Logo for Print

4th Annual Sierra Writer's Conference

  • Share
    • Email
Jan 26, 9:15 AM - 4:15 PM
NCC Campus N12 (Multipurpose Center)
250 Sierra College Dr., Grass Valley, CA 95945
$45 early bird and $20 for afternoon critique workshops. After Jan. 15th (full-day general admission) $65 and $20 for afternoon critique workshops. $15 for students early or at the door.
Lynette Vrooman, lvrooman@sierracollege.edu

Process: Prewrite to Promotion

Event Details

Ready to hone your craft – collaborate with other writers – get professional advice about your work?

Event at Sierra CollegeWriters All … come to the Sierra Writers Conference to work on your process, join a community of writers, and participate in professional critique sessions. Join us for a day of learning, sharing, growing and being inspired to craft your words into the stories, articles and books that only you can write.

Mark your calendar now … registration opens November 1, 2018 … go to https://sites.google.com/view/sierrawritersconference2019/home to find out more.

9:15: Doors Open

10:00: Introduction by Sierra Writers and Sierra College

10:30–11:30: Workshops

  • Mary Volmer: “The Cat and the Pickle Dish: Creating Compelling Narratives Using Details Foreign and Familiar”
  • Gene Bergson: Black Thy Page”
  • Betsy Fasbinder: “From Page to Stage: Public Speaking Tips for Writers Before, During, and After Publication. OR From Page to Stage: Tips to Instantly Improve Your Public Speaking”
  • Julie Baker: “Audience Development: How to Build and Earn the Audience for Your Writing.”

11:45–12:45: Workshops

  • Sands Hall: “Fictional Techniques for the Memoirist”
  • Larry Gold: Lessons Learned after Writing Eighteen Novels”
  • Patricia Dove Miller: “Spilling Family Secrets”
  • Catharine Bramkamp: “Process: Turn Personal Stories into Compelling Fiction”


1:30–2:30: Josh Weil, Keynote Speaker - Into Your Fear: Writing What Scares You

2:45–4:15: Critique Workshops


Josh Weil

Josh Weil is the author of the novel The Great Glass Sea, the novella collection The New Valley, and story collection The Age of Perpetual Light. A Fulbright Fellow and National Book Foundation 5-under-35 honoree, he has been awarded The American Academy of Arts and Letters’ First Fiction Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the GrubStreet National Book Prize, the Library of Virginia Literary Award, the California Book Award, and a Pushcart. A writing teacher for over a decade, he has most recently taught in the MFA program at Bennington College and at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

  • Books: The Age of Perpetual Light, The Great Glass Sea, and The New Valley.
  • Awards: the California Book Award in Fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the GrubStreet National Book Prize, the Library of Virginia’s Literary Award in Fiction, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award in Fiction, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and a Fulbright Fellowship.
  • Teaching: in MFA Programs at Columbia University, Bennington College, Brooklyn College, The University of Mississippi, Bowling Green State University, Sierra Nevada College, The New School, and at Writers Conferences, including The Squaw Valley Community of Writers, WritingXWriters, and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

Julie Baker

Julie Baker is the owner of Julie Baker Projects a full-service consulting firm. She is an arts, sales and marketing executive and entrepreneur. She is a seasoned business owner and management professional with over 30 years of experience in service, retail, art and technology industries. Major strengths include relationship development, innovative curatorial practices, employing proactive business development and fund development strategies, client relationship management, creating and implementing sales and marketing plans, leading and motivating teams to increase organizational effectiveness. Clients of Julie Baker Projects include Music Without Borders (talent buying for multiple venues in the United States), Crocker Art Museum, YubaDocs, BriarPatch Food Co-op, The Center for the Arts and the Sacramento Arts and Business Council. She also advises several musicians on building their careers and touring profile.

She is currently the Interim Executive Director of California Arts Advocates (CAA) and Californians for the Arts. Founded in 1996 as a nonprofit 501c(4) statewide advocacy organization by leaders in the arts field, CAA has been the collaborative force behind the battle to protect arts funding in California, as well as the successful passage of several bills that return arts programs to schools and laws that positively impact the arts. She is a former board member of California Presenters, a statewide coalition committed to connecting, engaging and developing performing arts professionals from organizations of different sizes and structures; and advocating for important issues in the presenting field. She is a frequent panelist at annual arts conferences and serves as a mentor for California Presenters.

Catharine Bramkamp

Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author of a dozen books including the five book Real Estate Diva Mystery Series and Future Girls a series without a home or future. She is concentrating on coaching and social media. She holds two degrees in English, and is an adjunct professor of writing for two Universities.

She and her husband have parented two boys past the age of self-destruction and into the age of annoying two-word text missives.

Gene Bergson

Gene Bergson, based in the Sierra foothills, has long been active in the Bay Area poetry scene. He has taught poetry workshops in everything from one-room Wyoming schoolhouses to reform schools, Indian reservations, and as a high school teacher in Oakland. He has also worked in the trade show industry as a member of Sign Display Union, local 510. His work has appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review and Beatitude, and the anthology Honeydew, Red Fez, among others.

Gene Bergson grew up in the Bay Area and currently lives in the Northern California foothills. He has a BA and MA in English literature from SF State. Recent work can be read at Canarylitmag.org and Sisyphuslitmag.org. His book raveling travel was recently published by Open Book Press. Says poet Charles Entrekin of raveling travel: “These are poems and prose from a San Francisco poet, with echoes and rhythms of Whitman, Kerouac and Ginsberg. Bergson engages the reader on a journey. And what we find is the real solace we can take from beauty.”

Patricia Dove Miller  

Patricia Dove Miller has been leading creative writing classes in Nevada County for the past fifteen years. She has attended writing workshops with Natalie Goldberg in Taos, and is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She co-led the Women's Writing Salon for seven years. Pat holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Her memoir, Bamboo Secrets: One Woman’s Quest Through the Shadows of Japan, was published in 2016, and was recognized as one of the Top Five Finalists in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for 2017.

Betsy Fasbinder

Betsy Graziani Fasbinder is an author, coach, and professional speaker and speaking coach. Her recently published book, From Page to Stage: Inspiration, Tools, and Public Speaking Tips for Writers is designed to help writers before, during, and after publication and has received a Kirkus Review calling it, “A lean, helpful primer for authors who want to succeed as speakers.” Betsy is the author of a novel, Fire & Water, and a memoir, Filling Her Shoes, which was honored with a Booklist Starred Review. Four of Betsy’s short stories were produced as Reader's Theater, directed by Tim O'Connor at the historic Miners' Foundry Theater in Nevada City, CA.

Larry Gold

I’ve written eighteen novels, thirteen in the Brier Hospital Series, and one non-fiction book, Talking to your Physician…, a lighthearted look at the patient/doctor relationship.

I write primarily to entertain, but I can’t help but pass on to readers’ observations and beliefs culled from years of practice, and yes, my biases, too. In fiction, I strive for realism in portraying the medical scene that is gripping without being melodrama or gimmicky.

With even a minor degree of success in writing novels, comes responsibility to readers. I attempt to produce honest material that reflects my beliefs. Exposing these beliefs to the public through my writing requires courage, stupidity, or both. My fans have been generous, and although nobody enjoys criticism, I’ve learned much from that, too.

The novel that expresses most clearly my candor, and my bias, is my novel, For the Love of God that reflects my attitudes toward those who are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children for their personal religious beliefs.

We live in beautiful Grass Valley with 3-year-old Wesley, a rescue and Billy the Kid, a 2-year-old Yorkie who's too cute for his own good.

Sands Hall

SANDS HALL’s recent memoir, FLUNK. START. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, was selected by Publishers Weekly as a Top Ten Book in Religion and Spirituality, Spring 2018; the audiobook is also available, read by the author, and the paperback is due March 2019. Her novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), was a Willa Award, Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction, Women Writing the West. She is also the author of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writers Craft. Her produced plays include Little Women (an adaptation of the Alcott novel) and Fair Use (which takes on the “was it plagiarism?” controversy surrounding Wallace Stegner’s novel, Angle of Repose). Sands’s stories have been published in such journals as the New England Review, Green Mountains Review, and Iowa Review. Also a singer/songwriter, a CD of her original songs is called Rustler’s Moon, and she performs widely. She has an extensive acting and directing resume, and teaches each summer for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She spends each fall in Lancaster, PA, where she is an Associate Teaching Professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College. The rest of the year she lives in Nevada City, CA www.sandshall.com

Mary Volmer

Mary Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust (Soho Press, 2010) and Reliance, Illinois (Soho Press, 2016). Her essays, reviews, and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Mutha Magazine, the Farallon Review, Women’s Basketball Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Historical Novel Society Review, The New Orleans Review, Brevity, and Ploughshares. After earning a master’s degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College (CA)She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and was the spring 2015 Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College (CA) where she now teaches. www.maryvolmer.com

Related Events

Image of the Event

Financial Literacy Workshop

Aug 16, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Image of the Event

Financial Literacy Workshop

Jul 25, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Latest Update
Featured Video