NYA author captures outdoors life in second book

NYA author Mike Lein’s second book, “Down at the Dock” includes a collection of short stories about outdoor life and hunting. (Adam Gruenewald/The Times)

by Adam Gruenewald
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Mike Lein of NYA seeks to recapture the outdoors experience in his second book, “Down at the Dock.”
Much like Lein’s first book, “Firewood Happens,” his new book that was initially completed in January has a strong focus on the outdoors with some sprinklings of humor.
However, chapters like “Mysteries of the Northwoods” and “Trail Cam” on searching for Bigfoot with trail cameras in the woods and “Down at the Dock” on skinny dipping are sure to interest readers in a new way.
“It’s a little more in-depth, generally speaking,” said Lein. “I cover some things in it that I wouldn’t have covered when I was working for the county.”
As reported earlier, Lein, a 64-year-old Montevideo native, Lein received a degree in biology from Bemidji State always with the idea of focusing on the outdoors after learning to hunt and fish from his dad Jerry and uncle Fred Larson, who has since passed away.
A resident of NYA since 1983, Lein then had several jobs before working for Carver County for more than 42 years as the environmental services manager a job a retired from last October.
It was through that job where he honed his writing skills as he developed grants, press releases and public speeches but his talents developed further in 1999 when he visited Listening Point in Ely, the home of author and naturalist Sig Olson. He soon took to the challenge, writing about 50 magazine articles mostly in the winter well after his experiences, some of which were shared in “Firewood Happens.”
For his efforts, “Firewood Happens” was a recipient of the 2016 Midwest Book Awards for first place in humor from the Midwest Independent Publishing Association. The book also was sold to the Minnesota State Park Association and has increased in circulation.
“It’s been one thing after another and it’s been fun and selling well,” said Lein, who attended an awards ceremony on May 12.
Again, “Down at the Dock” was published by a talented writer’s group up north, Jackpine Writers’ Bloc and features the art of Lein’s nephew Erik Espeland.
In addition to the stories on skinny dipping and Bigfoot, Lein highlighted short stories on various fishing trips in Canada as well as his favorite story entitled “The Perfect Crime” on “allegedly” stealing firewood.
“It’s about running short on firewood and doing desperate things to come up with it,” said Lein, describing a story that may have taken place a couple of years ago. “There might have been a tree laying on a neighbors land that was going to waste.”
Including those stories as well as others is perfect for Lein who is eager to share laughs with fellow people in the outdoors and those who have shared his experiences.
“I think a lot of people take themselves too seriously,” said Lein. “And there are things that happen.”
In addition to non-fiction stories, “Down at the Dock” also includes a fiction story that won an award in 2013 “A River Runs Through It,” a second fiction story in “Brigadoon” as well as “Random Acts of Plowing” about snowplowing your neighbors’ driveways that is written by his brother Jim “Snow” Lein of Colorado.
“It’s things that people up there can relate to especially if you have a cabin in the Northwoods,” said Lein.
Lein plans to spend this summer marketing his book in addition to taking several adventure trips to Canada and Montana and spending time up north to get inspired for his third book for next year that will likely have more of a focus on hunting and fishing with the likely title of “Five Places to Die.”
Both “Firewood Happens” and “Down at the Dock” are available on Amazon and people in the area can also order it by contacting Lein at 651-503-6262 or [email protected] or purchase it from local retailers like the Quilting Grounds in NYA.

Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald