Harry Lewis at Halloween

October 20th, 2014 at 9:48 am

From Waiting on the Sky: More Flyover People Essays:

“Under the shadows of cedars toward the cemetery’s north end lies Harry Lewis, a bachelor, retired from the U.S. Railway Postal Service. He kept to himself mostly, didn’t speak to kids, and he wore a city man’s hat.

“One Halloween, my friends and I dared ourselves to trick-or-treat at Harry Lewis’ home, doubting he’d open his door, afraid that he would. Harry answered, then stepped away into the darkness of his house. He returned with foil-wrapped cylinders, peeled back the aluminum and handed us each a nickel.”


Just a moment in time in Pawnee Rock.




life on the ground, Waiting on the Sky, Waiting on the Sky book

A Flyover Review

September 30th, 2014 at 7:00 pm

David Beeson, from way over the ocean in England, wrote a lovely review of my Flyover People book:

In praise of praise for a place called home. However flat.




Flyover Book, other people's stuff

Little Library

September 20th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Little library

Found this cute Little Free Library in Strong City this morning, near the park/caboose.

We also noticed that restoration work is being done on the Strong City Depot.

small towns

Gazette article

September 14th, 2014 at 9:47 am

So, this story about my new book, Waiting on the Sky, was in the Emporia Gazette prior to last Thursday’s reading at the Lyon County History Center.



Waiting on the Sky book

Thurs. Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.

August 28th, 2014 at 3:36 pm



I’m thrilled to be giving a book talk/reading at the future home of the Lyon County History Center, 709 Commercial in Emporia, on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 6:00 p.m.,

The Lyon County Historical Society is in fund-raising mode, working at bringing in money to renovate the building in downtown Emporia. Right now the museum is in the cramped, yet historical, Carnegie Library building. But, there’s not enough room for exhibits or to store artifacts. Or to have a large community gathering.

Anyway, I’m excited to have my first Emporia reading from my new book here in this new but empty building. I’ll read from Waiting on the Sky and will talk a little about my writing process and about the Flyover People column that I wrote for 11 years for  The Emporia Gazette.

Greg Jordan, Director of the Lyon County History Center, will speak about the plans they have for developing the building and will give tours of the facility after my talk/reading.

I will happily donate half of the profits from the book sales that evening to the building fund. So, come, listen, tour, and purchase a Flyover People or Waiting on the Sky book to help contribute to the *new* Lyon County History Center. Be a part of our history!



E-town, events, history, Waiting on the Sky book

Review by Terry Needham

August 17th, 2014 at 6:17 pm

terry needhamTerry Needham


And today, a lovely review came in from Terry Needham, an author from Illinois. Terry’s review of Waiting on the Sky:


Cheryl Unruh is one of my favorite Kansas authors. She gives this place called Kansas a voice. Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it roars . . . and occasionally, but rarely . . . it is silent. Still, whatever you hear, you also feel, when you read the words by Unruh. Because she gives not only a voice to the elusive and surreal spirit that is Kansas, she reveals its soul. A place of boundless space, timeless presence, and infinite blue skies or vast starry nights. A haunting history, eternal now, and beckoning future . . . that beguiles you to get to know her . . . Kansas . . . and feel her heart beat, revealed in the exquisite and lovely words of Cheryl Unruh.


I believe brief book reviews are best. Get to the point, before the reader’s mind starts to wander away. Yet, dear reader, indulge me a moment longer, for when reviewing this book, the words of the author best express what I feel—

“Here, we step into that space between questions and answers, a place where we are satisfied with the unknown.”


The poetry in her words, as when she describes emptiness—

“The streets, normally as empty as a yawn, were suddenly busy with grain trucks . . .”


Or, the glorious imagery as she fills the reader’s mind with light—

“Once as I was traveling eastbound through Rice County, the evening sun spread its love over a wheat field. I could barely stand the intensity of golden light on golden grain.”


Or, the tender expression of the bonds that connect us all—

“What matters most in this world is the love we give . . . It is love that connects us.”


And, the reassuring voice that haunts our memories—

“We’ve each left our footsteps and our thoughts on various pathways in our lives. And we can go back anytime to retrieve those memories; they’re still there, right where we left them.”


Or, the tender urge to simply keep our focus on what matters—

“It’s all well and good to see the big picture, but sometimes it helps to narrow one’s focus, pay attention to the light and take the best shot we can.”


Plus, the inevitable conclusion, to a never ending story that is Kansas—

“Eventually we will each leave this state by choice or by default, but our lives and our stories will always be a part of the wind, a part of the land, a part of Kansas.”


Thus, in reading—Waiting on the Sky – More Flyover People Essays—you will discover that Kansas and her people and places are rooted in the heart and soul of the Great Plains, and given an eloquent voice by this gifted writer, Cheryl Unruh.


Terry Needham is the author of an entertaining fantasy novella for young (and older) readers: The She Wolf; and also of a fascinating memoir of his family, When I Was a Child based on a true story of love, death and survival on the Kansas prairie. Other books by Terry are Kitty Claus, and Pesky Poems. Terry lives in Illinois.


To purchase Waiting on the Sky, visit Quincy Press.

Follow Flyover People on Facebook.

To purchase Terry Needham’s books, visit his Amazon page.

Waiting on the Sky, Waiting on the Sky book, writing

Review by Tracy Simmons

August 17th, 2014 at 4:36 pm


Tracy Simmons

My friend Tracy Million Simmons, author of a great novel set near Dodge City, Tiger Hunting, and co-author of the soon-to-be-released The Green Bike,  has posted a review of my new book Waiting on the Sky.

Read Tracy’s review of Waiting on the Sky. 



Waiting on the Sky, Waiting on the Sky book

Winner of book giveaway

August 3rd, 2014 at 12:30 pm



random number


And the winner of the book giveaway is…. Seth Bate of Winfield.

The random number generator selected the number 25. Seth’s 22 was closest.

Thank you to all who played. This was fun. I’ll have another giveaway again, so stay tuned.

Waiting on the Sky book

Book Giveaway

July 30th, 2014 at 8:32 pm


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 –
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.


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