Chicago Book Expo 2015 Exhibit Hall Highlights

By Reno Lovison

It was a cold sloppy snowy day in Chicago but none the less about 100 authors and book sellers braved the first real wintry day of the year to exhibit at the Chicago Book Expo 2015 at Columbia College in the “South Loop.”

ABC_introAs outreach chairman I was on hand to represent Midwest Writers Association which is a group of non-fiction writing professionals. In addition I had the opportunity to introduce the updated Authors Broadcast mobile app to a number of people, and announce the soft-launch of our Authors Broadcast Channel App for the Amazon Fire Digital TV platform. At about 3 PM I was joined by our MWA immediate past-president Cynthia Clampitt, author of “Waltzing Australia” and her newest book “Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland”

bellingersAcross the aisle from me were my good friends Steve and Donna Bellinger. I recently read Steve’s book “The Chronocar” after he appeared on an episode of Authors Showcase. On the other side of the sunny room were Jean-Michel Smith and Christine Todd from Red Anemone Press whose books include your choice of provocative science fiction, quirky contemporary fiction, varied and suspenseful short stories, or unusual mathematics.

My table neighbor to my left was Little Dipper Ink, a small, one lady press owned by Ginamarie Lobianco author of several books, including twenty-one novels that make up “the little star series”. Next to her was Matt from Fly Leaf Journal who is doing some interesting things with audio delivery of short form fiction.

IMG_1546I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Connie Corcoran Wilson, author of the Color of Evil series at the table just behind me. In anticipation of the upcoming election year, Connie is promoting her two book series “Obama’s Odyssey” based on the time she spent as a correspondent at the Iowa Caucus and DNC covering then candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, which earned her the distinction of being named Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics.

Here is a shout-out to a few other old friends and new friends I met.

Patrick McBriarty is the award-winning author of the children’s picture books “Drawbridges Open and Close” (2014), “Airplanes Take off and Land” (2015), and coming soon, “City Railways Go Above and Below” (2016) about elevated and subway trains.

It’s fun to run into the always cheerful Lowell Thompson who calls himself a “recovering adman”. Lowell was introducing his fourth book, “Brand New Race” which is his first novel.

J. Eric Booker at Chicago Book Expo 2015Eric Booker is a U.S. Army Vet with more than five years of active duty. Nearly killed when his parachute malfunctioned, he slammed into the ground with 100+ pounds of combat gear attached to his body. Most of his doctors have told him that it’s a miracle he’s still alive. His first book is a whodunit murder mystery, and his other three are an action-packed Epic Fantasy Trilogy. Learn about his books and music at

Author L. Nahay is also a fiction-fantasy writer at Midnight Tomorrow

Debra R. Borys spent over fifteen years volunteering with the homeless in both Chicago and Seattle. She twists the reality of living on the streets of Chicago with bizarre plots in her Street Stories Suspense novels: “Painted Black”, “Bend Me Shape Me”, and “Box of Rain.”

“C, You Can Do It!” by Lynn Frances is based around 18 coping words that all begin with the letter “C”.

In “The Road from Money” Sylvester Boyd, Jr. weaves fact and fiction to tell the story of a young African American girl growing up in the deep South near the end of the 20th century.

Barbara Joan Zeitz – A Thesaurus of Women .

David Jay Collins author of Gaybash, explores the boundaries of love and friendship and the unintended consequences of wanting to be somebody else.

Jane Morocco’s Trailside Museum: The Legend of Virginia Moe (Arcadia) is a local history book about Cook County’s very first Wildlife Rehabilitation and education center and its curator Virginia Moe who dedicated 52 years of her life to the museum, animals and people of Cook County.

I am anxious to learn more about The Illinois Author Project, now in its third year, which recognizes outstanding self-published adult fiction by Illinois authors. Conceived and conducted by Illinois library marketing professionals, this unique project harnesses the power and credibility of libraries to affect books and reading by helping readers and librarians find quality self-published books. Entries accepted through January 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 award was Michael Allan Peck, author of “Commons 1: The Journeyman.”

Jeffrey Westhoff worked as a film critic in the Chicago suburbs for 25 years before publishing his first novel, the YA spy thriller “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”.

All in all it was good to visit with everyone and a nice way to spend a snowy day in Chicago.


Reno Lovison is a non-fiction writer and executive producer at

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