Saturday, August 1, 2015

Shelby Stephenson, Poet Laureate of NC, to read, Sat., Aug. 8th, with poets Robert S. King and Rosemary Royston at the Murphy, NC, Public Library

Ridgeline Literary Alliance, in cooperation with the NC Poetry Society, invites the public to hear Shelby Stephanson, Poet Laureate of NC, on Saturday, August 8th, at 2:00 PM at the Murphy Public Library, 9 Blumenthal St., Murphy, NC.  Joining Shelby Stephenson in this free reading will be poets Robert S. King and Rosemary Royston.

Shelby Stephenson, the current Poet Laureate of North Carolina, was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame last year. Previously he won the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature, and his book, Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl, won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize and the 2009 Oscar Arnold Young Award. He taught at UNC Pembroke, and edited an international literary journal for over thirty years. His ten chapbooks have won the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature, the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, the 2009 Oscar Arnold Young Award, as well as the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award, North Carolina Network Chapbook Prize, the Bright Hill Chapbook Award, and the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Prize.

Mr. Stephenson will be joined by two other distinguished poets, Robert S. King, and Rosemary Royston.

Robert S. King is the former president of the Georgia Poetry Society, editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Review, who has eight collections of his poetry published will also be reading. King has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of Net award, and is the founder of Ridgeline Literary Alliance. His poems have been published in hundreds of magazines. His latest books are Diary of the Last Person on Earth, 2014, and Developing a Photograph of God, also 2014.

Rosemary Royston, teaches English at Young Harris College where she is also Vice President for Planning and Assessment, is on the Board of Directors for the Byron Herbert Reece Society. She holds an MFA from Spalding University. Her poetry has been published in journals such as Appalachian Heritage, Southern Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Coal Hill Review, Flycatcher, Town Creek Review, and The Kentucky Review and on her blog The Luxury of Trees. Royston's book, Splitting the Soil, was published last year.

Both King and Royston have led writing workshops locally, and Royston served as 2015 Senior Games/SilverArts judge in the Literary Arts competitions.

Please bring your own poems to read at open mic, time depending, and celebrate poetry in Western North Carolina.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Henderson County Writers Group


Beginning August 3, the Blue Ridge Writers Group will move to its new home at the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Athletics and Activity Center, 708 S Grove ST, Hendersonville, NC.

The group meets from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on the first and third Monday of each month. The group formerly met at Blue Ridge Community College.

Questions? Call Tom Hooker at 828-696-8430.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Write Your Own Biography with author Jack J. Prather

Write your own biography

program offered by Hendersonville, NC

Author Jack J. Prather

‘Write Your Own Biography’ is a new program offered by Jack J. Prather, author of two books of biographies: Twelve Notables of Western North Carolina (400-pages/134-photos) that was nominated for the NC Literary & Historical Association’s 2012 Ragan Award for Non-Fiction; and Six Notable Women of North Carolina (January 2015/238-pages/ 81-photos).

The new program allows participants to tell their life and career story, reveal their ‘core essence’, and preserve their legacy through a personal and fully edited biography written or co-written by Prather. He also provides advice and direction about getting a completed biography published.

Prather is a multiple award-winning writer and former journalist who authored five of his seven books and numerous freelance magazine articles since moving to Hendersonville from New Jersey via Virginia in 2005.

For details about what he considers a fun writing process, and for the affordable fee schedule, call 828-808-0660, or email For more information and insight about Prather’s body of work, visit 

Jack J. Prather

Monday, July 27, 2015

Valparaiso Fiction Review accepts story by Nancy Purcell

Image result for Nancy Purcell writerOne of my dear friends and a member of Netwest for many years, is Nancy Purcell. She has been a devoted representative for Transylvania County throughout those years.

Today I am happy that one of her stories was accepted by Valparaiso Fiction Review. 

Nancy said she had submitted this story many, many times to other magazines, but she didn't give up. She believed in her story, The Unwrinkled Heart. It will be in their Winter 2015 issue. "I loved this story and put my heart in it and was determined for it to see print! There's a saying, It takes a lot of eyes before the right ones see your work." 

Guidelines for Valparaiso Fiction Review
Submissions to VFR should be original, unpublished fiction. Submissions should range from 1,000 to 9,000 words with possible exceptions. Please use 12 point font, double-space, and .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats. Please include name and email on the first page of each submission.

Please no novels, poetry (see VPR), or children's fiction unless otherwise noted. Excerpts from novels are acceptable only if selected piece operates as a stand-alone story.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but the author should notify VFR immediately should a submitted piece be accepted elsewhere. Response time for each submission is 3-4 months and will be sent electronically. Only stories submitted through VFR Submissions page will be considered. Please, no paper submissions.

There is no submission deadline. Submissions are considered on a rolling basis.

When VFR accepts a piece of fiction for publication, we are purchasing first-serial publication rights.

To submit fiction, one must setup a user account via Submissions.

For any additional questions, please contact one of the VFR editors, at

For more information on submitting poetry, please visit our sister publication – Valparaiso Poetry

Congratulations to Nancy who lives in BrevardShe is a teacher and fiction writer with a number of publications under her belt. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Michael Diebert, guest today, July 24, 4:30 PM, at: "Chat with a Poet" at Joe's Coffee House, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC

 Today Michael Diebert will read some of his poetry and enlighten us as to how he selects and edits poems for the Chattahoochee Review. Beginning poets will find his talk interesting and will be able to ask those questions you have been wondering about.

There will be some snacks furnished by Writers Circle and Joe's has great coffee and tea as well as a wine bar. There is no cost for the event, but Joe would like for you to pay for the coffee, tea or wine.
Michael will also teach a class on Saturday, July 25th, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Writers Circle in Hayesville, NC.  The class is called: "Re-purposing Your Poems: The Art and Craft of Poetic Salvage".  
Please contact Glenda Beall at:, if you are interested in attending this class.  There are still a couple of openings. 
Image result for Michael Diebert

Monday, July 20, 2015

Photos from Festival on the Square in Hayesville, NC

Deanna Klingel, Valerie Nieman, Joan Ellen Gage, Eva Mull Wike, Miriam Jones Bradley 
It was hot but we had fun and folks went home with books from our authors. NC Writers' Network West, a program of the North Carolina Writers' Network, sponsored this booth and volunteers staffed it both Saturday and Sunday. We handed out information about local events, registration for membership, and gave information about the Fall Conference in November in Asheville. We talked to people about NCWN, the state writers' group. and gave away books twice each day of the festival. 

Val Nieman joins Joan Ellen Gage at the book table Sunday afternoon. 

Valerie Nieman, Joan Gage, and Glenda Beall 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

NCWN-West at Festival on the Square

Our weekend at the Festival on the Square was delightful except for the high temperatures on Saturday. Deanna Klingel and Miriam Bradley drove down to Hayesville from Sapphire and from Hendersonville, NC. Both write books for children but have non-fiction books for adults as well. See their websites for more of their books. 

We all promote reading for children and it was heart-warming to see the kids visit Deanna and Miriam with their parents and then come back later with cash in hand to purchase the mystery series books from Miriam’s table or the Avery books from Deanna.

Deanna Klingel

Miriam Jones Bradley

Our many volunteers this year made it possible to have a booth at the Festival on the Square sponsored by the Clay County Historical and Arts Council. Deanna and Joan Gage carried tables and chairs and boxes as we loaded up Rob’s truck on Friday afternoon and set up our tent. I counted on Joan all weekend to help me and to be there when I could not.  She also presented her books of inspirational and motivating poetry for women. Water Running Down Hill, Empowering Your Inner Cheerleader and her most recent, A Redhead Looks at 60.

Joan Ellen Gage
Karen Holmes and Carole Thompson volunteered so that on Saturday and on Sunday we had someone at the main table to give out brochures, answer questions about NCWN and NCWN West, discuss writing with visitors and give them information about local literary events and places where they can receive instruction.

Carole Thompson author of Enough

Valeria Nieman visited with us Sunday afternoon with her new poetry book, Hotel Worthy and her very interesting novel, Blood Clay. We are always happy to see Val here in our neck of the woods.

I want to thank Don and Marti Long for their help on Sunday afternoon. Although we were tired by Sunday afternoon, I had fun with my two guests, Deanna and Miriam at my house for the weekend. It is always great to see so many local friends at the festival on a typical summer weekend in a small mountain town in the beautiful western NC mountains. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bill Ramsey asks, Who Reads and Why?

Bill Ramsey, author and recently appointed member of the NCWN Board of Trustees is from Henderson County, NC. He sent in this essay from an original collection entitled "What do you Think?" which is forthcoming in November 2015.

Who Reads and Why?
Reading a good book is enjoyed by many people. We could say most people but that might be stretching the truth. Some people cannot read and others simply have not done enough of it to find it enjoyable. 

Over time and with enough books having been read, folks come to favor one genre or two over others. They select from history, biography, self-help, psychology, science, medicine, cooking (paired with dieting), business, poetry or romance novels.

Polls indicate that the median number of books read per year is six. An avid reader reads many more, fifteen books or more per year. They have a book or two going most of the time. As shown at , Avid is from French avide, from Latin avidus, from avere "to desire, crave." Desire and crave would easily describe an avid reader. When waiting for an airplane, a doctor appointment, a major delay on a highway or any other several minute block of time, their books fly open.

How can we identify a reader? We don't have to see an open book in the hands of a reader. They don't have to say to us, "I am a reader." They don't need auto bumper stickers or lettered tee shirts to broadcast the fact. We know them when we converse with them because they are more broadly aware, well spoken, interesting and interested.

Writers are avid readers for additional reasons. They will tell you that reading the books of others is not only a form of enjoyment but is necessary in learning how to improve one's own writing. Reading the work of other authors builds vocabulary, style awareness and story line development. 

No legitimate writer reads the work of others to plagiarize or to copy anything about the approach used by others. To do anything like that would not only be unethical, it would not be much fun. Readers are aware when they are reading original and honest writing.

When I am not writing I am reading. When I am not reading I am writing. If given dual and parallel lives to live, one would be used to read and write and the other for everything else. Admitting to an addiction is step one in attaining a cure. See the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous . Like many people, I am addicted to reading and writing. There, I've said it. But don't look for me to seek counseling as this addiction is one I plan to feed.

This copyright preview essay is from an original collection entitled "What Do You Think?" which will be available in November, 2015.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Does the Cover Sell the Book? Ellyn Bache, successful guest blogger today, gives us the scoop.

Cover Story
by Ellyn Bache
Like most writers with a string of books in print, I’m asked at almost every book event about the covers.
Does the author get a say in them?  Sometimes.    
How important are they?  Very.
And like most writers, I’ve seen my share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Three truly wonderful covers.  One disaster.  Lots of in-between.

The Good:
Depending on the publisher, and almost always with a big New York house, the author has little or no control over the cover.  My 2011 novel, The Art of Saying Goodbye, was published by Harper Collins, which could have left me out of the design process entirely.  But my editor, Carrie Feron, sent me each rendition, including the first one  . . . an impressionistic painting of two women, one with her head on the other’s shoulder, being comforted as they sat on a park bench in floaty summer dresses, with a soft-focus white building in the background. 
My daughter said it was pretty but looked like a lesbian love story set in World War II – not, as was actually the case, a contemporary novel about a group of 40-something women in an upscale suburban neighborhood, struggling with the illness of a longtime neighbor. 
Even before I’d had time to object, Carrie rejected that first cover. She jettisoned several more.  She ordered some fine-tuning.  The final product was remarkable.  A drawing of three women in jeans walking through a lovely but somber fall landscape, it captured perfectly the serious, powerful, graceful journey at the book’s center.
The novel got good reviews.  It was chosen as an “Okra Pick” by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.  It was nominated for SIBA’s annual book award. 
How much did the cover influence that?
Hard to say.  But experience tells me there was certainly some.  Years before, my novel Festival in Fire Season had come out with a dust jacket featuring colorful azaleas, a hint of fire, and the word, “Sizzling” from the Publishers Weekly review – visuals so intriguing it was hard not to pick up the book.  The novel became a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Selection, important in those days.  Later, my novel Riggs Park featured three girls holding hands, hair flying as they ran through a summer landscape that perfectly conveyed happy friendships long past. The novel was selected to help launch a new line of women’s fiction
The Bad:
            The Activist’s Daughter is about a girl from DC who flees her mother’s embarrassing civil rights activism by going to college in North Carolina (The South! oh no!) in the fall of 1963.  It was published originally by a small, well-respected feminist press.  I had no say in the cover, but a warm, pleasant-looking version was sent to me while the book was in production.  Imagine my horror when the final copies arrived, all black-and-white and drab tan, with an illustration of a woman with her hair in a bun (in the ‘60s?) and an outfit (floral blouse, straight skirt) from no discernible era, being dragged off by what look like storm troopers.  Above that are my name and the title of the book, nothing else. On the back cover, in tiny type, there’s a long plot summary, an excerpt, and some reviews but no hint that this is a novel – much less by a fiction writer whose earlier work, Safe Passage, had been made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon – a film many potential readers would know.
When I started finding copies of the book in the social studies sections of bookstores, it dawned on me that people thought the novel was a memoir.
Happily, the print run soon sold out and the rights reverted to me.  The reprint has a beautiful cover (in which, yes, I did have a say) featuring the Old Well in Chapel Hill where the book is set, placards to suggest the civil rights movement, and the words “A Novel” prominently displayed.  Over the years, The Activist’s Daughter has become a perennial reading group selection for readers interested in the ‘60s.  I’m convinced the new cover helped. 
The Ugly:
Most book covers are neither beautiful nor disastrous, even with glitches that can be maddening for the author.  The protagonist of Over 50’s Singles Night is named BJ Fradkin – except on the cover, where it became BJ Franklin. The pastel pink cover of Raspberry Sherbet Kisses features lovers kissing while standing in an over-sized fruit bowl – so sweet that one reviewer said the novel is light but not that light (about a woman trying to hide the fact that she sees music and tastes shapes – as some people really do).  The sales impact?  I’ll never know. 
If a book is a big seller, the publisher will sometimes correct errors on the next printing.  But if sales are low and the writer is unhappy?  In today’s digital environment, most books are also e-books, which can stay “in print” indefinitely at little cost to the publisher, which often opts to hold on to rights rather than reverting them. 

Often, the best a writer can hope for is an editor sensitive to the visual journey readers take before deciding to open the book and embark on the literary one.  It makes a huge difference.   

Ellyn Bache is the author of more than a dozen books of fiction, including the novel Safe Passage, which was made into a movie starring Susan Sarandon, a collection of short stories that won the Willa Cather Fiction Prize, and The Art of Saying Goodbye, a novel that was chosen as an Okra Pick and SIBA Book Award nominee.  Currently, she's most excited about an upcoming production next spring at Furman University of  the musical comedy, Writers' Bloc written with Joyce Cooper (who did all the music and lyrics).  Ellyn lived for many years in Wilmington before moving to Greenville, SC. Her website is: 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

City Lights Bookstore hosts Valerie Nieman at Coffee with the Poet

The Coffee with the Poet series continues on Thursday, July 16th at 10:30 a.m. at City Lights Bookstore. The July gathering will feature Valerie Nieman as she presents her new collection of poetry, Hotel Worthy

Nieman was a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow and has received an NEA creative writing fellowship.  A graduate of West Virginia University and the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University and is a regular workshop leader at the John C. Campbell Folk School and the North Carolina Writers Network. She is poetry editor for the online/print literary journal, Prime Number.

The Coffee with the Poet series gathers the third Thursday of each month and is cosponsored by the NC Writers’ Network-West.  For questions about the Coffee with the Poet series or to reserve a copy of Hotel Worthy please call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499