MID-CITIES TEEN BOOK FEST • OCTOBER 16, 2020
The Mid-Cities Teen Book Fest is Going Virtual! Tune in on October 16 for virtual discussions and workshops with Young Adult authors across the nation!
Lamar Giles writes for teens and adults across multiple genres, with work appearing on numerous 'Best Of' lists every year. He is the author of the acclaimed novels Fake ID, Endangered, Overturned, and Spin, a 2020 Lone Star Reading List selection. Lamar's latest novel, Not So Pure and Simple, is a contemporary and eye-opening novel that spotlights societal pressures and confronts toxic masculinity. He is also a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and resides in Virginia with his wife. Lamar is represented by The Booking Biz.
Amber Elby is the author of three novels based on Shakespeare's plays: Cauldron's Bubble, Double Double Toil, and Trouble Fires Burn. She was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan but spent much of her childhood in the United Kingdom. She studied Creative Writing at Michigan State University’s Honors College before earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys watching Shakespearean performances with her husband and two daughters and divides her time between teaching at Austin Community College, traveling, and getting lost in imaginary worlds.
C. Michael Morrison
As one of his many creative talents, C. Michael Morrison has had a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling. Mike grew up in a small river valley town in West Virginia. As a young boy, he cultivated an affection for science fiction, and in particular Star Trek. It’s no surprise that these days, he can be found on the Trek.fm podcast network, where Mike is co-host of Meta Treks: A Star Trek and Philosophy podcast, as well as an occasional contributor to other shows on the network. Professionally, Mike has enjoyed success in the corporate arena as an executive leader in the media and technology industry. He has also served for over 25 years in bivocational church ministry and is currently Lead Pastor of Collin Creek Church in Plano, TX. Mike lives in the Dallas, TX, area with his wife, Dorinda, daughter, Hannah, and their standard poodle, Princess.
Courtney Alameda, a veteran bookseller and librarian, now spends her days writing speculative fiction novels, short stories, and comics. Her debut novel, Shutter, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Since then, she’s wandered the universe with far-future archeologists (Pitch Dark), racked up some retribution (Sisters of Sorrow), and recruited death gods with a Shinto priestess (Seven Deadly Shadows) . . . and those are just the adventures she can currently tell you about. Courtney is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A California native, she now resides in the northwestern U.S. with her husband, one tiny cat, a Welsh Corgi who may actually be a vacuum cleaner, and rooms filled with books.
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, 5-time Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer. His vampire apocalypse book series, V-WARS, has been adapted as a Netflix original series, starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES). He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and action; and he writes for adults, teens, and middle grade. He is the editor of high-profile anthologies including The X-Files, Aliens: Bug Hunt, Out of Tune, New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Baker Street Irregulars, Nights of the Living Dead, and others. His comics include Black Panther: DoomWar, The Punisher: Naked Kills, and Bad Blood. He is a board member of the Horror Writers Association and the president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He lives in Del Mar, California.
Katie Zhao is the author of The Dragon Warrior. She grew up in Michigan, where there was little for her to do besides bury her nose in a good book or a writing journal. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in English and a minor in political science; she also completed her master’s in accounting there. She wrote The Dragon Warrior during her last year of school, in between classes. In her spare time, Katie enjoys reading, singing, dancing (badly), and checking out new restaurants.
Miracle Austin works in the social work world by day, and in the writer's world at night and weekends. To date, she has created over 70 diverse, free-verse poems and 20 short stories. Horror and suspense are her primary genres of choice, confessing that watching "Squirm," written and directed by Jeff Lieberman, and "Carrie," written by the captivating and brilliant Stephen King, as a pre-teen, ignited her interest in horror and suspense. Miracle Austin resides in Texas with her family.
Misako is a Japanese manga artist and manga teacher currently living in New Jersey. At age 19, she won a scholarship to come to America as an exchange student. Her first break came when The Onion decided to use her illustrations for their “Savage Love” column. Her autobiographical comic, Rock and Roll Love, was featured in Best Teens Book List by NYPL. Outside of the U.S., she has published four books in Japan. Her latest book, How to Learn English with Misako’s Method became the bestseller on Amazon Japan.
Misako has taught manga drawing classes at Metropolitan Museum, The Chapin School, The Hewitt School in Manhattan, along with her private online lessons.
Naomi Hughes is the author of Afterimage and Refraction, which are young adult sci-fi novels that feature mental health themes such as OCD, panic disorder, and anxiety. Her books have earned starred reviews and state honors. Naomi has also been a successful freelance editor for nearly a decade and has also been a four-time mentor for Pitch Wars, the well-known online writing/mentoring contest that teams up experienced authors with aspiring writers to help them hone their stories. Naomi grew up all over the U.S. before finally settling in the Midwest, a place she loves even though it tries to murder her with tornadoes every spring. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband and daughter and geek out over British TV and Marvel superheroes.
Rebecca Balcárcel’s debut novel, The Other Half of Happy, is a Pura Belpré Honor Book and was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels of 2019 as well as a Notable Book by American Library Services for Children. Rebecca pets her cat when she is not serving the students of Tarrant County College as Associate Professor English or eating popcorn. She took her MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars, and she analyzes literature on her YouTube channel, SixMinuteScholar, for 25,000 subscribers. Her next book features a kid whose Guatemalan dad reveals a secret that changes her life forever.
Samantha Mabry credits her tendency toward magical thinking to her Grandmother Garcia, who would wash money in the kitchen sink to rinse off any bad spirits. She teaches writing and Latino literature at a community college in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, a historian, and a cat named Mouse. She is the author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison, All the Wind in the World, and Tigers, Not Daughters. Samantha is represented by Algonquin Young Readers.
Meet the Moderators
Krina is the Head of Accounting at a local non-profit, and has served on the board of the NRH Library for over three years. She consumes most of her books via audio while working on home remodeling projects or while walking her dog, Oliver.
Michael is the author of Revenge of the Star Survivors and a journalist who spent 25 years at The Dallas Morning News, including 12 as editor of book coverage. He is currently a writer and editor for a nonprofit organization.
Yaika is a Senior Readers’ Advisory Librarian for NoveList. As part of the editorial team, she edits, updates, and creates content for the NoveList database. She is a huge fan of graphic novels and loves anything spooky.