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November

Saturday, November 26th
Small Business Saturday
Wednesday, November 30th
Live @ MTM: Andrea Potos

Time: 6:00p
Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)
Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for Her Joy Becomes

About the book

Andrea Potos' poems are permeated by an expansive sense of kinship.  Blood family are precious, but equally intimate are luminary writers with whom she finds soul connections.  Although most of these figures are physically absent, all are a vital presence in Potos' "rooms of thought."  She recommends (and practices) not getting snagged in appearances but "look[ing] slant" to find what is enduring. This is what she calls "graz[ing] with your consciousness" to gather joy.  This is no simplistic pursuit.  Rather, she's in agreement with C.S. Lewis' insight that "joy is the serious business of heaven."  Potos understands that it takes committed work to choose and own joy.  These poems involve aging parents, cancer, dread, death, grief, funerals – the hard times that generate hard questions.  But they also celebrate the sustaining "underpinnings of dailiness" – laundry, coffee, washing dishes, brushing hair, bird song, vegetables, floral dresses.  As those who are now absent become valued mental companions, she discovers "a peace whisper[ing] to her...a different happiness unfolding."  The gift of these poems is in how Potos thoughtfully weighs what is given and what is taken, how life both fulfills and disappoints, and determines to let joy keep her.  "Breathing deeply is simple, and hope is the natural choice." 

 

Andrea Potos

 

About the poet

Andrea Potos is the author of several poetry collections. She has received three Outstanding Achievement Awards in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association, the James Hearst Poetry Prize from the North American Review, and the William Stafford Prize in Poetry. She loves more than anything travel, literary pilgrimages, cafes, books, dogs, her Greek heritage and her family. 

January

Wednesday, January 11th
Live @ MTM: Ryburn Dobbs

Time: 6:00p
Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)
Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for Where the Blood is Made

About the book

His work as a forensic anthropologist inspired him to write The Sebastien Grey Novels. The first book in the series, The Comfort of Distance, was released in September 2020, followed by The Boxwood Torso (The Sebastien Grey Novels Book 2) and Where the Blood is Made (The Sebastien Grey Novels Book 3).

 

Ryburn Dobbs

About the author

Ryburn Dobbs taught biological anthropology and forensic anthropology at several colleges throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and spent ten years as a forensic anthropologist, working dozens of death investigations. In addition to his anthropological pursuits, Ryburn also worked as an investigative analyst specializing in homicides and unsolved cases.

Thursday, January 12th
Virtual Event: Matt Witten

Time: 7:00p
Where: Livestreaming on Crowdcast

Cover for Killer Story

 

About the book

How far will she go to catch the killer – and make her podcast a hit? Idealistic journalist Petra Kovach launches a true-crime podcast to investigate the murder of an alt-right YouTuber she loved like a little sister, despite their political differences. Petra's passionate quest for justice rockets her to the top of the podcasting charts, but her just-barely-legal tactics backfire and she loses everything: her job, her love, and her reputation. Now she must fight to get her life back – and catch the killer.

 

Matt Witten

 

About the author

Matt Witten is a TV writer and novelist who has written for House, Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, CSI: Miami, and several other shows. His six novels include The Necklace, which came out from Oceanview Publishing last year and has been optioned for film by Leonardo DiCaprio. Matt has won the Malice Domestic Award and been nominated for two Edgars and an Emmy. His latest novel is Killer Story, set in the world of true-crime podcasting. He is currently writing a Hallmark Mystery Movie and a pilot for NBC.

Wednesday, January 18th
Live @ MTM: Karla Manternach

Time: 6:00p
Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)
Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for Team Meena

About the book

No one can take Sofía’s place. Now that her best friend lives across the country, everything reminds Meena of her. She even spends the whole week saving up things to tell Sofía in their Saturday video chats.

But when Sofía gets busy with soccer friends, Meena decides to join a team of her own. Only it turns out softball is harder than she expects. So is getting along with Lin, her bossy teammate who doesn’t even like art!

It’s not like Meena wants to be friends or anything. She still has Sofía, doesn’t she? But can they stay close when they’re so far apart, or is it time to expand Team Meena?

 

Karla Manternach

About the author

Karla Manternach grew up in small-town Iowa, a grubby kid in tube socks who once stopped a parade by running in front of a fire truck for candy. When she was older, Karla detasseled corn, read Star Trek novels, and studied languages no one speaks anymore. Today, she lives with her family in small-town Wisconsin where she creates books for young readers and works as a freelance writer. She is the author of Meena Meets Her Match and the rest of the Meena Zee series.

Thursday, January 19th
Live @ MTM: Jamie Pacton

Time: 6:00p
Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)
Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for The Vermilion Emporium

About the book

The Radium Girls meets the enchanting world of Howl’s Moving Castle,The Vermilion Emporium is a story of timeless love. It’s about healing in a world shrouded with despair and discovering a spark of magic when you need it most.

On the morning Twain, a lonely boy with a knack for danger, discovers a strand of starlight on the cliffs outside of Severon, a mysterious curiosity shop appears in town. Meanwhile, Quinta, the ordinary daughter of an extraordinary circus performer, chases rumors of the shop, the Vermilion Emporium, desperate for a way to live up to her mother’s magical legacy. 

When Quinta meets Twain outside of the Emporium, two things happen: One, Quinta is sure she’s infatuated with this starlight boy, who uses his charm to hide his scars. Two, they enter the store and discover a book that teaches them how to weave starlight into lace.

Soon, their lace catches the eye of the Casorina, the ruler of Severon. She commissions Quinta and Twain to make her a starlight dress and will reward them handsomely enough to make their dreams come true. However, they can’t sew a dress without more material, and the secret to starlight’s origins has been lost for decades. As Quinta and Twain search the Emporium for answers, though, they discover the secret might not have actually been lost—but destroyed. And likely, for good reason.

 

Jamie Pacton

About the author

Jamie Pacton is an award-nominated young adult and middle grade author, who writes swoony, funny, magical books across genres. The Vermilion Emporium is her YA fantasy debut. When she’s not writing, she’s teaching college English, obsessively reading obscure history, hiking, baking, or playing video games. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is her Young Adult debut and her sophomore novel, Lucky Girl, released from Page Street in May 2021.

Wednesday, January 25th
Virtual Event: Bobbie & Bill C. Malone w/ Doug Moe

Time: 7:00p
Where: Livestreaming on Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for Traveler

 

About the book

For five decades, as a singer, musician, songwriter, and producer, Tim O’Brien has ceaselessly explored the vast American musical landscape. While Appalachia and Ireland eventually became facets of the defining myth surrounding him and his music, he has digested a broad array of roots styles, reshaping them to his own purposes. Award-winning biographer Bobbie Malone and premier country music historian Bill C. Malone have teamed again, this time to chronicle O’Brien’s career and trace the ascent of Hot Rize and its broadening and enrichment of musical traditions.

At the beginning of that career, O’Brien moved from his native West Virginia to the Rocky Mountain West. In just a few years, he became the lead singer, mandolin and fiddle player, and principal songwriter of beloved 1980s bluegrass band Hot Rize. Seeking to move beyond bluegrass, he next went to Nashville. O’Brien’s success in navigating the shoals of America’s vast reservoir of folk musical expressions took him into the realm of what is now called Americana.

The core of Tim O’Brien’s virtuosity is his abiding and energetic pursuit of the next musical adventure. As a traveler, he has ranged widely in choosing the next instrument, song, style, fellow musicians, or venue. Written with O’Brien’s full cooperation and the input of family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Traveler provides the first complete, behind-the-scenes picture of a thoroughly American self-made musical genius—the boy who grew up listening to country artists at the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and ended up charting a new course through American music.

 

Bill and Bobbie Malone

About the authors

Emeritus Tulane University history professor, Bill C. Malone, grew up with country music in East Texas. His dissertation in American History from the University of Texas became the definitive history of country music, Country Music, USA. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in a completely revised edition in 2018, and served as the basis for the narrative in the Ken Burns Country Music series, in which he appeared.He and Bobbie coauthored Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story (2020), and his most recent book is Sing Me Back Home, an anthology of his previously published essays. After following Bobbie to Madison where he has hosted Back to the Country, a weekly WORT community radio program in Madison, Wisconsin for the past 24 years, the Malones returned to their home state of Texas and are now residing in San Antonio. You can still hear Bill on Back to the Country on the 4th Wednesdays of the month.

Bobbie Malone grew up in San Antonio, then lived in New Orleans, where she earned a PhD in American History from Tulane University. Her dissertation became Rabbi Max Heller: Reformer, Zionist, Southerner, 1860-1929. She moved to Madison in 1995 to direct the Office of School Services at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she wrote and edited books for the state’s classrooms. After retiring, she wrote the biography of her favorite childhood author/illustrator, Lois Lenski: Storycatcher, which won the 2016 Indies Editor’s Choice Award in nonfiction, and Striding Lines: The Unique Story Quilts of Rumi O’Brien. Bill and Bobbie had such fun collaborating on Nashville’s Songwriting Sweethearts, that they immediately chose to work on Traveler: The Musical Odyssey of Tim O’Brien, published in the fall of 2022.

Thursday, January 26th
Live @ MTM: Ben Hubing in Conversation with Doug Moe

Time: 6:00p
Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)
Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for George Wallace in Wisconsin

About the book

Alabama governor George Wallace ran for president four times between 1964 and 1976. In the Badger State, his campaigns fueled a debate over constitutional principles and values. Wallace weaponized states’ rights, arguing that the federal government should stay out of school segregation, promote law and order, restrict forced busing and reduce burdensome taxation. White working-class Wisconsinites armed themselves with Wallace’s rhetoric, pushing back on changes that threatened the status quo. Civil rights activists and the Black community in Wisconsin armed themselves with a different constitutional principle, equal protection, to push for strong federal protection of their civil rights. This clash of ideals nearly became literal as protests and counterprotests erupted until gradually diminishing as Wallace’s political fortunes waned. Historian Ben Hubing reveals the tensions that embroiled Wisconsinites as Wallace took his struggle north of the Mason-Dixon line.

 

Ben Hubing

About the author

Historian Ben Hubing, a high school educator and educational consultant, has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the James Madison Foundation Fellowship and the Herb Kohl Teaching Fellowship. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master's in teaching from Cardinal Stritch University. He also earned a master's in history at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, with a focus on intersections of civil rights, politics and constitutional history. Hubing lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin, with his wife, Nickie, and their three children.

February

Wednesday, February 01st
Live @ MTM: Sandy Moffett

Time: 6:00p CT

Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for The Ghost of Craven Snuggs

About the book

A satirical novel with a severe critique of the destruction caused by modern corporate agriculture and large-scale meat production.

Early one November, portraits of the Chief Executives of three major midwestern meat-producing corporations and the governor of Iowa go missing. These incidents seem minor until the dead bodies of the three CEOs are discovered in the hog lots and chicken factories that they own. The governor remains alive but terrified. He immediately orders the state department of criminal investigation to drop all other duties to protect him. The job of investigating the thefts and murders falls to the small, understaffed, sheriff’s department. Initial suspects—a disgruntled young biology professor who has resigned to protest the state  university’s support of large-scale meat production, the widows of the deceased who seem a bit too delighted to be rid of their husbands, and an 80-year-old army veteran who is valiantly fighting the proliferation of CAFOs in her township. The sheriff and his deputies are left with a single clue: an ancient pickup truck that belonged to Craven Snuggs, a fierce opponent of large-scale industrial agriculture, who died in a mysterious fire years earlier. The investigation takes a makeshift posse through the woods, prairies, and crop fields of Nachawinga County.

 

Sandy Moffett

 

About the author

Sandy Moffett, Emeritus Professor of Theatre at Grinnell College, joined the faculty in 1971 and continues to teach and direct plays on occasion, serving as utility infielder for his department. An ardent outdoorsman and conservationist, he spends most of his time restoring prairie on his small farm, writing songs and stories, playing guitar and mandolin in The Too Many String Band, and catering to the whims of his three grandchildren. His writing has appeared in The Wapsipinicon Almanac, Rootstalk, Saltwater Sportsman, The Abbey Review,and other publications. The Ghost of Craven Snuggs is his first novel.

Thursday, February 02nd
Live @ MTM: Andrea Nelson in Conversation with Doug Moe

Time: 6:00p CT

Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

 

Cover for Fort Unicorn and the Duchess of Knothing

 

About the book

A retired boxer sets out in search of her daughter, Shyloh, an addict living with mental illness on the streets of San Diego. In Fort Unicorn and the Duchess of Knothing, Nelson tries desperately to find – and save – her first-born, delving into  the roots of mental illness, addiction, and the meaning of unconditional love.

This memoir is an unflinching witness of what it means to be homeless, mentally ill, and addicted in America - and to love someone who is all of those things. Fort Unicorn is, more than anything else, a vivid and tender portrait of people who are too often invisible to society.

 

Andrea Nelson

 

About the author

Andrea Nelson lives and coaches boxing in Madison, Wisconsin. When she's not in the gym training her boxers, you can find Andrea out tending her gardens, chickens, and bees, or running the nearby trails.  She shares life with her partner, James.

Thursday, February 09th
Live @ MTM: Terri Laxton Brooks in Conversation with Doug Moe

Time: 6:00p CT

Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

 

Cover for On Loneliness 

About the book

In this no-holds-barred, provocative book, Terri Laxton Brooks tells a story that often remains hidden— that of a successful professional who has many friends and family and yet all her life has struggled with a loneliness she’s never revealed to anyone.

Terri thinks her feelings of isolation will end with her marriage to her childhood sweetheart and their move from a farm town to the city of Chicago. But once the sheen of newlywed passion wears off, her husband, by nature reticent, grows even more emotionally distant. In her new job as a reporter for a Chicago paper, Terri hides her loneliness under a flurry of bylines and deadlines. But she can’t shake a feeling she’s had since childhood—of failure to connect, not just as a wife but also as a daughter, friend, and colleague—and soon she and her husband separate. Adrift, Terri contemplates suicide. Could a move to different city, to a fresh start, solve her problem?

Terri’s decision to transplant herself to New York City forces her hand in a way she never imagined: it plunges her into a loneliness so total that out of desperation she grabs the key to her own salvation— ; love of interviewing, researching, hearing people’s stories. After starting therapy, her curiosity leads her into four years of soul-searching conversations with America’s leading psychologists and psychiatrists about how to cope with loneliness, why it is a normal and necessary stage of healthy growth, and how to stop resisting it. She explores with growing understanding intimate details of her dreams, her past traumas, and her role in her own loneliness—and learns not only how to live comfortably with that loneliness but how to use it to her advantage.

Terri Laxton Brooks

 

About the author

Terri Laxton Brooks was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, at that time a one-square-mile town surrounded by cornfields. She majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent her Junior Year Abroad at the Université d’Aix-en-Provence. Terri wrote for the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times and is a founding member of the National Writers Union. She was a professor at the Department of Journalism at NYU where she also became department chair and was the dean of the college of communications at Penn State. Of all that she is grateful for, her most treasured is her son, who continues to make her a kinder, better person. She currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin.

Thursday, February 16th
Live @ MTM: Lisa Avelleyra

Time: 6:00p CT

Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

 

Cover for Get Me To The Abbey

About the book

Get Me to The Abbey explores alcoholism and recovery through the eyes of a middle-aged Midwesterner. Lisa spends a month in treatment at a refurbished monastery with a cast of characters whose hijinks and camaraderie are instrumental to her spiritual healing. Mischief and college basketball relieve the weight of soul-baring testimony. After leaving The Abbey, Lisa adjusts to life without drinking and returns to work and cultivates support in her Alcoholics Anonymous community. She is reunited with her Abbey cohorts by a heartbreaking tragedy.

 

Lisa Avelleyra

 

About the author

Lisa is a lifelong lover of words and dictionary peruser. Once she discovered reading, she devoured anything she could get her hands on from the TV Guide to the Encyclopedia. She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and worked in newspapers for five years, column-writing being her favorite part of the job. Following that, Lisa worked in a bookstore for eight years, a dream job until corporate standardization sucked the joyous essence out of the store. Reading dwindled during the drinking years but now she's back at it, perpetually in the middle of a book, any book.

Wednesday, February 22nd
Live @ MTM: Deborah Goodrich Royce

Time: 6:00p CT

Where: Mystery to Me (seats are limited, Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

 

Cover for Reef Road

 

About the book

A young woman’s life seems perfect until her family goes missing. A writer lives alone with her dog and collects arcane murder statistics. What each of them stands to lose as they sneak around the do-not-enter tape blocking Reef Road beach is exposed by the steady tightening of the cincture encircling them. In a nod to the true crime that inspired it, Deborah Goodrich Royce’s Reef Road probes unhealed generational scars in a wrenching and original work of fiction. It is both stunning and sexy and, like a bystander surprised by a curtain left open, you won’t be able to look away.

 

Deborah Royce

About the author

Deborah Goodrich Royce’s thrillers examine puzzles of identity. Ruby Falls won the Zibby Award for Best Plot Twist in 2021 and Finding Mrs. Ford was hailed by Forbes, Book Riot, and Good Morning America’s “best of” lists in 2019. She began as an actress on All My Children and in multiple films, before transitioning to the role of story editor at Miramax Films, developing Emma and early versions of Chicago and A Wrinkle in Time. She serves on the governing and/or advisory boards of the American Film Institute, Greenwich International Film Festival, New York Botanical Garden, Greenwich Historical Society, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, the Preservation Society of Newport, and the PRASAD Project. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in modern foreign languages and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Lake Erie College.

March

Saturday, March 18th
Live @ Lenz Auditorium: Jacquelyn Mitchard

Time: 2:00 pm 

Where: Lenz Auditorium, 120 Oak Street, Pardeeville, WI, USA (Get Tickets)

Livestream: Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover of The Good Son

 

About the book

What do you do when the person you love best becomes unrecognizable to you? For Thea Demetriou, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him somehow.

Stefan was just seventeen when he went to prison for the drug-fueled murder of his girlfriend, Belinda. Three years later, he’s released to a world that refuses to let him move on. Belinda’s mother, once Thea’s good friend, galvanizes the community to rally against him to protest in her daughter’s memory. The media paints Stefan as a symbol of white privilege and indifferent justice. Neighbors, employers, even some members of Thea's own family turn away.

Meanwhile Thea struggles to understand her son. At times, he is still the sweet boy he has always been; at others, he is a young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. But as his efforts to make amends meet escalating resistance and threats, Thea suspects more forces are at play than just community outrage. And if there is so much she never knew about her own son, what other secrets has she yet to uncover—especially about the night Belinda died?

 

Jacquelyn Mitchard

About the author

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels for adults and teenagers, and the recipient of Great Britain’s Talkabout prize, The Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, and named to the short list for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, with more than 3 million copies in print in 34 languages. It was later adapted into a major feature film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Her novel Still Summer has also been adapted for a film still in production. She has also an essay collection, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship, drawn from her newspaper column syndicated by Tribune Media. Mitchard’s essays also have been published in magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and was editor-in-chief of Merit Press, a Young Adult imprint under the aegis of Simon and Schuster.

 

A Chicago native, Mitchard grew up the daughter of a plumber and a hardware store clerk who met as rodeo riders. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation and a DeWitt Clinton Readers Digest Fellow at the Macdowell Colony. She has taught in MFA program for Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Miami University of Ohio and Western New England University and was speechwriter for Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala during the first days of the Clinton administration and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An avid Italian cook, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children. Her newest novel, The Good Son, a story about two women, one whose son was convicted of murdering the other’s daughter, is out from Mira/HarperCollins.