February Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our February meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Fiesta Room of the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine.

Program: “Plot and the Plot Whisperer” – presented by Anne VanLoon

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

Young and the Restless – Romance
The Secret Storm – Mystery
Edge of Night – Science Fiction

Refreshments: Delicious treats from Darrell White.

No President Chat. Instead, NEW UPDATED INFORMATION about our wonderful Writers Spring Retreat! Click Here to Read!

2013 TMTW Spring Retreat Featured Speakers

Juan Perez: Haiku, horror, 2011-2012 Poet Laureate for the San Antonio Poets’ Association,
comic books,
self published six poetry books, & science fiction
Bill O’Neal: Texas State Historian, western researcher of gunfighters and ghost towns,
non-fiction children’s author,
country music & baseball books
Nina Amir: Non-fiction editor, proposal consultant, blog-to-book author,
34 years publishing experience

–>Click Here for ALL of the Details!

From the SLO Night Writers

Hello Fellow Writers!

Attached is a flier for the SLO NightWriters 24th Annual Writing Contest.

Pass the information on to any interested writers.

The basics are:

Short Story/Memoir – 750 word max
Poetry – 40 line max
First Line or Theme:  A Perfect Storm (Interpret as broadly as you like)
Entry Fee: $10 per entry
Prizes:   $200-First Place,  $150-2nd Place,  $75-3rd Place,  Plus Honorable Mentions
Deadline:  March 31, 2013


See the flier for more details and/or
Visit our website   www.slonightwriters.org

Sharyl Heber
SLO NightWriters Vice President
Contest email – 

Midland, Texas


Entries postmarked JANUARY 1, 2013 through April  1, 2013

No specific theme required, no adults only, no erotica
Original work unpublished

1000 to 2500 words

One copy, typed, double-spaced, one side only – 8-l/2 x 11 white paper, 1” margins
Times Roman font, l2 point or Courier, 12 point

ON COVER PAGE ONLY – Author’s Name, complete address, telephone number, email address and WORD COUNT – Judge(s) will not know who entrants are.
Each page with header of title and page number

Multiple entries accepted – $ 5.00 entry fee for each short-story payable to: West Texas Writers, P. O. Box 51083, Midland, TX 79710

Include SASE if you wish your entry to be returned to you. All other entries will be shredded.

Decisions of  judge(s) are final. Not responsible for late or lost entries.

Saturday, June 1, 2013, at The Midland County Library, Midland, TX, 2-4 pm

For more details: Debbie Pelham,

OR www.westtexaswriters.org

A Request from Glenn Dromgoole

Reba, Thanks for speaking with me this morning. The book project I’m working on is West Texas Christmas Stories, an anthology to be published in the fall by Abilene Christian University Press. I’m looking for stories/essays about Christmas in West Texas, or with a West Texas theme or by a West Texas writer. Length of the stories I’m finding varies from a few hundred words to a little more than a thousand words. So far I have stories on a wide range of topics, some humorous, others more serious, or warm & tender. I prefer stories rather than essays, but will consider both. Not poetry however. Payment is a copy of the book and publication credit. I’m hoping to make my selections within the next week or two (Ed. 2/14/13), so time is of the essence. My e-mail address is .  Thank you for considering my request.

Glenn Dromgoole

TMTW Minutes of January Meeting

January 15, 2013 Ft. Davis Library

The meeting was called to order by President Reba Cross Seals. We had ten members present and three guests – Terry Allison, Kitty Siboyan, and Kathy Bencomo.

Minutes were accepted as printed on the Texas Mountain Trail Writers’ website.

Treasurer Report November 1 – December 31, 2012: Anne

Starting Balance: 4,524.68
Ending Balance: 4,554.68
Deposits: 30.00
Disbursements: 0.00

Report was approved as read.

Old Business:

Reba reminded us to participate in the first line contest on our website. Send in the best and worst first lines you find in books to her. She will forward them to Kip for the website.

Conference: Aleta

We have one speaker confirmed, Juan Perez. The committee is working on the other two speakers. Members gave some suggestions. The date is confirmed, April 12, 13, 14 and the lodge has been confirmed. The theme of the conference may be Where the Wild Things Write. Aleta and Janith are co-chairs of the conference, Kip is doing promotion and advertising. Jackie volunteered to be the contact with the lodge and take care of all issues there. Other volunteers will be needed for other jobs.

New Business:

Anne recommended a way to streamline our membership dues.

  1. The TMTW would have an official membership period from April 30 of a year to April 29 of the next year. The year would begin after the annual conference. This would make things easier for the treasurer, the Chaos editor, and our members. It would eliminate questions from members regarding submission eligibility and allow easier record keeping.
  2. Chaos submission dates be finalized – April 30 of the year to February 28 of the next year. Any pieces submitted after February 28 would be eligible for the next year’s Chaos, assuming the author is current with dues.
  3. A person could join the TMTW during the middle of the membership period and, if they pay dues, have full membership benefits for the remaining of the membership period. They must pay dues again at the beginning of the official membership period to remain current. (Example: A person chooses to join in January and pays their dues. They may have all benefits – publish in Chaos, etc., for January through April 29 of that year. To remain a current member, they must pay dues again on April 30.)
    1. Members who are not paid in full will continue to be ineligible for publication in the Chaos until dues are current.

A motion was made and seconded to approve this plan. The vote was in favor.

Anne and Marian will work with the list for this year. We will start the plan as of April 13, 2013.

Chaos – Aleta.

She does not have copies of volume 4, 5 or 6 for our history. Elaine is working to see that the Archives at Sul Ross have a copy of each year.

Next meeting will be February 19 at the Hallmark Apts. Darrell will provide refreshments. Jackie will bring paper goods from our cache.

Reba asked if we would consider having a meeting once in awhile at the Front Street Reading Room. The group was in favor. Marie will ask Jean Pittman if this would be possible.

Next month’s writing opportunities:

Young and the Restless – Romance
The Secret Storm – Mystery
Edge of Night – Science Fiction


Marie announced the publication of her book, a memoir, Let Go of the Rope. She is working on marketing, has it for sale on Amazon, hopes to have book signings at Front St., and the Marfa Book Co. She is doing social marketing. She had 100 copies printed.


Reba announced a publication opportunity with Hidden Brook Press. She had a story printed in their Christmas anthology. This year’s are Family Times Anthology and Father and Grandfather Anthology. They do not pay, but give one free copy. Other copies may be purchased.

Jackie announced the WLT Editors and Agents Conference will be June 21-23 in Austin. She and Barbara Blake will attend. More information is on the Writers League of Texas website, www.writersleague.org

Meeting was adjourned. Delicious refreshments furnished by Eleanor and Marie were enjoyed by all. Reba presented our program, Three Simple Stages of Self-Editing. It was very informative and well-received.

Respectfully submitted,
Jackie Siglin

 Braggin’ Rights

Vivian Morrow Jones’s  essay, Star-Crossed Soldier, was published in Ten Spurs, a literary journal from UNT’s  non-fiction program. The story is about her uncle, a young Marfa soldier who was a victim of friendly fire during WWII. Thanks to all the TMTW members for help with research!

Found on Facebook


The Dos and Don’’ts – By James V. Smith Jr.


  1. Don’’t introduce any new characters or subplots. Any appearances within the last 50 pages should have been foreshadowed earlier, even if mysteriously.
  2. Don’’t describe, muse, explain or philosophize. Keep description to a minimum, but maximize action and conflict. You have placed all your charges. Now, light the fuse and run.
  3. Don’’t change voice, tone or attitude. An ending will feel tacked on if the voice of the narrator suddenly sounds alien to the voice that’s been consistent for the previous 80,000 words.
  4. Don’’t resort to gimmicks. No quirky twists or trick endings. The final impression you want to create is a positive one. Don’t leave your reader feeling tricked or cheated.


  1. Do create that sense of Oh, wow! Your best novelties and biggest surprises should go here. Readers love it when some early, trivial detail plays a part in the finale.
  2. Do enmesh your reader deeply in the outcome. Get her so involved that she cannot put down your novel to go to bed, to work or even to the bathroom until she sees how it turns out.
  3. Do resolve the central conflict. You don’t have to provide a happily-ever-after ending, but do try to uplift. Readers want to be uplifted, and editors try to give readers what they want.
  4. Do afford redemption to your heroic character. No matter how many mistakes she has made along the way, allow the reader—and the character—to realize that, in the end, she has done the right thing.
  5. Do tie up loose ends of significance. Every question you planted in a reader’s mind should be addressed, even if the answer is to say that a character will address that issue later, after the book ends.
  6. Do mirror your final words to events in your opener. When you reach the ending, go back to ensure some element in each of your complications will point to the beginning. It’s the tie-back tactic. Merely create a feeling that the final words hearken to an earlier moment in the story.

By James V. Smith Jr.

 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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