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SLO NightWriters

The premier writing organization on California's Central coast

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current Board & Committee member information

President - Leanne Phillips

Leanne Phillips is a writer, a certified book coach, and an editor. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kelp Journal, The Coachella Review, Persimmon Tree, and elsewhere. Her novel was named the Book Winner and a Mentorship Prize Winner in Launch Pad's 6th Annual Prose Writing Competition, and one of her short stories was the Grand Prize Winner in Screencraft's 2023 Cinematic Prose Writing Competition.

Leanne earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts (fiction and creative nonfiction) from the University of California at Riverside, Palm Desert. She received her BA in English, with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in history, from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She earned her book coaching certification from Author Accelerator and a copyediting certificate from the University of California at San Diego.

Vice President - Mary Silberstein

Mary Silberstein was born in Saudi Arabia. Her father worked for Aramco oil company there. She traveled the world with her family right out of the cradle… travel and adventure are in her blood. She first began writing as a young child, journaling during trips to the states and across Europe. She finds writing and reading, movies, music, and theatre, to be wonderful escapes into life’s great adventures.

The author began writing poetry 30 years ago. Over the years, her poem subjects have included revelations on the beauty of nature and celebration of the human spirit. A nurse by profession, mother, and grandmother, she understands human frailty, its joys and loses.

She is the winner of several poetry contests, has been published locally over the years, and has been an active member of Central Coast’s SLO Night Writers for the past five years. Her first collection of poetry, No One Told the Redwood, was published on Amazon in 2018. The Search for Blue Sky, her first published novel, came out in 2022.

California has been her beloved home for most of her adult life and she enjoys world travel, with Hawaii as a favorite go-to place. She currently lives on a small ranch on the Central Coast with her devoted husband Stephen, beloved dog Fox Z,  seven amazing chickens, and two Pygmy goats; Cody and Cooper. Children and grandchildren live nearby and keep her young and busy.

Treasurer - Cheri Grimm

Professional Experience

Cheri Grimm Bookkeeping – Cheri has been providing bookkeeping/business management services since 1989, and has owned and operated her own business since January 1, 1996. She currently works in her daughter's business (CG Bookkeeping), providing a wide range of customized bookkeeping services – from payroll only to full charge bookkeeping.

Cheri has worked with her sister, Sam Horn, for thirty years. Sam is a well-known author/speaker/consultant and it is through her work with Sam that she has developed a strong enjoyment of working with and supporting writers and speakers.

Community Activities

Cheri served as President of the Los Osos/Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce in 1995, Vice President in 1994, and Treasurer in 1992 & 1993.
She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Bay-Osos. Past activities include Program Chair, Finance Committee Chair, and chair of various 501(c) 3 fundraising events.

Secretary - Jim Livingston

Jim has been a SLO NightWriter member for four years and is the club’s current secretary.

He worked as a secondary vocational education teacher until retirement.  He started writing in 2013, concentrating on science fiction.  Five years ago, he and his wife moved back to San Luis Obispo to support family members.    

He attended his first Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College four years ago, feeling the workshops offered valuable insights, advice, information, and training for budding writers.  

Jim learned about the SLO NightWriters at the conference and was encouraged to join.  He’s attended the critique sessions offered before each monthly general NightWriters meeting with critiquers Susan Tuttle and Terry Sanville, and now Mark Arnold. 

His only published works are his Cal Poly senior project, Chico State master’s thesis and three recent articles in the club’s newsletter.  

Jim has written seventeen novels with another mostly finished, none published.  His fictional universe, The New Greenland Chronicles, begins in the year 2087 with the novel, A New World, and goes to 2152 with his Blue Angel Trilogy.  Utilizing his technical background, Jim projects where today’s technology will be at the end of this century.  He explores both the positive and negative possibilities of future technology and their effect on humanity.

Jim joined a critique group a year and a half ago.  His group is currently evaluating The Horns of the Borsk, a hundred-thousand-word novel that takes place in the year 2108.  He’s hoping to have them finish with it later this year, then send it to beta readers for their evaluations.  So if you’re interested in a rip-roaring sci fi yarn let Jim know.

Publicity/Social Media director - Carolyn Rohrbach

After successfully navigating the workforce from IBM to hospice spiritual care, Carolyn Rohrbach now spends her days writing and telling everyone how great SLO NightWriters is. You can find her book, "Glint of Light 23 End-of-Life Stories" at all the on-line retail spots or come to a SLO NightWriter Meeting. She would love to see you there! 

Golden Quill Contest Director - Harvey Ardman

Harvey Ardman has been a professional writer for nearly 60 years. His work includes many magazine articles, dozens of PBS documentary films and 23 published books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Journalism and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Ardman left his home of 40 years in Rockport, Maine and moved to San Luis Obispo, to be near his younger daughter. One of the first things he did here was to join Nightwriters. He is an avid participant in a critique group and is in the final stages of completing his first science fiction novel, "Hello, Earth," a book of just over 100,000 words.

Last year, he served as the Golden Quill's short story judge. 

Newsletter Editor- denise yaffe

Denise Yaffe is a new author of children’s books. She is from California and has a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the field of chemical Engineering, She has 30 years of environmental experience in compliance, remediation, and sustainability. She has written and published technical papers and scholarly articles for national conference proceedings and various peer-reviewed journals such as Risk Analysis, J. Chemical Information Computer Science, and Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research. She is currently writing the Earth Kids series of books addressing various important environmental issues.

Denise Yaffe is a new author of children’s books. She illustrates and writes environmental fiction and non-fiction for middle-grade. She is currently writing the Earth Kids series of books addressing pollution, global warming, climate change and environmental justice. In the past, Denise authored and published scholarly articles and technical papers for national conference proceedings and various peer-reviewed journals such as Risk Analysis, J. Chemical Information Computer Science, and Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research.

Denise is from California and has a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a Licensed Professional Engineer with experience in environmental and chemical engineering,compliance, remediation, and sustainability. Denise moved to Los Osos in 2019 and later joined NightWriters. Dr. Yaffe is the Environmental Justice Coordinator for the NAACP, the newly appointed editor of Wordsmiths, SLO NightWriters, and works part-time as an environmental consultant. 

Sunshine Chair - Michelle Turner

Michelle’s first career was as an attorney from 1987 to 2020. She is currently working on two novels, one of which she hopes to complete this year. She was awarded first place (in a tie) in the 2023 Golden Quill Poetry Contest for a poem called “The Tomorrow.” Her short story called “The Mystical Summer of El Chorro” will be published in a California Writers Club sci-fi/fantasy anthology “One Universe to the Left” in 2023 or early-2024. She joined NightWriters in 2021 and enjoys meeting with her read and critique group every other Friday

For questions: email

Mailing Address:
1126 Nipomo Ave
Los Osos, CA 93402

Meeting Address:
11245 Los Osos Valley Rd
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

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