One more reason Iowa City is the Athens-of-the-Prairie: citizen poetry! (and not just cuz they like my take on the equine POV….)

poetry in pub logo 2So, Iowa City is one of the few spots on Earth that’s internationally recognized by UNESCO as a City of Literature. And one of the cool literature-y things Iowa City does is sponsor a Poetry In Public competition. And part of the coolness of this year’s poem-thing is that I get to sit at the cool-kids’ lunch table with the cool kids.  Thanks, Iowa City.

March 31, 2016

Dear Poetry in Public Participant,

Congratulations! Your poem has been selected for Iowa City’s 2016 Poetry in Public program.

Posters featuring the poems will be placed on City buses, downtown kiosks, public recreation facilities, the Johnson County Senior Center, and other government buildings from May 2016 until the coming fall. You will also receive a personal copy of your poem within the next month.


by Christian Schoon

“See that?” The man said, pointing out beyond the pipe corral

The lines on his face like an old map carved into leather

The six horses, still as dead trees, six hearts beating, all eyes compass-north, searching the far wind break

Looking for that wolf or panther, that two-leg with a rope, deer, dog, barn cat, rabbit set to bolt,

Tin can glinting, bale twine trembling, worst of all, that nameless shape

With a shadow no horse could explain or dream or ever once imagine

“Always look where the horses look,” the man said, and spit.


bear 2Oh. I forgot to mention the bear. Always look where the bear looks, too. Ya know. Because: bear.






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Yo, writerly types: Here’s your chance to polish your editing & revision chops till they gleam – w/ Harvard’s Mary Rakow – in Iowa City, April 22 & 23

The ever-awesome IOWA WRITERS’ HOUSE gang presents a world-class workshop in editing & revision with a true Jedi Master of the art. Clickety HERE for all the details.

Mastering Editing & Revision: A Writing Workshopediting workshop

WHEN: Friday, April 22, 6-8 pm
Saturday, April 23rd, 9:30 am- 3:30 pm
Sunday, April 24th, 9:30 am- 3:30 pm
+ Participants can book a free 30-minute individual editing session during specific slots, Thursday-Saturday
WHERE: The Iowa Writers’ House,  332 E Davenport St
FEE: $265

Every writer knows, there is writing and then there is revising. The editing and revision phase requires putting on a separate hat than the one you wore for the first draft. Often the difference between a good piece and a great piece lies in the writer’s ability to both to ruthlessly reduce and delicately refine their work. This workshop is designed to help writers develop and hone their editor’s eye through review of their own work and participating in peer critique through the traditional ‘workshop’ method.

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1 Book 2 Book Literary Festival hits Iowa City on 2/27. The words are waiting for ya. C’mon in!

All manner of books-and-comics-and-artists-and-authors stuff is slated to rear up and word-out in Iowa City on Feb. 27th as the One Book Two Book Lit Fest & Jr. High Writing Jam storm into town and touch down at the Hotel Vetro, the Mill and other lucky venues. Get the deets here…and mark yer calendars! See you there.writing jam images

From the festival HQ:

2016 festival set for Feb. 26-28

ceThe 2016 One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival will be held Feb. 26-28 in downtown Iowa City.

The festival, which celebrates writing for and by children, will feature three days of events designed to encourage young writers, share stories, and foster a love of reading.

The weekend begins with the Once Upon A Time banquet at the Hotel Vetro. This event celebrates writing by students at Iowa City-area elementary schools. One student from each of 22 schools will be recognized and will read his or her work. In addition, thanks to a sponsorship from Terry, Lockridge & Dunn/WorldTrend Financial, each participating school will receive a table of 10 for students, parents and educators.

The keynote presentation at that event will be presented by children’s book author Candace Fleming and author/illustrator Eric Rohmann.

The pair, who have many books between them, including the collaborative Oh, No! and Bulldozer’s Big Day, also will present as part of the second day of the Festival. Events will be held from 1o a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Hotel Vetro. This includes presentations by Fleming and Rohmann, a visit from IPTV’s Dan Wardell, costumed book characters, toy trains, a book fair and much more.

In addition, the annual Jr. High Writing Jam with the Iowa Youth Writing Project, and the Comic Book Confidential workshop, this year with artist Jonathan Sims, will be held. Check the website for signup details.

The festival ends on Sunday, Feb. 28, with the Write Out Loud award ceremony, 1-3 p.m. at Macbride Auditorium on the University of Iowa Campus. Students in grades 1-8 from throughout the Corridor submitted a page of original writing to be judged by our partners at Pearson. Two grade level winners will be chosen in each grade, one in each of the following categories:

  • “The Write Stuff”: For language, clarity, structure, and emotional impact.
  • “From the Heart”: For creativity, passion, and expressiveness.

Other students will be recognized with honorable mention awards.

All events on Saturday and Sunday are free and open to the public. A limited number of public tickets are available for the Friday banquet at $25. contact for details.

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Look what WE got for ChristmaKwanzaYulishPaganDay…

Just in time for the solstice holidays: here’s a quick vid of the six horses that IERAL recently rescued enjoying their new home in our south pasture. Thanks to Karla S. for capturing their excitement at having room to run and grass to munch. Gift idea prompt: all of these beauts (thoroughbreds & paints) will up for adoption to qualified humans once ownership is officially transferred, which should be soon.


screen shot of jessup horses

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The nice humans at the Des Moines Register dropped by the ranchito for a chat. Zenn appreciates.

Click on the image to watch me bumble my way thru an interview with the Register’s Kyle Munson about the first Zenn Scarlett novel. Then, head outside to roam around the property with me, Kyle and the DMR’s indulgent video crew. You’ll have to sit thru an ad first but hey, somebody’s gotta pay the bills, right?

dm register video screen shot NEW

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This is really fun (for an author) to read: a review of “Under Nameless Stars” … Google-translated from a French review site.

Here’s the original on the French blog…

…which Google translates as “The Chronic Random Blog”  – which I hope the Google lingua-gnomes nailed, ’cause it’s a majorly fabulous name.

Zenn Scarlett (t2) : Under Nameless Stars

zennscarlett2Titre : Under Nameless Stars (VO)
Auteur(e) : Christian Schoon
Maison d’édition : inédit en France
Genre : Young Adult / Science-fiction
Parution : 2014 (USA)
Lu en anglais

UNDER NAMELESS STARS by Christian Schoon

The exovet of novitiate year Zenn Scarlett has not been easy and nothing went as planned …
Having barely survived the destruction of his school and home, things could they get worse? Yes, definitely! Zenn’s father goes missing, the young woman herself was kidnapped and ends up cheating to board the Helen of Troy to rescue his father. With the help of Liam Tucker, she will face many dangers and dismantle again a conspiracy.

Reviewed by Ash:
While the first volume of the saga led us in a universe filled with amazing creatures, aliens, Under Nameless Stars makes us travel and dream. Together Zenn we discover new races, new plots, new animals. From the first pages we find ourselves in action and not once the pace down, not once you get bored.

The story picks up right where it left off previously, that is to say, aboard the Space Helen of Troy vessels. Zenn is found once again embroiled in a plot the aim. We like to follow things from his point of view so sharp and innocent at the same time his youth gives a refreshing naivety touch his choice. Yet it is stubborn, confident and choices, especially sassy!

Liam is not much here now, but I still enjoy. He is a young man in love, anything to the woman he loves, desperate to make amends. Zenn’s new friend is the Jules dolphin that lives, thinks and acts like a human. It’s an original character, we immediately love. It’s the same for the groom Indra Treth which adds action and severity too. All these characters together form an excellent group of attack and make things more interesting.

The plot obviously revolves around the disappearance of the father of Zenn and his own removal. All this hides many things that encompass many more characters than the exovet think. She will arrive to make allies and enemies to advance are not always the ones we think. We understand still fast enough that it is its ability to interact with the animals is at the heart of everything.

Under Nameless Stars is a good digest of science fiction that I remember more than once Stargate-SG1. This is an excellent book that I greatly enjoyed reading, which I enjoyed and that really made me dream. The end is still a bit unsettling, I can not see if it is an end or there will be a sequel. Personally I would love this to be the case and I would jump on the book in question.

ANGRY ROBOT Ltd thank you to press for this service.

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Win a free copy of the sci fi adventure that’s “like Jurassic World… ON MARS!”

silhouette poster new jan 2014 jpegFor limited time (like, hours, probably….) the galaxy-bestriding goliath that is Amazon is offering up a giveaway to win your very own copy of ZENN SCARLETT. All you gotta do is follow the link and then follow @cjschoon on Twitter. Don’t miss out, Earther. Enter pronto and good luck! Clickety here:

Hosted by:

Christian Schoon (@cjschoon)

Win a chance for a FREE copy of Zenn Scarlett – sci fi adventure featuring a novice exoveterinarian. Just follow @cjschoon. Good luck!

Follow @cjschoon to continue.

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And now: Jules, in his walksuit. You’re welcome.

jules color w name

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So, another Iowa winter done. Coulda been worse. Now, spring… and all those pesky projects we’d been putting off until things thawed out…


A few of the ranch’s “residents” hanging out by the Big Hay Barn… gazing Spring-ward, ever hopeful.

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St. Stephen’s guest-list appears. Zenn is overwhelmed.

The guest author/artist list for the upcoming St. Stephen’s literary festival is now up over at their site. Headliners include Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried), Over the Hedge co-creator Michael Fry and over a dozen other literary and artistic luminaries and totally awesome folk. I’m basically agog to be in their company, and, not incidentally, glad to have some Texas weather in my not-too-distant future… Should be a fabulous time. Will report back.


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