The Elevator Pitch

Today we’re sharing a post written by one of our authors, Jeanne G’Fellers, concerning her take on the dreaded elevator pitch.

Note: This post first appeared 7/15/2018 on Jeanne’s website.

Writing an elevator pitch should be easy, right? It’s just one sentence, maybe two, the gist, the… For me, it’s the process of condensing 115,000 words into a handful of meaningful, plot-hinging terms. Eek!

But wait, let’s back up. What’s an elevator pitch, you ask? It’s a marketing term used to relay an idea in less than sixty seconds, generally spoken. It’s for when you’re stuck with an agent or publisher in an elevator and have about sixty seconds to sell yourself and your work. That’s the generic reason to have a good pitch, anyway, the reason they told me to have one in grad school. But here’s the thing: I don’t live in New York, L.A,, or London, or anywhere else impressive, and the only elevator I ride in with any regularity is the one going up to the third floor of a medical office building to see my rheumatologist. I won’t be running into a publisher or agent there. So why do I need an elevator pitch? Well, here’s a list.

Someone might ask you…

Continue reading “The Elevator Pitch”

Northeast Tennessee Publisher Launches Locally Set Series





Cleaning House: An Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy set for 8/1/18 Release

Jonesborough, TN, 7/10/2018 – Mountain Gap Books, Jonesborough, Tennessee, is proud to announce the upcoming release of their second title, Cleaning House: An Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy, by award-winning local author Jeanne G’Fellers.

Cleaning House is everything locals know best about Northeast Tennessee. Familiar shops like Atlantis, restaurants like Pal’s Sudden Service and the Willow Tree Coffee House, and locations like Jonesborough, Johnson City, and Embreeville appear alongside Appalachian traditions and fantastic elements like haints, fae, and ancient mountain spirits.

Cleaning House is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers (links below). Jeanne G’Fellers and Mountain Gap Books will be celebrating the release on July 31st, 2018, from 5-7 PM, at the Willow Tree Coffee House and Music Room in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. Jeanne will be reading from Cleaning House and two copies of Cleaning House and a $20 gift card will be drawn for. You must be present to enter and win.

Barnes & Noble

SHORT BLURB: Centenary Rhodes is an old soul with a well-traveled name, but she doesn’t know this yet. Cleaning House is a carefully woven Appalachian tapestry of granny magic, haints, elementals, and the fantastic diversity of the human condition – served with a side of fries and a quart of peach moonshine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, award-winning Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with her father and reading the books her librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s influences include author Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Author website:

Author Twitter:

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Appalachian Literature or Not?: A Brief Examination of To Kill a Mockingbird

The staff here at MGB has been discussing what defines the Appalachian fiction genre, so we went searching. We read a lot of quality content, but we also came across some that caused us to raise our brows and say no. That said, this post is in direct response to THIS article.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird does not qualify as Appalachian literature. The article linked above states that To Kill a Mockingbird is both a Southern Gothic novel and an Appalachian novel. This simply isn’t true. While there is some definite crossover in themes, most Appalachian Literature does not fit into the Southern Gothic genre, which depicts the Southern United States, specifically the deep south, and is not reflective of Appalachia’s diverse geography. The setting for To Kill a Mockingbird, Maycomb, Alabama, is fictional so, there is no real means of telling where the story is set in the state. However, the content itself leads the reader to believe it’s set further south.

Here’s a chart comparing the genres to help simplify the differences.

Quality Southern Gothic Lit. Genre Appalachian Lit. Genre
Grotesque (sometimes supernatural elements) Yes Sometimes
Damaged/delusional characters Yes Sometimes
Isolation/marginalization Yes Yes, but the isolation is often geographical in nature
Marginalization Yes Yes, but Appalachian residents are widely marginalized in media forms (no dependency on wealth, gender, or sexual orientation)
Oppression/ discrimination Yes Often financial oppression, but discrimination is rare (everyone is equally poor)
Decay Yes In coal country, yes
Deep Southern Setting Yes The Appalachians stretch from Mississippi to New York – a much larger and mountainous geographic area, parts of which cannot be considered southern
Outsider Character(s) Yes Yes
Independence/ self-reliance No – often weak characters, especially female characters Yes

Charles Reagan Wilson, Ph.D. Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi states that, “In the Southern Gothic tradition, everything has meaning…The abandoned plantation house isn’t there just to be spooky. It represents our fixation with history.” This isn’t necessarily true in Appalachian Literature. A fallen-in house might be just that, fallen-in. Furthermore, the geography often creates isolation, and it is not self-inflicted. Self-reliance is also a norm in Appalachian Literature.

In short, the article has mislabeled To Kill a Mockingbird as Appalachian Literature. So, what is Appalachian Literature? Here’s a list from Goodreads to get you started. (note: the author of this post has not read every book on this list, so if one doesn’t qualify, look elsewhere for clarification).

Author Signing… with Chocolate!

If you’re going to be in Jonesborough, TN, on Saturday, February 10th, for their third annual Chocolate Fest, MGB author Brenda G’Fellers will be selling and signing her books at the Chester Inn. She’ll also be doing readings at 1:00 & 3:00.

Rhea Wells Boy of JonesboroughRhea Wells Boy of Jonesborough

Brenda G’Fellers

Children’s nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0692989196

ISBN-13: 978-0692989197



Rhea Wells is an unsung hero of the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. He spent his life promoting theatre, books, and reading. Rhea’s legacy includes being an author, illustrator, and endowing the town’s library.


$9.99 via

Things to Come at MGB

From our Editor-In-Chief Brenda G’Fellers:
It’s winter in Appalachia, but things are heating up here at Mountain Gap Books.  Our first publication, Rhea Wells: Boy of Jonesborough, debuted on January 26, to coincide with an exhibit of Wells’ art. The reaction has been encouraging and supportive. The next event is an appearance by the author on February 10, featuring readings at 1:00 and 3:00. The author will be available from 11:00 – 4:00 in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s Chester Inn Museum, for book sales and autographing. This children’s work tells Wells’ story for the first – fourth-grade student. Join us for a reading!
Plans for our second book, Cleaning House, continue to move forward on the accelerated schedule. This one is also set in Washington County, Tennessee. The mixture of cultures typical of the area provides magical elements for this appealing Contemporary Fantasy novel. Wait for it!
Our third release will be a young adult (YA) novel, The Summer Between. Edits are now are underway.
With a least three works this year, Mountain Gap Books covers the gamut from juvenile to the adult market. That is one of our goals. Our targeted authors are those with a connection to Appalachia. Learn more by reading our website.

Photo by Jaron Nix on Unsplash


We Have Arrived!

We are pleased to announce that Mountain Gap Books’ first publication, Rhea Wells Boy of Jonesborough by Brenda M. G’Fellers, is available in print now on Amazon and will be available locally beginning on January 26, 2018. This release coordinates with “Far and Away and Close to Home Reception and Art/History Talk” presented by The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia.

The Heritage Alliance says the following about Rhea Wells: “From the Austrian Alps, to the coast of Sicily, to a village in Spain, words and art have the power to transport us around the world.  They also have the power to bring us back home to a farm in Washington County, Tennessee.  Children’s book author/illustrator Rhea Wells ventured far and wide throughout his life, but he always held his hometown of Jonesborough near and dear to his heart.

“Wells’ work will be showcased in the exhibit Far Away and Close to Home: The Art and Words of Author/Illustrator Rhea Wells which will be on display at the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School from January 26 through February 23.  The exhibit will be open to the public from 9-5 Monday-Friday and 10-3 on Saturday.  Far Away and Close to Home is presented by the Heritage Alliance and is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

Author Brenda G’Fellers will be present at the reception to sign copies of Rhea Wells Boy of Jonesborough, a children’s nonfiction picture book about Rhea Wells’ life.  The reception will be held on January 26, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 PM at The McKinney Center 103 Franklin Ave. Jonesborough, TN 37659.

We’d love for you to join us, but if you can’t, copies of Rhea Wells Boy of Jonesborough are available on 

Rhea Wells Boy of Jonesborough

Brenda G’Fellers

Children’s nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0692989196

ISBN-13: 978-0692989197


Rhea Wells is an unsung hero of the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. He spent his life promoting theatre, books, and reading. Rhea’s legacy includes being an author, illustrator, and endowing the town’s library.

$9.99 via