Saturday, December 18, 2010

Waxing Poetic at Christmas


Under my grandmothers tree
a nativity set, stable thatched

with real palm. kings bejeweled
and robed, babe in swaddling

separate from his bed
of cellophane grass,

shredded straw strewn
over cotton snow,

a white-light star aglow
through angel hair and pine.

I played house,
moved the figures from place

to place, the art of display,
preparation I know now

for this setting of creches
we sell in our stores.

When I was six
I lost the babe no bigger

than a thumbnail. That loss

for shoplifted babes
always the first in the holy family

to go missing.

From Blooming Red
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
preprinted with encouragement.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a major supporter of Wisconsin Regional Writers' Association and the founder of the How To Do It Frugally series.
Instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program

Web site:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Steve Busalacchi and White Coat Wisdom

Stephen J. Busalacchi is a medical journalist, author and speaker, who reported for National Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Radio for 15 years.

In the process, he won more than two dozen journalism awards. His book White Coat Wisdom, an oral history of extraordinary physicians, has earned three national literary honors: Winner of the Eric Hoffer award for health, and finalist for both the Montaigne Medal and the Indie Book Awards.

Busalacchi is also author of Media Savvy, Media Success!, a quick guide to stellar performance with the news media, as well as End of Life Matters, an abridged version of White Coat Wisdom.

He has spent a decade as a communications specialist for the Wisconsin Medical Society, and more recently, as the principal of a health communications firm in Madison, Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and two young daughters.

Media interview training is something former public radio broadcaster Steve Busalacchi (booz-uh-LOCK-ee) has focused on for the past 12 years. His services are important because the last place you want to be is in the glare of a TV camera with nothing important to say! Steve's Badger Speaker School will make sure you are ready and able to effectively communicate.

Why did you write White Coat Wisdom?

Early in my career as a public radio reporter, I was assigned the medical beat. Frequently, I ended up calling physicians for comment about various health care issues and almost always came away impressed with them. Time after time, each person was not just articulate, but he or she was able to explain complicated scientific matters in a way a layperson could understand. I was struck by that.

And soon after I had begun doing these interviews, I thought to myself, I bet there’s a good story behind each of these people. How did they get like this? Who influenced them along the way? What have they learned?

Then, I started getting into Studs Terkel books like The Good War and Working and I decided an oral history format would be perfect for doctors. Point a microphone toward them and let them speak.

My review of White Coat Wisdom

White Coat Wisdom

By Stephen J. Busalachci

December 4, 2010

ISBN 978-0-0794222-0-1- HC
590 pp; Hardcover
Apollo’s Voice LLC
c. 2008
Non-fiction, Physicians/Medicine-Anecdotes

Stephen Busalacchi is a veteran medical journalist whose work has appeared on National Public radio and Wisconsin Public Radio. He is a former director of public relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society and is the owner of a health communications firm in Madison, Wisconsin. During his years at a health reporter for WPR, he met many physicians. His stories are the seeds for this book. Described in some reviews as an oral history, this large collection of interviews across many ages, types of practice, and specialties of Wisconsin physicians is a candid look inside the professions of thirty-five doctors who share their fascination, love, triumphs and despair with the author.

Busalacchi states in the introduction that he feels his book is something “everyone can relate to” and that everyone should have a trusting relationship with his doctor. “My goal was to personalize the profession” and let doctors tell their own stories. The interview style of asking questions and recording the responses doesn’t quite accomplish this purpose, but Busalacchi’s questions are interesting and the answers often enthralling.

I often include medical issues in my novels, and last year underwent major surgery with a spinal so I could experience as much of my procedure as they would allow. My open-minded surgeon answered my questions about what it was like in the operating room. If you prefer to hold your doctor at arm’s-length awe and have no desire to know how the magic happens, you won’t want to read this book. However, if you’re curious about things like how long it takes to get used to dissecting a cadaver, funky little rhymes about certain professors, the unspoken hierarchy of the different types of education and degrees, or why some current medical students choose their specialties, you’ll love it.

As a historian, I collect oral histories so I was particularly interested in the author’s style for this project. While Busalacchi obtained stunning and stellar endorsements, such as the cover copy from former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, and the Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing, the few typos and inconsistent or misused punctuation is distracting. The author chose to use pencil drawings of his subjects instead of photographs, which I feel detracts from the book.

These distractions are minor in light of the overall project. Busalacchi tackles a huge and compelling topic. For readers of biography and medical issues, White Coat Wisdom is an inspiring and truly intriguing read.

Reviewed by Lisa J Lickel
author of the novels Healing Grace and Meander Scar
A copy of this book was provided by the author

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jenny Turner

Thrills, Chills...Horrors! And Romance... And Action...

Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate.

Jenny writes YA with an RL Stine flavor and Romantic Suspense and Thriller/Action...whew! She's a busy lady, and involved with the publishing side too at Echelon Press and edits the Newsletter for Wisconsin Regional Writers Association.
Here are some of her latest YA:

DFF: Dead Friends Forever

The Kindle version

Skater Kaylee Hensler might not be Miss Popular, but there are some friends a girl can do without. When the decaying ghost of a murdered girl decides they need to be total BFF’s, Kaylee will sacrifice the trust of her family, her swim coach’s respect, and any hope of a date for the Harvest Dance.

And oh yeah… discover that super-evil entities are nothing at all like they are on TV or in the movies Aside from seriously bad attitudes, they not only like to kill…but replay the killing again and again for all eternity. To avoid that fate, she’ll have to rely on her wheelchair-bound friend Davey, the mysterious Madame Maggie, and the surprising depth of her own power.

Will Kaylee survive, or will she become someone else's DFF: Dead Friend Forever?

School's Out 4-Ever

The Kindle version

Skater girl Kaylee Hensler gave up her freedom to save a trapped soul, only to be imprisoned with dozens of dead children. To make matters worse, if she stops smiling, she might not live to see fifteen.

You can take a Barclay girl out of class, but you can't take the class out of a Barclay girl.

The headmistress at Barclay Hall reformatory is gorgeous and the students are just as polished and beautiful. Beneath their proper etiquette lies a desperate fear and a dangerous secret. As one by one the students turn up dead, Kaylee will uncover an evil so ancient, only heaven can help her.

Here are someof Jenny's Romantic Suspense and Thriller/Action stories:
Stark Knight

The Kindle version

Knight Inc. has a new mission–find a medallion, stop a madman, and rescue the boss. That makes this one personal. When clues leading to the extravagant ballroom of the wickedly wealthy uncover a devious plot disguised by the flow of champagne and false charity, Stark and Knight dress to kill. Tempted by sultry Panama, they find bombs aren't the only thing igniting this dangerous paradise. But deep in the tomb of an underground lair, the risk will become deadly as they fight to save the world and the one man they call family.

Silent Knight

The Kindle version
Sara Stark is sent to rescue a senator's son, but when she and the boy go missing, Drake Knight will confront his deepest fears. Pawns in a power struggle, Sara and the boy are injected with a deadly virus that is more than it appears. From the Cook Islands to Lake Superior, forces put in motion decades earlier will collide in a dangerous battle where trusting the enemy of their enemy may prove fatal. It's a race against time to find a cure, the key to which only one man has, a man who must break a lifetime of silence, a man Sara and Drake call father.

Good Knight

The Kindle version
When a mission in Montreal goes tragically wrong, Sara Stark vows to take down the group responsible. The Trifecta is a shadow organization headed by the one woman she wished had stayed dead... From Houston to Brazil, nothing will stop Sara, not even an unexpected side effect from the experimental drug the Trifecta injected her with. For her Knight Inc. partner and new husband, Drake Knight, the more dangerous threat could prove to be the battle raging within Sara between might and right. But with the welfare of the world at stake, they may not have the option of disarming their most lethal weapon…Sara herself.

My Biker Bodyguard

Keeping Jess Owen's ex-con father and their hodgepodge family of bikers out of trouble is a tough job, but one she's managed for ten years. Until bodyguard Mitch Conner brings danger and romance to her doorstep. After Jess's mother was shot by an assassin, Mitch vowed to protect her secret daughter. But when the FBI suspect Mitch contracted the hit himself and is now seducing the next in line to inherit the family fortune, his attraction to the fiery Jess may burn him in more ways than one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shellie Neumeier

Graduating with a degree in Secondary Education from UW-Madison, I’ve been blessed to serve at my local churches for over twenty years in youth, children’s, family, and special needs ministries. I have four kids, two girls and two boys (the oldest and youngest are my girls with the boys in the middle, like an Oreo cookie). Our family now includes two greyhound dogs—ex-racers who love to sleep and take me for a walk at least once a day. We live in the country where we hear coyotes howl at night and watch Turkeys migrate across our lawn every fall. Yeah, it’s kinda cool. Today, I write stories about kids who are learning what Jesus values. Funny thing, since I hated English and Language Arts classes. But, boy did I love to tell stories--still do.

Driven  - TPB Spring 2011

About the Book:

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.

Driven is available on Barnes and Noble now for pre-order.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meet Tamara Lyon

Tamara Lyon-Novelist

Newest Release-The Ugly Tree

Ten years ago I endured six months of emotional highs and lows, the likes of which sent me straight to a mid-life crisis at the tender age of twenty-five. A little premature to be certain, but after enduring several family tragedies and an undue amount of stress, I began to question the direction of my life. After much prayer and introspection, I returned to my love of writing and with fortitude began my career as a novelist.

Being a writer has been a lesson in perseverance, patience, and humility. While I would love to concentrate solely on advancing my career, I have responsibilities. Over the past ten years, I have been raising my son, supporting my husband through medical school and residency, running my own cleaning business, and writing. It has been a precarious balancing act, but I take pride in the fact that I have managed to publish three women’s fiction novels during these demanding years. Although, I have to smile at the irony; I am an award-winning author who still scrubs toilets. The one dollar advance checks that I received from my publisher didn’t stretch too far!

The Ugly Tree, my most recent release, was intended for adults, but it has special appeal to young adults as it portrays an almost sixteen-year-old named Cane Kallevik, a spunky, intelligent girl who always goes after what she wants. The reader follows Cane through the summer of 1992 and witnesses her falling in love with a man named Justice, keeping a vigil at her Grandma Betty’s side, and engaging in warfare with her ex-best friend, Mikayla. For Cane, it’s a summer of discovery, growth, and loss. The Ugly Tree, which has already earned outstanding reviews, has been nominated for the YALSA Alex award and the Abraham Lincoln Award.

I am hopeful that the recognition and awards that I have been receiving for The Ugly Tree, and my two other novels, Fixing Forever Broken, a bronze medal IPPY winner, and Falling to Him, will lead to a literary agent, a bigger publisher, and an advance check that is a bit more than one dollar. I am actively working on The Peel and Stick Heart and hope to complete the project next spring, when I plan on leaving my cleaning business behind so that I can work towards my ultimate goal: becoming a bestselling author.

To order signed copies go to:

They are also available on amazon:

Tammy will appear this weekend at the Sterling North Book Festival in Edgerton this weekend,
October 22-23.
See the schedule for more informtion.
Here is the introduction for The Ugly Tree:

On the night that I was born, the circle of life sucker punched my family in the face. Grandma Betty stepped up to the plate, and out of her iron will to make lemonade out of lemons, she named me Cane, claiming it was because I was as sweet as sugar.

There are two problems with my name. First, there’s really not a thing about me that’s sweet. Second, I’ve read the Bible. The spelling of a name doesn’t mean anything, and you can’t convince me otherwise.

Before I had even come out of the womb I had broken the sixth commandment, more than once, and was in dire need of absolution by the time they wiped the birth matter off of me. When I sit in Grace Lutheran church with Grandma Betty, I’m always on the lookout for God, but I’ve failed to find Him. Maybe it’s because of what I did that God chooses to ignore me when I’m in church. “Come out, come out wherever you are,” I say to Him, but He keeps on hiding.

Wooden pews and rote prayers don’t offer much comfort, but I’ve found a place that has. Every Sunday evening after Grandma Betty has gone to bed, I tie a rope to the limb of the oak tree outside my bedroom window, climb down, and run to the forest preserve on the other side of town. Just inside the split rail fence that borders the back of the property resides a daunting hill that overlooks railroad tracks, cornfields, and one turbulent and defiant stream that floods every spring.

A solitary maple punctuates the knoll; unattractive but brawny, it was struck by lightning on the exact night I was born, during the storm that ruthlessly destroyed lives. An inspiring portrait of life and death, only half of the tree lives. It defies death every time it sprouts a leaf, grows a limb, and slowly but steadily inches its way upward, taking its dead half along for the ride.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Karen McQuestion

A Scattered Life....and more

A Scattered Life is the story of a friendship triangle. I've always been intrigued by the idea of feeling like an outsider in your own family, and in telling the story of the three women in this book I was able to explore that idea more fully. Some readers have said they laughed and cried while they read the book, which was gratifying to hear.

I heard Karen's interview on WPR a couple of weeks ago and e-mailed her. She's been a busy lady. Hers is the enviable story a real self-starter, the kind of woman who made "it" in this shaky business.

She's published five books with Amazon so far. Karen says, "After years of trying to get published traditionally, I self-published my books on Amazon's Kindle in 2009. Sales were great, and as a result, I now have five books (paperback and e-book) coming out under the AmazonEncore imprint, and one novel, A Scattered Life, optioned for film.

I'd like to thank the Kindle readers, especially the ones on the Amazon message boards and My good fortune is directly connected to their willingness to give an unknown author a chance. That alone would have been wonderful, but then they took it a step further by recommending my books to other readers, and it all snowballed from there. Believe me when I say, I am truly grateful."

So, how did she do it?

Although she says she had no huge platform, Karen did have an audience with some work she did at WPR and other places, but the following pieces from an interview with Joel Konrath have a lot to do with it:

I still post on message boards, and make comments on heavily-trafficked websites and blogs. I think some writers underestimate the power of the message boards, especially the ones right on the Amazon site. The Kindle readers are right there, only one click away from your book.

One thing I did, which I think helps, was to set it up so my posts on Amazon come up under “Karen McQuestion, Author.” That way, I can participate in general discussions and if people on the boards are curious, they can check out my books, and if they aren’t, that’s okay too.

I've also posted comments on, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and other newspapers here in the US and worldwide. I'm genuinely interested in reading about anything Kindle /e-book/ publishing related, so it was natural for me to seek out articles on these topics online. Whenever I felt I could contribute to the conversation or politely clarify a point I did, and always mentioned that I spoke as a self-published Kindle author. I do believe this led to sales, but it's impossible to say for sure. Regardless, I felt it was a good use of my time.

(On whether she was raising her prices last June to net a higher royalty:) Readers who said in reviews or on message boards that they tried one of my books primarily because it was cheap, and then liked it so much they went on and read my other titles. I’d hate to raise my prices and miss out on even one reader. So, I’m torn. The short answer is that I may raise the price on one of the books, and see how it goes.

I have not used Smashwords. All of my books have been sold via the Kindle or Kindle app. If your writing has been vetted and you have every reason to believe it’s of publishable quality, I say go for it.
Amazon does not discriminate against self-published authors. In fact, they’d love for every indie author to sell millions of downloads. When you make money, they make money. The book pages on Amazon don’t differentiate--small press, self-published, big publishing house— each product page has an identical layout. And it’s free to upload a book on Kindle (I still can’t get over that)!

Four tactics that will give your book a huge advantage can be set into place before the book is even on the market:

Price: Set the price low--under $2.00 is best. A low price makes a huge difference in enticing readers to try an unknown author.

Title: Choose a title that’s catchy and easy to remember.

Description: Descriptions should be brief, ideally only a paragraph. Try to avoid making it just a rundown of plot points. Start with the main character and make sure you include the conflict. Use strong verbs and specific nouns, and leave the reader wanting to know more.

Cover: A cover can make or break a book. Try to make the cover as professional in appearance as possible. For ideas, look at traditionally published books similar to your own.

Additionally, when you upload your book, make sure you take advantage of the options in picking “categories” and “keywords.” And after the Amazon book page is complete, add appropriate tags. All of these things help readers find your books.

Finally, be prepared to spend some time doing marketing. For the first six months I spent at least an hour or two a day doing promotion online and it paid off in a big way.

People can’t buy your book if they don’t know about your book, so don’t be shy—get the word out!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Robin Shope Jansen

Announces a very speial Debut!
Ever since I e-met Robin, I've been watching her books.
THE VIP Screening of Journey to Paradise, based on her book The Christmas Edition, is
Fri. Nov. 12 and Sat. Nov. 13.
Reservations are $50 per couple. $35 per individual. Includes food, drink, and DVD copy of the movie when available.
Limited Reservations are on a first come first serve bases. Send checks to
Salty Earth Pictures
36 South 3rd Street West
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Include name of everyone in party & snail mail address.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dawn Kunda and her debut novel Court of Lies

Dawn Kunda

As a former private investigator with a BS in political science and attendance at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Dawn Kunda has reopened her legal books to create suspense in her writing. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Association. When she’s not writing, Dawn also enjoys tending her acre plus walking garden of perennials and a self-made waterfall and pond, along with biking, running, and cross-country skiing in the lengthy northern winters. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three dogs, of which two are adopted. Dawn would love her readers to contact her with questions or comments at

Court of Lies

Brooke's attempt to start a new life is shot to pieces as her ex-husband lurks around every corner of change. Advancement in her career begins with a contract offered by the charismatic Scott Marshall who also wants to contract her heart.

Her plans are shattered as a bullet rips through her shoulder.

Falsified evidence and twisted statements infiltrate the courtroom as the case of attempted murder multiplies its victims. Brooke's psychic friend furtively supplies clues to the detectives as they work against the corrupt local police force.

Brooke's conscious filters the evidence as she attempts to clarify her relationship with Scott Marshall and the possible manipulations of her ex-husband.

Both men have motive and opportunity and are suspects in her attempted murder.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Bird Sisters: A novel, by Rebecca Rasmussen

Rebecca Rasmussen's debut novel doesn't come out until 2011, but I'm already waiting in eager anticipation. Rebecca is a Wisconsin native now living in MO. See The Bird Sisters website and blog for more information. Preorder the book on Amazon.

About the Book:
When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. The two sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.

But back in the summer of 1947, Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn’t change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn’t exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly’s eye. And most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.

The Bird Sisters is forthcoming in hardcover from Random House, Spring 2011.

To read Rebecca's great story of how her book came about and the family member who spurred the story, and to read an excerpt, please visit her The Bird Sisters website.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cynthia Ruchti and her debut novel, set in WI and the boundary waters


Abingdon Press
ISBN-13: 9781426702389

Publication Date: May, 2010
Author: Ruchti, Cynthia
Retail Price: $13.99

From the publisher:
When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

My review:
The premise, “She would leave her husband…if she could find him” is best heard in Cynthia’s droll tone. I was privileged to hear her tell about her debut novel at a recent conference. As a fellow Wisconsinite, I looked forward to reading this story.

After a family tragedy, Libby and Greg Holden find more spaces in their marriage than woven threads. Libby cannot get over the loss of their daughter and Greg cannot fill the empty places or fix their broken hearts. And that’s really the theme: seeking and leaning on the Lord – the only one who will never leave us or forsake us no matter what struggles we face.

Greg not only loses his youngest child but blames himself. The loss is the final straw in a life of futility. Always the good provider, Greg has given his life to make sure his family has what it needs, even at the cost of his dreams. How can he tell Libby how desperately unhappy he is and that he’d like to pursue a different career when she’s shut him out?

When Greg takes a typical vacation in the wilderness but doesn’t return on time, Libby has to decide what she really feels about her faith, her marriage, her losses and herself. With the help of her best friend and her father-in-law, a wild search and rescue week in the wilderness she’s always shunned forces Libby to face all her demons head-on.

Cynthia’s grumbly-chic tone was a hoot. Half the time I felt like I was reading myself. And I like camping. But I’ll think twice about it after this story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review of Lisa Lickel's Meander Scar by Shawna K. Williams

I truly loved and appreciated this book. Every bit of it -- story, plot, writing, setting and characters! I'll be honest, sometimes I get tired of reading another romance with a formulaic feel. (Boy meets girl, they hate each other for some reason, but they can't stop thinking about each other. They get together and everything is great for awhile, but either boy or girl has some dark secret that threatens to tear them apart. It does, but then they work it out and everybody lives happily ever after.)

Okay, it's not that there's anything wrong with that. There are plenty of entertaining stories that are molded around that setup. But since I do read so many, when I come across a well written book, where the story is molded around characters and events on several different levels, I'm hooked. I'm not just hooked, I'm enamored.

And I'm enamored with Meander Scar.

Everything about it was unique. And I don't mean weird. The story had its own individual mold and that's because the pacing and drama was completely controlled by the characters. This gave it a true to life feel with plenty of depth, complexity, and total believability. And it took me on an emotional journey -- which was heart-wrenching in places -- but also moved me on a deep level.

From the very beginning Lisa Lickel gives the reader something to think about by introducing Ann's situation, where her life is in a state of limbo. From there, we get to chew on the controversy of romance and age difference. There are lessons in grief, lessons in letting go, lessons in closure and forgiveness – lessons in faith. I just loved this book.

One of the most touching parts in the story is near the end, when Mark discovers a diary of Ann's It's a journey of her feelings and insecurities from the moment he came back into her life, and when he read it, I wanted to cry.

If any of you have read Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember, you may recall that it ends with a single, powerful line. There's some speculation as to what actually happens, but that line offers the reader tremendous hope. The ending to Meander Scar has a similar feel. I thought it was perfect.

Shawna K. Williams - Grace-Inspired Fiction

No Other, May, 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing
In All Things, Nov., 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing
Orphaned Hearts, Dec., 2010. Desert Breeze Publishing

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Meet Andrea Boeshaar - Best-selling Romance Writer!

Andrea Boeshaar has been married for more than 32 years. She and her husband Daniel have three adult sons, one lovely daughter-in-law, and two precious and precocious grandchildren (and two more on the way!).

Andrea attended college, first at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied English, and then at Alverno College where she studied Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn’t until 1991, after she became a Christian, that she answered God’s call to write exclusively for the Christian market. Since then Andrea has written articles, devotionals, novellas and full-length novels, many of which have made the CBA Bestseller List. Her latest novel “Unwilling Warrior” has just been released. It’s Book One in her Seasons of Redemption series (published by Realms Fiction).

For more on Andrea and a list of her published works, visit her web site at:

The review:
Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar
Paperback: 291 pages

Publisher: Realms; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599799855
ISBN-13: 978-1599799858

c. 2010
Retail: $10.99, also available at Walmart!

Veteran best-selling author Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar returns to historical romance with a new series titled Seasons of Redemption. The first book, Unwilling Warrior is set in Louisiana and Missouri during the Civil War.

Valerie Fontaine, a young lady of 1861 New Orleans society, lost her mother to illness six months previously, and apparently is losing her father, too—to drink, or weakness, as Valerie sees it. He doesn’t even welcome her surprise return from boarding school at Christmas. Her father announces the arrival of a houseguest on New Year’s Eve, someone McCabe, but instead of welcoming him, leaves Valerie and her escort for the event, long-time friend and potential fiancĂ© James Ladden, to bring him along to a party.

Benjamin McCabe is the son of a Missouri preacher who has connections to the Fontaine family’s pastor. He is a neutral freelance photographer whose brother, a chaplain, is missing in action. Ben and his partner search for him while they photograph and write news articles about the war.

Life has changed dramatically for Valerie after the death of her mother. Even James has turned into an unsavory character who has little appeal as a husband. As Valerie and Ben become better acquainted, he encourages her to get to know her pastor’s family where it is painfully obvious that the pastor’s daughter Catherine has set her cap for Ben.

Tragedy and mayhem lead to a quick marriage between Ben and Valerie followed by immediate separation as Ben must send Valerie away to keep her from being arrested for treason. Escape from New Orleans to Ben’s family in Missouri is complicated further when Catherine decides to join her.

Boeshaar’s story is filled with episodes of delightful conversation as Valerie and Benjamin get to know one another. Although decidedly southern, Valerie’s sympathies lie with the affects of the conflict. Ben’s family is divided, as his oldest brother fought on the side of the side of the Confederacy. Boeshaar did a good job with her research into one of several photographic processes taking place during that era. Her use of period detail and summation of battles and their results add to the adventure without smacking the reader over the head. I enjoyed the side story of Mama’s Psalm 55 soap and the confusion Ben and Valerie portrayed as they explored their relationship, both together and apart. I look forward to the next tale in the series.

Submitted by Lisa Lickel originally in late winter 2010

Welcome, friends!

Wisconsin Author Review is a new site dedicated to readers and writers. With the distinct flavor of Wisconsin, we will feature both Wisconsin-based authors who write about nearly anything, as well as books that are set in Wisconsin. We'll showcase books and authors, have occasional interviews and interactions, and share book club information as well. Let us know what kind of information you're looking for.