Local Author Festival
Gayle Trent- special guest speaker
Adda Leah Davis
Victoria A. Fletcher
Brenda Crissman Musick
Mark “Hardtop” Smith
Sister Bernie Kenny
Special guest speaker Gayle Trent (who also goes by the pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series and the Embroidery Mystery series. She lives in Virginia with her family. Gayle is a National Best Selling Author of cozy murder mysteries and is published by Simon & Schuster. She also writes as Gayle Leeson (gayleleeson.com).
Adda Leah Davis
Adda Leah Davis is a McDowell County, West Virginia native who has now lived in Russell County, Virginia for over twenty years and dearly loves the entire area. She is a retired elementary school teacher and counselor.
After retirement from the school system she wrote for two newspapers in McDowell County, started an oral history theater group, and was Director of Economic Development in McDowell County for six years.
Mrs. Davis has presented workshops on oral history, community development, leadership, and writing. She is energetic and enthusiastic about any project she starts and about life in general. Davis is the author of Sixteen books; “Fantasy Stories of the Life Cycles in Nature (Making Science Enjoyable),”“Here I Am Again Lord, Landon Colley, An Old Time Primitive Baptist Universalist Preacher,” “Caleb’s Song,” “Golden Harvest Workbooks for Grades 1, 2, and 3,” “The Whisperer,” a y/a book similar to the Nancy Drew Mysteries, “Abigail’s Redemption,” Lucinda Harmon Saga which includes; “Lucinda’s Mountain,” “Jason’s Journey,” “The Beckoning Hills,” and Farther Along and the mystery series which includes A Fatal Love of Place, A Fatal Web of Deceit, Fatal Choices and Second Chances and The Priory Heritage Series (A Heaven Sent Wife) and Rocky’s Lesson, a book for children…
The first series of books tell the story of the Scotch/Irish settlers in the Appalachian Coalfields in the 1950’ from the perspective of a person who grew up and lived her entire life in that culture. The second series is a mystery series dealing with corruption in businesses and the newest book is her first attempt at writing a Regency Era Romance..
Davis’ dedication to her heritage and her sense of place is interwoven into the very fabric of all her work. However, as the present displays, she writes about other areas or settings, but still the character of the Appalachian Mountains and its ingrained values of patriotism, honesty, and faith is readily displayed.
As of now she is working on the second Y/A mystery, a three book series beginning in Ireland but migrating to Pittsburgh and then Southwest Virginia and over into West Virginia before returning to Ireland to visit one’s roots. Davis also has three books for children with Christian Faith Publishing as well as the first book “A Heaven Sent Wife” of The Priory Heritage Series which is being published first by Christian Faith Publishing.
Davis has a great love for and also a heartfelt need to write and therefore she writes every day. “If I don’t use the God-given gift of writing, then it will be taken and given to another and I would be bereft,” is one of Davis’ greatest fears.
Davis’ love for McDowell County as it was in the 1950’s rings loud and clear throughout her series of books and in fact all of her writings. She has often said, “I live away now, but part of my heart is still in McDowell County.
Today, Davis will tell you that hearts, like love, can expand as hers has because she now loves Russell County, Virginia and the entire area. The many friends and fellow writers that she has been blessed to meet and learn to love, attest to this knowledge.
Born in 1956 and raised in Southwestern Virginia, Tom Fugate became an avid reader soon after learning to read. While reading espionage (James Bond and others), science fiction and anything else he could get his hands on his imagination led him to daydream about the characters and situations he read in those books. He began to write his first espionage novel while in high school in Gate City, Virginia. No copies of this manuscript exist, which Tom says is probably a good thing.
Contrary to a question he often gets he has never worked for the government. The character of Lee Thomas came into being while he was a student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (better known to most people as Virginia Tech). He completed his first manuscript in the mid 1980’s on a typewriter. This novel was called “Spy Dreams” and was published late in 2013. “Sand Trap” is a second novel about Lee Thomas who is the protagonist of “Spy Dreams”. “”Cigarettes for Two” is in the middle of the drug wars of the mid 1980’s. “Port in a Desert Storm” takes place just before and during the first Gulf War. another installment in the series is the short story “Unscheduled Delivery” which is available only as an e-book. The latest book in the series is “unFriendly Persuasion” and provides the action and adventure readers expect from a Lee Thomas novel. There is also an e-book only short story called “Unscheduled Delivery”. Anything starting with “Lee, I need you to deliver a nuclear weapon” has to be interesting.
There are at least two more of this series planned as well as some spinoffs involving recurring characters. The first spinoff is “Unintended Spy” was hopefully going to be out sometime in late 2018 but life in the form of some health problems intervened. Tom is back at work on future material.
In addition to the Lee Thomas series he has authored a book dealing with his emotions and feelings from dealing with his father’s Alzheimer’s disease. This book is named “Tears for My Father: Trying to stay sane while dealing with Alzheimer’s”. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats
Tom has released two short fantasy e-books called “MoonSpark: The Saga Begins” and “MoonSpark: Return”. These are the first installments in what will become a much larger fantasy novel that has the working title of “When Calls the Crystal. These are available only in Kindle format.
Victoria A. Fletcher
Victoria A. Fletcher has lived her entire life in Damascus, Virginia. She attended Virginia Intermont College where she received her B.A. in Education. She later attended Tusculum College and received her M.A. in Education. She was a teacher in the Washington County Virginia Schools for 30 years before retiring. She served as the church secretary for First Baptist Church in Damascus, Virginia from August 2010 to August 2018. She is now pursuing her career as a publisher. Her office is at the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator in Abingdon, Virginia. She looking forward to helping other authors realize their dream of publishing their own book. Victoria’s interests include writing (of course), reading, Bible study, computers, music, board games, and puzzle books. She began writing poetry when she was 13 years old. Several of her poems have been published in poetry anthologies. Her first Old Testament Stories book won the Xulon Press Choice Award for Children’s Bible Stories in 2011.
Brenda Crissman Musick
Brenda Crissman Musick was born and raised in Southwest Virginia in the small town of Honaker, the third of three children. She grew up in a time when life was slower and friends and family were treasured. It was a time of outside play and games from the imagination.
From the time she was a child, Brenda loved to read and write stories, devouring the Nancy Drew Mysteries and The Hardy Boys. She was never bored as long as there was a book in her hand. She began writing, also, at an early age. Brenda graduated from Honaker High School in 1965. She graduated from UVA Wise (then called Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia), with a Bachelor of Science in Education. The most rewarding time of her life was teaching in the Russell County School System. 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. She continues to teach writing workshops today, as well as teaching Bible Studies, genealogy research, and reminiscent writing. In 2000 Brenda published her first book, a children’s book, The Dolls on the Old Stairway. However, her dream was to write a novel, and One-Eyed Tom, was the fulfillment of that dream. It became the first in a trilogy, followed by A Place to Belong and To Everything There is a Season. In the spring of 2017, ‘Pon My Honor!, her fifth book, was released, and another dream came true… the culmination of several years of work. It is a compilation of stories from her life growing up in the country.
Brenda is a member of the Appalachian Authors’ Guild and Reminiscent Writers of Southwest Virginia Community College. She travels the area, sharing her books and speaking to groups about writing techniques and the importance of writing. She and husband Jimmie live on his little family farm in the Big A Mountain section of Honaker, where they enjoy peace, tranquility, and good neighbors. They have three children and seven grandchildren, not to mention their cows, each having a name and a place in the Musick family.
Mark “Hardtop” Smith
Mark Smith is a 29 year old author from the Appalachian Mountains. Due to a motorcycle accident in 2013 he received the nickname HardTop. In 2015 he turned his life in a new direction by going back to school. In 2016 he graduated from college with his GED and a Career Studies certificate in welding, but it wasn’t until 2019 that he found himself writing stories for the first time. On October 31 he released his first book “13 from the Mind of HardTop.” his second book “Another 13 from the Mind of HardTop” will be published on February 18th of this year. His books can be purchased on Amazon. For more information on Mark look up his Facebook by searching Nightmares of Hardtop and on Instagram by searching NightmaresofHardTop.
Franklin Horton is a full-time author with fifteen published novels. His best-selling science fiction series include The Borrowed World, Locker Nine, and The Mad Mick. He’s also the author of the thriller Random Acts. His new thriller series Hard Trauma will launch in April 2020. He’s been interviewed on dozens of radio shows, podcasts, and in the print media on the topic of emergency preparedness. His books have gained mention in magazines such as Guns Magazine, Ammoland, The Washingtonian, Prepper Survival Guide, and Paratus Business News.
Linda Hudson Hoagland has won acclaim for her mystery novels that include the recent Dangerous Shadow, Onward & Upward, Missing Sammy, An Unjust Court, Snooping Can Be Helpful – Sometimes, Snooping Can Be Uncomfortable, and Snooping Can Be Scary. She is also the author of works of nonfiction, including the 3 volume set of Ellen Chronicles, 3 collections of short writings along with 3 volumes of poems. Hoagland has won numerous awards for her work, including first place for the Pearl S. Buck Award for Social Change and the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest.
Michael C. Fuller was born in Southwest Virginia and has been a lifelong resident. He and his wife, Helen, reside on the same property that was given to them by her parents about forty-six years ago. He and Helen have been able to travel extensively and have visited all 48 lower states. In past years, Michael has served as a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, and a resident storyteller for church functions and gatherings. Michael’s books, Reflections on Childhood and Reflections on Faith, Hope, and the World Around Us have been featured on WJHL TV’s program, Good Morning Tri-Cities.
Rosemarie Miller, CND, was a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame from 1957-2003. During that time span, she taught Elementary, Middle, and High School students. From 2003-2010, she served as a part-time adjunct professor at Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from De Paul University in Chicago, Illinois; a Master’s degree in The Art of Teaching from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri; a Sixth Year Certificate in the Humanities from Hollins University in Hollins, Virginia; and attended New York University, Boston College, and Notre Dame University for on-going education.
Ellen Elmes is a mural painter and watercolor artist who lives with her husband Don on the mountaintop of Jewell Ridge, Virginia. As a young college volunteer, Elmes was initially drawn to these ancient hills in the late 1960s by the intrigue of people and place in McDowell County, West Virginia. An Appalachian Labyrinth: Painting to the Center chronicles her stories and paintings since then as evidence of why she and her husband have made the mountains of Southwest Virginia their home for close to fifty years. Elmes’ spirited narrative reflects on how the development and content of her art have been profoundly impacted by where she lives.
Dave Bevins is widely known for his 52 years working for the Buchanan County School System. During his tenure, he served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal at several different schools. He is also known for being the most prolific writer in Buchanan County’s history. His column has appeared weekly in the Virginia Mountaineer for almost 50 years. This is his second collection of his columns.
Sam Varney was born in a mining camp located on a dirt road in the mountains of southern West Virginia. Moving to southwest Virginia at an early age, he continued living in the same environment in which he was born. A different dirt road and location did not change the way people lived and interacted with each other. It was that environment he fondly remembers and shares. Those were simple times, to say the least.
Mr. Varney’s childhood and surroundings allowed him to witness the passing of the folkways and traditions of his parents and grandparents and the beginning of the modern age. They are happy memories of a time long past, never to return or be experienced again except through the mind’s eye.
Educated in the public school system of Buchanan County, Virginia, he later graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A retired civil servant from the Department of Navy, Mr. Varney currently resides on a paved road with his wife, Martha, in Virginia, and still surrounded by neighbors of the dirt road era. He may be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com
Sister Bernie Kenny
Sr. Bernadette Kenny, MMM is a practicing nurse practitioner. She created the Health Wagon, a mobile unit that takes health care to the people. Sr. Bernie has received numerous awards including the Lumen Christi award, a testament of how her faith transformed individuals and communities.
Chrystal Lee Stevens has an Associate in Applied Science Degree with a major in Administration of Justice and a specialization in Public Service and Career Studies Certificates in Journalism, Law Enforcement, and Cyber security all of which were received at Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, Virginia. She also has entry level Private Investigator Training. She hasn’t worked a day in law enforcement however. She is only a PI through her female main character Destiny Malone in her novel The Black Leather Belt Murders, the first novel in a planned series. She’s loved mysteries since she first picked up a Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
She also loves horror and fantasy novels and has ever since she first read Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. She also has the first novel in a planned fantasy series out called The Coming of Jack Walker where the two main characters are a female vampire and a male vampire hunter. She also has another detective series in mind dealing with cold cases and a horror series involving zombies.
When she’s not writing she’s reading a good book, watching a movie, or checking e-mail or on social media.
Debbie McGlothlin Stevens has degrees in Drafting and Design, Administration of
Justice, and Radio/TV Broadcasting. She has been an avid photographer ever since her
father gave her first camera. She has a photography book called Nature and Animal Photography featuring all the photos she has taken. She also has a children’s book called Willie’s Adventures available as well. She lives in Virginia.
Jerry Calvin Scarberry was born and raised in Pike County in Eastern Kentucky near some booger woods. His first book, Life Near the Booger Woods, is a collection of true Appalachian stories featuring interesting experiences from his life and the lives of some of his family, friends, and neighbors. He currently lives and operates a bookstore in Buchanan County, Virginia near some other booger woods.
J.N. Howard, currently pastor of Looney’s Chapel and Grundy United Methodist Churches, first served in Buchanan County from 1965-1971. At that time he served the Looney’s Chapel, and Coleman United Methodist Churches as well as Garden and Keen Mountain Churches During this time in the late 1960’s he witnessed and participated in a special spiritual movement which is the central story of his book “Fire in the Mountains.”
Rev. Howard received a BA degree from Emory & Henry College and Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Emory & Henry College. Over the years Re. Howard has served as pastor of several East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia churches and as District Supervisor in Virginia.
He is married to the former Ella Portis, a retired Virginia school teacher, and they have two sons, Kent and Eric who both live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.