Authors offer a passport to the Copper Country—Join us!

This Monday night—September 12—author Debbie Frontiera takes on the world—and I get to help. We’re joined by author Larry Buege who has written about Native American culture in the pre-Columbus days at 7 p.m. at Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. The conversation opens the weeklong  Parade of Nations and multicultural fest, a 27-year tradition spearheaded by Michigan Tech.

Parade of Nations is a spectacle that draws thousands to the western Upper Peninsula each fall.

The colorful Parade of Nations and multicultural festival begins with a conversation on our colorful Copper Country ethnic melting pot at 7 p.m. Monday Sept. 12 at Portage Lake District Library.

Debbie, Larry, and I will talk about how our writing reflects the ethnic cultures of the Copper Country—and how writers open windows to inclusivity and understanding. Debbie, as many know, is the author of Living on SISU, historical fiction for all ages that details the life of a 12-year-old Emma Niemi, around the time of the 1913 copper strike in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

She’s also been a wonderful mentor as I go through the writing and publication process for my first novel. Every time we meet—she’s busy on the book circuit, so it’s only a couple of times a year if we’re lucky—she’s got another pithy piece of wisdom for me.


Two of my favorites:

“Stay in the sock drawer.”

(spot-on writing organization advice.)

“Some people watch TV. Some people write.”


My favorite wisdom nugget this time:

“One hundred pages makes a spine.”

(You want to be able to print the title on the spine of your book, so it’s easily identified on the shelves.)

Here’s another one:

“Keep putting something out all the time.”

And another, specifically for book-selling events:

“Use bookmarks as your business cards. You want them to have something in their hands when they leave.”

Last time we got together, Debbie, who publishes as Deborah K. Frontiera, was bringing out the book of poetry she’d been working on for decades. Coming in October, she and a friend are releasing a children’s story. Debbie was just going to give it a read but ended up wanting to work on it so much that she became a co-collaborator.


Gathering more wisdom and enjoying Deborah K. Frontiera’s company at Calumet’s Cafe Rosetta. In addition to Living on SISU and other works of fiction, Debbie’s tackled archival and historical projects as well as taking on important social issues, including the Child Protective Services process. She plans with precision, but writes with a passion. Great combo!

“The roaches have been bugging me too,” she says, smiling, referring to the Chronicles of Henry Roach-Dairier that she thought she was done with.

She’s been experimenting with different writing techniques this year. Normally her books are plotted out beforehand. I’m excited to give her latest WIP a read.

Maybe we can get her to tell us a little more about it at the presentation Monday. She and Larry will be signing and selling their books after the chat. Soon that’ll be a part of my presentations, too. So exciting! More Than You Think You Know is in cover design phase. So far I’m loving what my publisher and designer have come up with.

I’m looking forward to learning more about Larry as well as Native American culture tomorrow night.

He’s also written in a lot of different genres, including a political satire featuring Finlandia students and a Michigan Tech geek striving to make the U.P. our 51st state. And he offers writing inspiration via his website. Check out the Six Stages of Rejection.  Does it resonate for you?

PS: I’ll be live blogging with my Michigan Tech social media peeps at the parade and multicultural fest Saturday. Join us!  We’re also taking part in the 14th annual Instagram World Meet-up. The theme is food and inclusivity. How yummy is that?

PPS: Thanks to our Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association and Portage Lake District Library for helping to pull this shindig together. If you’re a writer, beginner to seasoned, you’re blessed to have these two outstanding organizations in your corner.

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