HWG-01March 28, 2015 PRE-CONFERENCE


Please join us at the March 28 Pre-conference workshop as a warm-up for the Spring 2015 Conference coming April 24, 25 & 26.  We are offer two morning presenters and two afternoon presenters to choose from.  In addition, we are offering in person and via Skype pitch practices. Date:  March 28, 2015 Location:  Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road, Houston, TX  77055

Morning Session – choose one on conference day

 1. Presenter:  Kathleen M. Rodgers – 9:30 am – 11:30 am

“A Writer’s Journey”

Kathleen will discuss her career, from getting an agent to publishing her books.  Come here and be motivated by this wonderful author as she shares her struggles and victories with us.

2. Presenter:  Melanie Bragg 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Author as Speaker: “Prepare Yourself to Promote Your Book”

Public speaking is an integral part of being a writer. Once your book comes out you will need to appear at launch parties, book signings, author panels, book fairs/fests; you might even be asked to appear as a speaker at conferences. All of these events are marketing events to endear you to your fans and create a loyal following for this and future publications. You are a public person now! This hands-on workshop will prepare you to dazzle audiences at book events. In our time together you will get some clarity about your talking points in the three major areas of focus that audiences want to know about: 1) You: audiences want to know about you the author. What is your story of you? We will drill down to the main qualities you want to share with audiences. 2) Your Process: the most frequently asked question is, “how long did it take you?” We will craft your story of your process. 3) The book: How do you talk about the book? It needs to be exciting, interesting, and draw the audience into wanting to read. All three of these elements combined- the story of you, your process, and your book comprise the package you present to your audiences. Coming up with your basic talking points and practicing conveying them in an easy to understand language is a vital skill for any author. We will create, share, and provide feedback to one another in our time together and you will learn tips on breathing, using your voice, what to wear, and preparing to take the stage with confidence through solo and interactive exercises. It will be fun and invaluable to your future as an author

Afternoon Session – choose one on conference day

1. Presenter:  Shelley K. Wall – 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

 Presentation on “Pitching Tips”

Shelley will provide valuable tips on how to sell yourself and your book to agents, editors, and other industry professional.s

2. Presenter: Enos Russell – 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

“Marketing Trends in 2015″

Enos will provide insight into marketing trends for this year and branding ideas and tips that will help participants take advantage of these opportunities to build readership.

March 28 Pre-Conference Workshop

Pitch Practice – via Skype

Agent Jeanie Loiacono – Members $10 Non-members $15

Pitch Practice Skype – Agent Jeanie Loiacono

Pitch Practice in person with

Megan LaFollett, Chart House Press   –FULL

Members $15 Non-members $20

Pitch Practice -Megan LaFollett

FREE WEBINAR about Twitter

Does thought of having to tweet make you cringe? If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter, it can just seem like a lot of useless noise. But if you’re Twitter savvy, there are several tips and tricks to finding your target audience and having quality conversations with them, all while generating awareness about your book.

Join PR by the Book’s Director of Digital Marketing, Sima Thakkar, on Thursday, February 5th at 11 AM CST to learn about:

- How to find your target audience

- Twitter best practices – how often, how many post, and types of posts

- How to measure your results



The Houston Writers Guild Annual Agents & Editors Conference, voted best in Texas!

Location:  Houston Marriott Westchase . 2900 Briarpark Drive . Houston, TX 77042

Date:  April 24, 25, 26, 2015

Special Guest:   Jane Friedman, co-founder and publisher of Scratch

Preparation for the Spring Conference is underway!  We have an amazing line up of agents, editors, keynote speakers, panels, and breakout sessions. 

Friday Afternoon, April 24,2015 from 2 – 5pm – Christie Craig will present – “Motivation and Rejection.” 

Saturday, All Day, April 25 the Main Event begins at 9am with Jane Freidman’s Keynote Presentation, ” The Digital Age Author: Principles for Flourishing When Everything Keeps Changing.”  Immediately after the Keynote Event, there will be 14 presenters offering 45 min breakout sessions in 3 different locations throughout the day.  Please see list below.  Pick and choose who you want to sit in with for the day or move around – the choice is yours.  After a day of conferencing, huddle up for a Q&A session with a talented panel to be announced.

Sunday Morning, April 26, 2015 Jane Friedman will conduct a Post-Conference Workshop on, “How to Get Your Book Published: Everything You Need to Know About Editors, Agents, Publishers, and Self-Publishing Options” from 9- 12 noon.

Please join us for an incredible weekend with the top editors, agents, publishers, self-publishers and authors. The Annual Fall Conference is an excellent opportunity to learn, get inspired and network with other likeminded people.

Conference attendees will have an opportunity to have a 10-minute pitch session with the below listed Editors or Agents during the course of the day on April 25, 2015.   Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with Editor Jeanie Loiacono from Loiacono Literary Agency, Dawn Dowdle from Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Katharine Sands from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, NY,  Doris Booth, Editor-in-Chief, Authorlink.com., Ann Collette, freelance writer and editor for over fifteen years before joining the Rees Literary Agency in 2000, or Rita Rosenkrantz from Rita Rosenkrantz Literary Agency, NY.  In addition, acclaimed children’s book author, Kimberly Morris will conduct 20 minute, one-on-one manuscript consultations. Elena Meredith with PR by the Book will be offering 20 minute, one-on-one consultations about author platform.

Conference Schedule

April 24, 2015

Pre-Conference Event

Speaker: New York Best Selling Author, Christie Craig will present: “Build a Character, Build a Book”- Time 2:00 – 5:00 pm


Christie Craig

You’ve mastered writing, and finally have a grasp on story development, but those rejections haven’t stopped. Without a strong character to hold up your plot and prose, a book can, and probably will, fail.

Come hear Christie Craig, a New York Times Bestselling author, and a proclaimed character-driven writer, do an in-depth talk about building characters.

She’ll offer tips on: how to make your characters jump off the page and into the hearts of your readers. How to make them more lovable—even when they’re bad. How to plagiarize from your own life to offer richness to your scenes. Using simple techniques, she teaches how to create engaging characters one building block at a time. Goals, flaws, fears, conflicts, plot development, it all stems from character.

For two hours, Craig will give you the tools to get your characters in shape, then this southern spitfire, who has received thousands of rejections, is gonna give the waning writer in you a good swift kick in the pants.

Entertain, educate and motivate, this is three hours every writer will not want to miss.

April 25, 2015

The Main Event

Doris Booth,  Authorlink.com –  is not actively seeking new clients for Authorlink Press at this time. However, we are happy to consult with writers who need to hone their pitches and better understand the e-book publishing process. Our specialty areas are nonfiction, true crime, memoirs, and smart women’s fiction.  Please submit via mail to HWG, P.O. Box 42255, Houston, TX 77242, no later than March 20, 2015, 7-10 pages of your manuscript.

Ann Collette, Rees Literary Agency – I like a terse, focused query where every word is there for a reason, a query that shows both the author’s command of language and also that she or he has a real grasp on what their book is about.  I like the first two paragraphs or so of the query to be about the book, and the last paragraph to be about the author.  And I like a query that’s targeted to me; not one just thrown out there to numerous agents at the same time, seeing if it’ll stick–I want to see a query that shows the author researched who I am and what I represent, and picked me specifically to pitch.

Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency – a boutique agency, is looking for romance and mystery novels. She is especially interested in historical romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and Amish Romance. She represents most heat levels. For mysteries she would be very interested in considering Amish mysteries and Cozy mysteries. She is open to other mysteries, suspense and thrillers as well.

Jeanie Loiacono, Editor, Loiacono Literary Agency –  Her forte is mystery, romance, thrillers, historical/military/southern fiction, and all quality fiction/nonfiction.  Manuscripts that make my heart race are those with strong voice that grab me by the collar and does not let go until the last word.  Must have exemplary writing, little or no errors, great flow and pacing and topic has to be compelling.  Please submit via mail to HWG, P.O. Box 42255, Houston, TX 77242, no later than March 20, 2015, Query, Synopsis and first 5 pages of your manuscript. 

Rita Rosenkrantz, Rita Rosenkrantz Literary Agency, NY – open to all categories of adult non-fiction; projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects presented commercially – health, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, spirituality, and general interest titles.

Katharine Sands, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, NY – is looking for non-fiction.  The agency has a strong affinity for narrative nonfiction, and represents world-renowned naturalists, award-winning journalists, and memoirists.  They also represent books on lifestyle, illustration and design, self-help, and cookbooks. 

One-on-one Consultations

Elena Meredith, PR Publicist, PR by the Book – will be available for one-on-one mentor sessions on how to formulate your personal author’s platform.

Kimberly Morris, Author – an acclaimed children’s book author will conduct one-on-one manuscript consultations.  Please submit via mail to HWG, P.O. Box 42255, Houston, TX 77242, no later than March 20, 2015,  7-10 pages of your manuscript.

Conference attendees will have an opportunity to schedule a 10-minute pitch session with one or two of the above listed Agents/Editors.

One-on-one consultation are 20 minutes.

Keynote Speaker

Jane Friedman, co-founder and publisher of Scratch will present: ” The Digital Age Author: Principles for Flourishing When Everything Keeps Changing”


Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman has more than 15 years of experience inside the publishing industry and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.  She has spoken at industry events across the world, including BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and Frankfurt Book Fair, and her expertise in digital media has led to service with the National Endowment for the Arts and been quoted on NPR’s Morning Edition.  She is the Co-founder of Scratch magazine, a publication focusing on the business side of the writing life, which has received coverage in the New York Times, the Nation, and Poets and Writers magazine.  Find our more at JaneFriedman.com

Breakout Sessions

1.  Megan La Follett, Editor, Chart House Press will present, “How to Format Print Books.”

Megan LaFollett.resized
Megan LaFollett

Megan is the Director of Publishing at Chart House Press. A book lover from birth, she has fond memories of devouring every story from the children’s and folklore sections in her hometown library. Then she discovered Madeleine L’Engle, Anne McCaffrey, and Alexandre Dumas, and out came the flashlight under the bed covers. Before pursuing her passion in helping writers bring their stories to life, she graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. It was during her years as a graduate student studying infectious diseases and immunology that her love for editing was kindled, and eventually developed into a career in publishing. While the mountains of Oregon will always hold a place in her heart, she enjoys living in Texas sunshine with her husband and three children.

2.  Katharine Sands, Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, will present, “How to Make the Perfect Pitch.”

Katharine Sands

Katharine Sands

3. Chris Rogers will present, “Your 5 Big Scenes.”

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers

A visual and literary creative, Chris Rogers began her journey as a graphic designer.  With the advent of computerized graphics, she faced a difficult choice: learn this new electronic design tool or choose a new career.  Writing and illustrating children’s books?  Travel writing and photography?  Before she was fully committed in any direction, a fire gutted her studio.   After salvaging a single drawing table from the ruins, she continued working with clients while seeking a new path in the literary world.  Many rejections later, her short stories began to win awards.  Several were published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and a major publisher produced her suspense novels in hard/soft print, electronic, and audio formats.  Lauded by fans and critics, the books were translated into three languages, and the series was optioned for film.   In 2014, Rogers signed with a new publisher for Emissary, the first novel in a cross-genre trilogy (December 2, 2014, Chart House Press).

4. Doris Booth, Editor-in Chief, Authorlink.com will present:  What you need to know
to get your e-book distributed (with or without Amazon)

Doris booth

Doris Booth

Ms. Booth is founder and editor-in-chief of Authorlink.com and its sister unit, Authorlink Press. Her company offers personalized consulting, design and production of e-books and printed books for self-published authors and small presses, producing a hundred or more digital titles per year for clients. In addition, Ms. Booth has edited and agented books to major publishers including Random House, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, and Farrar Straus and Giroux. Ms. Booth has been a frequent speaker at writers’ venues throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the Whidbey Island MFA Writing Program, Gulf Coast Writers Conference, and the Southwest Writers Conference (as a permanent faculty member). She also serves as a publishing expert for the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Ask the Experts Online Publishing University.

5. Elizabeth White-Olson, Director, Writespace will present: “Poetic Techniques in Prose Writing.”

Elizabeth White

Elizabeth White-Olsen

Elizabeth White-Olsen is the director of Writespace, Houston’s newest literary arts organization.  She has two Master’s of Fine Arts degrees, one in Poetry from Texas State University and one in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She’s published poems and articles in print journals and online, and her first poetry collection, Given Words will be published in 2015

6. Ann Collette, Agent/Ashley Weaver, Author/Mark Pryor, Author will present panel discussion on, “How to Get an Agent.”

Ann Collette

Ann Collette

Ann Collette was a freelance writer and editor before joining the Rees Literary Agency in 2000.  Her list includes books by Barbara Shapiro, Ashley Weaver, Steven Sidor, Vicki Lane, Carol Carr, Clay and Susan Griffith, and Chrystle Fiedler. She likes literary, mystery, thrillers, suspense, vampire, and commercial women’s fiction; in non-fiction, she prefers narrative non-fiction, military & war, work to do with race & class, and work set in or about Southeast Asia. Ann does not represent children’s, YA, sci-fi, or high fantasy (Lord of the Rings-type books). Ashley Weaver is the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Oberlin, Louisiana.  Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University.  She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.  Her first novel, Murder at the Brightwell, was published in October 2014 Mark Pryor is a former newspaper reporter from England, and now an assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office in Austin Texas. He is the creator of the nationally-recognized true-crime blog D.A. Confidential.  He has appeared on CBS News’s 48 Hours and Discovery Channel’s Discovery ID: Cold Blood. The Bookseller was his first novel and featured Hugo Marston, head of security at the US Embassy in Paris.  Upon release, the novel was Library Journal’s Debut of the Month with a starred review.  RT Book Reviews called it “a fantastic debut!” and gave it 4 and ½ start, and Oprah.com listed it as an “unputdownable mystery.”  Since then, he has published three more in the Hugo Marston series: The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, and The Button Man.  Two more are in the works.

7. Christie Craig will present: “The Balancing Act of First Chapters.”


Christie Craig

Christie Craig, AKA C.C. Hunter, a New York Times Bestseller, is an Alabama native, a multi-published writer, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. Author of twenty-five books, she brings humor and heart to all her works. She currently hangs her hat in Texas and writes the USA Today best-selling young adult paranormal romance series, Shadow Falls, published by St. Martin’s Press/Griffin. When she’s not writing her young adult novels she working on her humorous romantic suspense novels under her real name. Learn more at www.CCHunterBooks.com or www.christie-craig.com. h4>

8. Kimberly Morris, Author will present: “Story Elements: Beginning, Middle & End” for children.


Kimberly Morris

Kimberly Morris is the author of 60 books for children and young adults, many of them for popular series including Disney Fairies, That’s So Raven, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Animorphs, Sweet Valley, and Generation Girl. Her credits include read-aloud stories for the Muppets, Muppet Babies, and Fraggle Rock, and animated television scripts for the classic ThunderCats.

9. Julian Kindred, Author will present: “Writing Roulette”


Julian Kindred


10. Ann Weisbarger Presents, “Reading Like a Writer.”


Ann Weisgarber

Ann Weisgarber’s second novel, The Promise was shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, making Ms. Weisgarber the first American to be a finalist for this prize. In the United States, The Promise was a finalist for the Spur Award in Best Western Historical Fiction as well as The Ohioana Book Award for Fiction, The novel is due out in paperback in April 2015. Weisgarber’s first novel was The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, for which actress Viola Davis’s JuVee Productions has optioned the film rights. For her first novel, Weisgarber was nominated for England’s 2009 Orange Prize and for the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writer. Weisgarber serves on the selection committee for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. Originally from Ohio, she now divides her time between Sugar Land and Galveston, Texas.

11. Elena Meredith, PR by the Book will present “The Publicity Puzzle: Understanding and Implementing PR Practices.”


Elena Meredith


Elena Meredith is a publicist at PR by the Book (www.prbythebook.com) in Austin, Texas, where she works with authors and publishers on media campaigns to launch their books. She has worked across a variety of genres and enjoys digging into each new book to find unique angles for placement. Elena previously handled PR for Free Spirit Publishing, a children’s educational publisher in Minneapolis. During college, she was a research assistant for an author writing a historical novel. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Tampa. A Minnesota native, Elena has embraced the warmth of Texas and now lives in Austin with her husband and their dog, Fox.

12.  B.L. Marsh will present, “So You Want to Write a Series”


B. L. Marsh


B.L. Marsh is the bestselling author of The Lilith Scroll. She comes to fantasy from academia, where she lectures on music history and chant transmission. Her background of creating a historical context for topics is her specialty. An avid historian and mythologist, she creates worlds that transport the reader to new places and times.

13.  Marian Szczepanski will present, “Beyond Voldemot, Crafting Credible Antagonists”


Marian Szczepanski


Based in Houston, Marian Szczepanski holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  She received grants, awards, and fellowships from Clackamas Literary Review, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio C Colony at Dairy Hollow.  Houston Press named her to its 2014 list of “100 Houston Creatives.”  Her most recent work appears in the current issue of Concho Review.

We’ve added a new breakout session – don’t miss this opportunity …

14.  Kathryn Falk, RT Book Reviews Magazine , with award winning authors Sierra Cartwright and Erin Noelle will present a panel discussion on, “How to Write Bestselling Erotica.”

Kathryn Falk

Kathryn Falk

Kathryn Falk is the author of How to Write a Romance and Get It Published.

During Lunch in Hotel restaurant meet up to take pictures with hot romance cover models Rob Bierman and Luca Costabile!


April 26

Post Conference Day

Speaker Jane Friedman, co-founder and publisher of Scratch will present “How to Get Your Book Published: Everything You Need to Know About Editors, Agents, Publishers, and Self-Publishing Options.”


Jane Friedman

Register Here


HWG Conference – 3 DAY PASS

April 24, 2015 – Pre-Conference – Christie Craig – Fee – Members $45/Non-Members $55

Christie Craig Presentation

April 25, 2015 – The Main Event – After February 28, 2015 – Members $150/Non-members $175

April 25, 2015 HWG Main Event

 April 25, 2015 – Agent/Editor Consultation – 10 minute Pitch Session – $35 – click below for agent list.

Editor/Agent Pitches

April 25, 2015 – Kimberly Morris $35 – 20 minute manuscript consultation or Elena Meredith  $35 – 20 minute one-on-one author platform.

April 26, 2015 – Post-Conference – Jane Friedman – Fee – Members $45/Non-Members $55

Jane Friedman HWG Event

Hotel accommodations are available at the Marriott Houston Westchase at a corporate rate.  Click link below to make reservations. Houston Writer’s Guild Start date: 4/24/15 End date: 4/26/15 Last day to book by: 4/6/15 Marriott hotel(s) offering your special group rate:

  • Houston Marriott Westchase  for 93.00 USD  per night

Book your group rate: Houston Writer’s Guild >>

Interested in becoming an exhibitor for our 2015 Conference? Contact rlnolen@hotmail.com  for more.

Houston Writers Guild
P.O. Box 42255
Houston, Texas 77242