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New Release: An Element of Mystery

September 27, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , , ,

An Element of Mystery is available now in both print and ebook formats.

Dare you read our latest Sweet, Funny, and Strange® Anthology?

The Bethlehem Writers Group is pleased to present this collection of tales of mystery and intrigue—the latest in its award-winning series of Sweet, Funny, and Strange® anthologies. From classic whodunnits to tales of the unexplained, each of the twenty-three stories contained herein have an element of mystery that will keep you guessing and wanting to read just one more story.

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We’re thrilled to have old friends, but new members of BWG, join us this year. Award-winning author Debra H. Goldstein favors us with a mystery set among volunteers at a synagogue entitled “Death in the Hand of the Tongue,” while “Sense Memory,” by the multi-talented Paula Gail Benson, brings a

delightful mix of mystery and the paranormal that helps a young couple find their way to each other.

In addition, we are happy to bring you the winning stories from two of our annual Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award competitions: “Good Cop/Bad Cop” by Trey Dowell (2021 winner) and “The Tabac Man” by Eleanor Ingbretson (2022 winner).

You’ll also find stories from your favorite BWG authors, including Courtney Annicchiarico, Jeff Baird, Peter J Barbour, A. E. Decker, Marianne H. Donley, Ralph Hieb, DT Krippene, Jerry McFadden, Emily P. W. Murphy, Christopher D. Ochs, Dianna Sinovic, Kidd Wadsworth, Paul Weidknecht, and Carol L. Wright.

So get ready to be mystified . . . or intrigued!

An Element of Mystery is available now.

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Enter Here

September 13, 2022 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group

It began with a small door in an upstairs bedroom of a Cape Cod house in central Pennsylvania. Although Jacque Day Pallone had lived in the house for a number of years, neither she nor her husband had ever opened the door, assuming it led only into a small crawlspace. That got her to thinking what else it might lead to—if imagination were mixed in.

Jacque is one of five members of a small tribe of writers who called themselves The Hive, a spin-off of the Pennsylvania Horror Writers Association. Formed during the early days of the pandemic, the Hive members write primarily dark fiction. They embraced Jacque’s story idea, and Hive mate Cathy Jordan suggested the group use it as an anthology theme. Each Hive member contributed a story, and they called for other writers of dark fiction to submit.

This month, That Darkened Doorstep will be released by Sunbury Press. All of the stories touch on the detail of an unopened door and the consequences that might lie beyond it.

Between the anthology’s covers, you’ll find Jacque’s story, “Seeking a Good Woman,” Cathy’s story, “Lonely Is the Desperate Heart,” and 18 others, including one by Louisa May Alcott, “The Mummy’s Curse.”

The list includes a tale about a camping trailer with a mind of its own; a hard-luck woman who’s unstrung by her mother’s death; a house with a haunted history; a remote mountain lodge with a disturbing past; and a genetic experiment that has life-changing results.

And Jacque’s actual unopened door? She did finally open it—to find not a crawlspace, but an actual room, ten feet deep. The next mystery is why was it built, but that’s for another day.

picture of dianna sinovic

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna Sinovic has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

Dianna is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC.

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Putting Words to Paper by Ralph Hieb

August 13, 2022 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group

The reason I write is for my pleasure. The joy of putting thoughts from my head down on paper is thrilling, especially if it is in a story that is enjoyable.

I can take a scene of combatants and put that heat of battle into the mind of the reader. They can imagine every swing of a sword or the sudden blast as a gun spews its lethal venom at an adversary. When done right, you can smell the odor of spent powder. Maybe the fragrant scent of a flower as it sends out its invitation to a pollinating insect. The mind can smell what the mind imagines. A powerful tool for me to utilize.

The images that can be placed on a sheet of paper have no limits. I can find myself, in the form of my characters, sailing a ship on the high seas or flying through the depths of space. Sometimes being lowered by rope to explore uncharted caverns in the Earth’s crust. There are times I would think that the story is a memoir of times when I was existing in another realm.

There are scenes that can describe sweet flowers blooming in a meadow on a mountain, the warmth of the sun with its brightness making the world magical. Or the chill of wandering through a forest with tall trees, their branches blocking the sun from reaching the ground, the dampness of rotting vegetation seeping to the very bones of a person. These places are hard to find but easy to come across with a description from the vision in my mind.

You might think that these are strange thoughts coming from a person who generally writes paranormal. However, not all the tales I have written contain ghosts, vampires, werewolves, or the other creatures that might go bump in the night. Sometimes I do dream of having a log cabin in the mountains situated at the edge of a lake with good fishing. These dreams need to find a home on paper along with the Dennison’s of dark imagination.

There are also times I sit down to write, and the words or ideas refuse to come to the surface of my thoughts. These are times I write just to scribble. These are things that make no sense whatsoever. It is only to keep my fingers on the keyboard and stop me from checking my social media accounts, going through my e-mail, or browsing stories that the news media thinks are important. These are times when only playing on the keyboard will, hopefully, bring ideas forth.

So, there you have it. My thoughts on writing putting words or ideas down for not only myself to enjoy, but, I hope, for others to see the visions laid out on paper or electronic device for them to imagine along with me.

Ralph’s Books

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Getting in Touch with the Right Side of my Brain by Peter J Barbour

July 13, 2022 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , ,

Betty Edwards’ book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (1),” opened my eyes to a reality I hadn’t fully appreciated. As a neurologist, I understand the functions assigned to various locations within the brain. However, I never completely respected the dominant hemisphere’s power. Most people are right-handed indicating the left half of the brain is their dominant hemisphere, the center for logic and language. If I let it, my dominant hemisphere rules, governing by talking constantly and ruminating, at times, keeping me up at night reviewing, reminding, advising, revising, and creating anxiety. It can be unrelenting and exhausting.

Pop culture has long espoused that the right, non-dominant, hemisphere, in right-handed people, is the center of creativity. However, functional anatomic studies have not proven that hypothesis; and, in general, the concept of strict lateralization of creativity to the right side of the brain is no longer accepted. Nevertheless, that historic, theoretic construct remains useful for this discussion. (2)

What happened to the right half of the brain or wherever innovation resides? According to Betty Edwards, the education system took care of that by heavily favoring a curriculum of dominant hemisphere activities with emphasis on communicating through reading, writing, speaking, and exercising logic. The dominant side of the brain perceives the parts of things and processes in a linear sequential fashion. On the other hand, the innovative centers tend to be more spontaneous and conscious of the whole.

Right brain development became stunted halfway through elementary school. Betty Edwards points out, if one tries to sketch a picture of something, for many of us whose left-brain dominates, the depiction looks primitive, like something created in fourth grade. Try to draw anything and the left brain won’t allow it. Instead, it names the thing, consciously or unconsciously, and the right hand obeys producing a stereotypical likeness of the object rather than the article observed. The dominant hemisphere takes over limiting creativity.

How can I shut down my left hemisphere, let the right-side shine, and escape the constant banter interfering with sleep and relaxation, and stifling inventiveness? What happens when I finally break away, escaping the left hemisphere’s tyranny. I find quiet and peace. Time flies.

Meditation is one way to achieve this. I turn off the voice, listen to my surroundings, concentrate on breathing. Who knows, if I focus on nothingness long enough, someone wiser than I once suggested, I may hear the angels whispering. Our North American culture doesn’t generally allow for guiltless free unproductive time, making meditation difficult.

I’ve discovered other activities with the hope of reaching the same end. My answer to that conundrum involves incorporating a constructive activity with the mediative practice. I stand in a stream with water rushing past me. An egret walks slowly on the opposite shore staring in my direction. I cast and retrieve a feather tied to a hook at the end of a long line, concentrate on the process, commune with nature. I may even catch a fish. I play a musical instrument, doesn’t matter how well. Music is about spatial relationships, a non-dominant hemisphere specialty. I paint a picture and become a part of the scene, lost in the color, and the lines. I walk among the flowers on the canvas, smell their fragrance, feel the breeze ruffling the leaves. Free the right hemisphere. Time flies.

That brings me to writing/composing. Harness the left brain. Creating fiction is like painting. My pallet is filled with words. I paint with them, craft images, dissolve into the story, live the mystery, fly among the stars to strange worlds, survive a dystopia, fall in love, reminisce, dream, get lost, find my way, escape into a world I create.

1. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards, 1979, Simon and Shuster.

2. Robert Schmerling, Harvard Health Publishing

Peter Barbour has been writing for over thirty years. He published “Loose Ends,” a memoir, in 1987, followed by a series of short stories from 1992 to 1995.  “The Fate of Dicky Paponovitch” won Raconteur of the Month, May 1994, Raconteur Magazine, Susan Carrol Publishing. Since 2015, he has published more than twenty-five short stories which have appeared in, and, The Piker Press, Rue Scribe, Star Light Path, and ArtPost Magazine. His short story, “Why Bats Live in Caves,” can be found in “Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales,” an anthology from the Bethlehem Writers Group. Barbour wrote and illustrated three children’s books, “Gus at Work,”  “Oscar and Gus,” and “Tanya and the Baby Elephant.” He is a member of the Bethlehem Writers Group. Links to his stories and illustrations can be found at Barbour enjoys deconstructing stories to see how they are put together. He grew up loving the Wizard of Oz series, and dutifully read each book in the series to his children. The hero goes on a journey is one of his favorite themes.

He loves the outdoors, and especially the Pacific Northwest, which serves as the setting for many of his stories. He is married, and likes to travel, which affords him the opportunity to absorb new experiences from which to write. Barbour attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and Temple University School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. He completed his residency training in Neurology, at Stanford University School of Medicine and practiced medicine in the Lehigh Valley until 2015 when he retired.

He believes that what comes from the heart goes to the heart.

Pete’s Books

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Oh Horrors! by Dianna Sinovic

June 13, 2022 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , ,

I love attending writers’ conferences—big or small—I always come away with something. It might be a bit of craft, a new tool or resource, or new-found friends. Often, it’s all of the above. Time and budget allow me just a few conferences each year, and for the last two years, it’s been virtual-only.

Last month, I was in Denver to attend StokerCon, the national conference for the Horror Writers Association. It was not only a chance to mingle in person with attendees (including a fav author), but also to hang out with three friends who joined me there.

What I did I come away with? So much! The panel discussions were thought-provoking (What makes cosmic horror cosmic?) and/or just plain fun (a friend featured at an author reading). People-watching was fabulous, especially at the mass author signing, which put authors elbow to elbow at long, long tables. And there was ice cream . . .

Ellen Dartlow, Stephen Graham Jones, and Dianna Sinovic

I bought books—plenty of them—and kicked myself for not bringing an extra bag to stash them in. I bought raffle tickets for signed copies of several books. (Good thing I didn’t win, because where would I have put them?) And I signed up for a T-shirt drawing (and won!).

The conference ambience was enhanced by the setting, the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. Each floor is decorated with a different theme; the 13th floor—yes, there is a 13th—is dedicated to horror. Of course.

My regrets? There was so much excellent programming that I couldn’t fit in everything I wanted to see. And I got there a day too late to attend a pre-party at the Stanley Hotel, the location in Estes Park for The Shining.

StokerCon 2023, here I come!

picture of dianna sinovic

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna Sinovic has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

Books from Bethlehem Writers Group

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