CWC State Board Meeting July 22, 2018 Report from June Gillam

June Gillam attended this meeting and has made a report of some portions of the event which may be of interest to or require action from our branch. Her text below:

CWC state board meeting, July 22, 2018

REPORT from June Gillam, SJVWriters Branch Representative

We voted to keep the CWC Literary Review annual and to support a group to discuss streamlined way to evaluate submissions: Joyce Krieg, Kimberly Edwards, Tish Davidson and June Gillam.

Topics raised that SJVWriters may want to discuss:

  • Did all members get a Lit Review in the mail? If not, get name on list with June asap.
  • Hold board meetings every month as many branches do.
  • Send early announcements of the UOP writing conference, as requested by North State Writers, Chico, President and VP
  • Consider publishing members work on our website, as does SoCal every month, called SoCal Showcase. … a fairly simple membership draw and way for some to become Active Members.
  • USE MRMS to generate name tags for meetings; get our MRMS updated asap—who will do this? When can do? Membership forms need to be filled out by new members.
  • Judy Kohnen, Inland Empire, will gather info from branches to send to state webmaster but until she gets running, we can send her our news, such as the Manteca Bookfest SJVW booth info:
  • Promote CA Writers Week in October—how? (see below)
  • Send election results to CWC secretary Elisabeth Tuck (see below)
  • How to ATTRACT MORE young members:
  • offer contests for young writers, or for college students
  • have a booth at UOP, Delta, museum and high school/community events, give out flyers for our branch (need asap for Oct Manteca Bookfest)
  • free dues for first year for students (we do this now)
  • 3rd week October is Writer’s Week, connect with local libraries
  • Hold nanowrimo events at our meetings/liaison with Tory—October is get ready for Nano month
  • Keep up Meetup; make sure to pay meetup fees on time or someone else can take it over.


  • There are TWO KINDS OF CONFERENCES: INTERNAL: ONLY OUR BRANCH and EXTERNAL: SUPPORT OUTSIDE THAT ATTRACTS FROM OTHER BRANCHES, in the Budget Item calledEducation/Outreach $1,800.00 FOR DICKENS FAIR IN LA, SF writer’s conference, etc. Could revisit request for UOP conference to apply for some of this money.
  • Request $250.00 for a SJVW branch conference/event. Branches will not have to return and ask each year after exec committee approves this branch expense one year. Here are examples of branch events:

14July2018 Meeting Minutes


San Joaquin Valley Branch

California Writers Club

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Call to Order: June Gillam

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman

Introduction of Speaker: June Gillam

SPEAKER: Michele Drier: Traditional and Self Publishing Services

Michele is currently working on #10 of the Kandesky Vampire series, and also writes the Amy Hobbs Mystery series. She has been writing since 1971, but that first novel did not see the light of day until 2011. She also had a previous life as a reporter.

Michele spoke on the two ways to get published.

The first way to get published is through traditional publishing. The Big Five publishers (Hachette, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster) require that you find an agent or find a publisher that will work with you without an agent, which is rare. In order to shop your book to agents or publishing houses, you will need to have a query letter, a synopsis and a finished, polished, proofread, edited manuscript. When searching for an agent, make sure that you research the agent and the publications carefully. The best way to do this is to look at who is representing the genre that you want to write. Look carefully for what they work with, what they have a reputation for, how many books they accept a year, how much they will be paid (standard contract is 15% of your earnings from book sales).

The second way to get published is through Self-Publishing or Indie Publishing, which used to be called vanity press. Most vanity presses will charge you up front, slap a cover on your book and not help with marketing at all. All marketing is up to the writer, and it will cost you. This is not a recommended path to getting published.

Self publishing through Amazon Print on Demand (CreateSpace), IngramSparks or other publishing routes require that you have your draft ready to go. A service called Draft to Digital will take your draft and put it into multiple formats for digital output and put it on their webpage, and upload it to iTunes and other places, but it will cost you up front.

Amazon’s CreateSpace will allow for your book to be “never out of print”, and it will also allow Barnes and Noble to use Print on Demand services to access and order your book. You are responsible for formatting, cover work and back matter. Most cover designs will cost $150-$250. The royalties from books published on CreateSpace can vary depending on the book length as well as the price set for the book by the author.

If you are going to self-publish, you will need a variety of editors. Content Editors will read through the story of the novel and make sure that everything aligns to create a good story. A Line Editor will go through line by line and check for dialogue, character and make sure your sentences say what you want them to say. A Copy Editor will check for some grammar and word usage. They will look for homophones and word choice. A Proof Reader will check for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Most of these will cost the writer depending on the services that are provided. Do your research, and do not disregard the importance of a good critique group.

For publication formatting, you will want to make sure that your manuscript is in 12 point font, Times New Roman, double spaced with a 0.3 first line indent. It is easiest to set this up early when writing the manuscript and then you don’t have to worry about going back to reformat. In your manuscript draft, be sure to include: Acknowledgements, Biography, Dedication.

When considering self-publishing also consider the number of words and how many pages that that book will generate. Depending on format most books will be between 200-300 pages, which is generally about 70,000 words. Genres will have their own expectations of word count. Be aware of what books in your genre look like and how many words generally per age. The longer your book is, the more money it will cost to produce, which will eat into your profits in the long run.

Also consider marketing when you publish a book. Most self-publishing options will not market for you, so you will have to pay any marketing fees, such as inclusion to book aggregators like BookBub, Book Doggie or Sweet Free Books.

Michele also offers writing workshops through her website at

Break and networking

Club Business

Installment of New club Leadership: Postponed until new club membership is present

Announcements from members: June Gillam

  • Jen Hoffman- working on rewriting her book, also there is a fundraiser for the Manzanita Writers Press: The Arts Harvest Dinner Dance at the Pickle Patch in San Andreas. Tickets are $35 for dinner and music.
  • Trish is working on a play and a “bad novel”
  • Heidi Andersen is working on Camp Nanowrimo
  • Tory Marinelli is working on just getting writing done using
  • Anthony Marinelli is taking a course on editing using The Story Grid, and working on a rewrite for his novel. He also adds that the SJVW website at is ready for submissions and content.
  • Deborah is working with Beta readers and rewriting
  • John commends Leslie Liberty and Jennifer Gonzalez for publication in the California Writer’s Club Literary Review. He also commends the SJVW critique groups for helping him with editing his own works.
  • Dan implores people to come to the critique sessions, both on Saturdays and Tuesdays to help give feedback to local writes. Also offers book reviews and blog interviews on his blog He currently has 4 books out on query.
  • Betsy teaches at the UOP Benard School of education and has been working on summer school She is working on a short piece about hospice care and a coloring book. Also working on a short/middle piece on her father’s experiences in China during World War II.
  • Loy Holder joins us from the Sacramento branch of the California Writer’s Club and is looking for a speaker for the Elk Grove Writer’s Conference to be held on October 22nd. The conference is $50, which includes continental breakfast and lunch. This year’s theme is “Writers Helping Writer” and she is currently looking for someone to help teach a session on “How to Market your Book through the Use of Social Media, Webpage and Book Trailer.” If interested, contact her at For more information about the conference, find information at
  • Harlan send a manuscript to the publisher last month.
  • June Fern is working on a Cat Cozy Mystery.
  • Pam VanAllen recently recieved feedback through her first developmental edit through Shannon Winter.
  • Maria is working on her first novel- A romance and fantasy. Enjoys the critique meeting.
  • Robin joins us from the Sacramento branch of the California Writer’s Club. She writes children’s stories and is currently editing.
  • June Gillam is working on a manuscript and is enjoying the camaraderie of

her cabin on

Summer Lineup—Every Tuesday, Drop In Critique Sessions, 5:30 p.m. UOP Library

  • August 11 -- WhatchaGot? Members showcase their projects
  • September 8 – Susan Osborn, Storytelling to Strengthen Your Writing
  • October 13 -- Great Valley Bookfest Booth in Manteca- plan on attending
  • November and December- Will be meeting in the Taylor Room.

Officers Reports:

  • Treasurer: Financial Report Postponed. General vote taken on transferring funds from club account to donate $400 to the Writers Conference at UOP to cover losses. General vote taken: All in favor, none opposed. So moved.
  • Secretary: Minutes Approval Postponed- see webpage

Adjournment: June Gillam

Manuscript Critiques followed in adjacent room.

Victoria Marinelli, Acting Secretary Date of Approval

Dues for the new fiscal year July 2018

We are now into our new fiscal year and dues are due.  If you are a continuing member, your dues are $45.  If you are a new member, your dues and a fee to join will be $65.  Encourage other writers in your writing groups to attend a meeting and see the wonderful speakers we offer every month.

JM Hoffman

Treasurer, CWC-SJV Branch

Please bring your payment to a meeting and make sure it is received by an officer.
Make checks payable to:
CA Writers Club-SJ Valley Branch



9June2018 Meeting Minutes

San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, June 9, 2018

Call to Order: Scott Evans 

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman

Introduction of Speaker: June Gillam 

SPEAKER: Linda Champion, presented on "The Illusive Fairy Tale & How to Write It," these tales are part of folk tale genre but rather than being anonymous, the fairy tale is generally written by one author, as a plot driven short story, often contain paranormal characters, magic and enchantments, and include a moral though seldom a religious moral. Fairy tales are set in no specific time or place, with no happy ending required and are for people of all ages. The writer has freedom to be inventive in trying to explain the unexplainable in the world, using vague settings such as once upon a time in a land far away, though could be thinking of a real place like Lodi or such.  
    Fairy tales are meant to be thought provoking not answers to problems in life: the Grimm bros had adults in mind; when they collected and published them around 1800, the tales were very dark, but to sell more books and make money, the brothers softened their tales for children, too, and shifted into happily ever after endings. Stepmothers were common in fairy tales back then because often bio moms would die in childbirth, and are still so relatable today in this era of broken marriages. 
    Linda outlined her process for writing a fairy tale and urged writers in attendance to write them as well. She read aloud her story of a giant excluded from a flower garden, with an ant as the hero who calmly persisted until he got the garden authority to change and allow the giant in. For more on Linda and her work, see

Break and networking

ELECTION: Scott Evans

Announcements from members: Scott Evans

Announcement of Election results: Scott Evans: the nominated slate of officers was voted in with just one write-in vote. Our officers for the coming year are:

    Scott Evans, President
    Leslie Liberty, Vice President
    Jennifer Hoffman, Treasurer
    June Gillam, Secretary

Summer Lineup—Every Tuesday, Drop In Critique Sessions, 5:30 p.m. UOP Library
    Annual Creative Writing Conference at UOP: June 22-24
    July 14--WhatchaGot? Members showcase their projects
    August 11 -- TBA
    September 8 – Susan Osborn, Storytelling to Strengthen Your Writing
    October 13 -- Great Valley Bookfest Booth in Manteca
Officers Reports: 
    Treasurer: Financial Situation Postponed
     Secretary: Minutes Approval Postponed

Adjournment: Scott Evans

Manuscript Critiques


June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

Tuleburg Press Seeks Writers for San Joaquin Delta Anthology

Tuleburg Press in Stockton CA, is working on a San Joaquin Delta anthology. We hope to connect with as many writers throughout California who may have work or an interest in contributing to this project. We're looking for first-hand accounts of Delta life, poems, stories, essays, etc. Would you contribute your email to our list of writers groups in California. If you are interested please reply to Paula Sheil at


12May2018 Meeting Minutes

San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Call to Order: June Gillam
Due to UOP's graduation on this day and extremely poor parking, our attendance was at an all time low; therefore we postponed everything on the May agenda to the June Meeting, including the election. 

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman
Approximately 10 in attendance, including one newcomer.

Speaker: Poet Laureate of Davis, Dr. Andy Jones offered a delightful presentation centered around the private and the public value of poetry, noting the irony that his private practice as a poet, now a laureate, must needs be shared in the public sphere, particularly to deliver an original three-minute poem just before the fireworks on July 4th. He works to bring poetry to an audience at public events in Davis and he includes in his own writing what his city is known for. 

Addressing the tension between the practical and the impractical in terms of the value of poetry for students wanting to get a job, Andy pointed to the practical first and said there is a new focus on the value of studying subjects fostering creative skills for work that cannot be done by robots. He referenced A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, in which Daniel Pink proposes that three big As affect us now as job seekers of all kinds, including writers trying to sell their wares.

Abundance -- trillions of products and activities, including books
Automation-- robots taking many of the current jobs
Asia -- many more English speaking workers than in US, so cheap wages

Degrees and accomplishments in poetry/humanity/liberal arts prepares people for the new jobs that robots cannot do.

Regarding the impractical, Andy said in poetry we can find emotional truth; it can connect us in an immediate way to important things, crucial things in our lives that hit us in the heart; poetry connects disparate images and ideas, and even a bad poem can still provide a therapeutic function available to all of us.

The poet can step forth and say what others know to be emotionally true but have not have expressed it in a specific and touching way. Ambitious and precise, poetry tries to communicate using the perfect word and do interesting things with the language such as use puns (sparingly) like this example Andy saw in front of a church: "Exposure to the son can prevent burning."

A poem starts with a disturbance of the status quo--the poem's speaker has had an occasion that generated the speech/poem. A poem enacts an emotion, does not need to have a logical meaning, not to be read as an essay or article.

Dr. Andy also offered some marketing tips: "association marketing" works--people who bought this also bought that, and direct "content marketing" works too, such as at events where writers connect with people. It's a good idea to offer something of value such as portions of a nonfiction book in a blog at first to get people to know you and want to support your book later when it comes out.

Ask yourself, how do I offer value in order to grow an audience before my book comes out? For example, writers help readers solve problems. 

For a schedule of Dr. Andy's poetry and related events in Davis, see
and on Facebook, see Dr. Andy's Poetry and Technology Hour

We took a break for networking

Adjournment: June Gillam

Manuscript Critiques followed.


June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

14April2018 Meeting Minutes

San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Call to Order: Scott Evans
Scott solicited nominations for office and reviewed the May upcoming election process. 

Sign In Sheet: June Gillam
Approximately 20 in attendance, including newcomers.

Speaker: Lisa Slabach, author of Degrees of Love, presented on Women’s Fiction, tips for writing deeply emotional content and ideas for marketing, as well. Degrees made its full-length publishing debut in December 2017 and has been nominated for a 2017 Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews.  

Lisa began with a summary of her career, which led to ideas for her novel, which was recognized as a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews and was picked up by several agents, yet turned down by publishers because they did not know how to categorize it for sales, as it did not fall into a clearly recognizable genre. The closest she could come was to place it in Women’s Fiction, which Lisa defined as focused on the “emotional journey of the main character.” Yet this is frustrating due to the fact that many novels are centered around that element, as well. But Women’s Fiction can also be considered Literary Fiction, noted Slabach, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jane Eyre, etc. 

She went on to share her two favorite techniques for writing deeply emotional content. First, use “sense memory.” Put your self imaginatively back into a time you felt a similar emotion and describe what is going on in your body. Second, use the “psychological gesture,” a physical action that expresses an emotion. 

She advised planning to spend on continual marketing without expecting a clearly related sales return, noting that marketing is just part of the cost of running a business. She learned a lot from Facebook tutorials on how to create ads. She uses Book Baby for publication of her novel and is satisfied with them. For more on Lisa,  see

We took a short break for networking

Announcements: May 12 meeting will also be Graduation for UOP, so arrive early to get parking. 

Minutes from the March meeting were approved.

Adjournment: Scott Evans

Manuscript Critiques followed.


June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

10March2018 Meeting Minutes

San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Call to Order: Scott Evans
Scott reviewed upcoming election elements and solicited nominations for office
and shared information about the June Creative Writing Conference available to members at half the usual price. 

Sign In Sheet: June Gillam
Approximately 22 in attendance
Many newcomers, some from Meetup

Speaker: Joshua Mohr gave a lively presentation on the intersection of plot and character, of linearity and non-linearity creating various frames. He noted that writers inhabit a consciousness on the page for each character’s individual quest, their decision-making system. For example, he said it won’t work to trade the protagonists from Clockwork Orange and Eat Pray Love because the characters would choose differently at each plot point.

Josh said that characters from each end of the spectrum may be too one-dimensional while characters who live in the middle have the best shot at the dignity of complexity—what makes them like us, complex human beings. Our task, he believes, is to bring them to life in an exciting way. If we show them in one scene as selfish and greedy, then we can show their grace in another scene, to create dissonance—up the activity level for the reader to ponder the richness of the character; take the story to a meaningful level, meaningful as defined by a complex protagonist. 

He advised writers to play with time in the plot, consider alternate timelines; reframe the story architecture; ask yourself when is linearity an asset, when is it better to hold back the linearity of the actual story seen as a planetary body, with various moons orbiting it, some defying the gravity of the main body to show a more open heart; the writer meets the reader by way of the “open heart” of the book. 

Josh recommends the writer be a reckless explorer with a story’s structure, create a visceral experience for the reader, take him/her to the first row of the theater, invite readers onto the stage of the play. Understand the stakes in the story; what loss or pain is the protagonist risking, what context will add visceral texture to the story—where is it more compelling to be linear and where to depart from that? 

Josh gave us the task of taking a few minutes to list the most visceral scenes from our work in progress and consider rearranging the order they appear in our stories. Content and structure, are all trial and error, he said. We won’t make all readers happy. There is no such thing as THE start of a story; offer the reader an image, an impression, that defies the reader to stop reading. Josh left us with a renewed enthusiasm for our work and the advice to “write the book only you can write.” 

We took a short break for networking

Announcements from those in attendance
Robert Reinarts invited writers to participate in the Heritage Writers Community, which meets monthly at the Hagin Museum. Contact him at for details.

Officers and Committee Reports: 
Website: Updates on the website were provided by Anthony Marinelli who invited all to visit to view the site and add comments, using the member information form now “live” on the site. 

Minutes from the January meeting were approved.

Adjournment: Scott Evans

Manuscript Critiques followed.

June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval