Shanalee Sharboneau3Keynote Speaker:

Shanalee Sharboneau

Author of "My Mama Loves Me: I'm Her Little Boy" of the "My Family Loves Me" Children's Series.

Initiating Positive Book Momentum

Creating positive momentum to earn book recognition can be a daunting challenge unless you know where to begin.  Nationally and Internationally Awarded Author Shanalee Sharboneau understands the challenge in placing your book out in the public and on the book shelves.  In just a year, she went from a no-name author, to being recognized on the world stage.  She understands introducing your book to the world can be a sequence of intimidating tasks, unless you know where to start and how to define your vision.  Learn how she started from her first book “My Mama Loves Me: I’m Her Little Boy” to receiving recognition all over the world, from the national and international markets on her children’s series "My Family Loves Me".  She will share with you an approach to reach positive book momentum.


Shanalee Sharboneau, nationally and internationally awarded children’s author, had no idea when her son was sick with severe reflux, her experience would catapult her into the publishing world as an author.

When Shanalee's son Braydon was born in 2010, he had severe reflux. She and her husband, Perry, spent the first 6 months with their son on a 24/7 vigilant watch to make sure his condition did not take him back to Heaven.  She spent countless hours rocking her son all hours of the day and night humming nursery tunes to calm him. None of them worked, until she began to hum a melody which later formed words. These words turned into lyrics, lyrics turned into verses, and the verses became the beautiful lullaby she sang to her newborn son entitled "My Mama Loves Me".  After Braydon's reflux went away, Shanalee wrote down all the melodies to the lullaby so she would not forget the loving song she once sang to her infant son over and over again to calm him in his time of need.

In an unexpected meeting with a publisher, Shanalee expressed she had always wondered if her song would make a good children’s book.  After sending her song to the publisher, Mascot Books, she was contracted two days later.  This became the book "My Mama Loves Me: I'm Her Little Boy".  In one years’ time, her book was sold all over the world.

Once the popularity of her first book skyrocketed, the publisher negotiated three more books.  The additional books would be created for Moms and Dads so they could express their love for their son and daughter.  Shortly after this, Grandma’s all over the nation insisted Shanalee not stop in her mission.  The publisher contracted four more books to include Grandma's and Grandpa's love for their grandchildren.  This became the “My Family Loves Me” children’s series consisting of eight books in total, all before her second year published.

Shanalee’s books are sold online all over the world, including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Africa, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Spain, Italy and France.  Her books have been recognized by The President of Ireland, Michael Higgins, Financial Guru, Dave Ramsey and Former First Lady, Laura Bush.

In honor of National Reading Awareness Month, Shanalee has received the prestigious "Moving America Forward" Award.  She was also featured on "Moving America Forward" hosted by William Shatner on Sunday, May 10, 2015.  Her book along with the beautiful artistry of illustrator Israel Dilean, “My Mama Loves Me: I’m Her Little Boy” was awarded finalist by the 2016 International Book Awards in the division Children's Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction.  She has also won the award "Reader's Choice - 5 stars".  Her interview on "The Author Show" went global, broadcasting to her fans all over the world on October 2016.

As a University of Houston graduate, Shanalee resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband Perry and son, Braydon.

10:15 – 11:15 am
Session 1

Rookie Indies Panel

with Tom Woltz Sr, Russell Little and Jeanie

twTom Woltz writes poems, short stories and, so far, one novel. He was born in Ohio, but living most of his life in Louisiana and Texas. Tom has had careers in oil and gas, physical fitness and therapy and now is an author. In the early 90’s he was the editor of Houston Area Road Runners Association’s Footprints magazine. In 2007, he began writing poetry and short stories. The following year he began work on his first novel, a two-author biography. Finding My Road was published last year and is highlighted in the LSU Alumni Magazine, and a two-page article in Texas Runner and Triathlete and in an issue of the American Medical Athletic Association’s quarterly magazine. Although the biography is about a long-time mile athlete, his short stories and poems are broad ranged in subject matter. Tom is currently working toward publication for each.


russelRussell G. Little is a writer and practicing attorney. His first published novel, Murder for Me, is a fictionalized compilation of the many people he’s encountered over his lifetime and thirty-two-year career. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife of thirty-two years, Melinda.






mikesimsMike Sims is a book author since 2015 however has written many short stories to entertain people since his teens.  His amateur comedic and dramatic writings are a continual presence on social medias and blogs.  Now venturing into writing books he has endeavored into a dramatic series based on a strong female character named Vickie.  The Vickie series originally caught the attention of Tate Publishing which is now in legal troubles.  Mike will share his tale of starting out new and issues with the late Tate Publishing.  Mike now self-publishes through his own company Mazzaroth as well as his teenage daughter Maribeth who now has two books herself Germs and The Gift.  Both he and his daughter enjoy their products marketed through his wife Melinda.  Mike's Vickie series are now being produced into audiobook format and various other languages.


Session 2

Writing Community Panel

with Houston Writers Guild, Writers League of Texas, WITS, Writespace and NanoWrimo

​​wsWritespace is a grassroots literary arts organization supporting writers of all genres through writing workshops, festivals, manuscript consultations, readings, open mics, and other events. We seek to give writers who can't afford to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing the same high-quality training and mentorship opportunities available through MFA programs.




wlotFor more than three decades, the purpose and mission of the Writers’ League of Texas has been to provide a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers; to help writers improve on their craft and market their skills; to promote the interests of writers and the writing community at large; and to elevate the art and enterprise of writing.




nwNational Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.





wits_orangeStorytelling reveals our truest selves. Since 1983, Writers in the Schools (WITS) has worked hand-in-hand with e ducators and professional writers to teach students the craft of writing. WITS is transforming the hearts and minds of young people all over Houston.

Creativity prepares children for the future. Witness the way over 38,000 children and teachers in 360 Houston classrooms plant their own stories each year, and discover the WITS magic that’s cultivated every day when students, writers, WITS staff and community members join together.

hwgHouston Writers Guild is a non-profit, volunteer led community of writers in the Greater Houston area.  Our purpose is to support each other in fellowship, work to sharpen our craft, and promote our members' writing careers.

That's How We Roll:
Setting up an Author Tour Both Online and Offline

with Stuart Horwitz

shWhere does your audience congregate? How can you reach them in a unique way that spreads word-of-mouth about your book? In this workshop we will discuss getting your work out there! We will look at our preconceptions about what a book tour should be, who we naturally are in front of an audience, and whether we enjoy physical travel or social media more...or both. Any real tour is like a scavenger hunt with one golden rule: not everyone will say yes – but not everyone will say no.

11:30 – 12:30
Session 1

Veteran Indies Panel

With Tony Burnett

tbEducated at University of North Texas, Tony Burnett is Managing Editor at Kallisto Gaia Press, home of The Ocotillo Review and The Texas Poetry Calendar (beginning in 2018). An award winning poet, journalist, activist and songwriter, his poetry and short fiction have been published in national literary magazines and anthologies including, Sixfold, Connotation Press, Short Story America, Frontier Tales, Texas Poetry Calendar, Poetry @ Round Top anthology, Tidal Basin Review, Di-verse-city and Toucan Literary Magazine. He serves as Board President of the Writers' League of Texas.


Session 2


Kevin Tumlinson, Director of Marketing for Draft2Digital, discusses the advantages of adding audiobooks to an author strategy, as well as some of the ins and outs of audiobook production, and the benefits of distribution through D2D’s new partner, Findaway Voices.

With Kevin Tumlinson

Kevin Tumlinson is a bestselling and award-winning thriller author, host of the popular Wordslinger Podcast, and Director of Marketing for Draft2Digital. He has helped thousands of indie authors to learn and build the skills they need to write, publish, and succeed, without the need for traditional gatekeepers.

Session 3


1:30 – 2:00 pm

Exhibitor / Vendor Viewing
Farnsworth Pavilion

2:00 – 3:00 pm
Session 1

melissaThe Importance of a Good Book Cover.

People DO judge a book by it's cover. A book cover sells the book before the manuscript. Learn what you need to know as an author in picking the best look for your words.

With Melissa Carrigee

Reading and writing have always been a way of life for Melissa Carrigee. From an early age, her best friend was a light blue Brother typewriter and her imagination.

As a published author her works have appeared in local magazines, newspapers as well as being a contributing writer to The Mississippi Gulf Coast and Neighboring Sites. She has her own column, “The Family Forum”, in Gulf Coast Parents & Kids magazine. Having worked as a literary agent for almost two years, she accepted a job with Cactus Moon Publishing as the Creative Director and Editor for their children’s book line, Saturn’s Moon Press. There she dreams of finding the next Winnie the Pooh.

Ms. Carrigee is also a book cover designer for several publishers and gives presentations on the subject matter. She has a degree in Graphic Design and Website Design and has won several awards for her graphic art. She is also available to individuals in helping them create their book cover.

Session 2


ramonContracts are filled with legalese and obscure clauses.  Join local attorney, Ramon Del Villar, as he reviews key clauses to look for in a book publishing contract and what these will mean for you as an author.  The session will be based on common standard book contracts.  Each contract is different and consulting an attorney about your individual contract is always advised.

With Ramon Del Villar

Ramón del Villar is a lawyer, a black belt in karate, a teacher, a private pilot, and the senior interpreter for Houston's Federal courts. His published works include a short story in Eclectically Criminal and a nonfiction text, Anatomy of a Civil Lawsuit.  Visit him on his website: Or contact him at:



Session 3

The 30-Day Author

Kevin Tumlinson shares his process and formula for developing a daily writing habit and writing a book in 30 days or less. Based on his popular book, and experience gained from interviewing hundreds of successful authors on the Wordslinger Podcast, Kevin shares his experiences and insights into writing your book in any timeframe you like.

With Kevin Tumlinson

Kevin Tumlinson is a bestselling and award-winning thriller author, host of the popular Wordslinger Podcast, and Director of Marketing for Draft2Digital. He has helped thousands of indie authors to learn and build the skills they need to write, publish, and succeed, without the need for traditional gatekeepers.

3:15 – 4:15 pm
Session 1

Writing Great Romances

with Sierra Cartwright, Andrea Barbosa, Jennifer Theriot

andreaAward-winning novelist and poet Andrea Barbosa is an avid reader, soccer fanatic, and a tourist at heart who studied Creative Writing at Texas Tech University.

In addition to her work as a writer for Yahoo Contributor Network she has worked in public relations for an international jewelry company in Brazil, as a tour guide for Space Center Houston, and as a medical interpreter for major hospitals before joining the corporate world. These fine places introduced her to new people, big ideas, and global concepts that helped shape the writer she is today. When not writing or working her full-time job, she travels in search of history, museums, and tourist attractions. She has published two novels and a poetry collection, and her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and in the Southern Pacific Review. Her poetry collection, Holes in Space, won the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Silver Medal and her Flash Fiction piece, The Queen of Carnival, won the 2016 Spider’s Web Prize from Spider Road Press. She has earned other accolades in Flash Fiction and Mystery.

Her work has been influenced by contemporary authors Paulo Coelho, Fernando Sabino, Sylvia Plath, Erica Jong and Joyce Carol Oates, among others. She's also the Flash Fiction Editor for The Ocotillo Review and writes award-winning romance under Andrya Bailey


scCalled "Even racier than Fifty Shades" by the UK's Mail Online, USA Today Best Selling author Sierra Cartwright is the author of over thirty erotic romance novels and the winner of numerous wring awards. Her books appear on shelves in stores worldwide, and she’s a popular speaker at writer’s conferences because she’s not afraid to give honest answers and solid advice.

She was born in Manchester, England where she spent her early years traipsing through castles and dreaming of happily-ever-afters. The internationally acclaimed author now resides in Galveston, Texas.


Session 2


Session 3


4:30 – 5:30 pm
Session 1

Using Publishing Opportunities in Anthologies, Journals and Magazines to Enhance Your Author Career

With Tony Burnett

Session 2

Business Side of Publishing

with Fern Brady

fernIt’s not just enough to be a writer today. Today’s author must also become a business person to successfully publish, fund and market their book.

Join Fern Brady, CEO of the Houston Writers Guild and owner of Inklings Publishing, as she shares the ins and outs of the publishing industry today.
More than ever before, authors have options.  These options mean authors need to think outside the artist mentality and delve into the business side of life.


Fern will share the many publishing options available and the key skills authors need to keep in mind if they are going to self-publish as well as the marketing techniques they will all need to employ, irrespective of how they choose to publish.

Fern Brady is CEO of the Houston Writers Guild and Owner of Inklings Publishing. She began her career as a foreign correspondent, taught with Alief ISD for 15 years, and then became a full-time Realtor in Houston. All the while, she pursued her real passion -- writing. Her short stories have been published in Eclectically Carnal, Eclectically Criminal, Short Stories by Award-winning Texas Authors Vol.2, and Waves of Passion. Her poem "Penelope" was published in Spider Road Press’ compilation, In the Questions. Her first children's picture book, The Smiley Face Blatoon, launched in July 2015 under the pen name Lady Nefari Ydarb, a Cliektess from the planet Jorn and won 1st place in Texas Authors Association Contest for Best Picture Book for All Ages. The bilingual edition was released in 2016.


Session 3

The Character Case File

erinlilesIn this one hour workshop we’ll be talking about creating characters that jump off the page. Bring your writing implements and be prepared to interact with others in this hands on session.

With Erin Liles

Erin Liles is a freelance editor and owner of In a Perfect Word Editing. She has worked on numerous books in both independent and traditional publishing and is passionate about helping authors achieve their publishing goals.