Tuesday, January 31, 2012


But you could win a prize, an autographed copy of the Kansas Two-Step, from the author, H.B. Berlow. Let him tell you about it below: Well, I’ve got this blog and I’ve got a website and I’ve got some decent product in the form of two novels, a collection of novellas, and two collections of poetry. My first novel Kansas Two-Step has gotten a shot in the arm from a vlog on Keyhole Conversations. I figured I could generate even more buzz. And who doesn’t love a contest? This one is simple but fun. Go to my website, http://bberlow.com, go to the Guestbook and send me a creative message telling me what your favorite dance is and why. That’s all. The contest will run the entire month of February and the winner will be announced the first week of March. Don’t forget to include your e-mail address when you enter so I can contact you for mailing address info. Put on your reading glasses and your dancing shoes.


Last year, a member of my writing group, a former advertising man, call him Frank, who was doing some creative writing of a different nature in his retirement shared a rejection letter he had received. We all envied Frank’s ability to create stunning visual environments, but he sometimes used an unlikely coincidence to resolve his character’s dilemma. The rejection letter admired Frank’s vivid imagery, but scolded him for using deus ex machina to solve the character’s problem. Some of us had a good laugh at Frank’s lack of knowledge, and the rest of us appreciated the explanation, expressed very adequately by Ralph. A few minutes later, someone asked Ralph about a poetry magazine he was helping produce. Publication had been delayed, unfortunately, but Ralph promised that, deus ex machina, (laughter from the entire room) the new poetry magazine would appear. So what is the interpretation of deus ex machina? 1. In ancient Greek and Roman drama, a god introduced by means of a crane to unravel and resolve the plot. 2. Any active agent who appears unexpectedly to solve an apparently insoluble difficulty. The reappearance of the right-hand side-bar items on the blog is, I swear, the result of deus ex machina. It was nothing that I did, unless someone at Blogger has been reading my complaints and decided to take action. But will the side-bars be in the right place tomorrow?


If you can bear with me, I'm going to be taking drastic actions to bring the side-bar back to the right-hand side, and up from the bottom of the blog. Patience, please.


A couple of days ago, an unusual problem "happened" on the blog. As to how it "happened" I am entirely without a clue, but I'm sure that Blogger would attribute it to "operator error". So, while I'm trying to figure my way out of the rabbit hole, what does Google do? Institutes some new changes. In addition to wanting to learn how to correct the problem, I need to first absorb the new changes in Blogger. The problem? My right-hand side-bar has navigated to the bottom of the page. I'm told by a few friends that on their browser, the right-hand side-bars appear as they should. That is not true with my browser, and I suspect a few others. On my browser, the space where the side-bars were is empty. To find all the blog roll, "Writers about Writing," and the "labels" the viewer is obliged to scrool all the way to the bottom of the site, and I can promise you, that is REALLY A LONG WAY down the rabbit hole.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The Kansas State Library and the Kansas Center for the Book have announced that the story of the Smith Center (KS) Redmen will be the 2012 Kansas Reads Title.

Join Kansans of all ages in 2012 as Kansas Reads…Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape. Our Boys is the story of the nation’s longest high-school winning streak in football and the philosophy of life taught by their legendary coach, Roger Barta. Drape, a New York Times sportswriter, moved his family to this small Kansas town to discover the inspiration of the Smith Center Redmen.

The State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book invites individuals, book clubs, school classes, or other groups to participate in this exciting statewide reading program. Kansas Reads kicks off on January 27 and continues through March 17, 2012.

The 2012 book was recommended by a committee of librarians, publishers, booksellers and authors after reviewing hundreds of books. The committee suggested “community” as a theme for 2012. Our Boys demonstrates how focusing on a positive influence can keep an entire community alive and vital. In 2011, nearly 10,000 Kansans shared in the discussion groups at libraries, book clubs and other venues. The one book/one state reading project is in its sixth year and gains momentum every year.

(If the right-hand side-bar does not appear, look at the bottom of the page.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


(Recognize any names in the following story from BBC?)

A host of international authors - including seven Nobel laureates - have called for an end to attacks on journalists in Mexico.

The writers took out a full page advert in Mexican newspaper El Universal to defend the right of all journalists to be free from fear and censorship.

The statement by the PEN International writers group was signed by 170 of the world's most acclaimed authors.

PEN says 67 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000.

Among those signing the declaration "to the journalists and writers of Mexico" were Nobel laureates JM Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mario Vargas Llosa and Derek Walcott.

Other famous signatories included Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Ariel Dorfman and Salman Rushdie.

"We, writers from around the world, stand with you and all Mexican citizens who are calling for the killing, the impunity, the intimidation to stop," the newspaper advert said.

"These violations diminish us all and threaten the right of Mexican citizens to live lives both safe and free from censorship," it went on.

"We call on your government to apprehend and prosecute all who have silenced your colleagues and seek to silence you".

Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

The majority of the killings have been linked to organised criminal gangs, with journalists targeted because of their coverage of drug-trafficking.

There is also widespread intimidation, and some media practice self-censorship to protect their staff.


I've found my wandering right-hand side-bar!

It's at the bottom of the blog. I have no idea how it got there, nor how to convince it to come back to its previous location.

I've posted the question to Blogger, and am waiting for a response. Dang!


Wanna know more about Don Milkey, (don’t tell him I called him wacky) crime solver in Smart Shield? (He thinks of himself as a private investigator, but I’m not so sure.)

If you want to see the results of what can happen when you let a monkey borrow your typewriter, go to http://www.danezeller.com. Oh, look, that ungrateful monkey left behind his banana peel. Try clicking on the peel and see what happens.


Co-chairs of the District Two Writing Contest Sally Jadlow and Ronda Miller are proud to announce that D2 is once again sponsoring a writing contest this year, open to all interested KAC members and nonmembers.. Submissions must be postmarked no later than April 1, 2012. We encourage you to participate. Here are the guidelines:

• Entry fees: For members, $3.00 per entry, for nonmembers, $5.00. If you are interested in joining the Kansas Authors Club, please contact New Member Chair Susie Nightingale at swimmer10@sunflower.com. You must be a KAC member in good standing, dues paid.
• Number of entries: There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit.
• No manuscript may be entered in more than one category.
• SASE: Each entry must be accompanied by an envelope no smaller than 9"x12.” Use your own name and address for both addressee and return address. If you plan on attending the award ceremony on May 12th, no postage is necessary. Attach a SASE to each entry with a paper clip.
• Unpublished entries must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
• Judges may not enter the category they are judging.
• Please do not fold envelopes.
• All manuscripts must be in Times New Roman font (approximately 250 words per page) with 1" margins on 81/2"x11" white paper, one side only. No handwritten entries will be accepted.
• Poetry may be single-spaced. Prose must be double-spaced.
• Entrant's name must not be included on the manuscript, only on the cover sheet.
• Attach a cover sheet to each entry with a paper clip. On this cover sheet must be the following items: Category, number of pages (prose) or number of lines (poetry), Title of entry, Author's name, Address, Phone Number, Email address and Membership status.
• Headers - On the first page include the category, contest name (prose or poetry) the number of words for prose or lines for poetry, the title of the manuscript and page one. On each following page, list the title and the page number.
• Categories - There are four categories for poetry, four for prose. Here is a brief summary of each category: POETRY: Free verse- poetry that does not have rhyme, meter, or a regular rhythm, one page only. Rhymed verse-poetry that does have rhyme, meter, and a regular rhythm, one page only. Haiku - traditional haiku has 17 syllables in 3 lines with 5-7-5. Other variants are also accepted. Narrative - a poem that tells a story and includes epics, ballads, and metrical romances, one page only. PROSE: Short Fiction - Narrative writing that originates with the imagination rather than history or fact. Any type of fiction (sci-fi, historical, realistic, etc.) may be entered. Word limit is 2500 words. Memoir - an account of personal experiences with which the author has intimate knowledge. Word limit is 2500 words. Feature article - An article that would be suitable for a newspaper or magazine on any topic of general interest to the public, not just advertising. It should be fact-oriented, not opinionated. Word limit is 1500 words. Inspirational - a selection that describes the entrant's personal struggle or challenge that he or she overcame that would provide encouragement to others. Word limit is 1000 words.
•Prizes - There will be a $20 award for each first place, $10 for each second place and $5 for each third place. In categories with fewer than five entries, there will be only a first place award.
Awards Ceremony - District Two will sponsor an awards ceremony and reception for the winners on Saturday, May 12, 2012, at 9:30 AM. We shall announce the location at a later date. First place winners will read aloud their entries.

NOTE: Please send all entries to the following address:

Susie Nightingale
919 Chalk Hill Ct.
Lawrence, KS 66049


Readings from contributors to Volume 9 of Kansas City Voices will be heard in a program on March 20 at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park. You can get the updated details by clicking on the KC Voices Blog, in the blogroll on the right-hand sidebar.

Submissions are currently being accepted for Volume 10. Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012


From the American Booksellers Association:

As planning continues for January’s Winter Institute in New Orleans, this week the American Booksellers Association announced that the 2013 Winter Institute will be held in Kansas City, Missouri. Wi8 will begin with an opening reception on Friday, February 22, 2013, and will feature programming from Saturday, February 23, to Monday, February 25.

“We’re very excited to be going to Kansas City in 2013,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “Since launching the first Winter Institute, ABA has worked to move the location to various cities nationwide in order to help member stores in different regions attend. Kansas City offers a wide range of resources that we believe will help ensure a very productive and enjoyable institute for both booksellers and publishers.” Attendance at Wi8 will again be capped in order to ensure a dynamic and intimate event.

Teicher also noted that by going to Kansas City in February 2013 ABA could coordinate schedules with the National Association of College Store’s Campus Market Expo (CAMEX), which will also be held in Kansas City over those days

Teicher also noted that by going to Kansas City in February 2013 ABA could coordinate schedules with the National Association of College Store’s Campus Market Expo (CAMEX), which will also be held in Kansas City over those days.

“Recognizing the growing importance of non-book in our members’ inventory, a key focus of Wi8 will be non-book,” Teicher said. “Given the wide and diverse range of non-book merchandise featured at CAMEX, an additional benefit of going to Kansas City in 2013 will be that booksellers will be able to experience the CAMEX trade floor and have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of and business relationships with a number of non-book vendors at no extra cost to attendees.”

ABA and NACS will be working closely in anticipation of Wi8. Teicher said, “We believe that this is another example of how cooperation with other trade associations on the right projects can be especially valuable to ABA members. We are very grateful to our friends at NACS for all their collegial collaboration.” Teicher noted that the schedule coordination between the Winter Institute and CAMEX was a “one-time experiment,” which would be carefully evaluated after the event.

I’m guessing that Wi8 will not be open to the general public, but as noted in the post below, COMING IN 2013, there may be opportunitites for local writers to interact with the buyers and sellers. Follow this event at American Booksellers Association at http://www.ambook.org/index.html


Winter Institute 8, a convention of the American Booksellers Association, will be held in Kansas City, MO from February 22 to February 25, 2013

Never having been to a Winter Institute before, I’m not quite sure what the convention includes or who will be eligible to attend, but one item about this year’s Winter Institute 7 sure caught my attention.

The Winter Institute’s signature Author Reception will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, in the Astor Crowne Plaza’s Grand Ballroom, and thanks to ABA’s Wi7 Publisher Sponsors, 62 authors and illustrators will be on hand to chat with booksellers and to autograph their new and forthcoming titles.

Will this be an opportunity for regional authors? It bears watching. The American Booksellers Association, http://www.ambook.org/index.html has been a national trade association for independent booksellers since 1900.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Been wondering what the experts think about Dr. Wes Crenshaw’s new books of advice for parents and teens? Marilyn Wiseman, who blogs for Family Circle, shares her opinion:

If you’re a parent of a teen you may have noticed that there are countless advice books out there. Some are good but some are a complete waste of time, so I wanted to share with you two excellent books that have recently come to my attention: Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teens and Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Parents of Teens. I was drawn to check out these books because they are a rare collaboration between a licensed psychologist, Dr. Wes Crenshaw from Lawrence, Kansas, and a group of teen editors. They don’t disappoint. The content is honest, straightforward, and compassionate to both teens and their parents, but doesn’t hold back from challenging the reader to hold themselves accountable for the decisions they make. In a nutshell, you’re getting the best of both worlds, a trained expert on mental health issues and adolescent development with the real life “check” of the teens.

Read more at Wiseman’s MOMster blog review. Find Dr. Wes Crenshaw at http://www.dr-wes.com.


Marilyn Hope Lake of Hutchinson has won First Place in the Fiction for Children category in the Dr. Doris Mueller Poetry and Prose Contest sponsored by Missouri Writers’ Guild. The contest results were announced by MWG President Deborah Marshall.

The contest was established by the 2011 MWG Board of Directors. The deadline for submissions was November 15, 2011.

Marilyn Hope Lake’s winning entry was titled Boots – The Black Sheep.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Nancy Julien Kopp has some trenchant thoughts about writing/writers’ groups. You can get involved in too many groups, but on the other hand, it’s pretty lonely out there if you can’t share your passion about writing . . with someone.

Read her January 25 post of Connecting With Other Writers, and check out Kopp’s blog at www.writergrannysworld.blogspot.com.

Nancy is a prolific, talented writer (twelve Chicken Soup essays to her credit) whose blog posts provide down-to-earth, real-life information and hints about how to make it in the writing world.



Okay, we all have opinons, biases, about how the world should run.

I am biased in that I think everyone who thinks s/he is a writer should be a member of their state's writing association. Every state I've ever searched has a writers' organization of some kind. In California, one of the state-wide organization's founders was none other than Jack London.

Kansas Authors Club was begun by some very illustrous writers as well -- William Allen White and Margaret Hall McCarter come readily to mind. If you live in a state where the writers' organization is an inactive, lackluster group (fortunately this description doesn't fit KAC), you need to jump on board and stir things up.

In our neighboring state, the Missouri Writers' Guild sprang into action as soon as the dust began to settle from the May 22 tornado. I recently heard the president of the Joplin club speak of how the first thing the officers did was to determine if their members were okay, and after that they immediately launched the project of Storm Country to which our Kansas Poet Laureate, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, was a contributor. To date the MWG has been able to donate $2,000 to Joplin libraries, and they're just starting.

Take a look at the KAC website. The benefits are many, and KAC will benefit also from your membership.

(When you go to the KAC website, you may notice that the URL changes to http://skyways.lib.ks.us/orgs/kac. Thanks, Kansas State Library, for hosting our website.)


Jerilynn Jones Henrikson will be celebrating Family Literacy Day one day early, on Thursday, January 26, with the kids and parents at Derby Elementary School in Derby, KS (where else?)

Never mind that it's one day early for Family Literacy Day -- see the two posts below. It bears repeating that every day should be a literacy day.


If you’re a writer looking for a way to promote your presence in your community (and sell more books) you need to go visit your local schools.

Family Literacy Day will be Friday, January 27, and it’s a great opportunity to offer to read to a school group. (So you don’t write children’s books. No matter, pick out a children’s book to read, or ask the teacher to suggest to you a book s/he would like to have read to her/his class.)

Okay, you’re too late to celebrate Family Literacy Day this year? Not to worry. Fortunately, there is more than one Literacy Day. There’s world literacy day, international literacy day, probably even more. I find the dates of September 8 and November 1. Heck, every day ought to be Literacy Day.

Members of Kansas Authors Club have a long history of involvement with their schools and their community. From the website, www.kansasauthors.com click on the left-hand link to Writers in the Community .

Jerilynn Jones Henrikson will be visiting Derby Elementary School this week, look for a blog post on that later today.


In celebration of Family Literacy Day, Jerilynn Jones Hendrickson will be at Derby Elementary School tomorrow, January 26. From Henrikson: “I'll be presenting my stories to classes in the library and to parents and teachers at an evening meeting. SMILE.”

I have not yet met Henrikson, but I believe that she has found inspirations for writing in what others might have considered an annoying problem – Henrikson is the author of Raccoons in the Corn, which started as a book and has expanded to become a board game as well.

Her website has the most intriguing name of prairiepatchwork, and you can see it at www.prairiepatchwork.com You also might want to listen/view her Whispers Lullaby on youtube.


Peggy Orenstein, an internationally acclaimed writer and speaker on issues affecting girls and women, will be speaking at the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 31 at Sam’s Chapel at at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. A book-signing is scheduled for 6 pm at the Student Activity Center, with a reception to follow the lecture. Details at snettleingham@kansasgirlscouts.org.

Orenstein’s newest book is Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Her many other titles, articles, and appearances on NPR are described on Orenstein’s website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The Lawrence Arts Center and the Raven Book Store are pleased to announce the winners of the 16th Annual Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards. The LHCRA Committee has chosen three local writers of fiction and poetry.

Fiction winner: Callista Buchen
Poetry co-winners: Amy Ash & Iris Moulton

The Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award ceremony will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 7:30 PM, at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire Street). The celebration and reception will include readings, music, and refreshments and is open to the public.

Websites and blogs of interest are:

The Langston Hughes annual competition is open to Douglas County resident.


Here’s a news bulletin from Dr. Wes Crenshaw:

Ultra-super-late-notice book signing. I'll drop by Rainy Day books after Up to Date with Steve Kraske on KCUR on Thursday to do a book signing from 12noon to 1pm.

You'll find more information at http://www.dr-wes.com.

(See the post below: WHERE CAN YOU BUY DR. WES’S BOOKS?)


Stewart O’Nan’s thirteenth novel is another wildly original, bittersweet gem like his celebrated Last Night at the Lobster. Valentine’s weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls’ ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances-and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances, The Odds is a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble.

Only one week after the release of Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds, he will be at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 East Douglas in Wichita at 7 pm on Thursday, January 26, for a discussion and book signing. Visit Watermark’s website for admission details.


Two books authored by Dr. Wes Crenshaw will be available at Rainy Day Bookstore, 2706 West 53rd Street, in the Fairway Shops beginning on Thursday, January 26.

Dr. Crenshaw will be discussing topics from both books on Steve Kraske’s Up-To-Date show on KCUR, 89.3 FM at 11 am on Thursday.

Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teens, and a companion book, Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Parents of Teens is based on columns which were written with teen co-authors and have appeared in the Lawrence (KS) Journal-World. More at Dr. Wes Crenshaw.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Jo McDougall, author of Daddy’s Money: A Memoir of Farm and Family, and Al Ortolani, author of Finding the Edge, will be the double-billing at 7 pm on Friday, January 27, at The Raven, 6 E. 7th Street in Lawrence.

McDougall has published five books of poetry and was recently named to the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame. Her work has been adapted for film, theatre, an artist’s book and a song cycle, and more, at http://jomcdougall.com

Al Ortolani has published one chapbook, Slow Stirring Spoon, and two collections of poetry from Woodley Press, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge. Ortolani is a co-editor of The Little Balkans Review and has performed with White Buffalo Poetry and Song in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.

For more about The Raven Bookstore, you’ll find their extensive website at www.ravenbookstore.com. (Also previous post of January 13 – A MEMOIRIST AND A POET.


Among the events on a full list of Kansas Day activities, Marci Penner will be singing copies of The 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook, at the Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus in North Newton from 1:30 to 3:30 pm Saturday, January 28.

The Kauffman museum’s 15th annual Celebrate Kansas Day!, this year marking Kansas’ 151st birthday, is Saturday, Jan. 28, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., with the museum and all special activities and exhibits free and open to the public.

“This year we’ll highlight Kansas resources,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education and Celebrate Kansas Day! coordinator. “As we began planning for this year, we realized there are many more resources in Kansas than we could ever cover in one day.“

More about the The 8 Wonders of Kansas at The 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook. Bethel’s website is www.bethelks.edu


In an event co-sponsored by Rainy Day Books (in Fairway) and Brits (in Lawrence), Sally Bedell Smith will discuss her newest book, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch. The program will be at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 24, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, MO.

Sally Bedell Smith is the author of the bestselling biographies of William S. Paley, Pamela Harriman, Diana, Princess of Wales, John and Jacqueline Kennedy, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Check with Rainy Day Books, The Fairway Shops, 2706 W 53rd Street, Fairway, for information about admissions and tickets. Brits is located at 929 Massachusetts in Lawrence.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Too old to start your own business? Maybe not, according to Mary Beth Izard, who has written BoomerPreneurs: How Baby Boomers Can Start Their Own Business, Make Money and Enjoy Life.

Izard’s book includes the stories of how 15 baby boomers over 50 years old started businesses. See more at


A book review by Maureen Corrigan in the Sunday, January 22, Kansas City Star reports that as an adolescent Agatha Miller Christie liked to read Anna Katharine Green’s The Leavenworth Case (a book I have never read, but perhaps should).

The author of The Leavenworth Case, according to Wikipedia, was an American poet and novelist who was one of the first writers of detective fiction, and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories.

When Green’s poetry failed to gain recognition, she produced her first and best known novel, The Leavenworth Case, which became the hit of the year. She became a bestselling author, with eventually about 40 books to her credit.

She is credited with shaping detective fiction into its classic form, and developing the series detective. Her main character was detective Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Metropolitan Police Force, but in three novels he is assisted by the nosy society spinster Amelia Butterworth, the prototype for Miss Marple, Miss Silver and other creations. She also invented the 'girl detective': in the character of Violet Strange, a debutante with a secret life as a sleuth.

Certainly sounds like Green would fit in very well with modern writers of mystery. Wonder where I can get her book?


During 2011 several books published by the University of Kansas Press won several awards:

Peter J. Schifferle won the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for America’s School for War.

Robert S. Ehlers, Jr., won the Best Air Power History Book Award of the Air Force Historical Foundation for Targeting the Third Reich.

Marilyn S. Blackwell and Kristen T. Oertel won the Armitage-Jameson Book Prize of the Coalition for Western Women’s History for Frontier Feminist, the story of Clarina Nichols.

Bruce J. Dierenfield won the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities for The Battle over School Prayer.

Timothy J. Lomperis’ The Vietnam War from the Rear Echelon was named one of the Best Books of 2011 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Philip J. Deloria was voted one of the top ten books in Native American and Indigenous Studies by the membership of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association for Indians in Unexpected Places.

Authors guidelines for submitting work to the University Press of Kansas are at http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/authors.html .


Who left wagon tracks on the mesa? That might be something to worry about.

Author Richard C. Wright will be signing copies of Wagon Tracks on the Mesa at 6:30 pm on Friday, January 27, at Bradley Fair Barnes and Noble, 1920 North Rock in Wichita.

The novel follows a 19-year-old through a year of adventure, romance and hard work on a Colorado ranch, while making plans to homestead his own ranch.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The 2012 Bleeding Kansas Lecture Series at Constitution Hall at 319 Elmore in LeCompton will begin with a talk and book signing by Todd Mildfelt on The Underground Railroad on the Kansas Frontier at 2 pm on Sunday, January 29. Mildfelt is the author of the children’s book, Wagon Train to Freedom.

The series will continue for the following four Sundays. Infomation at http://www.kshs.org.


It seems to Kathryn Hilliard Klos that Kansas serves very well as a planet as a setting for her The Smile of the Cat.

Some sample lines from the book: “When KANSAS is selected as a safe haven for people from other worlds, like earth, interesting relationships develop and many people of the planet are able to find true healing and happiness.” And, “Seven and a half months later, Mardan was born to Sreedan, and all of the planet KANSAS – including Maryan – appreciated the gift of his life to the Universe even though Vandan was lost in the process.”

Sometimes we Kansans think we are living on our own planet. Maybe we are.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The January Big Tent program at the Raven Book Store will feature readings by three poets – Julianne Buchsbaum and Mary Stone Dockery of Lawrence, and Benjamin Cartwright of Topeka, at 7 pm on Thursday, January 26.

Buchsbaum is the author of Slowly, Slowly Horses and A Little Night Comes. Her third book of poems, The Apothecary’s Heir, won a National Poetry Series award and will be published in 2012 by Penquin Books.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of two chapbooks, Aching Buttons and Blink Finch , both forthcoming in 2012. She is the recipient of the 2011 Langston Hughes Award in Poetry, a Pushcart nominee and her chapbook Becoming an Island was a finalist in the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize. She is the co-editing founder of Stone Highway Review and co-edits the Blue Island Review.

Benjamin Cartwright’s prose poetry chapbook Entrance Mediums was a finalist for the 2011 Firewheel Chapbook Award. His poetry archive project, Kansas Blotter Audio, can be found at http://kansasblotter.blogspot.com.

You know where, 6 East 7th in Lawrence, www.ravenbookstore.com.


You never know what will turn up. If they haven’t been sold, Lloyd’s got a toy barn, that if I read it right, is from the estate of the late Governor Joan Finney, autographed souvenir tee-shirts, and copies of old Life magazines, plus copies of the Ottawa Herald from the 1940s. If you’re writing a novel set in that time period, they could provide invaluable information for the background.

No telling what else Lloyd will find in his cleaning spree at 117 SW 6th in Topeka. Don’t stop now, Lloyd.


To thank their customers for their business in 2011, The Book Barn, 410 Delaware in Leavenworth, invites the public to celebrate Kansas’ 151st Birthday with them at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum from 6-8 pm on Saturday, January 28.

The event is free, but tickets will be required. Pick up tickets any time after January 18 at The Book Barn.

You can ride the C.W. Parker Carousel, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, at the Museum at 320 South Esplanade, and enjoy some Kansas Birthday Cake. A special treat will be an appearance by Buffalo Bill Cody, a former resident of Leavenworth.

Links: http://www.abookbarn.com

C.W. Parker Carousel

Leavenworth - First City of Kansas

Thursday, January 19, 2012


“Watermark Books & Cafe is pleased to host a reading for the not-at-all-everyday new poetry collection by Albert Goldbarth, twice winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award”, at 7 pm on Friday, January 20.

I brought a book of many words
to an emptiness in my heart,
and I shook them out in there, to fill it.
In my time I wrote this very thing.
In your time you read it.
—from “What We Were Like”

Goldbarth’s Coprolites, the first of many books of poetry, was published in 1973. His To Be Read in 500 Years, was published in 2009. Everyday People was published by Graywolf Press. Watermark Books and Cafe is at 4701 Douglas in Wichita.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It’s been fun (educational) to be sort of on the inside, and privileged to watch the process through which a book becomes available to the reading public.

And the process is far from over, but the first book by Dr. Wes Crenshaw, Dear Dr. Wes:Real Life Advice(for Parents)of Teens is available from Barnes and Noble.

There will also be available a companion book, Dear Dr.Wes: Real Life Advice for Teens. Dr. Crenshaw will be on KCUR FM 89.3 on Thursday, January 26, at 11 am on Steve Kraske's Up To Date, discussing topics related to parenting teens.

More information on Dr. Crenshaw's website at http://www.dr-wes.com


Book news from Kansas Sampler Foundation:

Linda Laird, Hutchinson, has spent years documenting grain elevators in Kansas and the Midwest. Now she has a book that is a great show-and-tell of grain elevators! There are at least 40 pictures of Kansas grain elevators in this new 111-page book. Anything you want to know about a grain elevator is in here. It's great archival evidence of an agricultural era.

Order The American Grain Elevator: Function and Form at www.grainelevatorpress.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Two books which are on the 150 Best Kansas Books list are now available on Kindle.

Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams, was written by Edna Bell-Pearson. More on her website at http://www.bell-pearson.com

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day is Pat Walkenhorst’s book, Irish Settlers of Kansas: Memories of the Pioneer Life. Walkenhorst’s book is indexed (I think that must mean by family names).


Bill Sheldon, one of the Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems poets, is putting out the call for his fellow poets to participate in a reading on March 31 at the Hutchinson Public Library.

The Hutchinson Public Library has chosen Begin Again as its book for this year's Read across Reno County. I'm hoping you would be interested in reading in an event March 31 to kick off the Reading Across Reno event and as part of the Library's Prairie Book Festival that weekend.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Apparently it’s where Henry York lives, after leaving Boston to live with his aunt because his parents are believed to be kidnapped.

Henry’s adventures begin in the book, 100 Cupboards, the first of a trilogy written by N.D. Wilson. In the second book, Dandelion Fire:

Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds.

The final book in the series is The Chestnut King.


You may be too late. You should have been at the Dusty Bookshelf today, at 708 Massachusetts, in Lawrence for the filming of The Sublime and Beautiful.

Didn’t make it? I didn’t either. We’ll both just have to wait until it comes to a nearby movie theatre. Just remember the name (or ask the folks at the Dusty Bookshelf).


Randal Maurice Jelks, associate professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas, is the author of Benjamin Elijah Mays: Schoolmaster of the Movement, which will be released in April by the
University of North Carolina Press.

In this first full-length biography of Benjamin Mays (1894-1984), Randal Maurice Jelks chronicles the life of the man Martin Luther King Jr. called his "spiritual and intellectual father." Dean of the Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse College, and mentor to influential black leaders, Mays had a profound impact on the education of the leadership of the black church and of a generation of activists, policymakers, and educators. Jelks argues that Mays's ability to connect the message of Christianity with the responsibility to challenge injustice prepared the black church for its pivotal role in the civil rights movement.

Jelks came to KU in 2008 as the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Deborah Harkness’ tour to celebrate the December release of the US paperback of A Discovery of Witches will include a stop at Watermark Books and Café in Wichita, 7 pm on Tuesday, January 17.You know where, 4701 East Douglas.

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

More from Harkness at http://deborahharkness.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The poets are back!

The new year brings the resumption of the Writers’ Place Poetry Reading Series at the Johnson County Library, at 7 pm on Tuesday, January 17, at the Johnson County Central Resource Library at 9875 West 87th Street, Overland Park.

Featured will be contributors to the Little Balkans Review, Trent Stern, Adam Jameson and Jamie Heller.

The Little Balkans Review, a Southeast Kansas literary and graphics journal , cordially solicits poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photographs, and art work for publication in forthcoming issues. Under our current editorial policy, each issue of the magazine will have approximately ten pages of poetry, ten of graphics, thirty of fiction and thirty of non-fiction. Prime consideration is given to works by Kansans and former Kansans, as well as work set in the Little Balkans.
The submissions period is currently closed.


The Secrets of the Tsil Café by Thomas Fox Averill is out again, this time by the University of New Mexico Press.

Averill will be signing copies from 11 am to 2:30 pm on Thursday, January 26, at the Washburn University Bookstore.

(I wore the soles off my shoes, walking up and down and all around 39th street in Westport, trying to find the Tsil Café.)

Friday, January 13, 2012


Poet Al Ortolani, and poet and memoirist Jo McDougall, will present a program at 7 pm on Friday, January 27, at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th in Lawrence.

McDougall’s memoir, Daddy’s Money: A Memoir of Farm and Family, was published by the University of Arkansas Press, and received rave reviews, some of which can be viewed on the Audio and Video page of McDougall’s website at http://jomcdougall.net .

Ortolani’s work appears in numerous poetry publications.


It’s here! Almost.

The launch of Blue Island Review will be at 7 pm on Saturday, January 21, at the Raven Bookstore, 6 East 7th in Lawrence.

Blue Island Review is a literary journal produced by writers living in Lawrence, Kan. The journal is regional, showcasing authors with specific ties to Kansas and Missouri, specifically the greater Kansas City and Lawrence areas. Blue Island Review 2011 is the publication's second edition and showcases the work of 44 Kansas (and surrounding areas) poets.

More at the blog, http://blueislandreview.wordpress.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Watermark Books and Café has just become my favorite bakery bookstore, with the message they posted today.

It’s SAMPLE DAY!!! If you think cheesecake is the cat’s meow, then today’s treat is the treat for you. We will be showcasing the Caramel Cheesecake Bars from “The Best of the Best Recipes 2011” by Food & Wine, and oh how yummy they are. Do be sure to hurry down, because we only have these lovely bites while supplies last.

Need directions? 4701 East Douglas in Wichita. See www.watermarkbooks.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Despite his fear of public speaking and an illness that robbed him of his energy, Don Carrel has overcome the first and, with treatment, subdued the second. After numerous appearances at public schools, Carrel has encapsulated his experiences into a book, My Dream to Trample AIDS, available at Shawnee Books and Toys, 7311 Quivira Road, Shawnee.

More at www.trampleaids.com. Also available from Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.


Dr. Kipp Van Camp, who has diagnosed the current health care picture, has given his new book the title of Misdiagnosis: A practicing physician’s case of health care reform.

Dr. Kipp Van Camp is triple boarded in family medicine and radiology and has 25 years experience in medicine. He is also the host of the radio show, “Doctor’s Orders.” (As the author of) Misdiagnosis: A practicing physicians case study of health care reform, Dr. Kipp makes the topic of health care accessible to the average American.

More information can be found at www.drkipp.com

Dr. Van Camp’s first book, Always Allie, is a totally different genre, a story of “life and relationships and adversity.” Dr. Van Camp has donated a portion of the sales from Always Allie to animal welfare organizations. “As a result of the recent devastation in Joplin, Missouri, we are currently donating 10% of Always Allie sales to help the Humane Society in the affected area.” See http://www.alwaysallie.com/allie.html


Valentine’s Day will soon be here and to get in the mood you can read a romantic story, Two Roses, by Grant Williams in Volume 2 of Mile Marker Review. Williams is a member of Kansas Authors Club District Three,(folks at the 2011 KAC convention in Coffeyville will remember Grant Williams as helping run the book salesroom).

Mile Marker Review is an online literature and art journal published by the Creative Writing Program at Cowley College. The journal publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photos of art and design work, and photography exhibits. We publish these works created by Cowley College students, faculty, staff, alumni, associates, and guest contributors.

You’ll find the story at http://www.milemarkerreview.com


A timely reminder from the Editorial Staff of Kansas City Voices:

REMINDER: Kansas City Voices literary magazine is currently in an open submissions period. Please submit your poetry, prose and/or visual art for our Tenth Anniversary edition by March 15, 2012.

Our full submissions guidelines can be found at http://kansascityvoices.com/04submissions/submit.shtml.

The direct link to our submissions site is http://whisperingprairiepress.submishmash.com/submit

Thank you.

The Editorial Staff of Kansas City Voices

Monday, January 9, 2012


Sally Jadlow is pleased to announce the launching of her second miracle book. It is available in paperback and e-reader formats. The book contains 27 true stories. One is from a United Airlines Captain on 9/11 over the Pacific. Another is from a lady who was supposed to die in a few days with a strange brain con-dition. A third one involves a man adrift in a tiny life ring in 40 degree Alaskan waters in 30 foot waves.

Check it out at:

Barnes & Noble

Someone asked me recently why I wrote God’s Little Miracle Book (I and II.) I thought about it a minute and then answered, “As I listen to people during my visits to corporations as a chaplain, I hear their heart-cries. I see their struggles. There is a great need for encouragement in today’s world. It seems as though everything is going down the tubes . . . and yet, God is still on His throne. He’s still active in the lives of those who seek Him.”


Luis Urrea, author of Queen of America, will be at Rainy Day Books, 2706 West 53rd Street, in the Fairway Shops, Fairway, at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 18.

Urrea’s appearance will be an open house event, with walk-in’s welcome, but seating is limited. More at www.rainydaybooks.com.

Queen of America is the story of Teresa Urrea, a young girl who has fled with her father to Arizona. “But their plans are derailed when she once again is claimed as the spiritual leader of the Mexican Revolution. Besieged by pilgrims and pursued by assassins, Teresita embarks on a journey through turn-of-the-century industrial America-New York, San Francisco, St. Louis. She meets immigrants and tycoons, European royalty and Cuban poets, all waking to the new American century.”


“ Like my protagonist, Jean Patrick Nkuba, I run because I have to run. I also write because I have to write, because words and stanzas and stories spin in my mind no matter what else I am doing: running, swimming, making dinner. And I told the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a young Tutsi boy, because his voice would not let me be until I wrote it down.”

Naomi Benaron will be at Watermark Books and Café at 7 pm on Thursday, January 19 for her novel, Running the Rift. She'll have a conversation with Kurt Kerns, a Wichita attorney who practices before the International War Crime Tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, where he recently defended Commander Vinko Martinovic. Mr. Kerns is one of only 26 American lawyers authorized to appear before the International Criminal Court.

That’s www.watermarkbooks.com at 4701 East Douglas. Go to for Benaron’s website.


Folks, poets, friends, Facebook tells me that:

Friends, Flint Hills Review is now open for submissions. Send to: Editors, Flint Hills Review, Box 4019, EMLJ, Emporia State University, 1200 Commercial Street, Emporia, KS 66801. We read January-March, and we publish in December or January. We still do postal submissions. So find an envelope or two, and send today.

Flint Hills Review is an annual publication with a national circulation. We publish work with a particular interest in region, including regions of place, regions of ethnicity, regions of gender, and regions of memory. We welcome poetry, short fiction, nonfiction of literary quality, and art.

Guidesline and more at www.emporia.edu/fhr

Sunday, January 8, 2012


MAX YOHO: Author's discussion on Tuesday, January 10, 2012,
Thornton Place, 2901 SW Armstrong Av, Topeka,
11AM-- Free event. The public is welcome.

Another thing I know -- it will be entertaining.

Friday, January 6, 2012


How is a book written by Valerie Bowen, a Belfast native, and set in Camden connected with Kansas?

For the Sake of Amelia II – Inhibition is partially set in Kansas, in Colby, to be exact.

The protagonist, Amelia, was abused by an ex-husband, Ray. She has left Colby for Camden, but “she realizes the only way to regain her courage is to go back to where her private torment began. Once in Colby, however, she hears that Ray has escaped from prison … and is headed her way."

Hmmmmm, I’ll be awaiting reports from Colby-ites (Colbyians?) on how the story plays in Colby.


A new book store specializing in mystery stories is soon to open in downtown Overland Park, and you can take a peek at their website at www.mysteryscape.com.

The website says they will be specializing in crime fiction, events and gifts. I don’t quite have a fix on the location, but I think it will be near the clock tower.


This contest is for Kansas students in grades 3 through 12, but doesn’t the theme just make you want to grab your notebook and pen? Or sit down at your computer and let your thoughts ramble and wander?

The theme is “My Kansas Shoes are Made for Walking".

The start of the KTWU and Payless Shoe Source writing contest was announced by First Lady Mary Brownback. Contest ends on April 15, 2012. Winners in all grade categories will be announced at the Kansas Book Festival on September 15.

For guidelines, check the KTWU website, or contact Beth Perry at 785-670-3177. For information for the upcoming festival, go to www.kansasbookfestival.com


Now isn’t that a stellar line-up? An evening with any one of the three would be extremely enjoyable and highly entertaining: Thomas Fox Averill, Diane Curtis Regan, and Clare Vanderpool. But, you get all three with the Kansas Author Dinner on Thursday, February 23, at the Wichita Marriott, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive.

The Kansas Author Dinner is the signature fundraiser of the Wichita Alumnae Association of Kappa Kappa Gamma. This annual event is a fun evening of dinner and program with notable Kansas authors. This event is open to the general public and money raised helps benefit local literacy programs.

Tickets for $50 per person are now available online or by mail at http://associations.kappakappagamma.org/wichita

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Here’s a tip from a writer friend, to other writer friends:

Writer Friends, if you want to see how to get a handle on how to write Flash Fiction, order Dane Zeller's Drive-By Romances via Amazon. If you Kindle it is .99. This collection of blind date stories is entertaining and very well written by Zeller.

For other Zeller books at: www.danezeller.com


The New Year arrived several days ago, but Max Yoho is still partying, and in fact invites you all to come join him.

You are invited to party this Friday night at The Eclective Gallery, 900 N. Kansas Av., where Max will sign copies of his books, including his newest: ME AND AUNT IZZY.

We’d love to see you Friday evening at The Eclective Gallery. First Fridays have free snacks and drinks. Please join us!

(Not being a Topekan, I always have to spend some time thinking about where I’m going, but I’m pretty sure The Eclective Gallery is in North Topeka, across that big river.) More about Yoho’s books at www.dancinggoatpress.com.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Thomas Frank’s latest book has a really long title: Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and The Unlikely Comeback of the Right.

This newest book follows What’s the Matter With Kansas? Frank will be at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th Street, in Kansas City, MO, at 7 pm on Thursday, January 12. A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Frank now writes monthly for Harpers. For more about Frank, see http://tcfrank.com

For details of book purchases, admission tickets and the like, to go www.rainydaybooks.com


I’d come up empty in all the likely spots: bus stops, coffee shops, even the sleazier nightclubs that might not have carded a bunch of tweens. I was about to give up when I saw lights flashing in the cemetery to my right. I pulled over and rolled down my window. Above the rumble of rain on my rooftop I could hear high-pitched chatter and bursts of nervous laughter.

So begins the second paragraph of Sara Paretksy’s new novel, Breakdown. The cemetery gates are locked, the cemetery closed. But will that stop V.I. Warshawski? You know it won’t, but you gotta get the book, on sale today at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 East Douglas, in Wichita.

Betcha Paretsky will be in Kansas in person one of the these days for some booksignings. In the meantime, you can read the rest of the first chapter at http://saraparetsky.com

Monday, January 2, 2012


Katherine Karlin has garnered another very nice review of her book, Send Me Work, in The Southeast Review.

In Karlin’s stories, readers will see female characters who are not easily found elsewhere. She focuses on women to whom little attention was paid before and reflects on their struggles in male-dominated industries. Having worked in oil refineries in Pennsylvania and Texas, a New Orleans shipyard, and a New York print shop, Karlin shares her unique insights into women’s experiences in those trades

Read the review by Jie Liu in its entirety at http://southeastreview.org

Karlin's website at www.katherinekarlin.com


From Kansascity.com Press Release Central:

Is there money buried in pickle jars under the prairie near Independence Kansas? Who stole the fortune from President Dwight Eisenhower’s family? And what really motivated Carry Nation to grab a hatchet and chop up saloons throughout Kansas and the Midwest?

These mysteries and more are explored in “Myths and Mysteries of Kansas: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained,” the latest title by Kansas City author Diana Lambdin Meyer.

Continuing the popular Myths and Mysteries series by the Globe-Pequot Press, the Kansas book takes a look at some of the legendary figures of Kansas history and some of the lesser known mysteries and myths surrounding their lives. From Amelia Earhart to Buffalo Bill Cody, the book seeks fresh answers to lingering questions about their actions, the lives and their fate.

One of the first Kansas-related books of the new year.


Born in Dodge City, Dennis Hopper spent some childhood years in Kansas City, MO, before the family moved on to California. Hopper’s biography, The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel, was written by Peter Winkler, and released in late 2011.

Beginning with his lonely childhood in Kansas, where he became determined to win the affection of others by becoming a great artist, to his drug-fueled days and nights in Hollywood and Taos, New Mexico, Dennis Hopper's amazing life was a roller-coaster series of triumphs and failures.

Hopper’s first film appearances were with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant.


If I’ve got this right, Thomas Frank, the author of What’s the Matter With Kansas?, thinks we should Pity the Billionaire.

Frank will be signing his new book, Pity the Billionaire, at 7 pm on Friday, January 13, at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 East Douglas in Wichita.

(See post of December 31, 2011, SHED TEARS FOR BILLIONAIRES.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The Kansas 2012 Renga begins to unfold: To The Stars Through Difficulty.

What is a “renga”? A conversational poem written in 10-line verses, and will feature up to 150 poets. How to be part of the conversation? Visit the Renga website every few days, or subscribe (there’s a link on the right-hand sidebar).

But, wait, we’re not through celebrating Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems with readings all across the state, still more to come in 2012, including a presentation in New Mexico.

And, yes, we all know where the theme comes from: It’s “Ad Astra Per Aspera”. Stay tuned, join the conversation.


The KANSAS! 2012 Calendar opens with a stunning photograph by Brad Neff of “Flooded Timber in Douglas County”.

The photo is stark, like January, impossible to see the water line where the trees are submerged and the reflection begins. The 2012 Calendar is a bonus with a subscription to Kansas! Magazine. Call 1-800-678-6424, or go to www.KansasMag.com to subscribe. To order the calendar separately, go to www.travelks.com.