Sunday, September 15, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: Type Books

On bookstore day of our summer trip to Toronto, our second stop was Type, a store that is as lovely as its name promises. There are three Type bookshops in the city, and we were drawn by the fact of two female proprietors. We only visited one of the stores, but noted another as we were walking by its window.

"Type offers an extensive collection of contemporary fiction and non-fiction , small press titles, art and design, and children’s books."

This shelf tag made me think that perhaps I've been going about my own fiction
efforts in entirely the wrong way...

Website: Type Books
Location: There are three locations in Toronto, 883 Queen St. W., 427 Spadina Rd., 2887 Dundas St.

Would I return? If I lived in Toronto, there is a good chance that Type would become a home-base bookstore for me. It was a lovely shop.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

From the Publisher's Desk: Three New Books of Poetry

What an eventful year we are having at Meadowlark. We have two non-fiction books published and making their way into the hands of some very happy readers, followed by three new books of poetry that should be available by the end of this month. I thought I'd take a moment to introduce you to our poets, all new to the Meadowlark bookshelf in 2019.

 Carol Kapaun Ratchenski's A Certain Kind of Forgiveness, is the winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize, 2019.

Carol is a lifelong resident of North Dakota, where you can see the sky without ever looking up and the open spaces demand art. And sometimes, love. Her first collection of poetry, A Beautiful Hell, won the 2016 Many Voices Project and was published by New Rivers Press. A Beautiful Hell has since been adapted to the stage by Laurie J. Baker with the support of Theater “B” and Humanities North Dakota. Ratchenskiʼs first novel, Mambaby was published in 2013 by Knuckledown Press. Her work has appeared in Gypsy Cab, Red Weather, North Dakota Quarterly, Wintercount, Lake Region Review, Dust and Fire, Dash, NDSU Magazine and others as well as in the anthologies Resurrecting Grace: Remembering Catholic Childhoods, edited by Marilyn Sewell, Beacon Press, 2001, The Cancer Poetry Project: Poems by Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them, edited by Karen B. Miller, Fairview Press, 2007, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan, edited by Thom Tammaro and Alan Davis, New Rivers Press, 2018.

Carol is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the owner/operator of Center for Compassion and Creativity in Fargo, ND, where she also lives. She is at work on a second novel while she prepares to be honest, loving, disruptive, and groovy at age sixty.

Ruth Maus, a native of Topeka, Kansas, has pursued a love of learning around the world, with languages, curiosity, and an appreciation for all beings a constant thread.
She represented Smith College at the annual Glasscock Intercollegiate Poetry Contest where past contestants have included James Merrill, Sylvia Plath, Katha Pollit, Mary Jo Salter, James Agee, Frederick Buechner, Kenneth Koch, Donald Hall, William Manchester, Muriel Rukeyser, and Gjertrud Schnackenberg. Her poems have appeared in Inscape, Grecourt Review, Lighten Up Online, and Orchards Poetry Journal.

Valentine, Ruth's first book of poetry, is a finalist in The Birdy Poetry Prize competition, 2019.

She currently lives in Topeka where she writes poems and studies at Washburn University when not teaching animals amazing tricks with which to bore her friends.

Duane L. Herrmann was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1951 and grew up on a nearby farm. Beginning at age two and a half he was expected to share in the care of his younger siblings and chores. This increasingly progressed to age thirteen when he managed the house half the summer while his mother was away. When she returned he was put on a tractor to begin farming. He farmed until his father was killed the year before he left home for college. Away from home he discovered and embraced the Bahá’í Faith. And, he began to write in earnest; at home that had been forbidden.

His first poems were published in 1969 when a senior in high school. Also that year his drama teacher wanted to produce the play he wrote for a class project. In college his first news articles and more poems were published. In 1974 he married, which produced four children but little writing.

In 1986, after he had built the house his family lived in, he achieved his first commercial sale. In 1989 his first book, as well as his first chapbooks of poetry, were published and he received the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship. The marriage ended, but he continued to be very active in his children’s lives and wrote more. 

His poetry, histories, memoirs, fiction, and children’s stories have appeared in a dozen countries in four languages and can be found in libraries on three continents. He has received prizes or recognition from the Kansas State Poetry Society, Kansas Authors Club, Writers Matrix, Ferguson Kansas History Book Award, Kansas Poets Trail, Kansas State Historical Society, and Map of Kansas Literature. 

Visit the Meadowlark bookstore online to place your order! We also encourage readers to shop for our books at their favorite independent bookstore. If your bookstore does not carry the Meadowlark Book you desire, ask them to order it! Our books are available wherever you shop for books.

Special offer for Poetry lovers:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Because I Love Bookstores: The Monkey's Paw, Toronto

I was fortunate to accompany my daughters to Toronto in August, and a day of Independent Bookstore shopping was on the agenda, of course (I raised 'em right!). The good news about the city of Toronto for a book lover is that there are many fine bookstores to choose from. We started our day at the store with the most intriguing name--The Monkey's Paw. The draw?

The Monkey's Paw is home to "the Biblio-Mat, the world's first randomizing vending machine for old books." 

That, and it was the closest by foot to our rental.

This bookstore has a wonderful collection of old books. Not to be categorized as a typical "used" bookstore, of course. This collection is clearly carefully curated. They specialize in "uncommon books and paper artifacts from the age of print." Check out their remote window display on their website for a sampling.

Our group enjoyed our selections from the Biblio-Mat, and I added a gem to my own book collection.

At checkout, I learned that the owner of the bookstore was from--of all places--Kansas! (In truth, he was from Kansas City, Missouri, but when you are in Toronto, that's close enough to call us neighbors.) In fact, the owner was visiting relatives in Kansas City the very weekend that we were visiting Toronto. Perhaps it's not a true small-world story, but I was delighted by the detail.

A few weeks later, in an email exchange with a author-friend from Overland Park, I learned that she, in fact, had known and worked with the owner's father and grandfather at the Kansas City Star. So there we were, the owner of The Monkey's Paw bookstore in Canada and I, fewer than seven degrees apart.

Location: 1067 Blour Street W, Toronto, Canada

Worth a Visit? Absolutely! This one would be top of my list for a return visit if I ever make it again to Toronto.


This is the book that called to me.
I will be sharing!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Deadlines and Changes

IMPORTANT: The open reading period for general submissions has been moved to 2020. The specific dates will be announced here when they are available. 

A reminder for poets that The Birdy Poetry Prize competition deadline is December 1. If you would like to receive a copy of the 2019 winning book with your submission, pay your fee here at the Meadowlark online bookstore. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Meadowlark Note - July 2019

~hashtag us for a chance at prizes and moments of internet fame~
A Note From the Publisher's Desk
July 17, 2019

When I published Green Bike in 2014, I was acting on a dream that had long been under construction in my mind. I have loved reading books for as long as I can remember. And my first memory of "publishing" a book? I was still short enough that I had to stand on a kitchen chair at the table in order to get enough leverage to push down on the stapler to get the cover attached.

In May we began taking orders for Meadowlark's 19th book, and by August, books 2021, and 22 will be available. It is looking very likely that we will have a total of 25 books on the Meadowlark bookshelf by the end of this year, and our 2020 publishing calendar is already in motion.

I look at all that Meadowlark has accomplished, and though some days I can only see how far we still have to go, most days I find myself feeling like that kid at the kitchen table again, enormously satisfied with these wonders that my hands have played a role in making.

Last month I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on publishing at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. The only downside to being a participant was that I didn't have the freedom to take notes as I would have if I had just been a member of the audience. But in doing my homework to prepare for the event, and then in listening to the other panelists and learning about their experiences in publishing, I came away with a renewed sense of confidence in Meadowlark's purpose and mission.

What does Meadowlark publish? The books we'd recommend to our friends.

Please take a moment to read Meadowlark's mission statement below. And many thanks to Cheryl Unruh for helping me to find the words for this statement, for helping me find the words all along, and for encouraging me to take chances, to act on dreams.

Much love and good reading!

Tracy Million Simmons
Owner/Publisher, Meadowlark Books
Nothing feels better than home.
While we at Meadowlark Books love to travel, we also cherish our home time. We are nourished by our open prairies, our enormous skies, community, family, and friends. We are rooted in this land and that is why Meadowlark Books publishes regional authors.
When you open one of our fiction books, you’ll read delicious stories that are set in the Heartland. Settle in with a volume of poetry, and you’ll remember just how much you love this place too - the landscape, its skies, the people.
Meadowlark Books publishes memoir, poetry, short stories, novels. Read stories that began in the Heartland, that were written here. Add to your Meadowlark Book collection now.
Visit the Meadowlark website
Buy Meadowlark Books
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Edna Bell-Pearson Publishes “Air Age” Memoir
“World War II was in full swing when I did what I considered my patriotic duty and joined the Kansas Civil Air Patrol. We wore crisp, khaki uniforms and jaunty caps, piped in red, and drilled on the athletic field north of the high school before most folks were out of bed in the morning. Not one to do things halfway, I enrolled in a private pilot course and started taking flying lessons in a 1939 bright yellow, 65 horsepower, Piper J-3 Cub.”
This is the opening to Edna Bell-Pearson’s memoir, Headwinds, a story of one family’s experiences set against the early days of the “Air Age.” 
Headwinds takes place over the course of five years and tells the story of Ungerer Flying Service, a family-owned and operated business stationed in Marysville, Kansas. It covers a time when the United States was becoming the largest aviation manufacturing country in the world, and small planes, designed for flight training and private ownership, with innovations never before dreamed of, rolled off the production lines of Cessna, Taylorcraft, Piper, Beech, and others. The GI Bill of Rights made it possible for veterans to take flight training at government expense. Thousands who had washed out or missed out on flying during the war became pilots. As the business grows and thrives, Edna learns to appreciate the importance of the little things: hunting and fishing trips, being a good housekeeper, and crisp, autumnal days without wind.
This memoir examines the importance of family through hardships, and it will leave you appreciating the value of persistence and determination in the face of adversity. Edna loves her job and her life, which is an important piece of this inspirational story.
Readers can now order the book for August delivery via the Meadowlark Bookstore, The book will also soon be available for order through traditional and online bookstores in both paperback and ebook formats.
About the Author: Edna Bell-Pearson’s stories, articles, essays, and poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies world-wide. She has published six books. She is noted for Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams and Other Stories, a southwest Kansas saga, chosen during the Kansas sesquicentennial year, as one of “150 Best Kansas Books.”
Wry and rue---it sounds like the recipe for a craft cocktail.  But those are really the main ingredients in Ruth Maus’s sly wise and expansive book, even or especially in the poems that really are about cocktails.  Most of her poems are short—and a lot bigger than they seem, poems marked by gallows humor and a poker face, and with just a twitch of a tell that reveals how much lies beneath their surface.
~Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James 
and the Making of an American Masterpiece
In Valentine, Ruth Maus offers a love letter to the world, powering her lines with the engines of parallel structure, formal play, and bright image. Using diction that is conversational, at times outright rollicking, we’re invited into a world where “the righteousness of salt / on a monster margarita / sings psalm and hallelujah enough,” while the speaker considers romantic temptations, one’s call to art, and what lies ahead. This is a creative and sprightly collection.
~Sandra Beasley, author of Count the Waves
About the Author: Ruth Maus, a native of Topeka, Kansas, has pursued a love of learning around the world, with languages, curiosity, and an appreciation for all beings a constant thread. Valentine was a 2019 finalist in The Birdy Poetry Prize competition.

Accepting Entries: May 1 to December 1, 2019

Final Deadline for Entries: December 1, 2019 - Midnight
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: $500 cash, publication by Meadowlark Books, including 50 copies of the completed book 
All entries will be considered for standard Meadowlark Books publishing contract offers, as well.  
Submission and contest entry fee of $25 must be received by December 1, midnight.
Full-length poetry manuscripts (55 page minimum, 90+ pages preferred) will be considered. Poems may be previously published in journals and/or anthologies, but not in full-length, single-author volumes. All poets are eligible to enter, regardless of publishing history.
Copyright © 2019 Meadowlark Books, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 333, Emporia, KS 66801

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Meadowlark Author, Ruth Maus, Celebrates the Anniversary of the Lunar Landing

    Tranquility Base
       July 20, 1969

            To N.A.

They should have sent a poet with us scientists. But the Mission’s success
is far too critical to leave in non-technical hands and no computational plan
would accommodate an additional man.

As long as night has torn the peaceful sweet of day,
And orb of ghostly light pulled time and tide along its way,
That long have fools and sages pondered why
The step-child moon menaces world and sky.

Before engineering and flight school I studied history. Sailors, shepherds,
cavemen, kings, all subject to this moon. No one’s ever been immune.

So ancient souls bemoaned its hazen rings,
Omen of tempests, torments, born of godless things.
Its blood-red face foretold in prophecy,
Apocalyptic star-cursed tragedy.

Affirmative. Poet imperative. But I am the one who has to convey
the historic importance of today.

Yet this the moment now dispels our dread,
Undoing doubts we’ve wailed as prophets bled.
To tame the sterile rock as was designed
I take One Giant Leap for all mankind.

Must rehearse that “Giant Leap” verse. Brainwork of some pedant
on the payroll. Now it’s all political.

A leap unmatched by legions’ swollen ranks
when continents lay leveled in their tracks.
This chasm breached by stepping to the sky;
my mortal footprint firm in Heaven’s eye.

When the moon-a hits your eye like a big-ga pizza pie…

“Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed.”

Author: Ruth Maus

“Tranquility Base” is included in the poetry book, Valentine

coming from Meadowlark Books, August 2019.

Now Available for Order in the Meadowlark Bookstore