Welcome to My TCA Touring Roster Page

In this section, you will find information about the Touring Roster and about my services available to educational and non-profit organizations within Texas. You'll also find out how to contact me regarding a booking and a quote for services. Call me at 713-331-9342 to check availability.

I'm looking forward to travelling throughout the entire state of Texas as a performing artist to share what I love best--reading & writing!

The Announcement

Houston, TX – Writer Sarah Cortez has been approved for inclusion on the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) Texas Touring Roster effective September 1, 2018 for a two-year period.  The Texas Touring Roster features some of the state’s best artistic talent and is designed to ensure that all Texans may enjoy events and performances in their local communities.  In fact, TCA makes it possible for eligible organizations to receive up to 50% of a Touring Roster artist’s fees as a reimbursement from TCA.  Ms. Cortez is one of 150 artists and arts companies selected for inclusion through a rigorous competitive process.

Ms. Cortez, member of the Texas Institute of Letters and winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award in poetry, has authored four books:  Tired, Hungry, Standing in One Spot for Twelve Hours: Essential Cop Essays, How to Undress a Cop (poetry), Cold Blue Steel (poetry), and Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston (memoir).   Ms. Cortez has won seven prizes for her editing skills in ground-breaking anthologies:  a 2016 Southwest Book of the Year, Winner Press Women of Texas 2016 Award for Editing, Winner - National Federation of Press Women 2016 Award for Editing, and Honorable Mention - 2016 International Latino Book Awards for Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials, the 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives, and the Regional Border Library Association Southwest Book of the Year Award and the 2013 International Latino Book Award in Latino Focused Non-Fiction (Bilingual) for Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence, co-edited with Sergio Troncoso. Ms. Cortez also received a 2012 Honorable Mention for editing You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens from the International Latino Book Awards.

“I look forward to working with Texas children, teens, and adults as they connect with the power and joy of writing and reading.

I’ve taught writing for over fifteen years to students ranging from very young to very senior—I love working with writers of all ages to help them discover their innate talent for writing their life stories, for crafting poems, for discovering the beauty and truth that resides in daily life.

An additional joy will be traveling to new places within our great state of Texas and making new friends. As a sixth-generation Texan, I am particularly proud to represent Texas as an artist.”

Ms. Cortez is available to teach writing workshops to all ages and to all skill levels.  

She is also available for poetry readings from any of her three books of poetry, her newest anthology celebrating poignant roadside memorials, Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials, and new book, Tired, Hungary, Standing in One Place for Twelve Hours: Essential Cop Essays.

Ms. Cortez will be delighted to work with the sponsoring organization to select poems appropriate to age levels and interests.

How It Works

Click here for information directly from the TCA website.

The most important dates to remember are your deadline dates to apply for matching funds.

Quarterly deadline:

August 1, 2018 is the deadline for performances occurring September 1 – December 14, 2018.
November 1, 2018 is the deadline for performances occurring December 15, 2018 – March 14, 2019. 
February 1, 2019 is the deadline for performances occurring March 15 – June 14, 2019.
May 1, 2019 is the deadline for performances occurring June 15 – August 31, 2019.

Before you can apply to TCA, you and I must have reached an agreement about the following:

  • Which activity or activities you wish to book (click here to see my TCA Touring Roster services),

  • What is the total fee for the my engagement, including all travel and accommodation expenses,

  • The date(s) of the engagement.

To begin that process, when you have selected the activity or activities and checked my web-based calendar for possible conflicts, please complete the Request for Quote form so we are both working with the same information as we reach an agreement.  When you click Submit at the end of the form, it comes directly to me.

Of course, I'm happy to talk with you personally as we go through this process.  Since I travel often, the best way to do that is to complete the Contact Me form on this site and I'll get right back to you.  If I cannot, then my assistant, Ms. Ann Boland, will contact you.

Please don't forget that TCA grant applications must be submitted in advance of the performance in accord with the schedule above.


Detailed below are my services that are available to your organization through the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster.   To the fee will be added applicable expenses for travel and lodging.  I will provide that information back to you after you complete the Request for Quotation.

You may select one or more activities, and those activities may be spread over time, and still be covered by the same application and grant.  Examples:  If you want to sponsor a creative writing series for all ages, you may select all four of the workshops and program them for each Saturday during a month.  Or, you many want a full day program and select a workshop for a morning and a reading for the afternoon.  You may complete one application for multiple services provided by the same Touring Roster Member.

Title:  Your Life, Your Story, Your Truth

Description:  Young authors often possess amazing capacities for self-observation, for questions, and, for humor—among other skills.  This writing workshop engages teens (or adults) in recording details of their lives, carefully seeded with deeper musing and self-articulation of identity.  This workshop is appropriate for high school students to adult learners.

Title:  The Circle Poem:  Fostering Young Writers

Description:  The Circle Poem accomplishes it all: building community, encouraging creativity in a non-threatening way, and allowing the excitement of a group working together.  This writing workshop build bridges through the fun of high-level engagement with each student’s imagination and contribution.  This workshop is appropriate for middle-grade through high school students.

Title:  Let’s Write a Mystery

Description:  Initial explanation and examples of the mystery story’s basic elements will allow students to write a short mystery of their very own during class.  Since debuted for the National Council of Teachers of English, this has been one of Ms. Cortez’s most popular school-visit requests.  This workshop is appropriate for middle-grade through high school students, and adult learners.

Title:  You Said What??!!  Avoiding the Most Common Errors in Writing Fictional Dialogue

Description:  Dialogue on the written page must fulfill different criteria than spoken dialogue in daily life.  Learn the tricks that will enable you to master effective dialogue when you write.  This workshop is appropriate for adult learners.

Title:  Game On!!  Using Poetic Technique to Enhance Storytelling

Description:  Learn how to translate the best of what poets do in their writing, then transfer these tricks into your own prose writing.  Examples from contemporary fiction writers, both literary and popular, reinforce the concepts.  This workshop is appropriate for adult learners.

Title:  ABCs of Writing Aliens, Beasts, Critters

In this workshop, popular fiction writer Sarah Cortez will lead participants in specific exercises making it—quick as a flash—to create imaginary critters for fiction, particularly fantasy fiction.  This workshop is appropriate for all ages of writer. Requirements: an active imagination!

Applicable to all workshops

  • All workshops may be structured as a one-hour class (with a three-class maximum booking per day) or as a half-day (3 ½ hours) workshop for one group of students.

  • Fees range from $250/classroom visit to $350/classroom visit.

  • Half-day (3 ½ hours teaching) intensive writing workshop for one group of students is $650; full-day (6 hours teaching) intensive writing workshop for one group of students is $850.

  • Handouts are provided.

  • NOTE: the above fees do not include travel, per diem or accommodations.

Poetry/Memoir/Fiction Readings

Sarah Cortez is available for poetry readings from any of her books of poetry, or the poetry anthologies she has edited: Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance (Texas Review Press, 2014), or Vanishing Points:  Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials (Texas Review Press, 2016)

Ms. Cortez will be delighted to work with the presenting organization to select poems appropriate to age levels and audience interests.  Q&A is anticipated and encouraged before each book signing after the reading.

Sarah Cortez is also available for memoir readings from her multi-generational memoir, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston, which focuses on her farming and shrimping families in Texas and their rich heritage of faith, hard work, and public service.  Ms. Cortez can also read from her riveting memoir of street policing, Tired, Hungry, Standing in One Place for Twelve Hours:  Essential Cop Essays.

Sarah Cortez’s short fiction, culled from the noir streets of Houston, is also available for fiction readings and discussion.  Anthologies and journals where her fiction has been published are available for signing and sale.

Fees range from $300/reading to $500/reading.

NOTE: the above fees do not include travel, per diem or accommodations.

If you need information about these workshops and presentations, call me at (713) 331-9342


Before you proceed to complete the Request for Quotation, please call me (713-331-9342) to help assure that I am available on the date(s) you request.  Keep in mind that a travel day to and from your site may be needed.  I am based in Houston. 


Once we have finalized your request for a quote, I will prepare an agreement for our signatures.  You can use this document to apply to TCA for an Arts Respond Performance Support grant that can cover up to 50% of my fees and expenses.  Here is how the agreement will look:

This agreement is between Sarah Cortez Consulting LLC and (name and address of your organization goes here), dated (date of the agreement goes here). 

Your agreement is to pay Sarah Cortez Consulting LLC in full for her services.  This agreement is for the purpose of hiring Sarah Cortez, who will provide the services of only herself as an artist.  Thus, only one artist on the TCA Touring Roster will be hired under the terms of this agreement.

As part of the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster (TCA), you may apply for part of Sarah Cortez’s fees and expenses to be reimbursed to you through an Arts Respond Performance Support grant. 

services, fees, dates

(List of services with the applicable fees and dates goes here)

(List of travel and lodging reimbursements goes here)

Your responsibilities:

* To provide venue, audience, and publicity for the event as scheduled

* To apply to TCA for your grant once this agreement has been co-signed

* To pay Sarah Cortez Consulting LLC upon completion of the performance, following receipt of the invoice.

* To communicate to TCA that the services have been performed as agreed.

Sarah Cortez Consulting LLC's responsibilities:

* To appear on the date(s) agreed and perform the services agreed in a professional manner.

* To invoice your organization as quickly as possibly upon completion of the event so that you may seek reimbursement through the grant, if your application was approved by TCA.

* To communicate with TCA that the serviced have been performed as agreed.

Agreed and accepted:

Name of organization and legal address goes here:

By:  (Name of signer goes here)



Sarah Cortez Consulting LLC





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