Discover The Power of the Pen on July 14

If you are anywhere in East Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, or just passing through, I urge you to attend the one-day East Texas Writers Guild Summer Conference on July 14.

I attend a lot of writers conferences.

I’ve even spoken at a few.

For a writer, these conferences are the lifeblood of our craft.

Suddenly, you are no longer locked in a little room, pounding out one word after another.

It’s a lonely existence.

But you find yourselves among other writers who have experienced the same frustrations.

How can I write a better story or a better book?

How can I sell my books?

Is this writing game even worth the effort?

It is.

I have never attended a writers conference when I didn’t leave with nuggets of information that make a difference in my book and my life.

If you are anywhere in East Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, or just passing through, I urge you to attend the one-day East Texas Writers Guild Summer Conference on July 14.

It takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the West Campus of Tyler Junior College.

You can find more information at www/

Themed The Power of the Pen, the conference showcases a great lineup of distinguished speakers and presenters.

John Foxjohn: The Heart of the Story

Whether it is nonfiction or fiction, there’s a lot that goes into writing a book—many elements that have to be constructed and implemented so the reader can enjoy the story. Often, writers focus on the big picture, the big elements of the story: characterization, plot, conflict, etc. They forget the scene—the heart of the story—what drives everything.

Best-selling author John Foxjohn epitomizes the phrase “been there—done that.” Born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen: Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, now he is an award-winning, multi-published, best-selling author.

Foxjohn’s accolades as a writer are piling up. Besides his New York Times, USA Today, and International selling awards, Foxjohn has earned awards in writing from Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and others. Foxjohn is the only writer who has been asked to present a program at the Mystery Writers of America national convention and the Romance Writers of America national convention.

Foxjohn has been voted author of the year and mentor of the year.

Besides all of this, Foxjohn was also a nominee for the Mystery Writers of America’s vaunted Edgar Award.

Foxjohn lives in Lufkin, Texas with his wife. When he’s not writing, teaching writing classes, or speaking to different writing groups and conferences, Foxjohn loves to spend time square dancing, working in his rose garden, or in his garage doing woodwork.

Allan Bourgeois: Marketing Renegade Style

During the 2017 Survey of Social Media sites and bookstores, it was estimated that in Texas alone, there are over 8,400 Published Texas Authors. This means you are already competing for attention and sales within your own state. Then add in the 1 million USA authors and then the millions, if not billions of worldwide authors you are competing against, you must figure out a way to stand out!

If you want to build a career as a writer, you MUST market yourself and your book, even if you are with a traditional publisher! If anyone tells you that you DO NOT need to do this, they are trying to sell you false goods. However, how you market your books can be done in smart ways that don’t cost you a lot of money or time.

In the award-winning presentation, Marketing Renegade Style, created by B Alan Bourgeois, he will take you through some very basic steps on how to think outside the box to create marketing ideas that work and will give you an edge in presenting you and your books to Readers. As with any program, if you pick and choose what you want to do, your success rate will vary.

Through the process of writing and getting published, Mr. Bourgeois saw a need for additional marketing avenues for Authors that was not covered in the normal channels. While there were a lot of new ‘web’ based social networks for authors, there was nothing that really helped challenge them, and or gave them a way to promote themselves in a way that finds new readers; is in the process of being that new marketing tool.

In addition, Mr. Bourgeois saw a special niche market for Texas Authors; Texas Assoc. of Authors was thus created to highlight the estimated 1,000 Texas Authors that write on a wide range of subject matter. TAA does this through seminars, their online bookstore, and traveling around the state with the TAA ‘pop up’ store.

Mr. Bourgeois continues to write when he can and assist new authors through his company Bourgeois Media & Consulting (BMC). He finds great joy in helping authors work through the various steps and processes needed to get their book(s) published. “There is nothing greater than seeing someone’s dreams become reality,” he says.

Roger Leslie: Narrative Point of View – A Different Perspective

Like a film director, the narrator plays the most important creative role in the production of any written work. Determining what to share with readers, when to show it, and how close you bring readers to the characters and action establishes the power of your storytelling. In this lively session you will explore various points of view and determine, individually and as a group, the strengths and shortcomings of each perspective in order to make your work the most powerful it can be.

Prolific, award-winning author, Roger Leslie is a scholar in the fields of education, film history, and success. His bestselling books include fiction, inspirational self-help, teaching and librarianship, biography, and movie reference. Leslie’s love of books extends beyond his own love of writing, He is a compassionate editor, inspiring writing coach, and dedicated publisher committed to helping other authors make their dreams come true.

Debra Winegarten: How Old Do I Have to Be to Write Memoir?

For years, people kept asking award-winning poet and non-fiction author Debra Winegarten when they would be able to read her memoir. Flippantly, she invariably answered, “Oh, I’m not old enough to do that yet.” But when the 17thperson asked her, rather than dismissing them out-of-hand, she stopped and asked, “You just met me for the first time and heard me speak. What is it about my presentation tonight that makes you want to read my memoir?” The participant’s answer stunned Debra and gave her the bookends for her memoir, which she has been working on for the past 3 years.

Stumped about how to tackle YOUR memoir? Join Debra as she outlines a succinct process for diving into your life story. We will do two exercises together to give you the necessary tools to begin writing your memoir. This is a “roll-up-your-sleeves” writing workshop. Come prepared to laugh, to cry, to write, and to begin making some progress on writing your life’s story. Whether you’re just starting on this adventure or are well on your way, you will leave the workshop ready to write the next pieces in your memoir.

Debra Winegarten is a third-generation Texas Jew. She realized in third grade she was destined to be an award-winning author when her poem, “God is Everywhere,” was published in her synagogue’s monthly newsletter. Because life has a way of winding its way around and because Debra is a consummate wanderer, it took her quite a bit of time before she actually wrote her first book, “Strong Family Ties: The Tiny Hawkins Story.”

Some children fall asleep to the sound of their mother’s sewing machines. Debra fell asleep to the sound of her mother, Ruthe Winegarten’s typewriter. During her lifetime, Ruthe wrote 18 books on women in Texas history. So Debra learned how to make books in her early 20s, made her first book in her late 30s, and has just released her 7th book. She can’t, however, sew.

By day, she works at the University of Texas in Austin for the Astronomy Department, a job she took to get health insurance when she was 50. She also teaches sociology at two small colleges in north Austin. By night, she writes.

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