MAY 2020 Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our May 23, 2020 meeting is going to be held using “House Party,” from 3-5 p.m.  Robbie Burns will send invites to the paid dues members so that they may join, if they would like to participate. Please see the note from the Steering Committee below. Watch for email updates.

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

Program: None

Moderator:  Robbie Ann Burns

Refreshments:  None

Visitors ALWAYS Welcome!

From the TMTW Steering Committee

The meeting for May 23, 2020 is going to be held using “House Party.”  All paid dues members will receive an invite.  Robbie Ann Burns will be the hostess for this meeting and will get set up.  This site is not a follower format and your private information is not in danger of being shared.

     Texas Mountain Trail Writers experienced Zoom technology in the April meeting on the 24th.  Hosts for this format were Dr. Theron Francis of Sul Ross State University Languages and Literature and Margaret Bentley of Songwriting for Soldiers.  They presented a program on poetry, flash fiction, and journaling.  Both shared personal poetry and journaling including peeks at their illustrated journals.

     Margaret provided a webpage link, “Resources for Poetry Lovers During COVID-19” with a list of sites/classes/podcasts that may be of interest to TMTW members:

She also referenced the webpage utilizing creative writing for soldiers and veterans.

     Dr. Francis explained how he journals using bird illustrations and dreams.

TMTW is grateful to Dr. Francis and Margaret for their sharing of resources with members.

     A few TMTW members have been hesitant to use Zoom possibly due to the format being hacked.  Most of the meetings hacked had been open to the public and had not been composed of member lists.  There are safeguards that can be added to prevent intrusion.  We are in this together and are willing to help each other learn a new method of communication.  Technical difficulties can be overcome with practice.  A summer meeting might be available through Zoom if members would like to try again.  Look for a forthcoming notice.

Jerri Garza, for TMTW Steering Committee

Our meeting is scheduled for May 23,  2020. Please see the note from the Steering Committee above.   Watch your email for any new updates.

 Remember our dues are due this month.  Please submit to Robbie Burns, 1503 W. Fort Davis Ave., Alpine, TX  79830 or through the website using PayPal.

Chaos Cover Photos

We would like to invite all paid dues members to submit a photo of their choice for the cover of the Chaos.  Please submit no more than 3 photos which will be compiled and voted on by all members.  Please submit to Robbie Ann Burns via email   Due date is June 15th.  Look forward to seeing your photos!

Photo Writing Prompts – Members’ Photos

TMTW members are invited to participate in choosing the monthly Photo Writing Prompt 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 .

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

Submitted by Marti Stebbins

Submitted by Jerri Garza

Inspirational Quotes:

“Write a short story every week.  It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”  Ray Bradberry

“Words are sacred.  They deserve respect.  If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”  Kirby Ingles Professional Coaching Solutions.

IN MEMORIAM:  Recently, we lost one of our faithful members, Gwynne Jamieson and will miss her bright smile and inspirational writings within our group.  The board agreed to honor her memory in a very special way.  Watch for news in the June 2020 Newsletter.


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

5th Annual Authors Marketing Event is FREE & Online this year!

Due to COVID19, we want to take the extra measures of protecting authors and understanding that the virus has financially hurt many authors, we have chosen to offer our event for FREE for the first time.

Simply complete the registration form and we will connect you to the event scheduled for July 25 & 26, 2020. 

On the left side of the website are links to the presenters and the classes they will be teaching. We wanted to give you a wide range of information and benefits to help you through this difficult time and to give you the tools to come out of it successfully.


Alan Bourgeois

Dear Fellow Writers and Tutors,

I am a journalist, author and co-founder of

I thought your members may be interested in this new Irish-based writing award competition launched in the last few days which is open to everyone worldwide.

3,000 euro worth of prizes for 500 words of prose, including the chance to spend a week on the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal, in Paris or along the Black Sea coast. Both flash fiction and nonfiction. Deadline May 31.

If you think it would be of interest to your members, please feel free to pass the information on to them.

Sincerely Yours,

Sean Hillen

New Irish writing awards offers 3,000 worth of prizes

An international writing retreat based in Ireland this week launched a special awards competition to create enjoyment for the many people forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus outbreak – with almost 3,000 euro worth of prizes for just 500 words of prose.

‘Ireland Writing Retreat,’ listed among the Top Ten artistic retreats of any kind in Europe by The Guardian newspaper in London, hosts week-long retreats several times every year in Donegal, Paris and along the Black Sea in Romania. It has named its inaugural competition the ‘Wild Atlantic Writing Awards’ (WAWA).

“We thought such an awards competition would provide an interesting challenge for people who like reading and writing and have no choice but to stay at home for the next few weeks,” said Columbia Hillen, who co-founded ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ which began five years ago and has attracted participants, tutors and authors from countries as diverse as New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, France, Iceland, the US, Australia and the UK.

“Our competition has two categories: flash fiction – open to all genres from sci-fi, crime, romance, horror, humor, thriller, mystery to whatever tickles you – and creative nonfiction.”

Adding spice to the idea, the ‘Flash Fiction Award’ competition has a single central theme

“After many hours of debate, we realised the perfect one was staring us right in the face -writing itself,” said Columbia. “For example, one of the characters, human or non-human, could be a writer. Or a piece of writing could play a key role in the story. Participants should let their imaginations guide them how best to integrate writing into their stories.”

She added, “The winning entry will receive 500 euro in cash, plus 990 euro in the form of free participation to one of our retreats, including all daily excursions, by land and sea, food and drinks tastings, concerts and dance performances, and all writing workshops and author talks.”

To qualify for the ‘Creative Nonfiction Award,’ participants must write a story of not more than 500 words on any subject – whether in the form of memoir, profile, literary journalism, personal essay, travel food, or any other creative nonfiction category.”

“With the writer’s permission, the winning entries will be published on the ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ website, with a short bio and photograph,” Columbia said. “Writers retain all copyright to their work.” For further information, see 

Sean Hillen

It’s easy to contact me:

My Email Address is
My Travel Blog is

My Twitter Address is @worlditinerary and @HillenSean 

My LinkedIn Profile is

My Facebook Account is


My Instagram is @worlditineraries

And you can check out my new novel:


Cosmetics create beauty, but when that turns ugly, it’s lethal.”

Pretty Ugly, a high-end contemporary fiction book that combines philosophical insight and humor linking the complex worlds of medicine, media and modeling. A novel about corporate and political corruption, individual redemption, about the sacrifices demanded to unveil truth, and a search for self meaning amidst the ghosts of unforgiving conscience.

Libraries are how many of us fell in love with reading and books. So it makes sense that getting a book into a library is a big deal for many authors.

In this month’s post, we explain how authors can get their eBooks, physical books and audiobooks into libraries.

Read The Post

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

Writer’s Relief, Inc.
(866) 405-3003

Marketing Can Be Fun 
 When we conducted a survey of over 1,000 authors last year, marketing was the one area that authors universally found the most challenging.  In this month’s post, we address why marketing can feel so daunting and how to develop a positive marketing framework that plays to your strengths.

Written Word Media + PublishDrive
 We’ve partnered with PublishDrive to make editorial submissions and scheduling promotions easily available to PublishDrive authors. PublishDrive provides free ebook conversion, global distribution and a price promotion scheduling tool to its authors. 

Kinga Jentetics, CEO of Publish Drive, dug into her company’s trove of data and shares best practices when it comes to running effective price promos. 

Promote Your Steamy Romance Audiobook

You can now promote audiobooks on Red Feather Romance. The audiobook feature is a great way to drive Audible credit redemptions as well as audiobook sales on Amazon, Apple, Google Play and more. Now that’s what we call more bang for your book! 

Schedule Your Spring Promos
Promo inventory is now open through June. Book your dates while they are still available!

Book A Freebooksy Promotion

Book A Bargain Booksy Promotion

Book A NewInBooks Promotion

Book A Red Feather Romance Promotion

Book A Reading Stacks Promotion 

Here’s what bestselling Author Ann Omasta had to say about promoting with Written Word Media (Thanks Ann!):

“I can’t recommend Written Word Media enough. My promos with WWM consistently get great results, and they go the extra mile by checking in on ad performance and giving more than expected. Authors, if you haven’t yet promoted a special with WWM, give them a try. You’ll be glad you did!” – Ann Omasta 

What We’re Reading 

Some articles of interest for authors from around the web:

How Authors Can Calculate Series Read Through – Kindlepreneur

The Hottest New Literary Genre is ‘Doomer Lit’ – Wired

4 Reasons to Spend Time With ‘Bad’ Books – Susann Cokal

Coronavirus Reading List – The Guardian 

The Saturday Evening Post – Great American Fiction Contest

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 Great American Fiction Contest.

In its nearly two centuries of existence, The Saturday Evening Post has published short fiction by a who’s who of great American authors, including Ray Bradbury, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Louis L’Amour, Sinclair Lewis, Jack London, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Tyler, and Kurt Vonnegut, among so many others.

Now you have the opportunity to join our illustrious lineup by entering The Saturday Evening Post’s Ninth Annual Great American Fiction Contest.

“This contest is a tribute to the Post’s legacy of featuring the most renowned American fiction writers,” says Steven Slon, editorial director and associate publisher for The Saturday Evening Post. “Our goal is to continue the tradition of finding and featuring compelling stories and the authors behind them.”

The winning story will be published in the January/February 2021 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and the author will receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $200 and will also have their stories featured online.

Submission Guidelines

Stories must be between 1,500 and 5,000 words long.

All stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal website and/or blog publication).

No extreme profanity or graphic sex scenes.

All stories must be submitted by their author in print or in Microsoft Word or PDF format with author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address on the first page.

Entries should be character- or plot-driven pieces in any genre of fiction.

Think local. The Post has historically played a role in defining what it means to be an American. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America — past, present, and future.

All entries must be received electronically or be postmarked by July 1, 2020.

There is a $10 entry fee, which helps defray a portion of the cost of operating the contest.

May 2020

Can You Share Our Call for Entries?

Now Open: Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020
Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

I’m getting in touch from the internationally recognised Aesthetica Creative Writing Award to ask if you could share our call for entries with your audiences? The 2020 competition is now open and we’re looking for new writing talent.

Running for over a decade, the Creative Writing Award presents both emerging and established writers with an opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences.

Open to Poetry and Short Fiction entries from both UK and international writersthe award is supported by some of the biggest names in the literary world, including The Poetry Society, Granta, VINTAGE, Bloodaxe Books and Redhammer Management.

Prizes include: £1,000 awarded to both the Poetry and Short Fiction winners, and publication within the inspiring Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthologywhich is awarded to 60 writers, shortlisted by the prestigious judging panel.

We’re proud to champion new writing talent. We want to make sure as many writers know about the Creative Writing Award as possible. It would be great if you could let your followers know that entries are now open for the 2020 Award. 

    • Suggested copy for Social Media: Further your involvement in the literary world with our friends at @AestheticaMag. The Creative Writing Award is now open for entries. Submit your #Poetry and #ShortFiction work and win £1,000 + publication within an inspiring anthology. Find out more: 

    • Twitter: @AestheticaMag
    • Instagram: @AestheticaMag
    • Facebook: @AestheticaMagazine


Thank you in advance for sharing. We’d also be happy to send across posters and flyers for free, so that you can help us spread the word even further.

To request CLICK HERE, and simply let us know where to post them.

For more information please visit our website, or feel free to drop me an email if you wish to discuss partnership opportunities.

Warmest Regards,


Kathryn Pearson
Marketing and Administration Assistant

Aesthetica Magazine

PO Box 371


YO23 1WL, UK

(0044) (0)1904 629 137|

Subject: Re: The Author Event Grid is Live!

I met C.J. Box at a WWA  Conference. Nice guy and a good storyteller. I also like Craig Johnson,a Wyoming author who wrote the Longmire series of books that was filmed as a TV series. My book about the Colorado cannibal, Alferd Packer, was optioned as a TV series for HBO. I helped write the screenplay and worked on the series synopsis with HBO. I thought I had a breakout coming, but after 3 years it was rejected and the option dropped. But I did get a check every six months and after 20 years Lone Survivor is still in print. I found out that out of seven options  only one  gets selected.

Kinky Friedman consoled me by saying every CJ Box’s Joe Pickett series are a good read. Wyoming game warden. Fictionalized location, but sounds like Meetesee area to me. A good read if you haven’t tried him.

 festival event grid

Ken Hodgson

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:

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-

​Studio Letter No. 47

New writing journey: A Pause for Poetry
Starting April 3, totally online & solitude-friendly!
Offered as a pay-what-you-want workshop,
to help a little in this uncertain season.​

Hello fellow writers,​

There’s so much to possibly say and so much already being said about what’s happening in the world right now. I’ve been writing and rewriting this note. I want to say: I have been thinking of this circle of writers every day. Every single day. I hope you are taking good care, staying as healthy as you can, and finding moments of steadiness. And to those of you who are on the front lines, providing care: thank you, thank you, thank you.​

In hard times, I often need to pause and remember that “before” and “after” are not the only options. There is a third option, where I can pour language into whatever threshold I am standing on.​

This language might be words, it might be silence, it might be song or prayer, it might be grief, it might be fear, it might even be peace in some moments. Whatever form it takes, I know when the threshold-language emerges, because there is something immediate and even intimate about it. It’s the honesty that happens in the absence of order.​

Order can give us many ways to feel safe, but it also offers so many places to hide. Order tidies up the edges. Order says, “Once upon a time…” and carries us, methodically, to “And they lived happily ever after.”​

And so far, this virus is an order-eater. It moves exponentially, more like a bloom or a firework. If it moved in a straight line, we’d already have made sense of it. We’d have stopped it in its tracks, so to speak.​

In the absence of order, the threshold-language keeps nudging me: Maybe the truest thing we can do now is name the parts. Order is not the only way to find or fill out a story. Maybe our language can move exponentially too, can flood the third space between before and after.​

Some days, it might be a flood of worried silence. It might be a flood of songs or prayers or poems. It might be a flood of all the stories we promised to tell and can no longer afford to keep for a better day or an easier way.​

Order tells us to get on the boat, to wait for the clouds to part so we can “get back to normal.” Before/after. Before/after. Before/after. As if the in-between is a vacuum. But our language, our voice in its many forms, is with us in the in-between — so it must be anything but a vacuum.​

I have written with so many of you now… I know your language is here, made for this. I’m not talking about producing something or making this time more useful. I mean something else. I mean an orientation to times like these. I mean the relationship that every writer, in some way, has to the unknown.​

I mean: as writers, you belong to this third space. You can be the namers of the parts. Even if it’s just for yourself, it matters. Even if it’s wordless at times, it can be true.​

More than anything, I want to say: you are not alone. And when I think of all of you out there, and when we write together during the Hummingbird Sessions, I remember that I am not alone. And I’m incredibly grateful for that.​


p.s. The next Hummingbird Session is later today, on Tuesday, March 24. If you’d like to get the dates and details to write with us during these free, 15-minute sessions, just click here to be notified.

​Update on New Workshop

In the last studio letter, I invited folks to respond to a survey about a new workshop. Thank you so much for your generous responses! I promised to choose two winners at random who will receive registration, and those lucky writers are Megan Stubbs and Maureen McCarthy!​

I planned to launch this workshop in March, but as the situation with COVID-19 has evolved, it’s become clear that I need to postpone the launch for the time being. This has been a difficult choice to make. This new workshop has been my pet project for a few months now, and I’m stubborn about letting projects go (even if I know they’re coming back)… but the long and short of it is that it just didn’t feel right for right now.​

Writing with you all through the Hummingbird Sessions and sharing in poetry-making together in April feels more tuned in to this time… I’m trying to listen well to where different writers are at and meet you where you are, while leaving more space for all of us to adapt as things change from day to day. 

Celebrating writers​

In tough times, we need celebration even more! What are you celebrating in your writing life? If we’ve written together, I’d love to lift up your work here in the studio letter. Have you published something? Reached a milestone in your creative practice? Drop me a note with a little info so we can celebrate together.​

good reads for your creative life​

A good round-up of the museums, plays, concerts, and more available for watching or exploring at home.

As someone who comes from a very hugging-is-caring kind of family, the limitations on physical touch right now can be tough. So I love these illustrated touches by Sarah Gilman, which she encourages sharing with anyone who needs it. Such a sweet gesture!

Historians are urging folks to keep a record of their thoughts and daily life during the pandemic, to help capture a sense of the experience for future generations.

Wash your hands, recite a poem, everyone wins.

And when you’re not washing your hands, consider writing by hand: “…writing by hand may promote ‘deep encoding’ of new information in ways that keyboard writing does not.”​

“Stories move in circles. They don’t move in straight lines.
So it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories
and stories between stories, and finding your way through them
is as easy and as hard as finding your way home.
And part of the finding is the getting lost.
And when you’re lost, you start to look around and to listen.”​

Corer Fischer, Albert Greenberg, and Naomi Newman of
A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Coming from a Great Distance

Check out :

Lone Star Literary Life Holiday Gift Guide :


Writers’ League of Texas 2020 Manuscript of Texas Contest –

WWA Membership News – Fall 2019

           Written Word Media


I have the perfect place for events, and meet-ups.

I offer you a 25 acre farm located in Waelder,Texas about one hour drive from Austin,1 hour and forty five minutes from Houston. 

There is a main house with a working kitchen, 5 beds and 2 bathrooms and rooms for presentations. There are also plenty of areas on the back porch, and on the land for camping. There is a barn and garage, livestock pens and plenty of land with oak and mesquite trees to write under. 

Please check out the ranch at  (go to film location search. Find my place under the search : “Texas Western Farm Ranchita” .

Or simply go to the website:

We can offer homemade meals for lunch and dinner to be delivered- vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you see potential for some great fun.

I look forward to hearing your feedback. I would love it if someone could help me figure out a way to offer this Victorian home for some sort of writing retreat.

Best Regards,

Genevieve Withers

713 205 2473

I’d like to invite all members to view our television series entitled “In Search of the West Texas Wordsmith,” which airs every Saturday at 3:00 P.M. over the Basin PBS station.  Each episode is a 30-minute interview with a West Texas writer.  Hope you’ll join us! – Tom Parks, host

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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