WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: “First-time novelist draws on experience as football player for coming-of-age story”


By Lisa O’Donnell 

Frank McNair’s debut novel, Life on the Line: Football, Rage, and Redemption, was 10 years in the making.


After lots of stops and starts, McNair fought through writer’s block and crafted a young adult novel set against the backdrop of something he knows well — football.


“I thought football was a good petri dish in which to tell a story about adolescence and coming of age,” said McNair, a native of Laurinburg. READ MORE…

Award-winning Novelist Mark Spano Joins 2017 “Meet The Author” Series June 25th

NC Author, lNC Filmmaker

Chapel Hill novelist Mark Spano will read from his new book Midland Club. 

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 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, 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:

For more information on Mark Spano and Midland Club, go to

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.


NC Landscape Architect Dick Bell Publishes First Book

The Bridge Builders explores the evolution of a master designer.

January 3, 2011 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – From growing up on North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the Great Depression and World War II, to watching as his immigrant father designed and built the first “Lost Colony” amphitheater, to a series of adventures that began when he won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1951, landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell explores his evolution as a designer in his first book, The Bridge Builders.

Dick Bell is the Southern landscape architect who created such seminal landmarks as the North Carolina State University “Brickyard,” the City of Raleigh’s beloved Pullen Park, and the Meredith College Amphitheater in Raleigh, among 2000 other projects he has completed in his long career – projects that left a profound imprint on his profession and his state. Through The Bridge Builders, he explores the people, places, and educational experiences that made him the man and the designer he came to be.

Published by Vantage Press, The Bridge Builders begins with his paternal grandparents’ immigration from England to Canada in the early years of the 20th century, before his father hastened their relocation to North Carolina. As a young boy in the sea and sand of Manteo, NC, and as a son and grandson of avid gardeners, Bell developed an intense love of nature and conservation that would define his illustrious career. As the youngest recipient of the Prix de Rome, his travel abroad would forever influence how he designed outdoor spaces for human enjoyment.

The book concludes just as Bell is starting what would become one of his master works and a living laboratory for landscape architecture, the former Water Garden in Raleigh – the “Taliesin” of North Carolina.

Midwest Book Review says: “The Bridge Builders is a memoir from Richard Bell as he reflects on being an American who came to love art and architecture in Europe and did well in helping establish important work that earned him a place as town hero in Raleigh. The Bridge Builders is intriguing and thoughtful for those looking for a read that bridges art and architecture.”

The book includes a collection of photos from Bell’s life and travels along with original sketches and watercolors he made during his years at the American Academy in Rome.
Bell is planning to publish another book or white paper in the future that will include case studies of his major projects.

Click HERE to learn more about The Bridge Builders.

The order a copy of the book ($16.95), call by phone 24-hours a day: 877-736-5403, option 5; or fax an order to 212-736-2273.

Dick Bell in Pullen Park © f8 Photo Studios

About the author:

A multi-award-winning landscape architect, Richard C. Bell was educated at the North Carolina State University School of Design (now College of Design), graduating in 1950 as part of Dean Henry Kamphoefner’s first class. He apprenticed under Simonds & Simonds of Pittsburgh, PA, and Frederick B. Stresau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He received the Prix de Rome at age 21, which allowed him to travel and study in Europe for two years. He founded his first firm in Raleigh, NC, in 1955, introducing the practice of landscape architecture as a registered profession to the state. (He was the first person elected to the registration board.) He has been a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects since 1954 and was elected to Fellowship in 1980. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He was the first recipient of the ASLA NC’s Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement and inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008. He now lives in Atlantic Beach, NC, where he continues to work on select projects.

Author Squad Bookshop To Host “Sleep, Little Child” Signing, Live Performance

Marc Hoffman, author, "Sleep, Little Child"

Author/musician Marc Hoffman brings his new children’s book to Huntersville


November 1, 2010 (HUNTERSVILLE, NC) —  Musical composer-turned-author Marc Hoffman will bring his new children’s book and CD, Sleep, Little Child to  the Author Squad Bookshop & Publishing Center in Huntersville, NC, on Friday, November 19, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.


The child-oriented book signing will include a reading of the book, Hoffman’s live performance of the original lullaby on which the book is based, and other family-fun activities. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to the event.


Sleep, Little Child, with accompanying CD, is the first in a series of children’s books planned by Salisbury, NC, native Marc Hoffman, with illustrations by Tony Waters of Charleston, SC. Through simple verse, gentle music and compelling illustrations, the book answers children’s questions about who is watching over them while they sleep.


Hoffman wrote the lullaby several years ago and credits his wife, Anne, and their young daughter, August, with the idea to turn it into a children’s book.


“As soon as August was born, we began reading books and singing lullabies to her,” he said. “It didn’t take me long to remember that I had a lullaby of mine own. And after hearing the song many times, it dawned on Anne that it was a natural fit as a children’s book.”


Published by Virillion Music Books, Sleep, Little Child will be available for purchase during the book signing and performance. To reserve copies, contact or call 704-892-7274.


The Author Squad Bookshop & Publishing Center is located 10109 Northcross Center Court, Suite 140, Huntersville, NC 28078. Huntersville is 10 miles from Charlotte on the shores of Lake Norman. For more information, visit


For more information on Sleep, Little Child, visit


About Sleep, Little Child:


Synopsis: As babies grow into little children, there comes a time when they realize that, like themselves, Mommy and Daddy sleep at night, too. Where, then, is the watchful eye to look over them all night? Where are the protective arms to keep them safe when they close their eyes and drift away into dreams? “Sleep, Little Child” answers these questions with simple verse, soft music, and compelling illustrations. Composed and sung by Marc Hoffman and illustrated by Tony Waters, Sleep, Little Child is a lullaby with a comforting message: that Someone strong, loving and more powerful than even Mommy and Daddy is right there with all little children, keeping them safe and warm, and greeting them with the morning light. Publisher: Virillion Music. Retail price: $17.95.


About the author:


Composer/pianist/vocalist Marc Hoffman received his degree in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts and studied film composition at USC. He also attended The Dartington International Summer School of Music in Devon, England. His composition teachers have included David Ott, Leo Arnaud, Neil Hefti, and Sherwood Shafffer. A member of BMI and the American Composer’s Forum, he is also founder and artistic director of the Salisbury School of Music. He lives in Salisbury with is wife, Anne, and their daughter August. For more information on Marc Hoffman and his work, visit He is also available on Facebook under Marc Hoffman Music, on MySpace, and on the Internet Movie Database ( Agent: Brandon Crumpton, Key Signature Entertainment, 704-249-5907,

Local Author To Discuss The Art & Angst of Self-Publishing

Marc Hoffman

March 29, 2010 (SALISBURY, NC) — Music Composer-turned-author Marc Hoffman will appear at the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury, NC, on Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m., to discuss the process of self-publishing his first upcoming children’s book “Sleep, Little Child.” His appearance is part of the library’s National Library Week celebration.

“Sleep, Little Child” is based on a lullaby that Hoffman, a Salisbury native, wrote in 1999. He decided to turn it into a children’s book shortly after his daughter was born four years ago. And the long process began.

A key component for any children’s book is illustrations. Hoffman will discuss the process he went through to find the right illustrator for his book.

“I interviewed several qualified artists who didn’t have the time or were intimidated by the process,” he said recently. Finally, through an artist friend, he found Tony Waters, a published author and experienced illustrator of several successful children’s books.

Hoffman will then discuss his long search for the right publisher, and why he ultimately decided to self-publish his book rather than go through traditional book publishers.

“One of the main reasons I decided to publish the book myself was because an illustrator told me about his inability to get the rights back from a publisher of one of his titles when he wanted to do a second edition,” Hoffman said. “I knew then that I’d rather go through the process of self-publishing rather than lose the rights to my work.”

Once that decision was made, his next step was to find the right printer.

“I probably received samples from 20 printers before I found the right one for my book,” he said. He contracted with Asia Pacific Offset Printing, which publishes materials for the Smithsonian Institution.

“Sleep, Little Child” was supposed to be ready by National Library Week, but, as Hoffman will point out in his presentation, any self-publishing endeavor inevitably runs into a hitch or two along the way.

“You have to be prepared for delays and a host of other issues when you decide to publish your own book,” he said, “but in my view, it’s completely worth it.”

For the library presentation, Hoffman will allow participants to listen the CD of the lullaby that will be included in the book when it’s available. He’ll also take questions from the audience.

MySpace members can hear Hoffman’s recording of the lullaby, “Sleep, Little Child,” by going to and scrolling down at the Pop Out Player.

The American Library Association’s National Library Week is an annual celebration of the contributions of the nation’s libraries and librarians. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate. For more information on Rowan Public Library and its National Library Week activities, go to Click on “Government” then select Rowan Public Library under “Departments.”

For more information on Marc Hoffman, visit

About Marc Hoffman:

Composer/pianist/vocalist Marc Hoffman received his degree in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts and studied film composition at USC. He also attended The Dartington International Summer School of Music in Devon, England. His composition teachers have included John Corigliano, Leo Arnaud, Neil Hefti, and Sherwood Shafffer. A member of BMI and the American Composer’s Forum, he is also founder and artistic director of the Salisbury School of Music. He lives in Salisbury with is wife, Anne, and their daughter August. For more information on Marc Hoffman and his work, visit He is also available on Facebook under Marc Hoffman Music, on MySpace, and on the Internet Movie Database (

“Orphans Of War” Author To Appear On BlogTalkRadio

Bearta Powell - head shot 1

August 17, 2009 (RALEIGH, NC) – Bearta Powell, the Lebanese-born Raleigh, NC, author whose new book Orphans of War chronicles her life as an orphan growing up in war-torn Lebanon, will be featured in a full-hour interview on Deidre Hughey’s “Author Buzz” talk show for BlogTalkRadio on August 19 beginning at 2 p.m.

Orphans of War is an unembellished account of the life of five siblings – including the author — after they became orphans in the midst of the religious and political conflict that consumed Lebanon.

“When I was five my parents died, leaving behind five young children,” Powell says. “We lost our parents and virtually every relative, but we gained brothers and sisters at the orphanage that took us in. Through anything that came our way – death, war, hunger, misery, rejection, failure, and happiness, we were there for each other. Out unbreakable bond, support and love for each other… as we searched for the positive in the remnants of each experience . . . no matter how horrific.”

Powell will discuss many of those experiences, as well as the courage she and her siblings found to survive amidst desperation and fear, during Hughey’s “Author Buzz” interview.

Bearta Powell immigrated to the United States when she was 19 years old. She graduated from North Carolina State University and now lives in Raleigh with her husband and three sons.

“I am an American and I say that both proudly and modestly,” she says. “I have three beautiful boys that know only of war-torn Lebanon through my stories and battle-scarred photographs. I have a supportive husband who gives me comfort when memories swell up and paralyze me with remembrance. I am grateful to America, for she has given me new memories and the resolute strength of a survivor.”

For more information on Bearta Powell and Ophans of War, including a way to order Orphans of War, visit her website at

Deidre Hughey’s show is accessible at

About Bearta Powell:

Bearta Powell is a Lebanese-born author who became a naturalized US citizen at 19 years old. Powell, an orphan, spent her formative years amidst war-torn Lebanon and wrote Orphans of War to chronicle her often horrific childhood experiences.  Powell is a graduate of North Carolina State University where she pursued a Bachelors of Science in Business and Management.  Powell is a fitness enthusiast and very active in her community.  As a certified Zumba® and IFTA instructor, Powell orchestrates the largest inter-cultural fitness event in the Raleigh metro area.  Her events are designed to celebrate cultural differences through a variety of fun with fitness and fun with food experiences.  Orphans of War is available for purchase through book retailers and through the author’s website at