Monday, October 27, 2014


By Janie Reinart
With a hoot, a holler,and a howdy do, a lovely dinner started the festivities at the Nonfiction for New Folks Conference (NF4NF) in Fredericksburg,Texas.  

Pat Miller

At this four day event, our own GROGer, Pat Miller lassoed us up tight in southern hospitality. 

Now here comes the excitin' part. Pat created, hosted, and presented at the conference with her stellar faculty.

Peggy Thomas

NF4NF had it all covered, from the esteemed author of the Anatomy of Nonfiction, Peggy Thomas to the entertaining singing Zoologist, Lucas Miller!

Lucas Miller, Steve Swinburne, Damon Dean

Now you can just start to get a kinda pretty picture up inside your head about the sixteen main power sessions we had. 

We commenced to havin' a whole heap of fun with critique groups, an ice cream social (peach pecan),Texas BBQ, line dancing, prize drawings,and an assignment while exploring Fredericksburg.

Here are some golden nuggets from the faculty

Pat Miller: "Use layered text such as charts, tables, graphs, timelines, diagrams, and text boxes in your nonfiction writing."  

Peggy Thomas:
"Infuse an image system into your story." Peggy subtly wove in agricultural words in her book, Farmer George.

Kristen Fulton: Recommends having three primary sources, two secondary sources and one other source like the internet.

Steve Swinburne

Steve Swinburne: "Devise a photo want list for your story. Think ahead. Scout locations. So shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. Digital has made life easy." 

Kelly Loughman: "If you've got the hook, you've got the book." Know thy publisher. Make sure your story is a good fit.

Kristi Holl

Kristi Holl: Assess where you are in your writing career. Keep track of how you are using your time. "Time is like a walk-in closet. If you keep pushing things in and not taking things out, it will explode."

Lucas Miller: Your story/song should "be compelling and entertaining with an emotional impact to make an enjoyable experience with science."

The Hill Country University Center, built in 2010, is home base.
This is what Arlene C. Graziano, a conference attendee had to say about the conference, 

"Informational, entertaining, inspiring, and approachable presenters spoke, sang, counseled and chatted. (A few danced, but that's another story.) Pat welcomed us with great food, facts, and fun."

Pat, we all are a fixin' to say,"Thank you, Ma'am, for a boot scootin', rip roarin' great time."


  1. Ooh, great post there. Some real gems I hadn't thought of before.

  2. Thanks Sherri. It was difficult to choose a nugget from all the great information we received!

  3. Replies
    1. Patricia,
      There were so many!! Very exciting conference.

  4. A treasure of a conference for sure!
    The real golden nuggets were the presenters....24 karat gold pure!

    1. Sevenacresky, I totally agree! We struck gold!!

  5. Fantastic! I'd love to dig into Pat's suggestion a bit. What is the best way to 'layer' details like charts, graphs, etc? As a mostly historical fiction and biography writer, I tend to stick to the 'story.' How would one begin to incorporate these visuals when you are creating the project? I always thought ghat was something that was done by the editors, book designers, etc. Sounds like a terrific conference.

    1. Burlesot,
      Pat is traveling right now, so I will ask when she returns. Pat will be able to give us examples of mentor texts.

  6. Janie this gives a welcoming snippet with fabulous art of the 16 powerhouse session.
    Appreciations for it.
    I can tell you brought home the energy from it. Good luck with all your related-projects now.

    Everyone, remember to put your byline at the top of your articles here.

    j a n

  7. HI Jan,
    Glad you enjoyed the snippets. The conference was so much fun!

  8. Would have loved to have seen a video of that trio playing/singing. Janie, I am so glad you went to this! It looks like you took away an awful lot. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  9. Todd, it was so much fun! When we are given the chance to play, we relax and become more creative. Pat Miller did a fabulous job!!