May 2021
Our next board meeting is on Tuesday, May 11, 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
  • Board Nominations
  • May General Meeting
  • Homegrown Poetry
  • Poetry Writing Contest
  • 2021 Poetry Anthology
  • 2021 Prose Anthology
  • Author Support Group
  • Redwood Writers Circle
  • Writing Exercise
  • Member News & Events
  • What We're Reading
  • In Memorium
  • June Meeting Preview
  • Editor's Note

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

May 1: Author Support Group

May 11: RW Board Meeting

May 15: Prose Anthology "Remember When" submissions begin

May 15: RW General Meeting with Heidi Kuhn

May 16: Virtual Launch Party for Poetry Anthology

May 22: 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.
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 Chair:

Below is the slate of officers currently nominated for election at the June General Meeting. Each of the nominees have been contacted and have agreed to serve a duly elected term for Redwood Writers year July 2021 to June 2022.

Shawn Langwell

Vice Presidents
Marilyn Lanier
Jeane Slone
Judy Baker

Crissi Langwell

Malena Eljumaily
Check your email

In case you missed it, this week we are sending new invitations to members who have not yet joined This is our club's platform for communication, and is the best way to receive information on club and member news and events, and to also be able to share events of your own.

If you have questions or concerns about signing up, please contact Roger Lubeck at

Saturday, May 15
1 - 2:30 p.m.
via ZOOM*
Cost is $5 for members and $10 for guests.
Roots of Peace: Turning MINES to VINES Worldwide
Heidi Kuhn
Roots of Peace is a humanitarian non-profit based in Marin County, California. In September 1997, Heidi Kuhn had a vision to turn MINES TO VINES, replacing the scourge of landmines with bountiful vineyards and orchards worldwide. Over the past 24 years, this nonprofit has been Cultivating Peace Through Agriculture.

Roots of Peace supports the world's most vulnerable farmers and traders, removing the remnants of war and restoring agricultural productivity and prosperity. Their efforts improve each step of the agricultural value chain. They introduce farmers to new methods and technology, improve export marketing techniques, and create strategies for ramping up food exports to lucrative overseas markets.
Heidi Kuhn is Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, a humanitarian-nonprofit organization founded in September 1997 with a vision to transform MINES TO VINES--replacing the scourge of landmines with sustainable agricultural farmland. Her pioneering work empowers families living in war-torn regions with hope leading to the economics of peace through export and trade.
With a simple toast in the living room of her home, a global initiative was established following the death of the late Princess Diana who in her lifetime catapulted the issue of landmines to the forefront of the international agenda.
To date, Roots of Peace has impacted over 1 million farmers and families, spanning eight countries – Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Vietnam. Heidi’s work has facilitated the increase of agricultural exports in Afghanistan from $250 million in 2014 to over $1.4 billion in 2020. Roots of Peace has facilitated the removal of over 100,000 landmines and
unexploded bombs, restoring the land for agricultural bounty.
She is a graduate of the University of California, and recipient of the Cal Alumni Award for Excellence and Achievement. Kuhn has been married to her husband Gary for 39 years. They have four children, Brooks, Tucker, Kyleigh and Christian, and three grandchildren Jai, Laila and Amaya.
May's General Meeting Agenda
  • Zoom meeting room opens at 12:45 p.m. for open conversation
  • Meeting starts at 1 p.m.
  • Featured speaker, Heidi Kuhn
  • Poetry Contest Winners
  • Prose Anthology Launch
  • 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!).

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.
Karen Hayes spent her early years in Healdsburg, along the banks of the Russian River. She currently lives in Sonoma County, and loves Fort Bragg in northern California. She has one book of poetry, River Stone; and has been included in the last four Redwood Writers poetry anthologies.
by Karen Hayes
Having lost the thread of conversation
amid wishes and waiting and past lives
she wonders what it all means
wandering around on these city streets
when she should have been a hermit
secluded away near a wide-open vista
mountains distant    blue
Now she's stuck here
mumbling along on the side
walking near the edge
looking for treasure in the canyons at her feet
tattered and torn
she carries a handful of blanket
like a scrap of love
bundled up
with woven fantasies
wrapped in gossamer
cobweb ends trailing behind

Thank you to all the poets who submitted poems to the Poetry Contest! Winner will be announced and awards made at the May 15 RW General Meeting. Thank you to chairs Tina Riddle Deason and Linda L Reid, and to the judges: Les Burnstein, Susan Gunter and Louise Hofmeister.
Beyond Distance, our 2021 Poetry Anthology, is now available for purchase at Amazon! Be sure to pick up a copy today. If you've already read it, don't forget to leave a review!

Virtual Launch Party for Beyond Distance
May 16, 2021
Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Editors Fran Claggett-Holland and Les Bernstein invite you to join them in launching the new poetry anthology. Share in the fun and hear wonderful poetry!
The video below was created with help from some of our fellow members, sharing memories of times once lived, and to help promo our upcoming anthology.
Presenting the 2021 prose anthology, Remember When…

I remember the day I got the call from my stepfather. As a kid, I remember playing hide and seek and kick the can and staying outside all day long until mom called us home. I remember a time before Covid and family celebrations, and the time our dog sank his teeth into the Thanksgiving turkey. And how could I ever forget the first kiss behind the bushes that life-changing Saturday afternoon?

What stories do you remember, real or fancied, that you are itching to tell? Now is your chance to be a part of our club’s anthology, Remember When.

Submissions open May 15 through July 18.
Please submit at

This anthology is open to memoir and fiction writers, and editors Shawn and Crissi Langwell invite tales of times from the past. All stories whether real or made up, should be in past tense (unless beginning with a present time).

Traditional rules apply to this anthology. It must be 2500 words or less, Times New Roman double-spaced, and in a Word Doc (preferably) or PDF. Submissions go through a blind judging, so please do not have your name on the document. See website for more submission rules, as failure to stay within guidelines could result in disqualification.

There will be a workshop, details coming soon.

If you have any questions, please contact Shawn or Crissi Langwell:,

We look forward to reading your stories!
Note: Shawn and Crissi are currently contacting their dream team of judges, editors, and proofreaders for this anthology. If this is something you'd like to be a part of, please email them.
May 1, 1-3 p.m. via Zoom

Please join us on May 1 at 3 p.m. 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. 

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 22
10 a.m. to noon via Zoom
The Circle's mission is to offer members a constructive and enjoyable environment in which to read their works, among the warmth and support of fellow writers, and to include brief evaluations and short talks on craft and other writing-related subjects.
Upcoming 2021 Circle dates
Saturday – 10 a.m. to noon

  • May 22
  • July 24
  • September 25
  • November 27
Zoom meeting format
  • Meeting runs 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Those to be "readers" will be limited to the first 15 RW members who register
  • Other attendees may participate as "listeners"
  • Each reader will have a total 5 minutes (including, introductory remarks)
  • Evaluations will be suspended during Zoom meetings
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.
Objects can play a central role in telling a story.  In Don McKellar's screenplay for “The Red Violin,” a violin maker in the 1600s paints a violin with his dead wife's blood to keep her memory alive. Over the next 400 years in four different countries, the violin has dramatic effects on its owners.

Objects can reveal aspects of a character, cause an emotional reaction, or play a critical part in a funny or tragic event.  Consider Captain Queeg nervously playing with the steel balls in Herman Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny, the rocking horse in D. H. Lawrence's short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner,” or people throwing rocks in Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” and novel We Have Always Lived in a Castle.


Make a list of five unusual objects. Write a detailed description of one or more of the objects on your list.  Write a flash story or the opening to a short story about a person going through boxes in his/her garage (attic) who finds this strange or unusual object (uncommon - not found in most homes).  Have that person tell the story of how the object figures into events that changed his/her life. 

If you like, try writing the story in the first person and then write it again in the third person.

Send your flash story of 300 words or less to One or more will be selected for publication in the newsletter.
In April, we asked members to send in short stories about life lessons. Here is a piece by Skye Blaine. Thank you, Skye, for sharing your writing!
The Thaw
By Skye Blaine
I fingered the thin #10 envelope from the literary agent. “Bad news,” I muttered, “otherwise she would have called.” I tore into it. My memoir, rejected. Heat flared up my body, leaving in its wake, white, parched bones, the skeleton of shame. I scanned her words again. She hadn’t said “not good enough,” no, but surely she was thinking it. Why else would she reject it? As though standing outside of my own body, I watched my internal, downward tumble and, powerless to break the fall, tracked the flailing, scrabbling, desperate urge to prevent the thud, and the broken thing that remained. I dropped the letter on the counter, glanced at my husband’s offered hand—but I slunk away. Not even his touch could help.
Later that morning, I walked to the window. A hummingbird hovered at the feeder. I squinted against the winter light. Nectar, frozen solid. This bird shouldn’t be in Oregon, too early, far too cold. He flitted around the yard, returned, hovered again, poking, poking, unsure. I glanced at the thermometer. Nineteen degrees. With the onslaught of frigid weather, I hadn’t thought to check. I waited until he flew away, then rushed out to grab the feeder, brought it inside, thawed the nectar. My fingers trembled as I worked. I hung it back outside with a prayer that the tiny bird, undaunted, would return again. I needed him to come, I required his courage to trust, to try again, again, as many times as it took. 
Ten minutes later, a small green blur shot across our yard. His magenta throat glinted in the light as he thrust his beak into the hole. He drank for a long time, darted away, returned, drank again. 
I wrapped my arms around my own body. Small bird, saved. 
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.
Marie Judson releases final book in trilogy, Braided Dimensions
The magical trilogy,  Braided Dimensions, culminates with this third book, Strange Alliances. Readers of Strange Alliances step into adventures that travel deep into Norwegian mountain caves and experience unknown powers in Jutland towers of ancient time. You will encounter beguiling Otherworld creatures and discover surprising allies as Kay and her beloveds struggle to survive a medieval world of strange, sometimes frightening but always captivating possibilities.

Long a devoted fantasy and sci fi reader, Marie Judson started the Braided Dimensions series in recovery from writing a dissertation. The first two books were finalists in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. A native Northern Californian, Marie teaches in public school. She loves dream work, singing and collaging. Follow her at
Joan Goodreau interviewed about recently published book

Here is the website link for Joan Goodreau's interview about her new book on Amazon, Where to Next?, with Nancy Wiegman on Nancy's Bookshelf. It was recorded on North State Public Radio, April 7th, just in time for Autism Acceptance and Poetry Month.

South Bay Writers Haiku Contest
Deadline May 15

The South Bay CWC branch is holding a haiku contest, open to all CWC members with no entry fee. The deadline is May 15. To learn more about it and how to enter, visit their latest newsletter, page 7, by clicking here.
CWC Marin
Showing Emotion on the Page
with Laurie Schnebly

Sunday, May 23, 2-4 pm.
Every writer already knows how important it is to show rather than tell. But showing emotion, that can be...well, tricky. How do you keep from going over the top and making readers roll their eyes? How do you avoid not going far enough and sending their attention downhill with every word? When, if ever, is telling okay?

Learn the techniques of conveying emotion for readers of whatever genre you’re writing—and how to establish the right balance between plummeting attention, purple prose,and perfection—during this presentation on:

  • Determining when and where your readers want to see emotion
  • Deciding when to push harder and when to pull back
  • Discovering what works, and what doesn’t work, for your genre
  • Choosing the most important emotions to show
  • Selecting the best words and phrases to use in any individual work
  • Seeing whether you’ve gone too far with the emotion or need still more

While not everyone agrees on the right amount and intensity of emotion in any story, but you absolutely can find the ideal blend for your own writing... and show (or sometimes tell) it in ways that leave your readers satisfied.
LAURIE SCHNEBLY loves giving workshops that draw on her background as
an advertising copywriter, a counseling therapist and a novelist who beat out
Nora Roberts for “Best Special Edition of the Year.” Her favorite books are those
created during her classes. She also enjoys recording for the blind, playing with her husband and their son’s new baby, working at a food bank, vacationing in Sedona (the red-rock town named for her grandpa’s mom), and running “People ask how I find time to do all that,” Laurie says, “and I tell them it’s easy. I never clean my house!”
CWC Vice President Roger Lubeck
Preparing and Giving Professional Presentations
Tuesday, May 25, at 6pm
“Dos and Don’ts of Professional Presentations”
Roger C. Lubeck, PhD is vice president of the California Writers Club and immediate past president of Redwood Writers. President of It Is What It Is Press. Roger’s publications include: ten novels, two business books, short stories, poems, two contest-winning stories, two produced ten-minute plays. Roger’s blog is

Roger will share his insights as to what makes for an effective professional presentation based on his 25 years as a business speaker and workshop leader focused on leadership and management combined with 15 years of teaching university classes on psychology, and 10 years conducting workshops on writing, self-publishing, and book promotion.
Roger’s career includes author, business consultant, workshop leader, retreat facilitator, professional speaker, publisher, photographer, speechwriter, assistant professor, researcher, parent trainer, pigeon wrangler, and dogcatcher.
Because this topic is so essential to the overall Mission Statement of the CWC in assisting writers to market their work, we are offering this Zoom presentation at no charge to the state-wide membership of the CWC.

Registration for this free meeting is required and may be made at the link below, or by visiting
CWC 2021 Spring Bulletin

Here is the link to the "flip-page" version of the CWC 2021 Spring Bulletin. Click on the link to read about news and upcoming events from the CWC branches.

If you prefer to read or print the Bulletin as a PDF, click on the picture. Also, the Spring Bulletin will be available on our state website, where you will find the current and back issues in that format.

Would you like to contribute to The Bulletin?

Write an article for The Bulletin, sharing your expertise of a specific topic with CWC readership. Enhance writer’s understanding of the craft we love.

Send submissions to Place “Expertise” in the subject line. Word limit: 500 ; MSWord format, 11 pt. Arial. Add a short bio that explains your level of expertise & a small, thumbnail headshot. Add a direct email address if you wish.

All articles may be edited for space. Most articles will be held for future Bulletin issues due to a limit of 30 pages. No compensation is given. You will be donating your article to help others. Short stories or poetry are not accepted in this venue.
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.
Find your perfect critique group! Marie Judson is pairing members with other writers of the same or similar genres, and will also help established groups expand their membership. If you would like to find a critique group, or would like to find more members for your group, please contact Marie 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!
Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury

I recently came across an article about writing tips from Ray Bradbury, and upon a quick Google search, discovered much of them were in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing. This book is full of so many gems that I often pause after each essay so I can absorb the lessons he shares. One of my favorite tips of his about being a good writer is that you must also be a good reader. In that, he suggests reading one poem, one short story, and one personal essay every single day. He also suggest writing one short story a day, because at the end of the year, it's impossible to not have at least one good story if you've written 365. With my full time job, I find that to be a lofty goal, but if I manage to write one short story a week, I'd consider myself successful.

Crissi Langwell
The Art of the Short Story, by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn

There's a theme with my current reading, and that is my pursuit of learning even more about writing short stories. As we prepare for our next prose anthology (look for the announcement in this newsletter!), I am reading The Art of the Short Story, an anthology of short stories by some of the world's greatest writers. The anthology was edited by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. As many of you already know, Gioia is our current California Poet Laureate since 2015, and lives here in Sonoma County.

Crissi Langwell
Longtime Redwood Writers member George Rathmell passed away on April 11th. George wrote both fiction and nonfiction with Northern California as the frequent focus of his writing. Past president Karen Batchelor was so impressed with his book Realms of Gold: The Colorful Writers of San Francisco 1850-1950 that it was given to many of our monthly speakers as a thank you gift. That book also led to him writing articles about San Francisco history for the Nob Hill Gazette. Over the years, they published 64 articles by him.

George was also a longtime resident of The Sea Ranch and was a tireless volunteer for the coastal community. His kind and generous spirit will be missed.

If you're interested in purchasing any of George Rathmell's books locally and find yourself up the coast, there's a nice collection of them at Four Eyed Frogs Books in Gualala.

Linda McCabe
Matthew Felix
Online Marketing for Authors
Online via zoom on June 19
There is a lot of exciting stuff happening this month! Personally, I’m excited to co-edit the next prose anthology with Shawn. I had so much fun being the editor last year, and this year I know will be incredible since I get to share the honor with my best friend. In preparation, I’ve been digging deep in my studies of the short story, aiming to really hone this craft through reading and writing. You can take a peek at the books I’m reading to help this process in the section on “What We’re Reading.”

This newsletter is packed full of goodies, from member news, club news, and news from other CWC branches. While everything is still online, I encourage you to check out meetings and workshops from other clubs around the state. We have such a unique opportunity to learn even more about writing while everything is still virtual. Take advantage of this while you still can, since some clubs may not continue virtual meetings once everything opens up. 

Also, don’t forget to contribute your writing to the newsletter! Take a peek below for ways to share your news, advice about writing, what you’re reading, and more. 

Happy writing!

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 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.