Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Find Your Heart Follow Your Heart with Keri Olson



Find Your Heart, Follow Your Heart: Get to the Heart of What Matters and Create Your Abundant, 
Authentic, Joyful Life
Keri Olson
Balboa Press, a division of Hay House
July 2017
Ebook $3.99
Paperback $11.99
Hardcover $26.58
ISBN 9781504384476

Buy on Amazon


About the Book:
Are you at a crossroads in your personal or professional life? Do you long for more meaning, joy, and authenticity? Do you feel stuck, yet crave something new?
Find Your Heart, Follow Your Heart is there to help guide you on your journey. Through a series of essays, affirmations, and associated questions, you'll explore topics intended to help you find opportunities for growth and illumination for your path.
This engaging book will help you discover the answers that are already there waiting for you--deep in your heart.

A brief interview with the author:
Welcome, Keri. Can you please share your motivation behind the book.
I was drawn to write Find Your Heart, Follow Your Heart following a series of life-threatening and life-altering illnesses I’ve experienced since I was in my 20s. Each of those illnesses has caused me to go deep within, to examine my life, to determine what’s important to me and then to frame my life going forward to provide the greatest amount of abundance, authenticity and joy. I was also drawn to the subject of hearts after finding heart-shaped stones and other heart-shaped objects on my daily walks.

What would you like readers to tell potential readers about the book? 
Find Your Heart, Follow Your Heart is part memoir and part inspiration, but it is mostly a book to engage readers to examine their lives. While the essays tell of my life experiences and thoughts, they are intended to fuel readers’ thinking about how each of the topics might relate to their own lives. The affirmations associated with each essay are designed to help readers articulate what they want. The questions following each essay invite readers’ contemplation and examination in order to better understand their deeper selves, hear what’s calling them, help set priorities, and create the life they want. The book’s epilogue offers tangible suggestions for utilizing the book as they go forward.

How are readers responding?
I am both overwhelmed and heartened by the volume, variety and heartfelt nature of the responses I have received from people who have read my book. Many have shared stories of the crossroads in their lives that have caused this period of self-examination and how my book has helped them. Some readers are using the book as a daily devotional tool, while others are using the affirmations in their daily lives.

About the Author:
A three-time cancer survivor, Keri Olson has learned the beauty and blessing of each day. Also
the survivor of a benign brain tumor and a benign spinal tumor that caused temporary paralysis, Keri recognizes that wholeness can coexist with illness.
Keri’s experiences with illness haven’t defined her, but they have caused her to go deep within her heart to examine what makes for an abundant, authentic, joyful life.
Keri is the author of three books, beginning with one she wrote for SSM Health St. Clare Hospital for its 40th anniversary, Healing Presence: A History of Caring.
Her second book, an e-book titled Time to Be: An Almanac of Short Essays about the Extraordinary Joy of Ordinary Moments, is available via OverDrive, Wisconsin’s Digital Library.
Her third and newest book from Balboa Press, Find Your Heart, Follow Your Heart: Get to the Heart of What Matters and Create Your Abundant, Authentic, Joyful Life, is available at major online retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press, as well as at independent booksellers, gift stores and galleries.
Keri writes a blog, Time to Be, about living in the moment with gratitude and gentleness: http://timetobe-keri.blogspot.com/.
She is also a guest blogger and a regular contributor to Medium and LinkedIn.
Drawing from her experiences with illness, Keri’s writing reflects awe, gratitude and joy for life's abundance.
As a public speaker, panelist and facilitator, Keri’s thoughtful and engaging presentations inspire audiences.
Over Keri’s 30-year career, she has served as the public relations director for Circus World Museum and its Great Circus Parade and Great Circus Train, as the director for the St. Clare Health Care Foundation, and as an organizational effectiveness professional employed by public and private sector businesses to lead them through change.
Keri lives in Baraboo with her husband, Larry McCoy.

For more information, visit www.keriolson.com.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tying the Scot debut historical romance by Jennifer Trethewey

Product Details

Tying the Scot
Jennifer Trethewey

Historical Romance
Series
c. November 2017
Entangled Amara

Ebook $3.99
Print – coming soon
Audible

Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.

My review:
Charming and delightful debut novel, wonderfully done. As described, it’s a marriage meant to be in the best interest of all parties—the illegitimate daughter of a Duke will never be accepted in London society, so is given to her father’s good friend and business partner’s son. Unfortunately, Lucy must travel north, away from everything she’s loved and known. Fortunately, Alex has grown up into a fine man. Lucy learns quickly there is much to love about Balforss, Alex’s home, and Alex, too—temper, playfulness, loyalty. Never having had a mother, she quickly takes to Alex’s family and their ways, and just when she’s decided that marriage better come fast before she and Alex get carried away, her past catches up to her.

I must say, with all the hype anticipating this book I was prepared for a bedroom romp, but the story is far from it. Sure, there’s sensual tension, but nothing out of the ordinary, and leads up to a highly anticipated wedding night. Well done, well crafted story to avoid being another cliché romance.

Told in multiple viewpoints from several characters, the author’s first book in the series shows adept, organic handling of customs, language and historical events without banging the reader over the head with brogue or unusual, unexplained practices or words. Some language. Tender and tough in all the right places. Recommended for those who enjoy Scottish or otherwise early nineteenth century historical romance and intrigue.

About the Author
Jennifer TretheweyHi, I’m Jennifer Trethewey and I write about men in kilts because, hey, what’s not to love about a man in a kilt? I was lucky enough to travel to Scotland twice. I have fallen in love with the Highlands and all things Scottish: the people, their language, cuisine, customs, idioms, humor, history, intense sense of pride, and, most of all, the land—the perfect setting for sweeping romantic tales of love, strife, and glory. As they say, Scotland is pure dead brilliant!

I’m an actress, former co-artistic director of a professional theater company, and my husband and I operate an improv comedy club. I live with my comedian husband in the Midwest where I’ve been ever since college.

I write both contemporary and historical fiction full time. I like to read romance, mystery, fantasy, and paranormal, as well as literary fiction and non-fiction. I love movies and music and dogs and good wine and I love to enjoy them all with my friends.












Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Walking Home Ground with Robert Root


Walking Home Ground book review
By Robert Root
Hardcover: $22.95
Paperback: $22.95
224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-87020-786-0
E-book: $9.99

Buy on Amazon


About the book
A lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history When longtime author Robert Root moves to a small town in southeast Wisconsin, he gets to know his new home by walking the same terrain traveled by three Wisconsin luminaries who were deeply rooted in place—John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and August Derleth. Root walks with Muir at John Muir State Natural Area, with Leopold at the Shack, and with Derleth in Sac Prairie; closer to home, he traverses the Ice Age Trail, often guided by such figures as pioneering scientist Increase Lapham. Along the way, Root investigates the changes to the natural landscape over nearly two centuries, and he chronicles his own transition from someone on unfamiliar terrain to someone secure on his home ground.

In prose that is at turns introspective and haunting, Walking Home Ground inspires us to see history’s echo all around us: the parking lot that once was forest; the city that once was glacier.” Perhaps this book is an invitation to walk home ground,” Root tells us. “Perhaps, too, it’s a time capsule, a message in a bottle from someone given to looking over his shoulder even as he tries to examine the ground beneath his feet.”

My review
Root begins his story by admitting he’s a non-native Wisconsinite, though claims home territory along the Great Lakes. A naturalist, an observer, teacher, and one endowed with curiosity, Root endeavored to discover and begin to learn all he could about his final home in a way few even bother to consider. Having just relocated from one side of the state to another to settle on a farm we’ve owned for over twenty years, I was enamored by Root’s introspection and tenacity to uncover secrets of the land, and perhaps, portend the future. He kept a detailed journal of his hikes, research, and thoughts for several years.

As mentioned in the blurb, Root follows three of our more known historical naturalist homeboys on his tour after becoming familiar with his immediate new neighborhood west of Milwaukee. He visits John Muir’s boyhood territory in Marquette County, as well as August Derleth’s Prairie du Sac/Wisconsin River, and Aldo Leopold’s sand country. These three lived and wrote about south central Wisconsin. Root spent hours with maps and literature from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and the Ice Age Trail Alliance, as well as dozens of resources about the authors, nature, topography, geography, history, and so forth about the area. The book is filled with generous details of the types of land, the differences between fen, bog, and marsh, the type of flora during the different seasons, underground, soil, native and invasive species. His knowledge of bird and animal life leaves me envious.

A somewhat saddened note sounds toward the end of the book in the section “The Land Itself.” “Settlement eliminated a great deal of Wisconsin life,” Root writes. Early pioneers describe a wondrous mix of topography and its supporting flora and fauna. “The last bison was killed in 1832,” he says, with a litany of now missing creatures. In his epilogue, Root invites us to “see the land as a community to which” we belong, and urges us to consider our lifestyle’s impact on the environment. He’s encouraged me to get to know my little piece of Wisconsin better.

Detailed and thought-provoking, Walking Home Ground is for those who love Wisconsin and enjoy nature and environmental reading. It’s a subtle call to action, and a request to remember where and who we are.

Any quibbles I had are the lack of maps, though I understand the reader is encouraged to get out his own map, or better yet, go. The book is detailed as mentioned above; once or twice I almost expected a test at the end of the segment. Included is an Index and a Resource list.

About the author

Bob Root (Robert L. Root Jr.) believes he has been a writer since he was around eight years old, when he came home with a friend from a showing of Superman and the Mole Men, pried open the lock on his mother’s typewriter, and created a series of very short adventures about Tiger Boy. Since then, his life and career have centered on his writing, his study of the way other writers compose, and his teaching of writers and writing teachers. His bachelor’s degree from State University College, Geneseo, New York, was in English education and theater and his graduate degrees from the University of Iowa were in English literature, but he also did post-graduate work in composition and rhetoric before beginning twenty-eight years of teaching at Central Michigan University. There he taught courses in composition and rhetoric, nonfiction, editing, English education, literature, and media. He retired from full time teaching in 2004 to devote more time to writing creative nonfiction and to writing about it.

A frequent presenter on creative nonfiction and composition at national, international, and regional conferences, his scholarship and teaching led to many articles and books. They include: a book for writers, Wordsmithery, which went through two editions; a book for teachers of writing (co-edited with Michael Steinberg), Those Who Do Can: Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching; and an anthology of creative nonfiction (also co-edited with Michael Steinberg) The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/​on Creative Nonfiction, now in its sixth edition. His essay “Collage, Montage, Mosaic, Vignette, Episode, Segment,” originally published in The Fourth Genre, has been used often in creative writing courses across the country. He has also published three books examining how nonfiction writers do what they do, Working at Writing: Columnists and Critics Composing, E. B. White: The Emergence of an Essayist, and The Nonfictionist's Guide: On Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction.

His creative nonfiction includes essays of place published in literary journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Colorado Review, Rivendell, Ecotone, The Concord Saunterer, and divide; “Knowing Where You’ve Been,” in Ascent, was named a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2004; "Postscript to a Postscript to 'The Ring of Time'" in The Pinch was a Notable Essay in 2010 as well as a Pushcart Nominee, and "Time and Tide" in Ascent was a Notable Essay in 2011. As an essayist he has been an Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Isle Royale National Park; his anthology co-edited with Jill Burkland, The Island Within Us: Isle Royale Artists-in-Residence 1991-1998, won the 2001 Excellence in Media Award from the National Parks Service. He edited and contributed to Landscapes with Figures: The Nonfiction of Place, an anthology of essays and writers’ commentaries on their composing published in 2007 by the University of Nebraska Press. His first full-length work of creative nonfiction, Recovering Ruth: A Biographer’s Tale, was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2004 by the Library of Michigan. His second book-length work of creative nonfiction, Following Isabella, chronicles his attempt to learn how to live in Colorado by tracing the trail of nineteenth-century travel writer Isabella Bird around the Front Range. He has also published a collection of his essays, Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place, a collection of his essays for radio, Limited Sight Distance: Essay for Airwaves, and an edition of columns by his grandmother, Betsy Root, titled How to Develop Your Personality. He is the author of a family memoir, Happenstance. His twentieth book, Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, and Derleth, a book of place set in Wisconsin, was published in Fall 2017.

From 1999 through 2013 Bob Root was a contributing editor for Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, one of the first literary journals devoted exclusively to literary nonfiction. He continues to talk about creative nonfiction at creative writing and English education conferences and has been a visiting writer and speaker in writing programs at colleges and universities around the country. In addition to essays and haibun, he is presently at work on The Arc of the Escarpment, a travel narrative tracking the Niagara Escarpment across Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York, and Literary Remains: Essaying Myself and Others, a polyptych memoir. 

From 2008 until 2017 Bob was a visiting faculty member in creative nonfiction in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Ashland University in Ohio. He is currently a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and a freelance editor of essays, memoirs, and literary nonfiction. He lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Memoir Bringing Hope A Disaster Relief Journey


Bringing Hope: A Disaster Relief Journey

c. August 2017, eLectio Publishing
$4.99 EBook
$14.99 Print
Buy on Amazon
ISBN 978-1632134066

Memoir

About the Book
Sometimes the UNTHINKABLE happens!
When terrorists attack, tornadoes make homes disappear, or hurricanes have communities tumbling like building blocks, our hearts weep for those in need. With insight into a world most people are unaware of, Debbie McKinney brings us along on the true story of her volunteer adventures. Travel with her through both uplifting and emotionally challenging experiences. An engaging, honest, and heartfelt account of bringing hope to people after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, northern New Jersey flooding, and Hurricane Sandy. Her daily journals provide a unique view behind-the-scenes of what a volunteer does, experiences, and feels.

Lisa Lickel's Review
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like for those who drop everything and purposefully run into trouble, McKinney’s book is for you. The author was a long-time Red Cross volunteer with understanding bosses in her field of college administration who allowed her leave time to go and help. Although no one could respond to every disaster when called, and McKinney didn’t, she was part of the recovery efforts of some of the worst natural and man-made disasters in modern American history. Bringing Hope chronicles her time rendering aid.

McKinney shares how she became a Red Cross volunteer, a little history of the organization, and the typical responses in both her large urban community of Milwaukee, and the smaller, rural community in northern Washington County. Then she shares her personal journals and recollections from heart-wrenching major disasters such as the terrorist attacks on New York in 2001, and two of the formerly worst storms to strike American coasts.

The book is personal as well as matter-of-fact, a tell-it-like-it-was account of her role in the aftermath of tragedy. Not an immediate responder for the biggest disasters, McKinney was part of the team to go in a week or more after the event and help people mitigate their losses. Some were easy to take care of; most involved hours on the phone, deliberate decisions of how much money to give, where to find the basic necessities, or counselors, all while living away from family sometimes for weeks in situations little better than the victims.

McKinney’s story doesn’t end with her personal account, it’s a call for action, encouraging readers to respond by finding ways to help others where they are. Bringing Hope is a great story that will touch your heart, make you see red, cry, and laugh even when it feels as though things will never be the same.

About the Author
Debbie McKinney is an accidental author, convinced to share the journals of her volunteer experiences after 9/11 in Washington, D.C., Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, and Hurricane Sandy in New York. She grew up and began her twenty years of volunteering in Milwaukee. A former Financial Aid Director with a BA in Interpersonal Communication from Marquette University, McKinney currently lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband. She enjoys gardening, model trains, and traveling.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Council for Wisconsin Writers contests open



Work published by Wisconsin writers in 2017 is eligible in seven categories, including book-length fictionnonfiction and poetryshort fiction and nonfiction; a set of five poems two of which must have been published in the contest year, and children’s literature.

First-place winners receive $500 and a one-week writer’s residency at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. Honorable mention recipients receive $50 and a one-week writer’s residency at the Painted Forest Study Center in Valton, WI.

Entries for this year’s Wisconsin Writers Awards must be postmarked no later than Jan. 31, 2018. Authors who enter must be current Wisconsin residents.

The entry fee is $25. Membership in CWW is not required, but members are entitled to one free entry. Out-of-state judges will make the selections. Awards will be presented at a banquet in May 2018. The Christopher Latham Sholes Award for 2017 will also be presented at the May banquet. That award, which includes a prize of $500, is named for Christopher Latham Sholes (1819–1890), a Wisconsinite who is credited with inventing the first practical typewriter, and honors an individual or organization for outstanding encouragement of Wisconsin writers.

CWW also sponsors an Essay Award for Young Writers (1,500 word maximum) for Wisconsin high school students; there is no entry fee. The award is $250 for the winning student. Members of the board will judge. Entries for the student essay contest must be postmarked no later than Jan. 31, 2018.

Specific guidelines, entry forms, and important additional information for each award category are available in the 2017 Entry Forms section of the  CWW website, wiswriters.org.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wisconsin Book Festivals Fall 2017

Wisconsin Fall Book Festival season is underway.

Central Wisconsin Book Festival 2017Wausau was home to an inaugural festival event, the Central Wisconsin Book Festival, held at UW-Marathon on September 29-30, sponsored in part by the two local bookstores and the UW extension's fine arts series. The website is a page hosted on the library's website, found here. We'll watch for the festival to come around again, but add it to the list.






The Driftless Writing Center in Viroqua has been reactivated after a four-year absence. The first gathering/reading was held at the Kickapoo Valley reserve on September 29, with a very good turnout. See the website for upcoming events and more information.

Wisconsin Writers Association annual fall conference is held October 6-7 this year at the Riverwalk Hotel in Neenah. Kathleen Ernst is the keynote speaker. Visit the website for the pdf schedule.


Fox Cities Book Festival Sticky LogoThe week-long Fox Cities Book Festival runs from October 9-15th this year in the Appleton area. Now in its tenth year, the list of authors/presenters continues to grow. Visit the website for the complete schedule, venues, parking, etc.

Company LogoSheboygan Children's Book Festival runs October 13-15. See the website for the schedule and more information.






Dueling book festivals continue to challenge the Reader and Writer for time with Madison Public Library's annual

Wisconsin Book Festival, November 2-5 in Madison, several venues. The website has information.








Southeast Wisconsin Festival of BooksThe Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books runs November 3-4 on the UW-Waukesha campus. See the website for the schedule. Nicholas Butler keynotes.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rob Flanigan and his challenging new ideas


Buy on Amazon:
Sunrise Over Disney, by Bert (Rob Flanigan)
Hardcover $27.95
Paperback $16.95

About the Book:
A man's trip to Disney World sparks a revolution in his thinking that strangely alters his quest for a true education. Ultimately, he redesigns a popular Disney attraction and predicts the trajectory of human development, while settling the long-standing feud between science and religion.

About the Author:
In this world of credentialed experts, the author, L.N. Smith, is not one of them. In fact, his credentials are so unconvincing that he has chosen to publish under a humorous pen name instead of his real name. "L.N. Smith" is actually the abbreviation for a phrase that sets up a joke. (The clues to the full name are in Sunrise Over Disney.) Only time will tell if the joke is on him or on today's "credentialed experts." Bert is L.N. Smith's fictional character, who writes and publishes books written in the first person. He is a fun-loving jack-of-all-trades who traces his ancestry back to the chimney sweeps of London at the turn of the last century.