Monday, April 23, 2012


The 2012-2013 Kansas Sampler at Liberal is just around the corner. Who’s going to be there?

Linda Laird, for one, who sends the following note:

I'll be selling The American Grain Elevator in the Kansas Merchants Tent at the Sampler Festival the first weekend in May. The festival will take place on May 5-6 from 10-4 in Light Park in Liberal. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. More info at It's a great time of year to get out and explore Kansas. Come see me.

Who are the other authors? I hope to have more on the blog as I hear from them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Frontier Manhattan: Yankee Settlement to Kansas Town, 1854-1894, is Kevin Olson’s account of how Manhattan, at the confluence of the Kansas and Big Blue Rivers, developed from a pitched tent to a town.

Drawing on town records as well as the personal papers of boosters, Olson mirrors the history of Kansas through the lens of this one community by interweaving ecology, relations with Native Americans, agriculture, literature, architecture, social mores, politics, economic issues, and university origins to recreate a vibrant cross-section of town life. His account of Kansa Indian settlement Blue Earth Village shines a light on a prehistory that until now has been little covered; his retelling of the emigration of the New England settlers recalls one of the most compelling stories of the antebellum era; and his coverage of the 1860s surpasses that of most previous histories.

A native of Manhattan (KS) Olson now lives in Manhattan (NY). Frontier Manhattan was published in April by University Press of Kansas.


You may know that the Johnson County Library prints bookmarks of the poems used in the Poem-a-Day program. There is a set of the bookmarks at The Writers Place.

The bookmarks are used by the library to celebrate Poem in your Pocket Day, which is Thursday, April 26. They will be available at the Central Resource Library (9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park 66212) Thursday. They are distributed to branches, but each branch has discretion in how they will be used. If you are making a special trip to a branch to pick up a few bookmarks, you may want to call ahead and make sure they are available at that location.

Go to and click on the April is Poetry Month link to see the poem of the day.

Friday, April 20, 2012


How about The Adventures of Lowboy and Friski?

Lowboy is a small squirrel with one big problem. He's afraid of heights! The Adventures of Lowboy and Friski takes you on a delightful journey along Lowboy's rise from small town squirrel to national hero.

Author Charles L. Kendrick will be signing on Saturday, April 21, at Books A Million, at 1859 Village West Parkway, in Kansas City. (I’ve seen the time given as both noon and 3 pm, can’t swear which is correct. Before that, earlier in the morning, Kendrick will be at Judi’s Bakery and Café, at 11006 Parallel, also at Village West.)


What will you have in your pocket next Thursday, April 26? To help celebrate April as National Poetry Month you might choose a poem to carry in your pocket, to share with friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers . . .

The poem might be one of your favorites, by one of your favorite poets, or maybe a poem you wrote yourself. Don’t be shy.

Here’s how New York City is hosting the tenth anniversary of the Poem in Your Pocket Day:

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Looks like I missed the second part of the message from Vicki Julian:

“If you wish, you can listen to me on live radio talking about writing my "angel" stories, and the show will also be archived at the following link.


What is writing all about these days? It’s all about marketing.

Vicki Julian sends along some information that could be helpful to writers wanting to spread the work about their books.

“I happened upon a great source for publicity via a link from another email publication. Already, it has resulted in my inclusion in another anthology, and I am scheduled for an Internet radio blog this Friday night at 7pm. (I will have the opportunity to plug my books).There are endless radio blogs in myriad categories so you might find one that would work for you.

You may even find an opportunity to share your writing talents. The link to Reporter Connection is Check them out if you are looking for more publicity.”

QUESTION: Vicki –how do we find the radio station that will have your program?


The Pittsburg State University Distinguished Visiting Writers Series will feature Lowell Mick White, who will begin teaching next fall as an associate professor in PSU's English department, reading from his fiction at 8 p.m., on Thursday, April 19, in the Governors Room of the Overman Student Center.

“My goal as a writer, broadly speaking,” writes White, “is to write about how we live in America, and how we came to live this way, with all the ridiculousities, absurdities, and vexations that our lives entail.” White will be reading from his fiction works, That Demon Life.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Many fictional spin-offs have been inspired by the original Wizard of Oz story. Some of them are more easily understood/appreciated than others. I hardly know what to think about No Place Like Home # 3.

What it’s about: In Image Comics’ surprising new series, writer Angelo Tirotto re-imagines the story of The Wizard of Oz in the look and tone of a horror novel the likes of which Stephen King would have once unleashed upon the world. This isn’t the brightly lit, colorful world that Victor Flemming brought to life in MGM’s movie back in the ‘30s; instead, this is a harshly violent, brutal landscape where hope goes to die.

What to expect this month: The story behind the tornado that hit Kansas and killed Dee’s parents continues as flesh-eating flying monkeys begin to terrorize the town. The deep-seeded mystery continues to be the driving force behind the book as every scene seemingly asks more questions than it answers. But there are payoffs here, especially when it comes to the deranged hobo that has been following Dee since the first issue.

This third issue is more decompressed than the first two, giving us a chance to breathe and catch-up with what has been going on so far, which is exactly what we needed at this point. Richard Jordan's art, meanwhile, is probably the best it has been yet in this installment. The storytelling is so clean and crisp that each ounce of terror is felt in the eyes of every character. And to be quite honest, the man can draw a hell of a flying monkey. It might be under the radar for most, but No Place Like Home is slowly becoming one of the most intriguing titles on shelves now.


In a dual biography, Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower and a Dangerous World, William Lee Miller, a University of Virginia scholar, has paired two Midwestern presidents, who, despite their many similarities, shared a mutual dislike.

The juxtaposition yields many notable similarities. Provincial roots didn't hinder either man in becoming a staunch internationalist. Members of the post-World War I "Lost Generation," neither was "lost" in the sense of rebelling against conventional, middle-class tastes and standards. Each greatly admired the modest Gen. George Marshall, Ike's Army mentor and Truman's secretary of state.

The cover is an iconic photograph of President Harry Truman, in civilian garb, talking to General Dwight Eisenhower, in military uniform.


It's 1878 in Dodge City, Kansas, a prosperous cow town filled with rowdy young cowboys who like to get liquored up at the many saloons and cause trouble. It's also the new home of Dr. John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday. In 1878 Holliday was a skinny, sickly 26-year-old dentist who wanted nothing more than the chance to practice his profession. The infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz. was still four years out, and his early death in Glenwood Springs lay a decade in front of him.

Author Mary Doria Russell's historical novel Doc focuses on Old West hero Doc Holliday, a tragic myth of a man who died at just 36 years old from tuberculosis. Using well-researched details and facts, Russell weaves together a tale that's hard to put down.

Russell's book, Doc, was chosen in February as the community read for One Book, One Valley, a collaboration between several local organizations to create a community book club. The final event is set for Thursday night at the Colorado Mountain College in Edwards where Russell will discuss her novel and sign books.

From the Vail Daily, at


A triple treat, 7 pm on Saturday, April 21, at The Raven, 6 E 7th in Lawrence, readings and signings from Mary Stone Dockery, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Cassie Premo Steele.

Mary Stone Dockery’s first collection of poetry, The Mythology of Touch, was published in 2012 by Woodley Press. Best known as a poet, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s novel, The Divorce Girl, is just out. Cassie Premo Steele, will talk about her work, The Pomegranate Papers: Poems about Mothering and Creativity.



From a Kansas State University news release:

An award-winning book by a Kansas State University faculty member is being lauded for its emphasis on the benefits of exposing interior architecture students to non-Western design styles.

Diversity in Design: Perspectives from the Non-Western World, written by Vibhavari Jani, associate professor of interior architecture and product design, received top honors at the annual conference of the Interior Design Educators Council.

The council's annual Book Award recognizes and honors significant books that exhibit excellence in addressing the issues of the interior design profession, including practice, scholarship and education. The Interior Design Educators Council gives out one award each year. Katherine Ankerson, professor and head of the department of interior architecture and product design, says the competition is stiff and the attention on Jani's book is particularly timely.


Author Mary A. Lake might be hard to catch up with this weekend, but if you persevere you can find her.

At 11:30 am on Thursday, April 19, she’ll be at the Maple Hill Senior Center, 218 Main Street, in Maple Hill.

On Friday, April 20, between 1-3 pm you’ll find Lake at Douglas County Senior Services, 745 Vermont Street in Lawrence.

Saturday, April 21 will find Lake from 1-3 pm at Hastings, 1900 W 23rd Street in Lawrence.

Departings is a novel told in three parts, each detailing the life of one of the main characters. It speaks of lost hopes and the youth of the 1920s who started out with so much abundance. Oil and advancing technology propelled the average guy into a rich man. Women were coming into their own. They could vote, drive, speak out. It all seemed so fun and promising—it promised to never end. But it did. In this story of loss and redemption, each endearing character tells his own story and gives insight into the others.

More at


Sailing in Kansas: An American Jewish Memoir by Kathy Green, is more a story about NOT sailing in Kansas, the story of her immigrant German father who loved to sail but found little opportunity in Leavenworth.

A unique American Jewish memoir, it is at once the story of her own childhood in Leavenworth, Kansas, and an account of her father Siegfried Ernst Held, an upper-class Berlin Jew (and avid sailor) who wound up in Leavenworth in the course of flight from Germany in the 1930’s. It is thus a meeting of two very different corners of the Jewish diaspora and the ways in which they lived side-by-side in a child’s imagination. The book opens with her trip “back” to Berlin, many years after her father’s death, and her reflections on that journey.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Winners of the 2012 Kansas Voices contest will read their works in a program at 7 pm on Saturday, May 5, at Baden Square, 700 Gary, in Winfield. A dinner at 6 pm will precede.

Thanks to Cheryl Tate of Winfield Arts and Humanities for sending along the list of winners (see post below). Other sponsors of the annual contest are Cowley College, Winfield Daily Courier, GE Engine Services, Winfield Consumer Products, CornerBank, Bob and Nancy Love, and Southwestern College.

A total of 418 entries were submitted by 158 Kansas authors. You didn’t win this year? I didn’t either, but that won’t keep me from trying again.


Below are the winners of the 2012 Kansas Voices Contest. 158 Kansas authors submitted 418 entries! Each entrant is a winner in a special way by letting his or her voice be heard. Adult: Short Story first place – Abby Otte, Lawrence, "South for the Summer" honorable mention - Grace Becker, Newton, "The Heroism of General Toreno" Bob Sommer, Overland Park, "Echoes in the Static" Poetry first place – Graham Barnes, Topeka, "Level Ground" honorable mentions – William Coleman, Wichita, "The Actor’s Advice" Sanda Moore Coleman, Wichita, "Galileo’s Telescope" William Clyde Brown, Salina, "Morning: As the Bird Flies" Boyd Bauman, Roeland Park, "Sisyphus" Youth: Short Story first place – Katie Guyot, Lawrence, "A Thrasher Near the Nest" Poetry first place – Tanner Boyle, Winfield, "Cul-De-Sac of Pain" honorable mentions – Dylan Entz, Wichita, "A Fibonacci Poem" Tanner Boyle, Winfield, "Small Blinks"


Tyshawn Taylor, part of the University of Kansas basketball team that made the run for the NCAA championship this spring, will be at Kansas Sampler from 5-7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 18, signing copies of Jason King’s Beyond the Phog: Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball’s Most Dominant Decade.

You know where the Topeka Kansas Sampler is – 5918 SW 21st Street.


Kansas’ Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg will be the featured poet 7 pm on Tuesday, April 17, at the Johnson County Central Resource Library, 9875 W 87th Street in Overland Park.

The author of a new novel, Divorce Girl, Mirriam-Goldberg is the author of thirteen books, and was the editor for Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, published by Woodley Press. She is the founder of Transformative Language Arts – a master’s program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word – at Goddard College in Vermont.

Catch her on her blog at

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Author B.D.Tharp knows all about feisty family values, in fact, she wrote the book: Feisty Family Values. Tharp will be speaking at 2 pm on Saturday, April 21, at 1 Washington Square in Norton.

The orderly life of successful artist and regal widow, Regina Morgan-Smith, abruptly changes with the arrival of her frumpy cousin, Annabelle – and not for the better. Homeless and covered with bruises, Annabelle requires more attention that Regina’s willing to give. However, family ties are strong, and Regina takes Annabelle into ther home in the once opulent Riverside area of Wichita.

Feisty Family Values was included in the 150 Best Books by Kansas Writers in 2001, and was a finalist in the USA News Best Books for 2010. From a reviewer: “Tharp’s contemporary work of women’s fiction will have you laughing and crying as the ladies discover the truth about what makes a poignant but feisty family.”

Check the website at


Join us for readings by featured poet Diane Wahto, and open mic, at A Night In Verse at NakedCity Gallery, 7 pm on Thursday, April 19, at 121 N. Mead, Suite 104.

Wahto’s poetry has been published in Midwest Quarterly, AID Review, Coalition Connections: The Feminization of Poverty, and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems. Awards include the American Academy of Poets Award, the 2011 Salina Spring Reading Series New Voice Award, and honorable mention in the 2011 KWA contest. A retired journalism and English instructor, she has been active in the cause of peace, women’s rights and the KNEA.


WOW! That’s the impressive notice which Terry Needham’s book When I Was A Child: A Stunning Story of Love, Death and Survival on the Kansas Prairie, has garnered.

Needham’s book, set in Ellis County and the city of Hays in the 1920s to 1940s has won several recognitions, including USA Book News Finalist for the BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR in the history category. One reviewer of memoirs named Needham’s book one of the seven best memoirs of the year. Many other reviews are posted on

From Needham: “I love Kansas and writing about life there.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I suspect the tickets may have all been sold, but folks around St. John will be having breakfast at 10 a.m on Saturday, April 14 with two of Kansas’ expert fishermen and women.

Amy Bickel and Jason Probst, Kansas journalists, have co-authored a book and will share their experiences and what they learned writing The Complete Guide to Kansas Fishing, a book of adventures with in-depth profiles of Kansas’ 25 reservoirs with information from the very experts who fish those lakes.

More at this facebook link:


James Gunn, Christopher McKitterick, and other authors will read in a program at 4 pm on Friday, April 13, at the KU Bookstore at the Kansas Union, University of Kansas.

James Gunn and Christopher McKitterick of the KU Center for the Study of Science Fiction will appear at a pre-Earth Day event at Jayhawk Ink to read work from Aftermaths, a just-published short story anthology from Hadley Rille Books. The book features stories set in possible futures unleashed by global warming. The program will also include readings by two other area authors with recent titles published by Hadley Rille Books, M.C. Chambers and Karin Rita Gastreich, comments by Eric T. Reynolds, author and editor of the publishing house.

The event is co-sponsored by the KU Center for the Study of Science Fiction and Jayhawk Ink, a department of the KU Bookstore.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Now HERE’S a Contest!

The Johnson County Public Library is inviting readers to create a design for one of their delivery trucks.

The winning design will have to be clever and thought provocative. Think about the trucks you’ve seen driving around the county the past three years – Kafka’s Pest Kontrol, Benjamin Button’s Diaper Service, you get the idea.

The library has chosen eight classics of literature to use as the basis for your creative design, deadline June 30, 2012. Go to , click on Captain Ahab’s Seafood truck to get to the guidelines page.


Might not be what you’re thinking.

National D.E.A.R. Day, Thursday, April 12, is DROP EVERYTHING AND READ DAY, in which libraries encourage readers, everyone, in fact, to drop everything and spend a bit of time reading. Folks in St. John (in Stafford County) folks take D.E.A.R Day very seriously.

The school and library are going to drop everything and read on this day. Parents and town folk are invited to D.E.A.R. and meet us on the Square at 2:30 for a read-in. The library will be closed that day from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

What’s going on in your town?


What’s in your storm shelter? Food? Drink? A good book to read? You might like Funnel Vision, a novel by Chris Kridler, a storm chaser with fifteen years of experience.

Judy Hale, a Kansas photographer, chases storms in part to relive and vanquish the tornado that fractured her young life and that of her sister Shannon, a directionless coquette. Jack Andreas, a handsome, devil-may-care researcher on his way to his PhD, chases tornadoes to lose himself in their power and mystery. He also chases women, and when he and Judy cross paths, sparks fly. But Judy and Jack have dueling destinies as they interact with Shannon; a clueless newbie storm-tour operator named Brad Treat; geeky, likable chaser Robinson Marvell; and a bevy of other storm chasers as they pursue the gorgeous, violent storms of Tornado Alley. Their stories intertwine as they chase the monster storm that forces Judy to confront her deepest fears and Jack to find the courage to face the ultimate twister.


Written in verse by Caroline Starr Rose is May B, a story of pioneer life from the view of an adolescent, rapidly becoming an adult.

Set on the Kansas prairie in the 19th century, this debut novel in verse presents a harrowing portrait of pioneer life through the perspective of 12-year-old Mavis Elizabeth Betterly, called May B. The spare free-verse poems effectively sketch this quietly courageous heroine, the allure and dangers of the open prairie, and the claustrophobic sod house setting. Writing with compassion and a wealth of evocative details, Rose offers a memorable heroine and a testament to the will to survive.


Judy Davis Nichols will sign copies of her book, Or-Ange Juice Fight: Adventure in the Big Kitchen, beginning at 1 pm Saturday, April 14, at Hastings, 1900 W. 23rd in Lawrence.

Welcome to the big kitchen! In this fun and unique story, the Juice twins are caught up in an argument that has all the other citizens of the kitchen on edge. By teaching about God's love and kindness, Sally Spoon helps these two citrus siblings work out their differences and become even better friends in Or-Ange Juice Fight: Adventure in the Big Kitchen.


Louise Krug, recently graduated from the University of Kansas, and newly assigned to follow, and to write about, Brittany Spears, was forced to change the script when a brain injury put her on the sidelines.

That was seven years ago. In her book, Louise: Amended, Krug chronicles her recovery from the points of view of both herself, and significant other persons in her life. Krug will be at The Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th, in Lawrence, at 7 pm on Thursday, April 12.

Krug now teaches writing and literature courses at the University of Kansas while completing her doctorate in creative writing.


Author Jane Smiley will be the final presenter in the Johnson County Library programs of Legacies of the Civil War at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 10 at the Central Resource Library.

Smiley’s Border War novel, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, is the story of a young woman and her abolitionist husband in their journey toward Lawrence in the 1950.

Smiley was a 1992 Pulitzer winner for A Thousand Acres.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


The traveling poetry show that is Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems will be coming to Emporia at 7 pm on Saturday, April 14, Room 048 of the Memorial Union at Emporia State University.

None of the previous Begin Again readings all around the state have had the same roster of poets. Scheduled for the program in Emporia are Jo McDougall, Roy J. Beckemeyer, Karen Ohnesorge, Ronda Miller, Steve Meats, Bill Sheldon, Maril Crabtree, Donna Wolff, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kevin Rabas, Rick Nichols, Ken Lassman, Gary Lechliter, Brian Daldorph, Peter Wright, Nancy Hubble, Wyatt Townley, Roderick Townley, Hazel Hutchinson, Max Yoho, Elizabeth Black, Diane Wahto, Dan Pohl, Lee Mick, Iris Wilkinson, Al Ortolani, Linda Rodriguez, William Jo Harris, Thomas Reynolds and Eric McHenry.

Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems was published by Woodley Press. It was recently chosen for the Read Around Reno County project.


Two presentations on the exodus of the Northern Cheyenne Indians from Indian Territory, The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory, will be presented at 7 pm Wednesday in the Hudson Auditorium of Johnson County Community College, by the author, James Leiker.

A companion lecture, “History, Memory and the Fruitless Search for an Objective Past”, will be presented by Leiker at 11 am on Thursday, April 12 in the Craig Auditorium.

Director of the Kansas Studies Institute at JCCC, Leiker is an associate professor of history. The study of the Northern Cheyenne was co-authored with Ramon Powers.


John Price, author of Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grassland, will be the featured speaker at 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 12, at the Flint Hills Room of the Kansas State University Room in Manhattan.

Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Price’s autobiographical nonfiction has appeared in numerous national journals, magazines and anthologies. He is co-director of UNO’s graduate certificate in Advanced Writing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The Hall Center for the Humanities will present Jamaica Kincaid, an acclaimed Caribbean writer, in a free lecture at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 10, at the Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Kincaid has been a long-time contributor to The New Yorker magazine. Her fifteen publications include novels, poetry and nonfiction works on gardening. A native of Antiqua in the Caribbean, she is professor of literature at Claremong McKenna College in Vermont.


The cover of Monroe and Jean Dodd’s new book, Kansas: Then and Now, features a photograph of the square in Paola. Nothing so unusual about that, except the photograph depicts horses, buggies, and freighter wagons. A smaller inset at the bottom is a modern photograph, which was taken, as best could be determined, from the same spot.

Throughout the book are old photographs of Kansas towns, matched with a modern photograph taken from the same viewpoint. The book is part of The Kansas City Star Books series, Then and Now. Available from


The Womens Foundation of Greater Kansas City, in partnership with Rainy Day Books, is sponsoring a special event with Lauren Conrad at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 10, at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, MO.

Conrad is a television personality, fashion designer, AND an author. Her book, The Fame Game, will be released in April, and is a spin-off of Conrad’s earlier trilogy, L.A. Candy.

Tickets can be ordered through through the Womens Foundation. More information at

Friday, April 6, 2012


Alan Mulally, a Lawrence boy who grew up to become head of a motor car company, (well, it took him a few years), is the subject of a new book by Detroit reporter, Bryce Hoffman.

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company is the story of the Ford Company’s turn-around in tough economic times which threatened the continued existence of all three of the big US car manufacturers.

One reviewer wrote: “Mulally's ideas of emphasizing simplicity, comporting vision with reality, and demanding open collaboration and communication among team members worked wonders at Ford. He (Hoffman) paints a compelling picture of how a corporate structure (at whatever level) could work constructively and agilely to effect productive change and breed success.” More at


Gloria Zachgo will autograph her book, The Rocking Horse, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on April 28, at Watermark Books & Café, 4701 E. Douglas in Wichita.

Born and raised in Kansas, Gloria uses Kansas as the background for her novel.

Zachgo’s mystery tells of the heartbreak endured when family members are murdered and a two-year old child disappears and re-emerges over 20 years later.


Not a pretty topic in any age, but one that is explored by Andrea Warren with her seventh nonfiction book for young readers, Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London.p Andrea will be reading and signing at 7 pm on Thursday, April 12, at The Raven 6 E. 7th Street in Lawrence. See

Andrea Warren’s career has encompassed teaching, reporting, magazine writing, and editorial work. For the past decade she has merged her passion for children and education with her love of history and story to write nonfiction history for young readers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Couldn’t find the National Book Festival dates for this year last night, but the Library of Congress has very kindly answered my e-mail and now I know that it’s September 22-23.

From what I’m learning, every state has the option of naming a book of their choice to be featured at the festival. Missouri has chosen Jennifer Brown’s Hate List.

Which begs the question: What is the book that will represent Kansas, and how is the choice made? Does anyone know?


The program for the Kansas Authors Club state convention is taking shape with the addition of workshop presenters. You’ll have a chance to hear Ann Zimmerman, Jim Hoy, Kevin Rabas and Judy Entz (from the Mennonite Press – you know, those folks who print our KAC yearbook).

Information as available will appear on the KAC website at, and on this blog. Posts on this blog will be stacked on the tab – KAC OCT 5-7 SALINA -- at the top of the page. If you can’t remember something you read earlier, go to that tab and you’ll probably find it there.


In cooperation with the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial, the University Press of Kansas has made available a new version of a long out-of-print memoir.

Scarlet Fields: The Combat Memoir of a World War I Medal of Honor Hero is based on the book, No Hard Feelings, written by John Lewis Barkley. Steven Trout, English Department Chair at the University of South Alabama, has provided an introduction and other notes.

Both haunting and heartfelt, inspiring and entertaining, Scarlet Fields is a long overlooked gem that opens a new window on our nation’s experience in World War I and brings back to life a bygone era.

Barkley was born in Kansas City, MO, and is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery. He died in 1966 at the age of 70. Scarlet Fields contains an Afterword by Joan Barkley Wells.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Leap of Faith, a musical based on a film of the same name, will open on April 26 at the St. James Theatre in New York City.

In Leap of Faith, the traveling ministry of Jonas Nightingale breaks down in a small Kansas town. Pitching a tent, Nightingale invites the residents to a revival. The town sheriff is opposed to Nightingale’s plan to separate the townspeople from their money. Raul Esparza fills the role played by Steve Martin in the movie.

(Always interesting to find out how the rest of the world portrays the state of Kansas.)


Jennifer Brown’s young adult novel, Hate List, has been chosen to be part of the National Book Festival to be held in Washington DC in September. Hate List has been called a “compelling novel of the aftermath of a school shooting.”

A few months ago Hate List was the book chosen for the “One Book, One Burg” community reading project of Louisburg. Several book clubs and high school classes, among others, participated in the community-wide reading project. Jennifer Brown’s website is HERE .

SPECTER: ‘End of Governing'

Arlen Specter, a Wichita native who grew up in Russell, and represented the state of Pennsylvania for thirty years in the Senate, stunned the political world in 2009 by switching from the Republican party to the Democratic party.

Specter has now penned a book entitled Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, A Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It, in which he details what he believes is a dangerous rise in “extremists” within both parties.

RAW DATA SAYS: Since first elected in 1980, Arlen Specter has brought rugged individualism and fierce independence learned from his youth on the Kansas plains to become a leading Senate moderate.


Todd Vogts will be signing copies of his debut novel, Murder at St. Alfanus, on Saturday, April 7, from 9am until noon, at SIPS at the dridger, 131 S. Christian, in Moundridge. Vogts worked in Moundridge when he served as the editor-in-chief of The Ledger newspaper.

“I wanted to come back to where I really got my feet wet in community journalism,” Vogts said. “I really enjoyed my time in Moundridge as I worked at The Ledger, and I thought the arts and crafts fair would be a great opportunity to come back to share something that is very exciting in my life.”

Murder at St. Alfanus is the story of college journalists who try to uncover who committed a murder on the college campus. The main character, Tyler Fox, is from Goessel, an area Vogts is very familiar with from his childhood. More about Vogts on his blog at

Monday, April 2, 2012


Enjoy an offering from Carl Bettis for the second poem to mark April as Poetry Month. This one’s entitled Feast of Flowers.

Go to and click on the National Poetry Month picture – could that be William Butler Yeats?


The Whispering Prairie/Kansas City Voices summer writing contest honors the memory of Rex Rogers.

The contest opens on April 1 and runs until June 30. For guidelines, go to and click on the contest tab.

A talented writer, an incisive critic, Rex was also an unwavering mentor of other writers. His coaching enabled several colleagues to become published authors. Shepherding might be a better term to explain Rex’s ability and willingness to help guide a writing project to completion; he produced several books with printing equipment in his basement.

Rex’s contributions to Kansas City Voices were innumerable. Not only was he the designer of the format of several volumes, he helped with distribution and sold advertising.

Appropriately enough, the summer contest will raise funds to support the production costs of the tenth anniversary volume this year. The contest categories are, well, a bit different . . . and challenging. Rex could be like that, too, always challenging his friends and writing colleagues to produce their best work.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Whispering Prairie Press has a new website, and I know you’ll want to go see it at It’s a website and a blog, in a totally new design, with numerous tabs that will lead you to all sorts of information, including where/how to purchase copies of Kansas City Voices.

Copies of Volume No. 9 can be bought at Rainy Day Books in Fairway, the Raven Bookstore and Signs of Life, both in Lawrence. In addition, all volumes can be ordered online.

So go look, prowl around, you’ll find lots of current stuff, and a little bit of history as well.


The Kansas Authors Club 2012 writing contest opens today! Closes June 15.

All prizes, member and non-member, will be awarded at the state convention, October 5-7 in Salina. Two special categories will be the prose and poetry competition using the convention theme of “Encouraging Words”. For guidelines go to the KAC website and click on the Contest tab on the left side-bar. (I better hurry, I’ve only got some 75 days to get my entry ready.)


The author of Heartland, The Cookbook, Judith Fertig will be the JCCC Visiting Chef on Thursday, April 5, in the Polksy Theatre of the Johnson County Community College Campus, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park.

Fertig is a food writer and cookbook author who specializes in the food of the American Midwest, a regional cuisine that encompasses barbecue, breads and grains, and wild and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

There will be two separate events, a private reception and book signing at 5:30, and a lecture, demonstration and tasting at 7 pm. Information on tickets and other details at JCCC Visiting Chef Series


If you can’t go to Paris this spring, you can still be enchanted by Paris and environs during a talk and book signing by Cara Black, author of Murder in the Lanterne Rouge, an Aimee Leduc mystery.

Black will be at I Love A Mystery, 6114 Johnson Drive, Mission, at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 3.


The first poem-a-day for April is Poetry Month comes from Ruth Bader Jones and is entitled And the Game Begins.

You can find each Poem-A-Day by going to, click on National Poetry Month, and follow the links. Check the site for a new poem every day.