San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
August 2020 | California Writers Club
Work Exxpppaaaannnnnddddddsssssss
Dear CWC Members,

I do not understand how I can be so busy when I am no longer going to the grocery store, meeting friends for lunch, seeing movies, or driving to author events and readings.

My father used to tell me that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. In other words, if you have a month to write your next CWC newsletter column, it will take you a month. If you have an afternoon, it will take an afternoon. My current experience seems to be somehow related. I have more time, which I fill with more activities. Just this week, I helped a fellow writer with her website relaunch, put together marketing materials for a new writing workshop I'm teaching starting in the fall, and helped another teacher put some of her classes online.

All this has meant less time to focus on my writing. To keep the amount of time spent on my own writing above zero, I've committed to attending various online group writing events, including a free weekly writing class with Albert Flynn DeSilver, a weekly session for residents of Shuffle Collective, and my longtime favorite, Shut Up & Write.

If you've never tried Shut Up & Write (organized through a MeetUp Group), I recommend giving it a try--especially now that you don't have to fight traffic to attend. Once upon a time, we met on Tuesday mornings at Penelope's Coffee & Tea in Foster City and on Thursday evenings at the San Mateo Public Library. Now we meet on Zoom. If those times don't work, you can find a session at almost any time of day or night through the Shut Up & Write online group.

When I haven't been writing, I've been attending online writing events and readings, like the Book Passage Conversations With Authors series, Kepler's online events, and the recently concluded Catamaran Literary Conference (you can watch the replays by registering, even though the event is over). And of course I'll be making time on Saturday, August 15 for our monthly meeting (details below).

I think I just answered my own question about why I am so busy.

What new events or activities, writing-related or otherwise, have you discovered since our world shifted so radically in March? Write and let me know.

Saturday August 15 Meeting - ONLINE

Pre-registration for this meeting is required.

Much as we have enjoyed temporarily offering our meetings to all comers for no charge, the time has come for the return of meeting fees.

We are appealing to people's inclination to do what's right. Instead of requiring payment before registration, we respectfully request upon confirmation of your registration that you pay $5 (CWC members, any branch), $10 (non-members), or an amount of your choosing.

Thank you for your commitment to our continuing existence and your contribution to our community.

10:00 AM – Mingle in breakout rooms with fellow writers
Breakout rooms open at 10... join when you want.

10:30 AM – Club business

11:00 AM – Speaker presentation
Tish Davidson presents
Write That Query:
How to Pitch to Magazines, Agents, and Publishers
(more info below)

12:00 PM – Think Tank
Characters Caught in Complexity
led by CWC Member Don Neeper


Write That Query: How to Pitch to Magazines, Agents, and Publishers
by Tish Davidson
Query first. Those words bring many writers to a standstill. Writing a good query is the first step in selling your story to a magazine or your book to an agent or publisher. But what goes into a query? How long should it be? How is querying a magazine different from querying an agent or a publisher? What are the similarities between fiction and nonfiction queries? Is there ever a time when you shouldn’t query first?

Fremont resident Tish Davidson never intended to become a writer. Growing up in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, she wanted to be a polar bear. That didn't work out, so she became a biologist. But after earning a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary and a master's degree from Dartmouth College, she discovered that it was more fun to write about other people’s research than work in a lab. Since then, she has written everything from restaurant reviews to biology textbooks, including 10 nonfiction books for school-age children published by Scholastic and Mason Crest, and four nonfiction books for adults published by ABC-CLIO. Her shorter work can be found in anthologies by Harlequin, Adams Media, Scribes Valley Publishing, and Medusa Press. Her book, The Vaccine Debate, has been sold in 14 countries. What You Need to Know About Diabetes was published in July, and her current project is Medical Firsts that Changed the World.

Characters Caught in Complexity
led by Don Neeper
"I see society as a large number of people interacting by nonobvious social rules, like schooling fish or flocking starlings. Such 'complex systems' display emergent properties like the flocking, properties that are not like the behavior of a single member, one bird. I find this useful when considering a story arc in which a character faces a large development that seems to arise by itself, like group polarization or a neighborhood culture."

About Don: After a Ph.D. in physics, military service, and post-doctoral research, Neeper spent a career at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the mountains of northern New Mexico. In the last decade, Neeper invested his spare time bringing data to oppose the dumping of toxic oilfield wastes on the grasslands. A long-time public speaker and author of newspaper articles, Don is currently marketing his literary mystery set in the clash of the oil, ranching, and intellectual cultures of New Mexico.
Membership - It's What's Good for You
Renewal period is from July 1 through September 30.

CWC SF Peninsula is part of the oldest writing club in California, and we love having you as a part of it. We hope you avail yourself of all we have to offer in supporting your writing and publishing efforts. Your continued membership is essential to the vibrancy and energy that makes our branch work so well.

Given the chaotic nature of this year, we will not be offering an option to pay for meetings in advance. Beginning with the August meeting, we will charge five dollars for online meetings. If the situation improves and we can meet in person again, we will revert to the normal ten dollars per meeting for members and fifteen dollars for non-members.

Your cost to renew is $45.00. (By statewide club policy, any payments received after September 30, 2020, must include an additional $20 reactivation fee. Your renewal for 2020-2021 covers the period July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.)

You can pay via one of the following:

  1. Pay online using PayPal ($45)
  2. Mail your check to CWC SF Peninsula, P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002.
  3. Are you a member of a different CWC chapter and want to renew your membership with CWC SF Peninsula? Add a second branch for $25
  4. Are you a student? Know a student? Purchase a student membership for $30

Renewal payments will be accepted through September 30, 2020, but we would like to have everyone renewed sooner.

Best regards,

Margaret Nalbach & Mark Dooley
Membership Team
Membership Benefits
Critique Groups
One of the major benefits to CWC membership is access to your very own critique group. A critique group is (usually) a small circle of writers who share their writing with each other and provide critical feedback on the submissions. Since writing can be a solitary endeavor, a critique group can be a great way to see if an idea is working or not, catching plot holes, or just connect with other writers. It's also an excellent way to give back to your writing community and connect with like-minded people.

So, if you are interested in:
  • joining a group
  • forming a group
  • finding new members for your existing group

Contact Jean Morrow ( to be placed on a list of prospective critique group members.
That's right - if you're a member of any CWC branch, you can add a second branch for $25 a year and have full access to their events and benefits.

Check out some of the other CWC branches here, and maybe consider supporting another of the Bay Area branches: South Bay (San Jose), Berkeley, Tri-Valley (Pleasanton), Fremont, and Mt. Diablo (Pleasant Hill) - maybe even check out Marin and Redwood Writers (Santa Rosa)!
Students Welcome

Have a student at home who needs a creative outlet? Do you know of a student who would welcome some real-world experience with all the benefits (and none of the grades) that community membership provides?

CWC SF Peninsula offers student memberships to writers from the ages of 8 through 22, or any writers who are a verified full-time student at an accredited school. No writing submission is required. Student memberships are only $30. Purchase a student membership today!
Congratulations to our gift card recipients!

Good things come to those who renew early... Evelyn LaTorre, Martha Clark Scala, and
Colleen Olle were chosen to receive electronic gift cards to Kepler's Books as a thank you for renewing well before our deadline.
Open Mic is Back - Join Us Online

Tuesday, August 25, at 7 PM
Join us for an evening of informal readings from a variety of authors and poets.

If you’d like to enjoy the evening as an audience member, great! All are welcome! Your support is greatly appreciated.

We will sign up readers on a first-come/first-serve basis through the Zoom chat function, so please come on time if you’d like to read. Those wishing to read should come prepared to read for 5-8 minutes, depending on the number of participants. As a courtesy to others, we will stop you at the allotted time to allow everyone the chance to read. If you have any questions, please email

Looking forward to hearing the voices of all the wonderful writers out there!

This is an online event - Join us on Zoom

Meeting ID: 838 8018 8748
Passcode: 350834
Recurring Events - NOW ONLINE
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). For now, we're doing this virtually... an hour and a half of writing after a half hour of check-in and chat. RSVP via MeetUp to receive the link to join.

Every Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Every Thursday, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Join your writing peers as they lead free workshops on the techniques of writing. For now, these events are virtual.

2nd Wednesday (evening) every month

3rd Wednesday (evening) every month

Tuesday, August 25, 7 PM

Never Miss a Thing
See more events listed on our calendar.

To be notified of upcoming events, join the CWC group on MeetUp.

Resources for Members
Resources for Writers
Check out the 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 also a list of branch members who provide writing-related services for a fee: editing, coaching, and more. 

Board Members
Executive Board
President: Audrey Kalman
Vice President: Geri Spieler
Secretary: Vibha Akkaraju
Treasurer: Alisha Willis

Additional Voting Positions
Membership Chair: Mark Dooley
Marketing & Outreach Chair: Linda Glave
Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Immediate Past President: Lisa Meltzer Penn 
State Board Rep: Carole Bumpus
NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus     
Committee/Individual Contributor Positions
Volunteer Coordinator: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Membership: Margaret Nalbach
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Newsletter Editor: Linda Glave
Newsletter Production: Corinna Sherman
Hospitality: Megan McDonald
Think Tank/Writers Helping Writers: Geri Spieler 
Retreat Coordinator: Korie Pelka
Parliamentarian: OPEN
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Megan McDonald
SMCF Literary Stage Manager: Laurel Anne Hill
SMCF Literary Stage Exhibits Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Critique Group Contact: Jean Morrow

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