The Three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and Roaming

April 27, 2018

At the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute in April of 2018, I presented a session called “The Winner’s Circle: Are Writing Contests Worth the Fees?”.  I discussed the ways to check if a contest is reputable, which ones are good to enter, and what to do if you win. Later, I took my PowerPoint and narrated it before uploading it to YouTube. You can watch it here.

So, I was already thinking a bit about contests and the warnings I made to my fellow writers about paying careful attention to the pesky fine print. Sometimes the contest rules have the writer sign over the rights to work JUST BY ENTERING!! Yes, it’s true. You would think it would be relatively unknown, shady groups that do this sort of thing... Continue Reading

April 23, 2018

Happy Release day to author Rex Owens and the final book in the Irish Troubles series--Dead Reckoning!

This is Owens' best book yet! (And that is a huge compliment because books one and two in this series are excellent reads!) If you have an interest in the past few decades of political turmoil in Ireland, you'll appreciate this entire series. In Dead Reckoning, Ian Murphy confronts his Irish Republican Army past in and offers redemption in a uniquely artistic way. We feel for this character and those around him as he creates a stage play, revealing his secrets as an act of atonement.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Ian Murphy buries his life-long friend Kieran Fitzpatrick. As a result his life adrift, Ian is incapable of overcoming dependence on whiskey. Every day, he battles the... Continue Reading

April 19, 2018

Wow, it’s hard to believe that spring is here with all the snow we’ve been getting. UGH—I’m so ready for warmer weather! (Kudos to whomever coined the new word "sprinter" to describe this horribly snowy spring.)

I’m in the thick of writing conference season, which means I wouldn’t be outside much anyway, but at least I’m indoors with some lovely company in the form of other writers.





This past weekend, I was at the Writers’ Institute in Madison. This is the 9th time I’ve been at this conference and the second time that I’ve presented sessions. It was wonderful to see so many old friends and make new ones. If you’ve never attended a writing conference, that’s exactly what happens!

Through the years, I’ve... Continue Reading

April 10, 2018






As April is the month of my birthday, it seemed natural to compose a blog post about gifts for writers. In fact, as I researched this post, it became clear that this will be an annual event; I will collect ideas during the year and present them in the month of sunshine, flowers, warmer weather—ah, never mind. Spring surely will come, right? I mean, saying it’s “Christmas in April” has a whole new meaning this year.

Few things have cheered me lately: I’m a warm weather person and the cold, December-like days that so far are ruining my favorite month are straining my brain.... Continue Reading

April 3, 2018

With more than 20 titles checked off the list in February and March, I have more than a few stand-out favorites to share with you.

In the past few weeks I’ve given five-star reviews to the following children's books and featured the titles along with interviews of the authors. 

“The Field” by Baptiste Paul

“Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School” by Janet Halfmann

... Continue Reading

April 3, 2018

Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School by Janet Halfmann is an incredible treasure of a story, bringing readers into the life of this little-known and exceptionally brave teacher who ignored the law of the mid-1800s, which made it illegal to teach enslaved people to read and write. As a lover of history, I have to say a huge thank you to Halfmann for the fine details she brings to this book. I can feel the nervousness of the pupils (and teacher) as they sneak out to attend school in the darkness of the night, knowing that their punishment could be very severe if caught. What a testament to the strong will to learn, teach, and help one another! This story also shows young readers how... Continue Reading

March 27, 2018

The second year of the Writers' Forum continues! Each month there is no shortage of important publishing news and helpful writing information to share with other authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. This is a compilation of the news you need to know along with a preview of the upcoming book events in southern Wisconsin. I am incredibly thankful for the assistance and advice given to me from writing and publishing professionals and am happy pay that forward. On a professional level, I also use my publicity and editorial skills to aid other authors through my company Lost Lake Press. I'd love to use my skills to guide you through the steps of independent publishing.

Southern Wisconsin... Continue Reading

March 13, 2018

  Bookstores are part of Main Street’s revival





William Shakespeare claims that the earth has music for those who listen. I assert that bookstores offer symphonies — plus plenty of lively community engagement — for those who read.

Books & Company, Oconomowoc

Books & Company sets the standard for longevity and reader interaction. The list of book groups on its website appears endless. From crossword fans to mystery lovers to wine aficionados, this shop has a reader club for everyone. Also, the book store offers... Continue Reading

March 5, 2018

The Field by Baptiste Paul with illustration by Jacqueline Alcántara is a beautiful work of art, merging love for the game of soccer with a beautiful Caribbean island and the sheer joy of childhood. You will love this book! Paul’s engaging story includes Creole words that are immediately understood by their placement. (There’s a handy pronunciation guide at the end of the book.)  Alcántara skillfully brings the unique setting to life and makes us feel the high-energy action of the book’s characters as they shoo cows off their field to start their game and continue playing during an unexpected downpour. Parents and teachers will love the diversity of this book, but I suspect kids (and kids at heart) will just love this book because it speaks especially to them!

And there's a... Continue Reading

March 1, 2018

In just a few short days (March 6 to be precise) a wonderful middle-grade novel hits the shelves with the release of The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes. It was a treat to read this book in advance. It’s a fast-paced adventure about kids who have a love for science, a fascination for all things spy related, and are just realizing that they have inherited some special talents. Smartly written, not only with the inclusion of science, the book also delights with a diverse cast of characters and well-placed references to civil rights’ history and more. This could be an excellent jumping off point for some nonfiction reading about Harriet Tubman, the Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ruby Bridges. I highly recommend this read not only for its... Continue Reading