Many festivals and events are ongoing in our East Tennessee and Smoky Mountain area. Our guests enjoy attending these events, including Jefferson City's Old Time Saturday the first Saturday in October, classic car shows, and the Scots Irish Festival in the nearby historic downtown of Dandridge. Guests also golf at our community course, Lost Creek Golf Club, just a mile or two from The Minnis House. There are many golf courses within just a twenty-minute drive.
The Minnis House is hosted the 150th celebration of English-born author Frances Hodgson Burnett coming to America, with our little town being her first hometown in America. Many events were held the week of Nov. 16-19, 2015. Details of the events may be found on Facebook by searching for Frances Hodgson Burnett Sesquicentennial Events.
Frances lived in New Market as a teenager, just a couple of blocks from The Minnis House. She, along with her mother and siblings, traveled from England to New Market in 1865, making her first home in America here in our little town. Following the death of her father, her mother's brother encouraged them to make the trip here by steamship and train. He lived in nearby Knoxville, where he owned a general store. He also owned a grist mill in nearby Dandridge, as well as the little cabin in New Market where Frances lived. Frances would have walked past this house often on her way to The Minnis Store to purchase pens and paper with money she had earned picking and selling berries around town. Of course, The Minnis House and Frances Hodgson Burnett's house bear little resemblance now to their appearance in 1865. The short stories that Frances wrote and mailed to New York as a teenager were published in magazines. She is New Market's most famous citizen, achieving world-wide literary fame for her novels and children's books. Perhaps the most famous ones are The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Little Princess. Broadway plays and movies have been adapted from many of her books. We have some of her books in our inn's library parlor for our guests' reading pleasure. We encourage you to read more about Frances Hodgson Burnett on the internet.
Our previous Burnett celebration was held in the form of a Meet the Authors Evening with 16 authors from our community and the East Tennessee area who sold and signed their books. The information below was added for that event:
What a wonderful opportunity it was to visit with these distinguished authors and purchase their books.
Bill Landry, Blount County For over twenty-five years, Bill Landry has been the voice and face of The Heartland Series on WBIR, Channel 10. The Heartland Series premiered in 1984 to showcase the 50th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Landry quickly emerged as host, narrator, and co-producer of the show. Over the twenty-five years, the “Heartland” team produced 1,900 short 3 ½ minute features and 150 half-hour specials. The show received four Emmy awards, two of which Landry won for direction. Landry grew up in Chattanooga, and earned a degree in literature from the University of Tennessee and a master’s of fine arts degree from Trinity University and the Dallas Theater Center, and is the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree from Lincoln Memorial University. He wrote and produced a one-man play about Albert Einstein called Einstein the Man and traveled 38 states and two provinces in Canada to give over 1,000 performances, which he continues to do. The book, Einstein the Man was published in 2000 and multiple copies given to every school within the state of Tennessee. In 2003, Landry's production of The George Washington Carver Project was also distributed by the Tennessee Department of Education to schools in Tennessee through the Carver Project website. In 2011, Landry published a book on East Tennessee history titled Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures. Fans of "The Heartland Series" have a chance to read the stories behind the stories that ran for 25 years. From Celtic Cat Publishing, it is a 187-page coffee table book (also available in paperback) full of everything from moonshining to the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to a tourist who wanted to ride an elk.
Walter Lambert, Knoxville Chef Walter Lambert, WVLT-TV’s Chef for over 22 years, started learning to cook when he was nine while growing up in the Gibbs, Corryton, and Fountain City communities. It was not started for fun, but out of necessity. However, it did not take him long to discover that cooking was a lot more fun than hoeing corn. Having served in the Air Force, Walter worked for 35 years at the University of Tennessee in a number of positions, ending as Associate Vice President for State and Federal Affairs. He did take a break for three years to work for Gov. Buford Ellington and an additional three years to work with the 1982 World's Fair. Throughout these years, he maintained his interest in cooking. This was furthered when he married the late Anne Wayland and during their 49 year marriage. She brought with her a collection of cookbooks that she started when she was twelve. In the intervening years, their collection grew to something more than 2000. Together, they served as co-chairs of the Gourmet Gala for The March of Dimes, cooked in the Elegant Dining program for the Knoxville Symphony and served on numerous committees around Knoxville. Chef Walter has published several cookbooks, including: Kinfolks and Custard Pie, Cooking with the Noonday Chef, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, Cooking with Chef Walter, and More Cooking with Chef Walter and Chef Walter Another Helping.
Mary Constantine & Jennifer Alexander, Knoxville In 2009, Mary Constantine, the food writer for the Knoxville News-Sentinel, contacted Jennifer Alexander, Midday Host for B97.5 FM, about giving away cookbooks on the air. Jennifer loves cooking so she agreed and a wonderful partnership began! Mary came up with the name Sisters of the Skillet and the two ladies have hosted cooking demonstrations around East Tennessee for over two years. In December 2010 they met with Sue Beverly, the Director of Ronald McDonald House, to tour the house and kitchen where they would host a cooking demonstration. They were overwhelmed emotionally when they saw hundreds of photos on the wall in Sue’s office of the babies and children whose families stayed at Ronald McDonald House while they received treatment at area hospitals, and a picture of the tiny little hands of a premature infant who needed care while her family was able to stay in a home away from home because Ronald McDonald House exists. These tiny little hands grace the front of their Sisters of the Skillet aprons and convinced Mary & Jennifer that they had to do something to help. What better way to help raise money, than by offering wonderful recipes to East Tennessee in the form of a cookbook! Members of the Sisters of the Skillet food club contributed recipes as well as some local chefs. Cookbook sales benefit Knoxville’s Ronald McDonald House.
Lin Stepp, Knoxville Dr. Stepp is a native Tennessean, a businesswoman, and an educator. She is on faculty at Tusculum College where she teaches several Psychology courses, including Developmental and Educational Psychology, and a Research writing sequel. Her business background includes over 20 years in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing. She and her husband began their own sales and publications business, S & S Communications, in 1989. The company publishes two regional fishing and hunting guide magazines and has a sports sales subsidiary handling sports products and media sales in East Tennessee. She has editorial and writing experience in regional magazines and in the academic field. Her Smoky Mountain Series is a linked series of upbeat, sentimental contemporary romance novels. Each novel is set in a different area of the Smoky Mountains so that the reader gets to experience a visit to a new area of the Smokies along with the rich pleasure of a good Southern story about memorable characters. Familiar characters and places tie the stories together in an enjoyable way for readers who like a series they can settle into. The first four of the twelve-novel series are already in print: The Foster Girls, Tell Me About Orchard Hollow, For Six Good Reaons, and Delia's Place. Readers will recognize the covers of these books, as they are paintings by well-know regional artist Jim Gray. Lin and her husband, J.L., have recently published The Afternoon Hiker - Smokies Guidebook. The beautiful Great Smoky Mountains provide the inspiration for this unique hiking guide—designed especially for the average tourist or hiking enthusiast seeking a morning or afternoon walk in the Smokies that will prove pleasant and fun. All 110 hikes in The Afternoon Hiker are easily accessible and average 6-8 miles roundtrip. In the late 1990s, Lin and J.L. Stepp began to explore and hike the trails in the Smokies. They bought several books and guides – checked others out at the library – but quickly found many of these books did not describe aspects of the mountain trails in any detail until eight to ten miles from the trailhead. As “non-Sierra-club” afternoon hikers – they’d often turned around and come back by that point! A journaler by nature, Lin wrote brief descriptions of their trail explorations after every outing while J.L. documented their hikes with photos. The couple soon began to envision creating a book of their experiences to share with others. Although a large quantity of trail guides exist on the market, Lin and J.L. found many lacked specific information they wanted to know about the Smokies trails—specific distances from one point to another, interesting highlights along the way, and more accurate evaluations of trail difficulty for average individuals. As hikers less intent on the long march and covering the miles rapidly – the Stepps enjoyed stopping and exploring old cemeteries and settlers’ homes off the trail, climbing down a bank to enjoy a hidden waterfall, or ambling through a field to study a giant hollowed-out tree. Their guidebook includes these personal “finds” and adventures, ongoing mileage notes to better evaluate distance from one point to another, and more accurate evaluations of the difficulty of hikes for average individuals. The 110 hikes in The Afternoon Hiker are arranged chronologically—in the order Lin and J.L. hiked them—but the book includes both a regional and alphabetical index to locate trails by name or area, along with a Smokies map. The hiking layout in the book is one of its most distinctive features. With every turn of the page, the reader encounters a new trail to read about. Each Tennessee or North Carolina hike description spreads over two pages, around accompanying photos, with the trail name, the season the trail was first hiked, a general rating of the hike, and clear directions to get to the trailhead. The book includes over 300 photos to enhance the text plus a hiking patch created for each trail. This is the perfect hiking guide for the occasional hiker, for busy professionals wanting to get away to the mountains for a weekend break, or for tourists visiting the Smoky Mountains and seeking a hiking trail they can enjoy for a memorable afternoon.
Jeff Daniel Marion, Knoxville As poet, teacher, editor, printer, and lecturer, Jeff Daniel Marion has helped to create and support the literature of the southern Appalachian region for more than four decades. His poems have appeared in more than 60 journals and anthologies. His fiction has appeared in The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Now & Then and Appalachian Heritage. In 1978 he received the first literary fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Marion was honored at the 1994 annual literary festival at Emory & Henry College. In 1996 he delivered the Palmer memorial lecture at Cumberland College and was named the Copenhaver Scholar-in-Residence at Roanoke College in 1998. Marion grew up in Rogersville, Tennessee, and retired in 2002 after thirty-five years of teaching at Carson Newman College. Although his official residence is in Knoxville, Marion's inspiration often comes while reflecting on life in his writing retreat overlooking the Holston River. Marion's work is testament to an enduring truth: "Some springs never run dry" Ebbing & Flowing Springs, Danny Marion's seventh full-length collection, is truly special in that it draws from the author's work over the period 1976-2001. The collection includes twenty new poems and, perhaps of greatest significance to his large and loyal following, previously uncollected stories and essays. Ebbing & Flowing Springs was named the 2003 Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year.
Bill Blevins, Jefferson City Carolyn Blevins, Jefferson City William Blevins has served on the Carson Newman faculty for 47 years. He is now retired as Chair of the Graduate Counseling program and is Professor of Counseling Emeritus. In addition to his career at CN, he has had extensive experience as a licensed mental health professional (LMFT and LPC). His book, Your Family—Your Self, focuses upon how our family of origin shapes our personality, life-style, and everyday behaviors. In addition to facilitating a better understanding of who we are, the book also offersinsight into who we have the potential of becoming. Bill and his wife Carolyn, have four children, five grandchildren. Retired from Carson-Newman after 30 years teaching in the Religion Department, Carolyn recently published "A Journey of Pain and Peace: Learning from Loss" is about the challenges of grief and what she learned from the varied kindnesses of others. Her book benefits both the Kym Blevins Scholarship Fund at Carson-Newman College and the Jefferson City Library.
Earl Cleveland, Jefferson City Betty Cleveland, Jefferson City R. Earl Cleveland grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He has a B.A. in art from Mississippi College, an M.F.A. in painting, ceramics, and art history from the University of Mississippi and a Doctorate in Administration in Higher Education from the University of Tennessee. He is Professor Emeritus of Art & Photography at Carson-Newman College where for 28 of his 31 year career he was Head of the Art Department and achieved national accreditation for that department. The artist has participated in more than 100 regional and national exhibitions. He is the author of Introduction to Art, Black & White Photography, and Desktop Publishing during his teaching tenure. Upon retirement he researched and wrote Genealogy of the Richard L. Cleveland Families (1999) and in 2004 Reflections of Faith in an Artistic Journey (a limited edition monograph of his religious paintings). In 2001 he was asked to develop a Centennial Celebration Exhibition of historical photographs for Jefferson City, TN. His research on this task eventually led to Jefferson City , 200 Years in Pictures. The Book sold out in 21 months and a year later he introduced it in CD form for reading on a computer. The author’s monograph was released in 2010 in CD form; the CD was revised and released again in 2012. His wife, Betty Mae Harper Cleveland, grew up on the family farm in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, near Isola, Mississippi. Her love of poems began under the tutelage of her fifth grade teacher. Her high school English teacher encouraged her to write whatever she thought. As a young faculty wife at Carson-Newman College, she studied Poetry and Creative Writing under poet Jeff Daniel Marion, receiving help and encouragement from him in writing in a contemporary style. This is her first book of published poems. Betty is currently retired after a career as a registered nurse, and a mid-life career change to teaching Health Science at Jefferson County High School. Betty and Earl are the parents of three children and grandparents to four.
Mary Bozeman Hodges, Jefferson City Mary has been a long-time professor in the English Department at Carson-Newman College. A student of Wilma Dykeman, she is a distinguished author and storyteller who has won numerous awards for her works. Her two paperback books, Plastic Santa and Tough Customers, are entertaining and heartwarming, with a touch of local nostalgia.
Linda Gass, Jefferson City A lifelong resident of Jefferson City, Linda T. Gass has worked at Carson-Newman since 1973. After retiring in 2003 from her position as cataloger, she assumed her current role as archives assistant. Albert L. Lang has served as special collections librarian and archivist at Carson-Newman since 1996. This pictorial history of the college contains images from their archives, departmental and private collections, and the "Standard Banner" of Jefferson County." "Carson-Newman, a private, Christian liberal arts University, is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, approximately 25 miles east of Knoxville. In the early 1840's, a number of Baptist leaders desired to offer better-prepared ministers to area congregations. Afforded the use of a local Baptist church building, Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary opened to students in the fall of 1851. In 1880, the school was named Carson College and for several years existed alongside Newman College, a separate facility for the education of women. In 1889, the two colleges united as one of the first coeducational Baptist institutions. As Carson-Newman celebrates 160 years of rich history steeped in the ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness, it continues to prepare students academically and spiritually to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Melissa Drinnon Peagler, New Market A graduate of Jefferson County High School and the University of Tennessee, Melissa has been a senior planner with the City of Morristown since 2004. Her lifelong love of writing led her to begin a series of paperbacks based on her Quaker faith and her local family heritage in New Market, while being both contemporary and mysterious. The daughter of Steve and Cindy Drinnon, Melissa and her husband, Eddy Peagler, have two young daughters. She will be signing the first and second books in the Lost Creek Saga series.
Lauren Bible, White Pine This is what Lauren shares about her book: It all started with God’s love. That’s how the book, Born In Heaven, came into existence. My husband and I have witnessed some amazing miracles in our life together, most importantly to us, our son. As adoptive parents, we knew we would be discussing our son’s origins with him in the very near future, but how, when, and where, and a host of other questions entered our hearts and our minds. Formerly a child protective services investigator and supervisor for DCS, and now a student, wife, and mother, I know first hand how blessed I am by God’s love. Approximately three years ago, I started preparing for my PhD. dissertation in Holistic Ministries, and requested a mentorship with our pastor and Princeton Seminary graduate, Mark B. McFadden. During this time, I compiled a unique manuscript for our son containing an extensive autobiography for him to read in his more mature years ahead. Within the same year, both my husband and I had read the book, The Shack, by William Paul Young, and were very impressed with its content and its literary style, realistic fiction. We both were strongly moved by his background and from there, a seed was planted…A Christian children’s book about adoption, for our son. I had also become a fan of Annie Fitzgerald’s, Dear God Kids series, due to the biblical scripture added to her creative age-appropriate content. Since our son enjoyed being read to nearly every night before bed, a book about him and for him seemed like the perfect gift and the perfect tool to teach him about God and his adoption. So began the journey of researching the bible, the literary world, and the idea of somehow creating and publishing a book capable of teaching and touching the lives of others, especially adoptive families like ours. From a Christian perspective, since we are “adopted” by God as His children, the desire to merge the two concepts seemed not only fitting, but totally necessary in order to give credit where credit is due, and to make the book special and different from most all other books about adoption. On a universal level, nearly everyone loves a good fairy-tale, especially children. I knew I needed simplicity within the story to capture the attention of young readers, so the book is “short and sweet” with remarkable illustrations by Donnalyn C. Taylor. In addition, there is an introduction by my husband, Steven K. Bible, and an afterward by Pastor Mark B. McFadden, so readers of all ages can gain a little something from what’s inside. Adding to the new release of Born In Heaven, on a local level, we are using the book to help support Harmony Adoptions of Maryville, TN with their latest project at Camp Montvale, which serves Tennessee’s adoptive children and families, children in the foster care system, and our East Tennessee community. For more information, visit their website www.harmonyadoptions.org. Book price is $25.
Jobe Leonard, Dandridge Jobe Leonard is an author who lives in Dandridge, TN. His book "Study Abroad: The Book of Jobe" details his journeys throughout Europe and the difficulties and humors of adjusting to life in a foreign land for a native Tennessean. The twist ending is one that will never be forgotten. Free sample readings of his work are available on his author page at www.Jobe.ws Jobe says: I grew up in Dandridge, TN where I attended Maury Middle School and Jefferson County High School. After high school I enrolled at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN. I studied abroad my senior year at HEAO International Business School in the Netherlands. After returning home from Europe I obtained an MBA from Lincoln Memorial University. Many of the stories from Study Abroad refer back to my childhood growing up in East Tennessee. Many of the experiences that shaped my life come from this area. In my spare time I enjoy boating, web design, writing, and excercising. I continue to keep travel journals of all my works and have plans to write future works about my continuing journeys.Fred Brown, Knoxville Fred Brown, retired Senior Writer for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, was a working journalist for more than 45 years and is a member of the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors Malcolm Law Trophy for Feature Writing and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in Journalism at the University of Michigan (1983-84). He was named to the Friends of Literacy East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for excellence in journalism in 2008. He graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor’s in English. In 1984, he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he studied southern history. A contributor to several Civil War magazines, he is the author of The Faces of East Tennessee and Marking Time, about the history of East Tennessee historical markers. Besides his columns and stories for the News Sentinel, his publications also include The Serpent Handlers: Three Families and Their Faith, and Growing Up Southern, co-authored with his wife, Jeanne McDonald. Among his numerous other nonfiction books is Exploring October Roads, with Harry Moore.
Two authors who planned to be with us on Nov. 13th have had to cancel, but they hope to participate next year. I am including their information below.
Fred Brown, Knoxville Fred Brown, retired Senior Writer for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, was a working journalist for more than 45 years and is a member of the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors Malcolm Law Trophy for Feature Writing and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in Journalism at the University of Michigan (1983-84). He was named to the Friends of Literacy East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for excellence in journalism in 2008. He graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor’s in English. In 1984, he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he studied southern history. A contributor to several Civil War magazines, he is the author of The Faces of East Tennessee and Marking Time, about the history of East Tennessee historical markers. Besides his columns and stories for the News Sentinel, his publications also include The Serpent Handlers: Three Families and Their Faith, and Growing Up Southern, co-authored with his wife, Jeanne McDonald. Among his numerous other nonfiction books is Exploring October Roads, with Harry Moore.
Jeanne McDonald, Knoxville Jeanne McDonald has published over 25 short stories in anthologies, magazines, and journals. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s in English. McDonald worked as the managing editor of publications at the UT Center for Business and Economic Research and taught writing classes in the UT noncredit program. She helped establish the Knoxville Writer’s Guild and served as its president. She is also a recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission/Alex Haley Fiction Fellowship. The author of Water Dreams, McDonald writes for Metro Pulse and Knoxville Magazine. She was named to the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. The couple’s first literary collaboration was Growing Up Southern: How the South Shapes Its Writers. The hardcover edition of The Serpent Handlers, originally published in 2000, won the Harry Caudill Award for Journalistic Reporting and was a Benjamin Franklin Award finalist in religion and an Independent Publisher Award finalist in religion.