Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Final Post: Thank you!

This residency has exceeded my own objectives and expectations, and I hope it has been an inspiring and informative experience for writers, panelists, and the many guests who attended the public programs.

I am grateful to the City of Santa Monica, Nan, Naomi, Jonathan, and the many people who set-up the rooms and made each event seamless.

Please continue to attend public programs here, as they are all about the arts, are free, and are critical to building community around creative initiatives you could be part of just by being in the room.

We've attached a little video summarizing the last 14 weeks for your information and for fun!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

From this past Tuesday's final program, Cody Sisco announced two more resources dedicated to the writing community, which we are sharing for your information and use*:

Northeast Los Angeles Writers – a critique group

The Northeast Los Angeles Writers critique group is dedicated to helping writers finish, edit, and publish novels, memoirs, and short stories. We enable writers to learn from each other through critiques and networking and we provide a safe space for all participants to provide constructive feedback in a kind and helpful manner. 

If you’re not ready to submit your own work, you can still participate as a reader! By reading and providing feedback, both you and our writers learn and grow. 

We host mini-lectures at the beginning of each meetup on topics related to the craft and business of writing, from how to tell a story to managing the publishing process. Our members are pursuing self-publishing as well as the traditional publishing routes. We meet at the San Rafael branch of the Pasadena Public Library system and the Silver Lake branch of the Los Angeles Public Library system.

To participate, review our calendar and sign up to attend one of our meetings here: When you RSVP, you’ll receive guidelines and deadlines for submitting your work as well as links to manuscript excerpts and our critique guidelines. 

If you have any questions, please contact one of the co-organizers, Cody Sisco, at


BookSwell – L.A.’s Literary Calendar and Community Hub

BookSwell is dedicated to growing the literary community by supporting a vibrant and thriving culture of live events and online content. We offer readers a service that helps them get plugged in to what’s happening in their area and to discover books and authors they love.

You can submit an event to be included in the calendar here: All author appearances at local bookstores, literary festivals, and venues are welcome to submit events though listing is not guaranteed. BookSwell is also looking for partners and sponsors to help publicize our events. Email for more information

To sign up to receive updates about events, go to: Or view the calendar here:

(Note: December is a slow season for author appearances due to the holiday. Check back in January for a full schedule of events.)

*The ACBH, nor the City of Santa Monica, implicitly nor directly endorse any organizations, web-sites, or other program referred by the writer-in-residence, panelists, or their guests. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Final Public Office Hours Today; Viva Padilla comes to visit the MDGH

Thank you to all the docents and to the visitors who have come to talk about writing, share stories about their own writing journeys, who have read their work to me, and have shared a cup of tea. It has been truly inspiring to learn about how you work, and the commitment you have to your craft.

Poet Viva Padilla, came and wrote this week. Last night, we went to watch her read poetry out-loud in a salon format at Book Show in Highland Park. One of the poems she read to me while visiting earlier this week went into "woman destroyer" performance mode, and the audience went wild.

Viva, who is also the editor of Dry Lands, a literary journal dedicated to the writers of South Central LA, enjoyed the generous light and space the Marion Davies Guest House afforded her, and she edited poetry during her visit. I'm hoping she comes back to visit and that she considers applying for the residency next year.

Understanding the importance of literary citizenship is critical to us as writers. Support your fellow writers and other writers by showing up. I learned a great deal about the poetry movement in LA, and met some new poets.

Tomorrow night, panelist and mystery writer, Desiree Zamorano, reads at the Last Bookstore in downtown LA. Come listen to Desiree, Gary Phillips, Travis Richardson, and Danny Gardner read their pieces included in The Obama Inheritance Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir from 7-9 pm.
Viva Padilla edits poetry on the upstairs veranda on a blustery day.

Viva Padilla performs 12/8/17; Book Show, Highland Park

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wrap-up from Tuesday Evening Panel: Marketing and Promo in Publishing

Tuesday evening's final panel on marketing and promotion in publishing was well attended despite the fires burning all around us. The panelists and guests had a great time networking and chatting post-event, and I'm thrilled this is how the residency is wrapping up.

Women Writers of Color in our own Voices has been a passion project from the beginning, and I'm grateful to Annenberg and the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Beach = Culture for trusting me to actualize this work and for opening up the Marion Davies Guest House for so many writers to write, commune, and to contemplate their work. Most had never been to the ACBH, didn't even realize this stunning spot is a public park, and were overwhelmed with the generosity of time and space to write.

A novel was finished, poems were rewritten/edited, projects and collaborations have found some light to become something good, one writer, a recognized spoken word poet, read her fiction for the first time in public, another read for the first time outside her East LA community, and the evolution of women writers continues.

Many guests attended all three events and traveled from places as faraway as Pasadena, East LA, South Central, Thousand Oaks, and other parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. From the feedback received, the Santa Monica, Westside, guests were thrilled to have the programs on their turf. I am grateful for your support, positivity, and engagement.

If I can include hand-outs via the blog, they will be added; otherwise, I'll talk to Naomi about a different way to distribute.

In the meantime, you may follow Women Who Submit on FB, twitter, and Instagram. Their website is

Women's National Book Association-LA Chapter has a and are on FB. 

PEN USA also has a FB page. 

If you'd like to contact Natalie Desai-Obando at Do Good PR and current WNBA-LA Chapter President, 
go to
Photos and collage by Sally Lew

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tonight's marketing and promotion in publishing program is good to go! We've picked Rochelle Spencer up from LAX, and the panelists are meeting early in order to make the 6 pm reception at the Event House.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Good morning from my little corner of the Marion Davies Guest House where the sun shines, the ocean rocks, and the cars fly up PCH! Yes, it's public office hours today, as well as a day when a crew of women will write and edit until their fingers go numb, or we get hungry. :)

Tuesday night's public program will include information about organizations directed specifically to women, and there will be books for sale.

One of the books that should be on every shelf for frequent reference and reading is "All About Skin Short Fiction by Women of Color," edited by Jina Ortiz and Rochelle Spencer, our guest panelist flying in from the Bay Area. I'm grabbing a copy of this book Tuesday, so Rochelle can sign it for me. Please be prepared that most of the writers will take cash only. If they do take cards, the price is often higher for the book.

You'll learn more about the Women's National Book Association, from our panelist, Natalie Desai-Obando, the LA Chapter's current president, writer, and public relations professional. Her company believes in doing PR/communications with a social conscience.

Janine Lim, panelist from our emerging writers evening, will update guests on The Drunken Masters and how you can get involved. I'm going to attend in December as an audience member, but one day my own work might be read in one of those dark, damp, and beer stained bars.

Rachelle Yousuf, who heads up PEN USA's membership, and does an amazing job taking book clubs to a new level with the Edison PEN USA book club, will talk about the importance of community, understanding what PEN does for writers, and how writers can be part of PEN.

There will be more soon. For now, please know I'll post images and updates on what you can look forward to Tuesday evening in the Event House (our program is designed a bit differently and requires more space than the parlor can afford).

Available Tuesday evening, $24.95, cash only; may be signed by co-editor, Rochelle Spencer

Rochelle Spencer, co-editor "All About Skin Short Fiction by Women of Color"

Reception 6:00 pm / Program commences at 6:30 pm / ACBH Event House / RSVP via Eventbrite

Monday, November 27, 2017

Marketing and Promotion in Publishing--final public program on 12/5/17

Natalie Obando-Desai, Do Good PR; Neelanjana Banerjee, Editor Kaya Press; 
Rochelle Spencer, Co-editor All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women Writers of Color (U of Wisconsin Press), 
Rachelle Yousuf, PEN USA Membership
speak on all matters related to marketing and promotion in publishing 

It's finally happening. The last of three public events organized as part of my residency here at the Annenberg Community Beach House. Marketing and promotion in publishing is the culmination of guests learning about the writing, experiences, and goals for both emerging and established women of color writers. For those who have attended previous evenings, this one brings the conversations you've shared with writers full circle.

On 12/5, Tuesday evening, guests will hear from and dialogue with four dynamic and experienced professionals in the literary world. Some are writers. Some are not. The one thing they share is a passionate commitment to extending and advancing an inclusive publishing world for underrepresented writing voices. 

From publicity, to social media, to understanding the importance of building and supporting anthologies, to learning how important a writing community is and how to become part of one, the panel will break it down into consumable tidbits without all the jargon and complexity often associated with marketing and promotion.

If you arrive at 6:00 pm for the reception, you can meet the panel and writer panelists from the previous two events. Please use this opportunity to say hello, introduce yourself, and welcome our special guests to the Beach House. Networking and community building are strongly encouraged.

Some writers may even come with their books in case you'd like to buy a copy and have it personally inscribed to a special someone.

This event is ideal for writers, those who want to work in publishing, and for anyone who loves to read and understand how the publishing world works. It may make you a more strategic consumer when buying books, and for writers, a better understanding of how to maneuver through the tricky and confusing publishing industry.

6:00 pm reception; 6:30 pm program commences. RSVP via Eventbrite.