April Pameticky moved to Wichita in 2003 and was swept up in the creative Vortex. The mother of two shares time between her high school English classroom and the burgeoning community of artists and writers in Kansas. She facilitated the Wichita Broadside Project 2017 and currently serves as editor of River City Poetry, an online poetry journal, and co-edits Voices of Kansas, a regional anthology of work from school-aged children across the state. Her own work can be seen in journals like Malpais Review, KONZA, Chiron Review, and Turtle Island Quarterly. She is also the author of several chapbooks, Sand River and Other Places I’ve Been (Finishing Line Press); and Anatomy of a Sea Star (Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press).
At KAC 2019, she will offer two seminars:
Let Poetry inform your Prose: The Art & Craft of Telling a Tale: How could the poetic lens inform your writing? Are there ways of training the ear and eye to better turn a narrative line? Sonya Chung, teacher and blogger, writes “Fiction is a Trudge, Poetry is a Dance” and that good literary fiction is “language-rich, language-precise, language-driven.” Is she right? We’ll explore some common poetry techniques that translate well into a variety of written forms, including memoir and long-form fiction. Attend this session and expect to do a little writing and responding to a prompt. We’ll use revision to demonstrate the power of repetition and metaphorical language.
Poet as Farmer–how journaling plants seeds of Creativity: Whether you ascribe to Natalie Goldberg’s Zen daily practice, or Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, journaling can be an incredibly productive tool. But how do writers get started? Are prompts part of the process? What of word lists? When do you know that a seed might be ready for harvest? In this session, we’ll explore sparks for creativity and examine some possible resources and activities. Expect to write and journal as part of the process.
Kansas Authors Club District 5 is pleased to host a seminar at the October convention by Dr. David A. Nichols, A “Who Dunnit – Why Dunnit” Approach to Writing History.
A William & Mary Ph.D., Dr. Nichols is a Kansas native and the author of Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy; A Matter of Justice; Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution; and Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis – Suez and the Brink of War. All Eisenhower books were published by Simon & Schuster. Nichols is also the author of Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics (Minnesota Historical Society, 2012).
Revealed for the first time, Ike and McCarthy is the full story of how President Eisenhower masterminded the downfall of the anti-Communist demagogue Senator Joseph McCarthy. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower loathed McCarthy, the powerful Republican senator notorious for his anti-Communist witch hunt. In spite of the public’s perception that Ike was unwilling to challenge the senator, the president decided that dealing with the challenges behind the scenes, operating with a “hidden hand” to bring an end to the witch hunt, was a better approach. In Ike and McCarthy, a 2018 Kansas Notable book, Nichols uses documents previously unavailable or overlooked to authenticate the extraordinary story of Eisenhower’s anti-McCarthy campaign in an eye-opening and fascinating read.
In A Matter of Justice Nichols presents a dramatic reappraisal of the thirty-fourth president’s record throughout the early years of the civil rights revolution, revealing his lesser-known role in advancing civil rights. The account traces pivotal contributions of Ike’s administration to such events as the Brown decision and the desegregation of Little Rock schools.
A gripping tale of international intrigue and betrayal, Eisenhower 1956 is the white-knuckle story of how President Dwight D. Eisenhower guided the US through the Suez Canal crisis of 1956. The crisis climaxed in a tumultuous nine-day period fraught with peril just prior to the 1956 presidential election, with Great Britain, France, and Israel invading Egypt while the Soviet Union ruthlessly crushed rebellion in Hungary. Dr. Nichols draws on hundreds of documents previously unavailable to researchers, enabling the reader to look over Ike’s shoulder and follow him day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, as he grappled with the greatest international crisis of his presidency. Nichols uses formerly top secret minutes of National Security Council and Oval Office meetings to illuminate a crisis that threatened to escalate into global conflict.
Lincoln and the Indians remains the only thorough treatment of a much-neglected aspect of Lincoln’s presidency. Placing Indian affairs in the broad context of Civil War politics and the settling of the West, Dr. Nichols covers the Sioux War of 1862 in Minnesota, the forced removal of the Navahos from their homeland to the deadly concentration camp at Bosque Redondo, and the massacre of Cheyennes by volunteer troops at Sand Creek. He also examines Lincoln’s inept handling of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory and the corrupt “Indian System” of government aid that mainly benefited ambitious whites.
Thanks in part to Nichols’ impact on the reassessment of Dwight Eisenhower as president; a poll of 193 historians in 2017 rated Eisenhower fifth among American presidents, following only Lincoln, Washington, and the two Roosevelts. David A. Nichols began his serious research and writing in his mid-60s after retiring from Southwestern College in Winfield, where he served for 25 years, including eleven as Vice President for Academic Affairs.
At the Wichita convention, Dr. Nichols will share about his most recent book (Ike and McCarthy) and related research, exploring research design, dealing with all kinds of sources, and finding a publisher. “Who Dunnit? And Why Dunnit?” You won’t want to miss his inside information and tips on meaningful research.
Twenty years ago, volunteers from the University of Kansas started a writing program for men incarcerated in the Douglas County jail. At the 2019 convention in October two leaders who are active members of Kansas Authors Club and a “graduate” of the program will share thoughts about its origin, what a typical session involves, and how everyone—inmates and leaders—benefits from the writing program. They will also read selections by a few participants.
What makes the weekly writing class the most popular activity offered to Douglas County jail inmates? Why is it consistently the largest class offered at the jail? Why does the program director often have to turn away class members when the room fills quickly? And why do the class facilitators continue to return week after week and year after year?
Many writers will affirm that writing is good therapy. In fact, that is the first reason they give to continue writing. There is something about recording words, thoughts, feelings, fears, and ideas on paper that can be cathartic and healing. People who write search for something. Perhaps they seek meaning in their lives. Perhaps they are looking for a personal identity, for a purpose, or as Sister Helen Prejean said, for “what truly matters.” What does matter? Maybe it is some semblance of control over life circumstances. Maybe it is acceptance, companionship, or bolstering a struggling self-esteem.
Perhaps it is hope, as an entry by Donndilla Da Great in the published collection Douglas County Jail Blues begins.
As I sit in my cell
I get stronger and stronger
I walk and I pace my cell
like a caged tiger
but as the unit comes to a lull
I think of hope . . .
Facilitators of the panel discussion in October include Brian Daldorph who has worked with the jail writers group since 2001. He has taught writing classes at KU since 1990. During his employment at KU, Brian taught in Japan for a year as a Visiting Professor, as well as shorter terms in England, Senegal, and Zambia. In addition, he is the publisher of Coal City Review and has published a number of books, including a book of the inmates’ writing in 2010. His most recent book of poetry, Ice Age/Edad de Hielo was published in 2017. Last year he was recognized as the Kansas Authors Club “Prose Writer of the Year” at the convention held in Salina.
Antonio Sanchez Day, formerly a participant in this project, is the only ex-con allowed to be a volunteer at the jail. He assists with the writing group as a “graduate.” He will share his perspective on writing from jail, and explain its benefits to himself and others in the program.
Mike Hartnett, a retired business journalist (magazine editor/newsletter publisher), has been a co-leader of the men’s writing group at the jail for four years. He currently serves as the president of the District 2 of the Kansas Authors Club in Lawrence.
Exposing the threads of life common to us all, this class will share emotions recorded in prison verse, and put faces of humanity on those all too easily forgotten. The panel will take one part of the theme for the 2019 convention a step further, from “Book ‘Em” to “Heal “Em.” You won’t want to miss what they have to share.
Mike Hartnett, a retired business magazine editor/newsletter publisher, currently serves as the president of Kansas Authors Club District 2 in Lawrence. At the October convention in Wichita, he will offer a seminar about his memoir And I Cried, Too. The book recalls details about his involvement in four murders that occurred in Central Illinois in the 1970s.
At the time he was an administrator at Lincoln College, in Lincoln, Illinois. Russ Smrekar, a student there, was caught burglarizing a dorm room. Hartnett expelled him and turned the evidence over to the police. Three days later Smrekar was arrested for shoplifting three pieces of meat from a local grocery store. Long story short: he killed four people who were witnesses to these misdemeanors. Hartnett was very involved with the police, testified to the grand jury, was under death threats, etc.
The college was never the same for him after that. He had been writing part-time for two area newspapers, enjoyed it, and took a job as an assistant editor for a trade magazine. But his head was filled with the murders – things that were never reported. Smrekar was eventually convicted of two of the murders. When he was dying in prison about ten years ago, he admitted to the two other murders. Those remains have yet to be found.
One of the highlights of Hartnett’s life was spending a morning with the late William Maxwell, who was the fiction editor of The New Yorker. He encouraged Hartnett to write the memoir. For a year, Hartnett wrote the saga, but about the time he was almost finished, he was promoted to editor, which meant a lot more work and travel. He put the murder manuscript aside – for about 35 years.
“About a year ago, a police detective in Illinois tracked me down in Kansas to tell me there was a new development in the case,” Hartnett said. New development? Smrekar died in prison years ago after admitting to all four murders. “The detective couldn’t tell me what the ‘new development’ was, but as we talked, it was clear we were in agreement: Smrekar probably had an accomplice for at least some of the murders.”
He decided there might be another chapter to write. Nothing new has developed, however, and he decided he better finish the book before it finished him. If all goes as planned, he will have fresh copies of And I Cried Too at the Wichita event. Coming summer/fall 2019 from http://www.meadowlark-books.com
The published book awards offered each year by Kansas Authors Club attract the best writers from around the state. It’s a big deal when a writer sees their work in print, and an even bigger deal to receive recognition for quality work. The KAC Children’s Book award, “It Looks Like a Million” design award, Martin History book award for books dealing with Kansas History, the Nelson Poetry book award, and the Coffin Memorial book award for books of all other genres are vital to the Kansas Authors Club literary contests each year. (Contest guidelines: http://www.kansasauthorsclub.weebly.com/adult-literary-contest-guidelines.html )
How do winners of these contests approach the task of crafting quality publications? If you are considering entering your recently published book in one of these contests, KAC District 5 has a class for you. For the first time at Kansas Authors Club’s annual convention this year a panel comprised of recent Coffin Memorial Book Award winners will offer ideas for polishing and perfecting manuscripts. Each panelist will share a couple of ideas which helped in writing their winning prose, followed by time for questions from those in attendance.
Panelists include Jean Grant, Gloria Zachgo, and Ann Fell. In addition, this seminar will be scheduled to allow participation by the 2019 winner. As an added bonus, keynote speaker Paul Bishop will serve as moderator for the panel discussion.
Jean Grant, received the Coffin Memorial Book Award 2018, for Flight, a novel set in the chaos of Beirut’s civil war. Finlay Fortin, a professor at the American University, is desperate to take his family to safety. When his wife, a war photographer, insists on staying to document the fighting, Finlay forces his rebellious daughter Anouk to flee with him out of the war-scarred city. As they settle in a remote village in the French countryside, Finlay finds unexpected romance. Fast-paced and suspenseful, Flight reveals how the conflicts between ambition, love, and loyalty affect this family in ways no one could have anticipated.
Gloria Zachgo received the Coffin Memorial Book Award 2017, for Hush Girl It’s Only A Dream. Nicki Reed is desperate to find the answers to her past, but someone else is desperate for her to never remember. Shortly after her father died, Nicki’s nightmares started. They were soon followed by panic attacks. Suspecting her haunting dreams were related to her childhood, she sought professional help, but was unable to verbalize any memories she had as a child. When her therapist suggested she write her memories, Nicki started remembering things she had pushed far into the recesses of her mind. She started to doubt her own sanity, and when she began to see a strange woman stalking her, she couldn’t be sure if that woman was real or imagined. Yet, she couldn’t tell anyone, until her own family was threatened.
Ann Fell, received the Coffin Memorial Book Award 2016 for Sundrop Sonata. With her passion for helping people, piano tuner Isabel Woods loves her job—but passion can be a dangerous thing. Reluctantly agreeing to harbor a client’s autistic daughter, Izzy’s good intentions unexpectedly expose her own family to a murderous fiend with a chilling agenda. Human trafficking and bio-terrorism are no longer just buzz words from the nightly news. For Izzy, they have become terrifying and real. As the deadly Sundrop Sonata begins to play, Izzy has one chance to save the people and the country she loves armed with nothing more than courage, intelligence, and her esoteric knowledge of pianos.
This October 4-6, come to Wichita and learn tips these award-winning Kansas writers decided were most helpful for the success of their stories.
Every year, all writers in Kansas, as well as any KAC member regardless of residence, are invited to submit work to the literary contest. There are divisions for young writers as well as adults. This year’s contest opens April 1. All entries must be received by June 15.
The youth contest is open to all Kansas students and to student members of KAC. Writers will compete with others at their age level in five divisions, Grades 1-2; Grades 3-4; Grades 5-6; Grades 7-8; and Grades 9-12. The categories include, Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Spoken Word Poetry. The winning entries (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention) of each category and age division will be published in a book. Each writer with work included will receive a copy. Additionally, awards will be presented during a special ceremony at the October convention in Wichita.
The adult contest offers a Poetry division and a Prose division. 2019 Poetry categories include Theme (“Hook ‘em and Book ‘em!), Classical forms, Free verse, Narrative poetry, Whimsy, Japanese forms, Performance (spoken word), and a special category for New Poets.
The 2019 Prose categories include Theme (“Hook ‘em and Book ‘em!), Humor, Memoir or Inspirational, Flash Fiction, Stories Written for Teenagers, Short Story, Playwriting, and First Chapter of a Book–unpublished.
For the first time, there is a special category available for Author’s Blogs or Web Sites. To enter this contest, authors must submit the URL of a website they maintain, a “mission statement” describing the purpose of that website, direct links to at least 3 entries or pages that the author would like to highlight, and a short paragraph detailing how and where the site is publicized and promoted.
Each year Kansas Authors Club also sponsors contests for members who have published books during the previous months. Winners of each book contest are awarded cash prizes of $100.
The Kansas Authors Club Children’s Book Award was created in 2018 to honor the best book written with an audience of children in mind.
“It Looks Like a Million” is an award which focuses on the aesthetics of a book published by a Kansas Authors Club member. The book will be judged on cover design, interior formatting and design, and over-all look and feel of the book.
The Martin Kansas History Book Award was created in 2018 as a tribute to Gail Lee Martin, who was KAC State Archivist from 1995-2005. This book award is open exclusively for books about Kansas history by KAC members.
Created by Raymond and Margaret Nelson in 2002, the Nelson Poetry Book Award recognizes the year’s best poetry book by a Kansas Authors Club poet.
The J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award was established by Mrs. Bertha Coffin to honor the memory of her husband after his death in 1978. It is intended to honor the best published book for the year written by a member of Kansas Authors Club.
Michael Graves recently retired from Emporia State University where he taught Intensive English to international students and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses to teachers in Kansas. He has written two detective novels set in 1937 Wichita: To Leave a Shadow (a Kansas Notable Book for 2016) and Shadow of Death, published in December of 2017. Both books feature the character of detective Pete Stone, created as a memorial to the author’s grandfather. When life conjures its riddles, Mike turns to back roads and baseball for answers.
His grandfather’s last words, uttered over fifty years ago, inspired the author to create a life in honor of a man he barely knew. In his presentation, “A Life in the Shadows,” Graves will read excerpts from his historical novels, To Leave a Shadow and Shadow of Death. He will discuss the story, the character, and the place, as well as the research, backstory, and truth vs. fiction. A Q&A session will follow his presentation.
To Leave a Shadow, introduces detective Pete Stone. He hadn’t always been a private eye. He’d lost his dairy business at the toss of a coin when the depression hit. His children grew up, as children do, and his wife left him for a chinchilla farmer. He had learned to like his solitude. When Mrs. Lucille Hamilton walked through his door searching for her missing husband, Pete was the only one who believed her husband’s death hadn’t been a suicide.
In the next novel, a cop killer strikes Wichita and Pete Stone, Private Investigator, is on the case. He has to be. He wakes up in jail, battered and bruised and accused of a murder he’s almost certain he didn’t commit. He must prove his innocence before he’s abandoned by his clients, his friends, and one special lady. When Stone is not getting knocked around by cops, he’s getting roughed up by love.
A unique opportunity awaits the 2019 conference attendees. Coordinating with the City of Wichita, KAC District 5 is arranging a trolley tour of several settings found in the historical Wichita crime novels. You won’t want to miss the tour, personally guided by the author himself.
KAC’s District 5 is pleased to include attorney and acclaimed Wichita author Tracy Edingfield as a presenter in Wichita.
Ms. Edingfield graduated from the University of Kansas, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with Distinction. Later she graduated from the School of Law at KU with a Juris-doctorate Degree. Throughout her lengthy legal career, she has been a public defender, prosecutor, litigator, and mediator. Her practice primarily focused on divorce work before she retired early to write Historical Romances and Middle Grade Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels. Ms. Edingfield is an Amazon Best Selling Author.
One of her passions is helping other writers achieve their goals. She has organized Writers of the Wheat Literary Festivals in Wichita to showcase local authors and their books.
At the Wichita Kansas Authors Club Convention in October, Ms. Edingfield will share tips on luring readers into your stories through emotional appeal. She explains, “Great writing pulls your reader into the story. Creating that vortex means mastering the emotional draw of a scene. In this class, you will learn to use an Emotion Color Wheel and how to best choose words to lure the reader into your story.”
Under the name Tracy Dunn, she wrote two Middle Grade Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels. Alex & the Immortals relates the tale of Alex, his brother Dillon and their friends.
Teleported to Asteroid Eros, Alex and his friends learn the ancient arts of bottling lightning and mental telepathy from Pegasus, Cyclops, sea monsters and gorgons. The Dark Master has sent an evil shape-shifter to devour our planet, but the kids from Kansas are on the front lines of the battle. Will the bonds of brotherhood and friendship be enough to save the world?
The challenges continue for Alex in the sequel, Alex & the Lost Souls. During the Battle of Eros, Alex and his friends become separated; some are captured and turned into slaves while others are forced underground. Cyclops, Pegasus, and the gorgons continue teaching the Kansas kids about telekinesis and levitation, but Alex has lots of worries plaguing him. Not only is there a traitor in their midst, but the Dark Master has taken human form…and needs Dillon’s soul. If Alex fails, he will lose friends, his brother, and even his own soul.
Tracy Edingfield’s first adult novel, The Law Firm of Psycho & Satan, takes an unflinching look at the practice of law.
New associate, Cooper Bach, must deal with devastating loss while juggling the demands of her clients and the relentless pursuit of billable hours. Will she emerge from this crucible as another hired gun? A grumpy judge, an addict, and a sexy bartender have something to say about that.
The historical romance Prudence tells the story of old friends who discover love and sacrifice.
Preoccupied with politics in London, Viscount Eldon Foley returns home to discover his old chum wearing spinster caps. Eldon brings her to town so she can enjoy a holiday. Prudence has loved Eldon for years. But in London, Viscount Foley is viewed as one of England’s political power players. His lordship is out of her league. Embarrassed by her naïveté, Prudence realizes Eldon needs a wife who will offer him more than she can. In London’s sophisticated circles, love and friendship simply aren’t enough.
In A Governess’ Lot, Charles Dryden anticipates his new life as he returns from war. He has a relationship to mend with Arianna, a daughter he’s not quite sure is his, and her governess is determined he’ll be a good father. Charles doesn’t appreciate Miss Winsome Montgomery’s bossy ways. Her first meeting with Mr. Dryden, she’s convinced he’s a flirtatious drunkard with a gambling problem. She has no intention of marrying the rascal, but she’s developing tender feelings for the rogue.
The October seminar will introduce the Emotion Color Wheel. Don’t miss her presentation on “Wringing that Last Drop of Blood” from your words. If you’d like to contact Tracy, you may do so through any of the following methods: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @TEdingfield, or Facebook: Tracy Edingfield, Writer.
Dan Close is an associate professor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State. He has taught many forms of journalism for 30 years and presented at conferences nationwide. Close was a reporter and editor at The Wichita Eagle and other newspapers for a dozen years. He is the winner of national and regional awards for writing and reporting. Close covered multiple homicides, F-5 tornadoes, race riots, union strikes, plane crashes, ice storms, flooding, the homeless, the elderly, and the mentally ill. He has interviewed four presidents and many music celebrities. He has been editorial consultant or editor for three books, including Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door [HarperCollins, 2007].
At the 2019 KAC convention in Wichita, Close will offer a seminar on The Future of Fake News.
“Fake news is not new, folks,” he says. “It’s been around as long as politicians and the media have sparred, and as long as the public has been gullible enough to be fooled by sensational stories. We will take a brief look at its ugly past, how it affects us presently — and more importantly, where Fake News is headed. You won’t believe some of the things that are being predicted. Hint: Technology will not be our friend when it comes to discerning the difference between truth and alternative realities. Will include handouts, and possibly a quick game, to help you figure out what’s real. How is this going to affect your writing? We will kick that around, too.”
Have you ever wondered how to start a blog? How to keep it alive? What to write about? What makes a blog “successful”?
At the October convention, Kansas Authors Club District 5 will host a seminar with a panel of successful bloggers. Each panelist is invited to share their personal blogging story, focusing on what makes a blog attractive to followers. After their short presentations, class attendees will be able to ask questions and receive thoughtful answers from the experts.
Nancy Julien Kopp writes creative nonfiction, poetry, children’s fiction and articles on writing. She has been published 22 times in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and other anthologies as well as magazines and newspapers. She has blogged for ten years about her writing world with tips and encouragement for writers. www.writergrannysworld.blogspot.com
Joy Hathaway Lenz blogs at www.writejoywrite.blogspot.com
Joy is a mother, teacher, and writer in Winfield, Kansas. She blogs about nature, politics, faith, and family. She especially enjoys writing poetry and essays, often illustrated with her own photography.
Jim Potter (www.jimpotterauthor.com) writes memoir, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and articles on writing. He’s published Taking Back the Bullet, a contemporary novel; Cop in the Classroom, a police memoir; and Under the Radar, an award-winning play. Potter writes and records a weekly blog/podcast at jimpotterauthor.com. His subjects include writing, history, bios, and book reviews. His specialty is interviewing. Jim lives outside Hutchinson with his sculptor wife, Alex, where they grow sandburs, raise grasshoppers, and create art.
What does a mommy blogger do if she missed the mommy-blogging avalanche of the last century? She writes about the empty nest. MomQueenBee (Sara Severance Weinert) prattles about readjusting to life without four sons in the House on the Corner, and has opinions on many things. She tries to be amusing. (editor note: And often succeeds to the delight of her readers!)
If you have questions about how to manage a blog, you won’t want to miss this panel.