Alley to Teach at Ojai Poetry Bootcamp June 30

Is your writing on the flabby side? Do you need a good workout to get your poetry in shape or revitalize your writing practice?

Next Saturday, I will be teaching at the Ojai Writer’s Conference Poetry Bootcamp which runs Saturday, June 30 and  Sunday, July 1.This is the last weekend of a month long series of writing activities, workshops, and events.

You can  attend one or both days–it’s $50 for either Saturday or Sunday or $99 for the whole weekend which is a great deal for 6 hours of workshops from 4 teachers!

Saturday, June 30:

1-3 pm: “Hello, Nature, What Do You Have to Tell Me Today?” with Gwendolyn Alley {Read Bio Here} – Take the lessons learned from Haiku (expressing emotion through observations of nature) and apply them to other forms of writing. Also learn to transform writing (prose) into poetry.

3-5 pm: “Speak Your Heart – Unravel Your Life’s Purpose Through The Mysterious Language Of Your Soul” with akka b. {Read Bio Here} – As part of her Poetry With Purpose series, akka b. introduces poetic tools to help decode and access the specific gift/s we are all born with and ways to implement them in daily life. Akka challenges her students to dive deep into the poetry of the heart, where fragments of personal story and experience are illuminated  profoundly, and practically applied. At the end of the two hour class, participants will have not only a more meaningful understanding of poetry, they will have an original poem – evidence of their renewed relationship to the unique expression of their soul.

Sunday, July 1:

1-3 pm: “If Your Poem Had Footnotes…” with Perie Longo {Read Bio Here} – It has been said in every poem we write is the seed for the next poem. It is also true in each poem there is a place it can deepen by filling in the emotional tension left out in the editing process. Bring one poem (and some copies to share) to examine and discover invisible poems struggling to come from the dark, along with honoring what is already there, making more of it. We will also write a poem/s inspired by your own.

3-5 pm:“Chocolate, Wine and Poetry Tasting Workshop” with Sandra Hunter {Read Bio Here} – Afternoon of eating chocolate, sipping wine and writing sensory-inspired poetry … Organic chocolate from local Chocolatiers (chili chocolate fudge and citrus-infused chocolates) and local Casa Barranca Vineyard wines. Given that this is the last segment of Poetry Bootcamp, enjoy finishing or polishing up poems to share during the Pink Moment Sunset finale gathering.


More positive press for my wine blogging: Jo Diaz listed me recently (and again) as an influential and important wine blogger and Michael Wangbickler included me in his list of 6 wine bloggers he reads!

wine predator.............. gwendolyn alley

Following Vintank’s blog post last week listing the 9 most influential wine bloggers, several commenters observed the list was limited to one gender–male. The comments section has quite a ruckus going on–some of it insightful and provocative.

Last year, following the publication of a similar list and various online discussions about it and the fact that it too was a list of male wine bloggers, Jo Diaz posted her list of women bloggers. (If you need a refresher about this, you can do so here.)

This year, two bloggers responded with their own lists–and I made both of them!

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The Write Alley: 2011 in review

Happy New Year!

The Write Alley Highlights from 2011 included:
–travel to Egypt where I taught a writing workshop on the Nile in January
the release of my 3:15 Experiment Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son from en theos press in March followed by several featured readings and positive reviews
–co-leading a “Message in a Bottle” writing workshop with Danika Dinsmore in March
–creating and officiating a wedding in May
–writing about wine and travel in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California
–researching my book on family and sustainability in the wine industry in July
–returning to school for a PhD in psychology in October
–serving on a panel about wine and food at the International Food Bloggers Conference in November
–participating all year in many online twitter tastings to review wine samples
–being featured in several articles online and in print during the year

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog, The Write Alley.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,200 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I am so busy right now that I am not taking on any new projects or clients until May. However, I would be happy to meet at our earliest mutual convenience to discuss working together during May through August on your writing project whether it be a manuscript, book, blogging, family history or for business!

I hope to continue posting valuable content on a weekly basis here; for more regular updates and links about writing and social media, subscribe to my Twitter feed and “like” my page on Facebook. And of course, if you are not already, please subscribe to this blog!

I also plan to post weekly on my other blogs: Compassionate Rebel, Bikergogal, Wine Predator, and Art Predator. With my teaching load, my PhD classes, my family, and my writing projects, 2012 looks to be an exciting and busy year!

How was 2011 for you? What are looking forward to in 2012?

Alley to Speak at Bloggers Conference

This afternoon I am speaking at the International Food Blogger’s Conference in Santa Monica; I’m on a panel about integrating wine into a food blog and my specific topic is to share some ideas on how to create compelling content about wine and food. I was invited because I am considered an influential wine blogger who frequently includes food in my wine reviews and because I am a writing teacher and coach.

As I reflected on what I wanted to share, I realized that creating compelling content is the same no matter what the topic. This seems obvious now and it took me down a much more productive path in terms of my preparing to contribute to what I think will be a valuable session.

The key points I will be offering are:

1) Go for the jugular.
2) Tell stories.
3) Be specific.
4) Experiment.

You can read more about it over at my Wine Predator blog. I’ll be posting notes from my presentation there as well as here.

PS Today is my son’s birthday! He is 8 years old today.

Alley Profile In VC Reporter

Last Thursday Michel Cicero of the VC Reporter contacted me to ask for an interview. I’d dropped off a copy of my book Middle of the Night Poems for her to review but she said she wanted to do more than just write about the book, she wanted to do a feature on me, my wine blogging, the ArtRides I lead and more.

Of course I said yes. We had a great time conversing on the phone and before we knew it, we had talked for almost two hours and she had more than enough material for her interview.

All she needed was a photo. Hmmn. I knew I needed professional photos but I still hadn’t made the time to get some.

What was I going to do?

The next night, on my friend Lucy Williams suggestion, Brooks photo student Gabriel Romero ( called wondering if I’d be willing to sit for a portrait assignment. Sure, I said–but could we do it right away so I’d have something for Michel?

He came over that night and I showed him the house my grandfather built in 1961 complete with a wine cellar that everyone thought was a bomb shelter.

I wanted to take some portraits for my wine blog Wine Predator in his wine cellar and I thought they’d be fun for Michel’s article too. It would be cramped but he figured he could do it so we made plans for the next night to shoot.

It took about an hour to set up the lights in the cellar and then we shot for another two hours trying different poses, wardrobe and lighting. It was strange but fun too.

In the end, he submitted the photo at top and middle to his teacher for the assignment and the bottom one to show his lighting set-up; I submitted both to Michel and the one on top she used–which was one of the last ones we took!

Here’s a link to the article: Gwendolyn Alley: creative types by Michel Cicero VC Reporter Aug. 25, 2011.

So here’s the take-away–if you haven’t yet, get professional photos done! You never know when you’re going to need one! My only regret is I didn’t make time to have someone do my hair and make-up!

PS The golden liquid in my glass is a sherry from the silver bottle to my left. It was a gift to my grandfather from the year I was born…and I am drinking it while I write this.

Also, I will be reading and signing books Th. Sept. 15 at 7:15pm at Bank of Books on Main just east of downtown Ventura. You can also buy a print of ebook from Amazon or the publisher en theos press.

Reading & Workshop Ventura College Monday June 27

On Monday June 27 I will be reading my poetry and discussing my writing process, writing practice and The 3:15 Experiment with two classes of Ventura College writing students. I will be speaking with the first class at 10:50am in Trailer 5 for about an hour; I will meet with the second class at 1:50pm in J-1. I’ll also be selling and signing my new book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (en theos press 2011).

You are welcome to join us! Ventura College is located at 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003. It costs $1 to park and there are maps around campus to guide you to the classroom.

If you can’t make the reading but want to buy a copy of Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son, it’s available in print and ebook editions at and in Ojai at Barts Books, in Camarillo at Mrs Figgs Bookworm and in Ventura at Kama Sutra Closet.

TLVC Online Mag Features Gwendolyn Alley & ArtRides

This month’s Totally Local VC online magazine features an article about the ArtRides! Written by James Scolari, it’s based on an interview with me the other day.

Here I am, the leader of the pack, during last month’s ArtRide. Our theme was “Greaser Bicycle Ball.” Photo by Daniel Boggs.

As a writing coach who desires to work with artists and other creative folk, doing the ArtRides gets me out into the community every month to meet people and see what’s going on in our community. Yes, you could see it as networking but instead of attending an event with networkers for the sake of networking, I am participating and creating an event in my community that draws the community together to make various connections. And it’s fun! You should join us sometime–if not this month for the Seersucker Social, maybe next month for “Flower Power”! If you’re interested in learning more about the ArtRides and other fun cycling events, check out and subscribe to my blog “Bikergo Gal”.

Summer Solstice SantaCon & Seersucker Social ArtRide Tonight! Have you figured out what to wear to tonight’s Summer Solstice Seersucker Social & SantaCon ArtRide? Here are some of the seersucker separates I found: from our closets–a Betsey Johnson dress I got at a thrift store many years ago (now too small and up for borrowing!), three pairs of shorts (one pair from Patagonia–they have lots of seersucker this season!), a coat I bought on sale for my son a few years ago for a summer wedding and other d … Read More

via Bikergo Gal

Jo Diaz Features Women Wine Writers Who Matter

You may or may not know that I started wine blogging back in 2008 on my Art Predator blog and started a wine blog “Wine Predator” a year later. Yes, I am a wine blogger! I receive samples of wine to taste, review, and tweet about and I’ve traveled as a wine blogger to Portugal, Washington State and around California too. This summer, I will be working on a book about winery kids, family, and sustainability, and traveling with my son to visit family owned and operated wineries in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.

Just as I view the world as a writer always looking for stories to share, as a wine drinker, I am always thinking about what I’m drinking, where it came from and who produced it, and evaluating how it smells, tastes, feels, and finishes.

Last week, Jo Diaz on her blog “Jo’s Juicy Tales” honored and celebrated several wine bloggers; I am proud and pleased to be included in this list of women bloggers who, as she put it, bring heart, mind, soul and body (that’s me!) to the world of wine writing! Click the link below to enter a world of wine blogging…and wine bloggers!

Jo Diaz Names Wine Predator As A Wine Blogger Who Matters Recently Jo Diaz discussed Steve Heimoff’s column “Beyond Blogging” about  Jeff Lefrevre’s column “How to Become a Wine Wonk” in Forbes. (Did you follow that or did it get too incestuous?) In his column, Jeff recommends several wine sites and wine bloggers worth reading and why. His list of 12 sites includes Joe Roberts aka 1 Wine Dude, Alder Yarrow of Vinography, Tyler Coleman aka Dr. Vino and Steve Heimoff of Steve, all fine wine bl … Read More

via Wine Predator

Tuesday Tips: Just because you didn’t think of it first, doesn’t mean you can’t do it

Back in November, a friend called to tell me he was getting married to the wonderful woman he’d been dating. They’d set the date for May and they wanted me to officiate their wedding.

Who? Me? Officiate a wedding? How?

Which was kind of his response in 2003 when I asked HIM to officiate my wedding to Marshall.

“You’re the hostest with the mostest,” I think he said–or something along those lines. “You’re a wonderful orator. You’re our friend. We’d like to have you do it.”

So I said yes.

As the months progressed, we would talk about getting together to discuss the wedding. But we were all busy. As the date got closer, I became a little more concerned and wondered exactly what it was they wanted me to do.

And what should I wear? Kimberly, the bride, sent me copies of the dresses she and her attendants would be wearing: deep rich purples and turquoises. I got lucky and found the perfect dress at a thrift store–and it was brand new. At least I knew what I’d be wearing on this important day when everyone would be looking at me–and a most beautiful bride looking her very best and a handsome groom in tails!

A facebook friend commented about how much he appreciated the service at his recent wedding so I contacted him about what made it so good. When I told him they planned to give me a script, he encouraged me not only to guide them, but to actually do the service–and that I should be paid to do so.

Since these are good friends, I decided to offer to create their service as a wedding gift for them–and they accepted.

Last night, the bride, the groom and the bride’s mother came over to my house. I had wine, cheese, crackers, fruit and pate for us to snack on. For two hours, we discussed the wedding and how they wanted it. She wanted to include Native American traditions, African American traditions, and poetry, including poems by Maya Angelou and Pablo Neruda from a book I just bought; he wanted some Jewish traditions; her mom wanted some religion and Bible verses.

It seemed like a tall order.

But I knew I’d be able to do the research and use my experiences as a host and as a poet to create a moving and beautiful ceremony that would make the couple, their family, and their friends happy. They even encouraged me to include some of my own poetry or do something original for the day.

This would be a huge writing challenge and an exciting one so this week I’ll be busy preparing the service and myself to give it including getting deputized to perform it! I’ll let you know how it goes!

The lesson here is that just because you didn’t think it was part of the services you might offer, if someone asks you, consider whether or not you might be able to do the job. I might have just discovered a new career path for myself that integrates my writing gifts, my research abilities, and my skill at performance!

May 4 Readings & Radio

Today is a busy one! I will be giving a talk about the 3:15 Experiment and giving a reading at Ventura College then run over to give a radio interview about where we’re going on the ArtRide and read some Mother’s Day poetry from my new book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son. Then, later in the afternoon, at 4pm I return to Ventura College to hear one of my students read in the library–her writing was selected for the College anthology VC Voices. (Congrats, Caitlin Scoles!)

Here are the details:

MAY 4 8:30am
Ventura College, Telegraph Rd, Ventura CA 93001 *** reading + discussion of 3:15 Experiment *** free + open to the public + LRC classroom (library building downstairs past the computers)

MAY 4 11am
KKZZ 1400AM Radio interview and reading in the 11am hour. Online and Live.

MAY 4 4pm
Ventura College, Telegraph Rd, Ventura CA 93001 *** VC Voices reading *** free + open to the public + LRC (library building in the library second floor)

Read on to read more about the radio program.

Tuesday Tips: Remember Radio! While I may write a lot about using social media tools here on this blog, it’s important to remember to connect and use traditional media like radio, television and print sources as well. I’ve done a lot of radio in the past and it’s lots of fun! Tomorrow Weds. April 20 around 11am I will be featured on a live radio show; you can also listen online to: Radio Buzz Women talk, Men Don’t Listen with Your Hostess S. Lyn Fairly and co-hostess Cynthia … Read More

via The Write Alley