Archive for the ‘Upper Michigan Books and Authors’ category

My Newest Book: Haunted Marquette-Ghost Stories from the Queen City

October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017—Local author Tyler Tichelaar will be giving his readers a treat this Halloween season. On Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marquette Regional History Center he will be releasing his newest book, Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. The book contains more than forty stories of ghosts and paranormal activity within the city of Marquette.

Tyler Tichelaar, 7th generation Marquette resident, has spent years collecting stories of Marquette’s hauntings.

“For years I’ve heard stories of various hauntings and collected them,” says Tichelaar. “I never thought I’d have enough for a book, but as I interviewed people, one story led to another. I’ve found sufficient evidence to make me believe several buildings in Marquette may be haunted or have experienced hauntings in the past.”

Haunted Marquette is divided into several sections on hauntings in Marquette’s churches and cemeteries, the downtown businesses, the lakeshore, various houses, and Northern Michigan University. Tichelaar researched each location to determine the likelihood of a haunting there and whether any historical evidence existed to make the haunting plausible. He also interviewed numerous people about their personal experiences with ghosts.

“I was afraid I would end up talking to a bunch of crazy people when I set out to write this book,” said Tichelaar, “but everyone I talked to was very sincere. Not one of them was seeking attention; most had not believed in ghosts before until they had a strange experience they could not explain logically.”

Numerous city landmarks are highlighted in the book as locations where ghosts have been sighted, including the former Holy Family Orphanage, Park Cemetery, the Marquette lighthouse, the Landmark Inn, the Peter White Public Library, and the Thomas Fine Arts building at NMU.

“Haunted Marquette” highlights more than forty places in Marquette that may be haunted.

“Only a couple of the hauntings can really be described as frightening,” says Tichelaar. “Most of these stories are about unexplainable phenomena; a few are heart-wrenching when you realize the tragedies some of the alleged ghosts experienced while still human, which has caused them to linger on this earth.”

Tichelaar will release Haunted Marquette at the Marquette Regional History Center on Wednesday, October 11. A presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last about an hour, followed by a book signing. Partial proceeds from the book signing will be donated to the history center.

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He is the author of The Marquette Trilogy, My Marquette, and numerous other books. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Writer Award in the Marquette County Arts Awards, and the Barb H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award. His novel Narrow Lives won the 2008 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award. In 2014, his play Willpower was produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium. You can learn more at Tichelaar’s website www.MarquetteFiction.com and at the MRHC’s website www.marquettehistory.org.

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“U.P. Reader” Brings Upper Michigan Literature to the World

June 8, 2017

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new literary magazine in the U.P. It’s called U.P. Reader and it’s been published by Modern History Press with the cooperation of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. In fact, partial proceeds of the sales are returned to UPPAA to help with funding its programming and other author-reader-centered activities. In addition, for every twenty copies sold, one copy will be donated to a UP Library. Already twelve copies have been donated.

The UP Reader contains 28 works of prose and poetry, all by U.P. authors.

The magazine is the brain child of U.P. author Mikel Classen. It will be an annual publication and features the works of UPPAA members, all of whom are U.P.-based authors. This first issue contains the works of:

Mikel Classen, Larry Buege, Deborah Frontiera, James M. Jackson, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Sharon M. Kennedy, Jan Kellis, Amy Klco, Becky Ross Michael, Elizabeth Fust, Terry Sanders, Tyler Tichelaar, Lee Arten, Roslyn Elena McGrath, Ann Dallman, Christine Saari, Aimée Bisonette, Frank Farwell, Ar Schneller, Rebecca Tavernini, Edzordzi Agbozo, Sarah Maurer, and Sharon Marie Brunner.

Several authors and local publications are already raving about U.P. Reader. Here are some of their remarks:

U.P. Reader offers a wonderful mix of storytelling, poetry, and Yooper culture. Here’s to many future volumes!”
— Sonny Longtine, author of Murder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

“Share in the bounty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with those who love it most. The U.P. Reader has something for everyone. Congratulations to my writer and poet peers for a job well done.”
— Gretchen Preston, Vice President, Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association

“As readers embark upon this storied landscape, they learn that the people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offer a unique voice, a tribute to a timeless place too long silent.”
— Sue Harrison, international bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“I was amazed by the variety of voices in this volume. U.P. Reader offers a little of everything, from short stories to
nature poetry, fantasy to reality, Yooper lore to humor. I look forward to the next issue.”
— Jackie Stark, editor, Marquette Monthly

“Like the best of U.P. blizzards, U.P. Reader covers all of Upper Michigan in the variety of its offerings. A fine mix of
nature, engaging characters, the supernatural, poetry, and much more.”
— Karl Bohnak, TV 6 meteorologist and author of So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories

You can purchase U.P. Reader at Amazon or in the U.P. at several different stores throughout the U.P. including in Sault Sainte Marie, Marquette, and Copper Harbor. A list of several of the local retailers selling the book can be found at its website: www.upreader.org.

You can also learn more about the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association at www.uppaa.org.

 

“Castle Nowhere”: Constance Fenimore Woolson’s Great Lakes Gothic

December 18, 2016

In October, my article “Constance Fenimore Woolson, the Mathers, and a Marquette Literary Mystery” was published in the Marquette Regional History Center’s publication Harlow’s Wooden Man. In that article I discussed how Woolson, who was the aunt to Samuel and William Gwinn Mather, probably traveled to Marquette and she also wrote the first stories set in Marquette back in the 1870s. Woolson is more famously known for her novel Anne (1882) set partly at Mackinac Island and for writing about the Great Lakes in general. In this article, I will talk about how she uses Gothic conventions to create some early U.P. Gothic literature.

In 1875, Constance Fenimore Woolson published a short story collection titled Castle Nowhere: Lake Country Sketches. The collection consists of three stories. The first, “Castle Nowhere,” is set off the shores of Lake Michigan and near Beaver Island, and the other two, “Jeanette” and “The Old Agency,” which are connected, are set on Mackinac Island.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

While Woolson was not the first author to set fiction in Upper Michigan, she was one of the pioneers of regional fiction for the area, and I believe the short story, “Castle Nowhere,” is probably the first Gothic work set in this region. And even the other two stories in the collection have Gothic elements, although I would not classify them as truly Gothic so I will not discuss them here.

From the beginning of “Castle Nowhere,” Woolson applies a Gothic atmosphere. The first character we are introduced to, Jarvis Waring, is a wanderer figure. He is a surveyor sent to Upper Michigan, but he feels like he has no purpose in the world. He also has conversations with “the Spirit of Discontent,” which is his restless wanderer self—in other words, he speaks to himself. (While I don’t think Jarvis Waring’s name has any symbolic connotations, it’s interesting to note that Jarvis was Woolson’s father’s middle name.)

Woolson also clearly sees the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a Gothic place because of its wild forests. This concept of the forest as Gothic is something she borrows from her great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper, and other earlier American authors like Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Cooper, especially, took the Gothic out of the castles of Europe and set it in the forests of America where people could easily become lost in the wilderness and where savage Indians threatened white settlers. That said, both Woolson and Cooper were sympathetic to Native Americans and often depicted Natives with redeeming characteristics. “Castle Nowhere” has no Native American characters in it, but the other two stories in the collection do, and Woolson includes other marginalized people in the story.

As the story begins, Waring has entered the woods of Upper Michigan to survey from the Lake Superior shore, but he becomes lost and finally stumbles back onto the lakeshore, not knowing where he is—later he’ll learn he has walked across the peninsula and has arrived on the shore of Lake Michigan, not far from the location of Beaver Island. As he is making camp for the night, Waring, speaking to his Spirit, says he would shake hands with Old Nick (the devil) himself because he is lonely. Soon after, “a phantom skiff” appears on the water, bearing Fog, a man who saw Waring’s fire and stops to visit him. Waring is wary of Fog, who says he comes from “Nowhere” and leads a “wandering life,” but he is polite and lets Fog stay.

Soon after, however, Waring wakes in the night to discover Fog has stolen a book and picture from him. Waring sees Fog making his way out into the water where he has moored his boat. Waring then takes a few days to create a dugout boat of his own and sets off in the direction Fog went to reclaim his property, saying, “I’ll find that ancient mariner,” an obvious reference that equates Fog to Coleridge’s doomed iconic Gothic wanderer figure. Indeed, as the story progresses, Fog reveals himself to be the quintessential Gothic wanderer.

Waring travels on the lake through a fog, but in the morning, the fog lifts and reveals a log house floating on the lake; this structure is the Castle Nowhere of the title, which explains Fog’s saying he was from Nowhere. This moment is interesting because it shows how Woolson is drawing on the Gothic tradition as created by her great-uncle in his novel The Deerslayer. In that novel, “Floating” Tom Hutter lives in a house in the middle of a lake. He also has two daughters living with him, whom he later on his deathbed confesses are not his daughters but stepdaughters. Waring soon discovers that Fog also has a daughter, named Silver, who lives with him (although not until the end of the story will she learn that Fog is not her father), as well as a servant who is a negress.

Woolson again draws on Gothic elements in her depiction of Silver as an innocent young girl who does not know good from evil because she is never allowed to venture off the floating house. She is a sort of Eve before eating the apple, but also a Rapunzel kept by a type of male witch in the form of Fog, and an Immalee, an innocent young woman who lives on an island in Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). Immalee knows nothing of the world save for Melmoth, a cursed supernatural wanderer, who visits her on the island where she is otherwise solitary. Melmoth makes Immalee fall in love with him, and eventually, she ends up entering into a satanic marriage with him. Silver is so innocent that she knows nothing of the Bible and Fog doesn’t want her to. She also has no knowledge of death. Previously, a servant boy, Jacob, and Fog’s sister Shadow, lived with them, but both died of illness and Fog took their bodies away by boat at night so Silver would never have to experience death. Woolson describes Silver in many ways to emphasize her innocence, including calling her a “water-maiden” and a “fair pagan.”

When Waring arrives, Silver is happy to meet him, and they become acquainted before Fog returns from one of his journeys. Fog is not happy at first to see Waring, but when he sees how Silver likes Waring and when Waring understands that Fog stole the book and picture for Silver, he keeps his mouth shut for a while. Later, however, Waring learns that Fog manages to support himself and Silver by being a scavenger and stealing, and worse, he is a “wrecker”—someone who puts lights on the shore to make sailors think it is a safe place to land a ship in a storm and then the ship ends up wrecked on the rocks. Fog then collects what belongings get washed ashore. Fog justifies the fact that he causes death for the shipwreck victims by saying that their lives matter nothing when compared to the pleasure he can give Silver by bringing her their belongings. Waring tries to stop Fog from wrecking a ship and the two end up in a scuffle with Fog hurting his leg. Waring then decides to stay to care for him for Silver’s sake because no one will provide for the family otherwise.

During this time, Fog tells Waring his story—that he committed a crime in New York unintentionally that caused him to become a wanderer, and finally, he convinced his sister to join him in his wanderings. They decided to call themselves Fog and Shadow because both are gone by morning—a wandering metaphor. Fog obviously suffers greatly, saying how his crime only took a minute, but his suffering is endless. Still, he believes God will eventually forgive him and be merciful (this despite how he continues to murder through causing shipwrecks). He claims that when he found Silver as an orphan child, he felt God was letting him know he would eventually be forgiven.

As winter approaches, Fog tells Waring he’s well enough to provide for Silver again, so Waring can leave before the lake freezes and the ice makes it impossible for him to depart. Waring, however, decides to stay because it’s clear he’s fallen in love with Silver. In time, it’s decided that Waring and Silver will marry and Waring will take her back to the real world. They wish to marry before they leave, so Fog and Waring go to nearby Beaver Island to kidnap a former Presbyterian minister who lives there among the Mormons so he can perform the marriage ceremony. This reference to the Mormons on Beaver Island makes it clear the story is set between 1848 and 1856 when the Mormons had a colony there before being driven off the island.

After the wedding, Fog becomes ill and dies, but not before his deathbed confession to Silver that she is not his daughter, but an orphan he found and cared for as if she were his own. This scene is obviously heavily influenced by Floating Tom’s death scene in The Deerslayer, as well as other scenes in Gothic tradition where people reveal family secrets on their deathbeds. As he dies, Fog asks God whether his sin is expiated, but whether he receives an answer is unknown as he dies right after the question is asked. After Fog’s death, Waring and Silver return to the civilized world, taking the negress with them, while Castle Nowhere slowly disintegrates and sinks into the lake until it is, indeed, Nowhere.

“Castle Nowhere” is both a remarkable and gripping story to read in many ways, as well as an early work that shows Woolson is clearly imitating authors she has read. It is also fascinating because of its Gothic, supernatural, and somewhat fairy tale atmosphere. Woolson would go on to write her first novel, Anne (1880), which bears some resemblance to “Castle Nowhere,” although it is more realistic; in that novel, the title character is also a young girl who has lived a sheltered but happy life on an island—although Mackinac Island and so she is isolated but not solitary—and eventually, Anne also leaves to enter the real world, only her experiences will not be happy, while we can predict that Silver and Waring will live happily ever after.

As a resident of the Upper Peninsula who is familiar with many of the locations Woolson writes about, I can say that the area remains heavily forested, and I can definitely see why it would inspire a Gothic atmosphere for a novel. Woolson, who was a close friend of Henry James, would go on to write many more books set in the Great Lakes area as well as the South before her fatal death falling out of a window in Venice. Some speculation exists that she committed suicide. Perhaps Woolson had a bit of the Gothic wanderer’s spirit about her.

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Tyler Tichelaar, Ph.D. is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, the Children of Arthur series, and numerous novels and nonfiction books set in or about Marquette, Michigan. You can visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com and www.MarquetteFiction.com

U.P. Book Market to Be Held at Peter White Public Library: Twenty-Two Local Authors to Meet Their Public

June 11, 2016

MARQUETTE, MI (June 11, 2016)—On Friday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Peter White Public Library, in association with the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, will host a U.P. Book Market—the event will be like a farmer’s market, but devoted to the display and selling of books by local authors.

book market posterThe event is the brainchild of Gretchen Preston, Vice President of the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, and author of the Valley Cats children’s book series. “We are always looking for ways to get the public more interested in reading and local authors, and we also appreciate the support the Peter White Public Library constantly provides to authors, so we thought we’d have an event at the library and raise some money for it. Every author who participates will be making a donation to the library.”

Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director and fellow coordinator of the U.P. Book Market, added, “This event is a such a great showcase of literary talent in the Upper Peninsula.  PWPL is fortunate to have the support of organizations like the UPPAA.  Funds raised at this event will benefit the PWPL’s Annual Fund which helps provide materials and programming.”

The list of authors attending will encompasses the entire U.P. literary scene and beyond. They are: Aimée Bisonette, author of North Woods Girl (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Corey LaBissoniere, author of Land of Enchantas (Houghton), Sharon Brunner, author of Shadow Travelers (Sault Sainte Marie), Larry Buege, author of the Chogan Native American Series (Harvey), Mikel Classen, author of Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial (Sault Sainte Marie), Deborah Frontiera, author of Living on Sisu (Lake Linden), Jan Kellis, author of Bookworms Anonymous Cookbooklet (DeTour Village), R.E. Kelly, author of The World According to Luke series (Escanaba), Sharon Kennedy, author of Life in a Tin Can (Brimley); Jesse Koenig, author of Brief Perversions (Baraga), L.E. Kimball, author of Seasonal Roads (Newberry), Tim LaJoice, author of Little Whittle: Tale of a White Beaver (St. Ignace), Tamara Lauder, author of Breaking Free Too: Taking a Flight With a Butterfly Toward Self-Discovery (St. Germain, WI), Sonny Longtine, author of Magnficent Mansions and Courtly Cottages (Marquette), Martyn Martello, author of Serial Killer Confessions: Just Friends (Marquette), Paulette Noble, author of the A Virtual Reality series (Escanaba), Rondi Olson, author of All Things Now Living (Munising), Gretchen Preston, author of the Valley Cats series (Chocolay Township), Janeen Pergin Rastall, author of Objects May Appear Closer (Gordon), Richard Smith, author of hunting and wildlife books (Marquette), Tyler Tichelaar, author of The Marquette Trilogy (Marquette), and Lloyd Wescoat, owner of Mudminnow Press (Copper Harbor).

In addition to authors selling their books, several children’s authors will participate in activities for younger readers. “Summer is a fabulous time to encourage children to read,” said Preston, “and, hopefully, this event will get them excited about reading just as the school year is ending.”

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be among the many authors at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

The festive event will include additional attractions. Before you can relax with a good book, you may need help relaxing, so Nancy Ring, a massage therapist, will be on site to provide massages. Superior Mobile Koney will be providing culinary delights to book market visitors. Live music will be performed throughout the day, and face-painting will be available for all the young at heart. The musical schedule is: 12:00-1:00pm – Corinne Rockow (musician and storyteller), 1:30-2:30pm – Kerry Yost and Dylan Trost (experimental instrumentals and eccentric, folksy songwriting), and 3:00-4:00pm – Tanya Stanaway (Finnish music).

The event is being held in conjunction with the 19th annual U.P. Publishers and Authors Association Conference, which will take place the following day on Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Community Room and Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library. This year’s conference will host several speakers on writing, publishing, and book marketing, including keynote speaker Judith Briles of Aurora, CO, who is nationally known as The Book Shepherd. Those interested in attending the conference can find more information and register at www.uppaa.org

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Ten-Year Anniversary Edition Released of Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One

April 21, 2016

Marquette, MI, April 20, 2016—In 2006, local author Tyler R. Tichelaar published his first novel, Iron Pioneers, which was soon followed by two sequels, The Queen City and Superior Heritage to complete The Marquette Trilogy. Now Tichelaar is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of this first novel by reprinting it with a new color cover, an interior historic map of Marquette, and a new preface “Creating a Literature for Upper Michigan.”

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

“It felt like the ten-year anniversary of my first book was a reason to celebrate,” said Tichelaar. “And Iron Pioneers remains my bestselling book to this day, but I was never happy with the brown cover, which was chosen by my publisher at the time. I initially envisioned a gold cover, so I’ve chosen that, which seemed appropriate for an anniversary edition.”

Tichelaar first had the idea to write novels set in Marquette back in 1987 when he began writing his first book, eventually published in 2009 as The Only Thing That Lasts. But it was in 1999, when he was living in Kalamazoo, earning his Ph.D. in Literature, and homesick for the U.P., that he had the idea to write a novel that covered the scope of Marquette’s history. “It was Marquette’s sesquicentennial year,” he said, “and I felt it was time to tell Marquette’s story in a new way that highlighted its significant role in American history.” Tichelaar planned to write one novel, but the more research he did, the larger it grew, until it eventually became a trilogy. “It was seven years from conception to publication,” said Tichelaar, “but nearly 600,000 words and countless drafts later, I found it all worth it when people began reading The Marquette Trilogy.”

The plot of Iron Pioneers begins with a prologue about Father Marquette coming to the Marquette area. It then moves ahead to 1849 when Marquette was founded. It follows several fictional families through the early pioneer years, the Civil War, the fire of 1868, and the growth of Marquette. Numerous historical people, including Bishop Baraga and Peter White, are featured in the story. The story concludes in 1897 with the celebrations surrounding the Father Marquette statue’s unveiling. The successive books in the trilogy continue the story of Marquette’s history up to the sesquicentennial celebrations in 1999. “I wanted readers to feel they were stepping back in time to meet Marquette’s pioneers and to come away appreciating the sacrifices they made and the courage they showed when the settled here,” said Tichelaar.

Tichelaar has been very pleased with his readers’ responses to Iron Pioneers and his other books. “People tell me that they look at Marquette differently after they read my books. They notice old buildings, wonder about the people who once lived or worked there, and want to learn more about them. Tichelaar also noted that when he began writing Iron Pioneers, there was a lack of adult fiction set in Upper Michigan. Since then, the number of U.P. writers has exploded. “Today we can be proud that we have a vibrant and diverse U.P. literature,” said Tichelaar. “We have novels, history books, and poetry. I know of over one hundred U.P. writers all doing their part to capture the essence of our life here. I am proud to be one of the pioneers of that movement, and I intend to write many more books for the people who love this place and call it home.”

Iron Pioneers, The Marquette Trilogy: Book One (ISBN 9780979179006, Marquette Fiction, 2016) can be purchased in paperback and ebook editions through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit www.MarquetteFiction.com. Review copies available upon request.

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UP Author and Publisher Forum – April 9th

April 6, 2016
Join me and several of my fellow UP writers this Saturday for:
Writers of the Northern Persuasion
U.P. Author and Publisher Forum
Saturday, April 9th
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy Street, Hancock
Featuring over 20 regional authors and publishers offering book sales and publishing information.
Fiction, non-fiction, regional, poetry, book design, photography, children’s and more!
Presentations on writing and self-publishing from 10:15 to 12:30. Author readings from 12:30 to 3:00.
Open Mic night at K.C. Bonkers Toy Store and Coffee
119 Quincy Street, Hancock
6:00-8:00 p.m.
“Writers of the Northern Persuasion” is made possible partially through funding from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Council for the Humanities.

My Article about Carroll Watson Rankin and Dandelion Cottage is Published

February 27, 2016
The current issue of Michigan History, in which my article appears.

The current issue of Michigan History, in which my article appears.

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve had an article about Carroll Watson Rankin published in the latest issue of Michigan History magazine. I feel very honored to be published in the state magazine and even more that the magazine’s editor approached me and asked me to write the article. I also thank the Marquette Regional History Center staff for supplying the images for the article.

Carroll Watson Rankin was born and raised in Marquette. She adopted the male version of her name for her pen name and wrote several stories she published in magazines. Then in 1904, she penned her classic children’s book Dandelion Cottage based on the antics of her daughters and a small cottage behind the Rankin home in Marquette. The book has been loved by generations of children and its success inspired Rankin to write many more books. The cottage is still in Marquette and has a fascinating history of its own, as detailed in my article.

Copies of the issue can be purchased at the Historical Society of Michigan’s website: http://www.hsmichigan.org/store/back-issues/

Dandelion Cottage in Marquette - the inspiration for Carroll Watson Rankin's children's classic.

Dandelion Cottage in Marquette – the inspiration for Carroll Watson Rankin’s children’s classic.