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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.

  • 24 May 2021 7:17 AM | Deleted user


    Why do I need to know about Microsoft templates?

    MS Word templates are like cookie cutters. Everytime you begin a new document in MS Word, formatting options such as the indentation of each paragraph, the spacing between paragraphs, the spacing between lines within a paragraph, the font style and size, and much more are determined by the Word template you chose when you created the new document. Each new document is a copy of the template that cut it.

    Even if you think you didn’t make a choice, you did. If you start typing without choosing anything, MS Word makes the choice for you by providing a default template, normal.dotm. The template is like a map or pattern for every new document. Each new document is a copy of the template’s formatting, all of which can be changed in your new document. But the template remains the same, available to be used again later.

    The default settings for the normal.dotm template on my Mac laptop are as follows:

    • US letter-sized paper
    • Calibri font, 12-point size
    • single spacing within paragraphs
    • no extra points of space after each paragraph
    • no indentation of the first line
    • no tab stops set, but default stops every .5 inches
    • 1-inch margins at top, bottom, left, and right
    • portrait orientation

    Unless I change the formatting of a new document, these formatting instructions will apply. And even if I change the formatting of the document I am editing, the next one I create will go right back to the default formating of normal.dotm.

    The settings for normal.dotm on a Windows PC may differ. You can discover the settings for normal.dotm by reviewing the page layout, paragraph layout, font choice, and other formatting information after you create a new document before you begin typing on it.

    Can the default settings be changed?

    You can change any of these default settings, but those changes will only apply to the specific document you are creating or editing—the specific copy of the template. If you make the changes before you begin typing, the changes will apply to everything you type on that document. But, if you make changes after you have already begun creating the document, the changes will only apply from the point where your cursor is anchored. If you move the cursor to another place in the document, the changes you made will not apply. I hope the chart below will help make clear the impact of changes you make to the format of the current and other documents.

    Action Effect on Template Effect on Current Document Effect on Previous Documents Effect on Future Documents
    Create a new document none matches format of the selected template none none
    Change margins before adding text none margins will change for the entire document none none
    Change margins after typing has begun none margins will change for either the document, page, or section, depending on the author’s choice none none
    Adding tab stops before adding text none tab stops will apply across the document none none
    Adding tab stops after typing has begun none tab stops will apply from the point at which the cursor is anchored and for any text typed afterwards* none none
    Changing the font before adding text none font type and size will match the change throughout the document none none
    Changing the font after typing has begun none font type and size will match the change from the point at which the cursor is anchored and for any text typed afterwards* none none
    Changing the paragraph style before adding text none paragraph format will match the changed paragraph style throughout the document none none
    Changing the paragraph style after typing has begun none paragraph format will match the change from the point at which the cursor is anchored and for any text typed afterwards* none none
    Changing the settings on normal.dotm everything will change to match the new settings see information below about how to change normal.dotm none all future documents will match the new formatting of the changed template

    *If you make changes to any of the settings and wish them to apply to the entire document, you must highlight the entire document before changing the settings so that the changes apply to everything that is highlighted.

    May I have more than one template on my computer?

    Yes, you may have multiple templates, but if you do not choose one, the normal template will be applied. If you choose New Document from the File options in the main menu, you are choosing normal.dotm as the template. To choose a different template, you must choose New from Template from the File option menu and then choose one of the templates that appear. MS Word comes with many templates preloaded.

    You can also create a new template, or change normal.dotm so that new documents are created with a different style or size of font or line spacing or tab settings, if you want to use different settings for every new document you create. Using the cookie cutter analogy again, if you want round cookies, you’d rather use a round cutter from the beginning than have to cut off the edges of a square cookie and then reshape the edges of every new cookie.

    First, understand what normal.dotm does. If you decide you want different formatting features to be standard for every document you create, you may want to change normal.dotm. If, in contrast, you decide it would be helpful to have a specific set of formatting features available when you start a specific set of documents, such as new manuscripts for your read-and-critique group or for submitting to contests, you may want to create a new template with a unique name for that set of documents.

    Because the means to change normal.dotm vary from release to release as well as from PCs to Macs, I recommend searching for instructions until you find what works for your computer.

    Creating a new template is easier. When you have formatted a new document with all the features you want for it, use Save As Template or Save As and select Word Template (.dotx) in the File Format drop down list. Give your template a name that you will recognize whenever you need to create a new document with those formatting features.

    The video below shows how to create a new template as well as how to update an existing template, including normal.dotm, for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows. If these instructions do not work for your computer, search for “creating templates for MS Word 20xx” with the release year of your MS Word replacing xx.

    Sandra YeamanSandra Yeaman retired from the US Department of State in 2007 after 23 years as a Foreign Service Officer. As a management officer, she served at US embassies in Qatar, Barbados, Moldova, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Madagascar, Zambia, and Eritrea. In addition, she served in consular positions in Germany and Barbados and previously taught English as a Foreign Language in Iran and Romania.

    She is familiar with Arabic, Farsi, German, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. Her experiences overseas brought her in touch with underserved minorities and religious groups out of favor with the current government. These experiences provide her with a sensitivity in her writing and editing not easily attained by others.

    These changes in environment and cultures challenged her notion of what success is. What made it possible for her to thrive in the midst of the change is the solid foundation she received in her childhood years in northern Minnesota.

    Since retirement, Sandra has been writing her story and her journey from a young woman seeking adventure to a mature woman who found her mission. She hopes to complete her novel in 2021 and looks forward to gaining the expertise in the full range of pre-publication book preparation and marketing.

  • 13 May 2021 9:26 AM | Deleted user

    by Mardie Schroeder, Past President, San Diego Writers and Editors Guild

    In olden days, writing surfaces were so rare that they were often used more than once. "Palimpsest" originally described an early form of recycling in which an old document was erased to make room for a new one when parchment ran short. Fortunately for modern scholars, the erasing process wasn't completely effective, so the original could often be distinguished under the newer writing. De republica, by Roman statesman and orator Cicero, is one of many documents thus recovered from a palimpsest. Nowadays, the word palimpsest can refer not only to such a document but to anything that has multiple layers.

  • 12 May 2021 4:20 PM | Anonymous


    The Writers' Workshop is offering online classes for beginning and experienced writers. Each class meets online on Saturdays, 10-3:30 pm, with a lunch break.

    Registration is in advance only at www.twwoa Classes are $80 each, and financial assistance is available for low-income writers in exchange for volunteering.


    Writers will learn innovative ways to generate fresh material, avoid writer’s block, and tap into their creative side. The class will be guided towards accessing the inner voice through KaizenMuse Creativity methods, evocative “timed writes”, and lively class readings and discussions. Hart is a writer and creativity coach trained in the Kaizen Muse method. She is also certified by the Gateless Method – “a method of teaching the art and craft of writing using creative brain science, allowing writers to access the creative genius inside”. Her first collection of short stories, Somewhere in a Town You Never Knew Existed, was a finalist in Foreword Review Book of the Year Award.

    MAY 29: SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP with Nathan Ross Freeman

    The class will learn all aspects of writing the screenplay, including formatting, characterization, sequence structures, and how to adapt any genre to a screenplay. Freeman's credits include the feature films Gem and Mr. Bones, the official selection of major film festivals; and Authoring Action, awarded 2010 Best Documentary in the U.K. He has taught at UNC-C and Salem College.

    JUNE 12: FICTION WRITING & REVISING with Karen Ackerson

    Writers of fiction and non-fiction books and stories will learn how to revise and polish their works before submitting to an agent or publisher. Techniques will be taught on how to grab the reader's interest by eliminating unnecessary details, building tension, and fine-tuning dialogue and descriptions. Participants may bring five pages (double-spaced) to the class for discussion. Ackerson is Senior Editor at The Renbourne Editorial Agency (, and has edited hundreds of novels, memoirs and creative non-fiction stories.

  • 1 May 2021 9:07 AM | Deleted user

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    Library ConnectionsSan Diego Public Library | Library Locations & Hours | Library Foundation | Library Shop |Calendar of Events | Donate

    Learn Something New at the 6th Annual How-To Festival

    How-To FestivalIn partnership with California Coast Credit Union, the Library is hosting its 6th Annual How-To Festival online on May 22. A curated collection of how-to videos created by Library staff and community members will premiere online and will remain available for later viewing. Round up your family and learn something new together, like How-To Make a Banana Dog, How-To Meditate for Busy People, or How-To Create a Kokedama. There is something for everyone and all ages! 


    Free Seed Distribution at All Open Libraries

    Seed LibrariesSpring is a great time to start a new vegetable garden! All open Libraries now have seeds available for the public to grow their own healthy food. Available seeds include melons, carrots, squash, and more. This is made possible through a generous donation from Vlada's Seeds for Life and the Ahern Seed Company. Visit your local branch today to get your free seeds and inquire about available gardening books. 

    Learn more
    Take a Library NExT Course in May

    Library NExTLibrary NExT is a series of workshops on STEAM topics for elementary, middle, and high school students. Sign your student up for a course specifically aimed at grades 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12. Upcoming topics include Medicine and the Heart, Physics of Fidget Spinners, Intro to Python Programming, Screenwriting, Wellness in the Digital Age, and Beginner's SketchUp. All classes are virtual and held on Zoom.

    Register now

    Support Your Library
    Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

    Celebrate AAPIThe Library celebrates the rich heritage, cultures, experiences, contributions, and resilience of our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander-identified (AAPI) communities. Join us in the celebration by checking out our diverse program offerings or reading a book from our staff-created AAPI Heritage Month book list. Program highlights include Cooking Around the World on May 3, Storytime with Señor Chon on May 14, Polynesian Paradise Dancers on May 20, and Hmong Culture & Craft on May 26

    Learn more
    SD Access 4 All: Reducing the Digital Divide in San Diego

    SD Access 4 AllTogether with the City of San Diego, the Library is taking action to close the digital divide that leaves residents without internet access. Through the SD Access 4 All program, the Library is offering outdoor computer labs, public WiFi, and mobile hotspots for library card holders to check out in select locations. The mobile hotspots are easy to use and allow you to connect your laptop, tablet, and other WiFi-enabled devices to the internet.

    Learn more
    Listeners' Advisory: The San Diego Public Library Podcast

    Listeners' Advisory PodcastEpisode two of Listeners' Advisory: The San Diego Public Library Podcast is out now and the theme is books! Learn about the new reader's advisory service Matchbook; meet the creative team behind the Library's first children's book, Odi's Library Day; and discover some great reads from the hosts of the Library's web series, Read More. Listeners' Advisory is available anywhere you get your podcasts.  

    Listen now
    Media Literacy Series: How the Media Covers Race

    How the Media Covers RaceFrom police shootings of unarmed Black people, to the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, to debates over the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border—stories about race and race relations have dominated recent headlines. Join the Library on May 10 for an open and honest discussion about how journalists approach these difficult issues, how newsroom diversity impacts coverage of race, and what role the media should play in creating more equitable, inclusive communities.

    Digital Resource Spotlight: SimplyE

    Simply E Library eReader AppDeveloped by the New York Public Library, SimplyE is a free, open-source e-reader app that allows the library to bring together a collection of eBooks and audiobooks from cloudLibrary and enki Library to make them accessible all in one place. Search the Google Play or Apple app store for "SimplyE." To begin using the app, open it and log in with your full library card number and PIN. 

    How it works
    Author of the Month: Lilita Zvejnieks Hardes

    Author of the MonthA Memoir of Home, War and Finding Refuge - Biruta's Story is a heartwarming story just in time for Mother's Day. On May 8, join first-generation American, Lilita Zvejnieks Hardes, as she presents a loving tribute to her mother in this compelling, well-researched memoir about her journey for refuge as a young Latvian war refugee during World War II. Fleeing Latvia, Biruta's path takes her through Nazi-occupied Germany as she searches for peace, love, and a place to call home. 

    The Library Shop's Curbside Caravan Returns for One Last Encore Tour

    Library Shop Caravan TourThe Library Shop is back in May for its last Curbside Caravan Tour! The Shop will be visiting 11 Library branches and stopping by Verbatim Books in North Park with a convenient, safe, and socially distanced pop-up shop curbside. Check the schedule and visit the Caravan to pick up a new book or literary-themed gift. All proceeds support the Library system.

    See the schedule
    Financial Wellness Webinar: Managing Your Retirement Accounts

    Retirement PlanningAs part of an ongoing collaboration with California Coast Credit Union, the Library is excited to offer a series of financial wellness webinars. On May 12, financial experts from California Coast Credit Union will explore account solutions designed to fit your life, whether you are planning for retirement or looking to grow and preserve your wealth. 


  • 1 May 2021 7:04 AM | Deleted user

    Pitch Your Book Contest

    Query Letter Advice

    From Voyage YA Editor-in-Chief Racquel Henry!

    I initially learned to write a query letter from Literary Agent Carly Watters at P.S. Literary Agency. After 6 years of querying my YA novel off and on, I’ve stuck by these tips and used them to write the query that eventually landed me my agent! I’m sharing these tips below and hopefully, they’ll help you too!

    Break your query into three sections:

    1. The intro
    2. The book pitch
    3. The bio/wrap-up

    Query letters should be one page.

    Address the agent or editor by their full name or use their first name. (I know the inclination is to be formal, but you may not always know the agent’s preferred pronoun.)

    Intros can include info such as: where you heard about the agent (mention if you took a workshop with them, or saw them at a conference, etc.), why they might be a good fit, the title of your novel, the word count, and genre/category. Many agents also like comp titles, and this would be a good place to put those as well.

    The pitch should be the focus of the query. Agents and editors will be most interested in the project itself. Therefore, the pitch section will be the longest section. The pitch should also make three things clear: who your protagonist is, what the conflict is, and what the stakes are. Try your best to avoid introducing too many characters—the leads of the story should be the center of attention. Keep the intro and bio section brief.

    We have additional query letter resources listed on our Book-Pitch contest page here.

    And you can also see samples of successful query letters here and here.

    Happy query letter writing!

    Learn More

    Add to Calendar

  • 30 Apr 2021 11:14 AM | Deleted user

    Thank you for your registration for the First Page Slam on May 24th. I'm not sure that we gave sufficient instructions on next steps for members like you who indicated an intent to participate and have your first pages critiqued.

    Here's what you need to do next, if you have not already -

    Your first page must be submitted by May 17th to be considered. First pages will be critiqued in the order in which they were submitted. Last year we had more submissions that we could do at our meeting, so some people lost out. Get your submission in right away so you can be sure you get a place at the meeting. If you do not have your submission critiqued at the meeting, you will still receive a written critique.

    All submissions must be made by May 17th, 2021 to in Microsoft Word format.

    Use New Times Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced, indent first line of paragraph.

    DO NOT put any identifying information on the page. These need to be anonymous.

  • 17 Apr 2021 6:38 AM | Deleted user

    We are accepting the next round of books,  open to ALL authors and publishers, 

    We are requesting applications by June 30th, with books to follow. 

    Book submissions come from all parts of the country, and abroad.  Winners announced Fall 2021.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    NYC Big Book Award



  • 15 Apr 2021 7:13 AM | Deleted user

    From Goodreader

    April 14, 2021 By Michael Kozlowski 4 Comments

    Amazon is launching a new system the iOS Kindle app called Kindle Vella, in the next few months.  It is a new way for authors to share serialized stories with readers, one chapter at a time. Authors can self-publish Kindle Vella stories in a serial format, one short 600–5,000-word episode at a time, using the same Kindle Direct Publishing platform that have always used in the past.

    Kindle Vella stories will be able to be purchased right on the iOS app, using tokens. The first few episodes of every story will be free so that readers have a chance to check out a new story and see if they like it. Readers will then purchase and redeem tokens to unlock subsequent episodes. The number of tokens required to unlock an episode is determined by the length of the episode. Amazon will have different bundle options for readers and will be sharing the details soon. Authors will earn 50% of what readers spend on tokens, which are used to unlock a story’s episodes. Authors will also be eligible for a launch bonus based on customer activity and engagement.

    This service is available now for authors in the United States and readers when it launches in a few months. It remains to be seen if tokens will be sold right on the Kindle for iOS app, because Amazon does not actually sell books on the app, since they don’t want to give Apple a percentage of every book sold. I have reached out to Amazon to clarify on how users can buy tokens, and will update the story.

    Kindle Vella will have a social component, where readers can talk to the author, using author notes. Readers can leave a Thumbs Up for any episode they like. Once a week, readers who have purchased Tokens will receive a Fave to award to the story they enjoyed most that week. Amazon will then feature stories with the most Faves in the Kindle Vella store.

    One of the most interesting things about the Vella program, is that it provides a fresh approach to storytelling and provides a revenue model for new and existing authors to make money. Serialized novels, can easily be written, a few pages here and a few pages there, once published, readers can give feedback and authors can tell their readers, what feedback they are using, for feature chapters. Ideally, this will help chart the future direction of the overall story and catter it towards what readers want to see. Ideally, once a Vella has been completed, the author can likely spin it into an ebook and sell it on Although, if they do this, they will have to remove the story from Vella. The serialized and social approach is similar to Toronto, Canada, based Wattpad, except they don’t pay writers.

    Michael Kozlowski

    Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.

  • 14 Apr 2021 6:59 AM | Deleted user

    by Rick Lakin

    On Sunday March 28, 2021, William Barrons, aged 95, sat at his computer for six hours and finished his 17th book, Cadillac Commands, the 13th in his series San Diego Police Homicide Detail. The next day, as his publisher, I visited Bill and picked up his last manuscript. I put the book up on Amazon on Friday of that week. The following Monday, his daughter called me and told me that Bill passed away.

    Born in 1926, in Cadillac, Michigan, Bill was the oldest boy of fourteen kids.  He survived the Great Depression and joined the Marines the day after he turned 17.  He could hardly wait to go fight those nasty Nazis and Japanese.  Bill served 2½ war years in the Marines, got married, went to college, had kids, and re-joined the Marines in 1949 - in time for the Korean War. Bill was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant but was a Platoon Commander only for a short while as his wife nearly died and he had to resign to care for his family.  He became a Telephone equipment engineer with AT&T in Chicago, then was a kitchen and home remodeling designer for 22 years.   Bill retired at age 69 and began to research and write novels. He became a long-time member of San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. At the age of 95, he was still at it!

    Rick Lakin is the publisher at iCrew Digital Publishing. 

    Visit his website at

  • 7 Apr 2021 5:57 AM | Deleted user

    Dear Local Author:  

    As one of our most loyal and cherished constituencies, the library values your opinion and would like your help with this important community outreach project. The San Diego Public Library wants to know what you want your library to look like. We are working with the San Diego Public Library Foundation to complete a Library Master Plan and are seeking broad public participation in a Community Survey that asks: 

    • What you need from the Library,  
    • How can the Library serve the community,  
    • What services, technologies, and programs would help you and your community. 

      Please visit the survey webpage and complete the survey online. The survey is open February 17 to April 17 and is available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Tagalog, and Vietmanese, in addition to English. If you have questions or would like to get more information, contact the Library Foundation at or call (619) 236-5849. 

    Kind Regards,

    Local Author Exhibit Staff

    Humanities Section, Central Library @Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common

    City of San Diego

    San Diego Public Library


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