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


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