Welcome to Writers Forum, 2020


We had a great time in 2019, didn’t we? We heard great writing from our members at two Read Arounds. Writers Forum member and past president George Winship taught us what an editor, or a book doctor, can do for our manuscripts before we even submit them to agents or publishers. Professional editor Heather Cuthbertson taught us how to write a winning query letter. Our own Alicia McCauley taught us a prewriting exercise called ‘cubing,’ and also provided us with a cool soundtrack for future Writers Forum presentations. Shasta College instructor Jessica Fletcher Wiechman shared her insights into screenwriting. Author Lezlie Winberry shared her knowledge and experiences from attending writing conferences. Chico poet, author, and speaker Susan Wooldridge gave a delightful presentation on writing poetry. Writers Forum Program Director Sharon Owen shared insights on what editors expect us to know about word processors and the formatting of our manuscripts before submitting. Writers Forum Newsletter Editor George Parker demonstrated Scrivener, a word processor alternative to Microsoft Word that is designed specifically for novelists, poets, and play/screenwriters. Last year also saw the return of a major event the Writers Forum had not been able to provide for several years: the Authors Book Fair. Then, just in time for Christmas, we saw our published anthology of Writers Forum authors, River’s Edge: Volume 1.

Which event did you get the most out of in 2019? Post a reply!


This year looks just as fun!

Of course, we will have our biannual Read Arounds.

Our January meeting is already behind us. Writers Forum member and author Linda Boyden showed us how to collect our poetry and build our own chapbooks. Next month, former Writers Forum member and editor Jen Higley will show us how we can use WordPress to create our own author’s websites.

Our March meeting will be a huge event. Forensic pathologist and author Judy Melinek, MD will be presenting on her first novel, First CutFirst Cut was only released on January 7, making it literally a new book, and it has already  been gaining 5-star reviews on Amazon. It is her first novel, but her second book. Her first book, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, is the story of her life as a rookie forensic pathologist in New York City. She started that job two months before the 9/11 attacks. All of our Writers Forum meetings are open to the public, but we are expecting such interest for this one that we are changing our venue for the event. It will be held at the McConnell Foundation Conference Room, at the McConnell Foundation’s Lima Ranch facility at 800 Shasta View Drive. There will be a small charge for admission for the general public to this event, but Writers Forum members will, of course, get in for free as a part of their Writers Forum membership. Seating in this room is limited to 70 seats, which is larger than our usual venue, but you will need to RSVP to reserve your seat, even as a Writers Forum member.

We are also planning to have another Authors Book Fair in 2020. This will be at the same location as the 2019 event: the Holiday Inn Convention Center on Hilltop Drive. We are looking forward to a bigger event this year, with more advertising and more authors selling books. We invite all of you who have books to sell to attend. If you don’t have a book to sell right now, you could, if you have a manuscript. George Winship, Linda Boyden, and others have been teaching us over the last year about how we could get our own books published online. Let’s make use of that!

We will also put together River’s Edge, Volume 2 in 2020. Start preparing your short stories, essays, and memoir pieces now!


And there is even more in store for 2020!

What are you looking forward to the most from Writers Forum in 2020? Post a reply!


See you at the meetings.



It’s November! Ready For NaNoWriMo?


Yes! It is less than two weeks to the kick off for the 2019 NaNoWriMo, which is of course, National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is the endurance race to get 50,000 words of a project down on paper. Or on your hard rive.

The writing project is usually a novel, but it doesn’t have to be. There are categories for  just about any genre you would write.

Go to the NaNoWriMo website by clicking here, create a free account for yourself, and then explore the options. Create a profile, organize a project, or search for your community. You do not have to be alone in this race.

The objective to to write, write, write every day in November. To meet the 50,000 word goal, one has to write just over 2,500 words every day. (Edit: Oops. Sorry. It’s only 1,667 words per day.) The trick to this is to never edit in November. Get those words down on the page! October is for editing!

For the first time in several years, there is a Redding Area Municipal Liaison who is coordinating events for NaNoWriMo participants in the area. You can see that they have several events already scheduled throughout the month.

NaNoWriMo Events

The Kick Off event will be next Tuesday, October 29, at the downtown From the Hearth, at 6:30 at 1427 Market St Promenade. Click here for more details on the Kick Off Event. It looks like seven people are signed up for it right now, so you will meet other motivated area writers. You can also find others in the Redding area who are participating by checking out the Redding regional page at the NaNoWriMo website by clicking here.

If you have never tried NaNoWriMo, I highly encourage you to give it a shot. I participated a couple of years ago. I did great the first two weeks, but then ran out of gas. Even though I did not reach the 50,000 word goal, I did end November with 23,856 words that I did not have on November 1. You cannot lose in this proposition.



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Terri Farley Critique Opportunity

Do you have a manuscript ready to go that you would like to have a professional author look over? Now is your chance!

Best-selling author Terri Farley will be speaking at the Writers Forum meeting on November 11. After her presentation, Terri is offering to have one-on-one critiques on  with individual authors on ten pages of their material. There are two things you need to know for this to happen…

  • There is a $40 fee. Some of this fee comes back to Writers Forum as a fund raiser.
  • Terri needs your ten pages in advance of her visit, so she has time to read your work and give you a well thought out critique.

The deadline for submissions is coming up very quickly…October 25. Yes, you read that right…next Wednesday.

You can contact Jennifer Levens directly by phone at (530) 722-0504, or e-mail at theatermaven2@gmail.com ,  or you can speak to her at tomorrow’s Writers Forum meeting.

If you have a manuscript ready to go, this is a great opportunity for a profession opinion on how to improve your chances for publication.

Good luck, and have fun.

See you tomorrow for Anna Elkins’ presentation on poetry!

Newsletter Delay

My apologies for getting the newsletter out late this month. I try to have it in your mailbox one week before the monthly meeting. That didn’t happen this time. It will be at the printer tomorrow (Monday, March 6) and mailed a day or two after that. You should have it before Friday.

My apologies for any inconveniences.

George Parker, Newsletter Editor

Writers Forum Welcomes the New Year

Writers Forum welcomes 2017 with a great line-up of presentations on a variety of topics. On January 14, former game warden Steve Callan will speak on writing his sequel memoir, The Game Warden’s Son. 

On February 1, we’ll enjoy the Edgar-award winning play,  The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays, by Ken Ludwig. Tickets will be $20 each, or two for $30. The play will be at Riverfront Playhouse, 1620 E. Cypress Street, Redding.

This fundraiser is intended to offset the loss of the Author’s Fair last month, which was an important funding source for Writers Forum. Between member dues and fundraisers, we are able to send out a monthly newsletter, provide refreshments at the Writers Forum meetings, and provide small scholarships for young writers.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the January 14 Writers Forum meeting.

Local Small Bookshop Closing

all-about-books-picAll About Books, a used bookstore at 1301 Court St, has been a friend to local authors for many years by offering them space to showcase their work. They have been a resource for multiple copies of current books for book groups and have hosted receptions for local authors and artists.

Now however, due to longtime competition from e-readers and online re-sellers, they will be closing their doors mid-November. Beginning October 8th, all books are buy one get two free. All bookcases, displays and fixtures are also for sale, everything must go.

As the final day draws near, the deals will get even better.

There are at least three reasons to go in and buy a few books:  supporting this longtime business, even at this late date, reduces their loss; supporting a business that has supported our writing community is a good thing to do; and getting great deals is always helpful for avid readers.

Owners Richard and Abigail Lucas have accepted that the time has come to move on. “I’ve lived the dream of owning my own bookstore, meeting customers and talking books, what a privilege for my day job,” Abigail said. “Every good book comes to an end, so it’s time to start a new one.”

Richard, a local author in his own right, agrees that, “at this point, the writing is on the wall.”

Hopefully they’ll get a last flood of customers as a great send off for years of service to customers and authors.

Open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, 9 to 2 Saturdays. Phone: 530.605.4848

1301 Court Street,  Corner of Court and Shasta in Downtown Redding

Submitted by Melinda Brown