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May 2 Meeting Follow Up

posted May 5, 2020, 11:22 AM by Bruce Rowe

February Meeting Recap

posted Feb 22, 2020, 11:14 AM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 3:19 PM ]

Escondido Public Library will host the VWG Third Annual Open Mic, April 4 from 3 to 5 pm. Be heard! Writers of all genres are invited to participate in this special Open Mic event. Read your poem, tell your pet peeve. Have an issue you’d like to an answer to? Tell us in this event. The mic will be yours for 5 minutes.
  • The group had a good couple of days participating in the North County Veterans Stand Down at Green Oaks Ranch.
  • Ron reminded us again of the Writer's Workshop hosted by the San Marcos Library. Two more events in the series are coming:
    • A panel discussion among local authors and their publishing experiences on March 4
    • Local author Clive Aaron Gill on how to use visuals to promote your stories on April 29
    • Both events are at 1 pm. Register at the library.
Members reading:
  • George read about night flying on a blacked-out target from Key West
  • Paul's story was of a boat breaking up on a reef after a miscommunication
  • Newcomer Dale read a couple of Vietnam related stories; A poem reciting somber stats on those who served and another about his encounter with a daughter finding her father at the Wall in Washington DC.
  • Shara shared one of her spoken word pieces about her experiences on leave in the Philippines and Okinawa
  • Charlie read anoher of his stories about the cars he's owned, this one about a Volvo S80 sedan
>>Next meeting TBD based on Coronavirus outlook. We'll provide an update when we have it. Take care and stay healthy.

Book III - "Stories That Must Be Told" Launch Party

posted Nov 20, 2019, 12:22 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Nov 25, 2019, 2:33 PM ]

The stories in this book, the third from the Veterans’ Writing Group, are primarily meant to entertain, but we hope they do much more. The advent of the all-volunteer force in 1973 has led to a separation of the majority of the American public from those who choose to serve in the military. We believe we have captured a couple dozen slices of military life; stories that describe terror and boredom, friendship and conflict, sacrifice and selfishness. We hope you will enjoy the stories - stories that must be told before they are lost forever, stories that will entertain and educate.

Book III Launch Party

Join us December 14

1 PM to 3 PM

Veterans Association of North County

1617 Mission Ave, Oceanside

Author Readings & Book Signing

Wine & Cheese | Meet the Authors | Buy Your Copy

Please RSVP: G.

Launch invitation flyer attached below>>

October Meeting Recap

posted Oct 21, 2019, 3:48 PM by Bruce Rowe

We welcomed five new people at the meeting:
  • Judy Habert, publisher and editor-in-chief, San Diego Woman magazine. Judy includes a local veterans section each month and is looking for stories. To contribute, contact her at
  • Tom - Marine vet
  • Laura - Not a vet, but a visitor from Walla Walla, Washington who Garry invited after they met at a career fair
  • Bob - Navy vet
  • Terry Moon - Army vet and photographer, who's written a fascinating book about his adventures titled: How Did You Get This Job?: The daily journal of a 1st Air Cavalry combat photographer in Vietnam
As part of the VFW's Veterans Day ceremony in Escondido (Grape Day Park), veterans will be sharing five minute stories. Contact the Escondido VFW for more information or to contribute a story.

Garry will be heading up to Pasadena Thursday, 10/24, to meet with a group interested in starting a writing group like ours.

Six vets read stories for the group:
  • Glen had a commentary on sushi and the differences between the experience in Japan and here, including the social aspect of it that is always an element in Japan, but is often lacking in the US.
  • George told about his rush to a Navy recruiter once he'd heard that Uncle Sam wanted him. So rushed was he that he didn't take time to clean his boots, "muddied" from mucking out stalls at home. He still won the assignment he wanted: Flight school, Pensacola.
  • Shara read just the beginning of her story "Lucky Day." Lucky despite being pulled over by MPs and failing field sobriety tests. We all want to hear the rest of that one.
  • Maria recounted her thoughts during her tense "mobilization" for duty. Would she make it or fall to the rear?
  • Charlie, usually the humorist, went in a different direction with "Elaine," about a mother saying goodbye to her 16-year-old, illegitimate son...who only at the end do we find the son to be Sir Galahad.
  • Newcomer Tom read part of his story including ghosts, wolves, and narrow escape, set in a box canyon near where he lives in Elfin Forest.

Make a note: Our third book, titled Stories That Need to be Told is coming soon. A tentative date of Saturday, Dec. 14 has been set for our launch party. Stay tuned for a definite date and more details.

Follow our social media feeds for updates on these topics and more: Facebook and Twitter.

Please join us November 16 for our next meetings: Women at 9:30 a.m., continuing into the full group at 11.


September Meeting

posted Sep 29, 2019, 3:35 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Sep 29, 2019, 3:47 PM ]

Welcome to two first-time attendees.
  • VWG participating in California Center for the Book program, supporting 18 Community Conversations with Veterans initiatives at 20 library locations across California. Library staff members will create community partnerships and engage veterans, their families, and the community.
  • Join us at Fallbrook Library Writers Read where VWG will be featured with stories. Date is November 12.
Authors Read
  • George read his piece about "once a fighter pilot, always a fighter pilot" where he landed a helicopter on the deck of a ship. This despite having NEVER piloted a helo before.
  • Tom said he isn't much of a poet, but read his great poem about being a risk-taker and taking chances.
  • Charlie read another story from his collection about the cars he's owned. This time about "Dammit," which he bought when his budget was just $100. And named by his niece who'd heard Charlie curse the balky machine.
  • Vernita read "Don't Judge Me" about first being scrutinized as one of the first women - and women of color - aboard ship. And later, for wounds not visible, but physical and real.
  • Bob read about combat troops and God, and his solemn duty of praying over dead comrades as he wrapped them for transport back to the states.
  • Daphne read a story about her experience as the only black child at her school. It was one of getting her education, but also educating others about herself and her culture.
  • Garry read "Beach Boy to Buff Driver" about B-52 missions.
Tip for learning to write dialog  - watch movies with closed-captioning on. Also will show you screenwriting directions. (Thanks to Tom Calabrese for this one.)

The Power of A Story @ Cal State San Marcos, September 23

posted Aug 18, 2019, 2:46 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Aug 18, 2019, 2:47 PM ]

Bringing healing and hope to military personnel, vets and family by sharing stories for insight and understanting.

August Meeting Recap

posted Aug 18, 2019, 2:39 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Aug 19, 2019, 7:33 PM ]

Ron started with an update on our "action teams" that are working on these new initiatives: publicity/social media, scholarships, grant writing, collecting aging vet stories, and book three, Stories That Need to Be Told. The goals are to expand the group's reach and mission through these efforts.

August 21, VWG will be presenting to three libraries about setting up a veterans' writing group similar to VWG.

Our writers reading:
  • Charlie - Contributing to the Cold War: A wise crack gone bad on a trip to East Germany
  • George - Attache Business: No escaping a long series of toasts by the Chinese representatives, even trying to dump it in a nearby potted plant
  • Joe - A Coming of Age: Recounting his Navy boot camp experience at NTC San Diego
  • Robert - Spectors of the Age of Aquarius: Sweet and sout - like ketchup 7 mustard - of the Vietnam era
  • Maria - The Black Madonna: Praying a Manda to coach combat vets with the aim to prevent suicide, and following through
  • Paul - from his memoir, The Solomon Sea: As a ship approaches the shore, a misunderstood command seals its fate of breaking up on a coral reef
Book recommendation, particularly for women who've served - A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam, edited by Keith Walker

Next meeting is September 21 @11 am. Join us then at VANC in Oceanside.

Sayings we owe to Shakespeare

Gary Sinise at Temple Bat Yahm on August 25 in Newport Beach

posted Aug 7, 2019, 9:31 AM by Bruce Rowe

Gary Sinise appearance in Newport Beach

July Meeting Recap

posted Jul 23, 2019, 11:52 AM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Jul 23, 2019, 12:01 PM ]

We welcomed two first-time attendees:
  • Robert is a Marine who served in Viet Nam. He enjoys writing short stories
  • George is a former Navy pilot and also a Viet Nam vet. He also flew for many years doing low-level pipeline patrols in the Southwest. He's working on a memoir.
Ron announced story requirements and due dates for our third book: Stories That Need to be Told. We look forward to seeing your stories.
  • Length of about 2,500 words
  • Edit them first with apps like Microsoft Word tools or Grammerly so they are in better shape prior to our final edits as we assemble the book
  • Active members of the group will get priority for publishing, but all entries are welcomed
  • Ideas or outlines due by end of August - the sooner the better
  • Draft stories due by end of September - the sooner the better
  • Include a signed Contributor Agreement with your submission (find file below)
  • Submit stories to Ron for assignment to group editors
Ron has added our group to Meetups

Writers reading:
  • Ron wrote a "fanciful" account of flying with A-bomb onboard his single-seater plane, though he used to train for such an event by loading up a bomb and taxing to the catapult. But that's as far as it would go.
  • Bobby read a two-way poem - "A new way of life" - one that can be read forwards or backwards - between a warfighter and spouse.
  • Paul read more about his adventures from The Solomon Sea. This one about precious water for washing onboard a submarine, and how his much-anticipated bath was interrupted by a General Quarters call, to the delight of his crew mates.
  • Robert read a story about the anxiety of shipping out to Da Nang as an 18-year-old, then a peaceful, spiritual experience with local monks inside a hollowed out peak.
  • George told about a return flight to Viet Nam, flying a U.S. congressman to the country later in the 70s. And how animosity still was in the air.
  • Luz continued reading her "The Invisible Wound" story about her battle with PTSD over a sexual assault by another Marine while serving. The heavy impact was made greater by the Marine Corps preaching of "family" among sister and brother Marines, with parallels to incest adding to the trauma.
Next meeting is August 17. Join us then at VANC in Oceanside.

June Meeting Recap

posted Jun 24, 2019, 10:27 AM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Jul 1, 2019, 2:22 PM ]

We started with a discussion of priorities for the group and possible new activities to spread the mission further. Members, whether you were able to attend or not, are asked to rate priorities and provide input.
  • Our main writing topic was active vs. passive voice. The key to remember:
    • In active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the action (The first man up hit the golf ball 250 yards.)
    • In passive voice, the subject is receiving the action (The golf ball was driven 250 yards by the first man up.)
    • In general, active voice is a much more engaging way to tell the story
    • But...sometimes passive voice can be the best way to tell a story or the right writing style for certain genres.
  • VWG will help lead an event at the Moreno Valley Library Mall Branch about starting a Veterans Writing Workshop June 22 and then read from our book on June 29, both events starting at 3 p.m. Go to the library calendar for more info.
  • Oceanside Public Library will lead a discussion on "what it means to be American today" on Saturday, July 6 at its Mission Branch Library, 3861 Mission Ave. Group leaders will lead an intensive writing workshop following the discussion. American Creed @ The Library for more info or register here.
  • Readings:
    • A brief Westpac tale
    • Remembrance of a mother
    • More submariner adventures from The Solomon Sea
    • Getting into a fix riding a bull named Brownie, all in the name of raising funds for UNICEF
    • Excerpts from a memoir, awakened by a PTSD therapy program and family memories
    • Baby, the '57 Bel Air convertible dream car
Join us next month on Saturday, July 20 at VANC Oceanside: 9:30 a.m. women's group, 11 a.m. full group. 

                      Wonder if you should join us? If not now, when?

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