Friday, June 8
Meet the Author: T.K. Ambers
Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair
Runway Dreams: A Black & White Affair is a tale of love, deceit, and the moral struggles that Bernadette Price, a young Oklahoma model, endures in order to break free from her abusive marriage and reclaim her identity.
T.K. Ambers was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but enjoys spending time in Des Moines with her extended family and friends. Her passion for writing covers everything from novels to poetry to blogs. She has a strong love for travel and runs the site: www.starspiritadventures.com, which focuses on travel reviews and living life to its fullest. When she is not at her computer writing she can be found enjoying her free time with family and friends, listening to music, reading, and photographing her adventures. She believes that life is short and every day is its own adventure and should be treated as such.
Tuesday, June 12
Hunter’s Picks Book Club
The Hunter’s Picks Book Club takes its inspiration from Paul’s Book Club at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, which Hunter attended while in college. This book club will read primarily literary fiction. The quirk of this book group, like that of Paul’s, is that Hunter will be the one choosing all book club selections. Suggestions are welcome, but Hunter will have final say. He’s such a control freak that way.
Selection this month: The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
Friday, June 15
Poetry Reading: Dometa Wiegand Brothers
A poetry collection on the harsh and beautiful northern Midwestern environment and the sturdily pragmatic, yet bizarrely idealistic people, it produces. However, it is not only this. Cold Songs is about the permeability of the human soul how we bleed into the world and other people and how the environment and the divine and other humans seep into us. Mysticism starts in our recognition of the world around us. It’s in the moonlight, the songbird, and the black river; it’s in the mathematics of petals, orbits, and tree branches. This way of experiencing ourselves in the universe is about far more than anthropomorphizing or idolizing the landscape. There is a simultaneous struggle both to connect and individuate in the hearts and minds of humanity. A longing for that power and a great fear and respect, as well.
“The northern Midwest is less of a stage and more of a character in this excellent debut collection. In the tradition of Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, and Peter Matthiessen, Brothers encounters nature as a mirror, a window, a door, a conduit to a better understanding of ourselves. At one point, the subject of a poem lies in the grass of a deer’s bed, and your mind will be similarly impressed with the wild, organic power of these poems.” —Ben Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh.
Dometa Wiegand Brothers is a native of the north woods of Wisconsin. She holds a BA and an MSTE from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and a PhD from Washington State University. She has taught at universities in Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho, Alabama, and Iowa. She is the author of the scholarly monograph On All Sides Infinity, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Her poetry has also been anthologized in Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland. Dometa Wiegand Brothers currently lives and writes in central Iowa.
Monday, June 18
Urbandale UCC Book Club
The Urbandale United Church of Christ Book Club is now meeting at Beaverdale Books! Membership is open to anyone, so if you like good books and a good discussion, this could be your book club!
Selection this month: A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass
Tuesday, June 19
Meet the Authors: Sarah Strickley and Yasmina Madden
Fall Together and other Readings
There’s enormous power in Sarah Anne Strickley’s sharp, vivid stories about people who try and fail to conceal their faults and desires. She renders her characters’ sorrow and longing with such force I had to put the book down between stories to recover. Each story in this collection is a marvel of intelligence and empathy.
--Leah Stewart, author of What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw
Sarah Anne Strickley’s stunning debut collection features a long list of memorable characters, survivors of some disasters and creators of others, including crooked cops and their victims, doubting artists, mothers and daughters and their fraught relations, nobles and servants, and those barely hanging on who stubbornly hang on nonetheless and sometimes triumph. In several stories the mundane slips into the mysterious as gracefully as it does in the work of Angela Carter or Aimee Bender, while other stories are more realistic, mournful elegies revealing lives where tragedy swallows some and liberates others. All are shot through with beautiful prose, startling imagery, and a wicked sense of humor, and all investigate the truly important things, the price we pay and the rewards we reap to be that most mystifying of creatures: bewildered, bedeviled, and yet resilient humans.
--Paul Griner, author of Hurry Please I Want to Know
I could not stop reading these strange, sometimes savage, always revelatory tales. Sarah Anne Strickley takes us from coal mine to front porch to trashed riverbank with a fluency and daring that had me holding my breath. She's part poet, part sorceress, and every part seer––and we're the lucky ones who get to discover her.
--Anna Solomon, author of Leaving Lucy Pear
Sarah Anne Strickley is the author of Fall Together (Gold Wake Press, 2018). She’s a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowship, an Ohio Arts grant, a Glenn Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and other honors. Her stories and essays have appeared in Oxford American, A Public Space, Witness, Harvard Review, Gulf Coast, The Southeast Review, The Normal School, Ninth Letter, Hotel Amerika, and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. She teaches creative writing and serves as faculty editor of Miracle Monocle at the University of Louisville. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, the writer Ian Stansel, and their daughters.
Sarah will be joined by Yasmina Din Madden, whose short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in PANK, The Idaho Review, The Masters Review: New Voices, Word Riot, Hobart, Fiction Southeast, Carve, and other journals. Her story At the Dog Park was shortlisted for The Masters Review Anthology: 10 Best Stories by Emerging Authors, and her flash fiction was shortlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions of 2017, as well as Pulp Literature’s Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction. She teaches creative writing and literature at Drake University and directs the university's Susan Glaspell Writers & Critics Series.
Tuesday, June 19
Meet the Author: TJ Anderson
The Art of Health Hacking
The Art of Health Hacking is a self-coaching guide for the modern-day health-conscious consumer who wants to build their All-Star healthcare team, rely less on a poorly designed sick-care system and instead, build their own “health hacker” approach rooted in prevention and high performance. In his book, TJ Anderson profiles what’s he’s learned as a health coach, and perhaps more importantly as a self-coach, in the fields of biohacking, behavior change, and our ever-evolving healthcare system. Merging the fundamentals with the cutting-edge, The Art of Health Hacking will teach you how to evolve your definition of health, create a healthier relationship with stress, and strategically design your own lifestyle based on your intentions and desires. Come along for the ride and experience what it’s like to elevate your state of total health and performance!
TJ Anderson is an author, behavior change specialist, and a self-proclaimed “health hacker.” Over the past eight years TJ has worked in and around the fitness, biohacking and healthcare industries as a model, health coach for entrepreneurs, and a healthcare consultant for top hospitals and medical groups. He’s also the founder of Elevate Your State, a health and human performance organization bringing fellow “health hackers” together through in-person adventure retreats and online courses and challenges. He was born and raised in Des Moines, IA and currently resides in Boulder, CO.
Wednesday, June 20
Book Launch: Cindy Chambers Johnson
Russell Wrestles the Relatives
Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family.
When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorry and Tory (the Twin Tornadoes) to Cousin Cora “The Cleaner” to Uncle “el monstruo” Marcoy.
Family reunions mean lots of hugging, handshaking, and hair tousling. And Russell’s relatives? Well, they are more…enthusiastic than most. BIGGER than most. BRAWNIER than most. They’re wrestlers! Skinny and scrawny Russell will have to meet, greet, and defeat this clan with some spectacular moves of his own!
Cindy Chambers Johnson grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, where she received her fair share of Kansas Crusher hugs and visits from far-flung relatives. (None of whom wrestled for a living—thank goodness.) Cindy’s interest in family ties and inherited traits led her to a career as a genetic counselor, but a love of reading and writing passed down from her mother led to her career as an author. Cindy now lives with her husband and two children in Des Moines, Iowa, and only administers the Texas Tickle Hold when absolutely necessary.
Thursday, June 21
Meet the Author: David Furneaux
The Journey to NOIHMLA
This is a national security novel about our era.
National intelligence officers, governors, and congressional oversight leaders seek her advice.
Carrie Station is a rising star inside the top-secret world of national security at NOIHMLA, the National Office of Intelligence, Homeland and Military Liaison Agency. Detecting and stopping threats against the US is part of her day.
After helping take down another threat, Carrie looks in the mirror and asks, How did I get here?
The answer: 9/11.
Over a decade before, that day forever changed the lives of two Midwest college students, Carrie Station and Jeff Hanford. When Carrie meets Jeff in history class, she nicknames him Rockhead. For the next two years, they trade sarcasm about history, politics, and even each other’s love interests.
But as they watch the horror of 9/11 unfold in a college union, they know their worlds will change. In the next months, they find out how far it takes them into different worlds…together or with others.
The Journey to NOIHMLA is the first book in the Numbland Security book series. It follows Carrie and Jeff for 15 years of their loves, wars, and the ongoing threat of terrorism.
Carrie and Jeff represent the unknown and dedicated people who serve and make sacrifices in this continually changing world.
These are the hidden heroes we should know more about.
The draft is the only lottery David Furneaux’s ever won. But it gave him an assignment in Army intelligence with an infantry unit eight miles above Pearl Harbor. It gave him a deep appreciation for timely and shared intelligence between government and the military.
David has interviewed thousands of people as a national recruiter and later as an oral historian for veterans’ history projects. He realized during the journey, he loved helping people tell their stories.
He’s a recovering history major, volunteers at a local veteran’s medical center and is an independent. In recent years he has been a speaker on the Pearl Harbor attack, WWII, the Korean War and Veterans Day commemorations at Honor Flight programs, libraries, veteran’s organizations, and community centers.
He feels 9/11 was the domestic Pearl Harbor for America’s 21st century. He lives in Iowa.
He’s married and a proud parent and grandparent.
Saturday, June 23
Meet the Author: Tess Cacciatore
Homeless to the White House
Homeless to the White House is a riveting tale of Tess Cacciatore’s travels through six continents, searching for the meaning of life. Her saga begins in the heart of the Congo with a gun pointed at her head. It closes on the peaceful shores at the Sea of Cortez, healed from domestic violence and life’s adversities, ready to give birth to the next chapter in her life.
The end of this book is truly a new beginning. It’s the launching point for GWEN’s #Reveal2Heal cultural movement. Coinciding with today’s redefining social initiatives, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, Tess’s story encourages enlightened and empowering action. She challenges women and men from around the world to join forces, share their stories and drive positive social change.
Tess Cacciatore is co-founder and CEO of GWEN (Global Women’s Empowerment Network), established in 2012. The award-winning producer, videographer, journalist, keynote speaker, storyteller, social entrepreneur – and now published author – has dedicated her life to advocating for peace, justice and equality around the globe.
Recognizing that everyone’s story has value, Tess provides support for those who struggle to find their voice. She is a connector using entertainment, technology, and philanthropy to bridge people and cultures worldwide.
Over the years, Tess has participated in various international forums, including the United Nations (Geneva and New York), speaking on behalf of women and children. Today, she continues her quest to advance humanity and enhance life quality with her inspiring memoir and the ongoing #Reveal2Heal grassroots, cultural movement.
Tuesday, June 25
Mind-Body-Spirit Book Club
Our newest book club! Join this discussion of books that focus on the mind, body and spirit as art of an individual’s well-being. Authors will include Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert, Joyce Ru and others. The club will explore the author’s ideas and how they can incorporate some practical applications into our everyday lives to encourage balance and joy.
Selection this month: Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt
Tuesday, June 26
Mystery Book Club
Come join this group that has been meeting for over 20 years! New members always welcome; all you need is a love of mysteries and a burning desire to talk about them with a fun group of folks!
Selection this month: Billy Boyle by James R. Benn
Thursday, June 28
Meet the Author: Melinda Voss
From Mango Cuba to Prickley Pear America
In March 2014, award-winning journalist Melinda Voss headed to Cuba, a country that has fascinated her since she was a girl growing up amid animated dinner table conversations about the Cuban revolution, Castro’s leadership and the missile crisis. Her book, “From Mango Cuba to Prickly Pear America,” is a cross between a travel memoir and a primer on America’s neighbor. In it, Voss lays bare her misconceptions about Cuba and offers a thoughtful glimpse of Cuban life interwoven with interesting facts about Cuba’s history, historical sites, customs, housing, education system, agriculture, family life and aging programs. In January 2018, she returned to Cuba and enjoyed swimming in the Bay of Pigs on her birthday. She plans to return to Cuba in 2019.
Melinda Voss was a staff writer for the Des Moines Register for 26 years, producing award-winning and groundbreaking stories, including the Pulitzer-nominated series, “Gay Life: The Untold Story.” She has taught journalism at three universities. A co-founder of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Voss served as its first executive director. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Gannett newspapers, Columbia Journalism Review, Harvard’s Nieman Reports, The American Journal of Public Health and A Field Guide for Science Writers. Now retired, Voss lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her dog, Bunny. Her oldest son, Zac and his wife, Sarah, live in Des Moines with their three children. Her other son, Andrew, and his wife, Sarah, live in Saint Paul with their three children.
Saturday, June 30
Meet the Authors: Chris Bauer, Doug Engstrom, Ransom Noble, Shannon Ryan, and Catherine Schaff-Stump
Abandoned Places: Stories
Twenty-one writers embark on a tour of the lonely, the rejected and the uninhabited. Featuring stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror by rising new authors and classic tales by Ray Bradbury, Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allan Poe and M. R. James.
Abandoned places exist in the vacuum of space, the boom towns gone bust of yesteryear and under our noses in the isolation of the modern age. Shohola Press, a new independent publisher, is pleased to announce its first release, Abandoned Places, an anthology of short genre fiction edited by George R. Galuschak and Chris Cornell.
Read along as twenty-one writers embark on a tour of the lonely, the rejected and the uninhabited. Featuring stories of fantasy, horror and science fiction by rising new authors and classic tales by familiar names.
Featured reprint authors: Ray Bradbury, Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe and M. R. James.
New fiction authors appearing:
Chris Bauer is the author of numerous short stories, primarily dark fantasy and science-fiction. His work has appeared in many anthologies such as Damnation and Dames, Dead Seas, Sunny With A Chance of Zombies and Abandoned Places. He is a graduate of the Viable Paradise and Taos Toolbox workshops, a frequent beta reader and a director of the Chicago-based Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) when his day job permits it. He lives in Chicago with his incredibly patient wife, two children and a strangely aloof dog. When he is not working, he is reading. When he is not reading, he is writing.
In the course of his life, Doug Engstrom failed in an attempt to become a missile launch officer, ran a base newspaper on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and bicycled 600 kilometers for no readily discernible reason. He lives near Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, Catherine Engstrom.
Ransom Noble writes science fiction and occasional fantasy stories. She's fascinated by creatures, mythological and alien and everything in between. She resides in Iowa with her family, always learning and meeting new challenges. Find out more at ransomnoble.com.
Shannon Ryan lives in Marion, Iowa. He writes weird, funny stories in the urban fantasy genre. His latest book Panic No More is about a computer programmer harassed by a Greek God.
His short story Destruction of Local Radio Shack Predicted was read on the Coast to Coast radio program by Art Bell. His hobbies include woodworking and researching conspiracy theories.
Cath Schaff-Stump writes speculative fiction for children and adults, everything from humor to horror. Her YA Gothic fantasy The Vessel of Ra is available from Curiosity Quills. Catherine lives and works in Iowa with her husband. During the day, she teaches English to non-native speakers at a local community college. Other recent fiction has been published by Paper Golem Press, Daydreams Dandelion Press, and in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. Catherine is a co-host on the writing and geek-life fan podcast Unreliable Narrators. You can find her online at Facebook, Goodreads, @cathschaffstump, cathschaffstump.com, and unreliablenarrators.net
Monday, July 2
Meet the Author: Donald Morrill
"The monster called my cell phone this morning, demanding money."
So begins Jill Lundgrove, the unforgettable protagonist of Beaut. Secluded in a cheap apartment on a ring road of Des Moines after a fire has destroyed her house—a blaze "the Monster," her drug-addicted, adult son might have caused—she confronts her precarious circumstances. "I'm in great need of reckoning," she writes, partly to herself and to another initially unnamed. What of that fire, the Monster's criminal companions, and the surprising prospect of a love affair after years of widowhood? And what of her three other children, who have variously sought to protect her, flee her, dominate her? The haunting story that follow vividly illuminates the discordant accords of marriage and madness, the ambivalence in motherhood, and the mysteries of inheritance—and bestows a strange, unexpected gift on those closest to her.
Donald Morrill is the author of the nonfiction volumes Impetuous Sleeper, The Untouched Minutes (River Teeth Nonfiction Prize), Sounding for Cool, and A Stranger's Neighborhood, as well as three collections of poetry (among them Awaiting Your Impossibilities, a 2015 Florida Book Award recipient). He has been the Bedell Visiting Writer in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and writer-in-residence at the Poetry Center at Smith. Currently he teaches in the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Tampa.
Tuesday, July 3
Beaverdale Writers' Group
Join this group of lively area writers started by local author Jerry Hooten. Not a critique group; discussion centers around the publishing process and marketing your work once it's published. And there is wine.