Tag Archives: SFWC

Three by Five Schedule Update

Three by Five has really taken off this year. The author interview series that highlights a different author or indie publishing professional with five questions (usually) over three – five days during a month has filled up 2015! During this year, you’ll find the following authors highlighted here:

Currently in March is Laurie Kolp. Coming in April is poet Rebecca Foust. In May, Poet and Novelist Mariah E. Wilson. In June, Canadian Poet Carol Stephen. In July, Novel and Memoir author Matthew Pallamary. In August, Poet and Non-fiction author Bernadette Geyer. In September, Hiatus. In October, Fiction and Non-fiction writer Sam Slaughter. In November, Novelist and cinematographer Chase J. Jackson. In December, Memoir author Kelly Kittel. Then, welcoming in 2016, January’s Three by Five will host the 2015 Runner-up and Honorable Mention for this year’s Emerging Writer Prize, Caroline Zarlengo Sposto. The February, 2016 Three by Five featured author will be the 2016 Winner of the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize.  In March, Poet Ronnie K. Stephens will lead the rest of 2016. In April 2016, Science Fiction & Fantasy author Edward McKeown.

Don’t let the schedule deter you if interested in being highlighted in the Three by Five interview series. Additionally, occasionally the schedule is open to change in order to highlight an author with a book publishing during a specific month.

Three by Five interviews publish on days that end in three every month. Find out what why an author writes, what inspires them, who they read, and what their writing life is like. Discover their work and maybe find a whole new author to follow and enjoy.

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After SFWC – Kristen Falso Capaldi

Last month, Kristen Falso Capaldi, the recipient of the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize 2015, spent a weekend in San Francisco at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Read about her adventure at the conference. On her blog, she writers:

“Many writers will attest to this: It’s hard to say “I’m a writer” without feeling like some kind of fraud. It’s so much easier to say I’m a teacher, a baker, candle-stick maker (well, maybe not the last one). And while none of us should be in it for the rewards, rewards certainly don’t hurt.

So when I received the exciting news that I won the Victoria Hudson Emerging Writer Prize, I was just a bit more than ecstatic. Winning this scholarship to attend the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference meant a great deal to me. “Yippee!” I shouted to no one in particular. “I am a writer-albeit in a mostly unpaid-wallpapering-my-house-with-rejections kind of way- but I’m a writer.” After four days jam-packed with eye-opening and inspiring sessions, where I met cool, interesting people who are toiling away at a plethora of amazing projects, I declare that nobody should be afraid to admit to being a writer. In fact, get a t-shirt or a tattoo. Get both.”

Read more here.

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2015 Emerging Writer Prize Winning Essay

IMG_0549“WOULDN’T YOU RATHER MAKE CHEESE?”

MUSINGS ON WHY I WRITE, AND WHY I CHOOSE TO DO IT SO EARLY

by Kristen Falso-Capaldi

2015 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize Honoree

            5:00 a.m. is cold and dark. Trust me on this. In deepest January, when the wind outside is warning me about the bitter walk to the car, I just want to cover my head and snooze.  I do snooze, but only once.  At 5:09 a.m., I am up. I write. Everyday.

I was a writer before I even knew how to write. My childhood was filled with plot twists and dialogue contrived for imaginary friends, dolls and neighborhood kids, the unwitting stars of my theater.  I began a novel after college, then another in my late twenties. In my thirties, I finished a third, then stopped writing for years while I nursed the wounds of rejection.  I wrote a few short stories, song lyrics, kept a journal.  But most of the time, I was doing other things — making jewelry and practicing yoga and learning to make cheese.  Really, my mozzarella was epic.

I loved talking about writing.  “Someday, when I have the time,” I said. “I will write. I’m a writer, after all.” Talking, as they say, isn’t doing.

About a year ago, something happened. I spent the summer of 2013 focused on changing careers. My job as a public high school teacher was taking its toll.  As I sought out the perfect opportunity for an ex-PR-professional-turned-educator, I dug into the recesses of my laptop, hoping to uncover a half-decent resume. I found, instead, a number of fictional pieces I’d left for dead.

This is where I found Blake, the protagonist of novel number four, while he grieved his dead wife.  And Catherine, the teenager who came to work at a factory in the summer of ’87 and left the men there spellbound. And Henry, a weak middle-school teacher who turned into a manly TV character for one day.   They were all there, their stories broken off by imaginary ellipsis.  They needed me.

The job market was as dry as the Sahara, but I was too busy writing to feel badly about it.  By the end of August, I finished a first draft of novel number four and completed three short stories.  I was going back to my classroom, but I needed to write.

Just like talking isn’t doing, needing isn’t wanting.  I’d been at this place before. I accepted I probably wouldn’t fit writing into my life once the school year got rolling.

“You always stop writing eventually,” my inner voice said. “Wouldn’t you rather make cheese?”

But guess what? When you truly want to do something, you find a way to fit it in.

It turns out I wanted to write. It also turns out 5:09 a.m. is when I can fit it in.  365+ early-morning writing sessions later, I have written several short stories and micro-fiction pieces, four drafts of my novel, a first draft of a new novel, two screenplays and a generous handful of song lyrics.

I write because I can no longer picture my life without it.  The rewards have been small, but encouraging. Henry, the weak middle-school teacher was introduced to readers in the December 2013 issue of Underground Voices magazine, and a screenplay I co-wrote received an official selection at the Houston Comedy Film Festival.  So, I keep trying and hoping that someone will want to know Blake and Catherine and all the others who haven’t even been born yet.

I’m going to make some coffee now. It’s very early, and I’ve got lots to say before I leave for work.

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Emerging Writer Prize Winner Announced

The 2015 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize winner is:

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

“ You always stop writing eventually,” my inner voice said. “Wouldn’t you rather make cheese…I’m going to make some coffee now. It’s very early, and I’ve got lots to say before I leave for work.”

Kristen Falso-Capaldi is a writer, musician and public high school teacher. The latter position has led her to believe she could run a small country if given the opportunity. She is the singer and lyricist for a folk/acoustic duo Kristen & J, she has finished a novel and has co-written a screenplay, Teachers: The Movie, which was an official selection for the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival. Kristen’s short story, “Of Man and Mouse” was published in the December 2013 issue of Underground Voices magazine, and several of her micro-fiction pieces have received accolades in various contests. Kristen lives in a small town in northern Rhode Island with her husband and cat.

Kristen will receive a scholarship for her registration to attend the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference, February 12-15. She will also receive a signed copy of No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups and Critique as well as the E-book version. Her winning entry will post here in February.

Congratulations Kristen!

This year there were 37 entries for consideration. There were more semi-finalists than ever before and competition for the final four was quite strong. Each of their entries are expected to post here over the next few months.

Competition for 2016 opens on September 1st.

 

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Emerging Writer Prize Runner-up Announced

Runner-up and Honorable Mention for the 2015 Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize goes to:

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

“I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.”

Caroline Sposto began writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in earnest four years ago when her daughters went off to college. Her work has since been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle Magazine, and an assortment of literary magazines and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K and Canada. She is a Memphis correspondent forBroadwayworld.com, and Poetry Editor of the Humor in Americablog. In 2011, she was chosen to participate in the Moss Workshop in Fiction at the University of Memphis with author Richard Bausch. In 2013, she won second place in The Great American Think-off––an amateur philosophy competition that culminates in a public debate in New York Mills, Minnesota. In 2014, she was chosen to spend the summer as a writer in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She feels grateful a wistful turning point in life became a happy adventure!

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Finalists for the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize

Introducing the four finalists for this year’s Emerging Writer Prize.

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

“I’m going to make some coffee now. It’s very early, and I’ve got lots to say before I leave for work.”

Kristen Falso-Capaldi is a writer, musician and public high school teacher. The latter position has led her to believe she could run a small country if given the opportunity. She is the singer and lyricist for a folk/acoustic duo Kristen & J, she has finished a novel and has co-written a screenplay, Teachers: The Movie, which was an official selection for the 2014 Houston Comedy Film Festival. Kristen’s short story, “Of Man and Mouse” was published in the December 2013 issue of Underground Voices magazine, and several of her micro-fiction pieces have received accolades in various contests. Kristen lives in a small town in northern Rhode Island with her husband and cat.

Ali McCart

“I write because I will no longer censor my narrator.”

Ali McCart’s first publishing job was collating and saddle-stitching a quarterly travel journal before she could even read—that’s what happens to a child of printers and publishers. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Willamette University and a master’s degree in book publishing from Portland State University. She’s the founder and executive editor of Indigo Editing & Publications, where she’s helped authors hone their craft since 2005. Despite all this experience in publishing, she only recently began her journey as a writer.

Phylise Smith

“I write because why I write is an essay, an essay of life, an essay on writing. Why do I write? I write Because.”

Phylise Smith is a dancer storyteller who is transitioning from speaking through movement to speaking through the written word. Before attempting fiction, she published scholarly articles on dance in Choreography and Dance Journal and other dance periodicals.

More recently, she has worked with fiction writers, Ayana Mathis, Leslie Schwartz and Debra Dean. As evidence of her emerging talent, Phylise has been awarded several writing scholarships including scholarships to participate in the Eckert College Writers’ Conference in Florida and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Phylise has studied writing at UCLA Extension Writer’s program and is currently working on a novel on how tradition impacts women’s lives.

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

“I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.”

Caroline Sposto began writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in earnest four years ago when her daughters went off to college. Her work has since been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Family Circle Magazine, and an assortment of literary magazines and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K and Canada. She is a Memphis correspondent for Broadwayworld.com, and Poetry Editor of the Humor in America blog. In 2011, she was chosen to participate in the Moss Workshop in Fiction at the University of Memphis with author Richard Bausch. In 2013, she won second place in The Great American Think-off––an amateur philosophy competition that culminates in a public debate in New York Mills, Minnesota. In 2014, she was chosen to spend the summer as a writer in residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She feels grateful a wistful turning point in life became a happy adventure!

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I Write Because I am a Coward

Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize Semi-finalist Augustine Wetta’s response to the prompt – Why I write…

I Write Because I Am a Coward

I write because I am a coward. I am aware that this sounds like false humility. It is false humility. But it is also true.

Twenty-­‐four years ago, when I was working as a lifeguard in Galveston, Texas, I had to pull a corpse out of the water. The body had been drifting alongshore among the crabs and sharks
for three days. When I arrived on the scene, there was a crowd gathered at the water’s edge, jittery and hushed and expectant; and I remember that I was very frightened because no one knew exactly where the body was. That meant I’d have to swim out there and just keep swimming in circles until I bumped into it. I remember calling into my radio for backup, but knowing that help would be a long time coming because Tower 53 was seventeen miles from Headquarters. And I remember how warm the water was that day, and how every tendril of seaweed that brushed against my skin made me gasp and grit my teeth.

But most of vividly of all—and this is the part that still gives me nightmares—I remember realizing that at any moment, I might just…come unglued. There was a real chance that, in front of all those people, I’d throw my buoy in the sand and run away. That was a real possibility. And I remember saying to myself as I pushed deeper into the water that if I could just set one foot in front of the other, eventually it would all be over.

I am a monk now. I have lived as a Benedictine monk for seventeen years, and I think the reason I write is the same as the reason I pray. Frightening and lonely as it can be, I find that more often than not, one foot follows the other. And I take
consolation in this act of writing, because on that day in 1990, when I stepped into the surf to retrieve the body of an unidentified thirty-­‐year-­‐old Caucasian male, I never found him. Deliberately. I shuffled around in the shallows where I knew I’d never find him—and I stayed there until my supervisors showed up. Then they swam out and retrieved the corpse while I pretended to help.

So you see, I’ve thrown my lot in with the cowards. And although I don’t imagine that I’m much worse of a sinner than anyone else, the fact remains that I’ve stood in the shallows while someone else swam deep and did my job. And I’ve done this more than once. My soul is littered with corpses: unspoken apologies, unwritten letters, unpunished wrongs and unanswered prayers.

Twenty years later, alone in my cell, looking out over the cloister garden, I sometimes think of these failures, and of that day at the 53rd Street Beach, and I am ashamed. But then I begin to write. I put one foot in front of the other. And out of the depths, the corpses begin to surface. I drag them to shore and I give them names.

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Down to Five!

There are some really interesting entries in this year’s Emerging Writer competition and it’s been tough to whittle down the field. Working through the semi-finalists to identify the top three requires critical reading of both the prompt response and the writing sample. With such a large bucket full of semi-finalists, both the writing sample and the prompt response must evoke a strong resonance. Some years, a grand writing sample or stellar prompt response will tip the scale. This year, both facets of the entry must be outstanding not just as a stand alone reading, but ranked within the field of entries.

I’ll be posting a few of the semi-finalists’ prompt responses between now and the conference. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed reading them.

Congratulations in no particular order to the top five:

Tonissa Saul

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

Ali McCart

Phylise Smith

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

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J. C. Augustine Wetta wins Dr. Ellen Taliaferro Scholarship to SFWC15

From Barbara Santos, of the San Francisco Writers Conference – “The winner of the Dr. Ellen Taliaferro Scholarship for the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference is J. C. Augustine Wetta, a Benedictine monk. He submitted a beautifully written story with a Gift of the Magi twist at the end. Both Ellen (Dr. T) and I fell in love with the writing and story which we both admitted had us laughing and crying. The Dr. T Scholarship is for memoir writers who use forgiveness to move on with their lives after adversity or illness.”

Congratulations to J. C. Augustine Wetta! Augustine also entered the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize and was a strong contender, having been selected in the top nine of 37 total entries. With selection for Dr. T’s scholarship, this talented writer is no longer in consideration for the Emerging Writers Prize. Congratulations Augustine! I’m looking forward to meeting you next month at the Conference!

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Deliberations Begin!

The holiday season has arrived in full. There are still a few last leftovers from Thanksgiving in the fridge. Santa, Rudolf and lights galore are starting to grace the homes in the neighborhood. December has arrive2009 SFWC MFA Scholarship winners & sponsor 05d and with it, some colder temperatures, blustery, rainy days and the deadline for the Emerging Writer contest I sponsor every year. One talented, emerging writer will receive a paid registration fee to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference in February 2015. Travel and all other costs are on the winner, but the ticket in the door is their reward for a well crafted response to the prompt Why I write.

Last year, I ran an entirely electronic submission process and have done so again this year. While this streamlines the judging with the number of entries received, sometimes I miss the analog process where I held each manuscript as I read every response to the prompt and began stacking submissions in the NO, MAYBE, ABSOLUTELY piles as part of the judging process. The kinesthetic connection as I turned the pages made reading each entry a more personal experience. Each author and I were having an intimate conversation about writing.

The deadline now past, time to tackle reading the entries. Each year I’m looking for the one entry that will take my breath away, cause me to break in to a deep belly laugh, or stop reading for a moment from the tears in my eyes. With eight years of reading Why I write… entries, will I read a story that is genuinely original in thought or composition is a question in the back of my mind. Inevitability, there is some coal in the writing I’m about to mine. I’ll find a few diamonds there, I’m sure.

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