2020 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, Jan. 12, 2020
Writing About Family: The Craft of Memoir
Dorothy Rice

Writing about family is a powerful source of inspiration for many authors, whether to enrich fiction, as a foundation for memoir or biography or to preserve fading personal histories for future generations. Memoirist Dorothy Rice will share her experiences writing about family and friends, including techniques and tools for navigating issues of confidentiality and trust, differing views on past events and the ramifications of exposing sensitive topics and history. She will talk about the drifting lines between fiction and nonfiction and the question of creative license and subjectivity in memoir, particularly when recreating distant events. She will also provide information on the various forms personal writing can take, identifying and pursuing markets for creative nonfiction, from flash to longer form, and her go-to tips for turning life experiences into page-turning true stories.

Dorothy Rice is the author of two published memoirs, Gray Is The New Black (Otis Books, June 2019) and The Reluctant Artist (Shanti Arts, 2015). Her personal essays and fiction have been published in dozens of journals and magazines, including The Rumpus, Brain, Child Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Hippocampus and Brevity. An essay about her mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s was awarded second place in the 2018 Kalanithi Awards (honoring Paul Kalanithi, author of When Breath Becomes Air) and one of her flash fictions was nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. After raising five children and retiring from a career managing statewide environmental protection programs, Rice earned an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside, Palm Desert, at 60. She is a certified Amherst Writers & Artists Method creative writing workshop facilitator and, in addition to writing and mentoring other aspiring writers, she conducts youth writing workshops with literary nonprofit 916 Ink.

You can find Dorothy at dorothyriceauthor.com, and on twitter at @dorothyrowena.



Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020
Humor as a Writing Hook: A panel discussion led by Deborah Taylor-French

What's so funny?

Lots of things, as it turns out. We will explore various tools writers use in creating humor-hyperbole, irony, self-deprecation, quirky characters, and entertaining plot twists.

The panel discussion will explore a wide range of topics dealing with humor, such as:

  • What is humor?
  • How does it help us in the quality of our life?
  • What part does it play in different genres: plays, poetry, prose?
  • What can we learn about how other cultures treat humor?
  • What does it mean to lack a sense of humor?

Examples from literary works will be given to answer and discuss the above points.


Daniel Coshnear works at a group home and teaches through UC Berkeley Extension. He is author of two story collections: Jobs & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine 2001), Willa Cather Award winner, and Occupy & Other Love Stories (Kelly's Cove Press 2012). In 2015, he won the Novella Award from Fiction Fix (now Flock) for Homesick Redux. His newest story collection: Separation Anxiety will be published in 2021 by Unsolicited Press.

Deborah Walton is a Redwood Writers Board member, editor of the monthly newsletter, and the PR director. And she says she's retired. If that's not funny, then consider she bought two houses on the internet, sight unseen, and lives in both—not at the same time.

Jean Wong, author of Sleeping with the Gods and Hurtling Jade, and Other Tales of Personal Folly, is an award-winning poet, fiction, and memoir writer. Her work has been produced by the Petaluma Reader's Theater, Sixth Street Playhouse, Off the Page, and Lucky Penny Productions.


Deborah Taylor French will moderate the panel. She is author of Red Sky at Night: Dog Leader Mysteries and writes a blog under her book series title. She has been published in a number of Redwood Writers anthologies.

Sunday, Mar. 8, 2020
Writing Character
Constance Hale

In her workshop, Writing Character, Constance Hale offers pointers for observing and capturing human complexity.

How do you capture the physicality of a person so that a reader would recognize your character in the line at a grocery store? How do you get at the person’s inner life, which takes a different set of skills? What’s the secret of nailing both at once? And how do you treat yourself—author, narrator, first-person voice—as a character?

We will use prompts from a book on the craft by Connie and other experts from the Writers Grotto in San Francisco. (It is part of the Lit Starts series.)

This workshop will change the way you write about people.

Constance Hale is a San Francisco–based journalist and the author of cheeky writing manuals, a book for adults on hula, and a picture book for children set in Hawaii. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the LA Times, and many magazines. In 2019, she published Writing Character, a book chockful of thoughts, tips, and prompts that is part of the Lit Starts series, produced by The Writers Grotto. sinandsyntax.com.


RESCHEDULED TO A LATER DATE DUE TO GLOBAL PANDEMIC (Updates will be placed on the home page as the event date nears)
Sunday, Apr. 19, 2020
Children’s Authors Panel: A panel discussion on paths to publication, moderated by Natasha Yim


Mae Respicio (maerespicio.com) is the author of the middle grade novels The House That Lou Built, which won the 2019 APALA Honor Title Award in Children’s Literature, Any Day With You (out May 2020), and Everything Starts With Nothing (out 2021), all from Random House Children’s Books. Mae is a past recipient of a PEN Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellowship and has published many musings on parenthood. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and sons.

Innosanto Nagara (aisforactivist.org) is the author and illustrator of a number of social justice themed children’s books, including the bestselling A is for Activist. Originally from Indonesia, he moved to America in 1988, became a graphic designer and an activist, founded the social justice design studio Design Action Collective in Oakland, and he's written six books. Counting on Community was his second board book, followed by the picture books, My Night in the Planetarium and The Wedding Portrait. His first middle-grade book, M is for Movement, came out Fall 2019. He expects his next book, Oh, the Things We’re For!, to be released October 2020. He has also contributed illustrations to a number of anthologies.

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) is the author of many award-winning books for young readers including Between Us and Abuela, Forward Me Back to You, You Bring the Distant Near and Tiger Boy, each of which explores crossing different kinds of borders. Her middle-grade novel, Rickshaw Girl, was adapted as a film by Sleeperwave Productions and Half-Stop Down. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the US. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied political science at Stanford and public policy at UC Berkeley, and currently resides in the SF Bay area.

Panel moderator Natasha Yim is a children’s author and freelance writer. She has published six picture books and written for the children’s magazines, Highlights for Children, Appleseeds, Faces, and Muse. She is also a regular contributor to Mendocino Arts Magazine. Her upcoming math-concept picture book, Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum, illustrated by Violet Kim, will be published by Charlesbridge Publishing in Fall 2020, as part of the Storytelling Math series. She is currently working on a multicultural historical fiction middle grade novel. Natasha grew up in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong and loves to write about people and cultures from around the world.

Saturday, Apr. 18, 2020
Submit with Style: Confidently and Correctly Prepare Your Manuscript for Contests and Publications
Judy Baker

Join us on Saturday, April 18 at 10:00 on Zoom* for a FREE special webinar!

Due to the global pandemic, the April meeting will be held ONLINE.

Many of us have learned the hard way: ignore submission requirements at your peril. You can’t get published if your manuscript gets thrown out for failing to follow the rules.

Learn the easy way to format your work for success. Judy Baker will demonstrate how to use styles and create and templates in Microsoft Word. Styles and templates are like proven recipes—they help you get the results you want each time you use them.

Master these methods and you can concentrate on creativity and get published.

Judy Baker helps creatives get past the barriers that hold them back. She is an author, course creator, curious entrepreneur, and serves as Membership Chair for Redwood Writers.


Zoom is the most popular online platform for virtual presentations, meetings, get-togethers, and so on. Just go to Zoom.us and download the app on your phone, iPad, or computer (camera required to participate). If you can't join us live, you will be able to download the presentation for viewing/sharing at your leisure (and don't we have plenty of that!). And it's all free!

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Craft and World Building (Sci-Fi and Fantasy)
Chris Fox

How do you create a fantastic world that readers will fall in love with? Learn the secrets of creating rich worlds from Amazon Bestselling author Chris Fox. If you build it, they will come.

Chris Fox has published over 25 novels, and has a series of non-fiction books that teach writers how to duplicate his success. He's better known for the Write Faster, Write Smarter series, and has spoken all over the country about writing to market, making your writing a habit, storytelling, world building, and most importantly, quitting your day job to become an author.

His true love though? Science fiction and fantasy. He loves world building and storytelling. He's been playing D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) since he was six, and says, "They'll have to pry my d20 from my cold, dead hands!"

Saturday, June 20, 2020
Mystery Writing
Heather Chavez

Heather Chavez is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley’s English literature program and has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, and contributor to mystery and television blogs. Currently, she’s employed in public affairs for a major health care organization. She lives with her family in Santa Rosa and is at work on her second novel.

Saturday, July 18, 2020
Less is More, and More is More
Amanda McTigue

Imagination is reflexive. Readers come to our pages ready to co-create the characters, worlds, and stories that we write. But are we making room for them? How do other authors enhance this natural writer-reader collaboration? We’ll take a look at some great examples from various literary genres in order to explore two distinct approaches: saying less, and saying more. We’ll ask how (and why) each strategy works, and what we might do, whether in our first draft or final edit, to invite our readers in.

Amanda McTigue has spent her life cross-pollinating between her works on the page and for the stage. Her debut novel Going to Solace was named a Best Read of 2012 by public radio KRCB’s “Word by Word.” Since then, her published short stories have earned her a Pushcart Prize nomination, and a semi-finalist nod from the American Literary Review Fiction Contest. Amanda’s written works for the stage have been produced at Carnegie Hall, the Minnesota Opera, and Sonoma County’s Green Music Center. She's an alum of Yale, and, much more recently, the Bread Loaf, LitCamp, Squaw Valley, Napa Valley, and Writing x Writers conferences. Her second novel, The Cautionary Tales, is currently out looking for a home among agents and publishers. Meanwhile, she's editing her third, tentatively titled "Monkey Bottom."

Saturday, August 15, 2020
Memoir: The Art of Questioning Everything
Alia Volz

One may think that personal writing should begin with questions and end with answers—like the essays we learned to write in college. But the most interesting moments in memoir happen when questions lead not to conclusions, but to more questions. Memories prove unreliable. The book starts out investigating one thing, then evolves as the narrator’s worldview crumbles and new questions arise. Uncertainty can be a plot device. This craft talk explores how relentless self-interrogation has become the driving force behind contemporary personal essays and memoir. We’ll discuss practical techniques for taking advantage of questions that refuse to be answered.

Alia Volz is the author of Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020). Her work has been published in The Best American Essays 2017, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Guernica, Salon, and many other places. Her unusual family story has been featured on Snap Judgement, Criminal, and NPR’s Fresh Air.


Saturday, September 19, 2020
Submit to Indie Lit!
Lise Quintana

If you're still new to submitting, smaller independent literary journals are a great place to break in—most of them are starving for great content. Learn how to find the right lit journal for your work, and how to maximize your chances for success using a submission management program.

Lise Quintana’s work can be found in SLAB, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Instant Magazine, The Rambler, and Role Reboot, among others. She headed Zoetic Press, which produced the journal NonBinary Review and the Viable chapbook series. She is the former editor in chief of Lunch Ticket, the literary journal of Antioch Universtiy Los Angeles’s MFA program. She’s the inventor of the Lithomobilus ereader, a program for creating and reading nonlinear literature. She is active with the Bay Area Book Festival, Litquake, and National Novel Writing Month. Her latest effort is a podcast about weight-related issues called Living Large in America.


Saturday, October 17, 2020
Fade Out: The End of the Free Press in America
Derek Moore

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Derek Moore in a conversation about the revolution in how Americans get their news, what this means for the future of our democracy and challenges reporting factual information in an era of hyper-partisanship, and claims the news is rigged.

Derek Moore is a Napa-based freelance writer who—along with Santa Rosa Press Democrat staff—was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Northern California wildfires in 2017. As a daily news reporter, Moore covered numerous national and international events, including the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the 9/11 terror attacks, and the 2014 South Napa Earthquake. Moore has written extensively about local government, state politics, the environment, and health—the latter with a particular emphasis on adolescent mental health. Moore has a journalism degree from Sacramento State University. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, he lived in South Africa, where he earned a post-graduate diploma in African Studies from the University of Cape Town. Moore is president of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, representing hundreds of journalists on the West Coast and in Hawaii.

Sunday, November 8, 2020
Twice Alive: Lichen and Language
Forrest Gander, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet

Do we live twice? In what sense can we merge with others? How might lichen expand our thinking about human intimacies? A poetry reading and conversation around the language of science and poetry in a time of ecological trauma.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Forrest Gander is a poet, writer, translator, and editor of several anthologies of writing from Spain and Mexico. He is celebrated for the richness of his language and his undaunted lyric passion. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including collaborations with notable artists and photographers.

Gander’s collection Be With won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award. The Pulitzer Prize Judges citation calls it, “A collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.”

Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, United States Artists, and Whiting Foundations.

Saturday, December 19, 2020
Inviting Oscar to Dinner: Poets and Authors Transitioning to Screen
Indigo Moor

Whether in poetry or prose, the desire to see our work on screen is irresistible. Breaking onto this platform takes more than desire. Similar to your primary genre, scripts have their own tools and elements that must be observed to make your work palatable to directors, actors, and producers.

Indigo Moor is a former faculty member at the Stonecoast MFA Program, where he graduated in 2012 with an MFA in poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting. Three of his short plays, Harvest, Shuffling, and The Red and Yellow Quartet, debuted at the 60 Million Plus Theatre’s Spring Playwright’s festival. His full-length stageplay, Live! at the Excelsior, was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award. The subsequent screenplay was optioned as a full-length film. Indigo continues to consult for independent filmmakers ae scriptwriter and advisor.

Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento, Indigo Moor’s fourth book of poetry, Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize. Jonesin’—a multi-genre work consisting of poetry, short fiction, memoir pieces, stage plays—will be published in spring 2021. His second book, Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His first and third books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both parts of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Indigo is an adjunct professor at Dominican University and visiting faculty for Dominican’s MFA program, teaching poetry, short fiction, and introduction to stage and screenwriting.