White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



Mary Ann's Mountain by Mary Ann Rose Hart

Dog Ear Publishing
$11.95, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4575-3266-5
December, 2014
Fiction: Juvenile
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"This book should be on every middle school shelf in America!"
—Paddy Fievet, author of When Life Cried Out

"I like the way your book talks."
—Fifth-grader, Coeburn Middle School

"In this debut novel set in the late 1950s, young Mary Ann shares stories about life on a mountain farm in Virginia. These lively tales inspired by her life indeed serve as a striking showcase of postwar childhood. Her novel may attract general interest as well, given how its plucky heroine and family-positive spirit are reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie and other beloved children's classics. . .. her narrative is full of feisty characters (and cats) as well as gentle images. . . A charming debut full of endearing family stories with universal appeal.
Kirkus Reviews

Life on a farm in the mountainous coalfields of Virginia brings ups and downs for a fifth-grader leaving a two-room school on the mountain for a two-story school in town. The new farm cat won't give Mary Ann the time of day, and she encounters the class bully at her new school. For the first time, Mary Ann witnesses prejudice and problems that affect her friends. Challenges and changes at school highlight the changes happening in Mary Ann's own life, but her three protective older brothers, grandparents and mom work together to make sure the family sticks together through some difficult circumstances. Caught between being a child and a teenager, Mary Ann must discover for herself that the world exists in a spectrum of colors as varied as those found in a Caney Ridge sunrise.

Request book signings and children's readings, preview the book, see upcoming events, read her blog, and download free guided reading and pre-algebra tangram math activities at www.maryannrosehart.com. Visit on Twitter and Facebook.

Mary Ann's Mountain is the first novel for Mary Ann Rose Hart and is a nod to her mountain heritage. Growing up in the mountainous coalfields of Virginia in the 1950s and '60s give this author a first-hand knowledge of the mountain people's pride in their land and their stoic adaptations to whatever life brought.

This retired teacher taught French in grades 3-6 in Kingsport, Tennessee, and grades 3-5 in Mooresville and High Point, North Carolina. The author received a master's degree from Appalachian State University with emphasis on the emerging adolescent and reading skills instruction. While serving as math lead teacher, Hart presented her work at regional and state math conventions.A 36-year career teacher, the author writes about the age group she knows so well.

Mary Ann now lives in North Carolina with her husband, David, and their cat, Gus. Look for more books to come.

Murder in Caney Fork by Wally Avett

$13.73, paperback / $6.15, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61194-416-7
March, 2014
Fiction: Mystery/Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Rape, murder, vigilante justice—trial of the century in a small Eastern North Carolina county seat. Marine war hero Wes Ross has to save his uncle but hide the truth about the killing of Frog Cutshaw, a swaggering bully whose backwoods kingdom is known as Caney Fork.

Sent home after being wounded in a Pacific commando raid, Wes is soon caught in the middle and knows all too well who pulled the trigger on the 12-gauge pumpgun and could go to Death Row.

Inspired by a true story.

Wally Avett is a retired newspaperman living in the extreme Southwestern tip of North Carolina. Also a gardener, outdoorsman, gospel singer, and reluctant handyman.

His column, "Hillbilly Ranger," appears periodically in the weekly Cherokee Scout at Murphy. His four novels are available in local stores as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other websites.

When Killers Collide by Tom Olsinski

Pegasus Books
$17.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-941859384
October, 2015
Fiction: Mystery/Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

What if a serial killer and terrorist plot were active simultaneously in the same beach town? The action packed novel When Killers Collide answers how do you stop a rapacious killer and subvert domestic terrorists?

The gruesome methodology found in a killing field in Indiana reappears in North Carolina as the sexually obsessed killer has re-emerged. What begins as a search for a missing woman uncovers a serial killer and unravels a plot to destroy a city. As victims appear, the paths to murder converge. The outcome is intriguing and unpredictable, as Harry Powell drives to stop killers, profiteers and terrorists. This is a powerful and inventive tale with an original storyline.

Conflict between compelling characters captivate readers in page turning actions. Unique crisscrossed story lines culminate in a dynamic cinematic conclusion.

When Killers Collide follows a treacherous conflict between those with a genealogy that drives killing and those who choose to eliminate anyone who stands in their way. Does group loyalty supersede personal integrity? Can we escape our past to control who we become? What happens when killers collide?

Tom Olsinski has always been a writer in parallel to several careers in healthcare and business. At Fordham University he wrote and edited the college newsletter. As a pharmacist he also contributed a weekly newspaper column on health for a local New York newspaper called You and Your Health. As a marketing executive, he also wrote a monthly business column for over six years for Hearst Publications, titled Mind Your Business. He has written various business publications for a Fortune 100 company on various subjects including strategic planning and leadership. He has lectured at major business schools on ethics. He has coached several sports and is currently an avid golfer. Since focusing on fiction, he has written several novels, most recently When Killers Collide. He is married with three children. After living in New York City and Indiana he currently resides in North Carolina with his wonderful wife and two cute cats.

Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph by Lucy Margaret Rozier

Schwartz & Wade
$17.99 hardcover / $10.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0-385-37843-7
September, 2015
Children's: Picture Book
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

In a race between speedy Jackrabbit McCabe and the electric telegraph—the newfangled contraption that's changing the way Americans communicate—who will be left in the dust? A new tall tale for grades K-2. Award-winning illustrations by Leo Espinosa (Founder's Prize in the 2015 Society of Illustrators 2015 "Original Art" show.)

Lucy Margaret Rozier is thrilled with Leo Espinosa's clever retro illustrations for her book. An artist too, she is now immersed in children's writing. Growing up in the NC mountains she heard lots of tall tales. Lucy and her family live in Durham.


Pelican Island Pharmacy by Betsy Hess Sleath

$35.95, hardcover / $17.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4808-2159-0
September, 2015
Fiction: Romance
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Five years after her divorce, Jessie thinks her problems with her ex-husband are over—until the day he attacks her on the campus where she works as a pharmacy professor. Several months later, Jessie flees Connecticut with her teenage daughter and heads to North Carolina.

After she secures a job as a pharmacist, Jessie is soon intertwined in the lives of the members of the local Methodist church. As she builds friendships with the town doctor and a lieutenant colonel, Jessie wonders if she will ever be able to trust a man again. But just as she settles into her new life, Jessie’s past rises up once again.

Betsy Hess Sleath is a pharmacist who grew up in Connecticut and studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has lived in North Carolina for the past twenty years and loves spending time on the coast. This is her first novel.


A Closet Full of Masks: A Novella and Stories by Susan Snowden

Archer Hill Publishing
$16.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9853301-7-0
September, 2015
Fiction: Southern / Relationships
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“These stories aren’t far-fetched; this is the real South, and Susan Snowden’s dialogue is consistently pitch-perfect.”
—Steve Brown, author of Carolina Girls and The Belles of Charleston

“In this wonderfully varied collection Susan Snowden has penned intriguing characters ranging from complex and hostile to unpretentious and compassionate. Readers will find themselves zipping through to see what come next, anticipating rereading and properly relishing each story.”
—Mary Ickes, Western North Carolina Woman magazine

"Susan Snowden’s stories are infused with a literary magic that readers will not want to miss.”
—Susan Gabriel, author of The Secret Sense of Wildflower, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012, and Temple Secrets

Susan Snowden’s wry humor suffuses even the most poignant of these sixteen stories, all set in the South—from south Georgia to southern Appalachia. Thematically, she treats readers to a smorgasbord of tales whose characters—young, old, affluent, poor—are all struggling in various ways. An artist, given a rare opportunity, must face his insecurity; an uneducated disabled woman longs for the respect of her grown son; a lonely librarian seeks solace after the death of her father; a divorced mother is shocked by her behavior when she starts dating again. And in the title novella, an eighteen-year-old, away from home for the first time, encounters difficulties she never anticipated.

It’s clear that the author knows and understands her characters, each with his or her own distinctive voice and worldview, and that she cares about them enough to redeem them—or at least give them hope—regardless of the challenges they face.

Snowden’s work has appeared in more than forty literary journals and anthologies. Her first novel, Southern Fried Lies, won a 2013 IPPY Award for Best Fiction (Southeast Region). An Atlanta native, Snowden has lived in western NC since 1995.

 A Stone for Bread by Miriam Herin

Livingston Press
ISBN: 978-1-60489-156-0
$30.00, hardcover / $18.95, paperback
November, 2015
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Miriam Herin's novel A Stone for Bread showcases beautifully her immense talent for sweeping storytelling and poetic language. Her absolute fidelity to detail, to historicity, to research—leavened with an imaginative flair nothing short of inspired—mints a narrative as real and harrowing as documentary footage. As the novel wends back and forth in time, chapter by chapter—from pedestrian North Carolina to exotic, enigmatic France, and even into the unthinkable cauldron of a Nazi death camp—Herin builds an uncanny cautionary tale, deftly pairing rectitude with forgiveness, and serving up a cast of truly unforgettable characters. This is a supremely ambitious book from a thoroughly gifted writer."
—Joseph Bathanti, former NC Poet Laureate and author, The Life of the World to Come

"This story is piercing and evocative, imaginative and unsettling, psychologically thrilling. The suspense Herin weaves throughout is palpable. Big questions are explored: does one every really know another human being? How do we distinguish truth from rationalization? But here's the main thing I have to tell you: A Stone for Bread is an irresistible page-turner."
—Judy Goldman, Losing My Sister

"In this epic literary mystery, art is not merely a luxury item for the bourgeoisie. Instead, art is what we turn to when everything else has been lost. Although the backgrounds here are sweeping—the stuff of revolution—it is through the quiet moments of everyday life where Miriam Herin makes her most compelling connections, reminding us that art is for the moments when you've got nothing left—and art is for all of us. I found myself wanting to claim these characters as part of my lineage. With a sharp eye for detail, Herin weaves a riveting and compassionate narrative out of lifelines that, in ways I can't quite explain, have echoed across the decades and become part of my own."
—L.C. Fiore, Green Gospel

In 1963, North Carolina poet Henry Beam published a collection of poems, claiming they had been saved from a Nazi death camp. The controversy over authorship that followed cost Henry his teaching position and forced him into decades of silence. Then, thirty-four years after the book’s publication, Henry breaks his silence and begins telling grad student Rachel Singer about his year in Paris, his entanglement with the fiery right-wing politician Renard Marcotte, his love affair with the shop girl Eugenié, and his unnerving encounter with the enigmatic René, the man who supposedly gave Henry the disputed poems. The novel moves from 1997 North Carolina to post-World War I France, to Paris in the mid-50s and into the horror of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Even while Rachel wonders how much is true, Henry’s story forces her to examine her own life and the secret she has never acknowledged.

Miriam Herin’s first novel Absolution won the 2007 Novello Press Literary Award and was cited by Publishers Weekly as an “impressive” debut. A native of Miami, Florida, she has been a social worker, taught composition and literature at two universities and three colleges, and been on the editorial staffs of Good Housekeeping Magazine and the Winston-Salem Journal. She has also freelanced as a writer, editor, public relations consultant, and producer of films and videos. As a volunteer, she organized and directed an inner-city program for teenaged children of Southeast Asian refugee families. Her second novel A Stone for Bread was a top-ten finalist in the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Competition. Miriam is the mother of two, grandmother of one, and lives with her husband in Greensboro.

Lion on the Hearth by John Ehle

Press 53
$19.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-30-1
October, 2015 (Originally published 1961 by Harper & Row)
Fiction: Historical
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

NEW Press 53 Classic!

Lion on the Hearth is the story of the King family, successful merchants in Great Depression-era Asheville, North Carolina, where trading, competing, and risk-taking are necessary for survival, and where greed and lust for love and power tests the limits of a strong, ambitious family.

Lion on the Hearth is chronologically the sixth book in John Ehle’s seven-book Appalachian series that includes The Land Breakers, The Journey of August King, Time of Drums, The Road, The Winter People, and Last One Home.

Each book in this series stands independent of the others, so readers don't have to approach them chronologically, but the series, in whatever order they are read, is a journey that will never be forgotten.

John Ehle (Ee-lee) is the author of seventeen books—eleven fiction and six nonfiction—including Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. His novel, The Land Breakers, first published in 1964 by Harper & Row, was the first in a seven-book series that begins with the settling of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina in 1779.

Ehle is a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and has received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Thomas Wolfe Prize, and the Lillian Smith Award for Southern Fiction. He is also a five-time winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. He has been recipient of the Mayflower Award for Nonfiction, the Governor's Award for Meritorious Service, and the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities. Mr. Ehle holds honorary doctorates from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and Berea College.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose very short piece of fiction, "Perspective," appeared in Fifty Word Stories.


Hats Off! to Marianna Crane whose story "Baby in the Closet" appeared in Hospital Drive: The Literature and Humanities Journal of the UVA School of Medicine, August/September, 2015.


Hats Off! to David Payne whose memoir Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's Story has been named to Best Books of 2015 (Kirkus Reviews); Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2015; and Amazon’s Best of 2015 Biographies & Memoirs.


Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductees Kathryn Stripling Byer and Allan Gurganus; former North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti; Clyde Edgerton, Keith Flynn, Zelda Lockhart, and many other contributors to Carolina Writers at Home, a collection of essays and photographs of writers in their homes. Published by Hub City Press, Rob McDonald's evocative photographs capture the writers in their habitat, preserving their distinct personalities as well as well as the particular character of the house and place they inhabit.


Hats Off! to Ivy Rutledge who was a finalist in the 2015 New Southerner Literary Contest for her essay "Oz Palimpsest." The New Southerner Literary Edition will be available online and in print in December.


Hats Off! to Janet Hartman whose story "Christmas Afloat" appears in the recently released Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!


Hats Off! to Denise Smith Cline whose short story "Plow Under" has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Prime Number magazine, published by Press 53.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford who received the 2015 Paul Green Multimedia Award from North Carolina Society of Historians for her poetry collection, Crepe Roses (Aldrich Press). This is the eighth time she has won the award.


Hats Off! to Maryrose Carroll, author of Beats Me: Love, Poetry, Censorship from Chicago to Appalachia, which profiles her husband, the late prolific poet and professor Paul Carroll. Maryrose was interviewed on Chicago's WGN Radio 720 AM.


Hats Off! to Suzanne Adams whose story "The Severed Hand" is forthcoming in Main Street Rag's Ghost anthology. Also, her story "The Wilderness Vow" appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Minerva Rising Literary Journal.


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