Are YOU Good Speaker Material?


 by Patricia V. Davis


We’ve all been told that building our author platform can help us sell more books and that speaking in public, such as at conference or in front of book clubs, is a great way to do that.  But—are you good speaker material? By “good speaker material” I mean, are you likely to be asked back to speak again, or, after your appearance will you be crossed off inadvertently from the “Speakers to Contact Again” list?  Let’s find out:

1)      A good speaker can “wing it” when necessary. Even in the very best of facilities, equipment failures can and will happen. Projectors not working or internet connections going down will throw some speakers into a panic, or worse, a hissy fit. Utilizing these tools can sometimes make a good talk even better, but if you can’t say what needs to be said by using a handout or a white board, you’re relying too much on the bells and whistles of modern technology. Slides and websites should only enhance your talk, but not be so crucial that you can’t do without them. And you don’t want to spend the first ten minutes of your allotted time staring at your audience while a harassed volunteer or conference organizer runs frantically around looking for a technician or an explanation as to why things are not functioning properly. Try to get to your room ten minutes early if possible to check if the equipment you need is there and is functioning. Check that you have all the adapters and whatever else you need to use said equipment. If the equipment doesn’t work and can’t be fixed in under five minutes, go to Plan B ─ printed handouts and/or the black or white board, if available. The best speakers ─ the ones who get asked back—don’t roll their eyes in exasperation or whine about equipment failures, they smile graciously and get on with it.

2)       A good speaker doesn’t blame her audience if her talk is not successful. I’ll never forget a note I received from a disgruntled speaker at one of my conferences, a doctor who sent feedback that she was upset that “the audience of people attending the conference represented a very anti-professional/anti-doctor attitude.” Imagine complaining about your audience for such a reason? It actually made me chuckle and needless to say, I never responded to the complaint.  For the reason that it’s the speaker’s task to keep her audience engaged. If that’s not happening, she needs to figure out why and adjust her talk accordingly. Remember that people attending a conference or a book club event have paid an admission price to be there. That means they want to be there and want to hear what you have to say. If you’ve bored them, it’s the fault of your presentation, not the fault of your listener. 

3)      A good speaker doesn’t despair if her talks have low attendance, but treats every attendee like visiting royalty. True story: a day before one of my first book events, which happened to be at least an hour and a half’s drive each way from my home, the bookshop owner phoned me apologetically, “Do you realize we booked this event for the day before Easter? I didn’t think of it and I’m so afraid the attendance is going to be too low for you to come all this way. I’ll understand if you want to reschedule.” I asked him if he’d had any interest from his clientele at all and when he said that two people had told him they planned to attend, my reply was that if those people showed up the next day, they’d be mightily miffed that they’d carved out time in their weekend for something that was cancelled solely on the possibility of low attendance. So here’s what happened: We went ahead with the event. Six people showed up, including the two who’d said they would. They listened to me read from Harlot’s Sauce, got to taste the salsa puttenesca I’d made for the event and drink some wine. Just six. But, lo and behold—those six people bought 45 books. Why? Three of those attendees where there to preview the book for their book clubs.  The other three were there solely for the reading and the free food, but two of those attendees bought a copy of the book apiece anyway, though they told me they hadn’t intended to do so when they first walked in. Even one person sitting in your audience is a potential new reader or follower or champion of your product/book/brand.  They’ve granted you the privilege of giving you time out of their lives, lives which are just as important to them as your life and your time are important to you, to hear what you have to say. So treat them as though you feel privileged that they took that time. Be warm, be kind, be engaging. They are there to see you, though they might not even know you. Isn’t that a nice thing to know?

4)      A good speaker is not an elitist. Unless your work is as well known as Amy Tan’s or Isabel Allende’s, you are a midlist or newbie author. To go from newbie to midlist to frontlist, you need more book sales. And to get more book sales, you need a bigger platform. And to get a bigger platform, you need to put yourself in front of as many new potential readers as possible. This same holds true for whatever industry you’re in, whatever brand you’re trying to build. At any given time there are millions of people looking for a speaking engagement in their particular field and so, if you are chosen to speak, you should feel thankful, not entitled. A conference’s reputation  is built on the quality of its speakers. Part of being a good speaker is making yourself available, as much as reasonably possible, to conference attendees. Conference attendees are there to hear and see you, ask you questions, and have paid to do so.

What I noticed about the last conference I organized, The Women’s PowerStrategy™ 2013 Conference, the most successful speakers we managed to snag were the ones who spent the most time at the conference talking with attendees and vendors, sitting in other sessions and networking at lunch and during the speaker reception at the end of the day. They were present and real, smiling and talking with everyone. They exchanged business cards, they mentioned on their websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages that they were speaking at our conference. They even pitched in at the conference where help was needed!

Having a tight schedule is one thing. That is understandable and excusable, especially if you let the conference organizers know ahead of time you’ll only be able to be at the conference for part of the day. But if you feel the need to show up right before your session and leave immediately after, if you don’t want to sit with strangers and network at lunch, if you’re of those speakers who remark, with their noses in the air, that, “I don’t attend workshops ─ I give them,” for no other reason than to impress everyone else (and yourself) about how special and important and successful you are, you might need to reflect a bit on the attitude you hold towards your work. But in the meantime, don’t be surprised if you don’t get asked back to speak again. Ever.

5)      A good speaker says “thank you,” even if the experience was less than stellar. This is not at all altruistic. This is simply good business and good manners. Anyone who’s ever spoken at an event has had a bad experience at least once. The venue might be terrible, the attendance low, the equipment dismal, the organizers distracted and rude. Your name is misspelled in the program, or missing altogether. Been there, done that ─ haven’t we all? Sure, you can offer helpful (but not disparaging) feedback if asked, but still be sure to express your thanks. “Thanks” for being invited to speak, “thanks” to the attendees (all three of them) and “thanks” the next day on your Facebook page. There are two reasons why you should do this, the first being that the reason you wanted to speak in the first place was to get more people to know your name and your work. That was achieved. Whether it was achieved as you’d hoped or not is beside the point. You came, you spoke, you conquered and that appearance is now part of your platform, a conference/group/event at which you’ve spoken that you can add to your resume.

The second reason is in regards to the possibility that that bad experience was a one-off bad experience. The following year, the conference/group/event that was awful when you spoke at it the year before is now much improved. Attendance is higher, the venue better, the marketing and promotion bigger than ever, and the speakers more high profile. And guess what? Because you were so gracious—showed up and stayed a good while, spoke with everyone, didn’t mind winging it when your projector didn’t work and wrote about the experience in a positive way on social media, you’ve been asked back and are now one among those high profile speakers. And this time, the audience is bigger, too.  Eventually, you land more speaking engagements as a result of being one of the speakers at this conference/group/event a second time. You’ve become an asset to the conference/group/event and the conference/group/event has become an asset to you. All because you were a good sport and a hence, a very good speaker, that first time. 


 Patricia V. Davis is a bestselling author and the founder of The Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference. For more about her visit her website at



February 2, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm “What is a Platform and How to Build Yours”

Free Event  February 2, 2012 6:15-7:30pm WNBA-SF Chapter members and prospective members welcomed to  San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room A (food allowed)

 Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan will present interactive session “What is a Platform and How to Build Yours”  promptly at 6:15pm. Must RSVP  24 hours before meeting by emailing :     writingcoachteresa  at

Join Women’s National Book Association

Coach Teresa is the author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

“Authors Exchange Solutions” discussions at SFPL are orchestrated by Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Mary E. Knippel & Birgit Soyka.

Then March 1, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm  FREE event Thurs., March 1, 2012, 6:15-7:30pm  Your-Writing-Mentor/SFWC presenter Mary E. Knippel will present “Ready Your Pitch for March 24 WNBA Meet The Agents event” for WNBA–SF Chapter members and prospective members, at San Francisco Main Library, Stong Conference Room. Promptly at 6:15pm. Must RSVP 24 hours before meeting by emailing:   MaryEKnippel (use @ sign)  Bring your business cards or postcards.  Mentor Mary is the author of The Secret Artist – Give Yourself Permission to Let Your Creativity Shine!

Authors Exchange Solutions at WNBA-SF Chapter Meetings at SFPL

Authors Exchange Solutions at WNBA-SF Chapter Meetings at SFPL

Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:00-7:30pm San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room A (food is allowed).
22-Day Platform-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan (SF Chapter Secretary) here to say: “What an exciting get-together!  11 hard-working writers cheered and swapped marketing & editing tips at the December 2011 meeting. Please join co-facilitators Birgit Soyka, Mary E. Knippel and me at the next meeting–Thursday, January 5, 2012  6:00-7:30pm San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room A (food is allowed).

All attendees from tonight’s meeting please submit a comment to this post — introduce yourselves to WNBA fans and tell them what gems you walked away with this evening.

Birgit Soyka

Mary E. Knippel

Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Laura Bean

Mary French

Jane Glendinning

Shulamit Sofia

Rob Robbins

Catherine C. Robbins

Fred Glynn

Matilde Schmidt

Who is already a member?

Join us!



December 1, 2011, 6:00-7:30pm Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter

Join Us – WNBA-SF Gathering at SF Main Library, Dec. 1, 2011, 6:00-7:30pm

Members and prospective members welcomed.

Click on the headline/title bar of this post to see full description of event and RSVP by submitting comment.

San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room (food is allowed).  Near BART Civic Center Station. 2 entrances for the library: 100 Larkin St. (and 30 Grove St.), S.F., CA 94102

Facilitated by Birgit Soyka, author of To Drink the Wild Air.

RSVP by submitting comment here OR email Birgit Soyka at   bsr107  at

Discuss your writing projects; bring your ideas for future event.

Also, Your-Writing-Mentor Mary E. Knippel (creator of “Create Your Success Story” workshops) and Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan (author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW  and Love Made of Heart) will be present.


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Leon Veal, thank you for arranging meeting space at SFPL year-round!

At the October 6, 2011 meeting, Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan and Mentor Mary E. Knippel helped members create 60-second videos/marketing pieces for themselves.  Click here to see thank-you message to Brian at SF Project Read.

At the November 3, 2011 meeting, author Birgit Soyka facilitated another fun meeting.

To become a WNBA member or to renew:

See you there!

Who Are the Movers and Shakers at Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter?

Who Are the Movers and Shakers at Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter?

June 26, 2011 planning retreat

Back row: Linda Lee (co-President), Verna Dreisbach (co-VP), Leigh Anne Lindsey, Kate Farrell, Margie Yee Webb, Pat Windom, Laura Novak (co-VP), Birgit Soyka (SF bookstore readings Liaison)

Front row: Mary E. Knippel (past President), Barbara Santos, Ana Manwaring, Apala Egan, Linda Joy Myers (co-President), Teresa LeYung-Ryan (Secretary)

In four hours, each of the fourteen powerful women declared what is most important in her career and community.
Here’s a partial list of events sponsored by WNBA-SF Chapter or supported by chapter members:

In addition to mixers/meet-ups at libraries & bookstores and book festivals . . .

January – WNBA New Year Creativity Workshop with Mary E. Knippel

February – San Francisco Writers Conference

March – WNBA’s “Meet the Agents”

April – Redwood Writers Conference

Effie Lee Morris Lecture – WNBA joins Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

October is National Reading Group Month – WNBA National event, every chapter participates

Sunday November 6, 2011 (tentative date)– WNBA publishing panel


Teresa LeYung-Ryan

WNBA-SF Chapter Secretary

Writing Career Coach – Author – Manuscript Consultant

Why is it important to show up to network?

Why is it important to show up to network?

WNBA-SF Chapter Board Member and Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here to answer the question:

June 2, 2011

Take care of yourself; take care of your career. I don’t even like the word “network” so I get creative. Speaking of getting creative, tonight’s WNBA-SF Chapter Meet Up was an example of how to network and have fun.

WNBA member Leon Veal, the outreach coordinator for Project Read San Francisco, calendars meeting space at the San Francisco Public Library main branch for us once a month.  I had asked SF Chapter past president Creativity Mentor Mary E. Knippel to co-lead a WNBA Meet Up with me.

Members Birgit Soyka and Janine Kovac RSVPed.

Mary and I showed up early.  I helped Mary re-configure her business card to read: You’ve been thinking about writing your book? Let me (Mary E. Knippel) help you. Mary showed me her Google Voice phone number. I want to create a YouTube channel for WNBA-SF Chapter–I provided the format and Mary came up with a great idea–”Let’s create a how-to video/tutorial for our members!”  Mary is indeed the Creativity Mentor.

Birgit Soyka arrived, looking vibrant.  She and I will be showcasing our books later this month:

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 7:00-9:00pm

BookShop West Portal, 80 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 415-564-8080

Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) members celebrate June’s “Rebuild Your Life Month” featuring books by members Birgit Soyka and Teresa LeYung-Ryan. Join us for a fun evening— reception; authors’ presentations; meet the new board and members of the San Francisco Chapter. Please RSVP by emailing

Birgit Soyka (author of To Drink the Wild Air: One Woman’s Quest to Touch the Horizon)


Teresa LeYung-Ryan (author of Love Made of Heart and Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days)

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Mary and I were telling Birgit about using YouTube to promote our work and Birgit was telling us about her wanting to identify her biggest target audience. Would that be readers of spiritual growth, world travels, women’s issues or motorcycle racing?

Then Terri Bertini (screenwriter, producer and director) showed up!  I had met Terri at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration last month.  When Birgit showed her book to Terri and started talking about her motorcycle racing and world travel . . . Terri said she remembers meeting Birgit in Los Angeles fifteen years ago at a race and that it seems like just yesterday. Voila!  Birgit (in her motorcycle gear) is memorable and attracts attention.

I asked Terri if she has a blog and she told us the blog name she is considering. When her blog name is official I will broadcast on my blog.

Birgit is interested in showcasing her book at more venues.  Mary and I will be at the Literary Arts/Fine Arts Department at the San Mateo County Fair on Friday 17, 2011 (please see for details) but we cannot be at the fair the following day for Bardi Rosman Koodrin’s Author Book Day June 18, 2011, 2:00-4:00pm because Mary is giving a workshop in Half Moon Bay and I had promised to take photos and film her.

Here’s an idea:  I would email Bardi and pitch Birgit. Mary suggested to Birgit that if she gets table space on the 18th to showcase her books that she might also showcase my books.

Aah, helping each other, helping ourselves and having fun at the same time! This is why it is important to show up to network.

Janine Kovac, we missed you. Check out Janine’s blog.  See you real soon.

Terri Bertini, thank you for joining us at the library.

Cheering for all hardworking writers!

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Hope to see you on June 17, 2011!  at the Literary Arts Dept. Stage at the San Mateo County Fair in California

4:00-6:00pm Mary E. Knippel presents “Coaxing Creativity” workshop

6:30-8:00pm readings by California Writers Club–San Francisco Peninsula Branch members including contributing authors in the anthology Fault Zone: Words from the Edge.

8:00-9:00pm Author Teresa LeYung-Ryan uses Love Made of Heart to inspire adult-children of mentally-ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and gain resources for their families. As Writing Career Coach Teresa, she helps fiction and nonfiction authors gain a competitive edge before and after publication with her workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days.



WNBA National Meeting in New York City

Having a great time in New York with fellow WNBA members. We have an awesome national board with so many years of serving us.

Thank you National for all you do.

I will write a wrap up post of the highlights of the meeting when I get back.

Examples on How to Pitch to Agents, Acquisition Editors, Publishers at WNBA’s Signature Event

WNBA-SF chapter President Lynn Henriksen has invited 15 agents, acquisition editors and publisher to the March 27, 2010 event.

Writing Career Coach Teresa will help you practice your pitch at WNBA’s  “Meet the Agents, Acquisition Editors, & Publishers”

on March 24, 2012


“Make Every Word Count When Pitching to Agents or Acquisition Editors” by Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

You have spent months, perhaps years, writing and rewriting your project/work.  And, you’ve decided to pursue either an agent (who earns his/her commission when he/she sells a client’s work to a publishing house) or an acquisition editor (whose job is to buy authors’ works for the publishing house he/she works for). Let’s say you’ve done your homework and have compiled a list of agents or acquisition editors who specialize in the kind of project (commodity) you wish to sell.

An agent or acquisition editor receives hundreds of pitches/query letters each week.  What can you do to catch these folks’ attention?  Use the right bait.  Make every word count.

Whether you’re pitching in person, over the telephone, through an E-Mail, or by old-fashion mail, keep this in mind—the pitch (bait) has three components:
•    who needs your project (start the pitch with the “marketing hook”)
•    the unique qualities about your commodity
•    why you are the perfect author for this work (How big is your platform?)

Agents are having tough times pitching their non-celebrity authors to publishers; thus the importance of the marketing hook.  The marketing hook is a must for prescriptive non-fiction/self help.  The hook is also a must for memoirs, narrative non-fiction and novels; these genres can longer reply solely on story).  Here are 6 examples:

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Genre:  Self-Help/Metaphysical/Psychology

Most people over the age of ten dream at least 4 to 6 times per night.
Through My Dreams: A Simple Guide to Dream Interpretation, I can help everyone  interpret dreams by combining their feelings with personal symbolism, dream what they want to dream, and improve their waking lives through their dreams.
I am Angie Choi, a certified hypnotherapist who has utilized radio, television, workshops, classes, articles, and website to educate and inspire people to tap into their dreaming potential.  I’ve worked with school districts, youth groups, and community-based organizations.

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Genre:  Journal/Guide/Inspirational

More than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.

You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers allows these caregivers to process their stress and celebrate what is right by giving them open-ended instructions on spilling their guts in the safety of a private journal and offers two hundred sentence starts to help them begin writing.

I am B. Lynn Goodwin who teaches workshops on caregiving.  I write for numerous publications, and, I am the founder and managing editor of WriterAdvice which has been helping writers for twelve years.

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Genre:  Self Help / Relationship / Marriage


The 50% and 60% divorce rates, for first and second marriages respectively, are a wake-up call for the United States 55.2 million married couples.

Through my book, I empower couples to get the marriage they’ve always wanted. The Marriage Meeting Program: 45 Minutes a Week to Guarantee the Long Term Relationship You’ve Always Wanted shows how to conduct a weekly meeting that increases intimacy, romance, teamwork, and smoother conflict resolution.

A proactive, preventive approach is crucial. Regardless of how good a relationship is, there is always a need to keep it on track and room for it to grow. The Marriage Meeting Program’s step-by-step approach makes it easy to conduct the meetings. Follow-up studies show a 20 to 80 percent increase in marital happiness for couples who implement the program.
I am Marcia Naomi Berger, a psychotherapist, writer, speaker, workshop leader, and instructor of a class for therapists and counselors at the University of California Berkeley Extension.

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Genre:   Memoir

There are more than 38-million boom-generation women in this country.  Through my book, I show middle-aged women how to cope with family and social pressures while dealing with their own mortality issues.

My memoir, Oldham Street, is about my journey from east coast to west bearing the pain of a son in prison, the long slow death of my father, the end of my counseling career and a ten-year relationship.  I knocked on a lemon-colored door on a short block in San Francisco.  In the next twelve years, the woman who opened that door, along with the other quirky characters in the neighborhood, inadvertently joined me in a process that brought me home to myself and into a comfortable role as the matriarch of my tribe.

I am Lynn Scott:

  • author of A Joyful Encounter: My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, and Me (a memoir about the abundance of spirit that I found among my Alzheimer clients).
  • contributor to eight anthologies of fiction, memoir, and poetry.
  • a guest on Oprah and other talk shows.



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Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Recent survey data indicates that 22% of the 55,000,000+ married women admit to having an extramarital affair.  STAYING AFLOAT is the story of one of these women –although she wouldn’t have admitted it if she hadn’t gotten caught.

Crystal Scott is a stable and stalwart, stay-at-home wife and mother, aiming only to run an efficient home, care for her children and avoid confrontation.  Whatever her private thoughts are, she keeps them to herself.  But when her husband loses his job and shows no signs of looking for another, fault lines in their marriage are exposed.  She’s forced to re-enter the workforce, and when her dazzling, dynamic boss takes a personal interest in her, she slips into territory that most women have fantasized about, even if they don’t want to admit it — she morphs into a sex-starved adulteress.

I am Judith Marshall, author of the award-winning novel, HUSBANDS MAY COME AND GO BUT FRIENDS ARE FOREVER.  I’ve been writing for thirteen years and am a member of the California Writers Club and the Women’s National Book Association. In addition, I am the President of Human Resources Consulting Services and a member of the faculty of the Council on Education in Management, for whom I teach a number of public seminars on a variety of HR-relates topics. I’m currently working on my third novel, BITTER ACRES.


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Genre:  Women’s Fiction / Humor

39%  of the 68 million women employed in the U.S. work in management, professional, and related occupations. Through my book Katie Carlisle, I show women how to hold onto their integrity, humor, and vision . . . in spite of having to fight sexism in the corporate world.

Katie Carlisle has been lucky enough to have a mentor (her boss) who has taken her to a point where her promotion is pretty well guaranteed.  Only then everything goes wrong.  Her beloved mentor leaves the company under a cloud; his successor is a man whom Katie hates and fears; and a downward spiral in her fortunes starts.  This is the story of a smart woman’s struggle to hold onto her integrity, humor and vision in spite of the tumult around her—and her eventual triumph.

I am Margaret Davis.  I have a doctorate from Stanford University in Sociology, with a specialization in the structure and behavior of formal organizations.  I have had two non-fiction books published in my field.  Katie Carlisle, a humorous spoof on everyday life in a large corporation, is a work of fiction.  Yet, as many of my readers have commented, “Everyone who has ever worked in a big company will relate to and love this book.”

I am also the author of Straight Down the Middle, a family drama involving a young mother’s efforts to do what is best for her child while trying to come to terms with her own sexuality.


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Teresa LeYung Ryan is:

  • Board member at WNBA-SF Chapter since 2004
  • Author with agent and NY publisher
  • Writing career coach
  • Past president of California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch
  • Library advocate

Writing Career Coach Teresa is the author of   Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

As a community spirit, Teresa LeYung Ryan uses her novel Love Made of Heart to:
• shed light on stigmas suffered by women, men, and children who have mental illness
• celebrate the immigrant experience
• help survivors of violence find their own voices through writing

Were You at WNBA-SF Chapter's Holiday Meeting?

WNBA SF Chapter Members and Friends

WNBA SF Chapter Members and Friends

Gracious host & hostess Michael Larsen & Elizabeth Pomada

Christmas lights Victorian home with books and books and books

WNBA members and friends, share nosh, click glasses.

Treasurer Christopher Payne represents executive board President Lynn Henriksen, Vice President Allegra Harris, Secretary Sara Videtto, and Immediate Past President Mary Knippel.

Shulamit Sofia, Linda Joy Myers, Verna Dreisbach had to leave before book exchange.  So did Chris.

Warmed by friendships, old, new.

The Honorable Teresa Cox represents her cousin Effie Lee Morris whom we miss so much.  Adele Horwitz reads the tribute that she, Elizabeth and Michael wrote for WNBA Bookwoman.

Round of introductions and book exchange:
Zoe FitzGerald Carter; Patricia Tavenner; Joan Gelfand; Ricky Weisbroth; Dana Smith; Tonya Egan Gibson; Teresa Cox; Elisa Southard; Jane Glendinning; Pat and Larry; Felicity Wright; Carol Sheldon; Elaine Elinson; Victoria Zackheim; Adele Horwitz; Teresa LeYung Ryan; Michael & Elizabeth.
Circulate the card for our Vicki Weiland.  Send good thoughts to everyone who couldn’t attend.

Looking forward to January 30, 2010 when Mary Knippel will lead us in:

Decide, Declare, Design

Your Writing Life for 2010!

Change Conference, Volunteering and Rosemary Daniell

On receiving word on Friday that volunteers were still needed for the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference, there was no question that my housework wouldn’t be done this weekend, the yard would suffer, and resting to tend to the tail end of an exhausting cold would be left for later. It was worth every bit of the extra work piled up on Monday.

As a first time volunteer and new member of WNBA, this connection brought extra comfort to the always nurturing atmosphere of the San Francisco Writing Conferences. Instead of being another face in the crowd and traveling alone, volunteering added a sense of being part of, with friendly helpfulness coming from fellow volunteers.

Being assigned to certain workshops was part of this pleasurable weekend, making additional surprise and new intrigue part of the experience. In each session, I found myself in awe of what people have done, and in gratitude for the sharing of their knowledge and accomplishments.

Mike Farrell’s keynote talk at lunch on Saturday definitely took care of a certain inner urge of this Bay Area lefty. Knowing his words were a bit controversial, I enjoy every bit of his speech.

Sunday morning, and back at the beautiful Kabuki, I filled in at a couple of morning workshops, and left again before lunch. It was time to head off to the Mechanics Library for an afternoon workshop given by Rosemary Daniell, and co-sponsored by the WNBA. The workshop was based on Rosemary’s book “Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women’s Lives”.

The strength of Rosemary’s focus on each person in turn, drawing more out of them and helping them put more into their writing, was deeply inspiring. Most of the women present petitioned to be part of a new sub Rosa writing group, wanting to be part of the supportive writing community Rosemary is building.  This workshop brought a solid end to a very stimulating and enjoyable weekend.

Jane Glendinning