December Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our December CHRISTMAS PARTY POTLUCK will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, at the home of Reba and David Seals in Sunny Glen near Alpine at 6:00 pm.

Writing “Opportunity”: The word limit is 500 words. A fictional character from one author’s work gives a Christmas present to another fictional character from another author’s work. Example:  Wizard of Oz gives a gift to Jo March (of Little Women).  What happens after that is up to each writer.

Celebrate Christmas with the Trail Writers

Once again David and Reba Seals are hosting the annual Christmas party at their Sunny Glen home, but this year there’s a new twist. Reba says when you bring your writing opportunity assigned by Darrell, you will be shown how to publish it!

Bring your story, fewer than 500 words, double spaced, 14 point, and using at least two sheets of paper. Reba, using her kindergarten training, will show everyone how to publish hers or his story in a book. Fun! Fun! No talent above age 5 is necessary!

The Christmas dinner will be pot-luck, and Reba asks you to call or email her the kind of whatever dish you want to make. Time is 6 p.m.

We will have our Topsy-Turvy gift exchange, with a maximum limit of $20, always a riotous time. No sneaky burned out string of lights, either! Ha!

Out-of-town members, we’ would love for you to join us on the 17th. Everyone, come and bring a guest. Call for directions. A pot full of wassail will be brewing.

To RSVP and receive directions, please email Reba at or TMTW at

From the President’s Corner

No power

The storm came with its usual prediction of ice, sleet, maybe snow. We bundled up and braved the Big Hill to go to Artwalk and everything was good. Until 9 am on Sunday morning when with a silent flicker, the electricity left. For most of the day we did fine. We have a gas stove and a gas heater in the living room which continued to work, and I decided to take the time to work on editing the copy of my novel I’d printed out several months ago, by hand, with a pen! How long ago did I do it that way as common practice? I can remember when I first started to compose on a typewriter, heck I can remember writing my drafts in longhand.

By evening we had out the candles, the propane lantern, and it was getting chilly. Our heaters in the bedroom and bathroom didn’t work. They need an electric spark. No TV either so the night was for editing by headlamp. Did I think of the pioneers? My fingers itched for the word processor, the delete button, the copy feature. I crossed out more words and rewrote until I could hardly read what was on the page.

Next day did not dawn with lights. The refrigerator became a cupboard, the food boarding in the cooler on the porch. We fired up the generator. Good News! It would run the outlet for the computers, internet, wifi, email and cell phones. Bad news – the freezer was more important, not enough time to really power up the laptop. Did I say I have this goal to finish so much before Christmas? Back to the paper, the cross outs, the re-learning of how the words sound on paper versus the screen.

It was Wednesday now. I went to town and marveled at the lights in the grocery store. I planned a stovetop Thanksgiving. I came home and huddled with my pen and paper. At 8:30 pm, the lights blinked, at first a weak glow, then stronger. By morning we were back spinning kilowatts.

I fired up the oven and made a pumpkin pie. I typed the edits into my computer draft. Ah, power to the people.

Jackie Siglin

2014 TMTW “Writers Retreat” Spring Conference


April 11,12 & 13, 2014

More information coming soon!

Braggin’ Rights

From Bob Miles

Just got the go ahead for three more articles for the Cenizo Journal, plus one in the chute. I’ve had something in every issue except one!

From Kip Piper

This Friday the 13th (12/13/13), I am giving away ALL of my ebooks for FREE! Three of my books are of particular interest to authors developing an Author Platform: Listing Building with Facebook, List Building with Twitter, and List Building with Facebook. If you want to receive an email announcing exactly when these books are available for free, be sure to subscribe to my email list at

Trail Bits

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

Reader/Writer friends of Texas Mountain Trail Writers, I’d like to share a newsletter I receive. This issue I especially gained good information for my own efforts in articles on How to Get Effective Bookcovers, 18 Ways to Help a Book Author You Love, and the most interesting to me today: The Best Times to Post on Social Media. The newsletter is Author Marketing Experts at

Just a friendly note from an Alpine friend who is trying to publish her book of Meditations for Widows. If you read something particularly helpful to you, and you think it might be to others, please share through Kip Piper, our Log of the Trail webmaster at .

Texas Mountain Trail Writers Meeting Minutes

TMTW Minutes–Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Fiesta Room–Hallmark Apartments–Alpine, Texas

Present: Nancy Beckwith, Aleta Belcher (Conference Triad), Elaine Davenport (Secretary), Edy Elfring (Social Chairperson), Marian Frueh (Editor), Bob Miles, David Seals, Reba Seals, Jackie Siglin (President), Eleanor Taylor, Anne VanLoon (Treasurer), Darrell White (Vice-President)

Meeting Called to Order by Jackie Siglin

Treasurer’s Report by Anne VanLoon (covering April 30, 2013 to October 31, 2013)

Ms. VanLoon stated she will send out email notices to members regarding when dues are to be paid (at the time of the conference).
The starting balance in the checking account was $2,666.21. The ending balance was $3,367.62. A total of $1,009.80 was deposited into the checking account. A total of $308.39 was disbursed from the checking account.
The starting balance in the PayPal account was $1,280.88. The ending balance was $927.97. A total of $147.09 was deposited into the PayPal account. Five hundred dollars from the PayPal account was transferred into the checking account.
The report was accepted by those present.

Old Business

The Christmas party will be held at Reba Seal’s house on December 17th at 6 P.M.

The writing opportunity is as follows: five hundred words; a fictional character from one author’s work gives a Christmas present to another fictional character from another author’s work. A gift exchange will be held. No more than twenty dollars should be spent on each individual gift.

Reba Seals announced that W.C. Jameson is a confirmed speaker for the spring conference. It is expected he will address his research methods and his adventure writing.

Ms. Seals has received confirmation from another published author, Lisa Wingate. Ms. Wingate writes both Christian and secular fiction. She is one of a select group of writers to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets. Her works have been featured by AOL Book Picks and have been chosen for numerous awards. It is expected she will speak on the structure of fiction.

Ms. Seals informed those present that Laurie Jameson is no longer making speaking

Becka Oliver, who is the past Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas, has been approached by Ms. Seals to be a speaker at the conference. Ms. Oliver, a publisher and an agent, represents both fiction and non-fiction writers. Ms. Seals has not received confirmation from Ms. Oliver.

New Business

Jackie Siglin asked how many 2013 anthologies remain unsold. Ms. VanLoon believes there may be as many as thirty, but she is not certain. Ms. VanLoon said one person (Troy Stone) may be planning to buy some of these anthologies.

Darrell White reported that he sometimes has problems accessing the second page of the “Log of the Trail.” Elaine Davenport said she has the same problem.

Aleta Belcher reported that many things must be decided in order to organize the conference. She mentioned the following: determining a fee, assigning tasks, selecting meals, and choosing a theme. She suggested “Variety is the Spice of Writing” as a theme. She also said that the publicity for the conference needs to be started.

Ms. Seals stated she will not be doing the publicity this year.

Ms. Siglin suggested that Ms. Belcher and Janith Stephenson need to hold an organizational meeting to address some of Ms. Belcher’s concerns.

Eleanor Taylor requested that emails be sent to the local members detailing the participation of TMTW members in Alpine’s Art Walk. Ms. Seals volunteered to send out emails regarding this matter.


Bob Miles informed those present that he has had three more articles accepted by the Cenizo.

Edy Elfring said she will be speaking to the Rotarians regarding her newly published book The Candle Still Flickers in My Heart. She read a summary of this work to the TMTW members.

Three TMTW members–Eleanor Taylor, Beth Garcia, and Edy Elfring will participate in the Art Walk activities located at Front Street Books. All have novels that will be featured.

Two TMTW members, Anne VanLoon and Marian Frueh, will be selling their handmade jewelry during the Art Walk Activities.

The date of the silent auction for the Alpine Public Library was announced by Jackie Siglin. Ms. Siglin mentioned the essay contest (“Holiday Food Memories”) sponsored by the Alpine Public Library. She showed members a flyer related to this contest.

Meeting Adjourned by Jackie Siglin.

Refreshments–provided by Edy Elfring
Program–facilitated by Bob Miles. The following members discussed their favorite poets and read excerpts from the poets’ works: Nancy Beckwith, Elaine Davenport,
Edy Elfring, Marian Frueh, Bob Miles, Reba Seals, and Darrell White.
Writing Opportunity–Five hundred words on a subject dealing with falling leaves. Stories and poems were read by Aleta Belcher, Nancy Beckwith, Elaine Davenport, Marian Frueh, Reba Seals, Jackie Siglin, and Darrell White.
Submitted by Elaine Davenport on December 4, 2013

Join or Renew Your TMTW Membership

Membership in the Texas Mountain Trail Writers can help you grow as a writer, whether you write purely for fun or for a living. AND we accept dues payments online at our website! For more information, click here.

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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