Monday, February 28, 2011



The Kansas Author’s Club District 2 is now accepting entries for the
2011 Writing Contest. The contest is open to writers in Kansas and
Missouri and includes prose, poetry, and youth categories.
Prose entries have a 2000‐word limit. Categories are: short story, feature article, memoir, inspirational, and children’s story.
Poetry categories are: Rhymed verse (classic and other forms, 40 line limit), Whimsy, Free verse, and Haiku.
Children’s entries are: grades 5‐8 Fiction and essay; grades 9‐12 Fiction and essay.
All entries should be unpublished.
Prizes of $20, $10, and $5 will be awarded for First, Second, and Third place in all categories. Honorable mention will receive certificates.
Closing date for entries is March 31, 2011. Winners will be honored at the May 14th District 2 meeting.
The entry fee is $3 per submission for KAC District 2 members and $5 for non‐members. Only the title and category appear on the top of page of each typed entry. On a separate cover sheet type name and address, including email address (if available), and a list of entries submitted by title and category, and indicate whether you are a District 2 member or not. Enclose a SASE with your entry.
The submissions and entries fees (check or money order made out to Kansas Author’s Club District 2) should be sent to
Kris James
26243 West 111th Terrace
Olathe, KS 66061.
Information about Kansas Author’s Club is available at under Districts, then District 2 News. Click on 2011 Writing Contest for more information.
Words Matter
Kansas Author’s Club, District 2

D#2 Contest Rules AVAILABLE

The District Two 2011 writing contest opens TOMORROW!

On March 1, the contest chair will begin accepting entries to the Kansas Authors Club District Two writing competition. Read the rules by going to the Kansas Author Club website at Click on the Districts tab, scroll down until you reach the District 2 site, the one headed with the picture of the 2011 president, Susie Nightingale. This competition closes on March 31. Winners will be announced at the May 14 meeting.

The state-wide KAC writing contest is a totally separate activity. Although there are many similarities, there are DIFFERENCES in the two contests. Guidelines for this contest are found at the same website,, but this time click on the CONTEST tab on the left-hand side of the site.

The statewide contest does not open until the District Two contest closes. One primary difference is the statewide "theme" category, prose and poetry, based on the annual convention theme of "Kansas: Freedom Frontier for 150 Years." Entries for the statewide contest will not be accepted until April 1.

All entries must be unpublished, and if they otherwise meet the guidelines, may be entered in both contests. The contest chairs and the judges are two separate groups.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Support for the arts in Kansas faces a shaky future with the issuance by Governor Sam Brownback of an executive order eliminating the Kansas Arts Commission on July 1, 2011. After that date the Kansas Historical Society will be responsible for carrying out arts programs, and a private foundation will be formed.

Keeping with tradition, nonetheless, from 6-8pm on Thursday, March 3, the 2011 Governor's Arts Awards will be presented at a reception and ceremony in the Memorial Union Washburn Room at Washburn University. Receiving this year's Distinguished Arts Award will be the mystery novelist, Sara Paretsky. Sara was one of the founders and first president of Sisters in Crime, an international organization which supports and encourages women mystery writers. Another Kansan, Nancy Pickard, followed Sara as president.

For more information, and the price of admission tickets (if still available) will be at


It's 'way too late to make plans to attend, but writers of children's books cannot help be interested in the annual Kansas Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Conference which will be held at Emporia State University on Monday, February 28. Among the speakers and workshop presenters will be George Ancona of New Mexico, a photographer, illustrator and writer of children's picture books.

Other presenters will include Lotta Larson, Kansas State University, Annie Opat, Emporia Sate University, and Melanie Stuart-Campbell, Kansas Migrant and ELL Academy. Reading Recovery is an international school-based, short-term intervention program designed for children aged five or six, who are the lowest literacy achievers after their first year of school.


If you want to get elected to political office, it can only help to write a book. Author Mike Huckabee, probably a presidential wannabee, will be in Kansas at two locations on Tuesday, March 1, to sign copies of his newly-released book, "A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (And a Trillion That We Don't!)"

At 3:30 pm he will be in Topeka at Hastings Entertainment, 5317 S.W. 22nd Place in the Fairlawn Plaza shopping center. And I hope his staff has worked out the timing, because at 7:30 in the evening, he plans to be at Watermark Books, 4701 East Douglas, Wichita. (Let's see, about 150 miles from Topeka to Wichita -- did I read that the state legislature has just increased the speed limit to 75 mph?)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


No calories? No kidding.

You won't gain an ounce by reading the Devil's Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke, Pick up a copy at the bakery bookstore, I Love a Mystery, 6114 Johnson Drive in Mission at 3 pm on Saturday, March 19.

You can also ask Joanne about her other mysteries, the Apple Turnover Murder and the Gingerbread Cookie Murder.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Also at the Raven Bookstore,, in Lawrence at 7 pm on Friday, March 4, will be Joseph Harrington, author of Things Come On: An Amneoir. Harrington's book is a hybrid of forms, combining poetry, prose, primary documents, dramatic dialogue and pictures. An "amneoir" is described as a blend of "memoir" and "amnesia." Harrington writes of a time when an event on the national scene coincided with a personal story, a state of affairs which has happened to many of us. Harrington's story might be compared with that of the author, Calvin Trillin, who had to deal with the illness and death of his beloved wife which occured at the same time mere blocks from the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001.

Deb Olin Unferth (see post below) will be sharing the spotlight with Harrington.


Deb Olin Unferth rated a really nice review in today's Kansas City Star, (Friday, February 25), for her book, Revolution: The Year I Fell on Love and Went to Join the War.

She'll be talking and signing at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, March 2, at the Kansas City Central Library, 14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, MO. Admission is free, make reservations at 816-701-3407 or at

On Friday, March 4, Deb Olin Unferth will be at The Raven, 6 East 7th, in Lawrence, at 7 pm. Lawrence is familiar ground to Unferth. She taught at the University of Kansas from 2004 to 2009. She is now an assistant English professor at Wesleyan University in Middleton, Connecticut.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


You think travel is boring along I-70 in either Kansas or Missouri? You need Ted Cable's new book, Driving Across Missouri: A Guide to I-70, a companion volume to the earlier Driving Across Kansas: A Guide to I-70, both co-authored with LuAnn Cadden. Pick up a copy and get it signed by Ted from noon to 2 pm at Barnes and Noble on the Kansas City Plaza on Saturday, March 5.

Borrowing heavily from a K-State press release: In the book, the authors breathe history and culture back into Missouri's Interstate 70 landscapes.

"Driving back roads has many merits, but the vast majority of people experience Kansas and Missouri from Interstate highways," Cable said. "By making the experience more entertaining and educational -- and by helping people see the subtle beauty in the landscape and culture -- these books can improve the overall impression and attitudes about these states."

Cable said that the Missouri book was challenging in that instead of interpreting the vast agricultural landscape of Kansas, his focus was to get people to look beyond the billboards and other roadside clutter that characterize Missouri's 251 miles of Interstate 70.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The good news is that Alarie Tennille's program that was snowed out will be re-scheduled for 7 pm on Tuesday, May 3 at the Johnson County Library Corinth branch.

Alarie's newest book is Spiraling into Control, and includes one poem about Daddy Hits a Policeman.

(Wonder if it includes the line "chased a policeman all over his beat"? No, that's the one about the old woman of Chester-le-street, by Charles Causley. I hope the Daddy in this poem doesn't meet the same fate as the old woman.)


It's confusing, I know, but there are TWO separate contests being sponsored by the <a href="">Kansas Authors Club.</a>

The first one is conducted by District Two, that's District #2. Entries will be accepted from March 1, 2011 (we're almost there) until March 31, 2011. There is no "theme" category in this contest, and the other rules may differ slightly. This District Two contest is a return of a popular contest which was conducted in the past. There was no District #2 contest in 2010 because District Two was responsible for hosting the 2010 annual convention.

The KAC contest, which does include a "theme" category, opens on April 1 and closes on June 15, 2011. This year's theme is "Kansas: Freedom Frontier for 150 Years."

It might help to put things in a chronological context. From March 1 to March 31, you can enter the District Two contest. After the District Two contest closes, the KAC contest opens on April 1, the next day, and does not close until June 15, 2011. The same poetry or prose entries can be entered in both contests, but all should be unpublished. There are very modest fees for both contests (where do you think the prize money comes from?).

Got that straight? Okay, get your pencils sharpened and let's go.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It's so nice to be recognized for your work. The sixth annual Kansas Authors' Dinner, sponsored by the Wichita chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, will be held on Thursday, February 24.

And the honorees this year are . . . Antonia Felix, a bestselling author with sixteen nonfiction books to her credit, including the biography of Sonia Sotomayer, the 111th Supreme Court justice . . . Brad Sneed, author and illustrator, whose books for children such as The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians are entertaining for adults as well (read them to your grandchildren) . . . and Nancy Pickard, author of eighteen novels, including The Scent of Rain and Lightning, now out in paperback.


No, I'm not really a poet, don't consider myself a poet (don't have enough self-discipline), but sometimes a few lines do get scrawled onto a scrap of paper. Then I have the bright idea that I will send it away to a competition, or a literary review, and then, drat, I usually have trouble finding the darned thing lost in my computer.

So, believe it or not, I decided to get organized to the point of printing out hard copies of everything to collect together in a three-ring binder. How many poems does it take to make a chapbook? More than twenty-six?

Monday, February 21, 2011


Another of The Raven’s “Big Tent” programs will be heard at 7 pm on Thursday, February 24 with authors representing three distinct genres.

Eric McHenry, author of Potscrubber Llullabies, will represent the poets. Kate Lorenz, on the prose side, is editor of Parcel, Lawrence’s newest literary publication. Kim Condon, whose ten-minute play was a finalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, will take up the placard for the play-writers.

(Somehow, I thought the debut of Parcel had already take place before last Saturday. I must have been wrong, but at any rate, step in under the Big Tent, and pick up your copy of Parcel the same evening.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Having trouble finding a copy of Kansas City Voices? Among the additional places where you can get your copy is The Raven in Lawrence, you know, just off Massachusetts at 6 East Seventh. OR, try Signs of Life around the corner at 7th and Massachusetts. You can also get Kansas City Voices at Travel Concepts, 9324 Rosner in Lenexa.

Oh, and by the way time is drawing near to send your entry for the 2011 issue. The Whispering Prairie Press is looking for submissions from poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, and artists (painters and photographers).

Deadline is March 15, and entries must be submitted electronically, so maybe you better do so a few days in advance, if you can, to avoid a potential electronic pile-up on the last day. Details at <a href=""></a>

Saturday, February 19, 2011


It’s been a busy week for Marilyn Blackwell and Kristen Oertel, biographers of Clarina Howard Nichols in Frontier Feminist, concluding with a talk and book signing at 2 pm on Sunday, February 20, at the Kansas City Public Library, Central Library, Helzberg Auditorium, 14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO.
The program is sponsored by Rainy Day Books, Fairway.

A native of Vermont, Clarina Howard Nichols came to Lawrence as part of the anti-slavery migration to Kansas. She was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony, a crusader for women’s rights, who also was, at times, a resident of Kansas, primarily in Leavenworth, where her brother was a newspaper publisher.

This new book joins a long line of distinguished titles published by the University Press of Kansas, <a href=""></a>.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Warning: Never have a heart attack in a place where you don’t want to be seen. But that’s just the bleak (but dramatic) scenario that author Carol K. Carr has created in India Black, A Madame of Espionage Mystery, after which all sorts of mischief ensues in Victorian England.

Carol K. Carr will be signing at 2 pm Saturday, February 19, at I Love A Mystery, 6114 Johnson Drive in Mission. More at


In his weekly post in Warren Bull has some very cogent advice for writers.

For example -- this piece of advice is a gem: "Don't repeat my other frequent mistake of changing a character's name in mid-story." (Only other writers, not readers, will understand this warning.)

Warren's new book is Murder Manhattan Style. Check Warren out at .

Thursday, February 17, 2011


If you're a poet, about ten days is all you have left to submit poems for the I-70 Review Gary Gildner Poetry contest, with prizes totaling $1,000.

Submit up to three poems, none longer than 40 lines, plus a reading fee of $20, to Gary Gildner Poetry Award, I-70 Review, Inc., 913 Joseph Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049. Name and contact information on cover letter only. Include SASE (it's a good idea to use a Forever stamp here.) Get this in the mail by February 28, 2011.


I found out what I have in common with William Allen White by reading the article, Kansas Authors Club, A Brief History, written by Grant Williams for the book The Family Next Door, Volume I. I also learned that the KAC's first woman president was Margaret Hill McCarter in 1913, less than ten years after the founding. (We Kansas writers have always been forward-thinking.)

The book was put together by members of the Coffeyville Night Writers as a fund-raiser for the 2010 convention, which will be hosted on October 7-9 in Coffeyville. The Family Next Door, Volume II followed quickly, and has more entertaining stories about folks famous -- and infamous -- in Southeastern Kansas.
You can order both books, Volume I for $7 and Volume II for $8. You can order a single volume, or both volumes, plus the additional shipping cost of $3. Order from Ursula Turner, 1315 West 7th Street, Coffeyville, KS, 67337. (Don't delay, I hear they're getting to the bottom of the box on Volume I.)


Marilyn S. Blackwell and Kristen T. Oertel will be at the Kansas Museum of History, 6425 S.W. 6th from 2-4 pm on Saturday, February 19, to sign copies of their book, Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood.

Frontier Feminist portrays the pioneering social reformer Clarina Nichols and her role in women's rights, aboltion of slavery and westward expansion. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Information at 785-272-8681, ext 413. 


Marilyn Blackwell and Kristin Oertel, authors of Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood, will make the first of several local appearances at 7 pm on Friday, February 18, at the Watkins Community Museum at 1047 Massachusetts in Lawrence.

Marilyn Blackwell has published widely on women’s and Vermont history. Kristen Oertel is a faculty member at the University of Tulsa, and the author of Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas.

Clarina Nichols is the subject of a previously published book by Diane Eickhoff, Revolutionary Heart. (Our family genealogist thinks if the Nichols side of our family is related to Clarina, it is a distant connection; at that, Nichols was the name of Clarina’s second husband.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hey, there are tons of Kansas attractions and activities to choose from, as described in the Spring Issue of Kansas Magazine.

How to choose? Let’s see, I could start practicing for the OZ Marathon in Olathe in April (Page 5), or oil up my bicycle wheels for the Biking Across Kansas the first full week in June (Page 30), but you know, tell the truth, the activity that really catches my interest is that rocking chair thing in Cuba (page 37). Now there’s an activity at which I can really excel. Move over, guys.

(I’m going to have to check my postal mail box more often -- forgot I used that address for my subscription.)


Oklahoma writers will gather May 5-7, 2011, in Oklahoma City. At least one Kansas author, Max McCoy, is on the conference schedule. Conference details at OWFI.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Workshops by Kirt Hickman were so well received in 2010 that members of the Kansas Writers Association in Wichita are inviting him back on Saturday, March 26, for an all-day “Scene Seminar” at the Hyatt Regency.

Kirt’s published works range from his nonfiction book on the writing craft, Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness, to science fiction novels, Worlds Asunder and Venus Rain, to a book that takes children into the world of insects, I Will Eat Anything.

The sessions run from 9 am to 5 pm with a break for you’re-on-your-own lunch. Cost is $40 for KWA members, $50 for non-members, with a late fee of $10 after March 19. Details at Kansas Writers Association.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Brian Daldorph, University of Kansas faculty, and Elizabeth Schultz, retired from University of Kansas, will share the podium at 7pm on February 15 during the Writers Place Poetry Reading Series at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th, Overland Park.

Brian is the editor of Coal City Review. He also teaches at the Douglas County Jail. Following her retirement, Elizabeth has focused on Herman Melville studies, plus writing about the environment.

The location for this program is the lovely meeting room at the northeast corner of the building. Next time I am there I will be sure to read the name over the door of the meeting room, which I’m sure is quicker to write than the Johnson County Central Resources Library.


Entries for the Kansas Voices writing competiton must be postmarked by March 15, 2011. (Don’t get confused now, Kansas Voices and Kansas City Voices are TWO different things.)

Monetary prizes will be offered in both Adult and Youth divisions, in both prose and poetry categories. The annual competition is sponsored by Cowley College, Corner Bank, Winfield Consumer Products, Bob and Nancy Love of Wichita, Winfield Daily Courier, and GE Engine Services.

A fee of $3.00 must accompany each entry, which should be no longer than 20 pages. Winners will participate during Kanza Days, May 7, 2011.

The information and forms are not yet available from the Winfield Arts website, but Cheryl Tate, Executive Director, was good enough to send them to me. Try Winfield Arts at
I will have a fuller description later today at the Submissions and Deadlines tabbed page.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


BULLETIN -- Since February 21 is a holiday -- Presidents's Day -- and there will be no mail delivery, the deadline is extended to February 22.

Most contests require that the work you submit be unpublished. Here’s a contest for published work. But time is very short, deadline is February 21, 2011, and there is a fee.

The awards will be given by the Kansas City Press Club, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and will go primarily to people working full time in the media in Kansas or Missouri.

Nonetheless, there are a few categories, such as feature stories and columns, for which free-lancers could have a chance at recognition. You would need to submit your entry through the company, might even ask them to submit on your behalf by offering to pay the fee (either $15 or $20), but if you feel your work is superior quality, it could be worth the effort.

Wade through the general rules and other requirements by starting at If you are a serious writer who is often published in places other than books, and the time is too short, keep this in mind for next year. It’s been going on for decades and it’s hard to imagine that the annual contest would be discontinued. Some years back my husband and I were judges for the northwest SPJ region.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Tom Mach has got to be pleased with the review his book of short stories, Stories to Enjoy, in Margaret Baker’s Bookshelf.

Several of the 16 stories have been published before and won awards. As Margaret writes, the stories are perfect for reading while curled up in a comfy chair or while sitting in waiting rooms.

The full review is in February, 2011, Kaw Valley Senior Monthly, which is available online. Click on the cover image and scroll down to page 24. Tom's review is at the top of the page.

Friday, February 11, 2011


We think the worst of winter weather is behind us, but we never know.

At any rate, the Langston Hughes Creating Writing Awards program has been re-scheduled for Thursday, February 17, at the Lawrence Arts Center at 940 New Hamshire. The program will include readings, music and refreshments and is open to the public.

This year’s recipient of the poetry award is Mary Stone Dockery, whose work has appeared in many literary reviews and magazines. The fiction winner is Beth Reiber, a freelance travel writer.

The competition is jointly sponsored by the Lawrence Arts Center and the Raven, and is open to residents of Douglas County.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


No, it’s not a mystery-writing contest, the mystery is where to find the guidelines. I’m not sure, but I think the deadline is mid-March, and I’m pretty sure there is a modest entry fee.

Here’s what the Winfield Daily Courier has printed about the competition:

Kansas Voices, sponsored by the Winfield Arts & Humanities Council, is back for its 22nd year. The WAHC urges everyone to submit short stories, prose or poetry to commemorate another year of writing.

Winners will be honored and invited to read their work at a special presentation at the Winfield Community Center, Baden Square, 700 Gary, on May 7 as a part of the KANZA Days celebration. Dinner will be served for $9 per person.

All Kansas writers are encouraged to enter the 22nd annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest. Writers may enter either youth or adult divisions in two categories: poetry and prose (short story). Youth division writers must be currently enrolled in high school or be under 18 years of age.


A lot of things bother me: How do you really know that the contest entry that you have spent weeks honing to perfection really gets into the hands of the judges?

Recently I entered a competition which would accept entries by mail, but strongly encouraged electronic submissions. Knowing my talent for error . . .

I have found very few electronic submission sites that offer -- by way of assurance -- any confirmation that my painstakingly-crafted essays or poems have been received. Couple of years ago when I served as a collection point for a category in the big OWFI annual contest, I notified everyone who included an e-mail address that their entry had been received. Some were so grateful they sent a return thank-you.

We writers would be more willing to let our precious words go flying out into space -- we'll love to save the postage -- if we had some expectation that we would receive confirmation, something like an electronic postcard.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Cash awards and publication are the prizes being offered in the Johnson County Library National Library Week Story contest.

Time is short -- deadline is March 11, 2011. Word limit is 1,500 words. Open to all legal United States residents. Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 16, during a program in observance of National Library Week.

For complete details, go to On the right-hand side, look for the big green-and-white truck that has “Benjamin Button’s” on the side. Click on the words that say “Writing Contest.”


We writers grumble about libraries, about how readers go to libraries and check out their favorite books -- for free! -- when we would prefer our readers rush out to the book stores and buy their own personal copy.

But a town without a library? Or a library that is only one shelf in the city hall? That’s what Linda Sharits found when she returned to Natoma, a small town in southwest Osborne County, and Linda determined to do something about it. With the help of her brother, Larry Pfortmiller, and dozens and dozens of friends, the Natoma Library has received donations from other libraries and now occupies its own room in a more permanent location. It’s open two afternoons a week.

Hmmmmm? Might be a good place for a book signing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Here’s what I know:

Fans -- and writers -- of science-fiction will be getting together in Hutchinson this Saturday, February 12, under the leadership of Mark Simmons (formerly of Kansas City) for a BYOCon.

The event will be the debut of the new edition of Robert L. Collins’ Expert Assistance. Robert will also be talking -- at 2 pm -- on new trends in publishing, you know, POD, self-publishing, ebooks, stuff like that. Robert is hard to catch up with, but you can try by going to Robert’s Schedule.

BYOCon? I hear that the space is limited, so you may want to read all about it at Mark Simmons' BYOCon.

I’m getting the picture, and I’m almost tempted to go. I went to a Romance Writers Con(ference) where we were offered an endless variety of chocolates. What might one expect at a Sci-Fi BYOCon? Cosmic chewing gum and freeze-dry ice cream?

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Solomon Spring" AVAILABLE NOW

Michelle Black has some author news to share. She just republished Solomon Spring, the sequel to An Uncommon Enemy, as a Kindle book. A trade paperback will soon follow. Michelle blogged about this novel and its “accidental” birth as a murder mystery at (You can also click on Michelle’s blog from the “Writers about Writing” blog list on the right side-bar. I just did and learned several things I had never known before about the Solomon River area of Kansas.)

Her second bit of news is to announce a feature article she wrote for True West Magazine. It covers the Speampunk phenomenon from a Western perspective and will hit the stands on February 15. ‘Way to go!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Scarcely over five more weeks before the deadline of March 15, 2011, for submissions to Kansas City Voices’ annual publication of an eclectic mix of fiction, essays, interviews, articles, poetry, paintings and photographs. Go to to view the submissions guidelines.

To obtain a sample copy of a prior issue of Kansas City Voices, please mail $9.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling to Whispering Prairie Press, P.O. Box 8342, Prairie Village, KS, 66208-0342 Make checks payable to: Whispering Prairie Press,

Available for $10 at Border’s at 91st and Metcalf in Overland Park,
Mack Hardware, I Love a Mystery and Books Plus on Johnson Drive in Mission, 50 States Bird Feeder Store on Martway in Mission, the Tasteful Olive at 7945 Santa Fe Drive in downtown Overland Park, Prospero's Books at 1800 W 39th St, Kansas City, MO, Mission Hills Jewelry Store, 5832 Johnson Drive, Mission, and Bruce Smith Drug Store - #25 on the Mall – Prairie Village.

(Rolland Love says the best sales have been at the hardware store -- go figure!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Topeka author Casey Moore uses examples from real life and from the Bible to illustrate the good, the bad and the ugly scenarios of dating in the Christian arena. The three sections of Midnight Kiss explore the problem: the complexity of Christian dating; the solution: the joy of simplicity; and the application: accepting a new approach. Moore seeks to illuminate the pitfalls and simplify the process of dating by encouraging Christian singles to focus on God first and let relationships develop in God’s time.
This program is part of the monthly Sunday Afternoons with Kansas Authors series at the Topeka Shawnee County Library, 1515 SW 10th Avenue, and will be on Sunday, February 6, 2 pm.

"HAYS, THE 1930s"

Mary Ann Thompson will have a book signing for Hays, the 1930s at 2 pm on Sunday, February 6. She will also discuss researching and writing the book.

Hays was founded in 1867 as the Union Pacific Railroad moved west. Its early history includes Wild West antics with famous people like Wild Bill Hickok, but soon Hays became a center for agriculture, commerce, and education. By 1930, the population of Hays was 5,000, and it grew to 7,000 by the end of the decade. Although the 1930s were a time of economic depression, of agricultural drought and dust storms, these photographs of Hays show a much different story. They are positive, even energetic, showing the upside to a depressed decade. Photographer R. E. Ekey began his studio in 1928 and retired in 1955. His photographs of Hays portray the special events as well as the routine of everyday life. They show a variety and richness that exemplify the character of Hays, both then and now.

The R. E. Ekey photographic collection is housed in the Dorothy D. Richards Kansas Room of the Hays Public Library. The collection was donated to the library in 1986 and has been a source for research and enjoyment ever since. Mary Ann Thompson has been the Kansas Room librarian since 1985. She holds two degrees in history, as well as a master's degree in library science, specializing in historic collections.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Dixie Lee Jackson's Guide to Cookin' and Kissin' will celebrate its official launch at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library on Sunday, February 6, at 3 pm. Dixie Lee will demonstrate how to make food the Southern way all the while dispensing love and relationship advice. Dixie Lee is the alter ego of journalist/historian Deb Goodrich Bisel. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on this event or the book, contact Dixie Lee at and visit her blog at

Thursday, February 3, 2011


RED LANTERN ALERT -- Looks like the conductor read the schedule wrong -- the train show is next weekend, and Robert will not be there.

 Something to consider: Interstates and highways all over the Midwest have been closed, thousands of air flights cancelled, but have you heard anything in the last week about any trains -- including Amtrak -- that have failed to get where they were going?

February seems like the ideal month for a train show, and Robert L. Collins, who has written several railroad histories, will be there, Saturday, February 5, 9am-6pm, and Sunday, February 6, 11am-4pm, at the Wichita Train Show and Swap Meet, Cessna Activity Center, 2744 George Washington Blvd.

It’s a show for train enthusiasts, not a book signing, and you’ll pay an admission fee, but once inside, look for Robert -- he'll be behind a stack of books. If the weather has you transportation-challenged, read Robert’s blog, One Kansas Author, in the side-bar on the right.


It’s hard to envision the difficulties faced by early settlers in Kansas. In his very early twenties, Howard Ruede came to Osborne County alone, in 1877, his goal to prepare the way for his parents and younger siblings.

With little background in farming, and not much more in the printing trade, he sought work where he could find it, with neighbors who paid him, infrequently, in money, or in exchanged labor, food, materials, or, most frequently, IOUs.

He wore his clothing to rags, sometimes working in his bare feet, “because my boots couldn’t stand any more water.” Later, he wrote “Had to get a pair of shoes for myself . . . and . . . a pair for Bub (the brother who had joined him) -- hence the low state of my finances. The shoes cost $2.25 per pair. Fritchey threw off 25 cents because I got two pair.”

Sod-House Days is the second book in my trip across the Map of Kansas Literature. Only a few hundred more miles to go.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


As early as 1906 Percival Lowell, a Bostonian, thought there was another planet out there in the skies, but it was Clyde Tombaugh, who was born in 1906, who was given credit for the discovery of Pluto. In 1930, during the month of February, Tombaugh was working at the Lowell Observatory, which had been established by Percival Lowell at Flagstaff, Arizona, when he discovered the planet. Interestingly, Tombaugh didn’t enter the University of Kansas until 1932, and earned a Master of Science degree in 1936! (His earlier college plans had been defeated by a disastrous hailstorm at the family farm in western Kansas.)

Percival’s Planet is Michael Byers’ new novel about the discovery, and the author will be speaking and signing at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 3, at a very appropriate location, specifically the Ballroom of the Kansas Union on the KU campus.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The year 1874 in the Sunflower State was a time of the Wild West and of Indian attacks, but also of a rising poet and debates on temperance. It was the year the Mennonites first arrived, and when Abilene’s T. C. Henry began to promote winter wheat as a good crop for Kansas farmers. Few other years in state history show Kansas in its transition from part of the frontier to its own identity so clearly.

Robert Collins is the author of biographies of Bleeding Kansas leader Senator Jim Lane and Kansas Civil War General James G. Blunt, released by Pelican Publishing. He’s had six railroad books published by South Platte Press, including Ghost Railroads of Kansas and Kansas Railroad Attractions. He’s had stories and articles appear in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Wild West, Tales of the Talisman, Territorial, and the Wichita Eagle. He’s also had three science-fiction novels published: Expert Assistance, Lisa’s Way, and Monitor.

Kansas 1874 is available from Amazon. There's also an e-book version. You might catch Robert in person by following his Schedule of Appearances.