Local Author Debbie Lampi Releases Second Novel

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Written by Catherine H. Armstrong

Rochester author, Debbie Lampi, is celebrating the release of her second full-length novel. Written under the pen name D.A. Lampi, “An Unfortunate Death” was released in September 2016 by New Concepts Publishing. 

The novel focuses on the character, Johanna Hedrick, a psychologist who unwillingly becomes embroiled in a murder investigation when her college-age daughter begins an obsessive romantic relationship with her creative writing professor, who also happens to be Johanna’s client. When the professor’s lover is found dead, suspicions turn to him, until a cell phone belonging to Johanna’s daughter is found at the murder scene.


“The story is told in alternating chapters through the eyes of Johanna, Leah (the daughter) and Thomas Yeager (the professor),” Lampi explains. “Each of the characters in the novel holds deep secrets that come together in a maelstrom of sex, desire and, ultimately, the death of a young woman. I’m drawn to each of them because of their troubled pasts, their human frailties and the lengths they will go to protect those they love.”


March is Women’s History Month, and to commemorate, let’s look back on the history and works of some of the remarkable women whose contributions to Rochester are at the heart of our great city:  The Sisters of St. Francis, who celebrate their 140th anniversary this year. 


In 1883, a tornado ripped through the mostly rural town of Rochester, leaving the town destroyed and its people injured and devastated. Among the first on the scene were Mother Alfred Moes and the Sisters of St. Francis who tended the injured alongside Dr. William W. Mayo and his sons, Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo. That was the beginning of an extraordinary partnership between Mother Alfred and Dr. William W. Mayo. This partnership led to one of Rochester’s earliest hospitals—what we know today as the Saint Marys Campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital.

Legal enthusiasts will be shocked to know that no legal document was ever drawn between Mother Alfred, the Sisters of St. Francis, Dr. William W. Mayo or even the Mayo Clinic as it stands today. The partnership continues as it began: a professional and spiritual bond built entirely upon trust and respect.


The legendary Pandora’s Box may be one of the most recognized sagas from Greek mythology. Pandora opened the forbidden box given to her by Zeus and, in doing so, unleashed countless ills and catastrophes upon the world. 

What if the worst and final devastation still remained within The Box and, together with Pandora, had survived the generations? Such is the premise of Rochester author Amy Hahn’s newest novella, “Pandora’s Passion.” With this unique premise, Hahn imagines a world where Pandora has survived to modern day and lives out her days in northern Minnesota cursed to guard the last contents of The Box. When the safety of The Box is threatened, she is visited by her immortal love, Prometheus, and together they join forces to protect mankind from the evil-doers who would release its contents. 


The idea to write a love story between Pandora and Prometheus came easily to Hahn, whose interest in Greek mythos led her to take a mythology course in college. She thought, “What if these two tragic characters were passionately in love and had been for centuries? How would that relationship be tested? After all, Pandora nearly destroyed mankind by opening The Box and unleashing evils onto the world, and Prometheus loved mankind so much he gave humans the gift of fire, defying Zeus, the king of the gods, in the process.” 


Rochester author Harriet Hodgson recently released her newest edition to the four-part “Family Caretaker” series. Her new release, “The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Family Caregivers,” hit bookshelves on October 11. Like its predecessors (see Rochester Women magazine November/December 2015 issue, page 47), this newest book focuses on helpful strategies for family members as they navigate their new world as caregivers.


Hodgson is no stranger to the role of caregiver. In 2013, her husband, John, suffered a spinal cord injury while undergoing surgery to repair a dissected aorta. The injury left John’s legs paralyzed, leaving Harriet to manage not only John’s daily care, but an entire lifestyle adjustment for both of them. 

“During this time I moved us out of the three-level home we had lived in for more than 20 years, built a wheelchair-friendly townhome for us, visited him three times a day (at the hospital) and maintained my writing career,” she explains. “I was stressed to the max and ‘dinner’ became a bowl of cereal or a dish of ice cream, which I often ate standing.”



2016 Banned Books Week: Celebrates Diverse books

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Written by Catherine H. Armstrong

September 25 through October 1 marks the 2016 Celebration of Banned Books Week. This annual event, sponsored by the American Library Association and its many partners, celebrates reading and Highlights the importance of giving individuals the right to choose their reading preference.

Three of the top 10 most challenged books in 2015 featured themes related to homosexuality and transgender identity. They are “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” by Susan Kuklin and “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan. All are written for youth under the age of 18. 



Drowning Tory

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Written by Sarah Oslund

toryimageThe mind is a strange thing. I realized this in the last minutes of my life. I knew I was dying; yet I was calmly amazed at the thoughts that raced through my brain. I tried to piece together all that had led to this moment and being held underwater, my body deprived of oxygen. Why? I thought. I had done nothing to deserve this. Drawing the reader in from the first few words, “Drowning Tory” is local author Sheryl Barlow’s second novel. 



ibellydanceI Belly Dance Because: The Transformative Power of Dance” is a collection of essays written by dancers across the nation and edited by local professional belly dancer and owner of Rochester International Dance Studio, Terri Allred.



Minnesota Grown Local Cookbook Reviews

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Written by Susanne Novak & Margo Stich

minnesota-grown-cookbook-reviews“The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook: Local Food, Local Restaurants, Local Recipes,”
Voyageur Press, 2008,
$29.95 (hardcover), 160 pages
Reviewed by Susanne Novak

In this wonderful compilation of recipes, Renewing the Countryside treats readers to an array of scrumptious dishes using locally procured ingredients and tales from the local cooks who prepare them.



All Diets Work - That's the problem

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Written by Debi Neville

0010Even in tough economic times, the diet industry is a multi-million dollar business. The clamor for weight loss magic is growing with obesity numbers increasing. Powders, pills and purchasing complete meals are short-term, complex and costly fixes.

    Jen Brewer’s new book, “All Diets Work, That’s the Problem,” is, surprisingly, not a diet book. Instead, it is a guide through lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthy and long life as well as weight loss.


0022Christine Hanna, culinary enthusiast and president of Hanna Winery in Sonoma, epitomizes the region’s laid-back approach to wine and food. Her wine expertise and entertaining savvy shows in each of the 100 recipes in this collection.

    The book is arranged by season, with five major meal plans included in each. The Autumn Dinner, for example, includes recipes for spicy eggplant caviar with pita crisps, fall lettuces with pear and pecorino, pan-seared steak with porcini-merlot reduction, roasted potatoes and shallots with herbed aioli and pear tarte tartin with ginger ice cream.


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