Thursday, November 26, 2020

What's your stack look like? A Thanksgiving letter from our publicist

Dear readers:

I wish you all a truly lovely Thanksgiving. We all know it's a weird holiday season, so please keep doing your part to spread love and compassion. 

Hopefully, you will have some downtime today. When I have downtime, on Thanksgiving especially, all I want to do is crawl into bed and read, how 'bout you? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Excerpt from Opulence, Kansas: "You could see a long way out here. From the ground."

 Enjoy this excerpt from Opulence, Kansas, by Julie Stielstra. (Or scroll to the bottom to hear the author reading this excerpt and a bit more!) Readers of all ages love this story. Don't forget to check out our specials in the Meadowlark Bookstore. 

So that, in a way, is how I ended up getting off a plane at the Wichita airport, lugging shoulder bags with my laptop and my camera stuff. Len and Maggie were picking me up—they said they’d meet me at the baggage claim.

“Which one?” I’d asked.

Maggie had laughed. “Don’t worry, we’ll find you.”

I live in Chicago, okay? Which means the airport I’m used to is O’Hare. Five terminals, like a hundred and fifty gates, and banks of screens with lists and lists of planes arriving and departing. Mobs of people, all in a hurry, lines into the restrooms, six dollar coffee and no place to sit. You have to look at more screens to figure out which baggage area your luggage will be at (hopefully), where you pay a buck to use a cart because it’s like a mile to where your car is (if you can find it). So I get off in Wichita—with a dozen people—and walk out into this empty concourse. There were only two. We stroll along past a couple fast food places, down some stairs and there’s the baggage claim. Just one. And there are Maggie and Len, and we wait about five minutes and there’s my big suitcase.

Maggie already had a cart.

“I wasn’t sure how much stuff you’d have,” she said. We trundled out the door, across the drive, and there’s the parking lot (just one) and a big, red, dusty crew-cab pickup. Len set the suitcase in the back and held out a hand for my other bags.

“Um, this is my computer and camera stuff,” I said. “Can I just keep it with me? You know, so it doesn’t bounce around too much?”

“Sure,” he said.

“You okay back there?” asked Maggie into the rear-view mirror. “Len needs to shove his seat back so far he’d squish you.” She was driving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

An Excerpt for Celebrating a Happy Book Anniversary

 November marks the 5 year anniversary of To Leave a Shadow, the first of the Pete Stone novels by Michael D. Graves. Join us in celebrating by giving the gift of Pete Stone this holiday season.

Friday, April 30, 1937

I was awakened in the morning by clanging bars and voices clamoring for breakfast. I was stiff and sore. I wasn’t hungry, but I needed a cigarette and coffee more than my next breath. I didn’t have either, so I sat up and kept breathing. I heard footsteps followed by a voice. The voice belonged to Lieutenant McCormick. The bars slid back, and he came into the cell and stood over me.

“Jesus, Stone, you look like hell.”

“That makes sense. I feel like hell. It’s a package.”

A deputy was with Mac, standing a few paces behind him. I sat up on the cot.

“Well, you’ve really screwed yourself this time, Stone,” Mac said. “What the hell were you thinking? You’ve pissed off some pretty important people. You’ll probably lose your license, and you may do some time.”

“Aren’t you the bearer of good news?” I said. “Have you got a cigarette?”

He did, and he gave me one. I inhaled deeply.

“Anything else?” I said.

“Yeah, somebody named Veatch wants you put away. He’s some big hotshot at Stearman Aircraft.”

I nodded.

“Yeah, I’ve met him,” I said.

Mac grinned.

“Well, that would explain why he hates you, I guess. You need to work on your manners, Stone. What’s up with you? Why did you break into one of their offices? I’ve got a night watchman who claims he caught you red-handed. Veatch claims you were stealing top secret plans. Veatch says you’re a threat to the security of the United States of America. I think I agree with him. I know you’re a threat to Wichita. This has something to do with that Hamilton suicide, doesn’t it?”

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

From the Publisher’s Desk: Virtual Presentations and Books you can Hold in your Hands

How many months of social distancing does it take for this publisher to get onboard with online events? Six. Or six and half, depending on what you consider day one. Shortly after my last note, I got to do an interview with Ande Bozarth of Kansas AARP. It was a whole lot of fun. Left me wanting to do more, and boy oh boy did I get the chance.

As a member of the team that helped bring the annual Kansas Authors Club convention online, I got in some Zoom training and practice and became—more or less—a convert! We are so fortunate to live in times when we have the technology for great substitutes to in-person gatherings.

In fact, our publicist, Linzi Garcia, organized a fantastic virtual book launch, our first, for Arlice Davenport and his new book of poetry, Setting theWaves on Fire. And then three Meadowlark authors and I got right to work on a presentation for the Kansas Library Association, which was also moved online this year. 

We also launched/are in the process of launching our second YA book, A Time for Tears, by Jerilynn Jones Henrikson. It’s a title that is proving popular with all ages. 

Kansas Library Association - Tracy Million Simmons, Julie Stielstra, Jerilynn Henrikson, and Michael D. Graves Presentation

 And finally, we released Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s much anticipated book of poetry this month, How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems. Talk about a release party! With the Lawrence Public Library and Raven Bookstore, Caryn had more than 100 attendees at her launch event! (Links to book launches have been added to our “In the News” page. Check them out now if you didn’t get to attend the first time.”

 So what’s on the agenda?

 We have a poetry book by Brian Daldorph, Birdy finalist in 2020, working its way toward the finish line. Watch for news on that book launch soon. We will also have the 2020 Birdy winner, J.C. Mehta, on the shelf in the coming months. Likely soon followed by the announcement of the 2021 Birdy Poetry Prize winner (deadline for submission: December 1, 2020)

 With author James Kenyon, we are wrapping up another book capturing the history and stories of closed high schools, this one featuring the state of Iowa. Follow our website updates by email for news on these releases and more (top right column of this page for signup).

 And while I’ve got you here, check out the specials we are adding to our onlinebookstore. (Keep checking back – we are adding more each week.) Double the impact when you give the gift of a book. You’ve made a reader happy, and you’ve hugged an author, too.


Much love and good reading.

Tracy Million Simmons

Meadowlark Press

Monday, November 16, 2020

Book giveaway! Tell us about How Time Moves you...

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Meadowlark Press have a gift for you! Respond to the prompt below in the comments on the webpage, our Facebook page, or our Instagram page, and you'll be eligible for a chance to win a copy of How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems.

Here's how it works: 
Win a free copy of How Time Moves by telling us about one of the best times in your life. Write your response in the comments section of our website or the original (not shared) social media post. At 7 p.m. Friday, we'll randomly choose and announce a winner. Please feel free to tag friends, too! 

Fine print: You must be at least 13 and have not already won a free copy of this book. This promotion is not sponsored, administered, or associated with Facebook and Instagram. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Author/character superstitions: HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!

As night falls on this, Friday, the 13th day of November, the year we are still enduring, 2020, superstitions may be running high. We asked our Meadowlark authors and staff if superstitions have a place in their, or their characters', lives. Here's what they had to say:

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, author of Everyday Magic and How Time Moves
    I love imagining where I was on a particular date, such as the last Friday the 13th I experienced. Or I look up when the next one might be, then project what I would like to see happening on that date. I also like asking myself where I was 10 years ago, 40 years ago, even more years ago on this particular date.

Lisa Stewart, author of The Big Quiet
    Here is a horse superstition (which has been documented and researched by acclaimed equine physical therapist and trainer Linda Tellington-Jones and animal researcher at Colorado State University Temple Grandin). It goes like this: