The Trail of Words: Running Words from 5K to Ultra

Words lead to not only more words, if you keep writing, they also create paths and spaces. I didn’t believe the land of words could be so much like trail running when I convinced myself to make words the focus of my career. I had to be careful, to share the trail with my authors, to know when to go it alone, to understand how to step back and “rehydrate” my author’s brain while being a publisher who represents other authors, and most enchanting, to discover new beauties and struggles on the writer’s path just as I discover them on the running trails.

I started a blog way back in 2005 with Yahoo360. It was like a couch-to-5K for my writing life which had soured into a ritual of grading English Comp papers and writing way too much feedback to the students. At first, like trail running, blogging hurt and I was getting about one hit an hour. How could this go anywhere? My forehead rested on the desk. I stumbled through writing about pregnancy and staying on target with one blog post a week. I was passed by professionals, out of my league. Winded and exhausted after those first attempts, I got wise and followed the people in social media to the MySpace blog world, and led a happy blogging life at blogspot, too. After a short time, I was content with these familiar trails, and I knew people on them, and it didn’t hurt so much anymore to expose myself as a writer. I blogged about motherhood and students in my classes. This was not nearly enough, even with thousands of hits. I yearned to write something more. It was time to add distance and a faster pace to my writing life. Through social media, I found Her Circle Ezine, and eventually became the Editor-in-Chief, wrote my own novel in the meantime, & tried to shop it.

The run was going strong and even getting hot, and my writing revealed more, new adventures. I helped with The Institute of Arts and Social Engagement with Misty Ericson, wrote articles about Mexican women for Lake Chapala Review magazine, interviewed bands & musicians for a Nashville music magazine, felt inspired to create books by women, and took odd writing jobs. Sometimes, I felt smothered by the trail. I couldn’t see my way out of it to the next place. There were traditional maps, but they weren’t working for me. I was in an endless loop. So, out of frustration, I started Thorncraft Publishing to publish my own novel, and then people joined me. I read Beverly Fisher’s novel, decided to publish another author, loved Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo’s work, jumped at the chance to publish her work too, and life kept going. The vistas open up sometimes, and allow more space. The trick is to keep going through the stumbles, brambles, heat, and more, until you reach new paths. Now, we’ve trained up for “ultras,” and in the running world this means 30+ miles per run. In our world of words, this means multiple books published every year, a literary magazine, a stage play, and more.

What’s happening now:
We have a new author at Thorncraft, Salty Teague. She and I wrote a book together earlier this year and launched it at Parnassus Books in Nashville. Seasons of Balance: On Creativity & Mindfulness is a self-help creativity journal, with poetry and stories thrown in the mix with affirmations and meditations. The book was chosen as a regional Wounded Warrior Project book, and Salty and I spent a beautiful afternoon at an event at The Yoga Mat that honored caregivers of Wounded Warriors.

The literary yoga journal, BreatheYourOMBalance Volume One will be finished later this year. Our open reading period was a success. Salty chose 28 contributors for the first volume of BreatheYourOMBalance: Writings about Yoga by Women (Forthcoming, Fall 2016). The contributors range from homeschooling moms to nurses, from yoga teachers to yoga beginners, from university professors to students. We are featuring the contributors on the Thorncraft website, so that you can read about them individually.

Salty and I continued working with everyone at The Yoga Mat by having writing workshops. Our next one will be Sunday, October 9. We are excited to partner with The Yoga Mat for Volume Two of BreatheYourOMBalance, which will focus on yoga and healing. Volume two will not be published until 2018.

Salty and I were promptly inspired to get going on a children’s book together. We’ve been planning it since last fall. You’re going to love the adventures of Luna the dog and Salty the raccoon. Forthcoming, 2017.

In 2015, Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher was adapted for the stage by Kari Catton and Dennis Darling, and performed at New Salem’s Theatre in the Park in Illinois. It was further adapted into a one act play by John McDonald, and performed in June 2016 at the Roxy Regional Theatre. We have more plans for “Grace” on stage in the future.

imageMelissa Corliss DeLorenzo is working on a new novel, but no word yet on what it’s about. She’s back on the blog, usually writing every week. She has several events this fall in Massachusetts, including the New Bedford Book Festival.

Check our Events page at to stay up to date. The publishing website is updated weekly with the newest announcement and events.

Some Stories Choose You as a Writer

“Don’t you think some stories choose you?” I was asked this question after expressing my frustration with readers’ questions about why I wrote a book about a military family. So many people assume that the main character is me–that I was once married to a soldier. However, reading and listening informed me more than my personal experience.

I’ve read War/Military fiction since I was in junior high. Much later, I began writing the novel, Multiple Exposure. I began writing without realizing my personal influences on the work. If I consider only one branch of my own family tree, I can begin in the Revolutionary War with my great-great-great-great grandfather, Jeremiah Brown, who served in the North Carolina Militia. In that tradition, many of my relatives have served and do serve in almost all branches of the military.

But, it’s more than that. I’ve met soldiers and found myself listening for hours to details about many aspects of daily life during wars, skirmishes, the waiting, the wanting, and more. I’m often completely surprised by the disclosures and don’t expect them. My husband’s grandfather, Glen, gifted me with his story, and I wasn’t aware that he had been a soldier, even though I had been writing letters to him for about five years. Glen was awarded a Purple Heart for his service during WWII. I met Glen for the first time on my wedding day, and after that, I wrote many letters to him. He enjoyed my stories, and even though I tried my best to get him talking, Glen wasn’t a man of many words. He appreciated my letters about college and our new home in Memphis, our time in the Netherlands, and our struggles to find work after college. The last time I saw him, we went to a Mexican restaurant and drank a big pitcher of margaritas. I was having doubts about becoming a “real writer”. That’s when Glen told me that I could do anything and not to let people hold me back, and then he told me more about his life than my husband had ever known. He described what it was like to get shot in WWII, and how he didn’t realize it at first. He chuckled, and said, “The book in my pocket saved my life. Very small book, but it saved my life.” That book turned out to be a Bible. I don’t think it was complete, but maybe one of those “half” Bibles–The New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. I quickly noticed that most of his stories were loaded with symbolism like that–little, but weighted. They contained heft.

I’ve applied his metaphor over and over… until, in my own mental story realm, that small book is ragged, creased, and over-used. Though, he was correct. The small books save my life. They save me from boredom, fear, and anxiety. The small books inspire me with their raw truth and courage. I made a promise to myself to write about war with consideration for how inconsiderate the very idea of war is in our lives. And when considerations are maintained in war procedures, it doesn’t seem possible that considerate humans could still be at war, which means killing one another, among other activities. With that promise and those considerations in my heart, Multiple Exposure wasn’t an easy book to write. The story definitely chose me one scene at a time along the way.

On this 4th of July, Many Thanks to soldiers who serve honorably. My gratitude goes to their families.

To read more about war/military fiction offerings, visit

Southern Festival of Books

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25TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS, October 11-13, 2013. Thorncraft Publishing will be an exhibitor at the festival. I will be signing copies of Multiple Exposure, and Beverly Fisher, author of Grace Among the Leavings, will be signing copies of her new novella. The Southern Festival of Books is FREE and open to the public. War Memorial Plaza, Nashville, Tennessee. Stop by the Thorncraft booth and visit us!

Festival Times:
Friday, October 11, 2013: 12:00 noon – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 12, 2013: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 13, 2013: 12:00 noon -5:00 p.m.

Flowing to the Edge

Every time I go to yoga class, the teacher asks, “So what’s new?”

And, I answer, “I don’t know where to begin.” Or, “So much!” Or, “It keeps going and going and going…”
I’ll answer in detail for my yoga teacher and you. She teaches how to flow and find your edge.

First, Thorncraft Publishing releases a new book this fall. Beverly Fisher’s novella Grace Among the Leavings is the second title I’ll publish under Thorncraft. The narrator of the novella is Grace, a child whose father fights in the Civil War. Grace Among the Leavings has received advanced praise from Barry Kitterman, Amy Wright, and Malcolm Glass, all of whom are authors living in and familiar with this region.

I’m pleased that Steven M. Walker and I are working together again on the book cover. We’re expecting to release our final version of the book cover for Grace Among the Leavings within the next month.

I think of yoga positions as design with intention. In front of my computer, I try to do the same. I toggle back and forth between writing copy and editing little commas, to designing books and a website. Yes, a website for Thorncraft Publishing. I’m slowly designing it and expect to go live within 6 weeks with an abbreviated version of what I intend for the future.

The newness blooms. My to-do list never gets shorter. My baby is making music with pots and pans, and my daughter has a (roller-skating-in-circles) summer break plan for me. Wheeeee! the calendar fills. In yoga class, I breathe and flow. Stare at the screw in the wall. Forget about layouts, HTML code, diapers, dinners, and photo sizes. Stretch my joints and limbs. “Find your edge,” the teacher reminds the class, “but only as long as it feels good,” she says.

Back at home, I look at my daughters. I remember the to-do list. For Thorncraft, I made a decision to focus on publishing women authors and make their work available as I can. Even if I’m a one-woman indie publisher, the books are still available–the voices are in the world, not silenced in journals that don’t get printed and drafts that don’t become final versions. When I think about working all hours, “what’s new” is something every moment, and finding my edge, I do feel good right now.

More info about Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher and coming soon!