Festival planned in Mt. Lebanon to celebrate books

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:40 p.m.

When women get together, they often talk about books, said Meredith Mileti, a fiction writer who lives in Mt. Lebanon.

Mileti and her friend and fellow author, Gwyn Cready of Mt. Washington, should know: The two frequent book clubs and have started a festival to celebrate what they say are “the books that women love to read.”

“Women Read/Women Write” will be held at Galleria mall in Mt. Lebanon from 1 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27. Cready and Mileti said they hope to have 35 regional authors at the free festival, which will include discussions and giveaways.

“It all comes down to that magic that happens when women get together,” said Cready, author of six romance novels, including 2008's “Seducing Mr. Darcy.” Published by Pocket Books, it won a RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for “best paranormal romance.”

The festival will mirror the first one, held in January, which featured 11 authors. It drew a standing-room-only crowd to Barnes & Noble at South Hills Village.

Louise Machinist of Mt. Lebanon co-authored “My House, Our House: Living Far Better for Far Less” with housemates Jean McQuillin and Karen M. Bush. She found out about the January festival and decided she needed to see what she and her housemates could do to better themselves as authors. They decided to self-publish their book on Amazon's CreateSpace.

“I thought it was a cool event,” Machinist said. “I stayed the entire day. The women were enthusiastic, very interesting and very empowering.”

Machinist, McQuillin and Bush will be panelists at this month's festival. Machinist says she plans to tell attendees that it is possible for someone who decided to self-publish that they can get their book picked up and published the traditional route, too.

“My House, Our House,” a book the women wrote about living in a cooperative household where two or more unrelated people own and share a residence, will get a second-edition publishing by St. Lynn's Press in Pittsburgh.

Machinist said men are welcome at the festival, too.

“We always get asked if we exclude or if we hate men. That's not true, anyone who writes books targeted for women are included,” she said.

Mitchell J. Kaplan was a panelist at the January event. He writes historical fiction.

Mileti, author of “Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses” along with Cready, pointed to the influence of book clubs for making the festival possible.

Shannon McNeill, assistant director librarian at the Green Tree Public Library, said some book clubs, such as the one her library runs on the first Wednesday of every month, are more traditional. The group chooses a book to read and discuss. A mediator is present to ask questions and to keep the topics focused on the books.

Other groups sometimes go outside the realm of tradition. According to McNeill, book clubs can just be a group of friends getting together to discuss something they all read. Online book clubs don't even have to meet in person.

On Oct. 27, they'll join to celebrate what they love.

Holly Tonini is a student at Point Park University. She wrote this story for the Point Park News Service.

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