Friday, May 24, 2019

American Expats describe life in Germany

Patriotic Expats: Former G.I.s Describe their Lives in Germany

Patriotic Expats
Former GIs Describe their Lives in Germany
By Robert Potter
April, 2019

Ebook $2.99
Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
Would his late Cold War bride have been happier—and better able to fight the cancer that took her in the prime of life—if the couple had chosen to live in Germany, rather than the U.S., after his military service in the 1960s? Decades after his wife’s death, the author remained haunted by that question. In a search for answers, he returned to Germany in 2017 and sought out former G.I.s who married their German sweethearts and elected to reside there. The result of that quest is this series of sixteen interviews with American expats and women who married G.I.s. The men we meet in these pages came from very different backgrounds, but they all experienced the challenges common to immigrants everywhere: learning a new language, adjusting to cultural differences, overcoming bureaucratic hurdles, and earning a living. Each story, recounted with honesty, courage, and humor, provides a unique, fascinating response to those challenges—as well as a detached lens through which to view American society today.

My review:
Robert Potter, a former GI, brought his German bride back to the US when his service concluded. Life here was very different, including laws that would not accept (and still don’t) German education and work experience in many professions like teaching and medicine. Robert and his wife had two children. Gerdi was unhappy in general, couldn’t procure work as a requirement of her visa, and eventually succumbed to cancer. Although Bob eventually remarried happily, he remained aware of men who chose to remain in or return to Germany after they had relationships or married German women. Eventually, Bob, with the help of his tech college writing students, put together an interview format for a project to record stories from ex-patriots to learn more about their situations. Bob found a group of expats who met regularly to discuss their lives and support each other. Several of these men and one wife agreed to meet Bob and be interviewed for this book.

I appreciated learning about what it’s like to move and try to adapt to a different culture and language. The stories included mostly those of servicemen who had done their time. The unbelievable issues with obtaining work permits and regulations, how much language to learn for what skillset, what kind of certificates to obtain for professional work or even unskilled labor was fascinating. Medical care seemed to be a big issue among the expats, as far as where to go for care and who pays. Most thought German medical care was superior. Some men had wives willing to live in the US for a time, and a few cases worked out quite well when the spouse was able and willing to retrain for a profession and get a US license to work. Getting visas and residency requirements were quite different though both countries seem regulation bound. Driving licenses and gun control were stricter in Germany. Voter apathy didn’t seem much different, nor did political opinions. The book was interesting and every person interviewed unique. Bob’s original quest regarding whether he should have chosen to live in Germany instead of having his wife emigrate to the US was determined to remain an open theory, though Bob finally found peace through reaching out to other veterans who may have learned something through sharing their own stories. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Malinda Andrews talks Ireland!

Malinda Writes

How long have you been writing and have been published?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I started very young simply being a storyteller, and then when I was old enough, I actually put those stories on paper. My “moment” I decided to be a published author came when I was 13. My Dad gave me The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and I vividly remembering thinking: “I can do this. I can craft my own worlds and tell stories for others to read and enjoy.” So from that point on I focused my energy on becoming the writer I wanted to be. 

In 2015 I hit that “publish” button for the first time, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s too much fun!

Share a little about your storyline in your latest book?
My latest book concludes my Emerald Isle trilogy, a series that has now been six years in the making. It is titled “The Irish Bride” and covers exactly what you’d think: a wedding! Though the journey to get to the altar is not an easy one, including obstacles like family, disaster, and even mother-nature taking it’s course. Aubriee and Declan have quite the hurdles to overcome if they want to face each other and say their vows. 

Share one or two things you learned in researching your featured book
Ireland has caves! Who knew? The Aillwee Caves are beautiful and even feature at least one cave bear skull. Giant cave bears once lived in Ireland!? Not something I would have ever associated with Ireland. 

What's your favorite aspect of Wisconsin?
Honestly, I know we’re slowly clawing our way out of winter, but I love winter! The snow is beautiful, and I love the sense of peace and silence in the air that surrounds me when I’m outside and it’s coming down. It’s almost like having magic in real life. My second favorite season is autumn because I love watching how the leaves change color and the earth prepares for its annual slumber. 

What's coming up?
This year I have “The Irish Bride” being released in July, and also the third in my paranormal romance/urban fantasy series “Wolf’s Bane” releasing in October. Other than those two projects, I am doing a lot of prep work for my five-year publishing anniversary in 2020. 2020 will be full of exciting events including a re-launch of my first ever fantasy trilogy, releasing the second trilogy in that world throughout the year, and many more little milestones along the way.


 A transplant to the Midwest from Washington State, Malinda Andrews lives in Wisconsin within a stone’s throw of Lake Michigan.
The love of writing started young (she credits, or alternately blames, her parents for her love of reading and writing) and followed her passion for the written word into college. Forgoing financial security, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
An avid reader, Malinda also enjoys crocheting, watching TV and movies, book shopping, hiking, and camping. She lives with her loving husband and their son.

  Connect with her at:
  Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest:
And on Goodreads!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Poetry workshop June 1 in Milwaukee

AllWriters Logo

Christine Swanberg Celebrity Saturday, June 1st!

This June 1st, AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop Brings You:

The Shape a Poem Makes: Shapeshifting

Have you noticed that you are drawn visually to certain poems because they are interesting or appealing on the page? Have you marveled at poems that not only invite you visually to read them, but then deliver the goods with satisfying and sometimes multi-layered strategies? Have you longed to accomplish more in your poetry?

Let’s examine what happens when greater care is given to sculpting the lines and shape of a poem. Some poems sparkle with originality. Some sing with musicality and lines that breathe like arias. Others have a message that moves us deeply. The shape a poem makes invites us to read it. We will examine how the use of stanzas, line breaks, indentations, and formal shaping can enhance the meaning and enjoyment of a poem.

Let’s experiment with shape and form and dare to stray off the beaten path of free verse. Is it possible to open up poems and let them do things we have not imagined or allowed them to do before by shaping them in original ways? We will look at a few poems that accomplish these things and discuss strategies used.

Participants will write a new poem with our discussion in mind, or revise a poem in need of invigoration, trying perhaps a new formal strategy, or adding complexity to the poem. in other ways. We will share in a supportive way with the group.

Sign up through the website link below.

CHRISTINE SWANBERG has published hundreds of poems journals such The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Louisville Review, and Spoon River Quarterly, and the June Cotner anthologies: Earth Blessings, Garden Blessings, Gratitude Prayers, and Back To Joy. Christine’s collections include Tonight On This Late Road (Erie St, 1984), Invisible String (Erie St., 1989), Slow Miracle (Lake Shore, 1990), Bread Upon The Waters (Windfall Prophets, UW), The Tenderness Of Memory (Plainview, 1995), The Red Lacquer Room (Chiron, 2000), and Who Walks Among The Trees With Charity (Wind, 2005), and The Alleluia Tree (Puddin’head Press, 2012). Her newest book, Wild Fruition: Sonnets, Spells, And Other Incantations, is out from Puddin’head Press. A community poet interviewed by Poets Market 2008, she has won many poetry awards and Arts Council grants as well as recognition such as The Mayor’s Award for Community Impact, the YWCA Award for the Arts, and the Womanspirit Award and various Pushcart nominations and poetry prizes. Gardening, horses, traveling, music, animals, nature, and various kinds of love are passions that inform her work. She is a retired English teacher and Clearing instructor, who now gives readings and workshops around the country.

At AllWriters’, we strive to bring you the best! Several times a year, we offer a Celebrity Saturday, which brings in a better-known, better-published author to work with you for one intensive day. Celebrity Saturday authors have included Jane Hamilton, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Michael Perry, A. Manette Ansay, Marilyn Taylor, Ellen Kort, and many, many more!

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. Christine Swanberg’s workshop will be held on Saturday, June 1st, 2019. This event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and costs just $95, 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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Red Oak Studios Kim Suhr shares new book

Cornerstone Press, Dec. 2018
ISBN 9780984673971
Paperback: $14.95
E-book coming soon
Buy on
Indie Bound

About the book:
Drawing on the rich complexity of the American Midwest, Kim Suhr peoples her debut book of fiction with characters that we know, carved out of the Wisconsin landscape and caught between expectation and desire. An Iraq war veteran stalks the streets of Madison. Four drunk friends hunt deer outside of Antigo. A mother tries to save her son. A transplanted New Yorker plots revenge against her husband. A man sobers up and opens a paintball range for Jesus. A woman with nothing to lose waits for her first kiss.

Personal and powerful, Kim Suhr’s Nothing to Lose shows us a region filled with real people: less than perfect, plagued with doubts, always reaching.

A brief interview with the author:

Tell us about your book and how the seed of idea turned into story.

Nothing to Lose is a collection of short stories that all take place in various towns and cities across Wisconsin. Each of the stories had different seeds. The opening story comes from an image of a man wearing night vision goggles that came into my mind when I woke in the middle of the night. Another story came from overhearing someone say, “My kids grew up in the viewfinder of my husband’s camcorder.” Another was to the prompt, “I never, never, never, never, NEVER would have believed that would happen…” The final story came from someone telling me she had a friend who decided to follow all the advice on her Dove chocolate wrappers. What all of the story seeds share is the question that followed: “What if…?” And that is when the stories sprouted.

What did you draw on most from your vast warehouse of writing background to complete your first published novel short story collection?

Persistence. I submitted the collection over thirty times before I got a yes—and over a hundred and thirty submissions of the individual stories to literary journals. I had to believe in the stories, keep striving to make them better (Revision is your friend!), and not let “no” be a deterrent.

How different is it for you to write fiction and non-fiction?

Actually, a good story is a good story, so I don’t find writing narrative nonfiction and fiction all that different from each other. In nonfiction, the story already exists, so it’s like the description of sculpting attributed to Michelangelo, to take a piece of marble and “remove everything that isn’t David.” In fiction, we get to create the “marble” ourselves. But ultimately, the reader of both expects the same thing: to see a change in a character and to understand why and how it happened.

What do you learn from your writing studio students/workshops?

I have learned perseverance, generosity of spirit, and the power of community. In teaching my writing students particular skills or techniques, I must first become adept in them myself. This process allows me to return to my beginner’s mind and put my own writing to the test.

What’s coming up next?

I am working on the audiobook version of Nothing to Lose, then probably an e-book as well. I have a couple of short stories in process and a few chapters of something that wants to be a novel. (Ssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone.)

About the Author:
Kim Suhr lives and writes in southeastern Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in Midwest Review, Stonecoast Review, Rosebud and others. She holds an MFA from Pine Manor College, where she was the 2013 Dennis Lehane Fellow in Fiction. She is director of Red Oak Writing and a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association Board of Directors. You can follow her at:

Twitter (@kimsuhr)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

WISCON Memorial Day weekend

Not sure how I missed this little gem, WisCon, holding its 43rd convention.


WisCon is a feminist science fiction & fantasy convention held annually in Madison, Wisconsin.
this year's date is May 24-27, and features G Willow Wilson and Charlie Jane Anders. Workshops, panel discussions, and events for teens are scheduled.

Check the blog for current updates. Unfortunately, the deadlines to apply to participate have passed, but you can still register--seems like a great price, and there are volunteer ops. Held at the very cool Madison Concourse Hotel, and you can still get a special room rate through May 3. Registration for the convention goes through May 15. Click here.

According to the history on the website:"The first WisCon in 1977 honored author Katherine MacLean and Amanda Bankier (editor of the first feminist fanzine, “The Witch and the Chameleon”)"... It was held on the UW campus in February, with an attendance of approximately 200.

"The feminist focus of WisCon has waned and sharpened over the years. WisCon’s engagement with feminism was re-energized at WisCon 15 in 1991 when Guest of Honor Pat Murphy announced the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. WisCon became the Tiptree Award’s greatest ally and supporter. In 1996, WisCon 20 celebrated the convention’s 20th birthday by inviting Ursula K. Le Guin and Judith Merril, as well as all its past guests of honor. Nearly 750 people attended.

"WisCon has grown from a small regional convention to a large, truly international convention, with attendees traveling from all over the world in order to meet other fans and professionals with similar interests. Our convention has grown up to become the annual gathering for the feminist SF community. It also functions as a vibrant meeting place for fans and professionals interested in broader themes of gender, race, and class in Science Fiction and Fantasy."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Barbara Britton and Adah's Journey review

Jerusalem Rising: Adah's Journey

Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey by Barbara Britton
Biblical history
Harbourlight, November 2017
Buy on Amazon 

About the Book:
When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah's unexpected visit—God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David. Nehemiah challenges the people of God to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Will her father, who rules a half-district of Jerusalem, be forgotten forever? Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city's wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God's call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same stones they hope to construct?

Beautifully written, well-researched tale of one of the lost eras in the history of the Hebrew nation. Yes, we read about rebuilding the wall in Ezra and Nehemiah, but then begins a dark ages-like time until the Roman occupation. It’s good to know that women went alongside as they were called to do. While Britton doesn’t mean to create a feminist novel here, she does want us to know through lovely fiction that women were not always the paving stones of the biblical world. They had a mission and a voice and real goals. Adah’s Journey is a story of one of these women with a personality and a national sense of duty; a determination to act upon God’s call for her community no matter what misguided men of the society believe of feminine capabilities in opposition to God’s plan.

Adah’s mother encourages Adah and her sister Judith to seek help from an old friend who has gone to live as a hermit outside of the city. This master builder has his own past to deal with and fights rejoining society. Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king, is portrayed as a sympathetic hero who must convince his own people to retake their culture and their faith during a broken time. Fans of biblical fiction will find much to love about this story, one of the Tribes of Israel series. Adah’s Journey is a stand-alone full-length novel.