Sep 26 2023

Workshop and TS32 Book Release Party

Hello Everyone, thanks so much to all of you who attended our September 16, 2023, Talking Stick 32 Book Release Party and the Sharon Chmielarz workshop entitled “Lift Up Your Pens.” Writers came from far and wide. Some stayed at beautiful Jack Pines Resort either Friday or Saturday night. Some stayed in Park Rapids. Some drove early and battled the road construction that was on all sides of us.

For Talking Stick 32, our judges were: poetry, Laura Hansen; creative nonfiction, Julie Jo Larson; fiction, Cindie Ekren. The winners for the new creative twist genre were chosen by our Editorial Board.

We had a great day. We had a good number of writers who brought some of their own previously published books and had them for sale. They included: Mike Lein, Ryan Neely, Sharon Chmielarz, Erin Marsh, Niomi Phillips, Marsh Muirhead, Sharon Harris. Writers started showing up early. Those who had been published in TS32 picked up their one free copy of the book and many purchased more. We also had older volumes of Talking Stick available. The workshop ran from 9 to noon followed by an excellent lunch of soup and sandwiches. Sharon Chmielarz gave us some excellent tips for revising our poems. Writers took turns reading short excerpts of their writing during the workshop.

After lunch, we had more writers arrive. The book release party started at 1 PM. Sharon Harris talked about the group and our history. Tarah Wolff and Sharon Harris realized that this year marked 20 years that they have been working on the Talking Stick books together—from TS12 through TS32. Tarah and Sharon have also done about 20 other books together, various poetry collections, short story collections, a few novels. Other JWB members help with reading submissions, serving on the Editorial Board, helping with proofing, helping with events, etc.

Then other JWB members introduced the winners of each genre. Other speakers were Sharon Chmielarz, Niomi Phillips, Ryan Neely, and Mike Lein. Each winner who was present came up to read their poem or story and receive their prize money. Then anyone else who was published in TS32 was invited up to read. Many stories and poems were very sad and touching. Many were humorous. All were enjoyable. Laughter and applause filled the event center.

At the end, we thanked everyone who helped with the event, everyone who attended, everyone who submitted to the book, everyone who had helped with donations, etc. We are proud of the fact that we have never charged a reading fee or membership fee but we still have been able to give out prize money.

Exhausted, we packed up our books around 3:30 PM. About a dozen JWB members and visiting writers went to the Cookhouse, the Jack Pines Resort restaurant. There we visited for several more hours and had an excellent meal. We hated to leave. Be sure to visit the Cookhouse when you can. Their Sunday brunch is especially spectacular.

For those in TS32 who were not able to attend, we will be mailing out your one free book over the next couple of weeks!

Sep 23 2022

Workshop and book party TS31 Sept 17 2022

Hello Everyone, we are finally all catching our breath after the wonderful day we had on Saturday Sept. 17, 2022. We had not had an in-person book release party since 2019 and we had really missed seeing all of you writers.


Check out the gorgeous Jack Pines Resort

It was a beautiful late summer day in north central Minnesota. Jack Pines Resort (formerly Smoky Hills Resort) west of Park Rapids was the location for our event. This is a beautiful resort with lovely cabins, many trees, and little babbling waterfalls throughout the grounds. Several of our writers were able to stay overnight at the resort and enjoyed it immensely.

We began our day by driving in through thick fog, some of us nearly hitting deer on the way. Our local JWB members arrived early to get all our books hauled in, check the sound system, and make sure everything was ready to go. We had over 20 attendees for the workshop called Scene, the Building Block of Story. Candace Simar was the instructor and, as usual, put on an excellent workshop with several handouts and time to practice some writing. The workshop lasted from 9 AM to 12 Noon.

Then from 12 to 1 PM, we had an excellent lunch of soup and sandwich, catered by Jack Pines Resort. Our writers took some time to buy books and visit with each other. Besides our Talking Stick books, we had several other booksellers: Mike Lein, Ryan Neely, Erin Marsh, Niomi Phillips, Marsh Muirhead, Candace Simar, Sharon Chmielarz. We also had Emily Enger from Bemidji who brought information on her Book Marketing business.

At 1 PM, we began the book release party for Talking Stick 31. Sharon Harris spoke for a few minutes regarding the group’s history, how our books are produced each year, etc. Sharon Chmielarz, this year’s poetry judge, spoke and introduced the first and second place winners of the poetry submissions. The winners came up to read their poems and to accept their checks. Then the honorable mention poets were mentioned.

Following this, Mike Lein came up to introduce the creative nonfiction winners and honorable mention and hand out the prizes. He also told everyone about his books for sale and he told us about something we are thinking of doing for the next Talking Stick book. We are going to add one more genre and have two lists of words that writers could use to write a poem or short story.

Then Ryan Neely came up to introduce the fiction winners and honorable mention and hand out prizes and also to tell us about his books for sale. Then Ryan asked all the other writers in the book to take turns coming up to read their submissions if they wished. Sharon Chmielarz finished the readings with one of her hilarious poems.

Following this, Sharon Harris came up again to thank everyone for attending, thank Jack Pines Resort, thank writers for their donations, thank all the work of the JWB people for working on the book and for helping during the event, etc. Then the meeting ended and 18 of us drove to Park Rapids to have supper at the Good Life. We spent more time visiting and talking about words and writing and enjoying each other’s company. We all hated to say goodbye and head for home but we took with us such good energy from spending the day with a group of writers.

What a splendid day. It was foggy and overcast to start with and later the sun came out. Thanks again to all of you and thanks for your interest in our Talking Stick books. You will see the next call for submissions in December 2022. Hope to hear from you!

Jul 01 2022

Northwoods Art and Book Festival 2022

Jun 08 2022


Saturday, September 17, 2022
Jack Pines Resort
(previously Smoky Hills Resort)
Osage MN 56570

The Talking Stick 31 Book Release Party and Writers’ Workshop will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2022. Jack Pines Resort is located on Highway 34 approximately 9 miles west of Park Rapids MN (or 1 mile west of Osage MN), on the north side of the highway. The address is 53014 State Highway 34, Osage MN 56570.
Writers usually work in solitude; please join us for a whole day of learning, listening, writing, and reading with other writers. There is a fee for the workshop and meal but the Book Party is free to all who are interested in writing. If you have work in Talking Stick 31, you may also pick up your one free contributor’s copy of the book. Additional books will be available for sale.

WORKSHOP 9 AM to 12:00 Noon: We offer a workshop with Candace Simar. YOU MUST PREREGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP. (See information on workshop flyer.) This all-genre workshop is entitled: Scene, the Basic Building Block of Story.
Cost for the workshop is $60. (This includes lunch at noon after the workshop. You will receive a coupon for the lunch.)
12:00: Catered lunch at Jack Pines Resort. JWB will pay for your lunch if you have the above-mentioned coupon with the workshop. The Jack Pines Restaurant will be open after the book party. They do provide lodging. See below.

BOOK RELEASE PARTY 1 PM (approximately): If you have work in Talking Stick 31, you may pick up your one free contributor’s copy of the book. Additional copies of the book will be available for sale at the book party and during the workshop. They will be for sale later on Amazon.
Program with readings, introduction of winners of Talking Stick 31 Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction. All writers published in Talking Stick 31 are invited to read.
Some local and/or member writers and judges may be on hand to sell their own books.

4:00 PM (approximately): After the readings, please check in with your fellow writers. Some of us will want to have dinner together in the restaurant and/or maybe hang out in one of the rented cabins for further good writers’ conversation.

Jack Pines Resort has lodging. If you are interested in a one or two room cabin for either Friday or Saturday night (or both!), visit their website to view the various cabins at Enjoy a real Northwoods experience. You must call to make reservations. Call 218-573-6600 for reservations. You can also access the internet and see photos of the rooms.

One room cabin $129.00
Two room cabin $155.00
Multi family suites (sleep 12-14) $312.00

For more information, call Sharon at 218-732-3782 evenings or email

—Please RSVP # of attendees for book party to—

SCENE, the Building
Block of Story

Workshop with
Candace Simar

Jackpine Writers’ Bloc Writers’ Workshop
Date and Time: Saturday, September 17, 2022, from 9 AM to 12 Noon.
Location: Jack Pines Resort, 53014 State Highway 34, Osage MN 56570
(located 9 miles west of Park Rapids MN [1 mile west of Osage MN])
Cost of Workshop: $60.



Candace Simar lives in Pequot Lakes and began her writing career after attending a Jackpine Writers’ Bloc workshop in 1999. Candace writes historical fiction. Her work has since received awards from the Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Western Fictioneers, The Will Rogers Medallion, the Laura Awards for Short Fiction, The Writer’s Digest, The Midwest Book Awards, Brainerd Writer’s Alliance, The League of MN Poets, The Lake Region Writers, and other regional awards. Learn more about her work at

Course Description:
Scene, the Building Block of Story
It is daunting to attempt a longer writing project. did you know that most novels contain thirty-five to one hundred scenes? If you can write one scene, you can write as many as you need to finish your book. This class investigates ways to create vivid scenes that move your story forward to the end and keep your readers reading.

Book release party at 1 PM:

The Talking Stick 31 Book Release Party and this Writers’ Workshop will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Jack Pines Resort, 53014 State Highway 34, Osage, MN 56570.

The workshop will run from 9 A.M. to 12 Noon. The Workshop includes lunch at noon. The Book Release Party will start at 1 P.M. and run till approximately 4 P.M. There is no charge to attend the Book Release Party. Lunch at noon will be on your own if you are just attending the Book Release Party. There is a restaurant available at Jack Pines Resort but may only be open for supper after the event. Dinner/supper after the Book Release Party will be on your own.


YOU MUST PREREGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP. Please email Sharon Harris at to sign up. Phone 218-732-3782 if questions. Be sure to include your name and mailing address, phone number, and email address. Make your $60 check out to Jackpine Writers’ Bloc and mail it to: Sharon Harris, 13320 149th Ave, Menahga MN 56464. The sign-on information will be sent to you before the workshop.

We will limit this workshop to the first 35 participants and then put names on a waiting list.