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I have notes about a few events I’ve attended and will attend this week that I am excited to share, but before I move on to other topics I want to re-cap the wonderful writing class that Glenda Beall of Writers Circle Around the Table organized in Hayesville, North Carolina.

When Glenda invited me to teach at her studio we brainstormed ideas. She lives in a rural part of Western North Carolina where there is a thriving writing community, but accessibility to resources outside the area are a bit isolated. She explained that most of the writers she meets through her studio struggle with feeling comfortable promoting their book(s) and themselves. I wrote a guest post for Glenda’s blog earlier this year called ‘Promote Your Book Without Promoting Your Book‘ to help give writers examples how you can grow and leverage your platform to reach potential readers. (Please check out Glenda’s blog, subscribe, reach out to her, and learn about the writing classes she instructs throughout the year at her local community college. She has a wealth of information to share.) The class last Saturday had a great crowd, insightful questions, and several authors generously shared their own publishing experiences. Although I was teaching the ‘Your Writer Platform’ class this past Saturday, I learned two things:

  1. Some authors are having success with paid promotion on Facebook. (Remember my Facebook farewell?)
  2. More authors are becoming cautious about what publishing service to use. New services seem to start daily, which gives little time to learn their respective reputations.

For me, the class in Hayesville is not a few blocks from home. A nearly five hour drive is required from our home in the Triangle-area. I’ve been to the Northwestern part of our state several times, and Asheville even more, but this was my first time visiting the Southwestern part of the state, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and the Nantahala National Forest. I am still amazed how varied our state’s geography is and the natural beauty we have so easily available.

To minimize our driving time we stayed near Bryson City, which is an hour drive from Hayesville. My drive to and from the class was the most stunning travel I’ve ever made solely for a class. The majority of the time the Nantahala River ran alongside the road. I had left so early in the morning that I traveled behind trucks carrying dozens of river rafts heading toward the launch site for the hundreds of rafters coming in the hours ahead. (This sparked a poem for me!) After passing through the National Forest there were stretches of agrarian pastures, a huge solar farm, and the adorable downtown Hayesville.

While I was teaching Glenda’s class my love took his first motorcycle ride on the infamous Tail of the Dragon – 318 curves in 11 miles.

tail of the dragon

My love on the Tail of the Dragon.

After I drove back from the class I had to take my love back to some of the spots along the way. We stopped at Pizza by the River, which aptly lived up to its name. We watched and waved at the never-ending stream of rafters and kayakers floating along.

Nantahala Restaurant

Pizza by the River, great spot on the Nantahala.

Nantahala Rafting

So many rafters!

Although time didn’t allow for rafting on this trip, we visited the Nantahala Outdoor Center to scope out options for next time. (Yes, Glenda and I will select a date for an August 2016 class!) On this past trip we stuck with flatwater and kept exclusively to the shores of Fontana Lake.

lake fontana

Brought our kayaks along too. Fontana Lake.

Outside of aquatic activities we squeezed in a short stretch on the Appalachian Trail and visited Clingman’s Dome.

hole doughnuts

Refueling on sweets.

Our drive back from the mountains conveniently passes by Asheville…so how could we not stop to refuel by trying out a (new-to-us) doughnut shop? On one of our last visits we tried Vortex Doughnuts, which is amazing. I love that they source their milk from Maple View Farm on the outskirts of the Raleigh-Durham area. (This is usually the milk I keep at home!) This time we went to Hole. While watching the staff roll, shape, fry, and sprinkle our treats, I overheard the staff explaining they also source their milk from Maple View! I think I might start a new blog section on doughnuts. 🙂