Local writers teamed up to create an anthology of stories that are grounded in Pulaski County places, people, and events.

Crime, history, the Momo monster, the paranormal, the Roubidoux, and the Trail of Tears are some of the destinations in Pulaski County you can read about in the newly released anthology,“ Inspirations.”

“ Inspirations”  is a collection of stories, inspired by the history, beauty and uniqueness of Pulaski County, written by Beth Wiles, Laura Huffman, JB King, Denise Seevers, Bob Hathaway, Pat Avery McGrath, Joyce Faulkner, and others.

Last September, Pulaski County was honored to be the site of the Military WritersSociety of America(MWSA)history crawl hosted by the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.

It was MWSA’ s second history crawl. The first was in Gettysburg, Penn.

McGrath, organizer of the event for MWSA, chose Pulaski County because of the “outstanding outreach of the Tourism Bureau.”

“I am also a travel writer and I have found Karen, Laura & Beth to be the leaders of the industry (in my experiences) in promoting the diversity of their county. By working with them, I learned that Pulaski County folks have a deep love of their natural environment, their history and each other. This is like honey to a bee for writers,” McGrath said.

McGrath was also looking for an environment that would expose attendees to a broad range of story ideas.  When she and her publishing partner, from Red Engine Press, Joyce Faulkner visited Pulaski County they knew that “Pulaski County filled the bill.”

McGrath said, “The goals for the book were three-fold: to encourage writing, to offer attendees an outlet for their work and to showcase Pulaski County as a place to visit. I was pleased with the diversity of topics and writings styles.I have never met people more friendly or more willing to share.”

 During the three day history crawl and conference, McGrath and Joyce Faulkner, (MWSA) along with other MWSW members, Pulaski County partners and the Roubidoux Writers split into groups.

One group  visited the Stagecoach Stop, the 1903 Old Route 66 Courthouse Museum, the Pulaski County  Poor Farm, George M. Reed Roadside Park, and Devil’s Elbow. They ate lunch at the Elbow Inn.

Another group visited and toured the Mahaffey Museum Complex, Bruce C. Clarke Library,  and the WWII Museum Complex on Fort Leonard Wood. The participants also had the opportunity to conduct a paranormal investigation with Crocker Optimistic Paranormal Society at the Talbot House in Waynesville.

There were many highlights at the conference, which culminated in the participants writing a story based on their experiences and discoveries during the history crawl in Pulaski County.  Most of the writers were from Pulaski county.  All of the stories are about Pulaski county. The anthology “Inspirations” compiles writings based on true crime, history, personal experience and fiction.The book launching was the first time the authors saw their works in print.  A portion of the book launch sales will go to the rebuilding efforts in Devil’s Elbow.

About the book

A good, strong forward of a book sets the tone for its readers.  Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman’ s inspiration for writing the forward was to give the readers a good historical take on Pulaski  County.  As a mayor and former history teacher, Hardman said, “The book is important to the community because any book that memorializes local lore and stories is a good thing……. We hope all enjoy reading a “good story” and that they learn more about our little corner of the world.”

Laura Huffman: “Between The Dashes” is a continuation of the research that she has conducted off and on for almost a decade regarding Pulaski County's cemeteries.   

Her great grandmother Lucylle Rice, grandmother Patsy Woodman, and great Aunt Sue Hansen, were all members of the Pulaski County Historical Society committee and they located a large number of the area's cemeteries in the early 1980's and took the time to record each and every headstones inscription. Laura’s inspiration was her desire to  “build on their work and tell the stories of those who are laid to rest in these places by focusing on aspects of things that occurred while they were living. I selected Bradford Cemetery on H Highway, near Waynesville, for the first installment of my series, which is the final resting place of many of Waynesville’s earliest pioneers.”

Beth Wiles: “Wiles Travels”  Her inspiration was to write about ”just one segment of our wonderful area from the eyes of a traveler.  Sometimes when we live and work in an area we don't take the time to immerse ourselves in the beauty, history and wonderful people of our communities.”

In “Wiles Travels,” she encourages everyone, tourists and locals, to take time “to enjoy this fantastic area, the rich history and the wonderful people, that make up Pulaski County.”

Micki Voelkel:  “Missouri Monsters”  While eating lunch at the Devil’s Elbow Inn, she heard talk about a Missouri “Bigfoot.”  She was inspired by the tales she heard about the sightings. Is the Momo monster at Devil's Elbow fact or fiction? Find out what this author thinks in “Missouri Monsters.”

JB King: “Ruby’s Tavern”  His story was inspired by real events that happened in 1997 at Ruby’s Tavern. To find out more about that life changing day, read  “Ruby’s Tavern.”

Bob Hathaway:  “The Climb” is about a boy, an adventure and the age old desire of a young boy to prove himself.  

Denise Seevers: “Murder in the Courthouse” is inspired by her research into the 1934 murder at the courthouse.

“It’s a topic people are still interested in,” Seevers said.  

Read “Murder in the Courthouse” to see what Denise discovered in her research.

Luke: “Strange Happenings”  Luke, the detective dog, is a six-year-old Bichon, who enjoys helping write stories, His story was inspired by his visit to  Talbot House and certain rooms in the courthouse.  Read “Strange Happenings” to see if he believes in ghosts.

Pat Avery McGrath:  “Tears along the Roubidoux” was inspired by her visit to the Trail of Tears. “I felt a sense of responsibility.  I wondered what it would have been like to experience hardship and tragedy along the trail, especially for a young woman and her family,” McGrath said Her story is a heartwarming story written in memory of the Cherokee who camped along the Roubidoux.

Joyce Faulkner: “Perdita’s Treasure” was inspired by Laura Huffman and her study of the areas cemeteries, especially the Poor Farm.  To find out more about the treasure, read Faulkner’s chilling story where the hunt for the treasure takes place on the poor farm.

To continue your historical tour of Pulaski County through the writer's stories in the “Inspirations” anthology, contact the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.