November Writer’s Meeting

Hi Everyone, today we held our November meeting.


Jan, Dawn, Sharon, Ryan, Marlys, Pete, Lina, Toni.


We have begun sending out invitations for the May 2019 writers’ retreat that Ryan is planning at his resort. We have two signed up. We have one that says she can’t afford it this year. We have at least one more interested. We know we are way early, but we will keep sending reminders. We need six more.


We will put out our call for submissions sometime in December. The Board of Directors will vote. We will probably stay with our shorter submissions and we will keep the humor prize again. That added a lot of fun to the book release party. Check the JWB website at now and then through December. The deadline will be March 1.


We are close to being finished with Jan’s friend’s book. We are also working on Richard’s next poetry book. Sharon is working on her fourth poetry book. Mike will have his third book of short stories to us around the first of the year.

Suggested excellent book: Stephen King, On Writing.


Dawn attended a Storyteller’s Slam in Bemidji. There were seven writers who got up and either told or read their stories. It was called “Finding Your Voice” and had cash prizes. Sometime before the event, they had had a professional storyteller put on a workshop.


May 10-14, 2019 The Writer-Warrior Workshop at Crow Wing Crest Lodge in Akeley MN. This is a five-day, four-night immersive workshop. The instructor is Kim Kessler. Contact for more information.

March 22-23, 2019, Third Annual Rosemount Writers Festival in Rosemount, MN. or


We always say, “Show, don’t tell.” Another good phrase: “Don’t draw the conclusion—show the evidence.”

We handed out some prompts. Go to the website for Poets & Writers to find good prompts.

We took turns reading things we are working on and the others critiqued. It was a good meeting. Hope to see you next time!



For years, the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc has hosted a writing workshop each spring. Typically, on an extended weekend, writers would gather at Jerry’s farm to study the elements of craft, spend time in the presence of other writers, eat good food, relax, and enjoy some focused attention on their work.

It’s been a few years since the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc has been able to host these spring workshops and we’ve missed them a great deal. In an effort to bring back these annual spring workshops, the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc has teamed up with Crow Wing Crest Lodge to host the Writer-Warrior Workshop, an immersion retreat focused on the craft of storytelling and presented by Story Grid Certified Editor Kim Kessler.

This is the first in what we hope will be many workshop hosted in collaboration with the Jackpine Writers’ Group and Crow Wing Crest Lodge, and, as the first, we wanted to tackle something ambitious. Rather than focus on one weekend, we have worked to bring you a five-day, four-night, all-inclusive immersion experience.




Here’s what Kim has to say about her workshop:

“There is a special language that permeates the universe and, guess what, you’re already an expert. It’s fundamental to how you learn, understand, remember, and find meaning. It’s both specific and universal, mundane and magic, science and spectral.

And it’s called Story.

There’s a wonderful quote by someone who I can’t find to credit: ‘Story form is not invented. It is observed.’ It’s like gravity, a real thing that we observe, a force that shapes the universe.

As writers, we are powerfully positioned to study and experience Story at its deepest level. The deeper your understanding, the more you can apply it in your real and written worlds, that is: your craft and consciousness. Deep practice in one invariably helps with the other. This is what the Writer-Warrior Workshop is all about. Five days of intentional study and application of powerful Story principles to your work-in-progress. Are you ready, Writer-Warrior? Let’s dig deep to level up.”

This workshop will work for everyone. Whether you’re still in the idea-generation phase, in the middle of a work-in-progress, or have a finished draft, whether you’re a novelist, memoirist, or short story writer, the Writer-Warrior Workshop is for you.

Bring your ideas, your notes, and your laptop or notebook and pencil as we will be writing a (revised) scene from your story and sharing it with the group.

Are you ready to sign up now?
E-mail Sharon Harris at to secure your spot today!

The Writer-Warrior Workshop
a five-day, four-night
all-inclusive immersion workshop.

Certified Story Grid Editor Kim Kessler,
the developmental editor behind Trench Coach
an all-in developmental editing service.

Check in before
4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019

The workshop will run until
1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Crow Wing Crest Lodge
31159 County 23
Akeley, MN 56433

How Much
Only $1,100.00
(All food, resort accommodations, and class fees included.)

How Do I Attend?
Simply email Sharon Harris at

Sharon will direct you to the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc PayPal address where you will be able to pay via PayPal or any major credit card. Because we can only accept the first eight people interested in the retreat, once Sharon gives you the link to remit your payment you will have ten days to do so or you will lose your turn and someone else will be offered your spot.

Are you ready to sign up now?
E-mail Sharon Harris at to secure your spot today!


(For detailed information on each of the lectures and Masterminds, keep reading below, or click here.)

Friday, May 10

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Arrive at Crow Wing Crest Lodge, check in, find your room, unpack, and relax.
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: The Workshop Begins with The Fundamentals of Story: A Macro Perspective
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Group Dinner
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: The Workshop Continues with The Universal Story: the Hero’s Journey & the Virgin’s Promise Archetypes

Saturday, May 11

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Group Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Mastermind Story Session #1
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.Mastermind Story Session #2
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Group Lunch
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Mastermind Story Session #3
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.The Innermost Cave: Myers-Briggs Deep Dive
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Group Dinner
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Review, Q&A, Flex Time

Sunday, May 12

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Group Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Mastermind Story Session #4
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.Mastermind Story Session #5
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Group Lunch
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Mastermind Story Session #6
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.The Innermost Cave: Enneagram Deep Dive
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Group Dinner
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Review, Q&A, Flex Time

Monday, May 13

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Group Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Mastermind Story Session #7
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.Mastermind Story Session #8
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Group Lunch
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.The Fundamentals of Story: A Micro Perspective
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.Deep Practice: Scene Structure
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Group Dinner
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.The Innermost Cave: Leveraging Tools in Tandem

Tuesday, May 14

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Group Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Where to From Here?: Revision Planning & Goals
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.Where to From Here?: Personal & Professional Goals
1:00 p.m.: Check out and depart resort

Are you ready to sign up now?
E-mail Sharon Harris at to secure your spot today!

Spaces are limited.



Kim Kessler is a Certified Story Grid Editor and creator of Trench Coach, an all-in developmental editing service for the whole person. After a decade working in the trenches of corporate America, Kim realized that time is truly our most precious commodity and that she needed to spend hers differently. Departing from her corporate career, Kim wrote her first novel, tackled her first film project, and learned to live her own story. Now, a TEDx speaker and one-fifth of the Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast, Kim weaves expertise with infectious enthusiasm to help you write, and live, your best story.

If you haven’t yet taken the time to investigate everything Kim does for writers, we suggest you learn more about her by visiting:

Her Website

checking out
The Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast

or watching
Her TEDx Talk


Who wouldn’t want to learn what Kim has to offer?
If you’re ready, email Sharon Harris at now to make sure you can attend this in-depth workshop and learn to write and live your best story.




Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. is committed to providing high-quality writers’ workshops, conferences, and retreats. We have very limited spaces; therefore, we expect to receive only firm bookings from intended guests. However, if a guest must cancel their reservation for any reason, including weather, injury, or personal emergencies, our policy is as follows:

1.) If you cancel over 90 days prior to the first day of the retreat for which you are registered, 100% of your payment will be refunded within 30 days.

2.) If you cancel within 60-89 days prior to the first day of the retreat for which you are registered, 25% of your payment is forfeited and 75% of your balance will be refunded to you within 30 days.

3.) If you cancel within 31-59 days of the first day of the retreat for which you are registered, 50% of your payment is forfeited and 50% of your balance will be refunded to you within 30 days.

4.) If you cancel within 30 days of your retreat, your payment is forfeited in full.

5.) All cancellations must be received in writing sent via email or registered mail. Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. is not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any cancelled workshops, conference, or retreat, such as airline tickets, or for costs incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations, or illness. We strongly recommend that all participants obtain travel insurance with a trip cancellation policy.

Exceptions to this policy will not be made for any reason. We do not offer discounts, refunds, or credit for arriving late or leaving early and any offered activities missed while at a workshop, conference, or retreat. By remitting your payment for the workshop, conference, or retreat, you agree that you have read and agree to this Cancellation Policy.

As the workshop, conference, or retreat operator, we make arrangements with other parties to provide you with some of the services at your workshop, conference, or retreat. These parties are independent supplies over whom we have no direct control. Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. holds no responsibility for independent contractors (or weather conditions) changing services at the workshop, conference, or retreat. Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. is not responsible for any claims, losses, damages, costs or expenses arising out of injury, accident or death, damage, loss or delay of property; or delay, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment, or frustration, whether physical or mental, resulting from: (1) the act or omission of any party including Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. or its volunteers; (2) mechanical breakdown, government actions, weather or other factors beyond our control; (3) your failure to read information provided and follow instructions including, but not limited to, obtaining sufficient travel protection; (4) your cancellation or change for any reason in travel services offered; and (5) your medical or health problems or physical disabilities.

We do everything in our power not to cancel a workshop, conference, or retreat which has participants booked at it, but in the event of a cancellation made by us, Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc.’s liability will be to refund all monies paid for a workshop, conference, or retreat. Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, Inc. is not responsible for any fees caused by such cancellation paid to airlines and any other agreements made by participant with outside observers.

If you’re as excited as we are about this immersion retreat
email Sharon Harris at now to book your spot.


Crow Wing Crest Lodge is a family vacation resort in Akeley, Minnesota. With twenty cabins, a lodge, a sauna, canoes, kayaks, pontoons, and over thirty acres of forested land to wander located on 11th Crow Wing Lake, they cater to retreats just like this every spring and fall. They host an on-site massage therapist and reflexologist and one of their more famous mottos is: We sell peace and quiet.

For this retreat workshop, Crow Wing Crest Lodge has agreed to accommodate our group by offering each attendee his or her own private bedroom in one of a handful of cabins. This means that, while you will have access to your own bedroom you will share a cabin with other workshop attendees. Unlike other retreats where you would be responsible for finding and paying for your own accommodations, these accommodation rates have been included in your fee. This way you can stay right on site and truly immerse yourself in the writing culture promoted by being able to spend time with other writers or shut down the outside world completely to work on your manuscript and to study and understand the craft of story.

For more information on Crow Wing Crest Lodge, please visit there website here.

To help engender a sense of community and to help build lasting relationships with like-minded writers, this retreat has been designed in a way that works best when everyone stays at the resort together. With that in mind, if you are local and would rather not participate in the after-hours bonding that takes place before and after the lectures, or the peace and quiet provided by being able to get away from your daily routine, that is your choice. However, the rates for this workshop are set and will not be adjusted or discounted for any reason. This includes attendees choosing not to stay with the rest of the writers at the resort.

If, for some reason, the 1:00 p.m. check-out time on Tuesday, May 14th doesn’t work for you and you’d rather stay an additional evening, those arrangements must be made through the resort directly.

Please note: Crow Wing Crest Lodge does not provide towels of any kind, so be prepared to bring your own bath towels. For detailed information about the resort and what you should bring, please visit their website’s “What to Pack” page.


If you can’t wait to get into nature and focus on your craft,
email Sharon Harris at now to book your spot for
this all-inclusive immersion workshop.
Space is limited!



At 4:00 on Friday, the workshop begins with Kim’s lecture on The Fundamentals of Story: A Macro Perspective where we will take a deep look at what makes a story, how they work (or fail to work) and what they do for us. We will explore the key components of a story that works (i.e., how to create a meaningful pattern for your audience), Genre’s North Star, and the Four Corners of Setting, among others.

Then we’ll share a group dinner before concluding the first day’s workshop with Kim’s lecture on The Universal Story: the Hero’s Journey & the Virgin’s Promise Archetypes. Here we will dissect the primary skeleton of a story through these two archetypal forms, and we will compare and contrast the nuance of their form and function to find the model that best fits the story you want to tell.

At the end of the first day, Kim will split workshop attendees into two groups. Over the next three days each group will workshop the stories of its members in a Mastermind Story Session. Guided by the instructor, each attendee will receive a two-hour story session dedicated solely to his or her story. The focus will be on the macro structure and we will use the elements from The Fundamentals of Story: A Macro Perspective and The Universal Story: the Hero’s Journey & the Virgin’s Promise as the tools for this, as well as whatever else Kim feels the session needs. The sessions work for a story in any form–idea, outline, first draft, fifteenth draft. Just come with what you know about your story. Prepare a scene list to aid in discussion.

Each session begins with the writer telling their story, scene by scene, to the group. If a writer doesn’t have a full draft, they will share whatever aspect of the story they have–characters, events, themes, etc. Afterwards, Kim will use a story circle to plot and guide discussion, asking questions, and determining what aspects of the macro structure works and what doesn’t. The synergy of the group creates an experience unlike any other, leading to clarity, breakthroughs, and clear next steps for the writer.

If you are part of a group scheduled to partake in a Mastermind Story Session, plan to be there. If, however, you are part of a group that does not have a session scheduled, this is your time to take advantage of the facilities and amenities of Crow Wing Crest Lodge. Canoe in the lake, warm up in the sauna, have a session of Reflexology or a Massage, wander the grounds and get lost in nature, or spend time reflecting on the story that’s been spinning around in your mind and is dying to come out. If none of that appeals to you, or you’d rather just be a part of the group, feel free to join the Mastermind Story Session instead. There is always room to learn, participate, and engage (and who knows, maybe you’ll learn something you can apply to your own manuscript).

On Saturday morning, we will have a group breakfast at 8:00 which will lead us into our first Mastermind Story Session at 9:00. Lunch will be served at 1:00 followed by our third Mastermind Story Session. Plan for everyone to be in attendance at 4:00 for the next group lecture, The Innermost Cave: Myers-Briggs Deep Dive. Wherever you are right now, a sure step in the right direction is always inward. Get to the bottom of the way you’re wired and create context around your behavior using the lens of personality typing systems. From this place of understanding, you can truly being to live your best life. You may have taken the test but you’ve never seen Myers-Briggs like this. Finally understand what those four letters really mean and how to actively use them to grow.

Dinner will be served at 6:00 followed by plenty of time to review with Kim and the other attendees, ask questions, or spend some time on your own reflecting, writing, or enjoying more of the amenities of the resort.

On Sunday morning, we’ll repeat the process with group breakfast at 8:00, two Mastermind Story Sessions, group lunch at 1:00 followed by a third Mastermind Story Session. Then, at 4:00 on Sunday, Kim will present The Innermost Cave: Enneagram Deep Dive to the entire group. A powerful framework for discovering your core motivation in life, for better or worse, use this to better process your past, become fully present, and navigate your future.

Following a 6:00 dinner Sunday evening, we will have time for additional review with Kim, further questions, or more time on your own to reflect, write, or enjoy the nature that surrounds you at the resort.

Monday morning repeats the process with breakfast and two Mastermind Story Sessions followed by lunch. The rest of Monday will be spent in a classroom setting with Kim who will present her lecture The Fundamentals of Story: A Micro Perspective. Here we will explore the key components of a scene, from structure to character motivation and action, point-of-view and subtext–elements layered to create a dynamic and powerful mini-story that translates to the macro story.

Then Kim will present Deep Practice: Scene Structure. Here we will practice revising a scene from our own work-in-progress using the elements discussed in The Fundamentals of Story: A Micro Perspective. We will then read our scenes aloud and discuss as a group.

After dinner, Kim will present her lecture The Innermost Cave: Leveraging Tools in Tandem where we will learn to combine frameworks to create a method for personal growth and wellness, one that accommodates weaknesses and leverages strengths.

Tuesday will be our final morning together. We will share a group breakfast at 8:00 and at 9:00 Kim will present Where to From here?: Revision Planning & Goals where we will discuss additional revision tools, customize next steps, and address any final questions on craft.

The retreat will conclude at 1:00 on Tuesday after Kim’s lecture Where to From Here: Personal & Professional where the group will discuss additional personal development tools, custom next steps, and address any final consciousness questions.

This five-day, four-night, all-inclusive immersion writers’ retreat is an ambitious leap into what we hope will become an annual enterprise. While this first retreat is grand in scope, future workshops are planned to be smaller–closer to the weekend workshops we used to hold at Jerry’s farm. Those shorter workshops could accommodate a larger group of people. In order to insure every attendee of this workshop receives the full benefit of the Mastermind Story Sessionthis workshop will be limited to no more than eight attendees.

This means we’re looking for people serious about improving their storytelling craft. While many of the elements Kim will discuss appear to be aimed at novelists, these techniques will still benefit the short-story writer and the memoirist because all good stories share the same components.

If the value of this first workshop intimidates you, or if you feel that the Writer-Warrior Workshop isn’t for and you’d rather wait for one of the shorter future workshops, please remember that the success of this first workshop dictates our ability to host future workshops. So, if you have any questions about the workshop, please don’t hesitate to ask.

To help facilitate a deeper learning experience, we ill have an on-site chef who will prepare and cater each meal. Once you have paid your admission fee, you will be contacted by our chef to ask about food allergies and restrictions to maintain a healthy environment for all attendees. Each meal will be prepared on-site os the group can move straight from Mastermind or Lecture into breakfast, lunch, or dinner without worrying about preparing wholesome, healthy meals. That will be done for you.

Don’t hesitate to bring your own snacks or preferred beverages.

If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to commit.
Email Sharon Harris now at

She will direct you to the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc PayPal address where you will be able to pay via PayPal or any major credit card. Because we can only accept the first eight people interested in the retreat, once Sharon gives you the link to remit your payment, you will have ten days to do so or you will lose your chance and someone else will be offered your spot.


October Writers’ Meeting

Hi Everyone, Today we held our October meeting.

PRESENT: Ryan, Marlys, Jan, Deb, Dawn, Sharon, Pete.

TALKING STICK: This year’s book party was light on attendance but we have had 20 or more emails from writers who wanted to attend or planned to attend and then had a date conflict. We got all the rest of the books mailed out and we are receiving donations and more book orders. We’ve also gotten emails stating how much people enjoyed the workshop and readings this year. We added a prize for humor this year and we think it was a great addition.

With Ryan’s help, we also looked at the Red River Event Center in Akeley, MN. It is a very nice space but we would have to pay to have them close the whole place down for the day for us and we decided to stick with Smokey Hills for next year. We have the date of September 21, 2019 reserved for the next book party. Next year, we will know to have them heat the room up first for us, if it is a cold fall. Next year, we will know to just set up tables enough for 30 to 40 people and just use extra chairs for the book party.

WRITING EVENTS: Mike and Niomi were not present so we had no PRLAAC meeting reports.

Ryan told us a little more about his retreat for May 2019. We are almost ready to put this out on the website and email writers to start getting people signed up for this event.

Marlys went to a poetry reading recently called Verse Like Water with poet Mary Szybist. This is the visiting poet program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN.

Dawn saw some of the MN Book Awards winners at the Library in Bemidji, MN.

ONLINE CLASSES: Sharon loves online poetry classes at the Loft. She has no time to do any of them right now, but the other day she had the urge to write something and she started searching for prompts online. Below are some good places to find prompts. Sharon does her best writing when she has an assignment. With no class available at the moment, she took some of the prompts and “assigned” herself to write something. It worked!

WRITING PROMPTS: Go to Poets & Writers at

to find writing prompts for fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Search prompts challenge to find many more writing prompts.

Deb suggested which is a worldwide chat with a section for writers. She found some good prompts there:

  1. Write a poem in diary form. At the end of the day, think about your day as a poem.
  2. Pick a letter of the alphabet. Choose a topic that starts with that letter. Then write a poem about it. The whole poem CANNOT have that letter in it anywhere but the title. Try to do it with all 26 letters. This was quite a challenge!

We took turns reading and critiquing each other’s work. Hope to see you next time!

Thanks to all of you who attended our TS27 book release party!

Hi Everyone, Thanks to all of you who attended our TS27 book release party yesterday. Our location was Smokey Hills Resort near Osage, MN—so beautiful this time of year. Quite a few of the writers stayed overnight in some of the Smokey Hills cabins.

We had an excellent morning workshop with Sharon Chmielarz entitled “Put Some Zip in Your Writing: Torque It!” The attending writers came up with some superb writings that they shared after Sharon’s prompts.

Then the restaurant at Smokey Hills served a tasty lunch of soup and sandwich that got rave reviews.

Beginning at 1 PM, we had the book release party. We had some announcements about our group and how we produce our annual anthologies. Then we announced the winners in each of the genres. Besides our usual prizes in Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction, we also gave one prize for Humor this year. All the winners who were present were asked to read their winning submissions. Then we opened it up to all the other writers published in the book who wanted to read. We had a good time listening to serious stories and poems as well as some hilarious ones. We met a couple new writers this year who could almost be stand-up comedians.

As usual, when these events end, we hate to stop visiting and go home. It is so good to see old friends and meet new writers. Over a dozen writers went to the Cookhouse (the restaurant at Smokey Hills) and continued visiting for several more hours. We had a good meal and lots more laughs.

Thanks to all who attended today and thanks to all who submitted to Talking Stick 27. Be sure to watch for the next call for submissions! It will be in December 2019 for Talking Stick 28. It will be here before we know it—start collecting your best new writings to send to us for the next anthology!