Join us as recently-published local authors showcase their books. Our local author events have become popular with both authors and readers, and we’re pleased to present another group of authors and their books – something for everyone! Featured books and authors…
Jill Erzen and Mark Marturello, Paisley Poof! Jill Erzen is the mother of four daughters whose adventures are constantly teaching her lessons about the beauty that is quite often found right under our noses. She is a native of Cedar Rapids, a graduate of the University of Iowa and an editor at The Des Moines Register. Mark Marturello is a 1982 graduate of Grand View College. He has worked as an illustrator in Fort Know Kentucky, and currently illustrates for the Des Moines Register. He has won numerous awards for his work, which includes many book covers and a children’s book.
Tom Formaro, The Broken Heart Diet. Tom Formaro is a writer, drummer, and dad. After 14 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tom returned to Des Moines with his wife and beautiful daughter. They have a rescue puppy, Enzo. He’s the son of a Sicilian immigrant and a first-generation Italian-American. His family is in the restaurant business and prior to his professional communications career, he worked in restaurants as everything from a dishwasher to a cook. The Broken Heart Diet is largely based on Tom's kitchen experience. He has published short stories in Spoilage, Akkadian, SoMa Literary Review, and A Sexy Story. He is also the co-author (with his wife, Rachel) of a children's book, Alfonso, the Christmas Pumpkin.
David Mackaman, Dogmatic Slumber. David Mackaman, who lives in Des Moines, is spending retirement from a thirty-year banking career writing, mentoring and volunteering. He is the incoming chairman of the Iowa Natural History Foundation and is also on the board of ChildServe. If you knew that today was the last day of your life, is this how you would choose to spend it? At least for David Mackaman, he knew there needed to be something else, something more. Most of his friends and family were perplexed. They thought it rash. How could an accomplished bank president from America’s heartland, who had led a principled and purposeful life, abandon his career on his 55th birthday to embark on a pilgrimage of sorts to a small village in the Loire Valley of France? He knows he’s not running away from something, but rather towards something, but what? Epic experiences, his parents’ long-lost love letters from World War II, and the mysteries of a foreign place conspire with a single amazing individual, an 84-year-old former Jesuit priest, to change everything and awaken this man from his dogmatic slumber. This is a story of inspiration, of sorrow, of joy, of forgiveness, of wonder, and yes, of awakening.
Dave Makin, Cosmic Irony. Dave Makin was born in England in the small town of Warrington. Having the good sense to move away to a country with Dentists, his parents decided to move when he was only 6 months old. For the first years of his life he lived in Canada in both Alberta and later British Columbia. From there his travels took him to Seattle, Washington, where this book’s stories pick up. At an early age he decided that he wanted to write books. He also found out that although he had a creative flare, he was terrible at grammar and the ability to grasp what would seem to be simple sentence structures. "So, the book that you have in front of you now has gone through many different versions, titles, and shredders. Somewhere between the cosmos and earth you are touched by fate. Some people call this The Irony of Fate, some calls this Divine Intervention, I call it Cosmic Irony."
Kimberly Shursen, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hush, and Lottery. Kimberly Shursen began making up stories in grade school, and started writing them down in junior high. Growing up in a small town in Iowa with a population of 2,000, imagination not only became her entertainment, but a passion. She graduated from a private college in Hastings, Nebraska with a BA in education. During the time she raised her three sons, she began writing a musical. Five years later Ms. Shursen presented the music, book, and lyrics to private investors who produced the play in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Sweden. Her second full-blown musical, Eden, received rave reviews when it was
produced at the Pella Opera House. Itsy Bitsy Spider is a could-be-ripped-from-the-headlines tale that provides a chilling and stirring reminder of how the real-life celebrities and politicians in power work hard to hide secrets from those closest to them. Hush: Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom. Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for. Literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the farreaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance. Lottery: In this psychological thriller, nothing is what it seems. Caleb O'Toole has hit the mega lottery jackpot--but no amount of money can eradicate the malevolent force that is chasing him and threatening everything he holds dear. With murder, suspense, and deceit at every turn, Caleb will do what it takes to hold onto the woman he's vowed to never let go and prevent her from finding out the truth. But when he learns that someone is secretly trying to unravel his deadly past and expose him, Caleb's mind goes to an even darker place.
Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith, Warrior Heart, Pilgrim Soul: An Immigrant’s Journey. Philippine-born and award-winning writer Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith was an associate attorney in one of the bigger Manila law firms and sole female counsel to one of the largest companies in Southeast Asia before she met her American husband and immigrated to the United States. Compelled by the challenges of immigrant life to be the at-home parent, she nevertheless was determined to apply herself to creative endeavor, thus rediscovering and pursuing a childhood passion—writing poetry and fiction. To this end, her Philippine heritage and law practice years, her immigrant experience, and her family’s travels abroad and frequent moves across the United States in support of her husband’s career combine to lend her a unique perspective that informs and inspires her writing. Believing that the ultimate value of poetry lies in facilitating human's search for meaning, poet Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith strives to write poetry that is not only accessible to the greater reading masses of everyday people but also suggests a glimmer of hope even in the most deplorable human conditions. This is the driving force and paramount voice in "Warrior Heart, Pilgrim Soul: An Immigrant's Journey," her first book of poems. This collection chronicles the inherently conflicted yet ultimately rich and textured journey of an immigrant woman compelled to achieve a radical redefinition of individual and national
identity against a backdrop of life-changing circumstances and parallel historical developments in the US and the world.