Participants at Kentucky Writers Day -- 2011



Friday April 15, Saturday, April 16,
and Sunday April 17, 2011

For a Schedule of the 2011 weekend events,
click here.

You will enjoy Kentucky Writers' Day at three area locations; we look forward to your being part of it.  Bring you original writings and let us hear what you have created.


The following hotel is offering discount rates for any out-of-town visitors attending
Penn's Store Kentucky Writers' Day


Hampton Inn -- Danville
100 Montgomery Way
Danville, KY 40422
fax 859-936-0271


Because of a soggy floodplain (no parking) the Sunday event will be moved to
FORKLAND COMMUNITY CENTER 3 miles east of Penn's Store on Highway 37

Dr. H.R. Stoneback

Dr. H. R. Stoneback and the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society from New York will be joining us again this year. 

H. R. Stoneback is an internationally renowned poet and literary critic who has published 20 books and hundreds of essays. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville where he also worked in the country music business. He has also been a performer/singer/songwriter for 50 years and as half of the well-known duo, "Stoney & Sparrow," he has given concerts throughout Asia, Europe, and North America and released 2 CDs featuring his own songs. The "Stoney & Sparrow Songbook" will be published in late 2010. He is also the subject of Jerry Jeff Walker's legendary hit ballad, "Stoney," which evokes the troubadour/singer's life on the road in the early 60s, when Jerry Jeff and Stoney were on the road together. His recent volumes of poems
include Amazing-Grace-Wheelchair-Jumpshot-Jesus-Love-Poems (2009), Hurricane Hymn & Other Poems (2009), and his anthology of poems Des Imagistes (2010), which had its World Premiere celebration at
Brunnenburg Castle in Italy last June, and its American Premiere during Kentucky Writers Day at Penn's Store in April 2010.

KY Writer's Day Show - performances by Dawn Lane Osborn, and other Kentucky Writers' Day Songwriters.  Dawn is a poet, song writer, and musician and performs professionally.

Guest Appearance

Elizabeth Orndorff, from Danville, Kentucky, worked in advertising and public relations before turning to fiction and playwriting. Her play Death by Darkness won the International Mystery Writers Festival in 2007 and the Southern Playwrights Competition in 2008. In 2009, her play Aidan’s Gift won the Kentucky Theatre Association’s playwriting award. In July 2010 her comedy The Dillinger Dilemma ran at Pioneer Playhouse in Danville. Her comedy/drama High Strangeness opened the season for West T. Hill Community Theatre in September. She recently won a Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship to live and write plays in Taos, New Mexico.

The original cast of High Strangeness by Elizabeth Orndorff will present two scenes from the comedy inspired by local legend. If you missed it last fall when it was a sell-out hit at West T. Hill, you'll get to see two of the funniest scenes about three women who claimed to have been abducted by a flying saucer full of space aliens.

 Starring  (Left to right, top to bottom: Arnetta Myers, Bobbie Curd, Crystal Nichols, Allen Martin.)

Guest Appearance

"Take the inventiveness of Boy Dylan, the melodic voice of John Denver; add the showmanship of Garrison Keilor and that's Michael Johnathon." -- Bob Spear, Publisher of HEARTLAND REVIEW

Michael Johnathon is a folksinger, songwriter, concert performer, author ...
and now playwright ... who has a worldwide radio audience exceeding a
million listeners each week.

The Lexington-based songwriter has been called a 'Woody Guthrie in a Cyber
World' because of the huge growth of his weekly public radio and PBS show the WOODSONGS OLD-TIME RADIO HOUR. (

In the 1980's Michael bought a guitar and a banjo and settled into the isolated
 mountain hamlet of Mousie, Kentucky to learn folk music. For the next three years, he traveled up and down the
hollers of the Appalachian mountains knocking on doors and learning the music of the mountain people. Michael experienced hundreds of front porch hootenannie throughout Appalachia where folks would pull out their banjos and fiddles, sit on their front porches with him and play the old songs that their grandparents taught them.

His new album is being released April 2010, called Ravenwood and features support from Sam Bush, John McEuen, dobro master Rob Ickes, bluesman Guy Davis and JP Pennington. The single, "Cars," has been shipped to over 1500 radio stations in the USA. (you can hear songs from the album online:

Michael also wrote the hugely popular environmental play "Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau" about the final two days Henry David Thoreau spent in his cabin before leaving Walden Pond. Over 7,400 colleges and schools and community

theaters has performed the play in 41 countries. This month, KET and  many other PBS affiliates nationwide will broadcast Walden in celebration of Earth Day (


Andy Colley is a 16 year veteran of radio broadcasting in stations across Kentucky. He currently serves as Program Director and Operations Manager for 1590 WLBN and 100.9 MIKE FM in Lebanon/Springfield, along with 102.7 WYSB in Bardstown. Andy hosts the morning show on 100.9 MIKE FM and afternoons on sister station K Country 105.7, WGRK in Greensburg/Campbellsville. Andy likes to be active in his community as well, currently serving as president of the Lebanon-Marion County Rotary Club. He is also the father of two daughters and a grandfather, too.

Hershel McKinley is probably best known for his many years on Danville radio stations WKLO, WHIR, and WMGE-FM, as News Director, public affairs broadcaster and morning air personality.  In what Hershel describes as "long ago and far away" he wrote, produced, directed and appeared in many films for the State of Kentucky in The Department of Public Information.  Hershel has worked in the Lexington and northern Ohio radio and television markets and is a graduate of Kent State University.

Born in Southern Kentucky, Hershel called Danville home for many years, but now lives on a farm in northern Mercer County with his wife Shirley, who is a Labor/Delivery RN at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville.  Hershel and Shirley have two married children, Jason and Mary Beth McKinley, Rachel and Preston Correll and two grandchildren, Gus and Annie Correll.

Calling himself a lifelong fledgling novice in creative writing Hershel is a member of Speaking Out and Nomadic Ink writing groups in Mercer County. 

Hershel currently does freelance voice work and script writing.  He has been heard throughout the South in radio and television commercials, industrial video voiceovers, audio book readings, and political radio advertisements.  For the last few years he has also been the sound engineer for the Forkland Festival Bean Supper Play.

He and Shirley, and their children, have had the opportunity to travel or work in many parts of the world including East Africa, Central America, England, the Caribbean, and India.

Photography is a long time hobby of Hershel's and one of his photos was recently used in an advertisement on the back cover of a national equine magazine.

List of Other Writers and Performers

A native of the Lakes Region of southwestern Maine, in his young adult years,  Terry Swett traveled extensively around the United States, painting signs and sometimes singing for his supper.  Those days inspired his first real song writing.  He refers to his early originals as a "Travelogue of Folkish Ditties."  Thirty years later Terry still makes signs for a living and still writes.  His songs may be about bartenders, pool shootin', home towns, love or God.  Terry and his wife Sandy now reside in North Bridgton, Maine.

Classic Harmonies
is a family group performing Christian, folk and country music. Our Christian music is comprised of beautiful songs ranging from gospel to old hymns to contemporary. Our folk and country numbers include hits from the 1960's through the 1980's. We strive to remind our listeners of the classic sounds from that era that we want to keep alive.


Paula Sparrow will once again be bringing her "Creature Comforts" to Kentucky Writers Day. She recently published her first book, Kentucky Living's Creature Comforts, a compilation of her columns on animal rescue. The first book of its kind, Creature Comforts covers the state of Kentucky, visiting animal rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries, reporting on the people of Kentucky who have devoted their lives to saving animals: dogs, cats, wildlife, primates, and even elephants. The book was nominated for the 2010 Media Advocacy Award from Pet Groups United. This year, Paula will be discussing the intended-as well as unintended-results of "the power of the written word."  Paula, as usual, will be bringing stories she's written on animal rescue.  When she published an essay about adopting a pet instead of buying one, she was surprised at the reaction her words got. Her topic this year will be "The Intended-and Unintended-Effects of a Writer's Words. 

Having spent his early years in the USMC, C.A. SHELLEY became a member of the Lexington Fire Department, retiring after 28 years of service.

In 2010 he found his voice in the arts by writing and co-producing the movie Gone but Not Forgotten, the Story of the Smoke Eaters, a full-length documentary chronicling the memories and experiences of his "Firefighter Brothers".  During the filming Shelley became so inspired that he began to write.

First: A Collection of Poems, Thoughts & Short Stories about his beloved Fire Department.  Second: Wake Up, America; it’s Your Conscience Calling, thirty poems honoring the struggles that our military and their families are enduring every moment. Third: His current book A Spiritual Awakening, forty-nine poems of Inspiration & Hope.

He calls himself a "Blue-Collar Poet", with "My God guiding this ship, putting His words in my heart, which I put to paper. I am on a mission and I have a lot to say, so look for me; I'm coming to you down God's highway."

C.A. Shelley and his wife Rita reside at Lake Herrington, Mercer County, Kentucky.


Wilma Brown of Danville is a retired English teacher and librarian.  She is also an artists whose portraits hang in over 300 homes in central Kentucky.  In community involvement, she has been a founding member of several non-profit arts organizations as well as the owner of a retail store representing the work of over 100 Kentucky artists.  For the past six years she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Arts Council.

Joe Crafa was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He became interested in music of the thirties and forties while listening to his parents' record collection and became influenced by the styles of Dick Haymes, Bing Crosby, and several other artists of that era. Joe was the lead singer for several "oldies" groups while living in New York. He played tenor saxophone and performed at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. After marrying he moved to New Jersy and discontinued any public performances. He moved to Casey County, Kentucky in 2005 and in 2009 was "drafted" by his friends to help start an open mic at Uncle Bob's in Stanford, Kentucky.It was there that he first heard Leah Clark perform. The two tried an unrehearsed song together at the open mic, which was so well received that they decided to form a duet.

Leah Bugg Clark, born and raised in Stanford, Kentucky, developed a love for music at an early age, learning to play the guitar and sing at the age of thirteen. She grew up playing music and singing in church, using praise and worship music as the foundation of her musical ability. She later branched out and began singing at coffee shops and open mics, and started writing her own music. Leah's writing influences include Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Melissa Etheridge. She is frequently compared to sixties and seventies folk music icons like Joan Biaz and Judy Collins. Leah's melodic song writing and stunning vocals can be described as dream-like and haunting.

Although they came from such different musical and geographical backgrounds, the similarity in style and vocal quality was immediately evident. They have been described as having a "magic blend" that captures their audiences.

Mamakitty Southwood came together out of the shared love for a good song, driven by the lyrics and vocal interwoven harmonies of songwriters Kim Weber, Mark DeWitt, and Tony Cooper. You can view live video at this website address: or through our myspace:   You can also find us on Sonicbids, Reverbnation, Facebook, Digstation and CD Baby.

The band is a soulful breed of Rock and Americana, flavored by a variety of influences- especially folk and blues. Kim Weber has been writing since before sand Weber joined forces in August, 2008. Tony Cooper joined the band in the fall of 2010. It was an immediate connection, melding his style with the existing sound. The band’s  flexibility lies in the ability to play as a full 5 piece or as an acoustic duo or trio. They have performed for groups as he can remember and performing since she was 29 years old, and songwriters Mark DeWitt and Tony Cooper have been making their magic since before they could walk. Mamakitty Southwood has been performing as a band since DeWitt arge as Fender's Den Radio's audience and the Heartland Festival's attendees to groups as intimate as a few wanderers on Bardstown Road.

Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society will be part of
 the events, in conjunction with their conference at St. Catherine College in Springfield.

Richard Moore  -  Artisan, Craftsman, Musician / Songwriter presently resides in Ashville, North Carolina.   His grandfather gets the credit for teaching him to play guitar and Johnny Cash for the inspiration to start writing songs at the age of fifteen.  Being reared in a military family, he gathered influences from all over the country; mainly the southeast.  Moore was introduced to Penn's Store when he accompanied buddy and Hall of Fame inductee Billy Edd Wheeler at the 2007 "GREAT OUTHOUSE BLOWOUT".

Glenn D. Metzger has been performing music for most of his 58 years, beginning with church choirs from age six.  After taking up violin at ten and guitar at twelve, he played folk and rock and roll through his teen years and while majoring in music in college.  A long hiatus to attend to family duties was followed by a return to performing, both solo and with small groups and a contemporary church music band.  Now, in the words of one of his songs, he's "playing bars, playing jails, anywhere the ship sails."


Dixie Bertram has been teaching language arts for 21 years in Lincoln County, Kentucky. She always had a great personal love for writing, and since becoming a teacher, has an even greater love for teaching others to write. Dixie began writing stories at a very young age. A high school poetry class opened the door to another genre. Bertram has written plays for church, which she also directed and produced, and has also written sermon skits and personal narratives.
Dixie Bertram presently teaches at Lincoln County Middle School; lives in Stanford, Kentucky where she has resided most of her life, has two daughters and two granddaughters.

Gregg Neikirk and Adam Neikirk are songwriters from Danville who currently live in Westfield, Massachusetts. Gregg Neikirk is professor of English at Westfield State University, where he teaches literature and writing, including a popular Songwriting course. Adam Neikirk will soon enter graduate school in an MFA program where he will use his jazz guitar skills to help write poetry, among other things. Adam, who has a B.A. in Jazz Studies, has also been a teacher in the Songwriting classes at WSU.

Chris Hamilton is the former sports editor,  news editor and editor of The Lebanon Enterprise.


He goes by Joseph, although his mom calls him Joey and some folks call him Joe. His full name, though, is Joseph Ross Camuglia.  He's of Italian decent and grew up in a small town (of about 5 thousand people) 60 miles north of New York City. The town is called Marlboro. And although they don't make cigarettes there, they do smoke a lot of them! Marlboro is situated on the Hudson River, not too far from Poughkeepsie or West Point. It's a beautiful area of rolling hills and lots of trees, many of which are fruit trees. The area rates third in apple production in the New York State, and this songwriter was fortunate enough to live amidst acres and acres of apple orchards. For twenty years he's been writing and singing songs, often in places that you wouldn't expect, such as pizza shops and barber shops... and grocery stores and laundromats. He also sings and plays at more conventional places like churches, coffeehouses, schools and college campuses. Joseph s certainly one of America's best "unknown" songwriters. but it's probably just a short period of time before some big shot record producer offers him a contract and receives the fame and fortune that he's been so diligently avoiding all these years! In the meantime, singing for the few is what he loves to do. Many albums are in the works. Joseph has written over a thousand songs, and little by little he hopes to record at least a few hundred of them!

Susan H. Simpson is a Kentucky educator with a Masters and a Rank I in English.  She has taught for over 35 years in the public and private school systems teaching English and Journalism.  As well, Susan was the Washington County cheerleader sponsor and the newspaper advisor for 13 years.  She currently serves on the Kentucky School Media Association State Board and works as a librarian.

 At the age of 23, Susan served in the Peace Corps. For two years she worked in Colombia, South America teaching English and the use of educational television and learning Spanish.  Susan  has traveled extensively, discovering over nineteen countries.  Inspired by her travels, she now enjoys Painting, Photography, and writing poetry.  Susan is a member of the Poet's Supper, a central Kentucky collective of writers, which has published some of her work.


Susan is married to Coach Whitey Simpson who is also a Kentucky educator.  Chad, her oldest son, is a Disability Advocate for Binder & Binder.  Chad and his wife Dr. Christina Conroy, who is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Morehead State University, blessed Susan with a grandson, Carter who is now two.  Her youngest son Wade is a Photographer and is the Photo Editor for an arts journal, Cousin Corinne's Reminder.

Darlene Franklin-Campbell grew up in the hill country of Southern Kentucky. She holds a M.A. in Education.

Teacher, artist, minister and internationally known poet, she donates proceeds from her poetry to combat Mountain Top Removal. Her work has appeared in such notables as Story South, Instructor Magazine, Inlightenment and Coal County: Rising up Against Mountain Top Removal, the accompanying anthology to the 2009 Ashley Judd film.

Darlene is an advocate for literacy and the arts, for ecological responsibility, and for all things “anti-cancer”, donating the royalties from her novel, I Listened, Momma, to Relay for Life. I Listened, Momma marks her debut as a southern novelist and is raising both awareness and funds in the fight against cancer.

Doris Purdom was born in the Forkland Community on Black Lick Creek in 1931 and graduated from Forkland School in 1949.  She serves as Vice-President of the Forkland Community Center , has been chairman of "Forkland's Old-Fashioned Bean Supper" for 38 years and has performed in most of the 38 dramas.  Doris has been married to her husband Carroll for 59 years, has one daughter Dianna Barker and one granddaughter Jamie M. Hamblin.  Doris, along with Shirley Sheperson and Darrell Ellis, researched all cemeteries in the Forkland community and compiled a cemetery book called The Forgotten Past in 1976.  Doris also served on the Forkland Committee that put together the Forkland History of families called Forkland Heritage: Its People Past and Present, 1793-1996, Vol. 1 & 2.

Maurice Manning's third book of poetry, Bucolics, has just been released in paperback.  His first book, Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions, was selected for the 2000 Yale Series of Younger Poets.  Manning is from Kentucky, where he lives part of the year.  He teaches at Indiana University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

It was announced Monday, April 18 in the New York Times that MAURICE MANNING  ( who read Saturday, April 16, 2011 at the WEST T HILL THEATRE venue, Danville, KY  for the 2011 KWD CELEB ) was one of the Finalists for the 2011 PULITZER PRIZE in Poetry.   It is announced annually the winner along with the 2 finalists for the year. 

We congratulate Maurice and thank him for so graciously sharing his talents and time with everyone at the 2011 KENTUCKY WRITERS DAY CELEBRATION.

Mark H Metcalf is an attorney in Lancaster, Kentucky.  Mark has practiced law for 25 years, as a private practitioner, state and federal prosecutor, and as a judge on the United States Immigration Court in Miami, Florida. He has represented Kentucky twice before the U.S. Supreme Court as Special Assistant Attorney General of Kentucky. He is presently Command Judge-Advocate for the 149th Brigade in Louisville, Ky and  deploys for duty in Iraq on June 1, 2011.    Metcalf will be discussing his book, "THE BROKEN COURTS". 


Regina Noel-Wethington was reared in Dry Creek, Kentucky.   She graduated from Casey County High School at the top of her class in Choir and Music Theory.  Her love for singing and writing began at an early age.  She began writing songs at age 14.   While in high school she pursued her love of music by singing in a gospel group and also in church.  In a later move to Indiana,  Wethington continued her musical interests in writing and by singing with a soft rock band for 2 years.    Upon return to Kentucky she sang with Jerry Chapman and the Young Country Band.  Her published poems include "Peace of Mind" and "Life". 

 Regina is married to Ernest R. Wethington, a Kentucky native, and has 4 beautiful children who also carry Mom's love of music, one son-in-law now serving in Afghanistan and one adorable grandson.  Regina Wethington resides in Summersville, Kentucky.

Barry Morrison, born March 20, 1949, in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, is an American country music singer-songwriter and visual artist. His primary musical instrument is guitar. This multi-talented artist is largely identified with the country rock/Americana genre(s) of music. In 1968 at the age of nineteen, and with the help of then United Artist Records label head Billy Edd Wheeler, Morrison came to the attention of House of Cash Publishing. Wheeler's assistance in presenting Morrison's music to Cash's publishing company, resulted in House of Cash being the first to publish a Barry Morrison song. His recording career began in 1970 and with the release of "Snakey Hollow Stud", a song released on the RCM label which charted on the Independent Country Music Charts at number one. Several other of Morrison's releases charted within the top five on the Independent Country Music Charts during the period 1990 - 1993; with "There Ain't No Country" being the only other of his songs to reach the number one position. Retired from the business of performing and touring since 1993, and although confronted with a diagnosis of ongoing severe clinical depression, the offer to record his music on his own terms for a Nashville label thrust him back into recording and performing in 2007. That year saw him touring in support of his newly released album "A Cold Wild Wind" and appearing at venues throughout the central and southeastern United States. In 2009 Morrison returned to the recording studio as he prepared to headline the 2010 Walk the Line- Good Hearted Woman Tour. To this point the Barry Morrison discography chronicles the very sporadic, but still very powerful musical output of a consummate singer/songwriter. The 2010 Kentucky Writers Day Celebration welcomes him to our stage.

Singer-Songwriter, Recording Artist, and Actress, Sarah Elizabeth Burkey, has performed in 18 countries but has called Kentucky home all her life. Sarah plays 11 instruments and her work appears on 15 albums. Sarah Elizabeth is to Kentucky what Fats Domino was to New Orleans. Fats epitomized the sound of the Crescent City in his time, equally giving an honorable nod to his musical ancestry while carrying the torch on to his generation. Sarah does this too, in our context and in our time. Her sound is deeply rooted in the Kentucky hills, with a voice sweeter than a honeysuckle vine in spring and old as the current of the Ohio River.

Sarah Elizabeth Burkey was born and raised on Rural Route 4, Kevil, Kentucky. Her unique musical and literary compositions are born of this rich history. Sarah's work has been published in books and literary journals in the US and Europe.

The non-fiction book Western Kentucky: Lost & Forgotten, Found & Remembered by Sarah Elizabeth and Ron Whitehead, a travel book unlike any other, is a must read! Inspired by hiking 325 miles for 19 days across Kentucky forests, fields, backroads & railroads, it is the companion book to Sarah's album When The Redbuds Bloom.

Sarah Elizabeth was the keynote speaker and featured performer at Ohio University's 8th Annual Women of Appalachia Conference in 2006. Sarah plays the lead in the independent feature film Red Velvet Cake, filmed entirely in Kentucky. This film has not yet been released.

Sarah recorded her latest album DON'T DIE YET immediately upon returning from the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota where she spent a great deal of time on the Sioux Reservation with the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Grammy Nominated Musician, Tony Redhouse accompanies Sarah on this album with Native American flute and drum plus many other instruments from indigenous cultures of the world. Sarah Elizabeth's songwriting drips with passion and a sacred appreciation of life.


Betty Pace is an award winning, bestselling children’s book writer. She is the author of seven children’s books, Donald’s Dump Truck, I Miss My Dad, Donna’s Christmas Birthday, Abraham Lincoln, Clippety-Clop, Clippety-Clop, Two Little Rascals and Chris Gets Ear Tubes, which is a best seller. When Dachii Pharmaceutical Corporation developed a new drug to administer to patients after ear tube surgery, they purchased copies of Betty’s book Chris Gets Ear Tubes and distributed them to Ear, Nose and Throat doctors throughout the United States and foreign countries. The book was used to advertise their new drug Floxin. Two Little Rascals is Betty’s latest children’s book.  She specializes in sensitive childhood issues and has published more than a hundred articles and poems. Betty is a former newspaper columnist and her children’s books, “Party in the Farmyard and Bully Trouble on the Double,” are scheduled to be published in April 2011. She is currently working on a novel about her first year teaching experience.

 Betty has taught school, served as a guidance counselor and Director of Federal Programs.  She is a certified grant writer and grant reviewer for the US Department of Education. She has served in the capacity of consultant to the Office of Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C. She was Director of a Title 1 program that won national acclaim toward excellence in education for the state and US Department of Education for two consecutive years.

Ed McClanahan is a native of Brookville, Kentucky.  A graduate of Miami University in Ohio and the University of Kentucky, he has taught English  and creative writing at Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Montana, the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University.  His books include The  Natural Man (a novel), Famous People I Have Known, A Congress of Wonders, and My Vita, If You Will.  McClanahan is now working on a novel, The Return of the Son of Needmore

Ronnie Payne has been in the music business pretty much all his life. He, like many before him, got started as a young boy singing in Church. Ronnie's first time on stage was when he and his brother James won second prize in a talent contest at Renfro Valley when he was about fourteen and his brother was thirteen. By the time he was sixteen he was playing rhythm guitar with Jewel Noe from Somerset, KY. While with that band, he played a regular live broadcast at WRVK radio in Mt. Vernon. His next group, "Patch of Blue", was formed in the mid sixties while living in Lancaster. They played many current hits of that era, including songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Rivers and more. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Ronnie went to Louisville and began making his way around the music scene there. He started off in a small neighborhood tavern, but quickly moved up to bigger venues. Ronnie began playing bass guitar and was soon considered to be one of the best in the business. He got to know many of the area's top musicians and was soon doing studio work as well as the nightclub scene. Ronnie played in some of the most popular bands in the area, playing everything from pop to bluegrass. Some of the groups he was with opened for nationally known acts to include Atlanta Rhythm Section, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Shenandoah, Earl Thomas Conley, Johnny Paycheck, Marty Stuart, Alabama, Hank Jr., Keith Whitley and others. Most recently, he was with a great group of players called "Ron Payne and Yellowstone", playing popular country and southern rock. A well respected and seasoned performer, Ronnie resides, once again in Lancaster, KY and has become a great addition to our growing local music scene.

Andy Rice, a native of Pulaski County, Kentucky currently resides in Boyle County with his wife Jane.  Andy's musical inspiration comes from his uncle, who would bring his guitar to family gatherings and perform for the family.  Andy's mother Geneva Rice was also an inspiration as she also played the guitar and sang.  Andy has written two songs, "Which Way to Pray" and "Slipped and Fell in Love".  Andy also played guitar and sang solo in a country band named "Andy and the Dandy's" in the early 1980s.  In the '80s and '90s he played with "The Kings Mt. Bluegrass Boys."

A resident of Lancaster, Dan Waters has spent a lot of years making music. While living in the Cincinnati area, he formed a group called"Dirty Waters". They played together from 1980-2002. The group performed in the greater Cincinnati area as well as southeastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. In 1981, Dan recorded a single in Nashville's  RCA studio. The song was titled "Warm Sheets Can't Cover up your Cold, Cold Heart" and was released by an independent promoter on the "Soundwaves" label. It was distributed nationwide. Dan moved back to Lancaster in 2004. Since his return, he's played as a street performer at the famed Renfro Valley and 2005-2006 as a featured singer at "Church in the Valley".  He's served as director of music in two area Churches. Dan currently  performs as a soloist, but is also a member of the gospel group "Greg Ives and Sunday Morning".

Larry Ray Hafley was reared in Peoria, Illinois.   A lifetime writer, author, teacher, preacher, lecturer, and motivational speaker, Larry now resides in Cookeville, Tennessee, not far from Dale Hollow Lake.  He has two sons, Shawn and Curtis and four grandchildren.   Larry enjoys traveling, especially when going to fulfill speaking assignments.   Although he is a big Alabama football fan (Roll Tide!) he also cheers for the Kentucky Wildcat basketball team!

Larry's family roots are in the Gravel Switch/Forkland area of Boyle County, Kentucky.  He says he is the first Hafley who was raised away from a Kentucky tobacco farm!   His grandmother, Lee Hafley, wife of Earl Hafley, taught at Forkland School for 43 years.  Larry's parents, Cecil and Marie (Coyle) Hafley, were from the Forkland area of Boyle County, but moved to Peoria, Illinois, during WWII.  You may contact Larry via E-mail:, or by phone 931-510-9997.

Jon Nesbitt, a Pennsylvania native, has had one desire in life -- to be a successful musician and songwriter.  At the age of 14 he started playing guitar and writing songs. He soon realized that the more instruments he could play, the easier it would be to get into a band.

At the age of 17 he learned to play drums and bass guitar. The piano soon followed.  Jon was being influenced by musicians such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan and the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrex. He loved the showmanship  of Kiss. The list goes on and on.

Jon realized that a true musician should be open to different styles of music from rock and blues to folk and country.  This line of thought has helped him develop his own style.  Over the years he has worked with many of Central Kentucky's top country and rock variety bands. He has also preformed as a solo act.

Jon doesn't want to be classified as a "one style writer".  He wants to be known as a true musician, songwriter and performer.  With his love for music and a God given talent,
Jon has the ability to succeed.

Call it traditional acoustic blues bluegrass alternative country with regular original words, and sometimes long words, too, put to a melody, and sung with a drawl.   Influenced primarily by old songwriters and blues singers, Aaron Raitiere has been writing and performing original songs since his childhood in Kentucky.  His swampy songs and soulful voice are a pleasure to even the most critical ear. 
Aaron's new solo CD "Kissin' Machine" is complete. Hear songs at and buy the album at

Paula Hill grew up in Danville, where her father West T. Hill was chairman of the theatre department of Centre College.  He later founded West T. Hill Community Theatre and gave Paula a great love for writing and all the fine arts.  Paula taught English and Theatre at the University of Kentucky, Lexington Community College and Centre College.  She designs and leads fine arts tour groups to New York, London and Tuscany.  Her compositions include a chapbook of poetry: By Heart, writing and directing plays at the West T. Hill Community Theatre, and writing a business column for The Advocate-Messenger.

Amy Sparrow Potts is the Rural Heritage Programs Director for Preservation Kentucky and has worked with the Kentucky Crossroads Rural Heritage Development Initiative (RHDI) program since 2006.  The RHDI is one of two demonstration programs in the country sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help develop and implement preservation-based economic development strategies in rural areas.  Programs of this initiative include a statewide barn preservation program, rural survey and documentation projects, rural design guidelines, oversight of a National Scenic Byway dedicated to Abraham Lincoln's early years, an oral history website to document rural traditions and folklore, and various technical assistance for rural preservation issues.

Previously, Amy worked as Executive Director of the Harrodsburg Kentucky Main Street Program and completed studies at Berea College and Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina) with an academic background in cultural studies.   She is married to Craig Potts and has two sons, Sam and Simon.  She will speak on behalf of the historic preservation efforts underway for the Penn's Store and rural preservation efforts in the Central Kentucky region.

Virginia Gillespie Vassallo grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in history.  As I single mom looking for a better job with more income, she entered Seton Hall University School of Law in 1982 where she obtained her JD and was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1986.

Virginia is the author of Unsung Patriot: How The Stars and Stripes Began.  It is the biography of her grandfather, Guy Thomas Viskniskki, the founder, first editor-in-chief and first officer-in-charge of the Army’s newspaper during the fighting months of World War I.

Of English, Irish, Scottish, German and Polish descent, Virginia never intended to write a book.  But in her search for the grandfather she never knew, she uncovered his personal memoirs and historical data which compelled her to write her grandfather’s story, a process that lasted almost ten years.Virginia’s roots go back to the founding of our country.  Her Quaker relatives arrived in Pennsylvania with William Penn and some of them ultimately owned most of the colony of Delaware.  Another relative is believed to have captained a supply ship for Jamestown colony.  Eleazer Robinson and Henry Clayton found in the Revolutionary War and are the reason Virginia is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The artist, Benjamin West, is probably the most well-known of her ancestors.  And, of course, there is her grandfather, Guy T. Viskniskki, who founded The Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Virginia and her husband, Russell, who is also an author, reside on a large farm in South-Central Kentucky where she rides her horse, Diablo, and cares for her rescued animals.  She is the grandmother of six, three boys and three girls. 

Russell A. Vassallo was born in and grew up in Newark, New Jersey, where he graduated from Seton Hall University with a political science major and minors in Philosophy, English and Religion.  He went on to attend Seton Hall University School of Law, graduating in 1961 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence.  Russ waited ten years to take the New Jersey Bar Exam and passed on his first try.  During that period of time he worked as an insurance investigator and started his own subpoena business.

However, Russ had always been a writer.  He wrote short stories during college for the basketball players and many Letters to the Editor over the years.  After recovering from colon cancer (he’s a 12 year survivor), he started to write in earnest.  His first book, Tears and Tales: Stories of Animal and Human Rescue, is a collection of short stories chronicling how animals can help you in difficult emotional situations.  Two other collections of animal stories followed:  The Horse with the Golden Mane and Heart of an Animal.

For years Russ had been regaling his wife with stories of growing up in a Mafia family. Yes, his grandfather really was a Mafia don.  After much persuading he wrote Streetwise: Mafia Memoirs, a book of recollections of what it was like to grow up in that kind of family.  Streetwise does not sensationalize the Mafia.  It is a realistic look, both the good and bad, at the culture.  And it is Russ’s best seller – a point his wife, Virginia, loves to rub in!  Memoirs of the Streets came out last year – a collection of short stories about people who influenced the course of Russ’s life.  Due out this spring is Russ’s first novel, Deep is the Dark, which is based upon a young woman he knew years ago.

Russ lives on a farm in South-Central Kentucky with his wife, Virginia, and their rescued animals.

Mike Hill and Gordon Webb

Gordon Webb, a native of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, has spent most of his adult life in Elizabethtown and now resides in Lebanon.  He picked up the guitar in his teenage years after a football injury put a damper on his mobility for several months.  Being the 9th of 10 children, and a teenager in the '60's, his musical influence was rock and roll and popular music of the 50's and 60's.  This is the style he has stayed with.  Although he does not write original music, he sometimes likes to alter the lyrics of rock and roll to spiritual wording and perform in his church (as in Sister Act). Gordon also performs covers in small venues with his friends Mike Hill (bass) and Ricky Cox (drums) calling themselves The Fogies (no 'Old' included but inferred).

Dix River Crossing is a regional bluegrass group that has been playing festivals ,concerts, and private gatherings since the fall of 2009.

Whether an audience is listening for traditional, contemporary, or original bluegrass, this tightly knit group will meet the keenest of expectations.

Carolyn Crabtree is a former mathematics and English teacher who now spends her spare time doing history and genealogy research.  Over the last 30 years she has written many Bible Studies and devotionals and has helped compile history books for the Forkland Community Center.   She is in the process of gatherning information for a future book about Boyle County, Kentucky writer Sally Rochester Ford.

Debra A. Revell is an award-winning technical writer in central Kentucky.  She was born in Ohio, but at age 9 months, her parents moved her to the South. She lived in three large cities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama before moving to Kentucky’s rolling hills.

Her interest in creative writing began as a teenager. She was the essay editor on her high school’s literary magazine in Huntsville, Alabama. She attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville and graduated with a B.A. in psychology and education, so she had two majors at this point in time.

She was an elementary school teacher for several years in Kentucky before she attended Eastern Kentucky University to earn a B.A. in public relations. After this, she began her 20+ year career in technical writing and editing. She has worked for three companies in Lexington, Kentucky as an information developer/technical writer. She has also worked as a marketing coordinator.

While working at Lexmark International, Inc., Debra won nine Society of Technical Communication awards for her technical manuals. In 1997, she was one of three ladies to represent Lexmark at the International Society of Technical Communication Conference held in Toronto, Canada.

Though she has written poems and short stories since high school, her interest in creative writing grew greatly when she joined the creative writing group at Lexmark in 1998. She was a member of this group from 1998 to 2004, and she was the leader of this group from 2001 to 2004. The group dissolved in 2004 when members experienced an overload of work and numerous lunchtime meetings. Debra tried to keep the group alive and going, but with attendance dwindling week after week at their Wednesday lunchtime writing meeting, she had no choice but to end their group.

Debra has been a member of the Winchester Writers’ Group since May 2010. She continues to write poetry and short stories, but has only shared her work with a few friends and members of her writing groups. Recently, she has decided to share her work publicly by reading a few of her poems at the Saturday session of the Kentucky Writers’ Day Celebration.

Lately, she has tried to write short stories in the fantasy genre. Her next goal is to try to be published.

Mike Evces comes to Kentucky from Iowa City, Iowa. He resides in Danville with his wife Anne and daughter Lucy. A former teacher of college English and adult literacy, sometime film scholar and ergonomics research technician, briefly a video store clerk and a waiter, for some time a proud dues-paying member and organizer of United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers local 896, he currently writes songs whenever the capricious whims, or sporadic nap times, of Lucy allow.

Joel Miller is from Irvine KY living in Frankfort with his wife of 37 years. He says that performing his songs is very difficult for him. “I am so close to the subject that the feelings that motivated me to make up the song come back when I perform it.”

Three of his songs …
AMY’S SONG- Remember when your children were small and a Band-Aid (with a hug) could fix just about any injury? Adult children have painful problems that can’t be fixed so easily.
– Before arthritis stopped the music, my Mother could play any song she wanted……but only in the key of “C”. I was told I had to learn how to play “Wildwood Flower” on the guitar before I could get one. (Don’t go near the water until you learn how to swim.) Joel’s Mom taught him how and Joel’s Dad brought a new guitar to him from Northern Kentucky in a caboose on an L&N coal train.
- Family reunions and gatherings were at my Great-Grandparents farm in the Sand Hill area of Estill County. The gate was on the top of a rise about ¼ mile from the house and could be clearly seen from the front porch. As family members got out of the car to open the gate the folks on the porch could see their arrival and would wave a greeting. Do you think heaven is like that?

As a Kentucky writer, and poet, we often survey the geographical locations of our lives.  This journey is composed of physical and spiritual beginnings for all of us. As a writer and elementary teacher, James Pope has been part of this landscape as a poet, educator, journalist, and editor.

Pope, who has traveled many times to West Africa, is the author of two chap books: For the Love of Pure Water and Alone in a Dark House. Alone in a Dark House is his latest work that he wrote with his daughter, Claire Pope, who helped illustrate the book.  Christina Lovin, a distinguished Kentucky poet wrote about Pope's work, "These are poems of experience and memory in the mature voice of someone who understands the cyclical nature of existence and has found an acceptance of life with no cruel illusions."

"The musty space," "the muted darkness," "the memory of distant seasons," and "the distant feeling of something giving way" are all lines from Pope's poems that often explain the physical, geographical, and religious locations of his work.

Pope, who presently teaches 4th grade at Crab Orchard Elementary School, is the father of Claire Pope, an art history professor at Kentucky's Lindsey Wilson College and Justin James Pope, who is completing his PhD in Colonial History at George Washington University.

Site of the 2011 KWD songwriters "SHOWCASE"
Off Broadway Cafe
518 N. Third Street, Danville, Kentucky

Site of the 2011 KWD Saturday Events
West T. Hill Community Theatre

117 Larrimore Lane, Danville, KY
(Just behind Off Broadway Cafe)

 View the 2010 Kentucky Writers Day Events Here

View the 2010 Kentucky Writers Day Performers list here.

For more information contact Jeanne Penn Lane at
Penn's Store (859) 332-7706 or (859) 332-7715, or

It is best to call ahead to check times and cancellations.
Penn's Store
257 Penn's Store Road
Gravel Switch, Kentucky 40328
859-332-7715 or 859-332-7706
GPS Coordinates: N37.549912; W085.028191

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This page last updated 07/05/2016