Saturday, April 29 3:00 pm



Noted Asheville author Michael Havelin will be reading from his mystery novels and short stories and answering any and all questions at Blue Ridge Books in downtown Waynesville.

Michael has written eight novels and is hard at work on another in his Ben Bones series. Over the course of his creative life, Mr. Havelin has worked as a blues and swing musician, a racing photographer, author of books and articles, a magazine publisher, teacher, lawyer, woodworker and interpreter. 



Saturday, May 6 3:00 pm



Deb Williams will discuss her new book, Images of Modern America: Charlotte Motor Speedway.

When Charlotte Motor Speedway opened in June 1960, the track built by Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner became a cornerstone in the decade that launched NASCAR’s superspeedway era. Stock car racing’s first paved 1.5-mile track immediately grabbed the motorsports world’s attention with the young sport’s longest event—a 600-mile race. And the track never left the spotlight, despite struggling through several years of bankruptcy. After regaining control of his beloved track in 1975, Smith, along with former speedway general manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and current president Marcus Smith, transformed the facility into a groundbreaking showplace with trackside condominiums, a 16,000-square-foot high-definition television screen, the luxurious Speedway Club, VIP suites, stadium seating, and the first superspeedway in NASCAR’s modern era to host night racing. The historic speedway has always been a favorite with Hollywood filmmakers and in recent years has expanded into a multiuse motorsports facility.

Deb Williams is an award-winning motorsports journalist who has covered events at Charlotte since 1979. This is her fifth book and her second on Charlotte Motor Speedway. The photographs are from the speedway’s archives.



Personal Branding Workshop with Nancy Blanton, author - Saturday, June 24, 3 – 5 pm



Blanton will lead participants through the steps during a personal branding workshop Saturday, June 24, 3 – 5 p.m. at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville.

In a highly competitive marketplace, personal branding helps professionals such as authors, artists, consultants and small business owners to become memorable and likeable to prospective customers. But hiring a branding firm can be an expensive proposition. Instead, anaward-winning book offers an 8-step,do-it-yourself process based on techniques used by the first personal branders, kings and queens.

“In the corporate world, branding programs can cost millions of dollars. Most individuals don’t have that kind of budget to work with, and they don’t need it,” says Nancy Blanton, author of Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps. “The eight steps help you define who you already are in a way that will resonate with your audiences. You do it all yourself with some time and a little soul searching.”

The royals learned first and best how to establish a personal brand, Blanton says, because their lives and their thrones depended on it. “England’s Queen Elizabeth I, for example, came to the throne following her half-sister, Bloody Mary, so she risked assassination if she couldn’t convince people she’d be a strong but a loving queen who wouldn’t chop off so many heads. From Elizabeth we learn the art of effective positioning.”

The 96-page handbook gives examples of successful kings, queens, an emperor and a couple of presidents, with “gems from the crown” or lessons learned from each. Blanton’s process uses these gems to help the reader find his or her own brand values, vision, mission and other brand elements, and then put them to work in a step-by-step communications plan.

When it comes to graphic design, typography or advertising, you still may want to hire a professional, but the eight steps will build a brand guideline to help ensure consistency. “And consistency is the key to a strong brand,” Blanton said.

“What’s great about this process,” she adds, “is that if you really get serious about it, you are defining your own passions and purpose in life. There is something deeply rewarding in that.”

In creating the book, Blanton was able to combine her corporate branding experience with her passion for writing historical novels. “As I researched my books, I found fascinating sources, and they all helped inform the personal branding process. I did it for myself at first, but then realized it could also work for others.”

In 2016 Blanton’s book medaled in the President’s Books Awards, Florida Authors and Publishers Association. One of the judges, Ken Johnson, CEO of Johnson Institute, said,"I have an MBA and consult with authors, small business owners, etc. Your book was a delight to read! I wish business schools would use it as a text for marketing and brand development."

The cost of the workshop is $39. The fee includes handouts, refreshments and a copy of Brand Yourself Royally. Preregistration is required. Please call or come by Blue Ridge Books to preregister. 828-456-6000


Saturday, May 13th, 3:00 pm

If You Can’t Play, Get Off the Stage By Garret K. Woodward

Garret K. Woodward, of The Smoky Mountain News, will read from and discuss his new book, If You Can’t Play, Get Off the Stage, on Saturday, May 13 at 3:00 pm.

Diving into the rich, vibrant and controversial history of bluegrass music, If You Can’t Play, Get Off the Stage: Bluegrass in Western North Carolina and Beyond is the debut work from Garret K. Woodward, arts/entertainment editor for The Smoky Mountain News.

The book features interviews, profiles, quotes and conversations with the biggest names in bluegrass, mountain and string music, including: Balsam Range, Bobby Osborne, Claire Lynch, David Grisman, David Holt, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson, Jesse McReynolds, John Cowan, Larry Sparks, Marty Stuart, Peter Rowan, Raymond Fairchild, Rhiannon Giddens, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, and many more.

Garret K. Woodward was born and raised in the tiny Canadian border town of Rouses Point, New York — on the shores of Lake Champlain and in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountains. He graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut) in 2007 with degrees in journalism and history. After stints in Lake Placid, New York, and County Kerry, Ireland, he landed his first reporting gig at the Teton Valley News in Driggs, Idaho. In 2008, the Idaho Press Club awarded him first place for “Best Light Feature” for his story “Chasing the American Dream of Breakfast.”

From there, Woodward crisscrossed America for several years as a music journalist, covering backyard get-togethers and renowned festivals like Burning Man, Rothbury, Grand Targhee, Outside Lands and Wakarusa. Since 2012, he has been the arts/entertainment editor for The Smoky Mountain News, and was recently named the music editor for Smoky Mountain Living magazine, both based in Waynesville, North Carolina.

In 2015, he won first place in the North Carolina Press Association awards for “Arts & Entertainment Reporting” for his cover story “Bless Your Heart — The State of Women in Bluegrass.” In 2016, Woodward was nominated for “Bluegrass Print/Media Person of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). The NCPA also recognized him with another first place in 2016 for “Lighter Columns” for his weekly column in The Smoky Mountain News, “This must be the place.”

Join the Smoky Mountain Chess Club every Thursday from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm in our events room.  Players of all levels are welcome.

Contact Information

Blue Ridge Books
152 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786


Open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

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