North Texas authors Gerald Warfield and William Ledbetter will be signing their winning short stories in the Writers of the Future Volume 28 at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore at the SMU campus today from 1pm to 3pm.
William Ledbetter, originally from Indiana, now lives in Prosper and works as an engineer in the DFW metroplex. He is also a sometimes editor, currently helping out at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Quantum Kiss, a journal of romantic speculative fiction. And he runs the annual Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest, which is currently accepting submissions, for Baen Books and the National Space Society. Ledbetter also writes nonfiction. He has an article at Baen called “Family Therapy: Learning to Love Mercury and Pluto.”
Ledbetter was the quarter finalist for the 2011 Writers of the Future Contest. His story, “The Rings of Mars,” was in the running for the competition’s yearly grand prize. Although his story didn't win the grand prize, “The Rings of Mars” was published in the Writers of the Future yearly anthology which he will be signing this afternoon. Ledbetter also received a cash prize and got to travel to LA for a writing seminar and award ceremony.
Of the week-long writing workshop in Los Angeles, Ledbetter said:
“They treat you, the winners, with respect, like pro writers. They make a big deal over you. It’s kinda nice.”
Ledbetter said what really sunk in for him during the workshop was how different every writer writes. All the writers at the Writers of the Future workshop were seasoned professionals. And he said that he learned that writing isn't a one size fits all or a secret handshake.
Also signing today is Gerald Warfield, a Fort Worth native who also placed at the Writers of the Future contest. Warfield’s story, “The Poly Islands,” won 2nd place in the first quarter of the 2011 contest.
Warfield was an instructor at Princeton University and lectured on contemporary music notation. After leaving Princeton in 1970, he moved to New York where he lived for 30 years. During this time, around 1985, he changed professions, painlessly he says, to that of writer. In early 2000, he left New York for Mineral Wells, Texas, (a wise choice) to be close to his sister and to help with the family.
Retiring from writing about finances and music, Warfield writes fiction, publishing both short stories and poetry and working on his novels. Warfield said he had entered the Writers of the Future contest several times with honorable mentions before placing. He said:
“The Writers of the Future contest creates an opportunity to talk to other writers as professionals without being artificial. The writers are there the entire week just to talk.”
Warfield said he was impressed how organized and professional the Writers of the Future Contest was. He said someone greets you at the airport and you are taken care of the entire week while you are there. The winners of the Writers of the Future Contest were flown to Los Angeles for a week of writing workshops capped with an elaborate awards ceremony.
But the benefits of winning the Writers of the Future Contest doesn't stop there. Warfield said that he has made lifelong friends and professional peers. Unlike at a writers conference where an author is lucky if he (or she) can chase down an editor or agent for a pitch, he said the writers at the workshops made themselves available and he now, even months after the awards ceremony, said he feels he is part of a small professional community that will last the rest of his life.
The Writers of the Future Contest is a quarterly speculative fiction writing contest. Established and sponsored by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1983, the contest is aimed at discovering, and eventually publishing, deserving amateur and aspiring writers. This contest is a unique opportunity for new and amateur writers of new short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy. No entry fee is required and entrants retain all publication rights. And the prizes aren't too shabby, with a yearly grand prize of $5,000.
William Ledbetter and Gerald Warfield will be signing their short stories in Writers of the Future Volume 28 at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on the SMU campus today, January 17, from 1pm to 3pm.
WHAT: Booksigning by William Ledbetter and Gerald Warfield
WHEN: 1pm – 3pm Thursday Jan 17, 2013