Music Writing Contest Winner

By Rebecca Schier-Akamelu
Rated by Helen H.
Jul 7, 2018

Johnson County Library and The Writers Place are pleased to announce that Rebecca Schier-Akamelu has won the short story category of our writing contest on the theme of MUSIC with "From One to the Next".

Rebecca writes from Overland Park and has previously been published in A Long Story Short and The Kansas City Star. She is also a voiceover artist and a proud wife and mom.


From One to the Next

Steph took a deep breath and plunged her foot into the muddy stream. It was icy cold; she curled her toes into the mud. She took a moment to let the cold rush through her, chilled to

Meet the Author: Ann Ingalls

By Ann Ingalls
Rated by Helen H.
Jun 5, 2017

Ann Ingalls first started making appearances at Johnson County Library in 2009 with the release of her picture book The Little Piano Girl, a biography about the childhood of jazz prodigy Mary Lou Williams. She has another round of appearances coming soon in conjunction with her latest title. Read on to learn more about the book and the author.

This July you are spending a day traveling to some Johnson County Library locations to share your new book, Fairy Floss: The Sweet Story of Cotton Candy. Can you tell us a little about the contents and creation of the book, as well as what attendees

May 12, 2017

How do you raise a feminist? This little book offers 15 suggestions for taking on the task and offers insight into how we can tackle living as feminists in our everyday lives. Dear Ijeawele is powerfully short and gets to the point, as a manifesto should. Her recommendations include; “ 'Because you are a girl' is never a reason for anything”; “teach her to love books”; and “teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary.”

Written as a letter to a friend, Dear Ijeawele, is a fast read with the potential to start conversations about what it means to be a woman today. 

300 Arguments

By Sarah Manguso
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 26, 2017

Here at Johnson County Library we're always on the lookout for insightful words about writing. Sarah Manguso's latest book, 300 Arguments, contains quite a few. At its most basic level, the book is a collection of aphorisms. And, since Manguso is a professional writer and writing teacher, some cover that topic. Here are a few to mull over:

Nothing is more boring to me than the re-re-restatement that language isn't sufficiently nuanced to describe the world. Of course language isn't enough. Accepting that is the starting point of using it to capacity. Of increasing its capacity.


Meet the Author: Amy Engel

By Amy Engel
Rated by Helen H.
Apr 12, 2017

Amy Engel was born in Kansas. Over the next couple of decades, she boomeranged around the world – to Iran and back to Kansas City, to Taiwan and back to Kansas City, from the University of Kansas to Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and finally back to Kansas City. Phew! With a law degree in hand, she worked for ten years as a criminal defense attorney.

After marrying a fellow attorney and having children, she decided to be a stay-at-home mother and writer. The writing took a little longer to become a reality than the mothering. One day, a flash of inspiration hit, and she wrote her

Nov 16, 2016

In The Butterfly Hours, Dann uses “one-word memory triggers like ‘table’ or ‘car’ . . . as a way” for students, and eventually herself, “to stitch together the patches of [their lives].” Some of the stories shared are those of her students, some are her own. All are beautiful.

The reading could have gone quickly, but I saved and savored the chapters. Assignments are listed at the end of the book and a photocopy of them now rests in the cover of my journal.

Much like Abigail Thomas’ Thinking About Memoir, Dann illustrates how surprising we can be to ourselves. But we don’t have to take

Meet the Author: Eve Brackenbury

By Eve Brackenbury
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 9, 2016

Everyone knows poetry is a literary form with distinct sounds and rhythms meant to be read aloud. Eve Brackenbury, local poet and bookseller, will help participants who might never have spoken in front of a crowd learn to read poetry out loud. Her passion is evident in our interview and we hope you'll join us in learning how to turn your reading into a performance.

Tuesday, November 15th
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Central Resource Library - Logan Conference Room

Tell us about yourself. How did you get started writing?

Like many writers, I don’t really remember when I started writing. I

Meet the Author: Danyelle Ferguson

By Danyelle Ferguson
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 18, 2016

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books. She’s grateful every day to work in her dream jobs – author, editor, and nurturing her readaholic tendencies.

Ferguson will present Let the Words Fall Out: a Study of Music Lyrics for NovelistsVoice: Making Your Manuscript Sing and will sit on a panel discussion on Writing Dialogue with Kristin Huston and Nathan Jackson at our 2016 Writers

Meet the Author: Mary Lane Kamberg

By Mary Lane Kamberg
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 13, 2016

Mary-Lane Kamberg is the author of more than 30 nonfiction books, including many for young adult readers. She has been writing since second grade. She published her first poem at the age of 10. She has a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas and roots for the Jayhawks during March Madness. In addition to her nonfiction books, she has published hundreds of articles, a poetry chapbook, and some short fiction. Her books include the I Love to Write Book: Ideas and Tips for Young WritersThe I Don't Know How to Cook Book, and Seed Rain. She is founder and director of the I Love to Write

Meet the Author: Nathan Louis Jackson

By Nathan Louis Jackson
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 11, 2016

Nathan Louis Jackson is the playwright in residence at the KC Repthrough the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program grant. A Kansas City, Kansas native, he is a graduate of Washington High School. He is also an alum of Kansas State University and did his graduate work at The Juilliard School.

His plays include Broke-ology (Lincoln Center 2009, KC Rep 2010), When I Come to Die (Lincoln Center in 2011, KC Rep 2014), and Sticky Traps (KC Rep 2015). He has received commissions from both Lincoln Center and The Roundabout Theater Company. At K-State, he was actively

Meet the Author: Sean Demory

By Sean Demory
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 6, 2016

Sean Demory, the brains behind Pine Float Press, was the first author I reached out to when we started Read Local. His original interview holds up just as well today as it did last year. He joins us again in preparation for our 2016 Writers Conference. Demory, with Scott Novosel and CW Cook will discuss how each of them have successfully used Crowdfunding to fund projects.

Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?

My name's Sean Demory. I live and work in Kansas City, Missouri, where I work for the Public Works Department by day and write by whenever. I'm also the founder of Pine

May 11, 2016

Robert Benson always takes the question of “how to write a book” very seriously. For he was once "in the same spot and grateful for any help that might move [him] along . . . Sharing the things [he] knows about how a person goes about telling his story seems only right. Perhaps it is even, as the old prayer book says, a good and joyful thing.” He’s the perfect mentor to help nudge a new writer on her way.

One of my favorite things about Dancing on the Head of a Pen are the chapter titles. "Dark Marks on a Page", for instance, explains how different writers make their marks. Benson’s way is

Feb 17, 2016

Even if you aren’t quite ready to seek out editors and agents, it’s never too soon to start building your platform. And even if you aren’t interested in building an author’s platform, you should at least check out Social Media for Writers for Chuck Wendig’s Forward. That alone garners a recommendation.

Writing is serious business. If you’re a writer, especially a self-published or small-press author, you need to take social media seriously and see it as a business strategy for your work.

From blogs and Podcasting to Twitter and Instagram, if it’s a social media platform, Tee Morris and

Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott
Rated by Melody K.
Jul 27, 2014

I'm not a writer but Anne Lamott makes me believe that I could be a great one.  Bird by Bird is a writing manual that reads like a memoir, a very funny, life affirming, let's get real memoir.  She reminds me a bit of Cheryl Strayed in her clarity and insight not only about writing but about relationships and priorities.  Lamott says, "if you want to know your characters, you have to hang out with them for awhile."   I highly recommend hanging out with Lamott.

Steal Like an Artist

By Austin Kleon
Rated by Josh N.
Mar 13, 2014

If you're anything like me, you've spent too much time thinking, "I want to be a writer/artist/musician/craftsperson," and not enough time thinking, "I am a writer/artist/musician/craftsperson." Maybe you spend time writing, drawing, painting, playing music, knitting, doing woodwork, making collages, but, because you aren't doing it full-time or professionally, because you think what you've created isn't wildly original and brilliant, you think of yourself as someone who "wants to be" instead of someone who is an artist. Which is pretty silly, because all creative types, even the most famous

The Language of Fiction: a writer’s stylebook

By Brian Shawver
Rated by Vincent S.
Sep 3, 2013

I confess a bias. Brian, the author, is my nephew. This is his third publication following two novels, a baseball story entitled The Cuban Prospect and the introspective Aftermath. This latest offering is a book about grammar, but it doesn't read like a textbook. His theme is that a thorough grasp of grammar frees the writer to concentrate on the creative aspects of storytelling and improves the quality of writing. Brian uses multiple examples of grammar from passages of the great writers, and not surprisingly, throws in plenty of humor along the way. The index helps in finding pages about