Bellevue Club, 525 Bellevue Ave., Oakland

Bellevue Club, 525 Bellevue Ave., Oakland

NorCal Meeting October 6, 2012


October 6, 2012
Sat., Oct. 6, 2012 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
Bellevue Club, 525 bellevue ave., oakland
Meeting called by / Joyce Krieg
Type of meeting / Quarterly Regional Meeting
Facilitator / Joyce Krieg
Note taker / Elaine Webster
Timekeeper / Joyce Krieg
Attendees / Joyce Krieg (Central Coast), Elaine Webster (Redwood), Paula Chinick (Tri-Valley), Judith Marshall (Mt. Diablo), Dave LaRoche (South Bay), Kathleen Orosco (Berkeley), Bob Garfinkle (Fremont and CWC President), Linda Brown (Berkeley).

Agenda topics

11:00 – 11:10 a.m.
Call to order
  • New Secretary – Elaine Webster
  • Follow-up: Dave LaRoche’s Ina Coolbrith Award
Joyce Krieg
Discussion / Joyce thanked Elaine Webster for volunteering to be the active Secretary. Joyce honored Dave LaRoche as this year’sIna Coolbrith award winner. Dave’s accomplishments include the establishment of the NorCal and SoCal Regional divisions of the State level CWC. Joyce outlined historical background surrounding Ina Coolbrith and the history of the award.
Conclusions / Yay!
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
11:10 – 11:30 A.M
(20 MINUTES) /
  • Hooray for recent branch activities and success stories!
  • Speakers and workshop leaders—got any leads to share with the rest of us?
Joyce Krieg
Discussion / Joycereportedthe Central Coast branch news:
  • The Central Coast, summer picnicwas held.
  • Lindsay Grant who is the Program Director for NaNoWriMo recently spoke to their branch. She proved to be an energetic speaker backed by good local PR. She worked out really well.
  • The Central Coast Branch has a new meeting place at the Point Pinos Grill, located at the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course. One downside, however, is that the restaurant doesn’t allow microphones, which makes it difficult for the speaker and the audience.
  • Their October meeting will be Book’toberfest, when they announce the launch of their author’s books. This includes author readings and book sales of mostly self-published projects.
  • On October 20, Martha Alderson, aka the Plot Whisperer will offer aworkshop.
  • In early November Frances Caballo will do a workshop on Beginning and Advanced Social Media Marketing.
Paula Chinick reported the Tri-Valley news:
  • Author Victoria Zacheim spoke in July about the Power of Creative Nonfiction. She was funny and entertaining. She spoke about more plot depth and development. She also encouraged blogging as a story building tool.
  • October’s workshop will be presented by Martha Engber. Enough with Show, Don’t Tell Already! Is a hands-on workshop that addresses both perspectives.
  • Tri-Valley has good success with four hour hands-on workshops. The cost is kept low at $25 for members. No food.
  • The branch is planning Winterfest in January whenartists will submit their art on website. Writers are then invited to write about it.
  • Robert Dagoni, Seattle based thriller writeris also scheduled to present early next year.
  • Tri-Valley has hired Linda Lee as their webmasterThe group discussed Linda Lee’s Web services. Several branches use her and find her pricing reasonable.
Kathleen Orosco reported the Berkeley news:
  • There will be a special article for Berkeley’s October newsletter: What is NorCal? The group discussed the value of educating our members about the regional and state boards.
  • Berkeley is in the process of designing a single sheet new members’ contact form.
  • Judith Marshall will be the speaker for October. She will present Publishing Pathways and talk about her journey to publication and a screen option.Judith talked about quality of speakers. The group discussed the importance of quality speakers. Judith described how Mt. Diablo “tests” their speakers by allowing them table space before meetings to present face to face, then recruits speakers who shine.
Dave LaRoche reported the SouthBay news:
  • Dave reiterated how important it is to boostknowledge about NorCal and CWC.
  • He shared the challenges faced by the South Bay branch and stressed the importance of a strong workshop chair who valued board contact. Considerable money was lost when board policies and procedures were ignored. Past board experience and knowledge is invaluable to future planning.
  • Dave explained the loss ofTheLookout as a meeting place. They lost their license. Rumors of a lawsuit have resulted in closure. The branch is currently meeting at Harry’s Hofbrau.
  • The last guest speaker was Linda Lee who was an excellent presenter.
  • The October meeting was a Halloween party enjoyed by all. There were costumes and winners received gift cards. San Jose Mercury news columnist, Sal Pizarro and Santa Clara Weekly associate editor Carolyn Schuk spoke about how to capture the attention of the media.
  • South Bay will have a traditional Christmas Party at a private home.
  • Membership is down approximately 50 members.
Elaine Webster reported the Redwood Writers news:
  • Redwood is planning to produce a second annual publication in addition to their regular anthology.It will be a poetry chapbook that will be tied to the poetry contest which kicks-off in May and is awarded in October. Linda Reid, Abby Bogomolny and Elaine Webster are researching printing and layout for the chapbook. They are planning a launch at the DecemberGeneral Holiday meeting where it will be available for purchase.
  • Redwood has begun work on their 2014 Writers Conference. The co-chairs will be Sandy Baker and ThonieHevron.
  • Redwood’s November speaker is Bonnie Lee who brings comedy to the topic of taxes for writers. Bob discussed his experience re: taxes. All the things you can deduct. Home office etc.
  • Elaine passed out color brochures of past events and spoke about the reasonable production cost to the club by using a local offset printer.
  • The group discussed craft workshops vs. marketing/business. Dave believes from his experience from the Literary Review that most of the members need craft workshops. However, the business centered workshops tend to attract more attendees.
Bob Garfinkle reported the Fremont Branch news:
  • Bob passed out a flyer about the exciting Self-Publishing Conference coming up December 8. It’s a full day of speakers and takes place at the Hyatt in Fremont.He spoke highly of Marcus Araiza who writesscreen plays andchildren’s books. Editor Susanne Lakin will also be a big draw.
  • Previous month, novelists Susy Flory and Lorena Bathey spoke about Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing and were very dynamic.
  • October’s Speaker will be Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency who specializes in picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction.
  • The branch will host an annual Halloween party.
  • Membership is down ten membersand currently stands at 34. They have picked up some new members.
  • Bob spoke about CWC state membership. Napa is on board. Elaine Webster filled in the details. Napa should qualify by the end of the year. Fresno, Palm Springs and San Diego are interested. Tracy and Stockton could be approached since they have shown some past interest.7 – 8 years ago Auburn also requested information, so it might be valuable to contact them again.
  • The Central Board will meet on January 27, 2013.
Judith Marshall reported the Mt. Diablo branch news:
  • Membership=153 members, with 101active. 125 renewed, which is an excellent 82% renewal rate.
  • Judith credits the club with retaining an active membership chair. She suggests developing an evaluation sheet to ask your members what they want. The current design has check boxes for craft, poetry etc. Then the board selects workshop and presenters from the highest choices.
  • Mt. Diablo’s newsletter has grown and to encourage readership they’ve included a monthly“where’s Jack London” contest, similar to “Where’s Waldo?” Each month’s winner receives a free lunch. They also promote a first sentence column. Members send the first sentence of any work. The result?--highest readerships ever.
  • Judith is speaking at the Berkeley branch October 21st.
  • Mt. Diablo has added writer’s tables to their meetings. One or two people to talk about a certain subject such as.” Publishing Pathways” and “The Cruelest Cut” about true crime vs. fiction. The latter ended up becoming a speaker. The Writers Table presenters have specific expertise. The draw for them is to land a future speaker slot and tap into the membership.
  • Judith passed out “A Quickstart Guide to Self-Publishing” by Denise P. Kalm, a Mt. Diablo branch member to be published soon.

Conclusions / The Nor Cal group is a valuable resource for the Northern California branches. New ideas, successes and failures are shared. We learn from the group experience.
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
Keep up the good work!
11:30 – 11:35 a.m.
Approval of minutes of 6/2/12 meeting
Kathleen orosco
Discussion / Approve the last minutes = all ayes.
Conclusions / n/a
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
11:35 – 11:40 a.m.
Discussion / Nothing has changed from the last report. Mt. Diablo is holding $914.10. This came from the initial seed money, SoCal’s contribution to Publishing Pathways and profit from the leadership conference. We also have the $2000 from the Central Board which is kept in the state budget until we need it.
Expenditures: $100/mo for the website which was paid to Rik Scott from last year’s “use it or lose it”CWC fund. We also paid for the last meeting from that fund.
Conclusions / We will discuss both the website and the meeting location after lunch.
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
TBD after lunch.
11:40 A.M. – NOON
(20 MINUTES) /
Discussion / Judith Marshall brought up the need to have a consistent record retention policy for all branches. Fran, the historian at Mt. Diablo, said it is sketchy. Bob posed the question to the Executive Committee: They knew about financials, which is basically to follow the IRSregulations. They suggest keep as much of your branch history as you can. Most branches move boxes from garage to garage. There is a CWC history book which was lost for awhile. South Bay found an earlier member’s E-mail and got three big shopping bags which included the branch’s original charter. Casey Wilson gave Bob two boxes of CWC Bulletins. It would be good to scan as much as possible intoPDF files then box it—keep it!
Dave LaRoche will write a policy covering record retention for the PnPs.He include what to save and for how long. He’ll include corporate responsibilities, then it willbe part of the CWC CB PnPs.
The question was raised: Is the Bancroft still taking our stuff? The Bancroft is the library at UC Berkeley.Linda Brown had gone over and found three notebooks of news stories. Couldn’t get any other info. Kathleen Orosco volunteered to go over there and find out about guidelines and see what’s there. This could become a volunteer or intern project. The California WritersClub is so important to California.
Conclusions / We need more information.
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
Kathleen Orosco will visit the Berkeley library.
12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Discussion / Yummy! Trips, light hearted conversation, Belvedere Club history and ghost stories. Laughter and good friends.
Conclusions / MMMMMM! Good!
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
Sit back in your chair and stretch. Back to work.
12:45 – 1:00 P.M.
  • CWC table at Feb. 2013 event
Discussion / Redwood, Tri-Valley, Central Coast, Berkeley, South Bay, Fremont and Central Boardhave agreed to make a financial contribution.
Paula Chinick will coordinate the effort. The goal is to promote CWC and gain as many members as possible for all the branches.
The dates from February 15-17. Set up is Thursday night at the Mark Hopkins hotel. Tear down will be after 2:00 on Sunday. The conference provides a six foot table and linen. One generic badge is provided for free to each table. This allows for a volunteer to attend some of the conferences workshops, ifthey are not full.
Two people will be needed to sign up for four hour shifts. With two people, one will be able to be away from the table at a time. Right now volunteers are needed for Saturday. Priority for volunteers will be given to branches that make a financial contribution.There will be no books sold at the table. Promotion will be to sell membership in CWC as a whole.
Selection will be by each branch’s board. They will select the people that are most capable.The hours are Friday 9-7, Sat 8-5 and Sunday’s half a day. There will be considerable down time to enjoy the conference.
The conference is now offering a non-profit table rate of $250. Paula proposed that we use the extra money to update our CWC brochure to use as a handout. We will also distribute copies of all the branches’ membership forms.Wall posting is not allowed.We can get a panel to display the banner instead of using it as a skirt.
Joyce suggested that we find a vintagetypewriter as a display and to possibly provide a Scrabble game. Both items would be a fun way to attract people to the table.
We could hold a drawing for a free year’s membership to the branch of choice. We could also offer a show special for new sign-ups. One possibility would be ½ year’s free membership from March to June.
We’d need to decide if we want one drawing for each branch.
We should offer a business card drop or an information request sheet for the membership chairs to follow up with later.
Conclusions / No need to pay today. Joyce will e-mail where the money should be sent and to whom. Paula has researched some prices for the brochure. We can get 1000 for $189.
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
Joyce will redesign the brochure. Bob will ask about getting a QR code for the Central Branch website. All branches are to e-mail a PDF file of their membership application. Linda Brown will coordinate the eight foot banner. She will also look into purchasing helium balloons with Cal-Writers-Club name and logo. For $18 - $35 we can purchasefold out holders for heavily laminated signs—possibly foam backed. It would be nice to have 3-4 Jack London pictures on easels. Dave will bring these to the December 1st meeting.
1:00 – 2:00 P.M.
  • What’s the next step for this worthwhile project?
  • What would provide the greatest benefit to your branch’s members?
  • How can we find the leadership needed to move forward?
Joyce Krieg
Discussion / Joyce kicks off the discussion. She feels we are at a crossroads. When Nancy Curteman resigned the project went into a holding pattern.
Dave distributed a document that included his views of:
  • What Members Want
  • What Benefits to Members From Pathways
  • What Needs to be Done
Elaine passed out screen-prints from the Publishing Pathways Website. The history of the program was discussed and reviewed.
There was general agreement that someone needs to take the baton. The program needs a director and a fresh approach.
Joyce questioned whatis doable for a 100% volunteer organization. Judith added that it’s the mentor’s responsibility to motivate the project at their branch.
Several asked, so, “What happened?”It was concluded that there was not enoughfollow through to have a plan. The mentors waited for direction that didn’t come. Presidents of the branches failed to pick up the energy.
Joyce asked about why Dave considered himself the official gatekeeper. Dave responded that he was part in charge of the computer program, but there were stumbling blocks.
Joyce passed out her ideas for a possible re-design of the home pages to create a self-directing tour of the program. This tour would be designed for newbies. To allow them to select a path to follow. The website would be a starting point with password protection.
Judith offered to get testimonials of members that wanted to share good experiences. Paula agreed that there it is good to havea name attached to the testimonials. Judith would like to see the websitebe testimonial driven for members. A member would write about what worked for them.
Elaine talked about finding a new starting point. She said we needed to slow down and get back to basics. The website is the key. It is already well-designed, but needs to be re-launched. She suggested a very small committeeof two to four board members that would meet separately outside the regular NorCal meetings.
Elaine offered to produce a draft three year goal document.It was agreed that this would be good.
Conclusions / Publishing Pathways is on hold until some goals are set.
Action items / Person responsible / Deadline
Elaine Webster will write a preliminary plan and present it at the next meeting. / Elaine Webster / December 1