Meet the Members

Patricia Luce Chapman has been a member of the Writers’ League for eleven years. She lives in Rockport, Texas.

Patty, Festival of Flowers, April 26 2014

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

Patricia Luce Chapman: I write lyrics, memoir, for Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, among others, and for theatre (three plays performed on stage in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC).

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

PC: Christopher Marlowe, Jean-Paul Sartre, Tennessee Williams, John Keats, Dick Francis, and Tony Hillerman.

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

PC: Please give me these three: Encyclopedia Britannica, The Bible, and a collection of the world’s best limericks.

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

PC: Everything from platform to log line. One of the great advantages of attending the WLT conferences is that the information given is hard and not fluffy. It is practical, given by professionals who themselves have had to work their way up. The emphasis on hard information is more important than the introductions to editors and agents because without the polish and basic professionalism of learning how to write and pitch a log line, there’s no way—barring a miracle—that your work will be accepted. I owe the WLT my deep gratitude for helping me to create my four lovely books.

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

PC: Two of my books are being discussed as having serious movie potential. I have a fifth book underway: Islands in a Blue Transparency of Light,  relating to the Micronesian islands in the Central Pacific. But that may be wishful thinking because I don’t travel too well.

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

PC: My brand new book Tea on the Great Wall: An American in War-Torn China, published by Earnshaw Books in Shanghai, (short description: Shirley Temple in Wonderland meets Japanese Bayonets, Nazis, and Chinese Opium Addicts) is getting rave reviews. Some of those reviews are on Amazon; others are in letters by writers who don’t want to bother filling in the Amazon review section. The back cover includes reviews from Lance Morrow, Prof. Jonathan Spence, Lark Mason, among others. Most recently, Austin Kiplinger of the Kiplinger Report wrote: “”a fascinating story…You did a masterful job of weaving the past and the present together, and I’m continuing to enjoy the story. Here’s the link.

Meet the Members

Crockett Grabbe has been a member of the Writers’ League for five years. He lives in Austin, TX.

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

Crockett Grabbe: Nonfiction, both investigative & scientific.

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

CG: Certainly Isaac Asimov if he were still alive. I would love to drink with Jim Marrs of Ft. Worth, and John Grisham (coffee if morning, beer if evening).

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

CG: A factual book detailing the area that might reveal a way to get off!

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

CG: It is inspirational to talk with other writers.

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

CG: Having retired from physics research, I plan to expand more into popular science. I have just completed writing several books on 9/11 at the WTC and plan to move into SuperTrains in my next book.

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

CG: I won 2 Texas State Championships in Number Sense in my teens and got a Ph.D. (Applied Physics) from Caltech. I had a pituitary tumor in my 20s, was hit with a cerebral hemorrhage in my 30s, and relearned to walk and talk in my 40s. I have not given up, despite having multiple disabilities. I have written 13 books over 30 years (5 of them for scientists), been profiled from a book published in 1991 in Contemporary Authors (2 of 3 reviewers called it “excellent”), and received multiple listings in Writers Biography and Who’s Who in Science & Engineering over the years (even one year in Who’s Who in the World). I plan never to stop writing. You can find my recent publications online.

 

MEMBERS REVIEW

THE COURTHOUSES OF CENTRAL TEXAS

By Brantley Hightower

TX Courthouses

Published in 2015 by University of Texas Press.

Reviewed by Manning Wolfe.

The Courthouses of Central Texas by Brantley Hightower is a beautiful book that proudly portrays the distinctive architecture and history of 50 Central Texas courthouses. It is Volume 20 of the Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Series by the University of Texas Press. The coffee table book is well worth the $45 price tag for its beautiful hard cover, high-quality paper, 92 color illustrations, and 61 maps; comprising a 192 page nostalgic stroll through Central Texas. I could, and did, look at this book for hours.

The Courthouses of Central Texas, as much a tribute as a survey, not only expresses the importance of the courthouse as the seat of government, but also explains what it represents symbolically for a community. “This remarkable book sensitizes us to what these courthouses have to say,” according to Max Levy in the Foreword. “Through the use of stately architecture and tall, ornate towers and domes, they communicated to the outside world that a community was prosperous and secure,” says Hightower. The author further explains the courthouses’ formal development by placing them in their historical and social context, which tells the story of the power and importance of the courthouses in the history of Texas, as well as their enduring relevance today.

Comparisons of the courthouses represent the historical trends occurring throughout Texas at each particular step in the development of the structures. The buildings are described with information about the dates of construction, the architect involved, and includes a historical photograph and site plan of each current structure and campus. Of particular interest are two- and three-dimensional drawings showing the points of architectural interest as well as the evolution of the facades over the years. These shadowy profiles appear as ghosts of the incarnations of each courthouse.

As a big fan and student of courthouses, especially those in Texas, I post a photograph of a different courthouse each month in my newsletter. This book has taken my understanding to a whole new level with regard to the design and architecture of courthouses and how they influenced and were influenced by the geography surrounding each. I plan to purchase several copies of this book, putting one on my coffee table and keeping the rest for gifts for friends who are attorneys, landmen, history buffs, and real estate types. I’m sure they’ll be treasured.

Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas. After many years of storytelling, Manning has written a legal thriller series involving a Texas attorney based in Austin. The first in the series, Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs. Boots King was the winner of the 2014 Writer’s League of Texas Manuscript Contest. A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, she specializes in business law. Visit her website .

Meet the Members

Joseph K. Little joined the Writers’ League in January and is attending the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine. He lives in San Antonio, TX.

JoeAtRenFest2

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

Joseph K. Little: Currently I’m writing horror though I’ve always imagined myself as a fantasy writer. I would also love to say that I write humor as well, but all my attempts to write humor either turned out horribly or the piece became a horror story. I’ve lived long enough to know that you shouldn’t fight gravity, so I fell into horror.

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

JL: I’d love to enjoy a beer with Pat Rothfuss, a soda with Brandon Sanderson, and perhaps a few beers with Larry Correia. I’d also love to simply be in the same room as Margaret Weis and/or Tracy Hickman just to be able to tell them that their Dragon Lance fantasy series changed my life. In the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years in high school, I discovered their books and learned that there were indeed books that I could enjoy passionately. I read hundreds of books before graduating, and I went from a student making Ds in my English classes to scoring a 30 on the ACT English section. I doubt I could speak to either one though. My words would only emerge as tear filled bubbling sobs of gratefulness.

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

JL: A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants: <whatever area I’m stranded>. Also acceptable would be my mother’s Bible. The reason for the first should seem obvious. I want to know what to stay away from and what not to eat. The second book would provide a tangible connection to my loved ones and remind me that those who are lost can indeed be found.

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

JL: When I was a teenager, newly impassioned with the written word, I asked someone who was a poet to read my writing and tell me what he thought. He was brutal in his editing, told me I wouldn’t cut it as a writer, and said I should do something else. I didn’t understand then why he was so heavy-handed, and it killed my joy, my dreams for close to 20 years. The Writers’ League has taught me that writers come from a multitude of backgrounds, have varied skill levels, and are diverse in their individual points of view. Writers love writing. Real writers understand that simple fact, and they help each other out.

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

JL: My short-range vision sees me traveling to conventions and building my craft. I expect that I have a long road to travel before I have something publishable, so I’m content with learning how to travel the road and enjoy the scenery and the people I meet along the way.

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

JL: I have thirty-six (36!!) twitter followers at @1LazyAssWriter. I could always use more. Plus I have a (horrible – almost as horrible as using parenthesis mid sentence) website . I try to post something every week or two. Currently I’m trying to focus on my journey as a writer. Last week I posted a bad piece of poetry. Future plans include posting short stories as well.

 

Meet the Members

Aralyn Hughes joined the Writers’ League last fall. She lives in Austin, TX.

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

Aralyn Hughes: Autobiography/Anthology.

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

AH: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. I would like to thank her face to face for her contribution to my book Kid Me Not by writing the forward. If I could bring them back from the dead, I would like coffee with Oscar Wilde and Charles Bukowski.

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

AH: If I were stranded on a deserted island, I would want books on survival…how to get the hell out of there. Don’t think I would be reading any thrillers or classics. I might want a blank book so I could leave behind my thoughts so I could write a book if I was ever found, and if not…the mystery would be there.

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

AH: I have learned how hard it is to make money as a writer.  I have learned and been humbled by the
talent in this organization.

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

AH: I’m currently working on more Boomers Remember books. The two we are working on now are Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride, What A Trip, and men of the 60’s on the sexuality, parenthood or not, and conscription.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world?

AH: In a recent promotion of our book, we had 17,000 downloads in two days and were the 6th best selling Kindle on Amazon. We were number one in Women’s Studies and Feminist books. Kid Me Not won the 2015 Texas Association of Authors Book Award in the autobiography/short story category. I have been chosen as a speaker for the first NON MOM conference in the fall. In late March, Love In The Sixties, a feature-length documentary about my life, had a sold out Texas Premiere at the Stateside Theater at the Paramount.

Meet the Members

A. Hardy Roper has been a member of the Writers’ League for ten years and is attending the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine. He lives Houston, TX.

picture of Hardy

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

A. Hardy Roper: Fiction—thrillers.

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

AHR: Mark Twain and William Shakespeare—two creative geniuses. The drink is their choice, and I will certainly buy.

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

AHR: The Bible and works by Deepak Chopra for hope and reassurance plus a case of Big Chief tablets and a gross of pencils to record a diary.

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

AHR: Writing contests are difficult to win, although my new book Saving Jake, was a finalist in this year’s contest in the Thriller/Action-Adventure category.

The league is a valuable resource for contacts and information. I am looking forward to the summer writing retreat in Alpine.

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

AHR: I have written a screenplay for my second book, Assassination in Galveston and hope to see it produced. I will continue to write with an eye toward improving with each new work. I am always reminded about the famous line from the TV show on Poker—“a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.”

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

AHR: My third book, Saving Jake will be out soon. All three are thrillers and feature my protagonist, Parker McLeod, an ex-army intelligence officer, who owns The Garhole Bar, a favorite watering hole out among the prickly pear and rattlesnakes on the far west end of Galveston Island. Somehow the intrepid Parker always seems to get the bad guys—whether it’s a murderous neo-Nazi after a WWII cache of gold, or a Cuban assassin sent by Fidel Castro. Check out the books on Amazon. And thank you for the opportunity to present a little about myself.

Meet the Members

Heather Holland joined the Writers’ League of Texas in January 2015 and is attending the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat in Alpine. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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

Heather Holland: Now: Memoir and nonfiction emphasizing the subjects of human rights, travel, and food. I love to interview people.  For years, I only wrote poetry. I strayed away when my hand written poetry journal was stolen upon returning to Fort Hood from Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army.

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

HH: Coffee with Michael D. Coe
Beer with  Óscar Martínez
Either with Valeria Luiselli
Cocktails with Amy Poehler.

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

HH: The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz.

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

HH: I have a fear that talking about writing becomes the death of it. WLT has opened up a whole community to me where I can talk about my craft without losing it’s pulse. I’m learning to be less of a mole person.

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

HH: This Summer:  West Texas, hiding under a hat from Carol Dawson (so as not to reveal uniquely patterned female baldness from tearing my hair out -and pages- through the necessary evil we call the revision process)!

Anytime: I’m a risk taker always on the lookout for beauty thriving in dark places. My passion for the fight against human trafficking, ethical food, and obsession with uncovering the hidden, may lead me into various border towns, and exotic markets.

Long term: I would like to step away from my comfort zone and write novella flash fiction.

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

HH: When my father reluctantly closed his store Fat City Records in Aspen, our family began to fall apart. We moved back and forth between Texas and Colorado, finally settling just north of Boulder.

Inside our household it looked like someone robbed a music store/library. It wasn’t unusual for my father to enlighten me with the location of his own dusty copy of a title I came home with.  If he did not have something on hand, it just gave him an excuse to do one of his favorite things –take me and my identical twin sister Liz to used book stores. He allowed us to pick just one book each and he would buy it. It was like a treasure hunt. We searched between covers, until a few stale, yellowed pages in, we realized we were captivated.

I don’t want people to read my work because they know me, but because they are genuinely interested.