Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wisconsin Book Festivals Fall 2017

Wisconsin Fall Book Festival season is underway.

Central Wisconsin Book Festival 2017Wausau was home to an inaugural festival event, the Central Wisconsin Book Festival, held at UW-Marathon on September 29-30, sponsored in part by the two local bookstores and the UW extension's fine arts series. The website is a page hosted on the library's website, found here. We'll watch for the festival to come around again, but add it to the list.

The Driftless Writing Center in Viroqua has been reactivated after a four-year absence. The first gathering/reading was held at the Kickapoo Valley reserve on September 29, with a very good turnout. See the website for upcoming events and more information.

Wisconsin Writers Association annual fall conference is held October 6-7 this year at the Riverwalk Hotel in Neenah. Kathleen Ernst is the keynote speaker. Visit the website for the pdf schedule.

Fox Cities Book Festival Sticky LogoThe week-long Fox Cities Book Festival runs from October 9-15th this year in the Appleton area. Now in its tenth year, the list of authors/presenters continues to grow. Visit the website for the complete schedule, venues, parking, etc.

Company LogoSheboygan Children's Book Festival runs October 13-15. See the website for the schedule and more information.

Dueling book festivals continue to challenge the Reader and Writer for time with Madison Public Library's annual

Wisconsin Book Festival, November 2-5 in Madison, several venues. The website has information.

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of BooksThe Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books runs November 3-4 on the UW-Waukesha campus. See the website for the schedule. Nicholas Butler keynotes.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Rob Flanigan and his challenging new ideas

Buy on Amazon:
Sunrise Over Disney, by Bert (Rob Flanigan)
Hardcover $27.95
Paperback $16.95

About the Book:
A man's trip to Disney World sparks a revolution in his thinking that strangely alters his quest for a true education. Ultimately, he redesigns a popular Disney attraction and predicts the trajectory of human development, while settling the long-standing feud between science and religion.

About the Author:
In this world of credentialed experts, the author, L.N. Smith, is not one of them. In fact, his credentials are so unconvincing that he has chosen to publish under a humorous pen name instead of his real name. "L.N. Smith" is actually the abbreviation for a phrase that sets up a joke. (The clues to the full name are in Sunrise Over Disney.) Only time will tell if the joke is on him or on today's "credentialed experts." Bert is L.N. Smith's fictional character, who writes and publishes books written in the first person. He is a fun-loving jack-of-all-trades who traces his ancestry back to the chimney sweeps of London at the turn of the last century.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lisa Hainline and children's lit

Polly’s Pink Piggy Parlor
Written and illustrated by Lisa Hainline
Children’s literature

Hardcover $18.99
Paper $14.99
Coloring book $8.99

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book:
Once upon a time, there was a piggy...with a comb.
Polly is a lovable pig who just wants to do what she loves to do, and would rather play with her dolls than play in the Mud. With the encouragement of friends, Polly ends up starting her very own beauty salon, to help her friends feel unique and beautiful in their own special way. Polly's Pink Piggy Parlor encourages young girls to not only look their best but to discover what their talents and giftings are and develop them…no matter what anybody thinks.

My review:
Polly is a most unusual pig. Instead of the usual mud play, Polly prefers to brush her dolly’s hair, and fix the coiffeurs of other farmyard and zoo animals. She helps her barnyard friend Sally who wants to be “hip” for her trip to town and encourages Polly to practice her talent. No creature was too difficult to beautify – from a fly to an elephant, Polly used her gifts, pampering the animals with their special requests, dyeing, plucking, curling, and even nail/claw treatments. She became so well known that she started her own beauty treatment parlor, the culmination of her hard work and dreams. The story encourages readers and listeners to follow their hearts and work to achieve their goals.

Charmingly illustrated in shaded pastels, Hainlines a/a, b/b, c/c, d/d rhyme scheme will be sure to have kids begging for another read. Accompanied by an outline coloring book, youngsters can color along while listening to their favorite reader. A unique addition to the story is “finders keepers,” a counting list of specialty items found in the illustrations to help Polly put her shop in order. Printable activity papers are available free to download from the author’s website,

About the author

Lisa Hainline is an award-winning and gifted graphic designer, art director and illustrator, producing/directing for ad agencies, major corporations, radio stations, hospitals, banks, manufacturers, magazines and other small boutique businesses. 

With over 40 years in the advertising industry, for the past seven years, Lisa has turned her focus to helping other authors self-publish their works, designing some of the covers seen on Amazon. You can see her book cover design work at her studio, where she merges her design and marketing experience with her spiritual gifts to help Christian authors promote the message God laid on their hearts. 

Founder and author of, Lisa also ministers to the hurting through her blog, articles and praying with others in street ministry.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lisa now enjoys the continual sunshine in California near her daughter and son-in-law and plans to bring more of her own books to the surface. You can reach Lisa at and through her websites above and at and

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catherine Finger and Jo Oliver thrillers

Catherine Finger
Elk Lake Publishing
May 2017

Print ISBN 978-1946638113

Buy on Amazon    Buy it on Barnes and Noble

About the Book
A Dead Body, A Cryptic Clue—Will Jo Oliver Solve the Riddle in Time? Police Chief Jo Oliver needed a little time to herself. But when her escape to Wisconsin turns deadly, she teams up with FBI agent Nick Vitarello, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Their romantic past and complicated present leads them into uncharted territory as they match wits with a psychopath bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

My Review
The third installment of the Jo Oliver mystery thrillers takes place in Wisconsin. In this story, Jo, or Josie to her friends, is ordered to take some vacation time after a harrowing run-in with a murderer and near death experience. Her vacation ends abruptly on the sixth hole of an early-morning solitary round of golf when she runs after a cap sailing in the wind and traces it back to its owner, buried upright at the edge of an Indian mound.

This is the first book of the series for me. I stop trying to figure out what I’d missed with all the graphic references and obvious romance, and just started to read the current mystery. Apparently Chief Jo has an active romantic life and is widowed, and is well-known to several branches and members of law enforcement. She grew up in Wisconsin and is taking some R&R on inherited property which abuts a golf course. She also has a cabin in the woods and close friends. After a reference to Michelle Obama, I wasn’t sure about racial identity, but that didn’t seem to be part of the story.

Jo had gotten involved in the past with the FBI, and one agent in particular, a gorgeous agent named Nick. She has mentors and friends and also sometime in the not-too-distant past became a Christian. Her golf course victim, she learns, is one of a bizarre series of crimes targeting specific profiles of people. With her friend the local sheriff who has a romantic and lengthy friendly interest in Jo, and the FBI love interest agent, Jo helps hunt down the killer, but not without nearly falling prey a couple of times.

Told in first person throughout, the character is a sassy, lovestruck gal with a reputation of being able to befriend and pray through danger-fraught situations. The romantic angles seem pronounced in this mystery, and those who prefer their Christian mysteries pure and chaste will need to put on blinders for some heavy duty but fairly clean kissing and lots of thinking about kissing, as well as alcohol use. Some of the characters seems like filler, like Jo’s Wisconsin neighbors, though I’m sure they were more important in the earlier books. When using real names and places, it’s always best to use real geography. If you happen to live in the area mentioned in the book, like I do, you may not appreciate unnecessary liberties taken with the setting.

Readers of spicy, dicey mysteries featuring lots of romantic angles and some procedural detective work will enjoy the Jo Oliver series. The first two books  are Shattered By Death and Cleansed By Death.

About the Author
Catherine Finger is recently retired from a wonderful career in public education. Follow her on Facebook, CatherineFingerAuthor, and Twitter, @BeJoOliver.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anson Berberich and Eggshells in My Omelette

Introducing Anson Berberich of Waukesha and his children's picture book.


About the Book
In the rhyming comical influence of authors like Shel Silverstein, Mo Willems and Dr. Seuss, Anson Berberich brings you his first children's picture book. Eggshells In My Omelette is written and illustrated by Anson Berberich. It's a catchy comedy story that rhymes about a boy whose name is never mentioned. He is not very picky about his food unless his dish comes with one minor/major flaw, the chef lost an eggshell in his cooked eggs. The boys goes on to make publicly known all the disgusting things he will eat before he eats that.

Children’s Picture Book
$5.99 eBook
$14.95 Print
March 4, 2017
8.5 by 11 inches
ISBN-13: 978-0998794006
Buy on Amazon 

About the Author
Anson lives in Wisconsin with his wife, son and pet tortoise named Peanut. He and his wife love to play music apart and together. He likes to go on long runs and has done many marathons and 5K races. He loves to write books and short stories for his wife and friends to make them laugh. He also loves to make songs that make people smile. He plays guitar, drums, bass, and trumpet.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Contemporary romantic Fiction from Susan Baganz

Root Beer amp; Roadblocks

Root Beer and Roadblocks, book 4 of the Orchard Hill series
Susan M Baganz

Read an interview with the author here

February, Prism Book Group, an imprint of Pelican Ventures LLC
$4.99 eBook
$15.99 Print

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
When God strips away all your hopes and dreams can you trust Him to give you something better?

Johnny Marshall's cancer is back . . . and so is the girl who broke his heart seven years ago. As Johnny struggles to find the will to live and fights his second round with the disease, he finds that hope comes in small packages with an energetic little boy named David.

Having bought in to her parents' narrow view of finding a man worthy of her, years ago, Katie abandoned the one man she'd ever loved. In all the years since, no one has ever compared to Johnny. Now as a single mom of a young boy, she wonders if their reunion right on time or is it too late for a future together?

My review
The stories coming from Orchard Hill just keep getting better and better, if you can call dealing with a lot of illness in various fashion “better.” Lots of emotion and a whirl of events help a young couple reunite under the most difficult circumstances.

Secrets come out of the closet in Root Beer and Roadblocks. Return of cancer for a member of a popular praise band puts Johnny in a funk. Even with the return of the woman of his dreams, he has a hard time willing a desire to grab life. Katie is just discovering who she is…or isn’t, in her opinion. When she realizes she’s turned herself “off,” so to speak, just to deal with being alive and handling devastating circumstances within a classically dysfunctional family, revelations of the stuff of nightmares aren’t as much of a shock. Together Katie and Johnny know they can win any obstacle course, especially with the fruit of their first love, David, and love for another child who comes into their lives and needs them, Khloe.

There’s a lot of ups and downs, tears all around, hugs and passion in this story of forgiveness and grace, and future uncertainties. Told in multiple viewpoints, old friends from the past stories haunt the pages in a good way, and it truly come around to needing a village to make life a good one for each other and our children. Nicely done, occasionally tear-jerking. Recommended for readers of contemporary romantic stories and couples learning to deal with the realities after the “I do.”

Areas in the Milwaukee metroplex, Horicon, Fond du Lac, and a couple of hours in Chicago make up the setting

Friday, April 28, 2017

Sit Stay Heal listen on Chapter a Day May 1-9

Sit Stay Heal!
Mel Miskimen

E-book $7.99
Print $15.99
Audible $20.95

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
Rowdy, reckless Seamus is the last dog you'd find in a training field. Instead of obediently retrieving, he stubbornly follows his heart, wherever it may lead.

Mel Miskimen's heart is heavy. Her mom, the family rock, the provider of apple pies and stubborn fan of Brett Favre, just died. Even more, her curmudgeon of a father isn't really coping. How can Mel reconnect with an old man more interested in field dog training than discussing his feelings?

Enter Seamus. The hapless black lab throws their grief into joyful disarray. Mel encourages her dad to mold Seamus into a champion retriever.. But as the seasons change, and memories follow, Mel realizes she must face her own fears, and that the road to Seamus's field trials might just heal them all.

At turns hilarious and heart breaking, Sit Stay Heal will touch the souls of dog lovers everything, and speak to anyone seeking a way to connect with those they've lost.

From the Author
My parents had known each other since they were 12, went to high school together, got engaged then married when they were just 21. They had known each other for close to 70 years, and when my mother unexpectedly died, my father was lost. He needed a project to help him wade through the muddy waters of grief. I needed something to keep me afloat. Enter my 7 year old underachieving labrador, Seamus.

Dad was a hunter. An expert when it came to training retrievers to fetch felled fowl. My dog, however was good at getting the newspaper, balancing a biscuit on his nose and keeping me warm on the sofa. Could my father help me train Seamus to be a ‘real’ dog? Over the year after my mother died, he and I (and dog) took to the muddy fields every Wednesday morning. I learned the finer points of being in command, something I wasn’t really keen on, and underneath my father’s gruff and rough outer layer, was a soft and chewy center.

We needed a goal. Something to aim for. I don’t hunt . . . so . . . what then? Vindication for an embarrassing appearance at a Fastest Retriever Contest Seamus and I entered when he was a yearling and I was . . . inept? Yes! I had brought shame upon the family when Seamus and I were kicked out of a competition. He went rogue. I went comic relief. The sting of that moment lingered. I wanted a do-over, no . . . I needed a do-over. With the help of my father (fluent in retriever) Seamus and I entered the contest. The outcome? Well, you have to read the book!

Writing it was difficult – all those feelings of sadness came bubbling back to the surface just when I thought I was done with grieving. I miss my mother. Not the frail, wasting-away version of her, but the funny, quirky her. We are getting used to the new normal – life without mother. Life with a better behaved dog. Life with a father who never called me on the phone just to chat and now calls me and talks for 12 minutes!            

About the reader:
We all grieve. There are parts of the process that are absurd and funny, so when I wrote about my experience, I had to include those parts, like . . . when the funeral director showed up to collect my mother’s body and he had 2 black eyes and an ‘x’ shaped bandage in the middle of his forehead. You’d have know my mother to understand why that was funny. She would always describe people like this: “You remember Alice? She has that hump?” or “Frank . . . he’s the one with the weird ear.” I could just hear her, “. . . and the funeral director had TWO BLACK EYES!”

Humor is a coping mechanism. It’s how I get through life. Read this book and laugh, and weep. It’s the human condition.

About Mel:
Mel Miskimen is an award winning Wisconsin writer whose works have appeared in the Huffington
Post and on public radio. She was a cast member of Listen To Your Mother in 2014 and 2017, her essay about her mother’s love of Brett Favre will be included in a scripted version of the same show.

Her book, Sit. Stay. Heal: How An Underachieving Labrador Won Our Hearts and Brought Us Together, (Sourcebooks 2016) is available at Boswell Books, select Target stores, and Barnes and It was called a ‘must read,’ by Modern Dog magazine. The book will be featured on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Chapter a Day program in May of 2017.

She lives in Milwaukee with her husband Mark and dog Seamus in their 130 year old, drafty, empty nest they have been in the process of restoring for over 33 years. Of course, she’s writing a book about it. You can find her website: and follow her on Twitter: @mmiskimen.   

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jane Schmidt and rural life anecdotes Not a Perfect Fit

Not a Perfect Fit: Stories from Jane's World

Not a Perfect Fit
Jane Schmidt

She Writes Press
April, 2017
Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-206-2
328 pp
Print $16.95
Buy on Amazon

Not a Perfect Fit: Laugh-out-loud funny one minute and thought-provoking the next, Not a Perfect Fit includes stories detailing everything from Jane Schmidt’s experience living off-grid as the only English woman in an Amish neighborhood to family trips that are remarkably similar to National Lampoon’s Vacation. Through it all, Schmidt manages to rise above the many challenges she faces, inspiring and entertaining her audience along the way.

When fitness instructor Jane Schmidt moved from the city to rural Wisconsin, stories of her “single-girl-gone-country” adventures helped her become an award-winning columnist for the Crawford County Independent and Kickapoo Scout—and now she’s taking readers on a candid, insightful, and hilarious trip into her world with her new book release, Not a Perfect Fit: Stories From Jane’s World featuring some of her most beloved escapades as well as over 30 never-before-seen stories.

My Review
I’m always happy to read fellow Wisconsin authors. When asked to look at Schmidt’s compilation of personal stories from her local newspaper columns, I was intrigued and occasionally giggling to see familiar roads and small communities through her eyes. As the author introduces her work, she shares her stories for her family and also for the rest of us who can say, been there, said that. We’re not alone, we aren’t the only ones surprised by life.

From the gradual refitting of her “cabin” with modern conveniences to the outfitting of her domestic zoo, readers are drawn into Schmidt’s exploits with language, snow, fitting rooms, and hiking in the rain. Her stories of neighbors, love of pets, surprise and joy of the beautiful natural surroundings of southwestern Wisconsin and quirky lifestyle will touch readers. Those who enjoy humorous and thoughtful real life vignettes will be in for a fun getaway of a read. Schmidt’s style is reminiscent of the old-time personal columns, such as Pearl Swiggum’s the Barn Came First, and neighborhood news. All seasons, recent timeline and occasional childhood memories populate the book. Poignant stories of pets are included—readers who are sensitive to the life cycle of dear ones will want a hanky. All brief tales old in down to earth occasionally self-deprecating but with genuine, earnest narrative.

About the Author
Jane A. Schmidt
Jane A Schmidt is a columnist and the owner of two businesses, Fitness Choices and Turtle Adventures. When not teaching her fitness classes or encouraging women to get outside, she spends her time backpacking in places like the Grand Canyon, Superior Hiking Trail, and Isle Royale National Park; biking across Wisconsin; hiking and kayaking in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve; or just hanging out with her animal family in rural Viola, Wisconsin.

An Interview with Jane A. Schmidt

When did you make the move from the city to rural Wisconsin? Why?
I moved to the Driftless area of Wisconsin after the hype of the millennium in 2000. I spent a lot of time driving in the country when my daughter was small. I'd see an old cabin or a house that was falling apart and I'd think, if only I could buy that place. My dreams were of land, out-buildings, animals, and a quiet country life. I longed to get out of the city and live closer to the land, where I felt I’d have more room for living.

How did moving to rural Wisconsin impact your life?
The impact was huge. I had to start all over. I had no friends here, no job, and after a couple of months I was living off-grid. The learning curve was not only steep but sometimes dangerous. I cooked with a head-lamp on in order to see. The “hot plate” was connected to a propane tank under my cabin. I lived in fear every time I lit a match. I thought I'd blow myself and the cabin up. Every day I learn something new. Like don't use the John Deere mower to blaze a hiking trail through your Amish neighbor’s hay field. Before moving here I spent all my free time getting away. I'd drive to the parks, small country towns, lakes, and rivers. I was camping out every chance I had. Now I live in the kind of areas I was always running too. I can finally slow down and walk!

What is your favorite part about living in the country? Is there anything you miss about city life?
I lived in apartments before moving to this area. I love the freedom of living alone, surrounded by trees and my animal family. Coming from apartment city living to my own home in the country is liberating. I feel I can live-out-loud better here. I miss ethnic restaurants, my family, and the many lakes I lived near when in the Milwaukee area.

How does your passion for fitness and wellness influence your stories?
My passion for a life lived outside has influenced my interest in fitness and wellness. I knew from the get-go that I needed to stay fit and healthy to live the life I wanted to. My stories revolve around my life. My passion for fitness and wellness is reflected in them.

Why do you think readers connect with your stories?
My stories are real. I talk about everyday happenings that some people would never admit to. Reading about walking through an airport with toilet paper hanging off my rear end or mixing up the words circumcise and circumnavigate allows people to relax and find the humor in their own lives. In the end, we're all just people trying to do the best that we can. Not a Perfect Fit reeks of humanness.

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Life in Waiting by Katryna Benson

A Life in Waiting
Katryna Benson
Nonfiction/Biography/Memoir Surviving Child Abuse in America

Ebook $3.99
Print $9.95
Buy on Amazon

From the back of the book:
I dare not sit – although in the beginning I found opportunities- and I dared not speak. With so much time alone, I had all the time in the world to think. Time to imagine. My mind was developing at its own pace. With little outside influence and learning, paired with being so young, I had no real experiences to give me a basis of normal. I had no foundation for my mind to grow upon. In isolation, my young mind developed as it may have in a more primitive time. Three years that I can remember were taken from me by Maria. Three straight years of being broken down as a person at a time in my life when I should have been flourishing the most. I cannot forget all of it. Believe me, I’ve tried. I wish that I could say I knew there was a chance for a good life waiting for me around some corner. Maybe a fighting chance for the rest of my childhood to be redeemed. Instead, over time, as my emotion and fear drifted away, so did that fleeting hope. I have thought for a long time about the events that happened to me in that house and have come to this conclusion: the memories I do have affect my life so much now in so many ways, I don’t think I could process the memories of moments I can’t remember. "Pain by itself is merely pain, but the experience of pain coupled with the understanding that pain serves a worthy purpose is suffering. Suffering can be endured because there is a reason for it that is worth the effort. What is more worthy of your pain than the evolution of your soul?"

Katryna, tell us the inspiration for writing the story.
   Brandon "Boy" Benson is my husband and the survivor of this horrific story. It pained me every day to see him internally coping by not only reliving these situations he was put in, but also reconciling the idea that his abuser and enablers will never be held accountable. Justice will never be served, there is a statute of limitations that had passed before he even knew his rights. Brandon was not a sharer of his feelings, he was never given any tools to know how to deal with what happened to him. Brandon came to me one day during a difficult time in our life together and he started sharing. He shared in a way that made me see through his eyes, and relive the pain of his memories alongside him. I had to write the book. I had to let people see what I saw, not just for me but for him. I had to let the world see what the reality is for victims of child abuse. 

What's the purpose for sharing this book?

   Some children don't even survive to tell their story, but without the proper help, those who do survive will continue to suffer. My inspiration for writing the story was to help this man who was stuck reliving the memories as a little boy to find closure, healing, find peace within himself. We both hope to shed light on child abuse for the sake of the children suffering today as well as the adults who are dealing with the aftermath of childhood abuse. For most, the physical abuse may stop eventually for one reason or another, but it is never over. All throughout growing up and well into adulthood the mental anguish continues for most. It effects your mood, your mentality, your reactions and plays a part in almost every and any part of your life. For someone who had to endure abuse the thought of trying to bury these feelings is too much to bear, some don't get better. We need to shed as much light as possible for the children and adults suffering today. This book is not only a vehicle for healing, but also a call for action. 

Katryna, what do you hope readers will gain from this story?
   In the exact moment you are reading this on your phone or in the comfort of your home, copious amounts of children are being abused, right now! They need help, they don't have voices. If you see something out of the ordinary, or you have a bad feeling about something going on, don't doubt yourself. Don't be like the witnesses in this book who could have intervened many times over but never did. We can be their voices and we can break the cycle. But most of all, for Brandon "Boy" Benson and the hundreds of thousands of abused children every year who will NEVER receive justice and healing, don't let this all be for nothing. Let this story and so many others be for something. Let it be for advocacy, let it be for justice, let it be for inspiration and change! That will never happen if we don't all do our part to share and get the word out. Awareness is your biggest advocate and complacency is your biggest enabler. Be the change you want to see in the world, don't let all the suffering be for nothing...not today's, not yesterday's, not tomorrow's. Together we can change the ending of another child's story.

About the Author:

This book was truly a joint effort. I may be the author, but the entire story is a narration from the mind of my wonderful husband. Although we both were vagabonds of sorts from other parts of the country, happenstance made us cross paths and now we live in the Milwaukee area and have 5 beautiful children and one lovely cat between the two of us. We are beginning the path to not only getting the word out about the book but advocating loudly for those children without voices. We love to hear from our fans, advocates and other survivors. We befriend each and every one of them so we can build a strong network of advocates. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Book Festival coming to Northeast Wisconsin April 28-30

Untitled Town Book and Author Festival
Book Expo

Where: Green Bay area venues
When: April 28-30
Why: to unite readers with authors

Founded by area leaders and activists, UntitledTown exists to unite readers with authors, writers with other writers and publishers, podcasters with philosophers, and every scenario in-between. Over a stretch of three days across downtown Green Bay, April 28-30, people of all ages and abilities will come together to share their stories and celebrate the community’s love of reading at the inaugural UntitledTown Book and Author Festival.

“This Festival will be the first occasion in recent Green Bay history in which thousands of people interested in book culture have been purposefully gathered,” says Alex Galt, co-owner of Kavarna Coffeehouse. “Individuals who may have felt that they lived and worked in isolation will have the opportunity to find one another for the first time.

“What’s most striking about this event is that Northeastern Wisconsin has always had an extremely rich history of storytelling and love of reading. Readers and writers have always found each other in tiny groups and conversations. Our talent and love of the written word has always been here – this is just the first time that an entire weekend has been devoted to celebrating those clusters of book people.”

The Festival will feature a diverse lineup of more than seventy readings, discussions, panels, workshops and other events of interest to writers and readers, including a book expo. Nearly every individual event is free and open to the public.

Confirmed Festival venues include the Brown County Library, Titletown Brewery’s Larsen Room, The Meyer Theatre Backstage, Kavarna Coffeehouse, the KI Center, St. Brendan’s Inn and Old Fort Square, with more to come. A complimentary UntitledTown trolley will be available for attendees to access each venue easily, sponsored by Breakthrough Fuel and Crystal Clear Resources.

Nationally recognized, award-winning authors are scheduled, such as Dan Chaon, Kate Harding, Benjamin Percy, Michael Perry, A.S. King, and Nickolas Butler, as well as local talents such as Miranda Paul, Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Blair Braverman, Dennis Rockhill, Liam Callanan, Emilie Lindemann, Dan Egan and more. Two VIP novelists will also be announced at the press conference.

Support for UntitledTown is made possible by several corporate and non-profit donors, with generous lead sponsorships provided by Breakthrough Fuel and Crystal Clear Resources. Other support include Friends of the Brown County Library, The Kress Foundation, On Broadway, Cellcom, The City of Green Bay, Nicolet National Bank, WPS, The Reader’s Loft, Wisconsin Humanities Council, UWGB Alumni Foundation, and Camera Corner Connecting Point. Sponsorships are still available and can be initiated at


UntitledTown Book and Author Festival will host a public Press Conference Wednesday, March 29th at 9 AM on the main level of the Brown County Central Library.

Two Q&As will also be held, open to the public: the first on March 30th at the Titletown Tap Room at 5:30 pm and the second on April 15th at the Reader’s Loft from 1 pm until 3 pm. The Reader’s Loft Q&A session will award free swag bags filled with books to the first 15 attendees.

For more information, follow UntitledTown Book and Author Festival on:
Twitter @untitledtowngb
Instagram @untitledtown
Or subscribe to their email list on

UntitledTown is a Registered 501c3 Organization promoting all aspects of book culture.
To make a donation, get involved or learn more, visit

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Prolific Author Janet Halfmann

More with Janet Halfmann...
Learn about her amazing and growing collection on Goodreads

What are you reading now?
I’m reading Newbery Medal winner Holes by Louis Sachar. I’m also reading Bjorn’s Gift, the second book in a middle grade trilogy by fellow Wisconsin author Sandy Brehl about how families were affected by and resisted the German occupation of Norway during World War II.

Lisa: I love Sandy and her work! Bjorn's Gift was just published last October by Crispin Books.

Share some of the books you read last year that you recommend.
One of the most compelling books I read last year was Newberry Honor winner Brown Girl Dreaming, a story in verse of the mesmerizing childhood journey of Jacqueline Woodson to find her place in life.

I also would recommend Odin’s Promise, the first book in Sandy Brehl’s trilogy. Eleven-year-old Mari and her dog Odin are characters you’ll definitely want to follow beyond one book.

I’ve also read many picture books and board books. Some of my favorites are those with wonderfully diverse art illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.

What’s next for you?
My next book, set to release this year or next, is in a similar vein to Seven Miles to Freedom, and will come out from the same publisher, Lee & Low Books. This time an amazing enslaved woman is featured.

I am currently working on another manuscript about several enslaved people who went on to greatness, and I recently finished two manuscripts for the very young inspired by our newest grandson.

Do you work on more than one project at a time?

I generally work on only one project at a time because to do my best work I need to completely immerse myself in a project. The manuscript takes over my mind and imagination even when I’m not sitting at my desk.

About Janet:
Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. She has written forty fiction and nonfiction books.

Janet writes picture books about nature and animals. She also writes about little-known people who have accomplished amazing feats, such as Robert Smalls in Seven Miles to Freedom.

Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books in Racine, Wisconsin. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of five. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visit living-history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives with her husband in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meet Janet Halfmann Childrens Book Author

Good Night, Little Sea Otter
Star Bright Books

Has just released in board book version: English and English/Spanish
Also available in hardcover and softcover
Softcover is available in 8 languages: Arabic/English, Burmese Karen/English, English, French/English, Hmong/English, Navajo/English, Portuguese/English, Spanish/English
$5.99 paperback
$7.99 board book
Purchase links:

Janet, what do you love about Goodnight, Little Sea Otter?
I love how some kids after listening to the story want their caregivers to wrap them in a seaweed blanket just as Mama sea otter does in the book. And I LOVE, LOVE the art by Wish Williams. When I’m signing books, people will spot the art from across the room and rush over to see it close up.

Lisa: The seaweed blanket is so sweet and the illustrations lush!

Tell us about this book’s character.
Little Sea Otter is pretty much like any young child who wants to put off bedtime as long as possible. I like how curious Little Sea Otter is and how patient his Mama is while still managing to get him to settle down for the night. The ocean with all its wonderful creatures is also a character in this book.

Share two things you learned about yourself, your setting, or the publishing world while writing this book.
I learned how to really focus on making my words capture the feeling of rocking on the ocean waves. I also discovered a lot about the amazing life of a kelp forest.

Lisa: This Grandma is glad to have found a new author to LOVE! 

Animal TeachersAnimal Teachers
Blue Apple Books

Purchase links:

Janet, tell us what do you love about Animal Teachers.
I love the questions at the end of each spread that allow children to relate the animal lesson to their own lives. These questions were a suggested addition to my manuscript by the editor, and I think they add so much to the book. Parents and caregivers tell me they love listening to their child’s answers.

How did you decide on your topic and what do you hope readers will learn?
I decided to write about animal parents teaching their young after noticing many similarities in how this is done between animals and humans. I was fascinated, and I thought kids would be, too. I think kids like to see how animals mirror their own lives.

I hope all my books about nature will help children appreciate the value of all living things

Share two things you learned about yourself, your setting, or the publishing world while writing this book.

I was reminded again about the great suggestions an editor often brings to a project. I also learned a lot of fun information about how young animals grow up.

Lisa: That sounds wonderful. There's a lot to learn no matter how old we are, or what profession we practice.

About Janet:
Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. She has written forty fiction and nonfiction books.

Janet writes picture books about nature and animals. She also writes about little-known people who have accomplished amazing feats, such as Robert Smalls in Seven Miles to Freedom.

Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books in Racine, Wisconsin. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of five. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visit living-history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives with her husband in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.