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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Review - Deadly Descent

Review of "Deadly Descent" by Charlotte Hinger
[This review first published on LibraryThing]

As an amateur historian and genealogist myself, I found the premise for this book extremely of interest. Hinger uses this background very well to weave two family stories over multiple generations into a current time murder mystery with several worthy twists. While I don't care, personally, for the extreme physical "capture" of the murderer, it fits the genre well. The story is set in a fictional western Kansas county, but very obviously based clearly on the culture of that place and time. She has edited hundreds of family histories contributed to county history books. This background research serves her well in this book. A good, easy read.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review - Snow Melts in Spring

This is my review of Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts, as first published at LibraryThing:

Outstanding debut novel... I am really looking forward to Seeds of Summer next spring. All of the elements of a Romance Novel are covered with the skill of an experienced writer. The Kansas Flint Hills characters are very real; expertly portrayed. I did oral histories with a number of folks just like John McCray a few years ago.... This portrayal is "right on." The emotions are correct, the physical attributes are described accurately. Using the character Jake to talk to Gil to get at the final twist was an astute move by the author. The Christian elements were nicely integrated at just the right times, throughout the book. Congratulations to a fine first novelist! ;-)

Disclosure: I did this review from a signed copy of the book received from the author. I wrote a blog on the Kansas Flint Hills for a few years, and we got to "know each other" through that medium before she published this first novel.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories

The title has been changed, a bit, but the book is now available.

Click on the Cover to go directly to my storefront where you can check out and purchase the book.

Dr. Annette Lamb was very helpful with some finishing touches, and, I appreciate the approval of Judy Shintani to use her quote on the back cover.

I will appreciate your comments on reading the book!

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Tell Your Ancestor Stories

The first final draft was just sent off to the printers for a review copy of "How to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" by Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith. Stop back here regularly for information on when it can be ordered.

Back cover copy:

Do you have family history and ancestor stories collected and researched?
Do you want to share them and tell your stories, but don't know how?

This book is your answer.

Preservation and interpretation of your ancestor stories will occur most effectively if each of us use multiple approaches to telling our ancestor stories to our families and interested others. This is the purpose of this book.

The content of our telling of ancestor stories includes your life as well as the lives of your two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents, etc., and their sibling, aunts, uncles and cousins. Ancestor stories include the social context in which these folks lived, their clothes, their farms or ranches, their religion (or not), their occupations, their loves and antagonisms, their education (or not), their friends and neighbors, and the mundane details of their daily lives.

“Telling a story about an ancestor can be a gift to oneself and to one’s family. It is powerful to have your stories heard.” Judy Kitsune

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Liam Leverne penname

Since you asked...

Full name is William Leverne Smith - remove the first four letters, and last five letters, and you have: Liam Leverne

Liam is the Celtic form of William....

Any comments?

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Writing Priorities Update

Two posts back I noted that the Homeplace book was nearing completion. In that review process, we developed the concept that a trilogy would work very well. The first book is set in 1987. The second will be in 1997-8; the third in 2007-9.

My fiction is written under the pen name Liam Leverne. [Several family member provide critical input into the process.] The first book is titled: "Back to the Homeplace;" the working title for the second is "The Homeplace Revisited;" the third, "The Homeplace Forever."

Summary of the first book:

"The year is 1987. The terms of an unusual will left by their parents bring four grown children, spouses, and other family members, back to the Missouri farm where they grew up - the Homeplace.

Varied backgrounds and viewpoints ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy.

While the older family members stake their claims to land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance."

If you would like to do a review of this book on your blog, and/or elsewhere, when in comes out in a couple of months, please let me know, I'll be happy to send you an autographed review copy.

Any comments?

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Current writing focus

The World of Sergeant Major
William Kinnick
(Revolutionary War Era)


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith

This is a nonfiction account of the world in which William Kinnick lived and died (1719-1785). It is based on the documented facts of his family and his life and the recorded colonial and early American world that was the context within which he lived his life and raised his family.

His best known descendant, of course, is Nile Kinnick (1918-1943), winner of the first Heisman Trophy and star football player at the University of Iowa (1936-9) who died too young in a World War II Navy jet plane crash. William Kinnick was his third great grandfather. He was my fifth great grandfather, as well. This is my tribute to him.

I. Early life and family
II. War of Jenkins Ear era
III. The Middle (Lost?) Years
IV. Pre-Rev War Years
V. Rev War Years
VI. Post War Years
VII. Descendant Genealogy

Any comments?

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writing Priorities

This has been priority setting week. On the writing front, I need to shift priorities to see if we can generate some income... down the road, if not right away. Here is how I see it right now:

1. On the fiction front, finish the Homeplace book and get it in circulation. The next one can be in the wings, but not a lot of current high priority.

2. Get back to the William Kinnick book, as a creative nonfiction, using the tie-in to Nile Kinnick as a selling tool. This was supposed to be the "retirement priority." Now it is.

3. The next genealogy book will be the Michael Smith family. It is started; use to fill in and as a change of pace. Not a big money maker, but probably higher, quicker, than the second fiction.

Any comments? We'll work this set of priorities, and see how it goes.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Looking to the Future II

Two latest ideas to work on:

1. Pen Name - have planned to use Bill Leverne for over 20 years, as noted. "Bill" is not really my name, but I do go by it. In recent years, I've become fascinated with "Liam" - not only Liam Neeson, but other uses... it is the last four letters of William, after all. If I drop the first three and last five of my full, formal name, we have "Liam Leverne." Kind of like "Louis L'Amour, right? wrong? What do you think??

2. The Branson/Hollister/Ozark place is still in my thinking, but I'm now thinking of a mystery series set there, using the same ideas expressed earlier, but, bringing in Raynor Crimmons as protagonist - along with some of the better elements of the old Braddock book, and scrap the rest... it is a bit dated. Nancy mentioned liking the helicopter scene. I'm thinking of creating fiction settings on the lake, for example, but use real, public settings, such as the Table Rock Lake State Park, the Table Rock Dam and Visitor's Center, etc. Comments?

Finally, for today, I have finished drafts on the last few chapters of the Homeplace book... now, just need to clean up, do some final editing, and will get PDFs out to family to review and comment.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Sales Report

Total sales for the three books has now reached 51, with no advertising.

All three are now available on Amazon, as well as directly from Check them out!

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Looking to the Future

With family around this past weekend for our 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration, a new inspiration has begun to form for a series of books based in the Branson/Hollister/Ozark region. The "Bill Leverne" authored fiction works all represent basically my work, but are also family collaborations... therefore the use of the pen-name. This series will fall in that category, as well.

Two elements of the book concept will include: 1) examining the benefits as well as conflicts coming out of the sources of the current persons in the community (locals {at least two generations}, visitors, part-time residents, first generation full-time residents (retired and still working), and 2) the strong seasonality of the region - the community personality changes with the seasons. While stories are based on persons, plot and place, it seems I generally start with place. Interesting!

Comments welcomed.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Third Book now in final form

The George and Hannah Kinnick Family History book is now in final form and is available at the Storefront at
There was some conflict on cover title and storefront title to work out with the wider distribution chain folks. That is not laid to rest, presumably. This is the new cover and correct title.

This book is fully indexed for ease of reference in finding your family members.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July Update

Total book sales have now reached 48 - just 2 more to make 50!

You now have three books to choose from, all in the Kinnick Family History Series.

Work has begun on the Michael Smith Family History book.

It also appears that the "Back to the Homeplace" novel may become a trilogy. Stay tuned.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Monday, June 29, 2009

Third Book now available

The George and Hannah Kinnick Family History book now has an ISBN number assigned and is available at the Storefront at

This book is fully indexed for ease of reference in finding your family members.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Saturday, June 27, 2009

George and Hannah (Grimes) Kinnick Family History - Update

Finished the first pass on this book this week - index done, helpers list created, finished introduction and checked pages, etc. Did the cover... new processes are some good, some not so good. Did the back cover. Ran a sample copy... should get it first of next week.

Get ready to put in your order in a week or so, if all goes well.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Dr. Bill

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Still working on the Index!

My retirement move has taken up most time and energy over the past two weeks. I have continued to work on the index I mentioned in my last post, a half hour, an hour, on several evening and days. It is a long process, but well worth the effort... I'm at about page 105 of 118, or so, at this point.

We now live in the Missouri Ozarks, in the town of Hollister, near Branson. Looking forward to much more time to write and publish, as we get settled in.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Update on George and Hannah (Grimes) Kinnick book

I'm about half way through the editing process. Will take a little longer than expected, because I want to put an index of names in this book... and there are a lot of names. I also hope to add a few more little "stories" of the move from NC to IN that were sharing in the 1953 Kinnick book.

If you have other ideas, I'd love to include them, if I can. Trying to add two more recent generations from the Kinnick Early US Family History book, among other enhancements.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

George and Hannah (Grimes) Kinnick Family History

It now appears most likely that the next Family History book will be George and Hannah (Grimes) Kinnick Family History book. This will be the first of three books based on the children and grandchildren of John and Ann Kinnick in North Carolina (out of Maryland) and Indiana. Check back regularly for more details.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Michael Smith Family History

Another forthcoming book will be the Michael Smith Family History. This will be an update of the half-dozen copy "book" prepared and printed by my aunts, LVene and Irene Smith a number of years ago. That book included a number of black and white photos in addition to the many typed pages of familiy relationships. This new book will be dedicated to them, and build on their fine foundation. This will likely be a fall 2009 publication, perhaps winter 2009-10.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Total Book Sales reach 40

With little marketing, the Kinnick Early US Family History book has now reached the 35 unit sales level and the Schwyhart Early Family History book is now at 5 units. Good reviews in from two uncles, with additional orders for family. Nice! Thanks! Encourages me to keep moving forward.

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kinnick Book reaches 30 sales mark

The Kinnick Early US Family History book has now reached the 30 units of printing and sales. Perhaps not a lot, but it has not even gotten onto Amazon yet, and little marketing has been done.

The Schwyhart Early Family History book is now available, but I have not promoted it. It does include another generation of the Walter and Susan (Schwyhart) Kinnick family in it with more Fletchers, etc.

Happy reading! ;-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kansas Flint Hills Memories: A Five Year Memoir

Above is the working title of a book I would like to finish before I retire, and move away from the Kansas Flint Hills... though only 300 miles. It would look back at the progress we have made since July 2004 in promoting the Kansas Flint Hills as an international tourism destination.

I have taken photos of the Flint Hills, from border to border, nearly every month over the last five years and have met some wonderful people. I did thirteen oral history interviews with Flint Hills ranchers. We were along for the ride as the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition moved from a loose group of representatives of a number of counties to a 22-county non-profit with a full time executive director - quite a journey; with much more to come!

Does this interest you? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy reading! ;-)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Schwyhart book now is available

Visit Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar to see the current description of the new Schwyhart - Kinnick Family History book. It tells the story of the Schwyhart surname, and it's origins. It suggests that all persons with the "Schwyhart" surname are related, and descend from the the same to families, where two brothers married two sisters... all their children adopted this surname - different from that of their parents.

Check it out. Comments welcomed.

Happy reading! ;-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nile Kinnick, Jr. in Kinnick Early US Family History

I have been asked to note that Nile Kinnick, Jr. is noted in the Kinnick Early US Family History, under his father, Nile Kinnick, Sr. - who is the most recent of this lineage in this book.

The book does carry the line of Nile Kinnick, Jr. back for seven or eight generations on his Kinnick line.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Fletcher-Kinnick Connections

The Fletcher - Kinnick Connections have been documented at:

The new Kinnick Early US Family History book includes this family, and the upcoming Schwyhart Early Family History will have another generation added, as well. Check back here, regularly, for the latest updates.

Happy Reading! ;-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

43 grandchildren of John and Ann

As I noted last week, I want the third book in the Kinnick family series to focus on the North Carolina-Indiana branch of John and Ann. The challenge is that they had 12 children and at least one of them had 12 children... I am currently exploring a focus on the 43 (or so) identified grandchildren, with using 3 generations from there. Three generations works best for these books. Some of these grandchildren do not have large families, some do. It is an interesting challenge.

An additional challenge is how much good information to include from the 1953 book. There are some good, detailed stories. Should they be in the new book? or just the research material and vital stats that I did in the first book. I'm working on including a black and white photo or two in the Schwyhart book... that is another interesting option. Your thoughts and comments on these issues are appreciated.

Happy reading!

Dr. Bill ;-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Schwyhart-Kinnick book next

The next book that will be finished, base on existing research and family history files, will be focused on the Walter and Susan (Schwyhart) Kinnick family - from the Schwyhart point of view.

All persons with the surname Schwyhart appear to descend from two families where two brothers had married two sisters. A very interesting story.

This book will report one more current generation than the Kinnick Early US Family History does.

My next post will discuss the planning for the third book which will relate to the North Carolina/Indiana branch. Check back regularly.

Happy reading! ;-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marketing plan activity discussed

Posted the following to:

Kinnick Early US Family History (book)

And Family Connections to the
Allen – Barlow – Barngrover – Boner – Bufkin – Culbert – Dallas –
Eastburn – Etchison – Fletcher – Fox – Grose/Gross – Harbin – Harris –
Hubbell – Krohn – Lowery – Michener – Owens – Parker – Rector –
Richmond – Riddle – Sheek – Shepherd – Tracy – Triplett – VanDyke

Now available at:
For regular updates, see:

This book is the first comprehensive print version of this early US
(Kinnick) family history incorporating the considerable additional
research undertaken over the last 15 to 25 years or so beyond the 1953
Kinnick book. Portions of this research have been published online and
in articles in the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin. The book
includes the first three generations of both the John and Mary Kinnick
move to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa and the John and Ann Kinnick move to
North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana. Subsequent books will expand on
these families and affiliated families.

The message will go to all mailing lists of each of the surnames included in the message. I've been asked, for years, when a print version of this information would be available. Now it is. I'm very interested to see what, if any, responses I get. Time will tell.

Happy reading! ;-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Initial Post

This blog is a companion to my book publishing storefront at:

My first book, the Kinnick Early US Family History, is now available for wide distribution. Check it out. On the storefront, I have provided a more detailed description, so check both links. Notice that under the bookcover, you can see Preview the Book pages with a simple click, as well as see the Back Cover (which is also included in the preview pages). I hope you like reading as much as I do.

Happy reading! ;-)