Meet the Members: Marisa Wolf

“I want to keep learning and growing – try different narrative techniques, grow worlds that feel lived in and real, write the kind of books that give a window into a might-have-been/could-be/good-goodness-let’s-avoid-that-happening.”

– Marisa Wolf

A member of the Writers’ League since January, Marisa lives in Houston.

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

Marisa Wolf: Science fiction and fantasy, centered around my favorite question – “what if…?” Both allow for a lot of genre-blending, bleeding into mystery, thriller, romance, and heists.

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

MW: Ursula Le Guin. First question – What did you learn over the course of your career that you wish you could have told your starting-out-self and do you think it would have changed any of your early work? (only a slight cheat, but I’d buy the drinks to make up for it!)

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

MW: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I’ll need to laugh, be reminded not to panic, and see even the most hapless of adventurers can make it out the other side.

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

MW: The first event I attended was brilliant — a panel on bookselling from a great mix of authors/publishers/booksellers/bookbuyers – and the other attendees were as awesome as the panelists. The sense of community the League brings keeps writing from being the stereotypical lonely hermit on the mountain experience, and I look forward to continuing to learn and socialize for a long time.

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

MW: I want to keep learning and growing — try different narrative techniques, grow worlds that feel lived in and real, write the kind of books that give a window nto a might-have-been/could-be/good-goodness-let’s-avoid-that-happening. The dream is to have a book or series that has its own dedicated following — conventions, cosplay, the whole nerdy wonderfulness.

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?

MW: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke — noir-ish, with great characters. I loved mysteries and thrillers for so long, and then fell out of the habit of reading them, and this was an excellent return to the genre.

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

MW: My first novel is out in 2018: Assassin with Kacey Ezell, from Chris Kennedy Publishing. Our publisher has asked for a sequel, so between that and some short stories I’m hoping to get out into the world! The plan is to develop one of those real “processes” writers talk about to get disciplined and on a schedule. All advice welcome!!

Thanks, Marisa!

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: Lisa Compton

“[WLT has taught me] that I’m not alone and there is a lot of support out there.”

-Lisa Compton

A member of the Writers’ League since January, Lisa Compton lives in San Antonio.

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

Lisa Compton: Paranormal and Procedural.

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

LC: Ted Sullivan (screenwriter for Star Trek Discovery). How did you get to live the dream of every Trekkie?

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

LC: Who wants to be sane on a deserted island? Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

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

LC: That I’m not alone and there is a lot of support out there.

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

LC: I would really love to see my characters on a Netflix or Amazon Prime series.

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?

LC:Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

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

LC: My first novel, Seven Seconds, is the first in the Olivia Osborne series. I’ve written three so far and see many more on the horizon!

Thanks, Lisa!

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: Bobby Horecka

“Get involved. Just do it. Much like those stories don’t write themselves, this organization is exactly as useful as you make it.”

— Bobby Horecka on WLT

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2016, Bobby lives in Victoria.

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

Bobby HoreckaJust about every genre, really. My most pressing project right now is completing a short story collection for my MFA thesis project in the University of Houston-Victoria’s creative writing program. Once that’s finished, I plan to jump back on one of three novels I have in progress. The farthest along falls under the crime thriller heading — it’s completely fiction but based, in part, on a real news story I covered a few years back. For a change of pace, I might tinker a bit on one of the two poetry collections I’ve been building for a few years.

I’ve written everything that’s ever found its way into a newspaper: News stories, features, columns, editorials, ad copy, obits, classifieds, Santa letters… you name it. I worked newspapers large and small across Texas for 25 years—even picked up a few awards along the way, from Texas regional on up to national press groups—before I went back to school to try my hand at something a bit different. My last news post was as field editor for Texas Agriculture (a semimonthly news tab) and Texas Neighbors, a quarterly features magazine. Both were published by the farm bureau in Waco, where I also wrote a weekly news column for the Waco Tribune Herald, dabbled a bit in video for the bureau’s RFD-TV Network shows, and recorded many interviews for their statewide radio news programming. I’ve also ghostwritten speeches, legal briefs, legislation, how-to manuals, proclamations, issue talking points, and formal letters, and have lent my pen to a few election campaigns. I’ve helped research and write a good half dozen scholarly books and articles, and I authored and edited a locally published pictorial history book on the 75th anniversary of a state institution in 2008. Oh yeah: In my free time, I also teach college essay writing and developmental English classes at Victoria College. I’m particularly fond of the narrative essay, and I’d like to try my hand at some book-length literary nonfiction at some point in the future.

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

BHThat’s a toughie. For drinks, it would probably be a toss-up between Ernest Hemingway, Edward Abbey or Joe Lansdale (of course, if I had my druthers, we’d all get together, make an event of it—call it “Midnight in Paris (Texas),” or some such).

As to questions:

Hemingway: When are we going fishing? (Because I truly dug his boat.)

Abbey: What inspired that cabrito scene in The Fool’s Progress? (I can’t read it without belly laughing and I’ve read it every couple of years since I was 20.)

Lansdale: I can see Hap as [Lansdale’s] alter ego pretty easy, so was there a particular person who inspired Leonard? (Leonard Pine is probably one of my favorite characters in fiction right now.)

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

BHOther than How to Build a Seaworthy Vessel from Nothing But Sand and Twigs, I’d probably go with any of the following:

Abbey’s The Fool’s Progress: An Honest Novel; Elmer Kelton’s The Man Who Rode Midnight; or Lansdale’s shorts collection, Sanctified and Chicken Fried.

(Give me all three, maybe a couple more, and “stranded” would probably become “permanent address—do not disturb.”)

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

BHThat I haven’t made near enough use of it. I’ve focused primarily on my studies since I joined, and now that those studies are about to end, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t do more. I can’t help but wonder where I might be now if I had. Take, for instance, this very Howdy Do.

If that qualifies me to pass on anything on from this, I guess it’s this: Get involved. Just do it. Much like those stories don’t write themselves, this organization is exactly as useful as you make it.

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

BHI was asked quite nearly the same thing by my thesis advisor a few months back, and I think my answer is probably as good now as it was then: If, in a year or two, I’m living the high life on some foreign beach in a hammock, spending my days cashing royalty checks, I certainly won’t complain.

But if, more likely, that writing of mine simply lands me my degree and brings me closer to a teaching job someplace where I can continue to write and work with others to help them chase their own beach dreams, I don’t think I’d be too disappointed either. I’ve rather enjoyed my teaching gigs so far, and I don’t know if it’s simply the gray hairs talking or what, but I think I might finally be getting to a point where I have a thing or two I can pass along. Can’t say it’s much more than just a thing or two, but perhaps it’s a couple of things they won’t have to waste time figuring out on their own.

Not much more you can ask for when it comes to teaching someone else. Not really. Other than staying in Texas to do so. I’ve kinda grown attached to her after 45 years.

Me taking writing somewhere? Fat chance. There are far more gifted wordsmiths than me who are far better suited for such tasks. I’ll happily let them.

Besides, writing has already taken me more places than I ever expected to see (from DC to California and eight foreign countries, to be exact). Way I figure it, that’s not half bad for some runt farm kid from South Texas. Plus, I don’t think my ride’s over just yet, either. The more I write—I mean seriously write, unbound and unleashed—the more I realize that I have a lot more stories tucked away than I ever realized.

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?

BH: Skip Hollandsworth’s The Midnight Assassin—Most of us know Skip for those often wrenching and quirky stories he finds for Texas Monthly magazine (“Midnight in the Garden of East Texas” springs to mind as a good for instance. Richard Linklater later used it as inspiration for his film, Bernie, starring Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey). In this book, Skip presents the following premise: In the wake of several grisly murders in the newly formed Austin township—murders no one ever truly solved despite putting the Pinkerton Detective Agency on the job (the wrong Pinkertons, it turns out)—is it possible that England’s infamous Jack the Ripper killings got their start here in the Lone Star State? Skip makes an intriguing case that, in fact, they did. 

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

BH: Looking forward to meeting a few new faces and hopefully start making some appearances in print again soon. I miss seeing the old byline. That book of mine ought to be done by December of this year, and hopefully, it’ll do more than just fulfill a degree requirement. If you get a chance, check out my blog, “On boots and bars and motorbikes…” (https://bootsbarsmotorbikes.blogspot.com) or visit my new website, Outlaw Authorz, home to what will hopefully be my literary empire someday (https://outlawauthorz.com). Or not. We’ll see about that, too, I suppose. But what use are dreams if you don’t dream big, right?

Other than that, I’ll see you at the next waterin’ hole. Write on (or, for my biker friends, RIDE on) and stay safe!

Thank you, Bobby!

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: Richard Cunningham

“Through WLT, I’ve learned the value of being a part of a writing community. I find that just being around other writers, whether it is over coffee, in a class, or at the annual WLT conference, always recharges my creative battery.”

-Richard Cunningham

A member of the Writers’ League for five years and WLT Board Member, Richard lives in Houston, Texas.

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

Richard Cunningham: Nonfiction pays the rent! I’m a science and technology journalist who writes magazine articles and books for large companies, primarily in the energy sector. I joined WLT around 2011, soon after I took a shot at writing historical fiction for fun.

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

RC: I would like to meet Ellen Feldman, the author of Lucy, Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, Next to Love, The Unwitting, and most recently, Terrible Virtue. I’d ask what she is working on now and what drew her to the subject.   

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

RC: Just one book? Oh, no! I would probably pick something like Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I’m reading it now for the third time.  

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

RC: That’s easy. Through WLT, I’ve learned the value of being a part of a writing community. Civilians don’t understand what it is like to stare at a blank page or computer screen, waiting for the right words to come. I find that just being around other writers, whether it is over coffee, in a class, or at the annual WLT conference, always recharges my creative battery.  

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

RC: When I’m writing fiction, I am definitely along for the ride. One of the most surprising things I’ve learned is that the process of creating characters and plots often reveals things about myself that I hadn’t considered. I like being surprised. I think most writers would agree. Call it “fiction,” but our stories and characters are not made from scratch. You could argue that most fiction is autobiographical, whether we like it or not.

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?

RC: I haven’t read a Texas-related book that was published in the last twelve months, but a recent one I often recommend is Ann Weisgarber’s excellent historical fiction, The Promise. It is the story of a young pianist who is forced to leave her comfortable home in Dayton, Ohio, only to begin a rough-hewn life in Galveston, Texas. She arrives just in time for what locals still call “the Great Storm,” a hurricane that remains the nation’s most deadly natural disaster. Weisgarber’s plot is not only clever and compelling, but also historically accurate. I look forward to reading it again.

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

RC: I’ve written two historical novels so far, and I’m working on a third in the series. I self-published Maude Brown’s Baby in 2012. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle. The sequel, Three Good Leads, is being reviewed by a publisher that I hope will want to promote both. The first two novels are set in Houston and Galveston in the final turbulent months of 1918. The working title for book three in the series is A Shameful Silence. It was a Historical Fiction finalist in the 2017 WLT manuscript contest.

Thanks, Richard!

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: Patricia Holmes

“I am a published author [now] and couldn’t be happier. I guess my message to others is to just keep doing what you enjoy and you may end up being exactly what you always wanted to be.”

-Patricia Holmes

A member of the Writers’ League for two years, Patricia lives in Houston.

Scribe: In what genre do you write?

Patricia Holmes: My first published novel, Searching for Pilar is fiction, but it is inspired by true events. I have also recently published essays about current social trends, including “The Lingerie Party” and “Tips for Men Who Still Don’t Get It.” Both were published in the past six months by Texas Lawyer. I enjoy telling stories with a social message. I have also written memoir pieces about what it was like to be a woman breaking into the legal profession in the early 1980’s, but I haven’t decided on a final format in which to present them.

Scribe: What writer would you most like to have a drink with and what are the first questions you would ask them?

PH: Amor Towles. Your knowledge of Russian history and culture is so accurate. What did you do to become so knowledgeable? Were you working on A Gentleman in Moscow for all of the twelve years since your first novel, The Rules of Civility?

Scribe: What book would you want to have with you on a desert island to keep you sane?

PH: Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I first read it in high school and I reread it about every ten years. I love Tolstoy’s writing and his social message. My PhD dissertation was a study of his theories on power and non-violence as a tool for revolution and his influence on later activists.

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

PH: I attended the Agents and Editors conference last June. It was an amazing experience! All of the panelists were informative and I met some interesting writers. The Writers’ League put on a great panel in Houston at Brazos Bookstore earlier this year. I learned useful information about how book stores select books to sell and creative marketing tips from the panelists.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

PH: I love the process of writing and the self-discovery that comes with it. Although Searching for Pilar is not at all autobiographical, the exploration of the importance of family, different types of love, community, and the existence and role of God in our lives, has allowed me to explore feelings I had never verbalized. I can see myself writing a memoir and a study of ethics in law firms in the future.

Scribe: What is one recent Texas related book that you couldn’t put down?

PH: Joanne Fox Philips’ Revenge of the Cube Dweller is set in Tulsa and Houston. I read it nonstop while on a plane trip and couldn’t stop laughing. It’s about a clever, middle-aged, female internal auditor of a mid-stream energy company who uncovers and reveals fraud, pomposity and greed. 

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

PH: My 94-year-old mother has a motto that I have embraced: “Just keep moving.” I have been fortunate to have had several careers in my life. I went to the University of Missouri to be a creative writer/journalist, but ended up falling in love with non-US history. So, I got a PhD in Russian and South Asian History instead. After teaching at the Universities of Missouri and Tennessee, I took a research and administrative job with a big law firm in Houston for four year while I had my two beautiful daughters. Law school followed. I spent the next 30 years in a fulfilling career as a public finance lawyer, writing trust indentures and offering statements that resulted in the building of hospitals and other non-profit enterprises. After retirement, I finally went back to my original goal of being a writer. Now I am a published author and couldn’t be happier. I guess my message to others is to just keep doing what you enjoy and you may end up being exactly what you always wanted to be.

Thanks, Patricia!

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: Jeanette Hargreaves

“I write to help me find my own sanity!”

-Jeanette Hargreaves

A member of the Writers’ League for one year, Jeanette lives in Austin, Texas.

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

Jeanette Hargreaves: Mommy Blogging and Self-Help Curriculum.

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

JH: I would ask the real Saint Paul, “Tell me what happened on the road to Damascus, or is that just a legend?”

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

JH: Any of my own writing – I write to help me find my own sanity!

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

JH: Attending classes and interacting with members has helped me to learn some publishing lingo and enhance my professionalism.

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

JH: I think I will write a book about my life coaching work, helping moms who lose their temper. I’d love to go on a book tour where I meet moms and make a difference in their lives.

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?

JH: Hands down: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown. What’s not to love about these chapter titles? “People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In,” and “Speak Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil.” Yes, ma’am!

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

JH: The moms I work with are strong women who don’t normally ask for help and they are stuck in patterns of anger and shame. (I’ve been there too, and it stinks.) If you know someone like that, please send them to my website. I have an online business, so I can coach anyone in the world. The interwebs are cool like that!

Thanks,  Jeanette!

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: Evelyn Palfrey

“I have never attended a Third Thursday meeting where I didn’t learn something I needed to know.”

-Evelyn Palfrey

A member of the Writers’ League for twenty years as well as a Writers’ League Board Member, Evelyn Palfrey lives in Austin.

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

Evelyn Palfrey: Romantic suspense for the marvelously mature.

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

EP: Octavia Butler. Is there an unfound manuscript of the third book in the Parable series?

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

EP: Audio of Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

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

EP: Too much to tell. I have never attended a Third Thursday meeting where I didn’t learn something I needed to know.

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

EP: I would love to write science fiction.

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?

EP: I loved reading Michael Noll’s short story in Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

Thanks, Evelyn!
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!