Tuesday, June 5, 2018

This is your brain on summer’s literary blitz!

Thunder and lightning rumble across Texas as I write this, lighting the skies the way this summer’s literary events will light up our brains. I’ve mentioned some of these earlier but you put off thinking about them, didn’t you? Now they’re here! 

Now – August 11: The Dallas Mayor’s Summer Reading Club works like this: Each day kids ages 0-18 read or are read to at least 20 minutes counts. So do ebooks and audiobooks. Sorry, video games and websites don’t. After logging 10 days of reading, kids earn the free book of their choice PLUS a pass or coupon to events and attractions to make the summer even more fun! 

image: pixabay
For each 10-day mark, kids can pick up another prize, up to five times over the summer. Kids who read at least 50 days by August 11 will be entered to win the grand prizes!

Grownups can participate too. Earn one entry in the grand prize drawings for every 10 days logged. Earn one entry in the weekly and grand prize drawings for each book read. Plus, post on social media about your reading and tag @dallaslibrary, you get entered in weekly drawings to win movie passes to Alamo Drafthouse. Adults can also earn drawing entries by completing online Learning Tracks - a series of thematic activities designed to encourage a deeper exploration of a fun and popular topic. Learning Tracks are accessed through your account when you sign in to the Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge.

For both kids and adults, ebooks and audiobooks count as reading. Sorry, videogames and websites do not. Sign up for the clubs online or at any Dallas Library branch. Not a Dallas resident? Check with your local library – many others have their own summer reading programs.

Now – July 31: Half Price Books has its own Feed Your Brain summer reading club. Kids and teens ages 14 and younger can log every 15 minutes of daily reading. Once you’ve accumulated 300 minutes of reading in June and July, bring your log (initialed by an adult) to your local Half Price store to claim Bookworm Bucks good for credit against store purchases. Bookworm Bucks must be redeemed by August 31.
June 6 – August 1: Rejebian returns! This weekly summer book group showcases the lighter side of Texas books and authors, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Wesley Hall of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Presentations are free or make reservations for an optional dinner at 5:30 p.m. for $13. You can pay at the door for the meal, but please make reservations by calling 214-523-2240 so they’ll know how much food to cook! 
June 8 – 9: Robert E. Howard Days commemorate the life and tragic death of the creator of Conan the Cimmerian and other iconic fantasy adventures, in Howard’s hometown of Cross Plains, Texas. Events include tours of the REH Museum, Cross Plains and its environs (fictionalized as many of the settings for Howard stories), original Howard manuscripts at the Cross Plains library, and banquet with this year’s guest of honor, “Indiana Bill” Cavalier, a mainstay of Howard fandom. All events except the banquet are free. See the site for details and banquet registration.
June 8-July 27: The Young Author’s Program returns to the Richardson Public Library, 900 Civic Center Dr., Richardson, this Friday with an overview by children’s book author Nancy Churnin. Then on Fridays (except July 6), return to the library for followups on how to make your own picture book. Registration is open to Richardson residents entering 5th – 9th grades this fall at the library’s Youth Services Help desk or by calling 972-744-4358. A valid RPL library card is required. Don’t have one? Apply STAT!
June 9-10: There’s still time to sign up for the DFW Writers Conference. This is a multi-genre conference with agents, workshops and panels and inspiration galore, including keynote speaker Scott Westerfield. At Hurst Conference Center, 1600 Campus Drive, in Hurst. Each registration includes a pitch session with an agent, and additional pitch sessions are available for $40. Registration for both days is $399, Saturday-only $269, Sunday-only $229 (which includes the conferences infamous Gong Show lunch). Know a young writer? Teens 15-17 can get in both days for $149 (with adult ticket holder). And yes, teens also qualify for the agent pitch sessions.
June 15: It’s the deadline to enter Austin’s ArmadilloCon writing workshop. See additional information about ArmadilloCon below.
June 29-July 1: Writers’ League of Texas 2018 Agents and Editors Conference, Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs Road, Austin. It’s HUGE! At this time, there are at least 20 confirmed agents and four publishing editors (some accepting unagented submissions). At this time, the registration fee ($449 for Writers’ League members, $509 for nonmembers) does not include pitclhes to agents or editors, but pitches may be scheduled for an additional fee as time and space permit. Plus, again, lots and lots of presentations and panels with at least 100 publishing professionals. 

July 20-22: The Mayborn Literary NonfictionConference is the place in Texas for narrative nonfiction writers, with workshops, panels, keynote speakers and yes – agents! At the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, 1800 State Highway 26, in Grapevine. Registration $425. See the site for details.
August 3-5: ArmadilloCon is Texas’ summer heat-busting science fiction/fantasy convention with a writing workshop. Sure, you can attend the myriad panels and presentations with all your favorite speculative fiction authors and artists for only $45 (current price), but why not spring for the writing workshop too? Submit your original, unpublished science fiction, fantasy or horror short story and get info on writing craft plus critique sessions for $90, which includes full convention membership as well. But hurry – writing workshop submissions are due June 15! At the Omni Southpark Hotel, 4140 Governor’s Row, in Austin.  
Oh, you wanted to be part of ArmadilloCon’s pro-led writing workshop? Get those stories in by the June 15 deadline!

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