"I write to discover what I know."
- Flannery O'Connor
Writing is my passion, from working on my books to teaching the craft to others. I love guiding people in workshops and one-on-one tutoring. It's exciting to assist others as they discover new things about themselves through writing, opening creative vistas to their future potential. That's what it's all about.
As a nonfiction writer I love exploring the forgotten stories of American history. I am the author of the books Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund (St. Martin's Press & Picador) and Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing (University of Michigan Press), and three books on Chicago film and Civil War history (Lake Claremont Press). My books have been acclaimed by Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times.
I belong to The Author's Guild, PEN, The International Federation of Journalists, and The Society of Midland Authors. Chicago is my hometown. I am an avid runner, amateur ukulele player, can recite all the dialog from The Godfather and Duck Soup by heart, and am a lifelong fan of the Chicago White Sox which means I don't have to read The Book of Job.
I was awarded a grant from the Puffin Foundation, won a slot in the prestigious Warner Brothers Comedy Writing Workshop, and was named one of the top 50 movers and shakers in the Chicago book world by New City's annual "Lit 50." I've been honored by both the Illinois State Library and the State Library of Michigan. I hope someday to receive similar recognition by the State Library of Hawaii.
I have been interviewed throughout the United States, Ireland, England, Israel, Australia, Poland, and Russia by newspapers, radio stations, television news, blogs, and podcasts. I've also appeared on MSNBC, C-SPAN Book TV, PBS "American Experience", National Geographic Channel, and American Heroes Channel. I regularly speak about my work to audiences at bookstores, libraries, book clubs, conferences, and college classes and symposiums, both live and via Zoom.
I fervently believe in the philosophy of the great Jewish sage, Groucho Marx: "I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book."
Yes, I write on typewriters.
I'm old school and love creating my first drafts on manual typewriters. Here are my go-to machines.
Olympia SM-9, circa mid 1960s. A solid typewriter that's built like a tank, perfect for home or office. The keyboard in my banner is from this typewriter.
Smith-Corona Skyriter, circa mid 1950s. A lightweight but sturdy portable typewriter used by reporters, war correspondents, and business travelers. I use it for writing outdoors, in coffeehouses, and travel.
Royal Quiet De Luxe, circa early 1950s. A real workhorse that takes a beating during any writing session. The typewriter of choice for Ernest Hemingway. If it's enough for Papa, then it's good enough for me.