Ann McGriffin

Heartland Connection: I have spent .9714% of my life in The Midwest.

I am an emotional archaeologist. Painting and writing assist me in digging, scraping, sifting through the layers of life, in the effort to create some peace of mind.

Learn more about Ann and her work.

Terri Clifton

Heartland Connection: I was a freelance historical researcher when my boys were little. While many of our ancestors settled here on the Delmarva Pennisula I was always fascinated by the ones who went westward, especially the women. The farm I live on dates from the original land patents when Delaware was a colony. It keeps me tied to our history.

Terri Clifton is an author, photographer, and motivational speaker. Her fiction stories and poetry appear in numerous anthologies and literary journals. Her nonfiction book, A Random Soldier, was published in 2007. Her first novel earned her a fellowship for emerging artist in fiction literature in 2013. Since then she has completed two novels and is at work on a story set during Prohibition. She is an active advocate for literacy, and the importance of the arts in society. In her free time, she volunteers as house photographer for the local theatre, and continues to study dance. She loves travel, nature, live music, and swimming. She is a part time mermaid who relentlessly pursues Magic in the world. She lives on a historic farm along the Delaware Bay where she raised two boys.

Check out her author page on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads!

Leslie MacGillivray

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

As an engaged student with a passion for writing, Leslie MacGillivray knew from a young age that she wanted to write stories that would make Charlotte Bronte proud. Integrating her love for writing and creative design, she was led to a career in marketing and has been using those skills for the past 14 years at a multidisciplinary design firm.

A California native, Leslie is enjoying raising her teenage son and working toward completing her first novel. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in English Literature.

Read Leslie’s selected poem insecurities

Bonnie Maurer

Heartland Connection: I was born and raised in Indianapolis.

Bonnie Maurer, MFA, poetry, Indiana University, is the author of the following chapbooks: Reconfigured, Finishing Line Press, 2009; Ms. Lily Jane Babbitt Before the Ten O’clock Bus from Memphis Ran Over Her, Ink Press, 1979 and Raintree Press,1979; Old 37: The Mason Cows, Barnwood Press,1981; and Bloodletting: A Ritual Poem for Women’s Voices, Ink Press,1983. Under the auspices of the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Creative Renewal Fellowship, Maurer composed a series of breast cancer poems culminating in The Reconfigured Goddess, Poems of a Breast Cancer Survivor, Blurb, 2013.

Maurer’s poems have appeared in the New York Times; Indiana Review; Lilith, a feminist journal; Nimrod International Journal; The Wabash Watershed online mag.; Contemporary American Voices 2015; as well as on IndyGo buses; on the walls of Indy’s 924 Gallery: The Contemporary Landscape Show, 2014; and on the ceiling of St. Vincent Hospital 6th floor cancer wing. Maurer lives in Indianapolis and works for Arts for Learning as a poet-in-the-schools and community, as a copy editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal, and as an Ai Chi (aquatic flowing energy) instructor at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center.

Contact her at:

Read Bonnie’s featured poem 70th Birthday

Jazmine M. Lampley

Heartland Connection: Yes, from Florissant/St. Louis, Missouri

Jazmine M. Lampley is a wife, mother, and professor from Florissant, Missouri. She is a social media editor for Indelible Ink Writers. An avid lover of words, storytelling, and grammar, Jazmine writes to unlock the mysteries of her heart and soul, and to explore the happenings in the world. She has been published in local journals, and has been featured on Indelible Ink Writer’s Ink and Soul Podcast.

Read Jazmine’s featured poem dissonance*

*CW: mental illness

Katherine Mansfield

Heartland Connection: Aside from a wonderful childhood vacation to Wisconsin, at which I saw a circus, The Heartland Society.

Katherine Mansfield is a Pittsburgh-based writer who loves coffee and long walks through the city with her husband Josh and their fur-baby, Zimmy. Her work has appeared on The Kindred Voice blog and she is full-time staff writer at the local Observer-Reporter newspaper. When she isn’t writing, Katherine enjoys taking photographs, spending time with her incredible family and watching Mad Men. Home is her happy place.

Read Katherine’s featured poem Bicycle

Crystal James

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Crystal is a mother of two. She is a writer, poet, and artist. She believes in the power of being vulnerable with an open heart. This honest approach to writing helps her heal and grow with the hope of helping others along the way. She has been published in Kindred Voice, Journal of Expressive Writing, and has upcoming publishing with Motherscope, and Women’s Writing Circle Anthology.

For more of her words please follow her Instagram account.

Read Crystal’s featured short Waiting to Bloom

Keira Perkins

Heartland Connection: I’m born and raised in central Indiana.

Keira Perkins lives in Indiana with her husband, dogs, cats and whichever stray animal she’s brought home that week. When she’s not writing, she gets paid to be a scientist. You can find her at local breweries, running Indianapolis’ trails or on Instagram.

Read Keira’s featured poem In Response to Myself in the Garden While Dwelling in Grief

CW: If you’re Christian, the poem is heretical

Kerry Jo Bell

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Writing has always been Kerry’s outlet to express her deepest thoughts and feelings. As a socially awkward child, she wanted desperately to be a wallflower, but somehow ended up being a sore thumb instead. Escaping into reimagined worlds of her own creation became a coping mechanism and survival skill. Not much has changed for her since childhood, as she self-describes as an introvert in person but an extrovert on the pages. It wasn’t until five years ago however that she got an inkling that she could write professionally. Since then, her work has appeared in multiple literary journals and magazines. Perhaps her greatest feat, was writing a full length work of autobiographical fiction for which she’s currently seeking publication. A byproduct of all that writing was Kerry being welcomed into the folds of The Writers Union of Canada’s BIPOC mentorship program for emerging writers in fall 2020 as well as becoming an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets in fall 2021.

Find her on Instagram.

Read Kerry’s featured poem Unsafe*

TW: PTSD related to anti-black racism

Michelle Rochniak

Heartland Connection: I used to be an intern! 🙂

Michelle Rochniak (she/they) is a 19-year-old bisexual poet from Wallingford, CT. She is a sophomore at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) majoring in Professional (Creative) Writing and minoring in women’s studies. She has received the AWP Intro Award for Poetry at the university level and is also a 2022 CT Collegiate Poet with the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. Previous publications include WCSU’s Perspective and the HLWW website. They were also the submissions & publications intern at HLWW last spring and summer. When she isn’t writing, they like to read about ancient history, play the ukulele, and crochet.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter!

Read Michelle’s featured poem the flamed mermaid

Erica Lee Smith

Heartland Connection: the Heartland Society.

Erica Lee Smith is a freelance writer based on Cape Cod. Primarily a ghostwriter, she has published work in Taproot, Literary Mama, and several anthologies.

Find more of her work on her website.

Read Erica’s featured piece Someone Else’s Turn

T.C. Anderson

Heartland Connection: the Heartland Society.

T.C. Anderson is a Houston-based writer and artist with work published in Sunday Mornings at the River, Capsule Stories, Pages Penned in Pandemic: A Collective, The Raven Review, and more. Her poetry collection, The Forest, published in 2021, serves as the inspirational basis of an art installation with artist Mari Omori premiering in 2022. Her artistic and collaborative work has been shown in several local art galleries, as well as online and internationally. A graphic design professional, Anderson holds a B.A. in Graphic Design & Media Arts from Southern New Hampshire University.

Find more of her work on her website.

Read T.C.’s featured work What is the Body But an Instrument?*

*CW: mentions of self-harm and death

Julia Nusbaum

Heartland Connection: I currently live in Milwaukee, but I grew up on a farm in Illinois.

Julia Nusbaum lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she spends most of her time chasing a toddler. She also works as the Director of Operations for the Wisconsin Writers Association and is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of HerStry Literary Magazine. Her work can be found in Peach Velvet Magazine, Hello Giggles, Mothers Always Write, Pussy Magic Magazine and elsewhere. To read more of her work visit her website at

Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

Read Julia’s featured piece To Love a Body*

*CW: Sexual situations, disordered eating and diet, birth trauma

Beck Morawski

Heartland Connection: I’ve traveled up and down the heart of the United States for estate sales, work trips, and visiting family. Having spent much of my life living near the ocean, I’m very content to have finally settled here at the tail end of tornado alley, which feels far safer.

Beck Morawski is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Her scholarly work centers on gender and identity in art and material culture at the turn of the twentieth century. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas with too many antique books and feelings about the coast.

Read Beck’s featured piece At the End of the Earth*

*CW: discussions of drowning, ambiguous discussion of parental death

Kelli Lage

Heartland Connection: I was born in Michigan, but have lived in Iowa since I was a baby. Iowa is home.

Kelli Lage lives in the Midwest countryside. Lage is currently earning her degree in Secondary English Education and works as a substitute teacher. Awards: Special Award for First-time Entrant, Iowa Poetry Association, 2020.

Read Kelli’s featured piece: Dig*

*TW: Mention of blood.

J.E. Hibbard

Heartland Connection: I have lived in different locales in the state of Indiana for 39 years.

Janice is a Neurodiverse Playwright, Performer, and Theatre Artist who has lived in Indiana her entire life. She likes to write about animal and human rights, anthropomorphism, mental health, and whatever tickles her fancy that day. Her newest play for young audiences, “Plutonian Grove” will be playing at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Indiana) this spring. You can read select works on the New Play Exchange.

Find her on Facebook.

Read J.E.’s featured play: A Painting

M.A. Dubbs

Heartland Connection: Dubbs is a homegrown Hoosier.

M. A. Dubbs is an award-winning Mexican American and LGBT+ writer who hails from Indiana. Dubbs writes poetry, fiction, micro-fiction, and interactive media. Her writing has been published in literary magazines and anthologies across the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. She published her first collection of her poetry and short fiction, Aerodynamic Drag: Poetry and Short Fiction, in 2021.

You can find her on her site.

Read M.A.’s featured piece: Hoosier Balladry*

*CW: Historical references to slavery, Trail of Tears

C. Cimmone

Heartland Connection: My best writing friends live in Ohio – it is truly stunning and one day I’ll travel there and never come home.

C. Cimmone is an author and comic from Texas. She is alive and well on Twitter.

Read C.’s featured piece: a feast of women*

*CW: death

Raegen Pietrucha

Heartland Connection: Born in Chicago, lived in the Midwest for many years.

Raegen Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults creatively and professionally. Her chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name, won the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition; her debut poetry collection, Head of a Gorgon, is forthcoming with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2022; and she has a memoir in progress.

She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, where she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. Her work has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other journals.

Connect with her at and on Twitter.

Read Raegen’s featured poem: 12/24

Naomi C. Kenny

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Naomi C. Kenny, a degree holder in Business & Arts Management, has been active on the poetry scene for many years. Performing at events such as Flying South and Circle Sessions. She regularly publishes poetry on her Facebook page, ‘LiterallyWords’, which can be found here.

She has been published by the Tealight Express in their 2021 May Issue, their Star Sign issue and their Symmetry issue. Her work has also been published by the Magpie Review, Poetry in Bloom and lastly in the Greystones Poetry Trail in 2020 and 2021. She is currently working on getting a collection of her poems published in the upcoming year.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Read Naomi’s featured poem: The Foam on the Sea

Brenda Weathers Hargroves

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Brenda Weathers Hargroves currently writes a blog focused on treating your life and career experiences like a business. Her self-published book, The Heart and Soul of Entrepreneurship, offers a practical viewpoint of small business ownership. She is a contributing author of Carnegie Writers’ Strategies and Tactics for Multidisciplinary Writing. When not working on her blog or writing short stories, she can be found chasing that ever-elusive bestselling novel.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

Read Brenda’s featured work: ‘Fess Up

Lynne Schmidt

Heartland Connection: I am originally from Michigan!

Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and a mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the winner of the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest and author of the chapbooks, Dead Dog Poems (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press), Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.

Connect with her on Facebook.

Read Lynne’s featured work: I Used to be One of Them and Look Where I am Now*

*CW: abortion

Shiksha Dheda

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Shiksha Dheda is a South African of Indian descent. She uses writing to express her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Sometimes, she dabbles in photography, painting, and baking lopsided layered cakes.

Her writing has been featured(on/forthcoming) in Brittle Paper, Daily Drunk Magazine, Door is a jar, Luna Luna Mag and Versification, amongst others. She is the Pushcart nominated author of Washed Away (Alien Buddha Press, 2021).

She rambles annoyingly at Twitter and you can find (or ignore her) at her site, here.

Read Shiksha’s featured poem: Red*

*CW: menstruation, body image, mental illness, OCD, blood

Angela Acosta

Heartland Connection: I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University residing in Columbus, Ohio.

Angela Acosta is a bilingual Latina poet and scholar who grew up in Florida. She is currently completing a PhD in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation and poetry pay tribute to female and queer writers in early twentieth century Spain. She won the 2015 Rhina P. Espaillat Award from West Chester University for her poem “El espejo”. Her work has or will appear in Flying Island Journal, Pluma, The Blue Moth, WinC Magazine, and MacroMicroCosm.

Learn more about her here.

Read Angela’s featured work: From Root to Rhizome

Carys Crossen

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Carys Crossen has been writing stories since she was nine years old and shows no signs of stopping. Her monograph ‘The Nature of the Beast’ has been published by University of Wales Press and her fiction has been published by Dear Damsels, FlashBack Fiction, Fudoki Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs and others. She lives in Manchester UK with her husband and their beautiful, contrary cat.

Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Read Carys’ featured work: A Stroll Through the Fruit and Veg Section

Hunter Liguore

Heartland Connection: Traveler.

Hunter Liguore (she/her) is an award-winning author, professor, and historian. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Irish PagesSpirituality & Health Magazine and more. Whole World in Nan’s Soup is now available through Yeehoo Press.

To learn more, visit: or @skytale_writer

Read Hunter’s featured work: Wild Gardens

Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Tracey Chizoba Fletcher, born to a British father and a Nigerian mother, lives in Lagos, Nigeria. A staunch believer in the right representation of Nigeria’s rich culture and values, her writings are a testimony to promoting this in the right light. She is the Author of Feminine Shades; a collection of short stories, throwing a beacon on the sensitivities of the female gender, her Crime Thriller, The Chase – which was shortlisted for the Phoenix Quill Writing Contest, her fantasy fiction, The Wrong Turn, and her recently published romantic suspense, Love and Money.

She is a monthly Columnist for Rainbow Magazine, where she writes articles geared towards motivation. She equally provides voice over and editing services. Her short stories have appeared and are forthcoming in different literary magazines.

Tracey loves to read mystery and fantasy genres, as well as listening to soul music. You can visit her website, to see more about what she is up to.

Follow Tracey on Twitter or Instagram and find her on Facebook.

Read Tracey’s featured work: Snow Princess

Becca Downs

Heartland Connection: Becca is a born and raised Hoosier.

Becca is working on her MFA in poetry at Regis University while running a freelance writing and communications business, Spoke City Writing. She enjoys hiking, reading, helping coach the IUPUI women’s cross country and track teams, planning epic road trips, and finding all the best donut spots around the country.

Follow Becca on Twitter or Instagram.

Read Becca’s most recent work: Awakening, Again on her prior double feature: Caged-Tiger the Tide Pools & Early Taboos.

A. P. Joye

Heartland Connection: I’ve never lived in the Heartland or the Midwest, but my parents were born and raised in North Vernon, Indiana. They moved so that my father could pursue his passion for higher education, but Indiana is still very much a part of their memories, lives, and childhoods. Growing up in Southern California, I’ve never known what it’s like to live in a small town where you end up marrying someone you’ve known your entire life. I’ve always enjoyed hearing about their experiences living in a small town, whether it’s visiting cousins and relatives constantly or getting help from the local police department when you’re teepeeing the local court house as part of North Vernon tradition.

A. P. Joye, although born on the east coast, has spent the majority of her life in Southern California. When she isn’t meeting with students or teaching at San Diego State University, you can find her spending time with friends and family, reading, running, and constantly writing. She currently attends San Diego State University for her MFA in Creative Writing.

You can keep up with her latest work at

Kimberly Madura

Heartland Connection: I was born and raised in Whiting, Indiana and lived there throughout the 80’s and 90’s.  My family still lives there.  

Kimberly Madura is a social worker who currently lives in Vermont. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies and literary journals.

Fabiana Elisa Martínez

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Fabiana Elisa Martínez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she graduated from the UCA University with a degree of Linguistics and World Literature. She is a linguist, a language teacher, and a writer. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian. She has lived in Dallas, Texas, for almost twenty years. She is the author of the short story collection 12 Random Words, her first work of fiction, and the grammar book Spanish 360 with Fabiana. Other short stories of hers have been published or are forthcoming in Rigorous Magazine, The Closed Eye Open, Ponder Review, The Halcyone, Hindsight Magazine, and The Good Life Review. She is currently working on her first novel.

Find more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.

Adele O’Grady Botticelli

Heartland Connection: My first nephew was born in South Bend, Indiana where I helped my sister in her first weeks of motherhood. I was elected President of AASH, a national alumae/a association in Chicago. I love the Midwest, especially the hospitality!

Adele O’Grady Botticelli graduated University of Limerick from the MA Creative Writing with a First in 2018. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. Her current portfolio includes an original screenplay, IT’S A MAN’S WORLD which placed in the “next 100” of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a musical book adaptation of TOPPER. Adele has completed a full collection of short stories set on an imaginary island. She is now working on her first novel as well as a new screenplay.

Adele celebrates her Irish heritage through her writing and education. She supports the Irish Arts Center, the Irish Repertory Theatre and the American-Irish Historical Society in New York. Her engagement with these cultural organizations provides Adele with a critical link to Ireland’s creative communities and serves as an ongoing inspiration that energizes all of her artistic works.

Find her on Twitter.

Hameedah Aruwa

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

HAMEEDAH ARUWA is a sprouting writer from Nigeria. She writes poetry and prose. Her works appear or are forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, Sledgehammer lit and Eboquills.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Read Hameedah’s featured work: Streetlights

Anne H. Putnam

Heartland Connection: I got my BA at Washington University in St Louis. My piece ‘The Illusion of Closure’ was published in March 2021 – this piece is an excerpt from my memoir, in response to the May theme.

Anne H Putnam lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their cat and writes about body image, relationships, and anything else that requires an awkward amount of vulnerability.

You can follow her on Twitter for politics and random musings or Instagram for cat pics and baked goods.

Read Anne’s features: My Deepest Darkest Secret* and The Illusion of Closure**

* TW: Mention of cutting and other emotional distress; swearing

** TW: Suicidal ideation

Marjie Giffin

Heartland Connection: Lifelong resident of Indiana, educated in the Midwest.

Marjie Giffin is a Midwestern writer who has authored four regional histories and whose poetry has appeared in Snapdragon, Poetry Quarterly, Flying Island, The Kurt Vonnegut Literary Journal, The Saint Katherine Review, The Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, Through the Sycamores, The Blue Heron Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and the anthologies The Lives We Have Live(d) and What Was and What Will Be. Her first chapbook, Touring, was just published. She is active in the Indiana Writers Center and has taught both college writing and gifted education.

Connect with her on Instagram and find her work here.

Kim Bundy

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Kim Bundy works at an academic medical center in Nashville, Tennessee. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, and Village Square. She recently completed an uplifting, humorous middle-grade neighborhood adventure novel set in the summer of 1971.

Connect with her on Twitter.

Esty Loveing-Downes

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Esty Loveing-Downes lives in Florida where she drinks too much coffee and rants about purity culture toxicity. Her words can be found in West Trestle Review, Shift: A Journal of Literary Oddities, Survivor Lit, and the Santa Clara Review or on Twitter at @estywrites.

Find more of her work at

*CW: language

Roseline Mgbodichinma

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Roseline Mgbodichinma is a Nigerian writer, blogger and poet whose works have appeared or are forthcoming in The Hellebore press, Serotonin poetry, Down River Road, Blue Marble Review, West Trestle Review, Kalahari Review, X-ray lit mag, Native skin and elsewhere. She is a poetry mentor & Alumna at SprinNG. An NF2W scholar in poetry and a fiction contributing editor for Barren magazine.

She won the audience favourite award for the Union Bank Campus Writing Challenge – Okada books. She is the third prize winner for the PIN food poetry contest.

Find her on her blog.

*CW: sexual harassment, gaslighting

DeMaris Gaunt

Heartland Connection: Indiana born and raised!

Though stained glass is her first love, DeMaris Gaunt is an eclectic artist. In addition to mosaic mirrors, stained glass window art and three-dimensional glass sculptures, she works with wood as a canvas for her abstract drawings and designs, plus she makes a variety of jewelry using glass, wood, and even recycled plastic milk jugs.

“I love leather, too,” she says. “I’ve made hats, purses and pouches from recycled leather.” She’s also a poet and has written a novel, Two Doors.

Visit her on Instagram and check out more of her work here.

Halle Preneta

Heartland Connection: I’ve lived in the Midwest region my whole life!

Halle (she/her) enjoys writing short romance, sci-fi, and horror stories along with poetry and gets her ideas from random life experiences and fanfiction. When she’s not writing, she’s either watching YouTube or playing Animal Crossing. She also enjoys theatre, music, and petting her cat and is very passionate about social justice and human rights, especially LGBTQ+ rights. She’s had works published in various literary magazines such as The Hearth Magazine, Write Now Lit, and Tealight Press and her debut chapbook “<3” is currently out with Alien Buddha Press.

Her Twitter handle is @YaTheatreNerd and you can check out more of her work here.

Charlotte Reed

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Charlotte Reed is a second year student at Queen’s University Belfast, originally from Washington in England. Despite studying Chemistry she is heavily involved in the writing society at her university, being the Public Relations Officer and therefore part of the committee. She writes about gender presentation and what it means to be a woman in her poetry. She’s previously been published in Inertia Teens first issue, Feelings.

Jen Pendragon

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Jen Pendragon is a freelance writer, and a mom to twin toddlers. She is married to her middle school sweetheart.
Jen has seen the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ over 40 times, and she applies that same enthusiasm to most things that grab her interest.
Her novels are about angry, magical women and the things they’re angry about. During her time as an entertainment journalist, she wrote for online outlets as varied as Graphic Policy, Mugglenet, CityDog Baltimore, and Insight Telehealth. Jen has a YouTube channel where she discusses writing, social justice, parenthood, and her unironic love of Riverdale. She has recently gotten very into Cheers.
Jen is a voracious reader. She would like to remind you that reading is reading regardless of the book’s format. Her recent five star reads include ‘Cemetery Boys’, ‘Red, White, and Royal Blue’, and ‘Jo and Laurie’. If she had free time, she’d use it to play more Stardew Valley. Jen would like to thank Heartland Society of Women’s Writers, Paperbacks and Co, and London Writer’s Salon for providing virtual space for her to get writing done, even with toddlers who wake up every day and choose chaos.

Find Jen on social media.

* TW: cigarette use

Gabrielle Hamel

Heartland Connection: Former Social Media & Publication Intern with the Heartland Society.

Gabrielle Hamel is an English Literature student studying at Western Connecticut State University, whose passion is writing poetry that embodies the experience of being a woman growing up in the twenty-first century. Any time she does not spend writing is spent with her dogs, family, and closest friends. Her dream is to publish her own volume of poetry and to begin writing novels of her own.

* TW: sexual assault

Christie Cochrell

Heartland Connection: My mother’s family is from Wisconsin.

Christie Cochrell’s work has been published by The First Line, Minerva Rising, Catamaran, Amarillo Bay, Cumberland River Review, Tin House, and a variety of others, and has won several awards and been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Chosen as New Mexico Young Poet of the Year while growing up in Santa Fe, she’s recently published a volume of collected poems, Contagious Magic. She lives by the ocean in Santa Cruz, California—too often lured away from her writing by otters, pelicans, and seaside walks.

Visit her blog.

Rae Mosher

Heartland Connection: Both of Rae’s parents hail from Ohio, so many summers have been spent visiting Hamilton, Hueston Woods, Perrysburg, Lima, and Cedar Point.

Rae Mosher spent her childhood in the Bay Area of California, but has lived most of her life in Chapel Hill, NC, and therefore counts as a Southerner now. She grew up in the restaurant business, and while she was a Secondary English teacher for over a decade, she now runs her family’s burrito joint, which surprisingly gives her more time to write and spend time with family. She lives in Carrboro, NC with her husband and two kiddos.

Follow her on Instagram.

Kelli Heil

Heartland Connection: Born and raised in Indiana! I’ve lived everywhere from Evansville up to Fort Wayne. I currently reside in the Bloomington area.

Kelli Heil is an author, artist and mother. She paints everyday, even if some of those days call for just a black dot on a canvas. Coffee, reading and traveling are her most favorite pastimes. You’ll also find her talking about Halloween and pumpkins throughout most of the year.

Follow her on Instagram or discover her coffee and bookish works on Etsy.

Pat Morris

Heartland Connection: 10 years living and working in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Pat Morris is a semi-retired journalist who has worked for academic and news organizations in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina and the US Virgin Islands. She currently is living in Florida where she is indulging herself by writing fiction and creating with fabric.

Find her on Facebook.

Dr. Manjusha Hari

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Dr. Manjusha Hari resides in Kerala, India. She is a poet and teacher. She had published two poetry collections in her mother tongue and she contributed her poem in three English anthologies. She loves to read and write.

Find her on Instagram.

Debbie Hewson

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Debbie Hewson is 57 and lives in Dorset with her husband. She retired last year to move away from London and the business she had run for years, to enjoy a different life. Debbie enjoys writing, reading, and is currently restoring a three hundred year old house, which is fighting her every step of the way. Before starting her own business, she worked in medical recruitment, working mostly with care homes, and before that she worked in catering, as a legal secretary, in various sales related jobs, and was a full-time mum for several years.

Find her on Facebook.

Bianca Marie Nery

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Bianca Marie Nery is a Filipino writer and poet. She started writing at the age of thirteen and was previously involved in campus journalism before turning to poetry. Her first book, “Letters From Quarantine”, written under the name B.M. Nery, has been published by Ukiyoto Publishing. She currently lives in the Philippines with her family and two dogs.

Find her on Twitter or Instagram, and read more of her work.

Jill Robinson

Heartland Connection: Jill is a farmer’s daughter from Illinois.

Jill Robinson is a wife, mother of two, athlete, speech-language pathologist and lover of all animals. She loves the outdoors and singing off key in the car. Writing brings her peace.

Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and read more of her work.

Mary Maeve McGeorge

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Mary Maeve McGeorge’s stories have been acknowledged for awby Writer’s Digest and Tulip Tree Publishing, as well as accepted for publication in literary journals such as Sunlight Press and Brown Bag. A graduate of Santa Clara University, she was named the 2017 Canterbury Scholar, a prestigious fellowship allowing her to dedicate the entirety of her senior year to write and edit her first novel with the guidance of author Michael S. Malone.

Find her on Twitter.

*TW: assault, stalking

Tara Foor

Heartland Connection: I was born in Ohio, but my family moved to the American Southwest when I was a kid. I returned to the Heartland for college (Boiler Up!) and have been here ever since.

Tara Foor reads a lot. Like, seriously. As a librarian in Indianapolis you can often find her encouraging others to pursue great stories within the pages of a book, but now she’s gathered the courage to write her own. It’s weird… but fun!

Find her on Twitter.

Noeme Grace C Tabor-Farjani

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Noeme Grace C. Tabor-Farjani has authored Letters from Libya: Memoirs-in-Letters (2018) which chronicled her family’s escape from the Second Libyan Civil War in 2014. A featured writer at the digital exhibits of The Aerogramme Center for Arts and Culture and Floresta Magazineher works have been published in Your Dream Journal (US), Global Poemic (India), LunaLuna (US), Fahmidan (Kuwait), 433 Magazine (US), Milly Magazine (New Zealand), Rogue Agent (US), Cicada Magazine (Hong Kong/Japan), Harpy Hybrid Review (US) The Font: A Literary Journal for Language Teachers (Australia), Eunoia Review (Singapore), and forthcoming from Dreich Press (Scotland), Cobra Milk (US), and Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine (Hong Kong).

She previously taught translation, children’s literature, and drama at Capitol University where she defended her PhD dissertation on Flow Theory in creative writing pedagogy. She currently teaches humanities at St. Mary’s School in the southern Philippines, and is working on a collection of poems on spirituality and the body. She has recently served as guest author for a morning show in GMA Regional TV

Find her on Facebook and on her YouTube channel.

Other link:

Elizabeth Glass

2021 Short Story Writing Contest 1st Runner-Up

Heartland Connection: Yes. I have lived in Louisville, Kentucky almost my whole life, except for two years in Ohio. Louisville is a mixture of southern and midwestern culture. It is often called the “Gateway to the South,” but that also makes it the “Gateway to the Midwest.”

Elizabeth Glass is a PhD candidate in Humanities at the University of Louisville. She has received an Emerging Artist Award in Nonfiction from the Kentucky Arts Council and a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Redivider, River Teeth’s “Beautiful Things” series, and Appalachian Heritage. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

You can find Elizabeth on Twitter.

Read Elizabeth’s 1st place runner-up piece Family From Boise

Lorrie Morales

2021 Short Story Writing Contest 2nd Runner-Up

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society

Lorrie Morales is a semi-retired teacher who fell in love with writing, reading and teaching at a young age. To this day, she continues to teach as a Contractor of Instructional Design for Learning, reads a plethora of books on all subjects and genres and has just published her first book and working on her next one. Lorrie also enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the blessings life has to offer.

You can find Lorrie on Instagram or visit her website.

Read Lorrie’s 2nd place runner-up piece The Little Black Book

Megan Cannella

Heartland Connection: I lived in Illinois for over 25 years before moving to Nevada.

Megan Cannella (she/her) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. Her debut chapbook, Confrontational Crotch and Other Real Housewives Musings, is out now and available at She is an editor at Versification.

You can find Megan on Twitter.

Sara E. Belanger

2021 Short Story Writing Contest Grand Prize Winner

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society

Sara E. Belanger is a fantasy author. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her fiancé, son, and two dogs. Her novel, Imaginary Demons, was published in 2011 and she is currently working on other untold stories.

Catch up with Sara on her website or socials.

Read Sara’s grand prize winning piece Fly High

Elizabeth Janczyk

Heartland Connection: Many special memories visiting my Grandmother Anne in Parma Heights, Ohio over the years. Especially loved memories visiting Cedar Point and Amish Country in the summer and the custard!

Elizabeth “Libby” lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and two cats. Her debut children’s picture book, OUR HAWAII VACATION, was published by Island Heritage Publishing in June 2020. She is a member of SCBWI and an active CPA.

You can find her on Instagram, her website, and Twitter.

Read Elizabeth’s feature Ma’s Nightgown

Cheney M. Luttich

Heartland Connection: Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. I lived in Saint Louis for 7 years after college and then returned to Nebraska. I now live in Omaha and commute to Lincoln for my job as an English professor.

Cheney Luttich grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she now teaches writing at Southeast Community College. She enjoys pizza, traveling with her husband and daughters, and sitting on the bench overlooking Willa Cather Memorial Prairie. In her free time, you can find her reading books and looking at Instagram posts devoted to nineteenth century clothing.

Krista Legge

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Krista has always had a passion to write. She has written many different stories over the years but has never pursued getting them published. Working in the field of education has always been her first focus. She has been working the past 18 years with children with special needs. She has Masters’ Degrees in Special Education and Behavior Analysis. She has utilized books for all of her teaching, from academic to social emotional lessons. As a mother of two young children, she finds books as a gateway to opening conversations. Krista has written articles that were shared throughout school districts on Long Island. Throughout her educational career, she has written many stories for her students, but has finally decided to try and get them published, to share with others.

Connect with Krista on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok!

*The piece is published in honor of Self Injury Awareness Day (March 1) and contains potentially triggering content with respect to self injury and suicide. Please do not read this piece if you do not have the mental capacity for these topics.

Rachael Llewellyn

Heartland Connection: No but I’d love to visit!

Rachael Llewellyn is an English novelist. Her previous work includes the Red Creek series (Down Red Creek and Impulse Control, both with Sulis International Press), and her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Analogies & Allegories, Tealight Press and Crow & Cross Keys. Her first collection of short fiction, Human Beings, is due for publication with Bear Hill Books in 2020. She is currently a PhD candidate at Swansea University, and is completing her thesis on trauma and memory in folklore.

Connect with her on Twitter.

*TW: Abuse

Melinda Grisco

Heartland Connection: Born and raised in Cincinnati.

Melinda was born in Cincinnati and has lived there over 48 years. She am a Graduate of Antioch Midwest. Melinda has traveled the globe collecting stories.

Connect with her on Facebook.

Amber Spalding

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Amber is currently a third year English student at the University of Suffolk. As an avid bookworm, she enjoys all works of literature but is particularly interested in the gothic genre, speculative fiction and philosophy. Outside of her studies, you will usually find Amber in the library, travelling, or taking sunset pictures. After University, she seeks to continue her studies in American and English Literature, exploring how socio-political factors influence the literary canon.

Connect with her on Instagram.

Linda McMullen

Heartland Connection: From Wisconsin!

Linda McMullen is a wife, mother, diplomat, and homesick Wisconsinite. Her short stories and the occasional poem have appeared in over seventy literary magazines.

Connect with her on Twitter.

Billie Daddario

Heartland Connection: My Grandparents had a farm in Kansas until the dust bowl .

Billie studied writing at both Metro State University and Regis University in Denver Colorado. After spending a few years working in the corporate world now she writes full time and walks her Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Katie.

Check out her website.

Grainne O’Brien

Heartland Connection: Just via the people I love and care about who live there.

Gráinne O’Brien is a Limerick City based writer and bookseller. She is one of the thruple that make up the Silver Apples Magazine team and is about to launch Rontu, a consultancy designed to help new children’s authors find their way in the publishing world. She has just finished an interconnected short story collection called Cordially Invited, inspired by the year she went to thirteen weddings.

Keep up with her on Instagram or Twitter and be sure to check out Silver Apple Magazine.

Read Grainne’s feature The Church

Bethan Rees

Heartland Connection: I fell in love with America when I studied my second year abroad in South Dakota – it’s somewhere I’ve always longed to return and have written about the experience and places I visited so much – especially The Badlands which is the most inspiring places I’ve ever been.

Bethan Rees lives in Swindon, Wiltshire and has appeared in Fly on the Wall, Atrium, Persephone’s Daughters, Domestic Cherry, Amaryllis and Three Drops Press. She currently studies MSc Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, runs Wellbeing Writing groups and can be found sharing wellbeing work on: Follow them on Twitter for more info.

Connect with her on Twitter.

Read Bethan’s feature Weathering Her Storm

Erin Rounds

Heartland Connection: None, although I grew up in Hartland, Vermont!

Erin is a public school teacher, published children’s book author, and mother to two adventurous children. She majored in Latin American Studies at Fordham University and has her MA in ed from Antioch New England.

Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Read Erin’s feature Tadpoles

Shania Kapoor Pride

Heartland Connection: Not directly, but have visited on site visits for work.

Shania Kapoor Pride is a new author and has been a children and families advocate for over 15 years working within government systems and nonprofit organizations. She is an early childhood education professional, passionate about helping young children and families get access to education and resources. She enjoys telling stories to her toddler about patience, acceptance, compassion, and empathy and hopes to spread messages that will inspire and encourage her. A first generation American, she is a strong believer in early childhood education. She received her dual Masters Degree in Education and Counseling from the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education. She grew up in Northern Virginia and currently lives in Philadelphia with her partner, daughter, and Maltese.

Follow her on Twitter.

Read Shania’s feature Koala and Turtle Become Friends

Gabrielle Pelayo

Heartland Connection: I was born and raised in Illinois and have lived there my whole life.

Gabrielle Pelayo was born in Hoffman Estates, IL and recently graduated from Hoffman Estates High School. She has been passionate about writing ever since elementary school and has developed her writing style over the years. She has submitted her poetry and excerpts from her in-progress novels to many literary magazines and contests and has been featured in HEHS’s literary magazine, Directions, for four years. Besides contributing to the magazine, she was a member of the magazine’s editing team. She has presented her poetry at her high school’s poetry slams, earning top three twice and an honorable mention once. She is also the first place winner of the Schaumburg Library’s Flash Fiction Contest in 2019 and won in the teen category of the Windy City Bull’s 2020 writing contest. Pelayo is now a freshman at Columbia College Chicago, where she is planning to double major in creative writing and acting and minor in voiceover.

Connect with her on Instagram.

Read Gabrielle’s feature The Play in Playground

Mollie Williamson

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Mollie Williamson (she/her) attended Saint Mary’s College of California double majoring in Art History and Women’s Studies in 2013. She then received her Master’s in Women’s Studies from the University of Alabama in 2014. Mollie enjoys writing stories based on fairy tales and mythology. Her work has been featured in The Pinkley Press, Toho Journal, Nightingale & Sparrow, White Wall Review, HerStry, Nymphs Publications, and Nitrogen House with more work forthcoming.

Her website is or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Read Mollie’s feature The Slipper

Tina E. Anton

Heartland Connection: I moved to Ohio ten years ago and thoroughly enjoy the mid-west sense of community that I have found here.

Tina Anton has been writing short stories and poetry since 2017. She is a graduate of Wright State University. Her work has been published by Weirdyear, Aphelion, Visual Adjectives, and Electric Pulp. She loves spending her free time painting and playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Furiosa.

Connect with Tina on Twitter.

Read Tina’s feature Yellow Windbreaker

Leah Holbrook Sackett

Heartland Connection: I was born and have remained in St. Louis, Mo.

Leah Holbrook Sackett is a short story writer. Her debut book, Swimming Middle River, was published with REaD Lips Press in 2020. It is available on Amazon and in select bookstores. Additionally, her short story, The Family Blend, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize with Crack the Spine. Leah’s work has won various awards such as: the Gold Award in Art Ascent, Two Sisters Publishing Contest, and she was the  recipient of Institute for Women and Gender Studies: Creative Writing Award.

Over 50 of Leah’s stories have appeared in literary journals. She is an adjunct lecturer in the English department and the Communication & Media department at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. This is where she earned her M.F.A. Leah’s short stories explore journeys toward autonomy and the boundaries placed on the individual by society, family, and self. 

Learn more about her published fiction at

Read Leah’s feature Spit On It

Nina Fosati

Heartland Connection: I spent a year as a costume designer in Sioux City, Iowa.

Nina lives with her husband in Eden, which is aptly known as the “The Garden of Western New York.” Her two flufftastic cats rule the house. The Honorable Cattington von Fluffypants is a majestic Maine Coon, and Squeaks is an affectionate tuxedo who routinely reminds Nina to take breaks by stretching across her keyboard. Nina loves portraiture and historic clothing. Beguiled, she regularly posts her favorites on Twitter @NinaFosati.

Recent work has appeared in JMWW Journal, Nightingale + Sparrow, Oye Drum Magazine, Ellipsis Zine, and Disabled Voices Anthology.

Her website is

Read Nina’s feature Can’t Walk Away

Melody Heald

Heartland Connection: The Heartland Society.

Melody has been writing all of her life. Reading and writing are her passions and she aspires to have a career that involves writing. Her featured poem personifies the freedom she has sought during her life-long battle with depression.

Read Melody’s feature Into the Universe

Phyllis Greenberg Houseman

Heartland Connection: I lived and worked in Detroit for over 35 years.

Phyllis Houseman was born in Detroit and received a B.S. from the University of Michigan and her Master of Science Education from Wayne State University. She served in the Peace Corps, Ecuador, and then taught Biology and Physical Science in Detroit and California schools. Phyllis has published award winning novels and short stories.

Visit her Amazon Author Page

Read Phyllis’ feature A Lesson in Cultural Priorities

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