Local Authors

The library supports local writers in the Stillwater and Payne County area and those connected to OSU. We encourage you to read local and support our writing community. The library has a shelf dedicated to local authors located near the new fiction book shelves, next to the Music CDs and CD Books. Annual lists of published OSU faculty and staff can be found on the Edmon Low Library's "Celebrating Books" page.

If you are a local author, or if you know of another Payne County author not listed on this page, please email askalibrarian@stillwater.org to submit your information. 

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Photo of local author Brent Ashabrranner(1921-2016) Born in Shawnee, OK in 1921, Ashabranner died in 2016 at age 95. After graduating from OSU with a Masters in English, he taught at OSU for several years. In 1955, he accepted a curriculum development position in Ethiopia, leaving the US with his wife and two young daughters. For the next 30 years, Ashabranner worked in Libya, started the first Peace Corps Program in Nigeria, was the Peace Corps Director in India, and then the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps from 1967-1969. After serving for 10 years in the Philippines and Indonesia with the Ford Foundation, Ashabranner retired in 1985. In his retirement he wrote over 30 books for junior readers on cross-cultural topics and won over 40 awards for this body of work. 

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Photo of local author Quinn Baldwin.

Matthew Quinn Baldwin taught middle school and junior high English for nine years. He is presently Stillwater Middle School’s library media specialist. Quinn lives in Stillwater with his wife and two children. His books are available on Amazon as both paperbacks and e-books, and several can be checked out from the Local Author’s shelves at SPL.

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Cynthia was raised in Yale and graduated from Stillwater High School and OSU. As an elementary schoolteacher, she relied on books with visuals to brighten the historical background under discussion. After retiring she worked as a substitute at the Tulsa City-County Library system. The Genealogy Library captured her attention, where history connects the present to the past. Her books are available at the library and on Amazon.

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Photo of local author Polly Basore. Opens in new windowPolly Basore was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, Polly left Stillwater to pursue big-city dreams that took her to New York, Moscow and Washington, D.C, before settling in Witchita, KS in 1998. She spent 15 years as a journalist, and the following 15 exploring a variety of professions, including nonprofit communications director, grant writer, college adjunct professor, and philanthropist. Her three children’s books and two adult memoirs are written with purposeful vulnerability meant to engender compassion and inspire hope. Polly’s books are available at the Stillwater Public Library and on Amazon. Learn more about Polly on her website.

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Photo of local author Donita Baze.Donita, who publishes under the name D.S. Baze, graduated from OSU and lived in Stillwater for over 25 years before relocating to Estes Park, CO.  Her book is available to be checked out at the Stillwater Public Library, and can also be purchased on Amazon.

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Photo of local author Dawn Behrens.

Dawn lives in Stillwater and works at OSU. She holds degrees in English and Theatre, and worked as a teacher, writer, actor and singer for many years. Her books can be checked out at the SPL and purchased on Amazon. You can also keep up with Dawn on her Benjamin Boo website.

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Local author Art BieriLongtime physical education teacher Art Bieri has lived in Stillwater since 1959, when he was hired by the district and asked to create its physical education program. Both of Art’s books can be found in the Stillwater Public Library's Special Collections or purchased on Amazon

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Photo of local author Judith Billings.

Judith and her husband Rod lived in Stillwater until their retirement. Presently they are enjoying retirement in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Kauai, Hawaii. Judith’s book is available at the Stillwater Public Library as well as on Amazon.  

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Boyle.MacMac, a long-time Stillwater resident, wrote his first novel, Right: A Novel of Politics, in Stillwater; thus, Right is heavily based on Stillwater and its surrounding area. Mac has since gone on to write several science fiction/fantasy works. Keep up with him via his website www.partyapocalypse.com.

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Photo of local author Caleb Camp.Caleb’s passion for ministry is rooted in his own life-changing experience of Christian hospitality. As a drug addict with a history of jail time, his future looked dark—until he encountered a group of believers who met him with acceptance instead of judgment. Caleb holds a B.A. from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Gateway Seminary. He has worked as a college professor and a young adult pastor and currently works as an international recruitment specialist for OSU.   

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Judith received a BS in Education from Southeastern State University, and a Masters in Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. Living in Stillwater, she raised a family and worked for 35 years in the public school system. After retiring, she wrote under the pseudonym J. Midgley, before passing away in 2015.

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Photo of local author Alton Carter.Alton, a former foster child, and a police officer, was the first person in his family to graduate from high school and college. Now the director of youth ministries for the First United Methodist Church of Stillwater, the Oklahoma State University alum has dedicated his life to working with young people. Visit his website altoncarter.net.

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Photo of local author Scott Carter.Scott was raised in Yale, graduated from Northern Oklahoma College, and is a former NewsPress photographer. He has won numerous state and national awards for his journalistic work, and currently serves on the board of the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of Professional Journalists. He has written two novels for young adults. Learn more at his website mscottcarter.com.

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Photo of local author Fred Causley.Fred Causley has been a journalist, a working cowboy, a drywall professional and a freelance writer. With his wife, Mary, working to help feed the family, he graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1972 with a degree in agricultural journalism. He later obtained a master's degree in creative writing from OSU. In 1976, he began his career with the Department of Agricultural Journalism at Oklahoma State University. He served 25 years as an award winning science writer and editor, retiring in 2001. View his profile via his publisher's site wordandspiritpublishing.com.

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Photo of local author E.M. Chaffin.E.M. Chaffin lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma with her dog Paisley and daughter Tricki Woo. She enjoys eating mashed potatoes, petting fat animals, and taking vitamins. There was this one time she floated down the Yellow River in a raft made of inflated sheepskin, but that doesn’t have anything to do with her books. Visit her website at emchaffin.com.

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Photo of local author Carla Chlouber.(1939-2011) After retiring from a 22-year long career at Oklahoma State University, Carla and her husband Dale founded the Washington Irving Trail Museum located between Ripley and Stillwater. Using photographs from the museum’s collections and from the families of the band members, in 2008 she published the story of America’s first commercially successful western band. Carla passed away in 2011.

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Photo of local author M.E. Cooper.

Mary Ellen Cooper was born Jan. 12, 1933 to Ralph Harold Townsend and Avis Winchell Townsend in Ponca City, OK. She married Charles M. Cooper on May 24, 1952; they had nine children. Together they operated Cooper's Motorcycles (est 1930), which her daughter Mary Cash now runs. She became a prolific writer of true crime and mystery books who appeared several times on KTUL television and was featured on Court TV Forensic Files. She loved encouraging new writers at regional writers' conferences. She passed away on March 29, 2010.

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Photo of local author Lisa Courtaway.

Lisa Courtaway lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma and is married with four children. An entourage of four dogs and two cats follow her everywhere. She has worn many career-hats, from advertising to insurance to education. She loves a good ghost story, and has lived in several homes that spoke to her in mysterious ways. True crime stories, watching a binge-worthy series, reading, and taking care of her family are her favorites. Since she was young, people have often told her she should write a book ... so she did. Vist her website lisacourtaway.com.

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Photo of local author Walt Cross.

Walt Cross has lived in the area since 1979 and is a Cushing and OSU graduate. Walt writes mostly non-fiction history books about the Old West and the military. He holds degrees in both history and science and is a combat veteran of the 7th U.S. Artillery. Born at Fort Hood, Texas, Walt is the son of a cavalryman as his father served in the 87th Cavalry. Go to this prolific author’s website to see additional titles or to purchase. His books are also available at the library.

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Davis got her education at Oklahoma State University and was a librarian at the Stillwater Public Library before quitting to write her first novel. She lives in Stillwater with her husband, Lenny, and their cat, King. She enjoys reading, writing, and chocolate, and she loves toys. Debora's work is inspired by the masterful writing of Stephen King. 

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Photo of local author Lynnette Erwin.

(1960-2021) As a Mozart historian, K. Lynette Erwin was recognized as an authority on the life and career of Anna Storace, for whom Mozart created the role of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro in 1786. Erwin had extensive experience in musical theater and opera performance and earned a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. She passed away in 2021. 

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Photo of local author Allyn Evans.

Allyn Mitchell Evans is a voice in cultural influences from a female perspective. Evans's essays and articles have been published in a variety of online and print publications. A native Mississippian, Evans now resides in Oklahoma with her daughter and husband. 

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Photo of local author Jeff Fortney.

Jeffrey M. Fortney is a former U.S. Air Force firefighter and fire service training instructor. He worked for 21 years as a senior technical editor/photographer at Fire Protection Publications in Stillwater, Oklahoma, before retiring in 2023.

K.M. Fortney is a computer specialist with the Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University. 


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Photo of local author Dennis Gronquist.Gronquist, a longtime Stillwater resident, was president of the Stillwater Writers Group for more than five years and for twelve years also put out the Group’s monthly newsletter. 

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Photo of local author Bena Harper.

B. H. B. Harper, a native of Kansas and a resident of Oklahoma, is a retired college professor. Murder in Morrill is set on the Oklahoma State University campus where she and her husband once taught. In addition to writing, Harper collects Native American art and studies the Kansas-Indian wars from 1865 to 1878. She lives in Stillwater, OK

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Photo of local author Debra Higgins.

Debra has lived in Stillwater since 1979. Her children’s book is available to be checked out from the Local Writer’s shelves at the Stillwater Public Library.

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Photo of local author Julie Hunt.

Hunt earned her degree in Radio-Television-Film from Oklahoma State University where she worked at a public radio station delivering the daily drive-time news breaks and producing a weekly program called “Oklahoma Opinions.” In 2004 Hunt and her husband moved to Tennessee and Julie became a parenting columnist for Nashville’s largest newspaper, The Tennessean. She continues her parenting advice from her company’s website, smartkids101.com. Today, their programs—Babysitting 101, Safe Kids 101, and Polite Kids 101—have trained more than twenty-five thousand students in important life skills

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Photo of local author Melvin James.

Melvin was born the seventh of eight siblings on a farm in Oklahoma. After leaving the farm at seventeen he utilized his farming and ranching skills to hire into commercial jobs, paying his own way through two college degrees. James' varied work experiences, gained throughout his career, contributed authenticity to the fictional characters and their situations as cleverly described in his writings. Cherished tales of his relatives' experiences during the dramatic eras of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially from the perspective of the southern Great Plains, keenly contributed to James’ book. Visit James' author site at h-melvin-james.com.

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Photo of local author Tim Jessell.Tim attended The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree, graduating cum laude, in commercial design. When not at his drawing board, this talented artist spends his time with his wife and three children in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Tim coaches his children’s teams in baseball, softball, football, & basketball. He also trains falcons in the sport of falconry. In addition to providing cover art and illustrations for several successful children and young adult series. Visit his website timjessell.com.

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A book brought Shannon Myers Kelly and Courtney Lynn Kelly together—and perhaps led to them becoming relatives. Shannon was looking for an artist to illustrate her future children’s book. In a phone call with her brother, Walter, who was going to college in Boston at the time, he suggested Courtney.

“Courtney was living in Stillwater and practicing her art here, but not actually working in the field,” Shannon said. The two worked for a while on the book that would eventually become My Visit to Grandma Judy’s, but put it on the shelf when, as Courtney said, “life happened.” Part of that life happening included Courtney’s marriage to Walter."

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Photo of local author Nate Lee.

Nate Lee was born and raised in Oklahoma, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in manufacturing engineering technology from Oklahoma State University. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, where by day he presently works as an aircraft manufacturing engineer, but by night he is an avid player of video games, lover of music, husband and father of four. Visit his author site at authornatelee.wixsite.com/imposter.

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Photo of local author Sherrill Lewis.(1949-2016) Sherrill Lewis was a self-taught artist across diverse media. Since her senior year in high school, she has won awards for writing, art dolls, beadwork, crazy quilts, and photography. In 2010, her first technique-oriented book, Splendiferous Bead Motifs! was published. In 2014, Uncultured Pearl, her first novel in the Maggie Storm Blue Mystery Series, ultimately to have four installments, was published. Raised in Maine, Lewis moved to Stillwater in 1997 where she resided on an idyllic, never boring, five acres in Payne County, Oklahoma, with her husband Gene. She passed away in 2016. 

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Photo of local author Vera Long.(1924-2016) Vera grew up in Lawton, OK. After taking a creative writing course at Oklahoma State University, she helped own and operate dairy and cattle farms with her husband, Othadell. Long was an active member of the Stillwater community, particularly through her involvement in local poetry and writing groups. She passed away in 2016. Her collection of poetry was published in 2010.

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Guy Lozier, a fantasy and science fiction author from Cushing, Oklahoma, has written several books that combine his interests in technology, time travel, and philosophy. In 2018, Guy adapted The Eternal into a film that he produced and director, made entirely in Oklahoma.

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Photo of local author Carolyn Meyer.Carolyn West Meyer taught music in the Stillwater Public Schools from 1975 to 2004. Besides being an elementary music specialist, Carolyn and her husband Kel wrote and performed educational albums, cassettes, books, and operettas that were published by two national educational companies and distributed nationwide in the 1980s and 1990s. Later, they produced a television show for fifteen years that featured the local Animal Welfare and Humane Society dogs and cats to help them get forever homes quicker. They love to ride road bicycles and travel with their current dog, Beau. Visit Carolyn's author site at carolynwestmeyerbooks.com.

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Photo of local author Melanie Moffitt.Moffitt lives in Stillwater and graduated from OSU. Her books are available at the Stillwater Public Library, and for download at Amazon. 

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Motes holds a Ph.D in Agriculture from Kansas State University. A professor and extension specialist in horticulture at Oklahoma State University, Motes and his wife live in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

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Photo of local author Anne Nelson.Anne Nelson was born in Fort Sill, OK and grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Stillwater, OK. She attended Yale, and began her journalistic career as a war correspondent in Central America. Beyond her award-winning work as a reporter, she has gone on to write several nonfiction/historical books. She also adapted her play, The Guys, into a feature film released in 2002. She teaches at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Visit her website anne-nelson.com.

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Photo of local author Sandra Onley.Sandra Onley, a teacher in the child development lab in the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University, is the author of Halley the Sheepdog. The book includes illustrations instead of photographs, showing Halley’s point of view about her new home and family members. Onley says: “I am an early childhood teacher and I know the importance of reading to every child’s success in life. If a child can read, he can achieve his goals.”  

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Photo of local author Wayne Pettyjohn.(1933-2017) Pettyjohn attended South Dakota School of Mines from 1952 to 1954and then joined the United States Marine Corps. After Honorable Discharge from the Corps in 1957, he returned to his studies on the G.I. Bill. In 1981 Pettyjohn became Head of the School of Geology at Oklahoma State University. He retired from OSU in 1995, and then wrote two historical fiction books – one novel and one short story collection – based around Marine Corps in the Great War. He passed away in 2017.

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Photo of local author Margaret Potter.Born and raised in Syracuse New York, Potter moved to Oklahoma when her husband, Dr. Howard Potter, accepted the position of Head of Music at OSU. After the move the couple found that Howard’s mother had Oklahoma roots. Howard’s great grandfather actually lived in Stillwater in a house that pre-dated the music building that Howard works in. Potter says, “My mother-in-law’s diary crystalized things for me in that we all have a history, we all have life stories. We need to remember the moments and save them for our children or for the world! 

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Photo of local author Tim Prasil.Tim Prasil has lived in Stillwater for about 18 years. He taught for many years in the OSU English Department before taking time off to focus on books and his independent publishing imprint, Brom Bones Books. He both writes novels about a quirky yet brilliant ghost hunter, and edits the Phantom Traditions Library, a series of anthologies that includes work from Poe, Alcott, Doyle, Bierce, and other literary greats. Visit Prasil's website brombonesbooks.com.

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Photo of local author Eric Reitan.Eric Reitan, a Professor of Philosophy at Oklahoma State University, specializes in ethics (especially nonviolence theory) and the philosophy of religion. An award-winning writer and scholar, he is the author of dozens of professional articles, several short stories, and three books. Visit his blog thepietythatliesbetween.blogspot.com.

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Photo of local author Peter Rollins.(1942-2015) Peter C. Rollins taught at Oklahoma State University’s Department of English for 37 years, ultimately earning the status of Regents Professor. During that time, he served as the Assistant Director of the Will Rogers Publication Project, co-edited the scholarly journal Film and History, and made several television documentaries. 

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Photo of local author Jewel Sample.Jewel Sample holds an MS in Family Relations and Child Development from Oklahoma State University. She and her husband, Chuck, live in Stillwater, and are the grandparents to 13 children (great-grandparents of five). 

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Photo of local author Barbara Shepherd.Barbara was raised in Yale and graduated from Yale High School. She twice won the American Christian Writers’ Writer of the Year award, as well as serving as a Field Editor for Taste of Home and recipe tester for both America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. 

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Photo of local author Fred Straff.Fred was born in Seminole and raised in Pawnee, Oklahoma. His love of history drove him to write books that make history come alive and at the same time provide the reader with action and excitement. 

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Kirsten Tautfest spent eight years in Chicago, where the seeds for her book series were planted. She presently lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Tautfest holds a BA in Philosophy from DePaul University. She is married with one son and continues writing and assisting her husband in his business. 

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Photo of local author David Tomlinson.David Eric Tomlinson was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, educated in California, and now lives in Texas. His first novel Midnight Man listed as a 2017 top crime debut by Austin’s independent bookstore BookPeople and was shortlisted for both the PEN Southwest Book Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Sergio Troncosco Award for Best Work of First Fiction. Tomlinson has contributed to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and teaches craft classes for a variety of writing groups in Texas. He lives in Austin. Check out his website daviderictomlinson.com.

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Photo of local author Hannah Tuohy.Hannah Tuohy is an award-winning children’s book illustrator from Waukomis, Oklahoma. She graduated with an honors degree in graphic design emphasizing illustration from Oklahoma State University. Since her time at OSU, Hannah has illustrated over 27 books, including the Teddy Tales picture books of local author Susan Schuyler Walker. All of Walker’s books are available at the SPL. Tuohy, who presently lives and works in Tulsa, is an active member of the Oklahoma SCBWI chapter. Visit her website hannahtuohy.com.

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Photo of local author Susan Walker.Walker has lived in Stillwater since 1979. Though now retired, Walker has worked for the Oklahoma Department of Vocational Education, Fire Protection Publications, and as an instructor in the OSU English Department. She is the author of six picture books, one children’s chapter book, and two adult nonfiction titles. Visit her website writersusanschuylerwalker.com.

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Photo of local author S.K. Walker.SK Waller, a musician, songwriter, and author, moved to Stillwater from Southern California in 2000.

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Photo of local author Mary Warde.Mary Jane has lived in Stillwater over forty years where she has been active in the Payne County Historical Society and in teaching history classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Warde holds a Ph.D in history from Oklahoma State University, and has helped collect over eighty oral histories for the Oklahoma Historical Society