Lost Lake Folk Opera – V3N2

Special Winter Sun Issue

Featuring the Rural Economic Development Roundtable

held in Plainview, Minnesota, on December 1, 2015.

With Rochester and Mayo Clinic’s Destination Medical Center promising to alter the dynamics of small communities throughout southeast Minnesota, four individuals active in growing sustainable rural economies weigh-in on a wide range of issues.

Dean Harrington, Sheila Kiscaden, Gary Smith and John Torgrimson drill deep into the many issues affecting sustainable rural economic development. 

Contributors: Sheila Kiscaden. John Torgrimson. Gary Smith. Dean Harrington. Dan Munson. Roger C. Morris. Judi Bergen. Merle Hanson. Larry Johnson. John MacLean. Arnetta L. Lane. Andy Roberts. Sean Lause. Mark Metzler. Ron Hardy. Molly McDonald. Tom Farrell. Tom Driscoll.

Eye Shadow – Personal Essays

Emilio DeGrazia

   Emilio DeGrazia is one of those writers who loves the ambience of a writers’ gathering––the fraternity, the probing of ideas––whether the subject is poetry or the jock strap empire of sports. What I can tell you is that not many people I’ve read, whether in Minnesota or beyond, write of the human condition with the same mixture of discovery, forgiveness and judgment that Emilio brings from his study. Years ago a small group of us, at the prodding of the toastmaster, were asked to identify three or four people who would be our choice if we were marooned on a desert highland and had to spend foreseeable months or years listening to each other. My first choice was Emilio. I never tire of hearing what this man has to say about the humanity around him. —Jim Klobuchar, Author and retired columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Amazon Reviews—

Avid Reader writes: Ramblings. This short story collection is loosely grouped in eight categories: American Dreams, True Stories, Human Nature, College Education. Embracing Technology, Military Intelligence, Jock Strappings, and Moral Compass. Each category contains a definition and several stories regarding one aspect of the definition. Like any collection, some readers will like some stories more than others will. One unexpected delight is the artwork provided for one of the stories.

Settling: 100 Snippets of Life of a Mid-Century Woman

Deborah Williams Smith

$17.95 – Buy a print copy online


Deborah Williams Smith’s Settling lies close to the author’s heart. Fiction based strongly on the lives of real people the author has known and loved over the course of sixty-five years, Settling is comprised of 100 short episodes, Snippets of Life. The tale begins in 1921, providing glimpses of post-WWII England and America as the narrative winds its way to the present day. Like those “camera flash” moments that stand out in a memory, Settling illuminates multiple family stories that entwine in an Anglo-American epic of great passion and evolving wisdom. Repeatedly tempted by Settling for life imagined, as in love is so sweet, the central characters ultimately accept Settling because it is the right thing to do after all.

Much of Settling, Section One, follows the famous 78th Lightning Division as it fights its way across WWII Germany. The mettle of one central character, Laverne, a medic in the 311th Timberwolves Regiment, is tested during the battle for the Bridge at Remagen. After the War, in 1945, during the occupation, the Timberwolves are stationed in the small town of Grebenstein. Combat-weary Laverne falls in love with a young local woman named Erika. Fraternization is strictly prohibited and marriage is not allowed, yet a mid-Century baby is on the way …

Amazon Reviews—

From Gregory Adams: All the while adding the human elements of love and survival, Settling is a collection of interconnected short stories, or “snippets” as the author has named them. These stories detail the lives of ordinary people swept up in extraordinary circumstances, all the while adding the human elements of love and survival, and our bottomless thirst for companionship. Settling reinforces the statement that “Life Happens” by identifying how coincidence comingles with unavoidable fate. The characters are well presented. The author unassumingly introduces them to us throughout the work, and candidly shows how they are products of a century that started out with more horses than automobiles, and ended up twisting out of control with war and global upheaval among its main themes. She shows us, through the weave of the stories and the experiences of the characters, how easily these people could be our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins…and us. Settling will resonate with children of the 20th Century. It in fact serves as a reminder to us all that our circumstances define us as much as we define our circumstances.

ONeil DeNoux says: Captivating short short stories. Well written short short stories based on real events. Deborah Williams Smith takes us through the long years with snippets of life, the good and the bad, the emotional, the human side. Excellent writing and good quick glimpses of captivating characters.

Dawn Laufenberg writes: Great Read Excellent book of short stories! I found I couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it in entirety. I was left wanting to know about the lives of each of the characters. The concept of “settling” was subtly and thoughtfully interwoven throughout the book making the reader ponder ones own life of settling or not settling! Can’t wait to read another book by the author Deborah Williams Smith!

Green Blade 2015 Edition

The annual literary magazine of the Rural America Writers Center, Plainview, Minnesota, published through a special partnership with Shipwreckt Books.



Su Smallen

Dan Butterfass

Melissa McNallan

Nicole Borg

Susan McMillan

Emilio DeGrazia

Kit Rohrbach

Nancy Hengeveld

Jennifer Jesseph

Patricia Barone

Nicholas Ozment

Dee Bezoier

Kate Halverson

Betty J. Benner

Tim J. Brennan

Ken McCullough

Peter Allen

Steven R. Vogel


Peg Bauernfeind

Emilio DeGrazia

P.S. Duffy

Kit Rohrbach

Donna Halvorson

Benj Mahle

Craig Falkum

Peter Allen

Marcia Savela

Nancy Hengeveld

Nicholas Ozment

Tom Driscoll

Empty Like a Pocket

Molly McDonald

Debut collection from Iowa Poet

“Sometimes, when I’m not thinking, I think it’s the future or 5th grade when I was the last kid to stop wearing sweatpants and I got a standing ovation when I finally wore jeans or the other morning when I was wandering around my yard without glasses, waiting for the neighbors to pull out of their driveway so I could pee beside the house or an alternate universe where I died in a train wreck or I’m inside the head of everyone throughout history who’s ever chopped mushrooms while looking out the window or I’m one of the rats that’s always chittering around in my walls. But then I’m like naaahhh, it’s Now! And now. And now. And I must be me.”—Molly McDonald

What critics are saying about Empty like a Pocket.
Molly McDonald has emptied her pockets for us, and inverted and convoluted in the fabric of her poems – they’ve become little black holes, revealing truths that previously hid as lies. Her deceptively clean language will shake you up with philosophical blindsiding, then explode kaleidoscopic like a Jackson Pollock painting made of your bone marrow. ‘I’m burrowed so/ far inside my head I found a China no one knows/ about,’ she writes, but it feels like somehow she burrowed inside my head. McDonald’s emotional archaeology feels necessary, though, not invasive; amid ice cream and dissections of car crashes, the ‘microscopic looming everything,’ holds taut dichotomies together under her watchful eye” – Claire Kruesel, MFA lecturer, Iowa State University

“McDonald’s poetry first left me speechless, then all the places in me that used to be cracks started shining, as I’d always secretly wanted them to.” – Brett Brinkmeyer, host of radio show Firsthand Poetry