Tag Archives: San Francisco Writers Conference

Kevin Smokler Will Speak At the Tri-Valley Branch of The California Writers Club

Kevin Smokler Saturday afternoon, Kevin Smokler will speak at the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club. Smokler is an author, consultant, and speaker.

His talk is titled “Criticism: Meet Confidence!”

“The writer’s life comes with triumph and disappointment. You can always count on the disappointment. What writers do with, and learn from, that disappointment is often the difference between success and near misses. How do you turn bad news and rejection into wisdom and the will to fight another day?”

I met Smokler at the San Francisco Writers Conference several years ago.  He consults with attendees and advises them on the success  of their work in progress.



Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

Author of Hada’s Fog


March 19th, Happy Birthday to my son, Adrian.


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Penny Sansevieri

Penny Sansevieri truckload booksAt the last San Francisco Writers Conference, I attended Penny Sansevieri’s sessions, bought her books, and listened to the CD’s of her sessions.  Today I re-listened to “How to Sell Truckloads of Books on Amazon.” It’s loaded with valuable information that I have to organize into a To Do List. Penny is Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. She is an expert in marketing and media relations and author of fourteen books. She also is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU.

As one reviewer on Amazon said about Penny’s books, her information saves you time if you had to find out all the shortcuts yourself.

Learn more about Penny at http://www.amarketingexpert.com/about-ame/penny-sansevieri/

Get her books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Sell-Books-Truckload-Amazon-com-ebook/

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Heroes & Villians Compelling Characters in Fiction

Penny WarnerLaurie R. KingCara Black





One of the sessions I attended at the San Francisco Writers Conference was called “Heroes & Villains: Building Compelling Characters for Crime Fiction.” Kate Chynoweth, who is the head of the self-publishing division at Girl Friday Productions where she is executive editor, was the moderator for the panel.  Three well-known authors on the panel included Cara Black, Laurie King, and Penny Warner.

Cara Black is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Aimee Leduc Mystery Thriller Series of 14 novels set in Paris, France. She frequently travels to Paris for research. ” On each visit she entrenches herself in a different part of the city, learning its secret history. She has posed as a journalist to sneak into closed areas, trained at a firing range with real Paris flics, gotten locked in a bathroom at the Victor Hugo museum, and—just like Aimée—gone down into the sewers with the rats (she can never pass up an opportunity to see something new, even when the timing isn’t ideal…” information from her website: http://carablack.com/bio/  Her newest book is called Murder on the Champ de Mars available March 3, 2015 on Amazon.

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories (see my post on February 15, 2015 for more information or her website: http://www.laurierking.com/the-author

Dreaming Spies is the title of her most recent book released February 17, 2015, available on Amazon.

Penny Warner is a prolific writer of 60 published books for both adults and children. Her recent book is Her awards include

Dead Body Language

  • Winner! – Macavity Award for Best First Mystery
  • Nominated! – Agatha Award for Best First Mystery

Mystery of the Haunted Caves

  • Winner! – Agatha Award for Best Juvenile Mystery
  • Winner! – Anthony Award for Best Juvenile Mystery

The Official Nancy Drew Handbook

  • Nominated! – Agatha Award for Best Non-Fiction

Her recent books are called The Death of a Crabby Cook: A Food Festival Mystery and Death of a Chocolate Cheater: A Food Festival Mystery. Her website is: http://pennywarner.com/aboutme.html

Penny Warner is a columnist for VALLEY TIMES AND HERALD, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Her recent post about missing Valentines Day with her husband because she was at the SF Writers Conference is an example of her humor. It’s called “GRAB A BOX OF CHOCOLATES AND GET INSPIRED” Thursday, February 19, 2015.

My next post will be a writing tip from each of the panelists that I wrote in my notes.


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Yiyun Li Tells Writers to Eavesdrop on Their Characters

Yiyun Li with book KinderYiyun Li, in her keynote speech at the San Francisco Writers Conference, said we should eavesdrop on our characters and their lies, lies to other characters and to us. When asked how to eavesdrop on them, Li said to let them be and see what they do. The author is like a translator and listens to the characters.

Kinder Than Solitude is a profound mystery in which three friends’ lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed. It has been described as dark, stunning, sleek, and powerful.

Her short story collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the 2005 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and all her books have received numerous other awards. She has been compared with Chekhov, Faulkner, and Alice Munro. The New Yorker named her one of the top 20 writers under 40. When I talked briefly with her at the conference this last weekend, I thought she was under twenty-five based on her youthful voice and physical appearance.

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing, came to the United States in 1996, and now lives in Oakland, California. She teaches at the University of California, Davis.

“To write is to eavesdrop on people’s hearts.” Yiyun Li

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Penny Sansevieri

Penny Sansevieri with booksPenny Sansevieri spoke at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I went to three of her sessions. She is the Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., and a widely recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is the author of fourteen books including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity.

“Don’t be an expert, be a filter.” ― Penny C. Sansevieri

She had many tips for promoting books. One idea I liked was to make trading cards and offer them as gifts for reviewers. She passed out a set of thirteen cards to everyone who came to her sessions at the conference. Each card had a writing tip. For instance, Tip #11 states, “Did you know that you can thank reviewers through your Amazon Author Central account? Every review that’s posted there has an “Add a comment” button that you can click on and post a comment” such as “thank you” which makes a connection to the reviewer and you can also offer them your latest book for free if they’d like to consider it for review, too”.

Her website is: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/

Find her on Twitter at:

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Agents at the San Francisco Writers Conference February 12 to 16th

publishing contract with pen

At the San Francisco Writers Conference on Saturday, February 14th, 8 a.m. to noon, is the Speed Dating with Agents: A Pitch-and-Learn Session. https://sfwriters.org/2015-sfwc-speakers/#

Here is a list of the agents that will be at the conference.



Margaret Bail, Inklings Literary Agency, FL
Peter Beren, Peter Beren Agency, CA
Regina Brooks
, Serendipity Literary Agency, NY
Elise Capron, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, CA
Amy Cloughey, Kimberely Cameron & Associates, CA
Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank
, Fairbank Literary Representation, NY
Anna Ghosh
, Ghosh Literary, CA
Irene Goodman
, Irene Goodman Literary Agency, NY
Michael Larsen, Larsen Pomada Literary Agents, SF
Sarah Levitt, Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, NYC
Chelsea Lindman, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc.
Laurie McLean, Fuse Literary, CA
Mary C. Moore, Kimberely Cameron & Associates, CA
Dana Newman, Dana Newman Literary Agency, CA
Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen Pomada Literary Agents, SF
Andy Ross, Andy Ross Literary Agency
Ken Sherman, Ken Sherman & Associates, CA
Nephele Tempest, The Knight Agency, CA
Gordon Warnock, Fuse Literary, CA
Carlie Webber, CK Webber Associates, CA
Ted Weinstein, Ted Weinstein Literary Management, CA

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Speakers at the San Francisco Writers Conference


Join us Presidents’ Day Weekend for the 2015 SFWC February 12-15, 2015–at the Mark Hopkins Hotel.

Here is the growing list of authors and other presenters who will be speaking at the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference. To find out more about each of them, click on the underlined name.

Judith Curr,
president/publisher of Atria at Simon & Schuster
John Lescroart, bestselling author of The Keeper
Yiyun Li – author of Kinder than Solitude

Bharti Kirchner
, award winning author of five novels and four cookbooks
Michelle Richmond – author of  Golden State and winner of a Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize
Kirk Russell, author of Die-Off, fifth book in the John Marquez eco-crime thriller series
Brooke Warner, founder of Warner Coaching Inc., publisher and author of What’s Your Book
Helene Wecker – author of The Golem and the Jinni

Martha Alderson
, author of The Plot Whisperer series and writing consultant
Nina Amir
, author of Inspiration-to-Creation and writing coach
Marilyn R. Atlas, film producer and personal manager, Marilyn R. Atlas Management
Jim Azevedo
, Smashwords marketing manager
Maryjean Ballner
, author, writing for the animal market
Natalie Baszile
, author of Queen Sugar
Cara Black
, author of Murder in Pigalle
Catharine Bramkamp, author and writing coach
Barbara Rose Brooker, author of The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess
Lewis Buzbee, author of the Blackboard, a personal history of the classroom
Frances Caballo, social media expert
Zoe FitzGerald Carter
, author of Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go
Stephanie Chandler, author, speaker and publisher
Vikram Chandra
, author and creative writing professor at UC Berkeley
Gennifer Choldenko
, author of Al Capone Does My Homework
Mark Coker
, founder of Smashwords, Inc.
Robin Cutler
, Manager of Content Acquisition at Ingram Content Group
Gabrielle de Cuir
, senior producer/marketing director at Skyboat Media
Randy Dotinga
, president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors
Selden Edwards
, author of The Lost Prince
Eric Elfman
, author of Tesla’s Attic – Book One of the Accelerati Trilogy
Grant Faulkner
, Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month
Amy Packard Ferro
, publicity manager
Tina Folsom
, author of Cain’s Identity, book 9 in the Scanguards Vampire series
Lee Foster
, travel and literary writer/photographer
Joel Friedlander
, award-winning book designer and blogger
Joan Gelfand
, author and poet
Tanya Egan Gibson, author of How To Buy a Love of Reading, freelance editor
Joyce Goldstein
, chef, culinary consultant and author of Inside the California Food Revolution
Connie Hale, author of Sin and Syntax
Brad Henderson
, professor of engineering and science writing at UC Davis
Sam Horn, author – speaker – executive coach
Stuart Horwitz
, author – founder and principal of Book Architecture
Victoria Hudson
, author, poet and photographer
Andy Jones, mentor and teacher at UC Davis
Carla King
, adventure travel writer and self-publishing expert
Laurie R. King
, author of Dreaming Spies, to be released in February
Adair Lara
, writer, teacher and writing coach
Linda Lee
, web site designer and WordPress expert
Aya de Leon
, poet, writer and performer
Donna Levin
, author/writing teacher
Teresa LeYung-Ryan, coach, blogger, author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days
Kirk Lumpkin
, poet/ performer
Mary Mackey
, Novelist, Poet, Screenwriter
Ivory Madison
,  author, editor and founder and CEO of Red Room Omnimedia Corporation
Marissa Moss, children’s author and illustrator
Alejandro Murguía, San Francisco Poet Laureate
Stefan Rudnicki. producer, director and Grammy award winner and publisher at Skyboat Media
Penny Sansevieri, President of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. and author
Barbara Santos, author and Marketing Director for SFWC
Betty Kelly Sargent, founder of BookWorks.com
Monte Schulz, author of Naughty
Kemble Scott, author of So-Ma and the sower
Helen Sedwick, author of Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook
Ann Seymour, author of I’ve Always Loved You
Rusty Shelton, founder and CEO of Shelton Interactive
Sheldon Siegel, author of The Terrorist Next Door
Lucy Silag, Book Country community manager
Kevin Smokler, writer, performer and public speaker
Ransom Stephens, novelist, science writer, technologist
Luisah Teish, author of Jambalaya, artist and Yoruba Priestess
Wendy Tokunaga, novelist, manuscript consultant and teacher
Penny Warner, author of over 50 books including The Code Buster Club series
Hallie Warshaw, publisher and creative director at Zest Books

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Gennifer Choldenko at the San Francisco Writers Conference

Al capone does my homework with author pictureOn Saturday, February 14, 2015, at the San Francisco Writers Conference, Gennifer Choldenko will speak at the special event that is free and open to the public. The conference is held at the Mark Hopkins Hotel and the event is at 3:00 to 3:45. Seating is limited so reservations are required. The session is geared to students in the 5th to 8th grade, but all of Gennifer’s fans are encouraged to attend. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult, or one adult may accompany up to 10 children. There will be book-signing and selfies with Gennifer after the session. Kate Farrell, president of Women’s National Book Association, is the Youth Event Coordinator.

Choldenko is the author of the bestselling middle-grade Al Capone trilogy. She will discuss life on The Rock and her books: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, and Al Capone Does My Homework. She got the idea for the first book in the series, Al Capone Does My Shirts, when she read an article in the newspaper about kids who grew up on Alcatraz. The children were sons and daughters of the guards who worked in the cell house where some of the most notorious criminals were held. She signed up to work as a docent on Alcatraz. She roamed the island imagining how it would feel to grow up there. She interviewed Alcatraz previous residents and researched books before and during the writing of the book.

Al Capone’s first job on Alcatraz was working the mangle in the laundry facility. Choldenko imagined a kid living on Alcatraz telling his friends “Al Capone does my shirts.” When I was tutoring students from Indonesia, we read Choldenko’s first book together and I enjoyed the characters, the humor, and the setting. I’m looking forward to meeting her at the conference and reading her other two books in the series. Al Capone does my shirtsSFWC_Logo_Square_400x400

You can read an interview with Gennifer on her website: http://www.gennifercholdenko.com/books/alcapone/inter4.html

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Margaret Atwood Quote

I visited the San Francisco Writers Conference on Twitter @SFWC and liked the retweet they posted from http://www.advicetowriters.com.

It was a Margaret Atwood quote:  “You need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer, an almost physical nerve, the kind you need to walk a log across a river.”


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Anthology Panel at the San Francisco Writers Conference

Anthology Panel at the San Francisco Writers Conference

At the San Francisco Writers Conference, I spoke on a panel with Camille Cusumano and Kate Farrell. We discussed our different experiences with putting together an anthology. Camille is the editor of four literary travel anthologies and Kate co-edited Times They were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60’s & 70’s. As you can see I talked about Written Across the Genres.

Barbara Santos was the moderator.

Thanks to George Cramer for taking the photo.

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March 7, 2014 · 8:12 pm