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!

August Meeting Minutes 2022

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our August meeting. We will NOT have our regular September meeting as that would be the same weekend as our book release party. We may have a quick short meeting between 8 and 9 AM if we have time after getting all set up for the book party/workshop.


Sharon, Jan, Dawn, Mary.


Our Talking Stick 31 books should be arriving soon.


We’ve paid for half the event. I have to review lunch again soon. 19 have now signed up for the workshop; more like 30 for the book party. We plan to go up the Friday night before and get the tables set up. We will be there at least at 8 AM on Saturday morning to get set up.


     We are starting the proofing on Mike’s next book on hunting stories.

     Written on a T-shirt: I’m a Writer. What’s your Super-power?


     The Book and Art event at Hackensack (August 13) had a great day. They had more displays than normal, good music, and a bigger crowd than normal. Mike sold lots of books—in fact, he sold out of some of them. We sold a few TS books. Sharon sold some of her poetry books. Candace Simar had a presentation at Hackensack.

     At this event, they had something they called Poetry Safari. Writers were invited to send in poems. Two of John Thornberg’s were chosen. One of Sharon’s was chosen. These and 8 others were put on display throughout the event area. People were invited to find them all and write down the big letter that was on each display. These letters formed an 11-letter word. If you figured out the word, you won a journal.

We had a good time reading and critiquing each other’s work. Three of us chose to use the list of words this time. We had good conversations and hated to leave and go home. Hope to see you all next time.

July Meeting Minutes 2022

Hello Everyone, today we held our July meeting.

PRESENT: Sharon, Dawn, Marlys, Jan, Erin, Niomi, Mary.


     Talking Stick 31 is in the final proofing stages. We are ordering one more proof next week. Then we will order our big batch of books, hopefully to receive in August.

     The Book Party and workshop—we are signing people up for the Candace Simar workshop. We have only about 10 for the workshop so far, so let’s get signed up. We have about 30 already for the book release party. We will send out the invites again soon.

     In late July or early August, we will by paying half the fee for the book party.


     Look up League of MN Poets. They are having a bunch of contests right now for poetry submissions.

     Erin attended the Northwoods Writers event in Bemidji and did in-person auditing. She said it was a great event as usual.

     The Northwoods Arts Council Book and Art Festival will be held on Saturday Aug. 13. Dawn and Sharon will be there to sell books. They are having some poems on display this year—Sharon will have one of her poems there. John T will have two of his poems there. Candace Simar will be there with a presentation.

     Mike won his event at MIPA for Cabin Fever. Hooray, Mike! We will be starting on his next book soon—this one will be about hunting.


We have been talking about doing something slightly different for TS32. We will give one or two lists of words. If a writer wants to, they can use those words in their submission. We’ll call this Words with a Twist.”


We had been noticing that many of the local publications where we used to be able to submit are now no longer in existence. We really miss them and we are glad we are still able to continue, so far, with the Talking Stick. We listed Dust & Fire from Bemidji and the Lake Region Review from Fergus Falls. We also mentioned that some of us had been published in Lake Country Journal, LakesAlive, and Northwoods Woman. Those magazines are still in existence but it seems like they have changed and perhaps don’t publish as much as they used to. We are glad there are still a few local places remaining where we can submit.

We had a lively discussion, read things we were working on, and critiqued. Hope to see you all next time!

Northwoods Art and Book Festival 2022