December Meeting Minutes 2019

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our December meeting.

PRESENT: Ryan, Sharon, Dawn, Jan, Mary.

TALKING STICK 29: In a week or so, the call for submissions will go out for our next book. We will be doing the shorter submissions again. The board has been discussing doing something special for volume 30, perhaps accepting longer submissions for that book.

WRITING EVENTS: Dawn attended a poetry slam in Bemidji. These take place at Red Stu, a restaurant in Bemidji. She has been enjoying these. They are put on my Marsh M.

Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair, Saturday March 21, 2020, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. Sue Stein at

 2020 MN Writing Workshop, a one day writers conference in St Paul, MN on Saturday, March 7, 2020.

MN Northwoods Writers Conference June 22-28, 2020 at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN. Info: 218-755-2851.

Sharon is still enjoying her class with Poets Laureate with TLA Network. She is also taking an editing class with Ed2Go. Both are good.

GOOD BOOKS: Amazing Story Generator by Jay Sacher. This is a fun flip book with various ideas of subject, location, etc. The options are endless.

Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry

Many poets have contributed poem prompts and ideas.

If You Lived Here, You’d be Home by Now by Christopher Ingraham.

Many of us have discovered Allen Eskens’ books and love them. The Life We Bury and more.

We hope to have an update from PRLAAC at some point. We can add it to the next meeting minutes.

Most of us brought something to read this time and the rest of us critiqued. We got into a good conversation about today’s social media and the good and the bad about it. We decided it is best to Be Kind, Be Reflective, Be an Introvert, Have Humility. Stop and think before you click and send a reply out into the world.

In Sharon’s class, one of the prompts was to use a list of words and create a poem from it. We are going to be trying this. We will send out a list of words and anyone who wants to, can write a poem using those words. You can use all the words, or just some of them. You can bring the poem to the next meeting or send it to Sharon and she will print them out and bring them. Even if you can’t attend the next meeting, please do the poem and send it to Sharon. We’d love to see the variety that people can come up with. If you can’t do a poem, maybe try a really short, short story.

Good meeting! Hope to see you all next time!

November Meeting Minutes 2019

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our November 17, 2019 meeting.

PRESENT: Ryan, Mike, Dawn, Sharon H, Niomi, Jan, Marlys, Mary.

TALKING STICK:  Next month, we will be sending out our TS29 Call for Submissions.

Regarding a place for the book release party next year, it seems like Firefly just wants to do weddings. Blueberry Pines is rebuilding their restaurant and clubhouse. We love Smokey Hills but they are very expensive.

WRITING EVENTS: Ryan went to Dallas Texas to attend Bouchercon 2019 for 3 ½ days. This was for mystery, suspense, and thriller writers. It seemed to be more for readers than writers.

PRLAAC did not have a November meeting.

Sharon is taking two classes right now—one with Caryn Miriam-Goldberg with various Poets Laureate and a second one with Ed2Go on Editing.

 March 21, 2020, Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair. Contact Sue Stein at

MISCELLANEOUS: Good books: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths of Writing by Gail Sher.

Sharon recommends Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages.

Sharon put out her fourth poetry book this year which contained all her love poems: Twice Broken. Next year, she is planning her fifth book which will contain all her favorite poems, especially the ones she wrote in the Loft classes she has taken.

Mike has ideas for about 3 more books.

Jan will also do another poetry book at some point.

TIPS: Write down good words and good images when you think of them. Keep them in a notebook till you find somewhere to use them.

Write and write and write for a few minutes. Then look through what you wrote, find your best line, and use it to start a poem.

Only one of us brought something to read today. After we finished critiquing, we moved into a pleasant discussion of what we have each been working on lately, how much we all love words and language, how much we all enjoy writing. We mentioned keeping lists of books we have read and loved, songs we have loved throughout our lives, etc.

What a fun meeting. Hope to see you all next time!

October Meeting Minutes 2019

Hello Everyone, Today we held our October 20, 2019 meeting.

PRESENT: Sharon, Ryan, Mike, Niomi.

TALKING STICK: Our workshop and book party are behind us now. Tentatively we are looking at Sept. 19, 2020 for our event next year. We love Smokey Hills but it is very expensive.

We need to at least check around and see what some less costly options would be. Maybe Blueberry will be rebuilt by then.

We don’t want to keep moving around. It seems like we lose people that way. We have had great attendance for our workshops but we’d like to see more attendees for the book party.

PRLAAC: Niomi attended the October meeting and brought us some news. Art Leap was a great success this year. They want to keep on doing the Great American Story. They have mentioned making some changes and we think that might bring them more submissions.

WRITERS EVENTS: Niomi attended Hostfest in Minot ND several weeks ago. This is the 40th year for this event which includes books and crafts, especially with Scandinavian ties. This event has a huge following.

League of MN Poets Oct 25-27, 2019 Fall Poetry Conference.

Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair, Saturday March 21, 2020. Contact Sue Stein at

Writers Alliance Conference and Book Fair October 26, 2018.

Fall 2019 Nonfiction Writers Conference on Nov. 7-8, 2019. Conducted online.

Check out Aesthetica Magazine at as a place to submit.

Check out Frontier Poetry at as a place to submit.

Sharon is taking another online poetry class. She enjoyed a class with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg at the Loft. She found a class with her on the Transformative Language Arts Network. It is called Truth to Power: Poetry for Our Times with Poets Laureate. Should be a great class.

Ryan will be attending BOUCHER-CON in Dallas TX in a few days. This is a murder/mystery/thriller/suspense writers’ event.

We took turns reading what we are working on and the rest of us critiqued. We had a great discussion regarding the first few pages of your novel—how to start out. Hope to see you all next time!

Talking Stick 28 Book Release Party and Angela Foster Workshop

Hello Everyone,

Thanks to all of you who attended our TS28 Book Release Party on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. We held the event at beautiful Smokey Hills Resort (The Branch) near Osage, MN. We were expecting a stormy day with rain and clouds. It did start out that way and we got drenched getting our books into the event center at 7:30 in the morning. Later in the day, however, we actually saw the sun and then we could really see and appreciate the colorful leaves. Smokey Hills Resort is a beautiful location.

We started the day with a workshop on Revision with Angela Foster. We had over 30 attendees and received handouts and instruction with great tips and ideas for revising our work. Following this, the workshop attendees had an excellent catered lunch with wild rice soup and sandwiches.

The book release party began at 1 PM. We had some general announcements and then began introducing the first and second place winners. Our three judges this year were: Kevin Zepper for poetry, Mike Lein for creative nonfiction and humor, Bonnie West for fiction. Kevin and Bonnie were not able to attend so Sharon announced those winners and handed out checks. If the winners were not present to read, we generally read the submissions. Mike Lein spoke about the judging process. The names of the authors are removed before the top few are sent to the judge to choose the winners for the prize money. Mike asked his first and second place winners in creative nonfiction to come up and accept their checks and read. Then he announced the winner of Humor and read that piece, which happened to be a poem. Sharon and Mike also each read another honorable mention Humor piece.

Sharon and Tarah read their Editor’s Choice poems. Niomi Phillips spoke for a few minutes about Marion Holtey. Marion is one of our long-time Jackpine Writers members. She died in 2018 and we miss her and her poetry. We dedicated this volume of Talking Stick to Marion.

Then Sharon read through the rest of the Honorable Mention poems and stories and asked whoever was present to come up and read. Following that, we opened it up to all others in TS28 who wanted to come up and read their published submission.

Marsh Muirhead and Mike Lein and Niomi Phillips and Sharon Harris all had their own books for sale. Also for sale were our previous volumes of Talking Stick. We will be mailing out one copy of TS28 to all persons published in the book who were not able to attend the book party.

Following the book party, 13 of us drove to Park Rapids to the Good Life Café to continue the day and continue our discussions. We had a good meal and some laughs and more good conversation.

There is something so inspiring about spending a day in the presence of many other writers. There is such good energy there that sticks with you and maybe follows you home. Listening to other writers reading their work shows us new ways of combining words, new ways of describing things, maybe gives us new ideas for new writings of our own. It is such a good feeling to spend a day like we did.

Thank you all for submitting, helping with the book, or participating in the workshop and/or book party. Thanks to those who donated and bought books. Everyone contributed to what turned out to be an excellent day.