The new e-book edition of "A Scratch with the Rebels" went live on Smashwords and Kindle late yesterday afternoon. A few orders showed up this morning. And at 11:00 AM, the book's Kindle page showed this ranking:
I'm spending most of my day setting up marketing plans for the book, but I really didn't expect any visible results so soon. Can we raise that ranking even further this afternoon?
Thanks for all your support. Now if some readers will leave a brief review on Kindle . . . . . . . .
Sometimes publication happens really fast. The "Second Edition Revised" of A Scratch with the Rebels
is now available in all e-book formats on the Smashwords website at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/403375
. The Kindle version should be available sometime this eventing or tomorrow. (Never fear! I'll let you know as soon as it appears.)
Readers will find several changes.
- Most obviously, this version has a new cover, designed by Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics.
- The book is now listed as Book 1 of the series, "The Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country." That puts it in its rightful place as the progenitor of several of my other books.
- The endnotes have been incorporated into the text of the book so that it reads more smoothly. Anyone who absolutely needs specific page numbers will still find them in the print version (First Edition).
- I have also removed the pictures, which simply do not translate well in most e-book formats. Those who want to see what the characters look like -- or who want to check the maps or scenery -- will find several photo collections elsewhere in this website.
original Chapter 5: “Grinding the Seed Corn,” now concentrates on the
Confederate side of the story, while the Union story forms a new Chapter 6: “ A
Task Worthy of our Greatest Efforts.” The original Chapter 6: “This Cursed Soil of
South Carolina” is now Chapter 8 and is more narrowly focused on military
matters. A new Chapter 7: “Gideon’s Band” looks at the problems of slavery,
which had an enormous effect on how the military handled the occupation of
coastal South Carolina.
At book signings and public speaking engagements, I'm often asked how I get the ideas for my books. A variation of that question is why I decided to write a particular book. When the question is specific to one book, it's pretty easy to answer, but there's also a generic answer that fits almost everything I write. For me, books have generations -- mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Each one I produce gives birth to another -- or so it seems.
Last fall I released the second edition of Left by the Side of the Road
. That book is a collection of short stories --incidents and characters that I had to leave out of its mother volume, The Road to Frogmore.
I couldn't bear to throw their stories out. Instead, I gave then their own collection, separate from their mother book.
Where did The Road to Frogmore
come from? Well, it had its beginning in Beyond All Price
the story of Nellie Chase, Union Army nurse. During her stay in South
Carolina, Nellie became quite attached to the slaves who worked in the
regimental headquarters. When the regiment pulled out, Nellie wanted to
stay behind to help those slaves, by setting up classes for them and
teaching them to read. She was not allowed to do so, but was told that a
group of missionaries had just arrived in Hilton Head to take care of
the educational needs of the freed slaves. That made me curious enough
to start researching the details of those missionaries and educators. And out of that curiosity came The Road to Frogmore.
So, where did Beyond All Price
come from? Until now, I didn't have a quick answer to that question, although I knew where it had come from. The first book I wrote after officially retiring was called A Scratch with the Rebels.
It was published in 2007 by a small press, who grossly overcharged for the book [$25.00] while producing a school-bookish version with a cover that self-destructed within a couple of days' use. The book itself was a factual history of the Roundhead Regiment [100th Pennsylvania Volunteers]. It mentioned the regimental nurse frequently without giving too many details about her -- just enough to make me want to tell her story in Beyond All Price.
Of course, it's possible to take things back one more step. The ideas for A Scratch with the Rebels
came from a small packet of letters I found in my mother's attic -- letters from my great-uncle James, who served in the Roundhead Regiment.
So there you have four generations of books. Youngest book, along with its mother and grandmother, appeared in Kindle and other inexpensive electronic editions or in nicely-produced paperback versions. But the great-grandmother of this series -- the book that started it all -- was hard to find and even harder to use.
Until now! We're about to remedy that! Stay tuned for further announcements..
Does anything in this news article from 150 years ago sound familiar? I'm almost embarrassed to write anything about the weather because we've been very lucky in Memphis so far this year: NO SNOW! But our temperatures, like elsewhere, have been unusually low. We dealt with a frozen pipe after a 9-degree night a week or so ago, but nothing like what the Commercial Appeal reported in 1864!
In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, “Civil War-Era
Memories” features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years
ago. The Appeal is publishing from Atlanta. Perspective from our staff
is in italics.
Jan. 20, 1864
We have frequently heard of our troops “charging the Yankees,” but
they have invariably been fortified with muskets and fixed bayonets. It
remained for (Gen. Nathan Bedford) Forrest to inaugurate charging an
enemy without a weapon of any description. In his recent retreat from
Jackson, Tennessee, he was attacked by the Yankees near the line of the
Memphis and Charleston railroad, and his armed forces being small, he
ordered the new recruits, two thousand in number, who had not received
arms, to charge the enemy. They immediately rushed forward, and the
Yankees, astounded at the force coming toward them, fled in all
directions, leaving Forrest a clear road to Oxford.
An account from Jan. 23 describes the charge in more detail:
(Forrest) divided his men into two columns, one of which he sent, under
Col. Faulkner, across the railroad, within five miles of Memphis. The
other he commanded in person, taking the Bolivar route, and crossing the
railroad near Collierville. Near Bolivar, he met Col. Hatch’s Yankee
cavalry, and though they largely outnumbered his force, he charged them
with a yell, causing them to scatter in every direction ... Not more
than a third of Gen. Forrest’s men were armed, but he mixed up the armed
with the unarmed men, and ordered the whole to charge at once. His men
were nearly all raw recruits, while the Federals had, from their own
accounts, not less than twenty thousand disciplined men after him.
Jan. 22, 1864
Letter from Mississippi (Grenada) — The weather continues intensely
cold. The managers of the hospitals are taking advantage of the heaviest
ice ever known in Mississippi to lay in a supply for next summer.
Travel and mails have been much interrupted by water and mud freezing
over the railroad tracks.
Memphis Intelligence — The cold was severe in Memphis — 10 below zero
... On President’s Island about eighty negroes perished. A detachment
of ten soldiers from Fort Pillow, chasing after deserters, were frozen,
as were also five on a sandbar in the river ... At Cairo the mercury
stood at 15 degrees below zero, at St. Louis 25 below.
I haven't managed to write more than 800 words of the last three chapters of Damned Yankee. Writer's Block still reigns. But otherwise I've been very productive. Here's what I accomplished in the last 24 hours:
- Finished the re-write of A Scratch with the Rebels, including a final proofreading
- Arranged to have that manuscript professionally formatted, paid for that service, and shipped it off to the formatter.
- Went out to dinner
- Had a good night's sleep
- Sent off a bunch of emails to folks I had been putting off
- Went to the bank
- Went out to lunch
- Spend too much money in Staples
- Cleaned off my desk
- Emptied the trash
- Sorted all our receipts for 2013 taxes
- Figured out how to print 250 name tags for an April Lions Conference
- Planned a September vacation
- Cleared all e-mails and Facebook postings
Now what am I going to use as an excuse?