Category Archives: General

General category for posts that haven’t been added to other categories.

Speaker: Saturday, March 25

Our speaker will be Michael Dooley from the Department of English and Languages at Tarleton State University. 

Meeting: Hood County Library, Pecan Room, 10:00 a.m.

His intended topics are creating characters that people want to return to over and over, using appropriate dialect (correct in region and time). Also, the importance of research for faithfulness to actuality in plot construction.

Mr. Dooley’s CV:

-born and raised in South Florida

–grew up as a swamp stomper, beach bum, and traveler of this great country in a VW Beetle along with a German Shepherd named Emmylou

–spent 25 years as a carpet installer before finishing college

–currently in the 22nd year as an Assistant Professor of Composition and Research and Literature at Tarleton State University

–presented at regional and national creative writing conferences and festivals, original fiction for more than ten years, including for many years at Langdon Review of the Arts in Granbury, Texas

–published two collections of short stories—As the Wave Rose: Florida Tales and other Wandering Stories (2020) and The Water Stop Saloon: More Wandering Tales (2022), both published by Fine Dog Press

–currently working on a noir mystery entitled Murder at the Pennsylvania Hotel (hopefully released at the end of summer 2023)

–married to Kelli for close to 42 years now, one son and daughter-in-law, one granddaughter and one on the way, a smart Blue Healer, a cat that comes when you whistle, and a longhorn named Tip

GWB Meeting February 25: Hood County Library

Our next meeting will convene in the 1st floor Pecan Room at the Hood County Library on Saturday, February 25th, a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. The Library opens at 10:00 a.m.

Our speaker will be Dr. Jake Brewer.

Topics: Workflow, in and out of one’s genre, and the relationship between plot and causality.


I completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Film at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned my Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Oklahoma State University. My doctoral studies were completed at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Now I’m at Tarleton State as an Assistant Professor of English, where I teach creative writing (especially fiction), renaissance literature, and film. My short fiction has been published in F(r)iction, The Hunger, and most recently on the podcast Tales to Terrify.

GWB Meeting January 23, 2023

Laura Drake, a well published author, will speak Monday night, the 23rd of January at the Langdon Center Studios.

You’ve all heard of, ‘show don’t tell’, but there’s an even deeper point of view – Immersive Point of View. Laura attended a week-long intensive with the Agent and author, Donald Maass in September, and she’s going to pass on what she learned. 

Come with paper and pen – there will be exercises!


Laura Drake is a New York and self-published published author of Women’s Fiction and Romance.

Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding.  Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 11 more books and is under contract for two more. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog, as well as a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Winning Story by Brian Condike

(Brian approved posting his first place flash fiction story.)


by BJ Condike

“Just get on with it, Tony!” the detective said. “Tell me what happened at the restaurant tonight.”

“Okay, okay. But it started long before tonight, you know? It all began in 1965…”


I was working at Howdy’s Hamburgers that spring—remember them? Curt Gowdy used to do their commercials. He’d start with his signature phrase, “Howdy! I’m Curt Gowdy,” and then go on with the schmaltzy ad. I was earning money to pay my first year’s college tuition, and I really needed the job.

Anyway, it was Friday night. There was the usual rowdy crowd after a basketball game, and that evening the kids acted abnormally crazy. The usual jerks would drink beer and get wild. One jerk always bugged me more than the others, and that was Erik Carlson.

About ten o’clock Carlson swaggered up to the counter. I could tell he was lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Hey, Rocco,” he said, “I see you’re still slinging burgers.”

“My name’s Tony and you know it. What do you want, Carlson?”

“What I don’t want is your attitude, Burger Boy. I want three burgers, two fries, and a Coke. And extra pickles on the burgers.” He leaned into the window and leered at Maria. “I like pickles, don’t you, Maria?”

He was speaking to Maria Esposito, who manned the fryer that night. She ignored Erik and busied herself with the French fries, but I could see color rising to her face.

“That’ll be seventy-six cents, Erik.”

“Wait a minute. You didn’t ring it up. How do you know how much it is?”

“Because I do this for a living.”

“Yeah? Well I don’t believe you. Prove it.”

“Three hamburgers at fourteen cents is forty-two cents.” The register chinged as I slammed the keys. “Two fries at eleven cents is twenty-two cents.” Ching. “And one Coke at twelve cents is twelve cents.” Ching. “Your total is therefore seventy-six cents.” Ching-ching. “Which you would have known if you hadn’t flunked Mr. Hobbs’ math class in eighth grade.”

Carlson sneered and said, “You just got lucky.” He tossed a dollar bill on the counter.

A few minutes later, Carlson elbowed his way to the front of the line.

“Hey, Burger Boy! I told you extra pickles!” He waved a half-eaten burger in my face. “I got no pickles! None!” He peeled away the bun and thrust the mess of ketchup, mustard, and chopped onions at my nose.

Instinctively I leaned back. Erik wound up in a fastball motion and pitched the burger at my head. I ducked and heard a shriek behind me. I turned to see a startled Maria with a half a burger stuck to her hair, and red, yellow, and white splattered over her face and uniform.

I had a thing for Maria. I think she liked me too, but I had yet to work up the courage to ask her out.

I snapped. We kept squeeze bottles by the register for customers who wanted to drench their fries in ketchup. I grabbed one, pointed it at Carlson, and squeezed with both hands, spewing ketchup over his blonde hair and white letter sweater. His resulting red, blonde, and white appearance reminded me of Carlson’s burger. There were no pickles on him, either.

Erik roared, grabbed my shirt, and hauled me over the counter and through the window. Despite his superior size, it was an awkward move, and we tumbled to the floor with me on top. I heard an “Oof” from Erik and he lay still.

When I stood up, my white uniform was smeared in ketchup. We used an industrial brand of ketchup made with Red Dye Number 2, making it a deep red. Some called it blood red.

A co-ed saw me and screamed, then another. One of the parochial school kids punched a public-school kid. Soon everyone was fighting. Someone ran to the parking lot to fetch the cops who were always there on game nights. They called for back-up. And an ambulance. The cops shut down Howdy’s that night.


“That explains your arrest record,” the detective said. “What’s the rest of the story?”

“The rest of the story is that the Howdy’s manager fired me and wouldn’t give me a reference. Between that and my arrest record I couldn’t get the jobs I needed to earn money for college, so I never went. I gave what money I had to my brother Leo, and he went to school instead. He graduated in restaurant management and opened the Gondola restaurant here in town.”

“Where you were working tonight as a waiter.”

“Yeah. Don’t get me wrong. I like my brother, and I’m thankful he lets me work there, but he makes us wear these ridiculous outfits.” I stood up to display a white shirt and green pants, with a red sash tied at the hip like a cummerbund. Red spots peppered the shirt like a Jackson Pollock painting. “I know they’re the colors of Italy’s flag and everything, but I look like an underprivileged pirate. Besides, who wears white in an Italian restaurant? All that marinara…”

“What has that got to do with tonight?”

“It shows motivation and state of mind. There are extenuating circumstances around what happened.”

“Let’s get to that.”

“So, I’m walking by this table tonight, and I hear someone say, ‘What’s that smell? It must be another Dago greaseball waiter.

“I turned, and there was Erik Carlson wearing a sneer, with his wife Maria at his side. Yeah, that Maria. And sitting on the table was a squeeze bottle of ketchup. It triggered me, you know? For the second time in my life I lost it.”


“The squeeze bottle was within easy reach. But so was the steak knife. I don’t know what came over me. I grabbed the knife and stabbed him. I’m not sure how many times. I got tired after a while. Like I said, there were extenuating circumstances.”