2014 Presenter Biographies and Session Details

lisa_alther_cmyk_300dpi1.jpgLisa Alther
Keynote and Fiction Workshop

Lisa Alther was born in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1944.  She has published six novels, one novella, a volume of short stories, a memoir, and a narrative history of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  They have been translated into seventeen other languages, and four have been New York Times bestsellers.  She credits her upbringing in the Southern Appalachians with having inspired and influenced much of her writing.  She currently divides her time among East Tennessee, New York City, and Vermont.

Keynote Address:  How an Appalachian Childhood Nurtures Future Writers

Workshop Title:  Turning Anecdote into Fiction

Workshop Synopsis:  We will discuss the differences between events that occur in real life and their uses in constructing a piece of fiction.  Ms. Alther will illustrate her points by reading an anecdote taken from an Appalachian oral history, and then reading her own short story inspired by that anecdote.


Hazel Bostic0001Hazel Bostic
Writing Dialogue Workshop

Hazel Hale Bostic has been writing down the voices she hears in and around Swords Creek, Virginia – from her past, in her community – for as long as she
remembers. She knows these characters inside out, and their dialogue is dead on. Hazel writes fiction and nonfiction, and sprinkles humor into both. Her work appears
in these publications (to name just a few): The Storyteller, Modern Mountain Magazine, The Bluestone Review, Women in the Arts, Clinch Mountain Review, Now & Then,
Reminisce, and her 2011 memoir, Harvesting Memories. She’s a regular contributor to a regional newspaper, several national magazines, and she heads Reminiscent Writers.
Her creative writing contest awards include First Place Adult Essay Contest, 2011 Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium; Second Place Adult Essay Contest, 2006 Virginia
Highlands Festival; Second Place Adult Essay Contest, 2011 Chautauqua Creative Writing Contest.

Workshop Synopsis
Dialogue: Make it Real

Dialogue is so much more than words the characters are speaking. Participants will consider all the elements that make dialogue real: tone of voice,
what’s being revealed (and what’s hidden), its role in scene development. Writing exercises will focus on characters that participants are working on in their own
writing or characters created on the spot for the purpose. Participants will leave with a heightened “ear for dialogue.”


clarkDr. Amy Clark 
Appalachian Speak
Photo by Bryan Spain

Amy Clark is author and co-editor of Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity and Community (University Press of KY, 2013), which was nominated for the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Nonfiction. She is also author of Success in Hill Country (Napoleon Hill Foundation, 2012.) A 2012 recipient of the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing from Lincoln Memorial University, Clark’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Tampa Tribune, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, With Good Reason radio, and many regional journals and magazines. She is founding co-director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where she is an Associate Professor of English.

Workshop Synopsis
Appalachian Voices

This presentation covers Appalachian dialects and their complexities, along with what writers should consider when writing vernacular dialogue.


4 pals groupM. C. “Skip” Crane
Playwright Workshop

4PALS Productions was formed in 2010 in Bluefield, WV. Founding members are Vain Colby, Skip Crane, Jim Jenks, and Thomas Lester. Each member has his own expertise re. the production of original plays. Since our beginning we have performed several original as well as published plays.

Workshop Synopsis
Creating a Successful Production Company

How to organize “the company” create a production, build a set for such, casting, practicing, and how to advertise/market the production.


edjane-hicks-poetJane Hicks
Poetry Workshop

A native of upper East Tennessee, Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet and quilter. Her poetry appears in both journals and numerous anthologies, including Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia. Her first book, Blood and Bone Remember, was nominated for and won several awards. Her “literary quilts” illustrate the works of playwright Jo Carson and novelists Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House; one became the cover of her own book. The art quilts have toured with these respective authors and were the subject of a feature in Blue Ridge Country Magazine in an issue devoted to arts in the region. The University Press of Kentucky will publish her latest poetry book, Driving with the Dead, in 2014.

Workshop Synopsis
A Critical Eye and a Critical Ear: Editing Your Poetry

Participants will learn techniques to give their poetry the best possible presentation. Whether for an open mic or sending out for publications, things to be considered when publishing a poem.


Leigh Anne W. Hoover HeadshotLeigh Anne W. Hoover
Writing Children’s Literature Workshop

Leigh Anne W. Hoover’s journalistic endeavors began with a neighborhood newspaper. Today, her passion for literacy is reflected in all aspects of her life.
A native of South Carolina and a graduate of Clemson University, Hoover received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education – English with a minor in communications. She has worked for over 30 years in the media and has extensive writing and public relations experience throughout the region. Published articles encompass personality and home profiles, arts and entertainment reviews, medical topics and weekend escape pieces.
Notable features include one-on-one interviews with actress Andie MacDowell, artists Bob Timberlake and P. Buckley Moss, author Jan Karon, Grammy-winner, singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins, and Clemson University’s 14th president James F. Barker. Hoover also writes a monthly column for East Tennessee Medical News titled “Enjoying East Tennessee.”
She is the author of the well-known children’s book The Santa Train Tradition and award-winning Festus and His Fun Fest Favorites. Reading with Ralph—A Journey in Christian Compassion, a Christian book about her adult reading student, is Hoover’s third book.
Hoover’s books have been endorsed by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe and parent educator Nancy Samalin.
Visit Hoover at https://www.facebook.com/LeighAnneWHoover or http://www.thesantatraintradition.com

Workshop Synopsis
Community Connection: Connecting Children to the Community and Literacy

Through both of her children’s books, well-known “The Santa Train Tradition” and award-winning “Festus and His Fun Fest Favorites,” Hoover exemplifies how community bonds can also connect children to actual events in their region and tie them to literacy. She explores how such books, especially through reading aloud, can increase learning and instill a love of reading.
Hoover displays how factual information can be married with fiction to meet core curriculum standards, which is attractive for school sponsored book programs. She also explains how factual topics offer a platform for speaking engagements and the necessary “hook” for obtaining publicity.
Her children’s book “The Santa Train Tradition” is based on the renowned Appalachian tradition of the Santa Train, which began in 1943 and brings Christmas to the residents of rural Appalachia each year.


Delilah O'HaynesDelilah O’Haynes
Non Fiction Workshop

Delilah O’Haynes is Professor of English at Concord University, where she teaches writing, literature, and Creative Writing. Originally from Clintwood, Virginia, she began her college career at Southwest Virginia Community College and is a founding member of AAG. Delilah writes songs, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her latest nonfiction title is The Role of Audience in Student Writing, an academic study in Composition.

Workshop Synopsis
Writing the Real Story

The following are categories I plan to cover, depending on the needs of the workshop audience (I’ll spend more time on areas of interest):

I. Basic Tenants of Nonfiction
A. Choose/Assess Topic
B. Research the Publication(s) or Book Company
C. Assess Needed Writing Style: journalistic, academic, personal?
D. Research the Topic
E. Obtain Adequate Backup/Evidence
F. Choose Authority Sources
G. Use Proper or Chosen Documentation Style

II. Types of Nonfiction for Discussion:
A. Magazines and Journals
B. Academic Journals or Book Publishers
C. Memoirs
D. Creative Nonfiction


image002RumburgDr. H. Rondel Rumburg
Writing Biography Workshop

Dr. Rumburg was educated in the local school system of Princeton, WV. He graduated from Princeton High School in 1959, and immediately entered Concord College in Athens, WV and then transferred to Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem, NC where he graduated in 1964. He attended Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, FL and also attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and lastly attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. From these institutions he was awarded the BRE, Th.M. and D.Min. degrees.

Dr. Rumburg has been in the pastoral ministry since 1964 having pastored in WV, VA, NC and AL. He has spoken at various conferences. His literary production has included: Baptists and the State, Stonewall Jackson’s Verse, Some Southern Documents of the People Called Baptists, The Universal Dominion of Christ, The Last Earthly Meeting of Lee and Jackson, William Bridge: the Congregational Puritan, John Pelham of Alabama: Chief of JEB Stuart’s Horse Artillery, Gen. Mark Perrin Lowrey: The Fighting Baptist Parson, The Songs of Southern Zion: Confederate Hymnology, The Soul Sufferings of Christ and “Stonewall” Jackson’s Chaplain: Beverly Tucker Lacy.
He has contributed forewords to the following publications: Life and Letters of “Stonewall” Jackson by Mary Anna Jackson, Two Little Confederates by Thomas Nelson Page, and Among the Camps by Thomas Nelson Page, A Soldier’s Recollections by Randolph H. McKim, Diary of a Southern Refugee by Judith B. McGuire, Leonidas Polk by William M. Polk, A Practical View of Christian Ethics by John L. Dagg, The Evidences of Christianity by John L. Dagg, The Life of John Witherspoon by Ashbel Green, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia by Charles F. James, and National Rectitude by Rev. J. C. Stiles. Dr. Rumburg edited The Works of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 8 volumes; also included is a biographical sketch of John Witherspoon as well as written prefaces to the 8 volumes. Also, he compiled and edited the Chaplain’s Handbook for the Sons of Confederate Veterans International. Rumburg edited and provided a foreword to The Life and Character of Mr. Jonathan Edwards by Samuel Hopkins and A Historical and Constitutional Defense of the South by Captain John Anderson Richardson.
Dr. Rumburg is an active member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and was national Chaplain-in-Chief of the SCV. He was on the board of directors of the Shelby County Historical Society in Columbiana, AL. Presently Dr. Rumburg continues to be an active minister and the editor of the Chaplain’s Corps Chronicles, which is the e-voice of the SCV Chaplains Corps.

Workshop Synopsis
The Writing of Biography: An Adventure and Labor of Love

The aim of the presentations will be to give an overview of subject with historical and personal aspects of doing biography.


Dahnmon Whitt0001Colonel Charles Dahnmon Whitt
Marketing Workshop

Colonel Whitt was born and raised in Tazewell County Virginia. He has resided in Flatwoods Kentucky since 1970.
The Colonel is a researcher, genealogist, and author of 11 books.
His books are mostly historic by nature but he adds conversations and emotions to the facts to make the books really interesting. He calls his books Historic-Fiction where all is based on truth and all the names, dates, places, and events are true.
The Colonel is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, The Sons of Confederate Veterans and a Kentucky Colonel. He wears his uniform of the Confederate Colonel to honor all the men and women that struggled against the Union during the War of Northern Aggression.
Colonel Whitt has been recognized by the Kentucky Senate on two occasions for his achievements in historic research and writing ability and is also a member of Biltmore’s Who’s Who.
Dahnmon Whitt grew up in Raven, Virginia, and attended Richlands High School. In his younger days he fished, played games with friends, and was a Boy Scout for several years. He was raised in a Christian home and has tried to be the man his dog thinks he is. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1968. He learned the craft of Sheet Metal Work and earned a living until December 2003. Dahnmon has always wanted to know his place and where he came from so in 1999 he purchased his first computer. Doing genealogy he made so many discoveries including his connections in Kentucky and back to Ireland, Scotland, and to the American Indians as he is the GGGG Grandson of Chief Cornstalk the Shawnee War Chief.
Dahnmon has discovered several ways to market his eleven books, but confesses he does not know it all.
To see the Colonel’s work please: http://dahnmonwhittfamily.com/

Workshop Synopsis

1. So you wrote a book!
2. Who knows I wrote a book?
3. What does my Publisher do to sell my book?
4. Do you really want to sell your book?
5. Spend money to make money.
7. What can I do, to sell my book?
8. Advertisement
9. Getting Attention
10. Free ways to draw attention to your book.
11. Getting it out there.



Tim Holder0001Timothy D. Holder

Timothy D. Holder is the author of more than 10 books including Hey, it’s Presidential Trivia! and the novel Double Crossed. His most recent work is a short story in the anthology entitled Four.
He is an Associate Professor of History at Walters State Community College. Holder has a Ph. D. and an MA in History from the University of Kentucky. He has a BA in Bible from Asbury University, and in May he will complete an MA in Applied Theology.
His wife, Angela, is an Associate Professor of Music at Carson-Newman University.

Workshop Synopsis
Good Beginnings: Starting with a Bang

In an age of Facebook and Twitter, what can we do to keep readers’ attention with our stories? Come and find out. We’ll look at a sample beginning or two, talk about some principles, and share ideas.


Mona on August 25 at Home (2)Ramona Fletcher
Point of View

A native of Carroll County, Virginia, one of nine children, married to an English professor and mother of a daughter who can write better than this parent, at least, I am most interested in mystery as a genre, both to read and to write.  I have worked for forty-five years and taught for more than thirty-five, for a range of colleges from the community college level to graduate programs in universities up and down the mid-Atlantic states.  Perhaps the best teaching and learning I have ever done, however, was in a series of Memoir Writing workshops for Marshall University’s off-campus graduate program.  In the workshops, Holocaust survivors who wanted to share their lives with children and grandchildren told their stories and transformed everyone else in the workshops in the process.

Workshop Synopsis
Point of View is not Accidental

“Let me tell you a story” is one of the most familiar openings for a narrative, and it implies a closer connection between the storyteller and the listener than not, an intimacy in links among time and place and circumstance, the three unities of literature.  The listener will hear and receive the story and act on new or renewed knowledge or understand its purpose, in a traditional narrative.  The storyteller will have fulfilled her obligation to the audience, to entertain, inform, teach, and/or urge action, among other intentions.  Intention is key here:  point of view is not accidental for the fiction or memoir writer.  Explorations of first person and third person narrative viewpoints will be amply illustrated in this workshop, and participants will try out a range of points of view relative to their intentions in a writing scenario.


Vicki UmbargerVicki Umbarger

Like many creative people Vicki has had many interests. Throughout her working career she has been a stage actress, done television and radio commercials, wrote copy for radio spots and authored a weekly column for Clinch Valley News entitled “To Whom It May Concern”. Vicki also was an automobile salesperson for six years. While residing in Winston Salem N.C she worked as an accounts executive for the Boucheron Fragrance Co. Also, while living in Winston Salem she wrote and sang jingles for a recording studio. She was also signed with Metropolis Model Agency in Greensboro, N.C. as a model. Upon moving back to Tazewell, where she now resides, she owned and operated Boutique Tres Chic. Vicki is an active member of Reminiscent Writers and is currently working on her first novel.

Workshop Synopsis
Conflict in Writing

A study of the importance of conflict in writing. Definitions of conflict. Using conflict to make your story come alive.



Dixon Bio 09 generalDanny Dixon
Non Fiction Reviewer

A veteran educator of 40 years, Danny Dixon has a Bachelors Degree from Milligan College in Elementary Education and Physical Education, and a M. Ed. from V.C.U., in Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disturbance. He has literally taught students of all ages.

For 33 years he worked for Scott County Public Schools in a variety of Administrative Positions including Director of Special Education, Elementary Supervisor and for 17 years, as Director of Instruction. After his retirement he became the Director of the A. Linwood Holton Governor’s School providing challenging courses to the best and brightest students in the 17 school systems of Southwest Virginia by way of the latest in distance learning technology.

He is President of Dixon Educational Consulting & Echoes From the Past, a company formed to help preserve the rich heritage of the Appalachian region. He has authored two books, “Pathfinders, Pioneers, and Patriots” and “When Courage Was Common”, both of which are about the settlement and challenges of living on the Appalachian Frontier and are available through Lulu Publishing. He writes with a passion that comes from being a life-long resident of the area and a descendant of those pioneers who settled and defended it.

He is an adjunct faculty member of Mountain Empire Community College and the University of Virginia’s College of Wise, where he has taught numerous educational courses over the past 25 years. He is frequently called upon to present workshops on a wide variety of educational and leadership topics at regional and state level conferences and to directly address the needs of individual schools and school systems.

He and his wife, Maxie, live in Nickelsville, Va. and enjoy spending time with their daughter Jennifer, son in law Kenny, and grand-daughters Kaitlyn and Madison Wallace.


Rebecca ElswickRebecca Elswick
Fiction Reviewer

Rebecca Elswick is the daughter and granddaughter of coal miners. She lives in the coal fields of southwestern Virginia, (Buchanan County) where she was born. She and her husband reside at Big Rock. They have three children and at last count, five dogs.
Elswick has a M.Ed. degree from East Tennessee State University. She is a former high school teacher of advanced placement English, creative writing, and Appalachian literature. She is an adjunct faculty for Southwest Virginia Community College and has taught English for the PluggedIn Virginia Adult Education Program. She is a teacher consultant for the Appalachian Writing Project (AWP) at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Elswick has published short stories and creative nonfiction in numerous journals and anthologies She has won awards for her writing including first and third place in the 2010 Appalachian Author’s Guild Short Story Contest; first place in the 2011 Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest; first place in nonfiction in the Golden Nib Writing Contest in 2012 and again in 2013, and first place in the 2013 Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest.
In 2011 her award winning first novel, Mama’s Shoes was published, the result of winning a publishing contract from Writer’s Digest Magazine. Visit her website http://www.rebeccaelswick.com


Greg HornGreg Horn
Poetry Reviewer

Greg Horn is a graduate of the Master’s program in Writing at Hollins University. He is the editor of The Clinch Mountain Review and has taught English at Southwest Virginia Community College since 1993.


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