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Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC January Featured Author of of the Month

January 7, 2020 by in category Contests, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , , , ,

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.

BWG has published five anthologies. Each anthology has an overall theme—broadly interpreted—but includes a variety of genres, and 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.

Besides anthologies and yearly writing contests, the group publishes a quarterly literary journal, The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and hosts twice monthly writing workshops and a critique groups for local members.  You can see the schedule of BWG meetings and events, including author signings  here.


An Interview

BWG members Carol L. Wright and A. E. Decker were interview for The WriteNow! Workshop podcast with Kitty Bucholtz.

Carol and A.E. share their wisdom and experiences in creating an online literary magazine. They explain how it all started, some of the mistakes made along the way, and how they found their groove.

In addition to the quarterly literary magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable (a paying market!), the group also publishes an anthology of short stories every other year. Early each year they host a contest based on the theme of the anthology. The annual winners are published in the anthology, and the runners-up are published in the online magazine. A celebrity judge chooses the best story. In 2019, John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, was the final judge. In 2020, Spencer Quinn/Peter Abrahams, author of the Chet & Bernie Mysteries, will be the celebrity judge.

More information on the contest can be found just below the video.


Next up for BWG

BWG is working on their sixth anthology, Fur, Feathers, & Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales. 

In connection with this anthology, they are hosting The Bethlehem Writers 2020 Short Story Award

The 2020 Short Story Award opened on January 1, 2020.  The theme will be Animal Stories, broadly interpreted. Stories of 2,000 words or fewer about WILD ANIMALSPETS, or IMAGINARY BEASTS will be welcome (so long as an animal is an important character or element of the story).

The winner will receive $200 and may be offered publication in the above mentioned upcoming anthology. The 2020 Guest Judge is Edgar Award winning and NYT best-selling author Peter Abrahams/Spenser Quinn.

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January Featured Author of of the Month: Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

January 1, 2020 by in category Contests, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

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.

BWG has published five anthologies. Each anthology has an overall theme—broadly interpreted—but includes a variety of genres, and 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.

Besides anthologies and yearly writing contests, the group publishes a quarterly literary journal, The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and hosts twice monthly writing workshops and a critique groups for local members.  You can see the schedule of BWG meetings and events, including author signings  here.

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER
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About A Christmas Sampler

Christmas is a time for love, laughter, and wonder. A Christmas Sampler: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales, is an award-winning compilation of twenty-three Christmas stories commissioned by the Bethlehem Writers Group to capture all of Christmas’s myriad possibilities.

Paul Weidknecht’s “Those Things Remembered” is about a long-time mall Santa who realizes he has forgotten a child’s name. Courtney Annicchiarico believes against all evidence that she is pregnant in “Mis-conceptions.” Hilarity reigns in Headley Hauser’s explanation of a bachelor’s Christmas traditions in “A Modern Single Holiday.” In Carol L. Wright’s “You Better Watch Out” a small-town lawyer takes on a mystery when Santa falls from her roof three weeks before Christmas. In “Walter and Stella,” by Ralph Hieb, Walter finds himself dead on Christmas Eve, but refuses to leave his beloved alone for the holiday. And in “The Perfect Gift,” Emily P. W. Murphy explores that moment in a relationship when one partner is ready for marriage, and the other seems not to notice.

This premier anthology also features stories by Jeff Baird, Carol A. Hanzl Birkas, Cindy Kelly, Jerome W. McFadden, Stanley W. McFarland, Sally Wyman Paradysz, Jo Ann Schaffer, and Will Wright.
These heartwarming, hope-filled, and hilarious tales will delight readers of any age.


Next up for BWG

BWG is working on their sixth anthology, Fur, Feathers, & Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales. 

In connection with this anthology, they are hosting The Bethlehem Writers 2020 Short Story Award

The 2020 Short Story Award will open on January 1, 2020.  The theme will be Animal Stories,broadly interpreted. Stories of 2,000 words or fewer about WILD ANIMALSPETS, or IMAGINARY BEASTS will be welcome (so long as an animal is an important character or element of the story).

The winner will receive $200 and may be offered publication in the above mentioned upcoming anthology. The 2020 Guest Judge is Edgar Award winning and NYT best-selling author Peter Abrahams/Spenser Quinn.

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Steampunk a Different Reality by Ralph Hieb

August 17, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

This month A Slice of Orange welcomes BWG member, Ralph Hieb.

Ralph Hieb grew up in New Jersey. After spending time overseas serving in the military, he returned home to New Jersey. While attending college he met his wife Nancy.

During the time he spent stationed Europe he didn’t miss an opportunity to travel around. Sightseeing and enjoying the culture are things that he still loves to this day.

Both Ralph and Nancy enjoy traveling to places that they have never been to, though sometimes they like to revisit former destinations. They want to visit Australia and New Zealand someday.

Ralph enjoys reading paranormal novels. He decided that he should try and write one. He is currently writing short stories, but a novel is in his future.


Steam Punk a Different Reality

I have been reading a lot of Steampunk novels lately. And I find them to be not only entertaining but very creative.

For instance if you wish to go somewhere in a hurry and it is only 1896 then you can go to the local airship terminal and board a dirigible for wherever your destination is. Then when you arrive you can either take a steam locomotive or an electric powered engine or even a steam powered carriage to the street or farm maybe even an estate that is your final destination.

Say you are going to an estate for a weekend grouse hunting. You back your Winchester gas powered, bird long barrel, weapon with spare chemical mixing tubes so that you will not run out of ammunition. Or maybe a Ruger X17R handgun with grenade launching abilities. There can be a variety of combinations or names for your weapons and their uses. Make up whatever name you like for the weapon. After all it only exists for the character in your story. I know of one individual that put a request on Facebook for people to submit names for his weapons. He received a lot of ideas.

Speaking of weapons, even clothing can be used to hold weapons, or might even become one. A man might have a small gun or knife in his hatband, or even a Derringer size pistol attached to the underside of the crown in is hat. Also knife blades that appear from the toe of his shoe while another curved slicing blade ejects from the heel, hitting a target several feet behind him. A woman can have well balanced throwing knives used as hatpins and she is protected by her bulletproof corset. A decoration in her hat might be a mechanical bird that zeros in on whoever she wishes it to attack.

Most of the Steampunk novels I have read take place during Queen Victoria’s reign. Some even offer a different reality as the British Empire won the American Revolution and all other wars that it ever fought, going back to when Boudica defeated the Romans in 60 A.D. maybe the San Francisco earthquake never happened and the city became so large the it rivals New York or London. I read one book where the city kept building higher and higher so that it had sidewalks for every additional layer with elevators to lift people to the higher walkways. Needless to say, the ones on the bottom level had sewage running down the streets, but steam powered pumps kept it flowing.

Steampunk will quite often use supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, and demons in the telling of the stories. You may find these very lax guidelines make it easy to get your protagonist or antagonist into a world of difficulties. But then again they might happen to have a strange new weapon with an unpronounceable name that can efficiently deal with the situation. As everything else in this world you do not have to comply with known facts but can alter history or items to your own specifications, or interests, to move the story along.

So, I think Steampunk can be a useful format to let my imagination really run wild.


Books by Ralph Hieb

Ralph Hieb

Ralph Hieb grew up in New Jersey. After spending time overseas serving in the military, he returned home to New Jersey. While attending college he met his wife Nancy.

During the time he spent stationed Europe he didn’t miss an opportunity to travel around. Sightseeing and enjoying the culture are things that he still loves to this day.
Both Ralph and Nancy enjoy traveling to places that they have never been to, though sometimes they like to revisit former destinations. They want to visit Australia and New Zealand someday.

Ralph enjoys reading paranormal novels. He decided that he should try to write one. He is currently writing short stories, but a novel is in his future.

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

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A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

A READABLE FEAST

Buy now!
A READABLE FEAST
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

LET IT SNOW

Buy now!
LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

Buy now!
ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

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ONCE UPON A TIME
UNTETHERED: SWEET, FUNNY, AND STRANGE TALES OF THE PARANORMAL
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Conference Conundrums by Diane Sismour

May 13, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , ,
a cabin background with the title from a cabin in the words featuring members of Bethlehem Writers Group, Diane Sismour
Diane Sismour | A Slice of Orange

Diane Sismour has written poetry and fiction for over 35 years in multiple genres. She lives with her husband in eastern Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Diane is a member of Romance Writers of America, Bethlehem Writer’s Group LLC, Horror Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.  She enjoys interviewing other authors and leading writer’s workshops.


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Conference Conundrums

Diane Sismour

There are hundreds of writing conferences across the country every year, all vying for our attention. The promise of intriguing workshops and spellbinding keynote speakers up the ante, agents and editors add promise, and do not forget the networking opportunities. Although good writing is the objective, in an era when “who you know,” is as important as “what you know,” need I say more. So how do you choose which events are best for you? 

Small Conferences Can Be Cost Effective

To get the most for your money, there are small conferences providing an array of workshops on craft and the business of writing, without the expensive speakers, or sit down dinners. The incidentals of a nomad on the road are costly. Find a venue within driving distance to avoid hotel stays, and remember to pack plenty of snacks and beverages. Your local writing group or library can help guide you to the events in your area. The Shaw Guide to Writer’s Conferences and Workshops has wonderful information on a huge variety of conferences, workshops, retreats and events all around the world. Another is fabulous source is the Romance Writers of America website. For non-romance writers, RWA members are inclusive and the conference workshops are more about craft and business than romance.

Workshops by outstanding speakers can make a difference in how the information translates to your writing needs. These sessions are usually not part of the general registration and are often times pre-conference workshops, requiring additional fees. However, some people are just better teachers and are worth the charge. They communicate concepts in interesting ways that translate to the “ah ha” moments we all love feeling when a connection is grasped.

Save for One Big Conference

I do recommend saving for one big conference to enjoy all the pomp and glitter. Ogle at the incredible authors at the literary signings and go to every extra activity you can find. Not only is this an amazing way to make your muse sit up and take notice of what fun can be had, but after falling asleep from exhaustion every night, you’re too tired for nerves to interfere at the agent/editor appointments. Okay, maybe a little anxious, but remember that they are the same people who passed you the sugar that morning, and you had no problem chatting to them about everyday life.

Plan Your Conference

A few important facts to remember: Figure out your objectives and stick to them; go to workshops targeted to move your writing forward, or inform on a subject you’re curious about pursuing. Bring business cards; you’ll make lots of contacts and a few new friends. Realize many of the people you meet may sit across from you at the pitch table; edit your verbal thoughts everywhere. Most of all have fun and relax; you are paying to attend. 

Good luck and Happy Writing

~Diane


You Can Find Some of Diane’s Short Stories in the Following Anthologies and Books

A READABLE FEAST

Buy now!
A READABLE FEAST
FIRST IMPRESSIONS SECOND CHANGES
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

LET IT SNOW

Buy now!
LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

Buy now!
ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

Buy now!
ONCE UPON A TIME

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The Bethlehem Writers Round Table 2019 Short Story Award

March 4, 2019 by in category Writing Contest tagged as , , ,

The 2019 Short Story Award will open on January 1, 2019

Our theme will be Animal Stories, broadly interpreted.

Stories of 2,000 words or fewer about WILD ANIMALS,PETS, or IMAGINARY BEASTS will be welcome (so long as an animal is an important character or element of the story).


The winner will receive $200 and may be offered publication in our upcoming anthology.

For more information or to enter follow this link.

A few writing promts to help you come up with a winning story.

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