Society of Midland Authors Logo
Home SMA Events Members' New Books Publicity Tips for Authors Speakers Bureau Notices & Member Events Donors & Grant Makers Contact Information Search this Site Join E-mail List
 Awards Contest:
About Winners
 Literary License:
Latest Issue Newsletter Index
Officers and Board Author Members Associate Members
Literary License Newsletter heading

April 2003

Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos

Although it's far from the pyramids of ancient Egypt, archaeologists have been excited by discoveries at the site of a Native American urban metropolis once located in the Mississippi River Valley. Sally A. Kitt Chappell will give a talk and slide presentation on the history of Cahokia, also called City of the Sun.
        She's an architectural historian and author of Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos (2002), a history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several books on architectural history.
        With a Ph.D. in architectural history from Northwestern University, she taught at DePaul University before resuming a career as a freelance writer. Besides her scholarly books and articles, she has written travel articles for The New York Times and a number of magazines.
        She is a trustee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Chappell has won a number of awards, including: Most Outstanding Book in Architecture and Urban Planning Award from the Association of American Publishers (1992); Cortelyou-Lowery Award for Excellence in Teaching and Collegiality (1990), and the Sears Roebuck Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership (1994).

Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

: 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. program, Tuesday, April 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.

Other Coming Events
        May 13–Annual Awards Banquet at Cliff Dwellers Club. Speaker: Rick Kogan.
        June 7-8–Printer's Row Book Fair.

Board Meetings

Usually on the third Wednesday of each month. Apr.16, May 21.

By Richard Frisbie
        With all the talk of creating a democracy in the Muslim world, Americans seem unaware that there already is one--Turkey.
        Stephen Kinzer, former Istanbul bureau chief for The New York Times, made that point in a witty talk at the March 11 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Assn. After reporting from 50 different countries, Kinzer finds the U.S. discouragingly ignorant and prone to meddle in other countries without considering outcomes.
        Last fall, the Turkish electorate ousted all the politicians who had been running the country. "It was like all the Republicans and all the Democrats lost an election at the same time," he said.
        The Turkish army, apparently satisfied that the new office-holders seemed competent, stayed on the sidelines for a change.
        The Bush Administration didn't like it when the Turkish parliament voted against allowing U.S. troops to invade Iraq from Turkey, but that was true democracy in action.
        Kinzer, who learned to speak Turkish, said the Turkish leaders are Muslims who pray five times a day, but still subscribe to the vision of Ataturk, the republic's founder, that Turkey needs to be part of the "universal civilization."
        Iran too had been a democracy until 1953, when the CIA engineered a coup that overthrew the elected government and installed the Shah as dictator. The excuse given was that Iran might turn Communist. The real reason was that Iran had liberated their own oil resources from British control, and Britain needed U.S. help to get them back, Kinzer said.
        Although that may have seemed a good idea at the time, the Shah could be kept in power only by U.S. money and weapons, and by his notoriously ruthless secret police. This eventually provoked the Iranian revolution of 1979 -- "the mother of all blow backs," Kinzer said. It fueled the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and inspired the Taliban in Afghanistan.
        There's a direct line, he said, from the coup "through the Shah to the World Trade Center."
        Iran is on the verge of another revolution, Kinzer said. A youthful population is growing increasingly restive under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists and the accompanying economic stagnation.
        With the Middle East in turmoil, Turkey, despite imperfections, is the one nation that can "change the face of the Muslim world," he said. Instead of heeding al-Qaida's "violent message from the cave," Muslims can "look at the way people live in Turkey" for a counter vision of the future of Islam.
        Now based in Oak Park, Ill., as national culture correspondent for the Times, Kinzer has written several books, including Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds. His new book, All the Shah's Men: The Hidden Story of the CIA's Coup in Iran, will be published in August.
        He added an amusing personal note. After 20 years of moving from country to country abroad, he experienced the most cultural shock upon returning to the U.S. When he first passed through a supermarket checkout, the bagger asked, "Paper or plastic?"
        Kinzer hadn't the faintest idea what that meant. "I finally said, "Cash?'"

By Barbara Schaaf

Clean up After Elephants?
Ed Baumann may be retired, but he certainly is not retiring. After a career reporting for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Today (nee Chicago American) and finally the Chicago Tribune, Baumann has begun contributing to the Chicago Press Veterans newsletter.

Come July l3, Baumann and his wife, Norrie, will be volunteering for Milwaukee's Great Circus Parade, and on July 20, he will be found at the Kenosha Art Fair, on whose board he serves.

Shattered Innocence
        SMA past president Rich Lindberg is looking forward to July, when his new book Shattered Sense of Innocence: the Child Murders that Changed the Way America Looked at Itself (with Gloria Syes) will be brought out by Cumberland House.
        It is the tale of the murders of the Schuessler/Peterson boys, which terrified a whole generation of parents and children in the 1950s. He gave a slide presentation on the subject at the March 12 meeting of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter.

TV News from an Expert
        Merv Block, once of the Chicago American, ignored that editor's advice and went East to write broadcast news for the networks. Now he's teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism and finishing a new book.
        After years of experience writing mainstream TV news, Block is showing a younger generation how to do it.

"Delivers Once Again"
        Jacquelyn Mitchard of Wisconsin sets her new novel on Cape Cod. Her 40-something heroine of Twelve Times Blessed (HarperCollins) runs a successful mail order business but yearns for a love interest.
        Her yen is answered when she meets "a sexy chef of Creole background" who is 10 years her junior. They marry quickly, but happily-ever-after takes longer.
        As Publishers Weekly puts it, Mitchard "delivers once again," and her fans should "flock" to purchase this volume, as it seems to parallel the circumstances of Mitchard's "much publicized" second marriage.


Affordable Housing Analyzed

        Two SMA members--Jim Schwab and Stuart Meck-- along with their American Planning Association colleague, Rebecca Retzlaff, have produced a comprehensive new report, Regional Approaches to Affordable Housing, that evaluates virtually every regional approach in the country.
        Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fannie Mae Foundation and APA itself, the 280-page document took two years to complete.
        It investigates whether these regional approaches are in fact resulting in housing production or "just a lot of talk and churning."

Spiritual Journeyon Cable TV
        Kathy Heskin is being featured this month on the Library Cable Network, Channel 24 in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Skokie and Wheeling, Ill.
        She's the author of Marriage: A Spiritual Journey and associate professor of theology and pastoral ministry at Dominican University, where she directs the bachelor's in ministry program.


By Tom Frisbie
Membership Secretary
        Leo Sheridan Anderson wrote Down the Mississippi: A Sixty-Five Year Old Paddles a Canoe the Length of the Great River to Rediscover Himself. He lives in Gurnee, Ill.
        Lori B. Andrews is a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a recognized legal expert on genetic and reproductive technology.
        She wrote Future Perfect: Confronting Decisions About Genetics; The Clone Age and Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology, and co-authored Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology
        Richard F. Bales is the co-author of The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow. In 1998 he participated, with help from Chicago Ald. Ed Burke,in a mock trial exonerating Mrs. O'Leary.
        He is assistant regional counsel for the Wheaton, Ill., office of Chicago Title Insurance Company. This title insurance company maintains the only set of land records that survived the blaze of 1871.
        Bales' initial conclusions concerning the cause of the Great Chicago Fire earned him the Illinois State Historical Society's Harry E. Pratt Memorial Award.
        Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner is a professor of English at Wheaton College. Among her books are Flannery O'Connor: A Proper Scaring (originally published in 1988, and since released in a new edition); Finding Cuba (poetry); Namings (poetry), Leaving Eden and Poetry (a textbook)
        Her poems have appeared in Willow Review, Image and Centennial Review. Baumgaertner has won the Illinois Arts Council finalist award and the Rock River Poetry Prize.
        Horror writer Mort Castle's fiction includes the novels Cursed Be The Child and The Strangers; the chapbooks Mulbray and In Memoriam, and the short story collection, Moon on the Water.
         He has also written over 400 "shorter things," edited Writing Horror: The Horror Writers Association Handbook (Writer's Digest, 1997); The Times We Had, and American Kids: Another Book About People. His credits include being executive editor of Thorby Comics, which publishes the popular comic books Night City, Death Asylum, The Skulker, Blythe: Nightvision and Johnny Cosmic.
Since 1980, he has been writer-in-residence for Chicago Heights High School District 206. A resident of Crete, Ill., Castle was named one of 21 Leaders in the Arts for the 21st Century in Chicago's South Suburbs by The Star, the largest chain of newspapers in the region.
        Michael Allen Dymmoch is a mystery writer who lives in Northbrook, Ill. Her book, The Man Who Understood Cats, won the St. Martin's Press Malice Domestic Award for Best First Traditional Mystery of 1992.
        Among her other books are The Death of Blue Mountain Cat and Incendiary Designs(1998), which continued the Chicago-based adventures of psychiatrist Jack Caleb and detective John Thinnes, who also were teamed in earlier novels with the word "cat" in their titles.
        Aleksandar Hemon came to Chicago from his native Sarajevo in 1992 and stayed when the war in Bosnia intensified. While working as a bicycle messenger on wintry streets, he learned English and began to write. In 2000, he won the Chicago Public Library Foundation's 21st Century Award. His book Question of Bruno appeared on Best Books of 2000 lists nationwide, won several literary awards and was published in 18 countries. His book Nowhere Man has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He lives in Uptown.
        Mark Jacob, a Chicago Tribune news editor and former Sunday editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, is author of Wrigley Field: A Celebration of the Friendly Confines. He is co-author of The Game That Was.
        George Levy wrote To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862 - 1865. He became interested in Camp Douglas as a student at the University of Chicago, which is located across the street from the original site of the camp. Levy is a resident of Chicago.
Lawyer John W. Mauck, whose legal specialty is freedom-of-religion cases, wrote Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts As a Defense of Christianity. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
        A member of the Christian Legal Society, he and his wife, Rosemary, have four children and reside in Evanston, Ill.
        Elaine Fowler Palencia, a freelance writer living in Champaign, Ill., grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee. Her short stories have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Chattahoochee Review and other literary magazines. Her fiction has appeared in Magnolias and Mayhem and The Distillery. Her poetry has appeared in Southern Crime Anthology, Byline, Lonzie's Fried Chicken, Pegasus, Willow Review, Illinois Review and others.
        Among her books are Brier Country: Stories From Blue Valley (2000); The Dailiness of It: Poems (2002); Taking the Train: Poems (1997) and Small Caucasian Woman: Stories (1993)
A retired English professor, Michael J. Sheehan taught at Olive-Harvey College, City Colleges of Chicago. He is the author of two works of fiction and several writing and vocabulary textbooks, including the recently published Word Parts Dictionary: Standard and Reverse Listings
of Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots and Combining Forms
(Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2000).
        Sheehan lives in Cedar, Mich.
        Shelton Stromquist has written Solidarity & Survival: An Oral History of Iowa Labor in the Twentieth Century; A Generation of Boomers: The Pattern of Railroad Labor Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (Working Class in American History) and Unionizing the Jungles, as well as contributing to other books.
        Laura Mazzuca Toops
is a Chicago-based writer with more than 15 years of professional experience.
Her nonfiction book, A Native's Guide to Chicago's Western Suburbs, was published in1999 by Lake Claremont Press.
        Her writing, editing and reporting experience includes stints at Chicago's legendary City News Bureau and Crain Communications, and freelance work for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and other local and national publications. She also worked for five years as a film critic for a Chicago monthly entertainment magazine.
        Her short fiction has been published in several local literary magazines, and she has studied at writing workshops at the University of Chicago.
        She currently teaches fiction writing at several local venues, including the College of DuPage.
        Beth Copeland Vargo received the 1999 Bright Hill Press National Poetry Book Award for her book Traveling Through Glass. As a child she lived in Japan, India and the United States, and her poems reflect themes and traditions of both the East and the West.
        Her poems have been published in Atlanta Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Phoebe, Rhino and other literary magazines, and have received awards from Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, New Millenium Writings, Peregrine and Writers Digest.
        The Illinois Arts Council awarded her a fiscal year 2003 Artists Fellowship Awards grant of $700.
        Shealso won 2002 Finalist Award in Poetry from the Illinois Arts Council and 2001 Ethel Fortner Writer and Community Award from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, N.C.
        Vargo holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. She is employed as a museum curator and freelance writer.

newsletter index
top of page
Copyright 2000 Society of Midland Authors. All rights reserved