Time to Renew… or to Join!

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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.)

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 —Kristen Caven, president

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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CWC Summer Social TOMORROW!

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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

CWC Author BOOK LAUNCH June 16th!

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Instead of our regular meeting, this June we will celebrate all the Berkeley CWC authors who were published in 2017-2018 with an evening of readings at Laurel Bookstore. Come and celebrate our amazing members! The diversity of our writers gives a unique taste of the Bay Area publishing scene and nine creative, emerging authors.

The event is steps away from the 12th St. BART station in a charming local bookstore, Laurel Bookstore at 1423 Broadway St., Oakland, CA 94612.

We are holding this event from 3-5 on Saturday, rather than our regular Sunday meeting, so as not to conflict with Father’s Day. No meeting on June 17th!


Books by CWC Authors Featured Sat. June 16th:

51t-cfi3y3l-_sx322_bo1204203200_JoAnn Smith Ainsworth: Expect Deception

(She Writes Press)

Just when US WAVE Livvy Delacourt thinks she and her team of psychic Nazi hunters are ready for whatever The Reich can throw at them, Hitler adds to the mix a spy who also happens to be a wizard. Now dark magic is being used to attack US facilities, and Livvy must match wits with the evil wizard, whose objective is to destroy Operation Delphi and all her team. If she fails to ramp up her psychic powers, she may perish―and perhaps cause the US to lose the war with Germany while she’s at it.

An emotional journey through paranormal realms, Expect Deception is a fast-paced, suspenseful sequel to Expect Trouble, about what happens when US Navy psychics pit themselves against their Nazi counterparts.

cover1Kristen Caven (writing as Cosima Zanardi): The Vesuvian Affair

(Mystic Editions)

Carla White never expected to be climbing a volcano, and she never expected to be at Carnevale in Venice, much less swept up by romance. Had she been paying attention, she might have been prepared for the Italian *baci*. But no one ever expects to be possessed by a goddess.

The Vesuvian Affair is a limited edition art print only available at special events, exclusive venues and from the author at www.kristencaven.com. Kristen, who also writes psychology, poetry and personal essays,  will also give a sneak peek at her forthcoming travel memoir, Ten Days, Ten Pounds, which inspired this fantasy.

51hk42bn6igl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Tim Jollymore: Lake Stories and Other Tales

(Finns Way Books)

Comic, heartfelt, and mysterious, these stories charm the reader with good humor, affection for their natural settings, and the gentle, persistent seeking for a lasting place in the daily world of common folk.

Some tales cast moonlight over the solitary in us all who wander at dusk. Others haunt us with loss and evoke a certain sense of autumn, likely to press sighs from an ache in our breath. Still others fill us with the pride in a true hero.

Within, the reader finds young love, aged angst, bumbling travelers, the fogged memory, moon watchers, dog rescuers, lost and very-lost tourists, and long, sweet farewells.

The humorous among these engender wistful smiles, occasional smirks, and outright chuckles punctuated by a shaking of the cynical head.

9781631523106Christine Evelyn Volker: Venetian Blood, Murder in a Sensuous City

(She Writes Press)

Struggling to forget a crumbling marriage, forty-year-old Anna Lucia Lottol comes to Venice to visit an old friend—but instead of finding solace, she is dragged into the police station and accused of murdering a money-laundering count with whom she had a brief affair. A US Treasury officer with brains and athleticism, Anna fights to clear her name in a seductive city full of watery illusions. As she works to pry information from a cast of recalcitrant characters sometimes denying what she sees and hears, she succeeds in unleashing a powerful foe bent on destroying her. Will she save herself and vanquish her enemies, including her darkest fears?

A mysterious tapestry of murder, betrayal, and family, Venetian Blood is a story of one woman’s brave quest for the truth —before it’s too late.

51fwyiqriol-_sx326_bo1204203200_Alice Jurow: Vamps of ’29

(Deco Vamp)

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. “Vamps of ’29” follows their piquant and picaresque adventures as they seek to define for themselves what it means to be a modern vamp. Jazz-mad and fashion-obsessed, this debut novel is period fiction with a touch of urban fantasy.

Alice Jurow, as “Ms Mhoon” is a bit of a cult figure in the Art Deco Society and it’s worth coming out just to see what she will wear.  She is working on the sequel, Vamps of ’39.

Kymberlie Ingalls: 43

(Rainfall Press)

“Like the Fool, I began this life feeling strangely empty and profoundly sad as if I had already lost something. I have no prediction to how it will end, but do believe my truth will be found when I get there. I am a hoarder of moments, of words and photos and status updates. I’m not sure if I’m letting go so that I can move forward, or so that I can finally be at rest. Death has taken hold and isn’t letting go – 12 people in 12 months was only the beginning. I’m tired of the fight, of the grieving and the recovery that never has a chance to happen.

I’m ready for it to be over.

My life was to expire at 43 years of age. My Intuition said so, and she’s never wrong.

Interpretation is everything.”

51k52uhmz4lSheryl J. Bize-Boutte: Running For The 2:10

(Createspace)

This book of autobiographical short stories follows Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte’s 2014 publication of “A Dollar Five: Stories From a Baby Boomer’s Ongoing Journey.” In “Running For The 2:10: More Stories From a Baby Boomer’s Ongoing Journey,” the discord of skin tone often seeps in to color the path, playing like an ever present low hum in the background of these coming of age tales. Set in Oakland, California, the road winds from family shopping trips to the local hardware store that activate the writer, to near derailing losses and finding alternative ways back to joy. In these stories, Bize-Boutte deftly describes how heartbreak can give way to hilarity and loss can make room for celebration. Be prepared to laugh, cry and gasp out loud, in no particular order.

61xtw43yw1lGary Durbin: Nano-Uncertainty

(Amazon Digital Services)

Nano-Uncertainty brings to life the strange world of high-tech in the Bay Area while presenting the real danger of an unconstrained artificial intelligence.
Software super geek James Forrest becomes unexpectedly embroiled in a murder case when he is hired to investigate the software at Distributed Nanotech Inc., a Berkeley supercomputer software company. James tells Susanne Anderson, the CEO, that DNI’s murdered Chief Scientist copied his code from an artificial intelligence project; this makes her life even more complex. While she struggles to keep the company’s venture financing on track and James struggles to understand the software, they become murder suspects.
James builds a visual tool to see inside the supercomputer. Even though the Visualizer is hypnotic and painful, it helps him unlock a hidden AI. The DNI system breaks, and when James figures out how to fix it, the murderer is enraged and comes after James. Pulled together by their romantic attraction for each other, James and Susanne join forces to contain the dangerous AI.

51de6m0tggl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Henry Hitz (writing as KM Lovejoy): Supremacy

(Wordrunner Press)

Peter Graves, a longtime activist, with inoperable brain cancer, is desperate to have a meaningful death. The Supreme Court is about to forbid the use of the stem cells that could save his life. Someone needs to arrange the assassination of one of the reactionary Supreme Court Justices, and it might as well be him…

This “kinky political thriller with a big heart” is written pseudonymously by an author of White Knight, another political thriller about an activist caught in the secret and tragic connection between the Harvey Milk and Jonestown massacres.

 

 

 

April 21st Location for Our Five-Page Critique Group

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Improve your writing - Critique Group April 21st

Don’t forget our members have access to a five-page critique group!

Later in the summer they will meet at the Rockridge library, but for the April meeting on April 21st they will meet at the Fourth District HQ Building. Please RSVP if you want to attend  by this Saturday, April 14th, by contacting Bob at newsjazz4@aol.com.

Participating in the Five-page Critique Group

You do not have to bring writing to participate, you may attend and critique the work of others if you prefer. If you bring writing, you may bring up to five pages of any kind of prose, double-spaced manuscript style, text no smaller than 12 pt. Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, no extra spaces between indented paragraphs, except for change of scene. Let readers know if you’re offering fiction or nonfiction. Add a short synopsis if your writing is from a longer work. Bring 13 copies.

Only eight submitters are reviewed per meeting, first come, first served. So RSVP now!

Participants read silently on-site, marking pages, and discussion follows. Readers sign the drafts they have worked on. For more information contact Ann at writefox@aol.com.

Directions to the April 21st Critique Group

The address is 111 Grand Avenue in Oakland, at the corner of Grand and Webster. Parking is limited to street parking and one corner garage.

The #12 AC transit bus stops right at the building. Depending on where you live in the East Bay, you should be either close to the #12 or close to another bus that intersects with the line. The #12 is also right next to 12th Street/Civic Center BART station.

The building is four blocks away from 19th Street BART station. AC Transit’s NL bus also stops at 19th Street BART. Several buses run up and down Broadway, which is just one block away, and Telegraph, which is two blocks away.

The location is near bicycle racks and a Ford GoBike station.


If your draft is finished and ready for the world, consider our next meeting on the Art of Live Readings. Get your writing out there!

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 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.

Our speaker series for 2018 begins anew this September with Marty Nemko. A career counselor who has published nearly a dozen books and written over a thousand articles for nationwide magazines and newspapers, Marty is an inspiration for anyone with a writing career.

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

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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