Hudson Vallye Writers Guild Newsletter, December 2013


Guild Announcements:

  • Approximately 50 attend Schenectady Community of Writers event
  • Annual Members Meeting held November 26

Member Announcements:

  • Signings for new book by Anne Samson December 6 & 14
  • Barbara Traynor featured in CNN Money article
  • M.E. Kemp spoke at Adirondack Community College
  • Linda Mary Wagner to publish memoir
  • Short memoir by Carol Derfner in new anthology
  • Carolee Bennett (Sherwood) participating in Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project

Area Announcements:

  • “A Door Ajar” Series Concludes at EMPAC December 5
  • Third Thursday to feature poet Tim Verhaegen (& “Sanity Clause”) December 19


Approximately 50 attend Schenectady Community of Writers event
The Community of Writers event, sponsored by Hudson Valley Writers Guild, the Schenectady County Public Library and NYS Council of the Arts, was held on November 24, the traditional Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving at Schenectady County Public Library, McChesney Room. This year’s featured writers once again represented and read from a mix of genres:

  • poetry from Alan Casline, Carol Graser, Mary Cufee Perez and Jan Marin Tramontano;
  • excerpts from novels from Phyllis Kulmatiski and Donna Lagone; and
  • memoir from Carl Strock.

The audience of approximately 50 people was filled with appreciative listeners, very responsive to the humor in several readers’ pieces and attentively quiet during moving segments. All authors brought books and broadsheets and were available for conversation, book-signings and sales before and after the readings. Light refreshments were provided by Friends of the Library. Honorary gift certificates to Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady were given to each author through funds engendered by Hudson Valley Writers Guild members and events.

We look forward to the 12th annual event in November 2014!

Annual Members Meeting held November 26
The Annual Members Meeting of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild was held on November 26 at the William K. Stafford Colonie Town Library. The agenda included reports by treasurer Bob Sharkey and membership chair David Wolcott which indicated the financial health of the organization due to on-going membership renewals. In addition, Bob Sharkey reported on the Guild’s grants this year to the Pine Hollow Arboretum reading series and to support the literary journal Up the River produced by

Dan Wilcox summarized this year’s programs, and Alan Catlin reported on the recent Community of Writers reading at the Schenectady Public Library (as detailed above). Mimi Moriarty reported on this year’s successful short fiction contest, while Jan Tramontano, who has taken over as the contest chair, gave a preview of the non-fiction contest to be held in 2014.After some discussion the following members were elected to the guild board:

  • Julie Lomoe and Marilyn Rothstein, both for second 3-year terms;
  • Dan Wilcox, for his first 3-year term after a year of not being on the board, as required by the by-Laws; and
  • new board members for 3-year terms Andrea Portnick and Barbara Traynor.

Congratulations to raffle winners Elaine Doremus and David Wolcott who each won $50 and to Andrea Portnick, Faith Green and Jan Tramontano who won books by local authors.


Signings for new book by Anne Samson December 6 & 14
Local author and HVWG member Anne Samson recently published a book called Abba House & Me: Prayer Changes Everything. The book is a tribute to the love and care of two women who operated Abba House of Prayer on Western Avenue in Albany for 30 years, Sister Libby Hoye and Sister Mary Gen Smyth. The book is part history of the Abba House ministry and part spiritual memoir of a challenging time in Anne’s family, when prayer and Abba House were lifelines. The book is available locally from the Book House and Market Block Books in Troy; it is also available from the publisher (Xulon Press), Amazon and as an e-book (Kindle, Nook, Apple).

Anne is having two book signings:

  • Friday, December 6, at 7 p.m. at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza and
  • Saturday, December 14, at her church, Christ our Light Catholic Church in Loudonville, after the 4 p.m. mass. A portion of the proceeds from book sales at that event will be donated to the church food pantry.

Barbara Traynor featured in CNN Money article
Barbara M. Traynor was interviewed in an on-line unique retirement lifestyle post for CNN MONEY. Melanie Hicken, personal finance reporter for CNN MONEY, posted the in-depth interview with Barbara (and other volunteer friends) who share her passion for volunteering at organizations that offer free room and board for their services. Her book — Second Career Volunteer, a passionate pennywise approach to a unique lifestyle — is available from her website ( and on Amazon or AuthorHouse.

M.E. Kemp spoke at Adirondack Community College
M.E.Kemp spoke at Adirondack Community College on Saturday, November 16, on what it’s like to be a mystery writer. Look for M.E.Kemp’s course on mystery writing to be held in April at the Troy Arts Center.  Kemp will go through the five elements that make up a mystery from detective to villain.

Linda Mary Wagner to publish memoir
Linda Mary Wagner is about to self-publish Unearthing the Ghosts: A Mystery Memoir, a coming-of age story interwoven with social history about mental illness and health. She is working with The Troy Book Makers (TBM) to print the book in softcover form and prepare it for e-book publication. Linda says, “I have a full-time job and have had to complete my manuscript and related publication and marketing efforts after my regular work hours. I’ve invested more than $5,000 of my own money this year to reach this point.” She launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to pay the balance of TBM’s bill for the printing of 500 copies. To learn more about my story and the project, please visit the project’s page at the Kickstarter site. Watch for details about book sales in a future edition of this newsletter.

Short memoir by Carol Derfner in new anthology
HVWG member Carol Derfner of Kinderhook announces that She Writes Press (out of Berkeley) has published one of her short memoirs in a new anthology, Times They Were A’ Changing: Women Remember the ‘60s & ‘70s. The anthology is the result of a national contest sponsored in 2012 by She Writes Press commemorating the 50th anniversary of so many socio-political milestones of the 1960s and 70s in America and chronicling the women’s legacy of that time. Derfner’s work is included along with that of 47 other authors from around the country. The 338-page soft cover book retails for $16.95 and can be purchased and downloaded through and or for $12 plus standard shipping from Derfner at

The third place winner of HVWG’s fiction contest in 2010, Derfner is an active participant in The Memoir Project at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society in Austerlitz and the Mavens of Mayhem, the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Derfner will be curating an evening of memoir by local writers, The Times They Were A’ Changing: Memories from the Sixties Generation, on March 3, 2014, as one of the Arts Center’s annual BookMarks series. Submissions are due February; guidelines can be found at

Carolee Bennett (Sherwood) participating in Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project
Starting today, Carolee will be writing a poem each day as one of the December poets for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project. In addition to being a creative exercise, the project is a fundraiser for the literary press. For Carolee, it’s the perfect combination: working on her favorite writing challenge (daily poems!) and helping her favorite press. You can keep up with Carolee’s writing this month at the project’s website here. Tupelo volunteers add new poems to the site a couple times a day, so check in often to follow along.

There are a number of ways you can cheer Carolee on and support a terrific press:

  • subscribe to the annual series (put “Carolee” in the ‘comments’ field; Carolee has set a goal of 3 subscribers for Tupelo… to include her own subscription and 2 others — it’s an amazing holiday gift!)
  • donate to the press via credit card (scroll down to form, put “Carolee” in the ‘honor’ field) or PayPal (click the button, put “Carolee” in the ‘message’ field).

No donation is too small — whether you can contribute $5 or $10 or $25 or whether you have someone special on your list (including yourself!) who would enjoy the subscription (9 books for $99). Writing in community has always been a part of Carolee’s process, as has writing — and publishing — daily. She says, “The press keeps us updated about all contributions — I’d love to feel everyone behind me as the month progresses!”

Carolee blogs at and will be posting about the project there. She lives in Albany with three not-so-little boys and their pug, works as a writer for local marketing agency Media Logic and pursues her MFA in creative writing through Ashland University in Ohio.


“A Door Ajar” Screening Series Continues at EMPAC December 5
“A Door Ajar” film series launched in October and continues this month. A film series about endings, “A Door Ajar” presents enigmatic films that refuse clichéd cinematic endings. Instead, these films revel in openness, leaving the door ajar for interpretation after the film ends. The series looks at perception and the desire to create meaning.

The final film will be viewed on Thursday, December 5: David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive. David Lynch’s last work on real celluloid film, 2001’s Mulholland Drive is a surrealist neo-noir thriller that scrutinizes the collective dream that is Los Angeles through a famously disjointed narrative.

For the full calendar of events and directions, visit Tickets are available online or by calling EMPAC’s box office at (518) 276.3921.

Third Thursday to feature poet Tim Verhaegen (& “Sanity Clause”) December 19
Local poet Tim Verhaegen will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, on Thursday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tim Verhaegen is a poet and writer of family memoir who has been writing, reading and workshopping his poems in area venues for many years.  Uniquely personal and often humorous, his readings are always engaging and entertaining. The evening will also include the annual holiday visit from “Sanity Clause,” with a gift of poetry for all who read in the open mic.

A reading by a local or regional poet is held each Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center. The event includes an open mic for audience members to read. Sign-up starts at 7 p.m., with the reading beginning at 7:30. The host of the readings is Albany poet and photographer Dan Wilcox. The suggested donation is $3, which helps support this and other poetry programs of the Poetry Motel Foundation, as well as the work of the Social Justice Center.  For more information about this event contact Dan Wilcox, 518-482-0262; e-mail:

* * *

Editor’s Note
I enjoy putting together this newsletter for the HVWG. As a member of the Guild and a working writer in our community, I recognize its incredible value and hope it is a terrific resource for you, as well. Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to improve it.

Here are some housekeeping notes:

  • Want your news item published in a future newsletter? Submit it to me at The deadline each month is the 25th, and the newsletter publishes on (or around) the 1st. Please note: All announcements are subject to editing.
  • Got issues with the newsletter formatting? other feedback? Please email that same address:
  • The Hudson Valley Writers Guild offers space in its newsletter for submission and program opportunities but does not endorse any programs or publications that are not offered through the Guild.