Testimonials

Here are testimonials on Silvia’s teaching, mystery novels, and freelance writing….

Teaching

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I have known Silvia for approximately thirty years in various capacities—as an undergraduate student taking classes with me in Saint Xavier University’s Program in Mass Communications, as a successful journalist, as a novelist, as a colleague in my University’s Department of Communication and, presently, as a high school instructor. In every instance, she has proven to be exceptional. She was truly an outstanding student at Saint Xavier—hard-working, enthusiastic, professional in approach and highly creative. Her class work and projects still rank within the top one to two percent of the best of my students and I remember fondly her energetic extracurricular work with our University newspaper, The Xavierite, and her on-air time as News Director for our campus radio station.

Speaking from first-hand knowledge and observation of Silvia’s teaching at Saint Xavier, I can say without hesitation that she proved to be an excellent teacher. A natural in the classroom, she is knowledgeable, articulate, sensitive to the needs of her students and, as always, diligent and creative. I really believe we were fortunate to have had her with us and I remember that students I spoke with at the time echoed that sentiment wholeheartedly. I might also add, that her work as a writer during that period flourished.

In essence, Silvia Foti is a treasure—an excellent teacher, an excellent writer and a kind and caring person. She brings to the classroom a strong base of knowledge combined with a lifetime of valuable experiences and she has the great facility to communicate that knowledge and those experiences to her students.

Joel Sternberg
Professor Emeritus
Department of Communication
Saint Xavier University/Chicago

Course assessments from students in her Composition sections regularly cited the “very helpful” aspects of the course. It was evident to me in reviewing her syllabi and visiting her classes that she was successful at the formidable task of instilling in students not only an understanding of “writing as process” but also a genuine appreciation of that axiom.

Within the past years, Ms. Foti has established a solid reputation as a novelist. Her mystery novels Skullduggery and The Diva’s Fool earned positive reviews for their intelligence, polish and local flavor. It’s certainly reasonable to expect continued artistic success for her; her students can only benefit. I invited Ms. Foti and another local writer to conduct a workshop for creative writing students at Daley College one afternoon, and their impact on the students was notable. She works exceptionally well with a class, with an audience, and she never fails to discover ways to “give and take.”

Jim Kozicky
Former English Department Chair
Daley College

In the classroom, Silvia is a highly skilled professional. She is as adept at using such traditional techniques as the Socratic method as she is in utilizing more modern teaching strategies as Harkness tables. Earlier, she even had her students come dressed as figures from Greek mythology to present their research in character.
You are exceedingly unlikely to find a teacher as gifted as Silvia who is also as genuinely sincere in her faith. In fact, the first selection she made for her AP students was to have them read Dante’s Inferno, with which she is conversant in multiple translations.

I have read a draft of Silvia’s manuscript on her grandfather, Jonas Noreika, and this is what I have to say about General Storm: Stalin to the left of him, Hitler to the right and the fate of his people in his hands. It’s like watching a movie you wish wasn’t true and hoping that the human spirit is greater than the horrific forces trying to crush it.

Neal Rutstein
English Teacher
Proviso Math and Science Academy
Editor of the Daily Beefing, a retired website with 10,000 subscribers

As the librarian at PMSA, I have collaborated with Silvia on several projects and witnessed her teaching since 2010. Silvia is an avid reader and active writer, allowing her to impart to her students an authentic understanding about the recursive practice of writing and the relevancy of literature to life, keeping them engaged and excited.

As a published author herself, with an MFA degree, she has a higher understanding of the writing process, which she is able to translate into teaching strategies. I was honored to read a draft of Silvia’s latest book and found it be a fascinating and well-researched work of creative nonfiction. Her ability to dauntlessly pursue a project of that magnitude speaks volumes about her dedication, time-management, and creative experience. She is a fine example for her students, setting higher standards both for herself and for them.

Shoshana Fiala
Librarian
Proviso Math and Science Academy

It has been my pleasure to work with Silvia Foti at the Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy during the 2007-2011 school years when I was assistant principal and principal.

As a professional, Silvia is outstanding in and out of the classroom. Her positive interactions with students and her instructional expertise are evident in all areas of her teaching as an English instructor. She continually maintains high expectations for her students, and believes all learners should have an opportunity to succeed. Part of her pedagogy is to develop strategies and activities that challenge the diverse population of learners at the Proviso Math & Science Academy. As part of her instructional expertise, Silvia is the sponsor of The Voice newspaper at PMSA, has been the sponsor and creator of the Spoken Word event called “Words as Weapons,” and she launched the school’s literary urban magazine called PLUM to support and foster student success.

From a personal perspective, Silvia is always available to assist colleagues when needed through community service. She shares ideas and maintains a positive perspective that excellence in teaching is strengthened when teachers work together to support each other. Having recently completed her MFA Creative Nonfiction Writing Program at Murray State University, she is highly qualified to teach literature and composition.

Clotilde Frankiewicz, Ph.D.
Former Principal
Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy

I have known Silvia go be utterly dependable, resourceful, and creative in everything that she does. She is proud of her faith, and this faith is evident in all that she does.

Rev. Stanley G. Rataj
Pastor of Our Lady of the Snows

 

The Diva’s Fool 

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With a whiff of orange spices, the flipping of some Tarot cards, and a sip of herbal tea, reporter Alexandria Vilkas is off and running again, investigating a murder mystery that makes for one hell of a wild night at the opera. Silvia Foti has created a real winner with The Diva’s Fool. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but above all, you’ll love it.

Michael A. Black, author of Melody of Vengeance and A Final Judgment

Tarot cards, murder, and a reporter with a box full of incriminating evidence leads the reader to a magical world where the paranormal proves more powerful than traditional crime solving methods. Sylvia Foti has created a fun-filled story with plenty of action and vibrant characters. Diva’s Fool is witty, suspenseful and an all around terrific read!

Scarlett Dean, author of Invisible Shield

Silvia Foti’s The Diva’s Fool is a window of delight on backstage at the Chicago opera world. The well-paced novel mixes intrigue with sharp characterizations all around the last performance of Macbeth by the title’s aging diva. Foti delves deep into the paranormal world of a most interesting wizard of the Tarot as well, as reporter Alexandria Vilkas apprentices herself to the eccentric wizard. Alexandria is a complex, layered lady who is refreshingly real and she comes highly recommended, as does The Diva’s Fool.

Robert W. Walker, author of PSI Blue, Deja Blue, and City for Ransom

 

Skullduggery

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Supernatural reporter Alexandria Vilkas launches a feature on Crystal Skull, but is skeptical of its metaphysical powers — until the Chicago mayor dies in her arms. Now the prime suspect in the mayor’s murder, Alex needs to clear her name, fast. Along the way, she begins to suspect her own mother, discovers a cigarette-selling scam that’s making some city aldermen rich, stumbles into some bad shenanigans in a tortilla factory, and gets attacked by a lovelorn astrologer. Meanwhile, a knock-out brawl among the town’s fifty aldermen erupts in downtown City Hall and Alex desperately wonders if she’ll still be alive for the next mayoral election. Can she unearth the connection between the Crystal Skull and the murder before it’s too late?

Today’s Books–“Exceptional!!!!”

“New Age philosophies and murder mix when the first Mexican mayor of Chicago dies of poisoning at a New Year’s Eve party and a supernatural crystal skull goes missing. Police accuse occult phenomena reporter Alexandria Vilkas–who was dancing with the mayor at the time–of both murder and theft. Her editor, however, tells her to find the murderer–and write up her investigation. Chief suspects include uppity aldermen, a treacherous billionaire, and several cuckolded husbands. A highly appealing, up-front heroine and a novel look at Chicago politics make this an attractive first mystery.”–Library Journal, February 1, 2002

“A crystal skull that may have supernatural powers, Chicago politicians, a dead mayor, and an astrologist combine to make Skullduggery a fun brew. A humorous romp with a good bit of mayhem included.” –Barbara D’Amato, author of Authorized Personnel Only, and winner of the first annual Mary Higgins Clark Award

“South Sider’s first novel is all Chicago. The book is an unusual kind of suspense read, featuring a crystal skull that may have supernatural powers, Chicago-style politicians, a loverlorn astrologist, new age occultists and plenty of humor.”–Betty Mohr, Daily Southtown

“Foti’s debut novel is a fast-paced fictional tale of mystery that just about any Chicagoan can enjoy. It’s a serious suspense with a good dose of humor added. I recommend Skullduggery.”–Joe Kulys, Southwest News Herald

“The heroine is tough, independent and prone to bad relationships. Skullduggery is a fun read and an impressive first novel. It’s the first in a series in a city that could use another local character.”–Marilyn Soltis, Chicago Life

“Skullduggery by Silvia Foti brings a new novelist of real talent onto the scene. Foti combines a serious whodunit with a comic opera treatment of Chicago politics. Besides delivering many a laugh, Foti creates gripping suspense.” –Robert Gover, author of One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding

“You don’t believe anybody could make Chicago politics weirder than life? Silvia Foti comes close. From the first lines, in which the Mexican mayor of Chicago flattens Gypsy Magazine feature writer Alexandria Vilkas by dying on top of her, to the undying interference of Alex’s mother in her life, it doesn’t get much weirder than this. Oh, and did I mention that Crystal Skull that seems to be dictating even more, if that’s possible, than Alex’s mom? Vivid storytelling.” –Sara Hoskinson Frommer, author of The Vanishing Violinist

“Chicago politics and New Age hype make for an irresistible combination in Silvia Foti’s fast-paced novel of mayoral murder and metaphysical mayhem.” –Eric Maisel, author of Write Mind and The Creativity Book

“In Skullduggery, Silvia Foti gives an unusual and inventive tale full of slippery Chicago politicians; a female hero who’s courageous, vulnerable, and oh-so-human; and a smoothly-paced plot to the end. What’s not to like?” –David J. Walker, author of No Show of Remorse, a Malachy Foley Mystery

“Alexandria Vilkas navigates the everyday madness known as Chicago politics with a sharp pen and the uncanny resilience of an emerging feminist. When she’s done with ‘the boys,’ nothing’s where it once was and all’s not only well, it’s better! This is truly a contemporary Chicago adventure! Brilliant on every level!” –Jim Kozicki, Chairman, Daley College Department of English and Speech and Playwright, “Black Beauty,” “Songs with Polish Words in Them”

 

Freelance Writer — Lotus Ink 

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Silvia and I worked together in Learning and Development at Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm. At Hewitt, I led the Learning Technologies group; and Silvia reported to me as a writer in that group. Silvia developed scripts for online learning courses. The job required her not only to write clear prose on tight deadline, but also to understand assessment and curriculum and course design. As a writer, Silvia also needed to communicate well in a group of people and to mentor other team members who needed help.

Silvia performed all of these tasks with energy and competence. She wrote engaging, well-crafted prose. She completed assignments on time. Her team members and I thought of her as a talented worker and colleague, one who clearly loved writing. She was able to guide others with both skills and compassion.

Joan Fee, PhD
Chair, College of Education, Aurora University

Curtis Group has worked with Silvia for several years and I would like to say that she is everything you would want in a writer. She easily interacts with our clients, interviewing them and digging for the good stuff. Her writing is superb in style and other than a typo or grammatical error now and then, we can count on presenting her text to the client as is. This saves us a lot of time and headaches and makes the creative process flow more smoothly. Silvia has good turnaround times and her fees are fair.

Mark Curtis, President of Curtis Group

Silvia Foti is a proven and versatile professional journalist and writer. She consistently exceeds expectations with in-depth research, powerful interviews, thoughtful analysis and balance in the final product. Having known her for more than 20 years and relied on her healthcare magazine work for more than 10, she remains a trusted communication resource. The publisher who works with Silvia will want to work with her again.

Jo Posselt, Executive Director, AMA Alliance

Silvia is an extremely reliable freelance writer who gets the bulk of our assignments due to her top-notch talent for wordsmithing, her congenial rapport with our clients, and her knack for turning in ultra low-maintenance copy. Ever eager, accommodating and available to take on a new project, Silvia makes my job so much easier.

Erik J. Martin, Director of Public Relations, Walsh Communications, L.L.C., Elmhurst, Ill.

“I know Silvia and her work. In 1986 I had the pleasure of hiring Silvia for her first professional job as a staff writer for a major monthly publication of an international professional society called the Academy of General Dentistry. Silvia quickly grasped the complicated art and science of this profession. Some of her stories won awards from her peers. She is patient, has a sense of humor, and a working style that allows her to fit in with others while remaining independent. I highly recommend her.”

Chris Smith, Academy of General Dentistry Managing Editor