Last summer, USC Aiken professors Dr. Tom Mack and Dr. Andrew Geyer published “A Shared Voice,” an anthology featuring 24 stories by 12 Texan authors and 12 Carolinian authors.

This winter, Mack released “The South Carolina Encyclopedia Guide to South Carolina Writers” which highlighted more than 100 writers connected to South Carolina. Geyer wrote an entry for this encyclopedia.

Earlier this summer, Geyer helped release “Texas 5 x 5: Twenty-Five Stories by Five Texas Writers.”

Geyer wrote five stories for this Texan-centered work.

Authors Jan Seale and Terry Dalrymple contributed to both “A Shared Voice” and “Texas 5 x 5.”

USC Aiken professor Dr. Andrew Geyer was visiting his homestate of Texas when the idea for his next project formed.


“(Texas writers) Dr. Terry Dalrymple, Jerry Craven and I have been writing stories in response to various prompts for years,” Geyer said. “We were sitting in a bar in San Marcos, Texas, talking about what the heck we could do with all those stories we’d written in response to prompts.”


One of the authors proposed to combine some of them into one book.


Craven then approached editor Laurie Champion.


With Champion’s direction, the project took more than a year.


On May 25, the composite anthology of “Texas 5 x 5: Twenty-Five Stories by Five Texas Writers” was published.


The term “composite anthology” means that the book has “stories by more than one author, but the stories interconnect with each other like a story cycle by a single author,” Geyer explained.


“It changes the way that readers interact with the collection,” he further said. “You find yourself looking for links – and finding them – among the stories. It makes all of the stories more fun to read.”


Qualities the stories share include a Texan setting, as well as certain characters and “direct plot connections,” according to a release.


Many Texas authors were contacted to contribute.


“I chose stories I thought best fit a cohesive whole and arranged them in a way that enhanced that cohesiveness,” Champion said via a recent published interview. “Published together in a single volume, these stories tell many truths about Texas: our people, our geography, our history. The stories are powerful tales, ones that don’t have simple plots or easy answers to life’s dilemmas.”


The final authors are as followed:


• Jerry Craven: Lamar University Press and Ink Brush Press director and Amarillo Bay editor-in-chief.


• Dr. Terry Dalrymple: Angelo State University English teacher and “Concho River Review” literary journal founding editor.


• Dr. Andrew Geyer: USCA English associate professor who co-edited “A Shared Voice” with USCA English department head Dr. Tom Mack. “A Shared Voice” featured stories by Texas and Carolina authors.


• Jan Seale: The 2012 Texas Poet Laureate who has lived in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley all her adult life.


• Dr. Kristin S. vanNamen: An award-winning author and Carve Magazine managing editor.


Together these authors are referred to as the Texas Five, according to Geyer.


Each author wrote five stories.


“While the number five might not seem particularly Texan at first, it represents a star or, more accurately, it symbolizes the Lone Star, a great source of Texas pride,” Champion said via a recent published interview.


Champion, an experienced anthology editor, gave all the Texas Five authors the same prompts: a beach, a thorn and a flower, according to Geyer.


“When Champion was putting the book together, one of the things she did was have all of us – when we were revising/editing our stories in response to her expert suggestions – revise the stories so that they ‘fit together’ better,” Geyer explained.


Geyer’s story “Fingers” – the first published in the collection – responded more to an “universal prompt,” he said.


Champion is a published author who teaches English at San Diego State University.


“Although I’ve lived in California for almost 15 years, I’m still very much a Texan,” she said via a recent published interview. “What I love most about Texas (is) the people. When I go home, I perk up immediately when my feet hit the (airport) terminal, and I hear the familiar twang, the language of my people. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with fellow Texans, and it always brightens my day to be reminded of my roots.”


“Texas 5 x 5: Twenty-Five Stories by Five Texas Writers” can be bought from online retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s Books.


For more information on Geyer and this book, visit www.andrewgeyer.org/5-x-5.php.


Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.