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Twin Cities authors help start new chapter for New Ulm book store

NEW ULM — Three Minnesota authors talked about their books at the Lykke Books' grand opening Saturday.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch. Minnesota authors from left, Jess Lourey, Sarah Stonich and Kristi Belcamino visit before talking at Lykke Books, 203 Minnesota St. North Saturday, May 18th, 2024.

Paynesville native Jess Lourey has written more than 25 books including thrillers, women’s fiction, children’s books and non-fiction. One of her favorite books is “The Quarry Girls,” fiction based on true events that happened in Minnesota in 1977.

Lourey said at age 15, she once hitch-hiked from Paynesville to Willmar to visit the Kandi Entertainment Center.

“I was picked up by turkey truck drivers. I think there was a bowling alley there,” she said.

The establishment that included a bar and grill, bowling alley and sand volleyball closed in 2017 after 40 years in business.

Kristi Belcamino writes mystery, suspense, thriller and crime fiction novels, typically about fierce, independent, strong female characters who fight evil in an attempt to seek justice for those unable to get it themselves.

A former newspaper reporter in California, she worked on a number of high-profile cases is now associated with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Her non-fiction books include “Letters from a Serial Killer” in addition to vigilante crime books and novels.

Stonich is the author of “Laurentian Divide,” a Minnesota Book Award winner and award-winning novel “Vacationland.” Her feminist fiction fishing with RayAnne trilogy debuted with “Fishing!”

A general interest bookstore specializing in new adult and kid’s books and regional titles and community hub held a grand opening at 203 North Minnesota Street Saturday.

A community space in the bookstore, Ulm Sweet Ulm, features a community center, grab-and-go cafe including goodies from Gutes Essen Deli & Catering and Crush 80/20, include a rent-able multi-purpose gym, and indoor artisan market.

Lukke Books will continue to donate a portion of its net profits to a sister non-profit organization, Lykke Communities, to fund area youth programming.

Business founder Brie Taralson said she conducted focus groups and a youth survey to learn more about what programs community youth would like to take part in.

“The top five areas of interest are arts and creative writing offerings, skill-building classes, life skill building, movement-based activities, and community service projects.

“We are thrilled with the response and opportunity to give back to area youth and families in such a meaningful way,” said Taralson.

Programs include author reading and signing events and book clubs.

Ulm Sweet Ulm plans to offer weekly game nights including tabletop games and self-directed activities for adults and adolescents in the art cafe.

Lykke Books is featuring pottery from Winthrop native and local ceramic artist Kylie Rieke.

Business hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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