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Special features:



Try Something




January 2013



Dues Notice


Try something new in the New Year!

* Young Writers’ Contest deadline


It is easy to get stuck in a rut with our writing and reading habits. The key,


though, is to not stay in the rut. How do we do that? Here are just a few ideas:


Read a book outside your “comfort” zone. Are you a mystery writer who al-

Volunteers Need- ed


Inside this issue:

ways reads mysteries or thrillers? Shake it up a bit and read a literary journal you might not ordinarily pick up. These days you don’t even have to plunk down any money for most literary journals; they have limited content on their websites, and you can get a taste for what’s current in the genre. Reading out- side of our normal choices helps get the brain considering different language,

Try Something


plot structure, and characters in our writing.






Find out how to promote your writing in one new way this year. Take a chance:



submit to a journal you might not have considered before. While it’s important to read guidelines and make sure your writing fits the general genre, you never know what might strike an editor’s fancy. The worst that can happen is he/she says “No, thanks.” The best that can happen? Publication!

Support the



Lucinda’s Tools



Dues Notice

Start a viral blogging project. Recently, I was asked to take part in answering a


About Our


set of questions regarding one of my books-in-progress. Others answering the same set of questions listed my blog as part of their posts, while I forwarded the favor. It brought several comments from outsiders who might not have found me otherwise.




Board Contacts

Set aside one hour per week to promote your writing activities. It’s easy to la-




ment the lack of time we have for writing, and for some it IS truly difficult. But many of us waste time we could use for writing and associated promotion.



Schedule out at least one hour on the weekly calendarin 20-minute incre-




ments if necessary. Write it down and don’t be tempted to replace it with oth- er “more important” activities.

There are many ways to spice up our writing lives. I’d love to hear ideas that have changed the way you approach your writing projects. Contact me at to share.

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Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. ~ Ben Franklin

At least two of our members have been featured in the pages of the Union newspaper. And we’ve gotten several “lectures” on the need for self -promotion through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon author pages and dozens of other ways.

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by- product of other activities. ~ Aldous Huxley

President’s Message

Happy New Year! Sierra Writers had some wonderful opportunities to spread the word about the joys of writing and publishing in 2012. We welcomed poets, nonfiction

writers, self-published authors, “pitch” experts, Young Writers, and magazine writers. Our group offered community members at least two times in the past year in which they could hear their writing read aloud and receive cri-


Union newspaper. And we’ve gotten several “lectures” on the need for self- promotion through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon author pages and doz- ens of other ways. Based on the turnout for the December meeting, many of you listened; we had a room-bursting group to set up author websites. That bubbling activity will continue in 2013. January’s meeting on the 9 th will be a continuation of the December author website meeting, as we blog, add pictures of interest, and become more familiar with the ins-and-outs of Wordpress sites. On February 13, author Jan Westmore will share her latest published ef- fort, Images of America: Colfax. As an historical writer, Jan knows what it takes to unearth research, and will provide details on writing for Arcadia Publishing. March 13 is another opportunity to share your writing with others at our twice-yearly Open Read! Bring two pages of your writingfiction (short story, novel excerpt), nonfiction, poetryfor group critique. Leave off your name, but identify the genre and whether it is beginning, middle, or end, or the entire piece. Our April meeting is open at this time. Is there someone you feel is acces- sible and has a great message to share with Sierra Writers and the communi- ty? Please contact me at so we can make arrange- ments immediately.

April 1 also marks final submissions for the Lee Roddy Young Writers’ Contest. Teenagers from our area are encouraged to submit short stories of no more than 2,000 words. First, second, and third prize winners will re- ceive $150, $125, and $100 respectively, and honorable mention writers will receive $75. We hope you will join us in May when the winners are an- nounced and winners share their stories. If you know of teens who write (or even those who think they don’t!), please spread the word about our con- test. Last year, winners’ stories were published in the Lake Wildwood Literary Review. As we move into 2013, I want to thank those who worked so diligently in 2012 to make Sierra Writers a success. Babette Donaldson is my “go-to person” whenever I have questions about the group, although her official title

At least two of our members have been featured in the pages of the

(cont. on page 3)


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(cont. from page 2)


is Webmaster. The website will be taking on a new look with the new year, and promises to be a greater tool for members. Joanne Brown had done an excellent job as Membership Coordinator, and has worked hard at making sure we recognize and welcome the many new members added in 2012. Marty Austin

quietly continues on as our extra-special Treasurer, and Susan Mone puts many

hours into mak-

ing our newsletter both a beautiful, and useful, means of communication. While Lucinda Porter

is no longer on the Board in an official capacity, she is still generous with her help. Thanks to

everyone who shows up early, opens up our meeting rooms, sets up chairs and and unloads equipment. We couldn’t do it without you. With that said, there are several specific roles that could use YOUR help. Each

tables, and loads

position re-

quires little in the way of time commitment, but is necessary to the continued success of Sierra Writers. The Publicity and Marketing Coordinator -- typically a quick once-a-month obligation, and is responsible for writing brief press releases for publications such as the Union from a provided template. This is an easy position to step into, and works closely with the Program Coordina-

tor to get the word out about our monthly programs. The Program Coordinator -- be in contact with our monthly speakers to make sure they have what they need for their presentation, as well as gather information to promote their pro- grams. The Young Writers Contest Coordinator works with the teen writers and contest judg- es to ensure a smooth process. Are these positions for you? I’m happy to work with anyone interested, so contact me to learn more. What is your role? Sierra Writers is a member-run organization. There are many ways you can help keep Sierra Writers strong:

Pay dues

Attend the monthly meetings

Promote Sierra Writers’ monthly events and special events verbally or through advertise- ment at your place of business (ask how!)

Get “physically” involved. We are all busy with our daily lives. It is easy to stay in the shad- ows and just assume an organization will keep running on its own. Ask yourself: if Sierra Writers went away tomorrow, would it be missed by you or by someone in the communi- ty? For some, SW is the only connection with writing they have, so it is important. Ask me how YOU can be involved.

I look forward to another year of writing and working with fellow members to “writing home” for local writers. I hope you do, too.

provide a

All best,

Susan Gabrielle

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Winter 2013

Support the Newsletter


Consider submitting your writing for the quarterly Newsletter. Perhaps you attended a nota- ble workshop or class and it helped your writing blossom. Maybe some feedback on your own writing will help other writers. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to have a regular quarterly col- umn offering tips from your favorite writers.

Submissions do not have to be long. Small “sidebars,” tips, publication notes, or snippets from your current work-in-progress are always considered.

Is there a Newsletter to which you subscribe that you eagerly await each month? Sierra Writ-

ers would like its

Newsletter to be of benefit to the members, opened each quarter with the

understanding that it will contain information valuable in the writing journey. Will you help?

Lucinda’s Tools

Of all the tools that have helped Lucinda Porter's writing, none compares to Toastmasters. Writing speeches is about learning the art of persuasion, which is the goal for every writer. Lucinda has generated more articles from her speeches than she would have otherwise. Meet- ings are free to guests are you are welcome anytime. Lucinda attends Motherlode Toastmas- ters on Mondays from 6:45 - 8:15 p.m. at the Eskaton Lodge in Eskaton Village. There are oth- er Toastmasters clubs in Nevada County. For more information, call Lucinda at (530) 274- 9010 or visit

Dues Notice

Annual dues for membership in Sierra Writers for the 2012-2013 year are now delinquent. The

Annual dues for membership in Sierra Writers for the 2012-2013 year are now delinquent. The club's updated directory will be distributed mid- January. If you wish to renew your membership and be included in the directory, your $25 check, payable to Sierra Writers, must be received no later than January 12th. Checks should be mailed to Sierra Writers, PO Box 1595, Grass Valley, CA 95945-1595. Questions? Contact Jo- anne Brown at

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About Our Members


~ Susan Gabrielle’s prose poem “Ready Position” will be published in the literary journal Ayris.

~ Lucinda Porter, author of Free from Hepatitis C did a TED talk in December. If you are interested in

viewing it, visit the TEDc website and type in her name: Here's the link:

~ Claudine Chalmers’ new book "Paul Frenzeny's Chinatown's Sketches - An Artist's Fascination with San

Francisco's Chinatown," has arrived from the printer's and will be available for sale next week. Claudine worked on the story while attending Jan Westmore's non-fiction group. Anyone interested in a beautiful,

limited-print art book on this unusual subject, can contact the Book Club of California, 415-781-7532

Other News

Tracy Deliman is interested in starting a new critique group called "Nonfiction, etc." She would like to offer her house in Alta Sierra as a place to meet. Tracy is mostly a nonfiction writer, but also writes screenplays and poetry, so is open to including these genres in the critique group, as well as other forms of writing. She looks for the opportunity to give and receive meaningful critique for the writing, but also to develop a sense of camaraderie among fellow writers.

Possible times to meet are: Monday or Friday afternoons, Tuesday or Thursday evenings, or daytime Satur- day. The group could start by meeting once a month for about 3 hours, but Tracy is open to meeting more often if desired.

Please contact Tracy at if you’re interested in joining. Let her know your first and second choices for meeting days and times.


Promotional Opportunity Book Signings

There are many good writers in our Sierra Writers community, but some are having difficulty getting the exposure to the reading public they deserve. Some of them are published by smaller houses that provide no publicity and some are independently published. As part of the promotional activities Sierra Writers offers to its members, we are looking at other ways to help our local writers. One way to do that is by arranging book signings at one or more of our local bookstores, spreading the word about the suc- cesses our group has experienced in the publishing industry. We have no definite date at the moment, but would like to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in the project. If you are interested, please contact Susan Gabrielle

Welcome to our new members. Please let us know something about you. Send us your
Welcome to our new members. Please let us know something about you. Send us your bio infor-
mation for our website and/or an article about yourself for our newsletter (email: Babette Don-
aldson It’s good practice for self-promotion.

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A good article on a writer’s experience with self-publishing.

Have you visited any great websites for writers? Found must-have software, applications, or tools? Share what works for you.


Note: Critique and writing support groups are open only to members of Sierra Writers

Poetry Critique Group Contact Susan Gabrielle


Fiction critique group For information, contact Ron Cherry (530) 478-5616; This group is actively seeking new members. Critique includes editing comments as well as structural and narrative suggestions. We hope you’ll join us!


Nonfiction critique group For information, contact Jan Westmore (530) 265-0718;


If you want help starting a critique group, or

want to be in touch with members with similar genres, information may be found at:

Get involved with Sierra Writers

Sierra Writers Sierra Writers in looking for Board members and volunteers to help with publicity, programs, and a variety of other opportunities. The publicity position is a great well to strengthen your PR skills as well as to help our organization grow. All of our board and volunteer positions are rewarding and without a huge time commitment.

Members may have their own web pages, which they may use in a variety of ways. Members may use their page to intro- duce themselves, to link users to information on how to pur- chase their books, or to link back to their own website. A new feature of the Sierra Writers website is a page listing links to our members’ blogs. To add your info, contact Babette Donaldson,

contact Babette Donaldson, Our Board President, Susan Gabrielle,

Our Board

President, Susan Gabrielle,

Treasurer, Marty Austin,

Membership Coordinator, Joanne Brown,

Publicity, Open

Webmaster, Babette Donaldson,

Program Coordinator, Open

Young Writers Contest, Open

Newsletter Staff

Please send all newsletter submissions to Susan Mone,

Susan Mone,

Susan Gabrielle,

Spring Issue, Pub. - Apr 1 st , Deadline - Mar 1 st

Submission guidelines can be found at

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April 1st: Final submissions for the Lee Roddy Young Writers’ Contest

Sierra Writers offers speaker meetings, critique groups, a newsletter, a membership directory, the young writer contest, and our ever- expanding website. Sierra Writers supports the Nevada County library and other community activities. Membership in Sierra Writers provides peer support and a venue for all of us to grow as writers.


Unless noted otherwise, all meetings are held at the Madelyn Helling Library Commu- nity Room 980 Helling Way, Nevada City at 6:30 PM

Upcoming Meetings -

Wednesday, January 9th: Babette Donaldson presents Integrating Au-

thor Website with Blog and Social Media. This will be a more laid-back discus-

sion and not as tech-intense as our December program. We can work with

up to six people who RSVP with us in advance and bring their laptops to

troubleshoot. RSVP =


Wednesday, February 13th: Jan Westmore. Jan recently published her

latest book, "The History of Colfax", with Arcadia Publishing. She will discuss

non-fiction writing and the process of publishing with her publisher, Arcadia.


Wednesday, March 13th: Open Read


*If you have ideas for events you’d like to see sponsored by Sierra Writers, please contact*


Planning Committee for Young WritersVolunteers Needed

Preparations for our annual Young Writers Contest begins in January and we need some additional volunteers. If you can help with publicity, contacting the high school English teachers, sorting entries, judging or being hands-on for our May awards night, we need you! Please contact Susan Gabrielle at


Wanted: Gently-used or new books for raffle. All the proceeds go to our Young Writers Contest. Bring books you’d like to donate to any meeting or email

Any healthy man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry. ~ Charles Baudelaire

We’re on the web.
We’re on the web.

If you want to join our members-only Yahoo group, visit http:// group/sierrawriters and click on the but- ton, “Join this Group.”

and click on the but- ton, “Join this Group.” Community Events Details on each event are

Community Events

Details on each event are listed on our website at


Creative Writing Classes with Patricia Dove Miller

BIRDSONG: A Writing Practice Group Learn how to do "Writing Practice" (based on Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones), a cumulative series of short easy exercises. Quiet your in- ner critic, delve into your unconscious, go deeper into your writing, and in- crease your creativity. Tuesdays, 7:00 8:30pm OR Thursdays, 10:30am noon.

$50 for 4 weeks. 4-week sessions begin Jan. 15 or 17; Feb. 12 or 14; March 19 or 21.

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP Learn how to begin your story or work on a draft-in-progress. Learn specif- ic craft techniques to improve your writing, and how to give and receive gentle feedback. For memoir, short story, novel or essay. For all levels of experience. 8 Wednesdays, 10:00 am 1:00 pm: Jan. 16 to Mar. 6. Please regis- ter by Jan. 2. $240. Private lessons: manuscript consultation, coaching, editing, exercises, and/ or critique.

PATRICIA DOVE MILLER has been leading creative writing classes in Nevada County for the past eight years, including those at the Center for the Arts, Sierra Writers, Wild Mt. Yoga Center, Mt. Stream Meditation Center, and Shambhala Center. She has attended writing workshops with Natalie Goldberg in Taos, and has participated in the Squaw Valley Commu- nity of Writers. Pat has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She is co-leader of the Women's Writing Salon, and has recently completed her memoir, Bamboo Secrets. Contact Patricia Dove Miller,, 530-



Sierra Writers members may use this newsletter or the website to promote their book, classes, or other workshops. Organizations that serve the writing community of Nevada County may submit announcements to upcoming events. Send infor- mation to Susan Mone,