So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NC. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2019

Networking at a Writers' Conference

If writers don't attend the big writing conferences, they are cheating themselves of much that will improve their work and help them as writers and poets.

Over the past 25 years, I have attended several conferences held by North Carolina Writers' Network like the one to be held November 8-10, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. I remember when locals complained that the conferences were all too far away from us so no one could go. At that time, one had to travel to Raleigh because all the conferences where held there.

But anyone can make the trip to Asheville (except me). Go for the day, attend the entire conference, Friday through Sunday, or just go and hang around, meeting agents, publishers, presenters and learning all you can about publishing. The cost to "hang out" is a smaller fee than attending the sessions. 

Every day I read about one or two of the presenters and long to sit in those classes. I can't go because of my health issues with fragrances, air fresheners, and chemicals I would run into in the hotel. I would pay if they could ever put those sessions online where I can learn right here at home.

I hope many of our members and local writers will take advantage of this event that comes here to the mountains every three years. How fortunate we are that the staff of NCWN can give us such a high quality three day conference. Some of my favorite memories of the conferences I have attended are the friends I made. Pat Davis, author from Brevard, and I met standing at the elevator in a hotel in Winston-Salem. She lived in Pennsylvania at the time, but we became good friends and are still friends today.

So many of the outstanding writers and poets I call friends today were presenters at conferences. And I am grateful for every one of them. 

Some of you attended our Day for Writers in August in Sylva, NC. Some told me they had never been to a conference and were delighted to know that the fall conference would be in Asheville.

I invite anyone who attends the NCWN Fall Conference to contact me if they would be interested in writing a post for our blog. Those who don't get to go would find it interesting to hear what is done, what attendees liked and the benefit gained from going to the conference. What connections did you make at the conference?

The article below gives you excellent ideas of what to do to make your time worthwhile. Read it carefully and need the advice.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Meeting a Poet Laureate unaware

I can’t imagine a writer in North Carolina or a reader who doesn’t know or recognize the name, Fred Chappell. He is 83 now and has come out with a new poetry collection. He read at City Lights Books in Sylva recently. Wish I had known. I might have made the trip over the mountain to see him and hear him speak.

Fred Chappell
When I was new to these mountains, twenty years ago, my husband Barry and I attended a Bookfest in Waynesville, NC. I was thrilled to be in the  room with so very many authors and their books. I stopped at every table and struck up a conversation with the man or woman who sat there. They were real authors who had published books! The energy was contagious and set my mood soaring.
Barry followed behind me, his camera strap around his neck. I remember meeting Vicki Lane, novelist, that day and some other good writers. But the writer who made the biggest impression on me was Fred Chappell. I didn’t know he was Fred Chappell. I had never seen him or even a picture of him.

He was standing with other men in a room off to the side of where the most activity was taking place. Several tables stacked with books by various authors drew me in. I don’t know how he happened to come over to us. Maybe my enthusiasm caught his attention. But he was suddenly beside me and talking with me. He was being humorous and when he asked me my name, I introduced myself and told him I was with Netwest.

He said, “Oh, yes. That’s Nancy Simpson’s group.”

I guess that was what the NC Writers’ Network –West was thought to be – Nancy Simpson’s group. She was the person who was responsible for holding it all together for all those years.

Fred joked and kidded me and I, not realizing he was a celebrity in the literary world, said to Barry, “Take a picture of me with Fred Chappell.”

I didn’t ask if he would make a picture with me, I just assumed he would. I know now that was rude and presumptuous of me. Barry grabbed his Nikon and Fred grabbed me around the neck and had me laughing when Barry took the photo. It was a memorable moment that I treasure. (But I can't find the photo for this blog.)

Some years later I had the opportunity to take a workshop with him and was very impressed with his warmth, his down-to-earth manner. He told all of us in the group that we could send him a poem if we wanted his help.

I did send a poem. The title was About Jack.  I liked the poem because it sent a subtle message about parents who were too busy to give a child the attention he needed. Fred gave me a good critique, but I could tell he did not like the poem and said he really thought I needed a new title for it.

By then, I had heard from Nancy how revered he was in this state, having been  Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997 - 2002, and had won all kinds of accolades. But to me he was just a nice man who had a sense of humor and did not let me know how foolish I was being when I first met him.

Later, I submitted the poem About Jack to a literary journal and it was published. In fact, almost every time anyone reads the poem or hears me read it, they say how much they like it.

About Jack
by Glenda C. Beall

Squeaking brakes, Bus 37 drops Jack home.
He races inside to pour out news from third grade
around bites of PB&J and a mug of milk.

Sherry threw up on her reader!
Alex brought some cool,
long worms to school.
Miss Cook hugged me -- twice.
His nubbin nose crinkles.

Grandma sits at the table with him,
wishing she could bottle this moment;
his grape-stained face, the light of the sky
in his eyes, the impassioned voice
proclaiming events that rival the evening news.

She would give the bottle to Jack's mom
who hurries in from a twelve-hour day at the diner,
flings her first words, like flaming arrows, at him.
Turn that damn thing down!

Jack never looks up, engrossed in Power Rangers,
laser noises, death battles on TV.

I was tempted to write Fred Chappell a note and tell him it was published and with that title he hated. But I didn’t. Many years have passed since then and I have not seen him again. I am happy he has a new poetry book, As If It Were, and I certainly will order a copy.

Read more of Fred’s words in this interview done with the Smoky Mountain News recently.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Karen Paul Holmes - presenter at A Day for Writers 2019

Karen Paul Holmes

Poet, Karen Paul Holmes, will be on the schedule for A Day for Writers, a one day writers conference in Sylva, NC on Saturday, August 24.

This conference, sponsored by the NC Writers' Network-West, is held in the lovely setting of the Jackson County Regional Public Library, Old Courthouse Annex. 

Holmes is a teacher of poetry and an author of two poetry collections. Her work has appeared in many journals and reviews. Her session is titled Metaphors, Images and Similes, part of the language of poetry we poets  must know and understand.

To learn more about this conference, the presenters and cost, click on 
Netwest Writers.

An interview I did with Karen is published in The Bind

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lumberton, a Novel by William Council

Genealogy is like a disease that those of us who come down with it can't seem to get over, even after twenty years. 

My curiosity about everything underlies most of my writing as well as my interest in the family tree. I recently found and ordered a book by William Council. The title is Lumberton and the main character is Mary Polly Council, a real person who lived in Robeson County, NC. The book is written as ficton. The author has used facts he found in his genealogical research, wills, census records and vital records, court records and other writings about Robeson County residents. Mary Polly was a direct descendant of John Council, the first Council to arrive in Virginia, Isle of Wight County in the sixteen hundreds. 

William Council is a descendant of that line of Councils. I believe I am also a descendant of the first John Council. The families that migrated to Robeson County and surrounding counties from Virginia in the 1700s included members of the Council family. 

My great grandfather was John Cecil Council. Oral history has his family living in the area of North Carolina where they sold "naval stores", products produced from the sap of the pine tree. Pitch, turpentine and tar are naval stores. They were used by carpenters to caulk the seams of wooden ships. The present products of pine tree sap – turpentine and rosin – are still known by that name. 

In 1998 I published a family history book about my grandfather, Tom Council and his ten children. In this book I also included all of Tom's descendants which meant gathering hundreds of names and vital information. This book is written with all the facts known by me and my cousins and other family. 

To write a novel based on truth makes for more interesting reading, I think. Lumberton is a page turner and I only wish the author had hired a professional editor before he published this book. My pet peeve is authors who are in too much of a hurry to see their manuscript in print or don't think they need a professional editor to help them polish and perfect the book before letting it see the light of day.

As a writer, I am stopped each time I see a typo, misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, and in general a book with sloppy text. This is a good story, poorly edited. 

Mary Polly marries the older rich man although she loves the sheriff. Their love story mingled with the history of the era, and knowing she was a real person, perhaps a distant relative, adds to the tension in the book.

I have readers who are family or are researching the same lines that are in my family history book. If you are part of the Council family, I suggest you read William Council's book about Mary Polly Council. 

Lumberton, a novel by William Council  ISBBN 978-1-60743-346-0 (PBK), published by Financial Quest, LLC

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I'm Scared. Aren't we all?

With a new class coming up at TCCC in August, I was reminded of a post by Nancy Purcell, wonderful writer and teacher from Brevard, NC.

We are all afraid of something and many of us live our lives in fear of making mistakes, disappointing others, making a fool of ourselves and looking ridiculous, not having the talent to follow our dreams and so we don't take any risks or try to do what we want. 

Nancy's article is for all of us who halfway live our lives. How many never follow their passions and fulfill their hopes for themselves? Don't let it be you.

Writing class will be held at Tri-County Community College, Murphy, NC 
August 5 - 26, Tuesday afternoons, 6 - 8 p.m.
Contact Lisa now to register.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Writing Class at Tri-County Community College - four two hour classes

I always suggest to beginning writers to write small before writing large. In other  words, try short stories before starting a novel. In a post on Alice Osborn 's blog, you will find many good reasons to do this. Click here.

In August, I will teach a class at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC. We will write short stories, and short nonfiction pieces. When we refer to short fiction, we call it short stories. Nonfiction short pieces can be personal essays, memoir, articles or any true stories.

 Write What You Like: Fiction, Memoir, Articles – Fulfilling Writing Dreams; Goals, Creating New Writing, Revising; Polishing Your WritingThis class is designed to fulfill your writing dreams and projects. You'll also get feedback on your work and learn revision tools. We'll discuss the errors most writers make over and over, the little things we don't know that make a difference, the main mistakes editors see in our manuscripts. Each week, writing prompts will generate material for new writing or further a piece in process. By the end of the month, you will have learned something new and important to your writing success.

The class will begin Tuesday, August 5 at 6:00 p.m. and continue each Tuesday through August 26. We chose this time so people could get home from work and have time to take the two hour class and still be home by 8:30 p.m. 

Years ago when I began taking classes with Nancy Simpson at the college, she taught night classes. We always had a large class and most of them went on to be published poets and  writers. Now our local area is filled with poets because that was Nancy's love.

I want to help our prose writers learn all they can to make their work ready for publication. 

Read the above article to see what a beginning writer needs to do. 

To register for this class at Tri-County College, call Lisa Thompson at 828-835-4313. Tell her you want to register for the writing class in August with Glenda Beall.

  Lisa Thompson Long at 828- 835-4313.

Glenda Beall's published short fiction and personal essays:
How We Met – Forks in the Road -Anthology
Mother's Reunion – Reunions Magazine, Spring 1999, Vol.9 No.3

Tar, Tallow and Prayer -- Moonshine and Blind Mules and other Western North Carolina Tales, 2006
Confrontation  --Muscadine Lines; A Southern Journal - 2009
What Did You Say? - Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - April, 2010
The Trillium -- Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Essays, stories and poems by writers living in and inspired by the southern Applachian Mountains.
Pass it on - Breath and Shadow, online journal, July 15 issue,; ICL Newsletter, 2011, Clay County Progress Newspaper
Buck, My Brother Ned and the Snake - Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal - 2011     
Public Domain - Dead Mule School of Southern Literature - April 2012  
Keeping Up - 234Journal - October 10, 2013        
Profiles and Pedigrees, Thomas C. Council and his Descendants - family history book published in 1998.   Available for purchase at City Lights Books in Sylva, NC                   -

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Traveling around western NC

I can't believe how much is going on this spring and summer. I am a member of the NC Poetry Society and on the committee for Poetry Day. My sister is traveling with me to Hickory for Poetry Day.
I am one of the volunteers working on the Netwest Writers Conference in May. It takes many volunteer hours to hold a conference.
And as part of the NC Poetry Society, I will be reading in Franklin, NC. in July.
I hope to see you, my friends and readers,
Scott Owens
at the events below. 

Saturday, April 26, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory NC
Becky Gould Gibson, NCWN Regional Representative, Scott Owens, and Pat Riviere-Seel will read as part of the 2014 North Carolina Poetry Society's Poetry Day. Owens, NCWN Regional Rep Glenda Beall, and others will sit on a panel, "The State of Poetry in Western NC." The day also includes workshops and an Open Mic.

Saturday, May 10, 9:15 am
Jackson County Courthouse Library Complex, Sylva, NC
Judy Goldman will give the Keynote Address; Gary Carden and Newton Smith will present "History and Writing: the Cowee Tunnel Tragedy"; Kathryn Stripling Byer and Nancy Simpson will present "Building a Readership for Your Poetry"; William Everett will be the special guest at a workshop hosted by City Lights Bookstore; and more at the 2014 NetWest Writers Conference. Register:

Saturday, July 19, 2:00 pm
Macon County Community Facilities Building, 1288 Georgia Rd., Franklin NC
Glenda Beall and others will read as part of a poetry reading series sponsored by The North Carolina Poetry Society and Ridgeline Literary Alliance.  

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reflections of Billy the Elder

I received this from Bill Ramsey today:

"My new book of essays, "Now That I Think About It - (Reflections of Billy the Elder),"  is now available in print from and Barnes and Noble.  It is also available on all E-reader devices like Kindle and Nook. 
Concise, original essays on a wide variety of themes are intended to stimulate reader thinking. We need to think critically and not allow others to do our thinking for us. Be assured, as you read them, that I do not seek to have you agree with me."

"I had the help of preview readers, an editor, a book and cover designer. Their names are in the acknowledgements.
I tried to price it right so the paperback is $12.95 and the e-book version is $4.99. If you search and do a site search, it will be there. You can use their "Look Inside" feature to see the table of contents and a sample of the essays.
Your consideration of my book would be appreciated.
All the best, Bill Ramsey"

Bill is affiliated with the Blue Ridge Bookfest in Hendersonville, NC. His first book was about his childhood in the fifties and based on the success of that book, he has written the second book of personal essays. 

Bill is a member and supporter of the North Carolina Writers' Network and Netwest. Congratulations, Bill. I look forward to reading this book soon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Visit us at Festival on the Square July 13 - 14

This afternoon we loaded up my car with a canopy, tables and chairs from my studio and other things to take to the Festival on the Square in Hayesville, NC, a lovely little town in the mountains of western NC. This event is held each year by the Clay County Historical and Arts Council. 

Saturday is the opening day and we will man our booth from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. We are sponsored by NCWN West. We will once again have our beautiful anthology, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, for sale, discounted, along with books by Bob Grove, Maren Mitchell, Paul Schofield, Janice Moore, Wayne Newton, and others. 

Anthologies are popular because they include short stories, poetry and short non-fiction that makes it easy to pick up and read without getting bogged down in a full size novel.

Women's Places - Women's Spaces edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham will be on the table as well as a highly popular book, On Our Own, Widowhood for Smarties, Silver Boomer books. 

We will give away a free book each day, so we hope folks will come by and sign up for the drawing. 

Look for us right next door to the historic courthouse as you stroll through the shade and check out the 50 arts and crafts booths. We will be there all through the weekend until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

If you are a writer or want to be a writer, pick up a brochure at our table. See how you can become a part of a large and growing literary community. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Bookstore in Hayesville

Our independent bookstores have fallen like dead leaves off a tree in the past couple of years, and we lost our beautiful bookstore in Hayesville, NC where I live.

Well, today I found a terrific substitute for Phillips and Lloyd. The Friends of the Library bookstore is now in the main library building on the corner of Main and Tusquittee, and it is set up with everything neatly displayed and marked clearly. Within minutes I had found three books, May Sarton's At Seventy, published in 1984, Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, an Oprah Book Club pick, and another how-to book on cutting carbs. All three books cost 8 dollars.
Interesting display of books in Friends of the Library store

You'd never know this was a used book store

I like the warm and welcoming entrance on Main Street
Most used bookstores are dusty and cluttered, and the books are not well-organized. But this book store where the profits go to the library itself, is pleasant and I didn't want to leave. There was even a group of books on the craft of writing. The children's section is filled with books that kids love. A little girl was there today and she seemed to be completely absorbed by what she found. 

I can't wait to have time to browse this store for an hour or two. I don't feel so deprived now that I see we do have a bookstore in town and it is decorated nicely with plenty of light. Congratulations to our Friends of the Library volunteers and the library staff who are responsible for this improvement to our town.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Speaking in Hendersonville and visiting with NCWN West Members

Just got back from a delightful time in Hendersonville, NC where I had a chance to visit with writer and Netwest Representative, Lana Hendershott, at Tooley's. 

I was there by invitation to speak at Senior Friends, a 200 member group of older people who seem to be staying quite active and enjoying life. Carol Crawford, poet, writer and director of the annual Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Blue Ridge, GA. was a featured speaker as well. In fact, Carol received an invitation from Roy Freedman for a writer and a poet to speak to the group. She asked me to be the writer. She took this opportunity to read from her wonderful new poetry chapbook, The Habit of Mercy
Carol Crawford at Senior Friends in Hendersonville

I spoke as a writer and teacher. My theme was that writing is good for seniors whether they journal, write about their lives for family or publish a book. I talked about how writing had been such an integral part of my life, especially my healing after loss of my husband. I could see heads nodding as I talked. I felt a real kinship with the 50 plus men and women who sat before me. My thanks to Roy and to Senior Friends for inviting Carol and me to be a part of their fine group Thursday evening. 
Glenda at Senior Friends in Hendersonville

Carol and I were so pleased at the warmth and appreciation of the group after we finished. NCWN West member, Pat Podlipec, is a member of Senior Friends. Another woman told me she remembered me from the annual Blue Ridge Bookfest held in Flat Rock. How nice it was to be remembered for our Netwest panel discussion when we were there a few years ago. I'll always remember that event was held opposite Ron Rash's workshop. Talk about bad luck! We still had a good audience and we all had fun. 

Lana and I discussed an open mike event she hopes to create in Hendersonville very soon. While it is very easy to get a public reading started, one must find a good venue and then decide how to schedule those who will read. Should the reading be for poets or writers? Maybe both? But poets can read two poems in three minutes, easy. Writers need at least five minutes. Those little details have to be worked out, but I feel sure Lana will get this going soon.

I told Lana I'd love to come up for the readings when she gets an event going, and I'd be glad to come for the inaugural if she wanted me. With so many writers in Hendersonville I know the writing event will be well attended, and it will give them an opportunity to bring writers together there. With one Netwest sponsored event open to the public all the writers and poets will get to know each other and, like our writers in my neck of the woods, they can socialize with like-minded people, share opportunities, and make life long friends. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I hope you will put these dates on your calendar. April 26, 27.

The little town of Andrews, NC will continue with their Spring Chautauqua and has a wonderful lineup of events. Check them out on the link below.

At 2:00 p.m.  Saturday, see "Becoming Elizabeth Lawrence" presented by Emily Herring Wilson at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.

One of Gary Carden's plays , "Coy," will be presented by Tom Dewees at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center 7:00 P.M. and several other theater productions will take place that weekend.
If you have somehow missed seeing a Gary Carden play, you must make sure to take in this one. You will spend a delightful evening with his characters.

Although Andrews is not so far from Clay County NC, Towns County and Union County Georgia, we hear little about this event. Thanks to Linda Ray at Curiosity Books in Murphy for sending the link.

After the last performance of one of Gary's plays at Chautauqua  I heard rave reviews. I am determined to get to Andrews for this one. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where have our bookstores gone? Will we save those that are left?

Yesterday I visited two bookstores in our area. The one closest to home, Phillips and Lloyd books on the square in Hayesville, NC is closing its doors at the end of this month. I am personally saddened by this because Elizabeth and her husband, Joe, have been, not only good people to have in our community, but good for our town. They   organized and formed a merchants association and made Hayesville a better place to visit any time of the year. 

They say they are ready to retire. I think they have struggled like all  independent book stores with the rise of Amazon and the difficulty for small stores to compete. We the buyers are the losers when we buy from Amazon and ignore our own local bookstores. 

Later in the afternoon, I dropped in to see Linda Ray, owner of Curiosity Shop Bookstore in Murphy, located at 46 Valley River Ave. where you will find the Shoppes of Murphy. Linda says her shelves hold half the books she had last year. She can order books she doesn't have in stock. Her distributors don't handle as many books as they once did.
Linda, like Elizabeth at Phillips and Lloyd, has been supportive of our local writers. She stocks well-written books by people who write about western North Carolina. Tourists come in and want books with local color. She is not too fond of run of the mill memoirs. They must have something special about them to grace the shelves of Curiosity Shop Books. 

What many people don't know is that they can order books online from Linda and she can get them quickly. Visit her website and see what she has to offer. I was pleased to see that she has Anne Lamott's new book, Help, Thanks, Wow at a discounted price. I am reading one of Lamott's books I received for Chrismas.

I hope readers in our area will do all they can to support Linda's bookstore. She has gift items available. She carries the NCWN West anthology, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, and has recently come upon a few copies of the first Netwest anthology, Lights in the Mountains. This is a rare opportunity to buy this book which is out of print. 
My book signing at Phillips and Lloyd

Both Phillips and Lloyd and Curiosity Shop Books are precious to us who live here and love to browse a good bookstore. Phillips and Lloyd hosted our first Coffee with the Poets events in the warm dessertery where we feasted upon delectable pastries and tasty teas and coffee. They sold many poetry books by local poets. 
Poets gather at Phillips and Lloyd with Elizabeth on far right.

Curiosity Shop Books hosted our writers on many occasions and has held numerous book signings for local writers and those not so local. I hope that my readers will stop in and thank Linda Ray for supporting all of us these many years. And stop in to Phillips and Lloyd on the square in Hayesville, for a good buy right now. Everything in the store is on sale. Thank Elizabeth for all she has done for writers in western North Carolina. We will miss that bookstore more than we can ever imagine.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

First Novel by a Mature Woman - Is it ever too late?

In September of this year, I attended the Table Rock Writers Workshop at Wildacres Retreat off the Parkway near Little Switzerland, NC. 
My favorite part of this type of writing experience is meeting other writers and hearing their stories. I am delighted to have met Anna Jean (A.J.) Mayhew at this workshop.
We talked a few minutes as we stood beside her car. I had claimed the handicap parking spot where her car had resided the first part of the week. Parking of any kind can be a challenge at Wildacres unless you have good legs and strong lungs to make the hike up and down the hills.

During the first few minutes of conversation A.J. confessed that she was on cloud nine. She had just received a call and learned her book, The Dry Grass of August, published in 2011, was in it’s ninth printing. No wonder her head was in the clouds. Mayhew’s first book was doing well and she had a contract for a second. 

I was impressed with this news. A.J. is a woman who has seen her seventieth birthday. We all know the publishing business is after the under 49 demographic. I could hardly believe the traditional publishing world would give a mature woman who was not already a successful writer, a two book contract

This novel is set in her hometown of Charlotte, NC back in the fifties. It was inspired by her memories of growing up in the segregated south of the United States. She hasn't lived in Charlotte since 1985, but discovered that all she wanted to write about was Charlotte.

I relate to her thinking. 
I now live in the beautiful mountains of NC, but I write from my memories of growing up and life in southwest Georgia. Even the best memories are not always complete, and we need to do research to get the feel of those days, to remind ourselves of how things were then. Whether writing fiction as A.J. Mayhew does, or writing memoir, we want our facts correct. See below how she researched her books.
This is a quote by A.J. from an interview on the Hambidge blog. 
Both for Dry Grass—set in 1954—and Tomorrow’s Bread—set in the mid 1960s—I’ve collected popular magazines of the time (Look, Life, Time, etc); browsing through them gives me a feel for life back then. I use many libraries, including the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Public Library, Perkins Library at Duke, Wilson at Carolina, etc. I’m leery of using the ’net, and I double-check everything I find there. However, the Internet has been incredibly valuable in leading me to sources.

We as writers should do as this author does and not depend on the Internet entirely, but use it to find sources we trust. 

Find A.J. Mayhew’s book, The Dry Grass of August, in your bookstores and online. I have seen nothing but good reviews. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writers in Western NC and beyond

All writers in western Noerth Carolina should take note of the North Carolina Writers Network Fall Conference in Asheville In November. Seldom do we have anything of this quality in our mountain area. Read what Scott Owens says about it.

One of NC's largest annual writers' events, the NC Writers' Network Fall Conference, is now open for registration. The conference will take place this year November 18 through 20 at the Double Tree Hilton in Asheville, just a block from the entrance to Biltmore Estate.

The keynote address of this year's conference will be given Friday night by award-winning novelist Silas House. Another highlight will be Saturday night's performance by Asheville Poetry Review Founding Editor Keith Flynn and his band The Holy Men.

Master classes in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction will be offered by Sebastian Matthews, Tommy Hays, and Tony Abbott. Five workshop sessions, including 18 workshops in all spread across Saturday and Sunday, will feature instruction in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama from such well-known writers as Asheville's Katherine Soniat and Holly Iglesias, Appalachian State professor Joseph Bathanti, novelist Ellyn Bache, nature writer George Ellison, and poets Scott Owens and Nancy Simpson.

A Marketing Mart with publishers and booksellers, Laura Hope-Gill, Nicki Leone, Stacy Hope Jones, and Laine Cunningham, will provide writers with an opportunity to create or refine an effective plan to pitch, promote, and sell their current, upcoming, or proposed books. Thirty-minute critique sessions with Bache, Cunningham, Rosemary Royston, or Jan Parker will provide in-depth literary critiques of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. And the Manuscript Mart will allow authors to pitch their manuscripts and get feedback from publishers, editors, and agents from Algonquin Books, Press 53, FinePrint Literary Management, John F. Blair Publishers, or Judith Ehrlich Literary Management.

As always numerous exhibitor tables will give participants the chance to chat with publishers, literary journals, support organizations, and other friends of writers.

Registration material and more information on the conference faculty can be found at All workshops and classes have limited capacity, and the conference is typically attended by several hundred participants, so early registration is important.

posted By Scott Owens to Musings at 9/08/2011 09:32:00 AM
Scott Owens

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rebecca's travels bring her to the mountains

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing and visiting with my friend and former student, Rebecca. She is working as a student host at the John C. Campbell Folk School for a few months. Since the folk school is in Brasstown, NC and I am in Hayesville, we met for dinner at the Chop House in Murphy.
If you have been reading Rebecca's blog, you know she has rid herself of all her belongings and will live in different places around the world for the next year. She will live in Italy for awhile and in Spain, where she will go on a long pilgrimage.
If all goes well we have plans for her to live in Hayesville with me for a couple of months.
Rebecca says she is going to take my class this coming week, and she will be such an asset to me and the others in the class. If you are at the folk school in the next few months, I hope you get a chance to meet Rebecca Gallo. And read her posts as she travels and writes about her experiences.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Are You Lucky Enough to Have an Indie Book Store Near YOU?

Tonight I took time to browse around the web and clicked on the Indie Bound site. If you haven't been there, I hope you will visit. We have so many wonderful independent bookstores but we are gradually losing them because of the large chains, but mostly because of

Lindy Ray, middle, hosts ladies from Candy Fund at her independent book store, Curiosity Books in Murphy, NC.

I took the time, tonight,  to read and understand Indie Bound and I became a part of their community. Books can be ordered from Indie book stores, online just as you would order from And it was so easy to see some of the great new books on the lists given. I made a wish list immediately, which you can do on the site, and I plan to get the books I want either from a local store like Curiosity Books in Murphy,  46 Valley River Avenue, Murphy, NC 28906  or City Lights in Sylva. If you go  to the City Lights website, you can find all the books you want and can order right off their site.

On my sidebar, you will see one of the reasons I think  it is smart to shop from your Indie bookstores. I hope you will visit one in your neighborhood soon. If you don't know of one, go to the Indie Bound site and check out their map to find stores near you.