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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.

  • 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


  • 4 Apr 2021 7:58 AM | Deleted user



     387 Beaucatcher Road

    Asheville, NC 28805 *  828-254-8111 *



    Writing Workshops, Poetry Contest


    The Writers' Workshop of Asheville NC is offering online classes for beginning and experienced writers. Each class meets on Saturdays, 10-3:30 pm, with a lunch break. Registration is in advance only, at Classes are $80/75 members, and financial assistance is available for low-income writers in exchange for volunteering.

     For more info, see, or contact



    April 17: Finding Your Poetic Voice with Bruce Spang


    May 1:  Writing Your Memoirs with Karen Ackerson


    May 15:  Writing From The Top Of Your Head with Nina Hart


    May 29:  Screenwriting Workshop with Nathan Ross Freeman


    June 12: Fiction Writing And Revising with Karen Ackerson



    Poetry Contest Deadline Extended to April 15.

    For Awards and Guidelines, go to

  • 1 Apr 2021 7:34 AM | Deleted user

    April 10th marks Encourage a Young Writer Day, and to celebrate, Caitlin Stewart, Resource Coordinator at the Center for School, College, and Career Resources in Reno, Nevada, rounded up some of her organization’s favorite writing resources to help inspire the world’s next great writers. She shared those resources with the Guild. If you know of a student interested in a writing career, please share this message with them.

    The first guide details the steps young people can take to become a professional writer, an overview of career concentrations and related jobs, and the skills they’ll need to be successful:

    How to Become a Writer –

    The second resource is a go-to guide for students that walks them through what they need to know to improve their writing skills in college. It details various writing styles and lists available writing tools and apps:

    Writing Guide for College Students –

    The last guide Caitlin shared was created with help from four experts in English language and writing. It breaks down common essays students will encounter in school, how to nail the research and outline process and keep their writing on track. It also lists common writing mistakes and how they can avoid them. You can read more here:

    Student Guide to Academic Writing and Research –

    The Center for School, College, and Career Resources believe that by sharing these guides, they can help aspiring writers cultivate a love of writing.

    From Alyssa Johnson: I have been writing for the past few years and have taken part in conducting a Writing Resources Guide:

  • 1 Apr 2021 7:31 AM | Deleted user

    This is the eighth in a series of posts to address common issues in manuscripts with my suggestions for how writers can improve their manuscripts before turning them over to agents, editors, and the many other individuals involved in the process of turning a manuscript into a book.


    There are five appropriate sentence-ending punctuation marks, three legitimate ones and two coincidental ones that just end up there because of what the author has written.

    • The legitimate ones
      • periods (referred to as full stops in British English) (.)
      • question marks (also referred to as interrogatory marks) (?)
      • exclamation points (!)
    • The coincidental ones that just end up there
      • ellipses (. . .)
      • em dashes (—)

    The Legitimate Ones


    The most common sentence-ending punctuation mark is the period. A period at the end of a sentence is what we all expect. When you reach the period, the message is complete. Anything else signifies information beyond the words that were spoken or written. And that’s why we have more than one sentence-ending punctuation mark.

    All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.


    Question Mark

    The appropriate mark at the end of a question is a question mark. Pretty obvious, right? Questions might indicate a request for information.

    Who is that masked man?

    Or they might serve as a clue that the speaker disbelieves what has been said.

    Are you telling me you’ve never been to Paris?

    The inherent quality of a sentence ending with a question mark is that the speaker wants more information.

    Exclamation Point

    An exclamation point marks the end of a sharp or sudden utterance (says

    Watch out!

    Such utterances are not usually whispered or spoken in one’s inside voice. And that’s why people interpret an exclamation point as evidence that the speaker is shouting. Add all caps, and the message is even clearer.

    Since almost no one in the world likes to be shouted at, editors, including me, stress the importance of being very cautious in the use of exclamation points. Some editors will accept one exclamation point per chapter. Some accept one per book. The most stringent of editors prefer to see only one exclamation point in a lifetime’s work. My view is that if you need one, use it. But if you use too many, be aware that the reader may be dissuaded from continuing.

    The Coincidental Ones


    Ellipses (or ellipsis points as The Chicago Manual of Style refers to them) function most often within sentences. CMS defines an ellipsis (three or four marks that look just like periods) as denoting “the omission of a word, phrase, line, or paragraph from a quoted passage.” When the passage continues after the ellipsis until it reaches the end of a sentence, the ellipsis consists of three dots. When the omission falls at the end of a sentence or in the middle of text that picks up again with a new sentence, the ellipsis consists of four dots, which is really a sentence-ending period followed by the three ellipsis points. An ellipsis can also follow other punctuation marks, including commas, colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation points.

    When following the rules for the use of an ellipsis when a character stops speaking without finishing the thought, CMS refers to the dots as suspension points. This is the case for the appropriate use of the ellipsis (or what looks just like an ellipsis) as a sentence-ending punctuation mark.

    I wonder if I will finish my first novel this year or . . .

    Em dashes

    Like ellipses, em dashes are used most often within sentences, where a comma, a semicolon, parentheses, or a period would also be appropriate, but where the writer wishes to connect items or distinguish among items, when the use of other punctuation may lead to confusion. For example, when items in a sentence, separated by commas, include one or more items that are further explained within the text, as an appositive would do, the use of commas alone may confuse the reader regarding how the pieces of the sentence fit together. The preceding sentence, with em dashes in place of some of the commas, makes the main clause easier to identify by isolating the subordinate text between em dashes:

    For example, when items in a sentence—separated by commas—include one or more items that are further explained within the text—as an appositive would do—the use of commas alone may confuse the reader regarding how the pieces of the sentence fit together.

    One of the usual uses of em dashes, according to CMS, is “to indicate sudden breaks.” This may occur within a sentence or at the end of what is spoken, whether or not it’s a complete sentence. This is where an em dash functions as a coincidental sentence-ending mark in dialog. If one character interrupts another in mid-sentence, an em dash marking the interruption at its end becomes a sentence-ending punctuation mark.

    She said, “I thought we were going—”

    He interrupted and said, “Don’t tell me what you thought. You never think things through anyway.”

    Ellipses vs em dashes

    The rules to remember:

    • An ellipsis marks the end of a segment of dialog if the speaker trails off without finishing . . .
    • An em dash marks the end of a segment of dialog if the speaker is interrupted—by someone or something.

    Putting them all together

    Question: How do all these sentence-ending punctuation marks go together?

    Answer: One at a time. No sentence-ending punctuation mark should be repeated or combined with another sentence-ending punctuation mark.

    Never use more than one sentence-ending punctuation mark together with another one. One period (.) One question mark (?) One exclamation point (!) That’s it.

    Each sentence needs only one sentence-ending punctuation mark. What might look like three or four periods in a row is really a three-dot ellipsis or a period that ends one sentence followed by a three-dot ellipsis that marks something has been left out.

    What about the interrobang? (‽ or ?!) defines the interrobang as “a punctuation mark (‽) designed for use especially at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question.” It combines a question mark with an exclamation point. Considered an unconventional punctuation mark, its use has not caught on widely, but I suspect this will change. Given my statement above that exclamation points are interpreted by readers as shouting, I will continue to recommend against using the interrobang. I suspect in the future, it may become accepted since each legitimate sentence-ending punctuation mark already includes what looks like a period, and each conveys its own subliminal meaning (surprise for exclamation marks and more information, please, for question marks) that may call for combining occasionally.

    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.

    Sandra's Website

  • 31 Mar 2021 6:40 AM | Deleted user

    Virtual Event Series

    The San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books virtual event series is back! This Thursday, April 1 at 12:30 p.m. PDT, we are kicking off the first virtual live Q&A with No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu on the Union-Tribune Facebook. Abby Hamblin, the Union-Tribune opinion editor, will moderate.

    Marie Lu's Skyhunter
    Marie Lu

    Marie Lu is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series, the Young Elites trilogy, “Batman: Nightwalker,” the Warcross series, “The Kingdom of Back” and “Skyhunter.” She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, Lu lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator/author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their son.

    Purchase “Skyhunter” on

    Upcoming Virtual Events 


    April 8 at  11 a.m. PDT – Children’s storytime with Mayor Todd Gloria

    April 15 at 12:30 p.m. PDT – Author Q&A with Joe Kenda

    April 22 at 11 a.m. PDT – Children’s storytime with Gulliver of the San Diego Gulls

    April 29 at 12:30 p.m. PDT – Author Q&A in Spanish with Paola Ramos

    For more info, click here

    AUGUST 21, 2021

    For more information, visit

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