An evening with tomorrow’s writers

Hi everyone,

I was one of five readers last night at the annual Writers Hall of Fame of the Ozarks Student Recognition Banquet and was, as always, impressed by the talent of the winning writers. Students from grades 5-12 created a wide range of poetry and prose that was impressive. My congratulations to the young writers, their teachers, and their families. My thanks to Writers Hall of Fame for sponsoring such a valuable event. Scholarships from $500 to $1,500 were awarded to several college bound seniors who will be pursuing careers in writing. For twenty-five dollars a ticket, it was a banquet worth attending!

Mike O’Brien’s induction into Writers Hall of Fame

Hi everyone,

This coming Saturday evening (April 8), Missouri Writers Hall of Fame is inducting longtime Springfield News-Leader journalist and professor of journalism Mike O’Brien. The induction event will take place at Highland Springs Country Club, Springfield, Missouri. Silent auction and cocktails, 6:00 – 7:00; dinner and ceremony to follow. Net proceeds go into the Student Scholarship Fund to benefit high school seniors enrolling in college to study writing.

To help raise money for the scholarship fund, I’ve donated three items.
• A feature on my blog. This will go to the high bidder who can use it personally or give it to someone else as a gift. Valued at $150.
• Three of my books – NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T; COWBOYS; and PIRATES. I’ll autograph the books at the banquet or mail them to an out-of-town high bidder. Valued at $55.85.
• Lunch with me. I’ll take the high bidder for this one to lunch and answer questions about writing. I’ll read up to three pages of the bidder’s work and do my best to critique and advise. Valued at $150.

If any of these opportunities interests you but you won’t be there in person, please e-mail your bid(s) to Kim Piddington ( ) or call her at (417) 581-7660 no later than this Friday, April 7, at 12:00 noon CST.

This is a silent auction so your name and bid will be printed on the bid sheet(s) before the guests arrive. The highest bids win and you won’t have another chance.

Thank you for any donation you might decide to give. There aren’t a lot of agencies that reach out to encourage and support young writers of the future. We’ve had some wonderful success stories but we always want more.

An interview with Margo Armstrong

Hi everyone,

At the recent induction ceremony for WRITERS HALL OF FAME, Singer/songwriter/performers Larry Lee and Randle Chowning were inducted as the 2015 recipients. It was a grand evening. As part of the auction to help the organization fund college scholarships for budding young writers, I offered a featured spot on my blog. I was delighted when a friend of mine, Margo Armstrong, was the high bidder.

Margo and I discussed possible formats for her featured spot and agreed to set it up as a series of questions and answers. So here, ladies and gentlemen, is Margo Armstrong. She has an incredible story to tell!

Hi, Margo, and thanks for two things: supporting WRITERS HALL OF FAME and agreeing to today’s interview.

I’m glad to do both, David.
You recently attended and supported the annual Writers Hall of Fame Quill Award event when song writers and singers Larry Lee and Randle Chowning were inducted. What is your interest in supporting the arts?
Since early childhood living in America and Germany, my family exposed me to ballet, literature, and music. At age 5 I attended my first Symphony concert. I love and have supported the arts, especially since my marriage to Bill H. Armstrong, Emeritus professor and legendary painter .
Please tell us about your family.
I have two daughters, Sonja and Janel (both teachers) and two granddaughters — Sonja’s daughters Lauren and Ashley. Lauren has a degree from U.M.K.C. and R.N. from St. Luke’s and Ashley has a Journalism degree from M.S.U. Both live in Overland Park, K.S. Bill, my husband of 25 years, has two sons. Sister Karin is a Chiropractor and raises champion dogs. I also have two nieces and extended family that I love and cherish.
Describe a “typical” day in the life of Margo Armstrong.
For about 42 years I was in health care as a Chiropractor. Since my retirement I start the day with necessary business phone calls, managing properties I own, and three times a week I go to the Mayer Center. I walk each day possible in the neighborhood, listen to internet lectures on brain, psychology, health etc., and stay busy with household and family projects. I enjoy social events with friends, such as Symphony, the Arts, the community activities.

Since November 2014 have become a caregiver to my brilliant, talented husband, who had an Ischemic stroke. Thank God his mind and speech are fine and he is regaining the use of his right hand and leg. Such interests and responsibilities as these keep me busy.
Tell us about your early years.
My childhood was unusual. My mother was born in Berlin, Germany. My father was American who as a young man spent 20 years in Alaska during the Klondike. He was 27 years older than she. They were blissfully married for three years when he died. I was 10 months old. My mother and I lived in Manhattan, N.Y. with extended visits to Germany with my grandmother and Uncle Alfred. Wonderful memories.

My mother remarried. Both she and my stepfather tried to get their significant assets out of Germany back to America, but could not. I experienced Nazi Germany and World War II as a young girl. I was grateful that we survived, but the war was hell.
What experiences in your early years do you think influenced the person you are today?
That life can be uncertain and should not be taken for granted. To know what it’s like to live a privileged lifestyle in a home of luxury, precious art, and beautiful things — and in a minute a bomb destroys everything, leaving only the clothes I was wearing. My parents were exceptional role models, not allowing us to be victims, but with intelligence and strength showing how to cope and survive. I learned to pray and become strong in faith, which is a lifetime journey. I cherish the presence and love of family and good friends, and values and accomplishments that last. I learned to have political interest, to be aware, to be involved. I learned from experiencing to evil regime of Hitler and his Nazi party.
What would you still like to accomplish?
Keep learning new things or improving. Seeing my daughters and granddaughters live their best lives. Continue to be an influence for good to our community.
What are your favorite places to go?
Colorado , San Francisco , Lake Tahoe ,the Bavarian Alps of Germany, Austria.
What do you like to do to relax?
Listen to music, read, meditate, walk.
Do you have any books that you recommend to others?
German Fairy tales, individuals, current or past who inspire me; Wayne Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup, etc.
What advice do you have for young people of today?
Become educated. Learn to succeed. Have moral and ethical values. Faith is a personal journey. Do all you can to make the community, the world, and our environment a better place. Be an example for respect, integrity and love.

Margo, lovely. Thank you again. It has been a pleasure.

2015 inductees into Missouri Writers Hall of Fame

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago I mentioned what a pleasure it was to interview Randle Chowning and Larry Lee for a video to be aired by Writers Hall of Fame as part of the build up to their induction this year. Board president Kim Flores just released this press notice.

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2015
Contact: Kim Flores, Writers Hall of Fame President, 417-616-0708/417-655-3557

Veteran songwriters, Randle Chowning and Larry Lee to receive the 2015 Quill Award on March 14
The public is invited to a gala dinner Saturday, March 14, at the Tower Club in Springfield when Writers Hall of Fame honors inductees Randle Chowning and Larry Lee, songwriters and founding members of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, with the annual Quill Award.
The event begins with a social hour and silent auction at 6 p.m. at the Tower Club, 901 St. Louis St. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the presentation of the Quill Award. The evening will conclude with a live auction. Proceeds from the auctions fund Writers Hall of Fame college scholarships for high school seniors.
Tickets to the dinner gala are $35 per person and can be reserved by calling Kathy McQueen at 417-368-1231, or order tickets online through Brown Paper Tickets at Reservations requested by March 7. The Writers Hall of Fame can accept only check or cash for auction items.
Chowning and Lee had commercial success with Ozark Mountain Daredevils and individually as Nashville songwriters. Their most recent collaboration is the band Beyond Reach.
The Writers Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit organization that encourages writers of all ages. Proceeds from various events fund college scholarships for talented high school seniors and recognizes students in grades 5 through 12 for their writing skills.
To fulfill its mission, the volunteer board of directors each year selects a Missouri professional writer to receive the Quill Award for making significant contributions to the written word. Past Quill Award recipients include young adult authors Sandy Asher and Kate Klise; producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason; children’s author and poet David Harrison, songwriter Johnny Mullins and novelists Daniel Woodrell and Ridley Pearson.

It’s this Saturday, December 6

Hi everyone,

A reminder of a fund raising book signing this Saturday to support scholarship efforts by Writers Hall of Fame for graduating high school students who want to pursue their interest in writing. Be there to help if you can. Thanks in advance.

When Cows Come Home

You’re Invited!

Book Signing Party

Saturday December 6, 2014
11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
1715 S. Campbell Avenue
Springfield, Missouri
(417) 869-1513

A free event that benefits
Writers Hall of Fame
A local group of volunteers who give college scholarships
to area high school seniors.

Other authors scheduled to sign and sell their books include:

Alan E. Bailey – Dolores: The Alexander Saga
Mary Elizabeth Bradley –A Doctor’s Daughter

Anne Cox – I Am a Yogi
Jeanne Christakos Duffey – Cook Like a Greek!
Gayle Harper – Roadtrip with a Raindrop
Todd Parnell – Mom at War, Postcards from Branson, The Buffalo, Ben and Me
Dr. Nancy O’Reilly -Leading Women
Anita Roberts–Springfield 1830-1930, Branson
David Harrison — When Cows Come Home, Pirates, bugs
Sherry J. Cook and Terri Johnson, Missouri State University professors, have created the Quirkles Exploring Phonics through Science, 26 books and a digital series, to help children develop a love and appreciation of science and literacy.