DuPage Writers Group Members

Dennis Bartizal

Dennis has various interests. In grade school he taught himself photography and he raised a community of turtles, 27 all together—two box turtles, one tortoise, one snapping turtle, and several mud turtles. He started reading Franz Kafka during those years. In high school he had a humor column in the school newspaper. During college he would read his stories at local coffee houses. He has since had a career as a computer programmer. He is married. He has since retired. He started writing again. He reads his writings at various coffee houses. He has published eleven books so far.

He has a blog at:


His books are available at:


And, oh yeah, he has a pet turtle, again. She is a three toed box turtle named Snowflake. 

Michele D. Bowers

Michele D. Bowers was an original member of the DuPage Writers Group. She was a member of the Haiku Society of North America and has published haiku poetry in Shadow Poetry’s journal White Lotus. In 2006 she received her certification in copyediting from the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago. In addition to haiku, Michele was fond of the short story form having written several and has attended several workshops at the College of DuPage, University of Chicago, and in Lakeside, Michigan. By day she was a senior business manager with AT&T in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and later a consultant in the same business. She passed away in 2018 and will be sorely missed.

Natalie Totire Brinley

 Natalie Totire Brinley was a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) from 2007 through 2015.   She is a member of the DuPage Art League. She worked as a journalist while attending Triton College in River Grove, IL. She also graduated from the correspondence course part I from “Institute of Children’s Literature”.

Natalie longed to teach and work with children as a ministry after she began a relationship with Jesus back in 1987.  Working with children in various settings has inspired her to write children’s books as well as create puppets and puppet shows. Today, Natalie is both a writer and illustrator, where she has also illustrated many books for other authors, including “Elijah Teaches His Friends the ABCs” and “Meet the Darlin Dujeezeys,” both by Pat Brannon and “William Martin in Baker Woods” by Karen Cox Gray.

Natalie wrote and illustrated 17 of her own books.  She completed two Intelligent Design Creature series titled “God’s Mighty Raptors” as well as its companion coloring book and “God’s Spooky Night Creatures”.  She is now working on the third book titled “God’s Leaping Wonders”, which will be a factual book about frogs. Natalie’s bestselling book is titled “The Littlest Donkey”, which is a Palm Sunday story.  “Only a Sheep”, “The Boy Next Door”, “Trouble in Wasadee Valley”, and “Sacrubery Woods” are her other fictional stories. She also has completed two nonfiction adult books called “A Little Bird Taught Me” and her other bestselling book, “The Puppet Connection.”

Her website now has a new name, Facebook page, and a new logo:


Rose Calkins

Rose Calkins is a founder of the DuPage Writers Group and President of Sky Blue Living Publishing. She has published two children’s books entitled “Grammie is My Favorite Ice Cream” (2013) and “Good Can Come From There” (2016). She is published in the book “Speaking to The Heart”, The Prairie Light Review Literary Magazine, “Possibilities” Volumes 1 through 17 and writes and performs songs. She created, implemented, and taught the Summer Writing Workshop for Children and is Editor of the Kid’s Possibilities Literary Journal.

  • Her book “Grammie is My Favorite Ice Cream” (2013) is in the collection of the Carol Stream and Wheaton Public libraries, Illinois.
  • Her book “Good Can Come From There” (2016) is in the collection of the Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Naperville Public libraries, Illinois.

Most importantly, she is an overtime (like most in her field) “Mom Engineer” which gives her the most perspiration and inspiration. She is a teacher and thus a learner. She’s taught art, drama, writing composition, music, journalism, literature, religious education, and aerobics. Thanks Tony, Maria, Tony, Jr., Mike, and Johnny for your love and support. I love you! Thanks God for the many gifts! I love you too!


Tony Calkins

Tony Calkins is an actor and filmmaker in Chicago. He has written many screenplays and narrative essays. He enjoys reading Star Wars novels and Batman comic books. He would read other things, but there are too many Star Wars books and Batman comics to really read much else. He promises to give this one a read though.

Justice Carmon

Justice Carmon is an old-fashioned geek who grew up watching Star Trek the Original Series, Star Wars and earned a B.F.A. in Communications to pursue his dream of being a famous comic book artist. Alas, he found he was quicker to speak and write than draw and now writes – mostly. He became an ordained minister in 2008 because he could not stop talking about how cool Jesus is and was and ever shall be. He lives in Wheaton with a nice lady, her daughter and a multitude of animals that have not eaten him yet.

Carole Ellermeier

A poet by inclination, Carole Ellermeier paints with words. Her imagery draws on an economy of word strokes to elicit personal insights from her readers. She strives to convey connections that affirm and honor our common human experiences. Carole finds profound meaning in discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary. She also writes memoir pieces and short essays; frequently drawn from nature, family life and everyday living. The proud mother of three grown sons, Carole and her husband, George Swanson, delight in their fourteen grandchildren. A native of Nebraska, she spent the majority of her adult life living in Carol Stream, IL, but now resides in Geneva, IL.

D.H. Hanson

A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, D.H. Hanson has studied all different kinds of artistic avenues. Although, writing is one of those avenues he fits into his daily life. Writing became his daily therapy as a teenager, living with his mother and brother. His work flows like his own personal inner monologue, most of it with a dark, avant-garde point of view. The reader may feel enlightened or inspired, as well as, just wanting to acknowledge their own eeriness within their own life. D.H. Hanson doesn’t let the darkness overcome him. He embraces it. 

Ralph Hinkle

Ralph Hinkle is married to Gail Peironnet Hinkle for 48 years and resided in her hometown of Wheaton Illinois all their married life. With six grandchildren in proximity, Ralph keeps busy following his retirement from Milton Township last year as their executive director for volunteer programs like C.E.R.T. (community emergency response team) and Youth Committee Chairman. As he frequently says “I am so busy now I don’t know when I ever had time to work”

Joshua “Lakey” Hinson

Lakey is a street artist/poet who posts up on sidewalks wearing a suit and tie, challenging the stereotypes tied to homelessness, artists, business men, and activists. The following is his artist’s statement in his own words:

“In my earliest artworks I drew meaningfulness out of chaos using only black ink. In the second phase of my work, I added color and moved to a more chaotic “stream of consciousness” style with less concentration on meaning. The most recent artworks trade chaos and meaninglessness for complexity of structure, using geometry to find the similarities within science, math, religion, philosophy, and spirituality. The process and resulting artworks allow me to better understand myself and the world around me. Whether chaotic or ordered, I strive for timelessness to ensure the expression holds meaning to a large audience over a long period of time.

I believe the greatest truths are those tied to paradox; I pursue paradox. From trailer parks, to foster care, to suits and skyscrapers, to homelessness, to traveling street artist/performer, I’ve been there. I do exciting things in a boring fashion and search for the riches in ashes.”

Nadia Ianakieva

Nadia Ianakieva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2000, Nadia and her family moved to America. Her first nonfiction book was published in 2010. Her inspirational story was published by Chicken Soup for the Soul and was featured in Daily Herald. Nadia started participated in the Possibilities journal in 2020.

She has a blog at: http://nadia-ianakieva.blogspot.com/

Celeste Lake

Celeste Lake is a violinist and was an Orchestra Director/Teacher in the public school system for over 30 years. In high school, Celeste wanted to be an English Literature major. However, when she was a junior and heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in concert, she decided to follow her passion for music instead. In recent years, Celeste has enjoyed writing and composing Christian songs that hopefully will encourage others. She acknowledges that her inspiration is from the Lord, the author and originator of all creative art. 

Paul R. Lloyd

Paul R. Lloyd writes fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us. His offbeat characters reveal the humor of the human condition. He investigates themes such as cowardice in the three-book Snpgrdxz series, forgiveness in the Amazon top seller, HAGS, redemption in Amazon top seller, FULFILLMENT, and the nature of love (and hate) in STEEL PENNIES. His latest novel, SNPGRDXZ AND THE TIME KEEPERS, will be the fourth in the Snpgrdxz time travel adventure series for young adults.

Paul’s short fiction appeared in the literary magazines, Possibilities and Daedalus as well as the Canyon City Daily Record (Colorado) newspaper. He authored the Doctor Solves a Mystery series of mini-mysteries for the annual contest of the Physicians’ Benefits Trust, the insurance arm of the Illinois State Medical Society. Paul served as editor for The Goldring, a newspaper of puzzles and games published by one of Chicago’s premier marketing research firms. He also published Creative Challenges, his own newsletter of puzzles, games, and mystery stories. He wrote video scripts for the University of Illinois Foundation during two successful multi-billion-dollar fundraising campaigns. His short fiction, including the Jude Nerdworthy, Monster Fighter series, appears on his blog along with tips on how to read fiction, watch movies, and other musings. Follow Paul’s blog at paulrlloyd.blogspot.com.

Besides creating fiction, Paul teaches workshops and speaks on how to reach the next skill level as a writer. He heads the Write Time Writers Group in Geneva, Illinois, and serves as a member of the DuPage Writers Group, the Chicago Writers Association, and Lively Arts, a group of Christian artists and writers.

Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He is married to the artist and author Lynn Zuk-Lloyd and lives in the Chicago area. To read books or e-books by Paul E. Lloyd, please visit: www.amazon.com/Paul-R-Lloyd/e/ B0064R8ROE

O.A. Manno

O.A. Manno lived in New Jersey until he was 26. He met his wife Rosemary at Boston University and a year later they were married. He is now living in Illinois.

He learned more about writing poetry while attending the State University of Iowa. He spent two years there, then transferred to Boston University. He was in the theatre, but left to raise his family. He has three sons.

Since 1983, he began writing novels. He studied with Whitney Scott, who teaches at Columbia College in Illinois, for 24 weeks. He also studied with Enid Powell, who won an Oscar as part of a writing team that wrote a soap. He audited a poetry class at Xavier College for one semester. The professor at Xavier College likened his poetry writing to William Wordsworth and Keats.

He has written 10 novels, 20 short stories, over 600 poems, not counting the ones he lost during his college days, libretti (an opera and operetta), a few One Act plays, 4 full length plays, plus a novella. His short story, “The Blue Bowl” is published in the DuPage Writers Group Literary Journal, “Possibilities.”

He is published on Kindle, “Toy Man,” a psychological thriller, and two novels can be found on Amazon.com, “The Trip,” and The Evil On Upton.”

Those who have read his books have given them 4.5 and 5 stars.

Christine McParland 
Christine is a dancer who writes about dance. A trained visual artist, her world was forever rocked when she took ballroom lessons at Theology of Dance and discovered a creative expression that symbolized her relationship with Christ. Christine writes regularly on her blog, www.christinemcparland.wordpress.com.”

Carol J. Neumann

Carol J. Neumann, our editor, is a co-founder of the DuPage Writers Group. She is a retired Information Technology professional formerly of Lisle, Illinois. She now resides in Williams Bay, Wisconsin on scenic Geneva Lake in the summer and in Silverthorne, Colorado in the winter, where she is an avid skier. Carol has published two short memoir pieces in the College of DuPage literary magazine, The Prairie Light Review and many pieces in previous editions of Possibilities. She edited and wrote several pieces for Honoring Our Veterans, a journal dedicated to homeless veterans in 2009 and for our second volume of Honoring Our Veterans, published in 2019.

She has attended workshops at the University of Chicago, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa, and in Lakeside, Michigan. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and attended the annual retreats of the Wisconsin chapter every year since 2009. In 2010, she won second place in SCBWI’s Martha Dunlop Scholarship competition for her Young Adult novel, Journey to Loon Lake. She has written a memoir entitled From Penny Loafers to Flower Children. She has collected her short memoir pieces into a book entitled “Indelible Memories”, writing a new Young Adult novel, and writing a middle-grade children’s book about the Potawatomi Indians that lived on Geneva Lake in the 1800’s. She has worked on the staff of the Prairie Light Review.

  • Her book “Indelible Memories“, published in Sept. 2020, is now in the collections of the Barrett Memorial Library (Williams Bay), Wisconsin, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville  and Bartlett Public libraries, Illinois, and also is available on Amazon.

Beth Orchard

Beth Orchard is a past chairperson for the DuPage Writers Group. She wrote a one act play called ‘Falling Up,’ produced in June, 2012 at Wheaton Drama in Wheaton, Illinois. Some of her passions include writing short stories and poetry in addition to being a connector who loves to help people find their passion in life. She volunteers with immigrants and refugees and is interested in international human rights, world travel, good food and wine. Her studies have included behavioral profiling and social justice to which she devotes much of her free time. She enjoys a challenge and spends time doing activities at her home church, Willow Creek, as well as yoga, Pilates, working out, cycling and planning domestic and international trips. She and her husband have a four-year-old son, Liam and a toddler daughter, Iona.

She someday hopes to be working with oppressed women in the arena of international and local human rights initiatives.

Every opportunity is given to us by destiny, not by chance, and it is what we do with those opportunities that determine the path of our life. Every day is a gift to be cherished and relish the challenges that come along for it is through those times we grow the most. 

J. Horton Palmer

J. Horton Palmer has written poetry in Hawaii, Illinois, and Florida. Nature and everyday human conditions serve as topics. He is inspired by the beauty and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, the state of Florida, the Caribbean, and the changing seasons in the Midwest. Currently, he continues to write poetry and has published a children’s book, Maui Mutt, the Molokini Adventure.

L.C. Price

When L.C. Price was barely six years old she told everyone who would listen she would grow up to be a writer, teacher and a counselor, even though she had no idea what a counselor did. She’s been juggling those three balls ever since. Traditional, in the most untraditional way, LC loves her husband Jim and the beautiful mosaic of a blended family they have created together. L.C. always prefers a redemptive ending, to a happy ending. She got this idea from God, who she loves most of all.

Christine Seagrave

Christine Seagrave is a mother of two children, currently residing in Carol Stream, IL. Christine loves learning and teaching. She has studied Sociology and Criminal Justice for numerous years, and has several degrees from College of DuPage and Northern Illinois University. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Arts degree at Lewis University, in Criminal and Social Justice. Her academic interests include public policy administration, policing, victimology, white collar crime, criminology, and social theory.

Natalia G. Toreeva

Natalia G. Toreeva is an accomplished award-winning artist whose works are in the collections of museums in the USA and Russia. In 1968, she received her Master’s Degree in the Art and Design from the Mukhina Leningrad Academy of Art and Industry (now the Stieglitz St. Petersburg State Academy of Art and Industry), St. Petersburg, Russia. She started her career as a Fashion Designer, working in parallel as an Art and Design teacher in the college (two years), and later worked as the Costume Designer on “Lenfilm” Film Studio, Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia).  In parallel, she studied icon and fresco painting, and drawings in the art studio from respected artist and teacher O. Sidlin. She later participated in unofficial art exhibitions with well-known artists in the USSR, as a part of the “School of Sidlin” group.

She came to the United States in 1977. In 1978, in Chicago, five of her original graphics were selected by the Spertus Museum for their permanent collection. One of her drawings was also selected by the Lyric Opera of Chicago theater for their collection. Her art work is also in private collections. She participated in a number of exhibitions in Chicago and Russia, and received a number of awards for her graphics works. In 2013, as part of the “School of Sidlin” group, one of her paintings, “Portrait of Mother” (1975) was exhibited in the “St. Petersburg” exhibition in the Manege Central Exhibition Hall, Manege Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1987, Natalia graduated with the M.S. (Master’s degree in Computer Science) from DePaul University, Chicago, and since then worked as a computer science software engineer and system analyst in IT companies. She is now a retired engineer. Natalia is the mother of twins, both of whom have graduated colleges, have both the Master’s degrees, and have since moved to different locations in Illinois. Natalia resides in Carol Stream, Illinois.

Having two Master’s degrees in the Art and Design and in Computer Science, she is using this combined knowledge of the art and technology in some of her computer graphics and mixed media artworks. For example, in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022, she participated with her computer graphics and mixed media artworks in the West Chicago Banner Art Exhibitions (on Main Street, May-Sept).

She has illustrated novels, poetry and children’s books. She also has participated in and published written works in a number of literary journals, including Rambunctious Review, Threshold, Possibilities, Prairie Light Review (COD literary journal), and Honoring Our Veterans, a journal dedicated to homeless veterans (2009, 2019). Natalia had developed entrees for the DuPage Writers Group Veterans Journal both for the 2009 and 2019 editions, where she also contributed as the Story Coordinator and Art Consultant.

In 2008, Natalia became a Member of the DuPage Writers Group in Illinois, where she is also contributing to the Possibilities literary journal as the Art Editorial Consultant and Editor, besides of her poetry and artwork.

In 2010, Natalia became a member of the Artists Trade Union of Russia. She has the honor of being listed as one of the 10,000 best world artists of XVIII-XXI centuries by the Artists Trade Union of Russia, where the artists were nominated on the basis of the International Artists Rating.

In 2014 and later, four of Natalia’s paintings were accepted into the collection of the Diaghilev Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, and one painting and her other artwork into the State “Tsarskoselskaya Collection” museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Her artwork also in the collection of the Washington Museum of Russian Poetry and Music, USA. In 2019, this museum published book in Russia, “Венок русским поэтам” (in English: “Wreath for Russian poets”), where Natalia’s drawings of 15 Russian poets and the Front and Back Covers for this book were included. In 2021, the article about this book as the Best Seller was published in Moscow, where 4 of Natalia’s drawings were included in the article. Its web: https://reading-hall.ru/news.php?id=371

In 2022, this museum also published book “Борис Пастернак – музыкант” (in English: “Boris Pasternak – musician”), where Natalia contributed with Front and Back Covers and also with the series of the graphic works inside.

Natalia is a recognized author in the Illinois Secretary Of State’s Illinois Authors website:  http://www.illinoisauthors.org/cgi-bin/illinoisAuthors/getSpecificAuthor.pl?uid=8111. In that page you can go to the Worldcat catalog where some of Natalia’s art work is included.

From 2019 till 2023, Ms. Toreeva has been a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). In 2019 Natalia became a member of the Arts DuPage group in the DuPage Foundation, Illinois. She is also known for her other artistic abilities as a  resident of DuPage county as seen in the Arts DuPage website:  https://www.artsdupage.org/artist/natalia-toreeva/

Natalia wrote and illustrated 4 of her children’s books. They are: “Lucy the Chicken and Her Friends” (2010), “Greg and the Sea Monster” (2011), “The Battle on the Kalinov-bridge” (2012), and “Four-Legged Friends in the Bark Park” (2020).

Her books are in the collection of the following libraries:

  • “Lucy the Chicken and Her Friends” (2010) book is in the Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Naperville Public libraries, Illinois.
  • “Greg and the Sea Monster” (2011) book is in the Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Naperville Public libraries, Illinois.
  • “The Battle on the Kalinov-bridge” (2012) book is in the Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton Public libraries, Illinois.
  • “Four-Legged Friends in the Bark Park” (2020) book in the Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Naperville Public libraries, Illinois.
  • “Венок русским поэтам” (2019) book (in English: “Wreath for Russian poets”), where Natalia contributed with Front and Back Covers and her drawings of 15 Russian poets (mixed media). The books are in the libraries of the Notre Dame University (IN), University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (IL) and Princeton University (NJ), where each university has the Slavic department to study language and culture.

Her Author’s website for her children’s books: http://sbpra.com/NataliaGToreeva/

Her children’s books are also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natalia-G.-Toreeva/e/B00EAA6IYS%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Susan Wells

As soon as I heard, this year’s theme was “garden,” my creative mind immediately conjured up a veteran FBI spy who discovers a terrorist drone in her garden. Susan is a 2018 graduate of Citizen’s Police Academy. To write this true-to-life story, she has consulted and interviewed police professionals, detectives, EMTs, and medical staff about their day to day procedures. Susan has been published in Chicagoland Gardening, Garden Glories, Reminisce magazines, local newspapers, The Daily Herald, and her many short stories have appeared in various local fiction and poetry anthologies.

Susan’s first mystery novel is “Secret Lives” (2020), and it is available on Amazon.

Lynn Zuk-Lloyd

Lynn Zuk-Lloyd is an author, artist, and speaker who loves to encourage people through inspirational pictures and words. She takes delight in showing God’s love for people through nature art, and enjoys creating books that uplift and strengthen people on their faith journey. Lynn has books on Amazon, art on Fine Art America, and her website is http://www.promisegarden.com.