2021 Southeast Wisconsin Festival Of Books

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

PANEL 1: 10:00 – 11:15

Poetry: From Memories to Lyricism

Authors: Jim Landwehr and Barbara Geiger

When Jim and Barbara started to write their first books, they were both convinced they wanted to write memoir and only memoir. The books were written, polished, and then accepted by publishers. And then…both of these writers were startled to find themselves writing poetry, and not only writing it, but publishing it.

Join Jim and Barbara as they discuss their journey from the planned to the inspired.


Jim Landwehr has three memoirs, Cretin Boy, Dirty Shirt and The Portland House. He also has five poetry collections, Thoughts from a Line at the DMV, Genetically Speaking, On a Road, Written Life and Reciting from Memory. Jim is a past Poet Laureate for the Village of Wales, WI.

After retiring from teaching, Barb Geiger turned her love of books into the pursuit of her own writing dream. Her first book, Paddle for a Purpose (eLectio Publishing, 2018), received the 2019 First Place Pencraft Award for memoir. Barb’s poems have been published in several anthologies. Her first poetry chapbook, Mississippi Meanderings, received First Place in the 2021 NaPoWriMo Chapbook Contest and will be published by Local Gems Press. Barb lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin with her husband, Gene and their chinchilla, Raji. She enjoys playing outside on bikes and boats, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family.

REGISTRATION: Register in advance for this meeting:

PANEL 2: 11:45 – 1:00

Memoir: Writing Honestly On Difficult Subjects

Authors: Angela Bier, Dale Morgan, Peggy Race

It’s one thing to write about your own memories and experiences. But when your memoir brings up difficult times and situations with family members, it’s a whole new level of hard. How do you tell the truth about others? And what are the consequences?


Angela Bier is a retired pediatrician, mother, Wisconsinite from birth, and an accomplished amateur genealogist.  She brings these sensibilities to her writing, which can be found most recently in Evening Street Review and An Accidental Archivist, her genealogical mystery memoir to be published in July of 2022.  She also blogs at, which also includes links to her genealogical endeavors.  She is a student of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop and lives in Franklin, Wisconsin.

Dale Morgan’s memoir, String Too Short to Tie, was recently published by Austin Macauley. It is a story of conflict over family land and memories of growing up in the Texas Panhandle in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. A lifelong writer, she spent her professional life as an educator, teaching English, History and Creative Writing. She holds a B.A. from Carroll University and an M.E.P.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Peggy Race is the author of Desiree, The Music of My Soul. Peggy grew up on a dairy farm in Palmyra, Wisconsin. Rooted in the fertile fields of her youth, she cultivated an appreciation for nature and a love for animals. Peggy spreads her seeds of hope through advocacy, dog fostering and her writing. Peggy lives with her two dogs, Faith, a ball-herding border collie and Deputy, a puppy mill rescue. She carries a treasure chest filled with memories of her rescued Hurricane Katrina dog, Desiree.

REGISTRATION: Register in advance for this meeting:

PANEL 3: 1:30 – 2:45

Prose (Fiction & Nonfiction): How To Use Symbolism As A Spice And Not A Flavor

Authors: Kathryn Randall, William Mathis, Karen Cutler Drecktrah, Julianne Beekman

All of these authors used trees in their books, as well as in their titles. Randall has a YA Fantasy called The Listening Tree. Mathis has a literary novel called The Memory Tree. Drecktrah has a historical novel called Little Ida; The Family Tree. And Beekman has a memoir called Two Trees. How can this one symbol, a tree, express so much in such different books? The authors will talk about their choice of a tree and how they used it in their own books.


Julie Beekman is the Author of Two Trees, a memoir, and a partner in two organic restaurants. When she isn’t writing or in her shops, she can usually be found running, hiking or skiing various Colorado trails. Julie is currently working on a follow-up memoir, as well as historical fiction.

Karen Cutler Drecktrah is an official “Cheesehead”, having lived in Wisconsin her entire life. Her first novel, Little Ida – The Story of a Family Tree, will be released soon through All Things That Matter Press. A story of an unexpected moment of happiness she shared with her hospitalized 89-year old father aired on the national radio program Our American Stories. She currently resides in Appleton WI with her husband, Bill.

Bill Mathis has authored five novels published through Rogue Phoenix Press. His novels all involve families—both blood and formed through choice—their diversity, secrets, foibles, and issues. His books range from historical fiction to psychological thrillers. Bill began writing after retiring from careers in YMCA camping and foster care. He lives with his partner in Beloit, Wisconsin and is looking forward to traveling again.

For twenty years, Kathryn Randall creatively brought science to life for her middle school students. In retirement, she spends her days weaving real science into magical adventures. She hopes to inspire young people’s curiosity about our natural world as well as a passion to protect it. When not writing, she can be found exploring the outdoors. The Listening Tree is her debut novel.

REGISTRATION: Register in advance for this meeting:

PANEL 4: 3:15 – 4:30

The Writing Life: Publication Knows No Age

Authors: Julie Boglisch, Jeff Konkol, Michael Giorgio, Nona Schrader

Some people believe that publishers look only for young writers. This panel will prove this wrong as four writers in different decades of their lives talk about their publishing experience with their first books and beyond.


Julie Boglisch is a young woman in her 28th year of life. She enjoys tea, cake and cheese. Often times you might find her working on her artwork or writing one of the many series that keeps popping into her head without abandon. She also has two dogs and two awesome parents. Over the past few years, she has published six novels. This includes her published series, The Elifer Chronicles and Requiem of Stone, along with a standalone title, Ghost of a Memory.

Michael Giorgio’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. His latest novel, A Week of Criminal Happiness, was released in June 2020 by Rogue Phoenix Press. His first two novels, Justice Comes Home (2014) and The Memory Swindlers (2016) were published by Black Rose Writing. He has also published poetry and nonfiction and leads workshops at AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop in Waukesha, WI.

A classical pianist and marginal triathlete, Jeff Konkol is permitted to live in the sprawling home of four very large cats. He published his first table top RPG, Of gods and Men, in the early 90s, and has been running games within that setting ever since. He recently returned to writing with the hope of sharing those stories with a wider audience. His novels include Citadel of the Fallen, Gathering the Fallen, and the upcoming Flight of the Fallen.

Nona Schrader grew up in Lander, Wyoming, a western town nestled at the base of the Wind River Mountains. After completing her B.A and M.A. in English at the University of Wyoming, she moved to Wisconsin to teach. Three years ago, She retired and now devotes her time to writing. "Mountain Graves," her short memoir, was published in the Summer 2019 issue of Months to Years, a digital magazine. Her first novel, Aqua, will be published by All Things That Matter Press.  She is currently writing the second novel in this series.

REGISTRATION: Register in advance for this meeting: