The Hill Country Women of Words February meeting was a wonderful night for stories, poems, essays, guests, surprises and more!


We started with a bit of discussion on the Johnson City Writers Event. Sheila Barnette distributed a handout she received from Suzie Spencer, the nonfiction author whose workshop she attended. These are great notes to have. I had talked with Sheila Kale, who also attended Suzie’s workshop, and she was very pleased with what she learned from her. Alice Kolb also attended and didn’t get as much out of it as Sheila did, but that just goes to show that we are all in different writing places and that’s perfectly OK!


Pam Perrin shared some insights from her notes about the Young Adult author she workshoped with, April Lurie. She said April was very helpful and informative and she enjoyed the exercises. Cindy Harper and Sally Clark talked a bit about their workshop with poet, Scott Wiggerman, and gave examples of the exercises they completed in his class. We all learn so much from one another. The Johnson City Writers Events are an incredible bargain, so be sure to make plans to attend next year’s event. I will keep everybody posted!!


Sally Clark had some exciting news – The Fredericksburg Herb Farm would like to start an “Art at the Farm” program and has requested that our group do book signings several times a year in conjunction with some special wine dinners that they have there, starting in April. If you have an interest in featuring one of your books at our table, please let me know. I’ll be sending out some more information about this event soon.


Pam Perrin read some of her poetry, “The Table,” “Everything I Do for You,” “Gazing at You,” and “The Acorn Tree.” (Forgive me, Pam, if I used the wrong titles!) Pam has been coming on Tuesdays to the TWiG group and working through The Art and Craft of Poetry book with us. We are all being challenged and stretched in new directions.


Sheila Barnette read another chapter from her book, Wanza’s Diary, records of her parent’s letters back and forth during WWII. These letters were from her dad when he was stationed at Ft. Mead, MD, and a haircut cost 75 cents. I always say I’m not going to cry when Shelia reads these letters but I always do. Her father said that Wanzie (her mother) was “a good, brave woman,” and I heartily agree.


Linda Colie didn’t bring anything to read this time but she teased us with the beginnings of a story she’s working on about “a diabolical bottle of shampoo.” Linda always surprises us!! She was also happy to report that the cover she designed for her friend, Tony Quiroz’s play, The Christ of Umbria, can now be viewed on Amazon at . Mr. Quiroz has been so happy with Linda’s work, he’s asked her to design another cover for a comedy play he is writing. Linda is very proud that she is now a paid illustrator! Congratulations, Linda!


Mary Eckert brought Chapter 5 from her book, Wounded Sisters. Mary made a trip out to Ft. Davis in January, which is the setting for her book, and visited The Limpia Hotel where Mamie, one of her main characters, is making arrangements for a conference for five pastor’s wives. One of the women has just murdered her husband, but which one? That “hooks” you, doesn’t it? I can’t wait for the rest of it.


Mary also brought a friend with her from Mason whose name just happens to be Judy Koch. Judy found a name tag with her name on it and thought I was psychic! What fun! Turns out, Judy writes poetry and she read us a few of her beautiful poems, one which was entitled, “Along Life’s Changing Shore.” Judy said she thought we had a wonderful group. We hope she will come back again, and I will have two “Judy Koch” name tags ready!


Sally Clark brought a copy of Together magazine featuring her story, “The Letter.” This story will eventually be online and I will share it with everybody when it does. I also brought my copy of A Cup of Comfort for Christian Women with my story, “A Roller Coaster of Faith.” Sadly, this will be the final Cup of Comfort book published. Maybe they will become collector’s items. Ha! Ha! I told the group that the children’s picture book, Sweet Dreams, which was scheduled for publication this month from Blooming Tree Press in Austin, and was going to feature one of my poems, has been put on hold indefinitely, according to publisher, Miriam Hees. It is a real disappointment to me, but perhaps when Miriam gets on her feet financially, it still might be released. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I also brought three poems I wrote to submit to an online magazine called Enchanted Conversations. The poems had to be written on the theme of Rumpelstiltskin and were titled “Three Voices,” “Fairy Tale Archives,” and “If a Miller had a Daughter.” I really enjoyed researching and writing these poems. The next theme, which is due in May, is Snow White and will be an all poetry issue.


We had a surprise this meeting! Barbara Loyd, our Tulsa, OK, member was there!! Barbara said when she left Tulsa, the snow was hip high! Can you imagine? Barbara brought a short poem she had just written called “Tokens of Affection” that she hopes to expand. I hope she does. Barbara and her husband Paul were on their way to Houston to visit family. I talk with Barbara via email often but it was so nice to have some face-to-face time! Come back again, Barbara!


Megan Willome didn’t bring anything to read – she’s been busy with the magazine she edits, the Wacoan. Megan said she is so very, very thankful that she started saving her work and emails to a Yahoo account. Some poems she wrote in one of Lianne Mercer’s poetry classes had gone missing and she found them in her Yahoo account. If you aren’t familiar with the “Yahoo method” that I espouse, it’s simply opening a Yahoo (or gmail or aol account) and emailing all your work to it so you have a place that everything is safe from viruses and crashes. You can also set it up so that all your emails are forwarded to the account and then they’re safe from loss, too. And the best thing about it is that it’s FREE!!!! Megan is great about keeping up with her blog, and you can always read her there. I love her latest post: The Gospel According to Jeremy. Take a look!


Liz Brookshire brought two poems she wrote, “Hidden Treasure,” and “Cutting Cedar.” Both poems were delightful memoir poems. Last week, I got to hear Liz speak at Heritage Place on the subject of aprons. Liz has a wonderful collection of aprons – from her grandmother’s to modern day – and she gives a great presentation. Liz plans to speak once a month at Heritage on various subjects and next month, I think she’s going to talk about Fredericksburg history. Anybody who is interested can attend. I will send out an email with the date and topic for her next talk.


Cindy Harper brought something different than anything she has brought before. It was a nonfiction essay called “Upon This Rock” about Jesus’ proclamation to found His church on Peter. Cindy had some wonderful insights into the scriptures and it was very thought provoking. I don’t know what she plans for this piece but it should be published somewhere.


Beth Smith brought us a poem, “Self Sabotage,” which, in the end, had us all in stitches as “she walked to the kitchen for coffee.” You had to be there! For those of you who don’t know, Beth has a blog: with some wonderful posts. Her latest post is “Why Can’t Parenting be all Flowers and Light?” We had a discussion about the advantages of having a blog.  As writers, it’s a great discipline to keep us writing regularly and a wonderful way for editors to hear our “voice” and read our “style.” If you would like to try a blog, try It’s free!


And here is the news around the world of WOWs:


Aimee Martin was at the Johnson City Writers Event. I know Aimee is very busy teaching Kindergarden at Ambleside School (and more!), but it’s nice to see her keep up her interest in writing.


Alice Kolb emailed: I won't make our meeting tonight. I am engulfed in 3 power points, prep for 3 weeks of seminars and a lecture "getting thru the mush!" Fits me perfectly! Have a great evening. I'll miss all of you. Keep up with Alice on her blog:


Dena Dyer has a poem posted on her blog: called “Grass Fire.” I’d read it before and enjoyed it again. Great poem, Dena. Sheila Kale saw Dena recently at the Rockbox when she and Carey were in town for a performance and said she looks great. We miss you, Dena!


India Lott has asked to be added to our members list. Welcome, India! She emailed that she couldn’t come to the meeting because she was out of town.


Kathleen Maxwell has announced her retirement from her position as Executive Director of the Christian Women’s Job Corp in Kerrville on her blog: . She is now learning the fine art of retirement, rest, and reflection. (Maybe she’ll have more time to write!)


As far as I know, Kelly Carper Polden is still planning to be in Johnson City for her book signing on March 26th. Make plans to attend! Take a sneak peek of the book at:  


Liz Eberle was under the weather and didn’t make it to the meeting but you must check out her blog: . If you go to her site and scroll down on the right hand side and you will see that Liz has four more blogs in addition to this one! Stories from Liz’s Heart, Liz’s Favorite Books, Let’s Knit and Pray, and Liz’s Book Reviews. Amazing! See, even if you can’t get out and about, you can still write. Liz proves it!!


Rebecca McCright writes: Y'all have a wonderful WOW tonight. Wish I could be there.  


Sheila Kale left town on Saturday and won’t be back until Friday night. She and her husband, Stephen, are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a trip to Galveston where they spent their honeymoon. Read Sheila’s latest devotionals on her site:


We have one birthday in February: Liz Eberle on February 25th.


Don’t’ forget - you can keep up with submission deadlines at


Keep those fingers typing! Love, Sally  


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