Blog Posts

JIMMIETOWN, KS

My own debut novel (novella) JIMMIETOWN, KS has been a hit (at least among my friends and relatives) and netted about $60 in commissions in May. Wow! Who would think? My cousin’s review was particularly compelling: 

Just finished “Jimmietown” …It’s a homer!   Eager, now to re-read. It’s wonderful! Jenny is annespecially strong fully-formed character reminiscent of Scout in TKAM. She’s a better fit, though, to the midwestern mileau where you grew up and which you colorfully capture. I remember visiting you there where the slighly “southern” accents were exotic to the ears of your northern cousin Others in an exceptionally lengthy list of characters for a short novel (are you calling it a novella?) are artfully drawn as well. Your book is ripe for a sequel or prequel – “Jimmietown 2.” JKJ

Jimmietown, KS published

  • Good news for me! My debut novel Jimmietown, KS is now out on Amazon and Kindle. The short novel is the work product of my time at Ankeny Writers Workshop and the several small groups that have helped me “workshop” my book, a coming-of-age story told by the narrator Jimmie who experiences life in a ‘50s era Kansas town where WWII is a recent memory and where racial tensions separate the community—as Jimmie finds his first love. Get a copy. Matt Davenport helped me launch the book via Create Space

For Richard Ford, Memoir Is A Chance To ‘Tell The Unthinkable’ : NPR

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. My guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Ford, has written a memoir in which he does the eloquent version of what we all try to do, at least those of us who have grown up with our parents, to reflect on their lives, take their measure and attempt to understand how our parents shaped us and how our arrival transformed their marriage and their lives. Ford says he also wanted to reconcile his self back then when his parents were alive and his self now, decades after they’ve died.

Ford’s memoir, “Between Them,” was written in two parts. The section about his mother was written in 1986, soon after she died of metastatic breast cancer. The section about his father was written recently. He died in Richard Ford’s arms in 1960, after his second heart attack. Ford’s novels include “The Sportswriter,” “Independence Day” and “Let Me Be Frank With You.”

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/02/526559954/for-richard-ford-memoir-is-a-chance-to-tell-the-unthinkable

Orwell’s “1984” climbs to the top of the amazon.com best seller list

IOWA PUBLIC RADIO. In recent weeks, sales of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, first published in 1949, have soared. It climbed to the top of the amazon.com best seller list, and bookstores report that copies are flying off the shelves.

Since so many people are reading or re-reading it right now, on this “book club” edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation about what makes this classic relevant in 2017.

Nebbe starts the hour talking with Andrew Simmons, an English teacher who transforms his classroom into the world of 1984 and Big Brother every October.

http://iowapublicradio.org/post/orwellian-concepts-newspeak-and-doublethink-alive-and-well-2017

Also see: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/teaching-1984-in-2016/508226/

Take a creative writing course from MIT: online and free!

A friend pointed out that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) doesn’t only teach young people to be world-class engineers who invent new photo-jpgstuff. People (like Ankeny Writers) who work with words can also take an online class to learn the craft of creative writing. Classes are rated as “undergraduate” in difficulty. Go to the site HERE.

Matt Davenport brought new ideas to Ankeny Writers

Last Saturday–January 21–Ankeny Writers met up with Des Moines author Matthew Davenport. Matt shared his writing journey and asked and answered questions about “independent” (Indy) publishing. If “independent” publishing is your route, Matt is your guy. He is a recognized coach  for helping authors find their resources, publish their works, find their audience, and build a career.  One Ankeny writer in attendance said the morning was the “best day ever” at the AWW Saturday meet ups. Thanks Matt.