Sierra Writers

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Category: Speakers (page 1 of 3)

Untethering Poetry (or Prose) Workshop with Ingrid Keriotis – October 2017

Wednesday,  October 11th
6.30 p.m. –  8 p.m.
Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library
Free to the Public

In this workshop, we will enjoy and examine a few contemporary poems to see how the poems transcend their initial jumping off place and travel to a different scenario/image, thereby transporting the reader and broadening the philosophical weight of the poem. Afterwards, we will work with some prompts to write our own “untethered” poem (or piece of poetic prose) that will widen its scope to give the reader that sense of movement and breadth by the end of a poem.

Ingrid KeriotisIngrid Keriotis received her MFA from Eastern Washington University. Her poems have recently appeared in Blue Unicorn, Talking River, and Steam Ticket. She lives in Grass Valley where she teaches English at Sierra College and spends time with her family, swimming in the Yuba River and walking under the pines.

Celebration of Teen and Tween Writers

2017 winners web
We warmly invite all participants in the competition and supporters of young writers to this event!
Wednesday,  May 10th
6.30 p.m. –  8 p.m.
Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library.
Kim Culbertson has graciously agreed to make the presentations; she will also address both the writers and others present.

First-prize winners of the Young Writers Competition:

These winners will read their winning pieces.
High School Fiction, Owen Knight (“Cuban/Smoked”), Forest Charter
High School Poetry, Anjali Figueria (“Fluffiness”), Forest Charter
Middle School Fiction, Natalie Trogdon (“Kelly Fredericks”), Home School
Middle School Nonfiction, Rachel Trogdon (“Searching for home”), Home School
Middle School Poetry, Mary Rose Athas “Valentine”), Home School.
Second and third place prizes will also be awarded.

April 12th – Query Writing, the Elevator Speech & Writing Cover Copy – Wendy Hornsby

Wendy Hornsby photo

Wednesday, April 12th
6.30 p.m. –  8 p.m.
Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library.

According to NPR, by day Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning author WENDY HORNSBY is a genteel Professor of History, but by night is the purveyor of fictional murder most foul. Published internationally, she writes the Maggie MacGowen and Kate and Tejeda mystery series, as well as many short stories.

In addition to the Edgar Award, her work has been awarded the Mystery Scene Reviewers Choice Award, the Romantic Times Best Contemporary Suspense Award, and nominated for the Anthony Award, le Grand Prix de littérature policiere (France), and le Prix Du Roman D’Adventures (France). Publishers Weekly selected her 77th Street Requiem as one of its five best mysteries of the year. Her short stories can be found in a variety of anthologies, including several annual editions of The Best American Mystery Stories. They are collected in Nine Sons and Other Mysteries (Crippen & Landru).

Disturbing the Dark jpg wbHer most recent mystery, Disturbing the Dark, (Perseverance Press. April 2016) finds filmmaker Maggie MacGowen in Normandy, France. In the spring, Maggie’s ninety-two-year-old grandmother planted carrots in a field at the family’s farm estate in Normandy.  In August, she harvests bones.  Publisher’s Weekly declared Disturbing the Dark to be “Captivating”. Carolyn Hart found it to be, “Tense. Taut. Terrific.”

A retired Professor of History, Wendy lives with her husband in the Gold Rush country of Northern California. For more about the author, go to


Writing with Hemingway – writing exercises & prompts – Cathy MacHold, Feb. 8

Writing with Hemingway: A Writer’s Exercise Book is a unique concept for writing exercises and prompts. Cathy MacHold believes aspiring writers can learn from the famous author’s life as they practice writing exercises to hone their own talents. She has led workshops and has taught adult school creative writing classes using the concepts found in her book, presenting her teaching ideas as a participant on the Teaching Hemingway day panel at the XVII Biennial International Ernest Hemingway Conference held in Oak Park, Illinois.

Cathy will focus on the “hooks” that Hemingway inspires at the Sierra Writers meeting on Wednesday, February 8, at 6.30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Madelyn Helling Library.

A graduate of Sacramento State University, Cathy wrote training manuals for several corporations in the food industry and published Gourmet Nights in 1998. She looks forward to making her second dinner club book, The Vintage Feast, available as an eBook in 2017.


Sierra Writers’ Conference 2017

Learn ~ Share ~ Grow ~ Be Inspired

Saturday January 21, 2017

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sierra College, Nevada County Campus
Building N-12

Building N-12

Hock at 2016

Hock Tjoa, President of Sierra Writers welcomes attendees to Sierra Writers Conference 2016. —Photo Credit; Catharine Bramkamp, Instagram.

Conference Tracks

The Craft of Writing
Marketing & Publishing
Guided Critique
The Road to Success
sierra college map showing N-12
Jones 2016 tweet2
Tweets from 
Sierra Writers’ Conference


April Speaker: LeeAnn Brook


. . . . . . . . 

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

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



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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