White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



A Life Time in Reverse: What's on Your Bucket List? by Chuck Werle

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$9.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-508835752
September, 2015
Available from www.Amazon.com

The online book is divided into two major sections: Mine and Yours. The first evolves from cruising through the author's experience over six decades to the second, where readers learn how to form their own lifelong Bucket Lists from seventy suggestions that could have affected their lives.

The 13,000-word mini-book features thirty-eight episodes or chapters, often including lessons to be learned.

The episodes and events are divided into five sections to expedite the process: personal, humor, adventure/travel, careers, and sports/hobbies.

Chuck Werle wears many hats. In the past two years. Chuck has concentrated on helping other authors by editing their manuscripts and promoting finished products. He also managed to write his second book. In 2009, he authored his first book, From Tee to Green in the Carolina Mountains. It was published by iUniverse in Bloomington, Indiana, and is available on Amazon and from your local bookstore. During that period, he was a golf columnist for the Laurel of Asheville magazine, until 2010.

He is also principal of Carolina Image Builders, a public relations counseling firm with a national reputation in media relations and crisis communications.

Werle retired to Asheville from Chicago in 2000 after he was chosen the Outstanding Public Relations Executive by both Chicago chapters of the Public Relations Society of America.

A native of Lapeer, Michigan, he earned a BA degree in Journalism from Michigan State University and advanced degrees from the University of Illinois—Chicago and San Jose University Institute. He began his public relations career with Miller Brewing Company after four years as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal.

The Haunting of William Gray by Renee Canter Johnson

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
$16.99, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 9781509204366
November, 2015
Fiction: Romance
Available from www.Amazon.com

Can Madeline Waters capture a picture of the ghost William Gray believes is haunting him? Others have caught some shadowy figures on film at the Antebellum house, built in the eighteen hundreds on a privately-owned island, in Winyah Bay, South Carolina.

A single photo would result in William granting permission for her to use the private journals of his long-dead ancestor and namesake, Captain William Gray, in her thesis research.

Madeline's disbelief in the supernatural isn’t helpful and she wonders if the wealthy loner is suffering a mental collapse until she experiences the ghost of the Captain herself. Saving her from drowning, he floods her with the emotions she has longed for, and opens a dimension for her previously thought to be pure fantasy.

Is it possible to fall in love with an apparition, or will she be able to aid in setting his spirit free? With help from a local Gullah woman's knowledge of voodoo, the mystery unravels. In the process, William and Madeline's hearts also become entwined.

Renee Canter Johnson was born in North Carolina, where she still resides. She has studied in France, Italy, and has been awarded two terms at Noepe Center for Literary Arts on Martha's Vineyard.


Waiting on Unknown Roads by Sara Claytor

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-538-6
November, 2015
Available from the publisher

"In this stunning collection, Sara Claytor perfectly captures the archetype of the Wise Crone—not to be confused with any sort of pathetic figure, but a human being at the pinnacle of her earthly power—a woman who dances on her own grave because she hasn’t wasted a moment of her life. Embracing love, loss, joy, and sorrow with equal ferocity, these poems have much to teach us if we take the time to ‘listen’."
—Terri Kirby Erickson, author of A Lake of Light and Clouds

"Sara Claytor was born on the wild side of words. She has taken her life and spun her worlds into clear-eyed amazement on the page. And given it to us wrapped in gold and tied in silver. What joy! What tears! What magic! Nothing worthy has, or ever will, escape Claytor’s bright quickness."
—Ruth Moose, author of Doing It at the Dixie Dew

"Whether writing about lost loved ones, magical childhood places, a bag lady, the various faces of God, or one’s own slow demise, Sara Claytor connects us to other human beings, and gracefully does so. With roads into the past where wounds 'still glimmer…/like broken glass,' some poems are heartbreaking. All journeys are uncertain and Claytor keeps us reading to discover what waits around the bend. This is an engaging book."
—Peter Makuck, author of Long Lens (New & Selected Poems)

Gladys Knows Her Fate

No one cares about an old naked woman on the beach,
her legs, stiff as if spray-starched,
spread like a wishbone.
She eats Roquefort cheese and peaches,
juice lacquering her breasts in luminous blotches.
No one cares that her tits look like melted taffy,
her wisps of pubic hair like prickly grass.
She licks her fingers, flicks a peach pit into the ocean’s edge.

No matter the sun, the glare, the wind
whipping her hair into gray spaghetti strings.
No matter gasps, giggles from passers-by shuffling sand.
Unconcerned. Proud. Expectant.
She waits for her last lover, Neptune,
to rise from the sea,
erase her blotchy-veined skin,
grant her iridescent mermaid fins,
hand her a lobster cell phone
so she can dial God.

A native Tar Heel and former teacher of literature, writing, and speech/drama communications, Sara holds two graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Recipient of numerous poetry prizes, short stories have received first place in Sensations Magazine competition; at the Virginia Highlands Festival, and The Charlotte Writers' Club. Poems and fiction have appeared in over 130 publications including a short story reprinted as one of twelve top stories of the last five years in The Pisgah Review. She has worked as a fiction editor for a small press and as co-editor of the former internet journal The Moonwort Review. Her published books include: Reviving the Damsel Fish, Memory Bones, Carrboro Poetica, and Howling on Red Dirt Roads which was one of two books recognized by the Poetry Council of North Carolina for the year 2008. For the seventh year, she coordinates the North Carolina Poetry Society Reading Series at McIntyre’s Fine Books near Chapel Hill, which brings in poets from across the state for monthly readings.

Night Rumbles by Nancy Janes

Rockrose Press
$12.99, paperback / $1.99, e-book / $17.95, audiobook
ISBN: 978-0-692314074
March, 2015
Fiction: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Christian
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"This book is awe-inspiring and a true pleasure to read. It is a wondrous fantasy tale that sent me on a lovely journey. It had an almost a calming feeling within me as I read it."
MagicWanda review 2015

Brad, a being of light, left a paradise to enter a world of tyranny. Why?

On the planet Lydo, in the city of Iru, nineteen-year-old Brad, a research student at the Science Academy, enters Daganland, a Netherworld city, to research its little-known inhabitants. The caveat: he will lose his memory and take on the form of the natives.

Waking up in the town of Nofer in Daganland, Brad enters into a world ruled by a Tyrant. It is a planet of darkness where the inhabitants live and work by night. The majority of the inhabitants are former humans. Brad is assigned to cross over to the human world to observe their habits and behaviors as a part of his future career. Instead of obeying his instructors to be merely an observer he grows fond of the humans, and his studies take a new direction.

Using sharp insight interlaced with dashes of wit and satire, Nancy Janes weaves a twisting tale that creates a candid portrait of humanity and its idiosyncrasies from the vantage point of a pure outsider battling forces he doesn't quite fully grasp.

Nancy Janes (Zelman) is a former clinical social worker who now writes full-time. She has written two books: The Boy Who Walked a Way and and Night Rumbles, loosely based upon upon each other.

Fantasy/Sci-FI, short stories in the Americana vein, and poetry are her interests. Her writings are Christian-based, but the secular reader will find in them the universal themes of human struggles and the search to master life's troubles.

Helloooo Vietnam: 364 Days and a Wake-Up by Colonel Tom Davis

Old Mountain Press
$3.99, e-book
August, 2014
Available from www.Amazon.com

This e-book is the second chapter of the Tom Davis' memoir: The Most Fun I Ever Had With My Clothes On: A March from Private to Colonel. In his memoir, the author relates his experiences during the thirty-one years spent in the US Army, rising through the ranks from private to full colonel. Twenty of those years he served with US Army Special Forces (Green Berets).

This book chronicles his time in three combat zones: Vietnam, Bosnia, and Iraq/Turkey. Included are his experiences commanding Special Forces Operational A Detachments which specialized in Underwater Operations, High Altitude Low Opening Parachuting, Mountaineering, and Small Atomic Demolitions Munitions as well as two Special Forces Battalions and a Joint Special Operations Task Force.

Each chapter covers his duties and responsibilities at the Army Installation where he served. Sometimes funny. Sometimes sad. Always interesting.

Col (Ret) Thomas (Tom) Hoyt Davis, III (AKA The Squid), holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Georgia and a master's degree from the University of Southern California. Tom entered the Army as a private and retired as a full colonel. He spent twenty of his thirty-plus years in the Army serving with Special Forces (Green Berets) on four continents and in ten foreign countries. He has worn a Green Beret at every rank from 2LT to Colonel and commanded at every level from Special Forces A Teams to a Joint Special Operations Task Force. The various A Teams he commanded specialized in Mountaineering, Underwater Operations, High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute techniques, and Small Atomic Demolitions Munitions (SADM). In addition to the Army's Command and General Staff College and Army War College, he has attended Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces, Underwater Operations (UWO), Danish Combat Swimmer, Special Forces Surface Swimmer Infiltration Technique Course, High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute school, Small Atomic Demolitions Munitions (SADM) and others.

His short stories, articles, and poetry have been published in Poets Forum, The Carolina Runner, Triathlon Today, ByLine, Georgia Athlete, The Saturday Extra (magazine section of the Fayetteville Observer), A Loving Voice Vol. I and II, and Special Warfare (a professional military journal published by the Special Warfare Center). Many of his short stories have received honors in writing contests sponsored by ByLine magazine. Other books by Tom include The Life and Times of Rip Jackson, The Patrol Order, Growing up In Vienna, Georgia, and an action adventure novel, The R-complex. He has recently published his memoir: The Most Fun I Ever Had With My Cloths On: A March from Private to Colonel.

Thinking about the Next Big Bang in the Galaxy at the Edge of Town by Scott Owens

Main Street Rag
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-548-5
December, 2015
Available from the publisher

"A symphony of musical memory and lyrical philosophies, Thinking About the Next Big Bang in the Galaxy at the Edge of Town triumphs—from 'All the Meaningful Noise' to 'Persona' and on to 'Used,' the last sound-poem. Owens invents possums and God, plus himself at various ages, until the impractical art of love becomes the way to give meaning to the racket of surround, longing 'for the kindness we could do for each other.'"
—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Poet Laureate

"In this new book of poems, Scott Owens revisits many of the themes we have come to expect from him, often in the mode of the confessional, endlessly awakening the reader’s senses with a whole gallery of deep images. However, there is more, for this is the furthest Owens has descended into the well of contemplation, and in doing so, he proves here to be a poet that doesn’t just write to document, but one that must write to be alive."
—Tim Peeler, author of Checking Out and Waiting for Charlie Brown


Having seen the transformation of one
rundown furniture plant into expensive
restaurant, brewery, boutique shops
for clothes and frozen yogurt, and noticing
the ongoing cleaning out of another,
and knowing it had already happened with my life,
education and divorce and writing
redeeming what had once been worthless,
I couldn’t help but wonder how much
could be achieved with any body
nearly worn out, teeth straightened
with invisalign, eyes fixed by laser,
gut restored with probiotics,
foot pain eliminated by the Strassburg Sock,

but then even after rejuvenation,
even among the young, it’s not always
pretty, not always full of grace,
the crude, oil-stained nuts and bolts
of life, the unphotogenic face,
a bad day that keeps getting worse,
walls that don’t line up, some bricks
uneven, some not quite the right size,
and that’s what the mortar’s for,
the gray areas of tolerance,
forgiveness, understanding,
empathetic appreciation of things
being left imperfect, only as good
as we can stand to make them be.

Originally from Greenwood, SC, Scott Owens holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro. He currently lives in Hickory, where he teaches at Lenoir Rhyne University, edits Wild Goose Poetry Review, owns and operates Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery and coordinates Poetry Hickory. Thinking About the Next Big Bang in the Galaxy at the Edge of Town is his thirteenth collection of poetry. His 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 NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC. He has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac four times, and his articles about poetry have been featured in Poet’s Market twice.

The Complete Tryon Diary by Susan McNabb

$12.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1512044393
June, 2015
Nonfiction: Humor
Available from www.Amazon.com

Fall in love with Tryon, North Carolina, in this complete collection of Susan McNabb’s insightful and often funny weekly newspaper columns from the Tryon Daily Bulletin as she discovers the unexpected in small-town life after nearly three decades in Hollywood. Included are all 50 columns, capturing a year in the “friendliest town in the South” with thoughts on Tryon native Nina Simone, the Mule Club, rented goats, and trashion shows.

Susan McNabb is the author of The Complete Tryon Diary, a collection of columns from the Tryon Daily Bulletin, "The World's Smallest Daily Newspaper," in which she chronicles her adjustment to small-town life in North Carolina after nearly three decades in Los Angeles. Tryon Diary: Tales from the Friendliest Town in the South is a collection of her 2014 columns.

Susan grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and received an English Literature degree from the University of Tennessee before moving to L.A. to pursue modeling and commercial acting. Now settled in Tryon with her husband and rescued dogs, Susan is also an accomplished potter and fiber artist. You can visit Susan at www.susanmcnabb.com or on Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter.

A Love We Deserve (True Love Book 2) by Betsy Anne

$12.95, paperback / $2,99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-508732471
March, 2015
Fiction: Romance
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

In this sequel to Mine, Not Hers (Book 1 in the True Love series), we find funny Georgia girl Melanie at her breaking point.

Melanie's husband Chris has come home for the last time smelling of a cheap mistress. She's finally had enough. She kicks him to the curb once and for all, but now what?

Bearing witness to the love her best friend Katie shares with her husband Jason, has opened her eyes to see that she deserves more than what she's settled for. Problem is, where to begin? How does she meet someone when she's so jaded and distrustful of men?

After fumbled attempts with bars, dating websites, and personal trainers, she's had enough. Swearing off men altogether, she throws all of her energy into making her life better, and working for a cause she believes in. When she least expects it, she meets a handsome, muscular stranger whose enraptured by her. Even though she's drawn to him by an intense attraction, she pushes him away, knowing that Mr. Perfect will be next in her line of failed relationships.

Is he strong enough to break down the brick wall she's built around her heart or will he protect his own which hides deep secrets from his past?

A page turner from the beginning, Melanie's sad, funny, steamy, and sweet story will envelope the reader until the very last page.

Betsy Anne is a happily married, hopeless romantic with three children. Her first novel Mine, Not Hers, was completed in April 2014 and published digitally and in paperback on Amazon.com. Betsy Anne holds a BS degree in Sociology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She and her New Jersey-born husband Henry love hanging out with their children and families, traveling, their secondary children (two cats and a dog), and spending time at their beach house in South Carolina. She is currently writing her third novel.

Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose story "Angels Over Iraq" appeared in the anthology The Best Angel Stories 2016 (Guideposts Books and Inspirational Media).


Hats Off! to Russell W. Johnson, winner of the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award, presented at the Edgar Awards for best short story by a new author. The winning story, "Chung Ling Soo's Greatest Trick," was one he'd submitted to the North Carolina Writers' Network Critiquing and Editing Service and received excellent feedback from Ruth Moose.


Hats Off! to Chuck and Heidi Thurston who have signed on with Indigo Sea Press (formerly Second Wind Publishing): Chuck for Senior Scribbles Unearthed and Senior Scribbles Second Dose; Heidi forThe Duchess, the Knight and the Leprechaun.


Hats Off! to Terry Himes who won second place in the Charlotte Writers' Club Nonfiction Contest with "Betty and Bernice," a tale of Terry’s two mothers. Terry will receive $75 and a certificate at the February CWC meeting. The judge was Dannye Romine Powell, the Books columnist for the Charlotte Observer and author of three poetry collections and a work of nonfiction.


Hats Off! to Philip Gerard whose debut album, American Anthem, will launch in February. Gerard's music looks "both outward toward our history and culture for inspiration and inward toward our deepest loves." American Anthem is a textured musical quilt of the American experience, from hobos and cowboys to more personal songs of touring the open road and finding love under an Arizona moon, featuring flat-picked and finger-style guitar, fiddle, keyboards, and multiple harmonies.


Hats Off! to David R. Tanis whose story "Christmas, 1963, Fort Sill, Oklahoma" appears in O-Dark-Thirty.


Hats Off! to Sharon C. Williams, author of the new children's chapter book Jasper: Amazon Friends and Family (October, 2015), who was interviewed by Lorna Suzuki in All Kinds of Writing.

Hats Off! to NCWN board member Alice Osborn whose new poetry collection, Heroes without Capes, was reviewed by CL Bledsoe in Pedestal Magazine. "Underlying Osborn’s humor is a sense of grounding in working-class culture. Her references are more likely to come from pop culture than Greek tragedies, though she’s got a few of those as well...[her poems balance] the sacred and profane, the lewd and the clean."


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose feature on former North Carolina poet laureate and activist Joseph Bathanti appears in Ambassador Magazine, the publication of the National Italian American Foundation.


Hats Off! to Alli Marshall of Asheville whose short story “Structural Soul” won the 2016 Shrewd Writer flash fiction contest. Her story was chosen because of its "intriguing characters, bizarre subject matter, and compelling content."


Hats Off! to Lisa Hosokawa Garber, Faith Holsaert, and Elizabeth Zertuche, whose work appears in the newest issue of Firefly Ridge Literary Magazine.


Hats Off! to Kathie Collins whose piece "Before Reading" won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest, sponsored by the Charlotte Writers' Club.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Three Crows and a Storm" is forthcoming in Gnarled Oak.


Hats Off! to Maren O. Mitchell whose poem "Raymond Duvall, Sleeper" appears in the January, 2016, issue of the English online poetry journal, The Lake.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose essay "Five Brothers in the Civil War," co-written with Barbara Ledford Wright, was published on the North Carolina Civil War Center website.


Hats Off! to Tina Barr whose poem "Agricultural Fair" is featured on the website of The Gettysburg Review.


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