Books in Bloom 2015

Melissa Clare

melissa-clareMelissa Clare, author and illustrator of With Love from the Dolphins & Whales, was born and raised in England. After graduating from the University of Wales, she emigrated to America to follow her spiritual path and lived in a Sufi community in upstate New York for 17 years.

For seven years she directed the Sufi Healing Order in North America, and later trained as a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer - an ancient form of healing that involves entering into cooperative relationships with plants. Along the way she coordinated hospice volunteers, led meditation retreats and workshops, created children's spiritual pageants and designed programs for two retreat centers.

Melissa has always found great inspiration and nourishment in the natural world, and considers that we are all connected in the sacredness of Life. Currently she maintains a Plant Spirit Medicine Healing practice in Eureka Springs Arkansas, where she lives with her partner John, dog Honey, and four cats.

In With Love from the Dolphins & Whales 34 cetaceans and other ocean beings present their messages of inspiration and guidance for humanity.

Catherine Coulter

Catherine-CoulterCatherine Coulter wrote her first novel to pass time aboard the ark. A modest offering, it nonetheless earned enough to feed the cats. Soon, her first long historical appeared, Devil's Embrace, followed by nine trilogies/quartets and series, which translates into oodles of books.

In 1988, she appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List with her first contemporary romantic suspense hardcover, False Pretenses, and has continued to hit The List 65 times now. She's written 69 books and has over 70 million books in print worldwide. She alternates writing her FBI suspense thrillers with historical romances, to keep her brain unconstipated.

She's got some thrilling news: She's partnering with J.T. Ellison ( to write A Brit in the FBI series. The first thriller in this new series, The Final Cut, will be out mid-summer, 2013, right after the release of her 17th FBI, Bombshell. Yes, Savich and Sherlock are front and center.

Catherine loves to travel, sacrifices her body on the ski slopes and reads voraciously while recuperating. She and her husband and three cats, Cleo, Eli and Peyton, live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. She invites all of you to come visit her on her website and join in on all the fun on her Facebook page.

Jerusalem Greer

jerusalem-greerJerusalem Jackson Greer is a crafter, writer, former pastor, blogger, nest-fluffer, speaker, farm-gal wannabe and author of A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together. She is a regular contributor to the At Home in Arkansas Blog, and both her home and her work has been featured in a variety of local and national publications. Jerusalem lives with her husband and two sons in a 1940s cottage in Central Arkansas with an ever-changing rotation of pets, including a hen house full of heritage chickens and an English Sheep Dog mutt. As a family, they are attempting to live a slower version of modern life. She blogs about all of this and more at

James Grippando

James-GrippandoJames Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author of suspense. Blood Money (HarperCollins, January 2013) is his twentieth novel, the tenth in his acclaimed series featuring Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck. James was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he now serves as Counsel to one of the nation's leading law firms. He lives in south Florida with his wife, three children, two cats and a golden retriever named Max who has no idea he's a dog.

Dianna Henry

dianna-henryIn the early 1980s, lifeā€long organic gardener, Dianna Henry began to actually hear plants and seeds. Their messages were often profound and very instructive. These experiences launched her awareness into the amazing world of Spiritual Gardening. Gardening WORK became more like PLAY and abundance prevailed. Dianna became and remains to this day an avid seed saver and a Sacred Corn Carrier.

A culmination of 30 years of research, study and personal experiences, Whispering Ancestors: The Wisdom of Corn reveals the great depth of spiritual understanding uncovered by Henry, and now available to all who choose to listen and learn from corn. The 295-page book includes documentation and photographic portraits of more than 30 varieties of heirloom corn. A new edition for Spanish-speaking readers is to be released in June 2013.

Craig Johnson

Craig-JohnsonCraig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery series. A Serpent's Tooth, which goes on sale from Viking on June 4, is Johnson's ninth novel in the series. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix 813. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

Johnson's Walt Longmire mystery series has been adapted for television in a joint venture between A&E and Warner Horizon and will return for a second season this summer. Longmire, the name of the series, is directed by Chris Chulack (Southland, ER) and stars Robert Taylor (Matrix, Vertical Limit) as Sheriff Walt Longmire, Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba, Young Guns) as Henry Standing Bear and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, 24) as Vic Moretti.

Roy Lessin

Roy-LessinRoy Lessin is co-founder of DaySpring, now a subsidiary of Hallmark Inc. and the largest Christian greeting card company in the world, where he served as a senior writer for 37 years. Author of many devotional and gift books enjoyed by millions, he provides content for the Meet Me in the Meadow blog, with an audience reach of over one million. Roy is a graduate of Bethany Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN. Following his studies, he and his wife Charlene served as missionaries in Mexico and Puerto Rico. They have two children, Joe and Lydia, and four grandchildren.

Jan Morrill

Jan-MorrillJan Morrill was born and (mostly) raised in California. Her mother, a Buddhist Japanese American, was an internee during World War II. Her father, a Southern Baptist redhead of Irish descent, retired from the Air Force. Her novel, The Red Kimono (University of Arkansas Press, February 2013) and many of her short stories reflect memories of growing up in a multicultural, multi-religious, multi-political environment.

Anthony Priest

Anthony-preistAnthony Priest was raised on an Ozarks farm near Ebenezer, Missouri. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing from Missouri State University in Springfield and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis. He has published poetry in a number of academic journals, including Christianity and Literature, Slant, Phoebe, Cave Region Review, and Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies. Currently, he is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at Missouri State University in West Plains. He served as editor of a contemporary version of the classic Ozark, Ozark: A Hillside Reader called Yonder Mountain: an Ozarks Anthology published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2013.

Iris Simantel

Iris-SimantelIris Jones Simantel was born a 'true Cockney' in1938 in Poplar, East London. During World War II (1939-45), the Jones family moved to Dagenham, Essex. In 1939, Iris' older brother was evacuated out of London in "Operation Pied Piper", Britain's plan to protect and preserve its future generations. Iris remained in London during some of the worst years of bombing, but eventually, she too was sent away for the duration of the war. When the war ended, the Joneses were reunited but were soon on the move again, this time to a new housing estate in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire. From there, Iris, at the tender age of sixteen years, met and married an American soldier and set sail for a new life in the USA.

While in America, Iris furthered her education, had several different careers, owned and operated a business in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, travelled widely, met many famous people, including President Bill Clinton, and had many extraordinary experiences. Her pride and joy are her two children and three granddaughters who all live in the USA.

After living in America for 50 eventful years, Iris has returned to her beloved England, where she now lives and writes in Sidmouth, Devon.

R. Clifton Spargo

Clifton-SpargoR. Clifton Spargo, author of the novel Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, is a Chicago-based novelist and cultural critic and an Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

He writes a blog called "The HI/LO," on the interplay between high and low culture, for The Huffington Post ( His latest article for The Huffingston Post can be found here

A past winner of Glimmer Train's Award for New Writers as well as their Fiction Open Contest, he has published stories in Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Glimmer Train, FICTION, and elsewhere, and his stories have been interpreted and performed by Chicago Public Radio's Stories on Stage (2011) and the Watershed Theater in Des Moines (2012).

He has taught creative writing at Yale University, Marquette University, and the University of Iowa, and he created and now regularly teaches the testimonial writing workshop "The Stories We Tell" for The Voices and Faces Project ( His essays on literature, pop culture, and rock music have appeared in Raritan, Commonweal, The Yale Review, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, and the independent weekly Newcity.

For more on his work, visit

Trenton Lee Stewart

Trenton-Lee-StewartTrenton Lee Stewart is author of the award-winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society children's novels, as well as Flood Summer, a novel set in central Arkansas. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as The Georgia Review, New England Review, Shenandoah, and others. He lives in Little Rock with his wife and two sons.

Steve Wiegenstein

Steve-WiegensteinSteve Wiegenstein is an academic scholar of utopian movements, a published fiction writer, and a fifth-generation native of the Ozarks. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he published Ozark Review, a literary journal, while working as a newspaper reporter. His short fiction has been published in Southern Humanities Review, Kansas Quarterly, Nebraska Review, Oxford Magazine, and others. He is also a dedicated promoter of writing in Missouri, currently serving as president of the Missouri Writers' Guild. His novel Slant of Light was published in April 2012 by Blank Slate Press of St. Louis and was the runner-up for the 2012 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. He currently serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri.

Anna Loan-Wilsey

Loan WilseyAnna has worn lots of different career hats including biologist and librarian and now author. A Lack of Temperance is her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series. She earned a B.A. at Wells College in Aurora, NY and had several poems published in their literary magazine, The Chronicle. She earned her M.L.I.S. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She has worked in academia much of her life including Syracuse University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University-Commerce and most recently, Iowa State University. She has an inquisitive three-year-old, an old yellow dog and the most supportive, funny and patient husband in the world. She lives in a Victorian farmhouse in the Iowa countryside but manages to getaway to Eureka Springs at least once a year. See this recent article in The Lovely County Citizen for a bit of background on why she set her first novel in Eureka Springs,