Wednesday, August 31, 2011


What did Gary Clarke find on his safaris to Africa? Well, among other things, cheetahs, elephants and camels, oh, my, and he has chronicled as much as possible into a book to be released in October, Gary Clarke’s Africa: Wildlife, Rainbows and Laughter. (Who could resist a title like that?)

Clarke was named the first director of the Topeka Zoological Park in 1963, and has been on many safaris to Africa. Several book signings are scheduled, among the first at 3-8 pm on Friday, October 7, at Lloyd Zimmer Books and Maps, 117 SW 6th. Check out


Caleb J. Ross will be reading at 7 pm on Thursday, September 8, in Room 303, Plumb Hall, at Emporia State University (ESU).

From the Flint Hills Review:
Caleb J Ross has a degree in English with a minor in creative writing from Emporia State University. While attending ESU he won the Kay Alden Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Writing for his short story “Car Dodging.” He has been published widely, both online and in print. He is the author of Charactered Pieces: stories (OW Press), Stranger Will: a novel (Otherworld Publications, 2011) and, I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin: a novel (Black Coffee Press, 2011). He is an editor at Outsider Writers Collective and moderates The Velvet Podcast, which gathers writers for round table discussions on literature.

This event is sponsored by the ESU Creative Writing Program, the ESU Special Events Board, the ESU Performing Arts Board, and Quivira.


At the opening of a photographic exhibit last week at the Lawrence Arts Center, Baron Wolman, the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, signed copies of his book, The Rolling Stone Years. In 1967 Wollman joined two other persons in the initiation of the magazine; he agreed to work for free, but insisted on retaining the ownership of the photographs he had taken.

Hey, I know I’m tardy (still in catch-up mode) with news of the book signing, but the exhibit, which includes many of the magazine’s covers, as well as additional photographs of well-known musicians, will continue until October 1.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We all love babies, even as we sometimes hold our breath at thoughts of babies who suffer challenges from the moment of their birth.

From the website of the author of a new book about babies: “Dr. Sue Hall has a been a doctor specializing in Neonatology (Newborn Intensive Care) for nearly twenty-five years . . . . As she works to improve the health and well-being of the babies under her care, she offers support to their families, bringing her singular insight into their circumstances and their challenges. Every family hopes to bring a healthy baby home from the hospital. That is Dr. Hall's wish for every family also. She's been helping to make it happen throughout her career.

Dr. Hall has chronicled some of her experiences with babies and families in crisis in her debut book, For The Love Of Babies: One Doctor's Stories About Life in the Neonatal ICU, published June, 2011 by WorldMaker Media.”

Dr. Hall is medical director of Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center's NICU in Topeka.


Take a survey about the Civil War and get a chance to win a signed copy of a new book, a collection of short stories, The Outlaw Album, by Daniel Woodrell.

The author of Winter’s Bone, Woodrell will present a program at 2 pm on Saturday, October 8, at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W 87th Street, Overland Park. Use the link above and click on the book cover to enter the survey.


The deadline for submissions to Beecher’s Magazine first annual fiction and poetry contests has been extended to December 7, 2011. Beecher’s Magazine, the Kansas University/MFA’s literary journal founded and governed by graduate students, has just celebrated its’ first year of existence.

The judge for fiction entries is Deb Olin Unferth; poetry judge is Adam Robinson. Check out the webpages for information about the entry fees and the prizes. The contest webpage says that after you’ve read the rules, entries to the contest should be submitted through the Submishmash portal. It’s not totally clear from the website, but the contest rules may be the same as for regular submissions, which are accepted on a “rolling basis.”

You can buy a copy of the first issue through the website’s BUY NOW tab, and I think I’ve heard it’s available at The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, (but I haven’t been able to get to Lawrence for some time, and I don’t know for sure).

Oh, and the inspiration for the name came from a bit of wisdom from Henry Ward Beecher – for more on that, read the site’s First Year page.


Ominous sounding title, don’t you think? The rest of the title is: The Eastern Front through the Eyes of Soviet and Russian Novelists.

Frank Ellis, a former academician and member of the British Army who now lives in the United Kingdom, is the author of this exhaustive study of Soviet and Russian literature – how many of us would be able to read any of the works which Ellis analyzes in the original Russian language?

From the University Press of Kansas website: ”One of the many threads running throughout Ellis’s study is the dilemma of the Red Army soldier condemned to serve a regime that was utterly paranoid regarding the allegiances of its own armies, so much so that Soviet soldiers often felt as threatened by the Soviet government as they did by the German armies. Many of these novels reinforce the now well-known fact that Stalin devoted considerable resources to ferreting out soldiers whose actions (or inactions) suggested disloyalty to his repressive regime.”

The readers of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s works will be familiar with this theme. The Damned and The Dead was released in June by the University Press of Kansas.

Monday, August 29, 2011


A history of the Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD) since its inception in 1861 is told in a forthcoming book, Kansas School for the Deaf: A Pictorial History, 1861-2011, which will be available in September.

The book is the creation of Sandra Kelly, formerly community resource facilitator at KSD, and now executive director of the Deaf Cultural Center and William J. Marra Museum across the street at 455 East Park in Olathe. The school was established in 1861 in Baldwin City, and was moved to Olathe in 1866, where it has earned a reputation as one of the most renowned schools of its type in the United States. The Deaf Cultural Center is a separate entity from KSD, but enjoys the support of the Olathe deaf community, as well as many others who have been connected with KSD over the years.


So you missed the last KCVoices reading at Webster House? Do not despair – you’ve got another chance, this time on Sunday, September 11, at Naomi’s Hallmark Shop at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Quivira, Overland Park.

Come early, shopping at 20% off starts at 4 pm, with the readings scheduled for 5 pm. You’ll have a chance to hear John Peterson, Alarie Tennille, Lisa Daly and Jack Kline, four writers whose work appears in Volume 8 of Kansas City Voices. The submission period for the upcoming issue, due in November, closed months ago, but a new submission period will open about the first of next year.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Images from around the world, as seen through the eyes of a now retired Salina optometrist, are available in a new book – an armchair voyage around the globe for the reader.

From 5-7 pm on Thursday, September 1, Dale K. Cole will be signing copies of Journeys Around the World at the Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts, 151 S. Santa Fe in Salina. Photographs will also be on display at the theatre’s Watson Gallery during September and October.

The book was printed by Mennonite Press in Newton. The photographs were taken by Dr. Cole during many trips he made with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH). Ordering information at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Thomas Fox Averill will be the first author in a series of fall events at the Bonner Springs Public Library at 2 pm on Sunday, September 18. The library is at 201 North Nettleton Avenue.

Averill’s newest book is Rode – just out – inspired by hearing the legendary Doc Watson sing “Tennessee Stud.” Averill’s research for the book took him afar – into Mexico for part of the story. (One wonders how many miles were put in on horseback?)

Other Sunday afternoon author events will include Jeanne Glidewell on October 16 and Nancy Pickard on November 20.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


You will find a treasure, incomparable Kansas art, in a new book, entitled, simply, State of the Art: Kansas.

Probably still smelling of ink, the new book features 150 (Kansas’ 150th Birthday this year, remember) original paintings and fine art photographs chosen from submissions to the juried Kansas-150 Art competition sponsored by SouthWind Gallery in Topeka. The soft-cover book also includes biographies of the artists. Details at the SouthWind Gallery website,

Thanks to
Cheryl Unruh of
for calling attention to this exciting new publication.


Readings from Kansas City Voices will be given from 6-7 pm on Thursday, August 25, at Webster House, 17th and Wyandotte in Kansas City, MO.

You’ll hear Jason Preu, a devious blogger, Anne Baber, (whose chapbook I have, but my son wandered off with it the other day and I can’t remember the title), Judith Bader Jones, author of Delta Pearls, Moonflowers on the Fence, and the soon-to-be released The Language of Small Rooms, and Peg Nichols (yep, it’s me), author of I Knee-ded It, poems of preparation for and recovery from knee surgery, and Mediation Survivor’s Handbook.

And thanks to Carole Katsantoness for arranging this program, and many others. She’s tireless!


Stories and poems in three acts is the treat at 7 pm on Thursday, August 25, at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th, Lawrence.

You’ll be hearing Iris Moulton, assistant poetry editor for Beecher’s Magazine, Lauren Schimming, a graphic design and creative writing major at the University of Kansas, and Jennifer Lawler, whose books include the award-winning Dojo Wisdom series.

Three acts under a Big Tent? Sounds like a three-ring circus, never a chance to be bored. Plus lots of great ambience, and a chance to network with other lovers (creators) of literature. (More about Beecher’s in a future post.)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Skilled seamstress and designer – and author of Deploy That Fabric -- Jen Eskridge recycles no-longer-worn military uniforms into everything from “totes to quilts, plus Christmas d├ęcor, baby items and fashion-forward accessories,” according to C&T Publishing.

Show your pride in our troops every day! All members of the Armed Forces have to buy multiple uniforms, some of which become decommissioned. Learn how to recycle these uniforms and blend in some cheerful, contemporary fabrics to create useful family treasures with one-of-a-kind style. Even if you don't have a service member in your life, you can make these cool projects using camouflage fabrics or uniforms purchased from surplus stores.

Jen recently had a book signing on Saturday at the Material Girls Quilt Shop in Wichita.

Brings back memories -- towards the end of WWII my father received a promotion which required an entirely different uniform. He scarcely wore them, since he was soon discharged. He had hardly dropped his bags inside the front door when my mother, who had worn her limited wardrobe to rags, was converting one of the uniforms into something she could wear. Turned upside down, the pants became a skirt. The jacket was, well, a military jacket, but she wore skirt, made of that navy blue that was almost black, so many years the fabric turned shiny.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Just ask Vivian Crosby. Her book-signing today for Peace Sign was a lively event at the Indian Creek Library in Olathe. Her talk was short – and interactive – as she introduced numerous people in the audience who had influenced the book in some way, or waved and smiled at visitors coming into the room. And abundant refreshments, including sugar cookies frosted with the peace symbol – what else would you expect with a novel entitled Peace Sign?

Set in a time-frame of 2017 – 2027, Peace Sign is the story of “one boomer’s struggle for peace in the future,” and follows two friends, Susan and Cat, as they evolve – somewhat to their surprise – into fellow nursing home residents. Read more about Vivian at or see some pictures from the book-signing at Vivian’s blog,


Ascend Books in Overland Park have added another title to their list of publications.

In his thrilling new work of fiction—Between the Lies—Hall of Fame Coach and New York Times best-selling author Marv Levy takes us on a journey through the NFL like we’ve never seen before. Through the eyes of a memorable cast of characters, many of whom are based on real football players, coaches, general managers, and owners, we get to see professional football from the inside.

Some of Ascend Books other titles are For Wildcats Only, For Jayhawks Only, For Tigers Only, oh my!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Chanute, in Neosho County, was named for the engineering pioneer, Octave Chanute, and now there’s a new book about his life and his accomplishments, Locomotive to Aeromotive: Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution, by Simine Short, and published by the University of Illinois Press.

I must say the cover of the book is attention-grabbing – a glider or early-day biplane flying over a bridge being constructed – but dangling from beneath the lower wing is the figure of a man. I’ll have to read the book, but one would surmise that the dangling figure is Chanute himself.

Simine Short is an aviation historian. She spoke yesterday at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hill, NC.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Couldn’t put it down, Daddy’s Money: A Memoir of Farm and Family, by Jo McDougall from the University of Arkansas Press.

I’ve only traveled through the Delta country, but there’s enough Arkansas in me to resonate with Jo’s description of her childhood on a rice farm near DeWitt. My memories include the summer my father worked on a WPA bridge at Hollis. I thought we were at the edge of civilization, never dreaming that we were mere miles from wicked, steamy Hot Springs – where Jo went to visit her grandparents.

It’s a beautifully-crafted story, of one memoirist’s place in time and in an unforgettable landscape.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Kansas native Mark Miller returned earlier this week to read from his fantasy adventure series, The Empyrical Tales, at the Lansing Community Library.

Mark’s titles include The Fourth Queen and The Lost Queen. More about Mark’s works at

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Dr. Brian Craig Miller and Diane Eickhoff will get the Johnson County Library’s 2011 Blitz Read off to a good start with a special program from 1:30 – 3:45pm on Sunday, August 28 at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park.

The Blitz Read program will run from September 1 to October 31. Winners of gift cards will be drawn from entries submitted by readers. More details forthcoming on the library’s website at www/

Dr. Brian Craig Miller, professor of history at Emporia State University, will be speaking about how the Civil War affected the state of Kansas. The Civil War began in April, 1861, barely two months after Kansas’ admission to statehood.

Diane Eickhoff, author of Revolutionary Heart, Clarina Nichols’ history, will talk about the roles Kansas women played in the Civil War. Both presentations are sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Commission and the Johnson County Library Foundation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Ever wonder what Kansas (Kanzas) was like 150 years ago? Get a copy of Serenia’s Kanzas and wonder no more. Author Kathleen Boston McCune has drawn on five generations of family history to create a fictional portrait of what life in Kansas was like in those early days.

"Between illness, new infants and the inclement weather typical of the Ellsworth, Kansas area in both winter and summer, the family struggles but perseveres midst Indian raids and cattle herds which take out their cropland and fences."

Serenia’s Kanzas is available from Barnes & Noble, Abe Books, Blackwell and Amazon in soft cover and e-book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Standing Invisible is the debut novel of Shasta Jane, otherwise known as Shasta Venegas, who is squeezing book-signing appearances in between graduating from high school and starting college this fall.

"Nate, Dani, and Kyle (seniors at Bayville High) are each Standing Invisible in a world where being seen is all that matters. Find out what happens when bullying goes too far, secrets are revealed, and violence rears its ugly head.""

Shasta will be at Books-a-Million, 1811 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, from 1-4 pm on Saturday, September 3. More about the book at

Monday, August 8, 2011


Any time is the best time to be in Coffeyville, but Kansas Authors Club members will be there in the numbers on October 7-9 for the 2011 convention. The history of the state of Kansas can be summed up in the convention theme of “Kansas: Freedom Frontier for 150 Years.”

The KAC is not quite 150 years old, but darned close, having celebrated 100 years of existence several years back. And quite a legacy it is, with previous members like William Allen White and Margaret Hill McCarter. But you don’t have to be famous, or even often published to be a member of KAC. The only qualification is that you be interested in writing.

I’ve been a member for a few years now, and it’s been amazing to me that the membership embraces everyone from timid not-yet-published aspirants, to seasoned, established writers with tons of credits, the latter always willing and gracious about sharing their knowledge and their expertise, and generous with their praise and encouragement for fledgling writers.

Take a look at the website, (hosted by the state of Kansas Library) and see where you fit in. You’ll find the convention schedule and the registration forms – come join us in Coffeyville.

PS. This blog is NOT an official website for KAC, but as you can guess, I'm pretty enthusiastic about promoting KAC, as well as other information about Kansas writing and Kansas writers. If you have information appropriate for this blog, send me an e-mail at onefreenation at yahoo dot com.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The search is over. You’ll find The Ideal Man, and the author, Julie Garwood, at a Rainy Day sponsored booksigning, at 7 pm Tuesday, August 9, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, Kansas City, MO.

Details on how to buy the book, get a ticket (or two) for the event, or how to order an autographed copy at These events are always fun. Take a friend with the extra ticket, or go by yourself. Whoever is sitting next to you will be an avid reader – what more do you need to start an interesting conversation?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Which inhabits your neighborhood, the Eastern Red Bat or the Big Brown Bat, both known to dwell in Kansas?

To help you research the habits of bats, you might want to consult Bats of Kansas, a new book by Dale W. Sparks, Curtis J. Schmidt and Jerry R. Choate.

From the Sternberg Museum of Natural History: Bat enthusiasts and anyone wanting to know more about these mysterious creatures will welcome this new book as the finest resource . . . on the ecoloby of bats in Kansas. Beneficial to humans in many ways, from seed dispersaol and pollination to insect predation, bats are the only flying mammal and the only flying animal that preys on insects at night.

Order from the Sternberg Museum at 785-628-5569 or the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at 620-786-7456.

Friday, August 5, 2011


A military officer, a free-sate advocate, the first Chief Justice of Kansas and a Union brigadier general, Thomas Ewing, Jr., is the subject of a book written by Ronald Smith, an attorney and a U.S. Navy veteran.

With his family, Ewing moved to Leavenworth in the mid-1850s. His name is most often associated with the controversial General Order No. 11, which forcibly removed Confederate sympathizers from rural Western Missouri.

As part of Lawrence’s programs of commemorating the Civil War on the Western Frontier, Smith will present a talk at 1 pm on Saturday, August 20 at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont. Oh, and the title of the book? Thomas Ewing, Jr.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The 31st annual William Inge Festival will welcome David Henry Hwang to Independence April 18-21, 2012, to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.

The four-day event will be held at Independence Community College where Inge, a native of Independence, attended school. Inge was graduated from the University of Kansas in 1935.

According to Inge Center artistic director Peter Ellenstein, “David Henry Hwang brings a unique voice to the fabric of the American theatre. Besides being a great dramatist, his work often given voice to an Asian-American perspective.” Hwang’s more recent work is Chinglish, which has premiered in Chicago and will be on Broadway later this year. The son of immigrants, Hwang was born in Los Angeles.


The Broadyway version of Gregory Maquire’s novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the story of the Oz characters from the point of view of the witches won many awards and continues to please theater audiences.

How Stephen Schwartz converted Maquire’s book for the stage has been chronicled by Paul Laird, professor of musicology at the University of Kansas.

From the publisher, Scarecrow Press:

Laird brings together an impressive amount of detail on the creation of Wicked, including a look at Maguire's novel, as well as the original source material, The Wizard of Oz. This volume also offers a history of the show's genesis along with examinations of the draft scenarios and scripts that demonstrate the show's development. Laird also explores Stephen Schwartz's life and work, providing an analysis of the composer and lyricist's work on the show through song drafts, sketches, and musical examples.

Laird also surveys the show's critical reception in New York and London, noting how many critics failed to appreciate its qualities or anticipate its great success. The unusual nature of Wicked's story--dominated by two strong female leads--is also placed in the context of Broadway history. A unique look into a successful Broadway production, Wicked: A Musical Biography will be of interest to musicologists, theatre scholars, students, and general readers alike.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I’ll be there!

At Naomi’s Hallmark, 12128 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Shawnee (North side of Shawnee Mission, near Quivira) from 4-6 pm on Sunday, September 11.

And besides, I’ll get to hear John Peterrson, Alarie Tennille, Lisa Daly and Jack Kline with readings from Kansas City Voices. The discounts will be for 20 % for an hour during the readings. The refreshments? Come and see taste for yourself.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Specifically, the line should be “How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive,” but that many words won’t fit into the title line.

If you are fortunate enough to be the owner of a volkswagon, you most certainly want to keep it alive and running. If you go to The Raven Bookstore on 7 pm on Thursday, August 18, to hear Christopher Boucher talk about How To Keep Your Volkswagon Alive, you’re quite likely to come away with far more laughs and chortles than automotive tips and advice.

WARNING: How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive is a novel (!?!) not a vehicle maintenance manual.

(Reminiscing, we’ve had Beetles in the family, in fact, we once had some extra Beetle parts, for example, an extra hood, which was leaned up against the Beetle’s body, until the uptight neighbors objected and asked us to remove the obscene display!)

Monday, August 1, 2011


Leslie Tuttle, a native Kansan and Associate Professor of History at the University of Kansas, has been awarded the 2011 Byron Caldwell Smith Book Award with her Conceiving the Old Regime: Pronatalism and the Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern France.

Professor Tuttle will deliver a lecture at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 13, at the Hall Center Conference on “Making Babies, Making the Nation-State: The Case of Pre-Revolutionary France. The event is open to the public.

The Byron Caldwell Smith Award was established to honor books of exceptional merit written by a Kansan, or an individual working in Kansas. (I’m not sure if the award is given every year, or every other year, but the submission deadline is usually in March.)

Two honorable mention awards went to Patrick Dobson for Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains, and Albert Goldbarth of Wichita for To Be Read in 500 Years Poems.


Time to start making your plans to be in Coffeyville on October 7-9. The Kansas Authors Club newsletter is out, with the 2011 Registration Form, and it’s also available on the website.

There’s a stellar line-up of workshop presenters, with no shortage of topics to choose from, and a keynoter straight from Hollywood (but with roots in Coffeyville). Whatever your choice of writing genre, you’ll find lots of help and encouragement.

Check out all the details at You don’t want to miss meeting new writing colleagues, and visiting again with writers you know from districts besides your own.

Not a member? Well, get on board. Membership is open to anyone interested in writing, and is only $25.00 per year.


Tallgrass Voices, an anthology of poetry from twenty members of the Kansas Authors Club, is described in a very nice article in the August 1 Lawrence Journal-World.

“I like the grass-roots feel of the Kansas Author’s Club,” says Brian Daldorph, one of the contributing poets. “It’s a good force in life — a group of people who have come together more for the purpose of writing than for the fame that writing can bring.”

Novelist, short story writer and frequent poet, Tom Mach, the push behind the project, wanted “to assemble a collection of poems from other writers to highlight the talent he knew resided in Kansas.”

Tallgrass Voices is available from Hill Song Press, P.O. Box 486, Lawrence,KS 66044, Hastings, 1900 W 23rd, or from
The Raven, 6 E 7th,
which will host a reading at 7 pm on Friday, September 9.