Mary Robinette Kowal, author of Without a Summer.
Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo winner for her story “For Want of a Nail.” Mary serves on the board of directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. A professional puppeteer and voice actor, she spent five years touring nationally with puppet theaters. She is also a member of JASNA, the Jane Austen Society of North America.
Pairing a Regency love affair with fantasy and intrigue, Without a Summer is Hugo winner Kowal’s third book in the Glamourist Histories series. Kirkus Reviews calls it a “creative, elegantly crafted novel” that offers “both a broad and an intimate canvas of human weakness and virtue.” When Jane and
Vincent Ellsworth, talented painters who are commissioned to create magical works of art, begin to take an interest in the romantic life of Jane’s younger sister, Melody, the timing simply isn’t perfect. Weather manipulators have forced a cold snap to linger for a long time, affecting not only the crops that finance Melody’s dowry, but also political intrigue that will involve the Ellsworths’ particular skills if an international crisis is to be averted.
Here's the beloved fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss on Kowals' Glamour in Glass: “Kowal does a startlingly good job of presenting a mindset that is very alien to me.... The language was delightfully in keeping with the time period, while not being needlessly cumbersome and opaque. The story and characterization were lovely, and I enjoyed the world-building, too.”
Tuesday, May 14, 7 pm, at Boswell
Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon.
Set primarily in the Pacific Northwest, Red Moon considers what would happen if Lycans (werewolves) lived openly among us. Claire Forrester isn’t just another teenage girl. But when government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the da
y he got on a plane and hours later stepped off the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge, and the battle for humanity will begin.
A phenomenal writer at a cellular level, Benjamin Percy continues to develop into a beastly literary force. In his latest, he tears up the epic horror novel, transforming it into a war novel, a political novel, a novel of judgment and of revolution. When werewolves, who have lived side by side with humans through history, feel oppressed to the point of breaking, a faction rises up against the U.S. government using terrorist tactics, forcing everyone—lycan and human—to decide which side they stand on, and which lines they are willing to cross. Red Moon is terrifyingly good, with sharp claws, sexy rumbles, and plenty of blood and guts.
Carol Memmott in USA Today declares "While some writers of paranormal novels wrap their creatures in romance and comic subplots, Percy has chosen a darker, more literary path. Red Moon is a morality tale cloaked in fur, fangs and social injustice. Werewolves are the monsters in the story, but the bête noire is humanity's moral decline." Read the whole review here.
Here's the exciting trailer for Red Moon!
Benjamin Percy is also the author of the novel The Wilding, as well as the story collections, The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh. The title story of that collection is also in development as a film
Wednesday, May 15, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Bowen, writing as Hillary Bell Locke, athor of Jail Coach.
Meet Jay Davidovich, a 6’ 4” blond-haired Jewish loss prevention specialist who served in the National Guard in the nineties. When one of his company’s insurance policies on an actor are put on the line, he’ll have to take unusual steps to keep the cash in the bank, and it could kill him.
His job at Trans/Oxana is to prevent losses that Trans/Oxana has insured against – especially losses that unpleasant people want to happen. When Hollywood pretty boy Kent Trowbridge plays late-night bumper-car in his Ferrari with two palm trees and a median and has to serve jail time, the studio holding his performance contract (insured with an eight-figure Trans/Oxana policy) may end up having to cash out if he can’t perform. To keep him in shape to perform, Jay will have to find Trowbridge a “jail coach.”
Enter Katrina Thomspon whose past includes jail, the Marines, a daughter, and a hustler named Stan Chaladian. The first will help Jay, the second will impress him, the third will charm him, and the fourth with almost kill him – that’s life in the Loss Prevention business.
Hillary Bell Locke graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, worked for a prominent New York law firm, and now practices law in a city far from New York but not under that name. Fine, you cleverly tricked me into revealing his secret identity--it's Michael Bowen, and the law firm is Foley and Lardner. Being that Jail Coach came out some months ago, we hoped to have a launch earlier, but were delayed, due to his caseload. I think Jay would have respected that decision.
Thursday, May 16, 6:30 pm, at St. Francis Public Library
4230, S. Nicholson Avenue, St. Francis, 53235:
Amy Timberlake, author of One Came Home
Amy Timberlake won the Golden Kite Award for her picture book The Dirty Cowboy. Her first novel for children, That Girl Lucy Moon, was named a Bank Street Best Children's Book, an Amelia Bloomer Book, and the winner of the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. Timberlake has also worked as a book reviewer, columnist, and children's bookseller.
Straight from Boswellian Hannah:
"13-year-old Georgie is convinced that the unrecognizable body being buried and mourned as her older sister, Agatha, who ran off, is not actually her sister. She sneaks away with Agatha's old beau to learn the truth. What follows is a mystery adventure that feels like the wild, wild West, when Wisconsin was the frontier. Georgie is feisty, stubborn, and never misses her shot. One Came Home is like a middle grade True Grit!
Timberlake's tour of Southeastern Wisconsin was in part spurred by Jim Higgins's fine review of One Came Home in the Journal Sentinel, where he wrote:
"Timberlake, who grew up in Hudson and lives in Chicago, has set her richly atmospheric story in 1871 in Placid, Wis., her analogue for Wisconsin Dells (before all the touristy hoo-ha). She makes striking use of a great natural event that year: the largest nesting of passenger pigeons ever recorded, which might have taken up as many as 850 square miles in south-central Wisconsin. The wild birds become a nearly overwhelming presence in parts of Georgie's year; readers who know that passenger pigeons have been extinct since 1914 may find this either piquant or poignant."
In addition to our event, Timberlake will also appear at Oconomowoc's Books and Company on Wednesday, May 15, at 4:30 pm. Tell Lisa I sent you!
Andrea Lochen, author of The Repeat Year
and Dale Kushner, author of The Conditions of Love.
Everyone has days, weeks, even months they wish they could do over--but what about an entire year? After living through the worst twelve months of her life, intensive care nurse Olive Watson is given a second chance to relive her past and attempt to discover where she went wrong in The Repeat Year, the new novel from Wauwatosa writer Andrea Lochen.
After a year of hardships, including a messy breakup with her longtime boyfriend Phil, the prospect of her mother's remarriage, and heartbreaking patient losses at the hospital, Olive is ready to start fresh. But when she wakes up in her ex-boyfriend's bed on New Year's Day 2011—a day she has already lived—Olive's world is turned upside down. Shouldering a year of memories that no one else can recall, even Olive begins to question herself--until she discovers that she is not alone. Upon crossing paths with Sherry Witan, an experienced "repeater," Olive learns that she has the chance to rewrite her future. Given the opportunity of a lifetime, Olive has to decide what she really wants. Should she make different choices, or accept her life as she knows it, flaws and all?
In Madisonian Dale Kushner's novel, it's 1953 and ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a "manicureeste" and movie star worshipper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. When her mother's lover, the devoted Sam, moves in, Eunice imagines her life will finally become normal. But her hope dissolves when Sam gets kicked out, and she is again alone with her mother. A freak storm sends Eunice away from all things familiar, and rescued by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice's odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit's shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. Through her capacity to redefine herself, reject bitterness and keep her heart open, she survives and flourishes.
At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival, tracing the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love.
Join us for a spirited reading from two Wisconsin first-time novelists. For more about Andrea Lochen and The Repeat Year, listen to her recent interview on WUWM's "Lake Effect." And regarding The Conditions of Love, Kirkus called it "A fine exploration of growing up, weathering heartbreak and picking oneself up over and over."
For Friday, May 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jenny Benjamin, author of This Most Amazing.
This Most Amazing wonders what would happen if you could live the life of another person, while you sleep. When Dahlia, a poetry teacher in present day Italy, begins to dream about the life of Vincenzo, an Italian soldier in 1797 who deserts Napoleon’s army, she slowly discovers the ways in which her life could still be connected to his fate.
It's not often that I know someone whose book is published in Cyprus, but that's the case for Jenny Benjamin, whose novel is published by Armida Publications of Nicosia, Cyrprus.freelance writer whose poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in addition to educational curriculum for classrooms. In 2011 she won the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Association First Chapters Contest and was selected as a semifinalist for the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Big Read Award. You might also know her as a former Schwartz bookseller, whose home base was the Iron Block store on Water and Wisconsin.
Here's a little more about the book from poet Angela Sorby:
"In Jenny Benjamin’s This Most Amazing the dramatic tale of a Napoleonic warrior entwines with the dreamscape of a contemporary American expat, producing a double love story set in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Benjamin’s intensely physical prose style evokes the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries with equal conviction. Readers will be absorbed in the story, but they will also be intrigued by its central question: how does the past endure, not just in history but in our own bodies?" --Angela Sorby, author of Distance Learning, Bird Skin Coat, and The Sleeve Waves, forthcoming with the University of Wisconsin Press, 2014.
Watch this trailer for This Most Amazing from Benjamin's publisher, Armida Books.
Monday, May 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Harilyn Rousso, author of Don't Call me Inspirational; A Disabled Feminist Talks Back.
This event is co-sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy of Southeast Wisconsin, Disabilities Rights Wisconsin, and Independence First.
Harilyn Rousso is a disability activist, feminist, psychotherapist, writer, and painter. She is the President of Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services, founder of the Networking Project for Disabled Women and Girls, and co-editor of Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education and author of Disabled, Female, and Proud.
In her empowering, and at times confrontational memoir, Rousso, who has cerebral palsy, describes overcoming the prejudice against disability—not overcoming disability. She addresses the often absurd and ignorant attitudes of strangers, friends, and family—as well as her own prejudice toward her disabled body—and portrays the healing effects of intimacy and creativity, as well as her involvement with the disability rights community. She intimately reveals herself with honesty and humor and measures her personal growth as she goes from “passing” to embracing and claiming her disability as a source of pride, positive identity, and rebellion.
Wow, that's quite a week and a day.