Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts tagged Writers Groups

“PoemSmiths” Gain new Audience at First Fridays Event

On First Fridays when the Historic Apple Valley Inn opens its doors to open-air vendors, booths, walk-through visitors, and gallery viewers, you’ll often find different events at Hi Desert Book Oasis used bookstore.

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

Shoppers Concentrate on Book Sales

This time, owners Donna and Allysa, hosted a poetry reading event to celebrate their third year of business.

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Mary Langer Thompson leads PoemSmiths event

Members of the newly-organized PoemSmiths gathered to read a variety of poems from each member. The PoemSmiths are a critique group sponsored by California Writers Club – High Desert Branch.

Mary addressing the group of poets

Mary addressing the group of poets

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

Elizabeth Pye shares a poem

“There was so much interest in poetry that we branched out to share our poetry and support poets within the branch,” said Mary Langer Thompson. She’s also a former California Senior Poet Laureate, and retired English/poetry teacher. Break-out groups are common within the CWC organization.

Other featured poets were: Linda Boruff, Loralie Kay, J.P Newcomer, Rusty LaGrange, and Elizabeth Pye, and a guest reader, Davida Siwisa James.

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

A Personal Space is Prime for Poems

Donna, the owner of the bookstore, often encourages different events in the bookstore: from book signings by local authors, to painting displays, poetry readings, and craft booths. But First Fridays remains the featured evening when shoppers can stroll the entire Apple Valley Inn complex to see what’s happening.

Rusty LaGrange

Desert Writers Escape to Catalina Island

Guest Blogger: Brenda Hill, Newberry Springs


Catalina Island Writers Retreat

Brenda Hill at Catalina Island Retreat


What a fun time, and insightful learning experience for five California writers. Santa Catalina Island was the perfect choice for the first Writers Escape Weekend.

Writers hailed from different parts of the country. All authors shared many diverse genres. Workshop subjects included short story, fiction, creative non-fiction, character/plot development and blogging.

When we first arrived on the magical shores of Catalina, we could walk to our conveniently located weekend hide-away, The Catalina Lodge.

One of the advantages of Catalina is very few cars, only golf carts and bicycles. We explored the nooks and crannies of this magical island by foot from sunrise to sunset, then again in the evening to marvel at the nearly full hunter’s moon illuminating the boats in the bay. I took a refreshing swim at the local beach each day.

Brenda Hill's Catalina Harbor Photo

Catalina Harbor


Catalina Island, CA

Sunrise on Catalina Island

We feasted on gourmet coffee, authentic Mexican specialties, and fresh Mahi Mahi. The golden sun was warm. The ice cream was a cool refresher.

One night we enjoyed a starry night “at home” in our cozy courtyard. Cheese, nuts, fresh fruit, and wine was the perfect writers picnic under an almost full hunters moon.

Another highlight of our retreat was a  tour through the museum. The rich natural and social history of the island is fascinating.

Leaving this unique place is always bittersweet for me. All of us would have enjoyed at least one more day of sun, fun, fellowship and learning.  While dolphins danced near the deck of our ferry, our merry little group of writers planned our next writers retreat.

Avalon, CA Ferry

Catalina Ferry

Look for the details of the Spring Writers  Escape, perhaps to Big Bear, on this blog. We would enjoy hearing your comments, suggestions and ideas. 



Brenda Hill is the author of Success, Your Path to a Successful Book,
Our Love Affairs with Food and Travel, and blogger at

NaNoWriMo is coming! Are you ready?

I'm participating are you?

I’m participating are you?

NaNoWriMo is coming! NaNoWriMo is coming!

What is NaNoWriMo?

The creators of NaNoWriMo define it as: “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.”

It is a fun roller-coaster ride. You rise to the top creating your novel and watch your word count soar. Then you plummet in to the dark canon that is thinking written yourself into a corner or you’ve falling behind on your word count only to find you start to rise again.

If you’ve ever thought, “I could do better than this guy.” Then NaNoWriMo is for you.

If you’ve ever thought, “I’d like to write a story, someday.” Then NaNoWriMo is for you.

If you’ve ever thought, “I’m not creative, writing scares me.” Then NaNoWriMo is for you.

As the Municipal Liaison (ML) for the San Bernardino Region of NaNoWriMo I invite you to join me on this adventure toward completing your first novel.

As a member of the NaNoWriMo community I challenge you to join me because:

  1. You never know what you can do until you try.
  2. You’ll make some new friends, online and at community events.
  3. You’ll have fun.

For more information and to sign-up for NaNoWriMo go to

Once you’ve created your account mosey on over to the regional page an introduce yourself.

Comment to score some cool NaNoWriMo sway from yours truly.

Tess DeGroot AKA Victorville-Tess Municipal Liaison for San Bernardino region.







I can also be found at:

Add Blogging to Your Writing Craft

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia

High Desert Bloggers, Bodacious Bundts, Hesperia









The craft of writing covers several genres. Is blogging considered one of those genres?

Genre Styles

Each genre includes multifaceted styles. Take poetry for instance. Listening to Poet Mary Langer Thompson speak to High Desert California Writers Club in Apple Valley, CA yesterday made me aware of a particular fact about types of poetry and the people who create the craft. One style rhymes. Another doesn’t. Some poets create lines quickly. Other poets fall into the gotta-think-it-out category (I’m one of those).

After Mary talked about renowned artists and their histories, she distributed art cards with various paintings to the group of writers. Several (the quick group) read poems they had written in yesterday’s class. I was impressed by the quick group at how they could craft such poetry that portrayed specific messages from the poets to the audience.


Perception is interesting. When you first observe a painting, you see one thing. Wait a day or two or until an object catches your eye, and your perception will change.

Purple Iris

Purple Iris from My Spring Garden











What I saw on the art card that was handed to me while Mary was teaching our writers’ group was a field of many blue irises, one white iris, green stems, a fiery bed of desert dirt – and gold California poppies. Anyone else might have seen gold irises. But in my own garden I recently pulled up a bed of blue irises because the aphids (and probably cats walking through) destroyed them. They had turned ugly, and I wanted to be rid of them. On the other side of the garden now there is a large patch of vibrant California poppies.

California Poppies with Raindrops

California Poppies with Raindrops










While I’m typing this blog post at a Starbucks, I’m looking outside at a bunch of gold irises in a rock bed. Ah! The art card. Blue irises. A single white iris. GOLD IRISES. Why couldn’t I see that yesterday? Two reasons. One, the gold irises were in the back of the iris field. Two, the gold flowers looked smaller than the blue and white irises. Mostly, though, I could envision those gorgeous California poppies. Later I looked on the back of the little card. Irises. Yes, the gold ones were irises. Reality has a way of changing how we perceive things.

The Craft of Blogging

Is blogging considered a genre in the craft of writing? Absolutely! Like poetry, there are different blogging styles. Let’s name a few.

  • Conversational
  • Informative
  • Political
  • Art blogs
  • Music blogs
  • Lifestyle blogging
  • Brand blogging
  • Review blogging

Which style of blogging do you prefer? I invite your comments. You may think of another blogging style not mentioned in the above list.

If you are a writer, incorporate the craft of blogging into your genres. The art of writing has been accomplished with pencils, pens, manual and electric typewriters, wordprocessors, computers, and digital writing devices. Can’t part with your old manual typewriter or feather pen and quill? That’s okay. There’s an art to them as well. Keep the old, but learn the new. Connect the dots from old to new. Blog about your talents of typing 50 words a minute on your old-faithful manual typewriter. Add another blog post on feather pen and quill history of writing.

Writing is a craft that never gets old.

High Desert Writers and Bloggers

Writers are busy this summer in this hot high desert. It may be scorching hot, but that doesn’t stop these writers from writing and publishing their books. Yesterday the High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) held their monthly meeting at the Apple Valley Library. A large group of authors gathered for a photo and submitted one of their books for display at the library.

High Desert Authors' Book Display, Apple Valley Library





Marilyn King, author of The Winds of Grace, spoke to the High Desert writers group about her experience and joy in writing. She writes fiction and makes character planning for her books a fun project. Marilyn, like many of the authors, have utilized individual critique groups offered by this branch of CWC. “You’ve got to have thick skin, and you can’t take it personal” she advised, explaining how the writers bring a copy of their chapters to be critiqued. Marilyn completed the critique process for her book, The Winds of Grace, and it is now published. Learn more about Marilyn and her beautiful new book at her website.

I want to congratulate another author, Joan Ambu, a High Desert Blogging network member, who has just published her new book of poetry. She has published previous books in French, and this one is in English. You’ll see more from Joan on High Desert Blogging. She is one of our own High Desert bloggers, and you’ll enjoy reading about her experience in writing and publishing.

Do you have a book you’ve been wanting to write but just don’t know where to begin? Visit the High Desert branch of the CWC held the second Saturday of each month at the Apple Valley Library. Often, the members of this group have conferences, speakers, and other exciting events available to attend. Once you’re a member, there are several types of critique groups. You’re sure to find the one that seems a perfect fit for that book you’re itching to write.

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