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Celebrate Authors is Sept. 17 at Branigan Library


Celebrate Authors 2023 will be in the Roadrunner Room on the second floor of Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.

Friends of the Branigan Library (FBL) is partnering with Moonbow Alterations and Moonbow’s Book Nook to sponsor this year’s event, said event coordinator Alice Davenport. FBL started Celebrate Authors in 2014 to showcase area authors.

Celebrate Authors 2023 will feature authors from Las Cruces and the surrounding area with books published in 2021, 2022 and 2023, Davenport said. 45 authors will participate from more than 270 authors represented at Moonbow’s Book Nook, 225 E Idaho Ave., No. 32, she said.

MOONBOW Alterations and Moonbow’s Book Nook will make monetary donations to Children’s Literacy Reading Alliance and Spay Neuter Action Program after the 2023 Celebrate Authors event. Guests and participating authors can contribute.

For more information, contact Davenport at 575-527-1411 and adavenport@totacc.com.

Here is information about some of this year’s authors and their books, provided by the authors.

  • Husband-and-wife Alexis D. Johnson and B.A. Johnson have a fondness for mythical creatures, rich worlds and believable characters riddled with flaws and strengths. They grew up in Las Cruces and now live in El Paso. The Johnsons jointly and independently write epic fantasy novels and released their first co-authored book, “Song and Wind,” last year. It is book one of the Siren Wars series. An epic fantasy on the darker side, the book follows a morally grey, dishonored soldier struggling to find hope and redemption in a savage world. The authors drew inspiration from the birdlike Sirens of Greek mythology. They are currently preparing the next book in the series for release as well as the prequel novel to the Tainted Scales series. The Johnsons love weaving a compelling story that sweeps readers into new, unforgettable worlds. Their advice for writers is to never give up if you are passionate about storytelling.
  • Amber Foxx writes mysteries without murders, many set in Truth or Consequences. She has worked professionally in theater, dance, fitness, yoga and academia. Her latest book is “Chloride Canyon,” the eighth book in the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery series. Could a faked haunting in a ghost town stir up a real one? Mae Martin’s college summer session is off to a rough start. A classmate is out to make her life miserable; her English professor is avoiding her; the Paranormal Activities Club plans to investigate her psychic abilities. Her boyfriend, Jamie, is on a songwriting retreat with a famous but reclusive in the ghost town of Chloride, New Mexico, population 14 humans, 23 cats and (supposedly) zero ghosts. Jamie’s neighbor claims Mae’s house is haunted, and she must learn who is behind the frightening events, the living or the dead.
  • Carol Potenza is the author of “Hearts of the Missing,” which won the 2017 Tony Hillerman Prize, and “Spirit Daughters,” a 2023 Daphne du Maurier Mystery/Suspense finalist. Potenza taught biochemistry at NMSU before transitioning to full-time mystery writing. She loves the combination of strong women sleuths, paranormal and murder, mixed with science or, as she likes to call it, BiocheMystery. Potenza sets her books in New Mexico, including her most recent releases: “Signs: A De-Extinct Zoo Mystery,” a murder mystery set in a zoo filled with genetically engineered Ice Age animals (think mammoths!), and “Sting of Lies,” a mystery with a quirky heroine and very unusual dog. Carol lives in Las Cruces with her husband, Leos, and chihuahua, Hermès. Visit www.carolpotenza.com.
  • Charmayne Samuelson is a Las Cruces author who has just released a biography of Spencer MacCallum, the anthropologist who discovered Juan Quezada and Mata Ortiz pottery. The book was in progress for many years and is based on hundreds of interview hours and extensive research. From childhood, each step of Spencer’s life seemed destined to take him to Juan Quezada and Mata Ortiz. His natural curiosity at a young age of discovering ancient relics continued, with him trekking across Mexico to find Quezada, propelling him onto the world stage as an unlikely superstar artist. This biography joins Samuelson’s seven previously published titles spanning six genres: Southwest mystery, self-hypnosis, spiritual seekers, coloring storybooks featuring Southwest desert animals and a photography book of wild mustangs. Visit www.woodduckpublishers.com.
  • Augustus “Gus” Prouty has nurtured a passion for all things big and scaly since he saw his first Godzilla movie as a boy. Prouty has a BA and an MFA in creative writing/genre fiction. “KERAVNO,” the first novel in a multi-book sci-fi series, is the story of a down-on-his-luck 20-something who stumbles across a baby monster and soon becomes the only person who can stop the destruction of his city. Prouty also has serial stories on Kindle/VELLA and a weekly newsletter. His advice to young writers is to just start. “Early on, I tried to make every word perfect,” he said. “You cannot do that. Finishing a draft, even a bad one, is more important than all the perfect sentences in the world of an uncompleted story.” Visit gusproutybooks.com.
  • Lyn Barrett is a retired teacher, school principal and pastor who recently relocated to Las Cruces from the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. In 1992, she was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, later renamed dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition caused by chronic childhood trauma. After many years of difficult therapeutic work, Barrett integrated and lives a happy, healthy life. Her 2022 memoir, “Crazy: Reclaiming Life from the Shadow of Traumatic Memory,” is the story of her discovery of and recovery from DID. She founded Dissociative Writers (www.dissociativewriters.com), an online organization that offers weekly writers workshops for people with dissociative disorders; writes a weekly blog and newsletter; hosts an author website (www.lynbarrett.com); and speaks in person and on podcasts. Barrett’s newest writing project is “The Three Faces of Forgiveness: Self, Friends, Perpetrators,” due in 2024.
  • Pedro Zenker was born in Mexico, emigrated to the United States in the 1980s and became a citizen. El Paso is his current home. Zenker’s chapter books for 6-9-year-olds are “Ely the Elephant’s Jungle Stories” and “Ely the Elephant’s Paris Adventures,” both illustrated by Nacho L. Garcia Jr. Ely has a superpower that he uses to rescue other animals in trouble. The stories provide children with examples of true kindness and friendship and tips on how to get along. Zenker also has translated books and documents professionally. His recent translations include his wife’s books (see below). Zenker also makes Native American-style flutes, hand-turned pens and wooden toys.
  • Susan Lynn Zenker is a poet and playwright from New England who now calls El Paso home. Her latest work, a collection of short stories for young adults called “Sunshine, Hurricanes, and Other Things that Have a Heart,” contains contemporary fiction, sci-fi, romance, paranormal thriller and fable. Zenker’s

other collections feature stories for adults, monologues for teens and poetry. She has written several picture books, including “How the Monarch Got its Colors: a Legend” and a bilingual picture book, “Daisy Finds a Home/Un hogar para Daisy,” coauthored with Lisa Archer. Zenker’s advice to writers is, “The real magic occurs during revision; polish your work, read it out loud, and let others comment. Pride in your creation will be the result.”