2013 Conference Authors

Maribeth Boelts

Maribeth Boelts is the author of many books for children, including the award winning picture books, “Those Shoes” (Candlewick Press) and “Before You Were Mine”(GP Putnam’s Sons).  Her middle grade novel, “The PS Brothers” (Harcourt) is on many state reading lists and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. “Happy Like Soccer” (Candlewick Press), her most recent picture book received starred reviews and was nominated for the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Award. She currently has a picture book forthcoming from Candlewick Press. Maribeth is married to her firefighter husband, Darwin and is the proud mom of two adult married children, and an 18 year old son, Will.  She and her husband live in Cedar Falls.

Kevin Hansen

Kevin Hansen is the man with 25,000 regrets – all entrusted to him by anonymous strangers who have confessed the biggest regrets of their lives on his popular website, www.SecretRegrets.com. Hansen and his Secret Regrets project have been featured on The Dr. Phil Show and in several documentaries, as well as media outlets and websites worldwide. Hansen is a featured contributor/ blogger to The Huffington Post. His bestselling book, Secret Regrets Volume 1: What if you had a Second Chance? features hundreds of the most shocking yet heartfelt regrets that we all can relate to, and walks people through the true healing that comes from revealing. His second book, Secret Regrets Volume 2: Moving Past Your Past, continues to tell the unheard stories of real people, real regret, and real resolution and redemption.

Lee Collins

After graduating from The College of Wooster in Ohio, Lee Collins taught children in seven different states, in eleven different school districts, while continuing her education at the University of Pittsburgh and Rutgers University. She taught teachers in New York and Illinois, then in Iowa for eighteen years at Central College. She published her debut novel TOO MUCH LEFT UNSAID with The Write Place in Pella in May of this year. The book tells of two ordinary Midwestern families who lived through the changing times of last century, affected by politics, wars, and changing attitudes.She now lives in Pella, Iowa, with her housemate, Barb Ashton, and three cats. Her two grown children and six grandchildren live in Wisconsin and Georgia.

Michael Van Natta

Michael Van Natta has been active in the writing world ever since he turned a fishing guide into a tale of unrequited love. He has written six other novels and countless short stories, including “Grant Park” (Abaton, 2008). He is founder and facilitator of the Marion County Writers Workshop which has met nearly weekly since 2002. He facilitated Scribbner’s Online Writers Workshop from 1998 to 2002 and has taught fiction and memoir at the community education level. He spends much of his summers at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and attributes any skill he may have to those amazing teachers. He is a practicing family physician as well as co-owner and winemaker at Nearwood Winery in Knoxville, Iowa.

Katheryn Daughtery

Though Kathryn Daugherty always dreamed of writing, her first opportunity to pursue the craft came in 2005, when back surgery sidelined her from other activities. Kathryn began her writing journey by taking an online romance-writing course. Following this, she attended conferences and workshops, continuing to improve her skills. Her sister Linda inspired her first published short story, “White Lies.” The story appeared in the Secret Attic, a United Kingdom publication, in May 2007. Kathryn’s second taste of success was with another short story, “Secret Alliance.” The story placed first in the Write-to-Win contest and was published in the November 2007 issue of Writers’ Journal. She also received honors at the All Iowa Writer’s Conference in 2012 with her short story “Consequences.” Her success at the short-story level motivated her to complete her first novel, A Case of Hearts. Although Kathryn did not have the opportunity to go to college, she is grateful to her father for encouraging her to learn to type. Her father always said that her typing skills would serve her well. Since she has worked at a variety of careers throughout the years, she is appreciative of her father’s advice. Typing skills have not only proven to be useful in many of her previous occupations, they have also allowed her to pursue her passion for writing. Kathryn lives in central Iowa with her husband, Cliff. They have a blended family of five grown children and several grandchildren. Jessie, a seventy-five pound German wirehair pointer who believes he’s a lap dog, rules the house. She would love to hear from her readers at P.O. Box 372, Pella, Iowa 50219 or on the web at www.kathryndaugherty.com.

Charlie & Wendy Siefken

Charlie and Wendy Siefken have been writing together since 2009 when a challenge was given to Charlie from his principal to write and publish a story – that had elements of class learning – for grades. Charlie and his mother, Wendy, took that challenge together and created Kai’s Journey, which helped him to graduate from high school as a published author.Today, Charlie is attending college to be a auto mechanic and Wendy works at a call center as a tier one tech. Their books include: Hiding in Plain Sight by Wendy Siefken; The Curse of the Red Eyed Witch by Charles Siefken; Kai’s Journey: The New World Chronicles (The Kai and Clover Series) by Charles Siefken and Wendy Siefken.

Rachel Aukes

As RACHEL AUKES, I write speculative fiction because I absolutely love asking, “what if…”. As BERINN RAE, I write the same stuff, only with a romantic twist. I was raised on a farm in Iowa where I boasted the small town’s largest (okay, and only) comic book collection. I’ve did the college thing–both undergraduate (go Panthers!) and graduate (go Bulldogs!)–before going out into the “real” world and realizing that it’s too much work and too little play. Alas, bills (and college loans) needed paid, so I joined the hordes of office zombies and made a career out of disentangling red tape and destroying TPS reports. I love flying airplanes (preferably, the old stuff) around the countryside. Nothing beats a sunset flight. I’m sure sunrise flights are just as good, but I’ve never been awake for one. I fly all around with my awesomely supportive husband and my incredibly spoiled sixty-pound lap dog. What else do I love? I love to read, I love to write, and I love to hear from readers – Rachel@ RachelAukes.com.

Stephanie Riva

I’ve been proofreading and copyediting my entire life without recognizing it as work, mainly because it combines all of the activities I find most enjoyable. I am a devoted, voracious reader with a wide range of interests, and I’m a lifelong learner. My written communication skills and attention to detail have been identified and sought after in every corporate and volunteer position I’ve held. I have been, and am, regularly requested by individuals at every level across an organization, from the most senior executives to line staff, to employ my writing-related skills to specific assignments, both ad hoc and ongoing.  Given that background, a proofreading/copyediting career isn’t a leap to the unknown for me; it’s a natural progression of my actual work experience.

Catherine Knepper

Catherine Knepper is a freelance writer and editor specializing in developmental editing and line editing of both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts.  She also writes, edits, and consults on nonfiction book proposals.  Her clients’ books have been published by or are forthcoming with Berkley Books, Bloomsbury, Broadway, Crown, Permanent Press, Perseus Books, Progressive Press, Random House, Rowman & Littlefield, St. Martin’s Press, Sarabande Books, Sourcebooks, and various university and independent presses. Catherine holds an M.Div. from Boston University and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Florida Review, West Branch and Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine.

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson has been writing for 15 years for publications such as Esquire, National Geographic Traveler, Better Homes & Gardens, Budget Travel, Bon Appetit, Parents, Midwest Living, Iowa Outdoors, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (the dearly departed) Gourmet and many others.  She is the travel maven for Traditional Home magazine and Midwest expert at AAA Living. Jen’s first book, Running Away to Home, a roots travel journey back to the Croatian mountain village of her ancestors, received the Best Nonfiction of 2011 Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Emerging Iowa Author Award in 2012.  She is currently at work on a novel.

Calla Devlin

Calla Devlin Rongerude has an extensive literary background, ranging from bookselling to teaching to publishing. She co-coordinated one of the most prestigious literary reading series in the country for Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon. As Associate Director of Marketing and Publicity, she sat on the acquisitions boards of HarperCollins’ west coast division and Chronicle Books, and executed publicity and marketing campaigns for novels, short story collections, memoirs, and narrative nonfiction. She has also taught graduate level creative writing courses in fiction writing. Calla is a Pushcart nominee and winner of the Blood and Thunder Fiction Prize. Her fiction has appeared in, among other journals, The Sand Hill Review, The MacGuffin, Breakwater, Glassworks, Watchword, Five Fingers Review, Square Lake, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Calla’s work has also appeared in the anthologies Lost on Purpose: Women in the City, Off the Rocks, and Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond, for which she was featured in The San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine.

Amy Pollpeter

Amy Pollpeter is a Criminalist with the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation Crime Laboratory in the DNA and Crime Scene Sections. She has worked in the DNA section for seven years and the crime scene section for six years.   She is very active in the sexual assault response community training nurses and law enforcement in evidence collection for sexual assault cases.  Ms. Pollpeter holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology from Iowa State University, a Master’s of Science degree in Biology from University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master’s of Science degree in Forensic DNA and Serology from the University of Florida.

Jaylene Hall

Jaylene Hall is 14 years old. She is not only the author of “Sister Strong,” but also “The Cheerleading Coach.” Jaylene enjoys the fine arts and loves to write. She wrote this book to express the feelings of sisterhood, and how one might feel if their sibling went missing. Jaylene loves to inspire people, and she hopes that her books make the readers connect to the characters in the story. She plans to write more books in the future.

S.C. Sherman

S.C. Sherman grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. He still lives in Hawkeye Country and enjoys family life with his wife Amy, and their four children, Mollie, Cole, Brock, and Sariah. In addition to his latest, Mercy Shot, S.C. Sherman has written across several genres. His first novel, based on a true story, Leaving Southfields, won Best Christian Historical of 2007, S.C. Sherman is widely known for the ever popular Hell and Back series of spiritual thrillers and the fantasy novel, Moxie. He loves larger than life stories that keep you guessing and move your soul. Look for these titles and more coming soon at www.scsherman.com.

Kali VanBaale

Kali VanBaale’s debut novel, The Space Between (River City Publishing) earned a 2007 American Book Award, the 2007 Independent Publisher’s silver medal for general fiction, and the 2006 Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novelist Award. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Northwind and The Writer magazines and the anthologies A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, Voices of Alzheimer’s, and Voices of Caregiver’s. In 2009, she was awarded a State of Iowa Arts Council major artist grant for her third novel, The Cure for Hopeless Causes and is represented by the Joy Harris Literary Agency pending publication. Her second novel, Mercy Road, was named a semi-finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Words writing contest. Kali earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaches creative writing and literature for Drake University, and lives outside Des Moines with her husband and three children.

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