Macon, Ga. - Over the last four years, the Crossroads Writers Conference has brought dozens of writers from around the nation-including New York Times bestsellers Rick Moody (The Ice Storm), Joshilyn Jackson (Between, Georgia), Adam Mansbach (Go the F*** to Sleep) and Kevin Maurer (co-author of No Easy Day)-to central Georgia to help motivate and teach beginners in the craft.

But this year, organizers are excited about celebrating the success of a couple members of its own family: Kelly Whiddon, a Macon-based poet and Crossroads co-founder, and Emilie P. Bush, a Georgia-based writer who has been with conference from the start. Crossroads is happy to announce that both books will officially launch during the conference weekend.

Whiddon is the winner of the 2011 Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry "The House Began to Pitch," a collection of poems that follow a man and a woman who grew up in the rural South in the fifties and sixties. Commenting on the constructs that shape our ideals of home and family, many of the poems are told through the lens of fairy tales, favoring the imagistic and melodic to make sense of the chaos of daily life. The settings of a small town and farm in a South gone-by give a dramatic backdrop to the struggles of the characters and create an illuminating merger with fairy tales such as Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, The Wizard of Oz, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

"The House Began to Pitch," published by Mercer University Press, will launch Saturday evening at a private reception in the Tubman African-American Museum. On Sunday, the book will be available to the public during the Crossroads Bookfair.

Bush is the bestselling children's book author of "Her Majesty's Explorer," an illustrated, Steampunk-flavored tale centered around the loveable Steamduck. The Crossroads Book Fair on Sunday marks the official book launch of the exciting follow-up, "Steamduck Learns to FLY!"

But this book launch, starting at 1 p.m.,  is one the kids will love.

"We'll get the kids that come to the Crossroads Book Fair up on their feet as well. Kids need to wiggle to learn, and there is a lot a young child can learn about flight in ‘Steamduck Learns to FLY!'"

The little ones will learn along with Steamduck who swims like a champ but-until he sees a flying goose-didn't know that waterfowl can FLY too. So his friend, Otter, teaches the plucky little duck about the history and basics of flight, learning that he too is meant to fly.

The Crossroads Book Fair also features Macon natives Rhonda Singletary, the author of the moving children's book "Project Dreams" and poet-turned-novelist J. Shawn Durham, author of "Broke Brothers Revolution;" as well as inspirational author and speaker Ann Smith and noted musician Michael Buffalo Smith, whose book "Prisoner of Southern Rock," features a forward by Billy Bob Thornton.

Featured writers from the Crossroads Writers Conference will also be on-hand at the Book Fair signing copies of their best-selling work, including Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month; Bernice McFadden, author of the acclaimed "Glorious" and "Gathering of Waters;" Adam Mansbach, author of the upcoming "Rage Is Back;" Rosemary Daniell, author of "Fatal Flowers" and "Sleeping with Soldiers;" Chuck Wendig, author of "Blackbirds" and "Mockingbird;" Kevin Mauer co-author of "No Easy Day;" Pulitzer Prize-winner Mitch Weiss, co-author of "No Way Out;" Delilah Dawson, author of "Wicked as They Come;" Ravi Howard, author of "Like Trees, Walking;" Robert Venditti, creator of "Surrogates" and writer on "X-O Manowar;" Kevin Coval, co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb and author of "L-Vis Lives," and Macon's own Nathan Edmondson, the creator of "The Activity" and "Who is Jake Ellis?" among a few other guests.

For more information about the conference, visit


Angel Collins, Crossroads Writers Conference - 478-394-3870 -

Marc Jolley, Mercer University Press - 478-301-2880 -

Emilie Bush, author of the Steamduck series -

Rhonda Singletary, author of Project Dreams -

More about Project Dreams and Rhonda Singletary:

Project Dreams takes you on a journey through the eyes of a little girl by the name of Osha Denea Brown.  Join Osha, her family and friends as they celebrate the beauty that she finds living in the Projects while still striving for a life beyond them. Rhonda Singletary is a writer, poet and educator. She holds a B.S. in Communication with a focus on Literary Works and a Minor in Education. She has received a Masters of Education Degree integrating the Arts through Teach and is also a Motivational Speaker. She is presently pursuing an Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning.

More about "Steamduck Learns to FLY!"

The early reviews say Bush and her talented illustrator William Kevin Petty have hit that mark:

"Charming illustrations and a whimsical story that should appeal to young Steampunk readers quite a bit!" ~ Jeff van der Meer (prominent editor and writer in the genre)

"I loved this one even better than the last one, and I loved the last one. I am not kidding when I say I could see this becoming a children's classic like The Velveteen Rabbit or The Little Prince. It's that good!"

~ Rhetta Akamatsu, The