General Nonfiction

Washington, Durthy A.

Pseudonym: 
JoRayma C
Birth City: 
Nuernberg, Germany
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Writer - Journalist - English professor - Seminar leader
Biography: 

A writer, seminar leader, and former English professor, Durthy A. Washington has taught graduate, undergraduate, and adult education courses at several colleges and universities including The Colorado College, UCCS, and the US Air Force Academy.

Durthy is the founder of LitUnlocked, which offers workshops and seminars dedicated to the art of mindful, culturally responsive reading. Each workshop centers on the LIST Paradigm, an innovative approach to critical reading that helps readers unlock the power of literature with four keys to culture: Language, Identity, Space, and Time.

Awards/Honors: 
English Language Specialist, St. Petersburg University, Russia (Feb.-Apr. 2015)
Cadet Escort, Olmsted Cultural Immersion Trip, Ghana, West Africa (2010)
Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program, Senegal, West Africa (2009)
NYU Faculty Research Network Seminars (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008)
Hurston-Wright Fouundation Writer's Workshop, Howard University, Washington, D.C. (July 2004)
U.S. Air Force Academy Outstanding Academy Educator Award (May 2001)
Keynote Speaker, U.S. Air Force Academy African American Heritage Luncheon (Feb. 2001)
U.S. Air Force Academy Literary Research Award (May 2000)
Pikes Peak Library District Board of Trustees (1997-1999)
Education/Training: 
MA English, San Jose State University - MS Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles - BA English, San Diego State University
Organizations: 
The Toni Morrison Society - PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning - Pikes Peak Library District Adult Reading Program (Facilitator) - Friends of the Pikes Peak Library - Educating Children of Color Conference - African American Youth Leadership Conference
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Culturally Responsive Reading - Culturally Responsive Teaching - African American Literature - Approaches to Teaching Literature - Writing Memoir and Autobiography

McGuirt, Stephanie

McGuirt, Stephanie
Current Location: 
Fountain, CO
Occupation(s): 
Writer
Biography: 

Stéphanie McGuirt is a homeschool mom and business owner living in beautiful Colorado with her husband, Bryan, and their 2 children. When she's not adventuring with her kids or working with clients in her business, she's working on a bountiful garden and little homestead, and, of course, playing. For resources and to learn more, visit her website, www.stephaniemcguirt.com.

Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
The value of play for all ages and simple, affordable ways to play without needing a big budget or fully-stocked craft cabinet.

Rodwell, Eric

Rodwell, Eric
Birth City: 
Richmond
Birth State: 
VA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Retired Military
Biography: 

Having reaped the benefits of pedagogical academia, Eric J. Rodwell is an alumnus of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). He has lived in the Pikes Peak Region since 1996. He is a retired military veteran with over twenty-one years of honorable and distinguished service. Ten of those years, being a paratrooper in the elite 82nd Airborne Division; and, he was ordained as a minister of the Gospel in 1983.

He has been married to his beautiful wife, Tina, for over thirty-nine years and the proud father of two sons, one daughter, one son-in-law, six grandkids, and one on the way in January 2021.

Awards/Honors: 
Writing accolades from WSTS Radio Station in Fayetteville, NC - Sweetheart Contest Winner
Military: Meritorious Service Medal - Army Commendation Medal - Army Achievement Medal - Expert Infantryman Badge - Senior Parachutist Badge with Combat Distinction - Bronze Service Star - Air Assault Badge - Expert Marksman Badge
Recipient of the Commanding General's Gold Recruiter's Badge
Education/Training: 
Civilian: Alumnus of UCCS Letters and Arts; Executive Director of the METH Taskforce for El Paso and Teller Counties; Ordained Minister of the Gospel since 1983. Military: Logistics Automation Specialist, Airborne Jump Master School Graduate, Environmental Compliance Officer Certification Training.
Organizations: 
I am a member of the 82nd Airborne All American Guard of Honor Group, and The Paratrooper H-MINUS Group.
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
My book, which happens to be my memoir - My Christian faith, inspired poetry, short narratives with heartfelt and patriotic sentiments, to include hilarious anecdotes.

Laslie, Brian

Laslie, Brian
Birth City: 
Kennesaw
Birth State: 
GA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Local Historian
Biography: 

Dr. Brian D. Laslie is Deputy Command Historian, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs. A historian of air power and space studies, Dr. Laslie received his Bachelor’s degree in history from The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina in 2001, his Master’s from Auburn University Montgomery in 2006 and his Doctorate in history from Kansas State University in 2013.

Organizations: 
Rocky Mountain Military Affairs Society
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Local military history including Ent Air Force Base, history of NORAD, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station

McKamie, Rebekah

McKamie, Rebekah
Birth City: 
Colorado Springs
Birth State: 
CO
Current Location: 
Calhan, CO
Occupation(s): 
Christian Author
Biography: 

Rebekah Tyne McKamie is a Christian Author residing in Calhan, Colorado. She has lived in Colorado her entire life, only leaving the Colorado Springs area for three years to attend Adams State College (University) in Alamosa. Rebekah has been gathering up truth and adapting it into books for over a decade.

In February 2020, she launched Settings Christian Publishing, LLC, with the hope of making books more beautiful and inserting more Biblical truth into Christian literature. She believes:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Mrs. McKamie is a Youth Pastor’s wife and homeschool mother of three. She sings on the worship team and ministers to the youth of her community through her church, Rocky Mountain Calvary – Ellicott Campus. Above all, she is thankful to serve a loving, gracious God.

Education/Training: 
Bachelor of Arts in Music, Adams State University (2007)
Speaker Availability: 
No

MavaJoyce

MavaJoyce
Pseudonym: 
MavaJoyce
Birth City: 
Clay Center
Birth State: 
KS
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Retired - Volunteer with Finding Our Voices
Biography: 

Joyce Aubrey has been in Colorado Springs since 1995; an avid reader she has actively engaged PPLD. As a survivor of incest and family sharing, she advocated in the community using healing paintings to speak to various groups including military, faith, mental health, domestic violence/sexual assault and service clubs about the aftershocks of sexual abuse.

In October 2019 she published a memoir of hope and inspiration, Beyond Aftershocks, under the author name MavaJoyce. As founder of the non-profit Finding Our Voices, she continues to serve survivors of sexual violence through creative art events and supportive activities.

Awards/Honors: 
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) - Excellence in Advocacy Award
Leadership Pikes Peak - Leading the Way in Community Service
Institute for Conflict Resolution & Creative Leadership - Servant Leader Award
First Congregation Micah 6 Award - Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly
Education/Training: 
Kansas State University - Bachelor's and Master's degrees
Organizations: 
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault - American Association of University Women - Finding Our Voices
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Beyond Aftershocks: Resilience after Trauma - Navigating Post Traumatic Growth - Self-Compassion as a Doorway to Service

Koch, Cara

Koch, Cara
Birth City: 
Hot Springs
Birth State: 
CO
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author - Child Development Specialist
Biography: 

Cara is the author of the upcoming book, From Heartbreak to Healing: Resolving Parental Alienation. After 43 years as an alienated parent with a professional background in child development and family relationships where she managed child development programs serving working parents and their children, plus a doctorate in children’s [innate] spirituality, she finds answers to her questions: “Why me? How did this happen? and What is the purpose?” Through a process of deep introspection, she overcame decades of depression, despite remaining unreconciled with her son. She has now discovered resources, formerly unavailable, that could have led to a different outcome.

Cara has lived in Colorado Springs with her husband, Harry, for the past 41 years. She developed her writing through participation in the American Association of University Women (AAUW) writing group, Women Who Write.

Awards/Honors: 
Participation Certificate for her presentation at the Third International Conference of the Parental Alienation Study Group, presented to her in Philadelphia in 2019.
Education/Training: 
Doctorate in Children's [Innate] Spirituality from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH - Master of Science degree in Childcare Administration from Wheelock College, Boston, MA - Bachelor or Science degree in Child Development and Family Relations from South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
Organizations: 
American Association of University Women - World Affairs Council - Capital Sisters International (Founding sister)
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Why Children Become the Weapon on Choice in a Divorce - What Happens When One Parent Turns Toxic - The World-Wide Effort to Prevent and Resolve Parental Alienation
Local Authors Genres: 

Jelks-Fragier, Ashley

Jelks-Fragier, Ashley
Birth City: 
Springfield
Birth State: 
IL
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Biography: 

Ashley is the Managing Member/CEO of Koalatative Guided Solutions, LLC. She lives in Colorado where she enjoys spending a large amount of her budget on lotions and oils to battle with the dry climate. With over 10 years of experience educating, mentoring, and providing information to adults concerning the path to self-wellness, Ashley Jelks-Fragier has earned a reputation as a “compassionate leader and guide."

Education/Training: 
Doctor of Philosophy degree in International Psychology with a Trauma Services concentration (in process) - Master of Arts degree in Psychology - Bachelor of Arts degree (dual) in International Relations and Sociology with a Criminal Justice emphasis
Speaker Availability: 
No

Jackson, Jene'

Jene' Jackson
Birth City: 
Oklahoma City
Birth State: 
OK
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Motivational Speaker - Author
Biography: 

Jené Jackson is the author of The Oat Project: How I Faced My Fear and Came of Age in One Wild Summer, a memoir about how she finally sowed her wild oats, doing 25 things her preacher’s daughter upbringing never allowed, like getting drunk, dancing, skinny dipping, smoking weed, and more…at the ripe age of 37 while a wife and mother of three. She was raised all over the U.S. as a preacher’s daughter before finally rebelling.

When she’s not working on her first novel and the sequels to her memoir, she’s photographing, belly laughing with friends, making art, singing jazz, or squeezing words from her teenage children while driving them home from school. She lives in Colorado Springs and even does yoga and hikes every now and then like a good Coloradan.

You can connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeneJ, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/spiralspiral, and at www.jenejackson.com.

Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Writers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Integrating the Wild into everyday life - The writing process - Writing memoir - How to finally, really love yourself
Local Authors Genres: 

Weilert, Benjamin

Birth City: 
Fort Collins
Birth State: 
CO
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Missile Defense - Civil Service
Biography: 

14er Climber, Rocket Scientist, Published Novelist, Movie Connoisseur, and Amateur Photographer, Benjamin M. Weilert was born in Colorado in 1985.

While he went to school for Mechanical Engineering (eventually earning a Master’s Degree), he has found science to be interesting enough to write fiction about it. He likes to classify his novels as “science fantasy,” wherein the science is real and (semi) accurate, but portrayed in a fantasy setting to make it accessible to non scientific readers. If you want stories that are surreptitiously educational, he’s your man.

He currently lives in Colorado Springs and his most recent book is Fourteener Father, a memoir of climbing all of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains with his dad.

Education/Training: 
"Creative Fiction Writing" course at the Colorado School of Mines
Organizations: 
The Midnight Writers - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), municipal liaison for the Colorado Springs region
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Self-publishing (writing, editing, formatting, cover design, etc.) - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - Submitting to short story anthologies

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