San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
March 2020 | California Writers Club
President's Message
Dear CWC Members,

When I first drafted the president's message a few days ago (yes, I procrastinated), it was a lighthearted look at trivia for the month of March.

Given fast-moving events related to the COVID-19 virus, that no longer seems appropriate.

The CWC board has been discussing the impact of the virus on our meeting plans. We have not made a final decision about whether to cancel our March 21 meeting. However, given recommendations from public health officials, particularly our local San Mateo County Health Department, we are leaning in that direction. We are considering options for a virtual gathering instead. Please watch your email over the next few days for updates.

We also don't yet know what to tell people about events such as Writers Helping Writers, our weekly Shut Up & Write gatherings, or our workshop in April. At this point, we are leaving it up to individuals to make their own decisions about what is right for them.

At times like this, I am more grateful than ever for the writing community we have built. The strong ties we have developed over the years will carry us through this challenge. While we may need to curtail our physical contact, we have the strength of our words and caring--not to mention some great technology--to keep us connected.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


P.S. Don't forget that you can enter the Literary Arts Contest without leaving your house. Deadline is April 1 . See below for details.
At this time we are considering whether or not to cancel our March meeting and other in-person events. Please watch your email for updates.
Upcoming Events
March Meeting: You Can Be a Winning Writer
Saturday, March 21, 2020
10:00 AM
Joan Gelfand
In her presentation "You Can Be A Winning Writer: The 4 C's Approach to Author Success," Joan Gelfand will teach the critical steps to take to build Craft, Community, Commitment, and Confidence—a surefire and proven approach to becoming a published author.

Joan’s poetry, fiction and reviews appear in national and international publications. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, serves as development chair of the Women’s National Book Association, and blogs regularly for the Huffington Post.

Joan’s newest collection of poetry, “The Long Blue Room,” is from Benicia Literary Arts (2014). Her previous books are: “A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams,” San Francisco Bay Press; “Here and Abroad,” (winner of the 2010 Cervena Barva Fiction Award); and “Seeking Center,” Two Bridges Press.

Think Tank after the meeting: Join us for a peer led discussion of our writing craft and tools for creation. This month, Sheetal Patel presents "Make your writing known: Creating your professional digital presence and brand." Whether you are looking to increase your readership, make your writing known, advance your career by exploring new opportunities, or communicating the value you bring in your current role, in today’s world, it is essential to have a digital professional brand story – an online roadmap for how people will experience you (as a writer and your writing). Your questions and discussion are encouraged.
Literary Arts Contest Deadline: April 1
Call for entries for the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Contest

The California Writers Club SF Peninsula is very pleased to announce the 12th year of its partnership with the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Department!

Enter your writing in any of a dozen divisions available in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry for a chance to win prizes and be featured at the Literary Arts Stage at the Fair June 13th - 21st.

The strict entry deadline is April 1st at 11:59 PM.

For categories, prizes, and entry instructions, see the Contest Booklet.

Please note: this is NOT an easy system to navigate. Megan McDonald will stay after the CWC meeting on March 21st to help people enter via laptop. Have your files accessible and a credit card on hand.

There will also be an entry checklist posted in coming days to assist those who can't make the meeting. Additional questions? Email

Good luck and happy writing!
Workshop: 10 Key Scenes to Frame Your Novel
Saturday, April 4, 2020
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

In this four-hour workshop with C.S. Lakin, you’ll learn:
  • What the 5 major turning points are and where they’re placed in your novel
  • How to know exactly where to start your story and how to set up your premise
  • What the ten key scenes are that serve as the framework for your novel
  • What pinch points are and why you need them
  • How to craft those essential twists
  • Why your protagonist’s goal is the key to great storytelling
  • How to bring out your story’s themes

$75. CWC members use the code CWC for a $15 discount.
Get Involved: Bay Area Book Festival
Saturday and Sunday, May 2–3
11:00 AM–5:00 PM each day
Downtown Berkeley
Here’s another great opportunity to promote CWC membership at our CWC booth at the Bay Area Book Festival's outdoor fair. It's a great opportunity to hear and question some of the best minds in the book writing business while at a local fair, sell your books at the booth, and meet other great local authors including other CWC members.

Over two days, eighteen CWC booth volunteers will staff two-hour shifts (11-1, 1-3, and 3-5 each day) with two staffers and an alternate on each shift. 

Contact Tim Jollymore, 510-387-2662.

Volunteers must email Tim the following:
  1. Name
  2. Club affiliation
  3. Phone number and cell phone number
  4. Preferred day
  5. Preferred shift
  6. Any special requests
Note: Carrying a working cell phone the day of the fair is required.
Thank You, SF Writers Conference Volunteers!
We would like to thank everyone who volunteered from our branch for the SFWC booth and acknowledge those who were recipients in the Poetry Summit and Screenwriters Summit. Volunteers included Carole Bumpus, Darlene Frank, Audrey Kalman, and Richard McCallum. Recipients of passes to the summits were: Richard McCallum and Theo Coppolo for the Screenwriting Summit and Carol Park for the Poetry Summit. (I received reviews from Richard and Carol.) Darlene Frank and Carole Bumpus represented CWC at the only CWC panel at the SFWC, which went off amazingly well. 
CWC Panel
My Poetry Summit Experience
By Carol Park

About a decade ago I attended the SF Writer's Conference twice. Great experiences as I focused on fiction, but I didn't need a repeat for this stage of my writing. So I hadn't returned. I've invested time and money in my writing in other opportunities and pursuits.

But the idea of a one day course on Poetry - paid for by CWC - appealed! It would be a great break from grappling with my novel.

I couldn't find much information on it online, so I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised and elated at what I experienced on Saturday, February 15.

I've been to one-day poetry workshops (hosted elsewhere) and this was the best! I loved the smaller nature of it (30-40 participants). The fact that we stayed in one room during the four different segments greatly reduced stress. The presenters were quite varied in their backgrounds (from poet turned publisher, to a mother of four, to a Burmese poet laureate from El Cerrito, to a UC Davis professor and poet.) They projected a sincere caring as poets and people. The panel approach to gave a crucial element of diversity in approach and content. The whole experience was a skywards lift and I came home with a new poem I'd written while there, new comrades in my poetry pursuits, terrific ideas about how to proceed in revising my poetry, and ideas for where to read at open mics and submit for publication.

Thank you so much for making this opportunity possible. I truly appreciate it.
Recurring Events
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).

Every Tuesday in Foster City
9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Every Thursday in San Mateo
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Join your writing peers as they lead free workshops on the techniques of writing.

2nd Wednesday of every month
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

3rd Wednesday of every month
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

A monthly opportunity to read your work and hear the work of others. All are invited for this free event.

4th Tuesday of every month
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

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

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

Member Announcements
James Hanna's latest anthology, Shackles and More Gripping Tales, is available on Amazon. This book contains twenty-one tales written in the spirit of Kafka and Hunter S. Thompson. It is recommended to readers who like stories that are both literary and bizarre. Note: Strong language and some adult content.
Audrey Kalman has won a 6-month literary arts residency with Shuffle, an emerging on- and offline community for artists.
Building a Club Twitter List for Support
By Mark Dooley

At the Think Tank in February, we laid the ground work for creating a list of members on Twitter.

We can use the list to support each other. When one of our club members posts exciting news or an appearance, we can offer our support by liking the tweet or retweeting it out to the world. We use the ‘networking’ part of a social network to boost everyone. There's nothing like being noticed to make the work of writing more appealing.

The club twitter account is @CWCSFPeninsula . Follow that account, if you please, to see upcoming events from the club and select outside events. When you look at the profile of the account, follow the list link and you’ll see the California Writers Club list.

Click the big, blue subscribe button, and you too can hear about, and support, other club members. Send an email to and we will add you to the list so people can find you as well.

You can download the Think Tank presentation here . It covers a fraction of what’s available on Twitter, but we can help each other to improve.
Get Involved!
Marketing Team
Calendar Master - Keep our master Google calendar up to date with club and other activities
Event Promoter - Post our events to Facebook and MeetUp (familiarity with FB helpful)
Newsletter Editor - Gather stories/events and edit. Work with newsletter production to produce newsletter monthly, plus occasional updates.

Fault Zone Book Publicity Team
We need help to get our wonderful new anthology and the whole Fault Zone series to a broader audience with readings and book sales. Contact Lisa Meltzer Penn to find out more or just chat about how you can get involved. What’s your creative vision for CWC?

Presenters for Writers Helping Writers
Our monthly series (currently the second Wednesday of the month at the San Mateo Library and the third Wednesday at the San Carlos Library) are casual sessions in which a club member leads a discussion about some element of craft, such as writing, plotting, research style, or anything else that goes into the process. You don't have to be an expert on a topic, just interested and comfortable leading a discussion. Contact Geri Spieler to get involved.
Resources for Members
Critique Groups
Looking for critique group partners? We can help! Please contact Lisa Meltzer Penn .
Part Time Job Available

The English department at Cañada College is looking for an instructional aide to coordinate its on-campus writing center. If you are a writer looking for a part-time job at a community college where some writing skills are needed, check out the job listing.
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: Korie Pelka
Treasurer: Jean Morrow

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
Memberships: Tim Flood, Margaret Nalbach
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Newsletter Editor: OPEN
Newsletter Production: Corinna Sherman
Hospitality: Megan McDonald
Think Tank/Writers Helping Writers: Geri Spieler 
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Megan McDonald
SMCF Literary Stage Manager: Laurel Ann Hill
SMCF Literary Stage Exhibits Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Critique Group Contact: Lisa Meltzer Penn

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