About three dozen authors seeking to promote their current and upcoming books came to Killeen to take part in the Take 190 Book and Art Festival Saturday.
The event at the Killeen Civic & Conference Center was put together by the Texas Association of Authors. Director and founder Alan Bourgeois said that his group was happy to organize the festival for the first time this year.
“We said hey, it’s a great event, we’d love to step in and take it over and they said yes, go for it,” Bourgeois said Saturday.
Bourgeois runs a number of organizations centered around one theme: helping authors learn how to market themselves and their books in order to be more successful.
“(Marketing) is something they’re not taught in writing school,” Bourgeois said, “and with the amount of published authors that there are...they need it.”
Author K. Wendt of New Braunfels said she does about eight of these events each year. She’s grateful for the help she’s received from the author’s organization and its offshoots.
“(It’s) turned around a lot of things for me,” Wendt said. “You get access to the festivals, you get access to all this different publishing information ... and you have the benefit of being advertised by this organization as well.”
Wendt has published 10 books and her work stretches across several different genres. Her current projects include a poetry collection, a trilogy of Westerns, several children’s books, and a book for authors titled “Why I Write.”
For children’s book author Sheri Wall of Killeen, the festival is a great way to meet local folks who may not be familiar with her work.
“It brings the public to you so they can see a wide variety of different types of genres and books represented,” Wall said. “And it’s just fun to get out.”
Wall said she’s happy the author’s association put together the event and made it free to the public. She has completed five books so far and has seven more in various stages of development.
She’s working with Salado sculptor Troy Kelley on her next project, which takes the legend of Sirena the Mermaid and turns it into a rhyming children’s book.
“I think everybody within Central Texas is familiar with Salado and Sirena, so I just feel very honored to write her story,” Wall said.
Author and Deia Aubrey, a command sergeant major at Fort Hood, was at the festival to promote her first book. “Behind the Rank, Vol. 2” is part of an anthology series that presents the stories of women who serve in the military.
“The good, the not-so-good, the ugly,’ Aubrey said, describing the book. “The triumphs we’ve overcome, (and) some of the prejudice that we’ve dealt with as female veterans.
“We hope to inspire and educate, and use it as a tool to help people understand what we go through.”
As a female engineer in a predominantly male profession, Aubrey said she’s experienced her own share of challenges in the military. But she says her book has changed some minds.
“There has been a reaction (from male colleagues) that, hey, we didn’t know you were going through that,” Aubrey said. She said her spiritual faith and inner strength got her through the toughest times.
She’s already working with the book brand Camouflage Sisters on a second project that will deal with mentorship for women in the military.
Bourgeois was unable to estimate how many people might come out on Saturday to meet with the artists on hand, saying weather and the first weekend of spring break could affect turnout.
Darnee Wambsgans said she decided to take a walk through the festival after seeing the event advertised on Facebook.
The Willow Springs Elementary School teacher says she was there for herself, but will probably recommend some of the authors to her principal and the librarian at her school.
Wambsgans said she was once an avid reader and hoped her browsing would help her read more.
“Ah, new books!” she said, looking around the room at the various displays. “We’re going to find some new stuff..hopefully, get inspired.”
More information about those who appeared at the festival as well as other Texas authors is available at https://txauthors.com.