May 28, 2017

Flash Back to 2011: Michigan, My Michigan by Jane Toombs

In case you’re not aware, Michigan has always been separated into two peninsulas. A ferry was the only connection until they did the impossible--built the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac where the waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet. The Mighty Mac, as we call the bridge, led to those of us in the Upper Peninsula to be called Yoopers. Those below in the Lower Peninsula naturally became Trolls.

Back when the states were setting boundaries, Lower Michigan did not want the UP, they wanted Toledo. At the time Michigan was becoming a state, so was Ohio--who also claimed Toledo. In its wisdom, the federal government chose to give Toledo to Ohio and Michigan got the mostly unknown-at-that-time, and certainly unwanted by the new state--the Upper Peninsula. As a result, those of us who live up here have often felt like unwanted stepchildren as far as tax money goes.
While Lower Michigan has some beautiful areas, all of the Upper Peninsula is beautiful. From our ubiquitous woods to pristine Lake Superior beaches, to the Porcupine Mountain State Park stands of virgin hemlock, it’s truly a much underused vacation spot.
Think all weather fishing, hunting and skiing in the Porkies, a nickname given parks. My tiny village even has a golf course. Then there are the water sports. Swimming, boating, kayaking and romantic walks on sandy beaches christened by long northern evenings and camping near a driftwood fire and toasting marshmallows with a group of friends is a common.

The Lower Peninsula has Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other while the UP has Lake Superior and the north shore of Lake Michigan, plus a tiny part of Lake Huron. If you’ve never seen the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, you’ve missed an awesome experience.

Oh, the food! Michigan residents bake delicious pastries. The Cornish brought them when they came to work in the copper and iron mines. The Finns arrived and their wives improved the pastries by adding carrots and rutabaga. Between the mines and the logging, men from every nation in Europe came for work bringing their delectable recipes with them.

For history buffs, there are remarkable mines to visit. We also have lots of lighthouses and almost every town has a historical society which includes lighthouse tours.

You can’t take a trip to Michigan without visiting Mackinac Island in the Straits or you’ve missed a great historical experience. Owned by the French, the British, briefly by England and finally the United States, this powerful defense now stands as reverence to history adding even more beauty an island now famous for fudge. I’m a Yooper and the Upper Peninsula is so special to me that I use it for many of my book settings covering a variety of genres.

From my paranormal romance stories like North of Nonesuch, an anthology, to my gothic suspense romances, like Null and Void or my Darkness of Dragons trilogy, and my releases coming this year, I’ve penned a record number of works. Perhaps the amount of books I’ve written lately is be due to winters in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula being too cold and snowy for this old bat to get out much. Whatever the case, I’m a prolific and eclectic writer, which means I have lots of books coming out every year in all sorts of genres--I haven’t branded to just one so I write something for everyone’s reading taste.

While I was growing up in the UP, praise was always enthusiastically given to me for good work but bragging was discouraged. Overcoming this ingrained behavior has made it difficult to promote my talent and say, “Hey, look everybody, I have a new book out. And is it good!” A sweet romance set in Alaska, Two Hearts And A Crow; a suspense romance novella coming out in a Christmas anthology plus two ghost novellas Taken In and Shadow On The Floor are just a few of my completed projects releasing this year.

You can check out my bio and all my work at my web site:

Thanks to Jane Toombs for the reprint of this article from 2011 
Click on her weblink for more information on her work.


  1. Hey, I've heard of you. You make the UP sound beautiful and romantic and actually enticing. Although I've been to MI many times, I haven't seen that part of the state. I read a book recently which talked about salt mines in Detroit. I had no idea there were mines at all in MI. Learn something new every day.

  2. Thanks, Laura, I greatly appreciate the compliment

  3. My son went to college at Kettering in Flint, MI, and now owns a house and lives in the Detroit area with his wife. We've been camping for years all around the state with them. I'd love to move there, especially now that she is due to give us our first grandbaby soon! But especially so that we could more easily camp in all of the majestic beauty that is Michigan, including the UP, which we've only been to once. Thanks for sharing!


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