February 14, 2017


In This Issue
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"Members Review"
Interested in reviewing books? Contact us at member@writersleague.org with "Members Review" in the subject line and we will respond with more details. 
Click HERE to read WLT member 
Tony Burnett's review of
Good As Gone
by Amy Gentry. 

"Meet the Members"
Want to be profiled on our blog? We are looking for willing subjects for our weekly Q&A posts with current members. If interested, write us at 

Member News
Walt Gragg (Georgetown) author o The Red Line  (Berkley) received not only a "starred" but highly coveted "boxed" review from Publishers Weekly this week. PW had the following to say about the novel (scheduled for release on  May 2, 2017 ): "Impeccably researched, riveting first novel...this is a must read."

Nancy G. West (San Antonio) writes the award-winning Aggie Mundeen Mysteries. Aggie, an overly curious columnist with a zest for life, is determined to help a San Antonio Police Department detective solve crimes. The latest in the series, River City Dead, is set in San Antonio during Fiesta week. Find out more here.

Are you a current WLT member interested in submitting to Member News? Email your 50-word blurb (including links and your city of residence) to member@writersleague.org. Please make sure to follow the third-person format used in our announcements. For a full list of guidelines, click here.

Community Member News
Kallisto Gaia Press (Texas) is open for submissions to the debut edition of The Ocotillo Review to be published Summer 2017. Categories include Short Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Flash Fiction.  Visit their website, www.kallistogaiapress.org, for guidelines and editor profiles.

Are you a business or organization interested in Community Membership? Visit our website for more details, or email Member Services Manager Jordan Smith at   jordan@

Texas Writes

Our next Texas Writes event will take place at the Lillie Russell Memorial Library in Lindale, TX on February 16, 2017 at 10 am.

Featured Speakers: 
Jeramey Kraatz and Liz Garton Scanlon.

For the full 2016/2017 schedule, visit the Texas Writes page on our website.
REMINDER: Sign Your Books at the San Antonio Book Festival

We're so excited to once again participate in the San Antonio Book Festival,   (April 8, 2017), 
where we'll have 45-minute slots available for members interested in signing and selling copies of their books.

If you're a current member of the Writers' League and are interested in signing at this year's San Antonio Book Festival please click here to read the guidelines for consideration and to submit your information.

Johnson City Library's 9th Annual Writers Conference

February 22, 2017
10 am - 2 pm
First United Methodist Church,
Johnson City, TX

The Johnson City Library is proud to announce its 9th consecutive annual Writers Conference sponsored by the Johnson City Library Friends of the Library. This year's theme is "Agents, Editors and Authors."  WLT  Program Director Michael Noll will moderate the morning roundtable discussion with panelists Jennifer Canzoneri, Bill Cotter, and Mark Falkin. Find more information and registration details here.
WLT Members: Get a Discount on Writefest in Houston: 
March 6-12, 2017

Writefest is a week-long writers festival taking place March 6-12, 2017 in Houston, TX. It is hosted by  Writespace , Houston's grassroots nonprofit literary arts center. The festival kicks off with a series of Monday-Friday workshops and culminates in a weekend filled with panels and presentations by local and national writers and literary journal editors of all genres, a Literary Journal Fair, and readings by local and nationally-recognized authors. 

WLT Members: Call 512-499-8914 for a discount code to receive 20% registration.

Find more information and registration details here .

Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund: Deadline is Feb 15
The Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund awards annual scholarships to aspiring journalists and writers. 

To learn more about the scholarships and apply online, visit their website.

 Open Office Hours - March 9
Registration closes
March 8 at 12 pm

Members can meet one-on-one with a WLT staffer (in person or call in). This option is available to all members regardless of their city of residence!

Click  here for guidelines and to sign up. Current members only.  

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February Third Thursday

How to Unite, Ignite, 
and Get It Right:
Writing About Social Justice

Thursday, February 16, 2017
7 PM 
BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
3rd Floor
Every month, Writers' League members and friends gather at BookPeople in Austin for a panel discussion on topics related to the craft and business of writing. These events are the highlight of our month at WLT; we love meeting our members, connecting with fellow writers, and fostering positive conversation and growth in the Austin literary community and beyond. We also record these conversations for our  podcast so that writers everywhere can join us, regardless of their location. 

At this month's Third Thursday, we're excited to discuss how to explore social justice in our prose with four panelists: 

Nan Cuba  is the author of Body and Bread, winner of the PEN Southwest Award in Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction, and co-editor of Art at our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists. Her work has appeared in Antioch Review, Harvard Review, Columbia, Chicago Tribune's Printer's Row, LIFE, Third Coast, and D Magazine. She has received a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, an artist residency at Fundaci√≥n Valparaiso in Spain, and was a finalist for the Humanities Texas Award for Individual Achievement. She is the founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, a nonprofit literary center , and teaches in the MA/MFA Program in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she is writer-in-residence. Her website is  http://nancuba.com .
Viv√©  Griffith  is the former director of Free Minds in Austin, Texas, a program that offers free college credits in the humanities to low-income students. Griffith built it from a pilot project to an established part of Austin's educational landscape and oversaw its move from the University of Texas to Foundation Communities. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Sun, Oxford American, Gettysburg Review, as well as online at RoleReboot and in Edible Austin. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Weeks In This Country. She has taught poetry community poetry workshops to children and adults, co-edited a literary magazine, and judged numerous writing contests. For two years she served as a volunteer writing mentor in the Veterans Writing Project, working with veterans and active service men and women. She teaches poetry and creative nonfiction at Austin Community College.

Alejandro Puyana  grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, but lives in Austin, Texas. His work has been published by the Tin House blog, The Toast, Huizache, and adapted for radio by NPR's The Texas Standard. He makes a living as a political writer for progressive causes, focusing on the Hispanic electorate. He worked as part of the Hillary for America Media Team in 2016.  

Read more about the panelists on our  website  and join the  Facebook event  for updates. Hope to see you there !

We're Hitting the Road 
in March! 
Join Us in Cities Across the State to Celebrate Texas Independents.
Texas has a thriving literary scene - are you taking full advantage of the opportunities in your own state, or even in your own backyard?

Whether you're a Texas writer looking for publication or a book lover who wants to support Texas-owned and operated businesses, this month the Writers' League of Texas is partnering wit h some of the state's greatest Independents -- in conjunction with Texas Independence Day -- to host a series of free and open events throughout the month of March in cities across the state.
These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers' burning questions (bring your burning questions!) about the publishing process, submitting to presses and journals, catching the eye of an editor, and more.
We'll kick off the month with a free and open-to-the-public panel discussion in Odessa, TX, on March 2. The discussion will be moderated by WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver. Panelists will include Kay Ellington (editor and publisher of Lone Star Literary Life), Will Evans (co-founder and president of Cinestate), and R. Mark Jackson (general editor at Concho River Review). Details below:
March 2, 2017, 
7 p.m.
Odessa College - Saulsbury Campus Center
Zant Room (West)
201 W. University Blvd
Odessa, TX 79764 

RSVPs are suggested (click here), but not required. 
Can't attend in Odessa? We'll be visiting several other cities throughout the month: San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates. The Austin panel discussion will be recorded and made available as a podcast through Soundcloud.

Last Chance to Enter the 2017 Book Awards Contest!
DEADLINE: February 28, 2017

The state of Texas has a long tradition of serving as a setting for and inspiring great storytelling. Honoring that tradition, the Writers' League of Texas Book Awards were established in 1991 (known first as the Violet Crown Awards before being renamed in 2008) to recognize the year's best among those stories and to celebrate the exceptional writers behind them.

Winners in each of the five categories will receive a $1000 cash prize, a commemorative award, and public recognition at the 2016 Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX. In addition, five Discovery Prize Winners will receive a $250 cash prize.

The Book Awards Contest accepts entries in five categories: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, picture books, middle grade/young adult books.  The contest is open to both traditionally-published  and self-published books.   In addition to be considered for the main prize, self-published books and books published by small presses will be considered for the Discovery Prize. Read the guidelines and enter here.

Last-Minute Valentine's Gift

Got a writer in your life? Give them a Writers' League of Texas gift certificate. The deserving writer in your life would surely love to receive a membership, class registration, conference registration, or the dollar amount of your choice. Happy Valentine's Day!

Expand Your Short Story Toolbox

Do your short stories run out of steam after the first few pages?
Do you struggle to use backstory without killing the narrative?
Do you feel like you're trying to juggle too many narrative elements at once? 
Crafting short stories requires great openings, vivid details, escalating tension, a tightly choreographed climax, and a perfect ten ending. This half-day, hands-on class will explore:
  • Building a strong narrative arc,
  • How to use dialogue to advance plot and reveal character,
  • Bringing the setting to life with the tiniest details, and
  • Creating a balance between action and exposition.
Short stories must do everything that novels do in much less space. In addition to tackling the craft elements above, this class will also look at these very important questions: Why is this story happening now? How do you use backstory so that it works like fate on the pages of your story?
Participants will examine specific published stories and do writing exercises aimed at making every tool in your writing toolbox more accessible and easier to use. 
This class is for all writers (beginning to advanced) who want to sharpen their short story writing tools.

For more details and registration, click  here.   Registration closes on Thursday, February 16 at midnight. There are still a few seats left.

Lindsey Lane is an award-winning playwright and children's and young adult author. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut young adult novel Evidence Of Things Not Seen  is a "unique, powerful novel," said Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo and the Real World. Publisher's Weekly  said that it "offers a gripping and genre-bending mosaic centered around the sudden disappearance of physics-obsessed high school junior Tommy Smythe." The Horn Book  said, "Complex and rich, the story hints at Tommy's fate, but with an open ending that is perfect for sparking discussion." Lindsey is also the author of the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain , illustrations by Melissa Iwai, which was named Best Children's Book of 2004 by Bank Street College of Education. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family.

Write More Inspiring Prose

Does your own prose feel flat or uninspired?
Have you ever admired a novel or memoir's language and said, "It's almost like poetry?"  
Want to learn to create more powerful images and sentences? 
Poetry's economy of language and use of powerful images offers creative, succinct points of divergence for writers of all genres. This online class will focus on specific poetic tools such as rhythm, repetition and alliteration to seed, deepen, and refine new and in-progress writing. Students will study 3-5 poems and essays that engage poetic techniques and generate new material to incorporate into a current project or begin a new one.  

From novice to rising novelist, to seasoned, successful writers and screenwriters, this workshop will provide a broad spectrum of perspectives on poetry's richness as foundation, catalyst and lively companion.  

Participants are asked to have a copy of a favorite poem to work with.
What past students have said about this class:
  • "I could immediately use what I learned and practiced."
  • "What a truly creative mind and set of approaches Charlotte brings forth."
For more details and registration, click  hereRegistration closes on Tuesday, February 22, at 5 pm. There are still a few seats left.

Charlotte Gullick is a novelist, essayist, editor, educator, and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Austin Community College. A first-generation college graduate, she recently earned a MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Charlotte's first novel, By Way of Water , was chosen by Jayne Anne Phillips as the Grand Prize winner of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program, and a special author's edition was reissued by the Santa Fe Writers Project in November of 2013. Charlotte's other awards include a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship for Fiction, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, a MacDowell Colony Residency, Faculty of Year from College of the Redwoods as well as the Evergreen State College 2012 Teacher Excellence Award.

Self-Publishing 101 

Ready to self-publish your book?
Not sure which platform to use or how much to charge?
Have you already self-published a book, but it's not selling?
This class can help.
It's been six years since the self-publishing revolution went mainstream. Strategies to get your book in front of readers have changed tremendously. Whether you have several books out, or are still finishing up a manuscript you intend to publish on your own, this class will take your career as an author to the next stage in its self-publishing journey. In this four-hour class, participants will: 
  • Review the self-publishing platforms for ebook and print and their current market share
  • Discuss the best price points for each genre and type of book
  • Build a release strategy that gives your book the best possible start
  • Establish a "rescue plan" for current titles that have not yet found their audience
For more details and registration, click  here.

Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of women's fiction, college romance, and middle grade books under three pen names. She is a regular speaker and instructor for authors who choose the self-publishing route for their books.

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The Writers' League of Texas
is a non-profit corporation, funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts.        

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


611 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 200 A-3, Austin, TX 78704/ 512-499-8914/ wlt@writersleague.org