Keynote & Panels – Spring 2022

The BookFest Brings You An Array of Panel Discussions, Keynotes, and Conversations

Day 1 – For Readers

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Day one of The BookFest Spring 2022 is devoted to readers. If you’re a bibliophile, then get ready for a bookish good time.

In addition to a full day of panels and conversations, there are special segments, the Grand Prize Giveaway, and the Live Author Chats hosted by Scott Ryan and A.G. Billig.

Sit back, curl up with your furry pal or text your friends so you can hang out and enjoy the presentation. Don’t forget to join the chats on YouTube to network with your new book-buddies.

All times listed in Pacific Time.

10:30am PT

Welcome Message from The BookFest Founder Desireé Duffy

We’ll kick off The BookFest Spring 2022, with a welcome message from its founder, Desireé Duffy. She will discuss the evolution of The BookFest since its inception, and the exciting programming everyone can look forward to.

Plus, throughout both days of The BookFest, there will be special segments to enjoy between panels, including:

  • Love Who You Are, Love What You Do with A.G. Billig 
  • Three Easy Steps to Nailing Your Media Appearances with A.G. Billig 
  • Becoming an Instagram Influencer and Engaging  Book Reviewers with Antina van der Veen from Bookstagrammers
  • Self-Editing Tips: Missing Buttons and Loose Threads with Flo Selfman 
  • Presentation of the first Honorary Achievement Award to Irwin Zucker (Sun., April 3rd)
  • BookFest Awards Announced 

10:45am PT

Opening Keynote by Suzie Newell – Do You Yearn to Live Your Dream? Overcome Your Fears and Become The Best You.

As an author, speaker, nurse anesthesiologist with doctorate specializing in coping mechanisms, Suzie Newell explains the neuroscience behind fear, and provides actionable steps on how to boost your self-confidence and become the person you know you are meant to be.

11:00am PT

A Conversation with Dennis E. Taylor – Being a creator of imaginative worlds for readers

The passion for writing and a strong interest in the impact of technology on human life inspired acclaimed author Dennis E. Taylor to create the popular Bobiverse. In this BookFest Conversation, he talks about the process of birthing imaginative universes, and how technology is shaping the world in an era of constantly shifting technology.

Dennis E. Taylor, author of the acclaimed sci-fi Bobiverse book series, is a former computer programmer and member of the prestigious X-Prize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council as a Visionary Storyteller.

Moderator: Jenna Busch, Writer/Host for sites like SYFY Wire, Vital Thrills, Metro, and The Washington Post.  Contributing author to 11 books, including Star Wars Psychology. Co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee.

12:00pm PT

Authors and Books to Break You Out of Your Comfort Zone

There are those books good for one summer, and those books you’ll keep for a lifetime: books that make you think deeper, ask different questions, look at life with a new set of eyes, and change your life. Let’s explore these books, and discover fresh voices that will give you food for thought.

Ivor Davis, author of Manson Exposed and The Beatles and Me on Tour, international journalist, and entertainment columnist.

David Konrad, adventurous dad who writes the Project Adventure children’s book series for middle-grade readers.

Adanna Moriarty, author of Threadbare, a uniquely moving collection of poems, and wordsmith who writes about life inspired by nature.

Clyve Rose, historical and regency romance writer longlisted for a 2010 Hachette Award for Fiction, a Sexy Scribbles award-winner, and author of the novel Always a Princess.

Harrison Taylor, author of the breakout novel Those Who Hunt Wolves and avid lover of cinema and literature.

Moderator: Kathleen Kaiser, author of five books, Book Marketer with Kathleen Kaiser & Associates, Producer—805 Writers Conference, President of Writers & Publishers Network, and host of the podcast Talking Book Marketing. 

1:00pm PT

The Perfection of Our Imperfection—How to Nourish Our Bodies, Health, and Well-being

Is it possible to stay healthy and fit and still enjoy the pleasure of life, such as a delicious dessert? A best-selling author, a former fit model, and a photographer talk about how the acceptance of our imperfections and how a healthy mind leads to both a healthy body and overall wellbeing.

Heather Mathes, author of Paid to Be Perfect: The Secret to Finding Your Perfect, and a former professional fit model.

Waleed Shah, author of Rock Your Ugly, photographer, creative thinker, and entrepreneur.

Moderator: Cristina Deptula, former journalist and the founder of literary PR agency Authors Large and Small, and international literary magazine Synchronized Chaos.s

2:00pm PT

Decoding His Story — Men Who Write Memoirs 

Let’s take a journey behind the curtains and find out what drives men to write their memoirs. This panel will deliver insights about how men get the courage to become vulnerable and expose their souls in front of the readers, how they chose the aspects of their lives they put into their books, and introduce you to male memoir authors you don’t want to miss. 

Paulino Chol, Author of Leading the Lost Boys: The Untold Story, the true story of leading 700 boy prisoners in South Sudan to freedom. 

JD Mass, Author of the memoir Race for What? A White Man’s Journey & Guide to Healing Racism from Within and anti-racism activist. 

Chester L. Richards, Author of the From the Potato to Star Trek Scientist: Memoirs of a Rocket Scientist, retired space engineer, and inventor. 

Morrie Sherry for Author Henry M. Silvert, author of the memoir, An Indelible Event and Detour through a Global Childhood

Moderator: Ina Hillebrandt, President of Pawpress, nationally known speaker, author and writing coach specializing in memoirs and fiction. 

3:00pm PT

Dr. Michael Shermer and Paul Hynek In The Great UFO Debate: Are They Extraterrestrial Intelligence Or Ordinary Terrestrial Phenomena?

Many people believe that we are not alone in the universe. But have our interstellar neighbors actually come to visit us here on Earth? Is this the year when the government will “disclose” bombshell secrets? And if ETs are here, do they come in peace or are we looking at war of the worlds? Join us for a spirited debate between a noted scientist/skeptic and a top ufologist to find out what the future has in store for us.

Paul Hynek, known as the Mystical Alien Wizard Man, is a futurist, professor, and entrepreneur at the convergence of technology and entertainment.

Dr. Michael Shermer, author of Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.

Moderator: Desireé Duffy, Founder of The BookFest, Black Château, Books That Make You and host of the award-winning Books That Make You Show.

4:00pm to 6:00pm PT

Live Author Chats – Hosted by Scott Ryan and A.G. Billig

Part afterparty, part networking, and part authors doing whatever the heck they want, this fun interactive event presents authors and literary folks in fast-paced chats with hosts Scott Ryan and A.G. Billig. 

You’ll hear authors do readings, tell stories, answer audience questions and be creatively fresh in celebrating spring. Plus, the winner of the BookFest Big Bundle of Books Giveaway will be announced, along with other prize winners.

Host: Scott Ryan, television historian, managing editor of  The Blue Rose Magazine, co-founder of Fayetteville Mafia Press and author of  Moonlighting: An Oral History,  thirtysomething at thirty: an oral history, The Last Days of Letterman, and Fire Walk with Me: Your Laura Disappeared. 

Host: A.G. Billig, author of Open Your Heart, Rise in Love: Five Secret Doors to a Happy and Healthy Relationship, transformational coach, and motivational speaker dedicated to empowering women to live a happy and meaningful life by unleashing the love within themselves. 

4:00pm PT

Paul Hynek, a futurist, professor, and entrepreneur, discusses the convergence of technology and entertainment talks all things UFO and beyond. 

4:20pm PT

Virginia Fox, author talks about bringing her cozy romance mystery series from Germany to the US market, and gives a hint of the great stories you can expect.

4:30pm PT

Marcus James, founder of Washington State’s first Gay-Straight Alliance previews, discusses his novel, Where the Vile Things Are: A Study in Sex, Revenge, Deceit, and Affluenza. 

4:40pm PT

Anna Nyakana, award-winning author, speaker, producer and singer-songwriter talks about her children’s book series, The Niyah Zuri.  

4:50pm PT

Tamara Miller Davis, author of Despite the Buzz, talks about contemporary communication and the importance of digital wellness.

5:00pm PT

Kim Gottlieb-Walker, author of Caterina by Moonlight and photographer, discusses how times change, even as people still experience the same feelings in every century. 

5:10pm PT

Marilyn Anderson, author of How to Live Like a MILLIONAIRE … When You’re a Million Short, tells you how.  

5:20pm PT

Beatrice Adenodi, author of Mindless Behaviors: Breaking through Unseen Barriers, talks about how to find your own voice and reclaim your personal power in challenging times.  

5:30pm PT

Ravi Sahay, author of May You Be Healthy, talks about healthy eating and Ayurveda, and shares his delicious kefir recipe. 

5:40pm PT

Alicia Ponce, author of Latinas in Architecture– Stories of Raising the 1%, One Latina at a Time, talks about the Latina experience in the Architecture profession.

5:50pm PT

Danika Ellis, associate Editor at Book Riot and creator of the Lesbrary, discusses the recent surge of book bans in the U.S., particularly of LGBTQ books and authors of color.


The BookFest Awards

Here are some of the amazing books awarded at The BookFest Spring 2022

Day 2 – For Writers

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

Day two of The BookFest Spring 2022 is devoted to writers. If you’re part of the writing community, a professional in the literary world or even if you’re a student or just starting out, this day is dedicated to you. An array of professionals will inform you with panel discussions and conversations covering the craft of writing, critiquing a manuscript’s first page, editing, marketing, public relations, pitching manuscripts to agents and more. 

Pull up a cozy chair, brew a cup of tea and enjoy the presentation. Please join the chats on YouTube to network with your new book-buddies, too.

All times listed in Pacific Time.

11:30am PT

Welcome Message from The BookFest Founder Desireé Duffy

Presentation Of the First Honorary Achievement Award To Irwin Zucker

11:45am PT

Keynote From Dave Chesson: Book Writing in a Busy World

How are authors supposed to write and market their books when life gets in the way? Learn from a top self-publishing expert the key tactics you can use to increase your success and build a true author career without sacrificing your life. 

Dave Chesson is the Founder of Kindlepreneur.com, a Kindle marketing Jedi, and author.

12:00pm PT

A Conversation with Joel Eisenberg – Are You Writing for Your Life?


This conversation with author and producer Joel Eisenberg explores what it takes to write for a living, and write for your passion. If you are serious about being a writer, whether it be for books, TV and/or film, then this conversation is for you. Discover what writers are doing today that are getting them noticed. 

Joel Eisenberg, author of the fantasy novel saga, The Chronicles of Ara and writer-executive producer of several award-winning feature films, including April Showers.

Moderator: Desireé Duffy, Founder of The BookFest, Black Château, Books That Make You and host of the award-winning Books That Make You Show.

1:00pm PT

Critiki Bar: Page One Manuscript Critiques (An Agent and An Author Walk Into A Bar…)

Gather ’round to watch and listen to a rare two-sided assessment from both the business and the craft side of writing — served with wit, insight, experience, and punch. Witness how a highly-regarded literary agent and a New York Times bestselling author discuss — and debate — aspects of creating a skillfully told story and navigating the professional side of publishing by dissecting that oh-so-important first page.

David L. RobbinsNew York Times bestselling author, creative writing professor, founder of James River Writers, The Mighty Pen Project, and co-founder of the Podium Foundation.

Katharine Sands, literary agent representing fiction, non-fiction and memoir. Agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents.

2:00pm PT

The Magic Behind Illustrated Children’s Books

What are the main ingredients of a great children’s book? And how do the author and the illustrator work together to create the magic that will capture the children’s hearts and imagination? Join us for an eye-opening conversation with the authors and illustrators of some of the top- selling children’s books of the day.

Andy Case, internationally published children’s book illustrator and cartoonist with over 30 years experience working professionally in illustration for book publishers, record labels and magazines in many different countries.

Isabel Cintra, award-winning author of The Sweetest Ladybug and other children’s books, on a mission to introduce kids to a world where diversity is valuable and beautiful. 

Zeka Cintra, Brazilian illustrator with a degree in Plastic Arts from School of Education São Luís de Jaboticabal – Brazil.

Steven Joseph, author of Snoodles, Kidoodles, Poodles and Lots and Lots of Noodles, attorney, negotiator, speaker, and multiple times Boston and NYC Marathon runner. 

Moderator: Lucia Manuonto, children’s physiotherapist, podcaster and author of the children’s book series Zoe the Crab, a tale promoting inclusion and diversity with children.

3:00pm PT

Can You Really Do It All? Being An Authorpreneur and Knowing When To Enlist Help

In today’s competitive book market, authors dedicated to building a legacy and becoming full-time writers need to put on the entrepreneur hat and think business. Learn from some of the top professionals how to manage your career like a businessperson and still have time for what you love most: writing.

Eric Labacz, award-winning book cover designer, recipient of the AIGA Silver Medal for outstanding Graphic Design and an IMMY Award for Package Design Excellence.

CJ Ives Lopez, retired Air Force Master Sergeant turned author of over 20 published books, writes under pen name Auntie Nann for children’s books, and founder of The Author’s Porch Magazine and podcast.

A.G. Billig, published author, self-publishing expert, founder of Self-Publishing Mastery, and member of the Black Château team.

Moderator: Karen Hodges Miller, founder of Open Door Publications, a company that helps authors navigate the world of self-publishing.

4:00pm PT


Watch as they boldly take the stage: several brave writers pitching their manuscripts to a panel of literary agents and publishing decision-makers. Like Shark Tank, but for writers, Brave New Writer at The BookFest Adventure invites authors who have been hand-selected and primed for pitching. What will the agents say about their pitches? Will any of the writers have the hook to reel in a book deal? Will you read any of their books one day? Root for your favorite pitches during Brave New Writer. Brought to you in collaboration with Roadmap Authors.

Deborah Herman, founder of Author Branding Solutions, publisher, author, and former literary agent with over thirty years experience in the publishing industry.

Angela Shanté Johnson, award-winning author, Founder of Sunday Dinner Publishing, and diversity and inclusion activist working to increase representation for marginalized creatives in publishing. 

Andy Ross, founder of the Andy Ross Agency, represents books in narrative non-fiction, history, current events, adult and teen fiction. Authors include Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Masson, Susan Griffin, Fritjof Capra, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Thomas Sanchez, and Tawni Waters.

Moderator: Desireé Duffy, founder of The BookFest, Black Château, Books That Make You and host of the award-winning Books That Make You Show.