Once there was a group of writers. They wrote in different genres. They wrote in different styles. They were very different in age, experience, political outlook, and their stance on the Oxford comma. (Note to editor: Do not change the punctuation in that sentence.) But they were all writers. And they were all perhaps a little crazy each in their own way. A couple of times a month, they gathered at a buffet restaurant to eat and to talk about writing and life in general. Their time together inspired them in their craft. To this day they deny that their group had any connection with the fact that at least two of the buffets where they gathered went out of business.

They criticized one another, brainstormed together, laughed as much as they disagreed and shared what they learned in a group that's been going strong for more than a decade. They've greeted new members enthusiastically and said goodbye reluctantly to those who've become their friends.

Then one day, one of them said, "Let's make some short stories, and put them together in a collection." They all agreed this would be a good idea. And they did. This is it. As a member of this crazy buffet club, I hope you enjoy our collection of stories. If you find an author whose style you like, who stirs your emotion with a phrase, who plants a story in your mind that you remember long after you've put the book aside, we'll call that a success.

And just one more thing to note, the group of writers is based in Hixson, TN. They decided that the profits from their collection of stories would go to support a regional arts or writing program. The profits from sales of the first edition will go to the Young Southern Student Writers sponsored by the Southern Lit Alliance and UTC's Department of English to help offset the cost of the awards ceremony they hold each year.