May 2019 | California Writers Club
San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
President's Message
Ready or Not

It hardly seems possible that my two years as club president are already almost done. This is my penultimate (or as we like to say in my family, “Penn-ultimate”) President’s Message. I’ve been on various boards in the past, and have served on the CWC board for five years (three of them as Secretary) plus a three-year stint as our inaugural  Fault Zone  Anthology Editor-in-Chief. Previously when I’ve been approached about stepping into a president role on any board, I’ve politely declined. Well, that’s not exactly right. I think more than once I might have run screaming in the other direction. 

Then, two years ago, it finally felt like time to take this on. I was ready for the club. Was the club ready for me? Thank you for the trust you have put in me to lead us forward. I have so appreciated your generous support and thoughtful words every month, as well as the great suggestions. I have been buoyed by them in what has felt like a charmed two years. I feel very lucky.

Being president of our branch of the CWC is one of the best things I’ve ever taken on. I’m proud that during my tenure we’ve greatly increased the scope of our activities and presence in the community as well as significantly grown our membership. Our branch is currently over 140 members strong, which is incredible! But the even more incredible part is the wonderful energy, diversity, enthusiasm, talent and dedication that our members bring to this club. Together we support each other and form a writing community.

I don’t know how to do half the things that happen behind the scenes. But other people who do have willingly stepped up to take on these jobs as well as create brand-new opportunities that enrich what we do and who we are. It is very much a team effort, and I’ve had a great team. I am gratified to have played a role in the process of bringing our board, volunteers, and members together. A big shout-out to all of you!

At this month’s meeting we will vote in a new slate for the executive board, and come July 1, I will pass the helm to the next president. It’s funny, I don’t even have the inclination to run screaming anymore. Instead, I’m excited to take on my next role in this vibrant and venerable club.

Thank you for being here with me every step of the way.

Lisa Meltzer Penn
May Highlights:
  1. President’s Message
  2. Executive Board Election
  3. Speaker: Carole Bumpus - Critique Group Practicum
  4. Think Tank: Critique Group Networking
  5. CWC Literary Stage - June meeting at the Fair
  6. April speaker highlights
  7. Member News
  8. New Member Gathering - photos!
  9. “I Like to Rhyme” by Ida J. Lewenstein
  10. Bay Area Generations Reading Series - submission deadline May 1!
  11. Bay Area Book Festival - May 4-5, 2019
  12. Beta Reader Program
Executive Board Election
It's Board Election Time!
Our bylaws stipulate that each spring we form a nominating committee comprised of members not running for positions to invite members to consider running, and nominate a slate of qualified officers for the executive board of our branch. The proposed slate is then published in the newsletter.

This year’s nominating committee consisted of Mindy Yang and Lisa Meltzer Penn. The committee nominated the following members in good standing for the 2019-2020 executive board:

President: Audrey Kalman: Audrey Kalman is a novelist, short story writer, and editor. She has served in a variety of positions, from event coordinator to membership chairperson, on a number of non-profit boards over the last 20 years. She credits the first CWC meeting she attended in 2011 with giving her the courage to self-publish her novel Dance of Souls . The connections she formed through the club helped her find a publisher for her next novel. She edited several issues of the club’s Fault Zone anthology series and continues to assist with logistics and editing. Most recently she served as VP/Speakers and remains involved with CWC because of her desire to foster a sense of community among writers.

VP/Speakers: Geri Spieler: Geri is a full-time freelance investigative reporter for . Her writing experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine editing, and her creative non-fiction book, Taking Aim at the President , published by Macmillan in 2009. Her CWC experience includes chairing the Jack London writers conference in 2005 and hosting Open Mic. She has been branch president, NorCal rep, founder of the CWC Leadership Conference, speaker chair, hospitality co-chair and Think Tank chair.

Secretary: Korie Pelka: Korie spent over 25 years working with Silicon Valley executives, building and running communication teams. In 2015, she left the corporate world to travel and discover her own voice through her 3rd Act Gypsy blog, . With a strong belief that she is never lost, just exploring, she is currently diving into the world of memoir and novel writing. In addition, she is a life coach, consultant and workshop facilitator. Korie has served as club secretary for the past year, along with contributing her organizational and event expertise.

Treasurer: Jean Morrow: Jean is a mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, writer and long-time Bay Area resident. She has worked in the corporate environment and with her husband in family-owned businesses. Having returned to writing after decades in the business world, Jean is now working on her third mystery book. She uses her background in technology and finance in creating characters for her short stories and books. Jean has served as our treasurer for the past year, and secretary for a year before that.

Make sure to attend our May meeting so you can vote in the new slate.
May Speaker
May 18, 2019
Speaker: Carole Bumpus
Topic: Getting the Feedback You Need:
A Critique Group Practicum
Do you belong to a critique group? Do you want to be part of one? Do you want to start one?
Having someone else read and respond to your work is an essential part of the writing process. But friends and family may not always be the best choice for a first reading, and beta readers and professional editors come later in the process. Many writers rely on critique groups to help them shape their work and provide encouragement along the way.
The CWC SF Peninsula Branch has had so much interest in critique groups—what are they, how to start one, how to find one, how they work—that we’ve decided to devote a whole meeting to them.
In this meeting, longtime CWC member and past president Carole Bumpus will share the ideas she discussed during Writers Helping Writers and Think Tank. Other veteran critique group members will share their experiences. You’ll learn:

  • How to give constructive feedback without being discouraging
  • What to look for when reading pieces for a critique group
  • Different options for structuring a critique group
  • Best practices for creating and participating in critique groups

The meeting will end with networking time for attendees to meet and talk with other writers who want to be part of a critique group or who have a group that’s looking for new members.

Saturday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m.
FREE to first-time attendees! 
$10 Members; $15 Non-Members; $5 Students/ID
Think Tank - Critique Group Networking
In lieu of the Think Tank program this month, we will use the time to network with others to find a critique group to join, find new members for existing critique groups, or create new groups.
CWC Literary Stage - San Mateo County Fair
CWC SF Peninsula June Meeting will be
Where? At the Fair!

Click here to request your free early entry & parking pass tickets today!

Early entry – 10:00AM for CWC members & ticketed non-members
(Not a member? Be our guest at your 1 st meeting – simply make a ticket request.)
*Ticket and parking pass requests also available at the May CWC meeting.

Come for the 10:00 meeting…stay for the afternoon Writers Block Party!

PARTY KICK-OFF – OVERCOMING WRITING FEARS – Jane Anne Staw offering an interactive session on dealing with emotional blocks to telling your story.
STORYTELLING HEADLINERS – Stories by Ron Jones & Gary Turchin. 
STORYTELLING WORKSHOP – Jeff Hanson on bringing drama to your out-loud storytelling.
5-MINUTE STORIES – OPEN MIC Readings/Tellings by participants.

Event Calendar
Happening Now

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.

May 7, 14, 21, 28, 2019

Every Thursday in San Mateo - NEW!
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Upcoming Events

On the second and third Wednesdays of each month, we meet to learn and teach about writing, publishing, marketing, critique groups and a myriad of other useful writing-related topics. Learn from your fellow writers. Bring an open mind. FREE


2nd Wednesday in San Mateo
Topic: Promoting Your Book
Moderator: Laurel Anne Hill
May 8, 2019,  7:00 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.


3rd Wednesday in San Carlos
Topic: Writing Descriptively
Moderator: Carole Bumpus
May 15, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.

will be on hiatus for the summer
See you in September!
May 18, 2019

10:00 a.m. to noon 
Speaker: Carole Bumpus
Topic: Critique Group Practicum

Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Think Tank will be replaced by Critique Group Networking this month

3rd Saturday of each month

June 15, 2019 -  NEW!
Special Meeting & Writers Block Party at the CWC Literary Stage at the Fair!

July 13, 2019 - Summer Picnic at Twin Pines Lodge

4th Tuesday in San Carlos  New Day! 
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

We get together to share our original work in a warm and welcoming environment. Members and non-members are welcome. Too shy to share? Come as part of the audience. FREE 
May 28, 2019
4th Tuesday of each month
June 25, 2019
April Speaker Highlights
On April 20, 2019, audiobook producer Becky Parker Geist presented “How to Bring Your Book to Life in Audio.”
Geist first got involved with the audiobook industry for a more personal reason—to help her ailing 84-year-old father get his stories into the world. Now she helps other authors get their stories into the world through her production company, Pro Audio Voices. As with any project, she said, the first step is define your goal. This could include making more money, reaching a broader audience, increasing the visibility of your other books, or developing credibility.
Geist outlined two main options for creating an audiobook: going it alone or working with a producer. Whether you work with a producer or not, you’ll need a narrator. Working with a professional often makes sense than doing the narration yourself because, as Geist pointed out, “Nothing is more critical to the success of your audiobook than the narration that will bring your story to life.” You can audition narrators by having them read a short sample from your book. She recommends creating an audition script and choosing a part of the book that’s challenging in some way (complexity, dialogue, accents).

If you produce the book yourself, you’ll handle all the production and distribution. Many authors doing it on their own turn to ACX, the production side of the Audible division of Amazon. This can be helpful in some ways—such as identifying a narrator—but ACX has other drawbacks, which Geist discussed later in the presentation. A producer also can streamline the process of finding and selecting a narrator.

Once you select a narrator or decide to narrate yourself, it’s time to record. There are some very specific technical requirements for audio files, and if you don’t produce them correctly, distribution companies won’t accept them. The files you receive from the narrator should meet the tech specs and be edited to eliminate any mistakes. “It’s really important to listen to the audiobook that you’ve had recorded,” Geist said. This sounds obvious, but some authors skip this step. When you’re satisfied with the reading, the mixing process begins, which might involve adding music, sound effects, or multiple voices.
Audible is not the only game in town when it comes to distribution. Distributing through ACX can limit your royalties (if you opt for non-exclusive distribution) or your distribution options (if you choose exclusive distribution). and (which also does production) are other options. With these, you’ll earn higher royalties and gain distribution through many other channels, including to libraries, which surprisingly account for a substantial portion of audiobook distribution. Whatever platform you use, you’ll have to upload your audio files, make sure your cover image has the right specs (different from Kindle and print), and ensure that your metadata—title, author, BISAC codes, genre, book description—is all correct.
The final step, as with any kind of book, is to market it. Geist’s company developed an audiobook marketing program because she found that so many authors needed assistance in this area.

Did you attend the meeting?   Leave your speaker feedback here.
Member News
Ida J. Lewenstein’s children’s book, Poor Old Goat , has been published. Originally developed to help non-English speakers learn their second language, children will be delighted to discover how to read and pronounce many new words that rhyme together, such as goat, moat, float, coat, and boat. As the author explains, “When there are two vowels together, the first one says its name, and the second one is silent.” Additionally, the book encourages children to interact with the reader in a chant: “Poor old goat, poor old goat! He can’t swim and he can’t float.” Copies are available directly from the author.

An excerpt from James Hanna ’s forthcoming novel, The Ping-Pong Champion of Chinatown , appears in Literally Stories . The excerpt is entitled “Little Miss Twinkle Toes,” and is about the misadventure that befalls a naive young girl who heads to Hollywood with stardom in mind.

Audrey Kalman had four pieces of short fiction published in three publications in the last several months.
"Ramps Season" appeared in Typehouse Literary in January 2019. "Little Jacques and the Bad Man" appeared in Firewords Magazine in April 2019. "Possession" and "Time for Us to Go" appeared in One-Sentence Stories in April 2019.

Would you like to see your news published here? Send your submissions to  by the 23rd of the month with the subject line "CWC Newsletter Submissions."


New Member Gathering
Members who have recently joined CWC SF Peninsula branch gathered on March 24 at the home of Carole Bumpus. We had a great time getting to know all the new members and look forward to spending more time together.
I Like To Rhyme
By Ida J. Lewenstein
I like to rhyme
It suits me fine.
In fact I write this way
Most of the time.
I like the rhythm.
I like the beat.
I like the meter
I often repeat.
Be it ionic pentameter
Anapest or trochee
It doesn't matter
At all to me.
I like to rhyme.
CWC at Bay Area Generations
You're invited to attend the Bay Area Generations reading series!
CWC at Bay Area Generations
CWC Berkeley Branch has been invited to do a show with Bay Area Generations, a notable reading series featuring paired readers of different generations (10 years). The show will be curated by members Sheryl Bize-Boutte and Fred Dodsworth. Kristen Caven, CWC Berkeley Branch President, invites all CWC SF Peninsula Branch members to submit.

Deadline to submit: Midnight on May 1.


All welcome to attend the reading: May 27th - CWC at Bay Area Generations

"We consider all types and genres of writing: poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, nonfiction, plays and scripts, sci-fi and fantasy— anything goes. Collaboration with your works is encouraged but it is not a requirement. Your work submitted by the intergenerational pair need not be connected, other than the fact that you chose to submit together."

Submission guidelines can be found here.
Bay Area Book Festival (BABF) May 4-5, 2019

The CWC NORCAL GROUP announces our participation in the 5th year of the Bay Area Book Festival in Downtown Berkeley. Once again, we have the opportunity to share with other Bay Area writers who we are as the California Writers Club, and what wonderful opportunities we are privileged to receive. If you didn’t get a chance to sign up to work at the booth, but still would like to attend this monumental festival filled with authors like yourselves, please check out this amazing schedule:

Beta Reader Program
Will you be a beta reader?
An author has worked with a critique group and rewritten his or her book, probably several times; it's been reviewed, revised and edited; after years of effort, the book is ready to be sent out to the wider world.

There is, however, one other step in the process, a last pass before submission or publication. The author can have the manuscript read by a neutral third party, the beta reader.

What is a beta reader?    
A beta reader is someone who will read a story as if he or she had picked it off a bookshelf, and who will give the author feedback accordingly. You've heard of the beta tester who puts software through its paces, looking for bugs before release. That's similar to what a beta reader does. However, the reader and the author get to decide the breadth and depth of the evaluation. Keep in mind that a beta reader is not a critique partner or editor.

A beta reader familiar with a particular genre or category, such as horror, fantasy or young adult, might choose a book in that genre, and knowledge of the conventions will help the author ensure the story is what readers of the genre expect. On the other hand, it's a wide world out there, and an author might want to test the reaction of a general reader not wedded to a specific genre. The possibilities are numerous.

Sample questions that might be asked:
  • Did the story hold your interest? Or were there parts where you got bored?
  • Were the characters sufficiently compelling? Were they properly motivated?
  • Was the point of view consistent?
  • Were there any passages you found confusing and had to reread?
  • Did you notice errors of any kind?
  • Was the conclusion satisfying? Or did you feel there were loose ends left hanging?

Be honest:
Any author who asks for a beta reading should expect an honest reaction. In fact, that's the whole point of this exercise. Compliments are great but a candid review is of greater value.

Why Be a Beta Reader?
In the spirit of writers helping writers, please consider being a beta reader. Many members reading one book a year means support for many writers. And, it's not all one-sided. A thoughtful analysis of a book is a learning experience for better writing. Plus you get to be one of the first to read a brand-new book.

Author Eligibility:  
Author must be a CWC SF Peninsula member with completed book length fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry or short story collection.
Do you have a finished book ready for beta readers? If so,  sign up here .
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
This is the place to find Writer's Conferences, Workshops, Volunteer Opportunities, Upcoming Events and Member Ads. 

If you would like to submit an ad related to a writing need or service, send your submission to: 

Subject line: "CWC Newsletter - Classified Ads" 

Together, we can promote our club, boost your career and get you the help you need to move forward with your writing projects. 
Critique Groups
Come to our May meeting where you will learn more about critique group how-to's and best practices, and have an opportunity to find your match-ups!

San Mateo: Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon at 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.

Join CWC SF Peninsula
You may join as a  new member  any time.   Sign up here !
The dues for joining between January 1 and June 30 are  $42.50 . Meeting fees are $10.00 for each meeting attended. (Non-members pay $15.00 per meeting.)

If you pay by check, make it out to "CWC SF Peninsula." Either bring your annual membership funds to the next meeting or mail them to CWC SF Peninsula, P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002. Thank you.
If you have questions, contact Membership Chair, Tim Flood at .

Tim Flood, Membership
Board Members
Executive Board:
President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Vice President: Audrey Kalman
Secretary: Korie Pelka
Treasurer: Jean Morrow     
Appointed Board Positions:
State Board & NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chair: Tim Flood
Marketing & Outreach Chair: Melanie Shook 
Newsletter Editor: Melanie Shook 
Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President & Volunteer Coordinator: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chair: Margaret Nalbach
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Hospitality Co-Chairs: Geri Spieler and Carol Park 
Think Tank: Geri Spieler 
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis
Member-at-Large: Bette Houtchens
Acting SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Guidelines for Submitting to this Newsletter
Want to see your article, ad or poem published here?
Submission deadline is the  23rd  of the month. 

Keep in Mind:
  • You must be a current member of the club.
  • Your article or news must be related to writing.
  • Your piece shall not exceed 350 words.
Format Requirements:
  • Include "CWC Newsletter submission" in subject line and add what you are submitting, i.e. Member News, Article, Critique Group, Member Resources, Think Tank, Event, Classified Ad, etc.
  • Use Word or write text 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.
  • If you have a picture to include, send it as a jpeg attachment to your email. 
     Send your submissions via email to: 
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