Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Armchair World Tour with Jill Dobbe



Who says you can’t travel with kids?  My husband, Dan, and I do just that as we set off with our two very young kids, first to live and work on an island far out in the Pacific, then on to the continent of Africa with a few stops in between.  Armed with strollers, diapers, and too much luggage, we travel to over 25 countries throughout a 10-year span, while working together as overseas educators. After surviving typhoon Yuri, almost being mauled by lions, and, nearly shot by a presidential guard, we happily endure all of the good times and bad, while living life to the fullest.  A decade’s worth of experiences and lifelong memories remain with us, as we return to the U.S., now with two teenagers in tow, and begin to experience our very own version of reverse culture shock.

I wrote this book mainly because I wanted to share our many travel stories with others who are contemplating living and teaching overseas or enjoy traveling, with or without children.  I want others to know that it can be done if you are willing to make it happen and are open to living a life full of adventures. 


Since writing her first memoir about her travels, Jill Dobbe has lived in Cairo, Egypt, Gurgaon, India, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she now resides with her husband.  A Shawano, Wisconsin native, Jill continues to work as an elementary administrator overseas and writes on the side. Her two children are now adults and continue to travel on their own.  Every June, they all meet up together at their home on a lake in Wisconsin. Connect with Jill:     www.facebook/JillDobbeAuthor
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing, Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
190 pp
ISBN: 9781937165215
c. 2012
$5.99 eBook
Buy from all online retailers
My review:Educator Jill Dobbe, along with her husband Dan, recount their journey to live and teach and visit all over the world. Thirty countries later, Jill shares this not-quite-over memoir of life abroad.

Beginning in 1991 in Guam, Dobbe discusses the culture, tidbits tourists would miss about living among different cultures – for instance, although tourism is a major trade in Guam, the beaches are dangerous. The first ten years and four countries of working overseas, Jill taught elementary school and Dan high school science. It wasn’t easy adjusting, especially as different cultures treat education much differently. Discipline, language, lifestyle, and childcare were all issues the Dobbes had to deal with.

Jill relates several lessons about traveling and working, such as most people wait months and months for household shipments to arrive and pass through customs; by which time the items arrive, they are nearly forgotten or the Dobbes had learned to do without.

Some of the more quirky, frightening and poignant experiences of Guam, Singapore, Ghana, and Mexico include having to pinch pennies until the first payday and needing to sell off possessions and keeping or throwing out even teaching materials, a babysitter who wanted to take one child on a family visit in another country; living through natural disasters of earthquakes and hurricanes; two attempted adoptions; maps that mean nothing, uniforms in daycare, needing day and night guards, shopping, shopping, shopping, lizards, cockroaches, and touring all over the work during holidays and vacations.

The Dobbes raised their children from one-year-old Ali and two-year-old Ian for ten years overseas. When the children were old enough to be in school, life got a little easier, and Jill wrote many times about how grateful she was to raise her kids globally. From 2001-2007 the Dobbes experienced a reverse culture shock in the craziest of all lifestyles—American—while they lived and worked in Wisconsin until Ian graduated from high school. After that, they returned to work overseas in Egypt and India.

While Here We Are and There We Go is primarily a memoir, I enjoyed the universal appeal of Dobbe’s story. Wisconsinites do tend to feel as though we need nothing else to complete us, and I well understood her complaints of enduring the usual Wisconsin questions, why would you want to go there, why are you doing that, how can you take you kids so far away? We don’t deal with things like cat scratch fever and mango fly infestations too commonly in the States.

Experiencing life in many cultures isn’t for everyone, but Jill’s experiences of meeting celebrities like Jane Goodall and the Clintons, seeing humpback whales, learning different languages and adapting to the most unusual customs wherever they went is like a vicarious world tour. Throughout it all, her main lesson is: “Home is not the material place but the refuge where we spent time together.”

Readers who love to experience different lifestyles, even from an armchair, will find much to treasure in Here We Are and There We Go.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Carol Wobig's Poached is not an option

By Carol Wobig

·         Paperback: 98 pages
·         Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 20, 2012)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1479139122
·         ISBN-13: 978-1479139125

$2.99 Kindle
$9.99 paperback

About the book:

Eight knockout stories about women who know what "authentic" is really all about.

About the author:

Carol Wobig spent a few years in a convent and many more years working in a pizza factory, before she retired and started writing. Her monologues were performed in community theater, and her stories attracted fans in Gray Sparrow Journal, Clapboard House Journal, and on Milwaukee Public Radio's Flash Fiction Friday.

My review:

Very real, indeed. Delightful, heartfelt, poignant and hysterical, each story appeals to a different temperament, from parents of young children to the widowed, a lost young girl, a hopeful romantic; a woman who is forced to take charge of her life at the death of her sister, to a woman caught up in modern incivility. You’ll want to cheer and laugh, and certainly take a stand…on something, or at least hug someone and pat her on the back.

Wobig tells her stories with a raw, up-front, personal edge that sets the reader right down in the guts of each character. Sometimes first person, sometimes third, tales such as Alice’s twelve-year-old confusion will make you catch your breath; lifer teacher Moira’s decisions, and the recently-widowed Anita who’s afraid of her daughter, will stay with you long after the last page.

As in much of Wisconsin, the reader is sometimes plunked down in 1950, sometimes in contemporary times, and often somewhere in between. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling, for in many places time has been jumbled and if you live here, you go with the flow.

I got on the treadmill and began to read, but had finished before I knew it was over. When I got the end, I literally shook my eReader in disbelief I had finished the book.

What else can I say? Books that are good both for mulling and your health shouldn’t be missed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Former WI Author Steven Farrell is headed for the big screen with Mersey Boys

Steve says:
Ladies and Gents,

Mersey Boys, my new book at, is being made into a movie (low budget) out in New York-New Jersey. The casting call has gone out. It's being filmed by La Muse Venale, a Broadway group. They're working with MNN, an affliate of Time Warner. The movie is being filmed during the winter and should open at the famous Actor's Temple in the Broadway district.

Cairan Byrne, a Broadway actor, is one of the guys who'll be in it.

I'm not actively involved in the film process. I am providing the first two film screenplay drafts. I also will be going over three headshots on all of the finalists to render my opinions.
About the Book:

  • Publisher: World Audience Publishers (November 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A2VGDQ2
  • Kindle: .99
    Print: $9.99

    Mersey Boys is a Beatles novel that introduces John, Paul, George, Ringo and Al to the world outside of Liverpool, England. Al? Al! Welcome to a ferryboat ride across the Mersey River and backwards in time by over fifty years into an enchanting musical world that shall never be seen again in history. Join Professor Al Moran, a college art professor of John Lennon, on his magic carpet ride with the four young men who would soon morph into the internationally known Beatles. Gaze upon the beautiful Ginny Browne, the sexiest female character penned in these opening days of the Twenty-first century. Hear the music, dance to the beat and relive the heady days of a long ago golden age in England.

    The book was reviewed favorably by Copperfield Reviews and Small Press Watch Review.

    Among Steve Farrell's many other books, check out:

    Bowery Ripper on the Loose
    "Bowery Ripper on the Loose" is a comic mystery, featuring the notorious Jack the Ripper and the hilarious Irish Clowns of the Lower East Side of New York City. Jack the Ripper, the most infamous serial killer in history, is back plying his bloody trade after a fifty year hiatus. This time Saucy Jack is on the loose on the Bowery, New York's poorest neighborhood, in 1938. A slew of murders beneath the 3rd Street elevated train tracks has the entire city in a state of panic. Is the slaughter the work of the Communists, the Nazis, or Own Madden's West Side Irish Mafia? When Bugs McMaster and his gang, the Irish Clowns, are rounded up as possible suspects, they decide to solve the puzzle themselves. "Bowery Ripper on the Loose" is a leap into the surrealistic world that merges comedy with murder.

    ISBN-13: 978-1935444732

    Steve says, "Bowery Ripper is a fun read for a rainy Halloween night. It helps if one loves the old Bowery Boys movies of the 40s."


    Liverpool Roared
    Shake hands with the Scousers: Darcy, Conn, Keith, Jem, Roddy, and Al. Al? Dr. Albert Moran, an art professor at a college in Liverpool, recounts his sexy and merry romp through Beatlemania with his mates, the Scousers.

  • Publisher: Bookstand Publishing; Revised edition (March 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589096231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589096233

  • Visit the author's Amazon biography page to find more books.

    About the Author:

    Steven M. Farrell is a Professor of Speech-Communication at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, as well as a professional public speaker. He is orginally from Kenosha, Wisconsin and is a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association.