Correction: This corrected newsletter includes John Omaha's bio in Poetry Corner, and an edit in the January meeting agenda.

Greetings from Redwood Writers!

January 2023


  • President's Welcome Video
  • Upcoming Events
  • Open Volunteer Positions
  • January General Meeting
  • Author Launch Application
  • Homegrown Poetry
  • Redwood Writers & CWC Events
  • Member News & Events
  • Next Month's Meeting
  • List of Donors
  • Editor's Note
  • List of Volunteers


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

Jan. 10: Board Meeting

Jan. 21: General Meeting

Jan. 21: Poetry Contest Begins

Jan. 28: RW Circle

Everything you need to know about our club's offerings and events can be found at our website:

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.

Would you like to be more involved with Redwood Writers? A few volunteer positions have recently opened up and we'd love to have you as part of our team! If you're curious about any of these, email Judy Baker at

  • Speaker Coordinator
  • Contest Chair
  • Public Relations
  • Newsletter Editor

Is there something you'd like to do for the club that isn't listed here? Let us know and we'll find a place for you!




NOTE: This is a Zoom only event. We will NOT meet in person

In a highly anticipated presentation, Alka Joshi, the bestselling author of The Henna Artist (a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick) and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, and upcoming release, The Perfumist of Paris, will share:

  • How she went from advertising copywriter to NYT Bestselling author
  • What she learned along the way
  • Why she loves her villains as much as her good characters
  • The process of screen adaption
  • And what has changed in her life since becoming a NYT Bestseller

Alka Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. since the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. At age 62, Joshi published her debut novel, The Henna Artist, which immediately became a New York Times bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and is being developed into an episodic series by Miramax TV. The sequel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, released June 2021, and will be followed by The Perfumist of Paris, the third book in the trilogy in 2023.

Connect with Alka Joshi at


January's General Meeting Agenda

  • Zoom meeting room opens at 12:45 p.m. for open conversation
  • Meeting starts at 1 p.m.
  • Featured Speaker
  • Board and Chair announcements
  • Member announcements
  • Adjourn at 2:30 p.m.

Note: Redwood Writers general meeting are held on the third Saturday of the month.


2023 Author Launch

Saturday, February 18, 1-5 p.m.

Finley Center

Are you a newly published author?

If you published a book from Jan. 1, 2022 - Feb. 1, 2023, Redwood Writers wants to celebrate the birth of your new book!

Enjoy the opportunity to read from your book and sell at the event. 

We are looking forward to making you a star!

This event will be a FREE in person event with masks optional, and will also be recorded. Friends and family invited.

Questions? Please email


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.

After the Raindance

by John Omaha

The steady rain’s onset was like making love

after a long and unelected abstinence.

The storm a warm, wet body presses raindrop flesh

against my aching, droughty skin. 

Still her cloudy embrace after doing without for months

is disturbingly unfamiliar.

Prolonged abstinence can do that to a man.

Will I remember how?

Like exiting an airporter in the unfamiliar streets of a city 

never before visited, a Portland.

Where do I go? What do I do? Where are the raincoats 

and the mud boots?

Will I be swept away under sepia clouds?

With the first drops the wonder of renewal reinvents itself

Now I remember how the mighty Sacramento gets filled:

one raindrop at a time. 

And the raindrops pelt down like the plump, ripe strawberries

I tenderly place into my lover’s mouth, her head cradled

on my knee, mouth open, trusting,

as I trust the rain will fall 

after we have done the raindance 

that I will deliver a juicy drop-berry directly 

between her full lips

In California, the first rain of October demands

August’s enforced abstinence, 

the long arid, parched days when rain is as unfamiliar

as computer programming.

When the unrelenting sun calcines the cement 

of Chico’s Broadway Street. 

Suddenly, with the first virgin drops

of the season’s hymen-breaking rainfall, 

the long summer drought is forgotten

overwhelmed by the immediacy of Father Sky’s 

thunderous intercourse with Mother Earth.

Bring on the lightning! Let us have a rain to kick the covers 

to the floor and smash the nightstand!

John Omaha, Ph.D., MFT lives in Northern California. His writing examines how early childhood experience affects adult spiritual, social, and political behavior. Omaha has been a practicing shaman for thirty years and regularly conducts sweat lodges in the Great Mystery Lodge of Humanity Rising. His ceremonies, like his books, emphasize a deep spiritual connection with the natural world, both animate and inanimate.


Poets, get ready! The 2023 poetry contest is kicking off on January 21. Details will be shared at the January general meeting. Start writing!


By John J. Lesjack

Not just anyone attends Robin Gabbert’s Writer’s Salons that begin at 1 p.m. every other month.

October Attendees in Robin’s classic condo included Betty Ann Bruno, retired actor who played a munchkin in Wizard of Oz, Sara Pruitt, President of Central Coast Writers, Dmitri Morningstar, former road manager for celebrities, and the effervescent Sher Gamard, former Salon emcee of eight years duration.

Robin’s December Salon held sway with California Writers Club President, Roger Lubeck, three former RWC presidents: Linda Reid, Roger Lubeck and Anna Manwaring; the current emcee of the Writer’s Circle, Linda Reid, and six self-published writers: Pam, Linda, Roger, Mara, Robin, and Anna; and two good listeners—one with purple hair.

Next meeting happens on the fourth Saturday in February; the starting time is 1 pm. And remember: Valentine’s Day brings out the story genre that sells—romance!  

Our shopping karts clanged together and something resonated in my heart. I admired her figure and tight sweater. I didn’t know she had implants. She admired my smile. She didn’t know I had dental implants. Was it kismet? What was that song that was playing? Why, why, why didn’t I let the kids wait in the car?

Find out more about the Salon at



Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m.

The Circle's mission is to offer members a constructive and enjoyable environment in which to read their works, among the warmth and support of fellow writers, and to include brief evaluations and short talks on craft and other writing-related subjects.

Agenda for meetings will follow the following format:

  • Meeting runs 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Those to be "readers" will be limited to the first 20 RW members who register
  • Other attendees may participate as "listeners"
  • Each reader will have a total 5 minutes (including, introductory remarks)
The following are announcements from a few of our fellow CWC branches. To see all branch events, visit the CWC events calendar at

Napa Valley Writers Presents:

“Podcasts as Platform: Making the Most of the Newest, Hottest Medium”

Napa Valley Writers will feature Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, who hosts a bimonthly podcast, The Morning Glory Project: Stories of Determination. The MGP, now in its fourth year, includes interviews of inspiring survivors, thrivers, innovators, trailblazers, and barrier busters. Betsy is dedicated to telling, or helping others to tell their stories. She is a licensed psychotherapist and works as a developmental editor and coach for public speakers and writers of memoir, fiction, and non-fiction. She is award-winning author of a novel, Fire & Water, a critically acclaimed memoir, Filling Her Shoes, and From Page to Stage: Inspiration, Tools, and Public Speaking Tips for Writers

John Petraglia will be November’s Member Reader.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 11, 7-9 p.m.

WHERE: Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists, 1625 Salvador Ave. Napa

Napa Valley Writers, a non-profit organization, is a branch of the California Writers Club and holds monthly meetings. Cost is $5 for members, $7 for non-members. Students with ID, free. For more information, contact or see

Always open to the public.

Submit your writing news to CWC's The Bulletin!

The deadline to submit to the next issue of The Bulletin is March 1, 2023. All submissions should be sent to

For new book releases, short stories, poems or articles, or news of literary honors. 50 words or less. Put “Member Spotlight” in the Subject line. Send a copy of your book cover in JPEG format as an email attachment.

Articles on writing craft, marketing and publication: Send a proposal by email. Contributors will receive a short blurb to promote their books and/or services.

Photographs: JPEG format, sent separately (not embedded in a Word doc or PDF). Please provide complete details in the caption, including names of people pictured.

To see the current issue of The Bulletin or more information on submissions, visit

Note: This is separate from the Redwood Writer newsletter. To submit your news or articles to this newsletter, please email


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.
Sonoma County Literary Update

Have you heard about the Sonoma County Literary Update? Published by Jo-Anne Rosen and Terry Ehret, this free online publication is sent out once a month as a service to writers and those interested in writing-related news and events. For submission guidelines, visit
Marie Judson keeps an ongoing list of RW members interested in joining or creating a writing group. If you would like to find a critique group, or add more members to an existing group, send your genre(s) and contact information to You'll receive an email with the subject line, "Writers seeking writing groups." You can then either reply to all or select specific writers to contact. This has been an ongoing free service for Redwood Writers members for nine years.




Cynthia Axell

Richard Boyd

Malena Eljumaily

Heather Furnas

Sharon Hamilton

Karen Hayes

Pamela Heck

Crissi Langwell

Shawn Langwell

Adele Layton

Roger Lubeck

Halle Pryor

Linda Reid

Kathleen Scavenge

Linda Stamps

An easy way to support Redwood Writers...

Dear friends,

I’m writing this in the early morning of the last few days of December, a period of time that feels as foggy as the scene outside my window. It’s been a week of doing as little as possible, which feels glorious after a month of holiday prep and wrapping up the rest of this year’s to-do list. 

This sharp contrast from busyness to sloth-like movements also has me thinking about the coming New Year and returning to productivity and working on my goals. There’s that temptation to make a long list of intentions for 2023. The usual—lose weight, save money, write lots of books, get more organized, do all the things. But my personal history has proven how ineffective it is to plan for a complete overhaul of my life on the first day of a New Year…especially when, in this week between Christmas and New Year’s, I’m becoming the furniture as I lie around and do as little as possible. 

Let’s get real—a long list of lofty goals (especially without a plan to make them happen) on Jan. 1 will be a list of abandoned items by Feb. 1. 

That said, I believe in planning goals for a new year. I think it’s a great form of motivation. But instead of planning to do more, be more, attain more…I want to actually do less, thus creating more space for the things, experiences, and people that fill my spirit. 

I’m still not sure what that looks like. Like I said, I’m still wrapped up in the weighted blanket of post-holiday lethargy. Plus, my natural inclination is to do all the things in a subconscious effort to avoid what I really should be doing (ahem, my writing). So this is the ultimate challenge for my new year—to do less so I can eventually do more.

How about you? Do you make New Year’s goals or plans? I’d love to hear about your thoughts on New Year’s goals, and if you have any, what they are. Share them with me through email, or leave them as a comment in the thread on If anything, this will be a great way to put positive energy into your plans, and invite all of us to cheer you on as you work to make it a reality. (Or, if New Year’s goals aren’t your thing, share that too.)

Most of all, Happy New Year to all of you! May 2023 be your best year yet!


This month in Redwood Writers, I am incredibly excited about the upcoming presentation by Alka Joshi, the author of The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, two books that captured me when I read them. This meeting will be on Zoom only, so please don’t show up at the Finley Center. 

We also kicked off the submission portion of Author Launch. If you published a book this past year, please sign up to be one of the featured authors! This is a special bonus for RW members, and with all the promotion, it’s a great way to get eyes on your new book. 

Also launching this month is our latest contest—the poetry contest! Details will be shared first at the meeting on Jan. 21, so don’t miss this meeting. 

Finally, take a moment to peruse our website at Along with the newsletter, this is the key to keeping up to date with all that’s happening in Redwood Writers. This month you’ll also find the slideshow from our Member Appreciation event in December, where you’ll see many of the things our members and volunteers have accomplished over the year. A huge thank you to Roger for putting that together. 

Aaaaand we have a lot planned for Redwood Writers in 2023. I know I’m excited. I hope you are, too!

Happy writing!

Crissi Langwell

Newsletter Editor


Redwood Writers would not be a possibility without our many wonderful leaders and chairpeople who generously volunteer their time and efforts. We appreciate you!

Board of Directors


Judy Baker, President

Crissi Langwell, Vice President

Jeane Slone, Vice President

Malena Eljumaily, Treasurer

Crissi Langwell, Secretary (interim)

Shawn Langwell, Immediate Past President

Tommie Whitener, Vault Master, Policies & Procedures

Roger Lubeck, Membership Chair

Mara Lynn Johnstone, 2023 Prose Anthology Editor

Les Bernstein, Member at Large

Adele Layton, Member at Large


Chairs and Editors


Les Bernstein, Poetry Anthology Chair

Skye Blaine, Newsletter Poetry Editor

Fran Claggett-Holland, Poetry Anthology Editor

Robin Gabbert, Writers Salon

Cynthia Gregory, 2022 Prose Anthology Editor

Pamela Heck, Volunteer Coordinator, 2022 Sonoma County Writers Conference

Marie Judson, Critique Groups       

Jeanne Jusaitis, Author Support

Crissi Langwell, Website Editor, Newsletter Editor, Social Media

Shawn Langwell, 2022 Sonoma County Writers Conference Chair

Linda L. Reid, Writers Circle & Poetry Anthology Liaison

Jeane Slone, Author Launch & Fair Coordinator

Deborah Taylor-French, Author Support

Our next board meeting is on Tuesday Jan. 10, 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.

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.
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