Friday, February 17, 2012

East Central Illinois Author Book Fair & Writers Seminars - March 10

Calling all local authors, publishers and writers!

Join the News-Gazette for the first ever East Central Illinois Author Book Fair & Writers Seminars hosted by local author Dannel McCollum on Saturday, March 10 at Lincoln Square Village, Urbana.

An author booth is a perfect way to sell books to the public and get the word out about your book! Author booths will be open from 10am to 5pm. Tables and chairs will be available that day for author booths. Box lunches from Piato are available for purchase at the time of booth purchase.

Writers Seminars - $10/seminar (reservations and payment required to attend)

11:00 to Noon
“Learning and Writing about where you live”
Writing local history
Dannel McCollum

Dannel McCollum has been an army officer, research assistant with the Illinois Natural History Survey, high school teacher, conservationist, activist, local historian, writer and politician, and served three terms as mayor of Champaign (1987-1999). He has written for numerous area newspapers, historical journals and educational magazines. His books include “The Lord Was not on Trial,” “Your Life and Mine,” “Problems and Projects in Conservation, Guide to the Big Vermilion River System” with James O. Smith; “on the Historical Geography of Champaign County” and “Remembering Champaign County” published by History Press.

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
“Developing Winning Characters”
Character Development in Fiction Writing
Maureen Holtz & John Palen

Maureen Holtz has published two books, "Robert Allerton, the Private Man and the Public Gifts," which she co-authored with Martha Burgin; and "Allerton’s Paradises," a joint project with her husband, photographer Michael Holtz. Since moving to Monticello in 1991, she and Michael have spent many happy hours exploring Allerton Park. Since retiring from the computer industry in 2004, she has focused on her first love – writing. She is an avid traveler, who loves words, reading and history.

John Palen has published seven books of poetry, most recently “Harry Truman All the Way,” from Pudding House, and “Drizzle and Plum Blossoms: Four Poets of the Song Dynasty,” in collaboration with Li C. Tien, from March Street Press. Mayapple Press brought out his “Open Communion: New and Selected Poems in 2005.” Palen retired from the Journalism Department at Central Michigan University in 2009. This is his first collection of short fiction.

2 to 3 p.m.
“From Memories to Creative Writing”
Tips for Writing a Memoir
Robert Switzer & Casey Diana

Robert Switzer is a Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois who works as a creative writer in retirement. He is the author of the non-fiction memoir, “A Family Farm: Life on an Illinois Dairy Farm,” which was published in 2012 by the Center for American Places at Columbia College, Chicago, is distributed by the University of Chicago Press and is available from Amazon. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories.

In her Irish memoir titled “Shoes,” Mary Casey Diana writes about growing up in impoverished Limerick, Ireland, the 1950's and the impoverished Bronx, New York, during the 1960's . She is recently retired from teaching English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She had authored academic articles, edited a collection of women’s stories and is presently traveling and working on completing her memoir.

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
“I wrote a book – now what?”
Publishing options: traditional, self-publishing, e-publishing and more.
Sarah Wisseman and Molly McCrae

Archaeologist Sarah Wisseman writes the Lisa Donahue mysteries based upon her experiences working on excavations and in museums. Two of her books – “Bound for Eternity” and “Fall of Augustus” – are set in a fictional Boston museum and two are set in the Middle East – “Dead Sea Codex” and “House of the Sphinx”. The fifth novel, “Bootlegger’s Nephew” (not yet published) is a historical mystery set in Prohibition-era Illinois (

Molly MacRae’s most recent mystery, “Lawn Order,” was hailed by The Boston Globe as “murder with a dose of drollery.” Watch for “Last Wool and Testament,” the first in her series coming in September from Penguin/NAL. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. She lives with her family in Champaign where she can be found working in the children’s department of the Champaign Public Library.


Please contact Amanda Baker at, or 217.51.5462 for any questions or to sign up.

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