A blog by writers and artisans who meet weekly in Solon Springs near the shores of the upper St. Croix in the sublime Wisconsin north woods.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Northland Fall Writers Conference

Northland Fall Writers Conference
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Solon Springs, WI

The St. Croix Writers and Wisconsin Writers Association are pleased to announce the Northland Fall Writers Conference, September 28, 2019. Registration begins at 8:30 AM, at the Solon Springs Community Center, 11523 S. Business Highway 53, Solon Springs, WI.  

The conference is designed for you, writers and readers. During this exciting and eclectic day, we will explore and learn about several genres of writing, plus examine the benefits of professional editing for your manuscripts. This full-day conference includes opportunities for you to purchase books by regional authors in a vendor area. 

Brian Freeman, international best-selling thriller author, will present "Thrill Seeker: A Writer's Life in the Northland." Freeman is well known for his strong, complex characters including Jonathan Stride, Frost Easton, and Cab Bolton, with the Stride detective series set in Duluth, MN. Brian's books are sold in 46 countries and translated into 22 languages. He lives and writes in St. Paul, MN.

During his fifteen years as a Midwestern writer, Brian Freeman has seen the publishing world turn upside down and reinvent itself. But one thing hasn't changed: the love that readers have for a great story.

Brian will take you through the evolution of his career, from writing award-winning Northland thrillers to recently taking over Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne franchise, with the next book in the series, The Bourne Conspiracy, planned for a 2020 release.

Brian will also speak about how he develops characters and stories for different settings, platforms, and audiences. He will answer your questions about thriving in today's publishing industry. Visit his website. www.bfreemanbooks.com

In addition:
  • Additional guest presenters throughout the day will include Karla Huston, WI Poet Laureate 2-17-2018; Abby Frucht, novelist; and Barry Wightman, author, editor, and president of WWA.
  • Regional authors featured will include Gary Banker, Thomas Wayne King, Naomi Musch, and Marty Russo.
  • Book tables and sales by authors and vendors will be available all day until 4 p.m. 

Conference fee of $49.00 (WWA members $39.00 ) includes program, catered lunch, snacks, and artisanal coffees. Authors and other literary vendors can reserve a vendor table for an additional $15.

Check back for updated information, and find more on the Conference Schedule & Registration page as it is added. Complete details, more on conference speakers, and early registration is also available at WiWrite.org.

If you love to read and write, this day is for you, so save the date! Don't miss it!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Cabin Fever Writers' Rendezvous! A free writers event in northern Wisconsin

March 16, 2019.  8:45 am - 12 noon.  Solon Springs, WI


St. Croix Writers and Wisconsin Writers Association invite you to explore the joy of writing. Join author and writing coach, Kim Suhr, Director of Red Oak Writing, Genesse Depot, WI, as she presents The Writer's Path, sharing her writing journey, and wisdom gained in mentoring other writers. Kim will read from her newly-released story collection, Nothing to Lose, and discuss the writing life. 

You are encouraged to read a 5 minute original work in the open reading portion from 10:45 am to noon. You are also welcome to just listen as others read.  Light refreshments, plus sampling of excellent coffees will be courtesy of U-Roast-Em.com, Solon Springs, WI. 

This FREE event will take place, Saturday, March 16, 2019,  8:45 am - Noon at the Solon Springs Community Center,  11523 S. Business Hwy 53,  Solon Springs, WI.  North classroom. 
If you enjoy listening, reading, and writing, this morning of recreation with words is for you! 

For more information:  715-378-2776

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Becoming More Active With Writing Groups

Walter Rhein

My name is Walter Rhein and my New Year’s resolution is to be more active in 2019 in Wisconsin writing groups. Truth be told, I’ve always been reluctant to join writing groups, but I’ve been writing for long enough now that I feel I can help new writers achieve some positive exposure for their work. Much of what I have to contribute is not what you’d hear in college classes or traditional writing groups, but we’ll get to that a little bit later on.

I’ve had success placing my articles, stories, and novels in small publications and presses throughout the years. I’ve written regularly for magazines such as Silent Sports and Packerland Pride. I’ve also been a regular contributor to Singletracks.com, and the editor of LivingInPeru.com (back when I was a resident of Lima, Peru). I’ve had novels published with Perseid Press, Harren Press, Burning Bulb Publishing, Rhemalda Press, and E-Press Online. If I’m “known” for anything, it’s probably the letter to the editor I wrote for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram in 2016 about the harassment my wife and kids endured during the Trump campaign regarding my family’s choice to speak Spanish amongst ourselves at home and in public. The article was titled Speaking Spanish in America, and was shared over a hundred thousand times becoming the most read article for the Leader Telegram in 2016.

Building a writing career is slow work, although it’s shocking how quickly you can get a blast of attention. ‘Going viral’ shows you how fickle notoriety can be. I was fortunate that when I went viral, it was to a positive response. However, as I sat in the eye of that hurricane, I realized that the good will could just as easily turn bad at any moment, and I wasn’t very comfortable. The extracurricular sensation can become detrimental to the writing. Also I found there are mechanisms in place to keep an author from really capitalizing on any fleeting viral moment.

By far, the more rewarding side of writing is seeing a few more people put your book on the “to read” list on Goodreads, or when they offer up an Amazon review. Most writers are compelled to write out of something other than to achieve a JK Rowling type portfolio larger than what the Queen of England controls. I say that with confidence using myself as an example. After all, I continue to write and I haven’t achieved anything close to JK Rowling’s success.

I don’t think there’s any shame at all in aspiring to be a small to mid-tier writer with less than a thousand reader following. That’s a fan base that allows you enough support to achieve the energy you need to keep going, while not being so large that you become a slave to the fickle nature and influence of ‘group think.’

It seems to me that many members of the literary community are instantly dismissive of what they perceive to be insignificant success. Too much attention is paid to becoming an author for one of the ‘major’ publishers. The belief is that only through endless revision might a novel achieve the “worthiness” to be picked up on a major contract. However, when you walk through a Barns & Noble and pick up a random book, you often find examples of authors breaking all the rules that are supposedly keeping your manuscript from publication. I’ve seen whole chapters italicized, tense shifts, and character point of view confusion in books that are supposed to be representatives of the literary big leagues. I believe this is another case of the surrounding hysteria providing a distraction from the actual writing. There are plenty of examples of books that received a large contract but did not resonate with anyone.

One of the things I enjoy doing is pitching a half-conceived idea to a group of people just to see where the debate goes. I use social media to this end, although the threads often become quite hostile. Our culture seems to be reluctant to believe an individual might pose an honest question, and crowds seek to transform all statements into a declaration of fundamental belief which can then be exposed as fraudulent. Well, to be honest, I can’t resist provoking a little bit because hostile people tend to tell you what they really think, and provocation begets interaction. I seem to recall Jonathan Swift taking a similar action when he failed to get a response to his more traditional commentaries—so I won’t apologize, precedent provides vindication.

I’m very interested in joining some discussions with fellow writers about the reality of modern literary culture, as well as embracing new ways to interpret and achieve literary success. I am always happy to respond to an email from a fellow writer, and I try to read and review as many books by independent or small press authors as I can. I can offer very good advice to individuals with a manuscript that they would like to see published with a small press. Everybody has an important story to tell, and writing communities may serve to amplify deserving voices that would otherwise go unheard. I’m happy to assist in such a cause because that, I believe, is the essence of what motivates all writers.

If you’re curious about my writing, my latest release, Paperclip, written with co-author Dan Woll, is currently available on Kindle for 99 cents. Reviews are greatly appreciated. For questions or comments please write me at:

Thanks for reading, good luck with all your writing projects, and I hope to see you in a writing group meeting in 2019!

What if your whole life was an experiment?
Prior to meeting Carlie, Mickey's biggest problem consisted of escaping the wrath of the ruler-wielding nuns of St. Asors. But when Carlie moved to town, Mickey found that the young girl's proximity began to enhance a dormant ability to catch fleeting glimpses of the future. Confused by the stirrings of young love, Mickey began to sense the presence of a shadowy villain, driven by hatred, on a relentless pursuit that would not end until both Mickey and Carlie were dead.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Here is... Where? Thoughts on Relative Planetary Motion

by Thomas Wayne King

My glasses and keys are on the table next to my chair. I set them down a few minutes ago. And they are still right here, relative to me. But they have already moved far more than I can comprehend. Here is the quick summary.

At our equator, Earth rotates at 1,000 miles per hour. That's why rocket launches to space are done nearer the equator than where we live in mid-continent North America. Our planet acts as a spinning catapult. Here in Wisconsin, we move at about 500 miles per hour as our planet turns on its axis. We may be aware of this movement in tides and seismic changes we sense as earth quakes and temblors.

Vector Designed By Στέργιος Αδαμαντίδης from pngtree.com ©pngtree.com.

While we spin, Earth simultaneously orbits our star, the Sun, at about 66,000 miles per hour. We seldom notice this motion, but can observe our circling around our main star by the changing constellations and star patterns we see throughout the year.

Adding complexity, our planet follows the Sun as our entire solar system orbits as a group within the Milky Way Galaxy. Our collective movement is at about 43,000 miles per hour as we travel around the circuit together, our Sun with all our planets in tow. 

Extending the awe factor, the Milky Way, our home galaxy, is traveling through the universe toward constellations Leo and Virgo at 1.3 million miles per hour relative to reference points in the universe outside of the Milky Way. 

So...   Earth spins at 1,000 miles per hour as we orbit the Sun at 66,000 miles per hour as our entire solar system circles within our galaxy at 43,000 miles per hour as our galaxy speeds through our universe at 1.3 million miles per hour. All of this is happening at once. 

No wonder I have such trouble finding my glasses and keys. At each moment, they are never where I originally put them.  So, where is here? Here is... Where?

Copyright 2018 Thomas Wayne King
All Rights Reserved.  

Adapted from my newest book in progress: Snow Socks  ...tales of practical transcendence. Completion and release are planned for mid 2019.   TK 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gifts From Bridget

by Sandy Nelson

Even though it can be so tedious to hear people talk about their grandchildren, especially for people who don't have them -- and I apologize for that now -- I do want to tell you about fourteen gifts my young Bridget, who is four, gave me for Mother's Day. She is an only child, not a coddled child, but encouraged and well-loved. We spend most Fridays together.

She absolutely adores presents. She loves getting them and she really loves giving them. Last week she popped out of the car and reached back in to grab a geranium in each hand. Pink of course -- she's all about pink. Walking towards me she was shining. "Are those for me?" I said. She nodded her head yes, too emotional to speak words. We found a good place for the flowers, and she ran back to the car to get her backpack. It looked so heavy; she dragged it.

She unzipped it onto the living room floor, many packages with bright blue Christmas paper and lots of tape. She is squinching her face up and jump, jump, jumping all around the room. After a while, she is able to take a blue package in her hand and bring it over. It is so round and kind of heavy. "Is it a rock?" I ask. More nodding, more jumping, more funny little faces. Hand-painted orange rock. Next, an unpainted rock. They do wrap up nicely. Then the pine cone series, all painted, seven of them. Color book pages circled into empty toilet paper rolls. Princesses. I am o happy with this blue extravaganza. I remember being really young and making gifts for the family, and because I loved gifts, I loved giving gifts too. I don't remember when that feeling went away. It's a great memory though, and I want it back.

My friend KC gave Bridget a bottle of Elmer's glue for her birthday last year. Seemed odd to me, but you know what? It has given her an interesting confidence. If something breaks she casually says, "Oh, we'll just glue that."

She's in Michigan on a trip right now. I made her a gift. She wants to play Barbies, but those stupid clothes are too hard for her to put on. So, Grandma helps with that. Instead of reading thirteen chapters of The Invisible Man for school last week, because my brain was weary, I spent the night sewing Barbie clothes that she can put on, sort of like Barbie mumus. And watching Hogan's Heroes. She'll be so excited, and I kind of am too.

Sandy Nelson is a long-time member of the St. Croix Writers group. She writes lovely slice-of-life memories that always encourage readers and listeners to think of the small beauties, cherishable moments, and funny happenstances that surround us.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Writer's Wrap by Thomas Wayne King

~~ Writer's Wrap ~~

So I lift my pen when I have a thought,
Gotta quickly get that insight caught.
So many words come flyin' by.
Can't catch 'em all, but I need to try.
I write.  I write.

I'm an active soul who needs to move.
So when I get in my writer's groove,
I gotta focus, gotta keep my goal,
Or this distracting world will take its toll.
I write.  I write.

Ideas come and ideas go.
Which words to trap, it's hard to know.
Sometimes profound and sometimes stupid,
Words can be Satan and they can be Cupid.
I write.  I write.

Words can hurt and words can heal.
I try to keep all of my words real.
They may be simple or create a plot,
But fake or phony my words are not.
I write.  I write.

From early days when words were pictures
And memories got put into scriptures,
The writer's role was to mark it down
In ways that'll last, and might bring renown.
I write.  I write.

The spoken word flies by so fast,
But our written words can last and last.
We writers live such a real short time,
But our words go on, whether prose or rhyme.
We write.  We write.

(Slowly, thoughtfully)  The spoken word flies by so fast...
But our written words will last and last!
We writers live such a real short time,
But our words go on, whether prose or rhyme.

We write.  We write.  
We write.  We rite.  We right.  

* * *

Copyright 2008 – 2017 Thomas Wayne King.  All Rights Reserved.

* * *

      "Writer's Wrap" leads of sixty raps, poems, and lyrics in Sailor of the Sun, Thomas Wayne King's second volume in his Tales from the Red Pump series. Sailor of the Sun (ISBN 978-1-365-47774-4) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and other suppliers. Tom is always glad to talk about, read, and sign his books. Please contact him at RunHikeSkiNow@gmail.com              

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cultivating the Write Stuff

Just posted this over at my website ~

It’s Monday. Not a momentous event in and of itself, but there were moments over the weekend I wondered if I’d make it here.
To be honest, in fifteen minutes it will no longer be morning. I’ve had my coffee, I’ve eaten breakfast and even had a little protein snack, but I’m still in my robe, slogging around my house in my pink fuzzy slippers, feeling half brain-dead and jonesing for a nap like a lazy cat crossing a sunbeam.
I’m coming off of a lost weekend, as hungover-useless as any morning after a night of drinking too many tequila shooters and dancing on pool tables ever left me (yes there are pictures, no I won’t post them). I didn’t drink my way here and by lost weekend I don’t mean I have no recollection of events. On the contrary, if the memory of the past 48 hours wasn’t etched into my brain (and every muscle of my body) I’d swear I had an intimate encounter with the grill of a fast moving Mac truck.
(Click to read full post)