2017 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, Dec. 10, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Lessons from the Trenches: Launching Your Book with a Virtual Book Tour
Natasha Yim

Natasha Yim’s Virtual Book Tour for her newest book, The Rock Maiden, was the fourth blog tour she has set up to promote her books. What is a blog tour and how do you set one up? Natasha will share the lessons she’s learned from the blog tour trenches: her trials and errors, pitfalls to avoid, blog tour wisdoms and more.


Natasha Yim

Natasha Yim is a children’s author, freelance writer, and playwright. She has published five picture books: Otto’s Rainy Day (Charlebridge Publishing 2000); Cixi, The Dragon Empress (Goosebottom Books, 2011); Sacajawea of the Shoshone (Goosebottom Books, 2012), Goldy Luck  and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge  Publishing, 2014), and The Rock Maiden (Wisdom Tales Press, 2017.) She has written for Highlights for Children, Faces, and Appleseeds, and is a regular contributor to Mendocino Arts Magazine. Natasha’s ten minute plays have also been performed in venues around Northern California, Los Angeles and internationally in Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia.


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Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Lessons from the Trenches: Launching Your Book with a Virtual Book Tour

acebook for Authors
Kymberlie Ingalls

Facebook has become the breakout online platform for authors, and because the company now owns Instagram, it’s important to know how to optimize both—not just for book sales but also for engaging with your fan base. It’s called “social” media for a reason!

We’re also going to talk about why Facebook has topped the list over Twitter and blogs for reaching audiences. Join us for an in-depth look at what’s currently trending and what you may not be doing but should.


Kymberlie Ingalls

Kymberlie Ingalls is a pioneer blogger and author from the San Francisco Bay Area. The creator of the successful “Writer of the Storm” and “Neuroticy = A Societal Madness” sites, she began blogging in the late 90s before it became the phenomenon that is prevalent today. Her work focuses on personal topics such as love, relationships, depression, grief, and memory loss. Kymberlie has a colorful history in stage, comedy, auto racing, radio broadcasting, and teaching. Her experiences feed her broad scope of writing in memoir, prose, fiction, and opinion essays. She has received praise from critics, colleagues, and writers for her heartfelt honesty and emotional depth.


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Sunday, October 8, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
The Complexity of Memoir
Skye Blaine

Memoir calls for capacity in specific areas in addition to craft issues:

• The grit to meet ourselves with rigorous honesty

• The willingness to reveal what we discover

• The delicacy to write about people close to us

• The intimacy to draw the reader into our personal world

We will work, discuss, and crack open the complexity of memoir.


Skye Blaine writes memoir, fiction, poetry, and blogs, developing themes of aging, coming of age, disability, and awakening. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Bound to Love: a memoir of grit and gratitude was published in 2015 and has won three awards. She is published in seven anthologies. Her novel, Unleashed, will be published this fall. She teaches memoir and fiction to older adults as an adjunct faculty of Santa Rosa Junior College.


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Sunday, September 10, 2017
Hot Topics Roundtables:

Robbi Sommers Bryant
Susan Gunter
Jeanne Jusaitis

Get ready for a whirlwind of information from three experts, Robbi Sommers Bryant, Susan Gunter, and Jeanne Jusaitis. They will discuss topics including how to compose a compelling first page of your book, tips for beginning your memoir or autobiography, as well as the benefits of joining a critique group for your writing. Join us for this comprehensive discussion and absorb the wisdom of three literary professionals!

Your First Page with Robbi Sommers Bryant

Do you hook your reader in paragraph one of your story? Is it impossible for them to put your book down? If not, Robbi will give you five easy steps to achieving a tight, well-edited, and compelling first page. After a review of key literary elements, we will practice writing captivating and intriguing first pages.

Memoir or Autobiography? What’s the Difference? with Susan Gunter

And write them. Memoir and autobiography are two ways to tell others what you have seen. Memoir looks at emotional truth about one section of one’s life; it can seem like fiction–but it isn’t. The autobiography is a history of one’s life, a factual chronology of the passage from youth to old age. Think of an orange and an orange section: one is a whole, the other is part of a whole that still adheres. We will look at samples of both genres and talk about how they work.

Jeanne JusaitisCritique Groups: What, Why, and How with Jeanne Jusaitis

This session will answer questions concerning the “how” and the “why” of critique groups. What do they do? Why would you join one? Where could you find one? A variety of types of groups and procedures will be explored, as well as suggestions for building trust.


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Sunday, August 13, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Dynamic Pacing: The Best-Kept Secret to Making Your Novel Impossible to Put Down
Selden Edwards

New York Times best-selling author Selden Edwards (The Little BookThe Lost Prince) will lead a spirited exploration of creative plot structure that captures the reader in the first pages and doesn’t let go until the last. He explains how clever plot construction and wording could make all the difference in selling your manuscript to a publisher, no matter the genre. When Selden Edwards wrote his first novel and sent it out to agents, he received a call from an agent after only a few days. The agent said he “just couldn’t put it down.” Why? Because this book had great pacing. The book went out to publishers immediately, and was sold within a matter of days. Most authors don’t even realize that this dollop of zing is essential. If you have good pacing, you can write about watching paint dry and make it impossible to put down.

Selden Edwards was born and raised on a farm in the Sacramento Valley and after college at Princeton ended up teaching English and head mastering for forty years, all the time slogging away at fiction writing. In 2008, the “Vienna novel” he had been writing and rewriting for thirty years was discovered and became a bestseller. He is now retired and continuing to write in the Santa Barbara area.


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Sunday, July 9, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
2017 Author Launch
Jeane Slone, Chair

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.

CLICK HERE for information about
the featured 2017 Author Launch writers.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Flash Fiction: The Art of Brevity

Grant Faulkner, NANOWRIMO Executive Director

In flash fiction, the whole is a part and the part is a whole. The form forces the writer to question each word, to reckon with Flaubert’s mot juste, and move a story by implications. Flash stories are built through gaps as much as the connective tissue of words, so what’s left out of a story is often more important than what’s included. A single sentence can serve the function that a paragraph or even a chapter might in a longer work. In this talk, Grant Faulkner will discuss how a different type of creativity emerges within a hard compositional limit. Come prepared to write short pieces and explore the expansiveness of succinctness.

Grant Faulkner

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. His work has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including the Southwest Review, Green Mountains Review, and PANK. His essays on creativity have been published in the New York Times, Poets & Writers Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and the Writer. He recently published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, two of which are included in The Best Small Fictions 2016. His book of Pep Talks for Writers is forthcoming this year from Chronicle Books.


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Sunday, May 21, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Poetry as Enchantment: A Poetry Reading with Remarks
Dana Gioia, Poet Laureate of California

Join us for a captivating and inspiring poetry reading from the selected works of award winning, internationally acclaimed Poet Laureate of California, Dana Gioia. Former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Gioia has published five full-length collections of poetry, most recently, 99 Poems: New & Selected. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award.

Dana Gioia

An influential critic, Gioia’s 1991 volume, Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture and schools. In 2014 Gioia won the Aiken-Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in American poetry, and he has been the recipient of 10 honorary degrees.


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Sunday, April 9, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Answering the Call: How Jack London Changed My Life and Inspired Me to Become a Writer Who Questions History
Iris Jamahl Dunkle

What does it mean to be a writer? I asked myself this at a young age and found the answer at Jack London State Historic Park. Join me as I tell the story of Jack London and my own journey toward finding a voice and writing back to history in order to find a better sense of the truth hidden beneath.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County. Her second poetry collection, There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air, is about the untold history of Sonoma County, and was published in November 2015 by Word Tech Editions. Her third collection, Interrupted Geographies, will be published by Trio House Press in June 2017. Her debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, was selected by Ross Gay to win the 2012 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her chapbooks, Inheritance and The Flying Trolley, were published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and 2013. Her poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction have been published widely in prestigious publications, and she is currently co-authoring a new biography on Jack London’s wife, Charmian Kittredge London. Dunkle teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College and is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference. She received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University.


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Sunday, March 12, 2017, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Fact to Fantasy: Using Autobiographical Material in Fiction
Ellen Sussman

We all have so much rich experience to draw from in our own lives. But how best to turn that into the stuff of fiction? New York Times bestselling author Ellen Sussman will share her insights and experience in borrowing material from her own life to add emotional depth and passion to her novels.

Ellen Sussman

Ellen Sussman is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies, Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave and Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes. EllenSussman.com


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Sunday, February 12, 2017
Picture Book Craft 101
Tim McCanna & Meg Fleming

Want to write for kids? Breaking into the picture book industry takes patience, perseverance, and practice. It all starts with you, the writer, and your words! Join children’s authors Tim McCanna (Bitty Bot, Watersong) and Meg Fleming (I Heart You, Ready, Set, Build!) as they share their professional insights and discuss the nuts and bolts of writing effective and successful picture book manuscripts. Talking points will include developing ideas, writing resources, character development, the importance of revision, rhyming do’s and don’ts, and more.

Tim McCanna

Tim McCanna is the author of Teeny Tiny Trucks (Little Bahalia Publishing), Bitty Bot, and Watersong (both Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). He has worked in advertising, wrote and produced an off-off Broadway musical, produced music and narration for award-winning story apps, picture book trailers, and kid lit podcasts. Forthcoming picture book titles include Bitty Bot’s Big Beach Getaway and Boing! (Simon & Schuster/ Paula Wiseman Books), Jack B. Ninja (Scholastic), So Many Sounds, and Barnyard Boogie! (Abrams Appleseed). The Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI’s San Francisco/South chapter, he holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing for Musical Theatre from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Find Tim online at TimMcCanna.com.

Meg Fleming

Meg Fleming is the author of I Heart You (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster) and Ready, Set, Build! (little bee books/Bonnier Publishing). Forthcoming books include Sometimes Rain (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster) and Ready, Set, Sail! (little bee books/Bonnier Publishing). Meg has worn many hats for the SCBWI in both the San Francisco and Chicago regions, and loves nothing more than helping other writers get to the heart of their story to make it sing! Visit her at MegFleming.net.


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Sunday, January 8, 2017
Catharine Bramkamp, moderator 
Agents Day & Pitchfest

1…2…3 Home Runs to Start 2017!

Catharine Bramkamp publishes both prose and poetry. A longtime Redwood Writers member, she edited the poetry anthology And The Beats Go On. She has published 15 books, including two on writing. As a WNBA-SF member, she had coached for two Pitch-O-Rama sessions. She helped those aspirational writers, and she can help you too.

CLICK HERE to visit the AGENTS DAY & PITCHFEST page for complete details and information about the agents

Click here to open a Agents Day flier

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