SCN members make the news by publishing books, articles, essays, poems, dramas, and art. They also make presentations, lead workshops, facilitate groups, and organize programs. Below are some of our members’ achievements this year.
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More Wins for Ellen Notbohm’s Books
The Gold Medal for Nonfiction Series from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs) was awarded to Ellen Notbohm’s Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew and Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew.
Additionally, Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew was named a finalist in Education in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Ellen Notbohm’s internationally renowned work has informed and delighted millions in more than twenty-five languages. In addition to four award-winning books on autism and her widely acclaimed novel The River by Starlight (2018 Sarton Award winner for historical fiction), her columns and posts have appeared in major publications and captured audiences on every continent. Most recently, her short prose and poetry has appeared in Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, Well Read, and Story Circle Network’s Journal. https://ellennotbohm.com/
Ellen Notbohm Wins a Hoffer Award, Finals in Chanticleer
Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew, by Ellen Notbohm, won the 2023 Eric Hoffer Award for Reference/Education. In addition, Notbohm’s essay “What She Thinks About When She Thinks About Shoes” in the April issue of Well Read finaled in the Chanticleer Awards for short stories/essays. “Death by Thesaurus,” another essay, was published in the May issue of Dorothy Parker’s Ashes and picked up by LitHub Daily, LitHub Weekly, and Memoir Monday.
Ellen Notbohm’s internationally renowned work has informed and delighted millions in more than twenty-five languages. In addition to four award-winning books on autism and her widely acclaimed novel The River by Starlight (2018 Sarton Award winner for historical fiction), her columns and posts have appeared in major publications and captured audiences on every continent. Ellen is also a popular book editor and writing coach. https://ellennotbohm.com/
Sara Etgen-Baker Has Multiple Pieces Published
Sara Etgen-Baker’s story “The Thornback and the Red-Headed Man” was first runner-up in this year’s Winner’s Circle contest sponsored by The Preservation Foundation. In addition, three stories were published in the May/June Issue of Good Old Days Magazine. They are: “Weekends with Grammy,” “Runt of the Litter,” and “Family Togetherness, Love, and Chocolates on Mother’s Day.”
Sara began her writing journey—the pursuit of her teenage dream—shortly after she retired from teaching. Over the past 11 years she’s written countless memoir vignettes and personal narratives, many of which have been published in magazines, anthologies, and books.
SCN is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Blog Post Competition
Click each link below to read the entry.
1st: Lorinda Boyer, Starting Again
2nd: Julie McGue, Connections Matter
3rd: Gretchen Staebler, Connection to Home at Life’s End
Sara Etgen-Baker Has Three Stories Published
Sara’s story “A Wink from God” will appear in Guideposts’ upcoming anthology titled Too Amazing for Coincidence. Additionally two of her stories, “Bumper Crop” and “All Aboard,” were published in the March/April edition of Good Old Days Magazine.
After retirement, Sara pursued her lifelong dream of being a published writer. She’s met with success, having her stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Good Old Days Magazine, and SCN’s Kitchen Table Stories 2022.
Jo-Ann Vega’s “Wolf Woman & Other Poems” Wins Bronze Medal
Jo-Ann Vega’s debut poetry collection, Wolf Woman & Other Poems, is a bronze medal winner in the poetry category of the Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Awards, 2022-2023. Reader Views uses a 3-tier judging system of reviewers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Literary awards are given in a number of categories with regional and global winners. Vega says, “I’m thrilled and humbled to receive the award for my poetic memoir.” Winners are posted at https://www.readerviews.com/winners-2022/.
An always-aspiring wolf woman and devotee of journaling, Jo-Ann Vega lives with her life partner and canine companion. She thanks Story Circle Network for the warm embrace of her musings, which helped her decide to publish her poetic memoir.
Linda M. Hasselstrom Releases New Book “Walking; the Changes”
Linda M. Hasselstrom and James W. Parker, both South Dakotans, find stories everywhere in the prairies and hills. His photographs tell stories through light and color, creating love stories to the land. Linda’s poems explore the same landscapes, finding humanity in the country and people she knows. Two poets, with words and photographs, collaborate to show their love and understanding of western South Dakota, creating a book filled with compassion, humility, and gentle humor. https://www.amazon.com/Walking-Changes-Linda-M-Hasselstrom/dp/0917624084/storycirclenetwo
Linda M. Hasselstrom is the author of more than 17 books of nonfiction and poetry focused on the grasslands of western South Dakota, where she is a rancher and resident writer of her Windbreak House. https://windbreakhouse.wordpress.com/
Jo-Ann Vega Has An Interview and An Article Published
A written published interview on the Reader Views Book Blog covers Vega’s writing journey, why she wrote the books Moments in Flight: A Memoir and Wolf Woman & Other Poems, what the experiences were like, and what she’s working on now. Read it at https://readerviewsarchives.wordpress.com/2023/01/20/meet-the-author-vega-wolf-woman-and-other-poems.
You wouldn’t embark on an extended journey without making plans, getting prepared. The same is true for indie writers considering self-publishing. Her article “Considering Self-Publishing? Prepare for the Journey” addresses the size of the publishing market, asks would-be self-publishers two questions [Do you want to be the publisher or collect royalties? and Have you identified the META data?], and offers five tips for working with publishers. Find it at https://www.readerviews.com/considering-self-publishing-prepare-for-the-journey.
Jo-Ann Vega is a devotee of journaling and an always-aspiring wolf woman.
Nine E-circle Members Share Writing
In this 30-minute video, nine women share their responses to the monthly extravaganza prompts shared by Lynn Goodwin.
Margaret Ghielmetti Has Short Story Published In New York Times
Margaret Ghielmetti is delighted to have “A Memory Mea Culpa” published in the New York Times‘ Tiny Love Stories (online: December 27, 2022; Style Section: January 1, 2023.) Tiny Love Stories are maximum 100 words long, and Margaret enjoyed sharing a marital “oops” moment. Her website is www.margaretghielmetti.com.
Margaret is beyond proud that Brave(ish): A Memoir of a Recovering Perfectionist earned Silver in Story Circle’s 2020 Gilda Contest! She aims to inspire readers that it’s never too late to live our lives, and to entertain with her travel mis-adventures.
Jo-Ann Vega’s “Wolf Woman” Receives 5-Star Recognition
Wolf Woman & Other Poems is a curated collection of 50 poems written over 50 years grouped by life stage with a preview of each. Each word portrait draws readers into a powerful connection between the author’s thoughts, feelings, and words. Awake to the life-affirming possibilities within waiting to be discovered. Read the review here.
A devotee of journaling and an always-aspiring wolf woman, Vega lives with her life partner and canine companion.
SCN Congratulates Member Pushcart Nominees
A panel of SCN judges nominated six pieces from our new 2022 anthology, Real Women Write: Seeing Through Their Eyes for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, which annually honors the best writing from this country’s small presses. We’re proud to recognize these excellent writers (in alphabetical order):
Sharon L. Charde — Five Women Around a Table
Linda Healy — Will Work For Food
Len Leatherwood — My Mother and Her Pain
Teresa Lynn — Lines
Janet Grace Riehl — I Will Take You Halfway
Christina M. Wells — Talking About Buffalo With the Dead
Read the nominated pieces, and many more, in Seeing Through Their Eyes.
Isidra Mencos Featured in Interview
Isidra Mencos was interviewed by Brendan O’Meara in The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. It was a juicy one-hour conversation about her debut memoir, Promenade of Desire, the art and craft of writing asynchronous narratives, writing about complex family relationships and about sex, and the impact of politics and history in private lives. Listen at https://brendanomeara.com/isidra-mencos-promenade-of-desire/.
Isidra Mencos, PhD, has had essays published in numerous literary magazines and has been listed as a Notable Essayist in The Best American Essays anthology. Her memoir Promenade of Desire came out October 2022.
SCN’s LifeWriting Competition Winners
All entrants deserve a round of applause, and special congratulations to the winners.
1st: MaryAnn Easley for Living With Disaster
2nd: Pamela Stockwell for The Phoenix Family
3rd: Sara Etgen-Baker for Desperado
Click each link above to read the winning entries, and watch for next year’s competition at https://www.storycircle.org/contest/lifewriting.
Isidra Mencos Has Essay Published
Isidra Mencos published an essay in Vivafifty.com entitled “At 64, I Finally Feel Seen After Publishing My Memoir,” in which she discusses why she had felt like a ghost all her life, despite a successful career. Read the essay at https://www.vivafifty.com/isidra-mencos-memoirs-17684/.
Isidra Mencos, PhD, has essays published in numerous literary magazines and has been listed as a Notable Essayist in The Best American Essays anthology. Her memoir Promenade of Desire came out October 2022.
Christina Wells’s “On Water” A Finalist, Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction
“On Water,” by Christina M. Wells, is a segmented lyric essay about family trauma, grief, and fear of water. The essay was a finalist for the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction sponsored by New Letters. For more information, see https://www.newletters.org/awards-2022/.
Christina M. Wells has published in the Northern Virginia Review, bioStories, Big Muddy, and Sinister Wisdom, among other places. She has an MA from University of Arkansas and a PhD from University of Maryland. Find her at bychristinamwells.net.
Sara Etgen-Baker Announces Publication
I’m thrilled to announce that my story titled “Crossroads” will appear in the upcoming issue of the Guideposts anthology Blessings in Disguise.
After retirement, Sara pursued her teenage dream and began writing personal narratives and memoir vignettes. Many of her stories have appeared in a host of anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, and Real Women Write.
Isidra Mencos Releases “Promenade of Desire”
Promenade of Desire is a raw and honest sexual coming of age story: from Catholic virgin maiden to seductive Mata Hari as Spain moves from dictatorship to democracy. As the country transforms itself, shy María Isidra evolves into the alluring Isadora, whose passion for books and salsa dancing sustains her as she discovers what it means to be lustful and loved and reclaims her whole self.
Isidra Mencos, PhD, has been widely published in literary and general interest magazines, from Chicago Quarterly Review to WIRED. Her piece “My Books and I” was listed as Notable in The Best American Essays anthology. https://isidramencos.com/
Rhonda Wiley-Jones Releases “Song of Herself”
Fiona Weston, an Iowa horsewoman in work boots and trousers, sails to India in 1906, sent by her uncle to sell his quarter horses to the British Indian army. In India, everything she encounters rubs up against previous experiences. Fiona experiences a journey fraught with obstacles that creates a sturdy sense of self in which she learns to accept irreconcilable differences and still sing her song of self.
Wiley-Jones self-published her travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up & Growing Away (2014) and historical novel, Song of Herself (2022). Wiley-Jones is published online and in print, and writes for two local lifestyle magazines. Learn more at http://rhondawiley-jones.com/.
Felice Cohen releases memoir “Half In”
In her candid coming-of-age memoir Half In: A Coming-of-Age Memoir of Forbidden Love—as compelling as a novel—Felice chronicles the happiness and heartbreak of an age-gap love affair while struggling to figure out the direction of her future. Ultimately, this is a story about navigating life’s unpredictable path while following one’s heart, and finding acceptance.
Known globally as the woman who lived in the world’s smallest apartments, Felice Cohen is the author of the bestselling book Half In: A Coming-of-Age Memoir of Forbidden Love, as well as What Papa Told Me and 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 sq. ft. Her website is https://www.felicecohen.com/.
Isidra Mencos guest blogs on “Writing on a Dare”
Isidra Mencos published a guest post titled “Writing on a Dare” on Wisdom Well, a blog and a newsletter that goes to over a thousand readers daily. The essay described her long and bumpy ride towards becoming a writer. Read it here: https://wisdomwell.modernelderacademy.com/writing-on-a-dare.
Isidra Mencos has been widely published in literary journals. One of her pieces was listed as Notable in the Best American Essays Anthology. Her memoir Promenade of Desire comes out October 11, 2022.
S.M. Stevens Releases New Novelette
The Wallace House of Pain: Activist Xander Wallace and his straitlaced father do not have an easy relationship. Jim’s views on race, immigration, gender, sexuality and even Millennials alienate his son no matter how hard Xander tries to find common ground. Toss in Jim’s second marriage ten months after Xander’s mother died and it’s a volatile cocktail. How, against this backdrop, will Xander dare to bare his soul and reveal his greatest secret?
Stevens began writing fiction during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis and ovarian cancer. Books include the novelette The Wallace House of Pain, full-length novel Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, and the forthcoming novel, Beautiful and Terrible Things (TouchPoint Press, 2023). Learn more at https://authorsmstevens.com/.
Angela Greenman’s Debut Release Earns Top Thriller Review
Angela Greenman’s debut thriller, The Child Riddler, was released this summer. It features a badass globetrotting female James Bond/Jason Bourne. A riddle holds the code to unleash the most lethal weapon—the first ever “invisibility” nanoweapon, a cloaking spider bot—and only one person knows it: a gifted nine-year-old girl. Top operative Zoe Lorel is sent to abduct the girl but soon finds herself in a race to save the child she’s grown to care about. Read the Top Thriller review here.
Angela Greenman is an internationally recognized communications professional. She has been an expert with the International Atomic Energy Agency, a spokesperson for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a press officer for Chicago’s City’s civil rights department. More at https://www.angelagreenman.com/.
SCN is pleased to announce the winners of our second annual (2022) poetry competition.
1st place: MaryAnn Easley for “METTA“
2nd place: Marian O’Shea Wernicke for “On Seeing My Mother Naked on Her 91st Birthday“
3rd place: Sharon Charde for “Remains“
Many thanks to all of the excellent entries, as well as to our judges and the contest coordinator.
Jo-Ann Vega Releases WOLF WOMAN
Wolf Woman & Other Poems is a curated collection of 50 poems written by Jo-Ann Vega over 50 years. The collection’s distinctive organization groups poems by life stage and includes a brief preview of each section. Influenced by Sylvia Plath, Vega writes about being a woman of substance in a world still largely hostile to women’s talents and ambitions. Vega’s perspective is fresh, provocative, inspiring and captivating. View more here.
An always aspiring wolf woman, Jo-Ann Vega lives with her life partner and canine companion. Wolf Woman is a companion book to Vega’s memoir, Moments in Flight.
Carol Marsh Releases Chapbook
Border/Between: A Symphony in Essays is a prose chapbook published by Bamboo Dart Press. In it, Marsh explores the congruities between written word and musical forms while writing about life and death, addictions, and humanity’s inhumanity. Learn more on her website.
Carol D. Marsh is an award-winning writer living in Washington, DC. Her essays have appeared in LAR Best of the Year, River Teeth, Vassar Review, and New Millennium Writings, among others, and her memoir was a Sarton finalist in 2018.
Sara Etgen-Baker’s SHOEBOX STORIES wins Honorable Mention
My collection of memoir vignettes titled Shoebox Stories won honorable mention in the memoir category of National League of American Pen Women’s Biennial Letters Competition. I was thrilled, for receiving this award from a nationally-acclaimed organization validates for me that the work is definitely publishable. On another note, my memoir “The Miracle of Finding Mr. Right” is being published in one of Guideposts’ sister publications, Mysterious Ways.
A teacher’s unexpected whisper, “You’ve got writing talent,” ignited Sara’s writing desire. She ignored that whisper and pursued a different career, but eventually re-discovered her inner writer and began writing. Her work has been published in various anthologies and magazines.
Antoinette Carone Releases Book
Hotel of the Siren is a story of lovers and a city where reality can differ from appearance. At her husband Jon’s funeral, Lucy sees a woman with a green scarf hovering apart from the mourners. Later she learns this woman and Jon were lovers. As Lucia, Lucy moves to the Hotel of the Siren in Naples, Italy. There she becomes Antonio’s lover. However, Antonio and the mysterious Lady of the Green Scarf are connected. More at https://scanticbooks.blogspot.com/2022/03/hotel-of-siren-by-antoinette-carone.html.
Antoinette Carone’s work has appeared in Ovunque Siamo, Foxglove Journal, Ellipsis ‘Zine, Fudoki Magazine, and Real Women Write: Living on COVID Time. She has lived in Italy, and published a journal, Ciao, Napoli: A Scrapbook of Wandering in Naples.