Local Author Pens Another Winner

By Joyce Laabs
Features Editor

Summer resident Michele Van Ort Cozzens, who with her husband, Mike, owns and operates the Sandy Point Resort in Lac du Flambeau, has written another winner.

It’s Not Your Mother’s Bridge Club (McKenna Publishing Group) is set in the Rattlesnake Valley, a desert community in southern Arizona. (The Cozzens make their winter home in Tucson).

It’s the story of the members of “The Snake Eyes Dice Club” – eight middle-aged women who try to meet monthly to play Bunko. For many in the club this represents their only social outing.

The members: Sylvia, Brandy, Tootsie, Chloe, Amanda, Blanca, Tara and the narrator of all that happens, Shonah.

Members take turns hosting the monthly meetings, and preparing is quite a production in itself. There are also rules: No men or children allowed; and no drink counters.

The reader sees each woman evolve as they meet the challenges in their lives. We learn of their joys and frustrations through their own words.

Although Cozzens has been a member of a bunko group in Arizona for several years, she insists the ladies of the Snake Eyes Dice Club, are all products of her imagination – and that is good – for most members of the club border on dysfunctional – but perhaps if you dig deep enough in any person’s life you will find most dysfunction in some area.

We loved the book, and empathized with each and every member of the club; and what a diverse group – from the very wealthy to just making ends meet – from obsessively scheduled to “living free” – from social drinker to alcoholic – they all had their unique characteristics.

Through their conversations at bunko parties and intimate thoughts on their relationships with members of the club, revealed by Cozzens’ pen, the women come alive, and you will probably recognize someone you know.

Shonah, whose childhood friend founded the club, gave up her journalistic dreams when she married, but keeps a piece of it alive as a columnist for the local newspaper. Each chapter begins with a quote from her column titled “The Dice Club Chronicles.”

I’m not sure I would have liked to have been a member of this particular bunko club – much too stressful for what is supposed to be a fun night with the girls – but it makes for a really great read.

There is another plus – you learn bunko.

The 240-page soft cover book sells for $19.95, and can be purchased at the gift shop at Sandy Point Resort or through amazon.com.

Five dollars from the sale of each book are donated to “Bunko for Breast Cancer” chapters across America for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Cozzens is a soccer mom, jewelry-designer and resort owner; married to the man of her dreams. They have two daughters, and as we said, divide their time between Northern Wisconsin and Tucson, Ariz.

Joyce Laabs can be reached at

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