February Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our February meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Alpine Public Library, 805 West Avenue E in Alpine, TX.

Program: Thinking Outside the Box, presented by Elaine Davenport

Writing “Opportunity”:  See more info and this month’s prompts below…

Refreshments: Marti Stebbins

Visitors ALWAYS Welcome!

From the TMTW Steering Committee

February is the time for love, hearts, and all that jazz! Who would send a Valentine with the wrong words? Without vivid verbs and sparkling nouns? No one would insult their love with dull writing!

The same applies to all our writing. Love your words, but make them count! I recently finished another rewrite of my mystery novel. (Yeah, I know – how many years have you been talking about that book???) My critique partner and I combed it for errors and worked to strengthen the writing. We replaced weak verbs with strong ones and removed unnecessary little phrases. Examples: The phone jangled for the phone rang. He gave her the book instead of: He gave the book to her.

And I printed the whole thing out, all 300 double spaced pages! That took a bunch of paper and too much ink, but was worth it. Even though I had spellchecked the manuscript through two word processing programs, I still found errors. And though I am a long ago convert to word processing, the old-fashioned reading it on paper helped me discover awkward phrases.

I hope by making my words sparkle, the book is better and (cross your fingers for me) more salable, too.

Jackie Siglin
TMTW member and Treasurer

On another note: Don’t forget to sign up for our spring retreat, April 29, 2017, at the historic Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains. The theme is “Writing Inspired Fiction,” and our presenters promise to be outstanding. Take a look below for more information. How can you resist learning more about realistic plot and making your characters believable. I mean it – SIGN UP!!!

Thinking Outside the Box

Presented at the Alpine Public Library
by Elaine Davenport

This month’s program explores the wok of contemporary authors who have discarded some commonly held beliefs about writing. By thinking outside the box, they have managed to produce novels that have won awards and sold many copies. The program will be presented in a group discussion format.

Visitors Always Welcome!

February Writing Opportunity

The February writing opportunity guidelines are: 500 words or less, Times New Roman 12 point font. May be read at the meeting on February 21, at the Alpine Public Library. You can also choose not to read, but whatever your choice you can always submit it for publication in The Chaos. Email it to Kip Piper at

Three writing prompts, should you like to use them, are:

The Top of The Ladder
A Valentine’s Day Mystery

Use these as they are or use anything they might inspire in you. Just write and enjoy! And thanks for being part of our writing community.

Eleanor Taylor

TMTW One-Day Annual Spring Retreat

Kay Ellington and Dr. Barbara Brannon of Paragraph Ranch

The Texas Mountain Trail Writers will host a full-day fiction writing retreat Saturday, April 29, at the historic Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains near Fort Davis. Whether you are a beginning, intermediate, or advanced writer, here’s your opportunity to develop more skills, guided by professional writing coaches. The Paragraph Ranch team of Kay Ellington and Dr. Barbara Brannon (www.paragraphranch.com) will present workshops on key aspects of the fiction writing craft, across the genres, as well as deliver sessions on current avenues for publishing your work. Besides the opportunity to network with other writers, TMTW gives you a valuable workbook plus a complimentary breakfast. Please sign up early to reserve your place at this sure-to-be inspiring retreat.

Click Here for More Details and Registration Forms!

Catch Our Drift Productions – DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Genre: Non-fiction
Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words
Deadline extended to: April 15, 2017
More info: www.catchourdrift.ca/39-signs-of-hope

Catch Our Drift Productions is producing a compilation of short stories that aims to make a difference in the lives of readers … and writers.

39 Signs of Hope, coming in the fall of 2017, is a collection of stories from writers around the world. Whether facing personal challenges, trying to combat environmental threats or dealing with global unrest, people rely on hope to help them through difficult situations.

“So many writers have compelling stories,” says Sheila Cameron, co-founder of Catch Our Drift Productions. “By sharing those stories, contributing writers will offer comfort to readers seeking a greater sense of hope or purpose in their lives.”

39 Signs of Hope will be published under a hybrid publishing model, wherein the publisher and selected authors will share in both the cost of production and the opportunity to sell books. “Many writers don’t have the experience or means to publish their stories,” says Mark Cameron, also a co-founder. “Similarly, small-scale publishers have limited resources for working with multiple authors and reaching readers. This new model is a win-win plan to fill a gap between independent authors and publishers, who are both working with small budgets.”

Each selected author will make a financial contribution toward production costs in exchange for having their work professionally edited and designed. They will also receive 20 trade paperback copies with an option to buy additional books at a wholesale price. Catch Our Drift Productions will contribute 39% of profit from e-book and print-on-demand sales from 39 Signs of Hope to a registered charity that is voted on by contributing authors.

Catch Our Drift Productions is accepting submissions (1,000 to 2,000 words) until April 15, 2017. There is no fee to submit a story. For more information, visit www.catchourdrift.ca/39-signs-of-hope.

Thank You from Fabula Press

At the outset, we must express our sincere gratitude for TMTW’s help in spreading the word for the Aestas 2016 Short Story Competition. When we had reached out to the various writing groups/workshops, we had frankly not anticipated the massive increase in our submission count – most certainly it would not have been possible without your support. We therefore take great pleasure in announcing that the second prize winner Jeffrey Cravens and a Special Mention entry by Andrew Cotten first heard of us through their writing groups.

There were sixteen stories selected for the anthology, and another seventeen were awarded a “Special Mention” on our website. Standard of submissions was very high, and our judges (Literary agents Clare Wallace and Sandra Sawicka and authors Brett Sanders and Joanna Ezekiel) faced a very challenging time deciding on the top submissions.

Full results are available at www.fabulapress.com.

 From Cindy Symington

Came across this in the Writers Almanac and thought TMTW members would appreciate it:

“The sole virtue of losing your short-term memory is that it does free you to be your own editor.” — Norman Mailer

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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