Ponchatoula Community Center
300 North 5th Street
Ponchatoula, LA 70454
2020 Berries, Bridges and Books Writers Conference
"Theme Title Here"
June 27, 2020
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
2020 Guest Speaker Line-up
True Crime Expert
Susan Mustafa is an investigative journalist and bestselling true crime author. She is the coauthor of The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching For My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer, written with Gary L. Stewart. Susan is also the coauthor of Dismembered, the true story of serial killer Sean Vincent Gillis, written with Sue Israel; and Blood Bath about the life and crimes of serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, written with Special Prosecutor Tony Clayton and Sue Israel.
Susan has been featured as an expert on serial killers on numerous television programs, which have aired on Discovery, Investigation Discovery, Discovery Canada, Lifetime, and National Geographic. She is currently working on a documentary series based on The Most Dangerous Animal of All that will air in 2020.
Dr. Mary Manhein
Adult and Young Writers
Mary H. Manhein, BA in English, MA in Anthropology, Forensic Anthropologist; Retired
Creator and Director, LSU FACES Lab; multiple publications in scientific journals; three non-
fiction books on forensic case work: The Bone Lady, Trail of Bones, Bone Remains. One adult
fiction: Floating Souls, The Canal Murders. Co-Author of Fragile Grounds, Louisiana’s
Endangered Cemeteries (with Jessica Schexnayder) 2017. Fragile Grounds has won 2 awards.
In 2017, started a new publishing company, Os Liber Press. First publication is beginning of
children’s series called Claire Carter, Bone Detective: The Mystery of the Bones in the
Drainpipe. Geared toward readers 10-15; next out in fall, 2019, Claire Carter, Bone Detective:
The Mystery of Skull Lake.
Researching true facts for fiction
Laura Anne Ewald is a former librarian turned freelance writer and public speaker. An eclectic scholar with degrees in classical studies, drama, library science, and organizational communication, Laura brings this diverse background and a love of reading to her storytelling, which might take the form of a novel, an e-book, a short story, a play, or a puppet show. A recent happy transplant to the “Deep South,” she shares her Picayune, Mississippi, home with her elderly parents and an ever-changing assortment of adopted stray cats.
Miss Ewald is a firm believer in strategically thinking about research and writing, both fiction and nonfiction, in order to make the biggest splash with readers. Storytelling is as old as time, and today’s writers can continue the tradition of making a lasting impression by using effective storytelling.
Dr. Larry Gray
Scripts and Plays
Larry Gray is professor emeritus at Southeastern Louisiana University where he directed
operas and musicals for the music department. For twenty years he taught in both the English
department and the Communications and Theatre department.
Scrapbooks is his first play of The Louisiana Trilogy which continues with Can’t Dance,
Too Wet to Plow and Remembering the Future. Scrapbooks won the Midsouth Playwriting
Competition sponsored by Playhouse on the Square in Memphis and was first produced at the
Circuit Playhouse in Memphis in 1987 where it was also awarded Best Drama of the Year by
Memphis magazine and was subsequently published by Theatre Communications Group.
Besides writing plays Mr. Gray is both an actor and director. His acting credits include
George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Mr. Peachum
in Threepenny Opera, Adam in As You Like It, Albany in King Lear, and Mr. Robichaux in
Confederacy of Dunces, as well as many more. His directing credits include both straight plays
and operas and musicals.
Writing has always been his first love and in addition to plays he has published many
stories and poems in national and regional magazines such as New Orleans Review, Antigonish
Review, Ploughshares, U.S. Catholic, the classic children’s collection The Land of the Three
Elves, Bayou Couer and Other Stories, and an ebook entitled Rounding Third and Heading for
When he is not writing or working in the theatre, Mr. Gray works as a licensed and
nationally certified massage therapist specializing in dancers, athletes and performers.
Working with New York publishers
R.J. Lee was born and grew up in the historic river city of Natchez, Ms,
which is home to several other writers such as Richard Wright, Greg
Iles, Alice Walworth Graham and Ellen Douglas. He graduated from the
University of the South (Sewanee) with a B.A. in English. He also
studied Creative Writing under Andrew Lytle, then the editor of
the Sewanee Review.
He has been published since 1993 and has written four novels for
Putnam and six novels for Kensington. His current series from
Kensington, A Bridge To Death Mystery, is his first foray into cozy
mysteries. The debut novel, Grand Slam Murders, was released in
January 2019 and has received enthusiastic reviews from Kirkus,
Booklist, Publishers' Weekly, Library Journal, Midwest Book Reviews,
Mystery Scene Magazine and Suspense Magazine.
Lee currently resides in Oxford, Ms, which is also home to several
current successful writers such as Ace Atkins, Neil White and Julie
Andrea Vilemont Moreau
Andrea Vilemont Moreau is a former Nationally Board Certified elementary school librarian and English teacher for over 20 years. I Mustache You to Read with Me is her first published children's book and is published by Brother Mockingbird Publishers.
Andrea writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction including articles and book reviews for a variety of publications such as Library Sparks Magazine, Mississippi Libraries, The Sea Coast Echo, and others. She also writes for Parents & Kids magazine and has a column called MomSpace.
Besides reading and writing, you can find Andrea, who describes herself as a city girl loving the country life, crafting and painting, collecting typewriters, teapots, pens, and owls, petting her dog, running from bugs, drinking lots of coffee, and eating chocolate. Andrea is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and now resides about an hour away, in Pass Christian, Mississippi with her husband, three children, and silly dogs, Vincent and Libby.
Currently, Andrea enjoys traveling to elementary schools across the South giving presentations on reading, writing, and language and sharing her book.
Tough Love Editing
Kathleen (Kathy) Mayeux has taught literature and writing at LSU-Baton Rouge and Baton Rouge
Community College. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Education, which served her well in
her teaching years and in her roles at the Greenwell Springs Regional Library and the Denham Springs-
Walker Branch Library.
Kathy has facilitated book clubs and writers’ circles; written and performed story times and puppet shows;
adapted and directed plays for library programs and outreaches; presented writers’ workshops; published
poetry in several venues and judged poetry and essay contests. She currently leads the Writers
Rendezvous group at the East Baton Rouge Fairwood Branch Library.
Using the pen name Janet-Kate Mayeux, Kathy has published a middle-grade chapter book, Monty and
Millicent’s Holiday Tales. She is at work on more fiction: an adult mystery set in Louisiana’s 2016 flood
event as well as a picture book about a phenomenally brave alligator. The publication of A Lion for Zion
(Michael Verrett, illustrator) for younger children is planned for July 2019. Her rollicking, frolicking
Christmas verse story, Christmas at the Dino Den, should see publication for this year’s Christmas
Brother Mockingbird Publishing
J.T. Alexandry grew up on Bayou Lafourche in Southeast Louisiana. She is a retired school psychologist and is presently working with high school students and children in need of outpatient mental health care. She is a songwriter and first-time playwright, currently working on The Magic Swamp, a full-length musical with original songs. J.T. lives with her border collie, Coco, her Weim, Gabriel, and a cat named Goose. This is her first book.