Friday, September 27, 2013

Ted Kooser Poetry Reading

I had the opportunity to attend Ted Kooser's poetry reading Wednesday, when he introduced those of us in the audience to new poetry, which will be included in his forthcoming book.  It's been awhile since Ted's last book of poetry, so it's exciting that he has a new one coming in fall of 2014.  I love listening to him read his poetry aloud.  I'm not a huge reader of poetry, but when he reads it, I can just enjoy the images and his calm, down to earth tone--both the tone of his voice and the tone of his poetry.

Most of the poems he read us were about the ordinary, everyday people he's known for writing about--a couple of old men waiting for their car to be repaired, his wife learning Spanish, a possum (one of my favorites).  For a taste of that poetry, take a listen to the video below.  I don't remember the poem's title, but it's the one about the men at Midwest Auto.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mary Doria Russell Visit

This last week of September is a busy week for book lovers of all ages in Seward!  Sunday, September 22, bestselling author Mary Doria Russell was at the Seward Memorial Library for a presentation on Doc, the All Seward Reads title for 2013.  If you missed it, you missed an entertaining and informative hour.

We even found out that she had just decided the day before what her next book (after the upcoming sequel to Doc) will be about. . . . Edgar Allen Poe.  There are not too many books about him out there that I'm aware of!
I've read three Mary Doria Russell books, including Doc, and was very excited that we were able to get her to come to Nebraska.  Her books make readers see historical figures such as Doc Holliday or historical time periods such as World War II in ways that stretch our preconceived notions.  My favorite of her books, Thread of Grace, for instance, is set in Italy during World War II and is about Italians hiding Jews from the Nazis.  Almost unbelievably, 85% of Italy's Jews survived the war, and that's a story I'd never heard until Mary told it.  Doc takes a figure known only for one violent incident and makes him into a complete person, someone's son, as Mary describes him.
Here's a brief video clip from her presentation, when she's talking about her first book, The Sparrow, a science fiction novel about "Jesuits in space."  I haven't read it, but after hearing her talk about it, I may have to find a copy.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Local Authors Event

I'm very excited for Chapters' 2013 annual event for local authors.  This year we're trying something different, and so far the response has been incredibly positive.  If you're interested in writing or simply bringing more creativity into your everyday life, join us for a workshop on October 19 at the Red Path Gallery in Seward.

"Write from the Heart: A Writing and Creativity Workshop with Becky Breed and Lucy Adkins" will take participants through a series of writing exercises designed to help individuals realize their greater writing potential and maximize their creative energies.  By creating out of our hearts--writing from our inner selves, our experiences, and what we dream--participants will become empowered to tap into their creative abilities and find more inspiration in their lives.  Pre-registration and a $25 registration fee are required.  Bring your writing notebook or journal.  Click here to register now.

The presenters, Lucy Adkins and Becky Breed, are both from Lincoln and are actively involved in the local writing community as teachers, writers, and presenters.  Their new book, Writing in Community is available at Chapters.  

Gina Barlean, president of the Nebraska Writers Guild, says it is, "Poignant.  Deep thoughts.  Beautiful ideas.  An epiphany at every turn of the page.  Beautifully written by well-read women.  As a writer, I tend to read judgmentally.  I found I never had a moment of judgment with this book.  I read it like a reward for good behavior.  This book is yoga for the creative mind."

If you haven't visited the Red Path Gallery yet, you're in for a treat.  The gallery is host to area artists and their studios, and while you're taking a break during the workshop, don't miss the opportunity to browse.  There are some very talented artists in our community, and the gallery does a beautiful job of showcasing their work.  I'm doing some Christmas shopping down there this year!  Check them out on Facebook at  

Following the workshop, all participants, as well as other area writers and friends are invited to Chapters for a reception.  No registration is required for the reception, which will simply be a time to network, visit, and share your inspiration.

So, here are the crucial details:
Write from the Heart:
A Writing and Creativity Workshop
Saturday, October 19
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Red Path Gallery
514 Seward Street
Reception following at Chapters Books & Gifts
548 Seward Street

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

September Events

September will be a busy month for us at Chapters, especially the week of September 22-29, when there's a lot of book-related activity planned for Seward.

That activity will begin with a visit by bestselling author Mary Doria Russell on Sunday, September 22, at 2:00 p.m. to the Seward Memorial Library.  She's the author of this year's All Seward Reads title, Doc, and one of my favorite authors.  I loved her book Dreamers of the Day, an intriguing mix of historical and made up characters.  Much as I enjoyed that book, I think I liked A Thread of Grace even more.  I like World War II books from unconventional perspectives, and this one is based on the story of a network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the war.  I'm almost finished with Doc now.  Last night I had to force myself to put the book down and go to bed!  Like almost everyone, I had heard of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, but I really didn't know their stories or know them as real people.  After I finish this book, I will.  I'm looking forward to the author's visit to find out more about her research and writing.  It's a big deal to have a big-name author such as Mary Doria Russell coming to Seward!  Pre-purchase your copy of Doc or her other books by emailing us at or online at  We'll have books for sale at the event as well, with a portion of proceeds going to the Friends of the Seward Library.

Our own Ted Kooser will present a poetry reading at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m.  Not much else needs to be said, other than that everyone is welcome; Ted speaks for himself around here!

September 26-28 is the annual Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival at Concordia.  Featured authors this year include some of my favorites:  Illustrator Marla Frazee, whose water colors I adore; Neal Shusterman, author of The Schwa Was Here, one of the funniest and most clever YA books I've ever read; Anna Dewdney, author of the Llama Llama books; as well as the talented Kevin Henkes, Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, Barbara McClintock, Judy Schachner, and Marc Tyler Nobleman.  We're in the process of ordering books by all of these talented authors and illustrators, which you can purchase at Chapters before the Festival to be autographed while the authors are in town.

Also September 28, join us at 11:00 a.m. for a College Planning Session hosted by Chapters and featuring Treze Florum of Education Quest.  My goal for this session is for parents and high school seniors to attend together and actively engage in the process of searching for a college, completing online college applications, discovering scholarship opportunities, and generally getting started on the process of choosing and applying to a college.  We'll have a few computers set up so participants can do searches from here in the store, but feel free to bring your tablets, phones, and laptops, too.  Thanks to tech expert Dana Galusha, we now have wireless internet at Chapters, just in time for this event!  We'll also have pizza because I know how happy the kids will be to be here, and that may make up for it just a bit.

We hope to see you at any or all of these upcoming events.  Happy reading!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Camp Highlights

We had a fabulous time at camp last week!  Thanks for sharing your kids with us for a few days.  We love them all!  This year's event had a Western theme and featured cowboys and cowgirls, horses, trick roping, campfire singing, and even calf roping on the sidewalk in front of the store.

Monday, we kicked off the week with a visit by author Rebecca Janni and her family.  She even brought along her cowdog!  Rebecca, author of the "Every Cowgirl" books, read from her new book, Every Cowgirl Goes to School, and helped us make western vests and sing songs and enjoy 'smores 'round the campfire.  The video above shows Rebecca reading from her book, and here she is with Hannah, after signing a book for Hannah.

Tuesday's fun included calf roping and a real live horse right here in downtown Seward.  Thanks to Cindy and Cara Wolverton for introducing Rocky, and to the Zabkas for letting us park a horse on their grass for a few hours.  In addition to meeting the horse and learning to rope, we enjoyed reading stories, making a farm from cheese and animal crackers, and tossing some horse shoes.  The big kids enjoyed one of my favorite books, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch.

Wednesday featured Cowboy Camp, the book about a boy named Avery who didn't think he was cut out to be a cowboy.  At our own cowboy (and cowgirl) camp, we perfected our roping and tried our hand at milking, both on the sidewalk out in front of the store.   You may have driven by and wondered what was going on--Stephanie from the Seward County Independent did!

For snack on Wednesday, we had cactus juice.  If your little cowboy or cowgirl claims it's the best juice ever and you want to recreate it, take some lemonade mix, a little Tang, and green food coloring, and mix them all together.  That's all it was!  We also made haystacks and trail mix, eating what horses and cowboys do.

Thursday's fun included more roping and milking, as well as stories, crafts--the footprint horse was a big hit--and snacks.  Desert sand cups were delicious, especially with the rattlesnakes we added!  Making WANTED posters, using ourselves as the bad guys.

To end the week, we invited a special guest to put on a trick roping demonstration for us.  World Champion roper Joan Wells of Lincoln, who grew up in Seward, showed us how to twirl three ropes at once, and she also shared interesting facts about the history of trick roping.

A big THANK YOU to our volunteer helpers, Molly Newburn, Cara Wolverton, Jenna Ripke, Elise Bohning and Megan Runyan, and Josie Rojewski, and to Stephanie and Cheryl for making the week run smoothly.  We're already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nebraska Novel Retreats

Nancy Sharp Wagner (otherwise known as NL Sharp), author of several books for children, is organizing a series of retreats for those interested in writing for the middle grade or young adult audience.  The retreats will be held at the St. Benedict Retreat Center north of Schuyler, Nebraska, a beautiful, peaceful location for focused writing time.

The retreat is a series of three sessions spread over a year, to take writers from concept to finished product.  A highlight of the series is the opportunity to interact with literary agents at the third session, in June 2014.  The first session takes place June 11-13, 2013, and focuses on writing for today's market.  The second session, in February 2014, will move writers forward to revision of their first draft through participation in a critique group.

If you'd like a copy of the retreat brochure and registration information, contact me at Chapters or visit  Registration deadline is May 1, 2013.

Read Across America Day Celebration

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day Saturday, March 2.  We had a fantabulous time with all our friends!  We especially appreciate Lt. Col. Shane Martin sharing his talents and reading The Cat in the Hat for us.  Dr. Seuss' books aren't easy to read aloud, but he did a terrific job.  Watch for photos in this week's Seward County Independent and see some on facebook, too.

And don't forget to READ together every day!