The March 2014, meeting of the Hill Country Women of Words was such fun! We had so much to share, so much excitement, and one big surprise!
 
We did a writing exercise, thanks to Valerie Gaumont, of “I opened the car door on my side quietly and stepped out.” The sentence sounded ominous and it seemed we all (except Vici, thank goodness) took it in a serious direction. Sometimes it was the beginning of our stories, sometimes it was the ending. It’s so fun to hear how many ways we all go from the same starting point.
 
Bobbi Grimmer was the first to read because she has been chosen to be part of the cast for the FTC performance of Les Miserables and she had to make a 7:00 rehearsal meeting. Congratulations, Bobbi! We’ll look forward to the production this summer. Bobbi read the second story in her 70s trilogy called “Wandering.” Bobbi’s story is painful to hear, but beautifully honest about her relationship with Christ and we are so honored that she trusts us with her words. Bobbi will read her third story to us in April.
 
Valerie Gaumont was one of the featured speakers at the 7th Annual Johnson City Writers Conference last month. She did a great job and brought us handouts from the marketing workshop she did. Also, as a result of connections Valerie made at the conference, she has been asked to submit a proposal to speak at the Houston Writers Guild Annual Conference this year? next year? I’m not sure. Anyway, I was there and she did a very good job! Valerie brought us a continuation of her novel, a dark, paranormal romance called The Farm, Chapter One. The relationship between Ivy, a fire magic user, and Russell, a wolf shape-shifter, is beginning to blossom right under the noses of the Shadow Council. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Come to the April meeting and hear more!
 
Liz Eberle was with us briefly. Liz came to hear Sally Clark and Sheila Kale do what I called a “dramatic monologue” (the surprise that I hinted at in my email) which was actually a re-enactment of emails (and the dates they were sent) between me and an editor with CandyCane Press, a division of Ideals Publications, which is a subsidiary of Guideposts. I am very pleased to announce that CandyCane wants to buy my lift-the-flap board book, Where’s My Hug?, which I wrote in the fall of 2008. The book has just been added to their Spring 2015 list!!! You can check out their web site here: http://www.idealsbooks.com/
 
It’s a long, fun story. I first submitted this book in July of 2011 and we are just now talking contracts and actual financial numbers. As you all know, nothing happens fast in publishing! Patience and perseverance are crucial! I am very proud of this development as there is much advice in children’s publishing not to even attempt this genre – you will never be able to sell it in a traditional market, etc. – but now I can tell you – it is possible! I will keep all of you posted of further developments.
 
Barbara Loyd also attended the Johnson City Writers Conference. She brought us a beautiful poem, “Awake in the Dark and in the Light,” which we enjoyed. We suggested she try writing it as a prose poem instead of in a traditional poetry form. She did and emailed me the new version. It really is better this way, I believe. Good job, Barbara! Barbara also handed out a picture postcard to each of us of a sculpture called “Wrappings” by artists Debra Fritts. Barbara asked that we each take it home and write something, a poem, a story, whatever we are inspired to write by this beautiful piece, and bring it to the April meeting. We have homework!
 
Lynn Harris was in the hospital emergency room on Sunday with a blood clot in her leg, but she was at WOW on Monday night. We are so blessed. Lynn loves her new job because it gives her the opportunity to write on her lunch break and boy, is she writing – pages and pages. It’s wonderful! Lynn continued her story about Emilio and his new job working as a veterinarian’s assistant. In this installment, Emilio is stunned by his employers offer to add additional rooms onto the modest house he is furnishing for Emilio to accommodate Emilio’s family. Such a tender story. Lynn said she will read more at the April meeting.
 
Vici Wray brought something fun (doesn’t she always?) – a Horse Code. Have you ever done that? It is one of the activities in her Camp Grandma book. I can’t even duplicate the symbols or I would write something in code here, but kids 10-13 will love the adventure of clues written in code and a treasure hunt. Thank you, Vici! My grandkids are going to love this!
 
We were so happy to welcome a new member, we hope, in Betty Murphy. Betty lives in Willow City and was invited to join us by Sheila Kale. Betty has written a wonderful, heart-touching essay about her father’s suicide when she was only six years old and the impact it has had on her entire life. Betty is an advocate for the support of children affected by suicide and the negative stigma that sometimes comes with it. Children are seldom mature enough to articulate their feelings about something as painful as this and this ministry is much needed. Please come back, Betty, and bring us more of your words.
 
Sheila Kale did not bring anything to read to us, but she was invaluable in helping me with my presentation. Also, Sheila had a wonderful experience recently – on March 8th, she spoke at the North American Lutheran Church Conference that was held at Holy Ghost Lutheran church. Her topic was the fruits of the Spirit, with a new perspective. Have you ever noticed that in Galatians 5:22-23, the word “fruit” is singular, not plural? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (NIV) Sheila’s talk was focused on that word, fruit, not fruits, and the belief that God brings forth the appropriate strength (joy, peace, goodness, etc.) when we need it. It is not something we need to work to manufacture or create; we can trust the Holy Spirit to manifest what we need when we need it. Isn’t that a wonderful concept? The members of the NALC thought so – they gave her a standing ovation!! Isn’t that wonderful? I am so impressed and so were they. Congratulations, Sheila! I know she was very encouraged by their response.
 
News from members who were not able to attend the meeting –
 
Alice Kolb emailed: “I am determined to get reconnected to all of you, but shucks, tonight I have my kids and grandkids from Oklahoma. They are only here one night. Hope you share your surprise!”  Alice came to the JC Writers Event. I hope she can get to one of our meetings soon.
 
Karen Vanek said: “I'm sorry but I won't make it as I will have my three precious grandbabies in town beginning on Monday. Ya'll enjoy.” We can’t compete with grandkids!
 
Linda Colie was not at this month’s meeting. I think this is only the second meeting that Linda has missed in thirteen years. She called me to say she had a terrible migraine headache and just couldn’t make it. Say a prayer for Linda, please, that God will have mercy and improve her health in any way that He will.
 
Megan Willome and Pam Perrin have been coming on Tuesdays to TWiG.
 
Sylvia Rogers emailed: “I have messed up and double booked myself tonight. I will not be able to attend. I will set a better alarm/reminder on my phone calendar for April 21st. and plan to come. I am terribly sorry.” We look forward to seeing Sylvia again soon.
 
We have one birthday before our next meeting (that I know of) and that is Betty Mucha on April 7th.
 
Remember you can always check http://christwriter.info/deadlines for a list of current submission deadlines.
 
 
Spring is here. Enjoy it all you can because Summer is right around the corner!
 
Love, Sally

 

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