Author Meet & Greet!

Welcome to Author Meet & Greet

Here, you will have an opportunity to meet authors and learn a little more about them.

You may connect through their social media links (if they choose to share them) and purchase their works.

The 4 most current interviews will be posted here. Older ones may be found under the Archive: Author Meet & Greet on the front page.


( Jack Ketchum’s Interview from December 2017 is PINNED at the bottom of this page)


So, without further ado, let’s get to know

Meet & Greet Author #66:

Chris Aldridge

Name: Chris Aldridge

Genre(s) of your work: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Non-Fiction Religious.



Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Circle Magazine, Festival of the Sun, issue 115, 2013.

Circle Magazine, The Hellenic Journey of the Soul, issue 122, 2015.

The Creativity Webzine, Gods and Heroes Among Us, issue 2, 2017.

Dark Dossier, Deepest Doom, issue 14, 2017 (fiction).

Dark Dossier, Song of Sophia, issue 17, 2017 (fiction).

Dark Dossier, The Darkness, issue 17, 2017 (fiction).

Dark Dossier, The Exorcist Memoirs, issue 17, 2017.

Literary Orphans  Journal, My Time, My Space, issue 32, 2017 (fiction).

Dark Dossier, The Lost Union Soldier, issue 18, 2017.

Dark Dossier, Unseen, issue 19, 2018 (fiction).

Dark Dossier, The Lurker, issue 22, 2018 (fiction).

Mad Scientist Journal, Last Confessions of a Deranged Physicist, Summer issue 2018 (fiction).

Witches and Pagans Magazine, In Her Light, June issue 2018.



I’m native to North Carolina, and presently reside in northern Illinois. My religion is first and foremost in my life. I’ve been a devout Hellenic Polytheist since 2009. I’m the Head Priest of my own temple, and have written several books in the self-published market concerning the ancient Greek religion. But I’ve been writing fictional stories ever since I was in elementary school and proudly compose for respectable fictional publishers on the market today.


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write religious literature to help others who are seeking a light of guidance in the Hellenic religion, but as far as fictional works are concerned, they provide me with an escape sometimes, a world all my own that I can create and completely control. The possibility of creating, and of entertaining others and providing them with their own escape that they may need, gives me an unsurpassed sense of accomplishment in the career world.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s made me realize that anything worth doing, is hard work. It’s easy to write a short story or a book, but it’s not easy to write one that people want to buy and read. For that, you need skill, talent, and dedication to the profession. If you give up easy, I would recommend another job. So it’s really built my work ethic, I suppose you could say.


Who are your favorite authors and why?

I really like Stephen King himself, for one. His own life is so inspiring to me as well as other writers who are trying to make it. Stephen once said that when the nail on his wall would no longer hold the rejection letters, he replaced it with a spike and kept on writing. So we know for a fact that the king of horror himself was rejected countless times, yet he’s now the king. Stephen King was a man who never gave up, and he’s a light of hope for all writers and authors out there. As someone who also has his own pile of rejection letters, Stephen is a big inspiration to me.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I very much enjoy them. They’ve done a lot for authors in the promotion and selling area that might not have been possible otherwise.


What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

When it comes to my religious writings, I hope they will walk away more in touch with the Gods, or if they’re not Hellenic, with at least a better understanding of the religion and its history. In terms of my fictional works, I hope they will come away intrigued, inspired, and if nothing else, entertained.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Tons. The majority of my fictional stories on the market today were spawned from my own life, whether it was something I personally experienced, or a story I wrote to get out my anger and frustration with a particular situation in life. And I think that’s the case with many writers of fiction. I think there is always some spot of truth buried there.


How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Normally, I look at the alternative. Being a serious writer is my dream, and losing that would be devastating to me. My motivation comes from the fact that I don’t want to be something else entirely, and if I fail, that’s what will happen. The other motivation is the fact that I want to get my point across in my writings. All stories normally have a moral or a warning to the reader. I think we all have a deep desire to be heard, to have our opinions considered.


What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If it becomes boring or long-winded. There was a history book last summer that I did not finish because, toward the end, the author just kept recycling the information over and over again.


Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No, not at all. I think that if we are truly to be a society of free speech and free ideas, that there shouldn’t be some that are not allowed. Now you don’t have to accept the ideas of someone else, and if you feel so inclined, you can make your own written or verbal case against their ideas, but you can’t tape their mouths shut or tie their hands.

It worries me to live in a society that can decide which speech is appropriate and which is not, because what if they decide that my own stories are suddenly inappropriate or “unamerican?” I don’t want to return to McCarthyism in any form. I think people don’t realize that our rights as citizens stand strongly only when all of us stand strongly. If rights can be taken away from one person, they can be taken away from another.


Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

The only thing that bothers me when I read something, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, is when the writer is obviously recycling information just to make the story longer or fuller.


Where can people find you and your work?

My website has mostly all of my works in the right column bar. Click on which one you want to view and it will take you to the work. My website is . People can also find my writing page on Facebook at ChrisAldridgeArtist

Thank you, Chris, for sharing with us!


Heidi Herman

Name: Heidi Herman

Genre(s) of your work: Newly published novel women’s lit/chick lit, previous works in children’s and Icelandic folklore

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Her Viking Heart, 2018

Images of Iceland [Adult Coloring Book], 2018

The Icelandic Yule Lads: Mayhem at the North Pole, 2017

Happiness in Living Color [Adult Coloring Book], 2017

The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folklore, 2016

Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens, 2016

Yule Lads & Other Legends Activity Book, 2015

The Legend of the Icelandic Yule Lads, 2015




I was born in Illinois. My mother is from Iceland, and she met and married a US serviceman who was stationed in Reykjavik during WWII. I grew up with stories of trolls, sea creatures, and brave fishermen. I  once insisted to an elementary teacher that Leif Ericsson, not Christopher Columbus discovered America and that the history books were wrong. After a 30-year career in business, where I authored numerous magazine articles, white papers and technical assessment reports, I retired from corporate life and began writing full-time.

In the winter of 2012, my mom published her childhood memoirs, which some of Iceland’s folklore. I was again immersed in childhood memories of legend, lore and imaginative stories. The troll-like Christmas characters sparked the imagination of many and led to my writing my first book, “The Legend of the Icelandic Yule Lads”, in 2015, followed by two more books on Icelandic folklore and an Icelandic cookbook. I worked on my craft and expanded my writing into full-length novels, incorporating an Icelandic element to women’s literature and contemporary romance. I continue to work on more novels as well as new stories of the Yule Lads and other Icelandic mythological characters. I still live in Illinois with my two Schnoodles, Dusty and Thor.


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I cross several genres. The children’s stories are to share my Icelandic heritage and my newest novel, as well as future novels in progress are more focused on a character’s emotional journey and overcoming life’s obstacles.



How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has always been a part of everything I do. I find I communicate best in written form and truly enjoy writing full time now.


Who are your favorite authors and why?

There are so many authors whose work I enjoy and I seem to add more all the time, but I have a few all-time favorites. For romance novels, I really like Jude Deveraux. She has such great character development, fast-paced action, and does a lot of research for her historical novels to really give the reader a sense of the environment. Dean Koontz also is a favorite because he has such imaginative storylines and does a great job of executing the storyline with great tension and action.


What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

A new perspective, a new way of looking at things and appreciation for things around them. I want to write about things we all experience – life challenges, loss, emotional turmoil – and present different ways of dealing and overcoming the challenges through my character’s actions and choices. I believe happiness is a choice no matter what and sometimes people just need to see some examples of how to do that in order to apply it to their own lives. I think reading stories is part of how we learn, like parables or fables.

One of my favorite expressions early in by business career was “learn from the mistakes of others because you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. I think that’s great advice, but not only from the mistakes, but also the successes. We can copy the good behavior or smart choices of others to attain positive outcomes in our own lives and we can identify those things through the stories in books and movies.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I would say it plays a lot. The Icelandic aspect is from my mother and much of it is inspired by her memories. In the novels, I think for any writer, your own personal experiences and life lesson are part of what you want to share and different elements are imbued into characters.


How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

For me, most of the storylines are complete before I start writing. I’m more putting the story on paper and filling in the details. The motivation comes from the next story demanding its turn in the spotlight.


What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I love to read and really want to become immersed in the story. Anything that prevents that can make me stop reading. I might be bad dialogue, dull storylines, or underdeveloped characters that I have difficulty connecting with.


Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

It does drive me crazy when there are historical inaccuracies or time travel books where the author establishes rules and then breaks them in the storyline.


Where can people find you and your work?

My work is available on Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook online retailers, as well as directly from the publisher.

Thanks so much, Heidi!


McKenna Dean

Your Name: McKenna Dean

Pseudonym (if you use one): McKenna Dean is my pseudonym!

Genre(s) of your work: Paranormal romance

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Panther’s Lost Princess 2017

Snowfall (short story) 2018


McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.



Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love the way paranormal stories can be used to comment on things happening around the world today, much the way comic books have always reflected world events. The energy and suspense that paranormal elements bring to a story is so much fun to work with as a writer as well. And I’m a closet romantic, so I want all my stories to end with a happily ever after!


How has writing changed/altered your life?

I used to envy people who had something they were passionate about. People who were so committed to a hobby or sport they put in extra hours before school or after work. People who could chatter single-mindedly about their love, regardless of the interest level of the people around them. For years, I thought I was without passion, without drive. It turns out I kept pushing storytelling out of my life because I couldn’t imagine ever being published. Once I turned back to writing, it was like opening the hidden gate to an abandoned garden and discovering that it still flourished behind the walls.


Who are your favorite authors and why?

Oh goodness—such a long list! I read in many genres. I love the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers—Lord Peter and Harriet Vane have one of the healthiest romantic relationships I’ve ever read in fiction. I adore the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters—her heroine delightfully tromps in where angels fear to tread and Peters skewers the romantic suspense genre with her tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the formidable Amelia’s antics. Jane Austen is my go-to comfort re-read—I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, as well as her lesser known novels.

Tasha Alexander writes some of the best historical mysteries in her Lady Emily series. I love David Weber’s sci-fi Honor Harrington series—if you’re looking for epic military space opera, that’s the series for you! One of the best contemporary romances I’ve read in a long time was Act Like It by Lucy Parker—there was real character growth over the course of the book, and if you love a slow-burn romance, it delivers in spades.

I tend not to read as much in my own genre because I’m always working on a story, and I don’t want elements of someone else’s book sneaking into my WIP (writing in progress)!


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I grew up thinking there was no better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon than to hang out at the local bookstore, be it independent, second-hand, or one of the chain stores such as Waldenbooks, Books a Million, Barnes and Noble, etc. My friends and I used to spend hours at the bookstores. The chains put the indies out of business, and now almost all of the chain stores are gone too. It worries me that little seems to be able to stand up to Amazon. I love both the convenience and pricing of ordering ebooks online now, but wonder what will happen when Amazon owns the publishing industry.

On the other hand, the advent of the Kindle and the ease of self-publishing through sites like Amazon are the only reason I’m published today. So my feelings toward the Zon are complicated.


What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Most of my stories center around a character realizing what her true worth is: not to the people around her but to herself. I want readers to know there is more to life than just getting through the day.

I write because in general, life is tough. I like being able to make things work out better for my characters than they necessarily do in real life. But I also write for the person who’s had a crappy day. Who simply needs to escape their world for a few hours; be it because work is stressful, or they are an exhausted caregiver, or because of chronic illness, or whatever. If I can make someone forget the day’s events for a few hours, then I’ve done my job as a writer.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

On the surface, I lead a pretty boring life. I haven’t traveled much. I’ve lived in the same area most of my life. I work long hours in a stressful job. These element usually have no bearing on my writing. But I do know what it’s like to feel like an outsider. To be bullied. To have a stalker. To be discriminated against. To believe I’ll never be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough by today’s standards.

I know what it’s like to create my own family with ties thicker than blood. I know what it’s like to feel as though I live on the Island of Misfit Toys. I know what it’s like to slog through each day hoping for something better than mere survival. I know what it’s like to find love that brings out the best in you.

Those are the elements that go into my writing.


How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Most days I’m on fire to write all day long. I’ve been thinking of how I want to play out the next scene and I can’t wait to get home and start writing. Only by the time I’ve put in 10 hours at work, then come home, make dinner, feed the animals, walk the dogs, etc, my time and energy have petered out.

Still, I manage pretty well until I hit the last quarter of any story. Then I am SURE the story is utter trash and I should just bail on it. Somehow I push myself through this stage. I remind myself I can’t fix a blank page.


What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I used to finish every book I started on sheer principle. Now, if I can’t stand the main characters, I’ll drop the book by the end of the first chapter. I don’t have time to waste on truly despicable people with no redeeming qualities.

I’ll DNF (did not finish) a historical with obvious anachronisms.

I’ll DNF a book that doesn’t capture my attention. That’s not usually a conscious decision to DNF as much as I laid the book down and never went back to it.


Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

That’s a tough question. On the surface, I’d say no. There is an audience out there for nearly everything, and who am I to judge someone on their desire to read erotic dinosaur romances, or whatever?

But I think the real answer is more complicated than that. In the past, traditional publishing house performed a TON of self-censorship, especially in romance genres. If the publishers didn’t believe it would sell, they didn’t offer a contract. Heroines tended to all be white, slim, and blonde with blue eyes. They didn’t seeks out a sexual relationship; they were often ‘seduced’ against their will because good girls weren’t supposed to want sex. The romance had to end with either a marriage proposal or an epilogue depicting the newborn baby. The sex act itself (if it occurred on page) was couched in florid euphemisms and touted unrealistic expectations. These were industry standards.

Today, in part because of the success of self-publishing breaking down some of these perceptions as to what readers want, there’s a lot more diversity out there. But we still have a long way to go. Part of that diversity is allowing people to offer stories that fall into taboo categories: incest, slave fic, war criminals as heroes, etc. Do I want to read these kinds of stories? No. Do I want to prevent other people from reading them if that’s their thing? No… but if a major publishing house releases a story in which there are serious issues with the premise: be it something like fat-shaming, or racism, or a power discrepancy between the main characters (such as finding ‘love’ in a concentration camp), then I think readers have every right to take the publisher/author to task for publishing such a work.

A new algorithm on Amazon recently has resulted in erotica as a genre being blocked from sales ranks and having their rankings stripped, thus making these stories much harder to find. Apparently it came about due to a bill aimed at eliminating online sex trafficking, but instead has ensnared the very popular erotica market. To make matters worse, even non-erotica stories are getting re-labeled and stripped—romances that have any explicit sex scenes whatsoever. This is a case where the attempt to do a good thing—stop sex trafficking—has inadvertently targeted a segment of the population that has done no harm. Not sure how Amazon plans to resolve this, but it’s a measure of how potent censorship can be if only one company weighs in on it.

I defend someone’s right to read something I’d consider taboo because I don’t want anyone telling me what I can read or write.


Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

To be honest, I’m over the ‘billionaire’ hero. I know he’s the modern equivalent of a Duke, and a great catch and all, but I can’t imagine any billionaire treating an average woman with decency, kindness, or respect. You’d have to work hard to make me believe he was hero material.

Same with the Alpha Male Hero. Don’t get me wrong—I love conflict and sparkage between characters, but once you’ve shown me a character who is a jerk, you’re going to have a hard time making me believe he is worth it. I’d better see some amazing character growth in the story.

The quickest way to make me DNF a book is to introduce me to characters who are simply unpleasant without any real need to be so. I adore a grumpy hero. But show me why he’s grumpy—give me the justification for arrogance, or cockiness, or gruffness. Otherwise, he’s just another jerk.

Likewise, I have little patience for the ‘feisty’ heroine who puts herself in danger by refusing to act sensibly or take advice because she’s too stubborn and independent. Um, no. Truly independent women don’t put themselves in harm’s way just to spite someone—who then later has to rescue them.

Want me to fall in love with your characters? Show me people with issues to overcome. Who are better together than they are apart.


Where can people find you and your work?




Facebook Author Page:





Buy Link for The Panther’s Lost Princess:



Thank you very much, McKenna!


Stacy M Wray



Name: Stacy M Wray

Genre(s) of your work: contemporary romance, although my current WIP is a suspense

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Girl from the Kitchen Store 2014

Unclaimed Regrets 2015

Finding Karma 2017

Libra Rising 2017




Stacy M Wray loves writing and reading anything romance – Judy Blume being one of the first authors she read in middle school. After all, a world without love, heartache and angst would prove a boring place to live.

Lover of gray and white cats, craver of all things sweet, enthusiast of hiking and camping, wife of an extremely supportive husband, and mom to two amusing adult children, she realizes life is pretty damn good.

She also appreciates that it’s never too late to try something new. Never.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love all things romance so naturally I write it too. The build up between two people meeting and falling in love never gets old for me.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It hasn’t. I started writing later in life. I am the mom to two adult children, and when they left for college, I bought a Kindle and never looked back. I read so many books that I decided to give it a go. I have learned so much with every book I publish.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

In middle school I discovered Judy Blume and I couldn’t get enough. I also enjoy Anita Shreve – I’ve read every book she’s written. Now my favorite author is Tarryn Fisher. I love how she writes about flawed, raw, real characters and how she doesn’t necessarily stick to a certain genre. She writes what she feels.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Hopefully I provide some sort of escape for them. And if I’ve managed to get them to shed a tear or want to throw their book across the room, then I’ve done my job.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Nothing major. I’m sure I slip nuances of myself and life in my books, but nothing big.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I’m a slow writer. I don’t use an outline or a storyboard. My story shapes itself as I type. So it might take me awhile to get there, but I WILL get there.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Bad, cheesy dialogue. If it’s not realistic, I just can’t.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. Writing is a form of art, an expression of oneself. And there are thousands upon thousands of books to choose from. No one forces anyone to read what they don’t like/believe in. It’s all about choice.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon author page:


Facebook page:


Twitter: @stacymwray



Thank you so much for sharing, Stacy!


Jack Ketchum (PINNED – Interviewed in December 2017)


Name: Dallas Mayr

Pseudonym (if you use one): Jack Ketchum

Genre(s) of your work: Horror and Suspense (and the occasional Black Comedy.)

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):  Writing professionally since 1970, first fiction 1976, first novel, OFF SEASON, 1981.

Bio: see my website add to that, Most Recent Novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS, written with Lucky McKee and Most Recent Collection, GORILLA IN MY ROOM.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?  

I grew up loving fantasy, and horror is the dark side of fantasy.

How has writing changed/altered your life? The usual perks of self-employment — no punching the time clock, no damn bosses hovering over your desk.  But in addition to that, writing mandates continual periods of self-examination.  You don’t easily get away with lying to yourself on the page.  It requires you to scour your history and your present for your deepest faults and pleasures, to reveal and revel in them, to find the strengths in your life and work from there, reaching outward.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Far too many to list here.  I read all over the place and consequently my favorite writers come from all genres and backgrounds, from Henry Miller to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard and John D. MacDonald to Thomas Hardy, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub and Stephen King.  Why?  Because they’re smart, empathic, courageous.  Because they’re good!

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I wish we had a lot more mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar bookstores.  I seriously miss browsing.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

The need for empathy and tenderness in the world, that the souls of beasts and humans matter.  And a few hours of just plain fun.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Depends on the piece.  Some, like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and RED, are highly personal, others…?  I don’t know where the hell they came from!

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?  

Finishing a piece is almost always easy.  It’s getting started that’s hard.  Getting all your ducks in a row and then having the balls and suspension of disbelief  to say to yourself, this is really going to work.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I give books a first paragraph test.  If it passes, then a first chapter test.  If it passes that, I’ll almost always finish the book — I can tell from there that I’m going to want to.   If it fails I scuttle it immediately.  Very occasionally, too much repetition will make me dump it.  I don’t want to waste reading-time.  Too much good stuff out there.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Nothing should ever be censored.  Everything is worth discussing.  How long a discussion is another matter entirely.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

 Life’s short.  I don’t bother with peeves.  If I’m bored, I just close the book.

Where can people find you and your work?

Website, see above. I have a list of published works there.   Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia,


What can I say?

I am honored to have snagged a bit of Jack Ketchum’s time, for him to share his thoughts and words with me (and my readers), and for his participation in a blog such as this one. Thank you so much – for the interview as well as your writing. It has and continues to be an inspiration.

Readers, I implore you to look into Jack Ketchum’s work, especially if you are a horror/suspense fan. From the mouth of Stephen King – “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.”



  1. Hi Sue. Thank you for including me in this roundup of four writers. I read all the interviews with pleasure. The CWA includes so many interesting members. I enjoyed meeting my fellow interviewees via your blog.
    Susan Bass Marcus

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s nice to see Teri here — always good to know a little more about her. I had to laugh about her friends being more careful about what they say. 😀 It’s funny how many people worry they’ll be “in the book” when they learn you write. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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