Book Giveaway

July 30th, 2014 at 8:32 pm

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8.3.14 – UPDATE: SETH BATE of Winfield is the winner of the book giveaway. The random number generator chose 25. Seth’s number was closest at 21.

 random number

 

Hey, I think it’s about time to give away a copy of my new book, Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays. Wanna play along?

Here’s how the giveaway works:

1) Post a number between 1 and 100 on this blog post. Entries are only valid when placed in the comment section of THIS blog post. (In other words, entries will NOT be valid if posted on Facebook or other social media.)

2) If your number matches the number selected by an online random number generator and you are the only entry with that number, you will win the book. If two or more people have posted the correct number, I will draw TWO names from those who have posted the correct number and those TWO people will each receive free copies of the book.

3) In the event no one matches the number selected by the random number generator, the person or persons with the number closest to the correct number will win. If, for example, the generated number was 50 and no one chose 50, the person with the closest number would be the winner. If the closest numbers (example: 48 and 52) are a tie, two books will be given away. If there are more than two people involved in the tie then names will be drawn from the multiple entries and two books will be given away.

4) One entry per person.

5) Contest ends at 12:00 noon, Central Time on Sunday, Aug. 3. Entries after that time will not be included in the giveaway.

6) Sometime after 12:00 noon on Sunday, August 3, I will contact the winner(s) via the email address that was used to register to post a comment on this blog. At that time, the winner(s) will be asked to provide me with a mailing address and the book(s) will be sent to the winner(s).

7) The winner’s name will also be posted on this page as an update.

OK, friends and strangers, post your numbers. Good luck!

Feel free to share this blog post with your friends on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.

(For those who haven’t posted on this blog previously, your post won’t show up immediately. I have to “approve” the post first, so there may be several hours delay until it appears.)

 

Waiting on the Sky book

What’s Next?

July 17th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

FH view1

From a “research” hike earlier this month. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Writing a book is like making a pie: it’s a lot of work to make one, but it gets gobbled up quickly, and then people want more. So, that’s a good thing, really, that people want more, but book writin’ takes a while. And I’m working on more. :-)

Right now I have several “pies” in progess. In a workshop a few years ago, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate at the time, said that she never feels “blocked” because she has several projects going at once. If she gets stuck, she said, she just moves on to something else.

And I took that message to heart. These days I’m working on several books, some more intently than others. I’m working on a book of essays about how a sense of place informs our creativity, our sense of self, and connects to us in a spiritual way. Another book will be on  facts and places in Kansas. I’m also sketching out ideas for a memoir about small-town life. And, because poems emerge from time to time, I’m throwing in a book of poetry as a future goal as well. Maybe all of these books will come to life, maybe only one or two, but I’m finding that Caryn’s process very useful in my own writing practice.

Speaking of poetry, here’s a poem that I wrote last month.

HERE WE ARE

Here we are –
the troubled, the triumphant,
the disabled, the distraught.
We are the brave faces,
the anxious, the warriors,
the worried. We once
were great – and now –
we don’t know what we are.
In our uneven faces,
our defensive eyes,
our tense shoulders,
our stories lie.
And we are here
on this green earth
gathered, at a picnic table
on a June evening
so fine that even
mosquitoes have
left us alone. Some days we eat
scrambled eggs for breakfast,
we answer the phone,
and we stand alone in the
grocery store unable to
make a decision about
peanut butter. Because life
is just that hard sometimes.
On those days, tears burn
the inside of our eyelids.
We are not as fine as we once
were, age has seen
to that, but we are also so
much more. Sometimes we
catch a glimpse of the unseen
world and we see through this
earthly illusion with god-like
clarity, knowing that
everything is perfect,
and exactly
as it should be.
Then we blink, and we forget.
And here we are again –
the troubled,
the triumphant,
the disabled,
the distraught.

~by Cheryl Unruh

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Flint Hills, Poetry & Haiku, writing, yabbering

Go read this book now…

July 8th, 2014 at 10:52 am

… said Diana Staresinic-Deane about my new book, WAITING ON THE SKY.

Diana Staresinic-Deane, author of Shadow on the Hill: the true story of a 1925 Kansas murder, wrote a beautiful review. Here are some excerpts:

I try, really try, to articulate the soulful bond I feel with the Kansas earth and Kansas sky, but I doubt I will ever do it as skillfully as author Cheryl Unruh, a native Kansan whose second book, Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays, just hit the Kansas bookstore shelves earlier this month.

And…

Waiting on the Sky is a biography, and Unruh guides us through her life and her relationship to the world around through carefully selected essays on community, death, childhood, and the act of being. Her pieces on lost family members, especially her father, are reverent, and I was particularly moved by her descriptions of the everyday moments with her father–maintaining the local cemetery, working in his woodworking shop.

Oh heck, just go read the whole thing on Diana’s site.

And, if her review makes you want to read the book, you can order it here.

Waiting on the Sky book

A Letter/Review from Paul Fiebich

June 30th, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I met Paul Fiebich on April 2, 2011, in Chase County, at the 80th anniversary commemoration of the plane crash that killed famed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. Paul and I were seatmates, I believe, on a borrowed school bus, and along with a couple dozen others, we bounced over a “road” in a pasture in the Flint Hills to the site of the crash that killed Rockne and seven others. Paul is immediately likable and we struck up a conversation.

Paul, from Derby, is a former engineer at Cessna, a pilot, and a builder of small aircraft. He flies an airbike and on his flights over Kansas, he often defends the Western Front from the Huns.

In addition to being a pilot, Paul writes how-to and humorous articles for numerous piloting magazines. If you’ll read that above-linked article or others from his website, airbikeace.org, you’ll see that he occasionally veers from reality in his writing, but that’s just part of the fun that he has with flying and with writing. I told Paul he has a “free-range imagination.”

When I received this heart-warming email from Paul this morning, I laughed at his bit about the tears and Kleenexes, but I absolutely loved his response to my new book, Waiting on the Sky. He allowed me permission to print his letter. Here it is:

 

Hi Cheryl,
 
I am nearing the end of your book. After reading since 3:30 this morning, I stopped at the page titled “Navigating Our Lives.”
 
Never have I read a book that when finished with a section, I first had to clear out all the tear-soaked Kleenex tucked between me and the chair arms and those strewn on my lap. Had I not done so and stood up, an avalanche of huge white “snowflakes” would have tumbled to the floor in front of me like snow sliding off a metal roof.
 
Your writing style and content is emotionally grabbing. Hardly a story is read that doesn’t cause my eyes to weep and often tears flow like little rivers down my cheeks. I wipe and wipe but the leaky tear ducts continue to leak.
 
Unfortunately, some of the book pages are now wrinkled. Tears on a page will do that you know.
 
You strike many chords that the reader can relate to. You have the wisdom and insight of someone 1000 years old! And you present everyday situations with such an element of pride and heartwarming feeling that one can’t help but fall in love with your life.  You are amazing! Thanks for sharing it, you have a gift.  Perhaps the seeds were planted in that little library next to the fire station in Pawnee Rock. Yes, I believe you would have dozed in there on the floor snuggled in your sleeping bag.
 
Your mother inserted the reading gene in your body as a youth. It was a normal activity as routine as brushing your teeth. What a fantastic mentor!
 
Each story concludes with some bit of wisdom or statement that sums up not just the story but that aspect of life. I love the analogies (is that the right word?) you provide that drives home a point. Two recent ones I recall are “Sugar, butter, and chocolate are all over December like needles on a Christmas tree.” And another said something about “being stuck on you like a birthmark.”
 
I wish I could remember all the analogies used in your book, they are clever, fresh, and punctuate the message.  But that is the point, to accent your writing and the visual memory for the reader, not to be remembered for future use.
 
Mornings are one of my favorite reading times. Occasionally my body says at 3:30 AM that I am done sleeping. No matter how much I will it to return to slumber, it refuses. So I get up and do something, often it writing or reading. 
 
This morning it was reading. In the dim pre-dawn light, I made my way to the kitchen. Assembling the coffee maker and then wrapping the electric bean grinder with multiple towels and placemats I set the thing to whirring. It is as noisy as a rock crusher, I didn’t want to wake my wife. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans just says something about good morning! Remember that TV coffee jingle? Maxwell House was it? I can’t remember how it goes either, but I do remember IT.
 
Threading my way down the dark hall and to the living room, I carefully step over our sleeping Siberian Husky. She sleeps wherever she wants. Although she didn’t move (never does) even though my foot came down inches from her nose, she did open one eye and tracked me. Talk about having faith! 
 
Well, I finally made it to my chair and settled in for a good read.  After several stories the coffee pot dinged signaling its completed task. With a hot cup of java in my hand I settled back into my chair for more reading.  What a fine way to start the day!
 
Thinking back several years ago when we first met on the school bus going to the Knute Rockne memorial event; how fortunate an encounter that was. You were extremely pleasant and just sparkled with conversation.  Later we met again in the bookstore where I discovered you were an author and purchased your first book “Flyover People.”
 
That was a pleasant experience as is reading your second book. As you said to your brother Leon “Tanks for the memories.”
 
Paul Fiebich

other people's stuff, Waiting on the Sky, Waiting on the Sky book

Books at the Big Well

June 23rd, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Big Well 1

I visited Greensburg today. It’s always nice to be in Greensburg.They’re still rebuilding after the 2007 EF5 tornado. It’s just amazing what’s going on there. The museum reopened in 2012, but this was the first time I had been in it. And it was the first time since I was about 4 or 5 that I had seen the well. I don’t have strong memories of my first visit to the well, but I do remember coming here with my family.

Big Well 2

This picture was taken deep in the well looking up. The structure has the main floor and then a viewing area above that with windows all around the circle, and information on the windows showing what buildings you are looking at that have been built since the tornado.

big well 3

My new book, Waiting on the Sky, is now available in the gift shop at the Big Well Museum, right next to my first book, Flyover People.

If you don’t happen to be in the Greensburg area, you can purchase the book at one of the fine retail outlets listed on this page or you can purchase them online here. (And if you purchase one, or already have, thank you very much!)

Flyover Book, traveling, Waiting on the Sky

They’re here!

June 14th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

WOTS stack

 

NOW AVAILABLE!

My second collection of Kansas essays is now available!

Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays.

I write about life in Kansas – about the wind and the weather and the seasons, about small towns, about growing up in a small town. I write about the people and how we live on this big old land under this big old sky.

Here’s a line from Waiting on the Sky:

When the world closes up shop, when the sky turns from blue to black for the very last time, when the final poem is written and read, this is where I want to be – out in my beloved Flint Hills.

And from Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation:

Cheryl Unruh has Kansas sunlight flowing through her veins. What comes out in her stories about weather, death, growing up, friends, family and small towns is pure Kansas. Want to understand Kansas rural culture? This book is for you.

Because I’m an indie writer, I do all of the distribution myself. Every book that is sold goes through my hands. I deliver or mail them to stores or mail them to customers.

Right now I’m in the process of distributing the book to various retailers in Kansas: independent bookstores, museums, art galleries. It takes time, because, when possible, I love to travel from town to town and meet the booksellers, get to know them. I want to know these people.

So far, Waiting on the Sky (and Flyover People) books ($15 each) are available at these Kansas locations:

Town Crier, 716 Commercial, Emporia

Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply, 2611 W. Hwy 50, Emporia

The Raven Book Store, 6 E. 7th, Lawrence

Signs of Life, 722 Massachusetts, Lawrence

Southwind Gallery, 3074 S.W. 29th, Topeka

Strecker-Nelson Gallery, 406 Poyntz, Manhattan

Flint Hills Discovery Center, 315 S. 3rd Street, Manhattan

 

UPDATE 6/17:

Eighth Day Books, 2838 E. Douglas, Wichita

Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas, Wichita

Great Plains Nature Center Gift Shop, 6232 E. 29th, Wichita

UPDATE 6/23:

The Big Well Museum Gift Shop, 315 S. Sycamore, Greensburg

 

The book is also available at my Quincy Press website, $20 includes sales tax and shipping charges.

Help me out, if you’re willing. Please share this link with your friends – on Facebook, on Twitter, via e-mail. Thank you so much!

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Flyover Book, Waiting on the Sky book

First Book Event

June 4th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The first book event with my new book, Waiting on the Sky, will be Friday at Emporia’s own Town Crier Book Store. Thirty-some authors till be there.

Saturday, June 7, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Town Crier

716 Commercial, Emporia.

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Waiting on the Sky is a second collection of my Flyover People columns as seen weekly in the Emporia Gazette over the past 11 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

May 29

June 4th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

May 29

For Marilyn

 

Maryland, oh my Maryland.

It’s her birthday today!

My friend till the end:

Marilyn. I could tell all

of the stories – of riding

around town in cars,

of breakfast at The Rock,

of telling tales

at the lumberyard bench

of machetes in the milo,

of swimming

in the horse tank,

of tossing bread dough

across the home-ec

work stations,

of finding the cooking

sherry, of swimming

at the river, of climbing

into the historic cabin behind

her house and finding

“True Detective” magazines

in its loft. I could tell

of walking to school

every morning in the rain

in the snow, in the sunshine.

I could tell of sitting in the

post office, loitering against

the law, and reading the

FBI’s Wanted posters.

I could tell about babysitting

for her neighbors, The Beanies,

or about gym class

and “scooter days,”

about Mr. Smith spitting

into the wind during

track practice. I could

tell about all of these

things, but two words

sums them up:

We laughed.

life on the ground, nostalgia, Poetry & Haiku

May 23

May 23rd, 2014 at 5:54 pm

May 23

Sometimes thunder
comes as a teenage boy,
reckless, loud,
a demolition derby in the clouds.
But today,
thunder is an old man,
hesitant, lurching
across the sky,
the pain of age
pulling at his bones.

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Cover Art – WOTS

May 23rd, 2014 at 1:35 pm

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Soon, very soon, in a few weeks, my second book, Waiting on the Sky, will be available! I wasn’t sure if putting out the second book would be as exciting as the first, but it is. I know a few things this time around that I didn’t know last time.

This book, like the first, is a collection of my Flyover People columns that were first published in The Emporia Gazette over the past 11 years.

 

Waiting on the Sky book

Sunday morning in Emporia

May 23rd, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I’ve been posting some of the poems I’ve written lately. Here’s one from Sunday morning. I wrote this while sitting on a bench on Commercial Street in downtown Emporia.

 

May 18

Sitting on a bench
along the town’s main street,
two Harleys pulse the air
in front of me while
church bells at the
First Methodist play
“God Bless America.”
A whistle announces
a train from the east,
and heavy freight plows
through the city.
Down the street, parked cars
wait in front of the diner,
where new graduates
face questions from parents
about the future. Maybe once
we could guess the future,
but now the world,
perched precariously
on its axis, tilts more
every day. Who can know
what lies ahead?
All I know is here and now:
birds sing, a young couple
passes by, a cyclist;
a train blares, from the west
this time. On a Sunday
morning I sit and watch
this town, Emporia,
a place I’ve grown
to love. When I graduated,
moved in thirty-three
years ago, I didn’t know
that someday I would feel
like I belonged here.
But I love this town now -
its heartbeat of trains,
the people on main street,
the sense of finally, finally
being home.

E-town, life on the ground, Poetry & Haiku