Writers West of Alameda


Alameda, CA 94501

to understand our meeting format click HERE
Home | Members | Events | Links to other sites | email us!
May 9, 2012Next scheduled meeting - check back after the meeting for the agenda.
April 10, 2012Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Monty, Patsy, Patti, and newcomer Lizz. Violet read "Henry & Jonathan" from Jeremy's Cottage, Patti read "Family Memories Honored and Kept Secret." Tony continued last month's garden scene with the family at the dinner table, giving us a glimpse of their world view between OPEN and Nixon's resxignation.
March 14, 2012Violet, Spencer, Monty, Gretchen, Patsy, Tony and Patti were all at the meeting. Monty read a revision of "Birthday Cake and Baby Teeth" wherein we see Matt's mother trying to manipulate him as high school student, into saving her from her most recent marriage partner. Patsy read a prose birthday essay she had written for a friend. Even Patsy's prose is poetic. Violet read "Apple Orchard," one of the pieces in Jeremy's Cottage. Her new project is a collection of short stories with a metaphysical theme. Tony took us to Max's aunt's garden, where the family picked vegetables as the men expressed concern over the pending union strike.
February 8, 2012Big crowd this evening with Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Monty and Patsy, and two newcomers, Patti and Nancy. Not being shy at all, Patti read part of her family history novel about Asa and Mandus, two brothers who lived in the 1850s. Violet has decided to put her book on hiatus, but she brought us up to date on happenings past the point shere she had read. Patsy read four pages of ehyming poems she had written years ago.
January 10, 2012Monty, Spencer, Violet, Tony and Gretchen were at the meeting. Spencer read part of a story about bedtime, with the kid too wound up to sleep. Monty read "Bone," part of a story with Matt as an adult at the breakup of his marriage. Violet read "Meeting Dean" and becoming engaged after years as a single parent. Tony read part of his novel wherein Max, as a first-grader, is so frightened of the nuns that can't go to the basement restroom and wets his pants.
December 13, 2011Only Tony, Monty and Violet were at the meeting, as the others had pre-holiday commitments and in Patsy's case, her annual trip to Hawaii. Monty read "Cuttin' Loose," a re-write of the night five boys from the orphanage went out, a year after Lovelace had left, to celebrate his leaving. You can see the young boys teasing each other and talking the way young boys talk - trying to out-gross each other. Matt catches and loses a big garfish. Tony read "The Flu Epidemic Continues." Max finds some old letters in the hole in the wall near his bed and learns they were written by a relative who died of the flu so he wraps each one in plastic so he can read them, as a segue into telling the story of the flu epidemic. Violet read, "Out of the Rut" which is the story of her first visit to Calilfornia in 1967, when her daughter was 17 and talking about college and she felt overwhelmed by the thought of helping her to find a college.
November 8, 2011We're expected and got Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Patsy & Monty. Patsy read "I'm Dreaming of a White Alligator" - a song parody rounding out her talents as a poet. Violet read "Me and My Cat." After she broke up with Carl, she adapted to life as a single mother. Tony read a chapter wherein Max pries the panneling off the wall in his bedroom and discovers access to things hidden in the wall. Monty re-read Prince, since it had been read to the group and critiqued, he wanted to show us how he incorporated changes.
October 11, 2011Spencer, Violet, Tony, Gretchen and Patsy were at the meeting. Monty was at a workshop, so he promised highlights next month. Violet read "Carl" from A Life Unexpected, Spencer read a draft of the introduction to his book, and a revision of "The Slides" and Tony read part of a long chagper containing a baseball game.
September 13, 2011Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Spencer, Monty & Patsy - all current members present and accounted for. Spencer read "The Pinata" about his son's third birthday party, Patsy read some of her rhyming short poems, Violet read "Two Busy Years," Tony read a chapter wherein Max discovers a coffin in a park before Halloween, and Monty read "Sweat and Tears", about Matt's visit to a friend from the orphanage, years later. .
August 9, 2011Tony, Spencer and Violet made up the group tonight. Violet read, "Dating and Waiting" from "A Life Not Expected." Spencer read, "I Can Help You," from his book and Tony read (are you ready?) "Taking a Beagle for a Walk in a Field of Rabbits." It was a departure somewhat from the other chapters and had us on the edge of our seats. It was long so he left us hanging and we'll have to wait until next month to see how Max got out of his predicament. We had a chance to share some of our thoughts about writing. It was a very good meeting. Spencer had some insightful things to say about Tony's chapter.
July 12, 2011Members Monty, Spencer, Violet, Gretchen and Tony were at the meeting along wtih a guest who would like to be known as "B". Tony is nack from the Faulkner Southern History workshop and gave us the full report. Violet read "Mot Yet" from her current work in progress, Spemcer read "Road Work", Tony read some characterization work influenced his trip to Mississippi, Monty read a re-write of "Prince" and we had a rousing discussion about whether or not to use the dog's Point of View.
June 14, 2011Another great meeting. Tony, Gretchen, Violet and Mnnty attended, as did Spencer. Spencer read "Sound of Dings", another of the stories for his son, Tony read a segment from his book, Auntiie Maria's House, Monty read "Prince," a chapter where a dog appears at the orphanage, Violet read "School Days and Beyond" from her current book.
May 10, 2011Tony, Gretchen and Violet attended and welcomed back Marie and Spencer. Violet read "Foxboro" from her current work, Tony read a chapter containting history of building the Massachusetts Turnpike, Marie read "Pati" which is part of her memoire about living in Fiji. Only three readers this time so we had lots of time for indepth critiques. Violet reminded everyone about her book signing for "A Gossamer Cord" on June 4 at Books Inc.
April 12, 2011Great crowd, great meeting. Members Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Monty, Patsy welcomed returnees Jana and Spencer. Jana brought a friend, Kathy, and we were also joined by Maria Burnett. Violet brought a small pail with numbered balls so we could draw lots to determine reading order, then she drew #1!! She read "Leaving Cumberland" and Maria , not at all shy about joining right in, pointed out all the bridge crossing metaphors in the piece. Monty read eight short poems distilled from heated exchanges with friends on Facebook. Tony read a piece with the newspaperboy going to the Basketball hall of Fame with his father. Jana read a teeny tiny story about a teeny tiny toy found on the beach. Spencer read a piece about taking his young son to the library for Storytime. > Maria read a piece she had publlished in a Street Sheet that she wants to rewrite. She also asked for ideas about a personal history novel she is planning about her time living in Indonesia. Patsy read her rhyming poem Crone. We went past our normal ending time: we were all so engrossed in the readings and critiques that we didn't want to stop the meeting. This is how we like it best!!
March 08, 2011Gretchen, Violet and Patsy were at the meeting, joined this time by two guests. First was Spencer Reynolds, then John Smith (who prefers not to have his real name out on the web). Spencer read a well thought out piece that is part of an onging pruject for his son. It's rare when a newbie jumps right in, but Spencer did. John had insightful comments on the work of others, but did not read. Violet read another chapter from her next book, and Patsy read some of her rhyming poems, with darker themes. We missed you Tony & Monty!!
February 08, 2011Tony, Gretchen, Violet and Monty attended the meeting. Monty read Sweat & Tears from his orphanage book, Tony read more from his newspaper boy novel, wherein the boy's father builds an igloo in the front yard. Violet read Square One, from her new book, and Patsy read rhyming poem #199 - she's going to compile them when she has 400. Violet had proof copies of A Gossamer Cord fresh from Trafford Press.
January 2011Gretchen Violet Monty & Tony attended the meeting.
December 2010Tony, Gretchen & Violet attended the meeting. Tony talked about his experience in the conference, which was more for writers with finished work looking for an agent. He also read part of his new work with the genius paperboy. Violet read "Commonwealth of Massachusets" from A Life Unexpected.
November 2010Patsy, Tony, Monty, Morton and Violet were there from the group. Ed, Tony and Phil were the newcomers. Tony Bellotti read another chapter from his book. Monty read "Bird" from his book, "The Last Orphanage." Ed McComb read "The Call," a short story about two fishermen who find a dead body. Tony Cascio read "My Wendy," another short story about a woman killed by the man she loved. Phil read "The Love Boat Mystery," a short, comic story about a couple on a cruise. Violet read a revised Introduction from "A Life Not Expected." Tony is going to his writers' conference this week-end so he'll be a changed man when we meet in December.
October 2010Violet, Monty, Tony and Gretchen attended the meeting.
September 14, 2010Violet, Monty, Phyllis, Dave, Patsy, Tony and Gretchen attended the meeting.
August 10, 2010Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Monty and Phyllis were at the meeting and we welcomed backJana Lear after some self-imposed hiatus which lasted too long. Tony gave us the full report on his first trip to an ER and his first week in a hospital, and then his most recent trip to St. Croix. Violet brought up the topic "Does Grammar matter anymore??" and we kicked it around. Opinions ranged from Of Course it Does to I wish I Knew More and we all participated in the exchange. Then the readings: Violet read another chapter in A Life Unexpected which she called 1946 - 1949. Monty read a rewrite of last month's chapter, with our ideas incorporated. This was a treat, since we hardly ever hear a modified chapter. Then Tony, who had time to write 42,000 words when he wasn't on a gurney or a beach, read the beginning of a completely new work, with the central character being a 13 year old Mensa card-holding school kid who delivers newspapers on a cool bike with a banana seat. Should I be worried about my grammar, here? I can end a sentence with a preposition if I want to. Best meeting in a long time!! Irv, we missed you!
July 13, 2010Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Monty, Phyllis and new member Dave Hawbecker were all at the meeting, plus we welcomed first-timer Ron Gilmette. Phyllis read an opinion piece called The Art of Radio Reporting to start off, then Monty read a chapter called Adoptimists, wherein he was considered and was legally barred from being adopted as a young teenager, from his memoire. Violet read another chapter from An Unexpected Life. Fewer readers means mroe time for critique. Great meeting!
June 8, 2010Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Irv, Monty, Mary Jo were all here, plus Dave Hawbecker and Susan came for the second time. Mary Jo read "To the Principal's Office" from her memoires, Violet read another chapter from A Life Unelpected, Monty read Optimists from his book, plus a poem, Algebra. Irv read the final chapter from A 20-Minute War, and Tony read a character study of Joe the Mortician where he meets a psychiatrist at a conference on the study of Death and Sex. A good time was had by all.
May 11, 2010 Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Phyllis, Mort, Patsy and long-time members Culver and Mary Jo Wold were all here, and we welcomed visitor Susan Haumeder. Mort read his own Chapter One from a book he and his partner are co-writing, wherein he anticipates coming to California for a nine-day visit with a love from 50 years past. Violet read Robin Hollow, a chapter in A Life Unexpected, where she and sister Ruthie skate on a frozen pond with the other kids, Phyllis read a poem On Eagles Wings, which came to her while driving, causing her to pull off the road to get it all on paper, Culver read an essay which he has already submitted to an NPR radio show and upcoming work called This I Believe, Patsy read more rhyming verses and told us how she plays with the words to create these.
April 13, 2010Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Irv, Patsy and Phyllis attended the meeting. Phyllis read snippets from a promising detective novel set in Alameda, Irv, excited about attending a 2nd Cavalary Reunion next month, read a chapter near the end of A Twenty Minute War, Denise read three emotionally charged poems, Violet read another chapter from A Life Unexpected. Patsy read exerpts from a riddle book written for her grandchildren, and Tony read a short piee about a bicycle he had in his youth. A reminder to all that dues are due, and if you want to be included on the members page, write a short bio and email it to the webmaster (who in this case is really a webmistress....)
March 9, 2010We had a nice crowd this meeting. Members Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Irv and Patsy were at the meeting, and welcomed visitors Elinor Lundquist, Lucia Cook, Alex Nomdeplume, who prefers anonymity, Phyllis Greenwood and Mort Chalfy. Irv read a segment from A Twenty Minute War, wherein Novatne climbs a fence and discovers one of the few casualties during his stint, Phyllis read six short poems, Patsy read a piece she wrote playing with rhyme, Mort read a chapter from Things to do Before I Die and Tony read something new with a character bearing a barcode tattoo on his neck. Gretchen reminded all that dues are due, and please bring checkbooks to the April meeting. Dues are $10 a year and cover our simple expenses, such as this website.
February 9, 2010Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Irv attended, plus we welcomed returnee Phil Ribera and friend Terry VanderHeiden. Tony read a rewrite of the opening chapter of Harry Houdlenaught, Gretchen read a stand-alone short story "To See a Man About a Harp," Violet read a rewrite of Chapter 1 of An Unexpected Life, and Irv read two segments showing interaction between Joe Novatne and Anna, from The 20 Minute War.
January 12, 2010Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Irv, Monty, Mary Jo and Carolyn Cowell were at the meeting. Irv read the sequel to the St. Tropez beach scene, Violet read a rewrite of the introduction to "A Life Unexpected," Carolyn read "60 Seconds" a short story where the action took place on a tourist ferry to Alcatraz, Monty read "Birthday Cake," in which he visits his mother on his eighteenth birthday, Mary Jo read "Mud Pots" and a poem entitled "No More Switching."
December 8, 2009Gretchen, Violet, Mary Jo, Irv, Monty and (guest) Erick Wonzen attended the meeting. Mray Jo read "My First Christmas in the Desert," from her memoire, Violet read the introduction to her new book, "A Life Unexpected," Irv read the chapter which gave the name to his book "A Twenty Minute War," Monty read "Eclipse" a chapter from his memoire in which he changed the narrator point of view from first person to omnipresent overview.
November 10, 2009We had a core group consisting of Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Irv, Monty and Mary Jo. Gretchen read a story from her book Beads of Amber (true accounts of synchronicity and manifestation) entitled Early Out. Violet read a rewrite of a short story called Johnathan's Visit, Monty read a piece from his orphanage memoire showing snippets of life with his mostly-absent mother. Irv read last, and treated us to a chapter from The 20-Minute War, wherein Novatne takes time off from the Cold War and heats things up by going to a beach in St. Tropez. Members who missed this should BEG him to read it again. Better yet, buy the book if you can wait that long.
October 13, 2009Yet another big crowd. Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Irv, Monty, Patsy, Susan, Bernice, Mary Jo and Culver all attended. Patsy read the first chapter from aa children's novel Mugwort of Tadfidic, Bernice read Sidewalk Chicken, about walking in deep snow, Susan read a first person article about meeting a Belgian soldier in the airport, Tony read a poem he wrote in November 2001, Mary Jo read her First Day at School chapter, Monty read a letter to his mother about a childhood friend, and Irv read the chapter where Novatne meets a family of Czech escapees.
September 8, 2009We had an even bigger crowd!! Members Tony, Gretchen, Violet, Irv, Monty, Patsy, Mary Jo and Jana were there, as well as Guy Smith who we had not seen in a while. Guests included Susan Galleymore, Marlene Winell, Linda Bay (who came up from San Jose,) Chuck Hanson and a returnee guest from a few months ago, Phil.

Mary Jo started off by reading Going to California, part of her memoire which takes place on the road from Arkansas to California in the thirties. Irv gave us a choice of chapters from A 20-Minute War - military history or romance and politics. There was a cheerful consensus - we all wanted to hear more about Czech Anna and hero Joe Novatne. Monty read a piece from his memoire placed on the last day before he was taken to the orphanage. Then guest Susan read a metaphorical opening chapter set in South Africa wherein a small girl witnesses the killing of a snake.
August 11, 2009We had a big crowd - Tony, Gretchen, Irv, Vern and Jana, and Monty Heying came back afer missing months of meetings.We missed Violet, who was absent due to the loss of her dear husband. Jana read a personal essay on curly hair, which was delightful and well planned. Monty read more of his orphanage story, telling about the first day. Vern read Chapter 1 of the "The Heart of an Intellectual." Irv read the long awaited chapter from "A 20-Minute War" wherein Novatne meets Czech refugee Anna, falling in love in less than twenty minutes.
July 14, 2009Attendees were Violet, Gretchen, Irv, Jana and Mary Jo, who brought husband Culver, who we haven't seen in ages. Tony was in the Caribbean, poor darling. Violet read the first short story from her new anthoogy, Jeremy's Cottage. Irv read a pivotal chapter from his book, A Twenty-Minute War. Mary Jo had planned to read, but had to leave early with Culver. Jana was going to read but decided to save it for next time.
June 9, 2009Attendees were Tony, Violet, Gretchen, Berneice, new members Jana and Nancy de Maranville. Also a guest, Phil. Special meeting on Self Publishing. Violet spoke about her experience with Trafford Publishing, Phil added that he knew of a man who released his mystery novel one chapter at a time as a free podcast, then self-published the work and made it available on amazon.com. The amazon reviews cauused a lot of favorable attention, and his book was picked up by a large publisher. Irv had done considerable research into the many self-publishing websites that exist.
May 12, 2009Tony, Gretchen, Irv and Violet attended. Patsy came back and two other guests were with us: Jana Lear and Jared Moody. After introductions and hearing about Violet's most recent cruise, Patsy read a group of six or seven vignettes, two of which were inspired by Tony and Irv's readings last month. Tony read the much-improved and quite captivating rewrite of Chapter 1 of his Harry Hoodlenaught novel, and Irv read a chapter from A Twenty Minute War wherein three main characters go into town to visit a German state-run brothel, which was of course off limits to US military personnel.
April 14, 2009Tony, Gretchen, Irv attended. We also welcomed a newcomer, Patsy Paul. Tony read a short piece inspired by death and taxes. Irv read two chapters from A Twenty Minute War.
March 10, 2009Tony, Gretchen, Irv and Vern attended the meeting. Vern read Chapter 3 of The Heart of an Intellectual and Irv read more of his cold war novel.
February 10, 2009Although we missed Tony, there was a big group: Violet, Gretchen, Irv, Vern, Monty and Bernice. We discussed the idea of devoting a meeting to self publishing and since we all liked the idea, decided to have it in June. Monty will invite a speaker. Bernice read Catharsis, a 30th birthday first person piece, Violet read the final version of Miranda's Journey, Vern read Heart of the Intellectual, a character study for one of his characters in his novel, Irv read an intro to setting the stage for fear, from his novel.
January 13, 2009Attendees were Violet, Gretchen, Tony, Guy, Irv and Bernice. Guy read Afterlife, a short story, Violet read Miranda's Journey, and Irv read more from his military novel.
December 9, 2008Three members attended the meeting - Tony, Irv and Violet. A discussion on Tony's writing preceded the readings. Irv read the 28th chapter of his book, A 20-Minute War, which is set on the Czech-Soviet Union border in the 1950's. It's the story of the soldiers who guarded the border and participated in preparations for a possible war. This chapter covered the complicated relationship which arose when Russia claimed Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Poland and made them part of the Soviet Union, also making them enemies of the United States when they had been friends in the past. Violet read Miranda's Journey, the final story in her 2nd book, A Gossamer Cord.
November 11, 2008Big turnout! Tony, Gretchen and Violet attended, along with returnees Vern and Carolyn, and two first-timers, Bernice and Monty. After introductions, Tony started off by reading part of his Harry Hoodlenaught chronicle, then Carolyn read a short story, House of Glass. Monty read an exerpt from the beginning his memoire, Navigating Chaos, Violet read a short story, The Seesaw, from A Gossamer Cord, Bernice read a short story called Catharsis and Vern read a new opening chapter from his novel, Kundalini Love, after critiques from several writing groups. We had a lot of talent in Conference Room C.
October 14, 2008Tony, Gretchen, Violet and Vern attended. Violet read a gripping, powerful story, My Real Mother, from her second book. Vern read the opening chapter from a novel, Kundalini Love. With a small group and two readers, we had time for lengthy discourse on the work of both writers.
September 9, 2008

Attendees at this meeting were Tony, Violet, Vernon, and first time visitors Bernadette and Carolyn. Mary Jo and Irv were notably missing, as was Gretchen who was recovering from a carpet installation and couldn't find her shoes, among other things. Per Violet, we had quite an interesting reading. First time visitor Bernadette read a chapter from a book she has written, about Isis and Atlantis and how Egypt was founded. Violet was so engrossed in the chapter she forgot to note the book title. Vernon read from his book, The Three Fates, with some promising characters. Violet read A Gossamer Cord from her second book of the same name. We missed Anne of the fantasy writing this time - if you're reading this, please come back!

August 12, 2008Somehow, in the editing, August minutes and notes slipped through the cracks.
July 8, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen, Irv and Tony all attended the meeting. We also were happy to welcome two visitors, Al Levenson and Guy Smith. Violet read a new short story, Jonathan, Tony read some new character development stream of consciousness work on a familiar character, Harry Hoodlenaught. Guy read a hilarious commentary piece about the recent Gay Pride Parade, Al read a short story in the fantasy genre, The Charging Bull of Bowling Green Park, Irv read a portion of his novel for critique on the interaction of the two characters. Great meeting, lots of diverse material, good critique from the members and guests. Hope to see Al and Guy next month!

June 10, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen and Tony all came to the meeting. Mary Jo read another part from her family history, Violet read a re-write of short story (Craggy Head) she found in her archives.

May 13, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen attended. Violet and Mary Jo read current works.

April 8, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen and Tony all came to the meeting. Violet and Mary Jo read current works.

March 11, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen Tony and Irv all came to the meeting. Irv read a part of a chapter from his novel, Violet read a short story, Mary Jo read a segment from her family history.

February 12, 2008

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen and Tony all came to the meeting. Plus we were joined by Irv Hamilton, a member from a few years back. There was plenty of catching up to do, after the winter hiatus. Irv read a part of a chapter from his fascinating historical novel, concerning US soldiers on the German/Czech border during the Cold War.

September to January

Winter Hiatus
August 14, 2007

Violet, Mary Jo, Gretchen and Tony all came to the meeting. Violet read The Fifth Season, another short story to be included in her third book, which she has decided to call The Fifth Season. Mary Jo was just beginning to read when she was called home. Gretchen read chapter one, again, and worked with Tony and Violet on issues with one character, scenes that felt contrived, and what to do to fix these things. Gretchen felt like she could finally get Bridget Slaney out of the kitchen and into the barn.

July 10, 2007

Violet and Gretchen attended. Violet read an engaging, mystical short story called Jeremy's Cottage

June 12, 2007

Violet, Tony and Mary Jo attended the meeting. Mary Jo read from her new book (as yet untitled) and Violet read from another collection of short stories she's been working on. Tony's wife came to pick him up, so we met her (again) and the new baby!

May 8, 2007

Gretchen and Violet attended, with a surprise and delightful return by Mary Jo, a long time member we haven't seen in a while. Mary Jo brought copies of her book Little Annie Poot, a collection of memoir stories about her family coming to California in the Dust Bowl era. We caught up on current doings and each promised to bring something to read next month.

April 10, 2007Meeting was cancelled due to Violet's absense and Tony and Gretchen not having things to read. We need new members and new blood! Hello? Anyone out there reading this?

March 14, 2007Tony, Gretchen and Violet attended. Violet read the new opening (not the whole chapter 1) of her novel. Tony read two poems.

February 13, 2007Tony, Gretchen and Violet attended. Violet had come to stuck point in developing her novel. We spent the meeting time working with her on premise (figuring out what she wanted to say, or her message) determining the conflict between the characters that would move the story forward. In an email one week later, she wrote, "...that's exactly the conclusion I came to after you and Tony helped me to clear my head. I was mulling over what we had talked about and it hit me - she had expectations. Once I realized that, the wheels started turning. I jotted down the beginning of the story and now, you'll be happy to hear, I have the ending."

January 9, 2007Tony, Gretchen and Violet attended, as well as a guest, Carol Burnett. Carol is an art therapist interested in telling the miracles that happen with her work. Gretchen read an exerpt from somewhere in the middle of her novel. Now that she knows the ending, she's forging ahead on it.

December 12, 2006Winter Hiatus - no meeting
November 14, 2006Winter Hiatus - no meeting
October 10, 2006Topic of discussion: Your Writing, facilitated by Tony. Then Violet read the opening of her next book, The Whistle in the Valley, her first novel.

September 12, 2006Topic of discussion: Gretchen spoke about blogs. Violet read a new story, Wild Strawberries, Wild Grapes, the last story in her new book, The Gossamer Link. She settled on the title for the book, which is a collection of ten short stories. Publishing date is coming up soon. Click here to go to Violet's page on the Trafford Publishing website, where you can read more about her first book, In the Village of Lonsdale. Got the champagne ready, Vi?

August 8, 2006Tony, Violet and Gretchen attended. Topic of discussion: Violet spoke about her experience with self publication on the internet. She brought an approval copy of her book, copies of letters from her publisher, and instructions, with copies for all in attendance. Then Violet read a short story, Momma's Secret.

July 11, 2006Short meeting with Tony and Gretchen.

June 13, 2006Tony, Gretchen and Violet were at the meeting, as well as Irv Hamilton, a member last year who came back to see us. Irv read part of a chapter from a book about his experience as a soldier in WWII, when he was stationed in Eastern Europe. Violet read Seesaw. The protagonist, Patty Mahoney Kiscinski, and her friend, Cynthia Renwick Gardner, have lives that are poles apart, but life is unpredictable.
Violet is excited to announce she has begun the process of having her book,
The Gossamer Thread published as an ebook available on the internet. The hard copy of the manuscript went out last week and the digital file will go out this week, then she has to wait six weeks for the first proof.

May 9, 2006Apologies to any newcomers who may have arrived at the meeting place and found no one there. We all had issues to deal with.

April 11, 2006In attendance: Violet and Gretchen. Tony was getting over a bad cold and had grades due. Violet read a short story, Driftwood. Gretchen read Chapter One from her novel, revised yet again.

March 14, 2006In attendance: Tony, Gretchen and Violet. We discussed old business, such as revising the format for the meetings by emailing work in advance, and decided to keep reading at the meetings instead. Since Alice wasn't at the meeting, we could not discuss plans for an event.
Violet read Mildred and Debbie a short, very simple, straightforward story that will be included in her new book, The Gossamer Cord, a working title.
Alice planned to read but did not attend.

February 14, 2006We all agreed to cancel the meeting so we could spend time with our respective Valentines, and will hold an interim meeting before the next official meeting to take care of this business:
Tony will give results of preliminary conversation with Books, Inc.
Alice will report on preliminary discussions with authors she knows
Gretchen will bring the camera to take pictures. The web site is done (as far as possible) and "live."

January 21, 2006We had a special meeting at Jim's Coffee Shop over lunch. Sorry you couldn't be there, Violet.

We discussed the problem: not enough regular attendees at meetings, needing new members, what to do about it.

We threw ideas around - an event at Books, Inc. on Park Street. Tony is going to contact them, see if they are interested in arranging events with our group, see what the lead time is, see what events they have planned already, see if they like the idea. It would be good for them because of the publicity - we as a non profit can put free press releases in the papers and draw customers to their store for the event. It would be good for us because if we got ONE more person, we would have one more person.

Here's Books, Inc's web site - with a calendar of events by location.

We also kicked around the idea of inviting speakers to our meetings. After all, if the goal is to get people to come to our meetings, and we have a venue with free parking that we have used for years, why not bring the newbies straight to us instead of bringing them to a bookstore and then handing them a flyer and say "Please come to our meeting." We could have the speaker spend 45 minutes then have the reading/critiquing with the speaker for the balance of the meeting.

We need to change the blurb in the paper's community column - expand it so it says more, is more inviting and stimulates people to come to the meeting. We've had the same blurb for 20 years, and it's getting, uh, stale.

Gretchen had the idea of even further expansion of the blurb - have a web site. Everybody has an internet presence, it's de riguer. Web sites cost $10 to register the domain name, and another $12 a year for the hosting of the pages. Gretchen can write a web page, and will. The expanded blurb in the paper will say, see our website for more information.

On the web site, we can have events listed, agendas for future meetings. Alice likes the idea of emailing the future reading to all members in advance of the meeting, and requiring pre-reading of it. So we spend less time reading and more time critiquing. Tony loves hearing things, and doesn't want to lose all of that, but recognizes the value of being prepared. Gretchen likes the pre-reading idea because she is more visual than audio, and there's nothing like being prepared.

Alice knows published writers and lots of people in the industry. She will contact people she knows and find out if one of them, for example April Sinclair to see if she would come to a meeting as a presenter - critiquing or something.

Gretchen is going to write the Web site. First, we took about 3 seconds to come up with www.writerswest.org, if it's not used. Then she will check with her SOURCE on every-web-matter to see about hosting a site.

After the meeting, discovered that Writers West.COM is being used.
Then she Googled "writers group non profit california" and was two clicks away from this site: Alameda Island Wordsmiths, with information on when and where they meet.

Here are some ideas for our web site:
  • pictures and bios of members - this is not a requirement, and you can decide if you want to be on the webpage or not
  • map page so people can find us
  • writing tips
  • links to bookstores
  • links to our website on other web sites, to bring more traffic to ours
  • archive of past projects
    and EVENTS we plan (all in good time)
Next meeting:
Tony will give results of preliminary conversation with Books, Inc.
Alice will report on preliminary discussions with authors she knows
Gretchen will bring the camera and have the website first two pages done and "live"