September 2019 | California Writers Club
San Francisco Peninsula Writer
Writers Helping Writers Since 1909
President's Message
Open to Possibility (Or, Some Things You Can't Plan)

I’ve always had a somewhat unhealthy desire for control. Chalk it up to anxiety or to temperament, but I usually feel better knowing what will happen when—and even better if I have some say in the what and when

So people often are surprised to learn about my day job as a birth doula, working with families during labor and delivery to provide physical and emotional support. Giving birth is anything but predictable. When will labor begin? How long will it last? How will the new family cope? What will the child be like? 

I’ve gotten better over the years at dealing with the unpredictability of my job, although it often interrupts other plans. For example, I recently missed my first CWC board retreat as president because someone went into labor. I’m lucky that we have a fantastic group of board members who accomplished the agenda without me. 

As for what this has to do with writing, people also are surprised to find that despite my penchant for order and organization, I don’t work from an outline. I’m very much a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants. The process of writing leads me to discover what I’m writing about, who my characters are, and where the plot is going. During the creative phase of writing, I’m happy to be out of control, to relinquish the idea of knowing what will happen and when it will happen. I like ideas to be born in their own good time. I’m content to go along for the ride, follow the trail of words deep into the heart of a scene. Sure, I go down a lot of dead ends and do a lot of backtracking, but that’s half the fun. I look at it as staying open to possibility.

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser—and whether or not you’re writing a memoir—consider enrolling in our half-day memoir workshop on September 28 with Brooke Warner. Brooke presented at one of our meetings a couple of years ago and has taught workshops around the country. Check out this video for a little taste of Brooke. 

Don’t miss our September meeting with haiku poet and author Amos White if you need some creative inspiration. And get ready for October—we’ve got a lot planned for California Writers Week. 

Happy writing, 

September Highlights:
  1. President’s Message
  2. September Memoir Workshop
  3. Renew Your Membership
  4. September Speaker
  5. Think Tank
  6. August Speaker Recap
  7. Member News
  8. Upcoming Events, Conferences and Workshops
  9. Sign Up Here!
CWC SF Peninsula Presents:
Mastering Memoir with Brooke Warner
Register Now - Space is Limited!
September 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Twin Pines Lodge in Belmont
Memoir expert and enthusiast Brooke Warner brings energy and passion to her teaching of memoir, supporting writers to find ways to make their stories bigger and more meaningful than simply “what happened.” This workshop will guide writers through the most important craft elements: scene, narration, character development/characterization, memory and flashback, reflection and takeaway. And we’ll examine popular memoirs that execute these elements of craft beautifully so that writers will grasp how to implement what they learn in their own writing.

Whether you’re a beginning memoirist or well into your project, this workshop will give you hands-on strategies to deepen your work and, most importantly, write scenes and characters that make readers care.  

Enter code CWC for special
CWC member pricing ($15 off)
$70 CWC members
$85 non-members

Renew Your Membership
It’s nearing September and our thoughts turn towards cooler weather, all things pumpkin spice, and renewing our membership in the CWC. Your dues pay for the great benefits the club offers. This is how you rent the hall for our meetings, bring in speakers, and provide the annual Literary Review. Even though our organizers are volunteers and we keep expenses to a minimum, benefits require financing.
Your renewal period lasts until the end of September. We hope you continue to be part of the oldest writing club in California and avail yourself of all we have to offer to support your writing efforts. Your continued membership is essential to the vibrancy and energy that makes our branch work so well. 

To renew via PayPal click here, mail your check to CWC SF Peninsula, P.O. Box 853, Belmont, CA 94002, or bring your payment to the September meeting. You can prepay for all of the year's meetings via PayPal here. You'll get ten meetings for the price of eight. Such a deal.

Style mavens tell us fall fashions are mid-length skirts, pistachio green, and volunteering for your club. We need people to put in a few hours organizing new member orientation, representing us on social media, and marketing. Club leadership looks good on a CV or a query letter. Contact Lisa Meltzer-Penn or any of the board members if you're interested. 

Your membership team,
Tim Flood, Margaret Nalbach, Mark Dooley
September Speaker

Speaker: Amos White
Topic: The Art of Giving Live Readings

Come hear this engaging and educational speaker to learn how the subtleties of tone and time can move an audience with but a word.
At the presentation you will learn:
  • How to deliver like a pro
  • How to find and read at local open mic readings
  • The Dos & Don'ts of reading etiquette
  • How to host your own local literary readings

Bring a small poem or a written paragraph of fiction, nonfiction, etc. to practice reading aloud.

Amos White is an awarded American haiku poet and author, producer and civil rights activist. He is recognized for his vivid literary imagery and breathless poetic interpretations. Amos is published in several national and international anthologies. Amos is Founder and Host of the Heart of the Muse Creative’s salon; Executive Producer and Host of Beyond Words: Jazz+Poetry show; President of Bay Area Generations literary reading series, and board member with the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), and with the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop-Oakland. 

In his spare time he moonlights as a community organizer with ACLU People Power-Alameda and as a board member on CASA, Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda; and on the Bay Area Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force where he is Vice Chair. Amos lives, works and plays on the island city of Alameda, California with his family.

Saturday, September 21 at 10:00 a.m.
FREE to first-time attendees! 
$10 Members; $15 Non-Members; $5 Students/ID
Think Tank
September 21, 2019 at 12:00p.m.
Topic: Writing Family History
Moderator: Elise Miller
Join us directly after the meeting for a hands-on workshop led by Elise Frances Miller, novelist and genealogist. Whether you are at the genealogical research or writing stage, and are writing a fictionalized account or a documented history, get tips on streamlining your work and on finding the center of your stories.
Event Calendar
Happening Now

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.
September 3, 10, 17, 24, 2019

Every Thursday in San Mateo
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
September 5, 12, 19, 26, 2019

Writers Helping Writers
Topic: An Evening of Writing Prompts
Moderator: Korie Pelka
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Upcoming Events
In October, we will hold a reading in honor of California Writers Week instead.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Marketing Party & Website Re-Design
September 8, 2019

September Monthly Meeting
September 21, 2019
10:00 a.m. to noon

Speaker: Amos White
Topic: The Art of Giving Live Readings

Followed by the Think Tank, led by Elise Miller

3rd Saturday of each month
Note special date October only -
2nd Saturday: October 12, 2019
Panel Moderated by Geri Spieler
Topic: Why Editing and Revision Are Critical Steps Toward a Successful Book

November 16, 2019
Speaker: Betsy Fasbinder
Topic: Public Speaking Skills
Open Mic
4th Tuesday of every month

September 24, 2019
7:00 p.m.

Mastering Memoir with Brooke Warner
September 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Open MIc
4th Tuesday of every month

October 22, 2019
November 29, 2019
August Speaker Recap
We are all a little more adept at using Microsoft Word now that expert Hilda Sendyk schooled us in the many, many options available in the program that most of us never knew existed. Such as using navigation keys to go to the end of a line, go to the end of a document and create a "cell" in a table. Sound like a foreign language? 

Well, that is what many of us thought at the time. However, using Hilda's Tips and Tricks it became translated into a language we all learned. 

Being proficient at any program makes creating a document a lot easier and more efficient. Understanding Word and its many functions allows us to focus on what we do best: Write. 
Photo by Doug Baird
Did you attend the meeting?   Let us know what you thought .
Bardi Rosman Koodrin Memorial
"Carry the Light" - A Memorial & Celebration of LIfe for Our Beloved Bardi Rosman Koodrin
Hosted by the Koodrin family
September 7, 2019
10:30 a.m.
Saint Robert's Church
A Memorial Service will be held at Saint Robert's Church at 10:30am with a reception immediately following at the San Bruno Senior Center located at 1555 Crystal Springs Road, San Bruno.(Walking distance from the Church and parking available.)
Member News
Maurine Killough has been asked to talk and read one of her poems about grief at the Evening of Remembrance hosted by Sutter Care Home Bereavement Services on September 25, 2019 at 6pm.

Geri Spieler is happy to announce that the screenwriters have completed the screenplay for the movie of her book, Taking Aim at the President. This is an important milestone in getting the movie made.

Audrey Kalman's short fiction collection, Tiny Shoes Dancing and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the 2019 International Rubery Book Award

Would you like to see your news published here? Send your submissions to by the 23rd of the month with the subject line "CWC Newsletter Submissions."
Book Launch Celebration - Carole Bumpus September 5
My newest book, and the first in my Savoring the Olde Ways series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, has been described as "an engaging travelogue and heartwarming culinary memoir." In this book I share my adventures traveling in France, where I meet three generations of French families in their homes and shares meals while discovering their culinary traditions. Traveling from Paris, in the Ile-de-France, through the Champagne, Alsatian and Lorraine Regions, I return to Paris once again, as I search for the traditional 'cuisine pauvre' or peasant foods common to the French table. Indulging in their delectable recipes and sumptuous wines, I delight in their many shared stories of family, place and history.

I'd love to have you join me at my launch event:

September 5, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Books Inc.

Upcoming Events, Conferences and Workshops
September 4: Panel Discussion of CWC SF Peninsula Published Authors
This panel will discuss the experience of being published featuring the California Writers Club members. Come by, listen, learn and support our very own California Writers Club members Geri Spieler, Audrey Kalman, Carole Bumpus and Dorcas Cheng-Tozun as they share the pros and cons of various methods of the publishing business in today’s market.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
7:00-8:30 p.m
Menlo Park Library
September 8: CWC Marketing Party and Website Re-design
We think our CWC SF Peninsula website could use a fresh look! We want to make it more useful to our members and would love to have your input. We're hosting a brainstorming party with refreshments. Please join us!

Sunday, September 8, 2019
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Redwood Shores Library

September 14: San Francisco Writing for Change Conference
Please join the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter at the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference where we will have a booth and also be participating in panels on getting published, marketing and writing the perfect proposal and much more!

Brooke Axtell, Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse and sex-trafficking, will be the keynote speaker.

Saturday, September 14, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Center of San Francisco

September 14: Dave M. Strom Reading at Half Price Books

Join author Dave M. Strom as he brings to life Super Holly Hansson (geek girl/comic book writer turned superheroine), her super friends, and their fiendish foes. The author will read excerpts from Super Holly Hansson in Super Bad Hair Day. Books available for purchase and signed by the author.

Saturday September 14, 2019
2:00 -4:00 p.m.
Half Price Books
September 21: Bay Area Poets Laureate Poetry Reading
The Bay Area Poets Laureate (past and present, about 18-20 poets) will do a public reading at the Millbrae Library, including our own member and Poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
1:00 p.m.
Millbrae Library

September 28: Memoir Workshop with Brooke Warner
Scroll up in this newsletter to see the full announcement or register here.

Saturday, September 28, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Twin Pines Lodge
October 12: Mountain View Local Author Fair
The Local Author Fair at the Mountain View Public Library invites Bay Area/Peninsula authors to promote, sign, and sell copies of their books to the local community. The library will assign each author a table where they can showcase their work to library patrons. Those who are interested may also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with the community at the end of the fair, as well. If this is something you would be interested in, you can register using this Google form. Space is limited so register early!

Saturday, October 12, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Mountain View Public Library

October 15: California Writers Week Reading and Book Sales
As a special event for the California Writers Club SF Peninsula Branch, the San Mateo Public Library is hosting an all local CWC author event on Tuesday, October 15th from 7-8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

All CWC SF Peninsula authors are invited to read a short excerpt from their published book and sell copies to the audience. This includes ALL authors, whether Indie published, self-published, or traditionally published. 

If interested in participating, please contact Carole Bumpus, Library Liaison, at: You must be a CWC member and you must provide your own books for sale plus be responsible for collecting monies for said sales. This is a unique opportunity for our Club. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
San Mateo Public Library
Sign Up Here!
Volunteer Opportunities
Thank you to Sue Barizon and Cheryl Ray for signing up to be Gracious Greeters 
and George Rodriguez, Nancy DeSantis and Eva Barrows for pitching in as Hospitality Helpers! A big thank you to Martha Clark Scala for helping with the newsletter proofreading.

We still need Marketing team members to pitch in with social media, newsletter proofreading and website updating (Note: Technical skills are not required for some of these roles.) Melanie Shook and Mindy Yang would really appreciate your help and you would be joining a fun, creative team. 

Shoot me an email to find out more or just chat about how you can get involved. What’s your creative vision for CWC?

Lisa Meltzer Penn
Volunteer Coordinator
Critique Groups
New critique group in Mountain View has one slot open for an experienced writer. We meet 
1st and 3rd Friday of every month. If interested, please contact Karen Sundback at

A Memoir writer is looking to form or join a critique group that meets evenings or weekends. If this might be a match for you or your group, please contact Lisa Meltzer Penn at:
Writers Helping Writers at the Libraries
After its summer hiatus, the Writers Helping Writers Program is taking names for the months of November 2019 through May of 2020. If you would enjoy sharing your talents and ‘writerly’ expertise with a small group of new writers, please contact Carole Bumpus at 

But, you ask, what do we have to do? The answer is you provide a short description of what you choose to teach, you prepare a short 1 ½ hour program with handouts or hands-on practice of a helpful practice for new writers, you provide a short bio of yourself, and you sign up with Carole – for either the San Mateo Public Library or San Carlos Library and you choose the month you prefer to teach. San Mateo Library group meets the second Wednesday of the month and San Carlos Library meets the third Wednesday of the month. Come share your ideas, expertise and talents, make new friends and encourage new writers to come join us at the San Francisco Peninsula CWC.
Member Resources
Check out the updated  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 a list of branch members who provide writing-related services for a fee: editing, coaching, and more.
Classified Ads
This is the place to find Volunteer Opportunities and Member Ads. 

If you would like to submit an ad related to a writing need or service, send your submission to: 

Subject line: "CWC Newsletter - Classified Ads" 

Together, we can promote our club, boost your career and get you the help you need to move forward with your writing projects. 
Board Members
Executive Board:
President: Audrey Kalman
Vice President: Geri Spieler
Secretary: Korie Pelka
Treasurer: Jean Morrow     
Appointed Board Positions:
State Board Rep: Geri Spieler
NorCal Rep: Carole Bumpus
Membership Co-Chair: Tim Flood
Marketing & Outreach Chair: Melanie Shook 
Newsletter Editor: Melanie Shook 
Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Volunteer Coordinator: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Membership Co-Chairs: Margaret Nalbach, Mark Dooley
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
Guidelines for Submitting to this Newsletter
Want to see your article, ad or poem published here?
Submission deadline is the  23rd  of the month. 

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 Ad, etc.
  • Use 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 to include, send it as a jpeg attachment to your email. 
     Send your submissions via email to: 
CWC SF Peninsula | Email | Website
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