Featured BookFest Author, 2019
PETER HELLER is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, The Painter, Celine, and The River. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook,The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
2019 Festival Authors
Dr. Maxine Wright-Walters is a nature lover and scientist who loves people. She is a certified behavioral coach and consultant who focuses on teaching and helping people to live their best lives.
Michael Nyers is a poet, mixed media artist, author, mental health advocate, and all around funny guy from Youngstown, Ohio. His passion is blackout poetry—a mixture of poetry and art made by taking printed text and blacking out words to create a poem or statement—which can promote mindfulness and creativity, benefiting overall well-being.
Writer of tales dark and fantastic. Cat likes to explore what is wild and wonderful, brooding and bright. And all the shades in between.
Stephanie Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series The Star Child [Inkspell Publishing]. Her recent release, The Spellbinder’s Sonata, was an Amazon #1 new release. She also writes adult romance as Gemma McKay.
Cheryl Anne Tuggle is a writer of essays and novels that explore the nature of religious experience in America. Her most recent novel, Lights on the Mountain, published in November 2018 by Paraclete Press, is set in rural Western Pennsylvania.
Daisy Beiler Townsend has been writing and publishing in magazines and periodicals for over 35 years. In 2014, Daisy published Homespun Faith, followed by Sarah’s Legacy and Sarah’s Legacy Shared. She and her husband, Donn, live in Pennsylvania and have 3 children and 6 grandchildren.
From fantastical adventures to the sweet old West, Susan Lower invites readers of all ages into a world where love and light prevail. Her series are clean and wholesome reads filled with cowboys, heroes, and hope.
Pam Horter-Moore was born and raised in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Slippery Rock University with a degree in English and Fine Arts. She is retired from a career in communications and now devotes herself to creative writing.
David Kiefer is an illustrator and aspiring storyteller who has his BFA in Illustration from Edinboro University and is currently pursuing his MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Day: A Short Story about Anxiety is the first book he has written and illustrated.
Debra R. Sanchez has moved over thirty times…so far. She and her husband have three adult children, five grandchildren, as well as a cat and a dog. She leads and attends various writing groups in the Pittsburgh area and also hosts writing retreats.
Anne Marie is a writer and former teacher who now runs Wildflower Vibes Writing so that she can bring her fairy tale witches to life in young adult fantasy stories and use her family’s life stories in her Daily Devotional books. She is married to her high school crush and has two sons.
Anne M. Slanina, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Annie Mouse) is the author of The Adventures of Annie Mouse series of children’s books and a Route 66 enthusiast. She is newly retired from Slippery Rock University, where she specialized in Literacy and Early Childhood Development. Anne is the mother of two sons and grandmother of four. She writes from the perspective of a young child, drawing upon her many years of experience teaching and parenting young children, as well as her annual Route 66 road trips, for the inspiration behind Annie Mouse’s adventures. She looks forward to spending her retirement traveling and conducting author visits in schools across the country. Her last book, Annie Mouse’s Second Route 66 Photo Journal: The Journey East, was released in 2018 and joins the other titles in the Adventures of Annie Mouse series: Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Family Vacation, The Adventures of Annie Mouse: The Coloring Book, Where the Rainbow Touches Ground, Annie Mouse Meets a New Friend, Baby Brother Goes to the Hospital, and Annie Mouse Meets Her Guardian Angel.
Viki Doyle Heagy is a local author from Beaver County. Faith and family are her top priorities. She has four published children’s books. Viki hopes the characters in her books inspire and motivate children as well as provide a spring board for parents and teachers to discuss issues facing children today.
R. L. Roush recently finished her last book in her YA science fiction trilogy, The Eyes Trilogy. She is currently working on her fourth. Along with writing, Ramona is a Continuing Education Instructor with Community College of Beaver County, teaching about writing and publishing. She also lectures to young adults on creating their own stories using myths and fairy tales, and has taught young adults how to find and identify Native American arrowheads.
The titles of Edward V. Bonner’s poetry suggest some ways in which the poems inside balance the universe. Most of the poems examine the themes of beauty and risk, pleasure and danger, in the context of one of three kinds of relationships: to romantic partners, to the spiritual world, and nature.
Brian Johnson, PhD, is an instructor of interpersonal communication at Luzerne County Community College. An avid writer, Johnson recently published his second novel, Send Judah First. An ordained pastor, Johnson eagerly anticipates the fall 2019 release of his pet project, Finding God in the Bathroom. Among his many titles, Brian most enjoys husband (Darlene), father (Kasey, Thomas, Aubyn, Analisa) and grandpa (of eight).
Ava is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). She loves legends, myths, and the fantastical. Many of these themes carry into her writing nowadays. Ava has published two children’s books and one young adult novel, Fall of Ima.
Becky L. Stout has been writing seriously since the age of 15 and has been self-publishing for nearly a decade.
Crystal B. Stone’s poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Anomaly Literary Journal, Writers Resist, Drunk Monkeys, Coldnoon, Poets Reading the News, Jet Fuel Review, Southword Journal Online, and others. Her latest collection, Knock-Off Monarch, was published by Dawn Valley Press in 2018.
Linda Schmitmeyer is a freelance writer and adjunct university instructor. Semi-retired now, she’s worked in classrooms, newsrooms, and PR offices. At the heart of her career, the thread running through the years, is her love of writing. Her memoir Rambler was released by Artists’ Orchard in 2018.
Kathy lives in the rolling farmland of Western New York. Her novels and short stories are filled with wounded heroes and feisty heroines. Her Civil War novel, A Place in Your Heart, was a Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star winner, and her historical western, Lost Hearts, a Utah/Salt Lake RWA finalist.
E. Davis LLC
Sheila Rae Myers
Sheila is an independent author with several works of Christian fiction and nonfiction. Sheila has also written a book about her service as a Navy Hospital Corpsman.
John Frederick graduated from Penn State University’s Geography program. His interest in physical geography initially took him into the classroom as a high school Earth and Environmental Science teacher. Having since worked in the recycling and environmentalism fields, he is the author of Winding Roads, an account of his 1978 bicycle odyssey across the United States. (http://www.johnjfrederick.com/) Jared Frederick has a lifelong passion for American History. His many books include Images of Modern America: Gettysburg National Military Park and various historical books for young adults. He served as a park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He has appeared often on television, including as a guest host on Turner Classic Movies for the channel’s 25th anniversary. Frederick currently serves as an Instructor of History at Penn State Altoona. His latest book is Dispatches of D-Day: A People’s History of the Normandy Invasion. (http://www.jaredfrederick.com)
Paul Johnson, illustrator; Patty Schaal, lyricist
Paul is an acrylic painter and wood sculptor, mainly farm and woodland animals. With Patty’s book, The Christmas Child, Paul added more than 170 animals, both forest and desert, to complement her lyrics about a mother’s love for a child born at Christmas. Paul exhibits at local shows, including Old Economy Village.
Donald Firesmith writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, and horror novels, and he relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. He lives in Crafton, Pa., with his wife, Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.
Audrey Jane Snyder is an enterprising professional who has spent 40+ years in the corporate sector in the fields of human resource management and customer and community service. She has been an independent consultant specializing in online web-based training of interpersonal skills for first-line managers.
Missy Reynolds is inventive and dramatic, scheming up plots and stories since she was a young girl. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family and pets and is active in her comunity. She is a self-proclaimed book nerd, but has many interests. Getting lost in a book is her favorite, though.
Sarah Wagner is a fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, and horror author and poet in West Virginia. Myth, magic, mayhem, and capable women are mainstays in her stories.
Ruth is a retired teacher of language arts and United States history. Born in Covington, Kentucky, on the banks of the Ohio River, she now calls Pittsburgh’s three rivers her home. Her awards include: TAZ Author Award for Best Historical Fiction, 2017 Fiction Prize, Backbone Mountain Review, 2013.
Carol Schoenig is the author of The Caretaker, a story of finding love in your golden years, and “Love that Binds,” a short story that is part of the Mystic Desire Anthology with Black Velvet Seductions to be released October 1. Carol reads and writes Contemporary Romance, Aged to Perfection Romance, and Romantic Suspense. She has a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Development. She retired from her profession in human resources. She had started writing in her early twenties. Once she retired, she began to seriously pursue her dreams of becoming a writer. Carol celebrates over 50 years of marriage, has two sons, and five grandchildren, ranging in age from five to twenty-one. She loves reading, music, nature, and animals.
Linda enjoys long walks on the beach—actually, no, she doesn’t. Short walks are easier. She does enjoy typewriters, crocheting, air conditioning, cats, guinea pigs, semi-tame squirrels, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Sam’s Club trips looking for huge vats of salsa, and anything else that lends a grand sense of bold adventure to her adrenaline-junkie life. Her writing time is spent on her humor books and a bunch of unwieldy novels.
Nadette Rae Rodgers lives and writes in Pittsburgh, Pa. At just 21, she is the award-winning author of The Illusion Trilogy (a YA romance-thriller about dreams) and two children’s books about an adorable owl. Rodgers hopes her books will inspire others to follow their dreams.
Paul Mitura is an Army officer with 34 years of service and is the author of three books.
Larry Ivkovich’s speculative fiction has been published in more than twenty online and print publications, including Shoreline of Infinity, Across the Karman Line, and TV Gods II. He’s been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund award for fiction. Larry is a member of the Pittsburgh SF group Parsec, the writing/critique group WorD, Pennwriters, the Mindful Writers East and North, and the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA. He lives in Coraopolis, Pa., with his beautiful, talented wife, Martha, and wonder cat Milo.
Author Frank Say is the love child of Edgar Allen Poe & Jim Carrey. Growing up with The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family on TV and Taxi Driver and The Exorcist in the theaters, Frank was a confused child who grew into a confused, but entertaining, adult. Humor & the Macabre are familiar themes.
Joseph Max Lewis writes old-school thrillers. His first novel, The Diaries of Pontius Pilate, has been optioned for development as a motion picture by Hollywood Producers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon of Believe Entertainment. His recent release, Hell Rises, is his fourth novel.
Greg is a retired psychotherapist, who makes his home in the Pittsburgh area with his wife and two cats. Having published his first novel, Murder at Mountain Tavern, he is working on a second novel sequel, The Loner, with expected publication in 2020.
Ellen A Roth
Ellen is an award-winning author and speaker, having received degrees from Goucher College (BA), Syracuse University (MFA), and the University of Pittsburgh (PhD). Ten Fingers Touching is a romantic escape that intertwines true love, mystery, and adventure in a fairy tale for grown-ups. It has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon. Ellen is urrently writing the screenplay adaptation of the book.
Linda Medwig wrote The Big Sneeze forty years ago for a children’s literature course while attending college. But the best part of the story within a story is that her mother did the illustrations! Linda’s professor thought the work was good enough for publication! But just recently published!
S.L LeClair is a full-time author who devotes her time to writing and promoting the Diaries of Abi Rhode Series. When not writing, traveling, and working on the Abi Rhode foundation, LeClair enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Katie Blanchard is an author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her debut novel, Pressing Flowers, is available for purchase now. Summer of 2019 brings her psychological thriller, Dear Anna, to the world. Follow her on social media for updates on projects and book sales.
For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer. Nowadays she spends most of her time in front of a laptop. She has written eleven novels—suspense, seven novellas—cozy mystery, four short stories, and three children’s books. She lives at her 45-acre horse farm in Hookstown, Pa., with her husband, Bill, and their poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
Nicholas’s love for science fiction started as a child growing up with such shows as Star Trek, Lost in Space, and reading the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Issac Asimov. His love for fantasy was strongly influenced by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Richard Adams.
FREDERIC S. DURBIN writes fantasy for grownups and children. His most recent novel was named a Reading List Honor Book by the American Library Association and a Best Fantasy of the Year by Publishers Weekly. He is a poet-on-demand and a frequent presenter of workshops on writing and typewriters.
Award-winning author Abigail Drake is a coffee addict, a red wine drinker, and a compulsive book hoarder. She writes women’s fiction and young adult fiction, and blogs about her naughty Labrador, Capone. Her newest book, Love, Chocolate, and a Dog Named Al Capone, is set in Beaver.
Damian and Em Bouch are a married couple brought together by their love of writing! Damian published No Delight in Fools, giving a fresh coat of ink to the dystopian genre. Em published Moving the Chains, a young adult sports novel that deals with mental health in a realistic and hopeful way.
Steve Logston grew up in Chester, W.V. He attended Oak Glen High School, Shepherd University, and the University of Dayton, where he earned a master’s degree in education. He enjoys playing music, golfing, and spending time with his wife, Joni, and adult children.
Wendelin Gray is a linguist, writer, artist, and dancer. She has been a core volunteer with the Silk Screen Asian Arts Organization in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 2007 to 2018. Her horror novel, The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak, won two book awards.
Pennsylvania native Carrie Anne Noble writes whimsical fantasy and science fiction for teens and adults. Her debut novel, The Mermaid’s Sister, received the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for YA Fiction and the 2016 Realm Award for Book of the Year. She enjoys tea, British shows, and secret naps.
Barbara Barrow is a fiction writer and literary critic in Pittsburgh. Her novel, The Quelling, debuted from Lanternfish Press in 2018, and is the 2018 Gold Medal Winner for Literary Fiction in the Foreword Reviews Indies Book of the Year Award.
Award-winning author and illustrator of Goodnight Wishes! and A Christmas Star. Leea Baltes is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books that are beautifully illustrated in soft watercolors that reflect her love and appreciation of Beatrix Potter. Each inspirational story is subtly woven around a positive and encouraging message instilling hope, gratitude, and wholesome values into the minds and hearts of little ones.
April Hartmann is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer, freelancing from her home-studio in Washington, Pennsylvania. When not at the drawing table, she’s usually involved in some other creative task like writing, decorating, or testing recipes to get her family to eat more vegetables.
Founder of the Mindful Writers Groups, Madhu Bazaz Wangu’s books include a story collection, two novels, and four nonfiction books. Her three meditation CDs help writers to improve focus, remove blocks, and increase creative flow. Her books as well as the CDs will be available at the BookFest.
Joan Grimord is an author/illustrator who lived in Philadelphia and illustrated books for Running Press Publishers early in her career. She now lives in Bloomsburg, Pa., and continues to write and illustrate books. Her website can be found here: https://www.englishhillbooks.studio/ .
Trisha lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, two amazing daughters, and two dogs. She spends her time writing, editing, reading, and graphic designing.
Michael Prelee is a graduate of Youngstown State University. Small town crime lovers give good reviews to his novel, Murder in the Heart of It All, while sci-fi enthusiasts enjoy his Milky Way Repo series, which follows the exploits of starship repo agents.
Michael Kishbucher first learned intelligence tradecraft while serving in the Air Force, and he now analyzes adversarial military capability for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Michael doesn’t believe in ghosts, and he thinks it’s bizarre that authors always write their bios in third person.
The Baden Academy Charter School Media Lab is a center for creative inquiry, experimentation, and discovery. The Lab’s innovative research approaches empower a community of learners to bring to fruition real world projects that benefit the entire community.
Tony Lavorgne specializes in obscure paranormal in the anthropological topics. He is an accomplished researcher, author, and public speaker on the subject. He is a co-author of the Haunted Roads of Western Pennsylvania and the author of Astonishing Tales of Pennsylvania.
Patricia Miller grew up in a small town in Ohio and has worked as a mental health clinical counselor for the past 25 years. When not writing, she enjoys hiking/biking weekend trips or indulging in British murder mystery marathons.
Kimberly M. Miller is a writing and film professor by day, author by night. She enjoys watching movies, making jewelry, and creating fun stories for her readers. She also recently starting taking tap dancing lessons. True story.
Toni Ray Pugh
Alicia Stankay is a local fiction writer and photographer. After finishing the second book in her Stonecliff Mystery series, she’s researching to write another book based on Old Economy Village in her hometown Ambridge. Her photography has appeared at the Merrick Art Gallery and Cranberry Art Shows.
Kirstie Marx has been a tennis pro for almost 30 years and was awarded the 2014 Educational Merit Award with the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She is a homeschooling mom, has a heart for children, and is passionate about reading books. She lives in Cary, N.C., with her husband and daughter.
Dee McKay is a retired R.N. who lives in Monaca, Pennsylvania. She has seven grandchildren. Her books feature grandparents sharing memories with their grandchildren.
Melinda Taliancich Falgoust is an award-winning author, illustrator, elementary educator, and working actor on both stage and screen. She often reaches into her actor’s “bag-of-tricks” to introduce a cast of colorful and quirky characters who help bring her books and presentations to life!