Adult readers have also expressed enthusiasm about the book, especially the realistic treatment of the football scenes. READ ARTICLE…
Adult readers have also expressed enthusiasm about the book, especially the realistic treatment of the football scenes. READ ARTICLE…
by Sanjay Gangal
This small, modern house was designed for an eminent author and professor of Native American studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live in a new, age-in-place home in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC, with her dog, Calamity Jane.
By Vonda Henderson
Frank McNair, a native North Carolinian, knows about football. He loves the game. The football team of his youth was the Laurinburg Fighting Scots, the same as that of his characters. “I had a 72-hour career as a football player for the University of North Carolina,” Frank shared. “I was invited to walk on on Sunday and left on Wednesday. I know when to walk away.” Frank did continue to enjoy playing football while in college, and with other club football teams well into his twenties.
After graduating from UNC, Frank worked for a time in the banking industry. He earned his MBA at Wake Forest and worked for a number of years in corporate America. He and his wife have worked together in their consulting business for the past 30 years. He has written two non-fiction books, and Life on the Line–Football, Rage and Redemption is his debut novel, a ten-year labor of love. READ MORE…
The Hawthorne Residence, a modern, award-winning home in Raleigh’s Cameron Park neighborhood, will be open to the public during the “ModHop” Tour, an evening house tour on September 6th from 6 – 8:30 p.m. hosted by North Carolina Modernist Houses in association with the 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival.
Designed by Tonic Design principles Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vincent Petrarca, this single-family residence replaced a dark, cramped, early 20th-century bungalow to give the homeowners modernist light, space, and form and a strong connection between indoors and outdoors.
To achieve the indoor-outdoor connection, the designers dropped the back elevation to grade and used floor-to-ceiling glass on the exterior wall to expand the view and living space into the backyard. A single-tilt roof with deep, cantilevered overhangs reference the covered porches of neighboring houses. Operable windows and extensive glazing throughout the house allow for daylight and natural ventilation, greatly reducing the homeowners’ reliance on electric lights during the day. A geothermal ground-source heat pump, fiber-cement rain-screen panels on exterior walls, locally available wood detailing, and Energy Star appliances make it 50 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home and 80 percent more efficient than the average resale home.
The two-story house is transparent from the front door through the main living area and on through the kitchen and dining space to the backyard. A sleek staircase composition makes the vertical circulation a sculptural presence at the center of the interior while leading to the children’s bedrooms and central play space upstairs. Crisp white walls and warm wood flooring throughout the house underscore the simple, modern interior.
Hogan and Petrarca will be on hand to answer tour participants’ questions about the house during the ModHop Tour.
For more information on the tour and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.ncmodernist.org/modhop17.
For more information on Tonic Design, visit www.tonic-design.com.
About Tonic Design:
Tonic Design is a multi-award-winning design-build firm in Raleigh, NC. Among many accolades throughout their careers, principals Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca were named 2013’s “Rising Stars” by Residential Architect magazine. Their projects have been featured in a host of national publications, including Architectural Record, Residential Architect, Dwell, Custom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture, and locally in the News & Observer, Walter magazine, and Urban Home. For more information: www.tonic-design.com.
Photos by Raymond Goodman
My agent retired and I am a 65-year-old man with a first novel. Given the state of publishing today, I was never going to find an agent.
Frank McNair – 28 August 2017
Life on the Line is the ideal book for the sports novel enthusiast or the reluctant teenage reader. It is the gripping story of two middle school boys struggling to understand themselves and the world around them. Life on the Line gives teens and adults a front row seat to authentic gridiron action, the struggles and joys of adolescence, and the redemptive power of love and faith.
What is the book about?
The book is about two eighth-grade boys and the struggles they face as they overcome their differences (and deep mutual antipathy) to lead the Fighting Scot football team to an undefeated season. The book is nominally about football (hence the title: Life on the Line), but it encompasses coming-of-age, the effects of family circumstances on the boys, and – as the subtitle says: “Football, Rage, and Redemption.”
When did you start writing the book?
I began the book in a class at the Duke University Writer’s Workshop in the summer of 2007.
How long did it take you to write it? READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW…
August 16, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — Mark Spano, the Chapel Hill-based author of the critically acclaimed murder mystery, Midland Club, has been awarded a month-long residency at Escape to Create in Seaside, Florida, to turn his award-winning novel into a screenplay.
Escape to Create (E2C) is a nationally recognized, non-profit, multidisciplinary artist residency hosted by the Seaside community since 1993. Over 150 writers, musicians, visual artists, and scholars have been awarded month-long retreats as emerging and mid-career artists.
Mark Spano is an accomplished filmmaker as well as author. His works include “The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell” and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Sicily: Land of Love and Strife.” As a result, he admits that he visualized Midland Club on the screen as he wrote it.
“First of all, I want to express my deep appreciation to the selection committee, board, staff, and volunteers at Escape to Create,” Spano said. “I am truly honored and overflowing with gratitude for this opportunity.
“Since I work as both a writer and a filmmaker,” he continued, “when I’m working on any project in one medium I’m always considering, consciously or not, the possibilities of the other media. With new technologies, it seems ideas can have many different lives. My colleagues and I have more than once discussed adapting Midland Club to film. This residency has set these wheels in motion.”
To some of his admiring critics, the adaptation of a screenplay is a natural progression.
“Midland Club is a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” wrote one reviewer for GayBookReviews.com, who also noted, “There’s a bit of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ amidst the melancholy…”
Two of the many positive Amazon Reader Comments call the book “an engaging work of noir fiction” and: “The writer of Midland Club is a filmmaker, a fact that comes through in the clarity and imagery of his writing. He captures, in a ‘noiresque’ manner, the atmosphere of the period and the location.”
A Page-Turning Tale
Published in May of 2016, Midland Club is a page-turning tale of corruption, love, lies, and murder set in a Midwestern city in 1958. Puce Bordeaux, the only “Negro” waiter at the exclusive Midland Club downtown, dies suddenly and the sheriff immediately declares it a suicide.
Yet one man refuses to believe the death was suicide. That man is the protagonist, Rich St. Pierre, a member of the city’s wealthy, white, First Family. Rich has known the now-elderly Puce since Rich was a child and dined at the club with his wealthy father. Rich and Puce also spent a night together in jail after a raid on a local dive bar where the town’s otherwise hidden gay community gathers for drinks and jazz. He’s certain that Puce was murdered to make sure a scandalous secret goes to the grave with him.
Ostracized by his family since the raid, Rich St. Pierre is just as certain that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to reveal the truth.
Spano will spend January 2018 at E2C in Seaside. Afterward, he’ll join an impressive alumni club that includes nominees and recipients of The Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes; National Book Awards; scholarships at the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The American Academy in Rome; ASCAP and Aaron Copeland Awards; Guggenheim Foundation scholarships; James Beard and Grammy Awards; and more.
E2C residencies are made possible through the generosity of Seaside homeowners, merchants, and donors. For more information on E2C visit www.escape2create.org.
Midland Club is available as a paperback book and in digital format on Amazon.
Designed by Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, this small, modern, age-in-place house is part of the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour.
July 19, 2017 (Chapel Hill, NC) — “The Professor’s House,” a small, sustainable, age-in-place house overlooking Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill, has been selected for the Fall 2017 Modapalooza Tour on Saturday, September 16, sponsored by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH).
Chapel Hill architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, designed the house for a retired professor of Native American Studies. A widow now, she wanted to downsize from her 3200-square-foot house and live with her dog in a modern, age-in-place house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC.
She contacted Schechter because she’d heard about the Micropolis Houses®, a collection of modern “tiny house” plans Schechter designed that range from 150 to 1500 square feet and can be customized to meet specific buyers’ needs and preferences. In this case, the professor wanted to add a third bedroom/office and an extra bath to the Micropolis® plan she chose.
“A small house meant she could have things like a swimming pool, a Japanese soaking tub, and choose nicer elements for her money,” Schechter noted.
The final design is nearly half the size of the professor’s previous house. Yet at only a little more than 1600 heated square feet– almost 1000 square feet less than the average American house, which is now 2500 square feet — it packs in all of the professor’s spatial needs in an open, fluid floor plan with age-in-place functionality. Schechter calls it a “Custom-opolis.”
The Professor’s House is one of seven houses designed by award-winning architects on this year’s Modapalooza Tour, including projects by Frank Harmon, Phil Szostak, Tina Govan, Jason Hart, and in situ studio. (For all the details about the tour, visit http://www.ncmodernist.org/palooza17.htm.)
The Professor’s House is also in the running for a 2017 George Matsumoto Prize, which recognizes excellence in North Carolina modernist residential design sponsored by NCMH. Winners are selected by both a professional jury and public voting. (Public voting at https://ncmhcompetitions.squarespace.com ends July 20.)
For more information on The Professor’s House and architect Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, visit www.acsarchitect.com.
About Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA:
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on passive houses, NET ZERO houses, and her new tiny house plans, the Micropolis Houses™. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate who lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the Modern, sustainable house she
Aspiring farmers have until August 1 to vie for this small enterprise in North Carolina.
June 29, 2017 (Bennett, NC) — Norma Burns, the architect/farmer who intends to gift her 13-acre organic farm in Bennett, North Carolina, to another aspiring small farmer through a convincing essay, has extended the deadline for submissions to August 1. (Background information to follow.)
June 1 was the original deadline. As that date neared, however, Burns received a flood of questions and comments on the farm’s Facebook page from people who had only recently learned about “The Gift,” as she calls it. And because she has not yet received the number of submissions/entry fees needed to pay off her mortgage so she can gift it to another aspiring farmer, she decided to extend the deadline — in accordance with the rules set up on the website www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.
“Preserving Bluebird Hill Farm is an important part of The Gift,” she said recently, noting that a general sale would not guarantee it. “I want to preserve this small farm for future farmers. I want to preserve the opportunity for those who dream of farming to obtain their dream.”
Through the Agricultural Conservation Easement that Burns just signed this month, she’s “also assuring that the natural resources, wildlife habitat, and scenic values of this property will be preserved.”
The rules and requirements for submitting a single-page essay that, along with other criteria, will determine Bluebird Hill Farm’s future owner, are available at www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com. Questions and comments may be directed only to the farm’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BluebirdHillFarmNC.
In January 2017, Norma Burns announced that she is inviting committed couples of any type who are also aspiring small farmers to submit an essay on “Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.” Along with meeting certain other criteria (such as a resume indicating experience), a Selection Committee will determine the writers of the best essay who will receive her 13-acre farm in North Carolina’s bucolic Chatham County as a gift with title free and clear.
The farm and all its components is valued at around $450,000. Along with the land, The Gift includes out– buildings, equipment, and the farmhouse that Burns, as an architect, renovated years ago. Furnishings and accessories that are listed on the website also go with the house. Everything The Gift entails can be seen on the dedicated website: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.
Burns chose to pass her beloved Bluebird Hill Farm on to a new owner in this manner because she wants to give aspiring small farmers who can’t afford to buy property the chance to have their own farm and to preserve and cherish it as much as she has.
“After nearly 18 years of work, love, and care, the farm has become what my late husband and I envisioned it to be when we bought it,” said Burns, who is ready to retire from the hard work of farming and enjoy a more urban lifestyle. “It would mean so much to me to see it in the care of someone committed to its continued improvement.”
She calls her effort to transfer ownership “A Gift of Good Land” in homage to American novelist, poet, and environmental activist Wendell Berry. For more information: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com
Owned and operated by Norma DeCamp Burns, Bluebird Hill Farm is a small farm that specializes in growing herbs, specialty vegetables, cut flowers, and native plants, along with value-added farm crafts and food products. The farm incorporates the principles of permaculture to maximize the use of space in its raised beds. Burns has grown many types of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing diversity and quality over quantity. The farm is located in Bennett, NC.
June 8, 2017 (Raleigh, NC) — As part of the Raleigh LGBT Center’s 2017 Sizzling Summer “Meet the Author” Series, novelist Mark Spano of Chapel Hill will read from his critically acclaimed and award-winning novel Midland Club on Sunday, June 25th, beginning at 1 p.m.
After the reading, Spano will sign copies of the 120-page book that GayBook.Reviews.com critics have called “a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” “…a small jewel…melancholic, lyric, flawlessly smooth and realistic,” and “…more than just a murder mystery. It speaks to the human condition.” Most recently, ReadersFavorite.com reviewer Romualdo Dzemo praised the book as a “pure delight, composed of beautiful social commentaries and wonderful themes.”
Published by Thunderfoot Press, Midland Club has maintained a 4.2 (out of 5) rating on Amazon since it appeared there in December of 2016. Earlier this month, Midland Club received a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award from the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE), one of only two books honored for Winter 2017 in the Mystery category.
Set in a midwestern city in 1958, Midland Club has all the elements of a good mystery: vibrant characters, a familiar setting, and a plot in which the solution to the mystery is ultimately revealed. Beyond a good mystery, it also addresses the pain of one gay man, alone in a town that despises him. And if the reader is paying attention, that pain foreshadows the conclusion.
Midland Club is now part of the LGBT Center of Raleigh Library.
This and all other “Meet the Authors” events this summer are free and open to the public.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh is located 324 South Harrington Street in downtown Raleigh. For more information: www.lgbtcenterofraleigh.com.
For more information on Mark Spano and Midland Club, go to http://blog.markspano.com.
About The Author:
MARK SPANO is the author of five works of fiction and a memoir. As a filmmaker, his work includes The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Reimagining Sicily.” He holds advanced degrees from Marymount University of Virginia and the American University in Washington, D.C., and now resides in rural Orange County, North Carolina.
Dubbed the “Dwell House,” a sleek composition of intersecting cubic volumes rendered in white laminate and natural wood, was one of six Modern cat houses created by architects and furniture designers to benefit SAFE Haven for Cats during The Cat’s Meow Cocktail Party and Auction sponsored by Trig Modern design center and showroom in Raleigh.
For the auction, the six imaginative houses were joined by a mixed-media painting by Louis St. Lewis of Raleigh and New Orleans, a large neon tabby cat sculpture perched on an old radio by neon artist Nate Sheaffer of Raleigh, and an iconic mid-century modern chair from Modernica donated by Trig Modern’s owner Bob Drake.
Approximately 100 cat enthusiasts attended The Cat’s Meow, along with
two three-month-old kittens that SAFE Haven’s founder and director, Pam Miller, and a few volunteers brought to the event. Trig Modern provided an abundance of party food, wine, beer, and chilled water for the crowd as they perched on modern sofas and chairs throughout the showroom.
With entertaining encouragement from professional auctioneer Ben Farrell, who donated his services to the cause, every item sold for prices that exceeded their designers’ expectations. Proceeds went directly to SAFE Haven for Cats in Raleigh, a non-profit, no-kill cat shelter and clinic that, to date, has found homes for nearly 8500 formerly stray and abandoned cats and kittens.
The auction itself netted $4525 with the “Dwell House” by Greensboro furniture designer Grant Newton commanding
the highest winning bid at $1150. Other donations brought in $274 and SAFE Haven sold $59 in retail items, making the grand total for the evening $4858.
“We want to thank Pam and the SAFE Haven volunteers; our delightful auctioneer Ben Farrell who made the auction entertaining as well as profitable; the architects, designers and artists who contributed their time and talent to the cause: and everyone who attended, especially all of the enthusiastic bidders,” said Bob Drake. “It was a wonderful evening and we’re looking forward to another Cat’s Meow next year.”
Background: This past February, Drake and Trig Modern’s interior designer Ann
Marie Baum, a SAFE Haven volunteer, invited architects and other designers throughout the Triangle to create “cool, modern” houses for indoor cats for the fundraising auction. According to guidelines, the houses had to be modern in style and of such quality that potential bidders would welcome them in their homes. They also had to be small enough to fit through a regular residential door and light enough for two people to carry them.
The following designers created the cat structures:
For more information on Trig Modern, visit www.trigmodern.com
For more information on SAFE Haven for Cats, visit www.safehavenforcats.org.
About Trig Modern:
Founded in December 2012, Trig Modern is owned and operated by furniture and lighting designer Bob Drake. Through its combination of modern and mid-century-inspired furniture, lighting, wall and floor coverings, and accessories, as well as Modern kitchen and bath remodeling services, Trig Modern’s mission is to present a realistic portrait of sensible living and offer an antidote to excess, formality, and convention. For more information, visit www.trigmodern.com, call 919.516.8744 and find Trig Modern on Facebook. The showroom is located at 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road, Suite 109, Raleigh, NC 27604.
About SAFE Haven for Cats:
SAFE Haven’s mission is to ensure the well-being of every cat through adoption, affordable spay/neuter services, community outreach and adherence to no-kill principles. The shelter receives no government funds and relies solely on private donations for 84% percent of its budget. Visit safehavenforcats.org for more information.