Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, and a Merry Yuletide to All! Welcome to 2022 and the winter issue of The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. Longtime followers of the BWG will realize that a new year heralds the opening on the BWG’s annual short story writing competition. That’s right (write) people—it’s time to polish up those short mystery stories and send them in. First prize includes publication in the BWG’s next anthology, An Element of Mystery, due out in autumn 2022. See our competition page for details.
Of course, an exciting competition requires an equally thrilling judge to decide the winner, and as usual, the BWG has come up with s truly class act. Our celebrity judge, and this issue’s interviewee, is none other than Kate Carlise, the New York Times bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries. We are so happy Ms. Carlise took the time to answer some of our questions, and hope you enjoy reading her thoughtful replies.
We have more contest delight for you this issue in the form of our two front page authors, R. L. Blake and Kevin Sandefur, who won second and third places, respectively, in last year’s competition with their sly and clever stories “Blessed are the
Meek Wily,” and “The Magic of Giving.” Claire A. Murray, author of the thoughtful and mysterious “Nanoni and shish-Ka-toomi,” also participated in last year’s competition. The BWG is proud to be publishing all three of these fine stories.
On the poetry side, we have Kieran Bellville’s “Classroom Exercise” and Anureet Watta’s “Aftertaste” to stir your hearts and provoke your thinking muscles. The BWG receives many fine poetry submissions and these are two of the best we’ve come across in recent months.
In this issue, the BWG has decided to feature the talents of some of its own members. Marianne Donely, treasurer of the BWG, favors us with her story of belated revenge; aptly titled for this issue “Best Served Cold.” A. E. Decker, yours truly, has on offer a short tale called “Pieces” whose ending may just surprise you. Meanwhile, Dianna Sinovic brings you this issue’s Literary Learnings and her musings on author Louise Erdrich. Finally, there’s our old friend Betty Wryte-Goode to assist writers with her insights and helpful writing links.
That’s all for the winter issue, and what a banquet it is! I hope you didn’t overeat during the holiday season readers, because we’re heaping more on your plates here. Enjoy our offerings, and don’t forget to send in those mystery stories. Maybe next year I’ll be mentioning your name and wonderful story in my editor’s note!
“Blessed Are the Meek and Wily” by R.L. Blake
“Where is Mother’s ring?”
Regina’s voice snaps across the crisp autumn air like a whip in the hand of an experienced dominatrix.
I’d barely pulled to the curb at St. Andrew’s Cathedral when she rushed from the parish hall’s side entrance, her emerald cashmere coat left unbuttoned in her haste, a new Hermès scarf flapping in the breeze. Dressed to impress the Manderfields, no doubt, wealthy descendants of Cliffview’s founding family, and her daughter Sammie’s future in-laws.
“The Magic of Giving” by Kevin Sandefur
Donna nicked her finger while peeling the last apple. It wasn’t a deep cut — more of a shallow scallop, really — but it bled far out of proportion to its size, and she had to suck on it for several minutes before it stopped.
She hadn’t cooked much lately, and she was out of practice. In fact, she hadn’t baked anything for the better part of a year — not since Jasper had left.
“Aftertaste” by Anureet Watta
Let us begin at after,
the brief moment of quiet where everyone swears to grieve without uttering revenge,
the bodies vacant apart from their thumping hearts stand amongst their rifles,
Also in this issue
Interview with author and short story judge Katie Carlisle
Short story by Marianne Donley
Short story by Claire A. Murray
Short story by A.E. Decker
Poem by Kieran Beville
Literary Learnings by Dianna Sinovic