Daily Archives: September 13, 2023

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September 13, 2023 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , ,

Okay, I know it isn’t officially Autumn until September 22, but the kids are back in school, pumpkin spice everything is available again, and I have even seen a few trees with leaves that are starting to turn. Close enough for me.

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I don’t much enjoy the heat of summer, so the cooler days and sometimes almost-nippy nights fill me with anticipation.

From now until the end of the year, there is one happy event after another: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and several family birthdays. These holidays and their traditions mark the passage of our annual orbit of the sun. Before I know it, that “holiday feeling” inspires me to start singing It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. (Why did that allergy medicine have to use that as their advertising jingle?) No matter. For me it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Along with the change of seasons comes a spate of vendor fairs where I, along with some of my writing colleagues from the Bethlehem Writers Group, go to market our themed Sweet, Funny, and Strange® anthologies (including our award-winning first anthology: A Christmas Sampler: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales, and our award winning second anthology: Once Around the Sun: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales for All Seasons.) Meeting and talking with shoppers as they go from table to table picking up gifts for loved ones (while tasting traditional baked goods and beverages) adds to the fun of the season.

We even have some exciting news to share about our most recent title, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue. It was named a finalist for two international book awards: the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award. We’re honored by the recognition and pleased to put these medals on our book cover.

I also have a new novelette to peddle this fall. It’s entitled Apple, Table, Penny . . . Murder and tells of recently widowed Suzy Kemp who decides to downsize to an independent-living apartment in a retirement community. But when she goes in for her final health screening, she becomes confused and is abruptly confined to a memory care unit . . . with no way out. What’s worse, she suspects the late-night departure of another resident has a sinister cause. No one takes her suspicions seriously, so she’s determined to investigate on her own, to uncover what happened to her neighbor and to prove she hasn’t lost her mind. (And it’s set around Thanksgiving!) It’s available at online retailers, for order through brick-and-mortar stores, and, of course, at our vendor fairs.

Another of our members, Emily P. W. Murphy, has also recently published a delightful children’s book about being true to yourself. It’s entitled The Princess of Booray and is available anywhere you can find Apple, Table, Penny . . . Murder.

One more thing I look forward to this fall is that in November, for the first time, my BWG colleague Marianne H. Donley and I will be teaching a class on “Writing a Holiday Story” through the Aged to Perfection Chapter of Romance Writers of America. We look forward to sharing the fun of writing stories about a variety of holidays in different genres.

Meanwhile, we’re preparing to start Bethlehem Writers Group’s annual Short Story Award competition at the beginning of 2024. And this year’s theme? Serendipitously, it’s Holiday Stories! We’re looking for stories of 2000 words or fewer that incorporate any holiday from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, inclusive. The holiday must be an important element of the story. The winner will receive $250 plus the publication in either our upcoming anthology, Season’s Readings: More Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales, or in our literary journal, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. Second and third place winners receive $100 or $50 respectively and an offer of publication in Roundtable. The competition opens on January 1 and runs through March 31. Check the Roundtable website for more information. We’re really looking forward to reading all those holiday-inspired stories.

Also, I’m writing my own holiday story for the anthology and wondering how long it will be before we see those first few snowflakes flutter to the ground. Anticipation? It’s the best thing about this season.

I hope you, too, anticipate a very pleasant Fall and holiday season.

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