NCCU instructor turns to Odysseus’s dog for a tale

A son’s ninth-grade reading assignment inspired novelist Ralph Hardy to take Odysseus’ tale and write it from the viewpoint of his loyal dog.

“I felt that students needed a gentler introduction to that classic story,” he says. The result was “Argos” (HarperCollins), a tale of loyalty, determination and adventure for the middle grades.

Hardy, who grew up in Kinston and now teaches freshman composition at N.C. Central University, has traveled the state sharing his book at schools and libraries. “I went back to Kinston to give a reading at a local library and my 95-year-old kindergarten teacher came to see me, which was one of the biggest thrills I received after publishing ‘Argos.’ 

On March 24, Hardy will be featured on UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch.” He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and daughter.

New titles

Dr. Noelle Granger has released “Death by Pumpkin” (N.A. Granger), a crime mystery and the third installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery series. Granger, professor emerita at the UNC School of Medicine, uses her knowledge of human anatomy to craft her mysteries, including anatomical details of murder scenes and autopsies. Granger lives in Chapel Hill.

Just in time for tax season, William Bourbonnais shares financial and tax planning ideas in “You Can Deduct That?” (Certified Tax Coach LLC). The book is a collaboration of strategies from several professionals across the country. Bourbonnais is a certified tax coach and founder of Trigon Tax & Accounting in Raleigh.

For children

“Jaden Israel: America by Train” (Amazon) combines La’Wana Harris’ two favorite things: train travel and American history. In her most recent book, she invites children to join Jaden and his grandmother as they ride the rails across the United States. The book includes activity suggestions for teachers and parents. Harris has taken the train from Raleigh to Emeryville, Calif., many times. She lives in Raleigh.

For writers

Registration is open for the N.C. Writers’ Network’s 2017 Spring Conference to be held Saturday, April 22, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Fred Chappell, former N.C. poet laureate and inductee to the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame, will give the keynote address. For information, visit

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.