By Rebecca LaFlure
Killeen Daily Herald
Once a month, 10 women gather around a dining room table with pastries and cookies and read excerpts of their latest writings.
The women represent all ages and occupations. But all share a dream to become published authors.
"Each of us are a story," Edna Roberts, 88, a retired librarian, said. "Unless we tell it, it's lost."
The New Beginnings Writers Guild met Thursday evening for their regular meeting, held on the second Thursday of each month.
The group began with four church friends a year ago and quickly grew to 10 regular members.
"It makes us accountable," said Mary Baxter Stone, 76, who hosts the meetings in her Harker Heights home.
"And gives us inspiration," Nancy Hoxworth, 60, a retired counselor, added. "Seeing other people do it makes me think, 'What am I doing sitting at my desk?'"
One by one the women read their writings aloud as other members offered encouraging words. Some wrote and illustrated children's books; others shared personal essays.
Afterward, the ladies swapped tips about how to get published or what to write inside books during a book signing.
Four of its members have been published, and are working on their second book. Stone published a book in August titled, "Welcome to Mary's World," a memoir about her travels around the world. She's sold 100 copies so far.
"I wrote it as a legacy to my grandchildren about my life," Stone said. "We all have a dream, and this has been a dream come true."
Sherri Glover, 46, a correctional officer, attends the meeting each month, and published a book in November called, "Church Hurts," which includes 20 years of church stories. Her book is now sold in Hastings in Killeen.
"I wouldn't have published a book if it weren't for Mary," Glover said, pointing to Stone.
The women said the connections and encouragement they've received through the group have helped them pursue – and often achieve – their writing goals.
Jocelyn Green, 28, attended the meeting for the second time Thursday, and said she already had pages of notes and ideas. She said the meetings are slowly helping her gain the confidence to share her work.
"I came here for ideas, inspiration," said Green, an aspiring children's book writer. "I'm going to go home and write tonight."
The women welcome anyone with a strong love for writing to attend the meetings.
"We want serious writers," Stone said. "We don't want anyone who comes just for the cookies."
Contact Rebecca LaFlure at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHeducation.