Author Meet & Greet!

Welcome to Author Meet & Greet

Here, you will have an opportunity to meet authors,  connect with them 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:  #109

L.B. Johnson



Your name:  L.B. Johnson

Pseudonym:  Brigid Johnson, L.B. Johnson

The genre of your Work:  Memoir, Young Adult, Coming of Age


After 20 years as a commercial pilot and being really tired of being away from home for weeks every month, I followed in my Deputy Sheriff Mom’s footsteps and picked up a doctorate in Criminal Justice and now work in law enforcement. My husband and I live in Chicago with our two rescue Labrador Retrievers.   All of my books have been bestsellers on Amazon in their genre and I donate 100% of their sales to animal rescue and Search Dog Foundation.

Why do you write in the genre that you do? 

I’ve had a pretty interesting life, and lots of life stories to go with that. I’ve actually written 3 memoirs, all with different themes.  One deals with our love of pets and our grief on losing them, one deals with adoption, both two and four-legged (I am an adoptee and was a teen birth mom), and the third deals with becoming a commercial pilot back in a day when women weren’t encouraged to do that.  I could have said, “Mom and Dad, I’m joining a cult”, and it would have been met with more enthusiasm.

How has writing changed/altered your life? 

It’s been a healing process.  I wrote my first book “The Book of Barkley, Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever” when I lost my beloved furry best friend 3 weeks before losing my only brother, my human best friend, both to sudden, aggressive cancers.  Writing our life story really did help me heal and it’s kept my brother’s memory alive for my 99-year-old Dad who has mild dementia. It’s also made me a little more extroverted.  I’ve twice won the Reader’s Favorite International Book Award and to go to Miami for the huge awards gathering with so many great authors was not something I’d typically do, I’m very much an introvert off the job, but it was awesome.


Who are your favorite authors and why? 

I love John L. Moore, who writes contemporary Western fiction from his cattle ranch in Montana and J.L. Curtis who has written the Gray Man Series about a retired Texas Sheriff that still fights crime even as his body has to get used to old age.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?   

I’m pleased that Barnes and Noble and Waterstones in the UK have carried my books, but honestly, the majority of my sales are through Amazon. I do have to tell a funny story about a corporate bookstore.  My husband was in one while on a business trip and saw my first book with its own display (it had gone to #1 at Amazon).  There was a sign that said, “also by this author” with another book laid out there.  But I hadn’t finished my second book yet.  It was another book by a Dr.  L.B. Johnson – On Erectile Dysfunction!  My publisher had to make a quick phone call to them!


How much does personal experience play in your written work? 

Well, since 3 out of 5 books are Memoir, I’d say a lot!   Which leads me to that one-star review where someone said: “the author just talks about herself”.


What motivates you to complete your writing? 

I love that my 99-year-old Dad re-reads my books over and over. I worked hard to finish my last book “True Course – Lessons from a Life Aloft” before he leaves us.  He loved it. I also like that I can use the sales to help the smaller animal rescues throughout the US that normally don’t get a lot of funding.


Do you believe that writing should be censored? 

I believe in free speech, but I also believe that if it’s something I personally find offensive, I can just quietly put it aside.


Where can people find you and your work? and

The books are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.




Thanks so very much, L.B.!



Regina E. McCarthy


(Editor’s note: Authors can format their interviews however they wish. While most choose to do the standard Q & A, others may vary)

Regina E. McCarthy

Children’s Author


Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog (August 2016)



Ms. McCarthy, LCSW, in the state of Illinois, is a Holistic Psychotherapist, Advanced Clinical Heart-Centered Hypnotherapist, and a Reiki Master. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston College, Newton Massachusetts, and her Masters in Social work from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois. She has a private practice in Elgin, Illinois. She works with her clients on a body, emotion, mind, and spirit level. She incorporates traditional and alternative processes to help her clients heal at their deepest level. Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog is her first book. 

I wrote this book as a resource for children to learn to heal themselves.  Learning to breath deeply, identify emotions and then express them in healthy ways as a child, will create well adjusted adults. Since the concepts in my book are made simple enough for a child, my intention is that children of all ages will benefit from it. Also, it takes courage to feel and tell others how we are feeling. 

I have always loved reading to my children and becoming the voice of the characters. I’ve also always loved telling stories. So when this book came to me I knew I had to get it out to the world. Writing and publishing this book has also added a new dimension to my healing practice. As a holistic psychotherapist I now have one more tool to use with my clients.  It has increased my own self esteem and pride in my accomplishment, especially as I have received 12 awards for this book. Mom’s Choice Gold Medal, Purple Dragonfly Book Award First Place, Beverly Hills Book Award, Readers Favorite Gold Medal, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Nautilus Award Silver Medal, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite, Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, Montaigne Medal Finalist, da Vinci Eye Award Finalist, CIPA EVVY Award Finalist.

My favorite childhood book was Mandy, By Julie (Andrews) Edwards (1971) . It was her first book and was given to me by my mom. It was sweet and magical. I loved that Mandy could sneak out of the orphanage and create her own little world in an abandoned cottage out in nature. What a beautiful place for my imagination.


I hope readers learn an easy tool or two to use when they feel angry, or scared, or sad or anxious. We live in a challenging world and need to take ownership of our bodies and our emotions and our healing.  If children can learn this at a young age, they will be happier and healthier. The bottom line is we need to feel and express our emotions in healthy ways because they really are our super power. If we don’t, they will take charge of us instead of us being in charge of them. 


This really is my story. I was terrified in front of the class in 4th grade and could not read my book report, I was shy and I was bullied.  I was not in touch with my needs and wants, nor my feelings. I did not know how to take care of myself or stand up for myself. I had no idea what personal resources were. I’ve since learned as an adult and wish others to learn as young as they can. 


This book flowed pretty easily from me. It came to me in a dream and I worked tirelessly on it for several years, to et it just right. It’s interesting how a 32 page book or 1500 words can take so long. Yet I had complete control over every aspect of it and I would not have done it any differently. I’m working on my next book and am equally excited about it too. 


Please visit my Facebook page, Courageous Gilbert and my website, to learn more about me, see videos about my book and buy a personalized copy of my book for a friend or loved on. 


I also have an Amazon Authors Page.

Thank you for sharing with us, Regina!


Ralph Schiller



Name:  Ralph Schiller

Pseudonym: Ralph Schiller


Genre(s) of your work: Film History


Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Complete Films Of Broderick Crawford (2016)



Ralph Schiller is a government employee who resides in Chicago’s Western suburbs.  He is an author and Hollywood historian (past and present) who writes for several magazines including Film Fax, and for Cult Movies.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois which had great channels like WGN-TV which presented thousands of classic movies to local viewers.   I loved the old movies so much that began to read many books and articles on my favorite motion pictures and movie stars before writing Hollywood history myself.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has given me respect, a sense of accomplishment, and a chance to put what used to be my hobby to work.  Money wise, no change worth speaking of!


Who are your favorite authors and why?

I see so many films which are fictional, I often enjoy non-fiction beside just film history.  This includes the ‘true crime’ genre.  My favorite author was beyond a shadow of a doubt the late Ann Rule.  Alas she will write no further books.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They put the little booksellers out of business but now because of the internet the mainstream/corporate bookstores are the last of a dying breed.


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

In my book, I hope the readers will be intrigued enough to seek out Broderick Crawford’s great body of film and TV work, and judge for themselves.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I tracked down Mr. Crawford’s 95 films to review every single one of them and his many TV appearances.  I also interviewed many of his co-stars and co-workers who contributed so much to the finished book.  Sadly some of them have since passed so I reached them just in time.


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

I admired a powerhouse and brilliant actor who reached the towering heights of fame in motion pictures and television with an Academy Award Oscar but is completely forgotten today.


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



Where can people find you and your work?,, CP Books, and for an autographed direct mail copy:

       Send $26.00 plus $6.00 for shipping and handling to

       Ralph Schiller

       PO BOX 273

       Winfield, IL


Thanks for sharing, Ralph!!


Jeffry Smith

Name: Jeffry Smith

Pseudonym: Andy Zach

Genre(s) of your work: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Humor, and Middle School


Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Zombie Turkeys 2016

My Undead Mother-in-law 2017

Paranormal Privateers 2018

Secret Supers 2019

Challenge Accepted (anthology) 2019


With his first book, “Zombie Turkeys” Andy blazed new ground in paranormal humor. The second book in his Life After Life Chronicles, “My Undead Mother-in-law” expands the zombie plague from turkeys to humans, with hilarious results. You can find both volumes on Amazon Kindle, Createspace print, and Audible audiobook editions.

Not content to keep in zombies earthbound, Andy puts them afloat in his third book, “Paranormal Privateers”. Just when you thought every funny zombie trope had been explored, new humorous horizons open up. You can get “Paranormal Privateers” in Kindle and print formats. The audiobook will be available for Christmas.

Andy Zach was born Anastasius Zacharias, in Greece. His parents were both zombies. Growing up, he loved animals of all kinds. After moving to the United States as a child, in high school, he won a science fair by bringing toads back from suspended animation. Before turning to fiction, Andy published his Ph.D. thesis “Methods of Revivification for Various Species of the Kingdom Animalia” in the prestigious JAPM, Journal of Paranormal Medicine. Andy, in addition to being the foremost expert on paranormal animals, enjoys breeding phoenixes. He lives in Illinois with his five phoenixes.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Science Fiction – because it’s my first love in reading and in creative writing, since third grade. I’m a child of the space age, following NASA through the 60s and 70s.

Fantasy – Sometimes the laws of physics are just too confining and you need to burst out, magically.

Humor – Humor and sarcasm, irony and puns come naturally to me. When I learned that many writers have trouble writing humor, I thought, “I’ve found my niche!”

and Middle School – I’ve learned from fellow authors there is a tremendous dearth of fiction for middle school children. Mentally, I’m not too far removed from that age group. Then there’s the business side: If I can engage middle school children, perhaps they’ll read my adult and YA works.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Life is so much more fun! I delight in going to my office and working on my current or next project. I love seeing my books sell. I love writing. I love publishing my books. What’s not to like?

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Fantasy – Tolkein – Beautiful language, massive world building, deep symbolism.  Patricia McKillip – Again, beautiful language, combined with mysterious plots and wonderful characters.

Science Fiction – Heinlein – Hard science with cracking good stories with good characters. John Ringo – great military science fiction and fantasy. David Weber – great military science fiction, epic world bulding, hard science.

Humor – PJ O’Rourke, Eric Flint, David Fleer

Middle school – Madeline L’Engle, CS Lewis

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Sad. They’re dinosaurs in a shrinking brick and mortar marketplace.

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

Entertainment first. I want everyone to be happy they’re read my books. Then, that they may have learned some trivia or non-trivia along the way.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Quite a bit. I set my books and scenes in places I’ve been and know about.


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

I think of each new book an opportunity to reach a new audience and delight them.

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

Certainly some thoughts and behaviors are harmful to yourself and to other people. If a person portrays these taboo subjects as good or beneficial, they are lying to their readers and should not be read or published.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website:

My Facebook page:

My Amazon page:

My Goodreads page:

My newsletter signup:

My Twitter handles: @AndyZach2, @Zombie_Turkeys, @UndeadMotherLaw


Thanks so much, Andy!


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 Donna;
      My pleasure. As an independent author myself, I know that marketing is key and getting the word out by any means is crucial.


  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

  3. I definitely have some new books to order (Zombie turkeys – still chuckling). I just finished my fifth book and I’m taking a year off to just read and read and read. Thanks for the great interviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, LB! That’s the point of the interviews – to give everyone a chance to find out about each other. Thanks for reading and feel free to spread the word! 🙂


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