At the August meeting of the Hill Country Women of Words, we were delighted to welcome four visitors:
Linda Christensen, Amy Burley, Anna Mendeke, and Rorie Crawford. What a treat!
We started the meeting with a writing prompt from Valerie Gaumont: “She stays close to home to avoid temptation...” That started the wheels turning as we created stories and poems about food, men, clothes, dreams & ideas, shopping, and murder...but who did it? It was such fun and everybody participated, even our guests.
Anna Mendeke and Rorie Crawford were invited guests of Vici Wray, but Vici wasn’t able to come to the meeting. Vici emailed that they were both “interested in writing and are dear, precious ladies” and she was right. We were disappointed that they had to leave early but we were able to enjoy some of Rorie’s poetry. We hope they will both be back so we can get to know them better.
Amy Burley is Barbara Loyd’s ( daughter. Anybody might have guessed that! Amy looks just like Barbara. She was completely lovely! I’m so glad we got to meet her. Barbara brought us a memoir piece she called “Artist’s Get Away,” about the first time she came to Fredericksburg with her friend, Sue. Barbara and Sue made a stop at Das Peach Haus and bought colorful tomatoes and peaches and Barbara was inspired to use the tote bags in a collage. Artists see art wherever they go, don’t they? Thank you for the story, Barbara. It was fun. And please bring Amy back whenever she is in town.
Karen Vanek ( is the media person for the Sustaniablity Green Home Tour here in Fredericksburg, September 30th, from 9-3. Karen has been responsible for all the flyers, task lists, and printed media for the event. That’s a big job, Karen, but it looked like you did a great job. The flyers were wonderful. Karen has also been writing some bulletin inserts for her church. The latest one was on Stewardship. I wish we could have read it. Sounds like Karen is keeping very busy! I’m so glad she made it to the meeting.
Linda Christensen was invited by Betty Murphy (who was not able to come to the meeting). Linda lives in Heritage Hills. She has a wonderful blog at . Linda publishes under the name of “Linda Kay” and has published a cookbook/memoir with her mother she called Flavors From the Past. You can see it here: . Linda said she has sold over 700 copies of this book. How exciting! Her most recent publication is called Annie’s Love and it’s a fiction romance novel. It has not been released yet. And Linda writes poetry, too. She read us one of her poems, “White Roses,” a beautiful tribute to her mother. Thank you Linda, for sharing so much with us. We certainly hope you will join us!
Lynn Harris read us more of her novel, Life With Lupe. She called this chapter “Laundry Remodel.” Estralita, Angelina, Hector, and Rosa are such interesting characters! I’m so glad I get to hear more of their stories at TWiG every Tuesday. Lynn has become a regular. Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your writing with us.
Mary Eckert ( read us another chapter from her novel-in-progress, Wounded Sisters. The pastor’s wives are gathering for a retreat and bringing all their collective baggage along with them. How will they help each other find healing, caught between their husbands calling and their own desires? Mary is creating some wonderful characters and I can’t wait to hear more. Come back, Mary, and bring more of your story!
Megan Willome ( has been very busy between editing the magazine, Wacoan, as well as compiling and writing her book, The Joy of Poetry, which will be published by Tweet Speak Poetry. Megan shared a bit about the process, the interviews she is doing, and all she is learning. She hopes to have the editing finished by October because the book is due to be released in January, 2015, I believe. Thank you, Megan!
Sally Clark ( ) often writes poetry for an editor named June Cotner who publishes gift books of poetry and prose. June sent me a “mini-proposal” she wrote for her agent to shop around her next project, a book on aging gracefully. I brought the proposal for everybody to see, just because it was interesting to me how a proposal for a nonfiction book is written. I hope everybody learned as much as I did, even if you just keep it in your file, it might come in handy someday. I also brought the galleys of my lift-the-flap board book, Where’s My Hug? from Ideals. I wanted everyone to see the bright, colorful drawings Estelle Cooke has created and to hear how the exchange with my editor, Melinda Rumbaugh, has gone. She has truly been delightful to work with. I feel so lucky to have my first book to be published with them and was flattered and excited when Melinda invited me to submit more books! I have also resurrected an old project, from 2008, a flip calendar for kids called Kidz Flip. I brought a query letter I wrote in the TTU class I attened with instructor Christine Granados and shared it with everybody in the group, as well as the calendar poems I have written for the month of July. Even if this project doesn’t come to fruition, I’m going to have fun writing the poems! Thanks to everyone for their help.
Sheila Kale ( gave her Fruit of the Spirit talk last Saturday at St. Paul’s church in Mason. It was very well received! This is the same talk she gave some time ago at Holy Ghost Lutheran that earned her a standing ovation. I’m so proud of her! Sheila is working on writing an “online offering” about coaching writers on how to push through their writing obstacles, namely rejections or fear of rejection. This should be an interesting project for her and I can’t wait to read it!
Valerie Gaumont ( has started a new book she calls Talent that already has us fascinated. Young Jill has to keep books hidden under the floorboards of her room. Why? And what are the treasures in the woods? Jill’s mama is real character that promises to keep us entertained while the suspense builds. Thank you, Valerie, for bringing this to us and please, bring more chapters to TWiG!
Other news from other WOWs –
Alice Kolb ( said: “I'm sorry. Can't make it tonight. George just now home from car service; dinner prep seems to be calling! Have fun.”
Linda Colie called to say she was not coming to the meeting tonight because she wasn’t feeling well.
Liz Brookshire wrote: “Sally - I am going to miss tonight as I have another obligation.  See you in September!”
Liz Eberle ( is working hard on collecting/writing the stories of her life into a book and publishing it with the same people who published Alice Kolb’s cookbook/memoir. I’m so proud of Liz for persevering on this one, with everything else she has on her plate. This is going to be a wonderful book! Keep going, Liz!
Vici Wray emailed: “Don't think I can make it tonight. I caught a bad summer cold over the weekend and still haven't fully recovered.  I hate missing WOW but am afraid if I came and started coughing, windows would shatter, alarms would be set off, EMS would rush in, and chaos would abound.  Hey, that sounds like the beginning of a good story.....See y’all next time. Have a yummy evening.”
Two birthdays coming up before our next meeting: Alice Kolb – on September 14 and Karen Vanek on September 17.
Remember to check for submission opportunities at, either on the “Open Submissions” page or on the “Deadlines” page.
Stay cool and keep writing!!
Love, Sally

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