Thank you to all the authors who participated in the 6th annual Authors Fair. 



2023 Participating Authors

Donna Amburgey

Genre: Lit Fiction              

Author of Tears, Fears and Arrowheads 2006

Author of Medicine Men 2007

Pending publication: Harvest No Chance

JUKE BOX MEDIA LLC Serves authors with access to YouTube

WINDOWREAD is a video publication and reading of short stories 1500 words or less

Contact for writer support:  Donna Amburgey  Call 630 400 1487.

Glynn Amburgey

Genre: Mystery

Glynn Amburgey is a retired electric utility engineer and manager. Glynn started writing after he developed a good plot and realized it would never be written by anyone else. From one plot to another, he has now completed his third book in his RIP series. He also has 2 YouTube channels, "Window Read" a channel devoted to short stories by him and other authors and "A Model Railroad Newbie" where he documents the building of an n scale model railroad. He and Donna live in St Charles.

Donald J. Bingle

Genre: Thriller Novels (SciFi, Espionage, Mystery, Eco, Historical, Fantasy) and Short Fiction and Non-Fiction

Donald J. Bingle is the author of eight books and more than seventy shorter works in a wide variety of genres. Along with his Dick Thornby Spy Thriller series and The Love-Haight Case Files urban fantasy / horror / mystery series, he has a variety of stand-alone books, and story collections, including one in Morse Code. More on Don's writing can be found at or follow him on social media @donaldjbingle.

Karla Brandenburg

Genre: Romance, Mystery, Suspense      

Karla Brandenburg is an award-winning author of contemporary romance novels which include paranormal elements. Now that her children have settled into lives of their own, she loves to go out into the world on adventures with her husband, from Milwaukee to the French Riviera, but the Chicago suburbs have always been “home.” She is an avid reader across multiple genres and is a card-carrying cookie-holic (we all have our vices). Connect with Karla:

Web page:


Ken Brown

Genre: Fantasy

Kenneth Brown has been writing since 2004, though he didn't publish his first novel until 2018. He writes Young-Adult Fantasy novels that he likens to Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones. His stories have a strong action-adventure element in each novel.

When Kenneth isn't writing, you might find him hiking the trails in one of America's National Parks. His favorite National Park is whichever park he is in at the moment. He walked across Spain in 2015 doing the French Way of the Camino de Santiago. Walking in nature helps ground him for the novels he writes.

Beckie Butcher

Genre: Autobiographical/Memoir            

I was born and raised in Elgin, IL. I am a 1982 graduate of Elgin High School and a 1997 graduate of Elgin Community College with a degree in Clinical Laboratory Technology. In 2007, I quit my job to pursue a career in Culinary Arts when I was stricken with the misunderstood autoimmune disease Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I told my story in a book called, "My Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," hoping to spread awareness for CFS. It is currently in negotiations for a film.

Rachelle Paige Campbell

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance and Christian Contemporary Romance         

Rachelle Paige Campbell writes contemporary romance novels filled with heart and hope. She believes love and laughter can change lives, and every story needs a happily ever after.

Steve Decker

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author Steven Decker is a Chicagoan, a grandfather and a military veteran who enlisted after graduation from Lane Tech High School. Decker was assigned to NATO in Europe where he worked as an air traffic controller. after the military, he went into real estate development and marketing. Decker (Tomasello on his mother's side) grew up in a large, thriving Sicilian family in the Logan Square neighborhood and never forgot the family stories about life in Little Sicily, and how his family survived terrible poverty, life during the Roaring 20s and Prohibition and their encounters with gangsters.

Cici Edward

Genre: Romance              

Cici Edward loves books! Reading them and writing them. As an avid romance reader for many years, she always knew she wanted to write a romance novel one day. Once she wrote her first novel, a passion for writing burned inside her and one book was not enough. If you like sweet, steamy paranormal romance, you’ll love Cici Edward’s haunting ghost stories with heart. Visit her website to learn more information about the Possession Series.  

Lance Erlick

Genre: Science Fiction    

Lance Erlick writes science fiction thrillers for adult and young adult readers. His Android Chronicles series was published through Kensington Books and follows the challenges of Synthia Cross, wrestling with the download of a human mind and emergent behavior while confronted by humans who seek to control her. Other published science fiction includes the three-book Rebel series, the four-book Regina Shen series, and Xenogeneic: First Contact. To learn more, visit him online at

Marcell Davon Fitzgerald

Genre: Nonfiction

Marcell Fitzgerald is an author, motivational speaker, life coach, and artist from a humble beginning. Raised on Chicago's westside is where his story began. His journey to success has been tough, but he never let that stop him from reaching his goals. After success with his first book entitled " Why Not You,'' he decided to write another self-help book to inspire others to become their best version. In this book, he will teach you how to overcome your fears & weaknesses, let go of old relationships, and face the mirror holding you back from greatness. He uses real-life examples that he has gone through to show his vulnerability and strategies to handle those situations.

Julie M. Gentile

Genre: Self-Care, Health and Wellness    

Julie M. Gentile helps busy people create better self-care habits as a yoga teacher (RYT 500), author of two award-winning books: 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas and How to Stay Calm in Chaos: An Everyday Self-Care Guide, and creator of the Stand Up for Your Self-Care blog and YouTube Channel. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook @JulieGtheYogi and sign up for her monthly self-care newsletter Nourish Note at

Kate Gingold

Genre: Cozy Mystery Reference, Local Illinois History, Author Marketing  

After writing several books about Illinois in the 1800s, history buff Kate Gingold recently combined her research skills with a deep affection for Agatha Christie to annotate Christie's earliest novels. Kate blogs about history and author marketing at and writes about and for digital marketing during her "day job" at When not writing, you'll find her messing around with plants or traveling with her husband.

Chasity Gunn

Genre: Poetry   

Chasity Gunn is the Elgin Poet Laureate Emeritus and a 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow for the Academy of American Poets. She leads Sanctuary Poets, a local community writing group. She is an alum of The Watering Hole, Voices of Our Nation and Anaphora Arts. Gunn earned an MFA from Hamline University. She teaches with the Chicago Poetry Center and PNAP+/Poetry Foundation. Gunn is an Assistant Professor at Elgin Community College.

Ed Herdrich

Genre: Poetry, Suspense/Thriller               

Edward J. Herdrich is the author of a non-fiction book for entry-level investigators used by three local community colleges in their private investigation courses, non-fiction short stories and articles on private investigations, and his recently completed full-length novel, An Unreasonable Amount of Trouble, which follows novellas and music centered around the protagonist, Samantha “Sam” Rose Johnson, Licensed Private Detective. Surface Tensions and Undercurrents; A Collection of Poems and Observations Along the Water’s Journey, his first poetry chapbook, reflects a poetic voice informed by over twenty years of working as a Licensed Private Detective, military service, years of camping and gardening, and inspired by nature, time he spent with Native American people, and his six intelligent, compassionate, strong, and beautiful children.

Dennis Higgins

Genre: Time Travel Romance - Afterlife   

Award-winning author, Dennis Higgins is a distant relative of Davy Crockett. As a native of Chicago, Dennis Higgins has a passion for the past. He now lives in Elgin with his lovely wife, and their Lhasa Poo dog, Dom Perignon. Author of Pennies From Across the Veil, Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66), the Time Pilgrim series, Steampunk Alice, The Old Scrapbook, The Writer’s Apprentice, Christmas Returns to Pottersville, Confessions of an Internet Scammer, Goes to Eleven, The Automated Wife, The Adventures of Black Lace, and The Vacant Lot. Coming Soon – The Nurses. A story about a modern nursing student entering the body of a nursing student in 1966.

Melanie Holmes

Genre: Nonfiction - Travel, Biography, Women's History   

Award-winning author Melanie Holmes is a lifelong Illinoisan and travel enthusiast who just brought out, "100 Things To Do in Illinois Before You Die," part of Reedy Press' nationwide line of bucket list books. This book garnered a segment on WGN-TV's morning news show. Holmes' five nonfiction books honor the arts, history, inclusivity, and local businesses, people, and nonprofits. Holmes also does speaking engagements and occasional educational segments.

Zee Lacson

Genre: Young Adult. Magical Realism.     

Photographer. Visual artist. Writer. But throughout her life, she has always been a Dreamer.

The Woolgathering Series is her dream come true. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, with her grandparents, father, and twin brothers, she currently lives the dream in the northern suburbs of Chicagoland with her husband and twin sons. Reverie was her first published work of fiction. It was a finalist at the 2021 Illinois Author Project. Revenant, the sequel to Reverie, was released in 2021. Réveil, the final in the series, was released May 2023.

Diane Lincoln

Genre: Poetry   

Diane Lincoln is a former science teacher who has written for online sources and has written fiction as well as nonfiction. She has been writing poetry and attending poetry workshops for many years. Her book, “Mechanical Bell Sunrises,” is a poetry collection.  When she’s not writing, Diane loves to sing karaoke, create acrylic paintings, and try new coffee shops with friends.

Danielle Lincoln Hanna

Genre: Suspense             

Danielle Lincoln Hanna is the author of the Mailboat Suspense Series. She left the Rocky Mountains of Montana to be closer to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where her books are set. But her first love is still the Great Plains of North Dakota where she was born. When Danielle isn’t writing, you can find her hiking with her boyfriend Charles, adventuring with her German Shepherd Angel, and avoiding surprise attacks from her cat Fergus.

Diane Macey

Genre: Historical Romance            

Diane Macey came to believe in the power of the written word at age eleven when her first poem, “When You Smoke a Cigarette,” apparently inspired her father to stop smoking. Though the truth proved otherwise, she never gave up her dream of touching others through her writing. A retired elementary school teacher and principal, her writing spans fiction, poetry, memoir, and creative non-fiction. She has been published in Reminisce and Still Crazy magazines, and several anthologies including: Imagine This and The Storyteller. She is the author of two historical romance novels, A Change of Heart and Journey to Love.

Christina (Tea) Marrocco

Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry           

Christina Marrocco is the author of Addio, Love Monster, named 2022 Best New Indie by Chicago Writers Association. Her Welsh stories from the dead are slated to come out in 2024 with a Welsh press. She also publishes frequently in poetry and creative nonfiction journals. She lives in Elgin where she teaches writing at ECC and acts as the prose editor of Ovunque Siamo Magazine.

Jamie Lynn Miller

Genre: LGBTQ Gay Romance         

Jamie has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending. If Jamie’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find her at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.

Hugo V. Negron

Genre: Fantasy 

Hugo Valentin Negron is an avid fan of myths, legends, and folktales. He grew up in Illinois where he still resides with his wife and son. His background includes an M.A. in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University as well as an M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He enjoys reading, biking, and walking winding trails through darksome forests, searching out the mystical beings that reside therein.

EJ Nickson

Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Contemporary Romance            

EJ is as varied as an author as she is as a reader.  She has two published contemporary romance novels, a dystopian fiction, and was the winner of The Great Clarendon House short story writing challenge in 2022.  She is a wife, a mother, and a foster parent in addition to being a 20-year veteran of the horse training industry. In her sparse spare time, she enjoys writing stories she hopes you can lose yourself in.

Kimberly Oclon

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Historical Fiction               

With a BA in screenwriting and MFA in Fiction, Kim taught high school for six years. She was fortunate to teach creative writing and film classes in addition to trudging through the classics. She also co-founded the school's first gender-sexualities alliance. A reader all her life, Kim's first literary loves were a series of Care Bear Books and Grover's Book of Resting Places. Kim lives in East Dundee, IL with her husband and two kids. MAN UP is her first novel. Her second novel, THE WAR ON ALL FRONTS, was published in May 2022.

Maralee Parker

Genre: Memoir 

Maralee Parker is a wife, grandma, and lover of dachshunds. She invested many years of her life as a children’s curriculum editor at David C Cook Publishing, and a marketer at Judson University.

Gary Peterson

Genre: Drama; Theater 

Gary Peterson is the author or co-author of 29 published plays and musicals, including adaptations of The Great Gatsby, Little Women, The Importance of Being Earnest, Charley's Aunt, and Pygmalion. His original plays include The Edge of Noir, Hank Cinque, and Klondike Kalamity. He is a retired, Emmy-winning video editor for Disney/ABC in Chicago, in which capacity he worked on numerous television productions including The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1984, Gary received a national Emmy Award for his video editing at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. He has also won Regional Emmys in 2007 and 2017.

Michael Pickard

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery 

Michael Pickard’s writing serves as the bridge between his professional work in technology and his passion for the creative arts. Dozens of Pickard's short stories have been published, including Hardwired, which won a Ray Bradbury Creative Writing Prize in 2005. Pickard’s extensive background working with cutting edge technology has proved helpful for imagining fictive universes and societies. Strong satire keeps readers grounded, thinking, and laughing.

Ed Piotrowski

Genre: Memoir

Born and raised in Chicago and a lifelong resident of its metro area, “just a regular guy” Ed Piotrowski graduated summa cum “nada” from Northern Illinois University, then spent 35 years tucked in the bowels of corporate America before retiring. His memoir, A Life Well Fished: “Reel” Adventures and the Stuff That Happened in Between, is easy reading -- a fun, thoughtful, witty, and touching look at life through his eyes as a fisherman. It celebrates the triumph of family, friends, and fishing … though not necessarily in that order! He currently resides in Huntley with his wife, Jo Ann.

Mark Plotnick

Genre: Non Fiction - Rock and Roll Music              

Mark Plotnick is a native Chicagoan who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Loyola University. His love of rock and blues music proved too distracting during his initial year at the Illinois College of Optometry so Mark left his studies for a short stint selling pianos and organs for the Lyon and Healy Company. In 1984, Mark co-authored “The Smart Money Shopper.”  It caught the attention of newspapers, radio, TV and Oprah Winfrey who invited Mark and his co-author on her show. These experiences led to new career opportunities including product and ad copywriting, public relations, magazine journalism, marketing, and market research including the writing of widely consulted reports for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and industries. Recently retired, Mark draws from his years as a non-professional keyboards player and devotee of classic rock era music to play and write about the music, performers and industry he loves. In 2019, he co-authored “Classic Rock – Photographs from Yesterday and Today.” 

James Brady Porter

Genre: Adult Fiction       

James Brady Porter is a retired Sales and Marketing Consultant for the Chemical and Automotive Industries.  He is an avid reader and published his first novel at age 87; His second one in 2023.  His books are large print and easy to read.  In fact, both are fun and fast reads.  He wants his readers to enjoy and share his experiences of an enjoyable life.  He is married to a loving wife for over 65 years and lives in Elgin now.  He is well traveled and loves to spin tales.

India Powers

Genre: Fantasy Romance              

In 2013, India Powers finaled in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest in the paranormal category with her manuscript “Demon’s Bane.” That book eventually went on to win the adult fiction category of the 2021 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project, as well as Best First Book in the Prism Awards. DEMON'S BANE is the first entry in her fantasy romance series the Mageblood Chronicles. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Regency Fiction Writers, Chicago North Romance Writers, FF&P Romance Writers, and RWA®. Learn more about India and her upcoming books at:

Georgann Prochaska

Genre: Mystery

Georgann Prochaska lives in the suburbs of Chicago and writes mysteries. There are 8 mysteries in the Snoopypuss Series.

Patricia Ricketts

Genre: Adult Fiction        

Patricia Ricketts received a lifelong love of music, the written word, the visual arts, and healthy arguing from her Irish Catholic family of origin. She’s been penning essays, short stories, poems, and novels for most of her life as she raised three wonderful children. However, after receiving a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh in Creative Writing, her passion for writing escalated. Since then, she has had short stories published in New Directions, The Slate, Meta, The Blue Hour Magazine, Realize Magazine, Storied Stuff and on NPR’s “This I Believe” website. Her love of writing informs her songwriting lyrics, which Trisha has sung at open mics in and around Chicago with her artist husband, Peter Hurley. Having recently published her second novel, Speed of Dark, she is working on her third, The End of June, due out in fall 2024.

Susan Schubert

Genre: Memoirs               

Susan has written two memoirs, The Way I Remember It, Memoir of a Trip to Europe 1971 where she roamed around Great Britain, France, Germany on many adventures. Then in 2018 she wrote My Place of Dreams where she goes back to Scotland to find her Bonny Scotsman. Both books are delightfully impressionistic. Susan lives in St. Charles and is also a poet, photographer and sings in a rock and roll band.



Brian Skillen

Genre: Historical Fantasy             

The author Brian John Skillen believes we are all called to adventure. Whether we answer this call by traveling around the world or by living vicariously through our favorite characters—we are born to explore. In all of his adventures, nothing has affected him more than his pilgrimages along the Camino de Santiago. Here he was first told about a secret code of the Knights Templar. This code inspired him to write the Through a Field of Stars series. Since his pilgrimage in 2017, he has walked over 1,000 miles across Spain doing research for the series.

Jim Summaria

Genre: Non Fiction - Rock and Roll Music   

Chicago area native Jim Summaria is a veteran rock concert photographer whose exclusive, high-quality photos have appeared nationally and internationally. Summaria’s lifelong passion for rock photography began as a 19-year-old armed with a Kodak Instamatic at a 1972 Rolling Stones concert. He soon invested in a 35mm camera with a zoom lens, sneaking onto the main floor of a Led Zeppelin concert and snapping professional quality photos. One particular photo impressed the manager of Flip Side Records who hired the 20-year-old to be the official photographer for a major Chicago concert promoter. Thus, began the odyssey of shooting every major act of the 1970s. After a “side trip” into his primary career as a corporate photographer, Summaria returned to the rock concert scene in 2008 shooting many of the same acts whose careers have endured and created the unique “yesterday and today” portfolio few photographers have. In 2019, he co-authored the book “Classic Rock – Photographs from Yesterday and Today.” In March of 2021, the executive director of Huntley Community Radio invited Summaria and Plotnick to host a weekly, hour-long radio program titled “That Classic Rock Show. 

Pamela Verner Skaar

Genre: Memoir 

In my early days, I was a reporter for a local newspaper, but after working through a traumatic experience with a therapist, I became a therapist myself. I worked for many years as a therapist in the addictions and trauma recovery field. Due to some spiritual experiences, I ended up writing a book about my recovery and healing. I am currently semi-retired and I have written numerous poems, short stories and essays.

Susan Wells

Genre: Mystery, Detective

Susan Wells is a 2018 graduate of Citizen’s Police Academy and completed several ride-alongs. To write this true-to-life story, she has consulted and interviewed police professionals, detectives, and EMTs about their day to day procedures. Her first one-act play was read at the Steel Beam Theater in St. Charles November 2022. One of her romance stories was accepted by Everyday Fiction and five of her humorous stories were accepted at Reedsy Prompts. She speaks with book clubs and has done readings in Wheaton and Chicago. Currently she has over 700 followers in her Facebook fan club.

R. G. Ziemer

Genre: Young Adult/Poetry/Historical Fiction       

R. G. Ziemer is a writer of prose and poetry. His Young Adult novel, The Ghost of Jamie McVay, was published in 2019, and a poetry chapbook Blood and Remembrance came out in 2022. His current project is  a historical novel, South Side Story. Ziemer teaches writing at C.O.D. He enjoys participating in several area open mics and Writers Groups, publishing Naperville’s annual Rivulets. His writing has appeared in numerous journals. Born and bred on Chicago’s South Side, he lives in Warrenville on the West Branch of the DuPage River. Ziemer is an avid genealogist and an active outdoorsman.