San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
Happy Springtime! In Basque, I would wish you "Udaburi"; in Gaelic, "Earrach"; in Turkish, "Ilkbahar"--but in more than six countries' languages, such as Catalan, Extremaduran, Galician, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, I wish you simply, "Primavera." And did you know that in Iran, the Persians celebrate Nowruz, their traditional festival of spring, which is also the start of their New Year, which begins at the exact moment of the vernal equinox. Now that's really taking it seriously! Especially if there is a time change of some sort--a fall back, spring forward type of conundrum to deal with. But, there must be food involved and no time to waste.
To me, wishing you Happy Springtime is not just an idle wish to end the winter blues, but a celebration of breaking out into the world with a festival of ideas, recipes, songs, and poetry. Wouldn't the start to a new book begin here, as well?
As you can tell, I spend hours writing about peoples, their traditions, their foods, their special cultures as a way of better understanding my own. (And believe me, we are a fickle lot and need some understanding.) But most of all, I find that what most inspires us to rejoice, dance, and kick up our heels is the lengthening of days and the fullness of the sun! Turn those Californian pale faces to that warming glow!
This month of April, we have a lot to celebrate as we are starting some new programs--check out the Newcomers Orientation and Wine Gathering. This is open to all new members over the past year, but if you just want to better connect with our members, come join us. See the flyer in this newsletter and sign up.
We are also offering you more opportunities to become published through the completion of our Fault Zone anthology, our Literary Stage efforts at the San Mateo County Fair (see those special contests and events to enter), another possibility to sell your books at Barnes & Noble (Hillsdale), plus we are gearing up for another Bay Area Book Fest in early June.
And we are offering more opportunities for you to join in more fully with the rest of your San Francisco Peninsula CWC colleagues. We will be having elections soon. So take a look at the positions and roles for the Executive Board and for the Board of Directors. We are also thinking of adding new positions. What do you think of having a Salon Chair, Contest Coordinator, Author Launch Leader, Conference Chair, Branch Outreach Coordinator, or Critique Group Leader? Some branches already have these positions, plus groups for plays and poetry readings. We have so many options, my head is swirling!! Be sure to join in and become more a part of our growing and energetic club!
--Carole Bumpus, SF Peninsula Branch President
April 15, 2017
Guest Speaker: Ransom Stephens
Get Inside Your Reader's Brain:
The Neuroscience of How to Make Readers Laugh and Cry
Neuroscience is like looking under the hood to see how things work. When you know how readers process your writing you can figure out what grabs them, what bores them, and why. In this presentation, physicist and novelist Ransom Stephens investigates how to write in ways that administer dopamine when you want readers happy and withhold it when you want readers sad. We'll explore the roots of what people like and why bestsellers aren't always critical favorites. Art is subjective, but our subjectivity has a lot in common.
Come find out more about:
- The truth about creativity in the left and right hemispheres of your brain
- Putting your reader's brain to work
- The intimate relationship between creator and beholder
- Mirroring and a reader's brain on lit
- Percolating plot points above and below conscious awareness
- Applying the rules of neuroaesthetics to literature
- Balancing what to write and what to let the reader figure out
- Puzzles, mysteries, showing vs. telling, and the power of withheld information
Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., is a scientist, science writer, and novelist. He's written hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from neuroscience to quantum physics to parenting teenagers. In his first novel, The God Patent (Numina Press 2009, 47North 2013), a troubled father is caught in the science-religion culture war and in his second, The Sensory Deception (47North, 2013), scientists and venture capitalists use the relationship between the senses and the mind to give people the experiences of endangered animals. His first nonfiction book, The Left Brain Speaks but the Right Brain Laughs (Viva Editions, 2016), is an irreverent and accurate look at neuroscience for a lay audience with emphasis on creativity in art and science. Ransom has given thousands of speeches across the US, Europe, and Asia and has developed a reputation for making complex topics accessible and funny.
Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
California Writers Club
FREE to first-timers. $10 members. $15 nonmembers.
$10 students with ID.
CWC SF Peninsula Calendar
10 a.m. Author and Scientist,
Ransom Stephens presents:
Get Inside Your Reader's Brain: The Neuroscience of How to Make Readers Laugh and Cry
Saturday, April 15 - Think Tank
FREE. MEMBERS ONLY. Immediately after the April program, Jac Fitzenz will present "The Five Principles of Nonfiction: How to design and write nonfiction that sells and endures." Think Tank will focus on detail and color.
Maximum of 10 participants
Wednesday, April 19 - Open Mic
Bring your poems, prose, and sto
Sunday, April 30 - New Member Orientation Meeting
Meet with Club President Carole Bumpus at her home for an informal get-together to talk about writing opportunities, workshops, Open Mic, volunteer opportunities, and critique groups. Wine and snacks provided.
May 17, 2017 - Open Mic
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
144 W. 25th Avenue, San Mateo. FREE
May 20, 2017
Keys Elements of a Successful Memoir
Publisher of She Writes Press, President of Warner Coaching Inc., and Author,
Brooke Warner teaches what memoirists need to write in order to have a successful memoir: scenes, narration, theme, characterization, and takeaway. This talk analyzes why each of these elements is important in good storytelling and shows writers how to harness these points of craft in their own memoir.
May 20, 2017 - Think Tank
FREE. MEMBERS ONLY. Immediately after the May program there will be a small group gathering to discuss a theme vital and meaningful to writers. Coordinator to be announced.
Sunday, May 21 - Author Event
Barnes & Noble,
Hillsdale Mall, San Mateo.
This is an opportunity for CWC SF-Peninsula branch members who are published authors to sell their books directly to consumers in this established store. There will be time slots available to read from your book and interact directly with your fans.
to get on the author roster.
SF Peninsula Branch meets at:
441 Seaport Court
$10 members. $15 nonmembers.
$10 students with ID.
March Program Recap:
Where Are YOU on Your Writer's Platform-Building Journey?
by Audrey Kalman,
At the March meeting, Teresa LeYung-Ryan presented "Where Are YOU on Your Writer's Platform-Building Journey?" Teresa has had a long affiliation with the SF-Peninsula branch. She began her
writer's platform-building journey in the 1990s and hasn't stopped since.
She started her presentation to CWC members by explaining--in a fun and interactive way, with lots of "hats"--the process of selling a book to a traditional publishing company. This made it obvious why you need to make your name stand for something and why you need to make that "something" easy to understand and communicate. At every step along the way, the message of who you are and what your book is about gets communicated by someone who may never have met you and who may not have even read your book. In a traditional publishing scenario, an agent pitches your book to an acquisitions editor, who pitches it to a team that includes sales people. Everybody along the way has to understand the essence of you and your book and why it will appeal to readers. It's equally important for self-published authors to do this. Without a clear platform statement, you won't get the agent, or the book deal, or, eventually the reader.
Coach Teresa then led the group on an abbreviated version of the process described in her workbook, Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days. Everyone spent some time thinking about and writing down the themes that are important to them, and encapsulating those in a simple statement that can be communicated everywhere: on web sites, blogs, in email signature blocks. Attendees left with a blueprint showing them how to get started--or continue--on their writer's platform-building journey.
New to San Francisco Peninsula Branch?
Confused? Intimidated? Curious? Want to know more?
Hey, new members, now that you joined this wonderful club, don't miss out on any of the great benefits offered by the San Francisco Peninsula Branch writers. Gather your questions and bring your enthusiasm to a
new member orientation meeting so you can learn how to best use our many services.
Our agenda will be to have fun! Enjoy wine and food while we discuss topics such as...
- Opportunities to submit writing to the Fault Zone anthologies and contests
- Monthly membership meetings
- How to participate in Open Mic and other Writer Outreach events
- Club volunteer opportunities
- Think Tanks at the general meetings
- Contributions to the monthly newsletter, The Bulletin, and the Literary Magazine
- How to join and help form new Critique Groups
The meetings are intended to help orient new members, but
any member who has questions about our club's services is welcome to attend.
The first orientation gathering will be hosted at the home of our president,
4 to 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 30th.
How to sign up
New members will receive an invitation via email for an upcoming meeting. When you RSVP, the host's address will be emailed to you.
We hope to see you there!
Behind the Scenes
at the San Mateo County Fair
Once the 2017 San Mateo County Fair literary contests close, we get to work judging the entries. We've established an enthusiastic team to evaluate every submission and they will use the new judging rubrics set up by Michele Jessen. Thank you, Michele!
Between the literary arts and the fine arts galleria, we offer a total of $20,000 in contest prizes and services. Once the awards are determined, the winning submissions will be sent to Tory Hartmann of Sand Hill Review Press. She will give her two anthology contracts for free to an entrepreneur looking to get into the publishing business and mentor this lucky person to take over publication of our fair's
Carry the Light, now in its sixth year, and our CWC San Francisco Peninsula branch's
This training begins in April with helping her format and produce
Carry the Light Vol. VI,
and will continue into the fall doing the same for
Fault Zone, Vol. 7
. Email her at
Laurel Anne Hill is working on the Literary Stage schedule, so if you are interested in creating a workshop or participating in an event on the literary stage contact her at
. It's a fun and productive way of sharing your literary expertise while adding a new professional accomplishment to your bio.
I always say it takes not one but two villages to produce our fair's literary events. That means we need YOU! As mentioned last month, all volunteers will receive a raffle ticket for every three hours you put in, whether you work from home or onsite. You could win a year's membership, which includes state fees as well as ten monthly meeting dues, to the CWC San Francisco Peninsula branch. Such a deal!
Aside from the usual daily volunteer coordinators, fair greeters, literary department docents, flyer passer-outers, audience participants, and transcribers to take notes during our literary events so we can post the contents online, I have three special requests this year.
Bardi's Wish List for 2017
Ever since the Literary Stage was just a concept in my mind in early 2009, I have hoped for a volunteer videographer to film some of our mini conference presentations. Vital information, freely given to our audience by seasoned professional writers, would cost hundreds of dollars in any other setting. How great it would be to document these presentations and have a video archive for writers from all over the globe to access online. We have a professional sound system; lighting might cause a few concerns. We could pay for supplies but not an hourly wage. It would be a true labor of love for someone to commit to even a few events.
We are in dire need of a volunteer Social Media Coordinator. We offer wonderful events but we can't always reach the maximum number of people who could benefit from our talented presenters. I am woefully inadequate when it comes to posting online; for instance, I am still waiting for a blurb I sent out two days ago. Where is it? Floating somewhere in Cyberspace?
We could always use a volunteer photographer. We've had great shots taken by contestants and presenters over the years but it would be lovely for someone to actually take charge, organize them, and name the folks in the photos, etc.
Bardi Rosman Koodrin
Literary Director for the San Mateo County Fair
You Look Like a Presenter on the Literary Stage
by Laurel Anne Hill
At our branch meeting on March 18, our presenter, Teresa LeYung Ryan, related her experience when she first attended a Peninsula Branch meeting. She had recently received an award in the Jack London Writers Conference Writing Contest. A board member greeted her and said, "You look like a Newsletter Editor to me." The flattering remark inspired Teresa to accept the responsibility. Teresa served and did a wonderful job.
Laurel Anne Hill challenges each of you to look in the mirror and say to yourself, "You look like a presenter on the Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair."
So what is a presenter at the fair expected to do? You could discuss aspects of the writing craft on a panel with a few of your peers or lead a workshop.
- Not sure about doing one of those?
- How about reading from your works, either alone or with friends?
- Talking about that book you're working on?
Check your calendars. Open spots on the Literary Stage program fall on Tuesday, June 13 (Senior Day), Thursday, June 15, and possibly Wednesday, June 14, in the afternoon or early evening.
Audrey Kalman led the March Think Tank on Writer's Block(Busting). It inspired her to write a blog post summarizing the outcome. Read the post here. It involves chickens (you'll have to click through to find out why.)
Think Tank has a MAXIMUM OF 10 PARTICIPANTS, so sign up early.
San Mateo Critique Group
2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 to noon.
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.
After five years of ha
completed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing from UC Berkeley Extension.
Imitation Fruit Literary Journal
, an annual online publication, is looking for fun and upbeat short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, and artwork. Send up to 5 poems or 15 pages of prose. Submission deadline is April 1st of each year and publication is in late Fall. For more information, please see the submissions page at
California Writers Club Marin Branch
is offering a one-day workshop at Book Passage on
Sunday, April 2, 2017
called "The Writer's Life." Cost: $125. The flyer states: "TEN EXPERTS. ONE DAY. A COMMUNITY OF WRITERS. PITCH AGENTS * IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT * MARKET YOUR WORK * PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS"
California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch
is pleased to announce its second full-day writers conference featuring keynote speaker, New York Times and international bestselling author,
. This conference will be held on
Saturday, April 22, 2017
7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
is the author of over fifty novels which have sold over 25 million copies. This is a great way to network with authors, marketers, and innovators who share a passion for writing.
Other presenters include
Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, Victoria Zackheim, Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, Mark Gelineau, Joe King, Linda Lee, Joel Friedlander, David Denny, Jim Azevedo of Smashwords, Bruce Raine, Larry Townsend, and Annie Tucker.
Women's Fiction Writers Association
is holding their
first West Coast Regional Conference on May 20, 2017.
Featured Speakers Are Liz Fenton, Jeannie Nash, Kerry Lonsdale and Wendy Tokunaga, plus book agents.
A one-day regional writing conference for writers of women's fiction will be held in Redwood City, California on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Sponsored by the Women's Fiction Writers Association (
), it will feature seminars on book marketing, craft and editing, along with agent pitch sessions and an "Ask the Experts" publishing industry panel.
Liz Fenton, bestselling women's fiction author, will give the keynote. Fenton's books have been sold in Target stores (
Your Perfect Life
), and have made reading lists for Cosmopolitan and InStyle magazines, plus POPSUGAR, the global lifestyle media publisher's newsletter.
A highlight of the event will be "Ask the Experts," where attendees sit with an agent or editor for a 10-minute one-on-one. Attendees can ask questions about the writing process, pitch interest in their work in progress, query an agent about their finished manuscript, and receive feedback.
"Even if you aren't ready to pitch your book, you can use your time to establish relationships and ask questions about your book, writing and publishing," said WFWA President Chris Adler. "Whether you plan to commute in just for the day, or stay overnight and socialize with other members on Friday evening and share a Sunday breakfast, we anticipate a productive event focused on learning and building new friendships."
Agents attending the conference include Amy Cloughley and Lisa Abellera from the Kimberly Cameron Agency, and Jennifer Chen Tran from the Fuse Literary Agency.
Sessions will be held on marketing, editing and craft. Author Kerry Lonsdale will present a session on marketing. Jennie Nash, founder and chief creative officer of Author Accelerator, a book coaching program, will discuss craft. Novelist and manuscript consultant Wendy Tokunaga will present the session on editing.
The WFWA West Coast Regional Conference will be held at the Courtyard Hotel, 600 Bair Island Road, Redwood City. Registration is open to members and non-members, and will be capped at 80 participants. The cost is $140 for WFWA members and $190 for non-members. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Saturday to all attendees. Click here to register.
CWC SF Peninsula will have an A
uthors' event on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at
Barnes & Noble, Hillsdale Mall, San Mateo
articipating authors will sit behind their books at a table in the front of the store. They may read excerpts at prearranged times at a seating area behind our table. To be eligible to participate, your book must be able to be ordered from and returned to Ingram. If you qualify and you want to take your seat at the CWC table, please contact Bill Baynes. THIS IS A FREE EVENT.
Tory Hartmann, publisher of the award-winning Sand Hill Review Press, will train you to build your own business by giving you two established anthologies: the San Mateo County Fair's Carry the Light and the CWC San Francisco Peninsula branch's Fault Zone (FZ) at no cost!
Carry the Light
training takes place during April-May and then on to FZ in the fall. Don't miss out! Contact Tory at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bylaws Regarding Our Upcoming Branch Election and Volunteer Position Openings
ARTICLE IX: ELECTIONS
Section 1: In April of each year, the board of directors shall appoint a committee of no more than three members in good standing to present nominations for election. The news of the formation of the committee and the name/contact information for the chairperson shall be posted in the May branch newsletter.
OFFICERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
- shall prepare agendas and preside over meetings of the branch board of directors and general membership; conduct the affairs of the club in accordance with the bylaws; appoint committees and chairpersons as necessary to conduct the affairs of the club; and be included as one of the signatures on the club bank account.
- shall assume the duties of president in his or her absence and is responsible for monthly meeting programs.
- shall keep minutes for all meetings, handle incoming and outgoing correspondence and maintain administrative files for the branch.
- shall keep books of account and report the financial status of the branch at each board meeting.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Membership Chair, Publicity Chair, Newsletter Editor, NorCal Rep, State Board Rep, Fault Zone editor, Literary Stage (SMCF) coordinator, Hospitality Chair, Open Mic Chair, Volunteer Coordinator, Think Tank coordinator (non-voting), and Webmaster (non-voting).
* * * * * * * *
We are also looking at adding these new roles: Contest Coordinator, Author Launch Leader, Poetry Festival Chair, Conference Chair, Branch Outreach Coordinator, Critique Group Coordinator - oh, we have so many ideas, but we need able assistants or experienced coordinators to help make these things happen.
-- Carol Bumpus, President
(From "Nature's Retribution")
by Jo Carpignano
A long harsh drought induced, then
black clouds gather, build and hold.
Lightning flashes, thunder roars, clouds break
releasing fury in protracted storms.
Parched soil repels the surfeit
as if wax is laid to give protective cover.
Rejected waters search for lower ground
rushing, pushing, merging.
Downpour unrelenting - volume grows.
Ignoring boundaries, rivers crest then spill
pouring over banks, contemptuous
of plump, inflated bags of sand.
Meeting with fast melting snow,
rivers spill, dams rupture
Unrelenting waters build, lift, and smash
demolishing each obstacle along the way.
Refusing to acknowledge boundaries
farmlands buried, city streets awash
trees, broken - like discarded toys.
Dwellings entered without invitation
through closed doors, ignoring window panes.
Cars careen, drivers seek control
roaring motors announce hope of rescue
Harsh retribution for man's hubris -
just punishment for careless stewardship.
Writers' Corner on the CWC Website
Check out the updated
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. Check it out!
Utilize Your Public Library
by Eva Barrows
Did you check the library's online catalog before you started searching for books on Amazon? Well, you should and there're several reasons why. Avoid the guilty "read once then donate" cycle of a writer with no room to house another book. Our local libraries have wide-reaching loan systems of current books and other content like recent DVD and CD titles that could significantly lower your entertainment and research cost.
Hop onto the San Mateo County library system at www.smcl.org or www.sfpl.org for San Francisco's library catalog in your PJs and slippers just like you would to click through Amazon. Content from any library within the system and beyond are available to us. Both library systems use Link+, a borrowing network that extends our checkout power to public and academic libraries across California and even into Nevada. I just checked out a book from Sausalito and picked it up in Belmont. It took about a week to arrive entirely free of charge. Beat that, Amazon.
Writers in the research trenches can turn to free databases available through the library. Access powerful prospecting and periodical databases through the same library websites used to order books. Both the San Mateo County and San Francisco libraries have access to business directories. The AtoZdatabase through San Mateo can be used to find businesses of a certain size, profitability and niche for writers to follow up with for prospecting. Periodical research is made easy through the library's subscription to sites like Gale's General OneFile which catalogs newspaper and magazine articles.
Our libraries have even more to offer. Writers can learn new things like how to use a 3D printer and practice conversational Spanish with a group organized through the library. With libraries that offer tai chi and Zumba class who needs a gym membership? Libraries have become one-stop shops for entertainment, well-being and serious research. Stop interacting with Amazon and visit your local library branch!
Eva Barrows is a CWC Peninsula member. Visit her writer website
Letter from the Editor
This month, we've added some new items to the newsletter.
First, Want Ads are a new feature. Just two ads so far, but it's a start. Let us know if you find it valuable.
Next, spring is the time new officers are chosen for the Board of Directors. See the
Bylaws for information about the privileges and duties of each position. We hope you are curious enough to take a look and maybe even see yourself in one of the roles. "The more the help, the merrier the group."
There is also a
New Member Orientation Sunday, April 30, 2017 with wine and snacks --hosted by our very own "hostess with the mostest" Carole Bumpus (...she
did write a cookbook)--that should be delightful.
Some items that could use your participation and/or input:
Think about lending your talents to CWC SF Peninsula. You never know what amazing adventures and opportunities could
be in your future, ju
st waiting for you to say "Yes! Count me in!"
--Jeannine Gerkman, Newsletter Editor
Guidelines for Submitting Articles to This Newsletter
Want to see your article or poem published here?
We often have room for one or two short
Please follow these guidelines when submitting your piece:
- You must be a current member of the club.
- Your article must be related to writing.
- 350 words maximum. (Please indicate the word count at the top of the article.)
Submit your article in a Word file or in the body of your email.
Use Times Roman font, 12 point.
only one space (not two) at the end of a sentence.
Edit and proofread carefully before you submit. If accepted, your article will be printed as submitted.
Send submissions to:
Include the words "CWC Newsletter Article"
in your subject line. Deadline is the 25th of the month. Earlier is encouraged! Thank you.