Authors List

2022 Festival Applications

The DSM Book Festival's applications for local authors, illustrators and publishers are now closed.

The 2022 DSM Book Festival will take place at Capital Square, 400 Locust Street, Des Moines on Saturday, March 26 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Arzate, Ben


Chris leaves his shop and heads to Elaine, a small town in upper Michigan to meet his girlfriend, Agnes, for her mother's funeral. When he arrives, Agnes is nowhere to be found. As Chris searches for her, more questions arise. Why is he suddenly having recurring nightmares? And why can't he leave?


Ballard, Marie

"The Little Lost Llama"

The winter storms are coming! The mountain is no place for a little lost llama. In this true story, beautifully illustrated by artist and Llama rescuer, Tracy DuCharme, find out how the community joins together to save one baby llama.

Children's Book

Bayles, Mike

"With Suitcase and Bag"

Mike Bayles' third poetry collection, "With Suitcase and Bag," takes the reader on a poetic journey to places he has called home. It is a must-read for people with a sense of wanderlust.



Bigelow, Kelsey

"Sprig of Lilac"

In her debut collection, Kelsey Bigelow combines grief and poetry to open a raw conversation about becoming a motherless daughter at a young age. Through multiple voices, she broadens the perspective to other forms of the grieving process.


Carlyle, Becky

"Baby Silly Sickies"

Baby is going to a well-child visit. He/she feels many things are wrong, like growing a fish fin, hair turning pink, and crying green tears, just to name a few.

Children's Book

Carroll, Adam

"Build a Bigger Life Manifesto"

This book is a framework for building a bigger life and features step-by-step instructions on how to explore what you most want, how to leverage your existing talents and resources, and how to reveal the shortest path to the life you most desire.


Carter, Joe

"Marshall T. Trowel and Family - Brick - You Decide What Your Day Will Be Like."

The third installment of the Marshall T. Trowel series focuses on Marshall T. and his family of tools as they add brick to a building.

Children's Book

Cassis, Joseph

"Squire With Fire - A Happy Dragon Tale"

Mac is curious about the ring Grandpa wears and its thrilling history: it once belonged to a squire. Grandpa delights seven-year-old Mac with tales about the brave squires and knights who populated their family history, including the famous knight in the Scottish Rothesay

Children's Book

Chase, Rachelle

"Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa"

Some have called Buxton a Black Utopia. In the town of 5,000 residents, African Americans and Caucasians lived, worked and attended school together in 1900 in a thriving coal-mining, one-of-a-kind town. Rachelle Chase details the events that created this unique community and what made it disappear.


Clark, M. Wayne

"A Boy on the Farm"

For Teddy, life looks so much better over the fence or down the road. As a young boy, Teddy experiences a life filled with disappointments, broken dreams and strained relationships. However, Teddy never loses hope or quits dreaming of the way life could be beyond the pain.


Cline, Megan

"Winston's Wet"

Everybody's favorite Wombat is back, and he's desperate to cool down! Winston wants to play outside, but it's SO hot. Luckily, his mom comes up with a great idea: They can play in the sprinklers!

Children's Book

Collins, Xixuan

"Flowing Water, Falling Flowers"

When she loses her job and her lover in one fell swoop, Rose Ming agrees to accompany her mother on an annual visit to Three Rivers. Once there, Rose learns that she, her mother, aunt, and her cousin have all had a strange dream, which prompts them to search for an ancestor nobody seems to remember.


De Vries, Jean

"Brought Us Together"

Amy Miller really doesn't need a man in her life. She is content with her work at the Amish Country Market and her time baking with her elderly friend, Ella. But when Nathaniel Shetler moves to town and into her workplace, she is challenged to accept the changes his presence brings.


Deaver, Jennifer

"The Traveler"

Ann lives a normal teenage life, spending her days riding horses, hanging out with friends and studying for finals. But in her dreams, Ann lives a royal life with her long-lost father. The worlds never collide, until one day that she realizes that her dreams might be more than just her imagination.

Young Adult/Teen

Dellitt, Julia

"Get Your Life Together(ish)"

Achieve your goals - no matter how big or small - with these 50 simple challenges that actually fit into your life, using this accessible and self-paced approach to self-improvement. Whatever changes you're looking to make in your life and in yourself, there's a plan for you here.


Deluhery, Patrick

"Engaged: Patrick Deluhery and the Golden Age of Democratic Party Activism"

Pat Deluhery, former Iowa state senator and assistant for U.S. Sen. Harold Hughes from 1968 to 1974 from discusses Hughes' life, from high school days in Davenport, Iowa to his accomplishments during his 24-year tenure in the Iowa Senate.


Dr. Richard L. Deming , Dylan Huey &

"Above and Beyond Cancer"

Learn about the philosophical journeys of ordinary people - caregivers, patients, survivors and loved ones- whose lives have been touched by cancer through real-life stories of mortality, equity, surrender, compassion, and spiritual awe.


Dragoni, Ricky

"Stories of Mystery and Surrealism"

Prepare yourself as you dive into this intense collection of twisted short stories that will challenge your views on reality and perhaps make you question your sanity as you travel to remote islands, urban environments and even the world of historical fiction.


Elliott, Natalie

"Peny's Purse"

Peny, the penny-saver, has a passion for protecting endangered animals. When she learns that some of her favorite creatures are going extinct, she struggles to figure out a way to help them. But at 80 years old, what could she do?

Children's Book

Fiametta, Gina

"Angels Strange and Beautiful"

The love of an outcast is a powerful force. But in the face of a mythical killer, never-ending fires, and a tightening noose of public suspicion, anyone may falter. Told first by an unwitting stalker and then by a lonely orphan, this love story explores the limits of love and the meaning of faith.


Furneaux, David

"Numbland Security: Before the Fire"

Jeff Hanford will be deployed soon. Carrie is a rising star on a national terrorism task force. Three months after 9/11, they confessed their love for each other. Will their budding romance conflict with Jeff's nearing deployment and their need to fight against the ongoing terrorism threat?


Glick, Ryan

"Internship Mastery"

A step-by-step guide designed to help you score the ideal pre-job experience and make the perfect impression with your prospective employer.


Grillot, Erin M.


Nathan's life has shaped him into a loner and it has never more noticeable than when Eli begins work in Department 5. Eli's cheerful nature is both intriguing and off-putting to Nathan. As Eli breaks through Nathan's walls, they embark on a path of discovery that defies both of their assumptions.


Guhl, Christopher

"Absolute Essence"

The disastrous yurdarks are born from the elements, ravage Essence City, then die by the evil king's hand. When one is powerful enough to evade his mindless army, Neema's best friend, Tem, is torn from her arms to serve.


Haley, Jackie

"Brenda's Wish"

Brenda Schmitz is cancer-stricken and hopeful when she wrote a letter to a local radio station asking for her ex-husband David to help raise their four boys. Two years later, David hears the words of his late wife for the first time and receives an incredible wish from the radio station.


Harden, Amanda

"Our Mama's Surrogacy Journey"

"Our Mama's Surrogacy Journey" tells the story of surrogacy through the eyes of children. Narrated by Eli and Ella, children of a surrogate, this illustrated 32-page book introduces the surrogacy journey.

Children's Book

Hindman, Lindsay

"100 Things to Do in Sioux City & Siouxland Before You Die"

Come discover Siouxland, where Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota converge in a rich, vibrant, and sometimes surprising fusion of fun, food, history, and adventure!


Holmes, Diane

"Two Sisters' Secret"

"Two Sisters' Secret" is a historical fiction novel about the immigration experience in Iowa, based on Grandma Bernadine's life; but the uniqueness is this secret between the two sisters - era, 1892-1940+. It's not just the personal story of Bernadine and her sister, but the story of rural America at the turn of the century and beyond - the days of horse-powered farm machinery and transportation, the transition to electric lights and telephones, the sadness, fear, and loneliness of an immigrant in the United States, and the very real hardship of The Great Depression. The story takes you into the heart and soul of Bernadine as she struggles on the Midwest plains of Iowa, suffering heartbreaking losses of farmland, infant son, a daughter so needlessly, and husband before his time. Readers see an impressive scene when the balance of power shifts from Bernadine's sister to her. And another powerful scene when Bernadine realizes Iowa is her home, not Germany, and wants to become a US citizen.


Hurley, Brandon

"Rapture: Fifteen Teams, Four Countries, One NBA Championship, and How to Find a Way to Win - Damn Near Anywhere"

NBA fans had modest expectations for coach Nick Nurse. What naysayers didn't realize was that Nurse had spent the past 30 years proving himself at every level of the game. Learn about how this rookie coach built an effective team culture and created a unique dynamic with his star players.


James, Bonnie

"A, B, C: The Amana Colonies"

Learn about the Amana Colonies-a National Historic Landmark in eastern Iowa! Explore fun facts and vibrant photographs of life in the Amana Colonies. Enjoy a glimpse of these wonderful, unique villages where history blends with modern life!

Children's Book

Kennedy-Bell, Laura

"Suddenly Singapore"

When seveneeen year old Brooke Bentley's father is transferred to Singapore for a year, she's bummed. What girl in her right mind wants to leave her BFFs and her boyfriend senior year to move a zillion miles away?

Young Adult/Teen

Larson, Anna

"Dear Déjà Vu, I Hate You"

Anna Larson was only twelve when she had to watch three close family members pass away months apart from each other. Larson shares a poignant story as she dives into childhood memories, everyday life and the harsh realities of losing loved ones at a young age.


Lawrence, Susan

"Restoration at River's Edge"

When his wife dies in an accident, Jon Washington inherits a dilapidated, Victorian house on a bike trail. He hopes for peace by following her dreams of restoring it as a restaurant.


LeValley, Joseph

"The Third Side of Murder"

The unexpected death of a favorite cousin takes Iowa newspaper reporter Tony Harrington and his mother to the Amalfi Coast of Italy for the funeral. There, Tony learns that beautiful young Noemi's fall may not have been an accident and may be connected to a well-known Italian organized crime boss.


Lienau, Susan

"Ruford Visits The Farm"

Ruford is a four-month-old eagle who lives in Decorah, Iowa. While soaring over the Bluffs and farmland, Ruford's curiosity drives him to North Star Farm.

Children's Book

Lillard, Amy Lee

Dig Me Out

Spanning genres, continents, and eras, Amy Lee Lillard's multilayered debut story collection is all at once outrageously imaginative, provocative, and deeply absorbing.


Lyon, Verne

"Eyes On Havana"

Learn how Verne Lyon, an Iowa State Student, went from being recruited by the CIA while a senior in 1965 to being imprisoned in Leavenworth federal penitentiary and how he graveled with the feelings of betrayal he experienced toward the high-level organization.


Martin, Maggie A.

"To Be Honest"

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing, weight-obsessed mother after her big sister goes off to college. She soon meets George, the new kid at school with insecurities of his own. Together, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy it before it disappears.

Young Adult/Teen

Martin, John

"8 Conversations To Have With Yourself"

It is crucial that we are thinking the right thoughts. These are 8 Conversations that can help you develop strategies to become the best you, and win!


Martz, Jeanne

"For the Love of Paulo"

Rakishly handsome Paulo Leonetti thrives on the attention of his lady clients at West Branch Marina on the California coast. His wife Cheri cannot compete with his female fan club and plans to reinvent herself after the birth of their baby, but will it be enough to maintain her husband's interest?


Book sites at:,,, Baker Taylor, and many other online booksites.

McDougal, Ben

"You Don't Need This Book: Entrepreneurship In The Connected Era"

You don't need this book, but when you're ready for a friendly jolt, this synthesized narrative is brewed as innovative energy to help you start that new business, improve an existing company, fire up a side hustle or evolve your own entrepreneurial ecosystem.


McLellan, Drew

"Sell with Authority"

If your agency's future is tied to making stuff, then you're destined to be on a perpetual financial roller coaster. Someone will always create elements as inexpensively as possible.


Meier & Vander Schaaf, Bonnie & Renae

"Receptenboek Van De Nederlandse Huisvrouw (Recipe Book of the Dutch Hosuewife)"

This books contains much more than recipes as it includes some history and a brief summary of each of the Provinces in the Netherlands.


Meyer, Jarod

"William of Archonia: Revelation"

William had fought until the bitter end for what he feels is right. Despite this, Archonia still lies in ruins. Heading to the frontlines he will fight friends, enemies, and monsters from the bloodiest parts of history. Is he too far gone to hang on to his hard earned Redemption?


Michaels, Leigh

"Gone... But Not Forgotten"

Illustrated memories of a mid-century Iowa town, businesses, restaurants, hangouts, entertainment, schools, events and people -- memories of a bustling small Iowa city in the 20th century.


Mullenbach, Cheryl

Stagecoach Women: Brave and Daring Women of the Wild West

As pervasive as stagecoaches (popularly known as shake-guts) were in the early years of America, it shouldn't be surprising that women who possessed a significant dose of grit and an ounce of entrepreneurial spirit engaged in one way or another in stagecoach enterprises. Though their contributions to stagecoach history were often overlooked, women drove stagecoaches, groomed and shod the stage horses, hoisted mailbags and boxes of gold bullion, negotiated contracts, bought and managed stage lines, defended (with their six-shooters) their cargo from bandits, and robbed stages in addition to fulfilling their traditional roles as housekeepers, cooks, and laundresses-and, oh yes, mothers to multiple children.


Nance, Dan & Mary

"Greubie and the Cats"

While introducing herself to the family kittens in her new home, Gerubie comes to believe that she must be a cat too! Her newfound friendship is tested by Buddy, a mean dog down the street. Will he spill the kibble about Greubie's real identity?

Children's Book

Neumann, A.J.

"Get Up, Get Going: Tales of a Country Veterinarian"

A.J. Neumann recounts heart-wrenching, many heartwarming stories from over the course of his life in Iowa, as a child of the Depression, his experience serving in WWII, his studies at Iowa State University and his dedicated decades-long veterinary career to the farm families of Northwest Iowa.


Paustian, Anthony

"A Quarter Million Steps"

Drawing inspiration from research from the Apollo Moon Program and his own life experiences, Dr. Anthony Paustian outlines the many small steps it takes to achieve anything great in life, through imagination, creative problem-solving, effective leadership, mental focus and more.


Petrosky, Sarah

"The Magic of Making Friends"

Hazel's family moved and she's nervous about starting over in a new town and at a new school. Fortunately, Hazel's new classmates and teacher are able to show her that the magic of making friends isn't that hard to figure out.

Children's Book

Porter, Gary

"Griff: My Life as Drake's Top Dog"

Griff tells of his time as the university's live mascot - from cheering on the sports teams to collecting donations for his pet food drive, working as a therapy dog, and even campaigning for president.


Putze, Aaron

"You Are Destined for Greatness"

You Are Destined for Greatness is a collection of first-hand stories and experiences of 27 famous voices with ties to Iowa, curated to inspire and empower readers to develop and enhance their leadership skills.


Reeves, Jay

"Kitty Kat Kitty Goes to the Circus"

Friendship is tested when a cat must perform or they will cancel the tightrope act.

Children's Book

Riggs, Joy

"Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters: The Story of a Minnesota Music Man"

Among the most renowned band directors in the Midwest, G. Oliver Riggs, an Iowa native who built a reputation as one of the most successful directors of youth bands in the United States. Journalist Joy Riggs set out to learn more about the life and achievements of G. Oliver-her great-grandfather.


Robert Schanke, Julie Schanke Lyford &

"Katy Has Two Grampas"

Katy tries to explain to her first-grade class that she has two gay grandpas. After her teacher assumes she made a mistake due to her lisp, the young girl is determined to get to explain the concept to her class on Grandparents Day.

Children's Book

Stockdale, Patti

"Three Little Things"

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things. One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But can their newfound love will stand the tests of time through the distance and struggles of war?


Walters, Jan

"Tempest Court - A Ghost and A Cop Series"

Des Moines Detective Brett O'Shea has hunted and killed supernatural monsters that are the basis of nightmares. He thinks he has seen it all, until now.


Waters, Daniel J.

"Barnegat Dark"

During the Summer of 1971 at the New Jersey Shore, Surf City Police Chief Mickey Cleary finds a new kind of threat that will imperil both her and those she cares most about.


Williams, Myron

"A Most Promising Planet"

Inspired by a Native American creation story, A Most Promising Planet peeks back in time to offer another view of Earth's beginning and illuminates some of mankind's most significant moments in history.