Mathis in the Plainview Daily Herald

Lifestyles article


Going through a stack of papers the other day, I found this newspaper article.

In September of 2012 I had already moved to Lubbock, and Mary Byrd was the only member of the Plaiview Writers Guild living in Plainview, so we decided to close the Guild. 

Carole Bell. of The Witness Writers took over our “time slot” for her group meetings.

Here, Carole Bell of The Witness Writers, and  Mary Byrd and I, along with Texas High Plains Writers member, Bernice Simpson,  attended a Witness Writers workshop in Plainview.

Author shares tips with Witness Writers

The Article

Author: Gail M. Williams | Lifestyles Editor

Section: News

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A man walks into a bookstore. “Where’s the self-help section?” he asks the clerk. She shrugs and replies, “If I tell you, won’t that defeat the purpose?”

Jennifer Mersberger uses that joke as an example of situational irony in her workshop, “Lighten Up! Nine ways to make your writing more relatable,” which she recently presented to Witness Writers at First United Methodist Church.

The group she spoke to were no strangers to irony, nor to helping themselves for that matter. They were in various stages of every writer’s dream — getting published. Some write successful blogs or columns, others are in negotiation with book publishers. Most were from Plainview, but some drove from Amarillo.

All of them were intense, educated listeners that wanted to hear what Mersberger, the author of two Christian books, had to say about improving their writing by using humor.

About the Presentor

Mersberger, 39, considers herself a Christian writer who happens to be funny, rather than the other way around. Her current book “One Size Fits All: How to Wear God’s Word,” published by Light Point Press, reached No. 15 in the Christian book genre on Amazon.


Unlike many writers, Mersberger didn’t grow up dreaming of being an author.

“I enjoyed English, but I didn’t start writing until I was an adult,” she said. Her first book “Parables of the Master Storyteller” began as a Bible study that she conducted just three years ago. A friend suggested that she have it published.

Mersberger lectures using worksheets with writing samples, both good and bad, that come from sources as diverse as Phillip Roth, author of “A Plight Against America,” and William Goldman, who wrote the movie “The Princess Bride.”

She is particularly hard on Philip Roth for a 100-plus word sentence and passes on some advice an early writing mentor gave her: “Don’t describe the wallpaper unless there’s blood on it.”

An example of humor as a coping mechanism comes from a real-life friend. “As a woman gathers the hair she lost from her chemo treatments, she says, ‘That color never looked good on me anyway.’”

After the lecture comes the time writers both long for and dread — the critique session. The writers break up into two small groups of four and five. Some have brought along copies to share, while others read their samples aloud or have someone else read for them.

Those who critique are gentle but firm, frequently alluding to Mersberger’s nine rules. Wouldn’t it be better to start in the middle? Is there too much detail here? The ones being critiqued question and scribble notes for later revisions.

At some level, most writing comes from personal experience, and Mersberger urges the writers to be “transparent.” When questioned about what that means, she said it means to be honest, to share your own experience.


However, she cautions, too much honesty can turn some readers off. In fact, one of her blog readers recently dropped her site because Mersberger was honest about her own display of anger during a family incident.

Mersberger recommends journaling and says she writes in her own journal every day.

“For me, journaling is very cathartic — that’s why I encourage people to do it. Sometimes it’s hard to see what God is doing in your life. Then I’ll read something I’ve written and say to God, ‘Oh, now I see what you’re doing.’ ”

Mersberger said she hopes her children will read her journals someday, “but that’s not why I write them. I do wish my parents would have done it for me.”

Mersberger lives in Newark on the outskirts of Fort Worth with her husband and two children. She is currently leading a new Bible study with three different women’s groups.

“Women’s ministry retreats have a different wave of creativity and shared insight that fuel my creative fire,” she said.

To read Mersberger’s blog and learn more about her, go to

Witness Writers meets from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of every month at First United Methodist Church, 1001 W. Seventh St. in Plainview, Texas.


Since I located this article, I have attempted to contact Carole Bell with no success.  I have talked to Mary Byrd, and she hasn’t talked to her, either. She also doesn’t know if The Witness Writers group is still meeting.

The Chronicles of Brad


This is not a word-for-word rewrite of the

Shipwrecked/Climb to the Top Collection Series

from Brad’s Point of View. I enjoyed writing it and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

There are several things that happened even when Kris was there that Kris didn’t mention, that Brad covers, so you might want to dust off your copies of the series to compare them.


As a special bonus, we revisit the series from Brad’s POV (Point of View). Find out how Brad felt when he first laid eyes on Kris, and other times when something happened during the series. Plus, he divulges other things that happened when Kris either wasn’t around or didn’t mention.

This is the Series Finalè for the “Shipwrecked/Climb to the Top” Collection Series.


eBooks by Mathis b Rogers

Reviews & Award

Featured in

Lady Cyrrheal Annex Reviews "Blizzard"

Lady Cyrrh

Lady Cyrrh gave Blizzard

The 1997 Cyrrheal Awards -Best Gothic Mystery

Blizzard [A]
When posted: 8/22/97
Where posted: ASSG
Author: Mathis B. Rogers  

This was a long one (pun intended)–more of a novelette than a short story–but it was very good, a sort of first-person gay gothic romance- mystery about a writer with amnesia. The story begins as the narrator is pulled from his crashed car by a handsome man. He doesn’t remember a thing and doesn’t know who he is, so the other guy takes him to his nearby cabin in the woods for shelter, as a blizzard is blowing up, and they soon become isolated from the world. The rest of the story is taken up with the writer’s efforts to rediscover his identity and understand the attraction he feels towards his rescuer and his repulsion towards another man who claims to be his lover.

There wasn’t much sex save for one scene is the middle (in which the police barge in on the gay couple as they ejaculate), but this was more of a mainstream story than porn anyway. The writer was quite skilled in setting up the situation–Is the rescuer all he seems to be? Can anyone he knows be trusted?–and I was eager to resolve the mystery. The denouement was a little bit of a letdown–by the time the final revelations came, I was expecting something really scandalous–but overall the story was entertaining, and excellently written as well.

Lady Cyrrheal Annex reviews "Shipwrecked".

Lady Cyrrh

Shipwrecked [A+]
Author: Mathis B. Rogers

… this story dealt with romance and the familial repercussions of being gay in contemporary society…more of a domestic fantasy than a sexual one, though there was a lot of sex (they say “I love you” over 50 times.) Kris, the young narrator, has been living with Brad, his lover, for two years, but Brad’s parents haven’t realized their son is gay and that Kris is not “just” a roomate. When Brad’s family invites the two to spend the weekend on their boat, they reluctantly, agree, knowing how hard it will be to keep it a secret. Complicating matters is Chad, Brad’s identical twin brother, who has also been asked along, and complicating things further is the freak storm that strikes, washing the boat ashore on a desert isle. (Stop singing the “Gilligan’s Island” theme.) The rest of the story deals with the aftermath, the “coming out” of the young couple, and how Brad’s parents and twin brother react to this.

It’s hard not to like this story even if you don’t like gay fiction, because the characters were simply so *nice.* I felt I knew them as neighbors. There was even a touch of sly familial sexual humor running throughout:


Mr. Peterson turned in his seat and looked Brad up and down as we climbed into the car. “No wonder those shorts had a hole in them, son,” he said. “They’re so tight that they’ll split if you get a boner. Couldn’t you find any decent clothes to wear?”


“Thanks, Mom,” Brad chided, before turning to his father.
“You shouldn’t talk like that in front of Mom, Dad.”


Mr. Peterson turned around and adjusted his seat belt. “Why not?” he asked. “She knows what a boner is. Hell, if she didn’t enjoy playing with mine, you wouldn’t be here.”


(No, there’s no incest!)

All in all, a feelgood story with roots in real life.

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your story ‘Blizzard’–and all your others on the Nifty archive. You are a very talented writer. When I read your stories, I dont just think ‘this is a great story,’ I think ‘wow–this is so real–it had to have happened!’
It is now by the clock… 4AM. I was forced to stay up and read your work… its an obsession.. . I just wanted to say that I think you are a very talented writer and an extreme romantic
Brilliant stories! I particularly enjoy the fact that the stories are actually a decent size, and that they don’t end after the first one or two screenfuls of text – you can actually get involved with the storylines. The work that has gone into the stories is evident, but the results are well worth it. Hopefully, you will soon enjoy the acclaim you deserve and get something professionally published – as an author myself, I know how frustrating the wait can be. Don’t give up – your work is good enough that it will eventually get accepted, somewhere! All the best,

Happy Easter & Passover!

Wishing everyone a Blessed and Happy Easter and Passover!

No matter which you celebrate, remember what Jesus did for you!


41st Annual Lubbock Arts Festival

Had a good time at the 41st Annual Lubbock Art’s Festival on Saturday, April 12th.  It’s a two-day event, but I was only able to attend on Saturday.

Several of the Authors who belong to the Write Right Critique Group were selling our books at the event.  Each year the group has a “Kid’s Stop” booth called “Write with the Writers” and also the “Meet the Authors” section. The authors get to meet and great readers and sell our autographed books.  Even in this day and age, several people still prefer to hold a physical book in their hands.

Since my readers prefer eBooks, I only have ’The Mysterious Bed’ in print.  I did give out several cards with my website on them and met some really neat people. 

Click our picture to be taken to the group’s Bookshelf page.


L-R: Mary Andrews, Anne Coffer, K J Waters, Mathis B. Rogers, Gloria Davis

Here's wishing everyone a VERY Happy New Year!

Here's wishing everyone a VERY Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving!


I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  My readers, especially.  I hope that you each have a very Happy Thanksgiving.  If you’re not in the United States, I hope you have a great weekend.

Update on The Chronicles of Brad

I’m still working on it.  Now that I have a job, I don’t get to work on it as much as I’d like to.  But I will let you know when I have it finished.  Stay tuned and, if you’re not on my notification list, you should sign up so you’ll be notified when I do.

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Happy Reading!

Happy 24th Anniversary Kris & Brad

I began writing the Shipwrecked Series in 1996 while working the Night Audit (graveyard shift) at a motel. 

My readers wanted more, so I continued the series. 

In 2009, I decided it was time to write Family Reunion which is the finalé.  And half way through it, I decided to re-write the entire series from Brad’s point of view, calling it The Chronicles of Brad.  Due to work and other interferences, I didn’t get to work on it very often.

In December 2017,  my job on the AppleCare Project with Kelly Services ended, so I decided I needed to get to work on it.  While working on it, I planned that since there were 10 books in the collection, I would release one book a month and end on their anniversary with The Chronicles of Brad.  Unfortunately, I had to clean all the books up and it wasn’t until August 8th that I was able to start releasing them.

I did mange to get the collection from Kris’s point of view out, but there is still so much to do from Brad’s point of view, I wasn’t able to make it by my deadline of October 14th for The Chronicles of Brad. 

I did finally find a job working at AlticeUSA (Suddenlink) in the Call Center as a Technical Support Agent, and it is keeping from working on it as much as I want/need to.

Please make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter , so you will be notified when I publish it.

Thanks for your patience and for being a valued reader.


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