West Texas Writers Academy- June 9-14-2019

I spent an awesome week at West Texas Writers’ Academy at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. This was my second year to go to WTWA, and I highly recommend it to all writers and would-be writers. Mark your calendar for WTWA 2020 June 8-12, and look up the academy information starting in March 2020.

Jodi Thomas and Tim Lewis were the hosts, and Andrea Porter was the events planner. Jodi Thomas spoke on Tuesday night on “How to Critique.” Each morning Tim Lewis started the day at breakfast with a couple of jokes and announcements. He also was available to coach those of us who had an interview with an agent

Two people
Jodi Thomas and Tom Lewis. Leaders of WTWA
Andrea Porter-coordinator-of-workshop

At breakfast Monday through Thursday we were treated to a Powerpoint by KJ Waters on Marketing. She presented a wealth of information. She has her own consultancy firm in marketing.

I chose Lori Freeland’s class which was “The Secrets of a Successful Scene: How Great Scenes Become Strong Stories.” We met from 10-12 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday noon. She lectured part of the class using Power Point, with opportunities to ask questions and she gave us a notebook and daily handouts of the lecture. Then she divided us into small groups to work together on assignments and later on our manuscripts

Two teachers
Lori Freeland on right and Margi Lawson on the left.. Teachers at WTWA
Ruth's Class
Ruth’s Class WTWA 2019
Working Group

Pictured with Lori in the top photo is Margie Lawson who was my teacher for my first online writing class and for several since. Also, last year I attended her class about strengthening your writing using a process which she developed.

I had an interview with Rachel Beck of Holloway Literary Agency and we had a very good visit about my manuscript PROMISES TO KEEP.

I have permission to submit it to her agency so I need to finish my first draft and edit it using tools I learned at WTWA.

Rachel is the one on the right sitting in the giant rocking chair at The Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo, Texas.

The Big Texan restaurant lobby. Two agents sitting in giant wooden chair

The last two pictures were taken at The Breakfast of Champions on Friday morning. One is of my next-door roommate Sharron Edmondson and me. The other is a picture of part of the breakfast group.

About half of the breakfast group gathered for the last day.
Ruth and Sharron Edmondson
Fruitless Crab Apple blooms, Signs of Spring

Spring has Sprung

We now have blossoms on our apricot tree, and hopefully they weren’t frozen by the last freeze we had.

We made a short trip to Dodge City, Kansas, during our March Spring Break. I always enjoy going through museums and adding to my knowledge of history of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Front Street was once the main street there, and replicas of the original buildings stand three now.

Pictures of re-created Front Street, the business section of old Dodge City below. 
Inside now is a combination of museum and retail. I had my first Sarsparilla in the General Store, and I found it very much like root beer. I learned it was the precursor of root beer. We went behind Front Street to visit the Boot Hill Cemetery. In later years city ordinances forced the removal of the bodies and re-interment in city  

We found out their tourist season is only in the summer. They have a Santa Fe Depot, but we couldn’t see inside it. There’s also a Harvey House restaurant and Harvey Girls’ dormitory, but again closed until June. These types of businesses play a part in my book, PROMISES TO KEEP, and I’d like to see inside so that was a bit of disappointment.

We drove about nine miles west of Dodge City to see wagon tracks from the Santa Fe Trail. I was a little disappointed because I expected to see ruts, but there were depressions in the land where the wagon trains traveled.

front street boardwalk
front street boardwalk
Boardwalk in old Dodge
Mac MCdermott headstone
Mac MCdermott headstone
Dodge City, Ks favorite soft drink

I attended the Canadian River Valley Writers’ Workshop, April 11-13 in Canadian, Texas. While there I had an opportunity for a one-on-one session with writer Tex Thompson to go over my WIP (work in progress). It was a wonderful hour that we spent talking about my book. She made suggestions on how to increase the tension and on evening out the story between the heroine and hero. I have some re-writing to do, but I’m excited about it.Jodi Thomas spoke after dinner on Friday night. She is always a great encourager. Jodi has a new book coming out on May 7th, “The Little Teashop on Main.”

Author Ruth Collins Picture

January Update

Jan 23, 2019

So sorry I got off to a slow start on writing Newsletters. In December I had surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator and that stopped me in my tracks on all fronts, including writing. I’m finally back to doing most of my previous activities. It’s now obvious to me that I’ll be writing Newsletters on a quarterly basis rather than monthly. I’ve found this isn’t uncommon for writers.

For the first time in my son’s life, we did not share any Christmas time with him. We’ve experienced him being with his wife’s family on Christmas, and we’d get together some time during the holidays. But Green Bay is a long way from Oklahoma!

Our daughter and her family came to our house on Sunday before Christmas. We all enjoyed the little ones’ excitement over opening packages and gift sacks. They didn’t really care whose gift it was, it was fun to open! Monday we all traveled to my mother’s house for a Christmas Eve celebration with others of my family.

My dear husband took on the task of putting up and taking down the Christmas tree by himself, while I looked on part of the time. I did enjoy our beautiful tree and other seasonal decorations.

We did have a 10-inch snow right after the first of the year. It was cold enough that it stayed around for days.

I haven’t been able to attend Oklahoma Christian Fiction Writers’ monthly meeting in many months. We’re hoping to be in Oklahoma City for the third Saturday in February for the next meeting.

Part of the time when I wasn’t able to think straight or sit up and type on my novel, I printed it out and spent time reading it out loud and marking places that needed changes. I’ve discovered that most of the 25,000 to 30,000 words I still lack for my market are needed for my sagging middle. I’ve taken classes on this. Some review and hard work writing should take care of that. In case you forgot or didn’t know, my work in progress is an inspirational historic romance that I’ve titled Promises to Keep. My main characters are Grace and Zach who embarked on a marriage of convenience in eastern New Mexico Territory, 1910.

I have a hard decision to make on whether to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers convention in September in San Antonio or the West Texas A & M University Writers’ Academy in June, which is closer and not as expensive. Both have proved excellent in my experience.

Until next time, remember —

G – God’s

R – Redemption

A – at

C – Christ’s

E – Expense

The Perfect Place to Write

I have the perfect place to lose myself in my writing. I call it Ruth’s Writer Retreat. Some would call it an R-Pod travel trailer. It leads a double life.

G Pod set up as Ruth's Office
Ruth’s Office
Ruth's Writers Retreat
Ruth’s Writers Retreat

My current work in progress (WIP) I started to write in 2017. However since I attended the West Texas A&M writers’ camp in June, it has really taken off. This camp meets in June every year and I would highly recommend it.I have also taken online courses in plotting, conflict, and First Draft in Five Weeks. During the last one I really pumped up my wordcount. I wrote 30,000 words in those five weeks. So why aren’t I finished with it yet? It’ll be an 80,00-word-count inspirational historical fiction, and I’ve been distracted from my goal.What could distract me? My son has just moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin which is half a world away from Goodwell, OK. He asked me to come help him pack. I wanted to spend the time with my son so naturally I said yes. My daughter-in-law and granddaughter had gone ahead to find a house, and my 19-year-old granddaughter had a job waiting for her.What’s distracting me today? Laundry. Need I say more?A few words about my WIP. It is a “marriage of convenience” inspirational romance set in New Mexico Territory in 1910. I call it PROMISES TO KEEP.The next known distraction will be a trip to Piedmont, OK (OKC) to babysit for my daughter. It seems both she and her husband have to work the same Saturday in November. It’s a welcome distraction though as we’ll get to baby sit our 4 ½-year-old grandson and our 2-almost-3-year-old granddaughter.The truth of the matter, my husband of 47-plus years and I have been trekking to OKC and Guthrie nearly every month for several years now.I’m planning on writing a new newsletter every month, and more often if something exciting happens in our lives.