A New Biographical Sketch for My Media Page
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A New Biographical Sketch for My Media Page

Here's the bio that I've been working on most of the day. I'd appreciate any suggestions for improvement.

Carolyn Schriber hated history classes when she was growing up because they required little but memorization. Once she was so bored by the material that instead of answering an essay exam on the Revolutionary War, she filled in the space by writing several verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The professor gave her an A, which may have suggested that he was as tired of names and dates as she was. Or maybe he was just impressed that she knew more than the first verse. Eventually, however, she discovered a teacher who was an enthusiastic story-teller, and her love of history blossomed. While her husband served as a career Air Force officer, she taught high school Latin and English wherever they happened to be stationed. Then she went on to earn her doctoral degree in medieval history from the University of Colorado and spent the last seventeen years of her teaching career as the kind of college professor she had always wanted to have.

After her retirement from teaching at Rhodes College,  Schriber used her training and talents to examine a little-known event at the beginning of the Civil War. Taking her great-uncle’s letters as a starting point, she analyzed the strategic errors that turned the Battle of Secessionville into a rout (A Scratch with the Rebels, 2007). Then she looked at the life of a nurse who was present at that battle (Beyond All Price, 2010). A missionary who arrived to care for abandoned slaves became the subject of another biography (The Road to Frogmore, 2011). Most recently she has been writing about civilians whose lives were forever disrupted by these events (Left by the Side of the Road, 2012, and Damned Yankee, 2014). The result is a five-volume series, “The Civil War in South Carolina’s Low Country.” Two of the books have received medals from the Military Writers Society of America—a bronze medal for Beyond All Price and a silver medal for The Road to Frogmore.

In 2009, tired of the rigmarole and delays of traditional publishing, Schriber decided to become a self-publisher. She founded her own company, Katzenhaus Books, and since then has assumed total responsibility for producing six  of her own books, including second editions of two that had formerly been issued by traditional houses. (The name “Katzenhaus“ came from the four cats  who share their house with Carolyn and her husband and who spend their days in her office, making sure she keeps writing.)

Being an independent publisher, she notes, is not easy. It involves dealing with skilled professionals who provide editing, design, formatting, and printing. It also calls for knowledge of computer programs, social media, public relations, and finance. But it also has its own rewards, giving the author-publisher complete control over the final product and a closer relationship with customers. In 2012, Schriber turned her experiences as a self-publisher into a manual for others hoping to follow the same path. The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese won a silver medal in the category of Business from the Military Writers Society of America. She now uses that book as a text for addressing writers’ groups and for working in a one-on-one relationship with aspiring writers.

Six Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Me:

1. The only time I ever cheated on a test was when my eighth-grade history teacher made us list from memory all the American presidents in order,with the dates of their terms. I decided it was perfectly reasonable to cheat on an unreasonable assignment, but I still feel guilty about it.

2. I’ve had at least one cat ever since I was three years old. It is my husband, however, who started the practice of having more than one at a time.

3. On my first day as a high school English teacher, the principal presented me with my very own paddle—made of lemonwood, holes drilled through it to make it whistle, and the paddle portion slit into two horizontal layers in order to deliver two swats for the price of one.  Imagine that happening today!

4. My first job, at age sixteen, was fitting girdles in the ladies’ underwear department of our town’s only  department store.I lasted two days.

5. The best dessert I ever ate was a bacon sundae—vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup and crumbled bacon—at an Italian restaurant on Hilton Head Island.

6. In my spare time, I am an active member of Lions Clubs International, working with others to provide assistance to those who are visually impaired and to help eradicate preventable blindness around the world.