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Past 2015 Events


Events and Activities for Southern California Writers

Writing Captivating Memoirs —Tips and Tools

Monday, September 28, 2015
7:30 to 9:15 p.m. (networking follows the program)

Thinking about writing the stories of your life? Wondering where to start? Or have you started but feel unclear about how to organize your writing? Looking for ideas to make your tales a better read? Are you a published author looking for help writing in memoir form?

We will discuss techniques that help enliven and enrich books of memoir, and tools to sharpen your writing and organization skills. We’ll help you move to the next level of your work.

We will discuss:

  • Tips on writing a memoir that even folks who are not your mother, or your kids, will savor
  • Detail derail: how much is too much, too little?
  • Themes and Structure: considering a variety of ways to hook your stories together to draw readers in
  • Dialog: adding life and spice to your stories
  • Character: ways to give dimension to the people in your life, by showing, not telling your reader about them
  • Marketing
  • Objective criticism
  • Mistakes and windfalls
  • And more!

Our stellar panel will include:

InaINA HILLEBRANDT is a writer, speaker, writing coach, and editor/publisher specializing in memoir. She also works with fiction, to help both new and published authors create books of their life stories — or flights of fancy — with flair, and fun.

Her work includes taking the written word onstage, and she is involved in developing film and TV projects, her own and students’. Ina’s experience includes 20+ years as a creative and communications consultant for Fortune 500 companies, and 15+ years writing/coaching clients and members of the public from a variety of countries and backgrounds.

Books Ina’s written include "How to Write Your Memoirs...Fun Prompts to Make Writing...and Reading …Your Life Stories a Pleasure!" The follow-up to “How To Write Your Memoirs,” the Toolbox Edition, will be out by spring 2016. Her first book, “Pawprints,” the book of close encounters of the furry kind, became an Amazon.com best seller, led to the Pawprints Literacy Plus™ program, and a curriculum guide for educators, “Pawprints — The Student Prints,” revised and reissued December 2012. A new edition is on the way, in eBook and print form, along with two other works in progress.

Books Ina has helped others develop and publish include the “Stories From The Heart” series, the second volume dubbed a top seller by Amazon.com; “Wine, Women, Whispers” by Alon Mintz; “Of Politics, Ladies and Bagels” by Gene Zahn; and other books of memoir and poetry.

Her website is: InaTheMemoirCoach.com

BarryBARRY FOX is an author, ghostwriter and editor of 60-plus memoirs and books in other genres, including New York Times bestsellers.

One of his early memoirs, “Diana & Dodi: A Love Story,” described the world-famous romance from Dodi Fayed’s butler’s point of view.

Barry’s other memoirs include looks at the lives of the President of Toys ‘R Us, the Chairman of a U.S. steel company, and an Italian physician who had some amazing — and frightening — adventures while tending to the injured and ill in Nigeria.

HIs website is: BarryFox.us

PAOLINA MILANA is the author of “The S Word,” a memoir about secrets...those a young girl coming of age in the middle of crazy does her best to keep — secrets about her mama's schizophrenia; secrets about her sexual awakening; secrets about her seduction that turns to rape; secrets about being the good Sicilian Catholic girl — so many secrets that silence and nearly suffocate her, until she finds the strength to save herself and to realize her own self-worth.

A former journalist for a major daily newspaper in Illinois, Paolina was born and raised in Chicago, and has made her living as a storyteller in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She is currently Chief Communications Officer for St. Baldrick's Foundation, the number one private funder of childhood cancer research. She currently lives on the edge of the Angeles National Forest in California, and she blogs at PaolinaMilana.com and welcomes the opportunity to share her stories with interested audiences.

BrettBRETT PAESEL is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, “Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs, and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Mom.” Her humorous essays have appeared in several collections including “Toddler,” “Behind the Bedroom Door,” “Lights, Action, Travel,” and “Afterbirth.”

She has been a contributing editor to three national magazines: Violet, Wondertime, and Parents. Her pieces have also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles, and Salon.com. In Hollywood, Brett has developed television shows for HBO, ABC, Fox, Comedy Central, WB, Nick at Nite, and Lifetime.

Before she became a writer, she was an actress who appeared most notably in the critically acclaimed sketch show, “Mr. Show with Bob and David” on HBO.

KateKATE ZENTALL Writer and editor of books and magazines in New York and Los Angeles for 25+ years. Senior editor at Buzz magazine, where she also wrote two weekly columns for Buzz Weekly; before that she wrote articles, reviews, profiles, and blurbs for Los Angeles, Westways, Bon Appetit, and other magazines.

Kate became Editorial Director at DisneyOnline, then joined FamilyFun.com, online presence of the successful Disney-owned magazine, as writer/producer; segued to Reunion[now MyLife].com as marketing communications manager, after which she created blogs and shopping guides for SHOP.com and did copywriting for eHarmony and other websites.

She is currently editing, shepherding, and rewriting personal memoirs, fiction, and trade nonfiction, as well as coaching professionals and students with personal statements.


Veterans Memorial Building
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, California
Parking entrance on Culver 
Corner of Culver Boulevard.
Map of location.
Parking is free.

Note: Wear layered clothing as the temperature in the room can vary.

IWOSC members - free

Non-members - $15

Reservations by email only.
Reservation deadline: space permitting, 5:00 p.m. Sunday, the day before the meeting.

To reserve:
Email the IWOSC office with "IWOSC Reservation" and the date or meeting month in the subject line.
Be sure to tell us your first name, your last name, a phone number, and whether you are a member or not.

Your name will be on a list at the check-in table.
For proof of your reservation, bring a printout of your email or show a smartphone version of your “sent” email or confirmation. Please arrive before 7:20 pm to be seated. Doors open to everyone at 7:20 p.m. and people will be admitted as space permits.

If you have a blocker such as Boxbe, be sure to add info(at-sign)iwosc.org to your OK list or you will never see your confirmation.

If you reserve and can not attend, please email our office to let us know.
For information call 310-773-8075.

Future IWOSC General Meeting/Panel Discussion

As a rule, IWOSC meetings are the 4th Monday of the month.
We don't hold meetings in August or December, opting for parties those months.

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Researching and Writing the Historical Novel
with Gerald Everett Jones

Saturday, July 18, 2015
10:30 am to 1:00 p.m.

The historical novel is one of the most popular genres in fiction. But writing one presents some special challenges. In this seminar Gerald Everett Jones uses his recent novel ‘Bonfire of the Vanderbilts” as a case study into the more than 15 years he spent trying to unravel the secrets hidden in Julius Stewart’s 1892 painting “The Baptism.” His searching included art history, unpublished scholars’ whitepapers, genealogy, steamship passenger records, Episcopal church history and archives, private memoirs and ephemera, oral history and even family rumors, image archives, rare book collections, and more.

In a slideshow with 100+ images, he will engage participants in an interactive process of observation for clues, running down leads, and formulating testable inferences – much of it from close inspection of details in the painting such as costume, tapestry, flora, architecture, religious practice, social custom, body language, likenesses, and painterly technique.

He will also cover how he built the collection of facts he found into a compelling fictional story — a paranoid thriller inspired by the plot of the movie “Gaslight.” All the problems of adaptation become involved, including engines of conflict, consolidation of multiple real persons into single dramatic characters, portrayals of living persons and institutions, fact checking, period environment and technology, plausibility, and relevance to today’s issues.

Participants will help answer:

  • What’s the difference between a historical situation and an inciting event in a narrative? How do you find the engine of drama?
  • If you’re not a professional historian, what research resources are available to you besides the public library? For example, how might it be possible to obtain information from rare book collections? Private papers? Family rumors?
  • When might it be advisable for an author to obtain life story rights for one or more characters?
    How is that done?
  • How does the characterization of historical figures, public figures, and living private persons differ for dramatic purposes?
  • How and why should researchers document their sources and findings? What types of permissions might apply to use of source material?
  • How do historical novels relate to present-day public interest and entertainment?
  • What are the literary precedents of the TV cable series, and how does this form of episodic drama lend itself to historical fiction? How might issues of rights and permissions affect the sale of the novel to movies or TV?

About our presenter, Gerald Everett Jones:

Gerald-Everett-JonesGERALD EVERETT JONES is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife — actress-comedienne, writer, and animal activist Georja Umano — and two Jack Russell Terrorists, Roxie and Romeo. “Bonfire of the Vanderbilts,” about an art scandal in 1890s Paris, is his sixth novel.

Before concentrating primarily on fiction, he authored, coauthored, or ghost-wrote more than thirty business and technical books, including “How to Lie with Charts.” That book has become a classic for college-level courses in business math, and Jones has conducted seminars on the topic of honesty in financial presentations.

He expounded on his notions of male-centered humor in his collection of short stories, “Boychik Lit,” which includes an essay in which he nominates novelist and poet Peter De Vries as the father of the genre. Jones authored the boychik-lit series of Rollo Hemphill’s comic misadventures: “My Inflatable Friend,” “Rubber Babes,” and “Farnsworth’s Revenge.” His next novel was “Mr. Ballpoint,” a father-son comedy based on the true story of the Pen Wars of 1945. “Christmas Karma” is his homage to Anne Tyler, about a dysfunctional Pasadena family that has to arrange a funeral and cope with uninvited guests during the holidays.

Jones is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatists Guild, Women’s National Book Association, and Film Independent (FIND), as well as a longtime member and past director of the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC). He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the College of Letters, Wesleyan University, where he studied under novelists Peter Boynton (“Stone Island”), F.D. Reeve (“The Red Machines”), and Jerzy Kozinski (“The Painted Bird,” “Being There”).

He blogs at Boychiklit.com. He is a top reviewer on Goodreads.com and hosts a regular book review segment on KRLA 870 AM radio in Los Angeles. His reviews are also published on the Web by Splash Magazines Worldwide.

Veterans Memorial Building
4117 Overland Avenue
Culver City, California
Corner of Culver Boulevard.
Parking entrance on Culver. Parking is free.

Wear layered clothing; the room is usually comfortable, but the temperature can vary.

IWOSC members: $15
Non-members: $35
If you pay for the meeting and decide to join that day, you will be credited for the member rate.

Reservations Required — Space is limited.
Reservation deadline: 5 p.m. the Friday before the seminar.

For further information you may phone 310-773-8075 or email the office.

Reservations are by email only.
Send your reservation email to the IWOSC office, info(at-sign)iwosc.org
When reserving:
Please write “IWOSC Reservation – [the date] seminar” in the subject line.
Provide your first name, your last name, a phone number, and let us know whether you are a member or not so we can accurately list you on our check-in sheet.

You will receive a confirming email from IWOSC, and your name will be on a list at check-in. For proof of your reservation, bring a printout of your email or show a Smartphone version of your “sent” email or confirmation. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. Please arrive by 10:20 a.m. to be assured a seat.

People without reservations will be admitted as space permits starting at 10:20 a.m.

If you have a blocker such as Boxbe, please add info(at-sign)iwosc.org to your OK list or you will never see your confirmations.

NOTE: If you reserve and can not attend, please email the IWOSC office (info(at-sign)iwosc.org) or (310) 773-8075 to let us know.


Future IWOSC Seminar/Workshops

As a rule, IWOSC seminars are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
We don't hold a seminar in August or December as those are our party months.


IWOSC's monthly drop-in satellite sessions are free and open to all writers — both members and non-members.
Bring your writing, your ideas, problems, questions, and complaints. Receive support, laughs, juicy controversy, and plenty of networking. And please support our hosts by purchasing snacks and other products.

Los Angeles Westside Satellite

Our Westside Satellite in Santa Monica serves writers from the Palisades south to LAX, and those in Culver City, Inglewood, Ladera Heights, Westwood--even Beverly Hills.

This Westside of Los Angeles Satellite meets the 2nd Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club in Santa Monica.

The July 9th meeting is a special presentation
Authorpreneur: Managing YOUR Publishing Business

Success in any business requires an entrepreneurial investment. Publishing is no different. For the writer, the decision to pursue traditional publication or publishing independently in not as simple as some suggest—not even the money equation. Author skills and track records are not equal—therefore the path which will produce the best quality for you and your brand must be an informed, individual choice. This workshop will explore the successful business model for you, once your finished—meticulously edited—manuscript is complete.

Darlene Quinn is an award-winning author and journalist from Long Beach, California. Her series of novels, Webs of Power, Webs of Fate, Twisted Webs, Unpredictable Webs and Conflicting Webs (released in 2015)have garnered International critical acclaim and have given her an avid fan base around the world.

Hosted by: Vickey Kalambakal

Next meetings:
No meeting in August due to summer holidays
Thursday, September 10
Thursday, October 8

Time: 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club
1210 4th Street
Santa Monica, California 90401

We alternate between reading our own work, listening to a speaker, or just going around the table asking questions, sharing gripes and discussing insights.

Parking: You can park for free in the small lot south of the Woman's Club, but due to other events, you may have to wait 10 minutes or so to retrieve your car afterward. Parking is also available in the city lot next door; the first 90 minutes are free.

Admission: There is a fee of $3 per meeting. This fee is donated to a charity.

RSVPs are appreciated, but not necessary.
Please email Vickey with your RSVPs or questions.

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Los Angeles Pasadena/Altadena Satellite

IWOSC's Altadena/Pasadena Satellite includes writers from the San Gabriel Valley (Arcadia, Monrovia, and points East); Glendale, Montrose, Eagle Rock and points South; and La Canada, La Crescenta, Tujunga, Sunland, and points West; but we welcome anyone who is willing to face Friday morning traffic to get to the Coffee Gallery in Altadena.

We meet the 2nd Friday of the month at Coffee Gallery.

Hosted by: Jane Neff Rollins

Next meetings:
Friday, August 14
Friday, September 11
Friday, October 9
Friday, November 13
Friday, December 11

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Coffee Gallery
2029 N. Lake Avenue
Altadena, California 91001

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.
However, we'd like you to purchase coffee or a snack in support of our host.

For more information about this satellite,
write to Jane Neff Rollins or call her at (818) 957-3405.

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Los Angeles West San Fernando Valley (Woodland Hills/SFV) Satellite

IWOSC's San Fernando Valley Satellite meets in Sherman Oaks (pretty much) each 2nd Wednesday. If you live in the area or just happen to be around at meeting time, come join Sylvia and fellow scribes in a free-flowing exchange of ideas about their work and the writing business.

Hosted by: Sylvia Cary

Next meetings:
Wednesday, August 12
Wednesday, September 9
Wednesday, October 14

Time: 10:15 to noon

Crown Books at the Promenade
6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd Suite 1340
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Free parking in the shopping center

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.

For any questions write to Sylvia Cary.

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Los Angeles South Bay Satellite

IWOSC's South Bay Satellite is for writers from LAX south to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and even Long Beach, and from Torrance, Gardena and Carson west to Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach. If you are a writer who lives or works anywhere in California's South Bay area — or would like to make the trip to attend — we welcome you to this independent writers satellite group.

We meet on the third Tuesday of each month.

Hosted by: Barbie Herrera (with thanks to Joan Rodman for her years of greatleadership and coordinaion)

Next meetings:
Tuesday, August 18
Tuesday, September 15
Tuesday, October 20

10:00 a.m.

Marmalade Cafe in El Segundo
2014 Park Place
(just east of PCH, a block north of Rosecrans)
El Segundo, California

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.

If you have any questions/suggestions about this satellite, please write to: Barbie Herrera, BarbsArt at RoadRunner.com

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Orange County Satellite

Centrally located in Tustin, IWOSC’s Orange County Satellite serves writers from as far south as San Clemente and Mission Viejo, west to Newport and Huntington Beach, north to Fullerton and Brea, and Orange, Yorba Linda, and Anaheim Hills to the east. We invite you to come meet and share wtih fellow scribes.

This group meets the first Wednesday of every month in the evening, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m at Zito’s Bar and Grill.

Hosted by: Andrea Ring

Next meetings:
Wednesday, August 5
Wednesday, September 2
Wednesday, October 7
Wednesday, November 4
Wednesday, December 2

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Location — new:
Zito’s Bar and Grill
17320 17th St.
Tustin, CA 92780

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members. Food/beverage purchase is not required, but in appreciation of our restaurant host, it is suggested. If you’re going to order food, please arrive early so you can order and get your food before the meeting starts.

Reservations are not required, but a quick email to Andrea letting her know you’re coming would be appreciated. Contact her at aring633 at gmail.com.

The group aslo has its own web page at IWOSCOC.weebly.com.

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Ventura County Satellite (Thousand Oaks)

IWOSC's Ventura County satellite enables writers to meet monthly. It has been meeting every 2nd Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Linda Parks, County of Ventura Board of Supervisor, Second District Office at 625 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360. However, any of these details may change in October.

Hosted by: Sharon Schnell.

Next meetings:
This satellite will be on hiatus until October. Please check back for details closer to October. In the interim, and always, you are welcome to attend the Woodland Hills satellite or any others.

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.


It’s IWOSC’s Summer Party!
And you’re invited!

This summer season we'll again enjoy the hospitality of CBS Studios in Studio City.


Wine, dine and socialize with fellow writers and guests!

Two years ago our summer party at CBS Studio City was such a hit that we’ve decided to return!

IWOSC writer's group party foodRemember that fabulous buffet? We’re doing it again! A scrumptious buffet dinner at Carla's Cafe, the creative studio restaurant (yes, it's air-conditioned), catered by D’Elegance, including a selection of salads, several delicious main dishes (including meatless), sides and desserts, along with all your favorite hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages, plus no-host wine and beer bar.

You’ll have an opportunity to see the sights of the studio lot, and celebrate IWOSC and each other with presentations and great prizes! Meet IWOSC’s board and officers. Surprises await!

OMarianne MuellerleileK... we'll give.
One of our special surprises is
that we will be joined by Marianne Muellerleile a fabulous actress you may not know by name but may well recognize from her varied roles on myriad shows. Perhaps you'll recognize her as Connie, her character on Mike & Molly, or for her recurring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun, shot at Radford. Did you know Passions was shot at Radford? Marianne does! She had a unique (hint, much much shorter, role in The Terminator as well. :)

Marianne knows CBS Radford from the inside — and she's coming to join a tour and to later regale you with some of her personal stories as you enjoy desert!

You can also get to know Marianne beforehand at her Facebook fan pageor at IMDB.

Optional 30-minute studio walking tour:
Departs from Carla’s Café at 5:10 p.m. sharp. You’ll be back in time for dinner at 6:00.

Saturday, August 8, 2015
5:00 - 8:00 p.m

4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604
(Near Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevards.)

CBS also provides directions here.

Parking: Free!

Enter at the main gate on Radford.
Note: You will need to provide a photo ID to gain entrance to the lot and you must be on the reservation list.
You will be directed to Carla’s Café and where to park.

Important note: We are guests of the studio. Please come directly to Carla's Cafe and don't wander around by yourself.

We must also respect and follow their policy of no photo-taking on the lot.

Reservations are now closed
See you at the party! Reserve and pay now!

For information or questions: (310) 773-8075 or info at iwosc dot org


We are excited to start announcing some of the door prizes you may win.
(Each prize is one that I have hand-selected because I know how fabulous they are and I hate being without them. ~Deb, IWOSC webmaster and prize-getter.)

TypeIt4MeTypeIt4Me — for Macintosh

TypeIt4Me is the must-have typing efficiency tool for Macintosh users. It saves you time and ensures consistency.
Visit the site to see!

Default FolderDefault Folder — for Macintosh

It is so much easier to save to the correct folder get to your favorite folders with Default Folder. Watch the Screencast here to see!

1Password1Password — for Macintosh or Windows

Secure passwords are a must, and they are a real pain. Unless you have a safe, secure, and incredibly convenient way to create, store and access them.
Watch the video here to see!


iRig MIC Cast iRig MIC Cast

  • Because as we've learned in IWOSC seminars, we should know how to read our words aloud.
  • Because we may be doing interviews.
  • Becuase it's so handy and easy to use.

Learn more in the product page.

(This is one of the two mics I use to record Computer Talk Radio as I travel the world. ~Deb, webmaster and prize-getter.)

Cables and other surprises by and from RadTech

RadTech logoRadTech makes, well rad tech! Some of the finest computer cables and other computer related tech stuff around. They also resell hand-picked items they find to be excellent. Two years ago attendees loved winning their iPhone cables and we're lucky enough to have their support again.



IWOSC Reads Its Own — Everyone is invited!

Sunday, August 9
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.


Come hear some of IWOSC’s talented member writers as they read excerpts from their work. Published, not yet published, in progress... Be regaled with their wit, have your emotions stirred, or be plunged into deep thought.

ReadersCo-chaired by Pam Lane and Ruth Frechman.
Scheduled readers (not in order of appearance):

Robin Selznick Hoffman
Andrea L. Simpson
G.L. Helm
Zoracious D. Cree
Sunny Hilden
Eleanor Brownn
Flo Selfman
Marvin Wolf
Susan Ziedler
Bo Kyung Kim
Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin
Daniel C. Lavery
Gerald Everett Jones
Lisa-Catherine Cohen
P.M. DeVuono

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California 91101

There is plenty of parking on Colorado and neighboring streets.


You can read about it at Hometown Pasadena online too.

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Some of Our Past Events

Wondering what other events and types of events we've had?

Past 2006 events ~ Past 2007 events ~ Past 2008 events ~ Past 2009 events ~ Past 2010 events
Past 2011 events ~ Past 2012 events ~ Past 2013 events ~ Past 2014 events ~ Past 2015 events