Good News from the Great Smokies Community

by Tommy Hays, Executive Director, Great Smokies Writing Program

Tina Barr’s third book of poems, Green Target, was selected by judge Patricia Spears Jones as winner of the Barrow Street Press Book Prize and will be out in fall 2018. She has new poems, from a fourth book manuscript, forthcoming in American Journal of Poetry, Barrow Street Journal, and Tar River Review.

Bob Brooks announces the publication of The Clown Forest Murders, a mystery-thriller set in New York and New Jersey. Black Opal Books released the novel November 2017.

Jennie Boyd Bull sends word about the publication of Where I Live: Coming Home to the Southern Mountains (Finishing Line Press, April 2018). These are meditative poems of discovery on her first year of retirement as a single woman in the South Toe River Valley. They evoke self-discovery as she settles into the rural mountain community, reaching out to neighbors and the local literary festival and artists, wrestling with race and poverty, teaching Tai Chi at local health centers, hiking with NC High Peaks Trails, and gardening with Dig In! community garden.

Beth Bunch self-published a metaphysical novel, titled "Hearing Voices," in September of 2017 (Balboa Press). The book is about a young woman who travels to Sedona, Arizona, to attend a week-long experiential workshop with the hope of learning to better cope with her psychic abilities. Thanks to Heather Newton and her class, "Getting Her Done," Beth completed the manuscript in three months, and to promote the book, she attended the NCWN-Bookfest in Hayesville March 24.

Bill Caldwell’s tribute to his mother, a poem titled “Altar Call,” will appear in the May 2018 edition of Artemis.

Janet Ford won the Guy Owen Prize for 2017 from Southern Poetry Review. She writes that she is “deeply grateful to the Great Smokies Writing Program.”

Anne Green’s poem “The Traveling Okra” appeared in Kakalak 2017. Another poem has been accepted for inclusion in Celestial Musings: Poems Inspired by the Night Sky, an anthology to benefit the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, Ball State University, scheduled for publication in spring 2018. Anne writes, “I remain grateful to the Great Smokies Writing Program, and especially to Cathy Smith Bowers, Tina Barr and Ken Chamlee for all I have learned since my first workshop with Cathy at the Kellogg Center years ago.”

Connie Gunter’s nonfiction piece, “Degrees of Poor,” was nominated by New Southerner for a Pushcart Prize.

Marie Hefley's profile of Wiley Cash, "Wiley Cash:  Always Home in the Mountains," was published in the April/May 2018 issue of Smoky Mountain Living. An earlier version of this article, which is now updated to include material on Cash's latest book, The Last Ballad, was published in the Fall 2013 issue of this publication.

Mike Hopping’s most recent project was a departure for this fiction writer. He and co-authors Alan and Arleen Bessette have published A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas (University of North Carolina Press). The book is a portable guide to the identification of about 650 species of mushrooms. While covering only a fraction of the types to be found in North or South Carolina, this is the most comprehensive general guide available for the area. Mike and fellow authors will appear in Asheville at Malaprop’s on May 3, at 6:00 p.m., and at Firestorm Books on May 12, 3:00.

Mickey Hunt published a book in September 2017 titled A Pictorial Guide to the Monarch Butterfly Migration over the Southernmost Blue Ridge Parkway, under his imprint Chaotic Terrain Press. The book contains information and (his) photographs on the monarch life cycle, maps, a listing of the best places to observe the migration, and details about some of the more popular hiking trails along this part of the Parkway. It's available at, Mr. K's Books in Asheville, and the gift shop of the Asheville Botanical Gardens. The majority of migrating monarchs travel to Mexico, but early this last winter he visited a few of the 460 overwintering sites in California, and he plans an addendum about the western migration to an updated 2018 edition of the guide.

Gene Hyde’s poem and photograph, "Athabasca River Glacial Melt Global Warming Blues," was just published in The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada. His creative nonfiction essay, "Shooting Rivers and Smoldering Churches: Fire and Rain in Southern Appalachia," has been accepted for publication in an upcoming Anthology of Appalachian Nature writing to be published by WVU press.

Karen Luke Jackson has had two short stories from a memoir in progress published this spring, "Bull's Eye View" in TOWN Magazine and "Inheritance" in Emrys Journal. In addition, her poem "Blue Bloods," written in a poetry class taught by Ken Chamlee, received Honorable Mention in the 2017 Kakalak and was published along with another, titled "Steady Walkers."

Constance Lombardo writes— “I took two kidlit classes with Joy Neaves, and here's my good news: Mr. Puffball: Escape from Castaway Island (HarperCollins), written and illustrated by me, was published on April 24. This is the third book in the middle grade Mr. Puffball series.” The launch was on April 25, at Malaprop’s Bookstore.

Jennie Lui’s YA novel, Girls on the Line, will be released in fall 2018 by Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. The novel is set in contemporary China in the time of the One Child Policy and follows two girls who age out of the orphanage system. When one of them becomes pregnant, the girls must grapple with life-altering choices and the psychological effects of neglect as they collide with factory bosses, family planning regulators, and a bride trafficker.

Kim Mako was accepted to be a Fellow at The Virginia Center for Creative Arts this spring. This honor includes three weeks of working in a private studio alongside 24 other artists (a mix of composers, fine artists, and writers).

Ronald Manheimer announces publication by Jorvik Press of his new book (out on March 5), Growing Up Existentially.

Jennifer McGaha’s memoir, Flat Broke with Two Goats, was named the next Big Library Read by OverDrive Library. It was featured April 2-16. With more than 30,000 libraries in over forty countries, OverDrive is the world's largest digital library.

Stephany Newberry-Davis’s story "The Seahorse,” was a 2016 Doris Betts Fiction Prize Finalist, a Finalist for the 2016 Rash Award in Fiction, and Honorable Mention Winner for The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville 2017 Literary Fiction Contest. The story was published in The Broad River Review Spring 2017. Her first poem, "Daddy," is forthcoming in The Broad River Review Spring 2018.

Amy Currie Parker writes: “I took Tommy Hays' ‘The Bare Necessities: An Introduction to the Craft of Creative Prose’ last spring ( 2017), my first such class with the Great Smokies Writing Program. That experience threw open some doors and windows for me, and with Tommy's encouragement, I sent out my short story ‘Feeding the Gods of Vacation Karma’ to a few journals, and it was published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature in July 2017. In addition, six of us who met in that class formed a writers’ group. With that extension of critique and support first offered by Tommy's class, I have continued to explore different writing genres, submit for publication, and further develop my craft. In March I attended the Troublesome Creek Writer's Retreat in Hindman, Kentucky.”

Ellen Perry sends news of recent publications, all works of short fiction: “Joni and Jesus,” Where the Sweet Waters Flow: Contemporary Appalachian Nature Writing (print anthology, WVU Press) — forthcoming; “Good Fortune,” My Wandering Uterus: Tales of Traveling While Female (print anthology of women’s travel writing); “Solstice,” The MacGuffin; “Dear Alice Paul,” Minerva Rising.

Patricia Poteat’s short story, "Swimming Lessons," has received an Honorable Mention in the 44th New Millennium Writing Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2016 Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition. Her creative nonfiction piece, "Hoi Polloi," will be published in 2018, in a volume titled Voices — a collection of essays and memoir pieces written by GALs from all across NC (GAL = Guardian ad Litem = court-appointed child advocate pro bono). This is the result of an initiative begun a year or so ago by the NC Administrative Offices of the Courts, the administrative/legal "home" of the NC Guardian ad Litem Program. Another nonfiction piece, "Witness," was published in the quarterly issue of Zero-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of The Veterans Writing Project (founding editors include Phil Klay, author of National Book Award winner Redeployment.) The publishers nominated this piece for a Pushcart Prize. Her flash fiction piece, "The Girl Who Fell to Heaven," was selected as a finalist in the New Millennium Award for Flash Fiction (by the literary journal, New Millennium Writings, Knoxville). She was also awarded Honorable Mention in the annual nonfiction competition at New Millennium Writings, for a piece about her pro bono pet therapy work.

Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt shares her good news: “My book, A Tangled Tree, which I worked on in two Great Smokies Writing Workshops, was published this summer by Logosophia Books. It was also nominated for the 2017 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award.”

Cari Greywolf Rowan was published in two anthologies at the end of 2017. She had five poems published in Breathing Words: A Year of Writing Together, and four poems published in Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told.

Nina Joy Silver’s story (memoir), Pobrecito, won honorable mention in 2017 in a Tulip Tree Publishing competition. It was also published in an anthology, titled Stories That Need To Be Told, containing all of the winning stories from the competition. Her (true) story was polished in a Great Smokies workshop led by Joy Neaves, where it was transformed from a children’s story into a memoir that fits within into the YA genre.

Laurie Wilcox-Meyer, who took a class with Katherine Soniat, had a poetry chapbook published in early 2018 by Finishing Line Press, titled Circling Silence. She also has a full collection of poetry, Of Wilderness and Flight, forthcoming in 2018 from FootHills Publishing, NY.

Meg Winnecour read her poem "Ways to Live on a Sinking Ship" at the kickoff to Waynesville's Poor People's Campaign in March.

Alida Woods just published a chapbook with Finishing Line called Disturbing Borders. She will read at the Malaprop’s Poetrio event on May 6.

For each spring issue, Tommy Hays, Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program, asks writers in our community to send their news of awards, presentations, and publications. For news about Tommy’s own publications, interviews, and appearances, visit his website (