Forty-three years of
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Present to receive their honors in person were Linda Gordon (left) and first place book author Lori Altebaumer (right). Contest Director Ruth York (center) officiated.
The Cisco Writers Club is delighted to announce winners in its 42nd Annual Summer Contest, awarding approximately $1,500 in prizes September 6 in Cisco.
The prestigious David Autry Sweepstakes Award, sponsored by Cisco College, is an award to the contestant accumulating the most points, including at least one first. Robert Robeson of Lincoln, Nebraska, won that honor with 12 points.
Of special interest was the Adventures in Writing category, reserved for ages 15 and under, where, to preserve UIL eligibility, only noncash prizes are awarded. This year that prize is a 15-minute flight in a private plane, courtesy of Cisco Aviation. Winners were Hudson Benites of Excelsior MN (first); Lisette LaFave of Escanaba MI (second); Brooklyn McDowell of Farmington Hills MI (third); and Robin Denehan of County Kildare, Ireland.
Entries came from twelve states and three foreign countries, but local writers captured honors, too. Lori Altebaumer of Stephenville took first in Books, and Robert Witherspoon of Graham followed with second. Linda Gordon of Abilene won third in Publication Briefs (Columns) and honorable mention in Articles.
See the complete list of winners on our Contest page.
In addition to Cisco College, special appreciation goes to the following generous contest underwriters:
Liberty Island Media (New York), Cisco Aviation, First Financial Bank (Eastland), Southwest Emblem (Cisco), Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County, The Grateful Texan (Cisco) and Wilks Brothers, LLC (Cisco).
Congratulations to these exciting writers!
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.
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
(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.
Come hear Mattea's reaction and plans Thursday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m. in the Lobo Room of the Myrtle Wilks Community Center, 1498 IH 20 West in Cisco.
Brian Foster Brings His Black Dog Swamp Humor to Picnic
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.
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.
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 www.ciscowritersclub.org/
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.authornancyalana.com and www.patrioticchildrensbooks.com.
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
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 CiscoWritersClub.org 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.