Growing Local Talent
Always on the lookout for an interesting read? Discover new writers at the Iowa Author Fair. Enjoy snacks, door prizes, and great conversation during the open house.
Sunday, October 8, 2017 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
1000 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Larry Cotlar, the 2007 Iowa Sportscaster of the Year, has been involved in sports journalism since 1970. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in sports, including Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Bob Knight, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Montana, Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, and Wilt Chamberlain. Currently, Cotlar is the radio play-by-play voice for the Drake men's basketball team. He is also part of the Iowa Barnstormers' radio and television broadcasts. In addition to his book, The Biggest Rolodex in Sports
, Cotlar is a contributor to the Iowa History Journal
. Learn more about the author at larrycotlar.com
Debra Closner Franklin
Debra Closner Franklin has been an addiction counselor for over thirty years. Debra graduated from Iowa State University with a major in sociology and a minor in child development. Her most important role is as a wife and mother. She describes herself as just “one of the people” who work in the trenches every day, along with thousands of other dedicated and underpaid addiction professionals. Debra is a strong believer in God and encourages this in her patients for a complete recovery. She will be sharing her book, Intervention for America: A Country in Need
Dr. Hugh Hammond
Hugh Hammond is a retired college professor who taught English as a Second Language in Estonia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. He also served on the faculty at William Penn University and Three Rivers College. Dr. Hammond was working in the country when the car ferry, Estonia, sank in the Baltic Sea. The event became the basis of his first novel, The Sinking of the Estonia: The CIA Knew
Catherine Haustein writes comedic novels with a scientific twist. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Iowa's chemistry department, she has been teaching chemistry at Central College for more than 30 years. Her newest novel, Mixed In
, was published this past March. Learn more about Catherine at catherinehaustein.com
Professional naturalist, educator, and author, Ken Keffer has penned seven books connecting families and nature. His book The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book
was awarded a National Outdoor Book Award Honorable Mention. He has also received the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education’s Non-formal Educator of the Year Award. Ken’s career is spent highlighting the importance of nature and encouraging people to explore the outdoors. A regular contributor to Birds & Blooms
magazine, he also writes for regional and national outlets including Wyoming Wildlife
, Backcountry Journal
, National Wildlife Federation
, and Outdoors Unlimited
. Ken has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts. Learn more about his work at kenkeffer.net
Joanne Seymour Kuster
An entrepreneur and business writer, Joanne creates educational products, content, and programs. At twenty-five, she launched a business with a board game that reached audiences in fifty states and thirteen countries. Continuing to carve a niche in leading others to build personal finance and entrepreneurial skills, Joanne brought Money Smart Week to Iowa and led the initiative statewide. She writes the Money Godmother® blog and authored several publications and books. A native Iowan and alum of Iowa State University, Joanne has served on several boards and foundations, received awards for community leadership, and been recognized as SBA’s Midwest Home-Based Business Advocate of the Year. A first-generation college graduate, mom of three, and grandmother of four, Joanne understands how building financial skills at any age paves a path to success. Visit her website, MoneyGodmotherBlog.com
Jeanne Martz, a graduate of Iowa State University, has a love for Iowa, the rural Midwest, and small-town American life, which fueled the writing of The Creekers
and The Women of Swenson Farm
. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband, Jim, and other family nearby.
Lana Jean Mitchell grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended writing workshops taught by Haki Madhubuti, John Killens, Toni Cade Bambara, and Sonja Sanchez. At Wilberforce University, Lana studied mass media communications and sociology, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has written for magazines, newspapers, and radio. Lana will be featuring her children’s book, A Birthday Story
Otto Mondesi is an American fiction writer. He has a Bachelor of Science in mass communications, a Bachelor of Arts in economics, and a master’s degree in business administration. After college, he spent several years traveling the United States and Canada in search of adventure and the great outdoors. Otto’s literary influences include the splendid tales brought to life by Vince Flynn, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, David Hosp, and John Grisham. He resides in the Midwest with his wife and kids, crazy dog Gus, and indifferent cat Meow. Additional information about the author and his writing is available at worthafinger.com
Cheryl Mullenbach is an award-winning author of history books for young adults and middle school age readers. Her books have won recognition from the American Library Association, International Literacy Association, National Council for Social Studies, and the Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Her books inspire readers to scratch beneath the surface of historical facts to discover the rich stories that make history real. Learn more about her writing at CherylMullenbachInk.com
West Des Moines
Randal Nerhus graduated from Iowa State University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in agriculture. He also studied Oriental philosophy and religion at India’s Banaras Hindu University, where he received his master’s in 1988. He met Marjorie Carter at a writing group in Mexico in 2002. They helped each other with writing, and soon she took him under her shamanic guidance. From 2013 to 2016, he lived in the Amazon jungle studying under Cocama shaman don Rogelio Cariguasari, and relevant parts of that experience were incorporated into his novel. Visit randalnerhus.com
to learn more about the writer.
Al Simon, Jr.
Alan Simon, Jr. was born and raised in Des Moines. He served in the Air Force and attended Iowa State University. His first book is the thriller, The People Downstairs Are Killers
West Des Moines
Francis Sparks grew up on a farm in Iowa where he spent his days avoiding bulls and other livestock as he created castles in the pasture with odds and ends from the machine shed and his imagination.
In his early thirties, Francis began chasing his dream of becoming an author and began writing seriously. The dream came true in 2015 when Pandamoon Publishing agreed to print his debut novel Made Safe. Francis Sparks currently lives in Des Moines with his amazing wife, Kelly. If he’s not working on his next novel or short story, you can find him teaching his children about dragons. Visit francissparks.com for additional information about the author.
Pat Underwood of Colfax, Iowa is known for both her poetry and her children's prose. She is the author of Portraits
, Whisker Tag
, At Coloring Zoo
, and The Last Supper, a play kit
. A former teacher of early education and State of Iowa employee, she is a contributor to Voices on the Landscape: Contemporary Iowa Poets
, The North American Review
, The Briar Cliff Review
, Lyrical Iowa
, and numerous other literary journals.
Jan Walters grew up in Des Moines and currently lives on a farm in Warren County. She is the author of the Ghost and a Cop series, which is set in Des Moines. With four generations of men serving on the Des Moines Police Department dating back to the 1880s, she grew up listening to various cop stories. Adding a dash of paranormal to these real cases, Jan creates her stories. Each book in the Ghost and a Cop series takes place on a different street in the Des Moines urban area and features a different type of supernatural killer. She is currently working on the third book in the series. Read up on her books at authorjanwalters.com
Brian Webb was born in Lexington, Kentucky and raised in the river town of Maysville, Kentucky. Growing up in the Bluegrass State, he decided to attend the University of Kentucky, studying broadcast journalism and communications with the hope of being a television producer. Shortly after graduating, Brian suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. Life became difficult. Thrown into a new world of self-discovery, rehabilitation, and just surviving, he has emerged from his injury hoping to help others with the difficulty of suffering and living with a traumatic brain injury. He currently resides in Des Moines.
Sara J. Weis
Sara J. Weis is a creative and passionate teacher who has inspired children for over eighteen years. She holds a master’s degree in education as well as bachelor’s degrees in both early childhood and elementary education. She currently teaches elementary creative writing classes for the West Des Moines School District and leads kids’ yoga classes for a nationally-known health and fitness club. Sara is the bestselling author of Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide for Using Yoga with Kids
and the creator of the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards
. She enjoys being outdoors and active with her family and lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with her three children and her husband. Visit gogoyogakids.com
to learn more about Sara.
Daniel was born in California, but his parents cruelly moved him to Iowa as a baby. He graduated from Iowa State University, where he met his beautiful wife and his best friends, so all has been forgiven. A practicing engineer involved in the design of water and wastewater treatment systems, Daniel loves to figure out how things work. He lives in Des Moines with his wife and fantastic daughters. He writes fantasy mystery novels starring Blake Heira, a mage and priest of Morn, God of Justice. Learn more of his story at danielwillers.com
Author Ross Caligiuri has spent most of his life writing and performing within the music industry. Life often is the university that provides us with the tools we need to create. Discover more about his book, Dreaming in the Shadows
, at dreamingintheshadows.com
Dr. Eric L. Johnson
West Des Moines
Dr. Eric L. Johnson currently serves as the Chief Consultant with Strategies to Succeed. He also has a monthly column in the Columbus African American News Journal
. Dr. Johnson is the former Chief of Research Publications for the United States Air Force Academy. He has also worked at Drake University and in the Columbus Public Schools. Dr. Johnson has facilitated workshops on a variety of topics including using difference as an organizational asset, leadership development, team building, and fatherhood. In addition, he has authored three inspirational books: Beyond Self Help: A Journey to be Better
, 10 Deadly Aspects of Pride
, and Livin’ in the Shade: Implications of Father and Son Relationships Explored