April 2021
Our next board meeting is on Tuesday, April 13, 6-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Board meetings are held 6-7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted, and are open to any member in good standing. If you would like to attend a board meeting, contact: to receive an invitation.

  • President's Message
  • Upcoming Events
  • - our new communication platform
  • April General Meeting
  • Author Support Group
  • 2021 Poetry Anthology
  • Poetry Writing Contest
  • Homegrown Poetry
  • Redwood Writers Salon
  • Writing Exercise
  • CWC Literary Review
  • Member News & Events
  • What We're Reading
  • New Members
  • May Meeting Preview
  • Editor's Note

Mark your calendars for this month's upcoming events! Keep reading the newsletter for more details about each event.

April 3: Author Support Group

April 13: RW Board Meeting

April 15: Poetry Contest Deadline

April 15: CWC Lit Review Deadline

April 17: RW General Meeting with Phyllis Meshulam

April 24: RW Salon
NOTE: If you are reading this newsletter through your email, it may be clipped at the end. If you don't reach the editor's note, be sure to click "view entire message" at the bottom of this newsletter.
E-Mail Service
Welcome to!

If you are a member of Redwood Writers, you should have received an invitation to join our brand new community message platform, a program that replaces our Yahoo listserv. With, you will be able to communicate with other members, share news about your writing, keep up to date on club happenings, and stay connected with your fellow Redwood Writers members.

If you have not received an invitation, please contact Roger Lubeck at

Roger has created a video tutorial on how to use View it at on our YouTube Channel here.

A few things to note about

  • You can adjust the way you receive messages from in your email. Some like to receive an email for every message, but most prefer a daily digest so they only get one email a day for messages. (If you aren't sure how to do this, be sure to view our video tutorial!)

  • Best practices are to reply privately to most topics if the response isn't necessary to the whole club. (We also have a video tutorial on how to do this. View it here)

  • Over-promotion of your event or book could be considered spamming the group. One message is plenty for your topic. Thank you for being courteous!

  • Be patient as everyone learns this new system. It's easy to use, but there are definitely things that may seem unfamiliar at first.

We hope to see you on! If you have any questions or concerns, contact Roger Lubeck at
Saturday, April 17
1 - 2:30 p.m.
via ZOOM*
Cost is $5 for members and $10 for guests.
Writing Our Way Out of Crises
Phyllis Meshulam
Phyllis Meshulam
Phyllis Meshulam will discuss her history and techniques as a writer, as well as her approach to teaching with California Poets in the Schools for the last 21 years. She will share a few poems and a bit about the projects she is undertaking as Sonoma County Poet Laureate. One of these projects is to create a county-wide anthology. The themes will address our ongoing crises. Listeners will receive information about where to find prompts, and how to submit their work.
Land of My Father's War
Phyllis Meshulam is the current Poet Laureate of Sonoma County. She’s the author of five collections of poetry, most recently: Land of My Father’s War, winner of an Artists Embassy International Prize, 2019, published by Cherry Grove Collections. Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States, said of Meshulam’s book, an “urgency of spirit has emerged eloquently here in these poems of perception and even prophecy….”
Meshulam’s work has appeared in literary magazines from Ars Medica to Teachers & Writers. Meshulam has taught with California Poets in the Schools for more than 20 years and in settings from 2nd grade classrooms to juvenile hall.
She co-ordinated Sonoma County’s Poetry Out Loud, a nationwide high school recitation program, for 13 years. She also edited CalPoets’ Poetry Crossing, which Poetry Flash called “a joyful collection of lessons and poems.” She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her BA from Pomona College. She also has her bilingual certificate of competence from the state of California.
April's General Meeting Agenda
  • Zoom meeting room opens at 12:45 p.m. for open conversation
  • Meeting starts at 1 p.m.
  • Featured speaker, Phyllis Meshulam
  • Chair announcements
  • Member announcements
  • Adjourn at 2:30 p.m.
  • Mingle on Zoom until 3 pm.
*WHAT IS ZOOM? It's the most popular online platform for virtual presentations, meetings, get-togethers, etc. Just go to and download the app on your phone, iPad, or computer (camera required to participate). If you can't join us live, you will be able to download the presentation for viewing/sharing at your leisure (and don't we have plenty of that!).
Please join us on April 3 at 3 p.m. to chat about writing, listen to the challenges of others, and share resources. All levels of writers can benefit from participating. Published authors enjoy this group as well as beginning writers. This is a forum where you pick the topics and questions to be discussed. Discuss the challenges of writing fiction, memoir, or nonfiction. Find new ways to handle rejection, writers' block, or to start a critique group.
The Author Support Group's purposes are to help those who want assistance getting unstuck, want new resources, or need guidance in choosing options. 
  • Want to handle rejection better?
  • Want to form a writing partnership?
  • Need to find Beta readers for your WIP?
  • Need to further your book marketing efforts?
  • Do you want to understand the difference between publishing traditionally, e-publishing, Print on Demand Technology (POD), and self-publishing?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Redwood Writers Author Support Group will be meeting on Zoom. This group is facilitated by Deborah Taylor-French.
Deborah Taylor-French
Deborah Taylor-French writes poetry, mystery, and nonfiction. She released her first novel, Red Sky at Night: Dog Leader Mysteries, in 2018. She blogs to save dogs’ lives and dog lovers’ sanity at Dog Leader Find her poetry in the California Quarterly, Vintage Voices: Stolen Light, and Phoenix: Out of Silence ... and then. As Redwood Writers’ Author Support Facilitator, Deborah volunteers as a writer helping writers.
We are proud to announce the release of Beyond Distance, our 2021 Poetry Anthology, which is now available for purchase at Amazon. This collection contains poems expressing the rich and varied aspects of life in Sonoma County, all penned by members of Redwood Writers. In this volume you will find poems that deal with the full range of experiences we have all had during this unimaginable year. Poetry is the common factor in providing us and our readers with both insight and beauty as we chronicle our lives.

We would love to extend a special thank you to our cover artist, Christine MacDonald, whose moving painting perfectly enhanced the poems in this year's anthology.

Our sincere gratitude goes to the poetry anthology's faithful editors, Les Bernstein and Fran Claggett-Holland. These two fabulous women have spearheaded the poetry anthology for the past several years, and their tireless dedication has been a beacon for every poet who's been published in our anthology.

Virtual Launch Party for Beyond Distance
May 16, 2021
Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Editors Fran Claggett-Holland and Les Bernstein invite you to join them in launching the new poetry anthology. Share in the fun and hear wonderful poetry!

Registration opens April 15, and all registrants will receive a Zoom link to attend.
April is National Poetry Month, so pen your rhythm and rhyme! The RW Poetry Contest is underway! Please view the RW Website for submission rules, details and prizes! You may submit up to three poems by April 15th at 9 p.m. Winners will be announced at May's General Meeting.

Contest open to Redwood Writers members and non-members
Fee: $10 for RW members; $15 for non-members


Best of luck!

Your Poetry Contest Co-Chairs,
Tina Riddle Deason
Linda Loveland Reid

Please submit poems to: Submission guidelines: single-spaced, Times or Times New Roman, 12 point font, no all caps, please. Poems are reviewed by a team of poets. We will acknowledge receipt of your work, and let you know if your poem is going to be included, or if we are requesting minor edits prior to inclusion.
"Nesting Dolls" is from Joan Goodreau's forthcoming book, Where to Next? which is a sequel to Another Secret Shared and Other Poems. Her poems, articles, and stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, periodicals and reviews in North America. A native Californian, Joan has lived in England and Canada and now resides in Chico, California.
Nesting Dolls
generational nesting,
rests inside each other
until we open the smallest one
and begin again.
I become the mother of my mother,
the daughter of my daughter.
The wheel reverses—
adult shrinks to child
blossom wilts to seed
moth shrivels to chrysalis.
Babushka holds the egg
her granddaughter paints,
both careful not to
break the shell that
holds the life inside.

Joan Goodreau

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 24
1 - 2:30 p.m. via Zoom
"Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil."
            - Bishop Reginald Heber
We are inviting 15 RW members to read from their works in progress or published pieces (first 15 to register read). We also welcome all listeners.

Salon is a good place to practice your reading skills, try out the sound of a new piece, or just enjoy the company and talents of your fellow writers. Come join us!
Upcoming 2021 Salon dates
Saturday – 1-2:30 p.m.

  • April 24
  • June 26
  • August 28
  • October 23
  • December 11
Each month, the Redwood Writer will feature an exercise to help inspire your writing. This can be an exercise you do on your own, or you can send them to for possible publication in the newsletter.
  • First impressions can be misleading
  • Talk less, listen more 
  • Never burn a bridge
  • Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely
  • Tolerance is the key to a long relationship or marriage

These statements are examples of lessons in life. They could also serve as the basis for a theme for a short story, novel, or film.

As a writer it is important to recognize and focus on the theme(s) in your stories. Some writers start with a theme, for others, they start with a character or plot and the theme develops. Either way, recognizing themes in stories is an important skill. Common literary themes are good vs. evil, love, friendship, endeavor, wealth, betrayal, revenge, and redemption. To hone your skills, in the next few movies or television shows you watch, write down the theme(s).


In this exercise, write down three life lessons you have learned. Then express the broader theme in that lesson. Finally select one theme and write a 300-word flash fiction using that lesson and theme.

Send your flash fiction to One or more will be selected for publication in the newsletter.
This is your final reminder to submit your writing to this year's CWC Literary Review is accepting submissions for their 2021 issue. The deadline to submit is April 15, 2021.

This year's submission categories are:
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Memoir
  • Essay
  • Poetry
  • Humor

For all the guidelines and submission information, click the link below.
If you have news to share about your writing, an award, an appearance, or other writing-related news, send a 100-word or less announcement to Photos encouraged. Deadline for consideration in next month’s newsletter is the 15th of this month.
Questions for Members

  • How many members of Redwood Writers have sold stories to the anthology, Chicken Soup for the Soul?

  • Has anyone from the Redwood Writers read their story on NPR's "The Moth Radio Hour?"

  • Do you know anything about "Author's Den?"

John J. Lesjack is curious if anyone has experience with any of these platforms. If you do, please email him at
Recently Released: My Year on the Road by Kim McGrath

The Tubbs Fire destroyed our doctor's house, but not ours. We rented our home to his family and traveled for thirteen months. This is our account of the mistakes, the joys, the troubles, the lessons, and the fun we had until the Camp Fire brought us home. One of the best years of our lives, rooted in one disaster and ended by another. Please join us on the road.

Find it on Amazon and other booksellers
Free, Ongoing Creative Writing Classes
Offered by SRJC via Zoom

Created especially for those age 50+, but open to all adults who live in California. On-going registration. No fee. Come for all, or some sessions. Spring semester continues through May 28. The college also offers memoir and poetry classes.
Contact instructor Stacey Dennick for more info:
Writers Forum

Free online events through Zoom
Click on “Writers Forum”
April 8, 6:30-8 p.m.
How To Navigate Research
Iris Jamahl Dunkle will speak about what it means to do archival work as a way to find inspiration. Learn how to navigate everything from local collections to in order to dig up the stories of your characters, or subjects. In addition, she'll lead us in a writing prompt. Have a pen and paper or writing device nearby.
Judy Baker
April 24, 10-11:30 a.m.
Mindful Book Marketing
Judy Baker will share where to begin, how to gain clarity about your message, who you are, and why your message matters. Discover daily practices to contribute to your wellbeing, mental and emotional fitness, and improve your book marketing effectiveness
CWC Marin
Awaken the Senses
with Eden Bradley

Sunday, April 25, 2-4 pm.
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Eden Bradley has created Awaken the Senses for Writers. In this course you’ll learn to use the 5 senses to wake up your manuscripts, deepen character development and draw your readers into each scene with compelling sensory details. In this hands-on workshop Eden will address how to add dimension with scent, enliven scenes with sound, show depth with touch, bring your story to life with sight and create dynamic moments with taste. This course is designed for both newer writers and those with more experience under their belts. Learn to tune into the world around you to enhance your writing—and your life!

You’ll be given a list of sensory supplies to gather prior to the workshop, as well as a gorgeous downloadable workbook with exercises and prompts so you can continue to build your skill set even after the workshop is over.
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Eden Bradley has written erotic romance for Berkley, Bantam, Harlequin, Samhain Publishing and Black Lace Books, as well as indie publishing. Her work has been translated into twelve languages.

Eden also works as a sex educator. She speaks on kink psychology, safety and practice, as well as sex positive culture for women. She also offers a series of writing craft courses. Eden lives in Northern California with her dog in a little house under the redwood trees.

You can visit her online at
CWC NorCal Calendar

Because of social distancing, most events are now held virtually. This presents a unique opportunity to attend events, workshops, and meetings held by other CWC branches that would have been difficult to attend in person. To keep up to date with upcoming events, be sure to check the CWC NorCal calendar at the button below.
Find your perfect critique group! Marie Judson is pairing members with other writers of the same or similar genres, and will also help established groups expand their membership. If you would like to find a critique group, or would like to find more members for your group, please contact Marie at
We're not just writers, we're readers, too! Have you read a book you think others should read? Send your 100-word book review and a photo of the book to the editor at for possible publication in the newsletter.

Note: We welcome reviews about your fellow Redwood Writers' books!
The Darkness, by Robbi Sommers Bryant

I have finished reading Robbi Sommers Bryant's latest release, The Darkness. This thriller has woke the little voice in my head that asks, "Are people who they say they are?" My answer is that I don't know. Sleeping with the lights on, doors locked. Gripping thriller!

Tina Deason
Copy Boy, by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

I am currently reading Shelley Blanton-Stroud's novel, Copy Boy. Jane Hopper is in my head throughout the day. . . I can't let her go. I am rooting for her whilst appreciating San Francisco's history. . . and tension is mounting! Wow! What a fun and endearing tribute to the real-life, grit-filled characters we meet each day.

Tina Deason
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders

No modern-day literary light shines brighter than novelist, short story writer and creative writing teacher George Saunders. And, he has seriously burnished his reputation with his brilliant new book, “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading and Life.” However, it is Saunders himself who gives the master class. Using seven stories by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Turgenev and Gogol, Saunders dissects, illuminates and analyses to show us writers (and readers) exactly what qualities have made these stories among the best ever written.

Tommie Whitener
Redwood Writers extends a warm welcome to our newest members! Since we can't meet in person, we're sharing a little about each new member here in our newsletter. Be sure to say hello at our next general meeting!
Since the aliens in some of my books are always the good guys, my wife frequently accuses me of being from another planet, but I categorically deny it.
Richard Boyd is a retired physics professor, having taught and done basic research in astrophysics most of his life. In the past decade he has written novels on a variety of topics in which he has a passionate interest, such as civility, artificial intelligence, radiofrequency radiation, aliens, campus sexual relationships, and dogs.
Heidi Kuhn
Memoir: Writing the Call to Action
Online via zoom on May 15
This month's newsletter is absolutely packed with wonderful information and writing news! I'm especially excited about, which will make it easier for us to communicate with each other. If you haven't signed up for this platform yet, I encourage you to do so. Information on how to connect is near the top of this newsletter. I hope to see you on the boards!

Also near the top of the newsletter is a list of everything you can find in the newsletter. I realized that some people who receive this newsletter through Gmail may not see the whole message, since Gmail cuts it off. If you've reached this message, that isn't you. If this is your first time seeing this message, I'm so happy you made it! Welcome!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this newsletter. About a year ago, I agreed to edit this newsletter in the interim while we searched for our next editor. And then I discovered how much fun this is to put together. Being the newsletter editor and our social media manager has been a very rewarding way to give back to the club and get to know all of you.

Are you looking for ways to be more connected with the club, too? Volunteering is a wonderful way to do this. We are always looking for more help to make this club even better, and would love to have you be a part of it. From editing our next anthology to leading a committee, we are a club of writers helping writers and would love to have you as part of the team. Contact any board member for more information on how to serve!

I hope you have a wonderful month. Much love to you all!

Crissi Langwell
Redwood Writer Editor
Want to be a part of the newsletter? Here's the cheat sheet to the different sections of this newsletter and the word count requirements:

  • Writers Helping Writers - 300 words or less
  • Other Articles or In Memoriam - 300 words or less
  • Members News - 100 words or less
  • What We're Reading - 100 words or less
  • Homegrown Poetry - short poems work best

Please do your best to adhere to word count limits! Send your articles and news by the 15th of the month to the newsletter editor at Send your poems by the 10th of the month to the poetry editor at Submission guidelines may apply, read section for requirements.
If you're interested in advertising in the Redwood Writer newsletter, contact the editor at for submission requirements and guidelines.
EDITOR: Crissi Langwell
Our mailing address is:
The Redwood Writer
P.O. Box 4687
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Redwood Writers is a branch of the California Writers Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.