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

Friday, October 22, 2021

Ed Southern, Guest for Writers' Night Out November 12

 Ed Southern author of the highly praised book, Fight SongsA Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South.

This meeting will be on Zoom so all of our members will be able to attend. Get your questions ready for Ed. This is his fourth book.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Congratulations to Tipper Pressley whose YouTube channel reached 100,000 subscribers recently.

Estelle Rice, writer and member of NCWN-West and Katie Pressley at Coffee with the Poets in 2007. Katie read a poem that day. Now she is a grown young woman with many talents.

Tipper is a writer who publishes a post on her blog, Blind Pig and the Acorn every day. Her mission is to show the world how wonderful is life in these mountains and to keep the Appalachian way of life alive for generations to come. She researches and uses natives of this area to inform her readers about the old ways of cooking, gardening, playing music, and so many other things. She has a huge following for her blog, but since she went to YouTube and has made it her full-time job, her readers are from all over the world. 


Tipper Pressley

Tipper helped me with my first blog and has been a friend for many years.

I watched her twin daughters grow up and now they are known as The Pressley Girls who play guitar and fiddle and sing at events all over our region. 

I am so, so happy for this lovely family and the success they have found doing what they really like to do.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel or check out the Blind Pig and the Acorn. You will be glad you did.



Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lorraine Bennett, native of western North Carolina, writes a thriller

Lorraine Bennett

Congratulations to Lorraine Bennett who has written a psychological thriller titled Cat on a Black Moon. It is the story of an Atlanta television anchorwoman who is being stalked by a cult run by a sinister and deranged ex-flower child from the 1960s. For those who read thrillers, this fits the bill.

Lorraine signed a contract with New York publishing company, Austin Macauley (London, Cambridge, NY, United Arab Emirates and e-books) to publish her novel. This is a hybrid publishing company where many first-time authors have found success. 

Lorraine grew up in Murphy, NC, graduated with her high school class journalism medal and received a scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill. 
Her career began on the Atlanta Journal where she covered news and met her husband. His job took them west. She was hired by the Los Angeles Times and became the newspaper’s first woman to head a domestic bureau.

The Bennetts returned to Atlanta and she joined fledgling CNN as a news writer. She became copy editor, producer, and editorial manager before ending her career at CNN International.
She retired in 2006 and built a farmhouse on Martins Creek family land. She is writing a sequel to her first novel. 

We look forward to learning more about Lorraine's book and her publishing journey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Brenda Kay Ledford's Poetry Published

 Brenda Kay Ledford's poetry, ""Ode to the Sunflower," and "Frozen," were published in Poets' Espresso Review, Summer 2021 issue.  This journal is a San Joaquin Delta College Writers' Guild Publication.

For more information:  www.poetsespressoreview.com

Patricia Ann Mayorga, editor-in-chief

Poets' Espresso Review

Friday, October 8, 2021

Jackson County Open Mic Friday, October 22nd, 7:15, on Zoom

 The Jackson County group of the North Carolina Writers' Network-West, supported by the splendid City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, will host its monthly Open Mic night via Zoom at 7:15 on Friday, October 22nd.  If you'd like to attend, listen, and/or read, please e-mail Jackson County reps Matt Nelson (mattnelson.poet01@gmail.com) or Catherine Carter (ccarter@email.wcu.edu) to request it.  We were Zoom-bombed last time, and though Matt's quick work evicted the trolls in less than a minute, it wasn't pretty--so if you do request and receive the link from us, please don't give it to anyone whose identity you aren't sure or, or publish it online.  Thanks!  We hope to see you in the virtual world!

Opportunity: Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series

 The North Carolina Poetry Society offers students (and one adult) in our area a semester of free one-on-one study with a respected poet through the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, which provides mentors for emerging poets between January and May of 2022.


Distinguished Poet Dr. Kenneth Chamlee will work with four aspiring poets, ideally one from middle school, high school, and college, plus an adult selected from 32 counties in western North Carolina. This period of individual study and critique culminates in a reading with the Distinguished Poet and the other students, usually at Western Carolina University during the annual Spring Literary Festival. 


If you all know of a middle school, high school, or college student who's really interested in writing poetry, please encourage them to apply!  And if you're an adult poet who'd enjoy this opportunity, please apply yourself!  The deadline for  applications is November 15, 2021.  Find more information on the application process at https://www.ncpoetrysociety.org/gcdps/. Email applications to caleb.gcdps@gmail.com, or mail applications to:


Caleb Beissert

Attn: Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series

123 Forest Hill Drive

Asheville, NC 28803


Monday, October 4, 2021

Oct 8 Seattle Poet: Online Reading, Discussion, and Open Mic

Writers' Night Out - Oct 8, 7 p.m.

Online Reading + Discussion... + Open Mic via ZOOM

"What teaching poetry to children has taught me about writing."
with Debby Bacharach, poet, editor, & teacher

Debby Bacharach is the author of Shake & Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015).  

Her poems and essays have been published in journals nationally and internationally, including Midwest Quarterly, Poetry Ireland Review, Vallum, Cimarron Review, New Letters, and Poet Lore, and she has received a Pushcart prize honorable mention.  Debby has been the featured reader at poetry readings in Boston, Oberlin, Seattle, South Bend, and Minneapolis.

Educated at Swarthmore College and the University of Minnesota, Debby lives in Seattle with her family. She is a college writing instructor, editor, and tutor and teaches poetry workshops for children.  Find out more about her at DeborahBacharach.com.

For Zoom link and Open Mic sign-up, email 
Glenda: glendabeall@msn.com

Writers' Night Out is a
North Carolina Writers' Network-West event
on the second Friday of every month.

We will continue via Zoom for now. 
Sometime we hope to continue in person at our new location:
The Ridges Resort on Lake Chatuge 
so please check your email.
But don't wait, join the fun and camaraderie on Zoom! 

Upcoming guests:
Nov 12: Ed Southern, NCWN Executive Director & Author
Ed's new book is Fight Songs: A Story of Love & Sports in a Complicated South

December, January, February: winter break

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Poet Pat Revere-Seel launches new book


Pat Riviere-Seel
recently appeared as a guest on Mountain Wordsmiths on Zoom. We enjoyed her talk and enjoyed her poetry. She has invited us to join her on Zoom for the launch of her new book on October 7. 

Come celebrate with me at my virtual book launch for When There Were Horses -  on October 7, 7-8 pm  Check my website - http://www.patriviereseel.com on the Events page for the invitation. 

 Hosted by the marvelous Malaika King Albrecht and Redheaded Stepchild, there will be an open-mic after my reading, so bring a poem to share. 

Isn't it wonderful? No matter where you live, you can attend online, meet writers and poets from other parts of our state and out of state.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mary Ricketson's new book, Lira, poems of a Woodland Woman


“Covered in this canopy of oak and maple, basking in soft breezes of summer,

Lira wakes to a day unrevealed, listens, reaches, sets the tempo.

Spirits invite her to live like last night’s doe, dance a jig through tall field grass, be the wind.”

Mary says, "This collection of poems centers around a fictional character who may be a little bit like me, and definitely very much a fantasy, an escape into the reality of life entwined with the natural world."

Order from Redhawk Publications:


Also available at Curiosity Bookstore in Murphy NC or City Lights Bookstore in Sylva NC.

The Lira Poems, Mary Ricketson’s latest book, certainly speaks toward enchantment. The poems enrapture ethereally with the little natural creatures on the ground – the deer, the rabbit, squirrel, the turkey and the dove – and the birds circling high over Lira’s garden, especially the red-tailed hawk. To see and imagine this “ceremony of embrace” tunes one to Nature, to the fairies, the weather changes, even as we feel ourselves participate, without intrusion, in the routine beauty of the lines, the daily walks with doggies and each of these lovely creatures. The book triumphs in that very special way of seeing a there there, and, then, again, inside the heart. The news? How marvelous to be alive! --Shelby Stephenson was poet laureate of North Carolina from 2015-2018. For thirty-two years he was editor of Pembroke Magazine. His recent books are More and Shelby's Lady: The Hog Poems.

 In Lira, Ricketson steps into a world of magic; magic made possible by Nature. Lira, who early on wishes for everything “pink,” meets her prince, and after the two kiss, “pink roses still bloom.” But this collection is much more than a young girl’s typical dream. Instead, it’s a fairytale where Mother Nature is a Godmother, teaching Lira how to live through her interaction with trees, seedlings, deer, and fox -- all who become her family. These family members help her “weave a life of purpose,” where “bites of misunderstanding resolve” by Rose Creek. Both hardship and beauty befall Lira, who, by virtue of keen eye and imagination, wins the respect of the Red-Tailed Hawk. A must-read, full of sounds, imagery, and flat-out magic.  -- Rosemary Royston, author of Second Sight, and Splitting the Soil

While reading Mary Ricketson's, Lira, I felt I was an innocent, care-free young girl in some sort of fairy tale world wondering along in the forest. The book is filled with exquisite images, which Mary so easily reveals because she has a deep, personal knowledge of the mountains. However, if you read it closely, you will see there is a deeper, more serious meaning to these poems. To me, this is where the true beauty lies in this bittersweet book so well written. I can promise you this will be a special
and lovely read
.    --Glenda Barrett, author of, When the Sap Rises, and The Beauty of Silence

Take an enchanting journey in Mary Ricketson’s latest poetry book, Lira. Magic tumbles over changing seasons at Cherry Cove Creek. Lira befriends trees, makes family with animals, rambles in wildflower rapture. Gnomes and fairies are her playmates. Butterflies and bluebirds dance and a red tailed hawk hovers. Ricketson is an award-winning wordsmith inspired by the healing power of nature. This book is a delightful read!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Big Share: Alternative Forms of Publication in a Digital Age

On Tuesday, October 21, at 7:00 pm EST, writer, editor, and teacher Katie Winkler will lead the online class "The Big Share: Alternative Forms of Publication in a Digital Age."

 If you are enjoying the online classes available to writers, as I am, you can check out this one by Katie Winkler. The fee is only $35 for NCWN members. If you are a member of Netwest (NCWN-West) you are also a member of NCWN, so you get the discounted price. 

We all want to know the best ways to reach readers of our work and this workshop is designed to help us. 


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Poet Pat Riviere-Seel to be Featured Reader for Mountain Wordsmiths

Noted poet and writer Pat Riviere-Seel will be the featured reader for Mountain Wordsmiths on Thursday morning, September 23, at 10:30 a.m. This event, sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West, is being held via Zoom because of COVID concerns. We hope to meet again in person soon; however, we are happy that not only local writers are attending our meetings but writers outside our state as well.

Riviere-Seel’s most recent poetry collection, When There Were Horses, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2021. Her previous collections include Nothing Below but AirThe Serial Killer’s Daughter, and No Turning Back Now. 

The Serial Killer’s Daughter won the North Carolina Literary and Historical Society’s Roanoke Chowan Book Award and Nothing Below but Air was a semifinalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. The Serial Killer’s Daughter has been staged by Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company and performed as a one-act play.


Riviere-Seel taught poetry classes for UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program for 15 years. She served as the North Carolina Poetry Society’s Distinguished Poet in the Western Region from 2016-2018. The program pairs student poets with an established poet for one-on-one mentoring.


In 2017 she received the “Charlie Award” from the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival held in Burnsville, NC. The annual award recognizes a writer who has made significant contributions as a writer and a community builder. In 2012 she held a unique position as poet-in-residence at the North Carolina Zoo. As part of the residency, she wrote a poem for the zoo. Her poem “Summer Solstice” is on display at the black bear exhibit.


Her poems were first published when she was an undergraduate at North Carolina State University. After graduation, Riviere-Seel worked as a newspaper journalist, publicist, and as lobbyist for nonprofit organizations in the Maryland State House.


She and her husband live in the woods and tend to two black cats they adopted from Brother Wolf, a no-kill animal shelter in Asheville.

Mountain Wordsmiths meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. 

We welcome those who were regulars at Coffee with the Poets and Writers which met at Moss Memorial Library prior to COVID-19 restrictions. Those wishing to attend Mountain Wordsmiths may contact Carroll Taylor at vibiaperpetua@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link.

Members of NCWN-West will receive the Zoom link in an email before the meeting.

Anyone who wishes to participate in Open Mic may sign up upon entering the meeting, and we welcome those who would simply like to listen to the beauty of wordsmithing.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Celebrating Writers in Hiawassee, GA with the Appalachian Mural Trail


Library Mural Unveiling

"Storybook Lane," a new outdoor Postage Stamp Mural produced by the Appalachian Mural Trail, is scheduled for unveiling at 2:00 in the afternoon on Friday, September 24, 2021. The public is invited. The event takes place outside the Towns County Library, at 99 South Berrong Street Hiawassee, Georgia, telephone: 706-896-6169.

The colorful 7 feet high "Storybook Lane" mural creates a fantasy world of children's book characters from local children's book authors Marcia Hawley Barnes, Brenda Kay Ledford, Amy Ammons Garza and Carroll S. Taylor. The mural is designed to 'save the books.'

"Created to encourage children to actually pick up a book and read, the mural will help return children's interest towards books," says Artist & Appalachian Mural Trail Director, Doreyl Ammons Cain. "The mural should last for decades."

Cain painted the mural and also illustrated the four children's books included in the mural. The mural is painted on MDO art board using mural paint that will last for decades with a protective clear coat that ensures longevity.

The Towns County Library is hosting the outside mural unveiling, which includes outside storytelling, refreshments and meet & greet the Artist & Authors. Both the artist and the authors are displaying books and art to view and purchase safely.

The Towns County Library is scheduled to be featured on the Appalachian Mural Trail where the mural is showcased so that folks can read about and find directions to the mural. Check out muraltrail.com where over 125 murals are featured for people to visit and view 24 hours a day.

Image Attached, a small detail of "Storybook Lane" art by Doreyl Ammons Cain Director, Appalachian Mural Trail.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Call for Submissions from Old Mountain Press

 Old Mountain Press (OMP) is accepting submissions for Holiday Cheer PREVIOUS CONTRIBUTORS ONLY OR SOMEONE RECOMMENDED BY A PREVIOUS CONTRIBUTOR. Previously published okay. Each contributor whose work will appear in this anthology can recommend TWO writers to submit to this anthology. Someone whose work you would like included with yours–maybe right beside yours:-).

See http://www.oldmp.com/anthology/holiday-cheer.htm here you will also find guidelines and the link to an online submission form.

To indicate text to be put in italics use <your text>. To indicate bold use [your text]

View camera-ready copy of all submissions accepted so far at: http://www.oldmp.com/anthology/review/holiday-cheer.pdf

Holiday Cheer’s THEME: Anything relating to the holidays:  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentine's Day or fall/autumn or winter.

I will accept submissions until noon on 15 October or when I have 70 contributors.

There is no reading fee, no entry fee, and no requirement for a contributor to purchase this anthology. As always, contributors will be able to purchase copies at a reduced rate. Previously published okay if you have retained rights.

Of interest to writers:
The Punctuation Guide. An excellent reference site! When to use em and en dashes and more!

ALL past OMP Anthologies are now available as Kindle and/or Nook. See http://www.oldmp.com/e-book/#anthologies  Feel free to pass the link to your friends and family!

Tom Davis
Old Mountain Press

View OMP eBooks for Kindle and NOOK at http://www.oldmp.com/e-book

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Jackson NCWN-West Open Mic, Friday, September 17th, 7:00 p.m.

Fellow writers, the Jackson County branch of NCWN-West is holding its monthly online Open Mic on Friday, September 17th, at 7:00 pm (half an hour earlier than last month.)  Length of time for each reader depends on how many readers we get.  The Open Mic is organized and hosted by Jackson County co-rep Matt Nelson; if you want to join us, please e-mail Matt at mattnelson.poet01@gmail.com for the Zoom link, or Catherine Carter at ccarter@email.wcu.edu.  Western-region writers from beyond Jackson are welcome.  We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Backstory of a Poem

From inspiration to revision to publishing...

First conceived in a workshop with poets Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar, the poem, "A White Room, A Piano," then went on a journey. 

The website, Art and Humanity Framed in the Photofeature Story, features the backstory of poems, where writer/artist Christal Rice Cooper interviews poets about their step-by-step process. To see how my poem came about... and where it went, you can read the article here. You'll find lots of photos and links too. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Mary Ricketson's latest poetry book is here

We are proud to announce the publication of this poetry book: 

Keeping in Place, a chapbook of poems by Mary Ricketson, Murphy NC, published by Finishing Line Press:  This collection of poems chronicles the author’s experience, isolated at home in the Appalachian mountains during the first several months of the current Covid 19 pandemic.   

 Keeping in Place,” says author and Young Harris College professor Rosemary Royston, “is a collection of poems where the speaker, stricken by COVID, turns her focus to nature, drinks in the magic of the mountains, and absorbs the wisdom of walnuts.”  

Shelby Stephenson, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, says Ricketson “pays homage to the natural world she loves, securing emotions she treasures… On her walks, she salutes the cow, the mule, the plants, and a hemlock she tunes to survival.” 

Ricketson’s poems often reflect the healing power of nature, surrounding mountains as a midwife for her words.  Her published collections are I Hear the River Call My Name, Hanging Dog Creek, Shade and Shelter, and Mississippi: The Story of Luke and Marian.  She writes a column, Woman to Woman, for The Cherokee Scout in Murphy NC. 

Keeping in Place is available from Curiosity Bookstore in Murphy, City Lights in Sylva, the author, or www.finishinglinepress.com

A Personal Note
I received my copy of Keeping in Place and found the book filled with thoughtful verses and images that draw me in: "Walking home, past red farm implements,/ pitchforks in place by shovels and pic axes,/ where even gravel looks bright against dirt, /one white iris sings her promise of hope."
From the poem, "My Contemplation."

"Sick with COVID went viral"  - tells of the horrible experience of illness, being alone, the phone her lifeline, and then the joy of the Negative test later. I felt her pain, her anxiety, and her relief.

Congratulations to Mary Ricketson for another exceptional poetry book.
Glenda Beall

Monday, August 23, 2021

Your Manuscript: To Resubmit or Not to Resubmit?

That is a good question.

My publisher, Diane Lockward of Terrapin Books, did an interview with me in 2018 that helps to answer the question. She recently re-posted it on social media, so I thought I'd share here too. You might find some helpful hints in preparing a manuscript for submission to publishers.  Read the whole interview here. 

Terrapin Books has an open reading period now through August 31 for poetry manuscripts. Detailed guidelines are available on the website. 

Diane is a caring editor who publishes gorgeous books and really supports her poets. If you'd like to see a sample of her finished product, my book No Such Thing as Distance is available on Amazon (currently on sale!) and Barnes & Noble.   

Happy Submitting! 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Congrats, Maren Mitchell

 Poet, Maren Mitchell is published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3. 

Read about her and read two of her poems here.