Sunday, July 2, 2017

New to the Meadowlark Bookshelf

The Meadowlark Bookshelf is growing and we are so excited! Next up--due out later this month, in fact--is WaterSigns, Meadowlark's second collection of poetry by Ronda Miller. Featuring the photography of Crystal Socha, this book is absolutely lovely.

Check out the WaterSigns page for more detail, including some early reviews as well as the opportunity to purchase your very own copy and FREE shipping! (Offer good through the end of July 2017)


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Note From Meadowlark Books, April 2017

A Note From Meadowlark Books
April 2017
I have celebrated April--aka National Poetry Month--in the best way I can imagine. Meadowlark Books has published Walking on Water, poems by Cheryl Unruh, and we had a great release party here in Emporia! Walking on Water is the first of five books already under contract to publish in 2017.

This year, I look forward to sharing with you:
  • a memoir on growing up in 1950's Kansas by James Kenyon,
  • a fantasy novel by Hannah Jeffers-Huser,
  • another wonderful collection of poetry by Ronda Miller,
  • and a collection of essays--Everyday Magic--by Caryn Mirriam Goldberg
I am honored and excited to be working with these authors on so many lovely book projects!

Thank you for your support!
Tracy Million Simmons
Upcoming Engagements:

Copies of Walking on Water, and all Meadowlark titles, are available for purchase at Meadowlark Books, and online at any bookstore. We encourage you to order from your nearest independent bookseller!


Friday, May 5, starting at 7pm, First Friday at Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore (1101 Commercial, Emporia) with hosts, Kevin Rabas and Lisa Moritz

Saturday, May 6, 11am-noon, Emporia Public Library - workshop by Tracy Million Simmons on book marketing.

So you’ve written a book. Now what? How do you get your work into the hands of readers? Tracy Million Simmons of Meadowlark Books will share practical advice on book marketing. From developing an author platform to social media, tips for author websites, book reviews, and book events, this workshop will cover the basics of selling books for self-published (or small press published) authors.

Sunday, May 7Liberty Hall in Lawrence, 3pm - Ronda Miller is in the cast of Listen to Your Mother.

Saturday, May 13, 1-2pm - Cheryl Unruh and Leon Unruh Reading and book signing at Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore (1101 Commercial, Emporia)

Thursday, June 1, The Raven Bookstore (Lawrence), 7pm - Mike Graves, To Leave a Shadow, reading with Cathy Callen.

Saturday, June 17, 1-2pm, The Feast, City Arts (334 N. Mead, Wichita, KS) - Kevin Rabas will be presenting.

Saturday, June 17, 7-8pm, Aimee's Coffee House (1025 Mass., Lawrence) Kevin Rabas performing with The Petrogyphs.

Saturday, June 24 - Emporia Public Library Authors Fair - Mike Graves will be a featured author!

A calendar of these events and others (Kansas Authors Club related) can be found on the Meadowlark website
Visit the Meadowlark website
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Walking on Water, poems by Cheryl Unruh
Walking on Water, poems by Cheryl Unruh
Published by: Meadowlark Books
ISBN: 978-1544632490


Emporia, KS Award-winning essayist, Cheryl Unruh, grounds the reader in a study of land and sky, love and life, and death and curiosity in Walking on Water, her first book of poetry. Once an inland sea, this place called Kansas now offers a wide-open prairie, covered with grasses and grains which wave in the wind, mimicking that long-gone sea. The vacant plains and open skies of her native state provide a sense of freedom for Cheryl, and it is these elements, as well as the colorful textures of this land and its people, that she draws from for her writing.

Through glimpses of her childhood growing up in a tiny Kansas town, Cheryl explores finding her place in the world and examines how Midwesterners relate to family, to friends, and to their communities. Because one of her father’s jobs was as caretaker of the town’s cemetery, Cheryl spent part of her youth in the graveyard, becoming acquainted early with the concept of death. Poems in this collection reflect her varied perspectives of death, including a childhood perception that the afterlife took place underground.
The book isn’t all serious, however. Readers will laugh out loud through Cheryl’s To-Do List poetry. She employs her sense of humor, creating clashes of thought and mixing together modern culture and spirituality, imagination and song.

Fans of Cheryl’s two previous collections of vivid Kansas essays will delight in her poetry. New readers will be charmed. This collection leads the reader to discover the beauty in the simplest of landscapes, to revel in the always-changing seasons, and to seek magic and splendor in the everyday moments of life.

Praise for Walking on Water:

Walking on Water is a refreshing and original exploration of place: poems that speak from the earth and into the sky of what it means to live and create in the center of the continent. From the remnants of the inland ocean to this planet that “twists in the dark,” Cheryl Unruh expands our ability to see and hear what’s on the edge of our horizons as well as the seemingly simple moments that encapsulate living in “the prairie’s open hand.” She also sparks this clear-seeing with humor, such as in “Making a List,” a collection of to-do lists mixing the mythical and ordinary, psychological and geographical. Memory and the power of storytelling, what lies within and around us, and the simplicity of paying attention sing through these poems of home as both a journey into what makes us wild and an arrival into the essence of life.
~Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, 2009–13 Kansas Poet Laureate
and author of Chasing Weather (with photographer Stephen Locke)

Cheryl Unruh brings to her poems the same insider’s insight and open-eyed sense of wonder that made her essays about Kansas so delightful. “In a scrappy little town / wooden houses have been / left for dead . . .” we read, and we know she has ridden those silent, dusty, rural roads. The lines: “An airplane, / camouflaged by constellations” have us standing beside her, searching the singularly brilliant Milky Way that arches from horizon to horizon across the nighttime Kansas prairie. “I listen in the dark, / the rain filling a place / I didn’t know was empty,” she writes, and you find that Cheryl’s words work just that way for you.
~Roy Beckemeyer, author of Music I Once Could  Dance To

Cheryl’s new book of poems re-exhibits her keen eye for Kansas life and her heart for Kansas-land and its people, from its coyote “running for home like a kid / late for curfew” to its “cicadas (that) chant evening prayers.” The collection also exhibits her wit, revealed in to-do lists that include “Spend only dimes today . . . Restripe the zebras . . . Do not cry at elevator music . . . Blare Jimmy Buffett until the neighbors complain . . . Toss yesterday to the wind.” Such is the way of this collection, full of wit and wisdom, as strong as her prose, but with more vivid light, like a thin blue butane flame.
~Kevin Rabas, author of Songs for My Father

The hallmark of Cheryl Unruh’s prose has always been its lyricism. Admirers of her essays and columns—which is to say, anybody who has read them—will be delighted and not at all surprised to learn that she produces wise, witty, painterly poems as well.
~Eric McHenry, 2015–17 Kansas Poet Laureate
Congratulations to a Meadowlark Author!

Kansas Names Kevin Rabas 2017-2019 Poet Laureate

 The Kansas Humanities Council has named Kevin Rabas, chair of Emporia State’s Department of English, Modern Languages and Journalism, the Poet Laureate of KansasTM, 2017-2019.

To be named state poet laureate is one of Kansas’s highest literary honors. The poet laureate engages in a range of activities to foster literary citizenship and engagement in the state. The duties include giving talks and readings across Kansas to promote poetry and the arts and humanities. Rabas’ new role begins today and there will be a local ceremony in Emporia in early June.

“We are so fortunate to live in a state of talented poets and writers,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council. “Kevin brings a deep understanding of poetry and a joyfulness in sharing it with others. I know Kevin is eager to get out on the road, and Kansans will welcome him around the state.”

Rabas is an active poet, playwright, jazz musician, and professor of English. He is author of seven books of poetry, including “Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano¸” which was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2010. He is also author of two books of prose and several short plays. His writing has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including the Nelson Poetry Book Award, the Kansas Notable Book Award, the Langston Hughes Poetry Award, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award and the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award.

At ESU, Rabas’ accomplishments have been recognized with the President’s Award for Research and Creativity (2012), and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Award for Excellence in Scholarship (2010).

Rabas is a professor of English who has taught poetry, playwriting, literary publishing and contemporary literature at ESU since 2005. He has served as co-director of the ESU Creative Writing program since 2006. On campus, he has served in such roles as president of the faculty and assistant director of the University Honors Program.

An active presenter in the state and region, his new presentation schedule as poet laureate, will include a series called “Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.” In approximately one talk per month for the Kansas Humanities Council, he will present at a range of venues. Through poetry, Rabas will explore the beauty and value in everything around us.

“Poetry reminds us that every little bit of our lives is meaningful,” Rabas said. “Part of the poet’s job is to remind us to observe and cherish the world and our lives in it.”
Support for the Poet Laureate of Kansas™ has been provided by the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Overland Park, and KHC’s Friends of the Humanities.

To learn more about the Poet Laureate of KansasTM program or to request a presentation with Rabas, go to http://kansashumanities.org/programs/poet-laureate-of-kansas/ or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC director of programs, at leslie@kansashumanities.org or 785-357-0359.

About the Kansas Humanities Council
The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.
Writing Friends and Friendly Writers... 

A few highlights from my personal calendar.
I first met Sue Claridge when she played lovely tunes on her flute for the Emporia Farmers Market. She is a member of the Emporia Writers group. I have found her dedication to her writing career an inspiration, and I am often moved to laughter by her wisdom and wit. Visit Sue's website: Resonate.
Kansas Books on My To-Read List:

Kalaska: Poetry from the Chautauqua Hills , by Kelly W. Johnston (Blue Cedar Press) -- Kelly is a new Kansas Authors Club board member and a recently announced poetry winner in the 2017 Kansas Voices contest. (Congratulations, Kelly!)






Hush Girl: It's Only a Dream, by Gloria Zachgo
While Nicki Reed is desperate to find the answers to her past, someone is desperate for her to never remember.

Shortly after her father died, Nicki’s nightmares started. They were soon followed by panic attacks. Suspecting her haunting dreams were related to her childhood, Nicki sought professional help, but Nicki was unable to verbalize any memories she had as a child. Bad things happened when she told secrets.
When her therapist suggested she write her memories, Nicki started remembering things she had pushed far into the recesses of her mind. She started to doubt her own sanity, and when she began to see a strange woman stalking her, she couldn’t be sure if that woman was real or imagined. Yet, Nicki couldn’t tell anyone, until—her own family’s welfare was threatened.


Recently Read and Recommended:

Words in Rows Poetry and Prose, by Cathy Callen
Words in Rows, Poetry and Prose is an autobiography in "short takes," a collection of poems and short prose written over the course of the author's lifetime, and presented chronologically from the earliest to the latest. Poetry written as a VISTA volunteer in Alaska, an accounting of her presence during the University of Texas tower massacre, reflections written about early morning walks with her dog and raising a challenging child, and thoughts about the passage of time are included, among others. Many of the pieces are humorous; several are accompanied by delightful illustrations provided by five artists.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kansas Names Kevin Rabas 2017-2019 Poet Laureate

The Kansas Humanities Council has named Kevin Rabas, chair of Emporia State’s Department of English, Modern Languages and Journalism, the Poet Laureate of KansasTM, 2017-2019.
To be named state poet laureate is one of Kansas’s highest literary honors. The poet laureate engages in a range of activities to foster literary citizenship and engagement in the state. The duties include giving talks and readings across Kansas to promote poetry and the arts and humanities. Rabas’ new role begins today and there will be a local ceremony in Emporia in early June.
“We are so fortunate to live in a state of talented poets and writers,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council. “Kevin brings a deep understanding of poetry and a joyfulness in sharing it with others. I know Kevin is eager to get out on the road, and Kansans will welcome him around the state.”
Rabas is an active poet, playwright, jazz musician, and professor of English. He is author of seven books of poetry, including “Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano¸” which was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2010. He is also author of two books of prose and several short plays. His writing has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including the Nelson Poetry Book Award, the Kansas Notable Book Award, the Langston Hughes Poetry Award, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award and the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award. 
At ESU, Rabas’ accomplishments have been recognized with the President’s Award for Research and Creativity (2012), and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Award for Excellence in Scholarship (2010).
Rabas is a professor of English who has taught poetry, playwriting, literary publishing and contemporary literature at ESU since 2005. He has served as co-director of the ESU Creative Writing program since 2006. On campus, he has served in such roles as president of the faculty and assistant director of the University Honors Program.
An active presenter in the state and region, his new presentation schedule as poet laureate, will include a series called “Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.” In approximately one talk per month for the Kansas Humanities Council, he will present at a range of venues. Through poetry, Rabas will explore the beauty and value in everything around us.
“Poetry reminds us that every little bit of our lives is meaningful,” Rabas said. “Part of the poet’s job is to remind us to observe and cherish the world and our lives in it.”
Support for the Poet Laureate of Kansas has been provided by the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Overland Park, and KHC’s Friends of the Humanities.
To learn more about the Poet Laureate of KansasTM program or to request a presentation with Rabas, go to http://kansashumanities.org/programs/poet-laureate-of-kansas/ or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC director of programs, at leslie@kansashumanities.org or 785-357-0359.
About the Kansas Humanities Council
The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based cultural programs and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.



If you're curious about what Kevin's been up to in his poetry, try his most recent book, SONGS FOR MY FATHER (Meadowlark Press, 2016):https://squareup.com/market/meadowlark-books/item/songs-for-my-father

Order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-My-Father-collection-stories/dp/099668011X/

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Poetry collection a first for Kansas Notable Author

The next Meadowlark Books publication is a book of poetry by Cheryl Unruh called “Walking on Water.”
Both author and publisher share the same hometown: Emporia. Tracy Million Simmons’ publishing company, Meadowlark Books, produced the collection, which is available online at www.meadowlark-books.comAmazon.com and soon at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1101 Commercial St.
The poems in this book are basically scenes from everyday life.
“The topics of my poetry are similar to the topics of my columns and essays,” she said. “I write about the land and sky, seasons and weather, about my small-town childhood, about friends and family.
“And, like most poets, I write about death. With each loss we experience, I think our understanding of death grows, deepens. These can be very rich moments for us and are worth exploring.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

Walking on Water, Poems by Cheryl Unruh

Meadowlark Books is thrilled to add Cheryl Unruh to our list of authors. Walking on Water is now available for order in the Meadowlark online bookstore. The book can be ordered for delivery by mail or to be picked up at the release party, scheduled for Tuesday, April 18, at Prairie Dust Gallery, 330 Commercial, Emporia, KS.

video

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Note from Meadowlark: September 2016

Finally! Here's a little update on Meadowlark.


A Note From Meadowlark
September 2016
Dear Friend,

What an exciting time for Meadowlark. A spot on the Kansas Notable Book list was certainly something I dreamed of accomplishing, I just never imagined it would come so soon. I was absolutely thrilled when I got the news that one of Meadowlark’s own—To Leave a Shadow, by Michael D. Graves—made the list!
If you have not had a chance to read the book, it is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon, or you can order a signed paperback copy directly from the author at the Meadowlark online bookstore.

You may be wondering what else has happened since you last heard from me in December 2015. Mostly, I’ve been distracted by a myriad of non-book related tasks, but the plan for publishing great books by Midwest authors has never been far from my mind.

In April, Meadowlark released Songs for My Father, a collection of poetry and short stories by Kevin Rabas. Songs is a beautiful book, inside and out. The cover was designed by the very talented, Eric Sonnakolb, with photography byDave Leiker. I was honored to work as editor on this project, and the interior design is one of my favorite works of book-as-art so far. As well as the beautiful paperback, Songs is available on Kindle at Amazon.

You should check out the review of Songs, as well as one of MoonStain, by Ronda Miller, in the current issue of The Flint Hills Review. The issue also contains a poem by Michael D. Graves and a short story by yours truly.

You may recall that I was collecting submissions for Meadowlark’s first anthology, the Kansas Roots collection. The spring deadline resulted in many entries and I was very pleased with the quality of most every submission. In the end, however, there were not enough submissions for the type of book I was hoping to create. Therefore, Meadowlark continues to seek submissions for this project. More details follow below in this newsletter.

Finally, I was very happy to work with two interns from Emporia State University this past summer. The original plan was for this newsy note to provide an introduction, but since I have allowed so much time to pass, I’m going to let this serve as a note of thanks for their contributions. Brittany Rees worked directly with Meadowlark, helping to build a marketing strategy and spread the word about our books and projects. Sarah Aubey has focused her energy on a project that I have dedicated myself to for several years now. The Kansas Authors Club holds an annual writing contest for youth, ages 6-18. Sarah, as a representative of Meadowlark, reviewed the entries and coordinated the judges for that contest. The youth book of winning entries is at the printer right now! I look forward to sharing that project with Kansas Authors Club and our writing youth at the annual convention in Lawrence in October. (There is still time to register for the convention, by the way. I would love to meet you there!)

My mind is busy and full with project ideas and plans for Meadowlark. As I contemplate the direction this little publishing entity will go, I welcome your input, ideas, and feedback. The remainder of this note is filled with details about Meadowlark pursuits, as well as other writerly-related passions. I can be reached at tracy@meadowlark-books.com.

Show your support for local authors by reading a local book! If you love it – share a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or simply tell all your friends!

Sincerely,
Tracy Million Simmons
Upcoming Engagements:

There will be a reception and book signing for Michael D. Graves from 5:30-7pm on Wednesday, September 21, at Twin Rivers Winery, 627 Commercial, in Emporia.



Ronda Miller, author of MoonStain, will be reading at Poetry on the Porch on Sunday, September 25th, at The William Allen White State Historical Site in Emporia, 927 Exchange St. This is the 11th of the Poetry on the Porch series hosted by Kevin Rabas and The William Allen White House. Miller's reading begins at 2 p.m., and will follow with an open mic for additional poet readings. Meadowlark Books will be present to sell copies of Miller's bookMoonStain.

Ronda Miller is the September guest editor for Caryn Mirriam Goldberg's time + space online anthology.  Miller will have her poetic picks released each Monday in September. The poets she chose, in the order of their poetic releases, are as follows: Eve Ott, James Benger, Lindsey Martin-Bowen and David Romtvedt. These poems, and others, may be found at the following link - https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/the-house-with-the-mansard-roof-by-eve-ott/

Michael D. Graves will discuss how he used the scattered memories of his grandfather, a man he barely knew, to create the life of a character from his grandfather's place and era, a character who might have been his grandfather, a character who left a shadow. This presentation will be at the Kansas Authors Club convention in Lawrence on Saturday, October 1. More information about registering for the convention can be found at www.kansasauthors.org.

Kevin Rabas will be the November 7 presenter for the ESU Creative Writing Program "Visiting Writers Series" for Fall 2016. The talk takes place in the Preston Family Room, Memorial Union, Emporia State University, form 7-8pm. The rest of the series is as follows:
--Robert Stewart - creative non-fiction & poetry: Monday, Sept. 19
--Dennis Etzel Jr. - poetry: Thursday, Oct. 6
--Lisa Greenwood - play writing: Wednesday, Oct. 12
--Short Play Festival: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2-4 pm, Plumb Hall, rooms 407-408

A calendar of these events and others (Kansas Authors Club related) can be found on the Meadowlark website

Seeking True Stories


Click the image above to review the guidelines on the website.

What are we looking for? I want to read the stories that make you say, "Aha,that is what I love about Kansas." I want to read about people, past or present. I want to read about Kansas events and communities where people are making a difference, helping their neighbors, inspiring others to follow suit. I want to hear about your favorite place to view the big Kansas sky. Maybe you've already written such a piece. Maybe you have a subject in mind and this is the muse knocking at your door. Write it! Submit it!

Visit the Meadowlark website
Buy Meadowlark Books
Follow Meadowlark on Facebook
2016 Kansas Notable Book Awards


Meadowlark Author, Michael D. Graves, accepted the Kansas Notable Book Award from Mary Brownback at the Kansas Book Festival on Saturday, September 10.

Mike's book was one of 15 selected. The entire list can be found on the state library website.
Writing Friends and Friendly Writers... 

A few highlights from my personal calendar.
Cheryl Unruh's recent entry, In the Company of My Tribe, was especially meaningful to me. Cheryl has been an important touchstone in my writing life for more than ten years now. In this piece she talks about our recent trip to Topeka for the Kansas Notable Book Awards, but more importantly, the value of spending time with other writers and the value of sharing in other's creative energy.
Speaking of Tribes, I will be a speaker at the Kansas Authors Club convention in Lawrence this year. There is still time to register for the convention. Details can be found at www.kansasauthors.org
Emporia has a new bookstore! Ellen Plumb opened Emporia's first bookstore in 1870. Just 146 years later, our town's best indie bookstore is back. Locally owned. Fiercely independent. Visit Ellen Plumb's in person at 1101 Commercial in Emporia. 
Kansas Books on My To-Read List:

Words in Rows Poetry and Prose, by Cathy Callen
Words in Rows, Poetry and Prose is an autobiography in "short takes," a collection of poems and short prose written over the course of the author's lifetime, and presented chronologically from the earliest to the latest. Poetry written as a VISTA volunteer in Alaska, an accounting of her presence during the University of Texas tower massacre, reflections written about early morning walks with her dog and raising a challenging child, and thoughts about the passage of time are included, among others. Many of the pieces are humorous; several are accompanied by delightful illustrations provided by five artists.

Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Speak Out Against Bullies, by Heartland Poets
More than 30 Heartland poets—including two former Kansas Poet Laureates—speak out against bullying, a pervasive evil. These poems range from illustrating bullying, not only during childhood and adolescence, but illustrate bullying in the workplace, in culture, in politics, in facing the -isms (sexism, racism, ageism, able-ism, etc.), religion, marital status, military service status, animals, and, even in scientific labs for humanity’s “greater good.” And bullies can be diseases (such as cancer). And voices inside our heads may bully us, too. Some poems also reveal a bully's point-of-view.

Recently Read and Recommended:
For Want of a Father (Pierce Family Saga) volume 2, by Hazel Hart
Fathers, Daughters, and Expectations In 1859, half-sisters Lucy and Cordelia travel by stagecoach from Westport, Missouri to Kansas Territory. Since their mother’s death four years ago, both have lived with their aunt. Now Lucy’s father wants her home. For Lucy, 13, it is a dream come true. Cordelia, 17, chaperones Lucy on the trip home, then continues on the stage to Denver to search for the father she has never met. Her expectations are low, but she can’t stop the occasional dream. Will either father live up to his daughter’s expectations, or will each break his daughter’s heart?
Copyright © 2016 Meadowlark Books, All rights reserved.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Kansas Book Festival News

Meadowlark author, Michael D. Graves, will be presenting at the Kansas Book Festival on Saturday, September 10, at 10:00am. The Kansas Notable Book Awards will be presented at 9:00am.