Call For New Ideas

Dear NightWriters –

In response to our annual satisfaction survey, one particular request resonated with us. It was a call for new ideas, new leaders and new activities. The board’s response was a unified, loud and clear “YES!” Yes, please!

We would love to see more members joining our board! This is what it’s all about – bringing new ideas to the table, putting a plan of action in place and having a sufficient team to execute it. You all have a set of skills that is invaluable to our organization. Each one of you knows someone who is unknown to us, and that someone might be just the right person for our team.

Some of the tasks are simple and don’t require too much time.

Social Media:

I would love to have a team of social media contributors. If you use Facebook and Twitter a lot and come across interesting content that your writer peers could benefit from, then you can share it with the NightWriters. Our blog is currently being underutilized because I simply don’t have enough time to contribute more. If you are interested, contact me at


Our editors Susan Tuttle and Elizabeth Roderick would welcome contributors to the newsletter. You can provide them with material monthly, or just once in a while. For more details please contact Susan at, or Elizabeth at


If you are proficient in web design and have ideas (and time) to give our website a facelift, we’d love to hear from you! Give our webmaster Janice Konstantinidis a shout at


While most of our publicity at this time happens via social media, there is a number of local newspapers, radio shows and other outlets in which we would like to advertise. Often it’s nothing more than adding an event to the calendar on their website.

As you can see, all of these are simple tasks, yet added together they can become overwhelming. The board members are volunteers. We do what we do in our free time. We welcome new participants with open arms.

Come join us! Our board meetings are held every first Sunday (the upcoming one

July 5th) from 1-3pm and we meet at the same location as our general monthly meetings (United Church of Christ, 11245 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo), in the building opposite to the Fellowship Hall. Feel free to join us, ask questions, bring new ideas and some new energy!

We look forward to seeing you and hearing from you!

With thanks,

Andrea Chmelik

SLONW Vice President

July Meeting at a Different Location!


Dear NightWriters and friends, our meeting on July 14th will take place at King David’s Masonic Lodge, 853 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo.

At 6:30pm, our guest speakers Dave Congalton and Guy Rathbun will talk about how to score a radio interview to promote your book—and be invited back!Guy Rathbun

Dave Congalton








We will hold our critique round table and writing workshop as well, starting at 5:15pm.

(Our usual location is unavailable to us in July. We will return to our usual location (United Church of Christ on Los Osos Valley Road) in August.)

Final Weeks for The Golden Quill Awards

With several weeks left in the Golden Quill Awards Writing Contest there is still time to have your stories and poems critiqued by a prestigious panel of judges before the July 15, 2015 deadline.

If you are a writer, you need a writing contest.

In a modern, highly competitive market, how can a writer attain essential credentials and achieve recognition?  A writing contest is a sure way to do just that!  And just consider the company you will keep.  Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad and writer for The X Files, got his start by winning a screenwriting contest.  Author Fanny Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes and numerous other works) and actor, producer, writer Judd Apatow (Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) both started by entering and winning writing contests.

The Golden Quill Awards is an esteemed, international writing competition, now in its 26th year, and is ready to give you the acknowledgment and exposure you deserve.

There are three substantial prizes up to $1,000.00 in three different categories, plus ten finalists awarded in each category.  Take your chance now.  Use the theme of Transformation in each entry and let your submission transform your life as a writer.

Please check out all the contest rules and submission guidelines at Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and listen to the Podcast from the Dave Congalton show on 920KVEC.

The Golden Quill Awards Writing Contest is run in conjunction with Cuesta College and the Central Coast Writer’s Conference (CCWC) and is sponsored by SLO Nightwriters.

The Golden Quill Awards on the Dave Congalton Show


The Golden Quill Awards Contest Director, Tia Araminta, joined Dave Congalton on air May 22 at KVEC News Talk 920.

We went behind the scenes of the contest, learned more about the amazing judges, and heard about the mega-bucks being awarded in this year’s contest.

Dave and Tia talked about the community of writers on California’s Central Coast, SLO Nightwriters, and all about the upcoming Central Coast Writers’ Conference.

Listen to the podcast here!

From Our Members – Twenty Seven Million by Brian Neary

Does art predict real life?

This morning the archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota and a deputy bishop resigned, charged with having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.Al Jazeera news, 6/15/2015

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson refers to Vatican criminals as adhering “…to secrecy and self-governance operating above the law.” Minn Star Tribune 6/15/2015

Award winning author Brian Neary appears to have insider information on Vatican deceits, as his acclaimed thriller “Twenty Seven Million” crosses the line from intriguing fiction to shocking and predictive reality. Amazon reviewers are unanimous in their response; a gripping novel that’s …impossible to put down.

Twenty Seven MIllion

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From Our Wordsmith Newsletter – Tips For The Writer With No Routine

Some writers are neat. Organized. Controlled. Disciplined. They have a set routine, they write at the same dedicated hour of each day, for the same number of hours each day. They have pages-long outlines they work from, neatly organized charts and graphs and index cards that keep track of all their story details.

But that’s not all writers. Some of us are messy. Uncontrolled. Undisciplined. We have no routines. We spend hours searching back for details we forgot to put on a chart or graph. We write whenever and wherever the muse strikes, not at pre-appointed times, for as long as the muse graces us with her presence. An hour, a morning, a day.

Which is better? Which is best? There’s so much advice out there about the value of getting up an hour early to write, or staying up an hour longer, and doing it on a consistent basis. And even more advice on outlining your story and working from that outline to keep you focused and on track.

But is this really a better/worse situation, or simply two different ways of working? For many writers, like Ernest Gaines and Anne Perry, routine frees their creativity. They need the structure, the organization. Their minds work best in a confined atmosphere.

But equally as many writers are stifled by routine, writers like Erin Entrada Kelly. Like me (your intrepid editor), if she tries to stick to a writing schedule, she worries more about the passing minutes than the story. Like me, she writes when compelled to write, when the words are there, no matter what time of day, or where she is. If you’re like us, if No Routine is your routine, here is some advice to help you along:

1. Never stop writing, even if in your head. Write with your brain and imagination when you’re not at the keyboard or with pen and paper. Creative ideas are all around you. Cultivate the skill of people watching; they’re weird, fascinating creatures. If you do that, you’ll never run out of ideas.

2. Be Ready. Make sure you have a notebook and pen with you at all times, for when lightning strikes. How many times did a brilliant idea occur to you that you thought you’d never forget? And then you forgot it before you even got home…

3. Be productive. When you’re not writing, read. One feeds the other.

4. Don’t out-talk your ideas. Routine-less writers tend to over-talk their great ideas, which dilutes the need to write them down. Spend less time talking and more time writing it down to work out the kinks. Make it yours. Don’t let the idea play itself out in talk before you have the chance to sit with in in front of keyboard or notebook.

5. Find your own footing. Everyone has his/her own way, and you need to find what works best for you. Advice is great—until it doesn’t work. Don’t think you “have” to do what other writers do. What works for you is the best way.

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Tolosa Press – Call For Submissions

Would you like to have your story published in local press? Now you can!


Tolosa Press publishes three community newspapers in San Luis Obispo county: The SLO City News, The Coast News and The Bay News. Tolosa Press prints 30,000 copies that are distributed in more than 600 racks/locations in the county, plus your story will be featured online.

SLO NightWriters is proud to have the members’ stories featured in each issue of Tolosa Press.

We are looking for SHORT FICTION STORIES, with the word limit of 600.

Want to write, but need an inspiration? How about one of these prompts to get you started – use them as the first sentence of your story, or incorporate them as you write along.

  • She had waited twenty years to return it.
  • Spare some change, please?
  • He had kept his mother alive in his thoughts. Too alive, perhaps.
  • He looked at his phone, turned pale, then quickly left the room. She watched him, smiling.
  • What do you mean, you lost the lottery ticket?

Happy Writing!

Tolosa Press Submissions Guidelines

*To be eligible to submit, your NightWriter dues must be current.

All submissions must be the original work of the author. You may submit previously published or submitted material if it was not published locally.


–      Short stories – fiction and creative non-fiction. All themes are accepted, but please keep in mind  that Tolosa Press is a family friendly publication. The publisher prefers pieces that grab the  readers and keep them interested until the end.

Not Accepting:

–      Poetry, Essays, Opinion pieces, Excerpts from novels, “How To” articles.

Submission Guidelines:

–      Send your submission as an attachment, not in the body of the e-mail. Attach as a word  document.

–      Word limit (strict!) – 500 – 600

–      Double space; use readable 12 point font, preferably Times New Roman.

–      Insert a header, which should include: title, your name, word count, genre.

–      Include a two sentence bio and insert at the bottom of your submission, even if you have  submitted before.

Submissions should be sent to:, with “Tolosa Call for Submission” in the subject line.

NightWriters reserves the right to edit submissions. Whenever time allows, the author will have the opportunity to approve changes.

If your submission is selected, the NightWriter Photographer may arrange to take your picture to submit with the article. 

Andrea Chmelik

Tolosa Press Submissions Manager

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From Our Wordsmiths Newsletter – Spotlight On…Charlie Perryess

This month, Mike Price interviews Charlie Perryess. Meet your fellow SLO NightWriter!

csptoon perryess

Charlie Perryess

Who are you?

I’m CS Perryess, also known as Chet, Chester, and Charlie. I mostly write young adult stories, though I occasionally dabble in middle grade and adult. I’ve had great success with short stories and articles making their way into magazines and anthologies, but thus far, my novel-length manuscripts are homeless. I spend a lot of my time writing, editing, reading, and narrating audiobooks.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

Greatest? That’s an unfair question! Muz, my amazing mom comes to mind. Ellen, my wonderful wife, inspires, as does my uncle Ron. In the literary world: Bradbury, Green, Plum-Ucci, Renault, Trueman, Levithan, LaFevers, Chaltas…and on to infinity.

Do you have a blog?

I do. It’s called Wordmonger ( It’s my weekly opportunity to indulge myself in the wondersof language. Each brief post considers an etymology, a collection of related words, maybe anagrams or funky spellings, or whatever language-related topic tickles my fancy.

What is your favorite book, movie, or play?

My favorite book changes as I change. Most recently, David Levithan’s Every Day has made it to the top of my list. I think it’s the perfect allegory for adolescence. Before that it was Carol Plum-Ucci’s What Happened to Lani Garver, which not only pulled on my heartstrings, but inspiredone of my eighth graders to say, “This book changed the way Isee the world.” What more can an author ask?

What genre do you like to write?

I say I write YA, but to be truthful, I tend to write in the non-existent space between middle grade and young adult. My stuff is regularly labeled “too gentle” for the teen audience, but it tends to address themes and concepts that most 4-6th graders aren’t quite ready for.

Tell us about your favorite story/article/essay that you have written.

My favorite is probably the one I’m most engaged in at the moment (the subject of the next question), but a manuscript that won some awards without ever being published is Wayne’s Last Fit, the story of Grady, a freshman who has to caretake for his disabled senior brother, which involves an embarrassing new-age metaphysical treatment method. Other embarrassments in his life include working with his nutty self-styled gypsy mom, trying to keep his passion for playing the squeezebox a secret from his peers, and navigating his first romance.

Tell us about your latest project.

I’ve just finished the first draft of a novel about a kid who lives in a cenotaph (a crypt built to memorialize someone whose body is elsewhere). He’s been abandoned by a flaky mom and ends up finding his niche in the world through an unlikely group of misfit pals and a lovely and temporary art form called Land Art.

Do you have a day job?

I’m pleased to say that after 34 years of teaching (mostly middle school, and a great gig), thanks to a decent retirement system, I am now officially without a full time day job.

How does your family support you in your writing?

My loving wife Ellen puts up with all the time I spend in literary pursuits, she encourages me when I decide there’s some retreat or workshop I need to attend, and is an endless source of wacky “Hey-you should-write-a-book-about-X” ideas (though I must admit to ignoring her ideas because I have more ideas in my head than I can address in a lifetime).

How does NightWriters help you?

My critique group is a religion. I’d be surprised if I’ve missed more than three meetings in the last 15 years. Sidonie, Christine, Anne, Steve, Lorie and countless other great folks over the years are the reason I keep writing.

How do you handle rejection letters?

I feel very fortunate to have submitted short works first. By the time I was putting two years of my life on the line in a submission, I had become pretty thick skinned. I handle rejection letters by figuring out who to send it to next.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I spent a year living remotely, milking goats, re-assembling ancient chainsaws, and using them (and I still have all my appendages).

Besides writing, what are your other hobbies?

If I can get somewhere on my bike instead of by car, I do. I also enjoy baking, playing guitar and bass, hanging out with my wife and all the dogs she saves, and trying to keep our little house from falling down around our ears.
Thank you!

Mike Price

Mike Price


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Monthly Meeting

Tuesday January 13th 2015 5:15pm

Round Tables

We will kick off the New Year with a Critique Round Table featuring Terry Sanville and Mark Arnold, and a Scenes Presentation Table on how to vary your scene structures to make your stories come alive. This presentation will be a prelude to our first Writing Clinic in February 2015, that will focus on scene and scene structure. 

and at 6:30pm

Introducing Our Guest Speaker For This Evening: Doctor Kelly Moreno

A Duty to Betray:  Evolution of a Psycho-Legal Thriller

Kelly Cover.jpg

Dr. Kelly Moreno is a psychologist, forensic examiner, and professor of psychology at Cal Poly State University. San Luis Obispo. He is also a psychologist in private practice and conducts Mentally Disordered Offender Evaluations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He has worked at psychiatric facilities in Wash., D.C., Utah, and California. He speaks regularly at regional and national psychology conferences and has over two-dozen publications on psychopathology and its treatment. He lives with his wife and daughter in San Luis Obispo, CA.  A Duty to Betray is his first novel.

Also starting this month you will be able to sell your books at our general monthly meetings. We will have a table set up for you to display, discuss and sell your books. Please note – SLO Nightwriters holds no liability in this process. All authors participating are responsible for their own money exchanges and for the security of their own funds and books. Your dues with the SLO NightWriters must be current in order to participate.


United Church of Christ (Congregational) of San Luis Obispo

11245 Los Osos Valley Road

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405





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