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LBF Presentation Descriptions

Femi Fadugba– “The Upper World”

Description: Femi Fadugba has a Master’s degree from Oxford University, where he published in Quantum Physics and subsequently studied as a Thouron Scholar at University of Pennsylvania. Femi has worked as a science tutor as well as in solar energy and consulting. He will discuss how his journey to author and how his own life influenced his book The Upper World.


Rheonna Thornton & Lance Newman– Poetry Slam

Description: Rheonna and Lance will summarize what a poetry slam is and 4 JCPS students will participate in a small scale version using poems they’ve written.


Julie Ann Stewart– Crafting a Book

Description: Crafting a book is not unlike sewing a garment. You begin with an idea, a skirt or a dress or a pair of slacks. Pattern in hand, you add personal touches: fabric, trim, ruffles or pleats, depending on your design, small details that make a huge difference, altering the piece along the way to make it fit just right.

A book follows a similar series of steps. For me, it is a hands-on process. I measure and shape, cut and stitch, until the pieces—in my case, short stories, but for others, chapters, essays, poems—become a whole new creation that can be seen and touched and read.

Join me as I share the process of crafting my short story collection Water and Blood, from idea to the printed book.


Scott Soeder– Illustration

Description: Scott Soeder is an award-winning professional illustrator specializing in illustrations for children’s books, magazines, apps and games. Clients include Highlights for Children, Spider Magazine, Blue Sneaker Press and many more. He will discuss and demonstrate his process when illustrating work.


American Printing House– Examples of How Differently Sighted People Read and Storytime

Description: Braille Tales is a program that supplies free print/braille books to children that are blind or visually impaired. In this presentation students will be introduced to the Braille Tales program and its partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, as well as some Braille history and early literacy APH products that assist braille reading students to begin to navigate the world around them. We will shed light on how folks that are blind or visually impaired are still able to enjoy reading and other activities thanks to the support of American Printing House for the Blind and the organizations who support them.


Charlene Mosley– Illustrator

Description: Born and raised in Berlin, Charlene Mosley is an Oscar-nominated, San Diego- based fine artist, illustrator, concept artist and muralist. She received her BA in Studio Arts from San Diego State University with a minor in German Studies. She will talk about working with authors to illustrate books and demonstrating her process.


Brittany J. Thurman– “Fly”

Description: Africa’s grandmother was a double Dutch legend, and Africa knows she can become the same. Her brother scoffs when she signs up for a double Dutch competition, though—how can she hope to compete when she’s never done it before? But Africa has all the tools she needs: memories of her grandmother, her bestie Bianca’s dance moves, her friend Omar’s rhythm, and her classmates’ Mary Mack timing and cartwheels. If Africa can pull everything together to jump some winning moves, she might just fly, but it’s the birthmark in the shape of her name that tells her she’s always been a winner.


I Would Rather Be Reading

Description: IWRBR will present and demonstrate their social-emotional learning curriculum rooted in diverse literature. This curriculum is used at all of their sites and is a good preview for families of what to expect in their programming.


Lynn Slaughter| David F. Balog – Why YA?

Description: YA (young adult) is often defined as a reading category for young readers ages 12-18, give or take, but is also popular with adults. What characterizes YA depends on both the author and reader, not simply literary definitions, expanding the audience and narratives. Lynn, Janice, and David will discuss how YA fits in their preferred genres and how YA isn’t simply for young adults.


Emily Bingham– My Old Kentucky Home

Description: When is a song not just a song? How did an 1853 song about the slave trade become the Derby anthem and Kentucky’s state song?  In whose hands does its future lie? Author and historian Emily Bingham will speak about her love letter, one with tears in the eyes, to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and to all who seek an America in which we better hear one another.


Samantha Perkins– Alive AF: One Anxious Mom’s Journey to Becoming Alcohol Free

Description: Throughout this presentation Samantha will share about her anxiety remedies and universal truths she has discovered about living without alcohol. She will uncover the ubiquitous role that alcohol plays in our everyday lives—in everything from parenting, mental health, relationships and career choices. She will discuss marketing tactics and stigma that is built around alcohol and mental health.  She will breakdown thinking patterns that prevent people from getting the help they need or assessing their alcohol intake.


Crystal Caudill– 3 Rules You Must Never Break

Description: No matter what conference you attend, there are often two conflicting statements: Writers must follow all the rules or rules are made to be broken. The truth is writing is actually a mix of both. However, there are three rules which absolutely must never be broken if you are to be a successful author. In this workshop, you will not only learn what those three rules are, but you will walk away with the tools needed to apply them to your stories.


Michelle Bennington| Laurien Berenson| Valerie Burns– Cozy Crime: What is a cozy mystery, and why is it so popular?

Description: Attendees will hear these cozy mystery authors speak about their latest releases and learn more about the cozy mystery subgenre of crime fiction.


Brian Livingston– “Just There” Adventure Through Hike of Appalachian Trail

Description: Brian “Mister Frodo” Livingston recounts his 2013 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, including photographs from the hike, and explains how the experience shaped his views on nature, environmentalism, and inspired his debut novel The Habits of Squirrels.


Stephanie Ferger– Marketing & Publishing Insights

Description: Your Why Guides Your Author emPact: Publishing and Marketing Insights for Authors Who Want to Sell Books and Increase Their Reach

Out of all the ways that you could share a message, you have chosen to write a book. Why? Did you know that your why is not just an internal north star, but also a compass to your publishing approach and marketing efforts. During this workshop, Stephanie Feger, owner and chief strategist of the emPower PR Group and author of the book, Make Your Author emPact, provides authors a clear direction to ensure that the book they want to write or have written reaches those who need it most.


Annie Sullivan– Worldbuilding, Plot and Characters

Description: Taught by bestselling young adult author Annie Sullivan, learn how to craft fantastical worlds bursting with magic and enchantment, create intertwining plots full of intrigue and adventure, and develop characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.


Lynn Reynolds– JCPS Library Media Services: Growing READers Growing LEADers

Description: In JCPS Libraries, we are Growing Readers and Growing Leaders. With the challenges we face today, growing literacy is more critical than ever. Our goal is achieved through the vision and mission of JCPS Library Media Services: is LEAD LEADing from the library with  Literacy, Engaged Inquiry, Access, and Digital Skills.  Developing a passion for reading and connecting students with the right book can change lives. Libraries plant a foundation for kids to grow to their full potential, and there are outstanding programs across the district that provide extraordinary experiences.  Look around and see the seeds being planted through library ambassador programs, diverse book programming, Makerspace, and STEAM classes (just to name a few)! These experiences build skills, a love of reading and learning that will last a lifetime. Our continuous goal is to renew the focus of Growing Readers and Growing LEADers!


Ghazanfar Hashmi– The Myth of Exceptionalism

Description: A nation’s exceptionalism is rooted in its history and glory, as well as its weight and influence on a global scale. This book seeks to examine and explore domestic and international events that have been tightly linked to a nation’s exceptionalism. A study of these events, and how they changed the world as we know it today, is a crucial undertaking for any nation. Leaders of a nation should learn from their history. As they say, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly rhymes. Accordingly, this body of work is a roadmap for nations and leaders to control destiny by reviewing exceptionalism throughout the world. There have been countless examples in the history of national exceptionalism that serve as a reminder regarding how history unfolds and how the future is formed.


Lydia Sherrer– Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Description: Never be afraid of the dreaded question “So what do you write?” ever again! Learn how to craft a bite-sized and compelling description of your work that you can use to hook readers, agents, and publishers alike.


 Danielle M. Orsino, C.R. Rice, Valerie Willis and Erika Lance– Breaking Barriers for LGTBQIA in Fiction

Description: LGBT Genre is growing as a new wave of Rom Com and Fantasy pieces lead the way. They are breaking barriers in diverse storytelling while showing they don’t have to have modern social issues in the foreground. As new LGBT titles release, we are seeing less and less of the social statements and more focus on wholesome character and plot development.


Dan Canon– Pleading Out

Description: A blistering critique of America’s assembly-line approach to criminal justice and the shameful practice at its core: the plea bargain.

Most Americans believe that the jury trial is the backbone of our criminal justice system. But in fact, the vast majority of cases never make it to trial: almost all criminal convictions are the result of a plea bargain, a deal made entirely out of the public eye.

Law professor and civil rights lawyer Dan Canon argues that plea bargaining may swiftly dispose of cases, but it also fuels an unjust system. This practice produces a massive underclass of people who are restricted from voting, working, and otherwise participating in society. And while innocent people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in exchange for lesser sentences, the truly guilty can get away with murder.

With heart-wrenching stories, fierce urgency, and an insider’s perspective, Pleading Out exposes the ugly truth about what’s wrong with America’s criminal justice system today—and offers a prescription for meaningful change.


Kristina Hamlett & Elizabeth Decker-Benjamin– This Poet’s Life

Description: Elizabeth Decker-Benjamin, author of That’s Fair and Kristina Hamlett, author of She Lives Here and What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows present “This Poet’s Life”. Elizabeth and Kristina will be discussing their roots as poets, the cathartic nature of poetry, the publication process and working with your community.


Deanna Talwalker– Understanding Yourself: An Introduction to the Enneagram

Blurb: In this presentation, Deanna will walk you through the fundamentals of the Enneagram and each of the nine types so you can better identify your type and how that can help you increase joy, reduce stress, communicate more effectively and live authentically.


D.A. Henneman| Catherine Ulrich Brakefield| Pamela Sinha Mathur– Romance Panel

Description– The sale of romance novels has grown into a billion-dollar industry, and our authors Catherine Ulrich Brakefield, D.A. Henneman, and Pamela Sinha Mathur, represent the sub-genres of Christian,Inspirational, Fantasy & Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical, and Romantic fiction with their combined works. While their paths to their writing careers vary, the one thing they have in common is their commitment to giving readers of their stories a happily-ever-after with each tale they tell.

Join them for an informative discussion about their choice in writing Romance in their particular genre, the expectations of their readers, and the various considerations they make for the books they write. There will be time for Q & A at the end of the presentation, so bring your questions!


Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft– Tiny Art Tales

Description: Join KMAC Educators for story time with music and art-making for preK learners and grown ups


Brian Skillen– Kickstarter

Description: Want to learn how we raised over $10,000 in presales for my debut novel before it was available on Amazon or any other retail site? Then come to our presentation on Kickstarter book launches. In it, you will learn what Kickstarter is, how we set up our campaigns for success, and why authors are running Kickstarter book launches to fund the publishing process with presales.


Jen Mann– “Life’s Hard So Laugh More”

Description: Life is hard and it’s not getting any easier, but laughter will definitely help. Laughter is a proven stress reliever. (And would we all like a little relief?) We need to seek out humor in our daily lives, to learn to laugh at ourselves, and our situations–even the tough ones. Jen uses her platform to bring laughter to her followers every day, but she’s not everyone’s cup of tea. All she asks is that you find something that can make you laugh every day!


Daniel K. Epstein– Sacred Listening

Description: To experience sacred listening with those we perceive to be “the other” and to realize there is no “other.”

To reflect on this idea of “the other” and the role it plays in our lives and holds us back

To learn a new listening skill that can help us engage with groups of people who are different from us

This content & approach is based on the Portraits In Faith project (PIF). PIF is a project created by Daniel Epstein who has interviewed 500 people in 27 countries about their spiritual journeys (but includes atheists and those not identified with any religion at all). It is published online with 400,000 views to-date on YouTube and has been celebrated by a variety of people and organizations, and featured at the Parliament of the World Religions in 2009, 2018, and 2021.


 Maya Payne Smart– “Reading For Our Lives”

Description: Smart aims to show parents what it takes to raise fluent readers and to connect people of all ages to great books and authors. Increasing families’ knowledge of reading fundamentals and their access to books and enrichment is her way of expanding children’s possibilities and building a more equitable, connected society. Reading for Our Lives challenges the bath-book-bed mantra and the idea that reading aloud to our kids is enough to ensure school readiness. Instead, it gives parents easy, immediate, and accessible ways to nurture language and literacy development from the start.


Fenyx Blue– Financial Literacy: Playing with Toys and Money

Description:  Is there anything more valuable than toys? Come learn about money using the T.O.Y.S method.  Playing isn’t the only fun verb. Let’s try reading, saving, investing, spending and sharing.  Financial literacy begins at whatever age you are today…Choose to learn so you can earn.


Lydia Sherrer & Bridgette Dutta Portman– Building Fantasy Worlds That Won’t Let You Go

Description: Join critically-acclaimed fantasy authors as they discuss how they craft their unforgettable worlds and stories that just won’t let you go. They’ll answer questions like how they come up with their ideas, how they create internal consistency, and how they write characters you love to love and hate to leave.


Artress Bethany White– Diverse Literature Saves Lives: A Discussion With the Author of Survivor’s Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity

Description: Join award-winning poet and essayist Dr. Artress Bethany White as she discusses the American crisis facing the teaching of diversity literature through the lens of her experience as a university professor, and how literary allyship confronts racial bias and violence on a community level. Dr. White will address strategies for continuing to serve as an advocate for diverse literature during challenging times.


Joe Collins– “Extreme Book Club”

Description: During the pandemic Joe Collins created a virtual book club that went beyond the usual reading and discussion and added playlists, recipes, signature cocktails, and more. Join Joe as he describes setting up his virtual book club with lots of twists!


Anne Armstrong– What is a Magic Moment? 5 Steps to creating moments that matter

Description: Gustav is a garden gnome who longs to experience the world beyond the picket fence that surrounds his yard. Though he makes attempts to explore, it is only with the love of an imaginative little girl that his dream becomes a reality.


Wesley Gift/From Brain to Page– Visual Storytelling: How to Write for Graphic Novels

Description: Graphic novels give readers a unique storytelling experience through the use of sequential art. But how does one even start to write one? How do you communicate your story to an artist? What mistakes should you avoid? In this presentation, we’ll go over how you can structure your idea, write in a format that works best for this medium, and tips on collaborating with an artist to bring your story to life!


Francesca T. Royster & Stephen Deusner– Integrity, Nuance, and Performance in the Music of the American South

Description: How do musicians in the American South balance artistry, authenticity, and the risks of political engagement? Conceiving of musicians as agents and change makers, authors Francesca Royster (Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions) and Stephen Deusner (Where the Devil Don’t Stay: Traveling the South with the Drive-By Truckers) discuss the ways in which music produced in Southern spaces is historically informed and imbued with nuance. They consider the tensions Southern musicians, particularly country musicians, face when navigating commercial and fan pressures, and the power of music to expand cultural understandings of regional and personal identity.


 Danielle M. Orsino, C.R. Rice, Valerie Willis and Erika Lance– The Front and Back end of the Publishing world

Description: Let’s pull back the curtain and show how a manuscript evolves into a book. We’ll show the steps and process that happens including editing, design, distribution, and more. What is your publisher doing for you? Who is wearing which hats during the process? And how do you make a Word document into a paperback book? The magic revealed!


David Dominé– Don’t Rush It!

Description: When David Dominé decided to write a true-crime book about the discovery of a dead body in the wine cellar of an Old Louisville mansion in 2010, he never imagined all the rabbit holes he would go down. He didn’t anticipate the amount of research that the project would entail, either, much less that it would take more than ten years to write the book. In this presentation, David talks about his personal involvement in the story and the challenges he faced finally getting A Dark Room in Glitter Ball City on the shelves.


Stephanie Ferger– Realizing Your Writing Dream

Description: The Power of a Dream and How to Bring A Writing Dream Life

Dreams have power – figurative ones and literal ones too. In fact, it was a dream that pushed local author Stephani Feger to publish her first book which became a catalyst to a new dream of help authors around the world fulfill theirs. During this workshop, Stephanie will share how a dream can not just change one person’s life, like it did hers, but inspire countless others in the process. If writing a book is a dream of yours, rest assured she will provide you with insights on how to make that dream a reality.  (geared toward youth)


Joel Shoemaker| Glodean Champion – Writing From Our Lived Experiences

Description: When authors write what they know, they give readers insight into their lives. Authors Glodean Champion, Halli Gomez, and Joel Shoemaker are inspired by their lived experiences and write stories for children and adults about sexuality, acceptance, neurodiversity, and faith. Join them as they discuss their books, writing, and how these stories impact readers.


Tony Acree– How to Pitch to Publishers

Description: You’ve written your book. You’ve done rewrite after rewrite, and now you’re ready to pitch your book to a publisher. So how do you pitch your book successfully? Tony Acree, owner of Hydra Publications, an award winning small press, has hosted dozens of pitch sessions and will help you do it the right way. In fact, Tony became a published author by navigating a Pitch the Publisher event along with dozens of other authors and was offered contracts by three different publishers. He’s been where you are and will help you put your best foot forward.


Tony Acree– Pitching Hour

Description: Have a 5 minute one on one session to pitch your book to Tony Acree. Please have a one page synopsis of your book along with a print out of the first three chapters.


Dave Mathies– A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities

Description: A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities” contains the stories of thirty families. In every family, one or both parents have disabilities: physical, mental, sensory, and/or intellectual. The stories illustrate the infinite variety of the American family. It is that variety that gives the family both its strength and its beauty. The editor of the book will discuss how the book came to be and four of the thirty contributors will talk about their individual stories.


Mark Chesnut– How to craft and market a memoir

Description: Memoirs are all about you and your story. But writing a great book and getting it in front of others is a complex process. In this session, Mark Chesnut, travel writer and author of the new memoir *Prepare for Departure*, shows how writing a successful memoir requires the ability to identify the most compelling elements of your life and to recount your story in a way that will truly engage readers and entice publishers and the media. He’ll share insider tips about the entire process of crafting and publishing your memoir, from determining what to include to structuring your story and marketing your book to agents, publishers and the media.


Tonya Duncan Ellis– Sophie Series

Description: How do you become a children’s author? Louisville-native, Tonya Duncan Ellis will share her author journey and introduce readers to her bestselling, award-winning, 13-book, Sophie Washington chapter series in this engaging presentation. Participants will have time to ask questions and create a fun craft, based on her newest release, SOPHIE WASHINGTON: TREASURE BEACH.


Wesley Browne| James DF Hannah| Karen Salyer McElmurray – Rural Noir: Dark Deeds and Down Dark Roads

Description: From James Cain and Jim Thompon to modern masters like Donald Pollack, Attica Locke, and Cormac McCarthy, rural noir has been used to cast a spotlight on the secrets and desperation just underneath the facade of small-town America. Writers Wesley Browne, James D.F. Hannah, and Karen Salyer McElmurray will discuss the genre, its growth, what separates it from its big-city cousins, and what it has to say about the heart of America.


Danielle M. Orsino, C.R. Rice, Valerie Willis and Erika Lance– Authors keeping their voices in this day and age.

Description: You have a story to tell, but it can get lost if you don’t understand the places where it can be changed or go horribly awry. Contracts, editors, and marketing are only a few places where the story can start to fall far from the voice you intended it to have. Let’s talk about ways to know when and where you should be mindful and how to navigate publishing your story intact.


Henry Yampolsky– Responding to Conflict and Division in Transformative Ways

Description: In this presentation, Henry Yampolsky will offer a new introspective paradigm for looking at conflict and divisions and offer concrete strategies for  responding to conflict, violence, and division with strength, clarity, and ease, as opposed to reacting to these phenomenons with fear, avoidance, apathy, or aggression.


Deedee Cummings| Charlene Mosley – Successful Collaborations

Description: Collaborating as author and illustrator and finding an illustrator


Angie Karcher– Writing Children’s Books that Sell

Description: Writing a great story, solid author platform and clever marketing tools are essential for success.


Norman Minnick- “The Lost Etheridge: Uncollected Poems of Etheridge Knight”

Description: I will discuss Etheridge Knight and his legacy followed by a sampling of his poetry. I will also share my connection to his work and the research that went into The Lost Etheridge: Uncollected Poems of Etheridge Knight.


Dr. Christine Galib– The Art—and Science—of Storytelling

Description: Join me for an interactive presentation on the art—and science—of storytelling.  What is a story? What is the history of writing—and telling—stories? Why do we tell them?  What makes a good story? What happens when we tell stories? In our time together, we’ll discuss these questions and more. Whether you’re a seasoned author, newbie writer, or avid reader, this workshop is for you. Join us as we seek to better understand stories, and in doing so, better understand ourselves. Come as you are, leave with a new friend and maybe even a new idea for a story that only you can tell!


Emily Pike Stewart– Adventures in Audiobooks

Description: Did you ever realize that when you listen to an audiobook, you’re taking in a story as they were meant to be shared for thousands of years? Join Grammy Award-winning audiobook producer Emily Pike Stewart on a fascinating look at the modern renaissance of spoken word literature, the top trends in audiobook publishing today, and how every reader (and author!) can find something to love about the audio revolution.


Ellen Birkett Morris– What a Character!

Blurb: Sherlock Holmes, Elizabeth Bennet, Olive Kitteridge…great stories begin with great characters. We’ll look at how to build memorable characters with distinct desires and talk about how to use these characters to build a strong story.