- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The adage goes “write what you know,” and if that extends to local authors there is a swath of knowledge being tackled that includes genres of horror, erotica, religion, children’s and young adult, comics, chick lit, grief and loss, poetry and history.
“It’s amazing how much talent there is in Charles County,” said Janet Salazar, acting assistant director of the Charles County Public Library. “And they’re willing to share their talent with us.”
The library held the ninth annual author’s reception hosted by the Citizens For the Charles County Public Library and the Life Journeys Writers Club on Aug. 9 at the Waldorf West library.
This year, 16 authors gathered to meet and greet each other and community members who had the opportunity to talk to the writers about their inspiration, process and finished product.
The authors were given two minutes to introduce themselves and their books at the top of the event.
Doris Dasenbrock writes under the nom de plume Madam Zucchini, a title she got from her son because she liked to bake, known for her zucchini bread.
“Butterfly, Butterfly, What’s Your Game Plan?” is a children’s book Dasenbrock wrote to help youngsters develop an interest in science and nature.
Towhanna A. Boston’s first book, “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hands: A Story of Faith, Forgiveness, and Victory,” dealt with grief and loss following the deaths of her children Octavia, 8, and Christopher, 7, in 2004.
Her latest book, “I Do, I Will, I Shouldn’t Have,” focuses on her divorce.
Horror writer E.L. Jefferson, author of the “What Do You Fear,” book series spoke about his series of children’s books he penned, initially inspired by a story his son, Edward L. Jefferson — a poet who writes under the name E. Louis — wrote as a child.
“If I tell a story, I have to tell it all the way to the end,” said Jefferson, a law enforcement officer. “My goal was to publish 10 books then quit. Can’t do that. I have 13 books going now.”
Jefferson, who writes horror books, said he isn’t scared of supernatural forces. He focuses on real life.
“What frightens me is what people do to each other,” he said.
Jefferson said some readers wonder where he comes up with the macabre themes.
“Just because you have the imagination to write crazy stuff doesn’t mean you live it,” he said.
Patricia A. Harrington, a married mother of two and grandmother of four, is leading a double life ever since she began writing on the side.
“I’m a financial manager by day, and at night I like fighting evil,” she said.
Harrington wrote “Witchy Tales: Gail Warning,” about a neighborhood watch group that is made up of witches, and, of course, some of their spells backfire, the author said.
As a high school English teacher, James Mascia wants his students to embrace literature, even if he has to retell it in a format that might get pages turning.
Mascia, who writes the book series “High School Heroes,” wrote the graphic novel “The Poe Murders,” based on Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous stories.
“A lot of my students who were getting to me in the 12th grade had never heard of him,” Mascia said of the famous writer and poet.
Folding Poe’s stories into a graphic novel might reach a younger audience.
“This is a way to introduce them to his stories. My main goal is to get kids to read or write,” Mascia said. “Not only do they not want to, but they think they can’t.”
Mascia is currently working on raising funds to write a graphic novel updating and tweaking Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” for a more sci-fi/fantasy-savvy audience.
All her life Mary Ann Jenkins was told her great-grandmother was a bad person.
“Don’t even say her name,” Jenkins remembered being told. “Something bad will happen to you.”
Jenkins wanted to make her ancestor into a good person and weaved her story into “The Witch’s Journal.”
Charles Long wrote “Momma Tree” — it was illustrated by Christina Allen — for children.
“It’s very positive,” Long said. “It’s a very affirming story.”
Writing under the pen name Raine, Mary Horsey came across erotic romance books from an unlikely source.
Her son, Adrian, recommended she read a book by Eric Jerome Dickey, and Horsey was hooked.
“I have two Kindles, and they are full of romance novels,” she said, adding that she wanted to take a crack at writing one.
“I tried my hand at it, and I liked it,” Horsey said.
An avid journaler since youth, she jotted down all her desires, some of which fuel her books — five so far (a vociferous reader, Adrian has so far declined to read the erotica his mother has written, Horsey said).
Claudia Tynes, who wrote the children’s book “His Love Flow,” said she was passionate about the writing ministry.
“I’m thankful for humble beginnings,” Tynes said. “It was 1989. I got out my typewriter and banged out my first book. All 12 pages.”
Tynes’ works have since grown and inspired a song and a full CD that will be released later this year.
“No writing is ever wasted,” she said.
Graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in psychology in the late 1990s, Keir Lyles knew his parents wouldn’t be stoked when they learned he really wanted to write and illustrate comic books.
But he charged ahead and is a freelance comic book artist who married his interest in comics with his love of professional wrestling — a mash up that resulted in a story of three friends who are wrestlers.
Lyles said his main focus is to continue to teach children to write and illustrate while plugging ahead with his own work, confident his audience will seek it out.
“If it’s good quality, people will find you,” he said. “Just keep working.”
Malcolm Jarell might be better known as Malcolm J. Young, a young poet who recently published “Speaknow: Poems for Young People.”
He may have had another pen name — he said his parents thought about naming him Malcolm Xavier.
“I would’ve been Malcolm X,” he said, getting laughs from the audience.
Jarell, a Thomas Stone High School graduate, said the inspiration for his latest book of poetry came from his childhood and those of his friends.
Kathleen Brockway is the first deaf author to write the first deaf heritage book through Arcadia Publishing, “Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage.”
Via a sign language interpreter, Brockway said Baltimore had a rich history among the deaf community.
“In the 1900s, Baltimore was the best place for deaf people to hang out,” Brockway said, adding that it was a “very visual city.”
Avis Minott hopes her autobiography “From Birth to New Birth” will help “broken people to feel comfort in the Lord Jesus,” she said.
“Writing has become my daily routine,” Minott said. “And it has opened the door ... that all things are possible.”
Growing up in Africa, Priscilla Koranteng was raised by her parents to be confident.
She lived in England before moving to America and is a human resources executive who owns two companies.
Her book “Janju — The Voice of One Girl” is one in a series of books geared for girls.
“I write to inspire,” Koranteng said. “No matter what you’re going through or where you came from — your dreams are valid.”
The Rev. Michelle Balamani-Silvera penned “Thank U God, It’s Monday! Meditations & Motivations for Living a Great Full Life,” to inspire others.
Balamani-Silvera said now that she’s in her “senior years” she looks at what has been important about her journey.
“I am focused on living a great life and full life,” she said.
“The Prison Plumb Line” started out as a book by Yvonne J. Medley and has been turned into a stage play.
Medley, founder of Life Journeys, encouraged writers to continue and those who have a story, to get moving.
“Don’t let 20 scoot by,” Medley said. “Everybody has a story.”