Romance novel by area writer a finalist for award

  • Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Romance Writers of America is pleased to announce that Cheryl Reavis’ novel, “The Soldier’s Wife,” has been named as a finalist in the Inspirational Romance category of the 2013 RITA awards. The RITA — the romance publishing industry’s highest award of distinction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.

Up to 1,200 romance novels and novellas from 12 different categories are judged each year in the RITA competition. After the first round of judging by fellow published romance authors, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists.

Winners of the awards will be announced July 20 at an awards ceremony to be held at RWA’s 33rd Annual National Conference in Atlanta.

Understanding our coast

Stanley Riggs talks about “The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future” on “North Carolina Bookwatch” at noon today and Thursday at 5 p.m.

One thing that most North Carolinians share is a love for our coast and especially the barrier islands where the Wright Brothers flew their airplane, the Lost Colonists landed and the Hatteras lighthouse stands tall. We know our coast is fragile, but do we love it too much to protect it and how can we know what is best to do? Retired East Carolina University professor Riggs and his team of coauthors give us the background we need to make good decisions and will talk about the book.

Every week we read another news story about access to our coastal islands.

Last year Hurricane Sandy and two other storms pushed water across Highway 12, cutting the road to shreds one more time. The channel across Hatteras Inlet filled up, forcing the ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke to close down.

Bonner Bridge, which crosses Oregon Inlet and connects Hatteras Island to the mainland, was closed for repairs. As the Oregon Inlet moves southward, the bridge’s support system is washing away.

When is all this uncertainty going to end?

Never, according to Riggs. Never, unless North Carolina’s decision-makers come to grips with certain facts about the long-term future of our barrier islands and other coastal areas.

The book explains some of the complex factors that operate in coastal zones where water and land meet. Although the science may be complicated, its application to North Carolina has simple, easy to understand lessons as Riggs explained for his publisher, UNC Press: “Shoreline erosion is the direct product of long-term sea-level rise, which has been ongoing for the past 18,000 years. As the Earth’s climate warms, the vast continental ice sheets melt and recede. Waters flow back into the world’s oceans, causing the sea level to rise. In response, the mobile coastal system has had a long journey migrating upward and landward from its starting point on the continental slope, about 410 feet below and up to 60 miles east of its present location. This history will continue as long as our climate continues to warm. To maintain a viable coastal economy and preserve the natural resources upon which that economy is dependent, the public, our managers, and politicians must understand and adapt to the natural dynamics of change on a mobile coastal system. The present approach of unlimited economic growth and development will result in ever-increasing conflicts and catastrophes.”

Using a host of maps and other illustrations, Riggs projects the short-term future of the Outer Banks. One or two major storms could lead to the collapse or disintegration of portions of the barrier islands, most likely where there has already been severe island narrowing.

Riggs favors stopping efforts to maintain most of Highway 12 and abandoning plans to repair the old Bonner Bridge or build a new one. Because Highway 12 is doomed, he thinks extraordinary efforts to preserve it should end.

But he also suggests a system of sustainable tourism based on an understanding of a changing shoreline. In place of Highway 12 and the Bonner Bridge would be a system of small ferries that would serve communities on Hatteras, Ocracoke and other parts of the Outer Banks that prove to be stable enough to survive indefinitely.

Riggs’s suggestions for action may be more moderate than those of others. But they sound radical to the tough Outer Banks residents who have proved over and over for centuries that they will fight hard to keep anybody and any ocean from taking away what little they have.

The program with Riggs will also air Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch” on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs, visit the webpage at

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