Gabriella Alexis is a senior at Miami Arts Charter School. She majors in creative writing and is a published author. She has recently been published in Rattle, Orange Island, and Creative Communication. She lives in Miami with her mother and grandmother. She loves poetry and spoken word.
Gerri Almand retired from 40-years of social work, having spent over 30 of those years with the Hillsborough County School Board in Tampa. Since retiring, she has become a Master Gardener and a Distinguished Toastmaster. The two interests are combined through volunteer work and giving gardening presentations at public libraries through Hillsborough County. She has dabbled in writing for decades and has recently completed first book-length manuscript.
Hadassah Amani is an 11th-grade student attending the Creative Writing Program at her school. She was a Poetry Matters contest winner and was awarded a gold key and B.I.G. award from Scholastics. In her free time, she enjoys playing instruments and hopes to enter the psychology field as an adult.
Danelle Antelo is a junior in the Creative Writing Program at Miami Arts Charter School. She has won 2 gold keys and 3 silver keys in the Scholastic Arts & Writing program for poetry and short stories. She has been published in the Orange Country Review, Young Poets Anthology, Austin International, and Rattle.
Holly Apperson was born in Clearwater and has called Pinellas County home ever since. Everywhere else is for adventures. Holly began studying her craft in high school and continues to learn through trial and error. She uses a Nikon to capture her love of nature but is always ready to explore new subject matter. Her work has been published in A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida; Odet; promotional advertisements; and a corporate calendar. Holly has also won contests for her work.
Patricia Blauvelt is a photographer living in the Safety Harbor/Clearwater area. Her artistic goal is to share the beauty all around us and hopefully show you something you may have passed by in a new way. If she can make someone laugh or smile while she’s capturing their memories or her own, her days are complete. She is currently very active in exhibits in the Tampa Bay area. Her work has recently been focusing mostly on macro nature photography and social issues.
After a New England upbringing,
Nancy Bruckner (a.k.a. “nb”) earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Skidmore College. Career interests led her to New York City where she was exposed to things very much not a part of small town culture, leading her poetry to focus on the dark side of human nature with an emphasis on the struggles of women and social issues. In her fifties she moved to a calmer Tampa Bay town in 2012 and discovered a supportive and conducive environment for artists and writers. Specifically for Odet, she chose to have a little fun and “with tongue in cheek” composed Rational Design in Abstract–the discovery of the writer’s artistic self.
Living in America as a woman of color, Amy Bryant’s life and that of her family has been shaped by a multicultural mosaic, spanning Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Her memoir, You CAN Go Home Again: Reflections of a Nubian Daughter, is a collection of vignettes to honor the richness of a heritage that defines her unique American experience. Amy has expanded her writing to include poetry as well as a blog for the Safety Harbor Connect online newspaper.
Nicole Caron’s nonfiction has appeared in numerous trade publications and regional magazines, including most recently CONTXT Magazine and Brevity. She is currently at work on her debut novel, a series of essays about writers and writing, and a poetry collection, This Is Life: 100 Tanka for Everyday Living, scheduled for publication by Chapter Two Press. She teaches writing and literature at Ringling College of Art + Design, where she coordinates the First-Year Writing and ESL Program. Nicole is also a freelance copywriter and editor.
A’ishah Cerrato is student at Miami Arts Charter and participates in the Creative Writing Program. He was born and raised in Miami, Allapatah. He has been previously published in an anthology and has been awarded one silver key and two gold keys in Scholastic. He enjoys reading and writing poetry.
April Corbett is an author, photographer, blogger, and mother. Inspired by her daughter, Tiana Hope, who was born with a rare brain disorder, April has two published books and has been published online for The Mighty, and Jason’s Connection. She’s an instructor for Keep St Pete Lit, as well as affiliated with Safety Harbor Writers & Poets and SCBWI.
Richard DiPietra is an actor and writer who along with his wife Mary Ellen, has written two plays. I am a Cuban Sandwich is a one-man show about growing up in Ybor City and the Ybor Stories relates the history of Ybor in different periods from its heyday to the present day. Richard is proud to have spent most of his life entertaining the people of his hometown.
Chris Dotson lives in Safety Harbor with his wife Jarine, his dog Jeanie, and his cat Vinny. Newly retired from the defense industry, Chris enjoys volunteering in the community and exploring a new hobby of creating art out of everyday castoffs he finds in Safety Harbor. Whether it be wood, metal, or items that the tide brings in, he discovers a way to repurpose his salvage finds into beautiful pieces of art.
Jarine Dotson lives in Safety Harbor with her husband Chris; her dog Jeanie; and her cat Vinny. A Human Resource professional by trade, Jarine starts her daily morning walk with a Safety Harbor sunrise. No worries about capturing the perfect picture, because every morning is a new morning of discovery! Jarine posts these photos to Facebook every morning where one can see a photographic essay of her Safety Harbor sunrises for the last several years.
Lyla Faircloth Ellzey grew up in central Florida when it was still mostly rural. A small-town girl, she attended Florida schools, receiving her double major in English and Speech from USF and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from UF. Retired from administrative work, she lives in Tallahassee with her husband, Frank. She has won a number of awards in short story competitions and they appear in journals and anthologies such as the Seven Hills Review. She has three POD books. One is a collection of short stories: She Is Woman; a coming of age fiction novel: Loosing the Lightning, and a slim volume of poetry: Peregrination: the Poetry of Journeying.
Barbara Rupp Finkelstein is the 2017/2018 Poet Laureate for Safety Harbor. Professionally she has worked as a children’s librarian, a teacher and a small business owner. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writers Workshop. Her poems have appeared in the West Marin Review, the Sanibel-Captiva Review and local Florida publications. She is a member of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets.
After growing up in New Jersey, Warren Firschein graduated from the University of Rochester in 1989 with a degree in political science, followed by a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to being the cofounder of Odet and serving as its managing editor, he is the author of two middle grade novels, The Pirate of Janaconda Island and Out of Synch, as well as the coauthor of A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida. When not writing, he is an attorney for the Federal Communications Commission. He lives in Safety Harbor, Florida with his family. Visit him at www.warrenfirschein.com.
A former advertising art director and graphic artist, Carrie Font Granato now fulfills her creative needs by writing. She is currently at work on two beach novels, which draw upon her Cuban heritage. She is the art director and an editor of Odet.
Michelle Glans is a twelfth-grade student in the Creative Writing and Visual Arts departments at Miami Arts Charter School. She has been published in Creative Communications, the Young American Poetry Digest, and Odet, and has won three gold keys in Scholastics Art and Writing as well as eight silver keys. She lives in Miami with her parents, where she enjoys photography.
Gary Hogenson wrote Bluebird Journey based on a journey of discovery he took as a young man fifty years ago. He is a retired financial executive who’s been writing for about two years. He has a keen interest in improving his writing and storytelling skills. Gary moved to Florida three years ago after eighteen years working in Israel.
Roger Howard is a retired surgeon, living most of the time in Florida, and has been writing poetry and involved in various poetry course work for the past 10 years or so. Roger considers poetry to be about the precision of words, and he experiences the limitations of vocabulary that our day-to-day lives and careers produce in us. Or, as another writer put it: “the impediment of speech with which we are afflicted.” He sees no end to the possibilities of improvement and trusts that his poems will follow.
Jeff Jeter is a former journalist and member of the San Antonio Writers Group. His poetry has appeared in Odet, Solo Novo and The Sandhill Review.
Ari Kepner is an artist who lives in Safety Harbor. This is her second year illustrating Odet. Her art was also included in A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida.
Laura Kepner is the founder of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets and facilitates writers groups, open mics, writing conferences, workshops and public art poetry projects. She is co-author of A Brief History of Safety Harbor, FL and is a freelance writer and editor. Laura was a contributor to Destination Tampa Bay and numerous print and online publications.
Wendy Keppley, a Florida native, counseled troubled teens and taught college courses for high school honor students. She enjoys family, playing with her grandsons, and living in the woods near Tampa, FL. Her passion includes writing short stories and novels as well as publishing life stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Wendy also loves kayaking, reading, yoga, exploring waterfalls, and oneirology.
Darla Klein has previously published poetry in Friends Journal, Melting Trees Review, and in Tulip Trees Review as recipient of an Honorable Mention in their Stories That Need to Be Told contest. She lives in Clearwater and is inspired by both sunny beach days and ferocious thunderstorms. If she’s not journaling on her patio, she might be seen performing at an open mic or off in the woods in silent retreat.
Deborah Klein is a Safety Harbor resident and member of the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets. She is also a participant in the Safety Harbor Art and Music Collective. She is currently working on a collection of stories and poetry that will tentatively be called, View From the Laundry Chute. She has been writing since she made greeting cards at the age of seven and sold them door-to-door from a yellow, refurbished, Radio Flyer wagon to good-natured neighbors in Canfield, Ohio.
As a scientist and amateur photographer, Bernard Knudsen has always been interested in the idea of discovery. “Discovery” usually brings to mind travel, far-off lands or things one has never seen closer to home. It was his daughter’s birth two and a half years ago that was truly the most adventurous journey of discovery he could never have imagined. He lives in Safety Harbor, Florida and has always been interested in photography.
Words and stories have always been
Karen Koven’s medium. Her passion for poetry started when she read it competitively with her high school speech team. With Wilson Learning, an international training company, she developed and delivered courses in leadership and sales. Now retired, she is taking full advantage of the wonderful gift of time to focus on her writing, especially poetry. She has been a year-round resident of Florida since 1989.
Romeo Lemay was born in Quebec, Canada in 1924 and passed away in Palm Harbor, Florida in 2013. He left a legacy through his stories in his self-published two-volume set of books Facts, Fiction Fantasies and Foolishness. While he is greatly missed by his family and friends, his memory lives on through an annual writing contest in his name.
Doran Marold is primarily a self-taught artist. She has enjoyed an over 25-year collaborative partnership with art director, fine artist & husband Frank Lane, which has allowed her the unique opportunity to hone and refine her expressive geometric abstract paintings. She also expresses her creative energy constructing assemblages with doll heads found in local flea markets. She photographs the assemblages then deconstructs them. The photographs began talking to her and tell their stories. Soon she wrote down the words which developed into Pix & Poems A Doll Head Story.
Andrea McBride lived in Ohio until 2009 when she and her family moved to Florida. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their two amazing teenagers. Besides the honor of having been published in the first issue of Odet, she has poems in other online and print journals including Sandhill Review, Alba, A Handful of Stones, River Poets Journal, and One Sentence Poems.
Marcia Jaron Morley is a former journalist and visiting instructor in English at Purdue University. She received several poetry and prose awards from Purdue and has had work published in magazines and newspapers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and a master’s in English from Purdue University. Both Indiana and Florida inspire much of her poetry. Marci resides in Clearwater with her husband.
A closet poet for many years, Louise Moses recently entered the world of submissions where she enjoys occasional encouragement. A theoretical mathematician by training, she was born in Ohio, lives in Florida, and enjoys returning to Paris.
Brooks Michael Nuzum was born in Leesburg, Florida, and now lives on the outskirts of Umatilla. He is 11 years old and attends Howard Middle School. His interests include writing, reading, word play, and mint tea. When not doing these things, Brooks is down at the pond, bird-watching. His poem Ode to a Turtle is based on a true story about the day he discovered a softshell turtle in the middle of his family’s dirt road.
Dianne Persall has been living in the Safety Harbor area for over twenty years. She has been with the Story Circle Writers group for over five years and helped edit and print three of the annual Story Circle books.
Chris Shaun writes novels in whatever genre strikes him. He also writes short stories, but you already knew that considering that you’re reading this. Also, he is currently working on the final draft of a screenplay based upon a true story that is slated to begin production sometime in 2018 (or so he’s told). He still works for a living and looks forward to causing problems critiquing writing from his fellow Safety Harbor Writers and Poets. And most importantly, his kids seem to like him.
Born in England, Camilla Shoosmith emigrated to Florida as a child and spent much of her childhood in the sunshine or in the backyard practicing science. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of South Florida and is currently studying Secondary Science Education at St. Petersburg College. In her free time, she writes flash fiction, fights for social justice, and spends time with her family.
Libby Svenson was born in Minnesota, but has come to love the surreal, often poetic Ode to a Turlteweirdness of Florida after living here for fourteen years. She has a degree in history from Flagler College in St. Augustine, and currently lives in Clearwater. Her work has previously appeared in The Flagler Review and Creative Loafing.
Lynn Taylor has lived in Florida most of her life, in the panhandle, on the east coast, and now on the Gulf coast. Florida’s history and natural world often inform her writing. She studied English and creative writing at the University of Central Florida, and worked as a print and online writer and editor. Lynn is currently a freelance writer for the Gabber newspaper, based in Gulfport, where she lives.
Jonathan Tennis is a graduate of Eckerd College (BA) and Norwich University (MSIA). He resides in Tampa, Florida, where he enjoys writing, reading, year-round sunshine, traveling, and cycling with his girlfriend and their dog. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. His work has appeared in Sanctuary Literary and Arts Journal, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, and O Dark Thirty.
Cheryl A. Van Beek is grateful to have had poems published with Odet, River Poets Journal, Sandhill Review, Poeming Pigeon and many other online journals and magazines as well as printed anthologies. She has also written for a local newspaper. A nature enthusiast, living with her wonderful husband and their two cats in Wesley Chapel, she draws great inspiration from Florida’s unique beauty.
Heather von Bargen is a Florida-based writer and photographer whose work has been featured in galleries, websites, and print magazines.
Janet Watson was born in Ohio but has called Florida her home for many years. She currently resides on five rural acres in Pasco County. Her poetry has been published in many anthologies and literary journals and in her book, Eyes Open, Listening. She is Youth and Student Contest Chair for the Florida State Poets Association and is president of New River Poets, a local chapter of that organization.
Sydney Watson is an author, adventurer, Florida native, and was an English professor who has published articles about “Old Florida” and written for scholarly journals. Her novel, Island Salt, awarded Best Book Finalist by USA Book News, was set in the Bahamas where Sydney lived with her husband for eight years. Sydney is currently completing a new novel and continues to write creative nonfiction. She has lived on the Gulf Coast in the Big Bend with her husband and four Labradors for the past two years.
McKenzie Zalopany is a creative writing student at the University of South Florida. She will be published at the Poetry Project for her poem, Plan B. She is the winner of the Estella J. Zbar award for her poem, Cat Call. She mainly writes about single motherhood, gender, and LGBTQ+ issues.