Meet Janeen Ippolito — Presenter for the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ 2019


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“I’m Janeen Ippolito, and I’m determined to see the world filled with amazing books and endless to-be-read piles. I write speculative fiction and creative writing and marketing resources. I’m also an experienced entrepreneur, author coach, editor, teacher, and the president of Uncommon Universes Press. Whether brainstorming a plot twist, developing a course, or analyzing marketing angles, I’m happiest when creating solutions that get your books polished and noticed in the ever-changing publishing industry.”

janeen ippolito logo

Article by Dawn Sooy

In her spare time, Janeen enjoys sword-fighting, reading, pyrography, and eating brownie batter. Two of her goals are eating fried tarantulas (Hmm- do they shave the hair first? Janeen: sometimes! They didn’t when I ate some freeze dried tarantulas. Had an interesting texture.) and traveling to Antarctica.

Janeen is an Air Force kid raised all over the East Coast. She went to college in 2005 to study cross-cultural communication, writing, and teaching English as a second language.

Janeen lives in Berwick, PA across the street from the town’s prettiest cemetery, which she often walks around to clear her mind. Her favorite writing beverage is water (room temperature, no ice), her favorite color is dark red, and she has been known to write tragic scenes to fluffy pop songs. She also tends to solve problems while cleaning her house. She’s slightly addicted to buying book swag, especially when it involves dragons.

Plan to attend her Friday Afternoon Class – Book to Market: Tips to Package, Promote, and Publish Your Book. Should you aim for a traditional publisher or try to publish yourself? Is there a way to make selling books easier? And what social media should you really be using? Get clarity on your publishing and marketing options from publishing industry pro and marketing coach Janeen Ippolito. These three sessions take out the “overwhelm” and enable you to make decisions with confidence about your manuscript’s future.

Saturday, Janeen continues presenting at the conference with topics including:

Fundamentals of Fiction – Inside Out. Have an idea for your story, but nowhere to start? Have the start of a draft, but unsure of how to finish it? Heard a lot of writing terms, but unsure where they fit into the big picture? This workshop is for you! It starts by targeting your core motivations with key questions, then breaks down the big task of writing a story into manageable chunks and simplifies the myriad of story-telling concepts into action-items that you can use in your work right now. Come away with a solid foundation for tackling your fiction writing project.

 How to Write Romantic Subplots. Think romance is just for romance novelists? Think again! Romantic subplots can enhance all kinds of fiction and broaden your reader base. Learn how to use romance to push plots effectively so that romance-fans AND non-romance fans will pick up your books!

To read more on Janeen, visit:

·         Author Website:

·         Facebook Page:

·         Twitter:

·         Instagram: @janeen_ippolito

·         InterviewWorld Building with Janeen Ippolito


Dawn Sooy

Dawn Sooy, GLVWG’s Conference Chairman, is a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, with plenty of experience the four seasons have to offer. Armed with a Computer Science degree, she worked in the tech industry until 2012. As an animal lover, she volunteers at the local animal shelter, sneaking in treats for the four-legged residents.


Meet Ben Wolf – Keynote Speaker for the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ 2019


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Article by Joe Fleckenstein


At the 2019 Write Stuff Writers Conference™, GLVWG is proud to present Ben Wolf as our keynote speaker. On Thursday, March 21st, he will kick off the conference with the topic: Into the Deep: An Advanced Study of Speculative Fiction. Speculative fiction rules today’s popular culture in books, movies, and TV shows. Learning the ins and outs of the various genres is absolutely essential for writers who intend to compete in a saturated yet hungry market.

This extended workshop delves deep into speculative fiction and its sub-genres and will discuss the conventions, philosophies, types, standards, and other key elements that help define the genre.

So strap on your blaster, mount your dragon, and fly with us into the depths of the weird and wonderful world of speculative fiction.

Friday morning, Ben will begin the day engaging conference attendees in a discussion on The Three Pillars of Storytelling.

Saturday, he will present two sessions, Backstory: Your Secret Weapon to Engaging Readers and Writing Flash Fiction that Sells.

At the Saturday Luncheon, he will speak on “Writing Through Adversity.”

Life is a tyrant. It demands constant attention from us, throws fits seemingly at random, and never seems to let up. It’s unpredictable, precarious, and oftentimes rude.

But we as writers can’t let life get in the way of our goals–not if we mean to achieve those goals. Award-winning author, publisher, and editor Ben Wolf has been through the wringer more than once in his life as a writer. In fact, he’s been through hell so many times that they keep a room open for him.

But in spite of that, he still manages to get words on the page, pursue publishing deals, edit for freelance clients, and coach other authors on their projects as well. In his keynote address, Ben will share the un-killable drive that propels him forward even when every aspect of life tries to hold him back, and he’ll offer strategies and encouragement to attendees to help them capture that same driving force for their own writing careers.

Who is Ben Wolf?

Ben is the founder and owner of Splickety Publishing Group, the publisher of three flash fiction magazines. He has edited, written, and/or published over 100 published works and has taught at 40+ writers conferences nationwide.

Ben’s debut novel Blood for Blood won the 2015 Cascade Award and is characterized as “bold…with nonstop tension.” His debut children’s book, I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You, won the 2016 Cascade Award. In his spare time, he practices Brazilian jiujitsu (where he tries to choke out his friends).

Ben currently has one novel on the market, The Ghost Mine.

The Ghost Mine is a gripping sci-fi/horror novel sure to thrill you and chill you late into the night. If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott’s Aliens, you’ll love this book.

ben wolf book cover

“A snappy, fun, wild ride from hell! Wolf’s knockout novel brings all the sci-fi intensity of Ridley Scott’s Alien movies together with a Michael Crichton style thriller. When space colonization goes wrong in The Ghost Mine, it means a long, nail-biting night of sheer reading delight! Positively unputdownable!” – Brandon Barr, USA Today Bestseller and author of the Song of the World Series

In addition to The Ghost Mine, Ben has also published a children’s book and will be publishing the first books of a nine-book fantasy series in early 2019. You can find his books on

Ben and his wife Charis (who sometimes is his presentation partner) live in ­­­­­­­Iowa with their children. Charis is also presenting at the conference, and you will get to meet her in our next blog.

You can find Ben at or follow him on TwitterInstagram, and on Facebook.



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Joseph E. Fleckenstein, active GLVWG member for nine years and club treasurer for two years, has published over 35 items. The list includes technical papers, online courses, and 22 short stories in ezines and print magazines. In 2015 CRC Press published his technical book Three Phase Electrical Power. His novel The Kurdish Episode will soon be available at Amazon. Additional bio particulars are available at his website

What I Learned at the BookBaby Independent Writers Conference


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GLVWG’s Idelle Kursman shares lessons learned when she attended the BookBaby Independent Writers Conference this past November.


I came home from attending the second annual BookBaby Independent Authors Conference in Philadelphia. I met wonderful fellow writers, listened to practical book marketing tips from successful authors and entrepreneurs, and took away many ideas I am anxious to try.  In this post, I would like to share some of the great ideas I learned at the conference.

Eva Lesko Natiello is an author, speaker and book marketing consultant. She wrote and self-published The Memory Box, a bestseller on The New York Times and USA Today. Her website is Eva gave the following marketing tips for self-published authors:

  • Fill out your Amazon Author Page completely and link it to your website and blog.
  • Run a discounted price promotion and advertise it widely.
  • Be a guest for a book blogger. To find book bloggers, simply google “(Your genre”) book bloggers”
  • Study the competition. Make a list of all the current books similar to yours in the last three years and find out their book prices, format, and number of pages. How are authors of your genre promoting their books?
  • Show gratitude to readers who have taken the time to review your book.

 Tieshena Davis is the CEO and Senior Publisher of the award-winning Purposely Created Publishing Group. She is a speaker and the author of Think Like a Bookpreneur ( Tieshena encouraged authors to begin selling their books with pre-sales, which is a strategy to establish audience interest, connect with fans, and secure advance sales before a book is publicly released.

  • Authors need to meticulously plan during the pre-sales process (6-8 weeks before book is released) to achieve results. Set a goal of how much money you the author would like to make. Remember to calculate all expenses (costs of the printing, transaction, shipping, packaging, etc.), and review the profit margin.
  • Authors need tools to drive sales such as an email notification list, creating a promotion team, alerting social media followers to spread the word, and exploring targeted events where your readers gather.
  • Notify target buyers on an email notification list that the book is available for pre-order.
  • Build an audience connection by sharing quotes, tips, or resources; host weekly virtual events; email teaser content; offer special bulk book packages; and send out snippets of the book.
  • Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon Author-sponsored ads.
  • Discount and cross promote. An example is if readers pre-order author’s second book, they will get the first book at 50% off.
  • Run weekly contests and giveaways.

 Joanna Penn was the keynote speaker of the BookBaby conference. She is an author, international speaker, and entrepreneur. Joanna writes fiction and nonfiction. Thousands of authors go to her website for marketing and promotion. The following are her tips:

  • Change your mindset– don’t think of yourself as a struggling author. Write down positive affirmations and refer to them daily.
  • Authors must focus on the customer. It’s not about you, it’s about the reader. What do they want to pay for? Find the intersection between what you love and what you can sell.
  • Amazon is a search engine for people “who buy stuff.” Use it for research to find out what people are buying.
  • Sell your book in multiple countries in English. Joanna’s books have sold in English in 86 countries through Kobo (a Canadian company that sells e-books, audiobooks, e-readers, and tablet computers).
  • Write three shorter books rather than one 80,000-word book. This works well in fiction.
  • Build multiple streams of income. Most writers make money from other sources like speaking, freelancing, and blogging.
  • Attract an audience that works best with your personality, your book, and your lifestyle. What can you do consistently over the long term?
  • Take action.
  • You get what you focus on. Make the time.
  • Write the best book you can. Don’t rush it!

As one can see, being a successful author involves hard work; there are no shortcuts. Research, computer savvy, and knowledge of various marketing strategies are imperative. Writing the best book you possibly can is simply not enough.  The experts advise doing around twenty minutes of marketing a day along with writing. If one marketing strategy doesn’t work, try another. Don’t give up.

The BookBaby Writers Conference boosted my motivation to market my first novel, True Mercy. It was great meeting so many like-minded people. Rather than being competitive, participants were eager to help fellow authors succeed. Networking opportunities abounded.


Article originally published on Idelle Kursman’s website blog at




Idelle Kursman was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her Master’s from William Paterson University. She has a loved one with autism and after watching the movie Taken five years ago, she felt compelled to write a novel about human trafficking. Since she loves thrillers, especially if it is a book she cannot put down, she sought to give readers this experience in her debut novel. At the same time, Idelle seeks to raise awareness for autism and the international human trafficking crisis. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

 You can find Idelle on her website:, and social media links.

Registration for The Write Stuff Writers Conference Opens December 8


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Write Stuff Conference brochure 2019

We want to give you a heads up about GLVWG’s The Write Stuff Writers ConferenceTM .  It’s taking place March 21 – 23, 2019 at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center at 300 Gateway Drive, Bethlehem, PA.

We have Ben Wolf presenting on Thursday and Friday. AND he’s the Keynote Speaker on Saturday.

Registration opens Saturday, December 8.

Just in time to give yourself a present – or put on your wish list (hint, hint).

If you’ve attended our conference in the past, you know the value you get for your buck.

If you’ve never been to our conference – prepare for a great experience.


Write Stuff Conference brochure 2019 V4

Day 1: Thursday, March 21

Ben Wolf

Into the Deep: An Advanced Study of Speculative Fiction


Day 2: Friday, March 22

Ben Wolf

The Three Pillars of Storytelling

Backstory: Your Secret Weapon to Engaging Readers

Writing Flash Fiction that Sells

Janeen Ippolito

Book to Market: Tips to Package, Promote, and Publish Your Book


Friday Evening Events

The Pixar Method with Charis Crowe

Page Cuts Critique Sessions ($10 Fee; Advanced registration required)

Followed by reception with snacks and cash bar


Day 3: Saturday, March 23

Ben Wolf

Keynote Luncheon Speech — “Writing Through Adversity”

Presenters (in alphabetical order)

Donna Brennan

Strengthening Your Writing  (2-hour workshop –  Limited to 24 participants)

Getting Started Writing for Magazines

Putting Off Procrastination

Kathryn Craft

Those Critical First Pages

Say That and More: Writing Effective Dialogue (2-hr workshop. Limited to 24 participants)

Charis Crowe

Marketing Execution for Authors

Finding Your Author Voice

YA is Here to Stay (Cedar Crest)

David Fessenden

The Publishing Contract

The Writer/Editor Relationship

The Dreaded Outline: What Your English Teacher Never Told You

Editing Your Own Material (Muhlenberg)

Jon Gibbs

Are Your Characters Right for the Part (Hands-on session.)

The Seven-Sentence Solution (2-hr workshop. Limited to 24)

Janeen Ippolito

Fundamentals of Fiction – Inside Out

How to Write Romantic Subplots

Larry Schardt

Powerful Tools to Enhance Your Writing

Putting a Positive Spin on Rejection (Lafayette)


Keep watching the GLVWG Website and follow the GLVWG Blog for updates, along with our Facebook Page.

Networking for Introverts


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Idelle Kursman Networking Photo

Can you believe it’s almost Halloween already.  The next GLVWG WriteStuff Conference™ is just five months away on March 22 – 24, 2019.

GLVWG author and blogger, Idelle Kursman, recently wrote an article for introvert writers who struggle to connect at conferences.  A timely subject from someone who knows, Idelle offers advice on “Networking for Authors“, and how to step out of the comfort zone with editors, agents, speakers, and other writers.


Most writers are introverts. Networking can be particularly difficult for them. But they can still network successfully to find jobs and to market their writing. Dana Kaye, the owner of Kaye Publicity (, recently released the helpful video “Networking for Introverts.” This video is helpful not only to writers but also for anyone who is introverted and could use some help. Kaye explained the fundamental difference between introverts and extroverts: while both enjoy socializing, introverts find doing too much drains their energy. They require time alone in order to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, are the opposite: they feel drained when they spend too much time alone and renew their energy by socializing. Kaye offers practical suggestions for introverts while they are networking in a room full of people: If you find a person to chat with in a crowd:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Wait for their introduction
  • Shake hands with eye contact
  • Ask a question and listen to the answer.

Let the other person talk! (People love talking about themselves and the pressure is off of you to be charming and engaging.)

If you go to a group of people talking:

  • Apologize for interrupting.
  • Introduce yourself with eye contact.
  • Listen to their responses and introductions.
  • If they resume the conversation, listen and respond. If they don’t, ask questions and start another conversation.
  • Ask meaningful questions.
  • Listen!

As mentioned earlier, too much socializing can drain an introvert’s energy, so here is how to make a GRACEFUL EXIT when you meet someone new:

  • Shake hands, make eye contact, and say “It was nice to meet you.”
  • Swap business cards and provide a reason to follow up.
  • If needed, make an excuse such as you must make a phone call or use the restroom. Then leave the room temporarily so they see you are credible and not just want to get away from them.

Don’t forget to mingle! You’re there to make connections. At the same time, take breaks so you can recharge. Before you know it, you’ll be making connections!




Idelle Kursman was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her Master’s from William Paterson University. She has a loved one with autism and after watching the movie Taken five years ago, she felt compelled to write a novel about human trafficking. Since she loves thrillers, especially if it is a book she cannot put down, she sought to give readers this experience in her debut novel. At the same time, Idelle seeks to raise awareness for autism and the international human trafficking crisis. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

You can fine Idelle on her website:, and social media links.



Charles Kiernan:  Mark Twain impersonator, traditional storyteller, and writer


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GLVWG’s resident fairy tale sage and storyteller, Charles Kiernan, is our latest author profile.  He is famous for his portrayal of “Samuel Clemens”,  not because he looks just like him during a performance, but the words of wisdom from our most beloved American author, “Mark Twain”.  Chaz has a monthly blog titledFair Tale of the Month – Reflections and Delusions, where he tells an old tale, then offers a quirky analysis through characters he invents. We offer his latest post, “How Idle Lars Won Himself a Princess“, for this month’s post. 


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Part One — Hadleigh Castle

Thalia, Melissa, and I are on a ramble. It started when I confessed to not having seen the sea this year, instead having stayed home to feed Johannes when Thalia and her mother went to Brighton.

“Oh my dear,” Melissa had exclaimed. “One should always take at least a moment to spy the ocean annually. The sea is the heartbeat and rhythm of life.”

At her insistence, we three are now in Hadleigh Country Park, overlooking the Thames Estuary, rather close to the ocean.

Boldly, we spread our picnic blanket at the foot of one of the ruined towers of Hadleigh Castle and take in its spectacular view of the Thames flowing to the sea.

Our outing is all contained in a bulky rattan basket Melissa has lugged to the tower’s base. Pulling back the cane pins, she opens the lid and pulls out a book. I recognize it. Folk and Fairy Tales from Denmark, Stories Collected by Jens Kamp. It’s a translation by my friend Stephen Badman.

“Here is our first feast,” Melissa declares, opening the book to its bookmark. “How Idle Lars Won Himself a Princess.”

Thalia and I settle back to listen to Melissa’s contralto voice.

Idle Lars had an exceptional talent for laziness. When Lars was an infant, wherever one put him that is where he would be whenever you next saw him. He would noe could Ht entertain the notion of crawling away to explore.

One day, through much effort and many threats, Lars’ mother got him to fetch water from the communal well. He took with him an old pot with its legs broken off and every little while he turned it upside down to rest upon it.

The princess, sitting at her castle window, noted his slow progress and called out to him, cautioning him that his legless pot might outrun him, and would he need a boy to push him from behind on his return trip. That annoyed Lars, but he made no answer.

At the well, his pot scooped up a tiny frog that pleaded with Lars to pour him back into the well.

“No,” said Lars, “I cannot be bothered to tip you out. I’d have to fill the pot again.”

The frog promised to grant him a wish. Lars, if lazy, was no fool. He cast his broad-brimmed hat upon the ground and wished for as many wishes as his hat covered blades of grass.

His next wish, with which he thought to spite the princess, was that his pot should sprout legs. It did, and started walking home. The princess was delighted at the spectacle, but called down to Lars that he still needed a boy to push him along to keep up with the pot.

Lars grumbled, “I wish you had a boy yourself.”

It was a thoughtless thing for Lars to say, but nine months later she did have a boy. She proclaimed her innocence, but to no avail.

When the boy could walk, the king called all the men in the kingdom together—including Lars, who, in the meantime, had not bothered to make another wish. The king gave the boy a golden apple saying, “Whoever you give this apple to, will be recognized as your father.”

Although Lars stood in the back of the crowd, the child sought him out and gave him the apple. Infuriated, the king had Lars and his daughter cast out to sea on a boat to meet their doom.

Here Melissa dramatically gestures toward the Thames flowing placidly below us.

Lars lay on the deck, seasick, while the princess wept and complained until Lars exclaimed, “What do you want me to say, other than I wish we were back on dry land?”

Instantly they were. The princess put two and two together, and realized things were not as bad as she had thought. She took charge of the wishing and had Lars wish himself to be a normal human being and not a self-centered, stupid, lazy oaf. That was transformative. She then went on to have him wish for royal creature comforts such as a castle, some servants, an army, and a decent wardrobe for both of them.

The next morning the king awoke and looked out his window to see an island and a castle that had not been there before. He goes to the island to be greeted by an honor guard, at the end of which is his daughter and a transformed Lars. Befuddled, but pleased, he says, “What will be will be.”

That declaration is followed by a happy, three-day-long marriage feast.

Thalia and I are content with the story, but I wonder what else is in Melissa’s wicker basket.

Part Two — Melissa’s Basket


Next from Melissa’s basket appears a bottle of claret, two wine glasses, a small jug of sarsaparilla, and a sturdy cup. Thalia’s eyes glimmer at the soda as Melissa pours it into the cup, sending its strong, sweet smell lofting in the air, along with Thalia’s giggle of delight.

“The protagonist in your tale is Lars,” I say, “but it’s a woman’s story isn’t it?” I take the glass of claret she offers me.

“That element of the princess taking charge does attract me to the story, I will confess. This one in particular has its charm. The Danes have a generally positive view on women. It seems,” she observes, “different countries hold their women to different standards, as least as they are reflected in the fairy tales.”

“The local tales,” I say, “are probably a rather good barometer of a country. What are your perceptions?”

“The Germans, I’ll say, are the hardest on their women, if we accept the Grimms as representative.” She swirls the dark, red wine in her glass. “In the Grimms’ canon there is the story King Thrushbeard and among the Irish tales The Queen of Tinkers. It’s the same story, but in the Grimms’ version the princess must be humbled. In the Irish tale she must be strong.

“Did you know the Germans never had a regent queen? The English had Queen Elizabeth, who absolutely defined her era. The Russians can boast of Catherine the Great. Germany, when it comes to speaking of it famous queens, we hear crickets chirping.”

Melissa pauses to bring out a cheese board, a block of Stilton, water biscuits and a small jar of blueberry jam from her epicurean basket. The jam, in particular, attracted Thalia’s attention.

Dipping a slice of cheese into the jam, I question, “Why do so many of the female protagonists in these tales end up getting married in the course of the story?”

Melissa sips her wine, contemplating. “At the time these fairy tales took the shape in which we now find them, there was not a lot of social mobility, and virtually none for women. Their marriage would determine their status. So, I’ll suppose young women’s future marriage was very much on their minds.

“On the other hand,” she continues, “in the fairy tales, the heroines never start out to find husbands. Husbands happen to them, such as in How Idle Lars Won Himself a Princess.”

Melissa opens her basket again and produces a covered bowl of mixed nuts. The lid removed, I spot a fat macadamia nut and pick it out as I say, “You have prompted a thought in me. You said, at the time, there was little social mobility. I infer from that there was little status change as well. But frequently the tales, as in our tale’s case, are about change in status; the oafish Lars becomes a king. It seems to me that goes beyond wishful thinking into the impossible.”

“But that’s the fun of it!” Thalia joins in, “Dreaming the impossible.”

I suppose she is right.


Part Three — Concerning Status


From the magic basket comes Melissa’s Curried Chicken and Pasta Salad, one of her no-fail crowd pleasers. I am delighted but I watch Thalia eye the offering suspiciously. She tastes it. Her brows knit, then she takes a second bite. I am proud of her. A child willing to venture beyond macaroni cheese as a culinary delight shows promise.

While staring up at the ruined tower of Hadleigh Castle, its ancient stonework sheltering us from the sun, Melissa comments, “I do notice a gender pattern in the tales concerning status. In the course of the tales young women fall from their status to a lower status, then struggle to return to that position or, in some cases, a higher one.

“In our story the princess is cast out to sea with Idle Lars to meet their fate. She turns it around to restore her position and bring Lars around to decency.”

I nod in agreement, my mouth full of pasta salad, so Melissa continues. “Men may start out as farm hands and rise to become kings. Lars is a selfish, idle oaf and wins himself a princess. There is no fall from grace with the men.”

“I like this!” Thalia declares, holding her fork.

Fall from grace,” I echo. “What does that say about how we perceive the roles of men and women in society?”

“Exactly my point,” says Melissa, taking a moment to nod to Thalia. “Women are at a disadvantage. They fight to maintain what they have. Men get to venture forward. Women who are on the road were forced out or are fleeing. Men are on the road to seek their fortunes.”

We watch a container ship, in silent effort, slowly, laboriously work its way up the Thames Estuary headed for the Port of London.

“In our story,” I return to the subject, “what about the disappearing child? When his mother and supposed father are cast out to sea, does he go with them?” I let a little false shock enter my voice.

Melissa, smiling, claps her hands once at my humor. “You have addressed the economy of characters so common to the fairy tale. Of course we don’t know what happens to the child. He has played his role and since he no longer forwards the story, he disappears. Though a prince he may be, he no longer shows his face.

“Also in our story, he is not the first to meet that fate. Lars’ parents are given no better. Lars’ father is mentioned at the start, so we know Lars had a recognized father. (Lars’ parentage of his son is not so clear.) Lars has a conversation with his mother, who sends him to the communal well, but after that she is no longer part of the story. Even when Lars is transformed into a decent human being and becomes king, there is no mention of him inviting his parents to live with him and his wife in the castle. Some tales will extend that courtesy, but they are usually French.”

“Fathers,” I say, finishing off my salad, “suffer the most from what you call the economy of characters. The notable exception is in Hansel and Gretel, where the children returning to their father at the end of the tale is their return to their former status. He needs to be there. Usually, as in the Beauty and the Beast variants, the father creates the dilemma, but then fades from the story as the jealous sisters take over.”

Melissa nods in agreement as, for dessert, she presents from her basket a peach cobbler. All conversation ceases. 



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Charles Kiernan:  Mark Twain impersonator, traditional storyteller, and writer.

Charles Kiernan performs at theaters, listening clubs, schools, libraries, and arts festivals. He is also coordinator for the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, Pennsylvania State Representative for the National Youth Storytelling Showcase and Pennsylvania State Liaison for the National Storytelling Network. He’s been showcased on Lehigh Storytelling, and The Southsider magazine. 

Charles specializes in Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales. Be warned, however, he does tell them in their original spirit, under the belief that the “grimness” of Grimm serves a purpose, and should not be removed.

He has, of late, been fobbing himself off as Mark Twain with great success. Twain is wont to ramble on about his boyhood memories, the book publishing business, life on the Mississippi and frogs. Mostly, though, he likes to talk about the river.

He also performs Americana stories, collectively labeled theLost Dollar stories, a collection of Appalachian tales whose wisdom and humor is woven into the life of a little village stuck way back in the hills. The village is named “Lost Dollar” after the original settler’s mishap that caused him to stay there. The main industries seem to be the growing of apples and the catching of cat fish. Just ask about Uncle Willard’s Catfish!

In addition, Charles is a writer, best known for his blog “Fairy Tale of the Month.” He is presently working on a YA novel, in which his protagonist is falling through history as a pawn in a cosmic chess game played by Loki, the Nordic Lord of Destruction and his counterpart the Goddess Freya.

You can visit his website at (don’t forget to scan down for a video trailer of his Twain show), his WordPress blog, and his Facebook Page

The Spark of Imagination


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Phil Giunta

In the next couple of months, the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group will feature some of our published authors. Phil Giunta is a regular fixture at GLVWG, has shared his advice on Writing the Compelling Short Story at past conferences, and has quite an impressive bibliography of works to his name. 

Phil offers his perspective on “The Spark of Imagination”, followed by a teaser of his upcoming book, “Like Mother Like Daughters“, due for release by Firebringer Press in November 2018.



When I use the term “speculative fiction” in my response to the inevitable question, “What do you write?” the common reaction is a blank stare, even from some in the writing community. 

When that happens, I take it as my prompt to explain that speculative fiction is an umbrella term that covers science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Once they hear that, the blank stare is washed away and replaced by understanding followed by the inevitable, “Are you published?”

The answer to that question can be found in my bibliography below. At the moment, I’d like to address another question, asked less frequently, yet far more satisfying to discuss—“Why do you write in those genres?”

Simply put, they appeal to me because of the wide breadth of stories that can be told, the infinitely exotic worlds that can be created, the strange, beguiling, or alien characters and situations that allow us to escape into a milieu unlike anything we experience in our daily lives.

Someone once said that science fiction and fantasy are not so much genres, but settings through which any tale can be spun—murder mysteries, police procedurals, medical dramas, coming of age tales, the immoralities of war, racism, sexism, nationalism and the other chauvinisms that plague our society. Writers have always used fiction as parables to address the ills of the world around them.

Speculative fiction also appeals to me because these were the genres and themes I grew up with from the time I watched my first episode of Star Trek in reruns at age six and dreamed about exploring the galaxy. That same year, Star Wars was released—the pure, untainted, perfect version—that fired my young imagination even further. I started watching The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits around that same time.

From then on, I was hooked and began reading science fiction, which led to fantasy, which led to ghost stories and mysteries. From Asimov to Clarke, from Bradbury to Ellison, from Heinlein to LeGuin, from Poe to Lovecraft, and from Doyle to Dumas, I could not get enough. Still can’t. Still reading as yet undiscovered (by me) works by some of these writers and more including Philip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, Lester Del Rey, Murray Leinster, Ben Bova. The list expands continuously.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I began attending science fiction conventions, hauling along stacks of Star Trek novels and comic books to be autographed by writers who have since become mentors, friends, and yes, colleagues. Little did I realize at the time that by inquiring about writing and publishing and attending their discussion panels, I was also networking with chaps like Steven H. Wilson, Michael Jan Friedman, Howard Weinstein, Peter David, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and many others.

These bestselling and award-winning writers of comic books and media tie-in works also made their own marks with original SF, fantasy, and horror. Over the past twenty-six years, my relationships with some of these writers solidified into writing and publishing opportunities.

Steven H. Wilson’s Firebringer Press published all three of my paranormal mystery novels and a trilogy of speculative fiction anthologies that I created and edited to give voice to emerging writers.

Crazy 8 Pressformed by Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Glenn Hauman, and other august scribes—included two of my whimsical short stories in their ReDeus mythology series a few years back.

As a reader and fan, the speculative fiction genres have always brought me joy and wonder and have enriched my life by introducing me to scores of wonderful people.  As a writer, these genres sparked my imagination at an early age and inspired me to pursue and hone my skills as a storyteller.




And now, click Like Mother, Like Daughters-Teaser  for a sneak peek at Phil Giunta’s newest story, due out in November 2018. 

Giunta LMLD Cover

Like Mother, Like Daughters-Teaser



Phile Giunta

Phil Giunta’s novels include the paranormal mysteries Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side published by Firebringer Press. His third novel in the same genre, Like Mother, Like Daughters, is slated for release in late 2018.

Phil’s short stories appear in such anthologies as A Plague of Shadows from Smart Rhino Publications, Beach Nights from Cat & Mouse Press, the ReDeus mythology series from Crazy 8 Press, and the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, which he created and edited for Firebringer Press. His paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters is slated for release in 2018.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), Phil also penned stories and essays for Write Here, Write Now and The Write Connections, two of the group’s annual anthologies. He also served as chairman of the 2015 Write Stuff writers conference in Bethlehem, PA.

Visit Phil’s website:

Find him on Facebook: @writerphilgiunta and Twitter: @philgiunta71

You can listen to Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side for free at Scribl:


Bibliography – Phil Giunta

Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity – Firebringer Press (Summer 2019)

Like Mother, Like Daughters – Firebringer Press (November 2018)

A Plague of Shadows – Smart Rhino Publications (September 2018)

Write Connections – Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (March 2017)

Beach Nights – Cat & Mouse Press (October 2016)

Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity – Firebringer Press (August 2016)

Write Here, Write Now – Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (March 2016)

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity – Firebringer Press (August 2014)

ReDeus: Beyond Borders – Crazy 8 Press (May 2013)

By Your Side – Firebringer Press (November 2012)

ReDeus: Divine Tales – Crazy 8 Press (July 2012)

Testing the Prisoner – Firebringer Press (November 2009)



Flash Fiction Winners – 2018 GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™


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Article by Bernadette Sukley


Closing up with our final post about this year’s GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™, we are honored to list the winners of the Flash Fiction Contest held on March 24, 2018.

Bernadette Sukley, contest chairperson for the last eight years, gives us a quick rundown on how the process worked.


  1. Contest is open to Conference Attendees Only.
  2. Participants provide 100 words of poetry, fiction or non-fiction (or all three genres).
  3. Entries submitted via email or in person at the Write Stuff Writers Conference™.
  4. Entries are posted for reviewing and voting by all attendees.
  5. Tally of votes and announcement of winners (first, second, third prizes awarded for each of the three genres) at the end of conference.



For the Fiction Category:

1st Place – Rita Civitella: “Round Up”

2nd Place – Chris Ochs: “An Evening Encounter”

3rd Place – Douglas Troxell: “One More for the Pile”


Winning Entry – Round Up, by Rita Civitella

“Don’t do it Steve. Think of the loss.”

“They’ll only take over. Should’ve killed them all before.”

“No, some are good. We need them.”

“I’m only shooting the bad ones.”

“How can you tell bad from good? To you they all look the same. If you shoot at anything you don’t like, you’ll kill all the good ones, too.”

“You know how much I’ve sunk into this place? I’m not letting them take over. You can let your property value go down, but not me.”

Steve aimed the weed killer at the flower bed and pulled the trigger.




For the Non-Fiction Category:

1st Place – Rita Civitella: “The Escape”

2nd Place – Rosemary Detrolio: “Garden Blessings”

3rd Place – Suzanne Mattaboni: “ Near-sighted Girl’s Guide to Twins”


Winning Entry – The Escape, by Rita Civitella

 While she inspects some contraband, I see my chance. I slowly back away, attempting to soundlessly reach the tiny room, avoiding the squeaky floorboard near the stairs. I purse my lips, exhaling a short silent breath, trying to quiet my thumping heart as I reach my goal.

The door closes with a soft click. Easing myself onto the seat, I relax.

Sudden pounding on the door causes me to nearly jump to my feet. I see the doorknob turning back and forth.

“Grandma what are you doing in there?”

At least I got into the bathroom before I wet myself.




For the Poetry Category:

1st Place – Douglas Troxell: “The Express Lane”

2nd Place – Suzanne Mattaboni: “Lie Glitter”

3rd Place – Rita Civitella: “The Curse of the Blarney Stone”


Winning Entry – The Express Lane, by Douglas Troxell


Twenty-four items?


Lady you’re gonna bring 24 items into the express lane?

The sign above the cashier reads 15 items or less not 15 items or best offer.

I’ve got two items

A Gatorade

A hoagie


We arrived in the lane that same time.

And I being a gentleman I am, ushered you forward

Grocery store chivalry is not dead

YOU looked at me

You saw my items

You glanced at my Gatorade

You glanced at my hoagie

And still, you stepped forward with your 24 items.

Twenty-four items.




Bio Bernadette Sukley

Bernadette Sukley, Write Stuff Writers Conference™ Flash Literature Contest Organizer and Chairman of the GLVWG Anthology, ‘The Write Connections’, has been researching, writing and editing for over 25 years. Her work has been featured in national and international publications. Her focus is human interest, health, and lifestyle. She’s also written and edited guides, pamphlets, columns, stories, and novels. She’s published two novels (A Saving Hurricane, Find Me a Woman) and a nonfiction book (Made in Pennsylvania) within the last eight years.

Remembering the GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ in Pictures



The 2017 Write Stuff Writer’s Conference™, hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, has come and gone. Once again, our resident photographer, Joan Zachary, took pictures during the March sessions. 



Thursday, March 22, we held a full day workshop with bestselling author, Bob Mayer. In his seminar, he guided attendees through all the steps to develop an original idea, create characters, establish point of view, create setting, manage dialog, and how to go about selling our works in today’s market.



Friday Morning, March 23, Bob Mayer focused on the challenges in the business of writing; researching a story project, POD, and the future of publishing.

In the afternoon, Jane K. Cleland conducted a session on Mastering Suspense, and Managing Structure & Plot.  

Dan Krippene, Social Media Chair for GLVWG, offered a one hour presentation on how writers can use Pinterest to connect with others and enhance author brand.

Early Friday evening, Dianna Sinovic moderated GLVWG’s annual Page Cuts Critique Session, which gave participants an opportunity to have a short piece of their work critiqued by three panelists composed of writers and agents.


Richard White, Tabitha Lord, Veronica Park

Friday ended with a welcome reception where participants had the chance to network with presenters, agents, editors, and other conferees. 


Conference Chair, Dawn Sooy, spoke about the group’s 25th anniversary, and founding member, Peggy Adamczyk, reflected on GLVWG’s history through the years.

GLVWG member and professional magician, Arjay Lewis, entertained the event with amazing displays of prestidigitation.

Of course, no conference would be complete without a visit from ‘Samuel Clemmons’ (aka Charles Kiernan).


The main event for GLVWG’s 2018 Conference encompassed a busy day with six presenters on subjects for self publishing, weapons in fiction, time management, steampunk, writer beware, and ways to improve writing. 

Conference Schedule for Day 3 Saturday V2


Those not attending the first morning session, had the chance to hear the latest publishing industry trends from a panel of Agents and Editors, Sheree Bykofski, Noah Ballard, and Amara Hoshijo. 

After introductions by GLVWG’s President, Keith Keifer, and Conference Chair, Dawn Sooy, our conference keynote speaker, Bob Mayer, gave an upbeat talk on “I Will Make It Work”, encouraging writers to find their passion and mine it. He also had us laughing with stories of his military days in the Green Berets.


Following the day’s last sessions, winners were announced from the Flash Fiction Contest (of which the winner’s entry will be posted on the blog at a later date). Bernadette Sukley conducted the raffle for the many door prizes available at the conference. 


Bernadette Sukley

The day ended with a book fair, where participants could purchase signed copies from authors and presenters. 




Our thanks to Joan Zachary for providing the conference photographs.

Joan Zachary


We hope to see you next year at the GLVWG Writers Conference 2019.