Native Lincolnite returns for 50th reunion and book signing

C. Michael Bennis

Lincoln Daily News –
C. Michael Bennis is home to visit with LCHS classmates at their 50th anniversary reunion Friday and Saturday. But Mike, as he is called, is also coming to help promote his new book, “Rules of Engagement.”

Mike is a toy and advertising industry executive who currently lives in Tucson, Ariz.

He attended Universidad Complutense in Madrid and later graduated from the University of Colorado. He was a member of the 1961 Big Eight champion football squad as well as the 1962 Orange Bowl team. Later he graduated from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Mike is the son of Chuck Bennis, who died May 14, 2006, and Jeanne H. Gallagher. (His parents divorced. His mother, originally Jeanne Hott from Monticello, later married Warren Gallagher. She is now widowed and lives at 20 Keokuk St. in Lincoln.)

Many Logan County residents are quite familiar with Mike’s father, Chuck.

Chuck grew up in Lincoln, one of six children of Steve and Anna Bennis. Steve Bennis was the owner of the Candy Kitchen, the coal mine, the two theaters, the two drive-ins, and the Grand Opera House.

Chuck graduated from LCHS and the University of Illinois. He was a member of the prestigious U of I All-Century Football Team, which is composed of the 26 best football players during the last 100 years.

Mike looks forward to seeing old classmates and friends, but he also will be at Prairie Years on Friday and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. for book signings. The store is at 121 N. Kickapoo.

“Rules of Engagement” is a romance novel, and Mike said the idea for the book had been in his mind for four or five years before he put it down into a manuscript.

The storyline is: A torrid summer romance between a Parisian debutante and a Boulder, Colo., grad ends in heartbreak until they meet 22 years later for a final chance to reignite an unforgettable love.

Mike said he realizes that the world of romance novels is a feminine domain. He belongs to an Arizona chapter of the American Romance Writers Association of America and is one of only three men in a group of 75.

Mike said one of the biggest differences between male and female romance novelists is in the way they portray a moment in the book. A woman writer will spend time describing what a woman character is wearing, but a male writer will concentrate on describing what she looks like.

Mike says he has found his storyline is reaching a common bond with readers. Many have had a past great love that for some reason didn’t work out, and the story rekindles thoughts of what might have been for a reader.

This is Mike’s first book.