May 2022
Our next board meeting is on Tuesday, May 10, 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.

  • President's Message
  • Upcoming Events
  • Open Volunteer Positions
  • 2022-23 Board Nominations
  • Helene S. Barnhart nominations
  • May General Meeting
  • "Imagine" Writing Contest
  • On Fire Anthology Submissions
  • Homegrown Poetry
  • "Crossroads" Poetry Anthology Launch Party
  • What is Literary Success?
  • Writing Exercise
  • Redwood Writers & CWC Events
  • Member News & Events
  • New Members
  • Editor's Note

Mark your calendars for this month's upcoming events! Keep reading the newsletter for more details about each event.

May 1: Prose Anthology On Fire accepting submissions

May 10: Board Meeting

May 21: Author Support (in person!)

May 21: General Meeting with Vicki Dello Joio

May 15: "Imagine" Writing Contest deadline

May 28: RW Circle
NOTE: If you are reading this newsletter through your email, it may be clipped at the end. If you don't reach the editor's note, be sure to click "view entire message" at the bottom of this newsletter.
Would you like to be more involved with Redwood Writers? A few volunteer positions have recently opened up and we'd love to have you as part of our team! If you're curious about any of these, email Shawn Langwell at

  • Speaker Coordinator
  • Contest Chair
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Public Relations

Is there something you'd like to do for the club that isn't listed here? Let us know and we'll find a place for you!
Nominations are open for 2021 election of officers for Redwood Writers. Nominations will close on June 1. All elected officials also agree to serve on the Board of Directors. Additional nominations must be in writing. The nominee must also write a letter that states he or she will accept the nomination. Please send your nominations to the Nomination Chairs, Jeane Slone & Adele Layton:,

Below is the slate of officers currently nominated for election at the General Meeting on June 18. Each of the nominees have been contacted and have agreed to serve a duly elected term for Redwood Writers year July 2022 to June 2023.

Judy Baker

Vice Presidents
Crissi Langwell
Jeane Slone

Nancy Martin

Malena Eljumaily

Judy Baker, Nominee for President
Book Marketing Mentor Judy M. Baker helps business authors get more bang for their book, turning intellectual property into multiple streams of income with minimal effort. After conquering cancer in 2014, she became an author advocate and self-publishing evangelist. Her memoir/guidebook will be published in 2022. Her workshops and one-to-one mentoring have inspired hundreds of authors to build awareness about themselves, their books, and their businesses. Judy shows how small, strategic action steps build your audience, get attention, grow connections, and help sell more books and services.

Crissi Langwell, Nominee for Vice President
Crissi Langwell joined Redwood Writers in 2012 and has served in the past as the club's editor for the past two anthologies, and is currently the club's board secretary, social media manager, and newsletter editor. This year, Crissi published her 12th book, a humorous romance novel titled For the Birds. Several of her short stories have placed in the Redwood Writers contests, and two of her novels won awards in the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

Jeane Slone, Nominee for Vice President
Jeane Slone has been a member of Redwood Writer’s club since 2009. In that time, she has served as board vice president, and chair of Author Launch and the author event at the Sonoma County Fair. She is the owner of ESL Publishing Company and also distributes local author books throughout the county. Jeane Slone is the author of four historical novels: She Flew Bombers, She Built Ships, She was an American Spy and She was a WW II Photographer Behind Enemy Lines, and written a Television Script titled: War Gals: Unsung American Heroines, which has been optioned by a Hollywood producer.

Nancy Martin, Nominee for Secretary
Nancy J. Martin is the author of a memoir From the Summer of Love to the Valley of the Moon, a jeweler working and showing her jewelry collections at both the Arts Guild of Sonoma and Healdsburg Center for the Arts and a docent in the museum at Jack London State Historic Park. Nancy was awarded third place in a short story contest in 2020. In 2021 she had a short story included in Redwood Writers anthology Remember When, and also in Work in Progress, an anthology edited by Mandy Haynes. She is currently the Contest Chairperson in Redwood Writers.

Malena Eljumaily, Nominee for Treasurer
Malena Eljumaily is an award-winning playwright and short story writer. Several of her short plays have been produced around the country. She is an avid mystery reader and also enjoys knitting. She has been a member of Redwood Writers since 2008. Malena lives in Santa Rosa.
In 2010, the Helene S. Barnhart award was instituted in memory of our founder to honor a member with years of outstanding service to the Redwood branch, to be given in alternating years of the Jack London Award. Helene served as the branch's first president after she and 45 charter members founded the Redwood Writers.

It is time to select our next recipient.

If you know of a member who has gone above and beyond in serving Redwood Writers and all our members, please nominate them for this honorable award. Nominations should be sent to our president, Shawn Langwell, by May 8. 

The board will vote at the May board meeting and announce the recipient at the May general meeting.
For more info and a list of past winners, please visit
Your Power Presence for Writers
Uncommon Ways to Inspire Your Audience & Amplify Your Impact

Presented by Vicki Dello Joio
Have you ever given a presentation that just didn’t quite land? Vicki Dello Joio believes that it’s the energy you bring that matters most — It can put people off or draw them to you. Many people think of energy as healing arts, but there is also energy in the stories you tell — both what you say and how you say it.

During your time with Vicki, you will:

  • Explore impactful ways to touch your audience while staying You.
  • Learn techniques to keep your material fresh and clear brain fog (even if you have stage fright)
  • Get your glow on from the inside out

Vicki Dello Joio is an inspirational speaker, show-stopping theater performer, and life-changing workshop leader whose brand of brilliance inspires visionary speakers and writers to step into the spotlight, speak out and make the impact they know they were born to make.

Drawing on decades of experience as both a theater performer/director as well as her life-long study of Qi (energy) arts, Vicki’s distinctive integrative methods have fired up heart-centered messengers with passion, presence, and power every time they appear on live or virtual stages.

A Hall of Fame-recognized teacher of the Chinese Art of Qigong, Vicki is the author of The Way of Joy, a “Spiritual Fitness” program that has inspired people from coast to coast and internationally with embodied reminders that Joy is your birthright—a fuel, not a goal—and your secret key to life satisfaction and abiding success.

Since 1987, her unique and effective methods have touched and transformed hundreds of speakers to stand and deliver with joy, confidence, and ease.

Connect with Vicki at
Saturday, May 21
1 - 2:30 p.m.
at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa
and also online via Zoom

$5 Members / $10 Guests

Masks are required by all, regardless of vaccination status to attend this meeting, per CDC.

May's General Meeting Agenda
  • Finley Center opens at noon for networking with other authors
  • Zoom meeting room opens at 12:45 p.m. for open conversation
  • Meeting starts at 1 p.m.
  • Vicki Dello Joio, "Your Power Presence for Writers"
  • Chair announcements
  • Member announcements
  • Adjourn at 2:30 p.m.
Redwood Writers "Imagine" Contest

Can you imagine...?
I never imagined...?
What or who, in your imagination has inspired you?
Where does your imagination take you?

You are invited to enter our latest writing contest with a theme of "Imagine." Memoir and fiction stories accepted. Entry fee is $10 CWC members and $15 non-members. Deadline has been extended to May 15. For guidelines, visit the link below.

We can't wait to see what you imagine!
Theme: On Fire
Editor: Cynthia Gregory
Genre: Short Fiction/Memoir
Word Limit: 2500 words
Open Submissions: May 1, 2022
Close Submissions: June 15, 2022
Fire is a primal and mythic symbol in life, literature, and the evolution of humankind. Since the discovery of fire, igniting a flame has been a hallmark of warmth and comfort. We share ancestral stories around campfires, and a robust hearth is a symbol of a well-kept home. 

As a symbol, fire can mean being consumed by passion. Flames can be a comfort or a danger, as we have discovered in California; as we add a fifth season to our calendars: fire season. Intense heat can refer to a super-natural world beyond our planet as in blazing comets and lava spewing interstellar volcanos.

Haven’t we all burned at some time in the heat of shame, love, or conflict? Certainly after the past two years we are familiar with the fever dreams of Covid 19. 

The mythology of fire has been used to represent transformation, ambition, purification. We celebrate good and bad circumstances with something that has been called firewater. We admire pioneers and call them trailblazers and there are some who, like a Phoenix, rise from the ashes.
As a writer, what does On Fire mean to you?

If fire ignites your imagination, submit a 2500-word short fiction or memoir entry by June 15. I will soon put out a call for judges and editors as well.

Contact editor Cynthia Gregory at
Cynthia Gregory, MFA, is an award-winning author of short stories. Her work has appeared in a range of publications, including The SunGlimmer Train, the Briar Cliff ReviewSanta Barbara Review, The Ear, and Central PA. She took second place in Writers Digest annual fiction contest, first place in the Glimmer Train Family Matters short story competition, and first place in the Mark Twain Short Fiction Prize. 

Cynthia coaches would-be authors through the exciting and terrifying process of writing and producing the book of their dreams through 1:1 coaching, online workshops, and group coaching. She lives in California’s Sonoma Valley with her rescue pups, Winston the Wonder Dog, and the fabulous Mr. Blue.

Her books, Journaling as Sacred Practice, and What is Possible from Here are available on Amazon. Find Cynthia online at

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.
The Subtle Knives
by Robin Gabbert
I am not Philip Pullman,
but I often wonder
if the Santoku and paring knife,
both of which, mostly, keep their heads down
(surrounded by streaks of teak 
and solidly encased in their block)
are not each 
plotting their revenge against me;
Waiting, silently,
for just the right opportunity to slice me 
in some unsuspecting locale.

What will it be this time?
Between my ring and little finger?
At the bottom of my palm just
shy of
that critical vein of blue running below the pale white skin of my wrist?

While I used to think I wielded
these tools with some skill
(or at least tried to),
I’m now inclined to think
they’re the ones that know 
their way 
around the kitchen
or more aptly 
my anatomy.


Robin Gabbert returned to writing poetry after retiring from work as an attorney. Robin has published in Redwood Writers Poetry anthologies And Yet... and Beyond Distance, and in the California Writers Club 2020 Literary Review. Her first book, Diary of a Mad Poet, Poems is available on Amazon. She is currently hosts the Redwood Writers Salon and is working on her second book of poetry.

Join us for a free Launch Party to enjoy food, friends, and great poetry in celebration of Crossroads, the 2022 Redwood Writers Poetry Anthology.

Date: May 29, Sunday
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Potluck: Bring your favorite dish to share (wine & beverage provided)
Location: Linda L Reid's home/garden - address will be sent with confirmation of your RSVP.

Book available at Launch for $12

Thank you to our two amazing editors: Fran Claggett-Holland and Les Bernstein.
Last month in I asked members to share their personal definition of literary success. Here is what some had to say:
Natasha Yim:

Literary success is an ever-changing yardstick. The trick is to not fall into the rabbit hole of comparing yourself to other writers. Someone has more book sales, more published books, more awards etc. That's a confidence-basher. We have to focus on what we can control, and not what we can't. We can control what we write, how often and how much we write, and what we do to make our writing better. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in how many books we’ve published (or not) and book sales, but literary success is about community, friendship, mentorship, and connection. After all, that’s what we want our books to do—connect with our readers in a profound and memorable way. If my work has inspired, motivated, soothed or tapped into the emotions of just one reader, that's literary success for me.
Shawn Langwell

Anything I submit to be published or anytime I share stories I have one goal: to connect to at least one person in an audience or to a reader. When someone takes the time to acknowledge that something I wrote touched them on an emotional level, to me that is a success. It's why I write what I do. 
That happened recently with one of the proofreaders for my story "Just Keep Swinging" in our club's anthology, Remember When. She told me that it brought her to tears as she recalled all the years of being involved in Little League. 
Feedback like that is what fuels my desire to just keep writing.
John Compisi:

There are many measures of being a successful writer that mean so much to me. I check our website every day to see the thousands and thousands of people who have visited our page and commented on our experiences. I feel invigorated and enticed to write more and often, as this digital feedback is like honey to a bee. I get a rush of reassurance that others are taking the time to read the writing that I took the time to consider and put into words. On the other hand, contributing to the various anthologies with the Redwood writers and the Bay Area Travel writers brings me back to true creative writing where the editors and judges look critically at my efforts and say "you can do better"…and I can. I feel encouraged and, again, stimulated to work harder at this sometimes daunting task of expressing my feelings as I consider the events and adventures I have experienced in my life.
Nancy Martin:

Long or short no matter what genre, arriving at the culmination of a literary effort can be a cathartic experience for any writer. After putting pen to paper and finally holding the long-awaited documentation of one’s self-expression is the pinnacle of personal literary success. All the great reviews in the world cannot compare to the supreme self-satisfaction of knowing that you have put your very best efforts into the finished product.
Roger C. Lubeck:

I believe the definition of success should be a personal choice. All too often, we let the culture, media, critics, historians, and scholars define success for us. In my opinion, why a person writes effects his/her measure(s) of success. In the past, I wrote business articles and books because they advanced my career and reputation. Today I write fiction and poetry because writing is a way of being creative. For me, writing is not a life-long habit or compulsion. I never kept a journal and until my first computer, I avoided writing because I could not spell. Computers and programs like Word allowed me to enjoy writing. For me, writing is not therapeutic, and it is not a source of income. I recognize great writing when I read it and weak writing when I write it. My goal is to improve as a fiction writer. I value exploring new genre and literary forms because it is a sign that I am still learning. Recently I saw my one of my plays performed on a stage and another story performed by a readers’ theater. That experience was one of the most satisfying moments in my life. I realize that I love it when people comment positively on a poem, story, book, or play of mine, and I take seriously any criticism. Having an impact on an audience or reader is rewarding. Even if the audience is just one person or me. That is enough for now.   
Want to participate in next month's callout? Keep an eye on!
Each month, the Redwood Writer will feature an exercise to help inspire your writing. This can be an exercise you do on your own, or you can send your 300-word (or less) piece to for possible publication in the newsletter.
Creating the Perfect Hook

Do you know what’s harder than writing a novel or a long piece of writing? Summing it up in a few short sentences. You can write 70,000+ beautiful words to a gorgeous story, but as soon as someone asks you what it’s about…it’s like all words have left the building. 

I recently took an Amazon Ads course, and one of the most interesting parts of the course was coming up with hooks for our novels. On Amazon, you have 149 characters to hook a reader, which isn’t a lot. However, if you’re strategic with your words, it’s all you’ll need.

As I thought up hooks for my own novel, I couldn’t help noticing how everything I was learning made it easier to share what my book was about. Not only that, each hook could be expanded on for pitching my book to agents, or to even use in my social media marketing. In all, I came up with almost a dozen different hooks about my book that I can now use in a variety of ways.

Here are a few things to think about when creating your perfect hook (courtesy of Best Page Forward’s Amazon Ad’s course):

For Fiction or Memoir:
  • What your protagonist wants
  • What’s in their way
  • What are the most dramatic consequences of not getting what they want?

Fiction in Action
  1. She was wrongfully convicted. The cops want her back in jail. But this stone-cold victim has her sights set on payback.
  2. When witchcraft goes wrong, Hell wants her soul. Can true love save her from deadly darkness?
  3. She’s the girl next door. He’s always just out of reach. When violent weather sparks an unexpected attraction, has love’s lightning finally struck?

For Non-Fiction:
  • The problem the reader is trying to solve…
  • But expressed as a positive Result rather than a negative Issue 
  • Followed by framing your book as the solution to this problem

Nonfiction In Action 
  1. Seeking more space in the day to grow that enterprise? Learn the female-centric secrets to getting ahead and staying sane.
  2. Want to be the early bird that catches the worm? Discover ways to take control of the dawn and help triumph over every challenge.
  3. Trying to picture the daily life of ancient Romans? Discover a deep resource for digging up the story behind the rubble.

As an exercise, use the formulas above to create 3 different hooks about one of your books or longer pieces of writing. If you like what you wrote, feel free to share it in next month's newsletter by sending to
Mission of RW Circle: 
To offer members a constructive and enjoyable environment in which to read their work among the support of fellow writers. Bring your Prose, Memoir, Poetry and more.

Meeting format:
Meetings will be in-person unless otherwise notified.
Meeting begins at 10 a.m. and ends at Noon.
  • Those to be “Readers” will be limited to the first 20 who register.
  • Other attendees may be “listeners.” 
  • Each reader will have 5 minutes, including introductory remarks.
  • After each reading there will be a one-minute written critique.


For questions email
May 21, noon - 12:45 p.m.
Held at the Finley Center before the general meeting

Please join us in person to chat about writing, listen to the challenges of others, and share resources. All levels of writers can benefit from participating. Published authors enjoy this group as well as beginning writers. This is a forum where you pick the topics and questions to be discussed. Discuss the challenges of writing fiction, memoir, or nonfiction. Find new ways to handle rejection, writers' block, or to start a critique group.
The Author Support Group's purposes are to help those who want assistance getting unstuck, want new resources, or need guidance in choosing options. 

Registration not required.
The following are announcements from a few of our fellow CWC branches. To see all branch events, visit the CWC events calendar at
Marin CWC Branch

Through June the Marin Branch is offering their meetings free to members of any branch and only $5 for non-members. Here's the upcoming lineup.

May 25
Jordan Rosenfeld - Writing the Intimate Character

June 22
Mary Buckham - Writing Active Hooks: or How Many Hooks Are Enough?

More info at
Submit your writing news to CWC's The Bulletin!

The deadline to submit to the next issue of The Bulletin is June 1. All submissions should be sent to

For new book releases, short stories, poems or articles, or news of literary honors. 50 words or less. Put “Member Spotlight” in the Subject line. Send a copy of your book cover in JPEG format as an email attachment.

Articles on writing craft, marketing and publication: Send a proposal by email. Contributors will receive a short blurb to promote their books and/or services.

Photographs: JPEG format, sent separately (not embedded in a Word doc or PDF). Please provide complete details in the caption, including names of people pictured.

Note: This is separate from the Redwood Writer newsletter. To submit your news or articles to this newsletter, please email
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.
Poetry Reading Sponsored by Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Date: May 24
Time: 7-8 p.m. on Zoom
Cost: $5

Poetic License Sonoma - “Relationships" with special guest poet, Terry Ehret

Writer, teacher, and translator, Terry Ehret has published four collections of poetry, most recently Night Sky Journey, and translated two volumes of poems by Mexican poet Ulalume González de León. She is a founding editor of Sixteen Rivers Press, and from 2004-2006 she served as poet laureate of Sonoma County. In the summers, she offers travel programs for writers. 

Acting MC: Joseph Cutler; Guest Student poet from SRJC: Joan Osterman

Presenting poets: Joseph Cutler, Susanne Arrhenius, Paul DeMarco, Leo McCloskey, Steve Trenam, Judith Vaughn, Jaime Zukowski, Kusum Irene Jain

More information and registration at
Natasha Yim
Natasha Yim offering FREE workshop for tweens

I’m teaching a series of FREE virtual writing workshop for tweens (9 - 12 years) for the Sonoma County Library. Do you know or have a young person in your life who loves to invent and tell stories? Interested tweens can register here: Session #4: Where Does Your Story take Place will be on May 11, 4 - 5 pm. PST. 
The Little Golden Book (Random House) Natasha Yim wrote for Disney/Pixar, Lightyear, is releasing on May 3, and is a story summary of Disney/Pixar’s summer movie “Lightyear"
Sonoma County Literary Update

Have you heard about the Sonoma County Literary Update? Published by Jo-Anne Rosen and Terry Ehret, this free online publication is sent out once a month as a service to writers and those interested in writing-related news and events. For submission guidelines, visit
Marie Judson keeps an ongoing list of RW members interested in joining or creating a writing group. If you would like to find a critique group, or add more members to an existing group, send your genre(s) and contact information to You'll receive an email with the subject line, "Writers seeking writing groups." You can then either reply to all or select specific writers to contact. This has been an ongoing free service for Redwood Writers members for nine years.
Please give a warm welcome to one of our newest members!
Riding my horse, performing ballet steps, and writing are the same to me: absorbing, challenging, and glorious.

Author and editor, P.H. Garrett writes and edits fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been published in several Anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. Her first novel, Trail of Hearts, an engaging tale of courage, adventure, and forgiveness, set in the 1850s American West is available at Amazon and Kindle. A sequel is forthcoming. Find her stories and blog at Her other passions: include ballet, horseback riding, and reading.
Redwood Writers are members of the California Writers Club (CWC). Redwood Writers is the largest of the 22 Branches in the CWC. Becoming a members of the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club is a simple as 1, 2, 3. 

  1. Go to the website:
  2. Complete the submission form.  Include references to any publications. 
  3. Pay the $65 new member fee.
Redwood Writers offers members the opportunity to:

  • Attend the monthly meeting (3rd Sat. 1-3 p.m. at the Finley Center, Santa Rosa)
  • Interact with other writers and sell books at the monthly meeting.
  • Learn from professional speakers at monthly meetings.
  • Publish fiction and memoir in the annual prose anthology.
  • Publish poetry in the annual poetry anthology.
  • Read their work at the club-sponsored Salon and Writers Circle. 
  • Present their work at local bookstores.
  • Sell their work at the Sonoma Country Fair.
  • Launch their new book at the Author Launch party. 
  • Attend workshops and conferences on the writing.
  • Win writing contests with cash prizes and special recognition for winners.
  • Advertise their expertise—graphic designer, editor, illustrator.
  • Receive club news from our award-winning website and monthly newsletter.
  • Submit stories, essays, and poetry to the Literary Review published by CWC.
  • Receive the annual Literary Review from the California Writers Club and receive a triannual CWC Bulletin with state-wide events from CWC branches.
Betsy Graziani Fasbinder
The Heart of the Story: Using Developmental Coaching to Find & Finesse Your Story
June 18, 2022
at the Finley Center and on Zoom
Dear friends,

There is a lot happening this month with Redwood Writers. If you blink, you’ll miss a lot!

Of note is the exciting news of our 2022 prose anthology, with a theme of On Fire. I don’t know about you, but I can think of many things I’m on fire for that I could easily write a story about. How about you? Start writing today, and get your submission in by June 15.

Another bit of exciting news is that the “Imagine” contest has been extended to May 15. Don't miss this opportunity to submit your story.

Also exciting is the vote for next year’s slate of board officers! Would you like to throw your name in for any of these positions? Or do you know of someone who should be nominated? Come be a part of Redwood Writers leaders!

All this, and so much more! Please read through the newsletter to keep up to date about what’s happening in our club. You can also see all of this information on our website at

Happy writing!

Crissi Langwell
Newsletter 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 by the 15th of the month to the newsletter editor at Send your poems by the 10th of the month to the poetry editor at Submission guidelines may apply, read section for requirements.
If you're interested in advertising in the Redwood Writer newsletter, contact the editor at for submission requirements and guidelines.
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.