Getting to know the authors

By From page B2 | October 11, 2013

Saturday, Oct. 12

Helen Bonner

Helen Bonner grew up in the foothills above Placerville, where her father had a roadside store and cabins, and where she rode her horse and swam in the rivers and lakes. She remembers writing her first story at a one-room school. As a young adult, she was a reporter for the Placerville newspaper, the Mountain Democrat.

After raising a family, she went on to earn a PhD in communications and writing from Ohio University, where her screenplay, “Night Dreams,” won Best Screenplay of 1982. She taught writing, world literature and women’s studies at several colleges and at Minnesota State University, where she also edited “Dust & Fire,” the annual anthology. She is listed in Who’s Who in the American West.

After returning to her California foothills, she wrote plays for the Mountain Ranch Community Theater, and has been a resident of Jackson for the past several years. When not writing or publishing, she is active in American Association of University Women and is on the faculty of the annual Gold Rush Writers Retreat in Mokelumne Hill.

Her short stories have been published in “True Confessions,” “Loonfeather,” “Dust & Fire,” “Thema,” “Wellspring” and “Writers Forum.” Her memoir, “The Laid Daughter,” published in 1995, is being used today in college courses on cultural trauma. Her stage play, “Mary’s House,” was produced by Bemidji State University and Sierra College. Her story “Roadside Trinity” won first place in University of Texas writers’ awards. In 2012 her novel “Dolphin Papers” was a finalist for the coveted Eric Hoffer award for salient fiction, and in 2013, her novel “Cry Dance” won the Sharp Writ award for Smart Book Lovers. Her latest, “MsDemeanors” a novel of the ’70s, came out in May 2013.


Lisa Butler

Lisa Butler graduated with honors with a bachelor of arts degree in history from California State University, Sacramento. She became a writer strictly by accident after taking a writing for publication course at a local college. Since 1994, she has written historical articles for local newspapers and periodicals in Northern California.

She has published two books with the El Dorado County Historical Society and the El Dorado Museum Foundation, “A Glittering Pot of Gold” and “El Dorado County: a pictorial history.”


Yvonne Kohano

After careers as a management consultant and academic university professor, Yvonne Kohano returned to her first great ambition, storytelling in the fictional realm. Her current work is in the romance and romantic suspense genres, with an upcoming suspense series in progress as well.

Weighing the benefits and risks in today’s publishing market, Kohano has chosen to follow the indie press route – for now. Who knows what next year’s publishing industry trends will bring. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Sacramento Valley Rose RWA chapter.

Yvonne and her husband John live on a ranch where they used to raise llamas. Now livestock-free, they spend their time taking cruises, gardening, creating yummy dinners and keeping their dog kids happy.

She also reads a lot. Her Kindle Fire is never far from her side, often stacked on top of a big pile of must-read paper books and magazines that serve as ongoing inspiration.


Marlies Schmudlach Perez

Marlies Schmudlach Perez resides in Garden Valley. She writes fiction, non-fiction, novels, poetry and short stories.

Schmudlach Perez is currently working on a four-part contemporary romance with a paranormal element series. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, running, skiing, backpacking and helping others in need. Her publisher is Stephen Brailo with Silverlake eBooks.


Cindy Sample

Cindy Sample is a former mortgage banking CEO who decided that plotting murder was more entertaining than plodding through paperwork. She retired to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a mystery author. Her humorous romantic mystery series set in El Dorado County features single soccer mom Laurel McKay.

Her first book, “Dying for a Date” was released in 2010. The sequel, “Dying for a Dance” was a finalist for the 2012 Lefty award for best humorous mystery and recipient of the 2012 NCPA award for Best Fiction. Sample has served on the boards of the Sacramento Opera and YWCA, and as president of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Her latest book is “Dying for a Daiquiri.” Visit Sample’s Website at


Saturday, Oct. 19 authors

Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in Placerville.

Her debut novel, “A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California,” set in the heart of the Gold Country is currently available at all major booksellers.

When Gwyn’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums and the Coach Factory Outlet Store.


Susan Salluce

Susan Salluce, MA, CT, holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a certified thanatologist— a death, dying and bereavement specialist. With a passion for writing, impacting the bereaved and having experienced her own sense of compassion fatigue, she wrote “Out of Breath.”

Salluce continues to contribute to the field of bereavement through her writing, consultant work and her work with Friends for Survival, a non-profit dedicated to those affected by a suicide death. She is currently at work on her blog and two manuscripts — a women’s fiction/chic-lit book out sometime in 2014; and a heavier, fictional memoir of life with her loving, often violent, and later in life, Alzheimer’s-diagnosed father.

When Salluce is not working on her novels, you can find her either in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada or on the beaches of Aptos. What she truly calls home is anywhere she is with her amazing, loyal and fun children, Kellen and Marina, and with her best friend and husband, John.


Karen Sandler

Genre-conflicted: A state in which an author flits from one type of fiction to another in complete disregard of her agent’s or editor’s advice. Never ask the genre-conflicted if they want pie or cake — they’ll ask for both.

Karen Sandler is genre-conflicted.

Her starry-eyed dream of someday becoming a writer burst into flower when as a 9-year-old she wrote a four-line poem about a pony named Tony. In her teens and 20s, she wrote countless science fiction short stories. Her published books in the late ’90s and early 2000s were romances. In 2011, she returned to her first love, science fiction, with the publication of a young adult book, “Tankborn,” the first in a trilogy published by Lee and Low/Tu Books. “Awakening,” is the second book, followed by “Rebellion” to be released in spring 2014.

In addition to writing novels, she loves riding her Andalusian/Morgan mare, Belle, and folk dancing. She lives in Northern California with her husband and dance partner, Gary, and two cats — pleasingly plump Tenka and formerly feral Zak.


Betty Sederquist

With a California state park ranger for a father, Betty Sederquist’s love of the outdoors and of wildlife was pre-ordained. As a child she lived in redwood, beach and desert parks before settling at the age of 11 in Coloma, the Gold Rush discovery site. Early on, she gravitated to fine art, taking classes in composition and watercolor in both high school and college.

Following graduation from the University of California, Davis, she traveled the world for several years before settling in Alaska. Soon she gravitated to book publishing, helping to write and illustrate several Alaska books and also working as a staff writer and photographer for “Alaska” magazine. Today her stock photo collection includes about 150,000 edited images.

In the early 1980s she lived in Sacramento, where she became managing editor and staff photographer for “Sacramento” magazine and then editor-in-chief. In 1985 she moved with her young family to 30 acres in Lotus.

When not gazing out her window at a vista of mountains and meadow, she works on various publications and for the last 15 years has incorporated computer design skills into her arsenal of talents.

Since 2004 she has produced the annual visitors’ guide for the Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce. One of her books, “A Handbook for Global Careers” (2003), underwritten by the Center for International Trade Development/Los Rios Community College District and distributed to college career centers throughout Northern California, draws upon her international travels. She recently completed a book of vintage photos of Coloma, “Images of America: Coloma,” published by Arcadia Publishing, in August, 2012.

From 1989 (excluding a several-year break) to 2011 she taught journalism, photography and most recently digital imaging at Folsom Lake College, Folsom and El Dorado Center. Since 2003 she has led photography workshops to the eastern Sierra Nevada (including the ghost town of Bodie), Yosemite, Monterey, Filoli, Point Reyes and beyond.

Although she continues expanding her stock collection on the California Gold Country (see her online magazine,, she returns to Alaska regularly. In December 2003 and again in December and January 2009 and 2010 she co-led photography tours to Ecuador, spending time in the high Andes cloud forest, the Cuyabeno Reserve deep in the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands. Last summer led a photography tour to Tanzania and will be returning in early 2014.

More information about Betty Sederquist is on her Website at


Betty Shannon

An avid birdwatcher most of her adult life, Betty Shannon has acquired an intimate knowledge of the local birds, enhanced by hands-on experience raising and caring for injured an orphaned baby birds during the years she served as a songbird rehabilitator with Sierra Wildlife Rescue.

She currently counts her flock for Project FeederWatch, a continent-wide citizen science program sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Shannon’s published credits include more than 60 articles in regional and national magazines.” The Birds of Towhee Lane” is her first book.

El Dorado

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