Past Programs

December 6

The SGWL Christmas Party

at the
Berry Creek Country Club
30500 Berry Creek Drive
Georgetown, TX 78628-1137

November 1

Words Are Important  .  .  .

is author, Mike Kearby’s social discourse on the written word and its evolutionary benefit
. . . images. And why, when the brain changes a word into a visual representation . . . good, healthy, things happen to readers.

Mike Kearby (born 1952) is an American novelist and inventor. Since 2005, Kearby has published ten novels and one graphic novel.

Born in Mineral Wells, Texas,[3] Kearby received a B.S. from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1972. He worked in the irrigation industry for 20 years where he obtained patents 5,762,270, 5,992,760, 6,478,237, 6,155,493, 6,209,801.

He taught high school English and reading for 10 years and created “The Collaborative Novella Project”. This project allows future authors to go through the novel writing process from idea to published work.

Kearby began novel writing in 2005 and has completed ten novels, one graphic novel, and wrote the afterwords to the TCU Press 2010 release of western novelist, Elmer Kelton’s, The Far Away Canyon.

More about Mike Kearby at his website

October 4


by Sylvia Dickey Smith

My father, the elder storyteller in my family, knew how to spin a droll tale. In the telling, he taught by example that the real pleasure was not in the impeccable logic of it all, but in the telling, and in the enjoyment his listeners shared in the spinning. Perhaps in the process, he knew we might accidently learn something.

I think we all know at some level that good storytelling exists in a world outside of formal structural elements of literature. That it has intangible aspects, like a haunting melody or an enticing fragrance. It exists in imaginary worlds we know well.

We also know that in its simplest form, storytelling involves three things: a beginning, a middle and an end. Unfortunately this doesn’t always offer us much tangible help. We start. We continue. Then we wrap it up.

But how can we do it better?

In Spin A Tale, Tell A Story, we will explore three key elements that fuel the magic of story. The elements roughly correspond to each of the three acts in a play-this same beginning, middle and end. These techniques won’t solve all our problems, but if all goes well, it should give us some fairly specific ways to implement and improve our writing.

More about Sylvia:

September 6

Thom, the World’s Poet

My theme is THE POET INSIDE! (every body)
with ways to explore and entertain one’s Muse


Thom performing poetry on the street

word is alive and well!

but it has morphed and spawned many children-
text and Tweet for newbies/Ritalin Generation/dyslexic/ADHD
HALLMARK greeting cards for the nominally emotional
Country and western for the sentimentalists
Novels for airport reading/ebooks for instant messaging
Magazine articles for leisure and dentists offices
Poetry for teardrops, loveloss, departures, fragments and moments
we share with intimates-a private/public language
that whispers to each prisoner “YOU ARE FREE!”
and this is where the door is-as it swings open (in imagination)
it is not the rules or cages set us free
it is the lilt of our magic and music underneath…

chants, spells, invocations, incantations, affirmations
as soon as your voice reaches cadence and resonance
you are alive as well!
               –Thom the World Poet

Thom World Poet, aka Tom Woodruff, is an original improviser of contemporary freeform poetry, delighting in poems of the moment, working with musicians open to flow. Thom is co-founder of the Austin International Poetry Festival; Co-founder of the Austin Poets At Large; Founder of Poetry Karaoke; Current host of various reading venues around Austin. He is also a Worldwide performer and workshop leader at festivals and concerts.

Thom is an improvising bard who has published 200 books as well as CDs, tapes, and ebooks. He works with musicians and has supported Bob Dylan, Russell Crowe, Big Brother and the Holding Company, among others. Thom believes his best poem will be his next poem and will gladly share new work/words with you on Thursday September 6th.

SGWL members — don’t be bashful
bring your (poetry) Words to the meeting and be ready for everything !!


August 2

Lemonade Anyone?

by Linda Limpscomb

Ah yes, we love nothing better than a cool drink on a hot day and many kids love nothing better than setting up a lemonade stand to sell us that cool drink. From a child’s point of view, it is a way to make money and fun doing it. From a parent’s point of view, it may be fun, but it takes time to ensure all the right stuff is there for the child to be a success.

Writing for children can be a little like that lemonade stand … for both the child and the parent. It takes a lot of ingredients to make the story a success. Understanding how to reach your target audience, how to sell to them once you know who they are, and how to beat your competition on product and price. Try having a little fun while trying to decide how to make a profit.

Join children’s author, Linda Lipscomb, a.k.a. Granny Red Shoes, and share a glass of her ‘lemonade’ experience. August 2 at 6:30 pm.


July 5

On Writing Oral History

with Louis Fairchild

Louis Fairchild’s parents were both born in Orange, Texas and though they lived in other
town in other states, they returned to Orange so their son could be born in their hometown,
but lived in Orange just long enough to finish first grade.

He became very interested in his hometown years later when as a professor of psychology
at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas he began to wonder what sort of effect
the population explosion of Orange during the WWII war years had on the population that had been so invaded by so many newcomers.

Fairchild had moved around and lived in several Southeast Texas towns due to his father€s employment with Shell Pipeline Co. None of the towns he lived in had had the same experience with those war years as Orange.

He had earned several degrees, including a doctorate in psychology and was the head of the psychology department at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, when he finally made the first moves toward finding out about wartime Orange. Conducting personal interviews was his chosen method. He started with 11 pilot interviews in 1986, and by the time he finished the interview stage of his project he had interviewed nearly 200 residents of wartime Orange.


April 5


By Kayla J. W. Marnach

“Unbelievable!” “Incredibly exciting!” “A dream come true!”

This month’s SGWL meeting will be different than any you have encountered.

Join us as these statements are experienced by students ranging from 3rd through 12th grade who can now say, “I’m a P-U-B-L-I-S-H -E-D author!”

For the past three years Hill Country Book Festival has had the privilege of working with and publishing young writers in an anthology, as they live out their mission statement, “Building Generations of Writers.” In 2011 the entries doubled and an increase in participation is expected in 2012.

This month SGWL has the privilege to experience these young authors’ excitement as they hold their first (and in some cases second) book and autograph one another’s stories.The enthusiasm is sure to be high and catching. Remember your excitement and how you wanted everyone to read your story? Please bring your books, so these young writers can see your published works. Their book will be available on Amazon for $10, but at the meeting we are offering it at a discounted price of $8.00.

If you’d like to sell some of your books, that will be fine, too. Just put them in a bag and bring them. Who knows, what you share may inspire parents or students to buy your book. But remember this is about the students and developing their talent, demonstrating what a writer’s life is all about.

Our program will consist of some students reading a portion of their story and then ask questions of us, the old sage ones, who have traveled this path of writing and being published. Each student will be given a one year honorary membership to SGWL, allowing them to attend meetings and participate in our group and newsletter.

You, as a part of SGWL, have an incredible opportunity and responsibility this month to share your wisdom, ways you’ve succeeded and also ways you’ve failed, but kept going, believing in yourself as a writer. Now is the time to “pay it forward.” If you have a process for building your stories or articles, bring copies and share them. We want these young authors to leave so enthused they’ll be back to our next meeting.

“Unbelievable!” “Incredibly exciting!” “A dream come true!” This month’s SGWL meeting will be different than any you have experienced and YOU can help make that happen.



March 1

From Typewriter to Laptop:

Reflections on a Long Writing Career

Mike Cox

An elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters, Mike Cox is the author of 20 non-fiction books with another two currently under contract. Over a freelance career of more than forty years, he also has written hundreds of articles and essays for a wide variety of publications. In September 2011, at the West Texas Book Festival in Abilene, he was recognized with the A.C. Greene Award for lifetime achievement.

His best-selling work has been a two-volume 250,000-word history of the Texas Rangers, published by Forge Books in New York in 2008 and 2009. His most recent book is Big Bend Tales, a collection of history and folklore.

A former award-winning reporter, Cox was a longtime spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety and, later, communications manager for the Texas Department of Transportation before retiring in 2007.

He retired from retirement in 2010 to go back to work for the state as a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. When not working or writing, he spends as much time as he can fishing and hunting. He lives in Austin with his wife Linda and daughter Hallie.



February 2

Change of Program

Writing Humor

Janet Kilgore

SGWL’s own Janet Kilgore will be presenting our program this Thursday night. Her topic is Writing Humor. Anyone who knows Janet, knows that she enjoys a good laugh. She’s bound to have a good sense of humor, to be willing to step in at the last minute.

She asks that we bring pen and paper–so please do so, and look forward to her tickling our funny bone.

(The talk by Ann Seaman will be rescheduled.)


January 5, 2012

Animated Film Production:
From Conception to Hollywood Premier

Cindy Weigand is the author of one book and several articles in local, state, and national publications.

Cindy is also a representative of OntaireMedia, a company that finds funding for animated feature films. In her talk, she will take attendees through the process of producing an animated movie.

In 2004, her book, Texas Women in World War II, Republic of Texas Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, was a finalist in the Violet Crown Writing Contest for Nonfiction sponsored by the Writers’ League of Texas. Her article, Yankee Doodle Gals’ of World War II” published in the June 2002 issue of Texas Co-op Power, received an
Award of Merit, Writing-Personality/Profile Category in the 2003 Dalton Pen Writing Contest sponsored by Warwick Publishing. She continues to write on various projects including a biographical novel.

Cindy represents OntaireMedia,, a company that assists individuals and groups find funding for animated films and television shows as well as live action movies. In her presentation, Cindy will describe the steps to making an independent movie from pr-eproduction to post-production.


presented by Earl Staggs at the November 3rd Meeting!

A few months ago, I wanted to select some of the short stories I’d had published over the years, put them together as a collection, and make it available as an ebook. They were good stories and I was proud of every one of them. Every one of them had been published, some of them reprinted two and three times. I hated having them gather dust on my hard drive.

I considered querying publishers large and small, but learned they were not interested in a short story collection from a writer a few miles short of being a household name.

That left self-publishing. In the past, self-publishing meant paying a vanity press a few thousand dollars to print a few hundred books for us. No longer. Now, with digital printing and electronic readers, we can do it all ourselves – at no cost — through Kindle, Smashwords, Lulu, and a few other outfits.

How hard could it be? A lot of writers were doing it with novels, and doing a collection of short stories wouldn’t be any different. I figured I was as smart as any of them. It didn’t take long to realize I was a complete dummy. But being a dummy has never stopped me from doing anything before. So I set myself to the task. When it was all over, I still had some sanity left, and my collection of short stories was available as an ebook as well as a paper and ink printed version.

Now I’d like to share with you what I went through, what I had to learn through trial, error and do-overs, and how many times I wanted to scream, “What was I thinking?”

I’ll also show you the results, tell you if it was worth what I went through, and if I’d do it again.

–Earl Staggs


Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories appear in magazines and anthologies. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned thirteen Five Star reviews on Amazon.comand He is also a regular blogger at: and

Earl also writes a regular column called “Write Tight” for APOLLO’S LYRE, an online magazine. In each issue, he offers suggestions for self-editing your writing to make it tighter.
Email: Website:


October 6


Getting Your Name Out There:

Hints and Help for Self-Promotion

a talk by Kaye George

How do you let people know you’re there, and that you’ve published a
book? The publishing world is changing quickly and it’s hard to keep
up. Kaye will give some hints on how to use the tools available today,
with samples of how others have done it.

Kaye George, an Agatha nominated short story writer, is the author of
CHOKE: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery (Mainly Murder Press), as well as
A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, a collection of her previously published
stories, and THE BAVARIAN KRISP CAPER, available at Untreed Reads.
FISH TALES: The Guppy Anthology contains her story, “The Truck
Contest”. She serves as President of the Guppies chapter of Sister in
Crime, reviews for “Suspense Magazine”, and writes for several
newsletters and blogs. She, her husband, and a rescued feral cat named
Agamemnon live together in Texas, near Austin.

For more about Kaye George:

Blogs:, her solo blog, and

Tom Mitchell Speaks at September Meeting

By Tom Mitchell

Bread Loaf:  A Writer’s Brigadoon

Tom Mitchell will speak at the September SGWL meeting about his experience at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, held annually on the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College inVermont.

Tom relaxes in front of the Bread Loaf Inn

Brigadoon rose from the Scottish mists for one day, once every one hundred years.  Fortunately for writers everywhere, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference returns every year, and lasts for nine days.  In 1915, a wealthy horse breeder donated thousands of acres of forest land and an old Victorian inn in the Green Mountains of Vermont to Middlebury College.  For ten years, the college couldn’t figure out what to do with the inn, but at the suggestion of Robert Frost, they established a graduate school of English and a “Conference on Writing” to be held at the inn each summer.  The first session of the writers’ conference convened in 1926 and has been held there every summer since, including the WWII years.

In the words of the director, Michael Collier, “Bread Loaf is not a retreat – not a place to work in solitude.  Instead it provides a stimulating community of diverse voices in which . . . we seek advice about our progress as writers.”  Each year more than one thousand writers apply for two hundred workshop seats in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  Participants are selected by an admissions committee, based on the strength of a writing sample submitted with their application.  Tom was selected to attend in nonfiction the past six years, and in fiction in 2011.  He will speak about what it takes to get into Bread Loaf, the faculty and guests at the conference, a typical day on the mountain, friends and contacts he has made there, classes and workshops offered, and dances and cocktail parties.

Past Programs  –  2011

  • January 6th – Tax Talk 101 by Melody Lovett
  • February 4th – Who Originated Valentine’s Day? by Robert Fears
  • March 3rd – Internet Trends for Authors by Cindy Lafrance Phillip
  • April 7th – Double Life of a Genre-Crosser: From Fiction to Non-Fiction Crime by Diane Fanning
  • May 5th – Selection of Poems to be Published by Scott Wiggerman
  • June 2nd –  Attack Out of the Sun by Durwood Heinrich
  • July 7th – Writing, Editing and the Long Road to Getting Published by James Parker
  • August 4th – Program by Preston Stone, new owner of the Hill Country Book Store
  • September 1st – Bread Loaf: A Writer’s Brigadoon by Tom Mitchell
  • October 6th – Getting Your Name Out There:Hints and Help for Self-Promotion by Kaye George
  • November 3rd – A Dummy Does Epub by Earl Staggs
  • December 1st – Christmas Party

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