Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Meadowlark Reader: Pete Stone, Private Investigator

Each Wednesday we will share an excerpt from a Meadowlark book. Sign up at Feed Burner to receive Meadowlark updates by email. 

Little Did I Know

Published: March 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7342477-3-2

The Municipal University lay in the northeast part of Wichita across town from my place on Lewellen Street. I drove north a couple of blocks and noticed homes decorated in orange and black, early birds ready for Halloween. When I came to the high school, I turned east on Thirteenth. Late morning traffic was light, and I made good time. The weather was on its best behavior, as fall weather often is in Kansas. The buffeting southerly winds had abated as had the summer’s searing temperatures. Clear skies beckoned and gave a soul promise. I drove with the top down on my Jones Six roadster and breathed the crisp autumn air.
October was my favorite month. I’d told the truth to the professor about my intention to knock off for a few days. My plans involved baseball and beer, and I’d earned a break. The World Series was scheduled to open the next day, and my pal Tom would have his Motorola tuned in to the games and a stool reserved for me at the tavern bearing his name. Red Barber and his cronies would woo me with their play-by-play. I’d smoke stogies and kibitz with Tom, dine on peanuts and hotdogs, and quaff mugs of Storz beer until the final pitch signaled the end of the fall classic and the onset of the dark season, those soulless months with no baseball.
I reached Hillside and turned north toward the university. At Seventeenth, I went two blocks east to Fairmount and drove onto the campus. I had a few minutes to spare, so I rolled across campus and admired the architecture and landscaping. Trees had turned scarlet and yellow, and golden mums bloomed in well-tended flowerbeds.
The Administration Building, an imposing redbrick structure not unlike other administration buildings, greeted students and visitors. Morrison Library, where my son had spent much of his time as a student and graduate assistant, boasted columns reminiscent of the Parthenon. A new Auditorium and Commons Building was the university’s most recent addition, a welcome gathering place for students. Many of them entered and exited, smiling and chatting together. I had read that the university president, W.M. Jardine, took pride in the recent addition, and I could understand why.
The semester was fresh and alive. Students wore expressions of hope and optimism. Final exams loomed a lifetime away. The youthful enthusiasm was contagious, and I confessed to myself that the World Series wasn’t all I looked forward to that week. I also intended to call on a certain lady, the widow Lucille Hamilton.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Publishing Through a Pandemic

All Hallows' Shadows, by Michael D. Graves
 is book 3 of the Pete Stone, Private
Investigator Series. Now available in
paperback and as an ebook
wherever you buy books!

March and April were supposed to be big months for Meadowlark. We had a book release and cocktail party planned for Pete Stone fans (book 3 - All Hallows’ Shadows, now available). We had a workshop and poetry reading scheduled with Carol Kapaun Ratchenski (Birdy 2019 winner), Ruth Maus (Birdy finalist), and Cheryl Unruh. We were in the process of scheduling the release of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s master collection of poetry, How Time Moves. And very much looking forward to planning the launch of Lisa Stewart’s memoir, The Big Quiet: One Woman’s Horseback Ride Home. Also, our first YA novel, Opulence, Kansas, by Julie Stielstra, was/is scheduled to be released in June.

Needless to say, the event calendar emptied quickly with the advance of COVID-19.

I must admit, I’ve struggled with focus as I muddle through the days, trying to adjust to this new normal. It has been good to hear from Meadowlark authors, and it has been a relief as we begin to see all the many ways our creative friends are working through this pandemic.

While scheduling remains a bit topsy-turvy, I know that we will all find ourselves re-focusing when the time comes, and making the most of these quiet, calendar-free moments. Meadowlark release dates may be more in a state of flow than we would like, but our books and our events will eventually happen. Watch for some ebook specials, and—as always—books remain available for purchase in the Meadowlark online bookstore for shipment anywhere in the US. (If you are local, select “pickup” and we will make arrangements to deliver books (no contact) at no extra charge.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Announcing the Winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize - 2020

What a fantastic collection of poetry manuscripts we received for our second year of The Birdy Poetry Prize. Thank you to each and every poet who shared their work with us. It has been an honor and a pleasure.

The winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize for 2020 is:

Selected Poems: 2000-2020
JC Mehta
Hillsboro, OR

Note from the Judge:
“This Selected group of poems illuminates some harsh realities regarding identity. There are poems that smack a consciousness sideways. The poems have a real grit to them. For the reader, each poem will be an eye-opening experience.”

Poet/Professor Stanley E. Banks

Woman with patterned head scarf and large red earrings.
JC Mehta - The Birdy Poetry Prize Winner, 2020
(photo courtesy of JC Mehta)

JC Mehta’s Selected Poems: 2000 – 2020 is comprised of two decades of writing with an intense focus on space, place, and confession in post-Colonial America. Edited and curated by Brenna Crotty of CALYX journal, Selected Poems reflects one poet’s journey as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation through a search for identity and peace.

Congratulations also to our finalists and semi-finalists. Each of these manuscripts is deserving of recognition.


Kansas Poems
Brian Daldorph
Lawrence, KS

Once and Future Selves
Melissa Fite Johnson
Lawrence, KS

When to Ask for Rain
Tyler Robert Sheldon
Baton Rouge, LA

Praise the Lord and Pass the Medication
Brenda White
Emporia, KS


The House that Grief Built
Ramona Vreeland McCallum
Garden City, KS

Head of a Gorgon
Reaegen M. Pietrucha
Gainsville, FL

This World, Not the Next
William Sheldon
Hutchinson, KS

Memory’s Gate
Pamela Yenser
Albuquerque, NM

Man in front of microphone.
Stanley E. Banks (photo by Kevin Rabas)

The poet Stanley E. Banks grew up around 12th and Vine in Kansas City, and was the first in his family to go to college. Now he’s an artist in residence at Avila University, where he teaches others to express themselves through writing. In his own work, Banks captures the music, misery and hope of a youth spent in the urban core. The first 25 years of his poetry is collected in the book Blue Beat Syncopation, published by Bookmark Press.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Meet Meadowlark Intern, Hannah Tharp

Meadowlark is fortunate to get to work with students from Emporia State University. We are pleased to introduce our spring 2020 intern, 
Hannah Tharp.

Hannah is a senior at Emporia State University majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. She is a current member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, a sorority at Emporia State University. In the past, Hannah has worked for The Flint Hill Review as a student editor. She is interested in having a career in the publishing and editing field as a fiction editor. Through her internship at Meadowlark Books, she hopes to gain experience and learn about the business of publishing from the ground up. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Meet Meadowlark Authors in February

Meadowlark authors are keeping busy! Here are several options for meeting a Meadowlark author in person this month.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 3:00-5:00pm
Mike Hartnett is a panel member discussing
Writing Program for Douglas County inmates
at Kansas Authors Club, District 2 Meeting
Lawrence Public Library

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 6:30pm  Feb. 13, 6:30pm* date changed due to weather
Ruth Maus, Valentine Reading
Beck-Bookman Library
420 West 4th Street, Holton, KS

Saturday, February 15, 1:00pm
Ronda Miller presenting with Kellogg Press
When Poet Meets Editor: Books Happen
Kansas Authors Club, District 1 Meeting
Topeka Public Library

Saturday, February 22
Roy Beckemeyer and friends at
Eighth Day Books, Wichita
2838 E. Douglas Avenue

Feb. 13, 6:30pm* date changed due to weather

Monday, December 16, 2019

Ruth Maus Reading at Barnes & Noble

Ruth Maus enjoyed a warm reception at Barnes & Noble in Topeka on Saturday, December 14. Ruth read from Valentine, a finalist in the 2019 Birdy Poetry Prize competition. Valentine is available to order wherever you buy books. 

Barnes & Noble
Meadowlark Books
or purchase direct from the author

There’s a feistiness to Ruth Maus’s Valentine that I love—not irreverence or contrarianism for its own sake, but a dissatisfaction with dominant perspectives. Look at the world again from this angle, the poems insist: How does it feel to be a fossil? Don’t people play possum, too? What makes you think Humpty Dumpty wasn’t a girl? Maus poses these sneakily metaphysical questions and then proceeds to answer them, with brio and poise, in the most extravagantly musical language.

-Eric McHenry, author of Odd Evening, Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2015-2017