President's Message

I do hope you have had an opportunity to connect in with us--whether following on Facebook , through these newsletters, through our Blasts and especially at our monthly General Meetings. I think you will be pleased to know that we are growing and are experiencing an outreach from many of you new folks to help us in our growth! Come and be a part of this--all old and new members! It has been a tremendously energizing time!

In this newsletter, you will read about our upcoming Mentoring Program by Geri Spieler, our Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair (an opportunity beyond opportunities for writers), our participating in the June 4th and 5th Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, our Open Mic sessions, plus enjoying our upcoming monthly speaker. Also, keep an eye on our website as we are in the throes of a major overhaul and we hope you like the changes.

But we can always use your input! Please let us know how YOU would like to participate--whether on the Board (elections are in June), helping with the mentoring program, reviving the new critique groups (which will probably launch in the Fall and possibly involve Kepler's) and if you have an eye for color and graphic design, we are desperately seeking someone to design our San Francisco Peninsula Branch logo! We've never had one of our own and we have become laggards. Let's bring us up to snuff so to speak! Come volunteer! Each one of these activities requires your talents!

And, for a special treat, I have been told that Arlene Pence may make a special visit to our May branch meeting! She is our oldest member (maybe not in age, but in years with our branch, as she joined in 1969) and she is visiting us from her new home in Oregon. Please make her feel welcome as it was folks like Arlene who helped to make our branch the vibrant branch that it is! And speaking of stories--this woman has stories to tell! So she's in the right place! Hope to see you all there!

Carole Bumpus, SF Peninsula Branch President

Board Nominations!

We have a lively board and what better way to connect and get the most out of your membership than to get involved! We have several Board positions open:
  • VP/Program Chair
  • Secretary
  • State Board Rep
  • Membership Chair
  • Publicity Chair
  • Parliamentarian
  • NorCal Representative
  • Member at Large
  • Treasurer
  • Newsletter Co-Chair
This Board is a lot of FUN...If any of these interest you,  contact Ann Foster to reach out and learn more!

May 21 Program
Playtime for Fiction Writers
with Maureen Studer
Do you get tired of plodding through a plot? Do you get lost slogging through a story? Join us to improvise your way to an "out of the ordinary" tale. We will weave a yarn out of our collective imagination. Using a variety of improvisation and writing techniques, we will craft an outline for a short play.
Maureen Studer has spent the better part of four decades in the theatre. She co-founded the Petaluma Readers Theatre and the Playwrights Forum for 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa. An actor, director, educator, playwright and producer, she has won several playwriting awards, including "Best of Fringe" for Zero to Sixty, a play she directed at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Click here to read her full bio.

Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m.
California Writers Club
Congregational Church of Belmont
751 Alameda de las Pulgas

$10 members; $13 non-members; $10 students with ID.

April CWC SF Peninsula Program Recap
by Darlene Frank 

At the April meeting, Sam Kauffman demonstrated how to bring a story to life on stage. Choose a story you're passionate about, identify a theme, decide who will tell your story -- these are a few of the principles she talked about. With examples drawn from the many one-woman shows she's written, produced, and performed, Sam showed us how she uses simple costuming and clear thinking in advance about her characters and audience to bring power and vitality to a story. "You  can  do this!" she said. Inspiring words, dramatically delivered. Click here for more information.

CWC SF Peninsula Calendar

Wednesday, May 18
FREE Open Mic
7:30 p.m. San Mateo
Click here to sign up on Meetup...or Just Show Up! 

Saturday, May 21
Playtime for Fiction Writers
with award-winning playwright Maureen Studer Click Here to View

June 11 to 18

June 15 - Open Mic at Fair
Note the June Open Mic regularly held at Reach & Teach will instead be at the Fair. Click here to get on the list for a FREE ticket and parking pass!

Upcoming Meetings

June 18
Pace like Joss Whedon: How to write so that readers stay riveted to your story 
with author  Kirsten Weiss
PLUS Board Elections -- please note the June meeting will be at our usual Belmont location and not at the fair.

July Annual Summer Picnic
Date and location TBD

August 20
Special presentation by the Fault Zone editors

September 17
Susan Shillinglaw, Director of the National Steinbeck Center

SF Peninsula Branch meets monthly
Congregational Church of Belmont
751 Alameda de las Pulgas

$10 members; $13 non-members; $10 students with ID.

2 Critique Groups!

Inklings Writing Critique Group
For committed writers wanting to improve through hard work. This privately run group entails giving several hours of your time for reading, analyzing, and responding in writing to each member submission before each meeting. In return, you will receive the same quality of honest and helpful feedback on your chapter or story. Group size will be limited to 6 and meets monthly in the SF Peninsula area. Open to all genres, but leaning towards Science Fiction & Fantasy. If interested email Anami at for more details or questions. Expect to submit a 10 page writing sample. 

Karen Hartley
San Mateo - 2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 to Noon
The Peninsula Regent
1 Baldwin Avenue, rear of the large meeting room opposite of elevator
Bring at least 5 copies of your no-greater-than 6-page manuscript to hand out. For more info contact Karen Hartley at (408) 315-0271

Non-SF Peninsula Branch Events

May 15
Redwood Writers Program:  Facts in Fiction: How Research Can Get your Facts Straight & Prime Imagination  Click Here

May 30
Sacramento Branch:  Learn from Publishing Experts plus Pitch to an Agent   Click Here

May 22
Oakland Book Festival FREE!

June 4-5
Bay Area Book Festival, Berkeley
100 interviews, panels, keynotes, and other presentations by nearly 300 authors and speakers--CWC NorCal with have a Booth!
Want to volunteer or get involved?  Click here to contact Joyce Krieg

June 12
Redwood Writers Program:  Your Book in the Spotlight: Effective Marketing Strategies  Click Here

June 16
San Mateo County Fair Fault Zone readings scheduled for Thursday night June 16th from 7 to 8:30.

Advance Details about the 2017 Fault Zone
  • The title of the next FZ anthology will be Fault Zone: Uplift
  • The submission period will be 8/1/16 through 11/30/16.
  • The anthology will be launched at our holiday party in 2017.
  • The program at our August 2016 meeting will focus on making submissions the best they can be.
Member News

Rogue writer James Hannah has  done it again. "Fruits," his political allegory, has just been published in The Fear of Monkeys, a journal that likes political writing. Click here to view.

Poet Maurine Killough is proud to announce that her poem, "Alone in Her Garden", won Honorable Mention at the San Mateo County Fair this year. She is also feature poet May 26 in Pacific Grove at Juice & Java.

Carmen Lee 's poem "Elegy to a Street Person" , won Second Prize in the Belmont Library's 2016 Poetry Contest. Congratulations, Carmen!

Nanci Lee Woody's short story "Aisle of Death" was just published on The Fear of Monkeys, an ezine that publishes controversial stories and articles. Click here to read. She also won Honorable Mention at the San Mateo County Fair for her short story "Loss." Way to go, Nanci!

New CWC Member Kirsten Weiss' third book in her Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense, A Midsummer Night's Mechanicalis being published on May 1st by Misterio Press. She will be speaking about writing and various steampunky topics at the Clockwork Alchemy Convention at the San Jose Doubletree over the Memorial Day weekend. All are welcome to attend!

Join the Mentoring Program! 

For those interested in participating in an informal mentoring group, the club is inviting a maximum of ten members to join Geri Spieler immediately after the regular monthly meeting to share their interests in writing topics, such as self- or commercial publishing, character development or how to get an agent. An extension of the mentoring program is finding members who are interested in forming critique groups. 
If you are interested in participating, please complete the questionnaire (link below) and email Geri: Geri will respond to let you know about the first meeting. 
Not a CWC member yet? Really??!

Join now to get a better deal....We'll spot you two months FREE if you join now. So  go to our membership page and submit payment via the top link for July 1 through Dec 31. This will take you to a PayPal link for $65 ($20/year dues+one-time membership fee of $20). Click here to join now

Alternatively, you can send a check for $65 to our P.O. Box. Please make it payable to "CWC SF/Peninsula" then mail to:

CWC SF  Peninsula 
Attn: Membership
PO Box 853
Belmont, CA 94002-0853

Questions? Contact 

Current Members Can Renew Now!
Continue your CWC membership. 

Thanks to P.A. for responding to my call for article submissions to this newsletter--Maurine

Editing Tips: Dynamic Verbs
By P.A. Moore

"He walked slowly into the room, a ghost-like figure."

Is there a more creative way to express the same thought? Writers should consider eliminating the overuse of adverbs and use more dramatic verbs instead. Here are some tips on avoiding adverbs and using dynamic, instead of stative, verbs. (More on statives later.)

"He glided into the room like a ghost dancing just above the floor."
"The thief crept into the room on tippy-toes."
"The armed felon sauntered by the police officer, just as cool as can be."

How do we become more aware of the adverbs lurking in each paragraph? Here are some suggestions: have a reader go through your draft, circling the offenders; perhaps do a word search for -"-ly" and see what emerges; try a writing exercise in which there are no adverbs at all and see how well you do. This exercise will give you a clue about your adverb usage.
Why go for strong dynamic verbs at all? Dynamic verbs convey action. Action in turn moves the story and quickens the pace, encouraging the reader to turn the page.
Writing that depends on stative verbs, those which indicate a state or condition of either short or long duration, tend to be more introspective and thoughtful. Examples are: seem, have, like, belong, fit. You can find more complete lists on-line, but here's an example.
"She seemed lost in thought."
"The stray dog belonged to no one and to everyone."
These statives are useful for setting the scene and providing insight into characters and can be used to temper a fast moving plot.
In conclusion, if the goal is to keep the reader engaged and to move the story along, dynamic verbs should be your first choice.

Dr. P.A. Moore is an editor and proofreader, and adjunct faculty in Business English at Menlo College.

San Mateo County Fair Update!

Fair Dates June 11-18 
We've had another record number of literary contest submissions to the 2016 San Mateo County Fair, so thanks to all of you who submitted your work. The last of the judges' scores are coming in, and winners are being notified by email per division and class. We'll also post the complete list of winners on our fair web page.

Congratulations to Sheena Arora for winning our San Francisco/Peninsula Writers Club Writer of the Year contest! The title of her winning short story is "Uniqueness Under my Pillow." This lucky writer wins a one-year free membership to our club.  And here's a shout out to one of our youngest members, Angela Yang, who won a second prize for her short story "The Subway." All submissions are reviewed "blind," so she competed against seasoned veterans. Way to go Angela!

Tory Hartmann is hard at work putting together Vol 5 of our Carry the Light anthology. How she manages to get this done within a six-week deadline is absolutely mind boggling! This latest collection of stories, essays, and poems will be available for sale at the fair.

Something new and fun this year is our Author Archive page. We will permanently archive every contestant's submissions along with an optional bio and headshot to promote his/her work. We're looking forward to building up this archive in the years to come.

Laurel Anne Hill is our literary stage manager extraordinaire. She's busy finalizing the free events on our stage schedule, which is sponsored by our CWC branch. This will also be posted online.

Don't forget, we rely on volunteers like you to share your time, talents, and wisdom. We proudly tout the CWC motto of "Writers Helping Writers," which has been the theme of our mentoring programs at the fair since 2009.

As an added incentive, anyone who volunteers three hours of time, either by working at home or during the fair, will earn one raffle ticket for the Volunteer of the Year award: a one-year free membership to our club. This prize is worth $145.00! Last year's lucky winner was Dave Strom. There are no limits to the number of raffle tickets one can accrue. Who will be the lucky winner this year???

Bard Rosman Koodrin
Literary Director, San Mateo County Fair
Submission Opportunities

Writers Digest 85th  Deadline May 6, 2016
Cash Prizes!

38th annual Nimrod Literary Awards: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction - Accepting Jan 1-Nov 30th
Nimrod Submissions
The California State Poetry Society
Two different quarterly poetry publications, plus monthly and annual contests. Heads-up: the Poetry Letter information is at the very bottom of the page - easy to miss on the first visit.

Sites that list competitions:

Do you know of any publications to submit to? Please help me share with members. Email me!
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