Friday, December 21, 2012

Don Moss's Book

Don Moss has published his book  

and it is FREE to download, Friday, December 21st, and Saturday, December 22nd (just click on the title and it will bring you to Amazon)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    • It is with a sad heart that we share this:

      In 12-11- 1999 he received honorable mention. 2002 recognition for 2nd place for how to Article. On January 2001 the contest awards luncheon newsletter shows " Henry Reed receives one of many awards...we all thank Henry for his service as 2000 EPWL Contest Director... Great job!. Received awards by Patsy C. King.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012



dont't forget to contact Jan Brooks asap 
if you still want to buy tickets for this 
years Awards Banquet ($16.50 per person) 
                                                call 915-490-9146  
or email her:

Tickets must be purchased by December 4

Monday, November 5, 2012

Awards Banquet 2012

DECEMBER 8.    11AM - 3PM

     The Triple Crown Buffet:
  Grilled Salmon with a honey lime glaze, and charbroiled chicken with a dijon cream sauce, 3 salads (baby mixed greens with assorted dressings; fruit salad and marinated basil, pasta & sun dried tomato salad), wild rice blend, red potato mashers, steamed vegetables, fresh baked rolls & butter, with desserts of cheese cake, carrot cake and chocolate cake includes iced tea, coffee & decaf.

$16.50 per person (including taxes & tip)


Saturday, November 3, 2012


Just a quick reminder that we will be voting for the new board during the November meeting!

The slate of officers for 2013:

    President: Dick Schwein
    Vice President: Donna Helmling
    Secretary: Jan Brooks
    Treasurer: Bob Sanchez

Nominations from the floor will be accepted at the meeting prior to the election!

2013 chair people:

    Blog and Facebook: Tina Dwyer
    Border Tapestry: Sulta Bonner
    Contest: Sarah Purcell
    Inkslinger: Mike Grunsten

We will also start to collect your payments for the Awards Banquet (cost is $ 17.50 per person).
More information about the Awards Banquet will follow soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November Meeting

El Paso Writers’ League
November Monthly Meeting
Saturday, November 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Dorris Van Doren Library
551 Redd Road
El Paso, TX 79912

“Musical Chair Writing Workshop”
Presented by Janice Brooks and Sally Spener
El Paso Writers’ League Board Members

            The El Paso Writers’ League (EPWL) November 10 meeting will feature a hands-on “Musical Chair Writing Workshop” to introduce participants to the various categories of the EPWL annual writing contest. 
            EPWL board members Janice Brooks and Sally Spener, past winners in the annual contest, will give brief writing assignments to workshop participants in a variety of literary genres.  Working in small groups, the writers will then have the opportunity to share what they’ve written and receive feedback. 
            The writing assignments will include a series of prompts designed to stimulate creativity and give writers the opportunity to try different genres, including mystery, personal essay, poetry, short short, and children’s/young adult.

For more information:  915-581-1080,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quick Reminder

Just a quick reminder that EPWL will have a table at the MonteVista 23. annual holiday bazaar Thursday evening and all day Friday...if you want your books included or have a few hours to help out please contact Janice Brooks:

Friday, October 19, 2012

October Meeting Minutes

 President Bob Sanchez called the board to order at 1:00.  Officers and Board members present: T. Dwyer, S. Spener, I. Barrett,  S. Purcell, B Sanchez, R. Schwein.

President Sanchez presented the slate of officers for 2013:

    President: Dick Schwein
    Vice President Donna Helmling
    Secretary Jan Brooks
    Treasurer Bob Sanchez

    The president suggested and the board concurred nominations from the floor will be accepted at the November meeting prior to the election.

2013 chair people:

    Blog and Facebook Tina Dwyer

    Border Tapestry Sulta Bonner
    Contest Sarah Purcell

    Inkslinger Mike Grunsten

    The November meeting, 11/10 will consist of the election, and Jan and Sally conducting a “Musical chairs “ writing exercise.

    December meeting, awards banquet and installation of officers will take place at Sunland Park Casino. $17,00 per meal.

Other: The board approved a gift certificate for our presenter Lucia Zimmitti. Update pages are needed on the blog. A program committee will be formed and include people from  our general membership. A standard audit will be conducted as we transition to a new year and new officers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vonda Frampton and Jan Brooks teamed up for the League at the La Vina Wine Festival on October 13 and 14, selling a bunch of books.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lucia Zimmitti: The Ten Most Common Problems in Fiction Manuscripts

The following are the notes Lucia Zimmitti promised us at our October meeting.

The Ten Most Common Problems in Fiction Manuscripts


Lucia Zimmitti speaks
at our October 13, 2012 meeting
Fiction teaches. Story teaches. Humans have always learned from storytelling; not only the facts of history, but how to connect with others, how to empathize, how to relate to each other. We cannot overestimate the power and the importance of story to our brains and psyches. And whether or not you are seeking traditional publication, you write because you want someone else to be moved by your work (even one person). You want someone to connect with you through your work, to validate you by loving what you’ve written, what you’ve created (and this may be a subconscious desire at this point). And that’s why it pays to know what readers want, and to learn how to craft fiction, whether your target audience is a group of ten or ten thousand.

Often learning what not to do gets us to where we want to be more quickly than learning what to do. You must read copious amounts (this can’t be stressed enough…some experts say reading is more important to improving your writing than writing is) and you must write, write, write. And when you revise, it’s helpful to know where many writers fall down so you can avoid those pitfalls and potholes at your own desk. Don’t worry about “mistakes” or “problems” while you’re writing your first draft. You must allow your right brain (the creative side) free rein while you’re getting the early bones of the story on paper. Banish the very idea of “correction” while you’re breathing life into those first attempts at telling the story. Only use the following guide to identify potential problem-spots in your manuscript after the first draft has been born.

The Ten Most Common Problems in Fiction Manuscripts
(in no particular order) occurring in the manuscripts that cross my desk:

1) Breaking the promise to the reader. The first chapter holds out a promise to the reader (in tone or content or theme), and when writers break that promise by revealing a very different story somewhere mid-way into the manuscript, readers tend to feel mislead. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t surprise your reader: you should. But you should surprise them within the framework of the story, within the story you’ve implied that you’re setting out to tell.

2) Agenda-driven/didactic/obvious lesson or moral. Story must be king! Stories certainly do teach, but they teach subtly or peripherally, not directly. When readers feel the author has an agenda and is trying to persuade the reader s/he should see things the author’s way, the reader tends to put the book down. Readers don’t pick up fiction to get preached at or to have their opinions manipulated (again: their opinions might change after reading a story, but that has to happen naturally, through the story itself, not because the author is clearly trying to convince readers of a certain thing).

3) Imbalanced in terms of head-talk and action/dialogue, as well as in description and story movement. In other words, the character thinks too much and acts too little. Or the author spends too much time on static description and not enough on dynamic, interpersonal interaction between characters. Also, there is too much exposition/backstory (and that slows the story’s pacing and often bores the reader).

4) Not enough tension/conflict/struggle. The characters are coddled. Things come too easily for the characters. Put your characters in a proverbial tree and throw rocks at them until the end. Don’t save them with a doorbell, either! (I see this quite often when there’s a scene that’s promising to be emotional and deliciously tense: authors will have the doorbell ring at a crucial moment, thereby tamping down the tension, just when readers hoped it would be ramped up.) Characters need obstacles, antagonists, something to push against, something to challenge them and force them to grow (or to show that they can’t grow). Characters need messy situations to prove their mettle. Don’t clean things up so tidily that they can’t ever engage in meaningful struggle.

5) MC’s <MC = Main Character> goals are too big/too small/too muddy/feel unattainable. Goals focus the story. What’s at stake for the MC? Don’t let readers ask themselves, “So what?” as they read. (And that’s the reader’s default setting, so you must work against it.) The MC must want something, and something else or someone else must be standing in the way (or perhaps something within the MC stands in the way). And that thing the MC wants must be achievable, yet not so small that it feels insignificant.

6) Unlikeable MC, or one that is too perfect (and becomes unlikable that way). You need to create relatable, flawed MCs with situation-specific motivations that readers understand (even if they wouldn’t necessarily undertake the same behaviors themselves). Readers need to relate to/identify with the protagonist (or need to fear the MC’s circumstances). ALSO: Beware of secondary characters that outshine the MC! It’s so easy to fall into this trap because the secondary characters are typically fun to write; it’s the MC that has the storyline issue, the throughline resting on his/her shoulders, and so when you write him/her, you may be feeling that weight on your shoulders, too. But when you write the secondary characters, you find yourself having fun, giving them quirks that really make them pop. You don’t need to have boring secondary characters, of course: just work hard to make the MC the most compelling, interesting character of all.

Character development exercise:
(Read the following Raymond Carver poem, “Late Fragment.”)

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

<Now, using that poem as a starting point, write from the point-of-view of a character…a new one or one you’re already working with. Either extend the poem and see where it leads, or put your character in the position of questioner or answerer. Let yourself go, without judgment or self-editing or self-censoring, and see what bubbles to the surface. You may be able to use some of what you’ve written in your work-in-progress...a new idea may shine brightly from it, or perhaps even a chunk of narrative. But even if that doesn’t occur, you will have worked your writing muscle in a meaningful way and pushed yourself to see your character through new eyes and in a new framework.>

7) Voice problems/POV (point-of-view) problems (i.e., a kid that sounds adult as a voice problem; head-hopping as a POV problem). Typically, you should choose one point-of-view and stick to that POV throughout (or at least for a whole chapter). That means you shouldn’t be able to get the direct thoughts of other characters—you should only be able to get inside the head of your MC. There are exceptions, but those are infrequent and usually are made for bestselling authors. Readers like connecting with one character (or, if you switch POVs, then only switch at the character break). Readers want to get immersed in one character in a way they can’t with the others. This is why first-person or third-person limited POV (not omniscient) are the typical options for today’s readers.

8) Dialogue used as filler: it doesn’t move the story along, doesn’t reveal character. It breaks the cardinal rule of dialogue (letting one character tell another something s/he already knows). Readers love dialogue: not only does it give them a chance to experience the characters in an immediate way, but it allows for lots of white space on the page, thereby letting their eyes “breathe.” So be sure to use healthy doses of dialogue, even if you’re not a fan of writing it. But never let one character tell another something s/he already knows (that’s not authentic), and don’t fill up the page with filler phrases like “um” or “dunno” or chit-chat about the weather (unless that’s important to character development by revealing something about situation or character reaction).

9) Unnecessary scenes and/or chapters. If the scene/chapter doesn’t reveal something new about character or propel the story forward, it should be cut (no matter how much you like it…actually, if you like it too much, it might be one of those ‘darlings’ we’re supposed to kill; when you love one isolated piece of the whole too much, you are probably blinded to the fact that it may not be working for the good of the entire work). Otherwise, that’s the place where the reader is likely to disconnect. Each scene must work for the advancement of the whole. (Never delete anything permanently, though: put the scenes/chapters you think may not be necessary into a graveyard document…keep them safe. That way, if you realize you want to use all/parts of them, you won’t have to re-create them.)

10) No surprise in the story. The events are totally predictable. Readers (and moviegoers and TV watchers) crave surprise. When books don’t give us that surprise, we tend to feel letdown, tend to feel like we invested our time and energy and didn’t really get something that we couldn’t have dreamed up ourselves. Whether you’re an OP (and outline person) or a NOP (a no-outline person…see James Scott Bell’s book that I mention below for further discussion of those terms), you want to leave the story open to elements of surprise as you write. Hemingway said he never knew the end of the story while he was still writing it, or else the reader would, too. Jane Yolen said she treats writing like driving: she only looks at what she can see in her headlights, even though she knows where she wants to go (but she doesn’t know everything she’ll see along the way).

Exercise for infusing surprise into your work:

When you’re working on your story and feel bored/stuck/uninspired, stop writing. Flip open an encyclopedia or pick up a newspaper (something away from the computer is best). Or open a book of poetry to a random page. Commit to the first thing you see (don’t ‘cherry-pick’ for something that interests you). Now think about it from the framework of your story and see if it can inject surprise, if it can be worked into the story

For instance, free-write for fifteen minutes (more if you’re moved to) on the following line:

 “Whoops...there seem to be triplets here...,” the doctor says. 

Another example, a line loosely adapted from a Philip Larkin poem:

Most things will never happen; this one will.

Write with that in mind for fifteen minutes, without judging or trying to “steer” the output in any way. This exercise can help you discover something new about your story, something you had hidden in your subconscious because you were only looking at the story in a linear way, or in some cases, it can even trigger a whole new story.

NOTE: The above common problems in fiction manuscripts are all discussions of craft in the department of story. It should go without saying that poor writing in general will hobble even a great story idea. However, “bad” writing in people actively pursing the craft is less common than you might think. Usually when adults voluntarily pick up a pen to write, it’s because they want to write, which means they’ve had positive reinforcement over the years (school, friends, etc.), and writing, at least at the level of putting sentences together, comes relatively easily to them. But here are some things to watch out for in your own mss all the same (again, only at the revision stage): Monotonous sentences (all are the same in structure/length); inadvertent repetition (the echo effect); prose that is overly simplistic (too spare) or overly ornate (over-dressed to the point of distraction, it asks the reader to admire the sentences, rather than the story); accidentally switching verb tenses (there isn’t a “right” verb tense—past and present are both fine. You just must choose one and be consistent with it throughout [with the exception of flashbacks, of course, where you’d deliberately switch]).

Recommended reading:

The Lie that Tells a Truth by John Dufresne
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
Story by Robert McKee
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing by Stephen King

Happy Writing, everyone!

All best,
Lucia Zimmitti

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Holiday Bazaar

The EPWL will have a table at this event...

please contact us if you would like to volunteer your 

time or sell your books!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shirley Fouts Book Signing

Shirley was the shinning star 

at her book signing today!

Her books sold like hotcakes and 

she is an inspiration to all of us!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

La Vina Wine Festival 2012

If you want Janice Brooks to sell your books at the 

 Vina Wine Festival 2012 

or you want to 

volunteer to help out at the EPWL table 

please contact Janice at: 


We limit the amount of books to 7 copies per title!

Shirley Fouts Book Signing

You are invited to Shirley Fouts book signing for 

"Sizzle On The Seine"

               Thursday 09/27/ 2012 2pm - 5pm

at The MonteVista 

1575 Belvidere Street 

El Paso, TX 79912

Promoting EPWL at the EPCC Literary Fiesta 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012



Lucia Zimmitti on Writing Mistakes

At our October meeting, Lucia Zimmitti presents:

The Ten Most Common Mistakes Fiction Writers Make

Lucia Zimmitti
Often the quickest and most effective route to learning how to do something well is learning what not to do. In my years of working with novelists and short story writers, I’ve noticed a pattern of mistakes in the manuscripts that have crossed my desk. Once you become aware of them, you’re that much closer to avoiding these easy-to-slip-into traps in your own writing, and therefore well on your way to crafting engaging pieces of fiction. We’ll discuss these common trouble spots in detail, as well as how to avoid them and how to make your work stronger in their absence. We’ll also tackle some writing exercises that can you can use time and time again at your desk.

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Contest Info

  A certification statement will be affixed to each entry form and must be signed by the entrant. 

If you are not planning to submit your entries personally, but will mail them, please write the following statement on the entry form and sign it:

        I certify that each entry is my original and unpublished piece and has never been awarded prizes in either an EPWL or other literary contest.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our September meeting

Did you win a second or third prize in last year's El Paso Writers' League contest? Then we want you to come to the September 8 meeting and read one of your entries. We know you put a lot of hard work into your writing, and you deserve the public kudos.

Of course, the 8th is also this year's contest deadline. Note that there has always been a rule against resubmitting work that's won any prize in the past. This year we'll be enforcing that rule. So if you did win 2nd or 3rd place, by all means use the judge's comments to improve it, but please don't submit it again. Submit something new.

Finally, make sure you don't confuse your stuff with anyone else's. There's so much we all download from the Internet that we can forget whose work belongs to whom. So, just as a general precaution we'll ask you to confirm that you're submitting fresh, new material.

--Happy writing!

Bob Sanchez

El Paso Writers' League September Meeting -

El Paso Writers' League September Meeting -
Saturday, September 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Dorris Van Doren Library, 551 Redd Road.

Contest deadline!!!!!

During contest package turn-in:
All of you who won second or third place with one or more entries in the 2011contest will have the opportunity to read one of those entries to the membership. If you won a number of 2nd and 3rd places, please pick out your favorite and bring it to read. Also, if you felt that the judge's comments were helpful, you may share those with everyone.

For more information: 915-760-6536

The El Paso Writers' League 2012 Writing Contest Guidelines

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Southwest Book Fiesta

Albuquerque Convention Center Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 10-12, 2013

The Southwest Book Fiesta will bring together authors, publishers and the reading public in a family-friendly community event at the Albuquerque Convention Center on May 10-12, 2013. The Book Fiesta focuses on both nationally-recognized as well as local Southwest authors. The mission is to recognize and encourage the literary accomplishments all across the Southwest, especially of authors in New Mexico and Arizona. The show is being organized by Sunbelt Shows, producer of the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, with support from the largest book publishers in New Mexico and the New Mexico Book Co-op. In addition to over 200 vendors, readings and special author events will feature some of the best books and authors from the region.
Proceeds of the Book Fiesta will be donated to the New Mexico Library Foundation, the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy, and a yet- to-be-named organization in Arizona and will be used to promote literacy and reading programs in the region.

  • 20,000+ attendees (projected)
  • Over 300 author/publisher vendors
  • Book talks with local and national authors
  • Book-signings
  • Family-oriented activities
  • Workshops on writing & publishing
  • Native American and Hispanic books
  • Children’s books
  • Poetry
  • Electronic books
  • Hands-on demonstrations
  • Celebrity chefs & cooking demonstrations
  • Arts & crafts
  • Food & entertainment

  • Media
  • National publishers
  • Regional publishers
  • Local & regional media
  • Libraries
  • Literacy programs
  • Regional cultural organizations
  • Government organizations

    For more information call 505/873- 8680, 
    email or
Importance of books

• over $16 billion are spent on books every year in the U.S.
• at least 35% of the U.S. population visits a bookstore at least once a month. In fact, Americans visit bookstores more often than any other type of store, except for the mass market chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart.
• According to a Gallup poll, during any given week, 22% of Ameri- can adults bought at least one book.
• e-book sales have been growing exponentially by as much as 177% per year.
• 53% of e-book readers say they now read more books than before.
• Based on Census data, almost 50% of New Mexicans and Arizo- nans could benefit from literacy programs.
• Usage of libraries in Arizona and New Mexico has been increasing by as much as 10% per year.
• Patrons of the Albuquerque Public Library checked out over 4.5 million books and magazines last year.
• Libraries in Tucson, Phoenix, and Albuquerque were visited over 21.6 million times last year!

Other Book Festivals
  • Baltimore Book Festival — 40,000 attendees, 100 exhibitors
  • Texas Book Festival — 40,000 attendees, 200 author events
  • Tucson Book estival — 100,000 attendees, 250 exhibitors
  • Los Angeles Book Festival — 140,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors
  • Miami Book Festival — 200,000 attendees, 200 exhibitors 

    Be a Part of History...Be a Part of the First Annual Southwest Book Fiesta

    Though Albuquerque has had book fairs before, this is the first time publishers, authors, book printers and producers, libraries, literacy groups, and other companies have banded together to support literacy, books, and reading. Regional books need to be noticed as much as national ones, and we will celebrate the many wonderful authors that have chosen to call the Southwest home.
    The First Annual Southwest Book Fiesta will be in the Albuquer- que Convention Center on Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-12, 2013. Here are just a few of the highlights we have planned, in addition to the trade area of booths and tables:
    • Author and publisher vendors
    • Food vendors
    • Cooking demonstration stage
    • A performance stage, with readings of poetry and children’s

    • Five individual rooms for workshops
    • A Mother’s Day Brunch
    • A publisher’s panel discussion and other industry talks

    Planned presentations inclued talks by WordHarvest, Southwest Writers, and the New Mexico Book Co-op, featuring such topics as ebooks, marketing, Centennial Authors, writing, children’s books, poetry, and a publishers’ panel. Celebrity authors from the Southwest and across the country will also speak.
    This will be a true family activity to celebrate books and reading. Show management is handled by Sunbelt Shows, the producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, the largest show in New Mexico for 24 years. The Southwest Book Fiesta will bring together authors, publishers, and the reading public in a family- friendly community event at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

    Net proceeds from the event will be donated to local literacy and library groups. 

    May 10-12, 2013

    Convention Center Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Reserve Your Spot in New Mexico’s Largest Annual Literacy Event Today!

    Booth and Table Fees

    Show off your books or products at the Annual Southwest Book Fiesta! Now is the perfect time to make a reservation for a booth. You can select a great spot on the show floor and save 10% if you sign up now. Tables start at $150 for authors and booths start
    at $400. Space sharing is permitted. 50% Deposit for booths or full payment for tables required with all reservations. Balance on booth spaces is due on or before March 15, 2013. Table or booth sharing is allowed; a maximum of three people allowed at tables. Only one person or organization will be included on the list of reservations.

    Table (6’) - $150

    Undraped, with two chairs
    For authors, publishers, companies, other groups (non-profit literacy and library groups are eligible for a $50 discount; contact show organizers for approval)

    Booth (10’x10’) - $400

    Draped, with two chairs (Corner booths $50 additional)
    Reservations can be made easily using the automated process on the website at

    Booth and Table Sharing

    Sharing of space is permitted, under the following guidelines:
    1. Tables are for authors and organizations only. Sharing is
      limited to three at each six foot table.
    2. Company booths may be shared by no more than two
    3. Organization booths may not contain companies, but any
    number of organizations may share a booth.

    For More Information