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Members who wish to submit a blog entry should send it to A review committee will consider each submission for membership interest and may suggest edits before publishing the submission to the blog. For more information, see Blog or Be Blogged.

  • 3 Oct 2021 8:10 AM | Deleted user


    Congratulations to the 2021 Memoir Showcase and “Shaking the Tree, Volume 5” selections! (If you made it to the Memoir Showcase, you are also included in “Shaking the Tree.”) Apprently this was a very tough decision this year as there were so many wonderful stories to choose from. 

    Scroll down until you find "2021 Results" to see that two SDWEG members, Janet Hafner and Valerie Looper, are among the 2021 Memoir Showcase winners. This is at least the second time Janet has been among the winners.

  • 2 Oct 2021 7:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Death in a Desert Garden:

    A Bea Rivers Mystery by Marty Eberhardt

    Publisher: Artemesia Publishing

    And You Thought the Garden Was a Safe Place  

    This is a cozy mystery for plant lovers, artists, and those who fundraise. Bea Rivers is a character who we care about. We relate to Bea’s challenges as she is a working, single mother rushing to meet the kids’ camp bus in time. Unfortunately, her routines are spiced up with a murder investigation. In this book, such common, everyday routines take on roles in the drama. The book is evocative in that way that after finishing it, when I returned to my own daily routine, an eerie sense of foreboding stayed with me. 

    Engaging dialogue moves the plot toward great personality clashes. The characters interactions highlight traits and flaws. These characters endure the heat of Tucson, Arizona while fighting for a desert botanical garden that is teetering on survival. Yes, there is a lot of questioning: who can you trust. It’s a 204-page turner that is appropriate with the fireplace lit, even better if you are in the desert lighting your fire pit. I liked all the references to plants because I learned new information about desert flora such as invasive plants relating to climate change. Rivers’ story gives a cozy combination, interweaving plant knowledge with motive sleuthing. Plus, the novel can be read as a deep psychological investigation into how Bea relates to all the characters, including the main detective on the case, a woman who has a history with Bea. 

    Eberhardt has crafted a fine novel that reveals the ways personality clashes create intrigue. Characters come from different walks of life, their fates tangle, and all their interactions hint at the sinister. 

    The novel wraps the quiet stillness of a high desert with the risk of uncertain romance, all enduring the uneasiness of an unsolved murder. Eberhardt’s work reminds me of books by Ellery Adams or Amanda Flower. Her writing gives the thrill that stays with me after I’ve finished reading. I love when a book puts me in the kind of dream that keeps me on edge, so I stay alert. 


    Get a copy of Marty Eberhardt's awesome mystery below!

  • 26 Sep 2021 8:52 AM | Deleted user

    Did you publish a book or ebook in 2021?
    If the answer is yes, and if you reside in San Diego County, you are invited to participate in the upcoming
    56th Annual Local Author Showcase! 

    The registration period is September 25 to November 30th


    As the crowning event of the library’s Local Author Program, the Showcase offers our published authors an opportunity to present their work to a large audience of readers, publishers, and fellow book people and residents. The event will run the entire month of February 2022 in the beautiful San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common. There will be a special reception to honor participating authors and officially unveil the exhibit to which authors and guests will be invited. 

    For information and to register, please visit the Library’s 
    Local Author website, and follow the instructions below:

    1. Complete the online registration prior to submitting your book.
    2. If you use a pen name, please register under your pen name and NOT your real name.
    3. If your book is in both print and digital formats, submit the PRINT version only. 
    4. All authors must submit a high-resolution photo of their book cover to complete registration. Accepted formats: JPG or PNG. No PDFs 


    Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, we are requesting authors to send their books by mail to the Central Library.

    SAN DIEGO, CA 92101-7416


    If this option presents a hardship, you may put your book in the Central Library’s book-drop at the corner of J and 11th Streets. If you choose that option, place the book inside a sealed manila envelope labeled:

    and remember:  

    TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2021


    Be sure to add to your contacts so that further correspondence does not end up in your junk mail. If you have any questions or comments, please reply to this e-mail. Emails will be answered in the order they are received. Thank you and we appreciate your patience! 


    Local Author Exhibit Staff

    Humanities Section, Central Library @Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common

    City of San Diego

    San Diego Public Library


  • 24 Sep 2021 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteering is often unfairly characterized as burdensome or time consuming, but it is exceptionally good for you. Don’t believe it? Here are six great reasons to join in and help others through your Guild.

    Make Friends

    Being part of a group with a mission brings you closer together with like-minded individuals and cements long-term relationships.  Make a friend for life.

    Giving is receiving

    Helping others teaches us more about how we can help ourselves. Want to be inspired? Inspire others first and reap the rewards.  Want to refine your skills? Help others develop theirs.

    Live Longer

    Studies show ample empirical evidence of the health benefits of volunteering. You live longer. A 2007 report compiled by the Corporation for National and Community Service wrote the following:
    The results of a survey of a large, ethnically diverse sample of older adults showed no association between receiving social support and improved health; however, the study did find that those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not, even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity. (Brown et al., 2005)
    A longitudinal study of older married adults found that those individuals who reported providing instrumental support to friends, relatives, and neighbors had lower rates of mortality five years later than those who had not reported providing support. In addition, providing support was found to have a stronger relationship with longevity than receiving support from others. (Brown et al., 2003)

    Have Fun

    Volunteering is fun! The SDWEG is looking for new ways to make a difference, so your ideas are welcomed and your participation valued. You can write blog posts, help with emails, assist in meetings, design artwork, make videos, work with the publishing team, and much more.

    Learn new skills

    Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn new skills. If you want to grow your social media following, develop your critiquing skills, or learn how to publish a book on Ingram-Spark or Amazon, the outstanding talents who run the Guild programs are happy to pass along essential skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.

    Build a resume

    Members who are focused on their career path can take full advantage of the resume building opportunities that volunteering offers. Whether part of a team or on the board, volunteering makes you more valuable to employers looking for steady, committed, community-minded employees with leadership potential.

    In closing

    You live longer, you live better, you have more friends, and you make more money when you volunteer. What are you waiting for?

    Send an email to and let us know where your volunteering interests lie.

  • 23 Sep 2021 6:13 AM | Deleted user


     In the new botanically-themed mystery DEATH IN A DESERT GARDEN, Bea Rivers’ euphoria over her new job at Shandley Gardens is shattered by the death of the Gardens’ founder, Liz Shandley. When the police determine that she was murdered, Bea is drawn into the investigation, while trying desperately to maintain the life of a committed single parent dating a struggling writer. Every one of the members of the small staff and board are murder suspects. Through the sizzling and beautiful days of a Sonoran Desert summer, someone keeps dropping odd botanical clues. As Bea’s family’s safety is threatened, she discovers just how tangled the relationships at the Gardens really are.


    The book can be pre-ordered at and Amazon, and will be available October 5.

    Marty Eberhardt is a former botanical garden Executive Director of both Tucson Botanical Gardens and The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, CA. She now delights in using the right side of her brain to write fiction and poetry. DEATH IN A DESERT GARDEN is her first novel.  Marty has published several poems and prose pieces, in The Wilderness House Literary Review, The Dragon Poet Review, The San Diego Writers INK 2017 Anthology, The Twisted Vine Literary Review, four volumes of The Guilded Pen, and The Silver City Quarterly Review. She divides her time between the small mountain town of Silver City, NM, and San Diego, and enjoys the flora and fauna of both. She lives with her husband and a dog, and sees her children and grandchildren as much as possible.

  • 17 Sep 2021 10:00 AM | Andrea Glass (Administrator)

    Member Profile: Peggy Hinaekian

    What aspect of editing or writing are you involved in?
    I’m a book author of several books.

    What first attracted you to writing?
    I was introduced to books in three languages (English, French and Armenian) at a young age. I grew up in a cosmopolitan environment and was an avid reader. I kept a journal since the age of 12, was editor of the high school newspaper and wrote short stories.

    How long have you been writing?
    I’ve written journals since I was 12. In 2015 I published my first novel Of Julia and Men. It was included in the New York Times Book Review Magazine under “Discover New Titles: Great Stories, Unique Perspectives.” 

    As a writer, what kind of books do you write? Any published? How about short stories?
    I’ve published three books:  One romance, one memoir and another of short stories. I’ve had great reviews on all three.

    What are you working on now either writing or editing?
    I just completed my memoir, The Girl from Cairo and I’m seeking a publisher. I’m also writing my fourth book, a novel about Egypt and Europe.

    How long have you been a member of SDWEG and why did you join?
    I have been a member of SDWEG for six years. I joined because I wanted to meet other authors.

    What benefits have you gained as a member?
    I have been in contact with other authors and learned from their experiences. I also enjoy the marketing group and the reading evenings.

    What’s something unique or special about you, that you’d like others to know?
    What’s special about me is that I was born in Cairo and grew up there. I’ve also lived in Europe and Canada and my view of life is quite different than the typical American life. I’ve lived in three different cultures.

    What request might you have of other members? (joint venture promotions, launch team, referrals, reviews, advance readers…)
    My request to other members is to give me critiques and reviews.

    Amazon Author Page:

    Of Armenian origin, Peggy Hinaekian was born and raised in Egypt. She immigrated to Canada with her first husband, then on to the United States, where she pursued a career in fashion design and fine arts. After her divorce, she moved to Geneva, Switzerland where she worked at one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations and furthered her artistic career. She met her second husband in Rome and they lived in Geneva where they raised two sons. After their children went to college in the U.S., they also moved there and now divide their time between California and Florida. Parallel to her art, Peggy wrote essays and short stores. She has published several short stories in the Anthologies of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild for the past four years.

  • 15 Sep 2021 7:08 AM | Deleted user

    Just write back to this email and we will get the Zoom info to the first 20 responders.

    Much love all!


     Marni Freedman 

    Program Director ~The San Diego Writers Festival 

  • 7 Sep 2021 6:31 AM | Deleted user

    Snuggling with family is cozy during the pandemic.  But kids are missing opportunities to develop healthy independence and social skills.


    The hero of Mr. Helpless Gets Organized is suddenly forced to confront the limitations of leaning.  But instead of falling apart, he discovers how powerful he is—and that he loves being his own strong self.


    This safe-to-open jpeg introduces our empowering hero and some intriguing Treats for favorite children—and us.


    Have FUN!


    Margaret Harmon


    The book is available at Amazon, of course:


  • 1 Sep 2021 9:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A is for ANXIETY

    You used to be called “nerves.” Now you have an elevated title: “anxiety.” How hoity-toity of you. No vapors here, no images of Victorian ladies swooning because some beastly fashion statement is suffocating the life out of them.

    No, “anxiety” is the new buzzword universal, as we might say in French—if we spoke French and wanted to show off. Anxiety. That’s your name in the 21st century, in whatever language. Millennials suffer from you and so do Baby Boomers. You are an umbrella term, covering everything from the pitter-pat of lovesick teenyboppers to the free-floating angst of living in a Pandemic world.

    Struck by panic attack and need an EKG to check your heart? Could be anxiety. Bobbing along from one fear to another because half of them have already come true and the other half have happened to someone you know? It’s just good ‘ol anxiety.

    We can’t cancel you completely if you seem to mean everything from grief, to stage fright, to a case of O My God, I-CAN’T-FIND-MY-PHONE. So, what do I do? Therapy is great; a potentially perfect place to process productively or pointlessly, if you’ll excuse the alliteration. And medication? No comment, that’s outside my scope of practice. There’s also cost—and insurance—to consider. Isn’t anything free, and as often as we want? How can we protect ourselves from ANXIETY?

    Write. We humans can write often; we can write well—or we can write badly. We can free write on a beach or timed-write in a wheelbarrow. We can journal, we can blog (yup!), we can write stories and books and poems and captions that make no sense for art pieces that no one understands.

    Writing protects us like a wet suit does against the cold ocean waves. It’s not magic, no. We are still wonderfully, terribly human. A little sprinkle of “anxiety” a day may keep some other ailments away. What I mean is that sometimes the feelings are a message, a wave of internal antennae. Sometimes you are a life saver. Leave This Situation Now, you say. Heads Up.

    Sometimes you are a chemical aberration, a flash of the genetic wand. You may be a sign of the times, if we take a step back to notice the big picture. Maybe our technology is good for electronic files but poor for Brain Files. Oh, and the Pandemic sucks. By the Way. If the news yells at us and we yell back, we may clench our muscles at the same time. Clenched muscles don’t work for oh so many moments of our every day.

    Writing releases. Writing plays. Writing evokes. Writing shares. Writing blurts and shapes and reframes. Through writing we shift gears. Through writing we clench—and let go. We can put the writing away and shut the box and go do something else: something active and allegedly fun, like jogging (I prefer walking myself).

    A is for Anxiety.

    B is for Boredom. (I’ll talk to you next time!)


    Reina Menasche

    About Reina Lisa Menasche



    Reina Lisa Menasche’s fiction has been honored by organizations such as the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, the San Diego Book and Writing Awards, and the Southern California Writers Conference. Her first novel TWICE BEGUN, and her second novel SILENT BIRD, were finalists in the 2012 and 2013 San Diego Book Awards. Her newest novel, a paranormal suspense titled THE SPIRIT OF SHY MOON LAKE, was released in spring 2021. Her first children’s book, THE HOUSE THAT SNEEZED, will be released in early 2022. She is currently writing THRICE BEGUN, the sequel (and prequel) to TWICE BEGUN. Her website,, includes blogs on psychology and wellness, writing, and other social commentary.

    Also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Reina has taught psychology and counseling at Southern California universities, as well as therapeutic techniques to human service professionals. In addition, she is a workshop leader at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego and in Irvine. She created the class called “Character Therapy—And You’re the Shrink” and “It’s Alive!” to emphasize the joyful creativity of exploring therapeutic exercises with a fictional character. Reina has served as Vice President of the Chronos Theatre Group and often uses dramatic as well as therapeutic techniques in her creative work.

    As Host of BOOKSHELF, East County Magazine’s Radio Show on KNSJ, 89.1 FM in San Diego, Reina interviews local authors about their creative processes. Her website can be found at

  • 28 Aug 2021 6:33 AM | Deleted user

    Do You Need Keywords to Get Into Certain Book Categories?

     By Dave Chesson

    Last updated on August 26th, 2021

    Every once in a while I will still come across someone who asks, do I need to use keywords in KDP to rank for a category?

    For example, say you wanted to be in the Arthurian category, but there’s no Arthurian BISAC category available when you upload your book to KDP. Should you include a keyword that says something like “Arthurian Novel” to your keywords in the hopes that you will rank for that keyword?

    There’s a lot of confusion about this, and even some of the mainstream publishing websites have some of the wrong information, so I’m here to set the record straight.

    The short answer is, no, you do not need keywords to rank for categories. 

    Read on to learn why.

    In this article, you will learn:

    1. How the relationship between KDP keywords and categories used to work
    2. How to add categories today
    3. How to best make use of your keywords today
    4. Additional restrictions to categories

    How it Used to Work

    Back in the day, selecting the Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) categories in KDP was the only control that you had over book categories.

    All you could do was select the two categories that you wanted (and BISAC categories tend to be very broad), and that was it. You had no more specific control over the categories that your book would show up under.

    So instead, you would use keywords.

    Amazon would take the seven keywords that you imputed into KDP and use that as clues on what other categories to rank your book for.

    Do you need keywords to rank for categories? No, and this article explains why. #selfpublishing #bookmarketingCLICK TO TWEET

    So if you put “Arthurian Romance” down as a keyword, you might have seen that book show up under an Arthurian category, and possibly a Romance category.

    But BISAC definitely doesn’t niche down as well as we’d like, so Amazon actually had a list of keywords that you could use to get your books into separate categories.

    That page no longer exists, but you can still get a glimpse of it using the Way Back Machine here. That page now looks like this.

    The Way Back Machine just shows what that page used to like, but you can’t see any keyword lists because they’re hidden in some drop-down menus. Here’s an image showing a list of some of these keywords that would get your book listed in a specific category.

    list of keywords that used to get your book into certain categories

    As you can see, if I wanted to get into the Arthurian category, all I had to type in was “Arthurian” for one of my keywords.

    But there are literally thousands of categories, and several just for Arthurian-related topics. So how do you get into those categories?

    Well, it used to be that if you didn’t get into a category, after you’ve done the work of selecting the right keywords and BISACs, then…tough.

    You were out of luck. Until….

    Amazon Added the Change Categories Feature

    There was originally no way to change your category status apart from selecting BISACs and keywords, and of the thousands of categories out there, it seemed a shame that we couldn’t target all the categories that made sense for the book.

    So around 2018 (the exact date is unclear), Amazon began rolling out a roundabout way to request certain categories. Here’s a screenshot of what that looked like:

    the way requesting categories on Amazon used to look

    Overall, this worked, but Amazon still used keywords to rank for categories, or at least to provide context to add additional categories.

    However, it was a step in the right direction. I even created a video on how to add or change categories. That video is no longer publicly available, since I’ve updated it recently, but this was a big milestone for authors.

    That said, the form you fill out has changed a lot since then, as have the use of keywords. So let’s dig into that.

    How it Works Today

    Today, the process of getting your book added/removed to a category is much simpler.

    All you have to do is:

    1. Select the category you want to rank for (copy the full string)
    2. Visit this Help/Contact Page for Author Central and sign into your KDP account
    3. Under “How We Can Help” select “Amazon Book Page”
    4. Then select “Update Amazon Categories”
    5. Fill in the information, and you’re good to go!

    We’ve got a whole post on this topic that you should definitely check out if you want a full walkthrough of how to add your book to different categories. Or you can check out this video:

    Want more videos like this? Then click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

    This method of requesting categories is now the standard method that Amazon uses to allow authors to select their categories.

    They also changed their Category FAQ page to remove mention of the keywords and give more information about being able to change your categories. 

    But what does this mean for selecting your seven keywords?

    It means exactly this: You don’t need to target categories in your keywords. Period.

    Think of it this way, even if Amazon did use your keywords as category clues, you can still adjust your categories using their online form. And if you can do that, then why would you want to waste your keywords on categories when you could, instead, use them for other purposes?

    How You Should Use Your Keywords

    Keywords are best used to target search terms that a reader will type in on Amazon.

    To do this, you want to select specific, unique keywords that readers are likely to search for with the intent to buy.

    There’s a lot that can be said about selecting your keywords, but it comes down to this: choose something long-tail, meaning you use a phrase that is more specific, and therefore means that a reader is more likely to buy, if they are typing in that phrase. 

    To continue with our Arthurian example, if I just put “Arthurian Books” as a keyword, that might be too broad. That could refer to Arthurian fiction novels, Arthurian reference books, scholarly books, other forms of non-fiction. 

    And that’s not to mention all the different fiction genres that might have Arthurian elements, everything from epic fantasy to romance to comedy.

    Instead, something like: “King Arthur for Kids” might yield better results, assuming it accurately describes your book.

    How to Find Keywords with Publisher Rocket

    Rocket is a great piece of software that will help you find these target keywords. You can see that here it gives me the competition score for “Arthurian Book”, and it’s a little bit competitive:

    an example of a bad keyword in Publisher Rocket

    Whereas, my keyword for “King Arthur for Kids” is much less competitive, yet still has more estimated searches each month.

    an example of a good keyword in Publisher Rocket

    “King Arthur for Kids” is also a more actionable keyword, because a reader who types that in knows what they want, and are likely to buy what they find. You’ll notice that the average monthly earnings is also higher.

    Since you no longer have to use keywords for selecting categories, it makes sense to use a tool like Publisher Rocket to focus completely on a reader’s search intent.

    And you can do this by selecting the best keywords.


    Special Category Requirements

    Now it’s worth pointing out that not all categories can be selected using the Amazon online form. There are a few categories that are better monitored, or have additional restrictions, than others. Including the following:

    1. Children’s Books
    2. Erotica
    3. Series

    Usually this applies to categories that involve age-appropriate content.

    For example, Amazon cares a lot about children’s books, so if you want to select a category for children’s books in their online form, you have to prove that your book fits.

    The simplest way to do this is in your Book Details page, under Age and Grade Range. Make sure you select the appropriate age range when uploading your book to KDP.

    This also goes for adult content. Any erotica books should select the appropriate age as 18+ to make it clear to Amazon that you’re publishing a book with adult content. 

    Having an erotica book will also limit the number of categories you’ll be allowed to target. Amazon wouldn’t allow you to place it in “Clean and Wholesome Romance” for example.

    Additionally, series pages do have categories, but currently Amazon does not allow authors to request new categories, though that could change in the future.

    To Sum Up

    In short, you do not need to worry about selecting categories when you input your keywords into the KDP dashboard.

    Instead, you should do two things:

    1. Use the Amazon online form to select your categories
    2. Use the keywords section to target long-tail, specific keywords that readers are likely to search for

    If you can do this, you’ll not only have all the categories you need, but you’ll also be targeting keywords that are more likely to find a reader ready to buy. 

    Or in other words, you’re more likely to sell more books.


    Dave Chesson






    Dave Chesson

    When I am not fighting dragons or chasing the bogey man out of my kids closet, I like using my previous Online Optimization skills to help other authors with the 'technical' stuff and get the right authors to the top of Amazon and any other eBook service out there.

    dave-chesson-sidebar-imageHi, I'm Dave Chesson

    When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

    “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books."

     - Kindle Direct Publishing

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