A weblog forum for announcements of writing projects, events, contests and sundry other items for members of West Virginia Writers, Inc. and anyone else who finds them of use.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Denise Giardina to read at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg

BOOK DISCUSSION AND MEET THE AUTHOR: Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina

Author: Denise Giardina

When: Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30-7:30pm

Cost: Free, but a ticket is required.

     Call the Carnegie Hall office to register 304-645-7917.

Class size: minimum 5; maximum 400

Ages: 16 and older

Location: Carnegie Hall - 105 Church Street - Lewisburg, WV


Join us for an interactive discussion of Storming Heaven, by Denise

Giardina. After the discussion, you will have an opportunity to meet the

author. Denise Giardina's book, Storming Heaven, uses four strong,

entirely different voices to "evoke the passion and the pain of unionizing

the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia in the early 20th century. The

canvas is broad, the action complex but even minor characters quicken to

life in this memorable, beautifully written novel. The inhabitants of the hills

of Appalachia see their beloved land stolen by the coal companies; forced

to work in the mines, they are cheated out of their pay. Families starve, die

of malaria and dysentery and slowly, almost against their will, begin the

fearsome job of fighting back. In 1921, an army of 10,000 workers marches

on a single town. The coal companies, the police, and finally the federal

government close in; hundreds are killed and the man who masterminded

the attack is shot. As fast-paced and compulsively readable as a thriller, this

novel never overlooks the gentler pleasure of living on the land, falling in

love, raising a family. Stunning sensory images sear scenes on the mind's

eye. Giardina (Good King Harry) has written one of those rare books that

portrays a small world with impeccable clarity while telling an exciting story

in vigorous, elegant prose." (Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information,


This book club is offered in conjunction with the Coalfields and Molasses Making exhibit,

which will be on display at Carnegie Hall during the months of January and February 2015.


Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 Literary Tea series in Lewisburg

West Virginia Writers is once again co-producing the Literary Tea series alongside the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg.  The five week event will feature professional actors from the theatre as well as area winners of the WV Writers Writing Contest reading prose stories while attendees enjoy cookies and tea.

This year the Literary Tea series will begin Monday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in downtown Lewisburg.  West Virginia Writers first reader will be Dawn Baldwin, who was the 1st Place Winner in our Pearl S. Buck Award for Writing for Social Change category in 2014 for her entry "What the Wild Things Are."  Dawn also placed honorable mention in the same category for her entry "Of Stars and Leaves."

Everyone is invited to attend and the event is free.

The prose teas will continue Sept 22, Sept 29, October 6 and Oct 13.  There will follow a community poetry tea on October 20, also at 5:30 p.m. which will be open for participation to all poets or even simply readers of existing poetry. 

All Literary Tea events will take place at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre on Washington Street in Lewisburg.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blair Mountain Press Sale

15th Anniversary Sale



Books are $10.00 each and are listed on the website —www.blairmtp.net—so that you can read descriptions


Signed copies, and an inscription on request, neither of which Amazon can do.


New Title, 2013

Poems: What Love Is

Victor Marshall Depta

ISBN: 978-0-9768817-8-0


What Love Is on a School Bus



If he were less vulnerable, maybe years later, in his thirties when he's

outgrown his scrawny, miserable fourteen-year-old body and has the

strength for objectivity, he would, embarrassed as adults are by love

beyond their ironies, spoil the scene with realism


with spring, first of all, comparing the jonquils and forsythias to the

yellow school buses, dingy and mud-spattered, and stinking with

exhaust behind the vo-tech building


and then spoil the scene by describing the dreary students, drained of

their joy by the classroom, straggling in lines to board them homebound

to the camp houses, the black dust and burning slag heaps, the tipples

and coal trains in the mountains


and spoil it, then, with all the clichés of the adolescent—the acne, the

oily face, the smell of stale, anxious sweat, the burden- some books,

the bullying and blustering, the furtive glances, the awkward profanity


he would, as an adult, embellish the scene, perhaps with pathos, or with

hilarious, slapstick absurdities and obscene love, but the boy can't be

touched by any of that, not even by his fourteen-year-old ignorance, not

even by what would follow, flesh to flesh


I am not my clichés

I am not my body

I am is what love means

I am love's body

Blair Mountain Press

114 East Campbell Street

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601






Saturday, June 14, 2014

WV Writers Annual Writing Contest Winners List 2014

The winners of the 2014 West Virginia Writers Annual Writing Contest were announced during our Annual Awards Banquet at the WVW Summer Conference, June 14. 

You can now download the 2014 WINNERS LIST

Keep in mind this is the preliminary winners list and does not yet include the winners of the Writers Wall and People's Choice contests from the conference itself.  Check back mid-week for those.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest this year. It was a pleasure to have served as contest coordinator.

--eric fritzius

Friday, June 13, 2014

WV Writers 2014 Conference is ON!

The WV Writers 2014 Summer Conference is THIS WEEKEND, June 13-15, 2014, at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, W.Va. 

Walk-in attendees are welcome!  You can find out information about the conference, including workshop descriptions and presenter bios. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

WV Writers Conference Schedule

The following is the current schedule for the WV Writers Summer Conference
Friday, June 13, 2014
2:00-3:00 p.m.
1)     Renee Nicholson - Break Dance: Discovery How Line Break Works (or Doesn’t) in Your Poems –
2)     Rhonda Browning White – Short Stories: She May be Little, but She’s Tough;
3)     Marilyn Shank – Kids, Tweens, and Teens: Developmental Stages;
4)     Michael Knost – Flashbacks and Backstory;
5)     Kambri Crews – Publicity & Marketing: Sell Yourself .
3:15-4:45 p.m. (90 minute session)
1)     Kirk Judd – Journey to the Center of Your Mind;
2)     Laura Bentley – Writing Your First Novel: The Journey of a Hybrid Writer;
3)     Danny Boyd – Building Blocks (of good stories for screen and graphic novels);
4)     Sam Holdren – Screenwriting;
5)     Andrew Wheeler – False Memories/Confessions Created by Erroneous Forensic Analysis (60 min)
6:00-7:00 p.m.
1)     People’s Choice – Prose competition;
2)     Dave McCormick – Songwriting;
3)     Belinda Anderson – The Wounded Hero and Other Archetypes: Writing Middle-Grade Characters with Depth;
4)     Joey Madia – Selecting and Reading Your Work;
5)     Sandy Tritt – Writing the Story Only You Can Tell (Memoir)
7:15-8:15 p.m.
1)     People’s Choice - Poetry competition;
2)     Pam Hanson – Writing for the Inspirational Market;
3)     Dave McCormick – Creative Writing Basics;
4)     Natalie Sypolt – Whose Story is it?: Exploring Perspective and Narrative Distance in Fiction;
5)     Author Readings: Laura Treacy Bentley, Daleen Berry, Geoff Fuller
8:30 p.m.
Entertainment – Kambri Crews; The Fearless Fools
Bonfire (weather permitting)
Saturday, June 14, 2014 
8:30-9:30 a.m.
1)   Maggie Anderson – Writing Groups of Related Poems
2)    Natalie Sypolt – It’s Not Your Grandpa’s Mountain Story: What is Today’s Appalachian Literature?
3)    Belinda Anderson – Manuscript Checklist
4)    Patricia Wiles – Awaken the Child Within
5)    Naomi Sloan – Memoir and Imagination: Creative Non-fiction from Blog Posts to Personal Essays
9:45-10:45 a.m.
1)     People’s Choice – Prose competition;
2)     Maggie Anderson – Gathering the Storm: Putting Together a Poetry Manuscript;
3)     David and Naomi Sloan – How to Write with a Significant Other (and Survive);
4)     Sandy Tritt – Pass the Tissues;
5)     Rhonda Browning White – Beginnings and Endings: Hit ‘Em Coming and Going;
11:00-12:00 noon
1)     People’s Choice – Poetry competition;
2)     Pam Hanson – How to Write a Romance Novel
3)     Joey Madia – The Art of the Knights and Dragons Style Fantasy Genre
4)     Marilyn Shank – Coping with Grief and Trauma: It’s Not the Same for Children and Adolescents
5)     Kambri Crews - Publicity & Marketing: Sell Yourself (Repeat)
6)     People’s Choice – Youth competition
1:15-2:45 p.m. (90 minute session)
1)     Laura Treacy Bentley – Writing Your First Novel: The Journey of a Hybrid Writer (Repeat)
2)     Steve Goff – Improv Your Creativity, Improv Your Writing
3)     David Sloan –How to Deal with Complexity in Plots
4)     Andrew Wheeler – Crime Scene Reconstruction and the Investigative Process
5)     Kambri Crews – Non-Fiction Book Proposal (60 min)
3:00-4:00 p.m.
1)     Renee Nicholson – From Your Page to Their Page: Publishing Your Poems
2)     Daleen Berry & Geoff Fuller – Panel Discussion: Their book The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese: The Truth Behind the Headlines
3)     Mountain State Press Reception: New publications by Belinda Anderson & Kirk Judd
4)     Patricia Wiles – Children’s Writer’s Journey
5)     Rhonda Browning White – Cut It, Cut It, Cut It! Self-Editing for Writers
4:10-5:00 p.m.
Authors reading/signing - various presenters
Natalie Sypolt – Learn to do book reviews (tentative)
6:15 p.m.
Banquet with keynote speaker, Marilyn Shank, winner of the 2013 Christy Award
Presentation of contest awards
8:30 p.m.
Entertainment by:
Maggie Anderson and Renee Nicholson, poetry presentations
Music by singer/songwriter Dave McCormick
Bonfire (weather permitting)
 Sunday, June 15, 2014
9:00-10:00 a.m.
1)     Andrew Wheeler – Trial Review: A WV Murder Trial in Review
2)     Belinda Anderson – The Wounded Hero and Other Archetypes: Writing Middle-Grade Characters with Depth (Repeat)
3)     Podcasting Panel with Natalie Sypolt, Renee Nicholson, Eric Fritizus
4)     Michael Knost – Outlining Your Novel
10:15-11:15 a.m.
1)     Kirk Judd – Spoken Word Spoken Here
2)     Sam Holdren – Advanced Screenwriting
3)     Danny Boyd – Graphic Novels
4)     Joey Madia – Creating Strong Character to Tell Your Story (a subset of his broader workshops on playwriting)
11:30-11:50 a.m.
Farewell, drawings, conference feedback
1:15 – Board Meeting – All members welcome!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Conference pre-registration

From WVW Region 7 Representative Sherrell Wigal:

I just completed my Annual Conference registration to mail tomorrow.  I’m excited about conference this year.  What a great line-up of workshop leaders this year! Thank you President, Teresa Newsome for another great job with Conference.
     A week or so ago I stopped by Cedar Lakes and spoke with Gary Anderson (Coordinator of Conference Services) – Gary advised me that they have a new dining hall crew and are getting excellent comments about the food (yippee!) this year.  He also said they don’t have many room left for Conference.
     Gary and I also talked about the future of Cedar Lakes Conference Center and the staff is quite excited about the change of from a State agency to the Foundation.  This will allow for fewer restrictions for their facility and will open them up to apply for possible grants to allow them to make various improvements to the facility.
     Everyone get you pre-registration in ASAP.  This will help WVW in giving the staff at Cedar Lakes some idea of meal counts, etc., and with the preparation of the “goodie bags” for conference.   Also if you pre-register your name tag will be printed name (and you won’t have to hand-write your name).  Hope to see everyone there this year!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Meet the Author: Stephanie Kadel Taras

Main Library: Wednesday, May 14 at 6 p.m.; John V. Ray Room

Clendenin Branch Library: Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m.

Riverside Branch Library: Thursday, May 15 at 10 a.m.

Stephanie Kadel Taras grew up in West Virginia and now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When she started writing people’s life stories through her thirteen-year-old company, TimePieces Personal Biographies, she began to question her own identity as a West Virginian who moved away but still longs for home.  In this thoughtful mix of memoir and social history, Stephanie explores the history and culture of her home state and the choices women make in today’s mobile society. Weaving back and forth seamlessly between past and present, Mountain Girls features the lifelong friendship of two girls from Elkins, whose resilience, humor, and creativity shape unexpected lives. Mountain Girls won a 2012 book award from West Virginia Writers, Inc., while the book was still in production. A book signing will follow her presentation.

Adults and teens

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Meet the Author: Stephanie Kadel Taras

Main Library: Wednesday, May 14 at 6 p.m.; John V. Ray Room

Clendenin Branch Library: Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m.

Riverside Branch Library: Thursday, May 15 at 10 a.m.

Stephanie Kadel Taras grew up in West Virginia and now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When she started writing people’s life stories through her thirteen-year-old company, TimePieces Personal Biographies, she began to question her own identity as a West Virginian who moved away but still longs for home.  In this thoughtful mix of memoir and social history, Stephanie explores the history and culture of her home state and the choices women make in today’s mobile society. Weaving back and forth seamlessly between past and present, Mountain Girls features the lifelong friendship of two girls from Elkins, whose resilience, humor, and creativity shape unexpected lives. Mountain Girls won a 2012 book award from West Virginia Writers, Inc., while the book was still in production. A book signing will follow her presentation.

Adults and teens

Friday, April 25, 2014

WV Writers 2014 Conference Presenter Bios

(UPDATED 5/30/14)

Belinda Anderson’s enthusiasm for encouraging other writers is evident in her status as a Master Artist with the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, mentoring emerging writers through a matching grant program. She’s also a past recipient of the West Virginia Writers’ J.U.G. award, for mentoring and promoting the written word in West Virginia.  Belinda is the author of four books, published by the nonprofit Mountain State Press, based at the University of Charleston. Her first three books are short story collections: The Well Ain't Dry Yet, The Bingo Cheaters and Buckle Up, Buttercup. Her most recent book, Jackson Vs. Witchy Wanda: Making Kid Soup, is a middle-grade novel. She is serving as this year’s judge for the middle-grade level of the West Virginia Writers contest.  Her literary work was selected for inclusion on the first official literary map of West Virginia, published by Fairmont State University.

Maggie Anderson is the author of four books of poetry, including Windfall:  New and Selected Poems, A Space Filled with Moving, and Cold Comfort. She has edited several thematic anthologies, including A Gathering of Poets, a collection of poems read at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, as well as Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School and After the Bell:  Contemporary American Prose about School.  Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships from the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, and the Ohioana Library Award for contributions to the literary arts in Ohio.   The founding director of the Wick Poetry Center and of the Wick Poetry Series of the Kent State University Press, Anderson is Professor Emerita of English at Kent State University and lives in Asheville, NC.  Mrs. Anderson is the judge for the Emerging Writers Poetry category of the 2014 WV Writers Writing Contest.

Laura Treacy Bentley is a poet, novelist, and the book editor for WV Living magazine.  Her debut novel THE SILVER TATTOO - a  psychological thriller set in mythical Ireland – was released in 2013.  She also has a poetry collection called LAKE EFFECT.  Her work has been widely published in the United States and Ireland in literary journals such as The New York Quarterly, Art Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Antietam Review, Rosebut, Nightsun, Blink, Ginseng, Wind, The Stinging Fly, Kestrel, ABZ, Crannog, Now & Then, 3x10 plus, Grey Sparrow Journal, and numerous anthologies, including The Southern Poetry Anthology.  She received a Fellowship Award for Literature from the West Virginia Commission on the arts, and her poetry has been featured on the websites of A Prairie Home Companion, Poetry Daily, and O Magazine.  Her poem “The Quiet Zone: Green Bank Observatory” was published on a poster with a photo of the GBT and is available at the observatory’s Galaxy Gift Shop.  She was honored to read her poetry with Ray Bradbury in 2003.  Laura served as writer in residence at the Marshall University Writing Project for three years and taught creative writing during the summer of 2013 at the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts at Davis & Elkins College.  Visit her website at www.lauratreacybentley.com.

Daleen Berry is a New York Times best-selling author and the co-author of the The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese, which looks at one of the most shocking crimes of the decade. Berry’s professional writing career began at the Preston County Journal in 1988. Two years later, she received a first-place award for investigative journalism from the West Virginia Press Association and continued her work at the Associated Press, the Dominion Post, the Tracy Press, and the Cumberland Times-News.  Berry has covered serious crime including kidnapping and murder and has reported on the subsequent court and civil trials. Berry’s keen insight into the human psyche, her deep compassion, and her sensitivity have allowed her access to personal stories that were off limits to other reporters. Her Appalachian heritage gives her a sense of discernment about the region’s people that outside writers lack.  With a foreword by Ken Lanning, former FBI special agent and profiler, Berry’s memoir, Sister of Silence, has been used by students and instructors at Johns Hopkins University, UC Berkeley, Towson University, and Oklahoma City University. Broadcast journalist and former NPR Morning Edition host Bob Edwards called Berry a “magnificent storyteller.” Kirkus Reviews said Berry was “an engaging writer, her style fluid, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.”  Berry is an experienced public speaker and has appeared at TEDx at Connecticut College, Johns Hopkins University, UC Berkeley, and Penn State University. She has written on the topics of filicide-suicide, domestic violence murders, sexual crimes, and mental illness as a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Huffington Post, and xoJane. In 2001, she founded Samantha's Sanctuary, a 501(c)3 charity to help educate and empower abused women and children.

Daniel Boyd is an acclaimed filmmaker with dozens of films, including Chillers, Strangest Dreams: Invasion of the Space Preachers, and Paradise Park (aka, Heroes of the Heart) to his credit. A media studies professor at West Virginia State University since 1983, Boyd has also taught around the world including in Tanzania as a three-time Fulbright scholar.  Producing nearly every genre of film, Boyd’s television work has earned 3 national Telly awards and 2 regional Emmy nominations. He has recently expanded into graphic novel creation with Chillers – The Graphic Novel  (Transfuzion Publishing), which was the 2012 Shel Dorph nominee for Original Graphic Novel of the Year, and Ghastly nominee for Best Horror Anthology.   Chillers 2 was released in 2013, and CARBON, is scheduled for release in May 2014. Boyd also serves as “Artist and Residence” at WV State University’s Economic Developments Center on Charleston’s west side. www.danielboyd.com

Kambri Crews once lived with her deaf parents in a tin shed in Montgomery, Texas. She now owns and operates Ballyhoo Promotions, a PR and production company in New York City specializing in stand up comedy. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burn Down the Ground (Random House) and a renowned storyteller. She has performed on The Moth, Literary Death Match, Risk! and Mortified and has appeared at SXSW Comedy, UCB Theatre, Gotham Comedy Club. Also a public speaker, she has given speeches at the University of Texas, Texas Book Festival, University of Oregon, SXSW (South by Southwest), DeafHope, and many other schools, colleges, book festivals, and events.

Geoffrey C. Fuller is a New York Times best-selling author and the co-author of The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese. Fuller has made a living as a freelance writer-editor for twenty years and in that capacity has written fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in newspapers and radio, in literary and commercial magazines, and in anthologies and textbooks and gift books. He has written two award-winning crime thrillers (Not What They Seem and Caught in the Net), one of which appeared in 2011 (pub. as Full Bone Moon, Woodland Press). He also is completing a memoir (On Balance: My First Twenty-Five Years with Multiple Sclerosis) and getting ready to shop it. He prides himself in being able to write in any form for any venue, and has in the past ghostwritten for a number of individuals, some of them high profile. Fuller is also the only person to have been awarded prestigious West Virginia literary fellowships in all three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and memoir.  Today, Fuller edits for publishing houses and individuals, working in every phase from developmental editing to final proofing, depending on the project. He also writes articles for various literary, trade, and popular magazines, as well as literary and genre short stories.  A complete list of the over 50 book titles he edited and the 30+ fiction and nonfiction he has authored is available on request. He studied anthropology and psychophysiology at California State University, Fresno, and University of California at Santa Barbara.

Steve Goff is a comedian, actor and writer who has taught creativity and improv workshops for over twenty years. He has recently developed his Improve With Improv workshops which explore the relationship between creativity, improvisation and self expression. Since May of 2011, over 400 people have taken at least one of these innovative, energizing, creative, and fun improv sessions. Goff is also the coach of the Vintage Theatre Co.'s improv team, Fearless Fools.  Besides the workshops, the acting, and being a comic, Steve is also a freelance writer and consultant for various regional non-profit organizations. Steve lives with his wife, Beth, in Harrison County, WV.

Pam Andrews Hanson, a former reporter and West Virginia University journalism teacher, is the co-author with her mother/writing partner Barbara Andrews of 40 novels including romance, inspirational women’s fiction, and mystery for Harlequin and Guideposts. This spring Guideposts released Chesapeake Antique Mysteries, Forgotten History and Hidden Treasures, a two-book set by the duo. In addition, she and her partner have several indie inspirational romances for Kindle on Amazon. Currently she is working on a new cozy mystery project of her own. Pam, a past recipient of the JUG Award, now resides in Nebraska where she writes fulltime when she’s not procrastinating on Facebook: facebook.com/pamandrewshanson.

Kirk Judd has lived, worked, trout fished and wandered around in West Virginia all of his life. Kirk was a member of the Appalachian Literary League, a founding member and former president (and JUG recipient) of West Virginia Writers, Inc. , and is a founding member of and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, Inc., dedicated to the support and preservation of WV cultural heritage arts. Author of 3 collections of poetry “Field of Vision” 1986, “Tao-Billy” 1996, and “My People Was Music” 2014, and a co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology, “Wild, Sweet Notes – 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950 – 1999”, he is widely published.  Kirk was honored to be one of 5 readers selected for the installation ceremony of Louise McNeill Pease as Poet Laureate in 1979 at the WV Cultural Center on the Capitol grounds in Charleston, WV, and currently sits on the board of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation headquartered in Hillsboro, WV.  He is internationally known for his performance work combining poetry and old time music, and has performed poetry in Ireland and across West Virginia at fairs, concerts, and festivals for the past 35 years.

Michael Knost. Bram Stoker Award-winner Michael Knost is an author, editor, and columnist of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and supernatural thrillers. He has written many books in various genres, helmed anthologies such as the Legends of the Mountain State series. His Writers Workshop of Horror won the Black Quill and Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement in nonfiction. Michael is also a finalist for this year’s Bram Stoker Award for Barbers & Beauties, an anthology he co-edited with Nancy Eden Siegel. He edited the critically acclaimed Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy in early 2013—a writer’s guide with works by Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others. He has served as ghostwriter for several projects with the Discovery Channel and Lionsgate Media, and he recently released his latest novel Return of the Mothman. To find out more, visit www.MichaelKnost.com.

Joey Madia is a playwright, novelist, teaching artist, director, and actor. He is the Artistic Director/Resident Playwright of Seven Stories Theatre Company, Inc. and Resident Playwright at Youth Stages, LLC. He has appeared in or directed over 80 plays and in a dozen projects on camera. His poetry, essays, and short stories have been widely published and have earned him several awards. His first novel, Jester-Knight, was published in February 2009 (New Mystics Enterprises). His second novel, Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward was published in September 2012 (Burning Bulb Publishing). He is a book and music reviewer and the founding editor of www.newmystics.com, a literary site. Although he has written several main stage musicals and dramas, he specializes in social justice theatre and participatory plays for youth. His 17 plays for young audiences have been produced across the United States and he has two plays in the Dramatic Publishing catalog. He is the author of a series of four books on using theatre in the classroom (The Stage Learning Series, Accompany Publishing, 2007). He has written and performed pieces about Civil War captains Louis Emilio and Thomas Maulsby and is a Chautauqua Scholar for Voices from the Earth, which does symposia and performances on the African American experience in the Civil War.  As a teaching-artist he has taught and mentored thousands of students in both theatre and creative writing and has spoken at many schools and national conferences. He has worked with organizations including The Epilepsy Foundation of NJ and Camp NOVA to bring theatre to students with disabilities and has won three writing awards from Very Special Arts of NJ.

Dave McCormick is first and foremost, an exceptionally talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. A native West Virginian raised in Lincoln County, he began playing drums in the Duval High School Band at the age of 10. By age 12, he was playing guitar and writing songs. Since then, he has mastered guitar, dobro, mandolin, and lapsteel, and  has written over 500 songs in a wide variety of styles. A noted vocalist, his voice ranges from a rich warm baritone to a loud bluesy squall. An extremely versatile musician and entertainer, he is well versed in the genres of country, rock, blues, jazz, r & b, and folk. He is equally at home on stage as an acoustic solo act, or playing screaming electric guitar with his red-hot smokin’ band. An award-winning songwriter, he won the 2006 Mountain Stage New Song Contest and was awarded Best Song for “Where Are You Moses”. In 2008, Dave signed a publishing deal with Sure-Fire Music in Nashville, Tennessee. He has opened for, and shared the stage with many nationally known recording artists. While living in Nashville, Dave had the distinct honor and pleasure of opening for the legendary Merle Haggard on the hallowed ground of the historic Ryman Theater, home of the Grand Ole’ Opry.  He is an accomplished studio musician as well, having played sessions in Nashville and Muscle Shoals, along with countless hours in his home studio.  To date, Dave has recorded three CDs, “Music Man”, “Mountains On The Moon”, and “Ghost Inside My Guitar”. Soulful, eclectic, and well-crafted are terms often used to describe this consummate artist and his work. As a veteran performer, Dave is always seeking to expand his horizons and his fan base!

Renée K. Nicholson lives in Morgantown, WV, splitting her artistic pursuits between writing and dance.  She is on the faculty of the Multidisciplinary Studies Program at West Virginia University and is an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher. Renée was the 2011 Emerging Writer-in-Residence at Penn State-Altoona.  She studied English at Butler University, where she was a University Scholar in Creative Writing and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University, where she won the Rebecca Mason Perry Award for Outstanding MFA Student and the Russ MacDonald Prize for Graduate Writing. She is a member of both the Dance Critics Association and the National Book Critics Circle. She has been Assistant to the Director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop since 2007. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Chelsea, Mid-American Review, Perigee: A Journal of the Arts, Paste, Poets & Writers, Crosstimbers, Naugatuck River Review, Honey Land Review, Dossier, Stymie, ABZ, Prime Number, Blue Lyra Review, Switchback, Fiction Writers Review, Moon City Review, Redux, Cleaver Magazine, Barely South Review, Saw Palm, Bluestem, The Superstition Review, The Gettysburg Review and elsewhere. Renée’s collection of poems Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center is forthcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Her website is www.reneenicholson.com.

Marilyn Shank, winner of the 2013 Christy Award for YA, earned her PhD in special education from the University of Kansas, where she majored in learning disabilities and behavior disorders and minored in counseling psychology and families with disabilities. She has taught general and special education at the elementary, secondary, and college levels.   Marilyn’s work has been published in journals, and she coauthored the first four editions of Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools. Child of the Mountains is her first work of fiction. She lives in West Virginia with her three rescued dogs.

David Sloan has a background in neuroscience and molecular biology research, and is currently a project manager for Discern Health, a consulting firm in Baltimore, MD. He published his first novel, [Brackets], in 2012 as an independent work, and is continuously working on novels and short stories in the "technothriller" genre. He won 1st place in the Humor category at the WVW conference in 2012 for his short story "Bunkers".

Naomi Frandsen Sloan
received her BA in English from Brigham Young University and her MA in English from Georgetown University. She turned those degrees into (a little bit of) money by teaching on the high school and college level for several years before receiving a promotion to full-time manager, wrangler, governess, cook, and scullery maid to three children and a husband. While in college, she won enough writing contests to bank-roll a semester abroad to London, and she published a chapter in a book of personal essays about family life. Since then, she's appointed herself editor-in-chief to her novelist husband with the hopes that they'll make it big (or at least scrape together enough in royalties to return to England someday).

Natalie Sypolt lives and writes in West Virginia. She received an MFA in fiction from West Virginia University and currently teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Switchback, r.kv.r.y., Ardor Literary Magazine, Superstition Review, Paste, Willow Springs Review, and The Kenyon Review Online, among others. Natalie is the winner of the Glimmer Train New Writers Contest and the Betty Gabehart Prize. She also serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, the High School Workshop Coordinator for the West Virginia Writers Workshop at WVU, and is co-host of SummerBooks: A Literary Podcast.

Sandy Tritt is a writer, editor and speaker. The founder and CEO of Inspiration for Writers, Inc., an editing and critiquing service for aspiring writers, she has edited hundreds of manuscripts and ghostwritten several more. She is a past president of West Virginia Writers, Inc., the state’s largest writing organization, and has given workshops throughout the East and South. Sandy’s short stories have been published in literary magazines and local journals. In addition, she has published Everything I Know (Headline Books), Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook, and seven technical manuals (Phoenix Software, Atlanta, GA).

Rhonda Browning White resides near Daytona Beach, FL and works as a ghostwriter and editor for Inspiration For Writers, Inc. Her work has appeared in Steel Toe Review, Ploughshares Writing Lessons, WV Executive, Mountain Echoes: The Best of the First Year, Gambit, Justus Roux, Bluestone Review and in literary anthologies including Appalachia’s Last Stand. Rhonda blogs about the craft of fiction writing at www.WhyTheWritingWorks.com. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and in her spare time sells real estate and dabbles in investment properties.

Andrew Wheeler received his B.A. in Sociology from Concord College in Athens, WV and his Masters in Forensic Science from The George Washington University, in D.C.  He was a civil and criminal investigator for over a decade before entering academia. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Forensics at WVU Tech. He is a qualified expert in the areas of blood spatter, firearms, and fingerprint techniques.  His research interests include staged crime scenes and the shaping of investigator perceptions.

Patricia Wiles is the SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor Coordinator and the author of four novels for young readers: My Mom’s a Mortician, Funeral Home Evenings, Early Morning Cemetery, and The Final Farewell. Her essays have aired on public radio and appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and in the 2001 Writer’s Handbook. She has received several awards from the Kentucky Press Association for her work in print journalism.