Our authors

Introducing the Cynren Press family

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Mona Andrei

Mona Andrei’s adulting journey took an unexpected turn when she realized that the father of her children was not committed to the family they had started together. At the time, she was twenty-four years old. With a baby in her arms and a toddler in tow, she soon realized that everything had fallen on her shoulders, including any chance for a secure future for her and her girls. With humor and candor as her strongest tools for survival, she went from struggling single mother to accomplished wordsmith to member of an award-winning advertising team to top 100 humor blogger. Today, she continues her journey, writing and speaking about her experiences as a single mother with a focus on changing the way that single mothers are respected and appreciated in the workplace: a win–win for both women and their employers. Mona is the author of Superwoman: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood (forthcoming). You can follow Mona on Twitter and Facebook.

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Patrice Apodaca

Veteran journalist Patrice Apodaca, coauthor of A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid (2018) is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer. She is currently a featured columnist for the Daily Pilot, a Los Angeles Times Community News publication.

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Himmet Dajee, MD

Dr. Himmet Dajee, coauthor of A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid (2018), holds medical degrees from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of London. He was an assistant professor at UCLA and a staff cardiac surgeon at Kaiser Permanente. After two decades in private practice in California, he retired from surgery in 2006 and currently serves as a medical director at CalOptima, which administers health insurance for low-income patients. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the American College of Chest Physicians. The recipient of numerous academic awards, Dajee has coauthored twenty-one papers published in prestigious medical journals and is a frequent speaker at medical conferences.

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Andrea Fekete

Andrea Fekete, coeditor of Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility (2019), is a native West Virginian and granddaughter to Mexican and Hungarian immigrants. She is author of the historical fiction novel Waters Run Wild (2018). She has one poetry chapbook, I Held a Morning (2012). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Chiron ReviewBorderlands: Texas Poetry ReviewThe Kentucky ReviewThe Montucky ReviewThe Smithville JournalThe Adirondack Review, and ABZ and in Eyes Glowing on the Edge of the Woods: Fiction & Poetry from West Virginia (2017), among other anthologies. An excerpt from her newest novel, Native Trees, was a finalist in Still: The Journal's 2019 Fiction Contest. She earned her MFA in creative writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in English from Marshall University.

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Natasha M. Freeman

Natasha M. Freeman, author of Abwûn (2019), is an author and communications specialist whose writing centers on thought-provoking, science-minded narratives and journalism, with the aim to unite people beyond the borders of their divisions. Her graduate and postgraduate areas of study include English literature, political science, and women’s studies, but she has always maintained a personal interest in theology and the many ways in which people are affected by religion. Her fiction work has been nominated for the Ashton Wylie Book Award of New Zealand (honoring works that contribute to the growth and enlightenment of humanity). Her first nonfiction book, Our Changing Rivers (2005), about the science and practice of fluvial geomorphology, sits on the Geography curriculum of Rhodes University, South Africa. Natasha is a native of Alberta, Canada.

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Patricia Gallo-Stenman

Philadelphia native Patricia Gallo-Stenman, author of Diary of a Beatlemaniac: A Fab Insider's Look at the Beatles Era (2018), worked as a staff writer for the Philadelphia Evening and Sunday Bulletin. A graduate of Temple University and the University of Stockholm (Sweden) International Graduate School, and an award-winning copywriter, she practiced journalism in northern Europe for nearly twenty-five years. She has also written about the Beatles for Discover, The Sunday Bulletin Magazine. Patricia lives near Dallas, Texas, with her identical twin daughters Jane and Margaretha.

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Melissa W. Hunter

Melissa W. Hunter, author of What She Lost (2019), is an author and blogger from Cincinnati, Ohio. She studied creative writing and journalism at the University of Cincinnati, receiving a BA in English literature and a minor in Judaic studies. She received the English Department’s Undergraduate Essay Award and Undergraduate Fiction Award over two consecutive years. In her senior year, she received a grant to study and write about the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Her articles have been published on Kveller.com and LiteraryMama.com, and her short stories have appeared in the Jewish Literary Journal. She is a contributing blogger to the Today Show parenting community, and her novella Through a Mirror Clear was published as a serial installment on TheSame.blog, an online literary journal written for women by women. Her novel What She Lost is inspired by her grandmother’s life as a Holocaust survivor. When not writing, Melissa loves spending family time with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

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Melissa Knox

Melissa Knox, PhD, a New York City native and author of Divorcing Mom: A Memoir of Psychoanalysis (2019), teaches American literature and culture at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. She endured more than twenty years of psychoanalysis; wrote a psychoanalytic biography of Oscar Wilde titled Oscar Wilde: A Long and Lovely Suicide (Yale University Press, 1996); and has authored numerous personal essays about disturbed family life, often in relation to psychoanalysis.

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Lara Lillibridge

Lara Lillibridge, coeditor of Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility (2019), is the author of Mama, Mama, Only Mama (Skyhorse, 2019) and Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home (Skyhorse, 2018). She is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction. In 2016 she won the Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest and The American Literary Review’s Contest in Nonfiction. You can read some of her work in Ms., the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Advocate, Hippocampus Magazine, Luna Luna, and Huffington Post.

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Sheldon Russell

Dr. Sheldon Russell, author of A Forgotten Evil (2019), is the author of ten books, including his award-winning historical fiction and his popular Hook Runyon mystery series. His work has garnered two Oklahoma Book Awards for Fiction, a Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction, a Spur Award finalist nomination, and starred reviews from both Book List and Publishers Weekly. Russell is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Central Oklahoma. He and his wife, Nancy, a sculptor, currently live on the ranch where he grew up. Russell’s upbringing in the Gloss Mountains of Oklahoma has provided him a rich background for understanding the struggles one might face if lost in the great American frontier.