The January meeting of the Hill Country Women of Words certainly got us off to a good start! We had a great meeting and welcomed a new member.  

Valerie Gaumont started us off with a writing exercise: “Don’t let this fall into your old friends hands...” What would you write about? What would “this” be in your story? In ours, it was a map, money, a package, a vase, an empty cigar box, a bottle, and time. We were very imaginative! 


Our new member is Karen Vanek, a friend of Alice Kolb’s. Alice invited Karen to WOW and even though Alice couldn’t make the meeting this month (she had a good excuse), Karen came. What a wonderful writer she is! Karen is a field supervisor for a company that trains teachers online. She also writes for children and has a blog about writing at Take a look; it’s a great blog! Karen and her daughter, Sharon Vanek Schmidt, have written and published a picture book called Santa Clause Meets the Tooth Fairy that looks delightful! Thank you for joining us, Karen. We look forward to reading your words and getting to know you better.


Sally Clark had one poem to share, “One Screw Loose.” I also had five journals to show the group. Each one featured one of my poems. Little Red Tree Poetry Anthology 2012 has my poem, “Diamondback” and one of Sheri Pattillo’s, “An American in Spain.” Chrysalis Reader: Patterns  features my poem, “Neighborhood Dogs.” Sad to say this is their final issue. The Binnacle Ninth Annual Ultra-Short Edition 2012 published my poem, “Fresh Baked Bread” and even furnished a small box of poems printed on business-card size cards. I’ve never seen that before. Weavings: Resilience issue published my poem, “Civil Servants,” which I wrote especially for that issue. Our Tulsa, OK, member Barbara Loyd actually saw this issue in the narthex of her church, picked it up and was surprised to find my poem there. How fun! Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature published three of my poems, “Shooting Craps,” “The Widow’s Mite,” and “Prayer in Public Schools.” I am honored to be featured in such fine publications!


Lynn Harris brought us a wonderful story that I think will be a book someday. Lynn borrowed Valerie’s collection of story starters and found this one: “She was so deeply absorbed in her own thoughts...” to inspire her historical Christian fiction piece where characters Anna and Marshall and Becky travel west on a wagon train. Wonderful, Lynn! We loved her story and want more! Thank you!


Linda Colie didn’t bring anything to share but she did write a wonderful story from the prompt that Valerie gave us about a mystery package, then she refused to tell us what was in it! Linda has a new home health care worker that I got to meet – Karen Goodwin – and she is working to get Linda’s apartment clean and in top shape! She will be a real blessing to Linda.  


Liz Brookshire has a new presentation in the history program series she does for the assisted living centers about Ft. Martin Scott. It was fascinating to learn what an economic boon Ft. Martin Scott was to Fredericksburg but also all the problems it brought along with it. A real mixed blessing, I’d say. Then Liz told us about the other fort in Gillespie CountyFt. Mason. I had no idea so many famous, well known Civil War officers were stationed at Ft. Mason during their careers. Liz could only give us part of her talk because of time constraints but I wish I could hear all of it.


Vici Wray brought us the cutest thing – commercials for her plays! One was “Charlie’s Song,” done to the tune of The Eyes of Texas (if I’m not mistaken), and the second one was for Wildroot Cream Oil. The third commercial was for Tip Top Toupee Paste. We laughed and laughed, even though some of us are not old enough to remember radio commercials. Thank you, Vici!


Sheri Pattillo brought us three poems: “Texas River Rising,” where Sheri wrote “minding the mizzle and slippery terrain of limestone and love,” “You Are a Pistachio,” a mystery about how pistachios can be opened with a kiss, and “Undercover Mom,” one of those awkward moments mothers sometimes witness between their son and his tender first girlfriend. We always love Sheri’s poems and these were wonderful. Thank you, Sheri.


Valerie Gaumont brought us Chapter One from a new book she is writing: Miss Crissy’s Cooking School for Young Ladies. Valerie started this book from a writing prompt Maggie Goodman gave the Johnson City Writers Group one Tuesday morning. (I love going to this group!) Her mother calls her Crissy but Christine loathes moving back into her parents house after the restaurant closed where she was the chef. What torments will Christine have to endure from her well-meaning but misguided parents? We can’t wait to see! Bring us more, Valerie!


Now here is the news from WOWs who were unable to attend this month’s meeting:


Alice Kolb writes: Since my grandson's open heart surgery the 1st week of Dec. I have been in a whirlwind. Thankfully, God has strengthened him and he is doing well. Babysitting and helping my daughter for two weeks in OKC threw my Fbg. life into confusion and "behindness" and I'm still trying to get on top of the stack. I've committed to teaching some this spring which means sewing time-intensive samples (slow!!) and pushing deadlines. And Thursday (01-17-13) all (11 people) of G's kids/grandkids come here for 4 days. (I have considered running away -ha!). I told you Alice had a good excuse! 


Barbara Loyd is still writing her wonderful blog: If you love art or color or just wish you knew more about either one, check it out. I learn something new every time I read it.


Check out Dena Dyer’s blog, too: Dena was collecting stories about God’s provision to be featured in her new book: Wounded Women of the Bible. I don’t know if she has enough or not but if you have a story, email her at and ask.


Ginny Bain writes: You probably think I've fallen off the earth, but I have just been very busy with home renovations. I have come to the conclusion that I lack a passion for writing and I have decided not to try to force it.  Perhaps it will return some day and if it does, I will make my way back. I will miss the fellowship. I wish Ginny would come anyway, even without her writings. I will miss her!!


Kathleen Maxwell, a Kerrville member, had a fire in her home! Her blog is . We pray for Kathleen’s comfort as she watches her dad struggle through the final stages of his life. It’s so hard to lose a daddy. God’s mercy on you, Kathleen.


Laura Lightner, a former Kerrville member, writes: I have moved to Austin, and now I am on hospice care, my breast cancer spread to the lungs. However, I am working with Gerson Institute, and having good results. Please give the message to all you dear ones that I will be praying hard for everyone, Jesus is a great healer, we must have faith. I am thankful for masks and hand sanitizer though, lol, at this time of year, and pray that you will remember that if you go to the hospital! God bless you all dear ones! Laura was the Hospice chaplain in Kerrville before she became ill. God’s mercy on you, too, Laura.


Liz Eberle continues with her daily infusion treatments at the hospital with the help of her Visiting Angel caregiver. Liz is improving, slowly, and working hard to get her strength back. Her daughter, Melinda, is back at home and that has lifted her spirits greatly.


You may remember Mary Hartmann from Medina, New York, a friend of Liz Eberle's who was with our group for a short time. Mary writes: Our five-year old (granddaughter) Molly who has SMA is in her 9th week of flu. My friend, Theresa, is in her 6th week of radiation.  My childhood friend, Shirley, was sent to the hospital with pneumonia after landing in California.  She was to visit her daughter.  My son, Dan and his daughter, Cassie are down with the flu.  Our hospitals are so full that the sick are placed in tents outside the hospital.  My goodness what in the world is going on? In Church they stopped greeting people with handshakes and the wine goblet, representing the blood of Christ, is on temporary hold until the flu has subsided. We have lost 200 children to one or two flu viruses. WOW! And we thought the flu was bad around here – nothing nearly as bad as this. God bless you, Mary!


Pam Perrin sends her regrets. Her daughter Sache had a cheer training class. Pam has been coming to TWiG.


We are going to miss Sheila Barnette for the next two years but I hope we get to see her on February 23 at the Johnson City Writers Event.


Our deepest sympathies to Sheila Kale on her mother’s passing. Her funeral was Wednesday.


We have one January birthday – Megan Willome on Jan. 29th


Until then, enjoy this gorgeous January weather. 2013 is beginning to feel like a very different sort of year.


Love, Sally

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