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Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Note from Meadowlark: September 2016

Finally! Here's a little update on Meadowlark.

A Note From Meadowlark
September 2016
Dear Friend,

What an exciting time for Meadowlark. A spot on the Kansas Notable Book list was certainly something I dreamed of accomplishing, I just never imagined it would come so soon. I was absolutely thrilled when I got the news that one of Meadowlark’s own—To Leave a Shadow, by Michael D. Graves—made the list!
If you have not had a chance to read the book, it is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon, or you can order a signed paperback copy directly from the author at the Meadowlark online bookstore.

You may be wondering what else has happened since you last heard from me in December 2015. Mostly, I’ve been distracted by a myriad of non-book related tasks, but the plan for publishing great books by Midwest authors has never been far from my mind.

In April, Meadowlark released Songs for My Father, a collection of poetry and short stories by Kevin Rabas. Songs is a beautiful book, inside and out. The cover was designed by the very talented, Eric Sonnakolb, with photography byDave Leiker. I was honored to work as editor on this project, and the interior design is one of my favorite works of book-as-art so far. As well as the beautiful paperback, Songs is available on Kindle at Amazon.

You should check out the review of Songs, as well as one of MoonStain, by Ronda Miller, in the current issue of The Flint Hills Review. The issue also contains a poem by Michael D. Graves and a short story by yours truly.

You may recall that I was collecting submissions for Meadowlark’s first anthology, the Kansas Roots collection. The spring deadline resulted in many entries and I was very pleased with the quality of most every submission. In the end, however, there were not enough submissions for the type of book I was hoping to create. Therefore, Meadowlark continues to seek submissions for this project. More details follow below in this newsletter.

Finally, I was very happy to work with two interns from Emporia State University this past summer. The original plan was for this newsy note to provide an introduction, but since I have allowed so much time to pass, I’m going to let this serve as a note of thanks for their contributions. Brittany Rees worked directly with Meadowlark, helping to build a marketing strategy and spread the word about our books and projects. Sarah Aubey has focused her energy on a project that I have dedicated myself to for several years now. The Kansas Authors Club holds an annual writing contest for youth, ages 6-18. Sarah, as a representative of Meadowlark, reviewed the entries and coordinated the judges for that contest. The youth book of winning entries is at the printer right now! I look forward to sharing that project with Kansas Authors Club and our writing youth at the annual convention in Lawrence in October. (There is still time to register for the convention, by the way. I would love to meet you there!)

My mind is busy and full with project ideas and plans for Meadowlark. As I contemplate the direction this little publishing entity will go, I welcome your input, ideas, and feedback. The remainder of this note is filled with details about Meadowlark pursuits, as well as other writerly-related passions. I can be reached at tracy@meadowlark-books.com.

Show your support for local authors by reading a local book! If you love it – share a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or simply tell all your friends!

Tracy Million Simmons
Upcoming Engagements:

There will be a reception and book signing for Michael D. Graves from 5:30-7pm on Wednesday, September 21, at Twin Rivers Winery, 627 Commercial, in Emporia.

Ronda Miller, author of MoonStain, will be reading at Poetry on the Porch on Sunday, September 25th, at The William Allen White State Historical Site in Emporia, 927 Exchange St. This is the 11th of the Poetry on the Porch series hosted by Kevin Rabas and The William Allen White House. Miller's reading begins at 2 p.m., and will follow with an open mic for additional poet readings. Meadowlark Books will be present to sell copies of Miller's bookMoonStain.

Ronda Miller is the September guest editor for Caryn Mirriam Goldberg's time + space online anthology.  Miller will have her poetic picks released each Monday in September. The poets she chose, in the order of their poetic releases, are as follows: Eve Ott, James Benger, Lindsey Martin-Bowen and David Romtvedt. These poems, and others, may be found at the following link - https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/the-house-with-the-mansard-roof-by-eve-ott/

Michael D. Graves will discuss how he used the scattered memories of his grandfather, a man he barely knew, to create the life of a character from his grandfather's place and era, a character who might have been his grandfather, a character who left a shadow. This presentation will be at the Kansas Authors Club convention in Lawrence on Saturday, October 1. More information about registering for the convention can be found at www.kansasauthors.org.

Kevin Rabas will be the November 7 presenter for the ESU Creative Writing Program "Visiting Writers Series" for Fall 2016. The talk takes place in the Preston Family Room, Memorial Union, Emporia State University, form 7-8pm. The rest of the series is as follows:
--Robert Stewart - creative non-fiction & poetry: Monday, Sept. 19
--Dennis Etzel Jr. - poetry: Thursday, Oct. 6
--Lisa Greenwood - play writing: Wednesday, Oct. 12
--Short Play Festival: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2-4 pm, Plumb Hall, rooms 407-408

A calendar of these events and others (Kansas Authors Club related) can be found on the Meadowlark website

Seeking True Stories

Click the image above to review the guidelines on the website.

What are we looking for? I want to read the stories that make you say, "Aha,that is what I love about Kansas." I want to read about people, past or present. I want to read about Kansas events and communities where people are making a difference, helping their neighbors, inspiring others to follow suit. I want to hear about your favorite place to view the big Kansas sky. Maybe you've already written such a piece. Maybe you have a subject in mind and this is the muse knocking at your door. Write it! Submit it!

Visit the Meadowlark website
Buy Meadowlark Books
Follow Meadowlark on Facebook
2016 Kansas Notable Book Awards

Meadowlark Author, Michael D. Graves, accepted the Kansas Notable Book Award from Mary Brownback at the Kansas Book Festival on Saturday, September 10.

Mike's book was one of 15 selected. The entire list can be found on the state library website.
Writing Friends and Friendly Writers... 

A few highlights from my personal calendar.
Cheryl Unruh's recent entry, In the Company of My Tribe, was especially meaningful to me. Cheryl has been an important touchstone in my writing life for more than ten years now. In this piece she talks about our recent trip to Topeka for the Kansas Notable Book Awards, but more importantly, the value of spending time with other writers and the value of sharing in other's creative energy.
Speaking of Tribes, I will be a speaker at the Kansas Authors Club convention in Lawrence this year. There is still time to register for the convention. Details can be found at www.kansasauthors.org
Emporia has a new bookstore! Ellen Plumb opened Emporia's first bookstore in 1870. Just 146 years later, our town's best indie bookstore is back. Locally owned. Fiercely independent. Visit Ellen Plumb's in person at 1101 Commercial in Emporia. 
Kansas Books on My To-Read List:

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.

Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Speak Out Against Bullies, by Heartland Poets
More than 30 Heartland poets—including two former Kansas Poet Laureates—speak out against bullying, a pervasive evil. These poems range from illustrating bullying, not only during childhood and adolescence, but illustrate bullying in the workplace, in culture, in politics, in facing the -isms (sexism, racism, ageism, able-ism, etc.), religion, marital status, military service status, animals, and, even in scientific labs for humanity’s “greater good.” And bullies can be diseases (such as cancer). And voices inside our heads may bully us, too. Some poems also reveal a bully's point-of-view.

Recently Read and Recommended:
For Want of a Father (Pierce Family Saga) volume 2, by Hazel Hart
Fathers, Daughters, and Expectations In 1859, half-sisters Lucy and Cordelia travel by stagecoach from Westport, Missouri to Kansas Territory. Since their mother’s death four years ago, both have lived with their aunt. Now Lucy’s father wants her home. For Lucy, 13, it is a dream come true. Cordelia, 17, chaperones Lucy on the trip home, then continues on the stage to Denver to search for the father she has never met. Her expectations are low, but she can’t stop the occasional dream. Will either father live up to his daughter’s expectations, or will each break his daughter’s heart?
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