Mike Proko and Associates

MICHAEL L. PROKO                   look for Michael's columns on Reddit.com
WRITER,   AUTHOR,   ESSAYIST                                                                           
click here for Mike Proko's YouTube videos

click on book title for more description

Some Things
My Grandparents
Taught Me


Pendleton The Penguin
and His Magical Friends


Pendleton The Penguin
and His Magical Friends:
The Story Continues


Pendleton the Penguin and His Magical Friends - Pendleton Learns to Swim


Pendleton the Penguin and His Magical Friends -Pendleton Swims With His Friends


Pendleton the Penguin and His Magical Friends -Pendleton's Vacation Adventure


Rising From The Ashes:
A Spiritual Odyssey


Rising From The Ashes:

A Golfer's Tale About Starting Over


Life In America


A Box of Shorts


"You'll learn a lot more by watching people
and listening to them, Mikey. Keep your mouth shut
and your eyes & ears open. Listen to their stories. Listen to
the way they paint their picture. Listen to the way they use
 language. And remember the emotion in their words.
Gram & Gramps

I guess I became a writer in the usual way like so many others, by reading and listening to stories particularly those of my grandparents. Depending on who told the story would set the mood; the Russian side of the family usually told mostly sad stories; the Irish stories were somewhat melancholy with some touches of humor and the Czech stories that were usually light hearted. But like a good homemade stew, all went into the same pot and added their own flavor. Through their tutelage, my observational skills and tonal dialects were honed at a very early age.
Born and raised just outside Chicago,  I got to grow up in an atmosphere that would make any seasoned writer jealous. What a list of characters! Priests. Politicians. Mobsters. Union leaders. Actors. Poets. Drunks. The high-lifes. The low-lifes.  Strangers who would give you the shirt off their backs. Relatives that would take your last 5 cents. I would find out at a very young age that some of the people that you were supposed to look up to were the ones that you should look out for and that more often than not some of the bad guys were the good guys.
It wasn't by accident that my first book,'Some Things My Grandparents Taught Me' [1994] was an homage to my instructors. All that I had learned about life and story-telling I had learned at their knees.

Next up was a screenplay for the story, 'Golf In The Kingdom'.  Six months after completing the three year project, life threw Mike a hard curveball.  One massive stroke.  Then another.  Writing, or the thought of writing, would have to take a backseat for a while until an off-handed remark by one of his doctors would set up his next work.

'Rising From The Ashes: A Spiritual Odyssey' is based on his journey through the stroke rehab process, taken from journal notes he wrote to himself while in the hospital. He broke new ground with that first book [2004] because it contained a 45 page exercise section.

But the strokes and the subsequent paralysis would have an adverse effect on his otherwise stellar golf game. The second in the Rising From The Ashes series: 'A Golfer's Tale About Starting Over' is based on his golf experiences, friendships and teachings while rebuilding a golfswing  damaged by the strokes. Could he climb as high as he had  in the past? Actually, he would climb higher for what he was able to find inside of himself. Not just a book about golf & strokes, this is a book about life no matter your circumstances.

Then, Mike began a series of short stories which would become 'A Box of Shorts'. Each of the stories reads like a movie. A few of the stories were dark and somber [must have been the Russian side] that fellow writer & friend H.J. Weinand wondered if Mike should turn his pen towards a lighter fare for his next book.  That suggestion would give birth to  'Pendleton The Penguin and His Magical Friends', an ongoing series of children's books that focus on the values of being assertive while being polite, being respectful and seeing the magic in all that is around us on a daily basis. Time and time again, Pendleton also shows us that our dreams can only be limited by the breadth of our imagination. The books are now being translated into different languages helping kids all around the world learn to read. Hopefully, one day these children will be able to tell stories of their own.

Weaving his way through all of these stories and books, Mike has also penned over 120 columns aimed at the people who made this country great, our forgotten middle class. 'Life in America' [vol. 1&2] addresses the problems and challenges we all face on a daily basis using humor and plain old common sense to put it all into perspective.

Rising From The Ashes
A Perspective: Looking Back 15 Years Later

The Adventures
of Tommy Farrell
[Young Adult Fiction]



The Mountain

[Young Adult Fiction]

Click below to listen to Mike Proko's podcasts
from The Incredible Breakthrough Show on WQ4D Radio



Pacific Book Review

MARCH 28 - The cleverly titled A Box of Shorts is a collection of seven short stories by author Mike Proko that introduce readers to an unlikely mix of characters in a series of detailed vignettes.  From a young boy who discovers the first stirrings of passion for the opposite sex, to a golfer with long lost dreams, to a fictional President of the United States, A Box of Shorts explores a variety of personalities, subject matter, and styles. 

click here for full press release

Pacific Book Review

In each of his columns, Proko meticulously dissects issues both about the USA and human life.  He brings to light issues that we face daily and speaks about them encouragingly.  He addresses topics such as human relationships, family, imagination, money, politics, God, children, striving to act like children as adults, making a difference in people’s lives, showing kindness, and forgiveness.  He shares experiences such as pool-hopping as an adolescent that gives the reader a sense of authenticity and a glimpse into the type of person Proko is, and the life-lessons he learned. 

click here for full review


Rising From The Ashes: A Spiritual Odyssey

This book provides valuable insight into how a stroke effects someone; physically, mentality, emotionally and spiritually.  While the book shares what may happen to the body, such as signs that one is having a stroke, it goes much deeper than that.  Michael experiences a stroke while asleep, yet the purpose of writing this book is to encourage and empower the person who has experienced having a stroke, to not give up but rather to press on to full recovery.

The author shares three great things that the reader certainly needs to capture while reading this book.  They are:  
"1) My faith in God,
 2) My love for my wife and daughter, 
 3) The sense of wonder and the heart of a child."

Michael's rebuilding process involved many things, but one was a journal of which he kept his daily thoughts, activities and results in.  Heset a date that he wanted to get out on the golf course again and began to work toward that date.  Even if the doctor's, nurses, etc... thought he was silly for sitting such a quick date, he wouldn't be side-tracked, rather he stayed focused on what he desired to achieve.  He refused to get depressed and allow doubt to cloud his mind.  Even when the doctors told him, he might get depressed and that was normal, he refused to believe it and chose to ride above the clouds of negativity.  He used laughter, jokes, humor in a very unique way to keep himself and others around him far from being depressed.

There is a heart warming story of how Michael was asked to participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics as a support runner for the torch relay.  While I don't want to give away any of the story for the reader, just know that it is well worth reading the book for this one story included. There is also an exercise section within the book that will help anyone who has encountered a stoke.

This is definitely a 5 of 5 star book.
- Cathy, Palmetto Review

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