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Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Kirk Judd recites a poem as Word and Song Cafe is conducted during Old Central City Days on Sunday, June 16, 2013, in West Huntington.

From new awards and new books to author readings, we've got book news by the stacks.

Here's a look at just a few of the things happening between the shelves.

Oh The Horror, Another Award

With an introduction by Richard Chizmar and cover art by Luke Spooner along with featuring interior artwork from horror master Clive Barker, "It’s Alive: Bringing your Nightmares to Life" focuses on learning the craft in order to take your story from concept to completion.

The Crystal Lake Publishing book, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Huntington resident Eugene Johnson, just picked up the Bram Stoker Award for "Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction" at the recent awards reception.

You can find out more about this comprehensive how-to guide for new and established authors, at https://www.amazon.com/Its-Alive-Bringing-Nightmares-Weaver-ebook/dp/B07L3XX2QY

May Writers Can Read At Inner Geek

Head over to Inner Geek Huntington at Pullman Square at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, as they are hosting this month's Writers Can Read Open Mic Night with poet Kirk Judd and novelist and short story writer Andi Fekete as featured readers. After the featured readings, members of the audience are invited to share a 7-8 minute piece of a completed work or a work-in-progress with the audience at the conclusion of the featured readers. The event is free and open to the public.

Judd has lived, worked, trout fished and wandered around in West Virginia all of his life. Kirk was a member of the Appalachian Literary League, a founding member and former president (and JUG recipient) of West Virginia Writers, Inc. and is a founding member of and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, Inc. He is the author of 3 collections of poetry “Field of Vision” 1986, “Tao-Billy” 1996, and “My People Was Music” 2014, and a co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology, “Wild, Sweet Notes – 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950 – 1999," and is widely published.

He will be reading from various books including his latest. He was the editor for an anthology of the late, great Richwood native poet Joseph Barrett's new work, “Blue Planet Memoirs,” a manuscript he completed shortly before his death. It would have been his fourth book. Although Barrett, died in an accident in 1990, Judd, who was a good friend of his, is making sure his rich reservoir of poetry is remembered some now 28 years later. Filled with poems from about 30 different journals and magazines from around the world from Rolling Stone to Japan’s Poetry Kanto, “Blue Planet Memoirs” has just been published and released by Dos Madres Press of Loveland, Ohio.

Fekete is a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia and granddaughter to immigrants. Her debut novel "Waters Run Wild," a novel of the WV Coal Mine Wars, has served as high school and college course material. Her poetry appears in many journals such as Chiron Review, ABZ, and Borderlands: Texas Review and anthologies such as "Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Poetry and Fiction from WV." She is co-editor (with Lara Lillibridge) of the anthology "Feminine Rising." (Cynren Press, April 2019)

Connick Celebrates New Crime Novel, "HPD"

Local resident Michael Connick will debut his crime novel “HPD” during a book launch party held at the Consigned Books in Ironton, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25. Light refreshments will be served and attendees will have an opportunity to meet with the author and obtain autographed copies of his book. A contest will be held for a free signed copy of the book.

Connick, who previously published three Cold War spy novels, decided to try his hand at a police procedural / crime novel set in his hometown after competing against local law enforcement officers in Action Pistol matches. He says, “During these competitions and associated training sessions I’ve had the opportunity to meet many local law enforcement officers. Regardless of their agency or work location they all have one thing in common - they all have stories to tell. Cops are terrific story tellers and they acquire a vast number of interesting tales in the course of their careers. I used many of these stories in creating my novel. Although this is clearly a work of fiction, much of what you’ll read here is based on real incidents. I’ve tried to make this novel as realistic as possible.”

Connick spent a year writing the novel. He recruited the help of local police officers to review and ensure it was a realistic portrayal of the actual experiences of a Huntington police officer.

Set in the period from 2006 through 2018, the novel follows its protagonist, Ethan Miller, through twelve years of his career as a patrol officer with the Huntington PD. Almost immediately after he joins the HPD the murder of a homeless man draws Ethan into the hunt for the man’s killer, in spite of the fact no one else seems to believe that his death was due to murder. Ethan is assigned Henry Armentrout as his Field Training Officer. Henry is a twenty-four-year veteran of the force who passes on “Henry’s Thirteen Things Every Cop Needs to Know” to the rookie. These thirteen guidelines become the basis for the thirteen chapters making up the book.

Connick was born in San Francisco and now resides in Huntington, along with his wife. He has lived in West Virginia for the past 13 years after a life spent living and traveling all over the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Here he writes, shoots in Action Pistol and Action Rifle competitions, and volunteers with local organizations, including acting as a docent with the Huntington Museum of Art. He also serves as a Regional Representative for West Virginia Writers, the largest all-volunteer literary organization in the state.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book signings, please contact michaelconnick@gmail.com

Salt Rock Dog Tales

Congratulations to Salt Rock resident writer Teresa Crow who has a story entitled "Friends to the End," that is included in the new collection, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Dog: 101 Tales of Family, Friendship & Fun."

Just out on Simon and Schuster in April, the 352-page book shares stories about humans and their best fur friends.

"You can’t help but be changed when you have a dog. They teach us about devotion, loyalty, and the value of living in the moment. They show us how to appreciate every day, and somehow, in those deep eyes, we learn about ourselves as well, becoming better humans."

Crow's story tells of her dog, Tracks, who she called Pup, and how Pup developed a life-long relationship with a little goat, Little Britches. Pup ran out in a storm and covered up the newborn goat who was cold, wet and covered in mud. The two became inseparable with Little Britches following Pup around, using the dog door, playing with Pup and taking on a dog-like personality.

"They remained friends until the very end. I've never had a dog and goat with the same relationship as Pup and Little Britches," she wrote.

Royalties from the book go to the American Humane Society. Go online at chickensoup.com for more info.

Long Publishes Her First Novel

Samantha Long is a teacher at South Point Middle School who has recently published her first novel, "Hopelessly Devoted."

The novel is available globally and on sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even Walmart.com. Barnes and Noble in Lexington, Ky will be hosting an Author Meet and Greet with her on Saturday, June 1

The book follows Selena Ayers a sixteen year old high school student who is overjoyed, to meet Texas Conrad IV, a wealthy oil and gas heir who happens to be gorgeous to boot. Believing one truly meets their soul mate between sixteen and twenty-one, thinks she has found her forever in Tex. Unfortunately, T.C. (Tex’s father Texas Conrad III), has other ideas for his son. Not only does he seem to find issue with Selena’s gypsy heritage, he plans to use his son in an attempt to secure a future business deal.

Utterly destroyed, Selena flees to her grandmother's house and takes refuge. After a five year hiatus, she returns to Saint Caine where new flames and old flames collide and she is forced to deal with the past she fled.

Will Selena rebuff her first love’s attempts to get her forgiveness and love once again…or will she refuse to take a chance on hurt and marry the man who has opened her heart to possibilities once more. Through comedy, chaos, and endearing moments, Selena Ayers may make a choice that surprises you.Go online at http://www.lulu.com/shop/samantha-long/hopelessly-devoted/paperback/product-24091729.html?ppn=1 for more info on the book.

Jack Owens: A Retired FBI Agent With an Attitude and a Sense of Humor

When Jack Owens, https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Owens/e/B01MXYG22, joined the FBI the iconic and strait-laced J. Edgar Hoover was the director. It was Hoover’s way or the highway.

But, when it came down to it, Owens was this West Virginia native who thought outside the box. Sometimes he created a whole new box.

His attitude and demeanor served him well in his 30-years as a crime-busting agent.

A few years back, he put many of his experiences in a book called “Don’t Shoot. We’re Republicans”, https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Owens/e/B01MXYG22, a memoir which set the tone for his numerous and humorous media appearances.

Over the last year, Owens has informed and entertained national network anchors, noted podcast hosts and various civic forums from coast-to-coast.

Upon retirement in 1999, Owens took up his passion for writing, and to date has written his memoir and three fictional books, including two novels on a serial killer named “Pock.” He is currently working on the third installment of the “Pock” series.

West Virginia native Writer Chuck Kinder Passes

Chuck Kinder, who grew up in Montgomery, Milton, Huntington and Bluefield, where he finished high school, passed away earlier this month.

Kinder, who had bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University, was a retired University of Pittsburgh professor who was retired to Key Largo, Fla. He died on May 3 at the age of 76 after a series of strokes.

Kinder wrote such novels as "Snakehunter," and "The Last Mountain Dancer," had come back to Huntington to speak on occasion including a Friends of the Library Luncheon in 2001. He and the late, great Lee Maynard (author of "Crum") brought their psychedelic Appalachian band The Deliberate Strangers to The Calamity Café, in 2003.

Kinder was best known in recent years as the character professor Grady Tripp in the novel and movie “Wonder Boys,” written by one of his students, Michael Chabon.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kinder wrote his last book, a collection of stories and myths about life in West Virginia, in 2009. Since his strokes, he concentrated on writing poems and published three collections, the last of which, “Hot Jewels,” was published in April 2018.

“He was a natural,” said Bob Hoover, retired book editor at the Post-Gazette. “He had a great deal of love for West Virginia and showed it in his writing. It was expansive, profane, a little bit off color."

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