MAY 2021 Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement:   Due to Covid-19, our meeting venues are closed until further notice.  Our next meeting will be on , MAY 22, 2021, 3:00 p.m. (CT) on Zoom, hosted by the Fort Davis Library.  We will have no time limit and are most grateful for their willingness to host the meeting for us.  Please watch your email for invite to this meeting.  All due paying members will receive the invitation.

Photo Writing Prompts:  Members’ Photos (See description below)

Program:  Gay Ann Kiser, noted author and teacher, will be presenting our program this month.  She is also a new member to TMTW.  

Moderator:  Robbie Ann Burns

Refreshments:  None

Visitors ALWAYS Welcome!

From the TMTW Steering Committee

Our April showers did not make it and our flowers are few and far between.  Schools will be letting out in the next couple of weeks and families will be traveling.  We hope if you plan to travel, you find encouragement to pick up your pen and jot down notes for a future story.  Happy trails ya’ll!

We are extending our deadline for the Chaos to June 15, 2021.  We need stories, poems, and reflections that you might have on the past year.  Please submit your stories to Jerri Garza at


 Our May meeting will consist of a Power Point presentation by Gay Ann Kiser. The           ABCs of Writing a Novel is designed to give authors an in-depth look at building a          novel. This  presentation can be adapted for those interested in writing short stories,  as well.

 There are four parts to this series of lessons, but we’ll limit our discussion to Part One.   Here are the points of focus:

How to build a cast of compelling characters that will keep readers engaged;

The limitations of 1st 3rd person points of view in characterization and determining which works best for you;

Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (the key to any type of story!)

Specifics in developing heroes and heroines in your stories;

Discovering how important imagery is in your stories.

 I am so pleased to be a part of the Texas Mountain Trail Writers and would like to tell you a little about myself. I write fictional novels under the pen name, Tessa Gray, and have published nine books through Amazon. My Dreamcatchers Series was set in Alpine and focuses on my road trips to the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Readers enjoy hearing about trips to see the Marfa Lights and having a bite to eat at Penny’s Diner. My Crescent Falls Series is set in the Midwest and features four sisters struggling with their father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In these books, each daughter must strive to find that delicate balance between building a life of their own while caring for someone who is slowly slipping away.

 In November of 2020, I published my memoir about growing up in the foster care system. The memoir is called Take Three. That book, naturally, is published under my real name! It’s been an enormous blessing having my former classmates read and respond to a book that proved difficult to write. The book’s focus is on mentorship and how greatly having just the right mentor can impact a child’s life. I live on our three- acre ranch near the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with my husband of 47 years, Jim and our two miniature donkeys, as well as a sweet goat named Ginger. My pastime is spent volunteering at a local school—helping children write. I also teach classes on writing to senior citizens at a community college.

We hope you will be able to join us for this special presentation via Zoom, May 22, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

Robbie Ann Burns, TMTW Board Member

Photo Writing Prompts – Members’ Photos & Word Prompts

We are excited to announce that we are adding word prompts to our  monthly prompts which will give you a little more encouragement to write.  Remember, your first thoughts are worth jotting down to see where the story might take you.

TMTW members are invited to participate in choosing the monthly Photo Writing Prompts by submitting good quality, sharp ORIGINAL (YOUR photo – not someone else’s) images in JPG format to Jerri Garza.  Do not send anything from the Internet as we would be subject to heavy fines.

Send two to four images no later than the 10th of each month to Jerri at .  Jerri will then send four selections to Robbie for inclusion in the newsletter.  Please have images at high resolution for publication. There is no monetary compensation for TMTW use of members’ images.  Images must be received by the deadline for use in the writing prompts.  It is not required to submit images for writing prompts participation.

The writing guidelines remain at 500 words or fewer, Times New Roman, 12-point font.  If you wish, you may read or have your Opportunity read at the monthly meeting.  You can choose to write about one, several, or all images.  If all images are selected for the Writing Opportunity, then attempt to combine the images into one related assignment.

Use these as they are or use anything they might inspire in you.  You can also choose not to read, but whatever your choice you can always submit it for publication in Chaos.  Black and white versions of members photos may be included in the Chaos if anyone chooses their photo as writing inspiration.  Submitting a photo implies permission to reproduce as TMTW chooses and we will credit the photographer in every instance.  Questions? Email Jerri at .

Word Phrases: submitted by Robbie Ann Burns

The little girl presented her special marble to her teacher as she said, “I want you to have this because I don’t want you to get old.”

Many moons ago one could …..

There is not enough time to ……

If I had to do it all over again, what would I change?

This month’s photo writing prompts are the images below, should you like to use them.

Submitted by Robbie Ann Burns





Inspirational Quotes:

Writer’s Block – When your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you.

“The desire to write was planted in you for a reason.”

BRAGGIN’ WRITES: None reported this month.

Prose writers—Apply for our 2021 Mentorship Program, plus upcoming classes & events

Back by popular demand, Gemini Ink is relaunching its mentorship program after a 2-year hiatus. Apply to the Gemini Ink 2020 Mentorship Program and be one of two writers chosen to work one-on-one with a nationally recognized author. The 2021 Mentorship will be dedicated to prose—fiction, nonfiction, essays, short stories, novels and more! We are delighted to announce that our mentor will be award-winning author and seasoned writing teacher Kurt Caswell.

The 2021 Gemini Ink Mentorship Program is open to prose writers of all levels from all 50 States.



Join the OC Art Guide Membership!

You don’t have to reside in Orange County  to be listed on the OC Art Guide.
We feature writing event hosts from around the world!

Membership fee:  $20 for 1 year


Membership Enrollment Procedure


View Featured Writing Events


Dear Texas Mountain Trail Writers,

Trust you and your members are well, and keeping safe in the current environment.

At the outset, we must express our sincere gratitude for your help in spreading the word about our short story contests in the past. As you may be aware, Fabula Press went on a hiatus in late 2018, chiefly due to our website being hijacked. By the time that we decided to give up our quest to recover the old site and register the current domain, the global pandemic struck and we were forced to extend our break.

However, we are back now, with our first offering of 2021 – Aestas, the summer competition. And to celebrate our return, we have increased the prize purse, and have many other plans (such as a writer’s community) that we shall unfold as we go along.

It is in the context of this competition that we are seeking you help once again in spreading the word. Should authors from your circle/group choose to participate, kindly also request them to mention that they heard about us from your group in the cover letter section (optional) while submitting – we try to give due credit on our social media platforms to the various writing groups/workshops whose authors are featured in our anthology or where there are many entries from a group.

Brief details of the contest are as below:

Word Count: Minimum 2000, maximum 6000 words. Slightly longer stories may be considered on merit.

Format: Stories must be in English, in a readable (Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, etc.), 12 point font. Format should be as .doc, .docx, or .pdf document. The contest will be blind judged, so the submitted document should only contain the name of the story, and no other information about the author.

Key Dates: The summer contest window opens on 01May21, and will close on 31Jul21. Reading period will be between 01Aug21 to 31Oct21, with final results announced in November ’21.

Simultaneous submission: Allowed, but authors must let us know if the story is accepted elsewhere before our results are announced.  

Prior publishing: Submitted stories must not have been previously published either online or offline. However, stories published in local journals, book club publications etc. with circulation of no more than 1000 will be exempted from this requirement.

Entry fee: US$ 10. There is no limit to the number of entries an individual may submit, but every entry must be accompanied by the entry fee.

Judges: The panel of judges includes literary agents, authors and essayists.


First Prize: US$500

Second Prize: US$250

Third Prize: US$150

All other longlisted authors selected for publication in the contest anthology shall be paid an honorarium of US$75 each.

Please read the detailed terms and conditions in the submissions page before submitting, and for any queries please reach out to

Hoping to receive your support once again,

Kind regards,



Anirban Ray Choudhury

Editor – Fabula Press

FaceBook –

Twitter      –  @FabulaPress


Thank you for your help in making “Stories Through The Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2020” a great success! A lot of the authors, who sent submissions, heard about our contest though their writers club. Thanks to those who forward my message to your members!

Stories Through The Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2021: We are very excited to be in the fifth year of this contest. Submissions are open. The deadline for the 2021 publication is June 15, 2021. Tell us about an experience growing up as a Baby Boomer, or use your experience gained becoming a Baby Boomer and tell us a story. The entry may be fiction or nonfiction.

New for 2021, we have changed the eligibility requirements to include authors born 1966 or earlier. While technically not Baby Boomers we feel people in this age range possess the experience we are looking for.

The word count for the contest is 900 – 4000 words. The entry fee is $25 for one story and $20 per story when submitting multiple stories

A minimum of the top fifteen finalists will be published in the 2021 edition of the book.
• 1st place winner will receive $500.00
• 2nd place $200.00
• 3rd place $100.00.

Contact: Jacqueline Peavler


Today almost any information a writer might need is only a click away on the Internet. Whether you need writing tips, or to research your character’s hometown, or want to know how to start a blog, you’ll find websites hoping to answer your questions. The experts at Web Design Relief have searched the Internet to bring you the top resources and best websites to help writers succeed (including a close-to-home favorite!).

The Best Websites For Writers

The Write Life. Whether you have questions about publishing, freelancing, or blogging, you can find the answers here! The folks over at The Write Life also have their own helpful roundup of best websites for writers (psst!—Writer’s Relief is one of them!).

Grammar Girl. For all your grammatical questions, no matter how complex, Mignon Fogarty—aka Grammar Girl—has the answers!

Editors’ or agents’ blogs. Reading editors’ and agents’ blogs will help you learn about what types of submissions they are interested in.

NaNoWriMo. Writing a novel in just a month? We know it sounds stressful, but the object of NaNoWriMo is to do just that, and many writers say it’s the most fun they’ve ever had! The organization’s website, complete with tips and loads of connections to other writers, certainly helps relieve the stress of pounding out 50,000 words in thirty days.

Pitch Wars. In this mentorship program, volunteer authors and editors choose writers to mentor and offer advice on improving their manuscripts.


Click here to continue reading 15 Best Websites and to get live links to all of these great sites for writers!

Call for Submissions


Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women’s perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women’s humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women’s experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

For more information and to submit your work, click here

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication. 

Submit your manuscript here.


The Worst Opening Line to a Novel About Retirement Writing Contest

New Contest For Writers, “2021 – The Worst Opening Line to a Novel About Retirement”.

Sponsored by Mike Keenan, “The Retirement Coach.”.

Like the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, the inspiration for this contest, this is the ideal contest for poor writing, as we seek the worst opening imaginable in one sentence to a novel about retirement. There’s no entrance fee and no limit to the amount of times you enter..

Make your opening worse than the examples that follow, and you have a decent chance of winning..

Long opening example –.

“Sheldon approached the menacing, pot-holed road to retirement like a perplexed motorist for the first time entering a roundabout in a foreign country, quickly slowing his previously-owned, rust-stained, fender-battered, oil-leaking Chevy, while wondering sideways if his financial planner was indeed truthful, worried his wife’s penchant for expensive travel might rapidly deplete his coveted nest-egg, suddenly consumed with the thought of economic safety measures as a large, interloping truck carrying cattle moved aggressively into his lane, blocking the view of his egress such that he was forced to spin around in complete circles several times like those difficult gravitational tests that apprentice astronauts are forced to endure before regaining equilibrium as well as the desire to press on despite incessant warnings by jealous colleagues that he might have pulled the retirement plug too soon like an anxious adolescent male experiencing his first sexual encounter with a well-practiced older woman, and pondering if he should have engaged in that regretful once-only affair with his secretary, who certainly proved that she was far more adept than a mere typist, able with her talented tiny digits to massage far more than mere words in that ill-advised tryst at Motel 69, too close to the highway, the incessant traffic noise almost as loud as his shocking groans of pleasure on that fateful night.” .

Shorter example

“Retirement loomed on the horizon, and quite anxious, Donald entertained mixed feelings about how it might suddenly penetrate his life like Dr. Carlson today, casually putting on a plastic glove and forcefully inserting his fingers far too deep in search of an enlarged prostate as Donald lay pensively on that very table where Carlson had performed a vasectomy on the other side of his body, seemingly so long ago when he was young and virile.”.

Email entries to The Retirement Coach at .

Please include your name and mailing address..

The winner receives a suitable prize along with inclusion in a podcast, three dailies and one weekly that publish “The Retirement Coach,” as well as multiple Facebook pages along with the adulation of the writing community..

Submissions are due by Sept. 18, 2021.

Entries will be posted on Facebook:


Questions about a new author website or need a facelift for your existing site?

Visit our website at or call our office at (866) 405-3003.


Our blog has lots of free information about websites that work for writers.

Check out:

International Directory
of Writing Workshops, Writers Conferences, Book Festivals, Organizations & Professional Services

Voice and Vessel webpage has compiled a very nice spreadsheet of contest lists for poetry and fiction.  Their webpage is”

The Big List of Where to Submit Your Poetry Manuscript in 2021


My name is Destiny Rutherford and I am the Chief Marketing Officer here at Inside Edge. At Inside Edge we offer publishing services to all writers and authors at any level and with any genre. Our goal here is to help upcoming writers with getting their name out there and their work published. We have worked with many high profile clients from all over and really enjoy offering our services to those that are interested. Feel free to give me a call at 832.687.9236 or email me if you have any questions! 

Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you.

Destiny Rutherford 

CMO @ Inside Edge Publishing


Greetings from the team at Kaleidoscope WoJo™. A friendly reminder from the Kaleidoscope WoJo™ team that our latest writing contest can still be submitted to.

Please pass this on to your women writers.  

Check out the website for the latest contest.

Women writers and their works can be featured by submitting to: What Are You Thankful For? What’s Your Cure for Writer’s Block or Why We Write.

We never require a fee to submit!

Thanks for supporting your women writers by sharing this email with them.

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy!

Author News and Resources

Ways Writing Can Help You Cope With Stress, Anxiety, And Feeling Overwhelmed

Writer’s Relief, Inc.
(866) 405-3003

10% off Editing Services for Your Book

Editorial Services of LA

EDITORIAL SERVICES OF LOS ANGELES offers everything from line editing with a detailed and specific critique letter + free query letter edit, to self-publishing edit and book page layout, to ghostwriting, book packaging, and creative and developmental literary consulting.

More Info:

Dianne Goettel –Check out this site –  They offer critiques of one’s manuscript by different experts.

Websites using images to assist with writing:

Thanks to Reba Seal’s submittal:  It’s called Visual Hunt and it finds photos of Creative Commons and public domain images. Hope this info helps you now or in the future.

Teacher Treasures: Picture Quick Writes, Picture Narratives-

Writing Forward: Creative Writing Prompts for Crafting Compelling Imagery-

The Balance Careers: Photographs as Creative Writing Prompts-

Check out :

Lone Star Literary Life Holiday Gift Guide :


Writers’ League of Texas

WWA Membership News – Fall 2019

 Written Word Media

Word Slayers –                  C



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’ Writes and Trail Bits to .











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