Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Smoking Great Read

Empire in Pine, Book Two

c. October, 2011 Desert Breeze

ISBN 97812162520919

Price $6.99 ebook

Nearly a generation after The Green Veil, set in the great north woods of Wisconsin in the lumber era, Naomi’s second story in the series, The Red Fury, ramps up the tension and tosses decorum to the wind in the hustling 1870s Midwest.

Lainey Kade found true love once, but after her fiancĂ©’s death, can’t seem to hold onto another engagement. After a second humiliating breakup she’s ready to leave town and reinvent herself. Adventure comes in the form of a lengthy business/pleasure trip with her brother and cousins when her father sends them to Chicago with sight-seeing around the state and cities expected.

In this time when nightmares still haunt those affected by the recent Civil War, a pair of young veterans roam the area, looking for adventure and a means to quell the grief at the loss of their parents. Kelly and Zane Beaumont live fast and furiously; Zane always on the edge as a card playing, pleasure-seeking high-roller and his younger brother Kelly his sidekick. The six young people meet briefly in Chicago, then again on the train north. They decide to travel together when they realize how well they get along. Lainey, definitely not looking for romance, pretends to be married to her cousin. She doesn’t fool the sharp-eyed Zane for long, however. Her adventuresome unconventional spirit attracts him, but he buries any feelings deep, especially when it’s obvious Kelly has fallen for her hard.

While staying in Green Bay, Lainey sketches. Her drawings present an opportunity for livelihood, which she seizes, much to the horror of her family. Lainey is insistent, however, and they reluctantly let her stay, deciding to reveal that she has inherited a piece of property in nearby Peshtigo. When she invites the brothers to check out the area, they decide to stop traveling and find work and stay in the growing lumber town. Zane and Kelly act as benevolent watchdogs and even accompany Lainey on a visit home for a wedding.

Lainey, Zane, and Kelly work hard at their respective jobs, tiptoeing around their feelings and in Zane’s case, his demons. Kelly dreams of a future with Lainey, while she holds only platonic feelings for him and fights her admiration for the haunted Zane. A terrible accident, a horrific fire that gives rise to the title of the book, and the aftermath of devastation show them how precious life and faith are.

Naomi’s attention to detail, scene and setting are pitch-perfect true to era. I felt the flames and terror of the great fire of 1871, the same night as the Great Chicago fire. I loved Lainey’s spirit, mourned and rejoiced with them all as they realized dreams, loved, fought for life and independence, and breathed the smoke of history. Another winner for those who revel in the drama of the past.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vicki Roder

Vicki Roder is a Wisconsin born and bred author who lives in the middle of the state with her husband, three dogs, two cats and a skink. They have three grown sons.

I first met Vicki when we were on a panel together at the spring Wisconsin Writers Association conference. We got to know each other better when we connected for another magazine I edit for Written World.

Vicki is very creative and can put word puzzles together, as well as articles, children’s stories and novels for adults.

A story about her childhood was included in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families.

About her books, Vicki says:

The Dream House began as a re-occurring dream, so now I keep a notebook, flashlight, and pen beside the bed. You never know when an idea will present itself.  My sister, Tammy told me to write the reoccurring dream down and it became a novel.  Read the story of a kidney donation between my sister and I, featured in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul.   

My second novel, a mystery thriller entitled Bolt Action, Champagne Books, April 2010. Can gun hording, Harley riding Detective Leslie Bolt conquer her past and capture "The State Quarter Killer" before her sister is the next victim?  
My mystery for middle grade readers entitled The Curse of King Ramessess II has been contracted by Wild Child Publishing. Rumors of a mummified King, haunting the Bradford Museum surface. Mia and Jody stow away in the museum and a girl version of a Abbott and Costello investigation unfolds in the heart-racing, eventful night.

My inspirational book, It’s Not You – It’s Them is now available from Dancing With Bear Publishing.

Vicki has been published in Canadian Kids Magazine, Wisconsin Regional Writers’ (now Wisconsin Writers Association) Journal, Guide MagazinePockets Magazine, The HighgroundThe Little LutheranThe Little Christian, FarmLife Magazine, and One Way Street.  

Way to go, Vicki!
Find out more at:
You can't change the past, but you can choose your future.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Empire in Pine - new novel from the Lumber Baron era

Naomi Musch loves stories rich in American history, but writes in several other genres as well. Her 2010 novella, Heart Not Taken, is a contemporary romance. Her Empire in Pine series is historical women's fiction set in 1800s Wisconsin. Book Two - The Red Fury is her newest release which follows Book One - The Green Veil. Naomi's aim is to surprise and entertain readers while telling stories about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles.

For that reason, besides her fiction writing, Naomi serves as a staff writer for the monthly Christian e-newspaper where she writes the true stories and personal testimonies of lives changed by Jesus Christ. Also passionate about homeschooling, she's written numerous articles for the homeschool community and mentors young authors through tutorials at . She has previously been a consulting editor for Port Yonder Press.
Naomi and her husband Jeff live on a ramshackle farm in the spectacular Wisconsin north woods. With five young adults living nearby or at home, life is full of peculiarities like courtships, loud music, muddy trucks, and general mayhem. She invites readers to say hello and find out more about her stories, passions, and other writing venues at or look her up on Facebook (Naomi Musch - Author) and Twitter (NMusch)
A Little Background to The Red Fury
My dad is a fly-fishing guide. He and my mom built a fly-fishing shop and resort in northern Wisconsin years ago, so my first introduction to the Peshtigo region was through pictures taken of them fishing on the Peshtigo River before I was born. As an adult, I became enthralled by the stories of the Great Peshtigo Fire which occurred the same night as the Chicago Fire but was many times larger and more devastating. Because of its remote location in northeast Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, most Americans still haven't heard of it. Thousands of lives were lost. This was an area full of immigrants, farmers, fire and brimstone preachers, railroaders, and lumberjacks. The fire took place on a night when the town was busting at the seams with the regular weekend carousers having come out of the woods to imbibe.
In my imagination, I wondered what would happen if I used that period and setting, and  introduced a young woman into the mix who was trying to run from the red fury of her own past while being torn by the affections of two brothers haunted by memories of the Civil War.
Here, let me introduce you.
Lainey, my protagonist, is something of a firebrand. In fact, as Jed Clark is breaking their engagement in the opening scene of the book, he tells her, "You're not the easiest girl to get along with. You don't ever listen to anybody." But the fact is Lainey has a pretty tender heart. It's only been scarred by the sudden death of the man she'd first given it to. She's tried moving on in the two years since, but Jed's the second man to scorn her since Bobby died.
So Lainey plans to bury her wounds by living life for the next thrill. If she's really the shrew she's been labeled to be, she figures she might as well stop caring what people think. She intends to go ahead and break the rules society holds dear. Still, that's hard to do in her home town where painful memories lie close at hand. So Lainey embarks on a journey of independence that eventually lands her in the brawling woods town of Peshtigo where she forges an adventurous companionship with Zane and Kelly Beaumont whose nightmares since the civil war have never let them return home. But living life on the edge causes a confusion of flames to spark inside the heart she once thought shattered beyond repair.

Purchase Links:

EMPIRE IN PINE (SERIES) - Book One: THE GREEN VEIL, and Book Two: THE RED FURY -- inspirational romance from Desert Breeze Publishing

HEART NOT TAKEN - A contemporary, inspirational novella from Black Lyon Publishing

Books on Amazon:

Books on Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Liz Tolsma, Inspirational Romance and Cup of Comfort

Meet Liz Tolsma, whose debut work appears in the holiday anthology, Log Cabin Christmas, from Barbour Publishing. Liz and I will be the the holiday craft fair and flea market in Batavia, WI, N1360 State Rd 28, on Saturday November 12, from 8 AM to 3 PM and on Saturday November 19 at 1:30 PM at Fireside Books and Gifts in West Bend. Come join us, and we'll sign our books.

Log Cabin Christmas is now available on Kindle too.

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there’s always something going on at their house. She’s spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. She’d love to have you visit her at or at
Soli Deo Gloria

My novella, Under His Wings, is scheduled to be released in the anthology A Log Cabin Christmas in September 2011. I'm thrilled to be in this collection with so many talented and well-known authors!

I'm proud to have two short stories featured in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families. I hope you enjoy reading "Simply His Mother" and "As American As They Come."

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Bird Sisters, Enchanting...

Rebecca Rasmussen began her campaign to sell her book, The Bird Sisters, early and often. I ran into her on She Writes, and was enchanted enough to put her book on pre-order for several months ahead last fall. I received it when it released in April and only just now had the time to read it.

Once I found the author's rhythm, I was enchanted by her story-telling technique. Making liberal use of flashbacks, one day in the life of these mid-seventies spinster sisters never painted a more poignant tale.

Milly and Twiss grew up essentially on their own and ended up that way out of a devotion that takes my breath away. Rasmussen shows what famial love and hatred looks like when allowed to fully bloom. The story that recounts the summer the girls' lives changed forever is ignited by a comment from a visitor who responded to Milly's accidental declaration to her young daughter that Santa Claus is a myth. The harsh return comment sends both women back to the fateful summer that is the reason they are spinsters and alone in the present.

The Bird Sisters is not pop fiction, and uses beautiful language and technique to tell a story lacquered over frail color. Once revealed to the open air, the magic of a wanna-be spoiled man and his bitter wife unable to get past themselves to parent their teenage daughters and neice, bubbles and falls away fleck by fleck until only the plain surface is revealed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meet James P Roberts of White Hawk Press

I met James when he submitted an article to Creative Wisconsin Magasine, and then sat behind him at the SouthEast Festival of Books in Waukesha earlier this month. I'm pleased to introduce him!

JAMES P. ROBERTS is the author of twelve published books of science fiction and fantasy, poetry, literary biography and baseball history. He sold his first short story in 1982 to Eerie Country, a companion magazine to the venerable Weirdbook. His first novel, a dark fantasy titled Bourland was published in 1999. James has long been involved in the science fiction and fantasy community as well as within the Madison and Wisconsin literary scene.

James founded White Hawk Press in 1993 in part to publish a series of manuscripts about August Derleth that he had discovered while going through the archives of the August Derleth Society.

These became the books Return to Derleth: Selected Essays and Return To Derleth: Selected Essays, Volume 2.

Some of his other White Hawk Press books are Dark Iowa, Bright Iowa, an anthology of science fiction/fantasy/horror stories all set in Iowa; Haunted Voices: Selected Poetry & Art from Lituanus, an anthology of poetry and art from the Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania; Here At Ogallala State U: The Collected Effusions (With Commentary) Of Our 'Milt' Elliott, a satirical novel by Jerry Klinkowitz and Howlin' Wolf!: A Fan's History of the Highs And Lows During Five Stormy Years With The Madison Black Wolf, a non-fiction baseball book.

In recent years White Hawk Press has been inactive while James P. Roberts, sole proprietor and ranking curmudgeon, concentrates on his own writing.

White Hawk Press books can be ordered online via or (partly) through
While White Hawk Press does have a current website, it is not able to take orders online at this time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: Fabulous in Flats by Mary T Wagner

Fabulous in Flats


c. May 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4620-1531-3 (pbk) 14.95

ISBN: 978-1-4620-1532-0 (ebk) 6.00

Mary’s right, there’s nothing like the sound of heels clicking down a polished floor; not even flip-flops across campus , but I honestly fell in love with Mary’s take on life…I wanted to be Mary, or at least go to the Renaissance faire with her and join the sisterhood of selective memory after reading this book. But probably not use power tools with her, though.

Fabulous in Flats, I believe, is Mary’s third collection of essays that began as web site posts. May’s been through a lot of living that includes myriads of work experiences from journalism to waitress to wife and mom to a legal practice to divorce and re-entry to the relationship game and writing.

The essays in Fabulous in Flats flutter around the clean-up after divorce and are liberally themed on cleaning out her garage. “(This was) a good time to sit in the shade, sip a glass of lemonade over ice, and watch the goldfinches alight at the thistle feeders. Instead, I was dismantling pieces of my past on a beastly hot day in an effort to make more sense and order of my present. In other words, I was cleaning out the garage.”

Memories surface as she rediscovers pieces of her life and reinvents herself as an accomplished saw artist, tiger mother, pet owner, gardener, and dessert maker after my own heart. Going through Mary’s garage with her was like ripping off bandages that had lost the ability to hurt. Reading this book was a delightful evening relaxing in somebody else’s angst for a change. I knew she was a sister at heart when I got to “I’ve quit trying to plan anything out in life anymore, opting for the ‘carpe diem’ school of thought on a day-to-day basis.”

After I’d long passed the point of being able to review, I continued to read this entire collection and highly recommend Fabulous in Flats to every empty-nest mom. All women of a certain age will get a kick out of the YouTube dancing queen who poignantly observes that, “at this age, maybe we don’t have to do everything the hard way.”

Available on pring Amazon, eBook and Barnes and Noble and the iUniverse store

Reviewed by Lisa Lickel,

The author provided a reader copy for review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Deborah Chamberlain

Deborah Camberlain and Orange Picnic, a Memoir

My story is a poignant love story that began over 40 years ago, and defines my life today. It's about my best friend and me after we met and started dating two older guys who were also friends with each other. We met at the Newgate, a little coffee shop in Homewood, Il., where I was living at the time.  We hung around together, did naughty things like skipping school to pop over to Indiana or downtown Chicago, fell in love and had a great life as two couples together until life and the Vietnam War interfered. Within a span of 7 months, we lost both guys. We were just 17 years old.

I wrote the book to preserve the memories of my first love – a man who made me feel truly loved.  I also wanted to honor the memories of these two men who were not able to live their lives to the fullest and experience the typical joys of becoming a husband and father. My other motivation was to put a finished book into the hands of my boyfriend’s mother before she died – which I was able to do on Mother’s Day after the book was finally published.

BIO: A long-time Wisconsin resident, Deborah (Donaldson) Chamberlain is the owner of Donaldson Media & Marketing Services. She has a Masters Degree in Mass Communications and taught college-level courses in media, marketing and advertising. In addition to being a business owner and author of her memoir, Orange Picnic, Deborah is also a mom. Her daughter, Becca Donaldson, was recently named a Fulbright scholar and is completing her research in the United Arab Emirates.

The book is available by contacting Deborah at (414) 777-0430 or by e-mail at  The book is also available at and  For reader comments and other information, visit

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Sawdust Heart

A SAWDUST HEART: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows
By Henry Wood
As Told to Michael Fedo
University of Minnesota Press | 152 pages | 2011
ISBN 978-0-8166-7479-4 | paperback | $16.95

Leaving his home in Wisconsin at the age of twelve, Henry Wood spent the years 1910-1940 traveling in medicine and tent shows that featured various vaudeville acts, from skits to full-length plays. Wood worked in medicine and tent shows during a time in America when actors who portrayed unsavory characters on stage were often accosted and bruised on the street by angry patrons. Many were also refused service in restaurants and rooms in hotels. During this age of American innocence many residents of isolated small towns and villages believed the actor and the character he played were one and the same. From 1910 until 1940, Wood was one of these loathed stage villains and not only survived the indignities, but thrived.

But would Wood's stories and experiences survive him? All his memorabilia from that era had been destroyed in a house fire. In 1974 Michael Fedo (Wood’s grandson-in-law) was an occasionally published freelance writer. Wanting to document the old man’s show business life for a family legacy, Fedo recorded Wood’s theatrical memories and photocopied the transcribed typescript for Wood’s daughters and grandchildren. Fedo gave no further thought to this story until 2008. Meanwhile, Fedo had gone on to publish seven books and scores of articles, essays, and short stories in magazines and newspapers. But in 2008, his wife’s aunt presented him with a privately printed and bound copy of the Henry Wood manuscript he had organized 34 years earlier. Upon re-reading it, Fedo saw the uniqueness of the narrative that described the often hardscrabble existence of medicine and tent show performers from that period. This was a chronicle unfamiliar to all but a few Americans, as these shows visited towns and villages far from major metropolitan centers, and few alumni from those productions advanced to Broadway, radio, television, or films.

Fedo tweaked the story and showed the manuscript to editors at the University of Minnesota Press who agreed with his assessment. So this year Fedo’s first book—a manuscript now nearly 36 years old—is being published.

Wood’s story paints a vivid picture of the lives of performers who never made it big but eked out a living doing what they loved on minor stages across America. Henry's life was spent entertaining the good folks of the Midwest, so he had visited quite a few cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Henry Wood spent more than thirty years as a performer and director in old-time medicine shows and touring vaudeville troupes in the Midwest.

Michael Fedo is the author of several books, including The Lynchings in Duluth, The Man from Lake Wobegon, and the novel Indians in the Arborvitae.

For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book's webpage:

Sign up to receive news on the latest releases from University of Minnesota Press:

Information provided by:
Heather Skinner, Publicist and Assistant Marketing Manager
University of Minnesota Press
111 3rd Ave S, Ste 290, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2520

South East Festival of Books

This weekend at the UW - Waukesha campus is the SouthEast Wisconsin Festival of Books.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Woodland Pattern Book Center

Woodland Pattern Book Center

I've taken a class here.

Woodland Pattern Book Center was founded as a non-profit organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Riverwest neighborhood by Anne Kingsbury and Karl Gartung in 1979. The name "Woodland Pattern" was chosen from a passage in Paul Metcalf's Apalache: "South of Lake Superior, a culture center, the Woodland Pattern, with pottery but without agriculture..." Thanks to the hard work and sustained effort of volunteers, Woodland Pattern became a nationally recognized cultural hub, and the staff (we are paid now!) is still working hard to uphold this vitality.

The center houses a bookstore with over 25,000 small press titles otherwise unavailable in our area. Because we are nonprofit, our inventory decisions aren't dictated entirely by commercialism. As booksellers and as presenters of art and literature, we want people to know that there is more than what you see at your chain book store, more than you are taught in school, more than what is reviewed in the papers. We hope to act as a catalyst, putting readers together with small press literature. Come browse our selection of poetry, chapbooks, fine print materials, broadsides, and multicultural literature. We think you'll be impressed!

Our space also includes an art gallery where we present exhibitions, artist talks, readings, experimental films, concerts and writing workshops for adults and children.

Woodland Pattern Book Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). While we do receive funding from foundations and corporations, it is because of individuals like you that we exist. We thank you, and ask that you consider becoming a member of Woodland Pattern.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rebird Studios - Milwaukee

Featuring another Writer's Workshop, Redbird Studio, Milwaukee & Judy Bridges, Kim Suhr

Writers’ Groups & Classes for Adult Writers

RedBird-RedOak offers programming for adult writers of all levels of ability and experience. We recognize that the definition of writing “success” is different for each writer who comes through our door. From the aspiring novelist who wants to see her name on the cover of a book to the poet who wants to be published in a literary journal to the grandfather who wants to create a memoir for future generations, we take our writers where they are and help give them the tools to make their writing dreams come true.

Redbird Studio:

RedOak Studio:

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I recently learned about this very cool place practically on my door step. Love Wisconsin!


"Writing is an act of isolation. But writers don't have to be isolated."

•Classes - Variety of OnLine and OnSite Classes

•Workshops - Supportive Ongoing Workshops for Writers of All Abilities

•Coaching - One-on-One Intensive Coaching for All Abilities and Genres

•Editing - Professional Editing to Put the Final Polish on Your Manuscript

Friday, April 1, 2011

Write Camp


Time Saturday, June 4 · 9:00am - 7:00pm

Location Mercy Hill Church @ The Hide House

2625 S Greeley St

Milwaukee, WI

Recent sessions

•Writing Using Multi Cultural characters

Presenter: sassyfran

•Fan Fiction Writing

Presenter: sassyfran

•Write 'til You're Blue in the Face

Presenter: Kim Suhr

•The Art of Tactful Critique

Presenter: jbdrydenco

•The Wonderful World of Steampunk

Presenter: jbdrydenco

More Info Visit for more information.

Here's the Facebook page:!/event.php?eid=158561670866620

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Publishing News in WI - the passing of April Derleth

Sad - I used to read Lafcadio Hearn for Forensics when I was in High School - went to state my first year. ~Lisa

This article is shared with Blogger from the Sauk Prairie Eagle web site.

Publisher April Derleth dies at 56

Jeremiah Tucker, Sauk Prairie Eagle
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:00 am

April Derleth, the former president of Arkham House Publishers and daughter of the company’s co-founder August Derleth, motions toward books stored in a small building behind her house in this 2009 file photo. April died March 21.

..The Arkham House publishing firm plans to resume releasing horror and science fiction books after taking a few months off to adapt to the unexpected death of its president April Derleth, daughter of the company's co-founder Wisconsin author August Derleth.

April, 56, was found dead in her Sauk City home March 21, said her mom Sandra Kiser, who lives in Phoenix. Kiser said April lived alone in the home her father named the "Place of Hawks" when he built it early in his career at the end of a long, secluded driveway across from St. Aloysius Cemetery.

Kiser said April suffered from high blood pressure and her health had been in decline in recent years. April's brother, Walden Derleth, said she died of natural causes.

Sauk County Coroner Greg Hahn said he investigates the cause of most home deaths in the county and said he would be surprised if the cause of death was due to anything but natural causes.

Walden said April's children, Damon Derleth and Danielle Jacobs, both adults, would inherit their mother's majority ownership of Arkham House Publishing, Inc. Walden said he has a minority stake in the company.

"They do plan at some point in the near future - right now everything is temporarily suspended - that once probate is finished they can get (Arkham House) back and up running," Walden said. "Once we finalize everything dealing with April's death, they will continue the business."

April began overseeing Arkham House in the mid-'80s and became the company's majority shareholder and began running its day-to-day operations in the '90s when she quit her job as vice president for sales and marketing at Mueller Sports Medicine.

In a 2008 interview with the Eagle, April said she tried to maintain a schedule of publishing one to two books a year, but that the book industry was volatile and she hadn't maintained that pace. Like her father, she filled book orders herself and ran the business out of a long, rectangular shed her father had built behind the house.

At the time, April said the books of H.P. Lovecraft accounted for nearly 80 percent of the company's sales. August and co-founder Donald Wandrei started the company in 1939 for the sole purpose of publishing the works of the horror author they helped make one of the most famous authors of the 20th century.

"He thought if he didn't publish (Lovecraft's work), it would end up in an attic or basement and never be seen by the public," April said in 2008.

When April hired Arkham House's current editor George Vanderburgh in 2009, the company hadn't published a book in three years. Although the company no longer was as influential as it had been in its prime, Vanderburgh said the name Arkham House retains its cachet.

"I have been absolutely fascinated by the brand identity Arkham House has, virtually every writer of horror and science fiction read Arkham House books as children and they all think very fondly of August Derleth publications and the ability of Arkham House to draw collections together," Vanderburgh said.

The company has published a long list of notable authors including Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho," Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard - creator of Conan the Barbarian - and Clark Ashton Smith.

Vanderburgh said April encouraged him and his business partner, Bob Weinberg, a book seller who specialized in Arkham titles, to pursue a plan of publishing one new book of fiction every year and one book from Arkham's extensive back catalog.

"I think basically my plans would be to carry on the proud traditions of Arkham House publications to the best of my ability and to the best of Bob's ability," Vanderburgh said.

Kiser, who married August in 1953 and divorced six years later, said that although running Arkham was a struggle for April, she enjoyed it.

"Arkham House was what August wanted to be his legacy, and I think April did a good job (continuing it)," Kiser said.

- Emily Bialkowski of the Sauk Prairie Eagle contributed to this report.

Posted in Local on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:00 am

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Patrick Rothfuss

Sci fi/fantasy weeks here.

Gotta love a homie. Patrick Rothfuss is a Pointer!

Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin where long winters and lack of cable television brought about a love of reading and writing. His mother read to him as a child, and his father taught him to build things. If you are looking for the roots of his storytelling, look there.

Pat continues to live in central Wisconsin. He still lacks cable television, and the long winters force him to stay inside and write. He still teaches at the college he grew to love as a student, and acts as advisor for the College Feminists and the local Fencing Club. When not reading and writing, Pat wastes his time playing video games, holds symposia at his house, and dabbles with alchemy in his basement.
About The Name of the Wind:
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend.

The legend continues in The Wise Man's Fear

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kevin J. Anderson

The first thing I do when I realize KJA is not only from Racine, but--ahem--close in age, is run to my yearbook. I think if he'd have made close billing with our class astronaut if he'd gone to Horlick. Then I get the skinny from the man's own web site, and he's really from closer to the middle of the state, Oregon.

The things I keep learning about Wisconsin. I heard Patrick Rothfuss on the radio and I agree, Wisconsin is a great incubator for writers. I'm hoping to catch that wave one of these days.

Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, 47 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists. He has over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious awards, including the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader's Choice Award, the American Physics Society's Forum Award, and New York Times Notable Book. By any measure, he is one of the most popular writers currently working in the science fiction genre.

Being a big Star Wars fan, I read a few of those books. Then there are the Dune books: Saga of the Seven Suns, horror Stories, cartoons and X-Files.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jenny Turner and Voyage to Viking Island

Congratulations to my friend Jenny Turner, and her new series!

Voyage to Viking Island, book one of the Dragon Diaries series

Ebook By J.R. Turner

Published By Echelon Press LLC

$0.99 Rating: Not yet rated.

Published: Mar. 21, 2011

Category: Fiction » Children's Books » Fiction

Words: 8668 (approximate)

Language: English

Delbert Dallas has all kinds of issues, brothers and stuff like that. But one day he discovers the new guitar his father gave him as a gift can turn into a dragon named Firebrand. The dragon can’t talk, but man can he travel!

Delbert and Firebrand end up back in time on Viking Island where Prince Rolloff and his new best friend, Walter Wheeler, are planning a wild escape by longboat.

Can Delbert convince Prince Rolloff that Walter Wheeler plans to drown the prince at sea and take his place as heir to the throne? Or will Walter’s magical time-traveling dragon Barbeque Bob live up to his name?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore described her new book A Gate at the Stairs as a meditation on “what it meant to be in this town in the Midwest in this particular time in contemporary America.”

Lorrie Moore was born in Glen Falls, New York on January 13, 1957. She attended St Lawrence University in Canton, New York, from 1974 to 1978 receiving a BA and graduating summa cum laude. She attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, from 1980 to 1982 receiving an MFA. She is currently Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison where she also lives with her husband and son.

She has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts award in 1989, the Rockefeller Foundation fellowship in 1989, and the Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. Her work frequently appears in Fiction International, Ms, The New York Times Book Review, Paris Review, The New Yorker, and others.

Her publications include: Self-Help (1985); Anagrams (1986); The Forgotten Helper (1987); Like Life (1990); editor, I Know Some Things: Stories About Childhood by Contemporary Writers (1992); Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (1994) and Birds of America (1998).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wisconsin's own Marshall J Cook - "Coach"

Marshall J. Cook,
Professor emeritus, Division of Continuing Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I hold a BA in creative writing and an MA in communications from Stanford University. I’ve been married to the former Ellen Malloy since 1968, and we have one son, Jeremiah, who is married to the former Kimberly Zunker. When not writing or teaching, I like to read, exercise, play the piano, draw cartoons, listen to old time radio shows, and talk back to the television (not all at the same time). I’m a passionate baseball fan, drive the back roads (often taking the longest distance between two points, and eat in small town cafes.

I write both fiction and non-fiction, always have. I'm currently at work on a novel, The Second Kick of a Mule (about the shooting of a small-town Wisconsin high school principal in 1957) and a nonfiction book, How Writers Learn What They Really Need to Know. I've got ideas for stuff on old time radio and a novel about the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building in 1911 and all sorts of other stuff waiting for me to get to them.

I love to write and do so six days a week.

My books are available through and the other usual suspects. I edit Extra Innings, an online newsletter for writers, having for 20 years edited a print publication for writers called Creativity Connection. I’ve published articles and short stories in hundreds of regional and national magazines, and I’m a columnist for The Perspiring Writer, an online magazine for writers. I teach in the Odyssey Project for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

(This link will take you the Amazon page where many of Marshall's books can be found for purchase online.
My 30 published books include:

Freeing Your Creativity: a writer’s guide, Writer’s Digest Books, 1991. (Pb 1995)

How to Write with the Skill of a Master and the Genius of a Child, WD, 1992

Slow Down and Get More Done, Betterway Books, 1993

Leads and Conclusions, Writer’s Digest Books, 1995

The Year of the Buffalo: a novel of love and minor league baseball, Savage Press, ‘97

Time Management: proven techniques for making the most of your valuable time,
Adams Media Corporation, 1998

Pack Your Bags: baseball’s trade secrets, with Jack Walsh, Masters Press, 1998

Effective Coaching, McGraw Hill Briefcase Books series, 1999

Your Novel Proposal: from creation to contract, with Blythe Camenson, WD, 1999

Handling Worry: a Catholic approach, St. Paul’s Books and Media, 2000

Off Season: a novel of love, faith, and minor league baseball, Savage Press, ‘02

Murder Over Easy: a Mo Quinn Mystery, Bleak House Press, ‘03

Baseball’s Good Guys (with Jack Walsh), Sports Publications, 2004

The Great Wisconsin Manhunt of 1961, Badger Books, 2004

Twin Killing, a Mo Quinn Mystery, Bleak House Books, 2007

Murder at Midnight, a Mo Quinn Mystery, Bleak House Press, 2005

Obsessions, a Mo Quinn Mystery, Bleak House Books, 2008

Give 'Em What They Want: the right way to pitch your novel to editors and agents, with Blythe
Camenson, Writer’s Digest Books, 2005

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators-Wisconsin chapter

Spring Luncheon

Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators-Wisconsin chapter

Date: April 9, 2011

Location: Oconomowoc Lake Club

Luncheon Speaker: Julie Scheina, Editor

Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

For registration information, e-mail: or

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 9:45 AM

Subject: Artist at Pine Needles Residency Announcement



Artist at Pine Needles, a residence program sponsored by the St. Croix

Watershed Research Station, seeks applications from artists and writers

for Summer 2011. The Artist at Pine Needles project invites natural

history artists or writers to spend 2 to 4 weeks in residence to immerse

themselves in a field experience, gather resource materials, and

interact with environmental scientists and the local community.

The St. Croix Watershed Research Station, the field research station of

the Science Museum of Minnesota, is located near Marine on St. Croix,

Minnesota. The setting for the Artist at Pine Needles project is the

James Taylor Dunn Pine Needles Cabin, located just north of the village

along the St. Croix River. In 2010, the artists selected were Dave Beck

of Potsdam, New York; Michael Eble of Morris, Minnesota; and Jeanne

Kosfeld of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Applications for 2011 will be accepted from writers and visual artists

who focus on environmental or natural history topics. Participants will

have an opportunity to interact with environmental scientists and to

create links between their art, the natural world and the sciences. As

part of the program, artists will be encouraged to design an outreach

project to share their work with the local community. In addition, the

residency requires that participants contribute an original work for the

benefit of the research station.

Housing and rustic studio space is provided for the artist’s choice of a

2, 3, or 4-week residency; up to three residencies will be awarded for

the summer of 2011. Application packets are available from the research

station or The application deadline

is February 25, 2011. For more information, contact Sharon Mallman at

the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, 651-433-5953, extension 13 or

Sharon Mallman

Assistant Director

St. Croix Watershed Research Station

16910 152nd St. N.

Marine on St. Croix MN 55047

651-433-5953 ext. 13

Fax: 651-433-5924

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Naomi D Musch

Naomi Dawn Musch was born and raised in central Wisconsin and now makes her home in Wisconsin's vast northwoods where the vistas are ripe to feed the imagination of anyone interested in history. She and husband Jeff have three grown children and two under wing on their150 acre farm where they dabble at raising a menagerie of animals.

Naomi has been publishing a regional newsletter for home educators for the past thirteen years entitled Apples of Gold. See the page "Apples of Gold for Home Educators" for more information. She is also a staff writer for Living Stones News, a regional Christian newspaper; and a regular contributor to Home School Enrichment magazine.,

Besides writing, Naomi enjoys homeschooling her children, gardening, taking walks in the woods, a little basketball, and fellowshipping with friends.

The Green Veil - Book One of the NEW Empire in Pine Series

Colette loved Manason long before he came back into her life. But in Wisconsin's virgin pine country where lumber barons ruled private empires, her vow was to his enemy.

One is the man she missed. The other is the man she married.

Lumberman's daughter, Colette Palmer has understood the industry since her youth -- and she's always loved timber cruiser Manason Kade -- even though he only remembers her as a child. Leaving Michigan to settle with her family in the Wisconsin wilderness, and separated from him by miles and years, compassion compels her to marry another.

Manason longs to plant roots of his own in Wisconsin Territory. But when he stakes his claim and challenges the illegal log harvesting of a rival company, Colette's husband swears to ruin him. Then one day Manason and Colette meet again. Now, she will have to choose between her first love and her commitment to her marriage vows, while her faith and an empire in pine hang in the balance.

Read more:

Available now from Desert Breeze:

My review:

The Green Veil
Empire in Pine, Book One
By Naomi D Musch
c. Jan 2011
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61252-013-1

The Green Veil satisfied my Wisconsin home historical, romantic suspense and thrill-seeking reader needs all in one beautifully written novel. Her characters were so captivating right from the opening scene, which is a preview from the middle of the story, that I couldn't stop reading. Thank goodness I was reading on my computer and could turn pages faster, although I have a blister on my thumb.

Musch's historical fiction is straight from early Wisconsin settlement times, with all the grit, romance, hardship and lore of the Great North Woods. Lumber barons took land and timber by right, by force and by theft. Colette "Lettie" Palmer is a young girl when her father follows Harris Eastman from Michigan to Wisconsin Territory in 1841.

When the Palmers and the Harrises settle in Grand Rapids, Colette becomes a companion to young Mrs. Harris, helping at her home and impressing Mr. Harris with her quick grasp of business. Colette has left behind dear friends in Michigan, including her childhood love, Manason Kade. Colette makes a new friend as soon as she and her family move in. Joe Gilbert will never be more than a dear friend to Colette, not that he doesn't wish more. A few years later, Colette's father suffers a terrible accident which causes him and Colette's mother to move to Milwaukee for medical care, leaving Colette with the Eastmans. Meantime, Manason follows his dream to the lumbering trade in Wisconsin and discovers underhanded practices in the timbering industry. When Mrs. Harris eventually carries a pregnancy almost to term, it's not hard to figure out what's going to happen. Through a series of miscommunication and missed connections, Colette makes life choices out of pity and the goodness of her heart, while never forgetting her longing for Manason. When Manason finally meets Colette again, he is too late to declare his true love. Eastman's jealousy plays out in his underhanded treatment of Manason.

Colette's marriage to an "exacting" man is trying on many fronts, but her faith is always a foundation no matter how difficult everything else becomes. When her circumstances take another life-altering change, she must choose again—but will she decide her fate for the right reasons this time?

This period of Americana is rare in historical fiction. It's a delight to explore the 1840s with Musch, who did an excellent job of putting the reader in time and place with rich detail.

I received an advanced reader copy from the author to review.

Review of Uncertain Heart by Andrea Boeshaar

Uncertain Heart

by Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar
ISBN: 978-1-61638-023-6
Reviewed by Lisa J Lickel
c. 2010 Realms Fiction, a division of Strang Book Group

Set a few years following the initial book of the series, Uncertain Heart follows the story of Sarah McCabe, younger sister of Ben, the hero in Unwilling Warrior. Immediately following the conclusion of the Civil War, Sarah sets out for adventure from her home in a small Missouri town to find work as a music teacher in Chicago, Illinois. When she arrives, the position has dried up, so Sarah finds work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a governess or nanny for the summer to a ship captain's four children.

From the first time I met the Captain, Brian Sinclair, I couldn't help comparing Boeshaar's tale with the Sound of Music. The Captain's serious treatment of his children, his tendencies to leave for extended periods of time and even his choice of friends reminded me a little of the Von Trapp family story. Sarah even brings the gift of music as she teaches piano lessons to the children.

Boeshaar wove a charming tale of big city life in the mid-1880s for historical romantic fiction lovers. Sarah's desire to experience independence before settling down in a home of her own draws the reader into her battle. Sarah's quest sometimes leads her down questionable paths as she struggles to maintain a life of faithfulness in the Sinclair home. She must also contend with a cantankerous housekeeper and the very friendly and too-likeable accounting assistant, Richard Nevis.

At the end of the summer, Sinclair vows to do anything to keep Sarah in Milwaukee instead of letting her return to Chicago as a music teacher. Just how far he's willing to go gets Sarah into plenty of trouble. When her big brothers come to her rescue, Sarah is determined to choose her own destiny. Will it be Missouri, life with Richard who wants a quiet life on the family farm or the luxury of the worldly captain? When fate intervenes, Sarah and Richard must make difficult choices.

Uncertain Heart is the second book in the Seasons of Redemption series, but can be read as a stand-alone story.

I received a copy of this book from Title Trakk for review.