Sierra Writers

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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

“So . . . You want to Market Your Writing?”

June Meeting: Speaker, Meredith Cherry


On Wednesday, June 10th, from 6:30-8:00 PM at the Madelyn Helling Library, Sierra Writers monthly meeting will feature writer Meredith Cherry, who will be presenting, “So…you want to market your writing?”

Meredith Cherry, after discovering that she was spending more time marketing her first book than writing another, developed a smarter approach to marketing that didn’t take up all of her writing time, and even allowed her to use her marketing efforts as a writing tool. “Suddenly, marketing went from feeling like a waste of time to being a fun and creative process,” says Cherry. “I now sell more books in less time, and enjoy doing it!”
Meredith will discuss the basics of book marketing, including developing a short pitch, submitting to retail stores, building your web presence and social media marketing, getting an interview on TV or radio, and having the confidence and tools you need to sell your writing.
Meredith Cherry is the author of “Along the King’s Road: A Guide to Touring the California Missions by Bicycle,” and is a blogger for Peaceful Valley Farm Supply at Meredith also teaches workshops on essential oils, gardening, crafts and more in Grass Valley. Find her at, Facebook, Google+, or on twitter @meri_cherry.

Flex Your Writing Muscle at the May Sierra Writers Meetin


On Wednesday May 13, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Sierra Writers invites you to flex your writing muscle with local author and writer Jan Fishler. During 2014 Fishler challenged herself to post a new writing prompt each day. Last month she assembled all of the prompts into the book, Flex Your Writing Muscle: 365 Writing Prompts, a month-by-month guide designed to jump-start your writing.

Over the years, Fishler discovered that prompts helped get her creative juices flowing and often, became the seed for blog posts, articles, essays. Fishler says, “I begin each day by responding to some source of inspiration. It could be a quote, a line from a poem, a newspaper headline, a Tarot card, or something I’ve recently read about. I then write for five minutes and see where it takes me. Sometimes five minutes turns into four hours and a completed article. If the inspiration doesn’t come, I move on to something else.”

In addition to writing prompts, during the May meeting, Fishler will introduce several tools she uses to make writing easier, faster, and more fun. Participants can either bring something they are working on or pick a prompt from Fishler’s book.

Jan Fishler is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption memoir). She writes the bi-monthly “Healthy Options” column for The Union newspaper and regularly offers a variety of writing workshops. You can learn more about Fishler at Fishler’s new book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

April Meeting

So You Want to Publish a Short Story
Wednesday, April 8 from 6:30-8:00 PM

The topic for Sierra Writers monthly meeting, will be “So You Want to Publish a Short Story.” The meeting will feature local and Sacramento writers, Bill Pieper, Dave Boles, and Sue Staats. The public is invited and questions are encouraged.

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Sue Staats’s fiction and poetry have been published, or is forthcoming, in The Los Angeles Review, Graze Magazine, Farallon Review, Tule Review, Late Peaches: Poems by Sacramento Poets, Sacramento Voices, and others. She earned an MFA from Pacific University, and was a recent finalist for the Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction and the Nisqually Prize in Fiction. Her stories have been performed at the Sacramento reading series “Stories on Stage” and at the SF Bay-Area reading series “Why There Are Words.” She’s currently working on a collection of linked short stories, and for the past year has served as the Director of Stories on Stage in Sacramento.

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Bill Pieper lives and writes in Sacramento and Nevada City, California, and is listed as a notable alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Two of his stories have received Pushcart Prize nominations and a third won a national award from Scratch Writer magazine. His work, including most of the stories in his new collection Forgive Me, Father (2014, Cold River Press), has appeared in The Farallon Review, Red Fez, Convergence, Primal Urge, Fiction 365, and The Blue Lake Review among others. In addition to short fiction, he has two small press novels in print, Belonging (2006, Comstock Bonanza Press) and What You Wish For (2011, Pacific Slope Press). Links to all his published work can be found at:

dave boles (bodhi), who prefers his name be written without caps, has worked as an itinerant Publisher, Writer and Designer since 1981. Founder of the magazine Primal Urge, he also created The Sacramento Free Press, Cruisin’ Magazine, Foothill Focus, Neural Impulse Publications, Cold River Press and Bodhidharma Publishing. He has published, designed, edited or written numerous books, magazines, articles, ads and periodicals both nationally and internationally. His publications, editorials, writing, graphic design and artwork have won him numerous awards in an over thirty-year career.

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