2014 Dahlonega Literary Festival – March 8-9

According to 11Alive news, this weekend is going to be absolutely gorgeous – sunny with highs in the upper 60’s – a glorious Spring day. In fact, Saturday is predicted to be a perfect 10 on the WIZometer.

Woo hoo!!! This will be a FABULOUS weekend for the Dahlonega Literary Festival.


Even though I’m recovering from knee surgery – still unable to drive or walk without crutches or navigate stairs – words cannot fully express how much I’m looking forward to actually getting outside of this house and being around people who love books.

The lineup of authors is absolutely stellar this year! Here’s my own personal highlights:

  • Joshilyn Jackson – Anyone who reads my blog knows that I shamelessly hero-worship Joshilyn, but did you know her most recent novel (Someone Else’s Love Story) and the prequel short story (My Own Miraculous) are set in Dahlonega?? Both works are wonderful and amazing. Read them up!
  • Mark Braught – One of my favorite SCBWI illustrators. This guy is an incredible inspiration….and I should mention his illustrations were used on merchandising for the first Harry Potter movie.
  • George Weinstein – When I bought/read George’s first novel, Hardscrabble Road I was a little nervous to read it; afraid the subject matter might be depressing. The MC’s life seemed so desperate and dreary! Guess what? I fell in love! Completely, hopelessly in love. I can barely wait to dive into his second novel, The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno.
  • Cassandra King – After listening to an NPR interview with her, I purchased Moonrise and thoroughly enjoyed the story. It’s a modern Southern Gothic with a heavy dose of inspiration from du Maurier’s Rebecca.
  • Deanna Raybourn – She writes a-MAZE-ing novels about romantic, mystical creatures, but I loved her most recent historical novel – A Spear of Summer Grass.

NOTE: The first person who walks up to me during this festival and says, “May the literary Force be with you” will win a FREE copy of my novel (NSLA, NSFA).

Here’s the full DLF Schedule (taken from their website):

Saturday, March 8th 
*All Programming at St. Luke’s unless otherwise noted


  1. Creating Characters That Readers Care About (Rm. 103/105) – Panelists: Raymond Atkins, Michael Bishop, Kim Boykin, Terry Kay, Cassandra King, Erika Marks, George Weinstein
  2. Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books, a mini-workshop with Mark Braught (Rm. 106) (also featuring Patsy Henry and Ed T. Payne)


  1. Dahlonega in the Spotlight: Someone Else’s Love Story, A Book Talk with Joshilyn Jackson (Rm. 103/105)
  2. Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, a mini-workshop with Alex Hughes and James R. Tuck (Rm. 106)


  1. Glimpse of the Past: Incorporating History Into Fiction (Rm. 103/105) Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, Cassandra King, Charles McNair, Erika Marks, Deanna Raybourn, Denise Weimar
  2. Writing Fiction: Regional Authors Share Their Experiences (Rm. 101) Panelists: Jim Booth, Sue Cass, Alison Reeger Cook, Mitch Doxsee, Mike Herron, C.D. Mitchell, Madelyn Shepard, Bill Stuart
  3. Character Drawing with Mark Braught (Rm. 106)

12:30–1:30 – Lunch with the Author (at area restaurants–attendees responsible for their meals)


  1. Fantasy for Everyone: The Many Realms of Speculative Fiction (Rm. 103/105) Panelists: Michael Bishop, Delilah S. Dawson, Ann Hite, Alex Hughes, James R. Tuck, Jadie Jones
  2. Truth Be Told: Writing Non-Fiction (Rm. 101) Panelists: Susan Lindsley, William Rawlings, Kent Kammermeyer, Dennis McKenna, Carroll McMahan, Fiona Page, Carlotta Russell
  3. Writing Poetry, a mini-workshop with Kathryn Hinds, also featuring Jeff Newberry (Rm. 106)


  1. From Chuckles to Belly Laughs: Hitting the Right Note with Humor (Rm. 103/105) Panelists: Raymond Atkins, Kim Boykin, Jackie Cooper, Joshilyn Jackson, Terry Kay, Charles McNair, James R. Tuck
  2. Stonepile Writers Reading (Rm. 101)
  3. Writing Mysteries, a mini-workshop with Deborah Malone (Rm. 106)


  1. On the Edge of Our Seats: The Element of Suspense in Fiction (Rm. 103/105) Panelists: Alex Hughes, Susan Lindsley, William Rawlings, Deanna Raybourn, George Weinstein, Saundra Kelley. Julia McDermott
  2. Southern Poetry Anthology Presentation and Reading (Rm. 101)
  3. Preparing Your Manuscript, a mini-workshop with April Loebick, Managing Editor, University of North Georgia Press (Rm. 106)

5:15–6:30Author Meet-and-Greet, Open to the Public, Community House

7:00 Saturday Night Live: Dinner at Don Pollo’s
Buffet dinner for $17.99 plus tax, or order from the menu. Six of our featured authors will read short selections.

Sunday, March 9th 
*Programming held at Community House

12:30–1:15 – What is Southern Fiction, Anyway? Panelists: Raymond Atkins, Kim Boykin, Jackie Cooper, Terry Kay, Cassandra King, Charles McNair, George Weinstein

1:30–2:15 – The Role of Setting in Fiction – Panelists: Michael Bishop, Mark Braught, Alex Hughes, Susan Lindsley, Erika Marks, William Rawlings, James R. Tuck

After the Festival Fun for Writers:

3:00–6:00 p.m – Write-In (Starbuck’s next to UNG campus) How would you like to meet with other aspiring writers to discuss issues, offer support, share ideas, and even play a game or two? Word Wars and Word Challenges will be part of the fun.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc


It’s Official Release Day!!! Check out my Faster Than Kudzu Interview

Today will be a day long remembered…it has seen my beloved book officially released into the big, wide world AND we are being featured on Faster Than Kudzu – the blog of NYT bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson. Joshilyn is one of my most favorite authors and I’ve been following FTK blog for years, so this is VERY exciting for me.

Click here to check out my interview and for a chance to win a free copy of the book!

SW 1977 Action Figures

“People are still asking me if I knew Star Wars was going to be that big of a hit. Yes, we all knew. The only one who didn’t know was George.”

Carrie Fisher

Hey! Why are you still here? Go check out Faster Than Kudzu. See you back here soon.

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

Busy Week, Lazy Writer

Lots of good stuff going on. Too much to process/post this week.  So I’m going to get by with a little help from my friends…

First, for my Humane Society/pet-loving/currently-rescue-dog-fostering friends, this is one of the funniest posts EVER from one of my favoritest authors:

Joshilyn Jackson

Second, please concentrate all your healing thoughts toward this sister blogger’s sister:

Stephanie Austin – Unvaulted

Listen to me.  Do not feel sorry or sad.  Feel hopeful for her of go away!!!

Now seriously, check out this post, the 11th paragraph that starts “At Staples…”  Is that not the most perfect, specific-and-yet-universal scene you’ve ever read?

Third, Steve Sansweet wrote back and he absolutely is the decentest, quirkiest, friendliest sort of guy ever!  Thank the Maker!!!  I love it when my super heroes talk back!!!

And Steve reminded me that any readers who love Star Wars and need to find a great book for the younger readers on their gift list would love The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.

Fourth, I will be writing a whole post dedicated to Sally Apokedak very soon.  Sally is amazing and she writes a gorgeous blog for other YA writers.  Sally has helped me understand many things that my Blogging 101 class never truly explained. Basically, I’m a failure at most measures of successful blogging, but that’s OK.  At least I’m still blogging.

And (BLESS her heart) Sally always reads my blog and always posts comments that encourage me.  She is (to me) what true Christians should be.  And this praise comes from a “There are many doors to heaven” and “More spiritual than religious”  type of girl.

Lastly…I HAS A SECRET!!!  It’s not a writerly, publishing secret.  It’s a magical, bubbly secret.  I’ll share it soon.  I just want to hold it close to my heart and savor it for a week or two.

Here’s my question…

Have you ever had exciting news that you wanted to keep it to yourself for a while?  For no better reason than you just want to keep it to yourself for a while?  Yes?

Could that be the basis for a novel?  A short story?  A screenplay?  A flash fiction?  A painting?  Hmmmmmm…

Writers, artists & designers out there…Share if you dare!!