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Clare Hexom

Clare Hexom is an American novelist, native of Ohio, who has lived in Minnesota since her youth. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and Minor in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The Truth About Mallory Bain was her debut psychological thriller. She lives in Minnesota with her family and is currently awaiting publication of her latest novel, Porcelain Dolls.

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Brittany Chaffee

Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. Her first book, Wild Morning was released in 2017. Her recent work, Borderline: A Series of Essays, is a collection of prose essays about memory, time, change, and wonder. She lives happily in Saint Paul.

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Roma Calatayud-Stocks

Award-winning novelist and composer Roma Calatayud-Stocks holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music and Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and post-graduate studies in creative writing from the University of St. Thomas. She is the author of two historical novels, A Song in My Heart, and A Symphony of Rivals. The third installment of the series, An Ode to Joy, will be published in 2020. And in line with her life passion to bring forth the contributions of all cultures through the arts, her narratives, set to music, provide a window to locations across the world, politics of the era, cultural diplomacy, and history.

Calatayud-Stocks has 20 years of experience working for arts organizations, including Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Vocal Essence, and Walker Art Center. She has toured the United States to present her work at universities, libraries, and book fairs.

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Christine Bauer

Christine (Chris) Bauer’s first book Those Three Words: A Birth Mother’s Story of Choice, Chance, and Motherhood was published in 2018, after decades of work. Her book, which has been described as “heartwarming and heartbreaking,” “beautiful and insightful,” and “honest and raw,” chronicles her journey of experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at age 18, the agonizing decision she needed to make, and its impact on her life.

Bauer has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, and attended Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota, where she majored in Mass Communications and hoped to one day be part of a Woodward and Bernstein-type team who saved the world through ground-breaking journalism. Soul searching and need for employment led her to a gratifying career in corporate communications, public relations, and marketing.

Her greatest achievement and most profound joy are being the mother of three kind-hearted children and two beautiful grandchildren. In addition to being a mom and grandma of humans, Bauer is also the proud mom to one very spoiled dog and an equally spoiled granddog. She admits there were moments in the motherhood journey where she preferred the canines.

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Maren Cooper

Maren Cooper, an avid reader and keen observer of human nature throughout her career as a health care executive in the Midwest, now resides in Minnesota. She writes best on the shore of Lake Superior where she retreats frequently. Her debut novel, A Better Next, was published in 2019.

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Susan Thurston

Susan Thurston’s grandfather loved a poem she wrote in second grade, and within the glow of his appreciation, she decided to become a writer. Later, a well-meaning adult mentioned that as a journalist, she could earn her living. She became a reporter and editor, but wouldn’t really say what she earned was a living. She did get to work with some of the finest people she has ever known. Along the way, she has created and produced programs for adult education, traveled in search of her soul-deep home, mothered two fabulous kids, learned to make really good bread, flown in a hot air balloon, and a lot of other things. And always — writing. She has published, performed, and earned awards for a lot of her poetry and some of her prose, co-authored a cookbook, published the novel Sister of Grendel, and taken a few plays from page to stage. She is also the executive editor of The Black Hat Press, assumed from dear friend and fellow writer Beverly Voldseth.

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Dale A. Swanson

Dale A. Swanson is a published author, poet, screenwriter, and playwright. His historical novel, The Thirty-ninth Man, made the Star Tribune “Best book read” in 2013. The sequel, Tears of Sorrow, was released in 2018. His fantasy chapter book, The Wild Ways: Mystery of the Hanging Tower, for 9- to 99-year-old readers, was published in 2015.  He has had poetry included in two annual stage productions by the Bloomington Arts Council, and two of his radio plays have been performed live and aired statewide. Swanson’s screenplay, Creation Story, was filmed for the nonprofit, Native Strong ARC. In addition to writing, Swanson is an accomplished speaker, having given talks on the US-Dakota War of 1862 to area schools 6th-grade classes and many other venues. His talk about growing up in the ’50s has been popular with 4th-grade classes and senior centers alike.

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Kathryn Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. She started writing science fiction and fantasy not long after she had finished reading all of the books in her father’s reading collection. Stories about girl agents defeating alien bad guys and tales of wizards’ apprentices looking for forgotten treasure filled school notebooks alongside her regular homework. Any place and any object is at risk of appearing in her stories – the river bluffs surrounding Winona, MN, where she lives, can become the windswept cliffs of an alien planet or the deep mysterious woods of a fantasy tale. She is owned by a large cockatoo, who graciously allows her to write about other animals, as well as birdlike aliens.

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Mary Strand

Mary Strand practiced law in a large Minneapolis firm for 16 years until the day she set aside her pointy-toed shoes (or most of them) and escaped the land of mergers and acquisitions to write novels. The first novel she wrote, Cooper’s Folly, won RWA’s Golden Heart award. She lives on a lake in Minneapolis with her husband, two cute kidlets, and a stuffed monkey named Philip. When not writing, Strand lives for sports, travel, guitar, Cosmos, Hugh Jackman, and ill-advised adventures that offer a high probability of injury to herself and others. She writes YA, romantic comedy, and women’s fiction novels, and her four-book Bennet Sisters YA series, starting with Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras, is out now.

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Richard Thieme

Richard Thieme is an author and professional speaker who addresses challenges posed by new technologies, how to redesign ourselves to meet these challenges, and creativity in response to radical change. His speaking addresses “the human in the machine,” technology-related security and intelligence issues as they come home to our humanity. He has published hundreds of articles, dozens of short stories, five books, and delivered hundreds of speeches.

His novel, FOAM, was published in 2015 and A Richard Thieme Reader, fiction and non-fiction, in 2016. His column, “Islands in the Clickstream,” was distributed to thousands in 60 countries before collection as a book in 2004. When a friend at NSA said, “The only way you can tell the truth is through fiction,” he returned to writing fiction and Mind Games, a collection of 19 stories about anomalies, infosec, and professional intelligence, was published in 2010.

Many speeches address technology-related security and intelligence issues. He spoke in 2018 at Def Con for the 23rd straight year. He has keynoted conferences around the world and clients range from GE, Microsoft, Medtronic, and Johnson Controls to the NSA, FBI, US Dept of the Treasury. Los Alamos Lab, and the US Secret Service.

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