April 22, 2018

Kentucky Virtual Library

At the beginning of the year, I discovered pretty much each state has a virtual library.  That’s a great resource in our world as it changes from storefront to electronic.   While I still see permanent library building necessary, there is personal help available directly at the physical store that lacks in a virtual world, online libraries offer electronic convenience.  That makes our physical libraries fit into the virtual world and especially useful during, let say, an unexpected spring blizzard forces all the roads closed on Saturday and there’s a report due on Monday.  Ok, so that actually just happened this last weekend here in Nebraska!  Another advantage is to those who just can’t get to the library.  I think people who can’t just pick up and leave the house when they want a good book to read benefit from the advantage of a couple clicks to check out.  All around the country, I see big box stores closing because online shopping is so easy, I also predict many other services such as physical libraries, will evolve to accommodate the electronic world.  It’s sad, because there’s not much like flipping through pages of an actual book, but having library resources at my fingertips is so convenient. 
So, lack of a Kentucky representative—and here’s a call to all you Kentucky people involved in writing for next year—I’ve found the KYVL online.  Enjoy.

The Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) is a consortium of nearly 300 Kentucky libraries and institutions, including colleges and universities, public libraries, K12 schools, hospitals, Department of Defense libraries, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), and more.
The three primary services of KYVL include:
·         Databases - core resources accessible to the users of KYVL member libraries.
·         Courier service - facilitating resource sharing among Kentucky's public and academic libraries and KDLA through interlibrary loan.
·         Kentucky Digital Library - a platform for Kentucky libraries and institutions share their digital archives with Kentucky and the world.
KYVL went live in November 1999, and is a program of CPE, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
KYVL hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm, except during the following Kentucky state holidays:
·         Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday (Monday, January 16, 2017)
·         Good Friday (April 14, 2017, one-half day)
·         Memorial Day (Monday, May 29, 2017)
·         Independence Day (Tuesday, July 4, 2017)
·         Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017)
·         Veterans Day (Friday, November 10, 2017)
·         Thanksgiving (Thursday & Friday, November 23-24, 2017)
·          Christmas (Monday & Tuesday, December 25-26, 2017)
·          New Year's (Friday, December 29, 2017 & Monday, January 1, 2018

Contact the KYVL staff by emailing kyvl@kyvl.org or call 844.400.KYVL (5985) toll free, or contact a staff member directly:
Ilona Burdette, Director
Enid Wohlstein, Senior Fellow
Ivy Robinson, Business Specialist

Access to KYVL resources is provided through participating Kentucky libraries, which include Kentucky schools, public libraries, college and universities, and others. Visit your participating library to use KYVL resources on site, or ask a member of the library staff for a KYVL username and password to use KYVL resources from home and elsewhere.

(credit: http://www.kyvl.org/access all info downloaded from site)

April 15, 2018

Louisiana Throwback from 2012 with Author, Lynn Lorenz

I loved that slogan – it was on our license plates for a few years. Far more apt than Sportsman’s Paradise, I suppose. Living in such a diverse state, which some have likened to a banana republic, takes a certain kind of mental state, for sure. 
When I think of Louisiana, I think of home, even though I now live in Texas and have since 1989. My heart is still there, along with friends and family. Even though my dad passed, I still find reasons to return to New Orleans, my home town. As if I needed a reason. 
I can always claim it was for research for my next book. I’ve got quite a few books set in Louisiana and in New Orleans, in particular. My Hearts of New Orleans series of novellas is set before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, a defining moment for the city, forever etched in its physical and emotional memory. Those first few years of struggling back from the brink of annihilation, the next few of getting on its feet, people returning, businesses reopening, and the Saints winning the Super Bowl. My Rougaroux Social Club series, about a pack of Cajun werewolves, is set in south Louisiana bayou country. 
Nowadays, New Orleans is a city with its legs firmly under it and standing tall again. Sure, there are still problems, but the Crescent City will get over them and survive. It always has and always will. 
Now anyone who has ever been to New Orleans knows it is not like any place else on earth and its people are what make it so special. And along with its people, its food is the shining star. Not just in New Orleans, but all over the state. 

My aunt lives up north, in Monroe, La. That’s the redneck part of the state. It’s not Cajun and Catholic there, it’s country and southern Baptist. I remember going there as a kid, and being shown Bossier City (they had gambling!!!) and wondering what the big deal was – after all we had Bourbon Street. Been there – done that. But I never had better chicken and dumplings and greens. 

And one of my favorite parts of the state is the middle. Okay, don’t laugh, but it’s truly beautiful, if you love tall pine trees, small towns, antiquing, and haunted plantations. Give me St. Francisville any day, and I can wander its roads and tour its grand houses until my heart’s content. Have finger sandwiches and tea in a cozy shop and fried catfish for dinner. 
As a kid, I remember driving with my dad down the river to the very end of the road. Literally. The blacktop ended at Shell Beach and a restaurant on stilts where we’d eat fresh from the Gulf oyster and shrimp po’boys. 
On Friday afternoons, my family would sit on the front porch steps and shuck fresh oysters and eat boiled crabs, crawfish and shrimp. I learned how to mix cocktail sauce by about six years old and could pinch the tails and suck the heads too. 
So if you read my books, and I hope you’ll give them a try, you’ll find deliberate and mouth watering descriptions of food in each of them. What’s a book about Louisiana without talking about the food? Hell, I’m not sure you can talk about the state and not mention food. Try it. I dare you. 
And when you’ve failed, don’t be sad. I’ve given up on it. I don’t have that much energy – I need it for eating. See I just got back from New Orleans and brought home two muffalettas, (four mini muffs), six pralines, and a couple bags of Zaps (sweet potato and Cajun and dill pickle). All I need to wash it down is a Barqs and I’m golden.

My Mom’s Shrimp Creole recipe --- not sure where she got it, but we ate it at least twice a month. (we had a rotating schedule – red beans were always on Monday and cooked with ham, spaghetti on Wednesday, pot roast or ham on Sundays, and in between, she experimented on us with recipes she’d find in the Times Picayune, or shared with friends.) 
3 tbs oil
2 lg onions, chopped
1tbs flour
4 lbs shrimp
2 green peppers
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomatoes (1lb)
1 cup each shallots, parsley, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups water 
Heat oil, add onions and cook on low flame until light brown. Stir in flour and add shrimp and peppers. Cook a few minutes.
Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and garlic, stirring. Cook til tomatoes turn deep red (about 10 minutes)
Add water (enough to cover shrimp), parsley, shallots, bay leaf and cayenne.
Salt and pepper.
Cook 30 minutes.
Serve with white rice.
Serves 8
Lynn Lorenz is having a blast writing about romance and giving her characters a hard time before they get their happily ever after. She believes everyone deserves a HEA and that if you open your heart you’ll open your mind. You can reach her at her website www.lynnlorenz.com  

April 8, 2018

Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library and Boyhood Home in Kansas

When our kids were young, a friend of mine and I would find ways to entertain them every summer while they were out of school.  Poverty prevented lavish vacations but we still wanted to give them something that they could look back on as adults and say, “Remember when we…”

We would pick a place where we could drive there and back on one tank of gas. With coolers of drinks and picnic food, every Wednesday in the summer we would pile into my minivan and head out.

Abilene, Kansas was one of our many summer Wednesday field trips—mostly because I knew of this place my grandparents would stop that had the best homemade ice cream place on the planet when we we’d venture to Wichita to visit my aunt.  Not sure if my friend and I ever found that ice cream place on our trip but we did find the Russell Stovers candy factory, Old Abilene and Ike Eisenhower Boyhood Home and…his Presidential Library. 

Since I hadn’t been to Abilene for years, I was so young traveling with my grandparents that direction, I wasn’t aware there was a presidential library so near.  I was pretty excited to discover a place like that to take my kids.  Not all kids get to see that sort of thing…which really highlights my geekness. 

I’d never been to anything presidential so to find this extravagant library in this little town in Kansas was pretty cool.  From the beautiful construction to the shiny floors to the sound as we walked into the building, everything reeked importance and I watched my kids to make sure they didn’t leave too many fingerprints. 

Across the grounds, was, and still is, Eisenhower’s boyhood home, a welcoming Victorian.  I’m partial to Victorian homes, though I’d take some walls out to expand the tiny rooms. Why did they feel the need to have so many tiny rooms anyway?  Doesn’t matter really, it’s an impressive house just the same. 

The website says:
Built by the Eisenhower Foundation, with funds raised through public gifts, the Museum is constructed of Kansas limestone, quarried from Onaga Stone in Onaga, Kansas. Originally dedicated on Veterans Day in 1954, the Museum was built to honor all veterans of World War II and Abilene's hometown hero, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. 
If you have  the chance and a couple hours, and you’re in Abilene, it’s well worth the stop.

Here’s more info:

And for the record, every so often the kids will say, “Hey Mom, remember when we…”
More info on Old Abilene Town here: http://oldabilenecowtown.com/ I was excited to see its still running to a degree.  I can still hear my Grampa telling us we were going to go to Old Abilene.  He didn't let me get anything from the gift shop often...except for once.  I still have that...wish I still had my Grampa! Hallelujah he would say! 
(All Info downloaded from sites listed in post.)  

April 1, 2018

Kylie Brant’s View from Iowa

 Often, when I tell people where I’m from, I hear a variation of a common theme:
“Oh, Iowa. Potatoes!”
“No,” I tell them, “that’s Idaho. We’re corn.”
“Well, I know it’s one of those fly over states. By Texas, right?”
"Nope. That’s Oklahoma. We’re smack in the middle of the heartland.”
Not remarkable enough to remember, unless one has actually been here. If you have a vision of endless corn and bean fields bordered by gravel roads, you're getting close. They can be found outside most cities and towns. The endless sea of green is looked at with amazement by visitors from outside the Midwest.
Many aren't aware that the state is bordered by two rivers: the Mighty Mississippi on the east and the Missouri to the west.

We spend time every summer boating on the Mississippi. When we go through the locks in northeast Iowa above Lansing, the river spreads out so vast and wide I always think of the awe the early settlers must have felt when they saw it for the first time.

It's a common misconception that Iowa is flat. In reality, central Iowa is flat. But the eastern and western parts of the state are hilly, because of the rivers found there. Which leads me to one of the most famous events held in our state: RAGBRAI. The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is hosted by our largest newspaper and held the last week in July each year; just about the time that the weather can be guaranteed to be sweltering, at least for part of the trip. 2018 marks the 45th consecutive year the event has been held. It's so popular that the paper limits members to 8500 riders. But it's estimated that as many as 36,000 riders are taking part at any given time as 'volunteer' bike riders join for part of the trip.

The ride always garners a lot of national and international attention, as it's been featured in TIME, Sports Illustrated, and French and German magazines. And the unpleasant surprise most new riders discover on the ride across the state? That Iowa's *not* flat, LOL.
August brings the opening of the Iowa State Fair. With over a million annual visitors, the fair is one of the largest and best known fair in the country. The butter cow sculpture has been a staple there since 1911.

Most will recognize the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood, but few recall that he was one of Iowa's most famous artists.

Western Iowa is home to the breathtaking Loess Hills, which are up to fifteen miles wide and stretch two hundred miles into Missouri. The hills are over sixty feet tall and spread across 640,000 acres of land. They are dunes made of windblown soils formed toward the end of the last Ice Age. Although loess is found throughout the world, only China has deposits larger than Iowa. 

There's a lot of beauty to be found in Iowa. But many are unaware that we're second only to Texas in top wind energy states.
Here are a couple of my happy places:  Lake Okoboji, in northwestern Iowa, is a set of two connected lakes. West Okoboji is fed by sub-terranean springs which account for its clear blue water.

Here's a view inside University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium, home of the Hawkeyes. August through November is tailgating season, and no one tailgates quite as enthusiastically as Hawkeye fans!
I've authored forty books, all romantic suspense and straight suspense novels. I'm a three-time RITA nominee, have been nominated for five Romantic Times awards and am a Lifetime Achievement award winner from RT. Twice I've been awarded the overall Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in mystery and suspense. My books have been published in twenty-nine countries and translated into eighteen languages.

PRETTY GIRLS DANCING, my January release, was an #1 Amazon bestseller.
More about my work here: https://www.amazon.com/Kylie-Brant/e/B000APLS6K

And I’m offering a signed hardcover copy of Pretty Girls Dancing to one very lucky commenter. 
Check out the blurb:  
Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life—a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It’s ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.

Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Mark Foster has stumbled on uncanny parallels in the lives of the two missing girls that could unlock clues to a serial killer’s identity. That means breaking down the walls of the Willards’ long-guarded secrets and getting to a truth that is darker than he bargained for. Now, to rescue one missing girl, he must first solve the riddles that disappeared with another: Kelsey Willard herself. Dead or alive, she is his last hope.
(All Info Provided by Author and Kenneth G. West www.ioscapes.com)