Saturday, July 04, 2009

Blue Shadows Farm

I have a new novel coming out from the University of Wisconsin Press in September, which is described as follows:

Silas Starkweather, a Civil War veteran, is drawn to Wisconsin and homesteads 160 acres in Ames County, where he is known as the mysterious farmer forever digging holes. After years of hardship and toil, however, Silas develops a commitment to farming his land and respect for his new community.

When Silas’s son,Abe, inherits Blue Shadows Farm he chooses to keep the land out of reluctant necessity, distilling and distributing “purified corn water” throughout Prohibition and the Great Depression in order to stay solvent. Abe’s daughter, Emma, willingly takes over the farm after her mother’s death. Emma’s love for this place inspires her to open the farm to school-children and families who share her respect for it.

As she considers selling the land, Emma is confronted with a difficult question—who, through thick and thin, will care for Blue Shadows Farm as her family has done for over a century? In the midst of a controversy that disrupts the entire community, Emma looks into her family’s past to help her make crucial decisions about the future of its land.

Through the story of the Starkweather family’s changing fortunes, and each generation’s very different relationship with the farm and the land, Blue Shadows Farm is in some ways the narrative of all farmers and the increasingly difficult challenges they face as committed stewards of the land.

Blue Shadows Farm is the third in my Ames County Series. Fictional Ames County is located in central Wisconsin. Its primary towns are Link Lake and Willow River. The first book in the series, The Travels of Increase Joseph, describes the settling of Link Lake. The second book in the series, In a Pickle: a Family Farm Story takes place in 1955, when small family farms were still prominent in Wisconsin. Link Lake is loosely based on Wild Rose and the area around it. See my website, for detailed descriptions and reviews of these books.

To preorder BLUE SHADOWS FARM, go to or Barnes and
The Madison launch of the book is scheduled for Barnes and Noble West, 7:00 p.m. on October 20. The Wild Rose launch of the book will take place at the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose on October 24, 1:00 p.m.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: July is a good time to sit under a shade tree, sipping lemonade, and remembering what the weather was like just six months ago.


Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. August 2-8.

Writing From Your Life. Sheboygan Public Library, August 23, a.m.

Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. October 17. a.m.. & p.m.


July 16, 2:00 P.M. Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, Casper Jaggi, Master Cheese Maker.

August 15. Creekside Books, Cedarburg. 12-3:00. Old Farm.

August 16. Railroad Days, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

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