Thursday, March 31, 2011


In 2003 Mike Kim gave up a financial planning business in Chicago and left for China where he spent four years assisting thousands of North Koreans escape their country. In a program at 9:30 am on Tuesday, April 5, Kim will share some of the North Koreans’ experiences of enduring famine, sex-trafficking and torture, as well as inspirational stories of whose who overcame adversity, with the audience at Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State, in Kansas City, KS.

Kim is the author of Escaping North Korea and a founder of Crossing Borders.


To borrow a line out of context: “I think of how there is no real distance between anything, how Kansas is always a breath away.”

You can hear more of Gary Jackson in a program at 4 pm on Monday, April 4, in the Mabee Library, 1700 SW College Avenue on the Washburn University Campus in Wichita. Jackson is a native of Topeka and Washburn graduate. His Missing You, Metropolis won the 2009 Cave Canem prize for poetry.


Coming to Eastern Kansas to share parenting tips is Susan Stiffelman, whose book is titled Parenting Without Power Struggles, Or: Raising Resilient Kids While Staying Calm, Cool and Collected.

At 10 am on Sunday, April 2, Susan will be at the Jewish Comnunity Campus, 5801 Weat 115th in Overland Park. On Monday, April 4, she’ll be at Eudora Middle School, 2635 Church Street in Eudora for an evening program starting at 7 pm. On Tuesday, April 5, it’s back to Overland Park at 7 pm for ‘Wine Flights’ at 5408 West 141st Street.


Jim Hoy, who was born in the Flint Hills and knows whereof he speaks, will speak about Civil War Gives Birth to Kansas Cattle Drive Era at 2 pm on Sunday, April 3, at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site, 500 North Mission Street, in Council Grove.

Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, Hoy has authored many books. His Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales of the Tallgrass Prairie, was published by the University Press of Kansas and is available for purchase at the museum. For information about programs and the history of the mission, go to Friends of Kaw Heritage.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


April showers bring a flourish of KC Voices to the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont, from 10 am to 11:30 am on Saturday, April 9. Local writers Norm Ledgin, Pam Eglinksi, Theresa Hupp, and Brian Daldorph will be reading and Paula Hauser Leffel will share her artistry.

KC Voices, published by Whispering Prairie Press, is available at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th, and Signs of Life, 722 Massachusetts.

For more information, call 913-745-4996 or GO HERE

Take the word of one of the board members who says: “I hear it will be a perfect day and what a fun place to browse afterward or have lunch.”


Get those pens and notebooks out – this is your chance to get acquainted with your personal poetry muse and write some original poetry.

To celebrate April as Poetry Month the Kansas Arts Commission is sponsoring four poetry contests during the month. Even if you are an amateur, this is your time to shine because there is a separate entry category for professional/published poets.

The theme for the first contest is 'Stormy Weather', and your entry is due by April 8. Check out the Kansas Arts Commission for details.


Clare Vanderpool’s Moon over Manifest, the story of twelve-year-old Abilene, who has followed her itinerant rail-riding father all over the country, earned a really nice review in The Joplin Globe today, under the heading of DEBUT AUTHOR PENS COMPELLING HISTORICAL FICTION.

Writes Jeana Gockley:” Plus, with the help of the shiny 2011 Newbery Medal — the most prestigious award in children’s literature — gleaming on its cover, it’s sure to fly off library and bookstore shelves.”


The Topeka and Shawnee County Public library’s series of Sunday Afternoon with Kansas Authors will spotlight Max Yoho from 2-3 pm on Sunday, April 3.

Max has written a winner – again – in With the Wisdom of Owls. Max’s other works are at


Carly, a West Highland Terrior whose tale is told in Carly Likes Blue, is the creation of Martina Thompson, and the adventures of the prairie dog, Noco, are told in photographs and drawings by Justin Marable. Both childrens’ book authors will be at the Kansas Museum of History from 1-3 pm on Saturday, April 2, as part of the museum’s open house. Works by Marable will be on display in the museum lobby.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


But you might nibble on a cake shaped like a kindle, or other tempting creations at the fifth annual Edible Book Festival starting at 5:30 pm on Friday, April 1, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Create your culinary masterpiece based on the content or shape of a book, and bring it to the library between 3 and 5:30 pm. (First reserve your space by calling 785-580-4515 by March 31.) If you want to see what The Silence of the Lambs might look like rendered in flour, butter and sugar, GO HERE.


When you set for yourself the goal of working at 50 jobs, in 50 states, in 50 weeks, how do you ever find the time to write about it? Somehow Daniel Seddiqui accomplished all that and will be in the area next weekend for talks and to sign his book, “50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America.

At 5 pm on Thursday, March 31, he will be at Barnes and Noble, 6130 SW 17th Street in Topeka. On Saturday, April 2, 10 am, he’ll be at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont, in Lawrence. And later on Saturday, at 7 pm, he’ll be at Barnes and Noble at the Country Club Plaza, 420 West 47th Street, Kansas City MO.

WHEW! What a schedule! (I feel like such a laggard.)


Wichita television anchor on KAKE, Larry Hatteberg will be the speaker at the annual Economic Development Group meeting on Thursday, March 31, at 6:30 pm at the Methodist Church Family Life Center in Wichita. Larry is widely-known for his book, Larry Hattesberg’s Kansas People, which originated with his popular television show of the same name.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Stories and poems by three writers will be presented at 7 pm under the BIG TENT at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th , in Lawrence at 7 pm on Thursday, March 31.

Not necessarily in order of appearance will be Justin Runge, a graphic designer and editor, when he isn’t writing poetry, and Jim McCrary, whose works include a chapbook, All That, published by ManyPenny Press of Moscow (Idaho, that is). A midwesterner, Robert J. Baumann will present the fiction segment of the program.


Coming to the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation on April 8-9 -- Wordfest Writers’ Conference 2011.

And the stellar cast of writers: (take a deep breath) Phyllis Root, national award-winning children’s author, Haydn Reiss, PBS award-winning film writer, and Dr. Bob Marrs, Director of Coe College Writing Center in Iowa. AND (another deep breath) Denise Low-Weso, Steven Hind, William Sheldon, Lionel Alfred, Jr., Betty Stanley, Jay Bremyer, John Eberly, Carla Barber, Dr. Kim Stanley, Judith Robl and Linda Rounds. (And conference attendees will all be out of breath at the end of the day, trying to absorb all the writing assistance and inspiration provided by the keynoters and presenters.)

Sponsored by the Mac Writers of McPherson, and the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation. Registration, fees, schedules, instructions, GO HERE.


Albert Goldbarth, who has been described as an ‘acrobat of words’, will do a reading at 4 pm on Monday, March 28, (that's today!) at the iRead Lounge of the Mabee Library at Washburn University in Topeka. Goldbarth is a professor of humanities at Wichita State University, and the winner of many awards for his work. The reading is free and open to the public.


Our Marriage, by Sue Pruett, is a book that is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It lives up to the promise in the title, with alternating points of view of the two partners in the marriage, Karl and Sue Pruett. The reader should not miss the significance of the sub-title: Surviving Addiction and Thriving in Sobriety.

And in the telling of this very personal story, the book highlights also some of the amazing resources available in the state of Kansas for people with problems of addiction. Available at and from Author House.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Get ready to celebrate April as Poetry Month. The Kansas Arts Commission will be ready with a poem for all thirty days of April.

You can sign up by e-mail to receive a daily greeting of a poem, or download them yourself. Don’t cheat now, and rush ahead. Save one for each day of April, and savor each poem for itself. What better way to celebrate spring? Go to Kansas Daily Poem.


A title sure to catch the attention of any Kansan is “Kansas’s War: The Civil War in Documents, written by Pearl T. Ponce, an assistant professor of history at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York.

The book was published by the Ohio University Press, whose website says: “When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Kansas was in a unique position. Although it had been a state for mere weeks, its residents were already intimately acquainted with civil strife. Since its organization as a territory in 1854, Kansas had been the focus of a national debate over the place of slavery in the Republic. By 1856, the ideological conflict developed into actual violence, earning the territory the sobriquet ‘Bleeding Kansas’.”


Winners of the Association of American University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal 2010 competition will be on display from 9 am to 5 pm on Friday, March 28 to Friday, April 8 at the University Press of Kansas, 2502 Westbrooke Circle in Lawrence.

This competition is more about appearance than content, but one title sure caught my eye: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, by Adrian Johns. I would add another “G” word here – Google.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


On Saturday, April 2, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate, will conduct a workshop – “Poetry, Prairie and Place” -- from 10 am to noon at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. More information and register online at

To celebrate Kansas' 150 years of statehood, throughout the year Caryn will be adding submitted poems to Check back every couple of days for a new poem.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Three University of Kansas faculty members who published books in 2010 will present the program at 4-6 pm on Wednesday, March 30, at the Hall Center Conference Hall.

Participating authors are Eric Rath, History Department, Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan, published by the University of California Press, Geraldo de Sousa, English Department, At Home in Shakespeare’s Tragedies, published by Ashgate, and Samira Sayeh, French Department, La Generation de 52, conflits d’hegemonie et de dependence. Reconsideration indentitaire de la literature algerienne en langue francaise d’avant l’independence, published by Publisud.

Reservations are required by Friday, March 25, e-mail or call 785-864-4798. (I should have posted this earlier.)


Clarina Nichols and the Fight for Civil Rights, a talk by Diane Eickhoff, author of Revolutionary Heart, will be heard at 2 pm on Sunday, March 27, at the Hutchinson Art Center, 405 N. Washington. Revolutionary Heart was a 2007 Kansas Notable Book.

“This program is presented by the Kansas Humanities Council through the 150 Speakers Bureau commemorating the Kansas Sesquicentennial. The Humanities Council conducts and supports community based programs, and serves as a financial resource through an active grant making program.”


Warren Taylor and Susan Marchant will share stores about Margaret Hill McCarter in a program at 1 pm on Sunday, March 27, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

Margaret Hill McCarter was a charter member of Kansas Authors Club and served as its president in 1913. She was widely known for her historic novels set in the Kansas plains and prairies. She was awarded an honorary Master’s degree from Baker University, and Doctorates from Washburn and Emporia Universities.

Margaret Hill McCarter is part of Grant Williams’ history of KAC, included in The Family Next Door, Volume I, a fund-raiser publication by members of KAC District Three. (HINT: check the link at the top of the blog – both volumes are still available and can be ordered.)

Many of Margaret Hill McCarter’s books have been reprinted.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


David Nichols, author of Eisenhower 1956, will launch his national book tour at – where else? – the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene with a book talk, signing and reception at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 29.

Nichols’ work focuses on 1956, which some scholars feel may have been the most difficult year of Eisenhower’s presidency when the United States was on the brink of war over the Suez Canal, and Eisenhower was battling illness in the middle of a re-election campaign.

The program is part of the Eisenhower Book Talk series held in partnership with the Abilene Public Library. Reservations can be made on Facebook or by calling 877.RING.IKE.


The space capsule Apollo 13 is on permanent display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. Alan Glines, part of the NASA Mission Control team that helped bring the crippled spacecraft back safely to earth after an explosion in an oxygen tank severely damaged the electrical system, will be at the Cosmopshere on Saturday, March 26, for a talk at 11 am and again at 1 pm.

Copies of Alan’s book, “A Kansan Conquers the Cosmos” (and, Spaced Out All My Life) will be for sale in the gift shop. Alan now lives and teaches in his hometown of Independence.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


One hundred years of Kansas high school basketball is chronicled in a new book, One Hundred Years of Hoops, by Carol R. Swenson of McPherson and now available from the KSHSAA website. The book includes interviews with athletes and coaches, tons of records, and historical photos.

Sounds like it should be on the bookshelf next to Brian Stucky’s Hallowed Hardwood, the story of the vintage basketball gyms of Kansas


Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood, by Marilyn S. Blackwell and Kristen T. Oertel, has been chosen as one of four finalists for the 2011 Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize which will be awarded by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The University Press of Kansas are the publishers. The winner will be announced May 4.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Robert Collins garnered a neat article about his new book, Kansas, 1874, and some of his other writings in today's El Dorado Times, under the byline of Julie Clements.

Go check it out before it vanishes into the newspaper archives: El Dorado Times. (Related blog below:)


We haven’t said much about Robert L. Collins’ new book, but since he’s going to be making two appearances in the next week, this might be a good opportunity.

Kansas, 1874 recounts the interesting and important events of a tumultuous year. In 1874 the Sunflower Sate was a time of Wild West and Indian attacks, but also of a rising poet and debates on temperance. It was the year the Mennonites first arrived, with Abilene’s T.C. Henry promoting 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 will be signing and talking, and talking and signing, at two different locations. On Saturday, March 26, he’ll be signing, and answering questions in between from 12:30 to 3:30 pm at the Book Grinder, 2222 West Central in El Dorado. On Tuesday, March 29, he will give a talk, with questions to follow, at 7 pm at the Marion City Library, 101 Library Street.

While the focus will be on his newest history book, I’ll bet anything you can ask him questions about his newly-available science fiction story of Spaceguy Jake Bonner, Expert Assistance, or any of his books about Kansas railroad lore.


Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains is one writer’s view of a vast landscape that others have described as a potential “Buffalo Commons.”

Patrick Dobson, an adjunct assistant history teacher at JCCC, had a close-up and personal view of myriad facets of life on the Great Plains in 1995 when he trudged some 1300 miles from Kansas City, MO, to Helena, MT. He’ll be talking about that trek at 11 am on Thursday, March 24, in the Craig Community Auditorium of the General Education Building, 12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park.

The program is sponsored by JCCC’s Kansas Studies Institute. The book was published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Monday, March 21, 2011


In the late 1930s, as ships on the oceans were sunk by torpedos, countries invaded by other nations, and bombs dropped on unprepared citizens, there was great confusion, and reluctance, about how to describe what was happening.

We couldn’t call it a World War, because a couple of decades earlier most of the civilized world had been engaged in “The War to End All Wars,” the event that ended with the surrender at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918– Armistice Day.

How could it be possible that only a couple of short decades later bellicose activities seemed to be happening around the entire globe?

“I’m Praying Hard for You” Love Letters to a Death Camp: The World War II Ordeal of Bill and Jo Brenner, is a book that is both illuminating and agonizing to read.

Words can scarcely describe the awe a reader cannot help but feel about Dr. Brenner’s willingness, many years later, to share with the public the painful details of his life as a prisoner of the Japanese, while his wife, Jo, suffered the anxiety of not knowing her husband’s fate. And the scholarship of the author of the book, Linda McCaffrey, a Barton Community College history instructor, is outstanding.

Linda sets the story of two young parents, who have no control over the most significant aspects of their lives, into the context of global events. It’s both a story of great individual courage and a history lesson. Order from the bookstore at Barton Community College.


Mark your calendars to be in Coffeyville on the weekend of October 7-9. The convention planners are on track and are getting workshop presenters lined up. As soon as the biographies and other information is available, it will be posted officially on Kansas Authors Club.

Chuck Bowman, a Hollywood producer and director, and Coffeyville native, will be the keynote speaker. (I’ve been told one of the presenters is from Oolagah, OK – somehow I don’t think it will be Will Rogers.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The Tonganoxie Community Historical Society will host Diane Eickhoff at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 22, in a program about the role of Kansas women during the Civil War. Author of Revolutionary Heart,the biography of Clarina Nichols, Diane has previously presented this program in Colby. In Tonganoxie she’ll be at the historic Reno Methodist Church, 201 West Washington. Her appearance is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council. Call 913-845-2852.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Arias of Spring" AWAIT

Waiting for springtime? Sister Susan Rieke will be reading from her work “Arias of Spring,” at 3 pm on Sunday, March 20, at the Carnegie Arts Center, 601 South Fifth street in Leavenworth. Sister Susan is the author of two books of poetry, Small Indulgences and From the Tower. She is professor of English at the University of Saint Mary.

If you haven’t already guessed by the name, the arts center is the former Leavenworth Carnegie Library, and now is home to numerous cultural programs and classes, such as art classes and exhibits, dance, music, drama, pottery, a very busy schedule in an old building beautifully adapted for the 21st century.


Only one more week before the Kansas Writers Association ‘Scene Seminar’ a full day of writing workshops by Kirt Hickman, Saturday, March 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. All the details you need, plus registration information at

Many of the previous KWA annual workshops have focused on crime and law enforcement. This year’s workshops will be Kirt’s “How to Write a Great Story” and “How to Write Your Story Well.”

Says Gordon Kessler, KWA president, the only crime will be if you miss the opportunity.


To participate in this writing contest, you have to be a good cook as well. March is Bake and Take Month, an annual observance sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Home Baking Association.

First, get out your cookbooks and mixing bowls, bake up a tasty homemade treat to take to a friend or neighbor (or just some deserving hungry person, like me), write about the experience and send it off. The winning cook, chosen from a random drawing, will receive a gift basket, and a book, Baking with Friends, written by Charlene Patton and Sharon Davis.

Entries should be postmarked by Friday, April 15, 2011. Other details at Click the CONSUMERS tab, and then choose the Bake and Take Month. Contest participants should include name, organization, (4-H club, FCE, church group, etc.) phone number, mailing address and a note describing the Bake and Take activity.

Friday, March 18, 2011


At the Topeka and Shawnee County Library from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, March 19, they’ll be observing national quilting day with displays of quilts – including a spectacular creation that features Kansas scenes and themes – and talks by two quilting authors.

Deb Rowden, author of Making Memories, will speak on 150 years of Kansas quiltmaking, followed by Linda Frost, author of Happy Birthday Kansas! A Sampler Quilt Celebrating 150 Years on the Prairie, in a program that starts at 10:30 am. Try to get a peek at the quilt at or It’s got several sunflowers, and, look . . . I’m sure that’s Dorothy’s house being pursued by a whirling blue tornado. (You may have to use the search option to find the actual illustration.)

There’s something for the kids, too, Easy Make and Take Crafts in the Youth Services area.

Wichita AND Johnson County

Kansans will have two opportunities this weekend to hear Joanne Fluke. At 7 pm Friday, March 18, you can hear Joanne at Barnes and Noble, Bradley Fair, 1920 N. Rock Road, Wichita. The Devil’s Food Cake Murder is Joanne’s 14th foodie mystery that is “clever, cozy, and includes yummy recipes.”

Your second chance will be on Saturday, March 19, at 3 pm at I Love A Mystery, 6114 Johnson Drive, in Mission. Joanne’s website is . (Now there's an intriguing website name!)


The short-lived Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), headed by Jay Garner, was intended to plug the governance gap created by the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.

Author Gordon W. Rudd is professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting. Published by the University Press of Kansas, Regime Change, Jay Garner, and the ORHA Story is due out in late March.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Sorry we didn’t hear about this BEFORE it happened, but on Saturday, March 12, Sue Pruett, author of Our Marriage: Surviving Addiction and Thriving in Sobriety, was at the Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Topeka.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Writers of many diverse genres whose works center on Kansas as a “place” will be heard during an all-day Kansas Writers Symposium on Saturday, April 16, at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Boulevard (College and Quivira).

Concluding appearance of the day will be Kansas’ Poet Laureate, Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, at 4 pm. The event is sponsored by the JCCC Kansas Studies Institute and the English department. Information at JCCC Press Release.


Justin Taylor and Joshua Cohen will share the spotlight at 7 pm on Thursday, March 17, at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th Street, in Lawrence.

Joshua Cohen, a Visiting Writer in the English Department at the University of Kansas for Spring, 2011, is the author of Witz. Justin Taylor will be speaking about his debut novel, The Gospel of Anarchy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well, that’s never easy, because Michelle is a very busy writer, especially on March 24-25 when she will be attending the mystery conference, Left Coast Crime, in Santa Fe, NM, where she will speak on a panel on Friday afternoon entitled “Mysteries with a Social Conscience.”

But that’s not all – she’ll hardly have time to catch her breath before heading for Denver on Saturday, March 26, where she will be an invited guest for Colorado’s first Steampunk convention, Anomalycon. Michelle will give a presentation on the history of absinthe and introduce her audience to her new blog She will be a guest of honor at a Grand Tea Party. And after that . . . a few days of zzzzzzzz’s. (Or, maybe not.)


Susan M. Schultz, author of several poetry collections, including Dementia Blog, and And Then Something Happened, will be at the Blue Planet Café, 110 SE 8th Ave in Topeka, at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 15. Susan teaches at the University of Hawaii and is the editor of Tinfish Press.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I hope you get the message posted in the window of the Town Crier Bookstore in Emporia. The message that says:


Read the message (and see the picture) at Cheryl Unruh’s . Click on the Daily News tab at the top of the page and read Cheryl’s posting for March 14, 2011.


Diane Eickhoff, author of the biography of Clarina Nichols, Revolutionary Heart, will be at the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby at noon on Thursday, March 17, for a program sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.

“The role of women in the Civil War has often been overlooked, but Kansas women served as nurses, cooks, clerks, and factory workers, while others were even soldiers and spies. Women’s work on the home front also played an important role. As writers, some raised support for the Union, while others championed the Republican Party; and most hoped women’s suffrage would be addressed at the war’s end. Using historical photographs and editorial cartoons, this presentation challenges the stereotypical idea of women’s roles in the war popularized by books such as Gone With the Wind.”


What’s that old saying, “The proof of the pudding is in the sharing?” I don’t think I’ve got that quite right, but what could be more satisfying than Baking With Friends, a whimsical baking book which invites children to explore the art of baking, by Charlene Patton and Sharon Davis, who will be more than happy to share an evening with readers (and lovers of good food) at 6:30-9:30 pm on Tuesday, March 15, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Reservations required: 785-580-4540.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Two Pushcart Prize nominees, Alarie Tennille and Tina Hacker, can be heard at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 15 at the Johnson County Central Resource Library as part of The Writers Place Poetry Reading Series.

Alarie Tennille’s newest book is Spiraling Into Control. Tina’s chapbook website is Cutting It.


More information is now available about the writing workshops by Kirt Hickman, ‘Scene Seminar’, on Saturday, March 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. Go to Kansas Writers Association. In the ‘Scene Seminar’ window on the right-hand side, click on ‘Details and Registration’, which will open another window. You can also view the entire schedule by clicking on ‘See Complete Schedule’.

The day’s program will include remarks by the KWA president, Gordon Kessler, and the announcement of the winners of the 2010 KWA Writing Contest by the contest chair, Ray Racobs.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I was living temporarily in Bismarck, North Dakota, when one night Frank J. Popper and Deborah Popper, originators of the concept of the "Buffalo Commons," came to town. Reports of the meeting in the Bismarck Tribune the next morning suggested that the hardy farmers of NoDak came close to chasing the Poppers across the state line.

Princeton University Press writes: For many Americans, the Midwest is a vast unknown. In Remaking the Heartland: Middle America Since the 1950s, (Kansas-born) Robert Wuthnow sets out to rectify this. He shows how the region has undergone extraordinary social transformations over the past half-century and proven itself surprisingly resilient in the face of such hardships as the Great Depresssion and the movement of its residents to other parts of the country. He examines the heartland's reinvention throughout the decades and traces the social and economic factors that have helped it to survive and prosper. There's more at Princeton University Press.


Well-known in the world of quilters, Bea Oglesby will talk about her new book, Circles: Floral Applique in the Round, at 2 pm on Sunday, March 13, at Lakeview Village Retirement Community, 9100 Park Street, Lenexa.

Bea has written many books about the art of quilting. The program is sponsored by the Johnson County Library.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Wow. I’m not even sure I spelled that word right!

Warren Bull writes: If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome, writers spend a great deal of time in a state closely resembling psychiatric patients.

Does Warren really believe that? Read his blogpost about why we writers keep doing what we’ve been doing at (My biggest problem with writing is focusing on short pieces or poems, while my unfinished novels remain untouched.)


The Good Soldiers is the story of the soldiers of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry of Fort Riley, known as the Rangers, during their historic tour of duty in Iraq from 2007-2008 at the peak of the surge.

Sorry we didn’t learn about this until too late to share with blog readers, but the author, David Finkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter, was at Kansas State University yesterday, March 10, for a talk and book-signing. Also present was Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, the former commander of the battalion. The book was published by Scribe Publications.


Mark Bouton has been pretty quiet this winter, but all you liars better look for a place to hide because Bouton, the author of How to Spot Lies Like the FBI, will be at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library at 2 pm on Sunday, March 13. In the book Bouton describes tell-tale body language and actions which can help individuals spot when someone is telling the truth or trying to pull a fast one.

In his 30 years as an FBI agent, Mark Bouton worked on many cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing. He is the author of the Max Austin, P.I series Max Conquers the Cosmos and Max Unlocks the Universe, and the LAPD mysteries, Cracks in the Rainbow and The Second Savior, featuring Detective Rick Dover.


The Kansas Authors Club 2011 Yearbook has arrived in my mailbox, and it is plum-chuck full of information. It is a member benefit for club members. While writing is a lonely occupation, plagiarizing from the KAC website: “There is no substitute for the camaraderie . . . meet . . . in an atmosphere of mutual support.”

A special attraction of the yearbook is the “Literary Selections” written by members, some of the pieces winners in the writing contest. I started with “Pour Me a Rum, Matey,” by Ralph Allen of District # 5, and I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


A native of Coffeyville, Chuck Bowman will be coming home to be the keynote speaker for the 2011 Kansas Authors Club convention October 7-9. After he left Coffeyville, Chuck has spent forty years writing, acting and directing in television and has a world of knowledge about the fields that he is eager to share.

Check in from time to time with the Kansas Authors Club website as more convention plans are finalized and information made available.


The writ of Habeas Corpus is such an important individual right that is it specifically stated in the United States Constitution, as in Article 1, Section 9: The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. (A layperson’s take: this handy writ is what protects us from being imprisoned in secret or without cause.)

A study of the history and its present day interpretations and usage is presented by Justin J. Wert in Habeas Corpus in America: The Politics of Individual Rights, which is being published in March by the University Press of Kansas. Wert is an associate professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Polly Swafford will present a reading as part of the Riverfront Reading Series at 8 pm on Friday, March 11, at The Writers’ Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO.

From Polly’s newest book, Early Freeze, available from Finishing Line Press:
first frost
a cricket’s chirp
grows louder


Coming out this March from the University Press of Kansas is Mary C. Brennan’s book, Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady. Caught in an era that struggled with ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and rising feminism, Thelma Catherine Ryan “Pat” Nixon was named Outstanding Homemaker of the Year in 1953 and the Nation’s Ideal Housewife in 1957.

Mary C. Brennan is professor of history at Texas State University in San Marcos.


The history of illegal immigration in the United States is Mae Ngai’s topic for a lecture at 7:30 pm Thursday, March 10, at the Kansas Union, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

At 11 am on Friday, March 11, she will meet with faculty, staff and students in the Hall Center Conference facility. A professor of history and Asian studies at Columbia University, New York, Mae Ngai is the author of The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America and Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Diane Eickhoff, author of Revolutionary Heart, will talk about “Clarina Nichols and the Fight for Women’s Rights” at 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 10, at the Monticello Community Historical Society, 23860 West 83rd Terrace, Lenexa. Call 913-667-3706 for information. The program is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.

In 1859 Clarina Nichols canvassed the sparsely populated Kansas Territory with a petition supporting equal rights for Kansas women. With signatures in hand, she attended the Wyandotte Convention, charged with hammering out a state constitution. Supporters ultimately introduced her provisions for married women’s property rights, equal custody rights, and educational rights. Diane’s talk asks, and answers: How did she do it?



Dr. Bill Brenner will be signing copies of I’m Praying Hard for You - Love Letters to a Death Camp: The World War II Ordeal of Bill and Jo Brenner from 1-4 pm on Saturday, March 12 at the Mystic Trove Book Boutique, 422 Broadway, Suite 2, in Larned.

See the post below: UNREAD LETTERS MAKE A BOOK


When Bill Brenner left for the Phillipines in November, 1941, his wife, Josephine, promised to write a letter to him twice a week. Shortly after his arrival, Bill was taken prisoner by the Japanese and forced into the infamous Bataan Death March. Jo continued faithfully to write, but many of the letters were returned and remained unopened until 1995.

The existence of the letters was discovered by Linda McCaffery, a history instructor at Barton Community College in Great Bend, during the process of conducting oral history studies. The letters form the basis of Linda’s book, I’m Praying Hard for You - Love Letters to a Death Camp: The World War II Ordeal of Bill and Jo Brenner.

Dr. Brenner has presented a copy of the book to the Jordaan Memorial Library in Larned, and will be signing copies on Saturday, March 12 at Mystic Trove.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Walter Bargen, the first Missouri poet laureate, and Marilyn Taylor, Wisconsin poet laureate, will share air-time on Wednesday, March 9, with Steve Kraske, host of KCUR’s Up To Date show on 89.3 from 11 am to noon. They will be talking about “Poet Laureati: A National Convergence of State Poets Laureate,” a most amazing gathering that will take place March 13-14 in Lawrence. See

Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, the story of Hadley Richardson, Earnest Hemingway’s first wife, will be heard on the first portion of the program.


Johnson County Community College will celebrate International Women’s Day – Tuesday, March 8 – with several events on both Tuesday, and the following day, Wednesday, March 9.

The headliner will be Susan Bordo, professor of English, and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky. Events open with a round table at 2 pm at in the Craig Community Auditorium. Other panelists will include Linda Rodriguez. At 8 pm in the Hudson Auditorium of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Susan Bordo will discuss her forthcoming book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn.

During a Brown Bag lunch from noon to 2 pm on Wednesday, March 9, in the Capital Federal Conference Center, Regnier Building, Susan Bordo, faculty members and students will discuss ethical issues raised by popular media images and representations of the human body.

At 7 pm in the Hudson Auditorium, Susan Bordo will speak on “Beyond ‘Eating Disorders’: Why We Have to Re-Think Everything We Thought We Knew.” One of her earlier books, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body, was a Pulitzer nomination. Details and information at

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Poets Laureate from all over the nation will be gathering in Lawrence on March 13-14 for Poet Laureati: A Convergence of National Poets Laurete.
Events will include Spencer Museum of Art tours with poets laureate, two public readings, a silent auction to have dinner with a poet laureate, reception and celebration, and all-day conference featuring panels on poetry.

Twenty -- and counting -- state poets laureate will be participating. The event will mark the launch of An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the U.S. Poets Laureate. Details/Registration:


Internationally-recognized poet Rachel Blau DuPlessis will give a reading at 7:30 pm on Monday, March 7, and a lecture at 7::30 pm on Tuesday, March 8 at the Kansas Union, University of Kansas in Lawrence.

DuPlessis, a professor at Temple University in Philadephia, PA, will read from her own works at the Monday program. On Tuesday she will deliver the John F. Eberhardt Memorial Lecture, "Reflections on the Long Poem: Autobiography of a Practice."

Can't help but wonder if she will stay in town for Poet Laureati: A Convergence of National Poets Laureate, a spectacular two-day event, March 13-14, which will take place at various venues in Lawrence. (See post above.) Details/Registration:

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Some say that even in the most remote corners of the globe the illiterate savages think of The Wizard of Oz when they hear the word "Kansas". That may not be exactly true -- maybe when they hear mention of the state of Kansas it may be visions of basketball that rush into their minds.

Brian D. Stucky's book, Hallowed Hardwood, has become a classic amongst lovers of the sport. Brian will be speaking at an Afternoon at the Museum program at 3:30 pm on Sunday, March 6, at the Kauffman Museum on the campus of Bethel College in North Newton. See Kauffman Museum.


There is no doubt about it - Barack Obama has deep roots in the state of Kansas. Coming this spring is a biography of Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, written by Janny Scott, whose columns in The New York Times have frequently been on the subject of President Obama.

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother is being published by Penquin. (Two of President's Obama's ancestors, and probably more, are buried in Kansas, one right here in the Olathe Memorial Cemetery, and another in a cemetery in Lenexa.)

Friday, March 4, 2011


Computer problems -- more common than the common cold.

Couldn't get on the internet. Went through a most amazing series of telephone calls. Was told by one of my Internet Service Provider technicians to call the manufacturer of the router. Kept a scribbled record. Finally decided to actually go to the ISP office. (Okay, it's Comcast, not ATT, whose local offices have all moved overseas.)

Despair of finding a clerk willing to believe my series of conversations, so I rehearse what I am going to say: "Good afternoon. I'm a writer. I write fairy tales."

Naw, I didn't really . . . but next time . . .

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Anyone following Charlotte Hinger around in the the next few days will have to step lively.

On Saturday, March 5, Charlotte will celebrate the official launch of Lethal Lineage, the second book in her Lottie Albright series, at Oscar's of Hoxie . Sunday, March 6 will find Charlotte in Goodland at the Carnegie Arts Center. But that's not all -- on Monday, March 7, Charlotte will be meeting with the Prairie Readers Book Club in Hoxie, and on Tuesday, March 8, she'll be back in Goodland at the Book Bag Club meeting.


Only seven more days to get your entry in to the Johnson County Library writing contest. Deadline is March 11. Contest is open to legal residents of the United States, subject should be a personal memoir, or a memoir about a family member or friend, limit 1,500 words.

"The Curious Case of YOU" – Create Your Own Story @ Your Library" is the contest theme. Go to the Johnson County Library website,, click on the delivery truck icon on the right-hand side. Follow the prompts to the Contest Rules and Guidelines.

The winners will be announced Saturday, Apr. 16, 2011, in conjunction with the celebration of National Library Week at the Central Resource Library.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Kansans proudly boast about the famous persons in our 150 years of history.

We're not a bit reticent about our outrageous citizens, either, as in Susan Smarsh's Outlaw Tales of Kansas: True Stories of the Sunflower State's Most Infamous Crooks, Culprits and Cutthroats.

An assistant professor of history at Washburn University in Topeka, Susan will be sharing the stories from her book at a reception and program beginning at 6 pm on Wednesday, March 16, at the National Archives of Kansas City, 400 Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO. (across Main street from the Crown Center complex).


Kim Cary Warren, assistant professor of history at the University of Kansas, will discuss her book The Quest for Citizenship: African American and Native American Education in Kansas, at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 3, at the National Archives Central Plains Region, 400 West Pershing, Kansas City, MO.

The goals and the outcomes for African Americans and Native Americans were not always the same, but the quest for citizenship for both groups took a lot of frustrating detours.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I hope you're looking, from time to time, at the growing list of 150 Kansas poems,

Poem NO. 28 has just appeared, The Senses, by William J. Karnowski. To celebrate our state's 150th birthday, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas' poet laureate, will be posting 150 poems by Kansas authors, some well-known, some unknown (as yet). A new poem appears every day or so.


What a treat! Lunch and a talk with Charlotte Hinger,, Western Kansas Historian and Novelist, on Wednesday, March 2, at the Pioneer Memorial Library in Colby Charlotte will speak about her book, Deadly Descent, the first in her Lottie Albright series, and the soon-to-be-launched Lethal Lineage, the second book in the series, published by Poisoned Pen Press
The Colby chapter of the American Association of University Women is sponsoring the program in celebration of National Women’s History Month, and will be preparing the lunch.


We writers all have days when we feel spaced-out, disconnected with the real world, our heads deep into what ever fantasy story we are trying to write, but here’s a guy who really can claim to having been spaced-out most of his adult life.

Alan Glines of Pittsburg will be the first of three speakers in the Space Exploration Spring book series on Thursday, March 3, at the Kansas University Bookstore in the Kansas Union on the (where else?) University of Kansas campus.

Glines will be signing his new book A Kansan Conquers the Cosmos: or, Spaced Out All Of My Life. The program begins at 1 pm. Glines knows whereof he speaks, having worked for 13 years in NASA at the Johnson Space Center.