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Scott Thoma is uniquely qualified to write Out of the Blue, having lived in Tracy when the tornado hit. Thoma is a former newspaper editor who won numerous awards as both a reporter and an editor. He now lives in Willmar.
After nearly thirty years of writing about real crime, Jeanne Cooney retired from her job as the Director of Communications and Outreach for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Federal District of Minnesota and began writing about fictional crime in the quirky Hot Dish Heaven mystery series. These stories are set in rural Minnesota and come complete with colorful Scandinavian characters, old-time recipes, and lots of Mid-west humor.
After attending college and working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for 14 years, Forrest took a reporter job at the West Central Tribune in Willmar. He served as editor for 15 years before leaving in 1998. Currently, he works in communications with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency covering the the state’s southwest region. He graduated from Bethel College in St. Paul, majoring in history and later received a Masters of Arts degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota. Over the years, he has been active in numerous community and professional groups including Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Sertoma, Kiwanis, Ridgewater College, YMCA, Willmar Nordic Ski Club, Minnesota Associated Press Association, and Minnesota Newspaper Association. He enjoys and participates extensively in outdoor recreation and fitness sports. Currently, he is working on his third novel.
Anthony Neil Smith
Anthony Neil Smith writes crime novels, including Psychosomatic, The Drummer, the Billy Lafitte series—Yellow Medicine, Hogdoggin’, and The Baddest Ass—and the Mustafa & Adem series—All the Young Warriors and Once a Warrior. He’s a Professor and the Chair of the English Department at Southwest Minnesota State University. He likes tacos. He likes red wine. Cheap red wine.
A retired English instructor, Cynthia Frank-Stupnik holds a B.A. in English/Education and an M.A. in English. She has authored Steppes to Neu-Odessa: Germans from Russia Who Settled in Odessa Township, Dakota Territory, 1872-1876, a historical biography of Yankton County, South Dakota, a memoir, Postcards from the Old Man and Other Correspondence from Clearwater, Minnesota, andPassages, a faith-based book of poetry. She has also written and published many poems, creative essays, and short stories, and been the recipient of a number of literary awards.
Chrissy Kolaya is a poet and fiction writer. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals. Her first book of poems, Any Anxious Body, came out in Spring 2014 with Broadstone Books. Her first novel, Charmed Particles, is forthcoming in Spring 2016 with Dzanc Books.
She has recieved a Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony Summer scholarship, an Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies fellowship, a Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry, and grants from the Minnesota States Arts Board, The Lake Region Arts Council, and the University of Minnesota. She teaches at the University of Minnesota Morris and is one of the founders of the Prairie Gate Literary Festival.
Athena Kildegaard is the author of three books of poetry: Rare Momentum, Bodies of Light (a Minnesota Book Award finalist) and Cloves & Honey (A midwest book award finalist). She grew up in St. Peter, MN and has traveled widely.
After completing a career in South Dakota State Government and another as Vice President in the corporate world, Steve has started a new chapter in his life writing, speaking, and teaching. He grew up in Western South Dakota and now lives and writes in Minnesota where he grows Marquette grapes and several varieties of hops. He received a Masters Degree in English Studies from Minnesota State University Mankato in December 2012. He has published short stories in the Arizona Literary Magazine,The Lake Region Review, and the Talking Stick Journal.