Check back for more presenter biographies as they become available!
Silvia Acevedo is a television personality and former news reporter and anchor who’s spent many years reporting objective fact. She’s interviewed presidential candidates, covered national and international stories, and given breaking news reports for CNN and local television and radio stations around the country. She also occasionally guest hosts a television morning talk show for a local NBC affiliate. Roman gods, however, have been curiously absent during this time, so Silvia decided to put fiction – especially mythology – back into her life. The result is the God Awful series of books, starting with God Awful Loser, followed by God Awful Thief and God Awful Rebel. Find Silvia at www.silviaacevedo.com.
Beth Amos is a USA TODAY bestselling author who is also published under the pseudonyms of Annelise Ryan and Allyson K. Abbott. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, the one common factor in her fiction, is that someone always dies.
As Annelise Ryan she writes a mystery series featuring the wry, and often politically incorrect, nurse-turned-coroner, Mattie Winston. As Allyson K. Abbott she writes a mystery series featuring bar owner, Mack Dalton, who uses her neurological disorder, synesthesia, to help solve crimes. As Beth Amos she wrote three thrillers: Cold White Fury, Eyes of Night, and Second Sight. In addition, she has self-published two additional thrillers: Nick of Time and Face of Death.
Beth has her pseudonyms in part because she figures her current ER patients might not be comfortable knowing she spends her spare time thinking up devious and clever ways to kill people. She knows a lot of them at this point, so it’s probably best to stay on her good side. Find more at bethamos.com.
Chief Deputy Coroner Cheryl I. Brehmer has been a Winnebago County deputy coroner for 6 years and has investigated approximately 800 on-scene deaths. She is currently attending Fox Valley Technical College working towards Forensic and Mortuary Science degrees. She serves on the county’s Child Death Review Team and helps train Victim Crisis Response, and has training in child fatality investigations and medicolegal death investigations.
Winnebago County Coroner Barry L. Busby has served as the Winnebago County Coroner since 1997. He has a Bachelor degree from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Sociology. He served in the US Army Military Police and has experience with insurance investigation. He worked at the Oshkosh Police Department for 27 years. Busby was one of the first coroners to be certified by the American Board of Medico-Legal Death Investigators and has assisted the author of 5 booklets for Wisconsin State Council On Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. He is a member of Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officers Association, Wisconsin Homicide Investigators, and Wisconsin Coroners and Medical Examiners Association. Busby also began many new initiatives, including Suicide Prevention Community for Hope, Re:Think Coalition, and the Heroin Task Force.
Liam Callanan is the author of The Cloud Atlas, All Saints, Listen, and Paris by the Book. His work has been or will be translated into Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese. Liam was the winner of the 2017 George W. Hunt, SJ Prize in Arts, Letters & Journalism and a finalist for the Edgar Award.
He serves in the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was previously its chair, as well as coordinator of its Ph.D. program in creative writing. He has regularly contributed to local and national public radio, and is possibly the only person now living (but consult your own Venn diagram) who has written for all of the following: the Wall Street, The Awl, Commonweal, Esquire.com, Slate, the New York Times Book Review, the Times op-ed page, the Washington Post Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes FYI, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Milwaukee Magazine, Brain,Child and elsewhere.
His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of literary journals, including Gulf Coast, the New Haven Review, Tinge, the Writers Chronicle, Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, Southern Indiana Review, Caketrain, failbetter and Phoebe. Liam is also the creator and co-executive producer of the Poetry Everywhere animated film series. Find more at liamcallanan.com.
Larry Cockerel is the author of four motivational books and a John C. Maxwell Certified Leadership International Speaker. A cancer survivor, his mission is to teach others about “Making a Difference on Purpose” by helping people discover their true purpose and realize that their life matters.
Larry is an active reader, writer and loves to cook. He started his professional speaking business over 15 years ago, and is a proud member and past president of National Speakers Association (NSA) of Wisconsin.
He resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin with his wife Debbie and their six kids (cats).
Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer and eclectic reader who reviews and writes about books, mainly for Kirkus, but including NPR, Barnes & Noble, and the New York Times Book Review. She advocates for romance because the industry and the books are empowering, inspiring agents of change, especially for women. Bobbi believes that women have the right to read whatever they want to, without being shamed for it, and that women writers have the power to change the world, one book, one reader at a time. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Shaun Harris grew up in Connecticut. The son of a homicide detective and very Irish mother, he attended the University of Notre Dame where he had an unadorned career as a fencer and earned a degree in both American Studies and Film and Television. He taught high school social studies in Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. His first novel, The Hemingway Thief, came out in the summer of 2016. His graphic novel, Las Vegas Repo, is due out this July through IDW Publishing. Harris currently lives in Wisconsin with his way-too-good-for-him wife, Anne, their two kids, and their two dogs.
Kaye Henrickson is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend…and oh, a cancer survivor. Check that, she’s a warrior princess thriver. Through her recently released book, Battle Courage: Channeling My Inner Warrior Princess to Kick Cancer’s A$$, Kaye shares her personal trauma journey with intentions of helping people unleash their own inner warrior, regardless of the adversity they personally face. She presents at conferences and seminars on women’s health, resilience, mental health, mindset, wellness, and numerous other professional learning topics.
Kaye spends her time away from the written word and work traveling and adventuring with her partner in life, Dave, family and friends, and of course, their rescue pooch, Geneva. Preferably, she likes to go somewhere near woods or water. Kaye can be found and followed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @KayeHenrickson, and on her website, www.kayehenrickson.com.
Kira Henschel is the founder of HenschelHAUS Books. HenschelHAUS includes the following imprints: Goblin Fern Press for custom-published books; MavenMark Books for non-fiction books for experts, by experts; Three Towers Press for fiction books, and The Publishing Prep School where you can get answers to your publishing questions. Kira is available for private book coaching and self-publisher consulting. Find more at henschelhausbooks.com.
John Holland is the Public Information Officer for the Oshkosh Fire Department. This is his 20th year in the department. The main focus of his duties are to present fire and life safety information to the citizens of Oshkosh. His audiences range from preschoolers to senior citizens. “Firefighter John” as he is known to most of the people of Oshkosh is a lifelong resident of the city. In his free time he likes to spend time with family and friends, do anything outdoors, workout at the Y, and read.
Shannon Ishizaki is the heart and soul behind Orange Hat Publishing. After starting the company 8 years ago, she has helped over 250 writers fulfill their dreams of becoming authors. She is always ready to do whatever it takes to make her authors happy and to get their books out into the world, whether it’s hiding books around Waukesha, WI (on National Hide a Book Day!), hosting activities for author events, or sending book samples to anyone who could benefit from a quality read. You will frequently find her sipping coffee or tea or showing off something orange.
Courtney Kotloski is the author of the Gnat & Corky Series. Her first book, Addison the Light Catcher, achieved the number one new release in children’s special needs books on Amazon. Courtney graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in Creative Writing and Theatre Performance. She balances book launches and working as a full-time writer. Courtney lives in Northern Illinois with her husband, two kids, and Jake- the best dog in the universe. Find more at courtneykotloski.com.
Lynn Kuhns, a Wisconsin-based freelancer, has more than four decades of experience as a professional writer and creative-writing instructor spread over a whopping variety of venues and topics. She’s served as a journalist, staff writer, copywriter, editor, essayist and corporate communicator, with articles in the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel, Silent Sports, Fox Cities Magazine, Bamboo Ridge literary magazine, Wolf River Country and other publications. Lynn is working on a contemporary novel set in rural Wisconsin as she also volunteers to promote the outdoors and teach writing skills.
Deb Martin is the author of a children’s book and has journaled for decades. She is a community advocate and public speaker. Deb currently serves as president of the Water City Speakers Toastmaster club in Oshkosh. In a previous life she was an Industrial Engineer who worked as a project manager in transportation. Deb likes to play with her grandkids and travel. One of her favorite quotes is “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”
Golden Heart Award winner Christine Merrill has written over twenty novels and an assortment of stories and novellas. Her latest book The Brooding Duke of Danforth is coming in June. She’s sold over a million and a half books world-wide and has been translated into more than 15 languages.
She lives with her high school sweetheart in a renovated Catholic church, complete with stained glass windows and a bell tower. They have two sons, a labradoodle, and two cats with active social lives. When not writing, Chris can be found at the movies, halfway back and towards the center, with a large buttered popcorn (but only if the film has a happy ending). Visit her at christine-merrill.com.
Jenny Pavlovic, Ph.D., P.E. is the author of 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog and The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book. Her short non-fiction stories are published in several New World Library and Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She lives in Wisconsin with dogs Chase and Cayenne and cat, Junipurr. Her ‘day job’ is biomedical engineer. She loves to walk dogs, swim, kayak, garden and spend time outdoors. She volunteered helping lost animals in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and has helped rescue many animals over the years. Find more at www.8statekate.net.
Dr. Margaret Rozga, Wisconsin’s 2019 poet laureate and University of Wisconsin – Waukesha Professor of English Emerita, creates poetry from her ongoing concern for social justice issues. Her book, Two Hundred Nights and One Day, was awarded a bronze medal in poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards and named an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2009 by the Wisconsin Library Association. Dr. Rozga is also the author of Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad, Justice Freedom Herbs, and her most recent book, Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems. She writes monthly columns for the Los Angeles Art News and Milwaukee Neighborhood News. She leads poetry and journaling workshops and serves as a civil rights consultant to community organizations. Find more at margaretrozga.com.
Madeline Swanger is a Senior at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, working towards a Major in English Education and a Minor in Professional Writing. Madeline is the Director of Operations of Cornerstone Press, an undergraduate teaching press at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Established in 1984, the press has published 40 titles to date in multiple genres. Cornerstone is the only press of its kind in the University of Wisconsin system, and one of four undergraduate, student-staffed presses in the United States. The press accepts all genres but their focus is on new and emerging Midwest writers.
David Michael Williams has suffered from a storytelling addiction for as long as he can remember. With a background in journalism, public relations, and marketing, he also flaunts his love affair with the written word as an author of speculative fiction. His most recent books include the sword-and-sorcery trilogy The Renegade Chronicles and The Soul Sleep Cycle, a genre-bending series that explores life, death, and the dreamscape.
David lives in Wisconsin with the best wife on this or any other planet and their two amazing children.
Visit his website at david-michael-williams.com.