The page has moved to:
this page

Thursday, June 30, 2011

West Virginia writers, Write Here, Write Now Add a Line

As part of the FestivALL activities, West Virginia Writers set up a booth in front of Taylor Books and invited all and sundry to participate in our Add a Line to the story activity. Lots of people stopped by to add a line to one we had posted to begin a story and the stories grew and grew. Eventually, people came up with their own lines and the stories lasted all day. We've transcribed the stories below: look for your line! And thanks for participating.

West Virginia Writers Write Here, Write Now Add a Line Story

Story One

Someone parked the car on the mailbox last night, but I’d swear it wasn’t me. I passed this car and saw a drunk postal clerk taking revenge on the U.S. Postal authorities. I should have just kept walking, but I decided to lend a helping hand to the authorities. That’s when things got dicey; they ended up coming after me! The can of Bud Light in my purse didn’t help my credibility when I tried to explain I was the drunk that ran over it! But since the authorities knew me by my first name from our re-occurring accounts, it did no good. I’m elected, selected, and highly protected. I must maintain my image. Are they photographing my good side? I suppose I could try sleezing up to the policeman. Maybe they’ll let me out for “good behavior.” Although my “good behavior” would still be considered bad by most; the west side in me, I guess. That’s when it started raining. My thin tee shirt got wet and the girls were standing at attention. Could this help me? It maybe could help? But I realized: would I want to be remembered that way? I decided I had to go out with a bang. Turning around, I sprinted down the street, mustering all the speed I could. I tackled the person who parked on my mailbox with all of the strength I could muster.

“Paw Paw?” I said. “Get out of the bath tub and take off them socks!”

That’s a Kodak moment! Then I went into the kitchen and baked some West Virginia Cornbread! Eating it with a spoon. It was a dreamy state to be in.

Story Two
He thought back and wished he could remember all their names, but even more, he wished he could remember where he buried them. He was looking for his money, rubies, and gold. He went into the haunted shack to search for them. Someone snuck behind him and hit him with an axe. When he awoke he realized it was a dream—a very bad dream. Probably something he remembered from a late night movie. Edgar decided a nice cup of chamomile tea would soothe his frazzled nerves. He goes back to bed in his rabbit slippers and WV pants with his pink shirt. As he gets back into bed, his alarm goes off. It was time for him to get up and go to breakfast with his friend John! John and Edgar had been friends since their senior year of high school; they shared a common interest in scary movies. They went to the midnight premier of all the box office sensations, getting the same popcorn deal: a #7 with cherry coke. Little did they suspect that the coke had been spiked with an experimental drug designed to make folks who take it compelled to reveal secrets. So Edgar ended up telling John where the bodies were. What would John do with this information? He had to think about it, so they went into the dark theater and sat in the last row of seats. He then walk away calmly and picked up a phone and disappeared.

Story Three
Going to the zoo had been the biggest mistake Liese and Levi had ever made. Liese had forced Levi to let her drive, because that’s how it works, and on the way there, she accidentally totaled Levi’s FAB bike. She was dead when they got back, but Levi was unaware of the forces of ferrets that would result in this tragedy at first Levi was extremely sad but then he thought, “Think how powerful I would be if I could harness the power of the almighty narwhal horn!” They discovered some exploding, enchanted goats that ate multicolored bricks. And then a narwhal named Feliciano gave her his magical horn. The magical horn was also multicolored, just like a double rainbow! And then I woke up! What does it mean?

It means I need to travel back to the maritime 5. Halifax is lovely in the summer. Mussels at the waterfront warehouse will be great for my lack fresh seafood in my diet. But for now, COFFEE! If I don’t get moving I will be late to my job at the circus making balloon animals. Then my pet unicorn will starve to death because I’m not making money. Coming home makes me miss all the small town joys of Charleston, like the Salmon patty display on the river every night at midnight. As my days go by, I lift my head to the sky, reality sits in and I realize God is in charge at my life I can’t focus because of the belly dancing . . .

Story Four
She was as Appalachian as a West Virginia Paw Paw. She liked to wear a sundress and sun glasses.

One day while baking bread, a bird flew in the house.

While trying to catch the bird she covered it with flour.

With caked wings fluttered about the ceiling, landing on top of the curtain rod where it looked all around the room before saying, “Who’s here? Who’s here?”

There was no answer.

There was no question.

The question was answered!

The floured bird chirped and fluttered around and dusted the cake.

It was flying south to Puerto Rico. The bird had friends in old San Juan. A great wintering place except for the local street cats who love to eat birds.

Story Five
With just a flutter of hope and a flicker of anticipation, she opened the box.

As she looked in with anticipation, she saw a glowing light. With trembling fingers, she reached inside to pluck the source of light.

She drew her hand back as with a hiss. A small dragon hissed at her hand.

The dragon stopped for a moment and noticed she was afraid, so he said, “Don’t be a nerd, because people in this day and age don’t have to fear either dragons or their mothers-in-laws!

Story Six
He stared at the paper with pen in hand. Sadly, the air conditioning was broken and she was walking out the door. Sabrina stared after her; she was a blonde poodle and needed to be outdoors even more than her human. She decided, “Well, guess I’ll put down the pen, take Sabrina for a walk downtown, see what’s going on at FestivALL Charleston.” The humanity hit him in the face like a bad, bad cumquat.

Story Seven
FestivALL seemed the same as last year until . . . I saw how much MaKenna loved Ellen’s ice cream. She ate a ½ scoop of vanilla and then sang till the balloons popped. She cried so loud that her voice shattered the windows of the ice cream shop. Suddenly, children from all over crawled through the open windows and ate all the raspberry chocolate chip! Then they all went across the streets to Taylor Books to not read, but to steal the pottery so they got away. They disguised themselves as belly dancers and jumped on the river boat. Hot and Sweaty they leaned over the stern and enjoyed the cool, refreshing water. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. The man who dares. Then a sea monster came from the depths of the Kanawha River and took one of the belly dancers hostage. And as she slowly slid into her ascending colon, she cried, “But who’ll take the mail to Redrock?” Spock arrived. Spock then knows he has to fight the mighty Elmo. The almighty Spock doesn’t care; the mail must be delivered. So with the help of Major John, troop 164 came to the rescue. They then secured the beast with knots they learned from the Boy Scout training. Then the triumphant dancers did a victory dance on the monster’s head. They sliced off his nose. From the hole that was his nose sprang Michael Jackson. Just eat it! Once he ate it . . . he then began to dance around: he he!!
Singing “Jaya Jagadambe Ma Durga! Victory to the Mother Goddess!

May we all live as Free Amazing Fulfilled beings. And may the Earth be blessed forever!

And then she woke up and realized it was all just a sugar induced dream.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


(An Affiliate of NCTE)

Call for Submissions

• Articles
• Conference Papers
• Essays
• Fiction
• News of Recent or Future Events
• Original Graphics (Drawings or Photos)
• Poetry
• Reviews of Books, Films, or Conferences
• Stories of Learning from Students & Teachers
• Teaching Ideas

Deadline: July 20, 2011

Please send your submissions or inquiries to:
Dana Stoker Cochran and Katherine Combiths, Co-Editors
Appalachian Regional Studies Center
Radford University
Phone: 540-831-5366

E-mail: or

Word Processing: SINGLE-SPACE all text, including headings and subheadings using TIMES NEW ROMAN with a 12 pt. font. Use TABS to space text across a page rather than the SPACE BAR.

Form of Submission: Send the manuscript to the editors electronically using Microsoft Word to attach your document to an e-mail. Photos should be submitted in jpeg format.

Submission should include the following: Date, name, e-mail address, postal mailing address and a biographical sketch.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Interview of James N. Frey, author of HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL

WVW members and your blog readers might find today's Bo's Cafe Life interview of James N. Frey, author of HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL, funny and informative.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Robert Yoho signing

WV Writers member and author Robert Yoho will have a book signing on Saturday, June 25th, at the Framing Gallery in Grand Central Mall, in Vienna, West Virginia, from 1-4 PM. All four of his Western novels currently in print will be available there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WV Writers loses F. Ethan Fischer

(Thanks to Terry McNemar and Ed Zahniser for their contributions to this article.)

West Virginia Writers and the world lost one of its brightest stars Friday when Ethan Fischer succumbed after a long battle with cancer. He wrote mysteries for radio and poems for posterity. He produced The Rumsey Radio Hour where Ethan made famous his "Johnny Dime the Poet of Crime" routines. His work has appeared in the following places among others: Potomac Review; Dickinsonian; WPFW Anthology (next to Ferlinghetti); Antietam Review; A Public Hanging; POETRY; Free State; WV Magazine; Works on Walls; Virginia Country; The Muse Apprentice; The Pembroke Magazine; Mountain Pathways; Tuscarora Review; Ruby.

In 2009 when Grace Cavalieri hosted the series, "The Poet and The Poem" from the Library of Congress featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and several other noted poets, F. Ethan Fischer was included and aptly so. The radio series is available to all public radio stations via the Public Radio Satellite System's ContentDepot.

His book Beached in the Hourglass was published by The Bunny and Crocodile Press and his work may also be found in "Wild Sweet Notes: 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry. He was senior editor of Antietam Review and he broadcast news over WRNR. He taught English & Creative Writing at Shepherd University where he found among his students, stars of the fertile void, but there was so much more to this man.

Ethan Fischer was a lawyer, a writer, an actor, a poet and a broadcast journalist. Topping his personal joy list, however, is his life, and work, as a teacher.

As an adjunct professor at Shepherd University, Ethan taught English literature, creative writing and poetry.

"It's such a privilege," he said. "I love my students. They're a scrappy bunch with a good attitude."

His work also took him to Frederick Community College where he taught on the graduate level; and to the parks in the summer where he taught "Young Poets in the Park" for years. As Ed Zahniser said, "He taught them from 8 or 9 to 80 or 90."

"I get to work with true genius before it gets stepped on. It's perfect," said Ethan.

He also established an ongoing independent poetry program for Shepherdstown students.

Ethan was a contributing senior editor for the Antietam Review for years. He was the visiting poet/teacher/editor to Bluefield College, and conducted writing lecture-workshops for the West Virginia Writers, Inc. - of which he was elected vice president - the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival, the Arts & Humanities Alliance, Veterans Administration Hospital programs, Antietam Review, Hagerstown Community College Writer's Day and the Arts Centre.

He chaired the annual New Writers Fiction Award, as the faculty adviser to Sans Merci and writes for the famous, infamous and widely broadcast Rumsey Radio Hour. His work has been published in the Potomac Review, Dickinsonian: WV Magazine; Virginia Country; WPFW Anthology; Antietam Review and the list goes on.

Ethan is married to Ursula Nottnagel and they have made their home in Harpers Ferry for years with their three children.

He might live in Harpers Ferry but finding Shepherdstown he recalls, "You love finding the community you've been looking for." He loves the fact that this town supports so many arts events.

Seems like when you arrived in Shepherdstown you could find him at his favorite venue. He loved the Blue Moon for giving poets and musicians, young and old, ongoing opportunities to perform. To quote the devoted patron, "This is where it's at."

Ethan Fisher was a writer and a poet but above all else, he was a teacher.

Among his students are, as he says, "stars of the fertile void to come if we are not careful. Yet poetry forever stays 'a night train ticket out of time.'"

A memorial service for Ethan Fischer will be held Saturday, July 9, 2:00 p.m. at Presbyterian Meeting House Washington and King streets in Shepherdstown.

Reception to follow at the home of Carlos Niederhauser and Liz Wheeler, North Princess Street, next to Jefferson Security Bank, Shepherdstown.

Service will feature remembrances (5-6 different aspects of his life--father, teacher, mentor of youth, poet, editor, entertainer) plus the reading of six of his poems presented by different voices. Readers and poems to be selected. Laura First and Don Oehser will present music, as will Dianne Holliman.

Each Day Living

These are living days,

Being gods of unreason

But reason for being ways

Of tuning as keys turning in

Locks of the body or the face to fall in with grace,

to walk at my own pace,

to speak daily in praise

~ Ethan Fischer

January 2009

Sunday, June 12, 2011

WV Writers 2011 Annual Writing Contest Winners

(The winners listed in the document below are only from the 2011 Annual Writing Contest and does not include the People's Choice or Writers Wall winners. They will be posted post haste.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011 Conference Under Way

The WV Writers 2011 Summer Conference is now officially in progress. If you're still on the fence about coming, just know that we accept walk in attendees so it is not too late. And if that wasn't enough, allow us to sweeten the deal by pointing out that all attendees receive a conference goody bag which is absolutely packed with amazing things this year. From literary magazines, to novels, to regional magazines, to national writing magazines, this goody bag is well worth the drive. (And on that note, allow us to say a huge thanks to our goodie bag organizer Debbie Crim for doing a tremendous amount of work contacting organizations to donate to those bags, as well as publishers and authors who donated autographed copies of their books which are available on our silent auction table. She did an amazing job.)

It's not too late. Just head to Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, WV.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

New issue of HOLLER accepting final submissions

The publication of the Summer issue of HOLLER is just around the corner and still accepting poems or short prose through June 15.

Holler is now available in Princeton, Bluefield, Hinton, Lewisburg and Charleston.

Check out their website for more details (

Conference Attendee Checklist

A handy checklist for attendees of this weekend's 2011 WV Writers Summer Conference.

  1. If you've never been to the conference, check out the Conference First Timers Guide for some handy tips.
  2. Remember to bring material to pin to the Writers Wall, be it poetry or prose. Remember not to put your name on the Writers Wall material.
  3. Remember to bring material to read in the People's Choice competitions on Friday or Saturday, be it poetry or prose.
  4. Remember that name badges are required in order to attend workshops, so that will help in knowing who people are in all the activities. This year we've chosen the much-requested hanging badges instead of the pin-style so they won't snag clothes, so this will make them easier to wear.
  5. Remember to bring something to donate to the silent auction. People have brought books, crafts, jewelry, art, sculpture and many other kinds of things. If it looks interesting, chances are it will do well. If you don't have something already, maybe ask a local business to donate something. WV Writers can send them a tax receipt.
  6. Remember to bring a food item or drink item for the Reception Table in the Main Hall. This can be something home baked or store bought, like cookies, candy bar minis, doughnuts, or, God help us, something healthy like fruit. Chips, not so good. Likewise for drinks, a 12 pack of canned soft drinks or water is greatly appreciated. We'll have coffee and fruit/veggie trays on hand, but if you have healthy food you'd like to bring, that's always appreciated too. We like to have enough food and drinks on hand so there are refreshments throughout the weekend, so if everyone brings a food item and a drink item, we'll be good to go.
  7. If you have a cooler and ice you can loan us for the weekend please do bring it. We use them to keep the refreshment drinks cold.
  8. If you're doing a Pitch Session with Ben LeRoy or Katharine Sands, you might stop by the following address for some Pitch Session How To suggestions. (
  9. If you've registered for your room and meals with Cedar Lakes, be sure they have your meal choice for the Saturday evening banquet (baked steak or stuffed chicken). Every year Cedar Lakes has to spend countless hours calling people to get their choice.
  10. Check out the finalized schedule online for the latest changes, so you can plan your days accordingly.
  11. Remember to bring a hoodie, sweater or something warm to pull on, as it does get nippy at night. Similarly, a rain coat or umbrella would be good, as traditionally there is an annual torrential downpour at some point.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Poetry Reading and Open Mic in Bluefield

Poetry Reading & Open Mic

Share your art.

Experience connection.

Come to the WindHorse Healing Arts Center

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

7 PM

WindHorse Healing Arts Center

422 North Street

Bluefield, WV

(Coming from Bluefield College, turn left at Community Center flashing light, follow road curving to right. Building is on the left just past a parking lot.)

Please bring $2 to help cover costs

Refreshments available

For more information, contact Rob Merritt: 304-920-1860

Friday, June 03, 2011

WVW Conference Vidcasts: Conference Sampler 3

Continuing our vidcast series to whet appetites for the 2011 WV Writers Summer Conference, we present part 3 of our three part sampler of conference workshops from 2010.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

WVW Conference Vidcasts: Conference Sampler 2

Continuing our vidcast series to whet appetites for the 2011 WV Writers Summer Conference, we present part 2 of our three part sampler of conference workshops from 2010.

Introduction to Improv workshop this Saturday

Comedian, actor and writer Steve Goff will be offering a one-day workshop entitled, INTRODUCTION TO IMPROV on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at the MAC, on High St., in downtown Morgantown, WV. The class will run from 1pm to 4pm pm.

****There is no charge for the workshop but space is limited. Pre-registration is required. **** To register contact Steve at ( ) or 304-782-3267 .

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

WVW Conference Vidcasts: Conference Sampler 1

Continuing our vidcast series to whet appetites for the 2011 WV Writers Summer Conference, we present part 1 of our three part sampler of conference workshops from 2010.

Woodland Press seeks Mothman stories (REMINDER)

Title: The Mothman Files
Publisher: Woodland Press, LLC
Editor: Bram Stoker Award-Winning Editor Michael Knost
Format: Trade Paperback
Payment: Five-cents per word (upon publication) plus contributor copy.
No reprints
Story length: Up to 3000 words
No multiple or simultaneous subs
Deadline: Friday, July 1, 2011
E-mail submissions to:

We will accept .doc attachments only. The editor is looking for fictional mothman stories. The setting is not limited to West Virginia or any other regional area known as mothman territory. The editor wants tales with a solid plot and good character development. Stories should grab the reader's attention quickly and hold it until the end. The editor wants powerful and emotional tales that are creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody. Although stories will mainly target an adult/young adult audience, we DO NOT want stories containing language or content unsuitable for children.

Formatting your manuscript:
Use Times New Roman (12).
Italicize what you want italicized.
Single space after sentence-ending punctuation.
Be sure to include your name, address, email on manuscript.