Webster's Reading Room: A Poetry and Prose Anthology

86 pages containing 64 authors. See bios below. The theme is anything about reading, writing, or public speaking or spring. 



Upcoming Anthologies

About the book

Anything about reading, writing, or public speaking or spring.

Sample of the work:


Celia Miles


THAT'S A START—just writing the word. But where does the real work of writing start? The pen, pencil, or keyboard is the "means," and the finished is the "end," but what starts the START? An idea, belief, attitude, irritation, love, wrath, sorrow, joy, thought, reason?

     Much START has to do with deep emotions needing a way to surface, to be shared; they bubble up and out with a long sigh of grief, an enthusiastic whoop of pleasure, a longing or yearning erupting. Can writers start with anything (other than business documents) without attendant feeling?

     Sometimes simple pleasure in the process is the impetus for a start, but often the START is a negative: disgust with a spouse, government, almost anything on the news; disdain for politicians, marketing trends, the everlasting bombardment of whatever sells media time; horror at the details of the latest mutilation by a human being of an animal or another human being; disbelief at the antics of preachers, teachers, elected and appointed leaders; anger, fury, hatred—highly charged emotions typically tagged to individual and personal knowledge of whatever is close to the heart. The negative brings out the feeling, produces the impetus for pen or keyboard and the words fly from heart to fingertips, sometimes bypassing entirely the head (as many letters to the editor illustrate).

     The positive START that produces writing is usually distilled. It’s related to love, lust, sex, sunshine, children, disease, death. The positive is a pleasure to read but sometimes less easy to produce. The negative is a "pleasure" to release, to let go, to get out there.

     Any writer hopes, through the process and the product, to capture the reader’s imagination, to bring the reader into the writer’s "camp," to create in the reader an emotional response similar to or emphatic to the writer’s.

     We all hope—whatever the START.

Celia Miles is a retired NC Community College instructor who lives and writes in Asheville, NC. A Jackson County native, she has authored eight novels, co-edited four anthologies of regional women’s work. She is now working on a third cozy “grist mill mystery.” website: www.celiamiles.com 


Shelby Stephenson


Maybe it is true the mother will return

to the damp air of the big oak

because her baby raccoon is alone,


the suet in its holder, abandoned,

rolled in no arms or paws but a cry and croak.

Maybe it is true the mother will return.


Rabies does not bother me in my wish to be companion

to this rolled-up bandit without a yoke

the mother holds even when her baby is alone


with a redbird, titmouse, and chickadee landing on

the suet I watch with open eyes and arms for hope.

Maybe it is true the mother will return.


I have read raccoons own many homes as in Landsing,

a local development here on Paul’s Hill, every bloke

out of woods to make the baby more alone


than ever, the wind now rolling over the terrace’s landing

to make me ponder. Let mom climb or lope.

Maybe it is true the mother will return

because her baby raccoon is alone.

Shelby Stephenson, author of Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill, lives ten miles northwest of Benson, NC, on Paul’s Hill, where he was born.


About the Authors 


J. S. Absher has published three books of poetry, including Mouth Work, winner of the 2015 Lena Shull Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society. He recently won the Clinton F. Larson Poetry Prize from BYU Studies Quarterly. His poems have appeared in more than 50 journals and anthologies. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, Patti.

Penny L. Arrowood is a book artist, art instructor, event designer, and poet residing in southeastern NC among the whisper of pine trees and the rustling of paper.  She routinely examines the world around her through the lens of haiku.  Penny is a regular contributor at local Open Mic events, and has an eternal gratitude for the home crowd at The Coffee Scene in Fayetteville, NC.  Her art and words can be viewed at her website:  www.artpaperlove.com


Sam Barbee’s  poems have appeared in Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, Sky Island Journal, Courtland Review, and Blue Hour.  His second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016; and is a Pushcart nominee.


Marcia Hawley Barnes is a Georgia writer and poet. Publishing credits include “Tightrope” in Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems, Negative Capability Press; and "White-out" in Tis the Season, Old Mountain Press. In 2017, Ms. Barnes was awarded the Georgia Author of the Year Award in the Children's Book Category for Tobijah. In 2019, a sequel, A Day with Tobijah was published. The author lives in Towns County, GA.


Frederick W. Bassett is a retired academic who turned to creative writing late in life. His poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. He also has five books of poetry. His revised and expanded edition of The Old Stoic Faces the Mirror: A Life in Poems was published in November, 2019. He has two published novels—South Wind Rising and Honey from a Lion—and is editing the third novel of this trilogy—The Winter is Past. Widowed, Bassett currently live in Greenwood, SC, near his son Jonathan and family.


Marcie Behm-Bultz is a population scientist and demographer, who bases her writing in human geography and exotic locations. She has traveled to over sixty countries, lived in ten States, and prefers skulking in cemeteries to almost anything else.  Her literary work has been featured in multiple publications such as the BorderLines Anthology, multiple Old Mountain Press anthologies, The Deadly Writers Patrol Anthology, the Catfish Stew annual magazine, and the South Carolina Writer’s Association Petigru Review. She is a 2018/2019 Pushcart Prize nominee and a member of the Savannah River Poets.  She and her South Carolinian spouse live in Vienna, Austria.


Ken Chamlee (Mills River, NC) is Emeritus Professor of English at Brevard College. He has two prize-winning chapbooks, Absolute Faith and Logic of the Lost, and his poems have appeared in The North Carolina Literary Review, Cold Mountain Review, Ekphrasis, The Lights in the Mountains anthology, five editions of Kakalak: An Anthology of Carolina Poets, and many other places. He regularly teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program. Learn more about Ken at www.kennethchamlee.com


Steve Cushman is the author of three novels, and his first full-length poetry collection, How Birds Fly, is the winner of the Lena Shull Book Award. Cushman lives in Greensboro, NC.


Tom Davis’ publishing credits include Poets Forum, The Carolina Runner, Triathlon Today, Georgia Athlete, The Fayetteville Observer’s Saturday Extra, A Loving Voice Vol. I and II, Special Warfare., and Winston-Salem Writers’ POETRY IN PLAIN SIGHT program for May 2013 (poetry month). He’s authored several books. Tom has recently completed his memoir, The Most Fun I ever Had With My Clothes On A March from Private to Colonel. He lives in Webster, NC.


Suzanne Delaney is published in A Bridge to All Nations Anthology by Poetry for Thought Forum, Happy Holidays: A Poetry Anthology Old Mountain Press, Poems of Nature, Enchantment and Mystery by Carol Mays and Suzanne Delaney.  Suzanne lives in Asheville, NC.


Nancy Dillingham’s poems, short fiction, and commentaries have appeared in various journals and newspapers. Her latest books are Like Headlines: New and Selected Poems and her chapbook Revelation. Her poetry collection, Home, was nominated for a Southern Independent Booksellers' Alliance Award. She lives in Asheville, NC.


Dena M. Ferrariis regular contributor to OMP, Dena’s poetry are featured in Westchester Community College of NY Phoenix (1975), Writers Alliance Poets World-Wide anthologies has many of her published works. Dena’s own books, Poems From the Hearth (2010) Come Closer My Dearies (2013), Charmed Times Three (2015), and her newest book Wyld Earth Magick (2018) shows diversified writing styles, leaving a Living Legacy for her grandchildren. She and her husband, Peter live in Vass, NC.


Lynda Fredsell continues to enjoy writing for Old Mountain Press. She is a regular contributor to the OLLILife newsletter at Furman University. When not stewing and fretting over her next essay, she’s volunteering in her church and community and taking yoga classes to keep her ole bod in shape. Lynda lives in Greenville, SC, with her wanna-be-hunter cat Sage and a host of birds and white squirrels that know Sage is bluffing.


Peggy Dugan French is a California girl with Minnesota roots. She has been the editor of the small print zine Shemom since 1997. Her work has appeared in Lilliput, bear creek haiku, Shemom and Whispers. She has worn many hats over the years, but raising her children has been one of her greatest pleasures. Peggy lives in Cardiff, CA, with her husband, cat and wild garden and blogs at peggyduganfrench.com


Michael Gaspeny’s third chapbook The Tyranny of Questions, the saga of a tormented suburban mother in the 1960s, will be published by Unicorn Press this spring. His previous chapbooks are Re-Write Men and Vocation. He has won the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and the O. Henry Short Story Contest. In his 17th year of hospice service, he has received The (North Carolina) Governor’s Award for Volunteer Excellence. He lives in Greensboro, NC.


James Gibson, Northville, Michigan, featured Native American culture in the five novels in his “Anasazi Quest” series. His eighth novel, To Live or Die in Taiwan was published in 2018. He is presently working on a sequel, To Live or Die in Panama. Review all his books at www.PentacleSPresS.com. Anasazi Princess and Anasazi Journey are now available as Kindle E-Books on Amazon.com.


Shelley Herman Gillon lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her bioethicist husband, John Gillon, and

their cocker spaniel Toby-Wan-Kenobi.  Some of her plays have been performed in Washington, DC, New York and in her native New Orleans.  When not writing poetry, prose or plays, she coaches mostly non-native professionals on their communication. A former lawyer, her writing has always been her most profound passion and deepest source of frustration.


Marian Gowan is author of Notes from the Trunk, published by Old Mountain Press. Her work has appeared in many Old Mountain Press anthologies and southern regional publications.   She retired to the NC mountains from western NY in 2001, but in 2017, returned to western NY to be near family.  (mariangowan1@bellsouth.net)


Farley Granger thinks more than he writes, and he writes more than he sees other people. He grew up in a depressed country town and understands the struggles of poor, heartland folks. But he has a lot of hope. Farley lives in La Grange, NC.


Kerri Mai Habben is a writer in Chapel Hill,NC. She is a graduate of Peace College and North Carolina State University. Her work has been included in the News and Observer and regularly appears in publications throughout the US and Canada. After allowing it linger, she is returning to her manuscript of personal essays and poetry.

Karen Hammond has been writing for her children and grandchildren for many years. This story is an excerpt from her yet to be published book, “South Dakota, Read Across the Country”. Karen lives in Falls Church, Virginia with her husband David.


Cordelia Hanemann is currently a writer and artist in Raleigh, NC. Her work has appeared in Southwest Review, Mainstreet Rag, and Laurel Review; anthologies, The Well-Versed Reader, Heron Clan and Kakalak and in her own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly. She has been featured poet for Negative Capability Press and The Alexandria Quarterly. A native of Southwest Louisiana, she is now working on a novel about her roots in Cajun Louisiana.


Toby Ives is a retired Food Bank executive who lives in Black Mountain, NC. He writes poems and short prose for personal enjoyment and to express feelings. This is his first time to submit something for publication.


Will Jones has published poetry and short stories in The Petigru Review, Nights of Horseplay, and BorderLines Poetry. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Will is also a songwriter, and performs song and spoken word in the Central Savannah River Area. He resides in Aiken, SC, and is a registered geologist.


Jerry Judge lives and writes in Cincinnati, Ohio. He facilitates the poetry group of the Cincinnati Writers Project and is a past President of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League. He has published 7 chapbooks and many poems in journals and anthologies. He has appeared in previous issues of The Old Mountain Press and is glad that he has found his way back.


K. D. Kennedy, Jr. has published Eight Books (8) books of poetry, short stories, and essays: Our Place On Time, Waiting Out In The Yard, For Rhyme Or Reason, Progenitors: A Kennedy Genealogy, The Works Of K. D. Kennedy, Jr., Poems Worth Remembering, Family...Forever’s Lovesong, and Truth Instead. He has also published works in over forty anthologies and periodicals.


Nita Hallford Killebrew writes poetry, paints birds, and hugs her grandchildren as often as possible. She appreciates little libraries, and her poem praises them. Nita, a retired language arts teacher from Lilburn, GA, serves as a judge for an annual national high school literary magazine contest and volunteers for an organization devoted to providing scholarships to future teachers.


Jo Koster is a college professor and recovering administrator who lives in Rock Hill, SC, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors. She and her cat Max spend their time  (when not teaching) avoiding pollen, writing poems, and chasing random wisps.


Patsy Kennedy Lain continues to reside in Hubert, North Carolina where she writes, paints and enjoys life. Patsy has poems published in a over 35 anthologies and magazines. She also has many short stories in several anthologies and a local newspaper. Patsy has received annual awards from Onslow County Senior Games Literary and Visual Arts programs since 2009.


Cindy Larson, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, lived with her husband, Jerry, in southeastern Connecticut for 33 years. They built their retirement home on Glassy Mountain, Landrum, South Carolina, and it was their favorite location for 17 years. Currently they are residents of The Woodlands, a senior living facility on the edge of beautiful Furman University, Greenville, SC.


Blanche L. Ledford resides and writes in Clay County, NC. Her work has appeared in many Old Mountain Press anthologies and journals. She preserves her mountain heritage through storytelling and writing.


Brenda Kay Ledford lives and writes in Clay County, NC. Her work has appeared all of the Old Mountain Press anthologies and many journals. She credits her mentor, Nancy Simpson, for introducing her to the wonderful world of writing.


K. A. Lewis graduated from the Corcoran School of Art in 1986 with little idea of how to make a living. Her work experience includes cake decoration, jewelry sales, hypnosis certification, being robbed at gunpoint, and 32 years as a custom picture framer. Since 2014, her poetry and genre fiction have been published in several anthologies. Katy and her husband live with five demanding cats in a small book-stuffed house in Falls Church, VA.


Valerie Macon’s poetry is enjoyed in a variety of forums: anthologies, magazines, newspapers, online venues journals, and most recently has been included in the podcast, 6-Minute Stories. She is a 2020 Gilbert- Chappell Distinguished Poet Series adult winner. She has four books of poetry: Shelf Life, Sleeping Rough, A String of Black Pearls, and The Shape of Today. Valerie lives in Fuquay-Varina, NC, where she runs the Garden of Eaten, which she founded to feed the hungry, and also enjoys singing in the Fuquay-Varina Chorale.


Preston Martin has published poems in New Ohio Review, Iodine, Tar River Poetry, Broad River Review,Chaffin Journal, Kakalak, Appalachian Heritage, Snapdragon and other journals. He has poems in Every River on Earth: writings from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press) and other anthologies. He writes and teaches in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC.


Carol Mays has been writing poetry for over forty years, largely with the aim of celebrating life’s magic and intrigue with the reader. She has self-published eight books, including A Collection of Uplifting Poems, Halloween Enchantment, and The Mystique of the Sea. She has also uploaded to YouTube multimedia presentations of twenty poems, some classical. They may be viewed at:


Carol lives in West Brookfield, MA.


Celia Miles is a retired NC Community College instructor who lives and writes in Asheville, NC. A Jackson County native, she has authored eight novels, co-edited four anthologies of regional women’s work. She is now working on a third cozy “grist mill mystery.” website: www.celiamiles.com


Mona Miracle has lived in Kentucky, California, Michigan, Tennessee, and Florida; and since 1989, Asheville, N.C. Mona was a featured presenter at South Florida Poetry Society, and a four-category winner in Florida Freelance Writers Annual Competition. Sample her publications, including Wesley’s Gift at Monaraemiracle.com. The character Wesley faces challenges of race, obsession with cats, modern technology, and a wife pressing for equality, in an Asheville /Charlotte/Japan setting. Amazon provides her ebook and print formats.


Martha O’Quinn is a regular contributor to OMP. Her poetry and creative non-fiction centers around life in five different southern states. Her work has been published in print and online publications. She recently moved from the mountains of WNC to Loganville, GA to be near family. Since the last OMP anthology, she has welcomed her 5th great-grandchild into the family.


Beverly Ohler has been involved in theater, in one way or another, most of her life. A good part of it has been in her tenure at Warren Wilson College. She is a teacher, designer, an artist and writer, with five books to her credit in addition to many articles, magazines and anthologies incliding this one. She and her dog, Callie live in Black Mountain, NC.


Penny Olson loves to write. She currently lives in Weaverville NC with her wonderful husband Scott of 49 years and three rambunctious dogs. Her heart is divided between Weaverville and Tampa, Florida where her son and his lovely family live. She is blessed by many wonderful nurturing friends


Tonya Penrose: when Tonya relocated to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she found fresh writing ideas waiting. From her favorite porch chair gazing at a tranquil lake, the nudge to scribe her first published novel, Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons, came calling. And from her beach chair, the cozy series, Baubles to Die For presented. She recently completed her third novel, The Benefactor. Tonya confesses new respect for a chair’s ability to motivate writers. Additionally, her fiction and non-fiction stories are published in numerous anthologies, e-magazines, local press, and literary magazines. She chooses to write using different pen surnames but remains true to her given name, Tonya. She invites readers to visit: www.tonyawrites.com

Nancy Posey lives in Brentwood, TN, where she co-hosts Black Dog Poetry Open Mic. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications, including Oxford Poetry, Poetry South Journal, Writers Market, and Wild Goose Poetry Review.She is a staff writer for Music City Music Magazine and regularly writes about books on her blog, “The Discriminating Reader.” Her book reviews have also appeared in Los Angeles Review.


Michael Potts, Professor of Philosophy, Methodist University, Fayetteville, North Carolina, has authored three novels: End of Summer, Unpardonable Sin, and Obedience and two collections of poetry. Obedience will be made into a feature film by Rule 14 Pictures. He lives with his wife, Karen, and nine cats in Coats, North Carolina


Mary Ricketson, of Murphy NC, is inspired by nature, works as mental health counselor, has been published in Journal of Kentucky Studies, It’s All Relative, Speckled Trout, The Lake, and her collections: Disorgananza, I Hear the River Call my Name, Hanging Dog Creek, Shade and Shelter, Mississippi: The Story of Luke and Marian, and won first prize in national poetry contest: 75th anniversary, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.


Dwight Roth is a retired elementary school teacher of 29 years, who grew up in the mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania. He enjoys writing, poetry, painting, and music. He had his work in several OMP anthologies. He has self-published four memoirs and four books of poetry and three children’s books. He has nine books or booklets on Amazon Kindle. He and his wife Ruth live near Monroe, NC. He writes daily on his blog:



Maria Rouphail is the author of two poetry collections and has completed a third. Her poems have won in the Nazim Hikmet international poetry competition (2nd prize, 2019) and the NCPS Poet Laureate contest (Finalist, 2020). She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee (2018-19). Rouphail lives in Raleigh, NC.


Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler (Burlington, NC), Writer/Editor, a former college president, has 5 books and 72 articles and has edited 23 books/proceedings and 3 national journals and published 3 newspaper columns (1 now). Her creative writings are 11 poetry chapbooks and 4 full-length collections, 125+ short stories, 4 novels, a novella, 5 short story collections, 2 nonfiction collections, and 41 plays. She was Central Region Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet 2013-2015.


Rishan Singh has been an instrumental voice in recognizing and promoting upcoming artistic talent. It is because of him that the World Scholars Cup was started at the Playhouse Theater in South Africa in September 2019. Between 2006 and 2007, he became appointed to the World Poets Society. In 2017, Durban became named as UNESCO City of Literature. Apart from being published in the Sciences, he is also immensely involved in the arts. His ORCID I.D. can be viewed at:



Paul Sherman’s poems are popular with the birds that tend his feeder. He reads from his porch overlooking seed. Applause arrives in the form of fluttering wings or composed chirps. On rare occasion one bangs a window before taking flight. His poetry; discarded eggshells beneath rehearsing trees. Paul lives in Burnsville, NC.


Shelby Stephenson, author of Slavery and Freedom on Paul’s Hill, lives ten miles northwest of Benson, NC, on Paul’s Hill, where he was born.


Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/photos/memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian. The Smithsonian selected her photo to represent all teens from the 1940's-50's. She has been nominated for both a Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net. She lives in Pittsford, NY.


Barbara Tate is an award winning artist and writer, a member of the Haiku Society of America and the British Haiku Society. Her work has been published in Storyteller, Santa Fe Literary Review, Modern Haiku, Contemporary Haibun Online, Presence, Blithe Spirit, Wales Haiku Journal, NeverEnding Story, Akitsu Quarterly and Hedgerow, among others. Her work also appears in several anthologies including the last 12 at Old Mountain Press. Originally from Akron, Oh she currently resides in Winchester, TN.


Rebekah Timms lives in Greenwood, SC with her cat. She has four sons, seven grandchildren and three great- granddaughters. She has published a memoir and a collection of poems. She is currently working on a collection of poems, prose and short stories. Rebekah enjoys writing and feels that her work is an expression of her gratitude and joy of life.


Patti M. Walsh was born a storyteller. After decades in education and marketing, she recently competed a middle-grade novel and launched WhatTheCatsAreReading.com. As a technical editor for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and editor in chief of ElectroIndustry, its award-winning magazine, she earned two Hermes Platinums. Her work also appeared on Success.com. She is a member of the Thomas Jefferson Writers Group in Fairfax, VA, and lives in Fort Myers, FL.


Elizabeth Watson tells an interesting story about her large autograph and letter collection. Surprisingly, well-knowns you’d recognize have answered her letters. Her first autograph dates back to age 14, when she met Arthur Fiedler. Recently, Wall Street Journal accepted her letter—as rewarding as being published in this anthology! The Watson’s last move brought them to Greenville, SC. Happily, they remain patients of the fine internist, who accepted them because her letter didn’t sound “pitiful.”


Glenda S. Wilkins grew up on a North Carolina tobacco farm, and believed she’d never live beyond the county line. Decades later, she moved with her husband to Europe for a dozen years. Her poems have been published in Europe, Great Britain, & North America. Thus far, she appreciates several poetry awards. She lives on an air strip, Winterville, NC.


Barbara Ledford, Wright inspired by family history, is published in Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, Express Yourself 101 Vol 2 For Your Eyes Only, Kaleidoscope, Fireflies and June Bugs, Yesterdays Magazette, Carolina Country, Field Mules and Buttermilk Cornbread, Guideposts: Angels on Earth, Five Brothers in the Civil War, three Western N. C. Women anthologies, Clay Co. Heritage Book I and II,several OMP anthology series, and other online stories. Barbara resides in Shelby, NC.


Erin Yates grew up in Greenwood, SC, and graduated from Clemson University. After an early career in banking and several moves around the country, she and her husband Glenn settled and

raised three sons in Charlotte, NC. Erin is currently a yoga instructor, and also enjoys travel, live music, reading, writing, food, family, and friends.


C. Pleasants York of Sanford, NC, wrote “Paws for Poetry” as Writer in Residence at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities in Southern Pines. The squirrels, Sprites of Weymouth Gardens, were one distraction. Another was the Weymouth ghosts, Literary Giants who had previously visited Weymouth. In a letter to her brother Frank Stearns, York said, “Every creak in the floorboards brought visions of the ghosts of Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green, Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson. . .”


Joseph Youngblood lives in Fayetteville, NC but currently travels the world serving the US Military as a counselor. He writes for fun, and usually about things he cares deeply about. His work has appeared in several previous anthologies.


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