About Author Events
The Metropolitan Library System offers several author events throughout the year. Because of COVID-19, we've taken those in-person experiences online and have hosted local and national authors, including William Bernhardt, Rebecca Balcárcel, Ellen Crosby, Megan Miranda, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Caleb Roehrig, Tracy Wolff, Jen DeLuca, Mia Sosa, Alisha Rai, Aimee Agresti, Bryn Greenwood and Kristyn Kusek Lewis. Through programs such as Author Hour, Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, we can foster discussions about books, writing and the publishing world through these interactive experiences.
Watch Author Hour & Author Visits
Rebecca Balcárcel’s novel, THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY (2019), is a Pura Belpré Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and was called “a must-have for all library collections” by School Library Journal. She serves the students of Tarrant County College as Associate Professor of English.
View Rebecca Balcárcel’s Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE ANGELS' SHARE, her latest book, is #10 in the wine country series. Look for two more books in that series in early 2021 and 2022. Before writing fiction, Crosby--who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union--worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at www.ellencrosby.com and follow her occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby--but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor.
View Ellen Crosby Books in our Catalog
Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, THE PERFECT STRANGER, and THE LAST HOUSE GUEST, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. She has also written several books for young adults, including COME FIND ME, FRAGMENTS OF THE LOST, and THE SAFEST LIES. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS was published on June 23rd, 2020. Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter and Instagram, or @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebook.
View Megan Miranda Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Jennifer L. Armentrout
#1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you've heard about her state aren't true. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her dog. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult and new adult romance under the name J. Lynn. Jennifer loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter, @JLArmentrout, look for her on Facebook and Goodreads, or visit her blog at JenniferArmentrout.com.
View Jennifer Armentrout Books in our Catalog
Caleb Roehrig is an author of young adult thrillers, including Last Seen Leaving, White Rabbit, and Death Prefers Blondes. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, he has also lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Helsinki, Finland. As a former actor and television producer, Roehrig has experience on both sides of the camera, with a résumé that includes appearances on film and TV -- not to mention seven years in the stranger-than-fiction salt mines of reality television. In the name of earning a paycheck, he has: hung around a frozen cornfield in his underwear, partied with an actual rock star, chatted with a scandal-plagued politician, and been menaced by a disgruntled ostrich.
View Caleb Roehrig Books in our Catalog
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff wrote her first short story―something with a rainbow and a prince―in second grade. By ten, she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore. A one-time English professor with more than fifty novels to her name, she now devotes most of her time to writing and dreaming up heroes. She also writes under the name Tracy Deebs and lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. Visit her online at tracywolffbooks.com.
View Tracy Wolff Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Jen DeLuca was born and raised in Virginia, and has recently swapped Florida for the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband and a houseful of rescue pets. She’s worked as an ice-show dresser, a wardrobe master, a makeup consultant, and a paralegal. She likes latte-flavored lattes, Hokies football, and the Oxford comma.
View Jen DeLuca Books in our Catalog
Alisha Rai pens award-winning contemporary romances. Her novels have been featured on the IndieNext and the LibraryReads lists, and been named Best Books of the Year by Washington Post, NPR, New York Public Library, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Kirkus, “O” the Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine. When she’s not writing, Alisha is traveling or tweeting. To find out more about her books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit www.alisharai.com.
View Alisha Rai Books in our Catalog
Alexandria Bellefleur is an author of swoony contemporary romance often featuring loveable grumps and the sunshine characters who bring them to their knees. A Pacific Northwesterner at heart, Alexandria has a weakness for good coffee, Pike IPA, and Voodoo Doughnuts. Her special skills include finding the best Pad Thai in every city she visits, remembering faces but not names, falling asleep in movie theaters, and keeping cool while reading smutty books in public. She was a 2018 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist.
View Alexandria Bellefleur Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Aimee Agresti is a novelist and entertainment journalist. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine’s coffee-table book Inside Hollywood. Her work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer. Aimee has made countless TV and radio appearances, dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and HLN. The author of The Summer Set, Campaign Widows, and The Gilded Wings Trilogy for young adults, she graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC, area.
View Aimee Agresti Books in our Catalog
Kristyn Kusek Lewis
Kristyn Kusek Lewis is the bestselling author of Half of What You Hear, Save Me and How Lucky You Are & Perfect Happiness. Kristyn is also the Contributing Books Editor for Real Simple magazine, where she writes the monthly “What Should I Read Next?” page. She previously held editing positions at publications including Glamour and Child, and is a well-established freelance writer who has written for dozens of publications over the past twenty-five years. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Glamour, Self, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Parents, Allure, Good Housekeeping, Cooking Light, Health, Men’s Health, the New York Daily News, and many more. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her family.
View Kristyn Kusek Lewis Books in our Catalog
Bryn Greenwood is a fourth-generation Kansan, one of seven sisters, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned a MA in Creative Writing from Kansas State University. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Reckless Oath We Made, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
View Bryn Greenwood Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
William Bernhardt is the author of forty-seven books, including the bestselling Ben Kincaid series, the historical novels Challengers of the Dust and Nemesis, two books of poetry (The White Bird and The Ocean’s Edge), and the Red Sneaker books on fiction writing. Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writers Center to mentor aspiring writers. He is also the owner of Balkan Press, which publishes poetry and fiction as well as the literary journal Conclave. Bernhardt has received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State). He has been nominated for the Oklahoma Book Award eighteen times in three different categories, and has won the award twice. In addition to his novels and poetry, he has written plays, a musical (book and score), humor, children stories, biography, and puzzles. He has edited two anthologies (Legal Briefs and Natural Suspect) as fundraisers for The Nature Conservancy and the Children’s Legal Defense Fund. OSU named him “Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man.”
View William Bernhardt Books in our Catalog
Lou Berney is the author of November Road (winner of the Dagger, Hammett, Anthony, Barry, Lefty, and Macavity, and a Washington Post Best Book of 2018), The Long and Faraway Gone (winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and ALA awards), Whiplash River, and Gutshot Straight, all from William Morrow. He’s also written a collection of stories, The Road to Bobby Joe, and his short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches in the MFA program at Oklahoma City University.
View Lou Berney Books in our Catalog
David R. Slayton
David R. Slayton grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver, Colorado and writes the books he always wanted to read. Find him on the web at www.davidrslayton.com.
View David R. Slayton Books in our Catalog
Michele Feltman Strider
Michele Feltman Strider originally became a writer because of her deep appreciation for near rhyme. Actually, Michele stumbled into writing in an effort to better monetize the time she spent talking to her imaginary friends. Upon publishing her first book Homecoming, Michele realized that becoming a novelist not only exempted her from real work but gave her the opportunity to write third-person biographies about herself. In 2019, Michele executed the rare Reverse Okie, moving from California to Oklahoma with her long-suffering husband and increasingly awful cats.
View Michele Feltman Strider Books in our Catalog
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, War Girls, and his adult fiction. debut Riot Baby, published by Tor.com in January 2020. He has graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’études politiques with a Masters degree in Global Business Law.
His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Omenana, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, and elsewhere. His non-fiction has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Nowhere Magazine, Tor.com and the Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy. He is the winner of the Ilube Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African and has appeared in Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading list.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Connecticut, Tochi is a consummate New Englander, preferring the way the tree leaves turn the color of fire on I-84 to mosquitoes and being able to boil eggs on pavement. He has worked in criminal justice, the tech industry, and immigration law, and prays every day for a new album from System of a Down.
View Tochi Onyebuchi Books in our Catalog
This segment also features a co-host, Alex Brown. Alexandria Brown is a queer Black librarian, local historian, writer, and author of two books on the history Napa County, California’s marginalized communities. Her two books of nonfiction, Hidden History of Napa Valley and Lost Restaurants of Napa Valley and Their Recipes, are on sale now. She has a BA with honors in Anthropology and Sociology, a Master’s of Library and Information Science, and aMaster’s in US History. She writes about speculative fiction and young adult literature for Tor.com and Locus Magazine, as well as on her blog. Much of her writing covers Black history, librarianship, YA, and speculative fiction. Alex is ace/aro and biracial Black.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Shakirah Bourne is a Barbadian author and filmmaker. Her first feature film, the comedy-drama, PAYDAY, was screened throughout the Caribbean, USA and UK.The film won several awards, including Best Drama at the National Film Awards UK, Best International Feature at the Charlotte Black Film Festival and best UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival. Her short stories have been featured in many literary journals. She was a finalist for the BURT/CODE Award for Caribbean Literature in 2018. The Caribbean edition of her middle grade novel, MY FISHY STEPMOM, was published by Blue Banyan Books (2019) and the North American edition, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA, will be published by Scholastic in July 2021. She was a Part-time Lecturer at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and is a Part-Time Lecturer in Screenwriting at the Barbados Community College. She currently holds Certificates in Screenwriting from the Barbados Community College and the University of Edinburgh, and an MA (Hons) in Arts and Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University.
Shakirah's book will be released in July 2021.
Dr. Malika Grayson
Dr. Malika Grayson is a speaker, STEM advocate, and engineer based in Virginia. Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, she left the island at the age of 19 to pursue her education. She holds a bachelor's degree in Physics, and a master's degree and a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. She has shared her experiences about being a Black Women in STEM on a number of platforms including university collaborations, conferences, and special events. HOODED is her first book. Learn more at malikagrayson.com
View Dr. Malika Grayson Books in our Catalog
Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to sci-fi/fantasy TV to Japanese role-playing games, but she will swear up and down at book signings that she was inspired by Jane Austen. Sarah has been nominated for the Aurora Award for Best Young Adult novel and works in the community doing writing workshops for youths and adults. On top of being a YA writer, Sarah has a PhD in English, which makes her doctor, so it turns out she didn’t have to go to medical school after all.
As an academic, Sarah has taught at McMaster University and acted as a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Ottawa. Her research concerns representations of race and gender in popular media culture, youth culture and postcolonialism. She has edited special issues in academic journals such Safundi, Popular Music and Society, and Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice. She’s also written freelance pieces for The Conversation, Quill & Quire and Zora Magazine.
View Sarah Raughley Books in our Catalog
Learn from Experts on Writing and Publishing
Tune in as we talk to paranormal expert, Jeff Provine. Through his experience researching and writing about haunted locations across Oklahoma and running public ghost tours, he is well versed in all things ghostly. Jeff will go in depth on what it takes to write these spooky tales.
Join Andrea Foster, self-publishing guru, to learn how you can fast track your dream of being published, by doing it yourself- All for free!
Jerry Bennett is a full-time artist creating comic books, children's books, and shirt designs for licensed brands (Lucasfilm, Marvel, DC, Saban). He storyboarded for Mattel and Dreamworks and created animated book trailers for Scholastic and Lerner Children's Books. He also art directed Even in Death, an award-winning animated short, with talented students on the autism spectrum. He served as the 2018-2019 Paseo Arts/Skirvin Hilton Artist in Residence, creating and involving the community in participating in the process of comic art. Jerry is currently drawing more comics and creating licensed hand drawn sketch cards for Star Wars, Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Outlander and MST3K that are randomly distributed in their trading card packs.
- Do companies pay for product placement to go in graphic novels?
That possibly happens, and most likely the companies who want product placement will themselves have something specially created to have their products placed in.
- Is there a rule about when it is okay to use a name brand in your work versus changing it (i.e. McDonald's versus McRonald's)?
I’ve seen too many graphic novels that simply place the name brand without any hassles from the companies that own the licensing. Usually the publishing companies would tell you if it can be included.
- Do people pitch you ideas for what they think you should do for your next comic?
Oh sure, I get approached often by writers with some great stories, but nowadays I have stories of my own I’m really wanting to see come to life that I can’t really entertain those other ideas anymore. (Unless it’s something that I’m absolutely stoked about.) :)
- What is the best thing someone should do if they are trying to break into the comic's businesses whether as a writer or illustrator?
Get your comic made! Just go out and make it happen. We are in a golden age of creator-owner comics, and a fantastic resource in the internet to get it seen by the world and build an audience for your work. If the audience is big enough, the big publishers take notice. If you aren’t an author/illustrator, then find someone you can collaborate with and make that comic! Learn all about making comics! Network with all the comic creators in the area. (There is a huge group of us!)
- If I am going to try and get my graphic novel published, do I need to have the whole thing written and drawn before submitting it or would I just need to write it and the publisher would find an illustrator?
Depending on what kind of story you want to tell, there are different ways to get a graphic novel published. Most of the time, publishers will want to see the whole manuscript if they are interested in your pitch. Having sample pages would hurt either, but be flexible in letting them change illustrators if you bring one along to collaborate with. Publishers usually match up artists with the stories they acquire, unless you’re an author/illustrator.
- When you write a book, do you get a say on who illustrates it or does the publisher just have a go to set of illustrators they use?
Established authors will eventually get more input in choosing illustrators, but writers generally do not have a say, though they can suggest illustrators. The publishing companies don’t usually have in-house illustrators anymore. They usually get established talent or discover new talent from agents, and have even been known to reach out through social media, especially for those illustrators with a large following.
- What advice can you give me on how to condense my dialogue and story down to fit in a graphic novel format? I am used to writing novels and find myself being too wordy?
Writing a novel is definitely a different type of writing compared to writing graphic novels, which is a very script-based format. You can find tons of graphic novel manuscripts available to read online to study and find a style, of which there are MANY, that suits you.
- What resources could you recommend to improve my drawing skills?
I would find all the tutorials out there available to purchase or watch for free. Also find books on the things you want to draw or improve upon in your drawing. Find critique groups that will give you HONEST BUT KIND feedback of your work. There is, however, no substitute for improving your skills than PRACTICE, though. ALWAYS BE DRAWING. Set aside a time, no matter how large or small, to draw. So many people talk about how busy they are, and that’s true, we are all busy, but your desire to improve is only matched by the amount of time you are willing to give to improve.
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