Meet the Ohio authors and illustrators who are participating in this year’s Buckeye Book Fair.
Our authors are planning to attend the in-person Buckeye Book Fair.
We can’t wait to see you!
All schedules are subject to change.
One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she writes books for kids, tweens, teens, and the young at heart! Visit her at www.rachelealpine.com.
Lisa Amstutz is the author of more than 150 books for children and co-author of an adult book on the local foods movement. She has also written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Lisa’s background includes a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Science/Ecology. A former outdoor educator, she specializes in topics related to nature, sustainability, and agriculture. Lisa lives on a small farm in Ohio with her family.
Liz Ball is the author/illustrator of the popular Hidden Treasures, hidden picture puzzle books. Her puzzles also appear in 200+ newspapers, magazines and publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. Liz’s hidden pictures appeal to all ages, not just kids, and are recommended by teachers, doctors and parents to help improve spatial skills, eye coordination, concentration and memory retention. Liz has illustrated over 30 books, is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a frequent speaker at schools, conferences, and libraries where she delights audiences with her sketches. When not drawing, Liz enjoys her overflowing flower gardens, goldfish pond (complete with bullfrogs and dragonflies), friends, family and spending time in the out-of-doors.
Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, ‘Beneath the Pines,’ was published in 2008, and her follow-up, ‘The Atomic City Girls’ became an international bestseller 2018. Janet’s latest novel, ‘The Ballad of Laurel Springs,’ will be released in 2021. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently raising a daughter and working on a new novel.
Sara Bir is a chef, writer, and plant nerd who aims to get people outside and looking at their everyday surroundings in a completely new way. Her book The Fruit Forager’s Companion (Chelsea Green, 2018) won the 2019 Reference and Technical Cookbook Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she teaches classes for home cooks and her writing has been featured in Saveur, Lucky Peach, Serious Eats, Modern Farmer, Best Food Writing 2014, and two Full Grown People anthologies. She enjoys plantspotting around her neighborhood in Marietta, Ohio, and looks forward to once again skating with her roller derby team.
Marc Bona is a features writer for cleveland.com / The Plain Dealer who has written “Hidden History of Cleveland Sports” (The History Press, 2021), “The Reason We Play” (Rowman & Littlefield, due November 2021) and a football-based novel, “The Game Changer” (Luminare Press, 2018). He previously worked in assorted editing roles for The Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana; The Times Union in Albany, New York; The Detroit News, San Antonio Light and The Dallas Morning News. Bona, a University of Iowa graduate, has won numerous Cleveland Press Club writing awards. He lives in Akron with his wife Lynne Sherwin and their rescue pup Addie. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Lindsay Bonilla is a professional storyteller and children’s book author from North Canton, Ohio. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in theatre and religion at Northwestern University, she fell in love with folktales and world travel and has been performing interactive theatre, sharing stories and teaching workshops all over the world ever since. Her picture book, POLAR BEAR ISLAND, which celebrates inclusivity and diversity, was the winner of a 2018 Parents’ Choice Award. Her latest book, I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEARTS, was featured in The Wall Street Journal. She has four other titles coming from Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, Page Street Kids and Holiday House. Lindsay has visited 28 countries on 5 different continents, but usually you can find her at home with her wildly creative kids and husband who give her loads of inspiration for her stories, but limited time to write them. Learn more at http://www.lindsaybonilla.com
Louise Borden is the author of thirty-two books for young readers. Her subjects range from kindergarten to World War II.
SKI SOLDIER – A World War II Biography, published in 2018, was called a “rare gem” by Kirkus Reviews and was a Junior Library Guild selection.
Louise Borden’s newest book, FULL SPEED AHEAD!, recounts the life of David G. Farragut who joined the U.S. Navy at age eight and who signed a warrant at age nine to defend his country. Farragut served fifteen U.S. presidents and became America’s first admiral.
A former bookstore owner, Louise has spoken at hundreds of schools, libraries, and museums across the country. She lives with her husband Peter in Cincinnati. The Bordens have three grown children.
Marcy Campbell is an award-winning author of picture books and middle-grade novels, which have earned praise from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, School Library Review, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, and many others. Her debut picture book was selected for the Junior Library Guild, chosen as a Top 10 Indie Next Pick, and was the recipient of awards including the Comstock Read Aloud and Crystal Kite Awards. Her books have been translated into eight languages and adapted for stage. Campbell lives in Ohio with her husband, two children and three furry companions. Visit her at marcycampbell.com.
Mary Kay Carson
Mary Kay Carson is an author of books for young people about wildlife, space, weather, nature, and history. After studying biology in college, and a stint in the Peace Corps, she began her writing career working for the classroom magazine SuperScience at Scholastic, Inc. Her books have received more than a dozen starred reviews, as well as multiple awards, including the 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for Alexander Graham Bell for Kids. She’s written six titles in HMH’s acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, including and The Bat Scientists, an ALA 2011 Notable Children’s Books for Middle Readers and The Tornado Scientist, a State Library of Ohio Choose To Read Ohio (CTRO) title for 2021-22. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband in a century-old house surrounded by urban greenspace, deer, hawks, woodchucks, and songbirds. www.marykaycarson.com
Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, is a hybrid author who has penned more than twenty-five books and short stories. She has hit both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller list. As Abby Collette is the author of the Ice Cream Parlor mystery series, about a millennial MBA-holding granddaughter running a family-owned ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the Books & Biscuits mystery series. The first book, starring a set of fraternal twins who reunite and open a bookstore and soul food café, is called Body and Soul Food. Writing as Abby L. Vandiver, she is the author of the Logan Dickerson Mysteries, featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian, as well as the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, pairing an East Texas medical examiner and her feisty, funeral-home-owning auntie as sleuths. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and hanging out with her grandchildren, each of whom are her favorite.
Richard Cowdrey is a New York Times bestselling Illustrator, Fine Artist, Author, Speaker, and Educator (and in his mind and heart- Farmer) From Cincinnati Ohio, Richard’s deep faith in God and love of God’s creation, coupled with an ability to take direction and having a variety of “styles”, make him a special type of visual communicator. Richard sees his vocation as an opportunity to serve the clients he works with, ultimately being their hands in collaborating to create pieces that fulfill the objective. In 1978 Richard left Cincinnati for Columbus College of Art & Design, graduation in 1981. After a short stint at Hallmark Greeting Cards in KC MO he went out on his own beginning nearly 40 years as a freelance illustrator. In his professional career R has worked with a great multitude of Agencies, Designers, Toy Companies, Publishers, Card Companies, Schools, Large Corporations, small shops, Newspapers, and many more.
Ohio Cartographer Jeff Craig graduated from Miami University and received a master’s degree in Geography from the University of Cincinnati. He started his career in Cartography with a local map company and is currently employed by a regional utility company. He started Craig Cartography in 2001 to perform freelance map work and publish his own unique maps including Hidden Ohio Map & Guide which has had almost 50,000 copies distributed across the state and beyond since it was first published in 2007. His new publication, Map In Black: A Mysterious Map of America arrived in July 2021and blends his interests in cartography, ghost stories, cryptozoology and ufology. He has also taught introductory Geography classes at Northern Kentucky University and other Cincinnati area institutions. As a Certified Volunteer Naturalist, he enjoys spending time in Ohio’s preserves hiking as well as helping to maintain their native habitat.
Marc grew up in the Massillon, Ohio area. He graduated from The University of Akron in 1974 and began teaching sixth grade in the Wooster City Schools where he worked for five years at Wayne and Grant Street Elementary Schools. Marc served as a principal at Clinton Elementary School in Northwest Local Schools in Stark County for seven years, Assistant Superintendent of Ashland City Schools, Superintendent of Richmond Heights Local Schools in Cuyahoga County. From 1993-2007 He was Superintendent of Kent City Schools and taught as an adjunct professor at Kent State University. In retirement some reinvention has been required. Marc’s been an instructor in the Animal Education Department at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since 2008. In addition to writing which began as a COVID project, he’s in his fourth term as a City Council member in Mount Dora, FL and a tour guide in historic downtown Mount Dora. He believes that qualifies him as a “story teller”. Marc and his wife Jayn have two sons, two grand daughters with twins on the way. They consider themselves to be very fortunate indeed!.
Jerzy Drozd co-authored the graphic novel Science Comics: Rockets with his wife Anne. He is one of the artists of The Warren Commission Report. He leads cartooning workshops for children and teens in libraries and schools, as well as for teachers who want to bring comics to the classroom. He also podcasts about comics and how to make them. Drozd has drawn special projects for Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, Marvel Comics, VIZ Media, and others. He is currently working on his next graphic novel, Baron von Bear and the Case of the Two-Faced Statue, which will be released by Iron Circus Comics in 2023.
Mary Ellis is a former schoolteacher turned USA Today bestselling author who’s written twenty-six 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. Her latest book is One for the Road from the Bourbon Tour Mysteries from Severn House. One Hundred Proof Murder released August 3, 2021. She enjoys gardening and bicycling and lives in Ohio with her husband and dog.
Alex Erickson is the author of both the Bookstore Café and the Furever Pets mysteries. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending his time gaming or playing music. He lives in Ohio with his wife, son, and their three crazy cats.
BreAnn Fennell is the 2021 Regional Ohio Teacher of the Year for District 5. She serves at a Teacher Leader Liaison for the state of Ohio and a Lead Ambassador for the Teach Better Team. She is an author, most recently of children’s books entitled Choose Your Cheer and Play? Yay! Baby Talk. When it comes to writing, BreAnn likes to write about children doing great things like using their imagination or inspiring others. She loves her job as an educator and technology coach at Ashland City Schools. Bryan and BreAnn are the parents of two little boys, Lucas and Maks. She enjoys reading, writing, eating her vegetables, and challenging herself to try new things.
Tom Feran is an award-winning journalist who worked as a writer and editor for The Cleveland Plain Dealer for 37 years. Beginning in 1982, Feran worked as the paper’s features editor, TV critic, Sunday magazine editor, columnist, PolitiFact writer, assistant metro editor, and metro reporter. He was named Best Columnist in Ohio by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2007.
Norm N. Nite is a legendary broadcaster, disc jockey, and impresario known by many as “Mr. Music” for his extensive knowledge of music history and popular culture. Nite worked for over half a dozen radio shows in New York and Cleveland during his six-decade-long career, including a SiriusXM radio show broadcast live from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has also chronicled the history of rock and roll music in his “Rock On” encyclopedias.
Amanda Flower is a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over thirty-five mystery novels. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Romantic Times, and she had been featured in USA Today, First for Women, and Woman’s World. She currently writes for Penguin-Random House (Berkley), Kensington, Hallmark Publishing, Crooked Lane Books, and Sourcebooks. In addition to being a writer, she was a librarian for fifteen years. Today, Flower and her husband own a farm and recording studio, and they live in Northeast Ohio with their two adorable cats.
Julie is the Curator at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. She attended the University of Dayton where she majored in History and English. After completing an internship with the Montgomery County Historical Society, she decided to become a museum curator and attended graduate school at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in upstate New York. Before moving back to Ohio, Julie pursued her museum career first at the Rye Historical Society in New York and then at the Litchfield Historical Society in Connecticut. She started her current position at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in April 2014. As Curator, Julie oversees the Collections, Tour Services and Education departments. During her tenure with SHH she has written six books on the history of the Seiberling family and Stan Hywet Hall estate. She has also completed the installation of a permanent exhibition “The Seiberling Legacy” in the lower level of the Manor House and the reimagination of the Gate Lodge permanent exhibit, “Henrietta: A Spark for a Movement.”
Terry Gilbert has been in private law practice since 1973, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation. At the start of his legal career, Gilbert represented American Indians in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee confrontation in South Dakota, as well as numerous antiwar and civil rights activists. Over the years, Gilbert has handled a variety of government misconduct cases involving police abuse, wrongful conviction, violations of free speech, prisoners’ rights, and victims of all forms of discrimination. His defense of civil liberties has often put him at odds with authorities and made him the target of op-eds and editorial cartoonists. At the same time, he has written many op-eds himself, and used the media to make his case for justice directly to the people. Gilbert lives with his wife Robin in a Cleveland suburb, and has two adult children: Benjamin, a molecular biologist, and Julian, a law student.
Carlo Wolff writes about popular culture, music, books, hospitality and travel. A contributor to the jazz magazine DownBeat, he is the author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories, lead author of Mike Belkin: Socks, Sports, Rock and Art, and co-writer of Designing Victory by Robert P. Madison and of The Encyclopedia of Record Producers. Wolff also reports and edits for newspapers and magazines. A native of Dallas, Wolff grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended schools in the Boston area. He moved to Cleveland in 1986. Wolff lives in Cleveland with his wife Karen Sandstrom and Daisy the Dog.
Peter Graham Dunn
I was born in China. My parents were missionaries. When I was six, I was placed in a group home in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. After graduating from the University of Alberta in 1972, I married LeAnna Gerber, a Mennonite woman from Dalton Ohio. After a three year stint in New York City under the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, we moved back to the family farm. In 1976 I started a company called Wood Decor which I sold in 1987. I then founded P. Graham Dunn, a giftware manufacturing company, in Dalton, Oh. In 1919 we sold P. Graham Dunn to the employees as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan.). I continue to be active in a number of actives in the community.
Over the last 38 years, Ron Hill has been a cartoonist, illustrator, caricaturist, creative director, author, editor and high school teacher. Born in Cleveland, he is a graduate of Solon High School and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. An award-winning editorial cartoonist, since 1999 he has been a weekly cartoonist for four Cleveland-area newspapers: The Chagrin Valley Times, The Solon Times, Geauga Times Courier and West Life. As if that’s not enough, Ron is an in-demand caricature quick-sketch entertainer, and a managing partner of Act 3, a web, video, publishing and advertising firm. Ron is a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.
There is no friend as loyal as a book.Ernest Hemingway
WILL HILLENBRAND is a celebrated children’s author and illustrator whose published works include over 70 books. Will has lived almost all his life in Cincinnati where he grew up as the youngest of four boys. He was the first Illustrator and Author in Residence at Kent State University at Kent Campus and the Art Academy of Cincinati. He is a member of the National Advisory Board at the University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum in Findlay.
Michelle Houts is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for young readers, ranging from colorful, engaging picture books to adventurous middle-grade novels. In BARN AT NIGHT, her newest book, readers enter a world where chores become adventures after dark. In addition to the STEM-based chapter book series, LUCY’S LAB, which encourages readers to be curious explorers of the world, Houts has has written the biographies of a woman who played baseball (KAMMIE ON FIRST), a midcentury modern artist (COUNT THE WINGS: THE LIFE AND ART OF CHARLEY HARPER), the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail (WHEN GRANDMA GATEWOOD TOOK A HIKE) and a great-horned owl (SILENT SWOOP). SEA GLASS SUMMER explores the mysteries of the ocean with a multi-generational story and a surprise ending and WINTERFROST is a great family read-aloud. Houts is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences. She is the creator of The Mark Boney Promise, an anti-bullying campaign, and the 52 Letter Challenge. Visit her at www.michellehouts.com.
Bob Hunter is the author of eleven books including Road to Wapatomica, A modern search for the Old Northwest and Players, Teams and Stadium Ghosts, Bob Hunter on Sports, a collection of some of his past columns from the Columbus Dispatch. Among his recent books are Thurberville, which examines James Thurber’s relationship with his hometown of Columbus; A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus, Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City; Saint Woody, The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football; and Chic, a biography of OSU star Chic Harley. Hunter served as sports columnist for the last 24 years of his more than 40 at the Columbus Dispatch. He is a native of Hamilton, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio University. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the Columbus Historical Society since 2011.
Diane Kendig is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Woman with a Fan and Prison Terms. She also co-edited the tribute anthology, In the Company of Russell Atkins and translated Nicaraguan poetry for A Pencil to Write Your Name. Her prose and poetry have appeared in journals such as Blueline, Under the Sun, J Journal, and Ekphrasis and in anthologies such as Strange Fruit: Poems on the Death Penalty and They Said. Kendig curates the Cuyahoga County Public Library weblog, “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry,” now with over 4000 subscribers, for National Poetry Month and volunteers teaching writing in prison. She’s on the web at dianekendig.com
Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton
LAURIE LAZZARO KNOWLTON is an award winning author of 45 books in the trade, educational, craft, and Christian markets. Her first publication was a letter to a boy in third grade. You would have thought this most embarrassing moment would have squelched her desire to write, but she just can’t stop herself! So, Laurie writes in the middle of the night, while waiting for a red light, while hiking, in the bath tub, or under an apple tree where her latest book WHO KNEW? UNDER THE APPLE TREE began. Laurie is an international speaker addressing children, teachers, librarians, writer’s groups, reading associations, book groups, senior citizens, and church groups. You can contact Laurie at, firstname.lastname@example.org or through her web page, www.laurieknowlton.com
Miranda Liasson is a bestselling author whose heartwarming and humorous romances have won numerous accolades and have been praised by Entertainment Weekly for the way she “deals with so much of what makes life hard . . . without ever losing the warmth and heart that characterize her writing.” A proud native of Northeast Ohio, she and her husband live in a neighborhood of old homes that serve as inspiration for her books. When she’s not writing or enjoying books herself, she can be found biking along the old Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trails in the beautiful Ohio MetroParks. Miranda loves to hear from readers! Learn more at: MirandaLiasson.com Twitter @MirandaLiasson Facebook.com/MirandaLiassonAuthor Instagram @mirandaliasson For information about new releases and sales, please sign up for her newsletter at https://mirandaliasson.com/#mailing-list
Julie Anne Lindsey
Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names. Julie spends her days in Kent, Ohio, plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Learn more about Julie at julieannelindsey.com
Kylie Logan returns to Buckeye this year with “A Trail of Lies.” The third book in the Jazz Ramsey series has Jazz dealing with a mysterious death as well as her boyfriend, Nick’s, alcoholic mother. This year, Kylie is also writing as Lucy Ness (light, cozy mysteries that feature a flapper ghost) and Mimi Granger, who writes the new Love is Murder series set in a romance bookstore. Kylie published her first book in 1992 and has published 65 novels since. She is a lifelong Ohio resident.
Dandi Daley Mackell
Dandi won her first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. Her 50 words on “Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A’s” won first place, but the team wouldn’t let a girl be batboy. It was her first taste of rejection. Since then, Dandi has become an award-winning author of over 500 books for all ages (from infant to adult), with an Edgar Award for Best Mystery, a Hallmark movie from her novel, starred reviews for a novel about her parents in WW2, multiple Christian Book Awards, Mom’s Choice Awards, Reader’s Choice Award, Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children’s Lit, ALA Best Books, OCIRA Reader’s Hall of Fame. Dandi has signed her books at 27 Buckeye Book Fairs, where she’s known as the author “with something for everyone.” She writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her family, including horses, dogs, cats, chinchilla, tortoise, birds, and an occasional squirrel, deer, or racoon.
Allison and Wayne Marks
Allison and Wayne Marks met in a Canterbury Tales class at the University of Cincinnati, where they earned degrees in English Literature and went on to become a husband-and-wife writing duo. Today, they spend many an evening spinning stories of their own from the porch of their 100-year-old home in Akron. They are the co-authors of several picture books and middle-grade novels, including the Bank Street Books Award Winner, The Art Lesson: A Shavuot Story. Their latest work, The $150,000 Rugelach (Little Bee Books/Yellow Jacket), tells the heartfelt and humorous story of two mismatched 11-year-old baking prodigies who must learn to work together as a team to win a high-stakes cooking competition. The novel has been recommended by Booklist and gained praise from Kirkus, which called it, “A delightful, quick read with a wonderfully charming cast of characters. A refreshing and uplifting book filled with friendship, heartache, and a generous sprinkling of love.”
Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym of national best-selling and award-winning author Patricia Sargeant. Patricia writes romance as Patricia Sargeant and Regina Hart, and mysteries as Olivia Matthews. Her work has been reviewed in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.
Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy. While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.
“She reads books as one would breath the air, to fill up and live.Annie Dillard
A graduate of Miami and Ohio State Universities, David Meyers has written a number of local histories, as well as several novels and works for the stage. He was recently inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his contributions to local history. Elise Meyers Walker is a graduate of Hofstra University and Ohio University. She has collaborated with her father on a dozen local histories, including Ohio’s Black Hand Syndicate, Lynching and Mob Violence in Ohio, and A Murder in Amish Ohio. They are both available for interviews, book signings, and presentations. The authors’ website is www.explodingstove.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and RedBubble at @explodingstove.
Elise Meyers Walker
Elise Meyers Walker is the coauthor of a dozen local history books including “Look to Lazarus,” “Kahiki Supper Club,” and “Historic Columbus Crimes.” She has appeared on Investigation Discovery’s “Deadly Women” and “Tabloid,” and WOSU’s “Columbus Neighborhoods.” She is a former board member of the Columbus Historical Society, and the Ted Lewis Museum. She is a graduate of Hofstra and Ohio Universities, and the Columbus Public Schools. She can be found @explodingstove on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Redbubble.
Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries, set in 1920s Appalachian Ohio and inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff. Under her given name, she writes the “Level Up Your (Writing) Life” column for Writer’s Digest, and was formerly a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. She is a three-time recipient of the Individual Excellence Award in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council, a two-time recipient of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant, and has been a John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio).
Growing up, Merrill Rainey spent most of his Saturday afternoons watching monster movies, drawing superheroes, and going on imaginary adventures with his brothers. Today, he is a cowboy-boot-wearing, award-winning illustrator, designer, and paper engineer. Merrill likes to experiment with tools and uses marker, cut paper, or water soluble graphite to create his illustrations. He has served on faculty at the Highlights Foundation and is currently the illustrator coordinator for the Northern Ohio chapter of the SCBWI. Merrill lives in the historic town of Whitehouse, Ohio, with his editor (his wife), subject matter experts (his kids), and very opinionated coworkers (one pup, a toad, and some crabby hermit crabs). His most recent books include Color, Cut, Create • Dinosaur World, and Color, Cut, Create • Horse Ranch published by Odd Dot an imprint of Macmillan Publishing. Merrill is also the author and Illustrator for a new board book series with HarperCollins. The first book Roar! I’m a Dinosaur is set for summer of 2022 publication. He works for many children’s magazines like Highlights, Cricket, Ranger Rick, and Humpty Dumpty. Visit him online at littlerainey.com or follow him on instagram @littlerainey.
Tina Reiman is a graduate of Malone University and established her family in Canton, Ohio. She is married to Brock, and together they have raised five children. Tina is Director of Finding Home, a nonprofit dedicated to “guiding and empowering at-risk young men in establishing successful, independent living.”
Julie K. Rubini
Julie K. Rubini loves to share the incredible stories of individuals who made a difference in the world with younger readers. Her works include Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller, which received a Kirkus starred review and listed on Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books, Outstanding Merit. Julie’s most recent project was serving as the editor for Virginia Hamilton: Five Novels, a collection published by the Library of America. Julie and her husband Brad established Claire’s Day, a children’s book festival in honor of their daughter.
Tricia is the award-winning author of many picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels. Her most recent works are the ALA Notable winner, Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures, and the middle grade novel The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, which Kirkus Reviews called “a perfect thing in the universe of juvenile fiction”. A frequent speaker at schools, libraries and conferences, Tricia lives in Cleveland Heights.
Jyotsna Sreenivasan is the author of the short story collection These Americans and the novel And Laughter Fell From the Sky. Both are about Indian Americans. She was selected as a Fiction Fellow for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines and anthologies. She received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts. She was born and raised in Ohio, and she currently lives in Columbus. Her parents are immigrants from India. For information about Jyotsna as well as other writers who are children of immigrants, please see www.SecondGenStories.com.
Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest, where in her decade as editorial director she became known for in-depth interviews with such talents as David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She is the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You; Not That I Could Tell (a Book of the Month bestseller); Forget You Know Me; and A Million Reasons Why, named to Most Anticipated lists from Goodreads, SheReads, Frolic, and E! News ahead of its March 2021 release. Her fifth novel, The Next Thing You Know, is coming March 2022 (all from St. Martin’s Press). She has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly, and others, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, where she was named 2019 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Jane Ann Turzillo
True-crime author Jane Ann Turzillo’s newest book is Ohio Heists: Historic Bank Holdups, Train Robberies, Jewel Stings and More. She has been nominated twice for the Agatha for her books Wicked Women of Ohio (2018) and Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio (2016). She is also a National Federation of Press Women award winner for Ohio Train Disasters and others—all from The History Press and Arcadia Publishing Company. A full-time author and speaker, she concentrates on vintage true crimes and history. As one of the original owners of a large weekly newspaper, she covered police, fire and hard news. Before she turned to writing books, she wrote short stories and articles that were published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and Canada. She is a graduate of The University of Akron with degrees in Criminal Justice Technology and Mass-Media Communication. She is a member of National Federation of Press Women, Society of Professional Journalists, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Visit her website at www.janeannturzillo.com and read her blog at http://darkheartedwomen.wordpress.com.
Dr. James Van Keuren
Dr. James Van Keuren, Ed.D., is retired Professor of Educational Administration and Dean of the Dwight Schar College of Education at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, where he published numerous juried journal articles, including a book entitled Web-based Instruction: A practical guide for online courses. Prior to Ashland University, Dr. Van Keuren was a teacher, high school principal, school superintendent, Assistant and Interim State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio. In A Tribute to the 109 th Evacuation Hospital (SM), traces his father- in-law’s service time during World War II with a reprint reflecting the integral role that nurses played in the Unit. In World War II POW Camps in Ohio examines the Germans and Italians that were housed in Ohio during World War II. The most recent book, The School Poisoning Tragedy in Caledonia, Ohio, is a presentation of understandable facts that gives the reader the opportunity to judge whether the conclusions reached by the government agencies was valid that found no link between the contaminants on the school grounds to the various incidents of cancers among the River Valley High School graduates.
Dr. Van Keuren has been married to his wife Pat for fifty-one years and they have daughters Michelle Scott and Christie Murdoch, son-in-law’s Drew Scott and Dale Murdoch, in addition to grandchildren Hailey Scott, Weston Murdoch, and Cooper Murdoch.
Merrill Wyatt is an author and middle grade teacher living in Toledo, Ohio. She grew up in Wauseon, where her latest book is set. She has a husband, daughter, three cats, and one very surly guinea pig who doesn’t like her very much. Doll-phobic and donut-obsessed, Merrill loves nothing better than a good mystery. Or even a bad one. She’s really not that picky.
Betty Weibel is a nonfiction author who started her career writing for daily and weekly Ohio newspapers. She volunteers her time on the board of trustees for both the Ohioana Library Association and Ohio History Connection, which inspired her to develop the digital Ohio Literary Trail and write her current book, “The Ohio Literary Trail – A Guide.” A public relations professional by trade, Betty is an agency owner and has earned national acclaim from the Public Relations Society of America for work on both the Ohio Bicentennial celebration and Ohio Travel and Tourism. She also earned a regional Emmy for “Ohio: 200 Years.” Betty published her first nonfiction book, “The Cleveland Grand Prix: An American Show Jumping First,” in 2014 with The History Press/Arcadia. In 2019 she published the inspirational nonfiction book “Little Victories: A True Story of the Healing Power of Horses,” a story based in the therapeutic horsemanship world, with Brown Dog Books. The lifelong equestrian resides in Chagrin Falls with her husband, David. For more information visit BettyWeibel.com.
Robin Yocum is known for his fiction set in the Ohio River Valley. His most recent novel, The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, was released in April of 2021 by Arcade CrimeWise. He is the author of five additional works of fiction. Favorite Sons, the prequel to The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, was named the 2011 Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense by USA Book News. A Brilliant Death was a Barnes & Noble No. 1 bestseller and a finalist for both the 2017 Edgar Award and the Silver Falchion Award for best adult mystery. His other novels are The Essay, A Welcome Murder and A Perfect Shot. He also has written two works of non-fiction. He is the principle at Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing consulting firm in Galena, Ohio, which he founded in 2001.