Aimee Perkins is a Chicago writer currently pursuing her MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in England. She has worked with 2nd Story, Chicago's premier storytelling organization, for over a decade and is proud to have also performed with RUI: Reading Under the Influence and the Paper Machete. You can find more of her work at aimeeperkins.com and as an occasional contributor at Role Reboot.
Allison Gruber’s work has appeared on stage and in a number of print journals including, Flashquake, Pindeldyboz, and Windy City Queer: Dispatches from the Third Coast. Her memoir/essay collection, Trouble, has recently been selected for publication. She writes and teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Amber Ponomar is a tree-loving, bike-riding writer living in Chicago. When she isn't staring into the glowing eyes of the Internet, she's unleashing her "wicked dance moves," learning new neighborhoods by foot, or fantasizing about biking through the forest preserves of Northern Illinois, where she grew up. She is finishing up a BFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago.
Becca Deysach bakes artisan bread, teaches creative writing and environmental studies for Prescott College and her business, Ibex Studios (www.ibexstudios.com), and is learning to fight with love in the training halls and woods of Portland, Oregon. She is thrilled beyond belief to, for the first time ever, appear in the same issue of Ms.Fit with her sister, the sexpert, Searah Deysach!
Marcia Brenner is an adjunct in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. She has published short stories, essays, nonfiction, garnering awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Better Business Bureau. In 2006 she’d had enough with being overweight; she joined Weight Watchers, lost over 90 pounds, rediscovered her long-abandoned bicycle and fell in love with Pilates. She now combines her love of metaphors with bodywork by teaching Classical Pilates at Chicago’s Frog Temple, where she is a certified Pre and Postnatal Specialist. She explores the battle for life and health balance on her website, GreatBalancingAct.com
C.C. Carter is a seasoned Chicago Slammer and performance poet who brings the house down whether performing to an intimate crowd of 10 or in a public arena of 10,000. Her poetry and performances have garnered her opening credits for Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Cheryl Clarke and Dorothy Allison. C.C. has received numerous awards and honors for her arts and activism, including the induction into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Her work is currently anthologized in over 15 collections of poetry and prose including Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Black Women's Erotica, Does Your Mama Know and Women Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution.
Cassie Nicholson is a trans* mother of two boys. She works as a Technology Support Designer for the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She is currently exploring the field of Communication design. In addition to her creative problem solving skills, Cassie bakes a mean cheesecake. You can find her at blog.transynth.com.
Chai Wolfman is an artist, writer, cellist, yogi, partner and mother trying to stay balanced, enjoy life, and give back. She is a regular contributor to Oy!Chicago, a blog about living Jewishly—or Jew-ishly—in Chicago and one of her essays appears in the anthology Living Jewishly: A Snapshot of a Generation. She spent seven years raising money to help people in need and now she is raising her twin daughters in Chicago. www.chaiwolfman.com
Chelsey Clammer received her MA in Women's Studies from Loyola University Chicago. She has been published in The Rumpus, Atticus Review, Coachella Review and Make/shift among others. She received the Nonfiction Editor's Award 2012 from both Revolution House and Cobalt for her essays “BodyHome” and “I Have Been Thinking About,” respectively. She is currently finishing up a collection of essays about finding the concept of home in the body.
Ching-In Chen is author of The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press) and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press). They are a Kundiman, Lambda and Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow and a member of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation and Macondo writing communities. A community organizer, they have worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside and Boston. In Milwaukee, they are cream city review's editor-in-chief. www.chinginchen.com
Cyn Vargas holds an MFA in Creative Writing- Fiction from Columbia College Chicago. She is the winner of the 2013 Guild Literary Complex Prose Award for Fiction. She has, also, received two top citations in Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers contests.Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Curbside Splendor, and elsewhere. She writes because it's her way of legally exposing herself in public.
Dana Goldberg is a national touring comedian, an advocate and voice for the LGBT community, and has raised over a half a million dollars in the fight for equality, as well as, HIV/AIDS education and prevention. She is a regular entertainer on Olivia Vacations and can be seen performing at theaters, festivals, and Universities all over the country. Dana holds a degree in Physical Education from the University of New Mexico.
Elizabeth Earley holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her stories and essays have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The First Line Magazine, Fugue, Hair Trigger, and Glimmer Train among other publications. She is the editor of Bleed, a literary blog from Jaded Ibis Press. Her debut novel, A MAP OF EVERYTHING, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in the spring, 2014.
Emily Jo Scalzo received a BA in Creative Writing from Purdue and an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in fiction from Fresno State. She currently resides in Muncie, Indiana, and is an assistant professor at Ball State University. She won the 2007 Undergraduate Fiction Contest at Purdue University, and her work has been published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie, and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review and Deep Water Literary Journal.
Rea Frey is an author, nutrition specialist, and International Sports Sciences Association certified trainer. She has done extensive research on plant-based diets and overall nutrition and has been a practicing plant-eater for the last 15 years. She is the author of Power Vegan: Plant-Fueled Nutrition for Maximum Health and Fitness (Agate Surrey - May 2013) and The Cheat Sheet: A Clue-by-Clue Guide to Finding Out If He's Unfaithful (Adams Media, June 2011) and has been featured in Fitness, Ladies' Home Journal, and Whole Living. She also blogs about her workout routines, recipes, and life as a vegan mom at www.reafrey.com.
Gaylon B. Alcaraz is an activist, organizer and Executive Director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, working within the reproductive justice/rights/health movement to advocate for low-income women seeking to control their reproductive freedom. For more than ten years, she has worked on behalf of sexual minority women, anti-violence, gender equity, health prevention, reproductive rights, as well as race and culture issues.
Germania Solórzano teaches, writes and practices aikido in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. On the mat, she likes to throw big guys as it feeds her feminine Napoleon complex. On the page she fights with complex story lines and wishes they were much smaller.
Michigan ex-pat Greg Baldino currently lives in Chicago where he walks a lot and drinks large amounts of tea. As an essayist he's written about risotto, Batman villains, anti-fascist activism, alternative fashion, burlesque theater, fine art, and werewolves. In his spare time he collects creative writing degrees and accumulates books.
Marian Sherrell Haas is a 2001 graduate of the Fiction Writing Program of Columbia College Chicago. She has since explored various talents and professions, and currently enjoys the role of Mama for the precocious and adorable Sofia. She engages in many creative pursuits, and in private considers herself an accomplished writer/artist/chef. When not entertaining toddlers, experimenting in her Chicago Bungalow mini-kitchen, or raising a glass for some reason or another, Marian tortures herself with bootcamp classes, half-marathons, Pilates, and other such “healthy” activities
Jessie Tierney is a BFA graduate from Columbia College living, working and writing in the mystical Pacific Northwest. En route toward her Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree, she teaches yoga on and off horseback, organizes the Skagit Yoga Community, works as a PT Aide, hikes, snowshoes and mountaineers in the North Cascades, blogs on her yoga site and gardens barefoot in the most scenic place on earth--all while eating copious amounts of dark chocolate.
Josephina Gasca believes in the transformative power of story and dance. She’s a graduate of Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. She began studying Belly Dance shortly after beginning her undergraduate studies, continued through her graduate studies and her move to Maine. She’s taught writing at Columbia, USM and through MWPA. She’s been teaching belly dance to women from fifteen to eighty-four years young in Midcoast Maine. Currently, she’s seeking an agent for her novel.
Kathie Bergquist is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ms. Fit Mag. She teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago and edited of the anthology. "Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast" and is co-author of "A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago." Pulled reluctantly into a fitness lifestyle by her wife and partner of many years, Bergquist is now a runner, a boot camper, and a yogini.
Stephanie Kuehnert was raised as a health-conscious feminist. She went vegetarian at 13 and vegan at 17. She hated gym class, but learned to enjoy working out in her late 20s when she realized how fun and empowering it can be to punch and kick imaginary opponents. She also writes for Rookie (rookiemag.com), an online magazine for teenage girls, and has published two novels, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia. Find out more about her writing at stephaniekuehnert.com.
Leigh K. Hoopes is a writer and content strategist for a global B2B
firm. She's finishing up her first novel and getting ready to start
the next. Leigh adopted a primal lifestyle in 2010, which helped
improve her physical and mental health, but she still struggles with
an epic sweet tooth. She loves yoga, ballet, and going up a size or
two on her dumbbells. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and two
Linda Bubon has been happily playing with herself (and others) and writing poems since she was a little girl some 50+ years ago. She believes there's a connection.
If you ever hear a bespectacled girl in a camouflage helmet honking the horn of a bike that's much too big for her, you may have encountered Liz Baudler. She writes for Newcity, Chicago Literati, and periodically, Ms. Fit. Check out her stuff at www.lizbaudler.virb.com.
Darlene McCullough is a Personal Trainer and Nutritional Coach working both privately and at Equinox’s flagship on Greenwich Ave in New York City. After being injured playing rugby at the University at Albany, she fell in love with her couch and sugary foods. In 2007 she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that contributed to her injuries and weight gain. Believing we all choose who we want to be, she began a 5 year journey of surgery, physical therapy, and exercise that led her to become a trainer. She now focuses on helping others recover their athleticism through resistance training and proper biomechanics. When she’s not in the gym Darlene hikes, rock climbs, and lives outdoors as much as possible.
Madeleine Cummings is a Canadian writer and distance runner from Toronto. She is currently a Master of Science candidate at Columbia Journalism School and holds a BA from McGill University in Montreal. She’s written for The McGill Daily, TrackFocus, Catster, and Indigo.ca. A lifelong runner, she’s competed for the University of Toronto Track Club, McGill University, and Toronto Olympic Club. Her last cross-country season, which she blogged about for MontrealEndurance.com, culminated in disaster when she fractured her foot at the finish line of the 2012 Canadian Cross Country Championships in Vancouver.
Megan Stielstra is the Literary Director of 2nd Story and co-editor of their print anthology, Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck. Her story collection, Everyone Remain Calm, was a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011, and her writing has appeared in The Rumpus, PANK, Make Magazine, F Magazine, Other Voices, The Nervous Breakdown, Fresh Yarn, and elsewhere. She teaches writing and performance at Columbia College and The University of Chicago.
Meredith Grahl Counts lives and writes in Chelsea, Michigan with her husband, daughter and dog. She has taught writing in Michigan and Chicago and studied at Columbia College Chicago, Oakland University and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Her recent essays and reviews have appeared in Bust, Hypertext, The Journal of Need & Want, and the Manistee News Advocate.
Nadine C. Warner is an award-winning writer and performer in Chicago. She has worked as a lawyer, IT consultant, admissions director, TV producer, and finally (!) as a creative director for The Bricolage Group, a corporate communications company which she founded with her partner, Lori. But her favorite gig is playing air traffic controller to her 3 spirited kids and über-tolerant dog. She blogs about her completely ordinary life at www.nadinecwarner.com.
I live in Oak Park, IL with my husband, Mike, and our 2 peeps, Mick and Chance. I've been a print & web designer for a million years and this is by far the most fun project I've done in a long time. I'm thoroughly excited to be working on a project like this with such smart, creative women. Kathie Bergquist and I used to be roommates and I'm hoping that one day she'll give me her goulash recipe. It's Fierce.
Rachel Pepper is the author, co-author, or editor of several books, including Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children. As a therapist, Rachel specializes in working with transgender adults and children, as well as young people with serious mental illness. Rachel lives with her family in Oakland, CA.
Ragen Chastain is a trained researcher and National Champion dancer who writes and speaks about Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance. Author of www.DancesWithFat.org and Fat: The Owner’s Manual, Ragen has recently spoken at Dartmouth, Amherst, CalTech, Google Headquarters, and is a feature interviewee in “America the Beautiful 2”.
A writer with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for media including The Chicago Sun Times, Pop Matters and afterellen.com. Her fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as kill author and Underground Voices. Her debut novel, Herself When She’s Missing, was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. When not writing, Sarah supports herself as a figure model, spinning instructor and creative writing teacher at Chicago’s Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it, actually.
Searah Deysach is a sex educator and the owner of the feminist sex shop Early to Bed. In addition to running her shop, she lectures frequently to community groups and colleges around the state on topics relating to positive sexuality. She is committed to working to create a culture where everyone has access to honest information about sexuality and all women have access to the services they need to protect their reproductive rights. She lives in Chicago with her girlfriend and their kid and thinks everyone should masturbate more.
Taylor Crain is a Chicago born writer and committed pedestrian earning her Fiction Writing BFA from Columbia College Chicago. When not hoofing it around town on foot, she allocates a significant amount of time to practicing melt-into-your-mat yoga and dancing to cardio videos which in no way make her look dorky. She aspires to one day learn to ride a bike.
Virginia Baker is in her last year at Columbia College Chicago, where she’s earning her BFA in fiction writing. She is a native New Jerseyan, an environmentalist, an educator and an enthusiast of life in general. Previous publications include work in Hypertext Magazine and the Story Week Reader 9.
The last kid picked in gym class, anti-violence expert and certified personal trainer Lynne Marie Wanamaker claimed her athletic destiny when she fell in with a scrappy bunch of feminist karatekas in Brooklyn in 1988. Since then she’s amassed a collection of martial arts black-belts, sweaty tee-shirts and political rants. She is committed to making fitness and personal safety skills accessible to everyone. She writes about self defense, parenting and the spiritual life at: http://blog.mindbodymama.com
Allison Wolcott studied ballet at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Joffrey Ballet School, then danced with small companies in Boston and Paris. Since the summer of 2007, she has been a regular at DDPP. She became a den mother in October 2012. Formerly known as DJ AllieKatt, she now only answers to DJ AWOL. Her short fiction for adults has appeared in The Beloit Fiction Journal, Shenandoah, The Jabberwock Review, The Hogtown Creek Review, and Ray’s Road Review. She earned an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where she was a Walton Fellow, and is currently working on novels for young adults.
Jessica Young has a degree from Northwestern University and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She’s performed her stories with 2nd Story, at the Mixed Roots Literary and Film Festival in LA, and she was recently a contributing blogger for WBEZ’s summer series, “Race Out Loud.” When she’s not writing or teaching, Jess enjoys yoga, gluten-free vegan cooking, and learning how women can take care of themselves and each other through healthy choices and practices.