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!

 

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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.

Meet the Conference Faculty: Jennie Dunham

“No single answer is right for all writers.”

-Jennie Dunham

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Jennie Dunham

Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. She represents literary fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Her clients have had both critical and commercial success. Books she has represented have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers in adult hardcover fiction, children’s books, and children’s book series. Her clients have won numerous awards including: New York Times Best Illustrated Book, The Schneider Family Award, Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. She is a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) and SCBWI. She worked at three different literary agencies before she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology and has a master’s degree in Social Work from New York University.

 Scribe: What is your approach to the author/agent relationship?

Jennie Dunham: I’m looking for clients who want an agent to be a member of their team. We need to be able to discuss editorial and business issues together openly because no single answer is right for all writers. As a team we can celebrate good news together but come up with new plans when there’s difficult news.

Scribe: Are there specific elements that draw you to a project?

JD: This is a hard question to answer because every project is individual. That makes my work interesting since I’m always learning something new. In general, I want to be engaged the characters and the plot so that I’m immersed in the story. I need a fresh premise to pique my interest in the story. But, usually it’s the writing style and voice which make me want to become an enthusiastic advocate for the writer.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!

JD: I’m very excited about a graphic novel called The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson that my client Jo Rioux has illustrated. She can both write and illustrate, and she has an astute eye for character and an intrinsic talent in building narrative.

Scribe: And also, who is your favorite current children’s lit author?

JD: I don’t have a single favorite author. What I like is the wide variety of authors, books, and stories. Books are better than ever for adult readers and especially for children’s book readers.

Thanks, Jennie!

Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.

Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the Conference Faculty: Kristin van Ogtrop

“Just try to stay on brand, whatever your brand is.”

-Kristin van Ogtrop

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Kristin van Ogtrop

Kristin van Ogtrop is the former editor-in-chief of Real Simple and an agent at InkWell Management. Under her stewardship, Real Simple became the #1 American women’s lifestyle magazine brand with a print and digital reach of 25 million and was nominated for 15 National Magazine Awards. Kristin’s blog, “Adventures in Chaos,” was nominated for a Media Industry Newsletter “Best of the Web” award, and in 2014, she was named by Fortune magazine as one of the “55 Most Influential Women on Twitter.” She is a contributor to the New York Times bestseller, The Bitch in the House and the author of Just Let Me Lie Down, published by Little, Brown. As an agent, she will represent memoir, commercial women’s fiction, humor, lifestyle and big idea books driven by counterintuitive thinking.

Scribe: What is your approach to the author/agent relationship?

Kristin van Ogtrop: It really depends on the author. Sometimes I am the conductor and sometimes I’m head cheerleader. But in all cases I am here to support, encourage, advise, edit (early and often) and offer gentle course correction when needed.

Scribe: Are there specific elements draw you to a project?

KO: It always helps when I have a personal connection to an author or an idea. Right now I find myself working on three projects (two narrative nonfiction and a memoir) about upstate New York, which I know I sparked to initially because I love the Adirondacks. I’m working on a memoir about service dogs, and I happen to have two released service dogs as pets. I love anything that stands out from the crowd: either a really unique idea, a unique treatment of an old idea, or a really distinctive voice.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!

KO: I am about to send out a memoir in verse about a writer’s lifelong struggle with food addiction. It came to me as a blind pitch, and it’s clever, a bit funny, and a bit sad. Sort of a perfect combination of weird and wonderful.

Scribe: And also, what advice do you have for writer’s using social media?

KO: Oh, I don’t know. Don’t post anything that will make people hate you, unless that’s your method of getting eyeballs and the reason people might want to buy your book. Just try to stay on brand, whatever your brand is.

Thanks, Kristin!

Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.

Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the Conference Faculty: Sara Goodman

“The editing process often begins with a conversation.”

-Sara Goodman

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Sara Goodman

Sara Goodman began her career in 2001 as a junior agent at the Ralph M. Vicinanza, Ltd. literary agency, then moved over to St. Martin’s Press in 2007 to start fresh as an editorial assistant when she realized being an agent was not her calling. In the course of her career, she has edited Rainbow Rowell, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & ParkFangirlLandline, and Carry On; Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of SadieAll The RageThis is Not a TestFall for AnythingSome Girls Are and Cracked Up To Be. I edited the anthologies My True Love Gave To Me and Summer Days and Summer Nights with bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, in addition to editing the co-authored novel by David Levithan & Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well. I also published I Hate Everyone But You by YouTube sensations Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin, which debuted on the New York Times bestseller list.

 Scribe: What is your approach to the author/editor relationship?

Sara Goodman: Authors need to be able to trust their editors implicitly, so communication and honesty are essential.  The editing process often begins with a conversation. I ask a lot of questions and I listen. I never want to turn a book into something the author doesn’t want, but I always want the book to be the best it can be.  That takes trust.

Scribe: Are there specific elements draw you to a project?

SG: A fresh voice. A fresh perspective. A character I’ve never seen before. Good dialogue. I love it when books are funny and sad.  Strong, fully-realized primary and secondary characters. 

Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!

SG: I just wrapped up edits on The Mall by Megan McCafferty, which is a young adult novel set entirely at a mall in New Jersey in the 90s.  It is hilarious and moving and just a delight. It won’t be out until Summer 2020, but I’m already spreading the word!

Scribe: And also, what is your favorite YA novel to have come out recently?

SG: I absolutely loved Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds. It’s a love story at its heart, but it’s also so much about growing up and doing the right thing.  About following your heart.  It’s wise and warm and wonderful!

Thanks, Sara!

Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.

Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.