From The Pen Woman, Spring 2022

book coverBrenda Spalding (Sarasota Branch) won the children’s book award at the Eyelands International Book Awards for her book, “Sailing Away to Nod.” Based in Greece, the competition receives entries from all over the world. Her book has also received the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Award. Spalding is a prolific author, with eight children’s books and 10 romantic suspense novels to her credit.

Carol White (Boca Raton Branch) was interviewed for Art & Culture of Palm Beach County Winter 2022 magazine edition. The subject: “Work in Progress – A Playwright’s Tale.” The article describes her 20 years as a playwright and involvement in the theatre community.

Cinzi Lavin (member-at-large, Massachusetts) was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Golden Shield Award by the National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America (NSDFPA). The Golden Shield Award is given to a nonmember who is prominent in his or her field of expertise and who has made exemplary contributions in one of the areas to which NSDFPA is dedicated. Lavin’s award recognizes her achievements in promoting American history through her musical and dramatic works.

book coverGail Wilson Kenna (Chesapeake Bay Branch) recently completed a fifth year as creative nonfiction judge for the 30th Soul-Making Keats (SMK) literary competition in San Francisco, an outreach program of the NLAPW. In 2020, Kenna bound 13 award-winning fiction and nonfiction selections in her book, “A Soul-Making Keats Collection” (available at Included in the book are five winners from the 2020 NLAPW Biennial, plus “Three Artists in Arrested Time,” second overall winner (of three genres) in the 2019 Vinnie Ream competition.

watercolor painting
“Helping Hand,” (27 x 19 watercolor and oils) is one of Bonita Tabakin’s pieces being featured at Vatican Palace. The painting symbolizes the Earth’s rebirth, in honor of people like Greta Thunberg and biofuels like Agenol.

Jamie McArdle’s (Bayou City II Branch) first fiction work, “Grace,” won a short story contest titled “Ritual” by Synkroniciti, a Houston, Texas, digital magazine. The story was also published in the magazine’s March edition. “The contest was extremely competitive … and ‘Grace,’ the first published work by an extremely talented writer, stole our hearts,” the magazine’s announcement said. “The characters are so well fleshed out and human that you will finish wanting more about this new American family.”

Marcia Dunscomb’s (Atlanta Branch) piano books are now available on and on “Let’s Begin,” a beginning piano or keyboard method; “Let’s Perform Book One,” which contains compositions of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Grieg; and “Let’s Perform Book Two,” which contains easy piano arrangements of famous melodies from the classics.

photo art
Susan S. Buzzi’s signature piece for
her exhibition, “This is How I Feel,” is a digitally manipulated image so as not to compromise an identity.

Susan S. Buzzi’s (Fort Lauderdale Branch) story, “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” was included in the collection “And Then the Pandemic Hit… COVID Chronicles,” published by Middle River Press in 2021. She also recently received a 2022 individual artist grant from Broward County, Florida, for her photo-documentary, “This is How I Feel,” which will consist of an exhibition, lecture, and workshop addressing domestic violence and abuse.

Patricia Dennis  (Santa Clara County Branch) won first place in the photography division at LGAA Greater Bay Art Show for her photograph, “Resilience.” The photograph captures barren trees in the Yellowstone forest that have been devastated by fires and stand in stark contrast with the vastness of the rippling blue lake. “The tree branches remind you that things can change in an instance. The fact that the trees still stood spoke of resilience. In the distance, a forest stood and with it came the knowledge that the surrounding area would also be renewed during time,” she said.

Bonita Tabakin’s (Chevy Chase Branch) spiritual art creations were selected to appear in an international exhibit at the Vatican’s Palace the beginning of March. The exhibit was by invitation only. In Rome, Italy, the exhibit was highly publicized throughout all the PR media. Tabakin will be receiving two books based on this exhibit.

From The Pen Woman, Winter 2022

Martha Steger’s (member-at-large, Midlothian, Virginia) travel articles on the pottery trails of North and South Carolina and on the holiday illuminations in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area appeared in the November and December issues of “Richmond Magazine.” A regular contributor to the magazine, Steger also wrote a feature article on handling stress, anxiety, and depression for the December issue.

Kay Williamson (Cape Canaveral Branch) recently took first place for her composition “Christmas Day” in Florida’s biannual conference that took place virtually in October.

Ida Angland (Greenwich Branch) recently created short videos of live performance excerpts with the Gateway Orchestra, where she serves as music director and conductor (as well as the artistic director for Gateway Classical Music Society). The professional orchestra has approximately 70 musicians, and Angland’s videos feature symphonic and operatic repertoire and highlight outstanding soloists from all over the world. View the videos at

Vera Ripp Hirschhorn (Boca Raton Branch), author of “I’m Somebody & So Are You! A Toolkit for Encouraging Personal Growth via the Arts,” was invited by Richard Blanco, President Obama’s inaugural poet, to share in Blanco’s newsletter her presentation based on his poems. It was in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Blanco also suggested that his subscribers check out her website for ways to “create curricula for social change.”

book coverSherry Boschert’s (member-at-large) new book, “37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination,” will be released by The New Press on March 8 and is available for presale. She’ll be speaking at the American Historical Association meeting in January and at the Organization of American Historians meeting in April/May, among other events. See more information on her blog, “37 Words.”

Robie Benve (Central Ohio Branch) had work at the Marcia Evans Gallery, in the Columbus Short North Arts District, during October. For this show, Benve created a new body of work — a collection of colorful, semi-abstract, landscape paintings using paper and acrylic paint.

“The Wedding,” one of Marie-B De Amicis’ photographs on display.

Marie-B Cilia De Amicis’ (D.C. Branch) Washington Printmakers Gallery photography exhibit, “Moments Exceptionnels,” was reviewed in the Washington Post. “In a De Amicis picture, color is sheer joy, and its lack can be ominous,” the review said. De Amicis was born in Africa, where the light and the colors gave a sense to her passion for photography.

Joan Cartwright, PhD (Boca Raton Branch), has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2022 Documenting Jazz Conference in Wales in March. It will be a hybrid conference due to COVID restrictions. The conference theme is The Real Book of Diversity.

Dawn Petrill’s (Central Ohio Branch) painting, “Passing Through,” was included in the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Alumni Show. Her mixed media drawing, “Musing at Indian Run Falls,” was part of the Dublin Art League’s juried Irish Show, and her painting, “A Calm Landing,” was part of the Floyd Center for the Arts 2021 Juried Show.

Bev Goldie (Central Ohio Branch) received a professional artist grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council for 2021-22 for a series of encaustics titled “Derived from the Palettes of the Masters.”

Patricia Moore’s (Sarasota Branch) column, “The Iconic Statue on the Bay,” was published on the Herald Tribune opinion page Sept. 21. She wrote the column in response to an article titled “Sailor and the Nurse” published in the newspaper.

“Magpies” by Anita Burgess.

Anita F. Burgess’ (Central Ohio Branch) mixed media painting, “Magpies” (below), was shown this past fall in the 19th Kaleidoscope Exhibition for Akron visual artists. The juried show featured 65 artists.

Vivian Ripley’s (Central Ohio Branch) 49 pieces—watercolors, pastels, and acrylic paintings— are on exhibit at The Arts Castle in Delaware, Ohio, through Jan. 7.

Dawna Hammers (member-at-large, MA) recently released a new CD, “Look Into the Fire: New Chants for a New World” (available at It features 15 original chants with her soothing native drums, rattles, flutes, and velvet vocal melodies and harmonies. Her music also weaves in prayers for earth, air, fire, water, and sacred sound.

Julian Adair (Omaha Branch), Ever After Productions artistic director, staged “Nutcracker Delights,” an original piece she wrote and produced, at Bellevue Little Theater in December. She also choreographed the production of “Bright Star” by Steve Martin and Eddie Brickell, to be staged Jan. 21-Feb. 18 at the Omaha Community Playhouse; and “Ernest in Love” coming to the University of Nebraska Omaha Theater Department in April.

Renate Fackler (Central Ohio Branch) was commissioned by the family of James Thurber and Thurber House to create a bronze sculpture of his mother’s dog, known as “Muggs, The Dog that Bit People.” The beautiful, life-sized sculpture of Muggs, sculpted then poured in bronze, sits atop a tall granite pedestal at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

Tina Jones Williams (in blue dress, center of painting) depicted in the mural.

Tina Jones Williams (Santa Clara County Branch) was featured alongside prominent South Berkeley figures in a mural depicting the history of the city. She garnered the honor due to her “Julia Street” book series and bi-annual neighborhood walks that begin and end on the namesake street, where she grew up and her four books are set. Recently, a plaque was added to the mosaic art at the base of the mural with her name and quote.

Julie Dolphin (Greenwich Branch) recently performed her original composition, “Da pacem Domine/L’oiseau bleu” for the special confirmation ceremony presided over by The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, at Saint Matthew’s Church in Bedford, New York, where she has been singing with Anthony Newman since 2015. This composition takes the form of an auto-duet as she sings along with herself (via iPad) in her new setting of the well-known Latin text combined with her setting of a poem by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, which offers a fleeting glimpse of peace.

Karen Kirshner (Long Island Branch) showed her artwork for sale at the Red Dot Miami exhibition with the George Billis Gallery, the National Association of Women Artists anniversary exhibition in New York City, and at the ADC Gallery in Cincinnati (as a finalist in the international competition “Art Comes Alive”). She also recently received an honorable mention from the highly competitive, juried national exhibition at Southern Mississippi University for her painting “Red Scene.”

Michelle Smith (Inland Empire Branch) won first place in the humor category of the 2021 SouthWest Writers Competition for her piece, “Bitch Wings,” which is published in the 2021 anthology, “Ramblings and Reflections: Winning Words from SouthWest Writers’ 2021 Contest,” available at


From The Pen Woman, Fall 2021

Faith Gaillot (Southwest Florida Branch) has been accepted to the 2022 edition of “Who’s Who in America” and was recently featured in the local newspaper in conjunction with her art show at Harbour View Gallery in Cape Coral, Florida. Additionally, she received two honorable mention awards in separate Cape Coral Art League-judged shows this past spring.

Barbara Freeman at book eventBarbara Freeman’s (Omaha Branch) children’s book, “Black History,” made its debut at the Black Plains Museum (pictured on the left). Her book signing at the museum, on July 28, was on Native Omaha Day.

Linda Trice’s (Metropolitan New York Branch) picture book for ages 3-9, “Kenya’s Art” (Charlesbridge Publishing), was celebrated throughout July by The Center for Climate, Health, and Equity. “‘Kenya’s Art’ reminds us of the importance of recycling to help keep our parks clean, and of reusing things to create beautiful art,” the center stated.

Debra A. Collins’ (Diablo-Alameda Branch) papercut, “Zooming Church” (see The Pen Woman, Summer 2021), has been accepted into the Cimarron National Works on Paper Exhibition hosted by the Oklahoma State University. Of 450 entries that were received, only 48 were accepted. This is Collins’ first time showing on the national level.

Elizabeth Yahn Williams (Member at Large) had her book, “Flourishing / Florescence,” published in June and also garnered two pages of praise from the California State Poetry Society’s newsletter. This prompted the organization’s president to feature Williams at the Sunland-Tujunga Village Poets Zoom meeting, where her Penguin, Bob, showed slides as the emcee. An illustrated, bilingual parallel reader, the book features reflective, whimsical and humorous vignettes.

From The Pen Woman, Summer 2021

Nancy Dafoe’s (Central New York Branch) new book, a contemporary fable and antiwar novella titled “Naimah and Ajmal on Newton’s Mountain,” will be released in July from Finishing Line Press. The novella, a “thought experiment” on the potentiality of peace, went on presale on International Women’s Day, a perfect entrance for a story about immigration and a woman searching for her son after being separated from him during a war.

Michelle Smith-Johansen’s (Scottsdale Branch) piece on voter suppression, titled “Stop saying, ‘This is not who we are.’ America, this is exactly who we are,” was published in the opinion section of the San Diego Union Tribune in January.

Vivian Ripley’s (Central Ohio Branch) “Winter Colors” was accepted into the Central Ohio Watercolor Society show at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center this past spring. Another painting, “Sunlight in the Smokies,” was accepted into the Ohio Watercolor Society spring show, which will travel to The Gallery at Lakeland in Kirkland, Ohio, July 18 – September 3.

Mary Jane Ingui’s (Vero Beach Branch) article about Dr. Sheldon Kushner, the subject of her book, “Trauma and Tenacity in Vietnam, A Surgeon’s Story,” appeared in the February issue of Vietnam Magazine. Dr. Kushner was a surgeon who was part of a Military Provincial Health Assistance Program (MILPHAP) unit stationed in Vinh Long, Vietnam, in 1968-’69. He performed six to seven surgeries a day on South Vietnamese civilians, as part of a U.S. program that attempted to elevate the healthcare of the South Vietnamese.

Deborah M. Anderson (Central Ohio Branch) designed and fabricated a 7-by-3-foot banner for the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio. The banner was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 4.

book coverJo Jo Harder (Boca Raton Branch) released “America’s Top Dog Model Book of Fairy Tails,” a book of stories by America’s Top Dog Model 2020 contest winners that takes readers on an adventurous romp through beautiful gardens, scary forests, and enchanted castles, with 12 amazing dogs as trusted guides. The book was published by TriMark Press.

Artist at exhibit
Veena Bansal with her paintings at the Marcia Evans Gallery

Veena Bansal’s (Central Ohio Branch) solo exhibition, titled “Veena Bansal, Flowers and Landscapes,” was shown at the Marcia Evans Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, in March and April.

Linda Trice’s (Metropolitan New York Branch) story, “Barnacle Bay,” was published in the Black Voices edition of the Green Mountains Review. The Boston Globe recently cited GMR as one of the top 10 literary magazines in New England. GMR’s writers have often won the Pushcart Prize and have been published in Best American Short Stories.

Rodika Tollefson (member-at-large, Washington state) was named one of 10 cybersecurity ghostwriters to watch in 2021 by Cybercrime Magazine, an online, global, business-to-business publication for the cybersecurity industry. Tollefson writes content for global brands and startups in cybersecurity and technology.

book coverChristina Britton Conroy (Manhattan-New York City Branch) was interviewed live, online for her novel, “One Man’s Music,” by the Historical Novel Society, New York City Chapter’s Music in New York – from Gershwin to Carnegie Hall. The novel, which is loosely autobiographical,  describes the conflicted, 1970s world of a gifted young soprano on her way to Carnegie Hall — until obsessive love stops her.

Robie Benve’s (Central Ohio Branch) medical abstracts painting, “At Any Rate,” was accepted into the 2021 Ohio Art League Spring Juried Show, which will be virtual. This piece is part of a 2019 series featuring her fascination for views of the human body under the microscope.


From The Pen Woman, Spring 2021

Ilona Duncan
Ilona Duncan with her literary award

Ilona Duncan (Chesapeake Bay Branch), recently won two writing awards, including a third place in memoir vignette for the Soul Making Keats literary competition in San Francisco, a NLAPW outreach program in its 30th year.  Her winning essay, “The Little Crapaud,” was also a finalist in New Millennium Writings, a contest by Tennessee’s second-oldest and most-circulated literary magazine. The author of two books, “My Jewish Great Grandmother” and “At Home on the Road,” Duncan is completing a third book this year.

Connie Spittler (Omaha Branch) was invited to read her essay, “Pink Moments,” for National Public Radio’s Bob Edwards Show some time ago. Her reading now appears on the “This I Believe” 100 essays list. Below her name are John Updike, Pearl Buck, and Albert Einstein. The essays are available at

Patricia Daly-Lipe (Jacksonville Branch) was selected as the Author of the Decade by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for her creativity, longevity, and dedication to the literary world. Additionally, Daly-Lipe recently had two books published, “Miami’s Yester’ Years and Its Forgotten Founder, Locke Tiffin Highleyman” and “Horse Tales, Teddy and Just’n Come to an Understanding.”

Cinzi Lavin (member-at-large, Winsted, Connecticut) received the Women in the Arts Recognition Award from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in December. To qualify for nomination to the NSDAR’s American Heritage Committee for this honor, a woman must have contributed to her artistic field in an outstanding manner. NSDAR Boston Tea Party Chapter Regent Peggy O’Connor presented the award to Lavin remotely at the chapter’s meeting, which celebrated the 247th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

From The Pen Woman, Winter 2021

Sheila M. Byrnes (Central New York Branch), current national first vice president, was interviewed by 55 Plus for an article on genealogy, “Researching Ancestry Beyond the List of Names.” Byrnes is a member of several national genealogy societies including the Central New York Genealogical Society, where she serves as editor of the society’s national newsletter, “CNYGS E-News.”

book coverPeg Hanna’s (Central Ohio Branch) latest book, “Changing Lanes, Poetry Throughout a Woman’s Life,” a collection of serious, whimsical, and thought-provoking poetry, is now published. Each lane/chapter speaks to a woman’s life. Hanna, the mother of six and grandmother of 11, finds inspiration in her large and loving family, their experiences together, and the joy they share.

Robie Benve’s (Central Ohio Branch) solo exhibition opened in October at Marcia Evans Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. The show concentrated on travels and places she treasures. Two of her works were also featured on billboards in downtown Columbus.

Linda Trice (Metropolitan New York Branch) has received praise from top reviewers for her picture book for ages 3-9, “Kenya’s Song” (Charlesbridge Publishing). School Library Journal wrote: “Kenya’s appreciation for the music around her and her loving relationship with her father make this an appealing story.” From Kirkus: “‘Kenya’s Song’ provides a glimpse of a loving family living in a multicultural neighborhood.”

book coverVirginia Nygard’s (Vero Beach Branch) poetry book, “Maggie the Bag Lady,” was uploaded to Amazon-Kindle by publisher Scatteredfrost Publishing. Nygard says the inspiration for giving voice to Maggie, a fictional homeless woman who lives in the author’s head, was born from assembled threads of both homeless and other folks’ lives and experiences. The life lessons she has learned — sometimes the hard way — have given her insight into the behavior of others whose paths cross hers.

Darlene Yeager-Torre (Central Ohio Branch) had a photograph, “Dreams Deferred,” accepted into the prestigious show at the Art Barn in Athens, Ohio. The show, “Wide Open: Excellence in Photography,” opened Oct. 2. Additionally, Yeager-Torre’s photo, “Daisies and Mixed Messages,” was one of eight works selected from “2020 News Headlines,” an ongoing series, to be featured in “South by Southeast Photomagazine.”

book cover and medalMeryl Davids Landau’s (Boca Raton Branch) mindfulness/yoga women’s novel, “Warrior Won,” received the gold medal in the Living Now book awards and the bronze medal in the prestigious Independent Publisher (IPPY) book awards. The novel, popular with women who meditate and do yoga, follows her earlier novel, “Downward Dog, Upward Fog,” which was also an award winner.

Ronni Miller (Sarasota Branch) has recently published her eighth book, “Between Lovers,” a collection of short stories and 10 theater pieces about the search for love and connection. Published by Robi Jode Press, the book is available on

Susan S. Buzzi’s (Fort Lauderdale Branch) photograph (actual film), “Waterlilies,” was among the recently selected artwork by the Public Art Program with the city of Sunrise, Florida, to be included in the “Traffic Box Project.” During fall, 29 boxes were unveiled throughout the city as part of the project.

Usha Shukla (Diablo-Alameda Branch) received a 2020 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award for her achievements and contributions impacting the arts community and residents of Alameda County, California. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors presented the commendations to the seven award recipients in conjunction with the county’s celebration of October as National Arts and Humanities Month.

Marie-B Cilia De Amicis’ (Washington, D.C., Branch) photograph, “Time Bomb’,’ was part of the Sea Change Show at Washington Printmakers Gallery in Washington, D.C. The exhibition, which ran between Nov. 5 and Jan. 3, was focused on climate change and the present environment. View the show online at

book coverDottie Fletcher’s (Jacksonville Branch) new novel, “HOJO Girl,” is available at many independent bookstores and online at and Barnes and Noble. An insightful journey into womanhood back in the turbulent year of 1968, the story takes place as the Vietnam War raged, the Civil Rights movement spread across the land, and the sexual revolution began to impact the lives of Americans.

Karen L. Kirshner (Long Island Branch) had a solo exhibit titled Color Blast at b. j. spoke gallery in Long Island, New York, from Oct. 28 to Nov. 29. Her intention was to evoke hope and joy through her abstract paintings.

Barbara Ehrentreu (Greenwich Branch), the author of two young adult novels and a poetry book, received a certificate in honor of the 74th anniversary of Indian Independence Day for global excellence in writing. The award was given by India’s premium literary institute, Gujarat Sahitya Academy of the state of Gujarat; and Motivational Strips, a Facebook page that currently has the most visitors of any literary group.

From The Pen Woman, Fall 2020

Mollee Kruger (Bethesda Branch) has published “Port of Call: Memories of an Ancient Mariner,” a sequel to her coming-of-age memoir, “The Cobbler’s Last.” The new book deals with the ups and downs of her career as an award-winning freelance writer and the influence that fellow Pen Women have had on her life. She was also recently honored by the University of Maryland Alumni Association in a blog-post interview and by coverage of her 91st birthday in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area publications.

Elaine Abramson’s (Yucca Branch) book, “From Fat to Fabulous: A Lifestyle Guide for Restaurant Lovers,” received a proclamation from Mayor Timothy W. Keller of Albuquerque, New Mexico, declaring the week of July 20, 2020, “From Fat to Fabulous Week” in the city. Albuquerque’s world-class restaurants and unique culinary diversity inspired Abramson (who writes under the name E.S. Abramson) to create her series.

"A Chance Encounter" by Dawn Petrill
“A Chance Encounter” by Dawn Petrill

Dawn Petrill (Central Ohio Branch) showed work in the Dublin Art League’s Art Stroll, Dublin, Ohio, in July. Her painting, “A Chance Encounter,” was also included in the Dublin Art League’s Irish Show July 25 – Aug. 30.

Linda Trice (Metropolitan New York Branch) had two of her stories published in prestigious literary journals. “Penumbra Literary and Art Journal” published “Removal at Seminole Mound,” her Florida-based story about a Seminole Indian Woman, as part of the journal’s “Black Voices and Experiences” series. Her contemporary story, “A Bottle of Old Times,” was published in Vol. 4, Issue 3 of “Rigorous: a Literary Journal by Black, Indigenous and People of Color.”

Debra Collins and Winifred Thompson (Diablo-Alameda Branch) had their individual works — “Prayer for the Greening” and “Sailors’ Delight,” respectively — accepted into The de Young Open Exhibition. The theme of the show is “On the Edge,” and fewer than 900 works were accepted from 11,000 submissions.

Rodika Tollefson’s (member-at-large, Washington state) personal essay, “As the Wheel Turns,” received honorable mention in the memoirs/personal essay category in the 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. The competition received more than 4,000 entries in nine categories. Tollefson’s essay describes her experience as a young woman living in the United States, away from all her family, after growing up in the Soviet Union.


From The Pen Woman, Summer 2020

Rosemary Barkes’ (Central Ohio Branch) humorous article “Coronavirus Chronicles: Sitcom, reading, 5 p.m. cocktails provide a lifeline” was published in the Columbus Dispatch on April 4 — a bit of levity regarding the pandemic scare.

 Kat Heckenbach (Tampa Branch) has both her talents featured in the newly released anthology, “Stories That Sing: HAVOK Season Two,” published by HAVOK Publishing. Heckenbach’s young adult story, “A Fly on the Wall,” is a humorous take on a high school crush involving two teens and one bizarre secret. The phoenix adorning the cover of the anthology is an image of Heckenbach’s 16×20-inch mixed media piece that earned a third-place ribbon in the Florida State Fair Fine Arts Competition in February 2020 and won Best in Show at Tampa sci-fi/fantasy convention Necronomicon in October 2019.


Stories that Sing
The original art by Kat Heckenbach, “Phoenix Song” (above), and the art on the book cover (left).


From The Pen Woman, Spring 2020

Mary Jane Ingui (Vero Beach Branch) won second place at the 2019 Florida State Association Conference in Daytona Beach Shores for her nonfiction book, “Trauma and Tenacity in Vietnam, A Surgeon’s Story.” The book details Dr. Sheldon Kushner’s tour of duty in 1968-1969 in Vinh Long, Vietnam, as a trauma surgeon who worked on South Vietnamese civilians. Dr. Kushner was a longtime resident of Vero Beach, Florida, where he practiced medicine. Now retired, he resides in Point Clear, Alabama.



ShaRon Haugen (Santa Clara County Branch) won first prize at the Coastal Arts League juried show with her oil painting, “Old Man” (left). The show had more than 200 entries and Haugen’s art took the honors over the other 72 displayed.


Jennifer Hambrick (Central Ohio Branch) performed in Denison University’s TUTTI Festival in “Words and Music,” a program featuring new musical works in response to her poetry and performed by ETHEL, quartet-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, in March.

Yucca Branch (New Mexico) and Jane Maclean, editor of the branch newsletter, won first place in the 2020 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. Winners were announced March 14. The award is based on the quality of writing, photography, and design of a single edition of a newsletter or non-newspaper publication by a nonprofit, government, or educational organization. The NMPW contest takes place annually, with more than 500 entrants in more than 100 press-related categories. 


Judy Nunno’s (Ft. Lauderdale Branch) painting was selected along with several other artists’ work to be duplicated and featured on bars of Hoffman’s Chocolate Art Bars and sold at a major art exhibit and fundraiser in Fort Lauderdale (Art + Soul) last November. A South Florida native, Nunno (right) is an internationally recognized, realistic-watercolor artist who has exhibited in dozens of local, national, and international shows, winning numerous awards. Her specialty is portraits and paintings of crystal and glass.


Judith La Fourest (Indianapolis Branch), past national president (1998-2000), presented a paper on Vinnie Ream to the Fortnightly Literary Club in Indiana. There were over 75 women members in the audience and some high school essay winners with their parents and teachers. Fortnightly was founded in 1885.

Deborah Anderson (Central Ohio Branch) exhibited 12 quilts at Argo-Lehne Jewelers, in January through March.


Lucy Arnold (Golden Gate-Marin Branch) had her latest children’s illustrated book, “Druk and Mita,” released in March. This is Arnold’s third collaboration with author Tracy Tandy. The other two illustrated books are “Alphabet Dreams” picture book and its companion, “Alphabet Dreams Coloring Book.” All were published by Inevitable Ink Publishing.


Dawn Petrill and Bev Goldie (Central Ohio Branch) had pieces in the prestigious Bryn Du Art Exhibition in Granville, Ohio. The Bryn Du Art Show is an annual juried exhibition held at the beautiful Bryn Du Mansion.

From The Pen Woman, Winter 2020

Jennifer Hambrick (Central Ohio Branch) performed her poem “Circles Against the Spin” in its musical setting by composer Dr. Mark Lomax II in two concerts in Columbus, Ohio, as part of The Big SCORE, an innovative poetry and music commissioning project created and supported by The Johnstone Fund for New Music. On commission from Columbus’ Sunday at Central concert series, Hambrick also wrote four new poems for Antonio Vivaldi’s masterpiece “The Four Seasons” and gave the world-premiere readings of those poems in September. Through an invitation-only application process, she was also appointed the first Artist-in-Residence at historic Bryn Du Mansion in Granville.

Karen Kirshner (Long Island Branch) is featuring 28 paintings in a solo exhibition, “Abstract Adventures,” at the Bryant Library gallery located at 2 Paper Mill Road in Roslyn, New York. The exhibit runs through Oct. 31. Kirshner also recently exhibited with the National Association of Women Artists’ 130th exhibition in Tribeca and was also voted as Artist of the Month in September by the National Art League in Douglaston, Queens.

In the photo: Former National President Anna Di Bella (center) at the Oct. 5 reception for the solo exhibition, “Abstract Adventure,” by Pen Woman Karen Kir (left). Also pictured is Dan Keene, a musician who played classical Spanish guitar at the event.

Abby Feinknopf (Central Ohio Branch) had a solo show at Argo and Lehne Jewelers in Columbus, Ohio, in September and October.

Jeny Reynolds’  (Central Ohio Branch) home and art was featured in the September “Home & Garden” issue of Columbus Monthly.

“Madonna and Baby Jesus” by Renate Fackler
“Madonna and Baby Jesus” by Renate Fackler.

Renate Fackler (Central Ohio Branch) has two bronze sculptures, “Madonna and Baby Jesus” and “Mrs. Plank,” featured in the Garden of Peace at St. Mary’s Church in German Village in Columbus, Ohio. The Kelley Family, who are grandchildren of Mrs. Plank, are responsible for the beautiful garden and the sculptural additions that were installed in summer 2019.

Priscilla Cogan, PhD (Wellesley Branch) submitted two plays to the 2019 Community Theater Association of Michigan blind playwriting contest: “Tidal Shifts” (on elder abuse) and “Love, Lust, and Other Liabilities” (on youthful passion), and won both first and second prize in the contest. Playwriting is her third career, following that of clinical psychologist and published novelist. The Wellesley Branch has been very instrumental in sharpening her theatrical skills with its annual reading of her latest play.

Bev Goldie (Central Ohio Branch) showed work in the “Wax to the Max” Encaustic Exhibition at Wittenberg University’s Koch Hall in October.

From The Pen Woman, Fall 2019

Sara McDaris (Huntsville Branch) recently celebrated 20 years singing with the acclaimed Huntsville Master Chorale, an organization whose mission is to provide excellent choral works to North Alabama residents. She also is a master storyteller of the South, sharing her storytelling talent with the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library for 30 years and Alabama Public Television for 19 years.

Jo Jo Harder (Boca Raton Branch), creator and CEO of the America’s Top Dog Model brand, is the writer, director, and producer of its new weekly reality series “How to Get to the Top,” which premiered on YouTube in August. Additionally, her new monthly pet column launched in The Observer Newspaper, with an article about taking care of your canine family member while being sustainable.

Jessica Temple, PhD (Huntsville Branch) has been named 2019 Poet of the Year by the Alabama State Poetry Society (ASPS) in recognition of her service to the organization and to poetry in the state. Temple serves as secretary/treasurer for ASPS; co-directs the syndicated poetry radio show “melodically challenged”; and teaches at Alabama A&M University. She’s the author of the chapbook “Seamless and Other Legends” (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and a forthcoming, full-length collection from Madville Publishing.

Margaret McMullan (member-at-large, Washington, D.C.) has a new memoir, “Where the Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Loss, Exile, and Return,” based on her research as a Fulbright professor in Pécs, Hungary, where she taught and researched her mother’s family, most of whom died in the Hungarian Holocaust. Portions of the book appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She will be at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. for a book talk and signing on Oct. 13 and 14.

Susan S. Buzzi (Fort Lauderdale Branch) recently received an honorary membership to Alpha Phi Sigma, the International Honor Society for Criminal Justice under the Florida Chapter with St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida. Buzzi, a former law enforcement officer, is now a victim advocate, coach practitioner, a contributor to the Human Trafficking Academy at St. Thomas University School of Law, an adjunct faculty member, and a member of the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women.

Sara Etgen-Baker (Dallas Texas Branch)  took both first place and honorable mention in the Chesapeake Bay Writers Group annual Keating Award Contest. She also had two pieces published in Good Old Days Magazine. Her memoir, “The Lovely Month of May,” was published in the recently released “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Mom Knows Best” and “Finding My Light” was published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running for Good.”

“Pastoral Monologues” by Dawn Petrill

Dawn Petrill’s (Central Ohio Branch) painting, “Pastoral Monologues,” was exhibited at the Ohio State Fair for two weeks in July-August. She will also have a solo exhibit, titled “Dawn Petrill Re-Imagined,” at First Commonwealth Bank in Columbus, Ohio, through Sept. 30.

Linda Trice (Manhattan-New York City Branch) received the Pewter Plate Award by the Highlights Foundation for her profile of the Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence. The article was published in “Highlights for Children,” a magazine for young people. Lawrence, who often used bold primary colors and cubism to illustrate African-American life, is best known for his “Great Migration” paintings.

Renate Fackler’s (Central Ohio Branch) work was shown at Gallery 22 in Delaware, Ohio, along with artist James Mason, July 5 through Aug. 24. Fackler exhibited sculpture and Mason exhibited paintings.

Christina Laurie and Elizabeth Moisan (Cape Cod Branch) recently collaborated on a Christmas book, “The Lobsters’ Night Before Christmas,” an undersea retelling of the Rev. Clement Moore’s “A Visit by St. Nicholas.” Laurie wrote the tale in clever rhyme, while Moisan did watercolor illustrations. Following the poem is a tutorial, where adults and children can learn many interesting facts about lobsters. The book was released in October and is available at local bookstores.

Hannah Rogge’s (Manhattan-New York City Branch) “Hello Honeybees,” a beautifully designed board book for ages 2 to 4, was recently published by Chronicle Books. The book stands upright to make a hive and has ribbons attached with two bees that children can fly through the pages to visit a garden, tour the beehive, and learn how busy bees are.

Darlene Yeager Torre’s (Central Ohio Branch) work, “Onlookers” (see page 13), was juried into the 13th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for women photographers. Nearly 500 photographers from 71 countries submitted over 6,500 images for the awards, which will be given at an event in Barcelona, Spain, in October.


Pen Women in the Spotlight, The Pen Woman, Summer 2019

Gloria Sampson (Columbus Branch) was featured in the Sept./Oct. 2018 issue of Southwest Georgia Living magazine. The article, which was reprinted in the Columbus Artists’ Guild magazine, reflects her lifelong commitment to art, as well as showing books and paintings resulting from her extensive travels. The article is available at

Sharon Canfield Dorsey (Chesapeake Bay Branch) received first place in poetry for her poem, “Warrior”; second place in nonfiction for her article, “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History”; and third place in juvenile fiction for her story, “Lost!” at the Christopher Newport University Writer’s Conference in Newport News, Virginia, in May. In December, she also debuted her third children’s book, “Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library,” illustrated by her granddaughters, Emma (7) and Adaline (10).

Jane Parks-McKay (Santa Clara County Branch) recently placed third in a woman’s issues writing contest sponsored by the DAR (Daughters of American Revolution). She wrote about her experiences of being a longtime family caregiver, along with thoughts on what she should have known going into it.

Dawn Petrill (Central Ohio Branch) was named Artist of the Month by the Ohio Art League. Her work will be shown at First Commonwealth Bank in Columbus, Ohio, during the month of September, with a reception planned for Sept. 7.

Renate Fackler’s (Central Ohio Branch) bronze sculptures are featured in “Urban Pocket Prairie,” in the Spring and Summer edition of  Home and Garden, which features German Village garden delights, including her meadow-like garden. A colorful, full-page photo shows her bronze sculpture “Cultivating Beauty,” which is tucked among the perennials showcased in her garden. Fackler has also been commissioned to proceed with two life-sized bronze sculptures for St. Mary’s Church and a Meditation Garden. German Village and St. Mary’s Church are in Columbus, Ohio.

Meryl Davids Landau’s (Boca Raton Branch) “Warrior Won” novel was released May 14. It’s a standalone follow-up to her prior novel, “Downward Dog, Upward Fog.” Both feature a protagonist using mindfulness and yoga to keep her inner peace. Foreword Reviews called it “spiritual fiction that is both compelling and fun.”

Jeny Reynolds’ (Central Ohio Branch) artwork was included in a monthlong exhibition for Women’s History Month, titled “Women’s Palette: Women with a History, 40 Years of Fine Art” at the Shot Tower Gallery this spring.

Marcia Zina Mager’s (Honolulu Branch) award-winning, two-woman musical “MONEY TALKS: But What the hell is it saying?” is making its “mainland” debut on June 21 as part of the grand reopening of the Historic Ute Theatre in Saguache, Colorado, after three years of performances around Hawaii. Mager is the playwright, performer, composer, and performer of the musical, which tells the autobiographical story of two struggling artists, a German and a Jew, born a generation apart, trying to understand the deeper meaning of success, failure, and self-worth. Learn more at


Jacksonville Pen Woman Receives Prestigious Award

Susanne Schuenke received the prestigious ROWITA (Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts) Award in March at the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine, Florida. An internationally acclaimed artist who holds a doctorate degree in art history from

“Tanja” by Susanne Schuenke, a self-portrait.

the University of Cologne, Schuenke has works in private, museum, corporate, and public collections throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. Her work was published in a compendium of “Women in Art – The Great Female Artists from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era” by R. Fuchs (Vienna 2013). 

Schuenke paints narrative surrealism that piques the imagination and provides visual delight for the discerning eye. Her massive painting of seven butterflies, “Give Me Wings,” fills a wall at Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville and has been described as possessing “healing qualities.”

A member of the Jacksonville Branch for nearly a decade, she is exhibitions chair and is in charge of the upcoming “Visions & Verses” exhibition  at the Vandroff Art Gallery, Jewish Community Alliance, from June 30 through July 31. This multidimensional art show presented by 28 branch members pairs paintings, photographs, or woven images with the written word in poetry, essay, or prose commentary. 


Pen Women in the Spotlight, The Pen Woman, Spring 2019

Halide K. Smith (Sarasota Branch, Florida) has had a number of award-winning compositions performed in the past two years. Last March, soprano Jessica Salley and pianist Jessica Koebbe performed Smith’s “I Hear Voices” at the Kansas City SAI Musicale. Pianist Vicki Hedger performed Smith’s “A Rose” in the Sensory Friendly Concert in Overland Park, Kansas, last April and “Field of Bluebonnets” for the Sensory Friendly Concert in Overland Park, Kansas, in April 2017.

Encaustic Bev Goldie
“Rolling Along,” encaustic work by Bev Goldie

Bev Goldie’s (Central Ohio Branch) encaustic work, “Rolling Along,” was accepted into the nationally juried International Encaustics Artists show, “Survey of Contemporary Encaustic Art,” which took place Jan. 17 through March 10 at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art just outside of Los Angeles.

Brenda Layman (Central Ohio Branch) had her articles, “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” and “Magician with a Message,” published in the December/January and February/March 2019 editions, respectively, of Pickerington Magazine. Her article, “To My Editors, with Thanks,” was featured in the December 2018 issue of Outdoor Lore, the newsletter of The Outdoor Writers of Ohio.

Kathy Michels (Member-at-Large, Pennsylvania) was appointed as the Pennsylvania delegate for the International Watercolor Society (IWS) USA. The goal of IWS USA is to become the largest and most active watercolor organization in the world. Plans are under way for the first USA International show as well as online contests, plein-air events, and other opportunities for watercolor artists.

Veena Bansal’s (Central Ohio Branch) paintings were included in a three-woman show at the Marcia Evans Gallery and in the Worthington Area Art League Member Exhibition at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Her work was also featured in a solo show at Copius in Columbus.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen (Santa Clara County) had several of her compositions performed this year: in January, “Two American Songs” at NACUSA Southern Oregon Chapter, “Woodwind Quartet” at Spiritus Winds Cultural Center, and “Peninsula Suite” at Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Prep Ensemble; in February, “Two Pieces for Violin and Piano” at St. Teresa of Avila in San Francisco and “American Hymn” at Memphis Youth Symphony; and in March, “Woodwind Quintet” at Contra Costa Performing Arts Society. Her “American Hymn” composition will be performed on May 3 by the Milpitas Community Band. Deussen has also had six orchestral compositions and many chamber music performances of her work in the past year.

Sandra Eliot’s (Member-at-Large, Pennsylvania) three sculptures, “Riding the Crest,” “Guardian,” and “Wrapped Spectre,” were accepted into the Annual Works In Wood juried show at the New Hope Arts Center through January. At the same time, her sculpture titled “Lovely as a Tree” was featured at the Johnson Educational Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Eliot’s works are assemblages of objects she creates with wood that has been weathered by natural forces, with metaphorical imagery open to different meanings and interpretations. (Read more about her process on p. 15.)

Mimi Sherman Pearce painting
“After the Rain” by Mimi Sherman Pearce

Mimi Sherman Pearce (Jacksonville Branch, Florida) won first place for her oil painting titled “After the Rain” in the juried exhibition of the Jacksonville Coalition for Visual Artists (JCVA) that took place in Pontevedra Beach, Florida through mid-January. Her mantra is, “Art is for everyone. Art should be everywhere. In the workspace as well as over the fireplace. It has the power to transport, to calm, and to heal the spirit in times of confusion.”

Miriam Cassell (Sarasota Branch) was featured in the Venü Magazine’s Winter/Spring 2019 issue. The article was titled “The Storied Life and Art of Legendary Artist and Art Activist Miriam Cassell,” and the publisher’s letter described her as “an artist ahead of her time” who “has been pushing the envelope with her outspoken images and artistic commentary against social wrongs for more than five decades.”

Karen Kirshner, Chris Greene, and Katherine Criss (Long Island Branch) recently participated in the annual Artist’s Choice 2019 exhibition at b. j. spoke gallery. With other gallery members, the three Pen Women invited Long Island artists they admire to partner with them. Additionally, Kirshner’s work was featured in the last few months in numerous exhibitions, including in New York City in two Tribeca galleries and others, and in galleries in the Hamptons, Long Island.

Maria Keane’s (Diamond State Branch) mixed media work, “Benediction,” was selected for the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. online exhibition, “Women Celebrating Creativity.” The exhibition may be viewed at through May 29.

Evelyn Swensson (Diamond State Branch) is taking her musical talents abroad from April 27 to May 7. She will sing in Munich, Vienna, and Prague with the Hickory North Carolina Concert Choir.

Elaine Abramson (Yucca Branch) has been included for the 29th year in a row in the invitation-only Marquis “Who’s Who in America” biographical directory. She has also been featured in Marquis “Who’s Who in Entertainment,” “Who’s Who in American Art,” and “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest,” and last year received the Marquis Who’s Who 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sheila Firestone’s (Boca Raton Branch) musical, “Miriam and the Women of the Desert,” premiered in February at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, Florida. The musical — the fascinating Biblical story of Miriam and the women who surrounded her — will then be performed March 28 to April 7 at the Empire Stage Theater in Ft. Lauderdale. Bonita Tabakin (Chevy Chase Branch) created original art works featured as backdrop during various scenes.

“Second Thoughts,” photographic montage by Susan S. Buzzi
“Second Thoughts,” photographic montage by Susan S. Buzzi

Susan S. Buzzi (Ft. Lauderdale Branch) recently exhibited at The Archbishop John C. Favalora Archives & Museum at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. She created the ongoing series, titled “Responsibility & Vigilance,” specifically for the Human Trafficking Academy at St. Thomas School of Law. The series is a photographic documentary promoting awareness, victim advocacy, healing, and important prevention measures for all communities across the United States.

Billie Travalini (Diamond State Branch) received the 2019 Individual Artist Fellowship award in literature and fiction ($10,000) from the Delaware Division of the Arts — the highest monetary award for an individual at the master level. The fellowships recognize artists in a variety of disciplines for their outstanding quality of work and provide monetary awards. This year, 136 artists applied and 20 received fellowships in various categories.

Pen Women in the Spotlight, The Pen Woman, Winter 2019

Terry Cox-Joseph (Chesapeake Bay Branch) had her first poetry chapbook, “Between Then and Now,” published by Finishing Line Press in November. In the words of Virginia Poet Laureate Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, “An accomplished artist, the author relies on visual astuteness to recreate indelible moments of her past in poems that serve as curative antidotes. … Every word matters in this chapbook that captures truths we often fail to address.”

Martha Steger (life member-at-large) received one of 12 honorable mentions in the poetry category in the Mid-Atlantic Celebration of the Arts Contest sponsored by the Beacon Newspapers and the Maryland Federation of Art. The category, open to residents of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C, who are least 50 years of age, received 212 entries. Steger’s poem, a sestina entitled “Re-enactment,” was honored with other winners and honorable mentions in Silver Spring in October.

“Rivaling Faith” by Karen Kirshner

Karen L. Kirshner (Long Island Branch) received the 2018 Abstract Artist of the Year Award in a national juried art competition for her painting, “Rivaling Faith,” which was on exhibit in October and November at ADC Fine Art Gallery in Cincinnati. Organizers say the competition, called Art Comes Alive, has become known as the “Academy Awards” for artists. It awards prizes that include gallery and publishing contracts and categories such as lifetime achievement and star student.

Billie Travalini (Diamond State Branch) received the 2018 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) in September. This prestigious award, given for 61 years, is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW and to the community. Travalini also received the Governor’s Award for the Arts, Education, and was named an Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for her work with Delaware’s youth.

Veena Bansal (Central Ohio Branch) won first place for her oil painting, “Mystic Village in France” in an exhibit presented by the Worthington Art League. Francoise Bartram (Central Ohio Branch) has published her first novel, “French Leave,” a suspense-filled tale of a woman whose world comes apart when she finds herself squarely in the middle of dangerous events that are mysteriously connected to her life.

Mystic Village in France
“Mystic Village in France” by Veena Bansal

Sara Etgen-Baker (Dallas Branch) had her story, “Promise Me,” published in November in the anthology “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Best Advice I Ever Heard.” Additionally, her story, “The Lovely Month of May,” will be included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Mom Knows Best,” due to be released in March. Deborah Dickinson-Deacon (Western New York Branch) had two poems published in the Pockets magazine (a subsidiary of The Upper Room): “It Takes Courage” (September 2018) and “The Golden Rule” (October 2018).

Iris Gray Dowling (Diamond State Branch) had two books released in 2018. “The Morning Surprise” is an educational, scientific story about the black swallowtail butterfly as it progresses through the metamorphic stages and becomes an adult. The book encourages children to use modern phones to photograph living specimens for study, instead of catching and mounting a disappearing species. Her second book, “Praying Mantis —Disappearing Friend,” takes place in a school classroom, with a discussion between the teacher and the children revealing the truth and misconceptions about praying mantises. Dowling illustrated the book using photography and original paintings.

The original work, “In Her Room” (ink, monotype, photo, and digital), by Maria Keanne that she cropped to use for the cover of her new book.
The original work, “In Her Room” (ink, monotype, photo, and digital), by Maria Keanne that she cropped to use for the cover of her new book.

Maria Keane’s (Diamond State Branch) collection of poems, “Being There,” was published in October by Page Publishing. The central themes are personal reflections about aging, relationships that thrive or fade, compassion needed for trials and confrontation, and the grace that blesses those who are wounded and wait patiently for healing in their special places. Keane used her original art for the cover of the book, as well as included six illustrations.

Elizabeth Diane Martin (Pikes Peak Branch) released a new book, “The Heart’s Mind: How Unconscious book coverResponses in Life and Work Naturally Improve Our Lives While We Make Other Plans.” The heart’s mind is the source of self-renewing positive motivation that stirs the heart to be happy in work, to be original, and to have courage in the face of adversity. Martin shows that unconscious behavior is proof we intuitively reach toward good in all circumstances. Go for more information.

Darlene Yeager-Torre (Central Ohio Branch) had her work juried into an exhibit in Gainesville, Florida, called “Creativity Takes Courage.” Titled “White Spring Blossoms,” her piece was a long-exposure, night photograph of a tree full of white blossoms, painted with light to provide a stark contrast that makes the tree appear to be glowing in the dark.