News from Pen Women

(See also Branch News and NLAPW National Level News pages.)


Pen Woman editor Rodika Tollefson leads byline in Washington Post report

Rodika Tollefson in the byline.

Rodika Tollefson (member at large, Seattle area) recently contributed to an article published on the cover of The Washington Post about the Amtrak train derailment in Washington state. As part of the Post’s Talent Network of freelance journalists, Tollefson received a call from the newspaper shortly after the train accident, asking if she could report from the field. She filed story “feeds,” which were included in an article that shared the byline with two Washington Post staff reporters. Several other media sites republished the Post article.


Tollefson, who has a degree in journalism and a master’s in digital media, is self-employed full-time as a writer, ghostwriter and multimedia content producer for various publications as well as national and international brands. She is also the editor of The Pen Woman magazine and the NLAPW national public relations chair.

Spotlight on Pen Women, The Pen Woman, Winter 2018

Phyllis A. Gunderson (Santa Clara County Branch, California) was inducted into the National Association of Professional Women’s VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized with this prestigious distinction for leadership in entrepreneurship. NAPW is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, with more than 850,000 members and more than 200 chapters. The owner of Humming Wolf Studio, Gunderson specializes in two-dimensional oil paintings that she said  “are representational of nature reflecting the spirit of the land and animals.” This year, she successfully participated in 11 shows in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.

  • Jane Parks-McKay (Santa Clara County, California) had two of her funny memoir stories included in “Life in Pacific Grove, California.” Published and edited by Patricia Hamilton of Park Place Publications, this book has more than 400 pages of personal stories by residents and visitors to this lovely town, tucked between world-famous Pebble Beach and Carmel/Monterey and known as “Butterfly Town USA.” The book can be purchased through, with proceeds benefiting the Pacific Grove library.
  • Sara Etgen-Baker (Dallas Branch, Texas) had her piece, “On the Wings of Creativity,” accepted for the “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Yes” anthology, which will be released in August. The story, about getting out of one’s comfort zone, was originally published on the Pen Women’s blog. Another story, “Zen and the Art of Handwashing Dishes,” will appear in the online version of Story Circle Network’s anthology “Real Women Write.”

  • Virginia Nygard (Vero Beach Branch, Florida) recently released “Missing,” a mystery, through Scattered Frost Publishing. The book features Detective Callenda and Angelo, her guardian angel. Nygard’s skill in weaving words into unforgettable images in poetry, novels, novellas, and short stories has been rewarded with multiple honors. She is a member, regional director, and critique group facilitator with the Florida Writers Association.
  • Carol White’s (Boca Raton Branch, Florida) novel, “A Divided Duty,” was listed in the November/December Southern Writers Magazine in the Must Reads Section. “A Divided Duty,” her fourth novel, was one of three winners in the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards for Summer 2017 in the category of fiction. One of White’s short plays, “Date Night,” was produced in November by The Players Backstage Theatre in Sarasota, Florida.
  • Bonita Tabakin’s (D.C. Branch) wood sculpture, “Earth’s Bath, Science’s Gifts,” has been selected to represent USA artists of all media at an international exhibit of 60 countries at the Milan, Italy, Contemporary Art Museum. The work is part of a five-piece series. Tabakin devotes her wood sculpture and paintings to stating Earth’s ills as well as solutions in the same creation. She has collectors around the United States and in 16 countries.

New Member-at-Large, Joy A Burki-Watson, in the spotlight

Joy A Burki-Watson, a new member-at-large from Western North Carolina is pleased to share with her fellow writers at the National League of American Pen Women her latest news as a published poet.

Joy is being recognized by Poet’s Collective as their Center Stage Poet for November. The online feature includes twelve side links to some of Joy’s poems, as well as a link to the world poetry site where Joy writes.


Click on “Imagination’s Ideation” to order a copy of Joy’s latest poem book.

Spotlight on Pen Women, The Pen Woman, Fall 2017

  • Mary Jane Ingui (Vero Beach Branch, Florida) recently published a book, “Trauma and Tenacity in Vietnam: A Surgeon’s Story,” through Amazon’s Create Space. The book captures the defining period in the medical life of Capt. Sheldon Kushner, MD, while he was stationed in Vinh Long, Vietnam, in 1968-1969. Kushner’s team used medical skills to care for wounded Vietnamese civilians caught in the middle of the war along the Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Asia.
  • Brenda Layman (Central Ohio Branch) had her article, “Ohio Dog Trainer Offers Specialty Seminars,” published in the summer issue of Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine. She has been a frequent contributor to the hunting, fishing, and conservation-oriented publication for several years.
  • Rachael Ikins (Central New York Branch) had her first full-length poetry book, “Just Two Girls,” published by Songbirds Publishing. The collection includes 80 poems in various form, such as villanelle, sonnets, metric verse, etheree, haibun, and free verse. Many appeared in journals. It is like a photo album, each poem giving the reader a brief, intense look at a person and his or her story.
  • Linda Varsell Smith (Portland Branch) published her latest book, “Sparks, A Soul-Splinter Experiences Earth.” She is currently working on several more books.
  • Anne Price Yates (Portland Branch) entered several acrylic paintings —  including “Toy Time” that was featured as Art of the Week by NLAPW — into the Beaverton Arts Commission juried show, which takes place in October at the Beaverton City Library.
  • Sara Etgen-Baker (Dallas Branch, Texas) will have her memoir, “Culinary Delights,” appear in two different publications: in the December issue of Good Old Days Magazine and in one of Story Circle Network’s new anthologies, “Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories.” The memoir was originally published in 2013.
  • Karen McAferty Morris (Pensacola Branch poet laureate) had her poem, “Old Tire,” featured in “Encore: Prize Poems 2017,” a publication of the National Foundation of State Poetry Societies. “Old Tire” won first place in the NFSP Founders Award. Three of Morris’ other poems are included in “The Reach of Song,” the annual anthology of the Georgia Poetry Society. Several of her poems also won other awards.
  • Renate Fackler (Central Ohio Branch) exhibited her sculptures, along with works by painter Stacy Leeman, at The Works in Newark, Ohio. The Works is The Ohio Center for History, Art, and Technology. Fackler had 12 bronze sculptures in the exhibit, primarily featuring dancers. She often focuses on movement as she strives to bring the pieces to life.


Pensacola Branch Poet Karen McAferty Morris’s Prize-winning Poems

Encore: Prize Poems 2017, a publication of the National Foundation of State Poetry Societies, features the poem “Old Tire” by Karen McAferty Morris, the Pensacola Branch’s Poet Laureate. “Old Tire” won first place in the NFSP Founders Award and is excerpted on the back cover.

The NFSP has nearly 4000 members and each year sponsors 50 contests with cash prizes totaling more than $6000.

Three of Morris’ other poems are included in The Reach of Song, the annual anthology of the Georgia Poetry Society. “Though Spring Has Not Yet Come” won second place in the Byron Herbert Reece International Award, “Calligraphy” second place in the Mnemosyne Award, and “An Audience of Willows” third place in the Edgar Bowers Award.

Encore is available in paperback from Amazon.

Spotlight on Pen Women, The Pen Woman, Summer 2017

  • Brenda Layman (Central Ohio Branch) had her short story, “Kentucky Wonder Beans,” included in “Best of Ohio Short Stories, Volume II.”
  • Lynn Vergano (Manhattan-NYC Branch) was among the 118 artists exhibiting at the annual National Arts Club members’ show and won the prestigious Hope and Grace Foundation Award for her Chinese brushwork watercolor painting, “Norma – Autumn at the Beach,” a portrait of one of her granddaughters. Two of her paintings of U.S. Bicentennial Op Sail scenes were  purchased by Randolph Township and donated to the elite Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, and are currently on exhibit there.
  • Gail Speckmann (Minnesota Branch) recently had a one-person art show at Plymouth City Hall and another at the nearby Plymouth Creek Center. In total, she had about 60 pieces on exhibit.
  • Sarah Byrn Rickman (Pikes Peak Branch, Colorado) won Story Circle Network’s 2016 May Sarton Women’s Book Award in biography for her latest book, “Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot.” Her Scott biography also was named a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards (biography) and is a finalist in the Foreword INDIE Book Awards in adult nonfiction, history, with the winner to be announced in June. This book spawned Rickman’s essay that won the Vinnie Ream Medal for Letters last year.
  • Bonnie J. Smith (Santa Clara Branch, California) is featured in the summer issue of the European magazine “Pretty Patches.” The magazine contacted her after seeing Smith’s “Swimming Upstream” series in the promotional materials for The Festival of Quilts 2017. The article is available at
  • Joyce Daniels (Southwest Florida Branch) released her third Jessie Murphy Mystery, “Mayhem in Matlacha,” Savvy Press.  The book is an edgy, cozy mystery pulsating with turmoil and bedlam as the protagonist uses her artistic eye and deductive reasoning to solve yet another crime. For more information, go to
  • Gwen Burg (member-at-large, Winnipeg, Canada) won second place in the 2016 Nevada Watercolor Society Signature Show for her watercolor painting, “Tea For One.”
  • E. Marie Francis (Vero Beach Branch, Florida) recently had art work and professional papers from teaching art for 30 years accepted into the Claire T. Carney Archives and Special Collection of Swain School of Design in New Bedford. Swain School of Design is now part of the University of Massachusetts, and Francis’ works will be used to attract prospective students to attend the design school, where she was a 1960 graduate.


News of another landmark award for Nancy Bloomer Deussen

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Nancy Bloomer Deussen

I am happy to announce that my “American Hymn” (for orchestra) is going on tour in Europe. It will be performed on July 8, 9, 13 and 15 by The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra conducted by Hanrich Claassen in Vienna Muth Halle, Vienna Musikverein, Prague Dvorak Halle and Munich Sohiensaal.

Wish I could go with them!

Nancy Bloomer Deussen

Among other awards, Nancy was 2nd Place Winner of The American Prize in Chamber Music Composition (2013) for ‘Woodwind Quintet” and First Prize Winner(2014) of the biennial award in Music Composition of the National League of American Pen Women for “The Transit of Venus”for orchestra. (See the NLAPW feature on Nancy.) She was named Honored Artist for 2014 by The American Prize.

Hear audio clips of Nancy’s music on her website:


Poem by JoAnna O’Keefe formally admitted into the Congressional Record

“America at the Crossroads” by JoAnna O’Keefe, Omaha NE Branch, was read into the Congressional record by a Florida Senator on May 4 2017. The poem is an impassioned plea for unity among all Americans.

JoAnna O’Keefe is a former member of the Cape Canaveral, Florida Pen Women.


Joyce Daniels, SW FL Branch, releases third book in mystery series

Joyce Daniels (jd daniels) of the Southwest Florida Branch is proud to announce the release of the third Jessie Murphy Mystery/Savvy Press by jd daniels, “Mayhem in Matlacha,” set in Southwest Florida.

jd  holds a Doctor of Arts degree from Drake University with a dissertation of her poetry.  Her award-winning fiction, non-fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including: The Broad River Review, The Sylvan Echo, The Elkhorn Review, Doorknobs & Bodypaint: An Anthology, The Pen Woman‘s Online Magazine and riverbabble. “Nancy’s Woodcut” won a prize in a contest sponsored by Emerson College, Cambridge University.

“Say Yes,” a book of poetry, 2013 topped the local bestseller list in Iowa City. “The Old Wolf Lady:  Wawewa Mepemoa,” was awarded a publication grant from The Iowa Arts Council and three research grants from the college where she still teaches writing. “Minute of Darkness” and “Eighteen Flash Fiction Stories” debuted January 2015.

The Iowa Arts Council and Poets & Writers Directories invited her inclusion. She is also a co-founder and an editor for Prairie Wolf Press Review, a literary online journal featuring new and emerging writers and visual artists.

jd maintains a blog, is a member of PEN America, Southwest Florida Pen Women, Mystery Writers of America and this year was invited to become a member of the Academy of American Poets.


Still an active artist, Tennessee Pen Woman Kathleen Wise looks forward to her 92nd birthday

Kathy Wise, MAL, with Peter Rassi, President of American Artists Professional League,
presentation of past laureate of the organization, 2015

Kathleen Wise, Member at Large, Bartlet, TN reaches out to Pen Women to tell of her most recent art activities:

“I am planning to go to the National Portrait Society’s conference in Atlanta, April 20-24, with two former students. We always take an “art” trip to celebrate my birthday. This year, on May 4, I will be 92. Working on a new sculpture for bronze. Hope to finish soon.”

Happy Birthday, Kathleen!


The Pen Woman, Spring 2017: “Pen Women in the Spotlight”

Brenda Layman (Central Ohio Branch) had her short story, “Kentucky Wonder Beans,” included in “Best of Ohio Short Stories, Volume II.” From hundreds of submissions,  15 stories were selected for the volume, presented by Columbus Creative Cooperative.

Angela Hunt (Minnesota Branch) is one of 38 poets whose work was included in a recently released anthology celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Austin, Texas, writers community. The selected poets for the anthology, titled “When Time and Space Conspire,” come from around the world.

Kate Pettit (Minnesota Branch) won third prize and a monetary award in a League of Minnesota Poets contest.

Sara Etgen-Baker (Dallas Branch, Texas) had her memoir, “Where’s Tiny,” published in “Guideposts Joys of Christmas 2016.” Her manuscript, “The Blackest Land,” won third place in Story Circle Network’s 2016 essay competition on differences. Additionally, her story, “La profesora de ingles,” will be published this year in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers.”

Carol White (Boca Raton Branch) participated in the Delray Beach Public Library’s 18th Annual Author’s Showcase in March. She discussed her award-winning third book, “Sitting Pretty.”

Gail Wilson Kenna (Chesapeake Bay Branch, Virginia) won five awards in the 25th Soul-Making Literary Competition, and then was invited to judge and sponsor the creative nonfiction category, replacing a retiring judge. Her awards were for first place in intercultural essay, first place in humor, second in short story, and honorable mentions in memoir vignette and novel excerpt.

Joanna O’Keefe (Cape Canaveral, Florida) was selected as a recipient of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge National Awards’ George Washington Honor Medal, whose past recipients include Bob Hope and Sally Ride. The FFVF said that her poem, “America at the Crossroads,” promotes “an understanding and appreciation for our country’s rich heritage, principles, and unique freedoms,” and exemplifies the essence of the National Awards.

Charlene Hampton-Holloway and Lonnie Bunch III

Charlene Hampton Holloway (D.C. Branch) attended an invitation-only reception and preview of the inside of the Museum of African American History and Culture, newly built on the last spot on the National Mall. In the photo, she is seen with Lonnie Bunch, III, founder and executive director of the museum.



Elizabeth Yahn Williams (member at large) recently released a new book in her series, “Haiku for an Artist” — a Spanish edition titled “Haiku Para Una Pintora.” The book was a collaboration with celebrated translator Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers. The poetry addresses the art of award-winning Los Angeles artist Marion Wong. More information at


Peg Hanna, Rosalie Ungar, Mary Hoffman, and Rosemary Barkes (Central Ohio Branch,  left to right) were invited to participate in Winterfair in Columbus, Ohio. Each had an opportunity to promote her book with a book signing.




Carol White, Boca Raton, FL Branch, to showcase her award-winning book

Carol White will be participating in the Delray Beach Public Library’s 18th Annual Author’s Showcase on Sunday, March 5th from 2-4 p.m.







Carol will be discussing her award-winning third book, “Sitting Pretty.”


 IN THE spotlight: Angela Hunt, Minnesota Branch


Angela Hunt (Minnesota Branch) was featured in an article in the Carver County News. Hunt, who is a member of a group called Three Rivers Writers, had her work included in the anthology “Where Rivers Converge.” The article, titled “Authors Write ‘Where Rivers Converge,’” described Hunt’s poetry writing in lieu of physical therapy after a stroke, and again years later as part of healing after a brain injury. The article is available at


Writing Retreat at the Abbey

Sheila M. Byrnes (Central New York Branch and national second vice president) and Dr. Catherine “Katie” Witek (member at large, Chicago; recent letters chair) attended a 10-day writing retreat at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, in Dubuque, Iowa, in September. The two friends rented the Stone Farmhouse on the abbey property.

Each day was devoted to writing, quiet reflection, and long walks through the abbey farm fields. At night, they shared the day’s writing with each other. Byrnes worked on her memoir vignettes and an outline for a book. Witek spent each day writing the sequel to her first historical novel, “The Trial of Misella Cross.”


Katie Witek works on her sequel to “The Trial of Misella Cross.”


The two women became friends while serving on the national board. The peaceful grounds of the abbey proved to be the perfect location for uninterrupted hours of writing.

Byrnes enjoyed reminiscing about growing up on a farm in Northern New York State and comparing farming in Iowa with New York farming. Witek was enthralled with the opportunity to write without interruptions and to listen to the quiet mooing of cows outside the farmhouse door.



Patricia Daly-Lipe, D.C. Branch, honored as leading author

Patricia Daly-LipeDr. Patricia Daly-Lipe (D.C. Branch) was featured in the September 2016 issue of Haymarket Lifestyle Magazine. The article describes her creative path and her many achievements, which include published author, historian, philosopher, artist, globetrotter, former horse breeder and racer, and much more. Additionally, her poem, “The Grounds, St. Paul de Mausole Hospice and Vincent Van Gogh,” was selected for the anthology “Real Women Write: Sharing Our Stories, Sharing Our Lives,” to be published in January by the Story Circle Network. She was also recently named as 2016 Top Author of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). See the IAOTP press release here.

For more information on Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe or to purchase her books please visit


Sarah Byrn Rickman (Pikes Peak) had two books published in 2016, her sixth and seventh on the subject of the women who flew for the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). “Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot” (Texas Tech University Press) is the work that inspired Rickman’s winning Vinnie Ream Letters essay. It is the story of one of the 28 original WASP who died in service to her country. The biography is based on Scott’s wartime letters home. “WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds” (University of North Texas Press) is the final volume in Rickman’s Ferry Command trilogy. For more information, go to


Shirley Franklin (Minnesota Branch) won third prize for her poem, “Why I Hung Up the Phone,” in a competition for, and publication in, the “Banfill Locke 2016 Member Chapbook.” The competition was judged by Minnesota poet laureate Joyce Sutphen.


Jeanne Emrich (Minnesota Branch) had her poems “Laugh Lines” and “Hiding Places” published in the 2016 “Talking Stick Anthology,” Vol. 25. She also was a featured poet at the Artista Bottega in St. Paul in September.


Nancy Dafoe (Central New York Branch) recently won the 2016 William Faulkner-William Wisdom creative writing award in poetry for her poem, “Entrance Exam.” She will be featured in the literary magazine “The Double Dealer,” along with her poem. The author of several books, including a poetry chapbook due out in January, Dafoe was also a finalist in the competition this year for another poem and a novel in progress.


JoAnna O’Keefe, Cape Canaveral, FL Branch, gains Freedoms Foundation award

JoAnna O'Keefe


On December 15, 2016 the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge (FFVF) selected JoAnna O’Keefe to receive the FFVF National Awards Program “George Washington Honor Medal.”

In a letter notifying JoAnna of the award, Michael E. Di Yeso, President and CEO, stated:

“Your song, ‘America at the Crossroads’ exemplifies the essence of the National Awards: promotion of an understanding and appreciation for our country’s rich heritage, principles and unique freedoms. … I am certain that all who benefit from your involvement join me in thanking you for your service to your community.”

The award Medal will be presented to JoAnna at an awards ceremony in February 2017.


Patricia Daly-Lipe, D.C. Branch, honored as leading author

Patricia Daly-LipeDr. Patricia Daly-Lipe, award-winning author & writer, “Literary Lady,” was selected as Top Author of the Year for 2016-2017 by IAOTP (International Association of Top Professionals).

See the IAOTP press release here.

This is very exciting and Patricia feels so special to be included with so many truly top professionals.

For more information on Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe or to purchase her books please visit


Christina Laurie, Cape Cod, MA President gains poetry recognition

Christina LaurieRev. Christina Laurie received an Honorable Mention award in a recent poetry contest. The Katharine Lee Bates Poetry Contest is held annually at the Falmouth Historical Society around Katharine’s birthday.

Christina, former national chaplain who served on the NLAPW national board for a dozen years, won the prize over 253 other adult entrants for her 15-line poem “All Night.” In addition to being published in the Falmouth Historical Society’s annual anthology, she was presented with the book “Voice of the Tide: The Cape Cod Heritage of Katherine Lee Bates” by Leonard Miele.

Christina is serving as president of the Cape Cod Branch, and, most recently, was past first vice president of the NLAPW. Her third book, “Inspirations from the Heart,” is presently in the process of being published by the Pen Woman Press. Below is her poem.

All Night

All night long
I whisper love in my heart
Till dawn breaks
with a cacophony of bird songs.

I find my Love fishing,
his feet in the shallows,
casting his net at the sunrise.
His back glistens with sweat
sweet smell, salt taste.

I wrap my arms around his waist,
etherize him with my perfume.

Under the spreading acacia
I offer the magic of my thighs
and he is caught in
the spell of my net.


Brenda Smith, Atlanta Branch, gains celebrity status with jewelry art

'Light My Fire' necklace

‘Light My Fire’ necklace

This object d’art by Pen Woman Brenda Smith won the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Award. In the jewelry world, the AGTA competition is referred to as the Academy Awards of the jewelry industry — and the Spectrum Award is akin to winning the Olympics. This stunning necklace (created from sterling and gold matchsticks) can be removed from its chain. The “flame” — carved from Oregon sunstone by master carver Darryl Alexander — connects to the base in which “hot coals” are carved from Mexican fire opal. The “logs” are petrified wood, and under the oxidized copper “fire box” is a flickering LED light that creates the illusion of  a flickering flame. There is a 0.5 ct. diamond at the bottom where the spark would ignite the flame.

'Light My Fire' pendant on its base

‘Light My Fire’ pendant on its base

A true labor of love, “Light My Fire” was a step out of the comfort zone for the jewelry artist, who has won many other awards. A former creative director and design teacher, Smith now designs and fabricates fine, custom jewelry. She has done many commissions, including pearl jewelry for the documentary film “Circling the Pacific” by the Cultured Pearl Association of America. The Smithsonian has two of her pieces in its permanent collection. Celebrity stylist Michael O’Connor chose Smith’s jewelry for Brigid Coulter (of “Shameless” and “House of Lies”) to wear recently at the Emmy Awards.

Rosalie Ungar, Central Ohio Branch, releases memoir


Rosalie Ungar, Membership Chair for the Central Ohio Branch, is pleased to announce the release of her latest memoir: “In a Heartbeat: The ups and downs of life with atrial fib.”

Half-way through her 35-year bout with atrial fibrillation, Rosalie Ungar, at 62, has a heart attack while giving a presentation on heart-healthy foods. So starts the battle to take control of her atrial fib and newer heart issues.

Told from the perspective of the patient, In A Heartbeat traverses therosalie-ungar_in-a-heartbeat-book-cover ups and downs of living and thriving with an irregular heart rhythm. Determined to question, challenge and negotiate doctors’ orders, Rosalie navigates changes in technology, pharmacology and physicians’ recommendations with a sharp wit and a tenacity for self-education—empowering herself and her readers along the way.

Rosalie Ungar began her writing career as a television
copywriter at various stations throughout the United States.  She also has hosted a morning TV talk show and performed in commercials and live telecasts. A year abroad prompted the writing of her first memoir: “No Sex in St. Tropez.”


Pamela Nakamoto, Honolulu Branch, published by HarperCollins

Book cover, "Midnight in Broad Daylight" by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto


Pamela Sakamoto (Honolulu Branch) recently had a new book published by HarperCollins. “Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds” is a narrative nonfiction account of a family divided by war, with part of the family interned during World War II while the others were in Hiroshima. Sakamoto researched and wrote this epic story of love, loss and reconciliation over the course of almost two decades. More information at:



Susan S. Buzzi, Fort Lauderdale, FL Branch presents journey of hope during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Susan S. Buzzi presents documentary for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2016

Susan S. Buzzi


Susan S. Buzzi will present the photographic documentary “Resilient Women” during the month of October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This is Buzzi’s 9th consecutive installment of the series profiling the cancer journey and the many faces of hope, courage and strength.

Receptions are scheduled at two venues this year:  October 13th from 6-8pm at Tamarac Community Center 8601 West Commercial Blvd in Tamarac, Florida and October 18th from 5:30- 7:30pm at Broward Main Library Gallery 6 11 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Charlene Hampton Holloway, DC Branch, attends private reception for new Smithsonian museum

Charlene Hampton-Holloway and Lonnie Bunch III

Charlene Hampton-Holloway and Lonnie Bunch III, Founder and Executive Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

On September 17, 2016 Pen Woman Charlene Hampton Holloway attended an invitation-only reception and preview showing of the newly-built Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Charlene is a Letters member, a Louisville, Kentucky native, and author of “Whitlock’s Compositions,” a biographical and pictoral story of Charles D. Whitlock.

The museum will open to the public on Saturday, September 24, 2016, following an outdoor dedication ceremony. The newly-built museum stands on the last available spot on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Read more about the museum…


Martha Steger, Member at Large, wins in National Federation of Press Women’s 2016 Communications Contest

Martha taking a Christmas dip in the Atlantic Ocean off Assateague Island, Virginia.

Martha taking a Christmas dip in the Atlantic Ocean off Assateague Island, Virginia.


Martha Steger, a Lifetime Member-at-Large and past president of the old Richmond, Virginia Branch, received second place in the category “Profile under 500 words” of the National Federation of Press Women’s 2016 Communications Contest. The results were announced at the conference in Wichita, Kansas earlier this month.





Patty Dick, Santa Clara County CA Branch, original art chosen for music CD cover

Artwork by Patricia Watkins Dick, retired X-ray technician

Artwork by Patricia Watkins Dick, retired X-ray technician

Patricia Watkins Dick, a Santa Clara County Letters and Art member, was recently honored to have an original piece of art chosen by a professional vocalist, Kaye Bohler, for Kaye’s most recent CD cover, “Woman In The White House.”

“Inspired by a courageous woman, for courageous women everywhere!” -Kaye Bohler





Patricia Watkins Dick, artist, progression of artwork, “Geovy, Goddess of Victory”

Patty’s inspiration for the drawing was the antique hood ornaments of Art Deco automobiles.


Linda A. Mohr, Boca Raton FL Branch, awarded for excellence

Linda A. Mohr attended a three-day workshop, “Poetry of Expression & Connection: What a Poem Can Do in the World,” at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, led by presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco. She received four certificates of excellence for online articles and poetry in Cat Writers’ Association communication contest. Her poem, “Morning Visitor,” was honored with Muse Medallion at CWA’s awards banquet in Chandler, Arizona. Her essay, “The Everlasting Rose,” was published in “Finding Our Wings: A Collection of Angelic Stories and Poems” by Spiritual Writers Network.


Elizabeth Diane Martin, Pikes Peak CO Branch, broadcasts in the PBS Citizen Journalism program

Elizabeth Diane Martin  produced a five-minute radio broadcast, introducing “The Complete artist” audio series. In a quest to understand the intricacies of creativity, Martin explores each strength of five Colorado Springs artists. Together, they portray the forces at work behind artistic creation — a force that lies within every person. The broadcast was a project in the Rocky Mountain PBS Citizen Journalism Program in Colorado Springs, available at and here.


Nancy Jurka, Pikes Peak, Colorado Branch President, wins book award

Nancy Godbout Jurka with husband Atis and son Andy

Nancy Godbout Jurka with husband Atis (R) and son Andy (L).

PPPW_Nancy Jurka book Bright Star 27884252Nancy’s book, “Bright Star of Palmer Lake” was given the 3rd place award in Poetry by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA).

Nancy credits the book team:

Bright Star won 3rd place in the poetry category and it was only one poem! This book could not have been done without the incredible art work from hand and heart by Kay La Bella.  I feel strongly that Kay and I broke new ground and in illustrated poetry-meaning…the poem stood on its own and not in a collection. (Yes, it has been in Journey On). But…remember this–it is everyone’s award and Kay it is yours also!! And a huge shout out to Andy Jurka for the design and layout, Aaron Jurka and to Atis Jurka for so much behind the scenes work with our very own Mountain Tapestry Press. A very special thank you to Doris Baker and Michael Daniels for believing in the book, in our hearts and in our vision. We are all thrilled with the CIPA EVVY Award and there was even more magical serendipity that happened at the event Saturday. I am writing about and will post it on my blog.


Huntsville, Alabama, February 2016

“Eugénie Rocherolle Day” proclaimed

Eugénie Rocherolle with the mayor of Huntsville, Tommy Battle, who proclaimed Feb. 26, 2016 “Eugénie Rocherolle Day.”

Huntsville AL Mayor Tommy Battle, presents Eugénie Rocherolle with the “Eugénie Rocherolle Day” proclamation.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle proclaimed Feb. 26, 2016, “Eugénie Rocherolle Day” and presented her with a written proclamation and a medallion representative of a key to the city. Member at Large Eugénie Rocherolle’s achievements are key to the future of our great organization, and we salute her magnificent experience and the honor she so rightly deserves.

Eugénie was commissioned by the Huntsville Alabama Music Teachers Association to compose a suite for the organization’s 20th anniversary.  “Celebration Suite” was the title for the commission and it included three original duets for piano.

The final movement was a thrilling piece performed on multiple pianos, adding to the exhilaration of the performance. Although the suite was written for two performers at one piano, this performance was amplified and enhanced by additional players at six pianos.

To learn more about this superb composer, visit her website at