White Cross School Blog


NC Literary Hall of Fame




Raleigh―Shelby Stephenson, of Benson, has been named North Carolina’s eighth Poet Laureate.

Stephenson was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in October. He was an English professor at UNC Pembroke and editor of Pembroke Magazine until his retirement in 2010. Winner of numerous awards, including the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature, he has published many collections of poems. Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl, won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize; his newest poetry chapbook is Steal Away (Jacar Press).

"This is great news for North Carolina,” said Ed Southern, Executive Director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. “Even if I had never been to Johnston County, or anywhere east of Burlington, I would have a clear picture of it in my mind, just from having read Shelby's poetry. Shelby himself is warm and generous, almost to a fault. Our state and its writers could ask for no better ambassador."

The poet laureate is appointed by the governor of North Carolina and typically serves a two-year term, renewable at the governor’s discretion. Each state poet laureate usually shapes the position based on his or her own strengths through a long-term project or program of special interest.

Stephenson plans to implement three programs during his time as poet laureate: leading writing workshops in assisted living and retirement homes; raising awareness of using archives; and promoting writing about farming.

The North Carolina poet laureate acts as an ambassador of NC literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote NC writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word. Stephenson was chosen after a panel of literary experts, and state Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz, reviewed nominations.

He will be installed at a ceremony in February.

“I think the choice is brilliant, and I am rejoicing in the news,” former state poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer said. “Shelby is a longtime friend, a powerful voice in North Carolina literature. A singer, an old-time raconteur, a poet attuned to the rhythms of our state and its people. I offer my joyful congratulations to one of our state's literary treasures. This is a splendid Christmas gift to North Carolinians, all of us. And for those who keep saying they don't like poetry, just wait till you hear Shelby. You will change your mind in a flash.”

To watch a video of Stephenson entertaining the 2014 Squire Summer Writing Residency with songs on his guitar, click here.

To watch Stephenson read from his collection, Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl, click here.

To watch Barbara Braveboy-Locklear read his poem, “Their Praise,” click here.

Learn more about Stephenson on his website, www.shelbystephenson.com.


ASHEVILLE—The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which awards the winner $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review, is now open for submissions. The deadline is January 30.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe. The prize is administered by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. Contestants should submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).

Lee Smith will be the final judge. Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is a New York Times bestselling author and longtime professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University. Her novels include Fair and Tender Ladies, The Last Girls, and most recently, Guests on Earth. She is the recipient of two O. Henry Awards for her short stories, two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, among many others. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

“Place is extraordinarily important to most Southern writers, much more so than to writers in other parts of the country,” Smith, who was born in the Appalachian Mountains, has said. “Personally, I’m so tied to place that I cannot even imagine a story without drawing a map of it first. I have to create the physical world before I can populate it with my characters. I have to make a whole world for them to walk around in.”

Susan Levi Wallach of Columbia, South Carolina, and Jude Whelchel of Asheville were co-winners of the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for their stories “A Still Life” and “Mother in a Boneyard World,” respectively. Gary V. Powell of Lake Norman received an honorable mention for “Rusty Luvs Suzie."

The Great Smokies Writing Program is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, Creative Writing and the Office of Professional Education. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. The program is committed to providing the community with affordable university-level classes led by published writers and experienced teachers. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville.

Here are the guidelines for the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Competition:

  • The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
  • Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced, single-sided pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.
  • You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner is announced each April.
  • To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 non-members).
  • To submit by regular mail:

Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Great Smokies Writing Program
Attn: Nancy Williams
CPO #1860
UNC Asheville, NC 28805

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.


WINSTON-SALEM―November 15 officially marked the start of Contest Season for the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Between now and March 1, four annual contests will accept submissions. Winners and finalists will be awarded more than $3,000 in cash prizes. Submission dates and guidelines vary.

North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe is one of the Tar Heel State’s most widely recognized authors. His life and work are celebrated by the The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, which is now open for submissions and runs through January 30. The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize is facilitated by Tommy Hays and the Great Smokies Writing Program

Lee Smith, a 2008 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is the final judge. The winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review.

The Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians. Subjects may include traditional categories such as reviews, travel articles, profiles or interviews, place/history pieces, or culture criticism. The first-, second-, and third-place winners will receive $1,000, $300, and $200 respectively. The winning entry will be considered for publication by Southern Cultures magazine.

Submissions for the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition are open now through January 17. The final judge is Wilmington travel, culinary, and culture writer, Jason Frye.

Author and beloved professor of creative writing Doris Betts, a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, is honored each year by the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. This competition opens for submissions on January 1 and closes February 15. The first-place finisher receives $250; up to ten finalists will be considered for publication in the North Carolina Literary Review, which also facilitates this contest.

Contest Season concludes with the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, accepting submissions between January 15 and March 1. The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition, which honors North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame poet Randall Jarrell, awards the winner publication in storySouth and $200. This prize is facilitated by the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Guidelines and past winners for each contest can be found on the individual contest pages. Click here for general information on Contest Season and links to the four annual contests.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.


NORTH CAROLINA—The 2014 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize is now open for submissions. For the first time ever, entrants may submit their short stories electronically through Submittable.com.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review. Facilitated by Anthony S. Abbott, professor emeritus of English at Davidson College, the competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.

Marianne Gingher is the final judge. Her work has appeared in many periodicals and journals including The Oxford American, Southern Review, and the New York Times. Her novel, Bobby Rex's Greatest Hit, was made into an NBC "Movie-of-the-Week" in 1992, starring Tom Wopat and Jean Smart. Both Bobby Rex and Teen Angel (her short-story collection) were recipients of ALA Notable and Best Book awards, and Bobby Rex won North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh prize in 1987. Her memoir A Girl's Life received a Foreword Magazine "Book of the Year" citation in 2001. Gingher directed the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1997-2002.

Thomas Wolfe wrote one of the great coming-of-age novels of the twentieth century: Look Homeward, Angel. Although he was known for submitting voluminous manuscripts to his editor, submissions for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize should not exceed twelve pages (one-inch margins, double-spaced). The contest deadline is January 30, 2014; the winner will be announced in April.

Kevin Winchester of Waxhaw, NC, won the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. Ashley Memory of Pittsboro, NC, was named First Honorable Mention; Jacob Appel of New York, NY, was named Second Honorable Mention.

Here are the complete guidelines:

  • Contest opens December 1; deadline is January 30, 2014.
  • The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
  • Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers.
  • You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner is announced each April.
  • To submit online, go to https://ncwriters.submittable.com/submit. Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($15 NCWN members / $25 for non-members).
  • To submit by regular mail:

Professor Tony Abbott
PO Box 7096
Davidson College
Davidson, NC 28035

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 Justi the Gifted by R.R. Brooks

Leo Publishing
$16.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941157-02-2
January, 2015
Fiction: Fantasy
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

From the start, the reader is pulled into this Tolkienesque tale of a protagonist unwilling to believe at first in his special powers and the quest he must undertake to impose justice in a world of marauding barbarians. The writing sets a pace that makes the book hard to put down. The author paints vivid images in a rich tableau of memorable characters. Justi the Gifted is a happy diversion for all of us escapees from humdrum reality. Entertaining and fun."
—Rob Jacoby, writing as Robert Ryland, The Little Rock Messenger and Dream Traveler

"A fun quick read, Justi the Gifted leaves you wanting more."
—L.B. Tillit, award-winning author of the Gravel Road series

"Justi the Gifted is 'refreshingly imaginative,' 'wonderfully inventive,' 'grabs you by surprise,' 'fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable,' 'very entertaining,' 'a perfect read,' 'a must read,' 'believable fantasy,' 'a surprise ending.'"
—Amazon reviewers who gave the book 4.5 stars

As invading barbarians bring slavery and human sacrifice to the Kingdom of the Zell, the old god Li modifies his creation and confers the Sense of Justice on a peasant boy. But Justi gets a damaged gift and is left with a wild killing power, a lethal flame he can’t control. The alluring Mercerio is also gifted, and prophecy foretells that the children of the gift must meet. When Justi is driven to Mercerio, her mercy talent tempers the angry flame within him, at least while they are near. But enchanted animals, attempted assassinations, uncertain seers, battles, and kidnappings keep them distant. An even greater barrier—a seduction—blocks their union. When Justi reluctantly uses his power to rescue Mercerio, the price is steep—the very thing he has always feared happens. He kills an innocent. Shocked, Justi finds his future and his love in doubt.

Robert R. Brooks, a native of New Jersey, writes fantasy, mystery, and science fiction novels and short stories as R.R. Brooks. His publications include ten short stories, a novel, and other pieces. Bob is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Group and the Appalachian Round Table (www.appalachianroundtable.com); has served as a judge for the Brevard Little Theater Annual Play Competition; and a reader for the Eric M. Hoffer Award for self-published and small press books.

Retired from the pharmaceutical industry, he lives with a wife and two cats in North Carolina. A science fiction-thriller novel is being revised. With co-author A.C. Brooks, he is finishing a mystery with a paranormal and psychological-twist. A sequel to Justi the Gifted is in the works.

The Corrupted Kingdom by Jesse Galena

Jesse Galena
$0.99, e-book
October, 2015
Fiction: Horror/Fantasy
Available from www.Amazon.com

Suspended in degradation, that dismal place draws people from all over the world.

Rumors say riches, secrets, and cures for all ailments rest within its borders. However, they hide between roaming abnormalities, monsters that defy the laws of nature and human understanding.

Within the twisted borders of that once-great Empire, not even the shrouded sunlight can aid foreigners in their pilgrimage. The past and the future become a mix of nearly connected events. Time itself holds no tangible meaning there. Some buildings stand while others collapse. Some weeds grow and choke the landscape while fires burn without fuel.

Perhaps the mysterious source of why it fell all those years ago is the same reason it still stands today. Contained within this tome are seven accounts from several unfortunate souls, proving only the mad and the desperate would dare to discover what truly lies inside that unhallowed kingdom.

In the blackness of the night, Jesse Galena's mind slipped beyond the confines of mortal planes. Knitted within nightmares and dreams, he found a land where he did not obey rules, he made them. He found a place where the unconventional can become standard; a spectacle beyond what eyes can behold, but not more than the mind can comprehend. May the worlds beyond be as influential and entertaining to you as they are to him, and may he be a worthy guide.

Jesse and his wife enjoy collecting Halloween paraphernalia, making costumes for any occasion they can think of, playing video games, buying too many Magic: The Gathering cards, trash talking over board games, and (usually) avoiding human interaction. He enjoys anything science-related that brings him closer to Ghost in the Shell, learning about dinosaurs, and sword fighting. He absolutely loves tabletop RPGs, and if he could only play one kind of game for the rest of his life, it would be those.

He lives in a modest quadplex in Charlotte, North Carolina, and dreams to one day expand his family by owning a few cats.

For RPG stories and ideas, reviews, other thoughts, and an assortment of fun stuff, go to website: www.RexiconJesse.wordpress.com.

To contact him, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., follow him on Twitter @RexiconJesse, or like him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jessegalena.

You and your thoughts are important to him, so he would love to hear from you.

It's All Relative: Tales from the Tree edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham

Stone Ivy Press
$16.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-983471738
October, 2015
Anthology: Poetry/Prose
Available from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"If you have biases against small press books or anthologies of local writers' work, I recommend you lay them aside and take a look at It's All Relative: Tales from the Tree. You might also be skeptical about the them: it's so broad. Yet there's a shadowy, down-to-earth and at times magical quality to the tellings that makes the collection striking and significant.

"The entries range from 1-5 pages in length, which works well with tales of the bizarre or with poetic revelations."
—Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen-Times

Pundits have a penchant for comparing families to food. Bestselling author, columnist, and Pulitzer-Prize winner Anna Quindlen proclaims: “In the family sandwich the older people and the younger ones can recognize one another as the bread. Those in the middle are, for a time, the meat.” Journalist and social activist Letty Collin Pogrebin says: “If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but inseparable—each segment distinct.” An old Chinese proverb cautions: “Govern a family as you would cook a fish—very gently.” Another puts it more succinctly: “Family are like fudge—mostly sweet with a few nuts.”

In this smorgasbord of family stories, essays, and poems, you can nibble on a nugget, munch on a morsel, or gobble down a whole meal.

Fifty contributors dig deep into the theme of family tree and give the good, the bad, the ugly, the strange, the odd, the quirky, the macabre, the supernatural, even the extraordinary: from kudos to cuckoldry, from subterfuge to emergency rooms, from black sheep to spider webs, from funny uncles to breaking crazy, from common threads to pigs' heads, from apparitions and angels to reincarnation and second sight, It's All Relative moves between family noir to family light.

Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham, both native western North Carolinians living in Asheville, have edited three previous anthologies of women writers in WNC: Christmas Presence, Clothes Lines, Women's Spaces Women's Places. Between them, they have written and published twenty-one books of textbooks, fiction, and poetry.

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$14.00, paperback / $2.99, e-book
October, 2015
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Kermit Turner's muscular story collection, A Matter of Blood, coheres almost tightly enough to be read as a novel, one of the kind now called a 'novel in stories.' It is a chronicle of hardscrabble rural and gritty small-town lives. The details are accurately, sometimes painfully, observed and the narrative is rendered in a dispassionate, artfully laconic style. The latter stories take place in later, more "improved,' times than do the earlier stories, so that Blood offers an overview of the changes in individual lives that take place in mid.twentieth-century America.

"Pungent, uncompromising, truthful, memorable: here is a strong, solid, eye-opening collection."
—Fred Chappell, prize-winning novelist, poet, and short-story writer; former NC Poet Laureate

Through the middle decades of the twentieth century a large Southern family struggles for economic security and social respectability. Hardships, disappointments, and catastrophes, ranging from the father's alcoholism to an accidental gun death, threaten to overwhelm even the most determined and resilient members of the Cooke family. The Cookes, along with other inhabitants of their rural community, must cope not only with personal weaknesses and conflicts but also with the changing world around them: the southeastern United States as it evolves from an agricultural to an industrial economy—a generational shift from farm to factory.

Kermit Turner has published fiction in various journals, including Roanoke Review, Greensboro Review, Phylon, Pembroke Magazine, NC Crossroads, Thomas Wolfe Review and Changes. For his short stories, he has received the Winthrop Writers' Conference Chapbook Award and the Linda Flowers Literary Award. His story "Masks," published in Phylon, was listed in Best American Short Stories as one of the "Distinguished Stories" of the year, and his story "Pool" was runner-up for the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Prize. He has also published a novel, Rebel Powers, and a collection of narrative poems, Sandy Ridge. A native North Carolinian, Kermit Turner lives in Hickory, NC.

Outnumbered: Memoir of a Schnauzer Mom by Isabel MacRae Allen

Stonehill Productions
$12, paperback / $6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-06692462157
November, 2015
Available from www.Amazon.com

Outnumbered is a poignant and joyous romp into the world of a woman raising two schnauzer puppies in the beautiful, yet threatening, Appalachian Mountains. It quickly becomes apparent that Gus and Lucy are very different dogs. Gus radiates magnetic appeal but is naughty as Peter Rabbit; Lucy exudes joie de vivre until her hidden illness dampens her loving spirit. Together, they are a home demolition team. Isabel is determined to keep the puppies safe from the wildlife while giving them a life worth living. Dog ownership reaches a crisis level as Isabel realizes the biggest threat to rearing two happy, healthy dogs is a battle within her own psyche.

Isabel MacRae Allen taught math at Trinity School and Pace Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Twenty years later, she studied oil painting and had a one-woman show at Toulouse. When her interest turned to writing, she attended the University of Iowa and the Chautauqua Institution.She enjoys an ongoing study of theology that included a stint at the Ecumenical Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. She graduated from Peace College, Wesleyan College, and earned a Masters from Oglethorpe University. Her upcoming book, Downsized to Heaven, is the amusing story of a city woman adjusting to life in Appalachia.

The Art of Departure by Maureen Sherbondy

Aldrich Press
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0692533482
November, 2015
Available from www.Amazon.com

"Power. Pow! Her! These poems will punch you in the heart, grab your mind mightily. Sherbondy wears Wonder Woman boots and they can kick you alive with love, loss, and just plain living. She's 'touching fire to land once kissed and tended,' 'a scarecrow swallowing a wallow of stars.' She's iron-fisted, heavy hammered, and she knows her name. You will too. Stunning work from a poet whose praises cannot help but be sung."
—Ruth Moose, author of Doing It at the Dixie Dew

"From a long marriage that crashes and burns to a humorous look at first date disasters after divorce, the bold poems in The Art of Departure are smart and sassy with a fierce beauty that transforms loss and longing. 'What was there before departure?' Maureen Sherbondy asks in the book’s first poem, 'Meditation on Leaving.' The poems that follow do not so much attempt to answer that question as to confront and come to a reckoning with loss, whether that loss be a baby bird that fell from the nest, the death of a father, or the end of a marriage. '…jump/and hope to fly,' she writes in the poem 'Fly.' Yes, indeed, these poems fly straight to the heart of anyone who has experienced loss."
—Pat Riviere-Seel, author of Nothing Below But Air

"When we think of the word art we might first think of a painting, a poem, or a musical score. But art is also a branch of learning. A skill. In The Art of Departure Maureen Sherbondy uses her art, as a poet, to show us there is an art to leaving; to surviving deaths, divorce, and the redefinition of the self."
—Jessie Carty, Practicing Disaster

78 pages from an award-winning NC poet!

Maureen Sherbondy of Raleigh has published eight books. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches English at Alamance Community College.

 A Book of Meditations by John A. Blackard

Freedom Lawn Productions
$18.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-329-53287-8
November, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"The masters only point the way. But if you meditate and follow the dharma you will free yourself from desire. 'Everything arises and passes away.' When you see this, you are above sorrow. This is the shining way."

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world."

"If you can’t meditate in a boiler room, you can’t meditate."
—Alan Watts

"If every eight-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation."
—Dalai Lama

"Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment."
—Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are."
—Ani Pema Chodron

These poems were written in 2014-2015 as the author was discovering and learning about Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, and Kundalini yoga. The poems swim in that gentle ocean of love and truth.

The author suggests that the reader use the poems as meditation topics for a month. He hopes the reader will feel better about things.

John A. Blackard lives in Asheville, NC. Check out his website of creative projects at www.johnablackard.com.

A Musical Kaleidoscope of My Mind: From Elvis to The Beatles by Christine T. Wethman

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1517717100
October, 2015
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Imagine discovering that those songs you listened to from the '60s and '70s related to God! Each meditation provides a journey down memory lane to a time marked by Woodstock, anti-war protests, and flower power!

In this book of ten Christian devotions/short essays, each selection centers around songs that were popular in the '60s and '70s and how their lyrics relate to what the Bible teaches. Hand-colored designs reflecting the theme of each essay are included in the book.

A childhood yearning to own a piano was one indicator of Christine T. Wethman's love for music. Music is her source of strength, comfort, and peace. In sixth grade she won a prize in a New York Fire Prevention Essay Contest, an indication of her love for writing.

Musical Kaleidoscope of My Mind is a book that binds together her passion for the Bible, music of the Baby Boomer generation, and longstanding love for writing and coloring.

Each devotional is a trip down memory lane.

For most of her career she served in the non-profit religious sector. During that time, a desire to study scripture led to the co-development of two Bible studies on Listening and Servant Leadership.

She resides in Mebane with her husband Joe and their precocious beagle, Stella. They lived in Central Florida for thrity years, raising their daughters Lisa and Kelly. In 2006 she received a B.A. in Organizational Behavior from Rollins College (Winter Park, FL). Two years later she earned her MS in Positive Organizational Development and Change from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

What do YOU Think? Brief Essays from Real Life by Bill Ramsey

Escarpment Press
$12.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692546703
October, 2015
Nonfiction: Essays
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Because of his writing skill and thoughtfulness of the content, Bill Ramsey’s What Do YOU Think? elevates essay from the genre of a blog to a literature of joy. The reading is so pleasing it comes close to being a healing. Simply a splendid collection."
—Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie

"These short, succinct pieces challenge you to think—to ponder—issues large and small. Whether you respond ‘Yes!’ or ‘Hmm?’ or ‘Not me,’ you'll remember and consider their point. Bonus: a pleasure to read."
—Celia Miles, author of The Body at Wrapp’s Mill and Sarranda’s Heart

"Bill Ramsey is guilty of eroteme. Not once but repeatedly. He can’t help himself. Even his title begins with 'What' and ends with a question mark, an eroteme. His book is original and sly, often going to wonderful and unexpected places."
—John Shannon, reviewer

What do YOU Think? Brief Essays from Real Life is a thought-provoking collection by author Bill Ramsey that explores contentious topics like sports, politics, news media, and technology, as well as daily life themes such as mirth and satire, friends and family—even Mother Nature. These well-thought-out pieces are written in a manner designed to be not only stimulating, challenging, and informative—but, above all, entertaining!

Bill Ramsey began writing in high school as a sports columnist for the local newspaper. During his forty year professional career he wrote technical manuals, magazine articles, and business newsletters. In retirement, writing about real life issues became his passion. He is the author of four books, and publishes a blog at: www.billramseyblog.wordpress.com. He serves on the Board of Trustees for both the North Carolina Writers' Network and Blue Ridge Community College. He has also served on the leadership team of the Blue Ridge Bookfest since its creation in 2008. He lives the happy life of a retiree in the mountains of western North Carolina with his wife of fifty years, Donna. For more information about Bill Ramsey, as well as one-click access to his books, visit his website at www.authorbillramsey.com.



The North Carolina Writers' Network is now accepting submissions for the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. This annual award is administered by poet Anthony S. Abbott, the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review. The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. The postmark deadline is January 30, 2013.

Ruth Moose will be the Final Judge. Moose served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Creative Writing Department from 1996-2010. She has published two collections of short stories, including Neighbors and Other Strangers (Main Street Rag), and four books of poetry. Individual stories have appeared in Atlantic, Redbook, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, and other places. Her work has been included in several anthologies, including Stories about Teachers and Teaching. Her poems have appeared in The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Yankee, Christian Science Monitor, and other places. Recently, she was awarded a Chapman Fellowship to compile a work on North Carolina writers.

The 2013 guidelines are as follows:

Postmark deadline: January 30 (annual)
Submissions accepted: December 1 – January 30

  • The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
  • Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers' Network.
  • You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner is announced each April.
  • Send submission to:

Professor Tony Abbott
PO Box 7096
Davidson College
Davidson, NC 28035

Laurel Ferejohn of Durham, NC, won the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for her story, "That Other Story." Elizabeth Brownrigg, Kathryn Shaver, and Kermit Turner received Honorable Mentions.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.


Anne Clinard BarnhillNORTH CAROLINA--The North Carolina Writers’ Network is still accepting submissions for its annual Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition and its annual Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. Deadlines are January 16 and January 30, respectively.

The Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians. Subjects may include traditional categories such as reviews, travel articles, profiles or interviews, place/history pieces, or culture criticism. The first-, second-, and third-place winners will receive $300, $200, and $100 respectively. The winning entry will be considered for publication by Southern Cultures magazine. This contest is administered by the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review. The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. This prize is administered by poet Anthony S. Abbott, the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

Josephine HumphreysAnne Clinard Barnhill (What You Long For) will serve as final judge for the Rose Post Nonfiction Competition. Josephine Humphreys (Dreams of Sleep) will judge the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize.

For more information, including submission guidelines, to the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition, click here. For more information on the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, click here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.



Welcome NC Writers NetworkHave you recently published a book? Are you looking for new and effective ways to promote your blog or website? Does your company offer services that writers need? Then put your product in front of thousands of dedicated readers and writers by advertising to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

The Network is now offering advertising opportunities:

  • on our website, www.ncwriters.org
  • in our three weekly e-blasts (the NC Literary Calendar, Opportunities, and Member Readings)
  • in our bi-annual print newsletter
  • in our conference materials
  • through many other packages and promotions


Advertising with the Network is a great chance to reach a highly select group of people who love books. By advertising with us, you’ll be sure that your dollars are being spent right—and that your advertisements are being seen by the kind of people who will read your book, visit your website regularly, or use your services.

Not only that, but current Network members receive 25 percent off the listed price. This is a special offer only for members—just another perk of NCWN membership.

For more details, follow this link or download our advertising brochure (PDF).

Questions? E-mail Charles Fiore, communications director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Josephine HumphreysNORTH CAROLINA—The North Carolina Writers' Network is now accepting submissions for the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. This annual award is administered by poet Anthony S. Abbott, the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English at Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

The Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize honors internationally celebrated North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe. The winner receives $1,000 and possible publication in The Thomas Wolfe Review. The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication. The postmark deadline is January 30, 2012.

Acclaimed author Josephine Humphreys will serve as the final judge. Humphreys is a recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of Dreams of Sleep (winner of the 1985 Ernest Hemingway Award for first fiction), Rich in Love, The Fireman's Fair, and Nowhere Else on Earth. She lives with her husband on Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

The 2012 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize
Postmark deadline: January 30 (annual)
Submissions accepted: December 1 – January 30

Eligibility and Guidelines:


  • The competition is open to all writers regardless of geographical location or prior publication.
  • Submit two copies of an unpublished fiction manuscript not to exceed 12 double-spaced pages (1" margins, 12-pt. font).
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title.
  • An entry fee must accompany the manuscript: $15 for NCWN members, $25 for nonmembers. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers' Network.
  • You may pay the member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • The winner is announced each April.


Send submission to:

Professor Anthony S. Abbott
PO Box 7096
Davidson College
Davidson, NC 28035

2011 saw the highest number of submissions in the history of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. Winner Kristin Fitzpatrick of Alameda, California, took home the $1,000 purse.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

Salt Runs in My Blood by Susan Schmidt

Kakapo Press
$10.95 paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-150301410
November, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"'If They Came Our Way' (Owen prizewinner) moves steadily, authoritatively, all the while building a quiet intensity, right up to its stunning, unforced conclusion. Sounds interweave, setting up a texture that pulled me in right away. I admire this poem very much, its pacing, its lineation, its careful yet emotionally wrenching detail."
—Kathryn Stripling Byer

"Her eye for detail, her vision of the inner core of what she finds in Nature, her ideas as they come through imagery: Susan Schmidt can be a writer who matters."
—Richard Krawiec

"The opening line of Salt Runs in My Blood quotes a neighbor's advice: 'Remember where you come from.' Susan Schmidt takes this to heart, exploring deep roots in Virginia and North Carolina. She is an intrepid explorer, approaching adventures with curiosity and wonder. Rarely do we experience the natural world through the eyes of such a keen observer, who understands the search for identity begins in the waters at home. With this lovely book she earns our trust in her skill as a gifted poet and a guide down the twisting river of the soul."
—Lee Robinson

"Susan Schmidt’s poetry is tidal, seasonal, evolutionary. Traveling by wind, muscle, and memory from the Chesapeake to the Camino de Santiago, she sings like a Silkie with a human heart—about risk, loss, and resilience. Songs of her father are personal and epic. She sights birds near extinction or already lost. Her poems consider both her own fate and the planet. Schmidt writes a true line that skims, like her boat, over the surface of time and place."
—Sandy Morgan

As sailboat captain, rower, flyfisher, gardener, and Quaker naturalist, Susan Schmidt writes poems about moving from dark into light as she plays in boats and walks long trails. Her poems in Salt Runs in My Blood describe bright parrots, big trout, gales at sea, glaciers, peach pie, old loves, Celtic ancestry, Civil War battlefields, and learning to navigate. As she observes birds, she learns her own survival strategies. She travels to New Zealand, Alaska, the West Indies, but stays South where she can name the trees and paddle year round. The book could have been called The Watery Part of the World.

Susan Schmidt's poems appear in Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina and won the Guy Owen Poetry Prize. As developmental editor, Susan polishes science and history books, novels, and memoirs—with the same mindfulness as pruning apple trees. She has worked as professor of literature and environmental decision-making, sailboat delivery captain, and government science-policy analyst. She has a doctorate in American literature and a Masters in Environmental Sciences.

To witness natural diversity, she walked the Camino de Santiago, Cornwall Coastal Path, Scotland Highlands, Ring of Kerry, and Appalachian Trail; surveyed birds in Kenya and Ecuador; paddled Prince William Sound and Milford Sound; and delivered sailboats to the West Indies. Her homeplace is the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and her homeport is Beaufort, North Carolina, where she walks beaches with her Boykin Spaniel.

Her new novel is Black Waters Black Waters. She wrote Landfall Along the Chesapeake, In the Wake of Captain John Smith (Johns Hopkins University Press), an ecological history and boat adventure.










Trash Told Tales edited by Vicki Sapp and William Matthew McCarter

Fat Daddy's Farm
$2.99, e-book
November, 2014
Available at www.Amazon.com

Join the contributors to Trash Told Tales in exploring what it means to be really be white trash.

Trash Told Tales features writing by seventeen scholars, essayists, and poets whose work is unsparing and lewd, poignant, and at times, funny. With unflinching honesty and sometimes gratuitous profanity, they write about petty theft and STDs, domestic violence and substance abuse, mullets and Wal-Mart and gasoline pumps and Velveeta. They spell wresting "r-a-s-s-l-i-n-g" and have insatiable affinities for fried eggs and canned Coca-Cola. They write about homes both broken and unbreakable, both violent and hospitable; telling tales of fiercely-bound families who would kill one another just as easily as they would kill for one another.

With the aim of advancing the idea that poor whites are an “other” demographic in America, Trash Told Tales hopes to “open up a discursive space where the ‘other’ can speak... [acting as] a vehicle in which they can name the world.” Readers from many different walks of life will discover someone they know in this collection of stories—a childhood friend, or the neighborhood legend, or the oft-misunderstood great uncle of a generation passed—coming away with a greater sensitivity for the stories that live behind the label "white trash."
—E. Ce Miller, M.A., Writer










Fires Creek by Deborah Edmonds

$12.95, paperback / $7.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-4952-8080-1
September, 2014
Fiction: Murder/Mystery/Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Harland Duncan is the sheriff of a small mountain town in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina who has two major crimes to solve at once. The first crime involves the unauthorized burial of a newborn baby in an old cemetery that is connected to the building of the Great Fontana Dam. He is called by the cemetery caretaker early in the morning with the bad news of the baby’s grave that seems to have appeared overnight. The grave looks hand dug and closed with a small clutch of wildflowers tied in a ribbon on top. Harland’s calls for the coroner to exhume the body while his deputy Rachael Dehart arranges a decent burial for the newborn.

That evening Emily Davis a young school teacher is late for dinner at her boyfriend’s mother’s house. At first no one is alarmed because she frequently goes by the nursing home to feed her beloved Mia dinner. However, as the minutes and hours pass Emily’s boyfriend Gary Tate has a feeling that something is very wrong and goes out looking for her. He finds her car abandoned on the highway, with the driver’s door standing wide open and her personal belonging scattered in the seats and floor. Harland sets up emergency lights to look for clues while Gary and Emily’s family push him for answers to who took Emily and why.

Deborah Edmonds grew up in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. She has published several poems short stories. This is her first novel.










Other People's Money by Elizabeth Russell

Moonshine Cove Publishing
$12.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-937327545
October, 2014
Fiction: Mystery/Suspense/Romantic Suspense
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“Exquisite! There is an honesty and humanness about these characters which is enormously refreshing.”
—Janine Lee, President, Southeastern Council of Foundations

“Foundations need not be mysterious, but this novel about grantmaking by someone who knows foundations well clearly belongs on the mystery-lover’s bookshelf.”
—Dorothy Ridings, Former President, Council on Foundations

“Elizabeth Russell has crafted a compelling and most intriguing narrative sure to make the reader smile with satisfaction and delight.”
—Mark Constantine, author of Wit and Wisdom: Unleashing the Philanthropic Imagination

Katie Nelson, a program officer at Atlanta’s largest charitable foundation, has the job everyone wants: giving away other people’s money. But when her latest grant recommendation literally goes up in flames, killing a nameless Latina woman, suddenly everyone becomes a suspect. Was it a hate crime, an inside job or something more insidious? She enlists the help of foundation trustee Jim Hunter, but as they begin to unravel the mystery, they discover a burgeoning romance growing between them that complicates their investigation. As Katie unearths more evidence, Jim becomes less cooperative and more distant. When Katie accidentally discovers that Jim is not who he claims to be, she has to choose between trusting him or giving up on their relationship. As she struggles to find the culprit and trust her heart, headstrong Katie unwittingly places herself in mortal danger. But who’s looking out for her and who’s trying to do her in?

Elizabeth Russell has been telling the stories of foundation and nonprofit clients for twenty years. During most of that time, she served as a marketing and communications consultant to the Southeastern Council of Foundations, a membership association of 350 foundations in eleven Southern states. She has also worked for high-profile national foundations. Through this work, she has developed an in-depth knowledge of the “real life” issues that face foundations and the individuals who work in them. Her fiction is drawn from her insider’s knowledge of the good and the bad of the foundation world, and woven with a creativity that makes the field intriguing and engaging to all. She lives with her husband and two children in Asheville, North Carolina.










Ozette's Hearstone (Tales From Farlandia) (Volume 2) by Judy Pierce

Pants On Fire Press
$10.99, paperback / $3.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692210000
October, 2014
Fiction: Children's
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

In this sequel to Ozette's Destiny, after being crowned the queen of Farlandia, the white squirrel Ozette finds herself in the midst of a struggle to save the endangered and enchanted forest where she now lives. Can Ozette round up the help she needs to preserve the rhythms of nature that make Farlandia so special? In order to accomplish this gigantic feat, the white squirrel must enter the world of deep, forest magic in an attempt to save her chosen family. But is she ready to learn the truth about the land she loves?

She enlists the help of ethereal fairies, elusive elves, and her newest friend Gizmo as they find themselves in a desperate race against Boardmore, Smiley, and time. Under the guidance of Princess Abrianna and the direction of Queen Beatrix, Ozette learns more about her new home than she could have imagined. The secrets that nature holds can only be unlocked when you embark on yet another magical journey with Ozette and her enchanting friends. Are you ready to learn the truth about Farlandia?

Originally from the state of Washington, Judy Pierce lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and three rescued Bichon Frises. She has worked in environmental education, feature writing, advertising, and university teaching. Judy’s writing is influenced by her love of nature and work with Bichon Frise rescue and orphaned squirrel rehabilitation. When she’s not writing, she loves to feed the white and gray squirrels, chipmunks and birds that visit her yard, raise and use herbs, bicycle, hike, and camp. She is the author of Tales from Farlandia: Ozette’s Destiny published by Pants on Fire Press.










Bewilderment of Boys by Karon Luddy

Backbone Books
$14.99, paperback / $5.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-991551804
June, 2014
Fiction: Coming of Age / Romance
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“A charmingly perceptive follow-up that should appeal to both teenagers and adults.”
Kirkus Reviews

"The book is told in Karlene's witty, smart, precocious but innocent and endearing voice. Through her senses, the reader experiences sultry late-summer evenings at the pond or the river, with all the delicious temptations they offer a teenager. When tragedy strikes, the reader feels Karlene's anger and bewilderment. Then, the reader shares the journey as Karlene moves on through her senior year of high school—a year of life-shaping events and decisions. Readers will find themselves cheering her on."
—Linda Carter Brinson, Greensboro News & Observer

"Karon Luddy's wise coming of age story about Karlene Bridges. Readers will easily pin their hopes on her, wishing her the best along life's bumpy road. Karlene is very smart, absorbing information. She's not afraid to talk about how she feels and what she's learned. Luddy refuses to go down the dark path to self-pity and surrender. Instead, she gives Karlene more strength, more wisdom. This is a book about recovery, about finding what heals and nurturing what grows."
—Deirdre Parker Smith, The Salisbury Post

"Give this novel to everyone you know, but not before you devour every delicious morsel of it yourself."
— Cathy Smith Bowers, North Carolina Poet Laureate, 2010-2012

A drought has beseiged Red Clover, South Carolina, and the heart of seventeen-year-old Karlene Bridges. Her big sister, Gloria Jean, is pregnant, and everyone carries on as if she were incubating the Light of this World—but Karlene feels hysterical at becoming an aunt at such a young age. Her best friend, Lucinda, is leaving for college soon. Billy Ray Jenkins, former heartthrob, joined the United States Navy six months ago, and Karlene has been incommunicado ever since. To soothe her jangled nerves, she has taken up songwriting—and she is terrible at it. Truly terrible. And now, Spencer, her songwriting buddy, might get drafted and end up in Vietnam, sloshing around in rice paddies, which agonizes Karlene because she knows that peace of any kind is unobtainable on this whirling blue planet.

Bewilderment of Boys is the quintessential coming of age story. Karon Luddy dedicated this novel to anyone who has ever been or ever will be seventeen. And through the eyes of its sharp-witted, big-hearted protagonist, Luddy delivers a powerfully intimate story about a young woman who dives into the deep end of her own life and attempts to solve the riddle of Life itself with grace and aplomb.

Karon Luddy grew up in Lancaster, SC, and lives in Charlotte, NC. Her award-winning debut novel Spelldown was published by Simon and Schuster in 2007. Clemson University Press published Wolf Heart, her first poetry book, in 2007. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University and has taught writing classes at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her second novel, Bewilderment of Boys, was published in June, 2014. It is also the sequel to Luddy's first novel Spelldown.








Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively (Revised Edition) by Rebecca McClanahan

Writer's Digest Books
$18.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1599638683
November, 2014
Nonfiction: Writing Resource
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"There is no better book than Word Painting and no better teacher than Rebecca McClanahan to illustrate how memory and observation are shaped into language that is lively and alive. McClanahan offers brilliant and helpful examples of how sensory detail, intimate moments, characterization, atmosphere, mood, and metaphor combine to create poems, stories, and essays that lift from the page and soar into the reader's imagination. If you want to be a better writer, you need to read this book."
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction

"Word Painting is both a joy to read and terrifically useful, whether you are working on your first short story or your fifth novel. Eloquent, practical, and deeply wise, Rebecca McClanahan reveals how to move beyond flat description into writing full of music, color, and surprise, and then how to enliven character, setting, and plot. Brushstroke by brushstroke, note by note, she vividly demonstrates the ways technique leads to art and, most importantly, the way art teaches us to become 'beholders' of the world. By the time I reached the third chapter I was quoting whole passages to my students, having already taken copious notes for myself. This is a writing guide full of sense and sensibility, and a work of art in itself."
—Suzanne Berne, novelist and winner of the Orange Prize for fiction

You'll appreciate this book if:

  • You want to write a description-rich work of fiction or nonfiction
  • You're a writer looking for ways to enhance your stories, poetry, and memoir with more descriptive details
  • You would like concrete examples of descriptive passages

Writing is an art, much like painting. The words you choose to describe your characters, scenes, settings, and so on—in fiction and nonfiction—need to illustrate the vision you have in your mind and capture the attention of readers. Word Painting Revised Edition is an inspiring examination of description in its many forms. Rebecca McClanahan's thoughtful instruction and engaging exercises will teach writers how to develop their senses and powers of observation to uncover the rich, evocative words that accurately portray the mind's images—and apply these descriptions to characters, settings, point of view, and more. McClanahan includes dozens of descriptive passages written by master authors and poets to illuminate the process, and in the updated revised edition she provides more discussion on writing descriptive nonfiction.

In Word Painting Revised Edition you'll find:

  • A revised version of the best-selling Word Painting, one of the most popular and celebrated books on writing description currently in print
  • Fresh examples and more emphasis on writing description in creative nonfiction and memoir
  • Instruction and exercises to help you find rich, evocative words
  • And much, much more

Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books—of poetry, essays, writing instruction, and memoir—most recently The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Sun, and numerous anthologies. McClanahan’s awards include the Wood Prize from Poetry, a Pushcart Prize in fiction, the Carter Prize for the Essay, the Glasgow Award in nonfiction, literary fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, and a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and teaches in the MFA programs of Rainier Writing Workshop and Queens University.










A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O'Hara and Her Literary Daughters by Margaret D. Bauer

The University of South Carolina Press
$29.95, hardcover / $21.95, e-book
ISBN: 978-1-61117-373-4
October, 2014
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"Margaret Bauer's utterly readable new study examines Scarlett O'Hara and other, more contemporary characters like her, independent women 'who cannot… accept the limitations set for their gender.' Bauer highlights the significant role women play in each other's lives, relationships that often steal the spotlight from the heterosexual romances in the novels. Ignoring traditional roles, Bauer's subjects instead find 'the Scarlett within' themselves."
—Barbara Bennett, associate professor of English, North Carolina State University

"A wise and wonderfully fresh look at the novel, Gone with the Wind, its misread heroine Scarlett, and her literary descendants. Bauer overturns the heterosexual romance script of the novel and posits female friendship as an alternative reading. An important and provocative book in southern studies and women's studies."
—Mary Ann Wilson, professor of English, University of Louisiana–Lafayette

There are two portrayals of Scarlett O'Hara: the widely familiar one of the film Gone with the Wind and Margaret Mitchell's more sympathetic character in the book. In A Study of Scarletts, Margaret D. Bauer examines these two characterizations, noting that although Scarlett O'Hara is just sixteen at the start of the novel, she is criticized for behavior that would have been excused if she were a man.

In the end, despite losing nearly every person she loves, Scarlett remains stalwart enough to face another day. For this reason and so many others, Scarlett is an icon in American popular culture and an inspiration to female readers, and yet she is more often than not condemned for being a sociopathic shrew by those who do not take the time to get to know her through the novel.

After providing a more sympathetic reading of Scarlett as a young woman who refuses to accept social limitations based on gender and seeks to be loved for who she is, Bauer examines Scarlett-like characters in other novels. These intertextual readings serve to develop a less critical, more compassionate reading of Scarlett O'Hara and to expose societal prejudices against strong women.

The chapters in A Study of Scarletts are ordered chronologically according to the novels' settings, beginning with Charles Frazier's Civil War novel Cold Mountain; then Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground, written a few years before Gone with the Wind but set a generation later, in the years leading up to and just after World War I; Toni Morrison's Sula, which opens after World War I; and, finally, a novel by Kat Meads, The Invented Life of Kitty Duncan, with its 1950s- to 1960s-era evolved Scarlett.

Through these selections Bauer shows the persistent tensions that cause and result from a woman remaining unattached while growing into her own identity without a man, beginning with trouble in the mother-daughter relationship, extending to frustration in romantic relationships, and including the discovery of female friendship as a foundation for facing the future.

Louisiana native Margaret D. Bauer is the Ralph Hardee Rives Chair of Southern Literature at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she was named one of ECU's ten Women of Distinction in 2007 and received the university's Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Creative Activity in 2014. She is the author of The Fiction of Ellen Gilchrist, William Faulkner's Legacy: "what shadow, what stain, what mark" and Understanding Tim Gautreaux (University of South Carolina Press, 2010).

Hats Off! to Jennifer Weiss whose poem "Inviolable Bridges" was published in "Sparrow's Trill: Writers respond to the Charleston Shooting," a special edition of Minerva Rising Literary Journal.


Hats Off! to Brenda Kay Ledford whose poem "House by the Creek" appeared in POEM (November 2015), published by the Huntsville Literary Association.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash fiction piece "The Fish Knife" will appear in the February, 2016, issue of The A3 Review.


Hats Off! to Patricia Hooper whose new poetry collection, Separate Flightshas been awarded the Anita Claire Sharf Award and will be published in 2016 by the University of Tampa Press. She also has poems in the fall issue of The Yale Review and The Hudson Review.


Hats Off! to Kathie Collins whose poem "El Camino" was awarded Third Place in the Poetry Award in Kakalak 2015 (Main Street Rag).


Hats Off! to Karen Paul Holmes whose blog post for Divorce Magazine, which includes a poem from her collection, Untying the Knot, was re-published in The Huffington Post.


Hats Off! to Maryrose Carroll whose memoir Beats Me: Love, Poetry, Censorship, from Chicago to Appalachia appeared in the December-January 2016 issue of Shelf Unbound, which featured the 2015 Indie Best Award Winners.


Hats Off! to Miriam Herin, whose new novel A Stone for Bread (Livingston Press) was reviewed in the Greensboro's The News & Record. Also, Miriam appeared on WUNC 91.5 FM's The State of Things with Frank Stasio.


Hats Off! to Gilda Morina Syverson whose memoir My Father's Daughter: From Rome to Sicily is a nominee for the Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction for 2015.


Hats Off! to Arthur Powers whose poem appears in KaKaLak 2015. He also has work forthcoming in The Wisconsin Review and a Main Street Rag anthology on the nature of time.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose short story "L’Orangerie" appears in Rozlyn: Short Fiction by Women Writers (Rozlyn Press 2015).


Hats Off! to Mary Kendall whose poem “Kamakura Beach, 1333” was selected by Ana Prundaru as the Artist’s Choice winner for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, October 2015. “It was incredibly difficult to choose from so many witty, bittersweet and artful pieces," said Prundaru, "but in the end one stood out: Mary Kendall’s ‘Kamakura Beach 1333’ depicts the ambiguity of our surroundings and weaves past and present in her narrative, walking a fine line between everyday pleasures of casual outings by the beach and devastating circumstances of wars. I was deeply touched by the unexpected imagery and raw emotions, which made me feel vulnerable and powerful at once.”


Hats Off! to Martha O. Adams whose new collection of poems Buried Seed was reviewed by Patricia Vestal in December's WNC Woman alongside a poem from the collection, "Your Resume vs. Oblivion."


Hats Off! to Nancy Janes whose book The Boy Who Walked a Way has received an Indie B.R.A.G. medallion for excellence in writing and readers' appreciation.


Hats Off! to Leigh "E.L." Sanders whose article "At Abortion Clinics, a Theater of War" appeared in the December 2 issue of Raleigh's The News & Observer.


Hats Off! to Terri Kirby Erickson whose fourth collection of poetry, A Lake of Light and Clouds (Press 53), has been named a Finalist in the “Poetry” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose flash fiction piece "Tiger" won a prompt contest from Literative.


Hats Off! to Patricia Vestal, regional rep for Henderson County, who was featured in Bold Life magazine. The article highlights NCWN-West and the recurring Open Mic held on the on the third Monday of each month at the Henderson County Library.


Hats Off! to Staci Lynn Bell whose poem "Captivity" and her short story "White Wolf" have been published in the anthology Wolf Warriors II: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition, edited by Jonathan W. Thurston. All proceeds from sales of the book go to The National Wolfwatcher Coalition.


Hats Off! to Jorge D. Cortese whose short story, "Neptune is Crying," won First Place in the 2015 Literary Fiction Award from The Writer's Workshop.


Hats Off! to Nickole Brown who received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Barthelme Prize for her story, "The Deer." The contest is sponsored by Gulf Coast.













Keep This Quiet Too! by Margaret Harrell

Saeculum University Press
$17.95, paperback / $3.95, e-book
ISBN-13: 978-0983704539 (pbk)
October, 2012
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

“Margaret Harrell baited the hook and I bit. Boy did I bite....She used titillation, and a masterful way of revealing herself to build engrossment, starting with Keep This Quiet! ANY thinking, living person will be locked in from the beginning. Knowledge of the three men is not a must. She oozes sexuality, sensuality, and I believe these traits go towards interweaving the three men. I believe it to be spellbinding. A hot sweaty tango of words. The bottom line is this. Not many books fulfill my reading needs. By this I mean covering a range of emotion. Keep This Quiet Too! did it for me. I loved it.”
—Martin Flynn, owner of www.hstbooks.org

“A book with so many dimensions is a gift with many surprises in it. Thanks for this treat, Margaret!”
—Chris Van de Velde, founder of Numenon Institute

Called “a masterpiece memoir of four writers’ lives—the author’s as well as the title characters',” Keep This Quiet Too! takes place in Morocco, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United States as Margaret pits wits with—and learns from—Gonzo creator, Hunter S. Thompson, New York City poet-genius Milton Klonsky, and her eventual husband, Belgian poet Jan Mensaert.

The author of Keep This Quiet! as well as Marking Time with Faulkner, and eight books in the Love in Transition: Voyage of Ulysses—Letters to Penelope nonfiction series, Margaret Harrell copy edited Hunter Thompson’s first book, Hell’s Angels. HST acknowledged her in Gonzo Letters 2. She is also a freelance editor, a cloud photographer, and mentor to people wanting to maximize their potential.

Nothing Vanishes












Nothing Vanishes, Memoir of a Life Transformed by Karen Lauritzen

Sweet Woods Press
$12.00, paperback
November, 2012
Available through the publisher

Sweet Woods Press, a Brevard publisher, announces the publication of Nothing Vanishes, Memoir of a Life Transformed, a debut book by local resident Karen Lauritzen. Nothing Vanishes offers an intimate family history in which the searing question persists: Am I Enough? as the author reflects efforts to reshape her life against the backdrop of the natural world in Western North Carolina. Much of the book is about place. The setting in the native gardens and family cemetery the author has built on her property in Transylvania County works much like a character in the story. Lauritzen's property was originally part of the eighty-one acre William H. Grogan Farm, built in 1890, and is now a historic landmark.

Lauritzen writes short stories, poetry, and essays. Her work has been published in The Chrysalis Reader, WNC- Woman Magazine, Kaleidoscope Magazine: Exploring the Experience of Disability Through the Fine Arts and Women's Spaces, Women's Places, an anthology of women writers. One of the stories from Nothing Vanishes, “Seat 7F”, won an honorary mention in the 2010 Carpe Articulum Literary Awards.

The book may be purchased through Lauritzen's website: www.nothingvanishes.com or by sending a check for $12.00 plus $3.99 shipping and handling to: Sweet Woods Press, PO Box 12, Brevard, NC 28712.

A book trailer is available on You Tube and shows Lauritzen reading the opening of her book on location in her family cemetery. The trailer is also embedded on her website.











Pillow of Thorns by Karen Cecil Smith

Argus Enterprises International
$17.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615689654
October, 2012
Mystery / Historical Fiction
Available from the publisher or www.Amazon.com

On Thanksgiving Day, 1850, an exotic young beauty stands trial for killing her wealthy, older husband. Was she a heartless murderer or was she simply a victim of circumstance? This fictionalized account of the first woman tried for murder in Cumberland County, North Carolina is a spellbinding blend of mystery, superstition, slavery, and social history. Smith's Pillow of Thorns will take hold of your imagination as it transports you to another place and time.

Karen Cecil Smith is the author of a biography, Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife, 1844-1939 and a children's picture book entitled An Old Salem Christmas, 1840, which received the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, and photographer. Her fictional stories have appeared in magazines such as Writers' Journal and other national publications. Ms. Smith's poetry has been included in various literary journals. She lives on a farm in North Carolina.












Until Proven: A Mystery in Two Parts by Nora Gaskin

Lystra Books and Literary Services, LLC
$11.95, paperback / $6.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9884164-0-6 (pb) / 978-0-9884164-1-3 (e-book)
October, 2012
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

Two murders occur in a small North Carolina town, forty years apart. They are murders with the it-can’t-happen-here quality that tears into the heart of a community. The same families are involved in both crimes.

The second one exposes all of the wounds that have not healed over the decades and reveals family secrets. The book is a mystery, a family saga, and an examination of what changes and what does not.

Nora Gaskin wants to tell a good story and to tell it well: that's her simple goal. She is a lifelong writer of fiction with occasional forays into nonfiction and poetry. Until Proven: A Mystery in Two Parts, is her first novel.

The Best of Fuquay Varina Reading Series 2012










The Best of Fuquay Varina Reading Series 2012
Edited by Jan B. Parker, Malaika King Albrecht, Laura Towne, and Nancy Young

Main Street Rag
$5.00, paperback (donation: make checks payable to InterAct. of Wake County)
December, 2012
Available from the publisher

The collection has something for everyone. Short fiction explores topics such as the pain of first love, the bond between mother and daughter, the pull between family and commitments, and the banality of a grocery store checkout. Poems run the gamut from wistful meditations through dark humor to angry declamations.

“Putting this collection together was a labor of love,” says Jan B. Parker, co-host of the reading series and an editor for the anthology. “Our writing community is so talented, and this book really shows the spirit of cooperation that infuses our Third Thursdays. And we’re looking forward to topping last year’s donation to InterAct.”

The Fuquay-Varina Reading Series open mic happens the third Thursday of every month, 5:00-8:00 pm at The Lazy Lion Book Store, 601 E. Broad St., in Fuquay-Varina. If you write, come and read. If you read, come and listen. Contact the Lazy Lion at 919-552-9639. Contact host Jan B. Parker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..












The Armageddon Choice: Struggle for Existence or Cooperation for Consciousness (Volume 3) by Don Carroll

Little Peak Creek Publishing Company
$15.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0982926550
November, 2012
Available at www.Amazon.com

The third novel in The Consciousness Trilogy—The Armageddon Choice—has now arrived. The drama increases as the lives of the central characters, the wisdom of ancient mysteries, and new quantum understandings converge. The catalytic event for a possible shift in humankind's perspective arises in the search for a new Pope. (More information about the third novel and fallout from it is found at www.anewpope.com.) The journeys of the characters present challenges we all must face.

The outcomes for the characters and you the reader are perhaps inextricably woven together. Reading The Armageddon Choice is a choice you will not want to miss making. More information about the novel and The Consciousness Trilogy, as well as access to your free e-book, may be found at www.doncarroll.com.

Don Carroll is a spiritual director and the author of A Lawyer’s Guide to Healing, the Connect interactive journals, and The Consciousness Trilogy. He completed his spiritual direction training at Sursum Corda. He is a member of the Wesleyan Contemplative Order and leads workshops using the Enneagram as a tool for spiritual transformation and as a tool for deepening spiritual transformation in 12 Step recovery. He is a certified Enneagram teacher in the Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition. Don received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College. He has a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Dundee in Scotland and he received his law degree with honors from the University of Virginia. He holds a MFA in writing from Vermont College. From 1994 to 2011 Don served as Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program. He is a certified Professional Coach and a certified Strozzi Institute Somatic Coach. In November 2011, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue conferred on him membership in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for outstanding service to the citizens of North Carolina.












Splitting the Soil by Rosemary Rhodes Royston

Finishing Line Press
$14.00, paperback
March, 2014
Available for pre-order from the publisher

"There's an original consciousness/imagination at work in these poems—true wit, a splendid ear, and the courage to be understood. This is a wonderful collection."
—Thomas Lux

Rosemary Rhodes Royston is a poet living in northeast Georgia. Her poetry has been published in Southern Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Town Creek, KUDZU, Coal Hill Review, STILL, New Southerner, FutureCycle, Flycatcher, Southern Poetry Anthology Volume V: Georgia, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Motif version 3, and Alehouse. Two of her essays are included in the anthology Women and Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching, and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland). She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.


The Wheel Project












New and Selected Poems: Part 2: The Wheel Project by Liza Sisk

Aldrich Press
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615826769
November, 2013
Available from www.Amazon.com

"Liza Sisk has taken a deep and inquisitive look at her life and turned that journey into well-crafted poems that invite the reader to take the journey with her. It’s a journey that involves love, loss, struggle, grief and, ultimately, redemption. Equally at ease with free verse and form, Liza Sisk allows us to look through the kaleidoscope of her life. Infused with lyric intensity, these poems become our stories too, as in the title poem, which discovers a form of prayer: 'Amazed and comforted by the universe, / I now trust my wheel to turn…” But she doesn't stop there, admitting in another poem, 'Yesterday I took all risks in stride. / I bet on hands that couldn't win…' So, come, hitch a ride on these poems and discover your own journey within one poet’s carefully crafted work."
—Pat Riviere-Seel, instructor at UNC/Asheville, Great Smokies Writing Program; author of The Serial Killer’s Daughter, 2009 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry

"I neither know nor care whether the poems in The Wheel Project are good or bad. I am dead certain they are not indifferent. Liza Sisk seems to have flung herself at poetry the way she has flung herself at life. Or maybe it's the other way round and life and poetry came at her full throttle and she dealt with them on her own terms. Whatever the process, the result is a sharply original vision, a clear-eyed honesty, and a jagged and—yes—'quirky' music. Here is a reading experience as fresh as spring water—with crawfish in it."
—Fred Chappell, Former Poet Laureate of North Carolina and longtime UNC/Greensboro professor

Liza Sisk (nee Audrey Elise Strabel) didn't start school until 4th grade and then got a zero on her first test in arithmetic, but she rallied to graduate Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in mathematics from U.B. (now SUNY/Buffalo). Similarly, when she started college and got a C on her first theme, she switched majors from math to English, securing an M.A. in English from U.B., before continuing for her Ph.D. in English at U.Wisc. Her explanation for switching was a lack of culture.

After teaching math at SUNY/Buffalo and English at U.Wisc., instead of pursuing an academic career, she chose to work as a communicator in industry, progressing from technical writing at Sylvania to marketing communications at Westinghouse to Communications Manager at General Electric. There she wrote speeches for a Corporate Director and had her own slick in-house magazine on robots. She also worked at Merck as Training Specialist and Turner Power Corp. as Director of Communication and Administration.

Liza took time out during these years to form her own consulting company ComSci Associates: Communications, Training and Productivity, where clients included Westinghouse, Merck, the American Chemical Society, Turner Power, NASA and Carnegie Mellon University. She also taught English at Old Dominion, Farleigh Dickenson and Christopher Newport. After a late retirement, she went back to her first love—poetry and is now adding poetry writing to her list of careers. She has one daughter Maia, who appears in a couple of her poems, and one grandson Noah, who is almost four years old at this writing. She hopes that he will one day enjoy reading her poems.












Guests on Earth by Lee Smith

A Shannon Ravenel Book
$25.95, hardcover / $14.05, paperback / $11.68, e-book
ISBN: 978-1616202538
Available from October, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

It’s 1936 when orphaned thirteen-year-old Evalina Toussaint is admitted to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, a mental institution known for its innovative treatments for nervous disorders and addictions. Taken under the wing of the hospital’s most notable patient, Zelda Fitzgerald, Evalina witnesses the cascading events leading up to the tragic fire of 1948 that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them.

Author Lee Smith has created, through her artful blending of fiction and fact, a mesmerizing novel about a world apart—a time and a place where creativity and passion, theory and medicine, tragedy and transformation, are luminously intertwined.

The author of thirteen novels and three collections of short stories, Lee Smith’s work has been made into the musical drama Good Ol’ Girls, and there are three one-woman shows that dramatize her fiction, centering on her characters Ivy Rowe and Molly Petree, plus the characters from the musical drama. Her awards include the 1979 and 1981 O. Henry Awards; the 1984 North Carolina Award in Fiction; the John Dos Passos Award for Literature (1987); two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (1983 and 1989); a Lyndhurst Grant (1990-92); the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction (1991); and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award.

Smith is a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.










 The No Death Option by Brian K. Ellerby

AIMS Consulting
$19.76, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615865836
August, 2013
Available from your local bookstore and www.Amazon.com

The No Death Option is a fictional work centering on Youssef Aziz. Youssef immigrated to the United States with his mother and father the year after Gulf War I to escape persecution from Saddam Hussein for helping the Americans. Youssef has an American education, but unknown to his family and close associates, Youssef maintains close ties with one of the radical Islamic factions in his home country of Iraq. Like a dormant virus in the human body awaiting the right conditions to awaken, so too has Youssef’s and his plans lain dormant in America.

Then events at his job cause him to implement his plan of attack on an unsuspecting America. His actions have serious though not deadly effects on Americans but if not stopped would kill their great American engine of consumption, the Economy. The Death of the Economy would result in the death of America without killing its people. The No Death Option takes current events occurring in our country and tells a gripping story of what could happen if terrorists ever figure out what truly makes America work.

Brian K. Ellerby was born and raised in Wadesboro, North Carolina, a small rural community located 54 miles to the east of Charlotte, NC. Brian was educated in the public school system of Anson County, North Carolina, the proud product of two public school system educators. His father Melton Ellerby was a High School Principal and his mother Ruth Peguese Ellerby was an elementary school educator. After graduation, Brian went on to receive his undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 and received his Master of Science Degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988. For the past twenty-five years, Brian has worked in the public health care arena as an administrator of public/private primary care medical organizations.


Santa Breaks Bad













Santa Breaks Bad: An International Christmas Story Wrapped in Flash by Jodi Barnes

14 Words for Love
$5.99, paperback / $1.99, e-book
ISBN: 0615911471
October, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

In 14 flash fiction chapters, Santa goes off on a reality TV celeb and is swiftly incarcerated while political, social and supernatural forces conspire to cancel Christmas. Two brilliant women—a Russian hacker and a Moroccan pastry chef—enlist The Legion of Doom to free Santa. But not before Joker and the KGB attempt one last deal. The world of mythic, graphic and human characters becomes strangely credible in this global romantic comedy. Santa's meltdown sets off a chain of events where everyone—Mrs. Claus, the Joker, Russian spies, and lovely Carmelita—is forced to face what they really want. As greed and jealousy infect humans and supervillains alike, only love can save them...and maybe Christmas.

Jodi Barnes’ flash fiction can be found on 100 Word Story, Prime Number, Wigleaf’s Top 50, Camroc Press Review (forthcoming) and Fictionaut Editor’s Eye. Her short-short stories have made finalist on Glimmer Train, Sixfold, and in Press 53’s Open Awards. Her chapbook, unsettled (Main Street Rag Publishing), was runner-up for the 2010 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book in North Carolina. Other poems are in Iodine Journal, Blue Collar Review, and in several anthologies. She teaches students how to connect social justice, identity and writing in NC schools. She founded 14 Words for Love, small literary acts for human kindness (http://14wordsforlove.com).

All proceeds will go toward 14 Words For Love's mission: to enlarge and strengthen diverse communities through writing.

The Manger Mouse







The Manger Mouse
by Sarah Martin Byrd

Ambassador International
$16.99, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-620202-234
September, 2013
Children's Illustrated
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

A meek and lowly stable mouse plays an integral part in the Christmas story in Sarah Martin Byrd’s new children’s book, The Manger Mouse. This charming story follows Matty the Mouse as he helps prepare the manger for Jesus’ arrival. Working to exhaustion, the tiny mouse takes on the important job of carrying bits of straw to the feeding trough that will soon hold the King of Kings. But as Matty discovers, God’s plan for him doesn’t stop there.

Matty is the only animal in the stable suitable for the task of helping to keep Jesus warm. None of the other animals, including Doris the Donkey, Molly the Cow or Randy the Rabbit, were small enough to slip through the crack at the bottom of the trough. God made Matty the perfect size for this task, showing that God can use anyone who is willing to serve.

“I hope The Manger Mouse is welcomed into many homes this holiday season,” says Sarah. “It’s a unique perspective of the greatest story of all.

Sarah teamed up with her childhood friend on the project, illustrator Debbie Wall. Sarah and Debbie reconnected through their love of reading and children’s books. Originally written for Sarah’s granddaughter Emma as a Christmas gift, The Manger Mouse is their first collaboration.

Sarah Martin Byrd is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a published novelist, newspaper columnist, and blogger. Sarah loves sharing her life story with children of all ages. Her website is www.sarahmartinbyrd.com.

Debbie Wall, the Illustrator, is a member of the Pastel Society of Virginia, is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.










The 3rd Option by Ben A. Sharpton

Belle Isle Books
$15.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-0985935849
July, 2013
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"A fast-paced, timely medical thriller that touches on some of the most sensitive issues of the day."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is the kind of rare thriller that I love—one that grabs you on page one and won't let you go until the satisfying conclusion. The Third Option is smart and fresh, combining timely issues with thoughtful insights, relatable characters, and shocking twists. It makes you think while it makes your heart race. Bravo, Ben Sharpton...more please!"
—Peter Wallace, author of The Passionate Jesus: What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy, and Living Authentically

Allan Chappel enrolled in seminary to change the world. But people lied and people died and he turned in his clerical collar for an office cubicle.

When an old college friend invites him to apply for a job with a new medical think tank called Inc.Ubator, Allan seizes the opportunity. But, after the office is destroyed in a fiery blast, Allan finds himself the target of an international manhunt as an Eric Rudolf-style domestic terrorist and abortion clinic bomber. He hides out with an old seminary friend, Wesley Blake, searching to find the reason someone might destroy Inc.Ubator. His investigations take him to the former Soviet Union where he meets Dr. Carole Phillips who reveals the radical medical process destined to shake the world.

They return to the states to discover who has twisted the truth about Inc.Ubator in an effort to prove his innocence. However, the forces opposing him will stop at nothing to prevent the release of the 3rd Option.

Ben Sharpton holds a bachelor's degree from Asbury University and two masters degrees: the first from Wheaton Graduate School and the second from Rollins College. He has served as a corporate trainer for such organizations as Universal Studios Florida and Tupperware World Headquarters, has taught on the college level in Lithuania, and currently teaches college business courses for a prominent online university.

He has published fiction for over three decades, including several prize-winning short stories. He lives in Roswell, Georgia, with his wife, Kay, two children, a boxer named "Grace," and a chubby beagle named "Peanut."

Find out more at: http://www.bensharpton.com.


The Nest










The Nest by Mary Flinn

Aviva Publishing
$18.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-938686-85-6
November, 2013
Available from the author

Are things really meant to be, or are we just sitting around waiting for butterflies?

Empty-nester Cherie Johnson, a fifty-something menopausal high school English teacher with a grown-up family and a hankering to retire from the North Carolina public school system, thinks she has it made, until a triple whammy hits her on Valentine’s Day.

Hope, Cherie’s older and just-jilted daughter, moves home, Dave, her traveling salesman husband, loses his job, and younger daughter, Wesley, becomes engaged, all on the same fateful day, leaving Cherie fresh out of plans, looming expenses, and a nest full of overgrown chicks.

Throw in an overly narcissistic mother-in-law, a rebellious husband, her daughter’s Rasputin-like ex-lover, and all of their friends, and there is more to deal with than just getting these people jobs! As all of the characters in the story fight for control in an uncertain world, Cherie is torn between living vicariously through her daughters’ lives, and getting everyone back on track—that is if she even has any shred of influence over her family members.

Told alternately from Cherie and Hope’s perspectives, The Nest represents an all-too-familiar tale of what modern American family life has become in the economically woeful days since the housing market crash and recession of 2008. Grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, pull up a comfy chair, and prepare to laugh and cry with two women who are doing their best to suck it up and move on.

A native of North Carolina, award-winning author Mary Flinn long ago fell in love with her state’s mountains and its coast, creating the backdrops for her series of novels, The One, Second Time’s a Charm, Three Gifts, and A Forever Man. With degrees from both the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and East Carolina University, Flinn has retired from her first career as a speech pathologist in the NC public schools that began in 1981. Writing a novel had always been a dream for Flinn, who began crafting the pages of The One when her younger daughter left for college at Appalachian State University in 2009. The characters in this book have continued to call to her, wanting more of their story told, which bred the next three books in the series.

Flinn is the recipient of the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 Reviewers’ Choice honorable mention in the romance category for A Forever Man; First Place Award for Romance Novel in the Reader Views 2011 Literary Book Awards; as well as the Pacific Book Review Best Romance Novel of 2011 for Three Gifts. Second Time’s a Charm, also released in 2011, won an Honorable Mention in the Reader Views Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

Mary Flinn lives in Summerfield, North Carolina, with her husband, and near her two adult daughters.

The Nest is her fifth novel: www.TheOneNovel.com.

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams whose stories Salamander in the Garden and Third Shift were finalists for the 2014 James Hurst Fiction Prize and 2014 NCSU Short Fiction Prize. Both contests were judged by Wiley Cash.


Hats Off! to Tom Davis who, through Old Mountain Press, has published an e-Book for Amazon Kindle and the Nook titled Operation Ivory Coast AKA The Son Tay Raid: A Short Briefing. This briefing was found over twenty years ago (forty years after the operation) in the classified US portion of the Korean Special Forces Compound near Seoul, Korea. In Operation Ivory Coast, a group of fifty-six Special Forces soldiers conducted a rescue operation to free sixty-one prisoners-of-war deep inside North Vietnam. Tom has introductory notes followed by the briefing. There are several things in this 1,368 word briefing that pique one’s interest. Of particular note are the named Americans who are listed as assets. One in particular you won't believe!


Hats Off! to Susan M. Steadman whose 10-minute play, "A Late Snow," is being published by ArtAge, the Senior Theatre Resource Center. Here's the synopsis: It’s just another day in sunny Florida for Ron and Phyllis, a recently retired couple, until Ron finds his wife staring through the sliding glass doors at the falling “snow.” Concerned enough to cancel his golf game, Ron remains at home with Phyllis, who rejects his suggestions of ways in which to enjoy their new Florida lifestyle. She focuses instead on the “children” building a snowman outside their condo and the happy anticipation of a mug of hot chocolate.


Hats Off! to Terri Kirby Erickson, author of four collections of poetry, including her latest, A Lake of Light and Clouds (Press 53). She has won the prestigious 2014 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize. Her First Place poem, "After the Explosion," was selected by judge and acclaimed poet Martín Espada, and will be published in Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts.


Hats Off! to Paul Andrews who was a finalist in the Scribes Valley Publishing Fiction Contest for his short story, "Twinkle," which will be published in their next anthology.


Hats Off! to Nancy Werking Poling and Pam Van Dyk, who won First and Second Place, respectively, in the 2014 Fiction Contest sponsored by The Writers' Workshop. Poling, of Black Mountain, wrote the winning story, "Other Voices." Raleigh resident Van Dyk's story was "Smoke Signals." Paul Andrews (Durham), Joseph Cavano (Charlotte), and Herb Wakeford (Raleigh) were finalists.


Hats Off! to Gregg Cusick who talked about his new short story collection, My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible, on WUNC 91.5 "The State of Things with Frank Stasio."


Hats Off! to North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Joseph Mitchell whose essay, "Days in the Branch: Remembering the South in the City," appears in the December 1 issue of The New Yorker. The essay was written to be the second chapter of an unpublished memoir.


Hats Off! to Joan Leotta whose two poems are up in the December issue of Righter Monthly Review. Also, her essay "The Big Box" appears in the December issue of Sasee.


Hats Off! to Scott Owens and Poetry Hickory, who will host their 100th reading on Tuesday, December 9. As always, a workshop begins at 5:30 pm, and the reading at 7:00 pm, at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory.


Hats Off! to Sandra Ann Winters whose first full-length poetry collection, The Place Where I Left You, has been published by Salmon Poetry (Ireland), and is now available from the publisher. Her book will be formally launched in Ireland at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival February 12, 2015, and in the US at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Minneapolis, MN, April 8-11, 2015. In approximately six months, Dufour Editions will distribute her book in the US.


Hats Off! to Ron Jackson whose poem "Jumping Up and Down on the Bed" will appear in the Spring 2015 issue of The Chattahoochee Review.


Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh whose story, "L'Orangerie," won this year's Fiction Contest sponsored by The Fountainhead Bookstore. Tom Hooker, of Hendersonville, received an Honorable Mention for his story "Vino Diablo." There will be a reception and reading in January.


Hats Off! to Kim Church whose debut novel Byrd is a shortlist finalist for the 2014 Crook's Corner Book Prize.


Hats Off! to Gilda Morina Syverson whose Italian memoir My Father's Daughter, from Rome to Sicily has been chosen as one of Amazon's Hot New Releases in Sicily Travel Guides.


Hats Off! to Polly and Tom Davis who read a He Said / She Said podcast of their memoirs from City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.


Hats Off! to Joseph Cavano who continues to read from his story, “The Widow’s Tale,” as part of an ongoing tour in support of the Press 53 anthology Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, edited by Cliff Garstang. Cavano will join fellow contributor Jay Kauffmann and others at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, VA, on Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 pm. All are welcome to attend the free event.


Hats Off! to Sonia Usatch-Kuhn who was interviewed, along with her son, Lance, on WRAL. Usatch-Kuhn is the author of the poetry collection, Regarding My Son.


Hats Off! to Paul W. Valentine. Kirkus Reviews says of his book The Road to Goshen Shoals: ". . . [T]he characters are well-rounded, and Valentine is wonderfully committed to the language and landscape of the South."

Hats Off! to Gordon Ball who won First Prize in Flash Fiction in the annual San Antonio Writers’ Guild contest for his short story “The Breaking."

Hats Off! to Nancy Peacock whose novel, The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson, has been named Winner of the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book of 2013.

Hats Off! to Sally Stewart Mohney whose poetry chapbook, A Piece of Calm, will be published in March, 2014, by Finishing Line Press.

Hats Off! to The Sea Quills, NCWN regional representatives for the Cape Fear Coast, whose chapbook interlude was published by Southern Salon Press in November, 2013. It is available at Pomegranate Books, Two Sisters Bookery, and Old Books on Front Street.

Hats Off! to Henry Tonn who received a Pushcart Prize nomination for his essay "My History of Racism," published by the Apeiron Review.

Hats Off! to Lucia Robinson whose two poems, written under the pen name Ellae Lawton, appeared in the November issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review.

Hats Off! to Jeanmarie Meadowcroft whose excerpt from her novel in progress, In That Quiet Earth, was published in the Summer 2013 issue of Cedars literary magazine.

Hats Off! to Joan Leotta who performed stories for El Dia De Los Muertos (original adaptations of folktales) at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum. Joan was also a featured seminar presenter/performer for the North Carolina School Media Association in Winston-Salem, and her poem "Stages of Grief" was published by When Women Waken.

Hats Off! to Mary Kaye Hester who received an Honorable Mention in the WHQR Homemade Holiday Shorts 2013 Story Contest for her memoir "Oh! Christmas Tree."

Hats Off! to Jeanne Gore whose devotional “All Saints Day” appeared in The Upper Room November/December issue. The Upper Room is translated into thirty-five languages and is distributed internationally to over 100 countries.

Hats Off! to Edith Edwards whose story "The Shortest Match" was selected as a finalist in the WHQR Homemade Holiday Shorts 2013 Story Contest. Also, she was interviewed by ATMC television and Ben Steelman for her new novella, Spy of Brunswick Town.

Hats Off! to Mebane Boyd whose essay "Kurisumasu" was selected for this year's WHQR Homemade Holiday Shorts Story Contest.

Hats Off! to Elly Bookman whose poem "Las Vegas, 1981" was published in the Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Hats Off! to Sheila Boneham whose novel Drop Dead on Recall (Animals in Focus Mystery #1, Midnight Ink, 2012) has been selected as a fiction finalist in the annual writing competition of the Dog Writers Association of America. Three of Sheila's nonfiction books have won DWAA best book awards in their categories in the past (Breed Rescue (1998) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting and Owning a Dog (1992) for General Interest books, and The Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers for Single Breed Books), and three other books and a short story have been finalists in past years. The winners will be announced in February during the Westminster dog show weekend. Sheila's book The Money Bird (Animals in Focus Mystery #2) was released by Midnight Ink in September 2013.

Hats Off! to Erika Hoffman whose story "Valentine Resolution" will appear in the February issue of Screamin' Mamas.

Hats Off! to Sands Hetherington, author of the Night Buddies Adventures series of chapter books for kids, who placed as Finalist in the USA Best Book Awards in the category of Children's Fiction for his second book titled Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine. To date, the Night Buddies books have garnered four notable awards.

Hats Off! to Erika Hoffman, whose essay “What’s So Funny, Anyway?” will be published in the March edition of The Writer magazine. It will appear in the “Writing Essentials” department.

Hats Off! to Ross White whose poem "Creation" appears in Issue 10 of The Economy Magazine.

Hats Off! to Scott Owens and Ed Southern, both of whom contributed to The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul (River's Edge Media). Ron Rash, author of Serena, among others, says, "This wonderful collection of stories, poems, and essays brilliantly confirms editor Joe Formichella’s belief that 'Any pair of shoes has a story to tell.' The Shoe Burnin’ is an absolute delight."

Hats Off! to Heather Bell Adams of Raleigh. Her story “New Moon” was the runner-up in the 2013 Fountainhead Bookstore Short Story Contest; her story “Becoming Jackie” won second place in the 2013 NC State Bar Fiction Contest; and her story “Green River Gorge” was a finalist for the 2013 NCSU Short Fiction Prize.

Hats Off! to Allan Gurganus whose new collection of novellas, Local Souls, was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2013 by the New York Times Book Review.

Hats Off! to Carol Roan whose short story "The Last of the Warners" won Second Place in the 10th Annual Literary Competition sponsored by the Arts Council of York County (Short Story).

. . . to Pat Riviere-Seel.  The Serial Killer's Daughter by Pat Riviere-Seel is the winner of the 2009 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry. The poems arise from the life and execution of Velma Barfield, but are works of imagination that explore events primarily from the point of view of Velma's grown daughter. The award was presented on Nov. 14 in New Bern at the joint meeting of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Society and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies.

OFinishing Line Press released Kermit Turner's  Sandy Ridge: Portrait of a Depression Family, a series of narrative poems depicting the struggles of a rural family in the NC Piedmont during The Great Depression.  The book may be purchased online at www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleases and on Amazon.com.  Note:  An author photo and a photo of the book cover can be taken from the publisher's website: www.finishinglinepress.com.
Photos are also available from the author.

The News & Observer, North Raleigh News, printed this interview about Maureen Wartski recently. Here's the link:


to Anthony Abbott, whose recent collection, New & Selected Poems 1989 – 2009 , received recognition from the Oscar Arnold Young Award of the North Carolina Poetry Council and the Brockman-Campbell Award of the North Carolina Poetry Society.  New & Selected Poems 1989 - 2009 is available at bookstores everywhere and from Lorimer Press:  http://www.lorimerpress.com/AnthonyAbbott.html


Hats Off! to Jason Mott, whose forthcoming debut novel, The Returned, is being developed as a TV drama series, to be produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B, for ABC.


Hats Off! to Marianna Crane whose essay "Invisible" appears in the Examined Life Journal, Fall 2012 edition.


Hats Off! to Edith Pearlman, who has won Hadassah magazine's Harold U. Ribalow Prize, which honors an author who has created "an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme," for Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories (Lookout Books).

The panel of judges, who included Elie Wiesel, N. Scott Momaday, and Jonathan Freedman, praised Binocular Vision, which they said contains "thirty-four short stories that take place around the world and across time. Among the worlds she creates are those of tsarist Russia and modern Boston, London during the blitz and a post-World War II refugee camp, the humid interior of Central America and the coast of Maine."


Hats Off! to Patricia Smith, who poem, "Before Orphan Unearthed the Mirror," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem was published in the most recent issue of The Asheville Poetry Review.


Hats Off! to Susan Seawolf Hayes, chosen as Adult Poet to be mentored by 2012 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Ann Deagon. Serendipity: Susan's home, a tiny log cabin in the wilds surrounding Pleasant Garden, was built by Ann in the '80s as her writing studio.

Lynn Hawks won the fall Orlando Short Fiction Prize with A Room of Her Own Foundation. "The Flat and 
Weightless Tang-Filled Future."


Many thanks to NCWN for always being there for NC writers!

Sheila Boneham's book , The Multiple Cat Family, (TFH, 2009) has been awarded the Muse Medallion for Best Health and General Care book of the year by the Cat Writers' Association. The book also won a CWA Award of Excellence in this highly competitive category of the annual writing competition. Sheila's other two books about cats (2005 & 2008) have also won Awards of Excellence; the 2005 book also won a Muse, and the other was a finalist.

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