February 2021
Our next board meeting is on Tuesday, February 9, 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.
Mark your calendars for this month's upcoming events! Keep reading the newsletter for more details about each event.
February 9: RW Board Meeting

February 10: New Member Orientation

February 17: Creative Spark Workshop with Michael Shapiro

February 20: RW General Meeting & Author Launch

February 27: RW Salon
Saturday, February 20
1 - 2:30 p.m.
via ZOOM*
Free admission for members and guests
Celebrate the new publications in 2020 by Redwood Writers members. Join us and hear 12 authors read excerpts from their books. This meeting is a club tradition. Jeane Slone is the coordinator and host. We encourage all members and guests to attend free of charge. Come early to mingle. Show your support for our fabulous writers!
  • Brenda Bellinger, Taking Root
  • Skye Blaine, Must Like Dogs
  • Marlene Cullen, The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing
  • Ida Rae Egli, Krisanthi’s War: In Hitler’s Greece
  • Robin Gabbert, Diary of a Mad Poet
  • Ilene English: Hippie Chick
  • Laura McHale Holland, The Kiminee Dream
  • Marty Malin, Grandmother’s Devil & Other Tempting Tales
  • Nancy Martin, From the Summer of Love to the Valley of the Moon
  • Mark Piper, The Old Block
  • Joan Prebilich, Hey, Mr. Ballerino Man!
  • Brittany Sweeting, Bubbly by the Sea

Learn more about our participating authors and their books at

At the February meeting, we are launching our next writing contest! Be sure to attend to find out what it is!
February's General Meeting Agenda
  • Zoom meeting room opens at 12:45 p.m. for open conversation
  • Meeting starts at 1 p.m.
  • Author Launch readings by featured authors
  • Chair announcements
  • Member announcements
  • Adjourn at 2:30 p.m.
  • Mingle on Zoom until 3 pm.
*WHAT IS ZOOM? It's the most popular online platform for virtual presentations, meetings, get-togethers, etc. Just go to and download the app on your phone, iPad, or computer (camera required to participate). If you can't join us live, you will be able to download the presentation for viewing/sharing at your leisure (and don't we have plenty of that!).
Wednesday, February 10
Online via Zoom
6-7:30 p.m.

As a new member, you probably have questions about the Redwood Writers and the California Writers Club

Join President Shawn Langwell, Roger Lubeck, and other board members to ask questions and learn about the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club.

If you can join us, please RSVP to Roger Lubeck, Membership Chair.

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.
Marlene Augustine-Gardini retired from the music industry as Senior Director/West Coast Promotion for MCA, a division of Universal Music Group. Her passion is animal rescue, especially "TNR," the trapping/neuter/ release of feral cats. After residing for decades in San Francisco she, her husband, and their fur of rescues live in Northern California.
On The Playground
By Marlene Augustine

He was a reader of books at recess
Not one to hang upside down
From the jungle gym
Not one to take part in anything
That involved anyone else.
So, he surprised even himself
As he looked up
And saw an injustice;
As he tore into the mean bully
On the playground
Cuffing him upside the head
And unleashing a fury
On someone built like a freezer
When he himself was a small boy
Just on the cusp of being
A young man
A David to a Goliath
Without a stone
Or slingshot
And took him down.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 27
1 - 2:30 p.m. via Zoom
Valentine’s Day Month, Let’s write about…LOVE

It can be new and exciting, unrequited, or old and comfortable as a pair of well-worn slippers. It can be passionate, familial or between best friends (including pets!). You choose and write your story or poem about LOVE for the February Salon.

Email Robin Gabbert at if you would like to attend the February Salon (Sweet Sher is handing over the reins to Rockin’ Robin). Please indicate if you’d like to read. We will have 12 readers slots and they are first come first serve. Listeners are always welcome as well! You’ll be sent the Zoom link before Salon, once registered.
February Workshop
The Creative Spark Workshop 
with Michael Shapiro
Michael Shapiro
WHEN: Wednesday, February 16
TIME: 6-7:30 p.m.
COST: $25 for CWC members, $35 for nonmembers

This is an online event.

Creative people have a certain spark: a brightness in their eyes, an inquisitive way of looking at the world, a desire to make things. But that spark doesn’t reside solely in people seen as creators. It’s in all of us, just waiting to break out. This workshop will talk about cultivating our creativity in whatever ways we choose to express ourselves.
This workshop is perfect for creatives, authors, poets, artists, and those want to deepen their creativity.

This workshop is open to all members of Redwood Writers, California Writers Club, and to the public.
The Creative Spark
Michael Shapiro is the author of The Creative Spark: How musicians, writers, explorers, and other artists found their inner fire and followed their dreams, published in late 2019. The book is a collection of interviews and biographical sketches that serve as inspiration for creative endeavors. Among those Shapiro interviewed: Smokey Robinson, Lucinda Williams, Francis Ford Coppola, Pico Iyer, Jane Goodall, Amy Tan, David Sedaris, and Barbara Kingsolver.

A freelance journalist, Shapiro’s features have appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. He’s written for magazines including National Geographic, Saturday Evening Post, The Sun, and Alaska Beyond. He’s even profiled Jane Goodall for O the Oprah magazine.

Shapiro’s first literary book, A Sense of Place, is a collection of interviews with the world’s leading travel authors including Bill Bryson, Jan Morris, Peter Matthiessen, Isabel Allende and Paul Theroux. For this book, Shapiro traveled to the authors’ houses, such as Frances Mayes’ home in Tuscany, to write about what place meant to them, not just the places to which they traveled, but the places they chose to call home. Find him at
March Workshop
Poets & Authors Transitioning to Screen
with Indigo Moor
WHEN: Wednesday, March 10
TIME: 6-7:30 p.m.
COST: $25 for CWC members, $35 for nonmembers

This is an online event.

Whether in poetry or prose, the desire to see our work on screen is irresistible. Breaking onto this platform takes more than desire. Similar to your primary genre, scripts have their own tools and elements that must be observed to make your work palatable to directors, actors, and producers. With Indigo Moor, an award-winning poet & author.

This workshop is open to all members of Redwood Writers, California Writers Club, and to the public.
Indigo Moor is a former faculty member at the Stonecoast MFA Program, where he graduated in 2012 with an MFA in poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting. Three of his short plays, Harvest, Shuffling, and The Red and Yellow Quartet, debuted at the 60 Million Plus Theatre’s Spring Playwright’s festival. His full-length stageplay, Live! at the Excelsior, was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award. The subsequent screenplay was optioned as a full-length film. Indigo continues to consult for independent filmmakers as scriptwriter and advisor.

Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento, Indigo Moor’s fourth book of poetry Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize. Jonesin’—a multi-genre work consisting of poetry, short fiction, memoir pieces, stage plays—will be published in spring 2021. His second book, Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His first and third books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both parts of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Indigo is an adjunct professor at Dominican University and visiting faculty for Dominican’s MFA program, teaching poetry, short fiction, and introduction to stage and screenwriting. Find him at
Do you have valuable writing tips to share? Have you learned something about marketing that could help other writers? Perhaps you know the secrets to finding an agent or gathering reader interest on social media. This section is dedicated to sharing writing-related wisdom with our fellow writers. If you would like to contribute to this section of the newsletter, please send your 300-word or less article plus a bio to the editor at for possible publication.
10 Things Writers Can Post on Social Media
by Crissi Langwell
One of my favorite things about my writing career is marketing through social media. It can also be the most frustrating part. Some days, the content writes itself. Other days, the last thing I want is to be social.

However, there are some important reasons to keep with social media. For one, it helps readers know who the writer is behind the words. Two, it is a great place to lead people to your work. And three, it’s where most people are, and where you’ll find a community who cheers you on.

Building a platform takes time and consistency, and a little bit of strategy. Before I share what to post, let me first go over the guidelines for effective posting practices.

  • Be authentic. Be yourself.
  • Plan what you'd like to post ahead of time
  • Post at least once a day, if possible (or at least post consistently)

With that out of the way, here are 10 things you can post on social media:

  1. A blog post you’ve written
  2. A quote from your book
  3. What you’re reading now (NOT your own book)
  4. Something funny that happened today
  5. Something in current events or pop culture that your readers would be interested in
  6. A quote from another author or influential person. (hint: go to and create an image out of it!)
  7. A top 10 list of books your readers would enjoy if they like yours
  8. News of a book event you’ll be attending
  9. News about your book release, or a sale on your book
  10. A photo of you writing, living life, or just plain having fun

Please note, only two of these ten items are directly about your book. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80–20 rule: 80% of your posts are NOT about your book, and 20% of your posts are.

Also, it’s a good idea to think about who your reader is. What kind of person would like to read the things you write? What other things would they like besides your books? Keep these things in mind with everything you post, because what you’re really trying to do is build an audience that is interested in YOU, and not just your book.

Happy writing, and happy posting!
Crissi Langwell writes romance, magical realism, and women’s fiction novels that often tell the story of the underdog. She is also the social media coordinator for Redwood Writers, and the marketing coordinator at her day job. Find her books and social media links at
Each month, the Redwood Writer will feature an exercise to help inspire your writing. This month, the focus of our exercise is on poetry, specifically Haiku. Note: this can be an exercise you do on your own, or you can send them to for possible publication in the newsletter.
Haiku is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. Traditional Japanese haiku consist of three phrases in a 5, 7, 5 pattern. Similar poems that do not adhere to these rules are generally classified as Senryu.

In a Japanese haiku, a Kireji or cutting word, typically appears at the end of one of the verse's three phrases. In English, since kireji have no direct equivalent, poets sometimes use punctuation such as a dash or ellipsis, or an implied break to create a juxtaposition intended to prompt the reader to reflect on the relationship between the two parts.
Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a Kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a Kiro (seasonal reference).
Exercise 1
Write a traditional Japanese Haiku - three lines, with 5,7,5 syllables, a cutting word or breaking punctuation, and a seasonal reference. The theme should be a reflection on nature.
Exercise 2
Write a Senryu - three lines and 17 syllables, that reflects on a dark, foolish, or humorous aspect of human nature. 
Exercise 3
For each poem, revise the poem using different word choices that do not change the meaning but change the tone of the poem. In choosing words, consider this guide at
Note: To help you adhere to the 5,7,5 syllable format, an app that could help is
The CWC Literary Review is now accepting submissions for their 2021 issue. Deadline to submit is March 15, 2021.

This year's submission categories are:
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Memoir
  • Essay
  • Poetry
  • Humor

To quote a luminary of the Literary Review:
“We have no particular theme, most content is acceptable. We do look at the technical stuff. When assessing fiction and memoir, we chew over story and character development, realism, pacing, grammar, and reader engagement. With essay we add information, persuasion, and factual interrelationships. For poetry we want to be moved with an emotional experience. Writing, they say, is easy. Good writing is a challenge to imagination, memory, and skill. Minor errors can be fixed.”

The Literary Review is looking for excellent writing. Light themes and humor are always welcome. Unacceptable are pieces that proselytize, are libelous, or contain gratuitous vulgarity. They will accept excerpts from previously published work provided that you hold the copyright.

For all the guidelines and submission information, click the link below.
P.S. If you would like to be part of the acquisition team, please contact the managing editor at Judges are allowed to submit their own writing, and are welcome to read as little or as much writing in any preferred category.
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.
Natasha Yim’s new math-concept picture book, LUNA’S YUM YUM DIM SUM, was released by Charlesbridge Publishing on Dec. 22, 2020, as one of the books in their Storytelling Math series. 
She has just signed on with Disney Press to create a picture book based on a yet-to-be-released Pixar film. Publication is set for Spring 2022, 6 weeks before the release of the movie.

Upcoming Free Virtual events with Natasha Yim:

Thurs., Feb. 11, 5:00 pm. - Books, Inc. - Join Natasha Yim and illustrator Violet Kim for a virtual Chinese New Year presentation of Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum (Charlesbridge Publishing 2020), with a book reading and some virtual activities. Natasha will read the book and Violet will show some of her early illustrations.
Sat., Feb. 13, 11:00 am. - Walt Disney Family Museum - Celebrate Chinese New Year with Natasha Yim as she reads her picture book Mulan’s Lunar New Year (Disney Press, 2018). Join this virtual story time to find out how Mulan helps her family prepare for this all-important Chinese festival.

Wed., Feb. 17, 3:30 pm. - San Leandro Public Library - Help author Natasha Yim ring in the Year of the Ox as she reads her picture book Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2014), a multicultural re-envisioning of a classic fairy tale set amidst the colorful festivities of Chinese New Year.

Sun, Feb. 28, 11:00 am. - Mendocino Book Company - Join Natasha Yim for a virtual book launch of her math-concept picture book Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum. Enjoy a reading of the book and create a Chinese red “lucky” envelope with the author. Swing by the bookstore and pick up an activity kit with craft templates and coloring pages before the event, or request to have it emailed to you.
Writers Forum is sponsored by Aqus Community Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring people together. 
6:30-8 p.m. - FREE
Forum details and Zoom URL:
February 10: Storytelling for the Armchair Traveler
With Kate Farrell, Lisa Alpine, & Mary Mackey
Learn how to share your adventures with friends and family through well-crafted stories. Interactive session, with prompts, writing, and storytelling.
February 18: Family Storytelling
With Kate Farrell, Waights Taylor, Jr., and Bev Scott
Learn to share your family stories with friends and family through well-crafted stories. Interactive session, with prompts, writing, and storytelling.
Marlene Cullen
Kathleen Torian Taylor presents her debut novella, Death by Arrangement

Sarah’s structured life as an accountant in downtown San Francisco is about to take a hard left. She knows all about deceit but not how to trust again. For three years her love life revolved around a liar and a cheat. But now she yearns to become a torch singer. Enter Jerard from Los Angeles whose mysterious ways both entice and discourage her. A serial killer haunts the 24-hour news cycle, and when she comes face to face with his latest victim, fear and self-doubt creep in like uninvited guests. Is Jerard “the one” or another mistake? An unexpected encounter thrusts her into darkness, and Sarah must use every ounce of strength in a battle for her life and dream of singing her song.

Death by Arrangement is available for pre-sale on Kindle, Amazon. Paperback to soon be released. Publish date, February 1st.
CWC Marin
Hey, You Don't Look Tense
with Tiffany Yates Martin

Sunday, February 28, 2-4 pm.

Tension and suspense are among the most important elements of compelling, readable fiction that grabs your reader and compels her to turn the page. Learn how to identify where your manuscript may let them lag; how to instill tension into every single scene and page; what “lizard-brain writing” is and how to use it to amp up tension and raise stakes, develop character, and further plot; and more. Filled with practical examples and exercises, this workshop will supercharge your writing and set your stories apart from the pack.
Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and New York TimesWashington PostWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling, award-winning authors as well as indie and newer writers, and is the author of the Amazon bestseller Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing. She leads workshops and seminars for conferences and writers' groups across the country and is a frequent contributor to writers' sites and publications. Under the pen name Phoebe Fox, she's the author of the Breakup Doctor series and her most recent release, A Little Bit of Grace (August 2020, Berkley). Visit her at or
CWC NorCal Calendar

Because of social distancing, most events are now held virtually. This presents a unique opportunity to attend events, workshops, and meetings held by other CWC branches that would have been difficult to attend in person. To keep up to date with upcoming events, be sure to check the CWC NorCal calendar at the button below.
Coming soon to the Redwood Writers website is your opportunity to find the perfect critique group. Marie Judson will be helping to pair members with other writers of the same or similar genres, and help groups expand their membership. Details coming soon in the newsletter, and at
We're not just writers, we're readers, too! Have you read a book you think others should read? Send your 100-word book review and a photo of the book to the editor at for possible publication in the newsletter.

Note: We welcome reviews about your fellow Redwood Writers' books!
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

I haven't finished this book yet, but so far it's been an absolute delight to read. Shantaram follows an escaped felon who runs to Bombay, and ends up on a journey of self. It's a story of the human condition, both of self and of life in Bombay, and the writing is exquisite. So many friends have recommended this book to me, and I'm glad to finally be reading it.

- Crissi Langwell
Redwood Writers extends a warm welcome to our newest members! Since we can't meet in person, we're sharing a little about each new member here in our newsletter. Be sure to say hello at our next general meeting!
A mom on a mission to fight the forgotten opioid epidemic and prevent other families from losing their children.

Liz Pires is a career marketing executive in the high tech industry and has spent the last 30+ years in the corporate world. A Texas native, she moved to California in 2012 and settled in the north bay. While Liz enjoys reading good books, she doesn’t know the first thing about writing one! But, a burning passion to share her story to save lives and remove the negative stigma surrounding addiction has motivated her to learn.
Sarah Rabkin
Writing the Image: Drawing the Text
Online via zoom on March 20

Did you forget to renew your membership? Or are you still on the fence about joining? January is the perfect opportunity to make the leap and join Redwood Writers.

On January 1, 2021 new members can join the club for the half year price of $42.50. If you are a past member and forget to renew in 2020, you can also join in January for the half year price.

Our 2021 calendar is a full schedule of inspiring speakers, fun writing contests, valuable workshops, and publishing opportunities through our anthologies. Join in January to receive the reduced rate, and to take advantage of all the Redwood Writers branch has to offer.
I always love February, since it's the month of LOVE! But it's not just love for couples; it's love for friends, family, pets, and most important, yourself.

How are you showing yourself love this month?

If your writing has been taking a backseat to all the other things in your life, love yourself by spending time with your writing. Maybe self love means an afternoon reading a good book ("If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." - Stephen King). Or self love can be stepping out on a limb and sharing your writing with other people. A great place to do this is at this month's Salon, where the theme is LOVE!

However you celebrate love, I hope you feel the love all month long. Happy writing!
In case you missed it, here are some of the events and information we shared in this newsletter:

  • Our February meeting is Author Launch, featuring 12 RW members and their newly published books
  • Redwood Writers Salon is this month, and you're invited to read your writing.
  • Registration is still open for our February workshop with Michael Shapiro, and now open for our March workshop with Indigo Moor
  • New Member Orientation is this month
  • Learn what to post on your social media
  • Try a writing exercise using Haiku
  • Stay tuned for a new contest, to be announced at the February meeting!

I hope you have a wonderful month. Much love to you all!

Crissi Langwell
Redwood Writer Editor
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 to the newsletter editor at Send your poems to the poetry editor at Submission guidelines may apply, read section for requirements.
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.