Meet the Members: Patty Sisco

“I live with my husband, son, two grandsons, a dog, and two cats, and I am a passionate advocate for public education in Texas, mental health, and kids with autism.”

— Patty Sisco

A member of the Writers’ League since October 2018, Patty lives in Grand Prairie, TX.

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

Patty Sisco: Nonfiction, memoir, and essay.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

PS.: Isabel Allende. I would ask her, “How did you acquire your relationship with spirits and dreams?”

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

PS: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It has everything — humor, mystery and suspense, pathos, horror, intense character development, and much more.

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

PS: I just joined, so I’m hoping to learn a great deal.

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

PS: At my late age, I’ve only published one book. Hopefully my sales will increase and my name as a writer will be respected, and I hope to expand my repertoire.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

PS: I haven’t read a Texas-related book this past year, but I’m interested in reading Thursday Night Lights by Michael Hurd.

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

PS: I published my very first book AFTER I retired from 39 years in education, though I’ve been writing it for years in my journals.  A couple of years ago, I was writing my annual holiday newsletter containing great tidings of joy, when the thought struck me that the people we never see have absolutely no idea of the chaos that has enveloped our family for the past 20 years. Thus the birth of Another Cheesy Family Newsletter by Elizabeth Silva (my pen name). Following each cheesy newsletter is a narrative of what REALLY happened each year. A chronicle of addiction, co-dependence, mental illness, family dysfunction, and the power of love. Currently, I live with my husband, son, two grandsons, a dog, and two cats, and I am a passionate advocate for public education in Texas, mental health, and kids with autism.

Thank you, Patty!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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Meet the Members: Linda Ellis

“Writers’ League has been an amazing resource for me. I’ve met some incredible writers over the years, and I’ve taken classes that helped me hone my craft.”

— Linda Ellis

A member of the Writers’ League since 1999, Linda lives in Lago Vista, TX.

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

Linda Ellis: Historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, and adventure. As a professional archaeologist and historian for many years, I’ve written numerous technical reports and journal articles. Now I allow my imagination to run free and draw on all the esoteric bits of history and archaeology floating around in my head. I’m currently working on an archaeological adventure novel.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

LE: Margaret Mitchell. I’d like to ask her how she managed to sustain such consistent and remarkable characters over the 10-year period that it took her to write Gone with the Wind.

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

LE: A difficult choice, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I love this book. Plus, if a lone woman could survive going back 200 years in time, it would certainly inspire me to tap into my survival instincts and make the most of a stressful situation. Who knows, maybe a Jamie would show up and rescue me.

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

LE: Writers’ League has been an amazing resource for me. I’ve met some incredible writers over the years, and I’ve taken classes that helped me hone my craft. The very first class I took (Novel in Progress) helped me refine my first novel, and the League’s referral service provided me with contacts for editors who helped tidy it up. I’ve attended several Agents and Editors Conferences as well. Each one was a wonderful learning experience that gave me the opportunity to interact with many interesting writers, editors, and agents.

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

LEThe New York Times Best Sellers list! As a writer, my hope is that when people read my novels, they will discover something new about themselves and their own stories. I have so many tales to tell, and I can’t wait to get them all on paper.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

LE: A Love Letter to Texas Women by Sarah Bird. It actually came out in 2016, but I only read it this year. I loved it! In true Sarah Bird style, it’s a hilarious tribute to the graciousness and grit that makes Texas women so distinctive. It made me proud to be a fourth-generation Texas woman.

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

LE: My study of mankind has led me down some amazing paths. It has expanded my mind and challenged me to see the world differently. I have a deep love and appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the many men and women who have left their enigmatic “footprints” on this planet we call home. However, as a student of the metaphysical, I’ve learned that history isn’t just a series of names, dates, and places. History writ-large is the collective story of generations of people, and ultimately, each of us have our own story to tell and many of us never know when our past and our present intersect. My novels grow out of this perspective.My recently released series Slender Threads delivers a delightful one-two punch in just this fashion. The first book, Slender Threads: Fate, is set in 1830’s Tennessee and Texas. The second book, Slender Threads: Destiny, takes place in Texas in the 1990’s. Together they relate the interwoven tale of two Texas families over a period of more than 150 years.

Slender Threads: Fate, begins with Rachel Edmunds Thompson learning that her beloved John Rollins is not dead after all, having survived the Texas Revolution despite reports to the contrary. However, three years have passed since John left Tennessee, and Rachel has married another man at her father’s urging. What’s more, the union has produced a child, who is the joy of her life. As Rachel and John struggle with the hard choices their situation required in the 1830’s, they embark on an emotional journey of a love that will never end. It simply weaves its way into the DNA of each successive generation and lies in wait for that one moment in the stream of time when its energetic memory is re-created in yet another lifetime.

Slender Threads: Destiny, is the story of the decedents of John and Rachel, Rob Rollins and Sara Thompson Layton. There was an instant connection between the two, but the turmoil and uncertainty in their lives was too much for their fragile relationship to bear. When Rob re-enters Sara’s life seven years later, she is reluctant to risk her heart again and is locked in an emotional struggle until the day she purchases the century-old memoir of early Texas pioneer John Rollins. What Sara discovers within this weathered book unexpectedly opens a window to her own past and a 150 year old bond that shakes the foundation of her logical world, forcing her to reexamine what she believed to be a long-dead relationship. If she accepts the improbable, will Sara find the courage to let go and listen with her heart? Fate may have brought Sara and Rob together, but only they can choose their destiny.

Both books are available in HB, PB, and IBook formats at: http://www.lwellisbooks.com/

To find out more about L.W. Ellis, check out:

https://lwellis.com/

http://www.nurturethemind.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLWEllis/

Thank you, Linda!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: H.R. Young-Lira

“My intention in joining [WLT] is to learn how to best be involved with my local writing scene and how to find the best home(s) for my work.”

— H.R. Young-Lira

A member of the Writers’ League since August 2018, H.R. lives in Austin, TX.

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

H.R. Young-Lira: Creative nonfiction, fictionalized memoir, and fiction.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

H.R.: At this moment? Taylor Jenkins Reid. And I’d ask her this: How has having a baby changed your writing life and what do you do differently now?

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

H.R.: I’d say Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace because I know I’d forever have something to read, but to be completely honest, I’d probably be most grateful to myself if I’d happened to have packed my ancient copy of The American Tradition in Literature before being marooned. So much good stuff in those pages.

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

H.R.: I’m really new yet, but my intention in joining is to learn how to best be involved with my local writing scene and how to find the best home(s) for my work.

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

H.R.: I’m not quite sure, but I’m beginning to believe I’ll know I’ve arrived when I can post to Instagram and feel comfortable using only a single hashtag in the caption. But in all seriousness, I’m looking forward to watching my audience grow, and learning how I might be able to move readers in the same way I am moved by the stories that inspire me. I do also hope that one day my writing will afford me copious amounts of time to live exactly the life I want.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

H.R.: I can’t not recommend my book The Truth About Sunday Minor here. It published in February 2018 and I have been surprised and elated by reader response — it seems I’m not the only one who couldn’t let this story go! Otherwise, I don’t specifically seek out Texas-related books, and the last one (besides my own) that happened to be Tex-centric was published in 1993. I read it straight through from cover to cover as soon as I got my hands on it and I would recommend it in a heartbeat as an absolute must-read today — Drink Cultura: Chicanismo by Jose Antonio Burciaga.

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

H.R.: I’m currently working on Part II of the Sunday Minor series, and can’t wait to share the next part of this story with the world. I keep everyone updated on my progress via social media, and my primary platform is Instagram. I’d love to connect with other WLT members there, so come find me (@h.r.younglira) and say hi!

Thank you, H.R.!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Annette Pearson

“Wherever a writer is in his/her writing career, the WLT offers resources for feeding creativity and maintaining the writing practice, improving one’s craft, navigating all the business aspects of writing, making and maintaining connections, and so much more.”

— Annette Pearson

A member of the Writers’ League since 2016, Annette lives in Austin, TX.

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

Annette Pearson: Novel, short story, narrative nonfiction, and poetry.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

AP: John Irving. I would ask him why there’s such a strong element of naturalism in his work. That might actually be a very personal question, though, so maybe I’d start off with something lighter, like… what author would he most like to have a drink with (whom he hasn’t already), and why.

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

APThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, hands down. Dumas’ classic is filled with duplicity, suffering, hope, courage, despair, faith, love, revenge, freedom…. I’d need all the humanity within this novel to keep me company, and the language, characters, plots and themes are rich and complex enough to provide new insights and enjoyment with each reading. The grim island imprisonment and isolation of the main character, Edmond Dantes, might just offer me a better perspective on my own island challenges!

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

AP: I should have become a member 25 years before I did! Wherever a writer is in his/her writing career, the WLT offers resources for feeding creativity and maintaining the writing practice, improving one’s craft, navigating all the business aspects of writing, making and maintaining connections, and so much more. I’m consistently pleased with the variety, quality and value of the classes, workshops, panel discussions, retreats, and the Agents & Editors conference. Writers are writers because they write, of course, but there’s so much more to the writing life, and I appreciate the support offered by WLT for the different aspects of it.

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

AP: I’m always surprised by the magic that can happen when I sit down to work – if I’m open to the creative process of writing and not too focused on the end product. When I wrote my first collection of short stories for a graduate program, I thought I knew “my genre,” but later as I got busy with life and teaching and raising children, I found that poetry offered me the kind of structure and word play I needed then. Right now, I’m revising a memoir and looking forward to editing a novel draft, but who knows what other projects will find me!

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

AP: Natalia Sylvester’s Everyone Knows You Go Home, a lovely, haunting book about risk, forgiveness, family and home, set on the Texas/Mexico border. Timely and relevant.

Thank you, Annette!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Kerry L Stevens

“The WLT is like a chest filled with treasures of classes. I’ve learned much about the craft and business of writing.”

— Kerry L Stevens

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2016, Kerry lives in Leander.

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

Kerry L Stevens: My debut book is a memoir about my maverick mother, and our unique relationship. It’s called Forever Herself: A Son’s Memoir of a Remarkable Woman.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

KS: I would relish spending time with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of his earlier books, Strength to Love, changed my life. My first remarks would be to offer him my sincerest gratitude for the work he did and the inspiration he’s provided to so many people. Then we’d discuss how we could collaborate to continue to change the world.

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

KS: I don’t believe I’d need a book to keep me sane. I enjoy my time alone and exploring the world. I’m certain a deserted island would also hold many secrets waiting to be revealed. I seldom read the same book twice. So repeatedly reading the same book may add to my insanity, rather than detract from it. I’d desire to have a detailed reference book about the flora, fauna, geography, astronomy, and other scientific facts for islands in the region which I could use to survive and improve my life.

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

KS: The WLT is like a chest filled with treasures of classes. I’ve learned much about the craft and business of writing. The knowledge gained shaped the memoir I wrote and provided the energy to see it completed, then help prepare me to publish and promote it.

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

KS: The next phase is promoting my memoir, Forever Herself, released in October. It was written to honor my mother, a prolific writer who died without achieving her dream of sharing her words in a published book. It’s a fusion of her poetry and prose with my memories of our relationship. My next project may be publishing an entire book of her poetry or one of her Middle Grade novels. If I can find the right illustrator, I’d also love to publish one of her children’s books.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

KS: I’ve only recently read one Texas-related book. It’s called Soul Love: How a Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again. It’s a raw memoir of despair and hope written by a friend, Teresa Q. Bitner.

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

KS: Shaped by childhood adversity in an impoverished, fatherless home during the Great Depression, my mother grew into a strong woman who embraced life on her terms. But when she dared to be herself in our rural community, she endured ostracism and loneliness, finding solace in her faith. You may learn more about Forever Herself: A Son’s Memoir of a Remarkable Woman at my website www.KerryLStevens.com. Because my mother is a contributing author, her dream is now fulfilled.

Thank you, Kerry!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Lori Duran

“I have learned there is a wealth of information here in Austin about the craft of writing and there is great support available at the Writers’ League of Texas.”

— Lori Duran

A member of the Writers’ League since 2017, Lori lives in Austin.

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

Lori Duran: Nonfiction history.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

LD: Isadora Tattlin, and I would ask, “What are your most prominent memories of Cuba during the 1990’s and the time you lived there?”

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

LD: I would bring Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions 1905-1917 by Harrison Salisbury.

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

LD: I have learned there is a wealth of information here in Austin about the craft of writing and there is great support available at the Writers’ League of Texas.

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

LD: I would like to continue writing and I am interested in writing about a local politician and his family.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

LD: I could not put down Indelible Austin: More Selected Stories by Michael Barnes.

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

LD: My book titled “Austin’s Travis Heights Neighborhood” was released on October 8. The book includes 185 photos that highlight the history of the early south side of Austin. I also write history pieces for Society Diaries magazine. I am also serving on the Board of Directors and work as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Austin History Center and the Oral History Committee. History has been a life long passion for me and it is all around us, everywhere.

Thank you, Lori!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Jan Jenson

“Above all, I hope to make a difference in the lives of my readers by expanding their horizons above and beyond the limited scope of this world and this lifetime.”

— Jan Jenson

A member of the Writers’ League since April, Janet lives in Galveston.

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

Jan Jenson: I write fiction that crosses genre lines. This includes historical, paranormal, inspirational, psychological suspense, romance and adventure.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

JJ: Emily Dickinson! I’ve always felt a spiritual connection with her and the life she lived in Amherst, MA in the 1800’s. I would like to know what her life was like – and who the mysterious man in her life was! So many biographies offer different “slants of light” and I’d like to confirm the truth about this amazing poet.

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

JJBits of Birch by Kay Karras. Kay, a relatively unknown poet, was a dear friend who has passed on, and left behind a legacy of poems that seem to transcend life as we know it. With an 8th grade education, she was somehow able to tap into an inspirational force that flowed through her fingers into her amazing poems.

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

JJ: So far I’ve learned that there are many talented Texas writers out there and that you offer some great opportunities to learn more about writing and marketing.

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

JJ: Now that I have an agent and a contract with World Castle Publishing for my upcoming novel, I’m looking forward to expanding distribution of my novels. Above all, I hope to make a difference in the lives of my readers by expanding their horizons above and beyond the limited scope of this world and this lifetime. The greatest reward for me is having received a note like this one from Stephanie A: “Your writing inspired me and touched me in many ways. You led me on an amazing journey that which I will be pondering for days to come. Your words touched my soul and revitalized me in many ways.” THAT is what it is all about for me!

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

JJ: Galveston 1900 – A Story of Twin Flames by Ervin Mendlovitz.

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

JJ: Yes! My latest paranormal/psychological suspense novel, The Sisters by Janet Kay (my pen name) was released on April 30 by World Castle Publishing. It flows from the shores of historic Galveston Island, Texas to the icy depths of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Is it possible to penetrate the veil separating the world of the living from the land of the dead? My novel explores this intriguing possibility, while flashing back and forth in time between the Great Storm of 1900 and present-day life in Galveston. Texas writers and readers will recognize some of the places in my novel, including Ashton Villa where some of my characters live. Many scenes are set in places they will know – Hotel Galvez, the haunted Stewart Mansion, The Witchery.
Here’s a review blurb from Stacie Theis, Beach Bound Books Reviewer: “Janet Kay is a gifted storyteller who enthralls her readers with her brilliant imagination and alluring plots. You won’t be able to put this book down!”
For more information, please check out my website – NOVELS BY JANET KAY

Thank you, Jan!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!