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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.



Latest Activity

Connie Regan-Blake updated an event

A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 21, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm, join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her "Taking the Stage" workshop participants, for an enchanting evening of storytelling in picturesque Black Mountain, NC. You'll enjoy a variety of stories and storytelling styles featuring tellers Jane O Cunningham from Rome, GA; Gabriele Marewski from Black Mountain, NC; Christine Phillips Westfeldt - Fairview,…See More
Glenda Council Beall posted a blog post

Writers Circle around the Table

We are located in Hayesville, NC. In April we begin our new season with outstanding Poet Mike James. Mike will read at Writers' Night Out in Blairsville, GA on Friday evening April 13. On Saturday, April 14, he will teach a class at my studio.Formally SpeakingThis class will focus on different types of traditional poetic forms such as the sonnet, the villanelle, and the sestina, and will also include other verse forms such as erasures, found poems, prose poems, and last poems.Contact Glenda…See More
Mar 12
Caroline McIntyre posted an event

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring Chautauqua History Alive at UNC Asheville, OLLI Reuters Center, Manheimer Room

April 15, 2018 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Step inside the revolutionary book, Silent Spring as its author Rachel Carson reveals the reckless destruction of our living world. Written more than 55 years ago Silent Spring inspired the Environmental Movement and has never been out of print. And now you have a chance to ask the author, Rachel Carson, how this came to be. But these aren’t just performances. They’re a chance to step into Living History – to ask questions and go one on one with a women whose books shaped our country and our…See More
Mar 7
Lynn Hamilton-Rutherford posted blog posts
Mar 7
Lynn Hamilton-Rutherford commented on Glenda Council Beall's photo

lexie on deck_edited-1

"She looks like I look in my imagination right before I've had my coffee ... relaxed, bothered (by something, anything) and fully aware that I'm almost, but not quite, the center of the universe ... a feeling that quickly fades after that…"
Mar 4
Lynn Hamilton-Rutherford replied to Kathryn Stripling Byer's discussion Mary Adams's new chapbook COMMANDMENT
"This is so perfect ... the thought of every woman, who KNOWS what the men are thinking!  But now at least we have an idea! This makes me happy in a sad, lovely sort of way!"
Mar 4
Lynn Hamilton-Rutherford posted a photo

Mom in Her Writing Nook ...

She was working on the "About the Authors" section of "Echoes Across the Blue Ridge" when I captured this one morning. Though you can't see it, her coffee cup was within gentle reach that morning. Roxie is at her feet.
Mar 4
Carolyn Bennett Fraiser updated their profile photo
Feb 15
Harold N. Stern updated their profile
Feb 6
Glenda Council Beall posted a photo

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Lexie likes to sleep in the sunshine even on cold days.
Feb 6
Nancy Werking Poling posted a photo

Latest non-fiction book

In 1945 Indiana prohibited marriage between a white person and anyone with more than one-eighth "Negro blood." Yet Daniel (black) and Anna (white) gave up family, friends, and eventually even country to create a life together. Their 42-year marriage…
Feb 5
Nancy Werking Poling replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Bent Creek, the 4-part story
"Rob, Thanks for putting this into one document. I've been following the narrative in the Citizen-Times. I find it an added resource for my next writing project. In 1910 my husband's grandfather (1866-1947) showed up in Missouri and said…"
Feb 5
Rebecca L Caldwell updated their profile
Feb 5
Lee Ann Brown replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Writer Olive Dargan rises from obscurity
"Great Article!  Heart wrenching about her destroyed manuscripts and letters and notes but I will look for more of Olive Dargan!     Lee Ann Brown"
Feb 5
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Feb 4
Rap Monster posted a blog post


Focusing on the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis, The Bang Bang Brokers tells the story of a hedge fund manager (based on a composite of real life traders) who got rich off of predicting the subprime fallout. His guilt and suicidal impulses lead him to a chance meeting with a Latino Gang, headed by small time weed dealer Ramon (Erik Michael Estrada). In hopes that Ramon will kill him in exchange for the favor, Rolley (played by Donihue) robs a rival Black Gang, earning the pair a ton of…See More
Feb 4

12 Notables of WNC by Jack Prather; and Grateful Steps Foundation

Jack Prather celebrates greats with Grateful Steps

by Rob Neufeld


Grateful Steps, one of the generators of this region’s literary vitality, is reaching out in many directions to fulfill its mission of diversity in publishing.

On Aug. 4, the non-profit foundation and publisher hosts its “biggest event ever,” says Grateful Steps owner Micki Cabaniss, as Jack Prather, along with notables celebrated in his new book, “Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina,” gather in the foundation bookstore

Three of the notables—musician-storyteller David Holt; poet Glenis Redmond; and Doug Orr (President Emeritus, Warren Wilson College)—will perform.




Grateful Steps has published 50 books since its founding in 2004. Forty more are in production; 100 more on a waiting list.

One upcoming book, “Why the Clown Wouldn’t Smile,” is by a Prather notable, Dr. Olson Huff.  It features artwork by disabled children Huff has known through five decades of pediatric caring.

“Dr. Huff is the consummate child advocate and everyone’s role model community pediatrician,” Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, testifies in a quote that opens Prather’s 29-page chapter on Huff.

In each chapter, testimonials lead to bulleted biographical notes and substantial interviews.  Prather’s notables, selected through recommendations and research, give themselves over to the generous space Prather provides them.

Prather’s journey started with Joe Epley, novelist and public relations all-star, whom Prather had met at a Public Relations Society Meeting in 2004.  Epley led Prather to Huff.

David Potorti, N.C. Arts Council Literature Director, led Prather to basket artist Billie Ruth Sudduth and studio glass artist Richard Ritter.

“When I started glassblowing,” Ritter told Prather on a tour of his studio, “There were no furnaces or equipment commercially available, do you had to build your own.”

Ritter had attended Penland School of the Arts in 1971, and served as its Artist-in-Residence from 1972-76.  A few years later, he and wife, artist Jan Williams, had moved to a house a few miles away.

“I wanted to get to know my neighbors,” Ritter says, “and I also wanted to join the Volunteer Fire Department.  As a kid I always wanted to be a fireman.”  He eventually became chief of that organization.


Halo effect


“I’m pacing a bit,” Prather writes, describing his excitement before interviewing Dr. Huff.  “Suddenly striding my way,” he narrates, “is a spry septuagenarian with Carl Sandburg-like hair and bright smiling eyes.”

“Doctor Huff, please share with me how you stay so trim and fit,” Prather asks when they settle in Huff’s office.

The ensuing conversation touches upon Huff’s childhood in hardscrabble Kentucky; his discovery of medicine as a career; Vietnam War service; “Country Remedy,” the movie based on his book about a pediatrician; Smart Start; childhood obesity; MAHEC; Mission Children’s Hospital; and faith.

“My life began in a religious environment that was pretty restrictive,” Huff responded with frankness to Prather’s admiring inquiries.  Influenced by caring parents and role models, Huff stated, he “began to look more at the broadness of what it means to have a faith.”

He identified with the role of healer.


In step


Prather published the book through his own company, Future Now Publishing; and connected with Grateful Steps to promote and sell it.

Grateful Steps Foundation embraced the “Twelve Notables” message; and its publishing house applied parts of its full-service (edit-design-promote-distribute) operation.

“All our books are top quality,” Cabaniss attests.  “We work one-on-one with the authors sometimes for years.

“We bring voices to the community that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.”

The bookstore, opened a year-and-a-half ago, helps get out the word, and includes consignment books, representing other publishers. 

Additional collaborative efforts include providing space to writing classes, Tek Kids, and Creative College; support of Wordfest, the annual Asheville poetry festival directed by Laura Hope Gill, Grateful Steps’ marketing director; and interfaith book discussions.




This past January, Grateful Steps Foundation received non-profit status.

“Just like Hub City Press in Spartanburg,” Cabaniss relates, “we are a non-profit publishing company with a book shop…There are some highly respected non-profit publishing companies outside of universities and religious organizations” she notes, also citing Graywolf Press in Minneapolis and Sarabande Books in Louisville. 

Grateful Steps’ mission statement identifies its guidelines: to publish under-represented voices; preserve and teach the history of Appalachia; and to promote multicultural, interfaith and economic community development.

The interfaith focus connects to a spiritual foundation.

“We have crosses on our logo,” Cabaniss states.  “We have a Christian base to our company.  People here have a Christian base to their personal lives, and we start our days with prayer.

“We feel it’s a ministry of sorts to open the door respectfully to others’ beliefs, and to share with them ours.”


The books speak


The message is in the diversity of Grateful Steps’ books.

One book, soon to go to press, is by an inmate who turned his life around and became a chef and now a novelist.

“Near Death” by Steven Cox portrays evil-doers who are brainwashed by a tribunal to believe that they have died, faced judgment, and been given a second chance at life.  When they discover the scam, many years later, they have second thoughts about their fates.

Here is a sampling of other Grateful Steps books:

  • The Other Half of My Soul by Bahia Abrams (2008)—a novel about a romance between a Syrian-American Jewish woman and a passionate Syrian Muslim.
  • My Brother Is Like a Baby Bird by Amy Tiller (hardcover, 2009)—a picture book by the mother of extremely premature twins, revealing animal lessons about caring.
  • Meigs Line by Dwight McCarter and Joe Kelley (2009)—the story of the authors’ explorations along the Cherokee-American 1802 boundary.
  • Look Up Asheville: An Architectural Journey (2010), to be followed by Look Up Asheville Collection II, by author Laura Hope Gill and photographer Michael Oppenheim.
  • Sharks on My Fin Tips by Simone Lipscomb (2011)—described as “journeys deep into the wilds of nature and her own instinctual self.”
  • Traveling to Marshall by Jack Thomas (2011)—a look back at the mountain town by a retired pastor.
  • The Cow That Meowed by Hal Mahan, owner of The Compleat Naturalist in Biltmore Village, and illustrator Susan Peterson (Dec. 2011)—a parable about tolerance.
  • The Asheville Art Book—a new project, featuring area artists and gorgeous photos, now seeking sponsors.



Jack Prather launches his book, “Twelve Notables in Western North Carolina,” 7 p.m., Aug. 4, at Grateful Steps, 159 South Lexington Ave., Asheville.  He will be joined by notables Dr. Olson Huff, Joe Epley, David Holt, Doug Orr, Glenis Redmond, and Rev. Dan Matthews.   

Learn more about the event, the publisher, and Prather’s notables.

Part of the proceeds of the sale of the book will go to the Warren Wilson College Young Writers Scholarship, to be awarded annually to an incoming freshman majoring in Creative Writing.

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