Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet our Volunteers


Eileen Boggess – Regional Advisor

Eileen is the author of Mia the Meek (Bancroft Press, 2006), Mia the Melodramatic (Bancroft Press, 2008), and Mia the Magnificent (Bancroft Press, 2009). A native Iowan, Eileen currently lives in Urbandale and is the executive director of the Urbandale Food Pantry. She is presently working on several young adult manuscripts. For more information, please visit her website at @EileenBoggess


Dorothia Rohner- Illustrator Coordinator 

Dorothia has illustrated two children’s books, Numbers in a Row, An Iowa Number Book, (Sleeping Bear Press) and Effie’s Image(Prairieland Press) Her work has also been published in Cricket Magazine. Her illustration, Firefly Forest, was the Grand Prize Winner at 2014 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Gallery, Bologna Book Fair. That same year, her portfolio was selected for the  2014 SCBWI Portfolio Mentorship Award at the SCBWI Summer Conference.  Currently, she writes and illustrates from her studio, near a pond, in the woods and volunteers for Head Start. For more information visit: @dorothiar


Liz Bedia- Assistant Regional Advisor & ListServ Admin

Liz got her start working with children as a K-6th grade teacher and later as a clinical audiologist. She’s long volunteered as the Curriculum Enrichment Coordinator for her neighborhood school – organizing events and workshops to enhance classroom curriculum. Liz is widely published in her field.  An active SCBWI member since 2013, she currently writes picture books, both fiction and nonfiction.  Liz lives in central Iowa with her husband, two children and two enormous dogs.  When she isn’t writing, she can be found being walked by her dogs, on Twitter @lizbedia, and through email:


Brooke Van Sickle- Webmaster

Brooke has been a member of SCBWI for 5 years and is an avid children’s book writer of both Picture Books and Middle Grade novels. She runs the Des Moines area MG/YA group and blog Journey to Kidlit, which helps out other aspiring children’s book authors. Brooke lives in central Iowa with her fiance and golden retriever. Check her out on social media @journeytokidlit and email:!


Debbie LaCroix – Sioux City Network Chair

Debbie was born and raised in Sioux City, IA.  She is a daydreamer who graduated from Drake University with a degree in Journalism. She writes primarily picture books.  It’s Almost Time was published by Kane Miller.  She also freelances. Debbie loves books, and sells Usborne Books & More to allow her to be surrounded by more books and meet people who are as passionate about literacy as she is. She also is a community volunteer, and helped build LaunchPAD Children’s Museum in Sioux City.  Her most proud accomplishment is her two children, and her amazing husband.  She owns 2 cats and a dog.  She believes that everyone has a story, you just need to stop and listen. Visit:


Connie Heckert (RAE) – Quad Cities Network Chair

Connie is Regional Advisor Emeritus for Iowa and a published author of 10 non-fiction books for teens and adults varying from 32-350 pages, and two picture books for children. She is former college faculty and taught the books and magazine courses for the Institute of Children’s Literature. Connie earned degrees from Black Hawk and Augustana College, the University of Iowa (M.A.) and Hamline University (MFAC, Writing for Children and Teens). Dribbles (Clarion Books), Miss Rochelle and the Lost Bell, To Keera with Love (Sheed and Ward), and The Swedish Connections are for young readers. For adults, historical projects include Roots and Recipes (Pelican Publishing) and seven commissioned pictorial histories. She has published hundreds of features in newspapers and magazines, most with her own photos, contributed to The Writing Group Book (Chicago Review Press) and The Writer, Cricket Magazine and Highlights for Children. She is addicted to SCBWI and it seems to be incurable. Visit:


Susan Benton – Iowa City Network Chair

Susan is a retired teacher and an aspiring author. She is drawn to middle grade nonfiction and historical fiction as well as picture books.  Susan lives in Iowa City with her husband and two cats. She has two grown children and two smart and funny grandchildren. She posts a Strange but True Fact of the Week every Monday on her web site at



Savinder Naberhaus- Ames Network Chair

Sarvinder has a Master’s in Education and loves teaching ISU students how to use computer applications in the classroom. In her past life, she was a media specialist and elementary school teacher in Houston, Des Moines and Ames. She is honored to have two Caldecott Honor artists illustrate her books, Boom Boom (Margaret Chodos-Irvine) and Blue Sky White Stars (Kadir Nelson). She has an upcoming board book, Lines, with Little Simon and is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. For more information visit


Cindy Johnson – Conference Registrar

Cindy Chambers Johnson is a mild mannered genetic counselor by day, but when inspiration or a deadline calls, she whips out her #2 Ticonderoga pencil and Big Chief tablet and becomes a writer for kids.  Her upcoming picture book, Russel Wrestles the Relatives, illustrated by Daniel Duncan will be published by Aladdin in 2018. Cindy lives with her family near Des Moines, Iowa. She is represented by BookStop Literary Agency. You can visit her at

Brigitte Brulz – Cedar Rapids Network Chair

Brigitte is a homeschooling mom and author of Jobs of a Preschooler and Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles. Her writings have also appeared in various other publications. She enjoys volunteering, reading, writing, and learning. She is currently working on multiple children’s book manuscripts. Please visit her website at for more information.