APRIL 23, 2023
10A - 4P
611 Jackson St. Richmond, TX 77406
Join us in Jax & 7th's backyard for a day of LIT(erature)! We have some amazing authors coming and we would like for you to meet them! Read their short bios below.
Hometown: Sugar Land, TX
"Life has taken me from studying Fine Art and Graphic Design at Washington State University; to being a designer, illustrator and art director in Alexandria, VA; to being an illustrator and educator (with a wonderful stop at Syracuse University for grad school) in Lancaster, PA. I currently live in Sugar Land, Texas and write children’s books and continue to create humorous illustrations while keeping an eye out for snakes and alligators. When I am not in my studio you can find me teaching at the University of Houston in their Digital Media Program.
For twenty years my editorial cartoons appeared in Lancaster Newspaper's Sunday News, Lancaster, PA.
From 1995 to 2015 I worked with an amazing group of students and faculty as an Associate Professor at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster, PA."
Titles: My Friend Ben and the New Neighbor, My Friend Ben and the First Snow, My Friend Ben and the Big Race, My Friend Ben and the Sleep Over, Little Lunch Truck, Scout the Mighty Tugboat
Hometown: Sugar Land, TX
Kristen has lived coast to coast, but with her extended family in north Alabama, her roots run southern deep. She teaches high school English and writes in local coffee shops near her home outside of Houston. In her free time, she likes to visit parks with her three daughters, watch quirky films with her husband, and attempt to keep pace with her rescue lab-mix.
Growing up, Kristen lived in Virginia, Alabama, California, Oregon, and Texas. She wrote plays and short stories for anyone who would read them and eventually graduated college with a double major in Music and Journalism. A few years later, she earned a Masters in Literature and for her creative thesis wrote her first full-length novel, which she happily keeps unpublished.
As a teacher, she enjoys finding creative pairings of the classic canon and modern texts, and she promotes choice reading in her classroom. She also likes to tell other writers, including her students over the past fifteen years, the importance of extensive revisions as well as the necessity of grit—in the writing process and in everyday life.
Kristen is the oldest of four kids and is grateful to see her parents and brother and sisters, nieces and nephews often. Her husband is a musician and a worship director for a church near their home, and her daughters are amateur bakers, awesome artists, and inquisitive thinkers who love to cuddle up and read together.
Titles: I Love it When You Lie, The Night She Went Missing
Hometown: Richmond, TX
Chris ... Author
I am thrilled to be on this Author journey. It has been a dream of mine for years, and now things are starting to come together. Does that mean I've stopped dreaming? NO! I continue to dream about what might come next. Being named winner for Westerns in the 2020 American Fiction Awards (American Book Fest), a 2020 Best Book Finalist (Amreican Book Fest), and a 2021 Selah Awards 3rd place Winner is an honor as well as a motivator. I am grateful that my book is held with such high regard and I feel challenged to write at the highest levels as I continue producing books in the Rowdy series.
I joined Wolfpack Publishing in July, 2021 and am extremely excited to further my writing journey with their Young Adult Imprint, Wise Wolf Books.
The picture books I write, the novels I create, or the campfire stories I tell fan the flames for my desire to share stories with the world. Where will I be a year from now? That's the million dollar question. For now, I'm taking each day as they come, making the most out of the time gifted to me, and of course, I will be writing (and writing and writing...).
Chris ... Teacher
I was a teacher for 23 years and, while I do not have a classroom now, I still want to reach out to kids of all ages. Exploring creativity, imagination, and self-confidence played a major role in my daily lessons and I feel that it is so important to keep these skills alive and growing in children of ALL AGES. It is OK to pretend. It is OK to dress the part. It is OK to dream and create and perform. Live these dreams and hold on to the feelings you had when they were created. Those sparks of creativity only have two options...to burn out, or to grow into a raging blaze of imagination. Winning the Connie Wootton Excellence in Teacher award in 2019 really culminated and validated the work I've done over the years and allowed me to look back and reflect on all that I have a accomplished. I am proud to call myself a teacher.
Chris ... Dad
I love my family! My wife and two sons have given me the energy, love, and trust I need to pursue a #writerslife. They are my foundation of happiness and joy. While each impact me in different ways, the ingredients we have in our relationships always form the perfect recipe for love. Watching my boys grow up, exceptionally too fast, has been a joy and a reward and I am so blessed that they are with me and supporting me as I find my way as a writer. And I can't say enough about my wife. The gifts she has given me through our 28 years (and counting) are immesureable, and to now support me when there is no guarantee of success? They love me no matter what, and I will work until my fingers bleed and success pours over them because this is my chance, my time. It's a wonderful gift from them and I don't plan on wasting it.
Titles: The Rowdy Series - Wild and Mean, Sharp and Keen, Redemption, Dead or Alive, Rescue, To Catch a Killer, The Hunt: A Rowdy Short Story
Hometown: Beasley, TX
From my Louisiana roots turned Texan farm boots, I should have known that a life filled with plot twists and character development would lead to becoming an author! But, fresh out of LSU's Advertising program and into a marketing & design firm, the thought never crossed my mind. Even years later, switching gears into elementary education and starting a family of my own didn't set off "the" light bulb moment.
It wasn't until after four, long years teaching second grade and then elementary art, that I took a break to stay home with a second kiddo of my own. After seeing firsthand the love, passion, sweat and tears that goes into teaching, parenting and shaping these little humans, I knew I wasn't done with my part in trying to help sort out some of the obstacles for kids, for teachers and for parents.
My "Joanna Gaines moment" came when I found a way to wrap up my love for writing, intrigue with childhood emotions, desire to help teachers, an old trusty marketing degree and a slight obsession for planning fun kids' events, into a pretty and imperfectly designed little business idea. Thus, Blooming Rose was born! (*because who can better tie together all their interests into something pretty than JoJo: sweets, seedlings and silos, anyone?!)
I sincerely hope you love this series and materials as much as I do.
This series is dedicated to my Avery Rose and Owens “Rex.”
Titles: Blooming Rose Blasts Off
Angélique Jamail is a Lebanese-American author whose poetry, short fiction, and essays have appeared in over two dozen anthologies and journals, including New Reader Magazine, Waxwing, Pluck Magazine, The Milk of Female Kindness––An Anthology of Honest Motherhood, Femmeliterate, Bayou City Magazine, The Enchantment of the Ordinary, and Literary Mama, and her poetry has been featured on the radio. Her work has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and has been a finalist for the New Letters Prize in Poetry. Her novelette Finis. (Odeon Press), first published in 2014, has been praised by fiction writer Ari Marmell as having “some of the most real people I’ve encountered via text in a long time,” and by poet Marie Marshall as “a witty tale of conformity, prejudice, and transformation, in a world that is disturbing as much for its familiarity as for its strangeness.” Her poetry collection The Sharp Edges of Water came out in 2018, and Homecoming, a standalone follow-up to Finis., in 2020, both from Odeon Press. She teaches Creative Writing and English in Houston and began serving on the Board of Directors for Mutabilis Press in December 2019. She’s also the creator of the popular zine Sonic Chihuahua. Find her online at her blog Sappho’s Torque and on social media.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Adam Holt is an author and teacher. He has published three novels in the Tully Harper Series, which follow his young protagonist to real places in our solar system. Astronaut and author Colonel Jerry Ross says of the series, "It's a quirky, fun series that also manages to take space travel seriously." Adam also writes poetry. His work has appeared in publications by Mutabilis Press, Southern Methodist University, and the Color:Story Exhibition at Sawyer Yards. He records music under the pseudonym Lone Star Rambler. Adam earned an MLS from Southern Methodist University in 2010 and a BA in English from Baylor University much, much earlier than that.
Titles: The Rathmore Chaos, The Conspiracy Game, A Cord of Three Strands
Claire Theriot Mestepey
Hometown: Rosenberg, TX
Claire Theriot Mestepey’s love affair with word games and word searches has been going on for as long as she can remember. Then about a few years ago, Claire had a novel idea to create a book that combined both coloring and word searches in one game. She immediately got to work to ensure this idea came into fruition. After a lot of trials and mostly errors, Whimsy Word Search was born.
Whimsy Word Search debuted with two never-seen-before puzzle styles: normal and pictogram. The normal Whimsy Word Search is a prettier and more colorful take on the regular word search, but the difference is that it allows one to color each letter in the words they find.
As for the pictogram style, Claire has her husband to thank for the idea. “My husband suggested there might be a way to make these puzzles even more challenging. Why use simple letters when you can challenge your puzzle lovers with pictograms? So have each pictogram represent a letter and then find the connecting pictograms that form the words. Hence Whimsy Word Search, Pictogram Style was created.”
As the owner and creator of the Whimsy Word Search, Claire is in charge of the entire process. “I do everything from coming up with the ideas for different books to creating the pages to publishing the books.” It is particularly noteworthy that Claire does all this even with a severe physical disability. “What gives my story of a strong woman trying to build a business while raising a happy family a twist, is that I have cerebral palsy.”
Nonetheless, Claire shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. “Recently we have added American Sign Language too. My latest book is Shakespearean Insults, which features letters from guttersnipe to roundtable wench! These words and insults work in a pinch! It’s probably my favorite book word search that I have created to date.”
Claire also added a new feather to her cap when she and her work were featured in the Texas County Reporter. An experience she is most thankful for.
Claire also finished her first full-length novel recently, Pillars, which is about a heroine in wheelchair who uses her magic powers to combat evil. The novel is set to be part of a trilogy that chronicles the epic battles between good and evil. Claire is currently writing the second novel, while a detailed outline of the third novel is already penned down.
Titles: The Rathmore Chaos, The Conspiracy Game, A Cord of Three Strands
Titles: Whimsy Word Search, Pillars