Open Mic Blog

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Posted on August 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

One huge highlight of this year so far was when I was interviewed by award-winning novelist Zoe Ferraris. She is the author of the literary thrillers FINDING NOUF, CITY OF VEILS, and KINGDOM OF STRANGERS. She is also a good friend and mentor whom I admire and respect, and I was honored to be featured on her blog. Watch for her simply amazing fantasy novel THE PYXIS in the near future.


Here is the link to her interview with me.

WV Governor's School for the Arts

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Four talented  students at the 2013 West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts, an actress and three dancers, interpreted my poem "Monday." It doesn't get much better than this =)


Posted on February 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (7)

My first novel, THE SILVER TATTOO, has just been released in print and as an ebook. It is a dark literary thriller set in mythical Ireland. ;

SEVEN: S. G. Redling

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (13)

                                 S. G. Reding



S.G. Redling is a veteran of morning radio, an avid traveler, and a more avid wine drinker. The thriller Flowertown (Thomas & Mercer, 2012) was her first novel. After only six weeks on Amazon, Flowertown broke Kindle's top 10 and sold more than 50,000 copies. Her second novel Damocles (47North, 2013) hits the sci-fi shelves May 28th, 2013.



Discover seven cool things about S.G. Redling! She will be answering your questions for the next two days, so stop by and take advantage of this great chance to learn more about her writing journey and deepest, darkest secrets for creating riveting thrillers and sci-fi novels.


~Seven Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me~ 



                             S.G. Redling




 1. My Great-Uncle Pat is an important figure in the history of Lawn, Newfoundland. He alerted the town to head to high ground when he didn’t like the look of the sea. A tidal wave rolled in hours later, wiping out most of the town. No lives were lost.


2. I played an extra in Melrose Place (the original show!) Jack Wagner showed me his nipple and I lied to Rob Estes about my job. I worked in radio at the time but I told him I ran a personal karaoke service. (What? Did you think this was going to be deep?)


3. I was the first female PA announcer in the East Coast Hockey League.


4. I met Andy Warhol.


5. I worked as a sheepskin packer in Truckee, California.


6. I am an ambidextrous watercolor painter.


7. The sight of a bat flying overhead will instantly reduce me to a flop-sweat-soaked quivering mass of terror. I’m not crazy about rabbits either. Guinea pigs, however, are awesome.




 "Flowertown is a high-intensity conspiracy thriller that brings the worst-case scenario vividly to life and will keep readers riveted until the final haunting page."


Are you superstitious?

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (1)

                        c 2012


Are you superstitious? I know that I am. I hope the Morton's Lite Salt I just threw over my left shoulder works!                                    


What are some of your good luck charms and rituals? Do you always carry or wear something for good luck?


Do your read your horoscope every day? Have you ever been to a fortune teller or used Tarot cards, etc., to predict the future?

Pen Names

Posted on October 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (6)

  White Shadow/Black Beauty?  

c 2012


What do Dr. Seuss, Boz, George Eliot, Lemony Snicket, Mark Twain, Silence Dogwood, and Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell have in common? They all used pen names.


Not so long ago, women had to resort to using a man's name to get their work published. Think the Bronte sisters: Charlotte/Currer, Emily/Ellis, and Anne/Acton Bell. Even today, J.K. Rowling was told to use initials instead of Joanna (her first name) because her publisher thought her book would "sell better if she disguised her gender." She didn't have a middle name, so they gave her the middle initial of "K." Obviously, that strategy paid off in gold bullion!



Some writers today use pen names when they switch genres, so their devoted fans don't turn on them. Writers like actors tend to get typecast (think John Boy, Julia Roberts, Stephen King (Richard Bachman), and Patricia Cornwell) so if they want to break out and write a pop-up book (which I adore!) or something, they might adopt a clever pen name to publish incognito.



I ran across a wonderful discussion of pen names in The Atlantic and learned a number of facts about author's names that I didn't know:



Are pen names really necessary in the 21st century? What would you change your name to if you had to make up a pen name? Don't be shy!

Book Buys?

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (11)

Quick book survey:


1) What's the title of a recent book that you purchased?


2) What's the title of a recent Kindle/Nook/ebook that you purchased? 


Posted on September 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (4)


In the last few years things have been changing at a lightning pace in the publishing industry. For the first time UK Kindle sales have surpassed Amazon print sales:   


Would you or did you ever have an ebook published? Would you do it again? If so, what would you do differently?   


Do you find that you read more books now because you own a Kindle, Nook, etc., or do you only buy and read print books? Or both print and ebooks?


Writer's Block

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (15)

Ah, the dreaded writer's block . . . Call it creative exhaustion, fear of failure, or just coming up empty, we've all had it. So, what are some of your home-grown solutions that helped you declutter your keyboard and get back to what you love to do?

Celebrity Novels/Memoirs

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (14)



I recently took a poll on Facebook and ask some of my friends what  controversial or writerly issues they'd like to discuss next on my blog. Many great ideas were shared, and I will get to them all over the next few months.



I thought I'd kick off our discussions with the topic of celebrity novelists and fake memoirs. Snooki's novel A Shore Thing comes to mind as does Frey's A Million Little Pieces, but there are many others out there that haven't been in the headlines as much.



I've provided a few sample questions below to help get us started:

* Have you ever bought a book written by a celebrity or a writer who has fictionalized their memoirs?

*Were any ghostwriters used to write or co-write these books?

*Were the books entertaining/informative/life changing/compelling/fun/worth your money?

*If you have not read any of these kinds of books, tell us why not. 

*Many public figures get book deals because they make money a lot of money for the publishers. If a talented writer has no platform, do they, too, deserve to be published?

*Do these kinds of celebrity/faked memoirs generate enough money for the publishing companies so that some debut writers waiting in the wings can now get published?

*People have always been fascinated with celebrities, so do you think this trend will continue? Will there always be a reading audience for them?

*What motivates a memoirist to lie and embellish their work? Money? Fame? Greed?

*How do these kinds of books impact your life? Do you feel cheated in any way? Betrayed? Uplifted? Informed? Bored? Transported?

*What does the popularity of these kinds of books tell us about ourselves, our society?

*Doesn't everyone deserve to be published? Why or why not?


Posted on July 3, 2012 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (20)


If you are a writer or an aspiring writer, I thought it would be beneficial for us to read about one of your writing regrets, a little known writing success, and something that keeps you going when the writing life throws you a major curve or just seems impossible/hopeless.


I think we could learn something from each of you. Who's going to jump in the water first?! 

Gift:Ray Bradbury

Posted on June 18, 2012 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (6)


                                In memory of my friend Ray Bradbury


My measure of greatness is not celebrity but how someone treats humanity, the humble, the working class, and, yes, even a simple poet like me. 


Ray Bradbury's greatness, therefore, is beyond stellar in my eyes. His creative powers, telepathic vision, and literary legacy are treasured, but what I remember the most about Ray was his friendship, his inspiration and fervent support, his love of life, his devotion to family, and all that's truly important.


My friendship with Ray began in 1993 when I sent him a heartfelt fan letter, and he wrote back. That began our long correspondence, sharing books we liked, poems, cartoons, good times and bad. The first time I sent him one of my poems, he wrote "Send it somewhere---The New Yorker? The American Scholar?---to be printed!"


His enthusiasm was contagious. He used exclamation marks more than me, and I loved that about him. He advised me to "Write every day from now on. A poem a day if possible, or one every two or three days. I don't want to force you. Act natural. Have fun. Be beautiful." His letters were always signed with an exclamation mark: "Love! Ray," and I've kept all of our correspondence, emails, and Christmas poems that he wrote each year and shared with his friends.


I met Ray in 1997 for the first time in Eureka, Illinois. I was star struck and a nervous wreck. I did manage to buy him a pear at a local market in honor of that beautiful passage from Fahrenheit 451: "A glass of milk. An apple. A pear." I got to ride in the same car with Ray as he was escorted back to the airport in Peoria and managed a shy conversation but often found myself at a loss for words---the moment, both profound and unnerving.


I composed this poem in my head as I drove 500 miles on my way home to West Virginia. Loren Logsden, the editor at Eureka Literary Magazine, published it in 1997. When I sent it to Ray, he said it was beautiful, made him cry. This time I'm crying, but not for too long. I have to write a poem today.


"A glass of milk, an apple, a pear."

Fahrenheit 451


April 1997: Day Meeting for Ray Bradbury


What I meant to say,

became a pear

I placed in your hand.


What I meant to say,

you had already answered.


On that Illinois road

that divided empty cornfields

with a new silence,

I wanted to give you immortality.


But how can I give,

what is already yours.






Poem for Mom

Posted on June 12, 2012 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (3)

A poem in memory of my mother Laura Moore Treacy






My neighbor hangs wet laundry in the sun.

             Wooden clothespins turn in her hands.



Like a supple dancer she bends

and stretches her arms over her head.



The clothesline gently sags;

the wind catches the weight.

Her hair floats like milkweed.



At night she irons mended clothes

              with swollen hands.



Standing on varicosed legs,

white hair clouds her face.



The hot smell of starch and steam

fills the dark kitchen.

Her windows are painted shut.



But in the morning the dancer returns.

             Winds play in her hair.



Hands become swans;

feet rise en pointe.



A new ballet in the wash of days.



 (First printed in Controlled Burn and collected in Lake Effect)

Montcoal,WV:April 2010

Posted on May 26, 2012 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (2)

Since this is Memorial Day weekend, I've decided to publish my poem online in memory of the 29 miners who lost their lives at Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010.


Montcoal, West Virginia: April 2010


Night after night of this cruelest month,

porch lights beckon the miners home

and wait for a truck to top the hill.


Each evening they keep watch,

listening for the crush of tires on gravel,

the bark of a faithful dog.


But the men aren’t coming back,

tonight or any night

from Upper Big Branch mine.


Deep underground

twenty-nine headlamps

have long gone out,


but families hold vigil and pray,

and somehow the miners

hear each whispered word,


see all those porch lights

candling the darkness,

calling them home.


Posted on May 26, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Word & Song Cafe

Posted on May 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (1)

    Word & Song Café

Photo by Roger Roppel

Join us this summer at the Word & Song Café atop the beautiful gazebo at 14th Street West in Huntington, West Virginia, during the 21st annual Old Central City Days. Sit back and enjoy a cup or two of tea and delicious pastries from Betty Schoew’s Manchester House Tea Catering and listen to The Harmonica Club, Rocco Muriale play saxophone with Griff on keyboard, Dave Lavender sing, and award-winning writers read original selections Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, 2012, from 1-3pm. For more information, go to


Our featured readers for Saturday include short story writer and author of Still Life With Plums, Marie Manilla, O’Henry Award winner and novelist, John Van Kirk, poet and author of Lake Effect, Laura Treacy Bentley, playwright and freelance writer, Diane Wellman, and a recitation by two-time state winner of the Poetry Out Loud competition, Jasmine Lewis.


Our featured readers for Sunday include novelist and author of Emily’s Shadow, Christina St. Clair, novelist and author of, Paul Martin, and debut novelist and author of Flowertown, Sheila Redling.


Celebrity readers include radio news personality: Bill Cornwell (Saturday), WSAZ morning news anchor: Susan Nicholas (Saturday), Commissioner: Bob Bailey (Sunday), owner of Hattie and Nan's antique shop: Joanna Sexton (Sunday),  Director of Weed & Seed: Jennifer Williams (Sunday), and Quilt Trail artist and author: Sylvia Thompson (Saturday).


Signing authors include Carter Taylor Seaton, an award-winning author of Father’s Troubles and a figurative sculptor, Daleen Berry, a blogger for The Huffington Post and author of an award-winning memoir, Sister Of Silence, Jane Congdon, author of The Count, My Mother, and Me, Patrick Grace, publisher of Wild Sweet Notes, Marilyn Shank and Llewellyn McKernan.


Admission is $3.00 or three cans of food. All profits will be donated to a local food bank.Your ticket entitles you to tea and a pastry served by our Celebrity Servers and an afternoon of entertainment plus a chance to win door prizes at 2pm and 3pm. (You must be present to win.)


Arrive early for limited seating on the gazebo stage! There will be another seating at 2pm.


Both featured and signing authors will be on hand to discuss and sign their books.


                                  * * *     

Huntington native Marie Manilla frequently peppers her fiction with local landmarks: Frostop Drive-In, Dwights, Neirman’s Pharmacy, curvy Spring Valley Drive. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her award-winning stories have been collected in Still Life with Plums (WVU Press, 2010). Her novel, Shrapnel, also set in Huntington, won the Fred Bonnie Award for best first novel and will be available in August 2012. Her website is  


John Van Kirk’s short stories have earned him the O. Henry Award (1993) and The Iowa Review Fiction Prize (2011). His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, West Branch, Kestrel, The Sonora Review, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, as well as several anthologies. His novel, Vossimilitude, is set to be published in 2013 by Red Hen Press. He teaches writing and literature at Marshall and is a long-time member of the Huntington Harmonica Club.


Laura Treacy Bentley is a poet, fiction writer, and book editor who writes “Conversations” for WV Living Magazine. She grew up in the West End of Huntington and spent many summers at the Olympic Pool. Her work has appeared in the United States and Ireland, and her first book of poetry, Lake Effect, was published in 2006. One of her poems, “Keepsake,” was recently chosen by the editors of O Magazine and is featured on Oprah’s website. Visit Laura’s website:


S. Diane Wellman lives in Huntington and works as a freelance writer. She is the author of several works of fiction, including short stories, plays, and screenplays. Her flash fiction was nominated for the 2009 Best of the Net Awards, and her play The Hen House was performed as part of Women’s History Month at Marshall University, where she received an MA in English. Visit her at


Jasmine Lewis is the Poetry Out Loud State Champion for both 2009 and 2010. She is currently a Junior at Marshall University majoring in Communication Studies with a focus on Organizational Communication and minoring in Business Management. Jasmine's favorite instrument is the violin, and she loves guinea pigs as pets.


Award winning author, Christina St. Clair, born and raised in London, England, has written articles, essays, and many novels for young people. She will be reading from Terrible Toes (available on Amazon Kindle) about an incident from her childhood. Her website is


Though born in Los Angeles, Paul Martin, novelist and author of has lived and written in Huntington, WV, so long that he considers these mountains and valleys both his only real home and inspiration. His fiction draws its breath from the people, small towns, even the geography of this region, and he hopes his work honors that debt. He understands that many of you might own an iPad, but doesn't want you to ever forget the sensual pleasure of cracking the spine on a great new book.


You may remember Sheila Redling from her fifteen year stint on the morning show at WKEE-FM in Huntington. Still an avid traveler, language geek and wine lover, she now writes under the name SG Redling and is anxiously awaiting the release of her debut thriller, Flowertown, from Thomas & Mercer, June 19, 2012:  Find her on Facebook and Twitter at SG Redling.




Photo by Roger Roppel


Posted on April 8, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (5)

Thanks to Sheila Redling (whose debut novel, Flowertown, is being released very soon on Amazon from Thomas & Mercer) for sharing this fabulous link:


In this video via, Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame talks about the origins of creativity. It's entertaining, inspiring, and moving. I highly recommend this video to every writer or would-be writer.

WV WRITERS:June 2012

Posted on March 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (2)

I will be leading two poetry workshops this summer at the 2012 West Virginia Writers Conference, June 8 - 10 at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, WV.


A stellar line-up of presenters includes Lee Maynard, Edwina Pendarvis, Marc Harshman, Marie Manilla, and Brad Barkley, among many others, plus great music and singers.


Come and join us!! 


Posted on February 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (7)

Just wanted to share some winter scenes that I photographed last week in Garrett County Maryland. Maybe you would like to write a companion haiku or a caption?



Small Wonders

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (13)


I took this picture of my niece, Sarah, about fifteen years ago, and it's one of my very favorite photographs---a wondrous moment that I was lucky enough to capture. I hope that your days are full of small wonders, and I wish you many more.


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all my friends and family!