Spring 2018 Newsletter

Women's National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter Newsletter

upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter Chapter President

WNBA- SF Chapter 2018-2020 Slate of Officers

Please elect this new slate of officers–fill out the form below!
Deadline: April 20. 2018

It is time for new WNBA-SF leadership! Please fill out this form to vote for our incoming WNBA-SF Chapter board. If you wish, you may also nominate an active, qualified WNBA-SF Chapter member as an alternative to this slate with her prior, written consent no later than April 20, 2018. Thank you, Marcia Rosen, Nominating Committee Chair

Brenda KnightPresident – Brenda Knight
Brenda Knight is a twenty-year publishing veteran, starting at HarperCollins, and authored American Book Award-winning Women of the Beat Generation, Rituals for Life and Wild Women and Books. Knight has worked with many bestselling authors including Mark Nepo, Phil Cousineau, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Paolo Coehlo. Knight volunteers for the American Cancer Society as a counselor for the newly diagnosed and leads writing workshops, “Putting Your Passion on Paper.” Founding editor of Viva Editions, a division of Cleis Press, Knight lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Brenda Knight is nominated for a second two-year term as President.

Vice President – Elise Marie Collins
A yoga foodie, Elise Marie Collins loves to shop and hunt for healing foods. She has been teaching yoga for over ten years and eating her entire life. Through her yoga and meditation practice, Elise became more in touch with the importance of what we put in our bodies and how food affects us spiritually, mentally and physically.She is the author of An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods, A Shoppers Companion and Chakra Tonics, Essential Elixirs for Mind, Body and Spirit, both published by Conari press.”

Sharon McElhoneSecretary – Sharon McElhone
Sharon McElhone is a journalist, columnist, and author of six books. Her articles have appeared in La OfertaOrchard Valley,  among other publications.Her column,”Middle America-Our Engine,” and can be viewed online at La Oferta. Her fiction has appeared in The New Short Fiction Series 2012 in Los Angeles, Label Me Latina/o Spring 2015 and in the 2017 anthology Basta! She was the keynote speaker for La Rosa, a program dedicated to increasing college attendance among Latina students. She is half Ecuadorian and half Irish and lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and children. She is working on a memoir related to childcare, a novel, and a fourth collection of poems. For more information, please see sharonmcelhone.com Sharon McElhone was appointed mid-term due to a resignation, and is now nominated for a two-year term as Secretary.

HermaTreasurer – Herma Lichtenstein
Herma Lichtenstein is an advocate of the creative process in whatever form it takes. With a background in design, she recently managed capital projects for the City of Dublin and the Athenian School in Danville. An avid reader and writer, in 2013 she started Panverse Publishing. The company focused on publishing cross genre works. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband, a dog, and two cats who hate the dog. Herma Lichtenstein is nominated for a second two-year term as Treasurer.

Fill out this form by April 20, 2018! Vote our Slate OR you may also nominate an officer of your choice with their prior, written consent. Click here to Vote!

Dear Friends and Fellow Members of WNBA-SF Chapter, 

While it is hard to believe May is just around the corner, I sincerely hope you are making fun spring plans including excellent reads for your “me” time. While you have your calendar out, please save these very important dates for WNBA-SF happenings, beginning with April 21st literary event Serious Play: Fiction and Storytelling.

We will also be participating with the San Francisco Writers Conference at their booth at the Berkeley Book Festival the following weekend and look forward to mingling with fellow scribes on a beautiful spring day.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Pitch-O-Rama on March 31st which was our best attended and most successful one ever with a sell-out crowd! As one new member attendee, Susan Allison, put it, “I loved the event, from the warm greeting at the door, to the pre-pitch coaching, from the meetings with top agents and publishers (several of whom are looking at my project!) to the marketing-panel finale. Overall, the Pitch-O-Rama was not only helpful, but fun, with lots of laughter, networking, good food and relevant information. As a newbie, I felt at home and am pitching the WNBA to my friends and colleagues. Go women writers! WNBA, you rock!”

Other notable events to keep in mind are the Northern California Book Awards at the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library on Larkin Street on June 10th and the Effie Lee Memorial Lecture in September also at the SF Main Library.

On August 17th at noon, we’ll have a WNBA-SF Author Showcase at the Mechanics Institute on Post Street. Mary Mackey and Louise Nayer will be speaking and stay tuned for more news on this. If you have not been to the Mechanic’s Institute Library, please do consider coming as it is a majestic example of Grand Old San Francisco architecture.

All of these are marvelous celebrations of our literary community and excellent opportunities to network. We are nearly at the half-way point in our chapter’s 50th year anniversary and are looking for volunteers to plan a Fall 2018 celebration party, so please do get in touch with me directly about that celebratory committee! We are “50 and Fabulous,” thanks to all of you!

Brenda KnightKeep the pages turning,
Brenda Knight, President

upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter Other News
 Serious Play: Fiction and Storytelling

The Craft of Fiction and the Importance of Storytelling

Saturday, April 21st, 3:00 pm
Hagerty Lounge,
De La Salle Hall
Saint Mary’s College, 1928 Saint Mary’s Road, Moraga, CA 94575

Serious Play: 
Authors Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Nayomi Munaweera in conversation with Mary Volmer about the craft of fiction and the global importance of storytelling

The Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, presents an afternoon conversation with internationally acclaimed authors Sarah Ladipo Manyika
and Nayomi Munaweera. Come to hear these two remarkable women discuss the craft of fiction, the global importance of storytelling, and their impressive philanthropic endeavors. Reception to follow.

Sponsored by the Saint Mary’s College of California MFA in Creative Writing. Co-sponsored by the Saint Mary’s English Department, the Intercultural Center, and the Women’s Resource Center.

$15.00 WNBA members, $20.00 non-members (Prepay online, or at the door)
FREE for SMC students with a valid student ID

All proceeds benefit the WNBA-SF and the Saint Mary’s College MFA’s Hedgebrook Scholarship.

Parking is available and free
Click here for a campus map
Locate De La Salle Hall to the right of the main entrance.

To read more click HERE! Pay in advance HERE!

Writing a Nonfiction Book? 5 Ideas…

… For Attracting Agents/Editors and Keeping Readers Engaged

Written by Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner, nonfiction writer, coachThe summer of 2017 has been the summer of nonfiction. I’ve read more nonfiction books than I have in a long while and I’ve had an influx of writers coming to me wanting support for their nonfiction works—about relationships, globalization and business, the internalization of negativity, women and power, and, of course, Trump.

I will never profess to anyone that writing a book is easy, but nonfiction writers do have a leg up over their novelist and memoirist peers in that nonfiction can and should be formulaic. It’s all about your table of contents, and if you bang that out on the front end and feel good about the points you’re hitting, you have a strong template to guide you all the way through to the end. Yes, you still have to execute good writing and keep your reader interested in your topic, but there are a few tricks (ie, skills) that you can implement to attract agents and editors—and eventually readers.

1. Give your reader subheads!
Too often, writers I work with submit long excerpts or sample chapters chock-full of good ideas, theories, and expression, but with no breaks! Readers need breaks, and oftentimes line breaks don’t cut it. Subheadings are critical in nonfiction works. They helps you, the writer, break your own ideas into compartmentalized sections. They also keep you more organized and therefore on point. You might have four or five subheads in a given chapter, and the subhead title itself guides the reader toward the points you want to make in that section. It helps keep you and your reader on track, and it gives readers a natural place to break—whether for the purpose of stopping for a while (bookmark!) or digesting what they’ve just read.

Featured Member Interview

BOOKTALK! The Buzz in the World of Books
 Sharon McElhone

Interview by Nina Lesowitz

Sharon McElhone, featured member interviewWNBA-SF Board member Sharon McElhone became obsessed with writing at 18 years old after reading a life-altering novel and has been writing articles, poems, and essays ever since. Today, her seventh book is nearing completion.

“I found my way into journalism sixteen years ago through an internship at La Oferta, a bilingual newspaper. The editors, Mary and Tatiana Andrade, have been great friends and mentors. After my first assignment of copy-editing, they moved me to covering local politics and interviewing candidates. Then they gave me a column. The column is entitled ‘The Middle Class-Our Engine’ and is dedicated to middle-class Americans. It is also offered in English and Spanish.

“Mary Andrade published my first poem in La Oferta about a year after I started working as a journalist. It was about the death of my mother’s long-time gardener, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico. He was sort of a father figure since my mother was a single mother. To date, I’ve written four collections of poetry. Most of my work centers around what it’s like to be a woman living with an artificially imposed set of societal standards and also describes the hardship of American motherhood without access to childcare and equal rights.

Tell Us about the anthology BASTA!

BASTA! 100+ Latinas Against Gender Violence began in Chile as a movement to create awareness about violence against women. Each anthology is tied to a country and the series continues to make its way around the world. The BASTA! anthology that has been published here in the States contains the short stories of one hundred Latina writers from the U.S. One of those stories is mine. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to be part of Dr. Emma Sepulveda Pulvirenti’s work. She is the editor of the U.S. anthology. Putting this series together highlights the very real issue for women around the world. All proceeds from the book, which was published by the Latino Research Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, go to help organizations addressing violence against women. Dr. Pulvirenti makes no money from sales and neither do any of the writers.”

Do you have any insight or advice for fellow members about your writing process?

“The process for me developed over time. It’s like exercise: if you force yourself to do it and it’s not enjoyable then most likely you will find it hard to continue. So I try to be patient and make it something that is pleasurable. It’s very relaxing to me to write. It’s a way to release tension or answer questions when a writer can disappear into work that has meaning. Also, it shouldn’t matter if someone else appreciates the work or not. Of course, writers like to have readers, but writers should write for themselves first in my opinion. It gives the work meaning. One shouldn’t force writing, instead stick to a schedule that works for that week, month, or year since schedules change. Enjoy the process, then send your work out.

To read more click HERE!

Writing Mysteries: Is It A Mystery?

Written by M. Glenda Rosen (aka Marcia G. Rosen)

Marcia Rosen, mystery writerWriting a mystery book or series is akin to putting together a puzzle with a thousand pieces. Where should you begin? Do you start the puzzle with the corner and edge pieces, providing details on the main characters including the heroes and criminals? Or do you start in the middle, revealing upfront the murder and complexity of the story plot?

Whether you start with corners, or center pieces, what matters is sticking with your structure and then pacing the plot. You need to keep it moving forward by creating suspense with clues and mysterious happenings.

In the television mystery series, “Columbo,” the murder always took place at the beginning of the story. The seemingly flustered but persistent detective follows various suspects and clues to eventually catch the murderer. In other television mysteries, you follow the path of an ordinary citizen—writer, baker, doctor, librarian, or florist—who is captivated by certain events and incidentally gets involved in solving crimes. These amateurs just can’t seem to help themselves, even when following the clue leads them to danger.

From these types of mysteries known as cozies, to film noir with gangsters and hard-boiled detectives, to terrifying thrillers, mysteries have long appealed to the reader and viewer. As a writer, you can choose your own style, your own way of creating characters and stories of murders and mayhem, and your own way of presenting clues and suspects leading toward solving the crime. Yet, there are certain elements essential to a good mystery, which can take the reader on a fascinating ride through a criminal’s mind and the minds of those who reach into that mind to catch them.

You want your reader to become involved and interested in your story so they follow the clues you leave, and they attempt to solve the crimes along with you. Don’t make it too easy: There should be a number of possible suspects. Enhance the plot with character conflict and red herrings that might confuse and steer the reader away from the real murderer. The bad guy can also lead the reader astray by placing suspicion and blame on someone else.

Our history and experiences can define us, inspire our actions, and, as writers, impact our words and stories. Mine most definitely have. My father was a small-time gangster. Really! No doubt, thanks to my father, writing mysteries is in my DNA.

Marcia Rosen has previously published four books in her mystery series, “Dying to Be Beautiful.” Rosen is also author of “The Woman’s Business Therapist” and “My Memoir Workbook.” She was founder, and for many years, owner of a successful Marketing and Public Relations Agency, created several radio and TV talk shows, and received numerous awards for her work with business and professional women. She currently resides in Carmel, California. For more information, visit www.theseniorsleuths.com and www.levelbestbooks.com

To read more click HERE!

Join the WNBA: We Have Your Back!

Joining WNBA-SF Chapter really does make you more attractive and interesting! Click HERE to read member benefits.

Don’t forget to VOTE by April 20th!

WNBA SF Chapter Board Contact Info


WNBA-SF 2016-2018 BOARD

President: Brenda Knight
Vice President: Nina Lesowitz, Member Interview Editor
Treasurer: Herma Lichtenstein
Secretary: Sharon McElhone
Membership Co-Chair: Terye Balogh
Membership Co-Chair: Jan Schmuckler
Past President: Kate Farrell
Member at Large: Sue Wilhite
Member at Large: Joan Gelfand, 
Nat’l WNBA Chair, Chapter Development
Social Media Manager: Elise Marie Collins, Brenda Knight
Web Editor: Simona Carini
Newsletter Editor: Kate Farrell
Bookwoman Correspondent: Martha Conway
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 New Websites! 

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

Check out our Centennial website for more information about our history and the celebrations we have planned throughout the year.

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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