White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame




Blue Apple Switchback by Carrie Highley

She Writes Press
$16.90, paperback /$8.69, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-63152-037-2
June, 2016
Nonfiction: Memoir
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Coming out is a long, hard road. Its twists, turns, and switchbacks can be painful and confusing, not only to the one coming out, but also to the ones she loves. In Blue Apple Switchback, Carrie Highley guides us through the sometimes-heartbreaking confusion of her path with bravery and tenderness. It is an important story that will surely help others find the way to accepting their true selves."
―Chris Lemig, author of The Narrow Way

"10 Favorite Books About Coming Out."

"10 Books to take on a camping trip."
Sunset Magazine

Carrie Highley was always a tomboy―and by the time she turned sixteen, she was wishing she were dancing with the girls instead of the boys at cotillion dances. In her early thirties, while living in West Virginia, she discovered a passion for road biking, finally stopped sequestering her deep feelings for women, and began an ill-fated love affair with a female cycling friend. Then, at thirty-six, she found herself skidding into Asheville, North Carolina, holding on tight to the coattails of her doctor husband and spending her time as a stay-at-home mother of two boys.

Moving to North Carolina was Highley’s attempt to reembrace heterosexual married life after her tumultuous time in West Virginia. But in Asheville, she met Charlie, a fellow cyclist twenty-three years her senior, who became her mentor, friend, and father all rolled into one―and as they grew closer, she started unloading her fears into Charlie’s inbox. With Charlie’s support, Highley finally got the courage to do what she’d been waiting her whole life to do: go down the mountain with her hands off the brakes.

Carrie Highley grew up in the Piedmont of North Carolina before moving to the mountains and completing her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. After moving up and down the east coast for fifteen years, she has settled down in Asheville. She is an active member Asheville Writers, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, and Adventure Cycling Association. Her writing has appeared online in Women’s Health, Bicycling, SheKnows, and Popsugar. Blue Apple Switchback is her first book.

Broken Eagle by James T. Crouse

Caromount Island Publishing
$17.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-0074712-0-5
June, 2016
Fiction: Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"James Crouse's gripping drama resonates with realistic details from his deep knowledge about the law, aviation, and the military. It's a page turner in the mode of Scott Turow and John Grisham."
—Sara Just, Executive Producer, PBS NewsHour and Senior Vice President WETA, formerly ABC News Nightline producer for seventeen years

"Broken Eagle leads the reader into a gathering vortex where a cutting-edge military aircraft with serious flaws, malevolent contractors, and complicit government program administrators with deadly self-protective agendas, and the widow of a military test pilot seeking answers swirl around a military-reservist aviation plaintiffs' lawyer who comes to realize he is at its center. Pursued by those with a deadly agenda, aided by shadowy allies and protected by his own wits and experience, Jake Baird finds the case he wasn't sure he wanted leading him to answers for questions he he'd been afraid to ask. Jim Crouse has the military aviation background and the aviation trial lawyer's experience to spin this story with gusto and credibility, which makes it very enjoyable—and just a little frightening—for the reader. Climb aboard, strap in and get ready for a memorable ride."
—Gary W. Allen, editor of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association Journal, Former Director, Aviation & Admiralty Litigation, Torts Branch, Civil Division, United States Dept of Justice

"A good man is hard to find, but the unputdownable—and deeply moral—Broken Eagle gives you two for the price of one: Jake, the finely drawn ex-Army lawyer and everyday hero, and Crouse, his creator, who clearly knows the world and ways of the law, the military and the South inside out—and who writes as assuredly and convincingly about women (hallelujah!) as about combat, aviation and courtrooms. In this tale’s troubling and all-too-believable tangle of Washington politics, murderously venal business interests, and scorched-earth tours of duty, you’ll want both of these guys on your side."
—Karen Shook, Books Editor, Times Higher Education, London

Following his service in a secret U.S. Army helicopter unit, attorney Jake Baird specializes in aviation personal-injury law in Raleigh, North Carolina. When young widow Lisa Thorpe seeks representation and help understanding the XV-11 crash that killed her husband, Jake ends up right where he doesn’t want to be—taking on the U.S. military in a case that is almost impossible to win.

At a hastily arranged rendezvous just after meeting Lisa Thorpe, an anonymous, disheveled ex-military officer presses a folder of classified documents into Jake’s hands with an ominous warning for Jake: “Watch your six.” When Jake reads the file he understands the admonition: the file is full of classified documents showing a massive cover-up of the XV-11’s flaws by governmental and corporate schemers intent on seeing the project continue for their own good, regardless of the cost in lives of the military persons operating the aircraft.

Jake soon finds his world crawling with men in dark suits and sunglasses who are intent on recovering the stolen XV-11 secret file and who are willing to do anything—including murder—to stop the dissemination of the damaging information. Jake is now confronted with risks to his own personal safety and the question of how to use the stolen classified information to help Lisa Thorpe—if he decides to take her case. But how can he, himself an Reserve Army aviator, remain silent, knowing that the aircraft’s flaws endanger the lives of U.S. servicemen and women?

With the help of retired naval officer Stanford Kemp, Jake’s irrepressible secretary, Florence, and his seer-suckered fellow lawyer Irwin Thompson, Jake devises an intricate plan to outmaneuver the lethal rogue government agents, the big corporations and the U.S. military, all of whom are intent on stopping him. Jake is in for the fight of his life--to save himself, do justice for Lisa Thorpe, and to save the lives of others.

James T. Crouse was born in Asheville and grew up in the small town of Lexington. He was graduated from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, a military preparatory school, after which, as an Army ROTC Scholarship student, earned his B.A. in Political Science at Davidson College.

Upon graduation from Davidson, Mr. Crouse was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Infantry officer, and attended helicopter flight school and Aviation Maintenance Officer Course and Test Pilot School as a Transportation Corps officer. During his initial six-year active duty career, he flew research and development flights for the Army’s Night Vision Laboratory. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after having flown over 1500 hours in his twenty-six-year active and reserve career, performing medical evacuation, attack, and maintenance test flight duties.

Since graduating from Duke Law School in 1980, Mr. Crouse has practiced aviation and product liability law in which time he has represented several high-profile clients and was lead liability counsel in the world’s largest civilian helicopter disaster (North Sea Boeing 234LR, 1986). Other notable experience includes major airline accident cases and general aviation, helicopter, and military crashes, as well as non-aviation mass disaster litigation. Over his career he has investigated over three hundred aviation crashes.

Mr. Crouse has co-authored a case law book, Aviation Law: Cases and Materials, which is critically acclaimed by scholars and practitioners. He is the editor-in-chief of Aviation Safety Blog, http://aviationsafetyblog.com, which is devoted to reducing aviation accidents, and is a published aviation and Civil War book reviewer for The Times of London Higher Education magazine.

Mr. Crouse has taught Aviation Law at Duke Law School, The George Washington University School of Law, and at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. He is a frequent speaker at aviation and legal symposia and has had numerous articles published in legal periodicals.

He lives in Raleigh with his wife and three children.

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan

Algonquin Books
$25.95, hardcover / $12.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-565126275
April, 2016
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan is the gripping and convincing story of a bright and courageous slave in the American South during the 1850s who runs away seeking freedom. Richly imaginative and thoroughly well-researched, Chasing the North Star walks the reader through an extensive and thrilling escape filled with fiery insight and deep personal conviction. Morgan summons a narrative that clearly describes the people, culture, and emotions of the time, especially in antebellum North Carolina and later in New York. His personal connection to the land, including its history and features, enables the reader to experience the thrilling escape vividly. His historical nuances and references are spot-on. Chasing the North Star is an epic journey, vividly detailed, acutely satisfying, and ultimately hopeful. It sheds light upon some of the darkest moments in American history; yet it also illuminates the charity and love expressed by whites who hid, fed and aided the runaways at the risk of their own lives and those of their families.”
New York Journal of Books

“Morgan’s latest is a grittily entertaining, smartly paced narrative about a fugitive slave. Morgan is a first-rate storyteller; he plots his novel extremely well, and readers will find this journey captivating.”
Publishers Weekly

Chasing the North Star is an epic journey, and Morgan’s vision of our dark past shines brilliantly detailed, deeply satisfying, and ultimately hopeful.”
—Charles Frazier, author of Nightwoods and Cold Mountain

In his latest historical novel, bestselling author Robert Morgan brings to full and vivid life the story of Jonah Williams, who, in 1850, on his eighteenth birthday, flees the South Carolina plantation on which he was born a slave. He takes with him only a few stolen coins, a knife, and the clothes on his back--no shoes, no map, no clear idea of where to head, except north, following a star that he prays will be his guide.

Hiding during the day and running through the night, Jonah must elude the men sent to capture him and the bounty hunters out to claim the reward on his head. There is one person, however, who, once on his trail, never lets him fully out of sight: Angel, herself a slave, yet with a remarkably free spirit.

In Jonah, she sees her own way to freedom, and so sets out to follow him.

Bristling with breathtaking adventure, Chasing the North Star is deftly grounded in historical fact yet always gripping and poignant as the story follows Jonah and Angel through the close calls and narrow escapes of a fearsome world. It is a celebration of the power of the human spirit to persevere in the face of great adversity. And it is Robert Morgan at his considerable best.

Robert Morgan is the author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, most notably his novel Gap Creek and his biography of Daniel Boone, both of which were national bestsellers. A professor at Cornell University since 1971 and visiting writer-in-residence at half a dozen universities, his awards include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. He was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2010. Find him online at www.robert-morgan.com.

Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

$16.99, hardcover / $10.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-484775035
July, 2016
Fiction: Middle Grade
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Triumphant after her defeat of the Man in the titular Black Cloak in her 2015 debut, Serafina cannot rest on her laurels for long: a new, mysterious evil force has entered the woods and set its sights on the Biltmore Estate. Serafina has slipped into a comfortable routine at Biltmore. The odd-looking girl learns the ways of catamounts from her shape-shifting momma while continuing her cozy home life with her white adoptive pa, enjoys friendship with Braeden Vanderbilt, and maintains a vermin-free environment as Chief Rat Catcher. Suddenly, as a new terror surfaces in the woods, three strangers appear: a snooty British girl named Lady Rowena Fox-Pemberton, the scarred investigator Detective Grathan, and a terrifying gray-bearded man with a twisted staff. On the mountain, all the birds have fled, other animals have gone missing, and sticky black pinesap oozes from the trees. While Mr. Vanderbilt cooperates with Detective Grathan and Braeden entertains Lady Rowena, Serafina must unravel the mystery before all the animals disappear. Beatty delivers an action-packed, suspenseful, emotionally resonant sequel. Serafina's resilience and determination inspire and rally the other characters. Beatty continues to build a fascinating magical world, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore Estate developing beyond mere settings into characters themselves. Each place reveals history and clues to Serafina's life and those of other gifted, mysterious beings. Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end."
Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)

Serafina's defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she's too wild for Biltmore's beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin..

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she's convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise..

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina's role as Biltmore's protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina's best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees..

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she'd ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville with his wife and three daughters who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the grand Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. Mr. Beatty's Disney-Hyperion novel Serafina and the Black Cloak became a New York Times Bestseller the first week it was launched. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, he was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his book, Robert said, "Serafina's journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters."

Blessing to Be Blue: A Memoir by Mable Singleton-Murrell

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$15.00, paperback / $20.99, hardcover / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-530477456
April, 2016
Nonfiction: Faith
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

The author shares her story of precociousness as a young girl gifted with maturity beyond her years. After losing her mother at age 11, she struggles without guidance to survive in the world. She becomes a single mother at 17, and fights to escape poverty. Her journey from early childhood to adulthood was fraught of instability and challenges. Her genuine faith in God gave her solace and protection to weather the storms of life.

The book is a poignant retelling of her experiences as an inferior observer seeking to belong a coming to the discovery that belonging begins with self-acceptance. Blessing To Be Blue reads like a novel that touches you in ways that will enlighten, inspire, and entertain. It uncovers many truths about life. It is a memoir of faith, hope, and love.

Mable Singleton-Murrell is retired from a career in Wake County Government where she worked as a human services administrator. She was committed to improving the quality of life for the chronically mentally ill adults. In her retirement, she is steadfast in her lifelong pursuit of knowledge as well as a voice for women and men who are overcoming life's challenges.

Her academic career began at Craven Community College where she earned an Associates in Applied Science in childhood education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services Administration from Antioch University Philadelphia, and a Master's of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from North Carolina State University.

She delights in her family and enjoys spending time with them in Apex, North Carolina.

Worthy by Carla G. Harper

$8.99, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-997190717
May, 2016
Fiction: Southern / Coming-of-Age
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Worthy Stokes grew up in a house full of secrets, a place where whispers floated from underneath closed doors and stories about the way things were went unquestioned.

Worthy lives in a house full of secrets, then in the summer of 1945 a murder changes everything.

Seventeen-year-old Worthy lives in a house full of secrets where everyone dutifully plays their role. She copes by creating outlandish dreams of a bright future and relying on her wits. In the summer of 1945, her father is accused of a sensational murder. Her plans to get out of Hogan’s Creek suddenly become tied up in a reckless yet exciting pursuit of truth and ultimately justice. She’ll nearly lose her life, but along the way she finds love, hope, and the truth about her family in unlikely places.

Worthy is a coming-of-age story based loosely on the murder of a Melungeon horse trader in the late 1700s on the border between North Carolina and Virginia. Melungeons are a tri-racial people who originated in North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the 1500s when pirates and explorers frequented the Atlantic sea lanes. Their Western European, Native American, and African bloodlines resulted in many shades of brown and often odd gray eyes. An individual’s appearance impacted how they made their way in society through the ages.

Worthy grapples with questions about love, belonging, and justice.

Kill All Cats by Rick Bylina

$13.99, paperback
ASIN: 1533581916
June, 2016
Fiction: Mystery / Anti-Cozy
Available from www.Amazon.com

"Brilliant! Rick Bylina has written a masterful tale of mystery, suspense, paranoia, and wit. In Kill All Cats, when the bodies of Nedra Kratz and her thirty-eight felines are discovered, everyone in the cul-de-sac neighborhood of Apex, North Carolina, is suspect, especially the protagonist, Ron Black. But, Ron has an alibi…or does he? The suspense begins on page one and doesn’t let up through thunderstorms, bowling alleys, haunted research labs, and Ron Black’s locked house. Brisbane, Ron’s pet cockatiel, seems better at solving the mystery than the detectives. A real page turner and a shining FIVE Stars!"
—Shelia Bolt Rudesill, Pittsboro, NC, author of Child of my Heart

"No one does 'whodunnit' like Rick Bylina.This book is a masterful mix of suspense and human drama that will keep you reading late into the night. The characters are vibrant, the animal welfare theme poignant, and the story goes beyond entertainment to a depth one rarely finds in this genre. It’s a jewel which I'm proud—and honored—to have had the opportunity to read it as an ARC, and which deserves a wide and diverse audience."
—Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Curacao, author of The Miracle of Small Things

"Provocative title—wicked cover—what is this author's agenda? Surely he jests! He jests. It's one of the things I like best about Rick Bylina's prose. I picture him in real life saying shocking things with a straight face, just to see how people will react. There are extended scenes with friends in a bowling alley. I have no interest in bowling. The characters kept me turning pages anyway. Just don't remind me of Phil. Or the dead cats. (In real life, no cats were harmed in the writing of this story. All right. All right.) Still, if I think about it too long, I'll be yanking stars back, saying How DARE you, Rick, how DARE you! (less)"
—Carol Kean, Top Vine Amazon Reviewer

Ron Black is a thirty-five-year-old night security guard living a moribund existence. Past deeds need to stay buried for him to remain a free man. When the elderly cat lady next-door dies along with her thirty-eight cats, Ron feels the investigative heat from Detectives Moore and Porter. His alibi: “I was at work.” The police disrupt Ron’s life, which he shares with Brisbane, his cockatiel. He squawks surprisingly relevant quotes learned from watching crime show reruns 24/7—some of which don’t help Ron’s situation. Ron picks up clues about what happened next-door from conflicting comments by his odd neighbors: “She was popped.” “Poisoned.” “Chopped up.” The neighbors include Ron’s estranged great-uncle Kirk, a disgruntled scientist, who had worked at the pharmaceutical company where Ron is the night guard. When Ron’s only friend, Jean, disappears, the police double-down on him as a suspect for this crime, too. The next day, the police infer his arrest in twenty-four hours for the crime at his neighbor’s house. Despite the pressure to save himself, he is compelled to find his friend. Sprinkle a bit of an Agatha Christie closed-room mystery with the situational humor of Evanovich for a high-level concept as Ron tries to “…control what he can control.” And just when you think it’s all over, another layer of horror reveals itself, and Ron didn’t even see it coming.

Rick Bylina lives with his wife and Sydney, a twenty-five-year-old cockatiel, near Apex, NC, on five wooded acres where his imagination runs free. Ongoing corporate downsizing convinced him to tap into his passion. He scribbled any crazy idea that crossed his mind. After gaining discipline, he wrote his debut mystery novel, One Promise Too Many, the first in a series, featuring Detective Roger Stark. Next was highly acclaimed, A Matter of Faith. All of Our Secrets was his third mystery novel. A flash fiction collection, Bathroom Reading—Short Stories for Short Visits came next. His former #1 bestselling poetry book, Poems for a Platypus is available at most book sellers. Writing happens spontaneously between housework, gardening, cooking, chopping wood, and wrestling alligators. His writing motto is—The only rule: writers write! Everything else is a guideline. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He can be found at www.rickbylina.com.

A Year Since the Rain by Shane Wilson

Snow Leopard Publishing
$16.00, paperback / $26.50, hardcover / $2.99, e-book
ASIN: 1944361081
March, 2016
Fiction: Magic Realism
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Alan—a heart-broken and stubborn computer programmer—took much in his life for granted, including the vast supply of water in his town. But when the rains stop falling and the rivers dry up, he begins to realize how temporary it all can be. His life begins to unravel as, across town, a sinkhole threatens to swallow every bit of the place he has come to call home.

Taken on a journey of self-discovery by the magical women in his life, Alan is drawn into an unexpected affair and comes face-to-face with a Mystic who walks through his dreams. For Alan, dreams become a new reality, and reality erodes into something of a dream. As his town transforms into an arid wasteland that crumbles beneath his feet, Alan is compelled by the inevitable to strike out into the unknown or perish.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Shane is a child of the southeastern United States where he feels simultaneously at-home and out-of-place. He graduated from Valdosta State University in south Georgia with a Masters in English. He taught college English in Georgia for four years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

No matter the temperature outside, there is always an iced coffee in his hand when he walks into class in the mornings. He tends to chase the day with a whiskey and a re-run of The Office.

Shane has published poetry in Tethered by Letters and the Stonepile Writers' Anthology, Volume III. He is currently at work on a new novel as well as a collection of short stories based on the mythos of and set in the same town as A Year Since the Rain.

The Serpentine Flower by Joseph LS Terrell

$14.95, paperback / $6.99, e-Book
ISBN: 978-162268-047-4
May, 2016
Fiction: Mystery
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

When Mary Ann Little returns to the Tracks Community Theater for the first time since her husband's untimely onstage death, she is horrified to discover the body of young Sarah Atkins backstage. Mary Ann is convinced that Sarah's death was no accident, but everyone, including the chief of police, seems reluctant to discuss the possibility that someone in small-town Camford Courthouse is a killer.

Mary Ann's regrets vocalizing her suspicions when her nineteen-year-old son emerges as a suspect. To unravel the mystery, Mary Ann goes back to work for Thaddeus Sinclair, the editor of the local paper and a "rumpled skeptic" for whom Mary Ann becomes aware of a growing attraction. It soon becomes clear that this small town near North Carolina's Outer Banks harbors more more than its share of secrets.

But can Mary Ann uncover those secrets and flush out the killer while juggling her new job, her burgeoning romance, her part-time work at the local library, and the unexpected role of "third witch" in the theater's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth? And even more important, can she do it all without getting herself killed?

Joseph L.S. Terrell makes his home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, his native state, where he continues the craft of fiction writing—with a little fishing, golfing, and boating thrown in. Website: www.josephterrellwriter.com.

Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore whose short story collection, A Shot of Light into which We Disappear, is a finalist for the 2016 Moon City Short Fiction Award.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Light Show" appears in WestWard Quarterly: Summer 2016.


Hats Off! to Beth Browne who received a Regional Artist Project Grant from the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County to attend a video editing class at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose short story "Red and Yellow Bracelet," which is meant to be read to children, will appear in Ruby for Women. Also, her poem "Summer Shimmers" is up this week in Avocet, a journal of nature poems.


Hats Off! to Carol Phillips whose column "The Loss of Self," which addresses disability and job loss, appeared in Raleigh's The News & Observer.


Hats Off! to Betty Jamerson Reed whose poem "An Octogenarian Ponders" appears in the River Poets Special Edition for 2016 of Signature Poems, Volume 10, Issue 1. It had previously been published in Living with Loss Magazine, Summer 2011. In addition, three of her "Napkin-Pocket" poems were published by River Poets Journal (Lily Press) during the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month.


Hats Off! to NCWN Trustee Michele Tracy Berger whose poem "The Shells of Pink Bodies" appears in Oracle: Fine Arts Review. Also, her short story "The Curl of Emma Jean" appears in the anthology UnCommon Origins: A Collection of Gods, Monsters, Nature and Science (Fighting Monkey Press). UnCommon Origins presents twenty-two depictions of moments on the precipice, beginnings both beautiful and tragic. Fantastical stories of Creation, Feral Children, Gods and Goddesses (both holy and horrific), and possibilities you never dared imagine come to life. Including stories from some of the most talented Speculative Fiction and Magical Realism authors around, UnCommon Origins revisits the oldest questions in the universe: Where did we come from? and What comes next?


Hats Off! to Russell Colver whose poem "Commencement" has won the North Carolina Literary Review's 2016 James Applewhite Poetry Prize competition. Colver will receive $250, and the poem will be published in the 2017 print issue of the North Carolina Literary Review due out next summer. Colver's poem “Acceptable Losses” was also recognized for honorable mention and will be published in NCLR Online in early 2017.

NCWN Trustee Paul Jones won Second Place for his poem “Clear Channel," and his poem “Basketball Is a Kind of Poetry” won an Honorable Mention.

Other poets whose poems were selected as finalists and for publication in 2017 are Peg Bresnahan, Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Susan M. Lefler, Joan Leotta, Gina Malone, Priscilla Melchior, Diana Pinckney, Tori Reynolds, and Susan Schmidt.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose short story "White Iris" won Second Place in the 2016 Savannah Anthology Short Story Contest.


Hats Off! to Dana Stone who has three poems forthcoming in Snapdragon, Fox Adoption Magazine, and Music for the Prose.


Hats Off! to James T. Crouse whose legal thriller Broken Eagle was favorably reviewed by Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, in Midwest Book Review (Small Press Bookwatch, August). "Part of what sets Broken Eagle apart from genre thriller or investigative reads is its in-depth focus on military and aviation processes. Readers who are used to lawyer protagonists operating fairly narrowly in courtroom proceedings will be delighted to find that (the protagonist's) prowess and purposes embrace far more than courtroom environments and client encounters. Another notable feature of Broken Eagle is its attention to developing subplots that detail a host of special interests and their sometimes-conflicting interactions....The result is far more than the usual kind of story 'legal thriller' genre readers will expect, and is highly and especially recommended for anyone who appreciates military intrigue and aviation legal matters wound into the bigger picture of those who have sacrificed for their nation in more ways than one."


Hats Off! to Paula Martinac whose short story "Eds and Meds" is forthcoming in Main Street Rag.


Hats Off! to Blaine Paxton Hall whose article "Learning the Thunder" appears in Raleigh's The News & Observer.


Hats Off! to Staci Lynn Bell who won a Silver medal for her short story "Cheyenne" and a Bronze medal for her poem "Time" in the North Carolina Cherokee/Clay Silver Arts 2016. Also, her poem "Escape" appears in the anthology Wish You Were Here (Old Mountain Press). This poem was originally published in Wild Goose Poetry Review.


Hats Off! to Staci Lynn Bell whose poem "Unanswered Prayers" is forthcoming in KAKALAK 2016 scheduled for release this fall.


Hats Off! to Jennifer Weiss whose poem "Without Breathing" will appear in KAKALAK 2016.


Hats Off! to Jim Minick whose novel Fire Is Your Water is due out from Ohio University Press early in 2017. Also, his short nonfiction piece “Birth" just appeared in the online journal Still. And this Fall, Poets & Writers will publish an article on his experience teaching in one MFA program while studying in another. Look for it in the September/October issue.


Hats Off! to Debra Madaris Efird, of Harrisburg, who received an Honorable Mention in the Savannah Authors Workshop Writing Contest. Her story "Revival" will be published in the Savannah Anthology 2016 coming out late summer.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem, "The Greatest," appears in the online rag The Skinny Poetry Journal, June, 2016.


Hats Off! to Larry W. Fish whose novella, Out of the Darkness, about school bullying, is at the publisher and should be available sometime around the first of August. It should be read by students, parents, and teachers.


Hats Off! to Henderson County regional rep Patricia Vestal whose flash fiction "DIRT" appeared on FlashFlood for National Flash Fiction Day, June 25. She was also quoted in an article on the Lost Playwrights of Western North Carolina in the July-August edition of The Dramatist, the official publication of the Dramatists Guild of America, of which she is a member. North Carolina Dramatists Guild rep. Kim Stinson profiles the group, which meets the third or fourth Saturday monthly in the Hendersonville Public Library Kaplan Auditorium. Guests are invited. There are no fees.


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