Kristina Springer

Kristina Springer is the author of Cotton Candy Wishes, Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker, My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours (a Scholastic Bestseller and 2012 YALSA Quick Pick book), The Espressologist (a 2010 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book and 2014 Illinois Reads Book that has been purchased for film by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru), and Just Your Average Princess.

She has a Masters in Writing from DePaul University and resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband and children. Learn more about Kristina on her website.

Bill McCormick

Bill McCormick began writing professionally in 1986 when he worked for Chicago Rocker Magazine in conjunction with his radio show on Z-95 (ABC-FM). He went on to write for several other magazines and later transitioned to blogs. He wrote a sports blog at Jay The Joke which was featured in ESPN (The Magazine), Sports Illustrated, on the Jonathon Brandmeir Show (WLUP), and referenced many times in local newspapers including the Sun Times & Tribune. He still writes a twisted news blog at World News Center which provides source material for his weekly appearances on The Big Wake Up Call which airs every Friday around 9:10 AM on WBIG 1280 AM, FOX! Sports. Yes, you read that correctly, he does a show about anything other than sports on a sports radio station even though he has written extensively about sports.

In 2011, Bill started submitting some fictional short stories to various publishers. Much to his surprise, and the consternation of linguists everywhere, they began publishing his efforts. Bill has expanded his repertoire to include comic books, graphic novels, and full length novels. He has currently penned everything from dystopian nightmares to cuddly children’s stories.

Bill is a big fan of nicotine, vodka, music, and this rambunctious redhead who keeps waking up in his bed. Connect with Bill online on his website.

Amy McNulty

Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not reviewing anime professionally or editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own. She also writes romance as Joy Penny.

Connect with Amy online:

Amazon – Goodreads – Bookbub – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – Wattpad – Website

Brett Weiss

In 2009, Brett Weiss made a volunteer trip to Dago, Kenya and fell in love with its people, who are among the poorest in the world. As a former high school social studies teacher of 18 years, he knew he had to do something to help them—especially their youth. Because he knew that education is the way out of poverty, he started the Weiss Scholarship Foundation in memory of his parents, Bernard and Elsie Weiss, in 2011. Brett wrote a book about his experiences in Kenya and the Scholarship Foundation called, “Just Give Them A Hug…And The Rest Will Be Easy”. To date 42 Dago children have been awarded full four year scholarships in a village where few had ever gone to high school. Four are now attending University.

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Leigh Hellman

Leigh Hellman is a queer/asexual and genderqueer writer, originally from the western suburbs of Chicago, and a graduate of the MA Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After gaining the ever-lucrative BA in English, they spent five years living and teaching in South Korea before returning to their native Midwest.

Leigh’s short fiction and creative nonfiction work has been featured in Hippocampus Magazine, VIDA Review, and Fulbright Korea Infusion Magazine. Their critical and journalistic work has been featured in the American Book Review, the Gwangju News magazine, and the Windy City Times.

They are pleased as punch to be publishing their first novel, the new adult speculative fiction work Orbit, with Snowy Wings Publishing in 2018.

Leigh is a strong advocate for full-day breakfast menus, all varieties of dark chocolate, building a wardrobe based primarily on bad puns, and bathing in the tears of their enemies.

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Sarah Aronson

Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published three stand alone novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe. Her most recent books are part of a new young MG series, The Wish List (Scholastic, 2017-2019) as well as a forthcoming picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Robert Neubecker.

When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, social action, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at the amazing Highlights Foundation or online, with Writers on the Net ( She loves sports. She overuses exclamation points. When she’s excited, she talks with her hands. Sign up for her weekly newsletter on the writing process at

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George Swimmer

George Swimmer is a certified public accountant (CPA) who received his Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Illinois University. A registered investment advisor, Swimmer holds various insurance licenses. He is also a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

An outspoken citizen advocate who spent over twenty years investigating train accidents and arguing for improved railroad safety, Swimmer is a recipient of the Citizen Advocacy Center’s Citizen Initiative Award, the Lions Clubs International Foundation’s Melvin Jones Fellow Award, and the DuPage Railroad Safety Council’s Jonathan Goers Award.

A former member of the Belmont Underpass Task Force in Downers Grove. The Task Force successfully worked towards the completion of an underpass at the busy BNSF railroad tracks that cross Belmont Avenue. A former member of the Illinois Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The founder and former member of Illinois FACES, a foster parent advocacy group.

Swimmer also served as a member of the United States Marine Corps.

24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

This book sets out to reveal how a mixture of mismanagement and industrial slowness to take corrective action have led to flaws in the railroad industry’s safety protocols and infrastructure. Criticism is also levied at some of the investigative conclusions by the National Transportation Safety Board. Many rail accidents, both fatal crashes and derailments, are candidly discussed with critical commentary on how and why these incidents happened and how they might have been avoided. Failures to effectively communicate, position and use of signals, scheduling of trains including when and how passenger and freight trains can enter and pass through a station, track layouts, speeds used at different times and places, warning systems, pedestrian crossings are all carefully broken down to establish a clear-cut impression of rail tragedies. Victim stories come into play as well as legal implications.

Hearings and testimonies attest to ongoing public scrutiny of the well-documented issues. Comments by various authorities are illuminating. Well-placed black and white photos, as well as charts and diagrams, provide a strong graphic presence. The first-person writing is clear and lucid though more subtitles in chapters would enable easier reading.

A bibliography and glossary of terms round out a well researched and written book. The title and subtitle work well, but the cover image could be darker.

Discover more on George’s Amazon Author Page.

Anita Davis

Anita Davis is a former elementary teacher born and raised in Chicago. Although she wrote short stories much of her childhood, she didn’t unlock and cultivate her passion as a writer until she became a writing teacher for middle school students. The more she had to create sample writings for her students, the more she realized her passion and ability to tell stories in the written form. She decided to hone her craft as a writer by completing her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing via National University. She now pursues writing books most of her time, in addition to being a flight attendant and a substitute teacher. She is Co-Founder of Book Euphoria, a group of Chicago authors bound by their love of literature. Book Euphoria hosts Book It Chicago bi-annually, a literary event series and they also founded the empowerment movement, Black Girl Passion. Anita seeks to encourage, engage, and entertain her readers.
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Nicole Falls

Nicole Falls is a contemporary Black romance writer who firmly believes in the power of Black love stories being told. She’s also a ceramic mug and lapel pin enthusiast who cannot function without her wireless Beats constantly blaring music. When Nicole isn’t writing, she spends her time singing off key to her Tidal and/or Spotify playlists while drinking coffee and/or cocktails! She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago.
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Christine Petersen Streed and Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz

Christine Petersen Streed and Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz have been writing partners since 2009. While both living in Illinois, they coauthored their first novel, Relative Disenchantment (2017). Their collaboration has recently taken on an interesting dimension—writing together, but apart. Christine still lives in the Chicago area, but Patricia now resides in Boston. Despite the distance, they co-wrote their second novel, Things I Don’t Talk About, via video conference calls. Christine and Patricia find inspiration in the milestones of life, drawing from those experiences to develop their novels.

Find Christine & Patricia online: