Meet Our Members


EMMA ALFORD is a writer from the Mississippi Delta. She currently contributes to The East Nashvillian magazine. She lives in Nashville with her over-loved, overweight orange tabby cat. Check out Emma’s website for information about her chapbook of poetry and her late best friend who that chapbook is about.



patposingPAT BALLARD is an author who writes motivational romance fiction with Big Beautiful Heroines. She has seven novels, a book of short stories, and a nonfiction book, “10 Steps To Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are),” in print. She also has a free nonfiction book Something To Think About to download from her website:



Bebe Brechner


BEBE BRECHNER is the WNBA Nashville Chapter’s current past president. She also serves on the WNBA national board as the Great Group Reads chair and Website co-chair. She moved to Nashville in 2004. She is a senior product manager for ProQuest LLC, creating and managing research databases in the humanities and social sciences for university and college libraries. Even though she works in electronic publishing and is fascinated with online information, she is a longtime bookworm and fan of the printed word! Bebe is also a librarian. For more information, check her LinkedIn profile.



Roy_headshotROY BURKHEAD, a Kentucky native and longtime Nashvillian, has published his journalism, poetry, and prose in such publications as The Tennessean, The Hendersonville Star, The News Examiner, The Trunk, The Record, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, The Tennessee Writer,, the British Web journal Chapter&Verse, and-of course-2nd & Church, but he is perhaps best known as a passionate promoter of the arts throughout middle Tennessee. After studying creative writing in London, England and earning a MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, he founded The Writer’s Loft, a creative writing program at Middle Tennessee State University, as well as created, edited, and published the program’s literary journal, the Trunk. For the program’s first four years, he promoted the written word by establishing public readings, panel discussions, and workshops throughout middle Tennessee. More recently, he founded and published 2nd & Church, a literary journal that celebrates writers, poets, and readers.


Lee Fairbend copyLEE FAIRBEND, the retired Executive Director and co-founder of Book’em, a children’s literacy organization, was formerly the Assistant Executive Director of the Council of Community Services, where Book’em was incubated. She is currently membership chair for WNBA Nashville chapter, treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Nashville, a board member of the Council on Aging of Greater Nashville, a member of the Worcester Hahnemann Hospital Alumni Association, and for fun, Sisters In Crime. A native New Englander, Lee has lived in Brentwood since 1983. She recently retired as Executive Director of Book’em, although as one of the founders she is still very interested in all their activities. She is a longtime community volunteer, serving twice on the board of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. She was the founding President of the Community Wish List, now the Community Resource Center, and is a past President of the Nashville Social Service Club.


PHYLLIS GOBBELL is currently writing a mystery series: Pursuit in Provence (2015), Secrets and Shamrocks (2016), and Treachery in Tuscany, to be released Spring 2018. In addition she has written fiction, which earned her a Tennessee’s Individual Artist Literary Award, and creative nonfiction. She co-authored two true crime books about high profile Nashville murders. She teaches English composition, creative writing, and literature at Nashville State Community College.



hemphill_h2013HELEN HEMPHILL’s debut novel Long Gone Daddy won the Teddy Award from the Writers’ League of Texas. Booklist named her novel Runaround a 2007 Top Ten Youth Romance, and The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, her most recent novel, received the 2008 Virginia M. Law Award from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library and was listed on VOYA’s Top Shelf for middle school readers. Helen holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College for the Fine Arts and a MA from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She currently lives in Nashville.,,, and



Donna-Paz-KaufmanDONNA PAZ KAUFMAN. After managing one of the country’s leading bookstores and working in publishing, Donna founded The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates in 1992 with the mission of helping booksellers world-wide build skills and insights so that they may lead healthy, life-driven, profitable, community-based businesses. Donna served as WNBA’s national president, Lucile Micheels Pannell Award Chair, and president of the Nashville chapter. She is a past president of the Friends of the Library Fernandina Beach, Florida where she received the Barbara Kingsolver/Friends of Libraries USA Award for her library advocacy. Visit Donna’s website, Paz & Associates and her blog.


AmiMcConnellAMI McCONNELL is Senior Acquisitions Editor for the Fiction division at Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Her editing credits include New York Times bestsellers as well as Carol, Christy, and RITA award-winners. She has edited renowned authors Colleen Coble, Ted Dekker, Homer Hickam, Lynne Hinton, Karen Kingsbury, Max Lucado, and Frank Peretti, among others. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Buechner Institute at King College and lives with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.




2EllenMyrickELLEN MYRICK has marketed books for Davis-Kidd Booksellers, The United Methodist Publishing House, BookPage, Ingram Content Group, NorthSouth Books and, for the last eight years, Myrick Marketing & Media. She works primarily with publishers of children’s books, graphic novels, and audiobooks and also represent publishers ranging from Random House Children’s Books to Inhabit Media (a Canadian publisher of books of Inuit folktales and legends for children) at conferences for teachers and librarians. Ellen also served five years as the Judging Chair of the Audie Awards, the audiobook industry’s awards for excellence and continues to moderate juried awards for the APA. She narrated Stop the Train by Geraldine McCaughrean which is featured on the Sound Learning bibliography of 50 audiobooks for schools. Because she is a ham, she can be found alphabetizing the picture books and doing story time at Parnassus one Saturday each month at Parnassus Books.


Susan PaisleySUSAN PAISLEY was born in Clarksville,TN. Ms. Paisley graduated from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville with a B.S. in Political Science and Law. With a fascination for writing short stories and poetry since her teens, Paisley has had work published in several literary magazines and has received awards from the International Society of Poetry and the Shakespeare Award from the Famous Poets Society. Ms. Paisley has authored two books, Her Cumberland – a historical novel about the founding of Clarksville and A Goose Tale – a children’s book. She has attended several book signings for her books.



MARY LAURA PHILPOTT is an essayist, author, cartoonist, and contributor to publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Lit Hub, and Salon. She is also the creator of the webcomic and humor book PENGUINS WITH PEOPLE PROBLEMS; the editor of MUSING, the online magazine produced by Parnassus Books; and an Emmy-winning co-host of the interview show A WORD ON WORDS.,,


PATRICIA L. POWELL has always held a passion for helping others. Despite challenges she’s faced as a result of Asperger’s Syndrome, she has a compassionate heart for those seen as different or misunderstood. Through her writing, she hopes to bring awareness of it to others. To accomplish this goal, in her novel, Cowboy Dreams, she bases her heroine, Tricia Perkins, on herself. Though it’s mostly a fictional story, there are various aspects of it that are very true. She facilitates NAPS (Nashville Autism Peer Support) and volunteer facilitates for Autism Tennesse’s Teen Transition Skills program.


Gloria TolerGLORIA TOLER is the webmaster for the WNBA Nashville Chapter,  copy editor of the WNBA national newsletter, The Bookwoman, and serves on the WNBA national board as treasurer. Gloria moved with her family to Franklin, Tennessee in 1998. She holds a CPA license in Texas and has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Central Missouri. When not reading, she enjoys playing the piano, traveling, and listening to her two adult sons’ music and attending their performances.



Alana WhiteALANA WHITE. With encouragement from authors Lee Smith and Alex Haley, Alana White wrote her first published novel, Come Next Spring (Clarion), set in Appalachia in the 1940s. Since then, Alana’s publications have included nonfiction Sacagawea (Enslow Publishers), and short stories (Gathering: Writers of Williamson County COP Publishers). Her fascination with the Italian Renaissance led to her first short mystery fiction, then to a full-length novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, set for publication with Five Star Mysteries in 2012. Alana’s articles and book reviews appear regularly in Renaissance Magazine and Historical Novels Review. Visit her on the web at



Carolyn WilsonCAROLYN WILSON is the retired Director of Library Services for Beaman Library at Lipscomb University. She serves actively in numerous professional organizations, but her associations with WNBA have been long and rewarding. She served as chapter president, served on the national board for over fifteen years, and was national president during a period of establishing two new chapters. She was WNBA Awards chair when the award was presented to Barbara Bush, and she and former national treasurer Margaret Auer developed the Strategic Plan for the national organization. She continues to serve on the Nashville board as Special Programs/Sunshine chair. She was on the initial planning committee for the Southern Festival of Books, and has worked with Humanities Tennessee in that event since. Carolyn enjoys cooking, reading (of course), book collecting, travel, and “hanging out” with her two daughters and three beautiful granddaughters.


WNBA Members

We’d love to list you on this page! Submit a short paragraph (100 words or less) about yourself, and if you have a photo or website link to include, please do so. Submit to the webmaster: Jackie Belair