White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame



Hats Off! to Danny Johnson who will appear on The State of Things with Frank Stasio on 91.5 FM WUNC today at 12:00 pm. Danny will discuss his new novel, The Last Road Home, which will launch tonight at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. For more of Danny's events, visit his website, www.authordannyjohnson.com.


Welcome to Sortilege Falls by Libby Heily

Fire and Ice YA Publishing
$4.99, e-book / $13.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-680462708
May, 2016
Fiction: YA / Fantasy / Paranormal
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn't right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape's life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals," no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape's life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy's friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models' parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Libby Heily was born during a blizzard. She's told it was pretty cool but she has no memory of that time. She grew up in two tiny towns in Virginia and spent most of her twenties moving around the US. She's lived in Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Washington. She's settled down, for now, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She's a writer and improviser. She studied acting in college but spent more time rewriting lines than memorizing them. Her first play, Fourth Wall, was produced her junior year. Since then, she's written several full-length plays, one acts, and screenplays. She started writing fiction in her late twenties. Now, she focuses mainly on novels but still dabbles in theatre.

Fun facts about her: there are none. She's sorry to disappoint the reader so soon. But, she loves to read, write, and run. her hubby is her favorite person on earth. Dogs are her second favorite. All dogs. She loves orange juice, especially when it’s mixed with club soda. Carbonation is better than alcohol. Jaws is her favorite movie. Everything she's said so far is true.

Counsel for the Accused Marine Corps Drill Sergeant by Marie Costello-Inserra

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$14.99, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692595244
July, 2016
Nonfiction: History/Military Law
Available from www.Amazon.com

The lawyer's backstory of one of the most brilliant criminal defenses in American history in a case that changed Marine Corps training practices forever.

At 10:00 pm, April 13, 1956, attorney Thomas Costello boarded a train at New York’s Pennsylvania Station en route to Yemassee, South Carolina—the first leg of his voyage to the United States Marine Corps’ training depot on Parris Island to defend his brother-in-law, Staff Sergeant Matthew McKeon.

Five days earlier, McKeon had led a training exercise that went tragically wrong, resulting in the drowning deaths of six recruits. McKeon was immediately arrested, and, less than twenty-four hours later, Marine Commandant Pate made a press statement that essentially accused the young man of manslaughter before a court of inquiry even convened.

McKeon’s case would change US Marine training practices forever—that part of his story is well known. But Counsel for the Accused Marine Corps Drill Sergeant tells a different tale.

This is the story of Thomas Costello, defending his brother-in-law at the request of his wife. It’s the story of a legal team that worked tirelessly for six months in McKeon’s defense. And it’s the tale of the volunteer counselor who strategized and executed one of the most brilliant criminal defenses in American history: Emile Zola Berman.

Marie Costello-Inserra is an attorney of twenty-eight years, admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina and the daughter of Thomas Costello, the subject of this book.

Ms. Costello-Inserra is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and currently resides in Cary, North Carolina with her husband of thirty four years, Paul Inserra. She is a Senior Assistant County Attorney in Durham County and a proud member of the North Carolina Writers' Network. The law and writing represent a career partnership in pursuit that has formally launched with publication of this family story of law, loyalty, and forgiveness.

My Little Plastic Bag by Sam Love, Illustrated by Samrae Duke

Sam Love
$10.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-534622647
July, 2016
Fiction: Children's
Available from www.Amazon.com

“This book can be valuable to teach young people about the problems plastic trash creates in our aquatic environment."
—Travis Graves, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper

My Little Plastic Bag can help children understand how even a harmless action like throwing away a plastic bag can have serious consequences.”
—Diane MacEachern, publisher of the www.BigGreenPurse.com

A new children’s book, My Little Plastic Bag, tells the story of a plastic bag that a little girl, Amy, throws out of the family car. Through brightly colored illustrations by Samrae Duke, a child can follow the plastic through the ecosystem into the ocean until parts of it return to the family dinner table.

"Like most kids, Amy is pretty innocent,” Love says. “She doesn’t really think about the consequences when she carelessly tosses out the plastic bag. But readers will give that bag plenty of thought as they watch it make its way into the ocean, get eaten by fish, and end up right back with Amy - not as a bag, but as part of the fish dinner her father cooks."

“I get really angry when I see the plastic pieces that the mowers cut up on the side of the road and I created an educational book for young children that helps them understand there is no ‘away’,” according to Love. “Plastic in our water is now epidemic.”

He cites one United Nations estimate that every square mile of the ocean already contains 46,000 pieces of plastic and most are so small we can’t see them.

“As the plastic is ingested by the fish and other wildlife,” Love says, “plastic chemicals can get into our food supply and we are only now understanding its harmful effects."

Love believes any child who is curious about nature will enjoy My Little Plastic Bag. “This book gives teachers and parents a great educational tool to build awareness of environmental problems. After all, the future belongs to our children.”

Love originally tackled plastic pollution in a poem titled The Downstream Loop that appeared in his poetry book, Converging Waters, and in Duke University’s eno magazine. But as he realized how important it was to educate parents and kids specifically about plastic bags, he decided to write a book aimed directly at families and students.

My Little Plastic Bag is designed for children ages four to eight and it includes a discussion guide for parents and teachers. It is available at local stores in New Bern and online at Amazon. The author is available for interviews.

Sam Love is a writer living in New Bern. He has published numerous nonfiction articles in magazines that include Smithsonian and Washingtonian. He has two published novels, Snap Factor and Electric Honey. He recently published a poetry book, Converging Waters.

He teaches yoga, and is one of the organizers of The Nexus Poets who organize the First Tuesday Poetry Open Mike in New Bern. He views his Social Security check as a grant to the arts. His poetry has been published in Kakalak, Slippery Elm, Poetry in Plain Sight, Voices on the Wind, The Lyricist, and other publications. His environmental poems are featured in both the 2015 and 2016 issues of eno, published by Duke University.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Summer's Siren Song" is forthcoming in a music-themed anthology from The Poeming Pigeon.


Hats Off! to David Payne whose memoir Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story (Grove Atlantic Press) is now out in paperback. An Amazon Best Book of 2015 and a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Book of 2015, The New York Times called it “A brave book with beautiful sentences on every page."


Hats Off! to Larry W. Fish whose novella Out of the Darkness, about school bullying, is now available in paperback or for Kindle. Out of the Darkness is a must read for students, parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone concerned about bullying in school.


Hats Off! to Paige L. Christie whose novel Draigon Weather is forthcoming from Prospective Press. Paige attended the Slush Pile Live! events at the 2015 and 2016 Spring Conferences, where Prospective Press editor Jason Graves was a panelist. After the 2016 program, Christie approached and pitched her manuscript to him as "a feminist western with dragons." Prospective Press is an independent publisher of quality genre fiction and select nonfiction. They'll be at Fall Conference, November 4-6, in Raleigh.


Hats Off! to Christine Hale whose memoir A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations was reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books. "Hale is not telling so much as layering a story," says Tarn Wilson. "This is a portrait of a consciousness, shaped by memories, associations, and the effort to form an identity in relationship to others."


Hats Off! to Suzanne Cottrell whose poem "River Gifts" appears in Avocet: a Journal of Nature Poems #190, August 3, 2016.


Hats Off! to Beth Copeland and Michael Gaspeny who both won "Best in Category" in the Flying South 2016 anthology contest: Beth in Nonfiction, and Michael for Poetry. Beth also received the President's Favorite Award. Their work will be included in this year's anthology, along with submissions from NCWN Jackson County regional rep Catherine Carter, Carol Roan, Pam Van Dyk, and many others.


Hats Off! to retired Lt. Colonel Donald Long whose poem about Vietnam veterans and the United States flag is now in the Army Historical Archives. While in Washington DC recently, Long was asked by someone at the Pentagon for a copy of the poem. Long, a member of NCWN, is a participant in NCWN-West and a part-time resident of Murphy.


Hats Off! to Luke Whisnant whose "Essay on Editing" appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Shining Rock Poetry Anthology & Book Review.


Hats Off! to Blaine Paxton Hall whose article "Chasing Crows: In Praise of LBGT Parents" appears in both the "Chapel Hill News" and "Durham News" editions of the August 10 issue of The News & Observer of Raleigh.


Hats Off! to Michael Gaspeny and Walt Pilcher, who were chosen with other Triad area-poets to have sculpted “poetry boxes” made in response to their work and installed in downtown Greensboro. These sculptures, created in the ekphrastic tradition, are generally located on Elm St. between the main library and ArtMongerz gallery (across from the Mellow Mushroom). For example, a fountain in Scuppernong Books should have a poem featured on its side. All sculptures should have a journal to allow viewers to leave comments.


Hats Off! to Charles "LC" Fiore, communications director for the North Carolina Writers' Network, whose new novel The Last Great American Magic was favorably reviewed in Southern Literary Review. "With thundering force," said reviewer Donna Meredith, "all the touchstones of a good story roll together in The Last Great American Magic. Forbidden romance and vicious battles add the spice of clashing cultures. And magic percolates at every bend of the forest and river, evidenced by shamans and powerful tokens."


Hats Off! to Pam Van Dyk whose short story "Morganza Spillway" is forthcoming in the anthology Home (Tall Grass Writers' Guild, Outrider Press).


Hats Off! to Ross Howell, Jr., Miriam Herin, and Sheila Turnage who were nominated for the 2016 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. Ross' novel is Forsaken (NewSouth Books); Miriam is the author of A Stone for Bread (Livingston Press); and Sheila wrote The Odds of Getting Even (Kathy Dawson). This award, handed out since 1953, recognizes the most significant work of original fiction writing published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina author. It is sponsored by the Historical Book Club of North Carolina.


Hats Off! to Joan Gage of Warne: she video records all the featured readers for the Coffee with the Poets and Writers series, available to view here. CWPW is facilitated be Glenda Council Beall, Clay County regional rep for the North Carolina Writers' Network. At 10:30 am on the third Wednesday of the month, at Moss Memorial Library, the series features writers from NCWN-West. The community is invited and welcome to sign-up for the Open Mic afterward.


Hats Off! to Margaret A. Harrell who has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who for excellence in writing & photography: "Passionate for literature, talented in writing and skilled in photography, Ms. Harrell has been making the world a lot more creative and artistic since beginning her career in 1965." Margaret is the author of, most recently, the Keep This Quiet! series of memoirs that looks back on her relationship with Hunter S. Thompson and many others.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "Fabulous Fall" appears in Nature Writing.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose poem "Sunset at the Beach" is forthcoming in The Ghazal Page. Also, her poem "Accepting Moon Flower" is forthcoming in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing.


Hats Off! to TC Boyd who became a first-time author with her short story, "My Father's Shadow," in the inaugural issue of Incandescent Mind (Sadie Girl Press).


Hats Off! to Christine Simolke whose debut novel, Children of Italy, was favorably reviewed in the Historical Novel Society Review: "Christine Simolke's insightful Children of Italy depicts a very personal tale. Family lore...is woven into a deeply felt, sweetly told historical novel."


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