Wednesday, February 29, 2012


What’s it like to live in a haunted house, in fact, in Hannah’s House, one of Atchison’s Most Haunted Houses, once the dwelling of Hanna Jo Cusack, milliner to Queen Victoria and First Lady McKinley?

The program at 11 am on Saturday, March 10, will be in honor of Women’s History Month. Available will be a CD, with stories of Sharon Berry’s experiences of living in the house, and actual pictures of the ghost’s energy.

Says The Book Barn proprietors, “This will be a very popular event, so reserve now by calling 913-682-6518.”

The Book Barn is at 410 Delaware in the heart of Leavenworth, just a half block west of Highway K-7 as it goes through town. Warning: Delaware is one-way east-bound, so you’ll have to get to The Book barn from Cherokee or Shawnee streets. (Don’t get side-tracked by all the marvelous dining opportunities in Leavenworth.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Have you ever cringed when watching television news to hear a spokesperson say something that instead of controlling the damage only worsened an already unfavorable impression?

Clearly, that spokesperson needs a copy of Pistols to Press, written by Jeff Lanza, retired FBI agent. In fact, anyone who is going to be interviewed on television (this probably works for radio as well) needs to take to heart Lanza’s observations about how to prepare, and to expect the unexpected.

Lanza’s advice isn’t a boring lecture – it’s very neatly interspersed with the telling of some of the more notorious criminal cases in the Midwest in the past few years. Most of us probably remember, for example, as we all waited the turn of the century with anxious apprehension – would there be a terrorist attack, would all of our computers quit working – when a first-time, amateur, female bank robber took several people hostage. If the bank robber had sought attention, her timing couldn’t have been better.

More about Lanza and how to order the book at


Kansas will be well represented on at 3:30 pm on Friday, March 2, at the “Route 66 Off-site Reading” which will take place at the Buzz Café in Oak Park, IL.

From the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2012 Conference website: “Writers from Route 66 states from Il through CA will be reading poetry and fiction at this event celebrating forward-thinking and experimental writing from fly-over America. Mother-road readers include . . . Jodi Liedke (KS), Joseph Harrington (KS), Anna Caroline Harris (KS), Dennis Etzel Jr. (KS), and Billy Joe Harris (KS).”

Monday, February 27, 2012


Too late, because tonight, Monday, February 27, Jim Gray spoke at the Rural Life School in Walton, sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Texas Longhorn cattle, rowdy cowboys, gamblers, gunslingers and tempting women combined to produce the archetypal Kansas cattle town. Chronicled in literature, music, and movies, the cattle town has been a common setting for adventure and intrigue, but the real meaning and importance of cattle towns has rarely been explained. Many misconceptions have endured to distort the actual history of the Kansas cattle town. This presentation will reveal the Wild West as it really was.

Gray was honored on Friday, February 24, when the Ellsworth County Historical Society surprised Gray with the presentation of the Historian of the Year Award.

Kansas Humanities Council

Follow Jim Gray on Facebook

Ellsworth County Historical Society

Friday, February 24, 2012


It might be Ayad Akhtar, an American-born, first generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee. Akhtar will be speaking about his new book, American Dervish, at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 28, at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 407 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, MO. Akhtar’s appearance is co-sponsored by the International Relations Council of Greater Kansas City.

For the admissions package, see


Warren Bull’s story of young Tim Allen, Heartland, was one of five finalists of nearly a thousand entries in the 2010 Young Adult Discovery Contest sponsored by the Gotham Writers Workshop. Lisa Harkrader’s new book, The Adventures of Bean Boy, chronicles the life of the hapless Tucker MacBean.

Both authors will discuss their works at 11 m on Saturday, March 3, at I Love A Mystery, 6114 Johnson Drive in Mission. The gathering is the March meeting of Sisters in Crime and is open to the public. More about Bull's books at and Harkraders at

Thursday, February 23, 2012


What do you (really) know about Kansas history?

You’ll know a lot more after you’ve read Robert Collins’ Pieces of Kansas History, just out and available at Amazon,

You can hear Collins talk about another recent book of history, Kansas, 1874, at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 29, at the Miami County Historical Museum at 12 E. Peoria in Paola.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The deadline for the Byron Caldwell Smith Award is March 1, 2013, so if you are thinking of entering, you better get started right now.

The Byron Caldwell Smith Award was established at the bequest of Kate Stephens, a former University of Kansas student and one of the University's first women professors. As an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, Kate Stephens learned to love the study of Greek language and literature from Professor Byron Caldwell Smith. In his name she established this award, given biennially to an individual who lives or is employed in Kansas, and who has authored an outstanding book published in the two calendar years preceding the year of the nomination deadline.

Self-nominations are allowed. The $1,500 award is presented in Lawrence, following a public lecture delivered by the recipient in the Fall semester following the award announcement. For guidelines, see


The Hall Center is pleased to host a celebration of (University of Kansas) faculty authors who published books in 2011. The event will consist of a reception, a display of books, and a brief program featuring faculty authors who will talk about their recent books and take questions from the audience. Please join us to learn about the engaging work of our humanities and social science faculty.

This event is open to the public and sponsored by the Friends of the Hall Center. RSVP is required by March 1.

When? Where? At 4-6 pm on Thursday, March 8, at the Hall Center Conference Hall, 900 Sunnyside Avenue, in Lawrence. More at

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


A fabulous list of contributing writers will gather together at 7 pm on Saturday, February 25, at the Raven Book Store, 6 E. 7th in Lawrence.

Midwestern Gothic is a quarterly literary journal published out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to featuring work inspired by the Midwest. A number of Kansas writers have contributed to recent issues of the journal, and have come together to organize this reading, in order to share their work, and express their support for Midwestern Gothic’s mission to “collect the very best in Midwestern writing in a way that has never been done before, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States.”

And the readers are: Andrew Bales whose story, Pancake People, appeared in Issue 3; Kara M. Bollinger is the assistant nonfiction editor of Beecher’s Magazine; Benjamin Cartwright is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Kansas; Mary Stone Dockery is the 2011 recipient of the Langston Hughes Award in Poetry and co-editor of Blue Island Review; Katie Longofono is founding editor of Blue Island Review, and poetry editor of the KU literary/art and design magazine Kiosk; Jason Ryberg whose latest collection of poems is Down, Down and Away (co-authored with John Rizer), and Leah Sewell, who is a Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems poet.

More complete biographies at


Thom Browne, representing the genre of playwriting, and William J. Harris and Brett Salsbury, poets, will fill the Big Tent at 7 pm on Thursday, February 23, at the Raven Book Store, 6 E. 7th in Lawrence.

Harris most recently has published and read internationally with two books, Domandi Personali/ Personal Questions, published by Leconte Editore, and Crooners, a bilingual edition with translations into Italian by Nicola Manupelli.

Monday, February 20, 2012


From bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies and the Kennedy assassination, and beyond, the family is caught up in the sweep of history. Each new generation discovers afresh what it means to be an American, and in the process they sometimes finds out more about themselves than they had bargained for.

Alex George will discuss his book, A Good American, at 7 pm on Thursday, February 23, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, MO. Visit Rainy Day Books for ticket and admission information. More about George at


Advance copies of Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat written by Max Holland and scheduled to be released by the University Press of Kansas in March have stirred up new discussions of the Watergate scandal.

Max Holland has found the missing piece of that Deep Throat puzzle—one that’s been hidden in plain sight all along. He reveals for the first time in detail what truly motivated the FBI’s number-two executive to become the most fabled secret source in American history. In the process, he directly challenges Felt’s own explanations while also demolishing the legend fostered by Woodward and Bernstein’s bestselling account.

And from Holland’s website, the following:

Holland showcases the many twists and turns to Felt’s story that are not widely known, revealing not a selfless official acting out of altruistic patriotism, but rather a career bureaucrat with his own very private agenda. Drawing on new interviews and oral histories, old and just-released FBI Watergate files, papers of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, presidential tape recordings, and Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate-related papers, he sheds important new light on both Felt’s motivations and the complex and often problematic relationship between the press and government officials.

You’ll find the University Press of Kansas at


On sale tomorrow is Eisenhower in War and Peace, written by the presidential scholar Jean Edward Smith.

Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point, to Paris under Pershing, and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower’s superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory through multiple reversals of fortune in North Africa and Italy, culminating in the triumphant invasion of Normandy. Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike’s finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby, and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.

Eisenhower in War and Peace was published by Random House


he 14th Annual Kansas Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Conference will be held Monday, March 5, at Emporia State University. The keynote speech of “Rtl, MTSS and the Art of Literacy Intervention will be given by Beth Swenson, District Literacy Coordinator and Trainer in Brainerd, MN.

Among the presenters will be:

Beverley Olson Buller, Children’s Author and Illustrator, Newton, KS, Laurie Curtis, Assistant Professor Curriculum and Instruction, Kansas State University, Annie Opat, Reading Recovery Director, Emporia State University, Suzanne DeWeese, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Emporia State University, and Marsha Schmidt, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, USD 373, Newton, KS

Reading Recovery is a short term, early intervention program designed for the lowest achievers in a first grade classroom. Children receive intensive one-to-one instruction for 30 minutes daily by a highly trained teacher. After 12-20 weeks, most children attain average or better reading and writing levels and continue to make progress with regular classroom instruction. Over a million children in the United States have been served by this literacy intervention since 1985.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Thomas Fox Averill’s novel, Rode, has been named the 2012 Outstanding Western Novel as part of the Western Heritage Awards of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The award will be presented during an awards banquet on April 21.

Averill is in good company. Previous winners have been James Michener, Thomas Berger, Larry McMurtry, A.B. Guthrie, Barbara Kingsolver and Cormac McCarthy.


Reverend Richard Taylor, the author of I Love Kansas, has passed away in Andover. Born in Dwight, after serving as a Navy gunnery officer, obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering and taking a job designing engines, Reverend Taylor began seminary studies. He served several churches before being sent by the United Methodist Church to Topeka. Over two decades, he became well-known in the legislative halls for his anti-gambling and anti-drinking causes.

Reverend Taylor was also interested in preserving the history of the state. His book, I Love Kansas, told the story of many historical places and figures in Kansas.


What was it like for Dwight David Eisenhower growing up in Kansas?

Author Roy Bird, Illustrator Gwen Battis, and Rowe Publishing have the story in Little Ike: Dwight David Eisenhower.

This beautifully illustrated book about Eisenhower’s youth is more than a children’s picture book. It is filled with the rich biography of one of America’s most remembered presidents. Included is a section for older readers taking a deeper look into his entire career plus helpful references and Internet links for further research.

Author Roy Bird grew up just south of Abilene, and is the author of numerous books about Kansas and the American West. Illustrator Gwen Battis is a librarian at Silver Lake and has illustrated several other books. See her work at Gwen Battis' website. Learn more about Rowe Publishing and Design in Stockton.


The journey from birth in the part of Korea that became South Korea, to a PhD in English at the University of Kansas is the background for Jid Lee’s To Kill A Tiger .

In this story of triumph against overwhelming odds, Lee captures the struggles of the men and especially the women in her family to achieve, to receive recognition, and to fight against the injustice of a centuries-old system. A kaleidoscopic narrative of one woman’s life, five generations of her family, and a country’s tumultuous history, To Kill a Tiger is a compellingly intricate and startlingly authentic synthesis of history and literature.

Jid Lee is currently an associate professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Getting It Wrong

Well, SOMEBODY got it all wrong, and William A. Barnett, University of Kansas professor, has some profound thoughts about how it happened, which he explains in Getting It Wrong How Faulty Monetary Statistics Undermine the Fed, the Financial System and the Economy.

Blame for the recent financial crisis and subsequent recession has commonly been assigned to everyone from Wall Street firms to individual homeowners. It has been widely argued that the crisis and recession were caused by “greed” and the failure of mainstream economics. In Getting It Wrong, leading economist William Barnett argues instead that there was too little use of the relevant economics, especially from the literature on economic measurement. Barnett contends that as financial instruments became more complex, the simple-sum monetary aggregation formulas used by central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, became obsolete. Instead, a major increase in public availability of best-practice data was needed. Households, firms, and governments, lacking the requisite information, incorrectly assessed systemic risk and significantly increased their leverage and risk-taking activities. Better financial data, Barnett argues, could have signaled the misperceptions and prevented the erroneous systemic-risk assessments. see MIT Press

Barnett is Oswald Distinguished Professor of Macroeconomics at KU. Read more of his thoughts about the economy on his blog at


A lot of Kansans are reading the non-fiction book, Our Boys: A Winning Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, the Kansas READS choice for 2012. Author Joe Drape is participating in library programs across the state. Airball: My Life in Briefs, a middle school, or young adult fiction, by Lisa Harkrader, won a ton of awards, including the William Allen White award.

So how do these two books compare? Well, not much, Our Boys is about high school football, Airball is about seventh-grade basketball. Our Boys is about a winning season, that we know, it’s how the players got there that makes a compelling story. When we start Airball we don’t know if the basketball players will have a winning season, but it’s how they got there that makes a compelling story.

I recommend both. Doesn’t matter which order. Reading level of Our Boys is probably high school and up. Airball reaches younger readers and up, but don’t think Airball is just for kids – it’ll keep you young at heart.

Friday, February 17, 2012


When Wallie Exercises does the building shake? (Ask Pete Proctor.) Ever see a potato run? (Go to the website and look in the upper left-hand corner – look at that potato go!)

Wallie Exercises is the brain child of Steve Ettinger, author, and Pete Proctor, illustrator, who lives in Kansas and formerly was a science teacher in Louisburg.

We see Wallie on the front cover, a marshmallow of a white dog, an exhausted Wallie, leaning up against a tree trunk, his eyes half-closed, his tongue hanging out, his rounded stomach protruding above the waist of his shorts. Wonder if Wallie still looks the same at the end of the book?

A clue might be in the name of the publishing company, Active Spud Press, whose slogan is: “We create quality picture books that encourage health and fitness.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Borrowing from the title of well-known book by President Barack Obama, Dennis Hedke has titled his book The Audacity of Freedom.

A geophysicist and a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from Butler County, Hedke’s new book was released in January by Tate Publishing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


On Sunday, February 19, Paul Foster Johnson and Justin Runge will read their work for the Taproom Poetry Series, at, (where else?) the Eighth Street Taproom, 19 E 8th Street in Lawrence. Reading starts at 5 pm. See

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Friday, February 17, children’s book author Lois Ruby will sign copies of Steal Away Home, a story set in Kansas that concerns a mysterious diary, the Underground Railroad, and an untimely death. The event starts at 6 p.m. at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 East Douglas, Wichita.

From Watermark: Watermark welcomes young adult author Lois Ruby for a book reading and signing! Lois Ruby will be at Watermark to read from Steal Away Home, a gripping mystery that delves into Kansas’ bloody past in the days before the Civil War. When twelve-year-old Dana Shannon starts to strip away wallpaper in her family's old house, she's unprepared for the surprise that awaits her. A hidden room -- containing a human skeleton! How did such a thing get there? And why was the tiny room sealed up?


Carl Bettis, associate editor of the literary periodical The Same, and Rich Monson, author of Tourniquet: Countdown to Eternity, will read from their works at The Writers Place Poetry Reading Series at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 21.

The popular Tuesday night reading programs are held at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park.


If you’re like me, you didn’t even learn about Warren Bull’s book-signing at I Love A Mystery Book store, 6114 Johnson Drive, Mission, at 1 pm today until afterwards.

But the good news is that they’re having book-signing events at I Love A Mystery again. It’s good to see I Love A Mystery busy on the book scene again. (Ever drive by their store at night? The neon sign is an eye-catcher.)


Years of meticulous research have gone into the writing of Henderson Smokey Mt. Mystery, a Henderson family history by F. Robert Henderson.

A press release on PRWeb describes Henderson’s life: He was born in Texas in 1933. His parents were both born in Kansas. At the age of eight, his father and mother separated. He grew up under his mother’s care. He attended college and received a Master’s Degree in Botany and Zoology from Fort Hays Kansas State University. He attended the University of Kansas where in 1960 a book he wrote was published by the Kansas State Biological Survey. From June of 1968 until 1996, he was promoted from Assistant Professor to Professor at Kansas State University.

Monday, February 13, 2012


What better on Valentine’s Day but a book on relationships, for both teens and parents? Or two books about relationships: Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teenagers, and Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Parents of Teenagers. Both books written with teenage co-authors.

Dr. Wes Crenshaw’s books have been endorsed by Foster W. Cline, M.D., who says: “The advice offered by Wes and his co-authors is right on, straightforward and down to earth.”

Dr. Wes Crenshaw will be book-signing at Rainy Day Books, 2706 W 53rd Street, Fairway, on Tuesday, February 14, just as soon as he can get there from Steve Kraske’s Up-To-Date program 11 am to noon on KCUR, 89.3 FM, maybe about 12:30 pm.

On Valentine’s Day? Hey, that’s tomorrow!


Gloria Zachgo invites you to a free eBook of her novel, The Rocking Horse. The giveaway is scheduled for one day only on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.

A young woman fearing her own safety runs from the life she knows, only to find out that she may never have known her true beginnings. Calling herself Julie Hendricks, she is led to a small Kansas town by a quirky little rocking horse that has been with her since she was a child.

As Julie gains newfound independence and develops deep friendships in her new life, questions arise as to whether she could have been in this town before. Could she have been an abducted child when she was only two years of age? Could the father she had always known and loved, have been involved in the murder of her mother, and her great aunt and great uncle?

When Julie travels back to Chicago to try to unravel the mysteries of her childhood, she is left with even more questions, and the husband she fears invades her life once again.

The goal of this promotion, Zachgo writes, is that you enjoy the novel enough to recommend it to other readers. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry, you can still get this free eBook and read it using a Free Kindle Reading App for your PC, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod, Android or more Prices at are subject to change at any given moment. The link you need is RIGHT HERE.


Author Tom Mach has completed the trilogy that began with Sissy!, and continued with All Parts Together. Release date for the third book, Angels at Sunset, is March 1.

What is Angels at Sunset all about? Mach has written about both the novel and the process of writing historical fiction on his blogs. While the account of Jessica Radford’s life is fiction, the historical facts are all too real and very authentic. Read more at and


Well, almost . . .

Rainy Day Books in Fairway is on the list of the Mystery Bus Tour which will be sent out into the countryside from New York to Missouri (and that’s where Rainy Day comes in).

Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, is sending four of its top writers on an eight day tour to 12 cities, starting in New York and stopping on April 18 near the end of the tour at Rainy Day Books. (One guesses at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, since this is the place where Rainy Day holds many of its author appearances.) The tour ends on April 19 at a Barnes and Noble near St. Louis.

The side of the bus, according to the illustration, bears the covers of books written by Liza Marlund, John Connolly, William Kent Krueger and M.J. Rose. I’ll bet they’ll all bring laptops, and continue to write as the bus speeds along the highways.

Rainy Day Books

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Watermark Books & Cafe is pleased to welcome Rachel Simon for a reading and signing of The Story of Beautiful Girl at 7 pm on Thursday, February 16.

Rachel Simon is the award-winning author of six books and a nationally-recognized public speaker on issues related to diversity and disability. Her titles include the bestsellers, The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding The Bus with My Sister. Both books are frequent selections of book clubs and school reading programs around the country. Rachel's work has been adapted for theater, NPR, the Lifetime Channel, and Hallmark Hall of Fame,

Find Watermark Books and Café at 4701 E. Douglas, Wichita


A story that is based on the book Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson will be presented at 9:45 am on Thursday, February 16, in Yardley Hall at Johnson County community College, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park.

The play is a Kennedy Center national touring production. Woodson, the author, will not be attending as previously reported. The show, Locomotion, A Teen’s Journey and the Power of Poetry, is open to the public. It is geared for children in the third grade and up. Tickets, which are $5, are available through the college box office at 913-469-4445, or at

Locomotion is the story of Lonnie Collins Motion, a fifth-grader who began living in a foster family after his parents died in a fire. He misses his little sister, Lili, who lives with a different foster family, and is trying to adjust to a new school.

Locomotion was a National Book Award finalist and a story told entirely in poems. See


The day of the retreat is Saturday, June 2, but you can come early and/or stay late and be in good great company.

The District Two Kansas Author’s Club Writers’ Retreat will be at the Lake Doniphan Conference and Retreat Center in Excelsior Springs, in Missouri. There will be opportunities on Saturday to network and mingle with other writers during mealtimes or in various meetings and break-out sessions and the Saturday night campfire (may be music by Maryann Barry).

Come early on Friday, and stay the night, or remain on Saturday. Or, just retreat by yourself off into some quiet corner, or down by the lake, and get some writing done.

Details of the retreat will be posted in the District Two section of the Kansas Authors Club website, . Take a virtual tour of the Lake Doniphan Converence Center at .


Glenn E. Torrey, a professor of history emeritus at Emporia State College, is the author of The Romanian Battlefront in World War I, which will be published by the University Press of Kansas in February.

Torrey’s unparalleled familiarity with archival and secondary sources and his long experience with the subject give authority and balance to his account of the military, strategic, diplomatic, and political events on both sides of the battlefront. In addition, his use of personal memoirs provides vivid insights into the human side of the war. Major military leaders in the Second World War, especially Ion Antonescu and Erwin Rommel, made their careers during the First World War and play a prominent role in his book.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


And very attractive at that – the theme of the convention, Encouraging Words, bouncing merrily along a musical scale. Completed with the date and place of the convention, October 5-7 at the Ramada Inn in Salina, and finished off with a windmill and a buffalo – hey, it’s Kansas, after all.

Take a look at, click on the convention tab on the right-hand side. You’ll also find a quick preview of the convention keynoters, and workshop presenters. Remember, 2012 theme writing contest opens April 1.


Norm Ledgin, the author of Diagnosing Jefferson, and Aspergers and Self-Esteem, will be presenting a series of lectures during February and March for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of the Contuing Education department of the University of Kansas.

Explaining the Perplexing Thomas Jefferson, a three-session course, will be presented at Aberdeen Village, 17500 W. 119th Street, Olathe, on Mondays, February 20 and 27, and March 5, 2012, from 2-4 pm

Genius as an Abnormality, a three-session course, will be presented at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115th, Overland Park, on Thursdays, March 15, 22 and 29, 2012, from 2-4 pm.

Norm is completing a historical novel titled Sally: Mistress of Monticello, an episodic account of the relationship between the widower Thomas Jefferson and his beautiful slave, Sally Hemmings.

Ledgin’s other works include the mystery, Sour Notes, and the novel, The Jayhawker. He has appeared in numerous publications, including Kansas City Voices. Visit http:normledgin

. To register for either course, call toll-free 877-404-5823 or 785-864-5823, or register online at


The Raven Book Store will host an author talk and discussion with Harriet Lerner, author of Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up, at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 22.

The event features nationally renowned psychologist and Lawrence resident Harriet Lerner. Whether you’re married or in a committed partnership, Marriage Rules is an invaluable guide to helping you over the rough patches. We all know that negotiating the intricacies of a relationship takes humor and wisdom, both of which readers will find plenty of in this easy-to-read book.

Lerner is best known for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships. Feminism and family systems theory continue to inform her writing. She has dedicated her writing life to translating complex theory into accessible and useful prose, and has become one of our nation's most trusted and respected relationship experts.

Lerner's books include The Dance of Anger, The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Deception, The Mother Dance, The Dance of Connection, The Dance of Fear, Life Preservers: Good Advice When You Need It Most and Women in Therapy.

For more information about the event, visit: The Raven Book Store . For Lerner’s bio and photos, visit: .

The Raven Book Store is located at 6 E. 7th St.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Thanks to Cheryl Tate for the following:

Time is running out! The 23rd annual Kansas Voices statewide writing contest entries must be postmarked by March 15!

Both divisions have adult and youth categories (18 years & under), in poetry and prose (short story). All Kansas writers are encouraged to enter. To be eligible, writers must live in Kansas. There is no requirement for subject matter and all entries are judged based on literary merit.

$1000 in prize money will be awarded: $275 each for first prize poetry and short story in adult division, first prize for poetry and short story in the youth division is $100 each, and $250 total will be given for Honorable Mention awards.

Winners will be honored and invited to read their work at a special presentation at Winfield Arts & Humanities Council, 700 Gary, Winfield, on May 5, 2012 as part of the KANZA DAYS celebration. The full dinner will be served. Cost is $9 per person and reservations required by April 30, 2012.

You may call 620-221-2161 Ext. 10 or write to the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council, 700 Gary, Suite A & B, Winfield, KS 67156 for guidelines, entry forms and/or dinner reservations. The guidelines and entry form may also be downloaded from our web site:

Entries must be unpublished stories or poems accompanied by an official entry form and a $3.00 entry fee for each submission.


It’s called opposition research, and the people who engage in this livelihood are sometimes called “oppo” men? (I dare say there are “oppo” women, as well.) Two “oppo” men, former journalists Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian, have co-authored We’re With Nobody, the story of their experiences of gathering the dirt on political candidates.

Publishers Harper Collins has this to say: We're With Nobody is a thrilling, eye-opening insider’s view of a little-known facet of the political campaign process: the multi-million dollar opposition research industry, or “oppo” as it’s called. For sixteen years authors Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian have been digging up dirt on political candidates across the country, from presidential appointees to local school board hopefuls. We're With Nobody is a fascinating, riveting, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking look at the unseen side of political campaigning—a remarkable chronicle of a year in the life of two guys on a dedicated hunt to uncover the buried truths that every American voter has a right to know.

Reminds me of that old joke about the cowboy who got gored by a longhorn. Next day a buddy asks him if he is hurting. Responds the cowboy: “Only when I laugh.”


An exposition on the effects of time, on how something said or done in one generation keeps echoing through all the years that follow, and how mistakes keep happening, and people keep on trying to be strong and brave and, most important, just and right . . . Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State’s rugged Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience—it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town’s founders circa 1890, and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.

Author Jonathan Evison will be at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 East Douglas in Wichita, at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 15. Evison writes from a home on an island in western Washington. (Makes one wonder what Evison sees, West of Here.)


Born in Sterling, graduated from University of Kansas, Doris Fleeson has been described by her biographer, Carolyn Sayler, as “Incomparably the First Political Journalist of her Time.”

William Allen White called her a panther, but he addressed her in letters as “Doris, dear child”. Fleeson worked as a reporter and war correspondent, and became the first woman in the United States to have a nationally syndicated political column.

Sayler’s book, Doris Fleeson: Incomparably the First Political Journalist of Her Time, has been published by Sunstone Press.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Nancy Julien Kopp will be presenting a workshop on “Creative Non-Fiction and Writing for Anthologies” at the Kansas Authors Club convention October 5-7 in Salina.

Nancy is a talented and prolific writer, and has always been generous in sharing writing advice with colleagues and beginners. She maintains a blog about writing at A short cut to Nancy's blog is in the blogroll -- Writers about Writing -- on the right-hand side-bar. Nancy’s list of credits is very long, but the most awesome thing is that she has been published in 12 different Chicken Soup books. (Awesome for me because I’ve never been able to get into a single one.)

The KAC convention is shaping up to be very helpful for writers at all levels, beginners to seasoned writers. Keep posted about the official news by going to and clicking on the Convention link on the right-hand sidebar.


Listen to this yummy news.

It’s Thursday, which means it's SAMPLE DAY! Today we are featuring Todd’s Favorite Triple Chocolate and Walnut Cookies from One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Favorite Recipes by Tracey Zabar. Samples are only available while supplies last, so don’t wait.

Watermark Books and Cafe is at 4701 East Douglas,


“Is that someone on a horse?”.

James Early twisted around in time to see a paint and rider slow-walk past the Jayhawk Bank’s front window. “Yup, what’s unusual about that?”

Rance Dalby, the owner the smallest bank in Kansas, nudged at Early’s arm with the notary seal he’d been playing with. “Come on, Cactus, when’s the last time you saw anyone ride into Randolph on a horse?”

“Before Roosevelt marched us off to war,” Early said – Early, the sheriff of Riley County and a leathery cowboy in his own right.

“That’s what I mean. That’s ten years ago.”

“Rance, we got ranches up on the high ground, and they got cowboys.”

“But, dammit, they drive pickups today.”

“So now you know, the Old West ain’t dead.”

Author Jerry Peterson is the author of Early’s Fall, a novel set in Riley County. Peterson has been a writer for the Kansas Farm Bureau, a newspaper reporter, a journalist, a teacher, a collector of the Books for Soldiers program, and an attendee of the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave (remember when that annual gathering of mystery writers took place in Manhattan, KS?)

You can find Peterson at

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Need some help expressing yourself in your sweetie’s Valentine greeting? A writer who has a way with words (don’t we all?) is offering to give you some help. Jerilynn Jones Henrikson says:

Would you like a special poem to put in your sweetie's Valentine? Email me five special qualities you love about him/her and I'll compose a special ditty for you to put into a card. I'll answer by return and you can send me $2.50 for my efforts, but only if you like the result. Contact at jerilynnh AT yahoo DOT com .

Besides being a busy writer – see -- Jerrilyn has made school presentations about her stories and books.


How does this work?

Dr. Wes Crenshaw will be on St. Louis public radio, KWMU FM 90.7 at 11 am on Thursday, February 10. I’m almost three hundred miles away, and I can still tune in?

I can stream it on my smartphone, or click to listen on my browser? I can learn how by going to ? Let’s do it.

Dr. Crenshaw will be a guest on St. Louis on the Air, hosted by Don Marsh – he’ll be talking about parenting, from his new books, Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teenagers, and Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Parents of Teenagers, co-authored with teenage writers.

Dr. Crenshaw’s books are based in part on his weekly columns in the Lawrence Journal-World, see


Lloyd Zimmer of Zimmer Books and Maps is preparing for a spectacular exhibit at the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute. The exhibit, Around the World in Eighty Maps, opens April 1 and is a fund-raiser to benefit the museum.

“County Map of the State of California.” With inset map of “San Francisco.” From Mitchell’s “New General Atlas, Containing Maps of the Various Countries of the World, Plans of Cities, etc.” Published in Philadelphia by S. Augustus Mitchell (ca. 1875). Double paged folio, hand colored lithograph. Map will be matted and shrink wrapped. It can be seen up close, and if you wish purchased for $175.00, as part of the fund raising exhibition “Around the World in 80 Maps: The Forgotten Worlds of Phileas Fogg and Martin and Osa Johnson (with some temporal digressions from the actual travels).

If you’re anywhere nearby Chanute, drop in for a visit at . The second link on the website, About the Museum, has a picture of the museum, so you’ll know when you’ve arrived.

Zimmer Books and Maps is at 117 SW 6th Avenue in Topeka.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Meet the author for wine and dessert, and stay for the panel discussion and the book signing at 7-9 pm on Thursday, February 16, at the Ecumenical Christian Ministies, 1204 Oread Avenue, in Lawrence.

Anne Marcotte is the author of It’s A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments, and Get Opinionated: A Progressive’s Guide to Finding Your Voice (and Taking a Little Action).

Marcotte’s appearance is sponsored by Kansas NOW (National Organization for Women). More information at Raven Bookstore


Point, Click, Love: A Novel was written by Molly Shapiro, who has this Valentine’s Day advice:

Calling all women: If you're wondering what to get your male significant other for Valentine's Day, may I suggest a delightful new novel by Molly Shapiro called Point, Click, Love (Ballantine Books trade paperback, 272 pages, $15.00). Yeah, I know, it's in the so-called "chick-lit" section of the bookstore, but trust me on this, a guy can learn a lot about what makes you and other women tick from Molly Shapiro's take on relationships and how they've adapted -- or not -- to the digital and Social Network age. "Point, Click, Love" is a lot like the HBO series "Sex and the City" -- only the city is Kansas City.

Shapiro will be talking/signing at 2 pm on Saturday, February 11, at Barnes and Noble at Oak Park Mall, 11323 West 95th, Overland Park


A Kansas READS program is scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, February 8, at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont, in Lawrence.

Joe Drape, author of Our Boys: A Winning Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, will be sharing the story of the Smith Center high school football players and their coach, Roger Barta.

Kansas READS programs are being held at libraries across the state.


Either way, Dr. Harriet Lerner, a clinical psychologist and author, has some helpful advice in Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up, which she will be sharing in a book signing at 7 pm on Thursday, February 9 at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, MO.

Following a unique format for today's world, the renowned author of The Dance of Anger (and several other life and relationship books) gives us just over 100 Rules that cover all the hot spots in long-term relationships

For information on the admission package, follow the link from Dr. Lerner’s other books at

Monday, February 6, 2012


Currently living and practicing law with his own law firm in Columbia, MO, Alex George’s view of the United States is that of a native-born Briton.

A Good American is a novel about being an outsider – in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes even in your own family. It is a universal story about our search for home. Beginning in 1904 with an improbable love affair ignited by the power of song, the story follows an unconventional young couple, Frederick and Jette Meisenheimer, as they flee from Germany in search of a new life together, and find themselves settling down – with little means and without a word of English – in the town Beatrice, Missouri.

George will speak at 7 pm on Thursday, February 9, at Watermark Books and Café, 4701 E. Douglas, in Wichita. An excerpt and reviews of George’s novel can be found at


There are several current contests or opportunities to submit written works, or art or photographs, that are of special interest to Kansans.

In fact, the Kansas Voices contest is open to Kansas residents only. The deadline for entries is March 15. There are two categories: prose and poetry, and the word limits are generous. The list of previous winners is awesome. The contest is sponsored by the Winfield Arts Commission, and also by Cowley College, Corner Bank, Winfield Consumer Products, Bob & Nancy Love, Winfield Daily Courier and GE Engine Services. Webpage is . There are entry fees.

Kansas Voices is not to be confused with Kansas City Voices, which is not a contest, but an opportunity to be considered for publication in Volume 10, which will be published by Whispering Prairie Press in fall, 2012. No residency requirements, prose, poetry, paintings and photographs accepted for consideration. Deadline is also March 15. Go to for information about submissions. Sample copies are available for $8.50, which includes shipping and handling.

The Kansas Authors Club District Two’s annual contest is currently open, no residency requirements, and will close on April 1. Guidelines and entry fees are available at Ignore the left-hand tab on the home page that reads: “Contest.” (more about that in the paragraph below.) Click on the upper level tab that reads: “Districts”. Next, click on the link for District Two news, and keep scrolling toward the bottom of the page. Or, try this, D2 contest rules which is a direct link to the D2 contest site. You’ll still have to scroll down. Sometime before you leave the KAC webpage, however, you might wander around and learn about the benefits of membership in KAC.

The KAC state competition will open April 1, and close June 15. There will be entry fees. From the KAC home page, click on the “Contest” tab on the left-hand side. In addition to several categories, there will be two special contests, one for prose, one for poetry, on “Encouraging Words”, the fall convention theme, October 5-7 in Salina.

Get busy.


Be on the lookout for Tucker MacBean, “who enters the Dark Overload Sidekick Contest while dealing with the wilds of middle school and the pressure of living in a family dealing with financial hardship.”

Somehow author Lisa Harkrader found Tucker MacBean and her story about the teenager, The Adventures of Beanboy, will be available from Houghton Mifflin on February 14. Harkrader was also the graphic artist for the book, which is illustrated throughout with drawings, sketches, and sticky notes.

More about Tucker MacBean at Harkrader’s website,, or read a delightful interview by Sarah Henning in the Lawrence Journal-World’s GO section, "Gas-powered reading: "Beanboy" is the latest offering by Tonganoxie YA author.

(Did anyone catch me, a senior citizen, giggling as I read Harkrader’s previous book, Airball: My Life in Briefs, which was also written for young adult readers? Airball gained a ton of awards, but I had to read it myself before approving it as a gift for young readers in my family. P.S. They all loved it.


And the photograph for February of my Kansas! Calendar is Blackjack oaks in Cowley County during a snowstorm. Photo by Ken Highfill.

Cowley County is an outdoor enthusiast’s destination. Chaplin Nature Center, Cowley State Fishing Lake and Cowley Lake Waterfall all add to the draw Cowley has for fishermen and nature seekers. For more information visit

For information about Kansas, visit or call 1-800-2Kansas. To subscribe to Kansas! magazine, visit or call 1-800-678-6424.

Freelance writers and photographers go to and click on “Submit to KANSAS”.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


No, I don’t have a badge-maker, but I know where I can borrow one, in another state.

The owner of the badge-maker (I’ll leave you to determine why anyone would want to have their own personal badge-maker) says he can make three badges a minute while watching television. As you might surmise, the badges he makes are mostly the same design. When I make badges for him, I make whatever he has designed.

But that gets boring, always the same design, so for fun, I make badges for myself from images I find of my facebook friends. If your picture is not on facebook, I PROBABLY will not be able to make a badge for you. I’ve made badges of people who are in my writing group. I made one badge of a writing colleague, and then she posted a different photograph, this time of her posed in front of a tiny little mechanical typewriter, so I made another badge of her, this one focused on her hands over the typewriter.

I’ve made lots of badges of Bill Murray, and often wear one on my lapel. You see, I’m desperate to have lunch with Bill Murray some time and hope that this six degrees of separation thing will work in my favor some time and I’ll actually be sharing a grilled cheese sandwich with Bill.


What is it with teenagers about love and dating? Teenagers are confused, parents are clueless. Help is coming. Listen to Dr. Wes Crenshaw at 11 am on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, February 14 on KCUR FM 89.3, on Steve Kraske’s Up-to-Date program. Dr Crenshaw is the author of two just-out books about behavior and relationships:
Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teenagers

Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice (for Parents) of Teenagers

(Both books written with teenage co-authors)

Books available at Rainy Day Books in Fairway. More at www.dr-wes.comM


Rainy Day Books is sponsoring two appearances by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, the authors of Hello, Cupcakes! and What’s New, Cupcake? The first program is scheduled for 7 pm on Wednesday, February 8, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street in Kansas City, MO. The second event will be at 12 noon on Thursday, February 9, at the Culinary Center of Kansas City, 7920 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park.
Tack and Richardson . . . transform store-bought candies, frosting and baking mixes into stunning cupcake creations. Here, they’ve expanded their repertoire to include other types of desserts (e.g., a lemon cheesecake that masquerades as nachos). With just one trip to the grocery store, aspiring decorators of all ages can easily re-create treats from this fun book.
BE SURE TO GO TO: for admission information, locations, etc.


Born Winnie Wood Warren, Minnie Hobart made a new life in the strange wilderness of Texas, a place vastly different in geography, climate, and culture from her Vermont birthplace. A Pioneer Love Story: The Letters of Minnie Hobart was written by Priscilla H. Wilson. An review:
It is refreshing to read a pioneer story from the viewpoint of the pioneer wife and mother. The book sparkled largely because of the many letters Minnie wrote to her mother back in an established community. The details about the mundane activities of someone raising a family and keeping a house clean is awesome. This book is a keeper.
Available from


One has to ask: Exactly what is Poetry+Funk ? The answer can be found by attending Kevin Rabas’ performance 7:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, February 9, at the Malott Room (level 6) at the KU Student Union at the University of Kansas. (I am not a poet, everyone knows that, but it’s been interesting to observe how many poets are also jazz performers, or at least aficionados, of jazz.) Whatever Poetry+Funk is, it’s bound to be entertaining. See related post below.


Kevin Rabas, author of Spider Face, will present a program at 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 9 at the Malott Room of the Student Union at the University of Kansas.
Come hear Kevin read from his new poetry and prose, including an appearance of Poetry+Funk, Kevin's music+poetry combo. It'll be an action-packed reading.
Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University and is co-editor of Flint Hills Review. He has two books of poetry, Bird’s Horn and Other Poems (Coal City Review Press) and Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano (Woodley Press), a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award Winner. He is a winner of the Langston Hughes award for poetry. More at


Lucy Catherine Thomkins was looking for poetry when she slipped the booklet from Papa’s coat pocket and discovered Information for Kanzas Immigrants. Just another political paper, nothing a thirteen-year-old poet would be interested in. But before dinner is over that night, Lucy becomes one those immigrants. She feels as out of place in 1855 Kansas Territory as the sky-blue silk gown she has worn for the journey from Pennsylvania, and she seeks her own purpose in this strange place. Papa is committed to the cause of abolitionism, and Mamma is committed to the success of the family’s general store. Even her brother, ten-year-old Joseph, seems to embrace this new life, despite the threats of the Border Ruffians who harass the citizens of Lawrence. When Lucy discovers that her best friend’s family is working with the Underground Railroad, Lucy must make a decision which could have dangerous consequences for herself and her family. She must decide just what she stands for, and she must find her own true voice to express herself in a time and place where a young girl’s voice is seldom valued.
A launch for A Voice for Kanzas is scheduled for 3-6 pm on Saturday, February 25, at Park University in Parkville, MO. For more information contact the author, Debra McArthur at The book can be ordered from

Friday, February 3, 2012


A presidential scholar often seen on television programs, Richard Norton Smith, will be the first speaker in a new Lincoln Lecture Series at 7 pm on Monday, February 6, at Washburn University Memorial Union. A book signing will follow the lecture. Norton, the author of numerous books, has served as an official for several presidential institutions, including those associated with Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Gerald R. Ford, and a famous Kansan who didn’t quite make it to the White House, Robert J. Dole. Washburn news at


Joe Drape, author of the Kansas Reads 2012 selection, Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, will be at the Topeka/Shawnee County Library, 1515 SW 10th Avenue, from 1-2 pm on Monday, February 6.
Eight state championships, a 79-game winning streak, an .825 winning percentage, and over 300 career wins. Amazingly, these aren’t the most important things Coach Roger Barta has brought to the football program at Smith Center High School in Smith Center. His philosophy – of always putting forth your best effort, striving to improve every day, and trusting and loving your teammates – has not only built a solid high school football program, but has also turned hundreds of young boys into men with solid values who are ready to contribute to society upon graduation
See and


Recalling the history of the underground railroad, The Book Barn in Leavenworth will present a program from 10-11 am on Saturday, February 11, at the Carousel Museum, 320 South Esplanade (within view of the Missouri River).
Hear history come alive through story and songs at the Leavenworth Carousel Museum Party Room. Join Storyteller Bob Spear to share an exciting saga of the underground railroad based on his Quaker ancestors who were conductors on this famous effort to save escaping slaves. Hear about Bob’s personal experience with the Selma, Alabama, Freedom March.
The program fulfills Kansas Curricula Standards for Homeschoolers, see the website for details. Seating is limited, call 913-682-6518 to make reservations.


Katie Armitage, author and historian, has written Lawrence: Survivors of Quantrill’s Raid, the story of the rebuilding of Lawrence after William Clarke Quantrill’s devastating raid on August 21, 1863. As part of the Bleeding Kansas 2012 series, Armitage will speak at 2 pm on Sunday, February 12, at Constitution Hall State Historic Site in Lecompton. A book signing will follow the talk. Admission donations accepted.


. . . is to get people talking writing. Love is the inspiration for a column in today’s (February 3) Kansas City Star written by Joe Robertson and entitled, “ASK IT, WRITE IT, LIVE IT, SCRIBE IT”. Do a search at, but don’t wait too long or it will be consigned to the archives. And it’s basically about how one person (Robertson) put into action Love’s mission. Love has been speaking to senior groups, encouraging people to write their stories, or, alternatively, getting the children and grandchildren to write the stories. Love and a colleague, Mark Andresen, have created a free website to encourage people to do just that at Says Love: “We talk all the time, but we just share surface things.” Love is quite a talker, but he’s also a writer, as you’ll see at WARNING: If you meet Rolland Love at a Kansas City Voices reading event and he offers you a bottle of water, ask him first if he got it at Kaw Point Park.


Warren Bull shares the Writers Who Kill blog with several other writers, but you’ll find Bull’s post on Fridays. This week he writes about his father’s stories – good advice for people who want to keep their minds alert despite advancing years. Read Bull's blog at Writers Who Kill.


The 2012 Kansas Authors Club annual contest will not open until April 1, but it’s never too soon to begin thinking about what your entry is going to be. The theme for the convention, and for the contest “Encouraging Words”, is taken from the state song, “Home on the Range.”

Contest details are available at a link from Kansas Authors Club.


OWFI – the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. – will hold the annual convention May 3-5 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 1815 S. Meridian, in Oklahoma City, 73108. Keynote speaker will be a master storyteller, Steven James. More at Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.


And across the border (a couple of hundred miles or so) The Missouri Writers Guild will be meeting for their annual conference on April 20-22 at the Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield, suburban St. Louis. Keynote speakers will be Claire Cook and Christina Katz. More at Missouri Writers Guild


It’s the Kansas Writers Association spring writer’s conference, this year on Friday, March 16 to Saturday, March 17, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita. Scene 2012 features two tracks of sessions with nationally known authors and publishers, Pitchapalooza with “The Book Doctors” Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, agent and editor consultations, an awards banquet for winners of the 2011 prose and poetry contest, social mixers, book sales and signings, and networking. How to sign up? Registration is at .

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The time to hear Bryan Thomas Schmidt about The Worker Prince on this coming Saturday, February 4, is from 1 to 4 pm, at Hastings in Lawrence. Thanks to the author for the comment to the post below, but repeating it here is a little better visibility.


The concept of the title, The Worker Prince, is intriguing, and the author, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, will be at Hastings, 1900 W 23rd Street in Lawrence, on Saturday, February 4, to talk about his debut novel. (Sorry I don’t have the time, but Hastings number in Lawrence is (785) 832-0719.)
Born and raised in Central Kansas, Schmidt received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications-Radio-TV-Film in 1992 from California State University at Fullerton. He then spent five years working in the television and film industry on documentaties for A&E, TNN, NBC and more, including the award winning Discovery Channel documentary Titanic: The Legend Lives On.
More about Schmidt at http://bryanthomasschmidt


Jan Spurgeon, military historian, author, and native of Kansas, will speak at 2 pm on Sunday, February 5, at the Constitution Hall State Historic Site in Lecompton as part of the Bleeding Kansas 2012 series of programs. Following the talk will be a book signing of A Principled Politician: James H. Lane and the Fight for Kansas and the Union.


An e-mail message from a friend:
On Saturday, February 4, at 11 am at Barnes and Noble in Town Center, 119th and Roe, Joel Goldman and Warren Bull will speak to members of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime about self-publishing. Goldman has published his Lou Mason series as e-Books, and Bull has self-published his young adult novel, Heartland, through Create Space.
Find Goldman at and Bull at The meeting is open to both members of SinC and non-members. What is SinC? More at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


We’re all sure there are plenty of them – myths and mysteries, that is, even some that need debunking.
Diana Lambdin Meyer’s newest book, Myths and Mysteries of Kansas, features a selection of stories from Kansas’ past. Explore some of the Sunflower State’s most compelling mysteries and debunk some of its famous myths.
Author Meyer has a very personal interest in one of the stories – she’s searching for answers to a mystery that has troubled her family for more than 60 years – who attacked her great Aunt Amanda, leaving the elderly woman for dead as the family farm was ransacked in search of an alleged hidden fortune? At 2 pm on Saturday, February 4, Meyers will be at the Oak Park Mall Barnes and Noble store, 11323 W 95th street, in Overland Park.


Laura Moriarty will be talking with Mary O’Connell, both Lawrence authors, from 2 – 3:30 pm on Saturday, February 4, at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont, in Lawrence.
Laura Moriarty will talk with debut novelist Mary O'Connell about her critically acclaimed teen novel, The Sharp Time. Come hear O'Connell speak about the process of becoming a debut novelist and her experience in the Iowa Writer's Workshop, and get a signed copy for sale by the Raven Book Store.
Laura Moriarty received her master's degree from the University of Kansas and was awarded the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is the author of The Center of Everything, The Rest of Her Life, and While I'm Falling.


Our Boys, A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen is the 2012 Kansas Reads selection, and the author, Joe Drape, will present a program at 7 pm on Thursday, February 9, at the Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Avenue, in Manhattan.
In the fall of 2008, the football team in Smith Center – population 1,931 – embarked on a quest for its fifth undefeated season, its fifth state championship, and a new state record for consecutive victories.
Joe Drape, a Kansas City native and an award-winning sportswriter for The New York Times, moved his family to Smith Center to explore the way this small town revolves around “our boys” and to discover how it holds on to a way of life that is rich in value, even in tough economic times.
The event is co-sponsored by Claflin Books and Copies, 1814 Claflin Road in Manhattan.


When Congress endorsed substantial aid to schools in 1965, the idea that the federal government had any responsibility for public education was controversial. Twenty years later, not only had that controversy dissipated, Washington’s role in education had dramatically expanded. Gareth Davies explores how both conservatives and liberals came to embrace the once daring idea of an active federal role in elementary and secondary education and uses that case to probe the persistence—and growth—of big government during a supposedly antigovernment era
One of the University Press of Kansas’ new titles for the new year (newly available in paperback) is Gareth Davies’ See Government Grow: Education Politics from Johnson to Reagan. Davies’ book is the winner of the Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize. Davies is University Lecturer in American History at Oxford University.


It will be a sweet encounter with Max Yoho during the First Friday Art Walk from 5:30 to 9 pm on Friday, February 3, at the Eclective Gallery at 900 N. Kansas Avenue, in Topeka. Yoho says: “With this mild winter weather, I’d love to see my friends at this Friday evening party.” When Party-Guy Yoho is not partying, you can catch him at


Come hear Barbara Bartocci, Deborah Shouse and Andrea Warren as they present “It’s Love, Actually.”
Why do writers write? Because we love to play with words, to find just the right phrase, to create memorable stories that make a difference in readers’ lives. Come hear three working writers share their experiences in writing books, articles and esays. They’ll tell you what they have loved most in their writing careers, what they have found most challenging, and offer samples from their work.
Friday, February 3, 7 pm, 3607 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO, The Writers’Place, the literary community, center, library and gathering place for writers and readers for 20 years. The Writers’ Place goal: To provide support, resources, guidance and inspiration for those in our region who care about the word as art. Admission and membership information at


The woman who single-handedly changed forever the world of mystery book writers, Sara Paretsky, is featured in an interview in today’s FYI section of The Kansas City Star, page D6. To quote Paretsky, in the interview conducted by Connie Ogle of the McClatchy Newspapers, “I wanted a woman who could solve problems and have a sex life that didn’t make her wicked.” (Everyone knows that Sara grew up in rural eastern Lawrence.) Paretsky was a founder (immediately followed by Nancy Pickard, another well-known writer from Kansas) of Sisters in Crime, a nearly 25 year old organization that constantly strives to give women mystery writers an even break with men writers. SinC also welcomes men into membership, at least those who believe that the world of literature should be an even playing field.

It’s Time for SCENE 2012

March 16 – 17 in Wichita, the annual writing conference of the Kansas Writers Association. Headlined by William Bernhardt, whose books about that hapless lawyer, Ben Kincaid, have been read by thousands millions of readers. What else? Two tracks of sessions with nationally known authors and publishers, Pitchapalooza with “The Book Doctors:, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, Agent and Editor Consultations, Awards Banquet for 2011 Prose and Poetry Contest winners (including yours truly, yeah) social mixer, book sales and signings, and networking. More details at Kansas Writers Association. (With the new Blogger, I’m having trouble with spacing the paragraphs. Bear with me.)