Past Events

retro microphone and red curtain

Read Local with WOTA

Join us at the Bettendorf Public Library on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm as WOTA takes part in the Read Local series designed to showcase local authors. Members will read from our published anthologies, share other works in progress, and talk with the audience about writing, revision, publication, and the joys and challenges of the writing life. This event is free & open to the public, so we hope to see you there!

Holiday party & open mic 12/18/18 at Trinity Episcopal Church

WOTA Open Mic

In June, organized by Lisa Cunningham and Jeff Osborne, WOTA held an inaugural open mic event at the lovely and welcoming Creations by Oz in downtown Muscatine. We heard the prize-winning youth poets from our recent poetry contest share their poems along with other contributors to our poetry anthology, From River to River, and welcomed the voices of some new members, too. We’re hoping to do this again!

Haiku Writing Workshop with Dennis Maulsby

Award-winning poet and short-story writer Dennis Maulsby lead a workshop on writing haiku on Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 10:00 am to noon at Trinity Episcopal Church, 112 Walnut Street, Muscatine. Participants practiced writing haiku its many variations, discovering how these short, three-line poems give insight into creating the poetic moment. No poetic or writing background is required.

dennis-smilingDennis Maulsby is a retired bank president living in Ames, Iowa. His several books of poetry, including Remembering Willie, Frissons, and Near Death/Near Life, have been recognized with awards by military organizations and the USA Book News organization. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Passager, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review (Pushcart nomination), and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His latest book of linked short stories, Free Fire Zone, has just been released by Prolific Press. Maulsby is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and past president of the Iowa Poetry Association. He can be found online at

Fall Fiction Workshop Series

Writers on the Avenue hosted a series of Fall Fiction Workshops featuring local authors talking about how they brought their books to life. In each of the four panels, experienced authors discussed how they wrote and published their books, shared tips on writing within a specific genre, and answered audience questions on all aspects of the writing process. WOTA wishes to thank Muscatine Community College for giving us the venue and the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine for the grant that helped us bring these talented authors to town.

Thursday, October 6: Writing the Mystery

davidsaver-headshotMary R. Davidsaver is a retired jewelry designer who has written for local newspapers since 2007. She is a member of the Midwest Writing Center who has won two Iron Pen first place awards. In 2013, she was the first local writer to win the Great River Writer’s Retreat Contest. Her first novel, Clouds Over Bishop Hill, was just published by Midwest Writing Center Press.

dennis-green-headshotKnown primarily for his long career as a media personality, Dennis Green has added novelist to his lengthy resume. His first book, the sci-fi mystery Traveler, scored in the Top Ten in the 2014 Ben Franklin Independent Publishing Awards, and has an average 4.6 rating on Amazon. He published a sequel, Prisoner, in August 2015, and is working on the final volume of the Traveler Trilogy, Hunter.

bancks-headshotBob Bancks is the author of Iowa Exposed, The Nightgown, Call Sara, and The Fourth Generation. He is a retired farmer who started writing fiction later in life and hasn’t stopped yet.

Thursday, October 20: Writing the Thriller

therme-headshotErik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his oldest daughter’s volleyball team, or chilling on the PlayStation 4 with his thirteen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only seven places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Visit him on Facebook or at

cline-headshotRob Cline is an arts professional, writer, and former pizza delivery driver. He is the author of the comic mystery novel Murder by the Slice and the short story collection Slices. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with his wife and three children, none of whom tip him when he brings pizza home.

randon-headshotLennox Randon, a writer battling metastatic GIST cancer, is a native Texan and a graduate of the Houston Police Academy and the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Education. He has worked as a police officer, technical writer, and teacher. Randon is the author of Friends Dogs Bullets Lovers and Memoirs of a Dead White Chick.

Thursday, November 3: Writing the Romance

labella-headshot Teresa LaBella is the author of the novels Reservations, Heartland, and the newly released Belonging, along with a book of short stories, Tales from the Heartland. She is a freelance media consultant and serves on the board of directors of the Midwest Writing Center.

witt-headshotDionne Witt is an avid reader and writer. When not chasing after her very inquisitive first grader, or attempting to do a Pinterest project, she writes young adult and adult contemporary romance. She enjoys all things nerd, Chinese food, and has recently discovered coffee.


When Francesca Hawley first began to read romance, she wondered, where were the fat heroines? She wanted to read about someone who loved herself—or at least learned to—and an alpha hero who liked her jiggly bits just as they were. Thus Romance with Dangerous Curves was born.

Thursday, November 17: Writing Historical Fiction

Jodie Toohtoohey-headshotey is the author of three novels – Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters, Melody Madson – May It Please the Court?, and Taming the Twisted – as well as two poetry collections: Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls and The Other Side of Crazy. When Jodie is not writing poetry or fiction, she is helping authors, soon-to-be-authors, and want-to-be authors from pre-idea to reader through her company, Wordsy Woman Author Services. Learn more about Jodie’s books and sign up to receive updates at Learn more about her authors’ services at


Tom McKay is an historian and museum consultant who lives in his hometown of Hampton, Illinois. For 25 years, he headed the Office of Local History at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. His short stories have appeared in the Wapsipinicon Almanac, Vermont Ink, Downstate Story, the Wisconsin River Valley Journal, and the Out Loud anthology series of the Midwest Writing Center. His debut novel, West Fork, was published by East Hall Press at Augustana College and a second novel, Another Life, is forthcoming from 913studio Press.


Lilly Setterdahl was born in Sweden but lives in Illinois. She has written 19 books, including 16 works of nonfiction about Swedes in America (2 coauthored) and two historical fiction novels about the Titanic. Her most recent novel is Second Love After 50.

Spring Poetry Festival

Writers on the Avenue celebrated the conclusion of National Poetry Month in 2016 with a spring poetry festival featuring workshops hosted by poets Ryan Collins and Farah Marklevits. Following an open mic from workshop participants, winners of Writers on the Avenue’s poetry contest read their work, followed by performances from workshop leaders Ryan Collins and Farah Marklevits and concluding with a performance by University of Dubuque’s Poet in Residence, Lauren K. Alleyne.

The event was held at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Muscatine and was free to participants, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

festival flyer