Artworks' Writers

A second Monday of the Month

Writers Group



In the month of August, Indie author, Susan Stec acquired the title of New York Times bestselling author with 19 other authors for record breaking sales in four venues during Magic and Mayhem's opening week. It is not often a boxed set makes this list, and even less often with indie authors. We were quite proud to take #13 on the 15 member list.
See more of Susan's books and boxed sets on Amazon
Or visit her LANDING page to find out more about what she writes.
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 Skies were dreary and drippy, but last Saturday and Sunday were fine days in Fairyland (also known as Camp Newaygo), as droves of visitors wandered through woods and wetlands in search of fairy houses.

The occasion was the camp's Enchanted Forest event, two afternoons of fun and fundraising to support improvements to the camp's Foster Arts and Crafts Lodge. Generations of campers have explored painting, pottery, dark room photography, nature crafts, jewelry making, tie dye design, wood burning and other activities in that building. But the crafts lodge, built in 1949, is no longer adequate for the camp's growing number of campers and programs.


When Camp Newaygo put out the call to artists and craftspeople, asking them to create and donate fairy houses, event organizers hoped to get twenty-five to thirty houses. They received forty-two little dwellings fashioned from logs, twigs, stones, clay, glass, felt, feathers, acorn caps, pine cones, moss and generous amounts of imagination.

"Marcia's Gnome-acile" by Marcia Holcomb

"We want to send a big thank you to all of the artists who took the time and consideration to donate all of the beautiful houses," said Jane Vitek, Camp Newaygo's Executive Director. "Without them, the event couldn't have been possible."

"Pebble Cottage" by Mary Beth Cooper

Picture"Fairy Chateau" by Linda Cudworth

Camp staff and volunteers hid the fairy houses, gnome homes, pixie palaces and elf abodes in the woods for visitors of all ages to discover (with the help of trail maps, helpful guides and a display showing photos of all the houses to be found).

A trail map pointed out the routes to follow
Guides Morgan Pope and Jennifer Bell helped visitors navigate the trails
A photo display showed forest explorers what to look for
PictureI know it's in there somewhere!

Ray and I had an edge, having helped hide some of the houses Saturday morning. But even we had to look closely to spot some of them. And once guests began arriving—many sporting fairy wings and other whimsical garb—we had fun watching them search and then react with delight when they spied a tiny house nestled in the leaves or in the hollow of a tree stump. 

Violet Jenerou had the look!
Calla Casler wore fairy frou-frou
Emery and Isla Casler flitted in for the afternoon
Fairy Godmother Brenda Huckins Bonter spread magic all around
It's an imp! It's a leprechaun! No, it's an enchanted Mark Kane!
Could a house be hidden here?
Here's one!
Look at this one!
A young visitor pauses to read Sally's poem

Two houses offered extra surprises. Alongside Sally Kane's "Wee One's Stone Abode" was a poem Sally wrote about the house, and Ray's "Rustic Retreat" featured a story he wrote about its inhabitants.
Brenda reads Sally's poem to another forest explorer
Some fledgling fairies made wands or gnome hats at the crafts station and enjoyed a tea party of punch and cookies. Other visitors browsed the garden plants and accessories offered for sale by local shops.
Olivia Jenerou made a happy wand!
Did I hear tea party?
Zoe Hance approved of the cookies
Over the two days, a total of 627 visitors toured the Enchanted Forest.
"We were ecstatic about the positive responses we got about the event on social media, and we were so happy with the turnout," said Christa Smalligan, Director of Events and Operations. "It was wonderful to see families and friends outside exploring and enjoying themselves in nature."
Wish you'd been there? Or wish you could visit again? Then come along for a walk through the pictures below or a virtual stroll with WOTV4's Maranda.
If a fanciful creation catches your eye, drop by eBay to bid on one or more of the fairy houses. The auction runs until 11 a.m., Monday, May 9, and proceeds go to the Foster Arts and Crafts Lodge renovation project.
The houses will also be on display at Camp Newaygo, 5333 Centerline Rd., Newaygo, during the Mother's Day Brunch, Sunday, May 8. Between now and then, the public is welcome to view them during business hours,  Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.  
Ready for that walk in the woods? Let's go!
"Woodland Whimsy" by Amy Gallmeyer
"Sue's Cabin" by Sue Barthold
"Eric's Abode" by Eric LeMire
"Green Glass Cottage" by Eileen Kent
"Pixie Twist" by Dawn Campbell
"Woodland Hollow" by Christina Sutherland
Entry to "Will-o-Wisp" by Diane Sack
"Fairies of the Three Fires" by Connie Harrison
"Stew Stump House" by Sue Monterusso
"Ladybug Chalet" by Marcia Holcomb
"Kendra's Cob House" by Kendra McKimmy
"Unicorn and Fairy Dream House" by Linda Kilmer
"Shelby's Hide-Away" by Shelby Prickett
"Blueberry Hacienda" by Maureen Roslanic
"Wee One's Stone Abode" by Sally Kane
"Gnome Sweet Gnome" by Eileen Chamberlin
"Rustic Retreat" by Ray Pokerwinski
"Glass Cathedral" by Ellen Chamberlin
"Flying Fairy House" by Lindy Columbini

This month we'd like you to meet one of our writers.

Christopher Rizzo lives in Big Rapids Michigan. He recently graduated from Ferris State University with a degree in Dental Hygiene and is currently working for a subbing agency in Grand Rapids.

Christopher is a member of Artworks every other Monday writing group. His current work in progress is a yet-to-be-named science fiction novel. He also has plans for several other stories in the fantasy, adventure, and horror genres. All of which blend the feeling of realism with fantasy. In the next few years he hopes to have his first novel published.

"Don’t Call Me Honey.”


  Author Théa Heying                                              

Théa lives on the Muskegon River near Big Rapids, Michigan. She is a member of Artworks Writers’ Group and is working on The Dollarville Bus: Memories of Growing Up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Superior Stalker, a novel. 
She brings to the table her Yooper childhood, ripe for the cherry picking, a soft spot for oddball families, earned from her own near and dear, and a passion for understanding how people heal, gained from her work as a clinical social worker. 
She has contributed to Michigan History Magazine, Family Safety and Health, and various Michigan newspapers.

Don’t Call Me “Honey”   

I ignored the grumpy expression on the face of the woman with the syringe as she stepped behind me to inject the vaccine. I should have yanked down my sleeve and run like hell. Too late. She grabbed a hunk of my upper arm alongside my shoulder bone, tightened her grip, jammed the needle into my flesh, and pumped it deeper and deeper, while squeezing the muscle with her other hand. Finally she pushed the plunger and emptied the syringe’s contents, setting what I consider my all-time record for nastiest stick. 

     “There you go, Hon,” she muttered as she withdrew her weapon. I stood speechless. My arm hurt like crazy, and all I wanted to do was get out of there as fast as I could.

     As I pressed the elevator button on my way out, I silently snapped back at her, “ I am not your honey! It’s Mrs. Heying to you. Got that?”  Maybe she was trying to be nice, another part of me argued. She felt sorry for me, or maybe remorseful she handled me so roughly. Then I figured, no way. She’s covering up for manhandling me, and she thinks calling me Honey will sweeten my experience.

     Honey, or Hon, an endearment among family and friends, has become common parlance in medical settings. In a clinic or a hospital it can be a kind word offered to comfort. But only too often it becomes offhanded one-upmanship, disguised as a caring gesture. I do not address the receptionist, or the clerk or my doctor as Honey. Why should they do it to me?

     My brother, Joe, a Vietnam Vet, phoned me recently in a burst of gratitude for a life changing experience at the VA hospital.  “You wouldn’t believe it!” he enthused. “Two hours of getting the information into the system, going through the tests, and meeting with the doctor, who gave me at least twenty minutes of her time and knew what she was talking about. And everyone called me sir, or mister or Joe. In two whole hours, nobody there called me Hon!”  

     In the final stages of her ovarian cancer, my sister Ann’s port delivered her medication.   Placing the port had been tedious and painful; keeping it open required attention and skill. The chemotherapy tech blew it. “Sorry, Hon,” she offered by way of apology for the hours of misery my sister would suffer in order to correct her botched job. 

     Disrespect isn’t limited to phony endearments. The assumption a person prefers to be called by his or her first name, or nickname, is just that—an assumption. For some people the formality of titles lends structure to an anxiety producing encounter. I am happy not to call my doctor by his first name, even though I like him and feel comfortable in his presence. It’s not what you’d call a chummy relationship; it’s friendly and business-like with a touch of his compassion and my regard for his competence. If I called the man John it would confuse things.

    As a former healthcare worker I am not exempt from having used overly familiar direct address. I’ll call the dialysis patient Jane Jackson. She was my client, and in the spirit of what I (and others) at the time thought relaxed informality, I dropped her surname and used her given name on the unit. “Jane,” I said, and went on with what I had to tell her. 

     She pulled herself into an imperious stance and retorted, “You know, I just LOVE to be called Mrs. Jackson!”

    “What would you like to be called?” removes the guesswork and honors individual preferences. The likely answer will be, call me by my first name.  But, if you put the question to me and I reply, “I just LOVE to be called Mrs. Heying,” well, how hard can that be?

Author Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

Nan is a member of Artworks writer's group. She's a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray. A former science writer for the Detroit Free Press and the University of Michigan News Service, Nan has also written (under the byline Nancy Ross-Flanigan) for Dallas Morning News, Health, Fitness, More, Alternative Medicine, Arthritis Today, Science News and other print and online publications.
She's currently pursuing publication of a memoir, Mango Rash: Survival Lessons in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta, excerpts of which were finalists for the 2015 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards and Northern Colorado Writers Top of the Mountain Book Award and have been published in Colere.
Nan recently launched a blog, HeartWood  with the theme of cultivating creativity, connection and contentment. She plans to highlight local artists, writers and other creative types, as well as bring in examples from other locations. In addition to profiling interesting people and projects, Nan hopes to include virtual tours of studios, unusual gardens and innovative dwellings. (Suggestions welcome!)
Connect with Nan on Facebook.

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