Newsletter of the Berkeley BraNch, califorNia writers cluB

april 2009

Write Angles

Table of Contents
Yes, Grammar Can Even Be Fun 1 The View From the Helm AL Levenson 2 Guidelines for the July and August Write Angles 2 Member News Anne Fox 3 Prevailing Winds 4 Tidbits 5 Free Workshop for CWC Members Only 5 Co-Publishing AL Levenson 6 Internet Social Networks as Platform 7 Resource for Publications Research Alex Campbell 7 Why I Write... 8

YeS, grAMMAr CAn eVen Be FUn
An old, and probably apocryphal, story has an editor attempting to rearrange one of Winston Churchill’s sentences to avoid ending it with a preposition. The Prime Minister is alleged to have scribbled in reply: “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.” Whether or not the response was really Winnie’s, we can sympathize with the sentiment behind it. The rules of grammar sometimes seem like strictures to be tolerated, not instruments to be agreeably employed. Making grammar less intimidating is the mission of Janis Bell, our featured speaker for the April 18 meeting. Author of the best-selling book Clean, Well-lighted Sentences, Bell has been teaching writing since 1973. She began her career as a composition and business writing instructor at San Francisco State University. She then worked for the San Francisco Community College District, teaching on several campuses and in fifty government agencies. Since the early 1980s, she has delivered on-site writing seminars to a wide range of professionals and taught business writing at Golden Gate University. Bell has become familiar over the years with the grammar and punctuation problems people are most likely to find troubling. She has also learned how to explain solutions in language that is concise, easy to understand, and often humorous, as reflected in her writing seminars and in her book. At the April 18 meeting, we’ll have an opportunity to benefit from Bell’s experience. Who or whom? Affect or effect? Wishing I was or wishing I were? “Only” to the right or left of “require”? Comma or no comma? Colon or semicolon? We can bring up questions such as these, take notes on the solutions to our sentence problems, or ask about grammatical conventions along with which we might feel disinclined to go. - David Baker

Cover Photo Series: Distinguished Writers of California William Saroyan

April Meeting:
Saturday, April 18, 2009. Social Hour: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Meeting and Program: 10:30 a.m. - Noon Event Loft, Barnes & Noble Book Store Jack London Square, Oakland. Write Angles 1

April 2009

The View From the Helm
The Berkeley Branch must have been on steroids this month. Check our Member News for six new members this month, bringing the total branch membership to 80. We welcome three people to head up important committees and to a seat on the board of directors: Carlene Cole, membership committee; Laura Shumaker, speaker programs; and Anejuelle Floyd, exploring the co-publishing pilot project with Unlimited Publishing, LLC. For more than twenty years the Fifth-Grade Writing Contest has been a flagship event for the Berkeley Branch. Willie Rose was administrator for over a decade. Then ten years ago command passed to Lucille Bellucci. Lucille reports 281 submissions this year—up from recent years. The branch will award over $500 in prizes to the fifteen winning entries, including a cash prize to the teacher of the winner of first prize. To select the finalists and winners, Lucille requires the dedicated help of several more heroes. Thanks to judges Betsy Hess-Behrens, Janice Armigo Brown, Ken Frazer, Willie and Manuel Rose, Sasha Futran, Stan Sciortino, and Barbara Ruffner. Lucille, you make us proud. We all stand in the glow of esteem you bring to the Berkeley Branch. Our most enduring critique group chugs along on 3rd Saturday afternoons at Oakland’s Rockridge Branch library. Average attendance is 15 people—up by 50 percent from a year or so ago. Within the last year two other groups were born. Part of the logic of forming the 10-page group and the article-writing group was to take the pressure off the 3rd Saturday Group’s increase in submitters. The popularity of the 3rd Saturday group has continued to grow, perhaps because the additional groups have raised awareness of the value of such groups. The two new groups have attracted a half-dozen people to their meetings. But these groups have suffered from a lack of a regular meeting place and time. I am happy to report these groups now have a home. Once again, Dave Sawle’s generosity is the means of an enhancement of the club. Dave is making available the conference room at his office building at 2945 Webster in Oakland. The room easily accommodates ten people and offers gated parking for ten cars. This site creates an opportunity to try still another club innovation, an evening critique group. Beginning Monday evening, April 13, the article-writing group will meet monthly on 2nd Mondays, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. And beginning Saturday morning, April 11, the 10-page group will meet monthly on 2nd Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. For the time being, both groups will be drop-in groups open to nonmembers as well as members. Questions? - AL Levenson, President Write Angles 2

Guidelines for the July and August Write Angles Open to members of the Berkeley Branch only. Short pieces of fiction and nonfiction, 350-1000 words. Poetry to 175 words. Photographs and cartoons. All topics. No porn or gratuitous violence. Prior publication OK, with citation. Electronic submissions only to Write Story Enclosed in the subject line. Deadline for July issue is June 10; for August issue, July 10. Receipt of stories will be acknowledged.

April 2009

Member News
JoAnn Ainsworth (March Write Angles interview) will have a book signing for Out of the Dark on Saturday, April 4, 2 to 4 p.m., at A World of Books, 137 Pelton Center Way, San Leandro, CA 94577 (510) September 2008 483-5587. This latest novel of JoAnn’s is a medieval romance with a touch of paranormal and a lot of suspense. Refreshments will be served at the book signing. Congratulations to Gary McIntyre, whose documentary film, Two Up Two Down Reunion, was accepted into the New York and Los Angeles Film Festivals and may even go on to Cannes. This film has to do with the Vietnam years, a period marked by political and emotional turmoil. More information to follow. The Berkeley Branch welcomed six new members in March: Janelle Moon, member of the Marin branch, transferred her membership to Berkeley. Dorothy Benson, an Emeritus member of the Berkeley Branch inadvertently dropped from the rolls, was reinstated. Anejuelle Floyd rejoined the Berkeley Branch. Anejuelle wrote Keeper of Secrets, published in 2007. Leslie Martin, an associate member, is working on a series of personal vignettes. Michael Vernetti has published a nonfiction book. Francine Howard has excited much interest in her current work of fiction. More information to follow. Alan Kite joined at the March 21 club meeting. Berkeley Branch membership now stands at 80. Applause is in order for Lucille Bellucci, who stars as first-prize winner of the 2008 WestSide Story Contest, of which member Tatjana Greiner is founder and editor. Money also stars as the prize for Lucille’s story, “Signora Petronio.” Risa Nye and her co-editors will be reading from and discussing their book, Writin’ on Empty, at the Rockridge Library on Tuesday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. Risa’s piece, “The Long Road to Lulu: One Writer’s Story of Self-Publishing,” appeared in the December issue of Write Angles. Attention, Members: Don’t let that manuscript, article, wisdom on paper, mope in the murky depths of a desk drawer. Who will publish you or give you a prize for your writing if you don’t get your work out into the light of day? Keep us posted on any morsel of writing you’re doing or have done or contemplate doing. Whether you’ve written a letter to the editor, a filler, a puzzle, fiction, nonfiction, jokes ,a book review, greeting cards, screen play, or been in a contest, in an interview—all is worthwhile and a source of inspiration for CWC members. Please send the exciting news to Anne Fox,

April 2009

Write Angles


preVAiling WinDS
CWC Berkeley Branch: Publicity Report March 2009
Barnes & Noble now provides an in-store sign for our monthly meetings, as well as speaker-specific signs The Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch, now prints flyers about the support/critique writers’ group that meets there on the third Saturday of every month. The CWC Berkeley Branch Information Brochure/application has been revised. Caroline Abasta has designed a print/electronic flyer for our speaker meetings. Flyers will be e-mailed to the board and other CWC volunteers for downloading and posting in nearby libraries, coffee houses, independent bookstores, and other places writers congregate, and for handouts to interested groups such as Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs. Berkeley Branch authors can display their work and sell sheets at meetings. Centennial Plans The State Central Board (CB) is considering several matters and will likely vote on these choices when it meets in Oakland on 4/19: 1) Plant a tree at Joaquin Miller Park, a CWC tradition that got lost 2) Print and distribute the Literary Landmarks Map displayed at BB March meeting 3) Provide updated information on CWC and the Memorial Grove for a display at the JMP Ranger Station 4) Signage on Highway 13 from Caltrans and/or signage from the city on the Joaquin Miller Road and at the JMP park entrance. 5) Bench at the CWC Writers Grove 6) Renovation and repositioning of the 1941 sign in JMP dedicating the CWC Writers Grove The CWC Centennial logo is available on vests, jackets, and maybe other clothing items ordered through Lands End. Ordering details will be communicated. Berkeley Branch Centennial Plan: 1) A revival of the “Picnic in the Park” at JMP and poem reading at Woodminster 2) Displays at the Oakland Public Library and other libraries, historical societies, city halls, and recreational/environmental groups, using the CB’s Literary Landmarks Map as the basis 3) Speaking engagements throughout the year, but realistically beginning in September. BB October meeting occurs during the state-designated California Writers Week, October 18-24, 2009. All these activities above require some help from members. Choose an activity you’d like to help to make happen. Several organizations are interested in partnering with the CWC (e.g., have us speak to their members, print articles in their newsletter or Web site, offer historical knowledge, and perhaps grant money). Several branch librarians are interested in workshops, especially for children. Anyone willing to take on this project? Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce newsletter will carry information about our meetings and speaker programs to its 15,000 readers. Centennial logo items, book bags, pens, cloisonné lapel pins will be available for sale BB club meetings. - Linda Brown, Publicity April 2009 Write Angles 4

Web sites for Writers

n e W i n F o r M At i o n :
FREE WORKSHOP FOR CWC MEMBERS ONLY** Charlotte Cook, Acquisition Editor, Polishes Your First Pages
Do you wonder how an acquisition editor might react to the first manuscript pages of your novel or short story? When and why does the editor either stop reading or ask for more pages? Do you think it’s all yes and no? Get first-hand responses to these questions and others at a supportive interactive three-hour workshop conducted by Charlotte Cook, publisher and acquisition editor of KOMENAR Publishing, on April 25, 2009, 10:30 a.m., Barnes & Noble Event Loft, Jack London Square, Oakland. Location is tentative and will be confirmed by email to participants. This workshop, limited to 25 people, is available exclusively to the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club. Charlotte invites participants to bring the first three pages of their novel or short story. Approximately twelve will be discussed. For a seat at the workshop, register by e-mail,, with Acquisition Workshop in the subject line. If you intend to submit material for the critique, state that in your e-mail. If more than ten manuscripts are submitted, twelve will be chosen by lottery. The location of the workshop will be confirmed by email four days before the workshop. At that time you will be advised if you’ve been chosen to submit and how many copies you must bring. Format for submissions: double-spaced, 1.25” margins, indented paragraphs, plain font (Courier New preferred), 12 point. Charlotte Cook is a publisher, editor, writing teacher, and longtime Berkeley Branch member. Her workshop and one-on-one work have been presented and applauded at the Willamette Writers Conference, East of Eden, and South Carolina Writers Workshop. In response to many requests, she will offer the workshop as a professional service nationwide in the spring of 2009. ** If you are not a member, why not take this opportunity to join now when the value of this workshop is greater than the cost of becoming a member? Become a member between January 1 and June 30 by paying a half-year’s dues plus the initiation fee, a total of $42.50—and gain free admission to a workshop that could ordinarily cost up to $100. For membership information and application, e-mail - AL Levenson Write Angles 5

SF Theater Festival
Berkeley Branch Member, Tatjana Greiner, is in charge of the youth programs of the San Francisco Theater Festival, which takes place at Yerba Buena Gardens at the end of July. They are currently putting their program together and are looking for theater groups and/or single performers to participate. The goal is to reflect the Bay Area theater scene's diversity, which is why they are also seeking shows on or by Asian, Middle Eastern, South American, Native American, Russian, etc., theater groups or performers. Offerings can be excerpts of plays, short plays (most slots are 30 minutes), one-person shows, monologues, spoken-word pieces—you get the idea. The performances need to be ready-cast and rehearsed. Everyone is invited to participate. Submission deadline is May 1, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Participation is free. Tatjana is particularly interested in shows by or for youth. Check out the Web site:, or contact Tatjana directly at April 2009

When I received an e-mail from Kate Farrell, California Writers Club state coordinator for the co-publishing pilot project approved by the Central Board of the CWC, I thought the deadlines were too tight for anyone in the Berkeley Branch to meet. Yet I was concerned that the Berkeley Branch might be left behind if co-publishing proved to be a business model that could work for some of our members. With that thought in mind, I invited Kate (Redwood Branch, Santa Rosa) to visit us to inform those interested. My hope was a few members would want to form a keep-in-touch committee that would explore co-publishing by going to school on the experience of others. Kate told us about the publishing accomplishments of the Redwood Branch: annual anthologies of members’ work for the last three years published by Lulu and iUniverse, and three books co-published last year in conjunction with Unlimited Publishing, LLC. At the branch level, a selection committee chooses books for submission to UP, along with each author’s detailed marketing plan. If accepted by UP, the book moves to the galley stage at no cost to the author. The galley is the first stage of a three-stage process. In the galley stage the book may be submitted for advance reviewers and used to solicit commentary and endorsement. Although the book is required to have been thoroughly edited prior to submission, a few minor corrections are permitted at this stage. Next is an Advance Release used to develop market niche and prove appeal. Finally, a Trade Release edition will be produced for books of proven public appeal. Books move from stage to stage, based on critical review, literary awards, current popularity, and sales volume. Kate made it clear that all of the editing process and all of the marketing rests on the shoulders of the author. The branch is counted on to help out to some degree, but the author ought not forget where the buck stops. By the end Kate’s presentation, returning member Anjuelle Floyd announced her book was at a stage that could meet the deadlines, and she had serious interest in UP’s model. Anjuelle, who published Keeper of Secrets in 2007 and has been up the road of dealing with a publisher, offered her current project as a trial horse for this new territory. Because she has a clear vested interest in proceeding with the co-publishing route only if it is viable in the real world, and because she is willing to commit personal funds to legal advice at contract time as well as time, energy and dollars to the marketing stage, I believed she was the ideal person to be the branch liaison to UP. She and Kate agreed to stay in close touch. The co-publishing model has its skeptics within the branch. Reservations are a reason to study new business models carefully. My assessment of the mood of those who took the step of hearing out Kate’s story was that of open-minded cautious optimism. Anjuelle promised to inform the branch of what she learns and how she proceeds. -AL Levenson April 2009 Write Angles 6

Internet Social Networks as Platform
On a March Sunday an informal workshop of seven club members convened at the home of Anjuelle Floyd to find out about Internet Social Networks. They learned how one member is using social networks to broaden her base of “friends” and contacts. Anjuelle discussed blogs, blog radio, and how her blog is her Web site. She discussed the readers’ sites Goodreads and Shelfari, where book reviews are written by and for readers. Anejuelle gave us a tour of her Ning site and helped two people set up their own. Thanks, Anejuelle, for hosting an informative event and creating the opportunity for us to get acquainted with our fellow members. - AL Levenson

Resource for Publications Research
To write for periodicals, be sure to read the publisher’s guidelines on the publication’s Web site, and read the magazines to understand what the editors want to see. Where can you find a great variety of periodicals? The University of California main library in the center of the Berkeley campus, where the huge periodical reading room, a community resource, is open to everyone. The clean, well-lighted room is located on the second floor, at the top of the staircase immediately inside the main entrance. Past UC students will remember the beautiful carved wood ceiling of the former card catalogue room. Here you will find periodicals from around the world, literary and professional, from The American Scholar to Zyzzyva. You may not check out publications, but you are free to select and read them at a nearby table or comfortable easy chair. Publications are shelved by Dewey Decimal number, not alphabetically. The quickest way to locate what you want is by call number. In the room are many computer terminals with acess to the university’s Pathfinder system for Cal’s entire library. You can also access the same system from the convenience of your home, through // At the Home page (or Desktop of library computers), click on the “UCB-Pathfinder” link. On the subsequent page, change the default indicator to “Journal Title Key Word,” and type the key word of the name of the periodical you want into the search box. Activate “Search,” and voilà, there’s the call number. The word “Main” indicates the magazine is in the periodical room of the main library. Only current issues are shelved in the periodical reading room. If you want to read back issues, explain your purpose to the librarian at the desk in the hall just inside the doors adjacent to the main staircase. The librarian will give you a day pass to the main stacks in the basement. If you are an active Cal alumnus, your UC library card will get you in. All the libraries have elevators and are wheelchair-accessible. - Alex Campbell, Berkeley Branch member since 2008. April 2009 Write Angles 7

Why I Write . . .
I write because, in simple terms, I enjoy it and it fulfills me. Writing seems to be my path. I hate to use terms like “path” because I’m loathe to sound like one of those people who describe their compulsion to write in Garboesque tones but rarely write much of anything beyond occasional journal musings. My path is rocky at times. I’m blessed with more perseverance than talent. Still, writing keeps life fresh because my next challenge is never farther than the next blank screen. - W.E.Reinka, past president of the Berkeley Branch * * *

I write because it is an important part of who I am. It is a way to communicate more fully with the world around me. I write to touch people about our environment, to help them learn more about themselves through their own histories, to bridge the commonalities we share with one another. For example, my efforts to trace the early history of the California Writers Club and the Berkeley Fire of 1923 led to some published articles. As an Oral Historian, I have helped develop several bodies of work and individual works for nonprofit organizations. More recently, I have been writing for friends and family to share compassion about our losses of loved ones, in an effort to inspire courage, hope, and faith. Struggling more often with my own losses has given me added insight into this life-and-death experience, with new philosophical wisdom to share. Finally, I write to bring the joy of life to my own experience and to those around me. Sometimes I combine this writing with my photography. - Therese Pipe joined the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers' Club in the 1980s and is a nonfiction writer, editor, and occasional poet. * * *

I began to write because I liked telling stories that others wrote, and then I liked telling stories that I made up. I never got over it. And I never looked back. - Lucille Bellucci, Berkeley Branch member for over 12 years * * *

I write because of the pleasure-pain principle. If you have a talent, some activities are rewarding. You produce better work with less effort and receive social approval. If you lack a talent, some activities are frustrating. You try harder and produce work that everyone considers inferior. I am good at handling words and numbers but have poor physical coordination. (The medical term for people like me is “klutz.") That is why I write poems but never became an artist, a ballet dancer, a circus clown or a dentist (and that is just the first four letters of the alphabet). - David Mathew Gray, Berkeley Branch member since 2008, usually reserves his middle name for his byline. Born in New Jersey. he grew up there and in Florida. According to his resume, he earned a BA at the U of Miami (in English), an MA at the U of Minnesota, and a PhD at the Union Institute (both in social psychology), worked mostly in public health administration, and is a widowed grandfather who lives in San Francisco. Most of the facts in his resume are true. April 2009 Write Angles 8

Berkeley Branch Officers
President: AL Levenson Vice President: OPEN Secretary: Evelyn Washington Treasurer: Ken Frazer Program: Laura Shumaker Membership: Carlene Cole Children’s Contest: Lucille Bellucci Newsletter Editor: AL Levenson Copyeditor: Anne Fox Publicity: Linda Brown Webmaster: Stan Sciortino Delegate to Central Board: Linda Brown Co-Publishing Committee: Anjuelle Floyd Past President: Dave Sawle
The CALIFORNIA WRITERS CLUB is dedicated to educating members and the public-at-large in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work. For more information, visit our Web site at Copyright © 2009 by the California Writers Club, Berkeley Branch. All rights reserved. Write Angles is published 10 times a year (September - June) by the California Writers Club, Berkeley Branch on behalf of its members. CWC assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, process, product, method or policy described in this newsletter.

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