expecting goodness 2014

HUB-BUB’s third annual Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

gets underway this month with a statewide call to filmmakers.

The Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival is accepting filmmaker applications until December 31, 2013. If selected, filmmakers will get the opportunity to create a film adaptation of an award-winning short story by a South Carolina writer — and compete for juried prizes on festival night, June 14th, 2014.

“This festival is an amazing opportunity for independent, South Carolina filmmakers,” says Chris White, co-director of this year’s festival. “Expecting Goodness connects filmmakers, writers, and the community like no other festival I know.”

Hub City, HUB BUB, and the Expecting Goodness co-directors are excited about what they have in the works for Expecting Goodness 2014. In its first two years, the festival grew exponentially, moving from The Showroom to a sold-out festival day at Chapman Cultural Center’s David Reid Theater.

This year, Contec, Inc of Spartanburg signed on early to be the festival’s headline sponsor, which will help the project grow even further and offer more to the community.

“Having a big-name sponsor like Contec support the festival from day one is exciting,” says Emily Reach White, co-director of the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. “It allows us to pursue some creative ideas for the project that we wouldn’t have been able to support otherwise.”

The organizers are working to expand the festival and welcome filmmakers from across the state by offering more screenings, more perks, and more prizes — 11 juried prizes in all. Their goal is to be the most hospitable, filmmaker-friendly festival in the state.

“Filmmakers who participate in the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival, not only get to work with great stories,” says Cate Ryba, Executive Director at HUB-BUB “they also get the full organizational and promotional support of HUB-BUB, which means the chance to screen new work in front of hundreds of people.”

In order to be eligible to participate, filmmakers must be South Carolina residents who are 18 and older. Filmmakers must be able to fully commit to the project and meet all of the stated deadlines. In addition, filmmakers must be responsible for their own equipment, materials, and production costs.

To learn more about the festival and the eligibility requirements for filmmakers, go to


SC First Novel Prize -- Hit This Up, Soda City Writers!

Sharing this news from our friends at Hub City Press and The Humanities Council of SC and the SC Arts Commission -- Heads up, Soda City Writers The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and The Humanities CouncilSC announce a call for submissions for the biennial South Carolina First Novel Prize. Guidelines, eligibilty requirements and the application are available at The application deadline is March 3, 2014.

The competition judge is Ben Fountain of Dallas, Texas, who won the National Book Critics Circle book prize in 2012 for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. His other honors include the PEN/Hemmingway Award, a Pushcart Prize, two O. Henry Awards, two Texas Institute of Letters Short Story Awards and a Whiting Writers Award.

Ben Fountain photo courtesy of Hub City Press

The winning author will receive a book contract with Hub City Press, an award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, S.C. The winner will receive a $1,000 advance against royalties, and Hub City will publish at least 1,500 copies of the book.

The First Novel Prize provides significant promotion, including an invitation from The Humanities CouncilSC to appear and sign books at the 2015 South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia.

Susan Tekulve of Spartanburg was winner of the 2012 competition. Her book, In the Garden of Stone, was published in May 2013 and was nationally reviewed by such publications as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal. Additionally, Tekulve has toured bookstores throughout the Southeast and participated, or will participate, on panels at the Southern Book Festival, the South Carolina Book Festival and the High Country Festival of the Book.

Matt Matthews of Greer was the winner of the 2010 competition. His book, Mercy Creek, was published in 2011. Brian Ray of Columbia was the winner of the inaugural novel competition. His book, Through the Pale Door, was published by Hub City in June 2009. Both books have been widely and favorably reviewed across the Southeast.

The South Carolina First Novel Prize is funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and the Phifer/Johnson Foundation of Spartanburg, S.C. The Humanities CouncilSC is a founding partner.

For more information, visit or call (803) 734-8696.

Book Review -- Hating the Goddamn Peas: Angela Kelly’s Voodoo for the Other Woman by Jonathan Butler


There are no happily-ever-after endings in Angela Kelly’s Voodoo for the Other Woman (Hub City Press, 2013). This is a book of bad women, bad accidents, and bad news. Kelly has a gift for understatement and a voice that can speak unpleasant truths convincingly, in part because she lets the images speak for themselves:

A week later, Mother was white blonde again,

she came home with somebody named Pastor Arthur Ray,

he’d prayed with her, she said, though they smelled

of whiskey, his auburn toupee, crooked, tilted left.

And while its poems deal with such personal matters as heartbreak, infidelity, disease, childhood trauma, and substance abuse, Voodoo for the Other Woman doesn’t seem confessional, in part because Kelly spreads the book’s meditations on disillusion and desire across decades and personae, and in part because these poems maintain a cutting sense of humor. Kelly has a skill for sketching characters in a few details, as in “The Swannanoa Juvenile Detention Center for Girls”:

Next week, the Home Economics class will turn to cooking.

They are going to make chicken pot pie

with a fine golden crust. Jayne Ann says no green peas

are going in her pot pie. She hates goddamn peas.

In spite of the pain stitched through this book, the characters are handled with compassion, rather than venom, and the few moments of tenderness the book offers are more poignant for the destruction around them, gleaming like the broken glass at the conclusion of “Char’s Crossing”:

In the rearview mirror, the three-legged dog

wagged his entire body in farewell.

The acres of broken bottles winked out.

These poems are a requiem for the reckless passions of youth as well as an acknowledgement that childhood’s terrors and injustices persist into adulthood, as in “Dear Boys & Girls of the Playground,” where

Touching your thigh, you look around

for the rubber dodge ball, red and bouncy;

it could tear down the hall at any time.

Destruction often follows in desire’s wake in this poems. After the ecstatic groping there is always a vicious comedown, a severe hangover, sometimes paired with a literal hangover, as in “To Take a Vacation Alone”:

The hung-over mornings, when I wake at dawn,

panicked at the anonymous room, finally recognizing

the roll of surf, the open balcony doors, how the sea air

has seduced my sheets, reducing them to damp rags.

Gauze, perhaps, for a wound I have not even felt.

Cancer and life-threatening pregnancy loom in poems like “How to Prepare for Invasive Surgery” (“I would like to slip inside your jacket and be / the extra button stitched in the silk lining”). Kelly has a gift for striking juxtapositions, as in “Fear Comes Like  a Whistle, a Depot, the Train Itself”:

In the waiting room, I had thumbed through Cosmo-

“The Secret Parts of Your Body Which He Really Wants.”

Womb full of baseball tumors was not on the list.

The inanity of commercial culture in the face of profound personal suffering and loss is a recurring theme. Many of the topics covered are not the kind of thing advertisers want potential customers reading about next to their sales pitches, and Kelly’s book makes an argument for poetry as a place where they can be discussed honestly, with no concern for the sensibilities of advertisers. Like the “The Swannanoa Juvenile Detention Center for Girls,” poetry is a place where you can admit to hating “the goddamn peas.”And since many of the book’s topics, like uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancy, are “women’s issues,” Kelly could be said to be carving out a space for frank discussion of these topics ignored by the media at large. But Kelly’s book isn’t a feel-good celebration of mutual womanhood, either: when we meet the persona of the title poem, she’s putting a hex on a romantic rival, so that

When she steps off the curb,

her ankle may snap, or better yet,

the city bus rounding the curve …

The wisdom of Voodoo for the Other Woman seems hard won. These poems remind us of the uncertainty of our destinations and the unquantifiable value of tenderness in the midst of a collapsing world. In simple language, Kelly has achieved a complex tone that mixes humor, sadness, hope, rage, and resignation. It is a potent brew.

-- Jonathan Butler

Catching up with Wade Sellers and the production of Lola's Prayer -- a guest blog

As soon as we at Jasper heard about the production and Kickstarter campaign for the film Lola's Prayer, we were hooked. For starters, we've been watching filmmaker Wade Sellers for a while and keeping tabs on his work. Wade is one of those filmmakers who can take the wildest of hairs and prune it into the most beautiful of topiaries. Then, when we put two and two together and discovered that Wade's latest project is the adaptation into film of a short story written by Lou Dishcler and published by our good friends at Hub City Press in Spartanburg -- well, we were just flat out psyched. Some of us at Jasper have jumped on the Lola's Prayer bandwagon by supporting Wade and his esteemed cast as they raise funds via their Kickstarter campaign -- (we'll be writing about Kickstarter campaigns soon ourselves) -- and we'd like to encourage you to do the same. There's something about knowing that your 5 or 10 or 50 bucks, combined with that of someone else, can make a real difference in facilitating a fellow artist to reach her or his goal that makes us feel good about the use of our cash. It makes us feel good and, actually, a little privileged to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

If you'd like to know more about Wade and his film Lola's Prayer, please read his guest blog below. And then, if you can spare the price of a beer or a venti latte, or even a pizza -- please think about visiting the Lola's Prayer Kickstarter page and joining Jasper and at least three dozen other backers as we become a part of something that is, well, neat. It'll be money well spent.

A Message from the Filmmaker, Wade Sellers

My friend, filmmaker Chris White, sent me a notice a while back about the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival in Spartanburg. The concept was that filmmakers would create short films from short stories included in Expecting Goodness, a collection of short stories published by Hub City Press in Spartanburg. The project deadline was March 19th, so I decided to pass. There were plenty of excuses - there wasn't enough time, we have no money, blah, blah, blah. Sitting at home that night I couldn't stop thinking about the project so I took another look on the project website.

Big on my own personal list was to eventually adapt someone else’s written work. I have produced and directed many of my own short films, most written by myself. But, when I read through the stories in the book I had trouble finding a way I could interject my voice into them. I should have started reading at the beginning. “Lola’s Prayer” is the first story in Expecting Goodness and by the second page I was hooked. As I turned the pages and was introduced to the different characters I began casting immediately, picking actors I knew from Columbia. I had no choice. I had to make this story a movie.

I trudged through a first draft. It’s a beautifully written story, but it is mainly driven by Lola’s internal monologue. Narration is something I usually frown upon in films. The job of the filmmaker is to tell the story with pictures. So the hard part began–how do we show these things to the audience and remain faithful to the story. Four drafts later we have a script that is faithful to the story, but communicates Lola’s character and her interaction with her world in a cinematic way.

My needs were for a small, but talented, crew that could get us from location to location without sacrificing the vision that has been established for the film. As I went down the list of actors I wanted, each responded with a big “yes.” Lorrie Rivers plays Lola. She had been planning to travel back to Los Angeles, her current residence, but after she read the script, she pushed her travel plans back and we moved our shoot schedule up. The rest of the cast made adjustments to their schedules as well. The amount of support for this project has been overwhelming.

When I began making films many years ago, I could shamelessly ask people to work for free on indie projects. I can't do that anymore. Understanding and working with professionals has made it impossible for me to ask someone to give their time without some sort of compensation.

To raise funding for the project we began a Kickstarter campaign for Lola's Prayer. A budget of $4,200 was extablished. The money raised from this campaign will go to pay the cast and crew for their time, location costs, props, food and other expenses that can't be ignored. I am taking no money as part of the project. This is the first time I've turned to others to fund a project. It's hard. It's a big old gulp of your pride. Our first response has been overwhelming. The deadline for the Kickstarter campaign is March 17th and it is an all or nothing proposition. If we don't reach our goal, we don't get the funding.

This is a new experience. Every time we have begun production on any project there is a big twinge of excitement. This is why we do what we do. This is how we express ourselves. Being surrounded by a community, in Columbia, that supports those goals is a rare and humbling experience.

The cast of “Lola's Prayer”

Henry --                                 Alex Smith

Lola-                                        Lorrie Rivers

Mozzie-                                   Jocelyn Sanders

Bethany Ann-                        Kim Harne

Lola's Sister-                          Vicky Saye Henderson

Lola's Brother-in-law-          Steve Harley

Jed-                                         Bill Kealy

The Farmer-                          Tom Hall

The Farmer's Son-                Galen Hall


If you'd like to join with Wade and your fellow film lovers and supporters in Columbia, please click on the link below. Every little bit helps make this film a reality and we all appreciate the support so very much.


Kickstarter Link:


tumblr link:

For more information on Lola's Prayer, please feel free to contact Wade at the number or email address below.


Wade Sellers - Director





First Novel Prize -- A Guest Blog by Betsy Teter, Hub City Press, Spartanburg

With the deadline of the third South Carolina First Novel Prize now just two months away, it’s a great time to reflect on this literary experiment in our state and update the readers of Jasper about this initiative—the only one of its kind in the United States.


A decade ago Sara June Goldstein of the SC Arts Commission and I began to talk about how cool it would be to have a First Novel Prize in our state. We wanted to help launch emerging writers into the larger literary world and solidify South Carolina’s reputation as a state with unusually good opportunities for writers. Every time we ran into each other, one of us said, “We gotta find funding for that prize!”


We found our funding partner in 2007 when David Goble became South Carolina State Librarian and agreed to underwrite the prize. The first contest, which took place in 2008, drew more than 100 entries. The stacks of novels came to the SC Arts Commission office and were winnowed down by the MFA students at UNC Wilmington to a group of six finalists. We sent those manuscripts to novelist (and SC native) Percival Everett in Los Angeles, who selected a manuscript by Brian Ray, a Columbia writer who had just completed his MFA at the University of South Carolina. Brian’s book, Through the Pale Door, was released in 2009 and received many favorable reviews, including Atlanta magazine and Booklist. Brian did an extensive book tour, we sold out the hardback printing, and the book continues to be available as a paperback. It also received a gold medal as the best novel by an independent press in the Southeast.


The 2010 contest drew fewer entries (about 50), but the group of finalists was amazingly strong. Novelist Bret Lott chose Mercy Creek by Matt Matthews of Greenville. This coming-of-age book was a hit with readers and reviewers (Publishers Weekly called it “a first rate effort displaying skill, sensitivity and grace.”). The book has sold out two hardback editions and was released in paperback in January. Matt has been invited to the Virginia Festival of the Book, and has toured book stores and libraries across the state.

I tell you all this to let you know that winning the First Novel Prize is a big deal. There’s a $1,000 advance on royalties and Hub City Press works incredibly hard to get national notice and sales of the winning book. You get featured at the South Carolina Book Festival and in newspapers all over the state. And even if you don’t win, you might be published. This spring we are publishing one of the runner-up novels in the 2010 contest, The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone.


Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, the State Library was unable to continue to be our major funding partner this year. But the staff at the SC Arts Commission and at Hub City Press decided this project was too important to South Carolina and its writers to let go. While we continue to seek a stable funding partner, we are proceeding in 2012 with confidence, knowing that sales of the last two books have been strong. We know that one of those novels that will arrive at the SC Arts Commission office by the March 19 deadline not only will be a winner for the author, it will be a winner for Hub City Press, for the Arts Commission, and the entire state of South Carolina.


Details are here:


What have you got to lose?