2018 Author Series

Please be advised that due to scheduling conflicts, the remaining events in the 2018 Author Series have been cancelled.

Throughout 2018, the Uniontown Public Library will showcase the talent of novelists, short story writers, nonfiction writers, and poets. Visiting authors will offer a short talk on a subject related to their genre, do a reading from their work, and participate in a question and answer session with the audience. A book raffle and signing will follow.

All events will take place on Saturdays at 3:00 PM and will be free and open to the public. Refreshments will be offered by sponsors or by the Library. At each event, attendees will have a chance to win a copy of the author’s featured book!

For information on the 2017 Author Series, please click or tap here.

What authors are attending?

The writers selected for the Author Series represent a wide array of genres, styles, and experiences. To learn more about them, click their names below or scroll down to browse the lineup.

Who is organizing the Author Series?

heidi_millerHeidi Ruby Miller is co-director of the 2018 Author Series.

Heidi uses research for her stories as an excuse to roam the globe. Her books include the popular Ambasadora series and the award-winning writing guide Many Genres, One Craft. Heidi teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program the same month she appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She is a member of The Authors Guild, International Thriller Writers, Pennwriters, Littsburgh, PARSEC, and Science Fiction Poetry Association. Follow Heidi’s adventures with her husband, Jason Jack Miller, on their travel and lifestyle channel Small Space, Big Life.

Carrie GessnerCarrie Gessner is co-director of the 2018 Author Series.

Carrie received a BA in English from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She writes speculative fiction and literary fiction. She taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan, the influence of which can be seen in most of her fiction and in her tea-drinking habit. She’s passionate about fantasy heroines and inclusion in all types of fiction. When she’s not writing or reading, she likes to go for walks in the park with her greyhound, Elphie. The Dying of the Golden Day is her first novel.

maria_smMaria Sholtis is the Uniontown Public Library’s event coordinator for the 2018 Author Series.

As curator of the Pennsylvania Room, Maria helps visitors from across the country trace their southwestern Pennsylvania heritage. She received her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and writes both fantasy and historical fiction, as well as nonfiction on subjects of unusual history and true crime.

Saturday, January 20

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Diane Turnshek

"Turning Teens into Published Authors"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diane Turnshek is an astronomer and an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. She writes science fiction stories with an eye to the stars. In 2002, she founded Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers.

For the Author Series, Diane will discuss running Alpha, a program that attracts students from all over the world for an 11-day, residential workshop in Greensburg, PA.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Many Genres, One Craft fosters the writing process in a way that focuses almost exclusively on writing the novel. Using a compilation of instructional articles penned by well-known authors affiliated with Seton Hill University’s acclaimed MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction, the book emphasizes how to write genre novels and commercially appealing fiction.

EVENT SPONSORS: Heidi Ruby Miller and Jason Jack Miller

Saturday, February 17

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Wende Dikec

"Kissing Books: Writing About Love and Other Fairy Tales"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy.

Several of her short stories have been published in magazines, and her first book is currently on submission. She teaches at the Young Writers’ Institute, and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers, Mindful Writers, and PennWriters. 

Romance writing is big business, but people often scoff at the genre and say it’s too predictable. For the Author Series, Wende will discuss why this element of predictability is so important in a romance and why readers yearn for it.

ABOUT THE BOOK: What happens when the beautiful swan becomes the ugly duckling?  Starr Valentine has a perfect life in Middleton, Ohio. She was named captain of the cheer squad, her mother finally allowed her to get highlights, and the cutest boy in school asked her to homecoming. But everything comes crashing down when she finds out her parents are actually monarchs in exile from a mysterious planet called Vega. Starr doesn’t want to leave, but loves the idea of being a princess, and decides moving to an alien world might not be so bad. When she gets there, however, she discovers that something is terribly wrong . . . 

Saturday, March 24

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

J.L. Gribble

"Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

ABOUT THE BOOK: One hundred years ago, the vampire Victory retired from a centuries-long mercenary career. She settled in Limani, the independent city-state acting as a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies on the New Continent.

Twenty years ago, Victory adopted a human baby girl, who soon showed signs of magical ability.

Today, Victory is a city councilwoman, balancing the human and supernatural populations within Limani. Her daughter Toria is a warrior-mage, balancing life as an apprentice mercenary with college chemistry courses.

Tomorrow, the Roman Empire invades.

Saturday, April 28

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Gerry LaFemina

“National Poetry Month”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Gerry LaFemina holds an MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University as well as an MA in Literature with an emphasis on Twentieth-century Literature from WMU. Presently, he directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, where he is an Associate Professor of English.

Gerry is the author of a number of books, including Little Heretic (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2014), Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist (Mayapple Press, 2013), Steampunk (Smalls Books, 2012), and Vanishing Horizon (Anhinga Press, 2011). He is the recipient of the 2003 Anthony Piccione Poetry Prize from Mammoth Books, the 2003 Bordighera Poetry Prize, an Irving Gilmore Emerging Artist Foundation Fellowship, and a Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Fellowship.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Palpable Magic features re-readings and reviews of such late 20th Century poets as Anne Sexton, Larry Levis, Charles Wright, Patricia Goedicke, and Wendell Berry, as well as provides commentaries on poetic craft, the prose poem, and what it means to be a poet.

Saturday, May 12

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Brian Butko

“The Fun History of the Pittsburgh Area”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Butko loves history, from diners to amusement parks to old highways and the cool places you’ll find along them. His newest books are the Kennywood Trilogy; the second book, just out, features the intertwined story of Pittsburgh’s Luna Park.

Brian is also an editor at the Heinz History Center and served as project manager or editor of The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History; Maz, You’re Up!; Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era; Clash of Empires: The British, French, and Indian War, 1754-1763; Pittsburgh’s Strip District: Around the World in a Neighborhood; and Industry and Infantry: The Civil War in Western Pennsylvania (with Nicholas Ciotola).

ABOUT THE BOOK: Luna follows the intriguing, intertwined stories of two very different amusement parks in suburban Pittsburgh: Kennywood in West Mifflin and Luna Park in North Oakland. Butko takes readers on a rollicking trip to the rowdy picnic spot first called Kenny’s Grove, then we meet the Ingersoll family of inventors who go from building rides at Kennywood to creating its chief competitor. Frederick Ingersoll, today credited with inventing and spreading the concept of amusement parks, was the visionary who conjured Luna by literally blowing apart a hillside along Craig Street in 1905. While he continued building more rides and more parks, he was also slipping into bankruptcy.

Luna, for all its exotic architecture and dazzling lights, went dark after just five seasons. An escaped lion who killed a visitor is usually blamed for starting the park’s decline, but Luna was also competing with the first Nickelodeon (in downtown Pittsburgh) and nearby Forbes Field (among the first modern ballparks). All but forgotten a century later, Luna saw its legacy revived when Kennywood Park opened Lost Kennywood, an area modeled after Luna and other “world’s fair”-style parks. Kennywood and its competitor now co-exist in their own unique way.