Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Small Presses

Two publishers will have tables in the Author Tent: Cedar Creek Publishing and Pocahontas Press.

Cedar Creek, headquartered in Bremo Bluff, Virginia, publishes Virginia books by Virginia authors—poetry, memoir, fiction, and books for children. Cedar Creek also publishes an anthology by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

Cedar Creek display at VA Festival of the Book
Cedar Creek books

Pocahontas Press, headquartered in Blacksburg, was founded over 25 years ago by Mary Holliman. When Mary died in 2011, Jane and Michael Abraham purchased rights to the name. Michael, who is also an author, ran the family priniting business for 17 years and knows the technical side of printing. Jane, who has a degree in English, shares Mary Holliman's vision that "everyone, no matter how ordinary, has a story that needs to be told."
At the Pocahontas Press table, many of the press's older books will be for sale at a special discount price. Here are a few of the Pocahontas Press books:



Come visit Cedar Creek Publishing and Pocahontas Press. They just might have the book you've been looking for.


Lots of artists will have work displayed and for sale at Mountain Spirits. The artists will set up near The Artisan Center Along the Crooked Road and The Grainery on Franklin Street. Plus there'll be art for sale inside the Artisan Center and Grainery, too.

Among the many artists and craftspeople who were invited to participate in this year's Mountain Spirits Festival are the following: wildlife artist Carol Yopp, potters Susan Tyree and Kent Walton, glass craftsmen Nancy Erikson and Diane Brzesky, painters Barbara and Bob Stout, birdhouse maker Richard Yopp, carved walking stick craftsman Melvin Simmons, landscape artist Penny Simmons, quilted wall hanging crafter and painter Katy Sulzman, crochet genius and printmaker Diana C. Quick, painter Philip Sheridan,  candlemaker Malissa Quintanilla, photo-mandala printmaker Paula Caldwell, sculptress Page Turnerauthor and artist Ibby Greerand others.

Green Pitcher by Ibby Greer
 Fine art jewelry will also be available: Moondancers will be there with fabric art, pens, jewelry, art.  Nell Frederickson, who is also a potter, will have her custom design fine gold jewelry, and Kitty Kat will have her wire-wrapped jewelry.

Pendant by Nell Fredericksen
If you want to see some excellent art or maybe do some early Christmas shopping, visit the artists at the festival.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Story-tellers and Music

During the Mountain Spirits Festival, several story-tellers will spin their yarns upstairs in the Franklin County Public Library. Among the story-tellers are these folks:  Linda Goodman (at 10:30), Linda Hartman at 11:30, Charles Lytton at 12:30, and David Bass (1:30).

Linda Goodman's Book
Musical groups performing outside at the festival include Southern Breeze (10:00), Upriver (11:00 & 3:00), Ladies of the Lake (noon & 2:00), and Aspen Black & Foxie (1:00).

 Upriver plays Appalachian mountain music, Ladies of the Lake is a traditional folk music group, and Aspen Black plays country and western.


Southern Breeze is Samantha and Alex Young. They played at the Franklin County Library's book launch for Stuck and they were terrific!

Sam and Alex Young
Besides authors, and story-tellers, and musicians, Mountain Spirits also offers some activities just for kids. Between 10 and 2, Franklin County Parks and Recreation will provide kids a chance to find candy in the straw, play cornhole, and design their own photo frames. Look for the big white tent behind Edible Vibe (and in front of the authors' big white tent). 

You're sure to find something entertaining at Mountain Spirits. There's something for everyone!

Mountain Spirits Festival is brought to you by the Franklin County Public Library, The Artisan Center on the Crooked Road, the Rocky Mount Center for the Arts, the Grainery, the Town of Rocky Mount, and Franklin County Parks & Recreation. For more information please contact Debra Weir at 540 -420-8501, or you can email her at debraweir@franklincountyva.org. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Regional Novels

Several novels with a regional setting will be available at Mountain Spirits.

Sally Roseveare's two mysteries, Secrets at Spawning Run and Secrets at Sweetwater Cove, are set at Smith Mountain Lake.


Becky Mushko's Stuck is set in Union Hall in eastern Franklin County.

If you're looking for a good regional read, you should find it at Mountain Spirits.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding Your Way

If you're coming from out of town to the Mountain Spirits Festival, you might need a map to help you get where you're going. Most of the festival's activities will be on or near Franklin Street. To get there, you will either arrive in Rocky Mount from Rt. 220 or Rt. 40. (See "Driving Directions" at the end of this post.)

Business Route 40 takes you through the main drag—Franklin Street—where all the activity will be. In the map below, "A" marks the area where you are going:

The authors' tent  (marked in green below) will be near the library ("A") and the Franklin Center. Artists will be set up near the Artisan Center of the Crooked Road and The Grainery next door (both close to intersection with High Street).

Authors: After you unload your books, your vehicles should be parked across Claiborne Avenue in the Franklin Center parking lot. A golf cart will be available to shuttle you back. Also, a hospitality room (and restrooms) for authors will be in the Franklin Center.

Nearby places to eat within walking distance: In front of the authors tent is Edible Vibe, at 315 Franklin Street. Across Franklin Street (and a block up the street at 230 Franklin), a deli is located inside Antiques and Collectibles Along the Crooked Road. A few blocks down Franklin Street, at the Farmers Market where Farmer Appreciation/Old Timey Day will be in full swing from 10-2, several vendors will have food for sale. 


From Roanoke, take US 220 South to the first Rocky Mount exit.  This exit puts you on North Main Street.  Go 3-4 miles.  You will come to a light that crosses old RR tracks and onto a bridge.  Drive straight ahead (go past The Hub Restaurant), look for Claiborne Avenue on right (Rocky Mount UMC is on the corner).  Turn right onto Claiborne Avenue, go about ½ mile.

From Martinsville, take US 220 North to the first Rocky Mount Exit (just past 619 Minute Market). This exit puts you on South Main Street. Follow South Main for 2-3 miles.  Once you pass the Courthouse (on the right) you need to look for Randolph Street (on the left). Turn left onto Randolph Street, go to bottom of hill, take right into The Franklin Center/Franklin County Library parking lot.  Author tent is across Claiborne.

From Lynchburg/Smith Mountain Lake, take Route 122 South to Rocky Mount.  Take Right at light and go through town.  (You’ll pass Lowes, Walmart, on left; Sheetz on right).  Continue straight. (You’ll pass McDonald’s on left, Franklin County High School on left).  Go straight through light at high school (you’ll pass Hardees on left, DMV on right). Go to top of hill, take Right onto North Main, then immediate left onto Claiborne Avenue (next to Rocky Mount UMC). Go ½ mile.

We hope you enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who's Who

. . . in the Author Tent.

This isn't a complete list, but it will give you an idea of who will be there with what books:

Michael Abraham, an inveterate wanderer of the Appalachian Mountains, lives by the credo, "You can only be lost if you care where you are." A businessman by profession, he is the author of three books about West Virginia and Virginia— The Spine of the Virginias, a non-fiction look at the people, history, and culture along the WV/VA border; Union, WV, a novel of loss, healing, and redemption in a small central Appalachian town; and Harmonic Highways, a non-fiction look at the people and places along Virginia's Heritage Music Trail, The Crooked Road. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with his wife, two dogs, and four motorcycles.

Margaret Adkins, an 88-year-old widow, has lived in the Fieldale/Martinsville area all my life.  She loves to write short stories and poems. Her two published memoirs, Echoes of Time and Two's Company, are about growing up, her married life, her family, and her travels. She was married to Herbert Adkins for 44 years. Her family came in threes: three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Look for Margaret at the Piedmont Writers table.

Libby Bondurant, author of Grazing Along the Crooked Road retired from working thirty-two years in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and was ready to explore new avenues.  She loves to travel and meet new people, making the compilation of her cookbook a great adventure.  Quilting, crafting, and spending time with family are some of her favorite pastimes.  Parents of a son and daughter, she and husband Dickey especially enjoy the company of their three grandchildren.

Ralph Berrier, Jr., author of If Trouble Don’t Kill Me, is a features reporter at The Roanoke Times. He has written extensively about Virginia's mountain music history. Ralph's work has been honored by the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Awards, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Atlantic City Press Club's National Headliner Awards, the Newspaper Association of American and the Virginia Press Association. He plays bluegrass and old-time fiddle around Roanoke, Virginia, where his lives with his wife and daughter.

Ethel W. Born, author of  From Horse 'n' Buggy to High Tech (Carrying the Mail in Rural Virginia), serves the Virginia Rural Letter Carriers’ Association as parliamentarian.  In recognition of her service and her offer to gather and write their stories and history, she was awarded Honorary Membership in the VARLCA. Her published writings include history and stories of Methodist Women in Virginia and around the world. A Story Corps Alumni and member of the  National League of American Pen Women, her biography appears in Who’s Who of American Women  and Who’s Who in the World. Ethel will be inside the library.

Bruce Bytnar, author of A Park Ranger’s Life, is retired from the National Park Service. He volunteers at the Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden in Lexington. Visit his blog at http://www.aparkrangerslife.blogspot.com.

Dorothy Hemenway Carter, BSE, MFA, is a writer and a high school teacher in Henry County Schools. This spring, she published her novel, Facing Fallout, and is working at completing her next book. Carter attended Hollins University’s Graduate School of Children’s Literature. She is a member of Piedmont Writers in Martinsville, VA. In 2009, she won the “Who is Your Atticus” essay contest sponsored by Piedmont Arts.  Look for Dorothy at the Piedmont Writers table.

Amanda Cockrell is the founding director of Hollins University's graduate program in children's literature, and managing editor of the university's literary journal, The Hollins Critic. She has received fiction fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Following several novels for adults, What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay is her first book for young adults.

Sue Coryell, author of Eaglebait, has taught students from 7th grade through college. Her articles have appeared in Smith Mountain Laker.Com, Blue Ridge Traditions, Cooperative Living, Taste of Home, The Washington Post, and several regional newspapers. A resident of Smith Mountain Lake, she’s written press releases for The Smith Mountain Arts Council, The Smith Mountain Charity Home Tour, and other lake organizations. Her YA suspense novel, A Red, Red Rose, will be available in 2012. Sue will be at the Lake Writers table.

Michael Davis retired from supporting the military and intelligence sector in 2005 and began his writing career. He currently resides in Franklin County and has authored 8 novels and 4 short stories. In 2008 & 2009, he received the Author of the Year Award from Champagne Books. He writes romantic suspense, military/political thrillers, and science fiction. His novel Blind Consent won the Rose Award for best romantic suspense. His other books are Forgotten Children,Veil of Deception,  Shadow of Guilt,  Whispers of Innocence,  Tainted Hero, Righteous Fury, Touch of Blue,  The Treasure,  Rimfire,  Essence,  and Final Solution.
Rodger Doss grew up in Callaway, Virginia.  The people he grew up with are real but could be in any novel.  He’s written Shine, The Killing of a Court, and Two Wheels Across America; done numerous magazine articles (both local and national); had his own local TV show and played bluegrass music with "The Guard" and blues with "The Blues Jam Band."  He is retired from General Electric Company.
Lynn Dudley, a poetry contributor to In Frame Magazine, is writing a mystery novel. She usually writes about growing up in Kansas and is working on a cookbook with recipes and family stories from the South and the Midwest. Her essays have appeared in the Readers Diary of the Martinsville Bulletin and her story, “Grandmother’s Flower Garden,” has been published in four quilting magazines. She will have handmade bookmarks for sale at the Piedmont Writers table
Mary E. Farris, author of Poetry by Mary, is a lifelong resident of Martinsville and is past president and current secretary of the Piedmont Writers Group. She has stories in the 2010 Henry County Virginia Heritage Book,and Piedmont Writers Group's new anthology. Retired from the Edwards Adult Day Care Center, she is a member of Morning Star Holy Churchand the Fayette Area historical Initiative. Her hobbies are writing, reading, and doing church work.
Carolyn Tyree Feagans writes inspirational/historical novels set in the Blue Ridge area. Her books include The Dogwoods are Blooming, Spring’s Return, In the Shadow of the Blue Ridge, Sharp Top, There is A Season, and A Bittersweet Story. Born in Lynchburg, Carolyn grew up in Amherst County at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and spent over thirty years in marketing and personnel management. For over twenty years, she served in Sunday school and inner-city church ministry.  Her faith combined with her love for nature and history now enables her to fulfill her dream– that of writing stories of hope. An avid reader with a keen interest in history, she relentlessly researches the past for her authentic settings, weaving her stories through actual local, national and international historic events. She and her husband enjoy traveling in their RV in the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Atlantic coast.

Fred First, since discovering his passion for writing at age 54, maintained a daily photo-blog, self-published Slow Road Home—a Blue Ridge Book of Days and What We Hold In Our Hands—a Slow Road Reader, penned two biweekly newspaper columns and broadcast some three dozen NPR essays. His work centers on relationship to nature, place and community, particularly Floyd County where he serves on the board of SustainFloyd. His background as field biologist, teacher and photographer enrich his writing and enliven his public speaking events.

Iris Gillespie, editor and publisher of InFrame magazine, worked for 25 years as a film and television artist in Los Angeles. She was the first woman to open a California state-approved school teaching her craft, which was located at Television Center in Hollywood. In 2003, she retired to Virginia where she is continues to develop her skills in photography and writing. Piedmont Arts Table.

Linda Goodman, an Appalachian Mountain native of Melungeon descent, whom the Albuquerque Journal called “one of the great living masters of the storytelling art,” has appeared nationwide and has been published in the Chicken Soup and Stories for the Heart Series. Her book, Daughters of the Appalachians (Overmountain Press), has been adapted into a critically acclaimed play. Linda is a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church and had taught workshops on Storytelling in the Ministry throughout the country. Linda will be telling stories inside the library.

Ibby Greer, author of A Season of Letters and PaperFaces: Babyboomer Memoir, is also an artist, whose work is online at www.blueladyarts.com, at the local Artisan Center Along the Crooked Road, and at her ‘Round the Mountain Trail studio, Blue Lady Studio. A native of Illinois, and raised in FL, a graduate of Hollins College, with an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Ibby Taylor Greer has been part of the Rocky Mount, VA, scene since she “married in” in 1990, to the late T. Keister Greer, Esq., author of  The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935.

Karen J. Hall, author of two books in the Images of America Series—Wythe County and Building the Blue Ridge Parkway, grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Both of her parkway books are co-authored with FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway. She wrote The Blue Ridge, a book in the Postcards of America Series. She is a graduate of Surry Community College, John Wesley College, and Salem College. She lives in Guilford County, North Carolina.

John Koelsch is the author of the poetry book Forever in Black and the e-published novel Mickey 6, both based on his Vietnam experiences. In 2009, 2010, and 2011 he received three 1st place gold medals, a second place silver medal, and a 3rd place Bronze medal in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition and was invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in 2010 in LaCrosse, WI, and in 2011 in Fayetteville, AR. His short story “A Christmas Pony” was published in Patchwork Path: Christmas Stocking Anthology and his poetry has been published in Clinch Mountain Review, Prime Living, and other publications. He lives in Salem with his wife Nancy Wheeler. Valley Writers Table

Charles Lytton was born in Blacksburg, Virgina and just never got around to leaving.  He has both a B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech and is a 34-year employee of Virginia Tech. He has worked as the Giles County 4-H Extension Agent the whole time. In a different direction, he tells stories around the New River Valley and wrote New River bonnets apple butter and moonshine. He is  recently retired and married to most lovely lady, Gail. He'll be telling stories inside the library.

Charles Shea LeMone, author of Corner Pride, was born and raised in Philadelphia but left on a freight train in 1967. He has worked as a cook, longshoreman, independent taxi owner, photographer, editor, journalist, ghost-writer, owner of an introduction service for singles, and teacher of creative writing seminars throughout the Los Angeles School District. LeMone arrived in Franklin County in 2002 to open up landlocked property for an elderly aunt and decided to stay.

James W. Morrison, retired from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, is the author of Bedford Goes to War: The Heroic Story of a Small Virginia Community in World War II, a historical drama and book about Bedford County, Virginia, in WWII. He also has written two books on international affairs, some 20 short stories, several short plays and poems, and many essays. He will be at the Lake Writers table.

Becky Mushko, author of Ferradiddledumday and Stuck, won the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest (three times), was nominated for a 1997 Pushcart Prize, and won two categories of the infamous Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest—“Worst Western” (1998) and “Vile Pun” (2008). Her work appears in A Cup of Comfort for Writers, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, and Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vols. II & III. For ten years, she wrote a humor column, “Peevish Advice.” A retired teacher, she was 2006-07 writer-in-residence for Roanoke County Schools. She serves as recording secretary for the Virginia Writers Club and vice-president of both Lake Writers and the Franklin County Library Board of Trustees. She'll be at the Cedar Creek table.

Gary Noesner, author of  Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator,
retired from the FBI in 2003 following a 30 year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator.  He retired as the Chief of the FBI's Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group and was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, right-wing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens. He has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping produced by the History Channel, TLC, A&E, CNN, CBS, BBC, and others. He was the subject of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air in 2010. 

Richard Raymond, III, author of Blue and Gray Ballad, is a 1954 graduate of US Naval Academy, served six  years in the USMC and 22 years in the Army National Guard. A retired  engineer, he writes military history articles, poetry, and fiction.  His poetry has won over 50 prizes from the Virginia Poetry Society, Irene Leach Memorial Prize, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets. His work has appeared in various army publications, 17 issues of the  Poet's Domain series, Blue Ridge Traditions, and 1993 Anthology of the Poetry Society of Virginia. His work-in-progress is a collection of "Sheriff Reynard" mystery short stories set in Botetourt County. He'll be at the Valley Writers table.

Sally Roseveare, author of two novels—Secrets at Spawning Run and Secrets at Sweetwater Cove —writes mysteries set at Smith Mountain Lake. “I enjoy writing so much that I’m often developing a plot and creating characters in my head when I should be paying attention to other things,” says Roseveare. She has three married children and thirteen grandchildren. She'll be at the Lake Writers table.
Peggy Shifflett, born in the Allegheny Mountains west of Harrisonburg, now lives in Salem. A graduate of James Madison University, she earned her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.  Before retiring, she served as Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Professor of Sociology at Radford University. Her self-published books about her experiences growing up in Appalachia are The Red Flannel Rag: Memories of an Appalachian Childhood, Mom’s Family Pie: Memories of Food Traditions and Family in Appalachia, and The Living Room Bed. The Red Flannel Rag won the 2005 Shenandoah Valley Folk Life Award for preservation of Shenandoah Valley history. She'll be at the Pen Women's table.
 Barbara Stout, author of The Kindness of Pines and a children’s book of haiku titled Whispers, has had numerous poems published in various magazines such as Hellas, Amelia, Snowy Egret, and Psychopoetic. A graduate of Earlham College and Northwestern University, she taught English for thirty-seven years at Kent School in Connecticut where she initiated the Creative Writing program and advised the student literary magazine. She also wrote play reviews for newspapers in Kent and in Sherman, CT. Last summer, she conducted a poetry workshop at the Franklin County Library and is interested in starting a poetry critique group. She lives with her husband, George in Rocky Mount. She'll be at the Valley Writers table.

Paul Fike Stutzman, author of Recovering the Love Feast, is a graduate of Bridgewater College and Eastern Mennonite Seminary (MA in Religion). A licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren, he currently serves as Interim Minister at Boones Mill Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Recovering the Love Feast is an expansion of his Master’s thesis.

Charles A. Swanson teaches high school English, college composition, creative writing, and AP Language at Gretna High School, Gretna, VA.  Frequently published in Appalachian magazines, he also pastors a small church, Melville Avenue Baptist in Danville.  He has two books of poems:  After the Garden, published by MotesBooks, and Farm Life and Legend, from Finishing Line Press.

Avis Carter Turner, author of The Carter Family Tree, Climb Your Family Tree, No Batteries Required, and postcards based on her articles and photos, is a charter member and immediate past president of Piedmont Writers Group. She has also served as vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. She has stories in the 2010 Henry County Virginia Heritage Book and Piedmont Writers Group's anthology. Her blog is “Relatively Speaking (http://foothillsmedia.blogspot.com).


Cedar Creek Publishing, which publishes “Virginia books by Virginia authors,” is located in Bremo Bluff, VA. Linda Layne, Andy Straka, and Becky Mushko will be at the Cedar Creek table.

Pocahontas Press of Blacksburg will have some specially discounted books available for purchase..

Franklin County Historical Society will have two tables filled with books of historical interest. 

Lake Writers is the literary branch of the Smith Mountain Arts Council. Membership is open to writers of any genre. They meet from 10 AM until noon on second Fridays at Moneta/SML Library and on fourth Fridays at the Westlake Library. James Morrison, Sally Roseveare, Susan Coryell will be at the Lake Writers table.

The Valley Writers Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club will be represented by Richard Raymond, Barbara Stout, Rodney Franklin, and John Koelsch.

Piedmont Writers Group provides a safe haven for writers where they can share their work, nurture one another, and develop and improve upon individual talents. They meet at 6:30 on the second and fourth Tuesdays at the Piedmont Arts Association, 215 Starling Avenus, in Martinsville. At the table will be Margaret Adkins, Dorothy Hemenway Carter, Iris Gillespie, Mary Faris, and Avis Carter Turner

 Roanoke Valley Branch of the League of American Pen Women will be represented by past president Peggy Shifflett  and member Ethel Born.

There are some other writers who will be under the tent, but their bios are not yet complete.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teen Reads

Some recently published books for young adult and for middle grade readers will be at Mountain Spirits.

Three are YA: Corner Pride, a coming of age novel by Ferrum resident Charles Shea Lemone; Memento Nora by Roanoker Angie Smibert; and What We Keep is Not Always What Will Stay by Hollins professor of children's literature,  Amanda Cockrell. The other two books are for younger readers: Eaglebait, a middle school novel by Smith Mountain Lake resident Susan Coryell; and Stuck, a middle-grade paranormal novel by Penhook resident Becky Mushko. Here's a bit of what the books are about:

What We Keep is Not Always What Will Stay (Flux, 2011): Angie, a teenager who's been confiding her feelings to a statue of St. Felix (who suddenly takes human form), falls for Jesse, who suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. 

Memento Nora (Marshall Cavendish, 2011): In the not-to-distant future, Nora has the opportunity to remove unpleasant memories by taking a pill, but she and two friends decide the memories must be saved and shared. (Update: Angie will not be able to make the festival. However, her book will be available.)

Corner Pride (Multicultural Educational Publishing, 2009): Two teenage boys, in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood in 1957, have dreams of a bright future—one wants to become a prizefighter, the other a writer.

Another YA book, previously mentioned (and pictured) in the June 5th Piedmont Writers post, is Facing Fallout, by Dorothy Hemenway Carter. In Facing Fallout (Createspace, 2011), Sara spends her junior year of high school working for a newspaper and "facing fallout" from several complications in her life.

Stuck (Cedar Creek Publishing, 2011): 11-year-old Jacie, stuck in grief over her mother's death and stuck on a Union Hall, Virginia, farm with her soon-to-be stepmother, helps a ghost who is stuck on earth.

Eaglebait (back in print via iUniverse, 2011): Underachieving 14-year-old Wardy Spinks is a target of bullies until a teacher takes an interest in him. Wardy gains confidence, but then the teacher exploits his scientific abilities.

Visit these authors under the tent on October 1st. Susan Coryell will be at the Lake Writers table, Becky Mushko will be at the Cedar Creek table (where her Appalachian folktale Ferradiddledumday will also be available), Dorothy Hemenway Carter will be at the Piedmont Writers table, and the other three authors will be at individual tables.

Note: You don't have to be a young person to enjoy these books. Older readers will enjoy them, too.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Appalachian Recipes and Memoir

Peggy Ann Shifflett, a retired Radford University professor of sociology, was born and raised in Hopkins Gap—fifteen miles northwest of Harrisonburg, Virginia, where the old ways persisted until recently. Her books, “The Red Flannel Rag” and “Mom’s Family Pie,” chronicle in painstaking detail what growing up in Appalachia was like. She writes both from her own experience and with the perception of a sociologist documenting minute details of the Appalachian culture.

“The Red Flannel Rag,” her memoir of growing up in a large extended Appalachian family, received the 2005 Elmer Lewis Smith Award for preservation of Shenandoah Valley folk life. (The title refers to the custom of rubbing a red flannel rag with a poultice of hog lard, onions and camphor, and tying it around a person’s neck to cure a cold.) Now in its eighth printing and used in Appalachian studies classes at several colleges, the book was written when Shifflett was sixty. Because many of the customs were dying out, she decided to preserve them. She writes about history, family members, religion, education, superstition, and moonshine. And much more.

“Mom’s Family Pie: Memories of Food Traditions and Family in Appalachia” is a collection of country recipes, plus the stories behind the recipes, a genealogical record of Shifflett’s family, the customs of a typical Appalachian family, and a testimonial to strong women who made do with what they had. The title refers to a family pie, which differed from a fancy pie that was served to guests. Fancy pies were round and had both a bottom and top crust, often decorated. Family pies were plain; the bottom crust was simply lapped over the filling and thus required less time to prepare. Family pies were much bigger than fancy pies so there were usually plenty of leftovers.

From childhood, Shifflett watched the planting, picking, processing, and eating of all the foods she describes in “Mom’s Family Pie.” From her mother and aunts, she learned to milk, kill chickens, forage for morels, kindle a fire in a wood stove, cook, can, hunt, and much more— everything a good farmwife needed to know. 

She wrote “Mom’s Family Pie” as a tribute to her grandmother’s generation, when women married in their early teens, had three or four babies before they were twenty, fed their families and cared for their homes, and often died before they were forty. Then their daughters and granddaughters carried on the food traditions. “Mom’s Family Pie” describes how to cook the food these women raised or gathered and how to prepare parts of assorted animals, both domestic and wild.

Like a family pie, Shifflett’s books aren’t fancy—but if you hanker for a taste of down-home life and wonderful story-telling, they’re delicious. Both these books, as well as her latest book, "The Living Room Bed," will be for sale at the Roanoke Valley Pen Women's table.