Celebrate the Mitten
Celebrate Local Authors!
Michigan Author Showcase
Saturday, April 21
Michigan Authors Series
March through May
(Click for printable brochure)
Michigan Author Showcase
Saturday, April 21, 1:00 to 4:00 PM
More than a dozen Michigan authors from around the state will gather to meet readers and sign and sell copies of their books. The event also includes a trio of panels geared toward aspiring authors but also promises to be engaging, amusing and enlightening for readers as well:
- 1:15 PM: Letters to an Aspiring Author: If I Could Give a Single Piece of Advice to a Writer Looking to Be Published, featuring Jennifer Armintrout, Albert Bell, George Dila, Vic Foerster, D.E. Johnson and Roger Meyer
- 2:15 PM: They Will Love My First Draft As Much As I Do — Not! and Other Reality Checks for Budding Authors, featuring Elizabeth Buzzelli, Tess Grant, Mardi Link, Tom Rademacher, Kristina Riggle and Aaron Stander
- 3:15 PM: Grab Bag: Author Issues 2.0, featuring DJ DeSmyter, R. A. Evans, Sue Merrell, Andrew Mozina and Rick Sigsby
Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Kentwood Library / Book Sales Provided by Schuler Books & Music
Michigan Author Series
Solo Author Appearances at Select KDL Branches
March through May
Jennifer Armintrout's debut novel, The Turning, made the USA Today Bestsellers list in 2006. Her series of urban fantasy novels known as the Blood Ties series chronicle the life of Dr. Carrie Ames, an emergency-room doctor who must adapt to life as a vampire after being attacked by one of her patients. Armintrout's debut novel, The Turning has been for sale in five countries since 2006. Her second book, Possession, was released in early 2007. The third book, Ashes to Ashes was released in August 2007. The fourth book, All Souls' Night, came out in 2008. Her inspiration for the novels came from her experiences working at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. Armintrout also has a wicked-funny blog: http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.com.
Albert Bell teaches college students about the ancient world, especially Rome, so it's an era he writes about, both in fiction and nonfiction. Exploring the New Testament World has been used in a number of college and university classes. His mystery novels include Kill Her Again, All Roads Lead to Murder: A Case from the Notebooks of Pliny the Younger and Death Goes Dutch: A Wooden Shoe Mystery. The second books in all three planned series are in progress. He classifies the books as being in the "amateur sleuth category, and in the subcategories of romantic and academic." He also wrote an historical mystery novel for ages 9–11, titled The Secret of the Lonely Grave, and has a second children's book in the works.
Elizabeth Buzzelli's first mystery novel, A Gift of Evil, was published by Bantam. Her other novels are Dead Dancing Women, Dead Floating Lovers, Dead Sleeping Shaman and Dead Dogs and Englishmen, which was named one of the best mysteries of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews. Buzzelli is a book reviewer and creative writing teacher at Northwest Michigan College, and was recently on the panel choosing Michigan Notable Books for the Michigan State Library. She has been given a grant by the Michigan Council for the Arts for a book of essays on living in Northern Michigan, and has appeared at writers conferences around the country. Her short stories have appeared in many journals, and she has had essays turned into stage pieces and performed and read on Michigan Public Radio.
Christine Byron, local history librarian for the Grand Rapids Public Library, and her husband, Tom Wilson, owner of Vintage Views Prints, collected, researched, studied, observed and traveled to produce their new book, Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike: From Sand Trails to US-31. The Michigan Notable book — the couple's third — introduces readers to the romance of early automobile travel. It traces the early days of organizing the Pike to economic development of cabins, restaurants, hotels, lodging and service stations through the vehicle of early motoring. The couple used part of their extensive private collection of vintage postcards, maps, tourist and travel brochures, advertisements, decals, pennants and souvenirs to build the book. Visits to museums, historical societies and libraries provided more images and research to supplement their collection for the book. Their collection of antique postcards and tourist and travel ephemera was the inspiration for all of their books: Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike (2011), Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Region (2007), Vintage Views of the Charlevoix-Petoskey Region (2005) and Vintage Views of Leelanau County (2002).
Pamela Harman Daugavietis has worked in public relations for a Saudi Arabian hospital, as a freelance writer for the Spectrum Health Foundation and the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Foundation, and was executive producer of a one-hour documentary about the history of giving and volunteerism in West Michigan. She published her first book, Through the Eyes of a Child: The Story of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, which she calls a memoir of an institution. She is a member of the Junior Golden Rule Society of the Butterworth Auxiliary and the Association of Personal Historians, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping members assist others in preserving their own personal and institutional histories. During a 90-minute, hands-on workshop, titled "This is My Story," Daugavietis will provide instructions on how to create an outline for life-story writing and the fundamentals of good writing. The workshop, to be held March 27 at the Grandville branch, is sponsored by Cook Family Services. "You don't need to be a writer to write your own life story," Pam said. "All you need is a willingness to begin and a commitment to yourself to give it your best effort as you move through the process."
DJ DeSmyter is the author of the young-adult paranormal romance novel Hunted. He has always loved reading and buys books like some people buy shoes. His love of reading led him to writing and he cannot wait to see where his stories take him next. When he's not writing, DJ loves writing music, taking photos and watching episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
George Dila's Nothing More To Tell brings together short stories that reflect the combined effects of history, family and society on the men and women of Michigan's small towns and big cities. Dila's prose presents us with a view of middle-aged, middle-class men that is at once ruthlessly honest and understanding. Their lives are tightly woven chains of successes and failures, which culminate in episodes that are occasionally comic, often catastrophic. Dila's stories and personal essays have appeared in North American Review, Traverse, Christian Science Monitor and other publications. The native Detroiter lives in the Lake Michigan coastal town of Ludington, where he directs the activities of Ludington Visiting Writers, a literary program he founded in 2001. Dila's first book of short stories, The End of the World, — peopled by Siamese twins and talk show hosts and ancient Israelites and abandoned children — was published in 2008.
R. A. Evans writes. By day he prostitutes his creative for the advertising industry. By night, he writes for pleasure. It's what he does. It's who he is. If you like your humor dark, your blood-letting messy and the creepiness factor cranked to eleven, he's the author for you. His debut novel, Asylum Lake, hit the shelves to rave reviews and its sequel, Grave Undertakings, is scheduled to be unearthed in the spring. A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Evans started his career at a small-town newspaper and has spent the past 15 years working in marketing and public relations.
In Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories, a wilderness island in Lake Superior calls arborist and outdoors-lover Vic Foerster to cross the world's largest Great Lake, land on the island's rocky shore, hike its bony spine, fish its shoal embedded coves and fall in love with it all, bugs included. After 30 years worth of visits to Isle Royale National Park, Foerster records his experiences in this 2010 narrative.
After nearly 10 years as a forensic anthropologist, Tess Grant semi-retired to a "farmette" in the backwoods of Michigan to raise organic veggies, free-range children and novels. She has worked in places ranging from a human decomposition research facility to a medical examiner's office to a U.S. government lab. Her publishing credits include the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Chicken Soup for the Soul and an upcoming trilogy of young adult suspense novels. The first of these, Trajectories, is due out in March.
Caitlin Horrocks is an assistant professor of writing at Grand Valley State University and a fiction editor at West Branch. She was born in Ann Arbor in 1980 and has lived in Ohio, Arizona, England, Finland and the Czech Republic. She is the author of the story collection, This Is Not Your City. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories 2011, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009, The Pushcart Prize XXXV, The Paris Review and Tin House, among others. Her work has won awards including the Plimpton Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers Conference Fellowship and scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony.
Kalamazoo-area author D.E. (Dan) Johnson's literary debut, a historical mystery entitled The Detroit Electric Scheme, was published by St. Martin's Minotaur in 2010. The sequel, Motor City Shakedown, was published by Minotaur in September 2011. He's currently working on the second sequel to The Detroit Electric Scheme. Johnson is a history buff who has been writing fiction since childhood, but had to hit his midlife crisis to realize he should get serious about it. The early 20th Century, a time of big ambitions, huge achievements and crushing poverty, holds a special fascination for Johnson. His grandfather was the vice president of Checker Motors, beginning work with Checker in 1924 and continuing until 1980.
A journalism graduate from Michigan State University and a former police reporter, Mardi Link is the author of two historic true-crime books, When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore's Secret, both published by the University of Michigan Press. When Evil Came to Good Hart details the 40-year investigation into the still unsolved murder of the Robison family. Isadore's Secret, winner of a Michigan Notable Book Award, concerns the life, mysterious death and subsequent investigation into crimes against a Felician nun at the turn of the century. Mardi has a memoir forthcoming from Knopf and is currently at work on a third true-crime book about another unsolved Michigan murder. She has written for The Detroit Free Press, Traverse Magazine, Michigan History Magazine, Traverse City Business News and other publications. She lives and works on a small farm outside Traverse City.
After 10 years covering theater and entertainment for The Grand Rapids Press — part of a four-decade feature-writing career — Sue Merrell is sharing some of those stories in her new memoir, Laughing for a Living. Included are recollections from her conversations with stage and screen stars from Bette Midler to James Earl Jones to Cary Grant, as well as other stories from her reporting experiences. Great News Town is a fictional mystery thriller inspired by a serial killer who terrorized Joliet, Illinois, when Merrell was assistant city editor there.
Roger Meyer's accounts of folklore-type ghost stories are featured in his book, Ghostly Tales of Lake Huron. The retired aerospace engineer who lives in Kentwood also is author of Ghostly Tales of the Connecticut Shoreline, published in February, and Ghostly Tales of the Manistee National Forest, due out this summer. Meyer's articles and photographs have been published in some 70 magazines, on a variety of topics ranging from wildflowers to wilderness survival to weather prediction. He has a humorous bit of advice for aspiring non-fiction authors at http://www.grwriters.org/Rogers_Maxims.htm.
Andrew Mozina is a short-story writer whose books include the collection, The Women Were Leaving the Men, which was a finalist in the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. The collection's title story received a special mention in the Pushcart Prize 2006 and was also listed as a distinguished story in The Best American Short Stories collection of 2005. Mozina is an associate professor of English at Kalamazoo College. He has also published a critical work on Joseph Conrad, Joseph Conrad and the Art of Sacrifice.
Rockford writer Lisa Orchard's debut novel, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer, is a suspenseful thriller about young girls thrust into a situation and the choices they make. The setting is Harrisburg, a small town in Michigan, much like the town where Orchard grew up. Many of her characters' adventures stem from her own exploits as a young teen. After graduating from Central Michigan University with a marketing degree Orchard spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side. The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She's working on a second novel that stars the same quirky teens, and hopes to turn the Super Spies into a series.
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Tom Rademacher has been employed part-time as a lifeguard, factory worker, silkscreener, taxicab driver, handyman and swim coach. Those hardscrabble connections to everyday men and women helped launch his career at The Grand Rapids Press as a teller of extraordinary tales about "the guy next door." For more than three decades, he has endeared himself to readers of the Press as a writer with a nose for news, a keen eye for detail and a desire to provide a voice for people both struggling and soaring. He retired from the Press in 2009, and now freelances. He and wife and three sons live in Rockford. His first book, Splitting Wood, was a culmination of columns written over 21 years as a Grand Rapids Press columnist. His second book of previously published columns, released in December, is Knocking At Your Door. A third book, The Book of CAKE, is due out this spring.
Kristina Riggle's debut novel, Real Life & Liars, set in Charlevoix, was a Target "Breakout" pick and a "Great Lakes, Great Reads" selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. The Life You've Imagined was honored by independent booksellers as an IndieNext "Notable" book. Her latest novel is Things We Didn't Say, featuring a frayed blended family about to come undone completely when a teen-age son goes missing. Riggle has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction and elsewhere, and she works as co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. She was a full-time newspaper reporter before turning her attention to creative writing.
In his fifth book, Living on the Edge: A History of Auto Racing in Michigan, Rick Sigsby gives auto racing fans an inside look at Michigan's rich history in the sport. Sigsby covers many of the legends of auto racing in the 314-page book, from Henry Ford's infant days of the automobile industry at the beginning of the 20th Century to Brad Keselowski winning the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series. The book includes more than 40 personal interviews — including two-time Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock, NASCAR star Johnny Benson, Jr. and Herb Fishel, former GM Director of Racing — plus 30 profiles of legends from the past and present, and more than 100 photographs. Sigsby is a retired park ranger, newspaper columnist and longtime race fan.
Aaron Stander is a writer, editor, book reviewer, host of "Michigan Writers on the Air" on Interlochen Public Radio and the author of five murder mysteries: Summer People, Color Tour, Deer Season, Shelf Ice, and Medieval Murders. He lives in northwest lower Michigan. His alter ego, Sheriff Ray Elkins, is currently solving his next case, a story to be published later in 2012. His job with Murder Takes a Road Trip group is chauffeur and designated driver.
Bob Tarte and his wife, Linda, live on the edge of a shoe-sucking swamp near the West Michigan city of Lowell, fending off mosquitoes during temperate months and chipping ice out of plastic wading pools in the frigid winter. Tarte is author of exotic pet memoirs Enslaved By Ducks and Fowl Weather. His third memoir, Kitty Cornered, was just released. Tarte has also written for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Miami New Times, the Whole Earth Review and other publications. Bob and Linda currently serve the whims of parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, rabbits, doves, cats, hens and one turkey. They also raise and release orphan songbirds for the Wildlife Rehab Center Ltd.