Meet Your UPPAA Board
of Directors…Volunteers All
PRESIDENT: Victor R. Volkman has served as UPPAA webmaster since 2009 and President since 2019. Victor is the owner of Loving Healing Press, Inc. in Ann Arbor, MI which specializes in publishing empowering books which redefine what is possible for healing mind and spirit. LHP has published more than 200 books in hardcover, paperback and eBook platforms. Other imprints of LHP include Modern History Press, which tells stories of conflict and the struggle for identity in modern times. Most recently, Modern History Press has published the U.P. Reader, an anthology of stories, essays, and poetry written entirely by UPPAA members and distributed throughout the UP. He received a BS in Computer Science from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. Victor Volkman and Irene Watson were the hosts of Authors Access, a bi-weekly podcast about marketing, publishing, and editing your books in all genres.
VICE-PRESIDENT: Gretchen Preston lives in, and writes about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is a sought after public speaker on a variety of topics. Her presentations entertain a variety of audiences ranging from small children to keynote addresses at professional conferences. Gretchen is the 2017 recipient of the Marquette Art Award for Writing. Her current children chapter book series, the Valley Cats invite the reader into her world living in the Valley, a remote location nestled in the foothills above the south shore of Lake Superior. She has a knack of weaving historical and scientific facts into her stories. “You won’t even realize you are learning, as you enjoy the antics of the Valley Cats,” Preston admits.
Legally blind since age eleven, Preston writes her books on a computer equipped with talking software. She feels strongly that this helps her with her sentence structure, and the cadence of her stories when read aloud. Preston’s readers call themselves, “Valley Cat fans.” They collect and trade character cards from her books. Not just for cat-lovers, her stories feature all of the animals living in the Valley woods. Preston’s lack of vision has enabled her to become a keen observer of nature from the use of her other senses, a tactic she shares with her young readers. Her tales feature adventures, mishaps, and silly fun. Accompanied by her Leader Dog Floyd, Gretchen is an active member of her community. She is the Vice President of the Marquette Lions club, and the Leader Dog Chair for Upper Peninsula Lions. An advocate for the visually impaired, Gretchen is a volunteer Ambassador for Leader Dogs for the Blind. To learn more about Gretchen, visit her website; www.prestonhillpress.com. For information on Leader Dogs for the Blind, go to www.leaderdog.org.
TREASURER: Larry Buege has a BS degree (Chemistry), BA degree (Psychology), and a BS in Medicine degree (PA Program), hardly a background for a literary career, but in 1999 he was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. It was questionable if he would ever speak again. Looking for a way to earn a living without speech, he turned to writing. Little did he know there is no money in writing. He is now seventeen years cancer free with limited speech, but has an addiction for writing.
Buege has eight books with his name on the spine. His novels come in a variety of genres including Cold Turkey (regional humor), Super Mensa (techno-thriller), and Miracle in Cade County (love story/mystery). Currently his best-selling novels are his Native American Series, which takes place 100 years B.C. (Before Columbus). They include Chogan and the Gray Wolf, Chogan and the White Feather, and Chogan and the Sioux Warier. Buege has been treasurer of UPPAA since 2015 and enjoys counting other people’s money.
RECORDING SECRETARY: Jan Kellis joined the UPPAA Board in 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and works as a field engineer for an electric utility company. Jan’s been writing since she’s been able to hold a crayon and she has published seven books. Bookworms Anonymous, Volumes I and II, are a true account of the non-traditional book club she helped found in 2000. The group meets monthly and provides Jan with great material. She’s also written a travel memoir about her 2010 trip to Italy with her reluctant teenaged daughter, and three novels, all based in the UP. She loves to visit reading groups and libraries to talk about her books. When Jan isn’t reading or writing, she’s traveling, knitting, quilting, camping, or making soap. For the latest news, or to book an appearance, please visit her website.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Brandy Thomas is a freelance editor based in Marquette, Michigan, who specializes in fiction but works and edits across the publishing spectrum. This includes working with indie and traditionally published authors in areas including mass media, non-fiction, doctoral dissertations and master’s thesis, science-fiction/fantasy, and other fiction. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and holds a Master’s in Mass Communication and Media Arts. She has gained experience in writing and editing for public and corporate video productions, developing an adult continuing education class at Spokane Community Colleges, and editing a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction for local authors. When not at her desk, Brandy can be found drawing, painting, sewing, quilting, exploring the beautiful Upper Peninsula, taking pictures, or curled up with a good book.
NEWSLETTER EDITOR: Deborah K. Frontiera grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has lived in Houston since 1985, and taught in Houston public schools until 2008. A “migratory creature”, she spends the summer months in her beloved U.P. and the balance of the year in Texas. Three of her books have been honor or award winners. She has published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for all ages in both books and periodicals. She taught part time for Writers In The Schools in the greater Houston area from 2008 through 20016. She is the newsletter editor for the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA) and has helped judge many writing contests for both students and adults. For details about her many books and accomplishments, please visit her website.
CHAIR OF PUBLICATIONS: Mikel Classen has been writing about northern Michigan in newspapers and magazines for over thirty-five years, creating feature articles about the history, travel, outdoors, and culture of Michigan’s North Country. A journalist, historian, photographer, and author with a fascination of the world around him, he enjoys researching and writing about lost stories from the past. Classen makes his home in the oldest city in Michigan, the historic Sault Ste. Marie. He is also a collector of out-of-print history books, historical photographs, and prints of Upper Michigan. At Northern Michigan University, he studied English, history, journalism and photography. He lives with his wife, Mary L. Underwood, and his Labrador retriever, Grand Sable Dune. His book, Au Sable Point Lighthouse: Beacon on Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast, was published in 2014 and his book, Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial, was published in 2015, both by the History Press. He has two books of fiction called Lake Superior Tales and Journeys into the Macabre, both published by NetBound Books. To learn more about Mikel B. Classen and to see more of his work, check out his website.
WEBMASTER: Jenifer Brady has bounced between serving UPPAA as Recording Secretary and Membership Secretary since 2011. She has served as Webmaster since 2019. Jenifer grew up in Iron Mountain but has lived in Wisconsin since attending college at UW – Green Bay, where she majored in Psychology and Human Development. She is a wife, mom, photographer, summer camp counselor/dean, and (of course) writer. Her Middle Grade/YA Abby’s Camp Days book series takes place at a fictional UP summer camp. Her first book, Buddy Check, takes place in the same world. She started her publishing company Perch Lake Cabin Press in 2019 and plans to finish her 10-book series (7 are currently published) and has begun work on a new fantasy series, which is quite a departure from summer camp. To find out more about her books, check out her website or her Facebook Page, I’d Rather Be at Summer Camp.
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