Author Talks

Are you looking for an author to come talk to your group or school? Following are West PA area authors willing to do talks, workshops, and other writing programs. 

Please contact authors directly. The West PA Festival Staff offers this information solely for the mutual benefit of authors and groups/persons in search of speakers and has no responsibility for any event arranged using the provided information or for any correspondence with listed authors. We do not set or regulate fees or services.

Anissa Clay
Young Adult Fiction

Experience:  I have spoken at numerous Barnes and Nobles and libraries across Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan.  I have spoken to people of all age groups and have talked to people one on one and in large forums.

Workshops & Topics: How to be an author at a young age, how to write YA fiction, how to find your voice as a writer.

Audience: Middle school and older

Travel Area:  1 hour radius of Pittsburgh

Fees:  $25-50 depending on distance

Contact Information:
Twitter:  @anissaclaymusic
Facebook:  @anissaclaymusic


Gloria Clover
Romance, devotionals, currently Christian speculative romance

Experience:  25 years of teaching at writers conferences, youth group, Women's Bible studies, and occasional civic groups (libraries, schools, etc.)

Workshops & Topics: Writing, prayer and various Christian themes. A more detailed list can be found on my web site.

Interest Level: Schools, writing organizations, Christian organizations, women's organizations

Travel Area:  Relative to opportunity and willingness of organization to cover travel expenses.

Fees:  Travel expenses if more than an hour by car; Opportunity to sell books.

Contact Information:
Email address:
Facebook:  Gloria Clover


Jamie Lackey
Science fiction, fantasy, and horror 

Over 130 short story sales.
2 successful Kickstarter campaigns--one for a self-published novella and one for a short story collection.
A novel and a short story collection available through small presses
Edited the anthologies Triangulation: Lost Voices and Triangulation: Beneath the Surface.
Read submissions for Clarkesworld magazine

Workshops & Topics:
Readings/book signings
Flash fiction
Crafting engaging openings
Short story workshops
Submitting and dealing with rejection
Book Discussion/Q&A

Interest Level: Writing Groups, Libraries, Bookstores, Book clubs

Travel Area:  Up to 120 miles from Pittsburgh

Fees:  Dependent on variables. Contact for more information.

Contact Information:
Email address:
Amazon Author Page:


Kimberly Miller
Romance, comedy, screenwriting, novel writing

Experience:  Writing professor, first novel recently published, interest in second novel (contract offer, not yet signed on)

Workshops & Topics:  Dialogue writing, screenwriting, character development

Travel Area:  1 hour radius of Butler and Grove City Areas

Fees:  None at this time. But a small stipend is always appreciated.

Contact Information:
Email address:


Kathy Otten
Historical Romance

Experience: Published author 11 yrs., multiple published short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. Workshop presenter and adult education teacher of fiction writing for 4 yrs., and providing manuscript feedback and content editing for 1yr.

Workshops & Topics:
1.Short is Easy, Right?  Writing the Short Story
2. How Do We Get There From Here?  Weaving History into Your Novel
3. Who Do You Think You Are? Creating Characters Your Readers Will Remember
4. Lights, Camera, Action--Point of View and View Point
5. Don't Paint Sunsets--Show, Don't Tell
6. Throwing Rocks--Building Conflict in Your Novel
7. What Did You Say--Writing Page Turning Dialogue
8. Watch Your Gas Mileage--Cutting Words and Writing Tight
9. Hook, Line, and Sinker--Hooking Your Reader From Chapter to Chapter
10. What Drives Your Story--A Look at Goals, Motivation, and Conflict
11. The People We Meet--Using Body Language to Show Emotion
12. Driving Through Tunnels--What Does Your Character Fear Most?

Each workshop can be adjust for a 50 minute presentation or a 2 hour workshop with writing exercises and discussion.

Travel Area:  2-3 hrs. max.

Fees:  30.00/hr. but depends on travel time and/or number of workshops. I probably won't drive over 2hrs. for a 30.00 class, but if in an all day event I could teach more than one class or one long class, I would consider the drive.

Contact Information: Kathy Otten
Email address:  or


Rhonda Paglia
Fiction and non-fiction picture books for kids ages 3 - 8

Experience:  I'm a retired elementary teacher turned children's author. I write and illustrate most of my books.  To date, I have independently published 13 books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Several of my books have earned awards:  a Mom's Choice Award, a Gittle List Picture Book Award, and an Inkspoke Award - all for Indie Authors.

Workshops & Topics: I am interested in doing story time for kids and author presentations for groups and schools.

Travel Area:  50 mile radius from the Mercer/ Shenango Valley, PA areas.

Fees:  $100/hr + mileage

Contact Information:
Amazon Author page:
Barnes and Noble Author page:


Shawn Riniti
Horror, thriller, paranormal, suspense

Experience:  Self-Publishing, novels, series

Workshops & Topics: Readings, book signings, how to self-publish, style workshop

Travel Area:  Mercer, Lawrence, Crawford, and Butler Counties

Fees:  Dependent on variables. Contact for more information.

Contact Information:
Email address:
Goodreads: Shawn Riniti
Twitter:  @ShawnRiniti
Facebook:  Shawn Riniti Author


Debra (Debbie) Sanchez
Poetry, short stories, bilingual (English/Spanish) children’s stories, fantasy, fiction, creative nonfiction, writing guides, freelance writing & translation

Experience:  B.A. in communications and writing from Westminster College. I lead and attend various writing groups in the Pittsburgh area and online and also host writing retreats.

Workshops & Topics:
Writing Groups, Writing Prompts, Stage Playwriting, Indie Publishing, Formatting Manuscripts, Editing Basics, Freelance Writing, Writing Retreats, more by request.

Interest Level: Writing Groups, Libraries, Bookstores, Bilingual (English/Spanish) interest groups

Travel Area: Approximately 200 mile radius from Pittsburgh Willing to travel farther, if over 250, would need travel expenses paid.

Fees:  Negotiable

Contact Information:
Email address:
Twitter: @DebraRSanchez
Facebook: @DebraRSanchez


Karen Sweeney-Ryall
Inspirational Non-fiction; Devotionals

Experience:  Author of Revealing Your Treasures Hidden in Darkness: Finding Your God-given Identity, Worth, and Calling. Currently writing Aging with Grace: Thriving, Not Just Surviving.
Keynote Speaker for Women's conferences: Revealing Your Hidden Treasures; Fill My Cup

Speaker on grief/ loss; understanding memory loss; caregiver stress; kindness since 2000 for work with Alzheimer's Association and as a Hospice Bereavement Coordinator

* Revealing YOUR Treasures Hidden in Darkness
* From Broken to God’s Masterpiece
* Embrace the Season You Are In
* Hope Shining Through the Darkness
*Thriving, Not Just Surviving: Living Fully at All Ages
* Finding Joy Again After Loss
* Leaving Your Legacy
* Perspective Changes Everything
* Your Unique Beauty and Purpose

Karen also presents three hour or one-day seminars for groups of women with an accompanying workbook.  This includes sections for self-reflection, a spiritual gifts test, a temperament profile, journaling about dreams, desires in your heart and exploring what God says about your identity and worth in Scripture.

Interest Level: Women's Retreats or Conferences; Rotary, Senior Citizen Groups, AARP

Travel Area:  5 hours surrounding Greensburg, PA unless flight provisions are made.

Fees:  Book sales plus Love gift and/or travel, housing and food expenses or provision.

Contact Information:
Email address:
Twitter:  @GigiKaren53
Facebook: (blog/ writer page) (personal page)


Daisy Townsend
Autobiographical Devotional; Historical Fiction

Experience:  Daisy Townsend has been writing and publishing for more than 35 years and has been published in Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, The Secret Place and many other magazines and periodicals. She published Homespun Faith, Reflections From the Seasons of Life, an autobiographical devotional book in 2014, and has now finished her first historical fiction, Sarah’s Legacy. Daisy is also a certified Pastoral Counselor through the National Christian Counselors Assn. and ordained as a Minister of Pastoral Care through the National Conservative Christian Church. She and her husband, Donn, had a family music ministry for many years and also  served as foster parents with the Mercer County Foster Parent Assn. and Keystone Adolescent Center. They were missionaries to Japan for four years with One Mission Society and served as Country Prayer Champions in a prayer ministry for Japan. Daisy is an experienced speaker and enjoys speaking, counseling, and interacting with people. The varied seasons of life that have been part of her journey give her many rich and varied experiences to draw from in her messages.

Workshops & Topics:
Personal testimony:
-- Answering God's call to Romans 12:1-2,
    Knowing the Will of God
--Answering God's call to be Foster Parents
--Answering God's mid-life call to missions
--Overcoming Rejection
--Overcoming Perfectionism
--My Journey to Godly Submission
--Entering the Rest of God, Overcoming Burnout
--Devote Yourselves to Prayer, the Nehemiah model

Other Topics:
--The Importance of Christian Counseling
--The Process of Change
--Recognizing and Overcoming Codependency
--The Importance of and Hindrances to Communication
--The Times and Seasons of our Lives
--The Character (Nature) of God
--God's Heart for the Lost, The Biblical Basis for Missions
--Exposing the Spirit of Compromise
--The Secret to Devotional Writing
--Writing Personal Experience Articles using Fiction

Interest Level: Pulpit Supply; Women's Retreats or Conferences; Mission Sundays or Mission Conferences; Writers' Workshops or Writers' Conferences

Travel Area:  5 hours surrounding Greenville, PA unless flight provisions are made.

Fees:  Love gift and/or travel, housing and food expenses or provision.

Contact Information:
Email address:
Twitter:  @DaisyDonaisy
Facebook:  (Author Page) (Personal page)
Instagram: daisybeilertownsend


Joe Wos
Cartoon illustration, comics, folklore, cartoon, storytelling, cartooning demonstrations, live performance, children's books, activity books, pop culture history, quirky Pittsburgh history

Experience:  I have over 30 years experience as a cartoonist, writer and storyteller. Nationally syndicated cartoonist.

Workshops & Topics: Live performance combining storytelling and live cartoon illustration, hands-on cartooning workshops, lectures on a variety of pop culture topics including: Top ten animated cartoons, comic strips, comical candidates and many more.

Interest Level: All ages

Travel Area:  Nationwide

Fees:  Vary depending on location and venue

Contact Information:
Email address:
Twitter:  mazetoons
Facebook: mazetoons by Joe Wos


[Authors within the far west PA area, roughly from Oil City to the Ohio border, are welcome to send their information to add to the list. Email us at the contact address listed in the sidebar. Please note that you will be added to our festival information email list.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Spam will not be posted.