The July, 2011 meeting of the Hill Country Women of Words met at Liz Eberle’s house for their 10th birthday celebration. This was an emotional meeting, for more reasons than one. It was so good to relax in the warmth of Liz’s hospitality. Thank you, Liz, for opening up your home to us once again. It was just like old times! 

Sally Clark brought an article written by Steven James and published online by Writer’s Digest called “Secrets to Great Storytelling.” Liz, Kathleen Maxwell, Barbara Loyd, and I heard Mr. James speak in San Antonio in June and were very impressed. His #1 writing secret is: cause and effect are king. By that he means “everything in a story must be caused by the action or event that precedes it.” He gives simple sentence examples that make this principal very clear. You can read the article online at http://www.writersdigest.com/article/3-secrets-to-great-storytelling. It will give you a valuable tool to improve your writing.

 

After reading Steven’s article, we did a writing exercise, “Wishful Thinking,” from Room to Write, page 23. I thought this would tie in nicely with making birthday wishes but it did bring out some tearful reflections. Everybody wrote and enjoyed reading. This seems to be a great exercise for us to do at each meeting.

 

Surprise! Bobbi Grimmer came to the meeting! Bobbi visited our group years ago. She is the school nurse at Fredericksburg Elementary and a talented poet and writer. She brought us a poem she wrote in 2007 called “Souldiers.” I loved this poem! I bet we could find a publishing home for it, Bobbi, if you want to. Please come back and bring us more of your work. And please come back to TWiG on Tuesdays. We want to hear more of your stories and your words!

 

Sheila Barnett drove over from Johnson City to read us some more of her parent’s wonderful letters. In this installment, Curly is in France and doesn’t hear from Wanza for four months. He is moved around so much and hospitalized twice (once with appendicitis) that the mail can’t keep up with him. All the while, Wanza is getting his letters and is worried. Even in the worst situations, Wanza and Curly have a warm, loving sense of humor about their separation. Thank you, Sheila, for bringing them (the letters and your parents) to us.

 

Kathleen Maxwell came in from Kerrville to bring us her latest article for the Kerrville Daily Times, “Living in Uncertainty.” We continue to be amazed that the Kerrville newspaper has a Faith section and is willing to publish Christian articles. Kathleen contributes to this daily paper every other week. She has had some amazing opportunities to witness through her articles to the people who read them and then write to her, some quite challenging, but she’s handled them beautifully. Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing them with us!

 

Linda Colie didn’t bring anything to read and she knew I would complain about not having any more of her Diabolical Shampoo story ready to read, so…she wrote a poem while we were all reading called “My Excuses.” Linda, you always surprise us in the best ways. We laughed and laughed. Thank you!

 

Cindy Harper brought us an essay/journal entry/devotional entitled “The Holy Spirit – Extreme Makeovers since 33 A.D.” This piece was so honest and moving…I loved it! Cindy talked openly about the makeover the Holy Spirit has done in her life. To quote her work, “Somehow, somewhere, I crossed an invisible line, and became a child of favor. “ What a beautiful journey, Cindy. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.  And Cindy had more good news – in January, she began working with Mary Roach on Mary’s biography. They progressed about half way, then Mary got cold feet and wanted to stop working on the book. Recently, while she was on vacation, Mary called Cindy to report that she had shared what they had written so far with a copy editor and a writers group in CO and was so encouraged by their comments, she wants to start back working on the book as soon as she gets back home. Yeah, Cindy!!! Cindy has also signed up to read her poem from the 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar at The Twig Bookstore in SA and at the Georgetown Poetry Festival. Please keep me posted, Cindy, as to the dates. Congratulations!

 

Megan Willome has been coming to our Tuesday Writers inspiration Group. We’ve been working our way through the book, Talking Back to Poems and Megan brought us five of her “talking back” poems. They were wonderful! The book gives us poems and asks us to respond in kind, writing a poem in the same flavor and style. We don’t write for each of the poems, just the ones that “speak” to us. We love your poems, Franken-woman, and we love you, too!

 

Lorraine McVey drove in all the way from Medina and she didn’t even have anything to read. She came for the inspiration, fellowship, and celebration. Thank you, Lorraine, for all your listening and your comments. We need you!

 

Liz Eberle brought the neatest thing to our 10 year birthday party – the original letter she wrote on July 9th, 2001, to start our little group. It went out to DeAnna Brooks, Sally Clark, Evelyn Farmer, Kathy Herzog, Sheila Kale, Doreen Brodsgard, Doris Williams, and Alice Young and the date of our very first meeting was July 19th, 2001. How amazing is that? In those days, we called ourselves Liz’s Writing Group and the first assignment she gave us was to write about Friendship – “a poem, an essay, a memory, a personal experience, a devotional, a picture from Scripture, a fictional short story, the first chapter of an epic novel, a journal entry, or a letter to your best friend or even your long-deceased grandmother.” Is there any way we can thank Liz for her generosity, hospitality, encouragement and love over these past 10 years? Thank you, thank you, thank you, Liz!!! You deserve everything good!!

 

Sally Clark brought a piece she plans to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life! called “A Handy Man to Have Around.” They want humorous stories of married life and I had a story about how handy my husband is around the house and how grateful I am for it. Mike has saved us some serious money over the years. Thanks to everybody for your help on this story. I also brought two poems, “Memories,” and “Weather Report.” Everybody seemed to like them. Thank you all for your encouragement and appreciation!

 

Sheila Kale is beginning to put her life back together since the closing of her bookstore, The Closer Walk. She brought us a story she plans to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power called “Ping-Pong Thoughts” about when her first husband, Tommy, died. Her children were just entering their teens and losing him was overwhelming. Sheila found a way to cope, though, by sharing her life and her sorrow with others who loved her and by finding something she loved to do – acting. I didn’t know this about Sheila. She is full of surprises! Thank you, Sheila. Chicken Soup should certainly buy this story!

 

News from our other WOW sisters:

 

Aimee Martin has a new job with Cameron Brooks which will be full time and require a little bit of travel but not too much. She is very excited. Her kids are now enrolled at Heritage School. She regrets that she never gets to come to our meeetings but enjoys keeping up with us through the emails.

 

Alice Kolb emailed: Unfortunately, I'll miss our meeting. George's cousins are coming today, to stay for three days. Whew!

 

Barbara Loyd googled herself and found a few more obscure things to put into her credits list.  Barbara came to TWiG while she was here from Tulsa. I can’t wait for her to move back home!

 

Dorothy Leyendecker was so very sweet to remember Liz and me and sent each of a Florida Writers Foundation book bag. What a nice surprise! I hope Dorothy can move back to Texas someday soon.

 

Katy Jones writes: My life is rather complicated right now. My Dad is dying from lung cancer at home (hospice is wonderful) and my Mom needs my help. I'm just thankful I live here (in Kerrville) to help them, since my two sisters live in Cedar Park and Killeen and both work full-time.  I wish I could be there to help celebrate!  Please tell everybody I miss them and I think of them often with great fondness!!!!!  I am writing fast and furious. This fantasy novel is my grief therapy, and I'm almost finished with chapter 42. Please pray for Katy’s family as they travel through this difficult journey. I can’t wait to read her new book!

 

Liz Brookshire says: Alas and alak, I will be on my way to baby sit my grandchildren in Tomball.  I hate to miss again but it will just make the next time that much sweeter.  Have a wonderful time! Liz has been coming to TWiG when she is in town.

 

Mary Eckert emailed: I am soooo sorry that I can not make it toight. My 7 year old grandson, whom I haven't seen since Christmas, is here for the week. Blessings to each and everyone of you and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 10 years?! Wow!

 

Mary Hartmann in Medina, NY, sends her regrets: Once again I need to decline your invitation.   As usual I'm on a hush hush assignment. (she’s teasing!) Give the girls a hug.  Perhaps next time the 'hush hush' people will have mercy and allow me the time off I deserve. (she’s teasing again!)

 

Pam Perrin has been coming to TWiG, when she can make it, and working through our book with us, so we “twiggies” are lucky enough to get to hear her poems there.

 

Our upcoming birthdays are Katy Jones, July 20th and Sheila Kale, August 10th.

   

Don’t forget – you can keep up with submission deadlines at www.christwriters.info/deadlines.php

 

Until then, whatever happens and whatever it is, write about it! Love, Sally

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