By: Alexis Mays Harborth Photos By: Rachel Benavides
“Somebody once told me that creative people move to Austin,” says William (Bill) Mays. “I wanted to prove him wrong.”
That’s what fueled the idea, Mays explained, to create a yearly compendium of local writers’ works. Planning began in 2017 for the first anthology of local writers’ works, and a main requirement for entry is that the writers must be current Corpus Christi residents or natives of the Coastal Bend area. Each anthology is a delicious sampler of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, and more.
“The writing is diverse. That’s my favorite part.” Mays says. “Among the topics we’ve seen are stories about dystopian futures, real memories from writer’s pasts, tales about talking animals, Christian allegories, and gritty secular viewpoints.”
Mays noted that Corpus Christi and Texas both often emerge as dominant landscapes in the writings. Readers will recognize area landmarks, such as K-Space Art Contemporary, the bayfront, and local high schools within these stories.
“The writing and themes are exquisite. Places such as the third sand bar, the Austwell turnoff, and the Copano Bay Bridge are elevated to mythic levels,” he says.
Mays and his wife Carol started Mays Publishing in 2015, a business that offers book services such as editing and publishing on the Amazon and Kindle platforms. Creating the first Anthology – Corpus Christi Writers 2018 – was the biggest project they’d taken on at that point.
They spent more than a year planning, collecting content, editing, proofing, marketing, event planning, and more to make Corpus Christi Writers 2018 a reality. The evening that the 2018 Anthology launched, they were already planning for the 2019 edition. And last year, when the Anthology debuted in November 2019, work was already underway for Corpus Christi Writers 2020.
For Mays Publishing, this has always been a community outreach and enrichment initiative. That’s why it’s completely free for the writers. There’s no charge to submit their works, and each of the authors is given a complimentary copy of the finished book. Their contribution is also promoted on MaysPublishing.com and its social media platforms.
For many, another added bonus is the new friendships and connections that form. “It blew my mind to meet so many new people,” Tom Murphy recalls.
Murphy, an established local poet and author, has appeared in each of the three anthologies, and is in his second year as copy editor. One of the reasons he loves participating is that it highlights an aspect of our community of which many may be unaware.
“This shows everyone how much is going on here; there is such a strong community of writers in our area,” Murphy says.
The Corpus Christi Writers 2020 Anthology is currently available in both paperback and e-book on Amazon. The 2018 and 2019 Anthologies are also listed, so you can catch up on the incredible works of our fellow Coastal Bend neighbors.
“We’ve always had a launch party to honor our writers, and this year won’t be any different,” Mays says. “In light of COVID-19, we’ll be having virtual launch parties – our entire community is invited to join!”
Seeing this community-wide initiative come to life is a dream realized for Mays. As he puts it, “over the years, I saw so much talent in the Coastal Bend in my writers’ groups. People would read their work, and the room would be spellbound. I wanted to create a way to share their works with the community – and the world.”
The Anthology is diverse in every aspect, containing work from those with ample experience in published works, as well as those who are new to the world of writing or publishing. There are also works from writers of all ages, from students to seniors.
“This is important.” Murphy affirms. “This is as important to our community as the American Bank Center or Whataburger Field and the Corpus Christi Hooks. This is a diamond for Corpus Christi.”