TLA 2017 San Antonio, TX

Ever since I visited as a child, I’ve been enchanted by the exotic and yet quintessentially Texan beauty of San Antonio. This visit was no exception. I stayed in The Menger Hotel, a historical landmark as well as ideally located within walking distance of the Convention Center. This was next door to the iconic Alamo, which I could see from my window. And only a couple blocks down, I had access to the famous Riverwalk.

The first night in San Antonio, my co-worker and I enjoyed Tex-Mex at Rita’s and a brief stroll along the Riverwalk. I also managed to take my runs every morning on a Riverwalk void of nearly all its human occupants, but brimming with bird-life to serenade me as I ran. (Who knew you could get lost running beside a river? After that first day, I ran on one side.)

And that was just the host city.

My first experience at TLA was amazing. The sheer size and scope of the conference was intimidating, but the facility housed it all easily, even if I did have trouble finding my way around at times. I enjoyed the panels and luncheons I attended, and I definitely learned a lot from both general sessions with Cory Doctorow and Carmen Agra Deedy.

The best part, however, was–you guessed it–the books! The Exhibit Hall was a bibliophile’s crack-house, with librarians hitting up the dealers each day for their latest fix. Walk up to almost any publisher’s booth and you could pick up a free ARC(advanced reading copy) or free swag. Helpful representatives pointed out their contests and giveaways that would happen later during the conference.

Naive little newbie that I was, I ended up so burdened with books my first walk through I had to hunt down a vendor giving away bags (there were many) because I kept dropping everything. At the end of the conference, I had a good five bags stuffed to the brim with books and swag.

Did I mention the authors? Established greats and debut new comers–so many writers attended, not just speaking and signing their books, but most giving them away when you got into their autograph line. It was a back-breaking, arm-straining, feet-aching heaven–if you like books.

The only thing that will make this event even better is getting to attend as an author and meeting the people who read my stories and, I hope, love them as much I love sharing them.

To see more pictures from my trip, visit my Facebook page TLA album. And if you’d like to chat, feel free to send me an email.

Until next time!

Destination: 100 Books

pexels-photo-300412As sort of a quasi-resolution, I set a goal to read 100 books this year. (A goal I hope to surpass!) I’ve always been a reader, but never bothered to keep track; so I thought it might be fun. And a way to recharge the mental batteries. It’s just as important to read as it is to write–something else I’d been neglecting with my busy schedule. So, here’s my list for 2017 so far:


  1.  Crows by Candace Savage
  2. Gifts of the Crow by John Murzluff and Tony Angell
  3. The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
  4. Not As We Know It by Tom Avery
  5. Draykon by Charlotte E. English
  6. Lokant ” ”
  7. Orlind ” ”
  8. Llandry ” ”
  9. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  10. Monster by A. Lee Martinez
  11. Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
  12. Angelopolis ” ”
  13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  14. A Flight of Angels by Holly Black and more
  15. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  16. The City’s Son by Tom Pollock
  17. Firegirl by Tony Abbott
  18. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  19. The Last Wild by Piers Torday
  20. Vegas Knights by Matt Forbeck
  21. The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock
  22. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  23. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  24. Wool by Hugh Howey
  25. Written in Red by Anne Bishop*
  26. Murder of Crows ” ”
  27. Vision in Silver ” ”
  28. Marked in Flesh ” ”
  29. Etched in Bone ” ”
  30. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  31. The Cry of the Crow by Jean Craighead George

*This series hit my reading craving at the time so perfectly, I re-read all five books! And super thanks to my friend Edith for the recommendation.

WORDfest Refresh

Nothing is more inspiring than getting out and mingling with fellow writers and artists, and today I had the opportunity to do just that at the first ever WORD(writer’s organizations ’round Dallas)fest. The panels, classes, and breakout sessions were informative and enjoyable, and the venue was wonderful. I hope this type of event will continue to be a free resource for aspiring and established writers alike.

As you know (Bob), I’ve pretty much fallen off the map as far as posting and as much as I blame day jobs #1 and #2, I should do more to prioritize my writing. Attending this event has lit a fire under me again, and I’m making an effort to get more written!

If you’d like to meet up and talk books, writing, great movies, reptiles, or pretty much anything, I’ll be attending TLA in San Antonio this April. A perk to the day job that has killed as much of my creativity of late as it has my time, so I won’t be there as one of the writers unfortunately. I’m dragging my lap top along and hope to take advantage of the short break from mom/house chores to finish up some of the projects I’ve neglected. So hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

And look forward to more from me. I’ve got Chaos Heir: Beholden submitted for edits and final acceptance, and once I get through book fair week and TLA, I’ll start back on book two. So far I’m only a couple chapters in, but there will be some exciting new characters involved with Corbin and Subtle Jewel.



There And Back Again: An East Texas Book Fest Tale

The drive was long; the destination easy to find (I got my husband to take me and we made a mini family vacation out of it). I arrived at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler a little early and upon check-in, met the lovely Chris Rogers, who was giving the very sessions I had come to participate in. She’s an experienced writer, writing coach and an artist as you can see if you follow the link above to her website.

After a slightly chaotic start as early-comers like myself overwhelmed the newly-arrived volunteers, the event started smoothly and mostly punctually. They offered coffee and muffins, and the only downside to comfort was the extreme cold in the meeting rooms. I’d worn long sleeves in preparation (I’m very cold-natured); but it wasn’t enough, and many others and I had to skip outside as often as possible to thaw out. Firehouse Subs provided lunch to those who preregistered, and even being a vegetarian who had to remove the meat from my sandwich, it was pretty decent.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Ray Reutzel, addressed literacy using an article he wrote for The Reading Teacher, which I will go into detail about in a secondary post. (It was that interesting!)

I enjoyed both sessions with Chris thoroughly, and while much of it was more general information that I’d heard before in the many years I’ve attended such events (trying to be as well-informed as possible before deciding how to seek publication for my own novels), I did learn some new things and it is always good to get another perspective.

I also attended a workshop on bilingual writing and books led by Dr. René Saldaña. This turned more into a lecture/discussion on the nature of translation, which I enjoyed, having done a lot of oral translating and a couple times for the text of a children’s book.

The second day was free to the public, but sadly I couldn’t get my kids to come in with me and participate. I chatted with Linda Gray, a youth services librarian at the Tyler Public Library, about our common love of libraries and books until Chris’s final session. Afterwards, I opted to leave and finish our mini vacation at Tyler State park. (I’ll also go into detail on this in a separate post.)

All in all it was pleasant conference, very small, but very informative and well worth the time and cost to attend!