By DOANE YAWGER
Encouraging one another and learning new tricks of the trade are among the perks of membership in the emerging San Joaquin Valley Branch of the California Writers Club.
The 32-member group first met in October 2015 in the Community Room of the University of the Pacific Library in Stockton. When they reached the 30 members required to apply to the statewide club, they applied and were granted their charter last January.
Writing instructors Scott Evans of UOP and June Gillam of San Joaquin Delta College launched the group, which meets the second Saturday of the month from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the UOP library.
Giillam says 17 of the 32 members have been published and the other 15 are aspiring authors. The state organization requires all branches to have a majority of members be published and others seriously working toward publication, along with professionals and members of the general public.
Gillam, founding member and the group’s secretary, said San Joaquin writers have attained various skills levels and are involved in writing all sorts of genres including plays and radio scripts.
At the club meetings, there generally is a short welcome by Evans and then a 30-minute presentation by a guest speaker. This is followed by a break so members can chat with the speaker, buy books and get them signed. Then there are announcements from members as to their accomplishments over the past month, such as publishing releases and awards. After that a short business meeting, the meeting adjourns and small manuscript critique groups meet until about 4:30 p.m.
Gillam said the valley group has yet to publish an anthology but hopes to do so in the future. The club sponsors the annual Creative Writing Conference at UOP and has a Facebook page for announcements,
Member John Britto said while he has yet to sign with an agent, he is writing his third novel.
“What I enjoy most about belonging to the San Joaquin Valley Writers group is the opportunity to discover the tricks and techniques that other writers generously share. Going forward, I can envision an organization that will offer assistance to all writers…from beginners to seasoned, published authors,” Britto said.
Daniel Hobbs of Tracy, writing as Ben Leiter, has written the memoir “City Management Snapshots: On the Run,” a romance-noir entitled “Baby Boomers’ Love Betrayal” and a political religious thriller called “God’s Betrayal: The Credo.”
Hobbs has also written several short stories and more than 50 articles on medium.com.
Hobbs said he appreciates the dedicated writing community which is helpful to each other in building their craft and wishing success for each member. He would like to see more members including young writers and new writers, along with published writers.
The California Writers Club, incorporated in 1913, exists to encourage writers by helping them find resources and connecting them with fellow writers who mentor and support them. The state group includes authors with multiple book contracts from major New York publishers to those who say they have always wanted to write.
— Doane Yawger of Merced is a semi-retired newspaper reporter and editor.