Autumn is hovering on the doorstep.  For many, this is a wistful time, thinking of the year as an aging person, whose full bloom of summer has passed.  At the end of June, my mother-in-law remarked, with a sigh, the days would now shorten, and the dark nights would return.  She made this remark after ten o'clock , as light still streaked the evening sky above her rose-laden English garden.  It seemed premature to me, but reflected my mother-in-law's understandable melancholy that by December it will be dark in her northern latitude of the world by about four in the afternoon, and as the world spins between equinoxes, autumn represents the long fall from daylight.

But autumn is also time of new beginnings, new classes, new schools and colleges, a time of change.  It occurs in the natural world on a daily basis.  Leaf colors mutate.  Cobwebs hang in the air.  So do certain smells.  The odor of crushed chrysanthemum leaves out side the supermarket marks the arrival of a truckload of the tight-budded plants.  Inside the store, candies packaged in black and orange dominate an aisle.  Football fans flags flutter.  We start to change our wardrobes, by color and texture, welcoming back a favorite sweater and the chance to snuggle under the bed covers again.  Food choices begin to move from cool salads to hot soups and stews.  The summer heat no longer drains our energies, and the cooler temperatures invigorate us. Shadows lengthen in russet tinted light, like a ripening apple.  A leaf, prematurely red, sticks out a tongue from a green mouth.  A newborn buckeye bounces free of its nurturing husk.

As TMW President Carol Grametbauer notes below, this the beginning of the TMW year and we have excellent programs planned to develop the many facets of writing, but don't wait to chat with the Muse over the provided coffee and donuts.  Go and find her now.

Autumn is a gift on which writers may hone their skills.  No matter what you write, from lyric poetry to sports reports, it is vital for a writer to be observant of details.  Autumn presents a myriad of opportunities to practice that particular skill.  As the season creeps into your life, why not try an exercise?  Describe autumnal changes to yourself as you take your daily walk, or drive to work.  Notice how a single tree changes from day to day, or over a week.  Try to find new ways of fashioning the facts.  Avoid clichés and well-worn turns of phrase.  Try to see what others don't.

Perhaps you will simply gather some qualities of the season you had not noticed before, or you might find inspiration for something you decide to write down.  I did, wondering what to write in this space.

--Margaret Pennycook, Newsletter Editor


Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your pens, pencils and laptops!  Tennessee Mountain Writers is about to start rolling out a new year.

Throughout the summer our board has been hard at work, putting together a schedule that should have something for everyone-beginning in late October, when author/editor Bob Middlemiss will present a full-day Fall Workshop on "Writing a Novel: From Choice of Idea to Agents."  And we're happy to report that poet Jane Hicks and novelist Darnell Arnoult will present our two tracks at January Jumpstart VII.  (Talk about a tough choice!  Too bad we can pick only one!).  More specific information on both of these coming events will be found elsewhere in this newsletter.

We're especially excited about our 19th annual conference, scheduled for March 29-31.  Our banquet speaker will be native Knoxvillian and world-renowned poet/writer Nikki Giovanni, author of more than two-dozen books-including poetry, children's books, and essays.  Our principal workshop leaders will include Leatha Kendrick, Poetry; Mim Rivas, Nonfiction; Penny Warner, Writing for Young People; and Eddie Francisco, Fiction.  The conference specialty sessions are now being finalized, so watch our web site for more information soon.

And speaking of our web site: if you haven't looked at it in awhile, we hope you'll be pleasantly surprised.  TMW member K'Cindra Cavin has been revamping the site over the past months and is continuing to make improvements.  Check it out at www.tmwi.org.

Just a word about the people behind the programs:  At last spring's conference, we said a very reluctant goodbye to four board members who have contributed hugely to TMW.  Betty and Mike Roe had served for years-decades, actually-on our board, and between them had done nearly every job there is to do in connection with our conference and special events.  (And perhaps most impressively, they faithfully drove from Crossville to Oak Ridge during all that time to do it!)  We miss them terribly, but hope they're enjoying life to the fullest, and writing, writing, writing.

Also leaving us were Frank Jamison, who chaired our Program Committee for the past two years, and Shannon Collins, who spearheaded our Writers' Block effort last year (ably assisted in the bookstore by his son, surely destined to be a future TMW member!).  Both are sorely missed.

But the good news is that we've gained four wonderful new board members:  Beverly and Charles Connor, who we're sure moved back to this area from Georgia specifically so they could work with us; Joyce McDonald, who finally couldn't stand living so far from TMW and moved here from Louisiana last year; and Jane Sasser, who's been here all along, teaching creative writing at Oak Ridge High School.

Beverly, Charles, Joyce and Jane join our wonderful returning board members Robert Alfonso, Vicki Brumback, Steve Dekanich, Connie Green, Wanda Grooms, Ruth Ann Maddux, Joy Margrave, Denise May, Margaret Pennycook, Sue Richardson Orr, Mona Raridon, Valeria Steele Roberson, Dorothy Senn, Wes Sims and Ruth Smalley.  If you don't know some or all of these folks, be sure to make their acquaintance at our upcoming events.  Each and every one is dedicated to TMW's mission and to making sure our membership has a varied and interesting slate of activities to choose from.

And we do hope you will choose to join at us at some or all of our upcoming events.  See you there!

-- Carol Grametbauer, President


Kalliope: a journal of women's literature & art is offering $1,000 to the first place prizewinners in contests for short fiction and poetry.  For entry details, check www.fccj.org/kalliope. Submissions must be postmarked by November 1, 2006 .

PLEASE NOTE: TMW contest deadline is February 1, 2007 .  This is earlier than previous years.  Prepare your submissions in time.



WRITING A NOVEL: From Choice of Idea to Agents will be held Saturday, October 28, 2006 , 9:30 - 4:00 , at the United Way of Anderson County Office, 161 Robertsville Road , Oak Ridge , Tennessee , led by Bob Middlemiss.

Bob Middlemiss is an editor, author, collaborative writer and teacher who has taught adult education courses in fiction and nonfiction for over twenty-five years at Emory, Oglethorpe, Columbus State , George Mason (VA) and for the Virginia Dept. of Parks and Recreation.  This year he served on an advisory panel for masters degree students in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University .  He currently serves on the Advisory Board for TMW.  A second expanded edition of A Common Glory, first published by Iris Press, is being marketed in the United Kingdom , Australia and New Zealand .  Bob had a nonfiction piece selected from 3,000 entries for publication in Rattle Literary Journal 2005.

Coffee, hot tea and soft drinks and lunch will be provided.  Attendees will be limited to 30.  Registration fee is $70.00.  For additional information visit the TMW website www.TMWI.org or call 865-671-6046.

This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts


Presented by the Tennessee Mountain Writers and Tennessee Writers Alliance on January 12 - 14, 2007, at the Best Western Motel in Sweetwater , TN , at exit 60 off I-75.  Jane Hicks will lead the Poetry Workshop and Darnell Arnoult will lead the Fiction Workshop.  Saturday sessions will run 9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. and 1:30p.m. – 4:30p.m., Sunday session 8:30a.m. – 11:30a.m.

A native of East Tennessee , Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet and quilter.  She won the 2000 Appalachian Poetry Contest sponsored by Now & Then magazine.  She also won the James Still Award for Poetry given by the Appalachian Writers Association.  Her first book, Blood and Bone Remember: Poems from Appalachia was published in 2005 and was named the Appalachian Writers Association Poetry Book of the Year.  It was also nominated for the Weatherford Award given by the Appalachian Studies Association. Jane's poetry has frequently appeared in journals and literary magazines in the southeast, notably Wind, Now & Then, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage and Shenandoah.

Darnell Arnoult's work has appeared in a variety of journals including Nantahala Review, Southern Cultures, Southwest Review, and Southern Exposure.  Her full-length collection of poetry, What Travels With Us, recently won the Appalachian Studies Association's Weatherford Award. Her first novel, Sufficient Grace, was released in June, 2006, to rave reviews.  A quote from Darnell's website, "My favorite classroom is a continuing education venue full of adults with careers other than writing. Their experience and history gives them a well of material to draw from and often a level of empathy and compassion so necessary for any good writer."

Registration fees are $100.00 for TMW or TWA members, $110.00 nonmembers.  Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and donuts before the morning sessions and Saturday lunch are included.  Participants will be limited to 20 per workshop.  DEADLINE for registration is Jan. 5, 2007.  Room rates are $58.00 + tax for single or double.  Call 423-337-3541 and mention the Tennessee Mountain Writers Workshop.

For additional information: please check our website: www.tmwi.org or contact: Sue Richardson Orr - email: theorrs@usit.net

This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Newcomer to Knoxville , Gretchen Roberts is offering a new writing class on food.  Roberts, an experienced food writer and recipe developer for national magazines, including Cooking Light and Alternative Medicine, says Food Writing 101 is "for foodies who want to explore food writing, food professionals who want to write about what they do for a living, and writers who want to investigate food writing as a writing speciality."

The class is part of UT's Professional and Personal Development Fall Courses and will be held every Thursday from September 28 to October 26, 6:30-8.00, in the UT Conference center.  For more information, contact Gretchen Roberts by phone (865) 544-0849 or register at http://www.outreach.tennessee.edu/ppd/fall06/courses/creat.html.  Sounds delicious.


Lights in the Mountains: The North Carolina Writers' Network West 2nd Conference will be held Saturday, September 30, 2006, at Hinton Rural Life Center , Hayesville , North Carolina .  Sessions will be held on Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction and Self Publishing, led by Dr. James Smith, associate editor of Southern Poetry Review, authors Valerie Nieman and Lynn York, and self published novelist Bill Reynolds and Old Mountain Press owner, Tom Davis.  For more information contact Shirley Uphouse, shirl@dnet.net, 828-337-6007, or Glenda Beall, glendabeall@msn.com, 828-389-4441.


Arts Talk a one and a half day forum presented by the Tennessee Arts Commission, VSA arts Tennessee, in partnership with the National Arts and Disability Center, titled Careers in the Arts for people with Disabilities on October 6 & 7, 2006, on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  For more information, go to http://www.arts.state.tn.us/artstalkinfo.htm.


Beginning at 7 p.m., November 7, 2006, columnist and short story writer Don Williams, editor of New Millennium Writings, will teach a six-week course open to writers and poets of all ages, persuasions and levels of accomplishment.  Classes will meet at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike, near UT. Cost of the entire course is $140, although sliding-scale exceptions apply in hardship cases.  For more information, phone Don at 865-428-0389, email donwilliams7@charter.net or enroll by showing up for the first class.  If you wish, bring a composition that will take two minutes or less to read aloud.


March 29-31, 2007.  MARK YOUR CALENDERS NOW. Contest deadline is earlier this year—it is February 1, 2007.


TMW Board Member Connie Green had a poem published, "Reading Poetry with Miss Myrtle," in the most recent issue of The Sow's Ear Poetry Review.  She also won a prize at the Alabama Writers Conclave for a short story for children, "Getting Even," and a prize from the Appalachian Writers Association for a poem, "The Foundling."

New TMW Board Member and many times contest winner, Jane Sasser has had three poems accepted this summer: "Devil's Walking Cane" at "Appalachian Heritage," "Thanksgiving 1939" at "Timber Creek Review," and "Passages" at "Words of Wisdom."

Heather Hayes' screenplay "Silvertown" has placed among the top 35 entries of 660 in Century City 's screenplay competition.  Heather says her play's logline is: "A romantic comedy-drama in which Fate pulls the strings of a successful (but jaded and routine-obsessed) English engineer, who suddenly finds that he has inadvertently hired his old flame from college: a quirky, sexy American woman who awakens his long-lost sense of romance--and gives him the biggest surprise of his life."  We can't wait to see it performed!


If you have a writing success to report send it to Margaret Pennycook mspenners@mac.com and I'll put it in the next newsletter.