You may walk past them without even recognizing them—authors from the Blue Ridge region who have published books and even received national acclaim. And they’re gathering in one place for the 3rd Annual Author Fest at Waynesboro Public Library on May 6.
The public is invited to meet over two dozen of the area’s authors—from well-known to little-known—at an event that offers books, refreshments, and signings. Marta Grove, Publicity Coordinator of the Waynesboro Public Library, is excited by what the event promises. “Author Fest exposes the community to local writing talent and is an excellent time to broaden the horizons of readers. Book lovers will enjoy this time to meet authors and buy their books, and authors will benefit from the opportunity to expand their exposure.”
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the attendees:
Diane Fanning is the Edgar-nominated author of ten mystery novels and fourteen true crime books. She has appeared on the Today Show, 48 Hours, 20/20, Forensic Files among others, as well as numerous cable network news shows and radio stations across the United States and Canada. Raised in Baltimore, she now lives in Bedford, Virginia.
Mollie Cox Bryan penned The Cumberland Creek Mysteries (of which Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for the “Best First Novel of 2012”). She also has a new craft-retreat mystery series, set in the fictional town of Indigo Gap, North Carolina. The first book, Death Among the Doilies, was published in August 2016.
Chaz Weaver self-published The Valley Baseball League: A History of Baseball in the Shenandoah Valley. The book reflects nearly two years of research and numerous seventh-inning stretches. The VBL, which consists of 11 teams including the Waynesboro Generals, is an NCAA-sanctioned league that draws top players from around the country each summer. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book goes directly back to VBL.
Elizabeth Massie, a two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, has written a variety of books, from scary middle-grade novels (the Ameri-Scare Series) to religious nonfiction. Elizabeth was born in Waynesboro and continues to call it home.
Tamara Shoemaker has authored the Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy, Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Vale trilogy.
Laten Ervin Bechtel gathered memories of local African-Americans in her book In Their Words: Growing Up in Segregated Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia.
Clifford Garstang has written In an Uncharted Country, What the Zhang Boys Know (Winner of the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction), and numerous other works that have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and others. His most recent books are a pair short story anthologies that he edited—Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet.
Barbara Spilman Lawson loves kids, singing, and storytelling. Not only does she tell stories, but she also writes them, and is the author/illustrator of children’s books. In 2014, Barb was selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts to be one of their Performing Artists, traveling across Virginia telling stories and teaching workshops. She lives in Waynesboro.
Matthew Warner writes with a bent toward horror. His most recent works include Blood Born (2011), an apocalyptic monster tale set in Washington, DC, where he grew up; The Seventh Equinox (2013), set in a fictitious Shenandoah Valley town inspired by his current home of Staunton, VA; and Plan 9 (2016), the novelization of Darkstone Entertainment’s remake of the classic 1959 film, Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Leslie Truex is an author, speaker, blogger, online entrepreneur, social worker, fitness instructor and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of home. In 1998, she founded WorkatHomeSuccess.com to help people find or created flexible work options. She’s the author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible and Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job. She has appeared on CNN.com, Fox Business, Redbook and a host of other media outlets discussing telecommuting and other flexible career options.
Patsy Asuncion, the daughter of an Irish mother and a Filipino father, has published a collection of poems, Cut on the Bias, which draws from her background in Chicago and delivers a message of peace and unity.
Chris Cleary , is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, in which many of his stories are set. He received his M.A. from UVA and now teaches literature and writing at Buffalo Gap High School. He is the author of three novels: The Vagaries of Butterflies (2014), The Ring of Middletown (2015), and At the Brown Brink Eastward (2016).
Shawnee Small is the bestselling author of the Shining Ones series. The adult urban fantasy series was drawn from her life abroad, as well as her time in the Goth subculture of the ’80s and ’90s. She is currently working on several projects including Destroyer, the last installment in the Shining Ones saga, and a brand new paranormal series.
Kay Pfaltz loves dogs, European travel, and wine. She combines all three loves in her writing and in her business (she co-owns Basic Necessities, a café, wine, and cheese shop in Nellysford). Her books include Lauren’s Story: An American Dog in Paris and Flash’s Song: How One Small Dog Turned into One Big Miracle.