Welcome to The Club!

1 Comment

CWCLogowithR

The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the oldest professional writers’ club West of the Missisippi.

CWC Berkeley Branch welcomes all California Writers Club members and guests to our monthly speaker program and affordable workshops on the art and business of writing.

Join us October 21, 2018 for

Writing Historical Fantasy

with author Linda McCabe

Get the details

Click here to commit to your writing career.

Save

Save

Advertisements

Some Writing Advice from October’s Featured Member, Art Deco Novelist Alice Jurow

Leave a comment

alice-jurow-oct-feat.jpgSunday, October 21st we’ll be featuring a short reading from our featured member, Alice Jurow. Alice has a degree in Aesthetic Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and is
not afraid to use it. Her obsession with the 1920s has led to a long-standing involvement with the Art Deco Society of California, and she was the editor of the society’s Sophisticate magazine for 12 years. Some of her publications include the North American Review, Archetype, and Bark. Vamps of ‘29 is her first published novel; she is working on a sequel. Alice lives in Berkeley with her human and feline family.

We asked Alice Jurow about the the most important piece of writing advice that she could give
to other writers.

Said Jurow:

I wouldn’t really presume to give anyone else writing advice, but the advice I give myself is: write the book that only you can write, the one you wish you could read.

I can get easily overwhelmed, when I go to bookstores or libraries or readings, and see the huge amount of new work in print, or in process—so much of it interesting, intriguing, well-crafted and crying out to be read. But just as many of these are stories I would be unlikely to write, I also don’t see anyone writing exactly what I envision writing.

About Alice Jurow’s novel, Vamps of ’29

In the darker corners of the City of Light, three fashionable young women revel in the glamor of late-1920s Paris nightlife. They model cutting-edge styles at a couture house on the rue Cambon. And, they are vampires.

While immortal charm keeps the vamps perennially youthful, redhaired Natalie is the oldest of the three. A former Mariinsky ballerina, she is moody and volatile, with a fatal penchant for intense Slavic idealists.

The youngest is Lucienne, an emigrée from Indochine, whose cool exterior conceals depths of mysterious knowledge and a complex past which comes back to haunt her, when her powerful Uncle Yu re-enters her life. And then there’s Sally. An Enlightenment-born native Parisienne, she’s eager to embrace all things twentieth-century: bobbed hair, hot jazz, the English language and a series of mortal friends and lovers, including a New Orleans jazz pianist, a British pilot, Oscar Wilde’s niece and an actress named Louise. When a lavish trip to Venice with a couple of American socialites turns dangerous, Sally goes undercover by cross-dressing her way to Berlin. The three vampire friends re-unite in Paris to model in one last astonishing fashion show and bring the 1920s to a close.

Learn more at Vampsof29.com

Have coffee with Alice Jurow and Linda McCabe at our October Meeting

After Alice Jurow reads to us from Vamps of 29, we’ll learn how to research historical figures, settings, and customs for historical fantasy writing. Our featured guest Linda McCabe will show authors how to decide when to use dramatic license vs. adhering strictly to the historical record. Fantasy has its own rules regarding logic and consistency and Linda will discuss the craft of balancing the needs of historical fiction with drama and fantasy. Linda’s novel Quest of the Warrior Maiden was honored by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association’s (BAIPA) as Best Historical Fantasy and received an Honorable Mention by the Hollywood Book Festival.

Join us for our October meeting Sunday.

linda-mccabe-oct-cwc-berkeley

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

 

Writing Historical Fantasy with Linda McCabe Oct 21st

Leave a comment

linda-mccabe-oct-cwc-berkeley

Learn to Blend Historical Fiction with Fantasy Elements at our October Meeting

Writing historical fiction requires extensive research on historical figures, settings, customs, etc., and decisions regarding dramatic license vs. adhering strictly to the historical record, while fantasy has its own rules regarding logic and consistency. Linda will discuss the craft of balancing the needs of historical fiction with drama and fantasy.

About Keynote Speaker Linda McCabe

Linda is the author of the novel, Quest of the Warrior Maiden, based on the legends of Charlemagne. To aid in her novel’s research, she traveled to France, scouring museums in Paris and trekking through medieval hilltop villages in the Midi-Pyrenees. Her novel was honored by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association’s (BAIPA) as Best Historical Fantasy and received an Honorable Mention by the Hollywood Book Festival. McCabe is finishing the first of two sequels. Her website is www.LindaCMcCabe.com

But Wait, There’s More!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this. Non-members and guests can audit any of our critique & support groups before joining. 

Networking from 2-2:30. Have some coffee and make some great connections!

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Success Group

2:00–2:30 – Writer Networking
2:30–3:00 – Welcome, Raffle & Club Announcements

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Alice Jurow
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Linda McCabe

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members*

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket; additional tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Win a book written by our club authors!
  • FullSizeRender

*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are committed to supporting writers.

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

Time to Renew… or to Join!

Leave a comment

Hello Writers!

We had a lively kick-off last Sunday, learning lessons from the roller coaster of Marty Nemko’s prolific career and imagining a different world with featured member Patricia McBroom. Let’s sail into the season and get our words heard!

Our membership renewal window is closing, so please renew now if you have not done so already. After October 1, those renewing will have to pay the $20 initiation fees to reinstate.

If you haven’t joined yet, now is the best time! (and here are the payment link and application!) Our monthly speaker series provides information that every writer can use, and our ongoing support groups, critique circles and collectives help us all write better together. (We have some pretty great parties, too!) This year, watch for more writing retreats and workshops, plus our presence at the San Francisco Writers Conference and the Bay Area Book Festival.

At our next meeting on October 21 we’ll hear longtime CWC mover and shaker Linda McCabe talk about the delights and demands of writing historical fiction. Anyone who loves to travel for research should enjoy this talk!

We know you love to write, so if you prefer to write a check, our address is CWC Berkeley, P.O. Box 11269, Oakland, CA 94611. It’s $45 for membership plus a one-time $20  initiation fee. (It’s better than drinking a gallon of pickle juice, you have to admit.)

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 2.03.31 PM

 —Kristen Caven, president

Patricia McBroom Gives Us a Taste of Female Divinity in the Deep Human Past

Leave a comment

Patricia McBloomPatricia McBroom began her career as a science journalist in the 1960’s and became deeply interested in the subject of human evolution.  After a stint at the Philadelphia Inquirer as the first woman journalist in the newsroom, she entered graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania to earn a degree in anthropology.  One day while casting about for a thesis topic, she noticed that women had cast off their “feminine” clothing and were showing up at the health club wearing blue suits.  So she undertook an ethnography of women on Wall Street, detailing the changes women were undergoing as they took on roles as financial managers, formerly restricted to men.  The study was published as a book, under the title, The Third Sex: the New Professional Woman.

With that publication, she began teaching women’s studies, first at Rutgers University and later at Mills college in California where she returned in 1987 after some twenty years on the East Coast.

The election of Trump inspired her next writing project, which focuses on Bronze Age matriarchal society.

As our featured member, this Sunday Patricia Bloom will be reading a short passage from her new manuscript: She Speaks: Female Divinity and Equality in the Deep Human Past. In this work she traces the transformation of the Goddess from an earth and mother figure into a warrior Goddess of the Bronze Age.  The story demonstrates that a divine female goes hand-in-hand with gender equality.  Says McBloom, “Today, the female half of humanity needs its sacred mirror.  The book is also part memoir, with details of what it is like to live inside a story of evolution that is written almost entirely by men, even today.”

To get a taste of Patricia McBloom’s writing check out her five-year project documenting California’s water wars at CaliforniaSpigot.blogspot.com

Sunday Patrica Bloom joins Marty Nemko for our September meeting, but for now, let’s get to know Patricia.

What’s the most important piece of writing advice that you could give to other writers?

“Write because you don’t know what you think until you read what you say.” (a somewhat altered quote from Flannery O’Conner)

What are your writing habits?

I write in the mornings before breakfast and after an hour’s meditation to center myself.  In earlier years, I would write for four hours; today it’s more like two hours per day.  I usually write whether I feel like it or not; discipline and focus are helped by meditation.

Sept 16th Marty Nemko at Preservation Park

Interview with Marty Nemko, our Guest for This Sunday, Sept. 16th

Leave a comment

book cover for Careers for Dummies by Marty Nemko

Marty Nemko is the author of Careers for Dummies, as well as hundreds of articles in national magazines.

This month, the California Writers’ Club has harnessed the wisdom of Bay Area author and career coach Marty Nemko. At our regular meeting, Sunday September 16th, he’ll speak to how to apply career-building knowledge and hip wisdom to your literary pursuits.

As a career coach, would you say that creative writers need to plan their careers in the same way that other job seekers do?

First, I’m assuming that by “career,” you’re talking about people who expect to make at least a modest living from their writing and ancillary activities such as paid speaking engagements.

Of course, a small percentage of successful writers succeed because of raw talent, great connections, and, yes, luck—being at the right place at the right time with the right writing. Alas, that’s too rarely the case, so let’s focus on the more typical situation. There are three key factors. On the following continua, the more to-the-right, a writer is, the greater the chances of pecuniary success.

Of course, beyond those three, there is that ineffable but central factor of talent. There are many ways to try to assess talent, all of them imperfect: Internal self-appraisal, comparing your work with that of writers you respect, feedback from respected people—especially those you’re not paying, your previous publication record, and contest results.

What are some similarities and differences between setting up a regular job search and seeking to develop your career as a writer?

As in most job searches, alas, connections matter. Perhaps that’s even more so in writing because judging of writing is so subjective. If someone likes you as a person, that halo tends to spread over your work. So, while I must admit I do not practice what I’m going to recommend, it helps to regularly connect—at book fairs as well as in writing solid and human queries— with people with the power to help you make that middle-class living as a writer. Typically, that means editors and media outlets that pay writers well. That isn’t always the biggest publications. For example, I’ve written 20 articles and essays for TIME’s Ideas section and, although I’m not shy about negotiation, they said, “The pay is zero. Take it or leave it.” Alas, the outlets that tend to pay well tend to do that because they otherwise couldn’t attract good writers. So, a trade publication or a mutual fund may, alas, be more likely to pay writers decently. Of course, check Writer’s Digest for a fuller look at writer’s pay.

And of course, you need to send your stuff out to lots of potential publishers, recognizing that even the work of well-published writers get rejected a lot.

Are you going to discuss how you can get a ‘day-job’ that encourages some writing and fosters one’s creativity or are you going to focus more on approaching your own writing like an entrepreneur: writing for paid publication, building your platform, etc?

Marty Nemko

This Sunday, talk to Marty Nemko about your writing career

I’m not planning to talk much about that. The advice in my previous answers, of course, pertains. Common sense dictates that if you’re not yet making a living at your writing, unless you’re living off of someone else’s money, you’ll need a day job. And of course, most writers would find it more fun and facilitative of writing to work in an environment such as a bookstore or a place/people you’d be writing about. So, for example, if you’re planning to write about life as a waitperson, take such a job, as Barbara Ehrenreich did in preparing to write Nickel and Dimed.

It’s a reality that many writers will need some sort of day-job, at least for part of their writing lives. Would you advise writers to go for day jobs that involve creativity, writing, etc. or does it tend to work best to have a position that doesn’t require as much stress and leaves time for writing on the side?

Stress so often is internally caused. Some people can work in what’s widely deemed a high-stress job (e.g., Emergency Medical Technician) and be calm. So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. I’d rather suggest that each writer decide what sort of job yields the optimal combination of money, flexibility, low-stress, short commute/work from home, and facilitates their writing.

marty-nemko_9-16

What do you think is the biggest attitude shift, or action, that a writer can take that would help them better plan or advance their careers? What are some misconceptions or mistakes that hold us back professionally?

Alas, it’s hard to get honest feedback. Most teachers are inclined to be encouraging. Friends find it awkward to say, “You’re not good enough to expect to make a living from your writing.” In addition, we hear messages that we all deserve good self-esteem. So, a lot of writers (and many others) have unwarranted optimism, sometimes because, deep down, they don’t want a “real” job.

So the big attitude change I’d wish on writers is that they make a clear-eyed assessment of their potential to make a living as a writer. If they have inadequate information to make that decision, they need to get sufficient such information, for example, by asking for honest feedback. Of course, if they choose to write without expecting to make a living at it, write on!

What advice would you give to Writers’ Club members who are retired or who are homemakers and who are really writing as a hobby rather than a career?

I’m feeling relaxed having read that question. Even though I’ve made significant money from my writing, my net hourly wage is low and, importantly, looking back, the main benefits I have derived from my writing are not pecuniary: I like the process of writing, I like the thought that my writing will help people, and I like that writing clarifies my thinking about a subject.

What in your presentation will be useful to them?

I like to think my talk will be useful to most people and hopefully at least moderately entertaining. I promise it will be an honest look at my life as a writer—beauty marks and warts.

Thank you very much! We look forward to meeting you and hearing you in person on Sunday the 16th.


Marty Nemko’s books have been published by Ten Speed/Random House, Avon, Barron’s, and Wiley, including the just published Careers for Dummies. He’s written 20 articles for TIME’s Ideas section, a column for The Atlantic, an eight-part series, “What’s the Big Idea” for the Washington Post’s Innovations section, 100 pieces for U.S. News, 1,240(!) on PsychologyToday.com, plus five years as columnist on the front page of a section of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle before going national. That’s all while being a full-time career and personal coach (the SF Bay Guardian dubbed him “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” and being in his 29th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW 91.7 FM (and NPR San Francisco).

Ask Marty your questions about the arc of a writing career this Sunday, September 16th at our next monthly meeting.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

SPEAKER 9/16—Marty Nemko, “The Arc of My Career”

2 Comments

marty-nemko_9-16

Lessons Learned from Writing 11 books and 3,400 articles

Careers For DummiesCareer guru Marty Nemko has learned a few lessons and acquired a few scars from his big writing career. In this entertaining, edifying, and honest presentation he’ll tell tales: the protagonists are editors, agents, and surprisingly, trolls. As he describes his writing career arc—including how the hell he has managed to write 11 books, (including the just published, Careers for Dummies), 3,400 prominently published short pieces while having a full-time career counseling practice, producing and hosting a radio show for 29 years, and playing a lot of piano gigs, including a one-man show—we can all reflect on our own career arcs. Marty also loves answering questions, so feel free to bring ’em!

About Marty Nemko, Ph.D.

Marty Nemko’s books have been published by Ten Speed/Random House, Avon, Barron’s, and Wiley, including the just published Careers for Dummies. He’s written 20 articles for TIME’s Ideas section, a column for The Atlantic, an eight-part series, “What’s the Big Idea” for the Washington Post‘s Innovations section, 100 pieces for U.S. News, 1,240(!) on PsychologyToday.com, plus five years as columnist on the front page of a section of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle before going national. That’s all while being a full-time career and personal coach (the SF Bay Guardian dubbed him “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” and being in his 29th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW 91.7 FM (and NPR San Francisco).

^^ Take a listen at these links!

Our Speaker Event starts at 3pm.

But come EARLY to Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this.

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – CWC Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member: Pat McBroom
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Marty Nemko

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

CWC Summer Social TOMORROW!

Leave a comment

Club members, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow, July 22nd, 2018, at our summer social! Guests of members are also welcome to check out our community and see how you can get involved.

At 5pm, we will do our annual reading of “Columbus,” from whence our motto, “Sail On,” was crafted.

Thank you to Fred Dodsworth! We are excited for our first “house party” in many, many years.

cwc summer social 2018

Older Entries