February is the month of love, and it's also Black History Month, a time to expand our focus on who has really shaped the world. The California Writers Club, going strong (or strong-ish) since 1909 (yes, it's our 110th birthday), has been traditionally made up of mostly white writers, but we represent many cultures now, and the future is what we make it. Muses don't discriminate based on color, race, or particular body parts. All of our voices are important, and all of us in this club support each other in getting our writing read, our voices heard.
We tend to use the iconic Jack London and Joaquin Miller as symbols, but this club has been shaped by many many others. Our amazing Karma Bennett has created a new marketing image for our Facebook and Twitter banners that better represents the diversity of historic East Bay writers, and of our club, today and moving forward.
If you're going to the San Francisco Writers conference this month, stop by the CWC booth and say hi! If you're not there on Sunday, I hope it's becaue you'll be at our February 17th meeting. I met this month's speaker, the impressive Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross, at Joaquin Miller Park a few years ago, when our club did an open mic in collaboration with another arts group. She read a poem as the sun set, and just radiated with love and beauty—turns out her story about finding that magic is quite powerful. We have another open mic collaboration set up for May, who knows what will come of that? Scroll to the bottom for info.
Don't forget we are running our annual half-year half-price membership special! Through April 1, only $42.50. Be sure to fill in your application before you send payment! You can also pay with a check.
And finally, I am about to appoint a nomination committee. The ship cannot sail without good, democratic processes! Please raise your hand if you can help, I need you!
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.
MARCH 17 — Victoria Zackheim: From Page to Performance
APRIL 3 — WORKSHOP: John Byrne Barry: Setting that Works
APRIL 21 —Beth Barany: Planning Your Novel
MAY 19 — Panel: The Working Writer featuring Peggy Dougherty, Paul Corman Roberts, and Thaddeus Howze
MAY 24 — CWC at Bay Area Generations
JUNE 15 — 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.
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
February 17: The Power of Poetry
Speaker: Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross
Poetry is defined as “a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions.” But poetry is also the most powerful tool that we can use for self-healing when our emotions are already stirred. Reading and writing poetry can even help us to survive when we have lost everything.
At our February event, Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross will talk about the relationship between poetry and survival, starting from her own experience of using poetry to find her way through pain into healing and powerful, world-shaking love, and giving insight on current events. She will share wisdom from her workshop, “From a Victim to a Thriving Survivor: Learning How to Revive the Soul,” in which she helps others connect the heart to the gut, giving voice to the “unspeakable things” that call so many of us to be writers. Finally, she will share how others can learn how to rewrite their own story by finding positive and powerful life-changing outlets within their own community.
Participants are welcome to bring stories, poems, journal writing, and songs as examples of survival with intention to heal past wounds to create a thriving future. Weather permitting, Aqueila will host a short open mic session after her Q & A.
About Poet Aquelia Lewis-Ross
Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross is a multi-talented, award-winning Bay Area Native well-versed in singing, poetry/spoken word, and journalism. A graduate of Napa Valley College, University of California, Berkeley, she has studied and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Aqueila’s work has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies including: Reflections: A Collaboration Between Painting and Literature, Women in the Feminine: Stepping into Our Shoes, Our Stories Will Never Die: Ancestors, Place, and Memory, and Standing Strong: Japantown and Fillmore. Her book of poetry, Stop Hurting and Dance, published by Pochino Press, is a collection of stories overcoming fear, oppression, gentrification, and police brutality; she honors what it means to live with resilience, love and prosperity. Aqueila is a radio news producer on Peralta Community Radio 96.9 FM KGPC, and holds the titles of Ms. Oakland Plus America 2014, and SF Raw Performing Artist of the Year 2015. She was an Oakland Voices-KALW Community Journalist awardee in 2016, and a Greater Bay Area Journalism Awardee in 2017.
CWC Featured Member
Lucille Bellucci has been a member of CWC for over 20 Years! She has run the raffle, served on the board, and organized holiday parties and open mics. Lucille also headed up the Publishing Pathways program that began a decade ago. All this time she published seven books and dozens of short stories. This will be Lucille's "swan song" as she is retiring from the club this year...but she is still available for mentoring. Read more about Lucille in the October issue of Write Angles.
Watch the Website for interviews with both speakers by Cristina Deptula!
Please tell your friends it's time for our half-year membership special! Send them to our website's About>Membership page for all the information. They need to fill out an application AND submit payment.
What: San Francisco Writers Conference When: February 14-18, 2019 Where: Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero-New Location Details: www.sfwriters.org
Thank You to Our Volunteers!
Our members make this club great.
Special thanks to Nicole Berg for stepping in to take minutes at this month's meeting, and to Terry Tierney for sitting in on the NorCal meeting this month. Thank you to Gary Durbin for stepping in to handle Member Admin duties and to Kay Tolman for helping to write grants. We all appreciate your time away from writing to help run our club!
How many screenwriters do we have? Is anyone writing about robotics or cooking or war or health? Please take our member survey and tell us about your writing life... and give us feedback about the club!
Donate a book from your frontlist or backlist at our next meeting ("hurt" books are fine). Raffle proceed allow the club to purchase "the first copy" of our member's new books. Everyone gets one free raffle ticket, but please PURCHASE them too, it's a fun way to help the club. Only $1 each or 6 for $5. We also welcome donated bottles of wine and gift certificates.
Have you got news? Let us know! Send a short description with particulars, plus links and images if you have them, to email@example.com!
A Lucky Author
Dirk Wales' bestseller continues to educate children, dog lovers and historians
I am happy to tell you that Great Plains Press has told me, as they are ordering the 9th Edition of A Lucky Dog and have sold 46,000 copies of the book. So, I am feeling good and proud, that I Am A Lucky Dog.
A Chapter A Day
Captain Kristen's blog-to-book is serializing in February & March
Kristen Caven's 2015 blog about a "mindblowing" solo trip to Italy (her friend's brain literally exploded—well just a little—just before takeoff) is transforming into a full-length travel memoir to be published later this spring. Read it on WattPad for FREE before that, and get your review ready! For the next 40 days or so, Kristen will publish a chapter a day. Follow her story from Oakland to Rome, then to a volcano and to Venice!
Inspired by Bernie, he now writes to support healthy political processes
After releasing my first book, My Journey with Bernie, I spent the past 18 months volunteering in our community.
I did not begin my journey to go into politics. In fact, I do not think I even like politics, especially the negativity. I started my journey simply because Bernie asked me to help him create a future to believe in for all. I literally had no idea where my own "Journey with Bernie" would take me, and I have trusted the process from the start. The first step took me to Iowa and 10 states before the DNC Convention in Philly! My second step was to run for office in Mountain View and become an elected delegate in the California Democratic Party. I took my third step and moved to Berkeley, where I volunteer everyday with local grassroots progressive groups. Now that the recent election is over, I am focused on the step in my journey. Please save the date for the launch of my new book, Ready, Set, Go Playbook for Candidates, Campaigns, and Causes. I will release this new book in the spring, sharing stories about candidates, best practices from successful campaigns, and resource toolkits for important causes. Please follow my journey at: https://www.myjourneywithbernie.com
Seeking Beta Readers
What's a Beta Reader?
A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing (similar to beta testing in software), who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author. A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader. This feedback is used by the writer to fix remaining issues with plot, pacing, and consistency. The beta reader also serves as a sounding board to see if the book has had the intended emotional impact. A beta reader is NOT a proof reader or a critique partner!
Here's what's happening at the division and state level, and/or in other branches.
TOMORROW 2/9 — The Art of Language
Mt. Diablo invites Berkeley Branch Members & followers to their Speaker Series...
Steven Nightingale will discuss “The Art of Language” at the lunch meeting of the Mt. Diablo branch of the California Writers Club on Saturday, February 9, 2019, at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill.
CWC at San Francisco Writers Conference February 14-18
Who's going to the SFWC? Make our booth your home base! The CWC exhibitor table, sponsored by the CWC Northern California, will feature and promote ALL of the branches in our NorCal group. Tell the writers you meet to visit there! Many of our members are volunteering.
By the way, if you ever meet prospective members, just open up our web page at www.cwc-berkeley.org and have them sign up for our mailing list. Now all prospective members receive Write Angles.
Thanks to our NorCal rep Jane Glendinning and all the CWC-BB members who have contributed to the success of past SFWC, and also to member to Michael Larsen, who offers his years of experience as a literary agent and leader in the writing world through www.michaellarsenauthorcoaching.com.
^^ Members Kathleen Orosco and Davie Simmons met each other years ago at SFWC. Still writing strong!
All the news from all the branches is on its way. Would you like to announce YOUR news to other writers in the state?
Have you launched a new book? Have a product or service to sell? Try the CWC Bulletin for great advertising. Visit https://calwriters.org/publications/#ad for details. rates and advertising spaces available.
The deadline for submitting advertising is February 28th. Same deadline for your branch news. All ad revenue goes into our CWC Central Treasury, and all work done to enable this advertising is done by volunteers, and largely due to the hard work and excellent news layout done by our Editor, Rusty LaGrange.
Inquiries and ads may be sent to AdvertisingCWC@gmail.com.
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!
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!
by Tish Davidson
(First in series of 8 for Literary Review preparation)
Beginning a story well is difficult. The author almost always knows more about the characters than the reader needs or wants to know. This leads most authors, whether new or experienced, to start their stories with a lot of "throat clearing". By throat clearing, I mean a lot of detail and backstory that the reader either does not need to know, does not care about, or can learn later. Throat clearing is boring writing. It slows down the story and encourages readers to stop reading. The difference between an experienced writer and a beginner is that experienced writers understand that sometimes they just need to get something down on paper to get started, but in the editing process they get rid of all the nonessential writing that slows the story down. It is easier to write good story beginnings if the writer understands the purpose of the first 100–200 words. Jump to some suggestions on how to craft compelling beginnings along with examples of sentences that work!
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!
This is the poem Terry Tierney read at the holiday dinner, originally published in 1986 in Milkweed Chronicle, a tremendous literary journal that is sadly defunct. The poem was accompanied by this graphic by Thomas Cassidy.
by Terry Tierney
You wrote these letters at your cherry desk,
snow falling like cryptograms
outside your window, there in the deepest plains
where twisting winds suspend the flakes
like lost mail. And I wait
on an unnamed hill in New York state
on the farthest ridge from the Catskills,
where sounds diminish with old age
like the hills themselves, waiting
for signs of snow, fronts moving east.
We never wrote letters before, never
needing the cold precision of writing,
sharing an immunity to weather
that language could never distort.
Now I defy the weather,
diving in the deepest drift, sinking
with my heat, skin soaked with your words.
In Spring they will break me out,
ship me home to Nebraska,
still alive, breathing slowly
like a dormant bear, a thicker, warmer
letter than you expected. Sorry
I took so long to write.
Terry’s collection of poetry, The Poet’s Garage, will be published by Unsolicited Press in May 2020. His poems and stories have recently appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Front Porch Review, Jersey Devil Press, The Lake and other publications. He has also written Lucky Ride, a sixties road novel and story of an unraveling marriage. His website is http://terrytierney.com.
by Amos White
By Ralph Dranow
It's the bane of modern existence,
My eyes fierce with disapproval
Of the well-dressed young woman
Speaking rapid Spanish
Into a cell phone.
No concern with privacy
Or anything around her.
It's a modern-day plague,
Proud of my principled holdout.
Suddenly her voice rises,
The light is green,
But a car making a turn
Darts in front of me,
Strangling my breath,
My heart turning cartwheels.
She was more present than me,
I realize in a swirl
Of relief and chagrin.
"Thank you," I murmur,
Her glance is warm,
Free of judgment.
CWC on the Mic
Aqueila Lewis-Ross will host a small open mic after her presentation on Sunday, February 17th.
Coming in May:
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. SUBMISSIONS will be due on May 1st. THE READING will be Monday night, May 24th. The show will be curated by members Sheryl Bize-Boutte and Fred Dodsworth.
WATCH FOR MORE INFORMATION!
The Last Word...
Year of the Pig
The most delicious year.
Every year is year of the pig in our house. Congratulations to my husband Dave, who this month completed his 5000th consecutive post. Entropical Paradise starts on Blogger and posts to Facebook and Twitter. Dave was featured in a documentary about megabloggers called "Friends You Haven't Met Yet." This year we celebrated 25 years of creative marriage, which has included partnership in our family publishing company, Little Pig Productions.
* 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!"