TMW Newsletter - October 2013


Books have always been a part of my landscape.  Two huge books sat on the bottom shelf of my father’s polished wooden bookcase, in the living room.  One, bright red with very thin pages, a dictionary held some interest, but, though a reader at four years of age, lists of words had yet to become a fascination.

The other, darker red volume held more promise of other worlds, and not just because of its photographic representation of Saturn.  Another of its black and white plates included a place called Lhasa and its great Potala Palace, labeled a Buddhist monastery.  I lived in a small English town and had no television.  I’d never seen such an enormous place.  It’s multiple stories across a great width, made the large medieval church tower in the market place seem small.  The encyclopedia warned me there was a very different world out there, beyond the shores of my island.

As I grew older, my father built a new bookcase for his favorite science fiction stories, and a separate shelf for the hefty tomes.  The bookcase that had housed them moved from the living room to my bedroom.  It supported many titles that belonged to my much older sisters and the gifts to me that became such an easy choice, when birthdays and Christmas rolled round.  Later, I made a bookcase from a cardboard box and, what we used to call, sticky-backed plastic, having seen it done on a BBC children’s television program.  It sheltered my James Bond and The Man From Uncle paperbacks.

When I was seven, one of my Christmas presents was a 16-volume stack of The Junior World Encyclopedia.  Each one bound with artistically arranged pictures of items inside.  Each one bearing a different color spine, where the letter range and volume number were printed.  I enjoyed placing them in order on my bookshelf, where I also, somewhat compulsively, arranged my fiction books, in series by authors, or by size.  It was the neatest part of my room.

I come from a time when sick children were confined to bed, and I was often sick.  Once I had recovered from the worst of whatever virus had struck me, and I had tired of counting the recurring patterns on the wallpaper, and becoming annoyed that they hadn’t quite matched, I turned to books.  From the encyclopedia stack, I learnt things never taught at school, unless they always coincided with those many days I was absent.  The purple edged 14, Silk to Textiles, contained my favorite entry, on the Solar System.  The book still drops open at that point, as does the entry, Roman Gods and Goddesses, in Volume 13, Rabbits to Signalling, (sic).  I say, “still”, because of course I still have and treasure them.  They occupy a spot on a floor to ceiling bookcase built by my husband, who has excellent carpentry skills.

If I were told I could have the house of my dreams, there would be room after room of such shelf arrangements. One of the several bookcases I do have is full of cookbooks, and lives near the kitchen.  Another houses most of my Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman collection.  But lately, I have a new kind of bookcase; one I never thought I would. When I first heard of electronic books, about the mid-nineties, I shrugged.  Whoever would want one of those?  Development was in its early days and the e-reader I saw seemed clunky and awkward.  How could that replace the feel and smell of real books, especially new ones?  The convenience of popping a paperback into a bag to read on a journey?  The delight of an elegant hardback, full of color plates of tropical birds?

My friends were purchasing Kindles almost as soon as they were out.  I still wanted proper books.  Even when I received an iPad, in 2011, I took no interest in the iBooks app.  I was a bit sniffy about it.  Then, I went to Vancouver, Canada, at a time when the title for my book group was Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone.  It is a long book and heavy.  I broke down and found it through the iTunes store.  After all, it was free, and so much easier to carry on my thin, light, iPad.

I won’t say I was hooked, but I had found a reason to find an e-reader useful.  I began buying books whenever I went on a journey.  Indeed, it was easier to carry several books on the iPad, and not have to comb out of the way supermarkets, or the small English section of French bookstores, for desperately needed novels. 

Travel raised another advantage. This summer, I loaded two books by Kate Atkinson onto my device, before heading for Greece.  At one point, I had time alone and tore my way through them both.  Not long after finishing the second, I made my way to the distant hotel lobby, the only place to have a decent Wi-Fi connection, and downloaded the next volume.  I had to find out more about Jackson Brodie, the main character in those novels, and I wanted to know NOW.  E-readers don’t encourage delayed gratification.  Too often, it’s so tempting to pop open the app and with a few clicks and a password possess an author’s work.  The credit card changed hands long ago, and there’s a tendency to think that these books aren’t an indulgence, because they feel free.  That, a friend of mine said, was exactly why she likes them.

Courtesy of another hotel Wi-Fi connection in Guildford, Surrey, last month, I acquired three books I had seen in the town’s chain bookstore, Waterstones, earlier in the day.  I wouldn’t have bought them in the shop, because I didn’t want to add to the weight of my luggage for the transatlantic flight, two days later.  They sit on the facsimile of an attractive bookcase, and open into virtual pages that can be turned or bookmarked, at the tap of a fingertip.  I can look up words I don’t know, by highlighting them, again with my finger, and search for characters wherever they appear in the story.

I did purchase a slim volume, only available in Britain, I believed, called Turned Out Nice Again; On Living With the Weather, a collection of essays by naturalist Richard Mabey.  (I was wrong about that.  It’s available from Amazon.  Isn’t everything?) It’s on the table beside me now.  I like the watercolor of the English countryside on the front, the texture of its heavy paper cover and its pleasing shape.  I started reading it once the plane door had closed, at London Heathrow Airport, and all electronic devices had been switched to the off position.  It belongs to my landscape in a way my electronic version of The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter never will. 

And, so far, my electronic books haven’t proved as cozy, as a book made from paper does, huddling under the blankets when feeling poorly.

~Margaret Pennycook, Editor


I hope you all have had a fun and productive summer, and that you’re ready to focus again on writing – if in fact you ever stopped! (And I hope you haven’t.) TMW has the usual full slate of events coming up over the next six months, so get ready to start marking your calendars.

We’ll begin on Saturday, November 9, when Cookeville freelance writer and newspaper columnist Jenny Ivey will conduct an all-day writing workshop on “When the Byline Loses Its Thrill: Making Money with the Words You Write” at the United Way of Anderson County office in Oak Ridge. Any of you who attended Jenny’s column-writing special session at our conference several years ago know she is a talented and entertaining presenter, so sign up now and plan to spend an enjoyable, informative day with us next month.  You can do so at, or call Sue Richardson Orr, (423) 420-1152.

January Jumpstart XIV is scheduled for January 10-12, 2014. As many of you are already aware, we’ve had to find a new venue for Jumpstart in 2014, since the Magnuson Inn in Sweetwater has remodeled and eliminated one of the meeting rooms we’d been using. Our Special Events Committee spent some time earlier this year searching for a new location, and the result is that JJ XIV will be held at the Best Western Morristown Conference Center. Back to be our Fiction leader in 2014 is JT Ellison, bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed novels and multiple short stories. Award-winning poet Jane Hicks, a native of upper East Tennessee, will lead Poetry. Both have received excellent reviews at past Jumpstart workshops, and we’re thrilled to have them back.


And finally, our 26th (wow – yes, 26th) annual conference is set for April 3-5, 2014. As always, we have what we believe to be an outstanding group of presenters for you. Crystal Wilkinson, winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and a finalist for the University of Kentucky’s Orange Prize for Fiction and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, will be our banquet speaker and fiction presenter. Our other principal presenters will include Scott Huler, nonfiction and general session speaker; Joseph Bathanti, poetry; Helen Hemphill, writing for young people; and Kate Larken, editing/publishing. Our specialty sessions will include memoir (Darnell Arnoult), playwriting (Lisa Soland) and blogging (Kory Wells). Kory and her daughter Kelsey will entertain us on Friday afternoon with their unique blend of poetry reading and fiddle or banjo music. (If you’ve heard their CD, you’ll know this is a treat not to be missed!) Kate Larken, doing double duty, will also do a specialty session on songwriting.

While we’re talking conference, note that we’ve already scheduled our 2015 conference: it will be held April 9-11. 

As you can see, your TMW Board has been hard at work over the spring and summer. Since this is our first newsletter since the 2013 conference, I’d like to officially welcome our new board members, Sue Weaver Dunlap and Sylvia Woods, and to thank outgoing board members Wanda Grooms and Ron Lands one more time for their service.

Our entire board looks forward to seeing each of you at a TMW event soon.

~ Carol Grametbauer


Jennie Ivey, workshop leader
"When the Byline Loses Its Thrill: Making Money with the Words You Write” 

Cookeville freelance writer and newspaper columnist Jennie Ivey will conduct an all-day writing workshop on Saturday, November 9, at the United Way of Anderson County office at 161 Robertsville Road in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Workshop participants will learn how to focus on subjects they want to write about and tailor writing to fit markets that pay.  They will also learn how to expand their reach and get paid to talk about the things they have written.  Writers of all levels and all genres will benefit and are welcome.

Jennie Ivey is the co-author of three books: Tennessee Tales the Textbooks Don't Tell, E is for Elvis, and Soldiers, Spies & Spartans: Civil War Stories from Tennessee. She writes a weekly newspaper column for the Cookeville Herald-Citizen and is a regular contributor to Guideposts magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has taught at numerous writers' conferences including the Tennessee Mountain Writers, Alabama Writers Conclave, Cookeville Creative Writers Association, and MTSU Writers Loft.   

The workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. The registration fee, which includes morning refreshments and lunch, is $85.  Participation will be limited to 20 registrants.  For a registration form or additional information, see the Tennessee Mountain Writers web site,, or contact Sue Richardson Orr at the 


There’s plenty of news about TMW members starting with the winners of the 2013 TMW Contest, announced at this year’s conference banquet in April, 2013, in Oak Ridge.


Student Categories

3rd—Kelsey Rochelle, ORHS, for “Cold Eyes”
2nd—Abigail Douglas, ORHS, for “Second Chances”
1st—Shane Harris, ORHS, for “Dear Lilly”

Honorable Mention—Andrew Strader, ORHS, for “Preserved” 
Honorable Mention—Noah Gurley, ORHS, for “Orion”
3rd—Christian Cain, ORHS, for “A Letter of Remembering” 
2nd—James Eston Dunn III, ORHS, for “The Explorer”
1st—Harrison Weible, ORHS, for “87 Volvo”

Adult Categories

Patricia Boatner Fiction Award:
Honorable Mention—Laura Hunter (Northport, AL) for “Letter from Vicksburg, 1863”
3rd—Heidi Greenhalgh (Oak Ridge, TN) for “The Ice Skating Cow”
2nd—L.R. Burgess (Cookeville, TN) for “Tale of the Magpie/“Sug and Sukey”Chapter One
1st—Vicki Crawford (Scott Depot, WV) for “One Busted Wheel”

Honorable Mention—Judy Lee Green (Murfreesboro, TN) for “Leading the Fire Drill”
3rd—Casey Walton (Huntsville, AL) for “Pot Luck for Maria”
2nd—Ronald Michaels (Seymour, TN) for “Life”
1st—Nancy Rayside (Oak Ridge, TN) for “Therapy”

Honorable Mention—Elsie Schmied Knoke (Oak Ridge, TN) for “Some Thoughts for Retirees”
Honorable Mention—Linda Underwood (Knoxville, TN) for “The Christmas Sally Haskins Stonecipher Went Blind”
3rd—Donna Reichle (Kingston, TN) for “Poot Roots in the Closet”
2nd—Lou Ann Harris Cristy (Oak Ridge, TN) for “The Run-Away Trio”
1st—Chrissie Anderson Peters (Bristol, TN) for “I Changed My Mind” 

Honorable Mention—Gretchen McCroskey (Bristol, VA) for “Washed Clean”
3rd—Deborah Scaperoth (Lenoir City, TN) for “Plentitude: Joel 2:25”’
2nd—Sally Clark (Fredericksburg, TX) for “Barking and Clawing Against a Sensible Leash”
1st—Deborah Scaperoth (Lenoir City, TN) for “After Reading Hunger Games at the Monastery”

Writing for Young People:
3rd—Jan Sherbin (Cincinnati,OH) for “Marina, Galina, Come Eat Your Semolina”
2nd—Vicki J. Cypcar (Sparta, TN) for “Clara’s Prayers”
1st—Linda Underwood (Knoxville, TN) for “A Boy A Dog and A Frog”

Sue Ellen Hudson Excellence in Writing Award:
Deborah Scaperoth (Lenoir City, TN)

It’s not too soon to start preparing entries for the next competition, so you can see your name here.  If you know of any students from any high schools, who might like to take part in the student competition, please encourage them to check the website


TMW Honored

Board member, Vicki Brumbeck, reports,


“On Thursday evening, May 2, 2013, the Arts Council of Oak Ridge (ACOR) hosted the first Tribute to the Arts to recognize the accomplishments of local artists and arts champions across its nine member organizations. The Tennessee Mountain Writers is one of the member organizations and the TMW board nominated TMW founder Patricia Hope as its "champion" and Connie Jordan Green as its "artist" for recognition at this tribute, which is planned to be an annual fundraiser for ACOR. Each organization contributed entertainment for the evening festivities at the DoubleTree Hotel, with both Pat and Connie reading from their creative works - Connie from her poetry and Pat an essay about the beginning years of TMW. ACOR gave each honoree a beautiful art mug mounted on a wood pedestal.”

An original member of the East Tennessee Writers, a critique group that has continuously met for 38 years, Patricia Hope is a founding member of the Tennessee Mountain Writers, a non-profit writing organization that meets annually in Oak Ridge and recently observed its 25th anniversary. Pat not only was the visionary behind the TMW conference, she served as TMW’s Executive Director for the first 14 years and continues to be active in TMW events.  

Connie Jordan Green is a writer of stories for young people, poetry, and novels.  The novels have received various awards: The War at Home was placed on the ALA List of Best Books for Young Adults, both books were selected by the New York City Library as books for the Teen Age, The War at Home was nominated to the 1991-92 Volunteer State Book Award Master List, and Emmy was selected as a Notable 1992 Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and publications. Her chapbooks, Slow Children Playing and Regret Comes to Tea, were published by Finishing Line Press.  Since 1978, she has written a newspaper column for The Loudon County News Herald.  She has served for many years on the board of TMW.

Vicki also says,

"Lisa Coffman is a local writer (Kingston) and was a member of TMW at one time. She is currently living in California, and is a poetry/creative writing professor at one of the state colleges. Her first book of poetry was published by Kent State University Press and her second book of poetry is new this year published by Bob Cumming of Iris Press.”  She will be reading on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Union Avenue Books
517 Union Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 951-2180.  You can find out more about Lisa and her books at

Vicki had to have her modest arm twisted to provide this information about her own success.

“Three of my handmade books in boxes were accepted into the 2013 Oak Ridge Art Center Open Show and I received an Honorable Mention on one of them. The show is currently on display in the gallery until November 2nd.”  She does say, “I would be pleased if you would be interested in going over for a look-see.”

I’m planning to go.  The Open Show is a great display of the area’s artistic talent.


Carol Grametbauer passed on this information from Mary Kay Remick:

"I'm pleased to announce that my novel Searching for Blanche is now available on Kindle e-books. My other two novels will be available later on, and a new book, Where are the Women, will be ready for publication any day.”

Carol adds,

“Congratulations to TMW member Dr. Lin Stepp, who has recently signed a multi-book contract with Kensington Publishing of New York for the next books in her Smoky Mountain series and a second contract with Kensington for a Christmas novella in an anthology with Fern Michaels. Lin has gained national popularity with her first five novels, romances set in different locales of the Smoky Mountains. She says she is delighted with Kensington's enthusiasm for her work and with their desire to help her, as she puts it, "enlarge her tent pegs." You can read more about her books at, or visit with her at the Museum of Appalachia's Fall Homecoming October 11-13.” 

She also says,

“I have three poems in the Summer 2013 edition of the online journal drafthorse (published by Lincoln Memorial University).”

Connie Green won second place and Jane Sasser won third in the Old Gray Cemetery poetry contest earlier this year


Oak Ridge Life published an article by Melanie Harless in its September edition, about Charles and Beverly Conner.


Sue Weaver Dunlap will have a poem in the next issue of Appalachian Heritage.


Sylvia Woods, who teaches at Oak Ridge High School, has been named Outstanding Tennessee Humanities Teacher for 2013. Two ORHS teachers were among the five state-wide awards. 


Wes Sims chapbook, When Night Comes, will be published by Finishing Line Press. Pre-publication sales go from now until November 13.  The cost is $12.00 plus shipping ($2.49).   One can order from  The release date is Jan 10.


Christy Tillery French writes, Whistling Woman, the Southern/Appalachian historical fiction I co-wrote with my sister Cyndi Tillery Hodges, was nominated for the 2013 eFestival of Words Award in two categories: General Fiction and Literary Fiction. We recently learned it was named finalist but haven't heard of the outcome yet.” 



Congratulations to everyone.  It’s exciting and encouraging to see our friends and fellow members achieving success.  Please send news of your triumphs, great or small, to me Margaret Pennycook, at   Good writing.