Darren C. Demaree is the author of twelve poetry collections, most recently “Nude Male with Echo”, (October 2019, 8th House Publishing). He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.
Tracey Dils is the author of more than 50 books for young readers in a variety of genres: picture books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction, and biography. Tracey has been awarded multiple awards, including the Parent’s Choice Award and the Ohioana Award in Children’s Literature. She has held a number of high-level editorial positions, including publisher for McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing, marketing director for Ohio State University Press, and editor-in-chief for Willowisp Press. Tracey has served as an expert writing consultant for various publishing endeavors, including Guideposts for Kids, several elementary and college textbook companies, and as a creative writing specialist for Thurber House.
Dils considers inspiring beginning writers as her most important work. She has taught writing for children at the university level and through correspondence schools across the country. She is a featured speaker at writers’ conferences and workshops. In addition to her work with aspiring adult writers, Dils has taught writing to children in a number of settings and is a frequent guest author in elementary and middle schools.
Tracey graduated from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. She lives with her husband, Richard Herrold, in Columbus, Ohio.
Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and blogger, whose travel blog, So Many Places, was selected by USA Today as one of the 2014 Best Hiking and Outdoor Travel blogs. Her writing has appeared in OnTrak Magazine and Northwest Travel Magazine, among others, and she was on a speaking tour for Backpacker Magazine. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband and their young daughter. Her memoir, The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World, will be published by Sourcebooks in April 2017.
Julie Drew is an Ohio-based writer and English professor who has published seven books, multiple academic and national media articles, as well as new fiction reviews. In addition to teaching creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels, she has offered writing workshops in the Midwest and New England.
Julie earned a BA in Creative Writing, MA in English literature, and PhD in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of South Florida. She is currently a Professor of English at The University of Akron where she teaches creative writing, cultural studies, and women & film.
Her most recent work, The Tesla Effect trilogy, is a young adult series comprised of Glimpse (2014), Run (2014), and Breathe (June 2015). The first two books in the trilogy were included on Ohio.com’s list of Memorable Books of 2014.
Julie’s novels have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal (her novel Daughter of Providence received a coveted Red Star Review), Kirkus, Booklist, Historical Novels Review (where Daughter of Providence received an Editor’s Choice designation), Cleveland Plain Dealer, Providence Journal, and Akron Beacon Journal.
Having grown up in Florida and then lived in Ohio for more than a decade, Julie and her husband now happily spend part of every year near the ocean in Rhode Island. She loves dogs, loves to travel and hike, is an amateur foodie and unabashed TV enthusiast, and enjoys outdoorsy volunteer work in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visit her at http://www.juliedrew.com.
R.C. Durkee is both a writer and an artist who blends her love of history, nature and the rural life into her creative projects. The sixth generation to have lived on the family’s 182 year old farm, she has raised horses, sheep, cows and crops. She is also an avid gardener.
An award winning artist, her artwork has appeared on magazine covers, in art books and in art galleries in Ohio and beyond. She has written and published short stories and essays for over twenty-five years, and her debut novel, published in 2014, is the historical fiction, RUM RUN set during 1920’s Prohibition. It has received many rave reviews including Midwest Book Review, the Historical Novel Society and the Great Lakes Historical Society. She painted the book’s dramatic cover design at the suggestion of her publisher.
RUM RUN was selected to participate in the 2015 Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, Ohio where she participated in a panel discussion on historical fiction and attended a reception at the governor’s residence. She has done many programs on her novel and Lake Erie Prohibition history at libraries, societies and continuing education courses as well as book and writing club talks.
Her interests are historical places and buildings, classics cars, hiking and biking and star- gazing. She particularly enjoys studying 17th though early 20th Century American history and visiting related sites with her husband who shares her interest in the the Civil War. For more information about Durkee, go to her website at rcdurkee.com.
Mary Ellis is a USA Today bestselling author who’s written twenty-five novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her first mystery, Midnight on the Mississippi, was a finalist for the RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. Sunset in Old Savannah was nominated for a Bookseller’s Best Award and the Daphne du Maurier Award for 2017. Her latest mysteries are Hiding in Plain Sight and Sweet Taste of Revenge, and Island of Last Resorts from the Marked for Retribution series from Severn House. She also wrote a mystery novella, Nothing Tastes So Sweet, in The Amish Sweet Shop anthology from Kensington. She lives in Ohio. http://www.maryellis.net or http://www.facebook.com/Mary.Ellis.Author
Julie Flanders is an academic librarian by day and a writer the rest of the time. She is also an animal lover and has written features about pets and the importance of animal rescue for media outlets such as Best Friends Animal Society and Cat Fancy. Julie is a television addict, an avid walker, and an obsessive fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Although a lifelong Ohio resident, Julie nevertheless has an ongoing love affair with the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Julie’s novels include the paranormal thrillers Polar Night and Polar Day as well as the historical love story The Ghosts of Aquinnah. She is also the author of the horror novella The Turnagain Arm, and her horror short story “Cardinal Sin” is part of the Mayhem in the Air anthology. Julie is a history buff who loves incorporating history into her stories, which she calls “mysteries untethered by time.” For more about Julie and her books, go to julieflanders.net
Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over thirty cozy mystery novels, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. In addition to being an author, Amanda is a former librarian with fifteen years experience in Northeast Ohio.
Lynette (Lyn) Ford shares “Home-Fried Tales,” adaptations of folktales “from many places and many faces,” as well as her own original stories and personal narratives. Lyn’s rhythmic, interactive storytelling style encourages language and literacy skills, creative writing, and an appreciation for the oral tradition among all types of learners. Lyn’s storytelling is rooted in her family’s multicultural Affrilachian oral traditions, her research and interest in heritage and folklore, and her own love of stories.
Lyn’s work has been publicized on the PTO Today web site, and in Columbus Monthly and Columbus Parents magazines. Lyn has written for Storytelling Magazine, a national publication; her work is also included in story anthologies and resources for educators, including: the award winning The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum, Literacy in the Storytelling Classroom (both from Libraries Unlimited), and Social Studies in the Storytelling Classroom (Parkhurst Brothers, Inc.); Sayin’ Somethin’: Stories from the National Association of Black Storytellers (National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.); The August House Book of Scary Stories (August House), and its accompanying enrichment guide for teachers, and the 2011 publication Storytelling and QAR Strategies (Libraries Unlimited). Lyn’s CD, When the Gourd Broke, won a 2009 NAPPA Honors Award.
Lyn is also a Thurber House mentor to young writers. In 2012, Lyn was among the first 30 teaching artists from across the country to participate in professional-development sessions on the arts and Common Core State Standards at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Lyn’s participation as an Ohio Teaching Artist in The Ohio State-Based Collaborative Initiative of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has provided additional opportunities for Lyn to share professional development workshops for educators and other mentors, in interactive sessions pertinent to benchmarks of academic content standards and diverse ways of learning. Lyn makes connections between the oral tradition and core reading and writing skills, in conjunction with the 21st Century Learning Skills:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Creativity and imagination
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
In the summer of 2007, Lyn received an Oracle Award for Leadership and Service from the National Storytelling Network. Lyn received a 2008 Friend of Education Award from Reynoldsburg public schools, for her ongoing contribution of creative learning and enrichment experiences as Herbert Mills Elementary School’s storyteller in residence. In 2012, Lyn was inducted into the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Circle of Elders. In 2013, Lyn received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence award, for her continuing efforts and achievements in storytelling. In 2016, Lyn was recognized by the National Storytelling Network’s Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance (YES) for her past work as co-chairperson, advisor, and special projects chairperson.
For more than 25 years, Lyn has provided stories for public libraries’ summer reading programs, keynote and closing presentations, and workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and storytelling conferences and festivals. Lyn has appeared at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and presented workshops for the National Storytelling Conference. Lyn has also been a storyteller-in-residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. Lyn was named the winner of the Liars’ Contest (for tall tales, not lies!) at the 2005 National Association of Black Storytellers Conference and Festival; she has also shared stories and workshops at the TalkStory Festival in Hawaii, and at other national gatherings, including the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah, the Eugene (Oregon) Multicultural Festival, the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, the Cape Clear Storytelling Festival in Ireland (with a return visit in Fall 2018), and the 2018 Sydney International Storytelling Conference in Australia. Since 2016, Lyn has been a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator for the Transformative Language Arts Network’s (Goddard College) Power of Words Conference; Lyn has also offered writing sessions through the Transformative Language Arts Network’s online classes, and spoken/written word sessions through the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.
Lyn’s first publication as an individual author, 2012’s Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition, has received a 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, and a 2013 Storytelling World Resources Award. The book is a compilation of stories from Lyn’s childhood memories, enriched with information on Affrilachian culture, and published by Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. Lyn’s second collection of Affrilachian folktales and family folkways, Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore, received the 2015 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Both books, as well as Lyn’s collection of original, creepy twists on folk and fairytales, Hot Wind, Boiling Rain (which includes variants, resources, and creative writing exercises for older students and adults) are available from Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. through its website at http://www.parkhurstbrothers.com, Amazon.com, and other book merchants. 2017 saw the publication of a book co-authored with friend and fellow storyteller/teaching artist Sherry Norfolk: Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9, by Parkhurst Brothers. Lyn and Sherry are also proud of three recent or in-the-works publications: Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs (2017, ABC-CLIO); Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides (2020, ABC-CLIO), and Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work, and Wonder, from Parkhurst Brothers Publishing (Fall, 2019).
Lyn is currently a member/committee member of the following organizations: The Storytellers of Central Ohio and their community outreach committee, Columbus Story Adventures; The Ohio Storytelling Network; the Northlands Storytelling Network; The National Association of Black Storytellers; The National Storytelling Network, and the Transformative Language Arts Network (a partnership with Goddard College).
Lyn’s work has also branched out even further. Lyn is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, sharing pre- and post-test relaxation techniques, workshops, keynotes, and icebreakers that incorporate both story and laughter exercises. Lyn is also a member of the Writers Council of the National Writing Project, which is comprised of writers who “want to bring greater attention to the importance of writing and the work of NWP…Writers Council members share NWP’s belief that writing is vital to thinking, creating, communicating, and participating in the world.” (quoted from the NWP website).
Carole Gerber is a poet and children’s book author living in Powell, Ohio. She has written nearly two dozen picture books, early readers, and chapter books.
Gerber has worked as a high school and middle school English teacher, an adjunct professor of journalism at Ohio State, a marketing director, editor of a company magazine, a member of creative teams at an ad agency and a hospital, a contributing editor to a computer magazine, and – finally! – as a freelance writer of hundreds of elementary textbooks, magazine articles, speeches, annual reports, and patient education materials.
Besides being a “Jill” of many trades – or more precisely – one trade, writing, with many incarnations, Gerber is married to Mark, the mother of two grown daughters, Jess and Paige, and “Mimi” to Sara and Tyler, Paige’s children. In addition, she sponsors half a dozen children at a time through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children of all faiths in more than 100 developing countries. Gerber keeps their photos posted to remind her of her blessings and responsibilities.
In her free time, she volunteers as a tour guide for children at a local nature preserve and farm. Gerber also enjoys gardening, though her enthusiasm dwindles as summer progresses, and reading, mostly for her own pleasure and edification. Gerber belongs to a neighborhood book discussion group, enjoys traveling to learn about other countries and cultures, and practices yoga which, like writing, is humbling and challenging. For more information, visit http://carolegerber.com/
David Giffels is the author of the memoir, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a
Measure of Life, to be published by Scribner in January 2018. His previous books include The
Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt (Scribner 2014), a New York
Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” and nominee for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel
Award for the Art of the Essay, and the memoir All the Way Home (William
Morrow/HarperCollins 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award.
His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic.com, Parade, the Wall
Street Journal, Esquire.com, Grantland.com, Redbook, and many other publications. He also was
a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.
He is an associate professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative
nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program.
Martin Gitlin is an award-winning journalist and author based in Cleveland. He has had more than 130 books published since 2006. Most were written for students of all grade levels in the realms of sports, history/social studies, pop culture and biographies. Marty has also authored many very successful trade books, including The Great American Cereal Book and the highly acclaimed Powerful Moments in Sports: The Most Significant Sporting Events in American History. He is quite proud of his newest book, titled A Celebration of Animation: The 100 Greatest Cartoon Characters in Television History. Marty won more than 45 awards as a newspaper journalist before focusing on freelance writing. He also covered the Cleveland Browns for CBS Sports from 2009 to 2012 and is an experienced and fun presenter at schools and libraries.
Shari Goldhagen is the author of the adult novels IN SOME OTHER WORLD, MAYBE (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) and FAMILY AND OTHER ACCIDENTS (Doubleday, 2006), as well as the YA novel 100 DAYS OF CAKE (Atheneum, 2016). A fellow at both Yaddo and MacDowell and the winner of Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, Shari has a BSJ from Northwestern University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in outlets including, Salon, Cosmopolitan, Prism International, Esquire.com, Conjunctions, Small Spiral Notebook, Indiana Review, and KGB Bar Lit, and she regularly writers about pop culture, travel and relationships for publications including Us Weekly, Life & Style Weekly, Penthouse, NY Metro, and DaySpa. Shari has taught creative writing at OSU, Mediabistro, and the Gotham Writers Workshop. You can find out about her at Sharigoldhagen.com (when she remembers to update her website).
Suzanne Goldsmith graduated from Harvard University and has worked as the marketing director for a foundation, an associate producer for public television documentaries, a newspaper reporter and freelance magazine writer, and a team leader in a youth community service program. Her first book, A City Year, is the true story of a year in a youth community service program.
Suzanne’s first middle-grade novel, Washashore, was the winner of the 2014 Green Earth Book Award, YA category, and was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award, Children’s category. In the book fourteen-year-old Clementine has left her city life in Boston to spend the winter on Martha’s Vineyard. She’s what the locals call a “washashore”: someone who has come to live on the island but isn’t from there. An outsider. Clem doesn’t have any friends and doesn’t fit in. Her mom and dad aren’t getting along. Coco, her friend, is three hours away. But then Clem finds a fallen osprey on the beach and gets involved with the effort to save these endangered birds. When she meets a lonely boy named Daniel, everything changes . . .
Suzanne is currently working on a second novel, set in an abandoned ski lodge in southern Ohio. She visits schools, libraries and summer programs to teach writing workshops and to talk about the writing process. She is also available to do joint visits with a raptor specialist who brings live birds into the classroom. She lives with her family in the Columbus area, and can be found on the web at http://www.suzanne-goldsmith.com.
Sandra Gurvis (http://www.sandragurvis.com) is the author of seventeen commercially published books and hundreds of magazine articles. Her titles include DAY TRIPS FROM COLUMBUS, 3rd ed.; OHIO CURIOSITIES, 2nd ed.; CAREERS FOR NONCONFORMISTS, which was a selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club; AMERICA’S STRANGEST MUSEUMS, 2nd ed.; and more. Along having her books featured on radio, television and in newspapers and magazines, her biography, PARIS HILTON (ABC-CLIO, 2011) has been translated into Chinese. Her newest nonfiction title is 111 PLACES IN COLUMBUS THAT YOU MUST NOT MISS (Emons, 2019) along with the more recent MYTHS AND MYSTERIES OF OHIO (Globe Pequot), her second novel, COUNTRY CLUB WIVES (Loconeal) and a collection of essays and shorter works, CONFESSIONS OF A CRAZY CAT LADY AND OTHER POSSIBLY DEMENTED MEANDERINGS (Loconeal). COUNTRY CLUB WIVES has also been optioned as a television series by Insight Productions out of Toronto, Canada.
A freelance writer for over 30 years, Sandra has written corporate profiles and technical articles for clients such as Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Ohio Health, Merrill Lynch, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of American Medical Colleges and publications such as Selling Power, Creativity, ASRT Scanner, Optical Technology, B’nai B’rith magazine, Currents and AAA Today. Additionally she has created Web content for AOL CityGuide, Strategic Edge, worth.com and others. Along with rewriting and editing books on medical and business topics, she prepares newsletters and assists in the writing and publication of magazines covering a variety of heathcare and business issues.
In the past, a major aspect of her work had been on the Vietnam protests and their aftereffects. Her nonfiction title, WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWER CHILDREN GONE? (University Press of Mississippi) delves into all facets of the Vietnam era, from tracking the student protest and conservative movements to comparing the controversy surrounding Vietnam and the Middle East. Her novel, THE PIPE DREAMERS (Olmstead, reissued 2019 by Hydra) is a fictional exploration of the late ’60s/early 70s, mostly set in the small college town of Hampton, Ohio. She has also written on this topic for the VVA Veteran, Ohio State Alumni Magazine, People and many other publications. More information can be found on http://www.booksaboutthe60s.com.
Other bylines and credits include People, YM, Entertainment Weekly, Fiction Writer, Woman’s World, Parenting, The World and I, Coast to Coast, USA Weekend, Chicago Tribune, as well as travel articles, promotional materials and advertorials. A former teacher of adult nonfiction at Long Ridge Writers’ Group/Institute for Children’s Literature, she lectures frequently on writing, the ’60s and her books.
Along with being selected for residencies and fellowships at the Mary Anderson Center in Mt. St. Francis, Indiana; the Vermont Writers Studio in Johnston; and receiving grants from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) and the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas as well as certification from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Sandra is a longtime member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). She lives in Columbus, Ohio.