CORPUS CHRISTI – There’s a few major writing conventions around Texas, the big ones taking place in Fort Worth and Austin every year. But for many local aspiring writers, the $500 to $1,000 price tag plus the price of room and board is a bit much.

Luckily, now in its second year, Word Fest 2019 is here and not only does it feature tons of writers, publishers and instructors, it’s also free and open to the public.

Corpus Christi resident Alisa Hope Wagner created the event last year with only a handful of writers and a plan of what it could become.

“We have all these writers and they needed a place to meet that’s not in another city like Austin,” Wagner said. “That was my desire.

“I had this vision of all these tables with authors  selling their books and breakout sessions – I just had this big vision of what it could be.”

On Saturday, Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Word Fest will kick off its second annual event complete with nearly 40 local and area authors and symposium breakout sessions on topics of publishing, book marketing, writing for the Internet, poetry writing, writing for magazines, graphic illustrations and more.

“We have so many different genres and different writers – I just love it,” Wagner added.

“We have Cecilia Garcia Akers, she’s the daughter of Hector P. Garcia who’s done so much for Latino culture and establishing their rights.

“His legacy his huge. 

“And the fact that we can get a signed book from her is huge, too. I think it’s a big deal.”

There is literary something for every type of writer at the event from poetry to getting published to writing for the internet and marketing your works.

Wagner herself will be releasing the second book of her award-winning fantasy series “Chieftain’s Daughter: Violet Moon” which is the most recent of her varied works. It also features artwork by comic book artist and Texas native Albert Morales who’s worked on Marvel staples like Spider-Man and Fantastic 4 comics.

“I write fantasy fiction, I have a dystopian series, I write Bible studies, I write devotional books, I have two fitness books, I write about my experieince in MMA fighting (more on that later) and body building – I just have a ton of different stuff out there,” she said laughing.

“Every writer has what their passionate about, but I think that any good writer can write about anything if they needed to.”

Wagner said writing in different genres is like exercising a different muscle, or the other half of the brain. Since she just finished a fiction book, she’s now diving into a devotional book to keep her mind fit and ready for inspiration.

Speaking of fit, Wagner also has an interesting entry in her long resume – and it doesn’t involve writing.

Nine years ago the County Music Television (CMT) reality series “Made” was in town looking for what the show describes as “Country folk take steps to change their lives and experience chances to live a dream.”

“At first I didn’t want to do it,” she continued. “I thought it would be too embarrassing, but I felt that God told me I needed to apply, so I did.”

So what did Wagner learn to do? Fight in mixed martial arts (MMA) of course, because why not?

“Then I wound up getting it and had to fight in San Antonio in front of 1,000 people on TV.”

That’s right. Wagner stepping into a cage and fought. Like, really fought. The video is available on YouTube if you search her name.

Even though that was a once in a lifetime experience, it’s what she learned from stepping not only into the cage but also in front of the camera that she still uses to this day.

“I learned how to fight, which was good,” she said laughing.

“But I really learned not to let the world bully you. When there’s a camera in your face you feel like you have to please everybody but I got to the point where I figured you can’t please everybody. 

“You have to do what you want to do. You have to do what you feel is right.”

Fighter, writer, mom – there isn’t much Wagner doesn’t do.

So anyone wishing to not only attend a unique South Texas event but also meet a unique individual, she said, “You have a once a year opportunity to meet writers, to get print books and, if you’re thinking about writing a book or publishing a book, there’s so many resources and so many people to learn from.

“You wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with all these people.”

Paul Gonzales is the editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at mathisnews@mySouTex.com.