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Gamblers and writers

“There’s a parallel between gamblers and writers,” says Chicago writer Don Evans. “They’re both in a risky business, losing money and hoping for the big payoff.” So when Evans sat down at his keyboard to write a novel, he created a down-on-his-luck gambler, Chance Skinner, who becomes a human subject in drug tests to get [...]

A detective team with no last names

Remember that great line that always led up to the end of an episode of The Lone Ranger? There was trouble in the town. The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode in out of nowhere to make this right. They do and then ride off . . . and someone asks, as the townspeople watch our [...]

Indianapolis mystery writer goes dark

Tony Perona is a real nice guy. You’d never believe he could write a novel that you’d never dare read when you’re alone, at night, in an empty house with a thunderstorm outside throwing lightning bolts at stray dogs. Yet he did it in book three in his Nick mystery series. “Books one and two [...]

Tourist mystery series returns

Mary Holmes, writing as Maddy Hunter, created the very successful Passport to Peril mystery series for Simon & Schuster – Iowan Emily Andrew accompanies her grandmother on tours with other Iowa seniors to distant destinations, Switzerland in the first book, Alpine for You. Six in the series, each with a title that’s a hoot: Top [...]

Let’s go fishing

“Writing a fishing mystery has permitted me to write off some wonderful fishing trips to Montana,” John Galligan says. “Research, you know.” Galligan, who, for his day job, teaches creative writing at Madison College – and has for 20 years – is a fly-fishing fanatic. Well, that may be too strong a description, but he’s [...]

Mystery writers invade a book festival

Edgerton, Wisconsin, may be a small town – population 4,933 – yet its annual book & film festival draws big-name writers to the community . . . this year: Chris Van Allsburg, author and illustrator of The Polar Express; Jane Hamilton, whose first novel back in 1988, The Book of Ruth, put her on the [...]

Polar Express author comes to Wisconsin

Chris Van Allsburg wrote and illustrated that children’s Christmas classic, The Polar Express, back in 1984 – can it really be so long ago? – and Houghton Mifflin brought it out the next year. The book was so good – particularly the art, the illustrations – that the American Library Association awarded Van Allsburg its [...]

Tailgate Tasters

Take two out-of-work construction guys, throw them into a tech school for training for a second career, and you get a new magazine – Tailgate Tasters. Chad Pennell and Adam Baumel, two southern Wisconsin buddies who look like they could play tackle for the Green Bay Packers, created the magazine as a consequence of Pennell’s [...]