East Texas Book Fest Speakers
J. B. Smith
The True Crime Mystery As County Sheriff, J.B. Smith knows crime. And his latest work, The Christmas Day Murders, actually reflects a crime from this Smith County Sheriff’s cases. This community leader, rancher, businessman, sheriff, and humorist is a star storyteller. As Honorary Co-Chair of the 2009 East Texas Book Fest, J.B. welcomes writers, readers, and book lovers everywhere to this East Texas first!
So You Want to Be An Author Jory Sherman, in addition to having authored countless western novels and short story collections, is an accomplished teacher of prospective writers. His course The Magic of Writing opens doors to beginning writers and helps to hone skills of the veterans. How to start your story, how to avoid writer’s block, proven and tested methods for any writer—these are all talents that Sherman is willing to share as a full-time writer for more than 40 years. Sherman began as a poet and since has published more than 1000 articles and 500 short stories, and has recently ventured into e-books. You will not want to miss hearing this fascinating author and writer’s guide.
Nancy Bell is the author of Biggie Weatherford mystery series and other charming mysteries. Bell shows her readers that small town life contains everything they've been lead to believe--and more. The people of small towns are more interesting, more open-minded, and more intelligent than contemporary society portrays them. At the same time, the author includes individuals with idiosyncrasies and eccentricities that do exist in small Southern towns, almost without exception. Reading them feels like going home. Bell was an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, with research interests in L2 language play and humor, cross-cultural interaction, and the development of L2 sociolinguistic competence. Her work has appeared in many linguistics journals
Collecting the Best Writing in Texas Don Graham is the J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire (2003), which won the Carr P. Collins Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters as best nonfiction book of the year, and Lone Star Literature: A Texas Anthology (2006). His latest book, Literary Austin, was published in 2007. He is a past president of the Texas Institute of Letters and a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly. He is currently writing a book on Texas movies for Texas Christian University Press.
Historical Fiction: Write Your Life Texas novelist Jim Ainsworth made a covered wagon and horseback trip across Texas to retrace the journey his ancestors made two generations earlier. Biscuits Across the Brazos chronicles that trip. Jim traveled the team roping circuit as an amateur and worked roundups on big ranches. Working beside real cowboys sent him back to writing. In the Rivers Flow was Jim’s first novel. Rivers Crossing followed. Just released is the third novel in his Follow the Rivers trilogy, Rivers Ebb, a finalist for the Violet Crown Award from Texas Writers League. Ainsworth talks about his works and the personal elements in them.
Behind the Pine Curtain: Mojo Storytelling Joe R. Lansdale is widely known for his Hap Collins and Leonard Pine mysteries, and he professes to being the world champion Mojo Storyteller. With more than twenty books to his credit, Lansdale is indeed the champion Mojo storyteller. His stories build on the regional myths and legends. He’s been called "an immense talent" by Booklist; "a born storyteller" by Robert Bloch; and The New York Times Book Review declares he has "a folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace." A winner of five Bram Stoker horror awards, a British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the "Shot in the Dark" International Crime Writer’s award, the Booklist Editor’s Award, the Critic’s Choice Award, and a New York Times Notable Book award, Lansdale says he has the most decorated mantle in all of Nacogdoches!
Mysterious Characters John Foxjohn, noted author and speaker—born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches—talks about how he uses his diverse background and meticulous research to create novels that many readers believe they are true stories quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen. Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, and now he is a multi-published author. Foxjohn creates characters that readers love and root for—not cardboard cutouts. John is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Elements of Romance, Kiss of Death, Lethal Ladies, Sisters-in-Crime, East Texas Writers Guild, League of Texas Writers, and many online writing groups. A full time writer and speaker who lives in Lufkin, Foxjohn travels extensively across the U.S.
The Western Novel Native Texan novelist, scholar, and critic Clay Reynolds is the author of thirteen books and more than seven hundred other publications ranging from critical studies to short fiction and poems. He additionally has served as fiction editor for literary magazines and as editorial consultant for several university and small presses, bookstores, writer's organizations, and individual writers.
All Things Historical: Writing History. Bob Bowman writes weekly historical columns for more than 80 daily and weekly newspapers in East Texas. “Bob Bowman's East Texas” can be accessed at several web locations, including Texas Escapes. He writes about long-forgotten Texas towns, historic East Texas murders, and quirky examples of Texas language and regionalisms. Bob and his wife Doris have written more than 40 books, won numerous awards, and are among the area’s most popular speakers. Their company Best of East Texas Publishers publishes diverse Texas writers.
Heather Hepler is the popular, award-winning author of books for young adults, including Scrambled Eggs at Midnight, named Best Young Adult Book of 2006 by the Texas Institute of Letters and picked by the American Library Association for their 2006 Top Ten Romance Novels. Hepler grew up in north Texas and currently lives in Tyler. She has a Masters in Library Science from University of North Texas and a Master's in Fine Arts in creative writing from University of Southern Maine. Her latest teen book, released this month, is The Cupcake Queen, a Scholastic Book Fair 2009 selection and an Indie Pick for fall 2009. Hepler is invited to appear at the prestigious Texas Book Festival next month.
Sylvia Dickey Smith
The Woman Detective Sylvia Dickey Smith, a Central Texas talk radio host, is best known for her Sidra Smart detective series. Smith talks about how she got started in the series and on what she bases the plots, characters, and setting. Born and reared in Orangeon the Texas/Louisiana border, Smith says, “Orange has its own gravity.You get out early or you don’t get out at all. I was one of those who left early—right after high school. At times I’ve been glad I left, and at other times, I’ve wished I could move back.” Her next work is a contemporary romance.
C. Paul Rogers III
Just the Facts Please—Researching for Sports Writing Paul Rogers has co-authored three baseball books, two with Halll of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, and has published articles and book reviews in various baseball journals. He also served on the advisory committee for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum's "Texas Baseball" exhibit in 2003–04. Since 2000 he has served as president of the Hall-Ruggles (Dallas-Fort Worth) Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). He is also the series editor for the SMU Press's Sport in American Life series. He is a professor of law and former dean of the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, and of counsel to the firm of Locke Lord Liddell & Bissell, where he specializes in antitrust law.