Happy Holidays Round-Up

Happy Holidays from your UW Madison Writing Team!


We had a little holiday lunch at Brasserie V yesterday (frites and aoli, anyone?), and before we all head home for Christmas break, I thought I’d give you a little round-up of opportunities and success stories.  Interspersed with a few snowflake photos I snapped on Monday.  The red in the background is my mitten.  🙂


  • Melissa Stanziale, Johnston, Rhode Island, had her short story, “Blue Meat” accepted for summer 2013 publication by the British horror magazine, Tales of Obscenity. Melissa used our Critique Services to polish the story; it was critiqued by Christine DeSmet, UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
  • Ed Semon has published The Place Where Time Stood Still, a memoir about growing up in Athens, Wisconsin, in the 1930s, in the only Jewish family in town. Ed says, “It’s about a boy growing up in that magical time and place. The real power of memory lies in the richness of experience a town such as Athens offered. I don’t fully understand the strength of that bond, yet I feel the power of attachment.”  Ed has participated in our programs, including the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat with instructor Christine DeSmet.
  • Christine DeSmet, UW-Madison Continuing Studies, was in the “Spotlight” during October at the Jewels of the Quill website, www.JewelsoftheQuill.com., where she talked about the genesis for her new Fudge Shop Mystery Series and new book, First-Degree Fudge. Look for the “Spotlight” button. The site includes an excerpt from the book.
  • Jane Friedman, who will be appearing here for Writers’ Institute in April, has a brand new chart about the four paths of publishing available free as a PDF on her website.  Great stuff!  http://janefriedman.com/2013/11/19/infographic-key-book-publishing-paths/#.UouezOK6jt0.wordpress


  • Christine DeSmet’s First-Degree Fudge, the debut novel in her Fudge Shop Mystery series, spent over 10 weeks on the Barnes & Noble mystery mass market bestseller list this fall!
  • Sue Fox has some exciting news:  Sue Fox attended the Writers’ Institute in the spring of 2011. She reports: It was a great experience. And now, I am happy to inform you that my book, “Little Women of Baghlan: the Story of a Nursing School for Girls in Afghanistan, the Peace Corps, and Life Before the Taliban,” has been published!  You can check out the author profile at “www.amazoncom/author/foxsusan“, and note the reference to the Writers Institute in Madison Wisconsin!  “I wanted to let you know, because I remember vividly the day you told a group of us that yes, it does happen, and that yes, if anyone in the room got their project to publication, you wanted to hear about it.”www.littlewomenofbaghlan.com  www.facebook.com/suefox.writer
  • Whitefish Bay, Wis., writer Jon Kolb publishes crime novel.  A real-life, bizarre crossbow assassination of the owner of Van Trier’s restaurant in Milwaukee years ago inspired Jon Kolb’s new crime novel, The Summer of Rain: Odyssey of a Young PI, published through Booklocker.com and available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble (paperback and electronic versions). Jon has used our Critique Services with Christine DeSmet for help with some of his short stories.
  • Write-by-the-Lake Retreat attendee Cheryl Woodson sat on an expert panel on Caregiving in America in November at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The program can be found in the archives at www.washingtonpost.com, for later viewing.  She’s also getting ready for the second edition of her book To Survive Caregiving: A Daughter’s Experience, a Doctor’s Advice.  In addition to updated information from the first edition, there are seven new chapters including, “The Caregiver’s Role in the New Health Care Paradigm.”


  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada writer Debbie Bateman publishes in anthology
    Debbie Bateman’s personal essay, “Amongst the Unseen and Unheard,” was selected for publication in Shy: An Anthology, published this fall by University of Alberta Press. Check out the anthology at http://www.uap.ualberta.ca/UAP.asp?LID=41&bookID=1095. Debbie’s a graduate of our Creative Nonfiction online course with Angela Rydell as her instructor. Congratulations, Debbie, on your first personal essay publication!
  • Lynda Forrester’s story a finalist in Gotham Prompt Contest.  Lynda Forrester, of  Knoxville, TN, wrote “Meal Planning” in response to the flash fiction prompt When nobodys watching… Her story was one of the very best submitted to the Gotham Prompt Contest. You can read it here: http://www.writingclasses.com/prompt. She recently completed “Fiction in a Flash,” taught by Angela Rydell. Lynda says the course “was one of the best online classes I have taken. Not only was it well presented but interesting and a great price value. Writing flash is a great way to learn to make every word count and Angela Rydell’s instruction and feedback were excellent.”
  • Writing faculty Laurie Scheer critiqued Ms. Presley’s screenplay DADDY KING AND ME through our Continuing Studies Critique Services.  The script has gone on to garner strong Hollywood interest and it is in the semi-finalist stages of the Starz Denver Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. Here is the press release:Frances Presley’s Screenplay Selected As A Starz Denver Film Festival Competition Semi-Finalist

    Screenwriter Frances Presley’s screenplay DADDY KING AND ME has been selected as a semi-finalist for the Starz Denver Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.

    The Starz Denver Film Festival is highly acclaimed and the largest of its kind in the region.  It will take place November 1 – 11, 2013 and will celebrate its 36th year.  It showcases more than 200 new films from around the world with over 175 international filmmakers, directors, actors and other film artists participating in the twelve-day event.   The annual celebration of film provides an important showcase for the best of world cinema, a platform for international film artists, and promotes dialogue among filmmakers and the public.

    Notably, Frances is an alumni of the Hollywood- based ScreenwritingU ProSeries and the logline for her screenplay was a finalist for the ProSeries Alumni (PSA) Screenwriting Logline Contest.  She is represented by Beverly Hills Producer/Manager Bettina Viviano of Accelerate Entertainment who represents some top Hollywood writers.

    Frances optioned the rights to the book, “Daddy King And Me” by Murray Silver. The biography is of Martin Luther King Sr.’s influence in the civil rights movement and politics.  Her screenplay has attracted the interest of an A-list actor and her manager is now marketing the screenplay to top producers.


  • Judith Norling Carlson publishes mystery novel begun at SOAJudith Norling Carlson, of Rhinelander, WI, and Spring Hill, FL, has published Thunder in the Tropics, a mystery starring two nurses on vacation in Maui, Hawaii. The book is available in paperback and e-book editions. Judith’s novel got its start in workshops taught by our staff member Christine DeSmet at the annual School of the Arts, a Continuing Studies week-long retreat for writers and artists held every July in Rhinelander.

    In Thunder in the Tropics, Ashley Morgan and Candace Maguire discover an acquaintance of theirs on a tour has been reported missing after arguing with a male friend. When the woman turns up murdered, Ashley and Candace begin sleuthing. But soon the tables are turned and they become the hunted.


We all hope you have a very happy Holiday season and a wonderful new year!

– Laura, Christine, and Laurie


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