Summer 2019 Newsletter

Women's National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter Newsletter

upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter

Join our Writing Contest for awards and cash prizes!

Deadline: October 31

We honor and celebrate woman authors and diverse writers, and hope to include YOU with our 2019 Bay Area WNBA Writer’s Contest, launched June 1st and running through October 31st, 2019. 
Genres include: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Fiction and Nonfiction should be 500-2500 words. Poetry should be no more than 40 lines. 

PRIZES: First Place earns $200; Second Place earns $100; Third Place earns $50. 

Fees are: WNBA members $14.00 per submission, non-members $20.00 per submission. Participants may submit up to 3 pieces but must pay a separate fee for each submission.

To find out more details, and for the list of judges, click HERE!

Author Lunch – A Novel Plan: The Art of Outlining Your Fiction
Friday, August 16 2019, 12:00 Noon
Mechanics Institute Library
57 Post Street
4th Floor, Chess Room
San Francisco, CA 94104 
 (Free to Public, refreshments available)

What are the secrets to success for novels? At least one of them is structure, and three of our esteemed WNBA-SF member authors will share the approaches that have garnered them bestseller status, awards and rave reviews. Learn what role planning and research play and how to make your scenes, settings, and characters realistic and compulsively readable from beginning to end. We are thrilled to present Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte, Mary Mackey, and Martha Conway for in-depth explanations of the strategies that inform their craft. 

A Novel Plan 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!

For more information, click HERE!

But wait…there’s more!

WNBA-SF Member Mixer
top view looking down spiral staircase at Mechanics Institute Library, San FranciscoFriday, August 16, 2019
2pm – 4pm

Mechanics Institute Library
57 Post Street
4th Floor, Chess Room
San Francisco, CA 94104

Please join WNBA-SF members and friends for a get together at the beautiful beaux arts building in downtown San Francisco. Start the weekend off right with members of both our Women’s National Book Association Chapter as well as Mechanics Institute Library, and more!

This event will take place right after the lecture “A Novel Plan.” We’ll offer librations and snacks to share and, in addition to the novelists, you can meet some of the judges of our writing contest!

To RSVP, and for more information, click HERE!

Brenda Knight

Dear WNBA-SF Members,

Can you believe it’s August already? This year is zooming by but, hopefully, you are getting some summer vacation reading time. And writing time! Speaking of that, make sure to enter our first-ever WNBA-SF Writing Contest which has a special offer for members and cash prizes and awards! 

We have back to back events upcoming in mid August at the venerable Mechanics Institute Library, a beautiful beaux arts building in downtown San Francisco. First up is A Novel Plan on August 16th at noon. Member authors Sheryl Bize-Boutte, Mary Mackey and Martha Conway will share secrets for structuring novels and much more: Immediately after that, we are having a mixer in the same space, from 2 pm to 4 pm. Come for the yummy snacks and stay for the good conversations; Bring a book you have written to show and tell!

Save the dates for fall big-deal events: our annual Effie Lee Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, October 2nd at the SF Main Library will feature speaker, Isabel Campoy. More details to come so please stay tuned. As always, join us to toast our chapter and our founder at the reception beforehand upstairs in the Fischer Children’s Center.

We would also love to see you at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference For Change where we will have a booth and members will be presenting. Writing for Change Conference Saturday, September 14th, 2019 Check-in begins at 8:30 am  Event: 8:45 am – 5:00 pm, First Unitarian Universalist Center of San Francisco  1187 Franklin Street (at Geary), San Francisco, CA.

We also have our date for our National Reading Group Month event in conjunction with Litquake which is Saturday, October 12 at The Book Passage Ferry Plaza. The lineup for this panel looks to be our best ever. All of these events are marvelous celebrations of our literary community and excellent opportunities to network get inspired by stellar writers and meet your fellow chapter members. 

We would also love to hear YOUR news and welcome you to consider penning a blog post for our weekly newsfeed and website. We also have openings for board members and if you are interested, please contact me at the I am also very happy to set up a call with you to see if you have any ideas, question or suggestion for making WNBA-SF even better. We love nothing better than learning from the wise women who comprise the WNBA-SF.

In closing, I’ll remind you our membership renewal period starts August 1st and we very much appreciate your continued support and contributions to our community.

Many thanks and keep the pages turning,

Brenda Knight, President 




Featured Member Interview

BOOKTALK! The Buzz in the World of Books
Featured Member Interview – Jennifer March Soloway

Interview by Susan Allison

In this interview, Jennifer Soloway shares her unusual path to becoming a successful agent.

Jennifer March Soloway is an associate agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Although she specializes in children’s literature, Jennifer also represents some adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense and psychological horror. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking new voices and fresh perspectives underrepresented in literature. 

When asked how she became a literary agent, Jennifer responds, “My path to agenting is a little different from many other agents. I studied journalism in undergrad and then went on to work in public relations and marketing in a number of industries, including banking, health care, and toys, and except for the banking, there was always a focus on kids.  When I worked for the toy company, I managed all the public relations, wrote and produced their catalog, and ran their annual kid inventor contest. I was also the toy inventor liaison, which meant several times a year I would travel around the country to meet with toy inventors, who would pitch their toy ideas to me. It was the coolest job!

Selling an invention to our company was tough. We had a very strong internal design team, and we almost never bought outside ideas, so it was difficult to place with us. But every once in a while, I would find an invention that was perfect for our new line. It was my job to then negotiate the terms and the contract with the inventor. Sounds a bit like agenting, doesn’t it? 

About that time, though, I had always loved literature—especially YA—and I wanted to give writing a try. I quit my job and got a MFA in English and Creative Writing with an emphasis on young adult literature. Then I was introduced to the Andrea Brown Literary Agency at the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, and on a whim, I applied to be Executive Agent Laura Rennert’s assistant. I was still thinking about going back into marketing, but the more I assisted Laura, the more I loved the work. I was her assistant for three and a half years and then was promoted to become an agent in mid-2016. I love this job. It’s been an exciting ride!”

To read more click HERE!



How to Stay Sane When Your Book is Published

By Nita Sweeney

The hotel carpet itched the back of my neck as I lay on the floor with my eyes closed. To persuade my back muscles to relax, I’d folded my legs in the Egoscue Method “static back press” across the seat of the stiff armchair and noticed my breath go in and out.

The morning before, our Dead Runners Society (DRS) group ran four miles through the Amish countryside of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. We dodged buggies and horse manure while enjoying views of white board fences, white-washed barns, bearded men, and dress-clad women toting tidy children.

That afternoon, twenty people gathered at a Lancaster, Pennsylvania bookstore to hear me talk about my running and mental health memoir. A few minutes into my presentation, a friend appeared. She had driven an hour and a half—one way—and I had to stop reading to clear the tears from my throat before I could continue. I signed book after book. My face hurt from smiling. After the audience dispersed, the store asked me to autograph ten more books. I thanked them profusely. I would have gladly stayed all day.

The next morning, our DRS clan ambled through the rolling hills across several covered bridges. I stopped to snap an Instagram photo of an immaculate farm in the open countryside and let my insides expand with warm sensations.

When I was a little girl, I loved books so much that I dreamed of writing my own. In May 2019, Mango Publishing made that dream come true by releasing my first book, the memoir Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink. The months since had been filled with book tour joy. Interviews. Blue skies. Packed readings. Emerald green fields. Expo and workshop appearances. Two or three puffy clouds. Podcasts. Good friends.

Standing in the Pennsylvania countryside, I savored this rare bit of calm amid the book promotion frenzy—my new “normal.”

Then I turned to rejoin the group, and my back went out.

Hours later, as I sprawled on the hotel floor, my spine now a sideways “s-curve,” I stifled a giggle (between curses) since laughter would surely send my back into another excruciating spasm.

“Welcome to the glamorous life of the published author!” I thought.

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 Co-Chair: Sue Wilhite
Membership Co-Chair: Nicole Wong
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: Brenda Knight
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.”  

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.

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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