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Patricia Cumbie

Patricia Cumbie is the author of two books, the memoir The Shape of a Hundred Hips, and the young adult novel Where People Like Us Live. Her writing has been supported by The Loft Literary Center’s Fiction Mentor Series, a SASE/Jerome Fellowship, a Loft Career Initiative Grant, and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship. She also received the Carol Bly Award for Nonfiction from Bemidji State University. Cumbie is proud to be a volunteer speaker for the Rape, Incest and Abuse National Network (RAINN).

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Gene Stark

Gene Stark writes fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and has written a children’s book. His writing is local, rural, and outdoors-oriented. Minnesota and local interest predominate his writing. Stark’s audience is comprised of the folks who live and work in Flyover Country. He has been a teacher, farmer, and a grower and propagator of native pollinator plants. He lives, writes, and works in rural Minnesota and enjoys many outdoor activities. He and his wife, and their Labrador retriever, live on 120 acres of native prairie and wetlands.

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Jasmine Stringer

Jasmine Stringer was living her life like so many others – on autopilot, without vision or purpose – until she was given an unexpected gift. She was laid off! As she said goodbye to her “corporate gig” she realized she hadn’t been happy or fulfilled in years. So she made a choice to do whatever work was required to find happiness wherever she could. She seized her life and got it “JAZZ’ed UP!” She found endless, little ways to connect with herself and others through DIY projects, style, entertaining, and travel on a budget.

Stringer works as a keynote speaker, an award-winning author of Seize Your Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day, an on-air TV guest, and host of a weekly podcast and lifestyle blog — Carpe Diem with Jasmine. She has advised corporate and nonprofit clients, and through keynotes, workshops, and coaching sessions, guides people through a process of simple steps to help make their lives better. She introduces inspiration, revelation, and change by leveraging her experiences from working with some of the world’s biggest brands such as Kraft Foods, General Mills, Toyota, Box Tops for Education, Fox Searchlight, Publicis Groupe, and the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Stringer is principal of JB Stringer LLC. She graduated from American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C. She was named a Twin Cities Fearless Woman in 2017 and a Woman of Promise by the Girl Scouts in 2012. Additionally, she was awarded Distinguished Alumna of American University. Ebony Magazine featured her as one of its “30 Future Leaders Under the Age of 30 in America.” She is based in Minneapolis, but can often be found two hours south of the city working with her husband Roger at the family farm.

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Katya Gordon

Katya Gordon fell in love with the northern forests and Lake Superior when she first moved to Minnesota in 1991. She is a wilderness leader, a Restorative Justice facilitator and trainer, a sailor, small business owner, climate activist, radio show host, wife, homemaker, and mother of two teenage daughters. She lives in Two Harbors.

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Ryan Henning

Ryan Henning was born and raised in Minnesota, where he spent most of his formative years in the Minneapolis suburb of Victoria. There, he developed a fascination with the weather – thanks largely to his dad’s career in the airline industry. (Henning loved the radar!) After earning a degree in synoptic meteorology from Purdue University, he worked as an aviation meteorologist for eight years. He lives with his wife Katie, twin sons, and three lively pets.

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Matt Lilley

Matt Lilley moved to Minnesota from Florida about 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He has a Master’s in Scientific and Technical Communication from the University of Minnesota. The focus of his degree was on health and medical writing, with a special emphasis on medical writing for kids. His other favorite writing subjects include exploration and nature. He loves learning about topics in science and sharing that knowledge. Lilley is also a Minnesota Master Naturalist.

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Barbara Schlichting

Barbara Schlichting has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has nine books in print, including her latest title, The Broken Circle. “My grandpa gave me a pen and tablet when I was about ten, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” says Schlicting. “My pen pal of 55 years is really the one who kept me writing and using my imagination. We wrote back and forth and we talked about everything under the sun because we were kids and she wanted me to explain things clearly.” Schlichting attended Bemidji State University where she earned a Bachelors in Education and a Masters in Special Education. She taught at the elementary school level for a couple of years before transitioning to a career as a writer. Her book of poetry, Whispers from the Wind, was followed by the First Ladies Doll House mysteries. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota.

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Bev Bachel

Bev Bachel is the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! A Guide for Teens. A goal-setting classic, the book has sold more than 50,000 copies and been translated into five languages. When she isn’t writing, you can find her working toward her own goals which include catching a muskie, learning to speak Spanish, and spending a year in Paris.

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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 Star Tribune and the 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 Vruno lives in Saint Paul 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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