Writers League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference 2021 Wrap-Up

For those new here or who’ve forgotten, this blog is an outgrowth of all my bicycling. In turn, that has spawned a manuscript. Books don’t just publish themselves, and it’s an epic battle to get it done and revised, and like a war to get it published. So I spent most of the past weekend at a nice hotel in downtown Austin on the south shore of Town Lake at the Writers League of Texas conference. This is my summation.

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What I’m Reading in Summer 2021, by A Dude Abooks

People ask me what kind of business I’m in, and I say books… and business is good. OK, not really. I’m just an amateur still working on mine. Well, maybe I’m an unreliable narrator because here I am yet again, writing another blog post instead of doing revisions. A new writer friend who’s also working on a memoir whom I met online first at a Writers League of Texas event invited me to a coffee shop. He asked me why not pause the blog to focus on the manuscript? I said that wasn’t a bad idea but that I can’t seem to quit blogging. Maybe he’s right. Or not. Because any guy who suggests meeting in a suburb called Pflugerville (the p is silent), but who doesn’t drink coffee and knows I don’t either, must be a little touched in the head. Just kidding, it was a pferectly pfine pflace to pfontificate about the pfiner pfoints of pfublishing and such.

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The Writers League of Texas: Membership Has Its Privileges

After a number of years of hearing about WLT, attending some of their pre-pandemic Third Thursday events at Book People (the largest independent book store in Texas), and meeting some folks at Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon, I finally joined up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I suppose it had to do a bit with the Wayne’s World motto: “We’re not worthy!” When actor-director Tate Donovan asked me at a OPS if I was a writer, I said yes for the first time. Hey, that makes me one degree of separation from Jennifer Aniston, whom he dated after playing her boyfriend on Friends. As we all know, she’s well known for her books. Strike that, reverse it. I mean looks! Humunuh humunuh! No, it’s her mad acting skillzl OK, that’s tangential, but it was diversionary. Mmm, more big wordz!

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Another Day in the Life of a Bike Dude

Something woke me up. Normally it’s construction, the hospital helicopter, highway traffic, barking dog, full bladder, or all of the above. Sometimes it’s a dream but they fade from memory quickly. Oh wait, I remember. It was pain in my hip from overdoing it with the resistance bands two days ago. I applied an ice pack and went back to sleep. Woke up, repeated. Felt better, but still sore. I resolved to take it easy today. Which if you know me I’m all about easy, but I also kick my own ass via exercise on the regular. Before getting out of making the bed, I remembered words Arianna Huffington told me (ok, it was a few thousand of us) on an Action for Happiness webinar the day before. When you wake up, don’t immediately turn on your phone, which should be charging and off in another room. Set your intention for the day, journal, think of some things you’re grateful for. So I did that. Take ‘er easy, thankful for ice and other things. More on that later in this post.

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We Don’t Need No Resolutions: My January 2021 Bicycling, Etc. Stats

January 2021 was a challenging month for the USA. After the worst attack on democracy since the war of 1812, we finally got rid of the old neo-fascist, proto-racist, fake billionaire POTUS #45. And the social media companies finally grew a pair and de-platformed him. At least that part of our long national nightmare is over. POTUS #46 was inaugurated — a new (and real) president who actually cares about other people and wants to and knows how to govern. Whether the crazies on the red team will let him do so is unlikely, but many of them are going to prison for the attempted insurrection on the Capitol on January 6th. Also in the win column is people have been getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, though not nearly as many that could or should be by now. As for lil’ ol’ A Dude Abikes, I did what I could to keep my health and sanity to the extent possible by biking and doing some new or different things. Not resolutions exactly, because who needs that pressure? Let’s go to the stats, stat!

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Goodreads: A Social Site for Book Lovers

There’s nothing like reading a good book, getting lost in another world while sitting at home and never moving out of your chair or exchanging pants for pajamas. I used to be a voracious reader, although the advent of Netflix sure hasn’t helped. Sometimes I still am. Given my penchant for recording my activities like bicycling, doing yoga, and walking, it makes sense to record what I read, too. Goodreads is a site for just that, a digital bookshelf, and much more. If you’re a reader, you probably know about it, but if you don’t, it’s worth a gander.

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Possible Blog Topics for Today Include the Following

Scenes from a day in the life of A Dude. Although it was not today, last night was not that long ago, so I’m including it. I went to One Page Salon and got to chat again with the affable host Owen Egerton and other phenomenal writers like Felix Morgan. She happens to be friends with a cyclist I once photographed for taking her bike in to the HEB grocery store. Jess recognized me and gave me two big hugs for some reason. Maybe I’ll hear from her, though I’m not holding my breath.

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Conversation with an Author: Michael Barnes

If you live in Austin and have read the local newspaper in the last 30 years, you probably know of Michael Barnes.  He’s been covering arts, entertainment, culture, history, the city and its people and changes and more in some form or another in the Austin American-Statesman for most of that time.  He’s also written two books, performed and taught theater at the University of Texas and St. Edwards University among other things for many years.  He has a diverse presence on the internet with several blogs and social media sites, and probably alot of other things I’m sure I don’t know about.  He also has a doctorate in theater, and oh, by the way, last year he was 2017 Best Journalist in the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll.  So when I casually invited him to connect and he did, and then he invited me to meet him for coffee, what was A Dude going to say?  I said yes, of course! Continue reading

Conversation with an Author: Dale Thele

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Dale with his coffee cup, black moustache protector, business card, and writer cap.

Dale Thele is an author.  If there’s one thing I took away from the very generous amount of time we spent together at a coffee shop today, is that to think of oneself as an author (or writer, if you prefer), is important.  No, it does not make you good, or increase your chances of publication.

But, thinking of oneself that way is one key to behaving that way.  Writers write, right?  (Do authors auth?)  Luckily, I took away alot more than that one thing, and as Dale was happy to share them with me, he’s happy for me to share them with all 168 of my followers and any new visitors.

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Wow! I Met Author Walter Mosley at a Book Reading and Signing Event! (+ 12-Mile Trainer Ride)

Coincidence is a funny thing. When two disconnected but interrelated things happen for no clear reason, we search for answers. Religious people would say it’s the will of the one(s) they worship. Agnostic athiests and secular humanists like A Dude would chalk it up to chance. The spiritual might say it’s the butterfly effect, or intentions coming back to you. Scientists would say something… sciencey.

I don’t know what Walter Mosley would say about me writing a blog about one of his books just a few days ago, and then him coming to town from a reading and book signing. Well, I think he may have said thanks.  I wasn’t starstruck as much as feeling like “Wow!  That’s Walter Mosley!  Did I somehow summon him to Austin?”  I wish I had that superpower.  But anyway, what I’d say about this coincidence, fate, destiny, kismet, stupid luck, good fortune, or whatever — it was freaking awesome! Thanks to my host for reading my review and cluing me in. Continue reading