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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lisa Hainline and children's lit


Polly’s Pink Piggy Parlor
Written and illustrated by Lisa Hainline
Children’s literature

Hardcover $18.99
Paper $14.99
Coloring book $8.99

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book:
Once upon a time, there was a piggy...with a comb.
Polly is a lovable pig who just wants to do what she loves to do, and would rather play with her dolls than play in the Mud. With the encouragement of friends, Polly ends up starting her very own beauty salon, to help her friends feel unique and beautiful in their own special way. Polly's Pink Piggy Parlor encourages young girls to not only look their best but to discover what their talents and giftings are and develop them…no matter what anybody thinks.

My review:
Polly is a most unusual pig. Instead of the usual mud play, Polly prefers to brush her dolly’s hair, and fix the coiffeurs of other farmyard and zoo animals. She helps her barnyard friend Sally who wants to be “hip” for her trip to town and encourages Polly to practice her talent. No creature was too difficult to beautify – from a fly to an elephant, Polly used her gifts, pampering the animals with their special requests, dyeing, plucking, curling, and even nail/claw treatments. She became so well known that she started her own beauty treatment parlor, the culmination of her hard work and dreams. The story encourages readers and listeners to follow their hearts and work to achieve their goals.

Charmingly illustrated in shaded pastels, Hainlines a/a, b/b, c/c, d/d rhyme scheme will be sure to have kids begging for another read. Accompanied by an outline coloring book, youngsters can color along while listening to their favorite reader. A unique addition to the story is “finders keepers,” a counting list of specialty items found in the illustrations to help Polly put her shop in order. Printable activity papers are available free to download from the author’s website, http://www.lisahainline.com/.



About the author

Lisa Hainline is an award-winning and gifted graphic designer, art director and illustrator, producing/directing for ad agencies, major corporations, radio stations, hospitals, banks, manufacturers, magazines and other small boutique businesses. 


With over 40 years in the advertising industry, for the past seven years, Lisa has turned her focus to helping other authors self-publish their works, designing some of the covers seen on Amazon. You can see her book cover design work at her studio www.lionsgatebookdesign.com, where she merges her design and marketing experience with her spiritual gifts to help Christian authors promote the message God laid on their hearts. 

Founder and author of http://www.thehealingsource.org, Lisa also ministers to the hurting through her blog, articles and praying with others in street ministry.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lisa now enjoys the continual sunshine in California near her daughter and son-in-law and plans to bring more of her own books to the surface. You can reach Lisa at Lisa@lisahainline.com and through her websites above and at http://www.lisahainline.com and http://www.lionsgatebookdesign.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catherine Finger and Jo Oliver thrillers


Catherine Finger
Elk Lake Publishing
May 2017

Print ISBN 978-1946638113
$12.99

Buy on Amazon    Buy it on Barnes and Noble

About the Book
A Dead Body, A Cryptic Clue—Will Jo Oliver Solve the Riddle in Time? Police Chief Jo Oliver needed a little time to herself. But when her escape to Wisconsin turns deadly, she teams up with FBI agent Nick Vitarello, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Their romantic past and complicated present leads them into uncharted territory as they match wits with a psychopath bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

My Review
The third installment of the Jo Oliver mystery thrillers takes place in Wisconsin. In this story, Jo, or Josie to her friends, is ordered to take some vacation time after a harrowing run-in with a murderer and near death experience. Her vacation ends abruptly on the sixth hole of an early-morning solitary round of golf when she runs after a cap sailing in the wind and traces it back to its owner, buried upright at the edge of an Indian mound.

This is the first book of the series for me. I stop trying to figure out what I’d missed with all the graphic references and obvious romance, and just started to read the current mystery. Apparently Chief Jo has an active romantic life and is widowed, and is well-known to several branches and members of law enforcement. She grew up in Wisconsin and is taking some R&R on inherited property which abuts a golf course. She also has a cabin in the woods and close friends. After a reference to Michelle Obama, I wasn’t sure about racial identity, but that didn’t seem to be part of the story.

Jo had gotten involved in the past with the FBI, and one agent in particular, a gorgeous agent named Nick. She has mentors and friends and also sometime in the not-too-distant past became a Christian. Her golf course victim, she learns, is one of a bizarre series of crimes targeting specific profiles of people. With her friend the local sheriff who has a romantic and lengthy friendly interest in Jo, and the FBI love interest agent, Jo helps hunt down the killer, but not without nearly falling prey a couple of times.

Told in first person throughout, the character is a sassy, lovestruck gal with a reputation of being able to befriend and pray through danger-fraught situations. The romantic angles seem pronounced in this mystery, and those who prefer their Christian mysteries pure and chaste will need to put on blinders for some heavy duty but fairly clean kissing and lots of thinking about kissing, as well as alcohol use. Some of the characters seems like filler, like Jo’s Wisconsin neighbors, though I’m sure they were more important in the earlier books. When using real names and places, it’s always best to use real geography. If you happen to live in the area mentioned in the book, like I do, you may not appreciate unnecessary liberties taken with the setting.

Readers of spicy, dicey mysteries featuring lots of romantic angles and some procedural detective work will enjoy the Jo Oliver series. The first two books  are Shattered By Death and Cleansed By Death.

About the Author
Catherine Finger is recently retired from a wonderful career in public education. Follow her on Facebook, CatherineFingerAuthor, and Twitter, @BeJoOliver.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anson Berberich and Eggshells in My Omelette

Introducing Anson Berberich of Waukesha and his children's picture book.

34759442

About the Book
In the rhyming comical influence of authors like Shel Silverstein, Mo Willems and Dr. Seuss, Anson Berberich brings you his first children's picture book. Eggshells In My Omelette is written and illustrated by Anson Berberich. It's a catchy comedy story that rhymes about a boy whose name is never mentioned. He is not very picky about his food unless his dish comes with one minor/major flaw, the chef lost an eggshell in his cooked eggs. The boys goes on to make publicly known all the disgusting things he will eat before he eats that.

Children’s Picture Book
$5.99 eBook
$14.95 Print
March 4, 2017
8.5 by 11 inches
ISBN-13: 978-0998794006
Buy on Amazon 

About the Author
Anson lives in Wisconsin with his wife, son and pet tortoise named Peanut. He and his wife love to play music apart and together. He likes to go on long runs and has done many marathons and 5K races. He loves to write books and short stories for his wife and friends to make them laugh. He also loves to make songs that make people smile. He plays guitar, drums, bass, and trumpet.