Janis Lukstein - Moderator
A Southwest Manuscripters’ Writers Program
with Janis Lukstein - Moderator
K.C. Johnson - “Peace Song”
Alan Cook - “Personal Thanksgivings”
Bernadette Shih - “Song of Life” - a memoir
Ildy Lee - playing the guitar and singing love lyrics
Quiana Beco - “Ladies, We Must Stay Strong” from “Day to Day Dealings”
Daniel Lambert and wife Anhthao Bui - “Love Adventure”
Janis Albright Lukstein - “We’re Sisters”
The following is our selection of nine poets including a singer/guitarist to share their delightful poetry with you amid our Thanksgiving season. These poets have been widely published in anthologies, appeared in local newspapers, poetry journals, online blogs, and books.
* Alan Cook and Janis Albright Lukstein followed their family poets and wrote poems honoring special members on certain days. Alan will delight us with “Personal Thanksgivings” plus his poetic book about his grandsons in ancient Greece in his Dancing with Bulls. Alan Cook has written many mystery novels and his writings in The Daily Breeze “My Turn” have delighted readers.
* Quiana Beco will share, support, and inspire other women as they go through health battles. Quiana is a cheerleader in her book Day To Day Dealings reading “Ladies, We Must Stay Strong” - Hey ladies, come on, wear that beautiful bright smile. Let’s work together to overcome those obstacles that may last a while.
* Faith Goldman’s “The Widows Three” reveals the bond of women who share their lives before and after their husbands passed in the 1990’s. Their friendship has continued for many years since they are “connected at the hip.” Even though this is her only poem, Faith feels that this is her most cathartic writing.
* Bernadette Shih will read from her “Song of Life” which is a memoir of her life with a graceful Chinese touch. Her “Ling, Ling,” is a very happy panda bear book.
* K.C. Johnson’s poem “Peace Song” is a memoir of her mother and a collage of other strong, assertive, courageous women. K.C. was the editor of the Surfwriters Anthology The Writing Game and a playwright with the Surfwriters.
* Our songwriter, guitarist Ildy Lee will delight us with her love songs and the very special poem “Ray Bradbury’s Sweet Kiss” “And before we parted, his fans could take a peek, As Ray deposited a light kiss on my cheek. A goodbye kiss so tender, not an act of folly, Much sweeter than the one from Salvador Dali.” from her book Summer in Italy.
Ildy produces her own multilingual international Morning show and is the editor of our SWM anthology “When Words Collide.”
* Our married poetry team of Daniel Lambert and Anhthao Bui will perform a duet of correspondence poems they exchanged in the years leading up to their marriage from Love Adventure. “Yin Yang: Creative Harmony” is about maintaining harmony in our creative lives.
Daniel Lambert is a published university teacher at CSULA and East LA College, who also teaches online Literature courses.
We’ll enjoy the rich poetry of our local poets on this special Joyful Thanksgiving presentation.
Note: This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS will be on: Saturday, Nov. 4th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the PV Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates. Try parking on the roof as the 2nd floor parking is usually packed. Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Janis Lukstein is the poetry club liaison at (310) 375-8160 or Calkeypals@aol.com
Don't forget! Short Story Contest Entries are due by the Nov. 4th Meeting! - See Below...
Barbra Simpson, Contest Chair
Betty Simmons Short Story Fiction Contest
Deadline: Nov. 4th, 2017 SWM meeting.
Contest Chair: Barbra Simpson
1. Contest is limited to SWM members only.
2. Four dollars non-refundable fee for each entry. Cash or check OK. One check can cover multiple entries. Make check payable to Southwest Manuscripters and bring to the meeting or send to the SWM Contest, 872 - Fifth Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
3. Maximum three entries per person. In keeping with the purpose of the SWM to encourage writers, especially new writers, only previously unpublished material is allowed. That means not seen in any medium (book, newsletter, magazine, newspaper, internet) with circulation of more than 200 readers. Rule of Thumb: If a judge may already have seen your entry, it is ineligible.
4. Print four (4) copies of your entries, one per each judge. Article entries must be double-spaced... but single-sided, with an easy-to-read typeface, and legible. If the entry can't be read, it can't be judged. [Note: Times-Roman or Courier 12 is standard.]
5. Note word count on page one (max 2,000). Do NOT put personal info on the pages.
6. Entrant's name may not appear anywhere on the entry. Put NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE and TITLE of entry as you would like to see them on award on a 3x5 card. You may also indicate intended market (e.g., children's magazine, sci-fi magazine).
7. Although the contest has four judges, no judge is obliged to provide a written critique.
8. Awards will be presented at the SWM meeting in the month following the contest deadline. Winners of more than one top award will receive one certification for the highest scoring entry and honorable mention for any others. In case of a tie for a top award, each individual entrant will receive the same award.
9. Members who wish their entries to be published in The Write Stuff, may forward their entries, winning or not, after the contest, to Southwest Manuscripters, TWS Editor:
10. Entries that do not comply with the above rules will be rejected and the entry fee will be forfeit.
Give entries, checks and cards to the Contest Chair or mail them to: SWM Contest, 872 - Fifth Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 or bring to the Nov. 4th, 2017 SWM Meeting (or before). Do NOT mail entries to the Editor or to the SWM P.O. Box.
Basically what the above is saying:
A) Submit 4 (four) copies of your work, without any personal info on the sheets, just the title.
B) At the same time, include a card or paper with title and your personal info.
C) Send them to or give to Barbra at the above address or at the next meeting along with your check or cash.
D) Pick up your award at the following meeting.
It's a Mystery to Me: the Art and Craft of Writing the Mystery Story
Successful fiction writing, of mysteries or anything else, is one of the hardest forms of self-abuse ever devised. the ancient bards had years decades to devise one tale, and often it took several of them in succession, and perhaps a couple of hundred years, to perfect it. Today's fictioneers are expected to knock off a novel every year or so, and lard their output with short stories, essays, and commentary. But the passage of millennia has not made the task any easier. When someone asked Raymond Chandler how he wrote, he said, "I stick a fresh piece of paper in the typewriter and stare at it until blood forms on my forehead." Famed short story writer Jorge Luis Borges put it this way: "Every writer hates writing, but loves having written." And that indeed is the way it is with most of us no matter how long we've been writing or how successful we are. Writing remains the most difficult job we know, but having written, seeing that short story in the magazine or that novel on the bookstore shelf, is the most satisfying feeling in the world. And when you become professional enough to eke out a living through your pen (that's known as a metaphor, unless you still write with a pen, in which case it isn't), you wouldn't, as the song goes, trade it for a sack of gold.
The author of over 30 novels and non-fiction books, Michael Kurland has been nominated for two Edgars and an American Book Award. His books have been translated into over a dozen different languages and have been selections in the History Book Club, the Science Fiction Book Club, the Young Adult Literary Guild, the Military Book Club, and a couple of others. His early novel, The Unicorn Girl, along with Chester Anderson's The Butterfly Kid and TA Waters' The Probability Pad have become fantasy cult classics known collectively as the Greenwich Village trilogy, or more informally as "The Buttercorn Pad." He lives in San Luis Obispo with his partner, attorney and novelist Linda Robertson, a dog, a cat, and an occasional raccoon.
Note: This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, will be on: Saturday, Oct. 7th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the PV Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates. Try parking on the roof, as the 2nd floor parking is usually packed. Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or email@example.com for further information.
Tales from a Writing Couple"
"Yin Yang" has been defined as "the concept of duality forming a whole." Writing couple Anhthao Bui and Dan Lambert will speak to the Southwest Manuscripters about maintaining harmony in our creative lives. Their new book, Love Adventure, is their first literary collaboration. It is a collection of poetic correspondence (about love, doubt, passion, frustration, and jealousy) they exchanged in the years leading up to their marriage.
Daniel E. Lambert teaches English at California State University Los Angeles and East Los Angeles College. He also teaches online Literature courses for Colorado Technical University. His writing appears in Silver Apples, Easy Reader, Other Worlds, Wrapped in Plastic and The Daily Breeze. His work also appears in the anthologies When Words Collide, Flash It, Daily Flash 2012, Daily Frights 2012, An Island of Egrets and Timeless Voices. Love and Other Diversions (his poetry collection) and Mere Anarchy (his fiction collection) are available through Amazon.com.
Anhthao Bui is a Vietnamese-American author and educator who lived in San Jose, California before moving to Los Angeles. Yellow Flower is her collection of poetry. Fish Sauce, her second collection, is a memoir about Vietnam and the United States. Both books are available through Amazon.com. She writes about society, culture, and politics.
Read Anhthao Bui's poetry at:
The Southwest Manuscripters Club Picnic will be on Saturday August 5th, from 2 to 5pm. at Judy Sunderland's house, in Torrance.
You ARE the programme, there will be Showcase readings by members, presented and moderated by our own President,Carol Sperling.
The address and a map are in the SWM Newsletter, "The Write Stuff!" or ask when you call to RSVP.
You may bring books to exchange or sell. . It is, as usual, potluck, bring something to share. Alcohol is welcomed, as well. Youngsters, who are not paid members, are not invited, as the home is not set up for entertaining children. Contact Carol Sperling at (310) 676-7494 if you want to read something. Bring a lawn or camping chair, if you have it.
Please! This event is only open to SWM Members and guests of Judy... However, if you wish to attend and are not a member, feel free to come and register/become a member at the event. (See Carol)
Please co-ordinate and RSVP to Judy at (310) 793-9093, but preferably by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
“And They Look like Such a Normal Family!”
Carol (our SWM president) often reminds us that she is not an author. That may be true as far as publishing her own work goes, but she has been a writer all of her life: From itemized reports of operations and automobile accidents while doing medical billing, to the accident reports themselves as a claims adjuster for the AAA; from classified materials on the first Manned Orbiting Laboratory to almost 40 years with the satellite divisions of Hughes Aircraft and Boeing – not to mention Northrop and Rockwell; and lastly from the Publications Reference Librarian for the Los Angeles Air Force Station to cataloguing paperwork for Project Blue Book (reports and drawings of alien – or extraterrestrial - sightings and abductions that were actively vetted during the 1950s & 60s).
What Carol does confirm is that she is a storyteller. Because she has an extensive background in music and the arts as a youth, and interesting jobs as she got older, she encountered a lot of rare and unusual circumstances. She met with both the French and Japanese aerospace groups and, while with the Air Force, was cited (not in a good way) for wearing her skirts too tight and too short – and for moonlighting as a “go-go” dancer. Other authors who have reached “writer’s block” often talk to her at length in order to spark new and innovative ideas and storylines.
Not only will Carol be sharing these tales with us but also those of her family – including a “firewalk” over glowing coals, a psychic who was “right on,” a rape in a courthouse elevator, the meeting of a rattlesnake and her 5-year old son, the meeting of Billy-the-Kid and her grandfather, and many more.
Just sit back and enjoy…
This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, will be on: Saturday, July 8th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the PV Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates - Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or email@example.com for further information.
SWM Guest Speaker for Saturday, June 3, 2017
She taught at the National Child Research Center in Washington, D.C. for six months and started the first Kindergarten private school in Kathmandu, converting it to the International Elementary School, which closed after thirty-five years. She was principal and owner of the school. Her sisters took over the school when she joined her husband, an United Nations diplomat. Pramila was on UN assignment to Vienna, Austria for six years, UN assignment to New York for seventeen years and UN assignment to Beijing, China for three years.
As an elementary teacher, she taught at the United Nations School for six years in Manhattan, moved to Hackley (private) School in Tarrytown in Westchester and taught for eight years, and taught at the International School in Beijing for three years.
Her husband retired and relocated to Los Angeles, where she was principal of a private school, Oakwood Academy, in Long Beach for nine years. She then resigned to attend creative writing classes at UCLA. Pramila completed a correspondence writing course of eighteen months with the Institute of Children’s Literature.
She is the author of “Family Secrets,” “Two In One,” “Shadows Of Wealth” and the “Nepali Cookbook.” She held cooking classes for a group of twenty women for six months.
Pramila has written several education materials, and given teachers’ workshops. Macmillan has published some of her lesson plans for their class books. Last September, Palos Verdes Library recognized her as a local author allowing her to participate in their book fair, where she sponsored a demonstration of the art of Nepali cooking. Eighty people attended the cooking demonstration.
In February of 2017, the Redondo Beach Library sponsored all of her books for a book signing. There were fifty people attending. All of the libraries have her books on their shelves. Pramila has done some book signings in reading groups as well as being invited to The Surfwriters and the Southwest Manuscripters group to be their guest speaker.
She has two sons, both of which are eye doctors, and two daughters-in-law who are also doctors. Pramila has three granddaughters who are high achievers and one of them at the age of ten wrote a children’s book, “Sky’s The Limit.”
You can find her books on Amazon, except for the cookbook, search for “Alexis Dugel.”
She says, “Passionate about being an author from third grade, I kept this dream alive although, it took me so long to get there. I write with confidence as I feel enlightened. I wish for my readers to be enlightened too, to share my ideas and to experience a different prospect of how family dynamics change in various situations, yet they survive. Without an agent, I self-promote. I have a good editor who herself is an author. So far, I have done very well.”
This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, a Writers Club, ongoing since 1949, will be open to the public on: Saturday, June 3rd, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates
Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
SWM Meeting Times & Dates for 2017
June 3rd, 2-4:00pm
July 8th, 2-4:00pm
August TBD - Picnic
September 9th, 2-4pm
October 7th, 2-4:00pm
November 4th, 2-4:00pm
December, Holiday Party
In his own words, “I like to tell people that I am retired from two biblical professions: minister and tax collector. As a Presbyterian minister I served multiple churches in California, Colorado, and Idaho. I also worked nearly 25 years for the IRS as a tax auditor and revenue agent before retiring in the spring of 2009.”
Another turning point that year was when he happened to read an article by Eva Shaw, Ph.D., about writing a memoir. One of her suggestions was to write a page a day. “If you write a page of your life story each day, in a year you’ll have a book,” she wrote. That sounded doable. So the next morning, he began writing (not typing) a page a day – sometimes more. A few months were barren and he wrote nothing at all; but, by the spring of 2012, he had published a 341-page book entitled, “The Adventures of an Ordinary Man.”
Although he’s not expecting this book to be a bestseller, Bill hopes it will be meaningful to his grandchildren (two), great-grandchildren (he has hopes) and beyond. In the meantime, he enjoys giving readers a little glimpse into his life.
Bill will read a brief section of his book and then give an overview of the subjects within so people will have a basis for asking questions during the Q&A. He is willing to talk about his experiences in South Africa, Israel and Russia, the church and the IRS, and acting—to name a few. He has also learned the cello and promises to play us something. Not one to sit on his laurels, he will be participating in (but not running in) the Orange County Half Marathon on Sunday, May 7th.
Come and join us for a very entertaining afternoon.
~ Hugs, Carol
This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, a Writers Club, ongoing since 1949, will be open to the public on: Saturday, May 6th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates
Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or email@example.com for further information.
SWM Guest Speaker for Saturday, April 8, 2017
Upon graduating from high school, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve to beat the draft during the Vietnam War. Following his initial active duty and during his six year enlistment, he went on to study Commercial Art at Los Angeles Harbor College, English at California State University Long Beach, and Paralegal Studies at University of West Los Angeles. For the next 30 years, he worked as a paralegal and database administrator for the Atlantic Richfield Company at their downtown “ARCO Plaza” location, and the Law Offices of Fleishman & Fisher in Century City, California. After college, he briefly lived in Ithaca, New York and more recently, Carson, Calif.; however, he plans to soon return to his third generation hometown of San Pedro, Calif.
Upon his retirement, Robert joined the Southwest Manuscripters where some of his poems have received awards. He became aware of a children's writers workshop which he attended and presented a report to our group. Also, resulting from this workshop, he wrote six children's stories in a series, and plans to write another six for the set. He has embarked on several simultaneous projects, one of which is a collaboration with an artist friend who sketches a drawing, to which Robert produces a poetic description of a concocted story about the scene portrayed. They have finished 15 of these renderings and plan another 15. Additionally, he joined a “meetup” scriptwriters group which is becoming a filmmaking group, and has presented his first screenplay for the group to consider for an upcoming shoot. He is writing his memoirs in the form of short stories, which he will string together at some point in the future to become an autobiography. He has currently written two such stories, the first concerning his time in upstate New York, and the other, his time in the Coast Guard.
Even if not a professional writer earning a living at the craft, one need not wait for retirement to begin writing. However, Robert believes that one should write about what one knows, even if a work of fiction or fantasy. Thus, the title of his presentation, “Carpe Diem (To Seize The Day) – Then Write About It” or in other words, live it and then share the experience.
Robert has learned much about publishing from prior speakers at SWM and plans to begin this process later this year as his projects conclude. He did not realize how much enjoyment he would derive from such activity and writes daily alternating between the various genre. From structured legal documents of his past, his imagination now paints pictures within the printed page.
SWM Guest Speaker for Saturday, March 4, 2017
He was the Associate Producer on the Rondo award winning DVD “Uncle Forry’s Ackermansions”. He worked 2 years on Walt Lee’s update on the Reference Guide to Fantastic Films and is perhaps most proud of initiating the 1999 Clifton’s Cafeteria reunion of Forry, Ray Bradbury, and Ray Harryhausen.
Tom was born in San Jose, CA, went to San Jose State and received a B.A. in Art and later, a Teacher's Credential in Math, utilizing both brain hemispheres. He has mainly been teaching as a profession since the 90's.
Tom befriended Forrest J Ackerman back in the late 80's. He moved down to L.A., without much fanfare, to work for Forry in the late 90's on weekends. Tom drove, filed, catalogued, and even tracked missing items down by request. That was tough! Forry paid for a lot of meals, but he worked for gratis. Tom felt that the preservation of his stuff and especially one-of-a-kind Science Fiction items was important enough, plus he sure liked his company.
Tom had been inspired by seeing the first convention panel with Ray Bradbury and his friends Forrest J Ackerman, and Ray Harryhausen. This was the 1993 Famous Monsters Magazine Convention in Arlington, VA. And, while working for Forry, he suggested the idea of having a reunion in June,1999 and they got the big three together again!
A friend of Tom’s, Tom Wyrsch asked him if he wanted to do a documentary of Forry's mansions. Even though Mr. Wyrsch put up the money for the DVD production, he said Tom could say it was his. He ended up being Associate Producer after putting so much into it.
This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, a Writers Club, ongoing since 1949, will be open to the public on: Saturday, March 4th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates
Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Saturday, February 4th Guest SpeakerDonald Abrams
Donald Abrams is a musician, artist, Music Therapist, and author. His debut publication is a children's book,
The Musical Rainbow Story.
The story, about a young boy's quest to play the Happy Birthday song, is meant to be read to the child by a parent or teacher. The child follows the story action by viewing the colorful story illustrations.
After the story has been read to the child, the reader and child get to experience the hands-on playing of the Happy Birthday song. They will be guided by lettered notes and keys, as well as by an online video demonstration of the playing of the song.
The free website -
http://virtualpiano.net - assures that a free online keyboard is available to those without access to a piano.
Donald graduated from SUNY New Paltz (1980), B.S. Music Therapy. He has been a Hermosa Beach resident since 1981 and has worked in sales of frozen gourmet foods for 33 years, while pursuing his creative projects. Writing poems and stories since childhood, he has also composed solo piano music, and composed music and lyrics for songs over the decades.
His tribute to two beloved characters from the first and second seasons of Downton Abbey, is "William & Daisy's Love Song," which is on YouTube.
His current children's book release was made partly possible by following the steps outlined in the Beth Whittenbury book, "How To Self Publish A Book in 10 Easy Steps." However, the journey has been a long and winding road, as the Beatles song says. Donald will share with us the ups, downs, roadblocks, and inspirations along that road—so as to point out how his experiences and discoveries might help you to avoid mistakes and make positive decisions regarding your own literary efforts.
Some of you who attended the Sunderland's summer SWM picnic may recall Donald's reading of his reminisce titled, "On Stage, at the Stage Deli," based on his work history at that historic Manhattan eatery.
See more of his book project at:
The next meeting of the SWM is on SATURDAY, Feb. 4, 2017 at our regular meeting location - the Community Room of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Center Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates.
Saturday - January 7, 2017
Getting your book published takes more than a story analyst or publisher's belief in your work--it takes your own belief in your work, as well as belief that you deserve to be published.
There are many steps to this process, but the good news is: It can be done! And you live in L.A., where there are some of the best writing instructors in the world! So what are you waiting for?
Let's get started!
D enise Wallace is an American author and screenwriter. Her debut true crime book, Daddy's Little Secret, is about the murder of her father, Wesley Wallace in Palm Beach, Florida. In an attempt to understand the tragedy and cope with her feelings of grief, Denise decided to write about it. But first she had to learn how to write. She completed the Professional Program in Screenwriting at the University of Los Angeles. Once there, she also took additional film classes, such as How to Write a Thriller, The Art of Pitching, Television Writing, and The Fundamentals of Comedy. Denise simultaneously attended the ImprovOlympic on Hollywood Boulevard, where she also studied television writing. The IO theater is considered to be the premier venue for long-form improvisational performances by talent such as the cast members of Saturday Night Live.
Meanwhile, Denise read a slew of true crime books by legendary authors such as Ann Rule and Aphrodite Jones. Eventually she sat down and wrote Daddy's Little Secret in an advanced novel writing class at UCLA under the tutelage of the esteemed novelist, Dan Fante. Dan sadly passed away later that year. Denise is currently working on a screenplay based on the story of her father's murder, which has garnered interest from television networks.
Denise is an APF 2010 California State Powerlift Champion and an APF 2009 Golden State Powerlift Champion. She grew up in South Florida and currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she is a story analyst for Atchity Productions. She was previously employed at Studio Picture Vehicles, where she found the picture cars needed for films and television shows. Denise was responsible for obtaining all vehicles associated with a production, including big trucks, trailers for the makeup, hair, lighting, camera, and wardrobe departments, dressing room trailers, honey wagons, personal trailers for the director, stars, picture cars, and all rental cars for cast and crew.
This meeting of the SOUTHWEST MANUSCRIPTERS, a Writers Club, ongoing since 1949, will be open to the public on: Saturday, January 7th, 2-4:00pm, in the Community Room on the 3rd Floor of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, in Rolling Hills Estates
Contact Carol at: (310) 676-7494 or email@example.com for further information.