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Writer’s group participants publish books in multiple genres; joint book signing scheduled for June

By Staff | Jun 5, 2015

Six female writers, who comprise a group that has met weekly over the past decade to critique each other’s work, will be signing their published books from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 at Four Seasons Bookstore, 116 West German Street in Shepherdstown.

The writers are B.J. Appelgren, Tara Bell, Katherine Cobb, Millie Curtis, Ginny Fite and K.P. Robbins. Their books cover a wide range of genres, including historical fiction, memoir, middle school, young adult and short story collections.

Appelgren, a licensed social worker and writer, authored two memoirs describing very different times in her life. Sunny Side Up takes place in the early 1970s on an experimental course at J.G. Bennett’s Sherborne, an English manor house for consciousness studies. The reader doesn’t just observe her inner journey, but comes along for the remarkable ride. In The Transparent Feather, Appelgren is introduced to Berry Morgan, Jefferson County’s award-winning author of short stories published in The New Yorker. As they each work on their writing, they quietly share an intimate meeting with the infinite, both knowing that Berry is dying. Appelgren resides in Charles Town. (“http://www.healingartsreport.com”>www.healingartsreport.com)

Bell was born in La Jolla, Calif., but lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. The setting for her middle-reader book, The Shell Ghost of San Cristobal, is based there. “I have dreamed of the island ever since I left there over 40 years ago. Its wonder has been a good part of my life. In my novel, I tell a tale about a Puerto Rican girl, Nina, and her cousin, Rique, who find the truth behind the ghost adorned with sea shell necklaces.” Bell, a resident of Charles Town, is currently at work on another middle grade novel.

Cobb is a contributor for numerous publications throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Her award winning editorial column, “It Is What It Is,” for The Journal won first place for Best Lifestyle Columnist by the West Virginia Press Association. She has also earned other writing awards from the WVPA in her career. Her short stories have been published in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers and The Grapevine. Her debut novel, Skyline Higher, takes Cobb back to her California roots, where she was born and raised. The setting is the high school she attended – Skyline High in Oakland in 1978. The realistic coming-of-age story is told through the eyes of 14-year-old Anna Trapani, whose youthful innocence collides with complicated and sometimes harrowing situations. Although appropriate for high school-aged young adults, all ages will identify with the feelings from these tumultuous years. Cobb holds a degree from San Jose State University and resides in Charles Town. She is currently working on a memoir and second novel. (www.katherinecobb.com)

Curtis, a native of Oneida, N.Y., has made her home in Clarke County, Va., since 1975. After a career in nursing and raising a large family, she finally found time for her true love of writing. Her novels are set in the early 1900s when life moved at a slower pace, manners were important, and automobiles were a novelty. In her four-book series, Curtis blends local flavor and endearing characters together in tales that capture the heart. In Beyond the Red Gate, adventuresome Carolyn, a recent graduate nurse, finds the opportunity to gain her independence. In The Milliner, the practical Catherine reunites with her friend Carolyn. In The Newcomer, young and unprepared Elizabeth arrives in Berryville, Virginia, as a newcomer and forges ahead to regain what is rightfully hers. In the fourth book, Window of Hope, the characters from the trilogy form a united front as they mount obstacles thrown in their path when their men go off to Europe to fight in WWI. Curtis is currently at work on a fifth novel.

Fite is an award-winning journalist who has covered crime, politics, government, healthcare, art and all things human. She has been a spokesperson for a governor and a member of Congress, a few colleges and universities, and a robotics R&D company. She has degrees from Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University and studied at the School for Women Healers and the Maryland Poetry Therapy Institute. She is the author of I Should Be Dead by Now, a collection of humorous lamentations about aging; three books of poetry, The Last Thousand Years, The Pearl Fisher, Throwing Caution and a short story collection, What Goes Around. Folly, a Sam Lagarde mystery/thriller set in Charles Town, is her first novel and will be published in 2015 by Black Opal Books. She resides in Harpers Ferry. (ginnyfite.com)

Robbins is the author of The Stonehenge Scrolls, a compelling story of how the famous stone circle came to be. Her short stories have been published online on WashingtonPost.com and Fluent Magazine and in print in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers and Seven Hills Review. Her second novel, PMS: The Power & Money Sisters, will be published later this year. A graduate of West Virginia University, she currently lives in Virginia where she is at work on a new novel. (www.thestonehengescrolls.com)

“It’s amazing that all of us succeeded in getting our work published,” said Bell of the writer’s group that’s persevered so long. “I don’t think that would have happened without the support we’ve provided each other through the ups and downs of the creative process.”