2014 Meetings

Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, 3-5 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Book Passage: An Open Door for Readers and Writers 
Sam Barry pix

Sam Barry

Sam Barry talked about Book Passage’s Path to Publishing program, a resource for the individual writer. Utilizing mentors and other consultants, PTP helps writers clarify which publishing choice is best for them: traditional, independent (self), or some alternative option, as well as how to make solid decisions on editing, book design, printing, e-book production, distribution, marketing and promotion. Sam  also talked about Book Passage’s writing classes and conferences. In the spirit of the season, Sam read from his book, How to Play the Harmonica and Other Life Lessons, and perhaps lead us in a playful song.

Sam Barry is the author services liaison for Book Passage’s Path to Publishing program. A publishing professional with 25 years of experience, Sam is a contributing editor at the literary magazine Zyzzyva, and serves on the board of San Francisco’s literary festival, Litquake. He is the author of How to Play the Harmonica and Other Life Lessons, and coauthor of Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now with his late wife, Kathi Kamen Goldmark—whose novel, Her Wild Oats, was posthumously published by Untreed Reads in 2014. As a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, Sam edited and coauthored the interactive e-book Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All. Sign up for the newsletter for conference and event news: www.bookpassage.com Contact Sam Barry to learn more about PTP: [email protected]

Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, 3 – 5 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Garden Room
What’s Your Book? 
Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner

What’s Your Book? will be an interactive discussion helping authors to think about their ideas and concepts, as well as their belief systems and where they get stuck in their writing. Whether you’re working on a book idea you’ve had for a long time, or something totally new, this conversation will breathe fresh ideas and motivation into your writing process. We’ll encourage a discussion and reconnect with the passion behind your book project.

Brooke Warner is founder of Warner Coaching Inc., publisher of She Writes Press, and author ofWhat’s Your Book? and How to Sell Your Memoir. Warner’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing. She is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and/or self-publishing. She sits on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). Her website was selected by The Write Life as one of the Top 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014. She lives and works in Berkeley. www.warnercoaching.com 

Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, 3-5 pm, Flamingo Hotel


A Panel Moderated by Kate Farrell
with Susan Keller, Peg Alford Pursell, and Anita Amirrezvani

Learn how and why to enter writing contests with Susan Keller, submit to literary journals with Peg Alford Pursell, and submit to anthologies with Anita Amirrezvani. These submission opportunities are within reach for every writer, beginning to advanced, and can build an impressive platform while improving writing skills. Susan Keller, writing contest winner, compiles a monthly list of contests and other writing opportunities; Peg Alford Pursell, MFA in Creative Writing, is a writer, editor, teacher, and literary community builder; and Anita Amirrezvani, prize-winning novelist, creative writing teacher, edited the anthology, Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers

Susan Keller writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her poetry has won first place in slams, a semi-finalist spot in the Atlantic Review Contest and an Honorable Mention in the Bay Area Poets Coalition. Her fiction and poetry have been repeatedly published in the Redwood Writers’ anthologies. Her story, “A Turn in the Road” earned an Honorable Mention in the Write Across the Bay Contest. Keller previously published a CWC newsletter column, entitled The Contest Girl, and was very active in submitting to poetry and prose contests internationally.

Peg Alford Pursell, MFA in Creative Writing, is a writer, editor, teacher, and literary community builder. Pursell curates the renowned and beloved literary series “Why There Are Words,” held monthly in Sausalito; served on the advisory boards of Litquake, TEDxMarin, and California Writers Club-Marin. Her fiction has received awards, such as American Fiction Award Finalist and the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award. New stories have been published in or are forthcoming from Eleven Eleven, Tupelo Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, The Quotable, Joyland, Staccato Fiction, Emprise Review, Annalemma, The Fabulist, Pure Francis, Her Royal Majesty, and others. Her 990-word story “Project,” published in Annalemma Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. www.pegalfordpursell.com

Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in San Francisco. Her first novel, The Blood of Flowers, has appeared in 25 languages and was long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her second novel, Equal of the Sun, was published by Scribner in 2012. Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian-American Writers, an anthology co-edited with Persis Karim, was released in 2013. Amirrezvani has given
book readings in Australia, Canada, Croatia, Dubai, Lithuania, New Zealand, Scotland, and in many locations throughout the United States. She teaches in the MFA Program in Writing at the California College of the Arts. www.anitaamirrezvani.com  

Brenda Knight

Brenda Knight

Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, 3:00-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel,
Courtyard Room I & II
Brenda Knight
The Art of the Book Deal: Insider Secrets to Navigating the Publishing Process

From the outside, book publishing can seem mysterious, but from the inside it is really quite simple. Twenty-two year publishing veteran Brenda Knight will teach you how to sell yourself and your book idea, who you are really selling, the importance of “comp titles,” how to craft the perfect proposal, and trend tracking.

Brenda Knight is a twenty-two year publishing veteran, starting at HarperCollins, where she fell in love with publishing. Today she is the publisher of Cleis Press, and founder and publisher of Viva Editions, an imprint of Cleis Press. Knight is also the author of Women of the Beat Generation, which won an American Book Award, and The Grateful Table: Blessing, Prayers and Graces for the Daily Meal

Sunday, August 10, 2014, 2:00-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Katy Pye

Katy Pye

Katy Pye
From Published to Prized: An Inside Look at Book Award Contests

Contest awards—local to international—are one public measure that assess the quality of your work. Award-winning author Katy Pye will share highlights of her publishing process and insider tips into award contests—how recognition can make a difference in your publishing experience, and even boost sales. 

Katy Pye, born and raised in  a Northern California farming town where she sold hardware, and owned a catering and cooking school business. She is a retired executive director of a California Resource Conservation District and now lives on the Mendocino Coast. Pye’s Elizabeth’s Landing (2013), a self-published, debut novel, has earned three international book awards: Writer’s Digest’s 2013 Self-Published e-book Awards-First Place in Fiction, Nautilus Book Awards-Silver in Young Adult Fiction, and Next Generation Indie Book Awards-Gold for Children/Juvenile Fiction. Pye has dual membership in CWC Mendocino and Redwood Branches and serves on the Board of Directors for Mendocino Coast Writers Conference.  http://katypye.com/ 

Sunday, July 13, 2014, 2:00-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
2014 Author Launch Celebration of Redwood Writer Members

Listen to snippets from a host of good books, pick up some great new reads, and join all of us in celebrating our writers’ publication successes! Members of Redwood Writers proudly bring forward 20 of their new literary efforts. Admission is free for all members of the general public, and $5 for members. 

Featured writers and their works include: Sandy Baker, Howie’s Hummingbird Dilemma; Frances Caballo, Avoid Social Media Time Suck; Kymberlie Ingalls, Bridges: A Lifetime in Essay; Crissi Langwell, Forever Thirteen; Al and Sunny Lockwood, Cruising Panama’s Canal; Roger Lubeck, Port Royal Murder on Cove Lane; Charles Markee, Demon Invasion; Kay Mehl Miller, Love Comes at Twilight; Sabrina Rawson, Briksanna’s Sacrifice; Helen Sedwick, Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook; Jeane Slone, She Was an American Spy During WW II; Susanna Solomon, Point Reyes Sheriff’s Calls; Amber Lea Starfire, Not the Mother I Remember; Julia Park Tracey, Reaching for the Moon; Ayin Weaver, Bleed Through; Michelle Wing, Body on the Wall (poems); Julie Winrich, Night Terror; Nathaniel Robert Winters, The Penngrove Ponderosa; Jean Wong, Sleeping with the Gods; and Natasha Yim, Goldy Luck & the Three Pandas.

Sunday, June 8, 2014, 2:30-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Susanne Lakin

Susanne Lakin

Susanne Lakin  
“Sizzling Scenes: 
Creating Unforgettable Scenes That Really Cook”

This lighthearted workshop fills a need for writers of all levels to explore the various ways scenes can be constructed and the elements needed to make a scene sizzle. Good writers are like good cooks—using a variety of ingredients and spices, simmering until boiling, and leaving a surprise twist or lingering aftertaste to keep the reader wanting to come back to the table for seconds. We will look at the three major components of a scene—the beginning, middle, and end, and judge at random excerpts from best-selling novels to evaluate what works and doesn’t work in their scene construction. Bon Appetite! 

Lakin has distilled her usual three-hour workshop into just over an hour, providing a recipe-book’s worth of information and activities for under $10.

Click, download, print: Scene Structure Checklist

Susanne Lakin (C. S. Lakin, author name) works professionally as a copyeditor and writing coach, and is a member of numerous editing and writing groups. She also guest blogs on the top writing blogs and teaches workshops and runs or participates in critique teams around the country. Her writing background and experience includes her having penned fourteen novels, nine of which she has contracted to publishers in the last three years. Her blog, Live Write Thrive, won the top ten blogs for writers in 2012 and 2013 by Write to Done (out of more than 1,100 blog nominations) and provides year-long instruction for novelists with exciting, fresh courses in weekly posts. She just released Say What?: A Fiction Writer’s Handy Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage.  http://www.livewritethrive.com 

Sunday, May 18, 2014, 2:30-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Joshua Mohr 
“Plarachterization: Intersection of Plot and Character”

The best plots aren’t controlled by an authorial presence. Plot springs from the characters themselves. The writer masterminds all of these things, but the more we program ourselves to think of it in this way—that our protagonists are sovereign beings with independent consciousnesses from our own—the better prepared we are to traverse what I’m calling “plarachterization.”

This seminar was geared around characters’ decision making, the causality between plot points, how to keep a reader excitedly flipping pages. We also delved into specific tactics for constructing a present action and how to fold backstory into it. Plarachterization is a strategy that will help any aspiring writer!

Joshua Mohr is the author of four novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List. He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His latest novel is Fight Song. Visit his website:  http://www.joshuamohr.net

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 2:30-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Jenn Sterling

Jenn Sterling

Jenn Sterling is the USA Today best-selling author of the young and new adult novels The Perfect Game, The Game Changer, Chance EncountersIn Dreams and The Sweetest Game. When Sterling lost her job, she decided to do something she’d always put off, but never stopped thinking about. She began writing the stories that called to her and became an indie author through self publishing. Success did not come in time enough to save her house from being repossessed and auctioned in front of her, but she was persistent and eventually it paid off. Sterling is now a sought after speaker throughout the country and internationally, most recently in England and soon Australia. She lives in Petaluma with her baseball-obsessed son.

Sunday, March 9th, 2:30-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Becky Parker Geist and Jeane Slone, “What Have You Heard About Audiobooks?”

Ever considered what it would take to get your book made into an audiobook? With about 11 million people visually impaired and 1.5 million totally blind in the U.S., not to mention the huge audience of audio book listeners who commute or multitask, audio books can be tremendously helpful to your bottom line. The audiobook industry was estimated at $1.2 billion as of 2011, and is growing fast.

Becky Parker Geist

Becky Parker Geist

Becky Parker Geist is a voice-over professional and owner of Pro Audio Voices, serving clients internationally as a go-to place for exceptional voice-over services for animation, audiobooks, and advertising, with an emphasis on those targeting family and young audiences with uplifting and inspiring stories and messages. After receiving her MFA in Acting in 1981, she began narrating Talking Books for the Blind (Library of Congress), narrating over 70 titles in two years before moving to Marin. Also a stage actor, director, and self-published author, Geist is currently on an open-ended tour of the one-woman show she wrote, Joy with Wings: A Daughter’s Tale, and is writing a series of children’s books and her first novel. Geist serves on the board of BAIPA, is a member of Audio Publishers Association and CWC Marin. ProAudioVoices.com

Jeane Slone

Jeane Slone

Jeane Slone will share her experience using the Community Media Center’s facility to record her own audiobook. Jeane Slone is past vice president and present board member of the California Redwood Writers Club, a member of the Healdsburg Literary Guild, Military Writers Society of America, and the Pacific Coast Air Museum. Slone is host of the television show Writer/Speak. She is a tutor for the Library Literary Program, and distributes over 85 local authors’ books in 17 Sonoma County shops.

Sunday, February 9, 2:30–5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel, Empire Room
Ransom Stephens

Ransom Stephens

Ransom Stephens, 
“From Pen To Published: A Sneak Peek At What It Takes”

More paths lead to publication than ever before. Since the importance of narrative quality has not wavered, Ransom Stephens will begin with a presentation on how to build tension by integrating character into description, creative use of tense, and radical leaps of point of view. From there he will launch into the pros/cons and variations of traditional, indie, and hybrid publishing: Should 
you blog, podcast, freelance, commit journalism, submit to literary reviews, query ’til the cows come home, or just click upload and set a price? This presentation will help you choose the right path for your work!

Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., is a novelist, science writer, and physicist. His first book, The God Patent, was a huge ebook success, which led to its print publication by a small publisher, Numina Press. The serendipity of his path to publication testifies to the power of studying the craft, making use of emerging technology, exposing your work, and, of course, perseverance. His second novel, The Sensory Deception, was published by 47North in August 2013.  http://www.ransomstephens.com/

Sunday, January 12, 2014, 2:30-5:00 pm, Flamingo Hotel
Wendy Tokunaga

Wendy Tokunaga

Wendy Tokunaga, 
“Two Heads Are Better Than One”
How to Hire and Work Effectively with an Independent Editor

You’ve finished your book—congratulations! Whether your plan is to look for an agent, or self-publish, you don’t want to send your book out into the world before having it edited. 

Wendy Tokunaga is a Bay Area novelist, writing teacher and independent editor. She has experience on both sides of the fence, having published two novels with St. Martin’s Press (Love in Translation, Midori by Moonlight) as well as several self-published books (The novels No Kidding, Falling Uphill and His Wife and Daughters, and the non-fiction interview book Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband). She’s convinced that working with independent editors is what brought her writing to the next level, allowing her to get a two-book contract with a major publisher after years of rejections. Wendy teaches for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Novel Writing Certificate Program, and runs her own private manuscript consulting practice, specializing in novels and memoirs. Visit her website: http://www.wendytokunaga.com/