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N. N. Light's Book Heaven presents Lisa J. Lickel #authorspotlight #romanticsuspense #romance #bookrec #mustread

Hi, everyone. I’m Lisa Lickel from the Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin. We live on top of a ridge, but all around we’re cuddled by hollows and rills, forests, amazing sunsets, and plenty of wild critters. On our small farm we have badgers, fox, bobcats, bunnies, deer, turkeys, and lots of visiting birds. Each season brings changes in leaf color, growing season, types of songbirds. In early spring the bluebirds return, clean out their nesting box near the garden, and busily defend it against the sparrows and wrens. One lonesome bachelor wren comes every year, works hard to decorate the house hanging on the deck, and practices his song for hours, hoping to attract the perfect Mrs.


In between the outdoor entertainment, I use up a lot of screentime, as my grandkids call it. I’m a writer and editor, as well as book producer and reader. I belong to my state writing group, Wisconsin Writers Association, where a couple of years ago I helped relaunch the WWA Press as managing director, and I edit our regional literary magazine. As a freelance editor I have a bevy of clients who share their wonderful work with me, and I help several indie publishers. I’m also a book coach and assistant director for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp, a full-week immersion experience designed to create special camaraderie amongst a small group of writers who want to work with professional, best-selling authors and instructors, and see what it’s like behind the scenes for agents and publishers who visit bookcamp.


I’ve been writing in several genres and fields professionally since selling my first articles sold in 2002. I’ve written for Writer’s Digest, several magazines, local newspapers, websites, and radio theater besides novellas, novels, and a biography of the founding family of the West Bend Company. When I first considering turning pro with writing, we were on the cusp of making self-publishing easy (too easy) for anyone who wanted to publish a book. Self-publishing, or its companion vanity publishing, was frowned upon and, at that time, often with good reason. As I became more aware of the opportunities for writers and joined a marketing group, I shifted my own perspective to understanding why so many writers wanted just wanted to achieve their dream of seeing their hard work in book form. I wanted to help writers not just get published, but do it well. I took courses and gained much valuable experience in the writing and publishing field and began working on the other side of the desk. I still write and submit, even though I can also self-publish, or mcropublish with a group of professionals. But one key aspect of learning to put out a good story for people you don’t know or aren’t related to, is to be willing to seek and hear, and put into practice, advice from other writers and readers.


But writers wouldn’t be anywhere without readers. Readers are why we do this crazy, vulnerable thing. We readers know what we want, don’t we? A good love story, a satisfying drama, a heart-pounding thriller, a joyride to a new world, the heartbreak of loss, the delight in reading to another. In fact, writers must be voracious readers…readers of everything, every genre, online, and up close and personal in your hand. Does your librarian know your name? Do your favorite authors a favor and request their books for your library, as well as your local bookseller. Go a step further and leave a short inviting review wherever you can. Walk with us by recommending us to your book club…and if you’re not in a book club somewhere, you know what to do! Start one of your own. I’d be honored to be your guest.





Title The Last Bequest

Author Lisa J Lickel

Genre cozy mystery

Publisher Fox Ridge Publications


Book Blurb


Judy Winters is pretty sure her environmentally-conscious great aunt didn't die of natural causes, no matter what the tox screens say. When she discovers she can inherent the family farm if she'll live there for a year, can she give up her teaching job and move to the country? Next door to the obnoxious young, unfortunately handsome, farmer with ties to her aunt? And what about a possible killer on the loose. Join Judy, Hart, Ardyth and know-it-all cat Carranza, for an all-Wisconsin adventure.




A cloud scuttered overhead. Judy shivered. She rubbed her arms and checked her watch. In the main yard, she stopped in front of a gnarled stump. A single mossy branch dangled like a broken arm but bore a number of determined green leaves. Judy smiled and touched the deeply grooved brown bark. A bee bumbled nearby. She walked around to the other side where a weathered emblem appeared carved into the trunk and bent low to trace a misshapen heart.


“Can I help you, Miss Winters?”


Judy looked up from her vulnerable crouch and froze at the sight of a well-built young man in aviator sunglasses striding up the unkempt row. The man came to a halt at the edge of her personal comfort zone. She watched lines form between his eyes and realized her nervous smirk scored no points. Not a good way to make a first impression. Or second, since he apparently knew her name.


“I don’t think so,” she said in her most polite voice. Judy pushed herself up and held out her hand. “And you are?”


The man had his hands on his hips. He belatedly reached out to grab hers. “Hart Wingate. Mine’s the adjoining farm. I helped Louise, and her father before her, with chores. The police asked me to keep an eye out for strangers.”


Judy nodded. “Yes. My aunt mentioned she had someone in to help. I assumed she meant a hired hand. You don’t know what really happened here, do you?”


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Author Biography


Lisa Lickel is an author, editor, and mentor who lives with her husband in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction both short and full-length, including mysteries, romance and family drama, feature articles, and radio theater. She belongs to the Wisconsin Writers Association, the Chicago Writers Association and is a writing coach at Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp & Retreat. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at


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Title The Map Quilt

Author Lisa J Lickel

Genre Cozy Mystery

Publisher Fox Ridge Publications


Book Blurb


Death in rural Wisconsin is only the beginning to new chaos in Robertsville. What do a stolen piece of revolutionary agricultural equipment, a long-buried skeleton in the yard, and an old quilt with secrets have in common? Hart and Judy Wingate, who met in The Last Bequest, are back to solve the mystery of The Map Quilt. Hart’s new battery design could forever change the farm implement industry. But after the death of Hart’s most confrontational colleague in a fire that destroys Hart’s workshop, the battery is missing. Throw in a guest speaker invited to Judy’s elementary classroom who insists she owns the land under Hart’s chief competitor’s corporate headquarters, and a police chief who’s making eyes at Hart’s widowed mother, it’s no wonder Hart is under a ton of pressure to make sure his adventurous pregnant wife stays safe while trying to preserve his company and his reputation.




Harding’s file folders were arrayed on the desktop of his computer screen. Folder IA97762-F was right up front, along with a number of other projects in the 977 line, which stood for InventivAg’s power supply initiatives. Hart clicked the icon and saw that the information was stored in the “briefcase,” which meant it came and went with Harding, ready to be moved at a second’s notice into a portable flash drive; one of which was still inserted in a port. Three minutes later, the sweat of fear along his back chilled at the ominous sign of tampering in the design of his invention.


Hart had spent months with the tool people working out the type of steel to use. But Harding listed a different steel in the materials list for the key component. No wonder Jacobs from the production team had problems, as he stated in his fax to Bryce at the office before the fire. Was this the design that went out to assembly? He needed to check right away; hopefully he could prevent the bad steel from doing any lasting damage or hurting anyone if it crumpled under stress. Thank heavens the plant was right here, and not overseas.


Hart quickly shut down Harding’s system and rushed to the plant. Even if Harding was trying to take revenge on him or InventivAg for some unknown reason, Harding would not be so stupid as to try to pass on this mistake to Hugo.


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Title The Newspaper Code

Author Lisa J Lickel 

Genre Cozy Mystery

Publisher Fox Ridge Publications


Book Blurb


Judy Wingate's NOT-BFF, Olivia Hargrove of the Robertsville Reporter, discovers a Civil War-era secret newspaper code that may lead to the recovery of a badly needed seven million dollar-windfall. Not long after Judy and Hart's baby is born, Judy and Ardyth stumble onto another murder. This time it's 99-year-old Esme Espe, the maven of the Petunia Society, Robertsville's Garden Club. Esme's gruesome murder by garden claw soon catches the attention of the Robertsville Reporter's chief editor and nosy correspondent, Olivia Hargrove.


Clueless Olivia decides to befriend Judy and burrows into her life. Judy still holds a grudge but in order to learn more about Olivia's secret project with the dead Esme, Judy reluctantly agrees to spend time with Olivia who is in desperate need of advice...and a makeover. Circled letters of a Civil War-era newspaper vex Olivia, and when she learns Esme found an historic discrepancy in the town treasury, she and Judy must solve the riddle in the newspaper and race for the treasure before the murderer gets to it first.


Judy's best suspect is the new guy in town. But how can she tell Olivia her boyfriend might be a murderer?




“Luck! I doubt the judge believes in luck.” Judy glanced at Robert’s shiny knuckles, remembering last month’s trial, when her friend’s grandson and his friends had been found guilty of trespass and theft. That other boy with them, Jason, had narrowly escaped a murder rap. The incident had nearly broken Ardyth’s heart. Thus the two-week trip to Hawaii that Bryce called a second honeymoon.


The trip during which, apparently, Cat was let out of the bag—er, house. Judy sighed. “I see some weeds over here. That’s not like Esme, even with her bad eyes.” Judy left the stroller outside the pipe fence and ducked underneath a bar. “I’ll go pull these, then some more over there…um…”




“Come here, quick!”


There was no mistaking the figure that leaned in unnatural repose at the base of the statue. Esme’s flowered skirt flapped in the breeze, exposing the ruffled ends of what could only have been bloomers. She would have been absolutely mortified at the thought of people looking at her unmentionables.


Ardyth gasped and knelt. Judy’s vision blurred and a whooshing sound reverberated in her head. She reached out to Robert for support. A piece of the statue’s base came off in her hands. She closed her fist around it automatically. “Do you think…”


“We can’t touch her,” Ardyth said. “Poor Esme.”


“Is she…how could…why…who—”


“That garden claw stuck in her forehead explains quite a bit,” she replied in a grim tone. “Do you have your cell thing handy?”


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Title UnderStory

Author Lisa J Lickel 

Genre romantic suspense

Publisher Pelican Ventures LLC


Book Blurb


When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.


Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin, Lily loses her way in a blizzard. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor.


Cam has his own reasons to hide. While writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents, he accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?




“I agree she’s a nice girl. Pretty early in the morning for a conversation like this, pal…”


Ole plunged right on. “And good. She’s not going back there with you, all alone, to stay at your place again.”


At this, Cam let out a chuckle. “I agree she’s not going back there alone.” He watched Ole’s jaw muscles clench and held up a hand. “It’s not what you think, man. I care about her safety, and it’s not safe out there.”


The other man snorted as he breathed in. His mouth opened. “I kin keep her safe.”

Cam nodded as if he agreed and said softly, “Or your mother can.”


Ole’s apple cheeks turned an even darker shade of red, while his expression became wounded.


“Just so we understand each other, brother,” Cam said. “I trust you. Lily trusts you. We don’t trust anyone else.”


Cam swallowed and wiped his mouth as he watched Ole stride away, each step like a league, until he disappeared around a corner. A hugely smiling fox-faced Sven drove the snowplow past and honked.


They had to have been fraternal twins.


Ten seconds later, Matt moved his face from the computer screen at the Freeman office to notice Cam stood at his side. “Buddy! I gotta tell ya, this is the third most exciting thing to happen in Barter Valley. Since I can remember, anyhoo. Take a load off.”


Cam set his coat on the back of a chair and rubbed his hands. “Third?”


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Title UnderCut

Author Lisa J Lickel

Genre suspense

Publisher Fox Ridge Publications


Book Blurb


When you are loved, you have everything to lose...


Lily Masters was born with a deformity that shaped her life. When she, white and rural-raised, and Cam Taylor, a biracial army medic and literary professor who left his work under a cloud of suspicion, meet, fall in love, and get engaged, Lily decides it’s time to take control of her body in order to feel whole. She schedules plastic reconstructive surgery in Texas and leaves Cam and her nephew Kenny, also of mixed heritage, who they’re planning to adopt, back home in Wisconsin to wait.


The nightmare begins when Cam can’t get a response about Lily’s condition from the hospital and both his friend Matt the newspaper editor and his sister Georgia send him a horrifying news story about murder and mayhem at the Southern Shore Medical Center in Houston where Lily is supposedly under the knife.


But whose knife? A terrifying ring of human organ black marketers harvest organs from unwilling victims to meet the demand for transplants as the procedures become less risky and the race to create engineered organs fails.


In Lily’s case, she’s not only the victim of black marketers, she’s a target for revenge. The international terrorist family, the Limms, want payback for the loss of a favored son when Lily helped expose their international sex-trafficking operation. Her plastic surgery was the only success when she wakes without kidneys.


“You’ll never see the face of your lover again,” Old Man Limm promises. “And your body will slowly rot in its own poison.”


As their friends and family gather around them, Cam and Lily wonder about their future together and whether being whole is a solitary or communal endeavor.




Lily pulled her robe up over her shoulders and went to finish packing for her stay at the medical complex down in Houston. After a little slicing and repackaging, she’d come home, better than new. A few weeks of healing and therapy and she’d be racing down the aisle come September. Kenny would be theirs, and they’d have more kids together to fill up their cabin in the woods. They would be a family at last. A normal blended one. No more fostering, not kinship care, not being forced to take government funds to raise her own nephew or having to report to an impersonal caseworker. Berta had Kenny the first ten years of his life. Lily hoped it wasn’t too late to save him from embedded dysfunction.


The cheap flight meant spending most of the rest of the day traveling to one layover after another hop-skipping around the States. Tomorrow was more pre-op and prep. The next day, bright and earlier than decent, loomed the first day of freedom from freakhood.


On the way out of the door, she stopped to caress a photo of her and Kenny with Cam, surrounded by his dogs, on the front porch of his home in the woods.


Chapter 2

“Thank you, yes, I understand. Could you…please? Okay. Okay, I appreciate it.” Cam Taylor thumbed the off button on his phone and trembled with the attempt to keep himself from slamming the thing or throwing it across the gravel driveway…

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2 comentários

Lisa J Lickel
Lisa J Lickel
08 de mai.

Thank you so much for showcasing these works. I am always grateful for your dedication to help writers and readers connect!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
07 de mai.

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your writing journey and books with our readers!

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