Old Past Meetings


Napa Valley Writers meets monthly on the second Wednesday

from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Next meeting information is here:   Next Meeting

Previous Meetings: Topics & Speakers

October 2016

The Journey of Writing a Book, Learning Bad Habits, and Telling Jokes


with  Yuri Kagan

Member reader:   Jan M.Flynn

September 2016

How to Navigate the World of Self-Publishing and Promotion

john-barry with John Byrne Barry

Member reader:  Lenore Hirsch

August 2016

Good Literary Citizenship: What it is. Why it Works


with  Iris Jamahl Dunkle


July 2016

Your Manuscript is Ready to Publish – Now What?


with Brooke Warner

Member Reader: Kymberlie Ingalls

June 2016

Are You Looking For Ways To Publicize Your Book, Creative Service Or Blog? Models of Marketing


with Kymberlie Ingalls and Alon Shalev

Member Reader: Ann Newton Holmes

May 2016

Everyone has a story. When you go, that story goes too – unless you write it down.


with  Dona Bakker

Member Reader:  David Kearns

April 2016

Establishing Credibility with Publishers: Climbing the Ladder of Publishing Success


with  LeeAnn Krusemark

March 2016

Pathways to Publishing – A Special Panel Presentation


with Marianne Lyon 


Ana Manwaring


Ann Newton Holmes

Member Reader: Deborah Puretz Grove

 February 2016

A Behind the Scenes Look at Working in Hollywood


with Sterling Anderson

Member Reader:  Sarita Lopez

 January 2016

Notes From a Freelance Magazine and Newspaper Writer


with Paul Franson

Member Reader:  Marilyn Campbell




A Napa Valley Writer’s Perspective

Janet Fletcher (www.janetfletcher.com), author or co-author of more than two dozen books on food and beverage, will be speaking in Napa, Wednesday, December 9, during the monthly meeting of Napa Valley Writers. Fletcher’s books include Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner; Fresh from the Farmers’ Market; and Cheese & Wine. Janet publishes Planet Cheese, a complimentary e-mail newsletter, and teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country.

Fletcher is the recipient of three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award for her journalism. Her writing has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Culture, Saveur, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. Her most recent book, Margrit Mondavi’s Vignettes was published October 2015.2015-04-08 18.17.44

William Moore Napa Valley Writers member reader will be reading from his work in progress, The Bettis House.

Prior to the meeting start time, NVW’s Annual Holiday Book Sale features the sale of NVW members’ published books. Just in time for your holiday shopping – buy a book, have it autographed, 5:30-6:30.

holidaybooksale <— Click the stack to see which books will be on sale

General meeting, 7-9 pm, River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Avenue, Napa. Cost at the door is $7 guests; $5, CWC members. Students with ID, free. Happy hour menu is available at the River Terrace Inn Lobby Bar from 5-6.

Napa Valley Writers is a branch of the California Writers Clubs, founded in 1909 by Jack London and several of his writing colleagues.

Questions? Contact Napa Valley Writers


November 2015

Dr. Pat Hanson, Writer, Educator, Speaker on health, aging, and sexuality

“Writing and Promoting a Very Personal Memoir”

It May not be About Profits, it’s all about Connections

Dr Pat HansonDr. Pat Hanson is a seasoned health and human sexuality educator, public speaker, workshop facilitator, and writer residing on the Monterey Peninsula. Former co-chair of the Monterey / Santa Cruz chapter of The National Writers Union, she has emceed Open Mikes for Writers monthly for 15+ years.

She lectures nationally on Aging Positively, and is a columnist for the magazines Crone: Women Coming of Age, and GRAND: The Digital Magazine for Grandparents and Their Families. She’s also the author of Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not.

On November 11, Pat will appear in Napa to talk about how she overcame her own and her family’s reactions to sharing her story with the world, a common hurdle for memoirists. She will present marketing details and a host of other helps for any writer in the pursuit of readers.

Marilyn CampbellNVW Member Reader will be Marilyn Campbell reading excerpts from her recently released “Trains to Concordia”


The public is always invited.

Cost at the door is $7, CWC members; $10, guests.

Students with ID, free.

Napa Valley Writers is a branch of the California Writers Clubs, founded in 1909 by Jack London and several of his writing colleagues.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


“Protecting Your Rights and Your Wallet”

Oct 15 Helen head shot Oct 15Writer and lawyer Helen Sedwick uses 30 years of legal experience to show writers how to stay out of court and at their desks. Publisher’s Weekly listed her SELF-PUBLISHER’S LEGAL HANDBOOK as one of the top five resources for independent authors. Her blog coaches writers on everything from protecting copyrights to hiring freelancers to spotting scams.

For more information about Helen, check out her website at http://helensedwick.com

Her topic at the Napa Valley Writers 10/15 meeting will be “Protecting Your Rights and Your Wallet”. Sedwick explains copyright and licensing, including a guide to key contract terms, both good and bad.

NVW Member Reader will be Jack Ring, reading a selection from his book, “Red Sky in the Morning”.


Previous Meeting: Wednesday, September 9

General meeting & Guest Speaker: 7 – 9 pm

Special Author’s Table immediately following @ 9 PM

Location: River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Avenue, Napa

Scott Evans appeared in Napa September 9 on the topic of ‘Keeping Creativity Alive throughout the

Scott Evans

Scott Evans

Writing Process’. Author of three literary murder mysteries, a collection of Hemingwayesque short stories and an upcoming novel, Evans is an educator at University of the Pacific, as well as editor and publisher of Blue Moon Literary & Art Review. http://scottevansauthor.com/biography

September’s Member Reader was local resident and Erina Bridget Ring, author of two books, including “Breakast with the FBI”. Immediately following the general meeting, writers were invited to join the Author’s Table to discuss challenges, questions and opportunities to writing mystery and romance.

The public is always invited to monthly meetings of Napa Valley Writers, a branch of the California Writers Clubs, founded in 1909 by Jack London and several of his writing colleagues. NVW monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday, 7 pm at River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Avenue in Napa. Cost at the door is $8, non-members and $5, members, full time students, free.

Additional information about this month’s speaker, please see http://napavalleywriters.net/speakers/

For questions or further information, please email: publicity.nvw@gmail.com.


Wednesday, August 12

General meeting & Guest Speaker: 6:30 – 8:30pm

Special Early Bird Writers Table Session, 5:45 pm

Location: River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Avenue, Napa

Please meet our guest speaker, Beclee Newcomer Wilson, new Poet Laureate for Napa County.

Beclee Newcomer Wilson

Beclee Newcomer Wilson

Beclee, and her husband John, live close to Bothe State Park and the Bale Historic Mill. She is the author of three collections of poetry intermingled with art. Her topic for the evening is ‘How to Grow a Poet’.

Of Woman in Bits and Pieces, John Poppy, former editor, Saturday Review of Arts commented: “There are mysteries in this book and the twist of tears, and love.”

Tassajara Wind captures a special California place through her observation, calligraphy and drawings of other artists.

Of Winter Fruit, her most recent collection, written right here in Napa valley, poet Arthur Sze, remarks: “…Beclee Wilson composes a moving suite of elegiac poems attuned to empty spaces, to love, to the passage of time, to what endures.” In this collection, all the visual art is her own.

A member of the Solstice Writers group and a frequent participant in the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, her passion for the past four years has been introducing poetry to over 200 fourth and fifth graders at the Saint Helena Elementary School. Through her own poems and poetry, through history and other cultures, she inspires young students to find their own poet and to create their own poetry. Student’s poems are exhibited at the Coffee Roasting Company, in St. Helena, where they have also been recited to the public.

Beclee is a graduate of the School of Speech at Northwestern University,   She holds a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

August’s Early Bird Session starts prior to the regular meeting at 5:45 pm and will feature the question: “What’s your online biography?”  Participants are asked to write their online bio on a 3×5 card and bring to the meeting to share.  Discussion will follow: Why, how, when do you do your online work?  What do you expect to get from your online presence?  What do you get from others?

NVW Newsletter Editor Ivan Linderman looks nothing like Jude Law in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, nor has he ever been in the Witness Protection Program. He has however, had an eclectic career as a Cell Biologist, Freelance Magazine

Jude Law / Sky Captain

Jude Law / Sky Captain

Writer, Small Business Owner, and Information Developer, specializing in markup languages and document design. He’ll read a short story, “Future Muse,” written especially for the occasion, containing three flash fictions inspired by song lyrics from the future.

Napa Valley Writers monthly meetings are held the second Wednesday, 6:30 pm at River Terrace Inn, 1600 Soscol Avenue in Napa.

Cost at the door is $8, non-members and $5, members, full time students, free. Come early for the Early Bird Session beginning at 5:45 pm and/or enjoy the River Terrace Happy Hour/No Host bar until 6 pm and prior to the 6:30 meeting opening.

For questions or further information, please email: publicity.nvw@gmail.com.

Author, Editor and Writing Teacher

Author Jordan Rosenfeld

Author Jordan Rosenfeld

Jordan Rosenfeld is author of two novels and three writing guides including A Writer’s Guide to Persistence. Her essays and articles have been published in the San Francisco ChronicleThe New York TimesThe Washington Post,Writer’s Digest magazine, The Writer and more. www.jordanrosenfeld.net.

Rosenfeld worked with her audience around ‘Becoming Persistent: Strategies to Increase Productivity and Lead to Publication’ at the Napa Valley Writers meeting.

Prior to Rosenfeld’s talk, at 5:45 pm, the Early Bird Writers Table featured a brainstorming session with the following question as topic: What is Keeping you from Doing Your Best Work, led by Lenore Hirsch, local author and NVW workshop coordinator in a discussion aimed at providing local weekend writer workshops based on plot, character development, grammar, editing and publishing.

July’s member reader was Kathleen Thomas, author and Napa Valley Writers publicity chair.

Kathleen Thomas

Kathleen Thomas

NVW meetings provide time for networking, to meet and greet other local writers. Introduce yourself to someone new and see what happens.

Each meeting features a speaker or speakers on topics of interest to writers and readers alike.

No reservations required.  Cost at the door is $5, CA Writers Club members; $8, non-members; full-time students with ID, Free.  Happy hour wine bar at the River Terrace Inn – until 6 pm features $5 glass of wine, half off bottle.

Comments or questions, please contact publicity.nvw@gmail.com.

Napa Valley Writers meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month.

June 10

“Chasing Your Writing Dream”

David Cogalton

David Cogalton

Napa Valley Writers hosted outspoken and very funny at times, David Congalton at its June 10th monthly meeting at the River Terrace Inn. Congalton is one of the few writers over the age of 50 to sell a movie script to Hollywood. He shared his 25-year journey of aiming to sell a movie script to Hollywood. The highs and lows of the experience, and the importance of never giving up—even when all seems lost.

David is a screenwriter, nonfiction author, and radio talk show host based in San Luis Obispo. His screenplay “Authors Anonymous”, a comedy about a dysfunctional writing critique group, was released as a feature film in 2014 starring Kaley Cuoco, Chris Klein, Dennis Farina, and Teri Polo. A second screenplay Seven Sisters has been optioned and is scheduled to go into production this year with director Danny Leiner.

Congalton served as director of the Central Coast Writers Conference for 12 years and has hosted a daily radio talk show in San Luis Obispo for nearly 23 years. More information can be found at www.davidcongalton.com.

Poet and author Bonnie Durrance was June’s Member Reader, entrancing the audience.Bonnie Durrance

NVW meetings provide time for networking, to meet and greet other local writers. Introduce yourself to someone new and see what happens. Each meeting features a speaker or speakers on topics of interest to writers and readers alike.

Cost at the door is $5, CA Writers Club members, $8, non-members, full-time students with ID, Free.  Happy hour wine bar at the River Terrace Inn – until 6 pm features $5 glass of wine, half off bottle.

Comments or questions, please contact publicity.nvw@gmail.com.

Napa Valley Writers meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month.

May 13 meeting featured Randy Martinsen.

Randy Martinsen

Randy Martinsen

Marketing Methodology and Ways to Market Randy Martinsen Explained

His broad and detailed background in leadership coaching, marketing, information technology, and finance has served Randy Martinsen’s clients well. He’s worked in multiple industries to develop and implement strategic plans for a wide range of clients and his writing appears in the Napa Valley Register. On Wednesday, May 13, Randy shared his expertise at the Napa Valley Writers monthly gathering, where he addressed marketing strategies of help to writers in the market to share and sell their writing projects.  Randy’s full bio can be found at http://napavalleywriters.net/speakers/

For a little extra fun,  a few guests attended the Early Bird Session at 5:45 pm, featuring small groups of writers brainstorming story, character and plot lines on a variety of inciting incident ideas previously penned by Napa Valley Writers.

Lenore Hirsch was the NVW Member Reader. Lenore is a blogger, local columnist and author of her dog’s memoir, My Leash on LenoreHirschLife. She’s a founding member and 1st president of NVW.

NVW meetings provide time for networking, to meet and greet other local writers. Introduce yourself to someone new and see what happens.

Each meeting features a speaker or speakers on topics of interest to writers and readers alike.

Cost at the door is $5, CA Writers Club members, $8, non-members, full-time students with ID, Free.  Happy hour wine bar at the River Terrace Inn – until 6 pm features $5 glass of wine, half off bottle.

Comments or questions, please contact publicity.nvw@gmail.com.

Napa Valley Writers meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month.


April 8, 2015, with thanks to Gary Orton


ZACKHEIM_-_Dodd-210Speaker: Victoria Zackheim

Novelist-polymath Victoria Zackheim charmed and inspired members out of their writing comfort zones, recommending they try something they are “not good at.”

In her case, she never thought she would edit an anthology. She described the process which resulted in an anthology about infidelity. Not content with that accomplishment, she cut out paragraphs of the twenty-one essays and wove them together to become dialogue for a play. She calls this technique of pushing yourself in a different direction the “acorn”:

“Take a nut of an idea, and grow it in a way you don’t expect to grow it.”

Zackheim described another technique: Tell the story by going deeper into your character’s motivations. Rather than just scratch the surface, pick up a shovel and dig deeply into how the character ticks. If really bold, you can find and reveal the deepest, darkest secrets of the character.

She also suggested that instead of initially plotting a story, concentrate on theme. “What kind of themes are rushing through your head as you write?” she asked. Write about those.

One method to dig deep into your characters is something she learned by observing prolific novelist Ann Perry, who creates detailed outlines, typically 40 pages single spaced. [Editor’s Note: This was also Dostoyevski’s method, as described in the March 2015 Newsletter’s “How I Write” column.]

Member Reader: Bob Winter

Bob Winter’s opening line: “I love to write.”

After eight books he wanted to take a break but couldn’t. “The stories kept coming at me.” The result: Nathaniel Robert "Bob" Wintershis first venture into science-fiction, the recently released Past the Future, from which he read. Why sci-fi? “Simple, I never wrote one before.” This is the same reason he’s writing a screenplay adaptation. Bob explained the source of his obvious enjoyment with writing, and particularly science-fiction: “You can go anywhere you want.”

Early Bird SessionSpeed Critique (Poetry)

Facilitators, Lance Burris and Kathleen Thomas successfully moderated poetry readings and critiques.


Wednesday – March 11 – Early Bird Session: 5:45 PM 

Prior to the 6:30 opening of the March meeting, our Early Bird session featured two informal genre group discussions.  One group set aside for memoir writers.  The other side of the room was reserved for a prep session for Poetry month in April.

Groups discussed some of the following:

Who are your favorite memoir writers – or poets?  For poets, what kind of poetry do you read?  What are your challenges?  Are you stuck on something?  What other questions do you have?

Early Bird session is a fine opportunity to be further involved with NVW club members.  For the Early Birds, the meeting room is also available after the general meeting if you wish to continue your conversation later on.

Featured Speaker:

Ethel RohanEthel Rohan, Credit Eva Stoyanov

As she led a conversation and reading on writing what we know through emotional experience versus actual events. Rohan is the author of two story collections, Cut Through the Bone, named a 2010 Notable Story Collection by The Story Prize and Goodnight Nobody; book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6aUJvlEMBQ&feature=youtu.be.

Winner of the 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, her work has appeared in The New York TimesWorld Literature TodayPEN AmericaTin House OnlineThe Rumpus, and various anthologies, among many others. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan lives in San Francisco.

See our speaker page for more information: http://napavalleywriters.net/speakers/

Last, but certainly not least….

bo kearnsBo Kearns, NVW member read an original story titled “A Scoop of Vanilla”.

Bo began writing about seven years ago following a long career in International finance during which time he lived in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. He has written award winning short stories and poetry including Finalist in a Glimmer Train Fiction competition. His works have been published in The Red Wheelbarrow Literary magazine, The Jessamyn West Anthology, and more recently, The California Writers Club Literary Review.

photo courtesy of Edgar Calvelo


Good times in the March NVW meeting:  photos courtesy of Edgar Calvelo

Guest speaker enjoyed by all

Guest speaker enjoyed by all


SueShamrock Kesler

Ann Holmes -         Guest R Arrington

audience participating

Program Chair

Program Chair


February Speaker:  Todd Shulman

Todd Shulman has tales to tell about crime and other exploits in the Napa ValleShulman, T photo Feb 11 copyy. Shulman spent his entire adult life in law enforcement. He initially served in the US Army Military Police during the First Gulf War, then went on to specialize in crime scene investigations, cold case investigation and as a Detective and training officer.

Shulman is currently with the Napa Police Department, loves a good mystery and loves writing about them. He is the author of three books, the latest of which is “Murder and Mayhem in the Napa Valley”. Todd unraveled some of those mysteries at the Napa Valley Writers meeting on February 11, 2015.


You’ve heard of speed dating?

At the February meeting, in addition to Detective Todd Shulman’s Napa-based story, NVW introduced the first session of a new club activity, Speed Critiquing. The Speed Critique preceded the regular meeting.  All those participating were instructed to bring a sample, no longer than three pages, of their current work. First few pages? Okay. Body drop? Also, okay. Historical insight? Okay, too. In other words, the genre didn’t matter. Anyone and everyone is welcome. Bring also a small notebook or multiple blank pages for your critiques. The time was divided into approximately five-minute segments.

After each five-minute segment, participants were to move down or over one chair and begin the next critique. At the end of the session, participants would walk away with as many critiques (less one) in your notebook as there are members participating. Their critiques will be unsigned and thus more likely to be candid and as complete as the time frame will allow.

The speed critique time was a hit and will be repeated again in the near future.

Feature Speaker: January 2015

Whitney LeBlanc

Whitney LeBlanc

Napa Valley Writers was honored to host Whitney LeBlanc as the first guest speaker for the New Year.

Mr. LeBlanc grew up in Louisiana and went on to spend more than twenty-five years in Hollywood theater and television as a writer, producer and director. He has written scripts for stage, screen and television. Experiences of his personal and professional life are seen in his historical fiction novels, Blues in the Wind, Shadows of the Blues and Bodacious Blues. Between writing novels, he creates stained glass windows. His glasswork can be seen in Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena and in wineries in the Napa Valley where he currently resides with his physician wife.

As a visiting scholar, lecturer and Professor, LeBlanc is honored to have taught students from Maryland to California, Texas to Michigan, in Washington D.C and at Pacific Union College in Angwin.

For more information about Whitney LeBlanc, please go to:

LeBlanc, Whitney Jan 2015 guest

LeBlanc, W Jan. 2015 guest bio

or see here:  http://napavalleywriters.net/speakers/




Authors AnonymousOur December 2014 program featured excerpts from the film Authors Anonymous, about a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers who, when they accept a new member into the fold, the last thing they expected was her overnight success.  Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process?

The film’s screenplay was written by David Congalton, who was scheduled to speak at  the December meeting.  He unfortunately had to cancel and has sent us a DVD of his feature film that was released this year.  Following the short clip, a panel of local authors and experts presented and discussed in an interactive forum critique group experiences they’ve heard of or personally shared.  These three writers, all members of Napa Valley Writers, enlightened and amused their audience.

Patsy Ann Taylor’s been in 4-5 CWC clubs, has received many awards for her novels, anthologies and poetry.  Her first group lasted from 1986-2001 until as she put it, “one person poisoned the well.” Her second group was formed by an instructor of hers.  The Cottage Poets began in ’84 and continues now online, as members have moved and such.  She says it doesn’t matter who writes what, it’s a matter of writers supporting writers.  A safe place to take new work for critique to help the writer do their best job.

Gary Orton reported the bigest plus for him is to get a reaction from the group.  Important from his point of view to keep a mix of female and male writers as they each come with a different background and viewpoint.

 Ana Manwaring tells the group her objective is to give to to 3 suggestions to help the writer when possible.

100_8673Comments from the audience included most of groups, writing is submitted ahead of time and one page or so is read at the group before critique.  Writers don’t necessarily need compliments, they need constructive samples for their work.  Better to have a mix of genre, style, provides a broad look in the group at the writing.  If it’s realize, analyze and report why.  It’s a group of storytellers.  Create a group if you want one.

Our Member Reader in December was Dick Heinzelman

He read from his book Memoir Of A Soul In Poetry And Prose.  He describes the experiences of one human being as seen through his soul, that place where the divine spirit meets our psychological self at the center of our being. The book concludes with an exploration of what lies beyond the curtain we call death.IMG_4661


IMG_4668An EXTRA ADDED ATTRACTION to this month’s meeting, just in time for the holidays, was our December Member Book Sale.











At the November 12 meeting, NVW Member Reader was David Ainsworth, who grew up in David Ainsworththe Midwest and now lives in St. Helena. He is an attorney in international maritime law (semi-retired) and writer. He is also a volunteer crewmember on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a WW II Liberty Ship at Pier 45, San Francisco. David is former Captain, U S Marine Corps; former superintendent of longshoremen, San Francisco; and inventor of BookValet, a hands-free book holder.

David is the author of one novel, The Chasm, POD publisher: Author House. Currently David is working on a second novel and some short fiction.

He read a chapter from his just-finished novel about an estranged couple coping with an oil-scarcity-triggered slide into economic collapse twenty years or so into the future.

Guest speaker for the evening was Luke Shanahan, who has written (and ghost written) over a dozen books, including Deep Nutrition, Food Rules and The God Academy.  His focus was “You Lost Me At Hello: How to Let the Reader Know, by page 10, that She’s Not Reading the Work of an Amateur.”

Accomplished author and writing teacher Luke Shanahan handed out pearls at November’s Napa Valley Writers membership meeting. He elaborated in rapid-fire order on his central theme—successful writing starts by “wowing” the reader in the first two pages.

Members needed no convincing about his observation, “There’s a lot of competition out there.” He convincingly argued you’ll get a better chance of getting noticed by packing such a punch in the first two pages it entices the reader (or publisher) to turn the pages. Luke’s pearls to make that happen:

  1. Your P.O.V. should be “opinionated” and introduced in the first paragraph.
  2. The first paragraph should also have a “tone.” He read and compared tones in the opening paragraphs of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground (opinionated but flat, with no tone) and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (exciting via a dark, sinister, scary opinionated tone.)
  3. The first paragraph should “hint at the plot.”
  4. Argue what you know. Make it valid to you.
  5. The job of the first paragraph is to get the reader to read the second paragraph.
  6. It’s all about the characters. Even in a history or historical novel, it’s about the characters and not so much about the historiocity.
  7. Make the first two pages about the reader, that is, what message do you want give the reader?
  8. Do not be enamored by the complexity of your message. Put it under the umbrella of one idea.

Luke Shanahan

Plenty of interchange in a flurry of questions and answers finished up the evening.  Several members and/or guests picked up a few books Luke had on hand.  ‘was a great evening.





At our October 2014 meeting…

Our featured Member Reader was the humorous and thoughtful Stephen (Steve) Bakalyar.  His readings were well received prose poems that ranged from the tragic to humorous.

Retired now, Steve writes poetry, essays and short stories. Recently published was his essay on the history of astronomy in Redwood Coast Review, Winter 2013, ‘Star-struck Scientists: Astronomy and the Human Imagination’. Steve also took 1st place in the 5th Annual Flash Prose contest of Writer Advice (writeradvice.com).

Steve is a UC Berkeley graduate, with AB degrees in chemistry and biology. During his career as a chemist, he created marketing materials and published several research papers in scientific journals. Steve grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, currently lives in Sonoma, where he enjoys science reading and the study of evolution.


Following Steve’s reading, NVW presented a panel of local authors who provided their insights into the importance of attending Writers Conferences.

Members and guests learned a myriad of lessons learned as well as hearing many personal ancectodes from our featured Member Panelists, Bo Kearns, Lenore Hirsch and Tim Carl.  For more information on our panel of speakers, please see here.

  • Think of it as a good investment in yourself, your craft, your writing.
  • It’s possible to apply and get accepted to even the most impressive conferences.
  • Yes, you can call yourself a writer.
  • Some coferences are directed more to specific genres than others.  Know ahead what you’re looking for.
  • See below for a concise and informative spreadsheet with much information about Writers Conferences in the  Bay Area and Beyond.
  • Local writers may wish to check out Book Passages for a list of their upcoming workshops and courses throughout the SF Bay Area.
  • At the conference, you can expect to:
    • establish a new supportive network to help you push your work forward
    • create good contacts for your own ‘pitch’ session
    • meet and learn from a wide assortment of other writers, agents, publishers, etc.




Bo Kearns began writing about seven years ago following a long career in International finance during which Bo Kearnstime he lived in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. He has written award winning short stories and poetry including Finalist in a Glimmer Train Fiction competition. His works have been published in The Red Wheelbarrow Literary magazine, The Jessamyn West Anthology, and more recently, The California Writers Club Literary Review.  Bo has attended The Napa Valley Writers Conference, The San Francisco Writers Conference and this June he went to the conference in Santa Barbara.


Lenore HirschLenore Hirsch is a retired educator who writes poetry and essays about travel, food, and the humor of everyday life. She writes a column on education and occasional features for the Napa Valley Register and has also been published in Cynic Magazine, Napa Valley Life, and UU World.  Her dog’s memoir, My Leash on Life, was released in 2013. She is a founding member and past president of Napa Valley Writers.



Tim Carl grew up in the Napa Valley and traces his grape growing roots back to the mid 1800s. His life-long love of reading has led him to write poetry and short fiction. He has been a musician, professional chef, PhD scientist, Navy veteran, entrepreneur, business consultant and vintner. Tim’s written work spans from over 20 scientific and business articles to his poetry being included in the recent “World of Change” anthology. He is also a columnist for the St. Helena Star and the Calistoga Tribune and has recently started his first novel that is set in the Napa Valley.

Tim Carl


At our September 2014 meeting, Joshua Mohr provided members and guests the opportunity to learn from Mohr’s expertise geared around characters’ decision making, the causality between plot points, and how to keep a reader excitedly flipping pages. During this inter-active evening, Mohr delved into several specific tactics, including how to improve writers’ constructing a present action and how to fold backstory into it.  

MOHR is the author of ‘Some Things that Meant the World to Me’, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller; ‘Termite Parade’, an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List; ‘Damascus’, called “Beat-poet cool” by The New York Times, and most recently ‘Fight Song’.

Interested in becoming a member? Download application and contact: info.napavalleywriters@gmail.com




Joshua Mohr presents Plarachterization to Napa Valley Writers


Lance, Steve (member reader) and Gary soak it all in.


Lots of notes and good listening,


Josh Mohr at work with NVW.

Roberta Wright, Gary Silva

Roberta Wright, Gary Silva

Bo Kearns, Lenore Hirsch, Tim Carl

Bo Kearns, Lenore Hirsch, Tim Carl















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