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District 5 News 2006

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District #5


Member News 2006:

Dec. Member News: Colleen Kelly Johnston Mike Klaassen
      Raymond NelsonRoxie OlmsteadAnnette Wood
Nov. Member News: Arlene Rains Graber
      — Colleen Kelly Johnston
Roberta LampeNancy Mehl
      — L. Kathleen NelzenRoxie Olmstead 1 & 2
      — Ray Racobs 1 & 2Robert D. SimisonAnnette Wood
Oct. Member News: Ralph AllenChristie Breault
      Mike Klaassen — Jane Kurtz 1 & 2Billy McCray
       Nancy MehlRoxie OlmsteadRay Racobs
      Annette WoodJames D. Wright
Sept. Member News: Raymond Nelson
Aug. Member News: Jane Kurtz
Jul. Member News: Nancy Mehl
Jun. Member News: Conrad Jestmor Mike Klaassen
May Member News: Robert Beattie Evelynn Boal
      — Julia DagenaisRaymond Nelson
Apr. Member News: Colleen Kelly Johnston
      — Arlene Rains GraberMike Klaassen — Jane Kurtz
      — Nancy Mehl
Roxie Olmstead — Ray Racobs
Robert D. Simison Annette Wood
Mar. Member News: Christie Breault Irene Cox-Pearce
Mike Klaassen Margaret P. MorrisonRoxie Olmstead
         Ray Racobs Dr. James Wright
Feb. Member News:
Mike Klaassen Nancy Mehl
         Roxie OlmsteadAnnette Wood

Jan. Member News:
Ted FarmerConrad Jestmore
         Bill JohnsonMike Klaassen
Gail Martin 1 & 2
         Emma Miller
Cynthia RossNancy Mehl
         Roxie Olmstead
Roberta D. SimisonAnnette Wood

Profile: Christie Breault

Christie BreaultI joined Kansas Authors Club in 1996 after attending a workshop led by Dr. Nelson. My writing at that time was mostly cathartic because the year prior, I had been diagnosed with a rare lung disease called Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. They told me I would be lucky to see my then two-year-old go to kindergarten. I realized there was no support group in Kansas because only two people in every million are diagnosed each year. I started a group and have been the Kansas Support Group Leader since 1996. Writing poetry and prose proved very helpful in stressful times. After going to the May Clinic in 1995 and stabilizing my disease, I was able to concentrate on writing. Placing in KAC contests gave me the encouragement I needed to submit to national magazines.

Later I joined KAC member Iris Cox-Pearce in organizing a writing contest for a local grade school. This contest gets bigger and better every year. Last year’s submissions exceeded 350 entries. From there I volunteered to take over for Frankie Roland and cover the Writers in Schools chair in 2003. In 2005 I chaired the WIS as well as the youth contest organizer position. The culmination of the contest was a published book, dedicated in memory of Margaret Nelson, who inspired my own service to Kansas youth.

I am currently on a transplant list for new lungs, however, with the help of new medicines, I would like to put that operation off as long as possible. Writing Logan West: Printer's Devil by Christies Breaulthas helped me work from home and create my own legacy. KAC was very instrumental in helping me accomplish this. My first children’s book was recently released by Mondo Publishing, an educational publisher from NY. Logan West: Printer’s Devil is about a twelve-year-old boy who travels to Wichita, Kansas in 1874 from St. Louis. His struggles with his father and adjust to a cowtown are worked out in his own writing and apprenticeship, also referred to as a devil, at the Wichita City Eagle. Wyatt Earp is in town and helps Logan find his own path. The book is now available to schools and librarians and will be available in trade markets after the first of next year. My first booksigning was held at Watermark Books in Wichita on October 21, from 2-4 p.m. By the way, my own son, Logan Breault, is twelve and I’m enjoying watching him in middle school!

Profile: Cynthia (Cindy) Ross

Cynthia RossI’m a member of Kansas Authors Club & have been writing for about fifteen years, thanks to the wonderful invention of spell-check. My interests in writing are fiction, children, romance, mystery, humor, poetry, especially haiku. You may have noticed my car’s license plate is HAIKU. I’ve been a past president and vice president of 5th district. On the state level I’ve held the offices of membership, writers in the school and merit chairman.

Happy married to Larry Ross, a process engineer at Frontier Refinery in El Dorado, for thirty-seven years. We met while in 4-H and now have two married daughters and three grandchildren. Our daughters carried on the tradition and both became 4-H members. Through the girls’ growing up years we traveled the state collecting rocks and insects and leaves for their different projects.

My hobby is the study of nature, especially birds. In 2004 we bough a thirty-year-old log home on three weeded acres near Towanda, not far from where my husband grew up on a farm. I’d noticed this house long before it ever came on the market. Then when touring the yard, I spotted a honeycomb of bees in the crevice of a tree curved like a big C. That confirmed this was the home for me. I do first person performance as Gene Stratton-Porter, an early 1900’s author, whose books I’ve read and collected since 1965.

2006 Convention Report

By Cynthia Ross, District 5, Towanda

    For me the best part of the convention is visiting with other writers from across the state, many of whom have become like family through the years. The Kansas Authors Club Convention, September 29, 30, and October 1st, hosted by Fourth District in Junction City, was a great success. The Youth Contest Awards were presented Friday night at the same time as the annual Read-A-Round. Their theme was “Paint Your Canvas with Words.” At the Saturday night banquet, Christie Breault from Fifth District was honored with a Service Award. The keynote speaker was Jonathan Holden, Kansas’s first poet laureate.
    After the Sunday contest winners were announced, Fifth district members presented an invitational skit. The group sang to the tune of “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In,” only the word ‘Saints’ was changed to ‘Writers.’ A Kansas map with a heart in the middle, highlighted our 2007 theme of “Pen Life as Art, Write from the Heart.” Several of us had hearts shaped like the Kansas Authors Club symbol with the song printed on the back. These same props will be used again next year at the beginning of our convention. Those in the skit were Roxie Olmstead, Cindy Ross, Gail Martin, Raymond Nelson, David Cloud, Julia and Ralph Dagenais. Plan on being one of the writers marching in at our convention in 2007.

Welcome New District 5 Members:
Virginia Hayes, Wichita. Writes poetry. 11/12/06
June Fuentes, Lindsborg. Author of the children’s book, Maria’s Secret. 6/19/06
Susan Howell, Wichita. Owner/editor Kansas Traveler; writes journalism, non-fiction and poetry. 6/19/06
Kathy Lenhart, Wichita. Publications in Wichita Eagle, Abilene newspaper, and Plymouth Brethren Assembles. Writes children’s, fiction, journalism, poetry and religion. 6/19/06
Don Mahanay, Wichita. Writes fiction and is the author of Eagle Woman .6/19/06
L. Kathleen Nelzen, Newton. Author of the novel, Imagine That. Also writes fiction, memoirs and non-fiction. 6/19/06
Ann Parr, Lindsborg, Gordon Parks: No Excuses. Contract books for Chelsea house and Capstone Press. Also writes children’s and non-fiction .6/19/06
Beverly Snodgrass, Wichita. Poetry and religion. Returning member. 6/19/06
Ralph Walker, Wichita. Writes memoirs, poetry and song lyrics. Published in History of Ozark Co.,The Way It Was, and Active Aging. 6/19/06
Gloria Watkins, Wichita. Writes poetry. 6/19/06

Book Review

Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story by Christina Baldwin, published by New World Library, 14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949, 2005, 264 pages, paperback, approximately $25.

By Pat Healy, District 5, Wichita

    When my book club offered this book, I was intrigued by the title. As a student of memoir writing, I need help in writing my story and in leading a group of memoir writers at the Downtown Senior Center.
    This paperback lived up to my expectations. Using a pleasant format with pertinent quotations sprinkled as nuggets on nearly ever page, Ms. Baldwin share many stories from her life and from lives of other interesting people from all over the world.
    Here own memoir material graces the pages. Her family operated a bee-keeping business. Her grandfather explained how clear their honey was by having her look through a jar of honey to read a Biblical passage. She writes, “’Good,’ he said, and where he touched my hair I though it smelled of honey. And where he touched my heart, there is honey still.”
    After each chapter the author presents several activities to stimulate the reader’s story catching/storytelling skills. An example is to describe one of your earliest memories, addressing all the five senses. Another idea is to write a dialogue between yourself and someone you love who “took a different path.”
    To end each chapter, she addresses the reader directly by asking a question then saying, “Tell me that story. Let’s start there.”
    Armed with a hundred new ideas I’m ready to resume writing my memoir. And the Senior Center Memoir Writing group will benefit, using many of the suggestions offered by Ms. Baldwin.
    I may already be a storycatcher. I have so many stories to tell. Let’s start there.

Interview with KTQW

By Ann Everett , District 5, Wichita

    Writing is a silent, introspective labor of love. Writers love words, research and the rhythm of keyboard strokes. As a life passenger in my desk chair, I view the world of squirrels seasonal colors and our beagle patrolling the fence line. When ready to write, I turn from office windows to the computer window. Quiet, Private. Satisfying.
    Quite natural in my head or flowing onto paper, words stumble awkwardly from my lips. When asked by Brenda Medlam, owner of Delano Book Room and facilitator for “Kansas Stories,” to give an interview, flashing into my mind were the Shirley Temple sons I memorized and performed beginning at age four, my high school speech classes with quit-while-you’re-ahead jokes as my trademark endings, and my terror each time I gave speeches for the arts association, United Methodist Women or the Family Resource Exchange. Regardless of how well I organized my thoughts or how well I memorized the material, I always experienced stage fright.
   The Kansas Stories interview differed from past experiences. First of all, I would be recorded and a poor performance would not disappear into the vapors of time. Secondly, the subject of my book was Alzheimer’s Disease and caregiving, two issues closest to my heart. Oh, the terror.
    My interview concerns were surprise questions and brain freeze. Brenda accepted some questions generated from my past speeches. Anxiety lessened. Once catapulted into dialogue as the camera began to roll, I forgot my fear.
    Like many of life’s best experiences I learned new things. I have a new interest in KTQW-CA Channel 49 and a greater appreciation for the Delano Book Room and Brenda Medlam’s support of Kansas authors.
    KTQW, a Garvey property, was nationally recognized for local programming in 2002. The station won five out of six wards for excellence at the Community Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas.
    KTQW is not currently on local cable. The Delano Book Room at 811 West Douglas in the historic Delano District boasts a large selection of new and used books.. They host Sister’N Crime, book signings and actively support events in the area.
    Hooray for leaving the desk chair to face fear. Hooray for TV Stations and bookstores with standards of excellence. Hooray for words that connect us.

Recent Publications —Posted 6/19/06

Claire Sorensen Northern Starr Mar/Apr2006 “Running Away.”
Claire Sorensen Simply Words Fall/Winter 2005 Poems “My Sister Iva,” “Enriched Day.”
Ray Racobs “Do You Want to Expostulate?” Grizzly’s ‘This ’N That
Roxie Olmstead “My Clothespins are Semi-Retired,” in May 2006, Kansas Senior Times;“Bodarc Block goes on the auction block,” April-June 2006, Kanhistique; first in annual Jessie Perry Stratford contest sponsored by Butler County Historical Society for “Bodarc Community Churches and Cemeteries;” and “Everything Old is New Again,” article in May The Best Times.
Ralph Walker “ Culture of Correction,” poem in April Active Aging.

Congratulations to Favorite 5th District Kansas Poets
mentioned in the The Wichita Eagle, April 2006:

Raymond Nelson, nominated by Roxie Olmstead, Augusta
Evelynn Merilatt Boal, nominated by Delores Kile Smith, Wichita
Julie Dagenais, nominated by Caroline Johnson, Wichita
Colleen Kelly-Johnston, nominator not recorded

In Memoriam
Fern Pankratz Ruth
, District 5, North Newton, died on March 11, 2006. She had been a member of Kansas Authors Club since May 1974. She served as President of District 5 in 1979. Fern wrote poetry and was a frequent winner in the Kansas Authors Club Literary Contest. Her husband Emry survives. —4/28/06

Previous 2006 Meetings:

Sat., December 9:
State Contest Winners shared winning
2006 KAC Literary Contest
entries. Cookies and tea were served

Sat., November 11: Dr. Tracy Baker, a medical doctor, spoke about his book, Patients from Hell.

Sat., September 8: Roxie Olmstead, District 5, Augusta, shared with us the “Five R’s” of Writing—Rudiments, Recycle, Research, Results, Roxie OlmsteadRewards. Everyone present learned something from her talk. Roxie had her first article published when she was sixty. Now she’s had 140 articles published. She writes fiction, nonfiction, humor, poetry, and history. She’s also written a booklet about Augusta James, for whom the town of Augusta was named, and a family cookbook. Her other writings include a booklet about her family experiences and one comparing a person getting old to a car getting old. Roxie’s participated in the Jesse Perry Stratford contest many times and won numerous awards. Also, she’s learned to research from participating in this contest. In speeches to various groups, she’s shared her research.

Sat., July 8: Prose and poetry workshops were held at the home of Nancy Glenn. Authors brought copies of their work for critique.

Sat., June 10: Jerry Engler, talked about his book of short stories, Just Folks.

Sat., May 13: Susan Howell
    Susan Howell, District 5, Wichita, and editor of Kansas Traveler, a quarterly newspaper about what to see and do in Kansas, spoke at the May 13 Fifth District KAC meeting. Susan Kansas Traveler magazineHowell worked for the Wichita Eagle for fifteen years. Then she and her husband, John, built web sites for 300 small towns in Kansas. Kansas Traveler is their latest venture.
   She showed us PowerPoint visuals of photos she and her husband had taken all over rural Kansas. She also handed out samples of Kansas Traveler and told us about her business. With a circulation of 40,000 copies, distributed Kansaswide, this is a good market for aspiring writers. She “doesn’t pay well,” but she does pay. And she is open to new writers. She also has editors who are retired from the Wichita Eagle.
    Contacts: 316-688-0905, howell@kansastraveler.com/Kansastraveler.com This couple produces “Kansas on the Net,” a website about Kansas at kotn.org. You may write to Kansas Traveler at 147 N. Dellrose, Wichita KS 67208.
Sat., April 8: Julie Dagenais
    Julia Dagenais is a writer of poetry, prose and church history and has given numerous workshops.
    In 2005 her husband, Ralph, acted as compositor for Julia’s poems and their family photos. Together they published a sixty page book, Verses Light and Dark.
    Music, motherhood and mirth fill the pages of her book. Like Julia, the poems warmly invite the reader to come closer and feel the touch of a hand, smell sand plum blooms, rally with strong women, marvel at a toddler, and grieve for the losses of family, yesterday and sleep.
    Julia’s greatest asset is her integrity, the honest graciousness that comes from living kindly and fully. Some of her poems take us season to season, some from prairie to city and other poems reflect youth or aging. Verses Light and Dark is Julia watching and holding her pen over the decades.
—by Ann Everett

Sat., March 11: “How to Hit Your Target”
Nancy MehlMalevolence, by Nancy Mehl
Nancy Mehl shared some of her misses...and how she finally got a “hit!” Nancy has recently had a book proposal accepted by Barbour Books for their new mystery line, Spyglass Mysteries. In the Dead of Winter (the current working title) should be released at the end of 2006 or early 2007. Nancy is the author of another mystery, Malevolence, and writes a monthly book review column for the Wichita Eagle.

The Brute, by Mike KlaasenSat., January 14: Mike Klaassen, “Scene and Sequel: The Ebb and Flow of Fiction” author of the young adult novel The Brute, spoke. The Brute, an adventure that follows a Boy Scout on a camping trip in the Kansas Flint Hills, was nominated by District 5 for the 2005 J. Donald Coffin Award. Klaassen, Valley Center, is a member of District 5.

2005-06 Officers of Kansas Authors Club, District 5

Vice President:

Nancy Glenn
Raymond Nelson
Evelynne Boal
Roxie Olmstead