Interview with Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press

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Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press
Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press

Manic D Press was founded by Jennifer Joseph in 1984. An award-winning literary press based in San Francisco, California publishing fiction, poetry, pop culture, music, art, narrative-oriented comix, children’s,and alternative travel books, Manic D represents a diverse group of unique writers and artists, with emphasis on those who have been shunned by the traditional publishing establishment for lacking commercial viability, regardless of their talent or future promise. Their mission has expanded to offer refuge to established writers escaping from the commercial publishing parallel universe.

How can interested readers find books published by local or special-interest small presses? 

Go to local independent bookstores! Attend local bookfairs! Visit the websites & social media of local presses and find out where their authors are presenting their works!

How do small presses publicize the titles they publish, and how would people find out about those books? 

Social media is always a great source of publicizing books and events. Popular blogs, lit journals, mainstream magazines and newspapers, as well as direct emails and bookfairs and festivals and academic conferences.
How can society and the public best support the unique role that small presses play in getting unique or special-interest books into the world? 
Buy our books and tell others about them through social media and in-person conversation. Suggest small press books to your book club, too.

Awards Granted
to Manic D Press

  • 2000 American Library Association Stonewall Award for Literature
  • 1997 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Art
  • 2002 and 2000 Firecracker Alternative Book Awards for Fiction
  • 1998 American Institute of Graphic Arts juried traveling exhibition 50 Books, 50 Covers
  • Sept/Oct 2003 + March/April 2004 Booksense 76 lists
  • SF Bay Guardian‘s 2004 Best of the Bay: ‘Best Quintessentially San Franciscan Publisher’
  • Publishing Triangle’s 2007 Thom Gunn Award for Poetry + 2008 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
  • SF Weekly’s “Best of San Francisco 2008”
  • 2009 and 2010 Lambda Literary Transgender Awards
  • 2014 Kathy Acker Award.

What do you see as the future of small press publishing, or publishing in general, in the age of technology, Amazon and self-publishing? 

It’s gotten harder to get readers to focus because the news cycle moves so quickly. There are fewer major media sources and more books being published. The distribution system is almost broken, thanks to Amazon. Anyone can print a book but getting it into stores and finding a readership for it has always been a challenge. Technology-wise, the availability of books in various formats (print, ebooks, and audio) is a good thing because it expands the potential audience for a writer’s work. Also, as printing technology has advanced, it’s possible to have cost-effective short print runs, which is also a good thing. On the downside, it’s easier than ever for books to be pirated and put up on the internet for free download, which sucks. 

Ask Jennifer Joseph your own Questions this Sunday at our Small Press Editors Panel

Out of respect for the coming health crisis we are experimenting with live streaming this for our members. Check the Facebook event page for updates on how to access the live stream. If you attend in person we will all work together to take care to stay hygienic, but we hope you will pop into the live stream if you would prefer to stay at home.

March small press editors event

An Interview with Pochino Press Editor Daniel Zarazua

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Daniel Zarazua
Daniel Zarazua of Pochino Press
will be joining our Small Press Panel

Daniel Zarazua is co-founder of Pochino Press, alongside his sister Monica and wife Xiomara. “We all play an equal role, with Monica handling the editing duties, Xiomara the graphic design, and myself taking the lead on planning events,” he says. Pochino Press have made their mark as a platform for underrepresented voices from places as diverse as Addis Ababa, Taipei, and their home-base of Oakland. Their publications tend to explore the hybridity of cultures and ideas that have come together to explore new ideas, perspectives, and ways of being. “We also draw upon our experiences as K-12 educators, community organizers, and other life experiences to inform our work and connect with others beyond the literary world,” Zarazua said, “Central to our work is creating and contributing to a broader community, not just a literary one.”

Publicist Cristina Deptula interviewed Daniel Zarazua, ask him your own questions when he appears on our Small Press Editors Panel March 15th.

Questions for Pochino Press Editor Daniel Zarazua

How can interested readers find books published by local or special-interest small presses? 

Go to where those who share your interests will be, virtually and literally! I don’t just mean literary events. Many of our best recommendations come from word of mouth, both online and in face-to-face interactions. For Pochino Press, we’re deeply enmeshed in our greater community, supporting local businesses, live music, and festivals as community members, not just publishers, so many of our connections happen outside of literary-specific events.

How can society and the public best support the unique role that small presses play in getting unique or special-interest books into the world? 

Recognizing the value of small presses that may be giving a voice to unique and needed perspectives is a good place to start. We’re often more nimble and willing to take chances on works that we’re passionate about as our decisions aren’t driven by shareholders. Part of recognizing this value is a willingness to pay a little more than you would at a discount outlet. The money might actually have a larger impact! Speaking from a Bay Area perspective, we live here so the money goes directly to the community through us renting spaces, paying local authors, performers, artists, and caterers. Plus, all of our publications have been published with local printers. Aside from purchases, telling others about our publications, leaving online reviews, checking out and requesting our books at your local library, inviting our authors for interviews, and teaching our works in your class are just a few things that come to mind. Everyone has something to contribute and as a press we always seek ways to be collaborative.

How do small presses publicize the titles they publish, and how would people find out about those books? 

In full transparency, this is an area that we at Pochino Press could experience some growth! We’re proud of our publications and related events, but we could be doing more to further our reach. We have an idea of what to do, such as booking more speaking engagements, hosting workshops, and doing more interviews, but balancing the press with our other responsibilities can be challenging, meaning that we are not reaching more people who would be interested in our work.

As a reader I try to be proactive, following key social media accounts, scouring my local public library, and frequently visiting independent bookshops. Through this process I meet people who make recommendations. Once I find a new press or author I like I follow them on social media and checkout who they’re connected to. I’m never at a loss for things to read and I love the thrill of the hunt.

What do you see as the future of small press publishing, or publishing in general, in the age of technology, Amazon and self-publishing? 

We have to adapt, remain creative, and remember that relationships still matter. Yes, we’re literally selling books, but most people still want a human connection, whether that’s through online forums such as blogs, effectively using social media to build relationships, or simply talking to people! Without the connections, we’re just pushing a product, which is probably not the reason most of us started small presses.

We have to make sure that the quality of our books, from the content to the physical materials, are at a high level. Plus, are we offering something unique? Individual small presses can’t compete with the larger corporations, but should that even be the goal? We have to look at traditional entrepreneurial models, such as finding our niche and developing that, while looking to the future, using technology to our advantage, and being aware of changing social dynamics. 

There are unquestionably some major hurdles for small presses, but ultimately, are we working together to create sustainable solutions? There’s no benefit in lamenting the challenges if we’re not solutions oriented.

Have Questions Daniel Zarazua? Ask them at our Small Press Editors Panel Discussion

March small press editors event

Interview with award-winning activist poet, Jan Steckel (meet her Sunday!)

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Our guest for Sunday’s meeting will be poet and activist Jan Steckel. Her latest book Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, December 2018) won two Rainbow Awards (for LGBT Poetry and Best Bisexual Book) and was a finalist for the poetry category of the Bi Book Awards. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, Rise Up Review, Poetry Reading the News, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. She lives in Oakland, California and works as a medical editor.

Five Questions for Award-winning Poet Jan Steckel

Questions by Cristina Deptula of Authors Large and Small

You were a pediatrician before you pursued writing full-time. Do you feel that the ways of thinking you used to practice medicine informs how you think about creative writing? 

The experiences I had as a pediatrician gave me a lot of material, some of which I’m still working through. Medical training also gave me some vocabulary that I use in writing, and habits of observation of people’s physical appearance, gait, movement, posture, etc. I think I also went into taking care of low-income Spanish-speaking families for some of the same reasons that I write: outrage at injustice, and a desire to change things for the better.

You’re going to talk about poetry and activism. What sorts of responsibility do you feel that you, or any artist, has to the larger world above and beyond creating well-crafted pieces? 

I remember that my college biology professor E.O. Wilson, the father of sociobiology, had to defend himself from accusations that his work could be used to justify racism, misogyny and eugenicist viewpoints. Even though those were misuses of his work, because it was his work he had a responsibility to come out and explain why his theories did not support those points of view. So first of all, and this is a concept lifted from my medical training, you have to try to do no harm. If your writing is being misused, you have to come out and say so and say why. 

I remember someone I knew being excited by the fact that he had some marginalia in an old book he owned handwritten by a famous poet, but not concerned about the fact that the quatrain written there was kind of antisemitic. I am not really keen on separating the life of the artist completely from his work and valuing beauty and skill without considering the moral context.

So I would say that not everyone has a responsibility to be activist in their work, but you do have to consider the moral context of your work and take some responsibility for what it is going to do or what it could be used for once it’s out in the world.

Do you carry out your activist work primarily through your writing, or through other means?

No, I think I’ve been activist in a lot of ways, as a foot-soldier in protests and politics, as a doctor taking care of and advocating for marginalized people, as a voter and someone who has registered people to vote, as a writer of letters (to my representatives, to newspapers, and to corporations), as someone who is out as a sexual minority and who marches in Pride each year, and as a neighbor who tries to help out the people on my block and the people in my city. As I get older, though, and my platform as a writer and poet grows, I’m becoming less enthusiastic about marching and about pouring my energy into these other avenues and more interested in using my written voice to change the world through my creative writing.

Do you have advice for other writers who care strongly about different issues and want to write about them?

Your words matter! People are moved to action by stories and poems that activate their empathy. Keep your eye out on various lists (which I will tell you about in my talk on February 16) for calls for submissions for anthologies with political or social-justice themes that interest you. Familiarize yourself with the journals that publish this kind of poetry and fiction and submit to them (I’ll give you a handout with a list of a couple dozen such journals at my talk). Look on your social media, if you participate in that, for themed readings or writing groups on the issues you care about (I’ll talk about some local ones, including CWC’s Wolf Pack on climate change.) If you don’t see the readings and groups you’re looking for, consider starting one yourself.

What projects are you working on currently and where can we find you? 

I am working on a poetry manuscript called Stripper Style full of poems about stripping and strippers (which is also about stripping as a metaphor). I am also collaborating with a physicist friend on a science fiction novel-in-stories featuring a main character who is a female bisexual disabled mixed-race scientist. I’m going to need a couple of different sensitivity readers for that one! I have a finished book-length manuscript collection of short humorous creative-nonfiction pieces called I Just Do This to Seduce Gay Men, as well as a book-length manuscript collection of short stories called Ghosts and Oceans, both of which I need to send out more to publishers. 

I give a lot of readings in the Bay Area (I think I did 30 in 2019). You can find an events calendar and some writing excerpts at my website at http://jansteckel.com. My books are available on Amazon, in local independent bookstores, and at the Zeitgeist Press website at http://www.zeitgeist-press.com

Meet Jan Steckel Sunday February 16th at our Meeting

This Sunday Jan Steckel will speak on how poets and writers can affect change through their writing. She will speak on advocacy, representation, and documenting social conditions. Steckel has experience to share on using your writing to inspire empathy and using your notoriety to draw attention to injustice. She will share the ways poets and writers can participate in acts of resistance and move others to action.

There will also be group discussions craft and marketing as well as a reading by featured member, novelist Henry Hits.

For schedule, map, and further details see the post for about the February meeting.

“A Chance to Have My Say”— Get to Know Playwright/Poet Judith Offer

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Judith Offer playwright poet
poet & playwright Judith Offer

Member Judith Offer will be our featured reader at our first meeting of the year on Sunday, January 19th.  Judith is celebrating her one-year anniversary of being in the California Writers Club! She is an Oakland poet and playwright. 18 of her plays have been professionally produced, most in community theatres in the Bay Area. Her themes are women’s issues, American history, and the various cultural groups that populate Oakland.

Judith has five books of poetry. Recently, she self-published a chapbook called The Grating of America, Poems For a Democracy Ground Down, about the current political situation. 

Pictures of plays, copies of some of her poems, and reviews are available at her web site, JudithOffer.com.


How did you become a writer?

In one sense my career is amazing: I had every possible disadvantage to ever writing anything. I was the oldest girl in a family of nine kids, born to parents who didn’t really want a huge family and were angry and resentful. We moved a lot, so I attended seven grammar schools and ended up with a sketchy, confused basic education, no permanent friends, and no long-term other adult support. My high school probably saved me. It was big, well-organized, and had a good teaching staff. And I got to be there for four years. I managed a few close friends and in spite of many home responsibilities, participation in a drama club. My intelligence was recognized to the extent that I made it into the top “track”. And though the teachers of the day mostly tried to ignore the girls, there were two who showed that they thought I had…something special. I made it through college by working as an au pair for room and board and with a state scholarship for tuition. I graduated with no single teacher telling me my writing was good, or suggesting a writing career, in spite of many essays and term papers with good grades. I went off to teach after school, not sure I wanted to; left to work in urban renewal, mostly because I got to work in downtown DC, still wondering what I was “becoming”. All this time, I was writing a few poems every year, which I kept in a small black notebook. In my late twenties I married, and two years later my husband, Stuart Offer, the only person who had seen my notebook, gave me a typewriter for Christmas, “so you can send your poems out.” So in my case, I really was rescued by Prince Charming. When I did send them, a number were quickly taken, and I suddenly knew what I was becoming. There has been a long road since then, and I am far from rich or famous from my writing. But I have been able to develop my gift, and I have seen many of my plays performed and poems published. I have had some killer fun times, directing plays, teaching kids drama, reading in cool places, and meeting all sorts of interesting and wonderful people. I feel like I have become part of the American story…a small part, but a part. I would like to see my plays on bigger, better-known stages, and I would like to get paid real money some day for them. But even if I never do, I feel that I have had at least some chance to “have my say” and to add to the list of women who, thanks to American feminists–such as the suffragists we’re celebrating this year—have made openings for people like me. 

Meet Judith and Prioritize Your Writing this Sunday January 19th

Join us with Judith Offer this Sunday

An Interview with our November Guest, Author Joan Gelfand

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Our featured guest this November 17th is Joan Gelfand. Her 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 will be published by Mastadon Press 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.  Her poetry 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. A film based on her poem, The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics, has since showed at nine international film festivals and won Best Poetry Film at the World Film Festival. 

Four Questions for Joan Gelfand

What are some common misconceptions people have about what it takes to be a real writer, and what’s true instead?

One common misconception is that real writers have literary agents. 
Many writers work with small presses directly, or university presses that do not require an agent. Also—and I feel strongly about this—poets are real writers and only a handful of poets have agents.  IMHO, the distinguishing feature of a ‘real writer’ is a writer who has at least one traditionally published book.

How did you harness Confidence, Commitment, Craft, and Community to help you write your latest novel Fear to Shred?

Let’s talk about Community first: 
I met my publisher at a Women’s National Book Association event. 
I had been very involved with the WNBA for 14 years as a volunteer.  I served as National President and chapter president of the SF chapter for two years. 
I also spent many years building up a platform, or fan base. I started a national writing contest that brought in a lot of writers and funds to the WNBA.
The other topics, Commitment, Craft and Confidence—I’d prefer to discuss in person with the group.

Who should be in a writer’s community? Are you talking about critique groups, or going to conferences to meet agents and editors, or both? Or something else entirely?

Again, in my humble opinion, every writer NEEDS to be in some sort of community.  If they are able, they should be serving as volunteers in any number of active writing communities in the Bay Area.
I don’t consider critique groups , or going to conferences, part of community. Conferences would be part of networking and critique groups I would put under craft.
 I am talking about building up your platform and fan base.  One writer said you build your fan base one fan at a time. That means you need to meet people, you need to show up at other people’s events, support other writers, etc.  Building community is a long term commitment. That said, many writers have built strong, successful communities on line. 
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all provide the tools to build community.

What are some good places to go in the Bay Area to meet some other writers and build community?

Beside the CWC there is the Women’s National Book Association, Left Coast Writers, San Francisco Creative Writing Institute, the Writing Salon, just to name a few.

Meet Joan Gelfald November 17th when she speaks on the topic “You Can Be a Winning Writer”

 

“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.

Interview with featured author Tim Jollymore (meet him this Sunday)

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In this interview, this Sunday’s featured member Tim Jollymore draws on experience and insight to share his take on what writing and “the writing boom” is about. What steps to take and reflections to make are needed before one can understand what path to follow?

Tim Jollymore is author of five books. Listener in the Snow is an adventure set in snowy Northern Minnesota. He’s written two mysteries Observation Hill, a novel of class and murder and The Advent of Elizabeth. Lake Stories and Other Tales is a story and essay collection, while People You’ve Been Before is a novel exploring “adventures in sobriety.” He has published book of poems titled Christmas in the Winter Garden. He is presently at work on a sixth: The Second Confession of Saint Augustine, a historical novel set in North Africa at the 5th Century end of the Roman empire.

For this work, Jollymore has received four independent publishing awards. He was a two-time finalist in the North Eastern Minnesota Book Awards and he’s garnered high praise from Publishers’ Weekly and repeatedly from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

Jollymore was born in Duluth, Minnesota and took his English degrees at the university there. He relocated, mid-life, to the San Francisco Bay Area, pursuing business, architecture, and teaching. Learn more about Tim Jollymore’s books at finnswaybooks.com

Getting to Know Tim Jollymore

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

Don’t take advice. Listen to YOUR muse. Strive for art.

Tim Jollymore

I tell you; don’t take advice. If you must, scrutinize each bit. Listen to YOUR muse. That is why you take walks in the morning. Check to see that your “advisors” don’t have their hands too deeply in your pockets, for some only see the currently swelling ranks of writers as a financial opportunity for them. Strive for art. Be unafraid to liberally use adverbs.

What are your writing habits?

I write from 9:00 to noon and then do whatever I want! Henry Miller, though, in his 11 commandments of writing, says, “Don’t be a dray horse. Live life . . . drink if you want to.” So, I can tell you (and Henry) I do not write every day. I travel, “I laze and loaf and invite my soul,” but when I am working it is nine to noon, five days a week.

What writers inspire you?

It is not the writer but his/her writing that inspires me. Living writers whose writing interests me are Pers Petterson, Richard Flannigan, John Krakauer, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Paul Auster, and Sigrid Nunez.

 I find CWC membership a great place to land in a storm, or, really, during a calm.

Tim Jollymore

My “Dead Novelists’ Society” includes William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Henry James, Charlotte Bronte, and Mark Twain.

Where are you in your writing career?

Of five books published since 2014 (one in its third printing and one in its second) the most successful is Listener in the Snow, my debut novel. So be it.

My plans extend a couple of years with The Second Confession of Saint Augustine, and, continuing in a different vein of historical fiction and returning to my Minnesota topics, is Missabe Miss, a World War Two, home-front novel.

Much of my writing shares a devotion to characters of a common sort, everyday people, who are shown through their interior lives. I adhere to the practice of stylistic crafting experimentation with points of view, and the condensation of storytelling into three or four days.

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

I’ve been with CWC for five years, a dual member for two. I find CWC membership a great place to land in a storm, or, really, during a calm. It is also a distraction from writing. I avoid becoming simply a denizen of an organization. I want to write!

How do you manage your writing life?

Min Kamp (my struggle), to use Knausgaard’s title, is a battle between publication activities and promotion of my work which incorporates traveling, and actual hours spent writing. Min Frelse (my salvation) is that the great pile of ideas, characters, and themes continues to grow and to wait for my attention.

To read a sample of his work, go to http://www.jollymore.wordpress.com for excerpts of novels, short stories, and reviews.

Meet Tim Jollymore this Sunday at our next meeting

For full details, such as schedule, directions, raffle info and more, please see the post announcing this Sunday’s event. In addition to getting to know featured member Tim Jollymore, this meeting will offer legal advice for literary contracts, as well as assistance with craft and marketing.

Full Scheule of Events for THIS SUNDAY’S MEETING

12:00 pm Setup
12:30 Doors open & member services
1:00 Featured Member: Tim Jollymore
1:15 Keynote Speaker: literary lawyer Nick Jollymore (yes, they’re related!)
2:00 Announcements & Networking
3:00 Marketing Group*
4:00 Craft Group*
5:00 The End

Say you’re coming on Facebook!


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