October Newsletter Poetry Corner: Halloween

Poetry Corner


by Richard McGee


Past the time of grass and flowers,

Underneath the shedding tree limbs,

Mounds of leaves gather on the ground.

Parades of ghosts and goblins pass

Keeping their bags of treasure close.

Inside, Mother answers the door

Not knowing what monsters she’ll meet.

*Richard’s poem is featured in the Fall/Halloween Edition of Best of Critique Café along with other stories in the same theme, available at Amazon.com or can be purchased at Fort Stockton Public Library .


October Newsletter Writers/Readers Quick Snack: Sugar-Cinnamon Pecans

Writers/Readers Quick Snack—Glenda Bonham

Sugar-Cinnamon Pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons water
1 cup pecan halves

Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a skillet and cook over medium heat for about a minute until the sugar dissolves and the mix- ture is bubbling. Add the pecans and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring to coat the pe- cans. Remove from the heat, and spread the pecans out on parchment paper to let cool. Store in an air-tight container.

Book Review

October Newsletter Book Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah A Book Review by Richard McGee


Novels and stories about war are usually told from the perspective of men fighting on the battleground or from the commanders forming strategy and tactics. The Nightingale gives us insight into World War II from the perspective of the women left behind. Two sisters, estranged from each other and from their father, struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied France. Each follows a different path to negotiate through the dangers and hardships they face.

The sister that had always depended on her husband had to learn to cope after he left to fight. The sister that had al- ways rebelled against authority had to find a way to channel her energies. The father that was devastated by his experiences in the previous war and had spurned his daughters, had to find his way back to them.

The tension begins in chapter one and escalates in each succeeding chapter. I occasionally find a book that I can’t put down until I finish it. This book was different as I found I sometimes had to set it aside for a few minutes, because the emotions became so intense I had to take a break. There were several “oh wow” moments.

The Nightingale won the People’s Choice Awards for best novel in 2015 and Goodreads Best Historical Fiction Novel for that year. Production as a movie is currently underway and will be released in 2019. Hurry and read the book before then as a two-hour movie cannot capture the depth of this book.

News from NaNoLand

October Newsletter: News from NaNoLand

National Novel Writers Month by Sarah Shuttleworth

The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That first year there were 21 participants. 20 years later there are more than 400,000 participants from all around the world are expected to participate this November. So what exactly is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1st, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30th. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

“Too many people think they’re not a ‘creative type,’ but to be human is to be a ‘creative type’. NaNoWriMo teaches you to believe that your story matters, to trust the gambols of your imagination, and to make the blank page a launching pad to explore new universes. That’s important because when we create, we cultivate meaning. Our stories remind us that we’re alive, and what being alive means,” says Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo.

So how can you join in on the fun? Sign up on http://www.Nanowrimo.org. After you’ve signed up come to a local meeting! Fort Stockton has a local group that meets regularly during the month of November for Write-ins. Write-ins are full of fun, games, encouragement, and writing! You can also contact local Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo Sarah Shuttleworth at sarahlcsnano@gmail.com to ask any questions, request more information, or find out when and where the next meeting will be.

Is there an age limit to participate? No! Younger aspiring novelists can join the Young Writers Program

Member Spotlight

October Newsletter Member Spotlight: Frank Bain

Member Spotlight: Frank Bain


Frank Bain was born May 1, 1933 to Robert Lawson and Agatha Madeline (Florer) Bain in the small community of Two Ripple,West Virginia in his grandmother, Angeline Day Evans’ house. His birth certificate states he was born in Elizabeth, West Virginia, which is just across the Little Kanawha River.

Growing up as one of nine children to the couple, he was curious about his family and asked many questions, eventually becoming passionate about genealogy. In so doing, he learned that some family stories are untrue. He calls them family fibs.

In the hills of West Virginia, he experienced a life completely different from our modern way of life. He is in the midst of writing his memoirs, so his descendants will have a better understanding of where he, and therefore they, came from. He is proud of being a twelfth generation descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, who arrived in America on the Mayflower.

In 1960, Frank moved his family to Des Moines, Iowa, where he spent the next 56 years of his life, before moving to Texas after the death of his wife.


Spotlight Feature Article


The Hot Dog Story


I dropped out of college due to the lack of funds and I needed to find a job other than cutting timber with my father, as I would not get paid until the job was completed. In addition, my dad treated me like a child rather than the adult I had become.

My older brother, George had worked for a farmer in Ohio and met a girl by the name of Bertine Hess. I decided to hitchhike to Coolville, Ohio, to see if she knew where to find work. When I arrived at the Coolville High School and asked for her, the principal informed me she did not attend that school. He looked in the records and found she was enrolled in a school a few miles away.

So, I got back on the road with my thumb out and arrived at the Olive Orange High School about noon. I asked a young lady if she knew Bertine Hess. She said, “I’ll get her.”

A few minutes later, a girl wearing a purple school sweater with a large orange “O” on it, came up the steps to the landing where I stood. She clasped a zippered notebook tightly to her chest. Her sweater was about two sizes too big and in the pocket was a hot dog wrapped in a napkin.

Now, when I tell the story, I like to embellish it a little. I tell the story that in order to meet my future wife I had to swim the Ohio River from West Virginia. The Ohio River is full of hungry catfish, so a man has to swim fast to make it across unharmed.

When I arrived at the High School, I saw this young lady had a hot dog in her sweater pocket and I was really hungry. I remember thinking, do I have to marry that girl to get that hot dog.

That’s my embellished version. The truth is; I did not swim the Ohio River, I crossed over on the Belpre Bridge.

The Moral is: Be careful when you meet a girl with a hot dog in her pocket, you may end up a married man.

Notes: I later joined the Marine Corps in May of 1953. While I was in boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, Bertine wrote me letters, which I appreciated. After completing boot camp, I went to visit her. We attended the Meigs County Fair where we had our picture taken.

My first duty station was the US Naval Training Base in North Chicago, Illinois where I continued to receive letters from Bertine. I was given a 30-day leave before my next duty station, which would, most likely, be overseas. While home on leave one night, after her parents had gone to bed, I proposed.

She said, “What?” and for a moment, I thought I had made a mistake. But then, she started giggling, and said, “I’d be happy to be your wife.” We celebrated by going to the refrigerator for a pickle, which we shared.

After my leave was over and I arrived at El Toro Marine Corps Air Base in California, I put a deposit on a diamond ring. I didn’t complete the payments until after I arrived in Korea. The engagement ring arrived at her home the same day she graduated from high school, where she proudly showed off her ring to her classmates.

We were married for 61 years.