Words from a member

You and the entire membership of Netwest have been an inspiration to me in my writing life. The group is a welcoming & encouraging gathering of like-people. Thank you for all you've done for others. It does not go unnoticed.
Nancy Purcell

Saturday, April 17, 2021

April is Poetry Month with Maren Mitchell


Maren O. Mitchell

What we don’t know

is why do we live, and pulling up behind in second, do we live
after this one death that we know about, that hasn’t neglected any

of those before us, or those we miss, and why this planet,
are there others with relatable beings, this planet where

so many leaves, morning glory, sweet potato, wild violet, are heart-shaped,
and did we adopt the heart shape from them, finding our hearts

 too complicated, ungraceful, frightening, and why are we out 
in the elements naked, little hair, no color variations to turn on

for camouflage, and then, why does distant thunder sound companionable
while we’re outside within a mild day, adding atmosphere,

and we with no concern for those under the storms, the gods throwing
their interminable tantrums of power, yet, as thunder nears, we note

our smallness, until overhead rumbles sound personal, fate catching
up with us as we hear our clock, so we busy ourselves with cooking potato soup,

watching an old sitcom, and why, when the rain drips from leaf tips,
the outside world is a new world, clean as Eden, a mini-spring,

obviously filled with lives so much shorter than ours,
flying, mating, singing, crawling, unquestioning—being, can’t we?

                                                             —Published in Tar River Poetry, Fall 2016

 A North Carolina native, in her childhood Maren O. Mitchell lived in Bordeaux, France, and Kaiserslautern, Germany.  After moving throughout the southeast U.S., she now lives with her husband on the edge of a national forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. 

Mitchell has taught poetry at Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock, NC, and cataloged at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. For over thirty years, across five southeastern states, she has taught origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. 

Mitchell’s poems appear in The Antigonish Review (Canada), Still: The Journal, The Cortland Review, The MacGuffin, POEM, The Comstock Review, Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, Hotel Amerika, Appalachian Heritage, Pedestal Magazine, The South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, Appalachian Journal and elsewhere. Work is forthcoming in Cider Press Review, POEM, Slant, Tar River Poetry and Chiron Review

Two poems, “X Is a Kiss on Paper” and “T, Totally Balanced,” have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. In 2012 she received 1st Place Award for Excellence in Poetry from the Georgia Poetry Society. Her nonfiction book, Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider’s Guide, (Line of Sight Press, 2012) www.lineofsightpress.com is on Amazon.






Thursday, April 15, 2021

April is Poetry Month - a poem by Carroll S. Taylor


Carroll S. Taylor

In Memoriam

One by one
they drop from the sky
and find their perches among
thin, lithe boughs
of a leafless white oak tree,
now a sharp silhouette sketched in inky black lines
against an ominous steel-gray sky.
Only a few stubborn patches of lichen
dare to cling here or there like crepe
left behind on the empty branches.
Dried sunflowers in the garden
hang their heads in grief and disbelief.
They know their end has come.
The mourners are wearing their funereal finest.
Sleek, ebony feathers reflect the slanted rays of
the afternoon sun but find no warmth in this place.
Shiny, black eyes survey the sight below them.
One of their own, felled by the farmer’s gun,
is strung from a rope on the barbwire fence.
A warning, a sign to his kindred.
They are not welcome here.
They might share his fate.
The mourners sit in silence,
a brief corvine ceremony of respect.
Then all at once, the service concludes
as if some unseen chorus master has waved his baton.
They lift their wings and fly away together,
each one calling out to one another
in discordant voices only they understand.
A benediction for their fallen comrade.

Carroll Taylor, a retired educator, is the author of two young adult novels, Chinaberry Summer and Chinaberry Summer: On the Other Side, and a children’s book, Feannag the Crow. She is currently hosting Mountain Wordsmiths each month on Zoom. Originally from Cataula, Georgia, she and her husband now live in Hiawassee, Georgia.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

April is Poetry Month - meet Catherine Carter

 Because April is Poetry Month, we will be posting poetry sent to me by some of our members who are poets. 

Catherine Carter
Photo by Terri Clark Photography in Sylva. 


Not hairs. Boar
bristles, thistle
thorns, catfish barbels,
wolf whiskers, sprung
from a nose and chin
that’ve called to each
other forty-five years
across the short chasm
of philtrum and lips, and only
now drawing nearer
and nearer, connected
by folds turned to grooves
turned to dry ditches
only deepened by the rare
brackish flash-flood.
Old women have always been
witches, and these are
the marks of the witch:
these wires with roots
deeper than teeth.
They smack of a witch-curse,
a desperate bargain,
the kind of deal
you strike with the dark
when there’s little
left in your hand—
two low hearts,
a single waiting spade—
a deal with the powers of air
and hair.

Catherine Carter’s collections of poetry with LSU Press include The Memory of Gills, The Swamp Monster at Home, and Larvae of the Nearest Stars.  She is a professor of English at Western Carolina University.



Brenda Kay Ledford's Book Featured

 Brenda Kay Ledford's book, Reagan's Romps, was featured in "The Laurel of Asheville," April 2021.


Reagan's Romps was published by Kelsay Books, January, 2021.  This book is available at:  www.amazon.com; www.kelsaybooks.com and locally in Chinquapins Gift Shop in Hayesville, NC.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Interview with novelist, Annette Clapsaddle


Annette Clapsaddle
photo by Mallory Cash

Writers' Night Out featured novelist, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Friday evening. Fifteen people signed in for our Zoom meeting. I enjoyed talking with Annette who is a member of the Eastern Band Cherokee and lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. 

She has published a debut novel, Even as We Breathe, set in the area around Cherokee NC and Asheville.

    GB: Where were you born, Annette, and where did you go to school as a child?

AC: I was born in Qualla, NC. just outside of Cherokee. I went to Smokey Mountain Elementary and then Smoky Mountain High School. Yes, they are spelled differently—a detail that quite amuses me.

GB: We know you have degrees from two prestigious northern colleges. Tell us about that.

AC: I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Yale University, along with my Secondary English teaching license in 2003. I earned my Master’s Degree in American Studies from The College of William and Mary in 2004.

GB: What did you study there? What did you want for a career?

AC: As an American Studies major, my concentration in undergraduate and graduate school was in Native American Studies. I always knew I wanted to be an English teacher and writer, so I took many English courses and some creative writing within the American Studies field.

GB: Did you always like to write even as a child?

AC: I have written for as long as I can remember. I still have little stapled-together books from elementary school and half-filled abandoned journals from my childhood. I had a whole gaggle of make-believe friends, so I think it was inevitable. Either I would be a writer or need to work on my friend-making skills.

GB: When did you decide to write this novel, and how long did it take to get it ready to submit for publication? How did you know when it was ready?

AC: I quite honestly lose track of time and we all know that writing a novel is rarely on a linear trajectory. So, I’d say it took around four years or so from concept to publication acceptance. I was workshopping the novel at the Appalachian Writers Workshop while simultaneously looking for an agent. Because of this, I first felt it was ready for publication when Rebecca Gayle Howell (working with the new Fireside Industries imprint at University Press of Kentucky) requested it, read it, and asked to publish it. 

Before that, I had resolved to keep working on it until I found an agent. Turns out, I did not find an agent until the novel was published. And in truth, I knew it was really ready when Silas House and I finished the editing process and it finally felt complete.

GB: I tell my writing students that they should expect to revise or re-write many times before sending to a publication, magazine, or review. What do you tell your students about that? 

AC: I tell my students the same thing. In fact, I use my own process as an example and talk them through the steps when I am in the middle of a project. They sometimes get to read my rejection emails with me and I show them what editors’ comments really look like on the page. 

GB: I heard that Silas House was your editor for this novel, and you appreciate his method of helping you. What was unique about his editing?

AC: Silas is incredibly insightful, generous, and tender as an editor. I know that last description is pretty unusual for an editor. When he returned edits for any given section, his notes would often be framed as

1. This line doesn’t work. 

2. This is the reason why.

3. Here are some options for making it stronger. 

4. But only if you choose to.  

I am pretty sure I would not have had a similar experience with many other editors. He understood the project from the first day and helped mine the authentic voice I wanted to convey, not what a market might typically expect from a Native author.

GB: You have said that you learned to write from some of the most notable writers here in western NC. Can you tell us about that?

AC: I certainly learned to write in school. Of course, that was my first introduction to the craft and I had incredible English teachers growing up. But I do not have an MFA, so my adult writing education relies heavily on experiences in workshops like the Great Smoky Mountains Writers Program and the Appalachian Writers Workshop at Hindman, KY. WNC also has a wealth of incredible writers who are also willing to serve as mentors and cheerleaders. I am very fortunate to call many of them teachers and friends.

GB: Please tell us the difference between the Qualla Boundary and a reservation for native Americans?

AC: In short, both land bodies are held in trust by the U.S. government. However, with the Qualla Boundary, we bought our land back a couple of times. It is, of course, our traditional homeland, and then we have, in many instances, had to repurchase it after the Indian Removal. Reservations elsewhere are typically lands set aside by the U.S. government. We own our land and it is also federal land. 

GB: I was touched by the comments from your students who said they finally could read about someone like them They related to this boy in your novel in a way others could not.  Why is this important?

AC: Regardless of topic or subject, if I can’t relate to my students, I am not a teacher. I think writing is an extension of this. We read to understand ourselves or our environments better. So, it is the job of the writer to provide this sense of connectivity through whatever mode they choose. As humans, we crave that connectivity and clarity of understanding. To know any of my students find that in my characters is the most significant contribution of both my teaching and writing.

GB: Launching a new novel during the pandemic had to be more difficult than you had thought it would be. Do you find the virtual appearances satisfying and helpful in promoting your book?

AC: Luckily, I had no idea what to expect from the publication process. Launching in a pandemic may have been easier for a debut novelist like myself. Because it opened up new opportunities through virtual events, I think I have probably said “yes,” way too much. It has been a bit exhausting. However, I have been spared long travel. I am grateful for all of it, though. I have been surprised to see the virtual events sustainable over such a long period of time. Attendance continues to be steady and strong. My publisher (UPK) and I have been pleased with sales, so I really can’t complain. I just hope that Indie bookstores have been able to benefit from these experiences as well. They have had to make incredible adjustments.

GB: I have heard high praise from my friends who have read Even as We Breathe, and I look forward to having my copy arrive soon. We appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to answer our questions and for being with us on Writer's Night Out.





Friday, April 2, 2021

Focus Features Karen Paul Holmes

The Friends of the Gaston County (NC) Public Library publish a monthly newsletter, which always contains a Poet's Corner. NCNW-West member Karen Paul Holmes was the featured poet for April. Editor David E. Poston, who chose her poem says, "What a great way to begin National Poetry Month!" 

The poem appears in Karen's second collection, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin Books, 2018).  

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Jackson County NCWN-West's April Open Mic Night CHANGE OF DATE--April 16th, not April 9th

CHANGE OF DATE!  Our original date of April 9th conflicted with the Writers' Night Out on April 9th, so we've moved back a week. The Jackson County branch of NCWN-West and City Lights Bookstore will host an April Open Mic night on April 16th at 7:30 via Zoom.  We'll plan for an hour and a half, with length of time for readings determined by how many people want to read.  For the Zoom link, please contact Jackson County reps Matt Nelson or Catherine Carter, or City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. We look forward to seeing some of you there! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Love in the Time of Corona by Lorraine Bennett


Lorraine Bennett lost both her mother and her husband last year.

Lorraine says, “The essay, Love in the Time of Corona is about visiting my ailing mother through a closed window at her nursing home.  It has been published in the Daniel Boone Footsteps Personal Story Publishing Project’s Spring 2021 edition.”

Lorraine’s essay first was submitted in the 2020 Senior Games Silver Arts Essay Category and won the first-place gold medal for Cherokee and Clay counties in June. It took the silver medal in the statewide competition in October.

We congratulate Lorraine and send our sympathy and compassion for her as she travels the journey of grief at this time.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Congratulations to Carroll S. Taylor

 The Arts and Humanities Jury of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is pleased to announce the publication of a poem, “Calligraphy,” by Carroll S. Taylor in the DKG Gallery of Fine Arts, an online gallery of works of art and letters at www.dkg.org

Taylor, a resident of Hiawassee, Georgia, and formerly a resident of Cataula, Georgia, is a member of Alpha Xi Chapter of the Psi State Organization of the Society. DKG is a professional honor society for women educators with more than 69,000 members. Established in 17 member countries around the world, the Society defines its mission as promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Society headquarters are in Austin, Texas, where Dr. Annie Webb Blanton founded the Society on May 11, 1929.

Carroll is assistant to the Program Coordinator for NCWN-West, Glenda Beall. She is hosting Mountain Wordsmiths on the fourth Thursday of the month, 10:30 AM on Zoom.

Contact her for the link to enter the meeting.  vibiaperpetua@gmail.com

Saturday, March 27, 2021

April 9 means Writers' Night Out a virtual reading by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle


Our guest will be the excellent writer and author of the novel, Even As We Breathe, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle.  Go to her website and read about this interesting book set in Asheville and other parts of western North Carolina.

Ron Rash said this about Annette's book:

Even as We Breathe slowly builds from a seemingly simple tale of first love into a meditation on the deepest mysteries and contradictions of human existence.”

I am pleased to be hosting this event, talking with Annette and hearing her read from her novel. 

Members of NCWN-West will receive a Zoom invitation for this meeting for writers. If you are not a member, email me at, glendabeall@msn.com and you will be sent the link.

Keeping in Place, a poetry book by Mary Ricketson



Finishing Line Press  

Announces the Publication of   

Mary Ricketson's 

Keeping in Place poems of COVID, sheltered in place  

                                                                       Cover photo by Alex Peers 


I’d love for you to have a copy of my new poetry chapbook, written while I’ve been at home during the pandemic. I made my way through COVID and the necessary quarantine.  


You can order now, until early May, for printing and shipping in July.  I’m spreading the word now because the publisher bases the print run on the number of prepublication orders received. So, please feel free to send this notice to anyone who might be interested.   


 In Keeping in Place, Mary Ricketson pays homage to the natural world she loves, securing emotions she treasures.  Her identity flourishes as she longs for the end of Pandemic… 

Shelby Stephenson, Poet Laureate of North Carolina, 2015-2018, author of Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill and More 


Mary Ricketson’s Keeping in Place is one of the first of a new generation of poems inspired by the global pandemic of 2020, and it invites the reader to find balance, if not solace… 

Catherine Carter, author of The Memory of Gills, The Swamp Monster at Home, and Larvae of the Nearest Stars, professor of English, Western Carolina University. 


Mary Ricketson with her intense love for nature and mountain life has found a way in her book to interweave beautiful images with the seriousness and isolation of the Corona Virus. 

Glenda Barrett, author of When the Sap Rises, and The Beauty of Silence 


Keeping in Place is a collection of poems where the speaker, stricken by COVID, turns her focus to nature…Solo, ill, and counting the days since she’s been touched, the speaker still makes the reader chuckle… 

Rosemary R. Royston, author of Splitting the Soil 


Mary Ricketson lives in the Appalachian Mountains and maintains a private practice as a mental health counselor.  Her poems often reflect the healing power of nature, surrounding mountains as midwives for her words.  Her published collections are I Hear the River Call My Name, Hanging Dog Creek, Shade and Shelter, Mississippi: The Story of Luke and Marian.     www.maryricketson.com  

 Order online at: http://www.finishinglinepress.com, search for Keeping in Place, click to order.  

or https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/keeping-in-place-by-mary-ricketson/  


Or mail your order to Finishing Line Press:  

Please send me __ copy(ies) of Keeping in Place, $14.99 per copy plus $2.99 shipping per copy, 1.99 for extra copies.  

Enclosed is my check or money order (payable to Finishing Line Press) for $____________   








Please send check or money order to: Finishing Line Press Post Office Box 1626 Georgetown, KY 40324  



Monday, March 15, 2021

Sweet Fruit by Karen Jackson

 Karen Jackson sent this news.

My short story "Sweet Fruit" about blackberry picking in South Georgia appeared today in the online journal Reckon Review.   Meagan Lucas, founder and editor, does a wonderful job featuring a different story each week, either fiction or creative nonfiction. If you have a "gritty" story about the South, you might want to check out the journal and consider submitting.

Here's a link to my story.  http://reckonreview.com/sweet-fruit/

I certainly related to Karen's story because I am a South Georgia native and picked many blackberries on the farm. GCB

Sunday, March 14, 2021

June Rollins book, She Lost Her Muse, is ready for pre-orders

June Rollins' debut novel will be published March 31, but I ordered the kindle version today for .99. 

Sound like an interesting book. Read more about June and her book here  You can read the first chapter and see if you want to purchase. Good luck to June and I know she will be supported by the members of NCWN-West. 

You can find the book on Amazon.com and order the Kindle version from the link below.

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y78NTMJ?pf_rd_r=RRQMX44F0ZP5NNVXS3BR&pf_rd_p=5ae2c7f8-e0c6-4f35-9071-dc3240e894a8&pd_rd_r=936b7845-dc2d-4803-9f2d-8eac6a409a72&pd_rd_w=Nw5Un&pd_rd_wg=wfaRN&ref_=pd_gw_unk

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Weekend Writing Classes at JC Campbell Folk School this summer and fall

The John C. Campbell Folk School is holding classes. The following are weekend writing classes scheduled.

Carol Crawford
Writers' RetreatFriday, Aug 20 - Sunday, Aug 22, 2021
Darnell Arnoult
Creative Nonfiction in a FlashFriday, Nov 19 - Sunday, Nov 21, 2021

Writers' Night Out is Zooming along


Please join us for 
Sally Stewart Mohney
prose & poetry

Writers' Night Out via Zoom

March 12, 7 pm
Reading & Discussion + Open Mic

An award-winner writer and NC native, Sally Mohney will read and then discuss poetry's influence on prose and vice versa. 


Sally majored in fiction writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and has taken graduate fiction classes at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as the University of Florida. She has published short stories in journals such as the Boston Literary Review, and she is the recipient of the Jesse Rehder Writing Prize from UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, she is searching for a home for her full-length literary manuscript, Migratory Spirits, set in North Carolina and Cumberland Island. Sally was invited to read an excerpt of Migratory Spirits at the Southern Women Writers Conference.   

Her new poetry book is eventide (Kelsay Books) -- see the quote next to the book cover below. Her previous book, Low Country, High Water, (Texas Review Press) won the Southern Poetry Anthology Prize: North Carolina. Other publications include A Piece of Calm (Finishing Line Press) and pale blue mercy, (Main Street Rag, Author’s Choice Series). Sally's poems have appeared in the Broad River ReviewCharlotte Observer, Cortland Review, James Dickey Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and elsewhere. A North Carolina native, she now lives a thousand feet from the Chattahoochee River in Georgia.


"From the low country to the Appalachians, to the River Thames and the North Sea, Sally Stewart Mohney seeks solace and bears witness to water—from wetlands to dry waterfall during her intriguing journey." 
- NC Writers' Network

If you are not a member of NCWN, contact Karen Holmes or Glenda Beall and we will 

send your invitation to join us on Friday night. Members should have received the link

to the Zoom program.

Open Mic
3-4 minute maximum of poetry or prose (2 poems only, please)

To sign up for Open Mic, please send Glenda an email (with a sentence she can use to introduce you) by clicking here: glendabeall@msn.com 

ZOOM Helpful Hints: You can join Writers' Night Out by cell phone, notebook, laptop, or computer and use audio only or audio and video. You can do a test for yourself anytime at zoom.us, where you'll see yourself on video and be able to test your audio too. 

The night of WNO, try to get on before 7 pm to make sure everything is working on your end. You will be in a waiting room until the host opens the door.

Sign up for Open Mic by clicking here: glendabeall@msn.com

Writers' Night Out is the second Friday of every month.

We will continue via Zoom for now. 
April 9: Annette Clapsaddle, novelist, Even as We Breathe


The North Carolina Writers' Network is not allowing in-person events right now. Some time In 2021, we hope to continue in person at our new location:

The Ridges Resort on Lake Chatuge 
but please check your email.


But don't wait, join the fun and camaraderie on Zoom! 

Stay well, friends,
 - Karen

Karen Paul Holmes