Presenter Biographies and Session Details


clarkDr. Amy Clark
Non Fiction Workshop

Photo by Bryan Spain

Amy Clark is author and co-editor of Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity and Community (University Press of Kentucky, 2013) and author of Success in Hill Country (The Napoleon Hill Foundation, 2012.) Her award-winning writing has been featured or is scheduled to appear in Blue Ridge Country Magazine, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, New York Times, and Pittsburgh Post Gazette, among other publications. She is associate professor of English at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and is founding Director of the Appalachian Writing Project, which won the 2013 Helen M. Lewis Community Service Award given by the Appalachian Studies Association. She lives in Big Stone Gap, VA. You can access some of her writing at

Workshop Synopsis

Truth Be Told: Writing Nonfiction

This writing workshop will offer a range of writing tips on developing nonfiction, from personal essay to longer works. Participants are encouraged to bring and share excerpts of their nonfiction manuscripts in progress.


IMG_2367Dr. Charles Condon
Copyright Workshop


Charlie is the Associate Dean for Information Services and Law Library Director at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. His interest in Copyrights focuses on topics such as Fair Use, Public Domain materials and privately held Copyrights. He has taught Intellectual Property Research with an emphasis on Copyright issues and assisted various law faculty members with Copyright questions. In addition, he has secured permissions from Copyright holders on behalf of Law Professors who use excerpts from copyrighted works in their academic publications. He is currently researching Copyright issues related to eBooks as well as in other nontraditional settings.

Workshop Synopsis

Copyright Basics: Exploring Traditional Concepts and Recent Developments in

Copyright Protection

This session offers a brief history of Copyright and explores the development of the rights afforded to authors under current Copyright laws and principles. Topics include United States Copyright Office procedures, “work for hire” issues and Copyright in the digital age. Participants will learn about recent cases that affect Copyright holders and the book publishing industry.

Derek Davidson
Dr. Derek Davidson

Playwright Workshop


Derek Davidson teaches Playwriting and Script Analysis at Appalachian State University.  Before ASU, Derek taught Dramaturgy at Carnegie Mellon University, and had worked at The Barter Theatre in Virginia as a Resident Company Member and Coordinator for the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.  Derek’s plays The Road Where It Curves Away and Holmes have been performed at Barter and in theatres in Ohio.  His film This is Not the South has shown at festivals and conferences throughout the southeast.  Derek’s award-winning one-act, Jack of Dover  was recently performed in Albuquerque, New Mexico; his most recent play, Bumbershoot, was named among the “Best of the Fest 2012” at last summer’s New York City International Fringe Festival.

Workshop Synopsis

“From ‘Dramatic Urge’ to Script: How You Can Become a Playwright Using Stuff around the House.”

The Dramatic Urge: everyone has it; everyone can cultivate it.  But how to mine this natural ability to create a new thing, a story, a scene, perhaps an entire play—well, that is what we will explore in this workshop.  Some of the most exciting, dramatic, beautiful works of American literature and theatre have sprung from the process I will introduce, from the plays of Romulus Linney to the dialogue-rich, place-specific fiction of Cormac McCarthy.  Each of us carries stories and an innate knack for the dramatic; together we will learn how to craft from these components compelling pieces of theatre.


Photo_2_of_mary_001Ms. Mary Hodges
Appalachian Humor Workshop


Mary Bozeman Hodges teaches in the English department of Carson-Newman College.  She is also a fiction writer and has two collections of short stories. The first one, Tough Customers and Other Stories, was published in 1999 by the Jesse Stuart Foundation of Ashville, Kentucky, and was reprinted in 2002. Her second book, Plastic Santa and Other Stories, was published in November 2003 and reprinted in December 2003 by Iris Press of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Her writings have also been included in several journals such as Appalachian Heritage and Journal of Kentucky Studies and in anthologies, the latest of which is Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia edited by Dr. Sandra Ballard, editor of Appalachian Journal which is published by Appalachian State University, and freelance writer, Patricia Hudson. Listen Here is published by the University Press of Kentucky and came out in 2003.

Hodges gives lectures, workshops, and dramatic readings of her own works at universities and colleges, civic organizations, retirement groups and churches. In 2003 she was a part of the Appalachian Lecture Series given annually at Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee, which recognizes three Appalachian writers. The other two writers in the series were Robert Morgan, author or Gap Creek and Silas House, author of Parchment of Leaves and Clay’s Quilt. In 2005, she received the award for fiction from the East Tennessee Writers hall of Fame.

A native of East Tennessee, Hodges has lived out of the region many years of her adult life, living in such places as Hawaii and Washington, D.C., as she moved with her husband Jim and their two children during the time he served as a federal agent. Upon his retirement, the couple returned to the region, and Hodges took a creative writing class at the University of Tennessee from Wilma Dykeman, who encouraged her to take her writing seriously, and since that time she has done so. Dykeman says of her, “Hodges is a keen observer and an attentive listener in her corner of our human neighborhood. A storyteller in the best Southern Appalachian tradition, at once witty and compassionate, she makes us aware of the daily experiences that bond us to ‘neighbors’ everywhere.” Lee Smith says, “Mary Hodges’ stories are full of life, wit, and wisdom. Swift and to the point, they come to life on the page in a way few writers can manage.”

Workshop Synopsis

“Just a Spoonful of Sugar”

Mark Twain said that the basis of humor is sadness. He could make us look at the dark side of life, or “man’s inhumanity to man,” and still make us laugh. I want us to focus on how the great humor writers have a way of seeing the irony in life and using that irony to entertain as well as to teach us how to endure. When Huck witnesses the feuding families who have long since forgotten why they hate each other and who go to church toting guns, listen to a sermon about brotherly love, and after the sermon kill each other, we have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. As long as we can laugh at even the most horrendous circumstances, there is hope. As long as the innocent narrator can go on in Twain’s book, we know there is hope, even in “the least of these.”


Author Photo 2Robert Inman
Keynote Address: “The Ghosts In My Grandmother’s Attic”
Fiction Workshop


 Robert Inman’s new novel, The Governor’s Lady, will be published in September, 2013 by John F. Blair Publishers.  Drawing on his career as a journalist and creative writer, Inman has crafted the story of Cooper Lanier, a determined woman fighting to establish her independence in the tumultuous world of male-dominated politics.

The Governor’s Lady is Inman’s fifth novel, following Home Fires Burning (1987), Old Dogs and Children (1991), Dairy Queen Days (1997), and Captain Saturday (2002), all published originally by Little, Brown and Company, and now available in popular e-book formats.  He is also the author of a collection of non-fiction work, Coming Home: Life, Love and All Things Southern, and an illustrated family holiday book, The Christmas Bus.

Inman has written screenplays for six motion pictures for television, two of which have been “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentations.  His script for The Summer of Ben Tyler, a Hallmark production, won the Writers’ Guild of America Award as the best original television screenplay of 1997.  His other Hallmark feature was Home Fires Burning, a 1989 adaptation of his novel.

Inman’s first stage play, the musical comedy Crossroads, had its world premiere in 2003 at Blowing Rock Stage Company, a professional theatre in Blowing Rock, NC.  His playwriting credits also include The Christmas Bus, Dairy Queen Days, Welcome to Mitford, A High Country Christmas Carol, The Christmas Bus: The Musical, and The Drama Club.  Inman wrote the book, music and lyrics for Crossroads and The Christmas Bus: The Musical.   Inman’s plays are published by Dramatic Publishing Company.

Robert Inman is a native of Elba, Alabama, where he began his writing career in junior high school with his hometown weekly newspaper.  He left a 31-year career in television journalism in 1996 to devote full time to fiction writing.

He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Alabama with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees.  He has been selected as Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, and was inducted into the Alabama Communication Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the Authors Guild, Writers Guild of America, Dramatists Guild, PEN American Center, North Carolina Writers Conference, North Carolina Writers Network, and Alabama Writers Forum.

Inman and his wife, Paulette, live in Conover and Boone, North Carolina.  They have two daughters: Larkin Ferris of Breckenridge, CO; and Lee Farabaugh of Atlanta.

Author’s web site:

Workshop Synopsis

 It’s All About People

Mr. Inman will talk about how writers can imagine and bring to life dynamic, compelling characters who are the heart and soul of memorable fiction.


Main Headshot1 (1 of 1)Brooke McGlothlin
EBook Publishing Workshop


As the co-creator of Raising Boys Media, most known for its flagship blog, The MOB Society (for mothers of boys), and a successful self-published author now preparing to release her first traditionally published book, Brooke McGlothlin has become something of an expert in the fields of marketing and online platform-building. She’s a native of Narrows, VA, and now resides in the Roanoke Valley with her husband and two young sons.

Workshop Synopsis

How to Build a Platform and Market your Self-Published Book

It’s easier now than ever before to write a book, self-publish it, and then . . .wait for it to sell? If your dreams for writing a book include actually selling it you must learn to build a platform and market your work. 48 hours after Brooke McGlothlin released her co-authored book, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, over 26,000 women had downloaded it to their Amazon Kindles. How in the world did she do that?? In this session, Brooke shares how she and her co-author built their online platform and designed a marketing plan for their book that launched them to the number one free book on Amazon, and how that plan continues to give them steady sales and leads today.


scan0001 (1)

Brenda Musick

Memoir Writing Workshop


Brenda Crissman Musick was born and raised in Southwest Virginia in the small town of Honaker, the third of three children. “We were poor, I suppose,” she says, “but we didn’t know it. There was too much love to consider ourselves poor and always plenty of good garden food on the table.” She had a wonderful childhood, playing in the creeks, swinging from grapevines, playing cowboys and Indians, and just enjoying nature.

From the time she was a child, Brenda loved to read and write. She taught school in the Russell County School System for nineteen years, one of the most rewarding times of her life. Throughout those years she continued to read and write, teaching both. She taught writing classes for middle school students and conducted writing workshops for teachers.  Upon retirement, she devoted herself to genealogy research, writing children’s books and reminiscent writing. In 2000 she published a children’s book, The Dolls on the Old Stairway and, at present, is working on a novel to be published soon. She is a member of the Appalachian Authors Guild and the Reminiscent Writers of SVCC.

Brenda and her husband Jimmie live on a small farm in the Big A Mountain section of Honaker, where they enjoy the peace and tranquility of the country life they have always loved. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Workshop Synopsis

Writing Your Memoir

We all have a legacy of wealth to hand down in the stories from our life. The sad times, happy times, embarrassing times…they each contain a story worth telling. Learn how to write your stories in a way people will enjoy reading them. Preserve this rich Appalachian legacy. WRITE IT DOWN!


Ted Olson photo #1 by Larry SmithDr. Ted Olson
Poetry Workshop


Ted Olson has written several books, including a study of Appalachian culture, Blue Ridge Folklife, and two collections of poetry, Breathing in Darkness and Revelations.  He has edited numerous books, including four volumes of CrossRoads: A Southern Culture Annual and collections of literary works by authors James Still, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Sherwood Anderson.  Olson co-edited the award-winning The Bristol Sessions: Writings About the Big Bang of Country Music (with Charles K. Wolfe) and A Tennessee Folklore Sampler: Selected Readings from the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, 1935-2009 (with Anthony Cavender).  Additionally, Olson was the music section editor and an associate editor for The Encyclopedia of Appalachia and has received three Grammy Award nominations for his work as a music historian.  He teaches at East Tennessee State University.

Workshop Synopsis

Our Poetry and Our Place: Understanding Our World and Ourselves Through Poetry

Poetry is one of the best ways by which to understand the worlds (local, regional, national, and global) in which we must live.  This poetry workshop, led by poet and cultural historian Ted Olson, will explore the worlds of poetry—including focus on form, theme, voice, and audience—in order to encourage workshop participants to more deeply enjoy reading and writing poems.


n569841669_906468_7528Dr. Chuck Thompson
Mystery Workshop


I dabbled at writing for most of my life, but in 1992 I got more serious as a writer.  I was 42 years old and working full time as a marriage counselor/psychotherapist and part time as a psychology professor at King University.  My first full work was a fable depicting a healing journey in which the hero came to grips with various pieces of himself.  My next three books were all applied theology books, mostly applying the Epistle of James to various aspects of mental health and healing.

In 2001 I joined a group of other writers as I developed a fourth applied theology book, Presence and Truth.  This book included many dialogues showing my counseling theory at work.  During the writing of the counseling book I discovered that writing dialogue came very easy to me and at the same time the writers group began encouraging me to write a novel.  My first novel, The Bishop of Jerusalem, was about the last five days in James life.

In 2006 I developed an idea for a character driven detective novel in my psychotherapy practice.  My detective is a 30 year-old woman who lives and works where I do, in Bristol, Tennessee.  Her professional name is Natasha McMorales and she is a caretaker.  She is also an homage to a huge percentage of the clients I have worked with over the past 25 years.

Currently I am working on Why Knox?, the fifth Natasha McMorales why mystery.

Workshop Synopsis

Taking the Mystery out of Mystery Writing

This workshop will begin with a review of topics such as thinking and acting like a mystery writer, getting and keeping your reading audience in mind, developing interesting characters with depth, settings and subplots, and connecting the back story (the crime to be solved) to the plot.  As a class we will end by collectively developing a compelling protagonist and/or a back story.



BaxterTamara5X7Tamara Baxter
Writing Voice


Tamara Baxter’s collection of fiction, Rock Big and Sing Loud, won the Morehead State and Jesse Stuart Foundation’s First Author’s Award for Fiction, and was published by the Jesse Stuart Foundation Press.  Her short fiction, poetry, and essays have been widely published in journals such as Artemis, Appalachian Heritage, Wellspring, and in anthologies such as the 2000 O. Henry Awards Anthology, and The Night Shade Nightstand Reader, and Tennessee Landscape People and Places.  Baxter has been recognized nationally and regionally with awards in both fiction and non-fiction, including the Harriette Arnow Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the Leslie Garrett Award in fiction, and the National Rose Post Award for creative non-fiction. She is a regular contributor to Now & Then and other regional magazines. Baxter leads fiction writing workshops throughout the region. She is an Associate Professor of English at Northeast State Community College where she teaches literature and creative writing, and is fiction editor for the literary magazine, Echoes & Images. 

Workshop Synopsis

Finding the “Write” Narrative Voice for your Fiction

An exercise focused on writing only a single sentence, and in successive steps, changing the point of view, and adding details. In learning how to experiment with voice in a single sentence in a dozen ways, the writer learns more about the emotional interconnection of character and subject, and, ultimately, finds the “write” voice for their fictional narrative.

IMG_6223Rebecca Elswick
Mapping Your Novel


A lifelong resident of the coalfields of Appalachia, Rebecca Elswick teaches advanced placement English, photojournalism, creative writing and Appalachian literature at Grundy High School in Grundy, Virginia. She is an adjunct professor at Southwest Virginia Community College and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. A consultant for the University of Virginia’s Appalachian Writing Project, Ms. Elswick presents writing workshops locally and nationally.

Elswick’s work has appeared in the anthologies A Cup of Comfort: Dog Lovers II and Christmas Blooms. Her short fiction has been published in The Literary Journal of the Virginia Writing Project, The Jimson Weed, and Bewildering Stories. In 2010, she won first and third place in the Appalachian Author’s Guild Short Story Contest. In 2011, she won the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest.

Her debut novel, Mama’s Shoes, was published in October 2011 by Writer’s Digest/Abbott Press, as a result of Elswick winning Writer’s Digest #Pitch2Win Writing and Publishing Contest. Mama’s Shoes has garnered the nominations: The Weatherford Award, annually presented by Berea College to a work of fiction that best illuminates the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South; The Virginia Library Award for fiction; and The Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing given by Morehead State University.

Rebecca is the 2013 winner of the Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest.  Most recently, she was a speaker at the Writer’s Digest Conference, held in New York City in April, 2013, where she discussed her journey to the publication of her debut novel, Mama’s Shoes.

Rebecca is a member of the Appalachian Writing Project, the National Writing Project, the Appalachian Author’s Guild, and The Virginia Writer’s Club. Visit her website at; her Mama’s Shoes Facebook page;

Workshop Synopsis

Map Your Way to Success

The outline is one of the most powerful tools in the writer’s toolbox. This session is chocked full of tips on how to map your novel from beginning to end, whether it’s still in the idea stage or is languishing in the bottom drawer of your desk.

scan0001Tom Helton

Writing Dialogue


Tom Helton has spent the last 40 years teaching English, Speech and Theatre at Graham High School in Bluefield, VA.  A graduate of Concord University and a US Army veteran, Mr. Helton has directed over 100 stage plays, including two VHSL State Theatre Championships.  He has served on the Barter Theatre Education Advisory Committee and has supported Theatre West Virginia, Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, Blackfriars Playhouse, and Jenny Wiley Theatre for years.  Mr. Helton is a veteran public address announcer who also has experience as a radio announcer, sportswriter, and sportscaster.  He enjoys travel by car, singing harmony, and people.

Workshop Synopsis

These 30 minutes will offer the opportunity for each individual writer to create believable conversational dialogue between a variety of characters, using role play and emphasizing the difference between written and spoken language.

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