• “A witty, intimate satire revealing both sides of the peninsula I know and love. She leaves you wanting more!”

    Skye, Baileys Harbor

  • “Cleverly perverse and joyful. I laughed out loud!”

    Devi Stern, Chicago

  •  “Erica Jong meets Garrison Keillor!”

    Faye Hoban, Madison

  • “As zany and off-beat as any Coen brothers movie.”

    Mickey Ducaine, Green Bay

  • “A thrilling, picturesque ride sprinkled with Fellini-esque drama.”

    Kyle MacDonald, Denver

Out the Door! 

In this sexy, satirical romp, writer Aida Madland ditches her career as a successful romance novelist. Sick of pandering to “female love junkies” she returns to her native Wisconsin, specifically the rugged, limestone-encrusted peninsula of Door County, to engage in more meaningful pursuits — saving the nearly extinct sturgeon and learning to make goat cheese (well, maybe), and finally writing the definitive how-to book on male/female relationships.

But for Aida, who naively thinks she’s settled into a quieter life in one of the Midwest’s top tourist destinations, it’s quite another story. She finds herself surrounded by characters she only imagined existed in her fiction — a quirky environmentalist with a strange past, a greedy developer with a new wife who wants to start the county’s first luxury pet spa, an old neighbor whose last-minute decision to sell his cherry orchard leaves her mystified.

Rather than life in the slow lane, Aida is swept up in small and large-scale dramas, and she experiences the real Door County as a place as raucous and absurd as any of her madcap novels.

QUOTES from the Wise and the Dead

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. -Dorothy Parker

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That includes reading this book.  -Ernest Hemingway

她的书相比,我的小红书非常好。恭喜! -Chairman Mao

What’s in this book exactly? 

geology, sex, politics, the environment, love maps, Empress Theodora, prairie voles, pair bonds, CAFOs, Monsanto, cheese curds, casinos, aphrodisiacs, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, sturgeon, trilobites, gulls, Giordano Bruno, invention of champagne, the last dauphin, Hat Island, old love, lost love, new love, a little mystery

Lake Sturgeon Image
  • Sturgeon Bay borrows its name from this unique and long-lived fish (Acipenser fulvescens) that first appeared on Earth millions of years ago. Throughout the Great Lakes, native peoples revered the sturgeon and depended on it as a food source after long winters. Early European settlers, however, did not share the same cultural connection to this resource and considered the species a nuisance. Sturgeon were discarded, fed to pigs, used as fertilizer and stacked on shore like cordwood and burned to fuel steamboats. By the early 1900s, this once very-abundant fish (that can live over 100 years!) was nearly extinct due to overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution. Interest in the restoration of lake sturgeon has increased in recent years, and its presence can serve as an indicator of ecosystem health and biodiversity.


Dragonfly love image
  • Heart-shaped love-making! The carnal dance of these dazzling dragonflies at the Fish Creek dock is anything but romantic. Their mating is definitely a rough and tumble affair — a mixture of cooperation and conflict accompanied by biting, grabbing and occasionally, murderous results.

Theodora Image
  • Byzantine Empress Theodora (c. 500-548 AD), famed for her beauty and intelligence, was one of the most influential women of her time. But not everyone was impressed, most especially the historian Procopius (The Secret History) who dismissed her as an unrepentant ex-courtesan, a calculating figure of insatiable lust. In one hilarious and salacious account, he wrote how “in the theatre, in the sight of all the people, she removed her costume and stood nude in their midst… and she would sink down to the stage floor and recline on her back. Slaves to whom the duty was entrusted would then scatter grains of barley from above into the calyx of this passion flower, whence geese, trained for the purpose, would next pick the grains one by one with their bills and eat.”


Joseph Gayety image
  • Thanks to the invention of this entrepreneur, Joseph Gayetty, the city of Green Bay is celebrated as the Toilet Paper Capital of the World. Gayetty first introduced his “medicated paper for the water-closet” in 1857, describing it as “the greatest necessity of the age.” Green Bay, home to several paper processing companies, emerged as the world’s major producer of bum wad, and became (as several historians have noted) “number one in a number two business” — a legacy that still holds.

About M.L. Collins…

M.L. Collins imageM.L. Collins has been in love with Door County ever since spending summers in Juddville with her grandparents who moved there in the 1930s after retiring from the circus.

M.L. has worked as a free-lance writer and lectured extensively on the history of sex, fashion and culture at various institutions in Chicago including the School of the Art Institute, the University of Chicago Graham School and most recently, Columbia College.

She divides her time between the big city of Chicago and a small town on the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin where she recently fell for a sailor named Smee.

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