Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

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

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: 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jack Prather's news

It is good to hear from Jack Prather who lives in Henderson County NC. He is an author we are proud to have as a member. I have read some of his forthcoming book about notable women of NC and I recommend it highly. See his news below:

Despite a tough personal and health year punctuated by a lengthy recuperative sabbatical, I'm now in very good condition and spirits, thanks to turning lemons into a pitcher of lemonade.

My latest (seventh) book and the second in a series about 'Notable' North Carolinians will be out in January (yippee!). My editor Rick Rickerson, author of The Five-Minute Linguist and former chair of the Linguistics Department at the College of Charleston, completed his work on the manuscript yesterday; and it's now in the hands of my designer, Chris Condrey.

More on Six Notable Women of North Carolina will be forthcoming following publication.

Jack J. Prather

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Maren Mitchell's poem in Town Creek Poetry

Visit Town Creek Poetry  and read a poem by Netwest member, Maren O. Mitchell.
Maren is a well-published poet and author of Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider's Guide.

                                                                Kudos to Maren. 

Click on the title of the poem and take time to read all the poets in the new issue of Town Creek Poetry, an online journal, edited by William Wright.

Maren O. Mitchell, poet and author of Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider's Guide

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why Netwest? JC Walkup tells us.

 by JC Walkup
March 4, 2013
Competition. Among writers of NC Writers Network West members, there doesn’t seem to be any. Why do writers help their competitors? After twelve years in this group, I still can’t find an answer to that.
         Having trouble with an ending? There’s a writer who can help with that.
         Want to inject humor in a story too dark for its own good? There’s a writer who can help with that.
         Need to polish a novel to a blinding shine? There’s a writer/editor who can help with that.
         The magical thing about all of the above resources and more is that all those writers will do their best for you. True, a good editor costs a few bucks but those advertised in the blog and NCWN newsletters have proven value added to manuscripts.
         I challenge you to find another business where there is this much cooperation and support among those competing for the same recognition and dollars (as few of those there be). This phenomenon is like a warm blanket thrown over the shoulders of every shivering newcomer to the field.
Of course, as a writer or wannabe one, you have to put yourself out there. Risk? Yes, but not of failure. Never that. Pride can take a beating if yours is of the hubris variety. But honest, energetic efforts to learn the craft will always find support in this group.
JC Walkup

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Netwest Author Publishes Seventh Novel

William Reynolds has published his seventh novel, "Murder in the Okefenokee." Visit his website to learn more about this book.

On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at the Ducktown, TN branch of the Polk County Library, Reynolds will be signing books and possibly giving a reading between 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Anyone who reads the Smoky Mountain Sentinel newspapers has seen the weekly columns by William Reynolds. Read them online.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jeff Biggers dramatizes the history of Appalachia

Jeff Biggers. Have you heard of him? I heard him dramatize one of his books today and I, like all the audience, was mezmerized. All I could think of was: If history was taught to our children the way Jeff taught us today, we'd have college history classes filled to the max. Jeff is a fount of Appalachian history. According to his session today, almost everything that is good in the USA, came from Applachia. And he gave us samples to prove what he said.

I recommend to anyone, if you see this man's name on a program in your area, go see and listen to him. After hearing him, his audience swarmed the table buying his book. I came away feeling I'd learned exciting tales about history and the people who made it.