Local Authors


We're proud to carry books from a number of local authors!  Want Brilliant Books to carry your book?  See our author resources page.



Fleda Brown

Fleda Brown earned her Ph.D. in English (specialty in American Literature) from the University of Arkansas, and in 1978 she joined the faculty of the University of Delaware English Department, where she founded the Poets in the Schools Program, which she directed for more than 12 years. In Traverse City, she writes a monthly column on poetry for the Record-Eagle newspaper, and she has a monthly commentary on poetry on Interlochen Public Radio.


Bonnie Jo Campbell

Michigan native Bonnie Jo Campbell received acclaim for her short story collections Women and Other Animals and American Salvage, as well as her novels Q Road and Once upon a River. The New York Times described Once Upon a River as, "an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom." She currently teaches writing at Pacific University.


Priscilla Cogan

Priscilla writes about life up north with a unique perspective, featuring the interface between Native American and Anglo cultures. Priscilla Cogan, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist of Irish-American descent and a practitioner of Native American pipe and sweat-lodge ceremonies. She lives with her husband, Duncan Sings-Alone, a Cherokee storyteller, writer, and healer, and two Shelties betwixt and between rural Massachusetts and the Leelanau Peninsula.


Jim Crockett

Jim Crockett is a singer/songwriter, poet, cabinetmaker, and ex-dairy farmer, who, upon completing his undergraduate and graduate work in English, History, and Spanish at Michigan State University, taught high school Advanced Composition, World Literature, and Elementary Spanish. He lives with his wife in Grand Traverse County. His poems have appeared in many magazines, and his essays in Composition Textbooks.


Jerry Dennis

Jerry Dennis, who grew up near Traverse City, has made his living since 1986 writing books about nature and the outdoors and essays for such publications as The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, Field and Stream, Wildlife Conservation, and National Geographic Traveler. In 1999 the Michigan Library Association presented him with its Michigan Author of the Year Award, the foremost literary award in Michigan.


Dunes Review

Northern Michigan’s premier literary journal, the Dunes Review showcases the best local, regional, and national poetry, fiction and essays of 3,000 words or fewer.


Richard Fidler

Richard Fidler is a writer, teacher, and history buff. He has written books on Traverse City history, including Gateways to Grand Traverse Past, Glimpses of Grand Traverse Past, and several others.



Bryan Gruley

Bryan Gruley is the critically acclaimed author of Starvation Lake: A Mystery, and the sequel, The Hanging Tree. Bestselling author Sara Paretsky calls Bryan “a gifted writer” who in The Skeleton Box has “turned his gifts to the secrets and lies which ultimately rip apart Starvation Lake.” Bryan is a reporter-at-large for Bloomberg News, writing long-form features for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.


Melissa Grunow

Melissa Grunow is the author of Realizing River City: A Memoir (Tumbleweed Books, 2016). An award-winning writer and Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, Yemassee, New Plains Review, Blue Lyra Review, and Limestone, among many others. She is also a live storyteller who regularly competes in NPR's Moth StorySLAM and is a Metro Detroit 2016 Listen to Your Mother cast member. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from National University and an MA in English from New Mexico State University. Visit her website at www.melissagrunow.com or follow her on Twitter at @melgrunow.


Steve Hamilton

In 2006, Steve Hamilton won the Michigan Author Award for his outstanding body of work. His novels have won numerous awards and media acclaim beginning with the very first in the Alex McKnight series, A Cold Day in Paradise, which won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin's Press Award for Best First Mystery by an Unpublished Writer. Once published, it went on to win the MWA Edgar and the PWA Shamus Awards for Best First Novel, and was short-listed for the Anthony and Barry Awards.


Joseph Heywood

Joseph Heywood is a local author and nature enthusiast. He is especially fond of using the Upper Peninsula as a backdrop for many of his novels.



Jeff Kessler

Jeff Kessler is a features writer for Grand Traverse Insider. Before retiring, he was an elementary school teacher. With cape in tow, he is the author of the young readers' trilogy Victor the Friendly Vampire. Victor is a wise, kind vampire who just wants to be accepted. The books detail his adventures and the lessons learned, all taking place in northwest Michigan.


Jerry Linengar

Captain Jerry Linenger is a retired United States Navy flight surgeon and NASA astronaut. A naval academy graduate, he holds doctorates in both medicine and research methodology, as well as dual masters degrees in policy and systems management. He has also been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees in science.



Mardi Jo Link

Mardi is the author of two true crime books and one memoir based in northern Michigan. Mardi is a former police reporter, a former editor of both Small Press and ForeWord Magazines, a co-founder of Michigan Writers, and recipient of the 2007 Goddess Award from Antioch Writers Workshop. She lives in Traverse City.



Don Lystra

Raised in cities and small towns around Michigan, Donald Lystra received degrees in electrical engineering and sociology from the University of Michigan. His first novel, Season of Water and Ice, captured both the Midwest Book Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award in 2010. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, where he was honored with the Gerald Freund award for emerging writers.


Stephanie Mills

Stephanie is a local author renowned for writing on deeply urgent issues, from politics to envirnomental. She has been compared to Wendell Berry and other nature writers. She hopes that her writings can help people understood how important it is that we care for the earth, bringing readers face to face with just how drastically we need to change in order to do so. 


Henry Morgenstein

Local author Henry Morgenstein tells his story best: "I was born in Antwerp, Belgium. My family ran away from the Germans and from 1942 to 1947 we lived in Havana, Cuba. We came to New York City in 1947.  From 1965 to 1968 I lived in Chicago; from 1968 to 1971 I lived in New York City & taught at Yeshiva University. I taught English at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan from 1971 to 2000 when I retired."


Michael Moore

We are proud to number Michael Moore among our fans. While most of you know him for his movies, here in Northwestern Michigan he is known as the driving force behind the re-opening of the historic State Theater in downtown Traverse City in November of 2007.


Loreen Niewenhuis

Loreen grew up in Michigan and has lived there most of her life. In 2009, her short story colection Scar Tissue, was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Award. From the time she was a young girl climbing sand dunes and splashing in its cool waters, Loreen has felt connected and drawn to Lake Michigan. She decided to explore the lake fully by walking around it. 



Cari Noga

Cari Noga is a writer, reader, mother, bicyclist, and wine lover  — sometimes up to four out of the five all at once.
In 2001 she began a freelance career based in Traverse City, Michigan.  Her work has been broadcast on National Public Radio programs and affiliates, and she worked for several years as a researcher and occasional host of a local news talk show on her home affiliate, WIAA-Interlochen Public Radio.


Anne-Marie Oomen

Anne-Marie Oomen is a founding editor of Dunes Review, former president of Michigan Writers, Inc., serves as instructor of creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy, ICCA Writer's Retreat, and Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College, MA. She and her husband, David Early, have built their own home near Empire.



Jack Ridl

Jack Ridl shares lines of well-earned wisdom in the face of a constantly changing world. The simple clarity of Ridl’s lines and diction make the poems accessible to all readers, but especially rewarding for those who appreciate carefully honed, masterful verse.



Teresa Scollon

Teresa Scollon is a winner of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, As well as an alumna and former writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy. Her work has been published in several journals, and in the New Issues anthology Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry, published in September 2013. Teresa lives and works in Traverse City.



Heather Schumaker

Heather Shumaker is a journalist who’s been writing professionally since 1996 for radio, print and online magazines. Her publications include Organic Gardening, Parenting, Pregnancy, Swarthmore College Bulletin, Traverse, Wisconsin Natural Resources and others. She was a radio script writer for Earthwatch Radio, a nationally syndicated program which also aired internationally on Voice of America


Bill O. Smith

The idea for Bill’s first book, Chickadees At Night, came about when he retired to care for his former mother-in-law as she began her journey into dementia. She retained her sparkling spirit, however, and a keen eye for beauty. Birds, especially chickadees, delighted her. Bill realized then that life is just as much about beautiful moments as beautiful memories, and this became his inspiration for the best-selling Chickadees At Night


Jake Smith

Jake Smith is an author and magazine editor who lives in Traverse City, Michigan, with his wife, Vickie, their three children, and a Labrador retriever. A former assistant high school baseball coach and All-State shortstop, Jake now spends his time on the field helping coach his kids’ youth baseball teams.



Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is a journalist and editor who has written extensively about the environment, outdoors and lifestyle during the course of his 30-plus year career. He currently edits Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, an award-winning monthly regional publication focused on life near the shores of the Great Lakes. The book Becoming Amish grew from his belief that though few modern families would ever become Amish, there were many aspects of the Amish life that could inform today’s families as they contemplated the direction an intentional life might lead.


Aaron Stander

Aaron Stander spent most of his adult years in the Detroit area, where he taught writing and trained writing teachers. In 2000 he and his wife left college teaching positions and moved permanently to their cottage near Interlochen. Aaron is author of the Ray Elkins thriller series, set in Northern Michigan. He is also the author of numerous articles, stories, poems, and reviews.


Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a builder and designer living in northern, lower Michigan. She was a recent finalist for the New Letters Poetry Prize, The Normal School Poetry Prize and the Duckabush Prize. Her chapbook, Forking the Swift, was awarded publication in 2010 by Michigan Writers Cooperative Press. She is a director of Michigan Writers.


Alison Swan

Alison Swan's poems and essays have appeared in many publications, including two poetry chapbooks. A Mesa Refuge fellow and Michigan Environmental Council Petoskey Prize winner, she teaches environmental thought and writing in the Environmental Studies Program at Western Michigan University.



Karen Trolenberg

Karen Trolenberg is the author of the children's book Flight of the Megizzewas.



Jim Voltz

A renowned cook and author, Jim has authored Dinner on the Porch, Brunch on the Porchand Hors d’oeuves on the Porch and continues to teach cooking classes in Benzie County.



Kathy-Jo Wargin

Kathy-Jo Wargin is the bestselling author of more than 45 books such as the children's classic The Legend of Sleeping Bear. Kathy-jo Wargin was born and raised on the iron range of northern Minnesota, and studied music composition at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She has been writing professionally for more than twenty years, and is dedicated to the creation and promotion of quality literature for children.


Glenn Wolff

Glenn Wolff grew up in Traverse City, Michigan. He studied Printmaking at Northwestern Michigan College, and received his BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His career began in New York as an illustrator for such clients as the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Central Park Conservancy, and the New York Zoological Society. In 1987 he returned to Northern Michigan concentrating on fine art and book illustration.