March 23rd, 2024, from 11am to 3pm
Community Learning Center, Ballroom

Meet local authors, hear their compelling stories and see their latest books! Let our Reader’s Advisory team give you a personalized book recommendation, take your photo in our photo booth and enjoy creative, book-themed activities.

Books will be available for purchase from the authors themselves, the Friends of the Library Bookstore, Brain Lair Books, and Griffon Bookstore. While you’re here, get a drink or snack from the St. Joe Coffee Co., open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


12pm – TEEN: How to create characters that can drive your story 
Led by Martin Klubeck
What drives your story?  Plot is important, but the best books are character driven.  We fall in love with characters, not plot ideas.  Dungeon & Dragons provides a great framework for character development. We’ll discuss character definition, growth, and development using D&D. We’ll look at two very different characters that both follow the rules and ideas we’ll share.

1pm – ADULT: Making the Magic Happen: How Stories and Poems Sprout 
Led by James Zarzana and Marianne Murphy Zarzana
How do stories, novels, essays, and poems first sprout? How do they grow and blossom, become fully formed?
This husband-and-wife writer team share writing practices and tips for how they make the magic happen on the page and in their writing lives. Q & A to follow. An overview of the presentation with resources will be available on handouts. All writing levels welcome.

2pm – ADULT: Writing Towards Wellness: The Healing Power of Storytelling 
Led by David Griffith
To tell stories is to be human. We tell stories to celebrate the beautiful, humorous, and unbelievable moments in our lives. We tell stories to celebrate and honor friends and family, and people we admire. We also tell stories to commiserate and tell people how we’re feeling. 
Drawing upon a field called Narrative Medicine, author Dave Griffith will lead you in a series of guided writing prompts to unlock the potential that creative writing has to heal.


Rosanne Bittner
An award-winning author from Coloma, Michigan. A USA Today best-selling author of 76 published novels, she writes mostly historical romance, family sagas and trilogies involving real American history.

Kasia Derbiszewska
Founder of Learning Key Educational Consulting and Development and a seasoned expert in educational neuroscience and instructional design, is a trailblazer in transforming educational practices. Renowned for her innovative approach in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Kasia empowers industry leaders to create captivating learning experiences, fostering a community of raving fans and guiding educators and experts to enhance and elevate their services.

Tasha Eizinger
As a former elementary school teacher, Tasha Eizinger has enjoyed reconnecting with children through The Little Shot series! The first 4 books (Courage, Humility, Growth, and Wisdom) of the 7 book series are published and ready for children to learn how to tackle life through Little Shot’s adventurous success story.

David Griffith
An award-winning educator, writer, and collaborator dedicated to creating spaces where writers of all abilities feel empowered to take creative risks, collaborate with peers, and arrive at a deeper understanding of themselves and the communities they live in.

Talyn Gore
A small town girl from northern Indiana; a hopeless romantic at heart. She has had a passion for reading since childhood but lives for a good romance book. She currently lives in South Bend, Indiana with her husband who helps to inspire her writing.

Katherine Higgs-Coulthard
Teaches at Saint Mary’s College, where she organizes the Get Inked Teen Writing Conference. Her most recent novel, Junkyard Dogs (2023), is set in South Bend and inspired by the 2006 Manhole Murders.

Brandon Davis Jennings
A Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran author and author. His books Waiting for the Enemy, Battle Rattle, and Operation Iraqi Freedom is My Fault explore the effect of military service on veterans and the people who love them.

Martin Klubeck
A writer, teacher, speaker, and life-long-learner. Klubect writes “clean” fiction – mysteries, Young Adult, and a few horror stories mixed in for flavor.

Lucy Kubash
Has been a member of Romance Writers of America and Mid-Michigan Romance Writers for over twenty years. She is also concerned with animal welfare issues, and writes a monthly column called The Pet Corner.

Jalen Lee
Meet Jalen Lee – an author, motivational speaker, sworn police officer, and family man. With a robust academic background and a passion for service, he has transformed his life experiences into powerful narratives that inspire, educate, and empower students across the nation.

Patrick Luther
A horror/dark fantasy author with two published books under his belt thus far. He was born and raised in northern Indiana, where he currently still resides with his wife and two children.

Mary Ann Moore
A children’s librarian many years before becoming a preschool teacher. She worked on writing and tought writing all those years. She finally published her book, Mandy’s Song, in April, 2020.

Roger Parent
Was Mayor of South Bend, President of the City Council, and of the South Bend School Board. He’s the author of Getting Things Done: Stories of Leadership from the South Bend Mayor’s Office to the School Board, the Peace Corps and Beyond, and The Making of a Peace Corps Volunteer: From Maine to Thailand.

Gabrielle Robinson
You may have seen the play Better Homes, based on Gabrielle Robinson’s Better Homes of South Bend at the Civic Theater. Gabrielle also is the author of seven other historic nonfiction books, including the memoir Api’s Berlin Diaries.

Brian Vukadinovich
A retired educator in Indiana, former executive director of the Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s, and author of the books Motion for Justice: I Rest My Case and Rogues in Black Robes. Brian also does public speaking and is an avid writer of judicial corruption issues in our state and federal court systems, some of which writings may be seen on his website

James Zarzana and Marianne Murphy
Jim has written three dystopian sci-fi novels; visit his table for more details about The Marsco Saga. He is a retired English professor who is now writing YA fantasy stories with knights, princesses, dragons who can no longer breathe fire, and a hedgehog who wears a blue waistcoat—publication date TBA. Marianne Murphy (ND ’78), a poet and professor of creative writing at Southwest Minnesota State University, retired to South Bend where she is working on a documentary film (Wild Irish Rose Productions). The film focuses on Sister Jean Lenz, OSF, a pioneering woman leader instrumental in Notre Dame’s transition to a coed university.

Bruce Cashbaugh
Like Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Bruce began his writing career in the advertising agency business, writing for every communications medium while working in Goshen, Fort Wayne, Elkhart and Mishawaka before starting his own marketing services company. His first novel was published in early 2022, and his second in late 2023.

Kevin Drury
Kevin Drury is a husband (of an early childhood educator), father, grandfather, nature lover and professor of mathematics. In his first children’s book, Bienvenido the Bird-watching Cat, he introduces some common backyard birds, problem solving, memory games, counting, and in an entertaining way, some endearing characteristics of both birds and children.

Ken Glennon
A lifetime writer of industrial manuals and procedures. He is the author of nonfiction books Hard Hats of Niagara – The Niagara Power Project and Dime Store Dynasty of J.H. Miller,  a mid-century entrepreneur who went from basement shop to millionaire attaining the American Dream.

Aaron Helman
A storyteller, adventurer, historian, and humorist whose work has been featured on WVPE, WNIT, WSBT, and in The South Bend Tribune. He’s the author of An Incomplete History of St. Joseph County and Ride the Jack Rabbit.

Vicky L. Holt
With a childhood as vagrant as a dandelion seed, Vicky L. Holt (she/her) found stability between the covers of books and in school libraries across the United States. As an adult, she’s loved sending deep roots into her chosen hometown of South Bend as well as in her fertile imagination by writing science fiction liberally sown with romance.

Amanda Valerie Judd
A Mishawaka native who writes poetry, novels, plays, and screenplays. Her latest works are a collection of poetry about her father’s death, and a prompt book for writing about your childhood.

Barbara M. Kelly
A background that includes being a high school teacher, professional Advancement Director for elementary school Pre – 8, and working in Development at the University of Notre Dame. She is a parent of 3 adult children and now grandparent of 6 children; it is from these grandchildren that she has drawn her inspiration to write children’s books.

Karen B. Kurtz
Author Karen B. Kurtz has published books, essays, poetry, and countless nonfiction articles for readers of all ages. Her fifth book, Sophia’s Gift, has won three book awards, praise from Queen Camilla in the United Kingdom, and sells to ages 8 and up.

Vivienne Lorret
USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret writes fun and steamy Regency historical romances. She lives in the Midwest where she coaxes words out of giant mugs of tea and attempts to jot them down before they can escape. For her entire catalog of books, including her latest series, the Liar’s Club, visit

John Mitchell
Retired in 2008, and wrote his first children’s book that year. He did not publish it until 2014. Since then he has written a total of 8 books, and is currently working on number 9, soon to be published.

Cat Rambo
Has 300+ fiction publications include five novels and a multitude of short stories. Her novelette Carpe Glitter won a Nebula Award in 2020.

Kelly Wiseman
A Ball State graduate and career professional in health & wellness with a passion to assist beginners who are ready to change. Through her own health challenges as well as reaching others needing to improve their lifestyles Katie Ladybug became the perfect fun vehicle and character to capture one’s ATTENTION.

John Vander Velden
A graduate of Purdue University, a retired farmer living with his wife in northern Indiana.  An avid reader and life long story teller, he approaches life with open eyes, hearing ears, and a heart willing to feel, striving to put to words the world he observes, in ways that reach deep within others.

BookCon is proud to host:
Nonfiction writers
Graphic novel artists
Adult, teen, and children’s authors
Local authors from St. Joseph County and the Michiana area

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