Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kansas Authors Club President, Ronda Miller

Meadowlark author, Ronda Miller, has been named the new state president of Kansas Authors Club. The term is for 2 years. Miller has served as the District 2 president of KAC since 2015. Her three books of published poetry include Going Home, MoonStain and WaterSigns."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

James Kenyon's Book of 1950s Farm Life Stories Published by Meadowlark

Emporia, KS – Readers of all ages will delight in A Cow for College, by James Kenyon, a collection of short stories about growing up on a farm in northwest Kansas. “…the perfect tonic for those craving a connection to old-time rural culture. Farm chores are told in such detail that the reader will feel like they are working alongside young Jimmy as he milks the cows by hand, cleans the chicken house, or weeds the garden with his puppy by his side…Reality will bring laughs and tender moments as you work your way through this portrayal of a life well lived,” according to Marci Penner, Executive Director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

Kenyon was born and raised on a third-generation family grain and livestock farm near the town of Bogue, Kansas. A graduate of Kansas State University, Kenyon is a veterinarian in a 35-year, mixed animal practice in Iowa and a veterinarian for the Alaska Iditarod Dog Sled Race. Some might consider A Cow for College, Kenyon’s second book, a series of origin stories for a man who has devoted his career to caring for animals and building his community. As well as a writer, he is a 24-year member of his local school board and a leader in numerous community organizations such as Rotary, church, library, museums and the historical society.

Praise for A Cow for College:

“James Kenyon has put together a wonderful collection of stories detailing American rural life during a much simpler time in our history. The tales are also timeless and allow us to relive special moments and milestones in life—the pangs of first love; having a pet so special it becomes part of the family; the first moment when a youth understands death is part of the cycle of life; learning that faith, family, and belief in oneself can guide us through even the roughest of times; and other life-lessons as well. Bravo to James Kenyon for these exquisite slices of life!”
~ Jeffrey S. Copeland, author of Inman’s War: A Soldier’s Story of Life in a Colored Battalion in WWII

“James Kenyon’s stories explore that promising decade between first memory and adolescence. Kenyon lived his preteen years on a farm in rural Kansas during a special time when preschool meant hours riding on his father’s knee while they plowed a field together, and life lessons began with raising a calf, herding and milking the cattle, and selling eggs door-to-door. This was a simpler time when a boy grew up with his dog and his wagon and played baseball with his pals and sometimes (not often) parted with a nickel for a bottle of ice-cold orange pop. Readers will enjoy spending a quiet afternoon with Kenyon and will carry with them a sense of peace and well-being long after the final story is told.”
~Mike Graves, author of To Leave a Shadow, a 2015 Kansas Notable Book

“A contemporary of Dr. Kenyon, I was not raised on a farm, but in a medium-sized town in northcentral Kansas, where I was still very close to the rural environment which was Jim’s very real background. I could associate with so many of the things he wrote about in the book; and also found myself putting Jim Logback into Jim Kenyon’s very being as he endured and enjoyed life growing up in rural Graham County, Kansas. … His book is a fun summary of his growing-up recollections which will be treasured, particularly by those who have ever experienced growing up in a rural Kansas area, particularly in the ‘40s and ‘50s.
~Jim Logback, Editor/Publisher, The Hill City Times

A Cow for College, and Other Stories of 1950s Farm Life, is published by Meadowlark Books, Emporia, Kansas. In paperback, the book can be purchased at any online or box store book retailer, purchased directly from the author, or through the publisher at The book is also available on Kindle.

James Kenyon is the author of two books, A Cow for College and Other Stories of 1950s Farm Life (Meadowlark 2017), and The Art of Listening to the Heart (Ooly Booly Press 2017)


Monday, September 18, 2017

Poet Ronda Miller Reading and Book Signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

WaterSigns, Poetry by Ronda Miller
Published by: Meadowlark Books
ISBN: 978-0996680127 

September 18, 2017 - for immediate release

Poet Ronda Miller Reading and Book Signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

Emporia, KS: Ronda Miller will share from her third and latest book of poetry, WaterSigns, with a reading and book signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial, on Saturday, September 23, from 1-2pm. The book was published by Meadowlark Books of Emporia and sells for $15.

“Miller’s collection, WaterSigns, charts water’s path for plainspeople—water in the aquifer, water in the clouds, water in the field ditches and in the bird’s beak and in the mother’s womb. In this way, Miller’s collection is a celebration of life’s true blood, and Miller gets the people and the flora and fauna of Kansas-country right, right down to the dew drops on grass blades,” writes Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas.

The book features photography by Flint Hills landscape photographer, Crystal Socha.

Ronda Miller is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas and continues to live in Lawrence. She is a Fellow of The Citizen Journalism Academy, World Company, a Certified Life Coach with IPEC (Institute of Professional Empowerment Coaching), a mother to two step sons- Sasha and Nick, son Scott, and daughter Apollonia. She created poetic forms loku and ukol. Miller is the District 2 President of Kansas Authors Club (2015 – 2017) and the club’s Vice President (2016 – 2017). When Miller isn’t coaching clients, volunteering time to Kansas Authors Club, or writing poetry, she is busy learning life skills from children with special needs.

Miller’s books are available at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore and through any book retailer. They can also be ordered direct from the publisher, Meadowlark Books, Emporia, Kansas. Learn more at

Ronda Miller


Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Life in Progress Book Release Party Scheduled at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

A Life in Progress and Other Short Stories, by Tracy Million Simmons
Published by: Meadowlark Books
ISBN: 978-0996680134 

September 7, 2017 - for immediate release

A Life in Progress Book Release Party Scheduled at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

Emporia, KS: Award-winning author, Tracy Million Simmons, will hold a release party and book signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial, on Thursday, September 14, from 4-6pm. Readers are invited to come and go. Her newest book is a collection of short stories titled, A Life in Progress. The book is being published by Meadowlark Books of Emporia and sells for $15.

In this collection of short stories, Simmons captures slices of life, glimpses of everyday people and everyday thoughts and actions, and the many moments—touching, amusing, happy, and sad—of lives in progress. This book is an intimate peek into a writer’s stash, written across the decades, an experience of timelessness and the human condition. Through fiction, these stories reveal relatable truths.

 About the book, Cheryl Unruh writes, “Tracy Million Simmons shows clearly the moving parts of relationships. Her stories reveal the irreversible ties of family. She shows the push-and-pull between spouses, between parent and child, between dear friends, and we see how we’re all recklessly and joyfully bound one to another.”

A Life in Progress and Other Short Stories will be available after the release party from Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore and through any book retailer. It can also be ordered direct from the publisher, Meadowlark Books, Emporia, Kansas. Learn more at


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Coming Soon to a Bookshelf Near You! A Cow for College

The Meadowlark Bookshelf continues to grow! We are planning for the release of two books in the near future and this is your preview of one of them. Meadowlark is proud to add James Kenyon, a born storyteller, to our list of authors.

In short story form, James writes an account of growing up in 1950s rural America that will make a reader laugh, smile, and occasionally shed a tear. As a young farm boy raised on the high plains of western Kansas, James shares memories of learning to care for cattle, ride (and fall from) the family horse, nurse a piglet, and drive a tractor (of course). Whether selling eggs from the back of his red wagon to the women of the town of Bogue (population 300 at that time) or saving the family cow from death by bloat, readers will enjoy these reminiscings from a farm boy's life, a look back on a simpler time in America, post-depression, post-war.

A Cow for College and Other Stories of 1950s Farm Life
by James Kenyon
Published by Meadowlark Books
Emporia, Kansas

About the Author:
James Kenyon was born and raised on a third-generation family grain and livestock farm. Today, James is a veterinarian in a 35-year, mixed animal practice in a beautiful Iowa college town. He is a veterinarian for the Alaska Iditarod Dog Sled Race and a 24-year member of the school board, as well as its current president. He leads numerous community organizations including Rotary, church, library, museums, and historical society. He chaired the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association and State Veterinary Board of Examiners. He was named Iowa Veterinarian of the Year. James is married to his college sweetheart from Kansas City. They have blended the farm and city in their life together. They have three children, four grandchildren, and numerous pets.

James Kenyon - Then and Now

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 1950s 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
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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 or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC director of programs, at 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.