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The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2022 Short Story Award

January 13, 2022 by in category Contests, From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Writing Contest tagged as , , , ,

A bird on a tree branch

BWG is working on their Seventh anthology, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue.

In connection with this anthology, they are hosting The Bethlehem Writers 2022 Short Story Award. 

The 2022 Short Story Award opened January 1, 2022. The theme is An Element of Mystery (broadly interpreted).

BWG is seeking never-published short stories of 2,000 words or fewer. First Place will receive $250 and publication in their upcoming anthology: An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue or in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.

The final judge of the 2022 Short Story Award is New York Times best-selling author Kate Carlisle. You can read Katie’s interview here.


Books from Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), founded in 2006, is a community of mutually supportive, fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories, spanning a range of genres including: children’s, fantasy, humor, inspiration, literary, memoir, mystery, paranormal, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult.

See the schedule of meetings and events here.


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Featured Author: Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

January 7, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Contests, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , , ,

About Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), is a community of mutually supportive fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories. BWG also publishes quality fiction through their online literary journal, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and their award-winning  A Sweet, Funny, and Strange Anthology series.

Each anthology has an overall theme—broadly interpreted—but includes a variety of genres. All but the first anthology include stories from the winner(s) of The Bethlehem Writers Short Story Award.

Their first anthology, A Christmas Sampler: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales (2009), won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Best Anthology and Best Short Fiction.

Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales is the latest in A Sweet, Funny, and Strange Anthology. BWG is proud to report this title also won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Best e-Book and Best Cover Design (Fiction).

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About Fur, Feathers and Scales

The award-winning “Sweet, Funny, and Strange” series of anthologies from the Bethlehem Writers Group, continues with this collection of twenty-five tales about real, legendary, or imaginary animals. From snakes to ducks to unicorns, there are tales here to match any mood, provide a chuckle, or warm a heart.

Among our tales, Peter Barbour recounts a legend in “Why Bats Live in Caves,” Jerome W. McFadden asks the question of what animal to choose to be in “Recycled,” A. E. Decker shares an appreciation of cephalopods in “Tipping Point,” Ralph Hieb imagines an unconventional pet in “Buttons,” and Diane Sismour, in “Critter,” reveals that mules are not the only equines that can have a stubborn streak.

In addition, we are happy to present the winning stories from the 20 I 9 and 2020 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Awards. Angela Albertson, our 20I9 winner, shares her heartfelt “Oranges and Roses,” and our 2020 winner, Brett Wolff, gives us a good laugh in “Hubbard Has a Fancy Bra.”

This eclectic assemblage of stories includes terrific tales from beloved BWG authors including Courtney Annicchiarico, Jeff Baird, Jodi Bogert, Marianne H. Donley, DT Krippene, Emily P. W. Murphy, Christopher D. Ochs, Dianna Sinovic, Kidd Wads­worth, Paul Weidknecht, Carol L. Wright, and Will Wright.

So cuddle up with your favorite pet-real or imaginary. No matter. You’ll find just the right story to share.


Next up for BWG

A bird on a tree branch

BWG is working on their Seventh anthology, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue.

In connection with this anthology, they are hosting The Bethlehem Writers 2022 Short Story Award

The 2022 Short Story Award will open on January 1, 2022. The theme will be An Element of Mystery (broadly interpreted).

BWG is seeking never-published short stories of 2,000 words or fewer.  First Place will receive $250 and publication in their upcoming anthology: An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue or in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.

The final judge of the 2022 Short Story Award is New York Times best-selling author Kate Carlisle


Books from Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), founded in 2006, is a community of mutually supportive, fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories, spanning a range of genres including: children’s, fantasy, humor, inspiration, literary, memoir, mystery, paranormal, romance, science fiction, women’s fiction, and young adult.

See the schedule of meetings and events here.


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Happy Virtual Holiday! by Carol L. Wright

December 13, 2021 by in category Writing

Each year, until 2020, our writers’ group has enjoyed getting together toward the end of every year to simply enjoy food, games, and each other’s company. But of course, that hasn’t been possible during the pandemic. What’s more, several of our members have moved to be closer to family in other parts of the country since Covid-19 made it harder to travel.

Fortunately, technology has allowed our group to continue to hold our regular meetings virtually. There’s very little we cannot do on Zoom that we could do in person. We still read each other’s work and offer critiques. We still root for each other as we submit our work. We still plan group projects and publish our quarterly literary journal, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. We still run our annual Short Story Award competition. (In fact, our 2022 contest opens on January 1 with the theme “An Element of Mystery.” Get your stories of 2000 words or fewer ready to win cash and publication.)

But these are all things we can do from our separate locations without having to be face-to-face. Can we really have a fun holiday party that way? How would we play games? How could we exchange gifts?

There’s a reason holiday parties are so popular. Neighbors, businesses, and yes, writers’ groups have them for much the same reasons. They are a way of marking the progress of time. Another year has passed, and we can take a moment to sit back and relax, socialize, and reflect on all we have accomplished over the past twelve months. Friendship, loyalty, and trust are important for productive and fruitful relationships, and each is enhanced by having social relationships—not just work relationships. We rejoice with each other when things go well, help each other where we can, and care for each other during the tougher days when just being there is all we can do.

So, this year, we’re going to have our holiday party again—despite being spread over eight states and four time zones. How? you ask. Well, we’ve figured out a way.

We will meet on Zoom, but each wear our party clothes—or ugly sweaters—and instead of bringing food to share, we’ll bring snacks to enjoy.

We have traditionally had a game or two at our parties. One has usually been a trivia game, but that’s hard in a virtual setting. Fortunately, I found a PowerPoint or Google Slides template for a Jeopardy-style game at: https://www.slidescarnival.com/jeopardy-free-presentation-template/11277. You can easily create the categories that are right for your group. A reading group might want questions about literature—or even the books read over the previous year. A writers’ group might have columns such as Grammar Goofs or Copyeditor’s Marks. A knitters’ group could include Tell Me a Yarn. (Actually, a storytellers’ group could do that, too.) For a group with members who observe many different holidays this time of year, there can be a category for each one. All the emcee needs to do is run an internet search for trivia about needlework or grammar or Shakespeare or Kwanzaa and write the questions. Then, with a shared screen, everyone should have a chance to play along. No buzzers—especially for a large group, but each person who comes up with the right “question” can credit themselves with the appropriate number of points. Then whoever amasses the most points can win the honor of going first in the gift exchange. (Here’s where that mutual trust thing kicks in.)

The most problematic aspect of a virtual party, of course is a long-distance gift exchange. In other years we did a round-robin exchange where each memer drew a number from a hat. The one with #1 selects a gift from the pile and opens it. Then #2 goes next and has the option of taking the gift #1 opened or opening a new one. If #2 takes the first gift, #1 gets to open a new gift. Then #3 can steal either of the opened gifts or unwrap one that is still in the pile. And so on. Then, after everyone has a gift, #1 has a last chance to swap with anyone they choose. It’s nice being #1.

Well, with no central location, no pile of gifts, this year we’re not only randomly handing out numbers, each gift is assigned a letter. This year, we lowered the total value of the gifts for the exchange to allow us to ship items to each other without it all costing more than previous years.

Our party is tomorrow, and we hope it will be a worthy substitute for our prior celebrations—just as we hope, whether you’re able to come together in person or just virtually with your friends, colleagues, and family, that you and yours have a festive and healthy holiday season and a productive and happy new year.

Carol L. Wright escaped a career in law and academia for one in writing. She loves creating her Gracie McIntyre mysteries where, unlike in life, justice always prevails. The first in the series, DEATH IN GLENVILLE FALLS, was a finalist for both a 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award. She also writes short stories in many genres that have been published in a variety of literary journals and award-winning anthologies. She has compiled some of her favorites in A CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET and other stories, published in 2019. To find out more , visit her website at: http://CarolLWright.com.


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Happy Hallothanksgivingmas by D. T. Krippene

November 13, 2021 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

In case you missed it, Halloween was the starting gun for blubber season. Nothing like ingesting bags of candy to get things rolling. If you were diet-conscious, bars of hyperactive-inducing sugar were available in “mini” sizes – an oxymoron if ever there was.  Local stores stocked shelves in August, but those who waited until the first of October to purchase might have been disappointed. Space was needed to make room for Christmas decorations. 

What happened to Thanksgiving?  People already have their Christmas trees up before the turkey is bought. When did it become the norm to play holiday music before we’ve had a chance to scrape egg off the front door because we left the lights off on Halloween? I feel as if all three holidays have been smooshed together, with Thanksgiving wedged between the others as a wannabe. 

Thanksgiving is the day we’re expected to watch a New York City parade with inane commentary and vintage cartoon characters nobody remembers. We see relatives that hadn’t graced our door for a year, then remember later why. It’s a sacred celebration where the arrangement of food on an individual plate becomes a science, and we gorge like our prehistoric forbearers when they felled a mammoth.  Would you like leg meat or trunk?  

Food offerings are as varied and quirky as our relatives. What is left on the plate when finished, like Aunt Mildred’s cranberry-scrapple gelatin mold, returns every year so everyone can hate it all over again.  The meal is often mid-day, to allow for slumbering digestion to the spa-like sounds of slamming athletic helmets on TV, followed by an encore visit to the kitchen.  Always lots of cranberry-scrapple gelatin left. 

I put some of the blame on conscientious health fanatics who chagrin our tendency for culinary excess. We live in a time of Paleo diets and CrossFit training.  Paleo is defined as what our prehistoric ancestors foraged before animal husbandry and agriculture, which to me, suggests anything that moved was fair game.  CrossFit is defined as a conditioning program that employs “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains.” I’ve always thought of the annual gorge as a high-intensity workout, but since it doesn’t occur across broad time and modal domains, I’m guessing it doesn’t count. 

Maybe what we need is a different kind of Thanksgiving event that appeals to people like me whose exercise regimen consists of rolling out of bed. Let’s call it the Blubber Trot. Participants hop about with flabs of steel barely contained by Kevlar reinforced spandex. The first hundred finishers get to be first in line at the communal Horn-of-Plenty table. Those who don’t finish have to watch Hunger Games without popcorn. Paying spectators will be allowed to wander the leftover carnage and ask, “Are you going to eat that?”

As always, I’ll be flexing my Thanksgiving consumption with extreme prejudice. Once I’m done filling my gastrointestinal cistern with enough calories to heat a small city, I’ll need a solid concrete cap on that toxic well.  I’m going for the pumpkin cheesecake. 

Hats off to the intrepid writers immersed in NaNoWriMo. I hope your hard-working efforts don’t result in a take-out Thanksgiving meal or relegated to turkey sandwiches with a side order of cranberry sauce that retains the shape of the can it came in. 

Happy Hallothanksgivingmas to one and all. 


Anthologies with D. T. Krippene’s Stories

DT Krippene

A native of Wisconsin and Connecticut, DT Krippene deserted aspirations of being a biologist to live the corporate dream and raise a family. After six homes, a ten-year stint in Asia, and an imagination that never slept, his annoying muse refuses to be hobbled as a mere dream. Dan writes dystopia, paranormal, and science fiction. His current project is about a young man struggling to understand why he was born in a time when humans are unable to procreate and knocking on extinction’s door.

You can find DT on his website and his social media links.
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Oh Dear—There Goes Another Member of Our Town!

October 13, 2021 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , ,

When one writes a series, no matter what the genre, which repeatedly uses the same community or town as its setting, readers eventually begin to fear for the lives of anyone visiting or living there. Their fear makes them question the reality of the world the writer is creating. This problem is often referred to as Cabot Cove Syndrome. The fictional syndrome, whose name was coined from the television show, Murder She Wrote, is attributed to the finding of bodies repeatedly in the small town of Cabot Cove, Maine. After running for twelve years, not to mention the books and movies the show spawned, the BBC calculated Cabot Cove’s murder rate at 1490 per million, which translated to about two percent of its residents.

Number like that, if the town existed, would definitely make one leery of spending time in Cabot Cove. Readers feel the same way when reading a series. They want a cast of repeated characters who become like family, but they also want the character roster expanded enough that the dead victim(s) and the guilty party aren’t always characters introduced for the first time in that book. Consequently, to keep readers attracted to a series, authors must employ different methods to vary their stories.

Obviously, the town can easily be avoided by having the protagonist take a trip. That may work well in a thriller or suspense novel, but not in a cozy where the small town setting itself becomes a character. Neither Murder She Wrote nor Louise Penney’s books would be the same if they weren’t repeatedly set in Cabot Cove or Three Pines.

Another method is to introduce characters in minor roles and let them evolve in subsequent books in the series. For example, in One Taste Too Many, the first book in my Sarah Blair series, I introduced Grace Winston as a culinary student interning with Sarah’s sister, Chef Emily. Grace has several scenes in One Taste where readers learn about her personality, health, and history. Because Grace is referenced again in Two Bites Too Many, she remains one of many familiar characters in the reader’s mind. Her scenes become important in Three Treats Too Many, where Grace is now the sous chef for Emily’s restaurant. In fact, the title of the book comes from an idea she raises with Emily, Sarah, and Emily’s boyfriend, Marcus, during a menu brainstorming session. Although she still is a secondary character, the reader learns about Grace’s partner and sees Grace caught in a culinary job dilemma between restaurant rivals.

Four Cuts Too Many begins a few days after Three Treats Too Many ends. Grace’s dilemma is the impetus for a meeting between Sarah and Grace. Within pages, the reader sees Grace’s role expand as now, besides being a sous chef for Emily, Grace is teaching a knife skills course at the community college. After she has a run-in with her department head and he is found dead with one of her knives protruding from his neck, Grace becomes the primary suspect.

The importance of Grace taking a major role in Four Cuts Too Many is that her character is known and liked by readers. Consequently, they want Sarah to help vindicate Grace. Although the corpse may be someone new to the community, there is enough familiarity for the story to feel like a continuous extension of a discussion between friends. This developed continuity and affection for the characters is what lets readers suspend the impact Cabot Cove Syndrome might have.

For a chance to win a print or e-book copy of Four Cuts Too Many (U.S. only), tell me, how do you feel about Cabot Cove Syndrome in the books you read?

Four Cuts Too Many

Sarah Blair, who finds kitchens more frightening than murder, gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in her friend’s culinary school serves up a main corpse. Sarah soon finds that there’s no time to mince words when it comes to finding the real killer. 

Includes quick and easy recipes!

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Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series. Her short stories and novels have been Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, and Silver Falchion finalists. Debra is on the national board of MWA and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and was the Guppy Chapter president.

Learn more about Debra at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com .


More Books by Debra H. Goldstein

DAY OF THE DARK

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DAY OF THE DARK

FOUR CUTS TOO MANY

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FOUR CUTS TOO MANY

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

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ONE TASTE TOO MANY

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

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THREE TREATS TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

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TWO BITES TOO MANY

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