August 2020 NorthWords


Lake Superior Writers Blog

Did you know? Lake Superior Writers invites our active members to submit guest posts for possible inclusion on our blog. The goals of the blog are to provide a platform for local writers and to share well-crafted, thought-provoking content with our membership. Blog posts are also shared on our Facebook page, offering writers even more exposure. For submission guidelines, visit Check out our current submissions here:


Gymnastics for Memoir Writers

Wednesdays October 8, 15, 22, 6:30-8:00 pm via Zoom – Memoir writers need agility, strength and flexibility. This active writing workshop builds your skill with form and structure to best tell your stories. Think of the glee of kids in gymnastics at the Y. Think of those seven-year-olds who can’t wait to climb the rope and flip over the uneven parallel bars, and jump on the giant trampoline. That’s what we’ll be doing with form, time, and point of view.

Instructor Felicia Schneiderhan is a Duluth-based award-winning writer and instructor. Her work appears in many literary journals and national magazines, and she hosts “Drawn to Write,” a new show on WDSE about writers and artists.

Cost is $75 for LSW members, with an option for a private 30 minute 10-page critique for $35. Registration information available later this summer. Membership information can be found here:

To Our Valued Members

Good news: Your Lake Superior Writers membership has been extended to the end of the year. Until now we’ve based our membership status and budget on a fiscal year that ended in June, but we’re switching to a January-December membership year to avoid confusion on renewals and just to keep things simple overall.

If you are able to donate to help cover our minimal overhead costs as we stretch our finances to make this transition it would be so greatly appreciated. Otherwise we’ll be asking for renewals come this holiday season. Donations can be made via this link:

We’re working on some virtual programming to jumpstart your pandemic writing and help us all connect and foster a strong literary community in the Northland. Thanks for being with us and stay safe, everyone.


HERON ANTHOLOGY – Seeking submissions for a planned anthology of poems by Minnesota-based authors that respond to Great Blue Herons, egrets, and other wading birds.  Some forty poets, both new and established, have already submitted. Please send your poem(s) by September 10 to James Silas Rogers at

Query Letter Writing Contest – This writing contest is all about book blurbs. The twist? We want blurbs about completely made-up, nonexistent books. Get creative! More info at


KUDOS – News about our members

3 books to launch horizontal 72 - Jim BrakkenAward-winning LSW member, James Brakken, will publish 3 titles late this summer. All will be limited editions of 100, and each copy will be signed and numbered and available on his website, First up will be 45 Fairly True Tales from the Old Corner Bar, Brakken’s third fact-based short story collection. Set between Prohibition and the mid-1960s, the stories feature characters and tales from northwest Wisconsin’s resort country. Subjects range from hunting and fishing yarns to gangster tales, tavern pranks, and smart people doing stupid things. As with Brakken’s other books, names are usually changed out of respect for descendants of the characters recalled. Although the stories could have taken place at any up-north watering hole, these are set in the old Cable Corner Bar, razed years ago to make room for a new bistro now under construction. His second book for 2020 is Thornapple Girl. Set near the Thornapple River in Winter, Wisconsin, the novel explores the life of Myra Dietz. In the early 1900s, Myra and her brothers stood by their father, John Dietz when he asked for back wages from the Chippewa Lumber Company. Rather than settle, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, the wealthiest-ever lumber baron, responded with government corruption. Warrants were issued. Posses were formed. Myra and her brother, Clarence, nearly died from bullets shot by the Sawyer County sheriff and his deputies. In 1910, headlines exploded coast-to-coast after nearly 100 deputized thugs fired a thousand rounds into the log home housing a family that became regarded nationwide as heroes of the working class. Thornapple Girl is based on press clippings, court records, and Myra Dietz’s personal recollections, featured in her never-published 1929 memoir. Sybil Brakken will publish The Heroine of Cameron Dam, Myra Dietz’s 146-page manuscript (MS). It was found long ago by a vagabond searching through trash outside a Los Angeles publisher’s office. Myra’s life story fell victim to the Great Depression and languished for decades before James Brakken discovered it during research for his true-crime novel, Thornapple Girl. Now, after 91 years, Myra’s recollections of coming to age on a backwoods north country farm, defending her father, then fighting for years to get him out of prison, will be in print. The Brakkens will publish the MS as an annotated, edited memoir. Descendants of John Dietz are pleased to know of the discovery of the memoir and its production. The Brakkens write from their home on Wiley Lake in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Information on all three upcoming titles can be found at along with James Brakken’s other ten books.


Laura Photo NJ DV Collage - Laura HansenLaura Hansen recently had her poem, “Watching the Heron Rise,” featured in The Grief Diaries ( June 29, 2020). The poem is the first in her booklet Without Tears; Poems of My Brother’s Last Year. From MN Writes MN Reads: “These poems represent a range of emotions the author experienced from the time she learned her brother had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer to just after his death. Moving between the solace of nature and the hard realities of dying, this brief collection allows the reader to walk with the author as she experiences shock, helplessness and grief. Laura’s book, The Night Journey; Stories and Poems, was published this year by River Place Press. For more information or to order go to


Two Lake Superior Writers members were recognized in fiction in the Wisconsin Writers Association 2020 Jade Ring Contest. Former LSW board member Jenna Kowaleski (pen name J. Mackenzie) received first place, and fellow member Doug Lewandowski received third. All Jade Ring Contest finalists will be published in WWA’s annual Creative Wisconsin literary journal.

Announcing Jade Ring winners is always a pleasure, but this year, of course, it’s different,” said Barry Wightman, WWA President. “Seeing so many writers across the state discovering their own story, their own truth and beauty, I am reminded – writers write – no matter what. We’re good.

Nearly 240 entries were received overall, an increase of over 25% from the record set in 2019. Details about the Jade Ring Contest virtual event, and the annual WWA fall conference scheduled for Saturday, October 3, will be announced on the WWA website soon. For the full press release, visit

Rilla Anne DeBot Opelt, M.A. has two poems, “On Turning 80” and “Silence,” published in the August issue of Spring Thaw, Itasca Community College’s annual anthology.

In July, Victoria Lynn (Youngquist) Smith‘s short story “Trinket” appeared in Spring Thaw.

Cathy LaForge Tonkin‘s work “Voiceless Visitors” has been selected for the Ghost Stories Anthology set to be published by SEZ Publishing near the end of the summer.





Open LSW Writing Groups

The Third Wednesday Writers – Aug 19 (Wed) 6:00 pm – Enger Park – On June 17 we held our first meeting in-person meeting since winter at Enger Park. Everyone there agreed that it was much more enjoyable than our conference call meetings. We will continue meeting at the Park as long as weather permits.