By Elizabeth Buzzelli
It seems as though almost every cottage stuck back in the Northern woods harbors a writer, toiling away at a memoir, a novel, short stories, anything that can be written. I find this an exciting occurrence. I was once told it is due to the confluence, the commingling of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, with even a bit of Lake Superior thrown in, that has brought this burst of creativity to our area.
Since the lakes have been here for awhile, I dont think thats the real answer. Personally, I would opt for the laptop which goes anywhere, works as long as there is electricity, and stores mountains of files. And then, of course, we have all these creative types fleeing to the woods where the biggest distraction might be a noisy woodpecker. Whatever the cause, there are lots of new ideas, new voices, writers groups, events and conferences. So, on to new books, writer appearances, and even one intriguing contest open to everyone.
Crossings -- Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey (www.crookedtree.org) is running a contest with $5,000 going to one lucky participant. The event, a fundraiser for the Crooked Tree Arts Center and the Charlevoix Area Hospital Foundation, is based on Crossings, a book by local author, Patti Aikin, which ends with a mystery readers are challenged to solve through clues planted in the pictures in the book and in the text. Each book, purchased through the arts center or at local bookstores, contains a raffle ticket to be returned with a guess at the solution to the mystery.
On August 1, all of the right answers will become part of a drawing for the $5000 prize with the money raised through book sales being divided between the organizations involved. Crossings may be purchased online or at the Arts Center at 461 E. Mitchell, Petoskey, at McLean and Eakin Books, Round Lake Books in Charlevoix, or Local Flavor in Boyne City. The book prize is sponsored by the Bank of Northern Michigan and the Charlevoix State Bank. For more information contact the arts center at 231-347-4337.
Family at Booknook -- A new novel by an Ann Arbor writer, Brenda Humphrey Meisels, includes a scene on the Pine River in Northern Michigan. Family at Booknook is a first novel that begins in 1959, when Sparrow, a pregnant 16-year-old, begins to feel at home in the quiet corners of Booknook, a local bookstore. The baby grows as Sparrow and Dave, the bookstore owner, become friends, bringing both Dave and his shop back to life.
The book follows Finch, the baby, as she grows and begins to search for her real father, causing Sparrow, her mother, to examine her own life and choices.
Meisels home, outside Ann Arbor, is near a wooded area where she and her family watch birds, giving her the names for her main characters.
She will be signing books at Horizon Books in Traverse City and Horizon Books in Cadillac on July 17.
A Good High Place -- From Northern Illinois University Press comes a novel set in Elk Rapids. A Good High Place by L.E. Kimball, takes place during the years before Would War I, and continues over the next five decades. It begins with Luellas suspicion that her supposedly deceased younger sister is being raised by the family of her friend, Kachina. Kachina, a Native American woman, is blessed with a healing touch. Her goal is to help her family resist being absorbed by white culture. What comes of Luellas suspicions generates an unlikely friendship that brings up more questions than answers. Lynn Kimball lives on a trout stream in the Upper Peninsula.
Elizabeth Buzzellis latest best selling mystery, Dead Sleeping Shaman, is available in bookstores everywhere.