Laurel Ridge Holiday Book Fair

Meet your Local Authors and Purchase Books for the Holidays

Read Local. Shop Local.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 from 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Laurel Ridge Community College

Featured Authors and Books

All books sold and displayed during the Holiday Book Fair are the work of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views or values of Laurel Ridge Community College.

Alexandra Haden-Douglas

The Four

Alexandra is the award-winning author of The Four. Which to her delight garnered a well done tweet from Neil Gaiman. Prior to her writing career she designed museum exhibits spending her days amongst some of the most beautiful works in the world. This experience, along with a lifetime of travel, convinced her to start a world of art through storytelling. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, Mark and Klaus Von Beagle, their stubborn but beloved puppy

Ann Heap

Ann Heap with dog

Ann is a Shenandoah Valley writer, artist, and photographer. She is a retired teacher with a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Before retiring she had the privilege and challenge of bringing out the creativity in youth as she taught English, Journalism, Photojournalism, and Photography. While she has been writing in one form or another all her life, it was not until she was approaching her 80th birthday that she published her first novel. New Tomorrows.

Beth Bascom

Bascom headshot

Beth Bascom earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s of Education from the University of New Hampshire. She is blessed with a faithful, supportive husband, six children and 14 grandchildren. Beth desires that all children discover God’s love through the people who care for them and the books that are read to them.

Beth Huddleston

Huddleston heashot

Beth Huddleston of Winchester is a published author and poet. She received her BS degree from Radford University and her MSED from Shenandoah University. In addition, she achieved National Board Certification for Teachers in 2000. In 2005, Beth accompanied other educators to England to study children's literature. She has been an educator for almost 50 years and enjoys teaching writing workshops with all ages. With two sons and five grandchildren, she loves sharing stories with others.

Bob Petr


Live in a van. Looking for a nice river where I can settle down.

Brenda Nelson

Nelson headshot

Brenda B. Nelson is a retired elementary school teacher. She was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, graduated from Norfolk State University, met and married a Marine Vietnam veteran from Winchester, and taught in the Winchester Public Schools for thirty-one years. In retirement, she began doing genealogical research on her and her husband’s ancestors, and through it has gained a wonderful new extended family. With whom she keeps in touch. The Life and Times of Robert Orrick is her first book.

Bruce Andrew Peters

Peters headshot

Bruce Andrew Peters is an award-winning photojournalist, with publication in the Los Angeles Times, Aviation Week and Space Technology, Transport Topics Magazine, FAA Aviation News and countless newspapers and magazine. He is the author of three books:, and Nature is his muse. New books are in the works from this fun and creative author.

Candace Meredith

Meredith headshot

Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals and small presses. Candace is also the author of several novels and stories being adapted for film. Check out her website at

Cara Achterberg

Achterberg headshot

Cara Achterberg is the author of seven books, including Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Her most recent novel, Blind Turn, won the Women’s Fiction category of the American Writing Awards. She is also the cofounder of Who Will Let the Dogs Out, a national nonprofit that raises awareness and resources for shelter dogs and the people who fight for them. She lives in Maurertown, Virginia with her husband, three rescue dogs and a rotating cast of foster dogs and cats.

Carla Vergot

Vergot Headshot

Carla Vergot fully intended to write books after earning her degree in English from NC State University in 1990. Since then, she contributed to various newsletters and magazines, including a column in The Piedmont Virginian, all without writing a single book. In 2016, during a sabbatical from her career teaching special education, Carla returned to her true calling and authored her first novel, Lily Barlow Book One: The Mystery of Jane Dough. She never went back to the classroom.

Charles Lickson

Lickson headshot

Former Army officer, practicing lawyer, and former Political Science Faculty at Shenandoah University. Mediator, trainer and author of ten (10) books including: IRONING IT OUT: SEVEN SIMPLE STEPS TO RESOLVING CONFLICT and EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION IN SEVEN SIMPLE STEPS (with co-author Bryane M. Lickson). President of Conflict Management Consortium, LLC. Front Royal (

Cherie Smith

Smith with books

Meet Cherie Smith, an accomplished author who took on the unique challenge of writing over fifty children’s books in less than two years. Her collection, “Touching Hearts and Making Smiles,” includes six titles available in the market. Through her books, she spreads messages of love, kindness, friendship, courage, and determination to children. Cherie’s primary objective while writing these books is to put smiles on their faces.Cherie lives in Virginia with her husband and works at a community college. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids.

Cheryl Lyon

Three people

The author, Cheryl Lyon, is retired from designing and making products for museums. Ms. Lyon has a lifetime family connection to Fisher’s Hill; she resides in the Dayton, VA area, where she owns historic the Silver Lake Mill and is actively involved with Rockingham County history. She has written other books(local history,etc).
She will be represented by Hope Brim(retired educator) and Neil Thorne(a professional statistician and analyst); they assisted in the research for this project and book

Dannelle Shugart

Shugart reading book

Author Dannelle Shugart originally wrote her nonfiction book as her Master's thesis. Her thesis advisor at Georgetown University was a NASA engineer. This book was written for a non-science audience who loves physics and/or time travel.
Published in March 2023, the book is already an award-winning, international best-seller.
Dannelle lives in Warrenton with her husband and their young daughter.

DJ and LA Whipple

authors headshots

DJ Whipple grew up in Western Pennsylvania, the son of a factory worker who sang opera and a nurse who loved to paint. He lives with his Hungarian wife, Gabriella, in rural Northern Virginia. LA Whipple was raised on a farm in Northern Virginia, recently earned her BS in Biology, and will soon begin pursuit of her Masters in Bioinformatics.

Donald Leroy


Born and raise in Winchester, Va. …BS degree in Mechanical Engineering … US Navy Submarine Service Veteran. Past Commander of VFW Winchester

Dr. G Nelson, Ed.D.

Sketch of bear in tree

National Park Ranger life: Unconventional? Endearing critters? Subterfuge? Newbie ranger. Naïve wilderness lifestyle quest. Marriage to defiant, looks the image, red bearded supervisor.
At stake? Irreverent innocence. Making a difference.
Dream career? Critters before career, barefoot over boots. Ranger life on own terms.
Ordinary? Hardly. Twice hiked Appalachian Trail, lived in a lighthouse, Wilderness Ed.Doctorate. Won’t believe what the furball does next, sumptuously illustrated adventure

Elizabeth H. Cottrell

Cottrell Headshot

Elizabeth, H. Cottrell is a speaker, blogger, and award-winning author of Heartspoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire. Above all she is a connector and encourager, whose passion for note writing has launched a #HeartspokenMovement to help readers find their own heartspoken voice and learn to harness their own superpower for building and nurturing both personal and professional relationships.

Gayle C. Krause

Krause headshot

An award-winning children's author, Gayle C. Krause is a PAL SCBWI member. She writes PB, MG & YA. Her novel, Ratgirl:Song of the Viper, a dystopian retelling of The Pied Piper was nominated for the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Her PB, Rock Star Santa, was performed in Australia and Montserrat, British West Indies with a real British Rock Star. Her new PB, Zadie and the Witch’s Tea, is a reimagining of Cinderella with a Hairy Godspider & no prince. Kindness is stronger than magic.

Gene Betit

Book Covers

Bétit served twenty years in the US Army as a German and Russian linguist and military intelligence analyst, earning a doctorate from Georgetown University. He wrote two Defense Intelligence Agency studies on Soviet Ground Forces tactics and published over ten articles in various military periodicals on military and strategic subjects in the 1970s.

Now a historian, he’s written War's Cost: The Hites' Civil War; Manhattan's Walloon Settlers: Jesse DeForest's Legacy; and Collective Amnesia: Am

Author website:

Heather Cole

Cole Headshot

Heather S. Cole is a public historian and writer living in Staunton, Virginia. Cole has worked in a variety of museums and archives in Virginia and Massachusetts and is currently the archivist for the Southern Foodways Alliance. She also runs a small business ghostwriting, editing and publishing local histories, travelogues and memoirs. "Virginia's Presidents: A History & Guide" is her third book for The History Press.

james brown

Brown with books

James Brown is a father, husband and Navy veteran who loves Christmas! In 2013 James became involved in the Christmas performer industry. Since then, he has been featured in a number of magazines and newspapers and major television networks. He spent numerous hours researching, correlating data, and speaking with historians about Christmas, culminating in Beyond the Beard.

Jay Foreman

Jay Foreman

Jay W. Foreman is a professional corporate storyteller, specializing in leadership and creative communication. He has authored a wide variety of books, ranging from children's stories to biographies to inspirational novellas to his latest YA series. He is an accomplished public speaker and a part-time college instructor. When he's not reading or writing, Jay enjoys barbequing and spending time with his family.

Jeremy Rodgers

Rodgers headshot

Jeremy Rodgers is a musician, songwriter, producer, poet and author based in Linden VA. Between his band, The Helltown Riffraff, his solo projects, and many books, he explores themes of death, gods, existence and general creepiness.

Joanne Boyette

Boyette headshot

Joanne N. Boyette is the wife of Pastor James Boyette, a mother of two, and a grandmother, who resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Originally from western Pennsylvania, Joanne graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from Slippery Rock State College. A retired Christian Preschool teacher, Joanne spends the majority of her time working to promote and prosper her family and her church. Her lifetime goal is to serve and uplift others with Christian inspiration.

John Flood

Author photo

Researcher, writer, and speaker – John Flood has lived in the Winchester / Shenandoah Valley area for over 40 years. "Buffalo Bill in the Limelight Across Virginia" is John's recently released book capturing all of the riveting occasions of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West coming to Virginia. John is engaged in a number of endeavors on the history front including helping clients pull together their family histories. He has also written for national publications including Wild West magazine.

John Hudson

John Hudson

John Hudson recently retired from the local banking industry and is pursuing his artistic dreams of writing, singing, performing and painting.
He is soloist with the Yesterday Swing Orchestra, Clarke County Community Band and soloist/frontman for Dixie Rhythm.
Besides the two books he will have available at the book fair, he also has written two histories – one for Bank of Clarke in 2006 and one for the Town of Boyce in 2010. His science fiction novel Dust To Dust has won several awards.

Julie Funkhouser

Funkhouser photo

Driven by her own story of addiction and recovery, Julie Funkhouser is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Recovery Connection, a substance use treatment center in Winchester, Virginia. She is also a Certified Reiki Master who finds bliss in the opportunity to share the gift of energy work and holistic healing with those around her while simultaneously focusing on her own spiritual growth and continued evolution. She is the co-author of two collaborative books with Brave Healer Productions, “Brave Kids” and “The Grief Experience.” Julie resides in Middletown, Virginia, with her boyfriend, Jimmy, and their five amazing children.

June Smalls

June Smalls headshot

June Smalls has been making up stories since she only had pets and stuffed animals to share them with. She writes fiction and nonfiction books that are funny, educational, odd, and entertaining for both the educational and trade markets including the Leads series, Hear Them Roar! 14 Endangered Animals from Around the World, and Odd Animal ABC’s.

She lives in northern Virginia with her family and an ever growing assortment of animals.

Linny Lawless

Lawless Headshot

Linny grew up, lived, and worked in the Northern Virginia area, close to Washington, DC. She's a bookworm, biker chick, and international best-selling indie author. Linny published her debut novel, “Salvation in Chaos,” in January of 2018, and she's very passionate about writing suspenseful and action-packed stories. If Linny is not busy traveling, working, and writing, she spends her days at home in Front Royal, Virginia, with her husband, Norman, and 2 Brussel Griffons named Verdy and Simon.

Marie Andrews

Andrews headshot

Marie Andrews is an actor, dramaturg/editor and writer who is honored to have achieved the dream that has stymied many a flute player – being accepted into a rock band. She has published two novels so far: A collection of interconnected short horror stories titled "Suburban Legends," and the debut of a Young Adult fantasy novel series, "The Phoenix Forge Chronicles." Book 2 is coming soon!

Meredith Speir

Speir photo

Driven and inspired by her own personal life experiences, Meredith Speir, is thrilled to publish her first short story with the help of Brave Kids. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of The Recovery Connection in Winchester, Virginia. The Recovery Connection is a treatment provider for those that identify as female and struggle with substance use. Meredith is also a Certified and Registered Peer Recovery Specialist in Virginia and has 14 years in recovery.

Morgan Phenix

Phenix headshot

Morgan Scott Phenix is a career educator and administrator, a wanderer, a day-dreamer, and former retiree. He is the author of Remind Me and Others, Elizabeth's Story, and A Story Worth Telling. He makes his home in Kettle Hollow, Page County, Virginia. He is proud of his stepchildren and grandchildren, a small dog, and fluency in Danish. He believes that moments shared are opportunity for blessings, gifts which never grow old.

Natalina Reis

Natalina Reis headshot

Natalina Reis is an international bestseller who wrote her first romance at the age of thirteen. Since then she has published many romances that defy the boundaries of her genre. She enjoys writing all kinds of rebels and outcasts into her stories and she always roots for the underdog. Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Chinese historical fantasy dramas are her (not so) guilty pleasure and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone.

Nicole Kelleher

Nicole Kelleher headshot

Award-winning author Nicole writes sizzling, epic fantasy romance and paranormal suspense. She resides in Virginia with her family, including #TullyTheDog. When she is not writing, working at her day job at a Virginia university, or taking care of her family, she volunteers at a local organization helping the less fortunate. To sign up for Nicole's Seasonal Newsletter, go to or visit her website at

Norma Thatcher

Thatcher headshot

Norma’s retirement career runs the spectrum; she teaches presentation skills at adult leadership classes and is also a children’s illustrated book author. Leaving the corporate financial arena in 2016, Norma finally had time to write. Her books are: Scooter Takes a Walk, Could a Ferret Peel a Carrot?…and Other Animal Shenanigans, and Laura Lamb and The Christmas Book. The stunning illustrations were done by her friend Loralyn Noragong from San Jose. Norma and her husband live in Warrenton, VA.

Author website:

Phel K Jacobsen

Jacobsen headshot

Phel is an active participant in writing classes and book clubs and is always looking for opportunities to learn more about the written word. She has received a number of writing awards since releasing her Memoir. She loves to speak to books clubs and at festivals, was featured as a speaker for James Madison University’s Special Collections Library Series and the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. and was featured at L.L. Bean Corporate Headquarters in Freeport, Maine in their Winter Lecture Series.

Author website:

Randina Sheldon


Randina Sheldon is a trauma and abuse survivor who shares her story and healing through art and writing. She advocates for the breakdown of societal norms that enable and contribute to CSA and SA, especially within familial and romantic relationships.

Her first book, face: a poetry and art collection, serves as a battle cry for survivors everywhere.

Her second book, until it doesn’t hurt, was released January 11th, 2023.

Robin Ha

Ha headshot

Robin Ha (She/her) is a Korean-American cartoonist based in Winchester, VA. She is the author and illustrator of Almost American Girl, a 2020 Harvey Award nominee and 2021 Walter Award honoree memoir, and Cook Korean!: A Comic Book With Recipes, a New York Times bestselling cookbook graphic novel. Her comics and illustrations have appeared in various publications including The Washington Post, and LA Times. Her next graphic novel, The Fox Maidens is coming out in February 2024.

Samuel Halpern

Halpern headshot

Samuel "Skip" Halpern brings a unique perspective to the subject of meaningful work. After studies at Brown University, the London School of Economics and GW Law School, his 45-year career in business, investing, and law has focused on protecting pension, 401k, and health benefits for a wide range of workers– from pro baseball, hockey, and tennis players to broadway stagehands to grocery clerks. He and his wife live in Luray and are very involved in local and regional politics.

Sara Jones

Jones headshot

Sara has called the Shenandoah Valley home for over twenty years. The blue hills and old highways inspire her imagination. When not writing, Sara homeschools her children, takes classes at LRCC, or plays board games. Her stories feature ordinary people who make the most of what life has handed them (which does sometimes involve ghosts).

Sarah Hickner

Hickner with horse

Hickner was born and raised in Mississippi and began riding when she was 11. At 19 she followed her dreams to gallop racehorses in Kentucky. The next 2 years became a wild ride of epic highs and (quite literal) hard falls as her world came crashing down around her. The pieces came back together to create a story worth sharing.

When Sarah isn’t writing or at the barn, you’ll find her cheering on her kids at one of their activities or trying to maneuver around her tiny kitchen with her husband

Sarah Kohrs

Kohrs headshot

Sarah E N Kohrs is an artist and writer with over 125 poems and photographs published in literary journals. She is the recipient of Poetry Society of Virginia's 2023 Judah, Sarah, Grace, and Tom Memorial prize. Her chapbook, Chameleon Sky, received the 2022 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Award. Sarah has a BA in Classical Languages and Archaeology from College of Wooster, Ohio, and a Virginia teaching license endorsed in Latin and Visual Arts. She serves as president of VECCA. More at

Sharon Shrum

Shrum headshot

Dr. Sharon F. Shrum is the author of one of the best children’s books about poverty called Somethin’ Out of Nothin’ and has worked in public education for over 25 years. Her life has been dedicated to helping children academically, socially, and emotionally. She’s working on several books with her next book coming out June 2024. Her belief and love for children is beyond measures. You can follow her on Twitter @Shrums1 or email [email protected]

Tava Baird

Tava Baird headshot

Tava Baird has been an active mentor and researcher in the pagan community for over thirty-five years. Her fantasy series, The Spiral Pathways, is set in Scotland in the 1700s and blends authentic witchcraft practice with Celtic folklore and history. She resides in the mountains of Virginia where she teaches archaeology and painting and crafts metaphysical tools in her spare time. Visit her at

Teresa Maley

Maley Headshot

Teresa Maley lives in Madison Co. VA. She grew up in Front Royal-is a 1977 Laurel Ridge grad and studied piano performance at Shenandoah. She holds a BS Business Admin. With husband’s military career their family spent years away from loved ones at locations in Germany and US. Teresa began writing children’s stories when her children were small. Life, work and raising a family took priority to her writing aspirations. Reading to her children and grandchildren is an activity she treasures.

Tj O’Connor

O'Connor headshot

Tj O'Connor is the author of The Hemingway Deception, The Consultant, and 4 paranormal murder mysteries. He also has a pending political thriller and paranormal mystery coming!
Tj’s an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world. Tj is a Harley pilot, a man-about-dogs, and a lover of adventure and cooking.

Todd Dorsett

Dorsett headshot

Todd Dorsett is a native of Waynesboro, Pa. He has studied the history and genealogy of the Antietam country of Maryland and Pennsylvania for over fifty years and has authored or edited numerous books and articles on that subject. He is a graduate of Mt St Mary's University and Wake Forest University School of Law. He is currently executive director of Antietam Historical Association and edits that organization's publications.

Wayde Byard

Byard headshot

Wayde Byard is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the author of four books. He has won the top screenwriting awards for Virginia and Maryland and has studied at the famed Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Wayne David Hubbard

Hubbard headshot

Wayne David Hubbard is an educator, aviator, and author of two books. His writings explore experience, science and history through a poetic lens, inspired by his journeys across the Americas and abroad. His award-winning poems and essays have appeared in various literary journals and is praised for its memorable imagery and questions. Perfect for thoughtful readers.

Author Sign-Up

Authors may rent a table at the event for $5 to display books and have a chance to interact with prospective customers – just in time for the holidays! We encourage you to invite your fans and families to this holiday tradition at the college. For more information about this event, contact Andy Gyurisin at [email protected] or call 540-664-5027

We do ask that you either bring your own books (and conduct your own sales).

The sign-up period for this event has ended. Please contact Andy Gyurisin at [email protected] with questions.