The Beautiful Flint Hills

An afternoon thunderstorm coming through the Flint Hills

An afternoon thunderstorm coming through the Flint Hills

Richardson, Jim

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Photographic Print

I just love photographs of the Flint Hills. Many times I’ve tried to capture their rolling contours, but they just seem to flatten out in the photograph.  Here Jim Richardson has captured a thunderstorm with his camera. Just click on the picture to see it larger.

On Squidoo, I’ve created a lens with lots of information about the Flint Hills. Check it out.  I made another one about Teterville, Kansas. There used to be a community there in the 1920s and 1930s, but it’s gone now.

I like Jim Richardson’s photos so much, I’m adding a link here so you can see more of them.
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Addictive Personalities

I wonder about myself sometimes. When I try something new and it turns out well, then I want to keep working on it. Lately I’ve been trying out Squidoo. It makes a great place to promote my mother’s book. It takes some time to create each lens, but I think the topics will draw the right people over the years. The topics I’ve created include one on Tyro, Kansas and one on pet badgers. Quite varied, but both relate back to My Flint Hills Childhood.
The other topics that relate to the book are An Old-Fashioned Christmas, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, and An Old-Fashioned Halloween. In additon, I’ve created one on Feedsack Dresses and one on the Flint Hills. Other topics from the book that might make good Squidoo lenses include Making Rag Dolls,  Being Quarantined, Bertha McGhee’s Life, Vining Genealogy, McGhee Genealogy, and School Days on the Prairie.

I need to stop for awhile and get back to editing my dad’s book. That’s the trouble with some of these websites. They are just really fun once you get past the initial learning stage. I still have a lot to learn about Squidoo and making quality lenses (webpages) there, but I’m off to a good start.

Wearable Book Promotions

I ordered a t-shirt to promote my mom’s book.  Maybe I should have had them put the book cover on the shirt.  Here it is:

Gail Lee Martin's book
Gail Lee Martin's book

 I ordered this through vistaprint (the people who advertise the free business cards).  The t-shirt was free and I just paid postage, which fit the budget.   I’ll be adding more ideas for promoting a self-published book on a limited budget, so stay tuned.

The important things to get on your wearable book promotion is the book title, author, and webpage for buying the book.

Promoting Mom’s Book – My Flint Hills Childhood

Self-publishing a book involves a lot more that I ever dreamed.  Designing the book was fun and really creative.  Editing the book made good use of my English degree from Emporia State University.  Now I’m in new territory, trying to promote the book for mom. 

I created a webpage for her on WordPress.  I’ve sent press releases to a few central Kansas newspapers.  Now I need more ideas of ways to get the word out about her book.  I’m not sure that mom, at age 84, would be comfortable giving TV or radio interviews.  Maybe they wouldn’t phase her.  I always used to think she knew everyone in El Dorado, but then realized that she just talked to everyone like she knew them.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far about promoting a self-published book.

Making Author Webpages

My mother needed a webpage to feature her new book, My Flint Hills Childhood.  Since I feel comfortable using WordPress, I decided to set her up with a blog here.  It was really easy to get a nice looking site for her using the many layouts and designs that WordPress has available.  I clicked through most of them after I put in some basic information, just to see how it would look on the screen. 

I made sure it showed her book cover and a short description of the book so that’s the first thing someone sees when they go to her webpage on WordPress.  Then I started adding pages with the info that visitors would want.  So far, I have:

Then I put on a badge (widget) from the Blurb website, so people can just click on it to preview her book.

Go take a look at it.  I’m pretty pleased with the results.   Actually, I was so pleased, that I immediately set up another one for my sister, Cynthia Ross, to promote her book of children’s poetry as well as her performances as Gene Stratton-Porter.  It’s not as detailed yet as my mother’s, but I’ll keep adding to it.  Check it out here.

Press Release for My Flint Hills Childhood

The final cover for My Flint Hills Childhood
The cover for My Flint Hills Childhood

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:

Virginia Allain 603-522-2039

or Gail Martin 316-321-5399

Kansas Octogenarian Writes Memories of the 1930s

El Dorado, Kansas

At 84, Gail Martin’s memories go back a long ways.  She remembers living in oil field camp housing, wearing dresses made from feed sack material in the 1930s, trips to town in the family’s Model A, raising her pet badger, and fishing on the Cottonwood River.   Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren value her memories of childhood days during the Great Depression.  Martin started recording them some years ago and isn’t finished yet getting later memories of her life onto paper.  Now her childhood memories of the Depression years have become a book.   The title, My Flint Hills Childhood, plus the vintage family photo on the cover entices the reader into her homespun memoir.

Martin even taught others how to write about their family memories.  A number of years, she led classes in that topic at the Shepherd Center in Wichita.  “I made myself write something for each assignment that I gave the class,” Martin confessed, feeling that she had to set a good example for participants.  She found an additional audience for her writing when Kanhistique magazine featured many of them in the 1980s and 1990s.   In the last twenty years she has been published in the Tower Family Book, contributed to the Greenwood and Wilson County history books as well as having stories in The Golden Years and Schooner magazines.

The author won the Butler County’s Historical Essay contest several times and says she just loves to research and write. In 1995, she wrote a fiftieth-anniversary story about the history of The Little Ranger, a doodlebug that ran from Emporia through El Dorado to Winfield and back.  Martin was appointed Kansas Authors Club archivist in 1995 and held that position for ten years.

Although some seniors rest on their laurels, Martin tackled the internet some years back.  Her diligence in posting essays and poems on the Our Echo website caught the attention of the web designer for the site.  He so greatly appreciated her efforts in encouraging the other writers on Our Echo, that he asked her to serve as the site’s webmaster.  She selects and changes the Editor’s Choice and Featured Comments section of the site’s homepage.  Another responsibility Martin handles is regularly adding members’ postings to the Popular Posts and Wall of Fame on the site.

This octogenarian, a resident of El Dorado, has several other books underway.  Her daughter, Virginia Allain, converted Martin’s written memories into a book at the print-on-demand site,  “Mom’s been great about dredging up the old family photos and emailing them to me in New Hampshire for the book,” said Allain.  At first, Allain thought the book would merely become a treasured family memento.  “As I arranged the stories and photos, I realized that my mother’s memories of the 1930s were both an endearing and valuable snapshot of early days in Kansas,” Allain added. 

The second book, currently underway, contains Martin’s writings about her husband, Clyde Martin.  It includes his years of working in the El Dorado oil industry, and his family’s history stretching back to Kansas pioneer days.  Supplementing Martin’s memories for this second book are essays contributed by two of Martin’s daughters, Cynthia Ross of Towanda and Virginia Allain. 

It seems that Gail Martin’s example of writing family memories has spread through the whole family.  Last year, her sister, Carol Garriott published her own memories using the website.  Garriott’s book, called Curve of the Coast, covers her life’s journey from Greenwood County, Kansas to her current home along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Martin still needs to get more memories onto paper, according to her daughter.  “She hasn’t written about her wartime job at Boeing or about surviving a rattlesnake bite,” said Allain.  Allain intends to prod her mother to keep writing.  “Mom worries about getting a swelled head from all the attention about the book,” reported Allain, “but hopefully it will inspire her to further writing.” 

Preview the first fifteen pages online, of My Flint Hills Childhood by Gail Lee Martin, at where it’s available in hardback or paperback.  





Mom’s Book Released (My Flint Hills Childhood)

Finally finished all the edits, so Mom’s official book publishing date was yesterday.  Now I need to get busy promoting it!  Already I’ve posted it to Stumble Upon and had Mom’s eHow friends (all 220 of them) notified with a message.  One of her friends kindly posted an announcement in the eHow forum about it.  The other writers on eHow love it that Mom (Gail Lee Martin) is 84 and still writing articles for the site. 

Today I posted an announcement on the Our Echo site where Mom is the webmaster and where she posts her essays and poetry.  I also put it on the My Family site for the Martin and McGhee relatives to see.  In these two days, 356 visits have been made to the page where her book is listed on Blurb.  Click on the link below if you’d like to see a preview.

Growing up in 1930s…
By Gail Lee Martin