Sierra Writers

Writers helping each other

Author: Babette Donaldson (page 1 of 8)

April Speaker: LeeAnn Brook


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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About

Design, Art, and Inspiration For Self Publishers!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Madelyn Helling Library Community Room

Speaker:  LeeAnn Brook

A painter, photographer and graphic designer for over 40 years, LeeAnn Brook resides in Nevada City. She also operates a gallery-combined-studio, LeeAnn Brook Fine Art, which is located in downtown Nevada City. In addition to being a fine artist, guest speaker in the arts and a painting workshop presenter, she is the writer, designer, photographer, artist and publisher of her first book Points of Inspiration: An Artist’s Journey with Painting and Photography.



The book has won four national awards, and received a “starred” review in Publishers Weekly. Competing with over 3,000 entries worldwide in each competition, the awards she has received for her book are: 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), National Division, Silver Medal, Fine Art category; 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, National Divisions: Winner, Best Overall Design and  Non-Fiction category, Finalist; 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards, Winner, Fine Art category.

Brook was responsible for nearly every aspect of the newly released book, including the writing, design, pre-press and print management, as well as the photography and paintings.  With her design business Brook Design Group, Inc. acting as publisher, this is the second book Brook has self-published. Her background in book design spans 40 years, including designing books for clients such as University of California Press Berkeley and Holden Day Books in San Francisco, as well as Dawn Publications and Hip Pocket Press in Nevada City. 

LeeAnn Brook’s career in art has been life-long. She has been a painter since kindergarten, a photographer since high school, a contemporary fine artist since college and a graphic designer in her own business since 1976. She majored in fine art and graphic design at a small art school on the East coast, and migrated from Connecticut, to Boston to California working as an art director in ad agencies, and later starting her own design studio in Nevada City.

 LeeAnn Brook Fine Art

March Meeting: Open Read

Sierra Writers will host an Open Read on Wednesday, March 9th at 6:30 p.m. in the Madelyn Helling Library Community Room, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City.

All are welcome to submit works anonymously to be read aloud by members of Sierra Writers and critiqued by the assembled group. Submissions of fiction (including poetry) or nonfiction should be made with no name and contain no more than 750 words (two-three pages). Print on one side of the paper and double-space in readable font and type face (such as Times Roman, 12 pt.).

Attendees will provide considerate, brief, and tactful feedback, and the author must be present at the reading. Join us for this constructive and engaging process. This reading is free to the public.


Local Creative Writing Classes – Patricia Dove Miller

Patricia Dove Miller’s next series of Creative Writing Classes will begin in March and April.
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Bird-Song Writing Practice Group. Teaches basic “Writing Practice” (based on Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones), a cumulative series of short exercises. Quiet your inner critic, delve into your unconscious, go deeper into your writing, and increase your creativity. Helps you learn how to write, to improve your writing, or to overcome writers’ block.  For all levels of writers. $50. for 4-week session.  Offered morning or evening. Begins during the week of March 7. Please call or write for exact dates and times.

The Art and Craft of Creative Writing. Learn the specific craft techniques you need in order to begin writing or improve your writing. We’ll do many inspiring exercises to generate material for your stories. Receive gentle optional feedback. For both beginning and intermediate writers.  Six-week class. Offered morning or evening. Begins during the week of
April 4.   Please call or write for exact dates and times.

Contact: Patricia Dove Miller

Patricia Dove Miller   has been leading creative writing classes in Nevada County for the past twelve years, including those at the Center for the Arts, Sierra Writers, Wild Mt. Yoga Center, Mt. Stream Meditation Center, and Shambhala Center. She has attended writing workshops with Natalie Goldberg in Taos, and is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.  Pat has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. She is the former co-leader of the Women’s Writing Salon.   Her memoir, Bamboo Secrets:  One Woman’s Quest Through the Shadows of Japan, will be published May 2016.

February Speaker: Susan Rushton

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

6:30 PM

Madelyn Helling Library
Susan Rushton
Writer, editor and teacher Susan Rushton calls herself a lifetime English major. Her opinion column has appeared in the  Auburn Journal for 28 years, and in 2013 she published “Reflections from My Small Town,” a collection of 105 of her favorites. She has also presented and promoted Silver Screen Classic Movies for 20 years. This free monthly series screens every first Saturday at the Auburn Library. In addition, for 15 years she has hosted two monthly interview shows on Auburn Community Television.

Alicia Vandervorst

January Meeting

Wednesday, January 13, 6:30 pm

Madelyn Helling Library

Speaker: Alicia Vandervorst, Poet



Alicia Vandevorst has written poetry for over twenty years and studied with Patricia Donegan, Maxine Kumin, and Barbara Jordan, as well as with Arthur Sze at the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference in 2012. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Journal (Number 10) and Canary, A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis. While studying literature at Scripps College, she completed two performance pieces: a poem in four voices, written while researching ‘diaspora’ as a junior fellow of the Scripps Humanities Institute, and a set of four dance chants for Nucleus Expansion, a collaborative project with Professors Ronnie Brosterman and Nobuho Nagasawa. Other major projects include a libretto, a group of poems to accompany the photographs of Daniel Crozet, and a long poem, The Sea Bell Canticle. In 2015, she completed a play, Psyche, that combines poetry and theater, meditation and mask-work. Her other current project is a series of children’s stories, the Zesta Rompolis Stories, based on yogic philosophy, especially The Heart of Self-Recognition by Ksemaraja. She is the mother of two daughters who she home schools through Forest Charter School.

In the shapely sand, I sink my feet.
It is blue and cold, with a crunch of shells,
brittle bells that held the sea
with the ages fused as one out-breath.
Let them crack! the sound that knows itself
contracts, and shells, worlds, minds go black.
They go: as when a thought cannot resolve
and then the baby cries to nurse. You nurse and
the thought returns, freshly cast, and as
her hunger ebbs, it swells into verse.
That curved power supports one work
and then another, the relay of a single
torch. It waxes and slows like a pendulum.
And here are the open ends, the rests, that let
the pivot happen, driven by itself…
from The Sea Bell Canticle, Alicia Vandevorst, 2010



2016 Sierra Writers Conference

Order Your Tickets Now!

Form Below “Evite”

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December Meeting – Open Mike & Pot-Luck

December 9, 6.30 p.m.

Community Room, Helling Library.


Open Mike will be limited to eight readers (preference to paid up members) and the readings should be under 1000 words each. Brief comments from audience will be appreciated. (Meredith will take sign-ups at the door.)

This evening will also be the occasion of a pot-luck party. Sierra Writers will provide paper plates, forks, napkins and bottled water. Please bring nibbles to share. Nothing alcoholic please.

Young Writers Competition Registration Opens


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Susan Gabrielle to Speak at Sierra Writers

November Meeting Speaker


But I Don’t Need an Editor!

Gabrielle photo

            Susan Gabrielle

November Meeting:

Wednesday, November 11

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Sierra Writers’ monthly meeting will feature editor, author, and educator Susan Gabrielle. She will cover the importance of hiring an editor, regardless of whether you plan to independently publish or find a professional publisher for your work. As well, Susan will offer tips for first-draft editing and answer questions related to writing and publishing.

Susan Gabrielle has been a freelance editor for nearly 15 years, and has enabled many writers to reach their publication goals. As a professor of English at Yuba College, she emphasizes the importance of clarity in writing in order to reach one’s audience of readers. Susan has been published in Capturing Shadows: Poetic Encounters Along the Path of Grief and Loss, The Christian Science Monitor, The Baltimore Review, Heyday, Ayris, San Francisco Peace and Hope, and Sugar Mule, among others; she was a winner in the CBWF Poetry Prize for Women. She will offer a workshop through Sierra College on dreams and interpretation in February, and hopes to publish her book Writing Your Way into Dreamland next year. You can find out more about her work at


Researching & Publishing Historical Fiction

Mark Wiederanders

Wednesday, October 14

Mark Wiederanders writes historical fiction about the private lives of famous authors.  His novel about Robert Louis Stevenson’s love affair with an American woman, Stevenson’s Treasure was published by Fireship Press in 2014, after placing as a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Society’s Novel-in-Progress competition.  His screenplay about William Shakespeare’s family, “Taming Judith” was a finalist in the Academy of Motion Pictures’ screenwriting competition and was optioned by a film company.  Mark has earned residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency and the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.  Mark is also a psychologist who did research on the criminally insane.  He lives in Sacramento, California where he is now working on a novel about Jack London.

Mark’s Website

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