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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Dodge City native publishes first book

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  • Tracy Million Simmons was born and raised in Dodge City, and obviously the area had a big impression on her, as it's the setting for her debut novel "Tiger Hunting".
    The story begins with Jeni, a 24-year-old woman returning home to Dodge for her brother's graduation, although Jeni has her own reasons for wanting to leave her current location.
    While Jeni is on the way to Dodge, a traveling circus crashes along U.S. 283 and several animals escape, including a white tiger, which eludes capture for most of  the book.
    Dodge City residents all come to the aid of the circus and pitch in to help catch the animals. As the animals are caught, Jeni also begins to put her own life back together and move on from her past.
    "It's a quick read," Simmons said, "great for a summer read on vacation or wherever. But I've had a lot of great feedback from men as well."
    There's a little romance, some humor and a lot of what it's like to return to a place where everyone knows your name, explains Simmons of her book.
    Simmons officially released her book on April 3, but it's been an ongoing project for many years.
    "I have been writing short stories and novels for years to keep myself sane," said Simmons, who works at a farmers market and ghost writes medical brochures and other medical content. "But in 2009 a friend and I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo and that's when I wrote the bulk of this story."
    NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and challenges participants to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, usually November. It's supposed to be a fun way to get people writing.
    "I didn't do anything with the story after NaNoWriMo ended," Simmons said, "until I was talking to that same friend last year and she inspired me to finish a story finally. I chose "Tiger Hunting" because it was the closest to being done already."
    The hardest part of publishing for Simmons was deciding if the book should just be electronic or if she should take on the added cost of publishing a hard-copy version.
    "I thought about it a lot, and even though I didn't have a huge budget to publish hard-copies, I just knew I wouldn't feel 'published' until I could hold my book in my hands," Simmons explained.
    Now that the book has been released, Simmons is preparing for a book tour to promote it, and what better place to start than Dodge City?
    "It just felt right to start in Dodge," Simmons said, "that's where the book takes place so that's where I wanted to start."
    Simmons will be at Cup of Jo-nes on Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. signing copies of her book. The book will also be sold there, at Hastings and the Christian Book House or may be purchased online at tracymillionssimmons.blogspot.com. Cost of the book is $12.50.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I've already sold several copies in and around Emporia," Simmons said. "But I'm hoping people from Dodge enjoy the book as well."
    Although Simmons currently lives in Emporia, she still considers herself a Dodge City girl at heart.
    "There are several locations that Dodge Citians will recognize, and things that I remember from my childhood there," Simmons said. "But, even if you're not from Dodge, I think the idea of moving away from home and trying to come back will feel familiar to many readers."

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