Hudson Valley Writers Guild Newsletter May 2016

Guild Announcements:

  • HVWG to host 1-day workshop to combat writer’s block June 4
  • Guidelines for the 2016 HVWG Fiction Contest

Member Announcements:

  • Richard Gotti play to be part of Short Play Festival in Rhinebeck May 6-8
  • New York Times blog features HVWG member Barbara Traynor
  • New press and chapbook add to local poetry and prose scene
  • Keith Willis announces upcoming appearances, debut novel recognized as award finalist

Area Announcements:

  • Joan Murray to read at Caffè Lena May 4
  • Poetry & poetics from Michael Peters at Pine Hollow Arboretum May 6
  • Next “2nd Sunday @ 2” open mic for poetry and prose May 8
  • Arthur’s Poetry Open-Mic features Carolee Bennett May 11
  • Read your own prose or listen to local talent at Roe Jan Library May 14
  • Stephen A DiBiase Prize winners and finalists to read in Albany on May 15
  • Third Thursday to feature poet Mike Jurkovic May 19
  • Writers in the Mountains launches 6-week illustration workshop June 4
  • Upcoming featured poets at Pine Hollow Open Mic Series
  • Tables available for Saugerties Public Library Comic Con July 16
  • Writing opportunities from beyond the Upstate/Hudson Valley region


HVWG to host 1-day workshop to combat writer’s block June 4
The Hudson Valley Writers Guild is presenting a 1-day workshop,” Block Busting: How to Break Through the Barriers that Keep You from Writing,” to be held June 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way. The workshop, led by novelist and poet Julie Lomoe, is free (but please see below for information on pre-registration).

Writer’s block afflicts every author sooner or later. If you’ve ever found yourself paralyzed, staring at an empty piece of paper or a blank computer screen, you know the feelings of frustration and even downright panic that can keep you from writing. In this workshop for writers or would-be writers of all levels, we’ll explore the underlying feelings behind your personal blocks and learn a variety of techniques to help you overcome the barriers that keep you from reaching your fullest potential as a writer. This workshop will use creative visualization and writing exercises along with a discussion of successful writers’ tips and techniques for overcoming creative blocks. Free handouts will include a tip sheet and bibliography.

Julie Lomoe is a novelist and poet with over three decades of experience as a creative arts therapist and workshop leader.  She has published three novels: Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, Eldercide and her most recent Hope Dawns Eternal (her first venture into paranormal fantasy fiction and the first of a series featuring the vampire and soap opera star Jonah McQuarry).

Writers may pre-register by calling the East Greenbush Community Library at (518) 477-7476 or by going to  For further information about the workshop, email Julie Lomoe at

Guidelines for the 2016 HVWG Fiction Contest
The HVWG writing contest alternates genres annually. This year’s contest is short fiction. Winners will be awarded cash prizes and invited to read their winning piece at the Guild’s annual meeting in November 2016. Prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st prize, $100; 2nd prize, $75; 3rd prize, $50; and three honorable mentions, $20 each.

  • Eligibility: All contestants must be residents of New York State. Current members of the HVWG Board and their families are not eligible.
  • Judges: Julie Lamoe, Joe Krausman and Andrea Portnick.
  • Submissions: 
    • Entries must be postmarked between April 1 and June 30, 2016.
    • Entry fee: $15 for non-members of HVWG; $10 for members. (Make checks payable to HVWG and include with submission.)
    • Identification/contact information MUST NOT appear anywhere on the submission.
    • Cover letter should include the following: name, address, phone number, e-mail address, title of submission and word count.
    • Word count must not exceed 5000 words. Any submissions that exceed this number will not be considered.
    • All submissions must be typed, double-spaced, 12-pt. standard font such as Cambria, Calibri or Times New Roman.
    • Submissions must be previously unpublished.
    • Submit four copies through the mail and an SASE if you would like a hard copy of results. Submissions will not be returned.
    • All entrants will be notified of winners by e-mail or SASE. Results will also be posted on our website at
    • Membership forms can be found here on this website.

For more information, please contact Faith Green at or (518) 253-8557. Mail submissions with entry fee to: HVWG Fiction Contest, c/o Faith Green, 25B Patterson Drive, Glenmont, NY 12077.


Richard Gotti play to be part of Short Play Festival in Rhinebeck May 6-8
Richard Gotti’s play, The Wave, has been selected by Warrior Productions of Rhinecliff for inclusion in the 2016 Short Play Festival to be held at the Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, May 6-8.

Information and tickets are available at and

New York Times blog features HVWG member Barbara Traynor
Barbara M Traynor was featured in the The New York Times Well Blog on March 29 in an article called “Reinventing Yourself: Stories From Our Readers.” Ms Traynor is author ofSecond Career Volunteer, a passionate, pennywise approach to a unique lifestyle.

New press and chapbook add to local poetry and prose scene
Nancy Klepsch, Lauren Pinsley and Dan Wilcox proudly announce the release of a new chapbook for poetry and prose and the establishment of a new local press called Riverside Community Press. The new chapbook called 2 is an historical anthology celebrating six years of the writers participating in the open mic called the “2nd Sunday @ 2 open mic for poetry and prose” at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY. The new press, called Riverside Community Press, is a literary journal for poetry and prose. You can order your copy for $5 plus postage by emailing

There will be a call for entries with a theme to be announced in the near future. This publication seeks to reach out to diverse voices.

Keith Willis announces upcoming appearances, debut novel recognized as award finalist
Keith W. Willis’ debut fantasy novel Traitor Knight has been recognized as one of five finalists in the fantasy competition in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. NGIBA is the largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. The winners and finalists will be officially announced on April 30 and will be recognized atBook Expo America in Chicago in May.

Traitor Knight weaves fantasy, adventure, intrigue, a dash of romance and a dollop of wit into a fast-paced tale of a dashing, heroic and (literally) hopelessly romantic knight; a disillusioned damsel-in-distress; a surfeit of sinister spies; and a fearsome dragon with an inconvenient case of hiccups. Published by Champagne Books (Alberta, Canada) in electronic (Sept. 2015) and paperback (March 2016) editions, Traitor Knight has garnered numerous five-star reviews.

Keith will present the work at the following upcoming appearances:

  • Thursday, June 2: Traitor Knight Book Launch Party, Book House, Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Avenue, Albany. (518) 489-4761. Event starts at 7 p.m. Light libations and munchies will be served.
  • Saturday, June 4: Reading & Book Signing, Eden Café, 260 Osborne Road, Loudonville. (518) 977-3771. Event from 2-4:30 p.m. Café menu available.
  • Saturday – Sunday, June 11 -12: Vendor at NY Capital District Renaissance Festival, Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Voorheesville Road, Altamont.
  • Monday, June 13: Reading/Q&A/Book Signing, Cohoes Public Library, 169 Mohawk Street, Cohoes. (518)  235-2570. Event starts at 6 p.m.


Joan Murray to read at Caffè Lena May 4
On Wednesday, May 4, Caffè Lena will present a poetry reading by Joan Murray.  An open reading will follow. Doors open for sign-ups at 7 p.m., and the readings will start at 7:30. The host for the event will be Carol Graser, and the cost is $5. Caffè Lena, 47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs. (518) 583-0022.

Joan Murray is a poet, writer and playwright, whose books include Swimming for the Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets Series), Looking for the Parade (W. W. Norton), Dancing on the Edge and Queen of the Mist (both from Beacon Press), and The Same Water (Wesleyan University Press). A repeat guest on NPR’s Morning Edition, she is also a National Poetry Series Winner, a 2-time National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship Winner, a Wesleyan New Poets Series Winner and Winner of Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Award.

Poetry & poetics from Michael Peters at Pine Hollow Arboretum May 6

  • Potluck 6 p.m.
  • Reading at 6:30 p.m.
  • 16 Maple Avenue, Slingerlands, New York

It’s a hard knock life for young professor and poet Michael Peters. On the creative frontier auding experimental verse, Michael is also profound in other media. Take his books where he is visually detailing merged fields of image and words on the printed page. His poetry is easier to comprehend on the page than it is when he is presented as performance poetry with unique cadences and stretched vocalizations.  We can expect at this Pine Hollow’s Open Mic (as has been experienced by those of us who have heard him before) his oral presentation promising an emergence field of sounds investing his poetry and performance with a unique tonal environment. At Pine Hollow, Michael is also going to take us behind the scenes with explanation of the poetics behind the work he is presenting.

I have heard it both ways: “I wish he wouldn’t read like that because I cannot understand his words when he does” and “Oh Michael, if only I could have you read my poems in the way you read your own.” If you have an appetite for un-ordinary work then this version of Pine Hollow’s Open Mic is for you.

Next “2nd Sunday @ 2” open mic for poetry and prose May 8
Upcoming dates: May 8 and June 12. Please bring two poems or five minutes of prose to read. All are welcome. The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, NY. The seventh season starts September 11!

Arthur’s Poetry Open Mic features Carolee Bennett May 11
The next Arthur’s Poetry Open Mic and Featured Reader is May 11 (always the second Wednesday): 7 p.m. sign-up for open mic; 7:30 p.m. readings begin. 35 N. Ferry Street, Schenectady, NY.

This month’s feature is Carolee Bennett, an artist and poet living in Upstate New York, who once was the “almost” poet laureate of Smitty’s Tavern (first runner-up in the annual contest). She has been published in a number of print and online journals, and in 2015 her poem “On not shielding young minds from the dark” placed as semi-finalist for the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize. She has an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from Ashland University in Ohio and works full-time as a writer in social media marketing.

Read your own prose or listen to local talent at Roe Jan Library May 14
Fiction, non-fiction and memoir writers are invited to read their work at a Short-Prose Open Mic at Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Saturday, May 14, 4-6 p.m. Non-writers and writers who do not choose to read are invited to enjoy and be inspired by the work of local talent.<

Writers must keep readings to a maximum of seven minutes in length. No pre-registration is necessary. For further information, contact Regina Colangelo at or(914) 954-3494.

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

Stephen A DiBiase Prize winners and finalists to read in Albany on May 15
Winning and final poems from the 2016 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize contest will be read on May 15 between 2 and 4 p.m. at the main branch of the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avemue. This event is free and open to the public. The reading will take place in the large auditorium at the library.

The top prize winner, Dawn Marar of Delmar, will be the featured reader. Other regional poets who plan to read their entries are Karen Fabiane, Jackie Craven, Sylvia Barnard, Lucia Cherciu, Howard Kogan, Joe Krausman, Jennifer Circosta, Joel Best, Dan Wilcox, Phil Good and Sally Rhoades. Special guest Mary Panza and other poets will read several of the top entrants from outside the region. Information about the contest, including plans for the 2017 edition, will be provided.

Contact: Bob Sharkey, Editor for The Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize, (518) 369-9055,

Third Thursday to feature poet Mike Jurkovic May 19
Poet Mike Jurkovic will read from his work at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Avenue, Albany on Thursday,  May 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Mike Jurkovic’s poems and music criticism have appeared globally but have yet to generate any reportable income. His first full length collection, smitten by harpies is just out from Lion Autumn Press. Other publications include Eve’s Venom (Post Traumatic Press, 2014), Purgatory Road (Pudding House Press, 2010) and inclusion in the anthologies WaterWrites & Riverine (Codhill Press, 2009, 2007) and Will Work For Peace (Zeropanik, 1999).  In addition, he is the producer of CAPSCASTS, recordings from Calling All Poets, available  Music features, interviews and CD reviews appear in Elmore Magazine and the Van Wyck Gazette.

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 or

Writers in the Mountains launches 6-week illustration workshop June 4
Writers in the Mountains (WIM) introduces “The Business and Art of Illustration” with Durga Yael Bernhard, a 6-week long workshop, running from June 4 to July 9. The class will be held Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Phoenicia Public Library.

This class will be useful for artists who want to apply their talent to commercial use or for anyone who wants to learn the art of visual communication. Style development, visual research and the crucial importance of design will be discussed along with weekly hands-on exercises and group critiques. Business aspects of professional illustration will be covered, including freelancing, self-promotion, contracts, reproduction rights, computer skills and more. Special attention will be given to children’s book illustration if desired by the class. This is not a course in computer graphics or digital illustration.  A small art supply list will be given to registrants prior to the first class.

D. Yael Bernhard is the illustrator of over three dozen children’s books – all of which she designed except for one – including fiction and non-fiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. She has also written several unique concept books for children. Her illustrated books include A Ride on Mother’s Back (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); While You Are Sleeping (Charlesbridge Publishing); In the Fiddle is a Song (Chronicle Books); and Never Say a Mean Word Again (Wisdom Tales Press).  Yael’s work encompasses several different styles and has been published on everything from book, magazine and CD covers, to business logos, brochures, websites, corporate promotional materials and other projects. Her website is

To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail To register online, visit Class fee is $70, if you register and pay by May 14, and $85 after that.

Upcoming featured poets at Pine Hollow Open Mic Series
Poets of Earth, Water, Tree and Sky. Pot luck at 6 p.m. Reading starts at 6:30 p.m. Pine Hollow Arboretum Visitors Center, 16 Maple Avenue, Slingerlands.

  • June 17: Walt Franklin
  • July 8: Katrinka Moore
  • August 12: 6th Annual Poets at the Arboretum Group Reading
  • September 9: The Birdbrain Players present Perious Frink and the Great Barrel Race Puppet Show
  • October 14: Dawn Marar
  • November 4: David Landrey

Also: Saturday afternoon, June 4, 1 p.m. for a Pine Hollow sponsored haiku writing workshop with Michael Czarnecki.

Tables available for Saugerties Public Library Comic Con July 16
Scifi and fantasy writers: Set up a table at the Saugerties Public Library Comic Con! It will take place Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Saugerties Senior Center. Tables are free, and we welcome you to sell your wares. Contact Christine at or (845) 246-4317 for more information.

Writing opportunities from beyond the Upstate/Hudson Valley region

  • A message from Writer’s Atalier in Florida –> “My name is Racquel Henry, and I am the founder of the writing center, Writer’s Atelier, in Winter Park, FL. I am reaching out to writers to inform them of our offerings. We aim to offer writers affordable writing workshops and sometimes free events! I thought that our next online workshop might be of interest to some of the members of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. It’s called, “First Five Pages,” and it will be lead by NYT bestselling author Anna Banks. The 4-week workshop (starting in May) features weekly lessons, weekly Q&A chats with the author, a five-page critique and a critique of the query letter. Writers of all genres are welcomed to participate. If you’re interested, you can email me directly at Here’s the link to the workshop on our website.”
  • A message from Kazabo Publishing –> “Dear Hudson Valley Writers Guild, As your organization is dedicated to making authors successful, we thought you might be interested in a project we launched at AWP16 last month. Kazabo Publishing is something entirely new. At Kazabo, established authors are the publishers. In effect we give them an “imprint” and allow them to choose new authors to publish. It works like this. New and emerging authors submit their books to Kazabo and agree to review five books by other new authors. Based on the reviews their book receives, we put it into out editing process. At the end of that process, our established authors choose the books they believe will appeal to their loyal readers. Once the book is published, the established author uses their marketing platform to help promote the new author. For new authors, our royalty rates begin at 50% while the established author earns 15%. Initially, the new author is published to e-book and then moved into other media and languages as their sales progress. Before you ask, no, this does not cost the author anything. This is not vanity publishing. The only money we collect is from readers when they buy the author’s books! Nor is it, by any stretch of the imagination, self-publishing. Kazabo is very selective and no established author will back one of our new authors with their name and reputation unless they are genuinely impressed. Every book published by Kazabo will be a very good book indeed. So the vast majority of new authors who submit to Kazabo will not make the cut. But there is something in it for them, too. If your book is not selected for publication, you will still receive the five reviews that were done of your book. You will know that five of your fellow authors read your book, thought about your book and provided you detailed, written feedback about your book. There is a lot more to this program so I encourage you to visit our website,, for more information. Best Regards, Chiara Giacobbe, director, New Authors Division.”
  • A message from Writer’s Relief, Inc. –> “Announcing the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest Judged by Ohio’s Poet Laureate Amit Majmudar. The WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook competition is hosted by Writer’s Relief, Inc. The chapbook contest runs until May 25. The winning poet will receive a $500 cash prize; publication of the poetry chapbook in both print and e-book formats; Amazon distribution for Kindle and print; and 25 free copies. The contest is limited to poetry chapbooks 24 – 48 pages in length, and the entry fee is $20. For complete contest submission guidelines, visit We’re thrilled and honored to have Ohio poet laureate Amit Majmudar judge our poetry chapbook contest. Majmudar is the author of two novels and several poetry collections. He was a finalist for a Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award, and his poetry was selected for a Donald Justice prize. His most recent collection of poems, Dothead, was published on March 29. Majmudar’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine and The Antioch Review. His work has been featured in several anthologies, including Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-2012. Since 1994, the Writer’s Relief office has been located a stone’s throw from the New Jersey Meadowlands: a large ecosystem of wetlands in the metropolitan region and an important bird habitat. The water sedge is one of several endangered plant species struggling to survive in this environment. The efforts of water sedge to flourish despite difficult odds seems kindred in spirit to poets hoping to successfully publish their poetry books and chapbooks in an uncooperative publishing environment. With the WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, we hope to help poets thrive and succeed.”
  • A message about the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award –> “The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an international literary prize, now in its ninth year, and is currently open for entries, presenting a fantastic opportunity for emerging and established writers from around the world to showcase their work to a wider audience. Prizes include publication in an anthology of outstanding poetry and short fiction, a consultation with a literary agent, subscriptions to leading writing organisations and publications. As an international award, we would really like writers and poets around the world to know about this opportunity. Specifics on the prizes are as follows:
    • £500 each (poetry winner and short fiction winner)
    • publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
    • consultation with Redhammer Management (short fiction winner)
    • full membership to The Poetry Society (poetry winner)
    • selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage
    • 1-year subscription to Granta

Short Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words. Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines. Works previously published elsewhere are accepted. Deadline for submissions is August 31. To enter, visit We are really excited about this year’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and hope that you can share the call for entries. Best wishes, Cassandra”