Welcome to Cynthia Frank-Stupnik




Cynthia Frank-Stupnik is an award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist. She identifies with author Hamlin Garland. His Pulitzer Prize-winning story of  A Daughter of the Middle Border depicts the varied Midwest landscapes where he and his pioneering family worked and lived.

Frank-Stupnik began writing in Minnesota nearly sixty years ago. When she moved away from the Mississippi River to live in South Dakota, the land her German-Russian ancestors claimed in the 1870s, she took up pen (or keypad on the computer) in earnest. Her writing reflects her faith, family, ancestors, the varied landscapes that tug at her heart, and women’s rights.

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Where Two Rivers Meet, A Novel of Minnesota Main Street Women, published winter 2023, Heritage Books –A prequel to Scruples & Drams and Pins & Needles, Abigail Perkins Robinson Camp Porter’s story begins in Stowe, Vermont.  She is married to George Camp a salesman and wanderer to California where he along with friends twice try to make it rich in the goldfields.  He doesn’t make it the second time out there.  He dies in Marysville and is buried there.  Abigail and her son rely on family to survive.  Yet this is contrary to Abigail’s wishes.  She wants to be independent in an era when women are managed by their husbands or fathers.  She along with many other women is tired of not having her own rights.  She takes the offer her brother-in-law, the first doctor in Wright County, gives, which is to become Clearwater village’s hotel housekeeper.  She becomes the first white woman in the area, amidst hundreds of men starting over in a new land recently opened west of the Mississippi.  Here, where two rivers meet, she faces the challenges that help her develop the skills to become independent.

Pins & Needles, A Novel of Minnesota Main Street Women, published 2018, Heritage Books – Maude  Porter’s  narrative  takes  place  in  the  Mississippi  River  town  of Clearwater,  Minnesota.  Daughter  of  village  founders  Tom  Porter  and Abigail Camp Porter, she owns a millinery store upstairs of Boutwell’s Hardware  Store.  From  here,  she  can  keep  her  eye  on  the  comings  and goings of the village. What she sees causes quite a commotion, but what she hears over her newly installed telephone could spell trouble.
In this sequel to Scruples & Drams, readers see what life is like in the late 1800 and early 1900’s  for  the  “new  women”  who were educated, strong-minded,  and  holding  down  careers.  Women  like  Maude  have concerns about the health and well-being of many women who are over-worked,  under-educated  about  their  bodies,  and  become  pregnant way too often. While Maude understands that suffrage and equal rights are important, she also sees how the consumption of alcohol ruins families and communities and causes some men to be brutal.
At first, Maude believes education is the key to ridding the town of the  many  drunks  and  their  brawls  outside  Quinn’s  Saloon.  Ultimately, though,  she  and  others,  men  and  women,  come  to  realize  that prohibition  is  the  only  answer  to  setting  their  world  in  order.
For Clearwater, the answer is clear: shut down Pat Quinn’s Saloon.

Scruples & Drams, A Novel of Minnesota’s Main Street Women, published 2015 by North Star Press

With its arch-like trees covering the town, Clearwater provided a safe haven for Jennie Phillips, an apprenticing druggist in her father’s store in the late nineteenth century. While on a routine trip to deliver a prescription out in the country, she is alarmed when she encounters what some consider to be the ghost of murdered Irish girl roaming the Tamarack Swamp, a case she becomes obsessed with because it has never been solved. She struggles with her responsibility to uphold her father’s ethical practices when she learns how some women are using the over-the-counter patent medicines, those purchased at their store. Yet when she learns that rape and burglary can take place even in her village, Jennie realizes Clearwater is not as idyllic as she once thought, and for many women, the art of living isn’t as exact as dispensing.


AROUND CLEARWATER, published 2016 by Arcadia Publishing

Burrowed below bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Clearwater Rivers, Clearwater‘s houses, its churches, and most of its original businesses resemble those that settlers had left behind in the East. With its arch-like trees sheltering Oak and Main Streets, the community remained home to many who lived and died there and those who had moved on only to return for yearly Old Settlers gatherings. This sense of community allowed Clearwater to thrive. Flour and pulp mills lined the shores of the Clearwater River. Mercantile, hardware, jewelry, and drug stores cropped up, providing the products for a growing community. Trade once powered by steamboats on the Mississippi was taken over by James Hill’s Great Northern Railroad. While the village and surroundings have changed over time, the original charm is still there ready to be explored again.


My email:  Please feel free to drop me a note at books@cynthiafrankstupnik.com  or cstupnik@gmail.com.  Either way I will get back with you soon.

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