Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't miss Dana Wildsmith - Saturday, April 12, 1 - 4 p.m.

April 12, Saturday, 1 - 4 p.m. 2014: Dana Wildsmith - Writers Circle, Hayesville, NC
Fee: $45


All we have to work with when we set out down fiction's road is the stuff of our lives, but that's enough. Every one of us has a couple of horror-story-worthy relatives, and we've all lived through years of high drama in our lives. The material is there, for sure, but the rub lies in figuring out how to use that material when memoir is not our aim. In this class, we'll talk about ways to use those three crazy uncles of yours to flesh out one strong character for a story or novel, how to conduct and make use of interviews, and a little about scene-writing. This will be a class for all levels of fiction writers.

Bio: Dana Wildsmith's environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving With An Old Farm in the New South, was Finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including most recently, Christmas in Bethlehem. Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Grand Canyon National Park, as Writer-in-Residence for the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and she is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Netwest Writers Conference Registration form is online

I am constantly reminded of how lucky we are to live in this area where writers abound and writing opportunities are so numerous.

The information about the Netwest Writers Conference which has been in the works for sometime, is now up and answers all the questions of Who, What, Where and When.

Visit this link to find a registration form to complete and print out for mailing with your check. Even though the presenters are some of the best writers and poets in North Carolina, the fees are exceptionally low, especially for NCWN members. 

Many of us worked for several years on the anthology Echoes Across the Blue Ridge which includes work by writers living in the Netwest region. That includes nine counties west of Asheville and bordering counties in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Sales of that book enable us to hold events such as the Netwest Writers Conference and to keep our member fees very reasonable. 

Keynote speaker on May 10 in Sylva, NC will be Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister, a lovely memoir, well-written and moving. Judy has many books to her publishing credit and you can read more about her on her website. Judy will teach a workshop in the afternoon at the conference.

Susan Snowden, author and editor of her own firm, will teach an hour and 45 minute workshop on Fiction. I encourage all writers of short story, flash fiction and novels, to take advantage of the opportunity to listen to Susan and work with her that afternoon.

Gary Carden, highly honored and well published playwright will share time with Dr. Newton Smith on the program. Their subject will be researching and writing about the disaster at the Cowee Tunnel. Gary is working on a play about this subject.

William Everett, poet and author of several books, is also on the program. Read more about this writer here.

Having as members and leaders of Netwest, two poets of note such as Kathryn Stripling Byer and Nancy Simpson to lead a session on Finding Readership for your Poetry, sets this conference apart. I hope you will take the time right now to register and reserve your place.

The beautiful Jackson County Public Library is the venue and the doors will be open at 9:15. Plan to stay all day and mingle and network and just bask in the presence of so much creative talent as you will find within the walls and on the porches of this historic place. 

City Lights Books of Sylva will be on hand all day to be sure the books you want are available. If you are a Netwest member or on the faculty for this event, contact Chris at City Lights to see how to have your books on the table. 

At noon we will have an hour to eat and visit with each other outside and inside. Contact information is on I'll see you there.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Coffee with the Poets and Writers pics

Deanna Klingel and Madonna Wise

Deanna Klingel author of several young adult novels as well as other historical books talked on truth in fiction.  CWPW, sponsored by NCWN West, meets each month at Blue Mountain Coffee and Grill and the event is open to the public.

Ellen Schofield talks to Bob Grove and Wally Avett while Roy Underwood, far right, listens.
In the center our busy waitress at Blue Mountain rushes to take good care of us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Good News for Abbie Johnson Taylor

We are happy to learn that one of our most loyal readers, Abbie Johnson Taylor, will soon have a poetry book published by Finishing Line Press.

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, includes a poem about her wedding day. Little did she know on that lovely day, her husband would suffer a stroke within months, and she would become a 24/7 caregiver until his death six years later.

See part of one of her poems below:

Life Change

On a sunny day, a strong breeze

lifts hems of dresses.

Balloons, tree branches sway.

Framed by an arch of pink and purple flowers,

as traffic rushes by,

we stand before those we love,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Don't Miss Out on Writing News

Our list of subscribers is growing and that makes me very happy. If you are not one of them, please look on the sidebar of this blog and see where you can enter your email address and receive my new posts right in your Inbox. You won't miss any news or interesting posts on writers and writing. 

The public will not see your email address. It is used to send the new posts when they are published. If you see a post in your Inbox and you like the subject, open it and read. If you don't have time or don't like the title, just delete and go on with your day. Subscribing to this blog will not increase your Spam or in any way jeopardize your identity. I don't even use the subscribers' listing to send out email. I seldom even see it. 

Your subscription to this blog will better enable search engines to find Writers Circle and make it easier for others to contact those who might help them with their writing. 
So, sign up on the Sidebar and become a subscriber.
Thank you all for your loyalty over the years and for sending others to this page. My readers are the best.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A bowl of little green turtles

Below is an excerpt from an article on, an interview with poet Mark Doty. He explains so knowingly how we humans persevere, even after tragedy hits and slaps us down again and again. 

Read the article, but first read this:
“I was walking on Broadway one day in SoHo and came upon an Asian woman who was sitting on the sidewalk selling, of all things, tiny green turtles. She had them contained in a big white enamel bowl, and the little things were climbing over each other trying to get out, then sliding back down into the bowl again once they made it a ways up toward the rim. They were so beautiful—brilliantly green—and seemed so absurdly fragile; how could anything that tiny make it in New York City? 

That’s how poems usually start for me: I begin with a description of some little thing that’s moved or interested me, and then, if I’m lucky, the process of writing teaches me why whatever it is matters. The turtles were such a potent image of ourselves: our incredible human persistence despite our frailty. We want to connect, to love, to move forward—we will climb up the sides of that bowl no matter what!”   
            ---poet, Mark Doty 

As poets, we want to learn and to teach what we see as important about little moments that move us. A good poem will do that.

Have you read any good poems today?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Netwest Writers Conference Presenter

Meet Susan Snowden, author and editor who will be a presenter at the Netwest Writers Conference on May 10 in Sylva, NC.

An Atlanta native, Susan Snowden moved to the mountains of western NC in 1995 to have more time to write. Since then her work—fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry—has been published in more than forty literary journals and anthologies. She has received seventeen honors and awards for her writing, including a gold medal in 2013 for her first novel, Southern Fried Lies (IPPY Award; Best Fiction, Southeast Region). Susan has taught writing at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and at Blue Ridge Community in Flat Rock, NC. She’s also worked as a freelance book editor since 1985, editing fiction and nonfiction for publishers and authors. (  

The conference will be a one day event at the beautiful public library of Jackson County. This building was once the majestic courthouse sitting on a hill that can be seen for miles around the picturesque little town of Sylva. It has been renovated and made into an exceptional library and event center. 
Registration information for the conference will soon be available at

Monday, March 3, 2014

Creating a Poetry Book - hard work but seems easy for Scott Owens

I am in process of putting together a second poetry chapbook, this one with the theme of love and loss. I asked my friend, Maren Mitchell, author of Beat Chronic Pain, an Insider’s Guide, and a well-published poet, to look at my collection and give me her thoughts on the poems I had chosen.
I think that judging your own poems for a book is the hardest thing! She made me realize that all the poems can’t be downers, but that I must use some upbeat work as well. She talked about the ending, the last poem in the book.

In selecting poems for a manuscript, they should transition well, one into the next. According to NancySimpson who helped me with my first chapbook, Now Might as Well be Then, published by Finishing Line Press in 2009, even the repetition of a word in the next poem helps keep the story moving along.
Poet Scott Owens

Recently I enjoyed reading Scott Owens’ latest poetry collection, The Eye of the Beholder. Never have I read so many poems that made me feel as deeply as Scott’s words did. The entire book is filled with love – finding love, keeping love, being amazed at love, losing love. I felt pain and sadness and I felt warmth and joy. His honesty in portraying his desire for his wife; his openness in showing how two lovers can live on and on, even as time changes them physically, but does not dim his adoration for her. What I really like about Scott’s poetry is that I understand what he means to communicate, at least what he tells me in his work, although you might relate in an entirely different way.

In the poem, Since You Went Away, I relate to the abject loneliness expressed in these words:
“I try to sleep diagonally across the bed
to use all the space I always claimed to be   
in short supply, but in the morning
I’m crowded to one side again,
my right arm thrown across the empty

Friends ask me if I miss you, what I do without you.
I tell them I’m fine. But I’m tired
of going places and not knowing why,
and I’m tired of this space
beside me growing, wanting to be filled. 

Scott Owens will teach a workshop at Writers Circle studio September 13. He will read at Writers Night out that evening. Check out our schedule page for more information.