Friday, April 30, 2010

Blake Hoena - Cosmic Bounty Hunter

Cosmic Bounty Hunter


Intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo has a new job. The evil aliens Kalibak and Desaad have hired him to capture Superman — dead or alive! When Lobo finally wrangles the Man of Steel, the aliens aren't far behind. But they don't trust the bounty hunter and trap him beneath a force field with Superman. Lobo and the Last Son of Krypton must set aside their difference in order to escape or be imprisoned forever on the distant planet of Arkropolis.

Spotlight Striker


Carlos's uncle, a professional soccer player, is in the stands watching Carlos play. Normally, he has nerves of steel and lightning fast reflexes, but playing in front of his super-skilled uncle has Carlos tripping over his own feet. Will he succumb to the pressure or shine in the spotlight?

Blake A. Hoena grew up in central Wisconsin, where, in his youth, he wrote stories about robots conquering the Moon and trolls lumbering around in the woods behind his parents house, and the fact that the trolls were hunting for little boys had nothing to do with Blake’s pesky, younger brothers. His continuing desire to tell stories led him to Minnesota, where he pursued a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

A selection of Blake’s writing won the 2000 Robert Wright Award and his poetry has appeared in several literary journals. He’s also written more than thirty books for children, including graphic novel retellings of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Perseus and Medusa myth. Most recently, he’s been working on a series of graphic novels about two space alien brothers, Eek and Ack, who are determined to conquer our big blue home.


FACEBOOK FAN PAGE!/pages/Blake-Hoena/178901759154


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
"Smith’s full-color illustrations and Hoena’s narration rejuvenate the famously spooky legend of the 1800s.”—
School Library Journal

Perseus of Medusa
"A must read for mythology fans!”—Back to Books

Eek and Ack vs the Wolfman
"There’s an underpants scene, vomit, a washing machine spaceship, and two goofy looking aliens. How could kids not love this book?"
The Graphic Classroom

Jack and the Beanstalk
“With just a dash of slapstick humor and the tale’s inherent suspense, this is a grand opportunity to introduce young kids to the graphic format through a story they are already familiar with.”
— Booklist


Presenting "Creating Graphic Novels"
Young Writers' Conference
Winona, Minnesota
May 13th and 14th.

Presenting "Creating Graphic Novels"
Young Authors' /Young Artists' Conference
Rochester, Minnesota
May 19th and 20th.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wendy Webb - The Tale of Halcyon Crane

The Tale of Halcyon Crane

By Wendy Webb

The Tale of Halcyon Crane is the eerie, gothic, ghostly story of a Hallie James, whose life is upended when a mysterious letter arrives in the morning mail. It regrets to inform her of the death of her mother... but she was told her mother died in a fire 30 years earlier. She soon learns that the whole foundation of her life has been a lie — her mother didn't die all those years ago. Instead, her father abducted her as a child, changed their identities and moved across country. She travels to her mother's home, a beautiful and remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes, to find answers to what happened all those years ago. She finds secrets, betrayal, murder and some otherworldly twists along the way.

Halcyon Crane has been selected as an IndieNext Pick, a Midwest Connections Pick, a Great Lakes Great Reads pick, and is a finalist for the Michigan Book Award.

Wendy Webb, a longtime Minnesota journalist, grew up in St. Louis Park. She attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in political science. After spending some time living abroad, Wendy settled into a job in Washington, D.C., where she was lucky enough to work on Capitol Hill for Senator Rudy Boschwitz. Home was calling, though, and after a few years in D.C., she moved back to Minnesota and decided to try a career using what she felt was her most marketable skill — writing. She got an internship at City Pages, an arts and entertainment weekly in Minneapolis, and never looked back. During the past 20 years or so, she has written for most of the major publications in the Twin Cities. She currently lives in Duluth, where she is the editor-in-chief of Duluth~Superior Magazine, a lifestyle monthly.

When she’s not writing, she and her mate, photographer Steve Burmeister, and son Ben enjoy spending time at their cabin in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, walking their 130-pound Alaskan Malamute named Tundra, and visiting with family and friends in Minneapolis. She is currently at work on her next novel.

Wendy is available to talk with book groups who have read her book. Contact her on her website below.


May 3 KARE-TV, Showcase Minnesota live interview
May 3, KSTP-TV, Twin Cities Live bookclub feature
May 26, Duluth, MN, Book launch party
June 8, 6:30 pm, Redbery Books, Cable WI
June 12, Noon, Northern Lights Books, Duluth, MN
June 26, 2 pm, Mackinac Island Bookstore, Mackinac Island, MI
September 12, Kerrytown Bookfest, Ann Arbor, MI

Henry Holt

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Linda White - Book Reviewer



Linda White has worked in publishing for 15 years. She now runs BookMania, which offers services for authors and publishers. From manuscript critiques to editing to publicity, she can help at any stage in the book publishing process. She is also the Minneapolis Books Examiner and teaches classes on Publicity and Marketing, among other topics, at The Loft and other venues. Next class is Publicity for Authors on August 7 at The Loft. She is available to speak to writing groups and other groups on publishing, publicity and other topics. Check out for current class offerings and the latest book reviews, plus a link to her Books column. Take the BookMania quiz and find out if you are a BookManiac!

To start with, I have a serious addiction to books, or anything related to books. Is this a prerequisite for being a book reviewer? I don’t know. But it certainly helps!

I had always wanted to work in publishing. After I got a degree in English, my first stop was a little publishing company in Saint Paul for an unpaid internship. Then I was off to parts unknown to do as people have to do sometime in their lives – see what is over the horizon. My first foray into book reviewing was while working at a newspaper in Key West, the Key West Citizen. I was helping the Keys Life editor, and she gave me a book to review. “Can you write a review of this?” Well, of course! I had read enough literature, after all, hadn’t I?

So I wrote that first review, and went on to write a few more for her, plus a play review and an interview with an artist. It was a great introduction to arts writing. She was probably my one and only mentor, but she died of cancer very suddenly just a few months later. Her name was Paulie. On the basis of that work, I wrote some reviews for a few other publications around town.

Shortly after that, I left the paper for a better-paying job, and shortly after that we left Florida. I spent some time at our next home in Texas trying to get in touch with publishers. I had seen ads advertising for ‘readers’ – well, wasn’t that the perfect job for me? I sent out letters, as one did in those days before e-mail, and got – no responses.

Then I moved back to Minnesota, and lo and behold, got a job at a publishing house! I
was thrilled. But I soon realized that I had no time at all to read all the books I had to write advertising copy for. Someone said promoting books was the perfect job for me, but this one seemed to take me away from the books.

But a very good thing happened there. One of my colleagues was a Board member for an organization that helped church libraries. He ran a notice in our company newsletter asking if anyone was interested in being an editor for their book review journal. I applied and was hired the same day of the interview. It was a very part-time job, and didn’t pay very well, but I loved it. I would go to their office where the books were sent by various publishers and pick up boxes of books, take them home and sit on the floor in my living room surrounded by stacks of books as I sorted them out and assigned them. Can you say heaven? The ones that did not get reviewed I got to keep – I gave them to another Board member for her church library. But still, somehow I always ended up with some extras, and my bookshelves soon filled.

When I was laid off from the publishing house, I parlayed that experience into working for an online site, running a book review e-newsletter. Shortly after that I wrote my first review for Publishers Weekly. I was so excited to be writing for a national publication, especially the bible of the publishing industry. But then 9/11 happened, and I lost touch with my editor because I had to find another full-time job.
It was a few years before I got back into publishing, but then I was hired as a publicist. I really thought that was my dream job. And it was, but again, there was that thing about not having time to read all the books! And I couldn’t write reviews, due to the conflict of interest. So when I left there, I immediately contacted some publications, and started doing reviews for BookPage and Publishers Weekly again.

I went to sessions at BEA on Ethics in Book Reviewing, and read everything I could find on the topic (which isn’t much, to tell you the truth). Michele Kerns, the national Books Examiner, has some great articles on what makes a good book reviewer.

I had always wanted to write for the Star Tribune, and I was thrilled to be able to start reviewing for their books editor in March of 2009. Here at last was something that my dad would read! I continued to do book reviews for BookPage and Publishers Weekly, so by the time I decided to start my own business, I had a pretty good slate of book reviews under my belt.

I launched my BookMania website in March and finally had a place to display all of my book reviews. It is especially gratifying when you read something that is really well done, and carries a compelling message, and find that you can then tell other people about it!

Over the years, I have found that book reviewing was a lot more than telling whether or not you liked the book. I like to think of myself as producing literary criticism in some cases, because it is important to understand why you like what you do and why other things are not sitting right. Sometimes it is a jarring transition; sometimes it is a lack of character development. Sometimes there are problems with flow or voice and other things that should have been taken care of at the early editing stage.

My book reviewing and promotion work in publishing over the years have trained me well to be able to look at a manuscript and determine if it’s ready for prime time. I see so many authors who jump the gun, and are in a hurry to get their idea to market. The key is to be patient and take the time necessary to craft your story into the brilliant piece that it is meant to be.

I am always looking for book reviewing opportunities, but alas, with newspapers cutting their book sections and so many online sites popping up with reviewers who will write for free, I’m afraid the glory days of book reviewing may be over. I no longer feel that I could make enough doing book reviews to contribute significantly to my income. But still, I do it… for the love of books.

Friday, April 16, 2010



A Sadie Witt Mystery

Echelon Press

Oh dear me! Sadie Witt is about to defy protocol when she sets out to solve a murder at the Witt’s End Resort. Protocol? In Sadie’s opinion, nobody has the right to tell senior citizens they must adhere to outdated practices, especially when a few cantankerous ghosts meander over from the mortuary next door.

Mayhem is on the rise at the Witt’s End Resort, especially Cabin 14 where no guest ever leaves alive. To make matters worse, Sadie Witt must untangle a murderous web while struggling to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff’s deputy from shutting down her lakeside resort.

When guests arrive at Cabin 14, they’re stunned to learn Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in outlandish outfits, (clothing typically reserved for those without sagging body parts) and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can’t, Sadie realizes one of the guests had been murdered and works against the clock to prevent further mayhem.

Like the main character in her Sadie Witt Mystery Series, Beth Solheim was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

By day, Beth works in Human Resources. By night she morphs into a writer who frequents lake resorts and mortuaries and hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries. Beth is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Midwest Fiction Writers and recently signed a contract for the first two books in her mystery series.



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Connie Colwell Miller - Bodywearers


By Connie Colwell Miller

Whether Miller speaks of a red-tailed hawk hunting for mice or a lover’s underwear crumpled up on the bedroom floor, her voice is filled with a revealing breath of candor, drawing our attention to the small details in nature and of the body, often showing us beauty where we may not have expected it..

“If we were angels, bodiless and pure, we would sing for all eternity. Connie Colwell Miller’s poems wonder how the body, with its baggy wardrobe of needs, could ever permit such music. But the body is a means. And Miller’s poems are less about leaving the flesh behind and more about discovering how the flaws and desires of daily living operate to bring a second life out into the open.”—Richard Robbins, author of The Untested Hand and Other Americas

"Miller's poems illuminate those ordinary moments which, taken together, compose a life. . . . reminding us of the joys, as well as the aches, of our physicality."
— Minneapolis StarTribune

"Miller's poems open a sense of wonderment toward the world." — The Corresponder

Connie Colwell Miller is a professional editor, freelance writer, and sometimes English teacher from Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Her published poetry has appeared in a handful of literary journals, including Potato Eyes, Artisan, and The Briar Cliff Review. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, where her graduate thesis won the Toy Blethen Award for Distinguished Poetry in 2002.

Currently she lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband and two children: one feisty, the other feistier.


The Deadliest Places on Earth
Bermuda Triangle : The Unsolved Mystery


Monday, April 5, 2010

John L. Betcher - Mystery Author

A James Becker Mystery

By John L. Betcher

ISBN-10: 1451512716

After decades of clandestine government operations, James “Beck” Becker and his wife, Elizabeth, return to “Beck’s” childhood home to enjoy a settled retirement in the small Mississippi river town of Red Wing, Minnesota. But “settled” is a relative term and no matter where Beck goes, intrigue follows.

When Minneapolis computer genius, Katherine Whitson, disappears under peculiar circumstances, her husband exploits a sympathetic Red Wing acquaintance to encourage Beck’s aid in finding her. As it turns out, Katherine’s kidnapping is more complicated than the typical abduction, and the case taxes the Beckers’ considerable skills to their limits.
Katherine's trail leads from her luxury warehouse apartment, through her husband’s in-the-closet escapades, past the entrenched hierarchy of elite computer professionals, and to the mind-bending world inside microprocessors.

The Beckers eventually save Katherine from her abductors . . . only to learn that the husband and wife team must now use Beck's military intelligence background and Elizabeth’s code-cracking expertise to neutralize an international cyber-espionage threat . . . and to bring Katherine's captors to justice.

The author holds a Bachelor’s Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. He has also been a long-time supporter and coach of youth volleyball there.

Mr. Betcher has published three feature articles in COACHING VOLLEYBALL, the Journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. His most recent article was the cover story for the April/May, 2009 Issue.

His book on volleyball coaching philosophies entitled THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF VOLLEYBALL COACHING has been selling nationwide and is currently available at

He is also an active member and writing peer coach at the Agent Query Connect writer's forum.