Mercy Strongheart grew up in Northern New Mexico. A child of hippie folk musicians, she spent her childhood making up stories and searching for sugar. Mercy lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. A Boy Named Trout is her first novel.

Richard D. Bank, Esq. is the author of seven books including The Everything Judaism Book, The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction, and Feig, a novel. He is a past president and current board member of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. Richard has published over 100 articles, essays, short stories and book reviews and has taught writing courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and other venues. He currently is on the faculty of Rosemont College in the MFA and Graduate Publishing programs where he teaches creative nonfiction and publishing law.

Photo courtesy of Teachers College, Columbia University

Frances Schoonmaker grew up on a farm in Western Oklahoma. A highlight of childhood summers was arrival of books from the Oklahoma State Library Commission’s lending library. Story has always been at the heart of her work, whether she is teaching children or teachers. After a dozen years as an elementary school teacher and another twenty-five plus at Teachers College, Columbia University, she decided it was time to start writing The Last Crystal—an idea that turned into a trilogy. (Where she got the idea is another story.) Dr. Schoonmaker lives in Baltimore, Maryland with two other strong women (her daughter and granddaughter), a hamster, and two adorable but contentious cats. Learn more about her and The Alabaster Box at her blog:

Miriam Segal Shnycer is a journalist and freelance writer. She has written numerous articles published in magazines and newspapers and worked as an editor for a publishing company.

She is a board member of the  Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. She received her BA from Temple University, School of Communications and Theater (now School of Media and Communication). She is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the journalism honor fraternity. Of Love and Death:  Young Holocaust Survivors’ Passage to Freedom is her first book.

Nikki MacCallum is a New York City based writer, performer, and avid runner. She conceived and co-wrote the script to Matchmaker Matchmaker I’m Willing to Settle! – a musical about internet dating that premiered at the American Repertory Theatre’s Second Stage, OBERON and has since had multiple productions both Off-Broadway and in various parts of the country. In 2016, she was one of fifty-one entrepreneurs world-wide (including NFL Running Back Jonathan Stewart, NBA power forward Anthony Tolliver, and Morgan Stanley’s Executive Director, Kimberly Hatchett) interviewed in the book, Hustle Believe Receive,an 8-Step Plan to Changing your Life and Living your Dream. Shortly after the release, she was one of four individuals highlighted in the book selected to speak on a panel for a featured segment aired on ABC news. Her essay, Passing A Parent, based on Dry Run, was published in an anthology titled The I’Mpossible Project. As a performer and lover of show tunes, her original solo acts have appeared at 54 Below, Lincoln Center, Birdland, and she’s been featured on VH1. As a standup-comic she’s played The Comedy Cellar, Dangerfield’s and Caroline’s.  Outside of the arts, Nikki is an established talent expert and career coach in the field of litigation technology and has spoken on panels globally (American Express, International Legal Technology Association, Coalition for the Homeless) about networking, career development, and how to capitalize on rejection. Originally from the Boston area, she holds a Bachelor of Music from New York University but remains a die-hard New England Patriots’ fan.

Ayesha F. Hamid is a Philadelphia-based poet and creative nonfiction writer,  published in Blue Bonnet Review, Philly Flash Inferno, and Rathalla Review. Her memoir, The Borderland Between Worlds (scheduled to be published in early 2020) was awarded a Thesis Distinction by Rosemont College (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania). Ayesha has an MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing from Rosemont College and also received an MA in Sociology from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She is the Editor-in-Chief at The City Key. Aside from writing, Ayesha loves photography and traveling to far places.

Harry Ringel’s publication story begins many years ago when he still had the energy to walk pitches for articles into offices for Philadelphia-area magazines and newspapers including Metropolitan, The Evening Bulletin, and The Drummer.  Nationally and internationally, his feature articles appeared in periodicals as varied as Sight and Sound, Cinefantastique, and Country Music magazine. His novel, The Tender Seed, which dealt with a psychically gifted child, was highly praised and widely received. Harry has written much in the ESL field. His textbooks are published by New Reader Press. Harry Ringel currently works with international students in Bucks County Community College’s Continuing Education Department in Pennsylvania.