Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gritty Small Town Baseball fiction from the 60s

January 2014, Black Rose Writing
ISBN: 978-1612963068
Print $15.95
E-book $6.99
Buy on Amazon

From the publisher:
From right field of the sparse Ashippun's Fireman's Park to the vacated County Stadium dugout of the Braves final Milwaukee home game in 1965, The Ashippun Trap takes readers on a wild nostalgic ride using a unique blend of baseball fiction and extensively-researched baseball fact. Parlee is an aging town baseball player who's just good enough to be able to hustle the game for his own financial gain during an era where large crowds blur the lines between amateur and pro players. With age and other factors waiting on deck, Parlee contemplates his limited baseball future from his dim and damp vantage point in Ashippun's right field. Forty miles to the east, under the bright Major League lights of Milwaukee's County Stadium, Braves backup catcher Gene Oliver, Parlee's childhood friend from a chance meeting on an Iowa farm years earlier, also considers life without baseball as he and his teammates play in front of thousands of empty seats each day while being forced to endure the Braves' final, lame duck season in Milwaukee. Parlee and his hand-picked crew of talented feral ballplayers jump in Parlee's 1959 Chevy Impala and head off on a 90-mile beer-fueled journey to a weekend tournament in Plymouth where the pay out attracts the best amateur players in Wisconsin. The trip eventually ends with Parlee and Gene Oliver narrating their view of the aftermath of the Brave's final game in Milwaukee from the vacated County Stadium dugout as they search each other's soul for a compass to guide their own baseball futures. Readers ride along but there's no sense in fastening their seatbelts because none exist on this carefree, nostalgic ride that puts the reader in the wooden grandstand's front row for a first-hand look at the dirty, salty side of baseball with a fresh look at the Braves' one-of-a-kind final season in Milwaukee

My review:
What an interesting concept - small town baseball during the height of the 60s craze before television eliminated small town camaraderie and made monsters of us. If you love really gritty baseball stories from the small town team perspective, you'll enjoy Doug Welch's book. An entertaining story, Welch tracks one fictional summer league set among real south central communities in Wisconsin, its ups and downs, during the final home league of the Milwaukee Braves. If you didn't know what it was like back then, you will after reading this book. All the color (and language), ins and dirty little secrets come to life.

Recommended for later high school age and up - told from the manager, Parlee's, perspective throughout. Uses real-time plays from the major league, listened to by the characters while on a road trip.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Upcoming Reader and Writers Delights - Conferences and Book Festivals

Spring is the time of delight to pick up your summer reading, meet your favorite authors and find a new one to love, for writers to connect and network!

Check out these events in and around Wisconsin:

April 20-26, Fox Cities Book Festival; some events beginning the 14th; Appleton area

May 8-9, Lakefly Writers Conference, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with Michael Perry as a keynote speaker. Author Showcase Saturday May 9, 8 am to 3 pm.

Writing Day Workshop in Milwaukee, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writers Digest, Friday May 15. Plenty of openings.

Saturday May 16, Author Showcase II in West Bend, WI, at the Threshold, Inc. Scavenger hunt for prizes! 2380 W Washington St. 10 am - 2 pm

Novel in Progress Bookcamp is May 17-23 in West Bend, WI, featuring SJ Rozan. Lisa Lickel will be teaching too. Editors and agents pitching sessions.

June 6 & 7 - Printer's Row Lit Fest, Chicago, Illinois: The Midwest's largest free outdoor book event

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More Summer Hiker Fare with Rob Bignell

DULUTH, Minn. (April 13, 2015) – A new hiking guidebook details more than 200 day hiking trails in Minnesota’s North Shore, Arrowhead and St. Croix River regions.

Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota, by Wisconsin author Rob Bignell, marks the second book in the “Headin’ to the Cabin” series. It was released Monday, April 13.

The new book “Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota” (Atiswinic Press) describes more than 200 trails along the North Shore and St. Croix River and in the Arrowhead.

Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota covers trails covers trails in or near Chisago, Pine, Carlton, St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties. It includes Voyageurs and Isle Royale national parks, the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, and each state park in the region.

“Northeast Minnesota is a hiker’s Shangri-La,” Bignell said. “From rocky beaches along Lake Superior to waterfalls surrounded by luxuriant pine forests, from a mine 52 stories below ground to a hill nearly half-a-mile above sea level, from nearly 2-billion-year-old lava rock to lakes formed just a few thousand years ago, northeast Minnesota offers an incredible number of sights for day hikers to enjoy.”

The books provide a plethora of information about each featured trail, including:

  • Driving directions to the trail
  • Where to park and find the trailhead
  • Course the trail takes
  • Scenic points to look for on the trail
  • Wildlife and flora you might spot
  • Interesting tidbits about the area’s geology and history
  • Trailside amenities such as water fountains and bathrooms
  • Best times to hike the trail

Following each featured trail are brief descriptions of other nearby day hiking trails.

“These trails are perfect for families with children or anyone who wants to spend just a couple of hours outdoors enjoying and discovering nature,” Bignell said. The trails run from a third of a mile to 6 miles in length, with most only a mile to three miles long.

Book specs:
Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota
Publish date: April 13, 2015
Publisher: Atiswinic Press
ISBN: 978-0-9896723-5-1
Price: $11.95 (paperback), $1.99 (ebook)
Pages: 164 (paperback)
Cover: Paper (paperback)
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5 (paperback)
BUY: Paperback, KindleNookApple iPad/iBooksSony ReaderKoboe-reading apps

“Headin’ to the Cabin’ is the latest in several bestselling hiking guidebooks Bignell has authored. Last year, Day Hiking the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway reached No. 1 on’s bestsellers list for Travel>Midwest books. Day Hiking Trails of Northwest Wisconsin, the first book in the Headin’ to the Cabin series, was a bestselling travel e-book on two years ago.

An avid backpacker, long-time editor, and Wisconsin native, Bignell is uniquely qualified to write about hiking, especially for families. Bignell has served in the Army National Guard and taught middle school students in New Mexico and Wisconsin. His newspaper work has won several journalism awards, from editorial writing to sports reporting. In 2001, The Prescott Journal, which he served as managing editor of, was named Wisconsin’s Weekly Newspaper of the Year.

This is Bignell’s 15th hiking guidebook, almost all of which focus on Wisconsin and Minnesota. He now lives with his son in western Wisconsin.

Headin’ to the Cabin guidebook series author Rob Bignell