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We encourage librarians, event coordinators, and meeting planners
to arrange an appearance for any of these fine SMA authors.

Mary Elizabeth Anderson Why I Write Christian Books For Children; Freelance Writing For Profit & Pleasure; The Lincoln Highway; All About Books: From A to Z

Carol Ascher I enjoy speaking about memoir writing, as well as offering workshops on writing a memoir, and am often asked to talk about and read from my own memoir, Afterimages.

Arnie Bernstein Chicago film history, Civil War/Lincoln history, creative writing, creativity in corporate communications

Mervin Block Broadcast Newswriting

Greg Borzo The Chicago “L” – Chicago’s Biggest Mover & Shaker; history of Chicago’s cable cars; history of bicycling in Chicago and good, safe places to bike

Marlene Targ Brill All aspects of writing and publishing; research; the fun of nonfiction; biography; writing workshops

Steven Burgauer A lively presentation about the fun and challenges of writing science fiction

Dan Burns Career expert; Tools and techniques to win job interviews; Book club discussions; Writing inspiration and techniques

Pat Camalliere History, SW suburbs of Chicago; beginning mystery novel writing.

Marilyn J. Chiat Religious Art and Architecture

Cynthia Clampitt Food history (rum, corn/maize)) and a combination of food history and travel (spice trade and southern India)

Amelia Cotter Supernatural, History, Folklore, Writing

Alzina Stone Dale Crime, mystery writing, biographies

Michael H. Ebner (all slide illustrated) Baseball as History/History as Baseball, Glitter Amid Despair: Chicago as the Dual Metropolis, Creating Chicago's North Shore, Teaching American History in the New Century

Bruce L. Felknor Unsung Heroes the Merchant Marine at War; Classics of Political Mischief; Historic Charlatans & Impostors; Boners & Howlers from the Fount of Knowledge

Carol Felsenthal The art of writing unauthorized profiles and biographies and how to get published

Judith Bernette Bloom Fradin Children's books, American history, and picture books

Edward E. Gordon Business,History

Keir Graff Writing, publishing, book reviewing, adult fiction and children’s literature

Barbara Gregorich How to Self-Publish through CreateSpace

Valiska Gregory Children's Books, Writing Workshops, Book Reviewing

Eldon L. Ham Sports business, law and history

Kate Hannigan Writing, reading, researching, and resilience

Amy Hassinger Writing Historical Fiction, Writing about Adolescence, Faith and Writing, Writing the Novel

Frank S. Joseph Race, religion, Chicago in 1948

Josh Karp Comedy, popular culture/cultural criticism, freelance magazine writing and golf

Richard C. Lindberg Chicago Crime Tours; Windy City history; his published books about Michael C. McDonald; the Schuessler-Peterson Murders; the Chicago White Sox; and Gaslight-Era Criminals Belle Gunness, H.H. Holmes and Johann Hoch; and writing and publishing in Chicago

Gail Lukasik Fiction, poetry and nature writing workshops; mystery writing; presentations on publishing, Illinois and the Trail of Tears

Wendell Mayo Readings from his award-winning fiction; intensive fiction writing workshops for all skill levels, including master workshops; and speaks on and conducts workshop on publishing fiction

Erin McKean Dictionaries, Weird and Wonderful Words, English Usage and Abusage

James L. Merriner Chicago, Illinois, and National Politics. History of Corruption and Reform in Chicago. The Case of Governor George Ryan

Brandon Marie Miller History topics and writing nonfiction, for school visitis and adult conferences/events

Patricia Monaghan Earth Spirituality, Mythology

Jane Anne Morris Local Democracy, the Constitution, & Corporations; "Free Trade," Corporate Social Responsibility, and Democracy; Corporate Constitutional Obstacles to Localizing Democracy; and more

Gunter Nitsch Life in Post WWII Germany; refugees; East Prussia

James Reiss Poetry Readings, Writing Workshops

Michael Raleigh Mystery writing; fiction writing; Myths and realities of the publishing world; Chicago history topics, including the Great Chicago Fire

Cyndee Schaffer The Journey to "Mollie's War," from Inspiration to Publication

Jim Schwab Environmental Topics; Urban Planning; Oral History and the Art of Interviewing; Adoption and Foster Care

Sue William Silverman Conducts creative nonfiction writing workshops; gives presentations on child abuse prevention, addictions, and family dynamics

Daniel P. Smith Chicago police, Chicago crime, journalism and non-fiction writing for youth, using nonfiction lit to help produce crime and mystery novels, 1968 Democratic National Convention

Gerry and Janet Souter Paths to Publishing, Writing Community Histories

Tom Swift All aspects of nonfiction writing, including history, essays, research, biography, and journalism.

John Wasik Samuel Insull and the history of utilities in Chicago & Investor protection and personal finance issues

Michele Weldon Writing Workshops, Scribotherapy, Journalism, Women's Issues

Sel Yackley Bipolar illness, suicide, the death penalty, life in a small Illinois town, Turkey (history, culture, politics, tourism)

Bill Yarrow Poetry Readings, Writing Workshops

Mary Elizabeth Anderson   Email   Biography   Web Site

Mary Elizabeth Anderson is an experienced writer who will speak to audiences on the following topics: "'Why I Write Christian Books For Children," and "Freelance Writing For Profit & Pleasure." She will also speak to schools on the topic of "The Lincoln Highway: The First Transcontinental Highway Across America." A former elementary teacher, she is currently a Stephen's Minister at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Awards include: The 2003 Literary Award given by the Humanities Council of Hall County, Nebraska, for fostering excellence in the arts and humanities in Nebraska's heartland, and the Authors Award given by The Antique Automobile Club of America--Publications Committee--for her children's book: LINK ACROSS AMERICA: THE STORY OF THE HISTORIC LINCOLN HIGHWAY

She has published the following books:

  • IT'S ME AGAIN, GOD (a story devotional book for preteens)
  • WHY DID THEY BUILD A FENCE? (a multicultural picture book due out in 2004)

Anderson teaches "Freelance Writing For Profit & Pleasure" seminars at community colleges throughout the heartland. Her articles and stories have appeared in over one hundred periodicals. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree from Northwest Missouri State University, along with 30 additional credits in the field of education. She lives in Grand Island, Nebraska, with her husband, Don Anderson. They are the parents of three adult children, and have six grandchildren.

Carol Ascher   Email   Biography   Web Site   860-364-2251

I offer talks of memoir writing to people interested in writing personal essays and their own memoirs. These talks include such topics as: How does a memoir differ from an autobiography? What about my life is interesting? Where do I start writing? What if I don't remember everything I need to know? How should I organize my memoir—by chronology or by theme?

I also offering workshops consisting of one or more sessions on writing a memoir, which begin with "mini talks" on some of the subjects listed above, but allow students ample opportunity to start writing down their memories and turn them into sections of their memoirs.

Finally, I am often asked to talk about and read from my own memoir, Afterimages, which describes growing up in Topeka, Kansas, in a family of Central European refugees from the Nazis. In this case, I talk both about my life experience and about the process of returning to painful memories in order to write a memoir.

Arnie Bernstein   Email   Biography   Web Site
773-233-4577   FAX: 773-233-4541
10704 S. Artesian; Chicago, IL 60655

Chicago film history, Civil War/Lincoln history, creative writing, creativity in corporate communications
Author of Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago and the Movies, The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections and editor of The Movies Are: Carl Sandburg's Film Reviews & Essays: 1920 - 1928. All published by Lake Claremont Press.

Presentations at DePaul University, Columbia College, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Chicago, BBC Radio, numerous libraries, bookstores, conferences and broadcast outlets.

Experienced and award-winning writer/editor.

Mervin Block   Email   Web Site

Broadcast Newswriting
Mervin Block has written news at three television networks: as a staff writer for the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" and the "ABC Evening News with Frank Reynolds" and as a freelance at NBC News. He has written news for Walter Cronkite, Ed Bradley, Tom Brokaw, Charles Kuralt, Charles Osgood, Dan Rather, Frank Reynolds, Diane Sawyer, Mike Wallace, Bob Trout, Douglas Edwards, Edwin Newman, Roger Mudd and Harry Reasoner.

Block's books:

  • Broadcast Newswriting: The RTNDA Reference Guide (co-published by the Radio-Television News Directors Association, 1994)
  • Rewriting Network News: WordWatching Tips from 345 TV and Radio Scripts (1990)
  • Writing Broadcast News--Shorter, Sharper, Stronger (Revised and Expanded), 2d ed. (1997).
  • Writing News for TV and Radio: The Interactive CD and Handbook (with Joe Durso, Jr., 1998)

Block has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Chicago, has served as executive news producer for WBBM-TV, Chicago, has written and broadcast editorials for WNBC-TV, New York City, and has won first prize three times for TV spot-news scripts in the annual competition of the Writers Guild.

He has also written a column on broadcast newswriting, "WordWatching," for the RTNDA magazine, Communicator. He has taught broadcast newswriting at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and he has been teaching workshops in radio and television newsrooms. Block holds an M.S.J. from Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, and a certificate from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.

Greg Borzo   Email    Biography   Web Site

- The Chicago “L” – Chicago’s Biggest Mover & Shaker
Discover the world-famous Chicago “L” in all its grit and glory. The "L" has been running 24/7 for 122 years. See how it came to be and why it needs to be preserved. This rich historical presentation is lavishly illustrated with 100 images and includes a look at the "L" in the movies. Take a lively, entertaining tour of the "L" through time. Mass transit never looked so good!

- The history of Chicago’s cable cars. Travel back to the days when Chicago had the world’s largest cable car system ever. Providing more than one billion rides, these cable cars filled residents with pride – and robber barons’ pockets with money. They helped lay the groundwork for today’s transit network. But after 25 years, the boom went bust. Today the fascinating story of the rise and fall of Chicago’s cable cars is forgotten—even though we walk past, ride over and dine in remnants of it every day.

- The history of bicycling in Chicago and good, safe places to bike around Chicagoland.


RAGBRAI: America's Favorite Bicycle Ride (2013)
Chicago Cable Cars (2012)
Where to Bike Chicago: Best Biking in City and Suburbs (2011)
The Chicago “L”  (2007)

An award-winning journalist, Greg works as an independent writer. He’s an accomplished public speaker and conducts tours about the “L,” cable cars, Chicago history and bicycling for the Chicago History Museum, Chicago Cycling Club, Forgotten Chicago and others.

Greg always engages his audience and strives to entertain as well as inform. His dynamic PowerPoint presentations are lavishly illustrated and always memorable.

Marlene Targ Brill   Email   Biography

All aspects of writing and publishing; research; the fun of nonfiction; biography; writing workshops
Marlene is an award-winning author of more than 40 books for readers of all ages. Her list of published books includes nonfiction for children and adults and historical fiction for young readers. She writes to create nonfiction that is fun to read (Tooth Tales from around the World, the only nonfiction history of the tooth fairy) and that highlights strong people who have changed our world through their everyday actions (Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad, Diary of a Drummer Boy, Margaret Knight: Girl Inventor). She also has a passion for writing women into history (Sport Success series, Women for Peace, Journey for Peace: The Story of Rigoberta Menchu). Her Tooth Tales from around the World received a Children's Choice Award, and her Keys to Parenting a Child with Autism was a Parent's Choice.

Marlene is a former special educator who currently writes educational materials, magazine articles, and other business and healthcare materials in addition to books. As a speaker, she provides audiences with a humorous view of the ups and downs of the writing life.

Steven Burgauer   Email   Web Site

Avid hiker, Eagle Scout, founder of a successful mutual fund, political candidate, Steven Burgauer lives and writes in Illinois. A graduate of Illinois State University and the New York Institute of Finance, Mr. Burgauer currently writes science fiction and occasionally teaches Economics for a local university. He has written a book on personal investment management entitled, THE WEALTH BUILDER'S GUIDE. His science fiction titles include:

  • FORNAX (1994)
  • THE BRAZEN RULE (1995) — a viral killer on the loose
  • THE LAST AMERICAN (1996) — a country on the brink of disaster
  • THE GRANDFATHER PARADOX (1998) — a time-travel story, back to the U.S. Civil War
  • TREACHERY ON THE DARK SIDE (2000) — sex, murder, and intrigue at zero-g
  • THE RAILGUNS OF LUNA (2001) — a sick philosophy spreading across the planet
  • THE NIGHT OF THE ELEVENTH SUN (2002) — Neanderthal meets human in the mountains of Iberia
  • NEWHUMAN (2003) — genetically superior humans colonize a newly-terraformed Mars
  • THE SLAVES OF APHRODITE (2004) — genetically rejuvenated slaves colonize a newly-terraformed Venus

His work has been reviewed in many places, including LOCUS, SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE, the PEORIA JOURNAL STAR, the EUREKA LITERARY MAGAZINE, and PROMETHEUS, the journal of the Libertarian Futurist Society. He was also a contributor to the zany murder mystery, NAKED CAME THE FARMER, headlined by SF great Philip Jose Farmer.

Dan Burns   Email   Web Site   Phone: 630-915-8808

1) “Win The Job Interview Before It Begins!”

A hiring manager makes a decision about a job candidate within the first 60 seconds of their meeting. In those first 60 seconds, a hiring manager can decide whether a candidate will be moved to the top of the list…or dropped from consideration.  Career expert Dan Burns, author of the book The First 60 Seconds: Win the Job Interview Before it Begins, will provide the proven and successful tools and techniques to win the job interview before it begins and pursue a successful long-term career. (Adults, 90 minutes)

2) “Book Club Discussion With Local Author Dan Burns”

Take the opportunity to invite local author Dan Burns to your next book club discussion. Learn about the inspiration behind Dan’s new Chicago-based drama, Recalled to Life, as well the details behind his approach to writing short stories, screenplays, and novels. His thought-provoking novel is perfect for your book club list. Two free books will be provided for the library and discounted books are available for your patrons who order prior to the event. (Adults, 90 minutes)

References: Dawn Ellinghamm Mokena Community Public Library District
Phone: 708-479-9663

Pat Camalliere  Email   Web Site  
  • 1) History of Southwest Suburbs (Along Des Plaines River and Sag Valley)
  • 2) Writing historical mystery novels

Title/Topic: A Novel Approach: Beginning to End Basics for Aspiring Novelists

Synopsis: Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Chicago-area author Pat Camalliere guides you through the process of writing fiction, preparing you to write your own novel. This fast-paced program gives a thorough but condensed view of the novel-writing process, including basic information on setting, characters, organization, helpful tips, tools and resources, editing, publishing, and book promotion. The author brings her personal working notebooks and files for participants to view. Recommendations available.

Title/Topic: The Lost Town of Sag Bridge

Synopsis: Although it no longer exists, Sag Bridge was once a thriving 19th century canal town, its land now a part of present-day Lemont, Illinois. Author and amateur historian Pat Camalliere will describe the town as it once was, from its formation by glaciers to the closing of its school district in 1959. The town’s importance and the reasons for its decline will be revealed, and the talk will include photos, turn of the century transportation and ghost stories. Recommendations available.

Title/Topic: Travelogue to Dialogue: Photo Travelogue of Local Places of Interest along the Des Plaines River with Author Readings.

Synopsis: Author and amateur historian Pat Camalliere will show and describe photos from her personal collection of places in and near the Des Plaines River Valley. Although all are public and accessible, many area residents have been surprised to know their historic and geographic importance. Discussions are interwoven with readings from the author’s books in which the locations are featured. Locations include St. James at Sag Bridge, the Chicago Portage, Isle a la Cache Museum, and other locations in the forest preserves and along the Des Plaines River. New program.

Note: Author is also willing to prepare talks on related topics, and join book club discussions of her works.

Marilyn J. Chiat   Email   Biography
612-926-7936  FAX: 612-926-7931
2812 Drew Avenue South; Minneapolis, MN 55410

Religious Art and Architecture
Marilyn J.Chiat received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Minnesota. Her first book, HANDBOOK OF SYNAGOGUE ARCHITECTURE, was published in Brown University's Post-Biblical Judaica Series (1982). Her most recent book, AMERICA'S RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE: SACRED PLACES FOR EVERY COMMUNITY, was published by Preservation Press, John Wiley & Sons, NYC (1997). Dr. Chiat has presented illustrated slide lectures on religious art and architecture at venues throughout the nation and abroad and has appeared on many television and radio shows. She has received awards for her work from Partners for Sacred Places in Philadelphia, the Minnesota Humanities Commission and the City of Minneapolis. In her presentations, she introduces the audience to the "stories" religious art and architecture can tell about the people who built, decorated and worshipped in the buildings.

One of her most popular talks, "America's Magnificent Mosaic: A Survey of Religious Art and Architecture in the United States," takes the audience on a tour of the nation's byways and highways looking at buildings erected by the nation's various ethnic and/or religious groups. It is a celebration of what makes America unique: the freedom it offers all people to worship where and how they choose. Another presentation, "The Shul in the Golden Medina," looks at the development of one religious group's places of worship in the New World, examining what they brought with them from the Old World and what they transformed in the New. Other lectures include a comparative study of religious architecture, looking at what is shared and what is different among various places of worship.

Cynthia Clampitt  Email     Website

Food history

How Corn Changed Itself and Then Changed Everything Else A weedy grass growing in Mexico transformed itself into a larger, more useful grass about 10,000 years ago—and then transformed the Americas, even before First Contact. In North America, it swept across the Midwest with stunning speed, building cities, igniting industries, and inspiring poets and innovators. Vampires, Henry Ford, time zones, Fritos, and the Chicago Bears are all part of this remarkable story. Today, corn is more important than ever. (lecture, general audience, 60 min.)

The Rule of Rum  Food historian Cynthia Clampitt shares the reason rum arose where it did and when it did, as well as how pirates got involved and who really said “yo, ho, ho” (not the pirates), but also explains how rum was involved in uniting the 13 Colonies, why it was one of the issues that led to the American Revolution, how it also led to a revolt in its next home after the Caribbean: Australia, and how it affected culture and history around the world after that. (lecture, older teens and adults, 60 min.)
Seeking Spiceland For most of recorded history, people searched for routes to southern India. Why? The world’s most popular spices come from a small area at the tip of the subcontinent. Today, however, few visit the region, which is a pity. Southern India offers surprising history, stunning beauty, gracious people, and wonderful food. Come learn about the spices, the place of southern India in world events, and the delights to be enjoyed by a visitor today. (narrated slide show, general audience, 60 min.)
Clampitt is a world traveler and food historian, and she loves sharing tales of what she has discovered. See website for additional info, including other programs, speaking schedule, and fees.

Amelia Cotter   Email  Biography

Supernatural, History, Folklore, Writing

Amelia is available to speak to audiences of all ages on a variety of topics related to the supernatural, history, folklore, and writing. To schedule Amelia for an appearance or interview, please contact her at  

Alzina Stone Dale   Email   Biography   Web Site
773-684-1856 (Nov-June)   616-426-8275 (July-Oct)
5548 S. Kenwood Avenue; Chicago, IL 60637 1714

Crime, mystery writing, biographies.
Freelance writer/lecturer Alzina Stone Dale gives mystery seminars at the Newberry Library and appears on/chairs panels here and abroad, including Bouchercons, Malice Domestic, and Magna cum Murder. A biographer of Dorothy L. Sayers, T.S. Eliot and G.K.Chesterton, editor of DOROTHY L. SAYERS:THE CENTENNARY CELEBRATION and 1998 contributer to the C.S. LEWIS READERS ENCLYCLOPEDIA, THE SWIFTLY TILTING WORLD OF MADELEINE' L'ENGLE, and THE OXFORD COMPANION TO CRIME AND MYSTERY, as well as a series of mystery walking guides to LONDON, ENGLAND, NEW YORK, CHICAGO and WASHINGTON DC, Dale has spoken to library groups, literary socities, and woman's clubs from Seattle to Washington DC. MYSTERY READERS WALKING GUIDE: ENGLAND was nominated for UK's Crime Writers Association 's Dagger, while CHICAGO won Malice Domestic's Agatha Award and teapot. Her latest guide to WASHINGTON DC covers political mysteries from David Baldacci to Margaret Truman. Dale is a member of the Authors Guild, Crime Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Dorothy L.Sayers and Ngaio Marsh Societies, and the Society of Midland Authors. A native Chicagoan she lives in the Hyde Park house where she was born.

Michael H. Ebner   Email   Biography

(all slide
  • Baseball as History/History as Baseball
  • Glitter Amid Despair: Chicago as the Dual Metropolis
  • Creating Chicago's North Shore
  • Teaching American History in the New Century

James D. Vail III Professor of History emeritus at Lake Forest College and author of "Creating Chicago's North Shore: A Suburban History" (University of Chicago Press, 1988). Recipient of teaching awards from the American Historical Association, "Chicago Tribune," and Lake Forest College.

Bruce L. Felknor   Email
847- 570-3469
509 Trinity Court; Evanston, IL 60201

Unsung Heroes: the Merchant Marine at War; Classics of Political Mischief; Historic Charlatans & Impostors; Boners & Howlers from the Fount of Knowledge
Bruce Felknor is an author, editor, encyclopedist, editorial consultant, and raconteur, among whose books are the recent "The U.S. Merchant Marine at War, 17752945," the 1966 classic "Dirty Politics," "Political Mischief," "How to Look Things Up and Find Things Out," "The Treasury of the Encyclopaedia Britannica" (with Clifton Fadiman), and a prize-winning history of the 125-year-old Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

Thank-you letters from program chairs describe his audiences as "captivated" . . . "rapt" . . . "spellbound." The lectures mine Felknor's own background: executive director of the then-national Fair Campaign Practices Committee (1956-66), and varied roles at "Encyclopaedia Britannica" (1966-85), longest as executive editor.

Carol Felsenthal   Email   Web Site   Biography
1720 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

Carol Felsenthal’s latest book, Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House, a look at Bill Clinton’s post presidency, including the bruising battle against Barack Obama for the democratic nomination, will be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins on April 22, 2008. She has also written biographies of Katharine Graham (an HBO mini-series adapted from the book is currently in the works, with a revised screenplay by Joan Didion); Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and Si Newhouse.

Carol Felsenthal has spoken all over the country and abroad about such topics as the art of writing unauthorized profiles and biographies of some of the country’s most rich and powerful people; what’s it like inside the peculiar worlds of book, magazine, and newspaper publishing; how to get published (find an agent, write a proposal);, and more generally on the subjects of local, state, and nationl politics and media.

Information on her speaking engagements and links to appearances on television and radio can be found at Felsenthal has taught college and graduate students at the University of Chicago in a class titled "Writing Profiles." For 15 years she taught a popular class at the Francis W. Parker Evening School titled " How to Get Published."

Judith Bernette Bloom Fradin   Email   Web Site
847-869-8099 (10 AM to 10 PM, please)
2121 Dobson Street; Evanston, IL 60202

Children's, history, photography
Subject Matter: For the past ten years I have written children's nonfiction books. These include co-authorship of 24 books on the states, a book about Sacagawea, a booklet on storm chasers and one about Mt. Washington, and my award-winning Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, co-written with my husband, Dennis.

In addition, I find and re-photograph archival pictures for Fradin books. My research takes me to the Library of Congress as well as to many primary sources. I also take relevant photos myself.

My presentations focus on research techniques, archival photography, and the creation of a book from idea to hardcover. I am a former teacher and I enjoy audiences from kindergarten on up.

Biographical Information:   I was born in Mt. Sinai Hospital on January 8, 1945, and have lived in the Chicago area my entire life. I received my undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and earned my master's degree at Northeastern Illinois University. I'm married to author Dennis B. Fradin, and we are the parents of three adult children. I live in Evanston, just one block north of the Chicago border. I enjoy gardening, traveling, and going to the park with my 4-year-old grandson.

Edward E. Gordon, Ph.D.   Email   Biography   Web Site
312-664-5196  FAX: 312-943-7360
220 E. Walton, Chicago, IL 60611

Business, Education
Ed Gordon is a speaker with vision. As a corporate president, author, university professor and historian, Gordon provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the forces shaping current events. His presentations mix humor with powerful messages that inform and inspire widely diverse audiences. Among his 18 books are Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis (Praeger, 2013), Winning the Global Talent Showdown: How Businesses and Communities Can Partner to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline (Berrett-Koehler, 2009), The 2010 Meltdown: Solving the Impending Jobs Crisis (Praeger, 2005), SkillWars: Winning the Battle for Productivity and Profit (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000), and Literacy in America: Historic Journey and Contemporary Solutions (Praeger, 2003).
Ed Gordon is president of Imperial Consulting Corporation and has taught at three Chicago-area universities: DePaul, Loyola, and Northwestern. Over 100,000 people across the U.S. and Canada have heard his presentations. His most popular speeches on contemporary economic and employment issues include:

  • Today’s Employment and Career Challenges: Renewing the Vision
  • The Global Talent Race: Can the U.S. Grow More of Its Own?
  • Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis
  • Science Friction: Rethinking STEM Education

In his other area of professional specialization, Ed Gordon provides programs on many aspects of World War II, the U.S. Civil War, and the American West. For more information, visit

Keir Graff   Email   Biography   Web Site

How I Kept My Day Job and Became a Published Author—and You Can, Too!
Keir Graff knows what it’s like to get a bad review—and what it’s like to give one. The author of The Price of Liberty and three other novels recently made his debut as a children’s author with The Other Felix. He’s also the editor of Booklist Online, the website of the American Library Association’s venerable book-review journal, Booklist. His unique perspective on publishing has been earned through years of hard work, serendipity, and sometimes painful trial and error. In this lighthearted and informative talk, Graff tells his own story of breaking into print while offering practical advice about getting published, starting with the question every writer needs to ask: "Will getting published make me happy?"

Marjorie Monaghan, an events programmer at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, called Keir Graff a "programmer’s dream of a speaker."

In addition to this popular presentation, Graff is often in demand as a moderator and panelist, discussing various aspects of writing, publishing, book reviewing, and adult fiction and children’s literature.

Barbara Gregorich   Email   Biography   Web Site
FAX: 312-715-0416

How to Self-Publish through CreateSpace
Barbara Gregorich has published approximately 200 books with traditional publishers; she has self-published 5 books through CreateSpace and plans a total of 10 or more. In a detailed, instructive slide-show program, she shows others how to self-publish at no cost whatsoever.

Valiska Gregory   Email   Web Site
5300 Grandview Dr.; Indianapolis, IN 46228

Children's Books, Writing Workshops, Book Reviewing
Award-winning poet and children's book author Valiska Gregory has published over a dozen books for children. Translated in seven different languages, her books have received Parents' Choice Awards, been chosen for the American Booksellers' "Pick of the Lists," and been featured on PBS and national television. Library reference source Something About the Author calls her a "star in the children's literature scene." Currently a Writer-in-residence at Butler University, Ms. Gregory is the founding director of the Butler Children’s Literature Conference. She reviews children’s books for Publishers Weekly, and she enjoys speaking at schools, libraries, and conferences across the country.

Eldon L. Ham   Email
30 N. LaSalle Street; Suite 2140; Chicago, Illinois 60602

Sports business, law and history
Adjunct professor of sports law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Author of two published books on sports related issues, plus many articles including Chicago Tribune (Latrell Sprewell), Trial Magazine (steroids), Seton Hall Sports Law Journal (disabled athletes), Marquette Sports Law Review (baseball and law). Often featured in the media (WGN Radio and numerous other stations coast to coast, including Alaska, plus the BBC in England).

One of the first attorneys to challenge and change the NFL drug policy in court (Richard Dent v. NFL); former general counsel and chief operating officer, Zucker Sports Management; featured luncheon speaker at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting; featured prominently by the National Law Journal in February, 2003; designated to address the 100th World Series Symposium in Boston, October 1, 2003 (sponsored by the Baseball Hall of Fame, Boston Red Sox and Northeastern University).

Published books:
The 100 Greatest Sports Blunders of All Time (Contemporary: 1997)
The PlayMasters--an unauthorized history of the NBA (McGraw-Hill/Contemporary: 2000)

Kate Hannigan  Email
Writing, reading, researching, and resilience

Kate's books have been included in Chicago Public Library's "Best of the Best" and received starred review from Booklist as well as The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. She offers exciting author visits for schools, and she speaks to adult audiences as well. Kate talks about finding ideas, the joys and perils of research, and how to keep on going in the face of rejection letters and publishing upheaval.

Kate's presentations are for kindergartners on up, focusing on how books go from "ah-ha!" idea to your bookshelf. Emphasis on researching and writing, fiction and non-fiction.

Amy Hassinger   Email   Biography   Web Site

Writing Historical Fiction, Writing about Adolescence, Faith and Writing, Writing the Novel
Amy Hassinger graduated from Barnard College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she received her MFA in fiction writing. She is the author of two novels. Deemed "superb" by O, the Oprah Magazine and "truly penetrating" by, Nina: Adolescence (Putnam and Listen and Live Audio, 2003) has been translated into Dutch and Portuguese, won a Publisher's Weekly Listen Up! Award and was selected as an Audio Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine. In a starred review, Library Journal says The Priest's Madonna (Putnam and Listen and Live Audio, 2006) is "a rich fabric of love, mystery, anguish, and faith" while Marie Claire magazine calls it "a provocative page-turner." Houses in Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, and Indonesia have purchased the translation rights.

Hassinger received a 2006 Finalist Award in Prose from the Illinois Arts Council and was named a semi-finalist for the 2005 Julia Peterkin Award. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Arts and Letters, Salt Hill, Natural Bridge, and Blithe House Quarterly Online, and have been anthologized in Best Lesbian Love Stories.

She is also the author of Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past. She's taught English to middle school students, writing and literature to undergraduates, and is currently on the faculty of the University of Nebraska's Low-Residency MFA in Writing Program. She lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband and daughter.

Frank S. Joseph   Email   Biography   Web Site

Race, religion, Chicago in 1948
Frank S. Joseph is a novelist, journalist, publisher and direct marketer. His novel TO LOVE MERCY, a tale of blacks and whites, Christians and Jews, how children view the world, conflict and forgiveness ... and Chicago in 1948 ... has won six awards and gone into a second printing.

As an Associated Press reporter, Frank covered the Democratic National Convention disorders of 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march into Cicero IL, and nearly every street event during Chicago's riot-torn mid '60s.

Josh Karp   Email    Web Site
847-869-2359 (office) 847-828-7322 (cell)

Comedy, popular culture/cultural criticism, freelance magazine writing and golf
Background: I have written for the Atlantic Monthly, Salon, Premiere, LA Times Sunday Magazine, TimeOut New York, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times and other publications. I'm the author of "A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever" which came out in September 2006. I have a Master's in Journalism from Northwestern University, where I am a frequent lecturer. Additionally, I have been an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia College.

Richard Lindberg   Email   Biography   Web Site
Daytime: 312.424.8172

Chicago Crime Tours; Windy City history; his published books about Michael C. McDonald; the Schuessler-Peterson Murders; the Chicago White Sox; and Gaslight-Era Criminals Belle Gunness, H.H. Holmes and Johann Hoch; and writing and publishing in Chicago.
Richard Lindberg is the author of fourteen books dealing with colorful and unique historical Chicago themes including: Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago; Shattered Sense of Innocence: The Chicago Child Murders of 1955; The Gambler King of Clark Street: Michael C. McDonald & the Rise of Chicago’s Democratic Machine; Chicago Yesterday & Today; Total White Sox and others.

Utilizing overhead projection slides, Lindberg provides his audience with unique insight and analysis into little known episodes drawn from "notorious" Chicago; the genesis of Windy City crime; famous unsolved crimes and the Gaslight Era of Chicago history. He will also comment on White Sox baseball (from his perspective as the official team historian), ethnic neighborhoods, and can offer practical advice and share publishing "war stories" to would-be authors concerning how not to get a book in print, finding the right agent, negotiating contracts, dealing with difficult publishers, and marketing promotion.

Over the years Rich has been invited to address numerous membership groups, including the Mystery Writers of America (Chicago chapter).the Fourth Lights Adult Education Group, Friends of Literature, the Kiwanis Clubs, a number of neighborhood Chicago Public Library branches, over 50 suburban libraries stretching from Lake Villa (north) to Calumet City (south) and Sterling, Illinois (west), Hugo's Companions (a scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars), the City Club of Chicago, the Chicago Architectural Foundation, Triton Community History Organization, West Suburban Trial Lawyers Association, Mather Lifeways, the Illinois Center for the Book (workshop), the Swedish Cultural Society, various city and suburban community historical societies. In addition he has led yearly bus tours for the Chicago History Museum since 2007.

Rich has appeared as an interview subject on numerous cable documentary television and radio programs of local and national origin over the years, including Extension 720 on WGN Radio Chicago, History’s Mysteries, Mobsters, Masterminds, American Justice, Cities of the Underworld, and has been fetured in several segments of Chicago Stories, on Network Chicago, Channel 11.

Gail Lukasik   Email   Web Site

Fiction, Poetry and Nature Writing Workshops, Publishing, Illinois and the Trail of Tears
Gail Lukasik is the author of three mystery novels and one book of poetry. She was awarded the Illinois Arts Council literary award for her poem, “In Country.” Her work has appeared in journals such as the Illinois Review, The Georgia Review, and Rhino. She has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently teaches at Roosevelt University. Her writing workshops are interactive and lively and appeal to beginning writers and more seasoned writers.

She has given over sixty library presentations, including How To Get Published, How To Jump Start Your Writing, Six Ways to Write a Poem, How To Enliven Your Fiction Writing and How To Write Killer Characters. For many years she taught writing workshops at Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest. She was also one of the master teachers for the Sisters In Crime Mystery Writing Weekend.

Her latest suspense novel, The Lost Artist (May 2012), is set in Chicago and explores Illinois history, specifically Illinois's connection to the infamous Trail of Tears, as well sixteenth century American history and art. She would be delighted to give talks on these topics.

Gail Lukasik's books:
      Landscape Toward a Proper Silence (Eye of the Comet Press 1992)
      The Lost Artist (Five Star/Cengage 2012)
            Leigh Girard mystery series:
      Destroying Angels (Five Star/Cengage 2006)
      Death's Door (Five Star/Cengage 2009)

Wendell Mayo  Email     PO Box 153, Haskins, Oh 43525; tel, 419-823-7005

Wendell Mayo reads from his award-winning fiction; conducts intensive fiction writing workshops for all skill levels, including master workshops; and speaks on and conducts workshop on publishing fiction in the literary marketplace.
Wendell Mayo has read his award-winning short stories at over high schools, colleges, community centers, and book fairs internationally. He’s also a seasoned intensive fiction writing workshop leader, including workshops on specialized topics, recently, “Publishing Creative Writing: Getting in the Game”; “En medias res”; “‘Boys enter the house, boys enter the house’--Using Repetition and Variation in Fiction”; and “The Power of Revision: Breathing Life into Fiction.” He teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Bowling Green State University.

Erin McKean   Email     Web Site
4907 N. Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago IL 60625

Dictionaries, Weird and Wonderful Words, English Usage and Abusage
As the editor of the only magazine for "word geeks," VERABATIM: The Language Quarterly, and as Senior Editor, US Dictionaries, for Oxford University Press, Erin McKean has spoken about weird words and the dictionaries that hold them, the unusual corners of the English language that produce them, and about good English and how to achieve it (and her suggestions will surprise you!).

She has spoken to many organizations and groups of all ages, including, locally, the Caxton Club and the University of Chicago Alumni. She has also lectured and run a one-day "Word Lover's Boot Camp" at the Smithsonian Institution.

Called "America's Lexicographical Sweetheart" by Neal Conan of NPR's Talk of the Nation, she is a regular contributor to PRI's The Next Big Thing with Dean Olsher, heard in Chicago on WBEZ.

James L. Merriner   Email     Web Site
Phone: 708-848-2956


Chicago, Illinois, and National Politics
History of Corruption and Reform in Chicago
The Case of Governor George Ryan

Bio: As a political editor and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Atlanta Constitution, James L. Merriner covered local, state, and presidential politics for more than 25 years. He is the author of four books about politics and history that have won praise both from academic journals and the mainstream press:

Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003 (2204) The City Club of Chicago: A Centennial History (2003) Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski's America (1999) Against Long Odds: Citizens Who Challenge Congressional Incumbents (1999)

Merriner now is writing a biography of former Governor George Ryan.

Merriner often is interviewed on local radio and television public-affairs programs and also has appeared on Book TV on C-SPAN2. He has taught journalism at the graduate level at Northwestern and Ohio State universities.

He enjoys speaking to community groups such as historical societies, service clubs, reform groups, writers' workshops and others.

Brandon Marie Miller   Email     Web Site

Subject: History topics and writing nonfiction, for school visitis and adult conferences/events. Popular programs include: Women of the Old West; A Brief Gallop Through American Women's History; Why Are They Wearing That?: Fashion and History; "Your Dutiful Child": Growing up in Colonial America; Writing Nonfiction: Behind the Scenes With an Award-Winning Writer; Tips for Youngest Writers: Active Words, Our Mind's Eye, The 5 Senses.

Background: Brandon earned a degree in American History from Purdue University. Her writing background includes magazine articles, educational writings, and award-winning books for young people. She has also presented at state and national conferences for organizations like the International Reading Association and the National Council for the Social Studies.

Patricia Monaghan   Email   Biography   Web Site

Earth Spirituality, Mythology
Patricia Monaghan is one of the pioneers of the earth spirituality movement. Her classic mythological dictionary, The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, has been in print continuously for more than 20 years. Her recent works include The Goddess Path, The Goddess Companion and Meditation: The Complete Basic Guide. She is currently finishing an anthology on Celtic spirituality and a book on ecofeminism in Ireland. She is a member of the interdisciplinary faculty at DePaul University.

She has lectured on goddesses and earth spirituality at universities, community groups, libraries and festivals for more than a dozen years. The author of a dozen books on spirituality and mythology, she is a member of the interdisciplinary faculty at DePaul University in Chicago.

Jane Anne Morris   Email   Biography   Web Site   Blog  608 251 2784

Democracy + Corporations + the Constitution + the History of Corporate Law + Corporate Personhood: Taking Stock
Corporate anthropologist Jane Anne Morris has spoken before groups as diverse as: the International Forum on Globalization, the American Association of University Women, Wisconsin Radfest, the National Lawyer's Guild, the Texas Acid Rain Symposium, the Midwest Radical Scholars and Activists Conference, the Nurses' Environmental Health Watch, the Greens National Party Convention, the Wolf River Earth First! Regional Rendezvous, Women of Science of Southeastern Wisconsin, the Alliance for Democracy's founding convention, the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, the Grey Panthers, Col?mbia Support Network, the Association of Humanist Sociology, the Ecological Resistance Movements Conference, the Bascom Hall Sweatshop Occupation Teach-In, the Local Democracy Convention, United Unitarians for a Just Economic Community, and many more. She has also conducted numerous "ReThinking the Corporation, ReThinking Democracy" weekend retreats around the country from Los Angeles to Ohio.

Some of the topics I've spoken on follow. Or, suggest a new angle to me. * Challenging Corporate Rule: Reclaiming Democratic Rights * Rejuvenating Our Downsized Democracy * "Baby NAFTA": 'Free Trade' at Home * Corporate Social Responsibility and Democracy * Is the Supreme Court Too Powerful?: Judicial Review and Democracy * Corporations, "Rights," and Our Theme Park Democracy * Corporate Shape-Shifters and the Manipulation of Constitutional Rights * Democracy Unlimited: A Radical Return to Wisconsin Tradition * States' Rights, Corporations, and Democracy * Local Democracy & Corporate "Rights" * Model Law Challenging Corporate Constitutional Rights * Corporate "Personhood" and Democracy * Regulatory Agencies and Democracy * Revoking Corporate Charters * Rewriting Our Constitution for Democracy * NIMBY Activism and Environmental Education * Legal Fictions.

Gunter Nitsch   Email   Biography   Web Site   914-552-2371

Life in Post WWII Germany; refugees; East Prussia
Gunter Nitsch, the author of Weeds Like Us and STRETCH: Coming of Age in Post-War Germany, was born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia, in December 1937. By the time he was reunited with his father at the age of 13, he had lived in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and in both the Soviet-Occupied Zone and the British-Occupied Zone in Germany. Although both of his books deal with the displacement of the people living in the eastern German provinces following WWII, it is his hope that his story will lead to a greater understanding of all of the refugee families worldwide who have faced and are now facing a similar plight.

Gunter Nitsch has given dozens of presentations in the United States and in Germany, including talks at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, The German Society of Pennsylvania, D.A.N.K. Haus, DePaul University, as well as at clubs and churches in New York and in Illinois. He is a regular contributor of articles to The New Yorker Staats-Zeitung.

Michael Raleigh   Email   Biography   Phone: 773-528-4909

Mystery writing; fiction writing; Myths and realities of the publishing world; Chicago history topics, including the Great Chicago Fire.
Michael Raleigh is the author of nine novels and has received four Illinois Arts Council awards for fiction. He is an emeritus professor of English and History of the City Colleges, currently teaching at DePaul.

Over the years Michael has given talks at dozens of community libraries in the greater Chicago area, as well as many Chicago Public Libraries. He has spoken at libraries in several southern Wisconsin communities, including the Twin Lakes and Salem libraries.

Michael also has, for many years, given seminars twice a year at the Newberry Library for its Adult Program series. One seminar is on the subject of mystery writing and another on the general problems of writing and selling a novel.

In particular Michael has given programs on all aspects of writing fiction, finding an agent, dealing with publishers and surviving the creative process in one piece. As a former instructor of Chicago History at Truman College, he has also given talks on little-known features of life in Chicago in the 1800s and on the Great Chicago Fire.

Michael Raleigh's books:
     In the Castle of the Flynns (Sourcebooks, 2002)
     The Blue Moon Circus (Sourcebooks, 2003)
               The Paul Whelan mystery series:
      Death in Uptown
(St. Martin's Press, 1991)
      A Body in Belmont Harbor (St. Martin's Press, 1993)
      The Maxwell Street Blues
(St. Martin's Press, 1994)
      A Killer on Argyle Street
(St. Martin's Press, 1995)
      The Riverview Murders
(St. Martin's Press, 1997)

James Reiss   Email   Biography   Web Site

Poetry Readings, Writing Workshops
Pulitzer-Prize nominee James Reiss's latest full-length book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems (Salt Publishing). His work has appeared in such places as The Atlantic, Esquire, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, and The Virginia Quarterly Review.

His first poetry collection, The Breathers (Ecco Press), was nominated for the National Book Award. His fourth book of poems, Ten Thousand Good Mornings (Carnegie Mellon University Press), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

He received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as awards from the Academy of American Poets, the College English Association of Ohio, the Ohioana Library Association, the Poetry Society of America, the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, and the Pushcart Press.

Reiss's poetry readings are in no way set "speeches," but, rather, ad-lib performances that tend to be dramatic, sprinkled with anecdotes. He cares a great deal about amusing his audience. His readings are informal and reach out to listeners.

His writing workshops are based upon his 43 years of teaching college courses in creative writing in California, New York City, and Ohio. His surname rhymes with “peace.” He is Emeritus Professor of English and Founding Editor of Miami University Press at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Cyndee Schaffer   Email  Web Site

The Journey to "Mollie's War," from Inspiration to Publication

Cyndee Schaffer discusses her mother’s WWII experience as a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) by taking you on a journey from inspiration to publication in her presentation about “Mollie’s War” and the first women in the military during World War II. "Mollie's War," co-authored by Cyndee and her mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, is a memoir that takes you on the romantic and always frightful journey of a WAC during the height of WWII who followed the troops into Europe. It is a story woven around the collection of letters (photos and memorabilia) that Mollie wrote home to her family during WWII along with historical commentary concurrent with the letters. Using excerpts from Mollie’s letters, Cyndee provides a glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in history. This book vividly depicts her experiences from her first train trip to Daytona Beach, Florida for basic training in October 1943 to the dramatic image of her seeing the Statue of Liberty as her ship approached the shores of the USA in November as she returned home.

Mollie passed away in April 2012 at 95 but Cyndee continues to share her fascinating story by speaking to groups including veterans groups, libraries, senior groups, senior living facilities, women’s groups, men’s clubs, civic groups and other organizations. She discusses the writing adventure from inspiration to publication. Presentation includes a PowerPoint slide show and a DVD of a recruiting movie produced by Warner Bros studio, “It’s Your War, Too” in which Mollie had two cameo appearances.

Jim Schwab   Email   Biography   Web Site
773-384-4754 (home)  312-786-6364 (office)
1755 N. Campbell Ave.; Chicago IL 60647

Environmental Topics; Urban Planning; Oral History and the Art of Interviewing; Adoption and Foster Care
Jim Schwab is the author of both Raising Less Corn and More Hell, an oral history of the 1980s farm credit crisis, and Deeper Shades of Green a portrait of the rising movement for environmental justice in blue-collar and minority communities. He has also written or been the prime author for three research monographs of the American Planning Association, where he works as senior research associate. These are: Industrial Performance Standards for a New Century; Planning and Zoning for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations; and Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, the last the result of a five-year collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He has spoken to numerous lay and professional audiences about planning issues, his own books, and other topics.

One of his favored topics is his involvement in church-based environmental activism. Jim is the co-founder of the Lutheran Environmental Network of the Synods, a consortium of synodical environmental committees within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and he has pioneered energy conservation work in that arena, as well as contributing to the environmental work of the National Council of Churches. Jim also writes magazine and journal articles on many of these topics. He and his wife have also been adoptive and foster parents, and he plans to begin writing and speaking on their experiences.

Sue William Silverman   Email   Biography   Web Site

Conducts creative nonfiction writing workshops; gives presentations on child abuse prevention, addictions, and family dynamics.
Sue William Silverman is the author of two memoirs. In addition to writing, Silverman is a professional speaker on such subjects as child abuse, addictions, and family dynamics and has appeared on numerous nationally syndicated radio and television talk shows including the ABC John Stossel special on addictions; the PBS show, "To the Contrary;" and the Discovery-Health channel.

Dr. William Sechrist at the State University of New York, Cortland, says: "Sue is not only a gifted writer, she's a captivating speaker. She has a gentle way of commanding attention. She also listens carefully to questions from the audience and responds with sensitivity and intelligence. She is serious about her subject matter yet she is also funny at times, and always positive. She succeeds in being 'uplifting' and 'inspiring' about a problem most people cannot conceive of in those terms. She is an extraordinary woman."

Dr. Sunny Andrews, Director of the School of Social Work, University of Nebraska, Omaha, says: "I was extremely impressed with Sue's candor, her friendliness, and knowledge. Her audience loved her and her presentation."

Silverman also conducts creative nonfiction writing workshops and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College. She lives in west Michigan.

Daniel P. Smith   Email   Biography   Blog

Chicago police, Chicago crime, journalism and non-fiction writing for youth, using nonfiction lit to help produce crime and mystery novels, 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Noted speaker Daniel P. Smith has brought his compelling programs to schools, libraries, universities, association and private groups. An award-winning journalist and Chicago native, Smith’s first book, On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department, guides readers into the closed-door society of the Chicago Police Department, while his author program shares never-before-told stories of the tolls the job exacts on the officers and the personal experiences that led him to pen On the Job. Other programs include nonfiction writing seminars and workshops for students (high school and college), the use of nonfiction lit in writing crime and mystery fiction, and a multi-media presentation on the 1968 Democratic National Convention. References available upon request.

Gerry and Janet Souter   Email   Web Site
847-398-3074  FAX: 847-398-3075

Paths to Publishing, Writing Community Histories

Paths to Publishing:  The many ways to get a book published based on our experience with over 20 books published since 1997.

Writing Community Histories:  How to reseach, produce and publish community history books. We have produced and written three including a multuple award-winner.

Background:  We are a book writing team with experience in adult non-fiction and juvenile non-fiction. Our books have gone into multiple printings and have won awards. We have also writtten plays, novels and short stories.

Tom Swift   Web Site  Bio  952-486-0809

All aspects of nonfiction writing, including history, essays, research, biography, and journalism

I give talks at writers groups, American Indian organizations, community education classrooms, library conferences, and book clubs. I also serve as a writing consultant to undergraduate and graduate writers.

I am especially passionate to meet and speak to people who want to make writing part of their lives, even if not their vocation. I teach classes and give lectures on everything from how to get started to how to construct a compelling story. Topics include memoir, essays, history, and biography.

I am often asked to talk about my award-winning biography of Charles Albert “Chief” Bender, a human-interest story about the greatest American Indian baseball player of all time.

John Wasik   Email   Biography   Web Site

-Samuel Insull and the history of utilities in Chicago (local business history)
-Investor protection and personal finance issues (retirement, college planning, investing)
John Wasik has written 10 books, five of them on investing and retirement. He has spoken all over the U.S. and has won 18 awards for his writing and investigative journalism.

Covering topics that include investing, retirement. college planning, taxes and real estate, he focuses on how to bring balance to everyday life. His philosophy is that a sound "personal ecology'' can make anyone's life sustainable through a diversified harmony between, work, leisure, family and community. His speeches illustrate how money can become a servant in this process and create a prosperous and happy life.

As a columnist for Bloomberg News, his work has appeared in newspapers on five continents and his expertise on personal finance is sought after on a regular basis in the broadcast media. He holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in Communications from the University of Illinois-Chicago and is a certified retirement counselor (InFRE). He's also a member of SABEW, SPJ and The Chicago Headline Club.

His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Post, The Washington Post, Reader's Digest, Parade, Barron's, Popular Science, Health, New York Newsday, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Pittsburgh Press, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, The Seattle Times, The Orange County Register and dozens of other papers.

Michele Weldon     Biography  

Writing Workshops, Scribotherapy, Journalism, Women's Issues
Michele Weldon is an associate professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, author of two award-winning books and journalist for more than 25 years writing for newspapers and magazines. Her first book, "I Closed My Eyes" (Hazelden, 1999) is a creative nonfiction memoir avaiablable in seven languages. "Writing to Save Your Life: How To Honor Your Story Through Journaling" (Hazelden, 2001) is an instructive and entertaining book about the process of writing as healing. Weldon offers Writing to Save Your Life Workshops around the country and offers keynotes around the country on issues of journalism and advocacy for women and nonviolence.

A succesful keynote for nonprofit organizations and businesses for the past 10 years, Weldon has spoken before more than 150 major organizations from the March of Dimes and Northern Trust Bank to the Journalism and Women Symposium and the Northwestern University Women in Leadership Conference. With a bachelors and masters degree from Northwestern's Medill, Weldon has written for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald, New York Times and scores more for decades. She has written for national and local magazines including Parenting, Writers Digest, Woman's Day, Dial, West Suburban Living, Chicago, Bride's, Seventeen, Personal Journaling and many others. She is a former editor at ADWEEK, North Shore Magazine and Fairchild Publications and was a columnist at the Dallas Times Herald.

Sel Erder Yackley   Email   Web Site

Bipolar illness, suicide, the death penalty, life in a small Illinois town, Turkey (history, culture, politics, tourism, etc.)
Sel Erder Yackley is an award-winning journalist who was born and reared in Turkey. After receiving her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, she worked for United Press International, where she met Frank, and for the Chicago Tribune. Sel lived in LaSalle country for 27 years and served on the boards of Illinois Valley Community College as well as the Ottawa Elementary School Board. During the 1970s, while raising three children, Sel became active in local politics as well as civic and charitable organizations in central Illinois. Ten years after her husband’s suicide, she returned to Chicago to work in the travel business and became involved in mental health issues. On the boards of international groups, Sel continues to write, organize tours to Turkey, and lecture at support groups.

Say it with Sel /See it with Sel
Author of Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse
Also see: and

Bill Yarrow   Biography   Email   Web Site

Poetry Readings, Writing Workshops
Bill Yarrow is the author of three full-length books of poetry (The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, and Pointed Sentences) and four chapbooks (The Lice of Christ, Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku, Fourteen, and Wrench). He has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize award and six times for a Best of the Net award. He is an editor at the online magazine Blue Fifth Review, and he is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College.

Bill has been a popular featured reader at poetry venues in Chicago, Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park, Brooklyn, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle, Milwaukee, Detroit, Ann Arbor, La Porte, Calumet, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. He offers workshops in all areas of writing poetry. Recently, he has conducted workshops for RHINO Forums, Poets & Patrons, and the Northwest Cultural Council’s Second Saturday Poetry Workshop. Some of his recent workshops have included “Invented Form in Poetry,” “How to Be Blasphemous,” What We Can Learn about Writing from Shakespeare,” and “The Meaning and Function of Description.”

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