Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Between eating fabulous chili at Porubsky’s and chasing Bill Murray today, I didn’t have time to gather any notes about book and writing events.

You’ve never had any chili, or the legendary hot pickles, at Porubsky’s in Little Russia in North Topeka? Basically, Porubsky’s is a little grocery store and deli, with an intimate eating area and bar. If you have friends who rave about Porubsky’s, but won’t tell you how to get there (it is a bit tricky), it’s because they’re afraid that if you go to Porubsky’s, there won’t be enough chili left for them.

But we got there, four of us, mostly from different directions. The waitress finally identified the person on my lapel badge, although Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in that iconic pose with a cigarette in an elegant holder, is a bit of a puzzler.

But she got carried away and I soon saw her point and say, “and there’s Bill Murray in that booth.”

Drat! It wasn’t Bill, but Some Other Person Murray, but I want to tell you that just the thought that I was actually “having lunch” with Bill Murray gave me a heart attack.

Tomorrow maybe I’ll settle down and have some book/writing news.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Wouldn’t it be great to have your book of poems described as “intimate, mischievous, and poignantly funny”?

That’s been the experience of Eric McHenry, assistant professor in the English department at Washburn University in Topeka. Borrowing from facebook, McHenry writes:

I'll be reading from, talking about, and signing Mommy Daddy Evan Sage, my new book of goofy poems inspired by things my kids have said. Publishers Weekly calls it "intimate, mischievous, and poignantly funny." The London Daily Telegraph calls it "delightful." My kids call it "that book we wrote." Please come! Bring your kids! Have a cookie!

That’s on Saturday, December 3, from 1-2:30 at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Avenue, in Topeka.

Monday, November 28, 2011


That’s Lincoln KANSAS in Lincoln County, where on Saturday, December 3, you’ll find Gloria Zachgo from 10 am to 2 pm signing copies of her debut fictional drama, The Rocking Horse, a story of how families must deal with the disappearance of a child before being found decades later.

Zachgo will be at the Little Kansas Store, Village Lines, at 139 West Lincoln Avenue, located in Historic Lincoln for 25 years. You’ll find lots of Kansas-related merchandise.

While you’re there , you might ask about the anniversary of the Tar Party – no, don’t read TEA Party here, read TAR Party -- an event in which “gossip led the women of Shady Bend to incite their husbands into teaching the local school teacher a lesson.” Village Lines published the account of the (in)famous event. See

NOTICE: The date on the website should be Saturday, December 3, not December 4 – the website is expected to be quickly corrected.


Max Yoho will be joining the festivities at the Washburn University Bookstore Holiday Party from 1-2:30 on Wednesday, November 30. Yoho will have copies of his newest book, Me and Aunt Izzy, as well as previous titles.

Other Washburnites at the party will be Tom Averill, with Rode, Sarah Smarsh with It Happened in Kansas, and Eric MdHenry with Mommy Daddy Evan Sage. (I thought the afternoon was the “Washburn Creative Writing Faculty Reading and Book Signing.” Either way, it sounds like a ton of fun.) The previous post was READINGS, SIGNINGS AT WASHBURN.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Katy Harlin will be reading from her newest work, Send Me Work, at 7:30 pm on Saturday, December 3, at the Raven Bookstore. She’ll be joined by Christie Hodgen, author of Elegies for the Brokenhearted.

Katy Karlin, otherwise known as Katherine Karlin, is an assistant professor of English at Kansas State University. Her website is

Christie Hodgen, an assistant professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, can be found at

You all know where -- 6 E. Seventh in Lawrence.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A recent addition to the list of Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems readings is an appearance at 7 pm on Thursday, December 8, in the Governor’s Room of the Student Center at Pittsburg State University.

The program is being sponsored by the English department and the Student Fee Council as part of the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series.
Poets to be heard include Laura Lee Washburn, Iris Wilkinson, Lorraine Achey, Roland Sodowsky, Stephen E. Meats, Daniele Cunningham, Olive Sullivan, Rick Nichols, Al Ortolani, Max Yoho, Melissa Fite and Allison Berry.

Poets not already profiled in earlier blog posts are:

Laura Lee Washburn, director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University, is the author of This Good Warm Place (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in Prime Number, Cavalier Literary Couture, Valparaiso Review, The Sun, The Journal, and elsewhere. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has lived in Pittsburg since 1997. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky.

Roland Sodowsky worked in Kansas wheat fields as a teenager. His books include Things We Lose, an AWP Award Winner for Short Fiction, Interim in the Desert, Un-Due West. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1989 and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Award for Short Fiction in 1991. His poetry and fiction have also appeared in Atlantic Monthly, American Literary Review, Glimmer Train, and Midwest Quarterly, among others. A 2009 Kansas Voices winner, he lives with his wife, Laura Lee Washburn, in Pittsburg, KS.

Stephen Meats has taught literature and creative writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas since 1979. He has published poems and short stories in various journals, and his book of poems, Looking for the Pale Eagle (1993) was published by Woodley Memorial Press. He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985.

Daniele Cunningham’s poetry is informed by Zen ethics, which she grounds with images of place, particularly the landscapes of Kansas. Her poetry has been published in the Cow Creek Review, the SEK Celebration Program, and has been the focus of her thesis for a Master of Arts in English at Pittsburg State University.

Al Ortolani has been teaching in Kansas for 37 years. His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, The Laurel Review, The New York Quarterly and others. His second book of poetry Finding the Edge was published by Woodley Press in 2011. He is currently co-editor of The Little Balkans Review.

Melissa Fite earned her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas and now teaches English at Pittsburg High School. She writes poetry as frequently as she can, usually just often enough to keep her from getting kicked out of her beloved workshop group. Melissa lives at home with her boyfriend and dog.

Allison Berry was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and her master’s from Pittsburg State University. She lives in Pittsburg with her wife and son, and she teaches English and Women’s studies at Pittsburg State University.

For the latest information about the readings, go to


When Fran A. Baker used the war time experiences of her husband, Vincent Baker, as the basis of her novel , Once a Warrior, in 1998, she had no expectation that her novel would be one of the links in helping her husband learn who saved his life on D-Day.

Baker was thrown into the waters of the English channel when his landing craft was destroy by a mine. Walter Antonivich threw him a rope, pulled him out of the water and handed him a drink of bourbon. This fall Antonivich’s grandson, Scott, contacted Baker. One of the links in the chain of discovery was Fran Baker’s book.

Walter Antonivich passed away several years ago, but Baker was pleased to have finally learned who His rescuer was. The story is a feature in today’s Kansas City Star, (Saturday, November 27) written by Tony Rizzo, "D-Day Mystery Gets an Answer."

Fran Baker continues to write, her latest novels being Pursuing Miss Pippa, and Miss Francie’s Folly, both published in 2011.


Nancy Marsh Price will discuss her new book, Uncle Sam’s Most Reluctant G.I.: When Dad was Drafted the Whole Family Went to War, at 4-7 pm on Sunday, November 27, at the Kansas Museum of Military History, formerly the Augusta Air Museum,135 South Highway 77, in Augusta.

Through preserved letters and other materials, Price tells the story of Jay W. “Woody” Marsh, Woody’s brother, Edward Marsh and Woody’s sister, Irene Marsh, who all served in World War II. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Three writers – Marcia Cebulska, Allison Lopez, and Elizabeth Schultz – will be heard at 7 pm on Thursday, December 1, part of the Big Tent series at the Raven Book Store, 6 East 7th, in Lawrence, 785-749-3300.

Elizabeth Schultz taught at the University of Kansas from 1967 to 2001. Among her works are Her Voice, from Woodley Press in 2008, and essays in The Nature of Kansas Lands, published by the University Press of Kansas in 2009. Marcia Cebulska is a writer of drama, and Allison Lopez a writer of fiction.


Ralph F. Voss, native Kansan and a now-retired English professor at the University of Alabama, is the author of Truman Capote and the Legacy of 'In Cold Blood', published this year.

Voss examines Capote and In Cold Blood from many perspectives, not only as the crowning achievement of Capote’s career, but also as a story in itself, focusing on Capote’s artfully composed text, his extravagant claims for it as reportage, and its larger status in American popular culture.

Voss argues that Capote’s publication of In Cold Blood in 1966 forever transcended his reputation as a first-rate stylist but second-rate writer of “Southern gothic” fiction; that In Cold Blood actually is a gothic novel, a sophisticated culmination of Capote’s artistic development and interest in lurid regionalism, but one that nonetheless eclipsed him both personally and artistically. He also explores Capote’s famous claim that he created a genre called the “non-fiction novel,” and its status as a foundational work of “true crime” writing as practiced by authors ranging from Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer to James Ellroy, Joe McGinniss, and John Berendt.

Ralph F. Voss is the author of several books, including The Strains of Triumph: A Life of William Inge, published by the University Press of Kansas in 1989.


Not understanding the program in Emporia in which the Town Crier Bookstore promotes reading by getting books into the hands of deserving children who might otherwise have limited access to books – and thus limited success in learning how to read – I asked the book elves themselves for a fuller explanation. Here is what they told me:

We partner with our local CASA service for a book tree. We've been doing it over 15 years. The CASA director sends us the age and gender of the children in the system and we make little ornaments to hang on our tree in the store. So each ornament says "girl age 8" etc. People purchase books for the kids (here) and place them under the tree. Then "Santa" comes by and picks them up for delivery at their annual Christmas party. This year we have 112 names. The books go over well and people feel like it isn't just another toy. For a lot of the kids this is the start of their own little library. We also have a couple of "Angels" that give us money for the ornaments and we stretch their dollars all we can. This lets people not in town or maybe a shut in still feel like they are doing their part. It has also been popular with scout groups, church groups, etc. They pool their money and get to pick something out for kids their age.

Stop by the Town Crier Bookstore at 716 Commercial and see for yourself.


Andrea Warren journeyed to England to research the information for her new children’s book, Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London.

Warren will be discussing her book at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 2, at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City, MO, public library, 4801 Main Street. RSVP at 816-701-3407. More at More about Warren and her other books at


From the Kansas City Voices blog at www/ :

The watercolor "Evening Slipper" depicts the Showy Lady Slipper (also called Orchid of the North) growing wild by native Aspen trees near her summer lake home in NW Ontario, Canada. This finely detailed painting took five months to complete and was featured in the 2011 Watercolor USA exhibit at the Springfield, MO Art Museum. It received a Purchase Award by the museum and is now part of their permanent collection.
--Norma Herring is a local and national award winning watercolor artist from Leawood, KS.
View her work at or Contact her:

You can see her work in Volumes 8 & 9 of Kansas City Voices. Order your copies today at


Looks like the official name of this event is the “Washburn Creative Writing Faculty Reading and Book Signing,” sounds like a long title, but a great afternoon of fun from 4 -5:30 pm on Monday, December 5, at Washburn – where else?

The Facebook invitation reads:

Novelist Tom Averill reads from Rode, nonfictionalist Sarah Smarch reads from It Happened in Kansas, and poet Eric McHenry reads from Mommy Daddy Evan Sage..

That will be at the Mabee Library, 1700 College Avenue, in Topeka. (Is anyone thinking Christmas shopping? Books make great gifts -- autographed books are even specialer.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well, maybe not quite soon enough for Thanksgiving, day after tomorrow, but Clementine Paddleford’s famed – and out of print – cook book has been updated for modern-day kitchens by Kelly Alexander.

Clementine Paddleford was a Kansas original. Born in Stockdale, in Riley County, Paddleford was graduated from Manhattan High School in 1916, and Kansas State Agricultural College in 1921. Also a pilot (not surprising for a Kansas girl), she flew a Piper Cub around the country to report on regional cuisines.

Paddleford’s masterpiece – The Great American Cookbook: 500 Time-Tested Recipes: Favorite Food from Every State – has been edited and updated for contemporary kitchens by Kelly Alexander.

(Has anyone out there acquired the book, just out in October, and can tell us what recipes have been chosen for the state of Kansas?)

Monday, November 21, 2011


Laura Schmid Hogan spent most of her adult life in Stoneham, MA, but she never forgot her Kansas childhood, which she recounts in I Laura: the Story of a Kansas Family. Hogan’s autobiography tells her life journey as one of 17 children growing up on a farm in Eastern Kansas in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s.

Laura met her husband, Dan Hogan, a New Englander, when he attended the University of Kansas. Hogan’s book was published in 2010 by Ammons Communications of North Carolina.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Prize-winners, all of them, and you have the chance to hear them at 7 pm on Friday, December 2, at The Writers’ Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO.

The three poets, and their latest works are: Jan Duncan O’Neal with Voices: Lost and Found, Judith Bader Jones with The Language of Small Rooms, and Anne Baber with Endless.

If you’ve never been to The Writers’ Place before, it’s THE literary hangout for the Kansas City region, just off Broadway in mid-town. The website is at for admission charge and other information.


The fantasy cycle that began with the book Eragon concludes with Inheritance. The author, Christopher Paolini will make an appearance at 7 pm on Monday, November 21, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, MO. For information and how/where to purchase the book Rainy Day Books is at 2706 West 53rd in Fairway, online at

Books two and three are Eldest and Brisinger. Paolini began the series in 1998.


It’s Sunday – know what that means?

Second day of Prospero’s Birthday Sale – buy two books, get third book free.

From that entrepreneur extraordinaire, Will Leatham.

(One block over the state line at 1800 West 39th Street, think KU Med at 39th and Rainbow,


The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory will be discussed by the authors, James Leiker and Ramon Powers in a program at 2 pm on Sunday, November 20, at the Kansas City Library Central Library, 14 West 10th, Kansas City, MO.

Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, the account looks at the exodus of the Northern Cheyennes in 1878 and 1879 from Indian Territory through Kansas to their Montana homeland.(See previous post of September 28, CHEYENNE TRAIL THROUGH KANSAS.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


The folks at Prospero’s really love books, and authors, too, but I think they love readers more, because they are celebrating their 14th birthday with a birthday offer to folks who buy books.

Buy two books from Prospero’s today until Monday, November 21, and you’ll get the third book free. And where is Prospero’s? Just one block across the state line on 39th street in Kansas City, MO, 1800 West 38th Street, northwest corner of 39th street and Bell.

Prospero’s welcomes authors from Kansas, just last week Prospero’s opened the doors to several poets whose work appears in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems. Folks who weren’t there missed a good turnout. Learn more at


A Fort Leavenworth military researcher and a filmmaker have combined to provide the account of Operation Anaconda, in which American-led coalition forces confronted Al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.
Lester W. Grau is a research director for the Foreign Military Studies Office in the U.S. Army’s Combined and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Dodge Billingsley, who is Director of Combat Films and Research, Inc., accompanied military units during the thirteen-day battle which took place a few months after 9/11.
Grau and Billingsley’s account also highlights problems encountered in Anaconda and the lessons we should learn from their in-depth study. The Army and Air Force operated under conflicting views regarding the appropriate application of Close Air Support, and airpower both crippled and aided the overall effort. In addition, severe shortages of transport, attack helicopters, and artillery hampered the effort, while the acquisition and timely sharing of intelligence barely occurred at all and coalition relations frayed under the intense pressures of combat
Operation Anaconda: America’s First Major Battle in Afghanistan was published in October by the University Press of Kansas.

Friday, November 18, 2011


The Friends of the Bonner Springs City Library present “Kansas Author Visits” at 2 pm on Sunday, November 20, when the special guest will be
Nancy Pickard.

Pickard is the author of eighteen popular and critically acclaimed novels, including the Jenny Cain and Marie Lightfoot mystery series. Her latest novel is Scent of Rain and Lightning.


The Emporia Arts Council Holiday Botique will open on Saturday, November 19, and among the artists and authors who will be there is Jerilynn Henrikson, The Boutique remains in operation until December 31. Henrikson will be there with all her books, games and patterns.

The Emporia Arts Council is at 815 Commercial. Henrikson’s website is (And the Raccoons are STILL in the Corn.)


From the facebook postings, sounds like the Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems poets are having a great time on their western tour.
One of the poets reported that “We’re headliners” and that Garden City knows how to treat their poets. They read at the State Theatre in Garden City on Friday evening.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg will teach a writing workshop in the morning, Saturday, November 19, at the Garden City Community College and in the evening the readings will begin at 7 pm in Ulysses.

They’ll finish off Sunday noon at the Cup of Jones Coffee shop in Dodge City.

Several future readings are scheduled, and some still in the planning stage. To see if there will be a reading near you, go to


Two chances to talk with Marci Penner, the author of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook – on Tuesday, November 29, and Thursday, December 1.

On Tuesday, November 29, she’ll present a program at 7 pm in the Marion Library (look for a converted historic Santa Fe Railroad Depot) at 101 Library Street. From 8-9 pm there will be a book signing at Gallery 101 of the Flint Hills, 106 East Main Street, 620-382-7501 for information.

Thursday, December 1, Penner will be at the Kansas Union Bookstore, 1301 Jayhawk Boulevard in Lawrence, 5:30-7:30 pm. More about the book at . That’s a long URL, but it should take you there.


“Leader of the first tourist expedition into Yosemite in 1855, James Mason Hutchings became a tireless promoter of the valley.”

Jen A. Huntley, an environmental historian of the Sierra Nevada and Pacific Rim, reburnishes the image of one of Yosemite’s earliest supporters in James Mason Hutchings and the Origin of America’s Most Popular National Park.

Blending environmental and cultural history, she tracks Hutchings’s professional trajectory amidst significant changes in nineteenth-century America, from technological advances in printing to the growth of tourism, from the birth of modern environmental movements to battles over public lands.

The book was published in October by the University Press of Kansas.


We are a “Midwestern Melting Pot” and anyone who has any doubts needs to read the Winter 2011 issue of Kansas Magazine. Within our boundaries are Native Americans, many of them in and around Lawrence, Vietnamese around Garden City, Italians in Frontenac, Mexicans in Topeka, Eastern Europeans in Kansas City (Kansas – don’t forget the OTHER Kansas City), Swedish in Lindsborg, and Germans in Hays, (and that’s not all), and the story of their contributions to the cultural life of the state is available in the Winter 2011 issue.

More to enjoy about Kansas Magazine at . The editors are always looking for good story ideas. Send your suggestions to .

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Several authors will be gathering from 1:30 – 4 pm on Saturday, November 19, at the “Authors Round-up and Holiday Happening” at the Prairie Museum of Art and History, and Thomas County Historical Society at 1905 South Franklin in Colby.

A quick note from Robert Collins, one of the authors, adds the following:

“Among the other authors who are expected to be there are Angela Bates, Eunice Boeve, Loretta Jackson, Doris Johnson and Ray Imhof. I understand there’s also going to be an exhibition from a local photographer and a group singing carols.”

Collins’ blog, One Kansas Author, is in the blog roll on the right sidebar.


The Authors in Autumn Book Signing at Barnes and Noble Bradley Fair, 1920 North Rock Road in Wichita, will be the afternoon of Saturday, November 19.
Ramona Lampe and Roberta Seiwert Lampe will be signing their books from 1-3 pm. See this mother-daughter’s website at

Roberta Seiwert Lampe and Ramona Lampe are a mother/daughter duo of authors. Roberta has written nine children’s books, and two historical fiction novels. Ramona has written three children’s books. Many of their stories are inspired by real people and animals. They offer an array of topics from endearing tales of Christmas to a fun look at life on the farm.

Four more writers will be signing from 3-5 pm -- Jack DeBoer, Jeff Knapp, Darron Smith and Jack Warholak.


I-70 Review announces the annual Gary Gildner Poetry Award. $500 plus publication. $15 reading fee, checks payable to I-70 Review. Submit up to three poems of no more than 40 lines each. Deadline 1/31/12. Include name and address on cover letter only. Must include SASE for response. Send to Gary Gildner Poetry Award, I-70 Review, 913 Joseph Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049

That’s plenty of time – you’ve got until the end of January NEXT YEAR ! But get busy.


From Dr. Derrick Darby comes a new book about everyone’s favorite subject: Philosophy.

Hip Hop & Philosophy challenges the assumption that there is an unbridgeable gap between street knowledge and book knowledge. It also challenges colleges and universities to encourage new and creative ways to demonstrate the virtues of a liberal education for an increasingly diverse student body that views itself as part of the hip-hop generation. A prominent theme of Dr. Darby’s public addresses is to demonstrate that hip hop can be a vehicle for student intellectual empowerment and student success.

A professor of philosophy at the University of Kansas, Dr. Darby is the author of the acclaimed Rights, Race and Recognition. Catch up with Dr. Darby at


Jim Hoy, who teaches folklore and literature at Emporia State University, will provide the Brown & Gold series program at 2:30 pm on Friday, December 2, at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park.

Hoy’s program, Kansas through the Lens of F.M. Steele, describes the work of an early-day photographer:

In 1890, frontier photographer Francis Marion Steele set out from Dodge City to record cowboys, American Indians, wildlife, wheat harvesting, grain farming, sugar-beet factories, railroad building, community celebrations and festivals, small-town life, and studio portraits. This program examines how Steele’s work provides visual documentation of the Kansas character.

Hoy is a prolific writer about Kansas and the Midwest. You can learn more about Hoy’s publications at


Emily Giffin will be visiting and book-signing at 3 pm on Saturday, November 19, at Rainy Day Books, 2706 West 53rd Street in Fairway. Giffin’s newest book is Heart of the Matter. Born in Chicago, Giffin now lives in Atlanta.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


But don’t feel too sorry for Zortz, she seems to enjoy her misadventures.

The Misadventures of Zortz: The Real Me, Book One, by the creator, Joyce Long, is available on Kindle, with Book Two, Zortz Saves Black Friday, and Book Three, Zortz Finds Gold, soon to follow. All three, plus Book Four, Zortz Underground, are available on Amazon.

Or, go the Coffeyville Fairgrounds this Saturday, November 19, beginning at 8:30 am to the Arts and Crafts Fair sponsored by Psi Epsilon Lambda to meet Zortz, er, Joyce Long, in person.

Long is teaming up with Ursula Turner, a Coffeyville author, for a book-signing event.


Warren Bull went off to New Zealand for six months, and upon his return his new young adult novel, Heartland, is hot off the press.

L.D. Harkrader, herself the author of the award-winning Airball: My Life in Briefs, says of Heartland:

”Part rip-roaring adventure, part heartfelt coming-of-age tale, Heartland is every bit a page turner. Warren Bull masterfully paints the prairie life and harrowing conflict of 1850s Bleeding Kansas, and weaves it seamlessly into a modern-day mystery.

Ordering information at the publishers, Avignon Press,

(Maybe we all need what Bull had – a six-month hiatus in New Zealand.)


One of the most spectacular calendars you’ll see this season is the 2012 Kansas Calendar that comes as a supplement to a subscription to Kansas! Magazine.

The cover is a prairie fire as seen against a fiery sunset, photographed by Jason Soden in the Flint Hills. Anyone who believes that Kansas is a boring state, devoid of interesting features, needs to look at the 2012 Calendar.

Call 1-800-678-6424 or go to to get your own subscription – and the bonus calendar.


Eight authors from District 2 will be selling books at the annual Holiday Bazaar in downtown Lawrence, on Sunday, November 20 at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St. Participants are Annola Charity, Danyelle Ferguson, Sally Jadlow, Vicki Julian, Carole Katsantones, Jack Kline, Tom Mach, and Ronda Miller. This is the third year for KAC to have a presence at this event.

(I’ve heard that District 2 will have a better booth location than in previous years, and will be much easier to find.)


Just out, a new children’s book from award-winning writer, Andrea Warren, Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London.

Read more about Warren’s seventh non-fiction children’s book at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


That’s a pretty happy sound. What child wouldn’t be enchanted at hearing Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom read aloud, a story in which the letters of the alphabet race each other to the top of the coconut tree.

Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom has been chosen as the selection for the seventh annual Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week, November 13-19. The appealing childrens’ story was co-authored by Bill Martin, Jr., a Kansan, and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

“’A told B,/ and B told C,/ I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.’ This infectiously rhythmic beginning introduces one of the liveliest, jazziest alphabet books on record. Tongutingling, visually stimulating, with an insistent repetitive chorus of ‘chicka chicka boom boom’, the book demands to be read again and again and again. Absolutely irresistible . . . let yourself go—and have fun!”—The Horn Book

Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week is sponsored by the State Library of Kansas, the Kansas Center for the Book and the Clay Center Carnegie Library.

(Go check out a copy from your local library, and if you can’t find a preschooler to read the book to, then read it to yourself!)


If you’ve never met Zortz, this is your chance. Joyce Long, the creator of Zortz, has teamed up with Ursula Turner of Coffeyvale for a book signing on Saturday, November 19, at the Fairgrounds in Coffeyville. The event is the Arts and Crafts Fair sponsored by the Psi Epsilon Lambda.


Some of the poets who are included in the recently-published Begin Again:150 Kansas Poems will be touring Western Kansas from November 18-20.

From the website:

Western Kansas tour, including Garden City at State Theatre, 7 p.m. Fri. night; writing workshop with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg at Garden City Communty College 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sat.; reading Sat. night 7 p.m. in Ulysses; reading Sun. noon at Cup of Jones Coffee Shop, Dodge City. Readers include Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ronda Miller, Liz Black, Wyatt Townley, Roderick Townley, Karen Ohnesorge, Lee Mick and Ramona McCallum.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is Kansas’ Poet Laureate, and the driving force behind the project. Some of the other poets who will be heard are:

Ronda Miller moved to Lawrence from NW Kansas where she attained degrees in Creative Writing, University of Kansas. She is a certified Life Coach, graduate of World Company Citizen Journalism Academy and author of The 15Oth Pony Express Re-ride. She writes for The Examiner, and created poetic form ‘Loku’. Her poetry can be found at The Smithsonian Institute of Art, Tallgrass Voices, Blue Island Review.

Elizabeth Black grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas. After a long career as a teacher, writer, journalist, and editor in the Washington D.C. area, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 2007. Elizabeth is the author of the novel Buffalo Spirits, which drew on her experiences growing up in western Kansas.

Wyatt Townley is a fourth-generation Kansan. Her work has appeared in journals ranging from The Paris Review to Newsweek. Books of poetry include The Breathing Field (Little, Brown), Perfectly Normal (The Smith), and her new collection, The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley), completed with a Master Fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission.

Roderick Townley, although known primarily as a children’s author (The Great Good Thing, The Door in the Forest, The Blue Shoe, and others), has published works of criticism and nonfiction, as well as two volumes of poetry: Three Musicians (NY: The Smith) and Final Approach (VT: The Countryman Press). His honors include the Kansas Governor’s Arts Award, a Master Artist Fellowship, the Peregrine Prize for Short Fiction, the Thorpe Menn Award, and two first prizes from the Academy of American Poets.

Karen Ohnesorge has lived mostly in Kansas since 1986, having grown up near Oak Ridge, Tennessee— the Atomic City. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Spoon River Quarterly, Mudfish, Antioch Review, and Chain. She currently works as Associate Professor of English and Dean of Instruction at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas.

Lee Mick was raised in Mitchell County, a third generation Kansan, living in Cawker City. He married his wife Denelle in 1978, and is the father of two grown children, Travis and Shawna, and Grandpa to one, so far, little Johnathan. His poetry also appears in the Kansas Authors Club anthology Tallgrass Voices published by Hillsong Press.

Ramona McCallum earned her B.A. in creative writing and literature from Kansas State University. Ramona currently lives and writes in Garden City, Kansas where she and her husband, Brian McCallum, are raising their six children. In her spare time, Ramona serves as editor and assistant to her husband, a ceramic sculptor. The couple collaborate on written and visual art projects throughout southwest Kansas.

(If you are one of the poets who will be reading and haven’t been included, send me an e-mail to onefreenation at yahoo dot com and I’ll add your name to the post.)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Who might that be – the person in the mirror? Robert S. Kaplan, author of What to Ask the Person in the Mirror” Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential, will be speaking at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 17, at the Dole Institute, 2350 Petefish Drive in Lawrence.

Kaplan’s appearance is sponsored by the KU School of Business and the Jewish Business Club at KU. Kaplan’s book will be available for sale.


Tom Mach will be at the November 20 Holiday Bazaar at the Community Building (Eleventh and Vermont?) in Lawrence, and sent the following reply to my request:

For the bazaar I’m going to have copies of Sissy, All Parts Together, Stories to Enjoy and The Universe. I’ve got other books as well but since they’re e-Books I’ve got nothing to display for those.

Readers might like to follow Mach on his blogs, (Mach writes that this blog deals with suggestions on how to write better), and (of which Mach writes that this is his regular blog and focuses on the subject of compassion – as well as tells readers who he is, current events, and his list of books).


I’ve heard a rumor that someone is opening a new book store in Hutchinson.
Do any of you blog readers know anything about that happy possibility?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Thirty years later, author Elizabeth D. Blum helps the reader take another look at a place whose very name is synonymous with toxic pollution. Love Canal Revisited: Race, Class and Gender in Environmental Activism was published in September by the University Press of Kansas.

When this neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, burst upon the nation’s consciousness, the media focused on a working-class white woman named Lois Gibbs, who gained prominence as an activist fighting to save families from the poison buried beneath their homes. Her organization, the Love Canal Homeowners Association, challenged big government and big business—and ultimately won relocation. But as Elizabeth Blum now shows, the activists at Love Canal were a very diverse lot.

Blum reveals that more lurks beneath the surface of this story than most people realize—and more than mere toxins. She takes readers behind the headlines to show that others besides Gibbs played important roles and to examine how race, class, and gender influenced the way people—from African American women to middle class white Christian groups—experienced the crisis and became active at Love Canal.

Blum is an associate professor of history at Tory University, in Troy, Alabama.


The Battle of Mine Creek, in Linn County, one of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War, was fought on October 25, 1864. The Confederate forces led by Major General Sterling Price were defeated on that day by Federal brigades led by Colonel Frederick Benteen and Colonel John Phillips.

Jeffrey Stalnaker, author of The Battle of Mine Creek; The Crushing End of the Missouri Campaign, will be speaking at 6 pm on Thursday, November 17, at the National Archives, 400 West Pershing Road, in Kansas City, MO.

To make a reservation, call 816-268-8010 or send e-mail to .


If you think you can keep your wits about you, you’re probably brave enough to hear Beth Cooper as she talks about Wichita Haunts at 7 pm on Thursday, November 17, at The Raven, 6 East 7th in Lawrence.

Author of Ghosts of Kansas, Beth Cooper is also a public speaker, radio host and historian. She is owner of Paranormal Adventures USA, a tourism business that features ghost and history tours as well as other events involving the paranormal. She believes that “without the history, there are no haunts.” A native Kansan, Beth was raised with stories of the most famous ghost in North Topeka, the Albino Lady. Beth has a background in media, and is cohost of Paranormal Adventure Radio. She lives in Topeka, Kansas, with her husband, Jim Meyer.

Explore the haunted history of Wichita with Cooper – go on, I know you’ve got the courage.


Has the United Senates moved from deliberation to dysfunction?

Burdett Loomis will be speaking on that specific issue at 3 pm on Tuesday, November 15, at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive, Lawrence.

Senate scholar and KU political science professor Burdett Loomis will discuss The U.S. Senate, a scholarly textbook he edited after orchestrating the research by noted scholars. Those scholars discussed their conclusions at the Dole Institute Senate Conference, March 23,2010.
This event will include a book sale and signing of The U.S. Senate: From Deliberation to Dysfunction.

Call 785-864-4900 or e-mail doleinstitute@


Time to start that Christmas shopping, and no better place than the Holiday Bazaar at the Lawrence Community Building at Eleventh and Vermont on November 20.

Several members of Kansas Authors Club District # 2 will be offering a wide variety of books. The authors will be there in person at various times throughout the day – don’t miss your chance to visit with them and buy autographed copies for the people on your gift list – or for yourself.

(I’ll try to have a list of the authors who will be participating in a couple of days.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Although the Kansas-Missouri Border may have been the bloodiest just before and during the Civil War, the border states of Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky were constant anxieties for President Abraham Lincoln, a topic which is the subject of Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union by William C. Harris.

Harris argues that Lincoln’s patient and judicious management of border-state affairs, despite occasional missteps, proved crucial in keeping the border states in the Union, gaining their support for the war effort, and ultimately securing the end of slavery. Describing presidential relations with governors, congressmen, and regional military commanders and his handling of factionalism among Unionists, Harris shows how Lincoln’s careful attention to the border states paved the way for emancipation, an aspect generally overlooked by historians.

The author of several books about President Lincoln, William C. Harris is Professor Emeritus of History at North Carolina State University. Harris’ most recent book was published by the University Press of Kansas in September

Friday, November 11, 2011


Von Rothenberger sends this message:

Patsy Redden and myself will be giving a presentation & booksigning for our respective books this Saturday, November 12th at 9AM at Harvey's Coffeehouse in Osborne, KS - sponsored by the Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society - and then at 2PM on the same Saturday at the Frank Walker Historical Museum in Stockton, KS - that one sponsored by the Rooks County Historical Society!

That’s a busy schedule! Redden’s book is Captain Osborn’s Legacy, the story of her great-great-grandfather, Russell Scott Osborn, an often overlooked individual in the history of the state of Kansas.

The basis for Von Rothenberger’s book is materials compiled by Orville Grant Guttery, who died in 1959. Von Rotherberg edited Guttery’s legacy for the book Tales of a Town Named Bull City. More at


Max Yoho read his poem, 1942, at last Friday in Manhattan for "Poetry on Poyntz", and in Lawrence for the reading at the Lawrence Public Library last Sunday. Yoho writes: “I hope many people will find it on the 150 Kansas Poems site tomorrow (Veterans’ Day), and in days to come."

If you don’t hear Yoho in person, look for 1942 on . It’s poem number 130 and was posted on November 10.

Or buy the book, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, published by Woodley Press.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Whispering Prairie Press announces this invitation:

Join us for the Kansas City Voices Volume 9 Literary Launch this Saturday

Meet our cover artist Janet Satz, and listen to the writings of: Dawn Downey, Jack Kline, Priscilla Wilson, & Jan Duncan-O'Neal

We'll be at the Johnson County KS Public Library-Main Branch (9875 W. 87th St, Overland Park, KS) from 1 pm - 3:30 pm.

Follow news from Whispering Prairie Press at the blog, or the website at


The book-lovers at I Love A Mystery invite you to come share a bit of birthday cake with the Marines:

Join us on Saturday, November 12, from 2-5 as we celebrate the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps (and bring a “toy for tots”!) Refreshments and a silent auction.Help us cut the cake at 2 pm.

I Love A Mystery, , is open Monday-Saturday 10-6, closed Sundays and Holidays. Located where it’s been for the last couple of years, 6114 Johnson Drive in Mission.


Nothing like the networking and workshops of a conference to cure writers of that old nagging “writer’s block.”

On March 16-17 the Kansas Writers Association of Wichita will offer their annual Scene Seminar. (Too early to get out into the garden, weather could be miserable, what better place to be than the Hyatt Regency, listening to sage writing advice from William Bernhardt, the keynote speaker.) See .

Missouri Writers Guild will hold their 2012 convention on April 20-22 at Chesterfield (that’s near St. Louis) with Claire Cook and Christina Katz as keynoters. See

Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc., follows with their 2012 convention on May 3-5 in Oklahoma City, with Steven James as the keynoter. See

But definitely put on your calendar the Kansas Authors Club 2012 convention, October 4-6, at the Ramada Inn in Salina. The state writing contest won’t open until June 15, but remember, inspiration for the theme prose and poetry contests will be “Encouraging Words.” And check out


An invitation from the Salina Public Library:

Kansas author, Gloria Zachgo, will be signing copies of her new book, The Rocking Horse, Sunday, November 13, from 2-4 pm in the Salina Public Library lobby. Be sure to stop in to visit with Gloria. It is your chance to buy a book and have it signed.

And where? At 301 East Elm street, hjttp://


Co-editors Nicole Muchmore and Jerry Masinton read from Voices of the Great Plains, the new collection of memoirs that originated in Masinton's memoir writing class at the Lawrence Arts Center.

At 7 pm on Friday, November 11, at the Raven Book store, 6 East 7th (around the corner from Seventh and Mass) in Lawrence. Always something interesting at the Raven Bookstore,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Louis Fisher, a Scholar in Residence at the Constitution Project, is the author of Defending Congress and the Constitution, issued in September by the University Press of Kansas.

Fisher offers a lucid primer on our nation’s government and its executive, legislative, and judicial branches while vigorously advocating a robust reassertion of Congress’s rightful role within that system. Drawing on a wide range of legislation, Supreme Court rulings, and presidential decisions, Fisher illuminates the contentious contest among the three major branches for power and control of government, presents a panorama of American history, and touches on issues as wide-ranging as federalism, religious freedom, and national security policy.

Fisher’s book is part of the University Press of Kansas Studies in Government and Public Policy Series.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Selections from Kansas’ Poet Laureate, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, along with Walter Bargen, Misssouri’s first Poet Laureate, have been included in Storm Country: The Anthology. Published by the Missouri Writers’ Guild, all proceeds from the sale of the book will go toward books, furniture and equipment for the libraries in the Joplin School District.

In a matter of days following the May 22 tornado which destroyed Joplin High School and several other buildings in the Joplin School District, the Missouri Writers’ Guild announced the plans for the book and invited submissions.

Deborah Marshall, MWG President, and editor for the project, writes, “We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions to the anthology to benefit Joplin's school libraries and the generosity of everyone who wanted to contribute. Unfortunately, it was just not possible to include all the submissions we received---and we received many excellent pieces of both poetry and prose. Readers evaluated submissions without knowing the authors or poets. I wish we could have included everyone's work.

“We are having a launch at the Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin on Sunday, December 4 from 1 until 4 p.m. Please know you . . . are welcome to join us.”

Storm Country is now available at , or by sending a check for $13.95 per copy to MWG Joplin Book Drive, 1203 Spartina Drive, St. Louis, MO 63031. Copies will be for sale for $10 at the launch. And oh, yes, the Spiva Arts Center is at 222 West 3rd Street.


Join Greg Kincaid, the Olathe, Kansas, author of the heartwarming Kansas based novels A Dog Named Christmas and Christmas with Tucker, on Sunday, November 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Kincaid is also a lawyer, a pet adoption advocate, and a frequent blogger on He will talk about the writing and publishing of his books, his work with shelter dogs, and how literature can enrich our lives. The Hallmark Hall of Fame movie (aired on CBS in 2010) that is based on his book, A Dog Named Christmas, will be shown after his presentation. This program will be held at the C. L. Hoover Opera House and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Animals Geary County.

The program co-sponsor is the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library of Junction City. The C.L. Hoover Opera House is at 135 West 7th in Junction City.

After you have heard the talk, and seen the movie, A Dog Named Christmas, you’ll want to read the prequel, Christmas with Tucker, which was published after A Dog Named Christmas. More about Kincaid’s books at


Another chance to visit with Jerilyn Henrikson about how those pesky raccoons got in the corn. Henrikson is the author of Raccoons in the Corn, and the companion board game. Henrikson will be at the Town Crier Bookstore in Emporia from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday, November 12.

Descriptions of Henrikson’s other works are on her website at (That word, prairie, always gives me pause – I misspelled the word for years, couldn’t hardly believe it when some pointed out my mistake to me.)

Monday, November 7, 2011


As if you didn’t already have good reason to be at Prospero’s at 6 pm on Sunday, November 13, two more names have been added to the list of readers and other guests.

Kansas’ Poet Laureate, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, without whom the 150 Kansas Poems project would never have gotten off the ground, will be present to share her poetry.

And, another guest will be Stephen Locke, whose stunning photograph of a cloud-enwrapped road scene near Wellington is the wrap-around cover for the book, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems.

For information about the project go to for a full schedule of other readings around the state, biographies of the poets, and just recently a gallery of pictures from some of the readings. For links to the Poet Laureate’s website and other links, go to http://carynmirriamgoldberg

And, oh yes, Prospero’s, is at 1800 West 39th Street, Kansas City, MO, one short block across the state line.


U.S. Army Doctrine From the American Revolution to the War on Terror, by Walter E. Kretchik, was published by the University Press of Kansas in September.

Kretchik traces Army doctrine through four distinct eras: 1779–1904, when guidelines were compiled by single authors or a board of officers in tactical drill manuals; 1905–1944, when the Root Reforms fixed doctrinal responsibility with the General Staff; 1944–1962, the era of multiservice doctrine; and, beginning in 1962, coalition warfare with its emphasis on interagency cooperation. He reveals that doctrine has played a significant role in the Army’s performance throughout its history—although not always to its advantage, as it has often failed to anticipate accurately the nature of the “next war” and still continues to be locked in a debate between advocates of conventional warfare and those who emphasize counterinsurgency approaches.

Now an associate professor of history at Western Illinois University, Kretchik, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, is a graduate of the U.S Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


It could have been worse.

Many folks in Kansas felt the earthquake which struck Oklahoma Saturday night. Fortunately there appears to have been little damage, except for a lot of shaken nerves, but it should make us ask ourselves how well prepared we are for any kind of disaster.

At Ground Zero is the title of a recent book written by Marty Augustine, who, as a Mission police officer, knows quite a bit more than most of us do about being prepared when disaster occurs – whatever is it, earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, terrorist attack, you name it . . . .

We had a post on this blog when Augustine did a book-signing. Augustine is quoted this morning in an article in the Monday, November 7, Kansas City Star (page A5). “It’s not a matter of whether a disaster will strike, but when.”

Check out Augustine’s advice at


Ted W. Stillwell, the author of Leavenworth Portraits of the Past Book I, will be at The Book Barn, 410 Delaware from 11 am to 1 pm on Friday, November 11, and Saturday, November 12 (I believe, although The Book Barn’s website seems to give a different date).

The book is a compilation of weekly news columns which appeared in The Leavenworth Times. (Ask Stilwell to tell you the inside story of how tire tracks inadvertently became a part of one of the illustrations.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


As part of Emporia’s observance of Veterans’ Day, Joanne Emerick, author of Courage Before Every Danger, Honor Before All Men, will speak at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 8, at the Civic Auditorium Little Theatre.

Courage Before Every Danger begins in 1938 with the 31st Bomb Squadron's transfer from the Mainland to Hawaii. The book follows the Squadron through the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 and the ensuing four years as it played a vital role in the United States' island hopping campaign in the Pacific Theatre.

Emerick's father was a member of the 31 Bomb Squadron. For more about the book, see the website www/

In connection with other Veterans’ Day observances, the Emporia Public Library has arranged displays honoring United States Veterans, including William Lindsay White, son of William Allen White, an author and a war correspondent.


Battle for Torah: The Message of Hanukkah, a recent publication by Kay Kindall, tells the story, in poems and illustrations, of the Maccabbes, and explains the roots of the traditional feast. The illustrations are done by Neal Kindall.

“Written to engage, educate and inspire children, the book is intended for young readers or for parents and children to read together.” It is available from Amazon, and other channels.

The Kindalls are owners and operators of Traders’ Lodge Bed and Breakfast at Wells, north of Salina. Kay Kindall has previously published Trader’s Lodge Desserts. (Anyone for Buttermilk Clove Cake?)


When Robert Shoop, a Kansas State University professor in educational leadership, and an expert in legal aspects of sexual harassment, abuse prevention and risk management, took up his pen – or opened his computer keyboard – for the twentieth time to write a book, he decided that this time it would be a novel.

Compulsion . . . features retired detective Adam Faulkner, who specialized in sexual exploitation cases after the abduction and murder of his childhood love, Julie Romano. Faulkner is asked to come out of retirement by Sarah Abbott, who wants his help in finding Tony Shepherd, a teacher who molested her in middle school. The two link Shepherd to Julie's death and find out he is still teaching, moving around every few years and changing his name.

Shoop’s work calls attention to the chronic problem of molestation of children by their teachers. “If teachers and parents are not paying attention,” says Shoop, “more children are going to be sexually abused. The good news is that states are beginning to respond to the serious problem of sexual exploitation in schools. Kansas, as well as other states, have recently passed laws that address unethical educators.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Not every author has the pleasure of learning that her or his words have been cast in bronze.
That honor was discovered by Charles Garrad when he visited Kansas from his home in Canada. Garrad was named 2011 Honoured Person by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma and Wyandotte Nation of Kansas.

Garrad has spent a big part of his life researching the Petun, who lived in this area and are the ancestors of the Oklahoma and Kansas Wyandotte nations. Garrad initiated the archeological searches in The Blue Mountains that uncovered village settlements and life history of the gentle Petun dating back 4,000 years. The Petun left the area and dispersed after being nearly wiped out by the Iroquois, ending up as the Wyandotte in Kansas and Oklahoma.

It was on the recent trip that Garrad learned that some of his work and a map has been cast in bronze at the Kansas City Cemetery.


The Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, of The Conservative Ascendancy: How the Republican Right Rose to Power in Modern America, by Donald T. Chritchlow, was published in September by the University Press of Kansas.

Hailed as “perhaps the best scholarly overview of the conservative movement in print” . . . The Conservative Ascendancy has depicted, as no other book has, the wild ride of the Republican Right. Newly updated and available for the first time in paperback, it continues to offer the best account of the conservative struggle to reverse the momentum of the New Deal.

Chritchlow is a professor at Arizona State University.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Wasatch summer, inspired by true story in Frontier, Utah. Father has died, brother has gone to work in the mines and hasn't been heard from. Mother has a new born baby to care for. That leaves pre-teen girl to take the family sheep herd and two dogs up to graze in the mountain meadows for the summer. She has to deal with wolves and a bear and make friends with a tribe of Indians. Can she do it?

Come have a chat with the author, Anola Pickett, at 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday, November 5, at The Book Barn, 410 Delaware, in downtown Leavenworth. Pickett is also the author of Old Enough for Magic. Her website is at


The deadline for entry in the Kansas Factual Story Contest is two weeks from today. The story is limited to 750 words, and should never have been published. The contest is open to anyone, who lives anywhere, but the story should have taken place in Kansas.

Entries should be submitted electronically to Terry Marmet: Kansas Historical Foundation, . For guidelines go to Kansas Factual Story Deadline.


Fifty years covers a long time, as demonstrated in Big Al: Fifty Years of Adventures in Sports Broadcasting, the autobiography of Al Meltzer. Big Al interviewed many sports figures during his long career, but “his favorite interview, bar none, was Wilt Chamberlain who he met many times and to whom he spoke on camera six months before the basketball great died.”

And then there was the exclusive Big Al would get with the even bigger Wilt Chamberlain years after Chamberlain's playing days ended; the interview turned out to take place just a few years before Wilt the Stilt died in 1999.

It was only then, during the interview -- "Wilt was 63 at the time" -- that the man who transformed professional basketball in a dipper-dunk of a career "finally came to terms with what it meant to be" the legend that was Wilt Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, from Philadelphia, began his college basketball career at the University of Kansas under the legendary Phog Allen. There are some who believe that Chamberlain would not have chosen KU had he known that Allen would soon be retiring.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Gothin images continue to grab the attention of readers and film viewers, John Tibbetts explains in his new book, The Gothic Imagination: Conversations on Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction in the Media.

The Gothic tradition continues to excite the popular imagination. John C. Tibbetts presents interviews and conversations with prominent novelists, filmmakers, artists, and film and television directors and actors as they trace the Gothic mode across three centuries, from Mary Shelley’sFrankenstein, through H.P. Lovecraft, to today’s science fiction, goth, and steampunk culture.

Tibbetts is an associate professor of film at the University of Kansas. He is the author of sixteen published books involving themes of goth, music, film, art and theater. His Encyclopedia of Novels into Film was published in 2002. He received the Governor’s Arts in Education award in 2008. More at John Tibbetts


Born on April Fool's Day and tagged with the name Otto, he was a joke from his very first breath. And yet in his hilarious, tragic and heart-rending debut, From Grief to Glory: An Otto-Biography, Otto Rieke manages to piece together a life that proved to be anything but a gag. Culled from decades of meticulous diaries he kept from a young boy growing up in the middle of Missouri to a retired sixty-something still searching for peace, From Grief to Glory is the quintessential biography turned inside out by a protagonist so original you'd swear his tale was fictitious.

Otto Rieke II will be at Barnes and Noble, 420 W 47th Street in Kansas City, MO, from 10 am to noon on Sunday, November 6, to sign copies of his ‘otto-biography,’ From Grief to Glory. Rieke lives in Shawnee. To read more about his book, go to


It’s shocking, I know, but Christy Dreiling, the newly crowned Mrs. Kansas in the Mrs. United States pageant, has holes in her socks, an indisputable fact that she wrote about in the book, Holes in My Socks.

Dreiling read from her book recently to students at Cottonwood Elementary School in Paola as part of Red Ribbon Week.

The book tells the story of a girl who dreams of having a huge collection of different socks, and she realizes she can accomplish her dream despite what other people think or say.

“It’s so important when you are little to always keep dreaming and believe in yourself,” Dreiling said. “I hope you are inspired to not let anyone tell you, you can’t be what you want to be.”

Holes in My Socks is available at Amazon. (If you know of other places, please let me know.)


The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the K-State Social Club brings back to the limelight a book written in 1999 by Dr. Michaeline Chance-Reay, Land-Grant Ladies: Kansas State University Presidential Wives.”

The K-State Social Club was founded in 1911 by Margaret Ward Waters, wife of then-president Henry Jackson Waters.

The 100th anniversary was observed on Tuesday with a luncheon. A display of portraits of all the university first ladies, as well as a copy of Chance-Reay’s book is currently on view in the Hale Library.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Go to and you will see one happy raccoon. Besides the smile in his eyes, that sure is one self-satisfied grin.

And why not?

Look what he’s carrying – an armload of corn.

But it’s no secret – he’s been found out to be the thief in Jerilyn Henrikson’s Raccoons in the Corn, first in a children’s story, and now in a board game.

Jerilyn will be signing books, which besides Raccoons in the Corn, includes Grandma’s Prairie Patchwork: A Kansas Coloring Book, Prairie Tales: The Wispers, Grones and Ponders, and Raccoons in the Corn Board Game, at 11 am on Friday, November 4 at the Kansas Historical Society, 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka.

On Saturday and Sunday, November 5-6, Henrikson will be at the Senior Center at 3rd Street and Santa Fe in Marion from 10 am to 4 pm.
Besides the website above, you can follow Henrikson at her blog


With an emphasis on visual art, Volume Nine of Kansas City Voices will be introduced to the public in a program 2-4 pm on Sunday, November 6, at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City, MO, Public Library, 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO.

The very attractive cover of this year’s issue is Vertical Rising, by Janet Satz. Paintings and photographs of other visual artists are featured throughout the publication.

Sunday’s Art Launch will feature Caleb Harman, Robert Chrisman, Anne Wickliffe, Mike Lyon and Celia Smith.

A Kansas launch, with a focus on writing will take place 1-3:30 pm on Saturday, November 12, at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park.

Submissions period for Volume 10 begins November 15. Stay in touch with Kansas City Voices at or, or Whispering Prairie Press on Facebook.


This has not been a good day for blogging. This morning, my computer would not turn on. I didn't have time to take it to my computer guys until late morning. Now this evening, the power goes out. The first "storm" of the season, and our power grid fails. Almost two hours before the power is restored, and I guess we're lucky at that.

Later - My upstairs clock stopped when the power went off, and never started again when the power came back on. That has never happened before. I went downstairs to fetch the weather clock as a temporary replacement, and discovered that the battery had died and the face was blank. It's always something, isn't it?


Writing is a solitary pursuit – so why do writers do it?

Because they have a passion for sharing the story they want to tell. Like Karen McWhirt, whose book, Together We Will Win: What Happens When We Don’t Talk About Testicular Cancer, A Young Man’s Story, is the story of her own son, Ian, told in his own words.

Karen McWhirt has been a testicular cancer awareness advocate since the year her son was diagnosed with the disease. Karen donates royalties to KU Kids Healing Place at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and toward testicular cancer awareness efforts. She has donated books to many academic and health science libraries across the U.S., including the Archie Dykes and the Clendening History of Medicine Libraries at the University of Kansas Medical Center where her son was treated. Karen currently offers free speaking presentations and testicular cancer literature, and has published a music CD—all in the interest of testicular cancer awareness.

More about Karen McWhirt, and her son’s battle, and the availability of the book, at

Why do writers spend many solitary hours, including wrestling matches with contrary computers? Like McWhirt, we want you to read our stories.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The fourth and final book in Gregory Maquire’s ‘The Wicked Years' series, Out of Oz, has just been released, and Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita will be one of the first stops on Maquire’s booksigning tour.

Maquire will be speaking from the Forum Theatre at 147 South Hillside at 7 pm on Monday, November 7. For information about tickets, book purchases, and all that stuff, go to

A musical from one of Maquire’s earlier books, Wicked, is currently on tour throughout the country. A family I am acquainted with was planning to travel some distance to see a performance of Wicked, some for the second or third time. An older sibling, however, objected that a younger sibling would not be properly prepared for the experience without having first seen the 1939 MGM production of The Wizard of Oz. A home viewing of The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, was duly arranged. Since the Wicked years relate events that take place before Dorothy, it’s not a case of ‘back to the future,’ it’s more like ‘forward to the past.’

For more about Maquire’s previous books, go to


Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the best-selling series of Elm Creek Quilts, celebrates the publication of The Wedding Quilt, the eighteenth, with appearances in Kansas City and Wichita.

The story of The Wedding Quilt:

Sarah McClure arrived at Elm Creek Manor as a newlywed, never suspecting that her quilting lessons with Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson would inspire the successful and enduring business Elm Creek Quilts, whose members have nurtured a circle of friendship spanning generations. As the wedding day of Sarah's daugher, Caroline, approaches, Sarah's thoughts are filled with brides of Elm Creek Manor past and present—the traditions they honored, the legacies they bequeathed, the wedding quilts that contain their stories in every stitch.

At 7 pm on Tuesday, November 8, Chiaverini will be at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, MO, in a program sponsored by Rainy Day Books of Fairway. See for information and details.

On Wednesday, November 9, Chiaverini will be signing book and talking at Watermark Books and Café at 4701 East Douglas in Wichita. Information at

Chiaverini's website is at


Ever been to a steampunk? Or are you like me – totally bewildered?

Emerald City Steampunk Expo is a three-day celebration of Steampunk Culture. There will be three days of concers, gaming, demonstrations, comedy, oddities, LARPing, stage shows and more. This year’s event is at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the River in Wichita on November 4th, 5th and 6th.

Emerald City was the midwest’s first major Steampunk event and the largest steampunk event in Kansas. Be sure to check this site for updates on what’s going on, get your tickets, book rooms, enter contests and more with all the links.
Be prepared when you go to the website at! . It may be both a visual and an audio surprise.

And guess who is going to be right in the middle of all this? Robert Collins, author of books of science fiction, fantasy, Kansas history, railroad history, and occasionally articles about writing. Read more about Collins on his blog, One Kansas Author, at


With the title of ‘Exercising Your Dialogue: the Role of Dialogue in Fiction’ Thomas Fox Averill, English professor at Washburn University, Topeka, will present a workshop from 9-12 on Saturday, November 5, at The Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO.

Come write your way through three proven dialogue exercises as we learn the potential dialogue has for drama, characterization and subtext. We will also discuss the mechanics of punctuation, attribution and other dialogue “rules.”

For information about class fees, other workshops and events, and becoming a member, go to

(And don’t forget the shopping night Friday, November 18, 4-8 pm, at Ten Thousand Villages, 7947 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, to benefit The Writers Place – free samples, music, food, drawing for gifts, and the opportunity to purchase fair trade gifts from 38 different countries.)