First time author to hold book signing at Macon County Public Library

20231926_650561545143224_7663486456861014054_oBrittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer for the Macon County News

Franklin resident Pam McDonald has always turned to writing as a way to express herself. Although she has been writing all her life, she just published her first book and is excited to share it with the world.

“This is a dream come true for me,” McDonald said of publishing her first book. “When I was a child, I loved books and hearing stories. In school I would write poems and short stories. It was my passion.  I loved to read fiction as well as non-fiction stories of innocence and faith, triumph over hardship, good every time the victor.”

McDonald, who just published her first book, “Windy Garden” said the book is an expression of her imagination over the years and stories that had been captured in her diaries growing up.

“My Gram always kept diaries, and one Christmas she gave me my first diary to write in. It was a treasure,” she said. “It had a lock, which gave me the courage to write whatever I wanted. Until the day the lock broke and I felt I had to hide my diary. Over the years, diaries became journals of my life and imaginations. That’s when a desire to write my own stories took root in my heart. After years raising my two children, working at Walt Disney World, then teaching kindergarten for 10 years and moving from Winter Garden, Fla., to Franklin, I decided it was time. Time to write the story God put on my heart several years ago.The setting changed but not the message. I wondered, like ‘Bonnie’ in my book, if I would fit in or find my place here in Franklin. Feeling anxious and unsettled, it inspired me to write a novel set in Western North Carolina.  So, ‘Windy Garden’ took on a new life of its own with fictional ‘characters’ that will draw you into their very different lives. Characters you might meet in any small town. Even some you may know in this sweet little town.”

“Windy Garden” is set in a picturesque small town, cradled by the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. It’s a place to take in the sweet smell of the apple orchards covering the hillsides; a place to experience the vivid, fiery colors of autumn; a place to greet each day by watching the sun rise over the lush mountaintops. This is the town for home-cooked food, and old-fashioned fun. But is it a place for someone new? Newcomer Bonnie McDaniel learns the hard way that fitting in is never easy. She encounters Lucy, the friendly server at the local cafe; the hostile and unapproachable Nettie, the effervescent and chatty Kathy, the compassionate pastor of the Baptist church, and a host of other colorful “locals.” Bonnie is hoping to receive love and acceptance, but as she helps uncover some painful truths around town, she discovers home is where the heart is.

“I write because it is a way to express myself,” said McDonald. “A way to write out crazy imaginations, silly thoughts, serious hurts, heartfelt prayers and those of desperation, a way to pour my heart into something that is meant only for me.  But there are times stories go beyond myself to others.  Now ‘that’ is fun. I felt a message had been put on my heart by God that would, hopefully, speak to a lot of people seeking love and acceptance, as well as freedom from being bound to their past.  So ‘Windy Garden’ was born out of a deep desire to help people find hope where they could see no hope, find love in the most unexpected ways and show others that sometimes you may be the very one to reach out and help the most unlovable people. I was truly surprised how ‘Windy Garden’ practically wrote itself. For hours I would pore over scenarios and the one that spoke the loudest would jump onto the page. It was a two and half year intense journey to finality. I enjoyed every moment.”

McDonald said the writing process, paired with the faith-based theme of the book, changed her life more than she expected.

“Windy Garden has probably impacted my life more than it could anyone else’s,” she said. “So many of the characters in my book have become my friends and have taught me so many things.  Sometimes we are thrust into the lives of others for a reason. Instead of walking or running away, maybe we should persevere and show kindness and love. It could be the very thing they need.  Personally for me, I have been and am still working on living what I believe to be truth. To show grace, favor, toward others who need to see the love of Christ through me.  And the source of love, God, shows me how to love.  What better place to learn than from the One who is love.”

McDonald will be at the Macon County Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a book signing.

About the author

Pam McDonald and her husband Dave moved to Franklin almost 11 years ago from Winter Garden, Fla. They grew up in Cocoa, Fla., and graduated Cocoa High School as sweethearts.  The pair married and moved to Orlando where they were part of the opening cast members at Walt Disney World, before the park opened. Together they have two children, Tony, who lives with his wife, Becky, and three children in Lexington, Ky. Their daughter, Tina, lives in Franklin with her husband, Brian, and two children. The family owns a carpet cleaning and mold/water damage restoration company.

Cook to Release Second Book in Series

Cook to Release Second Book in Series

51Nls2BvqfLFranklin, NC—Tyler Cook, Franklin native, Western Carolina University alumnus and author, will release his fourth book, ‘Vigilante’, at a special release party on March 4 at 9 a.m. at the Macon County Public Library.

“Vigilante is the sequel to my last book, Aluria, and the second in The Aluria Adventures series” said Cook.  “I had a blast returning to the world I’ve created for my special characters.”

It’s been a year since Aluria appeared as the hero of Canton.  He’s become a myth to many, a hero to some, and a threat to others.  Among those who think he is an outlaw are those working at the Major Case Squad, who fear he will go too far and become the villain the vigilante hopes to rid the city of.  This fear escalates when people are found murdered with a blade shaped like Aluria’s insignia.  Could this new hero really be to blame, and if not, can he clear his name and find the person who is behind everything?

‘Aluria’, released in 2016, has been named the #1 bestselling superhero on multiple times, as well as reaching their overall bestseller list.

Cook says he had the new story line in mind at the beginning of the series, and he can’t wait for readers to read it.

“Aluria and his friends will go through a lot in this new installment,” Cook said.  “They’ve paved the way for future novels in the series, and I look forward to continuing their story.”

In 2014, Cook released ‘A Guide to Historic Dillsboro’, now an award-winning book that celebrates the historic town of Dillsboro, as well as raising money for the Appalachian Women’s Museum.  Later that year, he wrote ‘The One’ which was released in early 2015.

For more information, contact Tyler Cook at or visit

Click here to preorder Vigilante!

Lawrence Releases Memior

Sometimes Final Front coverFranklin, NC—Deanna Lawrence, two-time Emmy winner and Franklin resident, has released her memoir and first book, Sometimes…A Storyteller’s Journal.

“As a storyteller for more than three decades, it is an honor to share some of the life experiences I had as a television journalist,” said Lawrence.

Sometimes…is a personal sharing of the “stories behind the stories.”  The veteran TV news reporter learned about people and about life over the many years she spent on the reporting beat.

Lawrence has served as journalist, anchor, producer and photographer, with more than thirty years at WTVT Ch. 13 in Tampa, Florida.  A graduate of Northwestern University, Deanna is an award-winning storyteller.  Among her accolades, she was honored with international, national and regional awards, including two regional Emmys, the Associated Press Award of Excellence and the International New York Film Festival Silver Medal.

“I hope those who read this book, gain a better understanding of what it truly means to be a storyteller, and a real appreciation of  the stories behind the stories,” said Lawrence.

Copies of Lawrence’s book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and in local bookstores.

For more information, contact Tyler Cook, Lawrence’s publicist at

Cook to Release Second Novel

Cook to Release Second Novel

003(93)Franklin, NC—Tyler Cook, Franklin native and Western Carolina University alumnus, will release his second novel, ‘Aluria’, at a special release party on May 7 at 11 a.m. at the Macon County Public Library.

“Aluria is by far my favorite book I’ve written to date,” said Cook.  “I brought out my best creativity, and I think the readers will agree.”

In order to save his teenage crush, Jason Conner allows an extra-terrestrial spirit, named Aluria, to inhabit his body. At that moment, Jason vowed to protect the innocent and hunt down the guilty, avenging those that were tragically taken from him.  But while Jason thought that his first enemy, Raiz, was long deceased, the evil sorcerer returns to Canton to obtain what Jason robbed him of: A magical item that grants anyone who possesses, it infinite power.  Aluria is the first in a series that tells a story about heroism, love and hope.

In 2014, Cook released ‘A Guide to Historic Dillsboro’, now an award-winning book that celebrates the historic town of Dillsboro, as well as raising money for the Appalachian Women’s Museum.  Later that year, he wrote ‘The One’ which was released in early 2015.

Cook says that ‘Aluria’ is the first in a series, and writing for the sequel has already begun.

“I have so much more planned for the characters that have come to life for me,” Cook said.  “In the meantime, I hope the readers will fall in love with them the same way that I have.”

Books Unlimited will provide copies of Cook’s books at the event on May 7.  Reservations can be made by calling 828-369-7942.

For more information, contact Tyler Cook at 828-371-8519 or

Click here to order your copy of Aluria!

Cook Releases Debut Novel

25028308Franklin, NC—Tyler Cook, Franklin native and Western Carolina University alumni, will release his debut novel, ‘The One’, at a special release party on Feb. 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the Macon County Public Library.

“I am very excited about the release,” said Cook. “All of my life, I have always wanted to be an author of fiction, and now I can say that I am.”

The book, which took Cook 5 months to write, is a story of love, heartbreak and moving forward.

In ‘The One’, Eli Cooper never expects love to be this difficult. When someone from his past suddenly reappears, he can’t help but notice the attraction between the two of them. But sometimes, the people that you love may not love you back. Eli must find his way back from heartbreak, and discover a life where his love can be returned. But in order to do that, he must also face his demons, and overcome his greatest fear: Revealing his deepest secret to the world.

Cook is not a stranger to writing. In 2014, he released ‘A Guide to Historic Dillsboro’, a 125 year commemorative book which celebrates the historic town of Dillsboro, as well as raising money for the Appalachian Women’s Museum. He has also written many published articles that have highlighted the Macon County school system and Western Carolina University.

Cook says that this is just the stepping stone in his writing career, and hopes to write a sequel to ‘The One’.

“I had so much fun writing this book,” Cook said, “And I know that there are several more stories to explore in this fictional world that I have created.”

Books Unlimited will provide copies of both books by Cook at the event on Feb. 21. Reservations can be made by calling 828-369-7942.

For more information, contact Tyler Cook at 828-371-8519 or