Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. Her debut young adult novel ARROWS is out now from Delacorte Press. She is a proud member of the SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens and the Class of 2k16. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

I write as Gini Athey just to keep my writing life separate from my real life. I have enjoyed reading and when I started writing, I used my background in quilting as a jumping off place. There are now three books in the Wolf Creek Square series - a total of six are planned.

From my website: Gini Athey grew up in a house of readers, so much so it wasn’t unusual for members of her family to sit around the table and read while they were eating. But early on, she showed limited interest in the pastime. In fact, on one trip to the library to pick out a book for a book report, she recalls telling the librarian, “I want books with thick pages and big print.”

Laurel Bastian is a writer and educator. She founded, coordinated, and taught with the Writers in Prisons Project, a program offering writing and humanities classes at Oakhill Correctional Institution, from 2007 to 2012. Laurel has also worked extensively on social justice issues, most recently as a staff member of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, focusing on education around and enforcement of the Fair Housing Law. She currently teaches communication with the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.

Jim has more than 40 years of both industry experience and as an instructor. His work in the landscape design and construction field included the likes of serving as director of facilities for St. Norbert College and as an architect for Boldt, with additional industry experience in project management.

Prior to his professional work, Jim served nearly four years in the United States Army—which included a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Certified in Organic Land Care from the Northeast Organic Farming Association and as a state-level Certified Landscape Architect, Jim’s green thumb roots are rich in history. In the mid-1970s, he led volunteers in the implementation of organic play pockets for children, families, and schools in Green Bay.

For nearly twenty years, Laurin Bellg, MD has been present at the bedside of critically ill and dying patients. As she has worked to create an accepting and supportive relationship with them, her patients have shared with her the mysterious experience they sometimes have of apparently seeing beyond our physical world.

Dr. Bellg tells her patients’ engaging, powerful and sometimes humorous stories in her book, Near Death in the ICU: Stories from Patients Near Death and Why We Should Listen to Them, published in 2016 by Sloan Press. She also invites us to consider that bearing witness to a patient’s near-death experience is a respectful and important part of medical care, a way for families to support their loved ones, and an important part of the patient’s healing.

Living with an incurable, extremely rare and progressively debilitating muscle disease is not something that anyone should ever experience in their life. It is definitely not a character builder. I've found it to be highly imposing, quietly relentless, considerably disruptive and emotionally challenging. Yet, I feel I'm being incredibly blessed, by the grace of God, to fully experience and actively pursue what I clearly recognize as a divinely-inspired journey. This began with the divine inspiration I received that early morning in late July of 2013. It has been very clear for quite some time that this is all much bigger than me. I honestly feel as driven today as I did when I first started writing You Must Answer This. My new book I Promise I'll Pay Attention also began with a divine inspiration. This is an issues-based book in contrast to my first book which is stories-based. Like the first, it also needed to be told and shared with others. I'm very confident readers will find this book will provide some invaluable insight they'll be able to incorporate into the living of their own lives. 

Jim Busha is the Director of Publications at EAA. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Sport Aviation, Warbirds, and Vintage magazines. Jim is also a contributing editor of Flight Journal and has had numerous articles published in FlyPast, Aircraft Illustrated, Classic Aircraft and Air & Space Smithsonian. Most recently, Jim authored The Fight in the Clouds (Zenith Press, 2014) and Wings of War (Zenith Press, 2015). As an avid pilot and aviation historian, Jim owns and fly’s a 1943 Aeronca L-3 and Stinson L-5.

Susanna Calkins works at Northwestern University, and writes historical mysteries set in plague-ridden 17th century England and which feature Lucy Campion, a chambermaid-turned-printer's apprentice. The fourth in the series, A Death Along the River Fleet, was released in April by Minotaur/St. Martins.  Her books have been nominated for the Sue Feder Historical Mystery (Macavity) Award and twice for a Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award (Lefty).  Born and raised in Philadelphia, she lives outside Chicago now with her husband and two sons. Check out her website at www.susannacalkins.com.

Liam Callanan is a novelist, journalist, and essayist for radio and print.

He’s the author of three books, including the novels The Cloud Atlas, which was a finalist for the Edgar Award, and All Saints, a Target Bookmarked Breakout book. His most recent book, a collection of short stories titled Listen, was a Midwest Connections pick.

He serves in the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was previously its chair, as well as coordinator of its Ph.D. program in creative writing. He has regularly contributed to local and national public radio, and has written for a wide variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes FYI, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Milwaukee Magazine and elsewhere.

His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of literary journals, including Gulf Coast, The New Haven Review, Tinge (where his story was named one of the Millions Writers Award Notable Stories of 2011 by storySouth), The Writers Chronicle, Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, Southern Indiana Review, Caketrain, failbetter, The Spectacle, and Phoebe. Liam is also the creator and co-executive producer of the Poetry Everywhere animated film series, which is archived at PBS.

James Campbell is the author of The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness, The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea--The Forgotten War of the South Pacific, and The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America

Campbell is a native of Wisconsin. He received his B.A. from Yale University and M.A. from the University of Colorado. He has written adventure travel, environmental, and military history pieces for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Islands, Backpacker, Audubon, Coastal Living, Field and Stream, Sports Afield, Military History and many other magazines and newspapers.

Author of The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic that Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics, Stephen Coss grew up in East Haven and North Haven, Connecticut and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has worked as an advertising agency copywriter and creative director in Chicago, Detroit, and Madison, Wisconsin, where he currently resides. When he isn’t researching and writing history or working in marketing communications he serves as a Wisconsin election official. He and his wife have four sons and an African Grey Parrot named Frankie. The Fever of 1721 is his first book.

Chris Czarnik is a national career search expert with 12 years of training and motivational speaking experience. He created and refined the innovative approach to job search, known as “The Human Search Engine®” by working with thousands of job-seekers.

Chris is a leading adjunct career search instructor for the 5th largest research university in the nation, as well as many colleges and universities across the country. Chris' process was introduced to the 113th Congress as a national job search model. He currently works with Workforce Development centers across the nation to reform the way people find a job.

Chris delivers dynamic presentations about career search, leadership and sales training to thousands of people every year. His second book, “Human Search Engine® for Career Search: A Serious Jobseeker’s Guide” was released in January 2015. He currently offers a certification program for career counselors, with many more products in development.

Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012), has three full-length books of poetry published, Breather (Fireweed Press, 2009), Unexpected Shiny Things (Cowfeather Press, 2011), and Small Talk (Little Eagle Press, 2014). He sings and plays harmonica and bass guitar in a blues band, The Big Talkers. Bruce lives in Westfield, WI, runs Poet Camp twice a year, and has taught over a thousand people how to juggle.   

James DeVita, a native of Long Island, NY, is an author and an actor. Along with his novels, A Winsome Murder, The Silenced, and Blue, Jim has also worked extensively as a playwright.

He has written seventeen plays for family audiences, his body of work being awarded the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Award by the American Alliance of Theater and Education. His adult plays include: In Acting Shakespeare; A Gift of the Magi (musical) , The Desert Queen (the life of Gertrude Bell); Dickens In America; Babylon; and Waiting for Vern.

Other wards include the NEA Literature Fellowship for Fiction, The AATE Distinguished Play Award and The Intellectual Freedom Award by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts.

Patrick Dewane is a Wisconsin native who loves all things related to math and science. He also enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his children, Rachel and Griffin. What if the Rain Were Bugs? is his first children’s book. He was inspired to write it one day after creating a game to encourage his daughter to continue playing outside in the rain. Patrick currently lives in Sherwood, Wisconsin, with his wife, Jess, and their children.

Terry Fisk is a philosopher, author, investigator, and lecturer for Unexplained Research LLC. He studied philosophy and religion at the University of Wisconsin. Fisk co-hosted The Unexplained radio talk show, directed The Unexplained television series, lectured at paranormal conferences throughout the US, and has co-authored seven popular books, including The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations.

Fisk has been interviewed and featured on numerous radio and television programs including Scariest Places on Earth (ABC Family Network), Dakota Life (SD Public Broadcasting and RFD-TV), and Coast to Coast AM (nationally syndicated with 20 million listeners).

 Jonathan Friesen is an award-winning author, international speaker, and storyteller. He’s the author of seven novels including Both of Me and The Last Martin, both of which explore mental health issues. Jonathan has numerous award-winning articles to his credit. His personal experience with Tourette’s and Epilepsy inspired him to write the highly acclaimed novel Jerk, California, winner of the American Library Association’s 2009 Schneider Award—“Best Book for Teens.” Jonathan has served on the board of the Minnesota Tourette Syndrome Association.
Jonathan spent sixteen years teaching in regular ed., special ed., and university settings, and now travels the country sharing his expertise and heart for hurting students with audiences of all ages.

Abby Frucht won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize for 1988 for her story collection Fruit of the Month, and has since published five novels including SNAP (Ticknor & Fields), LICORICE (Graywolf), ARE YOU MINE? (Grove), LIFE BEFORE DEATH (Scribner) and POLLY’S GHOST (Scribner.) Her newest novel, A WELL-MADE BED, which she wrote with memoirist, novelist, friend and colleague, Laurie Alberts, is her first collaborative work, and will be published in March, 2016. Abby has won two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and has been a member of the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts for two decades. She lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and currently serves as one of a three judge panel for the Pen Faulkner Award in Fiction.

Linnea Garcia grew up in Evanston, IL, and attended Lawrence University. She graduated Lawrence in 2015 with a degree in clarinet performance, but her love of creative writing has lasted a lifetime.

Linnea developed a love of writing at an early age. She started to write novels at the age of 10 and writing poetry in middle school. She won the first and third prize Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award in 2007, and her poem "The Chapel at Sunset" was published in the Lawrence University literary magazine Tropos in 2011. The Healing Pool is her first published novel.

Linnea has appeared at book talks and book signings in Wisconsin at Lawrence University, Kaukauna Public Library, and the Appleton Public Library. She has also done a creative writing workshop and book talk at Nichols Middle School in Evanston, IL. 

Johanna Garton is a journalist and attorney in Denver, Colorado, who has long been attracted to exploring the world. Her first book, Awakening East: Moving Our Adopted Children Back to China, is a memoir about the challenge of moving with her husband and two children from the United States to experience life in China for a year.

"I laughed and cried my way through Awakening East. Garton uses her personal and family journeys to capture the depth of emotion and meaning that accompany the various stages of growing a family through adoption. Garton will inspire all parents through her candid and humorous account of the love and endurance that carried her family through the ups and downs of living for a year in China. It’s a must read for any parents challenged to think outside the box when dealing with issues unique to adoption."
 - Eri Asano, Adoptive mother, Clinical Psychologist

"Author Ann Garvin founded the Tall Poppy Writers to unite bright authors with smart readers.

Ann Garvin is an author, speaker and educator. As professor of health, stress management, research methods and media literacy at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, she has worked extensively in psychometrics, statistics and psychology. Ann is the author of the novels On Maggie’s Watch (Berkley 2010) and The Dog Year (Berkley Penguin, 2014). She also holds an adjunct teaching position in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Southern New Hampshire University, allowing her to marry her love of people, story and writing and to help others to do the same."

 Tall Poppy Writers
"Tall Poppy Community wants to be that best friend…

…who always knows the right book for you to read next.

Have you ever asked yourself what is Women’s Fiction? Is it the old-school Harlequin Romance novel?  Is a story about shopping for shoes and getting pink martini drinks after? A book with a pink cover instead of blue?  Have you ever asked yourself why there isn’t a category called Men’s Fiction?

Tall Poppy Writers is a community of writing professionals committed to growing relationships, promoting the work of its members, and connecting authors with each other and with readers. By sharing information and supporting one another’s work, we strive to stand out in the literary marketplace and to help our members do the same."


"BRITTANY GIBBONS is a humorist, internet personality, model and nationally recognized positive body image advocate. She began her blog www.BrittanyHerself.com in 2007, and later founded the magazine, CurvyGirlGuide.com, and she hosts "Last Call Brittany," a weekly Google talk show. She lives in Toledo, Ohio with her husband and three small children."

Growing up in west-central Wisconsin on a steady diet of Joseph Wambaugh novels and episodes of Police Story, Neal never considered any career other than being a cop. In fact, his whole purpose in joining the Marines at nineteen was to improve his chances of landing a job in police work. After an eight year hitch in the Marines, Neal applied for a number of agencies and landed in Southern California where he is still on the job.

Neal has worked as a patrol cop, field training officer, member of SWAT, Hostage Negotiator, Narcotics Investigator, Gang Enforcement Specialist; and, Supervisor of a Homicide Unit. He has been named as Officer of the Year on two occasions during his career and he currently holds the rank of Detective Lieutenant. Neal holds a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, San Marcos and he is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.


John Hildebrand is the author of four books—The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac, A Northern Front: New & Selected Essays, Mapping the Farm: The Chronicle of a Family, and Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon—that often explore the relationships between a particular place and the people who live there. His work has appeared in such magazines as Harper’s, Audubon, Sports Illustrated and Outside. He is the recipient of the Norbert Blei/August Derleth Award for Nonfiction from the Council of Wisconsin Writers, a Minnesota Book Award, the BANTA Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and the Chancellor’s Regional Literary Award from UW-Whitewater as well as fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference. He received an MFA from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and, except for brief stints in England and Alaska, spent his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. His favorite mode of travel is canoe, and he is currently at work on a book about Wisconsin rivers.  


"B.J. Hollars is the author of several books, including Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in AmericaOpening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa, Dispatches from the Drownings: Reporting the Fiction of Nonfiction, andSightings: Stories.  Additionally, he has two books forthcoming in 2015: From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us About Life, Death, and Being Human, as well as a collection of essays, This Is Only A Test.

Hollars serves as a mentor for Creative Nonfiction and the reviews editor for Pleiades.

An assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he lives a simple existence with his wife, their children, and their dog."

Chris is an author, award-winning editor in higher education for a college magazine, and writer with international bylines, in addition to ghostwriting nationally-published content for doctorate-level professionals. His first book, The Human Search Engine: It’s what you think you know about a job search that keeps you unemployed, has been adopted as a textbook in accredited higher education, used by Division 1 collegiate athletes as a career planning guide, and implemented as supplemental learning material for college students in life skills studies. The book, which gained national recognition as a job search model on behalf of the 103rd United States Congress, is now a second edition based on demand. It can be found at www.hsethebook.com.

Thomas Kunkel is the author of  Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the New Yorker, Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of the New Yorker, and Letters From the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross.  

In 2008, Kunkel became seventh president of St. Norbert College.

He has served in that role ever since.  Kunkel spent much of his early career in the newspaper industry, working in various editorial and managerial roles for organizations including the San Jose Mercury News, the Miami Herald, The New York Times and The Cincinnati Post.

 I grew up on the largest freshwater lake in the world in the twin ports maritime community of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior Wisconsin. As the daughter of a Great Lakes ship captain, I was afforded the opportunity to experience the power and romance of the water while sailing with him aboard an ore freighter through storms and stars,climbing ship ladders, taking a turn at the wheel and eating at the captain's table while living in the weekly and seasonal rhythm of the transport of iron ore..

I graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth and taught high school English at Duluth East HIgh School. I have self published a book of prose poems entitled My Duluth: the Beauty and the Undertow.

In connection with the book Ship Captain's Daughter I have given a presentation at the maritime conference Gales of November, and done an hour long talk show with Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio, as well as Jim Oliver and Erika Janik also of WPR.

Patty Loew, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication, documentary producer, and former broadcast journalist in public and commercial television. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Dr. Loew is the award-winning author of three books: Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, Native People of Wisconsin, which is used by 18,000 Wisconsin school children as a middle school social studies textbook, and Seventh Generation Earth Ethics, a collection of biographies of Native American environmental leaders in Wisconsin. Loew has produced many documentaries for public and commercial television, including the award-winning Way of the Warrior, which aired nationally on PBS in 2007 and 2011. Her outreach work focuses on Native American youth and digital storytelling.

Wayne Martin became a serious photographer upon his first experience with a 35mm film camera 40 years ago. He has worked
professionally for more than 35 years, first as an award winning photojournalist in Wisconsin and Oregon and then as an AV/corporate photographer for 10 years in Minneapolis. For the last 21 years he has run his own freelance commercial photography business in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He lives in Plymouth, MN with his wife, Anne. "Cranberries Revealed" is his first book.

Carine McCandless is an entrepreneur, activist and mother. She has been successfully self-employed since she started her first company at the age of nineteen. As a public speaker, her presentations are featured in education and corporate venues across the United States. Carine’s memoir, The Wild Truth, published by Harper Collins / Harper One was released in November 2014, and was quick to become a New York Times Best Seller followed by international publications in the U.K., Canada, Germany, Italy, Turkey and France. The Wild Truth has been selected for many Best Books of 2014 lists including those chosen by readers and editors at Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Amazon and IndieNext.

Freesia McKee is part of a collective of incarcerated and free writers who are collaborating through poetry. She has co-facilitated a writing class, visited prisons to perform poetry, collected books for prison libraries, and coordinated letter-writing programs. The newest issue of cream city review, where Freesia volunteers, is called "The Other Side of the Mirror" and features a folio of writing about incarceration.

Freesia's poetry and prose has appeared in Burdock, Verse Wisconsin, Painted Bride Quarterly, Huffington Post, The Boiler Journal, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, and other venues. She volunteers with People's Books Cooperative.

http://www.comichron.com ). His fiction website is http://www.farawaypress.com.\n\n"]" style="font-family: Arial;">New York Times bestselling author and Wisconsin resident John Jackson Miller has spent a lifetime immersed in science fiction. His upcoming Star Trek novel trilogy, Prey, launches in October 2016 from Pocket Books. His first Trek novel, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, was released in January 2015. He has written for his own universe in Overdraft: The Orion Offensive.

His Star Wars novels from Del Rey include Star Wars: A New Dawn, recently reprinted in the Rise of the Empire collection. Other works include Kenobi, Knight Errant, Lost Tribe of the Sith, and the Knights of the Old Republic comics, available from Marvel as Star Wars Legends: The Old Republic. Other comics work includes Iron Man, Simpsons, Conan, and Mass Effect.

He writes about comics history on his Comichron website (http://www.comichron.com ). His fiction website is http://www.farawaypress.com.

www.picturebookbuilders.com. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two particular cats. "]" style="font-family: Arial;">Pat Zietlow Miller has four picture books in print and six more on the way. Her debut, SOPHIE’ S SQUASH, won the Golden Kite Award for best picture book text, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor. It also won the Midwest Region Crystal Kite Award and was a Cybils’ finalist. WHEREVER YOU GO briefly made Midwest Booksellers bestseller list, and SHARING THE BREAD was the No. 1 Amazon.com release for new Thanksgiving books. Pat blogs about the craft of writing picture books at www.picturebookbuilders.com. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two particular cats. 

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the number one New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels for adults, including The Deep End of the Ocean, which was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and also made into a major feature film. The editor of a realistic Young Adult imprint, Merit Press, Mitchard also is the author of seven novels for Young Adults. Her work has won the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, as well as the UK’s Walkabout Prize and was short-listed for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She is a professor of Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts and a contributing editor for More magazine. Mitchard grew up in Chicago and now lives on Cape Cod with her family.

Judith Claire Mitchell is the author of the novels A Reunion of Ghosts and The Last Day of the War. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, she has received fellowships from the James Michener-Copernicus Society of America, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, Bread Loaf, and others. She currently is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate fiction writing workshops and is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

A day after José Ángel N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States to stay. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America.

Arriving in the 1990s with a ninth grade education, N. traveled to Chicago where he found access to ESL and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator.

Despite having a well-paying job, N. was isolated by a lack of legal documentation. Travel concerns made promotions impossible. The simple act of purchasing his girlfriend a beer at a Cubs baseball game caused embarrassment and shame when N. couldn't produce a valid ID. A frustrating contradiction, N. lived in a luxury high-rise condo but couldn't fully live the American dream. He did, however, find solace in the one gift America gave him–-his education. Ultimately, N.'s is the story of the triumph of education over adversity. In Illegal, he debunks the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders without access to education or opportunity for advancement. With bravery and honesty, N. details the constraints, deceptions, and humiliations that characterize alien life "amid the shadows."

W. Nikola-Lisa’s interest in writing began as an elementary school teacher. He is the author of twenty-six books for readers young and old. Along with writing for various aged readers, Mr. Nikola-Lisa writes in a variety of genres including historical fiction, creative nonfiction, juvenile and middle grade fiction, and memoir. Some of his titles include Bein’ With You This Way, Shake Dem Halloween Bones, How We Are Smart, and The Men Who Made the Yankees. An accomplished storyteller and musician, Mr. Nikola-Lisa enjoys sharing his writing experiences whenever possible. For more information, please visit his website at www.nikolabooks.com.

Miranda Paul is the award-winning children’s author of One Plastic Bag and Water is Water, both named Junior Library Guild selections. Her titles have received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly in addition to being named to several recommended and “best of” reading lists. Miranda makes regular appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores, and has been a guest presenter at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center along with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. Miranda also serves as Executive VP of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books™ (www.diversebooks.org) and the administrator of RateYourStory.org, a site for aspiring writers. Miranda believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Learn more about her forthcoming 2016 titles at www.mirandapaul.com.

Michael Perry is a New York Times bestselling author, humorist and radio show host from New Auburn, Wisconsin. Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485Truck: A Love StoryCoop, and Visiting Tom. His first book for young readers, The Scavengers, was published in 2014 and first novel for adult readers, The Jesus Cow, was published in May of 2015. If you've ever attended an "author talk" or "book reading" by Perry, you know neither term conveys the blend of comedy, poetry, and tangential storytelling he brings to the microphone. You'll be snorting with laughter one minute, blinking back tears the next, and--no matter your zip code--nodding in recognition throughout.



"Leonard Pitts, Jr. is the most insightful and inspiring columnist of his generation."  —Tavis Smiley

In a career spanning more than 35 years, Leonard Pitts, Jr. has been a columnist, a college professor, a radio producer and a lecturer. But, if you ask him to define himself, he will invariably choose one word: he is a writer, period--author of one of the most popular newspaper columns in the country and of a series of critically-acclaimed books, including his latest, a novel called Freeman. And, his lifelong devotion to the art and craft of words has yielded stellar results, chief among them the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Leonard Pitts was born and raised in Southern California. He was awarded a degree in English from the University of Southern California at the age of 19, having entered school at 15 on a special honors program. Since 1995, he has lived in Bowie, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC with his wife and family.

Alan Prahl is a regular financial columnist for The Post-Crescent, where he offers advice and insights based on his 14 years of experience as Educator & Marketing Leader with FISC, a nonprofit program of Goodwill that offers credit card counseling, debt counseling, bankruptcy counseling, financial education, budget planning, debt management programs and more.

Rita Mae Reese is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Stegner fellowship in fiction, a “Discovery”/The Nation award, and a Pamaunok Poetry Prize. She has received an MA in creative writing from Florida State University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she held the Martha Meier Renk Fellowship. She has given readings and workshops around the country, including at the 92nd St Y in New York, the Bowery Poetry Club, Sarah Lawrence, Stanford University, the Annenberg Beach House, and the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, jubilat, Blackbird, New England Review, The Nation, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, The Normal School, and Rattle, among other places. Her first book, The Alphabet Conspiracy, is available from Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press. Her second book, The Book of Hulga, poems based on the Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, won the Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. 

After earning a degree in English Literature, I moved to Lima Peru. I stayed there for 10 years working as a teacher, translator, editor and freelance writer. My first novel was accepted by Rhemalda Publishing in 2010. To date, my most well known work is “Beyond Birkie Fever,” a humorous travel memoir about skiing the American Birkebiner. In the summer of 2014 I presented at the Library of Congress with Janet Morris. Most recently, Perseid Press published my autobiographical novel “Reckless Traveler” which deals with the time I spent living in Peru.

Vicki Robin is co-author of the perennial best seller, Your Money or Your Life, and author of the new book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us; what eating closer to home can teach us about food, community and our place on earth. Called the "prophet of consumption downsizers" by the NYTimes, Vicki's radical common sense approach to money, food and life inspires people to think deeply and act with integrity. She's a prolific social innovator, having helped launch many projects, campaigns and organizations. Vicki offers Community Food Labs to institutions and communities that see "local food" as an engine of prosperity, sufficiency and health and developed the local eating campaign, the 10-Day Local Food Challenge. She's an entertaining and inspiring speaker, and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including Oprah, NPR, NYTimes, WSJ, Utne, People. Her popular TEDx talk is on "Relational Eating."

Karyn Saemann wrote the book Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher. The book is about Wisconsin's first public school teacher who taught children of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians as well as daughters and sons of nearby settlers and missionaries. Saemann is a former news reported and editor. She lives in Wisconsin and works as a freelance writer, reviewer and editor.

Gavin Schmitt is a local historian, dividing his time between northeast Wisconsin history (especially the Fox Cities) and state-wide criminal history. By day he is a docent at the Neenah Historical Society, and by night he combs through thousands of law enforcement documents to piece together the story of the Mafia in Wisconsin. Schmitt is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he majored in philosophy.

David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 best seller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public health challenge of our time. Writing about Clean, author Benoit Denizet-Lewis says, “David Sheff has written the most important book about addiction in a decade.” Richard Branson says that Clean is “an important expose of a failed system.” Eric Schlosser wrote, “Clean will change not only how you look at drug abuse–but also what you think should be done about it.”

Sharon Short is the author of the novel My One Square Inch of Alaska (Penguin Plume) in which a pair of siblings escape the strictures of the 1950s industrial Ohio town on the adventure of a lifetime. Opening chapters of this novel earned Sharon an Ohio Arts Council individual artist's grant and a Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District Literary Artist Fellowship.

Based on chapters of her current novel-in-progress, Sharon was named the 2014 John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio.

Award-winning author Kathryn Springer grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a small weekly newspaper. As a child, she spent many hours at her mother's typewriter, plunking out books that her older brother "published" for a nominal fee (he had the stapler). Every one of those stories had a happy ending, and because Kathryn believes there are still people who want to see love conquer all, so do the ones she writes now. 

"J. Ryan Stradal is a Minnesota native who currently lives in Los Angeles, where he works as an editor at Unnamed Press, edits the fiction section of the literary website The Nervous Breakdown, and co-produces a literary and culinary series called "Hot Dish." He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which has been optioned for film by Warner Brothers and translated into nine languages. He likes wine, books, root beer, and peas." 

Jared Pierce, Carrie Simon, and Liv Svanoe have been cooking and camping together for nearly two decades. Their love of pudgie pies began in their respective scouting troops as youngsters where they learned to make pudgie pies of the white-bread-and-pie-filling variety. The trio's love of pudgery has since spawned Pudgie Revolution: Pie Iron Cookin' for Food-Lovin' Campers, which puts a gourmet spin on this classic campfire food. Jared, Carrie and Liv live by their "Pudgie Pie-losophy," which is that anything you can think of eating tastes better in the form of a pudgie pie!

Jill Swenson is an editor and literary representative at Swenson Book Development LLC. With a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, 20 years of teaching, editing, and coaching writers, Jill is an author’s advocate. First and foremost, she loves books. She recently moved from Ithaca, NY, to Appleton, WI, with her adopted dog Daisy. They enjoy walking through the sidewalk neighborhoods visiting Little Free Libraries.

Liz Tolsma’s debut novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her first novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013 and was a 2014 Selah Award finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014 and Remember the Lilies in February 2015. Her next novella, World’s Greatest Love, appears in the collection Rails to Love in October 2016. She is a popular speaker on such varied topics as writing, marriage, family, and adoption, and living with courage. She is also an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. She enjoys mentoring clients and watching them learn and grow as writers. She has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

Stacy Tornio is a writer, editor, and children\u2019s author. She worked for Reader\u2019s Digest for 10 years, most recently as the editor and brand ambassador of the national magazine, Birds & Blooms, which has more than 1 million subscribers. She has written for national websites and publications like Mother Nature Network, Mother Earth Living, GRIT, and National Wildlife magazine. She has also authored several children\u2019s books, including the National Outdoor Book Award winner, The Kids\u2019 Outdoor Adventure Book and the gardening book, Project Garden. Her most recent book is The Secret Lives of Animals. You can also find her picture book, Cathy's Animal Garden, which has a gardening tie. Stacy is a naturalist and has given nature education programs to schools and organizations around the country. You can learn more about her at www.destinationnature.net. 

A former whitewater kayak instructor, Eliot Treichel is the author of the YA novel A Series of Small Maneuvers and the story collection Close Is Fine, which received the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award. His writing and photography have appeared in a variety of publications, including Canoe & Kayak, Narrative, Beloit Fiction Journal, CutBank, and Passages North. He’s been awarded a Fishtrap Writing Fellowship, as well as two residency fellowships at PLAYA. He thinks riding bikes uphill is fun, sandwiches are better with potato chips, and that no one should go to bed without a cookie. Originally from the Fox Cities, he now lives in Oregon.

Steel Wagstaff is a poet, literary scholar, librarian, web designer, and educational technology consultant. He currently works as an Instructional Technology Consultant for Learning Support Services in the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wagstaff holds graduate degrees in both Library and Information Studies and English (Literary Studies with an emphasis in Creative Writing). In 2011, he completed a three-field preliminary examination (20th Century American Poetry, 20th Century North American Prose, and Environmental Criticism & Theory) and is writing a dissertation focusing on the writing of several “Objectivist” poets (Lorine Niedecker, George Oppen, Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, Basil Bunting, and Carl Rakosi). Find a recent copy of his academic C.V. here.

He has worked as a consultant in UW-Madison’s DesignLab, as the Assistant Director of UW-Madison’s English 100 program (“Introduction to College Composition”), as a teaching assistant and instructor for literature and writing courses, and as a land surveyor. For several years, he facilitated a weekly poetry workshop at Oakhill Correctional Institution as part of the Writers in Prisons Project.

Wagstaff is active on the web: tweetblogtumblr, and publish Steel’s Magnolias, a music site. Since January 2015, He’s co-hosted Off the Chain with Dave & Steel, a weekly podcast he’s creatd with an old friend from college.

Wagstaff lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife Laurel Bastian, and their young son.

Ron Wallace is the author of over twenty books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and criticism. For 43 years he directed the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he founded the undergraduate English Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing (post-MFA fellowships), the graduate MFA program, and the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series (Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes).

He is the recipient of three distinguished teaching awards, and poetry book prizes from The Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Society of Midland Authors, and the Wisconsin Library Association. In 2005 he was awarded the first George Garrett Prize of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs for his service to writers and writing.

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he has been a Wisconsin resident since 1972, dividing his time between Madison and a forty-acre farm in Bear Valley, Wisconsin.

Jonathan Waterman started shooting photographs on his expeditions three decades ago, but also found his calling and is principally known as a writer. He has starred in, filmed, and written films for television, including “The Logan Challenge” (PBS, 1991), “Surviving Denali” (ESPN, 1994), “Odyssey Among the Inuit” (OLN, 2000), ANWR Trek (PBS 2007), and "Chasing Water" (Pete McBride films, 2011) .

He's mostly known for his time exploring the North, detailed in seven of his twelve books and in journals such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, Adventure, Hooked On the Outdoors, Outside, Backpacker, Climbing, and Rock and Ice. In 2007, he turned his focus to the rivers of the Southwest, beginning with an arduous journey and research project on the Colorado River, and in 2011, with an extensive aerial and repeat photography investigation of 16 diminished rivers (all carrying Colorado River water) from the Rio Grande to the Green.

To support his work, he has received three grants from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council, two grants from the Walton Family Foundation, and grants from the Storer Foundation, SavetheColorado.org, the Kenney Brothers Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, Patagonia, and the Campion Foundation.

I live in Appleton, WI and worked in the Fox Valley until my recent retirement from a local library. I have worked with students in a number of capacities for the last 20 years. Writing children's books is a fairly recent endeavor and has resulted in a series of books called "Tails of Lewis & Clark" inspired by my three cats, Lewis, Clark, and Xena. Their behavior often imitates children and the stories talk about real issues children face such as honesty, fears, and bullying.

A long-time fan of romantic suspense, Beth Ann Ziarnik offers her first novel with all the twists and turns, cliffhangers and romantic tension she and readers have come to love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a co-founder of Word & Pen Christian Writers serving Northeast Wisconsin. In addition to her 450 published pieces (several included in anthologies), she is the author of Love With Shoes On. Her ten-year column on love in action was based on 1 Corinthians 13 and published in Together in Faith.
Beth grew up in Kaukauna, graduating from St. Mary’s in 1957 and Kaukauna High School in 1961. She currently resides in Oshkosh WI.

Rob Zimmer is a nature and garden author located in Appleton, WI. With over 25 years of professional writing experience, his work has appeared in a number of local, national and international publications. He is the author of Voices of the Wind: Four Seasons in Wild Wisconsin, and Reflecting: Nature in Black and White

Thank You

Atlas Coffee Mill

Big thanks go to Atlas Coffee Mill for hosting monthly meetings for the Fox Cities Book Festival Board! We appreciate your support of the Festival and just can't thank you enough for providing a welcoming meeting space for us to plan and dream.