Monday, February 25, 2019

What's Next on the Meadowlark Bookshelf... and next, and next, and next

A note from the publisher's desk: Tracy Million Simmons

File this entry under "good problems to have!" Selecting manuscripts for publication in 2019 has been difficult, I'm not going to lie. We had so many quality submissions this year. While we continue to make our way through several non-fiction titles and more than a handful of poetry manuscripts, I wanted to go ahead and share a note of congratulations to the following authors. These manuscripts are currently in the queue at Meadowlark and we look forward to sharing these titles with our readers in the coming months.  (Post updated 4/4/2019)

Expected Spring 2019
James Kenyon's, Golden Rule Days: History and Recollections of 109 Closed Kansas High Schools, is currently undergoing final proofreading, indexing, and we expect to be sending Advance Reader Copies out into the world this week! Coming in at 388 pages, this has been a project many months in the making. We are so proud of the gorgeous book this manuscript is becoming!

James Kenyon has created a fascinating book for the countless Kansans who were heartbroken when their high schools closed. He has done extensive research and has interviewed former students of 109 Kansas communities who lost their high schools, many due to a Kansas school consolidation law passed in 1963. He’s featured at least one school from each of the 105 counties and tells a brief story of the school, the community, and its people. I was pleased that my own hometown, Pawnee Rock, was one of his highlighted schools. It was a painful time for our community. Those who were directly affected by these closures will treasure this book, and the nuggets of small-town history will make this a treasure for anyone interested in the Kansas experience.
~Cheryl Unruh, author of Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State, Waiting on the Sky: More Kansas Essays, and Walking on Water

We are also thrilled to be at work on the poetry collection, A Certain Kind of Forgiveness, by Carol Kapaun Ratchenski, winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize in 2019. We expect a spring delivery for this book, as well.

There is a worldliness in these poems, the kind of grit that accompanies a strong heart. There’s awareness--of the self, of the world. And the poems are populated with the magical, husky things of this earth: warm beer in Berlin, rice in a bowl in a monastery, and stains from fresh cranberries. These are poems we can savor, now and again.
 ~Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2017-2019  

Valentine, poems by Ruth Maus
Coming to a bookshelf near you!
And now for a glimpse at some titles you have not yet heard about!

A second collection of poetry forthcoming is Valentine, by Ruth Maus, of Topeka, Kansas. Ruth was
a finalist in The Birdy Poetry Prize competition.

Edna Bell-Pearson's much awaited memoir, Headwinds, is going to be coming soon to a bookshelf near you this summer.

Edna’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, which was chosen during Kansas sesquicentennial year, as one of “150 Best Kansas Books.”  

Headwinds tells the story of one Kansas family's experiences during the early days of the "Air Age."

From the opening chapter:
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.
            I’d dreamed of flying ever since I saw my first airplane—at the age of six—when one flew over our house in Plains, Kansas, so I paid for the complete course, even though I’d never before been near one of the “contraptions” (Granddaddy’s name for the device that had been instrumental in the death of his idol, Will Rogers). 

We are looking forward to publishing our first true crime story, a page-turning gem by Mike Hartnett of Lawrence, Kansas, formerly of Illinois, titled And I Cried, Too. Mike will be one of the seminar leaders at the 2019 Kansas Authors Club convention in Wichita in October. Learn more about his project here.

And finally, we are very excited about a book by Julie Stielstra, of Lyons, Illinois, called Opulence, KS. I fell in love with this story from first read. In fact, I quickly dropped my plans to preview the first 20 pages of all submissions for that day and stayed with the story until I was finished, cover to cover. It is a delightful read, and one we think many readers are going to love, too.

From Julie's submission letter:
Opulence, KS germinated from a seed in a book of Kansas history, describing the 19th century town of Runnymede–founded by a wealthy Irishman who was going to teach the younger sons of British gentry how to farm. It didn’t go well, but some remnants of that project linger in the prairie. Add in some aspects of my adopted hometown of Ellinwood, and Opulence was built, a prairie town where a big-city girl finds herself for the summer in the aftermath of her wealthy father’s death. Katie Myrdal is abruptly shifted from one form of opulence to another, from urban to rural, from material wealth to emotional richness, from a land of vertical skyscrapers to a sweep of horizons and uninterrupted sky.  

Family Plowing, a collection of poetry by Duane L. Herrmann, will be our third book of poetry for this season. Duane is a native and poet of Topeka, Kansas. 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 he appears on the Map of Kansas Literature. We look forward to sharing Duane's poetry with our Meadowlark Readers.

There are also plans to work with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg on a collection of poetry at year's end or possibly next year's beginning titled How Time Moves: New and Collected Poems. If you have not already read Caryn's recent interview at Written in Kansas, by Cheryl Unruh, please take a moment to do so now!

We look forward to sharing our progress!

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