Past Authors (2013)

Great Valley Bookfest 2013 Authors


Carol FirenzeCarol Firenze – With the family name Firenze (capital city of Tuscany), Carol was destined to write about her favorite subject.  Growing up in an Italian-American family, Carol started her early career in education as a History teacher.  After receiving her Doctorate from USF, she worked for an international management consulting firm, living abroad and teaching executives and developing communication strategies for major corporations.  During a sabbatical, Carol followed her interest in the history of health, religion, beauty, and culinary arts with the major connector of these subjects – olive oil. In 2003, Carol formed her company, The Passionate Olive and wrote a book of the same name.  Considered an expert in olive oil, Carol lectures worldwide, writes articles on olive oil tips and hosts Olive Harvest Adventure tours to Umbria and Tuscany.



Linda Kay picLinda Kay is a noted speaker, Feng Shui Consultant and co-author of Instant Feng Shui – Just Add Wind and Water.  The book has the honor of being the first Feng Shui book ever to be chosen for the celebrity Emmy Baskets (2003), and was also in the 2004 Grammy Baskets. As a graduate of the Western School of Feng Shui™, she follows a holistic approach, which presents Feng Shui as both an instinctive art and a practical science. Linda is an experienced workshop leader and speaker, including a presentation to Macy’s interior designers at their annual meeting in San Francisco.  She is also a popular speaker at regional Board of Realtors meetings.




troxelDavid Troxel, M.P.H., served for over a decade in leadership roles for the Alzheimer’s Association.  He works as a consultant on dementia care for the long-term care industry, speaks on Alzheimer’s care at regional and national events, and is known worldwide for his writing and teaching.  He was also a caregiver to his mother, Dorothy, who lived with Alzheimer’s disease for ten years.





Ismael OntiverosIsmael Ontiveros Jr. has been coaching baseball for over 20 years. Dedicating his spring and summer months teaching the game he loves. Ismael is married to his high school sweetheart, Minerva. They have been married for over 20 years and together they are raising 3 children ages 20, 14, and 8. Ismael grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Modesto CA. Now raising his family in nearby Ceres, he enjoys taking his family on vacations and going to local MLB games. Ismael is not a writer but simply a man with a heartwarming story about baseball in the neighborhood he grew up in. The Fighting Flyers is the first of his two part story that goes into the tough beginnings of his Youth Baseball Program. Ismael is currently working on part II of his story…



Hk NicholsoBookVocerHK Nicholson author of BEANEATH ARCHERS TREE. You’re in for a treat. The Author HK Nicholson brings to life the voices and the spirits of those that were once called the old ones.You can hear their stories and the wisdom that has been passed down from family and friend now to you the reader. Kim, is Dyslectic so his early years were spent being blind in the written world without a voice. They say that when this happens God gives you what you need, so Kim was given the great gift of memory. He listened to the wonderful story tellers who lived on his side of town and the family’s oral traditions that was passed down for generations. The humor is Native American and working class from a place where real lives are lived. Kim studied Earth Science in College. He talks about Biological Quantum Entanglement where everything is connected its called balance. This could have prevented him from going to college and it would have but for two great teachers and they are in this book.




Rick DeutschRick Deutsch is also known as Mr. Half Dome. He’s the author of One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome – the only dedicated guidebook for this famous hike. It has sold over 10,000 copies and is now an e-book. Having topped Half Dome 33 times, he is uniquely qualified to write the definitive guide for all levels of hiker.  His casual style of writing provides candid conversational guidance while insisting that you have fun! (i.e., It’s a big hike. Be prepared and do it safely). Rick is also an enthusiastic speaker (member of the National Speakers Association) who can help your group or company get to the top of their mountain.  He is a captivating professional communicator and gives talks at outfitters, libraries, health clubs, museums, colleges, cruise ships, and bookstores.



Bonnie-Hearn-HillBonnie Hearn Hill wanted to write fiction about women’s issues, but when she accidentally fell into a six-book deal with one of the largest publishers in the world, she decided to try combining her concerns with her publisher’s needs. Her international thrillers cover topics from women and weight issues (KILLER BODY), to sex and power (INTERN), to ghosts, metaphorical and otherwise (GHOST ISLAND). Regardless of the genre, her focus is empowerment. A national conference speaker, she has mentored many writers and edited and co-authored books, including New York Times bestsellers, for numerous others. “I love everything about writing,” she says, “even when I hate it.” She has presented workshops all over the United States, frequently with her critique partners and two best friends, Hazel Dixon-Cooper and Christopher Allan Poe.


IMG_0923_glamour_glow_tiffPaula Treick DeBoard is a reader, writer and all-around slave to the field of public education. She earned a B.A. in English from Dordt College in 1998 and thought, “I’ll teach high school English during the week and write fiction on the weekends” – a delusion which persisted for a decade, during which time she wrote exactly one short story. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Southern Maine with an MFA degree in Creative Writing (Fiction) and a rediscovered passion for staring at a laptop screen for long hours. Paula wrote her first novels as a passenger in the backseat of a 1977 Chevrolet Caprice Classic station wagon, where her parents let her jostle around for thousands of miles unprotected by a seatbelt. Sadly, these books were lost to cross-country moves and spilled contraband cans of soda. The Mourning Hours is her first novel to survive. A lover of literature and composition, Paula has taught junior high, high school and community college English over the last twelve years. Currently, she teaches composition at San Joaquin-Delta Community College in Stockton, California, and lives in nearby Modesto with her husband Will, their beagle, two cats, and a dog of indeterminate breed that suddenly appeared in the yard one day. Other useful information can be obtained from her website,, and information of questionable value can be found in her blog, at


Liliana Castenada Rossman1Liliana Castañeda Rossmann is Professor of Communication at California State University, San Marcos.  She earned an M.A. in International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Her research and teaching interests are in storytelling by Mexican migrants, especially as it pertains to identity development, conflict, mediation, and dialogue. In Transcending Gangs, she draws from an eclectic array of approaches—from the UN Peacekeepers and Conflict Coaching to community centers and organic vegetable co-ops—to envision what girls’ lives could be like despite the presence of gangs.  How do gang-involved girls find other ways of being and acting in the world?  Awareness of the effects of gangs on their lives is achieved through storytelling, and storytelling helps them transcend the gang, craft new identities, and help others inhabit new identities.  The “Story of Esperanza” shows resources that girls need—economic, social, political, community, cultural, interactional, and, crucially, storytelling—on their journey to transcend gangs and inhabit more just social worlds.


Christopher Allan PoeChristopher Allan Poe is an author and touring musician from Los Angeles. He writes paranormal fiction with themes that focus on social issues for women and children. A national conference speaker, he co-authored DIGITAL INK: Writing Killer Fiction in the E-Book Age with bestselling author Bonnie Hearn Hill.





Joanne NeftJoanne Neft opened the first Foothill Farmers Market 20 years ago, and within three years the market expanded to six markets throughout Placer County.  Always an advocate for Placer County Agriculture, in 1994 Joanne shared the idea of starting the Mountain Mandarin Festival with the Newcastle Area Business Association.  Today, almost 40,000 people attend the annual festival to celebrate the small mandarin orange that put Placer County on the map.  Joanne’s goal is to help people understand the benefits of eating in-season locally grown healthy food and to support the farmers who grow it. Joanne co-authored The Art of Real Food — Sea­sonal Recipes for every week of the Year with Laura Kenny. The cook­book is a fol­low up to the wildly pop­u­lar “Placer County Real Food,” which ignited an unprece­dented con­ver­sa­tion and move­ment around in-season food in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. “The Art of Real Food” will not only walk read­ers through sea­sonal food but also serves as a guide to what to do with an abun­dance of car­rots or a mound of rhubarb.  “The Art of Real Food” truly is a feast for all the senses.


Rob KroeseRobert Kroese‘s sense of irony was honed growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan – home of the Amway Corporation and the Gerald R. Ford Museum, and the first city in the United States to fluoridate its water supply. In second grade, he wrote his first novel, the saga of Captain Bill and his spaceship Thee Eagle. This turned out to be the high point of his academic career. After barely graduating from Calvin College in 1992 with a philosophy degree, he was fired from a variety of jobs before moving to California, where he stumbled into software development. As this job required neither punctuality nor a sense of direction, he excelled at it. In 2009, he called upon his extensive knowledge of useless information and love of explosions to write his first novel, Mercury Falls. He has since written two sequels, Mercury Rises, which was published in 2011, and Mercury Rests, which is out October 18, 2012.



Hazel Dixon-CooperHazel Dixon-Cooper has been a professional astrologer for more than twenty-five years, and is the author of the internationally bestselling Rotten Day astrology book series. She has written astrology articles and columns for a variety of publications, including Cosmopolitan magazine’s Bedside Astrologer. She is a research member of the American Federation of Astrologers and a member of the National Council of Geocosmic Research.




Carolyn Wing Greenlee

Carolyn Wing Greenlee values the individual, each individual’s story, and the ability of the individual to overcome adversity in difficult circumstances or catastrophic loss. Her personal heritage and circumstance have inspired Wing Greenlee to give a voice to those not often heard. These include her mother’s memoir of childhood growing up in a Chinese laundry in the ‘20s (Inside the Oy Quong Laundry), her parents’ escape from Confucian slavery and how they changed the world with their freedom (Eternal River, Vol I & 2), and Wing Greenlee’s own descent into blindness and the surprising healing that happened during her month at guide dog school (Steady Hedy). Her latest book in the Eternal River series details how her father, Dr. Thomas W. Wing, invented microcurrent machines that revolutionized healthcare, and how chance meetings often change the directions of our lives. 


Morris Garcia

Morris Garcia was inspired to write the children’s book, “Henry the Brave Little Tractor,” after he saved Henry from becoming scrap iron and renewed him at home in the garage.  Once this was done, there needed to be a story about Henry’s life including all his trials and tribulations and how he overcame adversity to become the strong and beloved little tractor he is today. Morris F. Garcia was born in 1939 at French Camp, California.   The family operated a dairy at Airport Way (then Durham Ferry Road) and the 120 Highway Bi-Pass.  Morris attended Manteca, California, elementary schools from 1945 through 1949 (fourth grade).  The family then moved to Escalon where Morris was raised on a dairy farm and learned to drive on a Ford tractor just like Henry the Brave Little Tractor. Morris is a business school graduate from San Jose State.  He is a farmer, banker and farm real estate broker.  He and his wife Sharon have been married for 52 years.  Together they have three children and four granddaughters.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADanielle Edgren – I grew up in Seattle, where I learned at a young age that I loved to cook. I attended several years of Culinary Arts courses, which taught me the invaluable knowledge of the dynamics of food. I enjoyed competing in local events, and catering banquets. I soon developed the art of crafting new ideas that took me down the path to my own recipe development. I furthered my experience, working in restaurants and catering for a few years before I settled down and married my sweet husband and soon became a stay-at-home mom, putting my dreams aside for a time. While I was pregnant with our son, I realized I was addicted to carbs! This terrified me and I was feeling completely victim to food. I researched diets to become healthier. I was introduced to Primal/Paleo. My husband and I have enjoyed the benefits of Paleo for two years. Deceptively Sweet by Danielle Engren –


John Martel PHOTO FOR BOOK JACKETJohn Martel – After majoring in creative writing at University of California then obtaining his law degree at Boalt Hall, he joined and soon became a partner at San Francisco’s Farella, Braun, and Martel firm.  Once hailed by the National Law Journal as one of the top ten trial lawyers in America, John Martel’s background brings insight and stunning realism to his four novels unsurpassed by any other writer of legal fiction.  Each of his four highly acclaimed legal thrillers have been either regional or national bestsellers and his work has received glowing acclaim from other authors such as Richard North Patterson and Clive Cussler. John Martel’s fifth novel, The American Lawyer, will be released this fall and has already garnered praise from his peers. You can read more about John Martel at his website,


Riddle_0377_3x5Clive Riddle is a life-long Californian, married and father of three, living in Modesto, California. At age 26 Riddle became CEO of a regional health plan. After a decade, he went on to found MCOL (, a leading national health care business information company. Riddle has authored a variety of health care reference books and business articles in national publications. He is a noted speaker at national events regarding key health care business issues. The Burning Z is his second novel, preceded by Dorris Bridge, which was released in 2010. Dorris Bridge is a novel about rural legends – a supernatural crime mystery set in rural Northern California in the 1970s. The Burning Z is a science fiction – horror novel where zombies are determined to attend the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.


J.A. SlackJ. A. Slack is an artist, illustrator, and an educator as well as a member of three prominent organizations: the National League of American Pen Women, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the American Association of University Women.  Of her two published books, Crunching Carrots, NOT Candy … a fun nutritional picture book was voted as one of the top 100 books for educators by the National Education Association and the Willy and the Winchester Motorcycle book is on permanent display in the Winchester Collection located at the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum (Smithsonian affiliate) in Cody, Wyoming. Slack’s books to be released in 2013 include: Crunching and Munching the Alphabet, Color Me Wholesome, The Purse Curse, and The Lady in a Hat.



Maya TongrenMaya Torngren, author of Maya: the Story of a German War Bride shares the life story of a German girl growing up in Germany during Hitler’s regime. Maya spent the night of her fifteenth birthday huddled in the basement with her family as her home town of Augsburg suffered its largest air raid of the war. Life was very interesting for the teenager after the war ended and the American troops entered the city, bringing with them the Big Band Sound. Five years after the war, she met and married an American soldier. Moving to America was just the beginning of many different experiences that awaited her. The couple and their four children left the U.S. to embark on an eleven-month, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa, the Canary Islands, and Europe. Four years after their return to the U.S., they moved to California, where they remain to this day. Sadly, a few years later, tragedy struck the family. The book ends 60 years later on Maya’s 75th birthday.


Robert O'HannesonRobert O’Hanneson spent over twenty years selling amusement rides to carnivals and amusement parks worldwide. Now, he writes fulltime in California’s Central Valley. His novel, Possum Belly Queen, is Dark Oak Mystery Contest’s 2010. He wrote Bloody Soil, which was partially read on Fresno’s NPR station. His article “Inside the Silos of Doomsday” was part of Military History Magazine’s issue on the Cuban Missile Crisis. His work also appeared in Fresno Magazine. As board vice president of the Yosemite Writers Conference, he worked on planning of conferences, speaker acquisitions and generated scholarship funds for high school and college students.



Brittney Nunes

Britt Nunes never expected to be a writer. Coming from a past where she always struggled academically, to the point where she was held back in grammar school, the idea of completing a novel was utterly intangible. But falling in love with reading was what ultimately helped her excel. She now considers herself a dork with an overactive imagination. Being that she is addicted to rich words, suspenseful stories, a touch of romance, and massive amounts of coffee, becoming a writer not just became possible, but enviable. Britt writes for young adults. Etched is her debut novel.



Jose HernandezIn 2004 José M. Hernández became the first migrant farm worker to become a NASA astronaut. An impressive achievement in itself, Jose’s accomplishment is even more amazing when you realize the journey he took to get there. Born into a migrant farm working family from Mexico, José spent much of his childhood on what he calls the “California Circuit,” travelling with his family from Mexico to California’s southern San Joaquin Valley each March, then working in the fields northward to the Stockton area. In late November, they would return to Mexico where they celebrated Christmas and waited for March to start the cycle all over again. Through many hardships, Jose’s parents stayed strong and focused on their children’s education which allowed José to dream of one day reaching the stars. Determined to fulfill his dream, José obtained degrees in Electrical Engineering. After a successful career as an engineer and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he worked on the development of an X-ray laser, helped developed the first full-field digital mammography system for the early detection of breast cancer and worked in the nuclear non-proliferation arena, José was selected as part of the 19th class of U.S. Astronauts in 2004. On August 28, 2009 José, assigned to the STS-128 Space Shuttle Discovery mission as the flight engineer, realized his dream of reaching for the stars blasting off into space on a 14 day mission to the International Space Station. Jose’s inspiring journey of perseverance and hard work is a true fulfillment of the American dream. His book, REACHING FOR THE STARS is the inspiring story of how he realized that dream, becoming the first Mexican-American astronaut.


Hal JanssenHal Janssen is a nationally known writer, artist, lecturer, and video personality. Hal’s book “Fly-Fishing Secrets Stillwater” is full of never before available Stillwater information and revolutionary fly patterns and instruction on how to tie and fish them. He has been fly-fishing for over 50 years and has fished extensively throughout the North and South America for nearly every species of fresh and salt water fish. Hal’s account of his first steelhead trip was wading wet in the winter because no one made waders for 9-year-old kids in 1952.  The old timers from the Golden Gate Casting Club adopted him, setting him up with a shooting head and teaching him to cast.  Hal’s self-confidence and fiery enthusiasm seem to guide him in everything he does.  Hal is one of the very few special people in the world with naturally polarized eyes that allows him to see better, correctly analyze stream conditions, and take fish repeatedly when others are unsuccessful, adding to his great ability as a world class angler. Hal is a member of the Federation of Fly-Fishing Hall of Fame and is a member of the prestigious California Outdoor Hall of Fame.  He is an exceptional individual who has made significant contributions to the sport of fly-fishing.


Donna HartleyDonna Hartley has an amazing story … she is proof that one woman can walk through fire and deliver a message powerful enough to impact millions of lives. This is an empowering survival story. Drawing on her three life-threatening events (which all occurred on dates of March 1st) she ignites you with firepower to awaken your untapped potential and master change in your life. Cry, laugh, and be inspired! She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii and former Miss Hawaii. Donna has been featured on PBS, NBC, ABC and in The New York Times. She is the author of Fire Up Your Life!, Fire Up Your Intuition! and Fire Up Your Healing!




Todd BorgTahoe local Todd Borg is the author of the Owen McKenna Tahoe Mystery series, featuring Detective McKenna and his Harlequin Great Dane Spot. Borg’s ten books have gotten rave (and starred) reviews coast-to-coast, won awards like the Ben Franklin Award for Best Mystery of the Year, been chosen by both Library Journal and Mystery News as one of the Top 5 Mysteries of the Year, and they’ve made Amazon’s bestseller list multiple times. Borg’s Tahoe mysteries are fun; fast reads with a lot of action and intelligent stories. The recurring characters will become your friends. Spot will become one of your favorite dogs. You’ll love visiting Tahoe from your armchair. And the bad guys will make you … well, let’s just say you will despise them. Borg has been waiting for you to give the books a try. P.S. Spot says hi


Linda Abbott TrappLinda Abbott Trapp has lived and worked throughout the United States, as well as in Ethiopia, Siberia, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is the author of seven books, including the award- winning Letters to My Granddaughters; Insights and Inspiration for a Life Journey. In addition, she’s written numerous articles and columns in psychology, business, writing, gardening, and the arts. She is widely known as a speaker and consultant.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnthony Barcellos was born in California, but his first language and original culture came from Terceira, the birthplace of all four of his grandparents. He grew up on his paternal grandfather’s dairy farm on the outskirts of Porterville (Tulare County), a small town in the San Joaquin Valley. He soon learned English and eventually became a math teacher and writer. Barcellos has worked as a science journalist (Albuquerque Journal), computer columnist (PC Magazine), legislative aide (California state senate), and civil servant (California state treasurer’s office). Land of Milk and Money (Tagus Press, 2012) is his first published work of fiction. He is currently professor of mathematics and department chair at American River College in Sacramento.



Burcell 2013 Book Photo lo resRobin Burcell, an FBI-trained forensic artist, has worked as a police officer, detective, hostage negotiator and criminal investigator for nearly three decades. The Black List is her latest international thriller about an FBI forensic artist. Face of a Killer was the first in the series and received a starred review from Library Journal. It was followed by The Bone Chamber, and The Dark Hour. More information can be found on her website at:




mburns2Maryellen Burns is co-author of Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes; and editor of the anthologies — Potluck: Recipes and Remembrances; I Street Omnibus; Morning Coffee; and I Street Journal. Maryellen is a writer, editor, teacher, food sleuth and former caterer, she is also director of We Are Where We Eat, a foodways alliance that chronicles the Valley’s food stories. She serves on the boards of the Sacramento County Historical Society and I Street Press and is a member of the Culinary Historians of Northern California, Slow Food and other food, wine, history and art associations.



Adam SidwellDefender-02-2In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write the Evertaster series. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.



Karen ArnpriesterKaren Slimick Arnpriester is a Christian fiction author (Anessia’s Quest and Raider’s Vendetta) who writes about real-life conflict and struggles. Her stories do not sugar-coat the trials that humanity must endure, whether is it abuse, abandonment, addictions or the need to discover the purpose of life. Karen wants to challenge the reader to evaluate their beliefs and to consider what God means to them. Her stories are sprinkled with blessings from Heaven in the appearance of angels, miracles and God’s divine intent in the characters’ lives. Karen’s upcoming release, Leadbottom (inspired by a true story), focuses on the devastation from bullying and the healing God provided. Mrs. Arnpriester resides in Manteca, California, and is a wife, mother, grandmother and adoptive mother of her foster daughters. While writing is her passion, she is also a graphic designer and designs her own covers.


Amy Smith-picAmy Elizabeth Smith is originally from western Pennsylvania. She teaches professional writing, creative writing, and literature at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. In June 2012, she published a nonfiction travel memoir entitled All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year’s Journey with Jane. The book describes a year spent traveling and hosting Jane Austen reading groups in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina.




Maureen Minnehan Jones-1Maureen Minnehan Jones is a registered nurse, guided imagery practitioner, holistic healer, author, and speaker. This Oakdale resident has been writing for over fourteen years. Her book Wisdom to Wellness: Healing Your Emotional Sufferings so the Physical Healing Can Follow recently won the 2012 International Book Awards in the Self-Help Category. Maureen’s target audience includes clients from all walks of life and every age group, people dealing with health challenges, coping with stress or emotional blocks, and those deepening their mind-body-soul connection.



Moyer, DonDon Moyer began writing his outdoor column, Tight Lines, at the Tracy Press in 1979. As a freelance fishing writer, his work appeared in Angler and Flyfishing the West magazines. Don’s book, Tight Lines, Observations of an Outdoor Philosopher, is a collection of his most memorable columns and magazine articles from the past 30 years. The diverse collection covers fishing, hunting, and various other outdoor pursuits.




Michelle McKenzie-picMichelle A.B. McKenzie Michelle A.B. McKenzie is an attorney turned children’s author with a passion for children’s literacy.  She is the author of Beavers’ Big Problem and Beavers’ Big Discovery, lighthearted and lively critter tales for young children and early readers up to age ten.  Both stories are silly and entertaining vocabulary builders that focus on overcoming adversity.   Beavers’ Big Problem is about what happens when the clopzip on the main gizmo breaks at the Far Away Land Ice Cream Factory.  Beavers’ Big Discovery finds the critters of the Far Away Land preparing for the Great Rodent Festival.  Full of vocabulary and zany fun, these books are sure to delight preschoolers, young readers (K-4) and parents alike.  Ms. McKenzie lives in rural San Joaquin County with her husband, son and their extended family of critters, including horses, cats, a dog and an action-packed dairy goat. She is President of Friends of the Escalon Library, a volunteer at her son’s elementary school and enjoys assisting young children with academics. Beavers’ Big Problem garnered raving reviews by Children’s Bookwatch (The Midwest Book Review) and RAM book reviews.  Just released this past Spring, Beavers’ Big Discovery is also receiving favorable reviews from its readers.  It also received accolades from RAM Book Reviews.  Both books are now available in paperback, hard cover, audio CD, digital audio and as e-books. The paperback and hard cover versions are actually  two books in one as each includes a free digital download of the audio book.  It is available at many bookstores, local gift shops and online. Check out, which features children’s puzzles, games, fun facts and reading comprehension tests to go with the books.  You can also follow Mrs. McKenzie on Facebook at Silly Critter Stories for Kids.


Murphy, ValerieValerie Murphy  Valerie Murphy has had a passion for storytelling since she was a little girl. Now a mother of three, she is the author of Children’s Book Of Poems Schmoems, The Gumshoes: A New Town, Oh Joy, which recently received an honorable mention from San Francisco Book Festival, and the newly completed second book in the series, The Gumshoes: Rogues Hollow Crossing. Valerie is currently working on her first young adult novel which she hopes will bring awareness to Cystic Fibrosis, her son was diagnosed with the devastating disease with in 2006.



KerryHarrisKerry Harris, author of “The Devoted Cook” blog, is the founder and original owner of Main Street Café & Catering. With no experience in the food industry, Kerry opened the Manteca café in 2004 with the vision of offering homemade food at affordable prices. After constant requests for her recipes, she compiled Something For Everyone, a new cookbook that includes traditional family recipes, café recipes, and new recipes developed in her journey toward healthful eating.




John Mangelos-picJohn Mangelos and Ella Mangelos-Velthoen have been cooking and laughing together since they were children. Patrons of their Barnwood Restaurant regularly asked them for recipes, so the two decided to write and publish The Greek Gourmet, their first cookbook. It was so successful that they published a second cookbook, The Culinary Adventures of The Greek Gourmets.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJennie Chadwick lives and writes in the central valley of California which serves as the backdrop for The Peach Tree Kids, a series of action/adventure books for ages 6-10. She garnered her skill from telling funny stories to her daughters as they grew up. Jennie likes to say, “Life is an adventure, and imagination can take you anywhere,” and she carries that theme and philosophy through her books.




Jay Feldman-picJay Feldman’s most recent book is Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed When The Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, Gourmet, and a wide variety of other national, regional and local publications.




Claudia Newcorn-picClaudia Newcorn is the award-winning author of the fantasy fiction Krisálys Féyree Chronicles, which include Crossover, Dark Fire, and Firestar. She is the host of Central Valley Writers Workshop on KAZV-TV, a public speaker, and a Modesto Bee Community Columnist. Claudia owns the marketing and communications agency Acorn Enterprises, and has enjoyed being a freelance writer and editor for over 15 years.




Steve SontagSteve Sonntag is the author of two non-fiction books: Learning, The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love! and Teaching, The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love! He recently published The Ill-Fated Earthlings, a science fiction e-book. His books are representative of the human condition with the understanding that people can improve when they are given direction, encouragement, and praise.




Cherish Doll picCherish A. Doll, author of The Enchanted Cloak series, was born in Modesto, California, and currently resides in Salida. With over two decades of experience teaching language arts and social studies, middle school students are her target audience, but her magical fiction books are enjoyed by many age groups. Over the years, she has traveled to a number of foreign countries, steadily compiling information for the historically accurate descriptions of castles and people’s stations that she incorporates into her books.



Claudia HagenClaudia Hagen  “Write what you know. When one door closes, another will open. Follow your dreams, seek your passion, find your joy. And, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are a woman.” Those statements have guided Claudia through a variety of experiences including 38 years as a critical care nurse, pioneering as a hot air balloon pilot, operating her own business, then suffering a series of strokes that ended her active lifestyle. Following the strokes, friends encouraged her to pursue her interest in writing. Her first book, The Night A Fortress Fell To Fairfield, recounts the 1943 crash of a B-17 bomber that missed her grandparents’ farmhouse by just 30 feet. Her second book, The Mystic High Adventures of Fannie Flame & Crew, is a memoir of struggles and triumphs through twelve years of ballooning. Yet to be illustrated is a children’s book, Grandma Flies A Hot Air Balloon. Claudia is currently completing a nonfiction book about a nuclear site in Hanford, Washington, and its tragic effects on the nearby population. Visit her website for more info.


kmillerKristin Miller has had a passion for language and literature her whole life. Born and raised in northern California, she often made up stories about faraway places and edge-of-your-seat adventures. After graduating from Humboldt State University, Kristin taught high school and middle school English, married her college sweetheart, and had two beautiful munchkins. In 2008, she took time off from teaching to raise her children, and she started writing while they napped. Since that time, Kristin has published nine novels with three major publishers and is contracted for three more. She is the author of the dark and gritty Vampires of Crimson Bay series (HarperCollins/Avon), the paranormal/fantasy Isle of Feralon series (Harlequin Nocturne), and the Seattle Wolf Pack series (Entangled Publishing). For more information on her previous books and upcoming releases, visit her website.



Cindy Sample:  Having been an avid reader from the age of four, Cindy Sample’s third grade career ambition was to become a detective, just like Nancy Drew. At sixteen, she realized her inherent klutziness could be an impediment to becoming a private eye or super spy. Her new mission was to be a mystery writer… Not too many years later, though, with a family to support, Cindy put aside her literary longings for a weekly paycheck, landing a job as a receptionist. She eventually rose to become CEO of a nationwide company. After one too many corporate mergers, Cindy found herself plotting murder instead of plodding through paperwork. Her first novel, Dying for a Date, was voted # 1 Romance in the 2010 P&E Readers Poll. The sequel, Dying for a Dance, was a 2012 Lefty Award finalist for Best Humorous Mystery, and recipient of the 2012 Best Fiction Award by the Northern California Publishers and Authors Association.