President's Message

Our year is up and running (or marching, depending on your mode of movement) and I would like to congratulate you on keeping up the momentum. And to continue your verve, we are working on creating even more opportunities for you!  
Perhaps you have a novel blossoming on your laptop, or a poem gracing your smile, and we, the CWC, would be happy to help you move it into the realm of publication. How can we do that? 
  • Monthly speakers. Certainly by bringing scintillating speakers to our monthly meetings, like Joel Friedlander, award-winning book designer, blogger, and writer. 
  • Monthly Think Tank. An after-the-meeting opportunity to stretch your literary prowess.
  • Fault Zone. By offering prospects of being published through our CWC Fault Zone anthology.
  • Marketing your work in the public arena. We are presently working with Barnes & Noble to host member book readings and/or panel discussions this spring. Stay tuned; we're also looking forward to connecting with Kepler's.  
  • San Francisco Writers Conference. By offering volunteer opportunities to work with and meet editors, agents, publishers, and award winning authors this February.
  • San Mateo County Fair. By cosponsoring writing contests, readings, workshops, and so much more. (See additional details in this issue.)
  • San Francisco Peninsula CWC website.  By working and reworking our new website and freshening up our "resources" pages so you have, at your fingertips, prospects of making your writing something others can enjoy. 
  • Future CWC writers' conferences. By apprising you of any CWC writers' conferences in the area, such as the upcoming Tri-Valley Writers Conference in Pleasanton in April 2017. (See notes later in this newsletter.)
And you haven't seen anything yet! Jump aboard and continue your literary journey with a group of new and old friends. 
--Carole Bumpus, SF Peninsula Branch President

February 18, 2017
Guest Speaker: Susan Osborn
Stoke Your Creative Fire: Three Ways to Revitalize Your Writing

Now is a great time to recommit to your writing. But what if you just don't feel that spark?

Don't worry! Storyteller and writer of creative nonfiction Susan Osborn will share three methods of getting yourself fired up to work on your writing.

First, put yourself in a creative state of mind. Second, imagine and invent new content, and Third, experiment with innovative forms.

Susan M. Osborn, Ph.D., M.S.W., is a writer of creative nonfiction, storyteller, and president of LifeThread Publications. She is the senior author of Assertive Training for Women, and author of The System Made Me Do It! A Life Changing Approach to Office Politics.
She has served as the editor of the Lockheed Observer, and as a staff writer for Senior Spectrum, High Technology Careers Magazine, and the Washington Women's New Journal. Her articles have appeared in Judo Magazine, Countryside Magazine, The Employment Times (Maine), The New Leaders (San Francisco), The Fielding Magazine (Santa Barbara), The San Jose Business Journal, and Performance and Instruction Quarterly. Her chapter demonstrating how organizations use stories to build teams was published in Wake Me When the Data's Over. She has taught writing courses in numerous business organizations and universities.
Producing the Awful Bosses Coloring Book prompted her to explore creativity and conceptual blockbusting in relation to writing creative nonfiction. The result is the discovery of a treasure chest of approaches designed to liberate creative ideas.

Intrigued? This will be a hands-on session, so be prepared with a writing instrument of the paper or electronic variety as we explore our creativity and revitalize our writing.
Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
California Writers Club
Sequoia Yacht Club
441 Seaport Court
Redwood City
FREE to first-timers. $10 members. $15 nonmembers.  
$10 students with ID. 
CWC SF Peninsula Calendar

Wednesday, February 15
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Open Mic 
Reach & Teach
144 W. 25th Avenue
San Mateo. FREE


Saturday, February 18
10 a.m. Susan M. Osborn presents: 
Stoke Your Creative Fire: Three Ways to Revitalize Your Writing
Storyteller Susan M. Osborn will talk about putting yourself in a creative state of mind, imagining and inventing new content, and experimenting with innovative forms.
441 Seaport Court
Redwood City

Saturday, February 18 - Think Tank
FREE. MEMBERS ONLY. Immediately after the February program, Ann Foster will lead the Think Tank.  It will be a mini writing workshop based on a suggestion found in Janet Burroway's  Writing FictionMaximum 10 participants. 

Upcoming Meetings

March 15, 2017 - Open Mic 
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Open Mic at  Reach & Teach 
144 W. 25th Avenue, San Mateo. FREE

March 18, 2017 - Think Tank: 
Audrey Kalman
FREE. MEMBERS ONLY. Immediately after the March program,  Audrey Kalman will present  "Think Tank: Blockbusters."   There are many kinds of blocks--road blocks, mental blocks, building blocks--but few as distressing as writer's block. Do you struggle with the tyranny of the blank page? Wonder how you're ever going to start your writing project? Or wrestle with prioritizing the thousand great ideas that spring to mind at 1 a.m.? Come for moral support and to share the tips and tricks that shake you loose and get you writing again. Maximum of 10 participants.

  SF Peninsula Branch now meets at:
441 Seaport Court
Redwood City 
$10 members. $15 nonmembers.
$10 students with ID.

January Program Recap: 
Author Platform, Branding, and Monetization
January's speaker, Joel Friedlander, a.k.a. The Book Designer,
gave a conceptual talk about author branding and platform-building. While many writers shy away from these parts of the business (and it is  a business), Joel used personal anecdotes and stories about writers he has worked with to inspire even the most introverted among us to consider using these basic marketing tools to get our voices into the world. 

Rather than focusing on the how-to of various social media or the details of building an email list, Joel focused on the  why to . "As content creators, we have an obligation to pass on the knowledge and skills we've gained." 

He introduced the powerful concept of the sideways Table of Contents (TOC) . By taking that TOC and--yes--turning it sideways, he showed how nonfiction authors can begin earning money from the book even before it's finishedExample: For a book about pizza-making, create a pizza-making workshop that will meet monthly for six months to teach participants skills you want to describe in each chapter of your book. In addition to getting money up front, you have a built-in writing incentive, a schedule, accountability, and feedback. 

The most important piece of advice for any author is about time. He urges all writers to begin building their brands and platforms long before finishing their books. "No matter when you start," he said, "you're going to wish you'd started earlier."
San Mateo Critique Group

2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 to noon.
The 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.

Great News About the San Mateo County Fair Literary Contests!

The contests are now live so you can enter your 2017 literary Fair submissions today! Why wait? Visit the San Mateo County Fair website at  to upload your pieces! Click on the "Enter Online" link on the right-hand side of the page to enter.
If you have any questions, click on the "How to Enter Online Guide." It is also on the right-hand side of the webpage. And don't forget to read all of the contest rules before uploading your pieces, all of which can be found in the SMCF Literary Arts Contest Book: 
Don't worry if you do not have your pieces ready to upload yet. You have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017. You can also make last minute changes to your submitted pieces. As long as the title remains the same, you can go in and upload the latest version.
Good luck everyone, and we'll see you at the 2017 Fair! We're currently working on our Literary Stage Schedule for June 10-17.
More great news : The contest info is listed on Duotrope, a premier database for literary contests and events . Also, check out my editorial interview

Even more great news: If you haven't heard, our San Francisco Peninsula Writers branch has expanded our nine-year relationship with the San Mateo County Fair by becoming a sanctioned partner. We are now the official judges for all non-sponsored fair contests, plus we're developing templates other CWC branches can utilize to conduct literary events at their local fairs.
We need dedicated judges to make this work, so please step up to help Carry the Light. You can still enter the contests; we'll just make sure there are no conflicts. This will be a fun and easy way to gain valuable judging experience and expand your bio. For more info, email me at
See you at the fair!
Bardi Rosman Koodrin
Literary Director for the San Mateo County Fair                                                                                         
Think Tank
Due to members' desire to attend the January 21, 2017 Women's March, January's  Think Tank was canceled. 
We look forward to February's discussion with exercises based on practical suggestions from Jan Burroway's Writing Fiction. This mini-writing workshop will be hosted by Ann Foster. 
There is a MAXIMUM OF 10 PARTICIPANTS, so sign up early.

Member News
Dr. Ellen Six just published her new book Dancing Among the Tombstones . It is available on  Amazon

Karen Hartley 's poem "Salsa" was featured in WritersTalk , Volume 25, Number 2, February 2017. It was inspired by a picture she painted with the same name.
Tina Gibson just had an interview published on January 24 about her newly-published book Misfit Island .

She was asked nine questions on

Go to for her complete interview.

David Hirzel
 is pleased--no, make that thrilled --to announce the publication in December 2016 of his new book:
This little book has been long in the making. The earliest research correspondence dates from 1991, making this 25-year gestation something of a record for the author. 
Research included handwritten letters to Scottish museums and libraries, two trips to Dundee, a  subscription to
the highly recommended British Newspaper Archive, a class in boat building in Sausalito, and access to Livie Family archives. It was this latter source, discovered when the author met and later married Kathy Ann Livie of Petaluma CA, whose father was the son of the last of the Livie boatbuilders. 
This family-owned business arose in Dundee from obscure beginnings at the end of the 1700s, and became a powerhouse of maritime enterprise spanning at least four generations throughout the 1800s. Their handiwork went to Pitcairn Island in 1879, to Antarctica with Scott's Terra Nova expedition in 1910, to the British Admiralty, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
David Hirzel will be giving a talk at the Dundee Museum of Transport on May 18, 2017 about this book and the notable Dundee family whose history it relates.
James Hanna, author of A Second, Less Capable Head and Other Rogue Stories  had two of his stories published in literary journals: 
" The Vegas Differential," about two nerdy brothers and a fantasy baseball game, appears in A Lonely Riot. "Breaking Vials," a tale about smashing crack vials on the streets of San Francisco, appears in Literally Stories

Mary Beth O'Connor won Honorable Mention for Creative Nonfiction in the Soul-Making Keats Competition.

Darlene Frank's editing client is launching a book, Autism's Stepchild: A Mother's Story, at  Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building, on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 6 p.m. Author Phyllis Grilikhes tells the story of an autistic young woman she worked with who was misdiagnosed and misunderstood for over two decades. Darlene was developmental editor on the book. 

Darlene Frank is pleased to announce her new coaching program for people who are writing deep, personal stories (fiction or nonfiction) and want to create their most powerful art. Find out more at And if you're interested, click here to schedule an hour to talk with Darlene (at no charge) about your writing project.     
Congratulations, everyone!

Submission Opportunities and Local Events


38th Annual Nimrod Literary Awards is accepting submissions January 1 to April 30, 2017: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Nimrod submissions.  

Imitation Fruit Literary Journal, an annual online publication, is looking for fun and upbeat short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, and artwork. Send up to 5 poems or 15 pages of prose. Submission deadline is April 1st of each year and publication is in late Fall. For more information, please see the submissions page at 
Writer Advice seeks flash memoir (750 words or less). Dazzle, delight, and entice us. Winners receive cash prizes and are published. Low fee for solid feedback. Deadline: March 1, 2017. Fee and details: .

2017 San Francisco Writers Conference will be  on February a la carte classes on February 16 and 20. Go to  for details.
California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch is pleased to announce its second full-day writers conference featuring keynote speaker, New York Times and international bestselling author, Anne Perry. This conference will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Ms. Perry is the author of over fifty novels which have sold over 25 million copies. This is a great way to network with authors, marketers, and innovators who share a passion for writing. Other presenters include Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, Victoria Zackheim, Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, Mark Gelineau, Joe King, Linda Lee, Joel Friedlander, David Denny, Jim  Azevedo of Smashwords, Victoria Zackheim, Bruce Raine, Larry Townsend,  and Annie Tucker.
EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION deadline:  February 12, 2017 . Take advantage of the special pricing by  registering now . See the complete  schedule speaker bios , and other key information on the Tri-Valley website.  
EARLY-BIRD WRITING CONTEST (MUST BE REGISTERED TO ENTER) is open to all Early-Bird registered attendees of the TVW 2017 Conference.
Deadline: February 12, 2017. This date 
will not   be extended.
  • Top Honor Prize of $150 for Best Prose.
  • Top Honor Prize of $150 for Best Poetry.
One Entry Per Category
Poetry: Writing in verse. May include prose poetry, free verse, song lyrics, spoken word (i.e., rap). Up to 24 lines (title not included).
Prose: Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, or essay. 1500 word max (title not included). Must be previously unpublished. 

Writers' Corner on the CWC Website
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.

A new feature of the Writers' Corner is a list of branch members who provide writing-related services for a fee: editing, coaching, and more. Check it out! 
Thanks to Bill Baynes, Carole Bumpus, Darlene Frank, and Pratibha Kelapure, with input from other Board members, for updating and simplifying this page to better serve club members and highlight the uniqueness of our branch.

Letter from the Editor

Wheew, we've got the first month of 2017 under our belt; and what a roller coaster ride it has been. As I contemplated recent events and saw people shouting each other down with no one seeming to listen, this poem settled into my head. It's entitled " Communication":

Talking is just talking if I don't hear what you say,
Listening means nothing if opinions won't stray

From what's firmly embedded, ensconced in cement,
Bunkered and shielded from the sentiments meant.

Resisting new thoughts keep the old ones inside
The better to molder and fester and hide

From the fresh air that's needed
To grow and flourish and breathe

Into action and purpose
So we both can succeed.

May we communicate with kindness and succeed in our endeavors, whatever comes our way. May your February be a successful one. Write lots. Sell even more.

--Jeannine Gerkman, Newsletter Editor

Guidelines for Submitting Articles to This Newsletter  
  Want to see your article published here?
We often have room for one or two short  articles. 
Please follow these guidelines when submitting your piece:
  • You must be a current member of the club.
  • Your article must be related to writing.
  • 350 words maximum. (Please indicate the word count at the top of the article.)
Format requirements:
  • Submit your article in a Word or .rtf file.
  • Double-space your manuscript.
  • Use Times Roman font, 12 point.
  • Put only one space (not two) at the end of a sentence.
  • Use the Tab key, not the space bar, when you indent.
  • Edit and proofread carefully before you submit.
       Send submissions to: 
Include the words "CWC Newsletter Article"  in your subject line. Deadline is the 25th of the month. Earlier is encouraged! Thank you.
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