Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Text Size

Membership Information

The Ventura County Writers Club was founded in 1933 by four writers in the Ojai, California area. Since then the club has grown to more than 150 members and holds regular monthly general membership meetings. In these meetings persons prominent in all areas and genres of the literary field speak on sources for ideas, enhancing creativity, and getting your work published. Click here for Membership Information...

Short Story Contest is ON!

It's TIME!  Our Short Story Contest opened on Monday, September 1!  Get ready to hit that submit button!  Electronic submissions deadline is October 18.

Short Story Contest Web Page


September 2014 Meeting

Ojai author, playwright, and teacher Catherine Ann Jones will share strategies from her 2014 Nautilus Award-winning book, Heal Your Self with Writing at our meeting on September 9. Catherine Ann Jones has been hailed as a “compassionate teacher and wise companion,” on a journey to bring to light the ghosts that haunt us, and to either banish them or put them at our service. Jones holds a Master’s degree incajones Depth Psychology and Archetypal Mythology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied shamanism in India. She’s been an instructor at the University of Southern California, the Esalen Institute, and the Omega Institute. Her earlier book The Way of Story: The Craft & Soul of Writing is used in many writing curricula, including at New York University. Her newest book, Heal Your Self with Writing offers practical steps in assembling the pieces of the past, building a new vision of the future, and living well in the present. Jones presents workshops on “The Way of Story” and “Heal Your Self with Writing” throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“Expressing and listening to one’s own life story is an ancient mode of healing,” Jones said. She will share the steps we can take that will allow us to listen to stories that heal. Using this process, each of us can learn how to rewrite our own life story so pain becomes meaningful, and promotes growth and transformation.

“Often when my family gets together,” Jones said, “our kids get a real kick out of telling stories about their childhood. I listen and am amazed how differently we remember the same events. I sometimes wonder if we existed in parallel universes. By the time we all ‘remember when,’ there is a new version of an old event to be recounted the next time we gather. Our sessions are noisy and fun. This sharing draws us closer. I don’t think we’re unusual in that regard.”

But not all shared memories make all of us feel good. I’m sure we’re pretty normal that way, too. It is here that I think Jones’ statement, “Our lives may be determined less by past events than by the way we remember them,” is borne out. “Even if you feel you’ve got no dark shadows to dispel, no great pains to unearth, no deep wounds to heal, getting to know yourself better by writing is an exercise that can heighten authenticity, awareness and power in your creative expression. All desirable outcomes.”

Jones makes clear the power of words will broaden your perspective, exorcise your demons, and yes, change your life for the better. “It’s a book that would have come in handy during my own dark nights of the soul, and I cherish it in happy days as its lessons brighten an already bright spirit.” Mark R. Lohr, Co-author, The O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure


August 2014 Meeting

Writers and Their Work - The Legal POV

Writers and their work—the legal POV” is the topic for our August 12 meeting.  A show of hands at the last meeting revealed we write in a vast array of genres. Living at the back door of Hollywood as we do, it isn’t difficult to imagine that at any time there are numbers of us writing scripts for TV shows and movies. While we may be quite good at our craft, we are sometimes not as knowledgeable about the business of writing. When you’ve written, edited, and workshopped your creation, polished it to perfection and you’re ready to release it to the world, wouldn’t you like to know what you should do—legally?

Maybe your dream deal will bring your stage play or novel to the light.  Are the caveats different depending on the method of publication? Perhaps your work is a self-help manual or a how-to or a history book. Are there different expectations regarding nonfiction publishers?  Do you know how to protect yourself and your work when you self-publish or e-publish?  Attorney Liat liatexec_cropCohen knows, and will share her answers to these questions and more.

Ms. Cohen has practiced law for over twenty years. For ten of them she handled many legal aspects of entertainment-industry law, including negotiations for top industry studios and actors. She was Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and Litigation for Lion’s Gate Entertainment for four years. She’s been a board member of the Encino Chamber of Commerce for ten years, and served as its president in 2003. Her experience in the industry has provided her a unique POV on the legal needs of writers.

Liat will cover copyright protection and copyright law; the do’s and don’ts of submitting materials; what a writer can expect from attorneys v. managers v. agents; and options, offers, deals and agreements with regard to film, TV, theater, Internet and print publishing.

Is your work not yet ready for prime time? Keep working. Remember, good luck is that happy juncture of opportunity and preparation. Prepare now to meet the opportunity coming your way.

Attorney Cohen is a legal veteran handling businesses contracts, partnerships, corporations, employer and employee issues, and related business operation matters. Recently, she joined the law firm of Alperstein, Simon, Farkas, Gillin & Scott, LLP which specializes in Estate Planning, Trust, Wills Probate, and business matters.


July 2014 Meeting

Being a Backpack Writer: Learn to Make Locations Live

Our July 8 speaker, Sarah Howery Hart, a VCWC member, magazine writer and murder mystery novelist, will share her experience in adding authenticity and impact to her work. Her workshop, “Backpack Writer” will include everything we need to know to be well prepared for fact checking, information gathering and absorbing the essence of setting. A comprehensive backpackworkbook will be included.

Have you ever gone to jail for the sake of perfecting the details of your story? Taken a stroll through a cathedral-style labyrinth? Hopped a 1950s prop plane to go explore a military island facility? Or slept all night on the floor of an outbound train?

Sarah has done all those things while working on her murder mysteries—Catch ’n Release: The Game and the sequel, Ring Master—and her magazine articles and short stories. She thoroughly enjoyed these experiences and many others, even jail. And, she says, the quality of her writing improved because of them.

Her career as a freelancer includes writing for publications such as The Writer magazine, the Alaska/Horizon Airlines inflight magazine, Ojai Quarterly, and Ventura County Star. Through those experiences and her past work as executive editor of the national magazine Your Wedding Day, Sarah discovered the joys and necessity of emerging from behind the desk to do research, conduct interviews, and even complete the writing itself “on location.” But working out of a backpack effectively and efficiently requires planning and strategy.  At our July 8 meeting, Sarah will reveal her secrets.

catchandreleaseHer tips include advice on:

  • What to pack, in addition to the usual writer’s gear, to enhance any type of writing. (Why should a nonsmoking writer bring a pack of matches? Why a small plastic ruler; why a flashlight and a travel pillow?)
  • How to pack it. (Why hang that small flashlight from a loop on the outside of your pack, rather than pack it inside?)
  • Which backpack is best? (Why finding the words “rip-stop nylon,” “military grade,” and even “water-repellent” on the label will become your goal, although we Southern Californians seldom see a drop of rain.)

Sarah will also share how becoming a “backpack writer” leads to more powerful writing, including the secrets to:

  • Determining exact locations to enhance fiction and nonfiction writing, and how your packed contents can facilitate having “good times,” regardless of the setting.
  • Using those strategically selected items to aid in writing descriptions that make readers believe they’re really there.
  • Using the six senses for crafting dynamic descriptions, and which backpack items can help you do that.
  • Writing higher quality interviews for nonfiction books and articles, and using your backpack items to find the even better “story behind the story.”

Sarah will conclude by discussing how being a “backpack writer” and getting out of the house to do the actual writing can also make writers better at their craft.


Page 1 of 4

New to the Club?

Check out our Member Benefits HERE

Website Guidebook HERE

Membership application HERE

Club Brochure HERE

Author Resource List

Members, Check out Patricia Fry's Resource List HERE!

And don't forget to check out our list of resources as well!

Member Directory

Paid Club Members, access our member directory HERE

Account creation temporarily unavailable

Existing site users, please log in to access your content and profile. NEW USERS: we are upgrading our systems and new-account creation will be disabled until Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Please check back then to create a new account. Thank you for your patience. 
Find Us on Facebook

Invitation from Ventura County Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate of Ventura County, Mary Kay Rummel, will have a book launch on October 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm in the Topping Room at the E.P. Foster Library at 651 East Main Street in Ventura


New Facebook Page

We have a new Facebook page! Remember, if you don't see our new logo like on our website, you're on the old Facebook page that is no longer updated.


Family Playwriting Contest

Express Theatre is looking for family-friendly scripts ranging from 25 to 60 minutes. Entry is free, early bird deadline in August 31.  More details available at their website.


Looking for Readers to Promote Your Book

Looking for readers to read your work?  Check out www.promocave.com, which helps link authors to readers and readers to brand new books.

Narrative Magazine's Contests

Check out Narrative's current contests and ways to submit your work!


Dark Heart of Poe

Dark Heart of Poe is being performed at the Elite Theatre in Oxnard and at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center this October.  If interested in group tickets, you can receive $10 tickets for a group of 9+ if reserved in advance.    Find out more about the show at www.darkheartofpoe.com

PIPW Workshops

Check out the latest workshops from Pacific Institute for Professional Writing


Lopopolo Literary Workshops

Enjoy a variety of workshops with Toni Lopopolo throughout Ventura County. For additional information, please email lopopolobooks@aol.com or call Toni at (215) 353-1151. She also has ooVoo workshops via webcam.


Comedy Writing Books for Sale

Two New Books are available for Pre-Order: Comedy Writing Self-Taught: The professional Skill-Building Course in Writing Stand-Up, Sketch and Situation Comedy By Gene Perret and Comedy Writing Self-Taught Workbook: More than 100 Practical Writing Exercises to Develop Your Comedy Writing Skills By Gene Perret and Linda Perret

Order Online at www.comedywritersroom.com/store.