Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tails and Tales cat poetry from John Manesis


Tails & Tales
John Manesis
August, 2020

Buy on Amazon
Paperback $12.00

About the Book
A collection of cat poems based on 50 years experience with family pets, news items, felines in movies and famous cats in literature.

My Review
Manesis creates his latest book of 75 poems from the stuff of literature, history, film, fables and children’s stories. Some are short, a single stanza, and some cross the fold. Many follow a particular rhyme pattern and all are lyrical and pithy.

The poems all feature cats either famous by history, fable, or personal experience, such as “Cleo”: My wife and I inherited another cat…” which leads one to question “inherit”? “another”? but follows the tale of pet treatment battlelines. Another riffs on a scene from The Third Man, where a calico cat helps “out” a presumed victim. Scattered throughout are quotes from the likes of Dickens, Twain, and even da Vinci.

Poetry is often so personal it makes a reader feel like a voyeur, but Tails & Tales happily converts history, present day headlines, word play, and family into a joy ride of cats through pop culture. A very fun and appreciative Author’s Note at the end helps the reader put deeper perspective about particular poems, such as Manesis’s double take on “Puss ’n Boots.” Lots of fun for poetry and cat lovers.

About the Author
John Manesis, born in Eu Claire, Wisconsin, graduated from medical school in 1962 and practiced internal medicine and diagnostic radiology until his retirement in 1996. His poetry has appeared in over 100 literary publications, including many anthologies, and he has also published a children’s story, Greenie and the Tree Frog. He and his wife Bess have two sons and two daughters.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Online Events in November with Write On Door County


Write On, Door County Calendar of Events for November 2020


·         Thursday, November 5, 10:30 am - noon: Great Lakes/Great Books The selection for this month’s online book discussion is Great Lakes Rocks: 4 Billion Years of Geologic History in the Great Lakes Region by Stephen E. Kesler. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Thursdays, November 5, 12, 19 The Craft of Writing: Poetry Join award-winning poets Kimberly Blaeser and Sean Hill for a conversation on writing poetry followed by two 90-minute workshops the following Thursdays. Presented virtually. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Saturday, November 7, 10:30 am  – noon: Writing Young Adult Characters with Agency YA novelist Miriam McNamara leads an online workshop on creating authentic characters in young adult literature. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Wednesday, November 11, 7 – 8:30 pm: Virtual Poetry Reading Join the Door County Poets Collective and the Dickinson Poetry Reading Series for an online reading with contributors from the new anthology of poems about Door County, Halfway to the North Pole. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Sunday, November 14, 10:30 am - noon: Making Comics Led by Crystal Gibbins, this online workshop allows participants to explore what goes in to creating comics. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Monday, November 16, 6 – 8 pm: Rise and Fall: Writing Water Author Catherine Young presents a two-hour online workshop focused on writing about water in any genre. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

·         Saturday, November 21, 10:30 am – noon: The Inside Story on Publishing Graywolf Press editor Steve Woodward gives an insider’s look on the process of getting your literary fiction or nonfiction into print and provides feedback on your opening pages. For more information, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.


For more information or to register for any of these programs, please visit www.writeondoorcounty.org or call 920-868-1457.

Write On, Door County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of Write On, Door County is to inspire people to write and share their stories. Everyone has a story to tell.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable young adult fiction


Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable (Oak Lane Stable Adventures, Book 2)

by Kerri Lukasavitz

Young Adult Fiction

Three Towers Press, an imprint of HenschelHAUS Publishing

September 1, 2020, 299 pp

Reviewed by Joan Bauer

This post originally appeared at: https://wiwrite.org/book-reviews/9317304

All children should have obsessions. In Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable, Kerri Lukasavitz’s second novel for young adults, thirteen-year-old Cassie Piotrowski and her friends are obsessed with horses. The story, set in 1976, invites any reader to immerse herself in a world of shared values and interests—a world that can reflect universal experiences through an unfamiliar lens.

Lukasavitz easily evokes the nineteen-seventies with her beautiful world-building. When a March snowstorm sends Cassie home early from school, one of the boys “bent over and tucked the open ends of plastic bread bags in the tops of his boots after putting his stocking feet into them.” And when the bus reaches Cassie’s house, her mother, a freelance writer, is at home making banana bread and stew. The story is full of delightful touches that ground it firmly in its moment, from the shag carpeting to the communal experience of the summer Olympics and the bicentennial. Even the quiet pacing is reminiscent of a time before the internet, though Cassie’s problems with bullying will be recognizable to anyone who’s ever been the victim of a nasty post on social media.

Cassie fully inhabits this world and takes responsibility for it. At the stable, she breathes in “the rich, dense smell of horses kept inside all winter long;” she displays intimate knowledge and professionalism as she cares for her horse, Snowdrops, even as she longs to try new things with different mounts. Cassie may have an expensive hobby, but there is never a whiff of helicopter parenting or a mention of how it will look on a college application. When she wins, she accepts her ribbons gracefully; but when she loses—and she does, repeatedly, once the bullying starts—Lukasavitz takes the opportunity to examine the full range of her changing emotions. As the novel proceeds, I found myself wishing anxiously that Cassie would talk to her parents about the threatening notes she was receiving, and the culmination of this problem is managed beautifully. But the book demands something that may be in short supply among young readers: patience.

Still, it is a patience well worth cultivating, and for the parents and grandparents of young readers, it should come with many smiles. After all, I certainly never expected to hear the names “England Dan and John Ford Coley” again.


Reviewer Joan Bauer holds a Master’s degree in English from Marquette University and has worked as a trust officer in a bank. In the course of raising three children, she has chaired fundraisers, served on boards, and volunteered frequently at church and school. She is working on a novel.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

A Wisconsin author explores Minnesota


About the Book

This new and completely updated edition by co-authors Doris Green and Greg Brick, PhD, invites readers to consider a different angle for their next Minnesota trip. It guides travelers to the state's publicly accessible caves, former mines, and other subterranean treasures. Whether you are a sport caver, hiker, photographer, teacher, historian, or vacationer, this guide offers unique travel destinations, suggests possible study projects, and points to both widely recognized and little known underground locations. Along the way you'll learn to see Minnesota in a different light--a light cast as often by a headlamp as by a northern sky.


- 82 sites in 23 counties

- 41 new site listings

- 13 museums and educational centers featuring cave and mine replicas as well as geologic exhibits

- 23 sidebars highlighting Minnesota's underground history and geology--not to mention odd but true subterranean tales

- Directions, precautions, and amenities for all sites listed

This guide offers ideas for travelers who want an unordinary travel experience. While some sites require sure-footedness and an ability to climb steep hillsides, others are accessible even for families with young children. If you're ready for a serious trek or an easier tour beneath the surface, Minnesota Underground can the lead the way.

Print $19.99

Ebook $9.98

buy on Amazon

Barnes and Noble

My review:

I have a passion for hidden, enclosed spaces, and love caves; I always have ever since learning about the karst and graben (grave, or sinkhole) geology of my dad’s home in northeastern Iowa. It was with delight that I opened Doris Green’s updated version of Minnesota Underground to read about one of my favorite spots, Niagara Cave.

The authors introduce the several dozen adventures to explore by inviting the reader to experience being there, from the approach to the cave, museum, or mine’s entrance to sharing certain features inside of each. I’m pretty sure a waft of cool, fifty-something degree breeze came out and hit me.

Photos, brief history, excellent facts and concise directions accompany each of the sites. General geological history and descriptions, such as The Driftless Area, and legends such as Seven Iron Men, accompany appropriate chapters. Green makes a point of mentioning natural caves’ most expected denizens, the bat, and the current decline of these fabulous and often misinterpreted creatures due to several factors, including white nose syndrome.

Stories and legends, such as the Gainey Gold Mine fraud, as well as generous but brief folk history and true tales enhance this book. Explore Minnesota from the North, to the St. Croix River Valley, Southeastern, Southwester, and finally the Twin Cities area. Some sites I look forward to checking out with my grandkids in northern Minnesota include Croft Mine Historical Park, the Minnesota Discovery Center, and Conundrum Quarry, and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. I’ll save Speakeasy Tunnel for a trip sometime with my husband.

I purchased the electronic version of the book to make it easy to transport and read in dim light as well. The table of contents is not clickable, but the pages are well outlined and easy to find in the slide bar. The book includes a few volumes of interest for further reading in the back. Highly recommended for the history lover even just for fun reading, and a fun virtual tour around Minnesota even if you only dream of traveling there. Great resource for planning a trip. Includes as much contact information as possible with each site.

About the Author

Doris Green follows her curiosity about topics such as education, genealogy, and the natural environment, writing for local, regional, and national publications. This diversity sometimes leads to insights not found in more focused approaches. She launched Wisconsin Community Banker magazine with the former Community Bankers of Wisconsin and was a communications specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She previously served as a publisher at Magna Publications. Green holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and a master’s degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She lives with her husband, Michael H. Knight, and three distracting cats in a log home near Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Friday, October 2, 2020

debut crime fiction from Jim Jordan


Men of God

JP Jordan

Crime mystery thriller

Orange Hat publishing

September, 2020

Ebook $

Print $18.95 paperback; $29.99 hardcover

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Barnes & Noble

About the Book

Having reluctantly accepted a job from family friend and CEO Emil Swenson, former pararescueman Nick Hayden quickly transitions from rescuing soldiers in Afghanistan to desk jockeying at Weston, a Wisconsin-based insurance company. He’s tasked with closing a failing division responsible for insuring religious institutions, but recent investigations surrounding the murder of a formerly insured priest, a known pedophile, leave Nick feeling suspicious.

Without any leads except a cryptic letter found at the crime scene, the case quickly goes cold, but another murder of a previously insured religious leader leads Nick to a chilling realization: a serial killer is on the hunt. When more obscure messages lead him to believe the next target has been chosen, the race to stop the ruthless killer begins. 

A Brief Interview with the Author

Jim, what do you love about your book?

I really enjoyed the research process for writing Men of God. I was fortunate to pick the brains of several experts from numerous disciplines including the military, law enforcement, and the legal arena. When I needed additional background material, I loved the challenge of finding it on the internet. It was a fun exercise take the expert material and weave it into an interesting storyline. I’m proud of the final product and pleased with the response I’ve gotten from readers.  

Tell us a little about your journey to publication?

My journey to publication started years ago with a rough idea for a book over a bottle of wine at the dinner table with my wife. I had always wanted to write a fiction novel and tossed out the premise of a serial killer hunting down clergy. At the time, I was working full-time and wanted to spend time with my family, so the idea of writing a book went to the back burner. However, that initial thought never went away.

When I retired, I decided to pursue my dream and made writing a priority. In my head, I developed a research plan, found experts, and got to the point that I felt ready, thinking the book would flow directly from my brain through my fingers onto the written page. I remember sitting in front of my laptop realizing I still needed characters, background information, and a storyline. So, after a couple of weeks of making little progress, I decided to type the initial draft of the prologue and presented it to my wife. While we had talked about a book many times, she liked the first pages and told me she was surprised I could write so well.

I began writing in earnest, completing the initial draft of the book in about a year. I often joked with friends that writing the book was the easy part of the process. Getting to publication took much longer than I thought. Writing query letters, getting rejections and/or silence from publishers was frustrating. But I kept learning my craft by attending workshops and conferences, while also learning the ins and outs of a new business.

More than a year later, I pitched Shannon Ishizaki from Orange Hat at a Wisconsin-based writers conference. After sending her the first few chapters, it turned out she was interested and I signed a contract. Then the learning curve got steeper as I went through the editing process and made all the decisions required to print a book and support it with marketing. I don’t think anyone fully gauged the effect of Covid on the publishing world. After all the work, the printing process was delayed and many of the traditional marketing techniques to launch the book were off the table. However, with the support of the Orange Hat team, my dream became a reality.

Introduce us to your main villain.

With Men of God being a mystery thriller, I can’t divulge that information. Suffice it to say that there are many twists and turns as you come down the stretch with the book that will hopefully keep readers engaged and surprised.

What do you hope readers will tell other book lovers?

That they were both engrossed and entertained by Men of God right down to the final page. Also, that the characters evoked some emotional reaction one way or the other.

What are you reading now?

Brad Thor’s Near Dark is at the top of my list. However, I’m also working through a series of short stories in Stephen King’s Different Seasons. Also, as a Rush fan, Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass is on my reading table.

What’s next for you?

I’ve written a second novel (and a third) featuring a second level character from Men of God. In the follow-up book, Detective Chuck Nowitzke and his partner, Anissa Taylor, are tasked to investigate a series of jewelry thefts that take place largely in Wisconsin. Nowitzke and Anissa are also the protagonists in the third book.

About the Author 
 J. P. Jordan    

After completing his career as an insurance management professional, Jim’s creative focus is now on writing mystery fiction novels. Men of God is his first effort in this genre. Jim currently resides in Sister Bay with his wife, Nancy. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sci fi fantasy from Karl Krueger


Gates of Avalon

Karl Krueger

Sci-fi/fantasy, time travel

Kindle $7.99

Also available in hardcover

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Barnes and Noble

About the Book

It had been more than a thousand centuries since the Old Ones disappeared. Who they were and where they went was a matter of heated debate amongst the scholars of Avalon. The old ones had left behind five great artifacts. Gates that opened pathways to the many worlds spread across all the plains of existence.

For many centuries the ageless gates stood as monuments to the Old Ones. No one guessed or understood the danger until it was to late. The mighty warriors of Asgaard fell in a single night of blood and flames, Shangri La only lasted an hour. Even the Empire of the Four Realms could not stand against this new enemy.

Now the darkness that enveloped Avalon was coming here and it was up to Theodore Schmidt, an old man, crippled and weary to stop it. This is the chronicle of that struggle.

My review:

Krueger’s fantastical novel, Gates of Avalon, is a sort of campfire-ghost-story, cowboys and Indians-v.-aliens type of story for the “mature” set.

The stories of Teddy Schmidt’s boy scout days, told by his father, really do come true some fifty years later when Wyoming is attacked by unearthly aliens. A legacy left by Ted and his brother Michael’s father in the form of a special book and dairies hold the clue to the horrifying events unfolding on planet Earth. The race is on for Teddy, Michael, and the specialists from the University of Wyoming to decipher the novel and reach out to the mysterious friend Buck, the mysterious ageless man the Schmidt boys’ father knew way back when. When they learn the plan has been in the works for millennia, and the world of the Kron is in danger, they decide whether or not to travel to the hidden realm Avalon to resume their father’s mission.

Self-published by the author through Palmetto Publishing Group, 2018/2020. Reviewed for Strategic Vision Group. Minor grammatical errors in the narrative, lengthy past and present-day scenes of war and the 1860s western US. Graphic language, but not continual. Told from alternating viewpoints; the “I” character of Teddy. and omniscient voice narrative in other parts of the story Part time travel, part current events, including some pretty graphic violence, the Gates of Avalon is an intriguing adventure for those who love historical ghost stories, cowboys and Indians, and aliens come to life. Beautifully designed and illustrated.


About the Author

Karl L. Kruger grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. Graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he worked in Agri-Business and eventually became a Deputy Sheriff. His long career in law enforcement included training in accident reconstruction and a lengthy stint in TRT-EOD (Tactical Response Team - Explosive Ordinance Disposal). After retiring from police work, Karl began to manufacture historical gaming figures (toys). He has also written rule sets for historical gaming. The author still lives in rural Wisconsin, with his wife, a grandson and a few dozen chickens. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Annual WWA Conference Craft Talk Agent Talk Oct 3


Fall Conference 2020



2020 may not lend itself to in person gatherings, but that isn't going to stop us from hosting our Fall Conference. And this year it will be even easier to attend because you can do it from the comfort of your own living room. So come join us for some great panels and workshops with amazing writers from all over the state. 


Virtual Conference at a glance: 


8:45AM - Welcome from WWA President Barry Wightman

9:00AM - Why We Write - Dasha Kelly Hamilton

9:50AM - Break

10:00AM - First Five Pages - Jennifer Lee Goloboy

10:50AM - Break

11:00AM - Writing Scenes that Work - Erin Celello & Ann Garvin

12:00PM - Lunch

1:00PM - Jade Ring Winners Announced 

1:15PM - Panel Discussion - Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Jennifer Lee Goloboy, Erin Celello & Ann Garvin.                     

Moderated by Barry Wightman