It is possible
to not just visit Italy, but to live, work and thrive there, marry,
buy a house, give birth, launch two businesses and continue to live
with no regrets, even adding on a few years living in Austria and
Lardo," author Wendy Olsen recounts her edgy, exciting first 10
years spent living in Northern Italy. She developed a lasting love
affair with everything about the country itself, from the people to
the food to the language.
harbored the dream that epic romance could happen to me, and I think a
lot of women feel the same," says Olsen, who was born in Orleans,
France (her father was a U.S. Army colonel and their family lived
overseas during her youth). "I want to give women courage to
believe that it can and does happen, and it is possible to live and
embrace a true Italian life."
Olsen has lived
in seven different countries throughout her life and speaks four
languages. From 1987 to 1997, she lived in Milan, Italy, where most of
the action in her novel takes place. She spent additional years in
Austria and Russia, and now lives in an 1880s home her family has
owned for eight generations near Big Cedar Lake, an area referenced
throughout the book.
She is the
founder and owner of S.A.L.A., the Slinger Academy of Language &
Arts in Slinger, where adults and children learn Italian, Spanish and
French. And her second business? "I imported truffles," says
Olsen, who also teaches Northern Italian cooking classes at the
academy. "My motto is to live life with few borders."
Ride a White Horse"
Set in both
1840s Ireland and America, "To Ride a White Horse" is an
epic historical saga of hope, loyalty, adventure, strength of the
human spirit and the power of love, says author Pamela Ford, a
Wauwatosa resident whose own family is "proudly Irish" and
the inspiration behind the exacting history she wove into her most
"This was a
devastating period in Irish history, and it was very important to me
to study it and bring it to life through vivid characters," she
Ford has won
numerous writing awards, including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel
Wreath and a gold medal in the romance fiction category of the 2015
IPPY Awards (Independent Publisher Book Awards). In this, her sixth
novel (her first five were romances), she tells the story of an Irish
family facing starvation during the potato famine and how their
daughter, Kathleen, sets sail for Canada, determined to save her
family. She’s also looking for her missing fiancé, who had gone to
Newfoundland in search of work so he can send money home.
The voyage doesn’t
go as planned, and Kathleen ends up in America, forced to accept the
help of an English whaling captain and, as a result, must make an
impossible choice — to remain loyal to Ireland or follow her heart.
is a city of immigrants — people of Irish and German descent are the
most prevalent here," says Ford. "I join those who have huge
pride in our background and have so enjoyed telling this story."
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Author: Erin (E.D.)
The story of a
dysfunctional family — with a twist involving the afterlife — is
set in Milwaukee, with references to Summerfest, Miller Valley and
Samson the gorilla.
this book was a labor of love and the most terrifying professional
challenge of my life," says author Erin (E.D.) Meyer, a West Bend
East English teacher and philosophy enthusiast who also enjoys writing
poetry, short stories and stand-up routines. "Literature analysis
is different when the scalpel is pointed inward."
"Unforgiving Sun," the protagonist, Sophie, evaluates her
life from the ever-after, while her family (in the real world) lives
on with her legacy of indecision and emotional baggage. Readers will
find themselves wondering how she became a puzzling elderly patient
and what she will learn from her time (in the afterlife) with Melanie,
another wandering soul with sins of her own.
running through the book is forgiveness," says Meyer of her first
novel. "As Sophie looks back on her relationships, she ponders
the questions of whether she experienced true connection or real
Meyer, who lives
locally with her husband, their sons and "a fabulously
impossible" dog, included Milwaukee as part of the setting but
also as a character in the book.
non-native can appreciate the setting, Milwaukee area residents will
recognize the weight of references, from Summerfest to the yeasty
pungency of Miller Valley," she explains.
has made a real-world difference in my teaching," she concludes.
"Now I can share with students that if you work hard at your
craft, as I truly did, anything is possible."
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— Misguided Spirit"
Every family has
one — the person whose very existence often perplexes and
challenges. In this family, Claudia serves that role.
people take courage from this story, and that it may help them toward
understanding a family member living under the shadow of mental
illness," says Pamela Hendricks Frautschi, author of
"Claudia — Misguided Spirit." "I feel it’s
important and healing to address dysfunction and try to make sense of
In her memoir,
Frautschi tells how her sister Claudia’s behavior impacted their
family, even while she was "brilliant and talented in so many
ways." Frustrated by her family’s inability to embrace her
needs, Claudia lashes out repeatedly in her relentless search for
enlightenment and joy, wreaking tension and havoc in every
relationship. In the memoir, Frautschi searches for understanding and
compassion for her inscrutable older sister, who continually perplexed
and challenged everyone around her.
these stories, I found strength and comfort, empathy and, most
importantly, solutions and closure," says Frautschi.
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In the romantic
comedy "Death by Roses," the protagonist, Mae Rose McElroy,
dies on a toilet in a fit of rage after seeing her totaled VW beetle,
her unfaithful husband and a bouquet of yellow roses in his hands.
While in heaven, she is shown happier outcomes her life could have
can’t keep herself from interfering in her family’s affairs from
heaven, and her meddling earns her a ticket out of heaven and into the
body of Mary Lee Broadmoor — a writer/director of horror movies
whose dying wish is to win an Oscar," says Vivian Probst, a
Delafield native who divides her time between writing and her
consulting business. "I had a great time exploring the question
of whether these two formidable women could learn to share the same
body, and if they could make something of their second chance."
happily remarried to my husband, Tom, sharing five children and 11
grandchildren, and can say I have learned how to truly love another
person," she concludes. "I will tell you that life can still
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