Monday, January 23, 2017

Bethlehem Writers Roundtable

by Paula Gail Benson

A writer never forgets the first place her work is published. The Bethlehem Writers Group, in existence since 2006, gave me that opportunity through its online publication the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable (BWR).

At the end of 2012, I had recently joined the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime and decided to commit to serious writing by submitting my work. I read the BWR was seeking 2000 or less word stories on the theme “Dead Valentine” for its February issue. I sent in “Nectar of the Gods,” and, miraculously, it was selected as February’s feature story, which meant I also had to come up with a “top ten” list. (My topic: the top ten romantic Broadway musicals.)

Subsequently, I entered the BWR annual short story contest. That year, it was being judged by Hank Phillippi Ryan, who I unabashedly adore as a fabulous writer and incredible human being. I wrote a story based on personal experience, drawn from an incident that happened to my mother during her final days in the hospital. I will never forget the joy I felt in placing third, behind K.B. Inglee, another author I very much admire.

For me, the BWR is the gift that keeps giving. My three stories published there remain accessible through the online archives. My prize winner also was included in a print anthology available in paperback or Kindle formats on Amazon.

When I first submitted to the BWR, it was issued monthly and offered no payment. In 2017, it became a quarterly publication that pays for accepted stories ($20 for featured authors and $10 for &More selections). Submissions should be no more than 2000 words.

This year, the short story contest is being judged by Carrie Vaughn, the New York Times bestselling novelist of the Kitty series, featuring a werewolf who hosts a radio talk show. Paranormal stories are being solicited and must be received by March 31, 2017. There is an entry fee of $10 per story for the contest. (Regular submissions require no fee.) In addition to publication, the top three prize winners receive cash awards. Personally, I think the contest fee is very reasonable and consider it a means of supporting an excellent organization.

If you’re a short story writer, please consider submitting to the BWR. I have found its editors to be wonderful, caring individuals, and I am very proud to be among their authors (including my Stiletto Gang partner, Debra Goldstein). Check it out at:


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful post on BWG and BWRoundtable. We are proud to have you as one of our authors.

    1. Thank you, Marianne. It's a privilege to be published in BWR.