Friday, May 30, 2014

Interview with author Catherine Fitzpatrick

Read my review of going on nine

Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick, author of going on nine.

16.95 – print
16.99 – ebook
Releases May 20, 2014

From the Publisher:
A child swipes her mother's ring, snatches her sister's nightgown, and runs outside to play "bride." She soon loses the ring, rips the gown, correctly assumes it's about to rain daggers, and runs away from home to find a better; family. What happens next is a summer-long journey in which Grace Townsend rides shotgun in a Plymouth Belvedere, and hunkers in the back of a rattletrap vegetable truck, crawls into a crumbling tunnel, dresses up with a prom queen, and keeps vigil in the bedroom of a molestation victim. There are reasons why Grace remembers the summer of 1956 for the rest of her life. Those are just a few.

Through the eyes of a child and the mature woman she becomes, we make the journey with Grace and discover important truths about life, equality, family, and the soul-searching quest for belonging.

Can you share a couple of your favorite experiences as a journalist in the fabled Hannibal, MO?     
     My first job after graduating from journalism school was as a cub reporter at the Hannibal Courier Post. I loved it! There were no “young singles” apartment complexes in Hannibal back then, so I rented the front rooms of a beautiful Queen Anne mansion that had once been the home of a Mississippi River lumber baron. It came with a huge bay window, red velvet drapes, tasseled tie-backs, and a genuine claw-foot bath tub. Five days a week, I covered the Hannibal police department, fire department, county sheriff’s department and city government. That was in the mornings. After lunch, I wrote feature stories. All that, for $95 a week.

How did your 9/11 experiences color your writing world?
     I happened to be in a hotel in midtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was sent to New York to cover Fashion Week runway shows. That day, I woke up intending to do just that.
     Eighteen hours later, I lay back down in the same hotel room, forever changed. I had watched in horror as the first tower sank upon itself. I had interviewed fire fighters who, a few minutes after we parted, lost their lives in the heroic line of duty. I had heard the terrible thudding sound of bodies hitting the earth from a height of 1,000 feet. And when the second tower collapsed in an enormous cloud of debris, I was close to Ground Zero, in harm’s way. I filed real-time stories all that day, filed stories all that week, stories that took awards.
     When I returned home to Wisconsin, shattered, I carried with me the idea that at any moment something could come flying out of the blue and change things forever. That experience informed the theme of my first novel, A Matter of Happenstance:
     Inevitably, things come zinging at us out of the blue, things capable of changing ourselves, our families, our cities, and our world. But character trumps coincidence, and in fact our lives are what we make of them.

What are some of the different aspects of the writing craft you needed to learn to apply to fiction vs. non-fiction?
   I come from a family of natural-born storytellers and I was trained in the art and craft of journalism at the University of Missouri’s renowned School of Journalism, so I have a background in both fiction and non-fiction.
   What took me a while to conquer, though, when I began writing a book-length work of fiction was to maintain a consistent  point of view, and to create dialogue that was pin-dot perfect. With newspaper writing, you don’t have those issues. The point of view is what you have observed first-hand or learned through interviews, and the dialogue is exactly as your subjects spoke it.

 What do you love about Going On Nine?
Oh, my little heroine, of course. What’s not to love about a kid who swipes her mother’s diamond ring and her sister’s new white nightgown, goes outside to play bride, loses the ring, rips the nightgown, correctly assumes it’s about to rain daggers, and runs away from home rather than face the music?

What do you hope readers will tell other readers about the book?
     I hope, if they’re “of a certain age,” that they’ll say Going on Nine took them right back to the unstructured, carefree summers that children experienced sixty years ago, when the only thing calling them home from kickball games in the street, fort-building out by the fence lines, or catching tadpoles in the creek, was the sound of a bell, a whistle, or their mother’s particular calling that meant the Jell-O salad was set and a meat loaf was nicely browned or as tuna noodle casserole was bubbling under a topping of crumbled chips.


The best of Milwaukee:
   If I had to pick just one thing, it would be the foresight of the city fathers who, long ago, dedicated a series of urban parks along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, green spaces threaded with bicycle paths, dotted with trees and decorated with public statues and picturesque foot-bridges, greenswards bordered in summer with boats bobbing at moorings in the harbor and equally lovely in winter under blankets of ever-fresh snow. For generations thereafter and generations to come, Milwaukeeans who wish to, rich or poor, can go there and enjoy broad sunrises, draughts of fresh air, dew-drop grass and warm sand beneath their feet, and grand views of a lake that stretch to the horizon.

The best of Florida:
    Oh, so many bests. Just one? Nigh onto impossible. So, a few then:
     Birdsong in January. Soft breezes at twilight. Palm fronds rustling overhead. Pale pink shells half-nestled in caramel sand. The thonk of tennis balls volleyed over a net. The ping of a 250-yard drive sailing down a velvet fairway. Foam at the leading edge of incoming tide. Coppertone doing business as perfume. Beach towels flapping on a lanai. Limes. Coconuts. Umbrella drinks. Enough? Okay, I’ll stop now.

Why write non-fiction:
    Because it teaches us, reminds us, warns us, helps us, comforts us.

Why write fiction:
     Because it entertains us, inspires us, drags us to the depths, lifts us to the heavens, stills our thrumming hearts, soothes our discontented souls, and, for long moments as we turn the pages, expands our world beyond the cloisters of reality.   

What’s in your To-Be-Read pile?
     Everything my book club is reading this year. One thing I’ve always wanted to read. One thing I’ve never wanted to read but always thought I should. One thing I won’t tell anybody I’ve read, and one thing I will want everybody I know to know I’ve read (because it’s so darn good!).

About the author:
Although the book takes place in St. Louis, Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick grew up in Milwaukee and will always be a Wisconsinite at heart. She lives in Milwaukee and Florida. going on nine is her second novel.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: going on nine by Catherine Fitzpatrick

Going on Nine, a novel by Catherine Fitzpatrick

16.95 – print
16.99 – ebook
Releases May 20, 2014

buy Amazon


From the Publisher:
A child swipes her mother's ring, snatches her sister's nightgown, and runs outside to play "bride." She soon loses the ring, rips the gown, correctly assumes it's about to rain daggers, and runs away from home to find a better; family. What happens next is a summer-long journey in which Grace Townsend rides shotgun in a Plymouth Belvedere, and hunkers in the back of a rattletrap vegetable truck, crawls into a crumbling tunnel, dresses up with a prom queen, and keeps vigil in the bedroom of a molestation victim. There are reasons why Grace remembers the summer of 1956 for the rest of her life. Those are just a few.

Through the eyes of a child and the mature woman she becomes, we make the journey with Grace and discover important truths about life, equality, family, and the soul-searching quest for belonging.

My review:
Our earliest conscious memories, our actions and reactions to events around us, and the people in our environments are part of what makes us who we are. During the summer of 1956 in St. Louis, Missouri, eight-year-old Grace Mitchell realizes the world doesn’t revolve around her, and is forever changed.

This wonderful book is a series of fictional events in Grace’s life, told both in real time from her young point of view, and framed by her adult self looking back on those events and commenting on how they changed her. Polio scare, adult secrets, parenting issues, children’s promises, and prejudices in many forms all work together to form Grace’s outlook on life. From the deal she makes with her parents—that she can spend time with neighborhood families who will have her in a search for a family better than hers—to becoming the keeper of secrets of those neighbors, to the grief at moving away at summer’s end, going on nine reminds me of my favorite novel, Dandelion Wine.

going on nine is annoyingly captivating—I couldn’t just gobble it up like I do other fiction. It took time to read, as I wanted to return to favorite scenes. I know I’ll be going back to spend time with Grace who would have made the very best loyal friend and sister.

Recommended for those who enjoy reminiscing, family life, and spunky little kids. Not a quick read. Contains a discussion guide.

Return on Friday for an interview with the Author.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Addicts and Basements book reading with Robert Vaughan

Book Launch Event

Robert Vaughan, WWA South East Region member and part of the Red Oak Writing group is having two free readings to launch his book: 
 Addicts & Basements from Civil Coping Mechanisms

Thursday, May 29th at Downtown Books

624 N. Broadway Ave.
Milwaukee, WI
(414) 224-1799

Also, June 11th at Unnameable Books

600 Vanderbuilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 789-1534

Robert Vaughan leads writing roundtables at Red Oak Writing. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award 2013 and 2014. He is senior flash fiction editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Poetry reading in Milwaukee

Reading by
Poets Antler (Milwaukee Poet Laureate 2002-2003) and Howard Nelson

Antler is an inheritor and continuer of the Allen Ginsberg tradition of ecologically and politically charged poetry.
Howard Nelson claims a connection with Walt Whitman.

Woodland Pattern Book Center's Milwaukee Poets Laureate Series
720 E. Locust St.

Saturday May 17, 2014
7:00 pm
Tickets are $6-8.00

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review of The Seven by Sean Patrick Little

The Seven by Sean Patrick Little

ISBN 13: 978-1608440665
Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (August 19, 2009)

Buy on Amazon:
Kindle $1
Paperback, 14.36

About the book:
Chosen for their unique DNA profiles and taken from their homes as children, seven teenagers have endured a decade of experimentation, surgeries, and gene-splicing as part of the world-changing project of a geneticist bent on creating the next evolution of man. As a result of the experiments, each of the seven is imbued with the potential for a different superhuman ability. As they near adulthood, the experiment finally begins to show results, but the effects are worse than any of them could have predicted. When an attempt to escape the lab goes horribly awry, the seven are forced to face down the paramilitary army of the syndicate that founded the experiment that created them, or lose the only family they have left: Each other.

My review:
I sat next to Sean at a book fair and purchased The Seven. I finally got around to reading it over the last few days and honestly looked forward to the time I spent in his world. The characters were well-rounded, heroic, and full of wonderful teenaged angst despite the things they were going through.

Each character gradually comes into his or her own as the genetic manipulation of scientists and the government attempt to reprogram humans (or subjects/experiments) in weaponized creatures in a mad plot to...

For those who love all the fantasy and sci-fi YA stuff of genetic manipulation (and even more scary-real every day), X-men, and all that funky stuff--you'll love these kids and how they put their brave on. I agree, could have used another proof-read, but hopefully you'll go ahead and do that soon, and put up another revised edition.

About the Author: 

Sean Patrick Little lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, although he considers Mount Horeb, Wisconsin his home. He likes progressive rock music and comic books. If you buy him a diet Cherry Coke, he'll thank you for it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review of Inked by Dawn Kunda

Inked by Dawn Kunda
January 2014
Buy on Kindle: 3.99
BookStrand Romantic Mainstream Suspense

About the Book: 
Guns and sex make Mary go round... CIA agent Mary Reiss whirls with anxiety as she's teamed with the man of her nightmares. She doesn't need a man. She only needs her job. CIA agent Cal Guevin nearly got her killed, and she doesn't want that option repeated. Cal remembers the gunshot. He remembers the burning kiss. They were both perfect. The shot was meant to kill, yet he interfered and Mary lived. The kiss...the kiss left them to hide behind their badges until now. Apprehension builds as he needs to trust himself to save Mary again. Agents Guevin and Reiss lead an operation in Cairo to infiltrate terrorists. The imminent danger reignites their fiery past, yet they have difficulty understanding each other's idea of romance as they attempt to outmaneuver the deadly terrorists and double agents. With their identities leaked, they debate who to trust. Should they trust each other? Can they?

My review:
Whew—lots of action and sizzling romance in foreign places, not to mention nuclear weapons and gun-runners and informants and back-stabbing…

Agent Mary Reiss protests when she’s put on a mission to Cairo with her nemesis, an operative she’d worked with on a former mission. This one was supposed to be easy—get into the bad guy’s compound and get one little piece of intel. The other team that’s been in place would do the rest. Only the mission goes badly wrong right from the start. Mary is branded right off the bat—the inked from the title—as the property of Roman Chenzira, and that’s only the start of her struggle to stay alive…and in control. Her mission partner, Cal Guevin, isn’t making things easier. They not only have to figure out how to extricate themselves from a double-cross, but fight their feelings.

For those who love action-packed, wild romance in exotic settings, Inked won’t disappoint. Lovely twist at the end.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Special deal for WWA Book Camp events in May

Wisconsin Writers Association
A Writer Resource Since 1948

News Release

May 4, 2014

Novelist, journalist John DeDakis to speak at Cedar Valley Center

WEST BEND, Wis. – Acclaimed thriller writer and TV journalist John DeDakis will share his writing secrets in an informative presentation, “Creating Order from Chaos: Stay Organized Writing Your Novel,” which will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 21 at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa northwest of West Bend.
In response to requests, DeDakis’ presentation and two events the following Thursday afternoon are now open for public participation. These informative presentations are part of the six-day Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp that begins Sunday May 18 and runs to Saturday, May 24, a unique workshop for writers of all genres to focus on their individual works-in-progress guided by an experienced staff of published novelists, editors, and literary agents.
To get a taste of what the Bookcamp offers, the public is invited to these specific events:
– John DeDakis PowerPoint presentation, “Creating Order from Chaos: Stay Organized Writing Your Novel,” 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 21.  $35 reservation; $45 at the door.
– Guest Speaker Cherie Burbach, freelance author, columnist, poet, on building a writing career, 1 p.m., Thursday, May 22, and
– Panel Discussion and Q&A on “Today’s Blossoming Publishing Market: Traditional Agent/Publisher, Small Publisher, Self-Publishing, Opportunities on the Internet,” 2 p.m., Thursday, May 22. Featuring panelists John DeDakis, mystery novelist SJ Rozan, editor Philip Martin, novelist Lisa Lickel, and Cherie Burbach. $35 reservation to attend both Burbach presentation and panel discussion; $45 at the door. Noon Lunch, $10 reservation; $15 at the door.
– Package deal: Includes Wednesday Night DeDakis Presentation, Thursday Breakfast & Lunch, Thursday Burbach Presentation & Staff Panel Discussion/Q&A = $170.
Cedar Valley Center & Spa is located at 5349 Highway D in northwest Washington County.
Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Writers Association and the Chicago Writers Association, the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp provides hands-on advice and one-on-one guidance for writers developing or polishing a book-length manuscript in any genre. The N-I-P Bookcamp receives additional support from Creative Co-Sponsor Diana Schramer, Write Way copyediting LLC.

For information, application details, reservations: Dave Rank, N-I-P Bookcamp Director,, 262-717-5154,,

Posted by morainewriters at 3:33 PM 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review of My Father's Keep by Ed Abell

Review of My Father’s Keep by Ed Abell

Create Space, Jan 2014
ISBN: 9781494367381
Ebook 4.49
Pbook 10.16
My Father's Keep: A Journey of Forgiveness Through the Himalaya

Buy the book  - Amazon
An Inspiring Journey of Forgiveness and Promise-Keeping

At once a trek to the highest peak on Earth and the deepest place of the heart, My Father’s Keep captures the experience that all adult children share: the pain and suffering of growing up in the chaos of alcoholism and the dogged belief that they can—and must—somehow save their afflicted parents from their torment. As that child, Ed Abell vows that one day he and his father will see the Himalaya together—a vow he kept twelve years after his father’s death.

My Father’s Keep is a story of hope for healing of our most complicated family relationships through understanding, compassion, and forgiveness, peace for ourselves despite our inability to save our loved ones from the ravages of addiction, and strength for the arduous yet enriching journey.

My review:
There is so much more work involved in forgiveness than simply saying the words. 

Acceptance is a part of forgiveness that involves empathy, but to truly understand you must experience and survive the experiences that necessitates the forgiveness. Abell shares this gift of forgiveness through an incredible journey that is both a loving tribute and a triumph of a gift to memory. 

This short book packs a full trip from childhood through marriage and family to the time when the author is finally ready to attempt a journey of laying his father's ashes to rest in a "place the Sirens could not win." A huge part of forgiveness also involves recognizing and savoring the good times with the bad of a lifetime of abuse--in this case, alcoholism--which colored the author's world. Although offering understanding, love, and forgiveness to his father while still alive, Abell never gave up believing he could put his father's ghosts to rest. This book is that journey.  

I applaud the author's beautiful, intelligent story of vulnerability and sacrifice. My Father's Keep is part memoir, part tribute, part caution to those of us who struggle to escape the effects of addiction. Abell says it well: love is action.