Who Were the Highest Paid Authors of 2016 In Your Genre?

Received an email from Mark Malatesta, literaryagencies.com, referring me to an article in January’s Fortune magazine, about bestselling authors in my genre in 2016.  (I’m still opening emails from the beginning of the year.)  Interested in knowing who the bestselling children’s authors were last year, and what they wrote? Here are the top five on the list:  James Patterson who is the founder of Jimmy Patterson series imprint; Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series, Dr. Seuss,  There’s a Wocket in my pocket! etc., Ric Riordan, Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, and Rachel Renee Russell, Dork Diaries series.  The list also listed the amount of money these authors made 2015-2016. Go see.

Book Walk Project

Walked some of Gray’s Lake Monday this week, to re-create and read the book from the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department and DMPL’s Book Walk Project.  The book that has been poster there for the remainder of the month is, In the Tall, Tall Grass!, a children’s.  Children’s genre poping up all over the place.


Twenty Picture Books

20 Picture Books About Diversity, Politics, and Equality for the Young Activists in Your Life Bustle.com and 10 Young Adult Books that Tackle Racism – Past Magazine.

DMPL Author Fair

Attended the DMPL Author Fair on Sunday, October 8 at the Central Library.  Talked with the twenty other authors there, the patrons of the library and others who attended, including Bo James, Executive Director HIP-HOPE.  Hip-Hope is a program that trains young people in the art of music making, and entrepreneurship.  See hiphopeinc.org for additional details.  Enjoyed the event.  Here are the names of ten of the attending authors:  Larry Cotlar, Des Moines;  Randal Nerhus, West Des Moines, Debra Closner Franklin, Des Moines, Al Simon, Jr., Des Moines, Dr. Hugh Hammond, Windsor Heights, Francis Sparks, West Des Moines, Catherine Haustein, Pella, Pat Underwood, Colfac, Ken Keffer, Des Moines, and Jan Walters, Indianola.  I’ll list the remaining nine next week.  We were from all parts of Iowa, selling our mostly indie published books.

Independent Book Publishers Association (ibpa)

The Independent Book Publishers Association is offering $20.00 off the IBPA membership thru November, 2017 to the BookBaby community.  The  Independent Authors Conference is being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 3 – 5, 2017.  bookbaby.com/conference has more information.


To the family of Hugh Hefner, Playboy magazine Founder and owner of the Playboy mansion.  Hefner die September 27, 2017 at the age of 91 of natural causes.  Known for its centerfold pin-ups, Playboy, is also known for its great writers and articles.  Alex Haley’s Malcolm X, was published in the magazine.  The article that I was able to discuss with a sixth grade class on the cutting down of the Amazon forest was also an article in Playboy.

Showcasing – Recent Book Purchases

Purchased a couple of books this week: Toni Morrision’s, The Origin of Others, and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.  I wrote about Thomas’ book in a recent post.  The book is a for young adults, and is a bestseller.

Habara gani!




Like My Page on Facebook

 Reminder: “Like” my blog page on Facebook. I’m putting this up front so that I won’t forget. This blog is linked to my social media sites, so I’m asking all who read this to comment and/or “Like” it. I did get one “Like” last week.  Thanks to you Facebook friend.

Annual Gival Press Poetry Award

Dr. Linwood Rumney – Union Institute & University won the 17th Annual Gival Press Poetry Award for his book Abandoned Earth.   The Gival Press Poetry Award is given by Gival Press, a small, independent publisher of quality poetry, fiction, non fiction and essays in English French and Spanish, according the the write-up by netfind.com.   Rumney’s favorite poetry book is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – important here because according to Dr. Rumney “The work provides a lot of very important messages about celebrating diversity and pluralism…”.


How Fathering a son with disabilities helped Microsoft’s CEO transform the company. 

Jason Ward, CEO with Microsoft wrote the above  article,   which was published on Linkedin, Friday, September 22, 2017.  In the article he stressed that  fatherhood of his differently abled son made him a more “empathetic leader,” and taught him to lead by helping his employees to see failure as a learning experience, and taking chances as an opportunity to learn. The article is available on Windowscentralcom.

Storymoja Festival 2017

The Storymoja Festival 2017, was held Wednesday, September 27th thru Sunday, October 1 in Nairobi, Kenya at the Nairobi Kenya National Museum.  The Festival 2017 theme was Black Peace.  It was a five day international celebration of ideas, stories, writing and culture through books, live discussions, storytelling, skits, poetry, music demonstrations, workshops, open mikes, debates, exhibitions, live performance, and art competitons.  Storymoja is a publishing business in Nairobi whose vision  is “A Book in every Hand”.  storymojafestival.com.Ke website for more information.

Showcasing:  18th Annual Iowa Author Awards Dinner

The 18th Annual Iowa Author Awards Dinner will be held on October 31, 2017 and will award its 2017 Author Award to John Irving, author of The World According to Garp and other notable books, some of which have been turned into films.  The event will be held at the Iowa Event Center.

Gray’s Lake – Read a Book While You Enjoy YourWalk in October

The Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department with the Des Moines Public library have joined to hold the Bookwalk project.  The project, being held this month at Gray’s Lake,  is a read-a-long books you can see as you walk.  The books are children’s books, Head, Shoulders, Knees,and Toes, Planting a Rainbow, and In the Tall, Tall Grass! 

The 2017 Author Fair

The 2017 Author Fair will be held this Sunday, October 8th, at the central Des Moines Public Library, 1000 Grand, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Come pickup a copy of my children’s book, A Birthday Story.

Bye! Until next time.

Must Read Books for Writers

The Write Life

  A blog on the internet at thewritelife.com published on Friday, September 1st, 2017 an article by their team entitled “25 Must-Read Books About Writing.”

My library contains several of the recommended books:  Copies of Writer’s Market, including the 2017 edition.  The reference book is edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

 The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, and,

 The Associated Press Stylebook 2017, by the Associated Press.

The book I’d like to add to my collection is, The Lonely Voice:  A Study of the Short Story by Frank O’Connor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Attended,  a webinar, Creating Captiving Characters in Fiction, part 2 presented by Jeanne Lyet-Gassman.  It added to my knowledge of how to make my characters believable, and interesting to the reading audience.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Attended the Des Moines Writer’s Workshop at Artisan Gallery 218, in West Des Moines as the rain poured down Monday evening. The needed rain (needed to stem the drought the area is experiencing) flooded over the top of the open door on to the floor of the backroom of the shop where the workshop was held, giving me a possible passage for a future story.  It was greeted with smiles, comments and a break in the author’s presentation, as the hosts ran to close the door, and clear the floor of the running water.

Presentations were made by the workshop founders who read excerpts from published books and works in progress.

The members of the workshop were also recruiting for the different groups, organized by genre. The groups and the works by the members can be purchased at Beaverdale Books.com or the bookstore on Beaverdale.

Police Brutality Curriculum

“Police Brutality Scandal” is the focus of a new curriculum in Chicago.  Brenda Lasevoli on September 8, 2017, on edweek.org wrote about the curricula that has been developed for 8th and 10th graders in Chicago Public Schools.  The curricula will focus on the Chicago police brutality scandal that “rocked” the city between the 1970’s and the early 1990’s, said Lasevoli.   The police were charged with torturing more than a hundred African Americans in their custody.   Survivors of the torture were paid $5.5 million in reparations.  The curriculum’s purpose is prevention.  The authors, would like to try and keep “such” abuses from happening again.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture

  The National Museum of African American History & Cuture (NMAAHC)  celebrated its 1st anniversary on Saturday and Sunday, September 23rd & 24th, 2017.  The museum grounds was the site of the celebration in Washington, DC.  It can also be seen at nmaahcsi.ed. special events, including a Horticulture Tour by the Smithsonian Institution Staff explaining the cultural importance of the plantings on the museum grounds.  I am a founding member of NMAAHC who would like to have taken the tour.

Last Post

In my last post I wrote about the appearance of Angela Davis at the Chrysalis Foundation’s Annual fundraiser.  I have since learned that the speaker was Bonnie St. John.

Ms. St. John was the speaker for the 2017 INSPIRED Event, held Thursday, September 21, 2017.  Ms. St. John lost her leg at the age of five.  She is an African American 2005 paralympic medalist in downhill skiing.  A Harvard University graduate and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, in England,  she earned a Master of Arts in economics.  She has authored seven books and coauthored “How Great Women Lead.”   St. John lost her leg at the age of five.

A Youtube.com video, is a good introduction to Ms. St. John.


Indie Author Day 2017 – 10.14.17- Indie writers and publishers will be celebrated.

DMPL Author Fair:  Growing Local Talent will be held on Sunday, October 8, 2017.

Showcasing:  Eve Ewing:  Renaissance Women

Eve Ewing – poet, educator, sociologist – is on a mission for Chicago – chicagotribune.com, article by Christopher Borrelli. 

Eve Ewing is a 31 year old visual artist, essayist, a closet “Star Wars” fan, local Twitter celebrity.  Borrelli says that Ewing is connecting the dots in a way that makes poetry less abstract.

“Electric Arches” – Ewing’s debut book sold out in 12 hours at her book release party and was in its second printing two weeks after its release.  An “eclectic mix of poetry, narrative and visual art” – she has been described by Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine “as the future of poetry.”

Eve Ewing was raised in Chicago.  Her next book, When the Bell Stops Ringing: Race, History and Discourse Amid Chicago’s School Closures, will be released in Fall of 2018.








2017 Tribune Literary Awards

The Chicago Tribune for Sunday, September 10, 2017 announced its 2017 Tribune Literary Awards.  The theme for this year was Belief.

The awards were received by Marilynne Robinson Gilead for Lifetime Achievement.

Colson Whitehead Fiction Award, Heartland Prizes, The Underground Railroad.

Matthew Desmond, Heartland Prizes, Non-fiction, Evicted:  Poverty and Profit in the American City.

The writers will receive their awards at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

The Fitness Book by Bryant Johnson

The spirit of the “notorious” Biggy Small’s was recently raised by the “notorious” RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) in an article in the Chicago Tribune for September 13, 2017.  The two have something in common, strength of spirit.

RBG or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Supreme Court Justice.  Bryant Johnson, fitness trainer for the Justice has written a book entitled Fitness Book in which he discusses the 84 year old Justice’s fitness program.  This is the second book written about Ginsburg.  The first book was a bestseller.

Ruth Bader Gindsburg Talks Workout Equality and B.I.G. was the Tribune article written by Kim Janssen, Tracy Swarity and Phil Thompson.


Saturday Story & Stretch, Cowles Commons, 300 Locust Street will be free and open to the public each Saturday, 9:00a – 10:30a  from now until October 28, 2017.

Des Moines Writer’s Workshop, will be presenting at the Artisan Gallery 218, @218 5th Street, West Des Moines Valley Junction on September 25, 2017.  More info? call 515-255-0138.

Sunday, October 8, 2017, the DMPL Author Fair will be held at the central branch of the Des Moines Public Library, 1000 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA. from 1:00p to 3:00p.  The theme is “Growing Local Talent”.  Author books will be for sale.

A Birthday Story, is one/is my book that will be on sale.   The book can still be purchased at Beaverdale Books and B&N where it can be bought, Print on Demand.  Print on Demand – you order they print.

Showcasing:  Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora by Laylah Amatulleh Barrayn – a Brooklyn based photographer – is an anthology of work by Black women photographers and features 100 female photographers of the African Diaspora, “including those based in the US, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.”

Mfon:…, the book, is named for Mmekutmfon Mfon’Essien, a young Nigerian-American photographer who died in 2001.  Lily Kuo, writing in Africa Innovators/ Quartz Africa, September 15, 2017, published the article.  Barrayn’s Mfon will be available later this week and will be published yearly.

qz.com is where Quartz Africa can be found.

Found – the two lost posts.  Found – on my page site.  Will post them if I can figure how to move them.

Habara Gani!.

Drake Park celebrates diversity

Drake Park celebrates diversity was a front page story for the Des Moines West Register, Tuesday, August 8, 2017.  The celebration included an international potluck, music, face painting, games, and community speakers.  One of the speakers was Principal Kevin Biggs of Roosevelt High School who discusssed the “wonderful’ educational options available for students.” The accompanying photos suggest that a good time was had by all who attended.

“State officials tout gains of early reading efforts”

The West Register’s Tuesday, August 29, 2017, article by Mackenzie Ryan,  reported that Iowa state officials touted the gains of early reading efforts.  Governor Kim Reynolds, the state’s first female governor, along with other state education leaders applauded the gains in reading scores, citing a statewide early literacy push for improving proficiency among Iowa’s youngest students.  “I’m proud of this progress,” Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Tom Ahart said, citing the challenges that low-income or non-native english students must overcome to achieve academically.

“Kids Need to Be Reading to Become Readers”

Richard L. Allington, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, states in the Forward to Children’s Literature in the Reading Program: Engaging Young Readers in the 21st Century,  “Kids Need to Be Reading to Become Readers”:  “Self-selection of texts to read is a potentially powerful factor in reading development, as is student access to a classroom library of wonderful books (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004).”

Chapter 3 of the same book, an article by Deborah A. Wooten & Kimberly F. McCuiston, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the authors of “What Do Biographies Tell Us?” says Medina (2014) states that his research indicates that vision trumps all other senses when learning.  Illustrations provide visual entry points that guide students’ imaginations to a better understanding of the story.

Showcasing:  Mosab Abu Toha

“When Daffodils Grow in Gaza” Cultural Weekly.com by Joanna Chen

Joanna Chen in Cultural Weekly.com for August 16, 2017  Lifestyle, Literature introduces Mosab Abu Toha a 24 year old Palestanian living in the besieged Gaza strip.  Mosab wants books. He is presently building a library of English language books in his home town of Bet Lahia.  He is doing so with the help of people from around the world.  At the time of Chen’s article Mosab had 200 books plus his own collection.  Cultural Weekly.com has the complete article.

September is the month that ASALH (The Association for the Study of African Life and History) celebrates and honors the life of its founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson.  Dr. Woodson was also the originator of the celebration of Black History.

October 8, 2017, a Sunday, will be the Des Moines Public Library’s Author Fair.  The Fair will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm. at 1000 Grand, the Central Branch of the library.  I will be there hope you will be too.  My children’s book, A Birthday Story, will be on sale.  If you don’t want to wait, the book can be purchased at xlibris.com, B&N.com, Beaverdale Books.com and Amazon.com



Children’s Books for the Months of May-June 2017 Outsale All Genres

I.  Children’s Books for the Months of May-June 2017 Outsale All Genres

Did you buy a children’s book in the month of May or June.  “Children’s books outsold all genres for the May/June period”  Your purchase help to make this happen according to Tony Johnson, Founder and Webmaster of AALBC.com (African American Literature Book Club).  The book club is in need of your support;  AALBC.com.  The July 29, 2017 post has an interesting article titled “How is African American Literature Really Doing?”  The article adds support, pro the issue of diversity.  I recommend it.

II.  Persons of Significance to Diversity

Bill Blank, standup comedian, alumni and recent inductee to Des Moines, Iowa’s North High School Alumni Hall of Fame, raised money for a senior trip for the school’s baseball team.  Blank, class of 1996, took the team to the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO.  The May 23, 2017 West Des Moines Register article says that Blank is a team supporter.

The grandfather in my children’s book, A Birthday Story, supported the Detroit Stars, members of the Negro League, and the name of a local children’s baseball team in the story.

Debbie Roush Killinger, class of 1968 North High School and inductee to the Alumni Hall of Fame, donated more than 125 scholarships for students at Morehouse College, Washington State University, Bellevue College, University of Washington School of Drama and North High School.  West Des Moines Register, May 23 2017.

III.  Showcasing: Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez, poet, playwright, activist, educator (britannica.com/biography), was born September 9, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama.  I had the pleasure of being one of her students during the Black Arts Movement in the 60’s.  Recently I received an old article about her, “Sonia Sanchez:  Poet Of Black Women”,  written by Sue Chastain,  that begins “The tiny Black woman with the gray-frosted braids was nearly dwarfed by the podium, but her voice – harsh and driving, then sinking almost to a whisper, then swelling to a keening wail – filled the small lecture hall.”  This is my memory of her as I sat in the 60’s listening to her read and discuss her poetry.  Thanks Sonia for the inspiration.

A Birthday Story, by Lana Jean Mitchell can be bought  on amazon.com, B&N.com, xlibris.com and Beaverdale Books.com.

My condolences to the family of  Heather Heyer who died in the Charlotteville protest.




Activist Honored

Habara Gani!  The news is about an activist visiting professor at Iowa State  University and DMACC (Des Moines Community College).   Simone Estes received an award for his efforts fighting malaria. The award was from the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets.  Mr. Estes,  a 79 year old bass baritone opera singer, says a July 18, 2017 article by Kelly McGowan in  the West Des Moines Register, was honored with a Lifetime Impact Award, and a Hall in his name at DMACC,  for raising more than $500,000.00 for the UN Foundation.

Courtney Crowder, writing in the Tuesday, June 20, 2017 issue of the West Des Moines Register, show cased the graffiti students of Movement 515 Color Codes, the graffiti workshop.  The students, Kenny “Sol” Tram and JJ “Zero” Emanuh, painted a mural “that featured images of labor leader Ceasar Chavez, author Maya Angelou and Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama.”  Why do people do graffiti? I once asked.  The workshop answer,  it’s art.

One more article from  a back issue of the West Des Moines Register.  Phil Roeder a Des Moines Public School writer,  wrote in a May 23, 2017 article  that students at Moulton Elementary School are studying Brazilian martial arts, in an after school program.  The Capoeira arts trace back to the 16th century and incorporates dance, acrobatics and music.

I submitted an application to review a children’s book for the “We Need Diversity Books” yesterday.  I reviewed for them last year.  Hope to be selected again this year.  I’m working on a poetry submission for a book of poetry and I’m selling A Birthday Story.

A Birthday Story is available on B&N.com, amazon.com, xlibris.com and Beaverdale Books.com.