September 4, 2015

A is for Anthology

Welcome to the Write On Mamas. We are a writing group based in the San Francisco North Bay area. We will have 25 Mamas and one Papa writing on a different letter of the alphabet during the A-Z Blog Challenge. We would love to hear your comments.


Photography by Mary Allison Tierney

The other night I had a dream. Someone from the Write On Mamas said to me, “I think I have an essay for the anthology. Is it too late to contribute?” In the dream I said, “It’s not too late at all!”

And then a dragon with a head that looked just like me came over and bit off the head of the person who’d told the other person, “Yes.”

I have no idea what that could mean.

The idea to put together an anthology came from the desire to kill a flock of birds with a single stone. Our writing group had just reformed with a new name and a new yet-to-be-determined home.

It would be nice to have a project that pulled the group together, I thought.

Many of our members were writing overviews or bios or applying for grants and wrote about the stories behind their memoirs or novels. The stories were riveting.

I want to read a whole book of these! I thought.

And of course, our members who were writing memoirs and novels were also building platforms.

Publishing a book is daunting, I thought. Wouldn’t it be great if we pooled our work?

So I said, “We should self-publish an anthology.”

That was two years ago. Later this month our first anthology Mamas Write will be published by Bittersweet Press.

The moral of the story is that you need to be careful what you propose. You might end up with 29 essays and 25 contributors, a fabulous foreword from Kate Hopper, the gentle-but-anal copy editing of Cary Tennis (that was weird to type but I suppose that all that is anal might as well be gentle, too). You might end up with a really close editorial team. Your writing might get a lot better from reading the writing of others’. You might learn about publishing industry and Kirkus reviews and how to read the fine print at Amazon.

And you might end up with dreams that you could still do a little bit better.

Look for our book Mamas Write, out soon available for purchase at a website near you.

Janine Kovac has two essays in Mamas Write: The Next Prompt and Shut Up Shelly.

About Janine Kovac

Janine Kovac is a talent-wrangler for Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival and conference coordinator for digi.lit, Litquake's digital publishing conference. She is co-editor and a contributing author of Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit. Her work has also appeared in, Literary Mama, Pregnancy and Newborn magazine, and in the anthology Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God. Janine is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a co-founder of the Write On Mamas, and is one of the directors of Listen To Your Mother for SF Bay Area 2015. She lives in Oakland with her husband, their daughter and their twin boys, one of whom thinks he is a kitty cat.


  1. Great site. I really enjoyed my stickybeak! Good luck with the challenge!

  2. Sue LeBreton says:

    I laughed as I can so see you saying, “it’s not to late.” Then dragon lady is you. Your energy is infectious. Congratulations to the entire group. As always, wishing I was closer geographically.

    • Sue, I wrote this a month ago trying to stay ahead of the game. And then, lo and behold I DID email the other editors after the manuscript had gone to the copyeditor to see if we could squeeze in one more! I was voted down, thank God.

  3. I like how you phrased the positive points. It was a great spin on the old ‘beware’ sentence pattern. And I know exactly how you feel! Our fiction group is now publishing its 4th & 5th anthologies this year and we are just so happy! ^_^ It’s been a great experience.

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

  4. What a clever idea you guys came up with for the A-Z Challenge. I can’t wait to see more from all of you. Good luck and Happy A-Zing!

    AJ’s wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

  5. Great kick-off, Janine! I feel lucky to be among the cats you herd.

  6. You have such a great and distinctive (writing) voice.

  7. Claire Hennessy says:

    Love your dream of dragons … and you have been our dragon-lady for the last 2 years … pushing and encouraging and showing by example what it is to be a writer and now, a published author. We are so lucky to have you as part of our amazing group and you have been my inspiration. Thank you for your vision and, thank goodness, your sense of humour!

  8. Mary Hill says:

    You cracked me up, again. Way to kick off the A-Z!

  9. What a fun group! It would be great to belong to a group of writers and be about to bounce ideas off each other and encourage each other! Good luck with your anthology!


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