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‘Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown’: Anthology book signing to be held on Sunday

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Oct 9, 2020

Four Seasons Books owner Kendra Goldsborough, left, and Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown, Volume 1 editor Alan Gibson check out the newly-printed copies of the volume in the bookstore on Sept. 25. David Pennock

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Last fall, IngramSpark Director Robin Cutler spoke at a writer’s conference at Shepherd University. As the head of the self-publishing branch of Ingram Content Group, which is a distributor of Four Seasons Books, Cutler was excited to meet Four Seasons Books owner Kendra Goldsborough at the event.

According to Goldsborough, their conversation led into a discussion about Four Seasons Books creating a book publishing imprint. They quickly agreed on the idea for the first book that Four Seasons Books would publish through IngramSpark — the first volume in an anthology called Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown.

Goldsborough alerted the local writing community that she was accepting short story submissions about ghosts around the Shepherdstown area for the anthology through Dec. 2019, and then allowed a former employee of hers to begin sorting through the submissions. That employee moved to Oregon in March, leaving the project in limbo, right as Goldsborough was beginning to prepare her bookstore for a potential shutdown, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Luckily for the anthology, a local group of writers who often meet in the bookstore — Alan Gibson, Joanne Bario, David Borchard, Pat Donohoe, Lee W. Doty and Ellen Hoffman — volunteered to spearhead the project.

“We hit that bump during COVID, but we moved past it!” said Alan, who became the volume’s editor. Under his pen name, A.B. Gibson, Alan submitted a ghost story to the project last year, along with the other five members of the Four Seasons Writers’ Group.

The volume’s stories included all of the submissions that met Goldsborough’s requirements.

“We just put out a call for stories, and we were looking for creative interpretations of local ghost stories. Our only prerequisite was that it reflected our local community — that the stories were based in and around Shepherdstown, and that the geographical point would be recognizable,” Goldsborough said of her short story requirements. “I think it is a wonderful representation of the talent of all of our local writers in the greater community.”

This Sunday, Goldsborough and Gibson will hold a socially distanced book signing at Four Seasons Books, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The store’s copies will have been pre-signed before the event by the book’s other authors, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Along with the Four Seasons Writers’ Group members, the volume’s authors include John Deupree, Jane Ellen Freeman, S.S. James, William McDonald-Newman, Jack Pearson, Vanessa Schilling, Lisa Taka and Jonathan Worlde.

“The collection of stories we chose to publish were eclectic — some of them were spooky. Most of the people who had submitted stories were established authors and had been published before,” Gibson said, mentioning two of the authors were Jefferson High School students. “I’m glad we could be part of Kendra’s first publishing imprint!”

The proceeds from the volume’s sales will go to Four Seasons Books. If it sells well, Goldsborough will reach out on the store’s social media and email to ask for submissions for a second anthology volume.

“I had no expectations, but I felt that this was a great first effort,” Goldsborough said. “I’m looking forward to the next project in the future!”

Ghost Stories of Shepherdstown, Volume I, is available for purchase at the bookstore or online at www.fourseasonsbooks.com in paperback for $14.95.