Archives: #amazingauthors

Wrangling Words and Authors!

The Texas Word Wrangler Festival, benefiting the Giddings Public Library and Cultural Center.

It’s never easy to travel out of town for a school or book engagement. I have to consider mileage/gas costs, hotel rates, meals, and other logistics. But when I was invited to feature my children’s book at the 13th Annual Texas Word Wrangler Festival—benefiting the Giddings Public Library and Cultural Center—I had to say YES! This resulted in a two-hour drive, a two-night stay … and a lot of fun. Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car loves a good road trip!

Author Jonathan Oliver poses with staff members of the Giddings Public Library.

The first stop was an author visit where I spoke to third graders at Giddings Elementary School. I gave four presentations back-to-back, and after the last talk the teachers said they were having so much fun they didn’t want to leave! So, I stayed a bit longer, answering the many hilarious questions that the students had for me. It was AMAZING!

Thank you for the beautiful drawings and artwork, St. Paul Serbin students!

My second school visit took me to a beautiful facility with the most gorgeous cemetery nestled in a secluded, rural area. There, I gave two presentations for K-5th graders at St. Paul Serbin Lutheran School, and the kindergartners presented me with a stack of colorful, beautiful artwork. I love receiving handmade drawings such as this, and I’ll keep them forever.

The next day was full of book sales at the library. School after school poured through the doors as students were brought by the busload for field trips to meet the authors. The children lined up for autographs, bookmarks and books. I signed one girl’s book and wrote “Be Amazing!”—as I always do—and she nudged her friend, whispering, “Can you beeee-lieeeeve it? She wrote ‘Be Amazing’ in my book!” My feet were aching but my heart was full!

“A Little Bit of Nonsense” was there!

This year, it was Alan Bourgeois’s idea to add a new Saturday event to the festival, complete with food trucks, snow cones, cotton candy, kiddie train rides, a jumpy-bouncy house, and MORE book sales. Alan is founder of the Texas Association of Authors and is a long-time supporter of the Texas Word Wrangler Festival; his efforts helped the library create what we all hope will be a new Saturday tradition. I invited Randy Blair to bring his art car, “A Little Bit of Nonsense,” to the festival, allowing visitors to see and touch a REAL art car up close. Randy and his car were a hit!

One of the best results of this weekend event was rubbing elbows with the other featured authors. I met so many smart, creative professionals, and it was wonderful to exchange ideas and knowledge. It was an amazing weekend full of irreplaceable moments, and I’m glad I was welcomed and honored by the warmth of the people of Giddings, Texas.

Cick here to see the WORD WRANGLER festival website.

Below I’ll post as many photos as I can of these talented writers who were in attendance with me.

Kat Kronenberg of Austin, Texas is author of “Dream Big,” and her next book “Love Big” will arrive soon.

Here I am with Harry Capers of Sugar Land, Texas, author and illustrator of the “Dino Buddies” series of children’s books.

Andrew Fairchild of Texas City, Texas is an award-winning author of many children’s books.

Kathleen Shields wowed the children with her “Hamilton Troll” series and other books, too.

 

 

Jonathan Oliver (shown here with his mom) is a stay-at-home father and author of “Joy In the Journey.”

P.G. Shriver is author of the “Sally The Travelin’ Saddle” series and many more books.

Mystery writer Kathryn Lane spoke to 100+ students in Giddings, Texas.

Carolyn Stovall is author of the award-winning cookbook, “A Texas Gal Cooks” (I bought a copy myself!), and “Granny Ozark’s Treats.”

Angela Castillo and Jamie Foley are co-authors of the “Busy Moms Guide To” series as well as middle grade and young adult books of their own.

Amazing Author #1: TERI CASE

 

My friend, Teri Case

Picking up on an fun idea that I’ve seen on other websites, I decided to start a periodic column on my blog called the “Amazing Authors Series.” I didn’t even have to ponder who I would feature first—I knew. TERI CASE is a witty, smart, talented writer I met in an online Mastermind course in 2016. After chatting through that Slack group for awhile, we eventually became friends beyond the course. I’ve never met Teri in person, but not for a lack of trying. We planned to meet for a cup of coffee last year when I was visiting New York with my family (Teri lives a train ride away from where I was staying); alas, an unexpected blizzard prevented her from traveling to the Big Apple. Maybe next time!

Teri and I share texts, emails and the occasional phone call to bounce ideas off each other and discuss our various book projects. I’ve served as a beta reader on two of her novels; she has done the same for me. It’s invaluable to have a colleague who enjoys brainstorming (ad nauseam, lol) about the same topics that I like. I highly recommend you find a Teri Case ♡ if you don’t already have one! Read her interview below, and perhaps you’ll order a copy of her moving, raw, powerful, debut novel Tiger Drive. It’s a wonderful vacation read; I couldn’t put it down! It’s also recommended for book clubs, and Teri will Skype into your book club, schedules permitting.

Tiger Drive is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Q: What genre of books do you write?

  • Literary Fiction

Q: Do you write anything besides books?

I write a (mostly) weekly newsletter called Vitality Stories where I share a variety of stories, experiences, Dear Me letters, and updates on my current projects.

Q: What did you like to read as a child?

  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder;
  • My dad’s True Crime Magazines (I wish I were kidding);
  • I’m not sure if schools still do this, but when I was in elementary school, we’d get a Scholastic order form each month to order books (and kitten or puppy posters). I always got to buy a book to read. I wish I could remember all the titles;
  • I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books, too.

Q: What jobs have you had?

  • I was the youngest assistant manager ever at Round Table Pizza in high school;
  • I witnessed weddings for the Justice of the Peace in Carson City, Nevada, for four years, three Saturdays a month. I made $5 per wedding (and the judge always bought me lunch);
  • I worked as a cocktail waitress for one summer to catch up on bills—the hardest job I’ve ever had to be sure;
  • I held a variety of secretarial jobs at the University of Nevada, Reno, both as a student worker and as a full-time employee after I graduated;
  • I once assisted a CFO at a luggage and leather goods company. The owner was paranoid, so our office was in a warehouse with no windows because the owner was afraid of snipers and assassins;
  • I was a credit manager for an outdoor apparel company;
  • I was a c-level executive assistant in the biotech industry for decades;
  • And now, I’m an author!

Q: Is writing your full-time job or part-time passion? In other words, do you have a day job?

Writing has been a full-time job for the past four years (though I’m hard pressed to prove my productivity looking back on it—you’d think I’d have four books published by now. Egad!).

Q: How long have you been a writer?

I wrote my first book in the third grade. It was about a Native American boy named Andy who had a pear-shaped head. All the kids picked on him for the shape of his head. I wrote my second book thirty-two years ago. I was fifteen, and it was a teen romance. I entered it in a contest with Seventeen magazine. I punched three holes in the margin and bound it with light blue yarn. I didn’t win.

Q: Do you have an agent? Do you think it is important to have one?

I do not have an agent because it’s not important for me to have one. I think whether or not an author needs an agent is a highly subjective decision and influenced by the individual’s goals, capabilities, and resources, as well as the specific project.

Q: Did you publish through the traditional route or self-publish? Any thoughts you’d like to share about this?

I chose to self-publish Tiger Drive based on my goals, capabilities, and resources. I have no regrets. In fact, I am going to self-publish my second book, In the Doghouse, as well.

Tiger Drive comes in two different cover choices. So, I bought both! Decisions, decisions.

Q: What can you tell me about your most recent book or project?

Tiger Drive is about four members in a white trash family trying to break the mindset and habits of generations to change their futures and to prove they matter (February 2018 release). I’m super proud of the novel and some of the reviews have made me cry happy tears.

I’m currently editing my second novel, In the Doghouse, but I’m not ready to share the premise yet. I’m afraid someone will beat me to the idea (laughs out loud, maniacally). People usually respond to this fear with, “Only you can write the story your way.” But sometimes a story’s premise is different enough that it would be a challenge to have more than one book out at a time with the same premise, and that’s how I feel about my latest project. But I promise to share more as soon as possible.

Q: Now’s your chance to brag a little … anything you want to add?

Writing Tiger Drive inspired the Tiger Drive Scholarship for high school students who want to reach, learn, and grow beyond their familiar environment by pursuing a college education. So far, eight scholarships have been awarded and a few of the recipients made the Dean’s List their first year in college.  [Cathey’s Note: I love contributing to Teri’s scholarship program. Here’s some information about donating.]

Q: What advice do you have for other writers?

Dear Writers:

To break a writing rule and use a worn-out cliché, there is no time like the present. In fact, there is no time except the present. Sit your butt down, turn on a timer for twenty minutes each day, and write.

Love,

Teri

Q: Do you have any pets?

I currently don’t have any pets because my partner and I travel (and move) a lot, and I’d hate to leave them behind. Growing up, I had a dog, Marie, who lived to be thirteen; she died just six months after my father passed away. As an adult, I had a wonderful Labrador-mix, Kimo, for thirteen years. I lost him in a breakup, and in hindsight, losing him was the hardest part about the breakup. But it was the right choice and he lived four more very happy years without me.

Q: Would you mind giving us the LINKS to your social media? 

https://www.tericase.com

Instagram: @TeriLCase

Facebook: TeriCase_Author

Twitter: @tericase_author

© 2018 Cathey Graham Nickell