The Cheerleaders and Encouragers for “Leora’s Dexter Stories”

More than two dozen encouragers have been on the journey with me to see these stories published, some of them years before the first book. Endorsers and beta readers are listed separately in the book, but all of them have cheered me on in so many different ways. I thought you might like to get better acquainted with them:

Matthew Walsh – Author of The Good Governor: Robert Ray and the Indochinese Refugees of Iowa, Matt is a history instructor at DMACC. He has also written for Iowa History Journal

Bryon Weesner – Founder and administrator of the Memories of Dexter – The Original One Horse Town Facebook page (with nearly 900 members), Bryon is a long-time Dexter historian.

Rod StanleyOral historian, Dexter Museum Board member, Rod lives in Guthrie County, Iowa. 

Patti Stockdale – Patti and I “met” through an online writers’ group. She is an author, working on her fourth novel, and has a winsome website.

Dennis Peterson – Dennis, a former history teacher and history curriculum writer, is an author and historian from South Carolina.  He’s also begun to share stories from his compelling memoir on Our American Stories (his is in the first part of this one, aired for Mother’s Day). He’s already featured Leora’s Dexter Stories on his website!

Mark Peitzman – Historian and preservationist, Mark was formerly with the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. He lives in Dallas County and is related to the Peitzman family who showed such kindness by giving Clabe Wilson a job in Chapter 31, even allowing him to stay with them during that time.

Gloria Neal – A retired art teacher and my sister, Gloria is a member of the Dexter Museum Board.

Nelly Murariu – Nelly designs book covers and formats books for, which she founded. She designed the covers of both Leora’s Letters and Leora’s Dexter Stories, and formatted the paperbacks and ebooks for both.

Richard Muniz – Author Rich Muniz from Colorado has also been in law enforcement, served in the Army, and is now in IT. He’s Lawman series (under penname William R. Ablan) is available on Amazon, and he has an awesome website. He is also is a regular contributor to Our American Stories. Here’s the latest, which lasts 10 minutes.

Cheryl Mullenbach – Cheryl is the author of The Great Depression for Kids among other history books for young adults and middle school age readers, and has a regular column in Iowa History Journal.

Betty MoffettBetty taught for nearly 30 years in Grinnell College’s Writing Lab, and is the author of Coming Clean, a collection of short stories, published by Ice Cube Press. 

Mary McCollogh – Member of the Dexter Museum Board, Mary is also the librarian at the Dexter Public Library.

Darcy Maulsby Iowa’s Storyteller, Darcy is author of several books, including A Culinary History of Iowa, and Dallas County (which includes the Wilsons’s WWII story). She lives on an Iowa farm and has her own marketing/communications company, Darcy Maulsby & Co

Larry Lehmer – Is a journalist and author of The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens

Arvid Huisman – Arvid is a former newspaper publisher, also a director of The Salvation Army, Arvid  is the author of More Country Roads, an anthology selected from more than 900 of his Country Road columns, which continue today in Iowa History Journal.

Tom Honz – Tom is a Media Specialist and Teacher Librarian with the Ankeny Community Schools. He’s also our neighbor!

Pat Hochstetler -Member of the Dexter Museum Board and the Dexter Cemetery Board, Pat is also a genealogist, member of the Madison County (Iowa) Genealogical Society, and has mapped the Dexter cemetery.

Louise Hartman – I went to high school with Louise, and avid reader and genealogist. She’s been an encourager of my writing for a couple of decades.

Van Harden – Van, a Dallas County resident who lived for a time near Dexter, is an author, speaker, and Marconi Award-winning broadcaster, recently retiring from NEWSRADIO 13 WHO. Here’s his website

Robin Grunder – Robin, a ghostwriter and writing coach, is the founder of Legacy Press. She was my coauthor for Leora’s Letters, putting it on a diet and making it more readable. She has shepherded Leora’s Dexter Stories though its cover and interior design (through Nelly Murariu) and uploading everything to KDP.

Robert Frohlich – Bob, who lives in Wisconsin, wrote a compelling memoir, Aimless Life, Awesome God, and has a website. Our American Stories has produced a couple of his delightful adventures in truck-driving: 3, 2, 1, You’re It! (11 minutes) and Learning to Drive (19 minutes).

Mike Flinn – Mike is the author of several books, most of them are historical fiction having roots in Dallas County, Iowa. See his Amazon Author Page.

Doris Feller – Doris, a member of Questers and a Dexter Museum Board member, is married to the son/grandson of the Fellers whose car was stolen during the 1933 Bonnie and Clyde shootout, which is mentioned in Leora’s Dexter Stories. She also hosted me at a Quester’s meeting to talk about Leora’s Letters.

Jorja Dogic – I met Jorja, an accountant and avid reader, when we both taught ESL (English as a Second Language). She encouraged my writing well before Leora’s Letters became a reality, and she still does.

Anne Clare – I “met” Anne through her website, The Naptime Author. She writes compelling WWII historical fiction, but is also a mom, a musician, and a teacher in the Pacific Northwest.

John Busbee –  John owns The Culture Buzz, which includes a weekly newsletter and a radio program on KFMG 98.9 FM. He also writes a regular column for Cityview, articles for Iowa History Journal, and is involved in many other “creative mischief,” as he puts it, and cultural endeavors. John not only wrote the Foreword to Leora’s Dexter Stories, he also offered editorial input.

Chad Brown – Chad, who majored in history in college, is the founder and administrator of the Iowan’s Making History Facebook page, which has well over 16,000 followers.

Elaine Briggs – Elaine is the daughter of Joe Dew and his biographer. That’s how we “met,” since her father grew up at Redfield, another small Dallas County town, during the same Depression years that the Wilson children were in Dexter. Also the wife of a Michigan farmer, Elaine has been a steady cheerleader during both books. She is about to publish her second book about her extraordinary teaching experiences.

Marilyn Bode – A friend from childhood, this avid reader offered feedback for the very early version of Leora’s Letters and recently hosted me for programs about that book with two groups. Marilyn, a pianist who also taught home economics at Iowa State University, has self-published a book about having polio as a child. It’s out of print but you may see a copy of it at the Dexter Museum or Dexter Library.



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