The Sunday Café Writers’ Club

As I live the life of what I assume is that of a typical writer, I spend a fair amount of time procrastinating. (As I type this I preforming this unremarkable feat.) But it's not always pointless procrastination.

I'm in the middle of getting info together to pitch The Sunday Writers' Cafe Club to places in hopes that they'll jump on board and help us with our October Bay Area Book Blitz. Things are coming together (slowly but surely) on our end, but since we're, like, writers we recognize we need to work with other people to make this event a success. In the meantime, here's a peek at your press release and the writers who'll be making the rounds in a few months.

The Sunday Café Writers’ Club – An Eclectic Group of Bay Area Women Novelists Make Their Literary Dreams Come True and Beat the Odds

It seems that everyone these days wants to write and publish a novel, but few are lucky enough to make their dream come true. For twelve women it took a posting on a Yahoo Groups message board to help turn that dream in to a reality. “I knew there were other women writers like me waiting for their big break,” Wendy Nelson Tokunaga says about her reasons behind wanting to establish a support group for aspiring women novelists. “And I recognized the power of women and networking.”

On an afternoon in October 2004 the first meeting of the Sunday Café Writers’ Club took place at San Francisco’s Canvas Café. Of the original dozen members, only two had any previous book publishing experience. Some of the women were just starting out with their writing dreams, while others had agents but were still waiting for that first sale.

“I was looking for support and a place where I could commiserate with women who could relate,” say Bella Andre, whose first piece of fiction was written on a lark and purchased by an e-publisher shortly before she answered Nelson Tokunaga’s posting.

The women came from as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Los Gatos. “I was amazed at the instant camaraderie,” says Kate Perry, who had just signed with an agent. “The Sunday Café Writers’ Club was exactly what I’d been looking for.”

Writing styles ran the gamut and included romantic comedy, mystery, erotica, chicklit, and literary, but the one thing each woman had in common was a desire to learn how to navigate through the complex world of book publishing. “We had the writing part down,” say Josie Brown, “but it can be a pretty lonely life and to find a group of women understand what we were up against was a lifesaver.” Gemma Halliday, double-Rita nominee, says “Everyone offers her support and savvy advice. It’s so cool to root for people who were once strangers, but now feel like family.”

Since that first meeting, 16 books have been published, 11 by first time writers and the Café members have been with each other each step of the way, celebrating every milestone in person and online. “One person’s success seems to lead to another’s,” says Margo Candela, a writer who specializes in Latina fiction. “It’s been pretty remarkable.”

Meet the Writers:

Bella Andre

Red Hot Reunion, Pocket Books, ISBN #1416524185

Before plunging wholeheartedly into writing romance, Bella Andre got a BA in Economics at Stanford University, worked as a marketing director, and strutted hundreds of stages as a rock star. She currently lives in Northern California with her fabulous husband, children and dog.

Josie Brown

Impossibly Tongue-Tied, Avon Trade, ISBN #0060815884

Josie Brown left the advertising industry to become a crusading investigative reporter. Sadly, in our voyeuristic culture vulture society, there is an insatiable demand (and better pay) for celebrity journalists, which is how Josie came to rub elbows (not to mention egos) with the rich and famous. She still writes about celebrity, sex and scandal, only now as fiction (which, she insists, is just as strange as what she knows to be fact). She is also the author of the novel True Hollywood Lies (Avon Trade, ISBN #0060815876), and Last Night I Dreamt of Cosmopolitans (St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN #0312340575), a humorous fashionista's dream dictionary.

Margo Candela

Life Over Easy, Kensington Books, ISBN #075821572X

Margo was born and raised in Los Angeles and then moved to San Francisco to attend college where she majored in journalism and everlasting debt. She's had lots of jobs--some sucked, some she really liked--but writing is where her heart has always been. She also enjoys reading all sorts of books and magazines, an expensive and time consuming vice she wouldn’t give up for the world.

Gemma Halliday

Undercover in High Heels, Dorchester Leisure, ISBN #0843958340

Gemma Halliday is a California native who has lived all over the golden state, from the digitally based Silicon Valley to the freeway adjacent Hollywood, finally settling in the same small town she grew up in, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In her previous life Gemma has worked in such diverse jobs as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, and a 900 number psychic. All of which have given her excellent fodder for the characters that tend to pop into her head in the middle of the night.

Kate Perry

Project Date, Kensington Zebra, ISBN #0821780298

When Kate was a little girl, all she dreamt about was moving to France and living in a stone castle while painting the Provencal countryside. To prep herself, she studied French, stocked up on berets in every color, and practiced her shrug for hours in front of the mirror. But then, because indentured servitude seemed more attractive than eating baguettes and drinking wine, she took a detour into the world of high tech. Eventually, that insanity wore off and she decided to try something more stable. Writing seemed the logical choice. Booklist called her debut novel, PROJECT DADDY (Kensington Zebra, ISBN #082178028X), "a winning and entertaining combination of humor and pathos," which cracks Kate up to this day.

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

Midori by Moonlight, St. Martin’s Press, ISBN #0312372612

Born in San Francisco, Wendy has lived her whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area (except for a stint in Tokyo during the 1980s). She's a Japanese karaoke singer of some renown (singing both j-pop and enka) and has won awards in a number of competitions. She most recently was a finalist on NHK’s Nodo Jiman singing contest in 2002 where she performed at San Francisco's Civic Auditorium in a concert that was broadcast live by satellite all over the world. In a previous life she sang, played bass, and was chief songwriter in a number of rock and new wave bands. Her first of many trips to Japan was as a winner in the JVC Victor Original Song Contest held at Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo. Her short stories have been published in Yomimono, The Abiko Literary Quarterly Review, The Plaza, The Timberlake Review and others. She is also the author of two children’s non-fiction books.


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