Sunday, July 1, 2018

New nonfiction Wisconsin Women Effecting Change

Somos Latinas, Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists

Andrea-Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gomez

Wisconsin Historical Society Press
April, 2018
$24.95 Print
$15.99 Ebook
Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
This book shares the stories of 25 women with Wisconsin ties who are outspoken demonstrators, collaborative community-builders and determined individuals working for change behind the scenes. Each story in told in their own words, drawn from interviews conducted as part of the Somos Latinas Digital history Project housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

About the Authors:
Andrea-Teresa Arenas, PhD, recently retired from her positions at UW–Madison as a Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Faculty Affiliate and the director of the Office of Service Learning and Community-Based Research in the College of Letters & Science. She is currently the director of the Somos Latinas Digital History Project.

Eloisa Gómez is the director of the Milwaukee County UW–Extension Office. From 2008 to 2012, she was the vice president of the Latino Historical Society of Wisconsin, and she served on the Somos Latinas Advisory Committee from 2012 to 2015.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Everyday people Against Trafficking EAT FEST

24/7 Confidential Help:1-888-373-7888
TTY: 711
Text: 233733

For those of you who keep this horrible world-wide affliction against humanity in your constant heart, learn more about what you can do to prevent and stop this tragedy in our neighborhoods.

August 25, 2018

Schultz Park, Elroy, WI
N.2425 WI-82
Elroy, WI 53929
EAT Fest is everyday people against trafficking. It's a fun, artistic, creative day filled with art, crafts, music, food and more food. A unique platform for survivors to showcase their art and hand-made items, music, dance, poetry. Vendors will be asked (not obligated) to create a unique item for auction using the inspiration word "liberated." Donated items will be auctioned and ALL funds will benefit community organizations combating trafficking in Wisconsin. This is a FREE, family friendly event open to the public.  Advocates and community organizations supporting anti-trafficking efforts are welcome. 

Learn More:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Underground Railroad event July 22 to 29

Don't miss this unique experience! Just clink the link below.

Underground Railroad
Interactive Theater in the woods!
Experience the Underground Railroad in 1852. Go back in time to encounter costumed characters in this historical event. With the help of your guide, Harriet Tubman, follow the north star, and find the secret codes and signs along the wooded trail. Groups of 10 - 12 will help a fugitive slave escape to Canada on the Underground Railroad.

Sunday, July 22 - Every 15 minutes from 2:30 - 4 pm
Friday, July 27 - Every 15 minutes from 6:30 - 8 pm
Saturday, July 28 - Every 15 minutes from 2:30 - 4 and 6:30 - 8 pm
Sunday, July 29 - Every 15 minutes from 2:30 - 4 pm


Behind Wooded Hills Church, 777 Hwy 164, Colgate, WI, just west of Menomonee Falls

Tickets are $12/ Group discounts available

Morning Star Productions
(414) 228-5220 X119

Monday, May 28, 2018

Linking photos and words Milwaukee event July 19

The deadline for photo submission is past.
Submit writing by June 21
or write

This Photo Projection and Reading event takes place on
July 19
7:00 PM
Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee WI

Fee admission
A great selection of Craft Beers is available for purchase

Friday, May 11, 2018

Trethewey Releases second Highland Romance

Betting the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

Betting the Scot
Jennifer Trethewey
C. 2018
Historical Romance

3.99 eBook
20.99 Print
Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
Declan Sinclair is a Highlander who believes his dreams never lie. When he spots Caya at a public house, he knows instantly she is the woman in his dreams—his future wife. Though her brother had promised never to gamble again, he engages Declan in a card game—and the prize is the lovely Caya.

Caya Pendarvis has no time for childish things like dreams or fairy-tales or love. She’s the sacrificial lamb on her way to the far north of Scotland to wed a wealthy merchant in exchange for settling her brother’s gambling debts.

Winning at cards is one of the many things Declan Sinclair does well. Unfortunately, the ability to court a woman—a talent he lacks—is the only skill he desperately needs to win Caya’s heart.

My Review
Trethewey’s Balforss house books are a delight to those who adore hunky historical bawdy but fun and fairly clean romance. I know, I needed to hide the cover from my hubs, too. There’s just no comparison. As mentioned in the description, it’s a family saga of stand-alones, tied by setting and characters.

Who doesn’t love a guy who buys a bathtub for a wife he has only dreamed about? I admit I fell for Declan in the first book, his sweetness and cluelessness, but braver than brave and true-hearted beyond belief.

At a time period where women, even those who’ve reached the great age of twenty-five and orphaned but under the “care” of a destructive sibling, Caya is at the bottom of the well of opportunity. She seems pretty resigned to her fate, the truth of which is only hinted at through her naiveté. The horror of it comes at a terrible price and sets up the next story beautifully, which makes me yearn to read it. In the meantime, first sight of an eager and yummy dark-haired Scot who keeps staring at Caya with a too-familiar ogle makes her look back. And again. And so begins a truly epic love affair, pirates and all.

Held at bay by wise Uncle John, Caya and Declan weather issues such as unbearable longing, accusations of witchcraft, and a quasi-amorous vicar contending for Caya’s hand. While it might have detracted from the romance, I would have been interested to see more of the effects of the gossiping nearby villagers after Caya performs a heroic task.

Nevertheless, the Sinclairs are a lovely family and a few hours in the Highlands with men of virtue and their dynamic lasses is truly a delight.

About the author:
Trethewey claims to 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! She’s an actress, former co-artistic director of a professional theater company, and she and her husband operate an improv comedy club. They live in the Midwest. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Wisconsin State Parks Natural History with Scott Spoolman

New from Wisconsin Historical Society Press
April, 2017

Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History
By Scott Spoolman
Paperback: $24.95
ISBN: 978-0-87020-849-2
252 pages, 88 color photos and 6 maps, 7 x 9 
Ebook $15.99

Buy on Amazon 
Buy on Barnes and Noble

From the volcanoes that poured deep layers of lava rock in the northwest, to the glacial masses that molded the land in the north and east,  Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History (ISBN: 978-0-87020-849-2, Paperback: $24.95) offers a deeper understanding of our state's dramatic natural history, and explores the complexity behind the impressive landscape we see today. This account of nature's evolution instills in readers the value of Wisconsin's parks that goes beyond just beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities; these areas provide a window into the distant past.

Author and science writer Scott Spoolman uses his accessible storytelling style to take readers through twenty-eight of Wisconsin's parks, forests, and natural areas where evidence of the state's striking geologic and natural history are on display. Spoolman sheds light on the current landscape, drawing connections to ancient geologic processes, the evolution of the flora and fauna, and the development of human settlement and activities. This book includes a selection of detailed trail guides for each park, which hikers can take with them on the trail to view evidence of Wisconsin's geologic and natural history for themselves.

Spoolman’s exploration of Wisconsin through the natural history of its state parks helps natives and visitors alike know Wisconsin in a more meaningful way. Spoolman’s journey and revelations almost feel as though he’s sharing our state from the inside out.

In his latest book, Wisconsin State Parks, he guides the reader through five areas of unique topography, examining what makes twenty-six of our nearly fifty state parks special, as well as two of our dozens of state forests.

Opening with a chapter on the “big picture” of knowable history, Spoolman takes the reader on a wholly readable and understandable geologic survey of what is now Wisconsin, from the earliest speculations of forming and reforming land masses to the ages from the Cenozoic to Precambrian periods. Using charts and figures, he breaks information into easily digestible and interesting bites which lay the groundwork to understand the current topography. The author then moves into early animal and human occupation which have also affected the land for thousands of years.

The five areas Spoolman identifies are The Rift Zone of the northwest corner of the state, The Driftless Area of the southwest corner, Carved by Water and Ice for the south-central area, The Glacial Showcase of southwestern Wisconsin and the Bones of the Land for the northeast quadrant. Wisconsin is a large state with many varied features. He selected five or six parks or forests for an intimate look in each area.

Each area chapter opens with several pages of general geologic history, including figures and excellent definitions of terms used to explain the described features. I turned to the Glacial Showcase first, as I had lived near the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine Forest for thirty years. The forest unit and guided trails at Parnell Tower and High Cliff were spot on. I now live in the “Driftless” area, and checked out Spoolman’s description of Wildcat Mountain, which I enjoyed.

Using photographs from different times of the year, late summer and mostly fall, the author showcases the best of natural Wisconsin. For parks such as Rock Island in Door County, he also includes a little light keeper history. Native American tribal people impacts through the ages are also noted. Spoolman takes the reader on a guided walk through forty of the trails in the described parks, adding personal observations and interesting facts along the way.

What you won’t find is specific information about the Wisconsin Park system, such as entrance fees, camping, directions or addresses, or various permits needed.

Spoolman’s bibliography is an excellent resource guide for those who want to know more, and an index is helpful. Easily readable, recommended for junior high and up. Families and hikers will appreciate learning more about our state. Small enough to take on a hike or camping, having Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History will add to your nature experience.


How did you decide to write a book like this, and what’s unique about this book compared to other Wisconsin Parks guides?
I wanted to share my fascination about the geology and natural history of Wisconsin with its variety of landscapes and land features, and found the State Parks to be perfect entry points for taking journeys back in time, so to speak. On the park trails, one can see the evidence that geologists, ecologists, archeologists, and historians have used to tell the stories of what happened in Wisconsin’s distant past. What makes the book unique is a narrative flow that includes just enough geology to give readers the background they need to fully appreciate each park story without bogging down in geologic concepts and terminology. I also include trail guides that I wrote after taking my own hikes, designed to help readers to see for themselves the evidence that scientists and historians have used to construct the stories of the park areas.

Who do you hope will spend the most time with this book and how you hope readers will use it?
It should appeal to a wide range of people, including those who have enough time to do some traveling and who like going to the parks. They will enjoy learning how some of the amazing features within the parks were formed and what went on in the parks since ancient times. Also, young parents might enjoy having this book when they take their children to the parks, because it will help them to answer some questions the kids might ask about how things got to be the way they are there. And finally, I think school age youngsters who are motivated to read and learn in combination with their trips to the parks would appreciate this book.

Which Wisconsin Park do you find the most unique and why?
That’s a tough question. They are all unique, each having its own interesting story, which makes it hard to pick favorites. Copper Falls State Park has a complicated but fascinating geological story and a haunting beauty that transports visitors back to an ancient time. It combines striking features—deep rocky gorges, impressive waterfalls, and the confluence of two wild rivers—that make it among my favorites. But I could say something similar about most of the other parks I wrote about.

Do you have one park in particular that every Wisconsinite should try to visit?
I’d rather list a small number, one from each region, that people could choose from: Interstate State Park in the northwest; Governor Dodge State Park in the southwest; Devil’s Lake in south-central; Rib Mountain in the north; Kettle Moraine State Forest in the southeast; and Peninsula State Park in the northeast. That’s a Top 6, but I could easily have made a Top 10 or 20, all of which I’d recommend everyone see.

What do you hope for the future for Wisconsin’s Park system?

 The parks should be preserved and maintained as public parks, funded mostly by public means, as opposed to user fees, so that they don’t become too expensive for most people.  They should be preserved in their natural conditions as much as possible for the benefit of future generations and for all wildlife that depend on them for their habitats and survival. And they should be fully funded so that trails and other public services in the parks do not deteriorate. 

Author Scott Spooman is a science writer who has focused on the environmental sciences, especially those stories of natural science and the environment related to Wisconsin and surrounding states. After earning a master's degree from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, he worked for several years as an editor in the publishing industry, specializing in textbooks and other educational materials. Since 1996, he has worked as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of outlets and has coauthored several editions of a series of environmental science textbooks.

Monday, April 9, 2018

New Hiking Guide from Rob Bignell

Day Hiking Trails of St. Croix County
Rob Bignell
Atiswinic Press
ISBN: 978-1948872027
$9.95 Print, $0.99 Ebook
136 pp
Buy on Amazon

New travel guidebook describes more than 100 day hiking trails in Wisconsin’s St. Croix County.

Day Hiking Trails of St. Croix County by Wisconsin author Rob Bignell, covers trails in Hudson, River Falls, New Richmond, Somerset, Baldwin, Woodville, Glenwood City and the surrounding area, including Amery, Osceola, Spring Valley, Clayton and Clear Lake as well the Minnesota communities of Stillwater, Woodbury and Afton.

“St. Croix County is chockful of great trails and hidden wonders,” Bignell said. “You can stand before a waterfall that plunges a fifth of the way down a 20-story canyon. You can walk beside premier trout streams running through picturesque fields and charming woodlands. You can stand atop the Midwest’s largest earthen dam.”

A state park, a national riverway, great city parks, and a variety of other public lands all are open to hikers, bicyclists and other outdoors lovers in St. Croix County. Many are free while the others carry a nominal entrance cost.

Bignell grew up just two miles east of the St. Croix County line and has hiked many of its trails since childhood. He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he majored in journalism and English.  

The book provides a plethora of information about each featured trail, including:
• Driving directions to the trail
• Where to park and find the trailhead
• Course the trail takes
• Scenic points to look for on the trail
• Wildlife and flora you might spot
• Interesting tidbits about regional geology and history
• Best times to hike the trail

“These trails are perfect for families with children,” Bignell said. The trails run from a tenth of a mile to seven miles in length, with most only one to three miles long.

“Day Hiking Trails of St. Croix County” is the latest in several bestselling hiking guidebooks Bignell has authored. Last year, his “Best Sights to See at Great Smoky Mountains National Parks” spent more than two months at No. 1 on’s bestsellers list for Travel>Tennessee ebooks. Several other books about Wisconsin, Minnesota, and national parks have hit No. 1 on lists during the past five years.

More than three years of research went into the book. Bignell’s son Kieran accompanied him on a number of those hikes.

An avid backpacker and long-time editor, Bignell is uniquely qualified to write about hiking, especially for families. Bignell has served in the Army National Guard and taught middle school students in New Mexico and Wisconsin. A former newspaper and magazine editor in California, his journalism work has won several awards, from editorial writing to sports reporting. In 2001, The Prescott Journal, which he served as managing editor of, was named Wisconsin’s Weekly Newspaper of the Year. 

This is Bignell’s 21st hiking guidebook, almost all of which focus on Wisconsin and Minnesota. He now lives with his son in western Wisconsin.