Summer Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our September meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, in the Fiesta Room of the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine.

From the Atelier of Our NEW Prez:

Good day to you on a beautiful summer morning with cedar trees outside my back door swaying in a gentle breeze and birds tweeting to one another, sans e-mail.  Every morning is Thanksgiving Day to me because I am alive, able to care for myself, and returned home to Alpine after several months recuperating from a car wreck on New Year’s Day, not a good way to begin a year. My little terrier is at my feet, she who jumped out of the wrecked car and was nine miles toward home when a good Samaritan picked her up and searched for her owner.

I hope you are enjoying the supposedly lazy, hazy days of summer.  In Alpine those days hardly exist as there is always something interesting going on.  Such as Way Out West book festival July 29-31 on the Sul Ross Campus. And end-of-season baseball games this weekend as Big Bend Cowboys try to maintain their conference lead and home-field advantage for playoffs next week. Last weekend I taught a ten-hour storytelling class here to Methodist lay speakers and loved hearing each student tell four stories.  I plan to review the fabulous book we used in a later newsletter.

I look forward to being your president and to a new year of writing assignments and meetings.  I was able to interpret one bird tweet. Greet each day with a song.  Share it with a friend!

See you in September!

Phyllis Musgrove

New 2010-11 TMTW Board Members

President, Phyllis Musgrove
Vice-President, Darrell White
Secretary, Jackie Siglin
Treasurer, Elaine Davenport
Historian, Aleta Belcher

From Reba Cross Seals

Hello, fellow writers,

I want to share a website I think would be helpful and of interest to all writers in all genres. It is the website of Linda Rohrbough who taught me in a Sul Ross State University summer workshop which is hosted annually by the Writers’ League of Texas. I’ve taken several of those courses, and never had a bad one, however this special writer has a website on which she frequently posts helpful articles. She is a best selling author, and loves to share info. Just go to the official website at Be sure you spell it correctly because there is a similar name of a politician in Google.

Tips concern securing and vetting agents, proposals and many other subjects are posted. Hope you enjoy!


From The Cup of Comfort Blog (via Reba Cross Seals)

Writing Tip: Watch out for those fall-back phrases

Whether you’re aware of it or not, as a writer, you most likely have phrases that sneak their way into your writing more often than is ideal. While you barely notice them, chances are, your readers find them glaring–and may even consider them an annoyance.

When you are in the self-editing phase, complete a read for the sole purpose of cutting back on, if not eliminating, your fall-back phrases.

Here are some of the most common ones–but you know your writing best so just because you don’t see your go-to phrase here doesn’t mean you don’t have some!

    • in other words
    • unbeknownst to me
    • meanwhile
    • at the same time
    • in my opinion
    • contrary to popular belief
    • do you know what I mean?
    • never again would I…
    • for the last time
    • by no means
    • that’s for sure
    • as I said

As I said (ha!), this is by no means (uh-oh) a complete list–but it does give you something to start with. If you don’t trust yourself to pick out and eliminate phrases you may rely too heavily on, ask a trusted friend to read over your piece. Remember: you should write like you talk, only better.

Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) Creative Writing Contest

Announcing Pen 2 Paper, a disability focused, state-wide creative writing contest. This event is meant to give Texans an opportunity to consider or re-consider how they think about disability and to encourage unconventional expression about it. As you may know, Texas does not have a sparkling track record regarding the treatment of persons with disabilities, and one way to change this is to engage citizens from the ground up in a conversation about disability community, culture, and issues.

More details about the contest can be found at our website,, or feel free to get in touch with me directly at 512-578-3366 or .

WOW (Way Out West) Bookfest

July 29-31, Alpine, Texas

Click here for more information! For the website:

Braggin’ Rights

Frank Carden (Las Cruces, NM) announces that his novel, The Prostitutes of Post Office Street, was the winner of the 2010 Eric Hoffer Award in general fiction. U.S. Review says, “Love is a central theme, though furtive, such as the love between a black ‘madam’ and white boyfriend. Carden shows without saying and the effect is stunning.” Available from Amazon as a paperback or ebook for the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Mac, and PC. Frank will also will attend a book signing for his novel at The Way Out West TX Book Festival is in Alpine TX, July 29,30,31. Stop by and visit!

Darrell White entered the Midland Writers Club contest last March. His short story Marshal Johnson won Third Place, and he received 94 points out of a 100. He also received a nice looking certificate and $15.00. We need more of TMTW members to enter this contest!

Trail Bits

Kip Piper has launched her new blogging website – The Random Blonde – filled with Business and Marketing tips, as well as items on Cooking, Diet, Health, and Lifestyle, among others. For tidbits on her travel adventures this summer, be sure to check out her Travel section, with reviews and tales of the road. Remember to join her email list for weekly emails on relevant and timely topics! Visit her site at Kip looks forward to hearing from you!

Demystifying Writers’ Demons One at a Time

One by One –  by Joan Upton Hall

Commas with adjectives – when?

When two or more adjectives modify the same noun, separate with a comma.

“When I heard of his ill-fortune, an ugly, vengeful delight struck me.” (The delight is both ugly and vengeful.)
“A kinder, more generous man than Mr. Kincaid I have never met.” (The man is both kind and generous, but the word “more” modifies “generous”-hence no comma there.)

When the adjectives don’t modify the noun in the same way, they don’t need a comma.

“A famous rock star registered at our hotel.” (The star is a rock star and also famous, but he’s not “a famous and rock star.”)
“She wore a pale pink dress to the show.” (The word “pale” qualifies “pink” rather than the noun “dress.”) (See how the next example works in a similar way?)
“He chose a large geometric print tie.” (The tie is not large or geometric; the print is.)

Memory Tip: If it makes sense to say “and” between the adjectives, use a comma.

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

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 .

2 Replies to “Summer Newsletter | “Log of the Trail””

  1. West Texas Writers was delighted to have Darrel White’s “Marshall Johnson: A True Story” in our annual short story contest. We will soon be planning the 2011 contest and would love to have many more entries from members of TMTW.
    West Texas Writers is a non-profit organization based in Midland, TX. Our objective is to advise and assist writers, artists, publishers and editors in any media. Our short story contest is held in conjunction with our annual Celebration of Writers.
    – James A Woods
    President, West Texas Writers

  2. The El Paso Writer’s League is celebrating 75 years with a one day Celebration Writing Workshop on October 9, at the Brown Street YWCa. Presenters will be Monica Gomez (Poetry) and Lucia Zimmitti(Fiction). Time: 9qm-4pm. Price: $20 for EPWL members and $35 for non-members. Lunch is included, Contact Patsy King at 1 915 886 3136 or .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.