2016 Meetings

Don’t miss any Redwood Writers meetings

Visit the Meetings page for the latest updates on upcoming meetings,
and all the wonderful speakers and events.

Sunday, December 11, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Rebecca Foust 
Roots, Shoots, Leaves, and Bloom: How Poetry and Prose Practices Nurture Each Other

Genre is a fiction! The complexities of the modern world do not fit into neat compartments and neither does good writing about it. Prose Poems, Lyric Essays, and Haibun are just three examples of forms that blur the line between poetry and prose, and even prose chestnuts like John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction stress the importance of mastery of poetry rudiments. The wonderful news is that poetry and prose practices can be deeply, mutually nourishing. Learn how to use both to enrich your writing: sources for inspiration, honing of craft, synergistic publication, and more.

Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Poetry Award and was reviewed more than 50 times in numerous prestigious journals. Foust’s poems, essays, fiction, and book reviews appear widely in magazines and journals, among them The Hudson Review, The Humanist, Massachusetts Review, North American Review, Tikkun, and The Sewanee Review. Recognition includes such awards as the 2015 American Literary Review Award for Fiction, the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize, the 2014 Constance Rook Creative Nonfiction Award, and fellowships from the Frost Place, MacDowell Colony. Rebecca Foust is the Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine and Why There are Words Press. Foust earned a B.A. in English from Smith College (1979), a J.D. from Stanford Law School (1982), and an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College (2010).

Click here to open a flier for the December speaker

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Amanda McTigue
The Writer’s Voice: Bringing Life to Words and Words to Life

Why do agents, editors—and, most importantly, readers—reach for our writing? The answer we always hear is “voice,” a hard-to-define and sometimes harder-to-develop authorial sound that distinguishes our work from all others’. But what do we mean by voice? How do we find it, hone it? Amanda McTigue offers specific shifts of focus for all phases of our work (from drafting to editing) to help us develop an authentic, compelling and memorable voice on the page across all genres.

Amanda McTigue’s debut novel, Going to Solace, was named a Best Read of 2012 by public radio KRCB’s literary program “Word by Word.” Her works for the stage have been produced at Carnegie Hall, the Minnesota Opera, and locally at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University where she’ll be staging “The Magic Flute” next spring. For years she was a writer/consultant for Disney Entertainment and Paramount. She’s a Yale graduate and recent alum of Lit Camp and the Writing By Writers, Squaw Valley and Napa Valley Writers Conferences. This year, two of her short stories were published in the journals Typehouse and Pantheon. She’s hard at work on a story collection, A Strangeness That Was Us, and a second novel, Monkey Bottom.

Click here to open a flier for the November speaker

Sunday, October 9, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Leslie Keenan
Reaching the Finish Line: The Seven Completion Points of Finishing a Book

The writing process can seem mysterious, both creatively and technically. Many writers, when they start the publishing process, aren’t aware what this journey looks like. If completion points aren’t recognized and aren’t completed in the correct order, the result can be frustration and even complete “stuckness.” In this presentation, Leslie Keenan will break down the seven points, explaining the best approach at each stage. She will discuss why it’s important to honor and celebrate each stage so you will have a smooth process for finishing your book.

Leslie Keenan has been helping people access their creativity, find the time to do what they most love, and complete their projects for more than 30 years as a teacher, coach, editor, and writer. She began her career in book publishing in New York, working at Warner Books, among others. In California, Leslie worked with Shakti Gawain, Carol Orsborne, Gabrielle Roth, and Valerie Worwood at New World Library, and later as a literary agent. In 1999 Leslie began working as a writing coach, and in 2000, in addition to teaching writing classes, she started an independent publishing company, The Printed Voice. In 2003, Leslie published her first book, It’s About Time, based on her workshops helping people shift their relationship with time to get to have what they most want in their lives. In 2016, her second book, You Can Complete That Book, was published, based on her popular classes. In her career, Leslie Keenan has worked on hundreds of titles that have become published books.

Click here to open a flier for the October speaker

Sunday, September 11, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Hot Topics Roundtables
Chairwoman Sandy Baker

Sandy Baker

Join the fun at September’s membership meeting! Get ready for a whirlwind of information that will leave you begging for more or send you to resource books and the Internet for follow-up details. Four Redwood Writers experts will “speed date” with you for 18 minutes each. When the cowbell rings, your speed daters will leave you for the next table. Take plenty of notes and hang onto the handouts each will give you.

Here’s the lineup of our Redwood Writer experts and their topics:

with Marlene Cullen


Indie Publishing
with Charles Markee

Charles Markee

Editing & Proofreading
with Arlene Miller


Business for Writers
with Helen Sedwick


Click here to open the Roundtables flier
for more event and speaker information

Sunday, August 14, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Michele Anna Jordan
A Writer’s Harvest: Surviving in Today’s World of Publishing
Redwood Writers--A Writer's Harvest—Surviving in Today's World of Publishing

How must a writer reinvent herself to survive in today’s world? Michele Anna Jordan’s professional work as a writer about food, wine, and farming bridges several worlds, such as pre-internet and post-internet, pre-culinary revolution, and post-culinary revolution, and pre-digital and post-digital. In this talk, Jordan will explore how she started out, became successful, what “success” means to her, and how things have been impacted by the ubiquity of blogs, podcasts, digital photography, and the downsizing of print publishing. Does expertise matter today? Does experience?

Michele Anna Jordan

Michele Anna Jordan

Michele Anna Jordan is an award-winning writer and chef. She recently launched MicheleAnnaJordan.com, a comprehensive website that gathers together her passions for writing, home cooking, and Sonoma County. The site augments her work for The Press Democrat, for which she currently writes two weekly columns; her radio show, “Mouthful,” in its 21st year on KRCB-FM; and her books, more than 24 to date. Jordan grew up in the North Bay and raised her children on a dairy farm in Lakeville, and has studied traditional Hawaiian dance and culture for more than a decade. She is currently at work on what she has long called her secret project, Echo: Autobiography of a Sentence, a nonfiction novel (or memoir, if you prefer) that explores one thread of her early life—the one that led to her Hawaiian studies. Jordan lives in Sebastopol with her two long-haired dachshunds, Lark and Joey, and three cats, Poe, Rosemary, and Harlequin.

Click here to open the August Writer’s Harvest flier

Sunday, July 10, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Author Launch 2016
Chairwoman Jeane Sloane 

Listen to excerpts from new books published by our members since last July,
meet local authors and pick up signed copies of their books.

Join us for this FREE EVENT as we celebrate our club’s many talented writers.

Visit the 2016 Author Launch page to check out the stellar lineup of featured authors featured at this year’s event.

Click here to open the Author Launch flier

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
LeeAnne Krusemark
Your Book in the Spotlight: How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy

Your book is published. Now, what? The answer is marketing! Effective book marketing uses a variety of methods to maximize exposure and profits, and many are free! In this comprehensive talk, you will learn many ways to market your book, including social media, blogging, obtaining reviews, and book signings.

LeeAnne Krusemark

LeeAnne Krusemark is an adjunct online Professor of Publishing for Harvard. Her publishing course is distributed to over 1000 universities, municipalities and private websites, and she is a nationwide speaker on the topic. She is also a former journalist, editor, and managing editor of newspapers, as well as an author of countless magazine articles and several business books. The inspiration she gives to others has even been compared to Oprah!

Click here to open the June “Effective Marketing Strategy” speaker flier

Volunteer-HOORAY-Day-2016-In addition to having a terrific speaker and topic at our regular June 12 Redwood Writers meeting, we recognized and honored our wonderful volunteers who have helped make Redwood Writers such a successful CWC branch. This event marked our first official…

Volunteer Hooray Day

We invited everyone to attend, stand up, and be recognized for the work done for Redwood Writers as board member, registration team, Play Festival team, speaker or workshop teams, author and anthology launches, open mic series, Pen to Published Conference, Hot Summer Nights, book club at Copperfield’s, writing contest chairs, Salon chair, Author Support Group team, new member orientation team, anthology teams, newsletter team, social media, nominating committee, critique group coordination, telethon coordination, snacks, and many more opportunities for our members to participate in our writing community. As well, there was a special presentation for the winner of the 2016 Helene S. Barnhart Award.

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Jean Hegland
Facts in Fiction: How Research Can Help You Get the Facts Straight and Prime Your Imagination 

Whether it’s making sure the Eiffel Tower Restaurant was actually open on that October night in 1972 when the lovers in your short story first arrive in Paris, or being able to describe how the doctor took the bullet from the villain’s shoulder, getting the facts straight is crucial to making fiction authentic and believable. Research can be a powerful tool for sparking ideas while writing. Novelist Jean Hegland will discuss how writers can use research to help shape plots, understand characters, and create vivid settings for their work. She will also share tips on why, when, and how to conduct research for fiction.

Jean Hegland

Jean Hegland is the author of the novels Into the Forest, Windfalls, and Still Time and a nonfiction work, The Life Within: Celebration of Pregnancy. Into the Forest has been translated into twelve languages and is a frequent choice for campus and community-wide reading programs. A film version starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood is scheduled for release in 2016. Jean is a frequent presenter at writers’ conferences and has taught creative writing for many years, both in California and abroad. She lives in the Northern Californian woods where she is always at work on another book.

Click here to open the May “Facts in Fiction” speaker flier

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Arlene Miller
A Lesson from the Grammar Diva: 
New Rules for Writers

Apr2016-speaker_Arlene-MillerJoin us for a discussion about the various approaches to grammar (descriptivism versus prescriptivism), and talk about some of the “rules” that are in flux. Then, Miller will talk about the different grammar requirements when writing a book proposal, a creative nonfiction book, a novel, and a nonfiction book. When can you break the rules? Which rules can you break? We will discuss formal writing, dialogue, narration, and more.

Arlene Miller, also known as “The Grammar Diva,” is the author of six grammar books, all meant to clarify common grammar issues, and a novel. Her first grammar book, The Best Little Grammar Book Ever, has sold thousands of copies and is being used by schools and colleges. Her newest book, Fifty Shades of Grammar, is a compilation of 50 of her best blog posts.

In addition to her writing, she is a copy editor for both fiction and nonfiction and offers grammar and business-writing presentations and workshops. Recently, she retired after 11 years of teaching English in Petaluma public schools. Miller has been a featured speaker at the Sonoma County Book Festival, Bay Area Independent Publishing Association (BAIPA), Sonoma County Library, Romance Writers of America, Society of Technical Communications, College of Marin, Copperfield’s Book’s, and several community groups. She holds degrees in print media, English, humanities, and California teaching and school administration credentials.

Click here to open the April “Grammar Diva” speaker flier

Sunday, March 13, 2016, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Mysti Berry
He Said, She Said: 
Improve Your Dialogue with Linguistics

You can improve the dialogue in your fiction using a few simple techniques borrowed from the study of Linguistics. You’ll learn to use what we know about how standard English marks gender differences, power differences, and just a little syntax—don’t worry, we won’t be diagramming any sentences! By the end of this talk, any reader should know who’s talking, even if you hide the “he said, she said” tags. Bring a page of your own dialogue if you wish (we may not get to everyone’s). We’ll do an exercise from a published writer’s first draft, and then compare our improvements to their subsequent drafts.

Mysti Berry

Mysti Berry is an award-winning writer of screenplays, short stories, and novels. She earned a bachelor’s in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz and a master’s from University of San Francisco. Her novella The Last Vacation is due out from Stark Raving Press in October 2016.


Sunday, February 14, 2016
Bonnie Lee
Dirty Little Secrets and the IRS: Taxpertise for the Creative Mind

The lRS has special rules for writers. Lee will discuss these rules, as well as some of the exceptions to the regular rules that many tax pros don’t know about, that will benefit a writer financially. Topics will include:

$$$     Record keeping
$$$     What to deduct on your taxes,
and when

$$$     Treating your endeavor as a business
$$$     Hobby losses
$$$     Home office
$$$     Tricky write-offs: travel, meals and entertainment
$$$     Writing off your car and other transportation expenses

Feb2016 Taxpertise Bonnie Lee

Bonnie Lee

Bonnie Lee is an Enrolled Agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all 50 states, at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. Lee founded Taxpertise (formerly Symmetry Business Services) in 1982 to represent taxpayers. For more than three decades, she has specialized in tax issues relating to small business. Lee is the author of Entrepreneur Press book, Taxpertise: The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Tax Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn’t Want You to Know, her e-book, Taxpertise: A Novella for the Creative Mind, and her newest novella, Taxpertise: 50 Shades of Green, designed for those with tax problems. Check out Lee’s weekly tax columns at foxbusiness.com in the Personal Finance section and the Small Business Center, and her monthly column in the Sonoma Valley Sun.

Open this flier to read more about Bonnie Lee and her February presentation

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Agent Panel & Pitch
The state of publishing in 2016
Fuse Literary: Agents Laurie McLean & Jennifer Chen Tran
Kimberley Cameron Associates: Elizabeth Kracht

Redwood Writers Agent Panel and Pitch Jan2016Join superstar literary agents Laurie McLean and Jennifer Chen Tran from Fuse Literary and Elizabeth Kracht from Kimberley Cameron Associates for a panel discussion and Q & A about the state of the publishing industry in 2016. The lRS has special rules for writers. Lee will discuss these rules, as well as some of the exceptions to the regular rules that many tax pros don’t know about, that will benefit a writer financially.

Visit the Agent Panel & Pitch page for complete details