President's Message
September 2017

We had a terrific turn-out for our first meeting of the season last month with a great speaker, lots of new faces, plenty of time to network and meet one other, and a record-breaking Think Tank crowd! As your new president, it was very exciting for me to be in the front of the room for the first time, looking out at a roomful of talented and creative writers.
Your new board is working on many things for you, from member readings, to new member engagement, to facilitating critique groups, to a brand-new Fault Zone anthology coming in December, to improvements to our website. And more! A lot goes on behind the scenes!
I want to introduce you to your intrepid board members, who make many of these things happen. At this link:, you can see their pictures next to their job descriptions. See the list of Board Members and their positions and read more about each individual in " Board Member Bios" in the boxes below.

But the board can't do it all on our own!  That's why our Immediate Past President, Carole Bumpus, has put on a new "hat" and transformed into our Volunteer Coordinator. Now you can join the fun, too!
Some roles we need to fill include:  
  • Photographers to record the highlights of our meetings.
  • Eagle-eye proofreaders for the website (check links, check information is current.)
  • Check-in table greeters. For you social butterflies or wannabes.
  • Think Tank leaders - have something writing-related to teach or share? Pick a topic and and jump into the tank after a general meeting.
  • Copy editors for Newsletter
  • Proofreaders for Fault Zone
See a need you can fill?
Give a little time and get a whole lot out of it.
To find out more, ask any board member or send Carole a line at:
Lisa Meltzer Penn, President, CWC SF Peninsula Branch

Immediate Past President Carole Bumpus being presented with an engraved wooden pen set to "Madame President - Thanks from CWC!" And a new accessory for her wardrobe in honor of  the many "hats" she has worn in service to our club.

September 2017 Highlights:
  1. President's Message
  2. Speaker: Michelle Richmond - "The Marriage Pact: How it Happened"
  3. August Speaker Recap by Audrey Kalman
  4. To a Mentor - poem by Jo Carpignano
  5. Board Member Bios
  6. New Feature: Board Spotlight

September 16, 2017

September Speaker:  Michelle Richmond

New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond will read from her latest novel,  The Marriage Pact, and answer questions about the book, her writing process, and the life of a writer.

Michelle is also the author of The Year of Fog, Golden State, and other novels and story collections. 

Her books have been sold in 28 languages, and her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, Playboy, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, The Sunday Mirror, and elsewhere.  She has taught in the MFA programs in creative writing at The University of San Francisco, California College of the Arts, Bowling Green State University, and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary's College of Moraga and Notre Dame de Namur University.  Learn more about Michelle's books at , or find her services and classes for writers at .

Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
California Writers Club
Sequoia Yacht Club
441 Seaport Court
Redwood City
FREE to first-timers. $10 members. $15 nonmembers.  
$10 students with ID. 
To register with payment go to: 
Your Think Tank


Please join us after our regular meeting for an opportunity to discuss writing related topics with a program we call "Think Tank." What is it? Think Tank was created for writers to get together to discuss specific writing issues they want to explore in depth. It is now open to all members, guests and newcomers. We meet right after the regular meeting from noon to 1 PM, same place. Some past Think Tank sessions include topics such as writer's block, five principles of nonfiction writing, what makes a poem and how to build your blog.

Have an idea for a session? We are looking for Think Tank leaders. You don't have to be an expert to lead a fun and informative discussion.

Please contact me with any questions or ideas at

Geri Spieler
Hooked on Page One, Committed on Page 20 - August Meeting Recap

At the August 19 meeting, Author Donna Levin opened with -and repeated - a single piece of advice that she believes is critical for writers: "If anything I say today stops you from writing, forget what I said." Her writing impulse was shut down for several years after a bad writing conference experience.

She offered no hard and fast rules for hooking your reader on page one and making sure they are committed on page 20. Rather, she described four areas to pay attention to if you want to keep your reader engaged:
  1. Narrative hook - The story question: What's happening? Why do I want to read more?
  2. Foreshadowing - Runs a spectrum from subtle to blatant. Remember that you don't create suspense by withholding information, but by giving information.
  3. Rising stakes - What matters to the character in the first half of the book should matter even more in the second half.
  4. Pace - The rate at which the action unfolds. Will accelerate in the last third of the book.
Donna ended with a caution and a positive thought. Caution: Choose carefully the people with whom you share your unfinished work. Family members and close friends are often not the best audience. Positive thought: "There never has been a better time to be a writer," despite gloomy predictions about books and publishing.   

Audrey Kalman
CWC SF Peninsula Calendar

Wednesday,  September 20
Open Mic - Emcee Maurine Killough
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
Open Mic at Reach & Teach
144 W. 25th Avenue, San Mateo. FREE


Saturday, September 16th
Speaker - Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond  is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels;  her most recent,  The Marriage Pact , came out in July.

September 16 - Think Tank
Poetry with Pratibha
Moderated by Pratibha Kelapure
FREE.  In this session we will read and discuss poems from the past several decades. Each poem will shed light on some specific element of poetry.
There will be enough variety to interest most. At the end of this session you will be inspired to create your own poem in your unique voice.Think Tank is now open to all members, guests, and newcomers.

Upcoming Events

September 26, 2017
Reading - Audrey Kalman
Audrey Kalman will read from her new novel,  What Remains Unsaid , along with poet Devi Laskar, at the  September 26 Literally event starting at 7:00 p.m . This monthly gathering at The Shop at Flywheel Press features one or two authors followed by an open mic. Come listen and read! 
309 7th Ave, San Mateo

October 21, 2017
Speaker- Nina Amir
Nina Amir  is known as the Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, because she moves her clients from ideas to realized dreams by combining their passion and purpose and helping them take inspired action.

October 18, 2017
 Open Mic -  Moderator TBD
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Open Mic at  Reach & Teach 
144 W. 25th Avenue, San Mateo. FREE

November 18, 2017
Speaker - Iris Jamahl Dunkle
Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the 2016/2017 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County.  Her third poetry collection,  Interrupted Geographies , was published by Trio House Press in June 2017.



 The SF
 Peninsula CWC Branch meets the 3rd Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at:

441 Seaport Court
Redwood City 
$10 members. $15 nonmembers.
$10 students with ID.

Member News
Mary Beth O'Connor  was delighted to win third place in the novel category at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. 

Bill Baynes  has two books in pre-publication. His 25,000-word novella,  The Occupation of Joe , has been picked up by Top Hat Books in Hampshire, U.K. His middle-grade children's novel,  A Big League Catastrophe , has been picked up by Thurston Howl Publications. Both books are due out next year.

Online Book Club rates James Hanna'a anthology, A Second Less Capable Head and Other Rogue Stories, four out of four stars. Readers' Favorite Book Reviews rates his book, Call Me Pomeroy, five out of five stars.

Congratulations, everyone!

To a Mentor 
Like a tree - her writer roots sank deep
into the lavish soil of English words
Protective branches, spreading wide
sheltered me from arrogance
stilled all unnecessary pride
Like 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 careful carving at the banks
Few changes, just to make the borders sharp
a comma here to clarify the necessary flow
delete a word to keep the currents 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, a clearer phrase
She hinted and suggested with "perhaps ?"
a gentle prod to greater growth, as soon I came to know
Supporting one more surge in germinating work
a quiet force I felt was always there for me
Like a bird - so frail in frame, but strong  -
she knew the joy of her own imagination's flight
yet constant to the task, sitting 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, while she -
perched upon my shoulder - whispers in my ear

by Jo Carpignano


Executive Board:
President: Lisa Meltzer Penn
Vice President: Audrey Kalman
Secretary: Jean Morrow
Treasurer: Pratibha Kelapure        
Appointed Board Positions:
Membership Chair: Margaret Nalbach 
Publicity Chair: Bill Baynes 
Newsletter Editor: Jeannine Gerkman 
SMCF Literary Stage Coordinator: Bardi Rosman Koodrin 
Parliamentarian: Bette Houtchens
NorCal Representative & Volunteer Coordinator: Carole Bumpus
Fault Zone Editor in Chief: Laurel Anne Hill 
Non-Voting Positions:
Immediate Past President: Carole Bumpus
Web Manager: Pratibha Kelapure
Hospitality Chairs: Geri Spieler and Eve Visconti
Think Tank: Geri Spieler
State Board Rep: Carole Bumpus
Member-at-Large: Alisha Willis 

Alisha Willis, Member-at-Large, is a writer and dual member of the San Francisco/Peninsula and Fremont CWC clubs.  Since April 2017 she has crafted poems, vignettes, and witticisms as part of the Grind, an online community of writers.  She is currently preparing pieces for submission to several writing contests. 

Audrey KalmanVP/Speakers has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Joining CWC in 2011 inspired her to self-publish her novel "Dance of Souls." Sand Hill Review Press published her most recent novel in 2017. As VP/Speakers, she enjoys the opportunity to invite other writers to present to the club. 

Bardi Rosman Koodrin, San Mateo County Fair Literary Stage Coordinator, likes to say the smartest thing she's ever done was to ask the San Francisco Peninsula Writers if they would give free literary workshops at the 2009 San Mateo County Fair. The answer was "Yes!" Bardi joined the board and the Literary Stage was launched.  

Bette Houtchens, Parliamentarian. The parliamentarian ensures our board follows proper procedures in matters regarding board policies and decision-making. This role can be especially challenging when working with writers whose tendencies are to challenge and bend the rules. Thanks goodness there's a handy reference book called Robert's Rules of Order. In other words, a parliamentarian mitigates against pandemonium.

Bill Baynes, Publicity Chair, is a video producer/director and a public interest marketing specialist with experience in many forms of media from newspaper reporting to magazine publishing, from feature films to industrial videos, from print ads to website development.

Carole Bumpus, Immediate-Past President of the SF Peninsula Branch, is currently the Volunteer Coordinator, as well as Central Board rep for the Branch and also chairs the NorCal CWC Group.  She has had two books published: an historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, and a companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption.

Eve Visconti, Hospitality Co-chair and long-time member, has done a wide variety of writing including book and movie reviews for local newspapers, grants for non-profits, poetry, fiction, and essays. She tutors children in English and writing, SAT and College Prep and works with adults on English as a Second language.  

Geri Spieler , Hospitality Chair & Think Tank Coordinator,  first joined the CWC in 2005 when she began writing her book. She found a treasure trove of help and support. She later took active roles chairing the Jack London conference, starting Open Mic, serving as NorCal Rep, President and more. CWC has been her "rock" throughout her writing career.   

Jean Morrow  is the CWC Board Secretary, a grandmother, writer, retiree, volunteer and someone who enjoys food. Not necessarily in that order. The priority depends on the day, the time and whether or not there's anything in the refrigerator. 

Jeannine Gerkman, Newsletter Editor, gets it done and makes it fun - Author, Poet, Realtor, Volunteer, Fashion Consultant, Artist, Dog Mom. She has written over 60 poems, some of them prize-winning and published, and two books so far. A Realtor since 1997, she also enjoys helping folks market and sell their homes in the Bay Area. 

Laurel Anne Hill , Fault Zone Editor-in-Chief and award-winning author, led an earthquake emergency response team for many years. No wonder she now volunteers to serve as editor-in-chief for the Fault Zone: Uplift anthology. Laurel writes science fiction, fantasy and horror. Her latest novel is The Engine Woman's Light, a spirits-meet-steampunk tale.
Lisa Meltzer Penn, President, edited the first three Fault Zone anthologies, took the meeting minutes for three years, and wrote three more drafts of her novel during that time.  Give her three wishes and the first would be to finish and publish that book!

Margaret Nalbach & Bette Houtchens , Membership. The membership chair processes membership applications and renewals. Luckily, due to our club's calendar year starting on July 1st, most of this work happens in the summer time and can be interspersed with piƱa coladas on the beach.

Maurine Killough, Open Mic Chair,  is a poet and author of her book of poetry, Underseams. She served on the CWC Board from 2014 to 2017 and currently hosts the monthly open mic readings at Reach and Teach, third Wednesday each month.

Pratibha Kelapure , Treasurer & Webmaster, occupies a little space on earth. When challenged, she inhales air and exhales poetry and some perplexing code.  She hates to write bios for publications when she would rather be having some wine and watching trees. She continually tries to make herself invisible and fails miserably.
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.  

 Special Offer from  Sand Hill Review 

We're back up! The Sand Hill Review has launched a new online platform at We now do podcasts, interviews and discuss the craft of writing on our blog in addition to supporting writers, poets and artists by publishing their work online. We're on  Submittable but because SHR has had a longstanding relationship with the CWC, we'd like to offer CWC SF Peninsula chapter members free submissions until January 1, 2018. Send submissions directly to We'd love to hear from you.

Jean Morrow
Member Discounts

  • Family Tree Magazine (for genealogical writers and researchers) has offered CWC members $3 off a one-year subscription (7 issues). Price would be $24 vs. the $27 "standard intro price." California Writer's Club members can receive a discounted Family Tree Magazine sub rate for 7 issues for $24.00. When ordering by phone (888-403-9002) club members should mention source key: 87DCWC. Expiration on this agreement is  6/30/18 .
  • Writer's Digest has offered a discount to CWC members. Current online cost is $21.96 for print or digital. They offer the same options (print and digital) to CWC members for $14.95 for either one. Expiration on this agreement is 12/31/17The link:  WritersDigest. An opt-in box will appear reading "Please send me Writer's Digest's and F+W's FREE newsletter plus exclusive offers via e-mail. You'll also receive special offers from our marketing partners. You can unsubscribe from those newsletters via the newsletters themselves. We will not share your e-mail address with any third party without your consent. For more information, please read our privacy policy." Members who do not check the box to opt in, will exempt themselves from these offers and the discount would still apply.
Classified Ads:

Shelly King,  a member of the Central Coast Writers branch of the CWC, is the author of many short stories and the novel The Moment of Everything (now in 15 languages). She lives in Felton (near Santa Cruz) and is offering fall classes and workshops, including an advanced workshop on social media for writers. She's teaching these classes in her home in the redwoods. Interested in attending?

Maurine Killough is looking for someone to take her place as Emcee of Open Mic. Open Mic is held the third Wednesday of the month at Reach & Teach, 144 W 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  If you enjoy listening to original work read by their authors, are somewhat organized, can hold a clipboard, and would like to announce and time participants in a relaxed, cozy setting once a month; then please volunteer via email to  

Jeannine Gerkman is looking for experienced copy editors willing to volunteer their services for the good of CWC newsletter. Please contact her at:

Critique Groups

SAN MATEO: Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon at t he Peninsula Regent, 1 Baldwin Avenue, San Mateo, rear of the large meeting room opposite the elevator.   Bring at least 5 copies of your no-longer-than-6-page manuscript to hand out. For more info, contact Karen Hartley at or (408) 315-0271.


MemberSpotlightBoard Spotlight

In a new feature of this newsletter, we will focus on different activities being done behind the scenes by our Board Members. This is your chance to see what is happening in the club that you might not be aware of and see ways you can get involved, what the club offers, ways the club can help you with your career, etc.  

Stay tuned for more.

Guidelines for Submitting Articles to This Newsletter  
  Want to see your article or poem published here?
Keep in mind:
  • You must be a current member of the club.
  • Your article must be related to writing.
  • 350 words maximum. (Please indicate the word count at the top of the article.)
Format requirements:
  • Submit your article in a Word or .pdf file or in the body of your email.
  • Use Times Roman font, 12 point.
  • Put only one space (not two) at the end of a sentence.
  • Edit and proofread carefully before you submit. If accepted, your article will be printed as submitted.
       Send your submissions to: 
Include the words "CWC Newsletter Article"  in the subject line. Deadline is the 25th of the month. Earlier is encouraged! Thank you.
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