San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
October 2019 | California Writers Club
President's Message
Beware the Wearing of too Many Hats

I may have talked before about the many hats I wear—author, editor, birth doula, and volunteer, not to mention parent, spouse, and friend. So, when I took on the position of branch president, I was determined that my watchword would be delegate .

As they say in t he movies , “How’s that working out for you?”
Alas, not as well as I’d hoped. But not because I am reluctant to give up control or feel the need to micromanage. Quite the contrary. There’s nothing I love more than finding great, talented people and handing off responsibilities.

Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t work when there’s no one to hand off to.

Recently, this became painfully clear when our long-time marketing lead and newsletter editor, Melanie Shook, took advantage of a great personal opportunity that involves moving out of the area. With only a few weeks to pull together this issue, I ended up stepping in, since I have some experience with email newsletter programs.

This is not an experience I’m looking to replicate.

Consider this a desperate plea for someone to step in and help. Maybe our newsletter is good as is. Maybe it requires radical reimagination. Maybe we do away with it altogether. But whatever its fate, I want my role to be that of consultant and overseer.

Maybe you haven’t volunteered in the past because you fear being overwhelmed. Believe me, I get it. Non-profit organizations can demand endless time and energy. But we’ve tried to break down the tasks we need help with so you don’t have to bite off more than you want.

Please see our “Volunteer” section below and contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Lisa Meltzer Penn .
Even if you’re not sure what you can or would like to do, Lisa would love to hear from you. She can probably find something that will fit your skills and interests.

Happy volunteering (and writing),

  • President’s Message
  • October meeting
  • Cal Writers Week
  • Membership Renewal
  • Elegy for a Mentor (poem)
  • Event Highlights
  • September Speaker Recap
  • New on Twitter
  • Member News
  • Anthology Update
  • Upcoming Conferences
  • Get Involved!
  • Critique Groups
  • Member Resources
October Meeting | Editing Panel
Secrets of the Red Pen
What Your Editor Wants You to Know
You have finished your writing project and now you can bask in the glory of completion. But wait—not just yet. Who else has read your work? Your great critique group isn’t enough. You need an editor to read your work before it goes out into the world. But how do you find the right one? What questions should you ask? What do editors charge? How do you work with one?

Our October editing panel will answer these questions and more. The panel, moderated by Geri Spieler, includes this great lineup.

Jason Buchholz is a novelist, editor, publisher, and artist whose poetry and flash fiction have appeared in Gobbledegook and Switchback . He has worked as a travel writer and journalist and holds a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley and an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco. He lives in El Cerrito with his wife and son.
Darlene Frank is a writer, editor and creativity coach who helps people turn personal stories into powerful works of art. She teaches memoir-writing workshops and provides developmental editing and copyediting services for memoir and other nonfiction.

Audrey Kalman is the author of two novels and a book of short fiction. Her work has appeared in more than a dozen online and print journals. She has been a member of the SF Peninsula Branch of the California Writers Club since 2011, where she served as vice president from 2016 to 2019 and is currently branch president.

Heidi Swillinger is a Bay Area journalist and book editor. She has worked at the San Francisco Chronicle and Central City Extra in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. She currently works at, a political news and opinion site.
Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
FREE to first-time attendees! 
$10 Members; $15 Non-Members; $5 Students/ID
Think Tank
 immediately following the meeting at 12:00 p.m.
How to Shrink and Grow Time:
A Tool to Help You
Get Your Writing Done
Moderator: Deanna Washington

Deanna Washington has been a graphic designer for more than 30 years, and is an author and artist. She is working on seven novels and has published three non-fiction books. When she is not helping people get their books to print, she’s at her favorite place to write — Disneyland.
Do you have a book you are working on but…
  • One more day passes when you’ve not written one word
  • Progress keeps stalling
  • You just don’t have blocks of time to make it happen
  • When you do sit down to write you feel guilty because you should be working on other things
Come learn the technique that Deanna Washington used to complete seven first-draft novels in two years and is using now to chomp through the second drafts. This is a workshop, so sharpen your pencils!
October 12 - 19 is California Writers Week
Celebrate writing!
Special CWC SF Peninsula Branch Member Event
Refreshments provided – Books for sale
Last month, we invited all published authors from the CWC SF Peninsula Branch to sign up to read a short excerpt from their books, whether self-, indie press-, or traditionally published. Fifteen readers put their works forward and will be on stage to read. If you are not reading, please come support a once-a-year event celebrating the accomplishments of your fellow authors.
Membership Renewal Update
Thank you for writing with us.

As of September 20th, our branch had 154 members . Your membership lets us continue monthly meetings with exciting speakers like September's Amos White and October's editing panel. It lets us increase the number of readings and book events we can offer. We await the renewals of 48 members . Unfortunately, if you have waited, we must collect an additional $20 for renewals processed after September 30th because of statewide club administration costs. We still would love to have you remain a member to partake in the many fabulous events we have planned, such as the author event on October 15 , the holiday party in early December , and Barnes & Noble Author Day on December 7 . You have two renewal options.

  • Renew via PayPal (fastest method)

Members renew for $65 (includes $20 admin fee)
Dual members (whose primary affiliation is with one of the other branches) pay $25
  • Renew via check
Make your check payable to
CWC or California Writers Club
Mail it to P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002

Your Membership Team: Mark Dooley, Tim Flood, Margaret Nalbach
Poetry Contribution
Elegy for a Mentor
a poem by Jo Carpignano in memory of Bardi Rosman Koodrin
Like a tree - her writing roots sank deep
into the lavish soil of English words
Her protective branches, spreading wide
sheltered me from arrogance
and unnecessary pride.
With her leaves, she scattered punctuation
across each page and through my work
To make the syntax firm, and Meaning shine
Like a river - but never in a flood
Suspicious of unnecessary wandering
Suggested only careful carving at the banks
Few changes - just to make the borders firm
A comma there - to clarify the necessary flow
delete a word to keep the Current clean and clear
Her thoughts sustained the writer-life in me

Like the sun - she warmed my heart
And made composing strain - a lighter task
illuminated pathways to a better word, or phrase
hinting and suggesting with the word “Perhaps?"
A gentle prod to greater growth, I came to know
supporting one more surge in germinating work
A quiet force I felt - was always there for me
Like a bird - swift in thought, and clear in sight
She knew the joy of her own imagination's flight
Yet constant to the given task,
 she sat watchful over each of us
Overseeing written words she loved so much
Prodding gently after meaning and at form. . .
 I sit pecking at computer keys observing screen
While perched upon my shoulder 
She whispers in my ear.
Event Highlights
Recurring Events
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.
October 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29

Every Thursday in San Mateo
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
October 3, 10, 17, 24, & 31


4th Tuesday of every month
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
October 22, November 26


Tuesday, October 15, 2019
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Reading & Book Sale
Join us for this special WHW in honor of California Writers Week in addition to our usual Wednesday evening event.

Wednesday, October 16
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Speaker: Audrey Kalman
Topic: Short Takes - Getting Started Writing Short Fiction
Special and Upcoming Events
Are you a new member in the last 6 months? Or are you a longtime member who wants to get to know new members? Join us for a new member welcome gathering.

Sunday, October 6, 2019
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. - noon
Note special date for October only

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Topic: Editing Panel
Think Tank: Deanna Washington

Saturday: November 16, 2019
Speaker: Betsy Fasbinder
Topic: Public Speaking Skills
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Stay tuned for more!
Want to stay up to date on CWC events? Check out our new calendar
on the website

September Speaker Recap
Photo by Audrey Kalman
a change in climate—
leading us through dark of night
we follow Sunrise
Amos White   
Haiku poet and activist Amos White spoke at our meeting on September 21 on the art of giving public readings. It was a fantastic hour that does not easily lend itself to reduction to words on a page.

The major takeaway: use pauses. Pauses shape your words. They create the meaning of our logos , the words of our selves. Too many readers rush through their writing and obscure the periods and commas. The flat aspect obscures the beauty of the language.

He emphasized that you should treat the microphone as a friend. It is your portal to the audience. Your chance to pause, look over the audience and their reaction, and feel their emotions. It's not only your feedback on the work you've done, but a guide to your future work. 
Did you attend the meeting?   Let us know what you thought .
Follow Us on Twitter
We have a new twitter account : @CWCSFPeninsula. Follow us to see announcements for events sponsored by our branch as well as other events around the state and online. If you'd like to volunteer to add content to the feed, please contact us .
Member News
Darlene Frank   is celebrating the success of her workshop  "Science and Imagery: Tapping into Your Creative Power”  at the Imagery International Conference on Sept 22. This annual conference promotes the therapeutic benefits of imagery for healing and personal growth. She talked about the connection between science, art, and creativity, and offered writing exercises to stretch the imagination. The audience loved the creative play of imagery, stories, and neuroscience strategies, and produced some inspired writing!
Engine Woman's Light Cover
In September, Laurel Anne Hill 's novel, The Engine Woman's Light , received a Reader's Favorite Book Award: Honorable Mention, Young Adult Fantasy (General). This was in addition to the Five-Star Reader's Favorite Book Review earlier in the year.

Laurel will travel to Miami in November to receive her award, an international honor.
Ida J. Lewenstein is happy to announce the publication of A Sad Little Dog , her second children's book.

Her first book, Poor Old Goat , was published earlier this year.
A Sad Little Dog Book Cover
Join Carole Bumpus and five other writers as they discuss and read from their books at Kepler’s at Story is the Thing on October 24, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Sign up early; tickets are $12.

The Women’s National Book Association, in collaboration with Litquake, is hosting a panel of women authors, including Carole Bumpus , speaking on Memory: Remarkable Hidden Histories and Stories You Won’t Forget at Book Passage at the Ferry Terminal Bldg. in San Francisco on October 12 at 3 p.m. 
Congratulations to our members!
Anthology Update
Fault Zone: Strike Slip Coming in December
Editor Laurel Anne Hill is busy putting the finishing touches on the next edition of our branch anthology, Fault Zone: Strike Slip. The proofreaders will receive the manuscript in early October and the anthology is on schedule for release at our holiday party in early December.

Laurel is still waiting for several author bios. If that applies to you, please email them to her as soon as possible if you have not already done so. A pdf will go to the proofreaders early in October. Proofreading will mainly target spelling, grammar and formatting errors.

Fault Zone: Strike Slip contains a strong and diverse collection of stories and poems. Please put the book on your list of holiday gifts to give. Don't forget to give a copy to yourself, even if your work is not in the anthology.  Fault Zone: Strike Slip includes multiple approaches to storytelling and plenty of originality. I'm so delighted and inspired to have worked with all of our Fault Zone: Strike Slip authors.
Upcoming Events, Conferences and Workshops
October 12: Mountain View Local Author Fair
Several branch members will be attending the Local Author Fair at the Mountain View Public Library to promote, sign, and sell copies of their books to the community and participate in a Q&A session. Head down after our October meeting!

Saturday, October 12, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

November 8-10: Kauai Writers Conference
Are you planning to attend the Kauai Writers Conference? CWC Members get a 20% discount by entering the code WG789 on the check-out page for the conference. An additional discount may be available; to take advantage of it, send an email to Berkeley Branch President Kristen Caven.
Get Involved!
Volunteer Opportunities
Marketing Team
Thank you to Carol Park for volunteering to help edit November's newsletter! Still needed:

Newsletter Team - Editing content and producing on Constant Contact (could be split into two jobs)
Event Promoter - Posting our events to Facebook and/or MeetUp (familiarity with FB helpful)
Marketing Strategy - Help oversee our marketing efforts.

Fault Zone Book Launch Team
We need help to get our wonderful new anthology and the whole Fault Zone series to a broader audience with readings and book sales.

Contact Lisa Meltzer Penn by email to find out more or just chat about how you can get involved. What’s your creative vision for CWC?
Writers Helping Writers
If you would enjoy sharing your talents and your writerly expertise with a group of new writers, please email Carole Bumpus. We have several spots available this fall (see below).

To participate, you need to:
  • Be comfortable preparing and leading an interactive 1.5-hour class.
  • Prepare a class with handouts or hands-on help with practice sets for new writers.
  • Provide a short description of your topic to include in our newsletter and library listings.
  • Provide a short bio including your writing experience.
  • Choose the month and library where you would like to present.
It’s quite easy to share your gifts. The schedule below shows open spots. Contact Carole soon! 
San Carlos Library – Third Wednesday of the Month
October 16 – Audrey Kalman
November 20 (Thanksgiving is the 28 th ) – Need someone to lead
December 18 – Need someone to lead
San Mateo Library – Second Wednesday of the Month
October 9 – Date is replaced by the California Writers Week event on the 15th
November 13 - Laurel Anne Hill
December 11 – Need someone to lead

2020 dates available too!
Resources for Members
Critique Groups
Looking for critique group partners? We can help! Please contact Lisa Meltzer Penn .
Protect Yourself Legally If You’re Writing Memoir

By Jordan Sher
I recently had a question about legal protections for both author and subject of a memoir. The concerns I identified specifically pertain to me writing a memoir about another person, which is a project that I am about to embark upon. However, in any memoir, which is more typically written about oneself, or as I am doing it, requires interviewing others who know or knew the subject. Those people may also have a part to play in the actual book. As a writer, it is important to make sure that you are protected legally from being sued for defamation.
In an expansive internet search, I came upon an article by Matt Knight in his “Sidebar Saturdays” blog where he posts about the law and writing. His article, “ The Legal Risks of Writing Memoir, ” was chock full of good information. However, I also needed a general release form, so I emailed Matt. His response is below.
Permission and release forms are fairly basic. You could use something like the example below. Thing is, in order for someone to release claims they might have or give permission for you to print something about them, they’ll want to see what that something is you’ve written. I think you’d understand if someone came to you and said, sign this release for a book about you. You’d want to know what they said before it goes to print. So, you can draft a general release, but the signing party should read the snippets in the book that are about them prior to signing. All is not lost if they don’t sign the release. You can still make changes to distance the book from the person and events, as well as other things outlined in the article. Also, the First Amendment gives memoirists more latitude to tell their story. 
If you’re worried about being sued, I would plan on hiring an attorney once the book is written, then have them vet the manuscript for possible places for liability and who you need permissions from before publishing. Publishers will have in-house counsel available to review a manuscript for legal concerns.
Write the book, and your story. Worry about the legal concerns and how to navigate those once you know what things are going to be a problem.

Click to view a sample release.
More Resources on our Website
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. 
Classified Ads
To submit an ad related to a writing need or service, send your submission to: 
Subject line: "CWC Newsletter - Classified Ads" 
Free for club members.
Board Members
Executive Board
President: Audrey Kalman
Vice President: Geri Spieler
Secretary: Korie Pelka
Treasurer: Jean Morrow

Additional Voting Positions
Membership Chair: Mark Dooley
Marketing & Outreach Chair: OPEN
Newsletter Editor: OPEN 
Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Immediate Past President: Lisa Meltzer Penn 
State Board Rep: Geri Spieler
NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus     
Committee/Individual Contributor Positions
Volunteer Coordinator: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Membership Co-Chairs: Tim Flood, Margaret Nalbach
Web Manager: Mindy Yang
Hospitality Co-Chairs: Megan McDonald and Carol Park 
Think Tank: Geri Spieler 
Parliamentarian: Alisha Willis
Member-at-Large: Bette Houtchens
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Megan McDonald
SMCF Literary Stage Consulting Coordinator: Sue Barizon 
Critique Group Contact: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Submission Guidelines
Want to see your article, ad or poem published here?
Submission deadline is the  23rd  of the month. Send via email to:

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, etc.)
  • Use MS 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, send as a jpeg attachment to your email. 
CWC SF Peninsula | Email | Website
Stay Connected with us on Facebook and Twitter