Who we are

Current Members

Tameka Fryer Brown has gone from medical supplies sales rep, to stay-at-home mom, to children’s book author…a journey she never imagined taking as she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University.
 
Upon graduating college in 1992, Tameka accepted a job with Baxter Healthcare in the the Convertors/Custom Sterile Division. She sold operating room products to hospitals and surgery centers. After 5 years (a marriage, and a daughter), Tameka decided to leave the corporate world, focusing on family life instead. In 2005, her life took another fateful turn when she decided to pursue the art and business of writing for children. In 2008, Tameka was a First Place winner in the 2nd Annual Cheerios® Spoonfuls of Stories® Children’s Book Contest.
 
Over the years, Tameka has worked with children of all ages in various church and volunteer organizations, and as a Teacher’s Assistant at her children’s Montessori school (ages 3-6). She is a member of SCBWI and ACAIC (the Association of Children’s Authors and Illustrators of Color), and is also a contributing member at The Brown Bookshelf (http://thebrownbookshelf.com) .
 
AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBORS’ DAY (Abrams Books for Young Readers, August 1, 2010) will be Tameka’s first published picture book; IN A MOOD (Viking Children’s Books, 2012) will be her second. Among other projects, she is currently working on a magical realism, middle grade novel. To learn more about Tameka, visit her at http://tamekafryerbrown.com, or http://teebrown.blogspot.com.

 
Beth Miles is a pediatric speech therapist, working with middle and high school students in the school system.  This means that she has unimited access to all the MG and YA novels she can carry from the school libraries.  This does NOT mean she’s reading when she’s supposed to be working,( although some Richard Peck or Neil Gaiman helps liven up the cafeteria food.)

Beth lives in Salisbury, NC with her husband and three children, where she’s trying to find time between loads of laundry to complete her middle grade suspense novel. She’s a member of the local children’s theater board, SCBWI, and proud to be a critiquing Mudskipper.

Niki Masse Schoenfeldt grew up in a small town in Western Massachusetts where she began writing stories as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Somewhere along the way life pulled & tugged Niki in a different direction until, as a stay-at-home mom, her mother and husband encouraged her to apply for a writing course at The Institute of Children’s Literature. This course was the first step toward fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a published author. 

In the fall of 2008, her first picture book, NATURE’S LULLABY was released by Orchard House Press. Her next picture book, DON’T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE! a rhyming bedtime adventure, will be available in 2011 from Shenanigan Books.

In the meantime, Niki continues to write fiction for all ages crossing genres from board books, to picture books to middle grade and even young adult novels.  Her work has appeared in magazines such as My Friend, Boys’ Quest, Breakaway, Guide and I Love Cats.  She is also a regular review contributor on the web at www.curledup.com and www.curledupkids.com. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators and  is editor of the Collective Wisdom section of the Carolinas chapter newsletter, The Pen & Palette.

Niki has a great love of books and a passion for reading. She hopes through her work she will instill the same love of words and learning in children. According to her, every book is an adventure; pick one up and brace for the ride of your life!

 

Megan Hoyt, a certified teacher and freelance writer, has written articles for Entro Magazine, The Messianic Times, and Frontlines Magazine as well as mountains of direct mail, web copy and most recently, interstitials for television. Her late nights and early mornings are spent perfecting the children’s picture books and midgrade novels that are so close to her heart. Hoping to get them ready for submission in the foreseeable future, she can be found most mornings staring out at the deer in her wooded backyard, a cappuccino in one hand and a red pen in the other — ready to slash, revise, tear up, throw out, and revise again.

Megan holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with double majors in English and History from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Steven and their four children. They provide a never-ending supply of amusing anecdotes, many of which are itching to be transformed into picture books and placed in the hands of young readers.

Jennifer Hudson is a small town pediatrician, mother of three energetic children, and children’s book writer.  Writing children’s books enables her to educate by entertaining. She enjoys incorporating health topics into her stories.  She is active in her community and schools promoting health and education.      

Dr. Hudson is bilingual and works closely with the local Hispanic community.  Her youngest daughter was adopted from Guatemala at age 5.  She watched many Spanish children coming into the office for their kindergarten physical unable to recognize the letter A, but able to name every cartoon character in a drawer full of stickers.  She realized their must be a better way for learning letter recognition and phonics.  She helped develop an early childhood letter recognition and phonics program, Witty Bit World, to encourage early literacy (www.wittybitworld.com).  Letters are transformed into memorable characters that encourage an early love of reading through music, stories, phonics and fun.       

Dr. Hudson enjoys swimming, running, and waterskiing.  She occasionally enjoys the challenge of a sprint triathlon.  She enjoys traveling, and has participated in multiple medical mission trips over the years to Honduras, Guatemala and Kenya.  More than anything, Dr. Hudson loves to read to her own children and to other children.  She enjoys sharing the stories she’s written and watching the children’s responses.  She wants to broaden children’s imagination.

Kelly Dyksterhouse is a wife, mom, and professional day dreamer. She grew up living in Indiana during the school year and Northern Michigan whenever school wasn’t in session. She has now lived in North Carolina long enough to have a Southern lilt to her speech, though not long enough to call herself a Southerner (it’s her understanding that you have to be born in the South to do that). She holds a BA in History, and after a stint in law school, transfered to seminary where she pursued a Masters in Theological Studies. If there were a way to make money from sitting in class, she would probably still be a student today.

Kelly has a passion for reading, writing, running, and parenting (both her birth and her foster children). Her ideal day would include a cheerful breakfast with her family before packing the kids off to school, then a walk with her dogs through the woods while brainstorming her current writing project. Once home from her walk, she’d write madly and entertain phone calls from editors until her kids came home. In the afternoon, she would play with them outside while someone else cooked their dinner, which everyone would enjoy once Daddy got home. Once the kids were all tucked in, she would read until it was time to turn off the lights for the day. She has yet to experience that perfect day, but is thankful for the wild, fun and unpredicatable life that she does live.  

Kelly has published articles in several academic magazines and journals, and a children’s story published in Fun For Kidz magazine, as well as their library CD collection. Her current writing projects involve several picture books, an early chapter book series, and a YA high fantasy novel.

Donna Earnhardt’s love for reading and writing started at a young age. Donna loved to read and write in trees, under the covers at night and in the middle of the bedroom floor…especially when she was supposed to be cleaning it. (You can find a lot of great books and ideas in a messy bedroom!) 

Since then, Donna has read many more books and written some of her own. She has sold some of her articles, stories and poetry to Highlights for Children, Blue Mountains Arts, the SCBWI Bulletin, RX for Children, GP4K, and Working Writers. She served as designer on the Carolina SCBWI Newsletter (Pen & Pallette) for two years. Donna also led workshops at the 2007 SCBWI Annual Fall Conference and the 2008 and 2010 Write2Ignite Conference. She is also the blog/web admin for www.write2ignite.com.

Donna writes poetry, picture books, chapter books, mysteries and whatever strikes her fancy. Her hubby and three home-schooled kids listen patiently (for the most part) to all of them.

Former members:

Jean Matthew Hall‘s stories, poems and articles have been published in a variety of inspirational anthologies and magazines. And she has several picture book manuscripts looking for publishing houses to call home. Her current WIP is an inspirational YA manuscript.

Most days you’ll find her at her trusty computer. She makes her home in Indian Trail, NC with her husband, Jerry. When she’s not writing, teaching Bible classes or enjoying her grandchildren you’ll find her haunting local libraries and book stores.

You can visit Jean’s “Conversations With God” at http://www.jeanmatthewhall.blogspot.com   And her “Encouraging Words for Writers” at http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com.   Jean also leads the planning Team for the Write2Ignite! Conference for Christian Writers of Children’s Literature. http://write2ignite.wordpress.com

 Gay Rudisill is the oldest, grayest, and least published of the Mudskippers, but she is determined to get an “acceptance” notice in the very near future.  She has been writing for quite a while but is now ready to put a lot of effort into the submission process.  When one of her picture book manuscripts  was critiqued by the group,  she was pleased when they decided her main character, a mudskipper, should be their official group name.

Gay grew up in North Carolina, but lived in Syracuse, New York for 35 years.  Being a preschool teacher for quite a long time, she enjoyed making up spontaneous stories, puppet shows,  skits, and songs for the children. She was always striving to introduce goodness and learning into those manuscripts.  Before returning to the south, she took courses at a local college and got hooked on writing for young children, especially liking the form of poetry.

Currently, Gay lives in Huntersville, North Carolina. She is blessed with  four children and eight grandchildren who give her great inspiration and lots of love.  Her interests include crafting,  drawing, taking her dog for visits to nursing homes, and anything else (including her writing) that brings laughter or a smile to someone else’s life.

Valerie Hardin Drye is a native of Western North Carolina. She began her love affair with writing in high school.  While raising two sons, she took the scenic route through higher education, finally completing both a BA and MA in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

In a life filled with changes, writing has remained the touchstone to which she always returns.  Newspaper articles in her community college’s newspaper SCC Miscellanea, a few poems for nursing mothers in a La Leche League calendar, a newsletter for a campus singles’ group The Sole Source, a chapter on teaching secondary English in The Relevance of Teaching English (NCTE 2002)—these scattered publications mark the various seasons of her life.

Now, with her children grown and a grandson approaching school age, her retirement from full-time teaching heralds the ascendancy of her earliest and truest love.  With the support of her husband and the company of two dogs and three cats, she spends her days in their Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, home trying to keep up with the flood of words that will one day soon find their way into a variety of books for children of all ages.

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2 thoughts on “Who we are

  1. I hope everyone of you ends up writing “that book” that everyone just HAS to read. According to Winston Churchill, ” Never give up…”.

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