Bestselling Authors to Lead WTAMU

April 16, 2018

CONTACT:    Andrea Porter, 806-651-2037,

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129,

Bestselling Authors to Lead WTAMU’s Annual Writers’ Academy


CANYON, Texas—Aspiring novelists can learn everything from writing comic books to mastering self-publishing when the Office of Extended Studies at West Texas A&M University conducts its annual West Texas Writers’ Academy June 4-8 on campus.

The five-day academy will feature seven instructors covering seven classes in different genres. Each of the classes is designed to guide writers on a journey to improving their craft and leading to publication in the commercial market. The instructors are successful published authors who will share their expertise and knowledge on topics ranging from the academy’s first-ever “Graphic Sequential Literature: Writing for Comic Books” to “Writing Compelling Fiction: Making Your Scenes Credible and Incredible.”

• Michael Frizell, graphic novelist, nonfiction writer, editor and educator, will lead a class on “Graphic Sequential Literature: Writing for Comic Books.” Participants will learn how to develop ideas for this form of visual medium. Frizell also will encouraged participants to create a comic book or strip.

• Jolene Navarro, hybrid author of contemporary and historical romance, will teach “Expanding Your Creativity: Writing Deeper.” This class will explore four story elements—deepening plot, creativity, brainstorming high concept and exercises to spark creativity. Course prerequisite—participants must have completed one or more books.

• Margie Lawson, writing coach for more than 20 published authors, will guide writers on “Writing Compelling Fiction: Making Your Scenes Credible and Incredible.” This class will help the advanced writer by working on openings, improving dialogue, building emotions, making details count and creating a strong backstory. Lawson also will provide participants one-on-one feedback on writing.

• Lori Freeland, young adult fiction author, writing coach and blogger, will help with planning and polishing in “Unleash Your Story: From Ideas to Edits—Write, Rewrite or Remodel Your Novel.” Participants will learn how to build a solid story with 3D characters, vivid visuals, strong scenes and improved words and sentences.

• Rosa Latimer, nonfiction author of the Harvey House Series, will teach “Creative Non-Fiction: Sure Steps to Jump Start Your Project and Make it a Reality.” Latimer will guide participants in organizing research, conducting effective interviews and staying true to the story and purpose while maintaining personal voice.

• Bethany Claire, best-selling author, will lead a course on “Mastering Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Grow and Cultivate Your Own Publishing Empire.” Claire will focus the course on how to set up and run a self-publishing business.

• Susan Donovan, best-selling author, will examine the great romance novel in “The Tao of Romance Fiction: A No-Nonsense Way to Plot and Write a Love Story.” Donovan will look at heroes and heroines, dialogue, attraction, voice and the art of writing love scenes.

Special events during the week include a Roundup Dinner and Program at the University’s Alumni Banquet Facility on Monday, June 4. The event will begin with a 6 p.m. book signing with such authors as Jodi Thomas, Timothy Lewis, Bethany Claire and Jolene Navarro. Keynote speaker Colleen M. Story, author of The Writer’s GPS: How to Navigate a Successful Journey Through Publication and Beyond, will talk to the group at 7 p.m. and share her thoughts on keeping focused without becoming discouraged with the ups and downs many writers face. Tickets for the Roundup Dinner are priced at $35 each.

Story also will present an author talk and book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 5. Her presentation will look at restoring creative energy to avoid writer’s block and fatigue in “Overwhelmed Writer Rescue.” Tickets for Story’s presentation are $15 each.

The academy began more than 10 years ago and since then has produced an impressive list of successful published authors. Just a few of the successful graduates include Bill Briscoe, Linda Broday, Bethany Claire, Phyliss Miranda, Jolene Navarro, Paul Sturm, Sasha Summers and many more.

The five-day writers’ academy is priced at $695 with private residence hall rooms available for $35 per night. Class sizes are limited, and the registration deadline is May 12. For more information or to register, call the Office of Extended Studies at 806-651-2037 or visit



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