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  • 16 Dec 2021 12:19 PM | Andrea Glass (Administrator)


    By Bob Boze

    Let’s start with the fact that there are no real rules for chapter breaks. Chapters can be as long or as short as you want. Because of this, the answer to the question we often get asked, “How many chapters should I have?” is  “As many or as few as you want.”

    Two of the tools in a writer’s toolbox that we find are often overlooked are chapter breaks and titles. As such, when we edit someone’s work, all we see are seemingly random breaks with Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and so on.

    We believe several things about chapter breaks. They should be used to make a change in our story. A scene change, a POV change, a lead into a major event, a dramatic twist… anything we want to stand out. Thus, our chapters can be as long or short as we need to make the change, then close it out.

    We’ve seen one-page chapters and twenty-page chapters, where both worked well. We don’t typically recommend twenty pages since we also believe chapter breaks should be used to allow the reader to catch their breath; to take a break after an intense or emotional scene. Here again, it’s whatever length works with your story.

    Like your story title, chapter titles should also entice the reader, make them want to read on. Any good reader will open a book to the table of contents and scan the chapter titles. When they do, you want them to go: “Wow, wonder what that chapter’s about?”

    So, use every tool in your toolbox, including chapter titles. However, not all fiction has chapter titles, but they do enhance the structure and interest in the book.

    One last suggestion. Chapter titles are often hard to come up with. Write your chapter, then go back and look for something that will make the reader ask, “Wow, where is this going and what’s that about?” But, don’t give anything away! 

  • 10 Dec 2021 6:22 PM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    Current Board member, Janet Hafner’s favorite place to find books is Diesel Bookstore in Del Mar. Thanks to her efforts, the store ordered a copy of the The Guilded Pen – The Power of Ten!

    Diesel opened in October of this year, and we should show support for a local bookstore of this quality. When you go in to browse, ask for a copy of the SDWEG anthology.

    Thank you, Janet!

  • 2 Dec 2021 11:27 AM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    The 2021 Memoir Showcase features two of our very own members, Valerie Looper and Janet Hafner. Both have pieces that will be performed live on December 7 at 7 PM at the Conrad in La Jolla. 

    Presented by the San Diego Memoir Writers Association, the 7th Annual Memoir Showcase with the theme, “But I’m Still Here,” features ten bold, theatrical, and entertaining readings.

    You will be immersed in stories about driving through life-threatening wildfires, facing down a hammerhead shark, being left alone on a war-torn tarmac in Afghanistan, and more.

    This is a one night only event and tickets are on sale now!

    Get your tickets here.

  • 29 Nov 2021 5:32 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)


    The end of the year deadline for submitting to the 2021 Kops-Fetherling Book Awards are fast approaching.

    - Submissions welcome for newly published AND previously published books.

    - Over 60 categories and genres.

    - At least 3 winners per category.

    - Great exposure for winners.

    Submit your book today at https://kfbookawards.com/enter-your-book/

    Use promo code KFBAFB50 for 50% off your submission.

    Jared Kuritz



    Managing Partner

    STRATEGIES Public Relations




    La Jolla Writer’s Conference




    Kops Fetherling Book Awards


  • 16 Nov 2021 7:35 PM | Andrea Glass (Administrator)

    My Fabulous First Book:
    A Workbook Companion to Your Fabulous First Book

    by Andrea Susan Glass

    A Writer’s Fabulous Friend

    If you’re writing non-fiction or a thought leader book, you may be familiar with Andrea Susan Glass’s bestselling book, Your Fabulous First Book: How to Write with Clarity, Confidence, and Connection. Whether your book is finished or still in the creative process, Glass now offers a companion workbook to help writers hit their book’s marketing targets. The workbook is available in a user-friendly, affordable, and sustainable paperback format.

    I found this workbook to be a game changer. Its exercises support the idea that a book’s marketing project is as purpose-driven, necessary, and fulfilling as is the writing process. Often, we’re led to believe that writers prefer writing the book over making marketing plans. Social media too often triggers writer’s feelings of dread; but, with My Fabulous First Book, dread turns to delight. Clarity about a writer’s ideal reader, and reader result, feels refreshing and friendly. Making plans and nurturing professional connections becomes manageable, even fun. With the help of this workbook, we truly believe: Yes, writers can also be resilient and savvy book marketers!

    The writing in the workbook is straightforward and intelligent, which gives instant inspiration. This workbook is like having your writing coach by your side, offering instantaneous knowledge and support to help you organize your book for marketability. From your author aspiration through the long haul of delivering a book that’s useful to many readers, this workbook polishes the process and makes writing to publishing feel accessible and elegant.

    It’s great for writers who enjoy a flood of ideas but don’t always have clarity on how to fit them into the marketable package that will attract buyers. This workbook offers clear solutions to making connections and taking bold action. It serves as a Global Positioning System (GPS) for getting written work into the hands of ideal readers. Completing its exercises helps a writer overcome issues related to lack of clarity or confidence.

    Throughout the workbook are helpful quotes from authors such as Richard Bach who said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” With Andrea Susan Glass’s workbook in hand, not only will writers not want to quit, but they’ll sense the world needs them to stay the course, finish the work, and put in the effort to sell. Writers, readers want your book! 

    Andrea’s tone is friendly and motivating, stating, “If I can do it, so can you!” With 30 years of experience, she knows the book-selling industry. Her workbook will help any writer take hold of the reins on the project without getting sidetracked by challenges, obstacles, distractions, or excuses, which she labels CODEs. The magic of this workbook, compared to others out there, is that it shows readers how to face and overcome challenges head on. While doing so, it makes the marketing part of a writer’s work feel just as rewarding as the writing part. Andrea wastes no time overthinking it. She helps a writer feel empowered to take action now. You can buy the workbook on Amazon.


  • 6 Nov 2021 6:20 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    An Evening with Artemesia Publishing and Two Mystery Writers

    November 17, 2021 7pm MST    (by Zoom)

    Contact: Marty Eberhardt

    Join Southwestern mystery writers Marty Eberhardt and Vicky Ramakka as they discuss their books, and learn what their publisher, Geoff Habiger of Artemisia Publishing, looks for in a mystery. The session will be moderated by author, speaker and publisher Rose Marie Kern.

     Artemesia was founded in 2004 with the vision of publishing unique and interesting books by little known authors who might be overlooked by larger publishers. Artemesia is a micro-publisher based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico working in a creative partnership with authors. They limit the number of titles  published each year to focus on quality over quantity, and this has led to numerous awards for their titles.

    In Marty Eberhardt’s hot-off-the-press DEATH IN A DESERT GARDEN, the founder of Shandley Gardens is killed by a falling eucalyptus branch. When it is clear that this is no accident, Gardens employee Bea Rivers is drawn into the investigation. She struggles to maintain the life of a committed single parent as she decodes odd botanical clues and discovers just how tangled the relationships among the staff and board members really are.

     In Vicky Ramakka’s THE CACTUS PLOT, murders overshadow botanist Millie Whitehall’s peaceful summer surveying endangered plants in northwest New Mexico. Autopsies show the deaths involve plants. Millie uses knowledge of ecology to investigate—before becoming another victim.

    Both books can be purchased at your favorite bookstore, on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, or bookshop.org.

    Both Marty and Vicky bring their backgrounds to their mysteries. Marty is a former botanical garden director, now located in Silver City, NM, and San Diego, CA, and Vicky is a self-described naturalist living in Aztec, NM.

    To register for the event, please email martyeberhardt@earthlink.net

  • 5 Nov 2021 7:17 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    The virtual Kauai Writers Conference will launch Sunday, November 14, with the first session of Joshua Mohr's six-lesson master class, Five Sense Psychology. Sessions will be every Sunday at 7pm ET, 4pm PT (2pm Hawaiian.) This is a unique opportunity to join this wildly popular class.

    Josh Mohr was originally introduced to the conference by one of the students in his Stanford online creative writing program. She said he was the best teacher she had ever had of any subject. Organizers invited him, and more than a dozen of his Stanford students came to Kauai because they wanted to spend more time with him. People came away from the class saying that it had forever changed their approach to writing.

    Joshua Mohr

    During the in-person conferences, many sessions are held concurrently, so people have to pick and choose the few they most want to take. In the virtual conference, sessions are spread out over months, with one every Sunday. You'll be able to participate in as many as you want, up to all of them.

    Josh Mohr's class is just the first of many. People attending writers conferences generally want to learn two things: how to write better and how to get published. Our online sessions focus entirely on these two subjects.

    Publishers, literary agents and editors, each among the most experienced and influential in their fields, share practical guidance and surprising insights into the most direct path to successful publishing.

    The authors leading sessions on the craft of writing are renowned, not just as brilliant writers, but as gifted and caring teachers. Those two traits don't always coexist in the same individual, but in each of our faculty they most definitely do.

    Learn more about the virtual Kauai Writers Conference

    Conference organizers want you to feel that you are sitting in one of these two chairs on Kauai. Sitting in the other will be a succession of bestselling authors and leaders of the publishing world, each intent on getting to know you and sharing their lifetimes of hard-won wisdom.

    It's recommended that you sign up before Josh Mohr's first class on Sunday, November 14, but all of the sessions will be recorded and available for members to watch any time at their convenience.

    The virtual Kauai Writers Conference is available to registrants of the postponed in-person events, and to all others by subscription. You are invited to join the conference starting November 14 at 7pm ET, 4pm PT, 2pm Hawaiian.

    The links you need to participate in the sessions will be sent to all subscribers and conference registrants each week by email.

  • 24 Oct 2021 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Season, Visit Shy Moon Lake

    The Spirit of Shy Moon Lake by Reina Lisa Menasche 

    Reviewed by Rebecca Jane

    This novel casts a spell. Its mystery grabs a reader by the spirit and does not let go.  An ordinary family: a teacher, a poet, and a curious son, expect a summer vacation, but then enter a deep mental, emotional, and spiritual struggle. Be ready for a novel that effectively disrupts the peace with its power to contemplate historical accounts that unsettle us. 

    Reina Lisa Menasche gives us relatable domestic struggles between husband and wife and sets them amid the enigmatic presence of a haunted, bottomless lake. An assumption many of us treasure—summer months spent in a cottage by a peaceful lake are unquestionably idyllic — is shattered by the disturbing reality of a small town haunted by the destruction of a nature-dwelling people and their sacred ceremony. So the setting is idyllic, yet not. The family is happy, yet not. This story gives feelings that range from mildly uneasy to ghastly until a reader is grief-stricken and expecting doom. Where is hope? 

    Shy Moon Lake is not a small town full of friendly people. The people are awkward and standoffish. They seem scared of something, and no one is allowed to talk about it. When Jess, Charlie, and their son Jonah move into town, into the “Thurston place,” they ask too many questions. They wonder about strange red handprints on the rocks. The husband-wife relationship turns strained. We are poised to read on with hope awakened in our heart. Why and how does Shy Moon Lake have a beguiling magnetic pull?  With the book’s complex characters, we try to settle in and make sense of a place where spirits and mother nature collaborate to mete out justice. This book gives us things to think about.  

    Plus, it is also cinematic. When I read it, I can see the otherworldly beauty of the setting. A row of cottages, a wall with warning signs, and an ignorant newcomer witness the calm lake swallow a loon? I’d love to see this novel made into a film.

    This story explores the consequences of the murders of indigenous people, and small town culture, where the inhabitants now live as either sedated prisoners or lake spirits. The mystery and message are  spellbinding.   

    The Spirit of Shy Moon Lake lingers with a reader outside the pages of the book. It inspires internal considerations related to what it is like to be sucked into a place or a habit or an addiction and not know why and not know the answer to this question: is there a way out? If so, what is it? If not, how do we continue, knowing we are stuck here forever? 

    But then again, the beauty of our surroundings may simply be reminding us that these very surroundings, this beauty, is longing for us to stay here because all will be well. Be sure there is a profound mixture of emotions and impressions that this book will leave on you.

    If you like being drawn in by currents of fear and peace, if you are attracted to stories of mysterious haunted places, read The Spirit of Shy Moon Lake. Great for a cozy read this autumn. Here there is peace and intricacy; we’re lured by women, a town, and a lake with stories; we find ourselves in “a place too rich for books or computers, where underwater shadows play like children.” Would you want to stay here? Read to find out.

    Reina Menasche will be discussing her book, The Spirit of Shy Moon Lake, at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore on Sunday, December 12th and noon. Please come out and support this awesome writer!

    Other books Reina has written:

    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, reinamenasche.com, 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 reinamenasche.com.  

  • 22 Oct 2021 4:15 PM | Leon Lazarus (Administrator)

    Janet Hafner has published a new middle-grade novel titled Peter Poppin and the Lost Emerald. A long time member of the Guild and a serving member of the Board, Janet has been generous with her time and talents in the service of the San Diego writing community, and we wish her all the best with her new book. 

    About the Book

    At the bottom of a treacherous cliff lies a hidden beach. One with tales of treasure, pirates and sunken ships. With his mother's birthday only ten days away Peter decides that a woodcarving will make the perfect present. He'll need the very best driftwood.

    ​While there, a sudden accident leaves Peter blinded in one eye. With doctors unable to help, Peter and his best friend Marian travel to a local Shaman who gifts him a magical new eye. But all magic has a price. Able to see into the past, he must solve the mystery of a great shipwreck and return the lost treasure to its rightful owner.

    Follow Peter, Marian, and his trusted dog, Patches as they navigate obstacles of all shapes and sizes. From friendships and bullying, to pirates and giant eagles, their journey inspires us all to overcome fear and embrace destiny.

    About Janet Hafner 

    JR Hafner spent much of her adult life raising three adventurous boys who were brave and always up for a challenge. A dream brought her main character; her son named him, Peter Poppin. Travelling to the rugged coast of Maine, she discovered the life that Peter encountered as a thirteen-year-old growing up in a late 1800s settlement. Indian tribes still inhabit the area – the same as in her dream. Her travels and research come together in 

    Peter Poppin and the Lost Emerald.

    Another part of her life focused on a rescued pup named Tessa. A dog who didn’t think she was a dog. In No Cage For Me! I’m Free, little Tessa, the runt of her litter, shows us how to escape a bad situation and how never to lose hope.

    In Steps, Sidesteps and Missteps, a memoir, JR Hafner, demonstrates how perseverance is never wasted. Her memoir essays have appeared in anthologies, such as The Guilded Pen, the annually published anthology of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. One of her scenes, The Watermelon, was one of ten winners in the 2020 Memoir Showcase. She says, “I’m an all- time optimist who loves to laugh and knows the value of tears.”


    Buy the bookAmazon.com

  • 15 Oct 2021 6:54 PM | Andrea Glass (Administrator)

    Exhibitionist Novel Outstrips Convention

    Book Review of Lights On, Clothes Off by Stuart Schwartz

    By Rebecca Jane

    Lights On — Clothes Off: Confessions of an Unabashed Exhibitionist by Stuart Schwartz will expand your sensitivity related to exhibitionism. The book is narrated by Eddie Saul who tells his story of being a proud homosexual who likes nothing more than a crowd gawking at his naked body. The book follows Eddie in his ability to feed this desire. Eddie is lovable and relatable, and his joy for what he does drives the plot forward. In fact, his enthusiasm is infectious. It’s enthusiasm that leads Eddie to opportunities, financial gain, and interesting relationships.

    The book demonstrates a fresh writer’s voice that is able to make nudist sensibilities accessible and even endearing. Eddie becomes a friend, confiding in the reader. Voice is often one of those aloof skills of writing a novel that is difficult for a writer to master. It’s not easy for a writer to present a story with an original voice. But the voice is refreshing because Eddie tells familiar stories—such as a gay man coming out of the closet—in a conversational and relaxed way. This sense of feeling relaxed extends to receiving the wisdom of gay identity and desire. So often, stories about homosexuality and desire feature sadness, cruelty, heartbreak, and frustration. But this isn’t the case with Eddie. His story is uplifting and entertaining. He displays his joy as readily as he displays his genitalia.

    This means readers never really know if Eddie has any internal conflicts.  Anything that might be a potential setback for the protagonist is dealt with in a quick sentence.  For instance, we learn that Eddie does not want his parents to know about the secret life he leads, but the reader is never filled in as to why not or what is at stake if his parents find out. His parents handled his sexuality with ease and tenderness. What would it take for his parents to be equally accepting of their son’s exhibitionism? This and other potential conflicts are resolved in ways that make Eddie’s life seem too easy. Readers may finish this book wondering about all the challenges Eddie is not telling us about. Perhaps there will be a sequel told from another perspective.

    While it’s light on dramatic tension, this novel does give a strong sense of what it’s like to pose nude for a Life Drawing class where the instructor encourages “tactile learning.”  As this method of learning is no longer part of art programs, Eddie’s experience is so precious because it is so ephemeral. It’s reassuring to know a reader can open a novel and participate in a culture that is rare, a hidden gem.

    Lights On, Clothes Off is a light-hearted reading experience that stimulates curiosity, appreciates kinky desire, and perhaps even helps a reader relate to his or her own nudity with fresh enthusiasm. I highly recommend this character-driven jubilee that celebrates the simple joy of being seen.


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