Weekend with Your Novel: Success Stories

"A workshop like this makes the writing life real. From the instructors to the other writers, the group shared their stories and often received on-the-spot remedies for problems. My critique group was a gift. Laurie was wonderful in guiding us through a thoughtful and rich discussion of strengths in our opening pages. We all left ready to finish our drafts with renewed energy."

2014 Participant

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Weekend With Your Novel Success Stories

Recognition and publications by past participants:


UW crest in place of book coverDaniel Holland, Milwaukee, participated in our 2014 UW-Madison Continuing Studies Weekend With Your Novel program and enrolled in our Literary Magazines 101 course in 2015. His new memoir Death Wins All Wars: Resisting the Draft in the 1960s details his involvement as an activist in the 1960s draft resistance movement.

Chapters highlight his memories and current reflections on events such as draft board raids as well as the legal adventures that followed: indictment, arrest, arraignment, defending himself at trial, and sentencing. A surprise ending is followed by an afterword contemplating our personal responsibilities for peace.

UW crest in place of book coverSarah J. Carlson, Fitchburg, Wis., is following last year’s stellar debut in the Young Adult arena with a second book coming out from Turner Publishing Company in May 2020 called Everything’s Not Fine. Sarah said, “I wanted to give acknowledgement to all the support I received from the UW Continuing Ed writing program.” Sarah has attended Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat in June, the fall Weekend with Your Novel, and the spring Writers’ Institute conference where she made it to the success panel with her first YA novel, All the Walls of Belfast. Everything’s Not Fine features Rose, 17, who aspires to be a famous artist like Frida Kahlo, but Rose’s life unravels in a big way when she finds her mother dying of a heroin overdose on the kitchen floor. Check out more details on this Goodreads page.

UW crest in place of book coverPanic River (Calumet Editions), a novel by Elliott Foster, St. Paul, Minnesota, is receiving great reviews. The novel follows the story of Corey Fischer, a middle-aged man whose past and present struggles converge on him as he unexpectedly finds himself at the family cabin in northern Wisconsin during deer hunting season, heading into the woods with his spouse, both of them carrying loaded guns as long-kept secrets and betrayals are slowly revealed.

The San Francisco Book Review gave it a 4/5 star-rating and called it a “fascinating read about love, tough love…engaging and entertaining.” Midwest Book Review said “powerfully evocative, thought-provoking.” “Courageous…a page turner,” said Emilio Degrazia, Minnesota Book Award-winning author of Billy Brazil

Elliott worked with Angela Rydell in her critique workshop at the Fall 2018 edition of the UW-Madison Continuing Studies Weekend with Your Novel.

Book cover: Don't Fear, My DarlingLaura Stewart Schmidt of St Louis, MO published her third novel, Don’t Fear, My Darling, with Black Opal Books (2019).
UW crest in place of book coverGreg Renz of Lake Mills, Wisconsin published first novel, Beneath the Flames, with HenschelHAUS Publishing (2019). Beneath the Flames is the story of a volunteer firefighter who goes from a tragedy on a Wisconsin farm to firefighter training in Milwaukee, where he gets assigned to the busiest firehouse in the heart of the inner city. Read about him in the Isthmus here >
UW crest in place of book coverCiaran Cooper received an honorable mention in the 3rd Annual First Chapter Contest sponsored by the Chicago Writers Association (2019) for his novel Forty Miles An Hour.
Book cover: "All the Walls of Belfast"Sarah Carlson, of Fitchburg, WI, published her YA novel, All the Walls of Belfast, with Turner Publishing (2019).
Crossing the Line book coverBarbara Belford, of Chicago, IL, writing as Bibi Belford, has published three novels with Skyhorse Publishing: the middle-grade historical novel, Crossing the Line (2017), Canned and Crushed (2017), and Another D for DeeDee (2018).
St. Mary's private dancer book coverBlair Hull, of San Jose, CA, published St. Mary’s Private Dancer, a mystery featuring a woman minister sleuth, with Apocryphile Press (2016).
The uncommitted book coverMargaret Goss, of Madison, WI, published her first novel, The Uncommitted, with Three Towers Press (2015).

Still life book coverD.B. Kennison’s novel, Still Life, was published by Samhain Publishing (2015). Darlene Kennison lives in Monroe, Wisconsin.

All of me wants all of you book coverJ. Z. Howard’s novel All of Me Wants All of You (2014) received the Inspirational/Romance Fiction Gold Award from the 2015 Illumination Book Awards.
Carpe diem, Illinois book coverKristin Oakley’s debut novel Carpe Diem, Illinois (Little Creek Press, 2014) won the Chicago Writers Association 2014 Book of the Year Award for Non-traditionally Published Fiction.
Biting Nixie book coverMary Hughes, of West Bend, WI, published her first novel, Biting Nixie, a paperback vampire tale, with Samhain Publishing (2009).