David D'Amico receiving award

You Gotta Work For It

You gotta work for it. I must have heard that phrase thousands of times growing up, applicable in any situation, and whispered in almost reverent tones. Work, hard work, was the answer to any question.

Those words rang true when I got my first job on the docks of Boston as a teenager in the 1970’s, earning the money I needed to afford beaten up old copies of Analog, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Worlds of If, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Those stories were my escape, and I worked hard to earn them. Reading those tales of fantastic places, heroic characters saving the day or saving the universe, filled me so full of ideas I had to try and share those creations with others. My dream of becoming a writer had begun.

Struggling to Find My Voice

It didn’t go well at first. I played at it, struggling to find my voice and unwilling to invest myself. I swore I’d be a writer someday, but there was work to do. Hard work. I spent hot summer days deep in black mud that smelled of rot and decay, digging clams. Later, I worked in sweltering warehouses, factories, places where there wasn’t time to dream. I wrote a few stories, sometimes taking breaks of years between attempts, getting better, but never really getting serious.

Brothers D'Amico

Brothers D’Amico

One day, a friend talked me into submitting. I sent out my best work, receiving nothing but a pile of rejection letters. Those rejections crushed my fragile ego, ruining my confidence and pushing my dream of writing into the shadows. I continued to read and continued to talk about writing, but it never led very far—until my twin brother came up to me and told me he’d written a novel.

We’d always been competitive, my brother and I, but I’d assumed writing was my dream, not his. I’ll admit to a bout of petty envy when he handed me his manuscript. He’d done what I hadn’t, put in the work. I think it was then that I really started to take writing seriously.

My Introduction to Writers of the Future

That was 2009, the year I first entered L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest.

I’d read several of the anthologies, enjoying the stories, picking up new years when I came across them. But I’d never considered the contest as something I should enter. The anthologies were too polished, the writing too good. Clearly, it wasn’t for an unpublished amateur like me. Or was it? The ads encouraged non-professionals. There was no entry fee and no downside to submitting. So, I decided to do what I’d been raised to do and work for it.

I read every volume of Writers and Illustrators of the Future. I learned what the judges were looking for, but I also learned what made a great story. I saw hundreds of examples of exceptional science fiction and fantasy. I visited worlds more rich, detailed, and creative than many I’d read by professional writers. I lost myself in wonder, and it made me remember why I dreamed of sharing my own visions with the world.

Then I wrote. I took what I’d learned, and submitted my first story in the 3rd quarter of 2009, earning an honorable mention for “The Lemon Thief of Munjid Al Salam.” Rather than being discouraged, I felt as if I’d accomplished something important. I obviously wasn’t quite ready, but my efforts had been noticed. There’s no way to describe that feeling.

Hard Work Pays Off

“Vector Victoria” was my second attempt, submitted for the first quarter in 2010, and I remember being moved to tears when Joni Labaqui called me to tell me I’d won 2nd place for that quarter. I don’t think I could’ve been happier winning the lottery, although that’s exactly what I’d done. I’d be chosen for one of the greatest honors I could imagine. My work had paid off.

I’d been so focused on the writing that it came as a shock to me when Joni told me they’d be flying me out to Hollywood, expenses paid, to attend a week-long writing workshop and awards banquet. I had trouble believing it. I’m sure I made a nuisance of myself by asking her to repeat the news several times before I could fully comprehend.

We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel, almost across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The place had a classic old-world feel that only added to the mystique and adventure. I met the other winners on the first day. Everyone seemed dazed as if we all shared the same waking dream. I can’t describe the feeling of being in a room where everyone … understands. We had all gone through the same struggle, battled with the same doubts and fears, and put in the same hard work to get there.

The instructors, K.D. Wentworth and Tim Powers, were amazing. We hit the ground running, and I learned more in the first day than I could have at any other workshop. I loved reading the articles by L. Ron Hubbard. Although they were written decades ago, they were so insightful and well written they could’ve been penned by one of the contemporary masters of science fiction. “Magic out of a Hat” was my favorite article because it showed me everything and anything can be world-changing, pivotal, interesting.

I thought I might not be able to complete the 24-hour story challenge, especially since the item assigned to me was a rock, but the level of excitement and creativity surging through the workshop proved infectious. I used that rock as my story’s problem and its prize. I put the main character between a rock and a hard place and made the oppositional character as stubborn as a rock. I even named one of the characters Rox. I really rocked that story, and it made me feel as if I could write anything. The story was called, “Set in Stone” and I sold it to Plasma Frequency magazine in 2013.

Dave Dorman, David D'Amico, and Robert J. Sawyer

Dave Dorman, David D’Amico, and Robert J. Sawyer

Meeting the judges, all those famous writers who’d come to speak with us, made me feel as if this workshop was something different. Kevin J. Anderson, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, Eric Flint, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Tim Powers, K.D. Wentworth, and so many more I thought my head would explode.

I almost cried when they did the “Big Reveal,” and I got to see the illustration for my story. The emotional impact of seeing how someone else interpreted the random scribbling in my head was really powerful. It felt like magic. My words evoked a place, a character, an entire world that someone else could see and feel. The illustrator, Ryan Downing, really captured the main character’s fear, while still keeping the feel of who she was, the walking billboard, the Shimmy girl, the intentional/unintentional Vector.

We got to meet some of the winners from recent years: Eric James Stone, Ken Scholes, Laurie Tom, Jordan Lapp, and several others. All had exciting writing projects in the works, and every one of them treated me like an equal. I felt I could accomplish anything.

Then came the awards ceremony. I had my reservations about getting on stage, I think we all did, but everyone was so professional that they got us through it—and we looked good. I remember waiting for my turn to be called up. I was so nervous I could barely concentrate. Any little thing would send me over the edge. Then the button popped off my tux. I held it together, though, making an offhand remark about how well they’d been feeding us.

Autographing books with Larry Niven

Autographing books with Larry Niven

The book signing was surreal. I got to sign books right beside Larry Niven. LARRY NIVEN! His stories were a major inspiration to me. He was my idol, someone so much larger than life—and there we were, signing the same volume of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XXVII together.

It was difficult for me to feel as if I really deserved all this, but from the very beginning, everyone at Author Services and Galaxy Press treated me like I belonged here, like I was the important one.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future was my very first sale. It gave me the confidence to start submitting again, and I sold a story titled, “Trick of Memory” to Daily Science Fiction in that same year. I sold four stories the year after, and more than a dozen in 2013. I passed my 20th sale in 2014. It was 2014 when my story, “Bittersweet” was chosen as one of the top 10 stories of the year by the Critters P&E Annual Readers Poll.

2015—The Year that Almost Wasn’t

In hospital

2015, the year that almost wasn’t!

2015 was a difficult year for me. I collapsed sometime around midnight on the 6th of February, unable to breathe. My aortic valve had split open. Blood pooled into the sack surrounding my heart, crushing the life out of me. I spent a long time in the hospital. Then, three days after returning home, I had a heart attack. A week later, and they found blood clots in both my legs.

Something seriously tried to kill me that month, and it took me a long time to recover and get back on track.

Recovery with a Vengeance

My twin brother was the one who got me going again. In 2016 we wrote a story together titled, “One Slow Trigger Day,” and it was published by Electric Spec magazine. The sale pulled me back from a dark place. I started writing again. It was also my brother’s first story sale. He’d been trying since he’d first shocked me into action years earlier, but with less success. He submits to the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest, frequently receiving honorable mentions, but he’s still waiting to break into the winner’s circle.

I sold my first stories to audio markets in 2016. It was absolutely thrilling and somewhat weird to hear someone else speaking my words. It reminded me of the power of seeing that first illustration for my Writers and Illustrators of the Future winning story, “Vector Victoria.” There’s something deep and transcendent when you feel someone’s been inside your thoughts. I think it’s the reason I keep trying to draw interest in a shared universe project. I’ve opened my ideas up to other writers more than once, but haven’t been able to gain much traction.

One of these shared worlds was a gigantic bridge within the unimaginable vastness of a Dyson Sphere, destroyed thousands of years in the past, but peopled with rich and varied cultures. My story, “A Game of Balances” that came out in Phantaxis magazine in 2017, was set in this universe, and I still have the 28-foot-long map I created.

My second attempt at sharing my worlds was with fantasy, a universe where each of the elements has unique and special properties, and these magical qualities could be accessed only by certain adepts. We had our own periodic table, and a chart showing combinations of elements. MYTHIC magazine has just published the story I wrote for this, “The Certainty of Echoes.” It was a really fun story to write. I like to add levels beneath the surface arcs of my stories, and I wanted to be playful with “The Certainty of Echoes” to counter the dark fantasy tone of the main action. So, I went a little 7 dwarves on this piece. If you squint, you can see where I gave (I hope subtly) each of the characters specific qualities reminiscent of the beloved fairytale creatures. It’s not something you need to know to enjoy the story. Just a fun fact, and maybe a little insight into the disturbed glob of goo that is my brain.

My story, “The ‘aiei of Snow” was published by Electric Spec magazine in 2017. It was the first story I’ve written to elicit fan mail, and reading how my words could affect someone so profoundly almost made me want to cry.

Also, in 2017, I self-published a collection of my previously sold stories called, Through Starlight, Dying. I followed it up with a horror-slanted volume titled, These, My Apocalypse, a science-fiction only collection titled, A Breath of Space, and a book of flash stories titled, A Million Tiny Worlds. They’re all available through Amazon, and I’ll happily autograph and ship a copy to anyone who purchases a book from my website.

I won the Write Well award that year for my story, “The Lemon Thief of Munjid Al Salam,” my original Writers and Illustrators of the Future entry. It’s a touching piece of loss, and hope … and time travel. It also closed a loop for me. Selling that story meant I’d sold every piece even remotely connected with the Contest. I’d sold my winning story, of course, and shortly after sold my one-day story, written while at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future workshop. I’d even sold the story I wrote on the plane coming home, “A Single Soft Step” to Slink Chunk Press in 2016.

Life Is Good!

David with wife, Julie

David with wife, Julie

I got married in 2017 to a wonderful woman named Julie who encourages my writing career and pushes me whenever she sees that I’m not putting in the work. She knows the value of hard work and has been both my harshest critic and my strongest supporter.

In 2018, I got involved with New England Speculative Writers, and sold a story to their anthology, The Final Summons. My story, “The Redemption of GRE-334b” was about loneliness and isolation, and it helped me to realize I come back to that subject often in my work. Working with a group who’ve published so many novel-length pieces has also helped me realize where I should go next.

I’ve enjoyed the gratification of completing shorter pieces, but I’ve always longed to publish something more substantial. It drove me to write a novel version of my Writers and Illustrators of the Future winning story, but I’m convinced it lacks some subtle element that made the original a success. So, it sits on my desk waiting for the final spark that will bring it to life. That project taught me how stories and novels are two very different animals. I learned quite a bit from doing the work, and I’m currently completing the first book in a space opera series titled, Relics of Empire based on a short story by the same name I sold to MYTHIC magazine in 2017. It’s a rags-to-riches arc that I like to think of as Cinderella meets The Foundation Trilogy.

Life is good!

Life is good!

I’ve sold, in total, 70 stories to various magazines over the almost 10 years since that first sale to Writers and Illustrators of the Future in 2010, and I expect to sell much more in the coming years. I owe a lot to the Contest and the people who run it. They recognized my strength before I did, and the confidence I gained from entering the Contest pushed me to become better.

In the end, I’d accomplished what I set out to do. I became a writer. I believe talent plays a part, but the truth is, if you really want to win, you gotta work for it.

David D'Amico headshotD. A. D’Amico is an enigma wrapped in confusion and stuffed head-first into a fish-flavored paper bag. His writing style is Jackson Pollock meets Scanners, a surreal exploding-head mess of genres and styles where almost anything is likely. He’s had more than seventy works published in the last nine years in venues such as Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, and Shock Totem … among others. He’s a winner of L. Ron Hubbard’s prestigious Writers of the Future award, volume XXVII, as well as the 2017 Write Well award.

Collections of his work, links to anthologies and magazines he’s been in can be found on Amazon at:

His website is:

Facebook: authordadamico, and on painfully rare occasions twitter: @dadamico.

I got this—Carrie giving her acceptance speech

The Jump

How One Writer Won Writers of the Future

“It’s ok, Carrie! You can just climb back down—you don’t have to jump!”

When I was five, my dad took me and my siblings—my older brother and my twin sister—to a water park. One of the features of this water park was an impossibly deep pool with a towering outcrop of rock that you could climb and jump off of. There were jumps at five feet and ten feet, and the pool was thirteen feet deep. These numbers are seared into my memory like the symbols of some iconic myth.

At five years old, I was three foot nothing, and worried about everything constantly. I liked to read, I hated to go outside, and I didn’t have many friends beyond my family. I was, to put it bluntly, a nerdy wimp.

So, when I ask you to picture tiny little me standing at the ten-foot jumping ledge and staring down into an aquamarine abyss, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I was practically vibrating with terror. I remember the thoughts whirling around my head: the recognition of my hubris for climbing so high, the detailed vision of my body dismembered by the impact of the water, the humiliation of my inevitable climb down to a safer height.

I knew that I couldn’t really climb down—that it would mean a kind of failure I couldn’t live with. So, ignoring the gibbering of my terrified mind, I jumped.

I jumped feet first, with my legs straight and my arms pinned against my body. My stomach flopped and, in a crash, the world became irrevocably blue. The water was cool after I’d stood so long out in the sun, and I pushed toward the glittering silver surface to break through—alive, and brave.

That was a day I learned a lesson that has since become a keystone of my life: Sometimes you might be scared to jump. Sometimes it’s better to leap anyway.

Submitting to Writers of the Future

I was nervous in the moments after loading my story to the Writers of the Future website. What if I’d formatted it wrong? What if I was exposing myself to ridicule and heartbreak? What if I was—gasp!—rejected? Should I just start over? Forget the whole thing? I hadn’t submitted much up to that point, and the idea of actually pressing the “submit” button made my fingers tremble.

But then, of course, I hit it anyway—and here I am.

When I look at L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35, I see that moment on the ledge. I see it in the rocks in the background of the cover, in the swirl of blue water, and in the tiny figure of the boy in the boat staring down the impossible. Most of all, though, I see it in the table of contents.

You can see another of my moments on the ledge in the awards ceremony yourself, if you want, when you look at me with my hand on my hip, staring out into a crowd of faces, so sure I would say something dumb, that my voice would tremble—but speaking anyway.

And I’m sure you can see it in yourself, every time you have a chance to take a risk, to jump into something great or climb back down to a “safer” height.

I hope you take the leap.

Carrie CallahanBorn to avid genre readers, it’s no surprise that Carrie Callahan was named after a Stephen King novel. She was raised in the wilds of Florida in a series of homes set in the seedier parts of the state, feeding her sense of the strange. She’s since lived in eight different states across the country and managed to become the first of her immediate family to earn a college degree.

Having grown up economically disadvantaged, Carrie prefers to write about the members of the “lower” classes while also maintaining a speculative flair–an aesthetic she calls Dirt Spec. Dirt Spec is any kind of speculative fiction (be it sci-fi, fantasy, or horror) that strives to portray people living in poverty with more nuance than a flattened trope, a piece of set dressing, or a joke.

Carrie has a B.A. in English from the University of Cincinnati and will begin her MFA at Eastern Kentucky University in the fall of 2019. Carrie is also the recipient of the Writers of the Future Award, and you can find her award-winning short story, “Dirt Road Magic,” in the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 35. This international writing contest was created to discover and launch new authors, many of which are now publishing new sci-fi and fantasy books each year.

She lives in Kentucky with her supportive husband and their Yorkie, Chestnut.

SLC FanX 2019

Writers and Illustrators of the Future Celebrating its 35th Birthday in Salt Lake City at FanX

Writers & Illustrators of the Future are international contests, with thousands of entries from over 175 countries around the world. Salt Lake City has the distinct honor of having more winners of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest than any other city in the world. Winners include Robert J. Defendi, Julie Frost, Brian Hailes, Amy Hughes, Scott Parkin, Darcy Stone, Eric James Stone, Brad Torgersen, and Kathleen Woodbury. World renowned authors, initially hailing from the Salt Lake City, Orson Scott Card, Dave Wolverton (Contest winner turned Contest judge) and Brandon Sanderson are Writers of the Future Contest judges.

To celebrate 35 years of helping aspiring writers and artists, Galaxy Press is proud to once again attend Salt Lake City FanX, September 5–7 at the Salt Palace, and is bringing in several past winners to autograph books and talk to aspiring writers and artists at the Galaxy Press booth #1202. These winners include: Julie Frost, Brian Hailes, Eric James Stone, Darci Stone, Brad Torgersen, and Kathleen Woodbury.

With the dilemma of supporting the arts amidst continued budget cuts, Writers and Illustrators of the Future provide a forum for the aspiring writer and artist. Free to enter, open to anyone not professionally published, and judged by top professionals in the industry, these Contests have recognized over 800 winners and awarded over $1 million in prize money in its 35 year history. The judges will only see the story or art and a number assigned to the entry making it the top merit competition of science fiction and fantasy in the world.

The Writers of the Future writing contest was created by L. Ron Hubbard to provide a means for aspiring writers to get that much-needed break with the first volume releasing in 1985. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 416 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

The 346 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.

Deadline for entries for the 36th year of Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future is September 30 at midnight, Pacific Time. Enter by going to

For more information on Writers and Illustrators of the Future, visit and

Dragon Con Galaxy Press Booth

Writers and Illustrators of the Future Celebrating its 35th Birthday at Dragon Con

Writers and Illustrators of the Future Celebrating its 35th Birthday at Dragon Con

To help celebrate 35 years of helping aspiring writers and artists, Galaxy Press (America’s Mart, Building 2, Booth 1410) has contributed 700 copies of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future 35 to the Heinlein Blood Drive as an incentive for Dragon Con goers to donate their life-giving blood this coming Labor Day Weekend, August 30–September 2. A letter from Mr. George Rule, Chairman of The Heinlein Society, was presented at the 35th Annual Awards Ceremony by Dr. Beatrice Kondo, recognizing the decades-long friendship between Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Heinlein.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future was created by L. Ron Hubbard to provide a means for the aspiring writer and artist to have their creative efforts seen and acknowledged and it is celebrating its 35th anniversary at Dragon Con, the most book friendly convention in the South where entire families attend to find books appropriate for readers of all ages.

Along with the celebration, Writers of the Future will have some of its past winners who will be on hand to sign books at their booth including two winners from volume 35: Carrie Callahan and Jennifer Ober.

Recognizing aspiring artistic talent, like with writers, is equally as vital and the art from this year’s winning artists will be featured in the Dragon Con Art Show. (Grand Hall of the Hyatt Regency, booth 75)

A special writer panel entitled “Writers of the Future: Story Prompts, Short Fiction & Winning the Contest” with panelists: Kevin J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye, Tim Powers, Brandon Sanderson, Robert J. Sawyer, and moderated by John Goodwin. (Hyatt International South, Saturday, 1:00 pm)

A special illustrator panel entitled “Illustrators of the Future: How Do You Survive as an Artist?” with panelists Ciruelo, Larry Elmore, Echo Chernick, Lazarus Chernick, and moderated by Joni Labaqui. (Hyatt Grand Hall C, Friday, 1:00 pm)

The Writers of the Future writing contest was created by L. Ron Hubbard to provide a means for aspiring writers to get that much-needed break with the first volume releasing in 1985. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 416 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

The 346 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.

Deadline for entries for the 36th year of Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future is September 30 at midnight, Pacific Time. Enter by going to

For more information on Writers and Illustrators of the Future, visit and

Illustrator judge Larry Elmore reviewing her art

Jennifer Ober Following Her Passion for Fantasy Art

Growing up, my parents saw my passion for art at a young age and placed me into art lessons at the age of six. My parents supported my passion throughout my childhood by finding new teachers with the help of a former art teacher, who we affectionately called “Mr. R,” when others would move away or no longer fit my artistic needs. I was incredibly fortunate to have been homeschooled since it allowed me to focus on my artwork more than many of my public school counterparts. I am forever grateful for having supportive parents.

As I was deciding on a field of study, I knew art was the only field I was truly passionate about. However, I wanted to be smart about it. Since I was introduced to the fine art world at a young age, I had seen the starving artist lifestyle and it was not glamorous. I wanted to pursue art but I wanted to be able to support myself. I chose illustration as a career path because of my interest in storytelling through still images. As I was pursuing my bachelors, I found that I wanted to eventually teach art to other aspiring artists, so I started my masters at SCAD Atlanta. (Savannah College of Art & Design)

Writers of the Future

I heard about Writers of the Future from a previous Illustrator of the Future winner. She is a friend from SCAD who was a year ahead of me in the graduate program and she had participated the previous year. She encouraged me to submit my fantasy art to the contest saying that it was free to submit. I submitted; hoping to try for a number of quarters. I was amazed when I was selected for the 3rd Quarter of the 35th year of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future on my first attempt. The story I illustrated resonated with me on a personal level and I was thrilled to be creating a piece for it.

In April of this year, I had the privilege to attend the Writers and Illustrators of the Future workshops and award ceremony in Los Angeles. It was my first time staying in LA and it was an amazing experience I will never forget. At the workshops, I met many talented award winners including a SCAD alumnus. We learned a lot from our instructors Echo and Lazarus Chernik as well as our esteemed guest illustrators and bonded through our shared passion for science fiction.

I made many wonderful memories, including ones outside of the workshops. One of my favorite memories was playing Pictionary at Scum and Villainy, a pop-up bar some of the winners had found nearby, with the illustration winners and Lazarus. Another very special day for me was the day the illustrators were able to present their work to the writers who had inspired the artwork. I was excited to see that my writer knew exactly which Illustration was his.

Every day, we learned something new from each other and our instructors. It was a magical week and I was sad to say goodbye to everyone. Nevertheless, it was back to reality the moment I arrived home, as I had to return to classes that next morning. Despite the quick turn around, I was invigorated by the event and was excited to incorporate the knowledge I had gained to my work.

Where I Am Now

As I am finishing my masters at SCAD, I know I still have so much to learn from my peers and veteran illustrators but the Writers and Illustrators of the Future experience has given me opportunities to become less of a little fish in a big pond, by connecting me with other artists and writers of the future in the science fiction community. As I continue to pursue my dreams, I am currently working at a graphic design and illustration position with a small marketing company while completing my thesis. I would encourage other young Writers and Illustrators to apply to the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest who are interested in the Science Fiction careers.

Jennifer OberThe adventure of nature and the beauty of wildlife capture the imagination of Jennifer Ober as she creates her own worlds and creatures. Though realism is the foundation of her work, she intentionally focuses on the magic of the world around her. Her award-winning work incorporates artifacts and mythical figures, while including elements of fanciful imagery of modern mythology. She adapts quickly to artistic situations and relies on her storytelling techniques to create works that are relatable to the audience. She has completed her BFA in Illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design as Valedictorian in 2016. As she is completes her masters studies in illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2019, Jennifer intends to pursue a career in visual development and children’s books.

Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter Winners

Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 36


Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter Standings for 2019, Volume 36


Of all the writing contests out there, this one launches careers!


And the winners are:

First Place – Katherine Livingston from Oklahoma
Second Place – Zack Be from Maryland
Third Place – Tim Boiteau from Michigan



Angela Clawson from Utah
Nathan Dodge from Texas
Austin Gragg from Missouri
James A. Hearn from Texas
Andrea Kriz from Massachusetts


T.E. Bradford from New York
Grant Gerwatowski from Michigan
Kevin P. Hallett from Texas
Jenica Jessen from California
M.H. Lee from Colorado
A.J. Lee from Oregon
Blazej Szpakowicz from British Columbia, Canada
Luke Wildman from Indiana
Michael J. Wyant Jr. from New York

Silver Honorable Mentions:

Robert Bagnall from United Kingdom
Christopher Baxter from Utah
M.K. Beutymhill from California
K.R. Borne from Pennsylvania
Matt Bosio from Florida
L. R. Braden from Colorado
Jennifer Bushroe from Arizona
Jack Calverley from United Kingdom
C.A. Carey from Oklahoma
D.C. Carlisle from Arizona
Erin Casey from Iowa
Chan Yuk Chi from Singapore
Cory Daignault from Minnesota
Michael DeCarolis from Florida
Max Dosser from North Carolina
Michael Duda from Ohio
Jason Fernandes from Pennsylvania
Kathryn Francia from New York
Robert Hawkins from Texas
Antoine J. Hayes from Maryland
Greg Hoover from Missouri
Aaron Horsager from Ohio
Nick King from New Mexico
Rachel LaDue from Connecticut
Jourdan Lamse from Michigan
Caroline Manley from Ohio
E.L. Ratliff from Washington
Spencer Sekulin from Ontario, Canada
Nathan Slemp from Michigan
Benjamin Tyler Smith from Pennsylvania
Gabrielle Thurman from Arkansas
Dan Thurot from Utah
Merethe Walther from Georgia
Helena White from Connecticut
Robert Luke Wilkins from California
Tannara Young from California

Honorable Mentions:

Nicholes P. Adams from Utah
Marek Frederick Alfrey from United Kingdom
Mads Alvey from Kentucky
Sara Amis from Georgia
Michael Anderson from Michigan
Jennie Anderson from Idaho
Jasmine Arch from Belgium
Steve Arensberg from Texas
Brandon Argetsinger from New York
Julia V. Ashley from Mississippi
I.R. Astorga from Spain
T.L. Bainter from Missouri
Brendan Ball from Russia
Hope Barajas from Colorado
C. A. Barrett from Kentucky
J.I. Baydoun from Michigan
Hilda Beal from Virginia
Amitai Ben-Abba from California
John Biggs from Oklahoma
Justin A.W. Blair from Florida
James Blakey from Pennsylvania
A. Branham from Texas
Marlin Bressi from Pennsylvania
Michael D. Britton from Utah
Jane Brolf from British Columbia, Canada
Jonathan Bronico from Massachusetts
Nathan Buckingham from Arizona
Brian Alan Carlson from Alabama
Logan Cason from North Carolina
K.J. Chaves from Oregon
Dennis Chen from California
Jean-Francois Chenier from British Columbia, Canada
Dantzel Cherry from Texas
Rachel Chimits from Colorado
David Christiansen from Utah
Jeremiah Christie from Paraguay
Carrie Clickard from Florida
Cary S. Collins from Georgia
Mike Core Tez from Ontario, Canada
Danielle Coty from Michigan
Krishan Coupland from Scotland
E.A. Crawley from Washington
Sarina Dahlan from California
Emily Dauvin from Saskatchewan, Canada
L. H. Davis from Florida
Lance Dean from California
Alya Demina from Germany
Andy Dibble from Wisconsin
Russell Dillingham from Washington
Mira Dover from Virginia
Arthur Doweyko from Florida
Alexander Duhamel from Canada
Frank Dutkiewicz from Michigan
Claire Ellis from Texas
Mason Engel from Indiana
Robert Mitchell Evans from California
R.G. Everly from Virginia
Kaitlin Felix from Switerland
Suzanne Ferguson from Texas
Jonathan Fesmire from California
Neil Wesley Flinchbaugh from Illinois
Zanna Fong from Ontario, Canada
S.C.A. Fontaine from France
Tim Fox from Oregon
Rhyanne Fritz from Arizona
John A. Frochio from Pennsylvania
Michael Gardner from Australia
PK Gardner from North Carolina
Sergey Gerasimov from Ukraine
Katharina Gerlach from Germany
Rebecca Giansante from California
Melva Gifford from Utah
Nate Givens from Virginia
Barry M. Goldsmith from Arizona
Ilyssa Goldsmith from Arizona
Ian Gonzales from Washington
Les Gould from Virginia
Carl Grafe from Idaho
G. Gray from Northern Ireland
Jordyn Grist from Illinois
Jon Gunnarsson from Germany
Maryann Elizabeth Haaser from Indiana
Pam Hage from Netherlands
Doug Hamilton from Ohio
Laura Handley from Virginia
Alex Harford from United Kingdom
JJ Harlan from Washington
DW Harvey from California
Russell Hemmell from Scotland
Peggy Hendry from Arizona
Michelle Henrie from Utah
R.W. Hodgson from Ontario, Canada
R. J. Howell from Illinois
Scott Hughey from Idaho
Cathy Humble from Oregon
Lynde Iozzo from Colorado
Jared Allen Jackson from Utah
Matthew J. Jarvis from British Columbia, Canada
A. Jennings Meyer from United Kingdom
Sean Jones from Colorado
Kent Alan Jones from Minnesota
K.D. Julicher from Nevada
Brandie June from California
Isabelle Jurasz from Illinois
Breelyn Karno from Massachusetts
Carolyn Kay from Colorado
Simone Kern from Texas
Kari Kilgore from Virginia
Jace Killian from Arizona
David Kilman from Colorado
Michael Kingswood from California
Shawn Kobb from Virginia
TJ Koker from California
Jeffrey Kremer from Ohio
M. Kuriel from Virginia
Jason Lairamore from Oklahoma
A. Humphrey Lanham from Oregon
Alon Lankri from Israel
Alexis Lantgen from Texas
Morag Lewis from United Kingdom
Justin Li from Singapore
Kelly Lindell from Connecticut
Bonner Litchfield from North Carolina
Barbara Lund from Utah
Hank Lyne from Netherlands
Jeremy Mallory from Virginia
E.H. Mann from Victoria, Australia
Karl Mann from Alberta, Canada
Charlie Marsh from Minnesota
Robert J. McCarter from Arizona
Shea McCollum from California
Andrew McCormick from California
Sylvia Mcivers from New York
Lynn Michals from Virginia
McKenna Miller from New York
Devin Miller from North Carolina
Dennis Mombauer from Sri Lanka
G.H. Morgan from South Carolina
Aaron Moskalik from Michigan
Soumya Sundar Mukherjee from India
John OConnell from Kentucky
Alex Olson from New York
Mike Olson from Wisconsin
V.L. Percy from Arizona
Peter Philleo from Florida
Zach Poulter from Utah
Mihica Anushree Prashant from Dubai
Helen Qian from Maryland
Milana Quezada from California
Jordan Radford from Illinois
Brittany Rainsdon from Idaho
Jake Reed from California
Angela Rega from Australia
N. Reilly from Oregon
Timothy Reynolds from Alberta, Canada
William Joseph Roberts from Georgia
Noah Ronquillo from Louisiana
Edward Sammons from Florida
Eric Schieber from North Carolina
M.M. Schill from Florida
Cody Schroeder from Missouri
Madd Shaddox from Arkansas
Sandra Siegienski from Oregon
S.W. Smith from Florida
Ariel Smith from South Carolina
Rebecca Smith from Tennessee
Taliyah St. James from New Mexico
Andrea St. Pierre from Idaho
Jessica Staricka from Minnesota
Viktor Steele from Utah
E.C. Stever from Idaho
Brooklyn Stewart from North Carolina
Lillian Sturhahn from Colorado
Xariffa Suarez from Texas
Liviu Surugiu from Romania
Jesse Swafford from Oregon
Nick Sweeney from United Kingdom
Katie Tally from North Carolina
M.R. Tevebaugh from Colorado
M. Elizabeth Ticknor from Michigan
Julianna Totten from Nevada
Rebecca E. Treasure from Texas
Roderick D. Turner from Ontario, Canada
Paul Douglas Waddell from Tennessee
Krista Wallace from British Columbia, Canada
Susan Watkins from Oregon
Jesse Weiner from Colorado
Esther Eleanna Weissman from Maryland
CE White from Georgia
JM Williams from Korea
Chris Winspear from Australia
Nick Wisseman from Michigan
Thomas Woodward from Minnesota
Ramez Yoakeim from Georgia
Neil Young from California
Vivi from Illinois


Preston Dennett on stage

24 Things

I’m still excited after winning the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future competition

When I got the call that I won 2nd place in the Writers of the Future Contest, I screamed, I cried, I laughed, I did my happy dance. I had entered 47 times. I finally did it!

From 1988–1992, I did my best to become a sci-fi writer. But I couldn’t do it. All the magazines, and of course, the Writers of the Future Contest, rejected my stories. I gave up on my dream. Then, starting in 2009, I decided to give it another try. I had wandered the desolate plains of total rejection before, and I was terrified. Could I do it?

I began getting lots of rejections, including four from the WOTF Contest. Then I got my first honorable mention, followed by another. Soon I earned more, but I just couldn’t get past the honorable mention status. I wanted a silver HM, or a semi-finalist, or finalist! I started to get discouraged.

Meet Topanga Canyon

But I didn’t give up. Especially when I found out that I had a secret identity. Some of you may have heard of “Topanga Canyon,” the subject of a cautionary tale taught by Dean Wesley Smith, who appeared in Volume 1 of the WOTF volumes and is today one of the judges. In his workshop, Dean talked about a promising young writer who the editors were excited about. Everyone was wondering who was going to be the first to publish his stories. Even book editors showed interest. Then suddenly, he disappeared, never to be seen again.

Well, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Topanga Canyon, and I’m not giving up again. I discovered my secret identity on the WOTF forum. If you want to win this Contest, you are making a huge mistake if you don’t check out the forum! It was there that I got the encouragement, knowledge, and advice to keep entering.

Interview with Preston Dennett & Dean Wesley Smith, The Topanga Canyon Never Give Up Story

Getting that call from Joni Labaqui will forever be one of the best moments of my life. I had read all the WOTF volumes several times. I loved all the stories in them. And now, mine was one of them! I was so excited, I couldn’t contain myself. So, I did what I always do, I decided to write about it. I quickly discovered that there were 24 things that I was stupidly, insanely, and obsessively excited about. I wrote each thing down and braced myself for all of them to happen.

I was also able to talk about the realization of my dream on the first day of the workshop.

My 24 Things

Fast-forward several months later, and now that I’ve experienced all of them, I can say that I was right to be excited about every single one of them. Here they are, in some inexplicable order:

  1. Seeing my name on the WOTF website blog showing the list of winners. Amazing! Must stop clicking on it! I admit it’s been over a year since it appeared, and I occasionally still take a peek at it, just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
  2. Reading my story (and the others, of course) in the book. I’ve read all the volumes. Now my story will be in there. Wow! Now that I have read the new volume, I’m once again delighted. The stories are amazing. They’ve all got that quirky, original and creative twist that makes the WOTF stories so unique.
  3. The weeklong workshop taught by the best in the field. I bow humbly and am ready to learn. This turned out to be so much more than I expected. Having lunch with Dean Wesley Smith at the local burger joint, having a cocktail with Tim Powers at the hotel bar, a long list of guest speakers, all powerhouses in the field. I could go on! My notebook is filled, and my brain is trying to contain it all.
  4. The generous prize money. Always nice. So nice. (PS: Got it! It was nice.) And then I got paid pro-rates for the story itself too. Wow!
  5. The trophy. I seriously can’t wait. So, I’ve got my trophy now. It sits in the center of my dining room table, at least for now! You should see how it bends the sunlight.
  6. Meeting the judges. Very nervous, many questions. Okay, I’ve met them. All the judges were incredibly humble and welcoming. They were very knowledgeable and answered all your questions, and others you didn’t even think of asking.
  7. Meeting fellow winners. Always room for more lifelong friends. OMG, this was perhaps my favorite part! Hanging out in the hotel room, going to the local bar, lounging by the pool, talking about our speeches, trying to find a place in Hollywood to eat lunch, I will remember them always. What a great group of friends!
  8. Reading the stories in my quarter. I got second place. What story beat mine? What story got third place? So, fast-forward again. I’ve read the story that beat mine. And I can see why it won first place. And I’ve read the story that placed third in my quarter, and I have to admit, it’s one of my favorites of the entire volume. I loved it.
  9. Seeing the artwork for my story. Please have tissues ready. Lots of tissues. This turned out to be sooo amazing. And yes, I needed the tissues. I’ll just leave it at that.
  10. Giving my speech on stage. I’ve spent years on this one … not even kidding. I attended the WOTF awards nine times, always in the audience. Now I walked on stage as a winner. I was nervous, but I couldn’t have been happier. My main problem was, I was one of the last to give their speech, and all the other speeches before mine were starting to make me cry.
  11. Reading my bio. Yeah, I already know about me, but this is different. Seeing my bio in the WOTF, wow! I’ve always loved that the WOTF books include not only stories but bios and essays from the judges. It’s so amazing to be a part of a contest that has helped launch so many monumental careers.
  12. Seeing the cover of Volume 35. Haven’t seen it yet. Pretty darn excited about it. Saw it. Love it!
  13. Meeting Joni Labaqui, the long-time Contest Director. I couldn’t believe it when she called me telling me I had won second place. Still can’t believe it. I had met her briefly attending the ceremonies before, but now as a winner, it was different. All the people who run the Contest were truly incredible. They made me feel like a real writer, in a good way!
  14. The autograph session after the ceremony. So many times, I’ve gotten the autographs. Now I shall be giving Surreal! And ***coughs*** just the beginning. So, yeah, this happened. There were so many people, I actually got cramps in my hand. And who do I see before me, smiling, and holding a book for me to sign? Tim Powers! No kidding. I have the photo.
  15. Staying in a hotel in … wait for it! Hollywood! Hollywood! ***Cue the singing!*** So yeah, this was truly amazing. What a contest!
  16. Reading reviews of the book. Already bracing myself. So, the reviews are coming in. And they are quite favorable, thank you, humbly. I’m not sure why, but my favorite review is from an Amazon reader who said that my story was their favorite! And I didn’t even have to pay them! (Much … just kidding!)
  17. Being able to put “I won the Writers of the Future Contest” on my resume and cover letters. Slush pile? What slush pile? So yeah, this actually works. I even got a personal congratulation from the editor of a long enduring, pro-level magazine.
  18. Recognition! By winning the Contest, I got an invitation-only opportunity to submit to a pro-level publication. It happened! And my story has been accepted! Fourth pro-level story!
  19. Telling my family, friends and co-workers and fellow writers that I won. This was so much fun. Get ready for some hugs and congratulations! And do not tell them what your story is about. Let them read it in the book. Stay strong, do not give in!
  20. Reading the blurb for my story in the front of the book. I’ve read them for other stories. What will they say about mine? I know, it seems like a little thing, but when I saw it, I felt those tears again. It’s just one small sentence, but it captures my story perfectly. I won’t give it away here. Buy the book. You won’t be disappointed.
  21. Finding out what order my story is in the book. A weird thing to wonder, I admit, but what can I say? I’m weird. I might be first, yeah! I might be last? Yeah! Anywhere in the middle, which is fine with me. I don’t know why I even think of this, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. So, now I’ve got the book. My story is last! And I’m so happy! My words will the last words that the reader sees.
  22. Seeing how many pages my story takes up in the actual book. I already have a rough idea, of course, but I want to know exactly. So, my story occupies thirteen pages — really a very small section of the entire book. There are shorter stories, and some much longer. It’s one of the things I love about the WOTF volumes, they take all different lengths.
  23. I just know there’s something I haven’t thought of yet, and it’s gonna be amazing. The award dinner? The tuxedo? The book offers … I just know there’s something! Fast-forward and yes, there is, and I’m not saying what they are. There are too many, and frankly, it’s better a surprise.
  24. The confidence. Out of the thousands of anonymous entries, my story was chosen. Now I know for sure, I can do this. And that alone is the best prize of all!

So, there you go! Those are the 24 things that I’m still excited about after winning the Writers of the Future Contest. And I hope that they are also 24 reasons to inspire you why you should enter the Writers of the Future Contest, and win! As someone who entered 47 times, I can tell you, it was sooo worth it! Don’t give up!

Preston DennettPreston Dennett has worked as a carpet cleaner, fast-food worker, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, landscaper, singer, actor, writer, radio host, television consultant, teacher, UFO researcher, ghost hunter and more. He has written 22 non-fiction books and more than 100 articles about UFOs and the paranormal. But his true love has always been speculative fiction. After a long hiatus, he started writing again in 2009. He has sold 37 stories to various venues including Allegory, Andromeda Spaceways, Bards & Sages, Black Treacle, Cast of Wonders, The Colored Lens, Grievous Angel, Kzine, Perihelion, Sci Phi Journal, Stupefying Stories, T. Gene Davis’ Speculative Blog, and more, including several anthologies. He earned twelve honorable mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest before winning 2nd place for Quarter 1, 2018, (Volume 35), his third professional sale. He currently resides in southern California where he spends his days looking for new ways to pay his bills and his nights exploring the farthest edges of the universe.



Orson Scott Card, Tim Powers and David Farland

Writers Workshop

The famous Writers of the Future workshop wrapped up Sunday morning with hugs and tearful goodbyes. Writers who arrived as strangers left as lifelong friends.

The Writers of the Future workshop is one of the most intensive boot camps for new writers in the industry. Many winners have commented that they value the workshop even more than the trophy.

This year’s workshop was delivered by New York Times bestselling authors and Science Fiction masters Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides), and David Farland (The Runelords).

History of the Writers Workshop

The Writers of the Future contest was started by New York Times bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard (Battlefield Earth) in 1983, after a long history of helping new writers. Mr. Hubbard published writing advice in several articles for writer’s journals like The Author & Journalist. These timeless tips form the core of the writers workshop, including such topics as: how to build suspense in a short story, where story ideas come from, the importance of research and realism, and things editors do that drive writers crazy.

“In these modern times, there are many communication lines for works of art. Because a few works of art can be shown so easily to so many, there may even be fewer artists. The competition is very keen and even dagger-sharp.

“It is with this in mind that I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” —L. Ron Hubbard, in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 1

The contest is open to aspiring writers from around the world. In accordance with the contest rules, entrants must submit an original, unpublished, science fiction, fantasy, or speculative horror story.

Writers Workshop Today

In keeping with L. Ron Hubbard’s example, the writers workshop continues to share his writing advice, along with several practical exercises for aspiring writers.

Writing tips included:

  • Fantasy writing prompts
  • Story ideas
  • Story outline
  • Rules for writers
  • Writers block
  • Short story prompts
  • Realistic fiction

The workshop instructors this year included Orson Scott Card, Enders Game, Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides, and David Farland, The Runelords.

Orson Scott Card, Tim Powers and David Farland

During the workshop they were interviewed for the Writers of the Future podcast, where they shared insights of the writing workshop and several writing tips. You can enjoy it here:

Writing short stories

The 24-hour story challenge is one of the workshop’s best-known highlights. Working with a random item and an interview with a stranger, the writer winners were given 24 hours to research, outline, and write a complete short story. Their stories were then critiqued by the other writers and judges.

David Farland presenting storytelling basics


Tim PowersTim Powers giving out objects for the 24-hour story


Research at the library


Meeting a stranger


  John Haas working on his 24-hour story


Writers turning in their 24-hour stories

Famous Authors

The final days of the writers workshop were packed with candid writing advice from a blue-ribbon panel of judges, past contest winners, and publishing professionals. These guest speakers shared their wisdom and writing tips, giving the winners years of experience in just a few breaths. This year’s guest speakers included:

Nina Kiriki Hoffman, The Thread That Binds the Bones


Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. AndersonRebecca Moesta, Young Jedi Knights and Kevin J. Anderson, Spine of the Dragon


Dr. Robert J. SawyerDr. Robert J. Sawyer, Quantum Night


Eric Flint, 1632


Larry NivenLarry Niven, Ringworld


Dr. Doug BeasonDr. Doug Beason, The Officer


Dean Wesley SmithDean Wesley Smith, Tombstone Canyon


Jody Lynn NyeJody Lynn Nye, Moon Tracks


Dr. Gregory BenfordDr. Gregory Benford, The Berlin Project


Dr. Beatrice KondoDr. Beatrice Kondo of The Heinlein Foundation


Liza TrombiLiza Trombi of Locus


Dr. Nnedi OkoforDr. Nnedi Okofor, Binti


Darci Stone, Eric James Stone, Kary English, and Martin L. ShoemakerDarci Stone, “Mara’s Shadow”, Eric James Stone, That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, Kary English, “Totaled”, and Martin L. Shoemaker, Today I Am Carey

Marketing Plan

Delivered by Galaxy Press President John Goodwin and Vice President Public Affairs Emily Goodwin, the final workshop day focused on the business of writing: marketing and selling books. Special Guest, Bill Fawcett, American editor, anthologist, game designer, book packager, fiction writer, and historian, made a presentation on targeting one’s marketing and exceptions to the rules. Special guest, Dave Chesson, CEO Kindlepreneur, made a presentation about book-selling giant Amazon with advice to help new writers get a jumpstart.

Topics included:

  • What is marketing
  • Marketing strategy
  • How to brand yourself
  • Selling books
  • Online marketing
  • How to do media interviews
  • Selling on Amazon

John Goodwin John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press and Emily Goodwin, VP Public Affairs


Bill Fawcett Bill Fawcett, author and editor


Dave ChessonDave Chesson, CEO Kindlepreneur

Writers Success

With the workshop at an end, this year’s winners are now ready to launch their careers from a foundation for success. Over the years, hundreds of contest winners have gone on to enjoy professional writing careers—the largest success rate of any writers workshop or contest. Just in the last year, they have published over 100 brand new science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.


How to attend the Writers of the Future Workshop

How do you get invited to attend next year’s workshop?

The first step is to complete your short story and submit it. Only submitted stories have a chance of winning, and only winners and published finalists are invited to this exclusive writers workshop.

For an edge on the competition, read previous books in the series to learn what kinds of stories end up as winners. Good luck!


Contest resources:

Contributed by Kary English, Writers of the Future First Reader and winner from WotF 31.

Kary EnglishKary English grew up in the snowy Midwest where she read book after book in a warm corner behind a recliner chair. Today, Kary still spends most of her time with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book.

Kary is a Writers of the Future winner and now the Contest’s First Reader whose work has been nominated for both the Hugo and Campbell awards. Kary’s fiction has appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, The Grantville Gazette, Daily Science Fiction, Far Fetched Fables, the Hugo-winning podcast StarShipSofa, and Writers of the Future, Vol. 31.

Writers of the Future 1st Quarter Winners

Writers of the Future 1st Quarter Winners Announced for Volume 36


Writers of the Future 1st Quarter Standings for 2019, Volume 36


Of all the writing contests out there, this one launches careers!


And the winners are:

First Place – Andrew Dibble from Wisconsin
Second Place – F.J. Bergmann from Wisconsin
Third Place – Sonny Zae from Texas



Carina Bissett from Colorado
Paulo da Silva from Germany
K. D. Julicher from Nevada
Brittany Rainsdon from Idaho
Cliff Winnig from California


Hannah Azok from Ohio
Ian Gonzales from Washington
Jennie Keyes from Idaho
Noah Linwood from New Jersey
Jeremy Mallory from Virginia
Clarice Radrick from Florida
Roderick Turner from Canada

Silver Honorable Mentions:

Jay Barnson from Utah
Amitai Ben-Abba from California
T.E. Bradford from New York
E.W. Carlson from Minnesota
Michael Dorman from Germany
Alexander Duhamel from Canada
Adina Edelman from Maryland
Samantha Edelman from Nevada
Joshua Essoe from Maryland
Michael Gardner from Australia
Joshua Grasso from Oklahoma
Hollis Henry from Trinidad and Tobago
Seth Kennedy from California
Geetha Krishnan from India
Angela Lawlor from Indiana
Skylar Nitzel from Colorado
Jerry Parker from California
Liviu Surugiu from Romania
Mark Thomsen from Virginia
Eileen Wiedbrauk from Michigan
Kaitlyn Zivanovich from Europe

Honorable Mentions:

Les Abernathy from Alabama
Jason Adams from Virginia
Ashlea Adams from Florida
Lance Adams from Georgia
Billy Ketch Allen from California
F.D. Arther from West Virginia
Tim Asay from Oregon
Alexis Askew from Georgia
Abby Baier from California
Alexandra Balasa from Texas
Matthew Baron from Georgia
Christopher Baxter from Utah
J.A. Becker from Australia
Kierra Beeson from Illinois
Joe Benet from North Carolina
Ryan Benson from Georgia
Christopher Best from Maryland
Ananyo Bhattacharya from United Kingdom
Jeff Binkley from Alabama
James Blakey from Pennsylvania
Shawna Borman from Texas
Matt Bosio from Florida
Z.T. Bright from Utah
J.D. Brink from Ohio
Jonathan Bronico from Massachusetts
Nathan Buckingham from Arizona
Daniel R. Burkhard from Utah
L.M. Burkhart from Colorado
Brennan C. Caldwell from California
Jack Calverley from United Kingdom
Anne Cameron from Maryland
Sam Chapman from Oregon
Rachel Chimits from Nevada
Justin Chung from New York
Paul Seungoh Chung from Canada
Rui Cid from Portugal
John Coffren from Maryland
Elaine Cohen from Florida
David R. Coombs from Canada
Krishan Coupland from United Kingdom
Ben Credle from Georgia
Clemency Crow from United Kingdom
D. Allen Crowley from Ohio
Sarina Dahlan from California
KM Dailey from California
Patricia D’Angelo from Kansas
L.H. Davis from Florida
Michael DeCarolis from Florida
Ladd DeWinter from Utah
Nathan Dodge from Texas
Peter T. Donahue from New Jersey
Jeff Dosser from Oklahoma
CB Droege from Germany
Steve DuBois from Kansas
Mason Engel from Indiana
Madison Estes from Texas
K.L. Evangelista from Australia
Robert Mitchell Evans from California
J.T. Evans from Colorado
Shamari Evans from New York
Jason Evans from Illinois
Stevie Evers from Alabama
Angelique Fawns from Canada
Caitlin Finley from Texas
Patrick Finley from New York
Jacob Foncea from Alabama
S.C.A. Fontaine from France
Felicia Fredlund from Sweden
John A. Frochio from Pennsylvania
Taylor Garcia from California
Simon R. Gardner from United Kingdom
Jhanys Gardner from Virginia
Garland Gayle from Virginia
Michelle F. Goddard from Canada
J.C.G. Goelz from Louisiana
Barry Goldsmith from Arizona
Colton Goodrich from Utah
Mark A. Gordon from Florida
KR Gordon from California
Les Gould from Virginia
Collette Grace from Texas
Theodora Green from California
Gavina Grendall from California
Austin Gunderson from Washington
Rebecca Guzman from California
Anaïd Haen from Netherlands
Kevin Hallett from Texas
Laura Handley from Virginia
H.J. Harding from Virginia
Charlie Harmon from Illinois
A.W. Harris from Oregon
Angelea Hayes from California
Michelle Henrie from Utah
James Henrik from Sweden
Todd Honeycutt from New Jersey
Aaron Horsager from Ohio
K.R. Horton from Oregon
Phoebe Houser from Pennsylvania
Chip Houser from Missouri
Cathy Humble from Oregon
Bailey Hummel from Texas
Jay Hurteau from New Hampshire
Micah Hyatt from Texas
Kevin Kauffmann from North Carolina
Carolyn Kay from Colorado
Bart Kemper from Louisiana
Brandon Ketchum from Pennsylvania
D.M. Kiely from Florida
Jace Killan from Arizona
Anike Kirsten from South Africa
Emily Kjeer from Minnesota
Jeffrey Kremer from New Jersey
Alex Kropova from Canada
Grace Kueker from Tennessee
M. Kuriel from Virginia
Sarah Kushneryk from Canada
Eli Landes from New York
Elizabeth Langlois from Wisconsin
Alexis Lantgen from Texas
John Leahy from Ireland
Riley Lebowicz from New York
Sussu Leclerc from Ohio
Justin Li from Singapore
Beatrice Lim from New York
Bonner Litchfield from North Carolina
Thomas Logan from Oregon
Colton Long from District of Columbia
Robert Allen Lupton from New Mexico
Angus MacGregor from Australia
Kirk Maile from Canada
Caroline Malgen from Switzerland
A. Michael Marsh from Arizona
Django Mathijsen from Netherlands
Daniel Matusicky from Ohio
Dennis Maulsby from Iowa
Thomas McDaniel from Washington
Megan McGrath from Georgia
Erin McHugh from Illinois
Charles Mears from California
Andrew Medlin from North Carolina
Dan Melnick from Indiana
Lauryn Mercredi from Canada
Michael Middleton from Oregon
Kevin Barry Miller from Canada
Mister Lmouto from Australia
Murtaza Mohsin from Pakistan
Sarah Montagna from New Jersey
Leo Moonrise from Canada
Camille Moore from Maryland
Jonathan Moore from United Kingdom
Russell Morin from Colorado
Aaron Moskalik from Michigan
Caley Mueller from Minnesota
Evan D. Mullicane from California
Kalaivani Narayanan from New Jersey
Christopher Ng from Canada
Linh Nguyen-Ng from Massachusetts
Brent Nichols from Alaska
Joseph Norris from California
Adam O’Connell from United Kingdom
Jessica Oesterle from New York
Sarah Ortega from Texas
Billy Palmer from Florida
Adam Patla from Illinois
Elena Pavlova from Bulgaria
Rachel Pepin from New Hampshire
Barton Perkins from Alabama
George Petit from Delaware
Peter Philleo from Florida
John Post from Arkansas
Joshua Potter from New York
Aelred Powell from Georgia
Kathleen Powell from Missouri
Brooke Prado from California
Rajeev Prasad from California
Jake Reed from California
Devyn Regueira from Florida
D H Richards from Virginia
David Ridd from North Carolina
Travis D. Roberson from New York
Cassie Roberts from Washington
J. Rohr from Illinois
Glenn Rosado from California
SM Rose from Canada
Peter Sartucci from Colorado
Kirtan Savith Kumar from Singapore
Caroline Sciriha from Malta
G.S. Scott from Michigan
Rick Shaw from California
Sophie Sheeder from Iowa
Charles Shell from Virginia
David Shultz from Canada
J Sluys from Texas
Jack Smiles from Pennsylvania
Benjamin Smith from Pennsylvania
Samantha Soard from Georgia
David Sorensen from Virginia
C.L. Spillard from United Kingdom
Michelle Staloff from Florida
Tasha Staples from Colorado
E.C. Stever from Idaho
Nicole Stewart from Utah
Shami Stovall from California
Todd Sullivan from Georgia
Gordon Sun from California
Vincent Sutherland from Arizona
Daniel Szydlowski from Indiana
Corine Tan from California
Tyra Tanner from Utah
M.R. Tevebaugh from Colorado
Kelly Thomas from California
Dan Thurot from Utah
Crystal Trobak from Canada
Andy K. Tytler from United Kingdom
Francisco Velasquez from Mississippi
Scott Pahaku Vilhauer from California
Yaye Viner from Nebraska
Christa Vogt from Colorado
Charles Wade from Mississippi
Matthew Wardell from Canada
R.W. Ware from Maine
Galen Westlake from Canada
Daniel Westmoreland from New Jersey
Kay Katherine White from New Jersey
Robert Luke Wilkins from California
JM Williams from South Korea
Walter L. Williamson from New Mexico
Thomas Woodward from Minnesota
Dane Wooster from Colorado


Thirty-fifth annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards Gala announced to be held Friday, April 4, at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood

Andrew Dykstal and Aliya Chen Announced as Grand Prize Winners of the 35th Annual Writers of the Future

Andrew Dykstal, a writer from Arlington, VA, has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 35th Annual Writers of the Future, and Aliya Chen, an illustrator from Fair Oaks, CA has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the 30th Annual Illustrators of the Future L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in the genres of Science Fiction & Fantasy held at the Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood, CA on Friday evening, April 5, 2019. A capacity crowd of 400 people attended the Black-Tie GALA. Presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press, the theme for the two-hour awards show was Retro Robotics.

John Goodwin, President of Galaxy Press, said: “This year marks a historic milestone in our contests with simultaneous benchmark anniversaries, the 35th Anniversary of our Writer’s Contest and, at the same time, the 30th Anniversary of our Illustrators Contest. This year was also groundbreaking for another reason, in that, Aliya Chen made history becoming our first Chinese Grand Prize Winner ever selected in either of our competitions.” This year’s event was an Invitation Only Black-Tie GALA which was streamed live via the website,, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. PST on Friday evening, April 5, 2019.

Andrew Dykstal, The Winner of the Grand Prize Writer’s Award, said: “This is absolutely fantastic! I feel that my career as a writer has now been catapulted. It’s a tremendous honor to be here. The quality of the stories of my fellow writers in this contest is amazing. I have made new friends for life. Having the opportunity, as I have for this past week in workshops networking and learning from authors I grew up reading, and whom continue to influence and inspire me, has been an experience I will never forget.”

Aliya Chen, The Winner of the Grand Prize Illustrator’s Award, said: “I didn’t expect this at all. I’m overwhelmed and very grateful! Winning this Grand Prize Award is validation for me that illustration, which is a passion for me, doesn’t have to be limited to a hobby, but it’s definitely possible as a career. I also feel God has opened these doors for me. My twin sister, Felicia, who is also an illustrator like myself, is the person who actually learned of the Illustrators of the Future Contest and encouraged me to enter. We are both supportive of one another, and for that reason we both didn’t enter the competition at the same time. This is a moment in my life I will never forget!”

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “This year, our fourth quarter illustrator 2018 winner, Alice Wang, became the youngest winner to ever enter our contests and win, at the age of 15. Submissions for our Writers and Illustrator Contests over the last 35 and 30 years respectively, have come from over 175 countries. This year we had four quarterly winners from England, more than ever before in one year. Selecting the two Grand Prize Winners from thousands of contest entries submitted annually is not an easy process.”

Coordinating Writer Contest Judge David Farland and Fellow Writer Judge Orson Scott Card announced writer Andrew Dykstal as the Golden Pen Award winner while presenting him a check for $5,000. Andrew Dykstal’s winning story, “Thanatos Drive,” was illustrated by Qianjiao Ma.

Coordinating Illustrator Contest Judge Echo Chernik and Fellow Illustrator Judge Bog Eggleton announced illustrator Aliya Chen as the Golden Brush Award winner while presenting her with a check for $5,000. Aliya Chen illustrated writer Elise Stephen’s story, “Untrained Luck.”

The awards show was held in the visually opulent Grand Ballroom of the Taglyan Cultural Complex nestled in the heart of Hollywood. Catered by Divine Food, the GALA began with tray passed Hor D’oeuvres and Cocktails, followed by a delectable Mediterranean four-course meal and the Awards Show, followed a Book Signing and Reception in the plush Foyer of the Taglyan.

The awards show opened with Sci-Fi Stomp and Body Percussion Dance featuring ROV-E, a Mars Rover Robot Prototype from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and dancers from EM Cirque, a world-renowned aerobatics and dance troupe.

Event Emcee, Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. introduced Keynote Speaker, Ed Hulse, an award-winning journalist and historian who specializes in documenting American popular culture of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. presented the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Eggleton, a Founding Judge of the Illustrators of the Future Contest, and winner of many literary awards, including nine Hugo Awards and 11 Chelsey Awards.

John Goodwin, President Galaxy Press, unveiled the 35th Volume of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future featuring the work of the 12 award-winning new authors and 12 award-winning new illustrators from this year’s contests. Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Bob Eggleton, the book also features stories written by renowned writers and illustrators, Dean Wesley Smith, Rebecca Moesta, Mike Resnick, Echo Chernick and L. Ron Hubbard. The new anthology is now available throughout the United States from,,, in Barnes & Noble stores, Books A Million or at

In his Keynote Address, Ed Hulse talked about the Golden Age of Science Fiction and post World War II, with a veritable explosion in pulp magazines. Hulse said, “The Golden Age of Science Fiction isn’t a relic of the past. It has seeped into our popular culture in myriad ways. The Galactic Empires of Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series were foremost in the mind of George Lucas when he conceived ‘Star Wars,’ and Doc Smith’s ‘Lensmen’ were among the influences of his Jedi knights. In the first film’s famous bar scene, he even lifted a sequence from L. Ron Hubbard’s story ‘The Kingslayer’ virtually word for word. Van Vogt’s mutant ‘Slans’ were forerunners of Marvel’s ‘X-Men.’ Countless popular motion pictures and television shows have adapted classic Golden Age pulp yarns, officially and unofficially.”

Hulse continued, “These storytellers all contributed mightily to the evolution of Science Fiction. And now you’re part of that evolution. You represent a new generation of writers, alternately building upon and superseding literary traditions now more than a century old. Yours are the ideas and concepts that will shape Science Fiction for years to come. I look forward to seeing how you’ll respond to the challenge of making science fiction relevant to the readers of tomorrow.”

Awards for each of the Quarterly Finalists of the Writers and Illustrators Contests were presented by actors Kate Linder, Lee Purcell, Sean Cameron Michael, Ernest Pierce and Phil Proctor, along with renowned judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Writing Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies. They included: Kyle Kirrin of Creede, CO, Preston Dennett of Reseda, CA, Kai Wolden of Eden Prairie, MN, David Cleden of Fleet, Hampshire, UK, Rustin Lovewell of Gaithersburg, MD, Carrie Callahan Bardstown, KY, Elise Stephens of Seattle, WA, Christopher Baker of Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK, Mica Scott Kole of Westland, MI, Andrew Dykstal of Arlington, VA, Wulf Moon of Sequim, WA and John Haas Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Illustrating Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies. They included: Emerson Rabbitt of Minneapolis, MN, Vytautas V (Vytautas Vasiliauskas) of Paris, France, Yinying Jiang of Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK, Alexander Gustafson of Essex Junction, VT, Christine Rhee of San Francisco, CA, Sam Kemp of Birmingham, West Midlands, England, Allen Morris of Cleveland, MS, Jennifer Ober of Atlanta, GA, Josh Pemberton of Seattle, WA, Qianjiao Ma of Arcadia, CA, Alice Wang of Bellevue, WA and Aliya Chen of Fair Oaks, CA.

Dr. Beatrice Kondo, daughter of the late Writers of the Future Judge, Dr. Yoji Kondo, and a member of the Heinlein Society Board of Directors, presented Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director of Author Services, Inc. with a Letter of Recognition. The Heinlein Society is devoted to the study and promotion of the late American Science Fiction author Robert A. Heinlein. During her presentation, Dr. Kondo said, “L. Ron Hubbard established the Writers of the Future contests as a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged. On behalf of the Heinlein Society and issued by its President and Chairman, George E. Rule, I would like to present a letter of recognition to L. Ron Hubbard and his enduring Contest on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary.”

In addition to celebrity and distinguished judge awards presenters, other VIPS in attendance at the event included: Elizabeth Fuller, Kary English, Martin Shoemaker, Jim Meskimen, Tamara Meskimen, Jennifer O’Dell, Phire Whitaker, Gino Montesinos, Daniel Kotto, Edwin Gagliano, Monica Wiela, Gene Rurka, Kelton Jones, Skip Harris and Jeff Rector. Some Renowned Former Writer and Illustrator of the Future winners were also in attendance, including: Dean Wesley Smith (1985 – Volume 1), Nini Kiriki Hoffman (1985 – Volume 1), David Farland (1987 – Volume 3), Sergei Poyarkov (1991 – Volume 7), Dr. Nnedi Okorafor (2002 – Volume 18), Brian C. Hailes (2002 – Volume 18), Darci Stone (2018 – Volume 34), Eric James Stone (2004 – Volume 20 and 2005 – Volume 21) and Eric Flint (1993 – Volume 9).

Event attendees also included 23 world-renowned writer and illustrator contest judges specializing in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The 15 Writer judges in attendance included: Kevin J. Anderson, Dr. Doug Beason, Dr. Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, David Farland, Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Jody Lynn Nye, Dr. Nnedi Okorafor, Timothy Thomas “Tim” Powers, Dr. Robert J. Sawyer and Dean Wesley Smith. The eight illustrator judges included: Echo Chernik, Lazarus Chernik, Bob Eggleton, Larry Elmore, Dr. Laura Freas Beraha, Val Lakey Lindahn, Sergey Poyarkov and Rob Prior.

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling Science Fiction novel, “Battlefield Earth,” written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future Contest ( in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The annual Contests draw entrants from around the globe and are free to enter. Winners retain full rights to their work and each are given cash awards. Each year three winners are selected quarterly for both the Writers and the Illustrators Contests. Then a Grand Prize winner is selected for both the Writers and the Illustrators. Grand Prize Winners receive an additional $5,000. The Contest flies out all winners to Los Angeles for an expense-paid, weeklong workshop given by Contest judges and culminates in a Black-Tie Gala Awards event. The contests promote the arts welcoming diversity, ethnicity, creativity and equality, with no age limits.

In the 35 years of the Writers of the Future Contest, there have been 416 winners and 80 published finalists. The 416 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

In the 30 years of the Illustrators of the Future Contest, there have been 346 winners. The 346 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 television shows and 40 major movies.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction. Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 35 anthology volumes and awarded upwards of $1 million in cash prizes and royalties. For more information please visit and