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Welcome to Chapter 34! I had the joy of talking with Andrew Berzanskis, Editorial Director for the University of Oklahoma Press. Andrew has worked in publishing for two decades, during which his work involved acquiring books for the University of Washington Press, West Virginia University Press, and the University of Georgia Press. He got his start in university press publishing through an editorial fellowship at the University of Texas Press. In our conversation, you’ll learn about the mission of OU Press and some of the similarities and differences between university presses and the larger commercial publishers. We also talk about the kinds of books featured by OU Press and Andrew walks through the publication process from acquisition to production, including some incredible advice for authors interested in working with these presses.Connect with Andrew and OU Press: Website | Andrew on Twitter | OU Press on TwitterDoing something a little different with the review this month. The book is Rilla Askew's Prize for the Fire, reviewed by Rilla (giving a synopsis of the book from Chapter 30 of the show) and me providing a short review (from the November episode of Your Next Great Read).Mentioned on the show:Prize for the Fire - Rilla AskewThe Good Country: A History of the American Midwest, 1800-1900 - Jon LauckA Promise Kept: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation and McGirt v. Oklahoma - Robert J. Miller and Robbie EthridgeBrandon HobsonJoy HarjoSanora BabbWay I See It - Wampus ReynoldsPekolah Stories - Amanda BalesGarth Brooks: The Road Out of Santa Fe - Matt O'MeiliaWoody GuthrieLiterati Press Comics and NovelsMagic City BooksFull Circle BooksMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
As we turn the calendar over to 2023, some of my former guests and reviewers have checked in for this special "Where Are They Now?" episode of the Bookcast. I've included each guest's name and the episodes where you can hear more from them, as well as a link to their websites. Enjoy this opportunity to catch up with these friends!Charles J. Martin - Chapter 1literatipressok.comBetsey Kulakowski - Chapter 27authorbetseykulakowski.comDebra Chandler - Chapter 3dechandlerwrites.comMark Edward Jones - Chapter 2mejbooksllc.comHannah Herron - Chapter 1hannahjoyherron.comAmy M. Le - Chapter 2quillhawkpublishing.comJerry Bennett - Chapter 19thejerrybennett.comAmy Prokopis - Chapter 17amyprokopis.comGinny Myers Sain - Chapter 7ginnymyerssain.comConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
It's Chapter 32 of the Okie Bookcast!Today I talk with Kylar Merrell, comic writer and artist and the driving force behind Foreign Press Comics - an Oklahoma-based publisher. Kylar has created several titles, including Terminal, Valkyrian, and his contributions to the newly released Fletcher Cross anthology. He's also the host of the Comics Unscripted podcast. He describes himself as a fifth grade science teacher by day and a comic creator and publisher by night. We have a great time talking about the world of independent comics, but also about the creative process and the cool ways in which Kylar is using Foreign Press Comics to bring artists together.Connect with Kylar: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | PodcastOur reviewer for this episode is John-Eric Osborn. Eric is a comic artist and creator whose work includes one of my favorite comics - We Promised Utopia - and one of my Next Great Read cohost Hannah’s favorites - Hiro Doggie: Space Corgi. Eric is reviewing Desolation Jones by Warren Ellis and J.H. Williams. Connect with Eric: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | WebsiteMentioned on the show:DC New 52Francis ManapulAdora and the Distance - Mark Bernadin, Ariela Kristantina (Illustrator)  and Bryan Valenza (Illustrator) Pandemics in Panels - Foreign Press ComicsFletcher Cross - Foreign Press ComicsSoonerConNew World ComicConNew World ComicsNew Star ComicsThe Rez Detectives: Justice Served Cold - Steven Paul Judd (Author), Tvli Jacob (Author),  M. K. Perker (Illustrator) Heathen - Natasha AltericiBlankets - Craig ThompsonSkim - Mariko Tamaki and Jillian TamakiFun Home - Alison BechdelComics Unscripted PodcastOutlaw Country - Kylar MerrellConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
It's Chapter 31 of the Okie Bookcast!My guest is award-winning children's author, Mariana Llanos. Mariana is a Peruvian-born writer of children’s books who has lived in Oklahoma since 2002 and started her publishing career in 2013 with her book Tristan Wolf. She is the author of 12 published books, the latest of which, Run Little Chaski, an Inka Trail Adventure, won the 2022 Oklahoma Book Award in the children’s books category. She also recently released an audio story titled Qoritika and the Three Alpacas, produced by Sony Music Entertainment. Connect with Mariana: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website Our review comes from June Coleman. June is a retired Language Arts teacher from Yukon. Always wanting to write a book, reading about Fred Rogers caught her attention when he wrote, “Let some word that is heard be yours.”  June says we are never too old to change our trajectory; but we must be willing to step WAY OUT of our comfort zones. So, she did just that in releasing her debut Christian children’s book “Introducing Joyfull Lee” for ages 5-9.  Her purpose was to promote reading and show children what forgiveness and grace looks like in a world somewhat lacking in both.  June says that chocolate won’t solve many problems, but it’s a fine place to start.June reviews 96 Miles by J. L. Esplin.Connect with June: Instagram | Facebook Mentioned on the Show:Run Little Chaski - Mariana LlanosRun Little Chaski song in English and SpanishQoritika and the Three Alpacas - Mariana LlanosLatinX PitchSCBWIThe Last Cuentista - Donna Barba HigueraSinging with Elephants - Margarita EngelIntroducing Joyfull Lee - June Coleman96 Miles - J. L. EsplinMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
My guest for Chapter 30 of the Bookcast is Rilla Askew. Rilla is the author of five novels, a book of stories, and a collection of creative nonfiction, MOST AMERICAN: NOTES FROM A WOUNDED PLACE, which was long-listed for the PEN/America Award for the Art of the Essay. She’s a PEN/Faulkner finalist, recipient of the Western Heritage Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre, FIRE IN BEULAH, received the American Book Award in 2002. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in AGNI, Tin House, World Literature Today, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, Rilla currently teaches creative writing in the English Department at the University of Oklahoma. Her latest novel, PRIZE FOR THE FIRE, published by OU Press, is about the Early Modern English martyr Anne Askew. In our conversation we talk about Prize for the Fire and about the challenges of writing a historical fiction biography. We also discuss the themes of strong women in difficult circumstances and religion across all of Rilla’s work. Finally, Rilla provides some incredible advice for emerging authors that I think you’ll find really encouraging.E. Joe Brown provides our review for this chapter. Joe’s latest novel "A Cowboy's Destiny" released in August and has made several best seller lists in Oklahoma. In support of the book, he launched three book signing tours across Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico this fall. Joe has been a guest on several radio programs in Oklahoma and New Mexico, most recently appearing on the LA Talk Radio program Rendezvous with The Writer. Joe is reviewing Chandler is Dead by Robert D. Kidera.Mentioned on the Show:Nimrod International JournalFire in Beulah - Rilla AskewWolf Hall - Hilary MantelStrange Business - Rilla AskewThe Mercy Seat - Rilla AskewThe Hummingbird's Daughter - Luis Alberto UrreaJoan: A Novel of Joan of Arc - Katherine J. ChenA Cowboy's Destiny - E. Joe BrownChandler is Dead - Robert D. KideraMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Chapter 29 of the Bookcast welcomes back Oklahoma author and entrepreneur, Jeremie Kubicek to talk about his latest book, The Peace Index, which released this fall. Jeremie is the Co-Founder of GiANT, a company that certifies coaches and consultants that serve companies and their employees. Jeremie has started over 20 companies while living in Oklahoma City, Moscow, Atlanta and London. He is also a sought-after communicator and content creator. In our conversation we talk about Jeremie’s new book and why personal peace is such an important topic for the times in which we find ourselves. We also talk about conquering chaos and provide some tools to help you think about what peace looks like in your life.Take the Peace Index Assessment: with Jeremie: website | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram | TwitterOur review today is from Oklahoma author JM Holmes. JM was Born and raised in Canada, has lived in the US since 1995and says he finds Oklahoma's slower pace and laid-back atmosphere the perfect environment for keeping his creative juices flowing and helps him find inspiration for writing such diverse fare as crime noir novels set in Texas and sci-fi adventures that span the galaxy. JM reviews The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark HaddonConnect with JM: website | FacebookMentioned on the Show:Wylie PublishingMaking Your Leadership Come Alive - Jeremie Kubicek5 Voices: How to Communicate Effectively with Everyone You Lead - Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time - Jeremie Kubicek and Steve CockramThe 100X Leader - Jeremie Kubicek and Steve CockramThe Peace Index - Jeremie KubicekAbsolute Surrender - Andrew MurrayThe Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower - Stephen E. AmbroseThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark HaddonMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
My guest for Chapter 28 is William Bernhardt,  best-selling author of over 50 books who has sold millions of copies in his three legal thrillers series featuring Ben Kincaid, Daniel Pike, and Kenzi Rivera, respectively. He’s also written several standalone novels, including his most recent book - Plot / Counterplot - which is available now. Beyond fiction writing, Bill has authored two books of poetry (with a third on the way) and a series of books on writing fiction. He has received distinguished author awards from the U of Pennsylvania and Oklahoma State University, is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, and in 2019 received a lifetime achievement award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. In addition to his work as an author, Bill founded the Red Sneaker Writers Center to support and develop authors as they work toward their literary goals. The Center offers small group retreats, an annual cruise, WriterCon - an annual conference in Oklahoma City, and the WriterCon podcast where Bill interviews authors about specific topics useful to writers. As if all of this weren’t enough, Bill also works as a publisher through his Babylon Books imprint. Connect with Bill: website | Facebook | Twitter | WriterConOur review for this episode comes from Steven Wedel. Steve is an Oklahoma author and teacher who lives in Midwest City. He’s published over 35 books, in a variety of genres, but is best known for his Werewolf Saga series and his young adult paranormal novels written with Carrie Jones. Steve reviews  Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick.Connect with Steven: website Mentioned on the Show:Grendel - John GardnerA Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - Suzanne CollinsBen Kincaid Series - William BernhardtDaniel Pike Series - William BernhardtSplitsville - William BernhardtMysterious PressStuart WoodsDean KoontzLemony SnicketRod SerlingJohn GrishamBabylon BooksCJ BoxLee ChildEncyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective - Donald J. SobolThe Martian Chronicles - Ray BradburyBirdie and Jeeves - P. G. WodehouseRise and Shine, Benedict Stone - Phaedra PatrickMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
It's the Bookcast Birthday! This episode marks a year since the podcast launched on October 5, 2021. A huge "Thank you!" to everyone who has been with it from the beginning and to those who are just finding us. If you enjoy the podcast, consider taking a second to share it with a friend or twenty. My guest is Betsey Kulakowski. Betsey is a federally trained investigator and full-time safety professional with a degree in Emergency Management who has served on disaster response teams at the Murrah Federal Building Bombing, the World Trade Center, and Hurricanes Katrina/Rita, as well as other disasters in Oklahoma. Betsey is the author of the Best-Selling paranormal thriller, The Veritas Codex, and the series of the same name. She has experience as an amateur paranormal investigator and is an avid history buff and family genealogistConnect with Betsey: website | Twitter | Facebook | InstagramOur review is from Kristy Werner. Kristy is a new Oklahoma author whose debut novel Resurrection won first place in the Fiction Writing Contest at WriterCon. Resurrection releases on October 24 and is currently available for preorder. Kristy reviews Maggie by Sharon Srock.Connect with Kristy: website | Facebook | InstagramMentioned on the Show:Devolution: A First-Hand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre - Max BrooksThe Sasquatch Seekers Field Manual - David Gordon Autumn Tales CollectionSole Survivor - Dean KoontzDarkfall - Dean KoontzPeculiar Activities - Mark Edward JonesThe Veritas Codex - Betsey KulakowskiThe Jaguar Queen - Betsey KulakowskiThe Alien Accord - Betsey KulakowskiThe Monk's Grimoire - Betsey KulakowskiResurrection - Kristy WernerMaggie - Sharon ShrockMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
The 50 Essential Oklahoma Reads list is live! Head to to get your copy today. Let the reading (and debating?) begin!My guest for Chapter 26 is Kevin DeShazo. Kevin is a speaker, consultant, author, and podcaster whose single focus is on helping people get better. His primary work is in the leadership space, particularly with student athletes and college athletic departments. He's authored three books: iAthlete: Impacting Student-Athletes of a Digital Generation, Leadership Interrupted, and his latest - Keep Chopping Wood. In our conversation we talk about about his written work with some focus on his non-traditional approach to both writing and publishing.  We also talk about the ideas of helping people get better and his work with student athletes and athletic leadership in the areas of social media and team culture.You can connect with Kevin and his work across multiple media forms at Our review is by OKC author Kat Lewis, reviewing The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer. Kat recently launched her writing career with her electrifying debut thriller novel, Rogue Defender. She is a passionate advocate for those escaping the horrors of human trafficking and uses her writing an avenue to spread awareness. She has served as the President and Vice President for the Oklahoma Christian Fiction Writers (OCFW) and is an active volunteer with WriterCon. Mentioned on the episode:Jeremie Kubicek - GiANT WorldwideDavid A Man Of Passion And Destiny - Chuck SwindollHumility - Andrew MurrayThe Power of a Humble Life - Richard SimmonsHardy BoysWhere the Wild Things Are - Maurice SendakMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
My guest is Oscar Hokeah. Oscar is a regionalist Native American writer of literary fiction, interested in capturing intertribal, transnational, and multicultural aspects within two tribally specific communities: Tahlequah and Lawton, Oklahoma. He is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma from his mother (Hokeah and Stopp families), and he has Mexican heritage from his father (Chavez family) who emigrated from Aldama, Chihuahua, Mexico. Oscar has written for Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, World Literature Today, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. His debut novel, Calling for a Blanket Dance, released earlier this year to critical acclaim. You can connect with Oscar at or on twitter and instagram. In our conversation, we talk about the novel, the need for and challenges of telling multicultural stories, and the importance of honesty in storytelling. We also talk a lot about Oklahoma - from OKC to Goteboh. Our review comes from Jes McCutchen, a Science-Fiction & Fantasy YA author whose works are full of ensemble self-proclaimed disaster queer casts and usually feature the occasional tiny crime and/or alien. Her debut novel Chronicles of My Alien Invasion Life came out in July 2022 and her next book, "A Mean Piece of Water" about Oklahoma lake mermaids fighting a giant demon octopus to save the dam is coming out this fall. You can connect with Jes at jesmwrites on instagram.Jes reviews The Monsters We Defy by Leslye PenelopeMentioned on the Episode:House Made of Dawn - N. Scott MomadayThe Way to Rainy Mountain - N. Scott MomadayAlice MunroChild's Play - Alice Munro100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia MarquezMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish I could get more books read"? Then this is the conversation for you! I talk with professor, content manager, and uberreader Kenna Griffin about her tips and strategies for reading 150 books a year. We also talk about how her reading informs the writing she does as a blogger, editor, and academic. If you’re a writer of any kind and any level of experience, I have a quick two-question survey that I’d love for you to take a couple of minutes and fill out - It would be a huge help to me as I work on some exciting things for the days ahead.I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Dr. Kenna Griffin. Kenna is the content director for Content Journey, an Oklahoma-based content marketing company. She also is an adjunct journalism and public relations professor. Before her work in content marketing, she was a full-time professor and college media adviser, following a career as a professional journalist.  Kenna has been a writer, editor, and educator for more than two decades and is a self-proclaimed word nerd, reading 100 to 150 books a year.You can connect with Kenna via Twitter (@profkrg), on Facebook (Real Nerds Read page), the Real Nerds Read blog, or on her website - Swanson does our review this episode. Luke is a fledgling Oklahoma author with four novels under his belt. His newest book, an action satire titled Spectators of War, dropped in July. You can find out more about Luke and his work at Luke is reviewing one of my favorite books - The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCheck out Behind the Rain: An Audio Anthology of Oklahoma PoetryMentioned on the show:The Body Keeps the Score - Dr. Bessel van der KolkGoodreadsOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Steven KingBest of BooksEverybody Writes - Ann HandleyPlatform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - Michael HyattThe Stranger Beside Me - Ann RuleFalse Witness - Karin SlaughterLouis L'AmourZane GreyEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail HoneymanMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 23!My guest is Oklahoma children's literature legend, Anna Myers. Anna has published 20 books for children, including award-winning titles like Red Dirt Jessie, Graveyard Girl, Assassin, and Tulsa Burning. She is a four-time Oklahoma Book Award recipient, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book in 2012, and was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers’ Hall of Fame in 2013. You can find out more about Anna and her work at her website - In our conversation, we talk about Anna’s writing career, her process, some tips for young writers, and her firm belief in the power of story. We have a special reviewer for this episode. Anna's daughter, Oklahoma author Ginny Myers Sain, is reviewing one of Anna's books. Ginny is the author of the award-winning YA novel Dark and Shallow Lies and her new book, Secrets So Deep, releases in September. You can connect with Ginny and her work through her website and you can hear my conversation with Ginny about Dark and Shallow Lies way back in Chapter 7 of the Bookcast. Ginny is reviewing Assassin by Anna Myers. Check out Behind the Rain: An Audio Anthology of Oklahoma PoetryMentioned on the show:Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud MontgomeryThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard PyleGreen LanternThe Yearling - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper LeeThe Book Thief - Markus ZusacOur Town - Thorton WilderThe War that Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley The War I Finally Won -  Kimberly Brubaker BradleyKate MortonKristin HannahTumbleweed Baby - Anna MyersFire in the Hills - Anna MyersJerry BennettMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
I'm excited to talk with Amanda Bales and Chris Murphy - authors who tell Oklahoma stories using short fiction. Amanda Bales is the author of Pekolah Stories, a collection about life in SE Oklahoma. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Amanda has since lived in many places, including Fairbanks, Alaska, where she completed her MFA at the University of Alaska. She now lives and writes in Champaign, Illinois and teaches at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. You can find out more about Amanda and her work  through her website - - or on Twitter or Instagram.Chris Murphy is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern State University in Talequah where he teaches creative writing. He received his MFA from the University of Arkansas and his work has been featured in a number of literary journals. Chris recently released a  flash fiction collection about life in NE Oklahoma called Burning All the Time. You can connect with Chris at his website - - or on Instagram and Facebook. This episode's review comes from Dee Dee Chumley. In 2008, Dee Dee  retired from teaching high school English and “re-fired” to pursue her passion for writing. She has won numerous awards for her short stories, essays, and poems, including Best Juvenile Book from the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. for her YA novel Beyond the Farthest Star and she was a finalist in the Southern Writers short story competition. In her latest writing effort, Dee Dee collaborated with grandson Brooks to write Ron Finds His Courage, a children’s chapter book inspired by Brooks’s pet bearded dragon. You can connect with Dee Dee and find her work on her website - Dee reviews Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel JoyceMentioned on the show:The Adventures of Tintin - Georges RemiWinesberg, Ohio - Sherwood AndersonCowboy Jamboree PressMongrel Empire PressJeanetta Calhoun MishScissortail Creative Writing FestivalDavid JoyCourtney MilanNora RobertsSlow Horses - Mick HerronMortals - Norman RushSpy Who Came in from the Cold - John Le CarreTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - John Le CarreA Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty SmithBastard Out of Carolina - Dorothy AllisonConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 21 of the Okie Bookcast! My guests for this episode are Bill Price and Dr. Michael Hightower. Bill and Michael recently released Bill’s biography, called At War with Corruption, chronicling Bill’s life and involvement in prosecuting high-profile cases in Oklahoma. The book recently won the 2022 Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Oklahoma Book Awards.  Bill Price was the Assistant U.S. Attorney Western District Oklahoma from 1975-1982 and U.S. Attorney Western District of Oklahoma from 1982-1989. He was the Republican nominee for Governor 1990, and is now in Private practice Phillips Murrah. In addition to his law career, Bill has been instrumental in causes related to kids and education, something we get to talk about in our conversation. Dr. Michael Hightower was born and raised in Oklahoma City and lived in Tulsa in the 80s and 90s. He was a co-founder and president of Council Oak Books, a trade publishing house. in Tulsa. Since completing his PhD in sociology at the University of Virginia, Michael has written several histories and biographies based in Oklahoma. You can find more of Michael's work at his website - Clark is our reviewer. Jeff is an author, speaker, and veterans advocate born and raised in Oklahoma. Jeff recently released his first book, "Hear These Truths: The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Leadership Algorithm". You can connect with Jeff on social media @officialJSClark and on his website - You can also hear Jeff on his podcast - Course of Action with Jeff Clark. Jeff is reviewing Brooklyn to Baghdad: An NYPD Intelligence Cop Fights Terror in Iraq by Christopher Strom with Jerome Preisler  and  Michael Benson Check out Behind the Rain: An Audio Anthology of Oklahoma PoetryMentioned on the ShowBobby BakerRoosevelt's "Man in the Arena" SpeechThomas SowellMatt RidleyRon ChernowEvan OsnosWhere the Crawdads Sing - Delia OwensPillars of the Earth - Ken FollettFree to Choose - Milton Friedman and Rose FriedmanAnimal Farm - George Orwell1984 - George OrwellTo Kill a Mockingbird - Harper LeeMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Connect with the Bookcast: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | WebSiteCheck out Behind the Rain: An Audio Anthology of Oklahoma PoetryWelcome to Chapter 20! This one is all about Summer Library Reading Programs. I have a great lineup of librarians and other library-connected folks, giving us a bird's-eye view of summer reading and a picture of what it looks like in a couple of local contexts. We get to cover quite a bit of ground across the state - OKC east to Shawnee then north to Claremore and out west to Enid - and get tons of ideas about how to connect with reading and learning opportunities through local libraries for kids of all ages. We also talk about the importance of helping students avoid the summer reading slide by connecting them with reading opportunities that they enjoy. I first talk with Bill Young and Adrienne Butler from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Bill has worked in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries' Public Information Office for 35 years, and has served as the PIO Director for 28 years. Adrienne is the Youth & Regional Services Consultant at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. She's been with the State of Oklahoma over 25 years. For our local libraries segment - I talk with Ashley Welke from the Pioneer Library System and Nikki Lunk and Leslie Rogers from the Will Rogers Library in Claremore. Ashley is the Director of Community Engagement and Learning for the Pioneer Library System where she oversees programming, outreach, and readers' services. Nikki is a first year children’s librarian with the Will Rogers Library and Leslie is the Assistant Director and Adult Programming and Outreach Coordinator. She has been with the library for 9 years. Our review comes from Theri Ray, who is the acting library director at the Enid Public Library. Theri is a Former middle school teacher who earned a Master of Library and Information Services from the University of Oklahoma in 2021. She describes herself with one word - bibliophile. Theri reviews Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Mentioned on the show:Oklahoma Department of LibrariesPioneer Library SystemPLS Connect AppWill Rogers Library, Claremore - Facebook | InstagramEnid Public LibraryTana FrenchDoomsday Book - Connie WillisTo Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie WillisFirekeeper's Daughter - Angeline BoulleyShine - Lauren MyracleConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 19 of the Okie Bookcast!Jerry Bennett is a full time illustrator and art director and is one of the great comic creators in Oklahoma. He has done work for local film company Reckless Abandonment Pictures, Invisible Layers, Oklahoma Today magazine, Okie Comics, Stan Lee, Marvel, DC and Lucasfilm. He also creates the Chicken Fried News illustrations in the Oklahoma Gazette and serves as the illustrator Coordinator for the Oklahoma/Arkansas region of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. He is currently working with Charles J Martin (who you met way back in chapter one) on an incredible comic called Glamorella’s Daughter which has just finished its first four-issue run and has a volume one trade releasing later this month. You can see Jerry's work at his website - or connect with him on Twitter or Instagram. Rachel Elliott is an author-illustrator of comics for young readers. Her debut middle grade graphic novel, THE REAL RILEY MAYES, is an LGBTQ+ story set in Oklahoma and has received multiple starred reviews. Rachel grew up in Pryor, Oklahoma, and took drawing lessons at a neighbor's farm. She now teaches first-year composition, multimedia writing, and writing comics at the University of Kentucky. Rachel is reviewing Come Over, Come Over by Lynda BarryMentioned on the show:Star Wars - Marvel ComicsTransformers - Marvel ComicsJohn Byrne - Fantastic 4 and X-MenArt Adams - LongshotStewart ImmonenDarwyn CookeSalt Magic - Hope Larson and Rebecca MockThis Was Our Pact - Ryan AndrewsMarch - Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate PowellThe Murder of Emmett Till - Dr. Karlos K. Hill and David DodsonLiterati Press Comics and NovelsGlamorella's Daughter - Jerry Bennett and Charles J. MartinImage ComicsLaron Chapman - You PeopleStray Dogs - Tony FleecsImmortal Hulk - Al Ewing and Joe BennettSea of Stars - Jason Aaron and Dennis HopelessTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy BlumeCome Over, Come Over - Lynda BarryThe Greatest of Marlys - Lynda BarryMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 18 of the Okie Bookcast! Couple of quick reminders:- Our first Bookcast Newsletter will drop June 1. If you haven't subscribed yet on the website, take a minute to sign up at - I've had an incredible response to the Behind the Rain audio anthology and a fantastic lineup of poets and poems is coming your way on June 15. CONTENT NOTE: My guest, Dr. Karlos Hill, studies and writes about difficult topics related to racial violence so there are some terms and events referenced in our conversation that might be difficult for younger listeners to understand and might be triggering to other listeners. My guest is Dr. Karlos K. Hill. Karlos is Chair and Associate Professor of the Clara Luper Department of African and African-American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is an author and community-engaged scholar, who brings historical perspective to difficult racial events that impact the Black experience and our culture today. Karlos is the author of three books and is the founder of the Tulsa Race Massacre Oklahoma Teachers Summer Institute and serves on the Board of the Clara Luper Legacy Committee. He is a sought-after speaker and interview guest for outlets like CNN, USA Today, and Time Magazine and also a regular contributor to The Nation.  You can connect with Karlos and find his work at Hale provides our review for this episode. Jamie is an Information Services librarian for with the Pioneer Library System where she's been involved in adult and teen programming for 14 years.  She enjoys jigsaw puzzles, trivia, musical theater, and anything Disney related. In addition to her work with Pioneer Libraries, Jamie spent three years involved with the Sequoyah Book Award on the High School Reading Team division and says she enjoys young adult literature as well as mystery and suspense novels. Jamie is reviewing The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. Mentioned on the Show:The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History - Dr. Karlos K. HillTulsa Race Massacre Oklahoma Teachers Summer InstituteGreenwood Cultural CenterJohn Hope Franklin CenterWatchmen (television series)The NationThe Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History - Dr. Karlos K. Hill and Dave DodsonDave DodsonRobinson Crusoe - Daniel DefoeBehold the Walls - Clara LuperMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 17 of the Bookcast! Some quick reminders:Submissions for the Behind the Rain audio poetry anthology are due May 15. Visit for more information and to submit your poetry. Volume 1 of the anthology will drop June 15. I’d love to have you on the Okie Bookcast mailing list! You’ll be the first to get my brand new newsletter when it launches in June and other updates about special Bookcast events. Finally, be sure to connect with me on social media - @okiebookcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. My guest for this episode is Shel Harrington. Shel is a humorist who writes for a (chronologically!) mature audience at and has over 490,000  followers on her smile-inducing Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce  Facebook page. In her other life, Shel is a seasoned  Family Law attorney who writes and speaks about how to put her out of business by doing marriage better. Shel is the author of  Over 50, Defined –  Words  Just For Us That Aren’t in the Dictionary . . . Yet!  and her upcoming book, Over 50, Defined – More Quinbloits!  is due out later this year. You can also connect with Shel through Twitter.In our conversation, Shel and I talk about her book and some sample quinbloits, how her faith influences both her approach to family law and her writing, and we even get into some marriage and parenting advice - it’s a full-service conversation. Amy Prokopis is our reviewer for this episode. Amy is an Oklahoma author writing for young adults. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English and German and has since gone on to get her masters in School Counseling. Her latest book, "The Arena" is a science fiction book fit for lovers of "The Hunger Games" and bookworms who enjoyed the political thrill of "Dune." You can get updates about her writing from her Instagram (@amyprokopis) and read the first chapter of "The Arena" for free on her website - You can also connect with Amy on TikTok and YouTube. Amy is reviewing Everyone in this Room Will Someday be Dead by Emily AustinMentioned on the show:Remember - you can purchase the books mentioned on this or any episode through my partnership with 10% of your purchase goes to support your preferred indie bookstore and another 10% goes to support literacy organizations in Oklahoma. Fat Bottom 50’s Get Fierce WebsiteFat Bottom 50’s Get Fierce Facebook PageShel Harrington Relationship Advocate Facebook PageOh For the Love of God Facebook PageSniglets - Rich HallErma BombeckDolly PartonWriConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 16 of the Okie Bookcast! We're celebrating National School Libraries Month by talking with a couple of amazing Oklahoma librarians! This is Part 2 of our conversation, so I strongly encourage you to check out Part 1 (in Chapter 15) and then come back and enjoy the rest. My guests are Jill Slay, librarian at Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City, and Eric Dabney, librarian at Orvis Risner Elementary in Edmond. You can connect with Jill on Twitter (@msjillslay11) and Instagram (@jillslay11) and also check out her library on Twitter (@PCWlibrary) or Instagram (@pcwestlibrary). You can check out one of the videos Eric made reading to his students here. In this part of our conversation, we talk about their approaches to curating their collections, hear their responses to the 3 Questions, and find out how they are celebrating National Library Month with their students (spoiler alert: pickle ball). Hailey Carrell provides our review for this chapter. Hailey  has worked in libraries for 12 years and recently started a blog to share their love of books. You can check out Hailey's reviews at  When not reading, Hailey says they enjoy hanging out with their dog or listening to kpop. Hailey reviews Home Before Dark by Riley Sager.Mentioned on the Show:I Am Enough - Grace ByarsBad Guys series - Aaron BlabeyThe Mystery of Mrs. Christie - Marie BenedictAgatha ChristieUnhoneymooners - Christina LaurenThe Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family - Ron Howard and Clint HowardThe Lincoln Highway - Amor TowlesHerve Tullet - Press Here and I Have an IdeaLaura Vaccaro Seegar - Bully, Blue, Green, and RedWhere the Red Fern Grows - Wilson RawlsSummer of the Monkeys - Wilson RawlsGo Set a Watchman - Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird - Harper LeeWhere the Wild Things Are - Maurice SendakMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
Welcome to Chapter 15 of the Okie Bookcast! We're celebrating National School Libraries Month by talking with a couple of amazing Oklahoma librarians! Jill Slay is the librarian at Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City. Jill has  been an educator for 23-ish years and was a high school English teacher before moving into the Library about 10 years ago. She is currently working on her doctorate in Education in Curriculum Studies and Supervision. You can connect with Jill on Twitter (@msjillslay11) and Instagram (@jillslay11) and also check out her library on Twitter (@PCWlibrary) or Instagram (@pcwestlibrary). Eric Dabney is the librarian at Orvis Risner Elementary in Edmond, OK.  As a longtime researcher and editor for prolific author Bob Burke, Eric spent more than two decades rediscovering his home state over kitchen-table interviews and the family photo albums of many of its favorite sons and daughters including Gary England, Abe Lemons, Jane Jayroe, and George Nigh.  He is the co-author of several books and taught in the education department at UCO for more than a decade.  Eric began his career in public school education as a first-grade teacher at Orvis Risner Elementary in Edmond in 2014 and later moved down the street to Central Middle School, where he taught 7th-grade English and Literacy. He returned to Orvis Risner as the school's librarian in 2019.  Married to Shelley for 30 years, the couple lives on a farm northeast of Edmond, where they raised three daughters and are now very happy grandparents. You can check out one of the videos Eric made reading to his students here. We had so much to talk about in this conversation that I've split it into two episodes. In this part one,  we talk about their libraries, the role of librarians in the greater school community, and helping kids fall in love with reading. Part Two of our conversation is also available in Chapter 16.  Our review for this chapter is from Shereen Rasor - Shereen has been a teacher in Mustang Public Schools for 28 years and a school librarian for 10 years. She is married to her high-school sweetheart and is the mother of two sons, both in the military, and the grandmother of the two cutest kids ever! Her favorite past times are reading, horseback riding, and motorcycle riding… especially if she gets to do these things on the beach.Shereen reviews The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth.Mentioned on the Show:Orca Soundings Collection Jason ReynoldsJudy Blume AviTreasure Island - Robert Louis StevensonWonder - R. J. PalacioTony Hawk Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum The Good Sister - Sally HepworthMusic by JuliusHConnect with J: website | Twitter | Instagram | FacebookShop the Bookcast on
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