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The Three-Step Formula


Building an Author Platform 

February 27, 2021

Presented by

Fauzia Burke

Creating an online platform is vitally important for long-term success. In this session you’ll learn where to focus your efforts and how to avoid distractions while connecting all the elements of online marketing (website, mailing list, blogging, social media, advertising and publicity) into a cohesive, successful and sustainable author platform.

Fauzia Burke, author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online book publicity firm, and co-founder of Pub Site, a platform for building author websites. She is also a consultant and coach for authors who need help navigating the book marketing and publicity landscape. Before starting FSB, she worked for Henry Holt and John Wiley. Fauzia has promoted books by authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. She is based in San Diego, CA. FauziaBurke.com 

Join us on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to participate in this empowering, inspiring discussion. NON-MEMBERS: To receive a Zoom invitation, please contact us at DVWritersGuild@gmail.com





Improve Your Writing with Tim Riter 

January 23, 2021

Would you like to develop a laser focus on your writing that keeps you on track? Would you like to learn four basic principles that can elevate your writing to the highest echelons? Would you like to learn Tim Riter’s strategy for “hard writing,” resulting in a better work product?

Then join us on Zoom, January 23, 2021 at 9:30 am to hear this accomplished writer and presenter speak. Author of ten traditionally published books, Tim has given thirty keynote addresses and over 100 workshops on writing. With two masters degrees and a successful career as a university professor, Tim’s uniquely qualified to help improve our writing.

Join us on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to participate in this empowering, inspiring discussion. NON-MEMBERS: To receive a Zoom invitation, please contact us at DVWritersGuild@gmail.com



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1st Annual Prose Readaround

presented by

JoLynne Buehring



Following the footsteps of our Great Poetry Shootout, we introduce our first annual Prose Readaround. This is an event not to be missed!

Our annual poetry readings were a hit as always. Now we’ll have a chance to hear from writers of prose. Both published and unpublished authors will read  and discuss their works. JoLynne Buehring will lead the festivities. 

Join us on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to participate in this empowering, inspiring discussion. NON-MEMBERS: To receive a Zoom invitation, please contact us at DVWritersGuild@gmail.com


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Write a Book in a Month with NaNoWriMo

presented by

Lynne M. Spreen

Author of Award-Winning Midlife Novels and Short Stories

Tired of watching the months go by with no new book under your belt? Frustrated by a lack of productivity? Do you envy those writers who crank out book after book while it seems to take you years to produce one? The Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild has a solution.

This year, take the NaNoWriMo challenge!

Join millions of other writers worldwide who use NNWM to produce a 50,000-word manuscript during the month of November. Whether you end up with a good first draft or simply break out of a rut, whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, and whether you’re writing fiction or non-, the NaNoWriMo experience will empower you as a writer.

Using NNWM, Lynne M. Spreen has produced three full-length novels. Although she is a dedicated plotter, her presentation is geared for pantsers as well. Join us on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to participate in this empowering, inspiring discussion. NON-MEMBERS: To receive a Zoom invitation, please contact us at DVWritersGuild@gmail.com


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Please click on the link below to see Howard Feigenbaum (and friends) explain everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask about The Great Poetry Readout! Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom (Zoom link and details available on request. For link to meeting, please email DVWritersGuild@Gmail.com).
To be included in the poetry reader’s lineup, email Howard at feigenbaum@sbcglobal.net

All writers welcome! This will be an interactive general meeting (but if you just want to watch, that’s okay, too!)

Click on picture to see video:


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Join us for our monthly meeting on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom (Zoom link and details available on request. Please email DVWritersGuild@Gmail.com). All writers welcome! This will be an interactive general meeting (but if you just want to watch, that’s okay, too!)


First lines of a story or book–


How important?


Join us for the good, the bad and the ugly.


The All-Important Story Opening

Deciding where to start your story is one of the most important and challenging decisions you must make as a writer. Many readers, including editors and agents, determine within the first few sentences if your story is worth their valuable time. As a writer, your goal is to keep them reading.

Together, we will explore what makes a good (or bad) opening sentence.

Michelle Bassett, our presenter, loves audience participation, so come prepared with 1 or 2 of your favorite examples to share—preferably one good and one bad.  These can be excerpts from published works or from your own manuscript. Please try to limit your selection to the first sentence or two, but a short first paragraph is okay too.

Michelle Bassett

Michelle’s love affair with speculative fiction began between the pages of a hand-me-down copy of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Currently, she is seeking representation for Minstrel’s Daughter, an adult epic fantasy novel. Her 2020 goal: To write short fiction .. and learn to tell a compelling story in less than 100,000 words.

Join us on Saturday, July 25, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. All writers welcome! Information about signing in to the meeting available upon request. Please email DVWritersGuild@Gmail.com for the link.


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Join us for our monthly meeting on Saturday June 27, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. (Zoom details will be provided here on June 25.) All writers welcome! Our guest speaker, award-winning author Rebecca Farnbach, will talk about

Bringing History to Life

Rebecca Farnbach

Meet this master story teller as she shares the following:

–Where to find historic information

–How to resolve differences in narratives

–How to write a historic narrative

–How to organize historical material for enjoyable reading

–Consideration of the audience in telling the stories

Rebecca’s Biography

In 1998, Rebecca started a writers’ critique group that still meets. The group’s members have published over 130 books. Rebecca’s first big break into publication was an article in Seventeen magazine when she was a teenager. Later, she wrote a recipe pamphlet for the Federal WIC (Women Infant Child) nutrition program. Over a ten year period she wrote six books in the Images of America series. The San Diego Christian Writers Guild honored Rebecca with several awards, including Writer of the Year. She has received several poetry awards from other organizations. Her most recent publication is Dancing with Prayers in My Feet, a collection of her best poetry and prose. Her upcoming works, Flavors of the Temecula Valley Wineries and Portraits of the Temecula Valley Wineries, will be published this year. Rebecca’s Amazon page can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JQZVO5E


Join us on Saturday, June 27, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. All writers welcome! Information about signing in to the meeting will be posted here on June 25.


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Join us for our monthly meeting on Saturday May 23rd, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. All writers welcome! Our guest speaker, New York Times bestselling author and 5 Time Bram Stoker Award-winner,  Jonathan Maberry, will be talking about short story writing. Zoom Meeting ID: 868 2061 1868 – Password: 472245

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Although the Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild is unable to meet at the library on Saturday, April 25, 2020, the board has decided to hold the meeting via Zoom. For those of you who have never used Zoom before, it’s very easy. Here is the link to a short tutorial video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting.

On Saturday, April 25, please click on the link BELOW at around 9:15 a.m. The meeting will begin at 9:30. Once it starts, your mic will be muted, so if you wish to speak, you will need to “raise your hand” (see tutorial above on how to do that.)

The board knows that holding the meeting on Zoom may not be for everyone. However, the library is temporarily closed, so we hope you’ll give it a try. Guild President Jim Hitt will record the meeting which will then be accessible to those who were not able to attend.


This Saturday April 25, the Diamond Valley Writers Guild will hold its first meeting on ZOOM. We hope you all join and participate. At the start of the meeting, everyone will be muted except the speaker. If you have a question, use the symbol of raising your hand. You’ll find this under ‘Participants.’ For Karen’s presentation of magazine writing, we prefer you keep your questions until the end of her presentation.
Time: Apr 25, 2020 09:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82783866900?pwd=UXRGSGhrdFFRdkxGZnJ5bjZ2aHlSdz09Meeting ID: 827 8386 6900
Password: 716574
One tap mobile
+16699006833,,82783866900#,,#,716574# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,82783866900#,,#,716574# US (Houston)Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
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Meeting ID: 827 8386 6900
Password: 716574
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kem3iTrAiK


Karen April updated

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CANCELED March 28, 2020 Program

The Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild Board has made the difficult decision to cancel the general meeting on March 28 due to the outbreak of coronavirus. We do not do this out of fear but out of caution. Many of our members are in the ‘most vulnerable’ category and face the greatest risk. We’ll post updates as to future programs as more information becomes available.



Sandy Schuster, M.S.

boneless chicken

With thanks to Gary Larson, this is a graphic of your story without structure.

CANCELED: The Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild meeting of March 28, 2020. We hope to offer this program on Story Structure at a later date.

sandy schuster

Sandy Schuster, M. S.

Sandy Schuster, M.S. had planned to present:

  • The difference between plot and structure
  • The 3-Act Structure and
  • The 4-Act Structure as bases of several well-known structures
  • The Blake Snyder 15 beat structure for all genres

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February 22, 2020 Program


presented by award-winning author


Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias

Everyone has a story to tell, often wanting to burst out to be shared, but where to start and how to continue? Kathi Macias has written a book that spells this out in clear-cut steps with plenty of examples for the beginning writer.

For the experienced and/or published writer, this method brings some ideas to evaluate your polished work and possibly make it even better.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 60 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel Red Ink won the 2011 Golden Scrolls Novel of the Year Award and was also a finalist for a Carol Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Check out her website at http://www.kathimacias.com/.

Kathy will be joining us on February 22, 2020 at the Hemet Library, 300 E. Latham Ave., Hemet CA. The program runs from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., followed by self-hosted lunch at Emilio’s Mexican Restaurant in San Jacinto.

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Kick-start Your Creativity


presented by


Michelle M. Bassett

Ever feel “stuck” in your writing?

Does the incessant blinking of the cursor on an empty computer screen intimidate you?

Are you bogged down in a shadowy quagmire of plot problems and can’t find your way out?

Or perhaps that great idea, so shining and golden in the moment of inspiration, falls flat and dull on the page when your pencil meets paper?

You are not alone.

Together we’ll identify the enemies of creativity and formulate strategies to overcome them.

*   *  *  *  *

Michelle’s love affair with Speculative Fiction began in college when a fellow student handed her a copy of Frank Herbert’s Dune.  After reading the entire multi-book series–not once, but three times–she knew she’d found her literary niche. In addition to narrative fiction, Michelle scripts radio and television commercials, music videos, and feature and short films. She also speaks on writing panels, facilitates critique groups, hosts retreats, and serves on the DVWG board of directors. Currently, Michelle is knee-deep in the query process for her debut epic fantasy, Minstrel’s Daughter.

See you Saturday, January 25, 2020!

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A Matter of Craft


Wes Rand & Barry Solloway

Barry Solloway, Author

Wes Rand, Author

At our final meeting of the program year, we’ll be visiting with Las Vegas writers Wes Rand and Barry Solloway.

Authors of gritty but realistic political thrillers (Barry) and westerns (Wes), these two authors are veterans of the business, having pushed through writers block, time constraints, craft and development, and marketing challenges. Both have started their own publishing houses, Wes after a challenging experience with Lulu Press. Barry’s book is in the process of being turned into a movie.

At this meeting, Barry will talk about getting started on your writing journey, and Wes will share information about character development and research. Character development for the protagonist generally takes two paths: full description for the reader to visualize what the author wants, and scant description for the reader to imagine how he looks on his own. We’ll discuss pros and cons of each approach.

We’ll also discuss using solid research to enrich the story. Expert scene development can not only aid reader visualization, but it can also teach the reader something new.

So join us for our last meeting of the year, and be sure to plan for lunch at Emilio’s afterwards!

See you at the Hemet Library, 300 E. Latham, Hemet CA 92343, at 9:30 am.

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The Importance of Structure in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction


presented by


Sandra Schuster-Hubbard, MS

Imagine building a house without a blueprint. That would be crazy. Yet many of us set off on our writing journey without a solid idea of story structure. At some point, we run into a wall. We call it writer’s block, get discouraged, and consider giving up.

The real problem may be that your story lacks structure. Structure is the foundation and the framework of a novel. It helps stories “hang together” and make sense. Readers need structure to understand what they’re reading, and feel something as a result. Without structure, your story may fail.

At this meeting, Sandra will share the following helpful points:

  • Why plot and structure are not the same thing.
  • The five most common structures used in modern fiction or creative nonfiction
  • Resources for finding the right story structure for you.

Sandra is a popular speaker who has authored and co-authored thirteen books. She is a memoirist who serves as DVWG Vice President. Join us for a vibrant discussion of structure basics!

See you Saturday, September 28, 2019

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4th Annual Appreciation of Poetry

with Discussion and Readings

presented by Howard Feigenbaum

August 24, 2019

Howard Feigenbaum photo

Does poetry still matter? In this busy, fast-changing world, what is the role of poetry for the average person? How are we supposed to understand it? Can anybody write it?

At this gathering, Howard Feigenbaum, poet, photographer, and author of the Benny Goldfarb Private “I” series, will 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. The audience is encouraged to ask questions, make their own observations, or simply relax and enjoy the experience of hearing poetry read with the enthusiasm and emotion intended by the writer.

*Please contact Howard by email to let him know if you’d like to like to read:

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July Guild Meeting Announcement

What Do You Do When…?

The Diamond Valley Writers Guild has always been a social organization first, and a professional guild second. It’s a friendly place to get together with fellow writers, hear great speakers, and talk about your achievements and milestones.

At our July meeting, you will have the chance to ask your fellow members for their advice about things that are stumping you and talk with each other about what you write.

Let’s call it “musical tables.” You’ll join four 20-minute discussions at different tables (hurry!) during the morning, to discuss topics such as:

  • What to do about writer’s block?
  • Your greatest marketing idea ever?
  • What inspires you to write poetry?
  • Have your characters taken over your manuscript?
  • Is this a genre or am I writing literary fiction?
  • Will I ever meet my goals—and are they reasonable?
  • What are your secrets to research for non-fiction?
  • Anything else on your mind!

And even better—there’ll be refreshments!  We’ll have breakfast ready: pastries, fruit, charcuterie, coffee, juice and tea.

All attendees will be entered into the drawing for a huge bookbag full of DWVG-member books! You must be present to win!

You won’t want to miss the fun! That’s Saturday, July 27, 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., at the Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham, Hemet CA. Free and open to the public.

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More Than Just Talk:

Painting Scenes with Dialogue & Narration


presented by Helga Schier


Helga Schier, Editor and Speaker

Whether fiction or nonfiction, a great story is constructed from great scenes. But what makes a great scene sing? Helga Schier is an editor whose work focuses on the refinement of story, character, and style, helping writers sharpen their vision, refine their voice, and unlock the potential of their manuscripts.

A writer’s job is to create a world that unfolds before the reader’s eyes. We want to hear people speak and see what they do and where they do it. With the well-tuned interplay of dialogue and narration, you can create scenes that sizzle with romance, suspense, excitement, or joy, engaging the reader in your characters’ plight from your first to your last word.

A regular speaker at Writers Digest conferences, Helga will show us how the interplay of dialogue and narration:

*Creates the atmosphere of a scene

*Exposes the context and purpose of the dialogue

*Reveals the personality and relationship of the dialogue partners

*Builds the underlying tension, conflict and motivation

*Drives the plot forward

Helga Schier, PhD, is the founder and owner of WithPenAndPaper.com, an independent editorial services firm. With more than 25 years of experience in book publishing, as editor and executive editor in several publishing houses, Ms. Schier guides authors through the development and revision process. Her clients are published, self-published, and not-yet-published writers.

You won’t want to miss this fabulous learning opportunity! That’s Saturday, June 22, 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., at the Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham, Hemet CA. Free and open to the public.

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 So You Want to Find

a Traditional Publisher

with Pam Sheppard


Are you tired of the hassle of trying to market and sell your self-published books? Do you want to find a traditional publisher to give your book the legitimacy readers and reviewers look for? Have you been unsuccessful in hooking an agent or a publisher on your terrific manuscript?

If you struggle with any of these issues, you won’t want to miss hearing Pam Sheppard speak.   Currently a consultant and editor, she has years of deep experience in book publishing that few can match.

“Finding the right fit—with agent and publisher—is key,” she says. “No matter how you choose to approach publishers, through an agent or directly to smaller publishers, your queries are your first contact.” Pam will help us put our best foot forward when approaching literary agents or small publishers.

Pam has worked in sales and marketing for Big 5 publishers for more than 20 years. She has also worked for 40 mid-sized publishers as a commissioned sales representative and for a distributor that represented 250 small publishers. Now a full-time publishing consultant, Pam guides writers along whatever publishing path they choose, through the tsunami of information ready to drown both aspiring and accomplished writers.

Come with your curiosity, your goals and your questions, and see what Pam can do to help! That’s May 25, 2019. Mark your calendar.

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Creating Compelling Characters:

A Roundtable Discussion

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Are your characters vibrant and alive, or wooden and flat? Do they seem like real people or cardboard cutouts who simply drift through the story? Are your characters unrealistic caricatures or stereotypes? If so, how do you give them life?

At this meeting, we will explore examples of characters in current works of fiction. We will examine the factors that make them compelling. What does it take to make a character grab the attention of the reader? What makes us want to know that character better? What makes us like the good guy and hate the bad guy? What makes us care?

This meeting will be a round-table structure, with audience participation at its core. Bring examples of favorite characters whether from your own writing or that of other authors, and be prepared to share with the group. Together, we’ll learn what makes for a successful character.

Takeaways from this meeting:

  • A template for developing the attributes of your character.
  • Suggestions for great character-building books and articles.
  • Tips for creating drop-dead super characters.

 Join us, share, and learn from each other at this informal, round-table discussion.


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Book Reviews:

Your No. 1 Key to Successful Marketing

with David Wogahn

Saturday, March 23, 2019


How important are book reviews to the success of your book? How do you get more of them? And how do authors avoid running afoul of Amazon’s review policies?

David Wogahn, author of The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages, joins us to explain the value of book reviews, how to handle negative reviews, how to leverage good reviews, and ten sources for soliciting reviews.

David Wogahn is an author, a LinkedIn Learning author, and the president and founder of AuthorImprints.com. He has 30 years of experience in publishing and online media, including the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and the CBS College Sports Network.

Don’t miss this fabulous learning opportunity!

March 23, 2019


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Websites for Writers

presented by a panel of author practitioners

and moderated by George Gurney


Saturday, February 23, 2019

As authors we are often asked if we have a website. How do we decide if we need or even want one? 

This session will be moderated by George Gurney who will introduce three members of our Guild forming a panel to discuss the in’s and out’s of having a website as an author.

Michelle Bassett, Victor Swatsek, and Seamus O’Connor (above) have long-standing author websites, or are building same. They will share their own personal experience of building, or having built, a website to highlight their work. In the case of Michelle, she has had a business website for many years, and is just now exploring all the issues involved with creating an author website.

Takeaways from this meeting:

  • Do I need a website?
  • How do I choose the one that’s best for me?
  • How do I determine my cost options?
  • What are my long range goals for having a website?

Come and learn all you can from these authors and their experiences. See you Saturday, February 23, 2019.

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Crafting Reflection and Takeaway in Memoir

presented by

Sandy Schuster-Hubbard, MS


Saturday, January 26, 2019

The memoir is becoming ever more popular. So many of us long to write about our history, our families, and the unique journey that brought us to the present moment. We have struggled and triumphed, and often, we’d like to share that wisdom with others. But how?

In this meeting, memoirist Sandy Schuster-Hubbard, MS, will share with us the following aspects of writing a powerful memoir:

  • Why write your memoir?
  • What makes memoir different from autobiography?
  • Why are reflection and takeaway (elements of learning from a remembered situation) essential in memoir?
  • Who are the two critical characters in memoir?

The new year is the perfect time to begin your memoir or to complete the one you’ve already begun. Join us for this informative and motivating presentation. Be sure to bring your questions and concerns relative to writing your memoir.

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Make Money as a Writer – Hot Tips


Teresa Burrell

Author, Attorney, Advocate

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Is your writing a hobby, or, do you want to make money? Do you sometimes wish your bank account were a little fatter? Do you wish you could afford a professional editor or a cover designer?

Teresa Burrell has accomplished what few writers have been able to do. She has made consistent income of over $100,000 per year, writing and marketing her self-published books on Amazon.com. In less than ten years she has written nine novels in her popular Advocate series, three illustrated children’s books, and Mason’s Missing, the first in her spin-off Tuper Mystery Series. Her books have won awards and sit at the top of Amazon sales charts.

Takeaways from this meeting will include:

  • The seven “not so easy” steps to success
  • Techniques to build your customer base
  • 1 strategic key to business success.

Come and learn all you can from this financially successful author.

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Scaring Yourself Successful: The Horror Renaissance

presented by

Mercedes M. Yardley & Tim Chizmar

Saturday, September 22, 2018

There are things that go BUMP in the night, but don’t worry… these writers bump back!

You don’t have to be Stephen King or Anne Rice to have a successful career in Spookyville, USA. Learn how to explore the dark side of the literary world, have fun, and come back braver for it.

This talk will cover everything from writing and selling horror short stories, magazine articles, and comic books, to screenplays and full length novels. These masters of the dark story-telling world will share all with you and just in time for Halloween! Find out everything about the genre that has taken over the Emmys, Oscars, and your local bookstore.

Mercedes M. Yardley is an award-winning author. Tim Chizmar is an author and media personality. Together they are Co-Chairs of the Las Vegas chapter of the international Horror Writers Association. Please join us on September 22, 2018 at the Hemet Public Library, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

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3rd Annual Celebration of Poetry

presented by Howard Feigenbaum

August 25, 2018

Howard Feigenbaum photo

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

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Turn Your Novel into an Audiobook

Using ACX and Audible.Com

presented by Lynne M. Spreen

July 28, 2018


Lynne Spreen

Are you interested in publishing an audiobook but don’t know where to start? Worried you’ll miss out on this large and growing market? With ACX and Audible.com, you’ll find the tools to turn your novel into an audiobook without much effort or expense.

Lynne M. Spreen has produced three audiobooks using this method, and is in the middle of producing a fourth. At this meeting of the DVWG, she will describe the process of:

  • Creating an ACX.com account, uploading your manuscript, and finding a narrator
  • Producing the audiobook for free
  • Supervising the production process, and
  • Marketing your finished audiobook.

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Planning and Plotting for Productivity

Presented by 

Greta Boris & Joe De Ladurantey

Bestselling Authors, Publishers, and Writing Instructors

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Flying by the seat of your pants is the most inefficient way to write. Both Greta and Joe will bring their A game to this exciting presentation.

Joe De Ladurantey, author and retired police chief, writes what he likes to call “nonfiction fiction.” Joe will share:

  • How to organize your ideas into chapters
  • How to include real situations and people without getting sued.
  • When you need to get permission to publish material and how to get it.

Greta Boris, Amazon bestseller and author of the Seven Deadly Sins, a series of psychological thrillers, will share the Plot Menu. This unique method of planning your story utilizes the nine Enneagram Personality Types and a basic three act structure to keep your story on track. It’s a great tool for both plotters and pantsers.

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Choosing Your Path to Success: Keys to Self-Publication

with Marj Charlier

May 26, 2018


Over the past decade, DVWG boardmember Marj Charlier has gone from self-publishing her first novel to becoming a leader of workshops on self-publishing in California and the Midwest, decoding for hundreds of new authors the arcane vocabulary and standards of the publishing industry.

Your optimal path to publication becomes clearer once you answer five basic questions. Marj will discuss the decisions you have to make as a self-publisher and demystify everything about publishing from “ISBN” to “chapbook.”

As owner of Sunacumen Press, a member of the Independent Book Publishers Assn., she manages editing, cover design, formatting, and distribution for her authors. Bring your questions and discover your path to publication.

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Creating Characters, not Caricatures

with local authors

Eve Gaal, Arch Font and Cindy Tesar

April 28, 2018


Eve, Arch, and Cindy


Our April meeting will feature a panel of local novelists. The panel will provide writing tips with a focus on creating interesting, believable and, sometimes, humorous characters.

Eve Gaal’s interest in writing started with a toy typewriter she received as a child. Eve’s first book, “Penniless Hearts,” is part adventure, part humorous romance and all about communication. The novel’s main character, Penny, works in the newspaper industry, just as Eve did for many years.

Arch Font’s fiction is infused with humor, adventure and exotic settings. Three of his novels feature the traveling senior citizen Jerry Slider. The first in the series, “The Wrath of Rhonda,” takes place on a cruise to the South Pacific. The stories burst from Arch’s imagination but his characters are fashioned after actual people Arch met during his own travels.

Cindy Tesar’s published work includes inspirational writings, a mystery based on a real-life event, and a children’s book, “The Adventures of Billy Bug,” about a bee who is struggling to find his own identity and purpose in life.

Please join us at our April 28, 2018 meeting of the Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild at 9:30 a.m. at the Hemet  Public Library


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Romantic Suspense & Romantic Comedy Writing in These Best-Selling Categories from Innocent to Erotic*

Presented by the Writing Team known as

J.M. Jeffries

March 24, 2018

Jackie and Miriam 2

Jackie Hamilton & Miriam Pace

“J.M. Jeffries” is the award winning writing team of Jacqueline Hamilton and Miriam Pace. Authors of romantic suspense and romantic comedies, they can’t decide if they like killing people more than they like making them laugh. Miriam and Jackie have been writing together for years, though it seems longer on occasion when they are on deadline. Miriam thinks Jackie is a master manipulator. Jackie knows Miriam is a bulldozer. Miriam has a deep and passionate love for shoes, amber jewelry and purebred cats. Jackie collects red lipsticks, Animaniacs memorabilia and steals pens.

Together Jackie and Miriam have written dozens of romance novels and novellas. At this meeting, they’ll share writing strategies and tips for creating your own best-selling novel.

*Bring smelling salts and fans as needed.


See you on Saturday, March 24, 2018!



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Are You Proud of Your Work?

Is Your Book the Best It Can Be?

A conversation with Angela Bole

CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

February 24, 2018


The publishing industry has changed. Most authors are now self-publishing or utilizing small presses to bring their works to the world. At times, the author may feel as if he or she is alone on this important endeavor. Not true.

At our February meeting, Angela Bole, CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), will talk about the ways in which her organization is helping independent publishers and authors succeed, providing advocacy, education, and tools for success.

Marj Charlier, member and Treasurer of the DVWG, will join Angela for this talk show-style conversation. Marj is a publisher and author in her own right and is keenly aware of the needs of authors as well as the challenges of publishing.

TAKEAWAYS from this meeting will include:

  • How to produce a professionally published book, using IPBA’s standards
  • How trends in the publishing industry will affect you in 2018
  • What self-published and indie authors can do to sell more books and get better reviews


See you on Saturday, February 24, 2018!

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Taking the Fear Out of Writing, Publishing, and Marketing

presented by Shelley Young

Bestselling Author, Publisher, and Writing Coach

January 27, 2018


Shelley Young is a powerhouse of productivity. The author of sixteen books spanning multiple genres, Shelley created her own publishing imprint, and coaches other writers to accomplish their goals.

Do you dream of writing like a bestselling author and marketing like the big five publishing houses?

If so, come and listen to Shelley as she shares her writing journey. Learn how the right marketing can take you closer to the goal of reaching a million readers on a limited budget. Most importantly, teach yourself to work without fear of failure, because failure mostly arises when we try to use someone else’s plan rather than our own.

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All About Platform

presented by Brooke Warner

Publisher, Writing Coach, and Author

October 28, 2017

Most aspiring authors are intimidated by what it means to create or grow an author platform. You’ve likely heard that you need one, but what all does it entail, and how do you start? And if you already have an author platform—meaning you have readers and you’re reaching them—how do you cultivate those readers and keep them engaged? And how do you find new readers?
This discussion will demystify author platform and help writers and authors alike figure out how to start and/or grow from where they are. Building an author platform is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’ll be looking at long-range options and ideas that are encouraging and fun with the goal of making this necessary part of becoming an author less intimidating.

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DVWG Author Book Fair

at the Diamond Valley Arts Council, 123 North Harvard Street, in downtown Hemet

September 23, 2017

(This will take the place of our usual monthly meeting. There will be no Guild meeting at the Hemet Library on this date.)


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An Appreciation of Poetry, with Discussion and Readings

presented by Howard Feigenbaum

Author, Poet, and Photographer

August 26, 2017

Howard Feigenbaum photo

Does poetry still matter? In this busy, fast-changing world, what is the role of poetry for the average person? How are we supposed to understand it? Can anybody write it?

At this gathering, Howard Feigenbaum, poet, photographer, and author of the Benny Goldfarb Private “I” series, will 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. The audience is encouraged to ask questions, make their own observations, or simply relax and enjoy the experience of hearing poetry read with the enthusiasm and emotion intended by the writer.

*Please contact Howard by email to let him know if you’d like to like to read:

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Writing the Paranormal Thriller 

featuring Angie Martin

July 22, 2017

Angie MartinOur July meeting will feature a conversation with local author Angie Martin. Angie is the award-winning author of supernatural and paranormal thrillers. At our meeting, she’ll share suggestions for writing in both genres, which she says are similar but not the same.

As a child, Stephen King’s Christine changed her life; she was bitten by the writing bug.

Angie will talk about the writing life and her writing process. She’ll also discuss some of the challenges common to all writers. How does she stay focused and motivated? How does she balance the time it takes to write with the necessity to market one’s work?

Please join us at our July 22, 2017 meeting of the Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild.


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Researching the Historical Novel

with award-winning author

Jeri Westerson
June 24, 2017

Jeri Westerson’s award-winning novels span multiple genres, including historical novels, paranormal novels, and LGBT rom/com mysteries (the Skyler Foxe Mysteries). Her critically acclaimed Crispin Guest Medieval Noir Mystery Series combines medieval mystery with hard-boiled detective fiction. Guest, a disgraced knight turned PI, solves crimes on the mean streets of fourteenth century London.

While learning about the era, Jeri developed a great appreciation for the Middle Ages. She has done talks around the country, while demonstrating her cache of medieval weaponry.

On June 24, Jeri will share tips, tricks, and inspiration about writing, and she will focus especially on doing research for your novel.  


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Top Tips for Writing Compelling
Crime Fiction Novels

with David Putnam,
National Bestselling Author
May 27, 2017

David PutnamDuring his California law enforcement career, David Putnam worked in patrol, investigations, SWAT, Narcotics, Violent Crimes, Criminal Intelligence, Internal Affairs, the Detective Bureau and as child protective services coordinator. He spent several years in the Hawaiian Islands as a Special Agent—part of a real-life “HawaiiFive-0″ team.

Now, he’s tapping that authenticity as bestselling author of police procedural/crime thrillers. He’ll talk to us about writing in general, and he’ll share specific tips for writing in his genre. Dave is a great storyteller and a fun guy to listen to. Come hear what he has to say, and as always, join the conversation.

Here are a few of his latest novels:

David Putnam 3 books

You can find these and David Putnam’s other books at Amazon.com.



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Do You Have a Memoir in You?

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April 22, 2017

Presented by Memoirists Melodie Earickson,

Vicki Allen-Hitt, and Sandy Schuster-Hubbard

Are you thinking of writing a memoir—your life story? Whether your plan is to produce a private family account or a blockbuster hit, 2017 is a great year to start. It’s never been easier to publish a book.

Memoir can be instructional, entertaining, funny, serious, or wacky. Perhaps all of the above! It’s your life, so it’s your call.

At our April meeting, memoirists Vicki Allen-Hitt, Melodie Earickson, and Sandy Schuster-Hubbard will discuss various aspects of memoir writing, including character, plot, dialogue, point of view, setting, theme, pacing, and more! Please join us Saturday, April 22, 2017, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

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MARCH 25, 2017

Writing Children’s Books from A to Z

by Debby Johnson, profession author and speaker

Debby Johnson, author of Rock, Paper, Scissors and other children’s books, will share her expertise about writing, illustrating and publishing books for youngsters.

Children’s book writing is much more than channeling your inner child. Debby will help you understand your audience’s needs and desires in order to deliver an exciting adventure that will captivate younger readers. She’ll describe word usage using the genius of Dr. Seuss, and she’ll also talk about the power of illustration and how to obtain the right ones for your book.

If you’ve always wanted to write books for children, or if you simply want to visit with fellow writers while learning from a publishing pro, please join us!

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FEBRUARY 25, 2017


Writing the Short Story

by Jim Hitt, award winning author of Carny, A Novel in Stories

plus special add-on session

Using Short Works as a Sales Tool on Amazon

by CJ Hernley, author of eleven books

“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short”
–Blaise Pascal, ‘Letters Provinciales’ (1657)

Have you always been intrigued by short stories? Do you want to write them but you’re not sure what goes into the making of a good short? In this meeting, award-winning author Jim Hitt tells us why short stories can be more challenging to write than a novel, and the essential elements to include. He’ll also share his favorite titles as examples of effective writing.

Once you’ve written a short story, can you sell it as a stand-alone? CJ Hernley has developed a strategy for giving away short works as a way to attract readers to her other books—the ones that cost more! She’ll share that strategy and others at our meeting.

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JANUARY 28, 2017


Getting Started on Your Novel in the New Year

featuring authors 

JoLynne Buehring, Marj Charlier,

George Gurney, and Gerald Prager

Moderated by Lynne Spreen

Happy New Year! We’re so excited about our first meeting of the year. We hope you are rested and ready to do great things with your writing in 2017. On Saturday, Jan. 28, a panel of authors will share their top tips on craft. Are you trying to figure out point of view? How do you write great dialogue? Where do great ideas come from, and how do you keep the creative well from running dry? Should you join a critique group, and how do you get the most out of it? These and other helpful topics will be on the table.

The discussion will be moderated, and as always the audience is encouraged to participate. Let’s make 2017 your most creative and successful yet! A short meeting of the board will be held toward the end of the program.♦ ♦ ♦


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OCTOBER 22, 2016

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Strategic Planning for Book Signing Events and Readings


Susan McBeth

The time to start planning for marketing your book is long before it’s finished. Are you baffled by book signings? Do you secretly dread your upcoming reading? Let book publicity expert Susan McBeth share tips and strategies to make your events a smashing success.

Official Brody High Res Photo.jpg

Susan McBeth, the name behind some of the most unique literary events locally and around the world, has worked as an events coordinator for over 25 years. She was the Director of Marketing and Events for one of the oldest independent bookstores in the United States. Disillusioned with the one-size-fits-all approach to bookstore signings, she launched Adventures by the Book to intimately connect readers with authors and their books through custom designed, interactive literary events and travels.  When agents and authors clamored for more, Susan started a second enterprise, AuthorPreneurs to serve that need. Which is all to say, what a way to close out our inaugural season!



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SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Selling Your Work via Social Media

LMS headshot 2016

presented by

Lynne M. Spreen
Award-Winning Author of Dakota Blues

You can craft the most compelling book ever, but if people don’t know about it, who will buy it? In this discussion, Lynne Spreen will describe the strategies she uses to market her books. A fanatic about time management, she’ll suggest the most effective ways to reach the most people in the least time. She’ll help authors avoid burnout and enjoy networking—yes, really, even if you are the kind of person who hates to sell.

As with all of our meetings, we encourage questions from the audience, and handouts will be provided.

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AUGUST 27, 2016 

An Appreciation of Poetry, with Discussion and Readings

Howard Feigenbaum photo

presented by

Howard Feigenbaum
Author, Poet, and Photographer

Does poetry still matter? In this busy, fast-changing world, what is the role of poetry for the average person? How are we supposed to understand it? Can anybody write it?

At this gathering, Howard Feigenbaum, poet, photographer, and author of the Benny Goldfarb Private “I” series, will 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. The audience is encouraged to ask questions, make their own observations, or simply relax and enjoy the experience of hearing poetry read with the enthusiasm and emotion intended by the writer.

*Please contact Howard by email to let him know if you’d like to read:


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JULY 23, 2016 

How to Decide on a Publisher:
Avoiding the Pitfalls and Achieving Success on Your Journey to Book Publication


Edward Lopatin, Professional Speaker and Author of the How To Survive series, tells us how to get our work published without making a costly mistake.

Whether going the DIY route or paying a full-assist publisher to do everything for you, it’s smart to have an idea of the individual elements of the process and their related costs. On one extreme, the DIY author can publish POD and ebooks for free. On the other extreme, some authors tell of publishing nightmares costing them tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t be fooled! Know what to look for in a publisher, what to expect, what to ask, and what each side brings to the table. Handouts will be provided.  See you there!

How to Survive Your Promotion    How to Survive Your Vacation    Manage Your Chronic Illness

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JUNE 25, 2016 

Your Critique Group: Will It Help You Succeed or Hold You Back? Plus: How to Start Your Own Group

June 25 2016 promo picture

A good critique group can help you succeed. A bad one can hold you back. How do you know the difference? What can you expect from a great group? Maybe you’d like to start your own group. If that’s the case, where do you begin?

At this meeting, panelists Ray Strait, Jim Hitt, Vicky Allen-Hitt, and moderator CJ Hernley will answer these questions and many more. Our goal is to support the formation of many new writing critique groups throughout the Valley. Handouts will be provided.


MAY 28, 2016

Judy and Sportster

Judy Howard and Sportster

“Getting Started on Your Bestseller”
with Bestselling Author Judy Howard

“I should write a book!” How many times have you said that? Here’s your chance to answer that yearning – to check it off your bucket list! On Saturday, May 28, 2016, 9:15-11 a.m. at the Hemet Public Library, Judy Howard, author of Coast to Coast with a Cat and A Ghost, Going Home with a Cat and a Ghost, and Masada’s Marine, will reveal the secrets of writing a book you can’t put down.

Judy will cover the critical elements of plot, structure and character development. Informative handouts will be provided. If you’d like to see more about Judy and her commitment to writing,

click here for the video.

APRIL 23, 2016

Tammy and Jonathan

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Authors’ Panel

“Creating Your Own World” with bestselling authors Tammy Salyer and Jonathan Yanez.

Learn how to invent other-worldly characters, scenes, and situations with these prolific and successful practitioners of the art! Tammy, Jonathan, and moderator George Gurney will also be available to sign books and answer questions after the panel.

Tammy Salyer is an author, editor, and ex-paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Her military science fiction novel Contract of Defiance is the first book in the Spectras Arise trilogy and debuted to acclaim in 2012. Contract of Betrayal is the second in the trilogy, and the final book, Contract of War, completes it.

Jonathan Yanez is the author of over a dozen fantasy and science fiction novels. His works include The Elite Series, The Nephilim Chronicles, Thrive, Bad Land and The DeCadia Code. His work has been optioned for film.


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