Steve Pantazis, from Oceanside, CA was honored Sunday night, April 12, at the 31st Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement awards at the prestigious Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
The annual event celebrated the winners in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests www.writersofthefuture.com before a packed hall of over 1,000 guests and hundreds more from around the world who were logged on to watch the event as it streamed live. The night’s keynote speaker was Mr. William Pomerantz, Vice President Special Projects Virgin Galactic, who after talking about the dreams as a youth of working in a spaceship factory, and then later in life being told that his dreams were impossible stated, “I owe a huge debt to you and to those who have come before you. It was through science fiction that I learned that optimism, and through science fiction that I reclaimed it rather than falling victim to that jaded skepticism of our modern world.” He concluded by congratulating all the evening’s Contest winners.
Steve was one of the twelve writer winners making it further than some several thousand others who entered the international competition, where he saw his story published in the bestselling Science Fiction anthology series – L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 31 – now available online at Amazon.com, Kobo.com and BN.com and soon to be available in print wherever books are sold.
Accepting his award at the evening’s ceremony, Steve made a special tribute to his late father:
“My father and I, we were working together when I was younger. We had a remodeling business. And he always asked me, ‘Son, what do you want to do with you life?’ And I said, ‘I want to be a writer.’ And then he’s like, ‘Well, what do you really want to do with your life?’ And I said, ‘I want to be a writer.’
“Years later, he saw that I started becoming serious and involved and actually putting my work out there, entering this contest, back when it was the 25th anniversary at the [Hollywood] Roosevelt, and all the six years since. So my father actually really started to root for me. He said, ‘Son, I believe in you. I want you to do something that makes you happy.’
“So I am eternally grateful for my father. He passed away in February from cancer. But beforehand, I did get a chance to tell him about the contest win. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as happy in my life as that!”
Steve knew he wanted to be a writer after purchasing The Hobbit with his allowance money when he was eight. A lover of all things Tolkien, he emulated the author in a number of stories throughout his young adult years. He got the opportunity to pay homage to his hero by penning a spoof on a rejection letter to the author, published in the Writer’s Digest November–December 2013 issue.
When he is not dabbling with words, Steve runs a small software firm in San Diego. He has written four novels, the latest set in the same universe as his Contest-winning short story, “Switch.” He believes this is a stepping stone toward getting his sci-fi novel, Godnet, published.
With writers and illustrators coming from all walks of life, the winners attended a week long workshop taught by contest judges —including New York Times bestselling authors David Farland (Runelord series) and Kevin J. Anderson (Dune series), World Fantasy Award winner Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides, adapted as the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean film), multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Orson Scott Card (Enders Game), multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Robert J. Sawyer (Flash Forward and The WWW Trilogy), Hugo and Nebula award winning author Larry Niven (the Ringworld series), and internationally acclaimed artists, Cliff Nielsen (cover artist for Chronicles of Narnia), Dave Dorman (Star Wars character designs) and Larry Elmore (Dungeons & Dragons art design)—each one an experienced professional in the field providing sound advice based on hard-won experience.
Each writing and illustrating contest winner was presented their trophy by contest judges at the ceremony and combined cash prizes and royalties of over $30,000, and their story with artwork published in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Volume 31.
Asked what was the highlight of the week of activities, Steve stated, “Going to the book press and actually holding the work and seeing my name in there, seeing my illustrator’s artwork in there. To see it come together in a tangible form—not an e-book, but an actual hard copy. I think that was probably the pinnacle.”
The Writers of the Future writing contest www.writersofthefuture.com was initiated by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers 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 intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 368 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 838 novels and nearly 4,000 short stories. They have produced 27 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.
The 298 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 4,500 illustrations, 356 comic books, graced 594 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 36 TV shows and 46 major movies.
For more information and to see the awards ceremony online, go to www.writersofthefuture.com