Boyd Bauman grew up on a small ranch south of Bern, Kansas, with his dad the storyteller and his mom the family scribe. He has published two books of poetry: Cleave and Scheherazade Plays the Chestnut Tree Café. After stints in New York, Colorado, Alaska, Japan, and Vietnam, Boyd now is a librarian and writer in Kansas City, inspired by his three lovely muses. Visit him at boydbauman.weebly.com.
Cathy Callen was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Since then, though, she has lived mostly in Kansas. Her father worked for Southwestern Bell, and every time he was promoted, the family got to see more of Kansas. They lived in Sunflower, Manhattan, Hays, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita. Her career as a teacher and special education coordinator with Topeka Public Schools kept her in the state for more than thirty years. After retiring, she moved to Lawrence with her soon-to-be husband, Barry, and it is her current favorite Kansas location. She likes the Lawrence Busker Festival, the Art Tougeau parade, the library, The Raven Bookstore, the political environment, the summer pooch swim, Liberty Hall, Wheatfield’s Bakery, and walking on the KU campus and in her friendly neighborhood.
Annabelle Corrick was born and raised in Topeka, lived in five other Kansas towns and three other states, returned to Topeka the last decade, and currently resides in Columbia, Missouri. She earned advanced degrees from Emporia State University and Kansas State University and was the Kansas Authors Club 2015 Prose Writer of the Year. Her writings have appeared in The Poet’s Art, 2016 Kansas Voices Writing Contest, Well Versed, and other publications. Her most awesome Kansas experience has been standing against the wind and viewing the vast vista of western Kansas where her paternal grandparents pioneered.
Michael Durall grew up in the thriving metropolis of Pawnee Rock, Kansas, population 250. He was the champion sentence diagrammer in his sixth grade English class, which eventually led to his writing nine books about his work as a consultant to nonprofit organizations. He lives in Salina and writes a weekly column for the Salina 311 newspaper and has recently published a book of essays from local residents for the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission on the theme of The Day That Changed My Life Forever.
Mark O. J. Esping first lived in a Swede-Town in Pottawatomie County. He graduated from Bethany, a Swedish-Lutheran College. He reprinted NEQUA, a feminist sci-fi novel first published in Topeka, Kansas, in 1900. Mark directed www.folklifeinstitute.com, a nonprofit, and two N.E.A. Folk Art grants. His work has appeared in The Clarion Folk Art, Country Living, Scandinavian Review, Victorian Homes, and Hemslöjden. He is an Eagle Scout and a veteran. He and his wife share a home in Merriam, Kansas, with three near-feral cats. Twin deer occasionally graze in their backyard. Mark tells stories, true stories, with a humorous nature and a hint of morality. In collection they are packets of maps that are Near Invisible, Like Footprints in Ever Shifting Sand.
Beth Gulley first moved to Newton, Kansas, when she was two. Her family moved to Latin America, but Beth returned to the Olathe area for college where she met her husband. They moved to Paola, Kansas, to raise their family. Beth has advanced degrees from UMKC and the University of Kansas. She teaches writing at Johnson County Community College. Her recent writing is included in Kansas City Voices, Dragonfly Magazine, Kansas Speaks Out, and The Write Bridge. She has published three full-length poetry collections: The Sticky Note Alphabet, Dragon Eggs, and The Love of Ornamental Fish. She currently resides in Spring Hill, Kansas, which gives her easy access to Hillsdale Lake where she enjoys trail running and fishing.
Carolyn Hall is an award-winning author who grew up on a farm outside Olmitz, Kansas. Her childhood on the farm provided wonderful memories which she shared in her book, Prairie Meals and Memories: Living the Golden Rural. It was named to the Kansas Sesquicentennial’s Best 150 Books list. Her stories and poems have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Christian Science Monitor, The Kansas City Star, and various anthologies. She lives in Lenexa, Kansas.
Jerilynn Jones Henrikson, a retired English teacher, has always loved teaching, telling, reading, watching, and writing stories. To date, Jerilynn has published nine children’s picture books, an adult memoir, and a young adult historical fiction novel. Her work reflects her sense of humor, love of words, and talent for detail. Jerilynn finds her inspiration in the rolling hills of east central Kansas. No matter the subject of a current work, she is motivated by the people, history, and changing seasons of this place. As a student of history and language, she enjoys traveling to beautiful places. But ultimately, she finds the greatest joy in travel is coming home. www.prairiepatchwork.com
Thomas N. Holmquist is a fifth-generation farmer and rancher near Smolan, Kansas. He also is a retired teacher in the Smoky Valley School District having taught music, American History, and agriculture for forty-four years. He has also published three books, including Pioneer Cross, Swedish Settlements Along the Smoky Hill Bluffs, Bluestem, a novel, and Salemsborg, A History of the Salemsborg Church and Community, Volume 1, 1869-1939, for which he won the Award of Commendation for Lutheran Church History from the Augustana Historical Association. Tom has several writing projects in the works in between feeding cows, putting up hay, and planting and harvesting crops.
Deb Irsik was the owner of Makin’ Waves Salon in Emporia, Kansas, and retired from the beauty industry after twenty-five years. She is a Kansas girl and shares her life with her husband Mike, and children John and Emily. Deb is a member of the Kansas Authors Club and Emporia Writers Group. Deb’s favorite thing about Kansas is the people. “Most people in Kansas have a strong work ethic and family values. The beautiful Flint Hills and Kansas sunsets are second to none. What’s not to like?” Poetry and lyrics have always been part of her life, but she felt a call to write middle-grade Christian fiction after her daughter found it difficult to be “that God girl” in eighth grade. “It is my hope that my books will encourage young people to hold onto values and faith as they navigate their teen years.” Deb’s “Heroes by Design” series was completed in 2020, and she hopes to dedicate her time to creating a book of poetry and continuing to write essays, prose, and fiction. Deb can be found online: facebook.com/D.A.Irsikauthor, Twitter:@Writerwannabe1, www.dairsik.com, amazon.com/author/dairsik, https://instagram.com/debirsik/
Miriam Iwashige lives on a three-acre property outside of Partridge, Kansas, near where her preacher-farmer dad and mom raised twelve children. She aims to live large from this small place, just as the land and sky around the property suggest. Reading, earning a bachelor’s degree, teaching, conversing, and traveling have often fostered large living, as did homeschooling her children and investing deeply in many aspects of homemaking, gardening, animal husbandry, nature study, and church and community life. She and her Japanese-immigrant husband parented three sons who all live nearby right now. Those who have joined their sons’ families through marriage or birth (nine grandchildren!) spent childhood years in such diverse places as Bangladesh, Kenya, El Salvador, and Washington state.
Sally Jadlow grew up in Ft. Scott, Kansas. After marriage, she and her husband moved to Overland Park. Teaching creative writing for the Kansas City Writers Group is one of her joys. She writes historical fiction, inspirational stories, devotionals, and poetry. Sally has published thirteen books. Her work has appeared in many compilations including Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Her books are available on Amazon.com. Sally also loves to bake, cinnamon rolls, her specialty. Family Favorites from the Heartland contain her favorite recipes. The eastern Kansas countryside with its gently rolling hills claims Sally’s most favorite area of the state. She believes what Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home,” is true—if you live in Kansas.
Amy Deckert Kliewer has lived her entire life in Kansas. She grew up in Pawnee Rock, Kansas, and went to high school in Larned. After attending Bethel College and graduating from the University of Kansas, Amy lived and worked in the Kansas City metro area as a civil engineer. Recently retired, Amy and her husband moved to North Newton to enjoy the smalltown feeling and be close to family. She is enjoying exploring her Next Chapter.
Nancy Julien Kopp grew up in the Chicago area and moved to Kansas, her adopted state and home, in 1975. She started writing in her mid-fifties, realizing a long-held dream. She has been published in many anthologies, including twenty-three times in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, in addition to publication on websites, in magazines, and in newspapers. She writes creative nonfiction, including personal essays and short memoir pieces, and also poetry, short fiction for children, and articles on the craft of writing. Nancy and her retired husband live in Manhattan, Kansas, and are strong supporters of all things K-State. She is mother to two and grandmother to four. She is a voracious reader and enjoys playing bridge. www.writergrannysworld.blogspot.com
Marilyn Hope Lake, PhD, writes short fiction, poetry, plays and children’s picture books. She has many awards for writing, including through the Kansas Authors Club contests. Dr. Lake’s first-place story, “Harry’s Stone,” was published in Words Out of the Flatlands; Kansas Writers Association. Lake has been published in Rock Springs Review, STIR, Well-Versed: Literary Works, the Gasconade Review, and the Mizzou Alumni Magazine. Marilyn lived in Hutchinson, Kansas, from 2002-2017, is a Kansas Authors Club ten-year member, and was a facilitator of the 2014 Annual Conference. Her Kansas favorites are the Wichita Art Museum, State Fair, Underground Salt Mine, Delos V. Smith Senior Center, Hutchinson, and others. Although she misses her Kansas friends, she is happy to live with her dog, Hugo, and near family in Columbia, Missouri.
A Kansan through and through, Sandee Lee celebrates being published in every edition of 105 Meadowlark Reader. Her favorite writing topic for nonfiction and fiction is Kansas. The turmoil of the mid-1800s in the Lawrence area is the topic of her current fiction project. Relaxing on her porch with her two border collies lying by her feet and watching cattle graze on the hillside is where you’ll find Sandee most evenings except in the winter months. From that porch she can observe the homestead where her family has lived since 1925.
Errin D. Moore, an emigrant from Montana, has called Kansas home for eight years. She lives in the Flint Hills near Leon with her husband, infant son, and eighteen-year-old stepson—along with their menagerie of chickens, turkeys, geese, pigs, and an overabundance of cats. She fell in love with the unique beauty Kansas offers, most especially the magnificent sunsets. Errin and her husband own Able and Ready Appliance Repair. She runs the office from home while raising Oliver. She was a teacher and administrator for nineteen years, and she owned and operated a bookstore in El Dorado. Her humorous, touching, and unique sense of voice is especially effective when she writes about the joys and challenges of being a first-time mother at the age of forty-four.
Audrey Phillips is a Kansan through and through. She grew up in Overland Park, attended the University of Kansas, and is now living in Kansas City, Missouri. Audrey loves to represent her favorite parts of being a Kansan by cheering on her Jayhawks or Chiefs or Sporting Kansas City. Audrey loves Kansas because of the way everyone feels like family here. She is a proud midwesterner and strives to promote the kindness that midwesterners possess. She has always loved to write, even from a young age. She was and continues to be inspired by her famous Aunt Mary-Lane Kamberg who has published many books in her time as an author. Even though now she lives right across the state line, Kansas will always be her home.
Cynthia Schaker (Cindy), a retired Kansas educator of thirty-seven years, grew up on a farm outside of Hamilton, Kansas, in Greenwood County. Cindy taught grades six through eight at Towanda Grade School and served as school counselor at Circle Middle School in Butler County. One of her favorite places in Kansas is the Flint Hills because they remind her of going home. She currently resides in El Dorado, Kansas, with her rescue dog Moxie. Cindy does volunteer work in the Gift Shop at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital in El Dorado. She serves as President of the SBAMH Auxiliary. She loves humorous writing and penning stories from her childhood. She recently had her humorous murder mystery play performed at Cardinal Creek Farm in Butler County.
Julie A. Sellers was raised in the Flint Hills near the small town of Florence, Kansas. She currently resides in Atchison, Kansas, where she is an Associate Professor (Spanish) and Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Benedictine College. Julie’s creative work has appeared in publications such as Cagibi, Wanderlust, Unlost, The Write Launch, and Kansas Time + Place. Julie was the 2020 Kansas Authors Club Prose Writer of the Year, and the Overall Poetry Winner (2022) and Overall Prose Winner (2017, 2019) of the Kansas Voices Contest. She is the author of Kindred Verse: Poems Inspired by Anne of Green Gables (Blue Cedar Press, 2021) and the novel, Ann of Sunflower Lane (Meadowlark, 2022).
Perry Shepard is a Vietnam veteran who has written two novels: The Hero versus Me and Monkey Jo, and Hard Love. He co-wrote two plays in the anthology titled Annabelle. He won a second-place award in Eber and Wein’s Best American Poetry of 2013, and an honorable mention in Writer’s Digest 84th annual Poetry Competition. Perry is a member and former District 2 president of Kansas Authors Club. He makes his home in Eudora, Kansas.
A month after the sudden death of her second husband, Anne L. Spry had a mystical dream that detailed a new business based on capturing personal history for writing memoir. She had already begun publishing books through Createspace for herself and others following a twenty-seven-year career as a newspaper publisher and editor. Since the fortuitous dream, Spry and partner Cheri Battrick have developed a DIY Memoir Kit and Spry has expanded her book publishing to some two dozen titles under the Personal Chapters LLC banner. They include children’s books, memoir and fiction, and a few titles authored by Spry. Anne serves as President of District 1 of Kansas Authors Club and produces a newsletter for that group and another for a local Sweet Adelines group. She is married to a retired military pilot, and they live on a family acreage south of Topeka where Anne spent her first five years.
Chuck Warner is a lifelong Kansan. After growing up in Wichita, he has lived in Lawrence since first attending the University of Kansas in the 1960s. With business and law degrees, he embarked on a nearly forty-year career in business and banking. After he retired in 2008, he began writing about his maternal grandfather and in 2019 Birds, Bones, and Beetles: The Improbable Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker was published by the University Press of Kansas. In 2020 his book was recognized as a Kansas Notable book, and also won awards for the best Kansas history and best book layout from the Kansas Authors Club, and was a finalist in the High Plains Book Awards.
Barbara Waterman-Peters is an artist by training and a writer by chance. Both pursuits have come together over the years in her articles about art and artists for such publications as Topeka, Kansas, and New Art Examiner magazines, in her book cover paintings for authors such as Marcia Cebulska’s Watching Men Dance, and in her collaborations with poets, most recently, Two Ponders: A Collaboration with Dennis Etzel, Jr. Co-owner of Pen & Brush Press with author Glendyn Buckley, Waterman-Peters illustrated their first two children’s books, The Fish’s Wishes and Bird which won awards from Kansas Authors Club. She co-wrote and illustrated their third book, TING & the Caterbury Tales, which came out this spring. Recently her fiction piece, “The Critique,” appeared in The Pen Woman and her creative non-fiction and poetry have been included in several anthologies. She lives in Topeka and her studio is in the NOTO Arts & Entertainment District. She spent five years living in rural Jackson County and Holton.
Cat Webling is an actress and author based in Kansas. She loves everything mad and macabre, philosophical and silly, so that’s exactly what she writes! Scifi, fantasy, and poetry are her mainstays when she’s not writing about literature, theater, gaming, or fan culture. She currently has a novel, a couple of short story collections, and several poetry collections under her belt. She works as an editor for SUPERJUMP Magazine, is an active member of the Kansas Authors Club, and daylights as a copywriter for hire. Cat writes from her home in Russell, which she shares with her loving partner, adorable son, and several very cute cats. You can find her work at www.catwebling.com.
- Remember that our themes are simply prompts to spur your essays. There are so many directions you can go. Surprise us. Engage us. Help us remember what it was like to tame a nest of wild kittens. How did mom react when those kits turned out to be skunks? Ever snuggle with a turtle? Communicate with an owl? Swim with your pet snake?
- Personal essays are welcome, but we are also looking for interviews, journalistic pieces, and more. Do you know a veterinarian who deserves the spotlight? Is there an animal shelter leading the way whose operations deserve to be highlighted? There are so many true stories that need to be told.
- Remember, It must be a true story that happened, all or partially, in Kansas. Can your story leave the boundaries of Kansas? Sure! But you must show us that Kansas connection!