February 28, 2017


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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. 

"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
George Arnold's (Garland) seventh mystery in the Detective Craig Rylanderr series has been released by Eakin Press.  Tragedy of the Commons: Dark Prophesies  follows a psychopathic cult leader from his compound in Austin to Aruba and Curacao, Caribbean Islands that are members of The Kingdom of the Netherlands. The book is co-authored by Ken Squier. Visit George's website here.

Christy Esmahan (Austin) is thrilled that Tantor Media purchased the audio rights to The Laptev Virus, which is now available on both Audible and Overdrive. The book is narrated by award-winning actor and professional book narrator Vikas Adam. Please ask your local library to order their copy now!

Jess Hagemann (Austin) is offering a class called "The Life Review and Creative Nonfiction" on March 18. This class will teach you how to interview someone to write his/her life story as an article or a book, use recording and transcription equipment, incorporate 'facts, quotes, and anecdotes,' and self-publish that story. Register here.

Martha Miller (San Antonio) has published her first book, a travel memoir.  Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy has been featured on LifeinItaly.com and GoNOMAD.com, and is avaiable from  Amazon Book People  and  The Twig Book Shop

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.

Texas Writes

We will hold two Texas Writes events on Saturday, March 4.

The first will be held at the Yorktown Public Library at 10 am with featured speakers  Greg Garrett and Donna Johnson. 

The second will be held at the Andrews County Library at 10 am with featured speakers  Chaitali Sen and Natalia Sylvester.

For the full 2016/2017 schedule, visit the Texas Writes page on our website.

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 .

 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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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 literary Independents -- in conjunction with Texas Independence Day -- to host a series of free and open events in cities across the state.
These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer--independent presses, journals, 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 at the  Odessa College - Saulsbury Campus Center ( Zant Room - West,  201 W. University Blvd,  Odessa, TX).  The discussion will be moderated by WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver. Panelists will include Kay Ellington (editor and publisher of Lone Star Literary Life and Bookadelphia), Will Evans (co-founder and president of Cinestate), and R. Mark Jackson (general editor at Concho River Review).  RSVPs are suggested (click here), but not required. 
Can't attend in Odessa? We'll also be visiting San Antonio next Monday, March 6!  The panel will be held at the  Twig Book Shop ( 306 Pearl Pkwy #106,  San Antonio, TX 78215). The discussion will be moderated by WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver.  Panelists will include Kelly Grey Carlisle (editor of the creative nonfiction journal  1966).   Will Evans (co-founder and president of  Cinestate ), Bryce Milligan (publisher of Wings Press), and Tom Payton (director of Trinity University Press). RSVPs are suggested (click here), but not required. 
Stay tuned -- we'll also be heading to Austin, Dallas, and Houston this month, and the Austin  panel discussion will be recorded and made available as a podcast through  Soundcloud .
Hope to see you at one of the panels!
Last Chance to Enter the 2016 Book Awards Contest!
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 2017 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 being 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 Chance: Solve Plot Problems with Better Character Development 
Registration closes Thursday, March 2 at midnight.
Having problems with your story's plot? 
Do your characters feel flat and unconvincing? 
Want to strengthen your story through your cast of characters? 
This class can help. 
Regardless of the genre or style of novel, characters are at the center of any effective story, and characters are what pull readers into the narrative and drive the plot forward. Often when you think that you are having "plot problems," what you are really having are "character problems," since well-developed characters can help show you what will happen next in the story. Telling a story is not just a question of what the writer wants to have happen next, but rather the result of what the characters choose to do. Strong characters, in other words, will help you find the story that you are trying to write. 

In this half-day workshop, students will do the following:
  • Examine the basic elements necessary for creating convincing and compelling characters, such as backstory, motivation, wants and needs, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Discuss strategies for how to develop those characters over the course of a novel-length narrative. 
  • Identify some of the traps and dead ends that can leave otherwise intriguing characters feeling flat and lifeless. 
Praise for the instructor:    
"John Pipkin's class was the best one I have ever taken. It taught me not just the subject but how to write." 

For more details and registration, click  here

John Pipkin's first novel, Woodsburner , was published to national acclaim by Doubleday in 2009. Woodsburner  won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize for First Novel. His new historical novel, The Blind Astronomer's Daughter , was published by Bloomsbury in 2016. John was the Dobie Paisano Fellow at UT-Austin for the spring of 2011, and he recently returned from a three-week writing fellowship at the MacDowell Artist's Colony in New Hampshire. Currently, John is the Writer-in-Residence at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and he also teaches at UT-Austin and in the Low-residency MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. 
Master the Agent Search
Ready to find an agent? 
Want to understand who to query, when to query, and what to send with your query? 
Curious about how the agent/author relationship works?
This class can help.

Join a  New York Times  bestselling writer and a former literary agent (with a combined 30 plus years of publishing experience between them) for an informative, candid, no-holds-barred class on finding the ideal agent for you-and how to navigate the relationship once you've found that perfect match. This class will cover everything from nailing your pitch and presentation materials identifying the most promising agents to approach for representation, avoiding the pitfalls that lead to rejection, asking the right questions (and never ever the wrong ones), and most everything in between.
The first three hours of the class will be a presentation with plenty of time for questions and answers.  The final hour of the class will be spent looking closely at sample query letters (registrants will have the chance to send their draft query letters to the instructors ahead of time for possible review in class).  
For more details and registration, click here.

Sandra Bark is a New York Times bestselling author and collaborator who partners with smart, passionate people to turn ideas into books. Her clients are cultural icons and subject-matter experts who want to teach, share and inspire. Sandra partnered with Cameron Diaz to write The Body Book , the bestselling guide to women's health, and the just released The Longevity Book . She collaborated with Daphne Oz, co-host of ABC's The Chew , to write Relish , the bestselling cookbook and guide to life. She worked closely with stylist Lori Goldstein to tell the stories behind three decades of iconic fashion images in Style is Instinct, and has written three bestselling books with tattoo artist Kat von D. From pop culture and style to travel, food, health and fitness, Sandra works across a range of subjects, styles and voices to help her clients write books and develop their narrative strategies online. Her work is published by a long list of publishers, including HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Random House, Penguin Putnam and Simon & Schuster.

Becka Oliver joined the Writers' League in September 2013 as Executive Director after more than sixteen years of experience working in book publishing. She spent much of her publishing career inside two of the "big six" publishing leaders-Macmillan and Hachette Book Group-licensing domestic and foreign rights on behalf of countless notable authors, including Sandra Brown, Brad Meltzer, Nicholas Sparks, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, and more. In 2007, she made the leap from Associate Director of Subsidiary Rights at Grand Central Publishing to Literary Agent, first at Endeavor and then at William Morris Endeavor (WME) after the two powerhouse talent agencies merged in 2009. As a literary agent, Becka represented clients working in both fiction and non-fiction, including Brunonia Barry, Sheryl Crow, Kamran Pasha, Joanna Philbin, Susan Rebecca White, and the popular blog Awkward Family Photos.

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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