28 Voices


Jean Ann has a PhD in Linguistics and taught at SUNY Oswego for 25 years. She has been writing stories about her family of origin, among other things, since she could write. She supposes that if broken chifforobes can end up whole, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us. 

Leslie Ellen Archer is a writer retired from a career in theater design and production. She brought hundreds of stories to life on stage in collaboration with visual artists, musicians, dancers and her favorite collaborators, teenagers. She taught stage arts and creative writing in elementary, middle and high school classrooms, and in conjunction with arts projects at Syracuse University and Oswego State University. She is working on two soft science fiction series for young adult readers.

George Barber was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1950. He worked in the restaurant business for 51 years and thus considers himself graduated from the College of Life, even though he officially graduated high school at age 39 in 1989. In 1977, he was married to a woman, but in 2015, he remarried to a man and is now happily living in New York City.

Holly Besaw is a lay servant, pet-therapy volunteer, and retired educator who lives in rural Upstate New York. She is the author of a rare-disease poem and two books for the children she visits with her therapy cats. Deeply religious, Besaw draws strength and inspiration from her faith.

Ann Sutera Botash, MD, a pediatrician and writer, serves as a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at Upstate’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, Syracuse, NY, and specializes in the treatment of child abuse. A graduate of Vassar College, she grew up in Poughkeepsie and has received multiple regional and national teaching and advocacy awards.

Harriet Brown is a professor of Magazine, News & Digital Journalism at Syracuse University. She's the author of eight nonfiction books, including, most recently, Shadow Daughter: A Memoir of Estrangement. Her work has been translated into half a dozen languages.

Susan Burgess writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She is currently working on a series of essays and a novel, The Fairy Tale. She lives in Seattle, Washington where she is constantly amazed and inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Karen C. Chamis was born just north of Buffalo, New York and spent the following years living in NYC, New Jersey, and the DC area. She's grateful to have landed in Syracuse, a place that has very quickly become home. Karen's worked most of her life as a pastor, but in the time and space outside of that calling she's been active in community theater, fiber arts, and writing of all sorts. She completed a PhD in Organizational Leadership in her late 50's and lived to tell the tale. She has one spouse, one adult child (who also has one spouse), and one cat. Publishing credits include a back page essay in Interweave Knits.

Gwenlyn Davis loathed the purpose behind working in advertising design, consumerism; both before and after graduating from Empire SUNY, so she’s held many titles: life-skills instructor, activity leader, daycare teacher, stage manager, bartender, photographer, before finding passion writing memoir. “Thought I Knew Something About Breast Cancer,” appears in the anthology, Hopeful, Grateful, Strong. writing memoir. “Thought I Knew Something About Breast Cancer,” appears in the anthology, Hopeful, Grateful, Strong. Her memoir is yet untitled.

Carol Decker lives in Fayetteville, NY. She attended OCC, Syracuse University, and LeMoyne College, where her poetry was published in The Salamander in 2007. Her book, Growing Up Invisible: A Young Girl’s Odyssey, a biographical fiction is available on Amazon. She is close to finishing her second book, Thrust into Motherhood: A Young Woman’s Odyssey, which takes the reader through her adventures in high school, the shock of pregnancy, marriage, growing into motherhood, her mistakes, and her need to be loved.

Shannon Farrell is a scientist, non-fiction writer, and mother of two living in Syracuse, NY. With an undergraduate degree from Brown, a Ph.D. from Texas A&M, and a stint as a college professor under her belt, she spends her free time hiking with her sons and writing her blog at motherhoodmultitudes.com.

Mary C. Gillen graduated with a BA from CUNY Queens College, Flushing, NY.   She dreamed of writing mystery stories since age 8.  She dreamed and delayed. Now, at the tender age of 83, she has returned to the Writers Voice Program, joined two professional mystery/crime writers organizations: Sisters in Crime and Queer Crime Writers.  Moving Forward! 

Sandy Greenberg spent their childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood in Rhode Island. After studying linguistics at Brown University, they worked in the nonprofit sector and as a collegiate debate coach. They currently live in Syracuse, New York, working in human services. Sandy writes about whatever catches their interest; the resulting hodgepodge could charitably be described as "eclectic." 

Samuel D. Gruber is an architectural and urban historian, historic preservationist, and community activist. He is the author of books, chapters, reports, articles, and blogs about Jewish and medieval art, architecture, and historic sites. Sam has lived in Syracuse’s Westcott neighborhood, about which he is writing a book, since 1994. 

Felicia Haury graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She was born and raised in Southern California and has worked as a Professional Fiduciary and Social Worker. She completed the Pocket MFA Non-fiction cohort in Winter 2023. Her poem, Crab as a metaphor for don't f*** with me, was published in 12/2023 Lighthouse Anthology, All the Lives We Ever Lived. She is an avid antique shopper and experiments writing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with equal enthusiasm.

Karen Foresti Hempson, an Upstate New York resident, is a retired professor of Social Studies Education. Her self-published book, Bean Pickers, American Immigrant Portraits, won first place for memoir in the NLAPW Biennial Writing Competition. Excerpts were awarded by William Faulkner- William Wisdom Writing Competition as finalists. She recently completed a YA coming-of-age historical fiction, Shellback. 

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham inspires women to support women in business, sports, equality, and life issues. She is a twenty-year blogger, past newspaper columnist, and author of Under the Rose-Colored Hat, a story about living with alopecia. She is also dedicated to trying every sport once in her lifetime. To learn more, visit www.TracyHigginbotham.com.

Amy James was raised in Clinton, NY on a steady diet of musical theater albums, her Welsh Nana’s stories and songs, and books of all sorts. After graduating from Colgate University with a major in Theater and English, she worked variously as a singing clown, a window dresser, a coat check girl, a small-town newspaper writer, and a sometime actor and singer. A lover of words, she writes to process, document, and entertain (mostly herself). 

Dinesh J. John is a physician executive who lives in Jamesville, NY. He works for Molina Healthcare, a Fortune 500 company, and previously worked as Chief Quality Officer at SUNY-Upstate Healthcare System in Syracuse, NY.

Sarah Mawhorter is a writer, urban scholar, teacher, and gardener living in Leiden, South Holland, where she can often be found walking or cycling along the canals with her husband and dog. A Southern California native, she has lived in Texas, Michigan, Scotland, Germany, Minnesota, and Central New York.

Marissa Montgomery is an academic writer, who lives in Central New York. This is her first autobiographical piece. Her years researching the historical and cultural roots of systemic misogyny finally provoked her to write about her own life experiences. This piece is part of a larger memoir that demonstrates the power of dreamwork to intervene and interrupt repetitive cycles of violence.

Mary Nowyj is a lifelong resident of Syracuse. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Master's degree in Communication Studies. She has published with Centering, Grief Digest, and Arcadia-images of America for the Town Of Onondaga. Some of her personal interests include book clubs, sports, theater, travel, and volunteering for non-profit organizations.

Sylvia O’Connor, poet and writer, lives with her husband Dennis in Syracuse, NY. Her writing quest began 20 years ago with a simple question: How can one say so much with so little? She is currently completing a memoir centered on the devastating impact of living decades with chronic Lyme disease and then recovery. 

Kimberly Parr is a true crime writer who likes her cases cold and old. After a long career writing award-winning ad copy and feature articles for publications from Equine Journal to Roofing Magazine, she now writes exclusively about unsolved crimes at least 25 years old. A Maryland native, Kim lives in Manlius, NY, not far from the Erie Canal. Look for her on Medium, The Crime Wire, and IceColdCases.com. 

Aaron M. Perrine is a lifelong upstate New Yorker who has settled in Syracuse with his wife and son. When he isn't working with highly regulated sentences,  he can be found at local coffeehouses reading and crafting unregulated phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. 

Lee B. Savidge, award-winning author and poet, retired military veteran, and corporate engineer, graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Syracuse University, active in Syracuse, New York, writing groups, is published in anthologies, The Weight Of My Armor, Parlor Press, 2017, and What We See On Our Journeys, Willet Press, 2021. 

Jacqueline Schmitt graduated from LaFayette Central School and credits excellent English teachers for her love of a good book. After a career in public service, she now lives downstate and devotes her time to going to concerts, visiting museums, and writing about the people of New York State.

Jackie Southard and her husband, Mike, lived in upstate New York until they retired. They now reside in Greer SC and their two sons, Ryan, Scott, and Scott's wife Laura, live nearby. Jackie is writing a memoir about raising their inquisitive and curious sons, and this piece is part of her collection.

John Valliattu is an award-winning pediatric heart surgeon who has (literally) touched over 14,000 patients’ hearts in a career spanning over 50 years. He is currently an administrator and surgeon at Believers Church Medical College Hospital in India.