Jack London Awards, July 2015

Every other year, each CWC branch may nominate one member to receive a Jack London Award in recognition of outstanding service to the organization.

The award honors a member whose service to the CWC and/or a branch has been exemplary. The merit of the award is in the service, independent of writing accomplishments. It is not mandatory that a branch designate a recipient simply because the opportunity exists.  The CWC president bestows the awards at the annual corporate meeting.


Jack London Award Winners 2015 Back Row, left to right: Arthur Carey (Fremont Area Writers), Daniel Stallings (East Sierra), Dennis VanderWerff (Writers of Kern), Paula Chinick (Tri-Valley), Colin Seymour (South Bay). Third Row, left to right: Steve Liddick (Sacramento), Leslie Patiño (Central Coast), Dwight Norris (High Desert), Joan Steidinger, Ph.D. (Marin). Second Row, left to right: Doug Fortier (Mendocino Coast), Jeane Slone (Redwood Writers), Barbara Bentley (Mt. Diablo), Carole J. Bumpus (San Francisco/Peninsula), Jeanette Fratto (Orange County). Front Row, left to right: Donna McCrohan Rosenthal (Jack London Awards committee), David George (CWC president), Joyce Krieg (Jack London Awards committee). Also, Doug Fortier (second row, far left) served as Jack London Awards committee chair.

Barbara Bentley | Carole Bumpus | Arthur Carey | Paula Chinick | Doug Fortier | Jeanette Fratto | Steve Liddick | Dwight Norris | Leslie Patiño | Colin Seymour | Jeane Slone | Daniel Stallings | Joan Steidinger | Dennis VanderWerff

Barbara Bentley (Mt. Diablo)

BentleyMt. Diablo Branch is proud to name Barbara Bentley as recipient of their 2015 Jack London Award. Barbara has served the branch with generosity, talent, and organizational skill. During her seven-year tenure as board secretary, she dedicated herself to collecting, and storing in “the cloud,” every policy and procedure, job description, and calendaring task pertaining to branch operation. Also, she has held their feet to the fire in performing according to board-approved protocols. In retiring as secretary this month, she is leaving behind a more efficient and smoothly running board of directors. Mt. Diablo branch’s future success is more secure because of her foresight, persistence, and diligent effort.

Now, let’s pay homage to Barbara, the author. A shocking event in her life begged to be chronicled in a book to help others. Her passion didn’t wane over the fourteen years it took to get her manuscript publication-ready. She signed with a major New York literary agency, and in a short four days A Dance with the Devil: A True Story of Marriage to a Psychopath, sold to Berkley Books. After its 2008 release, Barbara was featured on Dateline NBC and a number of other radio and television shows.

Driven by her desire to help others through her writing, she published a second book, The Little Book of Success. Her current work-in-progress is an historical novel based on the life of a real Irish heroine. Visit Barbara online at adancewiththedevil.com.

Carole Bumpus (SF/Peninsula)

BumpusCarole has been a member of the CWC SF/Peninsula Branch since February 2008, and their Treasurer since October 2011. In addition, she has been the Nor-Cal rep since 2012 and the State Board rep since 2013. Through the SF/Peninsula Branch, she authored three short stories in three separate Fault Zone anthologies and participated in book readings at Kepler’s Bookstore-Menlo Park and The San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts Festival. In order to help promote the SF/Peninsula Branch’s CWC and the Fault Zone anthology, she single-handedly organized their participation and reading at LitQuake 2012. Carole also helped promote CWC’s initial appearance at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February of 2013 and organized the statewide participation in the SFWC booth for 2014 and 2015. Her first novel, A Cup of Redemption, was published in October 2014. She recently won Honorable Mention in the Paris Book Festival and has had her book accepted in the American Library in Paris. Her upcoming book, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption is due out August 2015.

Arthur Carey (Fremont Area Writers)

CareyArthur is a charter member of Fremont Area Writers, CWC’s centennial branch. As the club grew, Art facilitated a move from a noisy pizza parlor to a more scholarly environment, DeVry University. He still acts as liaison with the university. He arrives early at meetings and puts up signs directing members to room locations.

Art, a journalism graduate with a master’s degree from UCLA and a former newspaper reporter, has been Fremont Area Writers publicity chair since the branch started. He’s their go-to person for professionally written news releases covering both branch and member activities. He ensures FAW event flyers reach area libraries and bulletin boards and are posted on community websites. As a member of FAW’s board of directors he advises on media relations.

Art is the liaison/gatekeeper for FAW’s website. He monitors the site ensuring it is up to date and includes important information.

Art is a regular contributor to the branch’s newsletter, Ink Spots. His writing pieces contribute to the enjoyment of all our members and encourages them to contribute writing pieces.

Art supports the club’s community outreach efforts. He organized a “Triple Play” workshop at DeVry University at which three speakers spoke. He also led a visit to a creative writing class at Ohlone.

As a published author, Art provides guidance to members through his contributions to the Tips and Tricks segment of our meetings.

He’s a model Jack London Awardee.

Paula Chinick (Tri-Valley)

ChinickPaula held the offices of CWC Tri-Valley Branch (TVW) president from 2012-2014 and vice-president from 2010-2012. In 2014, not only did she champion Tri-Valley Writers’ first conference, she also became its project coordinator. While serving on the board, Paula initiated the Tri-Valley Branch’s high school writing contest, now in its fourth year. In addition, she pushed for brand identification used on internal and external publicity campaigns, upgraded our monthly meeting venue to allow for more focused monthly meetings, and helped develop the five-year plan that governs TVW operations. She also assisted in applying for TVW’s first grant from the Alameda County Arts Commission. Paula was instrumental in bringing the CWC together as a sponsor of the San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC), thus providing name recognition to over 1,500 SFWC attendees and presenters for the past three years.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Paula has lived in California for over 25 years. She spent the majority of her career in Information Technology as a project manager working for various Fortune 500 companies. She holds an MBA in international business from John F. Kennedy University.

In 2014, Paula published her first novel, Red Asscher—Living in Fear, which was a 2013 winner of “Scintillating Starts” from Writers Advice. In 2014 it won gold for best thriller from Global eBook Awards and took silver for mystery/thriller from BellaOnline.  She has also contributed short stories for the Tri-Valley Branch anthologies, Voices of the Valley: First Press and Voices of the Valley: Encore as well as The California Writers Club Literary Review for the 2012 and 2013 issues. In 2014, she founded an independent publishing company, Russian Hill Press, and has published several CWC members’ manuscripts.

When Paula is not writing or publishing, she spends time hiking with her girls, twin brindle boxers, Brontë and Lula Mae.

Doug Fortier (Writers of the Mendocino Coast)

FortierOne of the founders of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast branch, Doug rescued it in 2011 when attendance waned after its first year, reviving interest with lively programs and unique ideas, including Ekphrasis, an artist/writer collaboration quickly copied and adapted in other branches. He has served as president and branch representative for four years. Titles, however, do not contain his time and devotion to the branch’s members.

In addition to attending state meetings, maintaining the club’s website, preparing its newsletters, flyers, anthology covers and artwork, he makes new members feel welcome and old members feel recognized.

Among his volunteer activities, he travels to many members’ homes to help teach them how to use computers, problem solve issues with their computers, or to aid a writer establishing a website. He knows everyone’s name and shows up at any member’s book launch. He’s the friendly face of the branch.

He’s been writing since 2006, won two awards for short fiction at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and second place in CWC SF/Peninsula’s Fault Zone III anthology. He presents his quirky short stories online at DougFortier.com.

Jeanette Fratto (Orange County)

FrattoJeanette joined the CWC Orange Branch in 2008. Since then she has performed many duties, including that of recording secretary for two years, and is currently the hospitality chair and the CWC-South and Central Board rep. As a CB rep she’s been the nominating committee chair for the past two years, and currently serves on the scholarship committee.

For the last two years, CWC-South has presented mini-grants that allowed Jeanette to propose and have approved, donations for Orange County/READ to further their work in adult literacy.  In 2013 the grant was $100, in 2014 the grant was $250.

She is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in psychology, and M.A. in social sciences. She retired as a Division Director after a 26-year career with Orange County Probation Department.

Jeanette writes short stories, essays, feature articles, has been published in three branch anthologies, two mystery novels, and is the winner, two years in a row, in the Writers Digest Annual Writing Competition.

Jeanette wears many hats and wears them all well. Her service to the club goes above and beyond – to the level of a Jack London Award winner.

Steve Liddick (Sacramento)

LiddickThe 2015 Jack London Award honoree for the California Writers Club, Sacramento Branch, Steve has shown leadership by taking on multiple roles during his four years of service. He served one year as 1st vice president (Programs), two years as newsletter editor and three years on the Board of Directors, including serving as public elations director, communications director and workshop committee chair. During the 2013-2014 year, he served as both VP programs and newsletter editor.

His extraordinary contributions made a significant impact for the club, members, and the literary community. He was instrumental in generating publicity for CWC Sacramento and in starting up workshops.

Steve has extensive experience as a print and broadcast journalist and freelance writer, and has conducted more than 5,000 interviews. During his nearly half-century career, he worked as news director for radio stations KRTH and KDAY in Los Angeles (under professional name Steve Fredericks), as the Associated Press Pennsylvania legislative radio correspondent, as editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania and as RKO Radio Network news anchor in New York. Additionally, he’s contributed articles to TV Guide, L.A. Times, business journals and various trade publications.

Steve writes full-time and is the author of three novels: All That Time, Sky Warriors, and Old Heroes; a cookbook: Campsite Gourmet; and a memoir: But First, This Message: A Quirky Journey in Broadcasting.

Dwight Norris (High Desert)

NorrisDwight has wholeheartedly devoted many hours beyond the demanding requirements of president of the HDCWC. He is organized, creative, and resourceful as evidenced by the quality and quantity of his communication with members and guests. Dwight plans excellent meetings, is encouraging of others, and welcomes input. He respects the efforts of everyone and is eager to explore new ways to enhance branch offerings.

Through his leadership, the High Desert CWC was able to publish the Jack London memoir, Jack London In Boyhood Adventures by Frank Irving Atherton; explore the Dickens Festivals; participate in the L.A. Times Book Festival of 2015; and develop branch salons where members communicate and network. He has not only supported the branch’s programs in spirit, but has volunteered his time and opened his home for meetings.

Dwight’s exemplary style of leadership has inspired other members to volunteer and most importantly, to enhance their personal development.

Leslie Patiño (Central Coast Writers)

PatinoAfter moving to Monterey, Leslie Patiño joined the Central Coast Writers branch of CWC in 2012, looking for the company of fellow writers. Shortly afterward, the branch needed a newsletter editor, and she thought, “I proofread pretty well, how hard can it be?” When the group needed a venue for the annual December holiday party, she thought, “I have a pretty decent house, why not offer it?” She has hosted the holiday party and summer barbeque ever since. She’s still editing the newsletter, but has her successor lined up for this fall. She has recently taken on CWC publicity, and she has found a wonderful group of friends.

In 2008, Amsco published Leslie’s Spanish novelette, Tinita, intended for intermediate high school students. Her novel, The Brewer’s Justice, is planned for publication in February 2016. She blogs about craft beer and homebrewing at “Not My Father’s Beer” on her website lesliepatinoauthor.com/blog.

Colin Seymour (South Bay Writers)

SeymourCurrent South Bay Writers president Colin Seymour is the chapter’s 2015 recipient of the Jack London Award.

Colin, in two terms as president, has led an uptick in membership and an even larger uptick in esprit de corps on the South Bay’s board of directors. It has become a friendlier club. Addressing the future under his leadership, the chapter has acknowledged a shift in objectives toward being more of an incubator for new writers than it was when Colin joined the club in 2008.

He had been a copy editor and staff writer at the San Jose Mercury News from 1983 to 2007, and the Mercury News continued to publish his theater and classical music reviews as a correspondent during his first five years in South Bay Writers. He has worked seasonally at the San Francisco Chronicle as a copy editor since 2011.

He is the author of three books. His efforts to get his memoir published before he joined the club led to his involvement with the club’s East of Eden writers conference during the 2009-2010 build-up to the event. He was the workshop and speaker staffing coordinator, a function he transferred to the vice presidency of the club from 2010-2012. He accepted the presidency in mid-2013, quickly mediating disputes and launching an era of good feeling.

Jeane Slone (Redwood Writers)

sloanA Redwood Writer since 2009, continuing board member and past vice president, Jeane Slone has chaired both their annual anthology and author launches for three years, their library open mics for two years, and a program open to the public called “The ABCs of Writing” at four libraries. She’s a member of the branch’s speaker team and liaison to PBS TV station KRCB, where she hosts the show “Writer/Speak.”

This year she chaired the nominating committee. She runs an independent program, “Dine With Authors,” and her own Local Authors Distribution, both featuring mostly Redwood Writers.

Jeane has written three historical novels about the women of World War II: She Flew Bombers, winner of the 2012 National Indie Book Award; She Built Ships During WWII; and She Was an American Spy During WWII. She’s working on a fourth book about women journalists during World War II.

Jeane’s modesty about her accomplishments is evidenced by her comment, “Oh, I don’t do that much for Redwood Writers,” when we announced her nomination. She is the ideal volunteer who takes initiative, says “Yes” when asked, and does an outstanding job, always reliable, always effective. She’s a member of the Healdsburg Literary Guild, the Military Writers Society of America, and the Pacific Coast Air Museum.

Daniel Stallings (East Sierra)

StallingsIf the CWC had a poster boy, Daniel Stallings could easily qualify for the honor, and certainly represents one of the branch’s best success stories.

The East Sierra Branch discovered his talents when he entered the Allison Aubin writing contest that they sponsor for local high school students. He won. East Sierra invites all the high school winners to branch meetings but Daniel distinguished himself by commencing to attend on a regular basis. Since then he has eagerly volunteered for programs and projects, has served as youth coordinator and as a board member, and began his already stellar stint as branch president this past July 1.

His narrative skills, always exceptional in the two genres of mystery writing and playwriting, have blossomed into subtle character studies, nuanced and surprising plots, and quotable turns of phrase. Recently, his interactive tea room murder mystery “Goodbye Hollywood” triumphed as an East Sierra fundraiser while contributing significantly to the branch’s visibility and outreach in the community.

Daniel has made East Sierra very proud, and East Sierra proudly returns the favor by selecting him as their 2015 Jack London Award honoree.

Joan Steidinger (Marin)

SteidingerJoan served on the board of CWC-Marin (practically her whole time as a member) since 2010, beginning as director-at-large, program chair, vice president, 2013 CWC-Marin conference chair, and currently as president.  Belonging to CWC-Marin and promoting the club has served as a springboard for her general-interest style of writing. You will see her running the trails of Mt. Tam in Mill Valley, California where she lives with her husband, JP, and two goldie dogs, Spencer and Parker.

Joan Steidinger, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, Certified Consultant through the Association of Applied Sports Psychology and on the United States Olympic Committee’s Registry of Sport Psychology. She has written columns online for PsychologyToday.com and SFGate.com. She has worked as a clinical & sports psychologist for close to 30 years with offices in Mill Valley and San Francisco. Two of her particular interests are women’s issues and sports psychology. She’s been a lifelong athlete. In October 2014, she released her first book, Sisterhood in Sports: How Female Athletes  Collaborate and Compete. The book has won the sports category of the following three contests:  International Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Beverly Hills Book Awards. The book is a finalist in Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Years Awards in the Women’s Issues category.

Dennis VanderWerff (Writers of Kern)

vanderwerfThe Writers of Kern 2015 Jack London Award recipient is Dennis VanderWerff. Dennis has demonstrated a desire to help writers excel and to further the branch’s goals since he attended his first meeting more than four years ago. As the club’s vice president, he has hosted monthly meetings and acted as the master of ceremonies for special dinner events. Last year he was the featured speaker at a monthly meeting, presenting a workshop on journaling.

As a member of the executive board, and with a genuine interest in supporting striving writers, Dennis chairs the Peggy Connelly Scholarship committee and is WOK’s liaison and advisor for the Young Writers of Kern Writing Competition.

Dennis envisions possibilities and moves to make them reality. He created and maintains the Writers of Kern website, now an informative, up-to-date, user-friendly instrument and resource. He has designed the branch’s banner, newsletter masthead, and recognition certificates. When you step through the door of a Writers of Kern event, you may end up in a photo on the website or in the newsletter thanks to Dennis, the official photographer. His professionalism, skills, and commitment have had a tremendous effect on the growth and success of Writers of Kern. They proudly say they are fortunate to have him.

With great pride, Dennis VanderWerff is named as the Writers of Kern recipient of the 2015 California Writers Club Jack London Award.