Writers’ Block

Local Authors and Writers Speak Out

Kalamazoo: a “literary hot spot”

Kalamazoo has a rich and varied culture of local authorship; from poets and lyricists, to novelists, historians, memoirists, children’s authors, short story writers, and illustrators—a distinction that prompted the Detroit Free Press to call Kalamazoo a “literary hot spot.” Several local writers have gone on to become award winning authors, like National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell, acclaimed storyteller Stuart Dybeck, National Book Award finalist David Small, and National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon.

But many local writers publish compelling works that don’t receive as much attention as perhaps they should. For that reason, Kalamazoo Public Library presents Writers’ Block, a forum where independently published local writers can tell the world about their work.

February 2018

Author Cathie Weir: I'll See You Later

2015 recipient of the Community Medal of Arts Award, Cathie Weir has written about her journey before, during and after a double lung transplant in 2008.

I'll See You Later: When actress and comedienne Cathie Higgins Weir was diagnosed with a devastating disease, she approached her recovery with the same zeal and humor she showed on the stage.

As an accomplished actress, Weir has seen many strange things in her thirty years on stage, but ten years ago she encountered an amazing sight while waiting for a double lung transplant. Her father appeared to her in a dream. This ghost simply told his daughter, “I’ll see you later.”

The phrase would both haunt and comfort her during the demanding times ahead. As Weir recounts in this new memoir, she had been diagnosed with emphysema at fifty-six. Her father died at fifty-nine. She was terrified she only had three years to live. Was her father’s appearance a warning? In the hilarious, harrowing adventure ahead, Weir would learn the truth.

Weir’s memoir isn’t merely about her personal fight with emphysema but expands its scope to look at the realities of organ donation, the importance of being your own medical advocate, and the bonds that connect donors, recipients, and their entire support networks.


February 2018

Author Patrick Ragains: Lexicon: American Style 2

Patrick Ragains is a Michigan native, born in Grand Rapids. Patrick graduated from MSU and is a licensed realtor, adoptive father, advertising veteran, and Kalamazoo resident.

Patrick’s Latest book Lexicon: American Style 2 is nonfiction adult humor with a strong emphasis on vocabulary. A word-nerd’s dream that entertains as it educates. Ideal as a coffee table conversation starter or back bathroom reader. 81 independent, spirited chapters regarding the wonder of our English language and our unique American lifestyle. Dedicated to America’s premiere lexicographer and visionary patriot Noah Webster, Jr.

A continuation of Lexicon: American Style, this book leaves no part of our American English unturned as it romps from Acronyms to Zombies (A to Z). Creative, clever, funny, at times bawdy and controversial, Lexicon: American Style 2 will challenge your perspective and expand your vocabulary arsenal.


May 2017

Author Mark Love: Why 319?

Author’s description: “A serial killer is on the loose in metro Detroit. Three female victims have been discovered in motel rooms in different suburban cities surrounding Motown. The only connection is that each body is found in room 319 and the killer leaves the taunting message "Why 319?" on the bathroom mirror, written in the victim's lipstick. Detective Jefferson Chene heads up an elite squad of detectives assigned to the case. With no home life, he devotes every waking moment to catching killers. But this one is more elusive than most. With no clues and no apparent link between the victims, Chene is at a dead end. But a startling revelation busts the case wide open. He's closing in on the murderer, but will it be before another young woman loses her life?

Author Info

April 2017

Author Lydia McGrew: Hidden in Plain View

Lydia McGrew is a local homemaker, blogger and author. She’s been recently interviewed on several radio shows, including the Eric Metaxas show, about Hidden in Plain View (DeWard Publishing). 

Author’s description: “Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts revives an argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament that has languished for more than a hundred years. First proposed in the late eighteenth century and much discussed in the nineteenth, the argument from undesigned coincidences shows that the Gospels and Acts are reliable history. Accessible to a lay audience but of interest to scholars as well, Hidden in Plain View has received enthusiastic endorsements from over twenty well-known Christian scholars and authors.

Author Info

January 2017

Author Leona R Carter: Because I said SO!

Author’s description: “I was compelled to write this book because I wanted to share my experience and knowledge as a mother. Many have asked how two high school sweethearts came through such a tremendous life journey that resulted in the Carter Crew. As you read this book, you will see that, by being intentional about the words we spoke, our family encountered many remarkable life situations. The purpose of this book is to equip and inspire mothers to be intentional about their words. Everything you say matters and can be held against you. But the good news is that you have the authority to change anything you don’t like. With that being said, this book outlines how you can become clear about what you hope to obtain in life. The stories in this book are all real episodes from my life, my reality, and they occurred thanks to the words I spoke intentionally. This journey started in high school and, for the past twenty years, the reality of my intentionality has developed into more than I could've ever hoped for, I appreciate my family who was instrumental in the writing of my book. When I had questions or needed to get input, the Carter Crew willingly helped, and I also got to share a lot with my children about how our family came to be as strong as we are—it was a great experience. I am grateful to God for allowing so many wonderful things to happen to us in this lifetime. Many of my experiences truly are once-in-a-lifetime.”

Author Info

November 2016 (Video coming soon)

Author Michael Recchia: The Deconstruction of M. Beccia: A Postmodern Cliche

Michael Recchia has lived in Kalamazoo/Portage for the last 23 years. He attended the WMU MFA program and studied under Jaimy Gordon and Stu Dybek. The novel listed, his first and only work of fiction, was five years in the making. 

Author’s description: “This novel is a work of metafiction that employs literary parody and intertextuality to satirize the pseudo-intellectual quest for meaning by an obsessive scholar/narrator in an increasingly unstable societal reality. His search leads him ultimately into the depths of a Collective Literary Unconscious.


August 2016 (Video coming soon)

Author Joe Novara: Come Saturday Come Sunday

Joe Novara, a retired training specialist, lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and has been writing for 25 years. He has a series of YA novels available online through Story Shares, a memoir, My Two Years in the Priest Corps, as well as a short story collection. 

Author’s description: “After rescuing her middle-aged Mexican snorkeling guide, Emily is drawn into his intriguing bachelor world. The retired Army nurse in her responds to the wounded man. The grieving widow in her is cautiously ‘getting out there’ until a traumatic episode from Ramon’s seminarian past erupts into their budding relationship. Emily allows time, a return to Lake Michigan and the help of an unconventional priest to heal Ramon’s painful scars.

Author Info

June 2016

Author Phillip J. Rhoades: Burgundy Wolf: The Case of the One Eyed Woman

Phillip Rhoades, born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been writing poetry, short stories, novels, and children’s books since the age of seven years. 

Author’s description: “Burgundy Wolf, a private detective working the streets, slums, and sky-rises of Heartbeat City, sits in his office with his trusty dog, waiting for the next case to arrive. A knock on the door. The corpse of a woman with a bullet through one eye. A phone call telling him that they have stolen his gun, used it to murder her, and stashed it where the cops will find it. The Wolf must take to the streets to clear his name and perhaps even put a stop to a plot that endangers the entire city.

Author Info | Check out Burgundy Wolf: The Case of the One Eyed Woman  

May 2016 (Video coming soon)

Author Daniel B. Royer: Secrets of the Egoles’ Nest

Author’s description: “The story is based on Aben Egole, a young boy living with his overbearing nanny, and on occasion, his military father returns home between combat missions. Aben’s life makes a drastic change in ways that will compromise his ability to blend in with the human population. It all begins in Aben’s home, which is located in a quaint community on the outskirts of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. It started when a next-door neighbor mysteriously moved away. Subsequently, a strange but exciting girl, along with her parents, move in. This is where Aben’s astronomical journey begins. Soon afterwards, Aben is approached by the young girl, who strangely shares with him a secret about his incredible heritage, along with an organism that sparks an unbelievable change in his DNA. Once he's experienced with his new powers, with the help of a mystical dynasty and his military father, Colonel Ivory Egole, standing by his side, Aben begins a new life of off planet adventures with deadly agendas.

Author Info | Check out Secrets of the Egoles’ Nest

May 2016 

Author Matthew Gilman: Homefront: A Story of the Future Collapse

Author’s description: “Set in the near future, Homefront explores how a military super power is turned into a small resistance group. Following a nuclear detonation in Washington D.C. a small group of Army Rangers find themselves to be the soul survivors left to defend the United States against a foreign invader. The President and majority of congress are assumed dead, the Vice President is missing, and the country is left waiting to discover who will come to power. The novel takes place in the same world as the Future Collapse series. Homefront follows a resistance group fighting to restore order out of chaos, while making allies in unexpected places.

Author Info | Check out Homefront: A Story of the Future Collapse (available soon)

January 2016

Author Tim Hiller: Strive: Life is Short, Pursue What Matters

Tim Hiller’s new book, Strive is a year-long journey designed to encourage each reader to live for what really matters. Each weekly message provides inspiration, challenge, and resources to help readers grow on their faith journey. Strive is also filled with personal stories from Tim’s athletic and coaching endeavors that capture the reader’s heart and attention. 

Author Info | Check out Strive

Are you a writer? Tell us about yourself...

If you are a local author with a recent publication, tell us about yourself. Your work could be featured here on the KPL Writers’ Block page. All submissions are subject to the library’s terms and conditions.

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