Mollie Johanson

Mollie Johanson has loved creating and crafting cute things for as long as she can remember. She is the author of Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small and a regular contributor to Simply Sewing Magazine, as well as a variety of blogs, books, and magazines.

Mollie lives in St. Charles, IL, and is happiest with a cup of coffee, some stitching, and her family close at hand. Visit her at

Joyce Burns Zeiss

Joyce Burns Zeiss has always wanted to be a writer. After retiring from teaching junior high school, she became a member of the Off Campus Writes Workshop in Winnetka, Illinois.

Her experiences resettling a Cambodian refugee family in 1979 and her subsequent trips to refugee camps in Africa have fueled her interest in the plight of the refugee. Her first novel, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth, (Flux 2015) is based on the true-life experiences of a fellow teacher who crossed the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing boat. To learn more, visit her website .

Carrie Worthington

Carrie Worthington became a mental health advocate after her husband and her son were both diagnosed with a mental illness. Carrie herself was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and trichotillomania. A tireless advocate dedicated to raising awareness about mental illness, Carrie became passionately involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and helped to grow the NAMI Will-Grundy Chapter.

Besides authoring Living with Mental Illness from the Real Life Diaries Series, she has also contributed to Hello From Heaven, as well as Poetry and Prose, both from the Grief Diaries Series. She has contributed to several more books from the Grief Diaries that will be released in 2018.

Her website is her blog as she renegotiates and rebuilds her life as a widow. She is also working on a book about her struggles with grief after the passing of her husband in 2011. Her books, as well as the other Grief Diaries Series books can be purchased on Vixie Shop as well as other local bookstores.

Living with Mental Illness are true stories by ordinary people about facing challenges, living with stigma, and finding hope in life with mental illness.  Confessing struggles, fears, and hopes, the collection of heartfelt stories offers firsthand insight into the diversity of mental illness for nonclinical perspectives, and highlights the unexpected ways ordinary people find strength courage and hope even when bound by societal stigma.

Sue Mydliak

Sue Mydliak lives in Illinois with her husband and has been writing for 14 years now. She started writing when the book Twilight first came out and fell in love with the paranormal genre. Since then, she has written and finished her Rosewood Trilogy and just recently her anniversary edition, Forever, which is the first book re-written for adults.

Currently, she has two books in progress, Southern Shorts which is an anthology of short stories about Dry Prong, Louisiana, and Night Games. Both will be out next year.

Trina Sotira

Trina Sotira is an assistant professor of English at College of DuPage. Her M.A. in British and American literature is from Northern Illinois University. She is also an alum of Columbia College Chicago’s Journalism Department.

Her young adult novel, “In Her Skin: Growing Up Trans” (ebook 2012; paperback April, 2016) received international recognition for revealing the struggles of a transgender teen.

With Michelle Duster, Trina co-edited and contributed to, Shifts: An Anthology of Women’s Growth Through Change”, featuring 35 nationally recognized poets, essayists, and fiction writers. Shifts was recognized as a 2015 USA Best Book Award and 2016 Indie Book Awards finalist for Women’s Issues.

Trina is raising her family in a town where she can see the Chicago skyline in the distance. You can visit her online at

Clara Kensie

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. The first two books in her super-romantic psychic thriller Deception So series were an RT Book Review Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Deception So Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious RITA© Award for Best First Book. Originally published as the Run to You digital series, the books are now releasing in print with exciting new titles and gorgeous new covers. Deception So Deadly is currently available, and Deception So Dark will release in February 2018. The series will continue with the never-before-published Deception So Dangerous, Deception So Devious, and Deception So Dire.

Clara’s critically-acclaimed novel Aftermath (Simon and Schuster/Simon Pulse), a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines contemporary thriller in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016. Aftermath was recently selected for a high school’s One Read program as part of their literature curriculum.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

 Find Clara online: Website   Facebook   Newsletter

Find Clara’s books at your favorite bookstore or online vendor: Deception So Deadly    Aftermath

Lisa Maggiore

Lisa Maggiore is the author of a children’s picture book, “Ava the Monster Slayer: A Warrior Who Wears Glasses”, a short story, “Pinterest Saved My Marriage”, and a novel, “Home from Within.”

Lisa is currently working on other writing projects and practicing her storytelling skills during Live Lit performances. She resides in Chicago, where she grew up, with her husband and children. For the past 20 years, she was a social worker, which has helped in her writing about tragedy and love.

CC Dragon

A loyal Chicago girl who loves deep dish pizza, the Cubs, and the Lake, CC Dragon is fascinated by mysteries, sleuthing, as well as the supernatural. CC loves creating characters, especially amateur sleuths who solve crimes in their spare time. A coffee and chocolate addict who loves fast cars, she’s still looking for a hero who likes to cook and clean…so she can write more!
PS: She also writes steamier adult romance as Cheryl Dragon

Dawn Malone

Dawn Malone is the author of two middle-grade novels, “Bingo Summer” and “The Upside Down.”. Her essays, articles and short fiction have also appeared in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL Take Time for Kidsedition, Highlights for ChildrenPockets, the Wisconsin State Journal, and other publications.

When she’s not writing, she substitute teaches and leads summer writing workshops for junior high students at Heartland Community College. She lives in central Illinois. Her website is, and she can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Mary G. Furlong

Mary G Furlong is an award winning children’s author and musician who integrates original music and stories into core classroom subjects, such as geography, science, and history.

In addition to “Little Fido: The History of the Civil War Through the Eyes of Abraham Lincoln’s Beloved Dog,” Mary is the author/composer of other “song-stories” including “Nile, Nile Crocodile,” “5 Monkeys & Little Crocodile,” and “Sylvia’s Story: The 1915 Chicago River Tragedy of the S.S. Eastland.”

A native of Wisconsin and an avid Packer and Cub fan, Mary lives in the Chicago area with her husband T.C., two dogs, and two sons. Two of them are well trained.