Please find below biographies for participating authors at this year’s Authors on the Move!
These recently published authors will join Authors on the Move guests for conversation during the first two courses of a gourmet Farm-to-Fork meal, followed by a lively auction during the main course. With dessert, guests will enjoy our award winning keynote author Angie Cruz, author of How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of any or all of our authors’ most recently published books. All books sales for the event will be offered through Capital Books. For more event information, please visit Authors on the Move 2023.
Keynote Speaker Biography 2023
Angie Cruz How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water
Angie Cruz’s most recent novel is How Not to Drown in A Glass of Water (Flatiron, 2022), a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Her other novels are Dominicana (Flatiron Books, 2019), a Good Morning American Book Club pick that the New York Times called, “lovely” and “compelling,” Soledad (Simon & Schuster 2001) and Let It Rain Coffee (Simon & Schuster, 2005), which was also a finalist in 2007 for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
She has taught creative writing for over 15 years in academic and nontraditional settings such as University of Pittsburgh, Texas A&M University, NYU, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and to middle schoolers for the National Book Foundation’s Bookup in Texas. Cruz is Editor-in-Chief of Aster(ix) Journal, a dedicated space for literature, art and criticism by and about women. She holds a BA in English and MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Born and raised in the Washington Heights section of New York City, she has returned to the neighborhood after living in Texas and Pittsburgh.
Participating Author Biographies 2023
Lois Ann Abraham combines her love of storytelling with a lifetime of reading, daydreaming, and writing. She retired from teaching creative writing, literature, and grammar at American River College where she learned as much as she taught. Her first book was a collection of short fiction, Circus Girl, and Other Stories, followed by novel Tina Goes to Heaven, exploring the struggles of a resourceful woman escaping the sex trade. Most recently, Lois Ann embraced the challenge of writing historical fiction with Deborah’s Gift, set in post-Civil War St. Louis, the Caribbean Island of Martinique, Manhattan, and beyond. She lives in Sacramento, CA with two wonderful sisters and two wonderful cats. Lois Ann is a third-time participant in Author on the Move. (www.loisannabraham.com)
Claire Booth is a journalist-turned-author whose writing career has taken her from Missouri to Washington, D.C., South Florida, the Seattle area, and the Bay Area. She’s reported on many high-profile cases, including the Laci Peterson murder and the San Francisco dog mauling case. The case of a deadly cult leader became the subject of her nonfiction book, The False Prophet: Conspiracy, Extortion and Murder in the Name of God. After spending so much time covering crimes so strange and convoluted, they seemed more like fiction than reality, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her acclaimed Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where the small-town Ozarks meet big-city country music tourism. (www.clairebooth.com.)
JaNay Brown-Wood, PhD, is an award-winning children’s author, poet, educator, and scholar. Her first children’s book Imani’s Moon won the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award and was featured on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show and Storytime with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her second book Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story! received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and won the CELI Read Aloud Book Award, and her third book SHHH! The Baby’s Asleep received a starring review from the School Library Journal. She enjoys writing, discussing the importance of authentic diversity in children’s literature, teaching about child development and literacy, and spending time with her husband, Catrayel, and her daughter, Vivian. (www.janaybrownwood.com)
Anara Guard grew up in the Midwest and now resides in northern California. Her lifelong love of reading has led her to jobs as diverse as minding a Chicago news stand at the age of nine while the owner ate lunch, working as a small town librarian in New England, fact checking manuscripts for Houghton Mifflin, and writing reviews for City Book Review. Her first novel, Like a Complete Unknown, draws upon her memories of Chicago and the music that provided a soundtrack to the late 1960s. (www.anaraguard.com)
Molly Giles has published five award winning collections of short stories and a novel. Her second novel, The Home for Unwed Husbands, is forthcoming from Leapfrog Press in June, and a memoir, Life Span, will be published by WTAW in 2024. She taught Creative Writing for many years at San Francisco State University and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Among the many excellent writers she has mentored, Amy Tan and Susanne Pari are perhaps the best known. Her featured book is called Wife, Kinfe: Stories that Cut. (www.mollygiles.com)
Yang Huang grew up in China and came to the U.S. to study computer science. While working as an engineer, she studied literature and pursued writing. Her novel My Good Son won the gold medals in Nautilus, IPPY, and IBPA Benjamin Franklin Book Awards. Her story collection, My Old Faithful, won the Juniper Prize for fiction, and her debut novel, Living Treasures, won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal in fiction. Huang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and works for the University of California, Berkeley. Besides her day job and family life, she writes fiction and creates a more tolerant and hopeful world in stories. (www.yanghuang.com)
James L’Etoile uses his twenty-nine years in the penal system as an influence in his award-winning novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is a former associate warden in a maximum-security prison, a hostage negotiator, facility captain, and director of California’s state parole system. He has been twice nominated for the Silver Falchion for Best Procedural Mystery and Best Thriller, as well as The Bill Crider Award for short fiction. His published novels include Dead Drop, Black Label, At What Cost, Bury the Past, and Little River. L’Etoile’s Black Label garnered a Silver Falchion Award for the Best Book by an Attending Author at the 2022 Killer Nashville Conference. (www.jamesletoile.com)
Jetta Grace Martin is a debut author from the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her A.B. with honors in Social Studies and African American Studies from Harvard University, where she won the Cornel West Prize and the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize. Jetta is also an award-winning dancer, performer, and choreographer whose work has been presented nationally and internationally. Her research and writing focus on the intersection of race, identity, and embodiment. (N/A)
Katie McCleary and Jennifer Edwards instantly felt a connection even though both women
are different in their belief systems. They eventually became “work wives,” invested in helping people bridge gaps in their perspectives. Their book, Bridge the Gap: Breakthrough Communication Tools to Transform Work Relationships from Challenging to Collaborative was named one of three books to read by Inc. Magazine in 2022. They use their own tools and practice what they preach, too! By embracing their energetic dichotomies: Conservative/Liberal; Country/Rock-n-Roll; Christian/Buddhist; Executive/Creative; Jennifer and Katie have succeeded in helping people find the sweet spot in their relationships by transforming how they think, communicate, give feedback, and behave across the divide. Their work has appeared in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc., Apple News, PBS, NPR, New York Post, Shondaland, ComputerWorld, and more. (www.howtobridgethegap.com)
Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland but immigrated to the US in 2010. She writes preposterous 1930s detective stories about an aristocratic English sleuth, darker (that’s not difficult) contemporary psychological thrillers, and comic mysteries about a fish-out-of-water Scot, set in a lightly fictionalized version of Davis, California. She has just introduced a fresh character in June’s 1948-set IN PLACE OF FEAR, which finally marries her love of historicals with her own working-class Edinburgh roots. (www.catrionamcpherson.com)
Richard Meredith, a native of Michigan, longed for a life at sea. After moving to California in the Navy, he remained to finish college. His travels as a marine scientist and wildlife biologist have provided rich fodder for his writing. His newest novel, Maskirovka—The Russian Science of Deception, which made Kirkus Review’s 100 Best Indie Books of 2022, draws heavily on his work as an analyst in the petroleum industry. His years on commercial fishing boats in the Pacific formed the backdrop of his thriller, The Crow’s Nest, which won the Silver Falchion Award for the best Action-Adventure novel at the 2021 Killer Nashville Mystery and Thriller Writers Conference. His thriller, Sky Dance, was based on his ecological restoration work in the oil fields of Ecuador. Mr. Meredith is married with two children and four grandchildren. (www.richardwmeredith.com)
Carmen Micsa is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, podcaster of Seeds of Sunshine, a mother-daughter podcast together with her daughter Sophia, and marathon runner, who ran 15 marathons, including Boston, London, Berlin, and others. Micsa is also the Broker/CEO of her own company Dynamic Real Estate. Micsa has published a tennis book Change Your Grip on Life Through Tennis, two poetry books The Poetics of Running, A Book of Poetry in Motion, Morsels of Love, A Book of Poetry and Short Form, and an anthology of essays Holistic Journey Toward Wellness. She is now working on her memoir about fighting in the 1989 Romanian revolution. Micsa lives with her husband Catalin and her two teenage children Alex and Sophia in Sacramento, CA. (www.carmenmicsabooks.com)
Orlando Molina aka MC ZEPS was born and raised in Brooklyn NY and fell in love with hip-hop culture while attending The High School of Art & Design in Manhattan. An aspiring rapper, he fell into the world of hosting kids dance battles while living in Oslo Norway in 2012. At the same time, he began working for Audible as an audio editor and MC for events producing various rap songs for the company. Once his daughter Sultana was born in 2017, he knew he must use his rhyme skills for the youth in some way. Since his nephew Reid loves dinosaurs, he decided to mix that with hip-hop and created RHYMOSAURS. Later in 2017 his family moved to beautiful Stockton California, where the book series grew and became an educational platform. Now with his team of skilled musicians, they host live kid’s events, workshops, and after school programs across the globe. (www.Rhymosaurs.com)
Kevin O’Connor, Sacramento-based chef, forager, and olive oil sommelier Kevin O’Connor has been working in professional kitchens since the age of 14. Raised in the Sierra Foothills, Kevin developed a love for food at a very young age through foraging, hunting and local agriculture. After having worked at some of Sacramento’s most well-known restaurants (Mason’s, Ella, and The Kitchen), Kevin started Tree House, one of Sacramento’s first pop-up restaurants, to immediate success. His first executive chef position was at Blackbird Kitchen and Bar before stints at Michelin-starred Coi and Saison in San Francisco. Kevin took the role of Cobram Estate’s Chef-at-Large/creative director from 2014 to 2020 which involved traveling the world and cooking over fires for harvest celebrations (documented in his book Chasing Harvest). He now runs Alta Mesa, a nomadic wood-fired popup dining concept. (www.chefkevinoconnor.com)
Leticia Ordaz is the founder of bilingual publishing house Cielito Lindo Books and an award-winning children’s book author at the International Latino Book Awards. She is also an Emmy-nominated anchor/reporter in Sacramento, California. Leticia is the author of The Adventures of Mr. Macaw, That Girl on TV Could Be Me! The Journey of a Latina News Anchor, Mr. Macaw’s Paleta Adventure, The Carousel King and the Space Mission, and releasing March of 2023, Mr. Macaw, Lost in the Big City. As a literacy ambassador, she is excited to share bilingual stories with children around the world. Leticia hopes to break barriers and change statistics that currently show only 7% of children’s books feature Latinx characters or subjects, and there are only 10% Latinx authors and illustrators in the U.S. who get published. (www.cielitolindobooks.com)
Angelo Presicci, after his discharge from the US Army in November 1967, Angelo Presicci returned to Los Angeles where he resumed a work position with a former employee. But this was not meant for him. He completed studies at a community college and then earned a degree at UCLA. After graduating, he entered the teacher credential program at Long Beach. And in July of 1973 he accepted a Peace Corp invitation to teach in a village in Zaire (now the Congo). When he returned stateside, he began to seriously write. He supported himself by substitute teaching in San Francisco. A few years later he joined Information Mapping, an organization providing writing seminars to public and private clients in the US and abroad. His career ended in 2016, he continued to write, garden, cook, hike, and enjoy the foothills. Him and his husband split their time between their Grass Valley house and San Francisco apartment. (N/A)
Marilyn Reynolds, in addition to the newly released collection of essays, Over 80: Reflections on Aging, Marilyn Reynolds is the author of Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH: Reflections on the Gift of Longevity, and ’Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part, an account of her beloved husband’s descent into the prison of Frontotemporal dementia. Reynolds is also the author of eleven books of realistic teen fiction in the True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High; and I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers. Long retired from full-time teaching, Reynolds gives author talks to middle and high school students and enjoys talking with church groups, service clubs, and book clubs. (www.marilynreynolds.com)
Shea Robinson was reading before she started walking. She started writing shortly thereafter. Her biggest frustration is that she can’t read and write at the same time. When she’s not lost in a good book, she is dancing with her three-year-old niece, listening to her husband nerd rant about superheroes for his movie review channel, and dreaming about the last time she had French Silk ice cream in the fifth grade. She currently lives in Sacramento and her latest featured book is Dance With Me. (www.elegancepress.com)
Gin Sander is the nom d’ cocktail book of author Jennifer Basye Sander. A literary historian who enjoys researching odd corners of the lives of much studied figures (for example, she is the acknowledged expert on the topic of Hemingway’s early love of skiing) she was inspired to look more closely into Churchill’s purported love of dry martinis. Which turned out to be completely untrue but nevertheless uncorked the idea of Churchill: A Drinking Life, Champagne, Cognac, and Cocktails. Jennifer and her husband David Padgham live in East Sacramento and enjoy spending time with their blended family of five sons. (www.mitfordmaugham.com)
Scott A. Shields is the Ted and Melza Barr Chief Curator and Associate Director at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He holds an MA and PhD in art history from the University of Kansas. During his twenty-two years at the Crocker, he has curated more than seventy-five exhibitions. He has also authored numerous exhibition catalogues, including Artists at Continent’s End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875–1907; Echoes of the Earth: Ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu; Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey; A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory Kondos; Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage; E. Charlton Fortune: The Colorful Spirit; Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955; Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette; Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings; and The Candy Store: Funk, Nut, and Other Art with a Kick; and lastly his featured book, California Impressionism. (www.crockerart.org)
Jordan Summers, few outdoor moments have been wasted on Jordan Summers. Jordan has had more fun getting “slightly unclean” than should be allowed. Summers has traversed mountains, deserts, peaks, and passes from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, and ascended Mt Whitney from the east, the west, and the Mountaineers Route. Jordan is an alumnus of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), a Leave No Trace instructor, and a NOLS/Wilderness Medicine Institute-certified Wilderness First Responder. Jordan’s passion is to help people of all abilities and outdoor interests to find a trail, have a good time on it, leave no trace there, and come home safely. This can be seen in hist featured book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles.
Kimberly Unger created her first videogame back when the 80-column card was the new hot thing. This turned her literary love of science fiction into a full-blown obsession with the intersection of technology and humanity. She followed up with degrees from the University of California at Davis and the Art Center College of Design that gave her the tools to work on both the creative and the business side of games and entertainment. She spent ten years working as a creative, followed by ten years as the CEO/Lead Designer for her 3P mobile game studio before making the jump to the 3P Publishing team at Meta. Today she spends her day-job time in virtual reality, lectures on the intersection of art and code whenever necessary and writes science fiction about how all these app-driven superpowers are going to change humanity. Her featured book is The Extractionist. (www.ungerink.com)
Dr. Don Vu understands the challenges children face when learning a new language and culture, having fled Vietnam with his family in 1975 as a young child. He also knows that reading can be transformative and life changing. As principal of Barrett Ranch Elementary School, he led in creating a culture of reading that engaged all kids and adults. This school transformation earned recognition from the California Reading Association, the California Department of Education, and the International Literacy Association. Don continues to spread the message that literacy can change the world through his work with state and national literacy organizations as well as his writing in publications such as Edutopia and Scholastic. He currently serves on the national advisory boards of Scholastic Book Fairs and the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program. His book, Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness, is a call to action for all educators who want to build a school culture of literacy to empower all students as they pursue their American Dream. (drdonvu.com)