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“Cady and the Bear Necklace” Wins 2020 Michigan State History Award

Cady and the Bear Necklace

Cady and the Bear NecklaceLANSING, Mich.—The Historical Society of Michigan announces its 2020 State History Awards, to be presented during its annual Michigan History Conference on Oct. 2-3, 2020, which will be a virtual event this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Society presents the State History Awards every year to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The awards are the highest recognition presented by the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s official historical society and oldest cultural organization.

Cady and the Bear Necklace,” written by Ann Dallman of Menominee, MI, and published by Three Towers Press/Henschel Haus Books, will receive a MI State History Award in the category of Books: Children & Youth. Dallman, who taught high school English on the Hannahville Indian Reservation for 15 years but is not Native herself, wrote “Cady” to represent the Three Fire Confederation of Michigan tribes. She often heard from her students, “Why doesn’t someone write a book about us?” The book describes the story of an adolescent girl who is told that she will encounter a mystery in the form of an antique beaded necklace after she preserves the honor of a sacred eagle feather. As Cady unravels the mystery, the girl is drawn closer to her elders, her Native culture, and her traditional beliefs.

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When a Parent’s Changing Life Upends Yours

WTMJ-4 Milwaukee

Susan Marshall, founder of Backbone Institute, is the author of the recently released memoir, Mom’s Gone Missing…when a parent’s changing life upends yours ….a poignant story written by Susan about the challenging journey as a caregiver to her father’s decade-long Alzheimer’s journey and a mother’s lightning-fast dementia and both of their deaths. Susan writes about what happens to the family during these challenging times, and how she, as the spokesperson for her family, was on a daily, emotional roller coaster with associated organizations in finance, legal and health. Susan’s book is a powerful inside look when a family member negotiates the myriad, often exhausting details of a healthcare crisis for each parent. This is a book like no other since it is a passionate, inside look at what it’s like to have a loved one ‘missing’ due to a disease with no cure.

We are joined by Susan today to get insight into her experience with a loved one’s mental decline, and how this book can help others struggling with the same thing.

You can grab a copy of Mom’s Gone Missing on Susan’s website, Barnes and Noble,, or Books & Company in Oconomowoc. Her book will be increasingly available at retail outlets in the coming months. Just in time for the holidays!

Watch the video here.

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In the End, Will Blood be ‘Thicker Than Water’?

Shepherd Express

David Luhrssen
The Shepherd Express

Eddy and Will are brothers on separate paths. Although they live only a few miles apart, in the Northwoods town of Moon Lake, they might as well be on different planets. Eddy is a low-energy hustler, content to play small time in their father’s realty business. Will is a DNR ranger, in love with nature and at home—literally, in a makeshift cabin—in the woods.

When their father, dying of cancer, schemes to turn a nature preserve into a real estate development (and make both sons rich), the brothers are on a collision course.

And that’s not the end to the family drama in Thicker Than Water, the new novel by Milwaukee author Geoff Carter. Also heard from are the women of Moon Lake, as Carter explores the resentment and regrets of Eddy’s wife Naomi. Although working fulltime, she is left with all domestic and childrearing duties and sees herself at a dead end. Thicker Than Water endows each major character with a measure of sympathy.

Carter is hosting a virtual launch at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 26 on Facebook Live with live music that will start a little beforehand.

He answered some questions about Thicker Than Water.

Do you have a connection with a place like Moon Lake? And your opening sentences sound as if you have at least a nodding acquaintance with ice fishing?

Yes, I do know a place like Moon Lake. We used to spend every summer at the family cabin near a town called Lake Tomahawk in Oneida County. It’s a nice little town, about four blocks long, and the people there are much nicer than those in Moon Lake. Places in the novel like The Purple Onion, The Market Basket and Pinky’s Bait & Tackle were modeled on places that once existed there.

I have done some ice-fishing, and I sort of agree with Al McGuire’s assessment of it. He said something like, “Ice-fishing is like hitting yourself in the head with a two by four. It feels really good when you stop.” It is cold, although if you’re in a shelter, it’s not too bad. Especially if you have some peppermint schnapps.

I do like the quiet and the purity of ice-fishing, although it is a little eerie sitting out there on the frozen lake. It’s dead quiet and when the ice creaks beneath your feet—and it can be loud—you feel just how insignificant you really are in that vastness.

 Did you have any literary models of family tension in mind when writing Thicker Than Water?

I did have a general idea of the nature of the sibling rivalry between Will and Eddy when I started the book, but it wasn’t based on a specific literary model. I had sort of a Cain and Abel story in mind, sort of like John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, but I didn’t consciously use that book as a model.

I was struck by the silence you describe in the woods. Do we need more silence in contemporary society?

Yeah, I think more silence in our society would be a positive thing. I think too many of us are so constantly plugged in and bombarded with chatter and noise that we don’t have the time or the space to think—which is probably part of the point of being plugged in. Distraction seems to be our new mantra.

Personally, I always loved being in the woods or out on the canoe (or on the ice) as a way to not only enjoy the quiet, but to also absorb the rhythms of the lake and the forest. Letting yourself sink into the natural world is relaxing and therapeutic.

What are own thoughts about the rapid decline of our environment and the diminishing wild spaces in our world?

Like many others, I am appalled and disgusted at the continuing destruction of habitat and wild spaces worldwide. Not only are our Wisconsin wild spaces at risk, but climate change is threatening the health of the planet. Look at the devastation of the Australian wildfires last winter. The rain forests are disappearing, and the ice caps are melting. And for what? Profit. We have the solutions and the technology to make ourselves entirely renewable and to stop this destruction. We have to continue to exercise the people’s will in order to implement these solutions.

Great details in your book—a “skulk of foxes.” Did you know this stuff or did you have to look it up?

I knew about the terms of venery like “skulk of foxes” and “romp of otters” from research I did for a blog post I wrote a while ago. It started when I did a search for myself on Facebook and a few dozen “Geoff Carters” appeared. Then an invitation to join The Geoff Carter Consortium popped up; apparently, myself and my namesakes were organized. But I began to wonder if consortium was the best name for our club. Maybe an identification of Geoff Carters or a cornucopia of Carters might be more apt. That’s when I started researching the collective nouns for animals. These terms do apply to people, too—a superfluity of nuns, a fighting of beggars, a reluctance of Republicans, or a dithering of Democrats.

For more information, visit


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5-Star Review of “Nancer the Dancer”

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

Nancer the Dancer: Myositis and MeNancer the Dancer is a work of non-fiction in the health and medical experience and personal memoir sub-genres, and was penned by author Judith Gwinn Adrian. As the title suggests, the work focuses on the condition of a person called Nancy, whose life was torn apart by the autoimmune disease dermatomyositis. Written by her sister, this memoir recollects Nancy’s battle with the disease, whom she nicknamed Reuben to personify her adversary, and explains not only the struggle with the condition but an uplifting portrayal of living life regardless of limitations. Whilst the book discusses the loss of a person’s health, it also shows us that spirit and livelihood will never be stolen from us if we choose to fight to keep them.

Author Judith Gwinn Adrian has triumphed with this heartfelt work that expresses so much more than a simple health advice book could ever give you about living with a chronic and debilitating illness. There is a beautifully nostalgic air to the narrative which gives it a literary quality, painting gorgeous backgrounds filled with exciting people that peppered Nancy’s life despite some of the terrible goings-on within her body. More than this, there is a clear and passionate expression of love and joie de vivre, something that is sure to leave other readers feeling emotional but powerfully inspired by the experience they have read through. Overall, I would highly recommend Nancer the Dancer: Myositis and Me to readers of deep memoirs and stories of triumph against adversity.
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Author Lora Hyler

I’ve taken many leaps throughout my career, confident that at the right moment, the net will appear.

I started my career as a radio news journalist (with NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN), both in Milwaukee, WI. That was certainly the start of my writing career, which further developed as I worked in corporate communications for large media and energy companies. In 2001, I founded my own public relations and marketing company, Hyler Communications. I helped clients launch products and services to diverse retailers and companies, such as Schnucks supermarkets, Disney and Nickelodeon.

Creatively, I’ve shopped screenplays around Hollywood, wrote numerous short stories and an adult novel.

The launch of my career as a children’s book author

Inspiration arrived through watching my only child enjoying time with his friends. The friendly banter and raucous boy talk was amusing. The deal was sealed when I bought Will a nerf toy featuring a child of color wearing goggles. A superhero!, I thought. That was the genesis of my main character in my traditionally-published middle grade series featuring multicultural superheroes, working on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, who share a love of spy gadgets.

In my series, I also celebrate family love, touch upon the Civil Rights era, Tuskegee Airmen and famous historic Black spies.

Mighty Marty HayesThe Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes debuted in March 2018. The book has taken me on wonderful journeys throughout the country (nearly 40 appearances to date!) meeting kids, teachers, parents and educators.

A fairy tale?

Before you begin to salivate about what appears to be a fairy tale life, I should touch upon all of the research that goes into writing a book about CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. I first read about it a couple of years before I wrote my debut novel and was absolutely fascinated by the technology described as having ‘the ability to edit our human species.’ My quartet of kids in my books are science whizzes helping to advance this technology in the world. STEM on steroids!

I did my research–thoroughly. Yet, it was a relief to get introduced to a source working in R & D in genome engineering for a major multi-national corporation. He’s my expert for the remaining books in my series.

How it all began

Taking a step back, I have to give a shout out to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) which I joined in 2015. I immersed myself in as many conferences and workshops as possible, and devoured THE BOOK cover to cover. It’s a children’s book publishing bible of sorts, with a wealth of information on how to deal with the difficult publishing industry.

These publishing industry workshops about what I call a secretive industry, were not all peaches and cream. Yet, viewed with a discerning eye coupled with my career experience, the information was very helpful. I observed obstacles and strategized how to work around, climb over and under, and bolster my skillset, not unlike what one has to do in any other career. Gatekeepers are plentiful. Dedication and perseverance is key to success.

Speak it into existence. I went public in an August 2017 Writer’s Digest magazine article in which I proclaimed to a national audience, “I’m determined. The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes will soon rest on the shelves of bookstores, libraries, and retail stores everywhere…but, first I need an agent.”

In the December 2017 issue of the same magazine, I wrote, “I have an update. I’m excited to share that I have a publishing deal and my middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes debuts in March 2018!”

Fast forward to present year

In March 2020, I received cancellations for six or seven events I had planned for the coming months. The coronavirus hit. In true investigative reporter style, I began to read, listen and watch every media outlet I could to learn about this pandemic and the best way to cope. Paramount was keeping my family safe.

In April, I stumbled across a competition by Emory Global Health Institute challenging authors to write a book to help children ages 6-12 cope with the effects of the virus on their lives. The book had to be completed in two weeks!  I shied away for that reason, plus I was in the middle of writing book two in my multicultural superhero, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, and spy gadget series. I danced around the idea for a few days. I thought, “Who writes a book during a pandemic?” Then, I got to work.

I assembled my team: publisher, editor and illustrator. I knew I would get my book published, win or no win. I live in a lovely, wooded subdivision in a suburb in Wisconsin. I heard  anguish in the voices of children, their parents, and concerned neighbors young and old, as they faced an uncertain future. Missed classroom schooling, missed playdates, social distancing-even  from extended family members, and of course, the ever present fear of contracting Covid-19.

Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free was born

My coronavirus book for children, which I began in mid-April debuts globally on or near July 1. Yes, I learned to write fast. I intend to apply this technique in all my books moving forward. I can wax poetic about the challenges of writing a book in ten days. The truth of the matter, fellow authors and pre-authors, is that I didn’t have time to get in my own way. No time for second guessing, or re-writing until I was tired of my own story.

I kept my passion in front of me: I wanted to write this story to help children. Truly, lives are at stake as some children are facing mental health crises during this pandemic. Adults are struggling also. I like to think adults have learned some resiliency over our decades of living. Children are not in the same boat.

Advance reviews have been humbling. As I’ve participated in media interviews, I’ve reflected upon the double pandemic children are facing. I worry about the scars of coronavirus and the scars of racial trauma, which a Milwaukee medical professional warns causes “psychological symptoms whether covert or overt.” Children of color and their empathetic friends are suffering.

I urge you to listen to the dear children in your lives or community. Do more listening than talking. Read a book to them. Provide nurturing and comfort.

Artists, we have work to do

I’m a member of Nō Studios, a beautiful 40,000-square-foot space located just west of downtown Milwaukee. It’s both a workspace and social environment for artists of all kinds. Founded by Oscar winner John Ridley, born in Milwaukee, I’ve been able to take advantage of book and film events, and various programming. In a recent webinar, Ridley urged writers to “Take the thing you can do as an artist and activate it. We can only do as an artist what God has given us. We need you. Get your voice in the mix.”

Your time is now. Seize the moment. Art will save us.

About the author

 Lora Hyler is a former reporter for NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN, both in Milwaukee, WI. She worked for media and energy companies. In 2001, she founded her marketing company, Hyler Communications. She also worked in television for two years on NBC affiliate, Today’s TMJ4.

Her debut novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes is the first in a three-part children’s middle grade series traditionally published. The novel has received several awards from the international Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and the Best Book Awards.

Writing book two was interrupted when she accepted the challenge from Emory Global Health Institute to write a book to help children around the world deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The book’s publication date is July 1. Suitable for children ages 6-12, the 40-page book is a work of fiction with facts about staying safe during an epidemic. We follow 7-year-old Maya, and her 10-year-old brother, Bryan as their lives are turned upside down. Ultimately, they learn how to cope, help their family and community, and look forward to the future.

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A Call to Live in ALL CAPS

More Untamed Devotions

Terminally ill pastor writes book of sharing love, living fully

Patrick Slack

And do so loudly.

It’s a simple, yet powerful message that Pastor Shane Allen Burton wants to share with everyone. And Burton, a 1987 Anoka High School graduate who served at churches in Andover and Fridley, among others, is shouting it out for everyone to hear in his June release of “More Untamed Devotions,” a follow-up to his first book.

It was a project Burton wasn’t planning to undertake, but one that became important to him upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2019. He had previously beaten esophageal cancer be-fore the disease returned. With so much material left to share, Burton wants to call out a God that loves everyone, and that every person is capable of love.

“The idea of #LIVEINALLCAPS was something that came about before I got diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Burton said. “I always talked about Red from ‘Shawshank Redemption’: ‘Get busy living or get busy dying.’ That was always a concept for me. Talking with my wife Dani about a year ago, I said, ‘I want to live, I want to live life in ALL CAPS.’ Because when you write something in ALL CAPS, it means you’re shouting.

“I want to shout that life is about love: loving God and loving each other. Basically, if it’s loving, do more of that, and if it’s not, knock it off. When I got diagnosed it took on a new meaning: to be fully alive.”

Burton grew up in Anoka County, living in Blaine and Ramsey. He remembers marching in the Halloween Parade as a child and later he graduated from Anoka, with family ties going back generations. Between stops as a pastor he held many different jobs, including insurance agent, pawn broker, mortgage broker, executive director of a publishing company, supervisor in an oil refi nery, editor and store manager in his now hometown of Hudson, Wisconsin. The array of experiences has given him the ability to connect with many different people.

“It was certainly not by design,” Burton said. “There were times in-between serving churches where I just needed a job. Some were just by necessity. But if you’re working with a church, it’s great to know what real life is like. Working for 5 1/2 years in an oil refinery as an average guy, it helped me get a closer look and have a lot more understanding of the people sitting in my church pews. I often say, you can get more understanding and grace on a barstool than a church pew. If life doesn’t go the way you want it, the people on a barstool understand that.”
Burton took that understanding with him as he founded Lifelines, A New United Methodist Faith Community in Andover in 1998 to 2001, later working at Fridley Covenant Church from 2012-2013.

“Meeting all of my neighbors, knocking on doors, and starting in my living room, and then renting out the Andover Cinema and having 100 people show up each weekend was an incredible time,” Burton said. “In Fridley, my fondest memory was of leading worship out-doors in the summer time.”

In 2014, Burton came out with “Untamed Devotions: Stories of a Wild God.” In both of his books, personal sto-ries intertwined with messages of hope and God’s abundant love are shared, with both strongly received.

“Oh goodness, very, very positive,” Burton said. “I suppose I sold quite a few copies on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and direct sales.

“It was funny, I started writing the thing way back when I was working at the church in Andover. My leadership came to me asking for devotions. So I started writing. After a couple months of doing it they asked how it was going and they said, ‘We thought you were just going to go buy us a book of devotions, not write them!”

In the end, the books are calls to all to make the most of their lives, and to bring love, joy and hope to others.

“To have a life that has been lived to the fullest, an abundant life,” Burton said. “To not wake up one morning on your death bed gasping that you have regrets, that you didn’t have the time, the money, to have done that the whole time with love.

“I know it sounds simplistic, but I re-ally truly believe that when we put love in the center as our primary focus, it changes people. It changes events. It changes lives.”

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The Morning Blend Interview with Lora Hyler

There’s no doubt that the world has changed due to coronavirus, and Lora Hyler is on a mission to help kids navigate the new norms. Inspired by Emory Global Health Institute’s competition to help children deal with the effects of coronavirus (no schoolroom, no playdates, changes in family celebrations, etc.), Lora wrote Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Coronavirus COVID-19 Book for Children in just ten days! Today she joins us to talk about her new book and what her hopes are for it globally.

Watch the interview here>>>

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New Coronavirus Book Helps Children Understand Changes in their Lives

Milwaukee Community Journal
May 29, 2020

Children’s book author and former NPR journalist, Lora Hyler has written a new children’s book, Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free inspired by Emory Global Health Institute.

Children within the U.S. and throughout the world have seen their normal lives uprooted by coronavirus and are experiencing the emotional lows and highs unforeseen just two months ago.
“As I saw the children in my neighborhood deal with missing their classmates and their teacher, playdates, visits with family, and trips to favorite places, my heart went out to them.
I knew children everywhere were struggling, and wanted to help ease their pain,” said Hyler. “I’d love to reach kids ages 6-10+.”

Read more…

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What FDR Did That Addresses the Pandemic

Urban Milwaukee

Op Ed

Creating unemployment compensation, other reforms that are helping us weather this crisis.
By David Riemer and June Hopkins

putting gov in its placePresident Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of 1933-1938 has risen from the history books as Washington frantically struggles to solve today’s crisis. It has become commonplace to state that FDR’s bold leadership is desperately needed again.

What would FDR do to revive the economy and protect Americans from a future economic catastrophe? What steps would New Deal policy makers like Harry Hopkins (whose jobs programs put millions back to work) and Frances Perkins (whose team crafted the Social Security Act) recommend that we take?

Good questions, but incomplete.

What’s missing is recognition that Roosevelt and his New Dealers have already shaped today’s solutions and created the template for future action. Hiding in plain sight, the New Deal’s policies laid the foundation for much of the legislation Congress just passed to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic and revive the economy. The real question is: “What additions to the New Deal should be put in place to get us out of the fine mess we are falling into?”

Here are just a few ways in which the New Deal built the foundation for today’s crisis response and how that framework can be bolstered in the future.

One of the great achievements of the New Deal is Unemployment Insurance (UI). It provides laid-off workers with cash to make up for lost wages. Congress just enlarged this program. The new legislation temporarily add new categories of qualifying workers, lengthens benefits from 26 to 39 weeks through 2020, and raises payments by $600 per week through July 31.

The jewel in the crown of New Deal legislation was the Social Security Act. It created UI. More famously, it launched the old age pensions that we simply call Social Security. One of the law’s accomplishments was to assign a nine-digit Social Security number to nearly all workers (today, all persons). Most of us use it to file our income taxes. The program provides the conduit for the $1,200 checks that most American adults are receiving. No Social Security number, no payment.

An even more important legacy of the New Deal is its fundamental premise: the federal government is responsible for Americans’ economic security. Before FDR took office—before Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins delivered jobs for the unemployed and a Social Security system—the federal government had no permanent structure for helping individuals in economic distress.

The New Deal established a new premise. Beginning in 1933, the federal government started providing large numbers of Americans with the right to assistance when they were beaten down by what FDR called “the hazards and vicissitudes of modern life.” Washington would henceforth raise the income of laid-off workers, low-wage employees, and seniors with insufficient savings. Eventually the government extended protections to disabled workers and seniors needing health insurance.

The laws just enacted by Congress strengthen the New Deal’s fundamental concept that it is the federal government’s duty to provide Americans with a floor of economic security.

To recognize that the New Deal laid this foundation, however, is not to assert that the New Deal’s structure is perfect. Numerous additions and reforms are needed.


As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans will have trouble finding jobs until the economy revs up. The solution is a Transitional Jobs program, a refashioned version of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that Hopkins ran. Transitional Jobs, federally subsidized, would offer temporary paid work to the unemployed and underemployed until they move into regular employment.

A higher federal minimum wage is long overdue. Our system of supplementing earnings—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit—should also be overhauled to cover more workers and provide larger refundable tax credits to wage earners without children as well as working parents.

Congress made a start on paid leave by requiring it for some workers affected by COVID-19. The New Deal’s logic, however, requires that paid leave be available for all workers who need temporary time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or an ailing relative Additionally, the New Deal should be expanded to guarantee affordable—ideally free—childcare.

As members of Congress shelter at home, let us hope they recognize how much they relied on the New Deal of FDR, Harry Hopkins, and Frances Perkins in framing their response to the nation’s crisis. Let us then hope, when they go back to work, they will be wise enough to focus once more on bolstering the New Deal model of work-based economic security for all Americans.

David Riemer is former aide to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist and the author of “Putting Government In Its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0.

June Hopkins, professor emerita at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus, is the author of “Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer,” and the grand-daughter of Harry Hopkins, who ran the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal.

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21 Wolynska Street, Warsaw Ghetto

The Times of Israel
Jeffrey N. Gingold is the internationally acclaimed and award-winning author of

My father, whose experience in the Warsaw Ghetto inspired this piece, and I. (Courtesy of author)

You are at risk, if you don’t listen to the authorities and follow their instructions.  Outside of the family members living in your home, avoid:  being close to other people or collecting in groups; stay away from public gatherings and remain at home; avoid religious gatherings; no school or educational assemblies in person.  Of course, we are talking about recommendations to avoid a virus?  Or are we remembering shards of Warsaw Ghetto shadows?

I have never compared my existence to my father’s life as a child in the Warsaw Ghetto.  The differences are decades apart, but in the 2020 pandemic there are echoes and common lessons of fear, taking care and grasping hope.  Beyond new health awareness concerns, I still have little to complain about.  Social distancing and the resulting isolation are new and difficult, but it’s for my well-being.

Instead of worrying, it is time to stay busy with de-cluttering, home projects and walking the neighborhood.  However, we cannot gather, celebrate, mourn or pray in person with others.   While appreciating the temporary losses of personal routines, hope is now discovering new means of technological connections.  Zoom away.

There are real and significant costs from the disruptions, but when re-scheduling life events, it means that they can still occur, so relax.  The demand for certain common products, usually ignored in the background of life:  toilet paper, wipes and sanitizer may be an ironic re-prioritization, but we will learn to compensate.  Wash your hands with soap for twenty seconds and again, relax.  Daring to compare today to my father’s childhood in the Ghetto exposed me to a fresh view of the current reality, adjusting my perspective.

In the Warsaw Ghetto:  avoid congregating and direct eye contact with the German authorities; avoid any close contact with typhus-infected individuals, especially touching or close talking.  Further is now also better for different health and political reasons.

Our neighborhood sidewalks are not over-crowded with refugees from German occupied lands.  The walkways are quiet, except for the sounds of birds and wind-blown branches.  Our hair is not shaved to deter accumulation of lice.  Although the loss of hair coloring means the return to our natural hair color, any color of growing hair [even grey] is still healthy.

We are concerned for life, but no person from an occupying force is trying to kill us.  It is difficult to fathom the current loss of control, normally assumed by a free people.  True.  Our lives, careers and homes are disrupted, but we have shelter and a neighborhood free of an occupying foreign army.  My family doesn’t climb through bombing rubble to walk to the park.  And the public parks are open to us all.  There are inconvenient shortages, but there is food in our cupboards.  We are not starving from government imposed rations, limiting caloric intake based on our religion.  They will fully restock our grocery store shelves, eventually and we are free to shop there.

In the Warsaw Ghetto, Jews were forced to wear a Star of David arm-band in public, as a mark of restriction. With a virus, we are marked by wearing medical masks and arms-length distance.  The current virus offers a trade for enduring staying at home for several weeks to avoid incidental contact with the virus.  Six feet social distance doesn’t really sound difficult.

For years in the Ghetto, five members of my family lived in one tight room with no electricity, plumbing, heat, bathroom, kitchen or door. And there was a baby too. On the day Warsaw was bombed in September 1939, my grandmother went into labor with her second child. Forced into slave labor for the German war machine, adult men faced heavy burdens and often violent deaths seven days a week. My grandmother, aunt and the baby [Baruch] could never venture past their basement room. If they were outdoors, they risked a severe beating forcing them into a labor truck. Any comparison with being self-quarantined in my Milwaukee home falls way short.

So what did my father learn in the Holocaust? His story was a childhood that would never occur and he had company. A contributor to Emanuel Ringelblum’s hidden archives lived in an attic apartment with his wife and young son, above my father’s unit in Warsaw. When the Germans bombed the city the young boys never saw each other again.  When the apartment building took a direct hit from a dropped bomb and the building’s guts and residents were blown out into the street, my father’s life was moved to the edge where the future was canceled.

My father could only think about getting to the next day, which gave him the nerve to do what needed to be done without attention or sympathy.  It was about being invisible under the most horrific conditions in order to smuggle for food, collect the dead on the streets and tunnel to escape.  Maybe I can learn a bit from my father’s Ghetto existence to avoid close contact or public locations, but the reasons pale in comparison. This may be uncomfortable now, but I refuse to complain about the temporary restrictions in my life.  I just can’t.

Instead, I see more clearly those who quickly enter and exit my day. When a functioning economy is vital, they are there and shouldn’t be ignored. Exposure to the pandemic is too easy to take anyone for granted. What was formerly “just doing a job” is now a death-defying activity.  Just servicing customers, moving products and being exposed to others is brave.

When the virus is gone and life priorities shift again, who will we be when the next “normal” returns? We may share just a bit in common with Holocaust survivors.  When this virus is resolved and we return to complacency, I will better appreciate simple things and smile.  Restrictions for our own good are still restrictions, but with perspective we can accept them as they are intended — life-preserving. That’s our freedom too. Thanks, Dad.

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Writers@Work: An Interview with Karen Voss

that's all I've got

From WriteNow Coach

Dear Writers,

This week, I’m bringing back Write Now! Wednesdays, an almost weekly feature highlighting writing craft and exercises. Last week, poet Erik Fuhrer wrote about Writing Poetry During the Pandemic. If you have an idea for a post, send it my way. I’d love to host you.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Karen Voss to the blog. She’s from Milwaukee and the author of That’s All I Got! Thrival: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide.

Happy Writing!

Writing About Grief
An Interview with Karen Voss
By Rochelle Melander

that's all I've gotCan you tell our readers a bit about your book and who it is written for?
That’s All I Got! Thirval: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide recalls the journey of healing and thriving for the first few years after the loss of my husband, Russ, to the completion of suicide as a result of mental illness. It reveals all of the emotions and the stages of grief that I endured. I wrote the book for myself, for thrivers, for survivors of suicide loss, for those needing inspiration and healing after losing a loved one. The first part of the title emerged from the abrupt ending of a Toastmaster’s speech that Russ had practiced in front of his friends. The second part took time to come up with. I had lots of ideas and my publisher combined a couple of them, and there you have it!

What moved you to write a book about your experience?
Since Russ passed away, I wanted to help save lives and I developed the motto “If I can save one life then I know I am doing my job.” I discovered my passion for writing while going through a program to help me work through some of my grief. I decided I wanted to share my story and by doing so inspire and aid others along the way.

Can you talk about your writing journey: what were the hard parts and how did you move past that to finish the book?
I started writing the book in 2012, a few years after I lost Russ. My second cousin’s wife, Manya Kaczkowski, another area writer and published author, encouraged and mentored me in my writing prior to committing to the book. I learned from her as I progressed in my writing and as I wrote the book. Sadly, she passed away from cancer before she had a chance to read it. I gifted her husband, my second cousin, a signed copy of the book as well as a printed copy of a tribute that I wrote about my writing journey with her. Her death was tough so naturally I wrote about her in my Inspiring thru Thought blog including how she red-marked my work and hoped I would still talk to her. The hardest parts involved reliving Russ’s death and working through the still existing grief. I went through every emotion writing That’s All I Got! At times, feeling those emotions forced me to pause, regroup, maybe take a break, and start again when I was ready.

How did you find your publisher?
I told my friend Drew that I wanted to share my journey in a book. He suggested I meet Kira Henschel of HenschelHaus Publishing if I wanted to pursue it. Kira and I met at the HenschelHaus table during the 2011 Dare to be Aware Fair where we talked for a few minutes, and I shared my dream of writing a book. Every time I saw her after that, she asked how my book was coming along. My answer seemed to revolve around I haven’t started. Eventually, I would sit down with her in a three hour workshop to map out “That’s All I Got!” She offered to publish my book, and I graciously and excitably accepted.

What are you reading now?
I am currently reading three books: You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, Restless Hearts by Marta Perry, and Fire Up Your Writing Brain by Susan Reynolds. I don’t normally read three books at one time, but since they’re different genres I figure why not.

Are you working on a new book?
Not at this time, but I have a dream of writing a second book. My brain hasn’t provided me the content yet. In the meantime, I am open to proofreading and editing other writers and authors books as a freelancer.

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Reader Views review of “Samir’s Revenge”

Reader Views
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (2/2020)

samir's revengeSamir’s Revenge,” is the sequel to “Terror in Paris” by Dave Admire. The story takes off when three university professors return from Paris after it is attacked by terrorists. These professors and their students engaged in gunfire with the terrorists, leading to the death of the leader, Samir’s close friend. Samir plots his revenge on the professors to coincide with New Year’s Eve attacks on three major cities in the United States. These cities include San Francisco, Seattle and Las Vegas. Samir and his followers illegally enter the United States from Mexico. They easily gain access into the United States, with their weapons, by using coyotes and a Border Patrol Agent who is on the take. While Samir is attacking the three cities, the professors and their families are setting up a plan to thwart him. Tensions rise when they discover that he was successful with his attacks on the cities. They are determined to stop him at all costs.

“Samir’s Revenge,” was a fast paced read for me. While I did not read, “Terror in Paris,” I can vouch that this book stands well on its own, however, I would like to go back and the first book because I enjoyed this one so much.

The characters are realistic and easily likeable. While they’ve obviously already gone through a great deal of character development in the first book in the series, they continue to expand and evolve as they are faced with a new threat. Their comradery is enjoyable and adds to the desire to see all of them survive. The acts of terror are well described, and extremely realistic. It is scary to consider that these acts could actually take place on US soil. The author’s vivid imagination will easily unnerve readers.

You will want to read this book quickly to the very end so that you can rest easily before the sun goes down! I highly recommend “Samir’s Revenge” by Dave Admire as a fast-paced and exciting suspense thriller. I look forward to reading the third book in this series!

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David Riemer: Strengthening broad-based economic security with a New Deal 3.0│ Ep. 17

By Arthur Thomas – BizTimes
BizTimes MKE Podcast

David Riemer says that the government structure created by the New Deal has sputtered over the last four decades in the face of international competition and disruptive technology. He also says it will take big changes to reverse declining trust in the federal government.

“The tinkering, making small changes within those four clusters, we’ve been doing for almost 80 years now, is not going to get us out of the mess that we’re in,” Riemer, senior fellow at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, said during a recent Rotary Club of Milwaukee program. Riemer was also previously chief of staff to Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, a legal advisor to Gov. Patrick Lucey, legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s subcommittee on health and scientific research and a health policy analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

The four clusters of public policy Riemer referenced include broad-based economic security, means-tested welfare programs, market regulation and market manipulation. In his new book “Putting Government in its Place: The Case for a New Deal 3.0,” Riemer argues for bolstering broad-based economic security programs and market regulation while eliminating means-tested welfare programs and subsidies.

“I favor making sure that when the market functions it doesn’t harm people, it doesn’t damage the environment, it doesn’t damage workers or consumers or investors,” Riemer said. “That’s not a proper way for a business to make profit or succeed. They ought to succeed because they’re better at producing what they produce, they’re more creative, they sell things that people want. They shouldn’t succeed because they manage dump harmful substances in the air or in the water or have their workers work in dangerous work places.”

Riemer said broad economic security programs doesn’t mean just giving people money. It does include offering the un- and underemployed fall back job opportunities, raising the minimum wage to $10 or $12 per hour, making it easier to get childcare, eliminating disincentives for work and marriage in programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and favoring the ability of unions to collectively bargain.

Hear more from Riemer’s presentation on the latest episode of the BizTimes MKE Podcast.

In partnership with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee