Success Stories

Dreams come true every year at the Writers’ Institute

Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, YA—no matter the genre, Writers’ Institute attendees get published. We look forward to seeing your success story here soon!


Rose Bingham’s memoir published

What happens when a mother goes into town, and disappears? Leaving 7 children behind? With a teenager in charge? Rose Bingham, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., has written a beautiful memoir, Buy the Little Ones a Dolly, published by HenschelHAUS Publishing.

Bingham, a retired nurse, worked on her memoir at two UW-Madison Continuing Studies events: Writers’ Institute and the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. Rose has won numerous awards for her poetry and writing.

“Buy the little ones a dolly” were some of the last words Rose received from her mother in a Christmas letter when Rose was 15, sent without a return address. The mystery surrounding her mother’s disappearance comes to light 59 years later.

 I was a Teen Ghoul cover

Kate Warpeha, Chicago—new graphic novel author

Kate Warpeha is a Chicago mad scientist and inventor. She attended Writers’ Institute a few years ago and continued working with Laurie Scheer through our Critique Services. The journey of completing her first graphic novel, along with illustrator Lisa Noble, has been an exciting labor of love. This is a beautiful story of generations coming together in a creative way. Congratulations to Kate and Lisa!

 

Marianne Flynn Statz signs agent after Writers’ Institute pitch

Writer Marianne Flynn Statz of Madison, Wisconsin has signed agent and attorney Paul Levine to represent her nonfiction book, The Gift of Goodbye. Marianne pitched her project to Mr. Levine at the Writers’ Institute 2016. The book relates the story of solving a particularly troublesome crime and how it affected the detective’s life. Both the author and agent will be attending the upcoming March 24-26, 2017 Writers’ Institute conference in Madison.

 

Julie Holmes finds agent at Writers’ Institute

Julie Holmes, of Arlington, Minnesota, has signed literary agent Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services to represent Just Plane Dead, a suspense novel. Julie met Cynthia at the 2016 Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wis. Prior to that, Julie took her manuscript through the Master Class for novelists at the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat held each June. Both events are sponsored by UW-Madison Continuing Studies.

Just Plane Dead features aircraft mechanic Sierra Bauer. Sierra is more worried about her stalker ex-boyfriend’s return than the body she finds in her inspection plane, until the detective in charge of the case pegs her as a suspect.

 

Ann Zindler, Waukesha, Wis., places in contest; Nov. 3 reading at Wisconsin Book Festival

Congratulations to Ann Zindler who placed third in the short story contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters with her story, “The Rescue.”

On the advice of her instructor (Christine DeSmet) in the UW-Madison Continuing Studies online course, “Write Your Novel Fast & Sure,” Ann took a chapter from her novel and reworked it as a short story that became “The Rescue.”

Ann will be reading her story on Nov. 3 as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival at A Room of One’s Own Bookstore in Madison. Her story will also appear in the February 2018 issue of Wisconsin People and Ideas.

With this publishing credit, Ann is busy pitching her novel to agents, including those she met at the Writers’ Institute in Madison.

 

Cucamonga Valley Wine book cover

John Peragine’s new book is available now!

John Peragine is an author of numerous books and a ghostwriter for many others. He’s published articles in the New York Times, Writer’s Digest, Bloomberg News, and Reuters. He has attended our Writer’s Institute and has been asked to speak at our 2018 Writers’ Institute to be held April 12-15th, 2018. His new book, Cucamonga Valley Wine: The Lost Empire of Winemaking (co-authored with George M. Walker) is available now.

 

Laurie Buchanan’s book garners magazine’s pick-of-the-month

Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth by Laurie Buchanan is on Aspire Magazine’s list of the Top 10 inspiring and motivational books for September 2017.

Note to Self has also been named a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist. Laurie utilized Critique Services of UW-Madison Continuing Studies for her book. She is a recent past guest instructor at Writers’ Institute.

Laurie utilized Critique Services of UW-Madison Continuing Studies for her book. She is a recent past guest instructor at Writers’ Institute.

 

Madison-area author Valerie Biel recently earned a place of distinction in the Eric Hoffer Book Award Contest

The final installment in her Circle of Nine Series, Sacred Treasures, made the grand prize short list as well as being honored as the First Runner-Up in the young adult category.

The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. The Hoffer Award was founded at the start of the 21st century (with permission from the Eric Hoffer Estate) to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. Since its inception, the “Hoffer” has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. “I’m so pleased that Sacred Treasures caught the eye of the award committee from amongst the thousands of worthy entries they receive each year,” Biel says. “It’s tough to gain attention in this business, so when you receive news like this, it is especially sweet.”

Valerie has been present at our Writers’ Institute conferences, participating as a speaker and as part of our Success Panel and Author Slam events.

 

Empty chairs book cover

Anne Davidson Keller’s historical novel debuts

Anne Davidson Keller, Madison, Wis., a recent attendee of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Writers’ Institute and its critique sessions, has announced the debut of her first novel, Empty Chairs, available through Amazon and CreateSpace. The logline: After eleven-year-old Joe McDowell’s brother leaves the farm to fight in World War II, a cascade of catastrophes plunges the family into crisis, and Joe realizes he must choose between personal freedom and loyalty to his beloved father’s way of life.

Formerly of North Carolina where she received a BA in Psychology (at Chapel Hill), Anne has a Master’s degree in Social Work from UW-Madison. Anne notes her wonderful cover was created by local artist Jeanne Gomoll of Union Street Design.

 

Congratulations to Ron Kuka for prestigious Bartell Award in the Arts

Ron Kuka is the 2017 recipient of the Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts. The award, established in 1992, recognizes and honors the achievements of UW-Madison faculty and staff across a broad range of activities and services in the creative arts including the areas of outreach, public service, and/or other enterprises involving the larger community. The award is for $6,500 and may be used for teaching, research, and public service activities.

Ron is a faculty associate in Creative Writing, UW-Madison Department of English, and has been an instructor of tremendous workshops at the spring Writers’ Institute conference and the fall Weekend with Your Novel, both events sponsored through UW-Madison Continuing Studies.

 

Saving Arcadia book cover

Writers’ Institute speaker has new book

Heather Shumaker has worked in land conservation for two decades and served as the coastal program director for protecting Arcadia Dunes in Northern Michigan. She has a master of science degree in land resources from UW-Madison and is a national speaker who has participated in numerous annual Writers’ Institutes. Her new book, Saving Arcadia: A Story of Conservation and Community in the Great Lakes, is available now. Learn more about this very important book.

Additionally, DCS faculty associate Laurie Scheer assisted Heather as an editor for this book.

 

Death in cold water book cover

Award for Wisconsin writer

Fresh from appearing at our 28th Annual Writers’ Institute, author Patricia Skalka has informed us that The Council for Wisconsin Writers just announced that the 2016 winner of the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award is her latest book, Death in Cold Water. She is surprised, delighted, and humbled.

 

Heather Lyn Mann’s six-year ocean voyage captured in new book

Ocean of Insight/A Sailor’s Voyage from Despair to Hope, new this fall 2016 from Parallax Press, recounts the true story and incredible Atlantic Ocean journey Heather Lyn Mann, her husband, and their cat made on a small sloop over the course of six years starting in 2007.

Before publishing, Heather participated in the advanced critique sessions at Writers’ Institute. A Madison, Wis., resident most of her life, Heather now lives in the Charleston area.

 

Teria Robens wins Chicago Black excellence fiction award

What the Mirror Sees, a women’s fiction novel by Teria Robens, won the 2015-2016 African American Arts Alliance of Chicago’s Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature-Fiction at their black-tie gala at the DuSable Museum on Oct. 24, 2016.

Teria took this women’s fiction novel through a Master Class at the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat, with instructor Christine DeSmet. She’s also been a part of the writing community regularly attending the annual Writers’ Institute in Madison.

 

Bibi Belford, Chicago, sells another middle-grade novel

Bibi Belford has sold world rights to her middle-grade novel, Another D for DeeDee, to Sky Pony Press. This is Belford’s second sale since participating in a Master Class at the Write-by-the-Lake Retreat sponsored by UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Belford was also a presenter at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute 2016.

Her book’s logline: “Feeling dumb at a new school, being diagnosed with diabetes, and missing her immigrant dad, who has disappeared, make DeeDee feel lonelier than ever – until a new neighbor offers to help.” Publication is scheduled for fall 2017.

 

Instructor Christine DeSmet wins script production contest

Christine DeSmet, an instructor and writing coach in UW-Madison Continuing Studies, and her scriptwriting partner, Peggy Williams, have won the 2016 short script contest sponsored by Living Storm Productions, Madison. Called The Stone Carver of King Street, the script will go into production this summer.

Christine teaches online courses in scriptwriting and novel writing, and is director of the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat. Peggy Williams, Madison, is a recent past instructor at Writers’ Institute. Both writers are members of Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum, where they learned about the contest.