HSW January 2021 Newsletter

Next High Sierra Writers Meeting is January 9, 2021 at 10 am

We will be meeting via Zoom.

Details on joining the Zoom meeting will be mailed the Thursday prior to the meeting (Jan. 7). This will include the link to the meeting and the passcode. The information will also be posted on the HSW website and on the Facebook page.

We had planned to discuss the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing at the December meeting, but we got into a different discussion about membership. Rather than rescheduling that pros and cons discussion for the January meeting, we’ll have a couple of speakers.

Paula Riley has a couple of news articles to share with the group that might prove interesting. The Author’s Guild’s recent newsletter included updates about “Hot Markets and Empty Book Shops” and two lawsuits against book pirates that she will talk about. She has also been involved in a negotiation with a publisher, and she’d like to share that experience.

We also have Kitty Turner from Daily House Media, a new member of our group, who is doing a presentation on Self-Publishing as Your First Choice.

Jeff will be filling in got Linda to speak about Critique Groups. If you’re looking for a critique group and want to know more, here’s your opportunity to ask. 

These topics are relevant and beneficial to all of us, so plan to join our Zoom meeting on January 9th at 10 am.


Happy New Year to all our members
(and non-members)


I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but one little trick that I’ve used for a long time, New Year or not, is this: I resolve to do something to further my writing career at least once a week.
It’s a pretty easy standard to meet. Write just a page or a paragraph. Edit a chapter I’ve already written. Send out one query. Read a novel in my genre. Do background research for a setting or character.
The point is to make it a low bar to reach. Because if you sit down to write, you’ll probably write more than one paragraph. By having a low bar, you trick yourself into getting in the mood. Someone once asked me, “Isn’t writing a book a monumental task?” My answer was, “Yes, but I trick myself into thinking I only have to write one page.” Then I write another.



It is not easy getting speakers. However, lately, with Zoom we don’t have to worry about the logistics and expense of getting someone here. A small plus.

We need your input. What kind of speakers do you want? Publishers? Editors? Successful authors? Off-beat stuff like the body language lady?

And what are the hot topics you’d like to have covered?

We’ve done many dozens of topics over the past ten years and I tend to shy away from repeating topics because I think members will get bored. But I’m rethinking this. Review never hurt anyone. And a topic we covered five years ago will be fresh to members who joined since then.

Please send your thoughts to board@highsierrawriters.org

And a reminder: send First Pages. In the past few months we only had one or two submissions. Send a Word or PDF page to mattbayan@aol.com by the Friday night before the meeting.

‘Nuff said.

Happy 2021! (Can I get an “amen” from the crowd?)
Linda Enos (who writes as Lynda Bailey) here who’s also the HSW Critique Group Wrangler. At the start of a new year, HSW usually focuses on critique groups, explaining what they are and their function – which is what this article will (hopefully) do – as well as trying to get new folks into said groups.
To start, a critique group is a bunch of writers getting together to read/critique each other’s work. Critique groups can be for fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Currently we have five active fiction groups in HSW and several have openings … but more about that in a minute.
Before joining a critique group, it’s good to know the ground rules. HSW has a list of guidelines, which you can access here: http://highsierrawriters.org/critique-groups/general-critique-group-guidelines/  
If I had to say what the one “Golden rule” is for the person giving the critique it would be: Don’t Make It Personal. Don’t try to change someone else’s work into something you’d read or write. Give helpful comments but understand this baby doesn’t belong to you. While we all have triggers in writing which make us flippin’ crazy (mine are repeated words and the overuse of the word “that”), the person doing the writing does not have to conform to our likes or dislikes … no matter how much we may want them to.
And the one “Golden Rule” for the person receiving the critique would be: Don’t Take It Personally. Don’t take offense if someone is critical of your work. Though it’s hard to hear our babies aren’t perfect, you need to understand the people in the group are simply trying to be helpful. But remember … at the end of the day, it’s your story. Use the comments which make the most sense for your plot and/or characters and leave the rest.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 High Sierra Writers Contest. We had thirty-two entries over three categories, which is a good showing for this past year. Here are the winners and the honorable mentions.

Flash Fiction
1st Place to Russell Jones for Blood and Snow
2nd place to Laura LeBlanc for Toast
3rd place to Tim Post for Valentyna
Honorable Mention to Rene Averett for Are You Familiar?

Short Story
1st Place to Sue Trollip for A Box of Dreams
2nd Place to Tim Post for Four Score and Seven Years Old
3rd Place to Russell Jones for The Clever Fox
No Honorable Mention

First Chapter
1st Place to Clare Frank for Burnt
2nd Place to Danielle Gardner for Heart of the Rose
3rd Place to Mike Croghan for Seven Generations: An African American Epic
Honorable Mention to Rene Averett, Escape to Green Leaf Junction

Top three winners in each category were awarded a cash prize and a certificate. Honorary mentions were each awarded a certificate.

The winning entries in Flash Fiction and 1st Chapter are now published on the High Sierra Writers web site for one month. Stop by and read them here before the end of January.

The Contest Committee plans at least one, maybe two contests for 2021. We are looking for anyone interested in helping with the contest. We also need someone who has any experience with grant writing to help us locate and apply for grants to fund the contests and guest speakers. If you are interested and willing to help out, please contact us at board@highsierrawriters.org

Membership Renewals Are Due

It’s time to renew your membership for 2021.
If you haven’t already sent in your renewal, please do so now. You can pay via the website using PayPal or send a check to the mail box at High Sierra Writers,  PO Box 12241 Reno, NV 89510

If you are uncertain if you’ve renewed for 2021, contact Rene at RPAverett@gmail.com



Administrator for account
This entry was posted in Newsletter and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.