August 2019 | California Writers Club
San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
President's Message
Uplifted by the Struggles of Others

Unless you write for a TV show and thus spend time in a writers room, you probably undertake your craft in solitude. You may write in the company of others—in a coffee shop, at the library, or at a weekly Shut Up & Write gathering—but the actual process of extruding the words, letter by painful letter, happens alone.

I came late to seeking a writing community. Maybe my college experience with seminar-style critiques scarred me, as it has scarred many. That approach, common in writing programs and at some conferences, offers a peculiar kind of community in which one-upmanship and trenchant analysis matter more than supportive feedback.

True community uplifts. I was reminded of this recently listening to Peg Alford Pursell in conversation with San Francisco Chronicle columnist Caille Millner at the launch of Peg’s most recent book. I loved hearing Peg read from the book. More than that, I loved hearing her talk about her writing process. I found myself nodding vigorously as she described her uncertainty and the huge question marks that dogged her through the writing and editing of the book. Her words made me feel less alone, mired as I am in my own murky process. And I felt uplifted, because—look! a book emerged at the end of her process. A resolution, an outcome, a thing. She found her way through, so we can, too.

Members of the CWC don’t have to wait for a book launch to partake of this kind of community. We gather monthly, and every meeting offers an opportunity to mingle with other writers, each of whom toils in solitude until those moments we come together, however briefly, to share our frustrations, joys, and triumphs—and find inspiration to continue.

If you’re one of the many newsletter subscribers who lurk, reading but never showing up in person, I hope you’ll consider attending a meeting. This month’s will be a great one to start with, as we’re joined by Kevin Fisher-Paulson, who describes himself as “a father, a columnist, a captain and a poet, not necessarily in that order.”

Happy writing (and connecting),

August Highlights:
  1. President’s Message
  2. September Memoir Workshop
  3. Renew Your Membership
  4. Welcome New Members
  5. August Speaker
  6. Think Tank
  7. July Picnic Highlights
  8. Member News
  9. Call for Poetry Submissions
  10. Sign Up Here!
CWC SF Peninsula Presents:
Mastering Memoir with Brooke Warner
Register Now - Discount Ends Soon!
September 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Twin Pines Lodge in Belmont
Memoir expert and enthusiast Brooke Warner brings energy and passion to her teaching of memoir, supporting writers to find ways to make their stories bigger and more meaningful than simply “what happened.” This workshop will guide writers through the most important craft elements: scene, narration, character development/characterization, memory and flashback, reflection and takeaway. And we’ll examine popular memoirs that execute these elements of craft beautifully so that writers will grasp how to implement what they learn in their own writing.

Whether you’re a beginning memoirist or well into your project, this workshop will give you hands-on strategies to deepen your work and, most importantly, write scenes and characters that make readers care.  

Enter code CWC for special
CWC member pricing ($15 off)
$60 CWC member early bird
$75 non-member early bird

Renew Your Membership
Now is the time to renew your annual membership! Many of you have already renewed. If you haven't renewed yet, this article is for you! 

By extending your membership, you have the advantage of another year of great benefits that are yours simply by belonging to the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club! 

Regular members can renew for $45.00 via PayPal. Dual members can renew for $25.00 via PayPal. You can send your check to CWC SF Peninsula, P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002. Or you can bing your check or cash to our next meeting.

We are once again offering the option to pre-pay for all your meetings for the year, giving yourself the gift of two free meetings and streamlined check-in!
If you still have questions after receiving the email, contact us at

Your membership team
Tim Flood, Margaret Nalbach, Mark Dooley
Welcome New Members!
In this and future editions of the newsletter, we will introduce new members of our branch. We are delighted to welcome the following members (with their preferred genres) who have joined over the recent months. We hope you get to know them soon:

Steven O'Sullivan (Non-fiction, Other)
Deb Corazzelli (Non-fiction, Novel)
Sandra Barocio (Non-fiction, Short Fiction)
Jill Fraser (Novel, Short Fiction)
Russ Towne (Non-Fiction, Novel, Short Fiction, Poetry, Other)
Bindiya Schaefer (Novel)
Neetal Parekh (Novel, Short Fiction, Screenplay)

To all new members: Be sure to come to a meeting soon to introduce yourselves! Networking is the best way to begin taking advantage of the many benefits of membership.
August Speaker

Speaker: Kevin Fisher Paulson
Topic: The Craft of Writing
Kevin Fisher-Paulson talks about the craft of writing from the perspective of purpose and structure.

Kevin talks about choices, not habits, that usher the individual through the creative door. He gives a series of prompts for the real life that morph into prompts for the imaginative life.

Kevin Fisher-Paulson studied writing at the University of Notre Dame, with continued coursework at the University of Iowa and the University of Oregon.

Kevin’s short story Virtue Enough for Miss Grrrl appeared in When Love Lasts Forever, by Pilgrim Press. His poems and short stories have appeared in The Sentinel, Amethyst, RFD, Suburban Wilderness, Oberon and The James White Review. He contributes irregularly to NPR, and his plays and monologues have been produced in the ODC Summerfest, Theater Rhinoceros and the National AIDS Theater Festival.

His memoir, A Song for Lost Angels, was a finalist in the Ben Franklin Independent Publishing Awards.

Kevin writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle. In his spare time, he serves as Captain of the Honor Guard for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

He lives in San Francisco with his husband, two sons and three rescue dogs. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @kipcap1213.

Saturday, August 17 at 10:00 a.m.
FREE to first-time attendees! 
$10 Members; $15 Non-Members; $5 Students/ID
Think Tank
August 16, 2019 at 12:00p.m.
Topic: How to Shrink and Grow Time:
A Tool to Help You Get Your Writing Done
Moderator: Deanna Washington
Do you have a book you are working on but…

  • One more day passes when you’ve not written one word
  • Progress keeps stalling
  • You just don’t have blocks of time to make it happen
  • When you do sit down to write you feel guilty because you “should” be working on other things

Come learn the technique that Deanna Washington used to complete seven first-draft novels in 2 years, and is using to chomp through the second drafts.

This is a workshop, so sharpen your pencils!


Deanna Washington has been a graphic designer for over 30 years, and is an author and artist. She is working on 7 novels and has published 3 non-fiction books.

The Language of Gifts: The Essential Guide to Gift Giving, 2000, Conari Press; Disneyland Wisdom: 45 Life-lessons from the Happiest Rides on Earth, 2017, Theme Park Press; How to Organize Your Creative Overwhelm: Your guide to choosing which project(s) to work, 2018, self-published, amazon

When she is not helping people get their books to print, she’s at her favorite place to write — Disneyland.
Event Calendar
Happening Now

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).

Every Tuesday in Foster City
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
August 6, 13, 20, 27, 2019

Every Thursday in San Mateo
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2019

Upcoming Events
will be on hiatus for the summer
See you in September!

Mastering Memoir with Brooke Warner
September 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
August Monthly Meeting
August 17, 2019
10:00 a.m. to noon

Speaker: Kevin Fisher Paulson
Topic: The Craft of Writing

Followed by the Think Tank, led by Deanna Washington

3rd Saturday of each month
September 21, 2019
Speaker: Amos White
Topic: The Art of Giving Live Readings

October 19, 2019
Panel Moderated by Geri Spieler
Topic: Why Editing and Revision Are Critical Steps Toward a Successful Book
Summer Picnic Recap
Photo by Doug Baird
Photo by Jay Miller
Photo by Elise Miller
We held our 2019 summer picnic at Twin Pines Park in Belmont on Saturday, July 13. We enjoyed a variety of gourmet foods and listened to wonderful readings from our members. We also raffled off a variety of literary-inspired prizes, including books from some of our members.

We also officially installed our new executive board: Audrey Kalman, President; Geri Spieler, Vice President; Jean Morrow, Treasurer; and Korie Pelka, Secretary. (Photo by Jay Miller.)

It was a great day!

Did you attend the party?  Let us know what you thought .
Bardi Rosman Koodrin Memorial & Reception
Bardi's family is planning a memorial for her on September 7th in Burlingame.

Details will follow in the September newsletter.
Member News
Jeannine Gerkman held a lovely poetry reading at Bay Home and Linens, 253 South B Street, San Mateo July 24 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Jeannine read from her extensive collection of (mostly) sunny poems and books. A few of our members showed up along with the gift shop's clientele. A good time was had by all.

Audrey Kalman’s book of short fiction, Tiny Shoes Dancing and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the 2019 International Rubery Book Award and received a favorable writeup from the judges.

Would you like to see your news published here? Send your submissions to by the 23rd of the month with the subject line "CWC Newsletter Submissions."

Call for Poetry Submissions
San Mateo County Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto is calling on all poets living in San Mateo County to submit poems based on the theme, “Childhood,” as part of her “Speak Poetry” campaign. 

Send up to 3 poems (not more than 50 lines each) as a single .doc attachment with "Speak Poetry" as the subject line, to Along with the poet’s name, age, and mailing address, please include a short bio. Deadline is September 1, 2019. Selected poems will be published in an anthology to be presented by the featured poets at a poetry celebration in December.
Sign Up Here!
Volunteer Opportunities
Current needs include:

1) Marketing team members to pitch in with social media, newsletter proofreading and website updating (Note: Technical skills are not required for some of these roles.) Melanie Shook and Mindy Yang would really appreciate your help and you would be joining a fun, creative team. 

2) Hospitality is always looking for more help with meeting set-up and clean-up. An extra 30-60 minutes a month hanging around a yacht club doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Megan McDonald and Carol Park can show you the ropes. Even occasional help is encouraged.

3) Ditto for the membership team: If you are a social butterfly or just want to meet people, you can help welcome members and visitors at the sign-in table each month, or occasional months. Mark Dooley, Tim Flood, and Margaret Nalbach will be happy to see you.

4) Proofreaders for our upcoming Fault Zone anthology. Laurel Anne Hill will thank you.

A special bonus for any of these roles is a creative nametag designed by Margaret Nalbach. I enjoyed being “The Big Cheese” the past two years. You, too, can wear your personalized badge with pride.
Apply your unique talents and interests to get the most out of your writers’ club. 

Shoot me an email to find out more or just chat about how you can get involved. What’s your creative vision for CWC?

Lisa Meltzer Penn
Volunteer Coordinator
Critique Groups
There are a number of ways for members to join or form a critique group:

1) Talk to other members and newcomers at monthly meetings. We’re all writers!
2) Make an announcement at a meeting or post one in this newsletter (scroll to bottom of newsletter for submission instructions.)
3) Email or talk to the Critique Group Contact (that’s me) and I can help match you up with other interested members. I’m also happy to provide some resources to help you get started.

Critique groups are a great way to get a thorough, honest response to your work, have the support of other writers, learn from each other, and propel you forward. I’m excited to report that several groups have gotten started this year. If this is something you are looking for, that’s one of the reasons we are here. Let me know how I can help.

Lisa Meltzer Penn
Critique Group Contact
Beta Reader Program
A beta reader is someone who will read a story as if he or she had picked it off a bookshelf, and who will give the author feedback accordingly. The reader and the author get to decide the breadth and depth of the evaluation. Keep in mind that a beta reader is not a critique partner or editor.

In the spirit of writers helping writers, please consider being a beta reader. Many members reading one book a year means support for many writers. And, it's not all one-sided. A thoughtful analysis of a book is a learning experience for better writing. Plus you get to be one of the first to read a brand-new book.

Author Eligibility:  
Author must be a CWC SF Peninsula member with completed book length fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry or short story collection.
Do you have a finished book ready for beta readers? If so,  sign up here.
Writers Helping Writers at the Libraries
Although the Writers Helping Writers Program is taking a hiatus this summer, we are still taking names for the months of September 2019 through May of 2020. If you would enjoy sharing your talents and ‘writerly’ expertise with a small group of new writers, please contact Carole Bumpus at 

But, you ask, what do we have to do? The answer is you provide a short description of what you choose to teach, you prepare a short 1 ½ hour program with handouts or hands-on practice of a helpful practice for new writers, you provide a short bio of yourself, and you sign up with Carole – for either the San Mateo Public Library or San Carlos Library and you choose the month you prefer to teach. San Mateo Library group meets the second Wednesday of the month and San Carlos Library meets the third Wednesday of the month. Come share your ideas, expertise and talents, make new friends and encourage new writers to come join us at the San Francisco Peninsula CWC.
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
This is the place to find Volunteer Opportunities and Member Ads. 

If you would like to submit an ad related to a writing need or service, send your submission to: 

Subject line: "CWC Newsletter - Classified Ads" 

Together, we can promote our club, boost your career and get you the help you need to move forward with your writing projects. 
Board Members
Executive Board:
President: Audrey Kalman
Vice President: Geri Spieler
Secretary: Korie Pelka
Treasurer: Jean Morrow     
Appointed Board Positions:
State Board Rep: Geri Spieler
NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chair: Tim Flood
Marketing & Outreach Chair: Melanie Shook 
Newsletter Editor: Melanie Shook 
Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Volunteer Coordinator: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Membership Co-Chairs: Margaret Nalbach, Mark Dooley
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Hospitality Co-Chairs: Megan McDonald and Carol Park 
Think Tank: Geri Spieler 
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis
Member-at-Large: Bette Houtchens
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Megan McDonald
SMCF Literary Stage Consulting Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Critique Group Contact: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Guidelines for Submitting to this Newsletter
Want to see your article, ad or poem published here?
Submission deadline is the  23rd  of the month. 

Keep in Mind:
  • You must be a current member of the club.
  • Your article or news must be related to writing.
  • Your piece shall not exceed 350 words.
Format Requirements:
  • Include "CWC Newsletter submission" in subject line and add what you are submitting, i.e. Member News, Article, Critique Group, Member Resources, Think Tank, Event, Classified Ad, etc.
  • Use Word or write text 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.
  • If you have a picture to include, send it as a jpeg attachment to your email. 
     Send your submissions via email to: 
CWC SF Peninsula | Email | Website
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