Past Events


Events and Activities for Southern California Writers

Note: The summer party announced for August 23 will not take place.
Stay tuned later in the year for notice of our annual holiday party.

GENERAL MEETING/ Panel Discussion
WRITING FICTION: The Process and The Business

Monday, July 28, 2014
7:30 to 9:15 p.m. (networking follows the program)

Many of us have short stories or novels either inside us, in the works, or already published. The world of fiction can be confusing with all of the needed time, artistic, and mechanical decisions.

We have assembled a panel of veterans who have successfully navigated the fiction wars. They will share the ups, downs, secrets, and machinations of writing and selling fiction.

What makes good fiction? How do you create meaningful characters and situations? How do you create fiction out of nonfiction and protecting yourself from real people recognizing themselves. How do you keep track of it all?

We will discuss these topics and more, time permitting, including: how and where our panelists write; how they deal with writer’s block; research avenues and legal considerations; deadlines; editing; copyrights and protecting your work; getting published; agents; literary organizations and workshops…plus audience questions.

Panelists: Writer-author-teacher Nancy Ellen Dodd; freelance writer-author-blogger Gerald Everett Jones; literary agent Toni Lopopolo; and author-screenwriter Marvin J. Wolf. Moderator: author-teacher-editor-consultant Shelly Lowenkopf. (Panel bios below.)

Our moderator:

ShellySHELLY LOWENKOPF has held major editorial positions with general trade, mass market paperback, literary, and scholarly book publishers in addition to executive editorial participation in special interest, literary, and genre fiction magazines for Sherbourne Press, Dell Publishing, Clio Books, Ross-Erickson, and Capra Press. He has seen over 700 book projects and hundreds of short story and essay through the publishing process.

Currently a freelance consultant and teacher. Lowenkopf taught courses in short story, novel, dramatic writing, editing, genre fiction, and revision at the graduate level at USC, where he was given a Lifetime Teaching Award.

He is a past regional president of the Mystery Writers of America; his book reviews have appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, The National Catholic Reporter, The Los Angeles Times, Publishers’ Weekly, and many more.

Lowenkopf has had over 35 books published, along with short fiction, pulp novels, essays and reviews. His most recent book, “The Fiction Writer’s Companion” (available on Amazon), is a guide to terms, concepts, and forms related to storytelling.

Our Panelists:

NancyNANCY ELLEN DODD teaches advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine University and is academic editor of an online peer-reviewed journal at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School. She has studied most forms of writing for more than 25 years and earned two master’s degrees from USC in professional writing and playwriting. Dodd has received numerous awards for her writing, which includes screenplays, plays, short stories, short films, and novel-length manuscripts, as well as inspirational writing. Dodd’s journalistic career includes publishing more than 130 articles in local and national publications, including interviews with celebrities and business leaders. She has served as editor of print and online publications. She is the author of “The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages, published by Writer’s Digest.

GeraldGERALD EVERETT JONES is a freelance writer and sometime technologist. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatists Guild, and Film Independent (FIND), as well as a past director of the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC).

Gerald is the author of the Rollo Hemphill Misadventures series of comic novels, including the recently released “Farnsworth's Revenge,” a political satire which reviewers have compared to “Confederacy of Dunces.”

“Mr. Ballpoint,” to be released in September, is his fourth novel. Written for general audiences, it tells how an outrageous huckster brought on the “Pen Wars” of 1945.

Gerald 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”). Gerald blogs about male-centered comic fiction at BoychikLit.com.

ToniTONI LOPOPOLO Literary Management was founded in 1991 by Toni Lopopolo, who boasts an impressive 30+ years in the book publishing business.

This former executive editor at Macmillan and then St. Martin’s Press combines her many years in publishing with unique editing skills to provide a full service literary agency to new and seasoned authors.

Toni Lopopolo Literary Management partners with authors for the duration of their literary careers and includes development of fiction projects, creation of nonfiction book proposals, and editing when needed.

Toni has helped bring many first-time and published authors to print including Sol Stein, Lee Silber, Lillian Glass, Steve Duno, Nancy Baer, Flo Fitzgerald, Judith Smith-Levin, Howard Olgin, Jeanette Baker, Larry Seeley, Shelly Lowenkopf, Robin Winter, Ehrich Van Lowe, Manuel Ramos, and many others. Publishers include St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, Crown, Dell, HarperCollins, Kensington, and many others. Toni Lopopolo Literary Management provides a high level of service by limiting the number of clients represented but always searching for select new talent and established authors who seek a more personalized relationship with an agent.

MarvinMARVIN J. WOLF has written professionally since 1965. He has authored, co-authored or ghosted 15 nonfiction books and three novels, and his reporting and photographs have appeared in periodicals around the world.

A charter member of IWOSC, Wolf served four terms as president. His most recent novel is “For Whom The Shofar Blows,” a Rabbi Ben Mystery.

In partnership with veteran screenwriter Larry Mintz, Wolf took up screenwriting in 2001 and is a member of the Writer's Guild of America. Their script “Ladies Night,” based on a chapter in Wolf's 1988 book "Platinum Crime," aired in February 2005 on the USA Cable Network, as did “The Pierre Heist,” based on another Wolf book; Wolf and Mintz served as creative consultants.

Wolf's books include “Buddha's Child”(St. Martin's, 2002), the wartime memoirs of former South Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky’ “Where White Men Fear To Tread “(St. Martin's, 1995), the autobiography of Native American activist and film actor Russell Means; “Beating The Odds” (Scribner's, 1991), the life story of ABC Television founder Leonard Goldenson; and several true-crime anthologies, including “Fallen Angels: Chronicles of Los Angeles Crime and Mystery” (Ballantine, 1986), long considered a minor classic of its genre.

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, 12:00 noon on Monday, the day of the meeting.

To reserve:
Email the IWOSC office with "IWOSC Reservation" 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 Meetings

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.

Back to top

Stacie Chaiken’s “What’s the Story?” Workshop

Saturday, July 12, 2014
10:30 am to 1:00 p.m.

Stacie Chaiken’s What’s the Story? workshop is for artists who are wrestling with personal (not necessarily autobiographical) story, for any genre.

It’s not about "what happened"; it’s about what you want to say, and why.

What’s the Story? is an exercise in empathy, an innovative group-process approach to selecting into the morass of information that is our lives.

Please bring a page of brand new writing about something that means a lot to you. If you have a project in mind or in-progress, you might bring a page of new writing about that project. What’s important is that the writing you bring be new and immediate; it does not have to be polished or good.

“Stacie has the touch of a magician in her ability to extract the very best from her students. She is unwaveringly supportive and has a keen eye and ear for ‘what works’ dramatically.” –student comment

Our Presenter:
Writer-performer STACIE CHAIKEN is the founder and artistic director of LA-based What’s The Story? -- a workshop for artists wrestling with personal story for the stage and the page. Chaiken was on the faculty of the USC School of Theatre, and is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in the field of Performance and Story. She recently served as the International Creative Director for the twentieth commemoration of the genocide in Rwanda.

Chaiken is the creator of solo plays including “The Dig: death, Genesis & the double helix,” “Looking for Louie,” and “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Her printed work includes “The Poet,” “A Valley Girl Midrash,” and “A Wish Book.” As a performer, Chaiken has appeared on television and film, in plays on- and
off-Broadway, and in theatres throughout the US and abroad.

Stacie's websites are:
StacieChaiken.com and WhatsTheStoryLA.com

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 email to the IWOSC office, info(at-sign)iwosc.org
When reserving:
Please write “IWOSC Reservation” 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.

For proof of your reservation, bring a printout of your email or show a smartphone version of your “sent” email or confirmation.

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 to let us know.


Future IWOSC Seminar and 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.

Pasadena/Altadena Satellite

IWOSC's Pasadena/Altadena Satellite meets the 2nd Friday of the month at Coffee Gallery. This is a joint meeting of our IWOSC Pasadena Satellite and the Alameda Writers Group Special Interest Group (SIG).

Hosted by: Jane Neff Rollins

Next meetings:
Friday, August 8
Friday, September 12
Friday, October 10
Friday, November 14
Friday, December 13

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.

 Back to top

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 13
Wednesday, September 10
Wednesday, October 8
Wednesday, November 12
Wednesday, December 10

Time: 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.

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.

Back to top


Ventura County Satellite (Thousand Oaks)

IWOSC's Ventura County satellite meets the 2nd Thursday at 10 a.m. at Linda Parks, County of Ventura Board of Supervisor, Second District Office at 625 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, 91360

Hosted by: Sharon Schnell.

Next meetings:
Thursday, August 14
Thursday, September 11
Thursday, October 9
Thursday, November 13
No meeting in December

Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.

Linda Parks, County of Ventura Board of Supervisor, Second District Office
625 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, California 91360

Back to top


Westside Satellite

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

Hosted by: Vickey Kalambakal

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

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.

Back to top

Orange County Satellite

IWOSC's Orange County Satellite meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Tustin Library.

Hosted by: Peter Jessup
(with continued thanks to Kurt Bensworth for starting this group)

Next meetings:
Thursday, August 21— Sorry, we had to cancel this meeting this month
Thursday, September 18
No meeting October
Thursday, November 20

Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

Tustin Library
345 E. Main Street
Tustin, California

Free to both IWOSC members and non-members.

If you have any questions about this satellite,
you may email Peter by writing to PeterJessup at hotmail (dot)com.

Back to top

South Bay Satellite

IWOSC's new South Bay Satellite is for writers who live or work south of Culver City. This South Bay area extends from the Pacific to Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, and the book loving towns of Torrance, Gardena and Lomita. Gutsy travelers from San Pedro and Long Beach are more than welcome.

The South Bay Satellite of IWOSC will meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 10a.m. at the Marmalade Cafe in El Segundo: 2014 Park Place. (just east of PCH, a block north of Rosecrans)

Hosted by: Joan Rodman

Next meetings:
Tuesday, August 19
Tuesday, September 16
Tuesday, October 21
Tuesday, November 18
Tuesday, December 16

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: Joan Rodman, writeratwork@yahoo.com

Back to top

IWOSC Reads Its Own — Everyone is invited!

Twice a  year IWOSC holds this special FREE event — a spellbinding  afternoon of eclectic, eccentric, and exemplary works — from poems to true  stories to hilarious monologues and beyond, read aloud by distinguished IWOSC  scribes. Fourteen of IWOSC’s talented member writers will read short excerpts  from their work.  Their selections may be published, unpublished, or works  in progress.

On August 3rd we were regaled with their wit, had our emotions stirred, and plunged into deep thought, at the beautiful independent bookstore, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California.

IWOSC  members who read on August 3:
Mark Miller,
Maryrose Smyth,
Karen Kondazian,
Flo Selfman,
Peter Conway,
Erana Leiken, 
Gagik Melikyan,
Adolphus Ward,
Janiss Garza,
Daniel Lavery,
Vickey Kall,
Gary Young,
Bo Kyung Kim,
and Jon Chandonnet.

Sunday, August 3, 2014
2 to 4 p.m.

Free. The public is welcome. Do join us  and bring friends and family. 
No reservations necessary.

In  fact, why not make a day of it?  There’s so much to do in Pasadena! 

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

There is plenty of parking on Colorado and neighboring streets.


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