Lone Star Lit celebrates Black History Month 2016

One of the goals of Lone Star Literary Life is to shine a spotlight on the admirable diversity in Texas literature—a commitment that extends beyond demographics, but also to genre and publishing platform and approach.

In this spirit, we’re pleased to highlight Black History Month in February 2016, with a variety of features coming up.

  • Behind the Spine Podcast  Our monthly podcast, Behind the Spine, will feature bookman Billy Huckaby of Fort Worth, CEO of Wild Horse Media Group. Huckaby will be discussing with host Ally Bishop the range of Texas African-American titles at Eakin Press, an imprint of WHMG.
  • Lone Star Listens Author Sanderia Faye of Dallas will be profiled in Lone Star Listens on February 7. Her novel Mourner’s Bench (University of Arkansas Press, Sept. 2015) is a coming-of-age story of a young African-American girl told across the backdrop of a rapidly changing small town in the South during the 1960s.
  • Lone Star Reviews The first Sunday of February and the last Sunday of February will feature Texas African American–interest titles in our reviews.

If you are a publisher, publicist, or author of a recently published Texas African American title, and would like to mentioned in this month’s coverage, please drop us a note at info@lonestarliterary.com.

Border Regional Library Association honors UTEP filmmaker and author Sandoval; awards to be presented in El Paso Feb. 27

South Sun Rises: A Bilingual Poetic Narrative of the Borderland by Valentin Sandoval (Sherman Asher Pubishing) has been selected to receive a Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association. Congratulations to Jim Mafchir and Valentin Sandoval.

According to IMdb.com, Sandoval studied film at the University of Texas-El Paso, but his filmmaking skill and style is mostly self-taught, honed by hands-on work experience with writer/documentarian Jimmy Santiago Baca, cinematographer Lee Daniel and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Paul Espinosa. From the start, Sandoval has not shied away from harsh subject matter or daunting imagery. At age nineteen, he produced a short film about a young heroin junkie entitled Instrumento, which screened at the Mesilla Valley Film Festival and garnered Sandoval's first award-the first-ever award for best independent filmmaking bestowed by UTEP. Since then, Sandoval made the documentary Clamor about young inmates in Chino prison, scoring three additional awards, plus short films and The Gray. His work has been screened at the Chicago Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, and Dallas' Vistas Film Festival.

The awards banquet will be held on February 27, 2016, in El Paso. For more information, visit www.brla.info.

(From organization’s press release )

Lone Star Literary Life to introduce new features, crowdfunding in celebration of first anniversary Feb. 2

On February 2, 2015, Lone Star Literary Life published its first issue of Texas's only comprehensive statewide books-news coverage. We launched on Groundhog Day with a robust subscriber list of Texas booksellers, publishers, libraries, authors, and, most important of all, readers.

We pledged to deliver thoughtful reviews of new Texas books, first-person profiles and interviews of Texas authors, news and coverage of awards, festivals, and author tours, and the state's only full calendar of book events — every week. And we've done so for almost 52 weeks now, bringing readers, writers, publishers, publicists, and librarians the latest in bookish Texas news and information.

We're supported by advertising, providing a guaranteed vehicle to promote Texas-related books. And in our first year, we introduced such popular features as Lone Star Book Blog Tours, author podcasts, and Top Texas Bookish Destinations, which present editorial content around which publishers, booksellers, and authors can build paid campaigns.

We've got even bigger plans in store for 2016. Stay tuned over the next few weeks. And watch for details on our Indiegogo campaign — to learn how you can help Lone Star Lit grow and also earn unique perks.

Make a note of our hashtags: #LoneStarLit2016 #ComeAndFundIt

DFW Writers Conference, April 23-24, announces special guest speakers, classes, agents, editors

DALLAS—The 2016 DFW Writers Conference, to be held April 23-24, 2016m at the Fort Worth Convention Center, has released a partial list of its classes and authors and the lists of agents and editors who will be attending as well.

Three special guest speakers will be appearing at the 2016 DFW Writer’s Conference.

Christopher Golden is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) The Map of Moments. He has also written books for teens and young adults, including Poison Ink, Soulless, and the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA’s Best Books for Young Readers. Upcoming teen novels include a new series of hardcover YA fantasy novels co-authored with Tim Lebbon and entitled The Secret Journeys of Jack London.

Thomas Kunkel is the president of St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. He has served as president of American Journalism Review and as dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. He is the author or editor of five previous books, including Genius in Disguise, Enormous Prayers, and Letters from the Editor. Recently, his book, Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker is causing quite a stir in literary circles.

Tara McKelvey, a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, is a correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. She is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War. She is now a White House reporter for the BBC.

In addition to guest speakers, the conference has an extensive list of classes, including:

Does My Plot Look Too Big?

Addison Fox

We’ve all heard about publisher-requested word count. 50,000 words. 70,000 words. 90,000 words. Category-length. Single-title length. Novellas. Short stories. In this workshop Addison Fox discusses the plot elements that fall out of story length and why word count plays a role. Content, pacing and character growth all develop differently when writing to certain word counts and she will give you several pointers, tips and questions to ask yourself when you sit down to write your next book.

Marketing Tips for Writers

Bonnie Stufflebeam and D.L. Young

Writers today are expected to actively participate in the marketing of their work. Whether you’re self-publishing or publishing with a press large or small, knowing a thing or two about marketing your writing will give you an upper hand. The UNT Press marketing manager will go over basics and which techniques seem to be most effective. Social media, advertising, blogging, and working in tandem with your press or publisher will be a few of the topics explored.

Make Your Fantasy and Horror Stories Feel Real

C Dean Andersson, Horror Writers Association award finalist whose publishers include HarperCollins and Kensington, reveals how to tell unforgettable fantasy and horror stories. Use the emotional heart to override the rational head. Amaze and frighten yourself then show, don’t tell readers how you feel. Face your inner shadows. Visualize fantastic worlds. Nurture your sense of wonder. In this presentation, learn how to trigger the strong emotions readers crave and won’t forget by making your fantasy and horror stories feel real.

Rayguns or Magic Wands: Building Your World in 500 Words or Less

Dantzel Cherry

So you want to write an immersive fictional world, but infodumps and maid-and-butler dialogue aren’t in vogue. Whether you’re writing short stories or hefty epic novels, your readers want a world that they can dive into head-first while still following the plot. Come get tips on how invite readers to lose themselves in your world – without getting lost.

Comic Writing Boot Camp

David Doub

Writing comics and novels are very similar yet worlds apart and we’re going to show that in action.  During this workshop participants will be encouraged to draw as well as write to fully immerse themselves in making comics.

Should I Invest in a Marketing Agent?

Harry Hall

Whether or not you’ve enjoyed success as an author, you have probably at least considered working with a marketing professional. Many successful writers wouldn’t think of launching a book without one. But the idea, much less the process, can be daunting. How can you find the right one? Which programs work, which ones don’t? How do you sift through all the information? So what do you do? Earlier this year, award-winning author Harry Hall committed to a 10 week marketing program with a marketing agent. In this session, he will share with us about that experience: what he did, what he didn’t do, what he should have done, and what he would do next time.

Historical Research for Fiction Writers, Where to Start

J. Kathleen Cheney

About to tackle historical fiction? J. Kathleen Cheney discusses some of the decisions you need to make before you begin, where to start looking, and some neat tricks she’s learned along the path of publishing Historical Fantasy.

Delivering Your POPs and Payoffs

Jaye Wells

Good stories don’t happen by accident. To master the art of delivering satisfying tales, writers must learn how to effectively make story promises in Act One as well as how to deliver satisfying payoffs by The End. This class will explore the types of promises you must make from the first line of your story, demonstrate a variety of tools you can use to make those promises, and offer strategies to avoid cheating your readers out of satisfying payoffs.

Title This

JC Davis

Finding the perfect title for your novel can seem as painful as writing a one-page synopsis. But it doesn’t have to be. Come learn a few helpful tricks, techniques and ideas to help you find just the right words.

Digging Deeper: An Interactive Novel Writing Workshop

Jenny Martin

Sure, you know the basics of novel writing…plot, dialogue, description. But are you ready to dig deeper into theme, characterization, subtext and world-building? Are you ready to ready to truly master the craft of writing, delivering the kind of story that lingers, staying with the reader long after the book has been closed? The kind that never goes out of print? If so, Join author Jenny Martin for a brand new, hands on, intensive workshop, in which you’ll have the opportunity to try out new techniques, and discover the keys to writing profoundly memorable fiction.

Writing the Odd, Publishable Poem

Joaquin Zihuatanejo

In this interactive workshop facilitated by published poet and World Poetry Slam Champion Joaquin Zihuatanejo, we will look at what goes into making a poem that forces an editor to lean into it because it is just so wonderfully odd.  Walking that line between esoteric academic poetry and accessible poetry that borders on the narrative or spoken word is a very complicated thing to do well.  In this workshop we will look at poets who do this well and examine how they are doing it well.

So You Wanna Critique

Julie Murphy and Natalie C. Parker

Writers are told time and time again that in order to grow and improve, they must find critique partners. What we aren’t told is what it means to critique. In this session, we’ll focus on concrete methods for transforming an opinion into an accessible analysis.

The Power of Secrets

Kay Honeyman

Everyone has secrets. It is part of what makes us human. And those secrets are powerful motivators. Our stories (real or imagined) often form out of those secrets. Secrets can be devastating or inspiring. They can show the best and worst in each of us. They reveal our frailties and our strengths. And they can drive a story or a scene. Through discussion and activities we will explore the role secrets play in stories, and dig for the secrets our characters try to hide. Writers will come away with some fresh tension for their stories and micro-tension for their scenes.

The Ugly Duckling and Other Popular Romance Plots

Keith Thomas Walker

Beauty and the Beast. The Ugly Duckling. The Chase. Keith Thomas Walker will discuss why these romance plots are so popular, why they always work and how writers can still create a new and fresh story while using the same old plot.

Freelance Editing

Leslie Karen Lutz

How to turn your writing skills into a part-time or full-time editing career. I will cover the different types of editing, how to find work, how to deal with clients, and ways writers can improve their editing skills through online editing classes. We’ll also discuss resume building tricks and how to set your editing rates.

World Building and Creative Research: A Primer

Mark Finn

Have you ever spent half a day googling for the correct shape of the zipper tangs on 1960’s Soviet Astronaut jumpsuits? Or you lost your train of thought trying to come up with a compelling reason why magic in your world is blue? Whether you’re writing historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction, or just need specific details for that book chapter that takes place inside a World War II era Sherman tank, getting the details right, and making decisions about what to use can wreak your well-laid-out writing schedule. Author Mark Finn has a slew of useful tips and tricks for getting you over that hump that will keep your daily word count high and your creative juices flowing.

S.L.A.M. Spoken Language Arts Movement

Michael Guinn

Facilitated by World Renowned Spoken Word Slam Master and UT Arlington Alum Mr. Michael Guinn-MSSW. His award winning workshop S.L.A.M. is a multifaceted and multicultural creative writing approach that foucuses on the dynamic fusion of life and art as a true reflection of the soul. This a super intense workshop that will challenge the writer emotionally, artistically and most of all spiritually.

Faith-Based Writing

Michelle Stimpson

Writing from a point of faith doesn’t mean your work has to read like a fairytale. Join bestselling, award-winning Christian fiction author Michelle Stimpson as she shares tips for creating characters and plotlines that connect with loyal faith-based fans while reaching out to those who may be searching for a source of hope. We’ll discuss “church-ese” to avoid, topics to explore (or maybe not), and essentials to include in a well-rounded work for this genre.

Writing Diverse Contemporary Romance

Michelle Stimpson

Readers come in a variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, and cultures—and they’re all hungry to read characters that reflect their own lives. This workshop includes insight from contemporary romance authors who have successfully incorporated characters from various racial and ethnic groups. Come learn the to-do’s and no-no’s of writing a diverse story that speaks the universal language of love.

Working With Your Editor/Working With Your Writer

P.N. Elrod

Author and editor P.N. Elrod lets you know what to expect and what to look out for from both sides of the job. Whether you’re seeking commercial publication or going indie, the writer and editor should have the same goal of making a good work even better.

What’s the Big Idea?

Paul Black

So you got this big idea, eh? Or do you? It’s the most important thing in writing, even more than writing itself, but it’s hard to know if it’s good or not. National awarding-winning fiction author, Paul Black, reveals the secrets to developing the initial concept. Students will learn how to research and hone their idea, develop a great log-line, dissect the good from the bad, vet their concept and outline their story.

What Ghostwriting Takes: Getting Real

Robin Underdahl

Listening is only the beginning of your work. A ghostwriter has to develop the voice and story of a real person in a way that captures more truth than the subject would be able to get onto the page without your help. It is both a relational and an artistic task. A few of the challenges we will cover are breaking into crystallized areas of memory, the importance of research, legitimate license, acquiring or borrowing expertise, and achieving unity in the work as a whole.

Self-Promotional Materials for Writers

Sally Hamilton

All about promotional materials including business cards, bookmarks, buttons, postcards, and posters, how to avoid basic graphic design mistakes, and how to wisely hire a graphic designer.

Things No One Tells You About Querying a Novel

Seth Skorkowsky

Author Seth Skorkowsky discusses the tips and tricks to prepare for and survive the terrors of querying a novel that no one told him until it was too late. Unlike the many resources that detail how to craft a query letter, this class covers the other stuff that no one talks about.

A Writing Workflow for Short Fiction

Shawn Scarber

The student will learn a consistent process for developing a short fiction idea, turning that idea into a first draft, and then revising that draft. This class is ideal for the student struggling to consistently write quality short fiction or the student interested in learning to apply a regular writing process to their craft.

Self Promotion for Introverts

Sophia Dembling

Writing the book is introvert heaven. Publishing the book is divine. But then the really hard work starts: Selling the book. My class will discuss strategies for promoting your book and yourself when you’re the kind of person for whom “networking” is a dirty word.

The Plate Tectonics Theory of Dialogue

Tex Thompson

When it comes to dialogue, a good scene is a ‘geologically active’ one. Like pieces of the Earth’s crust, characters clash, fold, and buckle as they interact (and yes, sometimes even bump and grind!) In this class, we’ll analyze the features of real human speech, and how to amplify and manipulate them to suit your purpose. Whether your current scene is as subtle as a tremor or as explosive as an earthquake, come learn how to craft dialogue guaranteed to keep your plot moving, your pages turning, and your readers on their toes.

How to Hook Readers by Using the Three Rules

Weina Randel

Admit it, you’ve done this before, and you’re still doing it – you read a few lines of a book and you’re bored. Or maybe you read thirty pages, and you shrug, “What’s the big deal?” Then you put the book down and never pick it up again. You want people to pick up your book, read a few lines, and say, “I want to know what’s going to happen next!” How do you write a book like that? In this class, I’ll show you how to construct a scene that’ll hook readers. I’ll tell your three vital rules in writing a book-that-can’t-be-put-down by analyzing some popular books.

Attendees interested in pitching their work to agents or editors can register for that opportunity online when they register for the conference.

Here is the DFW 2016 agent & editor lineup:


Nadia Cornier of Firebrand Literary

Mark Falkin of Falkin Literary

Saritza Hernandez of Corvisiero Literary Agency

Joanna MacKenzie of Browne & Miller

Monica Odom of Bradford Literary Agency

Bree Ogden of Red Sofa Literary

Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary

Steven Salpeter of Curtis Brown Ltd.

Tricia Skinner of Fuse Literary

Eric Smith of P.S. Literary

Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary

Jason Yarn at Jason Yarn Literary Agency


Anna L. Davis of Henery Press

Rachel LaMonica of Little Lamb Books

Glenn Yeffeth of BenBella Books

All information is subject to change and is based on the best information available at the time. For more information, visit www.dfwcon.org.

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Harrigan leads off Highland Park's 2016 Authors Live! series Feb. 4

One of the state’s leading and ongoing annual literary series, Authors Live! debuts Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Highland Park United Methodist Church with Texas author Stephen Harrigan presenting his book A Friend of Mr. Lincoln: A Novel.

According to a starred review in Publishers Weekly, "Bestselling author Harrigan’s 10th book, after 2011’s Remember Ben Clayton, is superb historical fiction focusing on the period 1832–1861, from Lincoln’s early years as a tireless circuit-riding lawyer and Illinois state legislator to his election as the 16th president, . . .Harrigan’s standout novel shows the endurance of friendship, and historical fans will find much to savor."

For those who are interested in meeting and talking with the author, and having a signed copy of the book, there is a reception preceding the main presentation and includes the price of the book ($30). The 6:00 p.m. reservation-only author reception is $30 and includes a signed and personalized copy of the book. Call 214-523-2240 for your reservation at least 3 days before the event, please. You may pay at the door by cash or check. The 7 p.m. talk is free and open to the public.

The Authors Live! series presents nationally known, award-winning and best-selling authors sharing their newly published fiction and non-fiction works. Presented in partnership with Friends of the Highland Park Library and Friends of the SMU Library, these presentations are offered free to the whole community. No reservations are required. A book signing follows the presentation for those who choose to purchase books.

Here is the Authors Live! 2016 Season:

  • Thursday, Feb 4: Stephen Harrigan, A Friend of Mr. Lincoln's, 7 p.m. (fiction)
  • Wednesday, Feb 10: Dawn Tripp, Georgia, 7:30 p.m. (fiction about Georgia O’Keeffe)
  • Monday, March 14: A. O. (Tony) Scott, Better Living Through Criticism, 7 p.m. (non-fiction)
  • Tuesday, March 29: Jacquelyn Mitchard, Two If by Sea, 7 p.m. (fiction)
  • Monday, May 9: Clint Hill, My Travels with Five Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, 7 p.m. (non-fiction)

For more information, visit Authors Live! on the web.

Highland Park United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall

3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas TX 75205

Co-Sponsors: The Friends of the Highland Park Public Library, The Friends of the SMU Libraries, and Highland Park United Methodist Church.

Sachse Author Con accepting author applications for May 21 event

SACSHE—Authors looking for an opportunity to promote their books are invited to apply for the upcoming Sachse Author Con event at the Sachse Public Library. The event, sponsored by the Sachse Public Library, is set for Sat., May 21, 2016, from noon to 4 p.m.

The event, which is free to the public, is designed to showcase local Texas authors. Each author will be provided an individual table to display and sell books and mingle with the reading public.

Library staff are searching for a variety of authors of fiction genres. Authors who write for children, young adult, and adults are encouraged to participate in this showcase event.

Interested authors should submit an application, along with one of their published books for review, no later than February 5, 2016. Contact Mignon Morse, Library Manager, for more information and to request an application. Authors who are selected to attend will be notified of their acceptance no later than March 1.  If accepted, a $30 registration fee will be required no later than March 15 to be included in publicity. Lunch will be provided for each author.

Download the application at www.cityofsachse.com/library

Mignon Morse, Sachse Public Library, 3815 Sachse Road, Building C, Sachse, TX 75048; mmorse@cityofsachse.com, 972-530-8966.

(Information from organization’s press release)

ConDFW XV welcomes more thatn 70 panelists and guests of honor to family-friendly event Feb. 12–14

DALLAS—Highly popular award winning writer John Scalzi headlines the fifteenth ConDFW Conference (www.condfw.org) at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre. Scalzi leads the way for a host of national and local authors and artists from the literary world of science fiction and fantasy. Exhibitors will fill the hall with books, both new and rare, collectibles, comics, original art, toys, games, and more.

Scalzi is joined by fan favorite and fellow New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire. An additional seventy award-winning authors and artists round out the panelist list. These talented and creative people support a multitude of panel talks and programming events throughout the weekend. Notable events include Q&A and signings with guests of honor; charity book swap; a large tabletop gaming area, and a Celestial Starburst Costume Contest, focusing on the growing popularity of Cosplay (character costuming).

ConDFW is family-friendly entertainment conference filled with authors and books, artists and art, panel discussions, interactive art events, and of course literature. It offers one of the best intimate settings in Texas to interact directly with guests and panelists. It is completely volunteer-run by people who are passionate about the convention.

Admission ranges from $20 to $45. Single-day and weekend memberships are available as well as discounts for advance purchase; discounted rates are available for young children or students with an academic ID. Memberships may be purchased through the event website: http://www.condfw.org/about-the-convention/membership/

ConDFW takes place at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre and runs from 2 p.m. Friday through 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 12–14, 2016.

For information and registration, email info@ConDFW.org, call  469-343-4339, or visit www.condfw.org

2016 ConDFW Panelists

Paul Abell

Rachael Acks

C. Dean Andersson

Larry Atchley, Jr.

Julie Barrett

Paul Black

Karen Bogen

Jeremy Brett

Patricia Burroughs

Lillian Stewart Carl

J. Kathleen Cheney

Dantzel Cherry

R. Cat Conrad

Bill Crider

Scott Cupp

Cushing Memorial Library – Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection

Jeff Dawson

Aaron de Orive

Peggy Dee-Haslbauer

John Delaughter

Chris Donahue

Linda Donahue

David Doub

Carole Nelson Douglas

P.N. Elrod

Rhonda Eudaly

Mark Finn

Michael Ashleigh Finn

Melanie Fletcher

Mary Gearhart-Gray

David L. Gray

T.M. Hunter

K. Hutson

William Ledbetter

Stina Leicht

Julia S. Mandala

Marshall Ryan Maresca

Frances May

Ava Morgan

Michelle Muenzler

Melia Newman

Gloria Oliver

Stephen Patrick

Teresa Patterson

Rie Sheridan Rose

Stephen Sanders

Katherine Sanger

Patrice Sarath

Lawrence M. Schoen

Shonuff! Studio

Adrian Simmons

Bradley H. Sinor

Sue Sinor

Amy Sisson

Sabine Starr

Shanna Swendson

S. Boyd Taylor

Tex Thompson

Kerry Tolan

Katherine Turski

Martha Wells

Mel White

Barbara Ann Wright

{Compiled from ConDFW website and press release}

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