It's spring and today for some reason I am thinking about eggs. Eggs! There are good ones and bad ones; they come before and after
chickens; they are delicate and ubiquitous, beautiful in form, mysterious in their inscrutability, and downright miraculous in their function. Eggs are potent symbols in literature, and inspiring poetry prompts! They are both delicious and nutritious. (Also, have you ever given your dog an egg to play with? They get all wolfy. Hilarious.)
I once even had a mystical egg experience! On New Years Day, 2016. I split open a dozen boiled eggs to bring to a party, only to find they were already "bedeviled" —eight of them had double yolks! What an omen that was for the astonishing and divisive year that followed! (And yet, I must add, they were quite delicious.)
For some reason I was thinking about eggs while reading Chapter Four of Gary Durbin's sci-fi novel, Nano-Uncertainty, which features intelligent little orbs but really has nothing to do with any of the above. However, in a way, cracking the cover of a book is like cracking an egg. You get to all this good stuff inside, for it to take life in your own mind. And cracking open a book is like cracking open a writer. In our club we all know each other as people but until we crack open each other's books, each other's writings, we cannot really begin to fully understand each other. We find out how truly diverse and interesting each one of us is, behind our smooth (or brightly colored) exterior.
Meanwhile, the Catholic church always seems to schedule Easter in direct conflict with our monthly 3rd-Sunday meeting, no matter how many letters I write asking them to change it. This year, though, we're outsmarting the system with technology! For years, people have been asking if we could put our speakers and meetings online, and we've finally "cracked the code" thanks to the up-and-running business of another incredibly capable writer and teacher who is also now a club member. So if you need to spend Sunday, April 21 doing egg-related activities, no worries! Thanks to Beth Barany, you can see the lecture online, at your convenience! Scroll down for details, or just register NOW at this link.
April, what else? Showers! Flowers! Taxes! Endless reasons to write. If you write NOTHING ELSE this month, write a note to the nomination committee (below, in yellow), with the name of that person whose book you read (or want to read) who you think is smart and could really help this club sail smoothly. Even if it's YOU. And if you get a phone call that YOU've been nominated, think seriously about it. If you have to say 'no' to the position, please consider what else you could contribute.
Ask not what your club can do for you, ask what you can do for your club.
I am about to complete my second year as your captain president. There are some who are egging me on to continue. I would be honored to serve another year so that I can continue to shape and strengthen the club (let's get it together with leadership manuals, updated bylaws and policies + procedures, more stable funding and hiring a club administrator!)—BUT life is hinting that it might soon pile more surprises on my plate. I don't want to end up with egg on my face, so I'd love to find a successor to groom into taking a turn at the helm. Do you see yourself stepping into my shoes? (They're pretty fabulous...) Call me if you have any questions.
Author, The Souls of Her Feet
Co-author, The Bullying Anditote
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.
Please submit your nominations (and self-nominations) today to our Executive Board of CWC-Berkeley. Positions include President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Committees. The candidates will be presented at our April membership meeting and elected at our May meeting. The term is from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, and a 2-year commitment is preferred. Help us continue to make our organization vibrant and impactful.
Please email your nominations to the Nominating Committee: Kacey Carpenter, email@example.com and Christine E. Volker, firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us if you have questions.
MAY 1 Submission deadline for CWC at Bay Area Generations
MAY 4-5 CWC at the Bay Area Book Festival
MAY 4 CWC Social Hour at 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 5 — WORKSHOP (resscheduled): John Byrne Barry: Setting that Works
JUNE 15 — READING: CWC Author Showcase 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.
One member describes our club as "a great home base for all kinds of writers." This is what's happening in our branch.
~ CLUB EVENTS ~
Future & Passed
APRIL 21st KEYNOTE: "Plan Your Novel Like a Pro" with Beth Barany
Learn the 7 Keys to Story Planning from Beth's popular online course!
In this interactive lecture, Beth will help you brainstorm the steps to create your novel—from character development to plot structure to story themes and world building—so you can start writing your novel with clarity and confidence.
We’ll do bite-sized exercises step-by-step to help you stretch your imagination and get excited about the writing process.
If you have never written a novel, still feel lost on how to go from brilliant idea to The End, or always hit that sagging middle and lose focus, this event will help you dream up exciting ways to torture—er, challenge—your characters all the way to the resolution of the story.
This mini-workshop, "7 Keys to Story Planning," is a mini-course Beth offers at her online school, The Barany School of Fiction, which she runs with her husband Ezra, who is also a novelist.
Which means: if you can't make it to our meeting, you can still see the lecture!
Beth will be providing a coupon to all who attend so that they can access the lecture for free at any time. If you can't make the meeting and would still like to see the lecture, sign up for the course here. Half of the $17 fee will be donated to the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club. Thank you, Beth!
An award-winning novelist, Master NLP Practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany specializes in helping genre fiction writers experience clarity so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers. Her courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. She runs Barany School of Fiction, an online school for fiction writers, which includes a 12-month group coaching program to help you get published. Beth is also the editor of the Writer's Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing. She’s also the author of books for writers, including The Writer's Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer's Block, Twitter for Authors, and Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! Ready to embark on the next step in your writer’s adventure? Sign up for her free 5-day Writer’s Discovery Mini-course here: http://bethb.net/discover.
CWC Featured Member
Kacey Carpenter is a community organizer, volunteer, technology innovator, parent, and author. He is the author of the activist memoir, My Journey with Bernie, and is currently serving on the Nominations Committee! Come hear Kacey read, and make your last-minute nominations on Sunday, April 21. Kacey's website is www.MyJourneywithBernie.comWatch the Website for interviews with both speakers!
The May Call for Submissions is now open on the Bay Area Generations website. Have you chosen a partner yet? It's important that we all find opportunities to read our writing out loud, and we are so fortunate to have this opportunity to read together, as a club, in a notable literary series. This series features paired writers—you can ask any writer who is 10 years older or younger than you. Here's a list of our members. Pick up that phone and start dialing—don't be shy! (YES, you can read with a non-member.) Readers will be published in a souvenir chapbook, and most of all—whether you submit or not—we will all enjoy an unforgettable evening with our writing family!
"We consider all types and genres of writing: poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, nonfiction, plays and scripts, sci-fi and fantasy— anything goes. Collaboration with your works is encouraged but it is not a requirement. Your work submitted by the intergenerational pair need not be connected, other than the fact that you chose to submit together."
Paired reading submissions will be due by midnight on May 1, 2019.
Join the Wolf Pack
Writers working to ameliorate our climate catastrophe
After just a month of planning, the Wolf Pack Writers Action Group has begun to coalesce as a loosly-organized support group for writers concerned about the future we are facing, environment-wise. We have drafted a mission (To create a better future...or go down writing about it!) and a poetic, inspiring vision about working individually, together, all stated eloquently in our Manifesto(ooo) which . you can read at http://tinyurl.com/WPwag-manifestooo. Members will define and create their own actions and associations, but share resources and support and amplify each other’s climate-related writing, and will occasionally work together on causes and events.
Designed as “participatory democracy”, the group has no identifiable leader. You can read and contribute to our Trello board, Wiki (www.wolfpackwriters.wikidot.com), or FaceBook Group. CWC leaders founded it, and all CWC writers are invited to join, but, like many of our groups, non-members can participate. (And we hope twelve years from now we can disband, triumphantly and get on with our insiginficant lives.)
How to join the Wolf Pack WAG:
Write to Karma Bennett (email@example.com) to be added as a Tuesday eventing meeting particpant. We will either meet in person or online or a mix of both. Add the event to your calendar, and when the time arrives, click “Join Hangout” from a computer with a microphone and camera, or from your phone using the Hangouts app, and see who else is there.
Make your statement.
Read climate commitment statements by our members on the Manifesto(ooo), and write your own. In one paragraph, include your reasons for joining the pack, your intentions as a writer, and a call to action or encouragement for other writers to raise our voices about changing the course of our climate catastrophe.
Record yourself reading your climate commitment statement, with or without video, and post it online on, before, or after Earth Day on Monday, April 22. (Declare every day as Earth Day!) Use the tag #wolfpackwriters and feel free to share links to other actions.
CWC Social at BABF
The Pack is organizing a social for the CWC at the Bay Area Book Festival on Saturday, May 4th. After you see some writers, take in the tables, or do a shift at the CWC booth, plan to pop in for a drink at Saturn Café from 3-6pm. Bring a friend, and bring your climate commitment statement. Say you're coming and invite some friends on Facebook.
“Setting that Works” with author John Byrne Barry DATE CHANGE: June 5, 2019
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, 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
and so much More!
When: June 5th 6-8 p.m.
Where: WeWork, 2120 University Ave. Berkeley
Please carpool or take public transportation!
How Much: $30/Public, $15/Members
Tickets $5 more at door ~ Reservations required!
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.
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.
If you’d like the Octopus to carry a copy of your book or books, please send the information below to Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, so we can start the publicity machine.
Scenes from lately in the CWC
Presenting our March (St. Patrick's Day) featured member, poet Leena Prasad, with a "Kamala Lily" to welcome her new baby, due next month. Watch Leena's presentation online!
Please send photos of club events to email@example.com
Thank you Terry Tierney for stepping up to the role of NorCal Rep!
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 Gary Durbin for hosting a Member Relations Team meeting next Wednesday!
Thanks Liz Flynn for so many months (wo)manning the welcome table!
Thanks Karma Bennett, Linda Brown, and Henry Hitz for ALL you do! 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 so others can spend more time writing. Don't just give support—receive some so you can write more.
Have you got news? Let us know! Send a short description with particulars, plus links and images if you have them, to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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 email@example.com.
Poetry Winners & Publications
Congratulations to Sheryl Bize-Boutte!
Sheryl writes: "In February, my poems 'Childthink' and 'Cutty Sark and Milk (She Said She Said)' were winners in the San Lorenzo Public Library 2019 Lit Contest; this spring my short story, 'Uncle Martin' will be published by Meduda's Laugh Press; and my poem, 'What Mr. Smith Said to Mr. Jones at the IHOP in Emeryville' will be published by The Birdland Journal. On April 28, I will be reading my poetry along with other Bay Area women poets at The Beat Museum in San Francisco. I am having a blast!"
National Poetry Month Event
Sheryl Bize-Boutte's event with the Library
Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte will once again be the emcee for National Poetry Month at the Oakland Public Library Montclair Branch on April 23rd. This event was started by the California Writer's Club-Berkeley Branch nearly a decade ago.
This poem is drawn from his childhood growing up near Minneapolis, so he's excited to see it appear in a Minnesota journal! The link above includes an audio file. He recently read “The Crossing” before a jazz band at the San Francisco Writers Festival, so if you listen to the audio maybe you can imagine a slow, bluesy jazz progression in the background!
Look at Us Go!
Little bits of progress
"I've just finished copyediting a 300+ page novel in preparation for author to send it to an agent." —Anne Fox
"My critique partners and I brainstormed my next novel of a series set in WWII wherein the U.S. government recruits psychics to locate Nazi spies." —JoAnn S. Ainsworth
"I've had a new cover designed and am working on a new, updated edition of On the Wings of Self-Esteem. I'm even going to ask Bruce Lipton to write the preface!" —Louise Hart
Here's what's happening at the division and state level, and/or in other branches.
NORCAL @ BABF May 4-5
Our members will be present at THE big literary event in the East Bay!
You can represent CWC at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, May 4-5! Hang out in the CWC booth while meeting fun authors and book enthusiasts. You can even display your own book! Tens of thousands of people attend the festival, and volunteer shifts are only two hours so you'll have time to explore. For festival information visit www.baybookfest.org. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer or with questions.
Tri-Valley Branch Writers Conference this Saturday
At the link below is a flyer for the Tri-Valley Branch writers conference this weekend, April 13, 2019. This is an all-day conference on writing craft, self-publishing, and marketing. Robert Dugoni is the keynote speaker. All CWC members are welcome!
Author Elizabeth Stark will discuss “The Essence of Storytelling” at the next meeting of the Mt. Diablo branch of the California Writers Club on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill.
Every branch around the state puts out a monthly newsletter. Check some of them out!
SFV: Valley Scribe "One popular feature of our monthly meetings is to engage our audience members in a fun writing exercise before the main speaker. Rita Keeley-Brown, author of Good luck, Mrs. Brown, has led us in these half-hour diversions."
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 email@example.com 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)
Submit articles about craft, business, opportunities, or writing advice to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Don't Say It Twice: A Writing Quiz
by Tish Davidson
(Third in her series of 8 for Literary Review preparation)
Test your eye for tight writing and phrases to avoid. How many redundant phrases and improperly modified absolutes can you find in the following paragraph?
Examples: free gift (if it’s a gift, it obviously is free); pair of twins (pair=2, twins=2. You’re never going to have a pair of triplets); refer back (refer means to make reference to something in the past. The “back” is redundant); a little pregnant (either you are, or you aren’t. There’s no “little” about it). Look on the next page for the answers and explanations.
I am making forward progress on my fiction novel. When I am completely finished, a publisher will pay me cash money for it because it is a most unique book. In it, a man is killed dead and found under a totally demolished building. The detective examines the dead corpse to determine the true facts. She collects together clues and reports back to her superior officer the unadulterated truth about the deadly killer. The reader will get almost infinite enjoyment from this print book.
Jane Glendinning reports from the New Orleans TWLF
Did you know that there is an annual literary festival celebrating Tennessee Williams? The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans houses the event-which is actually two festivals in one. The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival just celebrated its 33rd year. The LGBTQ Saints and Sinners Festival, it's sweet 16. The two festivals are held over the same long weekend, both using the hotel meeting rooms.
Through the weekend, Williams’ works are brought to life with plays and readings, entertaining and inspiring those present. The dramatic and fun readings by theater people and writers, with a flair for this sort of thing, notches up the excitement level.
Numerous workshops on various topics keep book lovers and writers happy. Sessions include Master Classes with prize winning authors, panels of well-known book reviewers, and Pulitzer Prize juries. Many of the sessions are held in other French Quarter locations, giving attendees a chance to explore the area and find their way around.
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 email@example.com!
By Ralph Dranow
I remember you, Sandra,
Suffering in the schoolyard
Of P.S. 163 in Flushing.
Sandra has cooties,
Sandra has cooties,
The other kids would chant,
Their bodies slack with laughter.
Your blizzard of frizzy hair
And thick glasses,
Your matchstick body
And slow reptile of a brain
Made you easy prey.
I'm gonna get you,
Pursuing your tormentors on pipestem legs,
Angry tears slid down
The pale hollows of your cheeks
When you conceded defeat.
I would watch,
Paralyzed by confusion.
But one day I slipped
Into the robes of the mob.
I wanted to be submerged
In the warmth of friendly faces and laughter
But deep down I knew
My shy bookishness
And communist parents
In the Cold War '50s
Placed me on the wrong team too,
Except the color of my parents' politics
Was less visible than
The narrow road of your body,
The electricity of your hair.
So I'm writing this poem, Sandra,
Too many years later
To say I'm sorry,
Sorry I added my few drops
To the ocean of your suffering.
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.
WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO READ WITH? www.bayareagenerations.org
The Last Word...
Included with the poet's permission. Sadashivan Nair writes from India.
* 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!"