W Is for the W-Words: #atozchallenge

    Buyer's remorse. And not even five hours have elapsed since the purchase. It happens every time. Why do I do this to myself? (W-Word: Why) News of the Writers' League of Texas' annual summer retreat arrived via email this afternoon, and I pounced--checked the calendar to confirm it doesn't fall on an infusion … Continue reading W Is for the W-Words: #atozchallenge

AMW Retreat: January 2017

What is it with writers and retreats? I don't know, but that doesn't keep me from retreating. Last weekend, Austin Mystery Writers withdrew to Lake Buchanan. The house where we stayed is way out there--waaaaaaaaaaaay out there--and I had trouble finding it. It was one more instance of leaving the address tucked away safely in my email inbox. … Continue reading AMW Retreat: January 2017

My Writing Writing Writing Day: Yeah, Right

In the previous post, I announced my intention to get up, go to BookPeople, write for an hour on a project of not-email and not-post (because Ramona DeFelice Long told me to), and get off the laptop by 7:00 p.m. Here's how the day went. At 8:00 a.m., I discovered Ernest experiencing grave digestive problems … Continue reading My Writing Writing Writing Day: Yeah, Right

Adventure in the Far West

A week in beautiful Alpine, Texas, to attend the Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Institute held unparalleled adventure for Gale and me. It started with getting lost about twenty miles from home and ended with finding a dead banana at the bottom of my Austin Mystery Writers tote bag. In between lay being rear-ended … Continue reading Adventure in the Far West


I am at a writing retreat with two critique friends, deep in the heart of Texas. Have been here since 11:30 this morning. Two other writers arrive tomorrow. Have written some fiction for me, some nonfiction for my friend Em. Before e-mailing Em's to her, I read over it, as every conscientious writer knows she … Continue reading Retreating

Taking Off the Ruby Slippers

As I've no doubt made abundantly clear, I spent last week at the Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine, Texas. The seat of Brewster County, Alpine, population 5905, lies at an altitude of 4485 feet. My altitude, during the retreat, was about double that of Alpine's. I was enrolled in Karleen Koen's … Continue reading Taking Off the Ruby Slippers

#ROW80 7/31 and Lizard

Home from Alpine retreat yesterday evening, slept all day today, preparing to sleep all night tonight. I rest a little better knowing I left my lizard roommate behind in Alpine.  I hope. (Roomie was smaller than the lizard pictured here. If he'd been this size, I would have ceded him the cabin and slept in … Continue reading #ROW80 7/31 and Lizard


Last night's homework: One page: Writer's Diary. One page: Clustering exercise Five one-paragraph character sketches Four one-paragraph novel beginnings (from photos taken this week) One one-page novel beginning (from photos taken this week) Optional but encouraged: Choose one short piece of writing to present at tomorrow night's reading And seventeen people call this a vacation. … Continue reading Vacation


Exhausted. Drove for seven hours, arrived only fifteen minutes before orientation, no time to change out of scruffy clothes before meeting instructor and classmates. Dragged suitcases plus kitchen sink into a cabin at a 1950s-style motor court. Foraged for food. Prepared to fall into bed asap. Picked up a novel, had to know how it … Continue reading Retreating

Back from camp

I'm home from the Texas Mountain Trail Writers Writing Round-up. Post-retreat blues--why do retreats have to end?--have lifted. Fatigue from hauling suitcase, duffel bag, and a stack of books halfway across Texas and back has vanished. Euphoria from seeing a basket filled with real homemade biscuits sitting beside a pot of gravy has settled. Delight … Continue reading Back from camp

Tea gowns and white linen

The Just for the Hell of It Writers leave tomorrow morning for the Texas Mountain Trail Writers 19th Annual Writing Round-up. We'll stay two nights at Paisano Baptist Encampment near Alpine, where the retreat will be held. Then we'll stay another night in Alpine and head home Monday morning. I'll save the program for a … Continue reading Tea gowns and white linen

Wormwood, wormwood

I told a little fib in that last post. I said that before the Texas Mountain Trail Writers retreat in early April, I have to write a 500-word story. The truth is, I don't have to. It's optional. Then why do I put myself through this torture? I do it because retreat participants will get … Continue reading Wormwood, wormwood