ACFW-IN Member Roster

If you are a member of the ACFW-Indiana Chapter, and would like your info listed, you can email your bio and photo to Jenny Filka


Karla Akins first novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was published in August, 2013.  A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith and Determined Parenting is due out in summer/fall of 2017 from Kregel.  She writes interactive, biographical narratives and content for iPad applications and has an on-going contract for her World Explorers Every Child Should Know series. Jacques Cartier hit #1 on Amazon in its category. Her hobbies are book-hoarding, swimming, and riding her motorcycle. She is represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency. She has a BA in Special Education and a Doctorate in Christian Education.

Jennifer Filka has a passion for helping people discover God’s principles through the stories of contemporary fiction.  Jennifer lives in Indiana with her husband.  Jennifer and her husband love to walk in God’s creation and bike around their town.  She loves to read fiction that inspires her to love God and love people.

Linda Samaritoni recently retired from a career in education to pursue her growing passion for writing fiction. So far she has won an elevator fiction contest, was a First Impressions finalist and a Genesis semi-finalist.  She maintains her love for teaching by conducting creative writing workshops during the school year.

Married for forty years and the mother of three sons, Linda enjoys her six grandchildren and allows them to be the first to hear tales from her childhood—stories that often end up in her books.

Michele Israel Harper is a wife and mother by day and an author, editor, and publisher by night. Sleep? Sometimes... She adores leading the Heartland Christian Writers' group and being the treasurer for the Indiana chapter of ACFW. Author of Wisdom & Folly: SistersZombie Takeover, and the soon-to-be-released Kill the Beast, Michele prays her involvement with writing, editing, and publishing will touch many lives in the years to come. Visit or to learn more about her!



Joe Allison is an ordained minister who lives in Fishers, IN, with his wife, Judy. Joe has worked in Christian book publishing for more than three decades, having served on the editorial staffs of Warner Press, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Zondervan Publishing House, and Evangel Publishing House. He has been coordinator of publishing and creative services at Church of God Ministries in Anderson, IN, since 2004. 

Joe’s first nonfiction book, The Bible Study Resource Guide, was published by Thomas Nelson in 1982. His other books include the Devotional Resource Guide (Nelson: 1984), Setting Goals that Count (Chosen: 1986), and Concerned Parents, co-authored with Linden Boggs (Standard: 1986). He is also the ghostwriter for six nonfiction books, some of which have remained in print for more than twenty years. The Wrong Side of the Mountain is Joe’s first historical novel, set in Depression-Era Appalachia, and the first in a trilogy tentatively called “Stories of the Highlands.”

Susie Bixler found the Defining Moments Writers Group, run by Darren Kehrer (2009?), and was introduced to CARA PUTMAN and the ACFW.  One could say - That was all she wrote! Susie became a member and volunteered at the ACFW conference in 2010. She was lost to the cause of the ACFW and helping fellow Christian writers. She and husband Joe, have one son and, live in the heart of "boiler maker country" near West Lafayette, Indiana. Susie prefers to think of her writing as women’s fiction. Susie was and still is a member of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation; 'Novel Group'.

As a gluten free eater, Susie describes herself as: 90% vegetarian and 10% junk-food-a-tarian. Because sometimes you just need a chocolate covered peanut, Almond Joy or Three Musketeer candy bar.

Formerly an executive managing editor with Zondervan, Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance writer and editor living once again in Anderson, Indiana. Her favorite editing assignments are novels, and she enjoys helping authors make their books the best they can be for their readers. Jean is the author of two published devotional books for children and is working on finding her own voice in writing fiction. She also writes about writing on her blog.

Kelly Bridgewater holds a B.S. in English and a M.A. in Writing from Indiana State University on the completion of a creative thesis titled Fleeting Impressions, which consisted of six original short stories. She has been published in the Indiana State University Literary Journal, Allusions, with her stories titled Moving On and Life Changing Second

In 2011, she presented her essay, Northanger Abbey: Structurally a Gothic Novel, at the Midwestern American Society of 18th Century Studies Conference. Kelly’s writing explores the ideas of good prevailing over evil in suspense. Kelly and her husband reside with their three boys and two dogs.  

Born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana, Jamie Carie is the daughter of a preacher man. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds—creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.

The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.

Piles of poems, short stories, skits and song lyrics later, Jamie grew up and married. When her eldest son turned five she decided to try her hand at novels. Snow Angel was published and won the USA Book News “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Now, with seven books and counting, it was the beginning of her dream career. If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, "Live the dreams God has destined you for!"

Ramona K. Cecil's creative writing credits began first, with the publication of her poetry. Between the mid 1980s and 1990s over eighty of her inspirational verses were published by Dickson, Inc., a leading publisher of inspirational and Christian gift items.

Larkspur, her debut novel, was the 2005 winner of Vintage Romance Publishing’s Vintage Inspirations Contest. Part of first-place prize was a publishing contract with Vintage Romance Publishers, and the book was released November 2006. Since then, Cecil has had many more novels published by Heartsong Presents and Barbour Publishing. Her work has won first place in three writing contests and placed highly in two others.

USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at and connect at Facebook at

Janet Dean writes inspirational historical romances. Her journey toward publication took nine exciting, sometimes painful years of learning her craft and dealing with rejection. Two of her manuscripts were 2005 and 2006 Golden Heart finalists. One of those manuscripts was a 2006 Genesis finalist. She is the author of Courting Miss Adelaide and Courting the Doctor's Daughter, both released from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical.

Denise Hunter is the best-selling author of The Convenient Groom and Surrender Bay and has written 14+ novels. Her books have earned awards such as the Holt Medallion and the Reader's Choice Award.

Denise lives with her husband and three sons in Northern Indiana. When she's not writing or reading, Denise enjoys playing drums, eating dark chocolate, and traveling.

Candice Sue Patterson is the author of Bright Copper Kettles (December 2014) and Silver White Winters (winter 2014), both Christmas contemporary romances from Pelican Book Group. 

Candice studied at the Institute of Children's Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in southern Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she's not tending to her chickens, splitting wood, or decorating cakes, she's writing. Candice is a Sunday school teacher who's addicted to coffee and loves to travel. 

 Erma Bombeck Global winner Rachael Phillips began her unplanned writing career when a church secretary seeking newsletter articles held her at gunpoint. She is the author of Ride with Me Into Christmas (September 2010), a novella for Barbour Publishing. She also won the Young Adult category of the 2007 ACFW Genesis contest for her unpublished novel Song of the Orphan Train

Rachael has authored four biographies: Frederick Douglass, Billy Sunday, St. Augustine and Well with My Soul. A newspaper columnist with more than 200 bylines, Rachael has written humor for ACFW’s Afictionado, Today’s Christian Woman and others. She has contributed stories to collections such as Moody Publishers’ Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace (2009).

Rachael’s classes on humor writing have enlivened gatherings such as ACFW Indiana meetings, the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference and the 2008 Books and Such Literary Agency retreat. She will take her workshops, complete with beach balls, to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March 2010. 

Christa Plew has been a storyteller from the moment she keyed her first idea into her grandmother’s old typewriter at age six. With a continual desire to learn and study, she went to Indiana University on a writing scholarship where she earned a bachelor degree in Journalism and a bachelor degree in Spanish. Upon deciding there was still too much to learn out there, she earned an MBA.

After working for a few radio stations, she returned to her hometown, Warsaw, Indiana where she currently lives with her husband Cam and dog-child Dafne. She spends her days working with Latin American affiliates of Biomet Orthopedics and her nights either studying her third language or lost in another world, typing away on her computer. She loves to be consumed by an idea to the point where her characters become common topics of dinner table discussions. She’s amazed at the way God has used writing throughout her life to bring her closer to Him.

She tends to write mostly supernatural Christian fiction due to her strong belief in angels and demons and their daily interaction with us. Her goal in life is to shine the light of Jesus wherever she goes and to help remind people that God is always near. She has completed the first supernatural fiction book in a trilogy, currently titled, Water Can Be Dangerous, but has decided to hold off on publishing until she can finish the second and third books in the series. She looks forward to progressing in her writing career and to serving the Indiana chapter of the ACFW in the future.

Cara Putman is an author living a dream. Between October 2007 and September 2008, her first four books will release. Three are a historical romance series set in Nebraska during World War II, which Heartsong Presents will release. One is a suspense, also set in Nebraska, that will release from Love Inspired Suspense. She's working on a proposal for a legal thriller as she writes like a woman under deadline.

Cara is also an attorney, wife, mom, women's ministry leader, ACFW national board member, and going slightly crazy. But even in the craziness, she strives to stay right in the middle of God's will for her life. And she can't wait to see what He has next.

Marissa Shrock is language arts teacher who enjoys working with her seventh grade students. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a degree in elementary education and a middle school endorsement in English. She has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses and is a member of ACFW.

Marissa’s debut young adult novel The First Principle was released in January 2015 from Kregel Publications. She loves shopping for cute clothes, baking for family and friends, traveling to new places, and playing golf.

Peggy Trotter has been writing something for over 30 years. The empty-nest syndrome set her to groping for a new direction, and wow, did God answer! Year of Jubilee, a Christian Historical Romance set in southern Indiana, will debut in April of 2015 through Prism Book Group. A second, a Contemporary Romance entitled, Reviving Jules, will follow in 2015 as well. She loves to reveal God’s miracles through the world’s underdogs and mix in a little love and happy endings. 

She finaled in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest in 2013 in the inspirational Category, and is a 2014 ACFW Genesis Finalist in the Novella Category. Seldom does she stand still, but when she does, it’s to praise her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Creator of all gifts and Bestower of all blessings!

Jude Urbanski writes inspirational romance and non-fiction. In 2006 Langmarc published Jude's non-fiction story of her daughter's tragic automobile accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Jude has had magazine articles published and won the Writing for Excellence award from her Indiana State Nurse's Association. She's also edited newsletters and writes a column for her church paper. People, reading, travel and nature are her passions. She and her husband enjoy their large family, antiquing or crewing for hot air balloonists. She's a former nursing professor and nurse practitioner in women's health. 

Ronda Wells has volunteered as a hostess for workshops and late night chats at the ACFW national conference, and thinks that joining ACFW in 2003 was one of the best things she ever did. She writes medical suspense--and by day, is a physician, by night, a daring doctor saving the world from the newest medical threat. She is married, with two children and a brand-new daughter-in-law, and enjoyed the opportunity to serve Indiana ACFW as treasurer. She served as Treasurer in 2010, 2011, and 2012.


JoAnn Durgin is the author of six novels (and counting) in the bestselling Lewis Legacy Series, as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other novels include Catching SerenityHeart’s DesignLove So Amazing (Book #1 in The Wondrous Love Series), Perchance to DreamEchoes of Edinburgh, and the popular Starlight Christmas SeriesJoAnn lives with her husband and three children, as well as new grandbaby, Amelia Grace, in southern Indiana. She loves to hear from her readers at her author site,,  or on her Facebook page at