Sunday, August 24, 2014

Naturally, She's Dreaming, Susan Lukas

Naturally, She’s Dreaming

Susan Lukas
c. 2014

Wisconsin Authors
Photo and essay
39 pp
ISBN-13: 978-0615979250
paperback, $11.99
Buy on Amazon

Photography instructor Susan Lukas has put together a lovely group of essays relating to photos of nature in changing seasons. The photos have been manipulated with techniques she shares. The essays share thoughts and challenges, from dare to face your dreams in the opening “forest” to the patchwork tree, to birds, the beach, to the lovely pastel watercolor-appearing tulips.

Each work of art is a memory and a revelation, an “aha” moment for the author to share with her audience. I love photographs and taking pictures, and have played around with some of my pictures. Lukas’s book offers a unique perspective on art, nature, and the layers of beauty that challenge our psyche.

Lukas is a greater Milwaukee area resident who also shows her work in galleries around the country. This is her first book.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honoring authors Greg Peck and Earl Rhode Saturday Aug 16 in Portage

The 23rd Friendship Village celebration is Saturday.
The event celebrates Portage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning author Zona Gale (1874-1938), whose village was based on Portage and its residents. The event is held in August, the month of Gale’s birthday.
Jeff Grothman has acted as the program director of the event for the past five years.
This year, the event will honor two Wisconsin authors who have penned books on topics in the Portage area: Greg Peck, author of “Death Beyond the Willows,” about the young couple who perished in the pond at Pauquette Park on their wedding day in 1927, and Earl Rhode of Pardeeville, author of “The Little River That Could,” about the Fox River.
The event begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at at Gale’s gravesite in Silver Lake Cemetery on Cemetery Road just off West Wisconsin Street. Signs will indicate where to go for those who attend.
“The mayor (Bill Tierney) will be there to welcome people,” Grothman said.
Those attending the event should bring a lawn chair or blanket. Rhode’s and Peck’s books will be available. There will be music and a poetry reading by Randolph area artist Kelly Bleich.
“He always adds a little pizzazz to the program,” Grothman said.
And there will be awards given to “someone that’s given above and beyond (for) our Portage local history,” Grothman said.
The event was started in 1991 by Portage historian and enthusiast Blanche Murtagh, who died in June 2013. Murtagh was honored at last year’s event.
For the first time, the Museum at the Portage -- formerly Gale’s home -- will not be open for viewing during the day. The museum is still under repair after a fire in April.
The event will continue at 2 p.m. with a pie and ice cream social at the Women’s Civic League Clubhouse at 506 W. Edgewater St. The house was Zona Gale’s home from 1906 to 1928.
“That’s a nice afternoon. It’s right on the (Wisconsin) river,” said Grothman. “It’s an afternoon of peace and fellowship.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nicolette Pierce's The Big Blind review

The Big Blind 
Nicolette Pierce

Nadia Wolf mystery series, book #1
May 9, 2013

$.99 ebook (free at the time of this posting)
buy on Amazon

From the publisher: 
Nadia Wolf had one wish, and it wasn’t for the latest designer purse, fashion-forward clothing, or even a handsome man to marry . . . although, that would be acceptable too. Her wish was to win the World Series of Poker tournament and collect the one million dollar prize, beating the arrogant men who make her professional poker career a daily challenge. 

The odds were stacked against her when sexy poker celebrity Caleb Usher sat down at her table. As they pin their battles against each other, a steamy side wager drew them both in and gave them an even greater reason to fight for the championship. It only took one hand to make tournament history and leave them both hot under the collar. But before they could settle their spicy wager, the million dollar prize disappeared in front of an audience. Not one witness could explain what happened or where the money disappeared to.

Greyson Miller CEO of the Lost City Casino had a mystery to solve. Not only did a thief steal the million dollars from under his watchful eyes, but a secret swelled so large it threatened the very core of the casino. In a twist of fate, Nadia teams up with Greyson in an attempt to find the missing prize and to solve the perilous mystery that plagued the Lost City Casino. With Greyson’s overwhelming allure, Nadia has to keep both her head in the game and her hands to herself.

Will she be able unravel the mystery and find the lost prize money while keeping both Greyson and Caleb at bay? Can she fend off her fanatical self-appointed poker manager Frankie Garza before he flushes her career down the toilet in offbeat attempts to make her famous? With Caleb, Greyson, and Frankie all claiming a stake; Nadia’s career, her life, and her heart will never be the same again.

My review:
Meeting Nadia and her crazy compadres was a hoot – so much so, that I did what a lot of others have done, gone and bought the next one. Told in first person, Nadia quickly becomes one of those people you think you’ve always known.

She hustles poker players at the Las Vegas casinos and gets a rent deal from a themed wedding parlor operated by the flamboyant Frankie who has designs not only on creating a career for her, but also her boyfriends. Saving up to buy into the World Series of Poker was a struggle, but she hopes to at least make final rounds to earn some of her money back, and a little more. Meeting the casino owner and helping him figure out what happened to the prize money was a deliciously romantic bonus.

Spending some breathless days with Nadia and the gang will tickle your funny bone, sizzle up your romantic inclinations, wince when the bad guys land their punches, and leave you wanting more Nadia. And on a personal note, just being in the same room with author Nicolette’s sparkling smile and wit is energizing!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review of Janet Kay's Waters of the Dancing Sky

Waters of the Dancing Sky 
Janet Kay

ISBN 978146993334
Second edition, 2012
Llumina Publishing, 2010


 Buy on Amazon

From the publisher:
Sometimes you must tiptoe across that bridge linking this world with the next. Sometimes, it is the only way to put the twisted pieces of one’s life back together again.

Beth Calhoun is a middle-aged woman haunted by a tragic past - the drowning death of her young mother, the shame of having no father. Escaping from an abusive marriage, she retreats to her family’s wilderness island home on Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. Here she embarks upon a journey of self-discovery that flows through a series of wilderness adventures, past and present. As she delves into her mother’s old diaries, she discovers long-held family secrets including the shocking identity of her mysterious father. Spirits of the past emerge as she struggles through a complex web of emotions and shifting relationships. Can she forgive and put the past behind her? Can she learn to trust and to love again?

Waters of the Dancing Sky is an inspirational love story, an intriguing blend of fact and fiction that weaves an appreciation of nature and local Ojibwe culture into mankind’s eternal search for meaning.

My review:
Years of domestic abuse have altered Beth Calhoun. When she finally has the courage to break free after her daughter is grown and out of the house, Beth answers the summons of a family friend to her grandmother’s deathbed.

Nana raised Beth after her mother’s death in a boating accident on Rainy Lake, Minnesota, but Beth had thought she’d wanted more in life and eloped as a teenager. Now back, Beth attempts to reestablish a life for herself, including the mystery of her parentage to which her grandmother whispered clues as she lay dying.
The best clues are locked in trunks in the attic, and this is where Beth, with a curious lack of urgency, eventually sorts out her mother’s secret. Another part of learning to move on means casting off her ex-husband who is reluctant to share his wealth, and learning to love someone else, her neighbor, Seth, an Ojibwe artist, who had known and helped her grandmother, and kept many of the family secrets, which it turns out, weren’t all that secret in the small community.

Told through several running character viewpoints, this story of regaining identity and dignity, self-discovery, and appreciation of family is a good virtual trip “up north” to lake country.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marilyn Taylor at AllWriters

From the desk of Kathie Giorgio, Director, AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop LLC:
WAUKESHA – We all have a poem we’re hiding from, the one we long to, but just can’t, write. In this intensive up-close and personal workshop, Marilyn Taylor will provide you with fresh strategies for finally writing that elusive poem. AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop welcomes special guest lecturer MARILYN TAYLOR with her workshop, WRITING THE TOUGH ONES.
Whether it’s about a particular experience, conviction or belief, the most difficult poems to write are the ones that capture our deepest thoughts. They’re also the most important poems to write, reaching out to others to let them know they aren’t alone. In this workshop, you’ll learn to tackle those hard to express subjects head on. You’ll also receive constructive and friendly feedback in an environment that offers support for taking on such riskier than usual subjects. It’s going to be challenging, it’s going to be fun, and it will take your poetry further than you’ve ever taken it before!
MARILYN TAYLOR Ph.D., former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin (2009 & 2010) and of the city of Milwaukee (2004 & 2005), is author of six collections of poetry. Her award-winning poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, The American Scholar, Able Muse, Measure, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and Random House’s Villanelles anthology. Marilyn taught poetry and poetics at UW-Milwaukee and served as a Contributing Editor and poetry columnist for The Writer. She is currently a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and the Council for Wisconsin Writers Board of Directors.

Celebrity Saturdays are a great chance to broaden your knowledge of what it takes to be successful and to learn from writers who are already knee deep in an author’s life. Marilyn Taylor’s workshop will be held on Saturday, August 9th, 2014. This event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and costs $85, which includes a lunch catered by Waukesha’s own CafĂ© de Art.
AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop offers on-site and online writing courses in all genres and abilities of creative writing, as well as coaching, editing, and marketing services. A schedule of classes, with online registration, is available at or by calling (262) 446-0284. AllWriters’ is located at 234 Brook Street, Unit 2, in historic downtown Waukesha, as featured in Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel.

Summer Hanford
AllWriters’ Assistant
234 Brook St., Unit 2
Waukesha WI 53188
Phone: (262) 446-0284
Please "like" Author Kathie Giorgio on Facebook, and follow KathieGiorgio on Twitter!

Friday, July 18, 2014

WWA Jade Ring Contest Judges announced!



Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 30 books, many of them on rural history and country life. His nonfiction books include: Living a Country Year, Every Farm Tells a Story, When Chores Were Done, Humor from the Country, Country Ways and Country Days, One-Room Schools, Cheese, Breweries of Wisconsin, Ringlingville USA (History of Ringling Brothers circus), Old Farm: A History, Barns of Wisconsin, Horse Drawn Days: A Century of Farming With Horses, and Campfires and Loon Calls. His children's books include: Stormy, Eat Rutabagas, Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers, and Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker. He has an audio book, The Back Porch and Other Stories. Jerry has published four novels, The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story, Blue Shadows Farm and Cranberry Red. Jerry is a former publications editor for UW-Extension, an acquisitions editor for the McGraw-Hill Book Company, and editor of a national professional journal.

Jerry has won awards for his writing from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Library Association (the 2007 Notable Authors Award), American Library Association, Foreword Magazine, Midwest Independent Publishers Association, Robert E. Gard Foundation, The Wisconsin Council for Writers (the 2007 Major Achievement Award), Upper Midwest Booksellers, and Barnes and Noble Bookstores, among others. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.  Check for more information.

Essay – Rodney Schroeter, WWA Press Manager

Rodney Schroeter spent seven years as a Science teacher, twenty five as a computer programmer / analyst, and now works as a freelance writer, newspaper page composer, reporter, editor, art dealer, and eBay seller. He is the writer of Human Interest Stuff and the editor / designer of A Wisconsin Harvest Vol. II, both published by the WWA Press. For the WWA, Rodney serves as brochure and forms designer, Newsletter editor, archivist, Forum administrator, and manager of the WWA Press.

Fiction, adult short – Susan Baganz, acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group
Susan M. Baganz chases after three children and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances. She has been published with OakTara Press and has for Splickety Magazine. Her contemporary romance, Pesto and Potholes is due to be released in Spring of 2015 with Prism Book Group. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones: snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

Fiction, children/youth – Barbara A. Joosse, international best-selling author of nearly 50 books, including Mama, Do You Love Me, Snow Day, and Dog Parade, among others, and now, writes the lyrics for The Happy Racers, kiddie rock band. She lives in an old house, enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. published nearly 50 books for children.

Poetry - TBA!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review of As Is by Wendy Oleston

As Is
By Wendy Oleston

.99 Kindle
12.99 print
ISBN-13: 978-1499781335

Buy on Amazon

Life is hard for Mara Shaw. One bad relationship after another has left her a single mother with no faith in anything. She is unable to trust in anyone . . . including herself. She decides to start afresh, and never allow herself to be hurt again. Graydon Davidson walks into her life and begins to show her the truth. While the truth is hard to accept, it is also the key to her freedom. Is this gorgeous and compassionate stranger the answer to all her dreams? Or will specters from her past which emerge to haunt her take over? Mara is faced with a choice that will change her life forever.

My review:

For Christians, if you’ve ever tried to picture being the bride of Christ, Oleston puts a whole new spin on the subject in her new book.

We all have issues to deal with. Mara has a boatload of them, from being in denial of alcoholism to not knowing how to love or to receive love. A single mom in danger of losing her child, she agrees reluctantly to counseling. The reader is invited along as this woman walks through her despair to finally reach the lowest point and so be able to climb back out of the abyss, holding the hand of the only one we can truly count on.
On the way to her first counseling session, Mara meets a mysterious young man, Graydon, and they are instantly infatuated. Months pass during which they develop a platonic relationship and slowly learn each other’s story. Mara is constantly torn by her struggle to become a mom worthy of her son, a woman worthy of true love, and a person who can love wholly. It’s Graydon every bit as much as her counselor who forces Mara to face the ugly things in her life. Countless times Mara attempts to shove away those who want to help her. Graydon never lets her know he’s had enough. He always comes back, is always there when she needs someone, always knows what to say, acts as her conscious, and leads her gently through the valley of the shadow of death.

The reader is encouraged to conjecture about Graydon’s identity until Mara is able to come clean and accept the forgiveness she’s been offered all along. This story is definitely thought-provoking on many levels, and one that will show you the unyielding love of God. I have to offer this caveat, however, in that unfortunately vulgar language permeates the entire story. While I understand that cursing has become almost normal in society and I realize certain characters will swear as part of their makeup, I also don’t believe that it is natural for believers to continue to do so thoughtlessly once they develop a personal relationship with the Lord. It seems like a light thing to address in light of the enormous issues Mara overcame, but it was jarring and disappointing for all the care the author used in this intriguing story of second chances. Told in third person from Mara’s point of view, this is a story you’ll be thinking about for a long while.