For the Hill Country Women of Words February meeting, we had a slight change of venue – instead of meeting in the HEB Community Events Center room at the end of the hall, we met in Room 127 which is on the left-hand side of the hall as you approach the HEB room. It was just a slight hiccup and we managed just fine, but the HEB room is better for us, I think.

We had a bumper crops of writers this meeting and it was wonderful to see everybody!! Valerie Gaumont has graciously volunteered to manage a new blog for us so we can post online our responses to the writing prompt she gives us every month at the meetings. The blog address is https://fredricksburgwomenofwords.wordpress.com and Valerie has posted Linda Christensen’s response and Sally Clark’s. We would like to see writing from everybody who was at the meeting. If you would like Valerie to post your writing, just send her an email with what you wrote. Her email is valeriegaumont@gmail.com. Remember, whatever you send her should be written in response to the prompt we used at that month’s meeting. I will post it in the newsletter and even if you couldn’t attend the meeting, you are welcome to write and send a response to Valerie. Remember to limit yourself to 10 minutes.

 This month’s writing prompt was: “The little river flows into the lake, close to the site of the ancient city.” If you couldn’t come to the meeting, be sure to check the blog to see how many different direction we all take this one simple prompt. It’s so much fun!
 
Bobbi Grimmer was with us and she read two letters to us that she wrote to her sons, Seth and Issac, who are both grown men now. Bobbi blessed both of them with her gracious words and she blessed us by sharing so much of herself with us. Thank you, Bobbi. Your writing is always so open and vulnerable.
 
Rory Crawford hasn’t been with us in a while. She said she has been writing lots of poetry, but she only chose to read three of them to us that night: “Blue Uniform,” “Ghost Ship,” and one untitled poem. Rory’s poems reflect a dark realism and the scars she carries. Her words are reflective of her favorite poet, Edgar Allan Poe. 
 
Linda Christensen http://senioradventureswithlindakay.blogspot.com had to leave early, but those of us who came to TWiG this week got to hear her story, “Sign Me Up!” Linda plans to submit this piece to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back. I hope they buy it! Linda has a generous spirit and we are fortunate to have her in our community. And don’t miss Linda’s book signing at her home, 317 Heritage Hills Drive, on Sunday, 02-15-15, from 3-5. Linda will be selling and signing her new book, Sophie Writes a Love Story. See you there!
 
Anna Mendeke wrote a lovely memoir she called “Hermit Crab.” As a child, Anna traveled to the beach with her family. The children collected hermit crabs who her father explained “have no shell of their own. They find an empty shell to live in and when they out-grow it they find another one.” Then she reflected on how many times in her adult life she has had to “give up my old shell just like the hermit crab and move on to another and make it my home.” What a beautiful analogy, Anna. With some expansion, I believe this piece could be sold to a magazine or an anthology.
 
On her blog, Valerie Gaumont gives herself a sentence starter every day, then writes freestyle for a timed period. She has begun posting her daily writing exercises to her blog https://valeriegaumont.wordpress.com and sometimes, she expands her writings into a short story or a novel. At our meeting, Valerie brought Chapter 1 of what will most likely be a novel that was inspired by one of her starter sentences. Dave is part of The Corporation. His girlfriend, Lilly, is involved in The Change movement. The old man in the wheelchair was a soldier in The Fuel Wars and a Marine. He looked harmless. But he isn’t. “He is dangerous. Never forget.”
 
Sheila Kale www.sheilaspeakshope.com was with us, but didn’t have any writing to share. Sheila was speaking in Corpus Christi last week. I wish we had time to hear one of her speeches, but they are too long to bring to WOW. Sheila will be teaching a community ed course, “The Power of Creative Ideas,” along with Robert Deming, on Feb. 17 and Feb. 24th. Find more information about the class, see: http://fisd.org/commed/FISD%20Community%20Ed%20Flyers/SPRING%202015%20BROCHURE.pdf , on page 3.
 
Sally Clark http://sallyclark.info showed copies of Back to Joy: Little Reminders to Help Us through Tough Times and TOASTS: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion. She has one poem in Back to Joy and 19 in TOASTS. She also brought copies of her board book, Where’s My Hug? to sell, as well as copies of the gift book, TOASTS. Thank you to everyone who bought one!! If you need more, just let me know. I have some at the house. I also brought a new board book I am working on called Somebody Bought You a Ticket! This is a shortened version of a picture book I wrote years ago and tried to sell, but was not successful. I can’t decide which version to submit to Ideals, the picture book or the board book.  
 
Ann Shafer brought her picture book, Corre Power Monkey!, an exciting story of a young boy, Pedro, who serves as a powder monkey on the Republic of Texas navy schooner, Invincible. During battle, Pedro must run up and down ladders, into the dark hold of the ship, to carry powder cartridges to the canons on deck. Hard, heavy and dangerous work, Pedro is proud of his part in the fight for Texas independence. Ann and her writing partner, Michelle Gonzales, are actively seeking a publisher for this book.
 
Liz Brookshire brought a wonderful poem, “Agarita Wine #2,” a poignant memoir written in tribute to her father who made agarita-berry wine. After his death, the family found jugs of the wine left in the tank house and it was still good to drink. “A sacred, sweet communion...stirred in memory...one last gift from a father...I’ll never forget.” I think this poem could definitely be published in a wine journal or anthology.
 
Barbara Loyd http://colorfilled.blogspot.com brought her story, “Playing Santa Claus” for us to hear. What a fun story! I can imagine her husband, Paul, dressed like Santa Claus, driving his red pickup through traffic, and asking people what they want for Christmas! I hope Barbara will submit this story to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas! I think it would be a great fit.
 
Betty Murphy didn’t make our January meeting because she and her husband were on a “sandhill crane adventure in West Texas,” so I told her she needed to write something about her journey for us and she did: “Crane Trekking Across Texas and Beyond.” Five years ago, Betty noticed a flock of large, gray cranes in her neighborhood of Willow City, Texas. Her interest was peaked, and she and her husband began traveling the state to observe the beautiful birds. I’ve seen several of them around the county and I always have to stop and admire them. They look so tropical here in our rocky hills.
 
We welcomed a new member: Judith Rost. Judith lives on Frederick Road. She and her husband are winter Texans, but she would like to move here permanently from their home in Minnesota. Judith read us half of the preface to a novel she has written called Murder in the High Rise. We were on the edge of our seats with this suspense novel and everyone who came to TWiG the next day got to hear the rest of the preface! Too bad if you missed out – you’ll have to come to TWiG to hear more of Judith’s great book.
 
Vici Wray met Judith at church and invited to her WOW, but I was distressed that we ran out of time for Vici to read what she had brought to share with us. I am so, so sorry, Vici. Please forgive us. I promise you will get to read first next month!!
 
It was a large meeting with a lot of things to talk about and discuss. We all enjoy seeing each other so much! But, we are determined to be better organized and not ever ever again run out of time for everyone to read! If our group is going to grow, and we hope that it will, we have got to be better managers of our time. So look for some changes next month – I’ll send you an email and remind you all.
 
News from other WOWs –
 
We have a lovely new woman at TWiG, Connie Smith, who lives in Mountain Home where her husband is a pastor. Connie probably won’t come to WOW because it is so far for her to drive at night, but she hopes to come some Tuesdays to TWiG. Connie also wants to establish a day-time writers group in Kerrville.
 
Dena Dyer’s http://www.denadyer.com agent has pitched a new picture books to several publishers and Dena writes that: the gift/children's editor at HarperCollins (ThomasNelson/Zonderkidz) really likes the book and is taking it to committee.” We’ll keep our fingers crossed they buy it, Dena!
 
Karen Vanek http://karenvanek.wordpress.com was in Arizona so she couldn’t come to the meeting.
 
I called Linda Colie four times on Monday afternoon, to offer to pick her up for WOW, but there was no answer and her answering machine did not pick up. I hope she is OK. Sheila and Lynn say she is still coming to church.
 
Liz Eberle http://myprayingchairs.blogspot.com has made some wonderful posts to her blog recently. Her most recent is “Looking at Dirty Dishes in a New Way.”
 
Lynn Harris comes to TWiG regularly. She wasn’t able to make the meeting on Monday night.
 
I didn’t hear anything from Mary Eckert, but she has been posting to her blog: https://blessingsfortheday.wordpress.com
 
Megan Willome http://meganwillome.com has been coming to TWiG, too, as well a new member, Pamela Bramlett. I hope Pamela can make it to the next WOW meeting so everyone can meet her. She is a Sassy Cowgirl!
 
I had a nice email from Sheri Pattillo www.sheripattillo.com that she hope to return to our TWiG meetings soon. We miss her!! Sheri posts to her blog about once a month.
 
Our next month’s birthdays are: Liz Eberle on February 25,
                                                   Barbara Loyd on March 6, and
                                                   Cindy Harper on March 15.
 

Valentines love to you all,
 
Sally
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