About Cult of AMERICANA


Cult of  AMERICANA is a Chicago-based team of young writers and dreamers whose primary mission is celebrating the inherent goodness of the planet’s only superpower melting-pot.

We offer insightful life experience pieces, tales from our travels, and viewpoints from a cornucopia of young artists selected for the COA team with a goal of diversifying our viewpoints. We want to offer you, our reader, an opportunity to see how the other half lives. Our “Original American art forms” aren’t necessarily ‘urban’ or ‘rural’. We write about wherever we find community.

We’ll never publish ‘click-bait’, and we’ll never cram a political stance down your throat. We think that’s saying a lot.



Charlie Monte Verde always wanted to live in one of the ‘big three’ cities, and darn if he didn’t land in the best one. Charlie was raised in Upstate New York before his current seven years in Chicago, and honed his writing skills in Mrs. Bonar’s AP English class before he was bumped down to the regular English class.

As COA founder, Charlie cultivates original American art forms. He willingly and fully disappears into art, often at the expense of his reality. He’s currently working on his first based-on-a-true-story novel, The Great Hate, which will be available…hopefully someday.

His day job is in the railroad industry. He is a board member of the Chicago Writers Association.

Nia Simone McLeod is an unapologetically-awkward black woman writer from Richmond, Virginia who’s addicted to shea butter and old episodes of The Office. She freelances her writing in her spare time and hopes one day to turn her pop-culture fixated blog into a stable career.

During her college years at Virginia Commonwealth University, she explored many different realms of journalism from co-producing a student documentary on Cosplay to hosting a late-night underground hip-hop radio show. Despite the bumps and bruises accumulated throughout her journey through higher education, she made it out alive and with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism to boot.

When she’s not freelancing, she’s shooting and editing music reviews for her YouTube Channel or funneling her Millennial-angst into fake-deep Instagram poetry.

Emmie Strickland is a professional dancer and writer originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia. She has trained throughout the country and world, in places like Richmond, Providence, Nashville, New York City, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Her professional dance career has led her to dance with Richmond Ballet and most recently, Nevada Ballet Theatre.

She has been pursuing a degree throughout her professional dance career, and has studied at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Mary Washington. Passionate about foreign languages, she has studied Spanish, French, and Arabic.

Though she knocked out AP English exams, received awards in English in high school, and excelled in college writing classes, it wasn’t until recently that she considered writing seriously. She now resides in New York City where she is dancing, pursuing her degree, and writing a lot too.

Mary Miles (or just ‘M’) adopted the second half of her pen name while working as a camp counselor in the Adirondacks (her parents gave her the first half). Born in a city right on the great St. Lawrence and not far from the Adirondacks, she likes to say she was “river born and mountain raised” and prefers to be around both, even though she’s currently based in the flattest part of Germany and near the Baltic Sea.

M left North America for the first time at 17 to be an exchange student and has since split her time between Rochester, NY and Western Europe, and sometimes northern New Mexico. She has studied in the United States, Belgium, France, and Germany and now works as an English Teaching Assistant in Northeastern Germany. She hopes to continue her studies and someday translate literature from French and German into English.

Anna Klos was born and raised in Portland, Oregon to a weaver [mother] and a painter [father]. Her main purpose in life is creating theater and she is currently stage managing and acting for Trap Door Theater with odd side gigs at Silk Road Rising Theater and Exit 63 Productions, a brand new company.

She has been on stage since elementary school and writing since middle school, but everyone kept telling her to major in something “practical” so she spent a year or so following Anthropology until deciding that listening to other people is a waste of time.

She drove from Portland to Chicago with two friends in 2016 as soon as she graduated from the University of Oregon. Her current life here is: cheese monger by day, theater artist by night, and writer in all the spaces in between. She can’t stop falling in love with people.

Thorsten Sahlin hasn’t found where he is from yet. He was born in the suburbs of Detroit and spent several years in Seattle, but does not find his concept of “home” to be applicable to either. He is currently adrift in Chicago where he passes the time by writing poetry and a novel that is totally not about anyone he is related to.

Thorsten is finishing a degree in creative writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to writing, his free time is occupied by running, rock climbing, and snowboarding. Do you snowboard? He would love a ride. He can bring his Bran Van 3000 tape cassette.

He can be found at open mics around Chicago reading his poems a whit too fast and loud.

Erick Sierra has always been taken with a sense of home being elsewhere—a distant, beautiful, strange place.

Year after year, this sense stirs him beyond his home base in New York City, and more recently Chicago, with restless wanderlust: driving him and his co-traveler wife across the globe summer after summer seeking immersion in things completely and challengingly different.

An English professor at a Midwest Christian college, he grew up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood and speaks Spanglish at home.

When not teaching, or writing, or traveling, or making cocktails to share with wife and friends, or doing yoga with her on rooftops, he’s busy daydreaming about the book he wants to write someday exploring why he believes the stuff he believes about there being, despite all evidence and reason, a good God somewhere.

Augie Truesdale is a sportswriter and general ne’er-do-well who’s always on the verge of being fired by CultofAmericana.com and Last Word on Sports, where he contributed baseball and hockey pieces.

His roots are in Hoboken, but he’s currently hiding out in a Midwest farm town called Chicago. He told us to keep his bio short and sweet, and it’s short anyways.



We are always seeking new writers, photographers, whatever-ers for the COA artist family. If you’d like to get paid for your craft have it promoted on our dime, please drop us a line through the Contact Us form.

Our writers and contributors have found all kinds of artistic outlets with COA. We’re an especially good fit for those fiction writers out there looking to talk about real life a bit.

New artists will start as contributors and will have the opportunity to become staff COA writers.

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All content copyright Cult of Americana unless otherwise indicated, and may not be reused or reproduced without express written consent. .  All elements of Cult of Americana name, logo and “Original American art forms” slogan are trademark Edrev Etnom, LLC.

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About Cult of AMERICANA

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