A Fond Farewell to 2016

2016 is almost over, and at the end of the year, we like to take a moment to reflect. We've got a lot to be proud of this year -- our 35th anniversary, the launch of online classes, our podcast, our new Writer Classifieds program, and more -- and so do our members! Our members have finished writing projects, published books and articles, served on panels, traveled the world, won awards, and more. And that's why our last newsletter of the year is always dedicated to celebrating our members' 2016 achievements. Congratulations, truly, to everyone.  See the article below for 2016 Member News.

One final thing: if you're still on the hunt for a last-minute Christmas gift for a writer in your life, consider a Writers' League Gift CertificateCheck out our new Gift Certificate form here and explore the many gift possibilities, including membership, class registration for online and in-person classes, the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference Registration, or a specific dollar amount. Our new online form makes it easy to order a gift certificate for delivery via USPS or email. 

Happy Holidays, y'all!

Steve Adams 's (Dallas) essay "Border Crossing," originally published by Grist at the University of Tennessee, was selected as a "Notable Essay" by the Best  American Essays series. Visit his website here .

Sarah Barnes (Austin) won the 2016 Barbara Jordan Media Award for calling attention to attitudinal barriers in her new book  Meredith & Me: A mother and daughter on a profoundly different journey . The award is given by the Texas Governor's Committee on People With Disabilities. Visit her website here .

Stacey Berg 's (Houston) debut science fiction novel Dissension was published in 2016. Stacey discussed her book at the Texas Book Festival on a panel appropriately called "Kick Butt and Carry On: Bad Ass Women in Sci-Fi."

Diane Gonzales Bertrand (San Antonio) published her twelfth bilingual picture book. She read  A Story Circle/El Circulo de cuentos  (Arte Publico Press) at the Houston Children's Museum, McAllen Book Festival and during six school visits around the state. She will also read the book at the 2017 San Antonio Book Festival.
Ralph Bivins (Houston), Realty News Report editor, won five awards in the National Association of Real Estate Editor's 66th Annual Real Estate Journalism Competition in 2016.

Len Bourland (Dallas), award-winning humor columnist and former NPR commentator, wrote the narrative memoir  Normal's Just a Cycle on a Washing Machine, available at  Barnes and Noble, indie stores, and Amazon She formed her own publishing house, EPB Publishing LLC, and released her book in early September to a glowing review from Kirkus. She has been on a whirlwind book tour of the South with her main events listed on her website.

Mary Brooke Casad (Sulphur Springs) revised the first book in the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure series, Bluebonnet of the Texas Hill Country, illustrated by Benjamin Vincent (Eakin Press, Fort Worth). She also co-authored a three-book Christian formation series called
The Basics (Abingdon Press, Nashville) with her brother, Dr. Clayton Oliphint.

Harrison Cheung (Amherst, NY) published a YA novel, West of Weird, which was a finalist in the 2016 Ridley Scott / Launch Pad writing competition. Partly set in Austin, his novel is available for pre-order through publisher Inkshares, which requires a minimum of 250 pre-orders. Support indie writers by ordering here.
Elaine Davenport's (Dripping Springs) new guidebook  Discovering Westcave  from Texas A&M University Press takes readers on a walk through the world-class beauty of Westcave Preserve, one of the Hill Country's greatest natural treasures, and adds never-before-published stories of the area's history. All proceeds benefit Westcave.
Tamara Dever (Austin) of Austin-based book design firm TLC Graphics announces that  their publishing guide and journal, My Publishing Journey , is now available in both hardcover and paperback. Great gift for any current or aspiring author to encourage publishing and will become a treasured keepsake. 

Ann Fields (Dallas) published two short stories in the 2016 anthology,  Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature, Volume II . The anthology also features poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction starts (beginnings of novels) by African-American women writers. Read more about the book here .

Lauren Flake (Buda) published  Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go?: A Preschooler's Guide to Losing a Loved One , which began as a poem for her two young daughters after losing her mother to early onset Alzheimer's. The picture book includes original artwork by Lauren and her late mom.

Joe Giordano's (Austin) stories in 2016 appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Shenandoah, and fourteen other magazines. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller, will be published by Harvard Square Editions in May 2017. Read the first chapter and sign up for his blog here

Jess Hagemann  (Austin) published a kids' DIY guide to family history. The 70-page, full-color workbook is packed with inspiring prompts to help kids interview their loved ones about their life stories. Find more info here.

Marc Hess (Fredericksburg) landed a contract to write (and get paid for) a series of six lifestyle articles in San Antonio's  Ten West Living magazine. The first article appeared in the November-December 2016 issue.

Heather Holland (Austin) launched her blog Hunting for Chocolate  this year. She was invited and to speak in a world renowned education program at the 2016 North West Chocolate Festival.

Elise Holland (Houston) co-founded a new literary magazine. 2 Elizabeths, LLC 
is now accepting submissions of short fiction, flash fiction, and poetry. Their mission is to create a platform that offers value and visibility for writers. Get paid for published selections. They can't wait to read your work!

Norma Inman (Fair Oaks) wrote an essay for  Kid Me Not, An Anthology published by Violet Crown Publishers in 2014. This year the book was published in Korean and Chinese. It is also available in paperback and on Kindle. Find more info here .

Richard Jespers (Lubbock) had his story "Delia's Reunions," a four-parter concerning two friends who meet every ten years at high school gatherings, published in  Blackbird . VCU's fine journal has a tradition of honoring the long story, so if you like that genre, read the story here .

Micheal Jimerson (Henderson) weaves a powerful story of love, loss, revenge, and forgiveness in The Seeds of Injustice, a rip roaring tale stretching from the Piney Woods of East Texas to the barren desert of the Comancheria. The Seeds of Injustice won the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for Historical Fiction and Western. Find more info here.

Carie Juettner (Austin) received first place in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Chapbook Competition. Her poetry chapbook,  Death Can't Sleep , will be published by Yellow Chair Review in early 2017.

Susie Kralovansky (Georgetown) signed a contract with Pelican Publishing for her newest picture book  The Book That Jake Borrowed , which she'll also be illustrating. The book will be released in 2018.

Lindsey Lane (Austin) is thrilled to announce she is now a paperback writer. Her debut YA novel  Evidence of Things Not Seen (FSG) was released in paperback on December 6.  Publishers Weekly calls  Evidence a "gripping and genre bending mosaic." Read more about the book here .

Greg Levin (Austin) published his third novel,  Sick to Death , which shot up to #3 in "Dark Comedy" on Amazon within its first month out. His previous novel, The Exit Man , has just been optioned (again) for development into a major TV series. Greg is busy at work on his fourth novel. Visit his website here .

Cornelia Levy (Austin) published her first novel,  Puerto Bagad: Shipwrecked Dreams  (historical fiction manuscript winner in the Writers' League of Texas 203 manuscript contest), available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Levy is avidly working on her second novel,  Millie's Secrets .

Curt Locklear (The Woodlands and Austin) this year published Asunder, A Novel of the Civil War . With strong protagonists and loathsome villains, Asunder delivers action and romance. Thoroughly researched, the common reaction is "OMG, I love this book." Visit his website here

Nikki Loftin's (Austin)  Wish Girl was selected as the 2016 Great Read for Texas by the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives, and featured at the National Book Festival. 
T.K. Lukas' (Mineral Wells) debut novel,  Orphan Moon , was chosen as a 2016 Kindle Book Reviews and Book Awards Semi-Finalist in Literary Fiction and was the 2016 Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal Winner in Western Fiction. Her second novel,  If the Devil Had a Dog , received five Readers' Favorite 5-Star Reviews. Visit her website here
Nola McKey (Austin) announced the publication of her second cookbook in May.  From  Tea Cakes to Tamales: Third-Generation Texas Recipes  (Texas A&M University Press) features more than 100 third-generation (and older) recipes, ancestor photos, family recollections, and tips for preserving heirloom recipes. Available in stores and online. Visit her website  for details.

Ginger McKnight-Chavers's (Dallas/New York) debut novel, In the Heart of Texas, was recently released by She Writes Press and won the USA Best Book Award in the category of Fiction: African American. Visit her website here.

Tom Mitchell (Georgetown) signed a contract with the Louisiana State University Press for his nonfiction book  Winds, Waves, and Warriors: Forecasting Beach Landing Conditions in World War II . It investigates the oceanography that caused major problems during some WWII amphibious landings.

Susan Signe Morrison (San Marcos) has a new book:  A Medieval Woman's Companion: Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages  (Oxbow Books). Her novel,  Grendel's Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd Wife , won the Words on Wings Book Award for young adult fiction, a Literary Classics Top Honors Award 2016.

Doreen Murphy's (Mason) memoir, From Fear to Faith , was published as a trilogy in 2015. She presented her memoir to the Mason Study Group in January and had a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Austin on May 21. In October she presented her memoir to the Junior Literature Club in Houston. Visit the book website here .

Michael Noll's (Austin) story, "The Tank Yard," was included in The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. His book on the craft of writing, A Writer's Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction, is forthcoming in Fall 2017 from A Strange Object. In January, he'll launch Books Are Not a Luxury, a book promotion project that aims to be an "ice-bucket challenge" for books by writers of color, LGTBQIA writers, and writers with disabilities.

Herb Nordmeyer
(Castroville) blogged about how his failures led to his successes. A California attorney used his blogs to have Herb discredited as an expert witness. The Judge, after reading the pleadings, said, "I want to hear this man." With this PR material, a series of books must follow. Visit his website here .

Joni Parker's (Tucson, AZ) book  Spell Breaker was selected as a 2016 Book Excellence Award Finalist. She also published three books:  The Blue Witch and  Gossamer , books two and three of The Chronicles of Eledon series, and  The Seaward Isle Saga: A Trilogy
Dustin Pickering (Houston) announces the release of the revised version of the bestselling
Selfhood: Varieties of Experience. The book explores the meaning of Selfhood and has a trenchant afterword discussing the ways Eastern and Western mysticism meet and differ. With an introduction by Seattle poet Lyn Coffin. Available on Amazon.

Randall Reneau (Austin) completed his sixth thriller,  The Medinandi License , in 2016 and adapted an earlier novel,  south of good , into a screenplay. The script made the semifinals at the Austin Revolution Film Festival and the Orlando Film Festival. He is currently working on the sequel to  south of good . Visit his website here .

Clint Richmond  (Austin) was recently recorded by the archivist of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza regarding his bylined reporting of the assassination of President Kennedy and aftermath. His account of events he covered for the Dallas Times Herald will be available to researchers in the museum's Oral History Collection. Visit his website here .

Bill Rodgers (Austin) published his first short-form humor book, History Retweets Itself: Texas Edition in March 2016. Bill has been writing material for Jay Leno for 20 years. History Retweets Itself: Rock & Roll Edition will be released in early 2017, followed by History Retweets Itself: Golf Edition. Visit his website here
Deanna Roy (Austin) hit the USA Today bestseller list for the sixth time with her  Fight for Her series under the pen name JJ Knight. Visit her website here

Ruth Senftleber's (Cedar Park) short story, "The Translation," was published in October 2016 in the  Florida Writers Association Collection, Volume 8: Hide and Seek .

Marty Shelton's (Georgetown) action-adventure novel  Shanghai Express is scheduled for publication soon. The fictional scenario focuses on the actual Chinese bandit raid in 1923 of the elite British train en route to Peiping. Visit his website here .

Jan Sikes (Allen) announces three awards in 2016 for her third book,  Home At Last - 1st place in Biography Fiction from Tx. Assoc. of Authors, 1st place in General Fiction from the North Texas Book Festival, and Cover Design Award from Authorsdb. Visit her website here .

Susanne Slay-Westbrook (Austin) is pleased to announce that her new book,  Respect-Focused Therapy: Honoring Clients Through the Therapeutic Relationship and Process, was released in October 2016. It is a Research Monograph published by Routledge, for academic and clinical purposes in mental heath. This work emphasizes the healing properties of respect. Find the book online here.

Nathan Smith (Cedar Park) is celebrating the completion of his first science fiction trilogy,
Espatier. It took over a year of non-stop work for him to write all three novels, and self-publishing them was an adventure, to say the least. You can find the trilogy on Amazon.

Cynthia Leitich Smith 's (Austin) picture book, Jingle Dance (HarperChildren's) was chosen by First Nations Development Institute as a featured title for its Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading List. Her chapter book, Indian Shoes (HarperChildren's), also was a selection.

Suzy Spencer's (Austin) updated edition of  Breaking Point , the story of Andrea Yates, was released as an audio book by Tantor Audio. Gregg Olsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author, describes the story as "devastatingly heartbreaking" and says Suzy "writes with conviction, nuance and understanding. A remarkable achievement by a gifted writer." Find more about the book here .

Sandra Thompson (Horseshoe Bay)  serves as editor of the Burnet County Republican Women's Club News; does the Burnet County Republican Women's Directory; created a new member folder for new members with state, county and national information; and recently created a  website   for the club.

Linda Hebert Todd (Westlake, LA) writes poetry and prose from the bayous of Louisiana. She published her first novel in March.  Wild Justice is set in southwest Louisiana and received Honorable Mention in the 2016 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards in the Genre Fiction category. Visit her website here .

Gerry J. Tucker (Austin) achieved her lifelong dream of publishing a spiritual book after a chance meeting with her publisher. In February 2016 she published Bedside Chat with IFX Publishing. The book consists of personal essays, meditations and inspirational material. Her book is on Amazon and on her website.

James Wade  (Austin) won the Writers' League of Texas 2016 Manuscript Contest for Historical Fiction, and was a finalist in the Thriller category. His short fiction appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Skylark Review, Jersey Devil Press, Pure Slush, Dime Show Review, and Intrinsick Magazine, among others.

Dr. Deirdre Williams (Lockhart) joined the Writers' League of Texas in September. In November, she and niece Khaliah published their first book, Quit, Khaliah! She participated in "Writers at the Mic" at KAZI's Book Review: Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices in Texas and "The Author's Table" at Lockhart's Eugene Clark Library. Visit her website here.

Richard Willis'  (Austin) book San Saba Gold, the second Ranger Buck McDougal novel, is now available on Amazon in print and as a Kindle e-book.

Manning Wolfe (Austin) published her first novel  Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King in February 2016. Dollar Signs was a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review awards and also was a medalist in the 2016 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards. Manning's second novel, Music Notes: Texas Lady Lawyer vs L.A. Baron, will be released in early 2017. Visit her website here.

Patricia Roberts Wright  (Houston), new author of literary historical fiction, launched her website in 2016. She is writing a trilogy set in the U.S. and Europe in the second half of the 19th century. The story is based on actual events and historical figures. Visit her website here.

Gay Yellen  (Houston) launched her second book in The Samantha Newman Series, The Body Next Door, a humorous romantic suspense novel which is short-listed for the Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Award (to be announced in 2017). She also updated GayYellen.com with her first-ever blog. Visit her website here.

First, let's hear it for our wonderful Community Members!

Our year-round programming receives valuable support from the following folks (thank you, thank you, thank you)!:

And the 2016 Agents & Editors conference wouldn't have been the same without our wonderful sponsors: 

Finally, thank you to Samantha Clark, for helping us get our Online Classes off the ground; to Sara Kocek, for wrangling our Book Awards and Manuscript Contest; to Jane Sharpe, designer extraordinaire, for making us look good all year long; and to Jo Virgil, for expertly coordinating the Texas Writes program. We couldn't do it without you!

Our offices are closed Dec 16-Jan 2. 
See you in 2017!

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to  www.arts.texas.gov .