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Kansas Authors

June 10th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Here’s more from Saturday’s Author Extravaganza at the Town Crier Bookstore in downtown Emporia…


Mike Everhart of Derby talks to a shopper about his book, “Oceans of Kansas.”

I have occasionally checked Everhart’s website to try to comprehend Kansas’ ancient history, but I think that having his book in my hands (as I do now), something solid that I can thumb through, will work better for me. It’s chockfull (hee-hee) of scientific terms – and not necessarily a book that you’d take to the beach to read, well, unless you’re at the beach to check out sharks.

Everhart showed me some sharks’ teeth found in Gove County from a Cretoxyrhina mantelli. “These teeth are tough enough to bite through bone,” he said.

Um, yikes.

Mike Everhart has been working with National Geographic. Expect a new book and a Sea Monster IMAX movie from Everhart and National Geographic in October 2007.

Joseph and Suzanne Collins of Lawrence handed out free copies of these two booklets:


“So you’ll know what’s sliding across your front lawn,” Joe Collins said, handing me the snake booklet.

Collins is a herpetologist. He and his wife, Suzanne, worked at Kansas University for 30 years. Now he’s teaching at Washburn – and they’re peddling their numerous books as well.

They had copies available of Peterson’s Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. “That’s our meat and potatoes,” he said of their top-selling book. Published in 1998, it has sold 1.2 million copies.

Most of the photos of the in the Pocket Guide to Kansas Snakes were taken by Suzanne, snake photographer and photographer of many things wild.

Both Joe and Suzanne were very personable – and they tried to talk me into liking snakes, but it didn’t work.

Joe Collins is the director of the Center for North American Herpetology. When I gave him one of my business cards, he promised me that I’d be put on his e-mail list and would receive countless mailings about all kinds of naturey stuff. So far – 24 hours later – nothing. I’ll let you know.


“Are you Cheryl?” the woman in black asked. Ah, Nancy had talked to her. My sister-in-law, Nancy, in Manhattan, sent an e-mail the other day, telling me that Sheri McGathy, a coworker of hers, was coming to this event.

Sheri writes fantasy books and Jamie Hill, seated to her right, writes romance novels. They are part of a group in Manhattan called the Coffee Shop Writers.


Representing Tonganoxie was the energetic Lisa Harkrader, author of Airball: My Life in Briefs. This is a book for, I believe, 4th – 8th graders, but I want to read it myself. Lisa said it’s about a boy who lives in a small town and wants to play basketball because he thinks an NBA player is the father he’s never met.

Airball: My Life in Briefs is up for the 2008 William Allen White Award. The book was also selected as 2006 Kansas Notable Book.


Here’s Roy Bird who writes Kansas history. In His Brother’s Shadow is about Thomas Custer, brother of George Custer. I met Bird several years ago at book signing when he had just published Civil War in Kansas.

He’s a historian and librarian and is director of Kansas Center for the Book, part of the State Library of Kansas. The KCFB promotes reading and books and authors and libraries – all those wonderful things.


Here are two well-known writers, Jim Hoy and Don Coldsmith, both from Emporia.

Hoy, Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at ESU, writes about Kansas folklore and Kansas cowboys in books, articles and his Plains Folk column. His most recent book is Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales of the Tallgrass Prairie. This native of Cassoday is often invited to appear at events (the Governor’s pre-inauguration festivities, Symphony in the Flint Hills, Living History Day at Howe House, etc.) to tell historical, regional stories. He usually brings his guitar and sings cowboy songs as well.

Native Kansan Don Coldsmith, a retired physician, has published eleventy-million books. (Well, OK, only 40 books, but there are six million copies of those books in print!) He writes historically accurate Western fiction.

For decades, Don has written a popular self-syndicated column, “Horsin’ Around” for The Emporia Gazette and other papers.

Don Coldsmith and Jim Hoy are the ringleaders for the Tallgrass Writing Workshop held each year at Emporia State University.

This is the 22nd year for the Tallgrass Workshop, June 23-24. It’s probably not too late to register – and I would strongly encourage any writer to attend. It’s great. This year’s faculty: Don Coldsmith, Jim Hoy, Mike Blakely, Connie Dover, Phillip Finch and Max McCoy.

The fee is only $60 and includes an evening with food, music and writer camaraderie. Participants are given the opportunity to read aloud some of their work and they may bring their guitars and sing.


And this is Alice Bertels, author of John Steuart Curry: The Road Home.

John Steuart Curry was born in Jefferson County Kansas, at Dunavant and he attended Winchester High School. Author Alice Bertels has always felt a connection to Curry as she was born and raised in Winchester.

When she taught elementary schoolchildren, Alice wanted her students to gain an appreciation of art. And she wanted them to know about Curry, who painted the stunning murals in the Kansas Statehouse. She found no books on a children’s level available about Curry. So – she wrote her own book.

The Road Home includes reproductions of some of his paintings, tells about the controversy over the murals and how Curry left without signing them.

It’s a beautiful book, only 32-pages long. It’s one of the treasures I brought home from Town Crier yesterday.


Those are just a few of the gang of 40 or more Kansas writers. (See also Tom Parker.) I loved this event and hope that Becky Smith and Town Crier plan another Author Extravaganza in the future. Little store, big heart.

E-town, events, other people's stuff, WAW

  1. June 10th, 2007 at 17:57 | #1

    Oh, I’m going to run down that Curry book. Looks good. I’m glad you went to see this for us Cheryl.

  2. Weeta
    June 10th, 2007 at 18:22 | #2

    Thanks from me too for all the information on the author extravaganza. All the books (even the snake book) look great. I like snakes as long as they are where I’m not!

  3. June 11th, 2007 at 13:31 | #3

    Cheryl, thanks for posting the nice picture of my book (and the guy sitting behind it 🙂 I hope that some of your readers will take the opportunity to read about the fantastic fossils that are found in Kansas… part of our state’s well documented but relatively unknown heritage. The Sea Monsters IMAX movie showcases some of these fossils as well as the people who discovered them… and lots of beautiful western Kansas scenery…

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