Monthly Archives: January 2015

From Our Wordsmiths Newsletter – Spotlight On…Charlie Perryess

This month, Mike Price interviews Charlie Perryess. Meet your fellow SLO NightWriter!

csptoon perryess

Charlie Perryess

Who are you?

I’m CS Perryess, also known as Chet, Chester, and Charlie. I mostly write young adult stories, though I occasionally dabble in middle grade and adult. I’ve had great success with short stories and articles making their way into magazines and anthologies, but thus far, my novel-length manuscripts are homeless. I spend a lot of my time writing, editing, reading, and narrating audiobooks.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

Greatest? That’s an unfair question! Muz, my amazing mom comes to mind. Ellen, my wonderful wife, inspires, as does my uncle Ron. In the literary world: Bradbury, Green, Plum-Ucci, Renault, Trueman, Levithan, LaFevers, Chaltas…and on to infinity.

Do you have a blog?

I do. It’s called Wordmonger ( It’s my weekly opportunity to indulge myself in the wondersof language. Each brief post considers an etymology, a collection of related words, maybe anagrams or funky spellings, or whatever language-related topic tickles my fancy.

What is your favorite book, movie, or play?

My favorite book changes as I change. Most recently, David Levithan’s Every Day has made it to the top of my list. I think it’s the perfect allegory for adolescence. Before that it was Carol Plum-Ucci’s What Happened to Lani Garver, which not only pulled on my heartstrings, but inspiredone of my eighth graders to say, “This book changed the way Isee the world.” What more can an author ask?

What genre do you like to write?

I say I write YA, but to be truthful, I tend to write in the non-existent space between middle grade and young adult. My stuff is regularly labeled “too gentle” for the teen audience, but it tends to address themes and concepts that most 4-6th graders aren’t quite ready for.

Tell us about your favorite story/article/essay that you have written.

My favorite is probably the one I’m most engaged in at the moment (the subject of the next question), but a manuscript that won some awards without ever being published is Wayne’s Last Fit, the story of Grady, a freshman who has to caretake for his disabled senior brother, which involves an embarrassing new-age metaphysical treatment method. Other embarrassments in his life include working with his nutty self-styled gypsy mom, trying to keep his passion for playing the squeezebox a secret from his peers, and navigating his first romance.

Tell us about your latest project.

I’ve just finished the first draft of a novel about a kid who lives in a cenotaph (a crypt built to memorialize someone whose body is elsewhere). He’s been abandoned by a flaky mom and ends up finding his niche in the world through an unlikely group of misfit pals and a lovely and temporary art form called Land Art.

Do you have a day job?

I’m pleased to say that after 34 years of teaching (mostly middle school, and a great gig), thanks to a decent retirement system, I am now officially without a full time day job.

How does your family support you in your writing?

My loving wife Ellen puts up with all the time I spend in literary pursuits, she encourages me when I decide there’s some retreat or workshop I need to attend, and is an endless source of wacky “Hey-you should-write-a-book-about-X” ideas (though I must admit to ignoring her ideas because I have more ideas in my head than I can address in a lifetime).

How does NightWriters help you?

My critique group is a religion. I’d be surprised if I’ve missed more than three meetings in the last 15 years. Sidonie, Christine, Anne, Steve, Lorie and countless other great folks over the years are the reason I keep writing.

How do you handle rejection letters?

I feel very fortunate to have submitted short works first. By the time I was putting two years of my life on the line in a submission, I had become pretty thick skinned. I handle rejection letters by figuring out who to send it to next.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I spent a year living remotely, milking goats, re-assembling ancient chainsaws, and using them (and I still have all my appendages).

Besides writing, what are your other hobbies?

If I can get somewhere on my bike instead of by car, I do. I also enjoy baking, playing guitar and bass, hanging out with my wife and all the dogs she saves, and trying to keep our little house from falling down around our ears.
Thank you!

Mike Price

Mike Price


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Monthly Meeting

Tuesday January 13th 2015 5:15pm

Round Tables

We will kick off the New Year with a Critique Round Table featuring Terry Sanville and Mark Arnold, and a Scenes Presentation Table on how to vary your scene structures to make your stories come alive. This presentation will be a prelude to our first Writing Clinic in February 2015, that will focus on scene and scene structure. 

and at 6:30pm

Introducing Our Guest Speaker For This Evening: Doctor Kelly Moreno

A Duty to Betray:  Evolution of a Psycho-Legal Thriller

Kelly Cover.jpg

Dr. Kelly Moreno is a psychologist, forensic examiner, and professor of psychology at Cal Poly State University. San Luis Obispo. He is also a psychologist in private practice and conducts Mentally Disordered Offender Evaluations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He has worked at psychiatric facilities in Wash., D.C., Utah, and California. He speaks regularly at regional and national psychology conferences and has over two-dozen publications on psychopathology and its treatment. He lives with his wife and daughter in San Luis Obispo, CA.  A Duty to Betray is his first novel.

Also starting this month you will be able to sell your books at our general monthly meetings. We will have a table set up for you to display, discuss and sell your books. Please note – SLO Nightwriters holds no liability in this process. All authors participating are responsible for their own money exchanges and for the security of their own funds and books. Your dues with the SLO NightWriters must be current in order to participate.


United Church of Christ (Congregational) of San Luis Obispo

11245 Los Osos Valley Road

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405




From Our Wordsmiths Newsletter – Keeping Your Work Safe

It’s happened to all of us. We’re merrily typing along when wham! The program freezes. Or shuts off. And we’ve lost the last half hour or so of work. This is unbelievably frustrating, but it’s a tragedy when we lose more than that, when our entire database crashes. Or a fire melts the computer. Or there’s a break-in and it’s stolen. Or a flood or earthquake destroys our files.

Here are some storage options to make sure you never ever lose your manuscripts. The following information is Mac-specific, but there are equivalent systems in place for PC users.

1. Time Machine:

A good place to start, but don’t rely on it exclusively. It’s only as good as the last time you connected the external drive to the computer and ran the software, so you have to be on top of doing that regularly, like every day. Plus, if there’s an earthquake, flood or fire—or theft—you’ll lose that external drive too.

2. Time Capsule:

A wireless external hard drive for Macs with 2-3 TB (terabytes, not gigabytes), Time Capsule works with Time Machine to wirelessly back up all your Macs automatically. The downside is the cost ($299 for the capsule) and no protection from earthquake, flood, fire or theft.

3. Dropbox:

An extremely easy-to-use online data storage service, Dropbox will give you 2 GB of storage for free, enough for most of your text documents. (I use Dropbox for all my writing. I simply access whatever file I need, work on it on my computer, then save it back to Dropbox. That allows me to always work on the most recent file, whether I’m on my desktop or laptop.) You can upgrade to the professional version for $99/year, which gives you 100 GB of storage. If you do photography also, you can upgrade further to 200 GB for $199/yr.

4. Google Drive:

This one works on the same principle as Dropbox, though it gives you 5 GB storage with the free version. It’s cheaper than Dropbox if you upgrade, $4.99/month, which saves you about $5/month. It’s a bit steeper learning curve, but the result is the same: safe, off-site storage. But you need to get in the habit of saving to Dropbox or Google Drive and not to your computer.

5. Smug Mug:

Especially for photos, this sharing site is superior to sites like Snapfish and Shutterfly. It allows you to store high res versions of all your photos and create folders for friends and family to view and download as high res pics, not thumbnails. The basic plan is $40; the power plan, at $60, allows you to upload all your HD videos.


by: Susan Tuttle

Adapted from a blog by Meghan Ward


Spoiler Alert! SLO NightReaders Book Discussion – Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life

We ended the year with Katya Cengel‘s “Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life”.

Following four Minor League baseball teams in Kentucky through the 2010 season—the triumphs, struggles, and big league hopes and dreams—the book tells the larger story of baseball in America’s smaller venues, where the game in its purest form is still valued and warmly embraced.

What did you think?

The author has graciously agreed to participate in our discussion, and below is a list of questions for her. Feel free to jump in at any point! Leave your comments below.

1. What were some of the behind the scenes things that surprised you about life in the minors?

2. Did any of the players you followed make it big?

3. How does minor league baseball differ from the majors?

4. What is life like for the families of the players?

5. What inspired you to write about minor league baseball?

Thank you all for participating in our SLO NightReaders Online Book Club! We hope you enjoyed our 2014 selection and wish you lots of great reads in 2015!


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