March Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our March meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 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: Kip Piper will present “3 Killer Steps to Build Your Author Platform”. Plus we will review the preparation of upcoming TMTW Spring Conference Retreat.

Writing “Opportunity”: 500 words on “In the Dead of Winter”

Refreshments: Aleta Belcher

From the President’s Corner

March 9, 2014 and the clocks have changed.  My dog, Bella, gets me up at her usual 6:15, but it isn’t.  It’s 7:15, and black as pitch outside.  We’re saving daylight, for sure, on the farthest west edge of the central time zone!  Every year I grumble, although there seems nothing I can do, short of starting a likely to lose one-woman campaign for early risers.

All this said, while I drank my dark morning coffee, I started thinking about what I could change.  Height, no. Weight, hmm, maybe.  Attitude – always!  I have been working on this writing stuff for a long time, and there are days (dark or not) when I get discouraged.  I know what I want out of my mysteries – the fun of writing them, the thrill of making them better, and someone to love them enough to publish them.  I’ve achieved parts of these dreams, but not to the extent I would like.  There are times when I’m at the quit/don’t quit line.

Which is why the TMTW conference is good for me and can be for you, too!!!!

Writers work alone, and it’s easy to start down the path of discouragement.  Going to the conference, especially a small one like ours,  gives us the opportunity to share our dreams with others who understand. The speakers this year are professionals and will talk on a variety of topics.  If you listen close, even if you are an old hand like me, there will be one new idea or one new inspiration you can leave with, which might just change your writing for the better.

REGISTER NOW FOR OUR WRITERS’ RETREAT, APRIL 11, 12, 13.  The early bird price ends at the stroke of midnight, March 24.  WE WANT TO SEE YOU THERE!!!!! (See below for links to details and registration forms.)


2014 TMTW “Writers Retreat” Spring Conference


Texas Mountain Trail Writers’

23rd Spring Retreat
April 11, 12, 13 2014

The Texas Mountain Trail Writers
welcome you to their 23rd annual retreat
in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.

Mountain Trails Lodge between Fort Davis and Alpine
Check out the beauty!

Professional Published Speakers, Fabulous Food with
Fellow Writers, Awesome Scenery

More exciting details here!

Online Registration Form here.

Printable Registration Form here.


2014 TMTW Annual Spring Writers’ Retreat Speaker Focus: Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate smLisa Wingate, award winning journalist, magazine columnist, and a national best selling author of twenty-one books and countless magazine articles, will present two workshops for the Texas Mountain Trail Writers Retreat, April 11-13, in Alpine and Fort Davis.

Lisa is also a popular inspirational speaker, a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books and a regular contributor at Southern BelleView Daily web magazine. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its nineteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Lisa skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable Southern settings with elements of women’s fiction, history and mystery to create stories that Publisher’s Weekly referred to as “Masterful” and having “Texas sized charm.” Romance Reviews Today hailed her work as “not to be missed…a perfect 10!” and Texas Monthly calls her “a skilled writer.”

Lisa is one of a select group of fiction authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for Bethany House, a Christian publisher, Penguin Books in mainstream fiction and Tyndale House. She has held positions on many bestseller lists, both in the U.S. and internationally.  Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild and American Profiles, along with numerous other awards. She has been a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, an Inspy Award nominee, seven time ACFW Carol award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a #1 Kindle Bestseller.

Lisa’s books have become hallmarks of Southern fiction. Her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy in India. Closer to home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.

2014 TMTW Annual Spring Writers’ Retreat Speaker Focus: Becka Oliver

Rebecca Oliver smFormer writers’ agent and staff member of two prominent publishing houses, Becka Oliver, Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas, will conduct two workshops at the Texas Mountain Trail Writers Retreat, April 11-13, in Alpine and Fort Davis. Her presentations will concern the business end of writing, helping retreat attendees get their work published after it is written and polished.

Becka Oliver has more than sixteen years of experience working in book publishing.  She spent much of her publishing career inside two of the “big five” publishing leaders – Macmillan and Hachette Book Group — licensing domestic and foreign rights on behalf of several notable authors, including Nicholas Sparks, Sandra Brown, Nelson DeMille, Brad Meltzer, David Baldacci, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, and more.  In 2007, she made the leap from Associate Director of Subsidiary Rights at Grand Central Publishing to Literary Agent, first at Endeavor and then at William Morris Endeavor (WME) after the two powerhouse talent agencies merged in 2009. As a literary agent, Oliver represented clients writing both fiction and non-fiction, including Brunonia Barry, Sheryl Crow, Kamran Pasha, Joanna Philbin, Susan Rebecca White, and the popular blog Awkward Family Photos.

At the Writers’ League of Texas, a statewide non-profit dedicated to supporting writers (both published and not yet published) Oliver oversees a full slate of year round programming and events, including monthly classes and panel discussions, author presentations in rural libraries and public schools, a summer writing retreat at Sul Ross University in Alpine, and the annual Agents & Editors Conference held in Austin in June each year.  The Writers’ League has over 900 members across Texas and more information can be found at

Texas Mountain Trail Writers–February Minutes

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Fiesta Room, Alpine, Texas

Present: Elaine Davenport (Secretary), Edy Elfring (Social Chairperson), Marian Frueh

(Editor), Linda McWha, David Seals, Reba Seals (Conference Co-Chair), Jackie Siglin (President), Eleanor Taylor, Anne VanLoon (Treasurer), Darrell White (Vice-President). Meeting Called to Order by Jackie Siglin.
January Minutes Approved by those present.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Anne VanLoon reported that, as of this date, three persons have registered for the conference.
  • Ms. VanLoon announced she had registration forms available for those wanting to register.
  • In the checking account, the starting balance was $3,867.62 and the ending balance was $3,874.16. There was one deposit of $15.00 (membership dues) and one disbursement of $8.46 (meeting supplies). In the PayPal account, there was a starting balance of $456.49. The ending balance was $630.36. There were three deposits for a total of $173.87 (membership dues and conference fees). There were no disbursements.

Old Business

  • Elaine Davenport reported on the number of writers’ clubs she has contacted with information on the conference (a total of eighteen).
  • Reba Seals announced that Janith Stephenson now has access to the Internet.
  • Ms. Seals informed those present of the number of local articles that have appeared regarding the conference. She stated that Cindy Symington is working on publicity in the Austin area.
  • According to Ms. Seals, David Seals, Elaine Davenport, Eleanor Taylor, and Laura Grolla have distributed conference fliers locally (Alpine, Fort Davis, Marfa). David Seals has placed fliers at many locations in Alpine.

New Business

  • Ms. Seals stated that conference overviews and registration forms will be sent to Edy Elfring for mail-outs to persons without computers.
  • Jackie Siglin told those present that Eleanor Taylor has taken over the conference duties regarding the Mountain Trails Lodge.
  • Ms. Seals initiated a discussion regarding conference door prizes. None of those present objected to continuing to offer door prizes at the conference. Edy Elfring will be in charge of the gathering and distribution of these items.
  • Marian Frueh gave a progress report on Chaos submissions. She stated that, to date, less submissions have been submitted than last year. Ms. Frueh distributed a list of submissions and their authors to those present.
  • An announcement was made that Barbara Bright Novovitch has relocated to this area. She is an experienced journalist and is looking for editing work.
  • Aleta Belcher will provide refreshments for March’s meeting. Meeting Adjourned by Jackie Siglin.


  • Elaine Davenport spoke about some of the rules of mystery writing and how those rules are affecting the direction she is taking with her narratives.
  • Marian Frueh provided information on the different types of mysteries.
  • Eleanor Taylor and Edy Elfring gave presentations on the sequels to their first books and on some of the details of self-publishing.
  • Jackie Siglin talked about the progress of her newest mystery novel and about her research on laundering money.
  • Reba Seals demonstrated how writers can use their talents to produce works that are not always published. She showed the group pictures of antiques in her home and the family histories she had written about these antiques.
    March’s Writing Opportunity was announced by Darrell White. It is as follows: no more than five hundred words, “In the Dead of Winter,” a mystery.
  • February’s Writing Opportunity–”Love is in the Air”. Jackie Siglin, Eleanor Taylor, Edy Elfring, Elaine Davenport, and Darrell White read their compositions.
  • Refreshments Provided by Edy Elfring (with funds sent by Cindy Symington).

Trail Bits

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals

Friends, I’d like to introduce you to a free newsletter for writers which contains humor, technique articles, writers’ rants, blogging hints and much more. They also request articles and feedback from their readers. The subscription is free to Working Writers at Enjoy.

As Seen on Facebook

Submitted by Reba Cross Seals




Submitted by Kip Piper


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:

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