President's Message
February, 2018 

January 1st was about resolutions. The rest of January was all about roll out. I'm pleased to report that we've successfully launched:
  • Writers Helping Writers - San Carlos Library Writing Program: Held the third Wednesday of each month. CWC members teach classes on writing. For January 2018, Laurel Anne Hill taught Breathing Life Into Your Writing: Story-Writing Basics. February 21, Pratibha Kelapure will teach Yes, Poetry; and March 21st, Lisa Meltzer Penn & Audrey Kalman will lead a session on Red Pen Secrets: Editing TipsThanks to Lucy Ann Murray and Carole Bumpus for their initiative in arranging our new partnership with the San Carlos Library. We look forward to presenting CWC readings and panel discussions there in the future. 
  • Inaugural Critique Class for New MembersHeld January 22nd. Teaching the skills of effective critiquing, for your own work and while in critique groups. The second of the two classes for this initial group will be held February 5th. Hosted by Carole Bumpus, assisted by Lisa Meltzer Penn. Our first-ever Critique Group Training began with an enthusiastic group of new members who brought a keen eye and lots of ideas to the table. We all honed our skills and benefited from the group interaction at the first meeting. And that was just a practice session! Becky Levine's The Writing & Critique Group Group Survival Guide is turning out to be a useful resource for both the new and the experienced critiquer. It never hurts to review the basics. I know I learned a few things. The author is a CWC member and has spoken at our branch. Are you looking for a critique group? Your club wants to help members form groups! More information to come in the spring. 
  • CWC SF Peninsula Edition of Shut Up & Write: Every Tuesday 9:30-10:00 am we say hello and chat about writing. 10:00-11:30 am we pull out our projects, then shut up and write! Penelope's Coffee & Tea, Foster City. Maximum 6 participants. Sign up for your spot at the table on our club Meet Up page. Thanks to Audrey Kalman for moderating the group.

Visit for up-to-date information on events and club happenings.

Without volunteers, we can't make any of these things happen. Thank you to members who have stepped up to help with various positions in our club. Tim Flood has joined Margaret Nalbach on the Membership Team. Alisha Willis is our new Parliamentarian. Doug Baird and Richard McCallum have agreed to be shutterflies and document our meetings in photos. Melanie Shook has been proofreading these newsletters, even checking in from the top of a volcano in Hawaii. Talk about dedication! Thomas Crockett has stepped up to be our website proofer. We are in the process of creating a new PR Assistant position to focus on Fault Zone  and arrange public readings. And more. A lot goes on behind the scenes. I'd also like to give a special thank you to Bette Houtchens. Bette has been our hardworking and super-organized Membership Chair and Parliamentarian for several years, and has gone above and beyond in conscientiously mentoring her replacements. 

See an opening to lend your skills?

Contact or to chat.  Look further down for information about volunteering at our CWC booth for the upcoming San Francisco Writers Conference.
Finally...if you still haven't gotten your copy of our newest  Fault Zone: Uplift  anthology, you can buy one at the next meeting or order on  Amazon . I've now read it cover to cover and it's filled with fantastic, and yes, uplifting work! Members are on hand at meetings to autograph your copy. Congratulations again to all contributors. We hope to get some readings on the calendar soon and take the show on the road! Guidelines for the 2019 edition are in the works.
We are chock-a-block with information this month! Keep reading - there's more to come.  Until next month, Happy writing,

Lisa Meltzer Penn
President, CWC San Francisco Peninsula Branch
February 2018 Highlights:
  1. President's Message
  2. February 17, 2018 Speaker - Albert Flynn DeSilver
  3. Storytelling at Open Mic
  4. San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts
  5. San Francisco's Writer's Conference February 15-19

Speaker: Albert Flynn DeSilver
Topic: Writing as a Path to Awakening - A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life

This talk is based on Albert's brand-new book for writers and born out of his popular workshops by the same name, which he has led nationally for the past several years.  Writing As A Path To Awakening is a book of inspired practical creativity and spirituality. Whether you are a creative writer working on a memoir, the next great American novel, a poetry collection, a script for TV, new essays, or are simply exploring the art of journaling to reflect on your emotional life, this book offers practical insights, innovative exercises, and fun anecdotes about the joys and challenges of the writing life. 

Bio:   Albert Flynn DeSilver is an internationally published poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of several books of poems and the memoir Beamish Boy, which was named one of Kirkus Reviews "Best Books of 2012." His latest book is Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer & Living an Awakened Life (Sounds True, 2017), which bestselling author Dani Shapiro has called "a gentle, lucid, erudite and compassionate guide," and has been garnering great reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and was recently named a "must read" by Bustle Magazine.

Albert served as Marin County California's very first Poet Laureate from 2008-2010. He has shared the stage with US Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, bestselling authors Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many others. Albert teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, Shambhala Mountain Center, and at writing conferences nationally.

Date: February 17, 2018 Time: 10:00 a.m.
Where: The Sequoia Yacht Club 441 Seaport Ct, Redwood City, CA 94063
CWC SF Peninsula Calendar

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
(NEW!!) Shut Up & Write
Every week on Tuesday
Penelope's Coffee & Tea
3 Plaza View Lane, Foster City

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
Open Mic at Reach & Teach,
Moderator: Audrey Kalman
FREE but please purchase something in the store to show our support. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
(NEW!!) Monthly Member-Led Community Writers Groups
San Carlos Public Library,
Instructor: Prathiba Kelapure 
Topic: Yes, Poetry

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
Open Mic at Reach & Teach,
Moderator: Pratibha Kelapure 
FREE but please purchase something in the store to show our support. 

MEETING WRAP-UP  January 20, 2018
Untangling Copyright: A Crash Course for Creators
Brianna Schofield, Executive Director of Authors Alliance 

Scofield's presentation was truly a crash course. She briefly covered copyright basics, publication contracts, fair use, and getting rights back. There were lots of ins and outs; one important takeaway was the resources provided by Schofield's nonprofit, Authors Alliance . They offer free electronic versions of many of their guides, including "Understanding Open Access" and "Understanding Rights Reversion." It's well worth joining Authors Alliance--it's free to become a member--so you can keep up with these topics and have resources available when you need them. 

We have set up an  online form  to gather your feedback on our 2018 speakers. It should take only a minute or two to fill out. If you attended the meeting, we'd appreciate your thoughts. 

Audrey Kalman 650-303-2405
Think Tank 

After our regular meeting, all those interested meet for an opportunity to discuss a different writing-related issue. The Think Tank is open to all members, guests and newcomers.  

February 17, 2018 Moderator: Alfred Jan: Writing criticism of art, books etc. There will be a short lecture, discussion, Q and A; handouts of his published reviews; reference to textbook on art criticism, writing exercise about a painting on canvas. Attendees will learn about the nature of criticism and how to write visual art reviews as well as other cultural practices like performance art, theater, books, etc. For those who want to pursue this activity, this session demystifies the subject.

We are always on the lookout for Think Tank moderators. You don't have to be an expert to lead a fun and informative discussion.  Be sure to contact Geri with your questions and/or ideas at .

Geri Spieler

Member News
West Coast Writers Conferences has invited Laurel Anne Hill to join the faculty of the Genre-LA Creative Writing Conference 2018. Location and dates: Los Angeles Valley College, Feb. 22-24. On Friday, Laurel will moderate one panel (When Worlds Collide: Writing a Short Story that Sells). She'll participate in the Saturday Keynote Panel ( A Brave New World for Women: How Dystopian Worlds Are Merging with the Times). On Sunday, Laurel will give a solo presentation ( Reviving the failed manuscript: CPR or Necromancy?). 

Do you have Good News to share about your writing? Tell us all about it by sending it in to


Storytelling at CWC Open Mic

Have you heard any good stories lately?
Once a month, hosts Craig and Derrick, owners of the San Mateo "Reach and Teach" bookstore, give writers a chance to tell great stories at CWC's "Open Mic" event. CWC Board Member, Pratibha Kelapure, usually moderates.
I looked through my manuscript, Tangled in Tudor Times, for a standalone read-out-loud scene. "Oh, here's a conversation between three brothers. The oldest brother is establishing an alibi that my protagonist would find interesting."
For the open mic I fleshed out my draft with more conversation and minimal action. I wanted to show that the oldest brother is:
  1. Dirty, slovenly and low class. Still he knows it's his job to look out for his younger brothers.
  2. A little bit crooked, but not the sexual predator we suspect him of being.
Now where did I put that "Writer's Digest" article on dialog?
I rewrote the scene. After I polished it, I practiced diction, pace, and dramatic pauses.
My buddy, Marilyn, drove all the way from Sunnyvale to hear me read for six and a half minutes! Afterwards, in a text, she indicated - fine, but. . . "It was hard to be transported into a story that we don't really know anything about. "
That's when I got the point of Open Mic.
Back before e-books, paperbacks, and Guttenberg's press, my many-times-great grandma knew how to tell a story. She settled into her favorite storytelling spot by the fire and transported folks into her own world, real or fantasy.  My tales are more than polished scenes. They are descendants of the jokes, fairy-tales, and memories Grandma shared from her storytelling spot.
I'm going to keep working at transporting folks into my stories, just the way my many-greats Granny did it.  Because I've found a storytelling spot at the open mic.

Laurel Shimer 
By Ida J. Lewenstein
Memory is a funny thing
Some people remember it all.
Then there are those who
Write it all down and
Still others who seldom recall.
Sending Good Wishes.. 

..To our  SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator  Bardi Rosman Koodrin as she recovers from jaw cancer surgery.

..To our PR Chair Bill Baynes on the loss of his wife, Donna.

..To long-time member and former board member Margaret Davis on the loss of her husband, Ray.

We are thinking of you all!


On January 16, Laurel Anne Hill attended the monthly San Mateo County Fair Staff Meeting.  Important Points Regarding Literary Arts:
  • There will be no SMCF "Carry the Light Anthology" in 2018. As a result, there will be more emphasis on contest-winner readings on the opening day of the fair.
  • Literary contest submissions deadline to be April 2, 2018.
  • Those interested in presenting/volunteering on the Literary Stage should contact Laurel Anne Hill at Fair volunteers will receive free entry and parking passes.
SMCF Contest Book
The contest book will be going online in stages. 
Go to: to check on the contest book status.  The release of the hard-copy contest book should occur in the late January or early-to-mid February time frame. Reminder postcards (to former exhibitors, libraries and community centers) to go out in March.
Exhibitor Outreach
School Outreach: Notices are going out soon to school superintendents in San Mateo County about ticket and exhibit programs. Laurel requested that information about adult writing contests (those taking entrants as young as sixteen years of age) be sent to local high schools.

Online Entry Information for The Literary Arts Department is located at

Laurel Anne Hill

at the Mark Hopkins Hotel

Main Conference: Thursday, February 15th through Sunday, February 18th, 2018  Celebration of Craft, Commerce and Community for Writers
Master Classes: February 19, 2018  
The mission of the San Francisco Writers Conference is to build bridges to better tomorrows for writers connected to the conference by:
  • Giving writers the information and inspiration they need to
    • write and sell their books
    • make them successful
    • reach their literary and financial goals
  • Providing a forum for writers, agents, publishers, and writers organizations
  • Helping writers build the networks they need by creating a community of writers online and off . . .
Because the California Writers Club's mission statement mirrors that of the SFWC, we are able to reach out to many of the same writers who are seeking help, support and encouragement in their writing by providing them with information about our Club.

This is the CWC's seventh year at the conference as an exhibitor and each year our booth improves. Our eye-catching banner, a Tri-Fold Display of some of our member authors' book covers, our redesigned CWC brochures and of course, YOU.  To volunteer for this year's conference, contact Tim Jollymore from the Berkeley Branch at: Remember, we are sharing our writing stories, our connections through the CWC, our understanding of the CWC and meeting new friends.

Carole Bumpus
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

Flash Fiction & Poetry Workshops conducted by  Pratibha Kelapure :

Online Flash Fiction Workshop - Beginner - January 8 - February 12
Online Flash Fiction Workshop - Advanced - February 19 - March 26
Online Poetry Workshop - All Levels - January 8 -Feb 12

Technical Requirements: A computer, email account, and internet access.  Sign up to unleash your creativity with the expert leader in a supportive environment.  Click here to learn more. (Classes have already started. You will need to request an invite if you wish to participate.)

Member Discounts

Family Tree Magazine (for genealogical writers and researchers) has offered CWC members $3 off a one-year subscription (7 issues). Price would be $24 vs. the $27 "standard intro price." California Writer's Club members can receive a discounted Family Tree Magazine sub rate for 7 issues for $24.00. When ordering by phone (888-403-9002) club members should mention source key: 87DCWC. Expiration on this agreement is  6/30/18.



Critique Groups

SAN MATEO: Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon at t he 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.


The Bulletin 2018 - Submission Deadline February 28th

The CWC Bulletin, statewide digital news, scheduled to come out mid-March of 2018 has a deadline for individual advertising AND branch news of February 28, 2018. 

Advertising can be obtained by following the directions on  to reach almost 2,000 writers at a low, low price.   

In continuing with our coverage for all 22 branches, as editor-in-chief, I'd like to update our submissions process so the least amount of errors and omissions will keep all readers informed.

I have added a second set of eyes as a reviewer for content. Her name is Angie Horn and she is also his proofreader. It will be her job to check on submissions and tally up the content including photos that come in from all over the state. Together we can double-check entries and compare notes.

All submissions sent to should meet some basic requirements to make our jobs easier.
  • Email Subject lines should include: "CWC Bulletin - "Your Branch Name"
  • Photos must be in jpg format. I convert them to a web-based format.
  • Please provide any captions to identify people in your photos
  • Text is preferred in MSWord Arial 11 point or a standard generic text
  • Please send your news separate from photos so I can place them in The Bulletin without a lot of conversion processes.
  • Never send pages directly from your own branch newsletters. I'm not able to deconstruct PDF content and embedded photos.
  • I will respond with a receipt to all entries received, so if you don't hear from me, something has happened to it. Send it again or call me.
  • If you miss your deadline, just call me and we'll discuss it.
  • After The Bulletin is viewed on the web, and you find a major mistake, call me and we'll see if it can be corrected after the fact.
I'll be requesting these standards to be posted on our website for easy access.  The Bulletin is published three times a year - March, August, and November.  All news submissions and advertising are due - 28 th  of February, July, and October. Display Advertising info and rate sheet is available in each issue or email me.

If you have any questions please send an email to   760.646.2661

Rusty LaGrange

Executive Board:
President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Vice President: Audrey Kalman
Secretary: Jean Morrow
Treasurer: Pratibha Kelapure        
Appointed Board Positions:
State Board & NorCal Rep & Volunteer Coordinator: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chairs: Margaret Nalbach & Tim Flood
Publicity Chair: Bill Baynes 
Newsletter Editor: Jeannine Gerkman 
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Bardi Rosman Koodrin 
Fault Zone Editor-in-C hief: Laurel Anne Hill  
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President: Carole Bumpus
Web Manager: Pratibha Kelapure
Hospitality Co-Chairs: Geri Spieler and Eve Visconti
Think Tank: Geri Spieler  
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis

Guidelines for Submitting Articles to This Newsletter  
  Want to see your article or poem published here?
Please Note: The submission deadline has been changed to the 23rd of each month. 

Keep in Mind:
  • You must be a  current member  of the club.
  • Your article must be  related to writing.
  • Your piece shall not exceed 350 words.
Format Requirements:
  • Use Word, .pdf, or write 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.
       Send your submissions to:  
CWC SF Peninsula   |    Email    |    Website