November Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our November meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Fiesta Room of the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine.

Program: eBook Publishing – Pros, Cons & Kindle vs Nook – presented by Kip Piper, Internet Marketing Expert & Trainer

Writing “Opportunity”: 500 words on one of the following of your choice:

A Turkey Defense
Love in Fall
Hot Time in the Old Town

Refreshments: Delicious treats from Elaine Davenport.

President Chat

Thankful for November and Thankful for Texas Mountain Trail Writer friends!

Seems the older I get the more thankful I become; however, the less I want to decorate my home and prepare huge feasts. Is that an oxymoron?

Congratulations to our writers who are participating in NaNoWriMo at this time. My tang gets tungled when I try to say it, but it means National Novel Writing Month, and that month is November. If you are participating, please comment through the Log of the Trail or email me,  .

Our November meeting is a week early this month to avoid conflicting with Thanksgiving plans. It will be in Alpine, November 13, 2012 at the Hallmark Apartments on Hwy. 118 north. The program is one that is of great interest to writers in the current printing and distributing climate, e-book publishing. It will be presented by Kip Piper who has a number of years of business experience on the internet. Refreshments will be provided by Elaine Davenport.

Darrel White, vice president has named our writing opportunities for the November meeting as 500 words or fewer on your choice from this list:

A Turkey Defense
Love in Fall
Hot Time in the Old Town

The Best First Sentences and the Worst First Sentences just got serious! The club voted to award a $25 gift certificate for the Best and a $15 gift certificate for the Worst (redeemable at Front Street Books for locals and an online book store for out-of-towners). Send your nominees to me,   to compete. Winners will be announced in the May Log of the Trail.

Here are some that may make you go, “Hummm, wish I’d written that,” or perhaps you see some that make you groan aloud.

Best First Lines:

submitted by Marian Frueh, Fort Davis, TX

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled
with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with
nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means

source: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

“Let’s make this fast. I was molested when I was a child and then I wasn’t any
more and then I skated competitively as a kid and then I quit skating and started
drinking when I was a teenager and then I started therapy when I was an adult and
then I married and then I still had therapy and then I had children and then I still
had therapy and finally I decided I was tired of all this therapy, all this talking
like a talk machine.”

source: Amy Fusselman, New York Times essay, “Feet to Brain”

Worst First Lines:

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

“She slinked through my door wearing a dress that looked like it had been painted
on…not with good paint, like Behr or Sherwin-Williams, but with that watered-
down stuff that bubbles up right away if you don’t pierce the surface before you
slap it on, and—just like that cheap paint—the dress needed two more coats to
cover her.”

source: Sue Fondrie, It’s a Crime

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

“Chapter One: I am born.”

source: Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

If you find these pique your interest, please participate by sending me your choices. It’s interesting that sometimes I’m pondering if some first lines are the best or worst. Do you have the same problem?

Reba Cross Seals


Hello All!

I wanted to share what one author just said in an interview about writing and about Nanowrimo. I think he really has solid points about writing in general and I liked how he phrased it all.

“All the stuff I learned and relearned was the stuff that NaNoWriMo participants are familiar with—that you should just write it now and polish it later, that a writer’s search for perfection can be self-defeating, and that waiting for a brilliant idea gets you nowhere; that you have to seize the day, and if you have a problem, to think of a quick solution and keep going; that your audience wants you to succeed, to entertain and transport them, and they’re not always as worried about holes and coincidences as you are; that the most humdrum idea written down beats the most sublime idea in your head, every time… you want me to go on?   “

So, who’s joining me in November for Nano? It’s crazy, but it doesn’t have to be “good” writing either. Plus there are prizes and bragging rights!

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is or want to look into it a bit, check it out at

Feel free to pass this along to anyone.

^_^ Anne VanLoon

TMTW Minutes of October Meeting

October 16, 2012

Eleven people were present in the library in Fort Davis. One was a guest, George Pitlik, who expressed interest in rejoining next month in Alpine.

The minutes of the previous meeting were in the Log of the Trail, so were not repeated. Anne Van Loon, treasurer was absent.

Under old business, president Reba Seals skimmed the retreat evaluations compiled by Jackie Siglin. The results were mostly positive, even exuberant. Some were ones over which we have no control like the size of meeting room. Others were more valuable suggestions and will be considered, such as renting a sound system. Numerous compliments were received on the quality of the retreat. Participants’ feedback was appreciated.

Under New Business it was decided to change the November meeting date up a week to Nov. 13, and it will be in Alpine. The previous date was two days before Thanksgiving. Elaine Davenport volunteered to bring refreshments.

At the suggestion of club president, Reba Seals, the group voted to award a $25 gift certificate (redeemable at Front Street Books) for the winner of the “Best First Sentence” in the current contest instituted by Reba. A $15 prize will be awarded to the winner who finds the “Worst First Sentence.” Trail Writers are urged to send Reba your suggestions for the best and worst first sentences you find in your own works, in books you are currently reading, or as Vivian Morrow did, from a book you loved from your childhood. Current offerings are in the October Log of the Trail published by Kip Piper. A list for your vote will be sent out in May at the end of our standard organization year. Prizes will be awarded then.

Aleta Belcher with spokesperson, Kip Piper, offered suggestions for our next retreat. They have been busy brainstorming, and came up with several ideas. The group voted to remain at the Mountain Trails Lodge in Fort Davis and to secure keynote speaker, Juan Perez, 2011-2012 Poet Laureate for the San Antonio Poets’ Association, humorist and poet with a fantasy/gothic slant. He also does traditional haiku, and is willing to speak about the publishing of poetry. Two dates in April are available at this time, both at the Lodge and with Mr. Perez, and it was noted that we need to secure one. Dates available were April 12, 13, 14 or April 26, 27, 28.

The program was presented by Bob Miles, local western writer and historian. He told of his background, his research, and means of publication. He discussed considering a compilation of his historical essays, but does not feel he has enough for a book yet. His presentation was secured by David Seals.

A break for coffee, cake, and popcorn was taken. David Seals had Porter’s Thriftway bake and decorate a Halloween motif cake for the club with the words, “Happy Writing” inscribed. Aleta brought the popcorn.

Story readings were given by Elaine Davenport, Eleanor Taylor, Darrell White, Kip Piper, and Reba Seals.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:45.

Reba Seals, acting sect.

 As Seen on Facebook

submitted by Reba Cross Seals





submitted by Kip Piper

Cliches for Writers

by Mark Nichol

  1. After hours: In the evening or at night, or late in the day (referring to standard daytime hours that most businesses are open)
  2. Banker’s hours: A relatively short duration (from the onetime tradition that banks were open for a limited number of hours compared to other businesses; therefore, one who keeps banker’s hours has a light work schedule)
  3. Bat/wink/twinkling of an eye: variations of an idiom referring to a period of time so brief that it passes while one’s eyelid moves
  4. Eleventh hour: occurring late in a given time frame (from the fact that the eleventh hour is the last in the day before midnight)
  5. Flash: an instant (from the fact that a flash of flame is short lived)
  6. Heartbeat: an instant (from the duration between one heartbeat and the next); usually seen in the expression “in a heartbeat”; by contrast, a phrase beginning “a heartbeat away from” refers to someone being in line for promotion if the heart of that person’s immediate superior stops beating — that is, if the other person dies
  7. Jiffy: an instant (perhaps from slang for lightning); also shortened to jiff
  8. New York minute: a brief time (from the notion that minutes in the hectic milieu of New York City pass more quickly than those in more relaxed locales)
  9. On the hour: at the beginning of every hour
  10. Shake: a very short period; usually employed in the phrase “two shakes” (a truncation of the idiom “two shakes of a lamb’s tail,” alluding to the typically rapid motion of the young animal’s tail)
  11. Small hours: the early morning (from the low numbers on the clock that indicate the time during that period)
  12. Split second: a fraction of a second (from the notion that a second can be split, or subdivided); a split is also a fraction of the total elapsed time for a race
  13. Tick: a moment (from the ticking of a clock); a tick is literally a mark used for measure, as on a clock
  14. Trice: a short period of time (from a word meaning “pull”); often seen in the phrase “in a trice”
  15. Witching hour: midnight or the middle of the night (with the connotation that unsettling or unusual things happen then, from the superstition that witches are about at that time)

submitted by Reba Cross Seals

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 .


One Reply to “November Newsletter | “Log of the Trail””

  1. Hi Texas Mountain Trail Writers,

    I wish I could be out there on a starry mountain looking at that uncluttered western sky.
    I am doing NaNoWriMo. This being Day 6, I’ve hit my words each day since Nov. 1 and I’m not checking spelling or any stuff like that. Or repetitions, of which I am sure there is a whole bunch of. Or ending with prepositions. This NaNo thing gives you a pass from all that, until December when editing begins.
    It helps if you’re interested in the fictional world you’re creating.
    Take care you all, happy Thanksgiving, and I hope to be out there some day soon and see you all again.

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