Max Ashrafi, Villa Park, IL – Ashrafi has been a graphic designer for more than 16 years and currently works for Allstate in Northbrook, Il. Max’s work has been published in a number of publications such as Pro Football Weekly, Basketball News, and Financial Matters. He is skilled in art direction and has also worked as a photographer for catalogs and live sporting events. Max has previously taught the art of graphic design at Triton College and College of DuPage.

Rebecca Vipond Brink, Chicago, IL – Brink is an Assistant Editor at The Frisky, where she writes about fitness, art, mental health, food, and social issues, among many other topics. Her writing and photography can also be found on Hyperallergic, xoJane, The Daily Dot, and her blog, Flare and Fade. She holds a degree in history from UIC.

Irina Cline, Oak Park, IL – Cline is a tutor of composition and literature of the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently translating Boris Mikhailovich Eikhenbaum’s “Literary Mores” from the original Russian into English.

Synoma Hays, Melrose Park, IL – Hays is an active participant in the Chicago area performing arts arena and serves on the board of directors for the North Riverside Players, where her duties include seeking out plays and reviewing scripts. She also writes and edits scripts for training films and does voiceover work for her employer, Walgreens Corp.

Mike Knezevich, Downers Grove, IL – Knezevich is vice president of Regional Radio Sports Network, where he is the play-by-play voice of Indiana scholastic baseball, basketball and soccer. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Bandits pro softball team. (

Henry Kranz, Oak Park, IL – Kranz is one of Chicago’s most active and tenured poets. His work has appeared in RHINO, Salamander Magazine, Live Writers, Xavier Review and Cache Review. Kranz was publisher of two poetry publications: Lucky Star, a Magazine of Poetry and Poetics (1980-1990) and Erie Street Press (1976-1991). He currently reviews new poetry books published by Chicago-area authors for Letter Ex.

Rick Markley, Dyer, IN – Markley is editor-in-chief of FireRescue1 and Fire Chief. He’s worked for daily newspapers and magazines for 20 years has logged more than 10 years as an editor-in-chief. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s of fine arts in creative writing. He serves on a university curriculum advisory committee and is a board of director for the International Fire Relief Mission.

Eric Charles May, Chicago, IL – May is the author of the novel Bedrock Faith, which was named a Notable African-American Title by Publisher’s Weekly, and a Top Ten Debut Novel for 2014 by Booklist magazine. An associate professor in the Fiction Writing program at Columbia College Chicago and a former reporter for The Washington Post, Eric was recently named the 21st Century Award winner for 2015 by the Chicago Library Foundation.

Ashley Mouldon, Seattle, WA – Mouldon is a Midwest transplant and loves everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Before moving to Seattle, Ashley lived in Chicago and attended Roosevelt University and then graduate school at DePaul University. In her current position at the youth development photography program, Youth in Focus, she is inspired each and every day by the students she works with. When she’s not in the office, you can find her trying new recipes in the kitchen and planning exciting excursions, ready to explore the world around her.

Mark R. Trost, Hennepin, MN – Beginning in 2007 Mark R. Trost has penned a popular literary blog that exceeds a million hits. He has written a novel: POST MARKED, gathered his work into an anthology: BEERS, BUDDIES, BULLSHIT, WOMEN, SEX, & GOD, and collected his Facebook status updates in the book: SOCIAL STATUS. Trost is a writer, editor, ghostwriter, proofreader, and media consultant.