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January 2002

Peddling Along the Amazon (dot-com)
An Author's Journey Selling Books Online

Featuring: Howard Wolinsky of the Chicago Sun-Times
Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
When: 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p. m. program Tuesday, Jan.8
     Reservations NOT needed.      Public invited.
     Hors d'oeuvres, wine and soft drinks, reception and presentation: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
     For information, call Matt Smolek at C.A.A. 312/236-7500, Ext. 2113.

Howard Wolinsky, tech reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, will talk Jan. 8 about his own experiences using the Web to sell his books. The January program will be held as usual at the Chicago Athletic Assn. Originally scheduled to speak in March, Wolinsky agreed to switch dates with Jon Anderson because Anderson will be in Africa on assignment in January.

Wolinsky's topics will include:

  • Using the Web for promotion
  • Devoting a Web site to your book
  • Setting up your own online bookstore
  • Using and
  • "And, gulp, using Amazon to avoid the remainders table."

Wolinsky's first book, The Serpent on the Staff: The Unhealthy Politics of the American Medical Association (Putnam, 1994), co-authored with Tom Brune, was among the first non-computer books to be promoted over the Web.

His second book, Healthcare Online For Dummies (Hungry Minds Inc., 2001), co-authored with Judi Wolinsky, is part of the famed "Dummies" computer book series. Wolinsky volunteered for the tech beat after he was "bitten by the Internet bug." He says his wife, Judi, "brought it home from grad school" at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Before that, he had been the Sun-Times medical reporter since 1981.


Tuesday, Feb. 12 "Hollywood on Lake Michigan: Chicago and the Movies," Arnie Bernstein

Tuesday, Mar. 12 "What's Different About Chicago," Jon Anderson

Tuesday, Apr. 9 Jane Smith

Tuesday, May 14 Annual Awards Banquet.

Monday, Mar. 4, is the deadline to submit books published during 2001 directly to judges for each category. See accompanying entry form for names and addresses of judges.

Board Meetings: Third Wednesdays of each month: Jan. 16, Feb. 20, Mar.20, Apr.17, May 29.

Information contained in this article may be found by following the links on the left menu under the topic "Awards Contest."

By Richard Frisbie

A new poetry publisher showed off his current stars with a poetry slam at the Nov. 13 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Assn. Mark Eleveld, who has served as an SMA poetry awards judge, and his partner, Ron Maruszak, have launched EM Press, intending to publish about four titles a year. Eleveld said they'll focus on poetry, although not necessarily exclusively.

In a performance rather than a reading, the three poets--Regie Gibson, Mike Kadela and George David Miller-- acted out, chanted and even sang some of their works like bards of old. Their poems covered such topics as the loss of a father, the spirit of a city, the safe sterility of a suburban cul de sac and God as a "Blues man."

One poem looked at the Madame Butterfly story from the point of view of Butterfly's child. Another addressed the daughter of a divorce, "In the Year I Loved Your Mother."

EM's first two titles, handsomely designed and printed, were on display: Gibson's Storms Beneath the Skin and Miller's Children of Kosen-Rufu. Kadela's 1 Hundred Hiccups was scheduled to come off the press in December. Eleveld gleefully reported that a good review of Gibson's book has already appeared in Booklist, using such phrases as "resonate power" and "weather reports of the soul." EM Press is based in Joliet, Ill.

Contributions to help support the SMA awards program have been received from the following:

Sponsors--Phyllis Ford Choyke, Robert Remer and Phyllis Whitney.

Fellows--Charlene Ann Baumbich, Alice Hayes and Elinor Swiger.

Donors--Carol Madden Adorjan, Ann Barry, James Barry, Jennifer Bartoli, Miles Berger, Alzina Stone Dale, Grace Bacon Ferrier, Robert Follett, Carol Gartner, Frank Gonzalez-Crussi, Dorothy Haas, Sue Harrison, James Howard, Richard Lindberg, Jim Mallon, William Martin, Stella Pevsner, Harold Rafson, Harriet Gillem Robinet, Rita Turow, Frank Varela and Lila Weinberg.


The family of Jane Mayer, who died Sept. 3 at age 97, has requested that friends who wish to memorialize her with a contribution send it to SMA.

Jane was active in the leadership of SMA for many years. Her daughter, Mary Jane Bezark, is also an SMA member.

Contributions have already been received. Checks should go to the Society of Midland Authors, PO Box 10419, Chicago, IL 60610. Please identify them so our treasurer, Robert Remer, can tell what they're for.


Crime Scenes
SMA past president Richard Lindberg revealed in the pages of CityTalk for Nov. 6 that he's at work on Whiskey Breakfast: My Swedish Family, My American Life, his memoir of growing up under difficult circumstances in Chicago.

He told the CityTalk interviewer: "I did an article for the Tribune about the bully syndrome, and got letters from parents whose children are going through this now. "Basically, I told them to make sure the children understand that one day they'll wake up and the bullies will all be gone. Kids can build their self-esteem by pursuing an interest. "Find your talent and move forward with it."

That's a new direction for Lindberg. When he is not consulting for TV or the movies, he usually writes about Chicago, crime or the White Sox -- sometimes all three at once.

Lindberg's latest, Return Again to the Scene of the Crime (Cumberland Press), provides a "literary road map" to some of the Chicago area's more notorious sites, and is the natural outgrowth of Return to the Scene of the Crime, which appeared in 1999. The second volume can stand alone, but one really needs the set.

Familiar Chorus
Paulette Roeske has published her third collection of poems. Anvil, Clock & Last was brought out by Louisiana State University Press in the fall.

Roeske, who has taught at the College of Lake County since its founding, received the Carl Sandburg Award for poetry for her second collection, Divine Attention (also from LSU Press).

Roeske's poetry has been called "rich in sound and unadorned -- an enviable combination because it increases the precision of her language..."

Truth and Fiction
Jim Mallon enlivened a discussion of his novel, Magazine, at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library with video footage depicting a scene from the book. Well, almost. The novel, of course, is fiction. The video depicts an actual corporate party similar to one that plays an important role in the book.

Set in Chicago and Ireland, Magazine tells of a wealthy Irish-American publishing executive who becomes enmeshed in a mystery involving corporate crime.

Mystery Roundup
Alzina Stone Dale recently conducted a "Mystery Classics Roundup" at the Newberry Library. The five-week seminar covered such authors as Sayers, Doyle, Hammett, Chesterton and SMA member Sara Paretsky. No word on the location of her next "Mystery Readers Walking Guide."

Safe Guess: It Thickened
Barbara D'Amato gave a presentation on "Plotting" at a meeting of Sisters in Crime at Scotland Yard Books in Winnetka. Then she signed copies of Hard Road, her ninth and latest Cat Marsala mystery.

Hope He Got Writer's Cramp
David Walker signed copies of his latest mystery at the Midwest Book and Paper Fair in Peoria.

Honored Book
Harriet Gillem Robinet's Walking to the Bus Rider Blues was an Honored Book for the Jane Addams Award, which was presented on Oct. 19 at the United Nations.


Kathleen Long Bostrom reports that in September Tyndale House publis hed her first board book for toddlers, God Loves You. This is part of the ongoing "Little Blessings" series published by Tyndale. In October Geneva Press (Presbyterian Publishing Corporation) published her children's picture book, Song of Creation.

For Love of the Game
Chicago-based author-sports journalist George Castle is still out promoting his fourth book, The Million-To-One Team: Why the Chicago Cubs Have Not Won a Pennant Since 1945, which first was published in August, 2000. The Million-To-One Team is a comprehensive look at the Wrigley family and Tribune Co. ownerships and their baseball management staffs, and the "decisions that led to the Cubs defying odds as high as a million-to-one in not appearing in a World Series since 1945."

Castle was able to promote his book nationally on The Early Show on CBS-TV along with a blizzard of local TV and radio sports-talk shows. While he's promoting The Million-To-One Team, Castle also has signed to do another baseball book, tentatively titled Throwbacks, and scheduled for publication later in 2002 He says, "Throwbacks profiles major-league baseball personalities who are firm links to the old-school kind of players and managers that got most of us to love the game in the first place."

When he's not working on books, Castle covers Cubs home games for the Times of Northwest Indiana, a 90,000-plus daily newspaper based in Munster, Ind., and circulating in south Cook County and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. He also hosts Diamond Gems, a nationally syndicated weekly baseball radio show that specializes in vintage baseball broadcasts and airs on 21 stations nationwide.

Chicago-area outlets and airtimes are WKRS-AM (1220) in Waukegan and WIMS-AM (1420) in Michigan City, Ind., both at 11 a.m. Saturday, and WJOB-AM (1230) in Hammond, Ind., at noon Saturday. Finally, Castle has assembled the video and audio highlight collection, written the biography, and organized the photos used in the permanent Jack Brickhouse exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in the Chicago Cultural Center at Michigan and Washington.

Castle also assembled a video highlights package for a live program on an evening with St. Louis baseball announcer Jack Buck at the museum, as well as audio highlights packages for the sportscasters inducted into the museum's Radio Hall of Fame.

On Poetry Circuit
Alice Friman has just been named to The Georgia Poetry Circuit 2001-2002. She has new work appearing in The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, The Ohio Review: New and Selected, Shenandoah and other journals.

Facts on the Black Sox Fix
Irving M. Stein appeared on ESPN Classic in August to discuss the "Black Sox" baseball scandal of 1919. His 1992 book,The Ginger Kid, was a biography of Buck Weaver, one of the players involved. A great third baseman, Buck was banned from organized baseball in 1921 for his alleged involvement in the fixing of the 1919 World Series. Buck was banned, not for participating in the fix, but for not telling officials what he knew.

Staying Well
Lynn Lawson, author of Staying Well in a Toxic World and its new millennium update, recently spoke and signed her books at a three-day MENSA "Halloween" regional get-together at the Arlington Heights Sheraton.

Grafters and Goo Goos
James L. Merriner has completed Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1830-2001, to be published next year by Southern Illinois University Press. He also has contracted to write The City Club of Chicago: A Centennial History, forthcoming in 2003.

Sponsors Award
Bernard Brommel, former SMA president, traveled to Atlanta for the presentation at a meeting of the National Communications Assn. of the Bernard Brommel Award. This was the third year Brommel has sponsored the award, which is given to an outstanding scholar researching family communications.

Here's What's Going On
Burnham (formerly Nelson-Hall) has just published a new book by George Beam, Quality Public Management: What It Is and How It Can Be Improved and Advanced.

He's working on another book, Don't Ask! And Other Rules for Finding Out What's Really Going On. He says this one is being written "for the general public, but some academics might find it suitable for their classes."

Sequel No Orphan
We Rode the Orphan Trains is Andrea Warren's second book about the parentless children who, between 1854 and 1929, boarded westbound trains in search of a home.

Her first book, Orphan Train Rider, was received extremely well, winning the 1996 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for nonfiction, as well as many state awards, including the Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award and the Indiana Young Hoosier Award.

A former high school teacher and magazine editor, Warren lives in Prairieville, Kan., near Kansas City.

The new book is already collecting excellent reviews.
Booklist: "This is powerful nonfiction for classroom and personal reading and for discussion."
Kirkus Reviews: "As fascinating as the original and a worthy sequel."
Publisher's Weekly: "The anecdotes about these brave and lonely children will keep readers traveling on this train."

Does It Again Despite Stroke
Grace Bacon Ferrier, who won the 1987 SMA nonfiction award for Teacher, Teacher, I Done It, I Done It, I Done Done It, has completed a new book despite a stroke that impairs her ability to use a typewriter.

The new book is Post Oak Sprouts Along Belly Ache Creek. She explains, "The Post Oak Sprouts are the students attending my one-room school by that name in Osage County, Mo., in the early 1920s." The local farmers nicknamed a nearby stream "Belly Ache Creek" because the spring-fed water was so cold it gave horses and mules a belly ache when they had to ford it. They would lie down and sometimes break the wagon tongues.

The new book recalls "picnics, fairs, country school functions, weddings, family visits, the influenza epidemic of 1918, driving a Model T to high school" and other events picturing a long ago era in Osage County.

Storytelling Star
Sue Harrison reports that her novel, Call Down the Stars, the third book of "The Storyteller Trilogy," was released by Morrow of HarperCollins on Nov. 23. It has been chosen as a featured alternate by the Literary Guild and Doubleday book clubs. Translation rights have been sold in Germany, Finland, Spain, Portugal and Japan.

Book Available Online
Jim Bowman advises that his book, Priests at Work: Catholic Pastors Tell How They Apply Church Law in Difficult Cases, is on sale at Xlibris. It was formerly titled Bending the Rules: What American Priests Tell American Catholics.

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