Posts Tagged ‘CA’

So You Want To Write a Book

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

So You Want to Write a Book

Four local authors discuss their writing journeys and offer tips for aspiring writers

 Please join us at the Moraga Library as we present a panel of block-buster local authors who will discuss their writing. A Q&A session follows as time permits.  Joining us will be:

 Barbara Bentley (A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath).  When life threw her an unexpected curve, Barbara took the experience and turned it into a book to help others understand the crazymaking world of the psychopath.  Her story has been featured on Dateline NBC.

 Jon Cory (A Plague of Scoundrels). Retirement enabled Jon to return to creative writing after a career in business. His debut novel received the 2009 Independent Publishers’ Silver Medal award for popular fiction. 

 Alfred J. Garrotto (The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story)   A native of Santa Monica, CA, Al now lives in Contra Costa County. In addition to his writing career, he serves as a lay minister specializing in adult faith formation in a local Roman Catholic parish.

 Judith Marshall (Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever). The novel won the Jack London Prize awarded by the California Writers Club and has been optioned for the big screen

 If you have any interest in writing and being published this is a “must-attend” event. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012  2:00pm 

Moraga Library 1500 St. Mary’s Road, Moraga, CA 94556  (925) 376-6852

Of Writing Retreats and Relaxation

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This past weekend I spent a luxurious time at Westminster House in Alamo, California, participating in a writing retreat that produced words, wisdom, friendship, great dining and lots of peace in nature.  We communed with deer, a fox, quail, and even a Labradoodle who wandered into our open door to share his friendly attitude. 

Built in the 1920s, Westminster’s main house’s lovely redwood-walled rooms and cozy fireplace charm reminded me of  a Julia Morgan design, with cheerful flowered wallpaper in the bedrooms invoking a time when life was slow-paced and reflective. 

Our group stayed at the carriage house, complete with upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms and  horse stall bedrooms downstairs, made comfortable  with its horse shoe western-theme.  I swear I heard a horse neigh  . . .

Our group focused on writing, while others who are there quilt, pray, hike or hold family reunions. 

Why seek a writing retreat?

A change of scenery can refresh your whole attitude and may spark your creativity.  Just being around other writers who are enthusiastic about the process, love reading, and think verbs are cool, does something to your inspiration.  

Then there’s the no phones or door bells ringing,  or messages you must deliver to family members.  No Internet (or hopefully not) and only a bell notifying you it’s meal time, which you don’t have to provide.  The laundry buzzer doesn’t go off, dusty tabletops don’t beckon you to clean, and nothing requires your attention but the manuscript in front of you. 

What more can a writer desire?

If you haven’t booked a writer’s retreat, I urge you to try it.  You can go at it alone, with a friend, or your writer’s group.  After one success, you’ll become addicted and you’ll return for others. 

What should you bring to a retreat?

For work, bring one or more of your projects and perhaps some writing exercises for fun.  A writing game or questions to inspire conversation during a group break could be good too.   Snacks and drinks are an option, although with the delicious array Westminster provided, we were never hungry.

I brought my favorite writing tool:  The Synonym Finder by J. I. Rodale, along with a book in case I decided to read. This particular retreat had the option of staying over night or just being there during the day.   Whatever and where ever  you choose,  you’ll appreciate the relaxation.   And with relaxing, comes the freeing sensation which allows you to write more deeply.  Go for it!     Westminster Retreat  

Photos show the carriage house

Ice Cream For Breakfast! Harry Potter, Wacky Doodles and More!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
JULY 7   8:00am – 9:00am

Ice cream for breakfast!  

Treat yourself one morning this summer and start the day off with vanilla or chocolate! 


JULY 14   8:00pm




Come watch Harry Potter #7 part 1 before you go to a midnight screening of part 2!

Harry Potter trivia and prizes! Costumes optional. 


JULY 19   3:00pm – 4:00pm
Fancy Nancy Afternoon Tea
dress in your fanciest clothes and have fancy cookies, fancy tea, and learn the fanciest manners, dahling!


July 26   2:00pm – 3:00pm

Wacky Doodles!

Create all sorts of kooky characters in this super-fun doodle workshop!

*With artist Michael Slack!*

August 1   5:00pm – 6:00pm

Pet Parade!

Bring your pet and meet others–prizes for best dressed pet, largest pet, smallest pet, and many more categories!


August ??


August 16   7:00pm – 8:00pm
Karaoke for Kids!
Come rock out with us.


August 25   4:00pm – 5:00pm
Bring a book you’d recommend (or two, or three…) and leave with something new (or two, or three…)! 


The Storyteller | 925 284 3480 | 30 Lafayette Circle | Lafayette | CA | 94549


Writing Prompts:

1.  You have a very funny pet.  What is it?  Create the most unique pet in the world.  Describe it.  What does it do, that no other pet in the world can do?  Take it to the Peculiar Pet Parade!  What other pets march and perform?   Be wacky and wild!

2.  Use the characters in Harry Potter to write a new chapter of your own.

3.  Create Wacky Doodle art!

4.  The fire alarm just rang.  Write a story from the 

a.  fire’s point of view  

b. the fire engine’s point of view   

c.  a person trapped in the fire  

d.  a rescuer going into the fire

Poetry Workshops for Kids

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Celebrate Poetry at the Storyteller Bookstore with our April Wordplay Creative Writing Workshops!



April 9:   

Smiling Cats: Playing with Personification

April 16:   

Waterfall of Words:  Using Sound in Poems

April 30:   

Picture Pieces:  Art and Imagery  

Just a few spots left! 



To fill out a registration form (or if you have any questions), email [email protected] or come down to the Storyteller. 




Sessions are $25 each— or sign-up for all three and pay $65Sessions include:  

notebook, light snack, multiple writing activities and a chance to publish in our literary journal, Word Waves

Writers ages 8-10 meet from 4-5 p.m.   Writers 11 and up meet from 5:15-6:15 p.m.


A Quirky Sign for Your Life?

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Took a lovely drive with friends yesterday and discovered this sign in Point Reyes.   Only wish the dog with us would have been underneath it, howling away . . .

Ever seen a sign that made you want to smile?  

Writing Prompt:  1.  Write about how this sign came to be in this small town.  Who lives here?  Develop a few quirky characters and throw them together.  See what happens!

2.  How can this sign, or one you have discovered, be a message for your life?  What is the universe trying to tell you?  Create an essay using an anecdote where you may have “barked” at an unappropriate time.  Or perhaps didn’t bark when you should have?

3.  Place a sign in the story you are writing now for your characters. How does it change your story’s plot?  Your character’s direction?