TMW Newsletter - March 2014

Editor’s Note

 “What is it,” I wonder, “that Garrison Keillor often says?”  I crawl my way from the bedroom to the bathroom, the only way I can get from one place to the other, being unable to stand up and walk. Excruciating pain shoots through my leg.

“Oh, yes.  That’s it.  Nothing bad ever happens to a writer.  It’s all material.  Or something like that.”


As I drag myself along the corridor, I notice the cobwebs under the baseboard, hardly visible from a standing position.  The same applies to some small stains on the carpet. My knees begin to acquire friction burns and my dirty fingernails suggest, from digging around in the pile, that the floor is not as squeaky clean as I should like.


A variation of movement makes me look as if I am planning to act the role of Gollum in some production of The Lord of the Rings, and causes the delicate skin at the base of my palms to peel. My teeth sucking complaints about me back might be mistaken for hissing mumbles about "My Precious."


The bathroom door handle seems awfully high up.


“I’ll use this material to write an article for the TMC newsletter, suggesting a little crawling to improve your point of view, should you wish to write a piece from a small child’s point of view, the family cat’s, or even a spider’s.”


Unfortunately, I have not completed my collection of material in time for this newsletter, so I’ll just say, you can hear far more useful advice on how to improve your writing skills, without having to crawl along the floor, or suffer leg and back pain, by attending Tennessee Mountain Writers latest conference.  It’s happening in just a few weeks, April 3-5, 2014, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  There’s still time to register.  You can even do so at the door, and for just single sessions, if you don’t have time for the whole conference.


For more information, check out

I hope to see you there, but not studying the DoubleTree’s carpet from a crawling position.


~Margaret Pennycook



Chairman’s Message

Hard as it is to believe, our 2014 conference is right around the corner!  Once again we have a great lineup of workshop leaders, and are looking forward to kicking things off at the opening reception April 3. A special treat this year will be a bit of entertainment on Friday afternoon: Kory Wells, our Blogging workshop leader, and her daughter Kelsey, on old-time fiddler, will be performing a half-hour of Appalachian songs and poems immediately following the Editing workshop. They’re definitely worth hearing, as are all our workshop leaders. The reduced-rate early registration deadline is March 22, so if you haven’t already registered, now’s the time. All the details, plus the registration form, are on our website, 

We had a great January Jumpstart this year, in a very nice new location—the Best Western Morristown Conference Center. Jane Hicks led our poetry track and JT Ellison led the fiction track; both received high marks from attendees. Thanks go, as always, to Special Events Chair Sue Orr and her committee—Vicki Brumback, Sue Dunlap, and Joyce McDonald—for their work in planning the event and keeping things running smoothly.  Next year, our Jumpstart fiction leader will be our own TMW board member, Jane Sasser; poetry will be led by Bill Brown. 

Our Fall Workshop this year—scheduled for November 1 at the United Way offices in Oak Ridge—will feature another TMW board member: Charles Connor, who will lead a session on “The Process of Self-Publishing.” This one is bound to fill up quickly, so mark your calendars now! Registration forms for both the Fall Workshop and for January Jumpstart XV will be included in your conference registration packets.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference.


In the meantime, our deepest sympathy goes to TMW founder Pat Hope, whose husband of 52 years, Chuck, passed away March 4. Please keep Pat and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Without Pat, we might not be gathering for this important event on our writing calendar.

~Carol Grametbauer

 Member News


Beverly and Charles Conner have been very busy.  Beverly says, “I am re-editing my out-of-print back list of Lindsay Chamberlain mysteries and adding a bibliography of the research I did for each book. Charles designed new covers. We have been re-issuing them in Kindle, Nook, and iBook formats. This month and last we finished SKELETON CREW and DRESSED TO DIE. We now have all five of the Lindsay Chamberlain Mysteries in all the new ebook formats. We will have new trade paperbacks of them soon. The new covers are beautiful (I think) especially SKELETON CREW. Take a look on Amazon.”

She adds,” Charles and I wrote (Actually he wrote and I worked on the plot) a mystery entitled MURDER IN MACON. It is set in 1970s Macon where we lived at one time. It is in all the ebook formats plus trade paperback.”


Rosalyn Rikel Ramage reports “In August, my third children's mystery novel was published.  It is entitled The WINDMILL.  It is the third in a series of books about a family in West Kentucky in 1914 and has been well received so far.  (The first two are entitled The TRACKS and The GRAVEYARD.)  In addition to that, my cozy mystery entitled MILLICENT'S TOWER will be released by Five Star Publishing in January, 2014.  This is my first attempt to write in this genre, so I am very pleased that it has been accepted for publication. I now have a website. It”


Mona Raridon has a new poetry book, A Pocket Full of Wry.


Jane Sasser won first place in both poetry and novel excerpt in the 2013 Knoxville Writers‚ Guild contest. Her Oak Ridge High School students won all three places in poetry and second place in fiction. Jane also won a second place in one of the Green River Writers‚ contests.


Three TMW board members have recent or forthcoming poetry chapbooks from Finishing Line Press. Wes Sims' book, When Night Comes, was published in January; Carol Grametbauer's,Now & Then, will appear in March, and Sue Weaver Dunlap's book, The Story Tender, will be published in June.


Christy French and her sister have sold the rights for their book Whistling Woman to be sold in Germany.


 Rita Quillen has an historical novel, Hiding Ezra (inspired by a true story from the life of her husband's grandfather), just out from Little Creek Books.


Lisa Soland's children's book, The Christmas Tree Angel, was adapted to the stage and then released in the original book form, in the fall of 2013.


John Mannone received an honorable mention in the Old Gray Cemetery poetry contest, last year, for his poem "Rebecca."


Elsie Knoke published two short stories last year,  "The New Spiders" in Brief Grislys, and "The Doorbell" in Chicken Soup for the Soul --It's Christmas!  (Having heard Elsie read the former, I can attest that it is indeed very creepy, crawly. Ed.)


KB Ballentine writes, “My third collection of poetry, _What Comes of Waiting_, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award. The book is now out and available for purchase from Blue Light Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.”


Congratulations to all.  Your achievements are an inspiration.  If you have any news of writing success, please send it to me, at, so I can boast about it in the next newsletter. Thanks.