The Magazine of the Bethlehem Writers Group
Issue No. 50, Autumn, 2017
See information on our upcoming

at the tab above

BWG is happy to announce that Emily Murphy has joined our editorial team. Welcome, Emily!

Editor's Note
Emily Murphy

It's officially fall. As I write this, the days are getting shorter, the leaves are crunching underfoot, the temperatures the high 80's. Hey, we can't have everything, can we? As I sip my (iced) pumpkin latte and reflect on the theme of this issue of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, I can't think of any theme more appropriate for my introductory Editor's Note.

"Home for the Holidays," evokes images of families gathering around the fireplace in matching pajamas--or perhaps gathering around the bonfire roasting marshmallows if this heat wave continues--but coming home can mean so much more than gathering around a shared heat source. Coming home means surrounding yourself with the people who helped form you.

I joined the Bethlehem Writers Group back in 2007, long before there was an LLC, long before anyone even dreamed of anthologies or Roundtable. Back then, "Sweet, Funny, and Strange" was nothing more than a description of our eclectic group of eccentrics. Back then, we gathered in the comfy chairs of Barnes and Noble, tentatively discussing our works in progress. Passers by would inevitably stop to listen just as I read aloud Jerry's most colorfully-written prose. I marveled at the way Paul could pack meaning into every word of his short fiction. I remember the first time Carol brought Gracie McIntyre to group, and the first time Bernadette joined our ranks. These are all moments that shaped me and my writing.

A good writer's group is hard to find. A great one is impossible to replace. I was active in BWG for several years, a driving force behind our first anthology, and present the first time Jerry suggested we publish an "easy." (Turns out he was saying "e-zine...boy was I confused at first!)  While there, I began my freelance editorial career, which continued even when my husband's work took us away from Pennsylvania.

For me, joining the editorial board of Bethlehem Writer's Roundtable is a way of coming back to my literary roots. Working alongside Carol, Bernadette, Jerry, and Paul, is like working with family in all the best ways. I'm home for the holidays, and beyond, and I couldn't be happier.

In this issue, you'll get to read some of the honorable mentions from our 2017 SHORT STORY AWARD writing competition--and at the tab above, see information about next year's competition. We also have an interview with Carol L. Wright whose Gracie McIntyre mystery has grown and flowered and was just published last month! (Believe me, from someone who was there in the beginning, this is a book you won't regret reading!)

And for those of our readers who are also writers, I can't wait to see what you have for us. We're open for submissions, so send your best work our way. I'm "home" (in the air conditioning) waiting for it.

to our

Our Featured Authors

In this issue, we're excited to feature some of the authors who achieved Honorable Mentions in the 2017 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award competition. They are listed in alphabetical order by the authors' last names. And since the theme of our competition was "Tales of the Paranormal," they might be just what you'll want for an autumn read. We hope you enjoy their stories.

Phone Service
Epiphany Ferrell

Darryl sat in the quiet house, alone in the kitchen, his elbows propped up on the table, his fingers laced, and his head bowed behind them. The house was very quiet. The house was very still.

He tried to gather his thoughts but they just lay there in his head, lifeless. He was numb, he was tired. He had buried his father two months ago. Today, he’d buried his mother. He was the only surviving child. . . .

Read more here

Epiphany Ferrell
writes most of her fiction at Resurrection Mule Farm, named for a mule that survived a lightning strike (and was "never quite right" afterward). Her stories appear in several online and in-print journals including the Potomac, Ghost Parachute, Cooper Street, Prairie Wolf Press Review, Unnerving Magazine, Corvus Review and other places. She is the fiction editor at Mojave River Flash Fiction Magazine and Review and on the editorial staff at Flash Fiction Magazine.

So Hungry . . .
Phil Giunta

After scaling a treacherous length of the steep mountain trail, Edwin Santiago turned to extend a helping hand to his wife. Without a word, Prudence waved it away and bounded up through a notch in the cliff wall to stand beside him. As she caught her breath, they turned to admire the view from the northwest face of New Mexico’s Starvation Peak. Beige and tan earth—dusted with rouge and mottled with deep green pines and desert scrub—stretched flat to the horizon, broken only by a few scattered and distant peaks. . . .
Read more here.

Phil Giunta’s first novel, a paranormal mystery called Testing the Prisoner, was published in 2010 by Firebringer Press. His second novel in the same genre, By Your Side, was released in 2013. You can listen to both on audio for free at

Phil's short stories appear in such anthologies as Beach Nights from Cat and 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 late 2017.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), Phil has 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:

The Souk
Joan Wright Mularz

The last thing the tour guide said as I stepped off the bus was, "Be careful in the souk, big guy!" An older lady overheard and agreed, "That's right, young man, I've heard it's a very dangerous place… you know… thieves and pickpockets roaming the alleys and unscrupulous merchants in the stalls!" . . .

Read more here.

Joan Wright Mularz
was born into a large family on an island in the middle of New York Harbor. It's where she read her first mystery and learned to love reading, writing and drawing.

Through books and art history, she developed an interest in seeing other places. As a college student, she scrimped and saved and headed across the ocean for the first time.

Her experiences as a traveler, parent and a teacher, have influenced Joan to write for young people. Two and a half years living in Italy became the inspiration for her first E. T. Madigan mystery, Upheavals at Cuma. Six years in Germany led to the writing of the second mystery, White Flutters in Munich. Her picture book, What I Like About My Friends, celebrates the diversity she has found through both teaching and travel and another, Island Times, celebrates the multiplication and diversity of animal and plant life found on islands.

She has also written curriculums and educational grants. When not traveling, she divides her time between a small town in Massachusetts and a small town in the western hills of Maine, inspiration for her alliterative alphabet book, Down West — the Other Maine and for her third E.T. Madigan mystery, Maine Roots Run Deep, due out in 2017.

Tag Team
Robert Walton

My best friend Bernie should have been a politician. It’s not just his big mouth - though he’s in line for Guinness recognition, I’m sure - it’s his pure genius at being able to irritate ninety-nine percent of the people in any given room. This makes feeding polar bears by hand seem a sane activity compared to going drinking with him. But what the hell? . . .

Read more here.

Robert Walton
is a retired teacher and a life-long rock-climber and mountaineer. He has made numerous ascents in the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite and Pinnacles National Park. Three of his short stories about climbing were published in the Sierra Club's Ascent. Another, "Three's a Crowd" was converted into a radio play and broadcast on NPR.
He is an experienced writer with five published books to his credit. Many of his short stories have been published in journals and on literary websites. His Civil War novel Dawn Drums won both the 2014 New Mexico Book Awards Tony Hillerman Prize for best fiction and first place in the 2014 Arizona Authors competition. His story “Lulu Garlic, Contraband” was broadcast by Central California NPR affiliate KVPR. Most recently, his western story “La Loca” appeared in “Principia Ponderosa”, The Third Flatiron Anthology, Volume 18. Robert and his wife Phyllis have been married for forty-five years and make their home in King City, CA. Please visit Robert’s website to learn more about his writing:


Laurel Wilczek

Early spring. Caulder, PA.

Spring is nearly here. I can taste it in the air, a sharp brew of mud and decaying leaves. The wind has no bite. My feet don't crunch anymore as I walk along the forest path. They slide into the skin of the earth and leave furrows behind me. My father hikes through the woods like he walks through life, with a sense of purpose. I can tell he's eager to get to our destination, but he keeps his pace steady and does not urge me to hurry. . . .

Read more here.

Laurel Wilczek is a local writer whose work has appeared in T-Zero Literary MagazineBe a Better Writer by Pearl Luke and in The Greater Lehigh Valley 2016 Anthology. She was the First Place winner in the fantasy category of the 2013 Golden Rose Contest and 3rd place winner in the fantasy category of the 2010 Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Contest. Laurel teaches the November Teen Writer's Workshop each year at Hughes library and will be teaching characterization & plot at the September 23, 2017 Pocono Liars Club Workshop for New Writers. She is currently working on a dark quirk fantasy novel due to be completed in summer of 2017.