Warren Ashworth and Susan Kander

Kirkus Review of We, the House

Ashworth and Kander’s novel begins at the end of the Civil War and follows a family of Kansas immigrants through the Twentieth Century in Newton, Kansas, where they build the Italianate home pictured on the cover and weather the changes U.S. history brings. The narrator is the house which can see only outside and an 1830s portrait of a  Latin teacher widowed young who can only see what goes on inside the space she inhabits. Fascinating, fresh, and unlike anything else you will read! American history come alive through the family, a fictionalized version of Ashworth’s own. The house still stands and the streets around it are named for family members. A tour de force.

“An offbeat novel that surveys American history from the 19th to 21st centuries through the unique perspective of an Italianate manor house and a garrulous portrait painting.

In this debut, architect Ashworth and composer Kander turn their artistic sensibilities to a narrative that explores ideas of progress, art, and the connections between humans and the places they live. Ambleside, a magnificent house built on a hill in Newton, Kansas, can see its surroundings but is unable to understand human language. A portrait of a woman named Mrs. Peale, hung within the house, can understand humans and communicate with the house but is only able to see things from its vantage point on the wall. The pair strike up a Socratic dialogue of sorts, combining their senses to piece together the story of the Hart family that inhabits Ambleside during its early years and to understand the sociocultural forces in the world around them. In this centurieslong conversation, Mrs. Peale acts as interlocutor for the endlessly curious house, taking up consideration of topics that range from household gossip to the substance of the soul. Readers also come to know Henry and Emmaline Hart, their three rambunctious daughters, and various other household staff members, friends, and descendants of the Hart family. The house and the painting share a charming fascination with etymology and classical antiquity, born out of the real Mrs. Peale’s time as an instructor of Greek and Latin at the Hartford Female Seminary, as well as a deep affection for the Harts that grows over decades. Throughout the narrative, the authors employ a light touch but also address weighty historical trends and events, including racial prejudice in the Jim Crow–era South, the women’s suffrage movement, the dire poverty of the Dust Bowl period, and two world wars. The detached perspective of the nonhuman protagonists offers a nuanced understanding of human nature, although the main characters’ moments of self-reflection are relatively few and fleeting, crowded out by quotidian meditations.”

An often pleasant, time-skipping read that will engross fans of U.S. history, art, and architecture.”

Kirkus Reviews, December 2021

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Roy Beckemeyer

Roy Beckemeyer is a retired engineer, a scientific journal editor, and an authority on the Paleozoic insect fossils of Alabama, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He has named more than twenty new species of fossil insects. He and his wife have traveled widely visiting every continent and live in Wichita, Kansas.

This is his fourth book of poems. His book Stage Whispers won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and Music I Could Once Dance To was selected as a Kansas Notable Book.

 

 

Aida Dziho-Sator

Without casting any judgment or looking for the culprit, Aida Džiho-Šator delivers verses with a strong poetic voice that depicts the social anomalies of the war-time and post-war Bosnian society. Death is present, but there is no fear of it. The author builds a poetic discourse
on the little, everyday things that we are usually not aware of [and don’t recognize] how important they are in our lives. A great, strong and fresh poetic voice.
~Adnan Žetica, award-winning author of six poetry collections among them ”A Draft for a Fairytale.”

“The poetry reader who knows anything about the four yearlong Balkans War will learn more about it from this beautiful poetry book than from history books where a single person is just a simple number. The reader of this touching diary about the drama of war and of peace, will discover in the poetry a new drama about the invisible scars that remain in those of us who survived. Just read it!”
~Goran Simic, author of the poetry collections “Sprinting from the Graveyard” (Oxford University Press, UK) and “Immigrant Blues” (Brick Books, Canada)

First edition March 2024
ISBN: 978-1-958728-20-8 (paper)  $20
ISBN: 978-1-958728-21-5 (eBook)  $7.99
Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN): 2024930887

Gretchen Eick

When Syrian journalist Ana Amara disappears from her London home where she has worked as an advocate for asylum seekers, her partner seeks help from the immigrant community and from four intrepid Members of Parliament disturbed by their rightist government’s hostility to refugees. Searching for Ana they stumble upon secret programs in unregulated, privately run refugee camps and illegal operations that involve foreign autocrats, but where is Ana? And what lengths will some endangered immigrants go to in order to challenge the government’s mistreatment of them? An international thriller. 

ISBN:  978-1-958728-18-5 (paperback) $20 and ISBN:  978-1-958728-19-2 (ebook) $13.99

Library of Congress Control Number: 2024930300

Gretchen Eick is a historian and biographer who brings her love of American history to this, the second in her CROSSINGS series novels. When a biracial family living outside of Chicago lose a family member to murder in 2019, their journey of grief and recovery leads to the discovery of a whole other family whose lives are now bound to theirs, a Jamaican family who have also been shaped by a murder. That murder occurred in 1985 in Philadelphia, PA and was part of a little known real event, the police attack on MOVE that destroyed lives and a large swath of homes in West Phillie.

 

Maybe Crossings is the first novel in the series. Book 3 is expected in 2024. Eick wrote two award-winning histories published by University of Illinois Press and University of Nevada Press.

Maybe Crossings is the first novel in Eick’s Crossings series. The children of Black and white families separately experience their children’s growing involvement in the Civil Rights Movement’s sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and Freedom Summer 1964. Thirty-some years later those families are connected through a series of coincidents. The novel focuses on those born during the 1960s  and what happens to them. A family saga of memorable characters whose heartbreak and capacity for loving ties them to the Movement that nourished their parents. Includes a Discussion Guide for Book Groups.

 

 

 

 

Kara Farney

Kara Farney wrote this book when she was a child and revisited it in her late twenties during the COVID pandemic, updating it to reflect her own children’s lives and ‘wonderings’ as they thought about school and what their teacher might do outside the classroom. The child’s imagining is funny and creative and illustrated in brightly colored pages that will attract young readers and delight the adults reading to them. Kara Farney is of Filippino, Korean, and Caucasian ancestry and grew up in Virginia and Kansas. She is a military wife now living on Fort Pendleton with  her husband and two children.

 

 

George Franklin

George Franklin’s poetry collections include Noise of the World, Traveling for No Good Reason, and Among the Ruins/Entre las ruinas. He is co-translator of Ximena Gomez’s Ultimo dia/Last Day. He lives in Miami, Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Harkness

 

Kelly Johnston

Kelly Johnston has published two books of poems with Blue Cedar Press, Kalaska, his first and Tumbleweed. His poems reflect his love of the land, especially the Prairie of the Great Plains, and the ways in which nature helps him make sense of a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad. Johnson is a lawyer by trade and a man of the earth by calling. His poems are evocative and nourishing.

Reginald D. Jarrell

Reggie Jarrell’s 31 Days (Nights) Memoir of Living Black in America, published in 2022, has won him numerous interviews and opportunities to give readings from his book of essays that give insight into what it has been like for him as a lawyer, clergyperson, television journalist, etc. with multiple graduate degrees living in Midwestern and Southern cities. His brief episodes are effectively  written, understated, honest, and self-aware.

This is a great book for groups to read and discuss, both youth and adults.

 

Jarrell’s second book, Finding Myron: An Adopted Son’s Search for his Birth Father, is his memoir of his yearning to know who his birth father is and his on-and-off  search for him. Born to teen parents, Jarrell was raised by a childless couple in his mother’s family who loved him dearly. He writes with vulnerability and moving honesty about his ambivalence, his persistence, and the joy that resulted from finally finding Myron.  Recommended for people involved in adoption from any perspective and for congregations, youth groups, and schools as well as general adult readers.(Feb. 1, 2024).

Paul Lamb

https://helloauthor.substack.com/p/special-fathers-day-interview-with?fbclid=IwAR00DY_ijGTFl1bwLr6QnNYQ6ylybsBVNnrhuJwhiiCBu0FWksK2TLGJsBI

Paul Lamb ‘s book was reviewed  by the Australian journal Tinted Edges. https://tintededges.com/reading-challenges/?fbclid=IwAR3NOjtEQTQxpOwKYY7RacedQD6fN0BjM8va3apXS1bwaSrfdr9GCW4Z_RQ 

Paul Lamb’s second novel in his series follows Curt and his husband Kelly as they embark on life together and adopt a child. It is a story of families struggling with differences and finding ways to love each other despite those differences and even because of them. Throughout Curt’s parents, David and Kathy, supply support and wisdom even as Kelly’s family has abandoned him because he is gay. The cabin, so important to Curt and his father and grandfather, becomes a place of healing for this new family also, even in the most extreme moments of imperfect parenting. A novel of love that will nourish and inspire. Coming June 2024. 

 

 

 

Barry W. Lynn

  

Lynn spent 25 years as director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and more years with the ACLU and the United Church of Christ working to protect First Amendment rights for all Americans, including those who refused to fight in Vietnam, producers of and actors in pornography, smaller religious groups, LGBTQ+ people, and women seeking to keep decisions about their bodies away from government. His 2023 trilogy is full of stories that will amuse and horrify readers as he entered the hallowed halls of the Religious Right at considerable personal cost to use his skills as a lawyer practicing before the US Supreme Court and as a clergyperson committed to equal rights for all.

Mark McCormick

Mark E. McCormick is deputy director of the ACLU of Kansas but before that was an award-winning journalist. Today you can see him on the Barry Sanders movie that is causing a buzz on Netflicks. (Barry and he were close friends from childhood and he co-wrote Barry’s autobiography with Sanders). This book is a collection of brilliant short essays that range from people you should know but probably don’t with Kansas ties to famous people like Sanders and Mohammed Ali seen “up close and personal.” McCormick’s book went into a second edition when it was chosen as the campus read for Wichita State University. You may have seen him in the Netflix biopic Bye, Bye, Barry.

Michael Poage

Michael Poage, You Must Have Your Famine Ain't Leavin' this House Rough-DriedMichael Poage is a U.S. poet with 15 published books that showcase his work and travels. A sheep rancher in Montana, who taught in a one-room school, pastored churches in Kansas for 25 years, and teaches English to students from other countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina and Thailand. Poet in the Schools in Montana, Poage is known for his lyrical poetry and his passion for the people of the world. He is also owner of Blue Cedar Press.

 

 

 

 

 

David Romanda

David Romanda is a Canadian poet whose pithy lyrical poems make readers alternately laugh out loud and stifle a sob. He has been recognized in a book on new Canadian poets and has published individual poems in many journals. Romanda has lived in Japan for seventeen years where he teaches English and writes. His work is brilliant.

 

 

 

Julie Sellers

Julie A. Sellers 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 Press, 2022), a Finalist for the High Plains Book Award. She has published three academic monographs on Dominican music and identity with McFarland, and her creative prose and poetry have appeared in publications such as Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies, Kansas City Voices, 105 Meadowlark ReaderCagibiWanderlustThe Very Edge, Unlost, and Kansas Time + Place. Julie was the Kansas Author’s Club’s Prose Writer of the Year (2020, 2022), and the Kansas Voices Contest Overall Winner in Poetry (2022) and Prose (2017, 2019). Listen to Julie reading from her books here:

Hallowed Ground: https://youtu.be/R64ha2sqqTI

Windows: https://youtu.be/fpKFMbbhiPY

The Enchanted Bookcase: https://youtube.com/shorts/uZW0DTtZn4c?feature=share

Dreamroom: https://youtu.be/pO6M1VvrCg0

A Home for Imperfect Girls: https://youtu.be/5ng1j8tGwuw

 

         

Julie visiting Green Gables                      Lover’s Lane

Anne’s Room

Statue if L. M. Montgomery

Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto was a beloved Kansas poet who died in 2020, leaving many Kansas writers mourning the passing of this woman whose words enlarged our worlds. This was her first full length book of poems. She was a teacher, professor of English and creative writing, and the president of the Kansas Authors Club. Her poems here revisit aspects of her life that include traumas and joyous moments, domestic events, and a celebrated capacity for loving the world and expressing that love beautifully.