A Small Press, Don’t Stress: Why Size Doesn’t Matter

SwetaSVikram_Author Headshot_BrevityMagA rhyming title for an essay, you must wonder. Full disclaimer: I am a poet at heart; the crossover to writing and publishing a novel has been transformative, and I wanted to share some things I learned.

I won’t lie; it’s been exciting, humbling and exhausting. The release of my 12th book (but debut U.S. novel) Louisiana Catch, a story that centers around a sexual abuse survivor from New Delhi, coincides with the #MeToo movement. It’s on U.K.’s The Asian Writer’s “Books to Read in 2018” list. Frankly, I don’t know what’s in store for the book, but I do know that I have enjoyed the whole process and realized a few things along the way, specifically as it relates to publishing via a small press.

Read Sweta Srivastava’s Blog  post here 

U.P. Publishers & Authors Association Holds 21st Annual Conference:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tyler Tichelaar
(906) 226-1543

U.P. Publishers & Authors Association Holds 21st Annual Conference:

Publishing & Book Marketing Industry to Be Explored

Historic Landmark Hotel is the site of the 2018 meeting

MARQUETTE, MI (April 15, 2018)  -In its constant commitment to informing regional authors and publishers of the latest changes in the publishing world and offering effective marketing and writing strategies, the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association (UPPAA) will hold its 21st Annual Conference on Saturday, June 2 in Marquette at the Landmark Inn from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

As always, this year’s conference will cover a variety of topics relevant to writing, publishing, and marketing, and it will be of interest to beginning writers as well as seasoned, published authors.

This year’s keynote speaker is Steve Lehto, an attorney and writer whose family is from the Copper Country. Lehto has written several books about Michigan and automotive history among other topics. His books Death’s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder, Michigan’s Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton, Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation, and Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow were all named Michigan Notable Books by the Library of Michigan. Along with the dozen or so books he has written, he writes frequently for others such as Mopar Action magazine and Road and Track.com.

In his keynote speech, titled “From Unagented Queries to a Dozen Books With Five Different Publishers,” Lehto will discuss how he went from being an unpublished author to having a dozen books published by four different publishers (and picked up an agent along the way). Highlights of his talk will include how he writes, where his book ideas have come from, how to tell good ideas from bad, how he sold his first books without an agent, and how it happened to be that Jay Leno wrote the forewords to two of his books.

Other sessions to be held are “Children’s Book Industry 101: Terms, Conventions, How It Works, and How We Get Paid” by Carrie Pearson, “Open a Vein: The Art of Memoir in Today’s Culture” by Felicia Schneiderhan, “Life-Altering Surprises, Annoying Sisters, and Running from Danger: Using Various Forms of Conflict to Keep Readers Addicted to Your Novel” by Naomi Rawlings, “The Quest for Your Best: A Poetry Workshop” by Janeen Rastall, “The Gift of Reading: A Book-Binding Workshop” by Susan Rosemurgy, and “How to Write a Mystery in 10 Agonizing Steps” by Vickie Fee. All the speakers are members of UPPAA or authors who live in or write about Upper Michigan.

This year, UPPAA will also present the first Dandelion Cottage Awards for its student short story contest. First place winner Katie McEachern of Negaunee will be present to receive her award for her story “The Attack.” The award includes a medallion, the winner’s name on a traveling school trophy, and a $250 cash prize. Second place will be awarded to Emma Locknane of Gwinn for her story “Welcome to the New Age,” accompanied by a medallion and $100 prize. Third place was a tie. Medallions and prize money of $50 will go to both Anna Laakso of Republic/Michigamme for her story “Elite” and to Sarah Lauzon of Ironwood for “Henry the Kitten.” Honorable Mention is also given to Sierra Hendrickson of Negaunee for her story “Abducted.”

In addition, the second volume of U.P. Reader, UPPAA’s own annual literary anthology featuring works by its members, will be released. Last year’s U.P. Reader was a successful publication that helped spread the word about the organization, raise money for it, and highlight the many writers living in the U.P. This year’s issue is even bigger and better than last year’s.

Finally, there will be a business meeting, a catered lunch buffet, a book collection taken up to support the Alger County Kiwanis’ annual auction, and networking opportunities for anyone wishing to learn more about writing, publishing, and book marketing.

The general public may attend the meeting for a $15 registration fee. UPPAA members attend free of charge. Space is limited, so advanced registration is recommended. Membership details, benefits, and registration are available online at www.uppaa.org. A catered deli lunch is available for $10 per person with advance reservations required. For questions, contact membership secretary Brandy Thomas at uppaa.membership@gmail.com or (509) 675-2487. To register by mail, send a check payable to UPPAA to Brandy Thomas, 140 Youngs Road, Gwinn, MI 49841. Registrations online or by mail must be received no later than May 25.

Established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live in or write about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, UPPAA is a Michigan nonprofit association with more than 100 members, many of whose books are featured on the organization’s website at www.uppaa.org. UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a UP connection who is interested in writing and publishing books.

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Louisiana Catch gets noticed in Shreveport, LA

“Another new novel tackles social issues from diverse perspectives”
by Judy Christie

Louisiana Catch
Louisiana Catch

Louisiana shows up frequently as a setting in books – from love stories to mysteries to family dramas to horror. (All 10 of my novels are set in Louisiana, by the way.)

So I was intrigued when I heard about India native and New York resident Sweta Srivastava Vikram’s novel, “Louisiana Catch,” which releases April 10 and is set in New Orleans.

Former Shreveporter Julie Miller Pennell, herself a novelist, introduced me long-distance to Vikram, whom she met at a writer’s group in New York…. Read the rest of the story here


contributors from
“How Dare We! Write: A Multicultural Creative Writing Discourse”
edited by Sherry Quan Lee

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
7:00 p.m.

curated by Michael Kiesow Moore and Ardie Medina

The reading will be at The Bockley Gallery
2123 W 21st Street, Minneapolis
(couple doors down from Birchbark Books) www.bockleygallery.com

Please join us Wednesday, April 18 as we continue the ninth season of readings.  Bring a friend! 

About the contributors:

Brenda Bell Brown says, I know I’ve been changed. She has a clearer focus on why she does what she does in her attempts to use art—literary, pperformance, visual—as a vehicle for expression. A convergence of tiime and effort has taken place at this point of her vocational practice. They are her forms. It is her heart. Today’s climate of change has served to clarify their continuing agreement with her. From Brown University (theatre arts) to Hampton University (museum studies) to Hamline University (creative writing). She is skraight.

Sherrie Fernandez-Williams earned an MFA in writing from Hamline University and is a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Award, a Beyond the Pure Fellowship, and an Intermedia Arts SASE/Jerome Grant. Sherrie was a Loft Mentor Series winner for Creative Nonfiction, a Jones’ Commission Award Winner through the Playwrights Center, and selected for the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat. She has been published in various literary journals and anthologies and is the author of the memoir Soft.

Isela Xitlai Gomez-R. is an East LA/Inland Empire transplant who writes to piece together broken stories of family, trauma, and travel a la Southern California. Her art lays its roots in the spaces between jazz and mariachi, taco trucks and chili cheese burgers, oceans and desert, and now snow. Isela is a 2015 winner of the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction.

Michael Kleber Diggs is a poet and essayist. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Poetry City, North Dakota Quarterly, Paper Darts, Water~Stone Review and a few anthologies and collaborations. He is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African-America Literature and a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry. His work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Michael lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Karen, and their 16-year-old daughter.

Luis Lopez grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He has made his home in the Twin Cities for nearly a decade. He recently graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University and is considering pursuing a Master of Fine Arts.

Christine Stark is an award-winning writer, visual artist, and speaker of European, Anishinaabe & Cherokee ancestry. Her first novel,  Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, was a Lambda Literary Finalist. Her writing has appeared in  University of Pennsylvania Law Review; Florida Review; The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prize Winning Essays; When We Become Weavers: Queer Female Poets on the Midwest Experience;   and many others. Her poem, “Momma’s Song” was recorded by Fred Ho and the Afro Asian Music Ensemble. For more information:  www.christinestark.com

About the editor:

Sherry Quan Lee, MFA, University of Minnesota, recently retired from teaching Creative Writing  at Metropolitan State University.  She is the author of Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by  Loving Healing Press/Modern History Press who also published, How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, 2008. Quan Lee’s most recent publications include: Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir, a 2015 Minnesota Book Award Finalist, and the anthology How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse, 2017, both LHP/MHP. She was a poetry mentor for the 2015-2016 Loft Literary Center’s Series in Poetry and Creative Prose.Â