Volunteer Lawyers
& Professionals for the Arts (VLPA)

next seminar

Aug 18
Self-Publishing Panel with The Porch

Self-publishing has entered the digital era with renewed cache.  With the proliferation of professional, low cost printing options and the widely preferred e-book, self-publishing is on the rise.  Panelists will help authors navigate the benefits, challenges and best practices of self-publishing in a fun, informative discussion.

Moderator: Randy Smith, Attorney at Law

Mr. Smith was born in Memphis, Tennessee and moved to Nashville in 1966 to attend Belmont University. He graduated with honors in 1970 with degrees in Business Administration, Foreign Languages, and music. He attended Belmont on a vocal music performance scholarship and worked as a professional studio back up singer while in college and law school. Mr. Smith entered Vanderbilt University Law School in 1973 and after graduation in 1976 began practicing law.  Mr. Smith’s law practice focuses on entertainment, intellectual property rights, and the arts with emphasis on recording, music publishing, book publishing, film and television and the performing arts.


Robert Brandt (Author, Former Chancery Court Judge)

Robert Brandt is the author of books and articles about Tennessee history, travel, and outdoors. Among his books are Touring the Middle Tennessee Backroads, Fodor’s Compass American Guide – Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee on Foot. His contributions to the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Cultures include entries about the period covered in his fictional debut, Painted Trillium. His articles have appeared in the Sierra, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and The Tennessee Conservationist. A native of Norris, Tennessee, he received a BA in history from Centre College and a JD from Vanderbilt University where he served as an adjunct faculty member. He is a retired judge and lawyer living in Nashville with his wife, Anne. 

Alberta Tolbert (Author)

Alberta Tolbert, a born-and-raised Minnesotan, has lived in six states and is now firmly planted in Tennessee with her husband, Vic. Her journey crossed the great Midwest, and she writes stories linked to its places and people. Her first novel, Poppa’s War, takes place in rural Minnesota and explores how PTSD affected families and small towns post-WWII. In addition to fiction, Alberta enjoys writing poetry.

Jennifer Chesak (Author, Founder of Wandering in the Words Press)

Jennifer Chesak, an East Nashville-based writer and editor, operates an independent publishing and editing company, Wandering in the Words Press. Jennifer earned her Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and has had a storied career as a freelance adventure, travel, and fitness writer for publications like Runner’s World, Women’s Running and Field & Stream online to name a few. In addition to teaching workshops through The Porch Writers’ Collective, she serves as a mentor for Middle Tennessee State University’s certificate in writing program, MTSU Write. Jennifer is currently working on a fiction novel set in her native state of North Dakota. She mulls over plot lines and character traits while training for her next marathon or working in her garden. Find her writing and editing tips at http://wanderinginthewordspress.com.

Kimberly Collins (Author)

Kimberly Collins, author of Simple Choices, grew up in Southern West Virginia and still visits as often as possible. She currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. Growing up in southern Appalachia provided a rich history, spicy characters, and a lifetime of stories. Kimberly intends to be the storyteller of some of Appalachia’s darkest secrets. Kimberly is working on a three-book series “Mingo,” which will follow the lives of several dynamic women bound by fierce loyalty, love, and death during the infamous mine wars. The first in the series, Blood Creek, is set to be released September 2016.

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