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A Spirited Threesome: Good Friends with New Books Come to Mystery to Me

By Doug Moe

         Years ago, I took a fiction writing class during a summer session at Boston University. The instructor asked for absolute honesty in critiquing the stories of the other students. We did this so well that a month into the class, you couldn’t find two students who would speak to each other.
         That memory surfaced recently when I read the promotional material about three authors who will appear together at Mystery to Me on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m.
         Mary Lamphere, Kristin Oakley and Kathleen Tresemer met through the Rockford Writers Guild, and later formed a professional writers’ organization called In Print. The three women also belong to the same critique group, The Chicks of the Trade.
         I was looking forward to Oct. 9, and asking the authors about friendship, ego and the writing life. Alas, I am going to be somewhere in the middle of Lake Michigan, on the Muskegon to Milwaukee ferry, returning from a wedding, when the event takes place.
         So I did the next best thing. I invited Lamphere, Oakley and Tresemer to the store for a chat on an afternoon in September, in order to provide newsletter readers a preview of the Oct. 9 event.
         I can assure you it will be lively.
         Not only have these women remained friends in the face of judging one another’s work, their mutual support system helped each publish a new novel in the past few months.
         It’s the way writers’ groups are supposed to work.
         Mary Lamphere’s novel, Pocket Money, was the first published, in June. She grew up in Rockford and lives in DeKalb. Lamphere – her author byline is M F Lamphere – is an artist and did her own cover art for the novel, which concerns four high school friends who reunite for a day after college – a day of revelations, and proof the past is never past.
         Kathleen Tresemer’s Time in a Bottle is a young adult novel that has garnered quite a few adult readers since being published in August.
         “I’m a ‘save the world’ person,” Tresemer told me, which means her tale of a high school girl who has it all – including an alcohol addiction – has a hopeful ending. Tresemer grew up in the Chicago area, has worked as a child welfare specialist, and now lives in Rockton, north of Rockford.
         Kristin Oakley’s novel, God on Mayhem Street, just out in September, is a sequel to her 2014 novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois. Leo Townsend, the Chicago newspaper reporter protagonist of the first book, returns in the new volume, having landed a prize interview with an openly gay, front-running presidential candidate. But when Townsend’s estranged father suffers a near-fatal heart attack, scuttling the interview – well, things are just getting started. Oakley is a UW-Madison graduate who has lived in Madison for the past several years; prior to that, she lived in Freeport and Rockford.
         The Rockford Writers Guild, where the three women met, dates to 1947.
         “It was a great place to start,” Lamphere said, but after a time, in Tresemer’s words, “we wanted something a little more professional.”
         In September 2010, the women got together in Oakley’s kitchen, tossed around some ideas, and decided they’d launch a group dedicated to the craft of writing, with regular workshops, speakers and networking opportunities.
         “The hardest thing was to come up with the name,” Lamphere said.
         The collective goal was to get published, so they decided on In Print.
         A year or so later, Tresemer joined the small critique group to which the other two already belonged. It’s called The Chicks of the Trade and today consists of the three of them and a fourth writer, Catherine Conroy.
         As mentioned, this was where the friendships had a chance to go sideways, but they have not.
         “In the beginning,” Oakley said, “one of the women [who has since left the group] got a little defensive.”
         A rule was instituted: The writer whose work is being critiqued has to remain quiet until the session is finished. Criticism is delivered with respect and in a constructive manner. It’s still not easy.
         “It’s soul crushing,” Tresemer said, then smiled. “For a minute.”
         They agree it helps their writing, and that’s what it’s all about.
         They’ll talk about that, and their new books, on October 9 at 2pm. It will be a fun afternoon. They’re all still writing. Lamphere compared being published for the first time to what a friend told her about getting her first tattoo.
         “I can’t wait to do it again!"

October -- It's a Festival of Book Events!

Sunday, October 2 - 12:30 pm
History's Mysteries Book Club discusses Rose of the World by Alys Clare

Sunday, October 2 - 2 pm
Jerry Apps and Steve Apps discuss their beautiful new book Roshara Journal. 
This beautiful photographic diary captures month-to-month and decades-long changes to the landscape and farmstead, from nurturing a prairie restoration to maintaining a large garden that feeds three generations, and from observing wildlife species by the dozens to supporting a population of endangered butterflies. 

RSVPs are appreciated. Here's a link to Eventbrite. 

Tuesday, October 4 - 7 pm
Kathleen Ernst launches her new Chloe Ellefson mystery, Memory of Muskets.
Summer 1983. The heat’s on curator Chloe Ellefson and her cop boyfriend Roelke McKenna. Her boss is plotting to fire her. Research into Roelke’s ancestors uncovers a painful tragedy. And at Old World Wisconsin where Chloe works, the death of a Civil War reenactor triggers a murderous chain of events. Now Chloe and Roelke must work together to solve mysteries past and present, before she loses her job—and another reenactor loses his life.

RSVPs are appreciated. Here's a link to Eventbrite. 

Saturday, October 8 - 2 pm
Patricia Skalka discusses her third Door County mystery, Death in Cold Water.
The Green Bay Packers’ #1 fan has gone missing!
On a bracing autumn day in Door County, a prominent philanthropist disappears. Is the elderly Gerald Sneider—known as “Mr. Packer” for his legendary support of Green Bay football—suffering from dementia, or just avoiding his greedy son? Is there a connection to threats against the National Football League?

RSVPs are appreciated. Here's a link to Eventbrite. 

Sunday, October 9 - 2 pm
Kristin Oakley, Kathleen Tresemer and Mary Lamphere

See Doug Moe's column above to learn more about these three authors. 

Tuesday, October 11 - 2pm
Angela Palm discusses her memoir, Riverine
Angela grew up in rural Indiana on the banks of the Kankakee River, whose course had been altered to make room for farmland. Every year the river rose and fell, the water returning to its original path, while residents sandbagged their homes against the flood. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in secret, imagining their life together even as she longed for a future that held more than a job at the neighborhood bar. For Palm, caught in this landscape of flood and drought, escape was a continually receding hope. Though she did escape, as an adult Palm finds herself drawn back, like the river, to her origins. But this means more than just recalling vibrant, complicated memories of the place that shaped her, or trying to understand the family that raised her. It means visiting the prison where the boy she loved is serving a life sentence for a brutal murder. It means trying to chart, through Riverine’s mesmerizing pages, what happens when a single event forces the path of her life off course.

RSVPs are appreciated. Here's a link to Eventbrite.

Thursday, October 13 - 6pm
A Taste of Zentangle with Julie Swanson!
Julie will be using Sandy Steen Bartholomew's book Totally Tangled as an inspiration to play with the fun and relaxing world of Zentangle®.  Zentangle®  is an easy-to-learn, fun way to create beautiful images by drawing patterns.
To register for Julie's class, please RSVP here.

Friday, October 14 - 7pm
Join author Robert Townsend to discuss his Long War Series.
Townsend's Long War series examines the Soviet and American post-WWII war of deception through eyes of four protagonists, who were but children when in 1947 the Soviet Union designated the United States as their "main enemy." Each side sought advantage in conflict where war was Armageddon.

Sunday, October 16 - 2pm
Monona Public Library - Monona History Club presents author Lucy Sanna on the historical background of her novel, The Cherry Harvest.

Tuesday, October 18 - 7pm
The Poe Requiem
Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Fresco Opera has created a world premiere production called "The Poe Requiem," featuring some of his most haunting writing, set to a thrilling original score and vocal accompaniment along with dancing, art and other surprises along the way. The full production will be held in the Madison Masonic Center on October 28 - 29th, and will feature the following works: The Bells, Alone, Annabel Lee, Spirits of the Dead, The Raven, Lenore, Tell Tale Heart, A Dream Within A Dream and The Haunted Palace.
Fresco Opera will be holding a free preview at Mystery To Me featuring readings and music from "The Poe Requiem." Join us as we celebrate the life of this dark master, paying homage to his works through Fresco's original production. 

To purchase tickets for the world premiere at the Masonic Center - and/or to learn more about the Fresco Theatre, click here.

Wednesday, October 19 - 7pm
Wisconsin premiere of the award-winning documentary film Medicine of the Wolf
Mystery to Me will be there to sell books for two of the panelists - local author and wolf advocate Andrea Thalasinos and woodsman, environmentalist and author Barry Babcock. Other panelists include HSUS Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe; certified animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.; Robert Mann - Ho-Chunk Nation Elder; Randy Jurewicz, retired WI DNR Wolf Program Administrator, and emcee Carl Anderson.

See poster for more details. Link to ticket sales is here

October 21 - times vary. See Below
Barcadia! Visit the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery -- it's the Wisconsin Book & Science Festival!

Barcadia! Arcade-Era Cocktails Re-Imagined - Andre Darlington - <span class="date-display-single" />10/21/2016 - 5:30pmArcade-Era Cocktails Reimagined! With Andre Darlington...

The event takes place at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Three Seatings are available for this event:  

5:30 - 6:15
6:30 - 7:15 
7:30 - 8:15 

For information and to RSVP, please go to the Wisconsin Book Festival website linked here. 

Friday, October 21st - 6 pm
Central Library, The Bubbler
Author Flynn Berry discusses "Under the Harrow" -- A Wisconsin Book Festival Event

Under the Harrow - Flynn Berry - <span class="date-display-single" />10/21/2016 - 6:00pmUnder the Harrow is Flynn Berry’s debut novel: a chilling story with a slow-burning feeling of dread, a sophisticated psychological edge, and a sharpness that Gillian Flynn fans will love. It grabs you immediately and doesn’t let go.

Friday, October 21st - 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Science Festival presents Tetris by Box Brown
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (De Luca Forum) 

Tetris: The Games People Play - Box Brown - <span class="date-display-single" />10/21/2016 - 7:30pmIt is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.  Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega—game developers big and small all wanted Tetris.

Friday, October 21 - 7:30 pm
Cara Black comes to the Wisconsin Book Festival! 
Central Library, Room 302

Murder on the Quai - Cara Black - <span class="date-display-single" />10/21/2016 - 7:30pmThe world knows Aimée Leduc, heroine of 15 mysteries in this New York Times bestselling series, as a très chic, no-nonsense private investigator—the toughest and most relentless in Paris. Now, author Cara Black dips back in time to reveal how Aimée first became a detective.

November 1989: Aimée Leduc is in her first year of college at Paris’s preeminent medical school. She lives in a 17th-century apartment that overlooks the Seine with her father, who runs the family detective agency.

Saturday, October 22
It's a big day at the Wisconsin Science Festival! Stop by to say hi to folks from Mystery to Me! We'll be there selling these fabulous books. 

All Book Events for the Science Festival are in the DeLuca Forum at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and are hosted in cooperation with the Wisconsin Book Festival.

12 noon 

Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O'Neil - <span class="date-display-single" />10/22/2016 - 12:00pmWeapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil

Weapons of Math Destruction traces the arc of a person’s life, from school to retirement, and looks at models that score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole and prison sentences, and monitor our health. The models being used are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong.


1 pm

The 100 Year Miracle - Ashley Ream - <span class="date-display-single" />10/22/2016 - 1:00pmThe 100 Year Miracle by Ashley Ream

If you were given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to save yourself, would you take it? Even if it cost you everything? This question is the driving force behind Ashley Ream’s whip-smart, powerful and captivating The 100 Year Miracle.




  3 pm

The Sacred Disease - Kristin Seaborg - <span class="date-display-single" />10/22/2016 - 3:00pmThe Sacred Disease by Kristin Seaborg

Young Kristin Seaborg had the world at her fingertips: a loving family, happiness and security, early admission to medical school--until the frightening diagnosis of epilepsy threatened to destroy both her career path and her health. Living in constant fear that her seizures would intensify and prevent her from practicing medicine, Kristin kept her condition a closely guarded secret, leading a tenuous double life as patient and practitioner. A memoir of discovery, acceptance, and hope, The Sacred Disease chronicles Kristin’s tenacious fight for a seizure-free life

5 pm 

Children of the New World - Alexander Weinstein - <span class="date-display-single" />10/22/2016 - 5:00pmChildren of the New World by Alexander Weinstein 

Children of the New World introduces readers to the lost characters of a near-future of social media software implants, manufactured memories, dangerously immersive virtual reality, and frighteningly intuitive androids. Some live in a superficially utopian future of instant connection and mutual understanding that belies an unbridgeable distance; others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild. All are attempting to hold on to their humanity.
6 pm

Mapping the Heavens -  - <span class="date-display-single" />10/22/2016 - 6:00pm</span>Mapping the Heavens by Priyamvada Natarajan

This book provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research—an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe.

Book Festival Continues with Charlaine Harris! 

Sunday, October 23 - 1:30 pm
Charlaine Harris comes to the Wisconsin Book Festival!
Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

All the Little Liars - Charlaine Harris - <span class="date-display-single" />10/23/2016 - 1:30pmAfter a thirteen year hiatus, Harris triumphantly returns to the series which began her successful career. All The Little Liars picks up where we left off, with Aurora Teagarden just married to her true love, crime writer Robin Crusoe, and the couple is basking in the news of her pregnancy.

Sunday, October 23 - 2 pm
Wisconsin Science Festival presents One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine. This is the breathtaking story of a young boy with a never-before-seen disease, and the doctors who take a bold step into the future of medicine to save him—based on the authors’ Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting.


Tuesday, October 25 - 7pm
Authors Judy Melinek, MD and TJ Mitchell
Working Stiff s the fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases—hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex—that shaped her as both a physician and a mother. Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation—performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives.

RSVPs are appreciated. Here is the link to Eventbrite.

Thursday, October 27 - 7pm
Author and ESPN sports journalist Jesse Temple discusses his new book 100 Things Wisconsin Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die.
With traditions, records, and team lore, this lively book explores the personalities, events, and facts every Badgers fan should know. This guide to all things Badgers covers football and basketball (and even a little hockey), including the Barry Alvarez years, Camp Randall Stadium and the tradition of Jump Around, and the Bo Ryan era. Jesse Temple covers Wisconsin and Big Ten football for He has twice been named a top-10 beat writer in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. 

RSVPs are appreciated. For a link to Eventbrite, click here.
Here's a quick listing of what to look forward to in November! More details on our website and in the November newsletter. In the meantime, save the dates! 

Tuesday, November 1 - 7pm
Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association friends and neighbors gather at Mystery to Me for a beer tasting! Kirby Nelson of Wisconsin Brewery will be on hand! 

Wednesday, November 2 - 7pm
Doug Moe interviews Tom Martinelli about his new book Edgewood Football History

Thursday, November 3 - 7pm
Doug Moe interviews Bobbie Malone about here new book Lois Lenski - Storycatcher

Friday, November 4 - 7pm
Dog Moe interviews the Minnesota "Chowgirls" about their new cookbook Killer Party Food - Righteous Bites and Cocktails for Every Season

Saturday, November 5 - 11 am 
Just in time for the election, Dean Robbins will be here to discuss his new book Miss Paul and the President

Sunday, November 6 - 12:30 pm
History's Mysteries discusses Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tuesday, November 8 -- Remember to Vote! 

Wednesday, November 9 - 7pm
Hank Phillippi Ryan returns to Mystery to Me with her new Jane Ryland mystery Say No More

Thursday, November 10 - 6 pm
Need a zen moment after the election? Try "A Taste of Zentangle: Alphatangle" with Julie Swanson
To register go to

Friday, November 11 - 7pm
Doug Moe interviews Bill Stork, DVM about his new book of stories Stepping from Herriot's Shadow

Tuesday, November 22 - 7pm
Poet Marilyn Taylor reads from her new chapbook Step on a Crack

Thursday, November 24 - closed to celebrate Thanksgiving

Friday, November 25 - it's black Friday at Mystery to Me
We're open 9 to 9! Shop Local.

Sunday, November 27 - 3 pm

The Agatha Christie Bookclub will be meeting at the house of a club member. If interested in attending, please contact the store at
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