2018 Litfest Presenters

Alison Reeger Cook

Alison Reeger Cook

A.R. Cook is the author of The Scholar and the Sphinx young adult book series published by Mithras Books, the YA imprint of Knox Robinson Publishing. She also has short stories published in the anthology The Kress Project from the Georgia Museum of Art, and the dark fairy-tale collections Willow Weep No More; and Shadows of the Oak from Tenebris Books. From 2009-2013, A.R. was the book review columnist for the Gainesville Times, one of the most widely distributed newspapers in northeastern Georgia.

She is also a playwright and aspiring screenwriter. Her plays have been performed and work-shopped at the University of Iowa in Iowa City; Western Springs, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Blue Cole

Blue Cole has been writing since he could grip a pencil. After almost 15 years of business ownership, he has returned to writing. Some of his previous jobs include working as a pizza maker, performing drug and DNA tests, and selling children’s clothes. He currently works for a state government. He grew up and still lives with his family in rural Georgia, a common setting in many of his works.

Photo Credit: Taylor Robins

Gay H. Hammond

Gay Hammond a playwright, lives in Gainesville, Georgia, where she has been the Artistic Director of WonderQuest, an award-winning theatre for young audiences, since 1993.

Additionally, she serves as the Resident Dramatist both for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and her own company, New Classics Plays. Working in the theatre for over 30 years, Gay continues to be a working actor (Look Homeward Angel, The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo and Juliet) and director (Sense & Sensibility, Alice in Wonderland, Red) as well as a producing playwright. So far, her 30+ plays are consistently produced by theatres all over the country. Ms. Hammond received her MFA in Playwriting from Spalding University, her MA in Theatre & Speech from the University of Louisville, and her BA in both Theatre and English from Brenau University, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Theatre. Gay has two grown children, Amelia and John Connor – both of whom are professional actors – and one terribly funny wire fox terrier.

Barbara Steinhaus

Barbara Steinhaus, DMA Chair Department of Music, Brenau University NOAH Board Secretary, Leadership Summit Steering Committee Member Barbara Steinhaus began her vocal training in Atlanta, Georgia, though a native of Madison, Wisconsin. Articles based on her doctoral thesis, “An Investigation of Marian Andersons’s Interpretation of Black Spiritual Art Songs in Selected Recording,” have been published nationally. Though highlights as a professional soprano include leading roles with regional opera, ballet, church and academic organizations, she is regularly heard as a bedside musician. Currently she is the Department of Music Chair at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, teaching Applied Voice, Vocal Pedagogy, and Introduction to Arts in Health Care.

James Palmer

James Palmer is an award-nominated author of science fiction, space opera, pulp adventure, steampunk, and all things in between. His recent works include the space opera novels Star Swarm and Ix Incursion, as well as The Depths of Time and its sequel Shadows Over London, for Falstaff Books, as well as a contribution to The Joy of Joe: Memories of America’s Moveable Fighting Man from Today’s Grown-up Kids. James has also written columns, reviews, essays, and interviews for Strange Horizons, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, and various other publications. He has written a comic book script and is currently working on an audio drama. James is the co-creator of the shared world Cold War giant monster anthology series Monster Earth. A recovering comic book addict, James lives in Gainesville with his wife and daughter. For more info, and to get a free e-book, visit www.jamespalmerbooks.com.

Keith Guernsey

Mr. Keith D. Guernsey is retired after a forty year career in sales and sales management with several fortune 500 companies. He currently lives on Lake Lanier with his wife Susan and four-footed son Harley. Mr  Guernsey spent a good portion of his youth playing sports, active in both football and hockey. In 1995 Keith was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor (called an Acoustic Neuroma) and he underwent a ten hour operation at the world-renowned Brigham and Women’s hospital where it was successfully removed. While recovering, he met and married Susan. Together they faced his next challenge. In 1997 his neuroma returned. He was to undergo yet another, more complex, operation which resulted in a complete cure, however side effects of this second more invasive procedure caused prolonged inactivity and led to severe weight gain of over 100 lbs. Today Mr. Guernsey is very proud of the fact that he has been able to overcome his physical challenges, losing over one hundred and thirty five pounds, and has found the time to write two successful books (“Confessions of a Beantown Sports Junkie and “Fathers and Sons-Sports and Life”).  http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/118140/

Sandra Brim

Sandra Brim received her M.A. from the University of Wyoming and her Ph.D. from Ohio University, both in English Literature.  She was on the faculty of the University of Georgia and then of North Georgia College before coming to Brenau, where she has taught for the last 22 years. She has been on the board of the Georgia Poetry Circuit for 23 years, serving as Coordinator since 2006. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, including The Georgia Review, Hurakan, and Ekphrasis. She and her husband live in Gainesville, Georgia, and they have two grown daughters.

Fran Stewart

Best-selling mystery writer Fran Stewart believes our own stories are vital. One of her missions in life is to help people write those stories by giving them practical hand-on experience through the workshops she conducts. When not writing or leading classes, she lives quietly with various rescued cats beside a stream on the other side of Hog Mountain GA.

Bobby Nash

An award-winning author, Bobby Nash writes novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a variety of publishers. A comprehensive list of Bobby’s published titles and upcoming releases can be found at www.bobbynash.com. Bobby is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers. On occasion, Bobby appears in movies and TV shows, usually standing behind your favorite actor. For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at www.bobbynash.com and across social media.

Jaclyn Weldon White

Jaclyn Weldon White is the author of ten books, most of which were published by Mercer University Press. She’s also written numerous articles for local and regional magazines. Her first book, a true crime called Whisper to the Black Candle, was the story of Macon restaurant owner Anjette Lyles, who murdered 4 people over a 6 year period. She’s also written several biographies, three novels, a book on herbs and a travel book.
Her latest is a novel, The Witch of Ben Hill County, a fast-moving, suspense/romance with a lot of humor. It’s set in an over-55 community in north Georgia, but much of the story takes place in Fitzgerald, in south Georgia.
Jackie was born, raised and has lived all her life in the South. She was a police officer for six years before becoming the administrator of a large metropolitan Atlanta juvenile court, a position she held for sixteen years.
In addition to writing, she also designs and crafts kiln-fired silver jewelry, is an avid herb gardener and enjoys genealogical research. She has three living children and seven grandchildren. White shares her Hoschton, Georgia, home with three cats, two of which were planned.

Katie Hart Smith

Katie Hart Smith, a published author for 25 years, has a wide array of work ranging from medical and academic, to historical fiction, non-fiction, and children’s stories. She served on the editorial board and was a manuscript reviewer for the Orthopaedic Nursing Journal and was a former member of the advisory board for Atlanta Sports & Fitness Magazine. Currently, she is a staff correspondent and a writes a monthly column called “From the Heart” for the Gwinnett Citizen newspaper.
Inspirational people, places, and political and social issues are the driving forces for Smith’s work. She published Couch Time with Carolyn, a memoir about the Dunwoody Girls in 2014. This novel was followed by the Sacred Heart (historical fiction) series that focused on the medical community in 1900s Atlanta. The first two books, Aspirations of the Heart and Hope Never Rests, have been placed in the Governor’s Mansion Library by Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal. The third and final novel in the series will be released in 2019. Katie has been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year award in multiple categories in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
Born in San Diego, California, Katie moved to Dunwoody in 1976 and is a graduate of Dunwoody High School (1982), received a B.S. in Nursing from Georgia State University (1987), and a MBA from Troy University (2002). She and her husband, Jeff, reside in Lawrenceville with their three furry, four-legged kids Katie has been a registered pediatric nurse for over thirty years, employed by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Katie will be a featured author at the following 2018-2019 Georgia literary festivals: Decatur Book Festival (Sept), Brenau Litfest (Sept), Milton Literary Festival (Nov), and the Dahlonega Literary Festival (March).
For more information, a complete publication listing, and event calendar, visit www.katiehartsmith.com.

Kelly Peters

Kelly Peters wrote her first book in the third grade. While this book never made it to bookstore shelves and has since been lost to obscurity, the experience helped to foster her love of the written word. Kelly now contents herself to making up stories with her daughter Sarah, reading nursery rhymes to her son William, and with reading the words and stories others have crafted into amazing worlds she can escape into and enjoy.

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