Laura Roberts Hosts Write-in Sessions for National Novel Writing Month at Alpine Library

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

From the November issue of The Writer’s Life.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a nonprofit organization that produces a nationwide creative writing event every November. The event invites would-be authors into a community of “rightnow” writers. The goal is to write 1,667 words a day and finish a 50,000-word novel in one month.

At the Alpine Public Library, SDWEG member Laura Roberts will moderate 2-hour write-in sessions on Friday November 3, 17 and 24 to offer writing prompts and advice for this special NaNoWriMo event. Contact Laura at lrcreativeservices (at) to learn more.

Suspense Magazine: September/October Issue

Insider Source into Suspense, Mystery, Horror and Thriller Fiction: Suspense Magazine

A few months ago, John Raab, CEO and Publisher of Suspense Magazine, offered a free subscription to the magazine for the benefit of the Guild's members. Here's a message from Suspense Magazine along with a link to the September/October issue. Remember the magazine is looking for new authors in the suspense genre.

Trick or Treat! Well in this case it's both. Inside the current issue of the magazine we have articles and interviews that will treat any suspense / thriller fan. Some of the short stories will trick you into thinking you know what is going on, only to have the candy taken away from you. Some of the highlights of the issue are listed below.

Interviews with:

  • Laurie Childs
  • Terrie Farley Moran
  • Jonathan Maberry
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  • Erica Spindler
  • Charlaine Harris

Forensic Files with D.P. Lyle will explore "Amnesia and the Auto Accident." Anthony Franze and Barry Lancet take their rules of fiction to the debut side with Liv Constantine.

So much more is in store for you in the issue. We are also compiling our list of the "Best of 2017" coming in December, you won't want to miss that one!

Suspense Magazine Cover

Click on the cover to get the magazine.

Don't forget to check out Suspense Radio and all the shows on the station.


Writing Classes, Many of Them Free

Writing Classes

Recently the Guild's email inbox contained a message from someone interested in finding beginning writing classes. Since most of the links on our Resources page are aimed at experienced writers, I went in search of free writing courses in the area or online.

Following is a list compiled to meet the mostly free or in the area criteria:

  • San Diego Writers, Ink: SDWI offers classes (several sessions) and workshops (one-time-only-meetings) in many genres including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir and creative nonfiction, screen and playwriting for all levels of writers. They also offer classes in creative writing and courses in creativity and inspiration. Their instructors are experienced writers in the genre they teach and the class size is limited to ensure personal attention and lively interaction. Small cost for each class.
  • Many schools offer free online courses and materials through OpenCourseWare (OCW) projects. While formal admission isn't necessary to access lectures and other materials, these courses don't usually award college credit. Students looking for the same ease of access and the opportunity to apply their study time towards a degree or certificate program might want to consider courses that can lead to credit through
  • Creative Writing at Grossmont College: Grossmont College offers a number of writing courses following the academic year.
  • Creative Writing Now: Creative Writing Now offers a number of creative writing classes and free online writing courses.
  • Coursera: The skills taught in the Academic English: Writing Specialization will empower you to succeed in any college-level course or professional field. You’ll learn to conduct rigorous academic research and to express your ideas clearly in an academic format. In the final Capstone Project, all the knowledge that you’ve gained over the span of these courses will culminate into an academic research paper on an issue of your choice.
  • edX: No one is born with good writing skills. It takes time to learn proper writing techniques and a great deal of practice to hone your skills. Starting with any one of the EDX five introductory writing courses will not only build a strong foundation of grammar skills, but also teach the important elements of composition and style that will improve all of your written communication from business emails to job applications.
  • The Learning Path: Creative writing requires the application of hard work, discipline and much practice. Use these free creative writing courses online to hone your skills and become a better writer.
  • The Open University: Everything on the multi-award winning Open Learn is free to everyone!
  • The Crafty Writer: Are you a beginner writer? Do you know you want to put pen to paper but not know where to start? This eight-session online creative writing course will give you an introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, from prose fiction to poetry. The course is entirely free and you can work through it at your own pace. The exercises are designed to help you start writing and self-analyse your work. Feedback from a tutor will not be provided. However, you may ask questions along the way if there is something you don’t understand about how the course is put together. Post them in the comments box.  If you have any questions about how the course operates before contacting me please check out the FAQ list on the menu above which covers pretty much everything – and that includes how to get started and whether or not it’s really free!

If you have experience with any of these resources, especially if your experience wasn't positive, please share your thoughts. If you know of other area classes, either online or in person, share that information as well.

Expired: Attending a Writers’ Conference This Month?

October 27-29, 2017. Pasadena, CA. Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference

One of two Writers' Conferences coming up in late October is the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference. They have sent some great tips for how to network while attending the conference, shared below.

Many of the tips apply to any opportunity you find for networking. So if you're attending the La Jolla Writer's Conference instead of the Writer's Digest Conference, take a look at the tips that do not relate specifically to the Pasadena location of the Writer's Digest Conference.

Tips from Writer's Digest

By now, you’re probably aware of WD’s only West Coast event in 2017—the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena, California. It’s happening in just a few short weeks and it’s not too late to save your seat. Knowing the standout roster of speakers (including New York Times bestsellers Lisa See, Heather Graham and Neal Shusterman) and the selection of in-depth sessions offered, the value is evident. In fact (and please work with us here), let’s just assume you’re joining us. And that you’re not only coming for all those reasons, you’re also coming to network.

So how, exactly, do you do that again?

Read on for some tangible tips:

  • Read up on strategies specific to introverts for overcoming networking angst.
  • Check out this oldie-but-goodie on specific tools for conference breaks.
  • Meet hundreds of other attendees while enjoying a light breakfast and coffee on Friday morning. It’ll be the perfect way to kick off a productive weekend!
  • Peruse these five evergreen networking rules (four of which contradict each other—but don’t worry, it’ll make sense).

Finally, a few specific pieces of advice:

  • Once you have registered, join the Novel Writing Conference Facebook group! Be active in the weeks leading up to the conference and make concrete plans with writers in your genre—or just people you click with. Remember, you get out what you put in. Make the most of these relationships!
  • Need ideas for meetup locations? Pasadena is delightfully walkable—and the location of the Westin is especially so. Here are some local attractions. Your in-hotel options are here ( poolside chats, anyone?), and here are some nearby restaurants.
  • Join the fun at Saturday night’s Halloween-themed Cocktail Reception! (Scroll down to see it listed at the end of the Saturday schedule.) Grab a complimentary drink and, if the spirit strikes you, come as your favorite literary-inspired character. Not only are we handing out prizes for best get-ups, there is no easier icebreaker than, “Tell me about your costume!”

Remember, your best price is only available until Oct. 26! Meet writers from around the world and watch your network grow!

For the second year in a row, the Guild is a sponsoring partner for the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference. Guild members are eligible for a $25 discount for the Conference by entering SDWEG17 as the discount code when registering.

Looking for a Ghostwriter

Calling all ghostwriters.

A message in the Guild's inbox said simply, "looking for a San Diego writer to help ghostwrite a book."

In response to my request for more information, I learned the marketing consultant who sent it is looking for someone to ghostwrite a book about a local inspirational business leader for one of her clients. The book would be part of the company's 40th anniversary celebration. The subject will be the company's owner, an inspiring woman in a male dominated industry.

If you are interested in this project, contact Sheila Fox of Fox Marketing Network at 619.851.0369.

Photo credit: Anas Alshanti

Expired: Writers Conferences in October

Two Writers Conferences in Southern California the weekend of October 27-29 offer opportunities for Guild members to mix, mingle, network, and learn from experts. Both events offer discounts to Guild members. See details below.

La Jolla Writers Conference

Closest to home is the La Jolla Writers Conference, being held again this year October 27-29 at the La Jolla Hyatt at Aventine.

It will feature more than 70 classes from New York Times bestselling author, agents, writing experts, and many more.  As usual, this will be a non-commercial conference where attendees will enjoy intimate class sizes, personalized feedback, and the opportunity to learn about the art, craft, and business of writing and publishing from industry experts.

The 2017 LJWC conference schedule has been posted.  Check out the great classes at this year’s conference.

Enrollment is limited to the first 200 attendees and is filling up fast.  Register today! (Contact for a special SDWEG registration form which offers our members a discount.)

Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference

October 27-29, 2017. Pasadena, CA. Writer's Digest Novel Writing ConferenceThe Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference is back! 3 days of learning. 4 tracks to explore. Nearly 100 years of experience!

Mix and match to build your perfect writing weekend, October 27-29 in Pasadena.

SDWEG is a promotional sponsor of the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference. Guild members may receive a $25 discount by entering code SDWEG17 when registering.

Hurry—best pricing ends October 26.


From the Mailbag: An Invitation From Suspense Magazine

From our Mailbag

John Raab, CEO and publisher of Suspense Magazine, sent the following invitation to Guild members to explore the magazine and consider submitting pieces for possible publication.

I would like to introduce you and your writing group to Suspense Magazine. Our magazine is packed with reviews, writing tips, industry news, interviews, and more.

What is Suspense Magazine? We began the magazine ten years ago and have just completed our 80th issue. The goal we had at the beginning of our journey is still our mission statement today. We wanted to provide an outlet to all writers; a place where they could have a voice, share their experience, and showcase their work.

Right now we have a little over 50,000 readers—a number that continues to grow every day. We cover everything within the suspense, thriller, mystery, and horror genres. That span includes romantic suspense/thrillers, professional thrillers, urban fantasy, and so much more. It’s challenging enough to learn the ins-and-outs of writing a good book, something that we also have covered for our readers. Inside the last issue we had bestselling author Alan Jacobson give advice and information by opening up his “Writer’s Toolkit.” In the past, we have had NY Times bestselling authors, Steve Berry, Jeffery Deaver, David Morell, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sandra Brown, and the list goes on. It is in the magazine where authors and fans are able to “get inside the heads” of these men and women, and learn from the masters for free.

Did I also mention that everything I’m talking about is FREE? No strings attached. We are just looking to expand our readership so every author and fan has a source where they can explore the genre.

When it comes to what we publish in every issue, the list includes short stories, book excerpts, over twenty pages of book reviews, interviews, articles, and more. Besides the magazine, we also have a podcast that includes four shows: “Suspense Radio Inside Edition,” “Beyond the Cover,” “The Story Blender” and “Thriller Radio.” Each show is unique and offers authors yet another chance to reach readers.

“Inside Edition” is the flagship show that started nine years ago, where we interview authors about their work.

“Beyond the Cover” is where we discuss book reviews, movies, interview authors, and talk everything about the genre, not just individual book titles.

“The Story Blender” is hosted by bestselling author Steven James. On the show he discusses how a story is crafted with different guests.

“Thriller Radio” is hosted by bestselling author Jenny Milchman and produced in part by the International Thriller Writers (ITW).

Lastly, we have a publishing company where we have published twelve award-winning books, one #1 NY Times bestselling author, and several other award nominees.

We would like to offer your writing group the magazine for free; for life. We will email the magazine issues to you every eight weeks and you can distribute them to your group. Again, everything is free, there is no cost now nor will there ever be for your group. If anybody is interested in learning more about how to be on the podcast, publish a short story or a book excerpt, or possibly even be interviewed in the magazine, they can email me directly.

To introduce the magazine, check out the July/August 2017 issue. We would love to be able to give our magazine to your group for free, so they can explore an outlet for fiction writing. We publish short stories, articles and more. Please email for further details and to see how our magazine can be a source for your group. Thanks so much for your time.

John Raab CEO / Publisher Suspense Magazine

P.S. from the webmaster: John will send an electronic copy of the magazine every two months to the Guild's webmaster. We'll make a copy available to our members at that time. Wouldn't it be great to be able to point to an issue with an article or two by Guild members?

San Diego Public Library’s 52nd Annual Local Author Showcase

San Diego Central LibraryThe San Diego Public Library's 52nd Annual Local Author Showcase is nearing and the Library is calling resident authors (zip codes 91901-92199) for submissions.

If your book or eBook was originally published in 2017, the Library would like to display it in the showcase, which will run the entire month of February 2018 in the beautiful San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common.

Once again, there will be a separate showcase and kick-off event for San Diego's Little Local Authors, ages 11 and under, taking place in the Spring. Teen Local Authors (ages 12-18) will be highlighted separately with their own kickoff event as well.


For information and to register for this event, please visit the San Diego Public Library’s web site,

  • If you use a pen name, please register under your pen name NOT your real name. For all intents and purposes, the name on the book cover is your name.
  • If your book is in both print and digital format, please register and submit the PRINT version only.
  • All authors must submit an image of their book cover to complete registration. PDF files will not be accepted.

Print book authors please send or drop off your book to:
SAN DIEGO, CA 92101-7416


*If your book is not ready and printed by this date it does not qualify*

All submissions to the Local Author Showcase become gifts to the San Diego Public Library for possible inclusion in the collection. Qualified participants will be invited to a special Local Author event to kick off the showcase.

Expired: Find Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference Online

October 27-29, 2017. Pasadena, CA. Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference

Visit us:

Writer’s Digest:



F+W Media:

SDWEG is a promotional sponsor for the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference. SDWEG members will receive a $25 discount by using code SDWEG17 when registering.

Membership Benefit of the Month–Speakers’ Bureau

#SDWEG, #speaker

Members of The San Diego Writers and Editors Guild who are willing to speak at meetings of outside organizations may be listed on the website’s Speakers Bureau page. To be listed on this page, members should provide the text to briefly inform groups looking for speakers about the specialty topics for presentations as well as an image of any book covers to be included on the page. Send the information to Groups looking for speakers are required to make arrangements for presentations directly with an individual listed on the page. Speakers available are listed alphabetically with their contact information.