In Memoriam

Author Patrick Hodges, who had registered for this event and has attended the Book Festival since 2016, died unexpectedly on May 2. Our condolences to Patrick’s family and friends from the committee of the Payson Book Festival and all of its authors.


(listed alphabetically)

Dito Abbott: Dito (rhymes with “Cheetoh”) was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and sailed around the world with his family by the age of twenty-seven. His debut YA Fantasy novel, Debunked, draws on his love for adventure, googly-eyed slime beasts, and sarcastic swords of legend. Dito lives in Phoenix with his wife, two daughters, and an invisible dragon named Clyde.Dito (rhymes with “Cheetoh”) was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and sailed around the world with his family by the age of twenty-seven. His debut YA Fantasy novel, Debunked, draws on his love for adventure, googly-eyed slime beasts, and sarcastic swords of legend. Dito lives in Phoenix with his wife, two daughters, and an invisible dragon named Clyde.

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Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer: TJ Boyer, the creative genius for the Mirror Gate Chronicles, and his wife, Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer, have co-written several books in the Sci-Fantasy genre. They are from Phoenix, AZ. A writer in her own right, Elizabeth wrote a historical fiction series about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, a biographical novel about her great-grandmother, and co-wrote with TJ, a murder mystery.

Tom Alberti: Tom is a 51-year resident of Arizona and has enjoyed riding his horses all over Arizona. He has written a seven-book series, ‘The Horseman.’ This series highlights the adventures and history of a young ranching couple and includes danger, romance, and historical background in the Arizona Territory.

Tom has also published a book of western short stories and two independent novels. Nine of his ten books take place in the Arizona Territory. Most of the horses written about in his ‘Horseman’ series are his own horses and the trails described in his books are actual trails he has ridden.

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Bart Ambrose: Arizona native Bart Ambrose grew up on an Arizona cotton farm where he spent his nights reading novels and teaching himself to play guitar. He graduated from ASU and worked as a natural resource conservationist, then a second career took him to Nashville, writing and teaching songwriting and guitar.
His first two novels are historical fiction set in early to mid-twentieth-century Arizona. Both take readers on vivid journeys and adventures in a fascinating era of the state’s history. Bart and his wife live near Tucson, Arizona. His hobbies include writing haiku, travel, and the pursuit of the perfect chili relleno.

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Susan Anderson: Susan Clare Anderson has an Associate Teacher Certificate and 29 units in Child Development including two practicum courses. She also has a skill certificate in School-age Programs and one in Preschool. She has experience working with children as well and strives to create books that are age-appropriate and fun to read. In her books, she offers opportunities for children to sharpen their developmental skills along with colorful pictures and interesting characters in order to capture their imagination.

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Jenni Archibald: Jenni writes reimagined fairy tales with heroines who are feisty, funny and in charge of their own stories. While you may recognize the names of certain fairy tale characters, such as Sleeping Beauty and Prince—or rather—Princess Charming, Jenni’s stories will take you on original and entertaining adventures.

Jenni, who moved 12 times by the time she was 12, claims Arizona as her home state. She and her family love to explore, from the Sonoran Desert to the White Mountains where they live. On sunny days she’s outside rockhounding, and on rainy days she’s inside with a good book.

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Bonnie Bahn: Bonnie graduated from Oregon State University, raised her family on a ranch in Eastern Oregon, and then moved to Arizona. Her first book, Bumblefoot, Murder is for the Birds, features a telepathic screech owl and a team of teenage detectives. Nex,t she wrote children’s holiday books, Christmas Alligator, Raccoon Rainbow, Saving Yankee and Doodle, and Moon Balls. The heroes of these magical books were disabled. Recently she wrote Fire Below Mystery Mountain about a wildfire near Payson, AZ, a family with two children and the golden eagle who shares their lives.


Carol Baxter: Handmade quilts, home-baked rolls, and the meter of poetry filled my childhood and, although it is a tossup as to whether the rolls or the poetry made the most impact, since 2005 I have made my living in print as a successful grant writer, marketing copywriter, editor, and award-winning features journalist. I am Carol Baxter and I have helped dozens of people write their memoirs, the truest family heirloom you can share with future generations. Isn’t it time to share yours?

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Timothy J. Boyer: TJ, the creative genius for the Mirror Gate Chronicles, and his wife, Elizabeth Ajamie-Boyer, have co-written several books in the Sci-Fantasy genre. They are from Phoenix, AZ. A writer in her own right, Elizabeth wrote a historical fiction series about the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, a biographical novel about her great-grandmother, and co-wrote with TJ, a murder mystery.

Find out more about the series at

Patricia L Brooks: Patricia is president/founder of Brooks Goldmann Publishing, LLC and Scottsdale Society of Women Writers. She is currently writing a non-fiction book and has written and published three memoirs. Her memoir Sick as My Secrets is a powerful story of how she overcame alcohol. Three Husbands and a Thousand Boyfriends is her poignant tale of love addiction and domestic violence. Gifts of Sisterhood – journey from grief to gratitude is a tribute to her sister who died from lung cancer.

Patricia holds a master’s degree in organizational management, was formerly adjunct faculty at Arizona State University and holds the Who’s Who of America’s Teacher Award and a Non-fiction/Memoir Award from the Arizona Authors Association.

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Susan Budavari: Susan has always been an avid mystery reader. After years as a scientific writer/editor and encyclopedist in the pharmaceutical industry in New Jersey, she moved to Arizona and began writing fiction. She writes the Merano & Bell Novel series featuring a small-town Arizona PI (and ex-NJ cop) and his physician wife. Reason to Hide is the latest book in the series. She co-authored with Merle McCann, Beyond the Broken Door, 2020 Winner of the Anthology/Fiction Award, New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. She has served as an advisor on the board of directors of Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter. Susan is currently working on a cozy mystery.

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Kebba Button: Kebba is a positive lifestyle writer and holistic healer, who has authored 3 books and over 600 articles on upbeat living.  She has a passion for helping people to live the pain-free, energized, fulfilled lives they have always wanted.  Kebba teaches people how to actually trade in their stress for energy.  She encourages them to develop their personal core of Peace Within, so little disturbs them.  Her book and classes on meditation also help those who would learn to meditate, walk a labyrinth, and become closer with the Divine.  She is loved for positivizing on every possible level.

Caren Cantrell: Caren is a children’s book author who writes stories about characters who capture her imagination. They might have a too short flipper or curly whiskers. Or they might just be curious about the world around them. Her most recent book is a middle-grade novel, called The Sun Thief. She also has a non-fiction Kindle series, under the pen name Matthew Taylor, called Planet Discovery Books for Kids. Caren’s three favorite words—Read It Again!

She lives in Cave Creek, AZ, with her husband, Bill, and dog, Daisy, but travels frequently to visit her five children and ten grandchildren.

Visit Caren at or join her on Facebook

Tam Chronin: Tam is a figment of the imagination, which might be why she lives there often enough to find her main characters and convince them to share their stories.

Before becoming an author, she slayed trolls for many years in the wilds of the Internet. She was occasionally granted the legendary weapon, Ban Hammer. It was a relief to retire from such harrowing adventures, but for a coin and a stiff drink she might recount them over a campfire.

She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her family and pets, including a vicious attack tortoise who guards the back yard.

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Jan Cleere (2022): Jan Cleere: Award-winning writer, historian, and lecturer Jan Cleere is the author of six historical nonfiction books detailing the lives of early western pioneers. Her monthly column, “Western Women,” appears in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star newspaper, and she is a presenter for the Arizona Humanities program Arizona Speaks. The Arizona Newspapers Association honored Jan for a series of historical profiles she wrote for Phoenix Woman Magazine, and the Nevada Women’s History Project named her to its Roll of Honor for her significant contribution in the preservation of Nevada women’s history. Her freelance articles appear in national and regional publications.

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Connie Cockrell: A 20-year Air Force career, a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.

She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published 20 books, has been included in five anthologies and been published on and Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.

If you’d like to know more, go to or to Facebook.

Emily Cooper: My name is Emily Cooper and I became a published author at age seventeen. I have written eight manuscripts, published seven, and am in the process of publishing another; I have many more novels to follow. I was born in Dahn, Germany and grew up as a military brat, traveling all across the United States of America. In July, 2013, I enlisted in the United States Army Reserves and completed my Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. In 2016, I met my now husband. We were married in 2018 and now have two amazing sons.

Marc David: Marc is a veteran journalist whose writing career spans five decades, during which time he has covered the sports spectrum from world boxing champions to the Olympics. He has written for lifestyle and health magazines.

A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Marc now resides in Chandler, Arizona, where he writes books, works with elementary school Special Needs students, coaches high school cross country and is available for speaking engagements. Marc is an everyday runner who enjoys travel.

He has written five nonfiction books, including The Addicted Runner, Available Male Tale, and 1,001 Things You Didn’t Want to Know. See

Chrisann Dawson: Beginning in 1991, Chrisann and her family lived in Congo for seven years doing mission work, providing her with first-hand insight into the setting and culture. They were there for the 1995 Ebola Outbreak that shocked the world and they experienced war, trauma, and the hardships of daily life. Chrisann speaks Lingala fluently.

Chrisann and her husband, Gale, have been married for 30 years. They have three grown children. Their second daughter was born in the Congo. Currently they live in Payson, Arizona where Chrisann works part-time with University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

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Jodi Decker: Dr. Jodi Decker, Ed.D, is a college professor, family historian, and the granddaughter of Martha Nasch. She is a contributing writer for the book Poems From the Asylum, in collaboration with great-granddaughter Janelle Molony. The book delves into committal to an insane asylum for 7 years, medical diagnosis and treatment, medical analysis, narrative bio, poetry, and sensationalist journalism.

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R. A. Douthitt: Former writing teacher, R. A. Douthitt is an award-winning author of many books for middle grade readers and adults in fiction and non-fiction. She is the winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Books Award-Bronze Medal for Best Book Series and First Place in the 2022 Christian Indie Awards in the YA category. She currently works for Grand Canyon University and lives in Phoenix with her husband Scott and their little dog. When she isn’t writing, Ruth loves to run, draw, paint, and garden.

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December Ellis: December Ellis is a poet from Phoenix, Arizona, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with a Concentration in Creative Writing Fiction from Arizona State University. She has been writing under the pen name d.ellis since 2014 and self-published her first book of poetry, Things You Don’t Talk About, in June 2022. When December is not working, you can find her reading poetry, practicing piano, or hiking desert mountains. Follow her at or @d.ellispoetry on Instagram.

Sherry E. Engler: Sherry E. Engler: Sherry resides in Payson, AZ with her husband of forty-three years, Don, retired police chief of Payson. Their daughter and son are law enforcement officers inspiring Sherry to write Living with LEO: Law Enforcement Officers, a humorous, insightful perspective as wife and mother to LEOs. Sherry has written and illustrated Daisy Doo! Daisy Doo? What? Who?, Holden’s Magical Blue Marble, and Princess Dixie, Princess Ella & 7 Crazy Hens. Sherry writes articles for Outdoors Southwest. She has been featured in Voyage Phoenix Magazine and Shoutout Arizona. Sherry enjoys hiking and spending time with family.


Annemarie Eveland: In her new book Hurrah for Humans she shares true-life stories that inspire and celebrate humanity’s kindness and courage. Be The Ripple (stories that show how small events in a day can have lasting effects on us), Real Women Don’t Wear Glass Slippers (stories of challenges that bring us deeper insights and gratitude from life experiences) are two of her other books.

A self-guided book, At First Glance, What Faces Reveal teaches how to instantly read people’s personalities by understanding human behavior through our physical structure.

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Laurie Fagen: Laurie is a long-time “writer by habit” who has written for radio and television news; corporate video, films and documentaries; magazines and newspapers; and now crime fiction mysteries. An honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine’s Mysterious Photograph short story contest and a love of reading whodunits led to three published short stories in Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter anthologies.

Laurie is a former publisher of a Chandler, AZ community newspaper with her late husband, Geoff Hancock, a jazz singer and artist. She is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC) & Arizona Mystery Writers and lives in Chandler.

Learn more at Follow her on Facebook

Cynthia Anne Finefrock: Cynthia lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her furry roommates, Winston and Sparrow. Before she ventured into the world of writing, Cynthia graduated from the University of Southern California before obtaining her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Cornell University. Academics aside, Cynthia’s true passion is experiencing as much of the world as possible through the lens of her camera. After designing a website to showcase her diverse photography, Cynthia decided to edit her dog Winston into her travel landscapes. What started as a comical exchange between friends has transpired into a published book.

Stay updated on Winston’s fabulous life by following him on Instagram @WinstonTravels_. Visit for updates.

Diana Fisher: Diana is an award-winning author, award-winning illustrator, and award-winning artist. She has been authoring and illustrating how-to-draw books, and other artistic products, for over 20 years. She is an expert at breaking down drawing into simple steps anyone can follow. The hundreds of 5-star reviews her books have received are testament to her ability to reach and teach children. After many years working with traditional publishers, she has now formed her own publishing company, Peewee Picasso®.

Visit the Peewee Picasso website at

Eric Foge: Erik’s passion for history and writing began at age fourteen when his parents sent him to Washington, D.C. The characters in the Project Pegasus Series are drawn from within the Intelligence Community, the NRO; the NSA; the CIA; an Admiral and the Master Chief of the Sixth Fleet; Navy Seals, Astronaut John Glenn, and others. Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs) 2020 named One Way Roads First Place in the Global Thriller Book Awards. CIBAs 2021 named We Know Your Name a Finalist in the Clue Book Awards. Erik was featured in Magic Image Hollywood Magazine, October 2022.

Terrie Gardner: Writing has been a passion since childhood. The sensation of writing with a great pen on a crisp sheet of paper is still excites her. Although it has always been a passion, writing was placed on hold while Terrie taught elementary education and raised a family.

In January 2021 she released her first book; Landslide, a Story of Faith Hope and Love to inspire others that may be dealing with a similar circumstance, living with an addict. Along with releasing the book Terrie has become a motivational speaker and shares her story to inspire and encourage others.

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Howard Gershkowitz: Howard is 65, married (42 years) with one child (age 34), and has lived in Arizona since 1981. Maintaining a journal for most of his life, he’s accumulated a significant amount of material to write about. To date, he has published a dozen short stories along with a poetry chapbook, Observations. His debut novel, The Operator, was published in October 2018 by All Things That Matter Press. His latest release, Not on My Watch, is out now.

Visit his website at

Earl Goldmann: Earl L. Goldmann launched his memoir Bounce Back in 2017 at age 82, and his second memoir titled Intestinal Fortitude in 2022 at the age of 88. He taught high school Social Studies and coached for 25 years in Oregon, sold textbooks, managed a golf course and owned a bar/restaurant before retirement.

He played basketball and baseball at Oregon State University, only to lose his scholarships due to a horrific car wreck.  His first memoir tells the story of his journey to survive and recapture his fractured future. It is inspirational, as is the second one, that offers more stories of his never give up attitude.

Rita Goldner: Rita has a passion for the natural world, sustainability and environmental responsibility. This agenda, coupled with a love of drawing and writing made picture book writing/illustrating a great fit for her. Through written word and illustrations Rita shows her love of nature, endangered animals in their habitats, and global ecology. Her storytelling style, with colorful, whimsical pictures and lively action-packed plots, make learning fun.

She hopes that her award-winning books will bring awareness of the environment’s importance and will ensure that her readers will join the fight to preserve all this when they grow up.

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David Gordon: David was a social studies teacher, principal, and is a founding owner of the Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy in Tempe, Arizona. He grew up reading and watching science and historical fiction and is a big baseball fan. David has combined his various passions in the Jigsaw series, which focuses on time-traveling teens thrust into major historical events—many of which never made the standard history books. Born in New York David now lives in Arizona with the love of his life, Gwyn. They are dog people, and enjoy travel and food—Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines in particular.

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Michael Hale:

Michael is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books. He has illustrated over a dozen books with various authors, he also writes and illustrates his own stories. The books he writes are humorous, rhyming, read-out-loud stories for children.

Michael lives in Phoenix, Arizona. You can see more of Michael Hale’s work by visiting

Robert Hershberger: Robert Hershberger, Ph.D., FAIA is a retired architect and educator living in Payson, Arizona. He received degrees from Stanford, U. of Utah and U. of Pennsylvania. He served as professor of architecture at ASU from 1969 – 88 and dean at UA from 1988 – 2022. He published many articles and two academic books: Architectural Programming by McGraw-Hill, 1999, and Predesign Planning by NCARB, 2019. His architectural work received over a dozen design awards. His paintings are exhibited online and at galleries and resorts in Arizona. He cared for his wife as she battled Alzheimer’s disease from 2010 to 2015. Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver is the result.

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Sandra Sorrenson-Kindt: Simple observations from daily life often turn into the best stories, and Sandra’s always up for a good story. Just like one’s children, every story has its own unique plot and insights, making it hard to pick a “favorite.”

Noticing the ordinary has given Sandra a wealth of ideas and perspectives upon which she can base her inspirational tales. Some of those ideas and insights have morphed into books that have the potential to invite readers to Live Courageously.

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Paul Johnson: A tour guide and author working in Sedona, Arizona, Paul has toured thousands of visitors to natural and cultural sites in Northern Arizona, sharing stories, geologies, and histories about the area.

Sedona Chi Mysteries follow the adventures of Skip Rhodes, an Arizona guide with a secret past and his friend, Kulkulkan Balthazar. In Tale of the Broken Spoke and Whitewater Honeymoon, they encounter murder, mystery, and mayhem among Arizona’s dramatic scenery and cultural history.

Paul has an undergraduate degree in history and a Master’s in city planning.


Jan Kelly: Jan is a native Arizonan with an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University where she taught for 30 years. She has one daughter and lives with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Kathleen Kelly: Kathleen worked as a Registered Nurse specializing in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine for more than thirty years. Trained as a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner, she worked with victims of violence. Kathleen is the Coordinator of Gila County Child Fatality Review for the Arizona Health Dept. She has studied extensively in alternative healing, embracing the richness of a holistic approach in her work as a medical intuitive. She believes her work lends the illuminating voice of each child after death.

Her short stories, penned in her journals over the years, celebrate the best in all of us.

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Christine Knowles: Christine grew up reading books in Geneva, IL. She graduated from Northwestern University after studying Theater, TV and Film, a perfect storm for her later writing life. She is also the managing editor of an international scientific research journal. Christine lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and dog. The Caveman in the Backyard is her debut novel. The story takes place at the Murray Springs Clovis site, just east of Sierra Vista, AZ, both in the present day and 13,000 years ago.

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Barbara Lacy: In collaboration with Vernon Mayes, a range-conservation instructor at The College of Ganado (Ganado, Arizona) and the staff at the NHA, Barbara put together the plant book, NANISE’, a Navajo Herbal, a user-friendly resource book that showcases the deep understanding Navajos have of plants that grow in the harsh Southwestern region. In 1990, the book earned an honorable mention in the annual National Federation of Press Women communications contest.

Barbara was one of the authors of the recently published Skirting Traditions, Arizona Women Writers and Journalists 1912-2012 and wrote Pictures of the Navajo, Their Health and Environment in 1980.

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Sharon Langdale: Sharon’s novel is based on a true murder case. It takes place in a historical Colorado mining town.  Living in such a town enabled her to draw characters that speak truth with boldness; a trait necessary to vanquish hard winters along with evildoers. Her twisty tale of greed, adultery, murder, and bravery is a result of her own loss of a loved one due to an unsolved murder. Her fictional story earned an Honorable Mention award from the Arizona Professional Writers Contest 2015.


Beth Lewis: Living in Mesa, Beth Lewis is an author, registered dietitian, wife and mother of two. With 20 years of hospital experience encouraging good eating and physical activity, she turned to writing children’s books to motivate the next generation. Her writing, The Boy Who Burped, is inspired by life experiences and a family who loves to laugh and play. She knows the search for balance in food and movement is a journey, not a destination.

You can find her online at and Instagram @bethlewisbooks

Nikos Ligidakis: Award-winning author, Nikos Ligidakis, writes with clarity and passion in an ardent voice, not to just recount adventures, but with an expression of feelings, to encourage the reader to think, to find hope in the eternal struggle for the meaning of life and the awareness of harmony. Today Nikos devotes his life to coaching new authors encouraging and assisting them to write and publish their books.

Nikos has founded several charitable organizations with the most notable his Thanksgiving Project to Feed the Hungry, a program that provided food to tens of thousands during its 21-year run. His selfless work with people has earned him several humanitarian awards over the years.

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Ed Loughlin: Ed Loughlin is a retired faculty member from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona where he worked as a Counselor, Advisement Coordinator and Health Instructor. Ed attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) where he received his undergraduate, graduate and nursing degrees. He has worked as a psychiatric nurse and taught both elementary and junior high school. Ed was also a radio announcer and loves to chat about music from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

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Betsy Love: Betsy is a fun, spunky grammie from Mesa, Arizona who loves writing quirky sci-fi romances. She’s been creating stories since she could hold a pencil. In high school her English teacher told her one day she’d be published. Love proved her correct and now has six published titles and plans to release three more books in her StarBride Chronicles series and a Christmas novel in 2018-19.

You can find her online at

Bill Lynam: Bill’s children’s books are Bernie, the Flying Squirrel and Lucky Foxes (2018), Bernie, la ardillita voladora (2019 in English & Spanish); and Steampunk Mashup, a YA collection of short stories (2017). He is also the co-author of Footloose Pilgrims, a coming-of-age travelogue (2014). All can be found on Amazon and Kindle.

Coming soon: Shorty, Alien Dog, an obedience school drop-out comes to earth for adventures, and The Confederate Canuck, historical fiction about a Canadian lumberjack who travels to Mississippi and becomes a Rebel officer as the Yankees are fighting their way upriver to split the South.

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Wilma MacLiver: Wilma began writing at age 10 to relieve the pain of her mother’s unrelenting abuse. She discovered that writing brought some relief.

Years later, she searched for a book on mother-daughter sexual abuse (MDSA), from a daughter’s perspective and found none. She decided then, that if she found the courage, she’d write her story for other daughters searching. Life Behind the Masks is the true account of the unspeakable abuse she suffered and her inspiring healing process.

Wilma is a public speaker on the issues of child abuse and bullying and she works with trauma support groups.

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Nancy Marshall: Nancy was born in New York and moved to Arizona in 1975. She was Executive Director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union for almost five years. Nancy spent many weekends with her family at a cabin outside Prescott. There, she encountered an Arizona Black Rattlesnake that had stories to tell about his fellow wild creatures. In 2008, she defended an activist jailed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and learned many stories of his reign of popularity—and abuse of power.

Nancy believes in your capacity to read, think for yourself, talk with friends, and act on your new awareness.

Find her books at

Jan M. Martin: Jan would rather write than eat or sleep, which is handy for authors—not so much for husbands. Favorite writing moment: meeting famous moonshiner Popcorn Sutton during research for Heir of Deceit. She has won national contests for her comedic poetry on subjects such as Black Friday, Eskimo Pies, and her messy kitchen. She wrote for a local newspaper at age 11, and worked for her high school and college journalism departments. She is the author of novels Heir of Deceit and Impressions of Innocence; My Word, That’s Absurd! (Humor); and Maintaining a Youthful Appearance (in progress).

Visit her website.

Merle McCann: Merle was first known for her National award-winning Longjohners Mystery Series for middle readers. Her first adult novel, a thriller entitled The Permanent Solution, placed fourth in the Arizona Authors’ 2016 National competition. McCann’s Vagabonds and Kings, a five-star adult historical saga, won best in all categories and genres in the Dixie Kane Memorial competition. The Parameter File was released in 2022 and enjoys a first-place ribbon. Her latest novel, Murder at Harmony Farm, a Molly Raines Story, launches this summer. Merle and her husband, Don, live in Cave Creek, Arizona, and have two grown children.

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Andy McKinney: Andy writes a movie review column for the local paper. A Gross of Zombies is his second non-fiction book after The Armed Forces of Iran. Both can be purchased on These reviews of zombie movies will educate the reader as to which films are worthy of the time of the movie watcher. Some movies are just as good as any other, some watchable but not great, and some are absolute rubbish.

Author Andy McKinney names names and tells it like it is. As he says about some zombie movies, “I watched this one so you won’t have to.”

Kathie McMahon: Kathie is the author of the humorous, award-winning chapter book series, Mortimer and Me, about eight-year-old Jimmy and a moose named Mortimer. Kathie taught elementary school for 32 years, where she composed several school musicals. She also collaborated on many youth theater musicals, receiving four ariZoni awards for Original Music Composition. She is a member of SCBWI and hosts the East Valley KidLit Mingles. Kathie lives in Gilbert, Arizona, where you won’t find any moose, but plenty of snakes, gila monsters, and mountain lions.

For the latest news involving the adventures with Jimmy and Mortimer, visit

Ron Mealka: Ron served in the USAF as an aircraft mechanic during the Vietnam era. Upon discharge, he spent a few years as a 6th-grade schoolteacher and enjoyed challenging his students to be creative.

Many years ago, he scribbled down on paper an idea to write a children’s book and custom write and illustrate it only for his two small children, Jennifer and Jason. It was supposed to be a family book only, but then he realized that teachers and parents could use his book as a teaching tool. That is how Jason, Jennifer, and the Fun House came to be.

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R Gregg Miller: After twenty-five years of chasing the bad guys on the streets of Los Angeles, Gregg retired from the LAPD to chase his toddler around the house. Instead of dragging a war bag to the trunk of a police car every day, he began tossing a stroller and a diaper bag into his SUV for another “daddy and daughter adventure day.” Now, with his daughter working on her PhD, the aging street cop lives in the White Mountains. When he isn’t building furniture or strolling through the forest, he’s working on another entertaining novel that blends his personal experiences with history.

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Virginia Mohler: Virginia is a retired teacher from Mesa, Arizona, who now writes children’s books with a purpose to educate and inspire young minds. Virginia was born in Lancaster, Ohio. She attended college in Indiana where she received her elementary education degree before moving to Arizona. Jinny has taught students from kindergarten through high school, however, she found her love in the kindergarten classroom and has spent the last 35 years teaching that grade level. She has discovered that old teachers never retire, they just lose their class (and retread). Jinny believes that you should never stop learning or reading.

Find out more at Follow her on Facebook

Tom Morrissey: Tom is a retired Chief Deputy US Marshal, martial artist, veteran of the US Army, former member of two hit rock groups and a song writer for Ray Charles and Richie Havens. He was born and raised in Brooklyn NY, to a blue collar family, in a culturally diverse neighborhood. An animated film based on Tom’s children’s book is in the pre-production stage. He is co-writing an action thriller series with actor/martial artist Steven Seagal. He loves to tell a good story about his dream of the return of this country’s founding principles, with power back to the people.

Follow Tom on Facebook.

Kevin Mullaney: Kevin is a retired Public Works service professional who retired in 2009 after 30 years with the City of Flagstaff and later returned for an additional three years as the Division Director of Environmental Services.

He has also served as a District Administrator for Little League for the past twenty years and is the co-chair for the AZ State LL Association representing Northern Arizona.

Kevin has called Flagstaff home since 1976, raising two boys with his wife, Cely. Hobbies include working with stained glass, gardening, and hiking with his pal Remy.

Kevin is currently working on his fourth book of inspirational poetry.


R.L. Nelson: Randee Lee, professionally known as R.L. Nelson, has been writing stories as long as she could hold a pencil. What started as a childhood passion for storytelling, has become her lifelong passion. There is nothing Randee enjoys more than writing (and reading) stories that are heart wrenching, along with some humor and a hint of romance. When she’s not dreaming up new stories to tell, you can find Randee spending her time with family, playing video games, and painting, or binge-watching true crime dramas.

For more information visit her website

Joseph D. Newcomer: Joseph is a speculative fiction, social commentary, and children’s book writer. His work includes Darkest Day, Diminishing Return, El Camino Blue, the Thought and Other Absurdities book, blog, and podcast, Let’s Make S’mores, and Ari and The Armpit Mouse. He is also the founder and owner of Dead Star Press, an indie publisher created to support writers who revel in the weird and, generally, languish in obscurity. Someday, he hopes to be sucked into an episode of The Twilight Zone, though he has a sneaking suspicion that we already were.

Debi Novotny: Debi is the author of several children’s picture books, including The Case of the Missing Title, and Hop Vroom Skitter. She enjoys writing humorous stories with positive messages. Debi is a former teacher and Library Program Specialist. If she wasn’t an author, she’d love to be a chocolatier!

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Kathleen Osborne: Kathleen’s dream of becoming a fiction writer came true in 2020. She became an author in the same year as her contribution to the anthologies she founded. Since then, Kathleen has produced and published three anthologies, Tolerance – A collection of Short Stories, Autumn—An Anthology, and Spring—The Unexpected, with nine other authors. The fourth book and final book of the Seasons series, entitled Summer—When Doors Open, will come out April 2023. They are called the Transcendent Authors and can be found at More information about Kathleen can be found on her website:

Glenda Sue Paradee: Glenda grew up in the Bay Area of California. She moved to Arizona following her parents move there in the 70s. Eventually, her brother and three sisters also moved to Arizona. Glenda is a retired Computer Programmer. For the love of music, Glenda, started her company, Thanks For The Music in the 90s, and still publishes country music news on her website: She lives in Gilbert, Arizona with her loving husband, Sam, and her cocker spaniel, Taffy. They all enjoy the summer months up at their cabin in the cool pines in Overgaard, Arizona.

Cynthia Peck: Cynthia, raised on a historic ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming, formed her values and independent character. Her playmates, siblings, and teachers were primarily the ranch animals. At age ten, she started attending boarding school, to become socialized and to gain culture. Married, had children, divorced, survived cancer, and has made her home in Young, Arizona for forty years. She served on the Young Library Board, Pleasant Valley Community Council, and the P.V. Historical board. Working for Tonto National Forest Service as a Wilderness Ranger, camping for ten-day-tours-of-duty she packed mules, rode horses, and built trails.

John Jay Pelletier: John has had a life full of adventure, starting out in Boy Scouts where his troop raised enough money selling fireworks to travel down the Grand Canyon on a river trip. He became an Explorer Scout, worked at Disneyland as a Matterhorn climber, and joined the Army where he became a Green Beret. He attended survival schools and eventually became an instructor at the Air Force Academy teaching survival skills. Now retired, he teaches desert safety and survival at the Superstition Mountain Museum and has written Desert Safety and Survival Guide.

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Jonathon Pembroke: A lifelong fan of fantasy fiction, Jonathan Pembroke is the author of five books, including the trilogy The Holly Sisters, about a gang of drug-running faeries, and Pilgrimage to Skara, a finalist in a contest for self-published fantasy. He served twenty years in the military and now resides in the highlands of Arizona with his wife and their unruly dogs.

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Eileen Pieczonka: Eileen is an award-winning author for Blueberry Bear. She is the Founder of Loving Literacy Authors, Board Member for the Artists of the Superstitions, a freelance writer with a degree in Photo Offset, and a tutor. On the fun side, Eileen is a wannabe cowgirl who loves animals and surf music. Eileen also volunteers for Tommy Two Shoes Literacy Project for Children, SW Human Development, and Pawsitive Friendships as an assisted-therapy dog team with her dogs Suki and Kong. Eileen’s passions are Blueberry Bear and children’s literacy. Her compassion is in animal welfare. Eileen supports rescue shelters and children’s organizations.

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Laura Planck: Laura was a graphic designer for 40 years. After retiring, she started to illustrate and write children’s books, a dream of hers since high school. When Laura and her family lived in southern California, they frequently took their dog, Angel, to the dog beach where the first two Big Cheeks stories take place. Ground squirrel families play around the rocks and enjoy being fed by the visitors. She has since moved with her husband to Prescott AZ and has two books that take place in the local area. She wants her books to put a big smile on children’s faces.

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Jenifer Ratliff: Jenifer is a teacher who started writing at fourteen. She loves guiding children to read better. She visits elementary schools during Reading Week and Career Days getting kids excited about reading and writing.  She loves gardening, and spending time with her three dogs and three cats.

Jenifer received a prestigious award at the National Indie Excellence Awards 2023 for being a finalist.

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Greg Raymond: Audiobook narrator Greg Raymond was born in Williamsport Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series, and grew up in Prescott Arizona. Greg is a retired firefighter and has done public service announcements for radio and T.V. throughout his 24-year career. Greg has teamed up with author Dr. Robert B. Marcus Jr to create audio versions of several works by Dr. Marcus. He is currently in production for a third book by this author. Genres include space adventure and political action thrillers. Greg currently resides in Arizona with his wife Polly and their Border Collie Smuckers.

Barbara Renner: Barbara started writing children’s picture books when she retired from teaching. Inspired by nature, the stories in nine of her books revolve around wildlife main characters and include animal sounds and facts. Avid dog lovers, Barbara and her husband rescued a yellow lab mix, Larry, who became the subject of a photo book filled with feel-good messages as seen through the eyes of a dog. When not writing, Barbara can be found walking Larry, hiking the desert foothills, gardening, traveling, and occasionally attempting to play a round of golf.


Sohrab Rezvan: In 2019, Sohrab Rezvan started writing children’s stories in his free time to entertain his two young children. He wrote off and on for about a year and a half before getting serious about writing in mid-2021 with the founding of his company, Flat Mountain Publishing.

Between January and December 2022 he self-published, The Adventures of Princess and Goose Book 1: Chase Away the Dragons, The Adventures of Princess and Goose Book 2: Sir Logan and the Witches, and his third book, The Toot Vortex. He is hard at work on several more books for release in 2023.

Vicki Riske: Vicky has been interested in puppetry and storytelling for many years. Vicki has her own business, We Are Puppeteers. She writes and illustrates children’s books, designs and builds custom puppets. She has written and illustrated four books, The Polka Dot Tea Party, My Teeth Are Too Big, Fishy Tales, and Los Pececitos Aventureros, the Spanish translation of Fishy Tales, translated by Sonia Elizabeth Urrutia de Soto. Vicki also wrote Grandma Bibi, and collaborated with local Phoenix artist Laura Best, who provided illustrations for the book.

Visit her We Are Puppeteers website.

Hayley Rose: Hayley Rose is a #1 best-selling, award-winning author, dedicated to bringing fun, educational and inspiring books to kids through her brand Books by Hayley Rose. Hayley’s children’s books have won numerous literary awards, including the prestigious Mom’s Choice Awards®, KART Kids Book List Award®, Creative Child Magazine’s Preferred Choice® and four Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards®, an honor she shares alongside actor Jim Carrey. In 2012 Hayley was selected as one of “The Top 50 Writers You Should Be Reading” by the

Visit Hayley at or follow her on Facebook.

Jane Frances Ruby: Jane has authored two YA Arizona Adventures, The Azurite Encounter and its sequel, Voiceless Whispers. She’s also written several award-winning short works including Surviving the Catholic School from Hell, an essay describing abuse at her elementary school, Brutal Hackage, a sci-fi YA short story about an assassin drone terrorizing a local high school golf tournament, and Theories of Decay, a sci-fi thriller about media personalities gripping with crashing satellites.  Ruby also contributed to Toby Heathcotte’s Women Wronged, an award-winning essay compilation.

Ruby is currently polishing her short works for an upcoming compilation.

R.S. Scott: R.S. Scott hails from Canyon Diablo, AZ, born to a Navajo Christian preacher. As the last unruly sibling of 4 brothers and 3 sisters, he grew up herding sheep while armed with a rifle and a horse named Prince for company. He currently resides in Phoenix, AZ where he continues his education studying theoretical math and collecting vinyl records of jazz and blues greats of yore. As a self-professed geek, he expertly juggles school, work, and his love of writing and music while surviving on pub food, pizza, and the occasional binge on sushi.

He writes in Native American, paranormal, and thriller genres.

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Patricia Hurlbut Sellars: Patricia graduated from the University of Connecticut. She received a BGS from the Department of Extending and Continuing Education. She is a Reiki practitioner and was in one of the first volunteer groups to practice Reiki at Tucson hospital. She is also a Stephen Minister. Pat worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for over thirty years and as a Hospice paid worker and volunteer for many years.

Her love for travel and learning has taken her all over the world. For twelve years she combined both work and travel in the United States and foreign countries.

Charlie Seraphin: Charlie, originally from Rhinelander, Wisconsin, population 7,800, was a senior executive at CBS News, and in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. Charlie managed radio stations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego. Adventures include college professor, living with monks at a monastery, and helping convince David Koresh to release children the night of the shootout at Waco, Texas. His first two books in retirement have 5-star Amazon ratings. A Payson resident since 2019, he hosts the Forum weekday mornings on KMOG and is working on two new books.

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Jody Sharpe: Jody had a rewarding career as a Special Education teacher. Writing about angels became healing after losing her daughter and then her husband. The valuable lessons she learned about moving forward and loving life in the now have set her on a mission to tell stories with love, humor and spiritual awakening. The fictitious town of Mystic Bay has given her an avenue to put characters and themes together hopefully enlightening the reader towards contemplation of the precious life and memories we are given.

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*Katrina Shawver: Katrina is a writer, experienced public speaker, and lifelong history geek. She wrote for the Arizona Republic newspaper for eleven years. During that time, she met Henry Zguda, a Polish Catholic survivor of German concentration camps, and soon offered to write his story. She is the recipient of the 2018 Polish Heritage Award, and many other accolades. Her book Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America, reveals a lesser-known chapter in WWII history. Give her a good book, cozy chair, and a glass of Merlot and she sighs contentment.

Find her at


Val Edward Simone: Amazon Best-Selling Author Val Edward Simone was born in Seattle, Washington, and has been writing since 1980. Val has published action/adventure novels; historical fiction; western novels; short stories; a collection of thoughts, musings, and observations; a collection of children’s short stories; and several children’s picture books. He continues to work on many other novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a strong advocate of early childhood development through the arts and continues to support all efforts toward helping children discover their own creativity through reading, writing, and drawing. Val currently lives and writes in Arizona.

Susan Starr: Susan moved to Payson from Phoenix in 2007 to take a job as a Certified Veterinary Technician at Star Valley Veterinary Clinic, where she is still employed. She joined Tonto Rim Search and Rescue in 2009 and became Dog Team Leader the following year. At this time she is on the board as Secretary. She taught accounting for seven years at Gila Community College. Susan has her MBA and also an Associates in Veterinary Technology from Mesa Community College. She has four dogs, three that are SAR, two cats and three birds.

Susan Stoltz: Susan on her adventure into children’s book authorship: “It’s not as easy as some would think,” Susan explained. “You have to know age-appropriate vocabulary, relevant topics, how to stimulate learning and inspire critical thinking, and then wrap that all up into something entertaining as well. Not a task for the weak of spirit.” Her latest publication, Dash and Zoom: Little Miss Sneakypants, is hitting the children’s book market with very positive reviews. Susan lives in Arizona with her two Jack Russells and is well known for eating chocolate cake for breakfast.

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Bruce Stratton: Bruce began drawing and painting as a child. That is until his high school-aged daughter needed a cartoon strip for her art class. She thought about copying Disney characters, but Bruce thought an original character would be better. It was a process of false starts and abrupt stops but then they decided on an airplane. With tentative scribbles then some more sketching, a shape began to appear. A small plane with large eyes, a big grin and flappy wings came to life at the end of his pencil. Lil’ Cub was created.

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Fawzia Tung: Fawzia Mai Tung, born in 1957, grew up internationally in a Chinese (Taiwan) diplomatic family. After retiring as a journalist, a psychiatrist and an educator, this mother of seven and grandmother of seven turned to full-time writing, publishing The Wonderful Tale of Donkey Skin (MG) in November 2016. A member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, Arizona Chapter, Fawzia Tung is presently working on a series of retold fairy tales (MG picture books), a collection of Best Loved Chinese Tales (MG /YA), a non-fiction book about spiritual awakening through gardening, and her memoirs (as a series).


Jim West: Author Jim West spent over 40 years in radio working up and down the dial in places like Indianapolis, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix. He served on the Board of the Academy of Country music in Hollywood. Jim was a finalist for the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville. He volunteers his time with the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame where he got the idea to document the early Arizona recording and rockabilly music scene in his book The Phoenix Sound. Jim also helped co-write the book Ray Odom, A Lifetime of Radio, Records & Racehorses.

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Dr. Andrew P. Wierenga: Dr. Wierenga grew up in Wisconsin and went to college in Iowa. Completing college, he moved to Florida to work in the corporate world and there he completed his master’s degree in business. Working full-time, he also worked part-time as a director of the IT department at a local university and taught courses at one of the local naval bases in the area. From Florida he moved to Arizona, and after 24 years he joined the world of law enforcement. During this time, he returned to school and completed his Doctorate in Homeland Security.

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Charlotte Whitney: Raised on a family farm in Michigan, Charlotte is the author of historical fiction set in the rural Midwest. Her most recent work, The Unveiling of Polly Forrest, a stand-alone historical mystery, follows her groundbreaking novel, Threads: A Depression-Era Tale, which was met with much critical acclaim. She has authored I Dream in White, a contemporary romance, and How to Win at Upwords, a nonfiction book about her favorite word game. She received a master’s degree in English and served as associate director of the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts at the University of Michigan.

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Paula F. (Pfeiffer) Winskye: Paula, a North Dakota native, began writing stories about horses at age 12. She released her first novel in 2003 and published her 24th this year. The Reverend & the Writer is the 12th in her Tony Wagner mystery series. It also features the protagonist from her Randy McKay mysteries.

Her current project is her second Lunar Enforcement science fiction mystery. Winskye has also penned a middle grade novel, three romances, and four volumes of the Collins family saga. Winskye & her husband John live near Snowflake where she is a Navajo County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteer.

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