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February 2002

Hollywood on Lake Michigan: Chicago and the Movies
Arnie Bernstein

Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
: 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p. m. program Tuesday, Feb. 12

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.


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

Tuesday, Apr. 9 – Jane Smith

Tuesday, May 14 –Annual Awards Banquet.

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


        In order to be eligible for this year's SMA literary awards, books published during 2001 must be in the hands of judges by March 4.
        Entry forms, instructions and judges' addresses can be found on the SMA Web site, under the topic "Awards Contest."
        Direct other questions to Carol Carlson, 1420 W. Farragut St., Chicago, IL 60640. Phone: 773/506-7878. E-mail:

By Richard Frisbie

        Although many authors detest the sordid necessity of helping peddle their own books, Howard Wolinsky relishes the challenge. Speaking at the Jan. 8 SMA meeting in the CAA, he told how he uses the Internet in myriad ways to spark interest in his work.
         Some of his tips:
         Develop your own Web site, which can be hyperlinked to and Barnes & Noble. Your Web site can describe your book in glowing terms and perhaps include a sample chapter to hook readers.
         Find chat rooms on the Web where participants are likely to be interested in the subject of your book. Make them aware of the book, although some tactful restraint is advisable. Forum folks may resent you if you're "too pushy."
         Use Web research and the power of your computer to develop a database of contacts who can help promote your book.
         You can sign up to make an extra 15 percent on each copy sold through Go to the bottom of the home page and click on the word, "Join Associates." This opens a menu that lets you register and create a link from your Web page to the home page. Any orders received through this link qualify for the 15 percent commission.
         With Barnes and Noble (, you click on a button for the "Publishers & Authors' Guide" to establish a relationship.
        Wolinsky says one thing he's learned from dealing with the Web is that the market for a book may turn out to be different than originally supposed. As co-author (with Tom Brune) of The Serpent on the Staff: The Unhealthy Politics of the American Medical Association, he supposed doctors would want to read it. "They weren't much interested."
        Instead, he sold lots of copies to chiropractors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who are not MDs.
        His current book, Healthcare Online for Dummies, grew out of his background as former healthcare writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, now covering technology. His co-author this time is his wife, Judi Wolinsky, head of reference at the Homewood (Ill.) public library and an expert who instructs other librarians on Internet research.
        He said she became a "Web junkie" because she was pursuing graduate studies at the University of Illinois at the time when Mosaic, the first Web browser, was being developed on campus.
        Afterwards, Wolinksy reported that he had been working futilely for months to persuade The New York Times to review the book. Finally, in a fit of pique he canceled his subscription.
        Within days (a coincidence of course), a review appeared praising it for its trustworthy value and "breezy style."
        The result was a flurry of interest that placed it on's list of "top movers" -- the books that are rising fastest in sales, although not necessarily the biggest sellers overall.


Mention Steve Neal in St. Louis...
        And they will tell you that the Post-Dispatch selected the Chicago Sun-Times columnist's book, Harry & Ike, as one of the best books of the year 2001.

Poetry Gets Respect
        Maureen Seaton, artist-in-residence at Columbia College, also spearheads the college's Third Annual Undergraduate Poetry Reading, scheduled for April, 2002.
        Columbia established the first American undergraduate major in poetry three years ago, and now has a scholarship fund for first-year students.
        Seaton's own publications include Famous Cooking, which won the Iowa Prize for Poetry. Her sixth and latest book, Invisible Cities, was nominated for the National Book Award.

The Magic of Cable...
        Brought Jamie Gilson into the homes of viewers of the Library Cable Network (Channel 24 in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Skokie and Wheeling, and Channel l9 in Buffalo Grove) during December..
        Gilson, who wrote Itchy Richard and Wagon Train 911 among other books, discussed where she gets the ideas for her books and how she develops them into a published work.
        Gilson is not the only SMA writer willing to reveal her work secrets with others.

They Led Him to Bestseller List
        "I let my characters guide me," Andrew Greeley told the New York Times (Dec. 3, 2001). Greeley was the latest SMA author to contribute to the Times' continuing series, "Writers on Writing."
        Greeley revealed that his characters come alive in his head -- sometimes noisily so -- and that occasionally he has to wrestle control of the plot away from them.

The Trick's To Find the Frequency
        "We all have a private radio broadcasting for us," observed Sara Paretzky in a Chicago Sun-Times interview (Dec. 2, 2001).
        The return of Paretzky's sleuth V. I. Warshawski was greeted with warmth and praise. In Total Recall, Paretzky tackles "Holocaust survival, black-Jewish tensions and insurance fraud" head on.
        Paretzky revealed that in many ways Warshawski was born out of her own need for an alter ego, one who was never at a loss for a pithy retort, a clenched fist, or a shriek against injustice.

"Hooked" on Chicago History
        In City Talk (Nov. 23, 2001), essayist, poet and five-time novelist Rosellen Brown offered "a glimpse of how a novelist creates compelling fiction from the raw material of life."
        Brown's next novel is set in Chicago around the time of the World's Columbian Exposition.
        It all began after Brown moved to Hyde Park in 1995. Like many people, Brown became fascinated by the lake -- a "magic place." Its special quality provided the inspiration for a book that will capture the drama of the time and place.

Call This Retirement?
        The inimitable Martin Marty is celebrating his retirement from the University of Chicago and Christian Century (fourth year) and from all boards (six months) by working on two new volumes.
        With co-author Micah Marty, he is completing a history of River Forest's Grace Lutheran Church on the occasion of its centennial, and he expects to finish Martin Luther for Viking Penguin this year.
        And then there is Context, his ongoing newsletter on religion and culture.

Munch with Punch
        An "onomatopoeic romp" is what Publishers Weekly calls Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming. Aimed at the three-to-seven-year-old market, it tells the story of the classic battle between gardeners and hungry bunnies.
        Fleming, who also wrote Gabriella's Song, is credited with "an ear for language" as well as "great comic timing" in her latest.

Tends the Home Fires
        Patrick T. Murphy spent two weeks in Kosovo recently after being chosen by the American Bar Association and the East European Law Initiative Project to work with legal experts and judges in preparing a new juvenile justice code for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
        While there, Cook County Public Guardian (and novelist) Murphy wired a column to the Chicago Sun-Times (Dec. 3, 2001) which was headlined "Election of Judges Leads to Injustice."
        Soon after his return, he wrote another op-ed piece for the Sun-Times, calling for creation of a special court in Cook County to deal with cases of elder abuse.


Authors Honor Late Colleague
        At the suggestion of Barbara D'Amato and Alzina Stone Dale, both SMA members, the family of Hugh Holton is donating his manuscripts, books, photographs and other memorabilia, such as his Chicago police uniform, to the Newberry Library.
        Since Holton's last mystery, Criminal Elements, will be published in February, the Newberry Library also plans to hold a special Hugh Holton book signing on Saturday, March 9, from 12 to 2 p.m., during their annual mystery book sale.
        Members of his family will be present and copies of Holton's earlier books will be available. Next year, in March, 2003, when his daughter, Elizabeth Cook, can be present, there will be an exhibit reflecting Holton's two careers as a Chicago police captain and best-selling author. The program will include reminiscences by other police officers and his friends in the mystery world, along with a bus tour of "Hugh Holton's Chicago."
        Holton's publisher and agent, Bob and Susan Gleason, have agreed to contribute their files. Anyone else -- fellow writers, members of the Chicago Police Department, reporters, booksellers, mystery fans -- who has letters, notes, comments, photographs, newsletters and bulletins, or memories of Hugh Holton, is urged to contribute them, too.
        Collection items should be sent to: Diana C. Haskell, Lloyd Lewis Curator of Midwest Manuscripts, The Newberry Library, 60 W.Walton, Chicago, 60610.
Travels of a Poet
        Chicago poet Mark Perlberg has been given a Lannan Writer's Residency for the month of April, 2002, at the Lannan Foundation's art and writers' center in Marfa, Tex.
        The tiny town of Marfa is in the high desert country in southwest Texas. It is the home of the Chinati Foundation, started by the late sculptor Donald Judd.
        The movie classic Giant with James Dean was filmed in Marfa, which has become a center for writers and artists to work and exchange ideas.
        Perlberg will return to Chicago just in time to read his poems at The Poetry Center of Chicago on May 8.

New Historical Novel
         Kathy Stevenson has just published a historical novel called The Lake Poet, set in Lake Forest, Ill., from 1929 to the present day.
        Kathy started The Lake Poet after attending the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference four years ago, and after years of sitting in the Lake Forest library wading through old newspapers. Kathy published The Lake Poet in December.
        Check out Kathy's new Web site,, to read about The Lake Poet, and to read more of her work. The book is available through the Web site, through, and the Lake Forest Book Store and B. Dalton/Lake Forest.
        Kathy will also present "Beyond the Bestsellers" at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 10 a.m. She will review recent books that are great reads, but that didn't quite make the bestseller list.

Sept. 11 Revisited
        With Reginald Gibbons as moderator, Rosellen Brown and Ray Hanania were among the panelists for a Jan. 9 discussion of the implications of the World Trade Center disaster.
        The sponsoring Guild Complex explained, "Since 9/11/01, a community of artists and writers in Chicago have been meeting to dialog, build and create a response to the tragedy of global suffering and injustice."

Environmental Challenge
        Writing in the January issue of Earth Letter, Jim Schwab reprised the argument of his 1994 book, Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America.
        Contrary to the notion that environmentalism is about wilderness preservation and the recreational activities of the middle class, the burden of pollution falls most heavily upon blue-collar industrial workers and the residents of low-income minority neighborhoods.
        Addressing the church-going readership of Earth Letter, Schwab urges congregations to purchase "green" products and support environmental movements.
        "The environmental injustice that runs along class and racial lines in this nation is but a microcosm of the much larger and far more dangerous economic chasm that exists between the environmental privileges of rich and poor nations throughout the world."
        Although conditions have improved since 1994, "much remains to be done. As always, there is no reason why the church should not be in the forefront of the search for justice."

Self-Expression in Vilnius
        Wendell Mayo has been in Vilnius, Lithuania, since Sept.1 on a Creative and Expository Writing Fulbright at Vilnius University. He says he's "working on more stories and teaching writing with special emphasis on self-expression in all forms of writing" in the former Soviet republic. He'll be there through June 30.

In and Out of Print
        In a world where books go out of print in a blink, Margery Frisbie finds that some of her writing keeps cropping up again like tulip bulbs.
        A recent issue of Literary License reported the re-publication of a 1963 book she wrote with her husband (The Do-It-Yourself Parent.)
        Now comes word that her 1991 biography of Msgr. John Egan will be re-issued in the spring. The original edition was a regional best-seller.
        Her publisher seems also relatively immortal. Sheed & Ward prospered in New York during the lifetime of its founders, Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward.
        After they died, the company faded away, only to be replaced by a new Kansas City company, which resurrected the Sheed & Ward name out of respect for a distinguished tradition.
        Now Sheed & Ward has been reincarnated again in Evanston, Ill., in time to bring back the Egan book, An Alley in Chicago.

Editor: Richard Frisbie
Contributing Editor: Barbara Schaaf
Suite 104, 445 W. Erie St., Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312/397-0992    Fax: 312/255-9865

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