Conference Contests

Congratulations to all of our Prose and Poetry 2012 Conference Contest Winners!

Click on the titles below to read the winning stories or poems on-line.
Click here for a hard copy version of the Prose Winners and their stories.
Click here for a hard copy version of the Poetry Winners and their poems.

Prose Winners:


Michelle Wing
Michelle Wing is a poet, fiction writer and essayist who is assisted in her creative endeavors by her partner Sabrina, and her trusty dog Ripley, always at her side. She has a master’s in Japanese studies, is the senior staff writer at the Calistoga Tribune, and has been published in The Gay & Lesbian Review, Sinister Wisdom and Vintage Voices.


Fran Claggett
Fran Claggett – After many years of teaching high school and college level English, Fran is now devoting her time to writing, consulting, and teaching memoir writing and poetry in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sonoma State University. Taurean Horn Press, owned by Bill Vartnaw, Sonoma County Poet Laureate, published her first poetry book Black Birds and Other Birds. Her second book of poems will be published later this year by Risk Press.


Kent Sorenson
Kent Sorensen recently completed The Dark Horse of Shanghai, a first novel about corruption in China that will be published in May 2012. He recently wrote two memoirs: An Undisclosed Odyssey and Unexpected Contact, a story about a mentally disabled woman that was accepted for publication in the 2012 RWC Anthology.

Honorable Mentions:


Charles Markee
Charles Markee facilitates quarterly meetings of the North Bay SCBWI and is a member of Redwood Writers and BAIPA. Writing has been in Charles’ life since he wrote and published his first family newspaper at age 12.  After years of technical writing, he attended a University class on Creativity, which led to eight years of creative writing classes, workshops and conferences. Writing poetry, flash fiction, film reviews and short stories evolved into his current project, writing and publishing pre-teen novels.


Amanda McTigue

Amanda McTigue hails from a long line of talkers. Her daddy’s people were immigrant Irish Catholics who wound up stateside in the Appalachian coal-mining country of West Virginia. Her mother’s people were Presbyterian preachers from the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. An author, teacher, and stage director, Amanda’s children’s books and companion CDs are on bookstore shelves. Her written works for the theater have been seen on stages ranging from community playhouses to the likes of Carnegie Hall. Going to Solace is her first novel. You can keep up with her doings at


Prose Judges:

John P. Abbot
John P. Abbott is a writer, editor and marketing consultant based in Petaluma, CA. His fiction has appeared in Frisko, Fence and the 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions of Vintage Voices: Anthology of California Writers. He recently spent two weeks in Europe compiling research for an article on Byron’s Italian mistresses and their influence on his epic poem, “Don Juan.” Email: [email protected].

Kate Farrell
Kate Farrell earned a Masters degree from UC-Berkeley; taught language arts in high schools, colleges, and universities; founded the Word Weaving storytelling project, publishing educational materials, and the Wis-dom Has a Voice memoir project; edited the anthology, Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother, 2011. Visit Kate’s website and blog:

Kerry Granshaw
Kerry Granshaw worked as a chemist and for many years her writing skills were applied to experimental notes. This required absolutely no imagination. At the opposite end of the scale she’s now enjoying writing fantasy for children and young adults. She has had short stories printed by the literary publications, Hard Row to Hoe, Bust Out and Vintage Voices. She regularly reads at literary salons, locally in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, and occasionally in San Francisco.

Contest Chair – Kathy Rueve
For many years, Kathy Rueve has balanced her writing life and professional accounting career. She facilitates a weekly writing workshop at Oakmont where the group has put together two ring-bound anthologies and self-published three books. With a background in anthropology and studying how primates interact with their environment, she has focused both her community work and writing on social and psychological development. Al-though her first calling was non-fiction, Kathy soon discovered she was a much better fiction writer. While working on an historical novel set in sixteenth century Portugal, she continues to write short stories and an occasional essay or poem.

Poetry Winners:



Michelle Wing


Michelle Wing is a poet, fiction writer and essayist who is assisted in her creative endeavors by her partner Sabrina, and her trusty dog Ripley, always at her side. She has a master’s in Japanese studies, is the senior staff writer at the Calistoga Tribune, and has been published in The Gay & Lesbian Review, Sinister Wisdom and Vintage Voices.


Crysal Ockenfuss


Crystal Mazur Ockenfuss was born in Western, New York and first studied poetry with Robert Creeley while an undergrad at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She pursued graduate studies in German and anthropology at the University of Virginia, followed by a long sojourn in Europe. She now lives, reads and writes in the Bay Area. Her poems appear in the current issues of Ekphrasis, Slipstream and The Mochila Review.


Jodi Hottel


Jodi Hottel’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Nimrod International, Spillway, Naugatuck Review, Touch, English Journal, Frogpond and anthologies from the University of Iowa Press, Tebot Bach, and the Healdsburg Arts Council. Heart Mountain, her chapbook of poems about the Japanese American internment is forthcoming from Blue Light Press, San Francisco.


Poetry Judges:

Ed Coletti
Poet and painter Ed Coletti graduated from the Creative Writing Masters Program at San Francisco State University (under Robert Creeley). Coletti, a Vietnam veteran, is widely published in this country and in Europe. His Web presence includes “Ed Coletti’s P3” and also “No Money In Poetry.” Ed’s latest published book is When Hearts Outlive Minds from Conflux Press in 2011.

Nancy Long
Nancy Long is a writer, director, producer and performer. She hosted the Livewire Literary Salon and has pub-lished numerous short stories and plays. Presently, she is producer for the Petaluma Readers Theatre and helps coordinate the People, Places and Poetry Group in Petaluma; volunteers for the Annual Petaluma Poetry Walk and V-Day Petaluma.

Phyllis Meshulam
Teacher and poet, tree-hugger and flash-mobster, Phyllis Meshulam is the author of three chapbooks. Her poems also appear in many literary magazines, and in the acclaimed anthology Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. She teaches in schools, at Napa State Hospital and is Sonoma County coordinator for California Poets in the Schools.

Contest Chair – Barbara Toboni
Barbara Toboni, a graduate of Napa Valley College, writes short stories, poetry, memoir, and picture books. Her poetry and essays have been published in literary journals and newspapers including Alura Poetry and the Napa Valley Register. Her short stories have been published in anthologies, including Wisdom Has a Voice, Vintage Voices, and Cup of Comfort. Undertow, a chapbook of poetry, was published in 2011. She is a member of the California Writers Club (CWC) in Marin and in Santa Rosa, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She can be found online at