President's Message
April, 2018 

The author of Water for Elephants had to lock herself in a closet for six months to block out distractions and write her manuscript. Hemingway wrote in cafes and bars. Victorian writers favored lonely garrets.

My new year's resolution was to get organized, learn new tools, and write and edit more efficiently and creatively in an inviting and well-put-together space. Sounds good, right? This year I wanted to make it more than a dream made of paper fluff that would all pile up again, causing vague feelings of shame every time I walked into the room. My office is off our kitchen so there's no hiding it! I had reached my limit.

I sorted through seven years' worth of filing, packed ten years' worth of manuscript drafts of my novel into a large box to go through later; consolidated twelve years' worth of our kids' school and sports team photo packages; found an un-cashed $100 prize check from the 2016 San Mateo County Fair literary contest, a thank-you note I thought I'd never gotten, and some other thank-you notes I'd written but never mailed.

With a stylist friend to help me re-imagine the space and put it all together in a new way, I unpacked knick-knacks and pictures and repurposed them for actual decorations on my new shelves and walls. A pair of comfy chairs and a rug completed my new seating area. I work looking at a wall of artwork with mirrors that reflect the light from the windows. I'm ready to do a lot of creative writing and freelance editing work in my clean and beautiful and efficient space. 

Even if you're not up for an office refresh; if you've entered the Literary Contests at the San Mateo County Fair (deadline April 2nd!), your creative "artwork" will decorate the walls of the Literary Stage from June 9-17. 

For more information about how you can get involved and make a difference - volunteering, onstage, doing readings, as well as attending all kinds of great events at the stage, contact Laurel Anne Hill, Stage Manager, at 

You can also drop by a "Shut Up & Write!" session or a San Carlos Library "Writers Helping Writers" workshop for more writing time in lovely spaces!

Signing off from my new office,

Lisa Meltzer Penn
President, CWC San Francisco Peninsula Branch
April 2018 Highlights:
  1. President's Message
  2. April 21, 2018 Speaker - Devi Laskar "Word Play and Forms in Poetry"
  3. San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts
  4. This Life - Errant Thoughts - Poem by Penelope Ann Cole
  5. Classified Ads - Volunteer Opportunities

Speaker: Devi Laskar
Topic: Word Play and Forms in Poetry

Rogue sonnets, pantoums, and contrapuntal poems... oh my! 

Poet Devi Laskar will look at poetic form and do a generative exercise using the open casket version of Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative poetry game. Poets and non-poets alike will find new and surprising fun with words in this lively presentation.

Devi S. Laskar's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming from such journals as the The Atlanta Review, Carve, Dogwood, Fairy Tale Review and The Raleigh Review, which nominated her for Best New Poets 2016. Her second chapbook, "Anastasia Maps," was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2018. She lives in California.

Date: April 21, 2018 Time: 10:00 a.m.
Where: The Sequoia Yacht Club 441 Seaport Ct, Redwood City, CA 94063
CWC SF Peninsula Calendar

Every Tuesday,  9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Shut Up & Write
As the name implies, we sit quietly and write. If you'd like to participate, join  Shut Up & Write Silicon Valley on Meetup to RSVP (look for Shut Up & Write/CWC SF Peninsula).
Penelope's Coffee & Tea

Saturday, April 21, 2018
Speaker: Devi Laskar
Topic: Word Play and Forms in Poetry

Think Tank, April 21 , 2018
Moderator: Tim Flood
Topic: Plot backward and write forward.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
 "Writers Helping Writers"
San Carlos Public Library,
Moderator: Mary Knippel
The Pen's in Your Hand - Unleash Your Story Worth Writing

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Speaker: Diane Holcomb
Topic: Self-Publishing

Sunday, June 3, 2018
CWC Authors Day
Barnes and Noble Bookstore

Open Mic is going on a short hiatus and restarting in  June at the San Carlos Library the first Wednesday evening of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. We are grateful to Reach & Teach for hosting us the last several years!

MEETING WRAP-UP  March, 2018
Speaker: Mike Larsen
Taking the Risk Out of Writing: Dealing Yourself the Five Cards You Need for a Winning Hand  

Michael Larsen kept meeting attendees on their toes for an hour with his wide-ranging presentation. He packed a day's worth of information on writing, marketing, and publishing in to 60 minutes enlivened with jokes, tips, and one-liners. Some standouts:
  • If you've published a book, bring it with you everywhere you go and display it under your arm
  • Write what you love
  • Technology breeds "frenemies" -- Amazon is both your friend and enemy as an author
  • Cold-calling agents proves you're not ready to have an agent
  • Find a balance between writing for yourself and writing for money
  • Your book will be ready for the world before the world is ready for your book
  • Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to sell a book (think Goodreads)
  • Books are like icebergs: 10% writing (visible) and 90% promotion (under the surface)
  • It takes five books to build a career as an author

If you're hungry for more, you can  download the full set of handouts

Meeting Survey
If you'd like to give feedback on this or any other speaker, or give suggestions for future speakers, please fill out our quick survey.

Audrey Kalman 650-303-2405
Think Tank 

After our regular meeting, all those interested meet for an opportunity to discuss a different writing-related issue. The Think Tank is open to all members, guests and newcomers.  

April 21, 2018 Think Tank: Tim Flood - Plot backward and Write forward.  Working backward through your plot from end to beginning, helps you write your story from start to finish with greater certainty and confidence. Why? Because you've taken the time to work out many of the stumbling blocks that otherwise can get in the way of smooth writing.

Tim will begin with a brief presentation explaining the process and using an example. This will include a brief discussion. Then participants will try it out themselves using a brief exercise. 

We'll conclude with a general discussion of the perceived value of the approach. Attendees will learn an interesting technique for making stories with complex plots a bit easier to write. 

We are always on the lookout for Think Tank moderators. You don't have to be an expert to lead a fun and informative discussion.  Be sure to contact Geri with your questions and/or ideas at .

Geri Spieler


Literary artists invited to enter sanctioned show at San Mateo County Fair

Amateur and professional literarartistare invited to compete at the San Mateo CountFair slated for June.
L iterarartists including bloggers, poets,short-story writers, lyric songwriters, podcast and audio-book writers are invited to enter their works at the San Mateo CountFair.The contests are open to anyone, regardless of residence, but the deadline to enter is April 2nd before midnight. Contestants must be 16 years and olde(younger literarartists can participate in the youth exhibits division).

Contest rules and online entry are available at
Through a partnership between the San Francisco Peninsula Writers and the San Mateo County Fair, the literarentries will be showcased in the fair'Fine Arts Galleria,an 18,000 square-foot exhibit area, complete with a
stagand seating for 125 guests.
F or over a decade, the fair and the San Francisco Peninsula Writers have joined together to highlight the literararts during the fair's annual run. The LiterarStage features workshops, panels, author presentations, one-act plays, interviews, annuaauthor day book sales, poetry readings, musical groups plus individual song and dance performances.

" The result of this collaboration is  that our l i te ra r a rts p r o gr a m has more than doub l e d ov e r the  y e a rs , "sh a re d D a na  S toeh r , CEO  of the  S a n M a teo Coun t y Ev e nt C e nter a nd  Fa ir.
I n 2017, the fair's literararts program becaman officiaCalifornia Writers Club sanctioned show. A sanctioned show sets a  standard for more comprehensive contest guidelines and regulates the continuitof qualified judges, among other benefits.
Other contest divisions include agriculture, creative home arts, culinary, fine arts, floral arts, gardens and landscape, youth exhibits, youth livestock, horses and STEA( science, technology, engineering, art and math) . The contest entry deadline for these specific divisions(all but literary arts) is May 8th.

Complete details about the fair's contests and online entrcan be found at

Bardi Rosman Koodrin and Laurel Anne Hill

Literary Arts Judges Needed

Are you a discriminating reader? Do you have a particular genre of interest? Consider being a judge for the San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest. We are looking for judges who can be objective and can apply the judging criteria fairly. (Note that you may not judge any category that you've entered.) The contest deadline is early April so you need to be available during April for judging. Please  fill out this form   if you're interested.

"Writers Helping Writers"
Monthly Member-Led Community Writers Groups

Wednesday, April 18, 2018  7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 

Moderator: Mary Knippel
The Pen's in Your Hand - Unleash Your Story Worth Writing

Participants will:
  • Discover how their life experiences are the foundation for their unique story...the story the world is waiting to hear.
  • Learn fun, fast and effective tips and techniques to produce rich content.
  • Create their personal empowerment strategy to achieve their writing goals.

Member News

April is National Poetry Month and our members are participating in Events all over the Bay Area:
Maurine Killough  is honored to be invited to read with two very respected and talented poets: John Rowe, President of the Bay Area Poets Coalition and poet Jan Dederick on Wednesday, April 4th in Alameda.

She and her husband, Daniel, will present a few musical poetry pieces and songs written from poetry on  Wednesday,  April 4, 2018 7 to 9 p.m.
Open mic will follow from 8 to 9 p.m. so bring whatever you want to read!

Jeannine Gerkman will be reading her poetry at QD Gallery in San Mateo and invites poets and others who like poetry and art to join her. This lovely store is lined with original art and other unique items, so come and be inspired. Light refreshments will be served. 

QD Gallery (located downstairs near Macy's at the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo) will be hosting the first of a series of poetry readings on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

The Main Gallery has relented and agreed that the " Not Yet Dead Poet Society" can continue as before, so  Patrick Daly and Charlotte are back in business. Their April meeting will be on the second Wednesday as usual,  April 11, 2018 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. He will send out a reminder nearer the time. 

Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support and constructive suggestions. 

Tina Gibson organized the Friends of Palo Alto Library's 80th Anniversary, Local Authors Event for  Saturday, April 21, 2018 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
at Mitchell Park Community Center, Adobe Room

Our very own Lisa Meltzer Penn and Dave Stromm along with a host of other wonderful authors and poets are on the program and poster. It's an event you won't want to miss!

Congratulations on your Literary Successes!

This Life - Errant Thoughts © 
by Penelope Anne Cole

This little life.  

                                  This larger life.      
                                                This lowly life..

                              This longer life.

This lonesome life.

                               This lonely life.

                                                       This laughing life.

                                           This laughable life.     

This lazy life.  

                                This lowly life.

                                                  This legal life.

                                     This libelous life.

This loathsome life.    

                                     This lawless life.

                                                          This ludicrous life.

                                       This likeable life.

This luscious life.

                                      This loving life.

                                                          This laudable life.

                                                This literary life.     
Lordy, this life!

Authors Day at Barnes & Noble

CWC will hold an Authors Day at Barnes and Noble Bookstore at Hillsdale Shopping Center on Sunday, June 3, 2018

Our members will staff a booth at the front of the store all day and stage readings of their works periodically. 

Authors can sell their books if they are available for order by B&N through Ingram. Any member can sit at the front table and tell customers about our club.

If you'd like to participate, please email Bill Baynes at
Branch Bylaws Amendment

Please click here to read the amended branch bylaws. It had been a decade since they were updated, so it was time! The membership approved them at the March, 2018 meeting. 
Member Resources

Check out the updated  Writers' Corner  page on the SF Peninsula CWC website, where you'll find a list of resources to help you write and get published. Listings include publications and small presses founded or edited by branch members, literary magazines where members' work is published, local writing conferences and contests, and local writing organizations. 

There is a list of branch members who provide writing-related services for a fee: editing, coaching, and more.  

Classified Ads

Look below for Writer's Conferences, Volunteer Opportunities and Upcoming Events. Let's promote our club and boost your career. 

Check them out!

Volunteer Positions with SF PENINSULA Branch

Two new positions have opened up in the Branch and we would like you to consider if either of these positions work for you and your expertise:

The first role is Website Manager. Our website is a Word Press site and what is needed is a regular updating of material as it changes from month to month. If you have a Word Press site or are familiar with this type of site and have some extra time to function as our lead website manager, please contact Bill Baynes:

The second role is Open Mic Moderator. We will be moving the venue from Reach & Teach in San Mateo, to the San Carlos Library shortly, as we feel that the Library offers more space within the library for participants and more parking for those who drive. Please contact Lisa Meltzer Penn if you are interested. Her email address is: Lisa Meltzer Penn:
Redwood Writers Conference

On April 21st our sister branch in Santa Rosa is putting on its 10th writers conference: 
2018 Redwood Writers Conference

For details about the conference and registering, click here:
(Note that April 21st falls on the 3rd Saturday of the month and therefore conflicts with our branch's monthly meeting.)

Bay Area Book Festival,  Saturday and Sunday,  April 28 - 29, 2018 -  Downtown Berkeley, California

The NorCal Board has provided a booth at which CWC members are invited to volunteer to inform the public about the California Writers Club and to invite prospective writers to join a Club near them which  supports writers in California.
We need volunteers to work the booth in the following WHITE FIELD shifts (not xxxxx'd):
2 PM - 4PM
4PM - 6PM
NOON - 2
2 PM - 4PM
4PM - 6PM
6 PM - 7 PM
A total of 14 volunteer would be great. Additional volunteers can be used. If anyone wants to take two contiguous or non-contiguous shifts, that is also fine.
Remember, the primary purpose of our appearance is to represent the Club to the public. In the past we have also been allowed to display and talk about our books as a SECONDARY presentation. Exhibitors off duty can attend any of the open-to-the-public presentations and any paid-admission presentations they have purchased (please see the festival schedule).
The Festival tells us, "Tens of thousands of people of all ages attend the festival. According to a 2016 study led by UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, festival-goers come not only from the East Bay but from San Francisco, Marin, the South Bay, and elsewhere in the state and nation. They tend to be highly educated and have disposable income. Nearly 46% of attendees cited "to shop for books and other items" as their top reason for visiting." Ergo, members of Berkeley, Mt. Diablo, Tri-Valley, SF Peninsula, Marin , South Bay and Fremont branches might be most interested.
This is an opportunity to serve your Club, to involve yourself in a great literary event, and to promote your own careers as writers. Please contact as soon as possible to arrange an appropriate shift at our booth.

Thank you, 

Carole Bumpus, NorCal Group Chair, California Writers Club
Member Discounts

Family Tree Magazine (for genealogical writers and researchers) has offered CWC members $3 off a one-year subscription (seven issues). Price would be $24 vs. the $27 "standard intro price." California Writer's Club members can receive a discounted Family Tree Magazine sub rate for seven issues for $24.00. When ordering by phone (888-403-9002) club members should mention source key: 87DCWC. Expiration on this agreement is  6/30/18.
Critique Groups

SAN MATEO: Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Peninsula Regent, 1 Baldwin Avenue, San Mateo, rear of the large meeting room opposite the elevator. Bring at least 5 copies of your no-longer-than-6-page manuscript to hand out. For more info, contact Karen Hartley at or (408) 315-0271.

By popular demand, our branch is helping to facilitate the formation of critique groups, along with distributing information about best practices in running a group.

If you are a member looking to join a critique group, add to your current one, or you just want to try something new; fill out this form to get more information about upcoming events.  CWC SF Peninsula Critique Groups
If you signed up on an earlier list, please sign up again here, so we have everything together with complete information.



Executive Board:
President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Vice President: Audrey Kalman
Secretary: Jean Morrow
Treasurer: Pratibha Kelapure        
Appointed Board Positions:
State Board & NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chair: Tim Flood
Publicity Chair: Bill Baynes 
Newsletter Editor: Jeannine Gerkman 
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Bardi Rosman Koodrin 
Fault Zone Editor-in-C hief: Laurel Anne Hill  
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President & Volunteer Coordinator: Carole Bumpus
Web Manager: Pratibha Kelapure
Hospitality Co-Chairs: Geri Spieler and Eve Visconti
Think Tank: Geri Spieler  
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis
Member-at-Large: Bette Houtchens

Guidelines for Submitting Articles to This Newsletter  
  Want to see your article or poem published here?
Please Note: The submission deadline has been changed to the 23rd of each month. 

Keep in Mind:
  • You must be a  current member  of the club.
  • Your article must be  related to writing.
  • Your piece shall not exceed 350 words.
Format Requirements:
  • Use Word, .pdf, or write within the body of the email.
  • One space (not two) at the end of sentences.
  • Edit and proofread carefully before sending. If accepted, your article will be printed as submitted.
       Send your submissions to:  
CWC SF Peninsula   |    Email    |    Website