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Kevin Zepper

Kevin Zepper is a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He teaches a variety of writing and Humanities classes. Zepper is the author of book-length poetry collection, Moonman (Jule’s Poetry Playhouse Press, New Mexico). Also, he has authored four chapbooks of poetry: The Fifth Ramone, (Suffering from) An Apartment Complex, I Bring you Dead Things and other Love Poems, and Sugartown.

Lines&Notes is a collaborative, creative effort with alchemical partner in crime, Professor Terrie Manno, Professor of Music, Minnesota State University Moorhead. She has performed both nationally and internationally, offering both sensitive and dramatic performances of familiar and lesser-known piano work. A chance meeting between Manno and Zepper in a hallway at MSUM led to their ongoing work these past few years.

When Zepper is not writing poetry, or collaborating with Manno, he is off somewhere taking photographs. Several of his pieces have appeared in online and/or small press publications. He has also acted in several student-based movie productions and marketing productions through the MSUM campus.

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John Wessinger

John Wessinger, author of Ride the Wave, helps organizations and business leaders embrace changing markets and explore strategic risk through workshops, executive and team retreats, keynote speaking and published writing.

He believes that in order to find success in changing and disruptive business conditions, leaders need to embrace change, adopt a mindset driven by skill progression and use risk as a compass to reach new levels of success.

John is the founder of PLAN | MARKET | SELL and has previously worked for global organizations in the retail and healthcare industries supporting the marketing and sales of billion dollar brands.

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Frank Weber

Frank Weber is a forensic psychologist who completes assessments in homicide and sexual assault cases. He is the recipient of the MCA President’s Award for his forensic work and has written murder mysteries which have received great reviews from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. His work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison and assessing psychopaths to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who’ve engaged in multiple affairs. He has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases, written seven different treatment workbooks, and in 2015 published a training series for psychologists which has been accredited by the MN Board of Psychology.

He has received the President’s Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work, and recently received an award for excellence in his clinical work. Weber has used his unique understanding of how predators think, victim trauma, and actual court cases to create a thrilling mystery.

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Joanne Vruno

Joanne Vruno grew up in Maplewood, Minnesota, just houses away from Battle Creek Regional Park, where she spent most of her childhood days hiking and exploring. Her love for nature and the wooded parkland bordering Battle Creek created the magic of the Seasons of Elves series, just as her love for the lakes created her first novel, Loon Child. Today Joanne lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband. It isn’t unusual to find her working in her yard, walking her two dogs, exploring new places for another novel, or having a picnic while spoiling her five grandchildren.

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Zaylore Stout

Zaylore Stout is an attorney, community organizer and author. Originally from Southern California, he received his B.A. in International Business Management then his J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He founded Zaylore Stout & Associates in 2012, a law firm handling sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage & hour matters.

Stout was an inaugural recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Business of Pride Award in 2018, serves on the board for RECLAIM and Quorum, and won a 2017 Lavender Magazine Community Leadership Award. He led the charge for the passage of a Gender Inclusion Policy in the St. Louis Park school district making it the first suburb in the state to do so.

Stout authored Our Gay History in 50 States, an LGBTQIA+ educational book highlighting significant people, places, and events on a state-by-state basis.

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Jill Kalz

Jill Kalz lives and writes in New Ulm, Minnesota. She is the author of The Winter Bees: Fiction, a collection of interconnected short stories set in rural southern Minnesota. Kalz has published poetry in the Nebraska Review, the Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. Her short stories have appeared in American Fiction Vol. 15 and Minnesota Monthly. A 2008 Minnesota Book Award finalist and winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for her picture book Farmer Cap, Kalz is also the author of more than 70 children’s books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and works as a children’s book editor.

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Joy Riggs

Joy Riggs grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota, and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism. She specializes in writing about history, travel, and parenting. Her essays, articles, and award-winning columns have appeared in numerous publications, including the Star Tribune, Minnesota Parent, Minnesota Monthly, and the Des Moines Register. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota, where she serves on the boards of the Vintage Band Festival and the Northfield Historical Society.

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Steven Hopstaken

Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time traveling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels; and practicing photography. He moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1994 where he currently lives with his wife and co-author, Melissa Prusi. In addition to their first novel, Stoker’s Wilde, they have sold two screenplays.

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Elliott Foster

Elliott Foster is an emerging Minnesota writer of memoir and fiction. He is particularly drawn to stories of the Upper Midwest. In addition to his longer published work, Elliott’s short stories, poems and essays have appeared in the Green Blade literary journal, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Journal of Southern California. He lives in Saint Paul.

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Laura Packer

Laura Packer knows that the best way to the truth is through a good story. Whether folktale or true, epic or flash, her spoken and written stories captivate audiences. She is committed to helping others find their voice, tell their story, and change the world. Laura is the 2018 MN Grand Slam Champion and Best in Fringe KC 2018, among others. She holds a degree in folklore and mythology and is the author of From Audience to Zeal: The ABCs of Finding, Crafting, and Telling a Great Story. Packer has coached, told, taught, ranted, raved, consulted, and considered storytelling around the world.

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