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Programs are held on the second Tuesday of the months of October to November and January to April.
All programs are open to the public and reservations are not necessary.

Society of Midland Authors Monthly Meeting
Free and open to all

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Reception at 6 p.m.; presentation at 6:50 p.m.
Cliff Dwellers, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor penthouse

(with a great view of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park from the terrace!)

printable flyer


Author talks about writing, the law, self-publishing

Stephen Terrell, the author of two tense legal thrillers, will talk about his experiences with self-publishing and literary agents. He will also discuss how a legal career led him to writing novels and short stories. He is an accomplished attorney and noted public speaker.


Terrell has deep Midwestern roots. He lives in Muncie and works in Indianapolis.

For more information, contact Greg Borzo: (312) 636-8968;

March Monthly Meeting
Free and open to the public
   When:          Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Reception at 6 p.m.; presentation at 6:45 p.m.
Where:        Cliff Dwellers, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor penthouse (with a great view!)

Three local authors—a mystery writer, a writer of literary fiction, and a young adult novelist—who launched second careers as novelists discuss how they made the leap and landed on their feet in the tangled world of traditional publishing. Each began from a different starting point and followed a different path to publication. In this lively presentation they will share stories of success, struggle and surprise.


- Patricia Skalka, a former Reader’s Digest writer, freelancer and ghost writer, wrote the Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries, including Death in Cold Water.

- Lynn Sloan was a fine arts photographer, short story writer and professor at Columbia College before she wrote her debut novel, Principles of Navigation.

- Joyce Burns Zeiss, a former junior high English teacher and adjunct professor at Trinity International University, used her experiences volunteering with refugees as the basis for her novel, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth.

For more information, contact Greg Borzo: (312) 636-8968;


November Monthly Program

R.J. Nelson will speak about his new book, “Dirty Waters: Confessions of Chicago’s Last Harbor Boss,” in a Society of Midland Authors program on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago. Nelson will speak at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

To be published Nov. 8 by the University of Chicago Press, “Dirty Waters” is a wry, no-holds-barred memoir of Nelson’s time controlling some of the city’s most beautiful spots while facing some of its ugliest traditions. In 1987, the city of Chicago hired Nelson, a former radical college chaplain, to clean up rampant corruption on the waterfront. Director of Harbors and Marine Services was a position so mired in corruption that its previous four directors ended up in federal prison. Nelson inherited angry constituents, prying journalists, shell-shocked employees, and a tobacco-stained office still bearing a busted door that had been smashed in by the FBI.

In the book, Nelson — a resident of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood — reveals the different moralities underlining three mayoral administrations, from Harold Washington to Richard M. Daley, and navigates us through the gritty mechanisms of the Chicago machine. He also deciphers the sometimes insular world of boaters and their fraught relationship with their land-based neighbors. An excerpt from the book is in the November issue of "Chicago" magazine

Monday, September 12, 2016, at 6 p.m.
Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago.
Free. Open to the public. No advance reservation required.

Celebrate the History of Route 66 on its 90th Anniversary
 with authors Susan Croce Kelly and David Clark

Two experts will discuss how Route 66 developed; spurred automotive travel; became the star of its own TV show; transported everything from military convoys to family vacationers; and can still be traveled today—right through Chicago.
Susan Croce Kelly wrote Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery and Route 66: The Highway and Its People. How did Route 66 become an American icon? The times, the need and the location all played a role. But Kelly will tell how Oklahoman Cy Avery turned a series of disconnected dirt tracks into a great sweeping highway, gave it a number, and with a 3,400-mile footrace in 1928 focused worldwide attention on it.

David Clark wrote Route 66 in Chicago and Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland. In addition, he conducts lively tours about the history of Route 66, its impact on Chicago and the many remnants that can still be enjoyed. Clark will discuss the current state of Route 66 and present scores of colorful maps and images that will allow you to travel the country’s most famous highway through time—and along the streets of Chicago.



The "Lost Literature" of Nelson Algren:

Algren's poetry, book reviews, essays and short stories that were once published but then forgotten.


What:           Society of Midland Authors monthly meeting

When:          Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Reception 6 pm; presentation 7 pm

Where:        Cliff Dwellers, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor penthouse


Free and open to the public (cash bar, free hors-d'oeuvres)


Dick Bales will speak about his forthcoming book


Nelson Algren: The Forgotten Literature




Dick is a real estate lawyer by profession and a writer by avocation. In his book The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow he used his legal and land-survey skills to solve the mystery of the cause of the Great Chicago Fire. He and his findings became the subject of a Discovery Channel "Unsolved History" episode.

Algren is best known as a novelist. His The Man with the Golden Arm was awarded the first National Book Award for Fiction, and he was voted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. But Algren was much more than a novelist. Throughout his life he wrote poetry, and in his later years he made a living by writing short stories, essays and book reviews. Come hear about how some of Algren's best writing is being rediscovered.


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For more information, contact Greg Borzo: (312) 636-8968;



What: Society of Midland Authors monthly meeting

When: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 (Reception 6-7 pm; presentation 7-8 pm)

Where: Cliff Dwellers, 200 N. Michigan, 22nd floor penthouse


Free, open to the public. Cash bar, free hors-d'oeuvres; no reservation required.



Winning Elections in the 21st Century


A panel discussion with authors Dick Simpson and Betty O’Shaughnessy, joined by political consultant Don Rose




Winning Elections in the 21st Century is a handbook for anyone who wants to know how campaigns are run and won today. Written by longtime political veterans (both former elected officials), the book is steeped in old-fashioned political know-how and savvy about the latest campaign techniques, methods, and strategies using social media, vote analytics, small donor online fundraising and increasingly sophisticated microtargeting. Using examples from across the U.S., the authors discuss the nuts and bolts of state and local races, as well as best practices in national elections. Winning Elections helps candidates, students and citizens consider all the opportunities and challenges these tools provide—never losing sight of the role that personal contact plays in getting voters to the polls.


Winning Elections will be published in April 2016, but you can preorder copies at this event.


Dick Simpson is professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-editor with Dennis Judd of The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York.

Betty O’Shaughnessy is a visiting lecturer in political science, University of Illinois at Chicago, and coauthor of The Struggle for Power and Influence in Cities and States. She’s a former trustee for West Deerfield Township in Lake County and teaches political science at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.


Don Rose is an independent political consultant heading Don Rose Communications and The Urban Political Group. He writes a weekly online column for the Chicago Daily Observer that has won several awards.

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For more information, contact Greg Borzo: (312) 636-8968;