March Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our March meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 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: Eleanor Taylor. My experience with e-publishing. My novel, WET MY MOUTH WITH HONEY, has just been published by–a process consuming the last five months of my life–and I’d like to share my experience with the group.  I hope it will be beneficial to some that might like to try that publishing route.

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 2014 Chaos West of the Pecos (the deadline has already passed for the 2013 Chaos). Choices are:

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

Refreshments: Aleta Belcher

President Chat

How do you know you’re a writer?

You write. That’s it. You write something beside checks and a grocery list.

How do you become a better writer?

You write. And you read, read, read in multiple genres.

If you’ve not been finding time to do the monthly writing opportunity (yep, me too sometimes), think of it this way. Frequent writing is a way to keep your brain nimble, expand your vocabulary beyond TV’s level, and revisit one of your greatest pleasures.

Darrell White, our vp, has challenged us this year with interesting topics, but he’s also added a genre theme to go with each one. However, knowing how artistic and free thinking we writers are, Darrell says it’s okay to forget the genre, and even go down a different path if we choose.

Please join us in Fort Davis, March 19, for a delightful, informative program and final preparations for the retreat.

Just write.

Reba Cross Seals

2013 TMTW Spring Retreat Featured Speakers

April 12,13 & 14, 2013

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!
NOTE: NEW Online Registration Form!

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

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,


Writers’ League of Texas
2013 Summer Writing Retreat

For more information, go to:

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

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

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

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.

TMTW Minutes of February Meeting

February 19,2013

President Reba Cross Seals called the meeting to order.

Minutes Secretary, Jackie Siglin.  Were approved as on the website.  Discussion was held as to whether people were reading the minutes or the website.  Reba said it seems like people don’t know what’s going on, yet the information is there.  Comments:  the website promotes us and is used a lot by out-of-towners.  The minutes are there and available.  Not reading them out loud at the meeting was agreed upon as a time saver.

Treasurer’s Report:  Anne VanLoon

Jan 1-31 No deposits
$4,554.68 balance

The balance does not reflect the 5 recent registrations.

A link has been set up on our website.  Members can now pay their dues and register for the conference online.  Thanks Anne and Kip!

Old business:

Chaos call for submission is out.  The deadline is February 28.  You must be a member.  Can publish up to 6,000 words, up to the maximum of 4 submissions.  The Haiku hike – can have 7 to 8 without titles that will fit on one page.  One teaser has been published on this.  It was suggested another one be sent to members.  A member must be paid up on dues by Feb. 28.  Thanks to Marian for once again doing the editor job.

First line contest was put on hold last month.  Reba wanted the conference overview to be front and center.  It looks great on the website.

Thanks to Darrell for trying to get the meeting reminder in the newspapers.  Sentinel did it, but not the Avalanche.

We did get good write ups in both papers about the conference.  Bob Miles said he saw it in the El Paso paper.  Thanks Janith.

New Business:

March refreshments – Aleta

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


Janith presented an outline with committees and tasks for the retreat.  It included an estimated budget for the retreat.  She asked that all of us read the assignments and let her know if we can do what has been asked.  Also if there was anything that had been left out.  She thanked all of us for our hard work.

The meeting was adjourned for a short farewell party for Donna Greene.  She won’t leave town until the end of March, so we still have time to see her and say goodbye again.  She has been a long time member and we will miss her very much.

After the party, Anne gave a great program on The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson.  There were several good writing tools – plot prompts and writing prompts to use while writing your stories or novels.

Respectfully submitted,
Jackie Siglin, Secretary

Trail Bits

Kip Piper has launched her new website The Random Blonde In this website, you will find articles, products reviews and tutorials on a variety of business and personal topics, including health, diet, cooking, recipes, and soon anti-aging and perhaps travel articles. Kip calls herself a “multi-passionate entrepreneur” and has designed her site to reflect her many areas of interest – and her joy of life! Go visit, poke around, and leave a comment to let her know what you think!

Found on Facebook

From 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 .

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