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​Just Read Local Author Fair

Meet the authors from all over the state of Arizona featured during Phoenix Public Library's first Just Read Local Author Fair in November 2018. 

Learn about the authors and their books (which include children's, teen, adult fiction and nonfiction genres) below.

Be sure to follow our website and social media for announcements about 2019's event.

​Meet the Authors

Author Jana BommersbachJana Bommersbach

thedeadgirlinthevacantlot, Cattle Kate, Funeral Hotdish, The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd

Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona's most acclaimed journalists and authors. She's been Arizona's Journalist of the Year, has won a Regional Emmy for her television work, and been honored with two lifetime achievement awards as "an inspiration to the state's media community." She has authored seven books, four of which will be available at the Just Read Local Author Fair: The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd, a non-fiction investigation into Phoenix' infamous 1930s murder and butchery that aroused international attention; Cattle Kate, a historical novel about the only woman ever lynched in the nation as a cattle rustler, in 1889 Wyoming Territory; Funeral Hotdish, a work of fiction set in the real world of drugs and Sammy "the Bull" Gravano that introduced her kickass character, Phoenix investigative reporter Joya Bonner; and her just-released second Joya Bonner book set in the real world of sex trafficking and, thedeadgirlinthevacantlot.

Author Debe BranningDebe Branning

Sleeping with Ghosts! A Ghost Hunter's Guide to Arizona's Haunted Hotels & Inns, The Graveyard Shift-Arizona's Historic and Haunted Cemeteries, Dining with the Dead - A Guide to Arizona's Haunted Restaurants and Cafes

Debe has been the director of the paranormal team, the MVD Ghostchasers, since 1995. She and her band of rowdy ghost hunters conduct regular investigations of haunted historic locations throughout Arizona. Debe has ghost-hunted with paranormal investigators across the country, including teams in Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas and Kentucky.

Author Darren BurchDarren Burch

Twisted but True

Retired Sergeant Darren Burch is a 29-year veteran with the Phoenix Police Department, and was the Silent Witness Sergeant at the time of his retirement. As the face of Silent Witness he solicited anonymous tips as a regular guest on TV and radio. Today, he still hosts the “5-0 Info” radio show on KTAR.

His investigative assignments included detective in the Sex Crimes Detail, detective sergeant in the Crimes Against Children's Unit and night detective sergeant in the Homicide Unit. With three decades of law enforcement experiences, having also held positions with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Military Intelligence, Darren received numerous accolades to include the Medal of Lifesaving, Army Commendation Medal, Arizona Attorney General’s Office - Investigator of the Year Award, the Phoenix Police Department’s Detective of the Year Award, and over 100 Commendations.

Author Bill CarterBill Carter

Fools Rush In: A True Story of Love, War, and Redemption, Red Summer: The Danger and Madness of Commercial Salmon Fishing in Alaska,  Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World

Bill Carter is the critically acclaimed author of three nonfiction books (Fools Rush In, Red Summer & Boom, Bust, Boom) and director of the award-winning documentary film Miss Sarajevo (International Monitor Award), produced by Carter and Bono. He's a 2014 Living Now Book Awards silver medalist and 2013 AZ/NM book award winner. His critically acclaimed books have been translated into seven languages. On May 5, 2018 he was awarded the Friendship Award by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina for his “efforts to connect the besieged city of Sarajevo with the outside world and in appreciation for his tireless commitment to human rights and brave humanitarian actions he undertook during the war.”

Learn more at: 

Author Craig Michael Curtis​Craig Michael Curtis

The Other Side of the Gate, The Empty Sea

Craig Michael Curtis is an Arizona native who has authored five novels, including Elefante Bianco, Famous Adventurers Correspondence School, and the fantasy/adventure Into the Realms series. He is also a member of Squishy Studios, a local filmmaking company, and is co-creator of the sci-fi/comedy web series, Voyage Trekkers. He is not considered an expert at metallurgy.

Learn more at:

Author Cindy Daniels​Cindy Daniels and Karen MartinAuthor Karen Martin


Navigating A Teacher’s First Year: A Guidebook for District, Administrators and Instructional Coaches


Cynthia (Cindy) Daniels, M.S., has been passionate for education since the early 1970’s. Her strengths lie in Early Childhood Education and mentoring new educators. Her teaching credentials include teaching Kindergarten, First Grade, Reading Specialist and Teacher Mentor within the Washington School District and Paradise Valley Unified School District. Cindy was Principal of Echo Mountain Primary for 650 students in grades PreK through Third Grade and then went on to lead the Move On When Reading law as the Director of K-3 Reading for the Arizona State Board of Education. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Language Arts, has received the status of Master Mentor Teacher through the Governor’s Office of Education in the State of Arizona, and was recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Principal in 2010. Most recently Cindy has been on the Teacher Leader Professional Development Team for Grand Canyon University and has been asked to create curriculum for Professional Development for the newest educators preparing to teach.

Karen Martin, M.Ed., is an award-winning retired Spanish teacher and new teacher mentor from Paradise Valley Schools. Her passion for her students was recognized in her being a finalist for the Paradise Valley Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator in 1977. In 1992 Karen was nominated for the Arizona Teacher of the Year/Ambassador for Excellence by her colleagues.She has appeared in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers numerous times. Under her direction, the Paradise Valley Mentor Program earned the 2008 NEA-Saturn/UAW Partnership Award for best practices nationally. Karen received the prestigious Channel 3 Silver Apple Award in 2012 for instilling confidence and respect in her students. Karen has served as World Language Department Chair and has developed World Language Programs at both Desert Shadows Middle School and Horizon High School. Her passion for her students has translated into co-authoring a book to guide administrators in their support of new teachers.

Author Kevin Douglas​Kevin Douglas

Regeneration: Dawn of Tomorrow

Kevin has a background in graphic design, a love for photography and the outdoors. He lives in Phoenix with his two cats George and Ashton.

Learn more at:

Author Carol FarabeeCarol Farabee

Fate is a Sweet Lady, Marie: Bond Unbroken, Marketing Through Authorship

Carol has worked 27 years in corporate America and 18 years as a university professor teaching technology, management, leadership and entrepreneurship. She has taught technical writing, thesis, and research methods and is currently a writing coach for several authors. She has multiple businesses and is founder and co-founder of several nonprofits. Her publishing company works with authors as a writing coach and edits and formats their books. She is adamant the author’s voice is not lost in production. In her bestselling book Marketing through Authorship, Carol teaches business owners how they can increase their credibility, improve their business, and many other benefits by receiving the recognition and prestige of being a published author. The book breaks down the process of writing a book into easily digestible steps that simplify the creative process.

Author Zane FrederickZane Frederick


Zane Frederick is a city-born Gemini, raised in the hell and heart of Phoenix, Arizona. His work has been published in Little Rose Magazine, Dodging The Rain, The Tunnels, Milk + Beans and Mojave Heart Review. He currently attends Northern Arizona University and when not writing, he plays guitar, piano, and delves into art history books. Zane published his debut poetry book, (he)art., in 2018.

Author K.M. HarrellK.M. Harrell

Nyira and the Invisible Boy

K.M. Harrell is the eldest of five siblings. Four girls and himself. They were and are a close-knit Southern family. He spent his time playing with, protecting and sometimes totally harassing his charge of sisters. Trust me they have grown much much taller than he is now and have gotten him back (just kidding! He is totally still the man!) Sorry. Anyway. He has written most of his life and even had a few things published in small magazines. K.M. is presently a Semi Finalist in Publishers Weekly’s Booklife Prize. Nyira and the Invisible Boy is his first novel.

Learn more at:


Author Avily JeromeAvily Jerome

The Heir; The Defector; The Silver Shores

Avily Jerome is a writer and freelance editor. She spent five years as the Editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in multiple magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests, both for short stories and novels, and she is a book reviewer for Lorehaven Magazine. She loves all things SpecFic and writes across multiple genres. She is also a writing conference teacher and presenter, and she enjoys speaking to local writers’ groups and going to SFF cons. She is a wife and the mom of five kids. She loves living in the desert in Phoenix, AZ, and when she’s not writing, she loves reading, spending time with friends, and experimenting with different art forms.

Learn more at:

Author Rebekah Jones

Dharma Kelleher writes gritty crime fiction from a transgender/queer perspective. She is the author of both the Jinx Ballou bounty hunter series and the Shea Stevens outlaw biker series.
She is a former journalist and a member of Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She lives in Arizona with her wife and three feline overlords.

Learn more at 

Author Perry KirkpatrickPerry Kirkpatrick

Shallows, Phantoms; The Case of the Tabloid Tattler (The Kitchen Files #1), The Case of the Missing Hero (The Kitchen Files #2), The Case of the Cereal Robber (The Kitchen Files #3)

Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick lives in the southwestern United States with her husband, four sons, two dogs, two cats (who hate each other passionately), +/- 8 hens, and one extremely cowardly rooster. She's the author of 7 books and multiple short stories.

Learn more at: 

Author Karen LateneirKaren Lateiner

Timeless Dance: A Story of Change and Loss

Karen Shiffman Lateiner holds both an M.A. and M.Ed. in Educational Psychology. Throughout her professional career as an infant development specialist and mental health clinician, as well as in her personal life, Karen has advocated for safe and nurturing school environments for all children.   After retirement, she and her husband set out from their home in Montclair, NJ to travel the country by motorhome, eventually making Phoenix, AZ their new home.   Combining her loves of writing and of the Sonoran desert, Karen encourages other writers in a weekly Hike and Write group she created at the North Mountain Visitors Center in Phoenix.   In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, baking sourdough bread, going to museums, opera, and theater in Phoenix, as well as traveling.

In June, 2018, she published her first book, Timeless Dance: A Story of Change and Loss, a memoir chronicling her journey as a mother, adapting to her oldest child's transition from male to female at a time when transgender issues were still in the closet, and later dealing with the death of her new daughter only two years after she became who she truly was.     Learning about gender diversity led Karen to become an advocate and educator about gender issues, to collect her related writings over the span of more than twenty years and, ultimately, to write her memoir, which includes personal correspondences and papers written by her child.    During that time she participated in various writing workshops, including the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writing Conference at the Virginia Piper Center for Creative Writing, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes at Arizona State University.  Since the publication of her book, she has been conducting book readings and talks at a variety of venues in New Jersey and the Southwest.  

Author Shari LopatinShari Lopatin

The Apollo Illusion

Shari Lopatin tells stories that matter. An award-winning journalist in her earlier years, she now writes suspense novels that tie into modern-day social issues. Shari has written for Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, The Prescott Daily Courier,, and Latino Leaders Magazine, among others. She’s worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, public relations professional, social media manager, and earned the title of “Cat Mom of the Year.” In May 2018, Shari published The Apollo Illusion, her debut novel about a future society’s frightening overdependence on technology. A science fiction dystopia for young adults, The Apollo Illusion has received nearly all four-and-five-star reviews, even landing in a Minnesota high school English classroom.

Learn more at

Author Jessica McCannJessica McCann

Peculiar Savage Beauty, All Different Kinds of Free

Jessica McCann is a historical novelist and professional freelance writer. Her most recent novel, Peculiar Savage Beauty, was named 2018 Book of the Year in the Arizona Authors Association literary contest. She lives with her family in Phoenix and is currently at work on her third novel. McCann loves interacting with readers and is available for book signings and other events.

Learn more at: and on Facebook.

Authors Robert Melikian, Paul Scharbach and John JacquemartRobert Melikian, Paul Scharbach and John Jacquemart

Phoenix Past & Present

A lawyer with a passion for architectural historic preservation, Robert A. Melikian grew up in Phoenix, graduating from Arcadia High School and Arizona State University. His family has proudly run Phoenix’s landmark Hotel San Carlos since 1973. His other books include Vanishing Phoenix and Hotel San Carlos. Paul Scharbach, a second-generation Phoenix native, has worked as a professional photographer for over 30 years on commercial, stock and book projects. Passionate about local history, he was the photographer and image researcher for the 2005 book Phoenix Then and Now. Historic preservationist John Jacquemart is proud to be an Arizona native. The ASU graduate has maintained a lifelong interest in Arizona history and previously co-authored two books, Tovrea Castle, and Historic Heritage Square.

Author Timothy MooreTimothy Moore

Mirandized Nation

Timothy W. Moore retired after nearly three decades as a Detective with the Phoenix Police Department. He co-authored Mirandized Nation in 2015, authored short story’s in The Sharpened Quill in 2016, and SoWest: Killer Nights in 2017. Tim is a Board Member at the Phoenix Police Museum, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #2, and Sisters in Crime, Desert Sleuths Chapter, Scottsdale, Arizona, where his mission is to help authors “Write it Right” when it comes to police procedures. He’s a member of the International Police Association (IPA) and a long-standing member of the Arizona Historical Society.

Learn more:  

​Gayle Nobel

Space of Love: Understanding the Power of Thought & Wisdom Living with Autism, Breath: 52 Oxygen Rich Tools for Living Well with Autism, It's All About Attitude: Loving & Living Well with Autism


Author Solitaire ParkeSolitaire Parke

The Emerald Dragon, Daughter of the Dark Lord: Part 1- The Burning Sky,  Tinker Smith & the Conspiracy of Oz

Solitaire Parke is the author of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Poetry and Larger World books. He is a lover of dragons, the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, and has a large collection of science fiction books and movies. He is an award-winning photographer, has a degree in music theory, and is proficient in graphic/web design. When he is not working on his next novel, you can find him reading, watching a sci-fi tv show or movie, playing his guitars, or researching a new “techno gadget” on the internet. He currently resides in Arizona with his family and Tairobi, the Manx cat, who loves to lend a helping paw by lying on the computer keyboard!

Learn more at:

Author Stefanie PhillipsStefanie Phillips

Piper and Ruby: The Courage Within

Stefanie Phillips is a mother of two girls and a seasoned educator who is passionate about teaching children self-love, acceptance, and belief in their abilities. She currently resides with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. Piper and Ruby: The Courage Within is her first book.

Learn more at:

Author Bukola SomideBukola Somide

Somi: The Computer Scientist

Bukola Somide, author of the latest hit children’s storybook series, Somi the Computer Scientist – Princess Can Code, debuted on Amazon’s #1 New Release in Children’s Computer Programming, and Children’s Internet books categories. Bukola is inspiring the younger generation to realize their passion early, to pursue and excel in their purpose. Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, she migrated to the United States with her family as an adolescent teenager. Having decided to pursue a Computer Science degree as early as 10th grade, that proclamation was realized when she attained a bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park; a Masters in Technology Management and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate. Bukola is a very passionate, inquisitive and creative individual, who credits her determination, ideas, ability to overcome adversity, perseverance, and success to her faith. Her non-profit, CompSci ABC™, was conceived out of the incessant desire to give back to her community. Particularly, to bring awareness of Computer Science to young girls who are disenfranchised and beyond. Her budding empowerment apparel line, "Smarts Plus Swagg™," aims to foster the mantra: "You smart. Look smart. It's cool™".

Learn more at:

Author Silas StarkSilas Stark

Um Land

Silas is a 7 year old who loves jiu jitsu, reading, soccer, basketball, programming, and chess. Silas lives in Phoenix with his parents, 2 sisters, 1 brother and his one-eyed dog Captain Jack. The author is homeschooled although that is not the correct word for it because he is not really at home much. Silas does his school work outside, when he goes skiing, in the car, or on his way to birthday parties. This freedom allows him the time to do things that he is passionate about, like writing stories! Silas hopes you will love the Um Land story as much as he does. It is his dream that people not only read the story, but start to live the Um Land lifestyle. Going to Um Land is really easy and you can do it anytime and anywhere. It is in your mind and heart. Go to Um Land to make yourself feel better. Um Land is Silas’ first book. Silas is excited to spread the word about Um Land and is available for book readings and signings.

Learn more at:

Author Jon Talton​Jon Talton

The Bomb Shelter, High Country Nocturne, The Night Detectives, Powers of Arrest, South Phoenix Rules, Deadline Man, The Pain Nurse, Arizona Dreams, Dry Heat, Camelback Falls, Cactus Heart, Concrete Desert, A Brief History of Phoenix

Fourth-generation Arizonan Jon Talton is the author of 12 novels and one work of history. These include the David Mapstone Mysteries set in Phoenix, the Cincinnati Casebooks, and the thriller Deadline Man. Talton is a veteran journalist, now a columnist for the Seattle Times. He also writes the Phoenix-centric blog Rogue Columnist.

Learn more at:

Author Christina Valles​Christina Valles


Christina Valles is a 20 year old writer who was born and raised in Arizona. Books have played a major role in her life and became her escape. It inspired her to want to do the same for others. 'mending' is Christina's debut poetry book which contains poetry collected for 4-5 years during one of the toughest times of her life. It highlights events such as toxic relationships, mental health, and self growth. Christina is currently working on her second poetry book. Follow her on instagram at christina.valles to stay updated.

Author AL WaddingtonA.L. Waddington

Essence-Book1-The Eve Series, Enlightened-Book2-The Eve Series, Perception-Book 3-The Eve Series, Illumination-Book 4- The Eve Series, What I Really Learned in College-Book 1- The With Honors Series, Making the Dean's List-Book 2- The With Honors Series.

A.L. Waddington, (also writing as Addison Winters) has her master's in military psychology and is currently working on her doctorate. She is an avid researcher and reader and when she is not lost in the world of her own creation, she is busy exploring the southwest region of the country. She is slightly addicted to coffee and after recently moving to Arizona, has a new-found appreciation for Central Air Conditioning. She and her husband, Eric, live in Phoenix with their daughters. 

Author Matthew Brenden WoodMatthew Brenden Wood

The Science of Science Fiction, Planetary Science: Exploring New Worlds, Projectile Science: The Physics Behind Kicking a Field Goal and Launching a Rocket and The Space Race: How the Cold War put Humans on the Moon.

Matthew Brenden Wood, author of The Science of Science Fiction, Planetary Science, The Space Race and Projectile Science is a former teacher with a passion for science education and all things weird, spacey, and STEAM.  He is also a local musician, amateur astronomer and a terrible (but improving) astrophotographer. Wood holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and lives in Phoenix with one ungrateful cat.

Author Misako YamazakiMisako Yamazaki

Wasps (and other poems)

Misako Yamazaki, 21, is a first generation college student majoring in English at Phoenix College, the self-published author of wasps (and other poems), and an aspiring full-time writer. She is also the president and founder of Spilled Ink Club, the creative writing club, at Phoenix College. A Japanese/Mexican writer, Misako hopes to see her books on the shelves of Barnes & Noble someday. She loves poetry and fiction and can be found writing or reading either genre in bookstores, coffee shops, and libraries in her spare time.

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