Berkeley Branch Newsletter

Writing for a Changing World

March, 2019      ||    Volume 109, Issue 7*

The Wind In Your Sails

Some words from your president

I woke up one morning and thought: What if I woke up one morning knowing we only had twelve years to save the planet? What else could I do that I'm not doing now?

At the CWC Berkeley board meeting this month, there were five talented writers sitting around the table going through the painstaking business of keeping this club going. As I struggled to get to the end of the agenda before we all had to rush off, this agitated inner voice yelled, "If we only have twelve years to keep global warming below 1.5°c, why am I bothering with this? Is this the best use of my time and energy?" Everyone stared at me. I guess I had kind of said it out loud?

Then someone else said, "I was just thinking the same thing."

There was a rush of emotion in the room, and for a minute we all considered putting a "closed until the world is saved" sign on the CWC website, so we could turn our full attention to climate activism. But then someone mentioned Thomas Paine, and someone else mentioned the Prague Uprising, and before we knew it we were having another meeting to discuss the role our local and statewide club might play in changing this dangerous course of history. 

Sometimes as writers we do our best work with a deadline. Let's work under pressure, together. Someone suggested the name "Wolf Pack Writers" for our club's new writers action group, inspired by Jack London's love of nature and activist writings. How can we encourage our members to work individually and together on creating understanding and action around this unfolding climate catastrophe? Billions of past decisions created this crisis. What if the writers in our club could help all of our our readers and leaders through the billions of decisions we must make now? 

Here come the lyrics. I wrote, once, about the "Seven C's of the CWC" and here are seven more for humanity: through conservation, connection, and community, we can fight problems created by consumption, convenience, consumerism, and conveyance. In the next twelve years, every planetary traveler will need the encouragement of our motto, "Sail On," in some form or another, to persevere through desperate times and keep focused on the human strengths that can transform society and stabilize our home planet.

Watch for announcements on how to get involved. 

Please read all the news to the bottom!!

                                           Sail On,

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

Author, The Souls of Her Feet .                        

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

Did you miss an issue of Write Angles? Read past issues here.


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 10:30am. All members welcome, RSVP to get on the Agenda or attend. Our March 2nd meeting is at MLK Cafe or board member Karma Bennett's house.


Upcoming Events

  • March 17th: From Print to Performance with Victoria Zackheim
  • APRIL 3 — WORKSHOP: John Byrne Barry: Setting that Works
  • APRIL 21 — SPEAKER: Beth Barany: Planning Your Novel
  • MAY 4-5 Bay Area Book Festival
  • MAY 19 — PANEL: The Working Writer featuring Peggy Dougherty, Paul Corman Roberts, and Thaddeus Howze
  • MAY 27 — CWC at Bay Area Generations
  • JUNE 15  — READING: CWC Author Showcase featuring members who have published books in 2018 & 2019

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

Half-Year Member Drive

Don't forget we are running our annual half-year half-price membership special! Through the end of this month the new member fee is only $42.50. Please tell your writer friends! Here's a link to the application and here's more information

THIS SUNDAY: “From Print to Performance" with Victoria Zackheim

Adapting books to film and theater

When you read a book and think, “This would make an excellent movie (or play)!” where do you go from there? In this program, Victoria will discuss what makes a good adaptation…and how to go about doing it! It doesn’t matter whether your write fiction or non-fiction, Zackheim will school us on film adaptations at our March meeting.

About Victoria Zackheim

Victoria Zackheim wrote The Bone Weaver, a novel, and edited six anthologies, including the bestselling The Other Woman, and her most recent: FAITH: Essays from Believers, Atheists, and Agnostics.  She adapted her first anthology, The Other Woman, to a play that enjoyed a simultaneous reading at more than twenty theaters nationwide. Her newest play, Entangled, adapted from the memoir by Lois Goodwill and Don Asher, is now under development, with readings in California theaters. She adapted Caroline Leavitt’s novel, Meeting Rozzie Halfway, to a screenplay, as she did with Anne Perry’s international bestseller Southampton Row. Victoria’s screenplay, Maidstone, is in development with Anderimage, in collaboration with SJ Murray. Victoria wrote the documentary film, Where Birds Never Sang: the Story of Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, which aired on PBS nationwide. She teaches creative nonfiction in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a frequent speaker and instructor at writers’ conferences and organizational events in the US, France, Mexico and Canada.

For more info, check her out at

CWC Featured Member
Leena Prasad writes to find comfort in her foibles and her triumphs, to take snapshots of her thoughts and emotions, to explore the beauty and the ugliness of the world, to leave a legacy… and, most of all, to connect by finding resonance with her readers.
Watch the Website for interviews with both speakers!

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

4/3 WORKSHOP: “Setting that Works” with author John Byrne Barry

Spread the word about this great workshop for writers!

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.

In this hands-on workshop, John Byrne Barry, author of Wasted: Murder in the Recycle Berkeley Yard, and Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher, will review 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 memorable setting can
  • Advance Plot
  • Reveal Character
  • Echo Theme
  • and so much More!

When: April 3rd 6-8 p.m.

Where: WeWork, 2120 University Ave. Berkeley

Please carpool or take public transportation!


Topics Covered at April 3rd 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 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:

Advance tickets for members are only $15. If you wait until the day of the workshop, member tickets are $20.

Advance tickets for non-members are $30, but if you wait until day-of the tickets are $40. If you are not a member yet but join before or at the meeting, you will be refunded the difference. 

Get Your Tickets Now | Join the CWC Now @ 1/2 price

Perfect Pairings

CWC writers are invited to read in one of the Bay Area's most notable reading series!

CWC-BB members Fred Dodsworth and Sheryl Bize-Boutte will curate the first CWC-BB reading partnership with the Bay Area Generations (BAG) Reading Series in San Francisco. BAG is a Bay Area wide literary reading series featuring authors, poets, writers, playwrights and musicians in monthly, paired reading shows. To be eligible, readers must pair with another, be at least ten years apart in age, open to all ages.
Selected authors will read live at the May 27, 2019 BAG show.  

Paired reading submissions will be due by midnight on May 1, 2019. Watch this space for the specific guidelines and official call for submissions.

In the meantime, think about whom you would like to partner with for your perfect pairing!


Scenes from lately in the CWC

Kristen Caven and Tim Jollymore represent the Berkeley Branch at the NorCal CWC table at the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Jane Glendinning waves from the keynote at SFWC. Terry Tierney, Kay Tolman, Kymberlie Ingalls, and Kathleen Orosco were also spotted at the Hyatt!

Aqueila Lewis and her daughter speak about her empowerment through poetry, and how she re-framed her life story through self-listening and love.

Please send photos of club events to


What's happening now

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

Our members make this club great.


Raise your hand if you can help organize volunteers for the CWC booth at the Bay Area Book Festival! 
The NorCal organization will set up the booth, and there will be volunteers from all of our branches. All we need is a leader from the Berkeley Branch who can create a schedule. Please drop us a line 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! Nominate yourself 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. Don't just give support, receive some. Our writing is important! Someone once wrote this proverb: "Many hands make light work." 

Website to be Updated

Suggestions welcome!

Don't forget to share your ideas for our Website redux in our Website Wishlist Google Doc! Let Karma know you can help with a note 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! 

Writing about yourself is the hardest! Do you need an author bio or an author profile written? From now through April 30, Madelen Lontiong is offering to create one up to 500 words for $75. Contact her at

A Bloody Winner!

Congratulations to Christine on her award!

Christine Evelyn Volker's Venetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City has won the Fall, 2018 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for International Mystery. In addition, the book advanced to a semi-finalist position in the Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem competition. Final results will be announced at the end of April.

"A riveting whodunit that makes full use of its dramatic setting." —Kirkus Reviews

Venetian Blood is now available at Target stores

It's Crime Time in Alameda!

Saturday April 6th

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth and other mystery/suspense authors will feature their new releases during a Crime Time Author Showcase on Saturday, April 6,12:30 - 2:30 P.M., Books Inc.,1344 Park St., Alameda.

Plan to stop by and lend your support.

Nice Weather We're Having.

Terry Tierney's poem "Smelling the Rain" appears in the current issue of The Mantle:

Cogitate on This...

Fresh, exciting poetry you can rewind and hear again.

Amos White was featured on Cog, a podcast produced by Cogswell Polytechnical College, with poets Tongo Eisen-Martin and July Westhale. He reads haiku accompanied by jazz artist Dillon Vado at 18:11. Have a listen

Therese Pipe taking action

Our Club's historian working on the past and future

On February 28, 2019, Therese Pipe attended the East Bay Dinner of the Bay Chapter Sierra Club, which included a program on "The Philippines," where she made a brief after-dinner appearance to discuss her early childhood in Cebu, some recollections of WWII and beyond in Cebu and Manila, and also showed a lovely carved head from the Philippines that was brought to the U.S. by her mother when the family migrated to the U.S.

Therese's writing and activism continues to promote the League of Women Voters (of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville) Environmental Concerns Speaker Series that are centered on Climate Change. On March 11, they are presenting "Exploring Trends of the Intersection of Climate Change and Economic Justice," by Betony Jones, whose career has focused on identifying job and equity impacts and economic development potential of climate action. On April 8, the talk will be "Taking Local Climate Action to Scale in 2019," presented by Pierre Delforge, Senior Scientist and Policy Advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

In connection with her role as Club Historian, Therese has begun work on researching a list of Past Presidents of CWC/BB, with some help from other Club members.

Explosively Creative

Captain Kristen and First Mate Fred read at Pandemonium Press 

Last Wednesday at the Pandemonium Press "On the Road" late night mic, Fred Dodsworth read a fresh poem about his recent felt-like-near-death experiences with Alice-in-Wonderland Syndrome. 

Kristen Caven read an excerpt from her memoir-in-progress the part where she conquered the last leg of her volcano climb on what felt like her last legs. The excerpt she read is in the "Open Mic" section, below. 

WATCH for quotes (like the ones at right) on her Instagram feed
LIKE Ten Days, Ten Pounds on Facebook 
to the Spotify playlist and mambo like-a-crazy!

Here's an article about Wattpad if you're curious about this young-skewing online writing community.

Look at us Go!

Writers taking small steps towards big goals

"Great news, I just finished and sent off my 32-page illustrated book, Inspiration and Storytelling: How to Create a Children's Book" Dirk Wales, bestselling author of A Lucky Dog and Jack London's Dog
"I was invited to a collaborator's workshop at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where I wrote a luscious new blues art song with composer DeVante Winn, entitled "Bedside Manners," in which a soprano tells her mansplainin' doctor to listen more deeply. Know any lounge singers who are looking for original music?" — Kristen Caven, lyricist & librettist

"Thanks to Karma Bennet, whose marketing workshop I attended in January, I completed an actual written publishing and marketing plan, with dates and deadlines and measurable objectives — and I've even accomplished some of them already. (Karma also offered a free consultation, which I took her up on and was very worthwhile, and I’m not saying that just because she said I had an excellent plan.)"
— John Byrne Barry

"I submitted a personal essay on a walk in the woods to Woods Reader." —Madelen Lontiong

"While waiting for feedback from about a dozen beta readers, I'm deliberating about the title and cover for my upcoming 'assisted-suicide family thriller.' Do you have an opinion on the title & cover design? Send me comments at" — John Byrne Barry
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!

Peter Dudley & Richard Coleman
Peter is the author of a Y/A adventure series, Semper, and likes philanthropy, corporate responsibility, soccer, and homebrew. His website is Richard is not yet published, but you can ask him about sculpture and residential design.

Watch for an invitation to our next New Member Orientation!
Did you know the CWC-BB website hosts a list of published members? Check under the "Our Members" tab on the website! 

If you have published books, short stories, articles, etc. and are a current member of CWC-BB, you are eligible for a listing. Especially if there are links to your work!

To be included, fill out this form.

ALSO send a headshot (100dpi width min.) to

— JoAnn Ainsworth, PM Page Editor

The State of Things

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


Our members will be present at THE big literary event in the East Bay!

From 11-5 on Friday and Saturday, our members will be invited to host the CWC booth in Downtown Berkeley. Check out all the action at

VOLUNTEER to help with our CWC Exhibit! Write

Sonoma Valley Authors Festival May 4-5

Road trip anyone?

Dozens of authors will be speaking at this event for readers, including poet Billy Collins.

Speaking of wolves, the founders of this new Author's festival have the biggest dog ever. Too bad this is on the same weekend as our local event!

More info HERE

Tri-Valley Branch Writers Conference April 2019

At the link below is a flyer for the Tri-Valley Branch writers conference April 13, 2019. This is an all-day conference on writing craft, self-publishing, and marketing. Robert Dugoni is the keynote speaker. Early registration begins December 1. All CWC members are welcome!

Friends of Write Angles

Newsletters galore!

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

Central Coast Writers: Scribbles "I'm seeing spring flowers and hope they are blooming in your area, too. Included in the CCW newsletter offering for March is a timely excerpt from Robert Louis Stevenson's Old Pacific Capital (1879). Enjoy."

SFV: Valley Scribe "Greeting from the San Fernando Valley.  Our hills are wearing Kelly green carpets of new growth, which inspired me to give this issue a bit of the Irish attitude.  I hope you enjoy!"

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! 

Find Your Genre and Grow 

by Tish Davidson

(Second in her series of 8 for Literary Review preparation)

California Writers Club chapters give local writers an opportunity to socialize, share ideas, marketing tips, and inspiration. But sometimes questions come up that are genre-specific. Who are the most active publishers of thrillers? What are the conventions science fiction versus fantasy? What is the best way to market Christian fiction?

Genre-specific questions often are best answered by authors and editors experienced in the genre. So, as you gear up for your next story, novel, or memoir, consider joining a genre-specific group, if not in person, then online. Take advantage of newsletters, blogs, insider publishing information, and  tips on how to sell your work from people who are writing and selling the same kind of books that you aspire to write.

Jump to this link for a list of genre-oriented writing organizations. General information is available to everyone on the sites listed below. Meetings, Webinars, contests, and publisher information usually are open only to members. Some organizations have free newsletters. Most organizations are open to both published and aspiring writers. Only the national organization is listed, first, but almost all these organizations have local chapters that can be found through their national website.

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! 


by Amos White

The Infinite Orchestra

By Ralph Dranow

The infinite orchestra
Plays in hushed tones
For an infinite audience.
It's easy to dismiss
As background noise
Or ignore altogether,
Until you realize
That its muffled music
Welcomed us
Into this world
And one day
Will usher us out.

The Gaping Maw

Chapter excerpt from Ten Days, Ten Pounds
You can listen instead of read here.

Around another corner, the trail stretches across another vast expanse.

$#@%&*! Will this never end? It hurts! In the next hundred painful steps I realize this journey is like every important or creative project I've done. Books, musicals, dance shows, home renovation, party planning, college, family vacations. It all makes so much sense at the beginning, and you aim for an inspiring end... but when you get past the halfway point it all feels like absolute torture, complete nonsense, total madness. Yet the only way out is through. Sail on, I tell myself, sail on, lines from a famous Californian's poem about a persistent Italian crossing the ocean in search of a new world. Sail on.

My next hour is fueled almost entirely by anger. Vesuvius is kind of a symbol of that, right? I swear a blue streak at the wind, at the hill, at the stupid advice I was given, at the weather report, at my stupid self for not knowing better what I was getting into, at not having a phone with GPS, at stupid $#@%&* Mercury in retrograde, at all the obstacles that continue to show up in my life just when things are going right. I rant about how I seem to do everything the hard way, coming the wrong way long way up the back side, and finally, about Jenny's AVM. If she were here right now, we would be eating cannoli and staring at a Botticelli! 

Anger is powerful fuel. The wrath of Achilles won a war somewhere around here once, right? And once, anger even helped me push a nine pound baby out of my body after an even more epic grueling slog. 

So I infuriate myself to the top, step by painful step, making a mental note to try to learn some useful Italian swear words....

Read the rest of the chapter here.

CWC on the Mic


CWC at Bay Area Generations

CWCBB has been invited to do a show with Bay Area Generations, a notable reading series featuring paired readers of different generations (10 years). SUBMISSIONS will be due on May 1st. THE READING will be Monday night, May 27th. The show will be curated by members Sheryl Bize-Boutte and Fred Dodsworth.

The Last Word...

April is both poetry and comedy month in the writing world. Write Angles probably won't be out in time for April Fools... 

Some assembly required. Enjoy! 
—Thanks Diane Swan!
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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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