Out of 10,000 novels entered WORLDWIDE, TREASURE tied for 2nd place in general fiction!

"2nd Place out of 10,000 worldwide entries? Isn't that like winning the silver in the Birkie?"
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Cable & Hayward Lumberjack Novel Closes in on Major Book Award

THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON now in 2nd Place out of 10,000 Novels

April, 2013

 THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON, an 1883 lumberjack adventure set in Bayfield and Sawyer Counties recently caught the attention of literary critics judging the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA). The contest allows only 10,000 entries worldwide. Brakken’s book fell into the “general fiction” grouping, one of five categories of novels in the competition. Last week, ABNA judges and Publishers Weekly Magazine critics who conduct the long and difficult process of elimination, announced TREASURE is among the semi-finalists still surviving the cut. Cable author, James A. Brakken, submitted this recent novel, a fiction based on the history of the Cable and Hayward region in January. His book survived the first three levels of the competition and now is competing for first place in general fiction out of 10,000 ABNA entries.


“There are only a handful of competition opportunities offered to authors with new novels,” said Brakken. “The Pulitzer Prize is probably the most recognized. Others include the Newberry Awards, the National Book Awards, and a few others. Most require the book to be published by a mainstream publishing company. The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is in the top ten literary award competitions for new novels and the largest competition for self-published authors.”


“The competition is fierce,” Brakken continued. “Less than half make the first cut. I was flattered when my novel did and downright surprised when TREASURE made the second cut, placing it among 99 others out of ten-thousand. But I was absolutely beside myself when I learned I am now one of only five authors competing for first place in general fiction.”


THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON is a tale of a boy rescued from a dangerous child labor scheme in 1883 Chicago. He is soon reunited with his father, meets a free-spirited girl and Chief Namakagon, his mentor. The tale explores the lives of the lumberjacks, railroad men, and miners who sought their fortunes in northwestern Wisconsin in the 1880s. The story offers insight into the irresponsible environmental ethics of the time and the conflict between the small, independent camps and those large timber corporations that used every means available to either oust or absorb them. The rich history of those days is related in a page-turning adventure story suitable for all readers.


“TREASURE is also about Chief Namakagon and his legendary silver treasure,” Brakken said. “Ashland Press articles tell us he died in 1886 without ever disclosing the whereabouts of his secret mine. Treasure hunters still travel to Wisconsin in search for Namakagon’s treasure.”


James Brakken now waits to hear if his novel will make the next cut. The news is due out before Memorial day. If he succeeds, it will mean THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON ranks as the first place winner of the 2013 ABNA competition. With this recognition for his writing would come a paid trip to the awards presentation in Seattle, Washington plus a publishing contract offer.


“A win would also bring the rich history of northern Wisconsin’s great 19th century timber harvest to readers across the nation and around the world,” said Brakken. “Imangin the potential boon to tourism for Wisconsin, especially Hayward, Cable, and Ashland, Chief Namakagon’s “stomping ground” for five decades.”


  “I am thrilled to have THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON within the top twenty-five out of ten thousand novels entered,” said Brakken, “and humbled, knowing my writing caught the judges’ eyes and brought the history of our region such attention Any additional recognition is certainly welcome, but, frankly, being in the top one-quarter of one percent of ten thousand authors is such a great honor, I need no more. Perhaps the greatest benefit I would receive from a first-place standing is the opportunity to have a publishing firm market my book so I can concentrate on the next two books in the series. One, TOR LOKEN AND THE DEATH OF CHIEF NAMAKAGON, a mystery, is due out this summer.”  


“In TREASURE, I combined an exciting adventure story with our local and regional history,” Brakken said. “I’ve even listed the actual events that inspired scenes in the book on my website, BadgerValley.com. People who check out that page after reading the story are generally amazed at how close the story is to facts from our area. Most residents and visitors alike are amazed to learn what happened here and what life was like in the pinery 130 years ago. Everything from the attempted dynamiting of the Namakagon Dam by disgruntled sawmill workers, to gunfights over the right to use our streams to float timber to the mills. It’s all in our past, and now in a story that brings it to life for all readers.”


“Many TREASURE readers have commented that it would make a great movie. They will be pleased to hear I have started the screenplay version. Although I have written for the stage, the screenplay format is all new to me. I find it especially difficult to condense my 250 page novel into a 100 page screenplay, one of the requirements. If my book gets the ABNA first place or grand prize award, it is very likely to catch the attention of the film industry. If that long shot comes to be, I will only sign if the studio agrees to shoot it in Wisconsin.”


THE TREASURE OF NAMAKAGON is available at Redbery Books, the Loon Saloon, and the museums in Cable. It can be found at Marketplace Foods, Ben Franklin, and the Sawyer County Historical Museum in Hayward, the historical museums in Ashland, Washburn and Superior, Northwood Book and Fiber in Spooner, Apostle Island Books in Bayfield, and many fine shops and outlets across the north. Order the softcover and ebook online by credit card or Paypal at BadgerValley.com where shipping is free. Also at Smashwords.com, Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.


Brakken is finalizing a free “TREASURE TOUR” day trip brochure that will show 26 key “lumberjack” history sights in the Cable – Hayward region. Look for it on BadgerValley.com and in key area outlets in June. Speaking engagements can be scheduled by contacting James Brakken at 715-798-3163 or BayfieldCountyLakes@yahoo.com. A portion of all sales goes to local lake or river associations and Wisconsin Public Radio.



Publishers Weekly Reviewer

“This is a fascinating tale of the men who harvested the pines in Wisconsin’s North Woods. In 1883 Tor Loken joins his father Olaf and uncle, Ingman, in their logging camp on Lake Namakagon. Namakagon, an Obijwa chief, is the heart of this story of the land and its preservation. The author expresses his deep feelings for nature in his breathtaking descriptions and the chief’s profound sadness when he honors a bear he has just killed. There is a strong sense in this book of oneness with nature and the power of a higher force. At the same time, there is a great story with intimate details of every aspect of life in a winter logging camp. The tools they used, the methods for felling trees, even the foods they ate are described with vibrancy. This is no boring geography lesson, but a novel with a great cast of characters and a convincing villain hard at work trying to ruin the Loken’s Namakagon Timber Co. There’s rip-roaring action, a beautiful girl, and great yarns rivaling Paul Bunyan. The book is so well-written, you will weep when you read of the death of a 300-year-old pine tree. Difficult to put down; a great read.”



ABNA Expert Reviewer:

“The writing style of this piece is its greatest strength. This is very readable and interesting. The details add a great deal of depth and texture to the piece and it is obvious that much of it is drawn from the author’s life/heritage/research. The reader can very clearly see and experience what occurs in the story and the reader is engaged from the very beginning of the piece. The sense of history and place comes through so strongly that the reader can’t help but be fascinated.”

“The prose that the author uses to link past events to current circumstances just flows so well. When the piece transitions into the story of the chief, the tone … changes, but loses none of its strength. From this different point of view, the progress of this tale continues on and is just as wonderful a read…just with a different voice. These different voices come together so well to create a beautiful melody of experience and viewpoint. This piece just had such great texture and detail. The flow of the words is like an old fashioned song – one that brings pleasant memories to mind.”



“Weaving mystery into history, The Treasure of Namakagon vivifies the tumultuous nature of life in the legendary north woods.”  Michael Perry, NYT bestselling Wisconsin author/entertainer.

“A very talented writer. Consider me a fan!” Jeff Rivera, media personality and author.

“Open with caution! You won’t want to put this one down.” LaMoine MacLaughlin, Wisconsin Writers Assn President.







Now in a group of 5 novels contending for 1st place in General Fiction.

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