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 February 19, 2019 

Caroline Kenna, Vic President, explains the Membership Engagement activity.   OSCAR Trivia!   Members answering the trivia questions. Dennis Carrigan won with the most answers.

David Poston, Contest Chair, introduces the winners of the CWC Nonfiction Contest.

Barbara Johnson-Davis our 1st place winner was also awarded honorable mention for the Jacobs/Jones African American Literary Prize North Carolina Writers Network.

“‘May Day Miracle’ gives us a simple but heroic quest to root for. Seeking a fresh outfit for a May Day ceremony becomes a quest for dignity despite the indignities of rural poverty,” Scott said. “When the narrator's heart breaks, the reader's does, too, and when she triumphs, it washes over the reader and becomes our triumph as well.”

Barbara Johnson was born to a sharecropping family in Leasburg and graduated from Bennett College. Her work has been performed at the Matthews Playhouse, Queens University of Charlotte, and the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius.

2018/2019 Nonfiction Contest Winners with judge Michael Chitwood's comments.

1st: “Five Lies” by Barbara Johnson-Davis of Charlotte.

A rich and wonderfully detailed account of the pain and joy of innocent belief.


2nd: “Your Classic Friend, Frank” by Janet K. Baxter of Kings Mountain.

A moving story of the power of friendship even if it is long-distance.  Also a great testament to old-fashioned letter writing.


3rd: “Esther’s Secret” by Gala Palmer.  
A well-told tale of the strangeness fundamental religious beliefs can produce.

 Landis Wade, our co-program chair, introduced speaker Kathy Izard and her topic Giving Voice to Your Passion. Consultant and community activist, author of The Hundred Story House. Her latest project is a  children’s story she self-published earlier this year, A Good Night for Mr. Coleman.

Kathy’s story starts with a desire to write something “longer than email” and ends with a 2017 Christopher award-winning memoir, The Hundred Story House, she self-published in 2016; 7,000 books and an award later it was re-released in 2018 by a traditional publisher. That book is better edited, there’s an audio book and the publisher put together marketing plan. “It was incredibly validating, but I’m still booking my own speeches.” They hope you do well she said but push lead titles.

In 2011, Kathy began a five-and-half-year journey to get The Hundred Story House published “because I wanted to write down the stories so they wouldn’t be lost.” Her first encounter with Denver Moore led the graphic designer and mother of four to quit her job and join the Charlotte Urban Ministry Center to build housing for the homeless.

That manuscript, a series of events, stories, and miracles she witnessed while helping to build Moore Place. No story telling arc, “not a page turner,” her husband said of her “Ann Lamont” first draft.  She kept writing, enrolling in a Queen’s University book development program.

There she got her best advice: “You have to write about you, who you were on that day.” As she discovered her voice, Kathy found she was “kind of homeless” growing up with a mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder. If her father hadn’t been a lawyer with resources, that could have been her.

Many revisions and rejection later Kathy realized, “I don’t need permission to publish with print on demand.” Using she hired a freelance editor and book cover designer; Joanna Penn and Tom Grahl as resources and KDP Direct Publishing, and, she self-published her memoir in 2016.

Her advice: Tell publishers what you need. Find your tribe—for Kathy that is women finding faith in yourself and something bigger and those with an empty nest looking for purpose.  “I pretty much say yes to everything from Sunday School classes to book clubs and Skype interviews and I answers emails from engaged readers.” Kathy points with pride to a 102-year-old reader, Ms. Jo, who has starting a housing project for the homeless in Kingsport, TN.

Kathy took us through her journey and gave us tips she used along the way.  Her presentation is included.

During Q&A

1. Kathy said getting your words into the world is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes 3 to 5 books before you make any money.  She is working on her second manuscript an adult nonfiction title.

2. She spends more energy on book clubs and women’s retreats than having a social media presence. But uses Instagram to promote her children’s book because “doing a children’s book is a joy.”

3. Find your golden hour: Kathy said.  She wakes up and writes from 5:30 to 7 a.m. Treating that time like a spiritual practice, she just lets it flow—editing comes later in the day. She believes, “all stories are inside us, you just need to let the muses know where you are.”

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