Cisco Writers Club
Cisco Writers Club  

Forty-eight years of

helping writers where they are

Follow CWC on KATX 97.7's Good Morning, Texas! with talk show host Michael Cockburn. Mark your calendars for 8:30 AM on the first Thursday of each month. Listen on radio, online at, or with Tune-In app on your smart phone.

Meet June's Presenter

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers' Favorite Christian Historical Author in 2023 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she's on deadline.

Where do you fit in?

     When it comes to that important core part of you -- your writing -- you'll find you fit right in at the Cisco Writers Club.

     We are friendly, energetic writers determined to improve and achieve. Our monthly meetings, knowledgeable speakers, newsletters, workshops, contests, and other features are great, but our greatest strength is our members. We believe you'll feel right at home immediately.


 Looking Ahead: Winning Readers with Humor

    Bestselling author Karen Witemeyer’s books feature feisty heroines, swoony Texas heroes, and action-packed adventure with a generous dash of humor. Her newest novel, Fairest of Heart, will be released June 6, 2023.

    Witemeyer’s favorite way to incorporate humor is through narrative voice. If the character's narrative is written from the point of view of someone who has a humorous voice (self-deprecating, sarcastic, naively clueless), that adds a lot of humor without the need for gimmicks or gags. Another favorite method of hers is to use secondary characters to add humorous banter. Children, quirky elderly characters, a teasing best friend, all of these can liven a scene and leave the reader grinning.

    For a more in-depth look at how to infuse your writing with humor, join the Cisco Writers Club at our next meeting, June 1, 2023, at 7 p.m. at the Conrad Hilton Center, 309 Conrad Hilton Blvd, Cisco TX. Witemeyer will speak on Winning Readers with Humor. All are welcome from beginner storyteller to seasoned expert!

Key On This! 47th Annual Contest Underway

    Cisco Writers Club's 47th Annual Summer Contest is now accepting entries, with $1,500 and bragging rights up for grabs.

    The contest is open June 1 to July 31 at midnight. Awards will be announced Thursday, September 7, 2023, at the Myrtle Wilks Community Center in Cisco.

     There are six categories, including one for young writers under sixteen. Submit poems, stories, books, etc., using the link on our Contest page. Look for the orange "Click Here to Submit" button below the rules.

    Speaking of rules, read them carefully before entering. Your manuscript must follow specifications.

    In addition to online submission, entries can be mailed, emailed, or hand delivered. Fees are an extremely reasonable $5 each.
    Contact us with any questions.

Poetry for Those Who Are Scared of Poetry

    Two Cisco Writers Club poets are hosting our poetry class in April.
PRISCILLA BETTIS is an Amazon best-selling horror author. Her works include The Hay Bale, Dog Meat, and Vampire of the Midnight Sun. Her short stories and poetry are published in various anthologies and literary magazines. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members. She is an excellent swimmer, which is good, because vampires are terrible swimmers.  
    SHANN TAJIAH is an award-winning poet, photographer, and author of Scraps of Love: Poetry from the Darkest Night 1997-2010 and the Biblical fantasy, The Shaloma. A Minnesota-grown Texan, Shann began her writing journey at eight. By age thirteen she was submitting for publication. She is currently hard at work on the second installment of the East of Eeden duology. She is also one half of the spectacular writing duo, T.L. Gabriel, where she writes about worlds beyond the stars. Her passion for writing and authors has led her to establish her publishing imprint, Ithirial Rising Press, and she is currently studying to be a certified book and writing coach.
    When Shann isn’t lost in the world of words, she can be found working as an Activity Director in Long-term Care, daydreaming in her hammock, or caring for her furred and feathered menagerie.

National Poetry Month

    Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. 

CWC Celebrates Kelton, Anniversary

     Despite dramatic area storms in late afternoon, Cisco Writers Club celebrated its 48th anniversary as planned with an informal table reading on March 2, 2023.
    Twenty-four readers, including 13-year-old Mickell York and 80-year-old Dave Carney, assembled to read a screenplay of Elmer Kelton's classic western, The Time It Never Rained. The script was written by J. Brian Elliott and Lorie A. Woodward. Lorie was on hand to introduce this award-winning novel, its history, its adaptation for the screen, and then to join the readers as narrator.
    Alicia Gibson, friend and former neighbor of Elmer Kelton, was also present. Alicia holds the film rights for this book. She is determined to be a good steward of what Kelton felt was his best work.
    Another special guest for the evening was Texan and movie producer Dallas Sonnier now of Nashville. He shared words of encouragement for the young actors and emphasized the importance of this story by one of Texas' greatest authors.
    CWC thanks Cisco College's Director of Performing Arts, Zack Frizzell, and his students from the College's Crawford Theatre for making this event flow. Zack's wife Jodi, Professor of Art at Cisco College, also joined the readers, demonstrating considerable dramatic flair.
Thanksgiving, plus Write YOUR Life Story
     Cisco Writers Club met for an early Thanksgiving celebration Thursday, November 3, at 6:30 p.m., in the fellowship hall of the Assembly of Yahweh, 109 County Road 280, Rising Star TX. 
     After the meal CWC member Carol Gordon of Eastland shared her game plan to "Write YOUR Life Story." A big part of that was putting in "whatever my Father told me" to include. Another was making notes as the Father reminded her of special memories to include.
     Carol has just released A LIFE ON THE GLORY PATH, an autobiography of her and her late husband, Louis. That made us all the more excited to see the book and hear her process.
Your Most Beloved Authors
by Marjorie Moffitt
     On Thursday, October 6, 2022, those of us in the Cisco Writers Club met to share our passions about learning to write to meet the needs of others. Ruth York could not be with us that night, so each one of us shared with the group the kinds of books we enjoy reading, and why they have become so important to us.
     It was interesting to listen to each one share how and why they became challenged to invest their time promoting their field of writing. The more that each one spoke, the more I wanted to run to the library to check out the books that brought such joy into their lives. Then, I realized, “Hey, no writer thinks alike.” As much as I love to read about the adventures of the Sackett boys in Louis Lamour’s books, there is no way I could capture an audience as he did in his books. For one thing, I haven’t traveled the world, or worked in different fields as he did. He shared his family – the good and bad of them. God used him to be a blessing to millions of people who needed to share his memories, and his lifestyle.
     Just as He used Louis Lamour, He will use YOU to share YOUR life, YOUR experiences whether your love is history, science, education, humor, military, outer space, building, forestry, acting, movies, poetry, children’s stories, OH, MY! Too many fields to think about, but if you will allow God to use YOU to be a blessing to the world around you, God will give you the ability to share what’s on your mind with others. Just don’t be negative! Don’t doubt that you could write an article, a story in a magazine, or even put your dreams into action.God is waiting for you to ask for His help so that people around you can escape into a life that helps them to relax and enjoy the stories you share.

     If you would like some ideas to help you begin, just join us each first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. usually at the Hilton Center in Cisco. We’ll be waiting to meet you with a warm handshake, and a big smile. As we say in Texas, “COME ON IN HERE, AND LET US WELCOME YOU WITH A GOOD OLE TEXAS HANDSHAKE!”

     See ythen!!   

Thanks to all who joined us Thursday, September 1, 2022, in the Myrtle Wilks Community Center
Big Dam Room as we presented awards, celebrated writers and judges, and recognized our underwriters for their generous support of Cisco Writers Club's 46th Annual Summer Contest. Light refreshments were served as guests and members mingled after the awards.
     Winners are posted on the Contest page.

Planning for NaNoWriMo

by Ruth York
     On August 4, 2022, Cisco Writers Club member Helen Cozart brought us information about National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, that has happened every November since 1999. It's an international program to help writers finish in one month the draft of a novel or other manuscript of 50,000 words.
     Writers sign up beforehand and set daily writing goals. Each day they log in to record their word count. Reaching that goal at month's end earns them a certificate from NaNoWriMo plus a great sense of accomplishment. 
     New CWC member Priscilla Bettis (above) of Carbon told us she has achieved that goal five times!
     The writing happens in November, but ideally you've done a lot of preparation before that. The organization's website,, has many tools to use throughout the year so you're poised and ready to go on November first. It also offers ways to connect with other writers undertaking this challenge.
     Helen passed out a booklet called "NaNo Prep 101: A six-week workshop and resource guide for writers" with segments on developing your story idea; creating complex, believable characters; plot; building a strong world for your characters; organizing your life to accommodate this adventure; and finding and managing time.
     Helen handed out a character development exercise found in "NaNo Prep 101." It focused on a secondary character, the protagonist's best friend. Questions ranged from "What's the worst thing that ever happened to him?" to "What's something he is insecure about?" CWC members worked through the thought-provoking list, then shared their answers with the group.
     Under Helen's guidance as librarian, Ranger College will host a NaNoWriMo event at the Golemon Library on November 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. You're invited to join others for an evening of intense writing.
     Did you miss Helen's presentation but are curious to learn more?
has all the answers.

Dr. Duane Hale Gives Local History Talk 

    One of the preeminent historians in the state, CWC member Dr. Hale spoke to an attentive crowd July 7, 2022, on "Local Historical Topics That Should Be Remembered."

     Born and reared near Cisco, Dr. Hale has long had a deep interest in the tales told by his elders.

     Researcher, writer, lecturer and teacher, Dr. Hale is a noted authority on American Indian history. He has taught math and history in several states and Canada. For the last 29 years Dr. Hale taught American and Texas history at Cisco College, retiring just this May.
     In 2000 Dr. Hale started the Lela Latch Lloyd Memorial Museum in Cisco, focused on preserving local history.
     Dr. Hale has served multiple terms as President of Cisco Writers Club. He continues as a valued member and Historian of the Club.

Thoughts on Honoring Our Veterans


CWC member Marjorie Moffitt, new to this area, presented our June meeting, looking ahead to Flag Day, June 14, 2022.

     "I don't think we give enough thought to the sacrifices made by our veterans," says Marjorie, "but also to the special burdens born by their famiies. I want to address that."
     Marjorie invited area veterans to join us on this special occasion. Several did, and they and Marjorie shared stories from Eastland County service members.

Picnic With a Side of Music

     Cisco Writers Club held its annual picnic Thursday, May 5, 2022, at the Assembly of Yahweh Fellowship Hall, ten miles south of Cisco. Everyone was invited. There was no charge.
     Songwriting was the evening's topic, with a variety of local songwriters including Ruth Stewart, Chuck and Melissa Henry and Ruth York of Cisco, and Walter Williams of Eastland sharing methods, inspiration and samples of their work. Dr. Duane Hale of Cisco and J. V. Lewis of Eastland added a cappella performances of traditional songs -- Dr. Hales' in Navajo! 
     Songwriting is one of many special forms of writing. It obviously depends on music, not just as a delivery vehicle, but as an integral part of the piece. It's poetic in nature, meaning it demands compact, vivid imagery and emotional impact. 
     Members and guests enjoyed a light supper followed by the stories, the inspiration and the craftsmanship of songwriting. The format was very informal and 'unplugged.'
     CWC members provided salads, sandwiches, sides and desserts to sustain ourselves and our musician friends.
Photo: Michael Henry Martin of Castle Sound, Abilene, surveys original sheet music by Ruth York.

Shann Tajiah: The Importance of an Author Bio


The Cisco Writers Club welcomed author Shann Tajiah on April 7, 2022, to the Hilton Center in Cisco to talk about creating an author bio.

     The author bio is the humble brag and elevator pitch combined. It is also the most uncomfortable bit of writing an author can face.

      But what if it didn’t have to be as difficult as it seems? Shann shared tips and tricks for writing a bio that reflects your unique personality and shares the most important bits about your author journey. Participants came away with a completed bio -- and a voucher for a free headshot!
     Shann Tajiah is an award-winning author and photographer. She is the author of Scraps of Love: Poetry from the Darkest Night, and the fantasy novella, The Shaloma. Her passion for writing and authors has led her to open the publishing imprint, Ithirial Rising Press, and she is currently studying to become a book and writing coach.

     When Shann isn’t writing, you can find her chilling in her hammock, and caring for her furred and feathered menagerie. You can keep up with her at

Local author S. Westley King at Cisco Writers Club
S. Westley King recently had two books picked up by Redemption Press of Enumclaw, Washington. Book 3 in the series is underway. In December he held a book release party to celebrate the publication of Books 1 and 2, UNDER THE SUN and NOTHING KNEW, and now we're excited to see his first in this three-part series climbing to prominence!
Under the Sun is #1 in Teen & Young Adult in Religion and Sprirituality e-Books; #1 in Teen and Young Adult Religious Fiction e-Books; and #1 in Young Adult Coming of Age Fiction e-Books.
Among the 5-star Amazon reviews for UNDER THE SUN are these:
**Loved this book! Loved being on the journey, and loved the wisdom and truth. Can’t wait to continue the next book! -Dayna
**Under the Sun is a wonderfully written modern coming of age story. Redemption is on a journey to find happiness but unknowingly is on the narrow road to about to find Truth… He finds his hope and happiness in the realization of the meaningful, Jesus. Must read! -Hayley
**Written in the spare style of a young Steinbeck, this author carries the reader on this road trip of the soul - of every restless, searching young person. This book is the new "Catcher in the Rye" only it leaves the reader with hope instead of nihilism. -Dianna Thomas
Sean discussed ways to navigate publication, marketing and other details of authorship.

Giving Thanks with Chuckles
by Ruth York


CWC members and friends met on the first Thursday of November for an early Thanksgiving meal. After a feast of smoked chicken, cream potatoes, fancy salad, green beans and carrots, an array of desserts begged for attention -- and got it.


Then came a collection of humorous and political cartoons assembled through the years by member Gloria Kojakanian, compiled into a slideshow. Some were old enough to be obscure; others could have been published yesterday. 

Carol Cook Talled Book Covers at CWC October 7


Cisco Writers Club was delighted to welcome humorist Carol B. Cook of Granbury. We will meet in the lobby of the Hilton Center, 309 Conrad Hilton Blvd., in Cisco. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.


Carol discussed “Putting the Face on Your Story: Book Covers.” Writers intuitively know this is an important choice, and Carol has made that decision as an author repeatedly.


She is the author of six books of humorous short stories and essays and five books of poetry. She is a member of the Authors Guild, the Texas Marketing Guild, and the Poetry Society of Texas.


Writing since her youth, Carol continued as a young mother raising children, working for a living wage, and during the years she traveled across and lived in twenty-nine states and seven countries, continuing her writing on into retirement.


She honed her writing skills in community colleges, night schools, and writing classes for years without, she says, "ever earning a degree in anything."

45th Annual Celebration of Writing Awards 


CWC members and guests gathered Thursday, September 2, at the Myrtle Wilks Community Center for a special evening of celebration as we awarded $1,420 in cash prizes and coveted certificates in our 45th Annual Summer Writing Contest. The winners, judges and other details are available on our Contest page.
Family members and friends were present to celebrate with contestants who were present. 
Manuscripts and judges' comments were available to contestants after the presentations. Refreshments were served.
The annual CWC contest is made possible by amazing businesses and organizations who believe in encouraging and elevating the arts: Cisco Aviation, Cisco College, First Financial Bank of Eastland, Southwest Emblem, Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County, Texas Family Defense Committee, The Grateful Texan, and Wilks Brothers.
Author Showcase and Book Fair
The Cisco Writers Club presented our first Author Showcase and Book Fair on Thursday, August 5, 2021. We were hosted by The Sweet Shop in Cisco.

Local authors gave a 10 minute reading from chosen from their works of any genre, remembering it was a family friendly event.

Members were provided a table at no cost, while nonmembers were charged a $10 fee to participate.

Giveaways and prizes made the evening even more fun and memorable.

Carrie Windham Inspires with Blackout Poetry


CWC member Carrie Windham led a class in blackout poetry Thursday, July 1, 2021, at the Hilton Center in Cisco. Once again extra seating was needed to accommodate members and guests.
What is blackout poetry?
Blackout poetry is super cool and you only need three things to get started: Printed material (an old book/magazine/newspaper) Sharpie marker. Some vivid imagination,” says explains, “Blackout poetry is when a page of text — usually an article from a newspaper — is completely blacked out (colored over with permanent marker so that it is no longer visible) except for a select few words. When only these words are visible, a brand new story is created from the existing text.”
So, are you up to the challenge? Good news: Carrie will be there with suggestions and encouragement.
Carrie Windham's new book is Shades of Me: A Guided Journey to Self-Discovery, Self-Reflection, and Self-Transformation. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist associate working at the Abilene crisis center. 

J. V. Lewis: What We Trust God For      

Cisco Writers Club enjoyed a presentation by CWC member J. V. Lewis Thursday, June 3, as he spoke on "What We Trust God For." The meeting was at the Myrtle Wilks Community Center, 1498 W I 20, Cisco, due to the fact this was an audiovisual presentation.
"Our motto is 'In God We Trust,'" says J. V., "but do we ever ask what can we trust Him for?"  His answer drew on the scriptures as well as a beautifully illustrated book by two of his friends.
Refreshments of coffee, tea, water and cookies were served.
Cisco Native Dr. Duane Hale
. . .has plenty of reason among his own experiences to speak on unusual happenings. After a stellar career in Cisco High School and Abilene Christian University football, he returned to Cisco as a math teacher. "I really just wanted to coach football," he recalls.
Somewhere along the way his passion for history won out. He returned to college, earning a doctorate in American Indian and American Western History, with minors in Ancient Roman and Greek History, Colonial Latin American History, Archeology, and Geophysics from Oklahoma State University. He pursued additional studies at the University of Oklahoma.
American Indian history wrote the next few years of Dr. Hale's life as he taught on a Navajo reservation in Arizona; wrote tribal histories for multiple tribes; conducted seminars teaching Native Americans to write their own histories; and researched, wrote, published and spoke on historical topics. He became a widely recognized authority on American Indians, and a consultant for history text books, documentaries, governments and organizations.
Through all, Dr. Hale continues to research the role of gold and silver mining in early Texas history. His M.A. thesis was "Evidence of Spanish Mining in the Big Country of Texas," followed by a Ph.D. dissertation on "Prospecting and Mining on the Texas Frontier."  He is an active member of Cisco's Southwest Searchers, and is a noted authority on various treasure stories and mysteries across the state.
Eastland County, and Cisco Loboes in particular, hold a special place for Dr. Hale. He created the Lela Latch Lloyd Memorial Museum (honoring Cisco Writers Club charter member Lela Latch Lloyd) to display historical items, photographs and memorabilia from this area. His numerous books include My Heroes Have Always Been Loboes and Lady Loboes and The Santa Claus Bank Robbery and Its Impact on Eyewitnesses. Countless articles address local topics, and he instituted a decades-long oral history project through Cisco College to preserve the stories of our elders.
Author Shann Tajiah: Launching Your Online Presence 
The Cisco Writers Club welcomed author Shann Tajiah Thursday, March 4th, to the Hilton Center in Cisco. The presentation was livestreamed as well.
Launching an online presence can feel like an overwhelming and daunting process, but what if it could be easier and more fun than you expect? What if you could sell your books without feeling like you are begging or being pushy?
From choosing your social media platforms, to posting frequency and content, Shann will guide you on the first steps of launching your online brand. Whether you are a new or seasoned author, you will leave this event with a blueprint for creating an online brand that both you and your readers will enjoy.

SHANN TAJIAH is an award winning poet, photographer and author of Scraps of Love: Poetry From the Darkest Night 1997-2010.


A Minnesota grown Texan, Shann began her writing journey when she was eight and at age thirteen, she began to submit her poetry for publication. She is currently hard at work on her first fantasy novelette, The Shaloma, and is one half of the spectacular writing team, T.L. Gabriel where she writes about worlds far beyond the stars.
Her passion for writing and authors has led her to start her publishing imprint, Ithirial Rising Press, and she is currently working to become a certified writing and book coach.
When Shann isn’t lost in the world of words, she can be found chilling in her hammock, spending time with her family, or cuddling her furred and feathered kids.
You can follow Shann at or find her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The Amazing Benefits of Journaling

The Cisco Writers Club welcomed a host of friendly writers, journalers (not to be confused with journalists) and friends to the February 2021 presentation by Carrie Windham as she introduced her new book, Shades of Me: A Guided Journey to Self-Discovery, Self-Reflection, and Self-Transformation.
Carrie Windham is a licensed marriage and family therapist associate working at the Abilene crisis center. She works with families and individual victims of trauma, especially as a result of criminal activity. A peace officer since 2004, Carrie has seen the multi-generational effects of crime. That's what drew her to become a therapist and victim rights advocate.
"I wanted to get out ahead of the cascade of injury," she says, "before law enforcemeBennt is needed."
With evident passion and conviction Carrie detailed many of the benefits of journaling. "The mind and body are responsive to each other. When the mind is troubled, the body suffers. Many physical ailments are rooted in depression, anxiety, loneliness and other emotions."
A partial list of benefits, says Carrie, include better mood, immune system, brain function and performance, better IQ, emotional intelligence, enhanced clarity and problem-solving, and sleep.
We thank Carrie for a sharing her passion and vision.
Also celebrated that evening was the Cisco Writers Club's 46th birthday. Founded on the same day -- February 4 -- in 1975, it was the vision of fifteen area writers. Those founders nurtured the organization many years, putting down deep roots with energy and perseverance. We rejoice that a few of the charter members remain involved today.

Pizzas and Planes!

The Cisco Writers Club thanks Cisco Aviation for the delightful afternoon of flying winners in our Adventures in Writing  contest. First, second and third places were entitled to a flight in a private plane, originating in the Gregory Simmons Memorial Airport in Cisco. Sadly, only one of these young people, Haddie Brumley, was close enough to join us for the flight.


Pizza for all, however, still made the evening a time of fun and laughter. Families of all who entered are invited to participate. Obviously geography still exerts its inescapable presence in who shows up.

Thanksgiving with Jenna Ellis Rives

Every November the Cisco Writers Club hosts an early Thanksgiving meal. This year we arranged to meet at the Assembly of Yahweh Fellowship Hall, 109 County Road 280, Rising Star, TX. We're grateful for the excellent contributions of delicious food and service by our members, and the many individuals from across the community who joined us on Thursday, November 7, 2019.


Our special guest speaker was lawyer, author, and Fox contributor Jenna Ellis Rives. Jenna Ellis Rives has a comprhensive background in litigation and expertise in constitutional law, criminal law, contracts, public policy leadership, and ethics. She is an experienced media personality on multidimensional media, including radio, television, and written journalism, including appearnaces on Fox Business, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and other national media, and contributor to Washington Examiner, Daily Wire, and The Federalist. Her book, The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution: A Guide for Christians to Understand America's Current Constitutional Crisis, provides insight into the culture war that is being fought in America's legal hierarchy. She is a requested speaker for constitutional literacy, political issues, policy and current events.


Following our tradition, there was no charge for this Thanksgiving meal, but reservations through Eventbrite helped with planning. 

Graph Publishing, LLC, Is New CWC Underwriter

The Cisco Writers Club is delighted to welcome a new business to the neighborhood this year. Fresh on the scene is innovative Graph Publishing, LLC. As a source of music as well as books, Graph invests in the arts every day, and we are pleased to have them as the new sponsor of our 2019 Book category. 

Graph CEO Karen Kite taught piano for twenty-one years in the Abilene and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. She's a former church pianist and recording artist/songwriter who was drawn to the publishing world. Now Graph books are available wherever beautiful books are sold.
As proud mother and grandmother Karen understands the need to nurture children's creative pursuits. She makes this amazing offer: "Graph is assembling a print anthology of children's poetry, stories and art. It's completely free to enter." 
"Just think," she smiles, "You could be a published author while still in elementary school! Just send your very best work to Graph Publishing LLC, 209 West Olive Street, Eastland TX 76448."

Independent Thoughts, 2019

Two hundred and forty-three years ago world history shifted forever - and for the better - with the declaration of American independence. 
Cisco Writers Club did not meet the first Thursday in July 2019, as we usually do, so our members could celebrate Independence Day. Instead, we offer some personal thoughts.
"July 4 is a great time to celebrate freedom of expression. In America, people can write without fear. No censors! No government suppression! People also have hundreds of places to publish their writings: blogs, social media, self-publishing, and traditional publishing. We take this liberty for granted, but it truly is a precious freedom. Viva la U.S.A.!" --Dr. Linda Spetter
"Most of us know about Longfellow and his 'Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,' but few have heard of another minute man named Rufus Dawes. Longfellow could have written, 'Listen all you maws and paws to the Midnight Ride of Rufus Dawes.'" --Dr. Duane Hale
"One could say that the military is my family business. For generations, every male has
served, usually to retirement. I also made that choice. I was raised with such a love of
country and patriotism that it seemed like the only natural choice. Independence Day is
very important to me and my family because it celebrates all the things that make
America the most unique nation in the world." --Helen Cozart

When Your Very Personal Facebook Post Goes Viral


As writers who work hard to build a fan base, we might sometimes ponder what would it be like to "go viral."


It was Thursday, October 11, at 8:03 a.m., that Mattea Goff, stay-at-home wife and mom of two in Cisco, Texas, posted a simple set of stick-figure cartoons on Facebook. She had sketched the humorous stick family to convey to husband Kris the exhaustion many new moms feel, and why. She thought it might resonate with some of her friends, too.


It did. By evening her post had been shared 500 times. The following morning it had gone viral, with 100,000 shares, 67,000 likes and 41,000 comments. Friend requests poured in, media clamored for interviews, and the humorous explanation meant for her husband was popping up on websites in multiple countries and languages. 


Mattea has since given her cartoon family a new Facebook presence: STICK With Me - Home of #uselessnipples. (The cartoons explain all.)

Those viral stats have more than doubled. The new page, STICK With Me, has 5,000+ followers chuckling over Mattea’s growing library of stick-people cartoons.

“It’s also a place for moms to relate their own stories,” says Mattea.
Taking this step is exciting, but there is a learning curve as well. Figuring out forums and webpages and advertising are all issues every aspiring writer has to deal with, even if they have great success. The Cisco Writer’s Club is here to help, encourage, and share your story.

Brian Foster Brings His Black Dog Swamp Humor to Picnic

A special treat at our May 3, 2018, picnic was Brian Foster of Early, Texas. As a former police officer, he writes under the Black Dog Swamp imprint, and shows a keen understanding of the criminal mind. His riveting but humorous life stories have found a home in the pages of his books.
An reviewer wrote of More Homicidal Humor: The Knife and Gun Club, "...Sgt. Brian Foster served the people of Houston for twenty years. His book is a collection of allegedly true stories gathered from a multitude of police sources. The stories contain so much detail, and in many cases are so borderline hard to believe, that you quickly accept that despite the author's occasional disclaimers they are almost certainly all true."
Thank you, Brian, for inspiring us with your unique writing and marketing methods.

Almost $1,500 in Prizes Awarded


Cisco Writers Club celebrated all those who submitted manuscripts in our 41st Annual Summer Writing Contest on Thursday, September 7, 2017. Significant cash accompanied several certificates as we handed out almost $1,500 in prize money.


For winners in the Adventures in Writing category, focused entirely on 15-year-olds-and-under, the prize was a flight in a small private plane, followed by a pizza party with the pilot and crew.


Names of winners are posted on the Contest page. Pictured above are Sleepy Gomez, Lucious Taber, Eli Brumley, and Katy Huth Jones.


We thank our distinguished judges and the generous underwriters of our 2017 contest, also noted on the Contest page. Without them, there is no contest.

'Tex' Thompson Workshop a Resounding Success


The lone grammar-ranger, Tex Thompson, saddled her horse and started her long ride west, visiting 9 cities in 17 days. Cisco was one!


As always, she explains the nuts and bolts in a fun, charismatic way. Her premise here:


"It's a truth every interviewee knows: there's nothing more tragic than missing out on your dream job because the interviewer can't see past the stain on your collar. In this high-energy, interactive workshop, we'll tackle the grammar and style mistakes that even experienced writers make, and highlight winning strategies for scrubbing them out of your manuscript. Don't give your reader even one easy reason to toss your work aside: come learn how to put the 'pro' in your prose!"


Cisco Writers Club hosted this FREE class for our community Wednesday, August 16, at the Myrtle Wilks Community Center. We thank Tex for generously sharing her expertise.


Follow Tex at and

WordLaunch Workshop:

This Language Called Poetry


In week seven of the Cisco Writers Club’s WordLaunch Workshop we welcomed author Sheryl L. Nelms to speak about writing poetry for the general market.


Sheryl L. Nelms lives in Clyde, but is originally from Marysville, Kansas. She graduated from South Dakota State University. She has had almost 6,000 articles, stories and poems published, including fourteen individual collections of her poems. She is the fiction/nonfiction editor of The Pen Woman Magazine, the National League of American Pen Women publication, was a contributing editor for Time Of Singing, A Magazine Of Christian Poetry and a four time Pushcart Prize nominee. She is married to songwriter Dan Pennington.


WordLaunch is sponsored by the Cisco Writers Club, located in Central Texas, as a
companion to their annual summer writing contest, now in it’s forty-first year.
We've said, "Spend a little time this Sunday afternoon with a writing pro, and launch your words to the world!" Sheryl is just such a writing professional, and able to share the techniques and methods that have allowed her to amass a remarkable body of work.
Call Cisco Writers Club President Bokerah Brumley at 254-434-3530 or Ruth York at 254-631-3611 for more information.

WordLaunch Workshop Series: “Fiction Addiction” July 2 and 16

The Cisco Writers Club WordLaunch Workshop Series proudly presented Fiction Addiction: Writing Short Stories, led by CWC President Bokerah Brumley.

In this two-part class, Bokerah showed how to whittle down characters and narrative to create a short work that’s ready to query and submit. Bokerah shared resources and options for the short story writer, as well as how writing short-form works can help long-form writers network and reach new readers.
In a particularly sweet deal for this session, attendees are eligible for one-on-one critiques of work up to 5,000 words and coaching session via email. That is worth more than the cost of the classes!

Bokerah’s work can be found in Havok Magazine (July issue), Southern Writers Magazine (Summer 2016 issue), Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2), The Stars at My Door (April Moon Books), A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures, The Light Leads to Hope and Peace (Reflections of Faith Book 2), Freedom's Light: Short Stories, and four more upcoming anthologies.

In 2016, she was awarded first place in the FenCon Short Story Contest, third place in the Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest, fifth place in the Children's/Young Adult category for the 85th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition, and selected as a 2016 Pitch Slam! finalist. More recently, she accepted a contract with Clean Reads Press and works as an editorial intern for Inklings Literary Agency.

7/23/17: Speaking this Language Called Poetry, presented by Sheryl Nelms

The WordLaunch Workshop series continues through July, covering the nuts and bolts of writing short stories; articles; columns and short shots; and poetry. The July 9 workshop was a newly minted workshop, Adventures in Writing for young writers.

Our first young writer workshop July 9

Cisco Writers Club Sunday held a WordLaunch Workshop July 9 for kids ages 6-15. The workshop began at 1:30 at the Prosperity Bank community room, 418 Conrad Hilton Avenue in Cisco. It ended at 3:00 with a snack for the kids.

There was a $10 fee for the class, but parents got in free!

The workshop was led by children’s author and educator Nancy Sifford Alana of Granbury. She was eager to meet the young folks of Eastland County, writing, “This workshop will encourage youngsters to put words on paper in any form, but we’ll especially focus on poetry. I like to have fun, and I think the kids will, too.”

Nancy was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, now living in Hood County. A retired teacher and elementary school principal, she received the Instructional Leadership Award in 2004 from Tarleton State University. She serves on the local school board and in community groups that focus on education and children's issues.

“I love to inspire children and young adults to read by introducing them to books that are entertaining and educational. My books provide the reader with entertaining stories intertwine with history. The characters model good manners, respect, and a love for learning.”

She brought copies of her books, The Lost Treasure of Lincoln County: A Great American Adventure, and Texas: Cowboys and Campfires. Nancy’s writing garnered national attention with the Will Rogers Medallion Award (2015) and the Mame Eisenhower Reading List (2014-15). Both books will be available for purchase.

“Be sure to tell those young folks to get ready, because I want to see some of them in that private plane!” says Nancy.

She was referring to the prize, courtesy of Cisco Aviation, that will be awarded to the top three young writers in this year's Cisco Writers Club 41st Annual Summer Contest. One category, Adventures in Writing, is specifically limited to children ages 6-15. To make it extra sweet, there is no fee to enter that category. Get all the details at


The WordLaunch Workshop series continues with "Fiction Addiction, Part 2" on writing short stories, by Bokerah Brumley, on July 16. July 23 brings Sheryl Nelms of Clyde with writing poetry.

WordLaunch Workshops and Nancy Robinson Masters: “Writers, Start Your Engines!” June 11, 18 and 25

Love words? Then sharpen your pencil for WordLaunch, a “how to” series of workshops beginning June 11, designed to help you achieve your writing goals.

The workshops, sponsored by Cisco Writers Club, will be held at Prosperity Bank, 418 Conrad Hilton Avenue in Cisco, from 1:30 – 3:00 each Sunday afternoon. A question-and-answer period with individual help will follow.
Nancy Robinson Masters of Abilene, award-winning author of over 40 books, leads off the series with two short but intense sessions on writing books. Nancy is in demand as an inspiring writing teacher and motivational speaker. Her more than 3,000 feature articles have appeared in a variety of publications. Nancy's writing has taken her around the world including traveling with the National Science Foundation in Antarctica.
“My sessions will include information about writing fiction, non-fiction, and children's books and will include answers to many of those questions you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about self (independent) publishing,” says Nancy.
Nancy has been described as a combination Minnie Pearl and Will Rogers. A licensed pilot, she uses her warmth, wit, and down-home style to motivate individuals to “climb on course.”
She resides on a farm in the Elmdale community near Abilene, Texas, adjacent to the airport built by her husband and writing partner, veteran aviator Bill Masters.
Nancy Robinson Masters is a popular inspirational speaker for schools, businesses, organizations, and events. She has spoken to more than 200,000 students in schools across America through her visiting author programs.
In addition to her work with schools, Nancy also presents programs and workshops for businesses, civic organizations, and religious groups. Her most important work in life, Nancy says, is "teaching children in Sunday School."
Nancy grew up on a cotton farm in Jones County, Texas, during the terrible years of drought in the early 1950s. She credits much of her success today to the values, patriotism, and work ethic instilled in her during those difficult years. 
The WordLaunch Workshop series continues through July, covering the nuts and bolts of writing short stories; articles; columns and short shots; and poetry. The July 9 workshop is Adventures in Writing for young writers.

WordLaunch is sponsored by the Cisco Writers Club, located in Central Texas, as a companion to their annual summer writing contest, now in it’s forty-first year.
Register at the door. Cost is a low $15 per session, or a money-saving $80 for all eight, paid in advance. Students, teachers and seniors (over 60) pay a discounted $10 per session.
Sign up for the whole series and receive a free year’s membership in the Cisco Writers Club – a $25 savings.
Spend a little time this Sunday afternoon with a writing pro, and launch your words to the world.
Call Cisco Writers Club President Bokerah Brumley at 254-434-3530 or Ruth York at 254-631-3611 for more information.


The Extraordinary Katy Huth Jones


May found Cisco Writers Club at the Assembly of Yahweh fellowship hall in Romney, Texas, south of Cisco.


After a delicious dinner we were delighted to hear the extraordinary Katy Huth Jones. This humble but accomplished woman can be described thus:

“Katy Huth Jones grew up in a family where creative juices overflowed and made puddles to splash in. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), she has published three children's books, one Young Adult (YA) historical fiction, five fantasies (so far), one poetry collection, and over 100 short stories, poems, and magazine articles.

“When not writing, Katy plays piccolo and flute in The Symphony of the Hills. She lives with her husband Keith in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Their two sons, whom she homeschooled, have flown the nest and live creative lives of their own. Best of all, she is a cancer survivor (twice, so far).”


Besides best-loved books, Katy brought examples of articles, poems and stories that have appeared in Cricket, Highlights and a variety of other magazines. Her stack of rejection letters drew attention, too, illustrating the point: Never, ever give up.

Westman, Walton Presentation

by Ruth York


Rob Westman,writer and Abilene ISD videographer, and Kay Walton, painter, presented a stellar program at the Myrtle Wilks Community Center Auditorium Thursday, December 8.


He brought a few paintings by Kay Walton, also  of Abilene, that were used extensively in his recent documentary. The movie resulted from research to write a children's book about George Washington's life, his recognition of the "Providence" that had guided and protected him and his fellow patriots throughout his days.


The movie was shown at the Majestic this summer and was well received. CWC helped sponsor this December event.


This was not just a showing of the movie. It is a multi-media presentation about its inspiration, research and compilation. Clips of the documentary were shown.


By Kathy Spencer

    It's Turkey Time once again at the November gathering of the CWC. We would like to extend an invitation to anyone interested in becoming a part of our group. Turkey, gravy and potatoes will be served. Bring a dish of your choosing to round out the meal and enjoyable evening of Thanksgiving. We will meet at the Assembly of Yahweh located south of Cisco on 183. The Assembly is located on the east side of the highway.


    November 7th will see the soaring event of the "Children Write! Flight," hosted at the Gregory Simmons Memorial Airport in the new FBO (Fixed Base of Operation) building. Cisco Aviation was a sponsor for the Summer Writing Contest and is offering the prize of an airplane ride to the winners of the Children Write! Category of the contest. It looks like a great evening will start at 4:00 PM with the takeoff. Upon touching down a hamburger cook out will be on the menu. Come and join the festivities and celebrate these young writers.


    At the October meeting of the CWC officers were elected by acclamation. Here are the officers for 2016-2018; President-Bokerah Brumley, Vice-President-Amber Draeger, Secretary-Kathy Spencer, Treasurer-Ruth York, Publicity Chairman-Kathy Spencer, Contest Chairman-Ruth York, Historian-Gloria Kojakanian. Changes to the CWC Constitution were proposed, and will be discussed at the November meeting. We encourage all members to be present for this vote.


    As always, we extend an invitation to those interested in becoming a part of the CWC as members. Our goal is to "help writers were they are".

CWC 40th Annual Contest Results Announced!

Show us your pearls!

That was our 2016 challenge to you, and you did! Entries were accepted from eleven states in CWC's 40th Annual Summer Writing Contest that closed July 31, 2016.

A warm, supportive crowd applauded the 2016 winners at the awards ceremony Thursday, September 1. Almost $1,500 in prize money was paid out. We congratulate these talented writers, and thank each of you who entered.

Photos, details and a list of 2016 winners is on our Contest page. Judges' profiles are below.

Judges Play Crucial Role

Without judges willing to give of their time and expertise there would be no CWC 40th Annual Summer Writing Contest. We thank these outstanding professionals:


For Publication Briefs:

Melissa Rawlins is a community editor and copy editor for NOW Magazines in Waxahachie, Texas. Melissa Rawlins develops editorial content for each new month’s publication, writing three of 8 stories in each issue, focused on building community along with business.


For Articles:

Brian Bethel is a senior staff writer for the Abilene Reporter News, writing on a variety of topics for over twenty years. Most recently, Brian writes a variety of weekly and daily stories on topics of religion and higher education, including regular features on the impact of religion and faith and the evolving role of higher education throughout the wider Abilene Community.


For Poetry:

Dr. Stace Gaddy holds BA/MA Degrees in Theatre and Dramatic Theory/Playwriting from Texas State University, and the Ph.D. in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He is currently Director of the Crawford Theatre at Cisco College, Cisco, Texas.


For Books:

Barbara B. Rollins is a retired judge who began writing while waiting for lawyers. The past president of Abilene Writers Guild, she has written and edited many books while maintaining several websites including those of Silver Boomer Books and Laughing Cactus Press.


For Short Stories:

Recntly awarded Fifth Place in the Children's/Young Adult category for the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, Bokerah Brumley has work featured in Havok magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Clarion Call Vol. 2: Echoes of Liberty. She serves as a jury member for the on-going Mash Stories flash fiction competition.


For Children Write!:

Nancy Alana is an author, speaker and educator who inspires children and young adults by introducing them to books that are entertaining and educational.  She received the Instructional Leadership Award in 2004 from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.  She currently serves on the local school board and is involved in community groups that focus on education and children's issues. Find her at and


Professional in Pajamas

by Bokerah Brumley

     I spend much of my day in comfortable clothes. I am a wife, mom, and writer. I don’t get dressed up to cook dinner or primp just to sit down at my computer for hours and make up lives for imaginary people. I am not compelled to wear a formal dress to the wedding scene or mourning garb to the death scene.

     If you see me around town, I probably don’t strike anyone as professional. I resemble a haphazard woman with five children in tow, blinking in confusion at the world outside my writer’s cave. I am always surprised by friendly encounters outside of what I expect. If I seem startled when someone speaks to me or notices me, it’s because I am.

     But I’m a stickler about professionalism in my work and online.

     I’ve been privy to recent online drama that once again brings this to the forefront of my mind. If you want to be a professional, you must present yourself as a professional in the industry before you are making professional money (which admittedly isn’t very much as a professional author).

     In email, to the best of your ability, use good grammar and spelling. Mistakes are made, absolutely, but try your best. One tough round with a line editor or copy editor will teach a lot.

     When you make a promise, deliver. And if you cannot deliver, communicate. Lack of communication doesn’t make the problem go away. Publishing houses, editors, proofreaders won’t trust you until they learn that you update as plans must be adjusted.

     Above all, when something doesn’t go well, keep it off social media. So often, this outlet is treated like a dump for everything gone wrong.

     Don’t complain publically about rejection. Don’t call people or publishing houses names. Don’t whine about bad reviews. Don’t moan because the editor wants you to cut your favorite things or pages read took a nosedive.

     Be a cut above the rest, dear writers. Post the good stuff, the important stuff, and be professional.

This first appeared in "Rendezvous With Writing," Eastland County Today, May 19, 2016

From the Other Side of Rejection

by Bokerah Brumley

    At the beginning of the New Year, I announced a tongue-in-cheek goal of 250,000 words in 2016. I write daily, usually two or three thousand words, and submit often. Right now, I’m waiting for my sixth and seventh rejections from the remainder of my January submissions.

     It’s safe to say that I am familiar with literary rejection.

     A few months ago, I was invited to join a panel of judges for an ongoing, worldwide flash fiction competition. At first, I thought it was a joke. I am rejected monthly, often multiple times in a month. The invitation was unexpected, but I love flash fiction, so I agreed.

     I spent this morning reading flash fiction submissions, agonizing over the writer on the other side of the work. I want to provide feedback that is both encouraging and insightful. I want to give the writer a direction to go, but wave obnoxiously huge cheerleader pom-poms so they don’t take my evaluation as the final word.

     I have been that anxious writer, waiting for a yes or no. I am that writer much of the time.

Here are three true things I’ve learned from my time on the judges’ panel.


1)    Your creativity is apparent, but the story did not resonate with me. Your work didn’t speak to me. It may be the greatest thing ever, but it’s my job to judge the work in this situation or market. Keep trying!


2)    It’s hard to be an objective judge. I do my best, but sometimes, subjectivity seeps through. I am the sum of my thought processes and life. Subjectivity happens. You will bump into this again and again. Be stubborn. Find new outlets for your work. Keep submitting!


3)    On the oh-so-close-but-not-quite-there pieces, I did not enjoy rejecting your work. I wanted to send you, awesome writer, an email filled with all the wonderful things. But the rules are the rules.

Don’t give up because I said ‘no.’ Please! I love your words. They just didn’t make it this time. Keep improving!


It’s been an eye-opening experience, but a good one. It’s also taken much of the sting out of my own rejections. It’s given me more appreciation for those that are saddled with the task of judging. It’s not always easier on the other side of the fence.

Visit the Cisco Writers Club at or on Facebook as Cisco Writers Club.

Join the CWC at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the Mobley / Conrad Hilton Center, 309 Conrad Hilton Blvd, Cisco.  Call (254) 434-3530 for more information.


by Amber Draeger

This month’s meeting, held on February 4, 2016, was a sequence of surprising events. Our scheduled guest speakers from Y&R PR, Cheryl Letsch and JoAnna Grace, arrived midafternoon only to be forced to return home due to a family emergency. 


We were extremely distressed to hear their news and were thankful to learn that they made it home safely. All of us at the CWC wish them and their loved ones many blessings and speedy recoveries. We hope to have them back with us soon. 


Before our guests departed, they graciously left handouts on their topic, “Social Media for Your Writing.” It was our intention to put those handouts to use the same night, but another surprise arrived in the form of Dr. Duane Hale’s surprise guest, Chip Drumwright. We shifted quickly into discussion regarding differing schools of thought on learning the craft of writing. 


We hope to save the handouts for next meeting or perhaps utilize them when our esteemed speakers are able to return.


In attendance was Anna Albergucci, Gloria Kojakanian, Amber Draeger, Kathy Spencer, Speedy Gomez, Chip Drumwright, Duane Hale, Marsha Vermillion, Ruth Stewart, and Ruth York.

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