her studio in Orange County. She lives with her husband, Ben, in a small house in Hillsborough, NC. Her website is












The Countries We Live In by David Radavich

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-440-2
October, 2013
Available from your local bookstore, from the publisher, or

An Advance Sale Discount price of $9 will be available from the publisher for a limited time prior to when the book goes to press!

"The Countries We Live In. What a wonderful title. Of course it means geographical places like America with its materialism, its politics, its inequalities. But it also means the human body, that country we inhabit for better or worse, that aging country. It also means the people we know and love, those whose countries we live in or who live in ours. I love both the theme and the range of this book, its multitude of countries all of which are crucial to our lives. 'Every Day the World Starts Again' the opening poem tells us. The mystery, the complexity of life begins again, and that, David Radavich tells us, is our task—to live each day as fully as possible in those countries that are given to us to know, to inhabit, to celebrate."
—Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us

"'I don’t want to take your time / for what is not essential.' Lean, clean-lined, economical—yes. But the poems in The Countries We Live In are not minimalist. They do not evade their subjects; they are not wisps and hints. Here are piercing observations, wild surmises, pulsing thoughts, 'adventure and test,' often with a sharp spice of humor. David Radavich has discovered the Country of Sudden Insight and has decided to live there. And thrive."
—Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina

"David Radavich reveals The Countries We Live In with an all-seeing and wry eye and tender sensitivity. In this collection of lyrical journeys from such disparate places as war-torn 1975 Belfast to sun-kissed Corfu, Radavich savors the beauty of nature and the mysteries of human nature. From our wheat-gold Midwest to Pawleys Island, where the 'moon pulled down its scythe,' poems examine the splendor and the heartache of our lives, how each day 'lovers recover their skin.' The music that moves these poems is the lonely dance, the human condition his words so honestly portray. Loss and desire are ever near from sonnets to politics, from the love of guns to objects that 'hide us from ourselves.' With Radavich, we travel the 'heady wine of sea and history,' and when we close these pages, we are 'heavy with departing' and ready to begin again."
—Diana Pinckney, author of Alchemy

This new work explores the inner and outer geographies of human life. Not only physical travel but also love and illness, politics and popular culture, whose contours we learn by necessity as we experience the terrains given to us.

David Radavich’s poetry collections include Slain Species (Court Poetry, London), By the Way: Poems over the Years (1998), and Greatest Hits (2000). His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe. America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007) narrates our nation’s history from World War II to the present, while Canonicals (2009) examines "love’s hours." Middle-East Mezze (2011) explores a troubled yet enchanting part of the world. Radavich has published a wide range of articles on poetry and drama and has performed in such locations as Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Iceland, and Scotland. Winner of numerous awards, he has served as president of the Thomas Wolfe Society and the Charlotte Writers’ Club and is poetry editor of Deus Loci.

Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson

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

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

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

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

His website is











Colonial Food by Ann Chandonnet

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

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


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


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

Appalachian Bestiary

Appalachian Bestiary by Gary Carden

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

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

Sample images

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Hats Off! to Sandra Ervin Adams, whose poem "Potter" appeared on the Arts page in the August 14 edition of ENC Weekly, the newest publication of Onslow and Carteret Counties.


Hats Off! to Stephen McCutchan, who recently released on Kindle three volumes of a series called Clergy Tales—Tails. This is part of a campaign he calls “Building Respect for Clergy One Story at a Time.” Each volume contains short stories about the complex mosaic that comprises the clergical life.


Hats Off! to Nancy Peacock, who was interviewed on The State of Things with Frank Stasio about her new book, The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson.


Hats Off! to Glenda Beall and Barbara Gabriel, whose poems, "Therein Lies the Difference" and "Message to a Waitress's Daughter" respectively, appear in the current issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review, edited by Scott Owens.


Hats Off! to Walter Bennett and Charles (LC) Fiore, whose debut novels were long-listed for the inaugural Crook's Corner Book Prize. Bennett is the author of Leaving Tuscaloosa; Fiore is the author of Green Gospel. To view the complete long list, click here. The short list will be announced on November 15, 2013.


Hats Off! to Claudette Cohen, whose short story "Three Pieces of Ice" has been awarded first prize in the Fiction category on the On the Same Page Writers Competition. Cohen has been invited to read from the story that won the Page Crafters Prize at Ashe County's Literary Festival held in September.


Hats Off! to NCWN Board Member Terry L. Kennedy, who was interviewed by Frank Stasio on WUNC's "The State of Things" to talk about his new poetry collection, New River Breakdown.


Hats Off! to NCWN Regional Rep Chuck Thurston (Cabarrus, Rowan Counties), who was interviewed on The Less Desirables podcast.


Hats Off! to Joe Morris, Scott Owens, and Ross White, whose poems were chosen to be displayed in downtown Winston-Salem in August as part of Poetry in Plain Sight, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. Morris ("Necessities"), Owens ("Used"), and White ("The Heat") also read at 4 Poems & a Party on Saturday, August 3 at Barnhill's Books.


Hats Off! to Teresa Keever, whose poem, "Ellie's Symphony," has been selected to appear in Minerva Rising, a new literary journal, in their September inaugural issue.


Hats Off! to Carol Henderson, who was recently profiled along with her book, Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers, in The Carrboro Citizen.


Hats Off! to Barbara Woodall, who was interviewed as part of a CBS special on the fortieth anniversary of the film Deliverance. (Click link to watch interview.) Barbara is the author of It's Not My Mountain Anymore.


Hats Off! to Diana Pinckney, who has won the 2012 Atlanta Review's International Poetry Grand Prize. The contest issue will be out in October, 2012, from the Atlanta Review.


Hats Off! to Dr. Susan Schmidt, whose poem, "Green Thought in Green Shade" about Carolina Parakeets, will appear in Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina, funded by the North Carolina Arts Council and forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press. Existing volumes about western and Piedmont North Carolina encourage readers to tour sites in NC and read excerpts from the state's writers that speak to place.


Hats Off! to Jack J. Prather, whose anthology Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina is among nineteen nominations for the 2012 North Carolina Literary and Historical Association "Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction".

Sweet Souls & Other Stories, a manuscript by Charles Blackburn, Jr. of Raleigh, was a finalist for the 2010 Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Competition at the University of Georgia.  The title story won him a Literary Fellowship in fiction from the N.C. Arts Council back in 1998.


Hats Off! to Steve Mitchell, whose flash fiction story, "Stalemate," is appearing in the inaugural issue of Siren, an edgy, multi-media journal.

Margaret Norton's memoir,When Ties Break: A Memoir about How to Thrive After Loss, was released August 3. It is a forthright story of one woman who survived a life of abuse, loss and emotional despair.

...who was honored as the 2011 recipient of the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award in a ceremony at the Philip L. Van Every Culinary Arts Center on the main campus of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. The award ceremony was part of CPCC's  annual week-long Sensoria Festival. The award honors a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers.  Amy, a presenter at many NCWN events, was acknowledged for being an award-winning writer, editor and independent press publisher. As a founder of the groundbreaking Novello Festival Press, she put more than 300 writers into print, many for the first time, through works of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

... to Larry O. Nichols. The author of A Hobo Odyssey,  will be traveling to Britt, Iowa ( , the home of the 111th Annual National Hobo Convention, where he has been invited to participate in the festivities there honoring the thousands of traveling hoboes.  It is estimated that 50,000 guests will visit the four-day festival from August 11-14, in the mid-western town; normal population – 2,500.  Site seeing will include a visit to the memorial in nearby Clear Lake, Iowa, where the famous trio of Rock and Roll stars, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were killed in 1959.


..... to Lauren Holder Raab. Her Blue Pencil Editing blog ( made the Writers Guild of America's Hotlist (, which keeps "members abreast of developments in emerging entertainment platforms."

...whose Civil War-set YA novel Avery's Battlefield received two five-star reviews on Its sequel, Avery's Crossroad, will be released next month.

Karen Dodd's latest manuscript, "Shifting Sands" placed third in the 2008 Dixie Kane Memorial Contest in the Short Contemporary competition in Louisiana. The setting of this story is Southport and nearby islands. To read a portion of the novel check out her website.
Hat's off to Elaine Orr, who was recently honored for her fiction by Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion.
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