Berkeley Branch Newsletter

Writers Helping Writers since 1909

May, 2019   ||    Volume 109, Issue 9*
Thank you for your interest in the California Writers Club. We hope you'll join us in the new season!

The Wind In Your Sails

Some words from your president

In the big book of work-life balance, writing fits in both categories for most of us. In Chapter 7 of my memoir, Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career, "Doodling for Dollars," I write: 

There are five or six ways to have art in your life when you’re living in the real world.

1) drawing for free
2) drawing on the job
3) drawing as a job
4) drawing off the clock
5) getting successfully published
6) becoming independently wealthy.

Insert "writing" for "drawing" and you've got the setup for our May panel, The Working Writer. Come meet our interesting panelists on May 19th, and share your p.o.v. Sheryl Bize-Boutte is the first to chime in... check out her piece in "The Writing Life," below.

Now, volunteering for the CWC is both work-related for those of us working writers, and life-related for those of us who find any sort of happiness in helping and working with others. 

posing with the Jack London Award & CWC sealEvery other year, the CWC gives out an award to one volunteer in each of its branches who has gone "above and beyond" in supporting the club. When I received the 2017 Jack London Award, it felt SO good to be recognized for my efforts that I volunteered even more! 

With uber-volunteers JoAnn Ainsworth and Kymberlie Ingalls, plus fellow Jack London Award Winner Linda Brown, I pose with the 1913 woodcut that became our club seal. Other Jack London Award Winners from this branch include David Baker, Anne Fox, and Lucille Bellucci.

And at a board meeting earlier this spring, it was such a pleasure to ask Karma Bennett to leave the room for a second so I could nominate her for this year's award. The consent was unanimous and uproarious!

Karma has been your web mistress, your workshop host, and even your president! She sets up our meetings, month after month! Karma is the first and last person to hold up her hand when volunteers are requested, whether or not she's got the time. She's always eager to explain something or juggle something or hold the door. Karma has been a force of playfulness and possibility in this club since the day she arrived, and is always willing to offer her advice and support. Karma will be honored by the Central Board at a luncheon here in Oakland on July 21st.

More calendar notes: May 19th is our last meeting at Preservation Park this year. (It's also our election! Come cast your vote!) Reserve NOW for our June 5th workshop on setting and plan to attend our club party and book launch at the Octopus on June 15th before we break for summer. We might be looking for a new home come September.... Then it's California Writers Week in October and Litquake and then who wants to run away to the islands with me in November? The Kauai Writers Conference has offered our club members a 20% discount off attendance fees. Let me know if you're interested.

                                           Sail On,

Kristen Caven
Berkeley Branch Captain a.k.a. President

Author, The Souls of Her Feet
Co-author, The Bullying Antidote

The California Writers Club is a nonprofit professional organization open to writers in every genre and at every level of experience, from novice to notable. Our purpose is to promote fellowship and to provide practical information that supports all members in achieving their publishing goals.

Visit our website at


In Every Issue

   (Branch News)
   (Member News)
   (CWC Statewide)
    (Articles by and from members)
    (Features by members)

Members Only

Member Directory
Member Forum
Support/Critique Groups

Board of Directors meetings: First Saturdays (usually) 10:30am. All members welcome, RSVP to get on the Agenda or attend. 


Upcoming Events

  • May 19th: PANEL: The Working Writer  featuring Paul Corman Roberts, Peggy Dougherty, and Thaddeus Howze  
  • MAY 27 — CWC at Bay Area Generations
  • JUNE 5 — WORKSHOP: Setting that Works with John Byrne Barry GET TIX NOW!
  • JUNE 15  — READING & party: CWC Author Showcase & Book Launch at Octopus Literary Salon

Our monthly meetings are at 1204 Preservation Park Way in Oakland, and include support groups for craft and marketing from 12-2pm. Networking, book sales, and a reading by a featured member at 3pm before the keynote speaker. $10 public/$5 members. FOLLOW OUR BLOG FOR UPDATES.

Home Base

One member describes our club as "a great home base for all kinds of writers." This is what's happening in our branch.


Future & Passed

MAY 19th PANEL: "The Working Writer" 

Three writers with myriad approaches to the work/write balance

The struggle all writers have in common, no matter what their genre or medium or level, is working the economy of creativity. Artists with trust funds are as rare as starving artists—the great in-between is filled with writers who are paying their bills one way or another. Join us for a panel discussion in May about how writers make their livings.

“The Working Writer” will feature three writers with different relationships to work.

  • Thaddeus Howze makes a living with his writing
  • Paul Corman-Roberts makes a living doing something related to his writing
  • Peggy Dougherty, now retired, made a living doing something completely UNrelated to her writing.

Meet our Panelists:


Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze, also known as “The Answer Man” on Twitter and Quora, is comic historian and a prolific writer of speculative fiction, scientific, technical and cultural commentary. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories, and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013), an urban fantasy novella starring paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram. Thaddeus works as a writer and editor for two magazines: the Good Men Project, a social men’s magazine; and Krypton Radio, a sci-fi enthusiast media station and website. He is also a freelance journalist for and Panel & Frame magazine. Thaddeus is the co-founder of Futura Science Fiction Magazine and one of the founding members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop in Oakland.

“I define myself as a “working writer” – someone who has accepted the changing nature of work in the modern era and is utilizing “streams of income” in which my goal is to have writing become my main source of income. I have worked in the tech field and in the gig economy (Dasher and Uber), but have developed online patronage through Patreon, staff writing (through Krypton Radio and The Good Men Project) and technical writing assignments with different video-game and computer-technology companies.”

pcrPaul Corman Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts is well known in the local literary scene as an original co-founder of the Beast Crawl Literary Festival, an electrifying poet, and a warm human presence. He is the author of the full length poetry collection Water for the House of Yes, forthcoming from Nomadic Press in early 2020, the a chapbook collection 19th Street Station that will be reissued from Full of Crow Press later this year, Coming World/Gone World (Howling Dog Press,, 2006), Notes From an Orgy (Paper Press, 2014) and We Shoot Typewriters (Nomadic Press, 2015.) He is an instructor at both the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute and the Older Writer’s Lab in San Francisco, as well as a substitute teacher in the Oakland Unified School District.

Paul  will speak to the experience of being a contract worker in the literary scene while balancing that work with full- to part-time payroll work positions outside of the arts while pursuing a career as a published writer. Paul can talk about event production and organization, teaching opportunities, and breaking down and throwing your labor in with the service industry. Ask him how to stay sane in this tectonic landscape of the gig economy!

PDS & 10 coverPeggy Dougherty

Peggy Dougherty is an award-winning playwright whose plays have had had thirty-eight productions. Her plays (all comedies) have been performed in New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Houston, San Francisco, Great Britain, Toronto, and elsewhere. Peggy is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., and The Drama Association of Rossmoor.

Peggy, a clinical psychologist now retired, has thirty-five years of clinical experience working with adults, couples, children, and families. In 2013 Peggy published a self-help book, The Ten Minute Cognitive WorkoutManage Your Mood and Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day (authored by Peggy Dougherty Snyder, Ph.D.). The book won the 2013 San Diego Book Award for Best Self-Help.

Age Matters, Peggy Dougherty’s first novel, was published on October 5, 2018. This comic novel is a satiric take on age, Hollywood, and relationships. Now that Age Matters has finally been published, Peggy’s plan is to recommit full time to playwriting—but her recalcitrant novel refuses to promote itself! She is eager to talk about

WHEN PROFESSION VIES WITH PASSION! Peggy will share how she juggled her professional career as a clinical psychologist with her passion for writing. She will discuss how her profession informed her writing and how being self-employed helped her carve out a viable writing schedule. She’ll also share the boundaries she established between her psychology practice and her devotion to her writing passion.



Watch our website for an interview with all three writers by Cristina Deptula, and plan to attend this exciting panel on May 19th. This will be the final installment in the 2018-2019 speaker program! 

Please Invite some friends on Facebook and otherwise share this event with anyone you know who might be interested!

Twitter Facebook Pinterest LinkedIn Google Plus Instapaper

No Featured Member this month...

Would YOU like to be a featured member?
This mini-speaker series gives our members a chance to shine. Let Captain Kristen know if you'd like to speak next year. If you've got a book launch, we want to be the FIRST STOP on your tour, but we love hearing works-in-progress and shorter works too. 

JUNE 5th WORKSHOP: “Setting that Works” with John Byrne Barry 

WHERE will you be on Wednesday night, June 5th? RESERVATIONS REQUIRED!

The best setting is more than a pretty, or gritty description. It’s lean and strong, because it’s working two or more jobs—pushing your story along, helping us get to know your protagonist better, whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn all the different ways setting can strengthen your story, and lead a writing exercise putting what we learn into action.
Join us for Setting That Works and learn how a memorable setting can
  • Advance Plot
  • Reveal Character
  • Echo Theme
  • and so much More!

When: June 5, 2019 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM


Where: WeWork 1111 Broadway
Oakland CA 94607 3rd Floor 
room 5D

Please carpool or take public transportation!

How Much: $30/Public, $15/Members

Tickets cost more at door ~ Reservations ARE required!

Topics Covered at June 5th Workshop

  • Studying the different ways setting can strengthen your story.
  • Do writing exercises putting what we learned into action.
  • Capturing the essence of a place in a few short sentences—a strategic snapshot, not a wikipedia entry.
  • Drip-feeding description into your story so it doesn’t slow the momentum.

Get Your Tickets/Reserve Your Spot Now

John Byrne Barry
John Byrne Barry writes novels, designs websites and book covers, and leads bicycle tours in San Francisco. He is author of two “page-turners with a conscience”—Wasted: Murder in the Recycle Berkeley Yard, and Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher, which won the 2015 Best Book award from the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA). His third novel, coming in 2019, is an assisted-suicide family thriller, tentatively titled Why I Killed My Father. Learn more at

Ticket Info for this Workshop:

Regular price Advance tickets $30; $40 at door.

BUT CWC Members get a 50% discount! Advance tickets $15; $20 at door.

Reservations are required!

Get Your Tickets/Reserve Your Spot Now

May 27th: CWC at Bay Area Generations

Come on out and support the show!

Did YOU submit with a partner for our first Bay Area Generations reading series? A few of our members were selected for this notable series, from both the Berkeley and the Peninsula branches. 

Please JOIN US on May 27 to see what the fuss is all about! 

Here's the Facebook Page with more details... let the organizers—CWC-BB members Fred Dodsworth, Sheryl Bize-Boutte, and Amos White—know you are planning to attend! 

Missed this opportunity? Submissions for the June show are open now, and close at midnight on June 1, 2019. 

Member Showcase, June 15, 2019

The Octopus Literary Salon wants YOU!

Our final meeting of the year, where we introduce the new board, will take place on June 15th at the Octopus Literary Salon! Our (no host) dinner party is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will feature an open mic for members, with those who have books published in 2018-2019 headlining.

Octopus Literary Salon bookstore wants books from local authors.

image courtesy Oakland Central

If you’d like the Octopus to carry a copy of your book or books, please send the information below to Rebecca at Include “Local Authors” in the subject line.

Regarding pricing, the Octopus prefers to keep books on consignment, with a standard 60% you/40% Octopus split, but might be able to purchase some books, ideally at a wholesale cost. For more details, please see the Octopus Facebook page.

MEMBERS: Do you have a new book out this year or last? Please send title, isbn, and book cover image to Terry Tierney ASAP.


Member Field Trip!

Join us at the Mechanics Institute free Writers Lunch on Friday May 17, 12:00 - 1:00. Topic: To Blog or not to Blog featuring former CWC member Linda Lee. No need to register. Come with your lunch in a bag. Contact Kay Tolman with questions.


Scenes from lately in the CWC

Captain Kristen showing off the new California Poppy "superbloom" banner.

Kacey Carpenter shares his adventures in democracy

Henry and Lisa (? branch) open our booth at BABF

Writers gather at BABF for a conversation on writing for a calmer climate

Please send photos of club events to


What's happening now

Congratulations to Karma Bennett, winner of our 2019 Jack London Award!

Join us at the CWC banquet to honor her on July 21st.

What:  The CWC Central Board (CB) bi-annual Jack London Awards
When:   Sunday, July 21,  Noonish
Where: Oakland Airport Hilton
Why: Honor Karma Bennett, our awardee,
            Meet CWC members from around the state,
            Observe all or part of a CB meeting, and
            Sit at the rowdy table

Details to follow

Learn more about the Jack London Award and other offerings by the CWC-CB on

Thank You to ALL Our Volunteers!

Our members make this club great.


Thanks to our Nominating Committee, Christine Volker and Kacey Carpenter, for managing our officer elections! 

Thank you Mike Verant for managing volunteers at the CWC Bay Area Book Festival booth on 5/4!

Thanks Terry and Fred Dodsworth for working on our June Member Showcase!

Thanks Kay Tolman and Linda Zallen for organizing novelists!

Linda Brown is looking for CWC volunteers to help raise funds for the CWC, Berkeley Branch. Are you interested in helping write grants or hosting a fundraiser? Please contact Linda at
The Berkeley Branch of the CWC has 80-100 members. This club is best run by about 20 people taking ownership of the moving parts. Have you been in the club for three years? It's time to take a turn at leadership! Have you had a 3-year break in action? Time to look at the job descriptions! It's not too late to nominate yourself or volunteer for a board or committee position! Everyone in the club needs to contribute something each year. Here's our ongoing list of tasks. See something that could be working better? Volunteer! 
Don't be the writer who thinks you're above it all! We all have important work to do on our writing. Don't just receive support—give some back so others can spend more time writing. Don't just give support—receive some so you can write more. 

Do you know any GREAT SPEAKERS who have lessons for writers of all types?

Please send suggestions or make introductions to

Our Facebook Page
Our Twitter Feed
We're not on Instagram just yet...

#AmWriting (Member News)

Have you got news? Let us know! Send a short description with particulars, plus links and images if you have them, to! 

Meet Judith Offer, playwright and poet

RIGHT after our May meeting, hop across the street to hear our newest member read!

Kristen Caven, Louise Hart read in SF 5/27

Come hear two of our club writers read at the Bay Area Generations literary series #69 at the Harrington Gallery in San Francisco. Reading pairs include:  Louise Hart will read A Time of Integration, a rare and sweet poem celebrating turning 80, with Kristen Caven reading her song, Invocation, for the first time. This poem was written to the lyrics of a Franz Liszt piece, exploring our religious exasperation with climate change. (These two usually collaborate on psychology books!)

Fred Dodsworth and Sheryl Bize Boutté curated the show.

David Simmons Awards & Plans 

Davie won the Akademia Award for his song, Angel Music Lover, (which has over a million YouTube views!) and has a busy year planned. In July he will be making more music videos in Scotland with Highlanders and then recording with Stephen Wrench (of Lynyrd Skynyrd band) in Nashville. He says, "Writing lyrical story songs is my passion."

Congratulations Jing Li!

Jing's short story, My First Grade Teacher, has been selected for publication in the 2019 CWC Literary Review

Wolf Pack Writers

We have twelve years to halt the climate catastrophe.

Send in your news and information about your environmental/political/emotional writing and actions! 

Howwwl at the moonshot!

High School Environmental Writing Prize

Please spread the word about this opportunity for young writers!

Liz Flynn, through her nonprofit, The TruTek Environmental Fund, holds a contest that rewards high school students writing about environmental issues  in print high school newspapers and blogs. Students can win a generous cash prize. Learn more at

Earth Day Poetry

Publications this month

Terry Tierney's poem, "River Walk," an ode to discarded trash, was published in the Green Light Literary Journal on Earth Day. He had two poems published during National Poetry Month.

Read "River Walk"
Read "Life Line," set at Santa Cruz beach

Climate Commitment Statements

Writers working to ameliorate our climate catastrophe

Check out the new Climate Commitment Statements on or FaceBook Group; join and post your own. Share others!

Make your statement.
 Download a worksheet here.

The Wolf Pack WAG meets on Tuesdays 6:30-7:30.
Write to Karma Bennett ( to be invited to a Tuesday eventing hangout. Add the event to your calendar, and send a note via the calendar event if you're planning to call in. When the time arrives, click “Join Hangout” from a computer with a microphone and camera, or from your phone using the Hangouts app. Occasionally we'll meet in person.
Here's our Manifesto(ooo) — great for reading out loud...
See more news about our members in last month's issue
Scroll down to "#AmWriting"

Submit YOUR member news to the next issue!

Welcome New Members!


Sarah Girratana, Hedda Herzog, and Judith Offer!

Watch for an invitation to our next New Member Orientation!

The State of Things

Here's what's happening at the division and state level, and/or in other branches.

Friends of Write Angles

Newsletters galore!

Every branch around the state puts out a monthly newsletter. Check some of them out!

SFV Valley Scribe 

Central Coast Scribbles

Inland Empire Branch Fresh Ink

Tri Valley Scribe


From the Kauai Writers Conference

A special offer for CWC members for this November!


Members of the California Writers Club--Berkeley Branch have received a personal invite from the Kauai Writers Conference: a 20% discount on both the general conference and master classes on various aspects of writing craft!

Our 2019 faculty of fiction and non-fiction writers are regularly seen on the New York Times best-seller list and count among their many awards and honors: the Pulitzer Prize, fiction; the Pulitzer Prize, national reporting; Orange Prize for Fiction; National Magazine Award; O. Henry Prize; National Book Award (finalist); The Pushcart Prize; Overseas Press Club Award; PEN/Malamud Award,.

The event also offers one-on-one sessions with literary agents, editors and publishers. Contact Captain Kristen at for the 20% discount code!

Writing for Publication

Preparing Submissions The Literary Review!

The Literary Review, our annual collection of member work, provides all CWC members a chance to practice both the craft and business of writing. CWC Member (Fremont Area Writers) Tish Davidson has penned a series of articles that go over the steps from writing to publication that can be of help for all of us. We will be publishing her series until SUBMISSION TIME in November. 

Tish Davidson has written for many years beginning with newspaper and magazine stories. She has published 13 nonfiction books for publishers such as Scholastic, Mason Crest, and ABC-CLIO. Her work can also be found in creative nonfiction in anthologies by Harlequin and Adams Media. Her most recent book is The Vaccine Debate (ABC-CLIO, 2018)

The Writing Life

Submit articles about craft, business, opportunities, or writing advice to! 

Work as Food for Writing

by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

Let me start by saying that from the moment I knew I could imagine, my imagination became my best friend.  She still is. So it should be no surprise that I see characters and situations and characters in situations everywhere and all the time.

Like most who used to be girls and are now retired career women, I mostly write about aspects of what I know.  And what I know is a complex multi-layered stack of life and stories that not only come from childhood, but from my life at work. I continually draw upon the wealth of characters and situations from my 31 years in the federal sector in a “secret” agency. Yes, really. And even though I have to “hybrid” and fictionalize, sometimes to my dismay, the places and people who find themselves in my writing are as unique and genuine as the pure thing.

I am so happy my imagination stayed with me during those 31 years.  She helped me get through so many real and ugly things. But now as a retiree I sit at an abundant writing table where one by one, I am served so many tasty slices of poetry and prose from my working life, my plate overflows.

You can get a “taste “ of what’s on Sheryl's work plate in her story, “More’s Wedding” in her book “All That and More’s Wedding.”

What is YOUR work/write relationship? Come to "The Working Writer" panel on May 19th!

Adding Realistic Details to Fiction

by Tish Davidson

Have you ever read a novel where it snows in San Francisco or where someone escapes from a Los Angeles gang and makes it over the Mexican border in half an hour? Sure you have. Factual clunkers like these pull you out of the story and destroy the suspension of disbelief that is a requirement for successful fiction. A little research can go a long way in helping your story evoke a specific time and place. If you want your story to ring true, here are a few places to find accurate, authentic details.

Want to know how much a dozen eggs cost on August 28, 1986? Or what was playing on the radio? The top toys kids were playing with? Plug in the date at dMarie Time Capsule at and get a list of prices, songs, television shows, current events and more. The site gives you the choice of a quick search summary or a more detailed advanced search for dates from 1800 through 2018, although information at either end of the date range is somewhat incomplete.

What products were your characters buying? What was being advertised on television?  ...  Read more....

Open Mic

This section honors Oakland's lively literary scene with clips of fresh writing by members. Send a short short (500 words max), an excerpt and a link, or a poem to! 

Whispering in God's Ear

By Ralph Dranow

On the crowded subway
The black man with sad, bloodshot eyes,
Leathery face,
Rumpled clothes
Marches with exaggerated tread,
Several steps to the right,
Then the left,
A wind-up toy.
"Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus,"he chants
Past unseeing passengers,
His hoarse voice a quiet drumbeat.
Several steps to the right,
Then the left.
":Yes, Jesus. Yes, Jesus. Yes, Jesus."
March right, then left.
"Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus."
He's high on Jesus,
Miles away from lonely New York streets
And the knife blade of winter.
He's in church,
Whispering in God's ear.    

CWC on the Mic


Author Book Launch June 15th!

Come celebrate new books by our club members at the Octopus Literary Salon on June 15th!

At our last meeting of the year we will induct our new board members and raise a glass to our latest accomplishments.

Featured authors include:

Gary Durbin, Nano-Uncertainty
Kacey Carpenter, My Journey with Bernie
Mike Verant, Power in the Age of Lies
and more!

The Last Word...

Our Facebook Page
Our Facebook Page
Our Twitter Feed
Our Twitter Feed
We're not on Instagram just yet...
We're not on Instagram just yet...
Board of Directors 2017-2018

President Kristen Caven 
Vice President pro-tem  Fred Dodsworth 
Secretary Linda Brown
Treasurer  Henry Hitz 
Central Board Representative ~ THIS COULD BE YOU~
NorCal Delegate  Jane Glendinning 
Past President Karma Bennett
At Large  Francine Howard
New Member Liaison Linda Zallen 
New Member Orientation Linda Brown
Nominating Committee  (appointed in January)
Newsletter Editor ~ Kristen Caven 
Web Master  Karma Bennett
Club Announcements  Linda Brown 
Copyeditor  Anne Fox
MRMS System Administrator  Kristen Caven 
Monthly Speakers  Cristina Deptula
CWC AColumn 1uthors  Kristen Caven 
Workshops  Karma Bennett
Fifth-Grade Story Contest  POSITION OPEN 
Book Raffle  Lucille Bellucci
Craft Support Group Henry Hitz 
Marketing Support Group Kymberlie Ingalls 
Google Group Moderator Kristen Caven
Historian Therese Pipe

* This naming convention was adopted in 2017 to mark the years the club has been in operation, and the number of issues per business year. We don't know when Write Angles was christened! Please share this or any other club history with us, just hit "reply!"
Thank you to Cowgirl Creative for our Newsletter design!!
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