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 Writers Night Out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writers Night Out. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2023

Successful Zoom writing events

We, (NCWN-West) are continuing to hold Writers' Night Out through June on Zoom. 
This event was begun about ten years ago by Karen Holmes, an outstanding poet who lives in Atlanta but also has a home in Towns County, Georgia on Lake Chatuge. 
Karen Paul Holmes
We met in various places during those ten years and just before the pandemic struck, we were planning to meet in a new venue near the lake. But once COVID-19 invaded our world, we could not hold face-to-face meetings, so I learned how to use Zoom and suggested to Karen that we hold WNO on Zoom.
I found it to be fun and exciting to meet new writers from distant places. 

Not many of our local writers felt comfortable using Zoom and some still have trouble signing in, but we always had a good number of participants at our once-a-month online event. We used the opportunity to invite guests from distant cities and states and found some who said they deeply appreciated our holding this meeting where they could be a part of it. Some regulars are Abbie Taylor, a fellow blogger, who lives in Wyoming, and Jill Jennings, a highly published writer, who lives in Florida. Karen invited poets who published with her publisher and they came from many different places. 

Although Writers' Night Out will be ending in June 2023, for several reasons, I will miss those evenings together with writers I will not likely see in person. I hope they will continue to visit us at Mountain Wordsmiths, a Zoom meeting facilitated by Carroll S. Taylor. That group meets once a month at 10:30 AM Eastern time. In May, Carroll will host the writer Bill Lightle, author of 

Race & Politics in the American South: A Personal History

Bill grew up in Albany, Georgia where I lived half my life. We both went to the same schools. I read this book and think he will be a very interesting person to listen to on May 25. I agree with his insight into race and politics in the deep south, especially in southwest Georgia. 

To attend this online program, you will have to be invited by Carroll Taylor. Contact me and I will put you in touch so you can receive a link. 

Carroll S. Taylor

I am trying to use a different desktop computer most of the time and the Internet still doesn't recognize it so I am having problems with WiFi and internet service. I am convinced that Internet Technology is trying to make us older folk completely crazy. At times I want to throw up my hands and say, "OK. I give up. I will not touch a keyboard again."

But I am a writer and I must continue to write.  I hope to see you soon on Zoom if not in person.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Writers' Night Out featured Karen Paul Holmes

Writers' Night Out was held on Zoom Friday evening. 
Our featured poet was ill and could not participate, so Karen Paul Holmes stepped in and did a fantastic job reading some of her poems and then she gave us a brief program on how writers can learn from song lyrics by famous people like Paul Simon and others whose musical lyrics read like a poem. They use rhyme both internal and end rhyme and alliteration is often a part of song lyrics. I have always been drawn to song lyrics by people like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I am a fan of the late John Denver and the lyrics to his songs are fabulous. 

Our writing reads better when we create rhythm in poetry and in prose. The late Terry Kay, Georgia author, said we can add rhythm to prose by writing both long and short sentences. I find that reading my prose aloud helps me see where I need to break up the words, give the narrative a punch with a short sentence and then a longer sentence. I tell my students to break up paragraphs. Readers like more white space and not long stretches of expositional writing unless you are Pat Conroy and can describe the marshlands of the South Carolina Coast with images that grab anyone who can read.

I am thrilled to have Terry Kay sign a book for me.

We often get so caught up in what we want to say that we forget the best way to say it. Writing is a literary art and we learn the rules and tools we need, but we must also learn the art of how to use language to reach our readers and hold their interests. 

Do you find yourself skipping long parts of a book or story when there is no action, nothing is happening and the language is dull? I know avid readers who say that there must be something happening to hold their interests. Dialogue is one way to attract the reader, but it must be natural to the story and should help move the story along. We find that dialogue is important in writing narrative nonfiction as well as fiction. 

Karen gave us all something to think about last evening. Karen teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. I took a weekend class there a few years ago when she taught this subject and was inspired to write some of poems I am very pleased with.

WNO will meet again next month on the second Friday evening on Zoom at 7:00 PM. Our guest will be the Poet Laureate of the Piedmont. We look forward to meeting her and hearing her poetry.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

NCWN West Presents These Events for 2020

Winter is a time we writers often hunker down, spend more time writing, submitting our work and planning for the coming year. In our area, we resume several of our writing events in March when the weather is more predictable. The critique groups continue year round, but it is not fair to a writer to have them plan for a reading or for teaching a class when the unpredictable weather might prevent anyone from attending.  

As Program Coordinator, I and volunteers work on a schedule of writers and poets for our Literary Hour at the John C. Campbell Folk School. This year from April to October, the NC Writers' Network West brings two of its more than 100 members in western NC and North Georgia to the stage at the Keith House Community Room. Students and faculty of the school and local community residents attend these programs. We feature published writers and poets as well as newer writers who enjoy the warm welcome of the folk school audiences. We include the audience by having them introduce themselves or by having them participate with questions for the writers.

Also beginning in March is Coffee with the Poets and Writers held monthly at the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, NC. We began this event in 2007 at Phillips and Lloyd Bookshop, and it is still a favorite. The attendance continues to grow. The Open Mic portion each month is open to anyone who wants to bring a poem or short prose piece. Featured are members of NC Writers' Network.

Nearly a decade ago, Karen Holmes who lives in Hiawassee and in Atlanta, attended a Writers Workshop in Blairsville, GA, sponsored by NCWN-West. She was impressed and became a member. After attending critique groups and readings for awhile, Karen created Writers' Night Out, a monthly gathering of writers set in north Georgia. She invited outstanding authors and poets from Atlanta and paired them with local writers each month. Many of those who traveled up from the city, stayed over and taught classes at Writers Circle around the Table. We were given the chance to meet and study with Robert Brewer, poetry editor of Writers' Digest and Michael Diebert, poetry editor of the Chattahoochee Review. Because of this event hosted by Karen Holmes, award winning poet, local writers met, learned and networked with people of influence in the literary world.

All of these events are sponsored by NCWN-West, a program of the state organization for the mountain community of western North Carolina and north Georgia. Since 1990 the writing community in the mountains has grown and NCWN-West now has a membership of 130.  The state organization receives support from the NC Arts Council and is a non-profit organization, therefore, we as a program, are also non-profit.

In the past two decades we have published anthologies, Lights in the Mountains and Echoes across the Blue Ridge, with work by mountain writers, held annual conferences and appointed representatives for NCWN-West who hold meetings for writers in counties from Henderson to Cherokee and in Towns and Union Counties in Georgia.

Over the years, small, individual groups of writers were spawned from the NCWN West monthly free events, but most professional writers become members of NCWN and therefore, NCWN-West. Members will tell you how helpful it has been to their success to be a part of the organization. From connections to top editors as well as contests for poetry and prose writers,        membership has something for all writers.

Writing is a solitary art, but when we come together in our writing community we don't feel alone and we learn from each other. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Richard Kraweic at Writers Circle. Register now.

Registration open now. Send fee by PayPal or mail check to 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC  28904. Just three weeks to register so  don't  wait.

Saturday, September 9, 2017, Writers Circle Studio, Hayesville, NC
Fee: $45.00
10:30 AM until 1:30 PM
Richard Krawiec

Revising and Organizing a Poetry Book, with Richard Krawiec

Often the difference between a manuscript's acceptance for publication, or rejection, is decided by its organization. A poetry book needs to be organized, it has to begin with the first poem and move you on a journey through the last one. 

It can be organized by theme, imagery, emotional development and other ways.  In this workshop we will explore how to identify the best way to organize your poems, and others, so that editors will give your book submissions a fair reading.  In looking at organization, we will also look at revision strategies, and ways to identify themes.  Information on submitting to literary publishers will also be discussed. Students should bring ten poems to the class.  If you don't have 10 poems that's okay - there will be samples available.

Richard Krawiec has published three books of poems, most recently Women Who Loved me Despite, Second Edition(Sable Books). His work appears in dozens of literary magazines, including New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Dublin Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Spillway, North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Fifth Review, etc. 

He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net multiple times. In addition to poetry, he has published 2 novels, Time Sharing and Faith in What?, a story collection, And Fools of God, and 4 plays. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NC Arts Council(twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 

As founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active publishing company, he publishes full-length collections, chapbooks, anthologies and an award-winning online magazine, One A hands-on editor, he has worked to edit and organize chapbooks and collections by, among others, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Betty Adcock, Jaki Shelton Green, and Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writers' Night Out in Blairsville GA sponsored by NCWN West

Tomorrow night in Blairsville, GA at the Union County Community Building, Steven Harvey, author of the Book of Knowledge and Wonder, a memoir I recommend to anyone who likes to read about interesting people and their true stories, will be featured at Writers' Night Out.

Steve takes us on a search with him as he looks for and discovers the young mother who took her life when the author was only 11 years old. As he says, this is not a sad book, but is a book of wonder as he learns who this lovely woman was. He celebrates her in his book and we see how devastating mental illness can be, not just to the individual, but to those who love the afflicted person. 

The book is filled with photos that bring the reader right into the story.
Come early, at least by 6:00 p.m. if you plan to eat at the grill before the reading. And, remember, we have open mic. You can read for three minutes. Sign up at the door.
I hope to see you there!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Outstanding poets and poetry at Writers Night Out August 9

Rosemary Royston and Karen Paul Holmes, both well-published poets, will read from their new books at this month’s Writers’ Night Out at the Union County Community Center in Blairsville, GA. The two plan to do a coordinated reading, alternating their poems on similar subjects. The event takes place on August 9 with a social hour at 6 p.m. (dinner available for purchase) and reading at 7 p.m.  An open microphone follows for those who’d like to read their own writing. The public is welcome to this free event.

Karen Paul Holmes, founder and host of Writers’ Night Out, is a freelance writer, poet and teacher whose new poetry collection, Untying the Knot, was recently released by Aldrich Press and is available on Amazon. It’s a story of loss and healing, written, as one reviewer put it, “with grace, humor and without a dollop of self pity.” Holmes teaches at Writer’s Circle in Hayesville, NC, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. She also hosts a poetry workshop in Atlanta. Publishing credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia. She won a poetry grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation in 2012.

Rosemary Royston holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and teaches at Young Harris College. Her poetry chapbook, Splitting the Soil (available through Finishing Line Press and Amazon) has been described as “Spiritual, sassy, smart, and so sure for a first collection.” Her poetry has appeared in many places, including Southern Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Town Creek, KUDZU, New Southerner, Dark Sky Magazine, and the Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia. Two of her essays are included in Women and Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland)

Writers’ Night Outis sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network-West and normally takes place on the second Saturday of the month (third Saturday in October). Prose writers or poets wishing to participate in the open mic can sign up at the door to read for three minutes. The four-year-old event recently moved at the Union County Community Center at Butternut Creek Golf Course, 129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76, phone (706) 439-6092.  Signs will be posted to direct attendees to either the upstairs ballroom or A-B conference room for the event. For more information, please contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writers Night Out - last of this season - Don't Miss it!!

Last month, we had a small group of 10 in attendance, so please come this Friday to give these wonderful poets a large and enthusiastic audience as we usually do for Writers' Night Out. November is our last meeting of the year -- we'll resume in March 2014.
Writers’ Night Out
Friday, Nov 8
Brothers Willow Ranch Restaurant, Young Harris, GAPrivate Room upstairs (can access by ramp from upper parking lot)

6:00-7:00 eat dinner or munchies and socialize (come early to order dinner)

7:00-ish announcements and featured reader
7:45-ish Open mike, sign up at door, limit 3 minutes per poetry or prose reader (Please time yourself at home, let's make it fair to everyone. Prose readers can often eliminate some details and still captivate the audience with their piece).

Featured Poets' Bios:

Katie Chaple is the author of Pretty Little Rooms (Press 53, August 2011), winner of the 2012 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry through Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She teaches poetry and writing at the University of West Georgia and edits Terminus Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Antioch Review, Crab Orchard Review, Mead, New South, Passages North, StorySouth, The Rumpus, Washington Square, and others.

Travis Denton is the Associate Director of Poetry @ TECH as well as a McEver Chair in Poetry at Georgia Tech. He is also founding editor of the literary arts publication, Terminus Magazine. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, such as Mead, The Atlanta Review, The Greensboro Review, Washington Square, Forklift, Rattle, Tygerburning, Birmingham Poetry Review, and the Cortland Review. His second collection of poems, When Pianos Fall from the Sky, was published in October 2012 by Marick Press.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Maren O. Mitchell, NCWN West member, popular at reading Friday night

Maren O. Mitchell, author of the self-help book, Beat Chronic Pain, an Insider's Guide, captivated her audience at Brother's Willow Ranch Restaurant Friday night. Maren's poetry is popular and she is published in excellent journals, but this intelligent and charming writer impressed me with her book based on her own experience. Unwilling to become dependent on narcotic pain prescriptions after debilitating spinal surgery, Mitchell researched other means to deal with chronic pain. In her book we see her quirky sense of humor and her determination and strength of character.

Last night, she stood holding lightly to the backs of two chairs while reading and seemed to have no pain at all. But she says she fights it every day and she shares her methods in her book.

Beat Chronic Pain, an Insider's Guide: Ways to Confront and Relieve Pain Through Avenues Other Than Drugs
Publication Date:
Nov 10 2012
0985311908 / 9780985311902
Page Count:
Order from 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday workshop with Scott Owens

It was lively here this weekend. Our guest instructor, Scott Owens, highly published poet, teacher, speaker, and editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, arrived on Friday afternoon for his reading at Writers Night Out, held in Hiawassee, GA at Mountain Perk. We made him comfortable in our guest room overnight, and Scott was up at 5:00 a.m. quietly enjoying his self-made breakfast.

I warned him I am not an early riser, and he would have to fend for himself with cereal, fruit and juice, if he wanted breakfast before 8:00 a.m..

The enthusiastic poets and writers who had registered for his three hour workshop arrived with questions and were eager to hear Scott speak. One of them told me she felt this was one of the best workshops she had taken. Although she has been writing for many years, she picked up constructive tips on writing poetry and essays.

I was unable to go to Writers Night Out, and I missed the NCWN West picnic this year where Scott was the guest speaker, but I'm sure our local area writers enjoyed the priviledge of meeting him and learning from him.

Writers Circle became somewhat of a writing retreat for Scott as he had the place to himself for one day and one evening. All I asked of him was to feed Tiger, the resident cat.

Tiger, resident cat