Book Festival Featured Author Bios

Author Bios

Chris Barton

Chris Barton ( is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, included on 21 state lists. His new books include Moving Forward (an SLJ Best Book of 2022) and Glitter Everywhere! Where It Came From, Where It’s Found & Where It’s Going (June 2023). Other recent titles include How to Make a Book (About My Dog) and Fire Truck vs. Dragon. Chris and wife Jennifer Ziegler, author of Worser, live in Austin and co-host the children’s literature video series “This One’s Dedicated to…”

Melissa Lenhardt

Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a “thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western” by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times called her sixth novel, HERESY, “An all-out women-driven, queer, transgender, multiracial takeover of the Old West”. THE SECRET OF YOU AND ME, her seventh novel and her first contemporary women’s fiction novel, was published in, 2020. When Melissa isn’t writing, she’s thinking, “I really should be writing” and eating Nutella or peanut butter straight out of the jar. She enjoys reading, watching British detective shows, hiking, photography, traveling, eating ice cream, drinking ice cold beer on a hot day, and taking naps. She lives in Texas.

Robyn McGrath

Robyn McGrath has spent her career working with children as a dance and yoga instructor, reading teacher, school counselor, and now . . . children’s author. Whether she’s writing fiction or nonfiction, Robyn believes that books help us navigate life experiences while fostering an understanding of self and others. Robyn is the author of Dolly! The Story of Dolly Parton and Her Big Dream, illustrated by Ellen Surrey. Her upcoming books include There’s Always Room For One More, illustrated by Ishaa Lobo, and A Mind of Her Own: The Story of Agatha Christie, illustrated by Liz Wong. When Robyn is not writing she works as a Play Therapist, helping children and parents regulate BIG emotions. Robyn lives in Austin, TX with her husband, two children, and a friendly cat they found camping. You can find out more about her books at

Stephen Sanders

Stephen Sanders, also known as “Blackbead the Pirate Laureate,” also known as “The Steampunk Poet,” is a man who writes in many voices.  First published in 1975, Sanders has become an award-winning poet with book/magazine/anthology credits too numerous to list here.  He regularly performs and speaks at pirate, Renaissance, and Steampunk events, most recently performing at the Heavener Runestone State Park “A Walk Through Time.”  He is on the Board of Directors of Seadog Enterprises which includes a publishing firm, Blackbead Books, a recording studio, Seadog Studios, and Galaxy of Voices, a stable of voice-over talent.  He is the current President of the Fort Worth Poetry Society and an active member of the Poetry Society of Texas and the National Federation of State Poets.  He is also a published author of flash fiction and short stories.  If you want to know more about him, simply do a web search for “Stephen Sanders poetry.”

Fort Worth Poetry Society

Steve Sanders:  See above.

Mike Baldwin:  Michael Baldwin was born and reared in Fort Worth, Texas. Although he originally wanted to be an astronaut, the eyes weren’t quite 20 twice. He might have been a tennis pro, but poetry proved more lucrative. He is also a professional jazz clarinetist manqué. Mike holds a BA in Political Science, a Masters in Library Science, and a Masters in Public Administration. He was director of the Montgomery County and the Benbrook Public Libraries. He has also taught American Government and was a regional supervisor of the 2000 census. Mike’s publications include “A Slam Poetry Manual,” published by the American Library Association in 2003; “Scapes (landscapes, mindscapes, heartscapes, soulscapes)”, winner of the Edwin Eakin Poetry Book Award in 2011, “Counting Backward From Infinity,” winner of the Morris Memorial Chapbook Award 2012, and “Lone Star Heart,” a book of Texas poetry, 2016 by Lamar University Literary Press, and nominated for Poetry Book of the Year from Texas Institute of Letters.

Denise Salerno: A transplant from Brokklyn, New York, Denise got to Texas as soon as she could! Listed in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Ms. Salerno is a former student of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Recognized as an “original, visionary poet writing from a true realistic perspective,” Denise received a Third Place Award in a national contest judged by Edward Hirsh, a celebrated poet and past Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her Sicilian heritage shines through in the emotional words and ideas in her verse.

Mike Guinn:  The Hardest Working Poet in America. Mike Guinn is a poet, spoken word artist, author, producer, event organizer, actor, recording artist, and so much more. For the past 22 years, he has coordinated, promoted, hosted, and performed all over the U.S. Canada, and wherever God has lead him. This journey includes working with numerous school districts and colleges nationwide as well as coordinating events with major conferences like Mega Fest, Judge or Juried Poet or presenter for prestigious events such as the NAACP Image Awards, Austin International Poetry Festival, WordFest Waco, Toronto International Poetry Fest, movie promotions, conferences, youth symposiums and countless other local and national church and community events. Michael holds a master’s degree in social work and fuses creative writing and social awareness to create a platform that uplifts and inspires. Michael is also an experienced professional social servant with 25 years of demonstrated history in social skills, advocacy, creative confidence, and organizational leadership. As he sayd, “My goal is to help and support others through creative self-expression.”

Jeffrey DeLotto:  Jeffrey DeLotto is a Professor of English at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, teaches writing and British literature. His poems, essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies, and he has published a chapbook entitled “Voices at the Door,” the Southwest Poets Series winner from the Maverick Press; “Days of a Chameleon: Collected Poems;” and more recently, “Voices Writ in Sand: Dramatic Monologues and Other Poems,” from Lamar University Press. He is also one of the writers included in “8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the American Southwest,” from Baskerville Publishers. Jeffrey also serves as Editor for SCOL: Scholarship and Creativity On Line, A Journal of the Texas College English Association; Co-editor for CEACreative, an on-line journal of the College English Association; a grower of vegetables; and skipper on the mutinous family sailboat.

Christine Irving:  Christine Irving will be at her own eclectic book table at the Festival.  Christine is a poet, novelist and essay writer.  Well-schooled in ritual, symbology, myth and Jungian archetypal concepts, she employs this knowledge to inform and deepen her work.  Christine writes often about women’s lives and experiences in a repertoire ranging from the hum-drum to the esoteric. There’s something for everyone and she gift wraps! Christine would be happy to read a poem to you from any book on her table or with luck, you might catch her reciting a poem at the Fort Worth Poetry Society’s booth!