My work appears in several anthologies; three of them are listed here:
My short story, "Query Letter From Helen," which won the 2010 CNU fiction contest, appears in Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vol. III, edited by Bobbie Ann Mason.
My story, "Rat-Killing," appears on page 123 of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vol. II, edited by Silas House (Shepherd University, 2010).
My story, "Out of the Fog" appears on page 199 of A Cup of Comfort for Writers (Adams Media, 2007).
"Out of the Fog" chronicles a classroom visit in which I explain to a high school English class where my ideas come from and how I write.
I had a good time promoting A Cup of Comfort for Writers. Below left, I show the book to Spongebob Squarepants at the 2007 Diamond Hill General Store Sunflower Festival in Moneta; at right, I display the book at the 2007 Hanover Book Festival.
Patches on the Same Quilt, winner of the 2001 Smith Mountain Arts Council Fiction Contest, was self-published thanks to a generous grant from SMAC which covered a third of the cost of the first thousand copies. Had SMAC not underwritten part of the cost, publicized the book, and set up readings and signings for me, I doubt I’d have self-published. However, the self-publication process and the subsequent promotion was an invaluable learning experience.
Patches on the Same Quilt is a series of related stories told by members of six generations of a Franklin County, Virginia, family. A young boy's wish for a horse changes not only the direction of his own life but also the lives of his children, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter. As his grandmother, the quilt-maker Gillie Anne, says, "We might not be cut from the same cloth, but we're all patches on the same quilt." Each character's story adds a patch to the pattern of interconnected lives.
Brad Burkholder, judge of the SMAC contest and teacher of creative writing at Virginia Western Community College, said this about Patches on the Same Quilt:
The writing is all but flawless. The story becomes painfully touching in places, and when all the threads are tied together at the end, the result is spell-binding, beautiful and emotionally moving. Through the course of time, the horse has been man's greatest companion on earth, a point that those of our time do not fully understand. The novel's use of the horse as a metaphor for human longing, human self-preservation--indeed, all of those traits within us that we are apt to call human--comes into clear focus only at the end, and when it does, the effect is breathtaking.
Patches on the Same Quilt was the best-selling novel at the Blue Lady Bookshop in Rocky Mount, Virginia. (The Blue Lady Bookshop, closed since 2007, was located in General Jubal Early's former law office on the grounds of The Grove and was named for one of The Grove’s resident ghosts.)
A review which originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of The Blue Ridge Gazette, is now posted on Leslie Shelor's blog, Books and Reviews at Greenberry House: http://greenberryreviews.blogspot.com/2006/07/patches-on-same-quilt.html
Lake Writers sign books at The General Store at Westlake. I'm on the right.
While I don't advocate vanity publishing for most work, I've used Infinity Publishing, a print-on-demand company, to publish my two collections of award-winning short stories and my two collections of "Peevish Advice" columns that originally appeared in Blue Ridge Traditions (1998-2004) and The Smith Mountain Eagle (2004-2008). All four books target a specific region and a small niche market, so POD worked for them.
The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories (2003) is a compilation of thirteen short stories. Most are award-winners and were originally published in Blue Ridge Traditions, THEMA, Virginia Adversaria, or other publications. You can preview it in Google Book Search.
Where There's A Will (2005) is a collection of Blue Ridge stories for young people. Kay McGrath, a teacher at Madison Middle School, contributed study guides based on the Virginia Standards of Learning for 6th grade. To read The Roanoke Times story about Where There's A Will, click here. To read The Smith Mountain Eagle story about Where There's A Will, click here.
My collections of columns are Peevish Advice (2001) and More Peevish Advice (2007). Even though I no longer write the column, I still sometimes make appearances as my character, Ida B. Peevish of Ida's Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in Rock Bottom, US of A. You can read samples of "Peevish Advice" in here.