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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The new "library"


First, let me say that I'm glad the "Latschar mess" is now behind Gettysburg and the park. That entire sordid affair kept tongues wagging and the blogs and emails flying fast and furious. Former GNMP Superintendant John Latschar's detractors had a field day with the entire episode and subsequent demotion, and his supporters tried to keep up with the fray, often to no avail. Personally, I like many are thankful for the General Management Plan that has helped to return the field to 1863 views, but I (also like many) felt much distaste for the way some things have turned out. Not everyone can be happy all the time, but fortunately the Latschar furor has died down and efforts can once again be turned toward what is best for the park, for history, and the folks.

I mentioned a while back that we recently remodeled one of the spare bedrooms in the house to turn it into a new home library for my research and writing. It was great to be able to start on the room a month ago following my August illness. The bedroom was the only room untouched during the 1990 remodel and expansion of the home, so the 1969-era paneling, ceiling tile, and lovely (not!) green carpeting still remained in the space. I tore all of that out, we updated the wiring, and installed new drywall. Last weekend we painted the walls a pretty, and Victorian-style, "antique red." It looks really nice with the oak trim. Very library-like. Yesterday Karen and I picked out a light-colored barbour carpeting which will be installed next week. And last night I started putting up the bookshelves. The one set of shelves on one wall held nearly 1,000 of the books, so there's something like 2,500 or so to find a home (!). This weekend I hope to get the rest of the shelves installed, have all the books in place - it's fun, I'll admit, reorganizing all the books to make them easier to find - and then the custom-made chestnut desk will be the last thing to install.

I do think, however, that this winter I'll come up with my own type of Dewey-decimal system to organize the books as a finding aide. It's annoying staring at the shelves for a half hour trying to locate a book that you knew "was right here, darnit!" I'll computerize it so I can do a quick search. I have to decide how to categorize it so it makes sense, but I'll come up with something. And now that I have the space I will be able to organize those thousands of papers, documents, manuscripts, letters, and copies of "stuff" that I always have such a hard time locating. I've spent weeks looking for one stupid sheet of paper that eludes me. That's inefficient and aggravating, but hopefully that will get cured as well.

I'm getting there, slow but sure. Boxes are getting unpacked, shelves are getting filled - and finally I'll be able to get back to serious writing very soon.

Just as soon as I find that stupid piece of paper on which I wrote my future projects... now what did I do with it??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First installment of Fairfield battle tour on GettysburgDaily

For those interested, the first installment of the tour of the July 3, 1863 Battle of Fairfield by Steve Stanley and me is now on the GettysburgDaily website. It is based on the tour in our book The Complete Gettysburg Guide. The second installment will probably be on the site in a few days.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tonight in Gettysburg

Right now I'm sitting in Steve Stanley's living room in Gettysburg. I arrived about 6:30 pm after a quite rainy (and road construction filled) four-hour drive. Steve and I, his fiance Krystie and friend Leigh Ann met at the Mayflower Chinese Buffet - one of my favorite haunts - for dinner. Afterwards, we drove to the American History Store on Steinwehr Avenue for a book signing in conjunction with the Military History Online fall muster. The signing was from 8-10 pm. Bill Frassanito was there, along with John Hoptak, Jim Hessler, Tim Smith, and Don Ernsberger. Steve and I signed several copies of The Complete Gettysburg Guide, most of them actually brought by folks to have signed. Several folks also bought copies of my first two books. It was a nice time, especially meeting some MHO folks that I hadn't seen in a few years.

We need to get up about 4:30 am tomorrow in order to make the five-hour drive to Williamsburg, Virginia for the Military History Weekend show. The book signing there begins at 12 noon, and we need about a half hour or so to get set up. It will be an early start to a long day tomorrow, so good night everyone!

To Gettysburg, then Williamsburg

In just a few minutes I'll be on the road to Gettysburg, where tonight Steve Stanley and I will be part of a book signing at the American History Store (1 Steinwehr Ave) from 8:00-10:00 pm. Bill Frassanito, Jim Hessler and others will also be there. It promises to be a fun time and I look forward to seeing all the folks again.

Tomorrow morning, Steve and I will leave early for Williamsburg, Virginia, to be part of the Military History Weekend that I posted about previously. Lots of distributors, publishers, authors, wargamers, and veterans will be there, and it's expected to be very well attended. Saturday night we've been invited to a private dinner with one of the Band of Brothers, Col. Eddie Shames - I'm very much looking forward to meeting him. The entire show looks to be very interesting, and I know I'll also be spending lots of time walking around and looking at all the exhibits and historical displays. I'll post from the road as I get time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

2nd segment of Hunterstown Battle on GettysburgDaily

For those interested, the second and final segment of our tour of the July 2, 1863 Battle of Hunterstown is now on GettysburgDaily. Up soon will be our tour of the July 3 Battle of Fairfield, which I suspect will also be in two parts. Both tours are based on our book The Complete Gettysburg Guide.

On a separate issue, the Amazon webpage for the book currently shows that Amazon is temporarily not offering the book for sale. Apparently, an Amazon customer complained when the two copies he ordered were both received slightly damaged. It appears that when Amazon faces such an issue, they shut down the availability of the book until the issue is resolved. Our publisher has spoken with our distributor, and hopefully the issue will be fixed very soon. We don't know if the books were damaged at the distributor or Amazon (we may never know) but once they get the problem figured out (replacing the books, etc.) Amazon will be offering it directly from them again.

UPDATE (Wednesday): After working with the Amazon folks, our publisher and distributor have gotten the situation straightened out, and the book is now again available on Amazon. Thanks to everyone who worked to fix it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Military History Weekend, Williamsburg VA, Oct. 17-18

Co-author Steve Stanley and I will be representing our publisher Savas Beatie at the Military History Weekend Show, to be held in Williamsburg the weekend of October 17. Show headquarters is the beautiful Hospitality House on Richmond Road. Events actually run from Friday through Monday (see the event schedule), but Steve and I will be there from noon on Saturday until late Sunday afternoon. We will be signing copies of The Complete Gettysburg Guide, and we will also have my first two books available (see them here and here).

I'm really excited to meet Col. Eddie Shames of the 101st Airborne, a hero of WWII and the famous Band of Brothers. Col. Shames will be signing copies of Osprey's Tonight We Die As Men (he wrote the Forward for the book), and I look forward to thanking the colonel for his service and to be one of millions who have let him know that he is a true hero.

If you'll be in the Williamsburg area that weekend, please come to see us! There are a lot of very interesting events going on throughout the weekend - militaria displays, book vendors, authors, sculptors, publisher tables, tours of the Virginia War Museum, author/historian talks, and a whole lot more. Hope to see some friends there.