Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

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Summary of July 28, 2018 Meeting

When the fourth Saturday of the month rolls around,  I always feel a little anxious. Will people show up? Will the audience members participate by asking questions? Will the microphones work? Will lunch go well?

Mom always said I worry too much. And my worrying  is always pointless. Even after three and a half years,  I continue to be amazed and delighted at the degree of camaraderie at our meetings. You, the audience, always pay attention and ask thoughtful questions. You never bolt out of the room when the program ends; rather, people hang around and talk to each other. And usually at least half of you, if not more, join us for lunch afterwards. It’s as if we’re becoming a community, a tribe. A family of sorts.

All so good.

Straitjackets Magazine

It was nice to hear the editors of Straitjackets answer questions about the publication–how to submit, how long should your article be, does it matter if you’ve published the piece previously. JoLynne Buehring and Judie Mare’ both chimed in (Ellyn Wolfe and Cheryl McGuire were off enjoying distant climes). All of us feel lucky to have them sharing their time to make our magazine so beautiful. It is a work of art, literally, with original artwork on the cover each and every issue. Thanks to the generosity and talent of Vicki Allen-Hitt. We have a standout literary magazine because of your efforts,  and I hope you know how much we appreciate you!


Writing Tips


Thanks to Jim Hitt, I have been tied in knots while writing this post, thinking about my adverbs, passive verbs, and inexpert use of the infinitive “to be.” For many of us, Jim’s critique groups are more than just a read-and-critique. Many of us over the years have inadvertently referred to them as “class” because we learn so much from them. Jim is a former high school English teacher, and a notable writer in his own right, having won a grand prize for fiction for his book Carny. On this day, Jim reminded us of active the difference between active and passive verbs, and he also shared his greatest hits. You can see and or download both pages here:

Passive vs. Active Voice

Hitt’s Golden Rules of Style & Grammar


2019 Meeting Topics–Your Input Wanted


The board of directors will meet in September to kick around ideas for the 2019 program year. We’ll have nine slots to fill, given August is traditionally held for our celebration of poetry. Let anyone on the board know if you have an idea for a speaker or topic. It doesn’t have to be well-thought-out or brilliantly described, just throw ideas out there to get our creativity going. You can send your thoughts to DVWritersGuild@gmail.com. Thanks for the input!


Turn Your Novel into an Audiobook – Our July Meeting Topic


It’s a complicated subject, but fortunately, any author can follow simple guidelines on ACX.com. Most authors wanted to know if it’s possible to produce an audiobook as a do-it-yourself project. (Not recommended!) 

Knowing that many of you are not yet ready to consider this question, I was gratified that you nevertheless paid close attention to this topic. I mentioned at the beginning that my talk would be technical. If and when you are ready to take that next step to find a narrator, visit the ACX.com website. Even if you don’t choose to use their services, there’s a ton of information there to expand your understanding of the process.

As promised, here is a link to my presentation . It’s in PDF format with slides and speaker notes.


August Meeting: 3rd Annual Celebration of Poetry presented by Howard Feigenbaum



Poetry is often overlooked in the mad dash for literary fame and fortune. Instead, the Guild has developed a tradition of devoting our August meeting to a contemplation of poetry. That tradition continues this year.

At this gathering, Howard Feigenbaum, poet, photographer, and author, will again lead a discussion about the beauty, history, and importance of poetry in modern life. Audience members are invited to read* a poem or two, written by themselves or others, and share why the selection is meaningful to them. Ask questions, make observations, or simply relax and enjoy the experience of hearing poetry read as the writer intended it to be heard.

*Please contact Howard by email to let him know if you’d like to read: Feigenbaum@SBCGlobal.net

Lynne Spreen at radio interview

This blog post was prepared by Lynne Spreen, President of the DVWG. Lynne writes midlife fiction, because she believes we learn and grow continuously throughout our lives. You may access her website here and her books here.



  1. Wow! Super happy and thankful to have found your page. Wonderful and informative information. Truly a blessing. Thank you 🙂


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