As a husband, and also a father of two beautiful daughters, Kwabena Yamoah understands that the way he displays love for each of them will directly influence how his daughters perceive and shape their own unique worlds. For this reason, he has written, A Letter to My Daughter: A Father’s Blessing to Be Great. This letter which has been made into a children’s book about the relationship between father and daughter, articulates the impact of a father on a daughter, the importance of a daughter loving herself, the significance of respecting others, and the necessity that a daughter achieve her own individual greatness. As a father, Kwabena wants all daughters to know they have amazing gifts and the world can only move forward when they achieve them.
Joan Aubele was born and raised in Chicago, and resides in rural Lake Holiday, Illinois, with her husband Carl. They’ve raised three daughters, and to date, have four grandchildren. Several years ago, Joan’s oldest daughter treated her to a weekend inspirational, Christian women’s conference. She dreamt of someday being one of those speakers, to help make a difference in people’s lives. Although spending time with her family remains her number one priority, Joan is now fulfilling her dream of becoming one of those speakers. She is proud to be a Rockford Diocese Approved Speaker, and brings her amazing story to life to many Churches, Hospitals, Libraries, cancer support groups, MOPS organizations, Relay for Life events, etc. Joan also sells scarves of her own design to inspire women, and donates a portion of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
The Dance – A Story of Love, Faith, and Survival
A twenty-nine year old mother of three has been given a death sentence by her doctor. Diagnosed with stage-four Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, she’s told to make her funeral arrangements and say goodbye to her family. She has always relied on her religious beliefs, but becomes the unsuspecting recipient of what can only be described as miracles. Twenty-five years in the making, Joan or Joanie, as known by her family and friends, humbly shares her story of triumph as an inspiration to all. This lovely, Deluxe 2nd Edition of her best-selling memoir, “The Dance – A Story of Love, Faith, and Survival,” includes a new Forward, a heartfelt message from Joan’s oncologist, and a special preview of her next book, “Hearts Ablaze.” A beautiful Large Print Edition is also available for the visually impaired and ‘hard of reading’ loved ones in your life. This story of courage in the face of unrelenting challenges, makes for an ideal inspirational gift.
Tom Donnan died of a heart attack on February 6, 2006. He was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital when the vein closed due to a blockage. He will tell you, “Instantly I was in the spiritual realm, my life was over, it had ended. That is when I heard God speak to me. He said; ‘It is only while you are on earth that you can work for Jesus.’ That is when the paramedics were able to get my heart restarted. I tell people I wasn’t a keeper, God throw me back.” Since that time Tom has thrown himself into God’s work. He travels with Pastor Phillip Corbett from Texas. He has a healing revival ministry. He has now written five books. The fifth book is now going to print. All books are aimed in helping people be closely connected to God.
Tom has been on TBN Chicago; Atlanta Live TV programs. He has also had numerous interviews on radio, news papers, blogs, magazines and podcasts. His most resent interview has been a series on Kingdom Cross Roads Podcast with Pastor Robert Thibodeau. His books are: Healing the Nation; Spiritual Housecleaning; Pastors and the Presence of God; 7:14 Angels on Assignment and soon to be released, One Door between Us his first full length novel. His goal is to see people swept up in a tsunami wave of the Holy Spirit.
Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer and her debut novel Secret’s and Charades won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014 and placed third in the Maxwell Awards in 2017 and first place Serious Writer Medal 2018. Her contemporary romance New Duet released in May 2018. She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years.
Cindy is a member of ACFW, Mentor for Word Weavers. founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers and Christian Writer’s Guild alumni. Although she has been creating stories in her head since childhood it wasn’t until high school those imaginary characters began appearing on paper. After raising her family, she began her novel writing adventures. Cindy loves to encourage new writers on their journey.
She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. They have five children and six grandchildren. Visit Cindy on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her blog at www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com.
Amazon Buy link for Secrets & Charades: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/
Amazon Buy link for New Duet: https://www.amazon.com/New-Duet-Cindy-Ervin-Huff-ebook/dp/B07CRV
Harold Stromberger is retired and only recently began to write for recreation. He spent years as a Construction Superintendent and then finished his work career selling Enterprise Software Systems. A somewhat dramatic change that gave him a knowledge base into almost every kind of business imaginable. That experience has been a valuable tool when developing a plot.
Hi novel is called, To Chase a Ghost.
“Bill and Doc wonder, who is Margo and does she figure into the near death of their friend, Jack Burton, who has just survived a private plane crash in Lake Michigan? Their suspicions are confirmed when Jack stealthily leaves the Chicago hospital and heads for Seattle. Hot on his heels and terrified of his motives, they chase cross-country in a corporate jet to a small town on the Pacific Coast where Jack faces a secret kept from him for forty years.”
John Jamison came from the West end of Beardstown, Illinois, the part of town filled with towboat families, fishing families, and other questionable sorts. His father’s side of the family were the towboaters, and most males in the family were, and still are river rats, meaning that John is the exception, which is pointed out at all of the occasional family get-togethers and reunions. John’s mother came from a railroading family in the middle of Beardstown, and it is worth noting that towboaters and railroaders in Beardstown were fully committed enemies. Both of John’s grandfathers were fishermen, but that didn’t help. One used a fly rod and tied his own flies, and the other occasionally used dynamite. Full family gatherings were rare, but interesting.
John describes growing up as “something like you read in Tom Sawyer, except for the cave.” John spent most of his time doing things that were normal in Beardstown at the time, and that today would result in someone calling the SWAT team. His grandmother on his mother’s side said he was “a good boy”, and his grandmother on his father’s side said he was “that boy over there, I think.” John was shy until February 10, 1964. That was the day after the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. John missed the show, but got to school Monday morning and heard all of the girls talking about the “guys with the guitars”. John immediately found an old guitar and even took a few lessons. It led to creating several rock bands during high school, playing coffee houses in college, and finds him still picking and strumming what are now called “classics”. He never did make it to the Ed Sullivan Show and never did have girls screaming about him, but he did spend two years in High School playing his guitar at the Beardstown Bowl and the Country Club alongside an old guy with a Hammond Organ he carried around in the back of his pick-up truck.
During High School, John met a girl who had just moved to Beardstown. They didn’t know each other’s names, but they somehow ended up teasing and wrestling each other at the Beardstown Swimming Pool a few times. Her name was Pat. John and Pat are celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary this December. They married after starting college, and the wedding originally planned for June was moved up to December. During the wedding, the little old ladies in the back pews were counting the months, eager to explain why the wedding had to be sped-up. And, yes, their daughter was born eight years later, much to the frustration of those little, blue-haired ladies.
John went to college to become a Chemist. Since getting his first chemistry set in grade school John’s mom had told everyone in Beardstown that he was going to become a famous chemist and buy her a house in Hawaii. John’s Chemistry career lasted until the first exam in his Freshman Chemistry class. He had already begun to question his goal after every one of his lab experiments had gone awry, but that first exam sealed the deal. Beginning the second semester, John began is major in Speech, and English, and Public Speaking, and Drama. He graduated with a self-created quadruple major that the next year was announced as something now called a “Communications” degree.
Going back to the Beardstown Swimming Pool, it turned out that the girl John met was the daughter of Beardstown’s new United Methodist Minister. John’s family was Methodist but had only met the minister one time in the seventh grade when John was in the hospital with pneumonia and the minister came to visit him. The family did attend church occasionally, but most of John’s early memories are about carving arks out of soap and being forced to wear a frilly white robe with a red bow on it to sing in some choir one Easter Morning. After meeting the minister’s daughter, John’s attendance patterns changed. After getting to know Pat’s family and learning more about the church, one day just before high school graduation John mentioned to Pat’s dad that he might even consider becoming a pastor someday. The phone call came one evening during John’s second semester, after the Chemistry discovery. The call was from a church leader who asked, “John, are you still considering becoming a pastor?” John said, yes, since ‘considering’ was pretty flexible.” The caller then said, “That’s great. I have a church for you. Can you come home this weekend to interview?”
That Friday evening, two weeks before John’s 19th birthday, he sat in a car in Milton, Illinois, as the District Superintendent prepared him for the interview to become the student pastor of four small churches. The only advice John remembers is, “Always be careful around the first people who invite you out to lunch. They want something.” John still considers this advice to have been more helpful than ninety percent of what he would later get from three years of seminary. John spent the next twenty-five years as a pastor, preacher, storyteller, and counselor. The early family training seemed to have given him specific skills in listening and counseling, again using story to help people adjust to the sometimes horrendous changes they faced in their lives. John found himself spending much of his time with those dealing with grief, and those individuals and families dealing with death and dying. John found that when all other words have lost their meaning, the power of story is still very real. John began to understand that those people who saw themselves as “learners”, had the ability to go through some very difficult and painful experiences, and yet find ways to redefine and recreate their lives to move forward. Those who saw themselves as the “learn-ed”, those who did not know how to learn, usually became mired in the pain and were not able to create a new life. After twenty-five years, John decided it was important for him to change careers and see if he could do more to help people become “learners”. John left his church ministry and went back to school to become a
Junior High school teacher.
During John’s second week in his new graduate program at Quincy University, he was asked to attend a meeting with the schools’ provost, two deans, and several faculty. John came to the meeting and sat listening to a room filled with tension and argument, as the leaders of the school struggled with some of the changes taking place at the school. There was so much new technology, a more demanding student body, and a growing number of students who were “gamers”. Faculty were complaining about “those kids who won’t read, won’t talk in class, but then go back to their dormitories and play those GAMES all night and all weekend!”. The faculty demanded that games be banned from the dorms and that other new pressures be added. The deans suggested that the faculty learn how to do things “a bit differently” than they have done before. John came to the realization that he was, again, sitting in a counseling session, this one with a bunch of “learned” people who were experiencing the pain that came with normal change. John does not remember anything he might have said during the meeting, but shortly afterward he found he had been hired as the newly created “Director of Academic Computing”, with the one job of “helping us figure out how to change.” John told stories in that role for three years, and then told them for several years at Western Illinois University, and then Colorado Mountain College, and then DeVry University, and finally the human services organization called The Ounce of Prevention. Through those years, John used story to ease the pain of change, to heal bruised egos, to spark new ideas, and to create a new approach to designing teaching and learning activities called “TranceFormational Learning”. Around 2008, John and Pat decided to create their own company, ImagiLearning, Inc., and use TranceFormational Learning and storytelling to help as many others as possible. Their list of clients includes major associations, P-12, two, and four-year schools, corporations, and others.
At age sixty-five, John decided to take the power of story and share it in yet another direction, leading to his first novel called Disruption. Based on stories from years ago in Beardstown, Disruption led to the second book, Distraction, and is now fueling the creation of the third book, Disconnection. John’s adult fiction, suspense-thrillers are just stories, but as he has found for more than fifty years now, they are stories that lead to something more.
At age sixty-six, John added his first book for young readers and listeners, called I Can’t Paint My Dog! That was followed with Meet the Skwerdlock and I Saw the Skwerdlock, with several more currently in the works. John’s children’s books are also “just good stories”, but he also hopes they will offer young readers and listeners and escape from the stresses and pressures they face, and just give them an excuse to laugh, to imagine, and to dream of something really, really, big!
Today, John writes and speaks, and still consults with the occasional client through ImagiLearning. John smiles when he hears the frequent comment, “Wow, you’ve done a lot of different things!”. Coming from his “interesting” family, young John spent much of his time simply trying to figure out what the heck was going on and know when a “story” had become a “lie”. He heard river stories, and railroad stories, and fishing stories, and began to discover that many of life’s greatest challenges could be better understood by telling a good story. For sixty years or so, he’s just been a storyteller wearing different uniforms.
Holly Coop is an author and artist residing in Joliet. She enjoys writing spiritual and inspirational poetry and motivational quotes. “Locks of Love – A Book of Encouragement” is her latest poetry collection, the idea of which was born from a strong desire to give comforting and inspiring messages to those undergoing Chemo Therapy, her mother being one. In its completion, the book’s ending is a poetic tribute to her mother who ended her battle October 5, 2017. Holly’s mom did not have the opportunity to read the completed collection, but in her memory a portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to three worthy charities.
Holly’s other published poetry collections include “A Cup of Inspiration To Go Please – My Heart Runneth Over” and “Heart Strings – Forever Wander”
Holly also publishes a blog she calls Reflections, Meditations, and Poetry from My Heart to Yours, Her photo art notecards are available at her Etsy shop, Holly’s books and e-books can be purchased through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and HollyCoopBooks.com
Rayna Andrews is a public health ambassador, author and activist with her core work in food security. Rayna is the Founder of the Healthy Food Movement, a food literacy initiative focused on solving preventative health disparities for our next generation. She also serves as the Senior Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Rayna’s mission in life is to use her power and influence to champion causes that empower our next generation. She envisions a world that operates in abundance and celebrates collective impact that results in healthy and intelligent communities at peace with one another for generations to come.
In her spare time, she enjoys sharing her latest book Alex McGreen and the Tale of the Mysterious Kale with young readers at area food pantries and local Boys & Girls Clubs.She also volunteers her time on several boards: Assistant Governor of Rotary International – District 6270 where Rayna is a Paul Harris Fellow. She’s also the Co-Chair of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Cancer Center Community Advisory Board.
Rayna holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Urban Planning, a certification in Commercial Real Estate from Marquette University and a Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.
Tony Mankus is a private practice attorney who has been representing clients in tax controversies and bankruptcy matters since 1986. He is married to Margarita Marchan-Mankus, a partner in the law firm of Mankus & Marchan, Ltd. Her focus is in Social Security disability cases and real estate. They have been married since 1983 and live in Lisle, Illinois. They have four grown daughters, all of whom have flown the coop.
Tony has written a number of articles dealing with tax and/or bankruptcy issues that were published in various legal journals, including the NLA Review, DCBA Brief, and Federal Taxation – ISBA. Time permitting, he tinkers with more creative and personal writing. In 2013 he published a memoir titled “Where Do I Belong?” which deals with his immigrant past and his search for identity. In 2016 he published “Chicago Tango,” a legal/political thriller. Both were published with the help of Create Space and are available on Amazon.com and Kindle. He has also written some shorter pieces which were published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Rivulets, Lithuanian Heritage and other publications. During his two-year stint in the Peace Corps in Ecuador (long time ago), he also edited a bilingual magazine, called “El Ecuador.”
More information on Tony’s literary efforts can be found on his website.
Ann Rubino is the author of LeForestiere in Italian Women in Chicago, Peppino, Good as Bread, an intermediate-grade novel of World War II in Italy, and Peppino and the Streets of Gold about a post-war immigrant to inner city Chicago.
Her STEM award-winner, Emmet’s Storm, is set in 1880’s Iowa and features a boy teased by his peers about his obsession with all things scientific. In the historic Blizzard of 1888, his knowledge makes him a hero.
The second book in the Floyd County Chronicles series, Inga’s Amazing Ideas was released in late July 2018. The heroine, an immigrant off the Orphan Train, is adopted in 1880’s Iowa and causes consternation among the villagers with her practical use of her mechanical talents.
While teaching professionally, Ann won the OHAUS Award for innovations in science teaching; worked with the committee on the New Generation Science Standards; reviewed potential articles and published books for Science & Children magazine; and consulted for the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago. She holds her MT(ASCP), B.A.Ed., and M.S. Ed. and an Endorsement in Gifted Education. Her last teaching assignment was as adjunct at Lewis University, training future teachers in methods of science teaching.
Now retired, she reviewed many children’s books for the Recommends division of Science & Children and continued her work on the review board.
Contact: 815-280-8504 (cell)