Z.J. Czupor, an active member of our Littleton Critique Group since 2008, recently learned that his short story, Hardboiled and In-Between, won second place in the Denver Women’s Press Club’s “Unknown Writers’ Contest 2014.”
Three winners were chosen in the fiction category; three in nonfiction; and six in poetry out of a total of 70 entries. A ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m., April 6 at the DWPC’s historic landmark in downtown Denver. The Club was founded in 1898 and today enjoys a membership of over 200 writing professionals in various fields.
Z.J. has been invited to read an edited version of his story at the ceremony. He said the story is one he had written several years ago as a “cheeky take” on the hardboiled noir-style detective story. When he learned of the contest, he dusted the story off, added a couple of new elements and a new ending to arrive at the finished piece, which came in at 1,944 words on eight pages.
“I have to say that I owe a lot of my progress to my colleagues in our critique group,” Z.J. said. “Without their honest assessments of my writing and encouragement, I would not have finished three novels this quickly. Each week, I am newly impressed with the talent and experience of our members. Many are accomplished writers, some are published, some have agents, some are award-winning; and a few are on the cusp of making it as a professional writer. I am truly honored to be part of this brilliant group.”
IN 2012, Z.J.’s first novel, The Hot Tub Club, won first place in the Mainstream Fiction category at the Colorado Gold Writers Conference. The following year, his second novel, The Rose and the Spider, was a finalist in the Mystery Thriller category.
Unlike many famous authors who like to boast on their book jackets that they split their time between Paris and New York, or some such exotic locale, Z.J. says he splits his time between the upstairs and downstairs of his home, where he lives in Denver with his lovely wife Marta and two collies which “are way smarter than I am.” Z.J. and Marta own The InterPro Group, a public relations and marketing consulting firm.