MFA in Writing, Vermont College of Fine Arts

MA in English, College of Charleston & The Citadel

BA in English, Clemson University

BA in Speech & Communications Studies, Clemson University


Instructor, Great Smokies Writing Program, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Spring 2024

Director, MountainTop Writers Retreats, 2019 – present

Columnist, USA Today/Gannett, 2014 – 2019

Guest Speaker, Lecturer, Workshop Leader, Panelist, Guest Host, 2012 – present

Visiting Author, 2012 – present

Freelance Writer & Editor, 2004 – present

14+ years teaching on the college level

Classes taught: Environmental Literature, American Literature, Creative Writing, Adventure Literature, Southern Literature, College Writing, Professional Research & Reporting, Expository Writing, English Composition, Cherokee History & Culture in the Colonial South, Hiking the Movies, Writing History into Fiction, Local Trails

Academic Counselor, 2006 – 2008

Newspaper Reporter, 2001 – 2002

Experiential Educator, Programming Instructor, Backpacking Guide, 1998 – 2003, 2005 – 2009



THE MINIATURIST’S ASSISTANT, Regal House Publishing, forthcoming May 2025

Keowee Valley, Bell Bridge Books, September 2012


USA Today

The Greenville News (SC)

Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)

Upstate Parent Magazine


“‘To the Bones’ by Valerie Nieman,” Appalachian Review

“Keowee,” Wilderness House Literary Review

“‘A Million Fragile Bones’,” Appalachian Review

“July 19, 2007,” Past-Ten

“Deep Breathing Under Big Sky,” Santa Fe Writers Project

“Deep Breathing Under Big Sky,” South Loop Review

“The Sacred Stillness of Father Damien,” Appalachian Review (formerly Appalachian Heritage)

“Interview with Connie May Fowler,” Appalachian Review

“Procreation Pressure Meets Gross Grits,” Western North Carolina Woman

“Dr. Joe’s Office, 74 George Street,” College of Charleston Magazine

“Bringing Kathleen Home,” Bella: The Magazine


Various, Mountain Traditions Magazine

Various, The Hendersonville Times-News (NC)

Various, The Greenville News (SC)


“Litchfield Beach,” North Carolina Poetry Society, Pinesong Review

“Home,” The Petigru Review

“Stone Angel in the Protestant Cemetery,” The Petigru Review

Guest Blogs

Various – Paper Lantern Writers, Bell Bridge Books, BelleBooks, Riding With the Top Down, Living the Creative Life, etc


Southern Spines with Alison Law

Away With Words with Victoria Valentine


2024 Writer-in-Residence, Weymouth Center for the Arts (NC)

2024 Artist-in-Residence, Wildacres Retreat (NC)

2024 Writer-in-Residence, South Porch Artists Residency (SC)

2022 First Place, Thomas H. McDill Poetry Contest, North Carolina Poetry Society

2015 Novel Retreat Scholarship, Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program

2014 The Writing Life Scholarship, Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program

2013 Puerto Rico Essay Contest & Scholarship, Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program

2013 Artist in Residence, The Reserve at Lake Keowee (SC)

2013 HOLT Medallion Award, Virginia Romance Writers

2011 Full Merit Scholarship, The Sun Magazine

2011 Quarter-Finalist, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest

2009 Scholarship Award, Key West Literary Seminar: “Historical Fiction and the Search for Truth”

2008 Full Fellowship in Fiction, Vermont Studio Center

2007-2008 North Carolina Arts Award, North Carolina Arts Council

2007 Literary Arts Award, The Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards, Judge: Robert Olen Butler

2007 Writer in Residence, Montana Artists Refuge

2007 First Place, Paul Gillette Memorial Contest, Historical Fiction, Pikes Peak Writers Contest

2005 Partial Fellowship in Fiction, Vermont Studio Center

2005, Best of Issue, Poetry, The Petigru Review

Academic Service

2022 – 2025 Judge, The Weatherford Award, Appalachian Studies Association

2015 – present Reader, Appalachian Review

2016 – 2017 Reader & Judge, Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference

2014 – 2016 Planning Committee, Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference

2016 Judge, South Carolina PTA Reflections

2009 – 2019 Faculty Reader & Judge, Senior Projects, Transylvania County Public Schools (NC)


Historical Novel Society

North Carolina Writers Network

Association of Writing Programs

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