Welcome to the Club!

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CWCLogowithR

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

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.

June 20th, 2020

Our next meeting will take place on ZOOM.
Register today!

Book Launch

Presenting All CWC Berkeley Authors with New Books

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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“20 in 20″—CWC Berkeley Book Launch June 20th

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Get to Know the Lineup of New Bay Area Books and Meet Their Authors

Saturday, June 20th, we honor our 20 members who’ve published a new title in 2019 & 2020. A wide range of literary genres will be featured, including thriller, mystery, non-fiction, memoir, media criticism, fantasy, and poetry. 

The virtual celebration will take place at 2 p.m., and will include a variety of insights and ideas for readers and writers alike. Each author will present or read briefly from their book, and answer one question. Join us for an engaging experience and a list of new books to read during shelter-in-place!

Digital books and hard copies will be available for purchase online through bookshop.org. Special bundle packages of CWC titles will be available at a discounted price. Many of these titles will make great Father’s Day gifts.

President Kristen Caven, who will be moderating the event, says, “Our club has never published so many books of such high quality in one fiscal year. We’re so excited to be part of, and to showcase the vitality of the Bay Area literary scene.”   

This Is a Free Online Event, Register Below

To attend the event, register on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ldumspjouGtEMwV2FL7RFzCi6P28iGM4b.

Authors & New Books Featured
at June 20th Book Launch

A Waltz in Tennessee

by Francine Howard (Andrew Benzie Publishing)

 Age Matters

by Peggy Dougherty (Big Hat Press)

Finding Venerable Mother

by Cindy Rasicot (SheWrites Press)

Freefall: A Divine Comedy

by Lily Iona MacKenzie (Pen-L Publishing)

How to Understand and Deal with Your Fear and Anxiety

by Gini Graham Scott (Changemakers Publishing) 

Oakland, I’m Not Dead

by Keith Mark Gaboury (The Pedestrian Press)

On A Road

by Jeff Kingman (Finishing Line Press)

People You’ve Been Before

by Tim Jollymore (Finns Way Books)

Private Investigations

by Victoria Zackheim (Seal Press/Hachette)

Squirrels in the Wall

by Henry Hitz (SheWrites Press)

Tell Me, Signora

by Ann Harleman (Elixir Press)

The Grating of America

by Judith Offer (Self Published)

The Poet’s Garage

by Terry Tierney (Unsolicited Press)

The Souls of Her Feet

by Kristen Caven (Uplift Press)

When I Killed My Father: An Assisted Suicide Family Thriller

by John Byrne Barry (Page-turners With a Conscience Press)

 Expect Betrayal

by JoAnn Smith Ainsworth (Draft2Digital)

Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism: The Secrets of the Films

by Nicole Berg        (McFarland & Company)

These four titles will come out in the fall:

The Lines Between Us

by Rebecca D’Harlingue (SheWriters Press)

Dance of the Deities: Searching for Our Once and Future Egalitarian Society

by Patricia McBroom (Green Fire Press) 

Dispatches From The Swinging Door Saloon

by Randall McNair (Bits of Steak Press) 

Broke Bone Moon

by Paul Corman Roberts (Nomadic Press)

Be sure to like us on Facebook so you can hear about our latest events.

Kubrik’s Mysterious Symbols: an Interview with Featured Member Nicole Berg

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At this Sunday’s final meeting before our summer break, the Berkeley California Writers Club celebrates author and film critic Nicole Berg. Berg’s fist book Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism is now available for pre-sale from McFarland Books. This is her second year in the CWC. She says, “I really enjoy getting to know the other members here.”

Berg’s career began in animation, gaming, & software industries such as Walt Disney, DIC, Sierra, Symantec, and a number of dot coms during the “Tinker Bell” economy. Later, she taught college-level courses in Animation, Art, & Digital Media in Los Angeles & Portland. When earning her MFA degree, Nicole trained in film pipeline processes at PIXAR & ImageMovers Digital.

One day she happened upon a showing of Kubrick’s 2OO1: A SPACE ODYSSEY and asked herself, “what if other repeating symbols existed in 2OO1 that helped explain the monolith?” Nicole soon realized that indeed there were. This started the research journey of her book Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism. That grew to include bombshell discoveries within all of Stanley Kubrick’s iconic films such as Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, & Eyes Wide Shut.

Six Quick Questions for Film Writer Nicole Berg

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

Write a list of subjects you think you would enjoy writing about for inspiration.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

My push in contacting both publishers & agents whose interests even slightly covered my book’s subject matter.

What are your writing habits?

Having a quiet place like an office is essential for concentration.

Nicole Berg’s forthcoming book

I aim for two or more hours. Some time in the morning & two or more hours in the afternoon or evening, at least 4 days a week.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an animator and was in the animation & multimedia business during the nineties.

What other writers inspire you?

Riane Eisler (Chalice & the Blade), Richard Adams (Watership Down), Margot Adler (Drawing Down the Moon) & Terry Pratchett.

Meet Nicole Berg this Sunday May 17th

Stanley Kubrik Esoterica, Electing Board Officers, and Finding the Discipline to Write

At Sunday’s meeting, Berg will show us some of the mysterious symbols throughout the films of Stanley Kubrik, as a teaser to her forthcoming book. Following, she will take questions.

In addition to writing about film, Berg enjoys anthropology, archaeology, animals, word religion, & folklore. In our Zoom breakout sessions, Berg would love to find other writers who share her interests in film, animation, or graphic design. She wants to support other writers through mentorship and promoting one another’s works. So be sure to drop her a line in the chat window this Sunday, especially if you know of a website or journal that might be interested in film criticism.

Following Nicole Berg’s presentation, we’ll get to hear from former pro basketball player Paul Shirley. Shirley is now an author and productivity coach. He will teach us how to apply the athlete’s discipline to our writing. Commit to your writing this Sunday!

This Sunday We Elect Board Members

Get to know the candidates and have your say in the direction of the club. She we steer this ship into the ice berg, or the gaping maw of the Kraken? Or is there another course? Have your say, Sunday!

Get Tickets for our Zoom Meeting or Learn More about Sunday’s Meeting

May 17th SPEAKER—Paul Shirley—”Writing Like an Athlete to Build Creative Focus”

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Building an Athlete’s Discipline and Focus into Your Writing Practice

In the midst of a global pandemic, when there’s so much time on our hands staying at home, writers are having trouble getting things done. Paul Shirley, a former professional basketball player, will speak about how he applied an athlete’s focus to his writing career, and has since helped hundreds of writers achieve their goals through building habits, routines and systems that work for them. The founder of Writers Blok, a co-working space for writers in Los Angeles with an online “writing gym,” Paul has words of wisdom for writers of all genres.

About Paul Shirley

Paul Shirley is a nationally-known sports writer who blogs for ESPN and has written for Slate, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and Esquire. His first humorous memoir, Can I Keep My Jersey? (Random House) had a foreword by Chuck Klosterman, and Stories I Tell On Dates (Fourth Bar Books), evolved into a popular podcast. Paul founded Writers Blok because he hated writing alone and thought there might be others like him. Now he is dreaming of starting an L.A. branch of the CWC!

Get to know Paul Shirley’s writing on his website paul-shirley.com, and let him get you motivated through Writers Blok. (Check out Facebook and Instagram). CWC members and friends can sign up for an affordable Writers Blok membership at this link, and help our club as well.

Reserve Your Space

Full Schedule of Events

12:00 pm Zoom Hosts log in
12:30 “Doors open” & breakout rooms
1:00 Meeting & announcements – including our ELECTION, which will have instant results.
1:30 Featured reader: Nicole Berg
1:45 Keynote: Paul Shirley
2:30 Break & Networking
3:00 Marketing Support Group
4:00 Craft Group

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

We will be processing our meeting fees on TicketSource prior to the online meeting. After you get your ticket, we’ll email you the link to the Zoom meeting, which you can access day-of via phone or computer. The “room will open” at the usual 12:30 for socializing and practice using Zoom.

* Support groups are members-only but guests may audit
* As usual, tickets for CWC members are $5 and guests are $10. At this time, we are also offering a sliding scale option for any amount from $0 to $10. Additionally, those who have already purchased a full-year of events, funding our Jack and Jenny fund, can choose the (free) pre-paid option.

Get your ticket now.

and please

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

Member Book Launch June 20th!

Save the date!

Check for support groups and more member events on our Calendar.

Interview with Sunday’s Featured Member Terry Tierney

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Terry Tierney, author of the forthcoming The Poet’s Garag

Terry Tierney is our featured member for the meeting this Sunday, April 19th. His first book of poetry The Poet’s Garage is due to be published in May by Unsolicited Press. Terry Tierney hails from the Midwest, but has planted roots in the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his wife, their enthusiastic golden retriever and two inquisitive kittens. After serving in the Seabees, he completed his BA and MA at Binghamton University and a PhD in Victorian Literature at Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineer.  His poems and stories have recently appeared in Typishly, The Mantle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Front Porch Review, Jersey Devil Press, Rogue Agent, The Lake and other publications. Lucky Ride (Unsolicited Press), an irreverent Vietnam-era road novel, is set to release in 2022.

Check out Tierney’s website or buy your tickets for this Sunday’s event (which will take place via Zoom).

Six Questions for Terry Tierney (Followed by a Bonus!)

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

Writing is breath. Never stop breathing. Write every day. The more you write the better you get, and it’s important to have rough drafts to edit. The process of editing is where the best writing emerges, but you have to continually stoke the furnace with raw material. For a first draft don’t think at all about editing and concentrate on free flow of ideas. Some days it might be one line or a few linked words, but try to end each day with more words than you had the day before. 

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

Like many writers, promotion feels like an unnatural act. Setting up my website, Facebook author page, and social media accounts has been helpful, but the best help and support comes from networking with other writers. This includes going to readings and conferences, reading at open mics, and joining the CWC, in particular.

What are your writing habits?

Typically I write in my journal first thing in the morning and mine ideas, sometimes dreams, by brainstorming and free association. Occasionally I ponder a writing prompt. If I have an outline for a story or an essay I often cruise for several hours before I putter out. I edit when I start to feel drained of new ideas. But everything stops if I feel a poem coming on.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was younger I wanted to be an engineer or a soldier, since my father and all my uncles served in the military. But I was drawn more and more to writing, first as sports editor for my high school and college newspapers, then general news and editorials, especially in response to the Vietnam War. 

What other writers inspire you?

Probably Jack Kerouac inspires me the most, though I have several, including John Keats, Percy Shelley, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Jane Austen, George Eliot, and a large number of modern poets, beginning with T. S Eliot. I credit Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg with inspiring me to write poetry, but Kerouac as a unique artist and character stole my heart. You might say my feeling for Kerouac is more than a crush—I want to be Kerouac. That said, I have also gone through similar attachments to Wallace Stevens, John Ashbury, Ted Hughes, Ernest Hemingway and others. When I love an author, I tend to read their entire canon, and I feel a sense of loss when I finish.

Do You Listen to Music when You Write? If So, What?

 Music is a great background for writing, but I find I cannot listen to vocals. My preferred genres are jazz and classical music, though I tend more often to queue up jazz. Miles Davis is one of my favorite artists, and his album “Bitches Brew” has carried me through several writing sessions. The unstructured feel of the tunes sets my mind free.

Bonus! A Poem by Terry Tierny

Meet Terry Tierney AND Learn Self-Editing and Revision Tips at our First Meeting via Zoom

As work-intensive as it can be to put our ideas into words, doing so is only the beginning of the writing process. Revision (“re-seeing”) is what allows us to mold our raw material into art. But where to start? And how do you know when you’re (ever) finished? Tanya Egan Gibson will share with you the process of how a freelance editor assesses a manuscript, marks it up, and comes up with a plan for revision, distilling the process into 7 tips to help you bring an editor’s eye and experience to your own work.

Learn More or Get Your Ticket Now

Small Press Editors flyer

WRITE-IN: “Write Global at the Local” with Wolf Pack WAG

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To wit: hyper-local is hyper-global.

Our writer’s action group (wag) is co-hosting a virtual write-in on Thursday from 2-5. Originally scheduled to meet in Alameda the day before the Corona Crisis Lockdown, this is our first online write-in.

Say you’re coming and get the ZOOM link on the Event page.

Our Wolf Pack Write-Ins create space for writers to take action on the climate crisis together. Whatever your genre, this is a space/time to work on your existing articles, stories, letters, or books—or find inspiration for new actions. Our imagination and emotion are crucial to every conversation, to disrupt the narrative of complacency and invoke urgency and new awareness.

Each write-in highlights a partner representing an ecological group or idea. In February we wrote at the Sierra Club. In April, our inspiration comes from 100K Trees for Humanity, a community initiative to plant 100,000 trees and plants to reduce CO2 towards Alameda’s Climate Action and Resiliency Plan goal to become carbon net neutral by 2030.

This event, which takes place the Thursday before Earth Day, is a support group for writers preparing statements or submissions for April 22nd.

Zoom in at 2pm, ready to share or seek inspiration, and ready to get some writing done. Here’s our playlist in progress.

April 19th SPEAKER—”Think Like an Editor” with Tanya Egan Gibson

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Small Press Editors flyer

Learn Self-Editing and Revision Tips at our First Meeting via Zoom

As work-intensive as it can be to put our ideas into words, doing so is only the beginning of the writing process. Revision (“re-seeing”) is what allows us to mold our raw material into art. But where to start? And how do you know when you’re (ever) finished? Tanya Egan Gibson will share with you the process of how a freelance editor assesses a manuscript, marks it up, and comes up with a plan for revision, distilling the process into 7 tips to help you bring an editor’s eye and experience to your own work.

About our Guest Tanya Egan Gibson

Tanya Egan Gibson
Our April Speaker Tanya Egan Gibson

Tanya Egan Gibson is a freelance editor, writing coach, and the author of the novel How to Buy a Love of Reading.

Her short fiction for adults and young adults has been published in Carve and Cicada and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has written for magazines such as The Writer, Parents, and Writer’s Digest, including an article, “10 Things Your Editor Might Not Tell You—But Should,” which has been reprinted over the years in several special issues. She has been in California Writers Club for nearly twenty years and was a founding member of the Marin Branch. Learn more at TanyaEganGibson.com.

Join in via Zoom

Quarantine Meeting Schedule…Take the Poll!

Tanya’s novel

Being stuck in our homes is a great time to get some writing done. It’s productive and therapeutic. Our club is here to help our members keep focused on meeting our writing goals. So we will continue our speaker program this spring, getting together, as usual, on the third Sunday of the month but not in person.

We are still sorting out how best to manage our Sunday schedule in terms of these new changes. Would you be interested in a long day on Zoom? We’d love to get your thoughts in the poll when you RSVP to our Facebook event.

Speaking of getting your thoughts, this is the meeting where we announce our candidates for next year’s board. Bobbie Kinkead is still taking nominations, and will also call for nominations from the floor.

Get Your Ticket

We will be processing our meeting fees on TicketSource prior to the online meeting. After you get your ticket, we’ll email you the link to the Zoom meeting, which you can access day-of via phone or computer. The “room will open” at the usual 12:30 for introductions and a short tutorial on how to use Zoom.

As usual, tickets for CWC members are $5 and guests are $10. However, we are also offering a sliding scale option for writers who have been facing hardship due to the Covid-19 crisis. Additionally, those who have already purchased a full-year of events, funding our Jack and Jenny fund, can choose the (free) pre-paid option.

Get your ticket now.

Our featured reader is Terry Tierny.

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