May 18, 2019 Program

SUBTEXT: The Often-Missing Ingredient That Can Make Your Fiction Richer

While carefully cooking up an intriguing plotline, true-to-life characters, and conflicts with obstacles at every turn, authors often don’t think about one very delicious storytelling ingredient that can take their writing to a higher, more complex (in a good way!) level. That ingredient is subtext, and it has the capability of drawing readers more deeply into the text, to a place at which they become involved with the writer in creating the story’s meaning.

In this program, Amarillo writer and editor Jennifer Archer will discuss:

  • The two different types of subtext.
  • The purpose(s) of subtext for plot, and the purpose(s) of subtext for characterization.
  • How to create subtext in your stories.
  • How subtext makes readers co-creators
  • Why readers love subtext (even if they don’t know it).

An eclectic writer of women’s fiction, young adult fiction, and non-fiction, Jennifer was a finalist twice for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and was a finalist for that same organization’s Rita Award. She is the author of eleven novels, three novellas, several non-fiction works, and has edited and helped to develop numerous written projects for other writers. Her debut novel for teens, Through Her Eyes, was selected by the Texas Library Association for their TAYSHA reading list and for the Spirit of Texas Reading Program – Middle Grade. She is co-owner of Archer Editing & Writing Services, where she writes and edits stories for clients. A native Texan, she received a business management degree from West Texas A&M University.

March 16, 2019 Program

Freelance Writing with Dee Burks

Dee Burks has worked in publishing more than 25 years and owned a publishing company in Texas for ten years that specialized in personal development and business books. Dee has worked with authors such as Bob Proctor, Joe Vitale, Mark Victor Hanson, David Oreck, John Maxwell and many others. Dee is a #1 bestselling author and taught continuing education classes on writing at Amarillo College for several years. She now concentrates most of her time on her own books many of which are set in beautiful Northern New Mexico. She also freelances and teaches writing classes.

This publishing professional will speak with us about the exciting world of freelance writing. Whether you’re currently freelancing or are interested in new ways to expand your writing income, join us at 9:30 on March 16. We’ll be meeting in our usual location, the Edward Davis Room on the 9th floor of the First Bank Southwest Tower (formerly Chase Tower), 600 S Tyler St., Amarillo, TX 79101. Click here for a map.

If you’re not already a member of the Texas High Plains Writers, we’d love for you to join us. Learn about the benefits of THPW and how to become a member here.

January 19, 2019 Program

Marketing and Book Promotion with Barbara Brannon

Finishing your book is a huge accomplishment, but the job isn’t finished. Whether you work with a publisher or self-publish, authors are expected to work as hard promoting their books as they do writing them. In our next program, Barbara Brannon will walk us through the steps of marketing our books. Join us on January 19 to learn how to reach a larger audience and improve your sales.

Currently the executive director of the Texas Plains Trail Region, Barbara Brannon has served as the head of the ground-breaking Publishing Laboratory at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and as marketing manager of Texas Tech University Press. A writer, photographer, and editor, she is a veteran of publishing and marketing in higher education. Her poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including the Asheville Poetry Review, Cenacle, the South Carolina Review, and Yemassee. She also writes on the subjects of travel and history, such as her book The Ferries of North Carolina: Traveling the State’s Nautical Highways.

Barbara Brannon has helped many authors successfully market their books, and we’re excited to hear her speak at the next meeting of the Texas High Plains Writers.

November 17, 2018 Program

Clarity in Writing by Bill Briscoe

Is your story clear and the reader able to understand what’s going on? Or is it convoluted and muddled? If it’s the latter, do you know how to fix it?

Bill Briscoe, our November speaker, will share things he’s learned through his own writing process that may be helpful to you. He encourages you to bring a couple of pages of your work to check for clarity as he goes through his presentation.

His lovely wife, Liz, will also share what she’s done to increase his social media presence that may spark ideas. After all, if you’ve put a book out, what good is it if no one knows about it? So many busy authors overlook the importance of a social media platform and of studying various ways to market.

Author of the successful Pepperman Mystery Series, Bill Briscoe, grew up in the oil refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. After a career spent working for a major insurance company, he turned his focus to writing the stories that had been rumbling around in his head for years. He’s published the first two mysteries in the series thus far with a new one set to release. When he’s not writing, you can find him watching baseball and football.

 

September 15, 2018 Program

The Doctor Is In

We’re very pleased to have the book doctor, Robyn Conley, speak to us on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Robyn has been helping writers publish for over twenty years. In addition to holding workshops, she taught the mechanics of writing at TCU and UTA universities.

This meeting we’ll have both a morning and afternoon session – a sort of one day workshop.

Need help with characters? Robyn will devote the morning to DRIVING YOUR CHARACTER: HOW TO DEVELOP A WELL-ROUNDED PROTAGONIST. She’ll also have interactive exercises that help layer emotional and physical depth to main characters.

The hour-long afternoon session from 1:00 to 2:00 – SELF-EDITING WITHOUT SELF-DESTRUCTING – will feature a checklist of sample editing tips. If you’re struggling to get your manuscript in shape to publish, this will be an excellent class.

If you would like help with your W-I-P, the doctor is in. All you have to do is show up.

Robyn has graciously offered to read and critique the first two pages of your manuscript, but she’ll need it ahead of time. She requires that it be two pages only, in Courier 12 font, double-spaced.

Send those to Robyn Conley, 6376 CR 252, Clyde, Texas 79510.

Then make plans to attend the September meeting.

Robyn co-founded and led the Writer’s Group of Fort Worth for over a decade in addition to speaking at writing conferences around the country. She has a passion for helping writers and showing them what their manuscripts are missing.

She’s also a writer herself with thirteen published books.

Take advantage of her expertise and attend the September meeting. You’ll come away a better writer.

November 17 ~ Bill Briscoe

This Phillips, Texas native told his wife that he wanted to write a novel only five years into his retirement. Based on an idea he’d had in his head for ten years, the result is Pepperman’s Promise, the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series.

 

July 21, 2018 Program

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Publication

Ryan McSwain ~ Rory C. Keel ~Vicki Schoen ~ Natalie Bright

      

Where to Begin to Publish Your Book?

The topic always comes up at our meetings. Reach for the stars and snag a literary agent who will negotiate a deal with a Big House publishing company? Or go it alone and join the throng of independent authors who self-publish? What should you do? I know, it’s a lot of information to absorb. Here are a few main points to consider as you move closer to publishing your work.

Option 1:

If you have a high concept book theme or genre, the urgency of publication is not an issue, and you are willing to relinquish the rights to said work, then Traditional Publishing is your best option. This will require you to sign with a literary agent who will “shop” your manuscript to the five major publishing houses which are closed to un-agented submissions. This process takes years. Dollars are well spent in attending conferences to network with agents and editors. Develop a phenomenal one-line synopsis. Practice your pitch.

Option 2:

If you have a polished manuscript ready to go, a clear idea of your genre and target market, and a Type A personality that likes the control, then becoming an Indie Author and self-publishing your work is the perfect fit. You can do as much or as little of the process that you want. Dollars are well spent in hiring the professionals to do the work that you don’t want to learn. Become proficient on social media.

It is a great time to be a creator of new and original content.

 Save the Date: July 21 in Amarillo

No RSVP required; nonmembers are welcome. Our meetings are open to the public and guests may attend for a small $10 fee. It all starts at 10:00 AM and you’re invited! Hope to see you in July in Amarillo.

Robyn Conley on September 15

Morning Session: Driving Your Character – How to Develop a Well-rounded Protagonist.

Afternoon Session: Self-Editing Without Self-Destructing

November 17 ~ Bill Briscoe

This Phillips, Texas native told his wife that he wanted to write a novel only five years into his retirement. Based on an idea he’d had in his head for ten years, the result is Pepperman’s Promise, the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series.

 

May 19, 2018 Program

 

Putting Core Writing Elements Into Place

Our May speaker, Rosa Latimer, says, “Behind the everyday discipline of writing there are core elements that you must have in place to enable you to be successful in telling your story.”

Her presentation will focus on these main points:

  • Organizing research
  • Keeping the story on track
  • Staying true to your purpose

No matter what you write, you have to have certain core elements. Almost every type of writing requires research—some more than others. Research can eat up your time. Often, we get so engrossed in little side roads that our story begins to meander, and we lose sight of the main reason for writing it.

Rosa will give us pointers and advice on how to stay focused on your goal. While most of her presentation will be on writing non-fiction, she’ll have basic information that will also help fiction writers.

She says, “Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, this information will help establish a simple, clear path to reaching your publishing goals.”

Bring pen and paper to takes notes.

* * *

Rosa has written a fascinating non-fiction series about Harvey House girls that are inspired by her grandmother who once worked in one of the famous restaurants and hotels that set up along the railroad lines. Each book is set in a different state. She’ll share entertaining stories from her books as well as her experience establishing and keeping a successful relationship with her publisher.

Besides being an award-winning author, Rosa is a playwright and an award-winning photographer. She’s also a writing consultant and teacher and has served on the faculty of the West Texas Writing Academy for the last two years.

Upcoming Programs

Our July Program will be a panel discussion with Indie Authors, including Natalie Bright, Ryan McSwain, Craig Keel, and Vickie Schoen.

Our September Program will be Robin Conley, the Book Doctor, who will present an all-day program.

Please mark your calendars and be sure to attend these events.

March 17, 2018 Program

The Dynamic Duo

We have a wonderful meeting lined up for March 17. I’m excited to bring Kim Harris and K.J. Waters to our fair city. Both have years of expertise between them and will share their knowledge.

Kim Harris will present Adding Humor to Your Writing the first hour.

Humor is a multi-tasking powerhouse in your writing. A joke can instantly show characterization, reveal relationships, shift the tension of your plot, deliver a painful truth in an easy-to-swallow way, and even endear you to readers. And what writer doesn’t want to be endeared by their readers?!

Unfortunately, many writers believe that writing humor is either out of their depth—they’ve been told that humor is much more difficult to write than drama—or that it has no place in their books.

This presentation will highlight the many ways humor can bump up your writing, even if you’re not writing a ‘funny’ book, and she’ll go over some classic tales that have expertly used humor to memorable effect.

Kim says, “E.B. White once said that humor, like frogs, could be dissected, but the thing dies in the process. We’re going to dissect some humor, and you will come away with fresh ideas of how to put humor to work in your writing, no matter what you write. No frogs will be harmed.”

For the second half, K.J. Waters will present What I’ve learned as an Indie Author.

In this one-hour presentation, KJ Waters will share what she has learned as an Indie author including her secret recipe to becoming an Amazon best-selling author, how she grew her author platform to 50,000 followers, and how to use an integrated social media strategy and author brand to market her work. You don’t want to miss this!

Both of these ladies will provide immeasurable help in getting your career ramped up and racing down the track. Please come out and grab this information while you can. I know you’ll enjoy what Kim and K.J. bring to the table, so make your plans.

* * *

Kim Hunt Harris is Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Trailer Park Princess cozy mystery comedy series. She knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she wanted to be a part of the story world. Kim started out writing children’s stories, and they grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born. She lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in West Texas.

KJ Waters is the #1 Best Selling author on Amazon with two books in the Stealing Time series with two more the way and a short story called Blow. She is the CEO of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers, and an indie author hosting the popular podcast Blondie and the Brit – Writing, Publishing, and Beyond with International best-selling author Suzanne Kelman. She provides author consulting focusing on author platforms and branding, indie publishing, and book marketing. She has a Master’s in Business Administration and 18 years of experience in marketing.

January 20, 2018 Program

So You Really Want to Write a Spy Novel? Now What?

Program By Taylor Moore

We’re so excited about our January speaker. It’s not every day that we get to pick the brain of an ex-CIA agent! Taylor Moore has the credentials and will share some of what he knows. If he tells us all, he’ll have to kill us. (That’s a joke.)

What are the differences between Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense? Taylor will tell you and explore a little deeper into the spy genre which is his field of expertise. He’ll talk about Tom Clancy and some of the other masters of thrillers. He’ll lay out for members a step by step approach to writing a spy novel. Maybe you’ve always wanted to.

He’ll help you see the world as the CIA sees it, challenge your system of beliefs, challenge the boundaries of morality, and make your bad guys good and your good guys bad. He’ll talk about what’s real and what’s fake from a CIA operative’s perspective.

Taylor will help you develop your heroes, villains, and everything in between. Help craft scenes, give your story a satisfying ending but leave a hook for the next one in the series, and so much more, including where to find resources for crafting this type of novel.

This is only a small portion of what he’ll cover. This program is jam-packed and you’ll learn some of the actual duties of working for a spy agency. As much as Taylor is at liberty to say.

Bring paper and pencil! Part of the program will be interactive!

About Taylor:

He’s a sixth generation Texan and grew up on a farm and ranch in Brazos County. He received a degree in journalism from Texas A&M followed by a master’s in Public Policy at Pepperdine. After traveling extensively in Latin America and completing a graduate level internship at the U.S. Mission to the European Union, he was recruited by the CIA.

Taylor has always had a passion for telling stories as well as a love of history, foreign policy, and international travel. Despite his departure from the intelligence world, he continues to monitor world affairs with great interest. He now lives in the Texas Panhandle with his wife and two children.