Panelists offer insights to the writing life

Ten authors took part in panel discussions during InPrint’s second A World of Words book fair at Barnes and Noble in Cherry Vale Mall, Oct. 20.  Here are some quick insights and inspirations they shared.

  • “I plot chapter by chapter. I know what clue is going to be where. … I want my readers to have fun and to be able to have a good night’s sleep when they are done.”

Patricia Rockwell writes two mystery series, one she describes as “acoustic mysteries” – Sounds of Murder, Voice Mail Murder – and one featuring a 90-year-old sleuth – Bingoed, Valentined. She is self-published and a member of the Independent Author Network. Find her at

  •  “I used two editors, and lost about 70,000 words in the process.”

Salahuddin Khan wrote Sikander the story of a young Pakistani man who travels to Afghanistan to join the mujahideen to fight the Russians in the 1980s. He self-published, but is now working with an agent. His blog is at

  •  “Small publishers really let you be hands on.”

Patricia Ann McNair’s fiction and creative nonfiction has been published in anthologies, magazines and journals. Her short story collection is called The Temple of Air.  She offers daily journal prompts at her website,

  • “I worked with Pritzker Military Library in Chicago and they helped me find a traditional publisher for my book.”

Cyndee Schaffer’s Mollie’s War is based on her mother’s letters home from Europe during World War II. The research she did at the military library helped provide the context for her mother’s war experience. She promotes her book at

  • “The Rockford airport is a spaceport in the book.”

Ted Iverson’s self-published science fiction book, Mission to the Stars: Book One: The Search for FTL,  takes the familiar surroundings of northern Illinois and imagines them in the distant future.

  • “We decided to research the time period, the Dutch voyages, and the native tribes.”

Jim Applegate, with his wife, Marion Applegate, took a bit of family history and developed it into historical fiction in their self-published historical novel, Listen for the Lark.

  • “There are two kinds of essays: story sharers and observers.”

Mike O’Mary, author of The Note, is also series editor for Dream of Things online and print anthologies at

  • “You have to be willing to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to dig deep.”

David W. Berner, a Chicago journalist, has recently published Accidental Lessons: A memoir of a rookie teacher and a life renewed. Link to his blog, “The Muse,” from his website,

  • “Short stories are like affairs. A novel is like a marriage.”

Libby Fischer Hellmann, who writes both short stories and novels, is the author of A Bitter Veil, and of the Georgia Davis and Ellie Foreman mystery series, set in Chicago. Check out her marketing ideas at Wait… There’s More on her website,


Meet some writers


Barnes & Noble Book Fair

Join us for our second annual A World of Words: In Print Book Fair at the Cherry Vale Mall Barnes & Noble. It is Saturday, October 20 from 11 am to 5 pm. There will be guest authors, book signings, readings, panel discussions, and children’s events! Tell your family and friends! It’s a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and help support In Print at the same time.

The Book Fair is In Print’s biggest fundraiser. Whenever our Bookfair ID number (10803369) is mentioned at checkout on the day of the event, Barnes & Noble will donate a portion of the sale to In Print. Can’t attend the Book Fair? Visit to support us online from 10/20/2012 to 10/25/2012. Be sure to enter our ID number (10803369) when you checkout.