Holiday 2019 Newsletter

Women's National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter Newsletter

upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter

Celebrate the Holidays at the WNBA-SF Mixer

Sunday, December 29
East Bay (address provided upon registration)

Free to Public
Light refreshments.

Featuring  Gabriella Mautner award-winning author and Holocaust survivor and instructor of creative writing at San Francisco State University.

Join WNBA-SF members and friends for a WNBA-SF New Year’s Inspiration Celebration.
Our annual holiday celebration will be held in a private home in the East Bay and will feature the usual food, drink, and lively company.

Check out full details here…

Meet WNBA-SF at SFWC 2020!
SF Writers' Conference logo

Presidents Day Weekend
February 13-16, 2020

The fabulous San Francisco Writers Conferencewill be showcased at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero on the waterfront, near the fabled Ferry Building.

Nowhere could you find a more spacious and elegant accommodation for networking and learning the newest trends in the craft and business of writing. Often called the “friendliest” as well as the premier West Coast writers conference, SFWC is now only a BART ride away from SFO or from almost anywhere in the Bay Area.

Pitch-O-Rama PLUS 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
8:00 am – 12:30 pm


Bethany UM Church
1270 Sanchez Street (at Clipper) SF, CA 94114

Early Bird Registration pricing through Jan 1, 2020:
$65 WNBA members,  $75 Non-members
Men Welcome!
Limited to the first 60 ticketed attendees. 
Includes a continental breakfast and pre-pitch coaching.

Every year, Pitch-O-Rama delivers the 4 Ps that lead to publication:

To Register, and for more information, click HERE!

Brenda Knight

Dear WNBA-SF Members,

The holidays are almost here! We hope to see you at least twice during the season, starting at our holiday party where all members are welcome — we encourage you to bring a friend! 

Please bring children’s books, wrapped or unwrapped, or any book you think will help a family for our annual donation.Please also bring anything you want to *show and tell* everyone whether it is a new book, article, poem or whatever you want to share with you fellow members and friends. We would love to hear about what you have been up to in 2019!

A gentle reminder to renew;  if you have not yet had a chance, please do before the end of the year.

Your membership allows the SF Chapter to present events and resources for YOU!


We are also having a panel at the Mechanics Institute in January and would love for you to come and learn along with us from female leaders in publishing. Come for the coffee and cookies and stay for the sharing of wisdom. 

We had a marvelous National Reading Group Month event at Book Passage By the Bay: Cheryl, the manager of that store loved working with our chapter. it was truly a day to remember.   magical with all the marvelous women writers discussing the creative process and their books.

We are also looking forward to Pitch-O-Rama 2020, where we will have more agents, editors and publishers than ever before. We will also have our first-ever WNBA-SF Member Author Bookstore and every paid attendee can have their books sold there with opportunities for signings during breaks.

This latter part of the year has been stressful  with the fires and seemingly endless stream of troubling news  but we look forward to brighter days.  This is also a reminder to us all of the importance of being in community. We are very grateful to have you as part of ours.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

Brenda Knight, President


Featured Member Interview

BOOKTALK! The Buzz in the World of Books
Featured Member Interview – Sheryl Bize-Boutte

Interview by  Nita Sweeney

In this interview, Sheryl Bize-Boutte proves it’s never too late for the Write Words…

One of the many joys of participating in the Women’s National Book Association of San Francisco is the opportunity to learn from talented, successful authors such a Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte. As could be expected from even a quick review of her work, Sheryl provided generous, insightful answers to my questions.

NS: You enjoyed a rich work-life before you turned to writing full-time. Did your work experience prepare you for this phase of your career?

SJBBThe two things my work experience did for my writing career were 1) to provide a nice retirement with freedom to write and 2) to let me know that I could write in many different forms. In those ways the career off-ramp was totally worth it. Although I wrote a bit now and then throughout my government career, my work-related writing was often lauded and I became the “writer” in the office. I once wrote a section of congressional testimony for a cabinet level secretary that was delivered to the House without one word being changed. That sealed it for me. I knew what I would be doing in my retirement!

NS: Your work has won some impressive awards. Have those helped further your writing career?

SJBBAwards are impressive to some and I am sure have caught the eye of readers and some important people in the writing game. But I have found that much of my recognition and furtherance as a writer has been a result of my readings, involvement in the writing community and face-to-face casual literary encounters out there in the world of writing. I don’t write for the award of it. I write for the love of it. I think people feel my love of the writing and sometimes that alone makes them want to hear and see more of it.

BK: You have been described as a “talented multidisciplinary writer whose works artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about life and the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.” What did you think when you read this review?

SJBB: I can only surmise that this is what she received from reading my stories. I will say that since an African American mother who was often treated badly because of her skin color, and a Creole father who was often mistaken as White raised me, some may view my writings about my observations of the differences as artful, but for me they are what my life was and is made of. I had an “inside view” so to speak of what it meant to be treated as Black as well as White in Oakland as well as in the South, and since I was an extremely nosey child who listened to and looked closely at everything, I remember it, I kept it and I can write it.

As far as the narrative part: My favorite writing form is the short story. I learned a long time ago that be to an effective short story teller one must make each sentence a story in itself, have very few characters and stay on point.

To read more click HERE!


Featured Member Interview – Nita Sweeney

Interview by Brenda Knight, WNBA-SF President

Brenda Knight (BK): When did you know you were a writer, Nita?

Nita Sweeney (NS): Way to lead off with a stumper! Did I know I was a writer in 5th grade when I held the one and only copy of my “first” book, Sheshak the Wild Stallion, which I both typed and bound myself as a class assignment? How about in 1996 when Dog World published my first feature article or when Dog Fancy published my cover article? Definitely in 2019 when Mango published Depression Hates a Moving Target, my first actual (not typed or bound by me) book and I held it in my hands.

Still, self-doubt arises again and again. I have befriended it. Part of me may never think I’m a “real” writer, but I don’t let that deter me from writing.

(BK): Runner biographies and memoirs are a “thing.” Did you ever think you would write one? (or did you?)

(NS): At 49, when I took up running, the last thing on my mind was writing a running memoir. I just didn’t want to be miserable anymore and hoped exercise would help me crawl out of an emotional black hole. Soon, friends and my mental health providers began to comment about my improved mood. They saw it before I did.

To read more click HERE!


From Novel to Netflix: Mentoring the book-to-film path

By Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley

Mentoring comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always a meeting for coffee and reporting back. It can happen in a variety of different ways, like meeting an author at a book fair and requesting an email interview.

Unlike my usual manner of attending events without having gone over the complete schedule, for some reason before going to the Leimert Park Book Fair, I looked through the online schedule in its entirety and noticed a book-to-film panel discussion. How did I miss that when I made plans to attend?! I immediately switched gears in preparation to arrive two hours earlier to attend the panel discussion.

When I arrived at the book fair with my 12 year-old son, who is also an avid reader, we hurriedly walked to locate the main stage where the panel discussion was scheduled to take place. Unfamiliar with the venue, we stopped at the information table on the 1st floor and were directed to the 2nd floor. We got off the escalator and walked to the end of the hall (as directed).

No stage.

We went back down the escalator and asked a second volunteer for the location, but were again erroneously directed to the opposite end of where we needed to go. Finally, we found the main stage and I quickly found a seat. My son went to look out the window. This isn’t his genre. No dragon and sorcerer discussions here.

I was prepared to learn all the wonderful ins-and-out of a subject matter completely foreign to me. ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ I thought as I eagerly positioned myself to listen to the panel, which consisted of a one-on-one with authors Trisha R. Thomas, Nappily Ever After and Michael Datcher, Americus.

Nappily Ever After, based on the novel by Thomas, an award-winning author of literary fiction, was made into a feature film on Netflix starring Saana Lathan.

I had many questions, but because we had difficulty locating the main stage we arrived five minutes before the panel discussion ended!

After both Thomas and Datcher left the stage to sit at the book signing table, I wasn’t sure what to do with my unanswered questions. I stood near the line for the book signing table while my son repeatedly requested a $5.00 slice cheese of pizza and two attendees asked if I was in line or not.

I carefully considered my most pressing question:

As an African-American woman writer, how did she break through the book-to-film barrier?

I took a deep breath and decided to request an email interview with Thomas.

She agreed.

To read more click HERE!

Three Ways To Get Buzz For Your Book

By Paula Rizzo

A few short weeks ago, my newest book, Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, was published! I’m super excited. 

Many of my clients are authors as well and I always give them the same advice when I’m media training or working on media strategy with them. 

So I’m practicing what I preach! 

Here’s what I’ve been doing to get my book out there before it hit bookshelves:  

Get Traditional Media Mentions: When it comes to publishing a book, I always tell my clients to get media attention well before the book comes out. If you’re lucky you could be like my friend Ilise Benun who got one media mention that brought her ten years worth of business! 

I spent close to two decades as a television producer and the authors who got coverage were the ones that I already knew. That’s because they were already experts in my eyes and it was easy to say yes to someone who has already proven to be a good source for you. You want to be friendly with editors and producers well before you have a book to sell. It’s much easier to get their attention when they know and trust you already. 

As I always say media begets more media, so putting your name out there will create a ripple effect and hopefully bring new potential readers and media to your door. 

I was interviewed with about how to brainstorm better and be more creative. I took an example from my recent trip to Greece. Creativity is not a topic I typically would speak on but it worked and I got a mention for my book in there along with my quote. 

So that’s a lesson – don’t be tied to only talk about your topic. If you can confidently lend expertise in other areas do it – you’ll still get a mention for your book so it’s a win win! 

To read more click HERE!

WNBA-SF 2018-2020 BOARD

President: Brenda Knight
Vice President: Elise Marie Collins
Treasurer: A Leslie Noble
Secretary: Kathleen Archambeau
Membership Chair: Julianne Reidy
Board Development: Sheryl Bize-Boutte
Past President: Kate Farrell
Member at Large: Marcia Rosen, Marketing
Member at Large: Mary Volmer, Events Co-chair
Member at Large: Joan Gelfand

Social Media Manager: Elise Marie Collins
Web Editor: Sue Wilhite
Newsletter Editor: Gauri Manglik, in transition
Featured Member Interview Editor: Dr Susan Allison
Bookwoman Correspondent: Jennifer Griffith
Webmaster: Linda Lee

Mailing address: 
4061 E. Castro Valley Blvd.
Castro Valley, CA 94552-4840

The Women’s National Book Association has been a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) member of the United Nations since 1959. A NGO is defined as “any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organized on a local, national or international level.”  

WNBA-the National Organization 

The Women’s National Book Association, established in 1917, before women in America had the right to vote.

The WNBA’s founding idea—that books have power and that those involved in their creation gain strength from joining forces—reaches across the decades to now serve members in 11 chapters across the country and network members in between.  
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