California Writers Club San Francisco Peninsula Branch
The Monthly Missive
November 2020
Wherever You Go, There You Are*
Dear CWC Members,

Because we delayed the newsletter so as not to have its release coincide with the biggest news story of the last four years, I was unable to use the original lead-in to my message, which was:

By the time you read this, we will know the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. As I write this, in the waning days of October, I try to imagine what the world will look like on November 4. I am at a loss.

Now I must amend the opening.

By the time you read this, we will still may not know the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. As I write this, in the waning early days of October November, I try to imagine what the world will look like on November 10. I am at a loss.

It seems I ought to be able to come up with something. After all, the job of a fiction writer is to imagine worlds that do not exist and conjure events that haven’t happened out of the preconditions of that world. It sometimes seems as tough a job in writing as in life.

Planstering Through Life

I have started working on a new novel. This time, I’m trying the “planster” approach (a combo of “planning” and “pantsing”), which means I’m doing more planning than I've done for past novels. I let the writing lead me. Often, I’d get stuck about a third of the way through the story. My characters would end up in convoluted, messy situations (but not the good kind). Every fork in the plot seemed to lead to a dead end. I often had to start over, retrace my steps, set off in a completely new direction, and throw away many tens (sometimes hundreds) of pages.

This time, using the Story Genius method, I started sketching out my novel in preparation for participating in NaNoWriMo, which began on November 1. The method involves a little writing and a lot of thinking. I had high hopes that it would get me past the dreaded first third.

But guess what? I’ve found myself stuck in exactly the same place: about a third of the way through.

Starting from Where You Are

When I mentioned this problem in the craft class I’m taking with Elizabeth Stark, she had a great suggestion: Pretend I’m starting at the beginning. Treat the point where I’m stuck as the start.

This advice seems so wise that I’m going to apply it not only to my novel, but to life.

We can only go forward from where we are. And no matter where we find ourselves in these early days of November, we will do just that, informed by but not chained to the past, moving into the future as best we can—even if we have little idea of where we are going or how to get there.

May your writing always take you places...


P.S. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please check out the NaNoWriMo weekly sessions CWC member Megan McDonald is leading every Monday evening in November in partnership with the Menlo Park Library.

P.P.S. And don’t forget about our other great events coming up this month and our virtual holiday party coming up on December 5!

*Apologies to Jon Kabat Zinn, author of the mindfulness classic of the same name.
Saturday, November 21
Meeting ONLINE

Registration for this meeting is required.

Much as we have enjoyed temporarily offering our meetings to all comers for no charge, the time has come for the return of meeting fees.

We are appealing to people's inclination to do what's right. Instead of requiring payment before registration, we respectfully request upon confirmation of your registration that you pay $5 (CWC members, any branch), $10 (non-members), or an amount of your choosing.

Thank you for your commitment to our continuing existence and your contribution to our community.

— Agenda —

10:00 AM – Mingle in breakout rooms with fellow writers
Breakout rooms open at 10... join when you want.

10:30 AM – Club business

11:00 AM – Speaker presentation
Jill Lubin presents
Get Known Everywhere:
Publicity For Authors
(more info below)

12:00 PM – Think Tank
Hero's Journey
led by Judith Field
(more info below)

Get Known Everywhere
Publicity for Authors
by Jill Lubin
Many authors have a great message but haven't learned how to use a book to leverage expertise and generate revenue. As an author, it is important to understand the real purpose of publicity - to boost credibility and amplify your visibility. If you want to be known as an author of influence, you’ve got to get noticed by the media. Dig down into what makes your genre tick! Discover what editors, agents, and audiences want, and learn how to give it to them — all the while staying true to your vision.

Based on her international bestseller, Guerrilla Publicity, 4x Best-Selling author and publicity expert Jill Lublin shares simple strategies and doable tactics - helping you to stand out, get noticed and go from unknown to newsworthy.

Jill Lublin is an international speaker on the topics of Radical Influence, Publicity, Networking, Kindness and Referrals. She is the author of 4 Best Selling books including Get Noticed...Get Referrals (McGraw Hill) and co-author of Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic. Her latest book, Profit of Kindness went #1 in four categories.
Jill is a master strategist on how to position your business for more profitability and more visibility in the marketplace. She is CEO of a strategic consulting firm and has over 20 years’ experience working with over 100,000 people plus national and international media.
Jill teaches Publicity Crash Courses as both live events and live webinars and consults and speaks all over the world. She also helps authors to create book deals with major publishers and agents, as well as obtain foreign rights deals. Visit and
Hero's Journey
by Judith Field
Fiction stories are created in many ways, but they all include some elements of the Hero’s Journey story structure, popularized by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Researching world mythology, Campbell discovered the earliest stories shared a similar blueprint, and they arose without cross-cultural contact throughout the world. Judy Field will explain the steps in this story structure and present examples of their use in literature.

Fiction stories by Judy Field have appeared in Birdland Journal and one in Shark Reef, along with a poem in the Garden Gazette. As a journalist she syndicated travel articles over the USA Today Wire Services, and feature articles and a science column in Marin County weekly newspapers. She has an MA in Radio/Television from San Francisco State University, specializing in communicating nonfiction in a compelling style.

Holiday Party
Writer Celebration

Saturday, December 5
1 - 3 PM
(via Zoom)

Join us for a fun couple of hours of community and to celebrate writers who have published during 2020!

1:00 - 1:20 Breakout Rooms Mingling, with Literary Mad Libs

1:20 - 1:30 Welcoming Remarks and Word Cloud of 2020 Branch Accomplishments

1:30 - 1:40 Literary Mad Lib Results

1:40 - 2:40 2020 Published Authors (Any Format!) Read From Their Works

2:40 - 2:50 NaNoWriMo Winners Read Their Opening Lines

2:50 - 3:00 Wrap Up and Live Writing Word of the Year
Upcoming Events


Author Skills – Self-Publishing with Kobo Writing Life

This month we welcome Tara Cremin for a presentation and discussion of self-publishing with Kobo Writing Life. Kobo has a worldwide reach with retailers in 190 countries. We’ll talk about the basics of publishing your books, Kobo’s professional partners, and “going wide.” Come prepared with your questions.

Please join us Saturday, November 14th at 7 PM Pacific Time.
Pre-registration is required and there is a $9.99 charge to support the California Writers Club.
SF Peninsula Branch Events
18:30 – 20:30 Shut Up & Write

7:00 PM CWC SF Author Skills Workshop

19:00 – 20:30 CWC SF Peninsula Board Meeting

09:30 – 11:30 Shut Up & Write

19:00 – 20:00 Writers Helping Writers: San Mateo Main Library

18:30 – 20:30 Shut Up & Write

10:00 – 13:00 CWC SF Peninsula Monthly Meeting

09:30 – 11:30 Shut Up & Write
19:00 – 20:30 Open Mic

18:30 – 20:30 Shut Up & Write
For full event details, check out the CWC SF Peninsula Event Calendar on
the right side of the CWC Peninsula website.
Outside Events
We thought you might be interested in these, too!
10:00 – 12:00 CWC High Desert Branch - Monthly Meeting

12:00 – 16:00 CWC Berkeley Monthly Meeting

10:10 – 12:00 CWC Inland Empire Branch Monthly Meeting

14:00 – 16:00 CWC Fremont Area Writers monthly meeting
For full event details, check out the Outside Events Calendar on
the right side of the CWC Peninsula website (just below the CWC SF Peninsula Event Calendar).
Member News
There has been a steady stream of amazing news from our members about their successes, from getting a short story accepted, an agent, or a manuscript requested. There's ALL SORTS of news our members want to share, so this section is for YOU to tell the world about your successes.

Because we have so many success stories, we have to ask for brevity. This will challenge your editing skills, so show 'em off! Be as creative as your like - prose, verse, rhyme, stream of consciousness, you name it! Just keep it to no more than 15 words.

Send an email to with "Member News" as the Subject line, and the following information in the body of the email:

Description - no more than 15 words!
Who - your name (or pen name, if you're using one)
What - the exact nature of your success (i.e., short story, novel, website, agent, event, etc)
Where - links are great, or a physical location if it's relevant - or both!

We excited to hear about - and share - your success stories!
Story Café Wants YOU!
CWC SF Peninsula has partnered with the San Mateo County Library to provide vibrant storytelling straight from our anthology series, with a new story video and author featured each week. Story Café is in the “Between the Lines” section of the library’s homepage, where all author events and readings can now be found. We’re excited to be a part of it!

Check out this week’s featured story here and previous weeks’ in the archives.

If you have a published piece in any of our Fault Zone anthologies and can make a 7-10 minute video of yourself reading from your story or poem, you are invited to join the line-up.

NEW: If you have a published story or poem from another publication that you think would make a good transition to video for the library, you are also invited!

You will need to submit an MP4 video file along with a short bio and story tagline. Contact Lisa Meltzer Penn for specific guidelines and best practices.
In Memoriam
Wini McCaffrey
1925 - 2020
Wini McCaffrey, a member of the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club for many years, passed away on October 28, 2020. This photo was taken at the 50th Anniversary of the San Francisco Peninsula Branch celebration. Wini was accompanied by her daughter, Deidre.

In addition to her daughter, she leaves behind two sons, six grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Deidre would like all who knew her mother to find her obituary at the Sierra View Funeral Chapel & Crematory in Carmichael, Ca.

We will all deeply miss her sympathetic and loving nature.

Resources for Members
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: Vibha Akkaraju
Treasurer: Alisha Willis

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
Reading Series Coordinator: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Membership: Margaret Nalbach
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Newsletter Editor: Linda Glave
Newsletter Design: Corinna Sherman
Hospitality: Megan McDonald
Think Tank/Writers Helping Writers: Geri Spieler 
Retreat Coordinator: Korie Pelka
Volunteer Coordinator: OPEN
Parliamentarian: OPEN
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Megan McDonald
SMCF Literary Stage Manager: Laurel Anne Hill
SMCF Literary Stage Exhibits Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Critique Group Contact: Jean Morrow

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