Special Edition Newsletter: October 2013


 Special Edition, October 2013: National Reading Group Month 

Bookshop West Portal

Bookshop West Portal

Bookshop West Portal: Author Readings, October 1, 2013

Ties That Bind: 
Relationships and Feminine Identity

Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 7:00 — 9:00 pm
Bookshop West Portal, 80 West Portal Ave., San Francisco

Featuring four WNBA–San Francisco Chapter Member / Authors with newly released novels in an amazing panel! Wine, hors d’oeuvres, FREE!

Patricia V. Davis

Patricia V. Davis

Join us for an intriguing evening of books and discussion, moderated byPatricia V. Davis who will introduce our stellar member authors, lead our discussion, and raffle off their books. Davis is a bestselling author and the founder of The Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference

Please help us promote this event: download TiesThatBindFlyer.

Meg Waite ClaytonWednesday Daughters (July 16, 2013)

In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Karen Joy Fowler, Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, returns with an enthralling new novel of mothers, daughters, and the secrets and dreams passed down through generations.

Tracy GuzemanThe Gravity of Birds (August 6, 2013)

Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close, until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative—and beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family’s summer holiday at the lake…

Mary Mackey, Immersion, (May 8, 2012)

Isolated in a remote field station in the middle of a tropical rainforest in the late 1960’s, a young woman named Kirsten rebels against traditional female roles and wages a desperate struggle for intellectual, spiritual, personal, and sexual liberation from her biologist husband who views her as a piece of property…

Amanda McTigue, Going to Solace, (July 14, 2012)

It’s Thanksgiving week, 1989. We’re in Big Piney and Little Piney, two hollows near the town of Garnet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A handful of mismatched folks – some country people, some far-flung, fancy people – discover they have one thing in common: someone they know is sick, real sick, dying sick.



Dear WBNA Member and Subscriber,

Enjoy this special edition of the SF Chapter Newsletter! We’re highlighting the National Reading Group Month events with new features this year.

Please join us in San Francisco for our TWO stellar NRGM author panels, all free and open to the public

  • OCTOBER 1st, Tuesday, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Bookshop West Portal
  • OCTOBER 19th, Saturday, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Books, Inc. Opera Plaza

On October 1st, we are proud to feature four of our own member authors to kick-off National Reading Group Month: Meg Waite Clayton, Tracy Guzeman, Mary Mackey, and Amanda McTigue, moderated by Patricia V. Davis.

October 19th we’ll co-sponsor our première NRGM event with Litquake to present three amazing authors: Jillian Cantor, Lauren Grodstein, and Laurie R. King, moderated by Amanda McTigue.

But that’s not all: We have a Members ONLY Mixer planned for November 3rd in Berkeley you won’t want to miss and a Book Drive to donate books to our literacy partner.

Kate Farrell

Kate Farrell, President

As you read each article in the newsletter, click READ MORE… That will take you to our website with even more detailed information about the event, article, book review, interview, announcement, or program. Read and comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Celebrate and share the world of books with us. If you’ve not renewed, please do so now.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

Kate Farrell, President 




Books, Inc. Opera Plaza

October 19, 2013, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Books, Inc., Opera Plaza 
601 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Help us promote this event; download flyer: Joie de Livre-WNBA event

Contemporary Fiction: Mystery and Wonder

Come meet this year’s most talked-about authors as they discuss their new novels over French wine and hors d’oeuvres. Free and open to the public. 
Free raffle of ONE KOBO Mini eReader! Other free items for book clubs.

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Co-sponsored by Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, & Litquake

 Three newly released novels that transport us into the past and re-imagine it. Join us for a lively panel discussion with the authors, geared to a further enjoyment of their work. Moderated by Moderated by Amanda McTigue, GOING TO SOLACE.

Jillian Cantor, MARGOT: A NOVEL 




Tracy Guzeman

Tracy Guzeman


The Gravity of Birds: Debut Novel

Interview by Catharine Bramkamp

Tracy Guzeman’s new novel The Gravity of Birds was just released. We asked her about combining a love of birds and love of books because it’s such an interesting idea.

Tracy explained that her main character Alice was a particular sort of person, “very aware of her physical surroundings, with a questioning mind. I knew when I first started writing her, that she was going to have ambitions in that direction, that she’d want to study the natural environment: ornithology, zoology, astronomy, geology; all of those seemed like possible careers for her. Birds simply won out. As far as books, she’s a dreamy adolescent when the reader is introduced to her, spending as much of her time outdoors as she can. She’s at an age where she wants to understand everything, but doesn’t have the required context. Poetry is the portal for her; she’s sure if she can decipher what’s meant by a few lines in a poem, she’ll gain the keys to the kingdom and a whole other world—the adult world—will open up for her.”

Like so many of our novels, Tracy created The Gravity of Birds from other works. “I had two short stories I liked, but couldn’t seem to finish. One was about how the relationship between two sisters is altered when one is forced to assume the role of caregiver for the other. The second story concerned a young man, recently out of school, who unexpectedly finds his career on a downward trajectory, a situation he’d never prepared himself for. No matter how I tried, none of the endings I came up with seemed to fit, but I didn’t want to abandon those characters.


Digital_PoetsEven Poets Go Digital!
You, Too, Can Thrive in the Digital Age
North Berkeley WNBA Mixer
Sunday, November 3, 2013, 4 – 6  pm

  • Enjoy wine and cheese in the charming home of best-selling author Mary Mackey
  • Share ideas for thriving in the digital age––as novelist, non-fiction writer or poet
  • Bring copies of your own books for display and cards for networking
  • Hear what WNBA poets are doing in their latest collections
  • Do more than survive—thrive in the digital age

We look forward to seeing you at our NOVEMBER Mixer!
RSVP here for precise Berkeley location and directions to easy parking. Note if you are bringing a guest. 






Zara Raab

Zara Raab

Reviews by Zara Raab

The Bones of Paris: A Novel of Suspense By Laurie R. King
New York: Random House, 2013

Grodstein_ExEv_hcjkt_0530.inddThe Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein
New York: Workman Publishing, 2013

Cover.Margot_CVFMargot A Novel by Jillian Cantor
New York: Penguin, 2013

Note: To meet all three authors in a lively panel, join us for our National Reading Group Month event on October 19th, co-sponsored by Litquake.

cover artA student in Paris in the late 1960s, I traveled briefly with a group of French artists, who, styling themselves Avant garde, held a black Mass, surrounding a beautiful French woman with candles on an altar while chanting phrases my French wasn’t up to comprehending. As I now know, this was hardly Avant-garde; the Dadaists and Surrealists had been doing it with more flair in the 1920s. In that fecund decade of excess, Laurie King sets her new mystery—The Bones of Paris—among just the sorts who were likely to be interested in the darker side of the occult, when surrealists were playing games of exquisite corpse and Emmanuel Radnitzky (better known as Man Ray) was taking fashion photographs and creating surreal paintings.

King’s kingpin is a tall, gangly, good-looking detective named Harris Stuyvesant, an ex-patriot traveling around Europe on freelance assignment after quitting the FBI. He’s like a lot of other Americans in Paris in the 1920s, including Hemingway, who like Man Ray has a role in the drama. Stuyvesant drinks too much, dates too many Place Pagalle women, and sleeps with far too many. One of the latter is a wealthy American orphan, Philippa–Pip––Crosby, who, were she tamer and her wealthy American family less troubled, might be straight from a Henry James novel. But she’s gone missing, and her light-hearted letters to America have stopped coming. That’s when her uncle, a shadowy figure named Ernest Crosby, contacts Stuyvesant. That Stuyvesant’s slept with Philippa some months earlier complicates the plot, as does Stuyvesant’s new relationship with Pip’s roommate in their Paris flat where Picasso drawings adorn the wall—not because Pip’s family is rich (although it is) but because in the 1920s Picassos were affordable. Not to mention an old love from England who turns out to be engaged to ––well, I don’t want to give that away.




Writing-Contest-Logo2013 Women’s National Book Association Writing Contest

Online Submission Deadline: November 15, 2013


$250 cash prize and publication in the Bookwoman, the official publication of the Women’s National Book Association, with 10 chapters nationwide. Contest winners will be announced March 2014.

  • Online submissions only
  • Unpublished work only
  • Fiction: 2,500 word limit – short fiction only; no novel excerpts or memoirs
  • Poetry: 3-5 pages maximum
  • Questions? Email Contest Chairperson: joan@joangelfand.com

Your entry must be uploaded without your name, address, or contact information on the actual document. Your contact information will be collected on a separate form when you submit your entry. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. You may submit more than one entry, however, each one must be separately submitted and paid. Acceptable formats are: Word Document 2007, Word Document 2003 or earlier version, RTF (Rich Text Format).


Fiction: Meg Waite Clayton

Poetry: Molly Peacock


Women’s National Book Association Members: $15 per entry

Non-Members: $20 per entry

Click to submit your entry online

Copperfield's Books, Santa Rosa

Copperfield’s Books, Santa Rosa


This year the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, sponsored a Book Drive to benefit the Living Room, Santa Rosa, a daytime drop-in center that provides a safe haven to ease the adversity of homelessness for women. In January, WNBA-SF launched an early literacy activity at the Living Room, using donated books for picture book storytelling—part of the Living Room’s Mother and Child program.

In June, the SF Chapter sponsored a workshop in “Picture Book Storytelling” to recruit more volunteer readers at the Living Room. We taught techniques that enlivened the telling of a picture book and were successful in recruiting a few more readers.

Now we are pleased to announce that the SF Chapter will increase its visits to the Living Room from biweekly to weekly: every Monday at 10:30 am. We will be collaborating with community partners to purchase children’s books at low cost and to request book donations.

Without the efforts and donations of WNBA SF Chapter, there would be no literacy program at the Living Room or focus on children’s books and reading.

We need more books, however!! Copperfield’s Books at Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa is supporting our effort. Please drop by and fill our large donation box with books for children, ages 0 -5. If you’re not in the North Bay, order books online for WNBA’s BOOK DRIVE to benefit the LIVING ROOM.

We will also collect books at all our events. Thank you!




“A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet.” Unless You’re a Published Author

by Patricia V. Davis

What’s in a name? For an author, everything. Your name is your brand and should be exactly the same across the board ─ on your website, your book covers or published work, your Linkedin profile, your Facebook page and any other social media you utilize. Even your email address should be the same. If your books are by “Patricia,” your email address should not be “Pat,” or “Patty.” If you’re called “Kate,” you should not use another form of this name, like “Kathy” or “Katherine.” Why is this so important?

I received this email from an esteemed colleague, Maria A. Karamitsos, a terrific writer and an associate editor at the Chicago newspaper, The Greek Star :



How to Write Books that Sell to Publishers and to Readers

by Nina Amir

Many aspiring nonfiction authors see book proposals as a necessary evil. Maybe you, too, see this document as a means to an end. You must write one so you can find a literary agent who can present your book idea to publishers or so you can do so yourself.

In fact, both nonfiction writers who plan to independently publish their books and those who seek traditional publishing deals should consider creating a nonfiction book proposal as a necessary book creation process. Don’t think of what you are doing as writing a proposal, though; think of it as developing a business plan for your book so you can evaluate the viability of your idea. Every book needs a business plan, and the best business plan for a book is, in fact, a proposal.




WNBA 2013-2015 BOARD

President: Kate Farrell

Vice President: Open

Treasurer: Sherry Nadworny

Secretary: Frances Caballo

Membership Chair: Jane Glendinning

Blog Managing Editor: Frances Caballo

Featured Member Interview Editor: Catharine Bramkamp

Social Media Manager: Frances Caballo

Past President & Webmaster: Linda Lee


Annual Membership 2013-2014

The membership period runs from June 1st – May 31st

Please join or renew now!

Your membership dues pay for our FREE public events, for MEMBERS’ ONLY Mixers, for our Literacy Initiatives, SFWC and SFPL sponsorships.

 The WNBA National Directory is now being upgraded and will soon launch! We hope to see your name and expertise listed there!