Members’ New Books

Steven Burgauer
Flights for Freedom

Battleground Press, August 30, 2021
ISBN 979-8467746388 / 978-1087983103
$12.95 paperback / $1.99 Kindle
330 pages

The dangers of flying an open-cockpit WWI aeroplane were many.  Flights for Freedom is the exciting story of one brave American flyer — “Petrol” Petronas of the 17th Aero Squadron — as he learns to master the undisciplined two-winged fighter called a Sopwith Camel. Shot down over France during the course of a bruising air battle, Petrol is then shuttled from safehouse to safehouse by a beautiful yet defiant woman of the Dutch Resistance.

 In the background is the poppy-covered landscape known to us as Flanders Fields, a battlefield choked with dead and dying soldiers.  Children, orphaned by the war, find safety with a kindly Catholic priest, who raises carrier pigeons vital to the war effort on the rooftop of his Abbey.  Every day, his birds carry secret messages to and from the frontlines for Signal Corps.

 Life-threatening challenges lay at every turn. Two thousand volts pulsate through the electrified border fence that separates Holland from Belgium, enough to kill a man.  The trick in crossing the border alive is in knowing who to bribe and how much to pay.  Otherwise, there is no way for a downed American flyer to get safely across the heavily patrolled border into Holland and back to England.  Will Petrol make it back to England alive?  Will he make it back carrying the top-secret plans for an advanced gunsight that has been smuggled at great risk out of Holland hidden inside an embroidered cotton flour sack?

Karla Clark
Illustrated by Steph Lew
You Be Daddy

Macmillan (Feiwel & Friends imprint) April 27, 2021
ISBN 978-1250225399
32 pages

A tired daddy lets his son have a turn being the parent at bedtime in Karla Clark’s You Be Daddy, a humorously charming companion picture book to You Be Mommy, featuring illustrations by Steph Lew.

Daddy’s too tired to be Daddy tonight.
Can you be Daddy and hug me tight?

In this clever, rhyming picture book, a father tells his child that he’s simply too tired to be Daddy tonight and asks his son to take over for him. An utterly relatable theme told with humor and heart provides a story parents and children will delight in reading together at bedtime.

Dan Burns
A Necessary Explosion: Collected Poems

Chicago Arts Press, June 25, 2021
ISBN 978-1-7332794-3-7 (Hardcover), 978-1-7332794-4-4 (Trade Paperback), 978-1-7332794-5-1 (E-book)
$22.95 (Hardcover), $16.95 (Trade Paperback), $5.99 (E-book)
178 pages

A Necessary Explosion is an act Dan Burns performs daily to expel the stories pressing on his mind. Only by getting words down onto the page can he make room for all that comes next. Exploring the themes of life, love, family, writing, music, travel, history, and humanity’s future, this collection artfully conveys the words of a craftsman in relatable, accessible poems.

In “Afterimage,” a man struggles with his diminishing memory but takes comfort in knowing that he can always recall the image of the only woman he ever loved.

“Worlds Traveler” stands as a dedication to, and remembrance of, Ray Bradbury and his influence on the author.

“A Necessary Explosion” explores the cranial pressure that builds as a result of life’s experiences and the need for humans to release that pressure to survive.

Each of the seventy-five poems in this collection offers a glimpse into the mind of a hopeful poet and storyteller. They will make you consider your place in the world and leave you contemplating the magic of poetry.

Dominic Martell
Kill Chain

Dunn, October 6, 2020
ISBN 978-1-9519-3804-8
358 pages

This is the fourth book in a suspense series which debuted in the 1990s; Dunn books is reviving the series after a hiatus of twenty years.
Repentant ex-terrorist Pascual Rose has been lying low under an assumed name for twenty years, successfully living off the grid in a little Catalan town. His past catches up with him in the form of two midnight visitors who want him to front a multi-billion dollar money-laundering operation involving cryptocurrency. His dual identity and multiple languages make him the ideal man for the job. The visitors make Pascual an offer he can’t refuse, with implied threats to his wife and son; Pascual agrees but starts looking for a way out. The operation will take him on a trajectory from the Caribbean to both shores of the Mediterranean and expose him to danger from unexpected directions before a final showdown in the south of Spain.

Yvonne Zipter
Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound

Terrapin Books, 2020
ISBN 978-1-947896-29-1
92 pages

Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound places poems about the natural world in dialogue with poems about human nature. The interweaving of poems on these themes is meant to illustrate the ways in which humans and nature are interdependent, a truth that has been brought into sharp relief by climate change. Every poem, though—whether focusing on the harshest of realities or documenting the sweetest of moments—demonstrates the beauty and grace there is to be found everywhere around us.

Jonathan Eller
Bradbury Beyond Apollo
The University of Illinois Press, August 2020
ISBN Hardcover: 978-0-252-04341-3; E-book: 978-0-252-05229-3
$34.95;  336 pages

This book completes the biography trilogy begun in Becoming Ray Bradbury and continued in Ray Bradbury Unbound. Bradbury Beyond Apollo begins in the early 1970s, as Bradbury found himself fully established as a witness and celebrant of the Space Age. His storytelling powers were turning to stage, screen, and television adaptations of his classic midcentury titles, including The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Although he was no longer producing a high volume of masterful tales, Bradbury Beyond Apollo chronicles how the last four decades of his life produced the playful fantasies of The Halloween Tree, his award-winning television series The Ray Bradbury Theater, a collaboration with Disney Imagineers on EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth, and significant essays on the common ground between science and religion represented by humanity’s Space Age achievements. The book also documents how Bradbury’s influential lectures, interviews, and essays explored the history of ideas, the nature of creativity, and his own evolving work ethic of optimal behaviorism. Mid-book chapters analyze Bradbury’s significant late-life achievements in fictionalized autobiography and his completion of books that originated decades earlier, including Somewhere a Band Is Playing, perhaps his most significant late-life reflection on time and memory. The book’s overarching contention is that Bradbury’s wide range of ventures were largely sustained by his ever-increasing prominence as a Space Age visionary.

David Anthony Witter
Oldest Chicago, Second Edition
Reedy Press June 1, 2020
ISBN 978-1-68106-256-3
185 pages

Part of Chicago’s success owes to its ability to reconstruct itself. A sophisticated street grid replaced Indian trails. After cabins and shacks came brick mansions and the first skyscrapers. Steel mills belching fire and stockyards with their rivers of blood have given way to the clean efficiency of financial markets and corporate headquarters. But the endless rebirth has left its toll. Grand movie palaces, mom and pop stores, taverns, and ethnic family restaurants have been replaced by multiplexes, and food chains whose recipes are produced by a team of scientists in a test kitchen. Hand painted and neon signs have been replaced by glowing plastic hamburgers and tacos.

But the past has not all vanished. Oldest Chicago celebrates the survivors from famous civic monuments to neighborhood bakeries. Included are some of the businesses and buildings from the city’s inception that are examples of Chicago’s living history like The First United Methodist Church (1831); The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House (1833) and Old St. Pats Church, 1856. Many others are still run by the same family members whose dedication has made them not only enduring businesses but living landmarks. These include: Iwan Ries Tobacco (1857); The Jaeger Funeral Home (1858); Anderson’s Books (1875); Central Camera (1899); Margie’s Candies (1921); Wendella Boat Tours (1935); Hagen’s Fish Market (1946); and many others who tell the story of Chicago through the words of the men and women who run them.

Barbara Gregorich
Cookie the Cockatoo: Everything Changes
Paperback: 112 pages, $8.00
Independently Published
Softcover ISBN 979-8633708561 ($8.00)
Ebook ASIN B086Y7DS8M ($2.99)
Purchase this book online.

Today the Brookfield Zoo is home to approximately 2,300 animals. But on July 1, 1934, when the zoo first opened, it was home to only a few. Among those few was a year-old Major Mitchell’s cockatoo from Australia. The zookeepers named her Cookie. But, as the keepers discovered a year or two later, Cookie was not a female bird — so Cookie changed from a female name to a male name. And that was just the beginning.

Nobody could have predicted it way back in 1934, but Cookie would see many, many more changes. He would live in the zoo for more than eighty years, becoming the longest-lived cockatoo on record. During those decades, the world saw changes in music, science, transportation, discovery, and attitudes. Cookie the Cockatoo: Everything Changes imagines what it would be like for a small (but loud) bird to witness these profound changes.

Told in free verse vignettes, and aimed at middle-graders, ages 10+ — but enjoyed by adults as well, because adults have lived through all the changes Cookie lived through.

Dan Burns
Grace: Stories and a Novella
Hardcover $26.95; trade paperback $18.95, e-book $5.99, audiobook $19.95
Chicago Arts Press
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-5-0 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-6-7 (Trade Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9911694-7-4 (E-book)

“We’re all flawed and confronted daily with sometimes slight but often apparently insurmountable challenges. But if we dig deep, what we unearth from the depths of our souls, if we’re lucky, can allow us to overcome and carry on to live another day with an untortured heart.”

This is the sentiment Dan Burns explores in his exciting new collection. Five stories and a novella highlight Burns’s range as a storyteller and his ability to see life and all its emotions through a unique lens. This collection features his most personal and insightful stories to date.

The collection includes notes about the thoughts, ideas, and inspiration behind the stories, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes perspective of the author’s writing process, along with twenty-six illustrations by artist Kelly Maryanski.

How to submit books to this page

Books are featured on this page as a service to members of the Society of Midland Authors. Members may submit books published within the last six months by emailing the following to Robert Loerzel:


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