April Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our April meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Fiesta Room of the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine.

Program: 2013 Retreat in Review

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

Good Old Days (past, non-fiction)
The Devil May Care (horror, mystery)
What Lies Within (Faith, inspiration)

Refreshments: Delicious treats from Elaine Davenport.

President Chat

It’’s impossible to write a blurb for this month’’s Log of the Trail without babbling about the magnificent Spring Retreat we just concluded. We had over forty people in attendance throughout the weekend, and the presenters were fantastic, knowledgeable as well as entertaining. Nina Amir, blogging to book coach, Bill O’Neal, Texas State Historian, and Juan Perez, poet, kept the retreat fast paced and information filled.

Our reviews show how much the attendees loved the expertise of the presenters, the food, mild weather, nice rooms, scenery and camaraderie from new friends and old.

Our evaluations have already been tallied and we are paying attention. Any negatives mentioned will be thoroughly considered, but we are thrilled that most comments were extremely positive.

1st Line Contest: Entries were non-existent this past month and I, as club president, was so engrossed in preparing for the wonderful retreat that I neglected to ask for your entries. So, let’’s start again. Open your books and choose some first lines that wow you or make you shake your head. Then share by email them to me:

Here are my choices for April.

Best First Lines: April, 2012-13

submitted by: Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
Source: George Orwell, 1984

submitted by: Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX
“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
Source: Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Worst First Lines: April, 2013

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX
“It was love at first sight.”
Source: Joseph Heller, Catch 22

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX
“The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger
Source: Stephen King, The Gunslinger

NOTE from Juan and Malia Perez

For anyone who wants extra copies of the retreat handouts, or did not receive them all, please email us at with your name and mailing address. We’ll be happy to drop them in the mail to you!

Braggin’s Rights

Eleanor Taylor is excited to announce the publication of her book “Wet My Mouth With Honey”. Lucky ones were able to buy a personally inscribed copy at this last weekend’s spring retreat. For the rest of us, the book is available on Amazon – both in print and on Kindle – and on Barnes and Noble websites. This book is the perfect read for women who lived through the turbulent late 1960s and for those who want a glimpse of the world at that time.

REMEMBER to support your fellow members! Buy their books! Cause you know, when you publish YOUR book, you’ll want them to buy it, too!

Nimrod Journal’s Writing Contest

Dear Writing Group Leader,

Greetings from Nimrod International Journal. I’m writing with some information about the 35th annual Nimrod Literary Awards: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction.  The Awards offer first prizes of $2,000 and publication and second prizes of $1,000 and publication, along with a trip to Tulsa to receive the Awards and take part in our annual writing conference. The postmark deadline for this year’s Awards is April 30th, 2013.

The Awards are among the most distinguished literary prizes in the country. Past judges include Stanley Kunitz, Marvin Bell, Mark Doty, Olga Broumas, W. S. Merwin, Denise Levertov, William Stafford, Ron Carlson, Linda Pastan, and John Edgar Wideman. Past winners include Sue Monk Kidd, Diane Glancy, Daniel Lusk, Felicia Ward, Ruth Schwartz, and Gina Ochsner.

One of the oldest “little magazines” in the country, Nimrod has continually published new and extraordinary writers since 1956.  We are dedicated to the discovery of new voices in literature, and the Nimrod Literary Awards are a special way to reward talented poets and fiction writers.

I am including the contest rules with this email, and hope that you will make them available to the members of your group.  Feel free to pass the information along in any way you like—be it in emails, newsletters, or on your website. For more information about Nimrod, please visit our website at www.utulsa.edu/nimrod.

Thank you for your help in spreading the word about the Nimrod Literary Awards to the writers in your writing group. We hope to see your submissions soon!


Eilis O’Neal
Managing Editor

The 35th Nimrod Literary Awards
The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction &
The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry

Founded by Ruth G. Hardman

FIRST PLACE: $2,000 and publication
SECOND PLACE: $1,000 and publication

Contest Rules
Contest Begins: January 1, 2012

Postmark Deadline: April 30, 2013

Poetry: 3-10 pages of poetry (one long poem or several short poems).

Fiction: 7,500 words maximum.

No previously published works or works accepted for publication elsewhere.  Author’s name must not appear on the manuscript.  Include a cover sheet containing major title and subtitles, author’s name, full address, phone & email.  “Contest Entry” should be clearly indicated on both the outer envelope and the cover sheet. Manuscripts should be stapled, if possible; if not, please bind with a heavy clip. Manuscripts will not be returned.  Nimrod retains the right to publish any submission.  Include SASE for results only.  If no SASE is sent, no contest results will be sent; however, the results will be posted on Nimrod’s Web site. Submitters must be living in the US by October of 2013 to enter the contest.  Winners will also be brought to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony in October. All finalists will be considered for publication.

Entry/Subscription Fee: $20 includes both entry fee & a one-year subscription (two issues).  Each entry must each be accompanied by a $20 fee.  Make checks payable to Nimrod.

Send to:

Nimrod Journal
Literary Contest–Fiction or Poetry
The University of Tulsa
800 S. Tucker Dr.
Tulsa, OK 74104

30 Days to Sanity Stories

Do You Have a Story?

Do you have heart-warming, insightful and powerfully moving stories about how to stay sane in this chaotic 24/7 world?  A co-author of the New York Times Best-selling book series Chicken Soup for the Soul is currently seeking stories to be included in 30 Days to Sanity, an online stress/resiliency program. Now you have an opportunity to contribute to this new online program by sharing your strength, insights, knowledge and wisdom.

What makes a good 30 Days to Sanity story?

A Sanity Story is an inspirational, true story, that opens the heart and re-kindles the spirit.  It is the personal account of an event, an obstacle overcome, a strategy to remain sane, or a lesson learned that helps the reader discover basic principles they can use in their own lives.

Some of the topics we will include are: Getting to Know Yourself, Your Needs and Your Dreams, Getting Your Priorities Straight, Learning to Listen to Your Heart, Discovering Your Passion, Setting Aside Time Just For You, Balancing Work and Family, Building a Soulful Community, Learning to Love Your Body, Taking a Mini-Vacation or Playcation, Setting Limits Both at Work and at Home, Putting Technology to Work for You, Making a Meaningful Contribution to the World, Growing From the Bumps in Your Life, Making Technology Free Times to Truly Connect, Creating a Space Just For You, Making Sacred Time for Your Family, Eliminating Time Wasters and Energy Suckers, Managing Technology, Banishing Your Guilt, Celebrating Your Gifts and Strengths, Expressing Appreciation to a Friend or Loved One, Asking for Help or Support, Discovering an Attitude of Gratitude, Using Life as Your Teacher, Cultivating Compassion or humorous stories about funny things you’ve done while stressed.

What we’re looking for are “teaching tales” that inspire the reader to draw their own conclusions and insights from the story itself.  We are looking for real-life anecdotes that are instructive—a personal wake-up call that is enlightening.  No preaching or philosophizing, no fables, just good old fashion storytelling that is based on true experiences.

If you have a great story and would like to be included in 30 Days to Sanity, please send your stories to: 30 Days to Sanity at Box 31453, Santa Fe, NM  87594-1453 (please keep copies as we are unable to return submissions). Or e-mail stories to   The maximum word count is 1200 words.  For each story selected for the program a permission fee of $100 will be offered for one-time rights.  There are no limits on the number of submissions.  Stories must be received no later than May 1, 2013.

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition 2013

Dear Writers,

We would like to offer information on the 2013 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, now in our 33rd year:

Our competition is an internationally respected short fiction contest, now in its 33rd year. We are proud to say that many of our past winners (and honorable mention recipients) have gone on to make an indelible mark in the world of literary fiction. Each was then a fresh new voice yet to be heard, and when we think of new voices in fiction, we naturally think of creative writing and the groups that encourage them. With this unique and supportive relationship in mind, we would like to share some information about entry opportunities with you and your group.

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition has had the honor of reading the early work of some very talented writers. Among them: Heidi Durrow, a first-place winner in our competition, whose novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, won The Bellwether Prize for Fiction and was, in 2011, on The New York Times Bestseller list; Naomi Benaron, also a past winner, won The Bellwether in 2010. Her novel Running the Rift was published by Algonquin in January, 2012. The list is quite extensive, including National Book Award nominees and NEA recipients. We take fine writing very seriously and do not go by the rule books. New and unique voices are what we seek because theirs shall become the cornerstone of literary legacy. Our 2013 winner, Amelia Skinner Saint, will have her winning story “Ship Full of Beasts” published in the next print edition of Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts.

We realize you will want to verify our credibility before making information available to your group, so please feel free to look up our listings in Writer’s Market, Poets and Writers, and other literary references.

We encourage you to visit our website at http://www.shortstorycompetition.com/ for further background and listings of previous winners.

With sincere appreciation,

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Contact: Eva Eliot:
Editorial Assistant: shortstorykw@gmail com

$2,500 Awaits Winners of Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Writers of short fiction are encouraged to enter the 2013 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a thirty-three year history of literary excellence, and its organizers are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of emerging writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard. Lorian Hemingway, granddaughter of Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway, is the author of three critically acclaimed books: Walking into the River, Walk on Water, and A World Turned Over. Ms. Hemingway is the competition’s final judge.

Prizes and Publication:

The first-place winner will receive $1,500 and publication of his or her winning story in Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. The second – and third-place winners will receive $500 each. Honorable mentions will also be awarded to entrants whose work demonstrates promise. Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts was founded by editor-in-chief Pamela Uschuk, winner of the 2010 American Book Award for her book Crazy Love: New Poems, and by poet William Pitt Root, Guggenheim Fellow and NEA recipient. The journal contains some of the finest contemporary fiction and poetry in print, and the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is both proud and grateful to be associated with such a reputable publication.

Eligibility requirements for our 2013 competition are as follows:

What to submit:

* Stories must be original unpublished fiction, typed and double-spaced, and may not exceed 3,500 words in length. We have extended our word limit for the first time in thirty years to 3,500 words rather than 3,000. There are no theme or genre restrictions. Copyright remains property of the author.

Who may submit:

* The literary competition is open to all U.S. and international writers whose fiction has not appeared in a nationally distributed publication with a circulation of 5,000 or more. Writers who have been published by an online magazine or who have self-published will be considered on an individual basis.

Submission requirements:

* Submissions may be sent via regular mail or submitted online. Please visit our online submissions page for complete instructions regarding online submissions. Writers may submit multiple entries, but each must be accompanied by an entry fee and separate cover sheet. We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, the writer must notify us if a story is accepted for publication or wins an award prior to our July announcements. No entry confirmation will be given unless requested. No SASE is required.

* The author’s name should not appear on the story. Our entrants are judged anonymously. Each story must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet with the writer’s name, complete mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, the title of the piece, and the word count. Manuscripts will not be returned. These requirements apply for online submissions as well.

Deadlines and Entry Fees:

* The entry fee is $15 for each story postmarked by May 1, 2013. The late entry fee is $20 for each story postmarked by May 15, 2013. We encourage you to enter by May 1 if at all possible, but please know that your story will still be accepted if you meet the later deadline. Entries postmarked after May 15, 2013 will not be accepted. Entries submitted online after May 15, 2013 will not be accepted. Writers may submit for the 2014 competition beginning May 16, 2013.

How to pay your entry fee:

* Entry fees submitted by mail with their accompanying stories may be paid — in U.S. funds — via a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. Please make checks payable to LHSSC or The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Entry fees for online submissions may be paid with PayPal.

Announcement of Winners and Honorable Mentions:

Winners of our 2013 competition will be announced at the end of July 2013 in Key West, Florida, and posted on our website soon afterward. Only the first-place entrant will be notified personally. All entrants will receive a letter from Lorian Hemingway and a list of winners, either via regular mail or e-mail, by October 1, 2013. All manuscripts and their accompanying entry fees should be sent to The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, P.O. Box 993, Key West, FL 33041 or submitted online. For more information, please explore our website or e-mail: shortstorykw@gmail com


Lorian Hemingway
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters

From James Stuart Bell:
You may recall my role as editor for story collections such as: A Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, and Love is a Verb.  At present I am putting together a sequel volume of stories that will follow Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters, published by Bethany House Publishers in the first half of 2012.  The content will be similar to the original volume. The supernatural realm consisting of God and His angels, as well as evil spirits, is ever present in our midst.  On rare occasions this realm becomes visible or we see its direct effects that can in no way be explained in the natural realm. These stories will cover the gamut of supernatural encounters: from supernatural miracles including physical healing, angelic visitations, near-death experiences of the afterlife, manifestations of evil, apparitions, and miraculous rescues.  For the sake of authenticity, we are interested only in first-hand accounts in the first person.  The stories need to go beyond subjective or speculative interpretations of events and be as concrete as possible, so if presented in a court there would be no human explanation of hard evidence.

We’ll consider original, unpublished stories from 1,000 to 2,000 words. The stories should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing introduction, main body with a conflict or challenge, and a clear, satisfying resolution.  They need to be descriptive, rooted in time and place, with a realistic portrayal of the characters involved. They need to be substantive stories rather than mere testimonies or teachings, and the focus should not be on the supernatural realm alone, but rather the spiritual lesson learned.  Please include a personal biography of 30 words or less at the end of each manuscript.

The book will be released by Bethany House Publishers sometime in 2014. Your manuscript will be due no later than July 1, 2013, but we would prefer it much earlier.  Please send your manuscript attached to the e-mail rather than pasting text in the email window as a Word document.  Send your manuscript in normal manuscript formatting, with your full contact information–name, address, phone number, and e-mail address on the actual manuscript, not just in your e-mail.

We are offering a one-time fee of $50 for stories 1,500 words and over, and $25 for stories under that word count.

We will send you contracts upon the publisher’s acceptance and would need them back promptly. Payment will be made after all contracts have been received.

Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton, at .  If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, and you can’t submit to this call, but would like to hear about other editorial needs as they arise, please send us your e-mail address and we’ll add you to our notification list.

Blessings to you and yours,

James Stuart Bell

Texas Mountain Trail Writers Meeting Minutes

March 19, 2013

The meeting was called to order by President Reba Cross Seals. Minutes are available online. They were approved.

Treasurer’s report – January 31 – Feb. 28, 2013 Anne

Checking: Starting balance: 4554.68
Ending balance: Deposits: Disbursements:
Paypal: Starting balance: Ending:
Deposits; Disbursements:
5254.68 700.00 0.00 0.00
392.65 392.65

Additional notes:

  • Chaos Printing pending: $1,100
  • 17 people currently registered for conference
  • Paypal payments were taken for many registrations in March and the current balance will be much higher for next month’s report. Anne will transfer the balances into our checking account over the next few months as the balance is higher than the transfer limit set by Paypal. Reba thanked Anne and Kip for getting the Paypal option set up on the website.

Treasurer’s report was approved.

April is Poetry Month. Reba reminded us that Front Street Books invites all poets within range of the store to participate in weekly poetry readings during April. The store would like poets to help coordinate the evenings and provide simple refreshments. Members of TMTW are encouraged to contact Jean Hardy Pittman at Front Street Books if they are interested.


Edy – her eldest grandson won first place in his student division of the Cowboy Poetry contest. Joy Nord – has had her book published: Haunted Roads of Texas. Elaine, Reba, and Jackie have stories in the book.

Jackie and Reba – will have stories in the West Texas Christmas Stories collection. It will be published by Abilene Christian University Press and should be out in the fall.

Bob – the Cenizo will be publishing the best of the stories in the next edition. It means Bob will get paid twice for the same story. Yea!

Biggest Brag of the month: Eleanor’s novel: Wet My Mouth with Honey is out!! Ready for bookstores everywhere. Elaine had it on her Kindle already!!!


Registrations are more than the 17 listed in the Treasurer’s Report (due to date of report), but we really need help in getting more participants. Discussion was held on people coming for a single session. We don’t do that because we need to pay for the conference. It is possible for people to pay for dinner and hear that speaker. This year it will be Bill O’Neal.

Reba and Jackie appeared on Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten to advertise the conference.

Bob brought a clipping from the El Paso Times which advertised the conference. They have done a great job of publicizing us. Janith has also gotten good coverage in the local papers.

Reba brought the listing from the Shaw Guides. Aleta will get us a flyer to print out and distribute. If each person could print half a dozen to take to places they frequent, it would be great. Janith is also busy sending out teasers (she thanks Reba for the info). We need to contact the Midland writer’s group. Janith also recommended we save the addresses for the newspapers, etc. on a disc for next year.

Jackie handed out a list of retreat responsibilities. Members were asked to look over what they were responsible for and add or delete things as needed. We do not have to bring baked goods this year, but each of us are asked to provide 2 door prizes, flashlights (if you are staying at the lodge) and camp stools or chairs for the Haiku Hike.

The business meeting was adjourned.

Wonderful refreshments were provided by Aleta.

Our program was given by Eleanor Taylor – My Experience with E-Publishing. Eleanor tracked her progress, woes and successes, through getting her novel, Wet My Mouth with Honey, published. It was a wonderful program, lots of great advice. The best part of it all – seeing her book in print! In addition to the handout a few extra helpful hints: the more you have prepared in advance – manuscript ready, blurbs ready, cover art picked, the faster your progress will be using the e-publishing method.

A few quick reading assignments were read, the rest were postponed to next meeting

Our next meeting will be April 23 (that’s a week later than usual). Elaine will bring refreshments.

Respectfully submitted,
Jackie Siglin

Trail Bits

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

Reba: It occurred to me that mullygrubbing might not been part of your family vernacular…

For All You Mullygrubbers!

mullygrub (verb)
mullygrubs (moody noun)
mullygrubber (person to avoid)

The word mullygrubs came up on NPR recently and befuddled many people — both reporters and listeners. This is one of the best one-word descriptions alive (barely); it is attached to those moody, lackadaisical, gloomy, annoying people who just collywobble around, bringing negative energy to everyone.

If that isn’t enough to keep you away (or to keep you from becoming one), know that collywobble is a verb meaning to “belly-ache” (derived from “collic” and “stomach ache”). Got it?

Where the term mullygrub comes from is equally interesting (to us word geeks). An Aussie reports that a mullygrub is a cricket noun, referring to a bowled ball that “just rolls along the ground, keeping the batsman from scoring more than one run”, and therefore turning the defeated bowler into a collywobbler who resorts to any method to win with no consideration of long-term results. (Sounds as if it should be part of U.S. political grammar.)

Wait! There’s more! The word mully is a variant of muley, which refers to cattle with no horns. And how do hornless cattle behave without a means of defense? They get the mullygrubs, which turns them into very blah animals — thus mullygrubbers — blue, sad, down in the dumps.

Don’t be a mullygrubber! Forget the collywobbles and get out there and throw a party, ride a roller coaster, ask an attractive person out to dine, run naked through the stre… no, better skip that last one!

What the hell is a Grammar Anarchist? You can be one! Since we don’t have a U.S. language, feel FREE to set your own rules — interpret grammar YOUR WAY. You’re not in England anymore. Join the anarchy of U.S. grammar! Make your choices and preserve them in YOUR STYLE MANUAL. —The Grammar Anarchist

Contact the Grammar Anarchist with your questions about grammar and language at
Get a personal reply at

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

Wow! I’ve seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the first time I’ve seen it with numbers.

Good example of a Brain Study: If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind.

And better than that: Alzheimer’s is a long, long, ways down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you.

7H15 M3554G3
53RV35 7O PR0V3
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
R34D1NG 17
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
R3AD 7H15.
PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F
U C4N R34D 7H15.

To my ‘selected’ strange-minded friends:

If you can read the following paragraph, forward it on to your friends and the person that sent it to you with ‘yes’ in the subject line. Only great minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!

If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid, too.

Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it

Even if you are not old, you will find this interesting…

This is NOT a joke. If you were able to pass these tests, you can cancel your annual visit to your neurologist. Your brain is great and you’re far from having a close relationship with Alzheimer…

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 .

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