TMW Newsletter - Fall 2014


"If you could have a superpower, what would it be?" That’s a question asked by people who love comic books and super heroes, and others who are just having fun. Most of us, like the contestants in Miss America, would express a desire for an ability to bring about world peace or freedom from hunger and disease. Secretly, many would love Superman’s enormous strength, or Spiderman’s talent for swinging along the canyons of skyscrapers. And there are always a few, who would like to have the ability to see through clothing. That wish can now be granted if they seek employment with TSA, who scan our bodies as we trudge through airport security, so it doesn’t really count.

Parents of young children might long for a power that would enable their chores to be done in seconds, allowing them time to play on the floor with laughing, gurgling toddlers. As a frequent international traveler, I would love the ability to simply wish to be anywhere on the planet, and be there without having to climb into a car, or onto a plane. (I do love train travel, so I wouldn’t always use my super transport abilities.) No more hours of trundling along interstates, hoping some thundering eight-wheeler isn’t being driven by a driver too tired to control the vehicle, or that someone who thinks weaving in and out of traffic at speed in a snowstorm keeps away from you. No more transoceanic trips of repetitive vibration at 36,000 feet, with the high-pitched whine of great engines drilling into your spine. Just picture the lapping waves around the island of Maui, the lofty citadel of Machu Picchu, or a country pub in the English Cotswolds in your mind, and there you’d be.

But I do have a superpower, and so do you. We have the ability to look at arrangements of straight lines, curls and dots and gather meaning from them. It’s a miraculous power. It enables us to know the whereabouts of a loved one. “Gone to fetch the cat from the vet.” “On plane in Atlanta.” Sometimes, these arrangements are made by the combination of hand, pen or pencil and paper and magnetized to the refrigerator door. More often, these days, it is an arrangement of electronic pulses on a screen.

Consider the different styles of fonts stored in your writing app. Think about the amazing ability of your brain to translate these shapes from the simplicity of Arial, to the extra tips of Times New Roman or the swirls and embellishments of Brush Script MT. However you see Tennessee displayed, your brain tells you it is the same thing. In other parts of the world, the arrangements of lines, curves and dots may seem unintelligible to me, but the locals have their own superpower. I can manage “toutes directions” or “centre ville” in France, but signs in Greece, without the helpful presentation of parallel signs in European lettering, are, well, all Greek to me. I figured out a sign bearing a rectangle in Japan meant exit, but not much else. Still, these are all, basically, the same notion.

This superpower can bring many long-dead writers back into the 21st century. We can see the thoughts of the Ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. We can feel the horror in Pliny the Younger’s description of the eruption of Vesuvius, in AD79, which wiped out Pompeii. In my case, I need readers of Ancient Greek and Latin to interpret these for me, into my own recognizable characters, but to examine them is to discover we are not so different from those who lived long ago. When the Rosetta Stone was discovered in the early 19th century, in Egypt, it carried the previously unreadable hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians, along with symbols from Ancient Greece. Since many 19th century academics could understand the latter, they were able to read them, and came to the conclusion that they were translations of the former. The key to the land of the pharaohs’ had been turned. Such power.

So much of human history remains unknown because the superpower of writing and reading hadn’t been developed. The oral traditions of stories have great qualities, but they are easily lost. In books, whether on traditional paper pages or hand held devices, we can access the thoughts and ideas of others, from today and past centuries. It is no accident that when the Cherokee man, Sequoya, developed his syllabary for the Cherokee nation, he had to overcome the belief that he was using sorcery. It’s no coincidence that mass protesters or those attending political rallies bring placards bearing simple messages to support their causes. They understand the power of the written word.

When I uncover letters my parents sent me in college, all those years ago, my mother’s awkward left-handed scrawl, or my father’s meticulous flowing script, I travel back in time to be with them. My mother tells me of family visits from my sisters and their children. My father pretends he is a wealthy Roman, in our Roman founded town, sending missives about the current news of our town’s council to his absent youngest daughter. What power.

Yes, the superpower of reading makes it possible for us to fly round the world at the speed of light, travel back, and forward in time and space, understand the greatest minds, and delight in simple stories, such as Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As writers, we are privileged to know not just how to read, but to manipulate these squiggles. We evoke the smell of fresh bread, or the sharpness of a lemon; the smoothness of a sea-dashed pebble, the screech of a seagull and the threat from a dark inky cloud above the ocean. We can make others laugh or cry.

Swords and AK37s are mightier than pens in forcing people to do things against their will, but words can unite and inspire. The words “Yes” and “No” were seen all over Scotland in recent months, in preparation for the vote concerning independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Each word inspired and united their supporters. Tempers flared. Passions rose. But there were no bombs or gunfights. A mark on a paper ballot, with a blue pencil, beside one of those two words decided the outcome of an entire country. I’d still like my transportation superpower, but while I wait, I’ll relish my joy of words and all the power they bring.

~Margaret Pennycook


I hope you all had a wonderful summer! Hard though it is to believe, Fall is here, and it’s time once again for us to get back into full writing mode. Your TMW board of directors has put together a great lineup of workshops for the coming months—so get your calendars out now, and block off the dates below.

We’ll begin on Saturday, November 1, when TMW board member Charles Connor, founder and former director of the Harriette Austin Writing Program and the HAWC writing conference at The University of Georgia, will lead our Fall Workshop on “The Self-Publishing Process: Where and How to Do It – eBooks, Print, and Audio.” Charles will cover just about everything you ever wanted to know about self-publishing—why, how, where to publish, and a variety of related topics. Whether you’re an experienced writer or just getting started, if you’re interested in self-publishing this workshop is for you! It’s already beginning to fill up, so get your registration in soon (see registration form below).

After the holidays, plan to reboot your writing at January Jumpstart XV, scheduled for January 9-11, 2015, at the Best Western Morristown Conference Center. Back to be our Poetry leader in 2015 will be Bill Brown, widely-published poet and the author of three poetry collections. Jane Sasser will lead our Fiction workshops. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Oak Ridge High School, and has won first place in fiction contests with the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, The Alabama Writers Conclave, and the Green River Writers. Jane is a TMW board member, and our secretary.

The culminating event of our TMW year, the annual conference, is scheduled for April 9-11, 2015. Our faculty for the 2015 conference (our 27th!) is nearly complete, and it’s a great one. Award-winning author Evelyn Coleman, who led our writing for young people workshops several years ago, is returning to that role, and in addition will be our banquet speaker. Our other principal presenters will include Michael Knight, fiction and general session presenter; Jason Howard, nonfiction, Lisa Coffman, poetry; and J. Randy Marshall, editing/publishing. Specialty session leaders will include Jennie Ivey, inspirational nonfiction; Karen Reynolds, songwriting; Pamela Schoenwaldt, historical fiction; and Lin Stepp, writing and marketing your book. An additional specialty session will be added in the near future.

As you can see, it’s shaping up to be a great year. Make your plans now to be with us at any or all of these events and check them out on our website at! I hope to see some of you at the Fall Workshop in November; in the meantime, I wish everyone an enjoyable autumn season.

~Carol Grametbauer


Charles Connor, workshop leader
"The Self-Publishing Process. Where and How to Do It: eBooks, Print and Audio"

Saturday, November 1, 2014
9:30am - 4:00pm (Eastern Time)

Are you a first-time author trying to break into print? An established author with a backlist to bring to a new audience? Or, do you just want to ride the wave of the publishing revolution? Whether you’re an experienced writer or just getting started, this workshop will give you a working knowledge of

• What the revolution in publishing is all about
• How to produce ebooks, printed books, and audio books
• How to design professional-looking book covers
• The readily available tools you can use
• Using the skills and knowledge you already have
• Where to publish: Reaching your market of readers
• The financial returns you might expect
• Examples from a range of writers who have done it

Dr. Charles Connor founded the Harriette Austin Writing Program and the HAWC writing conference at The University of Georgia and directed them for twelve years before his retirement. He designed and taught online creative writing courses for students across the US and Canada. He has served as support crew for his wife Beverly's writing career through editing, marketing and promoting her fifteen novels. Recently they have published seven of her novels in ebook and paperback. He is most recently coauthor with Beverly of Murder In Macon: A Frank Hayes Mystery (2013). He is a Board Member of TMW.

The workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with a break for lunch, which is included and will be delivered. Meal options available after registration. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and snacks before the morning sessions are included. Registration fee is $85.00. Participants will be limited to 20. See webpage for more information and registration.


Saturday September 27, 2014

Join industry experts including poet Bill Brown, social media expert Barbara Dozetoes, and others for an intensive one day workshop on the craft and business of writing.

Take the next step in your journey toward publication and greater exposure for your work. Contact CWG at for more information.


Connie Green will lead a class titled "A Gathering of Local Poets." Readers for the class are Jane Sasser, Mona Raridon, Sylvia Woods, Deb Scaperoth, Frank Jamison, Wes Sims, Marilyn Kallet, Art Smith, Donna Doyle, Carol Grametbauer, Art Stewart, Sue Dunlap, and Bob and Beto Cumming. They meet at Roane State in Oak Ridge, 2:30 each Wednesday in October. The poets will read from their own work and discuss, if they wish, a little of their writing process. There will be three poets each session, except for the final session when Bob and Beto will discuss publication, as well as read their own poetry. Connie says she is looking forward to hearing some of her favorite local poets.

For further information, contact ORICL at


Rita Sims Quillen's new chapbook, Something Solid to Anchor To, was released last month by Finishing Line Press.

Jane Hicks, who was our poetry leader at Jumpstart XIV, has a new poetry collection, Driving with the Dead, out from University Press of Kentucky.

Lisa Soland reports that her book, The Christmas Tree Angel, was Celtic Cat Publishing's best-selling book for the fourth quarter last year, so publisher, Jim Johnston asked her to write a sequel and she did. She says, "The Unmade Moose is an inspirational holiday story about an unfinished stuffed toy who lives in Mrs. Brown's sewing basket. One day he meets the angel from the top of the Christmas tree, and she shares with him that he was made on purpose and for a reason. A little encouragement goes a long way, so when Mrs. Brown drops two knitting needles into the moose's home, his long-awaited adventure begins."

Lisa also notes that the play, The Christmas Tree Angel RADIO DRAMA, will be produced locally this year at the Lyric Theatre, 320 Grove St. in Loudon, TN -- December 4, 5, 6 & 7. She adds she adapted the book into this play. She will be signing both books (The Christmas Tree Angel & The Unmade Moose) after each performance. She feels writers, who see the play, can find it particularly interesting, seeing how to adapt material to and from the stage, and to and from literature.

Sue Dunlap has had poems in Bluestone Review and in two issues of The Notebook. Her chapbook, The Story Tender, was published by Finishing Line Press, in July.

TMW board members swept all three places in the 2014 Old Grey Cemetery Poetry Contest: Connie Green won first place, Carol Grametbauer won second, with "What They Left Behind", and Jane Sasser won third, with "Harvest."

Connie Green also has a poem just out in the new issue of Connecticut River Review, titled "City Moment", and recent ones in Cumberland River Review "Summer Solstice" and Anthology of Appalachian Writers: Frank X. Walker Vol. VI "Boy After His Bath" and "No Country for Old Women". She won Brick Road Poetry Press's annual book contest. She says, “My full-length collection of poems is titled Household Inventory and should be out before the first of the year. As an added thrill to winning that award, it is mentioned in the "Recent Winners" section of the Sept/Oct issue of Poets & Writers.

In addition to Carol Grametbauer’s prize in the Old Grey Cemetery Poetry Contest, she published poems recently in Appalachian Heritage, "Battlefield", and in The Notebook, "In the Summer Kitchen".


Congratulations to all. Please share your own writing successes, and inspire us all, by sending them to me at