March Newsletter Writers/Readers Quick Snack: Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake Submitted by Glenda Bonham

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup water
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa                                                                                    1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa                                                                                        6 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans


1 Heat oven to 325oF. Spray 15x10x1-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2 In large bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar and salt; set aside.

3 In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 cup butter, the water and 3 tablespoons baking cocoa to boiling. Remove from heat. Pour over flour mixture in bowl; stir until well mixed. Add sour cream, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla and the eggs; stir until well blended. Pour into pan, spreading evenly.

4 Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

5 Meanwhile, in another 2-quart saucepan, heat butter, 3 tablespoons baking cocoa, and the milk to simmering. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla with whisk until smooth. Stir in pecans.

6 Pour frosting over hot cake. Cool completely before cutting, about 1 hour.

This recipe is featured in the Best of Critique Café/Texas Edition, available from Texas_BoCC  , or from Fort Stockton Public Library.


March Newsletter: Fiction or Real?

Fiction or Real? By Richard McGee

Writers don’t all use the same methods to craft a fictional story. Some sit down with an idea of “what if?” they want to explore. Some have an idea of a unique world or universe they want to show to everyone. Others have a character in mind that they want to throw out into the world and see what happens.

Those divisions become blurred for many writers. I generally have a theme or general idea for my tales, but then I plug a character into the protagonist slot. I imagine what that character looks like. I think about his history; his childhood and prior experiences form the person he has become. My main character is never a superhero, they’re boring. Mine is an average person with both good qualities and foibles. His warts make him interesting, his weaknesses make him real and maybe even endearing.

After I create the protagonist, I develop his intimate circle of family and friends. Their traits influence my main character and further develop him in my mind. At this point, I see interactions between the characters that give me an even fuller vision of who my protagonist is.

My character is now mostly complete. He sits in my mind and I think of him often. Finally, I’m ready to put him in my story. By now, he has become a real person to me. If I try to have him do something that is alien to his personality, he rebels and does what he thinks is right. I am sometimes surprised when my story leads me in a different direction than my initial intent because my character did what came natural to him.

So, when you read my stories, I am telling you about a real person. He may not have a social security card or a driver’s license, but he is more real than many people I speak to during the day and he has become an intimate friend of mine.


March Newsletter Poetry Corner: Birdie, birdie

Birdie, birdie ~ By Vea Anna Hooker

Birdie, birdie, on the ground, sing for me your beautiful sounds.

Birdie, birdie, on the tree, waiting for a lunch that’s free.

Birdie, birdie, you look hungry; I’ll try to find you something crumbly.

Birdie, birdie, on the dish, tell me please, what do you wish?

Birdie, birdie, for more you ask, and flick your tail with lots of sass.

Birdie, birdie, on the pole, you look at me with eyes of woe.

Birdie, birdie, on my porch, taking some warmth from the torch.

Birdie, birdie, on the bowl, waiting for someone to distribute the dole.

Birdie, birdie, eating my seeds, accepting my charity because of your need.

Birdie, birdie, on the rail, spitting shells out of the pail.

Birdie, birdie, taking flight, what was it that gave you such fright?

Birdie, birdie, on the wing, the songs are beautiful which you sing.

Birdie, birdie, flying by, could I fly too, if I just tried?

Birdie, birdie, on your nest, thank you for staying. You make me blessed.



March Newsletter: Critique Cafe Launches New Book

Critique Cafe Launches New Book

Fort Stockton area writer’s group Critique Café has released another edition of The Best of Critique Café.

This 7th Volume of effort is available on, and at the Fort Stockton Public Library.

texas coverTexas is the theme of this newest offering, and features fiction, non-fiction, poetry, recipes, and Texas folklore and facts.

“We wanted to have this edition’s release coincide with Texas History Day at the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum,” says the group’s President, Jody Day. “We were concerned at first that we might not be able to come up with enough material for a whole book, but when we got going, the words flowed.”

Members of the group will be at the Museum event on March 9th showing off the new book.

Critique Cafe includes published, self-published and unpublished writers, inspirational fiction writers, non-fiction writers, mystery writers, opinion writers, fan-fiction writers, bloggers, and poets. 

Meetings are the first and third Monday (unless otherwise planned) of each month in the Roberta Puckett Gallery of the Fort Stockton Public Library from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

If you have always wanted to try your hand at writing, or already put your pen to paper, come and join this positive, supporting group.

Critique Café is sponsored by the H. Edward Petsch Art