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 amazon.com or (partly) through badgerbooks.com.
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, LisaLickel.com

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 orangepicnic@gmail.com.  The book is also available at Amazon.com and BN.com.  For reader comments and other information, visit www.orangepicnic.com.

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:

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South East Festival of Books

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