Author Talks at the Matthews

Featured Author: Michael Harris


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Author Talks at the Matthews returns this fall with a new lineup of local writers ready to dive into their stories, their methods, and their inspirations. Join us in the fireplace room every Tuesday at 12:30 for an hour with some of the best authors in the Black Hills area!

Are you interested in presenting an Author Talk? Contact us at 605-717-6967 or [email protected]

Featured author…

September 6: Michael Harris

Michael Harris lives in the Black Hills near Deadwood South Dakota. He is a husband and a father. His first novel “Outlaw Blood” is a Post Apocalyptic Western, set some time in the near future after a global economic crash has devastated the world’s countries.

Michael enjoys shooting, hiking, reading, writing, and hunting. He has ranched and worked cattle, served in the U.S. Army for eight years, been a Law Enforcement Officer, survived 17 years as Mr. Mom, and is now an author.

Coming Soon…

September 13: Bruce Junek

Bruce B. Junek is an explorer, author, photographer and speaker. In 1987 he and his wife, Tass Thacker, created Images of the World, a series of slide programs of their adventures. Over the last 23 years 1.6 million students have seen their programs. Bruce and Tass bicycled around the world from 1984-86. They have also bicycled on different journeys through Central America, South America, southern Africa and the mideast. They just bicycled through China in 2011.

He is the author of Andes to the Amazon: Seven Journeys in Mexico, Central and South America; The Road of Dreams: A Two-Year Bicycling and Hiking Adventure Around the World and a fantasy fiction trilogy, A Bright One Chronicles.

September 20: Phoenix Piazzisi

Phoenix Rayne, a.k.a. “The Paper Therapist,” is a South Dakota native and Californian by heart. She recently graduated as a valedictorian candidate with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing at Sierra Nevada University in Incline Village, Nevada. As a Humanities Department Scholar, she also won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry and Excellence in Journalism. She graduated in the spring of 2020 from Sierra College in Rocklin, CA with her associate degree in English.

When she was five years old, she picked up her first Shel Silverstein book and instantly fell in love with poetry, dreaming to be a published author one day. Her first poem, “Winter’s Bliss,” was published in 2001 with several poems following. In May of 2021, her first piece of literature, “I am one with the lake,” was published. Her most recent piece titled “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is about her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. “Living with a Monster” is her first book of poetry about living with a mental illness.

Writing has always been her way of expressing deep emotions and a way to bring the human experience to life with the written word. With a high value on honest, transparent, and empathetic writing, it is her hope to help transform the world one piece of writing at a time.

September 27: Pennie Hunt

Pennie Hunt is an inspirational, entertaining, and high-content speaker. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, Women’s Speakers Association and the President and founder of Journey Through, LLC. Her weekly blog, Writings from the Corner of Spirit & Brave is read worldwide. She is the author of two books, Love Your Life–No Matter What: 76 Tips to Live Life with Love and Gratitude and  Love Your Life — No Matter What: 76 Tips to Journey Through Grief and Loss. Her newspaper column runs in several newspapers including the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the South Dakota Rapid City Journal.

After a series of life-changing events, including the death of her child, Pennie left her career as Executive Director of a healthcare organization where she spoke locally and nationally on healthcare recruitment. She now writes and speaks about how to change, heal and empower your life! Pennie’s personal successes and challenges have shaped her grateful-for-it-all viewpoint. She has married her own life lessons with her gift of communication to follow her passion of helping others Journey Through this life with spirit, courage, and compassion.

October 4: Gerrie Gutwein

Information about the author coming soon!

October 11: Christian Leigh

Information about the author coming soon!

October 18 & 25: Evelyn Leite

Children in families that keep secrets learn early in life to project a brave front, to avoid letting the outside world peek behind the mask, to cope alone with feelings of guilt, anger, fear and confusion.

Rapid City counselor and author Evelyn Leite grew up in such a family, struggling to understand her emotions, uncertain how she could love her parents and siblings so deeply but hate their words and actions. In her latest book “Just Fine, Thank You,” Leite explores the jumble of feelings and emotions she experienced in her early years in a closed family. She describes what it does to a young girl when the family doesn’t talk about a father who stays late at the local bar and a mother who expects her daughter to be a perfect young lady without explaining what that involves. She also shares what it does to a young child in a “no-talk’’ family as she tries to make sense of sometimes crazy, senseless behavior from people she loves.

“Just Fine, Thank You” is one of four books in a series titled Blood, Sex and Tears. She says of the series, “It’s my desire that you can find hope for yourself or a loved one based on my story of redemption.’’

Leite has had a successful, 35-year career as a professional counselor and author whose focus is on drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues. Among her best-known works are “Women: What Do We Want?” and “A Fix for the Family Rift Caused by Addiction.” She is a graduate of Black Hills State University with a composite major in Social Science. She holds a master’s degree from Oklahoma University and has presented addiction and mental health workshops in Oregon, Texas, Minneapolis, Montana, Colorado and Arizona. She has also held frequent workshops on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is currently conducting workshops for the Miskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa. She is the author of 14 published works including manuals for The Family Restoration Program and many newspaper and magazine articles. She’s a 2008 inductee into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

November 1: Bill Bosch

William Bosch grew up on a farm in Emmons County, east of Linton, North Dakota. Both sides of his family had German-Russian backgrounds. His mother’s family (Dockter) cam from Neudorf and Kassel, and his father’s family (Bosch) from Rosental in Crimea. After graduating from Linton High School, he attended North Dakota State University where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics education. He taught in the mathematics department at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota from 1963-65. He then studied at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1970. His working years were spent teaching mathematics at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. That is where he met and married his wife Margaret. They moved to Spearfish, SD in 2005. They have a daughter, Julie, who still lives in Colorado. William is a member of the Black Hills Chapter of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society and a member of the Center of the Nation Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. William is the author of The German-Russians in Words and Pictures.

November 8: Doug Hoff

Douglas Henry Hoff was born in 1948 and graduated as valedictorian of his high school class in 1966. He attended and was an honor student at Black Hills State University and the SD School of Mines and Technology. He and Marlene (Molly) were married in 1968 while attending SDSMT. When his parents considered the sale of the family farm Doug and Molly decided to give ranching a try and later bought the farm, which they eventually tripled in size. While there they started a herd of world-renowned registered Angus cattle, a cattle genetics and research company that they later sold to Cargill, and had two children, Brian and Andrea.

While ranching Doug received The National Ralston Purina Youth of the Year award, The SD Young Farmer of the Year award, The North American Beef Improvement Federation Seedstock Producer of the Year award, and The 2000 US Livestock Man of the Year award. He graduated from the SD Agriculture and Rural Development program. He and Molly enjoyed and lived a robust ranching career, selling semen, embryos, and cattle around the globe, with cattle from their cowherd dispersal going to five continents. Doug brought his expertise and in-depth agricultural experience to this book, helping to produce a unique perspective of the demands of agriculture and living on the prairie.

November 15: Courtney Huse-Wika & BHSU Writing Class

Courtney Huse-Wika believes in the art of collection: overheard quotes, forgotten stories, and sometimes animals. She is the author of Perch, a chapbook of nature poetry from Anchor and Plume Press, and was named a finalist for the 2021 James Hearst Poetry Prize from North American Review, and a 2020 Honorable Mention for the New Millennium Writing Awards.  Her creative work has appeared widely, including CALYX, The Halcyone, New Ohio Review, South Dakota Review, Kindred, South Dakota Magazine, South Dakota in Poems,  Midwestern Gothic, Scissors and Spackle, Backwards City Review, and the MacGuffin.  She received her BA in philosophy and English from Augustana University, her MA and PhD in English with a specialization in creative writing from the University of South Dakota, and is currently an Associate Professor of English and Distinguished Faculty at Black Hills State University.

December 13: Robyn VanDersys

Robyn VanDerSys was born in Washington State, which is where her love for the great outdoors was born.  She has lived in several different states and in 2015 settled in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and kids.

Her life has consisted of one adventure to the next, including racing monster trucks in her early twenties,  raising three strong children, riding around Mexico on her four wheeler while living out of a backpack, and volunteering on a chase team while her husband raced the Baja 1000.

She spends her free time off-roading and hiking the many trails of the Black Hills, and also enjoys traveling and having as many adventures as humanly possible.


Date and Time:


Tuesday, September 6, 2022


12:30 pm - 1:30 pm





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