January Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our January meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Fort Davis Public Library in Fort Davis, TX. If you wish to carpool from Alpine, meet us in the Big Bend Telephone parking lot before we depart at 6:20 pm. (Note the new earlier departure time so we arrive with time to spare!)

Program: Reba Cross Seals. Self and Peer Editing, a synopsis of the creative writing course she took at Sul Ross last summer.

Writing “Opportunity”:  Darrell’s assignments this year are a little tougher because they specify a genre, but remember your way of interpretation will be fine. We want you to WRITE, and changing the challenge to suit you will be great. His assignments are for fun and to stretch our abilities. Remember, out of town writers, send yours in by email and we’ll read it and insert it in the 2013 Chaos West of the Pecos. Choices are:

Elm Street [Mystery genre]
Big Iron [Western genre]
Doll Face [Horror genre]

Refreshments:  A volunteer is needed to bring refreshments to the meeting in Fort Davis. If you would be willing to do this, please contact Reba at . The organization will furnish the coffee and paper goods.

President Chat

Succeed in New Year’s Resolutions Using a Teaspoon
by Reba Cross Seals

I’’ve been known to “bite off more than I can chew,” as my daddy used to say. That applies to new resolutions, too. We who love writing feel so inadequate in that we haven’’t written that new novel Oprah will love nor the non-fiction book that will encourage and aid mankind. In fact, many of us tend to putter around and not write much of anything except a grocery list.

My approach this year is different. I urge you to join me in making our resolutions by the teaspoon full, not the tablespoon. I call it a Recipe for Writing Success.

I resolve in 2013 to eat away at my plate-full of writing plans by the teaspoon full and leave the tablespoon wielders to the over-achievers:

  • 1 Tablespoon: —Write the book you’’ve always planned in your head.
  • 1 Teaspoon—: Outline the plot points of your intended book.
  • 1 Tablespoon—: Graph the complete character studies of all major and minor characters for your book.
  • 1 Teaspoon—: Rough-out a character study of your main players.
  • 1 Tablespoon: —Write 5,000 words weekly.
  • 1 Teaspoon: —Write 300 words a day.
  • 1 Tablespoon—: Perfect your query letter.
  • 1 Teaspoon—: Write your log line.
  • 1 Tablespoon—: Write your 30 page proposal.
  • 1 Teaspoon: —Write your back cover blurb.
  • 1 Tablespoon: —Detail your marketing plan.
  • 1 Teaspoon—: Join and explore Facebook possibilities.
  • 1 Tablespoon—: Reorganize your work room.
  • 1 Teaspoon: —Clear immediate workspace and get book off of chair.
  • 1 Tablespoon—: Plan your writing projects for 2013.
  • 1 Teaspoon—: Plunk your rear in the chair and write.

Now on to business: In January the Texas Mountain Trail Writers will meet in Fort Davis at the public library. To carpool meet in the parking lot of Big Bend Telephone Company by 6:20. Bring a friend. (Note the new earlier departure time so we arrive with time to spare!)

Program will be presented by Reba on Self and Peer Editing, a synopsis of the creative writing course she took at Sul Ross last summer. (Remember for summer 2013 that TMTW will help with the tuition of this summer writing workshop in Alpine if you apply and agree to present a program on what you learn.) Reba will have an Editing Check-list handout, 3 Simple Stages of Self-Editing, and others.

The Christmas party at Anne VanLoon’s was fun, and a great time was reported. I forgot to ask for a refreshment volunteer for January. Would love it if someone would call or email me at   If you would like to buy some goodies Saturday in front of Porters on 5th to help the fund for Bianca Morrow, that would be wonderful. Hint! Hint!


2013 TMTW “Writers Retreat” Spring Conference


April 12,13 & 14, 2013

More information coming soon!


1st Line Contest — 2012-2013

Best First Lines: Dec/Jan. 2012-13

submitted by Glenn Willeford (A.Z. Hays), Alpine, TX

Where’’s papa going with that ax?’ said Fern to her mother…”
sourced: E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

Saltines and sardines. Staples of his diet. Add a chunk of rat cheese and a Kosher dill spear and you had yourself the four basic food groups.”
source: Sandra Brown, Envy

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

When he says ‘Skins or blankets?’ it will take you a moment to realize that he’’s asking which you want to sleep under.”
source: Pam Houston, Cowboys Are My Weakness

Worst First Lines: Dec/Jan. 2012-13

submitted by Barbara Blake, Marfa, TX

“I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair.”
source: E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Gray

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine, TX

Three of them, hard men carrying nylon bags, wearing work jackets, Carhartt’s and Levi’s, all of them with facial hair.”
source: John Sandford, Storm Prey

submitted by Reba Cross Seals, Alpine TX

The disease has been in remission seven years. Now I can try to remember what happened.”
source: Sarah Manguso, The Two Kinds of Decay

Braggin’ Rights

Submitted by Roger W. Manning, Odessa

I finished my NaNoWriMo  in twenty seven days. I finished with 51,265 words. Someone told me that sometimes, when they verify your book, you lose words. So, I overshot a bit. The name of my work is Red Maslewm and the Pilots of Anzu. Since editing is not a requirement for this task, I will have to edit it before anything else. I’m thinking about putting it on Kindle.

Submitted by Kip Piper, Alpine

“Unleash Your Inner Chupacabra” is a poetry anthology by members of the San Angelo Writers’ Club. Three of my poems were included in the anthology! Plus one of my poems was quoted online on “The Horror Zine” review of the anthology. Very cool! You can read the review at: http://www.thehorrorzine.com/ReviewFolder/Chupacabra/UnleashYourInner.html (NOTE: Juan Perez, co-editor of the anthology, is one of the scheduled speakers for this year’s TMTW Spring Writers Retreat.)

Submitted by Frank Carden

Frank Carden’s short story, The Bedroom, won second place in the San Antonio Writers Guild National Short Story contest.

Submitted by Gay Ann Kiser

I’m a long distance member of the Texas Mountain Trailwriters and want to share my good news. I attended my first Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering out there in Alpine five years ago and began writing a series of women’s fiction novels featuring the sites of your town. The first novel of the “Dreamcatchers” series is available on kindle and the nook. Although it’s currently only in the e pub format, I’m in the process of creating printed copieis, as well. Penny’s Diner and The Blue Depot are featured in this book, as well as the Chuckwagon where I’ve enjoyed many fine breakfasts!

Here is the book cover because it’s definately my favorite!

Book Title: LAST CHANCE TEXAS (my pen name is Tessa Gray). If you browse under women’s fiction, LAST CHANCE TEXAS by Tessa Gray, it will speed up the process of finding it. It’s available for $3.99.

I look forward to seeing some of you at the 2013 Cowboy Poetry Gathering!

Trail Bits

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

I have 5 of these 10 books and since I agree they belong on this list, I plan to purchase the other 5.  This list was compiled by Author Media, a company that builds author websites, so has lots of author feedback. Reba

10 Books for Writers to Start the New Year

  1. Steven Pressfield: – War of Art
  2. Jeff Goins: – You are a Writer
  3. Stephen King: – On Writing
  4. Robert McKee: – Story
  5. Anne Lamott: – Bird By Bird
  6. William Zinsser: On Writing Well
  7. William Strunk:  The Elements of Style
  8. Roget’s International Thesaurus
  9. Ray Bradbury: – The Zen of Writing
  10. Michael Hyatt: – Platform

A reader added: I love Marion Roach Smith’’s The Memoir Project. Even tho I have no intention of writing a memoir, she’’s helped me tell a better story in my writing and speaking.

Editor’s Note: I also recommend Lawrence Block’s “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit”. It is an invaluable resource and a must read for anyone serious about writing or understanding how the process works.

As Seen on Facebook

(Click on an image for a larger view.)

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

Submitted by Kip Piper

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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