Officers & Chairs

Joan Raymond

Joan Raymond, President

Joan Raymond, a member of Writers of Kern since January 2012, completed her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Creative Writing and English in August 2014 and her Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Creative Writing and English March 2017, She lives in Bakersfield with her family and assorted four-legged companions. Joan has served on the Writers of Kern board since June 2012 and is the leader of two of the club’s many critique groups. A member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Joan is a freelance editor and writer with work published in The Bakersfield CalifornianTaft IndependentThe Southern California Writers ShowcaseThe Penman Review, and Res Ipsa Loquitur. She is a managing editor for The Oddville Press. Her blog, Joan Raymond Writing, focuses on writing, rejections, and random thoughts.

Dennis VanderWerff

Dennis VanderWerff, Vice President

Dennis VanderWerff serves as treasurer and webmaster. He joined Writers of Kern in late 2010. A retired librarian with 38 years of experience, Dennis worked in school libraries, college libraries, public libraries, and corporate libraries, including the Getty Research Library. He holds a Ph.D. in Library Science from the University of Southern California. Dennis began writing in the late 1980s for organization newsletters and professional journals. His primary writing interests are in creative non-fiction, personal essay, and memoir. His blog, derwerffblogg, focuses on people, places, ideas, and events that enrich his life. In April 2013, he participated in and survived the 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge writing 26 blog posts about important people in his life. He is at work on a story about the strange and mysterious life of his maternal grandmother. Passionate about writing, Dennis attended the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico, in February 2013 and 2014.

Janet Skibinski

Janet Skibinski, Secretary

Janet’s love of writing began when she was asked to create the Class Prophecy in eighth grade. She’s been published in Acts of Kindness, Trafalgar on-line, and The Bakersfield Californian.

Karen Sallee

Karen Sallee, Treasurer

Karen Sallee joined Writers of Kern in 2014.  She values her membership and has grown creatively through the informative speakers, skills-building events, and critique groups offered by Writers of Kern. Karen has a lot of fun composing rhymes, but she doesn’t stick to writing in one genre.  She thrives on a good writing competition, to which she submits her essays, creative non-fiction, fiction, kid lit, 100-word stories, and memoirs.  Her work has been featured in Good Old Days magazine, The First Line literary journal, Working Writers newsletter, and The Bakersfield Californian.  Karen’s writing also appears on the websites of Southern California Writers Showcase, A Story in 100 Words, and Grey Wolfe Publishing, which included Karen’s memoir piece in their recently released Legends: The Den Anthology 2017. The Writers of Kern Blog Challenge 2017 gave Karen the inspiration to begin her blog, Karen Sallee, Sentences With No Repentances, which can be viewed at Karen is a native daughter of Bakersfield.  She enjoys family and friends, music, family history, volunteering at her grandchildren’s elementary school, and, with her husband, exploring their world one short road trip at a time—all good food to feed a writer’s muse.

Clarissa Kae

Clarissa Kae, Critic Group Coordinator

Clarissa Kae serves as the Critique Group Coordinator, helping members (active and associate) sharpen their writing craft. In 2010, she founded Clarissa’s Critique and Consult, an agency committed to debut authors and their literary goals. She graduated from Brigham Young University’s Animal and Veterinary Science College (prep work for raising a herd of daughters). She lives with fifty-five chickens, six cats, four dogs, three daughters and one very patient husband.
Her personal writing experience spans elementary school plays to technical research on genetic nutrition. Clarissa writes and publishes Clarissa Kae, a blog about writing, publishing and the irony of parenting.

Annis Cassells

Annis Cassells, Hospitality/Sunshine Chair

Annis serves as the Publicity and Hospitality/Sunshine chair. She is the Writers of Kern 2013 California Writers Club Jack London Award honoree. She writes poetry, memoir, personal essay, and is trying her hand at fiction. Annis’s poems have been published in Yellow Chair Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, other online ‘zines. Her fiction and memoir have appeared in the California Writers Club Literary Review, online at the Southern California Writers Showcase and the Scarlet Leaf Review. She is a contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart. Annis facilitates memoir writing classes for senior adults and conducts workshops through Dignity Health’s Art for Healing Program. Annis shares reflections, ideas, stories, and articles on her blog, The DayMaker.

Ian Cant

Ian Cant, Newsletter Editor

Ian Cant was born in Scotland and considers himself a "mid-century modern."  Spent [or maybe mis-spent] his youth between frozen Scotland and tropical Malaya, and split his working life between military aviation and avionics engineering.  Aircraft buff, traveler, tries to be a writer.  Now lives in Tehachapi and plays with science fiction novels and random short stories. But wait...there's more... Ian has an evil twin who goes by the handle of Khoti Sarque and is not to be trusted.  See his occasional blog Khoti Sarque: Outrageous Opinions, Travel Tales and Short Stories.  If you still want to know more, here is what Khoti bellows about himself:

  • Born: Ahead of his time, after decades of gestation.

  • Died: Many times on stage and in public.

  • In between: Traveled, adventured, drank, told lies, loved, formed opinions, corrected his opinions, invented his biography, hid from his creditors, evaded law enforcement and "all the other things one does to prove one is alive".

  • Interests: Catholic.

  • Religion: Wide and varied.

  • Ethnicity: Dubious, at best.

  • Preferences: Moderation in all things, especially in moderation.

  • Location: No fixed abode, flits between California and Euphoria, winters in New Rasthenia.

So now you know.

Martha Warriner Jarrett

Martha Warriner Jarrett Representative At-Large

Martha graduated from Pasadena High School in 1962, and SMU in Dallas, Texas, in 1966. She spent eight years in the ad industry, then went back to school at Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. She graduated in 1977 and worked as a bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles and Riverside, California for over 30 years. Martha is retired and lives in Bakersfield with her husband, Ronald. She self-published her memoir, A Rough Season.

Sandy Moffett

Sandy Moffett, CWC Central Board Representative

Sandy Moffett has been a poet and lyricist for more than 40 years. She is an inspirational speaker for women’s groups and uses her personal life experiences and history as a third generation funeral owner to help those who are grieving. Sandy’s tales as a funeral singer have appeared in, Mortuary Management and International Mortuary and Cemetery Management. She is the author of Dear Ones, a collection of poetry and prose and has had stories published in Cup of Comfort: Devotional for Mothers and Daughters and Chicken Soup for the Soul Angels Among Us.