2018 Notable Authors

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James Campbell (1967-)

James Campbell is a non-fiction writer and journalist and Wisconsin native. He received his B.A. from Yale University and M.A. from the University of Colorado. He now lives in Lodi, Wisconsin. He has written adventure travel, environmental and military history pieces for many magazines and newspapers. For his first book, The Final Frontiersman, which won a 2006 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, he logged hundreds of miles on foot and snowshoe across Arctic Alaska. His fascination with New Guinea (which he has visited five times) and the war in the South Pacific led him to the story of the 32nd Division and the Ghost Mountain Boys. In 2006, he followed the footsteps of the Ghost Mountain Boys across New Guinea -- a journey that historians describe as "one of the cruelest in military history" -- and shot a documentary film in the process. His book Ghost Mountain Boys was honored in 2008 with the Wisconsin Library Association RR Donnelley Literary Award. Campbell is also the co-executive producer of the hit Discovery Channel series, The Last Alaskans, which was inspired by The Final Frontiersman.

His latest book Braving It covers the summer adventure he had with his daughter in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The New York Times had this to say about Braving It:“In Campbell’s moving memoir, which doubles as a kind of extreme parenting guide, crisply detailed scenes are stacked with rural perils and pleasures, from treacherous canoeing, solitary fly-fishing and cabin building to grizzly bear threats and emotional nuance between a very loving parent and child.”

The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and his family, alone in Alaska's arctic wilderness (2004)
The Ghost Mountain Boys: their epic march and the terrifying battle for New Guinea, the forgotten war of the South Pacific (2007)
The Color of War: how one battle broke Japan and another changed America (2012)
Braving It: a father, a daughter, and an unforgettable journey into the Alaskan wild (2016) 

Lesley Kagen (1950-)

Lesley Kagen grew up in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she majored in Radio and Television. She began writing her bestselling novels later in life and have been very well received. Her novels are often told from a child’s perspective because according to her, "it feels natural for me to write in a kid's voice. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and coming full circle, I don't know. Childhood seems close to me now." Her own childhood was in the 1950’s and 1960’s and this is a common setting for her novels. When not writing Lesley likes to spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren Charlie and Hadley. And as a proud Milwaukee native, she also once had a guest spot on the hit television show Laverne and Shirley. 

Whistling in the Dark (2007)
Land of a Hundred Wonders (2008)
Tomorrow River (2010)
Good Graces (2011)
Mare's Nest (2012)
The Resurrection of Tess Blessing (2014)
The Mutual Admiration Society (2017)

David Rhodes (1946-) 

Born in 1946, David Rhodes grew up outside Des Moines, Iowa. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marlboro College in 1969. After receiving an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1971, he published three novels: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (Atlantic Little Brown, 1972), The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974), and Rock Island Line (Harper & Row, 1975), all of which garnered critical acclaim. 

In 1976, a motorcycle accident left him partially paralyzed, and lead to a 30-plus year hiatus in his writing career. In 2008, Rhodes returned to publishing with Driftless, a novel that was hailed as "the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years" (reviewer Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune). Following the publication of Driftless, Rhodes was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the writing of his follow-on novel, Jewelweed, published in 2013. 

Both Driftless and Jewelweed are set in the fictional town of Words, Wisconsin, located in the real driftless region of the state. Some of the idiosyncratic inhabitants of Words are an invalid who loses her family's savings at a casino; a new pastor; a local musician; a single mom trying to conceal his father’s identity from her son; and a couple who blow the whistle on the milk cooperative that has been cheating them and other farmers. 

In addition to the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Rhodes has earned a number of awards, including the Milkweed National Fiction Prize; All Iowa Reads, Official Selection; Minnesota Booksellers' Choice Award; and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award. 

The Last Fair Deal Going Down (Atlantic Little Brown, 1972)
The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974)
Rock Island Line (Harper & Row, 1975)
Driftless (Milkweed Editions, 2008)
Jewelweed (Milkweed Editions, 2013)



2017 Notable Authors

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Beth Amos (1954-)

Beth Amos is a prolific writer of cozy mysteries who also writes under the pseudonyms Annelise Ryan and Allyson K. Abbott. As Beth Amos, she writes stand-alone suspense novels. Her Annelise Ryan mysteries revolve around a character named Mattie Winston, a nurse turned small town coroner. Bar owner Mack Dalton is the main character in her Allyson K. Abbott novels. Beth resides in southern Wisconsin and her other job as an ER nurse has been a useful source of plot twists over the years. In an interview with The Big Thrill (a mystery writers magazine) Amos says “I use pseudonyms because I worry patients might not like knowing I spend my spare time thinking up clever ways to kill people.”


Beth Amos novels
Cold White Fury (1996)
Eyes of Night (1997)
Second Sight (1998)
Nick of Time (2013) ebook
The Face of Death (2013) ebook

Annelise Ryan novels
Working Stiff (2009)
Scared Stiff (2010)
Frozen Stiff (2011)
Lucky Stiff (2013)
Board Stiff (2014)
Stiff Penalty (2015)
Stiff Competition (2016)
Dead in the Water (2017)

Allyson K. Abbott novels
Murder on the Rocks (2013)
Murder with a Twist (2014)
In the Drink (2015)
Shots in the Dark (2016)

Victoria Houston (1945-)

Victoria Houston is a cozy mystery writer who was born and raised in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. As a student she received a full scholarship to Bennington College in Vermont for writing. Her career before writing 17 installments in the Loon Lake Mystery series involved worked in public relations. It also included ten years of freelance magazine and newspaper feature writing; being an art critic for a major American newspaper and correspondent for a major American art magazine (ARTNEWS); an editor for a wire service for the futures markets and writing six non-fiction titles.

Houston's Loon Lake mysteries are set in a fictional town in Wisconsin's Northwoods. Her novels feature female police chief Lew Ferris, an avid fly fisherman, who solves murders with the help of her retired dentist friend Paul Osbourne. Houston says the lakes and culture of northern Wisconsin make a great setting for her novels, "the world of fishing is home to me." Houston's father, grandfather and uncle were all dentists also. When asked about why she writes, Houston said, "I write to give readers an escape and I hope my books both entertain and strike an emotional chord in people."


Loon Lake Mystery Series:
Dead Angler
Dead Creek
Dead Water
Dead Frenzy
Dead Hot Mama
Dead Jitterbug
Dead Boogie
Dead Madonna
Dead Hot Shot
Dead Renegade
Dead Deceiver 
Dead Tease
Dead Insider
Dead Lil' Hustler 
Dead Rapunzel
Dead Loudmouth
Dead Spider

Restore Yourself: A Woman's Guide to Reviving Her Sexual Desire and Passion for Life, 2001
Making It Work: Finding the Time and Energy for Your Career, Marriage, Children, and Self 1991
Loving a Younger Man: How Women Are Finding and Enjoying a Better Relationship, 1987
Alone After School a Self-care Guide for Latchkey Children and Their Parents, 1985

Sarah Monette (1947-)

Sarah Monette, American novelist and short story author, specializes in fantasy fiction characterized by intricate plotting, expansive world-building, and psychologically complex characters. Born Sarah Elizabeth Smith in November 1974 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Monette studied Classics and Literature at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and earned her Master’s and PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied Renaissance drama. She received her first book deal while defending her dissertation, It harrows me with fear and wonder: Horror and Haunting in Early Modern Revenge Tragedy, in 2004. In 2007, Monette donated her archives to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.

Published in 2005, Mélusine, Monette’s first novel and first in a four-book series, was nominated for the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award. Monette was nominated for the James Campbell Award for best new writer in 2006 and 2007. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous fantasy and science fiction magazines such as Strange Horizons, Lightspeed and Clarkesworld, and has been included in several Year's Best Fantasy and Horror and Year’s Best Science Fiction collections. She is a frequent collaborator with fellow fantasy and science fiction author Elizabeth Bear, and together they wrote the three-book Iskyrne series.

Her 2014 novel, The Goblin Emperor, was published under the open pseudonym Katherine Addison. The novel received significant praise from critics, and it was awarded the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Awards in 2015. She currently resides near Madison, Wisconsin.

Selected Bibliography

The Doctrine of Labyrinths series
Mélusine (Ace Books, 2005)
The Virtu (Ace Books, 2006)
The Mirador (Ace Books, 2007)

A Companion to Wolves [with Elizabeth Bear] (Tor Books, October 2007)
The Tempering of Men [with Elizabeth Bear] (Tor Books, August 2011)
An Apprentice to Elves [with Elizabeth Bear] (Tor Books, October 2015)

Short Story Collections
The Bone Key (Prime Books, 2007)
Somewhere Beneath Those Waves (Prime Books, 2011)

As Katherine Addison
The Goblin Emperor (Tor Books, April 2014)

2015 Notable Authors

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(Information on each author to follow)

Ann Bausum

Deborah Blum

John Hildebrand

David Maraniss

2016 Notable Authors

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Wil Denson

Kathleen Ernst

Dennis McCann

2012 Notable Authors

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In 1995, successful art director Tom Lichtenheld’s nephew, Adam, asked him for a drawing of a pirate.  20 pages of pirate silliness later, Tom had his first children’s book, Everything I Know About Pirates.  He has since created 15 books, including the award winning What Are You So Grumpy About? and Duck! Rabbit!   His exuberant style and attention to detail has won him fans among children and adults alike.  His newest title, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, is a New York Times Best Seller. 

Tom grew up near Lake Michigan, and in the summer he and his brothers would spend their days at the beach.  As a child, he loved to draw, but didn’t do very well in school.  His school counselors didn’t know quite what to do with him, so finally recommended he become a sign painter.  He took their advice and credits that work─creating perfectly even letters on signs─as great experience for a future designer.  He then went on to work his way through art school and later became an art director, working in advertising.  

His work as a children’s book illustrator is done in watercolor and colored pencil, and he starts with sketches and doodles, which later become his books.  His wife, Jan, is an integral part of his work, acting as editor, scheduler, organizer and bookkeeper.  Tom’s online presence is wonderful for fans, parents, teachers and librarians as it includes great activities for each title and many resources to promote literacy.  He mentions that he maintains his connection with children by keeping photos of children he knows on his desk, so that while he is creating he can think of specific kids and consider, what would make that kid laugh? Clearly, this technique works, as his are some of the funniest picture books on the shelves.  Tom Lichtenheld continues to write and illustrate prolifically.   


Anne Powers was born in Cloquet, Minnesota, in 1913. A prolific writer of historical romances, Powers was a long-time resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  After moving there in the mid 1930’s, she married, started a family, worked in the Promotional Department in what has now become the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and also taught a course in freelance writing at Marquette University for 15 years.

Powers began writing in high school and published her first book, The Gallant Years, in 1946, under her maiden name, Anne Powers. Most of her books have appeared in foreign editions and have been translated into French, Swedish and Spanish. During her lifetime, she wrote 17 novels spanning many historical time periods and demonstrating a deft control over the written word.

Though she passed away at the age of 74 in 1987 after a battle with cancer, her legacy continues through her work and the lives she touched.

Complete Works:

The Delaware River Man (1973)
Eleanor: The Passionate Queen (1987)
The Gallant Years (1946)
Heart’s Journey (1986)
The Ironmaster (1951)
No King But Caesar (1974)
No Wall So High (1949)
The Only Sin (1953)
The Promise and the Passion (1977)
Queen’s Ransom (1985)
Rachel (1973)
Ride East, Ride West (1978)
Ride With Danger (1958)
Royal Bondage (1977)
The Royal Consorts (1978)
Secret Splendor (1986)
The Thousand Fires (1957)