Writing on the Door:
Mystery Conference Faculty

Presenter Bios


Novelist, writing coach, and manuscript editor John DeDakis is a former editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." DeDakis is the author of five mystery-suspense novels. His fourth novel, Bullet in the Chamber, is the winner of Reviewers Choice, Foreword INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards. In his most recent novel, Fake, protagonist Lark Chadwick is a White House correspondent dealing with “fake news” in the era of #MeToo. Fake earned Honorable Mention for the Reviewers Choice Award and was a Finalist for Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion. A native of La Crosse, DeDakis now lives in Baltimore. DeDakis, a former White House correspondent, is a 1977 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism school and worked as news director at WLSU radio (NPR) in La Crosse and as a reporter/anchor at WMTV (NBC) in Madison. His first two novels, Fast Track and Bluff are set in south-central Wisconsin. Website: www.johndedakis.com 

Hautman Pete (1)

Pete Hautman is the author of more than thirty novels for adult, teen, and middle-grade readers, including the 2004 National Book Award winner Godless, the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner The Big Crunch, and the 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Award winner Otherwood. He has written three New York Times Notable Books and has won four Minnesota Book Awards. His novels range from science fiction (The Obsidian Blade) to mystery (Blank Confession) to contemporary drama (Godless) to romantic comedy (What Boys Really Want). Recent books include the middle-grade novel Slider and the young adult novel Road Tripped. With novelist and Mary Logue, Pete divides his time between Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Stockholm, Wisconsin. Learn more about Pete on his website: www.pethautman.com 

Jackson-Opoku Sandra

Sandra Jackson-Opoku is the author of novels, short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic works. She teaches creative writing across the country and around the world. Sandra completed revisions of her debut cozy mystery while in residence at Write On, Door County. A novella from her Double Trouble Afro-Mexican PI series appears in Both Sides: Stories from the Border.

Logue Mary

New York Times bestselling author Mary Logue has published more than thirty books, including mystery novels, poetry, nonfiction books, and many books for children. Her awards include an Edgar nomination, a Minnesota Book Award, and a Wisconsin Outstanding Achievement Award. Her poetry book, Meticulous Attachment, received a Midwest Booksellers honor award. Her picture book, Sleep Like a Tiger, won a Charlotte Zolotow honor, a Caldecott honor, and Best Picture Book award in Japan. Mary has also worked as an editor at Simon and Schuster, Graywolf Press, and The Creative Company. She has taught in the writing programs at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University and has written for the New York Times, the Star Tribune, and the Village Voice. She lives with writer Pete Hautmann in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Manansala Mia

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a certified book coach and author of Arsenic and Adobo, which garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness. The New York Times state, “Manansala peppers the narrative with enough red herrings to keep readers from guessing the killer, but the strength of the novel is how family, food, and love intertwine in meaningful and complex ways.” Family, food, and love are common themes in her writing. The sequel novel, Homicide and Halo-Halo, comes out February 8, 2022.

Rendon Marcie2

Marcie Rendon is a citizen of the White Earth Nation. Girl Gone Missing is the second in the Cash Blackbear series and is nominated for the Putnam’s Son’s Sue Grafton Memorial Award, 2020. Murder on the Red River received the Pinckley Women’s Debut Crime Novel Award, 2018, and the Western Writers of America Spur Award Finalist 2018 Contemporary Novel category. Rendon has nonfiction children’s books and four plays published. Her script, Sweet Revenge, has been chosen to be performed as a staged reading in the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company’s 2020 New Native American Play Festival. The creative mind of Raving Native Theater, she curated Twin Cities Public Television’s Art Is…CreativeNativeResilience 2019. With author Diego Vazquez, Rendon received the Loft’s 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship for work with incarcerated women.


Patricia Skalka is the author of the Dave Cubiak Door County mysteries, including the latest Death Washes Ashore. She’s won both the Midwest Book Award for Best Thriller/Mystery and the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award. In 2020, USA Today picked Death Stalks Door County, the first Cubiak mystery, as the book to represent Wisconsin in “50 States/50 Books to Read.” Before turning to fiction, Skalka wrote for Reader’s Digest and other national magazines. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America Midwest, Wisconsin Writers Association, The Authors Guild, and Society of Midland Authors and is the past president of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland, as well as a member of both the Chicago and Wisconsin chapters. She divides her time between her home in Milwaukee and cottage in Door County.

Sloane Biana

Bianca Sloane is the author of the suspense novels What You Don’t Know, Sweet Little Lies, Every Breath You Take, and Killing Me Softly (previously published as Live and Let Die), chosen as “Thriller of the Month” (May 2013) by e-thriller.com and a “2013 Top Read” by OOSA Online Book Club. When she’s not writing, she’s watching Bravo TV, Investigation Discovery, reading, or cooking. She resides in Chicago.

Zembrowski Matt

Matt Zembrowski wrote the show Whatever Happened to Karl Janko?, a musical mystery comedy, which had its world premiere at Northern Sky Theatre this year. He supplied the book, lyrics, and music for Doctor! Doctor! (premiered 2016) and Dad’s Season Tickets (premiered 2019) for Northern Sky. A lifelong Wisconsin resident, he currently resides in West Allis with his wife Lori, his daughter Kathryn, and their cat Tom Tom.