Harvesting Ashwood

Harvesting Ashwood: Minnesota 2037

Ten years after the second great depression, Americans struggle to recover from the country's recovery activities in Harvesting Ashwood: Minnesota 2037, the third speculative fiction novel by prize-winning author Cynthia Kraack. As colossal-size government, necessary during the chaos of...

Cynthia Kraack

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The Kroner Transfer

Amsterdam is a large airport, busy even at six thirty Sunday morning. Like many European airports it has transfer centers where passengers can check on their next flight or make changes to their reservations. It’s a good idea that would make more airports in the Untied States friendlier to visitors. The KLM 330 empties hundreds of people journeying from Minneapolis to the cities and countryside’s of Scandinavia, Europe or beyond. Young people with more dreams than goods, parents nervous about shepherding …

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Of Puppies and Revisions

Rocky recently joined our household. He is a fur ball of energy. We’ve laughed over his insane play, grown tired of his sharp teeth testing toes, rewarded outside pooping, and begun teaching the many lessons a puppy needs to co-exist with humans. (I promise this will turn to writing strategy and not be a gushing puppy love piece.) The puppy training bible recommends owners remember that everything done in these early months establish the rhythms and rules of a dog’s …

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Music and Writing

Some nights, silence is the best music as words become sentences and paragraphs fill the page. Some nights the womanly voices of Adele or Bonnie Raitt lure creativity onto a blank page then another and another. Or maybe lost in the beat of Justin Timberlake or Dave Matthews or old Rolling Stones, a new chapter rolls to completion. There was a time music was a required part of my writing routine. I had to be in a private place where I …

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Winter Weight

Attending literary events lately has led me to the non-scientific observation that writers in this part of the Midwest might eat too many calories per hour while sitting at their computers during extended cold weather. Pictures from a June book release party featured more people in loose fitting clothes in comparison to images from a similar September event. Add in the Minnesota writer living in Los Angeles since the holidays who announced on Facebook that he’s dropped so much weight …

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Unfinished Business

If I were a carpenter my workshop would be crammed full of three legged tables and boxes without drawers and skeletons without shelves. Story fragments have been dragged from computer to computer over the decades, as useless as the matching belt of a coat long ago donated to charity held on to because of a teasing dream of possibility. The pieces written by hand don’t bother me as much as the bits stored digitally. If a character profile is in …

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Easter Bunny Thoughts

The Easter Bunny is making his first appearance at the Bay Park Mall in Green Bay. (Note the “he” and move on. Like a ‘she’ bunny couldn’t deliver candy.) If the Easter Bunny is working then why aren’t you? At least the guy in that bad furry costume is earning a few bucks while you stare out the window and think about whether a character should walk out of the room or sneeze. Wait, isn’t that work? If the character …

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Pollen Art

Wolfgang Laib’s largest pollen art installation is on display at the Museum of Modern Art. On an elevated surface, the artist spread 18 jars of hazelnut pollen across a space measuring approximately 18 x 21 feet. Laib’s work is visible from most levels of the museum.  Exit galleries displaying Renoir, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Frank Lloyd Wright and you look down at a bright rectangle of yellow on a light grey concrete platform. People stand and stare at pollen that was …

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Drones and the Nervous Writer

I write speculative fiction. Not the kind with aliens or wizards. I write about the near future. It’s not like I haven’t thought about drones being used against civilians to gather information, dispense stuff, even cause collateral losses (aka death of civilians). From spying to patrolling borders to targeted bomb strikes that kill,  the international debate about drones cannot be ignored. Truth is I haven’t been ready to travel along the thought path where drones might exist in my neighborhood …

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My father speaks

My father is dying. The many physical failures of his eighty-five-year-old body have gained control in a way no medical intervention can defeat. He has a health directive in place so our family waits. In this holiday month a Christmas tree lights his apartment and seasonal music has become lullaby and comforter. After the first assault of pictures, he will not watch the news from Connecticut. He said “We’ve seen this before” and asked the channel be changed.  After growing …

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Holiday Ghosts

Writing about holidays is tricky. What do you really remember about childhood holidays? Was the Thanksgiving meal served at noon or maybe in the early evening? Did you realize that somebody had to be in the kitchen by about five in the morning to have a turkey ready to serve at noon? As a kid you didn’t have to think about that side of the holiday. If Grandma or Mom or Auntie Martha wasn’t as silly as the rest of …

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  • Cynthia Kraack is a Twin Cities-based writer and winner of the 2010 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Fiction for her first work, Minnesota Cold. In September 2010, North Star Press of St. Cloud released her second novel Ashwood, the first book in a speculative fiction trilogy following one family’s experience after a global economic depression.

    Kraack's new novel Harvesting Ashwood: Minnesota 2037 builds on the tradition of Ashwood by challenging today’s status quo within the twists and turns of a spellbinding thriller.

    Kraack explores social issues from today’s culture in a different future. From the basic right of people to daily food to the complex relationship the United States has with its children, the Ashwood series pushes readers to question the trade-offs made by politicians under the pressure of military expansion or international diplomacy.