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Meet the Bellastoria Press Authors

Portrait of Judith Arnold

JUDITH ARNOLD is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than ninety published novels. A New York native, she currently lives in New England, where she indulges in her passions for jogging, dark chocolate, good music, good wine and good books. She is married and the mother of two sons.

For more information about Judith, or to contact her, please visit her website, Feel free to check out her other books and sign up for her newsletter.

Author of Still Kicking, Kickback, Dropkick, Kick the Bucket and Kickoff

Portrait of Mary Jo Beswick

MARY JO BESWICK is an award-winning author, illustrator and mixed media painter. She was a professional artist for twenty years before turning her talent for creating whimsical paintings into writing and illustrating picture books for children. Her first published book was Lonely Lola Ladybug, which won the Vinnie Ream Award from the National League of American Pen Women. Born and raised in Huntington, Long Island, she has lived in seven different states and in the south of France, where she began painting and writing. Today she lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband, Barry, and their Goldendoodle, Ozzie. For more information, visit

Author of Lonely Lola Ladybug

Portrait of Padma Bhatt

Illustrator PADMA BHATT was born and raised in Austria, far away from the country her parents originally swept in from. Growing up, she sometimes felt like a hippo among tortoises—but was happy to learn that separate origins and different appearances do not matter in real friendships. In fact, sometimes if you’re very lucky, a close friend can end up being just like family to you. To Padma, Mimi Platzer has been one of those special people, so she was thrilled to create the artwork to accompany her friend’s touching words and help convey a lovely message in the form of a children’s story.

Illustrator of Owen and the Old Tortoise

Portrait of Parris Afton Bonds

PARRIS AFTON BONDS is the mother of five sons and the author of nearly fifty published novels.  She is co-founder and first vice president of Romance Writers of America, as well as cofounder of Southwest Writers Workshop.

Declared by ABC’s NIGHTLINE as one of three best-selling authors of romantic fiction, The New York Times best seller Parris Afton Bonds has been featured in major newspapers and magazines and been published in more than a dozen languages.

The Parris Award was established in her name by the Southwest Writers Workshop to honor a published writer who has given outstandingly of time and talent to other writers.  Prestigious recipients of the Parris Award include Tony Hillerman and the Pulitzer nominee Norman Zollinger.

She donates her spare time teaching creative writing to both grade school children and female inmates, whom she considers her captive audiences. For more information, visit

Author of Mood Indigo


PATRICIA BRACEWELL taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. A lifelong fascination with British history and a chance, on-line reference to an unfamiliar English queen led to years of research, a summer history course at Downing College, Cambridge, and the penning of Shadow on the Crown and The Price of Blood, the first two books in her trilogy about the 11th-century queen of England, Emma of Normandy.


As writer-in-residence at Gladstone's Library in Wales, Patricia conducted research for the final book of her trilogy, The Steel Beneath the Silk, to be published in March, 2021. She lives with her husband in Northern California. Visit her website at

M.C. BUNN.jpg


Catherine Bunn fell in love with Victorian England and its literature before she could read, as she listened to her father and mother read aloud from the great novels at the family dinner table and as bedtime stories. Those stories ignited her imagination. “There was never a time when I wasn’t making up a story or exploring a character,” she laughs. Inheriting her father’s great passion for storytelling, by five years old Catherine was inventing her own characters; by eight she scoured libraries pouring over dusty history books for the social and cultural web that made her characters come alive.  


That devotion to character, research, and writing propelled Catherine to UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State for degrees in English and then to the classroom to inspire other young writers like herself. Yet, for twenty years those characters haunted her dreams, crying out to be heard, to be placed on paper, and to be shared with the world. When life took a difficult turn, they came to her fully formed, tying her to her computer for three years, as scene after scene spilled out on the page. An unconventional high-born heroine and her handsome, dangerous, street-gutter paramour filled the pages with action and passion, resulting in her debut novel Where Your Treasure Is.

For more information about Catherine, visit

Author of Where Your Treasure Is

Portrait of Noel F. Caraccio

NOËL F. CARACCIO is a full-time practicing attorney in Westchester County with a concentration in Real Estate, Trusts and Estates, and Credit Union law. She has served on the Board of Directors of a number of not-for-profit corporations, including School of the Holy Child, Bonnie Briar Country Club and WARC Properties. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Westchester County Bar Association, where she was also a member of the Grievance Committee for many years. At the present time, she serves on the Board of Directors of Marian Woods, a not-for-profit adult residence in Hartsdale, New York. She is an avid golfer, having won the Club Championship at Bonnie Briar Country Club in Larchmont, New York. 


Shattered City is her second novel, which emerged from the idea of how New York City would react to a catastrophic event and whether people had the ability to rise above their own self-interest. She is also co-author of the novel Secrets Change Everything.

Author of Shattered City

Portrait of Linda Cardillo

LINDA CARDILLO is an award-winning author who writes about the old country and the new, the tangle and embrace of family, and finding courage in the midst of loss. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “Fresh Face,” Linda has built a loyal following with her works of fiction—the novels Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, Across the Table, The Boat House Café, The Uneven Road, and Island Legacy, as well as novellas in the anthologies The Valentine Gift and A Mother’s Heart, and the illustrated children’s book The Smallest Christmas Tree.  Her newest book, Love That Moves the Sun, is a work of historical fiction based on the passionate relationship between the artist Michelangelo and the poet Vittoria Colonna, the only woman he ever loved. For more information, visit

Author of Love That Moves the Sun, The Boat House Cafe, The Uneven Road, Island Legacy, Dancing on Sunday Afternoons and The Smallest Christmas Tree

Portrait of Cathy Canady Cottrell

CATHY CANADY COTTRELL AND MICHAEL COTTRELL are retired educators who live in Deltaville, Virginia with their beagle, corgi and two cats. Mike spent his career as a school psychologist and he now spends his time boating and fishing. Cathy was a reading specialist, gifted program teacher and school administrator. She is a watercolor artist and an outdoor enthusiast. Both Mike and Cathy enjoy being with their son, Josh, daughter-in-law, Laura, and granddaughter, Lola May.

Author and Illustrator of Suzy, the Nosey Beagle

Portrait of Michael Cottrell
Portrait of Ann Defee

ANN DEFEE is an international award-winning author who infuses humor into her stories of romance, family dynamics, and quirky characters. She’s written twelve novels under various Harlequin imprints—American, Everlasting and Carina. Her debut book, A Texas State of Mind was a double RWA Rita Finalist and a Romantic Times Finalist for Best First Book. Summer After Summer won the Book Buyer’s Best Long Contemporary award.

Ann is currently writing Southern Fiction. Her first book in this genre, Believe in the Magic won the Reader’s Favorite Book Award for Wizardry and Magic and the Chanticleer International Somerset Award for Women’s Fiction. The sequel When the Magnolia Blooms won the NYC Big Book award for fiction and was also a Book Excellence Award Finalist.

In her career as a business woman, Ann is the Editorial Director of Bellastoria Press LLP, a hybrid publishing company that specializes in shepherding authors through the book publishing process.

Author of Believe, When the Magnolia Blooms, A Texas State of Mind, Texas Born, Texas Road Trip, Texas Double Date, A Texas Second Chance, and Top Gun Dad.

Portrait of Bunny Duffy

BUNNY DUFFY lives in Wales with her family and other animals. She has been illustrating animals and birds since she was a small child. The bird table outside her kitchen window is invaded in summer by blue-eyed jackdaw chicks, and jackdaw nests block her mum’s chimney every year.

Illustrator of The Jackdaws of Danneberg Park

Portrait of Susanne Dunlap

SUSANNE DUNLAP is the author of nine works of historical fiction. Four are for adults (Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire, published by Bellastoria Press, and Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Five are for young adults (The Mozart Conspiracy, The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles; has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, two grandsons, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and eleven grandchildren. For more information, visit Susanne's website,

Author of Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire

Portrait of Katharine Houston-Voss

KATHARINE HOUSTON-VOSS began writing her memoir when she was thirty-two and recovering from her fifth surgery on her left foot, her seventh surgery overall. By the time she finished the book ten years later, she realized that her perspective had changed: As a child, she desperately wanted to blend in, but as a mom, she wants her son to know it’s okay to be different.


Raised in Longmeadow, MA, Katharine Houston-Voss moved to New York City to pursue her passion for performance. After graduating from New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts, she spent twenty years performing in and around NYC. Houston-Voss now works for a non-profit environmental organization and resides in Maplewood, New Jersey, with her husband and son. Learn more at

Author of Loving Every Awkward Step


KATE Q. JOHNSON is a scientist, new mom, and outdoorsy chick living in the Pacific Northwest. Originally hailing from the frigid Great White North, her creative juices only really started flowing when she moved to the relatively warmer climate of Vancouver, BC for graduate school. Her debut novel, Daughter of Carthage, Son of Rome was the stuff of daydreams at bus stops, learning about epic wars and earth-shattering events through history podcasts. She figured the only thing missing was a daring heroine to save the day! Kate is passionate about bringing history to life through action-packed stories of love and adventure.

Author of Daughter of Carthage Son of Rome

Portrait of Deb Koffman

DEB KOFFMAN loves making stuff out of cardboard. She loves animating little things. She loves Buddhist teachings. She loves the practice of mindfulness meditation. She loves home. She’s interested in capturing the essence of something…a feeling, a concept, an experience. She’s interested in the relationship of colors, shapes, design, simplicity. She’s interested in finding just the right words…in art and in life. She’s interested in the congruity of visual, kinesthetic and verbal elements. She’s interested in deeply understanding her feelings so she can use them wisely and creatively. She’s interested in deeply understanding the meaning of words, so she really knows what people are talking about. Learn more at

Author of The Magic Lamp

Portrait of Barbara Lee

BARBARA LEE earned her Bachelor of Science and a Master’s Degree in art education from Central Connecticut State University. She has been an art teacher in Lebanon, CT for the past twenty-five years. Barbara shares her passion for art with her students and inspires them to communicate visually through their own artwork.


In addition to teaching, Barbara has been a working artist in various mediums: drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture and graphic design. Papa is on the Moon is the first book Barbara has illustrated.


Barbara lives in East Hartford, CT with her husband.

Illustrator of Papa is on the Moon

Portrait of Natalie Defee Mendik

NATALIE DEFEE MENDIK is a horsewoman, journalist, and mom living in Colorado. She loves nature, animals, travel, and time with her family.

Author of What's in my Nature Basket

Portrait of Kathryn Platzer

KATHRYN PLATZER is a British writer and editor living in Vienna, Austria, with her husband. Kathryn is an enthusiastic reader, traveller, and lover of wildlife, especially birds. Her home overlooks the park where The Jackdaws of Danneberg Park is set and she talks to the birds every day as she walks her poodle, Milou.

Author of The Jackdaws of Danneberg Park

Portrait of Miriam Platzer

MIRIAM PLATZER was born in Kenya and has lived in the United States and Austria. Growing up in different places has taught her that family and friends are to be found in all corners of the globe. Knowing of her love for animals, her father sent her a news article about Owen and the Mzee shortly after the Tsunami in 2004. This touching story was the inspiration for Owen and the Old Tortoise. As a teacher who loves reading stories with her students, Mimi saw this tale as an opportunity to talk with children about their ideas of family, love and friendship. Together with one of her best friends, who beautifully illustrated her words, she created Owen and the Old Tortoise.

Author of Owen and the Old Tortoise

Portrait of Stephan J.W. Platzer

STEPHAN J. W. PLATZER, a retired chemist, began his sailing adventures on a Sunfish. Since that time, he has journeyed on larger vessels, including a Viking replica ship from Norway to England; a yacht surrounded by icebergs in the Greenland Sea; the 1890s Schooner Ernestina from Cape Verde to Newport, Rhode Island; and a steel-hulled sailing ship around Cape Horn during the winter, traveling from east to west against the wind and currents.

Author of Everybody Has a Sunfish Story

Portrait of Diane Pohorylo

DIANE POHORYLO became an ALS Advocate when her husband of 40 years passed away from the disease in 2013. She has supported multiple fundraising efforts and spoken on Capitol Hill to get funding for ALS research and benefits for patients, veterans and families. Papa is on the Moon is her first children’s book, inspired by her grandson Alex.


Diane loves interior designing, traveling the world, hiking and spending time on Martha’s Vineyard. But, her happiest moments are spent with family, especially her children and four grandsons, Alex, Colin, Adam and Owen. She is proud of her Italian heritage and loves preparing Italian food for family and friends. She lives in Connecticut with her cat, Louie.

Author of Papa is on the Moon

Portrait of Anne Easter Smith

ANNE EASTER SMITH is the award-winning author of six historical novels about the York family during the Wars of the Roses. Historical Novels Review wrote that her books: “…grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall in love with the characters…” Her first five books, including A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and Royal Mistress, are published by Touchstone Books at Simon & Schuster. The King’s Grace won the 2009 Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award, and Queen By Right was nominated in the same category in 2011. A native of England, Anne has lived in various states in the US for fifty years, settling in Newburyport in 2000 with husband, Scott.


Richard III has held a fascination for Anne since her early 20s, which led her to several decades of study of him and his period. This Son of York is the culminating book in her York-family series, with Richard as protagonist. She has been a panelist at the Historical Novel Society Conferences and taught workshops at the San Miguel de Allende Literary and Writing Festival.


Before becoming a published author, Anne wore many hats in her life: executive secretary in London, Paris, and New York; PBS auction coordinator and program guide editor; folksinger; tournament tennis player; actor and director; wife (twice); mother (twice); grandmother (once); and finally, most useful for her future authoring career, features editor at a daily newspaper in Plattsburgh NY.

Author of This Son of York

Portrait of Fred Sokol

FRED SOKOL, in semi-retirement, writes novels and plays. Hence, the previously published Mendel and Morris and the current book. His scripted work includes The Forever Boys and The Lewis Sisters. His next work of fiction, Summer of ‘65 focuses upon four months in the life and times of a young woman, then eighteen, in 1965. Fred also continues to review professional theater in Connecticut and the Berkshires for He co-authored Muses in Arcadia: Cultural Life in the Berkshires.  Fred enjoyed four decades as a community college and college professor—and directed 45 theater productions. He now teaches a small, lovely acting class through his local library. Fred and his wife, Betsy, live in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Author of Destiny

Portrait of Ingrid Teply-Baubinder

INGRID TEPLY-BAUBINDER is Austrian and lives in Vienna with her husband. She is a translator and interpreter and translated The Jackdaws of Danneberg Park into German. She enjoys managing the Jackdaws “team,” laying out pages, and running in Schoenbrunn Palace gardens in Vienna, where she constantly encounters jackdaws.

Designer of The Jackdaws of Danneberg Park

Portrait of Christine Z. White

CHRISTINE Z. WHITE has been in love with words from a young age—reading them, looking them up in dictionaries, writing them into sentences. But it wasn’t until late in life, after raising a family, that she decided to try and do “something” with her writing. That something was journalism, which she embarked on at the age of 50, writing feature articles for her local newspaper. Ultimately, that newspaper gave her the opportunity to write the essays that have been gathered into her book, Are We There Yet?


“I’ve now been writing essays for 15 years and have loved every minute of it,” she said. “I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed creating them.”

Author of Are We There Yet? Essays from my life

Portrait of Sharon Salzgiver Wright

SHARON SALZGIVER WRIGHT once lived in a town where your dump sticker gave you free parking at the beach, and it was okay to have horses in a subdivision (which she did). She danced through Bates College in Maine and received a degree in psychology. After graduation, when she discovered that the gig managing a dance company in NYC didn’t intend to pay her actual money, she parlayed her way into a career in finance, eventually earning the title, “Bond Queen.” Whether in her fiction or nonfiction, her intention is to inspire hope, discussion, and self-discovery, as well as to entertain. She is currently writing a comfort book for people going through cancer treatment, to serve as a guide and as a reflection or catalyst for one’s own revelation and natural inner wisdom. The book will inspire, comfort, empower, and offer loving fellowship during a tough time.

Author of Running to Stay Upright

Portrait of Dolores Yergeau

DOLORES YERGEAU has gone from having her short story published in The Book Of Knowledge at the age of fifteen, to having her first novel published as a great-grandmother of ten. She has written and illustrated booklets for her great-grandkids where they were the central characters. Dolores hopes to pass on her love of storytelling.

Author of Pink Sneakers

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