Girl from Stretchneck Holler, "Inside Appalachia" (Press Release)

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October 6, 2011

Brighton Publishing LLC signs authors Betty Dotson-Lewis and Kathleen Colley Slusher for Girl from Stretchneck Holler

Brighton Publishing LLC announced the signing of authors Betty Dotson-Lewis and Kathleen Colley Slusher for their collection of short stories illuminating life in Appalachia

CHANDLER (AZ)—Brighton Publishing is pleased to announce the acquisition of Girl from Stretchneck Hollow: Inside Appalachia by authors Betty Dotson-Lewis and Kathleen Colley Slusher. This collection of short fiction about life and lives in Appalachia will be released first as an eBook in mid-2012.

Dense forests begrudgingly give way to steep banks which tumble down to swiftly flowing streams throughout the mountains of Appalachia from North Carolina to Kentucky and on through West Virginia. The land and its people are bound together, past and present, with a history and a culture as much their own as they are neglected and misunderstood.

In this collaboration between two accomplished authors, a collection of short fiction has emerged in which readers may revel. Both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, Dotson-Lewis and Slusher put the very raw lives of Appalachia into captivating prose which sweeps the reader into their stories.

“What Pulitzer-winner Charles Wright accomplished in his poetry about Appalachia, Betty Dotson-Lewis and Kathleen Colley Slusher have equaled in their prose,” said Kathie McGuire, director of Brighton Publishing LLC. “They pull no punches in shining light on the realities of the back woods—the moonshine, domestic abuse, holy rollers, coal miners, cock fights, and beyond the shocking, an amazing portrait of the difficult lives of people „up the hollers‟ in the Appalachians.”

Stories rising from this upbringing serve as windows to the souls of those hidden children of the mountains. “The Rooster Fight” is a brutal story of forbidden cock fighting, gambling, drinking, and mob-like behavior, told in a child‟s tender voice. “The Porkpie Hat” story reveals the dangers lurking in the mountains, embodied in a mentally-impaired boy and a sexual predator brought to live with his family after the coal miner father is killed. “The Groundhog” is, in itself, a test of readers‟ nerves. Funny, yet grotesque, it is a true-life, actual account of catching, killing, and cooking mountain cuisine.

A common thread weaves through these stories like the threads of a mountain quilt sewn together over the years: a new piece, an old piece, one worn by a grandmother, one having covered a deceased child. Throughout Girl from Stretchneck Hollow: Inside Appalachia are the lives of all the children raised in Appalachia‟s coal culture. Their voices linger still.

Betty Dotson-Lewis was raised in a coal mining town in the remote mountains of West Virginia. She attended Berea College, and has already authored three books on Appalachian life. Kathleen Colley Slusher, a Berea College graduate, was raised in Haysi, Virginia. Half-Japanese, half-American, she, too, grew up among the coal fields of Southwest Virginia, and today is a retired English teacher.

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