Path to Publishing Panel: Does Social Media Really Sell Books?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020  – 6:00pm
New Format:
Book Passage Social Media Panel is on Zoom!

Zoom Sign up Here.

Book Passage, SF Ferry Building, presents a powerful panel discussion of one of the most popular subjects generally introverted authors want to know about. WNBA-SF’s own Elise Marie Collins joins members of the Author’s Guild to clear up many of the myths and truths about social media for writers.

Presented with the Authors Guild and the Women’s National Book Association

Authors often hear that they should spend time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a half dozen other platforms building an audience for their writing. Handled adroitly, social media can prove to be a powerful tool. This panel discussion will cover specific examples of entranced audiences, signed deals, and careers launched from writers who have made social media work for them.


Laird Harrison
A genre nonconforming writer, Laird Harrison has published journalism and poetry, fiction and essays for magazines, literary journals, newspapers, book publishers, and websites, and worked in radio and video as well. He teaches at the the Writers Grotto.

Nayomi Munaweera
Nayomi Munaweera’s book Island of a Thousand Mirrors won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize for the Asian Region. She found her agent and first publisher on Facebook.

Lyzette Wanzer
Lyzette Wanzer is a San Francisco writer, editor, and creative writing workshop instructor. Her work reflects the peri-racial, social, and economic experiences of African-Americans and others. She’s a true believer in LinkedIn, and has taught many workshops on that topic.

Elise Marie Collins
Elise Marie Collins has consulted with small businesses, authors, and alumni associations on social media marketing and believes that a social media plan should be intuitive, fun, and seamless. Helping students and clients form healthy lifestyle patterns is Elise Collins’ passion and life purpose. She has taught yoga for the past 20 years and is the author of several books on healthy living, including her latest, Super Ager: You Can Look Younger, Have More Energy, a Better Memory, and Live a Long and Healthy Life. Elise enjoys sharing yoga wisdom and current scientific research.

Nilofer Merchant
Nilofer Merchant, a tech executive of 25 years is now an author of 3 non-fiction books reshaping work to create more value by valuing each of us. Named one of the top 50 management thinkers of our time by Thinkers50, and top 10 HR thinkers by HR Magazine, Nilofer has given a TED talk that has been cited 300 million times.

Building a platform is now standard for all authors and writers. But what does this mean? Platform these days must include all forms of social media. Writers frequently and fearfully ask: Do you have to have a following to write a book? Yes and no! It NEVER hurts to develop your social media chops! The short answer: In general, social media cultivation helps you get traction, unless you’re lucky enough to have a book idea that catches on like wildfire.

Social media is like kindling for that fire. You put your ideas and see which ones light up! Social media is a great way to spread your ideas, bring fans on board, and spark conversations. 

2019 San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

Saturday, September 14th, 2019
Check-in begins at 8:30 am

Event: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Center of San Francisco
1187 Franklin Street (at Geary), San Francisco, CA

Please join the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter at the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference where we will have a booth and also be participating in panels on getting published, marketing and writing the perfect proposal and much more!

The keynoter at the 2018 San Francisco Writing for Change will be Brooke Axtell.
She is the Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse and sex-trafficking. Through her mentorship programs, retreats and workshops, Brooke helps survivors become leaders. She is passionate about inspiring young women to reclaim their worth and express their power to create a more compassionate world.

At the 11th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference you will discover how what you write can change the world…and how to get your writing published. The theme of the conference is “Writing to Make a Difference,” with topics ranging from business, spirituality, politics, technology, social issues, the environment, culture, the law, and much more.

Check out the latest schedule of sessions at the Change event.
The Writing for Change Conference is devoted to bringing together agents, editors, authors, and publishing professionals in order to enable writers to learn from the experts about writing, publishing, marketing, and technology. You’ll come away knowing how to get your work published successfully, online and off.
You will have the chance to learn from and pitch your book to the presenters, and to get feedback on your work from freelance editors. The conference will include one jam-packed day of workshops, panels and the keynote address. You will leave feeling inspired and enlightened. Please join us for this amazing day.

San Francisco Writing For Change registration includes:

    • Keynote and a full day of sessions
    • A full faculty of presenters–authors, editors, agents, marketing experts
    • Ask-the-Pros round-tables with presenters
    • Feedback on your work from independent editors
    • Networking with speakers and other writers
    • Opportunity to pitch your book to agents and editors

This Conference will be limited to 100 attendees.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR 2018! Click here to register today 

This event is presented by the San Francisco Writers Conference and San Francisco Writers Foundation.  We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to help writers get their work published and to support all forms of  writing and written communication.

For sponsorship and marketing opportunities, contact us at

Celebrate the New Year at the WNBA-SF Holiday Mixer

Sunday, December 29
4:00-6:00 PM
East Bay (address provided upon registration)

featuring  Gabriella Mauter novelist and Holocaust survivor

Join WNBA-SF members and friends for a WNBA-SF New Year’s Inspiration Celebration.
This year our annual holiday celebration will be held in a private home in the East Bay and will feature rotating readings from our members, along with the usual food, drink, lively company.

It’s a MIXER, so bring a literary friend or two to join the fun. We appreciate our members and would love for you to join us so we can hear about the past year. We’d love to hear about books you have read, books you are writing, books you are publishing, books you are promoting, or libraries you support. We are enthusiastic for anything about the written word.

Holiday book exchange: Bring your favorite book of 2018 wrapped or unwrapped. We will have a grab bag for all those who want to participate. What books inspired you? What books changed your life, made you think, or helped you to smile in this year?

Holiday Donation: Bring a NEW children’s book to donate to Jamestown Community Center. Please join us in celebrating all of our chapter and member’s literary accomplishments of 2018!

WNBA-SF Chapter Ideas: Join us in thinking about our future work and events as a chapter: What would you like to see more of? What kind of events would you like to attend? Do you want to join or volunteer?

Share your intentions for 2019: A group ritual dedicated to our 2019 writing, publishing, and promoting goals and intentions for 2019. Let’s look forward and toast the next year, most likely the best ever for our SF Chapter! We will all thrive in the support of our fellow women writers.
Bring your book club, your BFF, or come solo. Join us for a night of libations, women and books!
Let us know if you’re coming and if you’re bringing guests by filling out this short RSVP form. Carpools and rides arranged upon request.

Epic Reads: Secrets to Crafting Historical Fiction

Mechanics Institute Library 2nd-floor (epic reads)

Author Lunch, Mechanics Institute Library
Friday, August 17, 2018, 12:00 Noon
57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
4th Floor, Chess Room (Free to Public, refreshments available)

The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is thrilled to present member writers who have authored highly successful historical (and prehistorical!) novels that readers and reviewers rave about. Learn what role research plays and how to make your scenes, settings, and characters realistic and compulsively readable.

Epic Reads will be moderated by WNBA-SF President Brenda Knight. There will be Q&A followed by book signings; bring your notebooks and plenty of questions!

Mary Mackey, New York Times Bestselling author of The Village of Bones, will discuss how she brings the Goddess-worshiping cultures of Prehistoric Europe to life by drawing on extensive archaeological research, the surviving art of the epoch, and her own imagination. Mackey’s novels take us on an epic journey to the past that has vital importance for the present.

Novelist Mary Volmer will discuss research strategies that will help you unearth, organize, and effectively utilize historical information in any creative project. Learn the difference between static and living details, how to avoid superfluous detail, and how to use objects as windows into a character’s heart and mind.

Mary Mackey Mary Mackey is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels, including The Earthsong Series—four novels which describe how the peaceful Goddess-worshiping people of Prehistoric Europe fought off patriarchal nomad invaders (The Village of Bones, The Year The Horses Came, The Horses at the Gate, and The Fires of Spring). Mary’s novels have been praised by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Pat Conroy, Thomas Moore, Marija Gimbutas, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marge Piercy, and Theodore Roszak for their historical accuracy, inventiveness, literary grace, vividness, and storytelling magic. They have made The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller Lists, been translated into twelve foreign languages and sold over a million and a half copies. Mary has also written seven collections of poetry including Sugar Zone, winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. This September Marsh Hawk Press will publish a collection of her new and selected poems entitled The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams. At, you can get the latest news about Mary’s books and public appearances, sample her work, sign up for her newsletter, and get writing advice. You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @MMackeyAuthor.

Mary Volmer - credit Kory Hayden Mary Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust (Soho Press, 2010) and Reliance, Illinois (Soho Press, 2016). Her essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Mutha Magazine, the Farallon Review, Women’s Basketball Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Historical Novel Society Review, The New Orleans Review, Brevity, and Ploughshares. After earning a master’s degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College (CA). She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and was the Spring 2015 Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College (CA) where she now teaches. 

CIRCLE OF WIVES by Alice LaPlante | Book Review

Written by Sherry Joyce

CIRCLE OF WIVES by Alice LaPlanteI will be thinking about this book for a long time and talking about Alice LaPlante’s clever psychological thriller to friends and book clubs that enjoy this genre. Perhaps because a suspicious death of a prominent plastic surgeon takes place in Palo Alto, the mid-San Francisco Peninsula where I spent thirty-six years, I found myself delighted to be mentally musing and walking in the familiar area. I imagined myself in Samantha’s shoes, the smart, young detective unwilling to accept the plausible answers for why Dr. John Taylor was most likely murdered and who killed him. 

Certainly when not one, not two, but three simultaneous wives are implicated in the crime, you would shake your head at the implausibility—a dedicated plastic surgeon managing to maintain sanity while juggling three wives and a lucrative practice. Yet, when reading the story, you begin to feel empathy for the dead corpse. That’s masterful writing at its best.

As each wife is introduced, you are simultaneously fascinated and shocked as you feel compassion for Deborah, his first and legal wife, then MJ, the second wife, a free-spirited accountant with a difficult past, then Helen, wife number three, an oncologist whose work frequently requires her to deliver devastating news to parents that their child is dying. You are pulled into this complex web, almost certain one of these women killed her husband. However, there are plenty of clues with possible motives implicating Taylor’s partners in his surgery practice. So, maybe it was not one of the wives who was guilty of murder.

It’s not a book so much about “whodunit” as it is about motive. “Whydunit” is what propels you rapidly forward, turning pages of interview transcripts with Samantha and each wife, speaking in the first person, so that you are completely in their heads as you read. You are likely to ask yourself, “What would I have done if I were one of these wives?”

You think you will figure it all out with your detective-sleuthing reading skills. You won’t. You’ll guess, and guess wrong and then guess again.  Alice LaPlante’s writing is that good. Not only will you be unable to put this book down, you want, as the reader, to be a smarter detective than Samantha. You applaud yourself for thinking you could never be complicit in allowing your husband to have two other wives, but then you begin to understand Deborah, MJ, and Helen—perhaps even accept their choices and sacrifices. But then there is Claire who really thickens the plot, and the unusual relationship between MJ and her brother Thomas.

LaPlante creates a young detective, Sam, with insecurities and unwavering determination. Despite her own shaky, ten-year relationship with her boyfriend, Peter, she puts work first. Samantha is likeable, tenacious and unwilling to accept what appears to be the obvious.

Not many authors can keep you reading long into the night, thinking about how the victim died and who would have benefited most from his death. LaPlante plants (pun here) clues that make logical sense, and then they don’t, part of her writing skill. During Samantha’s multiple interviews with the three wives throughout the novel, you think you will see the flaw in the perfect crime.  However, you won’t see the plot twists coming, and they keep surprising. You’ll shake your head and say, “I didn’t see that coming.” That’s what makes CIRCLE OF WIVES a thrill ride of marital deception, betrayal, and discovery.

                                    —Sherry Joyce, Author of The Dordogne Deception

Meet Alice LaPlante and discuss her book at the National Reading Group Month Event
 Co-sponsored by WNBA-SF and Litquake 2014.

Mysteries at Opera Plaza! The Thrill of Shared Reading
October 11, 2014, Saturday, 2:00 -4:00 pm
Books, Inc., Opera Plaza 601 Van Ness Ave., SF 94107

Voices Behind the Veil: The Afghan Women’s Writing Project

Lori Noack

Lori Noack

November 1st — Saturday, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Temescal Branch Library 

Meeting Room, Oakland

Speaker: Lori Noack, Executive Director

Lori Noack will discuss how AWWP provides a platform for Afghan women to share the stories of their lives. From 10 writers in 2009 to more than 220 in 2014, over 1300 poems and journalistic essays are published on Lori will share highlights of AWWP’s new projects, including an oral history initiative with illiterate women, a monthly radio series, and online writing workshops in Dari. From stories about child marriage to the high-stakes 2014 election, from love poems to war diaries, Lori will read chosen highlights from AWWP’s second collection of poetry and prose to be published in late 2014 by Grayson Books. Q&A will follow. Learn how you can participate in this important project! See attached, AWWP Opportunities

Lori Noack, Executive Director, Marketing and Development, brings to Afghan Women’s Writing Project several years of writing, editing, arts management, and nonprofit leadership experience as executive director of the Sunriver Music Festival (Oregon) and Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), editor of the Sunriver Scene; founder of Lori Noack Arts Management and of the Written Word. In 2009, she earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of San Francisco. 

*The Afghan Women’s Writing Project was founded in 2009 in defense of the human right to voice one’s story. Online writing workshops partner international writers, educators, and journalists with English-speaking women in six Afghan provinces. Poems and essays are published each week at In support of this central focus, AWWP’s program also includes a women-only Internet café in Kabul, training workshops, online Dari workshops, radio broadcasts of AWWP writings in Afghanistan, laptops, Internet, and publication opportunities. AWWP believes that empowering Afghan women creates possibilities for economic independence and instills leadership abilities as in reinforces freedom of speech.

*Founder of AWWP Masha Hamilton was the winner of the 2010 WNBA Award! “Her activism reveals the depth of Masha’s commitment to the world of literacy and books beyond her own career. She is a sterling example of what the WNBA Award truly intends to honor—meritorious work in the world of books beyond her profession,” states Valerie Tomaselli, WNBA New York Chapter President

Mix and mingle after the talk, snacks provided. FREE to members and guests.

Temescal Branch Library, 5205 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA  94609
(510) 597-5049

(Close to BART, AC Transit, metered and free parking)

Please RSVP in the form below so we can plan for you and your guest.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

ABCs of Things Authors Must Know When Working with Retail Bookshops and Retail Bookshops Must Know When Working with Authors

Patricia V. Davis

Patricia V. Davis


    by Patricia V. Davis







Dear Booksellers:

As a responsible author, business woman, and former bookshop owner, I understand how tough times are for retail bookshops these days. Therefore I make it my duty to make sure that my author events are well-attended. I put a great deal of effort into every one of my book events to make them successful, not only for myself and my readers, but because I love retail bookshops and want to see them around for many years to come. I also consider it a privilege to be able to hold a book event at a retail bookshop and want the booksellers to come away from my events feeling financially rewarded and esthetically pleased by them. Having said all that, oddly enough, I’ve sometimes been shot in the foot during that pursuit by my very “partner” in the events ─ the bookshops themselves ─ whom I assume would want to sell as many copies of my book as I do.

I’ve had bookshops order boxes of my book for an event and then not be able to find where they’ve been stored, or if they’ve been shelved, where they’re located in the bookshop.

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on beautifully designed posters and gone into the bookshop as near as one week before the event and not seen them up anywhere in the shop, nor does anyone know where those posters are when I inquire. Occasionally I’ve even discovered that there’s been no mention of my event in their email lists (to which I’ve subscribed, of course)  nor even on the bookshop website.

I’ve had readers contact me via Facebook to say they phoned the bookshop to ask about my book event and the sales clerks answering the phones knew nothing about it and so that was why they were contacting me.  I’ve had my name misspelled in fliers and on websites (sometimes even in shops where they know me very well) or given incorrectly when I’ve been introduced. Just for the record, “Patricia V. Davis” is women’s empowerment author and “Patricia Davis” is an aromatherapy author.  Patricia Davis and I constantly get each other’s emails from booksellers and one of my titles was misfiled on under her name, which took months to have corrected. For the longest time I was told that my book, The Diva Doctrine wasn’t being stocked by Barnes & Noble. It was indeed being stocked; it just wasn’t possible for the individual outlets to find it in their computers until one enterprising sales clerk decided to look it up by its ISBN number. A number, by the way, which the customer ordering the book only was able to give the clerk because she’d used her iPhone to look it up right there and then on!

I’ve had calls from bookshops saying they haven’t been able to order my book, even though the information on how and where to do so was given to them well in advance. I’ve had books not ordered in time for a book event, and so had to bring my own copies to sell.  

And most astonishing of all, considering the looming threat of online retailers, have even had the manager at one independent book shop across the country tell me in a reassuring way when I began to discuss advertising, “We’re not concerned about how many books are sold at our events. Whether it’s one or one hundred makes no difference to us at all.”  

(Hmm. I wonder if that manager is still working at that bookshop? In fact, I wonder if that bookshop is still in business?)

And so I offer here with respect and affection, a checklist of questions booksellers can ask themselves in order to insure that every book event, whether by a debut author or a NY Times bestselling author is as rewarding for the effort it takes to organize as it can be. It would be prudent for authors to read this list too, if only to understand the steps involved (and the mistakes that can be made) from a bookseller’s end when an author event is in the works.




a)       Where is the event going to be advertised? Do you have a website, a monthly flier you mail out or have copies of for when your customers come into your shop, and/or an email list? Are there any book clubs or groups that meet in your shop that you can personally invite who might be interested in this particular title?

b)      Are you displaying the author’s book one month to two weeks before the event, along with a flier of information about the book and the author? Are posters (if any have been given to you by the publisher or the author) displayed at this time too, so that customers can become aware of and excited about this book event? If not, have you made up 8 ½ x 11 fliers about the event that customers can clearly see and maybe even take home with them or have you requested them from the author? Is the author’s names and book title correct on your website? Is there a hot link for the title so that customers can order it from you online?

c)      Are all floor sellers in your shop aware of the event so that if they receive a phone call about it they can answer questions? Have they been made aware of special details about the event, such as special guests, music, or refreshments, that might attract more attendees? (This can be achieved easily by sending an in-house email with the date and all the details of the event well in advance. If you have a large bookshop where lots of events are held, a weekly staff meeting to go over each event should not be too difficult to organize.)  Does everyone at your bookshop know the correct name of the author, the correct title of the book and where in the shop the title can be found in case a customer cannot attend the event but wants to buy a copy of the book, anyway?

d)      Might you have a small yet visible space in your bookshop to display the titles of local authors who have held events at your shop recently, or who have an event scheduled? Can this space list the upcoming events of these authors? If this isn’t possible, can a list of upcoming events along with the authors’ names, titles of their works , ISBN numbers, date and time of their events, be generated in a Word document weekly for your sales clerks to check when a customer comes in to inquire about them?

e)      Does your ordering department know how, where and when to get the title? Do you have contact email or telephone number of the author in case there is a problem? If you haven’t worked with this particular distributor or wholesaler before, does your ordering department know to contact the latter well in advance of any book event, so that the books will arrive in a timely manner?

f)       Last but not least, for you alone ─ to insure that your time and money has not been wasted─ can the staff member who was supervising this event tell you if this was a successful event? How many copies of the title were sold? Did the event generate any additional traffic and business apart from those sales? Did this particular author have a good rapport with attendees? Did attendees enjoy the event and feel it was worth two hours of their time? (After all, these are your customers, too, not just the author’s readers.) Was the author rude to your sales clerks or gracious? Is it worth your time and effort to work with this author again in the future?

As for authors, you’re not off the hook when it comes to making your own book event successful, either. The days are over when an author could show up at the designated bookshop, ask, “Where do I stand?” then read, sign books and be on her way. In today’s publishing world authors who want to eventually become bestsellers, or at the very least be invited back to a retail bookshop a second time, should be able to answer the questions below.




a)      Is this my first book? If so, where is my nuclear fan base located? By “nuclear fan base” I mean your group of friends and family who you know with certainty you can rely on to attend. Discern where most of this fan base is located and choose a bookshop that’s close enough to make it easy   for them to attend. When my first book, Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece was launched, none of my nuclear fan base who I knew I could absolutely count on to attend had to travel more than 10 miles for that launch. (The only exception was my family, who lived further, but would have traveled to the moon to be there.) So, don’t pick the “in” bookshop, pick the one that closest to your nuclear fan base that holds book events,( which you can check by visiting the shop or the shop’s website.) Investigate where this might be at least six months prior to your book’s release date.

b)      Once you choose the closest bookshop, ask yourself: If I were this bookshop owner, what would I need from a debut author who wants to have an event at my bookshop? This is a question few if any authors think of asking themselves. With 3 million new titles per year, why would your local bookshop choose your new book and allow you to use their shop to hold a launch instead of another author?  What will they get in return for ordering your book, advertising your event on their website or in their newsletter, paying personnel to assist you with your launch and permitting you to take up space in their shop for two hours or more? In this day of high costs and dwindling profits for retail bookshops, you as the author have to consider all of the above. Can you guarantee a minimum of 20 copies of your books sold? ( Even if you have to buy them back from the bookseller yourself?) Will you do everything you can to advertise your event, including announcements on Facebook, Twitter, evites and emails out to your list? Will you spend one full day to write out advertisements to all of the online local “events calendars” such as, and all the local newspapers? Will you search for and contact neighborhood book clubs? Are you in any local writers’ groups that can help you pass the word along? What about any local groups that might have a special interest in your particular title? ( With Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece ) I sent invitations to every local Hellenic Association or Greek Group I could find.) If you can present a “business plan” for the event to the bookshop events planner and do so well in advance of when you wish to have the event, you have a much better chance of getting them excited about having your launch at their facility.

c)      Now that I have brought in friends and groups, what can I do to bring in others? To an author, any stranger = a potential new reader. To a bookshop, any new reader = a potential book sale.  What can I do to make my event fun and unique so that even people who might not know me or my work might be tempted to come into the bookshop for my launch? The more creative you get the better chance you have of drawing in people. To see some ideas I’ve utilized in the past and to see some well attended events, check out the photo gallery on my website.



d)      How can the bookshop order my book? The most vital information every business-savvy author will have on hand when she’s talking with a bookshop is the correct ordering information. Who’s the wholesaler/distributor of the title? What are the terms, meaning discount to bookshop and payment schedule? What is your publisher’s return policy for booksellers? How long before the event does the bookshop need to order the books for them to arrive on time for the event?

If you’re thinking, “Shouldn’t the bookshop know this?” you’ll learn that often they don’t. I’ve had bookshops say they can’t “get” my book, can’t “find” my book, and can’t open a retail account with my book publisher(s). Even before your book is published you should make a call to your publisher and get the information above so you can pass it on to bookshops, just in case. If your book is self-published, you need to set reasonable discount terms with a bookshop in order to encourage them to carry your book. Reasonable terms include at least a 35-40% discount off cover price and full right of return after three months if the books don’t sell. If they’re not planning on carrying your book as part of their stock, you’ll need to offer a consignment deal for any event. This means you bring your books in, they get an agreed upon discount off the cover price on every book sold and you leave the event with whatever remaining unsold books from the books you brought in. Arrange with your publisher to receive an author discount of at least 50% if you plan to sell the books yourself to bookshops. A smart debut author knows it’s not the amount of money she makes on each title, it’s how much volume she moves and how many new readers she garners. Remember that you’re not selling fruit, (though it sometimes may feel that way) you’re building your name as an author. And the only way to do that is to make sure you move your published works to as many readers as possible. This includes not organizing an author event out of hubris, but to sell books.


PATRICIA V. DAVIS is the author of the bestselling Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece, and The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know. Her latest work and first published fiction, “Chopin, Fiendishly” appears in Tales From the House Band: Volume I.  Patricia holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and Education, and is the founder of The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference. This article is excerpted from Patricia’s upcoming book, written with Gilbert Mansergh, with the working title, PowerStrategy Publishing! The Paramount Guide for Authors, Publishers and Booksellers On Leveraging Industry Change.


Come home for the holidays…home to yourself…connect, create and inspire

There’s no place like home for the holidays…that’s what the song says.

What does home mean to you? What does it look like?

It can be a

  • place…specific geographic location
  • feeling…when we are lost in reading/writing our favorite genre
  • person… representing that sense of well-being

I believe home is somewhere or someone who makes us feel always welcome, comfortable, nurtured, and cherished.

Thomas Wolfe said “we can’t go home again.”

I agree with Mr. Wolfe that you can’t go “home” again. It is physically and emotionally impossible to return to the specific point in time we yearn to revisit. When we were six-years-old and cuddled up on Grandma’s lap being smothered with kisses and attention. When we were 12 and won that science award. When we had that first confirmation of our writing abilities by being published in the junior college literary magazine.

Dorothy figured out that “there’s no place like home.”

I am also in agreement with Dorothy. As much as she found Oz magical, Kansas was her real land of enchantment of family and friends. Wherever we call home, that address possesses the ability to inspire ease and delicious comfort for us.

“I long,” Maya Angelou tells us, “as does every human being, to be at home within myself.

Ah yes, I fully embrace Maya Angelou’s sentiments. As much as it is important to have an environment, which fosters an atmosphere of growth and understanding, we cannot ever hope to be at “home” in any physical surroundings, if we are not first at “home” within ourselves. The address could be a palace, grand estate or a shack, but if we are not comfortable in our own skin…are we really living our best life?

How do you come to be at home within yourself?

The answer is not simple…it is a lifelong journey.

I believe as writers we have an inside track in finding the path to be at home within ourselves. We couldn’t write if we didn’t know how to reach inside ourselves. We couldn’t write if we didn’t know how to bridge the gap between the surface story and the emotional drama below the façade.

What does home mean to you?

I’d love to discuss this subject further, please join me at the Come Home to Yourself…Connect, Create and Inspire Unleash YOU! Holiday Tea with Mary E. Knippel on Monday, Dec. 10, 3:30 p.m. in San Mateo.

During this season of giving, stop all the hustle and bustle to indulge in a little “me” time and discuss why self-nurturance is necessary not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.

Sit, sip, and savor time with friends and take home a bit of holiday magic with your own personal blend of bath salts.

$10 via this link, or $15 at the door. (includes hands-on materials and refreshments)

*A portion of monies collected at Unleash You! events will benefit  Breast Cancer Connections (, a Bay Area non-profit organization offering free programs and services for those touched by breast cancer and the people who care about them.


This event is presented by Mary E. Knippel. Mary is a past president of WNBA-SF as well as a presenter and Independent Editor Coordinator at the San Francisco Writers Conference. She is a creative professional with over 25 years of extensive writing experience and the author of THE SECRET ARTIST – give yourself permission to let your creativity shine! Mary helps her clients move from concept to creation whatever the project:  web text, personal profiles, newsletters, e-mail campaigns, blog posts, articles or artful taglines. Using her skills as a free-lance writer, editor, speaker, and workshop facilitator, Mary encourages everyone to overcome their reluctance to embrace their writing potential and address writing challenges with fun and flair. For more information, visit her website.