2014 Conference Authors

Donald Harstad – Don met his wife, Mary, in Elkader. They dated in high school and were married in 1964. They moved to Los Angeles and Don worked for Four Star Television and CBS Theatrical Films. They returned to Iowa in 1970, after the birth of daughter, Erica. Don was employed as a police dispatcher, and Mary began her teaching career. In 1973, Don became a Deputy Sheriff, and continued with that career until 1996. During his years as a Deputy Sheriff, Don was a patrol officer, the Department Intelligence Officer, and Chief Investigator. The many and varied experiences Don had during that time have provided him with a large base of information, which he draws upon for many of the characters and situations described in his novels. Don’s first novel, Eleven Days, was nominated for an Anthony award as Best First Novel. In 2000, it was sold to Warner Brothers Theatrical Film Division. In 2008 the motion picture rights to the same novel were sold to Solar Productions, of Paris, France. Don is currently published in nine languages in some twenty countries. His latest effort is a short story in an anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L P Kelner. The Harstads continue to reside in Elkader, Iowa, where Mary has retired from teaching, and Don continues writing and keeping in touch with local law enforcement events.


Kylie Brant –I’m a native Midwesterner, having lived my whole life in Iowa. My husband and I are still trying to adjust to becoming empty nesters. Much of the time we rattle around our big century-old Victorian with a spoiled Polish Lowland Sheepdog named Lexie. We’re on the go a lot, traveling to see our kids and grandsons, tailgating at Iowa games, and enjoying new tropical getaways. In 1990, I began writing out of sheer desperation. Always an avid reader, I’d found that my favorite authors just couldn’t write fast enough to keep me in reading material. Someday if you twist my arm and buy me very strong margaritas, I might be convinced to share my whole embarrassing road to publication story. The short version is that my second manuscript sold in 1992, and then a few months later my first manuscript was bought, too, after it had undergone several major surgeries. To date I’ve written twenty-five books for Silhouette Intimate Moments (Romantic Suspense), six dark romantic thrillers for Berkley, a short story for eharlequin.com and participated in an Iowa authors murder mystery. I live a dual life. Believe me, that sounds much more glamorous than it is. By day I’m an elementary special education teacher, working with students who have learning and behavior problems. During the weekends and summers…well, I can be forgiven for needing a little relaxation, right? And if my idea of relaxation includes dreaming up new ways to kill and maim my characters, it seems a harmless enough hobby. Some people golf. Now there’s a dangerous pastime. All those swinging clubs and small speeding objects. Someone could lose an eye. When I’m not at the computer (always writing, never playing solitaire), I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, exercising, reading, flower gardening, and traveling.


Jocelyn Green – Award-winning author Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife herself, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.


Sparkle Abbey – Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write a popular cozy mystery series which combines murder, mystery, zany characters and the wacky world of pampered pets. They chose to use Sparkle Abbey as the pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon #1 Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and Yip/Tuck.  Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the latest in the series and will be followed by The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo. They love to hear from readers and can be found via their website: www.sparkleabbey.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sparkleabbey


Zachary Michael Jack – Zachary Michael Jack has published more than twenty award-winning books in a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, literary journalism, creative nonfiction, and personal essay. Zachary’s fiction has earned national runner-up honors in the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award; his poetry has been awarded the Prentice Hall Prize, and his nonfiction has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize (Best of the Small Presses), the Theodore Saloutos Award, and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. The author and his work have been featured in The New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. Zachary’s work has earned him listing in Who’s Who in America. An associate professor of English, Zachary teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, rural and urban studies, and sports and leadership studies at North Central College. He is the great-grandson of writer Walter Thomas Jack and a seventh generation resident of Iowa.


Scott Cawalti – Scott Cawelti (b.1943) was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He taught writing, film, and literature courses at the University of Northern Iowa from 1968-2008, and has written opinion columns for the Waterloo Courier for 35 years.   He has co-authored two writing textbooks and edited The Complete Poetry of James Hearst (University of Iowa Press, 2001). Having a BA in vocal music, he played for years in a folk duo with Robert James Waller and still performs as a singer/guitarist/songwriter.   His book on the Mark family murders, Brother’s Blood, was published by Ice Cube Press in 2011, and he currently teaches film courses as an adjunct at UNI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let us know you are human. *