Meet the Members: Rob Witherspoon

“There are many authors striving toward the goal of publication, and WLT offers support, guidance and information to help us achieve that goal.”

— Rob Witherspoon 

A member of the Writers’ League since 2015, Rob lives in Graham, TX.

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

Rob Witherspoon: Humor applied to any genre that fits the story. The first book I wrote satirized conspiracy/international thriller. My WIP is a science fiction satirical treatment of religion and afterlife.

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

RW: Christopher Moore. I’d like to sit down over a plate of waffles with him and ask, ‘How can absurd, humorous fiction compete with absurd, not always humorous reality?’

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

RW: It’s too late for keeping me sane, but I’d want Slaughterhouse Five to keep it in perspective.

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

RW: I’ve attended the conference 3 times and sat through dozens of presentations. There are many authors striving toward the goal of publication, and WLT offers support, guidance and information to help us achieve that goal.

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

RW: I’m just along for the ride, as far as writing takes me. I have ideas for a series featuring the characters I’ve created: QED Morningwood and Cotton Widdershins.

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?

RW: Jackrabbit Smile by Joe Lansdale is what I’m reading now and waiting for the release of his next book.

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

RW: The Square Root of Texas is available. Deus Tex Machina is going to the editors at the end of September. Visit www.robwitherspoon.com.

Thank you, Rob!

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!

Advertisements

Meet the Members: Christa Allan

“[I’m] amazed at the extensive network of writers, lessons, conference and overall support for writers [from WLT].”

— Christa Allan

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2017, Christa lives in Spring, TX.

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

Christa Allan: Women’s Fiction.

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

CA: How to Survive on a Deserted Island. Otherwise, The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

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

CA: Amazed at the extensive network of writers, lessons, conference and overall support for writers, writing and literacy.

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

CA: Actually, I hope it can take my entire family on a vacation to thank them for their consistent support and encouragement as I hunkered down to write. I simply love to write.

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?

CA: Oh, I’m mortified…I’ve not read any published in the last year that are Texas related. I’ll definitely work on that!

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

CA: I can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@christaallan.author). My last novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, has been an Amazon best seller. I’m presently shopping my next novel which I completed a few weeks ago! Thanks for this opportunity to meet the members!

Thank you, Christa!

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: Brenda Marie Smith

“I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks.” 

– Brenda Marie Smith 

Member of the Writers’ League since 2006, Brenda lives in South Austin.

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

Brenda Marie Smith: My current novel, If Darkness Takes Us, is a dystopian sci-fi thriller from a grandmother’s point of view. My first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller based on theories of Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, Zen Buddhism, and Carl Jung. I think you could say that unusual character-driven thrillers are my genre.

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

BMS: John LeCarré. First, I would ask him how he manages to give such full pictures of characters with such subtle strokes and spare descriptions, then I would ask how he gives international scope to the most personal of stories, again with only spare strokes. I’ve read all his books, some more than once, and I still can’t figure out how he does it.

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

BMS: There are so many, but I’d pick To Kill A Mockingbird, to help me have courage in the face of adversity, and also because the rich Southern atmosphere would remind me of home.

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

BMS: I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks. From attending the Agents & Editors Conference, I learned so much about improving my writing and about pitching books, and I met some amazing writers, agents, and editors. I’ve also received valuable feedback from entering WLT’s manuscript contests. And I love the way you keep us informed about the great accomplishments of other Texas authors. I can’t attend many WLT events due to my disabilities, but I still feel that I’m a part of the community.

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

BMS: I’ve written a sequel for If Darkness Takes Us in the voice of the 18-year-old grandson, and I’m outlining a novel involving hippies living in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. My main writing goal is to have fun with my writing and get my stories out there where people can be aware that they exist and enjoy them. Modest success would be nice as well.

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?

BMS: I’ve heard from another WLT member that Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador is great, and I’m looking forward to reading it. The last Texas book by an Austin author I’ve read is less than two years old, Laura Creedle’s The Love Letters of Abelard & Lily, about a teen girl with ADHD who falls in love with a boy on the spectrum. It’s beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. That book is one of my all-time favorites, and it sticks with me to this day.

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

BMS: Yes, thank you. My novel, If Darkness Takes Us, was the winner of the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and is coming out on October 15th. Since the story takes place in an altered version of my far South Austin neighborhood, I think Texans will enjoy it. Here’s a short book description:

A solar pulse destroys modern life, and Bea Crenshaw is left alone in South Austin with four grandkidsShe must teach them to survive without power, cars, or running water in a world fraught with increasing danger.

Also, I’m having a Book Launch Event at BookPeople in Austin on Saturday, November 16th at 5 p.m. and I hope that lots of WLT members will attend. I would love the opportunity to meet local writers.

Finally, I want to thank the Writers’ League of Texas for this interview and for everything you do to help Texas writers. We are very fortunate to have your amazing support.


Thank you, Brenda!

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: Joy Don Baker and Terri Goodman

“For our readers we want to share enjoyment, writing, and learning through meaningful stories about diverse nursing characters.”

— Joy Don Baker

Members of the Writers’ League since 2017, Joy Don and Terri live in the DFW area.

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

Joy Don Baker & Terri Goodman: We write women’s fiction and nonfiction. We have recently written nonfiction on the “A, B, & Cs of Author Partnering.

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

JDB: Penny C. Sansevieri. I’d ask: What are the top three marketing strategies you recommend to authors?
TG: I would have a drink with Anne Rivers Siddons. I would ask: What’s your secret for engaging your readers?

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

JDB: Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way.
TG: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

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

JDB: There are wonderful speakers and often I can take advantage of the online opportunities.
TG: Through [WLT’s] resources, we’ve both improved our craft.

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

JDB: For our readers we want to share enjoyment, writing, and learning through meaningful stories about diverse nursing characters.
TG: I want us to develop a community of readers interested in the lives of our characters.

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?

JDB: K. Wendt’s Emma’s Journey. An intriguing romance that is kicked off by the death of her friend and mentor.
TG: N. Brown’s The Arrival. A turn of the century historical fiction taking place in Galveston, TX.

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

 

JDB & TG: Joy Don Baker and Terri Goodman were nursing students in the ’70s like the characters in their books. They are both published authors in professional nursing literature. They met in the ’80s and have remained friends for years. Both authors reside in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex where Baker is a Clinical Professor in the graduate nursing program at The University of Texas in Arlington, and Goodman is self-employed as an Approved Provider of continuing nursing education.

Frannie, Robin, Katie, and Leslie represent the rich diversity found among nurses. Follow the Nurseketeers as they move through nursing school and into their careers. Check out our website at https://www.bakergoodman.com/

Thank you, Joy Don and Terri!

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: Amy Brazda

“I have been a member [of WLT] for just a few days, but I know I will be given many opportunities to learn, grow, and share as a writer, and I very much look forward to all three!”

— Amy Brazda

A member of the Writers’ League since June 2019, Amy lives in Houston, TX.

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

Amy Brazda: I write books for kids, aged 3-9.

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

AB: I would like to have a drink with Wes Moore, and I would ask him how he felt about another man bearing his identical name, yet having the experience of a life totally different from his. The Other Wes Moore is a fantastic read, and I could not put it down. I have wanted to meet him since I saw him give an emotional and sincere presentation to high schoolers here in Houston.

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

AB: If I was stranded I would seek humor so I would want my fave all-time book of poetry by Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends, to help me survive.

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

AB: I have been a member for just a few days, but I know I will be given many opportunities to learn, grow, and share as a writer, and I very much look forward to all three! I am a “people” person, so I hope to make many new friends who share my same love of writing and allowing readers of our books much happiness, whichever genre they write!

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

AB: I am looking forward to doing my own kind of marketing! I love getting out into the community, not sharing this book in big stores or social media, but meeting people, especially kids! (I don’t even want to do large-scale PowerPoint presentations.) For school visits I will get down in reading circles with small classes and read so I can connect with the kids! Since the book is about my puppy, I have already met the nicest pet store, groomers, and pet store owners who love dogs and want me to share my book in their small business stores, which I want to promote! I hope the poetry I wrote as the text of the book inspires others to write poetry, which I have always loved.

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?

AB: It did not come out in the last year, but in light of his passing I loved, loved the book George Bush wrote — All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings. It shows the power of the written word, especially in our electronic world!

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

AB: I have two amazing kids in college who have taken on writing as journalists! They were taught by me at very early ages, and I am thrilled they have chosen to be writers so they can get out and meet a diversity of people, have great adventures, travel, and enjoy their lives! I was a competitive junior tennis player and my kids took up tennis, so I have loved being a “tennis mom,” I love to cook, and I absolutely love being a one-on-one tutor/business owner of my own tutoring company so I can help kids learn and grow as students and make an impact in these families’ lives.

Thank you, Amy!

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: Laura Bray

” I haven’t been [a member of WLT for] long, but hope to learn a lot and meet a lot of folks at the upcoming Agents and Editors Conference.”

— Laura Bray

laura headshot

A member of the Writers’ League since March 2019, Laura lives in Boerne, TX.

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

Laura Bray: Historical fiction, freelance nonfiction articles (travel, food/wine, community interest, business).

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

LB: Elizabeth Gilbert: “What is your strategy for putting your rear in the chair and words on the page every day?”

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

LB: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

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

LB: I haven’t been here long, but hope to learn a lot and meet a lot of folks at the upcoming Agents and Editors Conference.

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

LB: Once I finish my current book (see below), I have three or four more ideas kicking around in my head. It will be fun to figure out which one to start on next.

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?

LB: Ticker by Mimi Swartz (also….cannot wait for Stephen Harrigan’s Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas).

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

 

LB: I’ve recently completed work on my new author platform (www.laurabray.net), which includes a blog (“Write Before Ready”), Facebook page, and Twitter feed (@LauraBrayAuthor). My goal is to build an audience for my in-progress historical fiction novel Springs from Winter Rise.

Thank you, Laura!

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!

 

ArmadilloCon 41 (August 2nd-4th)

“The Workshop is a great place to learn about the craft and to meet other writers. The convention is tons of fun, and the writers who attend the workshop find that they have a built-in cohort throughout the weekend. Writing is a long game, and that’s why it’s important to find your community.”

– Rebecca Schwarz

 

Coming this summer is Austin’s great science fiction and fantasy writing conference, ArmadilloCon! The con is celebrating its 41st anniversary after years spent supporting and engaging with up-and-coming speculative fiction writers. ArmadilloCon features a one-day writing workshop with professional writer guests like Rebecca Roanhorse and Dan Tolliver who critique and edit the attendees’ works. The deadline to submit manuscripts before registering for the conference is June 14, and this year’s con writing workshop falls on Friday, August 2nd, the first day of the 3-day conference. We spoke with this year’s ArmadilloCon writing workshop director, Rebecca Schwarz, and are happy to share the conversation here.

An Interview with Rebecca Schwarz

Scribe: What inspired your decision to direct the ArmadilloCon Workshop?

Rebecca Schwarz: I came up as a writer through the workshop. I attended as a student for three of four years. After I began publishing short stories, I was asked to teach and did that for a few years. Stina Leicht and Marshal Ryan Maresca had been running it during that time. When it was time to pass the torch, Stina asked me if I would like to step up. Since the workshop was such a big part of my development as a writer, I was honored to be entrusted with it.

Scribe: Who is the audience that you would most like to attract?

RS: The workshop is geared for beginning to intermediate writers who are interested in writing speculative fiction, which generally encompasses science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Workshop participants can submit up to 5,000 words of either a short story or the first chapter of a novel. For the purposes of the workshop, our definition is broad, anything with a speculative element is welcome.

The morning has panels on craft, some writing exercises and collaborative activities. In the afternoon students break out into small group critique sessions. Each critique group is led by two professional writers. This workshop is a great place to not only work on craft, it is also a great place to meet and make connections with fellow writers.

Scribe: Which part of the conference has been the most interesting or exciting for you in past years?

RS: This is the third year that we have provided a Sponsored Seat program for writers of color. (The workshop page has more information about the sponsored seats and a link to the application form.) Diversity is vital to speculative fiction–a genre centered on exploration and encountering the Other. Over the past three years, the sponsored seat program has grown as well as the general attendance. It has been wonderful to see all of the different voices and visions from writers of all kinds gathered together at the workshop.

Scribe: In what ways has the science fiction and fantasy writing community grown through this workshop?

RS: This will be the workshop’s 21st year (and the convention’s 41st!) and having a long-running workshop focused on science fiction and fantasy writing has served as in incubator in central Texas for the genre writing community. You can check out the faculty on the Workshop’s page for just a taste of some of our amazing local and regional Texas writers. We’ve kept the cost of the workshop low, so writers from all walks of life can have a workshop experience. Those who enjoy and benefit from this sort of workshop can come back year after year. This is just my third year and one of my favorite things is seeing repeat students improve–stretch their wings in their writing, and eventually start getting published themselves!

Also, because we maintain low teacher/student ratio in the critique break-out groups, we assemble a faculty of between 12 to 24 teachers each year. This year both the Guest of Honor, Rebecca Roanhorse, and the Toastmaster, Marshal Ryan Maresca will be teaching along with the rest of our amazing faculty. The faculty generally participate in the convention and the entire weekend is a time to commiserate about writing, share industry information, and bond.

Scribe: As a writer yourself, what is your best advice to aspiring writers?

RS: Keep writing, keep trying to improve, and keep it fun. Writing is a long game. There are a lot of skills in play and it can take a long time to develop and hone them.

Scribe: What are the most significant takeaways from ArmadilloCon?

RS: The Workshop is a great place to learn about the craft and to meet other writers. Honestly, critique groups are not productive for every writer and this one-day low-cost workshop is an excellent way to find out a bit more about what kind of writer you are. The convention is tons of fun, and the writers who attend the workshop find that they have a built-in cohort throughout the weekend. Like I said, writing is a long game, and that’s why it’s important to find your tribe. Personally, the workshop and the convention are a time where I can visit with old friends and make new connections within the community. It fuels my writing for the rest of the year.

Thanks, Rebecca!

 

You can find more details about timing, events, and pricing of the ArmadilloCon workshop here.

To submit your unpublished work for the conference, go here.