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WWA Board of Directors

Name  Title and Term Bio  Assignments 
    Luella Schmidt



Luella Schmidt is the co-founder and co-host of the Midwest Writers Room podcast. She writes fiction and essays about culture, democracy, justice, and history. She is the author of the America This Week series on Medium and the creator of Mirror in the Sky, a community that lingers with our best novels, movies, and albums, and celebrates the joy and growth this brings. She is the founder of Fine Point Consulting, a professional services firm that helps small businesses flourish. She lives with her husband Roger, cat Stifler, and dog Cece.   Board Chair
   Laurie Scheer  Vice President

Laurie Scheer is the co-founder of New Nature Writers and a Writing Ranger. As a former vice president of programming for WE:Women’s Entertainment, Laurie analyzed manuscripts and scripts as they entered the competitive media marketplace. Laurie has been an instructor at numerous universities across the U.S. from Yale to UCLA. As a professional speaker, she has appeared at numerous annual writing conferences. As the Director of UW Madison’s annual Writers’ Institute, Laurie was the managing editor of The Midwest Prairie Review, and a writing mentor to hundreds of students (of all ages) in person and online.

Events, Vision Team
  Barry Wightman


Barry Wightman has been president of WWA since 2018. His novel, Pepperland, received a starred review on Booklist, and was a winner of the Silver IPPY from the Independent Publishers Association. He is past fiction editor of Hunger Mountain, A Journal of the Arts in Montpelier, VT. He holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A long-time reviewer for the Washington Independent Review of Books, he is also a professional voiceover talent and a Milwaukee NPR award-winning essayist. He’s a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association Board of Directors and is past program chair for the UWM-Waukesha SE WI Festival of Books.
  Russ Klingaman Member I’m an attorney, a pilot, and an aircraft owner. My practice includes aviation law and intellectual property. I also teach Aviation Law at Marquette’s law school. My book isn’t finished but it tells the story of the legal and business feuding between the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss over the invention of flying machines and controlled flight. It is the untold story of the aileron patent litigation. It demonstrates how the combination of poor business decisions and attorney misconduct wrecked the early U.S. aircraft industry, wasted fortunes, took lives, with a negative impact on the course of world history.  Vision Team Co-Chair


   Christa Bruhn



Christa Bruhn is an American author, photographer, and culinary artist with a lifelong passion for peace and justice. She grew up in Detroit following the rebellion of 1967 and has since witnessed the revival of Detroit, hopeful change with the fall of the Berlin Wall, reconciliation in South Africa and Northern Ireland, and increased understanding of racial injustice and inequality in the US. Through her father’s curiosity to explore his divided homeland as a professor of German, Christa spent time on both sides of the Iron Curtain to witness the dual narrative of one nation. She also traveled to Israel and Palestine which sparked a lifelong commitment to make a difference in a land two peoples call home. Her decades of experience as the mother of three Palestinian Americans culminated in her memoir Crossing Borders: The Search for Dignity in Palestine. Christa holds degrees in International Studies (BA), Middle Eastern & North African Studies (MA), and Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (PhD). She splits her time between her home in Madison, Wisconsin and Jalameh, Palestine. Secretary Archival Chair

(Board Meeting Minutes/State Archives Oversight/

Google Drive Oversight)

   Nick Chiarkas Member
I grew up in the Al Smith housing projects on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When I was in the fourth grade, my mother was told by the principal of PS#1 that "Nick was unlikely ever to complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation." Instead, I became a writer, with a few stops along the way: a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the President's Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency. On the way, I picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University; a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard. How many mothers are told their child is hopeless? How many kids with potential surrender to desperation? That's why I wrote Weepers and Nunzio's Way — for them.
   Jennifer Rupp Member
Jennifer Trethewey is the pen name of Jennifer Rupp. She writes sexy, sweeping Highland romance combining on site research, wonderfully flawed characters, and a liberal dose of humor. Her first four historical romances from the Highlanders of Balforss series released by Entangled Publishing, have achieved critical success. She has placed in numerous regional writing contests and is a member of Chicago North Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Writers Association, Red Oak Studios, Off Campus Writers Workshop, Regency Fiction Writers, and Chicago Writers Association. She is also Co-Founder and former Co-Artistic Director of Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theaterworks.
Critique groups
   Rebecca Swanson Member Rebecca is a lifelong creative writer and spent her professional career directing communications in the nonprofit sectors of healthcare, the arts, membership organizations and more in the Twin Cities and Chicago. She is currently working on a poetry collection and has novels and screenplays in progress. Now "mostly retired," Rebecca has lived in the north woods of Wisconsin for the past several years. She and her partner Joe are committed volunteers to help ensure healthy lakes and spend much of their time hiking the trails of our inspiring Wisconsin area. Media, northern events
   Kathleen Waldvogel Member Kathleen (K.M.) Waldvogel enjoys writing for children. She is the author of a middle-grade book, Spies, Soldiers, Couriers, and Saboteurs: Women of the American Revolution, highlighting little-known women and their role in America’s fight for independence. She also has two picture books Three Little Ghosts, and Whoo, Whoo, Who’s Out There?

Waldvogel is active in the Wisconsin Writers Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as writing groups in Wisconsin and Arizona.
Contests, book reviews, northern events
   Margaret Rozga   Margaret Rozga served as the 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate and the 2021 inaugural artist/scholar in residence at the UW Milwaukee at Waukesha Field Station where she offered workshops and write-ins. She continues to offer Field Station poetry events and is working on a new collection of poems, Restoring Prairie. Her fifth book is Holding My Selves Together: New and Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press 2021).  TBD

WWA Committee Chairs

   Committee  Name  Bio
   Events  Christy Wopat Christy Wopat’s award-winning memoir, “Almost a Mother: Love, Loss, and Finding Your People When Your Baby Dies,” was published by Orange Hat Publishing in 2018. A 4th-grade teacher, busy mama, and wife, Christy has always relied on writing as a way to cope. Recently she decided to use that strength as a way to help others, so they don’t have to feel alone.

Christy is a board member of the Mississippi Valley Writers Guild, and an award-winning essayist at Um, You Guys?. She lives with her husband and kids in Holmen, Wisconsin.
   Membership  Tricia Quinnies 10 Fun Facts About Me:
* Foo Fighters Fan Forever
* They will always be called bubblers, not water fountains.
* Raised in Milwaukee, adore Lake Michigan and love road trips to Door County.
* My three sons taught me how to be silly. “Laughing more means living better.”
* I'm energized by her sisters and soul sisters.
* As a journalism major, I am a profound news junkie.
* I studied art history at University of West London and fell in love with England.
* My favorite museums: Tate Modern, Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
* Twizzlers or Red Vines? Twizzlers
* My life guru is Tom Petty
   Publications  Lisa Lickel Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author of inspiring fiction who loves books, collects dragons, and travels. She writes novels, short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa is a member of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association, where she is the WWA Press manager and editor of Creative Wisconsin Magazine. She is also a book coach and assistant director for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. Lisa is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.

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