AUGUST, 2020
Newsletter of North State Writers (NSW), a Branch of the California Writers Club

NSW promotes the art and craft of writing across genres, connecting writers, editors, illustrators, publishers, reviewers, agents, and others interested in the continual renewal of creative thought and the written word.
President's Message

It's a cold wind blowing. Oops, that was Wednesday morning just after daybreak, and unhappily the heat has returned. Sadly, most of us are cooped up in our nests with the A/C contemplating our hibernation. Has it truly been five months or is this an alternate reality. I have been wondering how many of us are writing stories about this once in a lifetime experience or are writing about happier times or devising a new world to live in through your fiction.
I have chosen fiction, but I also want to improve my writing of suspense, sooo I have included in here a couple of tips on suspense writing. This can be used in fiction or non-fiction to pump up the reader's inclusion.
1.    Use sensory images-smell, visual, hearing. An example is Stephen King's description of meeting a vampire. "The exhalation from that open mouth was fetid, beyond description: a smell of charnel pits. Cold, fish-white hands descended onto Mark's shoulders.
For practice, pick an object, person, or experience and try to re-imagine it, adding what you see, smell, hear. You can also take a paragraph you have written and rework it.

2.    Use figurative language-similies and metaphors. W.W. Jacobs used them in the
Monkey's Paw. "As I wished, it twisted in my hands like a snake or The pathways a bog, and the road's a torrent.
For practice, take the same example from number 1 or one of your paragraphs and add similies and metaphors.

3.    Use pacing-write a slow or fast scene to create suspense. A reader's heart rate can increase or decrease as they read according to the pacing.
For practice, take the piece you have been working on or something you have already written. Or, you can write about a car crash, roller coaster ride, or hearing a thump in the night just outside your door. Write it, and then shorten the sentences, take out unnecessary words, punch up your vocabulary with short meaningful words. Conversely, lengthen a couple of sentences add descriptors. Give the reader time to breathe and luxuriate in your ideas.

I don't know about you, but I could use a little exciting suspense in my life.


Cathy Chase
North State Writers
Editor's Corner
You may notice some changes to our newsletter. We have switched to using Constant Contact rather than MailChimp. The reason for the change is two fold:

1) The software is more intuitive and easier to use.

2) It improves the professional look of our newsletter.

In the coming months you will also notice some changes to our website as we move it to a more professional appearance.
If you have any items to submit to the newsletter or ideas for it or the website please send them to and tag "Newsletter" or "Website" in the subject line so your contributions can be directed to the proper person for review.

If you have computer skills and would like to assist us in improving the website please contact or any one of the NSW board members.

We would love to have your input so we can provide the best newsletter and website possible.

Have a great month writing.

Linda Sue Forrister
Newsletter Editor
Member Spotlight - Gary Carter
Gary Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and spent 25 years on active duty, retiring as a Captain. He flew S-3 Vikings from four different aircraft carriers, commanded an S-3 squadron, served as navigator of USS Nimitz (CVN-68), and worked in the office of the Secretary of Defense. After his naval service he flew 757s and 767s for Delta Air Lines and is a Certified Flight Instructor. A board member of North State Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club, he and his wife reside near family in northern California where he enjoys coaching T-ball.
Retired naval officer Frank Warren, now an airline pilot, is on the final day of a routine, four-day trip. On board is William "Will Call" Stimson, U.S. Navy (ret) who now works on Capitol Hill. Will Call and Warren, fellow commanding officers while on active duty developed a strong friendship during their command tours and remained close when each retired. Will Call Stimson knows of an opening in the secretary of defense organization and thinks he knows who the perfect candidate for the job is.
Tip of the Quill
Click on the title above to check out this short Youtube video from Author Robert Wiersema for his insight on writing dialogue.
From The Strand Bookstore, 4 authors talk about their experiences writing mystery novels.
Funds for Writers
As authors and writers generating funds to support our work can at times be problematic. Where do you look to find information on raising funds.

In addition to authoring many books, C. Hope Clark has created a website ( which provides writers with information on contests, grants, markets, etc. She has a blog and a newsletter which provide continued updates for authors looking for ways to fund their writing.

Contests and an excellent way to expand your name recognition and promote your work. Her website is a great resource for connecting writers with markets, grants and contests.
Feature Heading
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 1, 2020. The giveaway is open to both traditionally- and independently-published authors, fiction or nonfiction. 

$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline November 1, 2020. Aesthetically, we are open to most styles and approaches, including experimental and literary. All works should be stand-alone short stories, not chapters of a longer work. Please limit prose submissions to 5,000 words. $1,000 for the winning story.

$30 ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 1, 2020. First prize: $1,000. Second prize: $500. Third prize: $250. The three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor; ICM; the Wylie Agency; Aragi, Inc.; Regal Literary; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency; Markson Thoma Literary Agency; Inkwell Management; Sterling Lord Literistic; Aitken Alexander Associates; Barer Literary; the Gernert Company; Janklow & Nesbit Associates; and The Georges Borchardt Literary Agency. We accept all genres of literary fiction. Entries must be: unpublished; strictly 5,000 words or fewer.

$15 ENTRY FEE. Deadline October 16, 2020. One grand prize of $500 and two second place prizes of $100 will be awarded. A list of the top ten finalists will be posted on our website and in our e-newsletter. Finalists will be published in the first-ever Saints and Sinners poetry Chapbook to be distributed at a special reading at the 2021 Festival. The contest is open to all LGBTQ+ writers. Authors who have published in other genres are eligible. Please submit original, unpublished work that has not won other prizes or contests. Submit two to four original, unpublished poems of any style based on our theme of LOVE, written in English, with a combined length of up to 400 lines.
Book Recommendations
Because it takes a reader to make a writer we recommend the following books:
by Emma Donoghue
The Lighter Side

Do you have something funny you would like to share? Send it to using "Newsletter" in the subject line.
Officers & Board Members
President: Cathy Chase  
Vice-President: Brian Marshall  
Secretary: Joan Goodreau      
Treasurer: Nick Hanson
Director of Membership: Gary Carter
Newsletter Editor: Linda Sue Forrister
Central Board Rep: Cathy Chase
NorCal Group Rep: Cathy Chase
Events Coordinator: Brian Marshall 
Social Media: Aislinn Hanson
Publicity: Kathi Hiatt