Our Winter Social Is December 15th

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Berkeley CA Writers Club annual winter social

A Sunday Afternoon Salon 

Sunday, December 15th

1:00-5:00 p.m.

Please join us for our Winter Social! We’ll be gathering at the home of a soon-to-be-famous writer for an afternoon salon.

& Open House

Members know Rancho Deluxe is a home in the Dimond District, but since this is a private house party we can’t post the address publicly. Members received an email with the address, and are welcome to bring guests. If you’re not a member and you’d like to attend, drop an email to our president and request an invite.

What to bring:

  • A holiday or literary-themed dessert or beverage
  • an inspiring passage to read or song to perform (instruments welcome!)
  • a guitar or musical instrument if you feel like jamming
  • gently-used and unwrapped books to share (one for the gift grab and one to donate)
  • a guest who loves writers or is a writer or wants to be one!

See you at the salon! Happy winter holidays!

FREE Audiobooks Workshop Nov 14th, Featuring Becky Parker Geist

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What Every Author Should Know About Audiobooks

Thursday, Nov 14 6:30-8 p.m.

Presidio branch of the SF Public Library
3150 Sacramento St, San Francisco  

With the skyrocketing popularity of audiobooks, every author—published or not—should understand their options regarding audiobooks.

Learn about key decisions involved in the audiobook production process, such as:

  • preparing your manuscript for recording
  • finding your narrator
  • audiobook distribution options
  • where to get your audiobook produced
  • hiring a narrator or producer
  • using the ACX system
  • dos and don’ts of recording your audiobook
  • marketing your audiobook from the inside out
  • what to do once your book has launched

About Workshop Presenter Becky Parker Geist

Becky Parker Geist is an audiobook producer and narrator with 37+ years of experience in the audiobook industry; and owner of Pro Audio Voices, serving clients internationally for audiobook production and marketing. Becky has narrated and/or produced over 200 titles to date.

Becky Parker Geist

Committed to leadership, Becky serves as President of BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) and is a member of IBPA, APA (Audio Publishers Assn), NFAA (NonFiction Authors Association) and the California Writers Club. She is the author of five titles, including Audiobook Toolkit for Authors: Your Comprehensive Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook, now available at authortoolkits.com. Her passion is to help great stories come alive. Learn more at proaudiovoices.com.

“We’re All in Freefall” — Interview with 11/17 featured author Lily Iona MacKenzie

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In Freefall: A Divine Comedy, Lily Iona MacKenzie zeroes in on a fundamental truth: We’re all in freefall, and that’s the real divine comedy. No matter how old we are, we’re still trying to “find ourselves” and discover what we want out of life.

Meet Lily Iona MacKenzie, a new member this season, at the November 17th meeting, opening for Joan Gelfland.

Lily writes:

I don’t have hayseed clinging to my trousers, but growing up on a Canadian farm gave me a unique foundation as a writer. I sprouted under cumulous clouds that bloomed everywhere in Alberta’s big sky. They were my first creative writing instructors, scudding across the heavenly blue, constantly changing shape: one minute an elephant, bruised and brooding. The next morphing into a rabbit or a castle. These billowing masses gave me a unique view of life on earth.

I continue to seek instruction from clouds. Just as they provide the earth with much-needed water, I believe that stories have a similar function, preparing the mind to receive new ideas. Also, conditions inside a cloud are not static—water droplets are constantly forming and re-evaporating. Stories, too, change, depending on who is reading them, each one giving life to its readers.

A high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco; briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (I was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got my legs broken); founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County; co-created The Story Shoppe, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin; and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). I have published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 160 American and Canadian venues. Fling!, one of my novels, was published in July 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, was published in September 2017. Freefall: A Divine Comedy was released in January 2019. Tillie: Portrait of a Canadian Girl in Training, featuring the same main character as in Freefall, will come out in 2020. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. I also taught writing at the University of San Francisco (USF) for over 30 years and was vice-president of USF’s part-time faculty union. I currently teach creative writing at USF’s Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning. When not writing, I paint and travel with my husband.

Find Lily at https://lilyionamackenzie.com.

Lily answers a few questions about her writing, and then gives advice to writers!

An enchanting story about old friends reuniting as they struggle with thoughts on aging, religion, motherhood, men, art, and death, with plenty of surprises and laughs along the way. A Divine Comedy, indeed!

Freefall’s subtitle is A Divine Comedy. Dante’s epic poem of that same name also involves lots of travelling, and lots of soul-searching. Dante’s poem, however, has three parts: The Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Did you see the four women in your novel as going through a similar time sequence, reaching a kind of paradise at the end of a hellish journey? Or did you mean to suggest a different process? 

I actually wasn’t thinking about Dante’s poem when I wrote this novel. The title came to me much later, and then I realized the narrative was a kind of divine comedy, though I wasn’t trying to imitate Dante’s excellent work. To me it’s Divine because I believe that all life on earth is divine, and the comedy part Isn’t comic in the slapstick sense but in the humor thats implicit in being human. We all face different challenges in our lives. If we’re lucky, we can see through the darkness to the wry aspect of how little control we have over anything. 

But the characters in Freefall, as those in Dante’s work, do travel, and they also do a fair amount of soul searching. And while they don’t reach a kind of paradise at the novel’s end, they have come to a new understanding of themselves and each other.  

“Tillie Bloom,” the main character’s name, is similar to Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Was that intentional? Tillie certainly “blooms” in other ways throughout the novel. Did you choose this striking name purposely?

Yes, I deliberately chose Bloom as Tillie’s last name. Tillie renames herself “Bloom” after reading Ulysses. She didn’t want her previous husband’s name, and she doesn’t have a father. So, she chose Bloom because he lives so much in his senses. And just as Bloom is searching for a son, Tillie is searching for a father. 

Freefall has more than a touch of magical realism in it. Is this a style you use in your other books? What attracts you to this style of writing? 

Reality is both magical and “real,” if by real we mean something that isn’t imagined. Language by its very nature is magical, transforming our everyday reality in multiple ways, carrying us aloft on the wings of thought. When I call on magical realism in my fiction, I do it because it opens me up to a fuller understanding of our world, both internally and externally. I believe it captures a fuller view of what’s going on in our lives than realism can do. 

You describe writing as “your addiction” and “compulsion,” but your website also features several of your watercolor paintings. Then, too, Tillie herself is an artist. Is visual art also a passion of yours? What does painting allow you to do that writing doesn’t, and vice versa? 

If I could reincarnate, it would be BOTH as a visual and literary artist. What I produce when I’m playing with water color or acrylics or oils is not unlike what happens when I write poetry or prose. I start out with no expectations, no plan, and I follow wherever the unconscious leads me. I never know where I’ll end up, and that’s much of the pleasure for me in creating, whether as a visual artist or as a writer. In each case, I’m open to what I’ll discover and what will discover me. I’m passionate about art, and museums are my temples.  

In addition to writing yourself, you also teach and coach writing. What are the advantages of working with a private teacher/editor versus taking a class or joining a critique group?

In a class, at least how I teach it, students receive responses from multiple viewpoints (other class members), though they usually aren’t professional/trained writers. Therefore, the feedback can be uneven, and the writer needs to weigh each comment and decide for herself which ones seem to offer an opening into her work. 

With a private teacher, you hope that s/he will be able to accommodate many different approaches to writing poetry/prose so s/he can offer a wide range of possibilities in his/her critiques. Otherwise, there’s a danger that the teacher/editor will abort whatever in the person as a writer is trying to bloom. 

You have another novel about Tillie in the works. Will we be hearing more about Tillie and her re-found friends as they reach their seventies and beyond? Or just more about Tillie?

The follow up to Freefall that I’m currently working on and will be published in 2010 doesn’t involve an older Tillie but a much younger one. Yet your question makes me wonder if I need to consider writing a novel that follows these women into their seventies and beyond!

Tillie: Portraits of a Canadian Girl in Training is a Bildungsroman that takes the reader back to the ‘50s, to a world that flashes green and red lights at women. This novel starts with three-year-old Tillie and follows her until she’s seventeen and struggling to find her place in the world 

 

Lily Talks to Fellow Writers:

Where are you in your writing career? Aspiring? Published? 

I’ve published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, and essays in over 160 American and Canadian venues. All This, a poetry collection, was published in 2011, and a poetry chapbook (No More Kings) will come out later this year. My novel Fling! was released in July 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, was brought out in 2017. A third novel, Freefall: A Divine Comedy, was published on January 1, 2019. 

How long have you been part of CWC, and what does membership mean to you?

I just joined this past spring, and I’m looking forward to sharing the writing journey with other committed writers. We need to help each other find the appropriate paths that will connect us with our best readers!

What other things would you like people to know about you – writings, passions, etc?

I grew up on a Canadian farm that taught me how dependent the natural world and the animals that inhabit it are on we humans, and vice versa. While I’m not a backpacker or even a camper, I do have a passion for nature. I also love art in all of its forms: music, visual, etc. I’m always uplifted by great art! And I enjoy eating well!

How do you manage your writing life?

I think it’s the reverse! It manages me, since it’s as important to me as eating. Over the years, I’ve had to find ways to fit writing into my days. I’ve discovered that if I only commit to an hour a day religiously, I can produce a tremendous amount of material, as my publications indicate.

Please send a link to something people can read of yours!

My blog is a gateway to lots of samples: https://lilyionamackenzie.com

 

Full Schedule of Events

Please NOTE NEW SCHEDULE

12:00 pm Setup
12:30 Doors open & member services
1:00 Raffle & Announcements
1:30 Featured Member: Lily Iona McKenzie
1:45 Keynote Speaker: Joan Gelfland
2:30 Book Sales & Networking
3:00 Marketing Group*
4:00 Craft Group*
5:00 The End

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

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket

PLEASE PLAN TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET! Only $1 each or 6 for $5, every ticket supports the club’s equity program. You can win a book written by our club authors!

* Support groups are members-only but guests may audit
Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are writers helping writers, a welcoming community.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

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!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

  • December 15th – Winter Social
  • January 19th – TBA
  • February 16th – Jan Steckel
  • March 15th – Panel TBA
  • April 21st – Tanya Egan Gibson
  • May 17th – Andy Ross
  • June 16th – Member Book Launch

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

11/17 SPEAKER – “You Can Be a Winning Writer” with Joan Gelfland

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In this participatory workshop, author Joan Gelfand will discuss her 4 C’s approach to becoming a successful author. Joan will discuss how to incorporate craft, commitment, community, and confidence into a writing practice. Joan and her clients have produced significant results by incorporating this approach into their own writing practices. 

Accompanied by a thirty-minute Power Point, Joan will open the workshop for questions about writing and publishing challenges. Based on “You Can Be a Winning Writer” published by Mango Press, this workshop has been presented to California Writer’s Club and other venues to enthusiastic audiences including:  the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, Dominican College Low Residency MFA, San Francisco Public Libraries, Osher Lifelong Learning, Books, Inc., Creative Light Factory and other writer’s clubs, groups and conferences. 

Joan Gelfand’s reviews, stories, essays and poetry have appeared in over 100 national and international literary journals and magazines including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, PANK! Kalliope, The Toronto Review, Levure Litteraire and Chicken Soup for the Soul. 

The author of three well-reviewed poetry collections and an award-winning chapbook of short fiction, Joan’s novel “Fear to Shred” takes place in a Silicon Valley startup. Mastadon Press will publish the novel in 2020.

Past President of the Women’s National Book Association, Joan is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a juror for the Northern California Book Awards. 

“The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics,” a poetry film based on Joan’s poem was featured at the 4th Annual Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece and won Certificate of Merit in a juried art show at the International Association for the Study of Dreams. It has since showed at nine international film festivals and won Best Poetry Film at the World Film Festival. unknown.jpgA graduate of Mills College MFA in Creative Writing, Joan has been speaking on the 4 C’s approach for over ten years. You can find her at http://joangelfand.com, on twitter at @joangelfand, facebook as JoanGelfand, and on Instagram as joangelfand.

Full Schedule of Events

Please NOTE NEW SCHEDULE

12:00 pm Setup
12:30 Doors open & member services
1:00 Raffle & Announcements
1:30 Featured Member: Lily Iona McKenzie
1:45 Keynote Speaker: Joan Gelfland
2:30 Book Sales & Networking
3:00 Marketing Group*
4:00 Craft Group*
5:00 The End

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

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket

PLEASE PLAN TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET! Only $1 each or 6 for $5, every ticket supports the club’s equity program. You can win a book written by our club authors!

* Support groups are members-only but guests may audit
* Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are writers helping writers, a welcoming community.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

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!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

  • December 15th – Winter Social
  • January 19th – TBA
  • February 16thJan Steckel
  • March 15th – Panel TBA
  • April 21stTanya Egan Gibson
  • May 17thAndy Ross
  • June 16th – Member Book Launch

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

10/20 SPEAKER – “How Writers Can Avoid Legal Trouble” with Nicholas Jollymore, esq

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Writers can get into legal trouble without knowing it. Learn best practices and get the basics about libel, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, subpoenas, confidential sources, and the California Shield Law from Literary Lawyer Nicholas J. Jollymore. 

About Nick Jollymore

Nick Jollymore has run a legal practice out of a home office since he moved to San Francisco in 2010.  Prior to that he was a litigator at Rogers & Wells (now Clifford Chance) in New York, a staff lawyer at Simon & Schuster, and a staff lawyer at the former print and digital publisher Time, Inc.  For 18 years he taught a course in Mass Media Law at Fordham University School of Law in New York.  He has represented the writers and editors as well as the corporate owners of the Associated Press, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, InStyle, People and Entertainment Weekly (magazines and their websites) and . . . from 1978 to 1983, The National Enquirer.  Nick was a journalist for five years in New Jersey (UPI) before going to law school 

Learn more about Nicholas at www.jollymorelaw.com

Full Schedule of Events

Please NOTE NEW SCHEDULE

12:00 pm Setup
12:30 Doors open & member services
1:00 Featured Member: Tim Jollymore
1:15 Keynote Speaker: Nick Jollymore
2:00 Announcements & Networking
3:00 Marketing Group*
4:00 Craft Group*
5:00 The End

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

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket

PLEASE PLAN TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET! Only $1 each or 6 for $5, every ticket supports the club’s equity program. You can win a book written by our club authors!

* Support groups are members-only but guests may audit
* Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are writers helping writers, a welcoming community.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

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!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

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

9/23/19 – Mini-WORKSHOP with Kathy Meis of Bublish

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Help Your Audience Find You

Tips for Writers on Book Positioning

A Dessert Discussion with Bublish Founder + CEO

Kathy Meis

Monday, September 23, 2019

7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Lungomare Restaurant, Jack London Square (map)

Join us for a casual conversation with a leading light in the new book industry.

Kathy Meis is passionate about helping authors break through the noise. Come hear her advice for creating a  strong marketing foundation at any stage of writing your book—from first draft to reboot. Bring your books and your questions for kind guidance.   

Kathy Meis is the founder and CEO of Bublish, the world’s first complete publishing platform with built-in marketing where authors can write, promote, publish and track their work in one place. Kathy has worked for iconic editorial brands as CBS and Forbes, Inc. and is a sought-after expert on independent publishing, author branding, book marketing and disruption in the publishing industry, Kathy has spoken at Book Expo America, San Francisco Writers Conference, Women in Media, ALLi’s Indie Author Fringe conference, GrubSteet, PubSmart, AuthorYOU, and IndieRecon, among others.

$10 for CWC members, $20 for non-members. No-host dessert, coffees & cocktails. Cash, check, or Paypal. Reservations required, write to berkeley.cwc at gmail.com.

Kathy Meis 9-19

Interview with Featured Member Gark Mavigan

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The first featured member of our 2019-2020 speaker series is poet and hip-hop artist Gark Mavigan. Originally from Stockton, he was a founding member of the city’s first slam team to compete in Brave New Voices—the world’s largest youth poetry slam. He has performed at The White House and the National Poetry Slam, sharing stages with the likes of Common, DMC (of Run DMC), Watsky, and MC Jin.

Gark’s words have appeared in The Huffington Post, EARMILK, sPARKLE & bLINK, Points in Case, Robot Butt, HotNewHipHop, and MapQuest, among other publications. Additionally, he has penned bylines on behalf of CEOs, covered music releases and festivals as a journalist, and crafted key messaging and PR strategies for leading technology companies—from NVIDIA to pizza-making robots to Kim Kardashian’s favorite baby monitor.

On the hip hop side, Gark is the creator of RAMENdon, the world’s first Top Ramen-themed EP. He recently released GOOD CHOICES, an LP that donates 100% of proceeds to nonprofits in San Francisco and Stockton. His music has graced the pages of 2DopeBoyz, Fiverr, RESPECT Mag, ELEVATOR, and more. Learn more about the “prose-fessional” Gark Mavigan at http://www.garkmavigan.com

“Meeting other writers face to face [has] helped share my work, connected me to reading gigs…most have become good friends!”

Gark Mavigan, Berkeley CWC featured member for September 2019

Interview with Slam Poet Gark Mavigan

Interview questions by CWC speaker chair and book publicist Cristina Deptula.

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

Just write. Sitting, standing, coffee or tea, force yourself to fill the page. Finding inspiration is often like squeezing out the final gloop of toothpaste, but it’s worth the trouble. Even an “uninspired” free-write can produce some unexpected gems.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most?

Getting out and meeting other writers face to face. These folks have helped share my work, connected me to reading gigs, and introduced me to other writers in the community. More importantly, most have become good friends!

What are your writing habits?

slam poet Gark Mavigan
Meet Gark Mavigan at our fist meeting of the new season.

When I write at my apartment I’m constantly fighting the temptation to nap. A quaint coffee shop is my preferred writing den. I buy a cup of iced coffee (black, always), crank some instrumental music (either hip hop beats or ‘90s film scores), and squeeze that toothpaste tube as hard as I can.

I’m still very much in the Padawan stage of my writing career, though I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my pieces published. How do I manage my writing life? Poorly. But if I get ANY writing done in a given day, color me content.

Meet Gark Mavigan and September Williams at our Monthly Meeting Sunday, September 15th

Mavigan says he joined the Berkeley California Writers Club to meet other writers from all genres, and further saturate himself in the Bay Area writing scene. He is also looking to gather helpful feedback on his writing. If you are a writer who hates black licorice or if you have a strange fascination with the show Unsolved Mysteries; you already have something in common. Or you might ask him about attending his first writing conference in April (Lit Camp). You can meet him at the launch of our next speaker series Sunday September 15th.

We have a new schedule so be sure to get there early so you don’t miss Gark Mavigan or September Williams!

September 15th author, bioethicist, and filmmaker September Williams, M.D. will show us how to deliver facts in a package that doesn’t detract from the tone of the story. This is a meeting for writers looking to illuminate a truth or cause without being didactic. Click on the link below for details such as location, snacks, or to learn more about September Williams.

Causes Cross Genres: Infusing Facts into Fiction with September Williams is the first event in our annual speaker series.

Third Sundays September – June

Full Schedule of Events

Please NOTE NEW SCHEDULE

12:00 pm Setup
12:30 Doors open & member services
1:00 Featured Member: GARK Mavigan
1:15 Keynote Speaker: September Williams
2:00 Announcements & Networking
3:00 Marketing Group*
4:00 Craft Group*
5:00 The End

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

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

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