Featured Author: JOHN M DONOVAN

john donovan

This month’s featured author is a native Hoosier who now lives in Ankeny, Iowa…
John M Donovan was born and raised in Hillsboro, Indiana
and is a 1982 graduate of Wabash College.

When did you start writing?
I think I was about four when I wrote a Western that came in at about 20 words. It was a little short on character development. I started writing little mystery stories in third grade, finally tried my hand at legitimate short stories in high school, and wrote my first novel at 23.

Why do you write?
The simple answer is “Because I can.” To scratch the surface of a more complex answer, it’s because I can feel these stories rolling around inside my head—and because I think people will find them entertaining and thought-provoking.

What books have you published?
Three novels so far. The Fraternity and Trombone Answers are a look back at growing up in the Midwest, and The Rocheville Devil is a psychological drama about a man’s unique attempt to escape the brutality of the world and reclaim the innocence of childhood.

Where is your favorite place to write?
I’ve written a whole lot of words in the cafes at Borders and Barnes & Noble, but these days I prefer my home office or out on the patio.

What is the last book that you couldn’t put down until it was finished?
I’m in the process of reading Sapiens by Yural Noah Harari. A definite eye-opener.

If you could spend the day with any writer past or present who would it be and why?
John Steinbeck. I love his style, his work ethic, and his love of humanity. I read Jackson Benson’s bio of Steinbeck and, even though I knew he’d passed away many years before, actually cried at the end of the book.

What is your next book project?
I’m editing two novella-length sequels to Trombone Answers and soon to begin editing my satirical novel about professional sports whose working title is Fluffball: How Five Really Tall Guys and an Immortal Chinese Philosopher Entered an Parallel Universe and Saved a Professional Sports League, More or Less After that I plan to put out a collection of short stories and get to work on two more of the novels rolling around in my head.

What else would you like to share with fellow Hoosier Authors and fans?
Keep writing, keep reading, and try to make a difference in someone’s life.

Where can we connect with you?
Facebook: Hillsboro Publishing
Twitter: @jmdonowriter

If YOU are a Hoosier Author and would like to would like to be featured, please email your answers to the questions above in bold to hoosierauthors@aol.com and you may be next!

Shades of Katherine

writerKathy Chaffin Gerstorff

For those who may be curious about the person behind the blog, I am pointing the pen towards myself for the latest Hoosier Author feature. If YOU are a Hoosier Author who would like to would like to be featured, please email your answers to the questions below to hoosierauthors@aol.com and you may be next!

When did you start writing?
In my freshman year of high school. Three things happened that I believe started my love affair with writing:

  1. My English teacher praised my essay in front of the whole class. It was the first time I remember being publicly praised and even though it was embarrassing to be the center of attention, his words of encouragement lit me up inside.
  2. I started writing articles for the school newspaper. It was where I learned to create a story from a topic, word, or headline, go outside my comfort zone to do an interview, meet deadlines, and edit to stay within the word count.
  3. My best friend and I began our daily routine of passing poetry and notes to each other about everything from the cute guys we saw in the hallway to our dreams after graduation.

Why do you write?
To stay sane! I cannot imagine a world without writing to share stories, express thoughts, dream, and try to make sense of this roller coaster life.

What books have you published?
Anthologies including the “Break The Cycle” series, a Memoir: “Looking for Lucky”, a few marketing and personal development books, and my first children’s book, “Peanut Visits Mounds State Park” that launches this Saturday, 10/27/18 at Mounds State Park!

Where is your favorite place to write? 
I love it when my muse visits and I have to immediately stop wherever I’m at to capture the thoughts before they vaporize, but since that rarely happens, I am content to write at my home office, the library, or any “quiet” environment.

What is the last book that you couldn’t put down until it was finished?
Dear Woman which inspired an upcoming anthology project!

If you could spend the day with any writer past or present who would it be and why?
Joyce Meyer. I want to write books that empower women to grow stronger in mind, body and spirit. Joyce Meyer is a prolific writer who is anointed to heal souls. It would be an honor to be mentored by her directly!

What is your next book project?
Venetian Nights, which is Book #1 of the “Adena Trilogy” and a story that I have been trying to get out of my head for nearly 20 years! It is my project for NANO this year, again, for the third time. I hope the third time is a charm! It is my first attempt at the fiction genre, which is very intimidating to me, but I refuse to give up. I must set those characters free! #faceyourfear

I am also working on three other books that I plan to publish in 2019:
1) Morning Mindset Mastery which is a personal development book & journal that I created to help myself (and others) overcome procrastination and shiny object syndrome!

3) My Dear Girl (inspired by Dear Woman) which is an anthology that will benefit charities such as Project Girl that helps free, educate, and empower exploited women and girls.

4) Shades of Katherine which will be my first poetry collection. Up to this point, I have published my poetry mostly in anthologies.

What else would you like to share with fellow Hoosier Authors and fans?
I wasted a lot of years, that I could have been writing and publishing, with negative self-talk and a fear-based mindset fueled by comparison thinking, resistance, and impostor syndrome… I remember thinking that I wasn’t a “real” writer and that self-publishing is self-indulgent and vain, aka “vanity” publishing…

That all changed when I read and embraced, “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron. Julia encourages creatives to own their artistic talent and simplified writing for me by saying, “If you write, you’re a writer.” I didn’t need a MFA or a string of publication accolades to write. I only needed to write my truth and the stories that beckon to me. I felt the fear, faced the fear, and wrote through the fear, which I continue to do to this day!

If you struggle with any of the “writer plagues” or even just want a shot of encouragement to continue your craft, I highly recommend you read The Artist Way and write on!

Where can we connect with you?


indy author fair

Join Hoosier Authors Meetup at Indy Author Fair

Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 10:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Indianapolis Public Library

It’s here! My favorite author event of the year! How I LOVE thee Indy Author Fair, let me count the ways… First, it’s FREE for everyone to attend. Don’t fall for that psychological fallacy that something for free doesn’t have as much value as something you pay for. This event is overflowing with value!

I have attended many writing conferences that cost of hundreds of dollars and I can tell you for sure this event trumps them all. Why? Because it attracts people that loves to read and write!

The Indianapolis Public Library is the perfect venue and provides a hungry market of voracious readers. Speaking of hungry, there are no starving artists at this event, because they feed the authors AND give us swag!

The entire event is filled with professional authors, publishers, editors, and other experts conducting workshops, networking, and doing whatever they can to help aspiring writers succeed.

On top of all that, they give our Hoosier Authors Meetup Group a table to share which is really nice for authors who can’t stay for the whole event or don’t want to sit alone. We have the best time talking shop and getting to know each other. It is truly my favorite event of the year and I’m sure once you check it out, it will be among your favorites too!

I hope if you can make it to the Indy Author Fair, you stop by and say hi. Until then…

Write on!

Kathy G

P.S. I will have limited copies of my children’s book that launches October 27th at Mounds State Park!

Here are a few more Hoosier Authors who will be there:

Denise Richman Alexander-Pyle, last month’s featured author who wrote “The Power of 1(0) A Guide to Living the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule in Modern Times.” denisealexanderpyle.com

Rosanna Hardin Hall. She will be happy to sign copies of her beautiful book, “Poesia: A Memoir of Painting in Venetian Gardens with Giorgione.” Nearly 150 illustrations, many of which are her watercolors and oils from Venice, as well as other Italian locales, Hawaii (where she obtained her MFA), New Mexico, and her family home in historic Woodruff Place in Indianapolis. rosannahall.net

The Power of Denise Alexander Pyle

Denise (6)

Denise Alexander Pyle is a local attorney turned author with the publication of her first book The Power of 1(0). I met Denise when she was a vendor at the Books & Bikes Arts Festival in Marion, where she practices family law in an effort to make a personal connection with people and help solve problems. I knew within a few seconds of meeting Denise that I had connected with a kindred spirit and light worker. Reading her book confirmed that she has indeed embraced the power of one! It is an honor to feature Denise as this month’s Hoosier Author.

Denise (2)

When did you start writing?

I have been writing all my life.  I had poems published when I was in elementary school and even won a limerick contest in 4th grade.  I didn’t know it would be prophetic as to my career path since the limerick was as follows:

There once was a boy named Larry

Who was engaged to a girl named Sherry

They both took a course

On how to divorce

In the wind up they never did marry.

My career report as a 9th grader was to be a journalist and writer.  My sister’s divorce when I was in high school and law intervened.  As a lawyer, I write almost every day.  As a family law attorney writing on behalf of my clients,  while I try to present facts, given I rely on information provided to me, I am not always sure if it is only non-fiction.

Why do you write? 

God and the Universe inspires me with prose and poetry in my head and messages to share.   

What books have you published?

The Power of 1(0), A Guide to Living the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule in Modern Times.


Where is your favorite place to write?

My office where it is quiet.

What is the last book that you couldn’t put down until it was finished?

The Bearth Trilogy by Brooks Agnew.

If you could spend the day with any writer past or present  who would it be and why? 

Shakespeare.  He had to be a very interesting character given his observation and I would want to know if he really did write all of his plays, or whether Charles Marlowe and others were “ghost” writers.

What is your next book project?

I am working on two of them: 

  1. The divorce attorney in me wants to write, “The Ten Commandments of Divorce, how to end your marriage without sacrificing your soul.”  I think there is also a correlation that can be made to each commandment and the process of divorce and separation of lives. The politician in me wants to write, “The 10 Commandments of Governance, why the principles of the Ten Commandments apply.”
  2. I also plan to finish a book I started a few years back, “The Journey of the Violet Flame Crystal,” a biographical spiritual adventure story. It is about 1/3 written. I hope others will find it entertaining and inspire them on their own journey and to be open to the “magic” that happens when you have no expectations based on dimensional boundaries.

What else would you like to share with fellow Hoosier Authors and fans? 

I am one of many light workers here at this time to be a voice of hope and joy for us all!

Where can we connect with you?  



Denise (3)


Bards Against Hunger Poetry Project


Only a few days left to get in on the Bards Against Hunger: Indiana Edition poetry project! Bards Against Hunger started with some poets in New York who wanted to help stock their local food pantry. The project spread across the United States and is now in our neighborhood.

This project is headed up by Stacy Savage who is known for doing awesome cause-related poetry projects like this. This project will benefit the Homeless Advocacy of Anderson and Madison County. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2018. You can submit up to three poems with a max of 35 lines.

I submitted my poems today! One of my poems titled “Hunger” was inspired by Mother Teresa. I thought about all the amazing things Mother Teresa did to help the poor and hungry in the world. She talked about a smile being one of the best things you can give, and how if you cannot feed a hundred, feed one. The thing that stands out the most to me is her quote about how being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is a much greater hunger and poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. How wonderful it is when we show those who are hungry that we do care by providing shelter, food, and necessities in their time of need.

mother teresa 1

Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

I hunger for
more than bread.

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for

I hunger for
tender touch.

I hunger for

I hunger for

To learn more about the Bards Against Hunger Project visit their website at bardsagainsthunger.com.

How are YOU Celebrating National Poetry Month?

The Future is Yours!

The Future is Yours! 

It’s my favorite time of the year! Spring is in the air, everyone is coming out of hibernation, and it’s National Poetry Month! I love that poetry gets this momentary spotlight among the arts.

In our community, we are celebrating National Poetry Month with the 8th Annual Barton Rees Pogue Poetry & Arts Festival. I got involved with this festival a few years ago and love it. I especially like that the committee reaches out to local elementary schools for children to write poems to present at the festival.

The theme of the festival this year is “The Future is Yours.” Participants are encouraged to write about the future and come dressed in a “futuristic” costume. Local members of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club will be at the festival Saturday dressed as Star Wars Storm Troopers to usher children to the stage and present awards. How fun will that be!

Author and Pastor Philip Gulley will open the festivities Friday, April 13, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Piece Building in Upland. Featured Poet, John Sherman, will start the event Saturday at 9 a.m. with a poem he wrote about meeting Barton Rees Pogue.

I will share the four “future” themed poems I wrote during the “Poetry Jam” (aka Poetry Slam) segment in a fun competition with other poets. I can’t wait to see the costumes and props everyone brings to this event.

Local artists’ works will also be on display during the Saturday event for visitors to admire, vote on, and purchase.

I hope you can attend to have fun doing something a little different than the norm and to support the arts!

If you are a local artist who wants to participate, you still have a few more days to enter! Please visit bartonreespogue.org for more info.

See you in the future!

Kathy G

P.S. I would love to know how YOU are celebrating National Poetry Month? Please leave a comment to let us know!

John Sherman – From Here to Nigeria!

I heard of John Sherman a few years ago as we travel in some of the same “Hoosier” poet and writer circles,  but I officially met him at a poetry workshop he conducted recently at Mounds State Park. It was a treat to attend the workshop and hear his stories, especially of teaching poetry to kids in schools throughout Indiana and abroad. I am honored to feature John on the Hoosier Authors blog so even more poetry fans discover his art and legacy of sharing the written word around the world!  ~ Kathy G, Hoosier Authors

John Sherman Photo

John Sherman

When did you start writing? 

While I did some writing, mostly fiction and some poetry, in high school and even more in college, I truly began to write in Peace Corps, right out of college. Several years later, I found some poems I’d written in college, hated them, and threw them away. (This was in the era of typewriters; I had no carbon copies, so when I tossed them, they were tossed. Later, I wondered if I’d been too hasty, but when I happened to find one more poem from college, and hated it, too, I decided I had made the right decision. It, too, went into the wastebasket!) As an English and Journalism major at IU, I did a lot of writing, often for publication, so I had a lot of training in meeting deadlines and writing lengthy pieces; they were all nonfiction, but still it was good practice.

Why do you write? 

I’ve been asked this before and I find it difficult to respond, as I really don’t know. I wrote well as a kid in elementary school and was often chosen to write something (for a performance, a class project, etc.) and that experience and the praise I received for some of that work encouraged me to write. Now, I would add, “I cannot imagine not writing.” It’s really a central part of my life.

What books have you published? 

I’ve published three books of poetry, It Give You Something to Think About (sic), America is a Negro Child: Race Poems, and Marjorie Main: Rural Documentary Poetry. I also researched and wrote Santa Fe: A Pictorial History and Taos: A Pictorial History; a memoir, War Stories: A Memoir of Nigeria and BiafraNew Faces at the Crossroads (for the International Center of Indianapolis – a book on recent immigration to Central Indiana), and two ghostwritten books.

I also published two poetry CDs (on my website – under “art” where you’ll find the books, posters, photos) – one with my daughter Chi Sherman, Shades: Writings on Race Culture Gender and Home (poems about growing up on our farm in Jay County).

Where is your favorite place to write? 

I am happy sitting at my computer, in silence. I find music distracting, so I don’t play any, as I will begin to listen to it! And, I don’t want to sit in a coffee shop, with a laptop and a cup of coffee. Silence is important for me. And my drink of choice? Cold water. Save the harder stuff for when you’ve finished and can celebrate! Besides, one wants as clear a head as possible. Cold water does the trick.

What is the last book that you couldn’t put down until it was finished? 

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. She combined history and humor and I laughed out loud. I used to write a weekly humor column in Santa Fe, “Generally Sherman,” and I often wrote political satire, so I really enjoyed and related to her love of the details of history and her wicked sense of humor.

If you could spend the day with any writer past or present who would it be and why?

With the fear of being too close and discovering you really don’t like someone you have long admired, once you are alone with them for several hours, I’d still go with Mark Twain. A brilliant man. I would say little, but hope to listen and laugh and reflect. He had a sharp wit, a great writer, and a dismissal of the pretentious and hypocritical. Those and other skills and qualities I admire in him.

What is your next book project? 

I have several, actually. I have a collection of short stories that I’d love to publish, and a collection of my humor columns, but what I want to get back to, after a few years, is a novel loosely based on my father’s family, going back to my great-grandfather who was a Union soldier imprisoned at Andersonville. His brother died there of disease and/or starvation. I sense the impact of that horror on my grandfather and then on my father and then on me.

What else would you like to share with fellow Hoosier Authors and fans? 

I have written an opera, Biafra, which can be seen at my website. Nathaniel Blume scored beautiful music for the 20 minutes so far that have been performed. We are seeking to raise funds – the Harrison Center in Indianapolis is our fiscal agent – once that’s done, it will be available for performance on stage. I have a Nigerian colleague who wants to film it on location – and then we will have it translated into Igbo – it will be the first Igbo-language opera.

Where can we connect with you?  

My email is john@mesaverdepress.com. My website is www.mesaverdepress.com. There, you can see, in addition to the opera, dozens of posters I’ve created of my poetry and photography; many other photographs; and my latest poetry book, Marjorie Main, and War Stories.

Meet Hoosier Author Nancy Zimmerman!

Nancy1Nancy Zimmerman

When did you start writing?

I was raised in the country near Princeton, Indiana and moved to Vincennes as an adult where I taught school for 34 years. I actually began writing on Jan. 1 of 2013.

Why do you write?

My first book, Embracing Your Best Self, was actually intended to be a way for me to collect my thoughts and awareness then share with anyone who might benefit. It led to the second book, Confronting Your Best Self. It was at this time I co-authored a political fiction novel, but while I enjoyed the experience greatly, it was not a genre I wanted to pursue. I wrote the third in the series titled, Balancing Your Best Self….

I had a young friend on Facebook, from Scotland, contact me about writing a book for her.. after considering it, I decided to do a series under the umbrella, Sadie’s Great Adventures. It contains 4 books, Sadie and Lexie, Sadie and Lexie Rescue Chloe, Sadie’s New Friends, and Sadie Meets a Monarch. They are available individually or bound together. The illustrations are line drawings so the book is also used as a coloring book so kids can get immersed in the story to its fullest. I also have published 2 romance novellas:  Shades of Love and Cream in My Coffee.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I generally write at my home, but a couple of my books, and the co-authored novel was written , probably 80% at Panera Bread. I read at least one book a day, and have for years. I couldn’t do that when I was teaching and raising my children, but it was a dream of mine to be able to read as much and as often as I wanted to, so that dream is one I live daily.

What is the last book that you couldn’t put down until it was finished?

If I can put a book down, I don’t ever finish it. By that I mean, I sit and read and don’t put any book down unless I just can’t get into it at all. When I write any of my books, I begin with sending out a message into the Universe…. Do not let this be a book that people put down and wonder – Why did I spend my time reading that??!! I want my writing to be enjoyed and I want people to get reading pleasure from them. I also hope in the case of my “Best Self” books that they genuinely help those who read them. I tend to like mysteries best.

If you could spend the day with any writer past or present who would it be and why?

I think the author I would most like to talk to would be Margaret Truman. Her mysteries are probably the best I have ever read and I think she would be just a very interesting person to talk with.

What is your next book project?

I am currently working on Book 4 in the Best Self Series, .. Accepting Your Best Self… I am working on a romance novel… I am getting a Young Artist Series of children’s books together that will be utilizing local high school, middle school, and college illustrators. I have written 7 stories and found 3 artists so far who have begun working. I feel it will give the young artists a tremendous opportunity and will help build their portfolio and resume as they pursue a career. I work with art teachers and in one of the books, there is a lot of community involvement… In that book, Wonders of Muscatatuck.. adults are providing the observations of nature and high school students are doing the artwork s part of their classes… truly an amazing experience and I am only compiling the work, so it give me a chance to really hone my publishing skills in my small Indy publishing co…. Hedgehog Hill Press…..

I am still looking for young artists who would like this opportunity, so if anyone knows of an interested young person, I hope they will contact me through my website.

What else would you like to share with fellow Hoosier Authors and fans?

I am available for speaking engagements and presentations. I am a talk show host on 2 radio stations, one locally which can be streamed on Friday evenings at 6 pm… at www.1240whbu.com and the other, an hour show on www.tmhradio.com – The Magic Happens Radio – which can be listened to on Thursday or Sunday. The show on both stations is called A Look at the Bright Side and I have featured several local authors and artists on the show.

Where can we connect with you?

I can be reached through my website www.nzbestself.com.




Happy First Draft!

Every First Draft Is Perfect

“Every first draft is perfect, because all a first draft has to do is exist.” ~ Jane Smiley

Happy New Year! 2018 holds a world of words waiting to be written!

We are starting the year off with a Meetup at the Indianapolis Central Public Library, which happens to be one of my favorite libraries in the world!

The first hour of the February 3, 2018 Meetup will be a planning session to determine 2018 Hoosier Authors Meetup content so that you get the maximum benefit from Meetups! Do you want to meet other authors, learn about the writing process, book launches, online marketing, self-publishing, author spotlights, book fairs… This is your chance to shape Hoosier Authors into the platform you want to see!

The second half of the Meetup we will meet Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley! In addition to talking about her award winning books, Jane plans to share some of her writing tips as both an author and creative writing professor.

That powerhouse combination makes this a Meetup Hoosier Authors won’t want to miss!



Real Cool

voice poems

Ready to be real cool? Record yourself reciting the poem, “We Real Cool” by the great Pulitzer prize-winning poet of the 20th century, Gwendolyn Brooks and email it to info@poetryfoundation.org to have your voice featured in the Chicago Poetry Foundation sound installation. Deadline to submit your recording is September 13, 2017. What a creative and fun way to share the power of poetry to leave a legacy!

We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks

The pool players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
left school. We
lurk late. We
strike straight. We
sing sin. We
thin gin. We
jazz June. We
die soon.


I submitted my recording! I am looking forward to hearing the symphony of voices and various interpretations of this powerful poem.