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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.

  • 22 Feb 2021 7:47 AM | Deleted user

    SDWEG Guild member and Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors, Leon Lazarus, features stories of the absurdities of life in apartheid South Africa through podcasts on his website, Barking at Dogs.

    Choose from four episodes already on the website:

    • "Barking at Dogs" The year is 1988. Our non-racial band is in a small college town in apartheid South Africa preparing to play for an unfriendly audience. The drummer, isn't taking any guff off the conservative audience.
    • "Matjiesfontein" There's a paranormal disturbance on the second floor of the hotel in Matjiesfontein, but it's not half as bad as the argument that ensues. If the story doesn’t scare you, it might make you laugh.
    • "Lost in Rini" (featured in the Guild's 2019 Guilded Pen Anthology) In apartheid South Africa, giving a friend a ride home after dark could prove dangerous. This episode of Barking At Dogs is dedicated to the late, great Alistair Weakly.
    • "Lion Dung" When a friend tells you to find lion shit and spread it across the lawn, ask questions before you plunge yourself into the task! In a January 25, 2014, episode of Mythbusters, the premise behind this story was busted.

    Each episode is just short of half an hour, so be sure you have time to listen through to the end. Also be advised that the stories contain adult language and may not be suitable for young children. Now you know.

    Leon LazarusMy 30-year career has taken me from journalist to layout artist, studio manager, creative director, agency VP, and consultant, working in South Africa and the United States. I also hold a board position with the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild and chair the marketing committee. My focus has now turned to digital marketing and design in support of my favorite habit, writing.

    With six published children's books, two short stories, a novel looking for an agent, one ongoing podcast series, and one audiobook podcast in production, this is hardly the time to slow down.

    You can follow my writing and creative work at

  • 20 Feb 2021 8:31 AM | Deleted user

    Check out this interview between Guild members Sarah Faxon, the interviewer, and Janet Hafner, the author, about Janet's journey into the world of writing.

    If you would like Sarah to interview you on your latest writing projects, contact her at

    And check out her YouTube Channel to see interviews with other authors.

  • 20 Feb 2021 7:26 AM | Deleted user

    Two vIews of Rhoda Riddell during her California days

    October 28, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rhoda Riddell, founder of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. The Board of Directors of the Guild are pleased to dedicate the 2020 edition of The Guilded Pen anthology to the memory of Rhoda Riddell.

    The story of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild is one of struggle and fortitude by a group of gutsy women who got started, and many who have continued the effort.

    In the fall of 1978, our founder, Rhoda Riddell, returned to San Diego from the East Coast. She yearned to find a group of compatible souls who, like her friends in the Word Guild in New York, would share the joys and travails of a freelance writer's life. She advertised for writers in The Reader and was inundated by people seeking work. A dozen or so accepted her invitation to meet as an informal support group.

    That began the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. Nineteen years later, in January 1998, the Guild honored Rhoda Riddell with its Founders Award and acknowledged her impact through the granting of the Rhoda Riddell Builders Award to four others who helped get the Guild going: Betty Dodds, Betty Smith, Peggy Lipscomb-Kazwara, and Betty Jurus. Since then the Guild has continued to present Rhoda Riddell Builders Awards to members who have had a positive impact on the Guild.

    Rhoda lived a full and interesting life. From Rhoda's obituary in the Borego Sun.

    Rhoda (Fulton) Riddell was born in Japan on October 28, 1920 to Robert and Karen Fulton, marking the start of an adventurous life.

    Her parents left Japan after the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and eventually settled in La Jolla. Rhoda graduated from La Jolla High in 1938 and then waited tables at her mother’s local restaurant “Fulton’s Green Dragon Inn.” She also did some modeling and briefly attending UC Berkeley and secretarial school.

    Rhoda met an enlisted man in La Jolla and they went to Hawaii to be married - two weeks before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Rhoda told how she and her husband Robert were in bed when the Japanese attacked and how the Japanese were shooting at their get-away car.

    When the couple later divorced, Rhoda decided to travel the world with her two daughters, Laurie and Cecily. Rhoda lived in nine countries and worked as a foreign war correspondent, had a radio show for armed forces, was a realtor in La Jolla and a travel writer and social director aboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

    She loved to read and was a member of the Mensa Society and founding mother of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. Rhoda lived in Borrego Springs for about fifteen years and passed away after complications from a fall.

    Rhoda was known for her wit, was cheerful, funny and authentic. Interestingly, she ended her stay on Friday the 13th [2015]. Mrs. Riddell lived in Borrego Springs for about fifteen years and had a remarkable life.

  • 18 Feb 2021 8:07 AM | Deleted user
    by Sandra Yeaman, SDWEG Webmaster Emeritus

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


    Because some numbers, when spelled out, require hyphens, I often see hyphens in numbers where they don’t belong, usually because of the confusion between the general rule for spelling out numbers and the rules for using hyphens in compound modifiers. Below is a general rule for spelling numbers with hyphens and some specific rules for writing out numbers as times, fractions, and prices.

    General rule: A hyphen must separate the two words representing numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine. At least for now. Given the nature of commonly hyphenated words eventually becoming spelled as single words over time, this may change. Numbers representing multiples of ten do not require hyphens since they are single words.

    Hours of the day rule #1: No hyphen is needed between the hour and the minute when writing out times of the day unless the spelled-out time is used as a compound modifier. The minute may need a hyphen if it is spelled with two words.

    I have a meeting on the fourth Monday of every month at five thirty. (no hyphen between the hour and the minute)

    My five-thirty meeting doesn’t usually begin until five forty-five. (hyphen between the hour and minute needed because it is a compound modifier and hyphen in forty-five because that is how it is spelled)

    Hours of the day rule #2: No hyphen is needed between the hour and the word o’clock, because o’clock is usually only used with the hour and none of the hours between one and twelve require hyphens. When using a twenty-four hour clock, numerals are used.

    The meeting was scheduled for three o’clock.

    Hours of the day rule #3: No hyphen is needed when citing a time using a half or a quarter hour unless used in a compound modifier.

    The meeting started fifteen minutes late, at a quarter after three, because one of the key presenters hadn’t arrived.

    Fraction Rule #1: A hyphen is needed when writing out fractions whether they are used as nouns or modifiers.

    Reduce the amount of time to bake by one-half. (a fraction used as a noun, the object of the preposition)

    The recipe called for one-half cup of milk. (a fraction used as a modifier)

    Fraction Rule #2: No hyphen is needed when writing out a whole number and a fraction together unless the combination is used as a compound modifier.

    I walked three and three-quarters miles yesterday. (the number and fraction used as a simple modifier)

    My three-and-three-quarter-mile walk took me just over an hour. (the number and fraction used as a compound modifier with the noun mile)

    Price Rule: No hyphen is needed when writing out prices unless the numbers require a hyphen to be spelled correctly or if the numbers are part of a compound modifier.

    I paid a dollar and seventy-five cents for a pastry at the bakery. (Seventy-five requires the hyphen because that’s how it is spelled.)

    That dollar-and-seventy-five-cent pastry was the best I have tasted in years. (The full cost needs to be hyphenated because it is a compound modifier of pastry.)

    Whenever I edit the work of someone else, I look closely at every hyphen to see if it is necessary. For times, fractions, and prices, the above rules apply. In other cases of hyphens between words, I check the dictionary or determine if the hyphenated words form a compound, multiple-word modifier.

    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

  • 17 Feb 2021 6:01 AM | Deleted user

    Four partner organizations, San Diego Public Library, La Jolla Historical Society, Write Out Loud, and San Diego Writers, Ink present the San Diego Decameron Project.

    Members of our San Diego community were invited to submit previously unpublished fiction or nonfiction narratives of 1,000 words or less loosely themed around the current pandemic. The 100 winners of the San Diego Decameron Project will have their stories posted on the 4 partner websites beginning February 16th  2021. The top 10 most compelling stories will be read by Write Out Loud actors and presented in a Virtual Presentation on February 26th along with a panel discussion with the top authors hosted by KPBS art and culture reporter Beth Accomando. Sign up to receive free access to the ceremony at

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:47 AM | Deleted user

    Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe

    What is creativity? To find out, we can pursue two avenues. On the one hand, we can follow a systematic, methodical mode of rational thought. On the other hand, the search can be approached irrationally or non-logically, a non-linear mode of thought.

    On the rational side, we begin with words. To form a description of creativity, we need a vocabulary. Or do we? Here, the right brain (the non-rational side) kicks in and challenges the left's (or rational side's) attempt at analysis. Is part of the essence of creativity beyond definition? If this is the case, can we think (and thus experience creativity) without words?

    Are language and the naming of things equivalent to thinking? According to Webster, to think means "to have the mind occupied on some subject; to judge; to intend; to imagine, to consider" and "to believe." Can we imagine without imaging something? Can we believe without believing something? Prior to naming things, is man thinking?

    Thinking involves knowing, and what follows is the possibility that knowing does not need an image. Perhaps to know requires that we recognize how much we do not know. To paraphrase St. Thomas: "The more that I know, the more I know how little I know." Etymology or the study of the derivation of words can assist and enhance our search for the origin of thought. The word "recognize," for example, comes from "re" (again) andcognosere (Latin, meaning 'to know'). Thus, if we recognize something, it is because we knew it before. But when did we begin to know? And, therefore, when did we begin to think, since thinking and knowing are mutually supporting? Again, we look at words. How do we "know," understand, and "recognize" (know again) the following words: love, hate, envy? These are words, but they aren't objects; they cannot be visualized. They come from within. These are called emotions. Our primitive ancestors probably anthropomorphized word pictures to express feelings; adjectives came later.

    Metaphor pairs two images thrown into relief but intact, each unto itself. There is a definite psychological mechanism used in the processing of a metaphor. "Metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed by man," wrote Jose Ortega Gassetin in 1948. For Ortega, life was an intense dialogue between oneself and one's environment. "Things are not me and I am not things: we are mutually transcendent, but both are immanent in thatabsolute coexistence, which is life." (Unas lecciones de metafisica, (1966) "Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia—I am I and my circumstances." Metaphor transcends the obvious and the visual; it translates man's relation to his environment on another level—a "transcendent," unique, or creative level.

    Another linguistic aspect of creativity might be observed in Descartes' definition of the essence of man: "Je pense, donc je suis" (I think; therefore, I am) which occurs in his Discourse on Method (1637). Philosophical thought expresses both the potential and the limitations of human knowledge. It demands that we attempt to think beyond reality.

    But how did man jump from naming names to 'understanding' them, from depicting observed images on the walls of a cave to developing philosophical insight? The answer, I believe, occurred when we became conscious of the difference between us and other; when we understood that we were 'seeing' this or that and we were somehow involved with what was "out there." Could it be that our awareness of ourselves in the world as other than the objects came before words? If so, the words, even the painted images, followed thought. And if this is so, thought comes before words. Man can think without words. I am; therefore, I think. So, the depiction of what we observed and the development of a language to express our relationship with the observed were preceded by something beyond words.

    The root of the word imagination, is image. To imagine something in the mind's eye, we must have seen it in the "outside" world. The object is on the outside; the thought of the object is on the inside. However, the two sides are not separate. Sensations follow the same logic. We can feel/hear/see/smell; there is no hearing without sound, no sense-perception without an object to provoke it. Again, it is a question of the person knowing that he knows, being aware that he is aware. First there is the thought and then there is the thing. The inevitable question follows: If there were no thought of it, would the object not be there? Is an object/sensation a thing unto itself without a person's perception of it? Does thought exist before words?

    Science can contribute facts; however, the philosopher (from Latin, philos, meaning "loving," and Sophos, meaning "wise") in his wide intellectual pursuit knows no boundaries.

    The word 'create' means to bring forth something new as an artistic or intellectual invention. The moment preceding the act of spontaneous creativity has been described many ways. Dancer Isadora Duncan called it a "state of complete suspense." This non-verbal excitement, dreamlike, vague, and ambiguous is also experienced in the other arts: painting, writing, music, and sculpting. Author and poet Stephen Spender expressed it succinctly and pointedly as "a dim cloud of an idea, which I feel must be condensed into a shower of words." In painting, I have often experienced what Cezanne described as "an iridescent chaos" when the painting and I compete for dominance. Paint stroke by paint stroke, the colors sit up on the canvas, and the adventure begins as I attempt to come to an agreement (or image) while the painting seems to have a mind of its own. This sounds like nonsense, but for me it sets in motion my subconscious. Mesmerized, I watch as something new manifests itself on the canvas before my bewildered eyes. The same happens in creative writing, when the words take over and I am amazed.

    But it is the art of music that represents a plane of consciousness beyond form and epitomizes creativity at its most abstract and pure state. In its acoustical and physical manifestation, music is imbued with mathematics. Pythagoras (c. 582 B.C. - 497 B.C.) was considered an early "scientist" and was thought to be the originator of the theory of harmonics. Fascinated with numbers and their manifestations as chords, Pythagoras is supposed to have "cured" his ailing disciples by playing music. In ancient times, music was inseparable from science mainly because of its source, mathematics. Recent studies have shown that the music of Mozart strengthens the neural connections that underline mathematical thought. So, the ancients were on to something after all. The etymology of "mathematics" is from the Greek mathema, meaning what is learned. Perhaps this should convince us of music as a source of creativity outside of the visible but well within the norm of analysis?

    Digging into the consciousness, letting loose associations and the confines of sequential constraints and expressing an ah-ha moment or creative vision is not confined to the artist. Were it not for the free ranging of his imagination, Einstein could never have formulated his laws of relativity. It was in a dream, he said, that he "discovered" the basis of his insight into relativity. "Inspiration," he wrote, "is more important than knowledge." The free-roaming mind allows the scientist to "discover" things he surely would miss if he were locked into pure rationality.

    To summarize, "creativity" may be viewed in this new age of fiber optics and cyberspace as an oddity, half-feared and half-distrusted but surreptitiously peeking its head out, demanding attention. The sixth sense needs to be heeded. Perhaps that is the most important function, the goal of the artist, to "transport the mind in experience past the guardians—desire and fear—to the...rapture of seeing in a single hair 'a thousand golden lions' (Joseph Campbell). As Alfred North Whitehead concluded,

    "Nature is a structure of evolving processes. The reality is the process." And equally, understanding creativity is itself a "process." Answers are not required!


    Literary Lady, Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe, is an Author, Artist and Speaker. Patricia has written ten books:  MIAMI'S YESTER' YEARS, Its Forgotten Founder Locke Tiffin Highleyman;   NATURE'S WISDOM (a collection of short stories about animals, the high seas, and nature);   A CRUEL CALM, Paris Between the Wars (historical fiction);   MYTH MAGIC AND METAPHOR, A Journey into the Heart of Creativity;   ALL ALONE, Washington to Rome; LA JOLLA, A Celebration of Its Past;   HISTORIC TALES OF LA JOLLA;   PATRIOT PRIEST, A Personal Perspective of History from WWI, WWII to the Vatican; HELEN HOLT, Memoir of a Servant Leader; and HORSE TALES, Teddy and Just'n Come to an Understanding.

        The La Jolla book was the Winner of the San Diego Books Awards in 2002. A Cruel Calm, the Finalist Award, 2013 won First Prize for historical fiction Royal Dragonfly Book Award. Named ‘Author of the Year 2016-2017’ by IAOTP (International Association of Top Professionals) and ‘Lifetime of Achievement and Success’ in 2017.

    Patricia is the past President of the National League of American Pen Women-La Jolla Branch and later President of the Washington, DC Branch. In 2007, Patricia was speaker for the National Capital District 36 Toastmasters 2007 Spring Conference. Her presentation was titled 'The Power of Words'. The Special Achievement Award was presented to Patricia Daly-Lipe for participation in the 2009 "Golden Nib" Contest and an award of second place in poetry for "A Poetic Meditation".

    Patricia has written for the Evening Star Newspaper in Washington, DC, the Beach and Bay Press including La Jolla Village News in California, and The Georgetowner and Uptowner Newspapers in Washington, DC as well as several magazines across the country.

    Her presentations have covered all aspects of writing for literary groups as well as colleges and universities.

    In her "spare" time, Patricia has been rescuing thoroughbred horses. In the late '70s and '80s, she raised, raced and showed them.

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:41 AM | Deleted user

    The San Diego Public Library has announced the opening of the 2020 Local Author Showcase, which includes the 2020 SDWEG Anthology and many outstanding works from member authors. 

    Visit the online showcase to view all the excellent books written by San Diego Authors now on display.

    To view the showcase, click on the link below. (add button with link -

    Library Staff is currently adding the books for circulation, books will be available to check out once this process has been completed. Please check back often.


  • 14 Feb 2021 6:37 AM | Deleted user

    The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, NC, is sponsoring our Annual Poetry Contest, open to any writer regardless of residence. The awards are:

     1ST Place:  Your choice of a 2 night stay at our Mountain Muse B&B in Asheville; or 3 free workshops online; or 10 poems line-edited and revised by our editorial staff

    2nd Place: Two free workshops; or 8 poems line-edited

    3rd Place:  One free workshop, or 5 pages line-edited

    10 Honorable Mentions


    Deadline: Postmarked by March 30, 2021


    All work must be unpublished. Each poem should not exceed two pages. Multiple entries are accepted. Your name, address, phone email and title of work should appear on the first page. The entry fee is $25 for every 3 poems. All entries receive comments from the judges.

    Enclose self-sealing SASE for comments and winners' list, and mail to: Poetry Contest, 387 Beaucatcher Road, Asheville, NC  28805.

    Emailed submissions may be sent to with "Poetry Contest" in the subject. Entry fee is payable online at

  • 14 Feb 2021 6:35 AM | Deleted user

    Sunspot Literary Journal is seeking articles and essays on working in any creative form. See the full guidelines for examples of the kinds of works we’re interested in.

    Payment: $0.01 per word ($50 US maximum per piece) when published.
    Open: January 1, 2021
    Close: October 31, 2021
    To submit, visit


    Thank you, as always, for all that you do for the creative community!


  • 13 Feb 2021 12:41 PM | Leon Lazarus

    Hindsight is a collection of stories about 2020, written by people just like you. The publication seeks nonfiction stories from around the world that capture what it was like to wake up every day to a new normal — whether that means navigating emergencies as a first responder or tying the knot over Zoom. They are particularly interested in material that gets up close and personal with the struggles of 2020, rather than headlines or commentary on current events.

    Hindsight is an independent, one-time publication. Content will be made available in two forms: Some stories will be shared on our website; the very best submissions will be compiled into a print anthology, which will be published in 2021.

    Submission fee: None

    Length: Up to 2,000 words

    Deadline: Rolling

    Compensation: Writers whose work is selected for the print anthology will receive a complimentary hard copy of the book, as well as a digital file.

    To learn more, please visit:

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