January 2010

Newsletter of the Denver Branch
National League of American Pen Women
January 2010
• Have you used our website’s calendar to check information about upcoming meetings? See “Updated Web Calendar” in the monthly minutes, below.
• Do you have a reading and signing session coming up? –or some other literary or artistic event? Paula can place it on our calendar.


President Paula Pahl CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER at 10 a.m.

IN ATTENDANCE were Jane Carpenter, Beverly Chico, Fay Coulouris (Guest), Patricia Cox (Guest), Florence Elliot, Pat Kennedy, Ann Klaiman, Marie Kriss, Brooke Layman (Guest), Sue Luxa (Guest), Jocelan Martell (Guest), Debbie McCulliss (Guest), Linda Ohlson-Graham, Gwen Scott, Shirley Sheets, and Virginia Small.

In the absence of Lorrie Reed and her INSPIRATIONAL READING, Gwen offered “How to Stay Young,” and Jane offered her poem “Wash Day.” GUESTS were introduced. December MINUTES WERE APPROVED, and Gwen, as TREASURER REPORTED A BALANCE of $1,984.43. She also noted expenses of $175 (DPL deposit and room rental, January through May 2010) and $330.28 (printing of branch brochures and bookmarks).

Kriss’ MEMBERSHIP REPORT featured discussion with our guests: Fay Colouris, now authoring a YA (young adult) family-based novel, “Growing Up Greek in America”; Brooke Layman, a composer, arranger, pianist, guitarist, and professional choir vocalist who recently wrote the march for her own wedding and who writes essays, etc. and does art; Patricia Cox, self-publisher of a memoir, “We Keep Our Potato Chips in the Refrigerator,” about her late husband and Alzheimer’s; Sue Luxa, author of several historically-based children’s books published by Western Reflections; Debbie McCulliss, a nurse and author of a memoir, Rhythms of Birth, and of Healer and Healed, a book on narrative medicine that she hopes to set to music; and Jocelan Martell, author of “War Brides,” a nonfiction compilation of WWII British war bride stories that she’s in the process of fictionalizing.

Paula as Web Editor announced that she has UPDATED OUR WEB CALENDAR. Use it to double check dates, times, locations, and programs. Click on “Calendar” in the left-hand column. When you place your cursor over any item on the calendar, a balloon will pop open with further details. Move from month to month using the arrows to the left and right of the month’s name. Paula also CALLED FOR UPDATED BIOGRAPHIES AND PHOTOS to be posted under each member’s name. Check to see what various members have already posted to get ideas of ways to approach YOUR INDIVIDUAL PAGE(S) on our website.

HISTORIAN PAT KENNEDY DISPLAYED OUR CURRENT SCRAPBOOK at the meeting, as she does every month. The 9:30 socialization period before meetings offers a good chance to see the scrapbook. When full, scrapbooks are delivered to the Denver Public Library’s archives, where all of our scrapbooks are held and have been since the 1920’s.

Linda appeared on New Year’s Day as an official poet of the 24TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL HOUR FOR PEACE, from 4:45 to 6:15 a.m. She thought this was a stellar event and described the networking that connects speakers, performers, and presenters for various events of this sort throughout the region.

Kriss and Virginia offered copies of our NEWLY PRINTED BRANCH BROCHURE AND BOOKMARK for everyone to pick up and distribute to individuals and groups that might be interested in knowing about The Denver Branch of Pen Women. The group applauded these new products, written by Kriss and designed by Virginia.

The business MEETING ADJOURNED at 10:33 a.m.

Respectfully submitted, Ann Klaiman, Co-Secretary


With about 15 minutes per person, five members presented a current project and asked questions of the group to get feedback.

First, GWEN SCOTT showed a mock-up of her about-to-be-published book, “The Ayes of the Presidents.” She overviewed the process that resulted in this 300+ page book, which started as a timeline charting the record of each of the US Presidents on issues related to Blacks in America. Interest in the timeline prompted a pamphlet with additional information and the project grew into the present book.

Second, JANE CARPENTER gave a short progress report on distributing her new poetry collection, “What to Make of Silence.” She has expanded contacts and has done several reading/signing sessions. She is quite pleased that Amazon.com has listed the book, complete with the option to read pages from the book on line. Cats peek out from several poems, with such offerings as this haiku:

Third, LINDA OHLSON-GRAHAM recited poetry from her book “Notes from My Journal Immediately Following Minor Brain Surgery.” Quotes: “We are all facets of the diamond that is God, reflecting light in our own way.” and “At some point I will stop admiring my life from a distance.” and “I’d like to plant a thousand seeds in minds that bask in brilliance.” She described an East Coast critique group in which she participated. All members were given the same topic or phrase and had two weeks to write a poem about it. When they met to critique, each author remained silent as the group commented on the poem.

Fourth, ANN KLAIMAN read a character sketch she would like to submit to the Washington Park Profile on the occasion of her neighbor Louise’s 94th birthday in June 2010. Five years ago, the Profile published a similar article on the occasion of her 89th birthday. Ann wanted to know how appealing this “sequel” might be, particularly given that Louise has slowed some with age. Our group labeled Louise a Maxine-like character (from the comic strip).

And fifth, JOCELAN MARTELL presented a precis for a romance novel she is starting on. In way of introduction, she said that, when her son was murdered seven years ago, someone gave her a book on painting and Winston Churchill. Though she wondered how it might relate to her grief, she read Churchill saying not to stay at a standstill in life, settling for a cup of tea and a nap. Put on a new shirt, he said– and you can. She did, and turned to writing. About her precis, she wanted to know if the plot’s being so dark would keep you from reading the book. Also, does the precis imply a sequel?


1. The Poetry Society of Colorado will not run the Poetry to Go contest in 2010, citing a need for more time to do fundraising. Look for Poetry to Go in 2011. The contest may work best for PSC running in alternate years.


TIME: 9:30, socializing and set up. 10 a.m., business meeting. 10:45 to noon, monthly program

WHERE: Virginian Village Branch of the Denver Public Library, located at 1500 South Dahlia Street. It is at the corner of S. Dahlia and E. Florida Ave. Dahlia is eight blocks east of Colorado Blvd.

ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER: Pamela Nowak is the author of the novels CHOICES (September 2009) and CHANCES (2008), one of Booklist’s Top Ten Romances of 2008. She was awarded the 2009 HOLT Medallion for Best First Book and the 2009 WILLA Finalist Award for Historical Fiction. See more at www.pamelanowak.com.

Respectfully submitted, Ann Klaiman, Newsletter Editor