Lazarus Black writing at his desk

Creative Art Director to Award-Winning Author

Lazarus Chernik is an experienced Creative Director, Brand Manager, and award-winning Designer with over 25 years of experience and who has always wanted to be an author. After 40 years, he will now be published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 38 with his winning story, “Psychic Poker” under the pen name Lazarus Black.

Using expert skills in all manner of print and online media, Chernik has headed the creative departments for numerous agencies and corporations, including a Top 15 national advertising agency, a national retail chain, a national web development firm, a catalog retailer, and a retail goods manufacturer.

He has been an instructor of design software and skills in corporate training environments and continuing education facilities.

He has been a judge for the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Contest since 2016.

But what he wanted to be was an author.

When revealing that Lazarus Black, the pen name used to enter the Writers of the Future Contest, was, in fact, Illustrators of the Future Contest judge, Lazarus Chernik, Chernik stated, “I never wanted to be an artist. My mother was a Library Director. My father worshipped words. I created worlds and characters and sweeping epics as a child, but no one would read them. Discovering people would react within seconds to a picture, I made a career in art, animation, and advertising.”

When the judging came in announcing Lazarus Black as a winner and that Lazarus Black was Lazarus Chernik in reality, Contest Administrators confirmed this fell within Contest rules and regulations. Story judging is blind, based on merit alone, with judges only seeing the story and a number assigned to that story.

Honorable Mentions along with his 1st place win in the Writers of the Future Contest.

Honorable Mentions along with his 1st place win in the Writers of the Future Contest.

President Galaxy Press John Goodwin asked Black (Chernik) what had rekindled his earlier purpose to be a writer. He replied, “Meeting David Farland inspired me. I practiced like a mad man, writing over 400,000 words in 2020 alone. Submitting anonymously to WOTF for 2-1/2 years earned me six Honorable Mentions before winning.”

In the case of his winning story “Psychic Poker,” the story’s lead character Tyson doesn’t need to be psychic to know the invitation is a trap, but he can’t refuse a poker tournament with the highest stakes imaginable.

Chernik concluded, “I am humbled at the recognition because it’s been a 40-year journey to become a writer.”

And no, he won’t be teaching the Illustrators of the Future Workshop this year as he will be attending the Writers of the Future Workshop … as a winner.

About Writers of the Future

L. Ron Hubbard initiated the Writers of the Future Writing Contest in 1983 to provide “a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” Based on its success, its sister contest, Illustrators of the Future, was created five years later to provide that same opportunity for the aspiring artist.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The over 500 past winners and published finalists of the Writing Contest have published over 1,800 novels and nearly 6,200 short stories. In addition, they have produced 36 New York Times bestsellers, and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

The 370 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 624 books and albums with their art, and visually contributed to 68 TV shows and 40 major movies.

For more information on Writers of the Future, visit

3 replies
  1. Lazarus Black
    Lazarus Black says:

    This has been a long-time in the making. Both my parents wanted this for me and I had to fight a lot of stereotypes and naysayers to get here.
    Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists of Writers of the Future, past, present, and future. Placement is less important that camaraderie among peers, not least of which is because there is no accounting for taste. LOL.
    I wish everyone the greatest success in their careers.

    • John Goodwin
      John Goodwin says:

      All I can say, Laz, is that you made it because you worked hard and earned it. You have been consistently entering. You were one of the first to take the Writers of the Future Online Workshop and apply what you learned there. So congratulations to you (as well as all the other winners)!

    • Robert Reilly
      Robert Reilly says:

      What a great success story! Another great example of passion and perseverance fueling the engine of fulfilling one’s dreams. Way to go!


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