Meet the Members: George Arnold

“[I’ve learned] there exists a small universe of wacky, driven, and skilled individuals who, against all odds, manage to write books and get them published.”

— George Arnold 

A member of the Writers’ League for 17 years, George lives in Garland, TX.

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

George Arnold: My 25 published books include five genres: Detective mysteries (10), semi-bilingual international adventures for YA (11), non-fiction humor (2), how-to for writers wanting to be published (1), and historical fiction (1). 

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

GA: Winston Churchill, one of the best craft-persons of the English language ever. What do you think would have happened if you had been Prime Minister in 1938 instead of Neville Chamberlain? 

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

GA: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

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

GA: I’m not the only one. There exists a small universe of wacky, driven, and skilled individuals who, against all odds, manage to write books and get them published.

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

GA: I set out to write 25 books. I’ve accomplished that. I may concentrate on marketing these books and writing short stories, a form that has fascinated 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?

GA: Not sure of publication years, but any of the Hackberry Holland books by James Lee Burke are worth reading, if for no other reason than the brilliant use of descriptive language.

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

GA: I sold the manuscript of my first book to the first publisher I approached. Didn’t know it’s supposed to be hard. Never had a rejection. Borders Books asked me to write a how-to book on that subject. The result is BestSeller: Must-Read Authors’ Guide to Successfully Selling Your Book. I have conducted free 90-minute workshops, principally, in Barnes & Noble stores, to help writes get started in the right direction. Available to conduct workshops if anybody’s interested.

Thank you, George!

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: Cliff Hamrick

“One of the things I would like to do is help writers with conceptualizing their characters, particularly those with mental health issues, in a way that is realistic.”

— Cliff Hamrick 

A member of the Writers’ League since September, Cliff lives in Austin, TX.

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

Cliff Hamrick: I have written a self-help book and a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy novel, which I will develop into a series.

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

CH: I would like to have a drink with Robert E Howard just to learn how a boy from central Texas wrote such a vibrant and realistic world.

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

CH: The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty. It’s funny, spiritual, and has enough layers to re-read multiple times.

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

CH: I have learned that there is quite a variety of writers from all over the state.

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

CH: My plan is to become more of a writer than a counselor.  I think my perfect balance would be to spend just a couple of days seeing clients and the rest of the week writing.

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?

CH: It hasn’t come out in the past year, but Edible Wild Plants of Texas by Mark Suter is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning about useful plants in the state.

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

CH: I am just starting out writing, but I have been a licensed professional counselor in private practice since 2011. One of the things I would like to do is help writers with conceptualizing their characters, particularly those with mental health issues, in a way that is realistic.

I like hiking and camping and study survivalism and primitive skills as a way to stay connected to nature. I’ve been doing yoga regularly for over a year, but I still can’t touch my toes.

Thank you, Cliff!

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!

What We’re Reading Now:

Becka Oliver, Executive Director 

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

I was lucky enough to read Attica Locke’s debut novel, Black Water Rising, in manuscript form more than ten years ago. Scenes from that wonderful book – which was set in Houston and went on to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize, not to mention nominated for several other awards – have stayed with me to this day. (Seriously, everyone, read Black Water Rising). And now, all these years later, Heaven, My Home (September 2019, Mulholland Books) reminds me once again why we should all consider ourselves lucky to have Attica Locke writing about Texas. This time, as she did in the Edgar Award winning Bluebird, Bluebird, she takes us to small town East Texas where Texas Ranger Darren Matthews searches for a young boy who’s gone missing on Caddo Lake. Before long, he’s entangled in a web of false accusations and unreliable witnesses, set against the backdrop of a town still grappling with its past and willing to make any sacrifice for its future. I couldn’t put this one down.

Michael Noll, Program Director

Zarzamora by Vincent Cooper

While reading this new poetry collection about the inhabitants of a street named after a fruit, it’s impossible not to think of Sandra Cisneros’ most famous work. But this San Antonio street is captured in a voice and tone all of Cooper’s own. The book weaves together an older narrator and his younger self in dreamlike lines.
Cooper will read from Zarzamora on October 24, 7 p.m., at Malvern Books along with Claudia Delfina Cardona and Laura Villareal. More info here.

Neena Husid, Leadership Austin Fellow

Writing to Persuade by Trish Hall

Style books exist in plenitude. But not many invite you into the frenzy of an iconic editorial department while doling out their do’s and don’t’s. Through advice, examples and personal stories-some thrilling and gossip-filled (remember the NYT’s Putin op-ed?)-Trish Hall’s, Writing to Persuade is a style book with both gravitas and grins. The former editor of the New York Times op-ed page underscores familiar writing rules while pulling some intriguing new rabbits out of her journalistic hat. “Facts aren’t magic,” Hall warns op-ed writers and no matter how many convincing sentences you craft, people will believe what they believe. Regardless of that frustration, she’s firm in her assertion that getting into fights on the page won’t win you converts. Writing to Persuade is a fun and telling read: a book authors of any genre can learn from and enjoy.

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!

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!