Posted by: wordrunner | June 1, 2017

June 2017

Dear Literary Folk,

I am filling in for Terry Ehret, who is in Italy for the month of June. She’ll be in Florence and Tuscany for two weeks of teaching and leading a group of writers followed by two weeks in Venice and Cinque Terre. How beautiful is that! Ah well, it is beautiful here, too. The oleanders are in bloom outside my window. And as usual, the literary scene is lively, not only in our county but across the bay.

Bay Area Book FestivalOf note:  The Third Annual Bay Area Book Festival takes place in downtown Berkeley the weekend of June 3-4. Highlights include over 200 authors, 100 literary events and 200 exhibitors, including children’s activities. On Saturday, June 3, 10:00-11:15 a.m. Sonoma County author Joan Frank will moderate a panel at the Book Festival, First Books: What It Took to Get There. For a schedule, list of exhibitors and more information go to:

WordTemple is launching a book on Saturday, June 24, 7:00 p.m. for Gregory W. Randall, a Sonoma County poet celebrating his first full-length collection, A Cartography of Selves. Mark your calendars now for a party and reading at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. Refreshments will be served.

Off the Page Readers TheaterDon’t miss Off the Page Readers Theater’s summer show, BOLD MOVES, showcasing the work of local writers, actors and directors.  You will have three opportunities to watch this troupe perform on Friday, June 9 or Saturday, June 10, 8:00 p.m. at Copperfield’s Santa Rosa, Montgomery Village Shopping Center, or on Friday, June 16, 8:00 p.m. at Subud Hall, 234 Hutchins Avenue, Sebastapol. Dana Goia, poet laureate of California, has contributed two poems to this show. The other featured authors are: Shayna Billings, Susan Bono, Sher Lianne Christian, Armando García Dávila, Jodi Hottel, Chuck Kensler, Jo-Anne Rosen, Sarah Saulsbury, Michelle Wing and Jean Wong. Actor-directors are: Pat Hayes, Kathleen Haynie, Richard Koman, Hilary Moore, Jeff Savage, Spencer Sherman and Winona Wagner.  Preshow music performed by Hank Levine. More details:

The Barlow in SebastapolAnd on June 17, check out the First Annual Sebastapol Lit Crawl. Sebastapol opens its doors from Main Street through The Barlow and back again. There will be readings in bookstores by seasoned writers, emerging poets and writers on stage in a beer garden and a range of written works in progress read out loud for the first time in a cafe. More information at

Sonoma County Authors in Print:
Congratulations to authors with new books in print as well as those with poems or stories published in journals.  See below for details or the Sonoma County in Print page for updates. Authors, please do notify us when you have a book published or Ed Colletti ( if your work has appeared in a journal or anthology.

Are you looking for places to submit your stories and/or poems? Check out, or  subscribe to the Creative Writers Opportunity List ( CRWROPPS listserv) at There are always new calls on these sites. Our Calls for Submissions pages features local as well as national opportunities for publication.

Wordrunner eChapbooksPetaluma-based Wordrunner eChapbooks will be reading mini fiction collections for its fall publications, starting June 1 and closing July 31. (Disclaimer: This lit journal is published by me and a few writer friends, and we hope you are reading it! We now have 30 echapbooks in print.).  Two collections will be selected for publication online and in epubs. Authors are paid $100 plus royalties for Kindle or Smashword sales. Stories by authors awarded Honorable Mentions will be considered for publication in our annual themed anthology, spring of 2018. Submission fee: $5. To see what we are looking for, please peruse fiction collections at: For detailed guidelines and submissions link:

The deadline for Redwood Writers Club Screenplay Contest is June 27. The contest is open to residents of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Solano counties. Fee for California Writers Club members is $8; nonmembers, $12. First prize: $100; Second prize: $50; Third prize: $25. Details and submission flier:

Suzanne Sherman is accepting submissions for the next book in the 100 Years in the Life Series, “Teenage Girls! Coming of Age Through a Century.” The story length limit is 2,000 words. Deadline is August 1. More details at:

Looking for Inspiration?
Thanks to Sher Christian for this tip on writing prompts and inspiration.

The Time Is Now offers a weekly writing prompt (a poetry prompt is posted on Tuesdays, a fiction prompt on Wednesdays, and a creative nonfiction prompt on Thursdays) to help you stay committed to your writing practice throughout the year. For prompts, go to: Poets & Writers also offer a selection of books on writing—both the newly published and the classics—to check out for inspiration, plus advice and insight on the writing process from the authors profiled in Poets & Writers Magazine. And don’t miss Writers Recommend, which includes books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired other authors in their writing.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
ZZ PackerI recommend for your reading pleasure the best short fiction collection I’ve come across since falling in love with Alice Munro’s books, and that is ZZ Packer’s  Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Packer was a Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University and was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, among many other honors. She currently teaches in San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing department. The stories are funny, deeply compassionate and sometimes terrifying page-turners. The language never fails to astonish me. Here’s a brief sample—these excerpts from “Speaking in Tongues” are the observations of an adolescent girl about to be punished in church for “laughing at Jesus”:

Soon someone would begin jangling a tambourine and the choir would sing. Robin-breasted women would swell their bosoms, inhaling God…

Sister Gwendolyn held her hands behind her back, sharking around Tia as best she could without her haunches threatening to unpry books from the shelves.

I’ll never forget those robin-breasted women inhaling God! Or Aunt Gwendolyn sharking around! I’d sell my Aunt Gwendolyn  (if I had one) to write lines as good as these.

ZZ Packer will be leading a workshop at the Napa Valley Writers Conference this summer. See our Conferences/Retreats page for details.

Happy solstice everyone.

Jo-Anne Rosen
Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update


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