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Bahia Abrams is first presenter at new

Interfaith Dialogue program

Bahia Abrams and her book, The Other Half of My Soul, launch the first Interfaith Dialogue program at Grateful Steps Bookshop, January 17 at 5:30 p.m.



At a time when intercultural awareness is at an all-time high, a book about a taboo love affair between a Jewish woman and a Muslim man comes on the scene. The author, a Syrian Jew, writes skillfully and from first-hand knowledge. Despite the ancient proscriptions regarding such a relationship, the surprise is in the commonalities, not the contrasts, unveiled as the couple explores each other’s faith and customs.

     A brotherhood intent on terrorism engages the romantic couple in page-turning adventures traversing seas and continents.

     The cover of the book is remarkable in itself. On the front, the Islamic iconic symbol wraps as though in an embrace around the Star of David, while a cross in the logo of the publisher, Grateful Steps, adorns the book spine—truly an invitation in itself for some dialogue.

     The book currently tops Amazon's e-book charts (#2 Islamic literature, #5 Jewish literature).

     Bahia Abrams was born in Brooklyn, New York, to parents of Syrian Jewish heritage. Growing up within the confines of the closed, tight-knit Sephardic Syrian community, she understood the consequences of  leaving the group and marrying an outsider, an Ashkenazie Jew.

     After breaking away and marrying, Abrams raised three children and received her degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, the school she portrays in the book.

     Making her home in theWashington,D.C. area, she worked for many years across  a broad spectrum of disciplines. Beginning with American defense, Abrams climbed the ladder in corporate America, eventually engaged in such fields as aerospace, geographic information and global positioning systems. Working with Congress and government agencies and departments, she learned, first hand, about the realities of our government.

     When her son narrowly escaped the World Trade Center attacks both in 1993 and on 9/11, she re-evaluated her life. Abrams’s dream for writing was magnified. Quitting her job, she moved with her husband to the mountains of Western North Carolina and followed a vision. The Other Half of My Soul was born.

     Today, she speaks around the country at universities, Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, temples, churches and book-group gatherings. She provides an in-depth look at some of the characters in her novel and offers a lively discussion about the Syrian Jewish community, the divisional roots of Sephardic and Ashkenazie Jews, the Sunnis and Shi’ites and which group poses the greater danger to Israel and America.


     Make plans to attend this first of a monthly interfaith dialogue beginning January 17, 2013. The invitation is inclusive—extended to all faiths. The presenter each month is an author. Dr. Hal Littleton, co-moderator with Micki Cabaniss of the new program, is author of the book Jesus, A Would Be King.


 January 17: Bahia Abrams, The Other Half of My Soul

 February 21: Ken Sehested, co-author of Peace Primer II: Quotes from Jewish,

       Christian, Islamic Scripture & Tradition

 March 21: Mary Caldwell, Praying with Fishhooks

 April 18: Mallory McDuff, Spirituality and the Environment

 May 16: Judith Toy, author of Murder as a Call to Love. She will discuss

      Thich Nhat Hanh's Transformation at the Base.

 June 20: Deb Lloyd, Believe and it is True


Programs will be held at Grateful Steps Bookshop, 159 South Lexington Avenue, Asheville 28801. 828 277 0998. Format and agenda:

    5:30-5:45 p.m. gather

    5:45-6:30 p.m. speaker presentation

    6:30-7:00 p.m. discussion

    Attendees are encouraged to continue dialogue after the program is concluded. There will be light refreshments.




The goal of the dialogue is to hear each other and learn from each other—to explore what others believe and why, how those beliefs work for them and shape their lives.

      We encourage the attendees to review the book in advance to get more from the discussion, and we ask all attendees to:

 o   enhance dialogue with questions and openness of conversation

 o   eagerly share their beliefs and why they are meaningful to them personally

 o   always be respectful of the beliefs shared by of others

 o   never impose their beliefs on others

 o   expect that they will not be disparaged in any way for their beliefs

The Grandiose Adventures of Suzi B & Spot

is soon to arrive

This book is at press and is expected to arrive in January. Follow this newsletter for launch events. Author Susan Sweeney has written and illustrated a book to help children with Type I Diabetes understand their challenges. A big step in that process is helping the parents and other family members understand. The Grandiose Adventures of Suzi B & Spot does all that.

Roasting Questions answers most of what

we need to know


Preliminary copies of the newest book at Grateful Steps, Roasting Questions, by Barbie Angell, have arrived! The main shipment will be headed for Asheville this week. Follow this newsletter for news of more booksigning events.

Be Part of The Asheville Art Book 

You can even be part of the book! Support the book and get your name in it. Did you see the video: You Tube The Asheville Art Book?


The Judgment, by JULIE ARMBRUSTER, is an example of work to be celebrated in The Asheville Art Book. 


The goal of The Asheville Art Book is to capture the depth and diversity of Asheville's arts community, something that's never been done before. We are preparing a showcase that will attract the attention of buyers of art from across the country.


The book features the artwork of close to 100 artists who live in Asheville or who show here, their artwork reproduced on high-quality paper in full color. In addition it introduces readers to the history and future of Asheville art through essays written by Connie Bostic and Ursula Gullow. Moni Hill is is the writer of the text about the authors themselves, based on material submitted.

     Here are more of the artists who will be honored in the book: Ben Long, Nava Lubelski, Genie Maples, Brian Mashburn, Daniel McClendon and Nicole McConville. More will be listed in each newsletter. Look for your favorites! 

 Delhi Fine art on display throughout January

Artist Delhi Fine's popular tribute to Print Media, "Night of the Living Print Media," will remain on display at Grateful Steps for the month of January. Come in and see her wall art, 3-D items, refrigerator magnets and books. She authored Delhi's Bazaar, published by Litterbox Books, and was a finalist in Grateful Steps' 2012 Short Story Contest, published in the book Drowning Allison.








Life in America book event January 19, 12:30 p.m.

Author Stephen A. Jones wants today's children to love America and its rich history. His latest book, Life in America, published by Mill City Press in Minneapolis, teaches what life used to be like and how history's human mistakes relate to life today. This is for at least sixth-grade reading level. America is Good, for ages 7 and up, teaches what it is to be a good citizen in the context of America's history from 1492 to 9-11-2001. So What Did People Find?, for ages 4 and 5, tells about the discovery and settlement of America. All ages are invited to an educational book reading and signing at Grateful Steps Bookshop January 19, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. This follows the children's music program so come and stay for both!

48 Hours to Chaos book event January 19, 6 p.m.

Author John D. Waterman is an engineer. He worked with the aerospace industry for thirty years. His award-winning book, 48 Hours to Chaos, published by Dennett Ink in Asheville, uses his career experience to guide us along a path through the mysteries of science, history, politics, philosophy, religion, psychology and human behavior. Read the book. Come to his event. Learn how the world really works.

Music for children EVERY Saturday morning

A free music workshop for children is held every Saturday at Grateful Steps Bookshop. Walk-ins are welcome. Sonia Brooks teaches music daily throughout the area. She is a creator of Tap-n-Shake, an interactive rhythm training program that enhances development of the young child. Rhythm sticks and shakers are provided for all as she plays a guitar and sings folk songs she has written. Soon the children are asking for their favorites and singing along as well as jumping, hopping, swimming in the air, laughing and clapping.

We at Grateful Steps Foundation love giving back for our blessings. We bring voices to the community that otherwise might not be heard; we contribute to the preservation of Appalachian history; and we provide space for a variety of groups, such as for classes about publishing and for forums that promote equality, social enterprise and community healing. We need your help. As a nonprofit, traditional publisher, we turn to the community to support our books.  Please donate at our website,, or mail your donation to our address below. Better yet, come by and meet us! Thank you!


With best wishes from all of us at Grateful Steps: Micki, Lindy, Doug, Michele, Chris and Tom.


159 South Lexington Avenue, Asheville 28801



Grateful Steps • 159 S. Lexington • Asheville, NC 28801
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