Meet the Members

Lucy Griffiths has been a member of the Writers’ League since last fall and is attending the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine. She lives in Comfort, TX.

Limestone in My Bones world premier at High Street Cafe in Comfort, TX

Limestone in My Bones world premier at High Street Cafe in Comfort, TX

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Lucy Griffiths: I write poetry and nonfiction with a focus on the natural world.

Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?

LG: I would love to have a coffee with the poet, Mary Oliver and a beer with Eric Larsen.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

LG: I would want to have Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes. Each page is packed with lyricism and wisdom, and hits me differently each time.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

LG: That encouraging advice gets you through the tough times and that the organization encourages that generosity.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

LG: I see another book of poetry in my future and a longer book on the magic of living on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

LG: My dream is to educate and inspire others about our unique Hill Country environment with humor and passion. Each word of poetry-driven prose is steeped in my love of the Hill Country landscape. I think of myself as having a margarita in my veins and limestone in my bones.

To register for the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat, click here.

Meet the Members

Tamara Bower has been a member of the Writers’ League since May and is attending the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine. She lives in Tomball, TX.
IMG_1080

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Tamara Bower: My work in progress is a literary fiction/ possible YA novel, but I have projects going that include literary fiction novellas and a sci-fi novel-length work on the back burner. I spent a decade in journalism but am able to focus on my fiction now.

Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?

TB: It would be amazing to have a beer with Robert A. Heinlein, or coffee with C.S. Lewis, or either with  David Wroblewski.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

TB: The one book I would have on that fictitious lonely isle would be the Bible–full of inspiration for so many authors over the ages.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

TB: There is a growing community of writers whom I can join to learn and be sharpened by.

Scribe:. Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

TB: I see my writing reaching the level of fiction that shares unique insight into the cultures I’ve had the privilege to observe at length, as well as both pay homage to and extend their reach into the meta culture.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion?

TB: I am a beekeeper on hiatus since my move here from the upper Midwest, and an avid Sherlockian, serving as Second Pip for The John Openshaw Society of Houston.

To register for the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat, click here.

MEMBERS REVIEW

IT’S A LONG STORY: MY LIFE

By Willie Nelson with David Ruiz

Published in 2015 by Little Brown.

willie-nelson-its-a-long-story-my-life

Reviewed by Tony Burnett.

Willie Nelson’s new autobiography, A Long Story, My Life, is a must read for Willieophiles. The iconic Texas minstrel digs deep, spending a large portion of the journal exploring the lesser-known events of his childhood in Abbott, Texas and his early years developing his talents in the rough trade dives along Fort Worth’s notorious King’s Highway. Willie also reveals a number of surprises about his philosophical and spiritual journey, mostly as it pertains to his career decisions.

My Life, is neither a glorified PR statement nor a tabloid tell-all. It’s written in a conversational tone where most of his family and acquaintances (yes, including all four of his wives) are presented fairly and with forgiveness. He even claims to have a cordial relationship with the Internal Revenue Service; very interesting how this came about.

One of my favorite insights as to the way he’s lived his life is a quote near the end of the book: “My integrity is what it’s always been: a flexible thing, just like my music. It can bend this way and that.”

Willie doesn’t talk about his children in depth beyond names and birth dates, stating “That’s their book to write”. On the other hand his revelations about other country music icons and industry professionals reveals many particulars of their habits and politics.

At eighty one years old a fellow becomes introspective and philosophical. In the case of A Long Story, Willie has enlisted David Ruiz as a co-writer. As is Willie’s way, he works well in collaboration with other artists, always giving them equal billing. Such is the case with Ruiz, who doesn’t interfere with the flow of Willie’s story but seems to merely organize it thematically.

If you’ve ever had a desire to sit down with Willie over a game of dominoes or poker and chat, this is your chance. Don’t expect him to pop open a long neck with you though. Since the mid-70s he eschews cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, except the one he promotes and supports for legalization.

Willie just turned 82. He still does over 250 live shows a year and records at least one album, in addition to his Farm Aid concert and Fourth of July Picnic. Maybe he’s onto something. Maybe, like his home state, he’s just too damn ornery to stop.

Tony Burnett has been a member of the Writers’ League of Texas since 2010 and currently serves on the Board of Directors. His recent story collection, Southern Gentlemen, has been receiving positive reviews. He resides with his trophy bride, Robin, deep in the heart of Texas.

Meet the Members

Dick Sheffield has been a member of the Writers’ League since 2001. He splits his time between San Angelo, Texas and New York City.


Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write? 

Dick Sheffield: Fiction.

Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage? 

DS: So many: Ann Patchett/Raymond Carver/Joan Didion/Pico Iyer/Eudora Welty/Robert Caro/Norah Ephron/Wendell Berry/John Graves/Virginia Hamilton Adair/Will and Ariel Durant/Wallace Stegner – Pint of Guinness or Wild Turkey.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

DS: Ants On The Melon by Virginia Hamilton Adair.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League? 

DS: Keep showing up. Part of the process is showing up at your desk each day and doing the best you can, whether it is writing one sentence or five pages.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future? 

DS: I am presently working on the manuscript of my second novel and hope it does not end up in the trash.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

DS: Please visit my author page here. If interested, you can purchase my first novel Lasso the Moon, and read excerpts of my short stories as well as what I am working on now.

MEMBERS REVIEW

THE CONTEST

by Bennett Easton

Published in 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing.

The Contest

Reviewed by Kirsche Romo.

If you had billions of dollars at your disposal, what would you buy?

Minerva Bennett is head of a non-profit foundation which grants billions of dollars each year to worthy organizations. But after years of donations and watching humanity’s condition deteriorate every year, she decides she should do more with her money. She will sponsor a global contest to change the world for the better – to address current dangers to humanity.

The contest Minerva creates will include one-thousand teams from across the globe, from high-tech cities to third-world villages.  Their mission is to determine what will save the world, ultimately producing a manifesto outlining a plan to address and eliminate dangers to the human race.

Once I read the book’s description, I was immediately hooked – what an awesome plot. There was also some intrigue and murder-for-hire built-in as well, as of course not everyone is wildly supportive of Minerva’s efforts.

The prose of The Contest is well written. All in all, The Contest gave me a thoughtful idea to consider.  What would happen if a small group of people could figure out how to save the world?

K.L. Romo is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas who lives with her family in Duncanville, Texas. She is currently querying agents to represent her newly completed novel – From Grace I Fall – about an empty-nester who’s suddenly transported back to 1907 Dallas, seeing the world through her prior incarnation, a reformed prostitute who is determined to seek justice for other women forced to sell their bodies. You can visit her here

Third Thursday Wrap-Up

Writing About Poetry:
Passion, Process, and Publication

FullSizeRender

By WLT Intern, A.R. Rogers.

For May’s Third Thursday, The Writers’ League invited four poets to define poetry and the practice of their craft. When we bring authors from the same genre together, often we find a rose called by another name, as the world of poetry is, perhaps, the most eclectic of literary arts. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (The Year of No Mistakes) and Derrick C. Brown (Our Poison Horse) shared ideas from the slam and spoken word traditions. Their lives have been interweaved for nearly two decades since they were both young slam poets, touring the country and sleeping on various couches. They have come a long way since 1996. Aptowicz was the recipient of an NEA, the 2014 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award for Poetry, as well as numerous other awards and residencies; Brown was the winner of the 2013 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award for Poetry, and now runs Write Bloody Publishing.

Sasha West (Failure and I Bury the Body) and Carrie Fountain (Instant Winner) spoke on growing up with poetry in the home and growing up with the absence of poetry respectively, and how each of these environments continue to affect their practice. Though West was surrounded by poetry, it took her well into her adulthood to acknowledge poetry as more than a hobby. Fountain grew up in a blue collar family where poetry was virtually nonexistent.

When asked to define poetry, each poet provided their own unique and insightful answer, but all agreed that poetry involves both the acts of noticing and then distilling something larger from life’s everyday smallness. When prompted to outline their personal writing routines, Fountain spoke of her 5:00 am discipline, which she arrived at by means of necessity as a mother of two small children. West admitted that she doesn’t write every day, and doesn’t know if that will ever be her path. Concerning the actual act of creation, Aptowicz dared to go there: get off of Facebook. While the crowd laughed at this, it’s something we all need to be reminded of. Fountain warned of finding “too much footing” in a poem, and encouraged poets to, instead, teeter on the edge of a poem, while West gave some of the most intriguing advice of the evening, telling us to push every poem as far as we can, and suggested when we think a poem is complete to ask ourselves, “Can you break the poem open?”

Join us at BookPeople for our next Third Thursday on June 18. Our topic will be practicing your pitch with panelists Ellie Scarborough Brett, Tracy Sutton Schorn, and WLT’s own, Becka Oliver.

Meet the Members

Donna Dechen Birdwell has been a member of the Writers’ League since last fall and is attending the 2015 Agents & Editors Conference. She lives in Austin, TX.

1544930_861577257226935_4343003390507717134_n

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Donna Dechen Birdwell: I enjoyed world-building in my dystopian sci-fi novel, Way Of The Serpent, but all kinds of imaginative storytelling are fair game. Realism is so elusive.

Scribe What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?

DB: I’d love to share a glass of good California wine with Ursula Le Guin, whose father, Alfred Louis Kroeber, was one of the icons we bowed to when I was a graduate student in anthropology. I’d probably want a coffee with David Mitchell, to keep me on my toes. And if I could evoke the spirit of Jorge Luis Borges, I’d buy him whatever ethereal beverage he chose.

Scribe If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

DB: Let’s go with One Hundred Years Of Solitude, so Gabriel Garcia Marquez could keep me reminded that sanity is just a state of mind. And could I also have a stack of blank notebooks?

Scribe What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

DB: WLT has given me courage. It has taught me to dig deep into my experience and trust what comes together.

Scribe Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

DB: I intend to stay open to possibilities, but I do have a few plans. I want to put my current novel in the hands of as many readers as possible and listen to what they have to say. Meanwhile, I will be revising my next novel, The Fourth Time, and finishing the sequel to Way Of The Serpent. 

Scribe Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

DB: As an anthropologist, I came to believe that storytelling is one of the most important things we do as human beings. I have a lot of stories to tell and I have the dedication to hone my craft and tell them well.