Meet the Author

Blond Woman in glasses and pendant necklace

The Fools Journey Writing Contest Winner

By Diana Richards
5
Rated by Helen H.
Nov 19, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Diana Richards has won our short story writing contest on the theme of The fools Journey with her piece "Cactus." 


I can't add to the millions of statements from would-be writers as to why I write, and my biography isn't all that unique either: retired, like to write, writing is hard, love the library.


Cactus


Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world, where people said “Excuse me”, and “I’m sorry”, and “How are you”

Nov 10, 2021

“Ava, wake up! It’s Halloween, remember?” Henry announced. Not announced, more like shrieked into her ear. Ava rubbed her eyes and sat up as her eight year old brother bounced on to her bed.


Halloween. Of course it was Halloween. How could she have forgotten? Henry didn’t understand how horrible Halloween was, how just the word made Ava’s insides squirm and shiver. Halloween.


“Go away,” Ava grumbled. She slid back under the covers, trying not to be annoyed by how happy Henry was. It had been—how many?—two years since she had first seen It. She just called the thing—him—It.


There was

Nov 10, 2021

 


Pariah


...that was when the tunnel emerged from the darkness ahead, and Isaac found that all of his thoughts had incinerated abruptly. It was a highway underpass, through which the ditch water could run to the far side, and a water line had been eroded and stained onto the concrete where the turgid water would lick in the spring and early summer months. Above everything could be heard the roar of cars passing on the highway overhead, and it seemed like the sounds were coming through a cave, the way they echoed and bounced up and along the walls of the underpass. The eerie noises hit the

Nov 10, 2021

Around them the mist continued to drift, seeping into their veins, sapping their spirits. The younger of the two brothers poked his head from out of his sleeping bag which lay on the cold, merciless dirt in the clearing of the cold, merciless forest which was infused with the cold, merciless mist that had awoken his body with chills throughout.


 


 


“Stuart,” he shouted with a whisper. The sack to which he called did not stir. He called again, desperate to be reminded that there was another life in the frigidness of the air. And he was, for the sack responded with a drowsy, “what?”.

Nov 10, 2021

The Ghosts at Tanuki Mansion


(in Verse)


 


 


I’m not sure if I believe the rumor that Tanuki Mansion is haunted.


I’ve been there multiple times on school field trips, and only minor ‘scary’ things have happened.


 


My brother Tino believes it.


I think it’s because his best friend,


Mason, comes up with these crazy stories about ghosts haunting the upper floors.


Now, when the third graders go to Tanuki Mansion on a field trip, Tino stays home and pretends to be sick.


 


This Thursday is when the sixth graders go. Mr. Oar says to dress ‘festively,’


whatever

Nov 10, 2021

One day, three girls, Beth, Sky, and Vanessa, were taking a walk. Then they saw the woods. Everybody that went in, never came out. Beth, Sky, and Vanessa were not scared. They wanted to explore every corner of the woods, so they went in. A few minutes later, it began to get dark, so they decided to go back, but they were lost! They didn’t have a map, so it seemed like they were stuck in the woods. Suddenly, they heard a rustling sound. They looked in a bush and saw a dark, shadowy figure with glowing, red eyes. They backed away, as the figure opened its mouth revealing two rows of very sharp

Nov 10, 2021

I stared at the forest of dark pine trees looming over me, laughing at me, each becoming a vision of the one I used to welcome into my house, my arms, my heart, until he stood over my parents with a bloody knife in his hand and the look of a crazed, cornered, monstrous animal in his eye, his beautiful kaleidoscopic eye, the eye I could sink into and be lost inside. Those pools of colors and sadness and intelligence and sometimes tinges of humor, but now, only hate and pleading for help. And his gentle hands, now flecked with red drops that fell to the floor as though the blood was crying

Nov 10, 2021

“Mama, tell me a story.”


 


The girl loves stories, gobbles them down like sugar. The words fill her up, twisty and sharp and smooth, and come to life behind her eyes.


 


She requests a story most every night, as the waves rock her to sleep. Mama lights a candle and sits by her bed in the hard wooden chair and tells her a story, finishing right when the candle winks out with a wisp of smoke. By that time the girl will be nearly asleep, so Mama will kiss her brow and softly pad back to the crew’s quarters.


 


She has a faint memory from long ago, when the rocking was of her

Nov 10, 2021

Oliver’s antique shop was not exceptional in any way. It did not have much inventory, what it sold did not hold much significance, it was not even the most popular antique shop on the street. This meant nothing to Oliver. When he opened the front door to the shop in the morning, he was at the crossroads to a thousand worlds.


The old china teacup resting on an equally ancient coffee table could have been the crown jewel of a man's kitchen. Perhaps he had saved up for ages to buy the teacup, and when he finally did buy it, he made sure that all his guests from there on out took special notice

Nov 10, 2021

Omnes una manet nox. That’s what it said on the invitation. Cole didn’t know much Latin, but he knew that said one, night or dark, and omnes. Many? Whatever it meant, Cole was in.


He had been delivering the weekly paper when he arrived at Taryn Nichols’ house and found the invitation in her mailbox. Listen, it was sticking out of the top of the mailbox, begging for him to look! Anyways, on the cardstock was, handwritten, a location: Glen Forest, north end; a date: tomorrow; a time: midnight. It had to be a party. Cole loved parties.


All the next day, his mind wandered more than usual

red haired woman in green sweater with a black and white dog

Tails and Tales Writing Contest Winner

By Marcia Hurlow
5
Rated by Helen H.
Oct 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Marcia Hurlow has won our open category writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Olfaction." 


Marcia L. Hurlow's first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 400 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Poetry East, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. She is co-editor of Kansas City Voices.


Olfaction


I walk behind Lucky as he leaps

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Cameron V. has won second place in the 8 and under age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with his piece "A Happy Jackalope, a Sneaky Werewolf, and the Scary Nightmare Moon." 


Cameron (Cam) V. is a newly six-year old boy from Olathe, KS where he lives with his parents and their dog named Remus. At just two-years of age, Cam had memorized word-for-word over twenty of his favorite story books- all of which he can recite on demand to this day. His favorite author is Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, The Snail and the

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Julieta V. has won first place in the 9-12 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Alicorn"


Julieta Vera has unruly hair and is well known for her phrase, “We’re alive and good! We’re FINE!” Her favorite book series is ‘Keeper of the Lost Cities,’ which she highly recommends!
While a book lover, she climbs trees uses nothing on her feet, and tends to nag everyone (especially her little sister) into doing fun and adventurous stuff on a daily basis—which lead to multiple injuries. Ever since she heard the words

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Madeline W. has won third place in the 9-12 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Eyes in the Sky." 


I started writing for school, and decided to start putting the many stories I had into the physical world. I don’t have a lot of favorites, but I like Spider-Man, and really hate spoilers for things I want to watch, read, or participate in in any way. 


 


 As I focused on my connection, my mind spread its boundaries, forming a link― a bridge, if you will―to the spirit realm. My consciousness compressed

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Derek W. has won second place in the 13-19 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with his piece "I've Been Haunted Lately"


Derek W. is proud to be a lifelong student of the art of writing, a previous winner of a Young Arts Merit Award for writing and several Scholastic Arts and Writing awards. He is nineteen years old, and is currently studying at the University of Michigan. His story "I've Been Haunted Lately" speaks to the painful process of connecting with someone, and the fears that accompany opening up to that person

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Nayla S. has won second place in the 9-12 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Me & Yule"


Nayla S. is an amateur writer who enjoys spinning tales with enchantingly scenic settings, (hopefully) endearing characters, and lots and lots of magic. When she isn't writing, she enjoys detective and classic novels, chocolate, and working on her little sapling of a blog which you can find at www.witchywordcraft.com



The train screeched to a stop, and I woke up with a gasp. Sheila shrieked and Mom let her

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Sangshita P.. has won third place in the 8 and under age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "The Lost Princess." 


Hi I'm Sangshita. Well, everyone calls me Moonmoon. I'm seven and this fall I will be in second grade. 
I have a duck puppet and I created a story about it. I used to tell stories to my best friend and she said I could write them. 
Then I started to write. The first story I wrote was a fantasy one. 
I love reading books by Dr Seuss. 
A fun fact about me is I'm really really scared of bugs but I

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Ava S. has won third place in the 13-19 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest.


Ava S. is a homeschooled junior that recently traded her Ohio buckeye trees in for the wild sunflowers of Kansas. Ava has been writing for most of her life and has worked on multiple novels, poems, songs, and short stories. Her inspirations are the books she grew up reading in her elementary and preteen years. This particular short story was loosely inspired by the classic Thumbelina. Some of her author influences are Lucy Maud Montgomery, Leigh

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Sylvie G.. has won first place in the 8 and under age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "The Tree Unicorn."


First thank you so much for choosing me as a winner. I am so happy right now. I've been writing since about halfway into 1st grade and I'm currently writing a book called Animal City. I want to say if I did not watch My Little Pony I wouldn’t have written this story because that is my inspiration. I have always liked mythical things like unicorns and alicorns. Just ponies are amazing too. My author

Sep 17, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that James P. has won first place in the 13-19 age group for the Summer 2021 Youth Writing Contest with his piece "When the Caged Zebra Falls."


My name is James P. and I’m a senior at Blue Valley High School. I’ve been writing for about a year; I began last summer as a means of expressing my thoughts during quarantine. Some of my biggest influences are George Orwell, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Joe Strummer. My other passions are soccer, history, and playing the guitar. My story was inspired by the human desire to be led, and our willingness

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Mariam S. has won first place in the third age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Interplanetaries."


Mariam will be a freshman at Shawnee Mission East next year. She is a lover of books, cats, art, and dark chocolate. Though her life goals have changed since dreaming of becoming an author at six years old, she nevertheless enjoys writing a short story from time to time. Her sci-fi story was inspired by a video her class watched in social studies class.


The sound of claws on pavement startled Pauol

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Mariam K. has won third place in the middle age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "10021."


BIO: Mariam is a 12-year-old New Yorker. She describes herself as an aspiring author who finds that the best part of writing is writing through one’s imagination and heart. Mariam has been writing from a very early age. She won prizes at several city-wide and nation-wide essay and poetry contests. Her winning entries have been published in newspapers, magazines, and very recently in a poetry book. But still, she

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Reba S. has won third place in the third age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Drifting Memory."


 


Though now wasn’t a great time for it, Jim Harrison could only think about how gorgeous the view was. A once in a lifetime image to be sure. He could see everything from up here - the clouds, the continents, the ocean - but, poetically, no one could see him up there. Jim looked to his right. Stars like bright holes poked through a jar lid as far as the human eye could see. He looked to his left. Planets

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Georgia M.. has won second place in the early age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Not So Boring."


 


Not So Boring 


Of course we get stuck on the worst planet, Aerial. Out of the 116 planets my family discovered in the past year, we had to get stranded on the most boring and cold one.


I spend most of my time on the ship playing with our munden, Tuerto. He’s a mix between a dog, a cat, an elephant, and a tiger. White with black stripes, he has pointy ears, a short, stubby trunk, and a dog-like

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Arden P. has won second place in the third age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Puppeteer." 


 


The waves dashed themselves hard against the ultra-strong, reinforced Plexiglas of the tunnel, beating relentlessly in a mad, mindless effort to sweep the alien structure away. The surface of the water was sharp and choppy. Had the knife-points of the hills and valleys been frozen at that exact moment, any unfortunate passerby would have been cut quite badly. Driving rain beat down on the unforgiving

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Parsons H. has won first place in the early age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "The Bad."


I love writing and sharing stories. I love to let my creativity show! In my free time I love to read, write, listen to Christian and 80's music, and play dolls. 


The Bad


There are a group of kids, the lonely, the bad, the forgotten, the hidden, the sad, and the blamed. These are not a normal group of kids, they wanted and did get revenge. The lonely wanted revenge on whoever had the chance to become

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Anna Grace V. has won third place in the early age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "Turkey and Della"


My name is Anna Grace.  I am 10 years old and I live with my 2 brothers, my 2 dogs, and my mom and dad.  I like reading, especially Greek Mythology and fantasy books.  I also like drawing and creating fantasy stories. I hope you like “Turkey and Della.” 


The Spectacular Journey of Turkey and Della


This book is dedicated to my teacher; Ms.Westerman, for being an awesome teacher and on awesome

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Hunter G. has won second place in the second age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with his piece "The Time She Had Returned."


 


María sat quietly and carefully outside in the front area of a bar. The area was quite overgrown with a variety of green. What the bar lacked was people. This little town she had once remembered was teeming with solemness. María wondered why the plants continued to grow with little water. They climbed up in search of something. These desperate plants continued no  matter what.  It was

Sep 15, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Julieta V. has won first place in the middle age group for the Sci-Fi Spring 2021 Youth Writing Contest with her piece "What Was Forgotten."


Julieta A. Vera has unruly hair and is well known for her phrase, “We’re alive and good! We’re FINE!” Her favorite book series is ‘Keeper of the Lost Cities,’ which she highly recommends!


While a book lover, she climbs trees uses nothing on her feet, and tends to nag everyone (especially her little sister) into doing fun and adventurous stuff on a daily basis—which lead to multiple injuries. Ever

Sep 13, 2021

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Lauren Loya has won our essay writing contest on the theme of Tails and Tales with her piece "Call Me Cuttlefish." 


Lauren Loya is a graduate of the Literature, Language, and Writing program at the University of Kansas. Her work has been featured in Coal City Review. A Kansas City native, her favorite local haunts include the Green Lady Lounge, Stroud’s, Antioch Park, and many of the shops and eateries along 39th Street West.


You can read more of her work at https://draculauren.wordpress.com/.


Call Me Cuttlefish


She pressed the