Hudson Valley Writers Guild newsletter, August 2015


Guild Announcements:

  • REMINDER: Hudson Valley Writers Guild Poetry Contest deadline is August 15
  • HVWG 2015 mid-year membership report

Member Announcements:

  • Down & Out Books to publish Welcome Back, Jack by Liam Sweeny
  • News from M.E. Kemp
  • NPR’s “All Things Considered” features James Schlett’s newly released book
  • New issue of Misfit Magazine now live online

Area Announcements:

  • 29th Annual Altamont Fair Poetry Reading: August 12
  • Arthur’s Market & Cafe 2nd Wednesday Poetry to feature Bunkong “BK” Tuon August 12
  • Next Year’s Words announces its first 2015-2016 event: Art & writing walk/reading August 16
  • Third Thursday to feature poet Michael Platsky August 20
  • Local Writer Debby Mayer to read new fiction at Roe Jan Library August 23
  • “Inquiring Minds” reading & discussion August 23
  • Hudson River Coffee Company reading & open mic September 24
  • Casting call: “Veterans’ Voices: Ajax in America”
  • Register for Tinker Mountain Writers’ online workshops
  • Harvey Havel publishes The Thruway Killers
  • Submission opportunity: Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
  • Publisher looking for Hudson Valley writers


REMINDER: Hudson Valley Writers Guild Poetry Contest deadline is August 15
One to three previously unpublished poems may be submitted. Poems must not exceed 40 lines. Contact information must not appear anywhere on the submission. A cover letter must include: name, address, phone number, email, title, and line count. Submissions must be typed using 12-point Times New Roman or Cambria font.  Send three hard copies by mail. No email submissions. Please no pornography or erotica. This year’s judges are Howard Kogan and Cheryl A.Rice. Additional details:

  • Cash prizes will be awarded to first ($100), second ($75), and third place ($50) poems.
  • The winning poets will be invited to read their winning submissions at a program in the fall.
  • All contestants must be residents of New York State.
  • The entry fee is $10 for HVWG members and $15 for non-members. Checks made payable to HVWG must accompany submissions. If $30 membership fee is paid with submission, please enclose a separate check.
  • HVWG Board of Directors and their families and/or current or past students and family of judges are ineligible.
  • Entries must be postmarked between June 15-August 15, 2015.

All entrants will be notified of winners by email unless a SASE is provided. Results will be posted on our website: Contact Jan Tramontano at for more information. Mail submissions and entry fee to: HVWG CONTEST c/o Jan Tramontano, 14 Brookwood Avenue, Albany, NY  12203

HVWG 2015 mid-year membership report
By the end of June 2015, the Hudson Valley Writers Guild had 126 “active” members, people who paid membership dues in 2014 and so far in 2015. Of them, 49 (39 %) paid their 2015 dues by mid-year. These 49 dues payers contributed $1,585 to the Guild’s coffers. There were 13 new members and 36 renewing members during this period. Three people paid two-year memberships. So far this year, 101 membership letters have been mailed out (13 new member welcome, 36 renewal thank you and 52 membership dues reminder).

The Guild is especially pleased to welcome the following new members so far in 2015:

  • Lena Andersson
  • Mark L. Berger
  • Alan Casline
  • Charles Curry
  • Sandra Hutchison
  • David Kalish
  • Cynthia A. Kilgallon
  • Susan Kress
  • James Schlett
  • Lisa St. John
  • Jim Strickland
  • Martha Sutro
  • David Walsh

The Guild had an honor roll by mid-year of three members who made extra financial contributions in addition to their membership dues. They were:

  • Phyllis Hillinger
  • Kathleen O’Brien
  • David Wolcott

The Guild’s Board is most grateful for the confidence expressed by new and renewing members for the Hudson Valley Writers Guild and the work we do for writers in New York’s Hudson Valley.


Down & Out Books to publish Welcome Back, Jack by Liam Sweeny
Down & Out Books will release Liam Sweeny’s debut police thriller Welcome Back, Jack in October 2015 in trade paperback and ebook formats. Set in and around Albany, New York, the story is centered on Detective Jack LeClere, a good cop on a cat-and-mouse hunt for a team of serial killers — only he’s not sure whether he’s the cat or the mouse.

“I wanted to avoid the common ‘flawed cop’ theme that runs through a lot of detective novels,” Sweeny said. “Instead, I wanted to tear the envelope on a good cop, and see what it did to him. The story line follows Jack and a multi-agency task force and finds tension on two levels: his role on the task force and the task itself.”

Down & Out Books publisher Eric Campbell added, “Liam does a wonderful job of writing a multi-layered seat-of-the-pants thriller that is incredibly satisfying.”

Liam Sweeny has a background in disaster response, working major events such as hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Sandy. He incorporated much of the pressure he found in those operations to flesh out Jack’s struggles inside the task-force. His short fiction has appeared in numerous periodicals, including Thuglit, All Due Respect, Spinetingler Magazine, Shotgun Honey and Out of the Gutter Online. Down & Out Books, an indie-publisher based in Tampa, FL, has been serving up the best crime fiction since 2011.

To obtain a galley version (PDF, mobi, epub) for review, or to coordinate an interview, contact Visit Liam Sweeny online at Find out more about Down & Out Books at

News from M.E. Kemp
M. E. Kemp, VP of HVWG, taught a course in five parts of mystery writing at the Women’s Writing Retreat in Paradox Lake. Kemp wishes to remind writers and members that the annual HVWG Writers Conference will be held on October 18, place to be announced.

NPR’s “All Things Considered” features James Schlett’s newly released book
James Schlett’s newly released book, A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden: The Story of the Philosophers’ Camp in the Adirondacks (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2015), scored a national news hit on July 24 with a story on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” North Country Public Radio will soon air an extended version of the “All Things Considered” story. Below is a roundup of articles, reviews and news stories the book has earned since the spring:

Remember to follow news about A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden on Facebook ( and Twitter (@JamesSchlett).

New issue of Misfit Magazine now live online
The latest issue of Misfit Magazine, the 15th, is now live at the site This is by far the biggest and most challenging issue yet with the usual poems, a mini-feature with photos, a small poems feature and scads of reviews, great art and an essay by the editor. Misfit Magazine is looking for submissions from now until the Fall for one more issue this year, as the editors plan to take the winter holiday months off to be with their families.


29th Annual Altamont Fair Poetry Reading: August 12
Local poets will read from their own work and the works of the past. Live from the Hotel Altamont Stage in the Village and Carriage Museum starting at 2 p.m. and continuing throughout the afternoon.

Arthur’s Market & Cafe 2nd Wednesday Poetry to feature Bunkong “BK” Tuon August 12
Poetry open mic and featured poet on the 2nd Wednesday’s at Arthur’s Market and Cafe, 35 North Ferry St. (at the Lawrence Circle), Schenectady 12305. Featured poet August 12 is Bunkong “BK” Tuon. BK teaches writing and literature at Union College in Schenectady. Recent publication include Nerve Cowboy, Mas Tequila Review, Chiron Review and others. He is celebrating the new release of his full length poetry collection entitled Gruel. Fall semester he will be teaching students abroad in Vietnam. Come for some heart-opening stories and sharing!

Hosted by Catherine Norr. Sign-up begins 7 p.m.; readings begin at 7:30. Food and beverages available in a warm, hospitable atmosphere!

Next Year’s Words announces its first 2015-2016 event: Art & writing walk/reading August 16
On August 16, spend an artistic afternoon writing and reading poems about art along the Rail Trail in Rosendale alongside Next Year’s Words poets Tim Brennan, Holly Christiana, Susan Chute, Kim Ellis, Bobbi Katz, Richard Parisio and Pina Russell. Meet at 11 a.m. at the Binnewater Kiln parking lot on Binnewater Road. Public reading of fresh work at 2 p.m. at Women’s Studio Workshop. Additional details available via its Facebook event.

Third Thursday to feature poet Michael Platsky August 20
Poet Michael Platsky will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany on Thursday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. Michael Platsky was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, came of age in lower Manhattan and moved to Woodstock in the 1995. He hosts a weekly poetry reading at the Harmony Cafe in Woodstock. Most of his writing reflects personal experience in a sometimes chaotic world.

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 and the work of the Social Justice Center. For more information about this event contact Dan Wilcox: (518) 482-0262; e-mail:<

Local Writer Debby Mayer to read new fiction at Roe Jan Library August 23
Debby Mayer, an award-winning author, blogger and journalist, reads her short story “Swerve” at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Sunday, August 23, at 4 p.m. The program, entitled “Not about Me,” features new fiction and represents a departure from the memoir, nonfiction and blog posts with which Mayer’s readers are more familiar. In a Q&A Mayer will discuss how she approaches the writing of fiction vs. nonfiction and what makes the difference between the two.

Debby Mayer is a resident of Hudson and author of a memoir, Riptides & Solaces Unforeseen. Writing about Riptides in Wilderness House Literary Review, George Held said, “Debby Mayer has written personal nonfiction that reads like a novel; she leaves readers with that elusive sense of catharsis only art can provide.”

Debby Mayer writes the blog “2becomes1: widowhood for the rest of us” at She retired as editorial director of the publications office at Bard College and is now a contributing editor forThe Columbia Paper, the weekly newspaper of Columbia County. She is the recipient of two grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts: one in creative nonfiction for an excerpt from Riptides; the other in fiction for an excerpt from Sisters, a novel.

This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The Roeliff Jansen Community Library, which is chartered to serve Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale, is located at 9091 Rt. 22, approximately one mile south of the light at the intersection of Routes 22 and 23 in Hillsdale. For information on hours and events, call (518) 325-4101 or visit the library’s website at

Inquiring Minds reading & discussion August 23
An invitation from Celine Keating: “Dear Hudson Valley Writers, Two other authors and I will be in New Paltz for a reading and discussion at Inquiring Minds on Sunday, August 2, at 4 p.m. The focus of the discussion part is the current publishing landscape and the options to writers of the various paths to publication. Among the three of us we have experience and published work with traditional publishing, small press and hybrid publishers. We realize the region you serve is a bit north of New Paltz, but in any case would love it if you would share this information with your membership, who might be interested in attending and sharing in the discussion. Thanks so much, and hope to see you there!

Hudson River Coffee Company reading & open mic September 24
Harvey Havel writes, “Robert Milby, Brian Dorn, Christopher Wheeling and Harvey Havel will be reading at the Hudson River Coffee Company on September 24, 2015.  An open mic will follow.”

Casting call: “Veterans’ Voices: Ajax in America”
Staged Reading of Sophocles’ “Ajax.” We are looking for one female and six male actors who are also veterans and interested in auditioning for a concert reading of Sophocles “Ajax” to be produced in October at Skidmore College and possibly other venues in the Albany/Saratoga area. Auditions will take place ASAP, and there will be rehearsals as needed. This is an all-veterans production by volunteers. The play portrays Ajax’s dislocation, paranoia, rage and self-destruction after the Trojan War.

Cast of characters:

  • Ajax: son of Telamon and a Greek commander from Salamis
  • Techmesa: Phrygian captive, wife of Ajax
  • Chorus: Salaminian warriors
  • Teucer: half brother of Ajax, son of Telamon and Hesione, a Trojan
  • Non speaking role
  • Eurysaces: young son of Ajax and Techmesa

Anyone interested please contact Paul Pines at

Register for Tinker Mountain Writers’ online workshops
Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop/Online presents eight-week noncredit workshops September 20-November 13 that emphasize new work. The program features lively conversation and immediate feedback from both faculty and participants. Writers who are just getting started or continuing work on a long-term project can benefit. It’s a unique opportunity to engage with writing and a new writing community from the comfort of home. Click here to register.

Harvey Havel publishes The Thruway Killers
Harvey Havel has just come out with a new book, The Thruway Killers. This work follows The Orphan of Mecca, Part One, which came out earlier this spring. In The Thruway Killers, Droogan McPhee is the son of a wealthy entrepreneur who owns several liquor stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. His step-mother is roughly Droogan’s same age. Together they plot to kill his wealthy father for the inheritance money, until Droogan shoots his step-mother instead by mistake. What follows is an odyssey along the New York Thruway, as the police will stop everything to make sure that the fleeing Droogan is captured and brought to justice.

Harvey Havel is a freelance writer and novelist. He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing at the University of Albany (SUNY) and at the College of St. Rose. He has a cat named Marty.

Submission opportunity: Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is open for submissions. Now in its eighth year, the award is an internationally renowned prize presented by Aesthetica Magazine and judged by industry experts including Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The Independent. Prizes include £500 and publication in an anthology of new writing, giving you the chance to showcase your work to a wider, international audience.

Prizes include:

  • £500 Poetry winner
  • £500 Short Fiction winner
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • One year subscription to Granta
  • Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage
  • Complimentary copy of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual

There are two categories for entry: short fiction (maximum length 2,000 words each) and poetry (maximum length 40 lines each). Deadline for submissions is August 31. To enter,

Publisher looking for Hudson Valley writers
Opportunity passed along via HVWG member Therese L. Broderick:

Stevie Edwards, Commissioning Editor
The History Press

“We are a trade paperback publisher that focuses on publishing accessible local and regional histories, ranging from The History of Michigan Wines by Sharon Kegerreis and Lorri Hathaway to The Civil War in Fairfax County by Charles V. Mauro to Strange Maine: True Tales from the Pine Tree State by Michelle Y. Souliere. I deal specifically with developing titles in New York (state) and New Jersey, and I would love to work with more writers from the Hudson Valley who want to tell the stories of the region. I invite you to browse our online catalog and author proposal form to get a sense for our range and process. We handle all stages of the publishing process – from editing, design and production to sales and distribution — and compensate in the form of royalties.”