Friday, March 30, 2012

Sleeper - Joan Sween


by Joan Sween

Public Play Reading
March 31, 7:00 pm

at Rochester Repertory Theatre
103 Seventh Street NE
Rochester, Minnesota 55906
Sponsored by Minnesota Writers' Alliance

A public reading of the play, "Sleeper," is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, 7:00 pm at Rochester Repertory Theatre.  Written by Rochester playwright Joan Sween, the play is a three-woman narrative thriller.  Reading the play will be Rochester veteran actors Lindsay Beach, Suzanne Dreesman, Dawn Miller, and Aaron Rocklyn.

The goal of the reading is to receive reactions from the audience which will aid in the play’s development into a viable theatrical event.  An open-forum discussion will follow the reading of the play.  Admission is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited; early arrival is advised.

This will be the first in what Minnesota Writers' Alliance hopes will become a regular play-reading series.  Discussions are in progress with The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis to cooperate in presenting readings of new plays.

The reading is sponsored by Minnesota Writers' Alliance.  Area playwrights are encouraged to contact the Alliance for more information about the readings.

In Joan Sween's pre-teen years, she wrote short stories about fairies, and learned to play the piano accordion.  Her father was a construction engineer; they moved a lot. The accordion was easier to move than a piano.  As a teenager in high school she was in the class plays and wrote pep skits.  Pep skits taught her about mystery writing–the home team, like justice, always had to triumph.  In college she was in a multitude of plays, wrote poetry, edited the college newspaper, and got engaged 16 times. 

She credits her wacky rites of passage as excellent background for writing a novel about perfectly nice ladies who refuse to behave like vampires She's a member of  Sisters In Crime, former Regional Vice-president of Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas, and founder of Minnesota Writers’ Alliance.  Her other books can be found on and her plays with Eldridge Plays & Musicals. Joan lives in Rochester, MN, with two cats who are exasperating and a husband who is wonderfully supportive.


Nice Girls Don't Bite: A cozy mystery where "Transylvania Nasty" collides with "Minnesota Nice".
Dealer's Choice:  A collection of humor columns on antiques and collectibles.
Deathblow:  A detective novel with a serial killer.
Southern Surrender: A one-act farce.
Murder By Accident: A full-length farce.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bloomington Writers' Festival and Book Fair

It’s time for the 2012 Writers’ Festival & Book Fair held at the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 24 and plan to submerge yourself in the world of books, authors, workshops. Plus, get your chance to hear from Minnesota native, TV, film and comedy legend, Pat Proft!

Every day 800 books are published in the United States, and if you love to read, write or talk about books, the Book Fair is a great place to get new information, meet local authors, find the next good read for your book club, or just browse. 

Several authors who have been featured on Reading Minnesota will join the dozens selling and signing books at the event. Many of the authors, including me, will present live readings of their current works throughout the day. Over 80 authors and resource agencies will be available.     

Keynote speaker, Pat Proft, began his lifelong career early—as a high school student in Columbia Heights, MN. Receiving recognition in radio and stand-up comedy, he branched into theatre, TV sitcoms, and eventually films.

Proft’s humorous talent can be witnessed in his screenwriting for The Smothers Brothers Show (1975), The Carol Burnett Show (1976), and television programs like Welcome Back Kotter and Police Squad. In the last thirty years, he has enjoyed great success by scripting comedy hits in feature films such as Police Academy, Bachelor Party, Real Genius, The Naked Gun, Hot Shots, Brain Donors, Wrongfully Accused, and several installments of the Scary Movie series.

Admission for keynote, workshops, and panels is $12 each and pre-registration is required. The Book Fair is free.  Hear Pat at 9:30 am, then starting at 11 am attend your choice of the workshops and panels led by local experts and leaders in various aspects of writing, publishing, promotion, social media, poetry, publicity, the future of publishing, etc. Lunch is also available for purchase.

For additional information and to register for the keynote presentation, workshops, panels or to order lunches, go to or call 952-563-8575.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lost and Found - Danelle Helget

Lost and Found

by Danelle Helget

Danelle Helget, a writer who grew up in Milaca and now lives in Sauk Rapids, has launched a new mystery series set in her home state of Minnesota. Lost and Found (North Star Press, 2011) the first book in a series that will be called “The Sara Martin Mysteries,” is filled with interesting characters, familiar Minnesota settings and dramatic events.

Sara Martin had hoped the vacation at a tranquil cabin in northern Minnesota would be the perfect getaway. Instead, she discovers that her husband is carrying on an affair with her childhood friend, Lily. To make matters worse, Lily goes missing shortly thereafter and Sara starts having haunting dreams of a young girl in a white dress who urgently needs her help.


Danelle Helget grew up in Milaca, Minnesota. In the summer months she enjoys spending her weekends like many Minnesotans--on the lake, camping, boating and hiking. She resides in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota with her husband and two daughters. North Star Press of St. Cloud published her first novel, Lost and Found in 2011. Her second novel, Found and Destroyed will continue to follow Sara Martin and is due to be released in June 2012.


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and North Star Press of St. Cloud

North Star Press of St. Cloud

Friday, March 9, 2012

Agony of the Leaves - Laura Childs

Agony of the Leaves

by Laura Childs

If Murder’s Your Cup of Tea . . .

The opening of Charleston’s Neptune Aquarium is a major event, and Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC, has been hired to cater tea, scones, and finger foods for the private party of big buck donors.  But when Theodosia slips away to view the Ocean Wall exhibit, she discovers the body of a man, tangled in a net, drowned in this state-of-the-art tank.

To make matters worse, the victim is Theodosia’s former boyfriend Parker Scully.  The EMTs on the scene say he drowned, but Theodosia spots defensive wounds on his hands and realizes someone wanted him dead.  Even though the police aren’t keen on her theory, Theodosia chases down a raft of suspects that include a shady lawyer, an extravagant lady restaurateur, and an aquarium board member.  Complications ensue when Theodosia is also tapped to compete in a charity scavenger event, cater a tea luncheon at her Aunt Libby’s plantation, and host a Chado ceremony at the Heritage Society.

This clever amateur sleuth’s investigation leads her from high tea into high drama and a surprise cemetery shocker at the end!  So cozy up for a smart good read, then enjoy the recipes for Charleston Pecan Brownie Bars, Honey Bee Scones, and Sweet Potato Butter.


Laura Childs is the author of  14 Tea Shop Mysteries, 10 Scrapbook Mysteries, and 3 Cackleberry Club Mysteries.  Her books have been named to the USA Today and The New York Times Bestseller Lists, and have been featured selections in the Literary Guild’s Mystery Book Club.  She is a former Cleo Award-winning ad writer and CEO of Mission Critical Marketing.


Book Trailer:

Barnes and Noble

Tea Shop Mysteries
Death by Darjeeling
Gunpowder Green
Shades of Earl Grey
English Breakfast Club Murder
Jasmine Moon Murder
Chamomile Mourning
Blood Orange Brewing
Dragonwell Dead
The Silver Needle Murder
Oolong Dead
The Teaberry Strangler
Scones & Bones
Agony of the Leaves

Scrapbook Mysteries
Keepsake Crimes
Photo Finished
Bound for Murder
Motif for Murder
Frill Kill
Death Swatch
Tragic Magic
Fiber & Brimstone
Skeleton Letters
Postcards from the Dead

Cackleberry Club Mysteries
Eggs in Purgatory
Eggs Benedict Arnold
Bedeviled Eggs
Stake & Eggs
(December 2012)

Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 978-0-425-24553-8

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Biggest Dance - Beth Obermeyer

The Biggest Dance

by Beth Obermeyer

“And it just goes to show you—thousands, millions of people have a warm spot in their heart—their tap shoes hanging back behind the old tennis racket somewhere.” So said Garrison Keillor to author Beth Obermeyer on a Prairie Home Companion evening.

His evidence?  The 1,801 tap dancers who shuffled and clicked down Hennepin Avenue to open their arts center—the first flash mob, decades before the Internet—set a Guinness World Record.

The Big Tap was no stunt, and most certainly not a wine and cheese.  Beth, who organized the event, insisted everyone should dance, from church ladies to ladies of the street, downtown workers families and lovers, dance schools.  The police abandoned their corners and danced onto Good Morning America, all the way to Japan’s Asahi Evening News.    

The miracle?  When they all pulled together—a giant Little Engine That Could—they found they were more alike than different.  And that is quite possibly the biggest dance of all.

The book is inspirational to anyone who ever had a crazy idea.  Beth brings to the page all the energy and joy she brings to the stage.  “Act on intuition, from the gut, and never lose the big picture,” she says.


Beth Obermeyer used her journalism/telecommunicative arts degree and a lifetime of dance and music to start her own event/public relations company.  TA DA! Special Events produced and promoted many showstoppers, ranging from six that went into the Guinness Book of World Records—to directing statewide, the first Minnesota Festival of the Book.

Several became legendary but only a helicopter could capture the 1,801 tap dancers who opened an arts center; or the marching band, 2,512 strong,  that took the town when an 80-year-old Meredith Willson guest-conducted his 76 Trombones.

They whirled round the world, Today to UPI and AP; Asahi News, Japan back home to Good Morning America.  Her news releases generated national stories, Washington Post to Baltimore Sun, with Beth herself profiled in US Magazine.  She and three events won her city’s Committee for Urban Environment award for improving the quality of life. 

On the faculty of the Minnesota Dance Theatre, the largest center for dance in the Midwest, Beth appeared solo on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and opposite Christopher Plummer and Gregory Hines.

Beth has done seminars to business and professional groups, including Public Relations Society of America.  Her journalism degree is from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  She has three books published with North Star Press of St. Cloud in the year 5/2011-5/2012.

  • Big! Released September 2011
  • The Days of Song and Lilacs, Coming May 2012


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and North Star Press of St. Cloud

North Star Press of St. Cloud