White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



Astonished to Wake by Julie Suk

Jacar Press
17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9364810-5-0
January, 2016
Available from the publisher

“The poetry of Julie Suk is at once deceptively spare and metaphorically rich, and the sensual mystery of her perfectly pitched and etched lines is haunting, elemental, and wild,”
—R. T. Smith

In her sixth collection, Julie Suk continues to write poems that are deeply sensuous and unflinching.

"Oh the things we would all say to the stars in the sky if we found ourselves alone in a lifeboat at sea."
—Charles Simic, former Poet Laureate of the United States

Julie Suk is the author of five previous volumes of poetry. The Angel of Obsession won the University of Arkansas Poetry Competition, the Roanoke-Chowan Award, and was on the short list for the Poets Prize. The Dark Takes Aim (Autumn House Press) was awarded the Brockman-Campbell and the Oscar Arnold Young awards. Suk is also a recipient of the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, and received the Irene Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award from Central Piedmont Community College. She was formerly a managing editor of Southern Poetry Review, and co-editor of Bear Crossings and the Anthology of North American Poets.

The Work of Creation by Luke Hankins

Wipf & Stock
$20.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-625643605
January, 2016
Nonfiction: Lit Crit / Essays
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“In his generous and illuminating volume of prose, The Work of Creation, Luke Hankins demonstrates how much of poetry and the maturation of our engagement with it rely upon a power to contain opposites, particularly as they problematize our historical moment. With the wide-angle of a theorist and the jeweler’s monocle of a close reader, the author here sets out to revalidate and reposition the poet’s work as part of a more fundamental set of contemporary challenges: to seek the genuine in the fractured, divine union in uncertainty, magnanimity in despair—and thus to forge greater intimacies among aesthetics, ethics, and psychology. In praise of the devotional, the book honors a radiance of doubt that eschews both easy ironies and dogmatic polemics. The subtext here is gratitude, a love of work, and a deepening summons to the complexity of art as bound to the complexity of our condition. A beautiful book.”
—Bruce Bond, author of Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand

“This collection is tuned to the pitch of listening—listening with fine intelligence as Hankins explores the nuances of poetry, culture, and history: the soul.”
—Claire Bateman, author of Leap and Scape

In The Work of Creation, poet, editor, and translator Luke Hankins explores literature, art, aesthetics, ethics, religion, and the life of the spirit in a number of genres, including literary criticism, meditations on art and aesthetics, personal essays, and interviews. Collected in this volume are pieces that have appeared in such places as Books & Culture, Contemporary Poetry Review, Image, The Writer's Chronicle, and the American Public Media national radio program On Being.

Luke Hankins is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (both from Wipf & Stock). Hankins serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review, and he is the founder and editor of Orison Books, a non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives.

Holy Ghosts of Whiskey by Marty Silverthorne

Sable Books
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9968036-2-5
January, 2016
Available from the publisher

“Marty Silverthorne shows us how memory and the past concretely inform each other: all that happens—the handed-down stories, the unimprisoned present—live as witnesses for the stalwarts, the listeners and readers who stand for generations to find out and to hear what Marty Silverthorne sees and hears. Holy Ghosts of Whiskey works like that. The pleasure of his words warm like good whiskey.”
—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and North Carolina Poet Laureate (2015-2017)

Holy Ghost of Whiskey is a beautiful commitment to the god-force of memory. Marty Silverthorne reminds us over and over again how poetry strengthens our root. These deep evocations of language and ghosts create pathways that charm us into honky tonk heavens. From beginning to end these poems offer a haunted awareness of the joys, sacrifices, and sorrows that are singing in the hinges of three room shot gun shacks. These poems lift up the roots and reveal well-crafted tenderness and emphatic imagination that bears witness to the longings and challenges we all have confronting our angels, our ghosts, loves, and losses. Holy Ghost of Whiskey makes us dream about the rapture of what it means to be eat up with music.”
—Jaki Shelton Green, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee

“Some academics use the term 'regionalist' as a slight. It’s true that, in lesser hands, regionalism sometimes devolves into local color nostalgia and sentimentality, into romanticism, but Marty Silverthorne’s Holy Ghosts of Whiskey is a tumbling, musical urgency of 'smoke ring eulogies,' 'voices singing through the hinges,' bruises shining through worn blouses, cold, cold hearts and 'buzzards high in the Tuscarora pines.' It’s a regional collection in the best sense of the term. These vibrant poems are distilled from 'the poverty of fatback and biscuits,' they’re spiriting hymns worming their way to us from an eastern North Carolina landscape that isn’t quite dead yet, rising from the coiled copper of liquor stills, from kerosene lamps and radio gospel. These poems will take you there so that you remember it.”
—John Hoppenthaler, author of Domestic Garden, Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, Lives of Water

Marty Silverthorne lives in Greenville, NC, where he earned a M.S. from East Carolina University. He received the Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award in 1993 and has been awarded several grants from the NC Arts Council. His poems have appeared in The St. Andrews Review, Carolina Literary Companion, Tar River Poetry, Chattahoochee, and others. He has published two chapbooks: Dry-Skin Messiah and Pot Liquor Promises.

Dark Paths to Light by Gil Alligood

Outskirts Press
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4787-0963-3
November, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

The story takes place in current times. The characters are on a mission to prevent a group of terrorists from executing their plan that would cause major catastrophe in the Mideast and the world.

The major characters are Craig Johnson and his wife Kitty. When Craig discovers that his wife is in the hands of terrorists, he must thwart an international terrorist plot in Israel to rescue her. Craig and his team find themselves involved in Black operations as they make their way through several countries to reclaim Kitty..... and ensure peace.

The story is based on today's international political climate and rich in foreign culture, politics, and intrigue. Dark Paths to Light is a timely, nail-biting adventure fraught with difficulty and danger.

Gil Alligood's stories are based on research as well as his own experiences as a pilot in the United States Air Force (retired colonel),a consulting engineer, and a private pilot flying his Piper Arrow—providing background information for adventure and intrigue. He currently lives in Washington, North Carolina, where he serves his church as a Bible School teacher, and is chairman of the local airport advisory board. His previous novel The Devil's Pace examines the culture and amorous adventures of a young girl in 1953 in Eastern North Carolina.

Fallen Land by Taylor Brown

St. Martin's Press
$25.99, hardcover
January, 2016
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“A story of love and loyalty set within the madness and chaos of war, Fallen Land is also a thrilling fugue, in both senses: of flight, and intricate composition. It is also the story of a revenge quest, the horrors of Sherman's March, a noble horse named Reiver, of sacrifice, endurance, and redemption. No one who reads Fallen Land will ever forget it. In this first novel Taylor Brown proves himself a fresh, authentic, and eloquent new voice in American fiction.”
―Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek, Boone, and The Road from Gap Creek

“A shattering debut that puts one strongly in mind of the young Cormac McCarthy, and the best historical fiction I've read in ages.”
―Pinckney Benedict, author of Town Smokes, The Wrecking Yard, and Dogs of God

“It is rare thing for a writer to have the talent and scope to exhibit both the worst and best of humanity in one book, much less in one scene, but that's what Brown does here: He literally floods the page with violent beauty and devastating grace. Well-known and oft-praised writers will look back on long and storied careers only to wish they had written a debut novel as flawless as Fallen Land.”
―Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home

Fallen Land is Taylor Brown's debut novel set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman's March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives. Dramatic and thrillingly written with an uncanny eye for glimpses of beauty in a ravaged landscape, Fallen Land is a love story at its core, and an unusually assured first novel by award-winning young author Taylor Brown.

Taylor Brown grew up on the Georgia coast. He has lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of western North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in more than twenty publications including The Baltimore Review, The North Carolina Literary Review, and storySouth. He is the recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist in both the Machigonne Fiction Contest and the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. His short story collection In the Season of Blood and Gold was a finalist in the short-story category of the 2015 International Book Awards. An Eagle Scout, he lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Changing Season by Steven Manchester

Story Plant
$26.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-611882261
February, 2016
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"The Changing Season is a story that will bring you back to that awkward period of time between childhood and adult life. I highly recommend this book."
—Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times bestselling author, The Christmas Box and The Mistletoe Promise

"The Changing Season is a thought provoking coming of age tale that explores the complicated themes of love, faith, family, and above all, loyalty. Mr. Manchester's portrayal of a boy at the cusp of manhood is evocative and sympathetic."
—Susan Wilson, New York Times bestselling author, One Good Dog

This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy: one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He'd fill the hours playing with Jimmy his canine best buddy going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they'd do before Billy left. But that was before the accident that shook the entire town. It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck. And it was before Vicki. This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn t truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple. An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, The Changing Season is an experience to savor.

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin' Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, as well as the novel Goodnight, Brian. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning, and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester's short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Oh, Nelly ! The Life and Loves of Penelope Evangeline Dougherty 1883-1963 by Richard David Randall

Force 10 Publishing
$13.23, hardcover / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9962482-0-4
July, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Meet Penelope Evangeline Dougherty, otherwise known as “Nelly.”

“I’ve known genuine love’s fierce passion and the love one feels for a soul mate. I’ve known parenthood’s unmatched joy and agony. I’ve known abject poverty and financial contentment. I’ve known terrifying adventure, death’s near misses, and the double-edged sword of revenge.”

Inspired by a mysteriously discovered, time-worn autobiography started by Nelly, her story is vividly brought to life once more for us, knitted with great love and a healthy dose of imagination into a compelling narrative by her grandson.

A North Carolina Arts Council Writers’ Fellowship recipient, Dick Randall is a retired counselor, an avid sailor and cross-country rambler. Charlotte, North Carolina is his home. Website: www.richarddavidrandall.com, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Another Sunday by Cynthia Strauff

$27.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4834-3817-7
November, 2015
Fiction: Historical / Literary / Women's
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

In the fall of 1901, beautiful, self-centered Celeste Wells twirls her parasol as she strolls down Baltimore’s North Avenue, waiting to be noticed by handsome, shy Willie Strauff. She is certain that life will deliver her dreams—love, and a house on Mt. Vernon Place.

But destiny selects a different path. As the vagaries of fate and her own decisions result in blow after blow, she finds an inner-strength, replaces her dreams and accepts her circumstances as life comes full circle.

In this historical novel, a young woman embarks on a journey of self-discovery during the early twentieth century where she must rely on newfound courage to persevere through the challenges before her.

Cynthia Strauff (Schaub) is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards for her poetry and prose. A native of Baltimore, she holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Dick Schaub, and her cats. Another Sunday is her first novel.

Lot Boy by Greg Shemkovitz

Sunnyoutside Press
$16.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1934513491
July, 2015
Fiction: Literary / Rust Belt
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Greg Shemkovitz’s Lot Boy shines a relentless spotlight on what we keep trying to understand—father-son relationships, the elusive American Dream, how to escape Sisyphean tasks. This is a first-rate page-turner, written by a man who grasps the plight of blue collar workers. I recommend it highly."
—George Singleton, Between Wrecks

"Greg Shemkovitz’s rust belt noir is a gritty, vulgar, hilarious example of why you should never turn your back on a mechanic. Lot Boy does for Buffalo what Donald Ray Pollock has done for Ohio. Best of all, it’s accomplished by a Pynchonionally large cast of untrustable characters with grease under their nails and surprises in their hearts."
—Patrick Wensink, bestselling author of Broken Piano for President

"If Eddie Lanning knows what’s good for him he’ll start to behave himself. Then, maybe, he’ll get a piece of the family Ford dealership. But don’t count on it in this funny, antic, swift-moving novel about independence, the call of the road and learning the hard way. Lot Boy is a terrific debut by a writer with talent to burn."
—Porter Shreve, The End of the Book

Eddie Lanning has grown up with the run of his father's Ford dealership, but lack of ambition and an immature attitude leave him trapped as the "lot boy" who covers the most menial and unskilled tasks and errands. Eager to escape both snowy Buffalo and his family legacy, Eddie allows a habit of petty theft to escalate into warranty fraud as he is drawn by fellow employee Spanky into a dangerous parts-selling scheme. This sensitive portrayal of both inchoate youthful rebellion and the invisible bonds of family and home effectively emphasizes the difficulty of Eddie's final choice.

Greg Shemkovitz teaches writing and literature at Elon University. His fiction has appeared in Gihon River Review, the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Prick of the Spindle, and elsewhere. Lot Boy was a semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and is his first novel.

A Fox with Earrings: What's a little MURDER among friends? by Loyd Little

Oak Tree Press
$12.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1610092050
October, 2015
Fiction: Mystery
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

Nolan Chastain, a real estate agent, is three months into a consuming affair with Cass Tolley, a woman he’s known and been fascinated with for more than a decade. On Friday, after the first day of showing million-dollar homes to a recently retired Air Force general and his wife, Nolan arrives at Cass’ home to find police cars and blue lights—Cass has been shot and killed. Many had motive to kill her; far from virtuous, Cass had slept with most of the men she had ever known. Jealous spouses and men scorned headline the list. Nolan’s insatiable curiosity and desire to see justice inspires his compilation of suspects—ironically all friends. An exaggerated conversation concerning Krugerrands (Cass’ versions were always outrageous) tips the scales, but toward whom? How is the general involved? Which story does he believe? And what has the fox with earrings have to do with anything?

Loyd Little’s published novels include: Parthian Shot, winner of the PEN-Hemingway Award and a Playboy Book-of-the-Month Selection (Viking Press in hardcover/Ivy Press in paperback, 1975), In the Village of the Man (Viking-Penguin Press hardback, 1977), Smokehouse Jam (Available Press, a division of Ballantine Books, 1989,) and Roll On Sugaree (Author House, 2013).

Published short stories: “Out With the Lions”, published in Free Fire Zone: Short Stories by Vietnam Vets (McGraw Hill, 1973) and “The Moon in June” (Playboy, March, 1977). Fragile Islands of Memories, a nonfiction picture book about the Hre Montagnards around Gia Vuc, a Special Forces camp where he served in 1965 (available at http://www.gia-vuc.com/loydsmemories.htm).

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he has taught creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and in the state's community college system and has lectured at various literary events. He has been a critiquer of novels and short stories for more than twenty years for the North Carolina Writers' Network, as well as an active member of the Network. He was the editor/managing editor of four newspapers in North and South Carolina: www.loydlittle.weebly.com.

Hats Off! to Judy Hogan, author of The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery, who appeared on the "Wacqueline Stern Show" on Carrboro's WCOM 103.5 FM. For the podcast click here; for the video click here.


Hats Off! to Marilynn Anselmi whose script "Reading Signs" won Second Place in the 2016 10-Minute Play Contest sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. "Reading Signs" tells the story of a daughter and her Alzheimer's afflicted mother who try to find common ground in the disappearing landscape of their past.


Hats Off! to Sheila Webster Boneham whose book Catwalk has won the 2015 Maxwell Award for "Fiction: Young Adult or Humor" from the Dog Writers Association of America. Catwalk is the third book in Boneham's Animals in Focus series, which includes cats and dogs in all the books. The first book in the series won the Maxwell in 2013, and the second book was a finalist last year. Three of Sheila's books have also won Maxwells in nonfiction. Woof!


Hats Off! to Ellen LaConte who was featured, along with her debut novel Afton, in a Writer's Profile in the Winston-Salem Journal's arts/entertainment weekly magazine, Relish. Afton has been well-received, leading to several book club invitations and event opportunities.


Hats Off! to June Guralnick whose new full-length play, Birds of a Feather: a Comedy about De-Extinction, has been selected from nationwide submissions for further development and a staged reading by Turn to Flesh Productions in New York City.


Hats Off! to Ray Morrison whose short story "Dawn Branch" was a finalist for the 2016 Hamlin Garland Award for the Short Story and will be published in the Spring 2016 issue of the Beloit Fiction Journal.


Hats Off! to Clay County NCWN Regional Rep Glenda C. Beall, who interviewed Steven Harvey, author of the memoir The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, in which the author pieces together the life of his mother, Roberta Reinhardt Harvey, who committed suicide when he was eleven.


Hats Off! to Phil Bowie who took second place in the British Flash 500 short-story contest with a tale called "Mister Sad." He has a fourth book in his suspense series out, and does a new blog post about writing every Monday on his website www.philbowie.com.


Hats Off! to Ruth Moose whose poems appeared recently in Salt magazine and Chatham magazine.


Hats Off! to Crystal Simone Smith who will receive the first Absher Initiatives Literary and Arts Grant. Her projected work will combine watercolor and haiku, a customary pairing call haiga. Although less conventional, the work will also incorporate another form of Japanese poetry called haibun, a prose poem accompanied by a haiku. The collection will be published in 2016.


Hats Off! to JS (Stan) Absher whose poetry collection Mouth Work won the Lena M. Shull Book Award sponsored by the North Carolina Poetry Society. The final judge was Ann Garbett. Mouth Work contains poems that reflect Stan's father’s childhood in northwest North Carolina and his own upbringing in the Blue Ridge and Brushy Mountains. Mouth Work will be published by St. Andrews University Press and launched at Poetry Day at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory on April 2.


Hats Off! to Jeanne Julian whose poetry chapbook, Blossom and Loss, won the 2015 Longleaf Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. Jeanne received $200, fifty contributor copies, and publication.


Hats Off! to Katherine Van Dis whose short story "Jellyfish Moon" appears in The Carolina Quarterly.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Jay Feather Day" was selected for January's Poetry in Plain Sight, sponsored by the Winston-Salem Writers. Her poem "Joan Miro and Me" is forthcoming in Silver Birch Press, and her poem "Dressed Stones" is set to run in the February issue of Ruby magazine.


Hats Off! to Ashley Memory of Raleigh whose poem “Why I Love Used Books” received an honorable mention in the 2015 Rash Award in Poetry from Broad River Review.


Hats Off! to Heather Adams whose story "A Pop of Color" is an honorable mention in the 2015 Rash Award in Fiction, sponsored by the Broad River Review.


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