February Newsletter |”Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our February meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, in the Fiesta Room at the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Our speaker will Darrell White who will share the history of Valentine’s Day and some of its customs throughout the world, such as how Japan has two Valentine’s Days — February 14 for women and May 14 for men!
Writing Asssignment by Darrell White: Your writing assignment topic for the February meeting is your best or worst Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day gift.

From the Atelier of our President:

Where is our promised snow?  My sister called this morning; they’ve got 3 inches so far in Natchitoches, Louisiana, a place that rarely sees snow.  She is thrilled!  Of course everything has been shut down and cancelled over there so she’s got a long weekend at home.  They may get up to 7 inches before the front moves out.

I am happy with sun, of course.  And thankful that I live in an area where we can have snow one day and sun the next!  And, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute!

We’re anxious to hear how Kip liked Alaska and look forward to a report from her.  She should now be back in the warmer climes of Texas.

Marilyn Westfall, from the Lubbock writer’s group, has invited us to come to Lubbock May 22 to spend an evening reading/listening to stories with their group.  They will provide places for us to stay.  This is the group several of us met at the Marfa Lights Viewing Area Halloween night.  This sounds like a fun trip.  Think about it and let’s discuss in more detail later.

Reba and Jackie have been cracking the spring conference whip and there are more details in this newsletter.  It’s shaping up to be a good one.  I hope you’re all able to attend.

All reports are that Phyllis Musgrove is doing well, but we’re looking forward to having her back in this part of Texas.


Writers, Think Spring!

Wipe the frost off your brow and mark your calendars now for the annual Spring Writers’ Retreat in the beautiful mountains of West Texas near Alpine on April 9, 10, 11, 2010.

The Texas Mountain Trail Writers gang is already planning exhilarating and inspiring presentations in an awesome mountain setting. The food will be fabulous as always, and we’ve also discovered a cross-country hiking/running trail around the encampment to jog off any writer’s block!
This year’s speakers include a published children’s writer, an author who will tell ways to avoid the slush pile and be a stand-out, two archivists who will show how to research your fiction or non-fiction book, plus fun and entertainment.

If you know of friends, or a writers’ organization, who might be interested in hearing more about our annual retreat with published, professional speakers, please email their addresses.

In the meantime, MARK YOUR CALENDAR, and soon more exciting news about speakers, location and fun activities will follow.
Email or call retreat coordinators:

Reba Cross Seals
Jackie Siglin-Lodging
Elaine Davenport-Registrar
Donna Greene, President


Conference Overview| Conference Registration

Hello to fellow writers!

As you have noticed by our excited announcements in the Log of the Trail, we are trumpeting our next Writing Round-Up in Alpine on April 9, 10, 11, 2010.

We hope you are reading this and getting ready to pack your bags for the trip.  But first we are making a request.  Please copy, paste, and email this press release to your local newspaper.

We think more people might like to know of our event, and ask you to help us spread the word.  Please send me their name and email addresses too, so that I might send them further announcements.

Thanks, and hope to see you in April.
Reba Cross Seals

CHAOS Submissions

It’s getting to be that time again! Start sending me your submissions to CHAOS. Check http://texasmountaintrailwriters.org/2010-chaos-call-for-submissions/ for submission guidelines.

“Scare The Dickens Out of Us” Ghost Story Contest

The second annual “Scare The Dickens Out of Us” ghost story contest offers $1000.00 first place, $500.00 second place and $250.00 third place prize money this year for a new, original ghost story up to 5000 words. Is anyone interested? Any genre is welcome, a romance story can also be a ghost story.

This literary contest is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas, the oldest continuously in use library inTexas. Entry fee is $20.00. The contest is privately funded, all entry fees go to the Friends for library projects. Last year the contest attracted several romance writers; second place actually went to a romance writer.

Full rules are available at http://clarklibraryfriends.com/ . Entries will be accepted from July 1 to October 1 2010.

We are also supporting a “Junior Scare the Dickens Out of Us” ghost story contest with a $250.00 first prize. This is for ages 12-18 and requires a $5.00 entry fee.


Sponsored by WEST TEXAS WRITERS in Midland, Texas
Download Contest Flyer for More Info!

The 2010 Pen to Press Writers’ Retreat!

May 25-29, 2010, in beautiful downtown New Orleans, Louisiana

This is a one of a kind writers’ retreat you simply can’t pass up! Come excited and leave inspired, ready to improve your writing and get that manuscript published!

Pen to Press Retreats are five intense, hands-on, inspiring days that teach participants how to shape and present a saleable manuscript. You’ll learn in a variety of settings, from workshops to one-on-one mentoring sessions to seminars. To that end, you will write and revise, have portions of your manuscript critiqued, and revise some more. This is a remarkable opportunity to transform your writing!

To top it off, throughout the last two days of each retreat, all of our participants are given exclusive, one-on-one time with agents and editors to whom they can pitch their work.

With this retreat under your belt, who can stop you?

For lots more information, go to WWW.PENTOPRESSRETREAT.COM

Braggin’ Rights

From Reba Cross Seals

Reba Cross Seals is pleased that the Jan.uary issue of the Cenizo, a literary magazine of West Texas, contains her creative non-fiction story about the Marfa Lights. The article tells of the first time Reba saw them, and much of their history. Also included was an original watercolor art work of the viewing site by Reba.

Demystifying Writers’ Demons©

One by One –  by Joan Upton Hall

Capitalizing & Punctuating Titles: literary works
(Quotation marks for short works; Italics for longer works)

  • Capitalize initial letters of first and last words no matter how short.
    “A Recipe for Romantics” (short story) A River Runs Through It (movie)
  • Capitalize first letters of every important word no matter how short
    (verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs).
    “The Pit and the Pendulum” (short story) The Old Man and the Sea (novel)
  • Don’t capitalize articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, or), or prepositions (by, for, in), except those with four or more letters (through, into).
    “Into the Black Hole and Through the Other Side”
    But “In the Black Hole and out the Other Side” (short story)
  • Hyphenated words-don’t capitalize the second part of hyphenated single words.
    Miracle on Forty-second Street (movie) “Choosing a Co-author” (article)

Do demons bedevil your writing? Similar, confusing words? Grammar, punctuation, or capitalization rules? “The Demystifier” will clear up the mystery (primary reference unless otherwise noted: Garner, Bryan A. Dictionary of Modern American Usage. N.Y.: Oxford University Press). Address questions and comments to freelance editor, Joan Upton Hall at: . More problems like the above are demystified in the booklet, 50 Writers’ Tips. Find more at http://www.JoanUptonHall.com/books.htm.

Final Note from the Editor:

Have news? Toot your horn, clang your bell, raise your roof! Tell us your news and stories – or writing news in general, such as publications you would recommend, contests, book events, etc. Send your Braggin’ Rights and Trail Bits to .

Writers Gather in Alpine in April

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