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January Meeting Recap

posted Jan 16, 2018, 10:19 AM by Bruce Rowe

The Veteran’s Writing Group met on January 6, 2018 in the VANC facility. 

  • Progress on book 2, LISTEN UP! was presented. We reached agreement on the design of the cover. Also, Jan. 15 is the due date for additional work to be considered for inclusion.
  • We discussed common errors that our editors have uncovered during their careful reading of the stories to be included in LISTEN UP!  Those inconsistencies include commas, semicolons, and capitalization.
  • Several members read from their latest work including Dante’ Puccetti, Charlie Wyatt, Shara French, Glen Foss, and others.
  • We decided to take up a collection monthly to defray the cost of using the room. Suggested donation is $2.00.
  • We'll see you next month on Feb. 3.

December Meeting Recap

posted Dec 5, 2017, 11:11 AM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Jan 3, 2018, 8:09 AM ]

No guest speaker this month, but that gave us a chance to hear many stories from our writers. 
  • Another 400 copies of Away for the Holidays provided to USO San Diego.
  • We're getting close to publishing our second book of VWG member stories, Listen UP! The manuscript is out to story contributors for version checking and edits. Please return by Dec. 8.
  • Randy provided a lesson on the importance of comma placement. He cited a letter written by Alexander Hamilton with the salutation "To my dearest, Angelica" that illustrates this point. There is an ongoing discussion over whether the comma was a mistake or not. If not, it changes a standard greeting to one that possibly reveals a much more intimate relationship between he and Angelica, his wife's sister.
  • On to the stories:
    • Dante shared a new excerpt from his memoirs about his early days in Vietnam... with 362 days still to go.
    • Joe shared a brief quote, but then later in the meeting told us about his "other" life as an actor and assistant director on the film The Stepmother (1972). Look him up on IMDb.
    • Charlie read us the tale of Ram Bam, a rather unwise choice of vehicle he bought to replace another aging pickup.
    • Garry brought some thoughts on slogans for parenting.
    • Vernita shared her story of faith, which has been a source of courage and persistence in the face of many life challenges. The story will become a chapter in a book for women about facing fear and obstacles in life.
    • Lee read new poems, in particular one about PTSD that was a conversation starter for sure.
    • Tom read a bit of his new story "Night Fire." Read it and dozens more of his published works online at The Vista Press.
    • Glenn intrigued us with a few chapters of his fictional account of a chance meeting with the Stringers. The family seemed nice enough, but ultimately might switch the story up from "good Samaritan" to "what did I get myself into?"
    • Randy has five new stories for ListenUp! from his veteran and military students at MiraCosta College. He read one from a woman who went from corpsman to pursing a career in pediatrics.
Join us next month for an interesting, interactive discussion and a chance to share your writing.

November Meeting Recap

posted Nov 5, 2017, 8:07 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Nov 5, 2017, 8:33 PM ]

Here's what we covered at the meeting. Join us next time for an interesting, interactive discussion and a chance to share your writing.
  • Alexa Kingaard shared that her debut novel Keep Forever will soon be available. The official launch of the book is set for January. More info to come.
  • The Hungry Chimera is "an independent literary magazine that features short fiction, poetry and visual art, as we feel that artistic expression cannot be limited to merely one medium. We established THC in July of 2016 with a mission to feature talented authors and artists in such a way as to accentuate the beauty within and make literature and writing a larger focus in others lives as well as our own."  Go here for guidelines on submitting to The Hungry Chimera.

Guest Speaker - Ed Coonce

Ed is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, having served from October, 1967, to August, 1969 in Vietnam. He was a radioman and forward observer for an artillery unit.

These days he's an actor and writer (mostly satire and humor), and also creative director at Theater Arts West. He also hosts East Hell Writers (open to all writers, not just vets) at his home in Encinitas, a critiqued read and respond meetup.

Ed said that during his post-service journey he's battled PTSD, losing many jobs and relationships along the way. He credits the arts - and his wife Lucy - for turning his life into what it is today.

Though he's heard the same advice that many of us have about maintaining a disciplined routine for writing, Ed says he doesn't work that way. "Haphazard at best" was the description he gave of his process. "Some things come easy; others not so much," he said, but typically his ideas come in a flash of inspiration when a topic or idea has been simmering in his mind for a bit.

Right now, Ed is at work on a memoir, including his late-60s military tour. He's enjoyed reconnecting with some of his buddies from back then, including gathering up some photos from those days. Photos that are helping to pull his blurred memories back into focus.

He had several rolls of his own photos, but they were stolen just before heading back to the States. He related a story about being at the Da Nang R&R center, prior to boarding the jet for home, when he turned his attention away from his belongings for an instant...and the images were gone.

One reading he shared was called "The Photograph." The emotional piece relates his shooting of an "enemy" soldier. "Bullets are so easy," he read. But as he completes the mechanics of doing his duty and recording the kill in his body count log, he moves to the next step: searching the body. Opening the man's wallet soon reminds him of the humanity of his target, when a photo of the young soldier's family is revealed. We got a glimpse into Ed's mental anguish over the event, and his eventual forgiveness of himself only years later.

One nugget of writing advice: "You can't write unless you read," he advocates, and that means all kinds of authors, genres and styles to gain a well-rounded understanding of the craft.

Thanks to Ed Coonce for taking time to join us for the day and offering his expertise to the group.

Dime Stories

posted Nov 5, 2017, 11:23 AM by Bruce Rowe

The San Diego version of this open mic for writers is the second Friday of every month at Liberty Station. The group offers a showcase for your writing with a forum for "three-minute stories read by the author at live open mics, showcase events, online, and on the radio."

Go to DimeStories online for more information or to submit your story for a future meeting, or go to  their Pt. Loma meetings in Barracks 16, Suite 202, at the old NTC.

Fallbrook Writer's Read

posted Nov 5, 2017, 11:14 AM by Bruce Rowe

Readings are the second Tuesday of each month (except July and December), from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., in the Fallbrook Library Community Room, 124 S. Mission.

For more information, visit the Fallbrook Writer's Read online, or contact the coordinator, K-B Gressitt, at 760-522-1064 or

Interesting Writing Opportunities

posted Jan 16, 2017, 6:03 AM by Ron Pickett

Winning Writers Newsletter - January 2017

San Diego County Grant

posted Nov 23, 2016, 10:41 AM by Ron Pickett

We have  been advised by Supervisor Bill Horn's office that we are to receive a grant for $5000 from San Diego County.

Thanks Supervisor Horn and Garry Garretson!

Article in The Vista Press

posted Nov 22, 2016, 5:35 AM by Ron Pickett   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 2:40 PM by Bruce Rowe ]

Read this article in The Vista Press

Veteran's Day Video

posted Nov 14, 2016, 10:56 AM by Ron Pickett

Here's the link to the video that was broadcast from Palomar College last Thursday:

Book: Away For The Holidays

posted Oct 24, 2016, 12:55 PM by Michael Wood   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 2:45 PM by Bruce Rowe ]

Laugh, cry, and support us by living out these experiences in our new book that can be purchased today on Amazon for only $10.00.
Away For The Holidays - Veterans Writing Group

Away for The Holidays is a collection of stories written by veterans in the Veterans Writing Group San Diego. Each shares a story of celebrating holidays--that time of family, food, friendship and relative safety-- far from those they love. Their stories are heartwarming and heart-rending, funny and frightening as they recall Christmas’ spent on the battlefields of World War II, Vietnam or Kandahar. For the civilian reader, these under-the-helmet stories reveal the everyday sacrifices, camaraderie, and pride of our military. For those who have served, these stories will bring back memories of being young and away from home for the holidays. Authors include Jack McDaniel, Terry Severhill, William Swanson, Charlie Wyatt, Dolph Brostrom, Shirley Turner, Glen Foss, Richard Hayward, Jerry Watson, Bud Parson, Robert Caudill, Thomas Calabrese, Dante Pucetti, Garry G. Garretson, Chuck Rabel, Ron Pickett, Joe Snyder, Terry Moon, Ramon Garcia, Stacey Thompson and Jack Autrey.

What do they say about the book?

The Writers Guild Foundation is thrilled that our Veterans Writing Project alumni continue to share and inspire others through their stories. We are proud that the Veterans Writing Group San Diego County has taken the lessons and mentorship from the program and produced a moving anthology of diverse voices and experiences.     Katie Buckland, Executive Director, Writers Guild Foundation

 Away for the Holidays is more than just a good read. It offers a window --several windows — into the experience of the modern veteran. The book’s many, very different veteran writers, each with their own experiences and perspectives, tell honest, eloquent, and moving tales of what it’s like to be who they are: Americans who served their country.  Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, always ringing true --You should read this — you’ll be glad you did.  Robert Ben Garant,  screenwriter, author, producer, director, actor, comedian and mentor.

Serving in the military is an experience that defines a person.  Young people usually start their careers in their teens or early 20’s, while still developing who they are and searching for answers. These experiences can be in combat or just interacting with other young people in a barracks, ship or aircraft.  Either setting, it defines who they will be the rest of their lives. I strongly recommend Away for the Holidays, by the Veterans’ Writing Group San Diego, if you want to understand the experiences of a Veteran.  This is not TV, but reality as seen through the eyes of mature Veterans reflecting on their unique experiences as a young service member.  Colonel Rocky J. Chavez USMC (ret)   California Assembly Member, 76th District

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