regional writers


The Review/Selection Process for selecting our 2020 Regional Writers is under way! As we select our Regional Writers we will add their photos with their brief biographies below along with book covers and plot summaries of the books they submitted for review.


Though the Dahlonega Literary Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, March 6-7, 2020, the Regional Writer and Featured Author book sales will be held one day only on Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 9:00am-4:30pm.  Book sales will be located in the Fellowship Hall on the bottom floor of The Dahlonega Baptist Church (234 Hawkins St., Dahlonega, GA 30533). Festival attendees are invited and encouraged to come visit the Regional Writers and FoxTale Book Shoppe during the Festival where they can peruse and purchase the interesting, informative, and entertaining books of our 2020 Regional Writers and Featured Authors and actually meet the authors! The Regional Writers will be at tables selling their books and FoxTale Book Shoppe will be handling the book sales for the Featured Authors. 

Authors interested in applying to participate as a Regional Writer in the 2020 Festival should contact Mr. Ken Smoke at for more information.  Our goal is to fill our Regional Writer quota by November 30, 2019, so please don’t delay contacting Mr. Smoke.

The genres of books that are considered for selection in the Regional Writers section include the following: Fiction (mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, historical fiction, regional fiction, etc), non-fiction (history, biographies, and memoirs), poetry, travel, the arts, cookbooks, juvenile fiction/non-fiction, and young adult fiction/non-fiction.

Also, check out our Featured Authors lineup under our Featured Authors heading to view pictures and brief biographies of our Featured Authors and their book covers and plot summaries.

Regional Writer Biographies and Books

After trying her hand at several different careers, Stephanie Baldi decided to pursue her dream of writing a novel. Stephanie grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gerritsen Beach. Her love of writing began with Saturday trips with her mother to the small local library where children would gather to hear a story read by the local Librarian. After the story ended, Stephanie would pick out a book to take home and read. Throughout her teen and young adult years, Stephanie’s desire to someday pen a novel of her own always simmered in the background. But it was not until years later after a career in Patient Accounting and a stint as a Licensed Realtor that her dreams of becoming a writer flourished with a move to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was there that her first novel, Redemption was conceived. But family trials and tribulations forced her to abandon the manuscript for a time until her move to Georgia to be closer to her family. Determined to finish her manuscript, she settled in and after countless hours sitting at her computer, Redemption was finally completed. Drawn to thriller and suspense novels, Stephanie is dedicated to giving her reader’s fast-paced, high stakes, page-turning stories that

keep you on the edge of your seat and are full of surprising twists. She resides at her lake home in Villa Rica, Georgia with her husband and two cats. When not found pounding her keyboard into all hours of the night, Stephanie enjoys swimming, travel, and games of Mexican Train with her besties in her community and fellowship with the Carrollton Writer’s Guild of which she is a member. She is delighted to have been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year for Redemption. Stephanie’s second novel, Retribution is the thrilling sequel to Redemption. You can find her online at www.stephaniebaldi2com. Or follow her on Facebook and Twitter at sbauthor7.

Redemption By Stephanie Baldi, Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year! 


Murder is the catalyst pushing Carrie Overton headlong into the arms of the hitman sent to kill her.

Determined to escape her alcoholic and drug-addicted mother and distance herself from the memory of the son she lost, Carrie leaves home with Travis Montgomery, a man twenty years her senior who harbours shocking secrets connected to her past.

After Travis forces her to help him steal two million dollars from a drug lord, leaving two people dead, Carrie decides to add a third victim to her list, and Travis is left lying on the floor.

Eager to start over, she takes the stolen money and travels to the small mountain town of Laurel, Pennsylvania. Carrie lies about her past and relaxes into her new life. Before long, Carrie's lies are piling up, and her crimes are about to catch up to her.

Nicholas D'Angelo is known as a ghost, a contract killer for one of the biggest drug lords in Miami. His assignment is simple. Find the people, who stole the two million dollars, recover the money and eliminate them.

With a hitman on her trail, Carrie is forced to make a choice. Trust the hitman who vows to disobey his orders and protect her. Or stay in Laurel and face the drug lord determined to end her life. Either one might kill her.

Guns of the Waste Land recasts the legends of King Arthur as an American Western.

Set in the late 19th century outside the West Texas town of Bretton, this third volume continues the stories of the men and women devoted in their own ways to Sheriff Ardiss Drake.

Percy Murratt, still living with Ardiss, is in love. Unfortunately, so is Ardiss' foster brother, Caleb and with the same woman. Gary Wayne Orkney has recovered as much as possible from the beating he received from Lancaster O'Loch and desperately wants to ride a horse again and continue is service as a deputy. Reverend Merrle Tallison is considering leaving Bretton and finding a life for himself. Finally, Ardiss' estranged wife, Guernica, continues to seek closure for the events that brought her to the wilds of the Waste Land.

Leverett Butts teaches composition and literature at the University of North Georgia. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Eclectic and The Georgia State University Review. He is the recipient of several fiction prizes offered by the University of West Georgia and TAG Publishing. His first collection of short fiction, Emily's Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway and Other Stories, was nominated for the 2013 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Short Fiction. The first volume of his Guns of the Waste Land series, retelling the King Arthur myths as an American Western, was a finalist in the 2016 Georgia Author of the Year Award for first novel, and the third volume received Honorable Mention in the 2018 Georgia Independent Author of the Year Award in historical fiction. He lives in Temple, Georgia, with his wife, son, their Jack Russell terrier, and an antisocial cat.

PJ's weekend began like any other, but his sense of tranquility was mere illusion. Hunted down and poisoned by a wicked humanoid strain, PJ slowly loses his health and sanity as a lone giant races to save him.

After centuries of solitude Tamar's decision to save PJ has unforeseen consequences. He unwittingly kills Krell, the vorteh Emperor's son and heir to the throne, placing a mark on his own head. Now Tamar must perform the nearly impossible task of creating an antidote that will save PJ, while avoiding marauding vorteh death squads. With PJ's outcome unknown Tamar makes one final decision. He confronts Emperor Dedac, sacrificing his life to save the lives of PJ and his family.

No animals, humans, vorteh, or giants were harmed during the writing of this book.

Well, maybe some vorteh were.

Mark Geatches has a Master’s Degree in trumpet performance from Florida State University and loves music of all kinds. After performing for several years, including a three year stint in Germany, he entered the business world. He built two small businesses before beginning a new chapter in his life; Mark now builds fiction.

Mark’s website,

How do you solve an eight-hundred-year-old murder on a strange, alien planet that has no police, no courts, and no crime? Well, of course, you kidnap Earth’s best homicide detective and take him to your world. That’s exactly what happened to Atlanta Police Detective Brian Douglas. A man with a tortured soul who once sought answers to his own unrequited questions at the bottom of a bottle. Now he is searching for a brutal killer on a world of telepathic beings, mythical creatures, fantastic ships, and bizarre weapons. Brian soon finds himself being hunted as a criminal by the planet’s ruthless High Scribe, just for being human, while hiding a secret so terrifying, it could rock the entire universe. With the fate of two worlds in the balance, the detective must survive an inhospitable world, hostile aliens, a universe of untold dangers, and somehow, find his way home-if it still exists.

William N. Gilmore is a U.S. Army veteran and a retired Atlanta Police Detective, serving for 27 years. Not liking the books he was reading, he decided to try writing his own. His first novel, Blue Bloods & Black Hearts is the exciting first book in a trilogy loosely based on himself and his old partner. Most of William's books center around fictional Atlanta Police Detectives and the Atlanta background. His latest work, No Space For Justice is his breakout science fiction novel about an Atlanta Homicide Detective kidnapped by an alien and taken to a world of telepathic beings, mythical creatures, fantastic ships, and bizarre weapons. With a world where there are no police, no courts, and no crime, he is tasked to solve an eight-hundred-year-old murder. William, is a member of the Paulding County Writers' Guild. A native of Georgia, he now lives in Hiram, GA with his wife Esther.

Eleven days. Thirteen clues. And one kid who won't give up. Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe is "part treasure hunt, part wilderness adventure, and all heart."--Alan Gratz, New York TimesBestselling author of Refugee

How far would you go to find something that might not even exist?

All her life, Cricket's mama has told her stories about a secret room painted by a mysterious artist. Now Mama's run off, and Cricket thinks the room might be the answer to getting her to come back. If it exists. And if she can find it.

Cricket's only clue is a coin from a grown-over ghost town in the woods. So with her daddy's old guidebook and a coat full of snacks stolen from the Cash 'n' Carry, Cricket runs away to find the room. Surviving in the woods isn't easy. While Cricket camps out in an old tree house and looks for clues, she meets the last resident of the ghost town, encounters a poetry-loving dog (who just might hold a key to part of the puzzle), and discovers that sometimes you have to get a little lost . . . to really find your way.

* "Told in the easy, laconic tone of good, Southern storytelling, Hackl's debut rolls off the tongue and into the heart easy as warm butter on a biscuit. Lyrical and endearing, this debut is a genuine adventure tale."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review


Jo Watson Hackl grew up just outside a ghost town in rural Mississippi where storytelling is a favorite form of entertainment. She spent her childhood exploring the piney woods, inventing characters, and creating tiny worlds out of acorns, rocks, sticks and moss.


Now, she lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her family. She is also a lawyer with Wyche, PA., whose lawyers have worked to preserve over 100,000 acres of land for future generations. She graduated from Millsaps College and Yale Law School, and also founded, a resource celebrating the treasures and curiosities of nature with stories, know-how, and inspiration to get readers outside. Smack Dab earned an ABA Indie Next List Pick, a SIBA Okra Pick, and won the Southern Book Prize.

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What if you could read someone's mind? What would you do if you could see (or know) a person's every thought and memory? Who would you turn to when that ability took you to the brink of insanity?

"Highly recommended, especially to fans of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson!" - Rebecca Van Daniker, It's Story Time With Van Daniker,, July 2, 20

Stephen returns home to the man who raised him seeking help after spending the past five years on his own. After having suffered a great tragedy, his mind is nearing insanity. His ability to read minds and control thoughts seems like a curse and leaves him feeling like a monster. 

Soon, Stephen learns he is descended from King David's mighty men, thus the reason for his gift. Also, he is not alone. There are others with similar gifts, fighting a secret war for humanity. 

Some are Mighty. Others are called Fallen. 


Kenyon Henry is the author of the young adult, urban fantasy series, Chronicles of Stephen. He has enjoyed writing for as long as he can remember. However, it wasn't until March 2017 that his first novel, Choice of the Mighty, was published. A year to the date, Trials of the Mighty was also published, followed by Redemption of the Mighty  in November 2018. 


Since that time, Kenyon has been working on several projects and had an article published in Kingdom Man Magazine earlier this year. Along with his wife, he lead youth ministry at his church for five years, which he believes fueled his desire to write young adult novels, although having six kids could have something to do with it as well. 


Kenyon's next novel is expected to publish sometime in the next year and will be a spin-off of Chronicles of Stephen. You can follow Kenyon on social media for updates or simply to get to know him. (IG @kenyon_t) (FB /kenyonthenry) (Twitter @kenyonthenry) Or visit his website at where you can view his inspirational blog and sign up for his newsletter. 


Ever wonder why scholars and such make such a big deal over Ancient Greece and Rome?

The Twisty Trail tells the turbulent story of our cultural legacy. Amid a world of looting and destruction, Ancient Greece produced a fabulous trove of literary, scientific and philosophical literature that conquering Macedonians and Romans chose to keep and enhance. But the Great Wheel of Fortune turned. After the Fall of Rome, Twisty describes how it was all so nearly lost and the even more unlikely tale of how ‘it then was found’.

History has fascinated Dan Madden since his high school days in Danvers, Massachusetts. You could blame it on living near so many towns founded in the 1600s. His BA is from Boston College in 1966 where he specialized in European and Constitutional History. Seven years later, the University of Wisconsin awarded Dan a PhD in America Constitutional History.

Though most of his professional career focused on economic development strategies for communities and states, History, all of it, was his hobby. This book came from writing down and organizing new findings from recent studies about Ancient History that ultimately bear on the American Story.

Dan and his wife, Judy, live in Englewood Florida with their talented pet lovebird, Sunshine. They have two children, two grandchildren, and just proudly celebrated their Fiftieth Anniversary.


Cemirowl is gifted, and cursed. She sees the spirits of the dead, and sees the future in her basket of bones; her sight is cryptic, lacking, and mostly useless. In her tiny village, she is a priestess, but still an object of curiosity and an outcast. 

A chance meeting brings one of the king's caballiers to her door for a reading, for nothing more than some entertainment. He is well-entertained indeed by her predictions of his lady loves... and far less so when she foretells a coming death. He leaves, dismissing her. But for all that her power is mysterious and often confusing, it is never, ever wrong. 

When Queen Tidyri is murdered, the caballiers return for Cemirowl. She is brought unwillingly into the palace and into a web of intrigue and lies, where King Larthor rages in his grief. He demands that Cemirowl now use her gifts to find the one who killed his beloved wife. 

Cemirowl must draw on all her abilities - her powers, no matter how unreliable; her intuition for reading people; her knowledge; and her wits - to discover the murderer, lay the spirits of the dead to rest, and help the living to grieve and find peace. And, perhaps, she will finally find a place where she belongs. 

THE BONE READER is a fantastical murder mystery set in the rich world of Ihyel, where the hard-won peace between two kingdoms rests on the shoulders of one determined, compassionate priestess.

Mab Morris is becoming known for the world building in her novels, as well as unique characters and interesting plots. She borrows from mythos and histories from varied parts of our rich world, creating new cultures for her characters to live, love, talk to demi-gods, and die.  She is the author of The Red Khémèresh, Fate of the Red Queen, and The Bone Reader.

A first generation American, she grew up in a household that celebrated not the divisiveness, but the multi-cultures of South Africa long before the end of apartheid.  Both parents spoke multiple languages, both European and African. They’d eat Indonesian, Dutch, German, and French cuisine against a backdrop of African art and European tapestries. Inspired by our world, book by book, she has been building the multi-culture planet Ihyel—so coining the idea of “culture crafting” as she builds a new planet for readers to explore. 

Mab also organizes Wine & Words, held every third Sunday of the month at Accent Cellars (215 Auraria Rd., Dahlonega, GA 30533,

Ph: 706-867-0123). Come meet authors, hear their readings, have some wonderful wine, and mix.

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Book 1 of The Heart Tide Series, an historical romance that takes place during the depression.

, Julianna Sheffield is a rogue wave, one that doesn't want to land on the shore it seems destined for. It's 1934 and the currents pushing her include an unscrupulous father determined to keep the family solvent during the Great Depression, a mother suffocated by the bubble of high society, and a greedy fiance' named Leyton, who is proving why his name rhymes with Satan.

Julianna longs to chart a different course. She wants to help the widows, farmers, and polio victims her family forced into the bread lines. She wants to exchange teacups for drinking milk from the jug. And she dreams of a man named Jace McAllister, another rogue wave who wants to love her but fights the seas bringing them together.

Jace also has a heart for those who are Depression-weary, but his method of helping includes retribution. His reasons are his own, but connected to Julianna's family and his solution put him in trouble with the law. For this seemingly doomed couple, moving forward brings on storms of rage, moral dilemmas, and difficult personal growth.

Their love could be the kind that is impossible to live out. . .or the kind from which legends are born. The outcome of their journey depends on how carefully they navigate the waters.

Called “the author who writes with a parrot on each shoulder” by her publisher, Donna Gentry Morton lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, a proud resident of the rural community of “Ducktown.” Widowed early from the love of her life, John, she strives to carry on as he would want her to, which includes pursuing her writing dreams, enjoying time with their two sons and other close-knit family, her supportive circle of gal pals, and her menagerie of pets.


Heart Tide is her two-part historical romance series that was released by BQB Publishing. Book 1 Watching the Water was introduced in November 2016 and Book 2 Seeking the Shore followed in October 2017. 

She holds a B.S. degree in Journalism from East Tennessee State University and has been a professional writer for more than twenty-five years, writing for radio, television, newspapers, websites, and retail and industrial marketing. She is the recipient of ten Excellence in Advertising awards for creative writing and has had her work appear in numerous publications.


 I look down at her predictions for me. There are three:

She will be an advocate for the beauty. . .

She will find the soldier. . .

She will foil a dictator. . .

Ellen and the Three Predictions, details the life of eighteen-year-old Ellen Jones and the predictions of Old Luella, a seer in the small town of Marshall, Alabama whose predictions Ellen reads after her mother's unexpected death. The predictions seem far-fetched to young Ellen but throughout this book, the reader will learn far before Ellen, just how significant her role in the lives of those she loves will be.

Through the political and social changes of the early 1960s, Ellen, a budding journalist, comes to terms with her role in the world as she encounters each of Old Luella's predictions. These encounters take her through the social taboos of Callendar Plantation, Alabama - to the promise of love and a career in Miami - and finally, to a daring rescue in Castro's Cuba.

Ellen's Notebook is carefully prepared as she becomes more passionate about the career and responsibility of journalism. Introducing readers to life in the early 1960's mirroring much of today's complex social climate.

Alayne Smith is a retired broadcast journalism teacher who earned M.Ed. and E.Ds. degrees in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia. She taught broadcast journalism for fifteen years in Gwinnett County, Georgia, and broadcast journalism informs her work.


Alayne’s first book, Ellen and the Three Predictions, was published in March 2017 by Cactus Moon Publishing in Tempe, Arizona. Her second book, Educating Sadie, was a finalist in the 2018 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Alayne is currently writing This is Ellen Jones, a sequel to Ellen and the Three Predictions. 

Being active in the Atlanta Writers Club, Alayne presented at the Decatur Book Festival 2017, 2019, and moderated a panel of young adult authors in 2018. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Georgia Writers Association, Friends of Gwinnett County Public Library, and Georgia Association for Instruction Technology.

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After the loss of her mother, 23-year-old Talor Gardin is heartbroken. Lonely and struggling with an anxiety disorder, she just wants to finish college so she can get out of her haunted hometown for good. 

That is, until Sage Talis shows up. 

He's the sexy, shy type with plenty of scandalous secrets – like vampire fangs and a price on his head – but Talor only knows two things: he sings in a rock band, and she's never been so obsessed. Drawn to a man she knows precious little about, even warnings of his dark past can't keep her away. 

But when cryptic letters appear on her wrist and reveal a sensual twist of fate, Talor is thrust into a thrilling world where fantastic beasts lurk just below the skin, complete strangers keep calling her a princess, and some vampires don't go for the neck - they go straight for the heart.

A former journalist, Safari Spell is a native of Albany, Georgia. Author of the four-book urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, Long Live Dead Reckless, she is currently working on a prequel series, Reckless Sons. When she isn't daydreaming about autumn, writing in her yard in a ballgown, or attempting yoga moves a little too advanced for her, she's a SAHM to her two young children. She lives in North Georgia with her handsome husband, who is much better at cooking than she will ever be. You can find her on social media or sign up for her newsletter for the latest new release updates!  

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Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. Her debut novel, The Lemonade Year was featured on both Southern Living’s and Pop Sugar’s top summer reads for 2018. Sara Gruen says of The Lemonade Year, “When life gives you lemons, read this book. It’s a delicious glass of humor, heart, and hope.”  Amy is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and is a contributor to a number of literary journals and anthologies.

© 2019 Dahlonega Literary Festival